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Left Targets Target

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About a month ago, Target Corporation, in an attempt to take advantage of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threw out much of a law prohibiting campaign donations from company funds made a $150,000 political contribution to MN Forward, a political group which, among other activities, supports the candidacy of Representative Tom Emmer, for Minnesota governor, and currently the Republican frontrunner. Emmer is known as a “fiery conservative,” and is perceived as being anti-gay because of his position on marriage. According to The Huffington Post blog, “Emmer says marriage ‘is the union between one man and one woman’ and he supports the constitutional marriage amendment defining marriage as such.“

There is much irony here, as Target has long been known (and lauded) for its progressive policies benefiting its gay employees.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the LGBT community-led attacks have now involved three institutional Target shareholders with a combined total of $57 million in Target stock. Says the Star Tribune,

Three management firms that collectively hold $57.5 million of Target stock — Walden Asset Management, Calvert Asset Management and Trillium Asset Management — filed a proposal asking Target’s independent board members to undertake a “comprehensive review of Target’s political contributions and spending processes including the criteria used for such contributions,” according to a statement released Thursday night.

Target is vigorously defending its position, citing its past record of liberal policies for its LGBT employees. In an AP article, company CEO Gregg Steinhafel is quoted as saying, in a memo to employees, that “the company doesn’t have a social agenda or necessarily agree with all the positions of candidates it supports. ‘Let me be very clear,” he said, “Target’s support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company.’”

It is indeed a shame that overreaction by a leftist segment of the population is damaging the reputation of a corporation which is actually progressive in its policies and a substantial contributor to the communities in which it has a presence. Once again, the left shoots itself in its collective foot.

There, I said it!

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About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But as they say, Clavos, money talks and bullshit walks. Perhaps it was a misjudgment on their part to make that contribution, perhaps they have second thoughts by now.

    Secondly, I have no idea about what a pro-active gay stance would mean, when applied to their personnel policy? What I think I do understand, however, is that discrimination against gays would be considered illegal. So how far over and beyond the law had Target gone to promote their “good will” policy.

    On the positive note, concerning the recent SCOTUS decision. At least now we know which corporations, etcetera, contribute to what causes.

  • Clavos

    So how far over and beyond the law had Target gone to promote their “good will” policy.

    Well beyond what the law (at least at this time) requires. For example, according to HuffPo, Target is “progressive compared to its peers, Target extends domestic-partner benefits to gay and lesbian employees. It has also openly sponsored Twin Cities Pride and other gay and lesbian events in the state. Target puts its name on Minnesota AIDS Walk, a move that many corporations, worried about religious consumer terrorism, are far too cowardly to even consider.”

    “Target’s been deservedly rewarded, receiving a top rating of 100 percent on the 2009 and 2010 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index and Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality, the 2009 Rainbow Families Award and the 2009 Lavender Pride Award–and a reputation amongst the LGBT community as a “good” big box retailer.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    First off, I’m glad to see you’re still around.

    Second, I largely agree with your article. When the story first broke, I felt there was something not quite right – but I was preparing to fly overseas and now that I’m in the PI for a week or so, I’ve got a moment to look at it…and I think you’re right. I despise hypocrisy regardless of who commits it, and although we on the Left are guilty of hypocrisy to a FAR lesser degree than the Right, it is still incumbent upon us to acknowledge it when it is pointed out and work to root it out.

    Good article!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The only thing I object to in your mostly sensible article is lumping “The Left” into one homogeneous group. We are not, and there are a variety of opinions on the wisdom of this particular protest.

    The Citizens United decision however, should be anathema to anyone who cares about the destructive effect of money on politics. Equating the 1st Amendment rights of corporations and individuals is just loony.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    I’m glad you said it, Clavos. Just as outspokenly gay and/or atheistic people can and have extended their well wishes to Muslim imam Feisal Abdul Rauf because they believe in him as a peace-maker, so can theologically conservative Christians support Target in its attempts to be fair to its employees and to confront AIDS.

