Tag Archive for: CorporateWokeness

The Scam Called ESG

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

What is this thing called ESG?  It stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. Sounds great, doesn’t it? What could possibly be the harm of seeking to promote these virtues in our corporations? I mean, seriously, who doesn’t want companies that seek to emulate these values? I will be the first to admit that when I first heard of it, it sounded like a good idea. How can it be bad?

The main problem lies in their root: they are all completely subjective measures. There is no empirical methodology for applying these value scores to a company. It begins with a failed investment banking analyst who is tasked with scoring companies on these values. Why ‘failed’? Because if they were any good at evaluating industries and companies, they would still be doing it.

And since ESG is subjective by its nature, the movement has been hijacked by the left and its subjective values. A company that mines coal with US labor gets a poor score, while a solar panel manufacturer in China that uses slave labor and is owned by a dictatorship gets a high score. How does that make any sense?

Let’s begin by looking at the energy industry. By their own admission, almost every ESG analyst will state that an energy company is ‘bad’ because they employ fossil fuels for the bulk of their energy creation. Thus, all of the major banks in this country will no longer offer credit and financial services to these firms (they want to preserve their own ESG scores). Almost all oil drilling and exploration on public land have been terminated because using fossil fuels will destroy the environment. By starving the industry of capital and reducing production on public lands, ESG will create its own energy crisis.

The new definition of ESG is this:  Energy Shortages Guaranteed.

In the world of the ‘woke’ ideologues who promote this line of thought believe it is better to have places like Venezuela and the Middle East supply our oil than it is to get it here. This is in spite of the fact that the USA has greater oil reserves than almost any other nation on earth. We also are much cleaner producers.

Moreover, if fossil fuels are such a danger to the earth, why does Venezuelan or Saudi oil get a pass? Does the earth know the difference? Are these countries not part of the global ecosystem?

The solution to this self-inflicted energy crisis is to encourage the use of electric vehicles (EVs). It may come as a surprise to learn that EVs are not all that ‘green’. The most obvious example is fueling these EVs. Charging your Tesla overnight is the energy equivalent of having 15 refrigerators running in your kitchen overnight. There are other, less obvious, reasons for promoting the use of EVs: the most practical is that it reduces your ability to travel independently – you can only travel to places that will make charging stations available (currently limited to the most populous areas). And, by the way, where will the additional power to fuel these vehicles come from?  Our energy grid is currently at capacity and has trouble maintaining current demand and it is mostly derived from fossil fuels.

Bear in mind also that the very people who decry the use of fossil fuels almost all fly on private jets for their travel needs. When do you suppose President Obama or Leonardo De Caprio last took a Southwest flight? Remember that flying on a private plane pollutes 5 to 14 times more than commercial jet travel per passenger. Yet these ‘woke’ proponents of ‘green’ policies still preach to us about reducing our energy footprint while they ignore it completely. And by the way, if global warming, the ice caps melting and climate change are going to flood the world’s shorelines, why do they all live on oceanfront properties? But I digress…

Back to ESG. At its core, it is simply another way for our leaders to control things. If it were an honest measure of ‘goodness’ it would excoriate any firm doing business with the nation of China – one of the worst human rights violators on the planet.

While it is only in its nascent stages, ESG is still nothing more than a social credit score applied to businesses. Who makes up these scores? What are the criteria? And how long will it be before employees of companies are scored on their ESG evaluations? How long will it be before we all are tagged with a social credit score?

ESG Financial “Leaders” Live In La-La Land

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week, I virtually attended “The ESG Leadership Forum 2022” co-hosted by the Wall Street Journal Trust and Nasdaq. Panel discussions covered everything from accelerating the energy transition to how to model climate risks into climate strategy to getting to net-zero with tips on how to “actually deliver” on ESG promises.

Speakers earned an “A+” in leadership lingo and managerial theory, but a big “F” in reality. There was a creative high point where win-win was reimagined as wind-wind to describe one company’s “winning” approach to wind energy. (Get it?) In their defense, it is winning from the C-suite perspective. These companies are guaranteed to reap the benefits of government-backed dividends promised by President Biden through trillions of mismanaged taxpayer dollars. 

In reality, however, we the taxpayers will be stuck with the consequences of the ESG movement, and, most notably, the “path to net-zero,” which is both damaging and delusional. It is behind efforts to shutter reliable and affordable energy—mainly coal, oil, and natural gas—and replace it with less reliable, more expensive alternatives. The arbitrary deadlines to reach this goal are forcing the early closure of energy sources without adequately replacing them. As a result, our degraded energy grid now regularly delivers blackouts and brownouts, especially during heat waves and cold snaps when we the regular people consume it the most. This isn’t because of climate change. It can be attributed to poor planning and blind allegiance to ESG principles that constantly overpromise and underdeliver.  

As Team Biden implements its whole-of-the-government effort to shutter U.S. oil and natural gas, ESG investing is maximizing its effect. Government-mandated red tape, coupled with leasing bans, has increased operating costs. At the same time, ESG investors are limiting access to the very capital these companies need to upgrade, expand, and ultimately keep up. The resulting oil market imbalance of suppressed supply is the leading reasonfor the high costs we pay at the pump. The strained natural gas supply, which accounts for 37% of electricity production, has led to the largest 12-month increase in over 40 years and is why one in six families is now behind on utility bills. 