    Prop 8 and Defense of Marriage Act are the black sheep of fiscal, social, and theologically conservative thought. Or, maybe I’m the black sheep for thinking that way. Well, in any event, anti-gay marriage legislation is an Achille’s heel for conservative movements, and if I were a liberal, I’d take advantage of it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    If I were a hypocritical liberal that is. And whatever people can accuse me of, they can’t pin THAT label on me. :)

  • Clavos

    Thanks, Glenn and handy. It’s a measure of you guys’ depth of character that both of you often not only own up to your own errors, but that also both of you are able to think in other than stereotypical terms.

    This article illustrates very well why I object so vehemently whenever someone implies, either directly or indirectly, that I am monolithic in my stances. I have said on a number of occasions that I am not comfortable with being labeled a conservative for two principal reasons: my beliefs, while not purely Libertarian, are more so than not, and in terms of social issues I am actually more liberal than conservative.

    Anyway, thanks again, gents.

  • Clavos

    Irene, thank you to for your comment, which must have been posted as i was composing the note to Glenn and handy.

    I always enjoy your comments; you are one of the most courteous participants on these threads, and your posts are always well considered and presented, even if I don’t always agree with you. :-)

  • zingzing

    target does as target wants. to support this candidate must mean something to them (or at least the people who run the company). i’m sure they’re thinking about this as a business decision, regardless of their stance on gay and lesbian issues.

    minnesota is a strange state. liberal in many ways, but conservative as well. minneapolis/st. paul rules the state, but the state is much more than that. the twins cities are very liberal, but are surrounded by what is pretty much country (other than duluth, the san fran of the north–seriously, it’s a beautiful city).

    still, emmer is a nasty motherfucker. check this quote: ““Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America… they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do… They know homosexuality is an abomination.”

    he’s awful. you can’t support that without getting your ass handed to you. also, he’s got awful grammar, clavos. come on. you gotta come down on him.

  • Cannonshop

    Target is getting the treatment those who break ranks get for Heresies. It may be interesting to look at the record of the candidate they did NOT give money to, given their prior record of support to the LGBT community. Perhaps outside of ‘single issue’ politics, the real problem is that they have chosen a candidate who isn’t trying to put them (and everyone else who tries to make a profit) out of business.

  • zingzing

    yep cannonshop, most politicians (especially those damn dems) hate people who make money. oooh, how they hate that tax money. oooh, how they hate the jobs they create. oooh, how they hate watching those assholes spend the money they make. oooh, it burns them up. quit with the hyperbole. you’d have a point except for you tied it up in nonsense.

  • Clavos

    quit with the hyperbole

    Pot.

    Kettle.

    Black?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    All you have to do to turn against campaign financing laws is spend some time working on a campaign or for a political organization. The laws are so ridiculous and so arbitrary and so easily worked around through various loopholes that they are a discredit to our entire governmental system.

    As for Target, the key underlying truth here is that Target is anti-union. That’s why they support Emmer even though he’s also anti gay, and that’s why the left (which has sold out to unions) is out to get them.

    Dave

  • Cannonshop

    Actually, Zing? based on what I’ve seen them do in government, I don’t believe for a moment that the Left understands the connection between private-sector jobs, and the fountain of magic-money out of Government, or the difference between someone paying IN to the system, and rearranging money inside the system. Taxing Federal Employees’ income is just rebating back to Uncle Sam what Uncle Sam paid out-with a slight loss in value due to Uncle Sam running the printing-press at the Mint on “Extra fast”.

    So, yeah, I do think you people hate anyone that isn’t the government giving someone else a job.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Pot.

    Kettle.

    Black?”

    you’ll note that i was sarcastically agreeing with him. so yes, it was trying to be hyperbolic. that was the point.

    cannonshop: “So, yeah, I do think you people hate anyone that isn’t the government giving someone else a job.”

    then you’d be wrong in that thought. good job!

  • Clavos

    You’re not very good at sarcasm, zing, don’t quitcher day job.

  • zingzing

    or you’re not too good at reading. it’s blatant. you’d have to be blind and tone-deaf to miss it.

    really, i have enough respect for your intelligence that i believe you actually got it. i don’t for a minute believe that you actually thought i was agreeing with him. is that what you thought? how would that mesh with my politics? it doesn’t.

    if you thought it was straight-forward instead of sarcastic, one would think you’d agree with it. instead, you accuse me of hyperbole… trying to wrap my head around the logic that you’re using is proving difficult. enlighten me. what is it you think i was trying to say?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The left has “sold out to unions”? Or maybe the right has sold out to empty, ugly anti-union rhetoric?

    Or maybe a bit of both.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thus far Dave seems to have made the most valid point – Target’s anti-union stance. It resolves the apparent contradiction of having liberal employment policies as regards gays while at the same time supporting anti-gay candidate.

  • Clavos

    Umm, handy, why is anti-union “rhetoric” “empty” and “ugly?”

    Are unions (in particular their managements), above reproach and criticism?

    Some are, perhaps, but not many, I’d wager.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    My point was that Dave’s comment was knee-jerk rhetoric, in which he has engaged for some time: Unions = BAD!

    Unions and corporate management should have both their good and bad behavior and policies called out. No problem.

    But boilerplate like “the left has sold out to unions” is as useless as “the right has sold out to big corporate interests.”

    I told you my biggest objection to your article was your lumping “The Left” into one entity for the purpose of more easily sliming them/us.

    And yes, it works both ways. So let’s try to avoid doing it.

  • Cannonshop

    #18, #13…

    Dave, you’ve got it wrong. The Unions sold out to the Left, not the other way around-in particular the “leadership” of the AFL-CIO has become nothing more than a funding organ for the Left-even when the candidates produced by the Democrat Party busy themselves dismantling the industrial base in cahoots with Wall Street’s Financiers and Unicorn-sellers from the ivory towers of Academia who cook the results to influence policy instead of doing real science.

    (not that there’s a home for Labour in the Republicans either, mind-it’s a bi-partisan screwing we’re getting, but it’s an old adage that when they can count on your wallet regardless of whether they listen to you or not, you’re just going to get robbed and screwed. When you’re counted as an “Automatic Vote” they have no reason to pay attention to you…)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    The unionization of the underpaid & overworked labor force is what built the middle and upper classes in this country.

    You are all lamenting the loss of your prosperity, but don’t see why you had any prosperity to begin with.

    Go Union!

  • Cannonshop

    #23 Mark it on your calendar, Jeannie, that’s one of the few points you and I agree on-where we disagree, is whether the modern labor movement is still carrying that ball-I would submit that they are not, and haven’t been for Decades now.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Well then, Cannonshop We need to fix that ball, not demonize it whenever the opportunity presents itself.

    The way some people talk about unions, you would think they want child labor and horrendous working conditions back!

    :)I’m not referring to you.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I am framing this! The day Cannonshop agreed with Jeannie was 8-28-2010.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cool point, you both. It’s because they’ve all become fat cats, to hell with everybody else.

    That’s the problem with America. Accumulation of wealth, getting enriched beyond the usual human needs, is the predominant value.

    It’s a disease.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Well, but…Target, like Wal-Mart, has to keep its costs down to keep prices low. They feel they can’t afford unionization, but they do try to treat their employees decently, and Wal-Mart has made enormous strides in that area too.

    So the threat of unionization has improved conditions — one way to look at it. Whether they are fighting completely fairly is another question entirely.

    There are many different unions and many different companies, and they are not all alike. So why slime everyone with the same generalizations?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Welcome to America where ruthless competition trumps all principles.

    But it doesn’t really matter since the results are the same. Who needs principles under the circumstances?

    It’s the best argument I’ve heard thus far in support of the capitalist system. And I mean it!