Adding insult to injury, this will have no impact on the climate. Some reports found that a net-zero U.S. would reduce temperatures by only 0.137 degrees in 2100. Recall that a warming temperature is the purported key driver of the change these financial gurus are fighting. 

The real problem is that these ESG elites are in charge of trillions of dollars of investments and their decisions—even the damaging and delusional ones—have a broad reach. They should not be celebrated, but rather held to account—starting with the fire-fire approach. (See what I did there?)

That is fighting fire with fire. Leading this is Strive Asset Management, a company that offers investors the ability to partake in good old-fashioned planning, where maximizing value takes precedence. Strive CEO Vivek Ramaswamyeven has the audacity to let those that reap the benefits of his fund’s returns use their own money to be the change in the world they want to be.

Americans are starting to wake up to the ESG fraud. To find out more about ESG, what it is, and how states are starting to rightfully push back, check out our comprehensive communications kit on ESG Investing.

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This article was published at Independent Women’s Forum, and is reproduced with permission.

Which History and Whose History is the True History?

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

True history certainly isn’t the cherry-picked history told by the intelligentsia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

The Wall Street Journal recently published a letter to the editor by Kenneth Weine, the chief communications officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Judging by what Mr. Weine wrote, his job title could just as well be “propaganda minister”—or, better yet, “platitude minister.”

Mr. Weine’s letter was in response to a Journal op-ed that claimed that the Met and other art museums had sacrificed art on the altar of wokeness. The op-ed gave an example of the Met placing an interpretive sign next to an exhibit, explaining that the former benefactor who had donated the collection on display had benefited from slavery and the slave-based sugar industry.

In defending the sign, the platitude minister parroted platitudes about the museum having a mission of understanding “mankind” (his word, not mine), as well as examining the “uncomfortable truths about our history.”

Not surprisingly, as is the case with so many esteemed members of America’s white overclass, Mr. Weine went on to reveal an obsession with skin color, lamenting that “half of the museum boards have only white trustees.” He did not specify which of the hundred or so unique ethnic groups in America and the world with whitish skin are represented on the boards. Thus we don’t know if Iranians or Kurds or Turks or Armenians or impoverished Scots-Irish Appalachians or other white minorities are board members.

If you believe that it is overwrought to refer to Mr. Weine et al. as an “overclass,” click on the following link to see the photos and bios of the top leadership of the Met.

Although Mr. Weine isn’t in top leadership, he fits the mold:

With their advanced degrees, mostly from the Ivy League, one would think that they would understand the folly of reducing to a sign an understanding of mankind and the uncomfortable truths about our history. 

A full understanding of mankind requires a knowledge of history beyond one fact or point in time, a history that includes the uncomfortable truths about not only American history and white history but also the uncomfortable truths about all the other nationalities, races, skin shades, civilizations, and tribes.

But it is not the agenda of the Met’s woke leaders to tell balanced history. Their agenda is to negatively portray America and people they deem as white, a group that includes themselves. Why aren’t they honest about that?

Mr. Weine should know better. As a vice president of the New York Public Library for four years, he had access to stacks and stacks of history books. He could’ve learned in just several shelves that human nature is universal—that it is both good and evil, that it transcends race and geography, and that all peoples have both good and evil in their history.

That’s a very different but accurate message to convey to museum patrons than the shopworn, unoriginal, copycat woke message that the Met wants to convey.

Mr. Weine is welcome to borrow books from my personal library, which includes books that detail the good and bad of the United States and its founding Anglo-Saxon Protestants. But it also includes books that detail the good and bad of other nations, ethnocultural groups, and skin shades.

One of the books is a history of Cuba and the horrors of the sugar industry on the island: Cuba: An American History, by Ada Ferrer. It will have you rooting for Cuban revolutionaries, including Fidel Castro—or at least his early years before he turned communist.

There is a big problem with the book, though, at least from the perspective of the Met: It goes against woke dogma by also telling the truth about “Hispanics,” which is a catchall name given to anyone in the Americas whose full or partial ancestry goes back to Spain or Portugal. It is a grab-bag of a category that includes widely diverse nationalities, races, mixed races, ethnicities, skin shades, and socioeconomic classes.

According to woke mythology and diversity and inclusion initiatives, Hispanics are considered a disadvantaged minority, although Americans so categorized far outnumber scores of ethnic groups that are considered to be in the majority. For example, Americans of Mexican ancestry alone number about 36 million, or six times more than the number of Americans of Italian ancestry, an ancestry that Anglo Saxons didn’t see as white in the early twentieth century, leading them to pass the Immigration Act of 1924 to restrict the immigration of Italians and other southern Europeans.

The truth is that Hispanics were heavily engaged in the sordid sugar industry, where they brutalized not only indigenous peoples and African slaves but also mestizos, who in turn brutalized other mestizos. Moreover, Hispanics engaged in the slave trade decades before 1619 and enslaved considerably more Africans than the English and Dutch did.

Crooked and authoritarian Hispanics ran Cuba for decades, with the backing of the United States. Cuba President Gerardo Machado was one of them. In August 1933, in the face of being deposed by a public that hated him, he and a few loyal companions carried bags of gold to the airport in the middle of the night and escaped on an airplane. One of the loyalists was Desi Arnaz Sr., the former mayor of Santiago and father of Desi Arnaz Jr., who would become the male lead in the popular long-running TV series, “I Love Lucy.”

Using the Met’s standards, any reruns of the show should come with a prefatory warning about Desi’s tarnished family history.

In terms of my heritage, Frank Sinatra’s records and movies also should come with a warning. Why? Because he was connected to the Italian mob, which was connected to the crooked Batista regime. As dramatized in the “Godfather” movie, the major US mob families held a meeting in Havana, in December 1946. Not only did Sinatra perform for the mobsters, but, as rumor had it, he had carried $2 million in cash on his trip to Havana for delivery to Lucky Luciano.

For sure, the Met shouldn’t take any donations from Citibank, do business with Citibank, or have any members who work for Citibank. An excerpt from the book Cuba explains why:

A much greater percentage of sugar profits, however, were invested in US industries such as coal, iron, manufacturing, railroads, banking, and so on. Moses Taylor, a New York sugar broker, made his early fortune in what everyone called “the Cuba trade” and then invested it in banking and industry. Within a few decades, he was president of the National City Bank of New York, a precursor to Citibank. When he died in 1882, his estate was worth at least $35 million, the equivalent of perhaps $1.3 billion in 2020.

Phew! Think of the number of interpretive signs it would take to adequately cover the history of just Cuba. Given that the aforementioned book with the eponymous name is 630 pages, it would take at least that number of signs.

Come to think of it, the Met should move out of Manhattan or plaster it with interpretive signs, considering the history of the island.     

An outstanding history of early Manhattan is the book, The Island in the Center of the World, by Russell Shorto. It is balanced history, which is a foreign concept to the woke bigwigs at the Met, or anywhere else for that matter.

The book tells the story of the Dutch founding of Manhattan and its surrounding area. It is based on seventeenth-century records and correspondence that had been lost until recent times and then went untranslated for many years because few scholars knew the old Dutch language.

Under Dutch rule, Manhattan was highly tolerant and multicultural, with the Dutch living mostly in harmony with other Europeans, other faiths, Native Americans, and free blacks. The Dutch were much more tolerant than the Pilgrims and Puritans and didn’t share their religious zealotry. In the context of seventeenth-century mores, they were quite progressive, in spite of engaging in the slave trade. Russell Shorto makes a compelling case in his book that America’s humanism, pluralism, democratic republicanism, and free trade stem more from the Dutch than the English.

One indication that Shorto wrote a balanced book is his coverage of relations between the Dutch and Native Americans. Shorto is not reticent in detailing the atrocities committed by the Dutch when their otherwise good relations with Native Americans went awry and resulted in bloodshed. But at the same time, he’s not reticent in detailing the atrocities committed by Native Americans, not only against the Dutch but also against competing Native-American tribes.

In other words, Shorto follows history, wherever it takes him and whomever it might offend. That’s not the path that the Met and other woke institutions take. They think in black and white, not greys; they think in terms of modern sensibilities, not in historic contexts and nuances; and they cherry-pick history to advance a political agenda.

In any event, the Met is going to be busy trying to erase the stain of Dutch history from New York City and its environs. After all, Brooklyn got its name from the Dutch Breuckelen; the Bronx is named after Jonas Bronck, a Dutch farmer; Yonkers is named after a Dutchman who was known as “the Jonker” and whose property was called “Jonker’s land”; and Long Island got its name from the Dutch Lange Eylandt.

Given all of the reminders of Dutch evil and white evil in New York, it would be easier for the Met to move to a part of the world where there is no history of evil.  Sure, a move would be expensive, but the museum would not have to spend money on interpretive signs explaining uncomfortable truths, as there would be no uncomfortable truths in their newfound utopia.

 

 

NBA Suspends Phoenix Suns Owner Robert Sarver, Fines Him $10 Million After Probe Found he Used Racial Slurs, Made Sexist Comments Toward Female Employees

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Editors’ Note: We can’t determine whether the charges made against Mr. Sarver are true or not. It would seem the NBA thinks so and they are judge, jury, and executioner. However, it is worth noting sports owners have been at the forefront of promoting their sport as the spearpoint of left-wing social protest, especially on racial and sexual matters. In this world, the use of words is paramount and meaningless gestures grow in stature. This has largely ruined the entertainment experience of following sports, which is a diversion from the controversies of the day. Ironically,  sport is also one of the few areas remaining where merit and talent are rewarded. Merit and talent are devalued under the current smothering egalitarian ethos embraced by sports franchises, even though sport itself does just the opposite. Moreover, there is a point in revolutions when the movement begins to consume its own children. It would seem we have reached that stage in the process. Those who are punished by the mob often are selected on both irrational and inconsistent criteria. For example, rap artists like Cardi B use the N-word constantly as well as sexually denigrating language. Yet Cardi B gets interviewed by Hillary Clinton and no one is concerned. To read the lyrics to her hit song and get a sense of her erudition, click here. But should a white sports owner allegedly use such terms, banishment is not sufficient. Notice as well, that he is not being criminally charged with molesting anyone or physically harming anyone. He used “words” that others found “offensive” in his case, but then these same or worse words are not only ignored in other contexts but are praised as an artistic achievement by former feminist Presidential candidates. Sports are welcome to the contradictory left-wing world they helped create. Mr. Sarver is just one child of the revolution that must be sacrificed.

 

The NBA announced on Tuesday it suspended Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and fined him $10 million after an investigation found he used the N-word at least five times and made ‘sexist’ comments toward female employees.

Sarver will be suspended for one year and must complete a ‘training program’ after a year-long investigation revealed his behavior created a ‘toxic’ work environment.

The probe into Sarver’s conduct began after ESPN published a November 2021 article based on dozens of current and former employees alleging he used racial slurs and made misogynistic comments.

Robert Sarver has denied the allegations…..

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Continue reading this article at Gateway Pundit.

Major League Blunder: Baseball Teams’ ‘Pride Nights’ Help Fund Gender Transitions for Minors

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Editors’ Note:  If you need another excuse not to waste hundreds of dollars for an evening with a game that drags on until your rear end goes numb, simply go to the Diamondback website: click on this link. 

Both of the Editors at The Prickly Pear played baseball and loved baseball. Not so much anymore. Here is our message to the Arizona Diamondbacks:  if you want to inject yourself into politics and the culture wars, don’t expect traditional Americans to support your efforts to sterilize and disfigure children. What confused adults do with their own bodies, and on their own nickel, is their business but we don’t want to support “pride” when the reason we follow baseball is precisely to relax and get away from contentious issues. It would seem “pride” means a whole lot of things ranging from treating homosexuals fairly to subsidizing sex changes for minors and much more, such as men can have babies. Or how about this from the DBACK’S website: “…focused not only on the work experiences of out members of the LGBTQ+ community, but also on the systemic racism currently plaguing the nation and the male hegemony embedded within the sport.”

So, how do you feel DBACK’S fans, you homophobic racists? Is this our hometown baseball team or Antifa speaking to us?

Since the MLB wants to inject itself into these questions, we have a few of our own. Do the DBACKS support destroying women’s sports? Do they support the sexual mutilation of children below the age of consent? What is the DBACK position on men giving birth and chest feeding? Can the DBACKs name one player in the history of the franchise that had a uterus? Has any player or employee for that matter, of the Arizona Diamondbacks not been born from an adult female mother? According to your Director of Scouting, how many sexes are there? Can sexual identifications be changed every inning or only in the off-season? Does your Director of Minor League operations take a position on sex with children under the age of 14? Is it permissible to throw high and inside if the batter is wearing a tutu? Should a drag queen sliding head first wear a glove? We have many other questions but what does any of that have to do with the infield fly rule? Why would baseball ever want to put itself in the position to have to answer such questions? Keep baseball out of politics and gender surgery for minors, or pay the price. With the lousy teams you have fielded in the last years, you will find it even more difficult to fill the seats.

 

There’s good news, and there’s bad news. The good news is, that the Major League Baseball Texas Rangers “have come under enormous fire from powerful LGBT groups for not giving in and having a Pride night,” National Review’s Nate Hochman said on “Washington Watch.”

Wait a minute, you’re thinking, that sounds bad. How is that good news? Well, it’s good by comparison to the bad news: Every other MLB team (29 out of 30) has hosted a Pride night, and many do so “every single year.” Way to go for the Texas Rangers’ courageous stand against the tsunami of corporate wokeness.

Hochman “spent the last couple of weeks digging into exactly what kinds of LGBT activist groups and medical clinics MLB franchises and teams were funding under the auspices of these LGBT-themed pride nights.”

What he found makes a drag queen story hour seem like “Sesame Street.” For 20 out of the 29 teams, these Pride nights were “funding groups that were either promoting sex changes for children as young as 12 years old or … actually providing them themselves.”

Nothing says baseball like permanently sterilizing children.

Hochman writes:

At least six of those teams promoted or funded organizations that lobby against restrictions on youth sex-change surgeries and for policies such as ‘gender-affirming’ curricula for elementary-school children and ‘trans-inclusive’ K-12 sports.

Five other team Pride Nights promoted or funded groups that provide resources for, and often actively encourage, youth sex changes. Four promoted or funded groups that write referrals for, or partner with, clinics that perform medical gender transitions—either via hormone-altering drugs, sex-change surgeries, or both—on minors.

And finally, five teams have promoted or funded clinics that do drug-induced or surgical youth gender transitions themselves.

Adding insult to injury (or, more precisely, mutilation), Hochman warns, that this transgender slush money is coming straight from ticket sales. It would be bad enough if millionaire athletes dropped a few thousand dollars here and there on terrible political causes. We all expect that. But we don’t expect it when America’s most popular teams from America’s pastime siphon “tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars” straight from ballpark patrons.

Hey, dad, if you bring your son to 20 games this season, we’ll be sure his classmate gets a double mastectomy at 16 for free!

This has got to stop, but how? “Obviously, Major League Baseball is not advertising this,” said “Washington Watch” guest host Joseph Backholm, which implies that it’s vulnerable to pressure. In fact, pressure from the transgender lobby forced it into this unconscionable behavior, to begin with.

“Essentially, the LGBT mafia comes and says, ‘Unless you give us money, we’re going to ruin your reputation … but if you give us money, then we’ll just go away quietly,’” suggested Backholm. That character assassination is now targeting the Texas Rangers, the final holdout.

Hochman added that MLB executives could feel pressure from both sides. “Like a lot of corporate leaders, they’re not necessarily far-left ideologues. They’re just driven by incentive structure.”

Currently, their incentives are telling them to fund LGBT groups and Pride nights. “From their perspective, they’re going to get a ton of grief … get threatened by their sponsors … get threatened by powerful activist groups,” he added. “They just figure that it’s less of a headache to fund it.”

The LGBT lobby may have the bases loaded, but conservatives can still escape a blowout by finding a way to end the inning. “It’s up to fans … who basically make up the revenue stream for the MLB, to actually push back and say that this is unacceptable,” Hochman advised. “This is America’s pastime.”

Major League Baseball is “getting away with” this “partially because I think a lot of fans just don’t have time to pay attention.” But the choice is clear: Either fans pay attention, or they’ll inadvertently pay to fund gender-transition surgeries on minors.

Hochman suggested a second prong to operate alongside fan-based pressure, to help restore MLB to its senses; namely, politics. “Ron DeSantis in Florida … demonstrated to Disney that there are going to be political consequences if they try to inflict this stuff on Florida’s children.” Stuck between political and social pressure, baseball teams might just return to playing ball.

The idea is “turning this into an actual movement,” Hochman explained, “that changes the incentive structure for organizations like the MLB, so that they realize that they’re actually going to get more grief from the right and from conservatives than they are going to get from the left and from progressives.”

Building a movement takes time, commitment, and a lot of persuasions. But it’s possible. And, to save a generation of young people from permanent, bodily harm, it’s essential.

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This article was published by Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

Starbucks Closures Over Crime Show How Companies Dodge Woke Consequences

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Troubled times may be ahead for the marriage between corporate America and the left.

Starbucks recently announced that it’s closing over a dozen stores because of crime and safety concerns.

“We’ve had to make the difficult decision to close some locations that have a particularly high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe for us to operate,” a Starbucks spokesman told CNBC.

What is the primary driver of Starbucks locations becoming unsafe? Starbucks’ top executive had an interesting answer.

In a video leaked on Twitter, Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz pinned the source of the problem on politicians and other city leaders who’ve failed to contain crime.

“In my view, at the local, state, and federal level, these governments across the country and leaders—mayors, governors, and city councils—have abdicated their responsibility in fighting crime and addressing mental illness,” Schultz said.

It’s interesting to hear Schultz say this. He generally has been a man of the left, though he left the Democrat Party in 2019 and became an independent.

The question is: Will companies such as Starbucks reconsider their general support of left-wing social causes and policies that have caused them a huge financial headache?

And will left-wing activists stick with these woke companies that now are closing stores and laying off employees?

Of the 16 Starbucks locations set to close, a majority are on the West Coast, apart from Philadelphia and the District of Columbia. Most are in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon.

Every one of the cities with closing Starbucks outlets has a Democrat mayor and little political opposition.

This may just be the beginning of safety-related closures, as Schultz indicated in the leaked video.

“It has shocked me that one of the primary concerns that our retail partners have is their own personal safety,” Schultz says in the video. “America has become unsafe.”

That’s for sure.

The increase in violent crime has been a national trend, but the cities most affected by the spike in crime typically are places that had significant civil unrest in 2020.

Portland, the poster child of this crime wave phenomenon, has seen the most dramatic increase in violent crime. A recent report showed that Portland’s homicide rate increased by a staggering 207% between 2019 and 2021, nearly twice as much as the city with the second-highest increase in homicides.

And that city was Minneapolis, ground zero for 2020’s unrest and the initial epicenter of the “defund the police” movement following the death of George Floyd in police custody.

In many cities, property crime and retail theft are surging too, as criminals realize they won’t pay a serious consequence for lawbreaking.

What’s interesting about the safety-related Starbucks closures is how the announcement has followed the trend of other, major national companies that have decided to close stores or locations for similar reasons.

Walgreens, for instance, closed shops in San Francisco, citing out-of-control shoplifting and organized crime. Other retail chains have pointed to similar crime-related reasons for closures.

It’s no surprise to see Seattle on the list of Starbucks closures. The coffee chain’s home city has seen crime escalate dramatically in a few years. Amazon, the giant online retailer, recently relocated 1,800 employees out of downtown Seattle locations, citing crime.

Now, some have called into question the motives behind these closures, saying that it’s simply downsizing due to supply chain disruptions and a move to online retail.

In the case of Starbucks, some former employees say it was their plan to unionize that prompted Starbucks to close stores under the guise of safety.

Additional reasons may exist for sudden store closures other than crime. But there’s little doubt that increases in crime have created a more challenging economic environment.

Anarchy is bad for business. When you combine anarchy with resultant higher security needs, you end up with a lot more companies shutting down or moving to greener pastures.

Amazon wouldn’t be suddenly closing business locations if the problem was just the rise of online shopping.

Starbucks joins the growing list of companies that have cooled in their ardor for social justice when their bottom line took a hit.

In 2018, at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, two black men who were not customers were denied the use of a store bathroom. Officers arrested the men after the manager called the police.

This incident provoked Starbucks to conduct a company-wide racial bias training program. Starbucks also opened all its restrooms for public use.

Now the company is considering reversing the policy and closing restrooms to the public because of safety concerns, which include addicts’ drug use in the restrooms.

So, is this a return to racism for Starbucks, or is the company simply bending to the reality that there were very good reasons to limit public access to restrooms?

One would think restrooms should be primarily for employees and paying customers, not drug abusers looking for a convenient spot to shoot up. After a few years, it appears that Starbucks’ upper management is coming back to reality.

It’s interesting to see these problems hit corporate America, which in the past few years almost uniformly sided with woke causes. That commitment appears to be soft when it runs into the brick wall of woke consequences.

For cities consumed by the most ridiculous progressive policies, the bill has come due. And it looks like woke corporate allies aren’t going to stick around when it comes to picking up the tab.

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This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

ESG: Is This Green Iron-fist Fantasy a Major Cause of Inflation and Economic Destruction?

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Is rich people’s greentopian fantasy causing middle-class misery? The answer is yes, according to analysts such as Marlo Oaks, Utah state treasurer, and longtime investment manager. In fact, Oaks says he knows a major reason why increasing fuel prices, which drive up costs across the board, are so high:

Supply is being choked off by “woke” capital investors who favor green dreams over fossil-fuel practicality.

Making his case, the Utah official states that in 2015 there were 59 funds globally among institutional investors that raised $46.6 billion for oil and gas projects. Yet note what happened during the next six years:

By 2021, there were only 11 funds and $4.6 billion raised — a drop of more than 90 percent.

Oaks fingers as the culprit something called ESG. What is ESG? Standing for Environmental, Social, and Governance, it is, technically and ostensibly, “the measurement of the impact (both positive and negative) that a business has on the environment and on society including an assessment of the governance practices (or lack thereof) that impact all stakeholders,” explains Certainty.

But in practice, avers Oaks, it’s not so innocuous. In fact, he states that the only logical explanation for the drastic 2015-2021 fossil-fuel investment collapse is ESG. “People have decided that they do not want to participate in the fossil fuel industry and so are cutting off capital,” he says.

The Utah treasurer made his comments on an edition of Tucker Carlson Today, a relevant excerpt of which was played yesterday evening on Tucker Carlson Tonight. Host Carlson introduced the topic, stating that the idea behind ESG “is to push corporate America left and punish companies that disagree with the orthodoxy.”

One of the entities/people responsible for this — mentioned during the Carlson segment — is multinational investment management corporation BlackRock and its chairman and CEO, billionaire Larry Fink. The New American reported on Fink’s “woke capital” schemes in the February article “Unseen Dark Hand: The Man Who Uses YOUR Money to Make Corporations Go Woke.”

As for Oaks, making the case that ESG is largely responsible for rising prices, he told Carlson:

So if you think about value-based investment strategies, historically there’s been socially responsible investing, yes, and impact investing more recently. So socially responsible investing is really the idea that you avoid certain companies that you don’t want to participate in; so it might be tobacco, firearms, gambling [because they’re contrary to your values].

…Okay, and then on the other side is impact investing, where you’re looking for innovation to solve a problem. So it might be cancer, for example: If you’re worried about cancer or interested in that, you might look for companies to invest in that have innovation that can help solve that problem.

ESG is an outgrowth of socially responsible investing, and instead of just avoiding companies, ESG actively engages with companies and engages with the market to drive a political outcome.

In other words, ESG-oriented puppeteers such as BlackRock don’t just refrain from investing in oil and gas projects, but actually, pressure other companies to not do so.

Carlson then pointed out that because the money used to apply this pressure is in big state retirement funds nationwide — investment funds in which retirees and people on fixed incomes have their money — millions of Americans are unknowingly and inadvertently financing this economic destruction. Oaks agreed, and said:

In fact, today’s inflation really starts with ESG because, if you think about … why gasoline prices are so high, a lot of it is a supply issue. And the reason that we don’t have enough supply in this country, one reason why, is we don’t have enough capital going in to oil and gas projects.

So in 2015 there were 59 funds raised globally among institutional investors; 46.6 billion dollars was raised. Six years later, in 2021, 11 funds were raised — 4.6 billion dollars — a drop of over 90 percent in the face of improving economics in oil and gas. The only explanation … that makes sense is ESG:

People have decided that they do not want to participate in the fossil fuel industry and so are cutting off capital.

There is an active drive, and we’ve heard it from this [Biden] administration, to cut off capital to the fossil fuel industry. It’s very troubling.

Carlson then pointed out that when Oaks says “people have decided,” at issue is really “a very small number of people who make these investment decisions. So it’s not the people who are participating in the fund at the retail level.” It’s puppeteers such as Larry Fink, stated Carlson (video below).

It gets even worse, though, according to Vivek Ramaswamy, founder of Strive Asset Management. Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box last week, he accused massive ESG-oriented entities of an anti-trust violation. Ramaswamy stated that not only do these companies collude in a way that causes rising, budget-busting gasoline prices, but they apply their greentopian standards only to the United States and Europe. Thus are they stifling our energy production to the benefit of foreign corporations such as PetroChina. And what is one of PetroChina’s major shareholders?

BlackRock.

So these woke firms are essentially saying, “ESG for thee, China for me,” states Ramaswamy (video below). Note, too, that China is our world’s biggest polluter by far.

So it’s the spirit of (pre)1776: MASA — Make America Subjugated Again. The only real question is, if these puppeteers were purposely trying to destroy the U.S., what would they do differently?

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This article was published by The New American and is reproduced with permission.

Celebrating LGBTQ+ and Other Playacting

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The phoniness of free riders who benefit from the heavy lifting of earlier generations.

Long before the word “gay” came into popular use, long before the word “pride” was modified by the word “gay,” and long before gay marriage was sanctioned, two gay guys, Ken and Gerry, were good friends of my working-class parents.  Lifelong partners, both were white-collar professionals and, in my estimation as a kid, great guys.  Their sexual preference was irrelevant to me and my parents, and while they didn’t hide it, they also weren’t crusaders about it.

It was the same with other gays I later came to know, whether in college, business, or the neighborhood.

Now I’m being asked in TV commercials and in messages that come across my computer screen to “Celebrate gay pride during LGBTQ+ Pride Month.”

How am I supposed to do that?  Shooting off fireworks in the backyard?  Tying rainbow-colored balloons to my mailbox at the street?  Wearing a party hat?

And if I did that, how does it change American society for the better?

Speaking of change:  Circa 1990, when I was a business executive before “transgender” became a cause du jour, an employee in one of my departments began transitioning from a man to a woman.  No big deal.  His preferences were accommodated on how he wanted to be addressed and what restroom he wanted to use, and I quietly got the word out to his coworkers that the company expected them to be mature adults about it.

It was a similar story at other large corporations at the time, as I knew from being a member of a business roundtable that met to discuss human resources issues.

Back then, there was not any hullabaloo about sexual and gender preferences:  no rainbow banners at company facilities, no saccharine messages on company message boards, and no advertising touting how wonderfully open-minded my employer and I were or how thoroughly modern and hip we were.

Now retired, I’m getting messages like the following every day:  “Improve LGBTQ+ students’ experience.”

How am I supposed to do that?  And what about the experience of heterosexual students?

Another message suggests an answer:  “June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month.  Celebrate in classrooms across the country with GISEN.  Donate now!”

The same answer about donating appeared in this message:  “NBJC promotes racial equity for Black LGBTQ+/SGL people.  Donate now!”

In addition to messages about sexual and gender identity, Americans are bombarded daily by a barrage of shopworn commercials, advertisements, and messages about diversity and inclusion.  There are so many that companies seem to be in the business of selling diversity instead of the business of selling goods and services. 

On second thought, they seem to be in the business of selling baloney.

Once again, this is quite a contrast with my experience decades ago, when my employer and I, as well as other like-minded executives and employers, engaged in quiet but effective efforts at equal opportunity, affirmative action, racial sensitivity training, and the more recent name for all this, “diversity,” which entered the lexicon after R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. published his landmark Harvard Business Review article on the subject.  

Internal political battles were fought, racist and sexist employees and managers were fired, the numbskulls at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were humored so that they didn’t stop progress with their bureaucratic bumbling, and the vast majority of employees heard and heeded the message without being beaten over the head.  We called this leadership.

At the same time, with no fanfare, my employer addressed the woefully inadequate education of its black employees in the Deep South.  Illiterate employees were given the opportunity to learn to read and write at company expense so that they could operate new manufacturing technology.  Almost all of them took the opportunity, and they later beamed with pride at an in-house graduation ceremony that their families attended.

None of this was delegated to a department of diversity and inclusion because there wasn’t such a department.  And there wasn’t such a department, because company leaders were doing their job of leading.

Today, whether in industry, government, or academia, leaders have become followers with respect to diversity and inclusion.  They parrot platitudes and banalities, they kowtow to pressure groups, they engage in tokenism and pandering, and they run unoriginal and farfetched commercials and ads, featuring the requisite number of races, skin shades, eye shapes, mixed marriages, and sexual and gender identities.

It’s all so formulaic, superficial, and tiresome.

Today’s leaders cum followers also cater to their idealistic, naïve, and programmed employees, the ones who mistake virtue-signaling for virtue, righteousness for being right, sanctimony for seriousness, progressiveness for progress, and politically-correct pronouns for pertinence.

Most of them, executives and rank-and-file knowledge workers alike, live and work in cocoons—in places that might have some modicum of diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, but are homogenous in social class, education, and, yes, privilege and power.

They benefit from the heavy lifting of those from earlier generations who fought hard battles for equal rights and risked their careers in the process.  As free riders, the cocoon dwellers advance their careers, not by doing anything serious about the socio-economic issues of the day, but by putting on party hats and celebrating LGBTQ+. 

 

Liberal Corporations Are Confused and Scared Because Conservatives Now Fight Back

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s always fun when progressive jerks try to leverage their bizarre perceptions of our beliefs to get us to do what they want. It can be some smug Twitter blue check informing us that “Actually Jesus was a socialist who would want us to cancel student debt for spoiled rich kids who got degrees in Transgender Visual Arts” or, more recently, some newly-minted Milton Friedman acolyte goofsplaining that we must submit to the skeevy whims of California corporations and accept the imposition of grooming mandates because, after all, they are private businesses. And sometimes it works, even on alleged conservatives – David French has made whatever passes for his C-list career out of striving to twist conservatism to conform to his lib masters’ version of it.

But this cheesy ploy is not working anymore, at least not on the rest of us.

Ron DeSantis, the Scourge of Odd sitting on his growing throne o’ skulls in Tallahassee, is fresh from laughing off the howls of broken libs enraged that he gerrymandered them in Florida like they gerrymandered us in New York and Illinois. Ron is not one for accepting two sets of rules, one for the ruling caste and another, crappier one for us peasants. He identifies the applicable rule and applies it good and hard. It’s about time the left learns that norm-breaking has consequences. And one consequence is frequent broken-norm suppositories.

Disney found out the hard way for the same reason as other woke corporations will. These CEOs, who appear to be ruthless robber barons in business, encounter a bunch of their own blue-haired, pierced subordinates who think a penis is irrelevant to determining their gender, and suddenly these executives roll over and give it up so cravenly that even Mitt Romney would look at them and mutter “Get a spine!”

And in the case of Disney, it was so objectively insane that you had to wonder about the thought process, but only for a moment until you realize that this is 2022 and everything is utterly stupid. Disney got welcomed into America’s homes and hearts by purveying safe and wholesome kiddie fare to American families and has decided, to please a pack of mutant employees, to administer a coup de grace to that rep by leaping into the arena to fight against a law that all normal people agree is so manifestly proper that it really should not have to be a law at all – that pervs can’t talk to little kids about sex in schools. But no, Disney had to weigh in on the side of groomers because the consensus in the rarified circles its leadership circulates in and among the weirdo contingent on its staff is that the world must be made safe for bizarre sexuality.

Oh, and it did not help that a bunch of Disney employees recently got swept up in a child porn sting, and that the strange-os in its bureaucracy decided to brag on leaked Zoom calls about how they were injecting their freak show gender nonsense into its once sacrosanct movies and shows. You know what Buzz Lightyear was missing? Some not-hot girl-on-girl action. We are one revision away from changing the title of “The Lion King” to “The Otherkin Non-Binary Member of the Royalty.” “Hakuna matata” is supposed to mean “No worries,” not “It’s okay to lop off your junk if you’re not feeling like a boy today.”

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Continue reading this article at Townhall.

California Judge Throws Out Corporate Diversity Mandate

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

A California judge struck down a 2020 law Friday requiring public companies to meet racial or sexual minority quotas for their board of directors.

Conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch sued California on behalf of three taxpayers in October 2020 to block the enforcement of Assembly Bill 979, which required publicly-held corporations to give positions on their board of directors to members of “underrepresented communities,” including those who identify as a racial minority or gay, lesbian or transgender. The law levies penalties against companies who fail to comply with the requirements.

Judicial Watch alleged that taxpayer funding of the bill was illegal under the state constitution as the bill discriminates on the basis of race or sexual preference, and that enforcement of the law through compiling and reporting demographic data would have created an ongoing cost for taxpayers in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A California district judge found the law to be unconstitutional in a Friday ruling. (RELATED: Biden Budget Proposes $100 Million For ‘Racial’ Diversity In Schools)

“This historic California court decision declared unconstitutional one of the most blatant and significant attacks in the modern era on constitutional prohibitions against discrimination,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement. (RELATED: New Maryland School Board Policy Could Prioritize Race In Decision Making, Community Engagement)

“In its ruling today, the court upheld the core American value of equal protection under the law. Judicial Watch’s taxpayer clients are heroes for standing up for civil rights against the Left’s pernicious efforts to undo anti-discrimination protections,” Fitton continued.

California’s push for racial and LGBT quotas came amid a broader corporate campaign to bring more minorities into corporate leadership positions, such as the NASDAQ stock exchange’s attempt to require companies to have at least two board directors who were female, LGBT, or a racial or ethnic minority.

Judicial Watch did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for further comment.

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This article was published by The Daily Caller News Foundation and is reprinted with permission.