Thursday, May 9, 2013
Carolyn McCarthy please divest Wal-Mart stock
In the past on at least one occasion I have cited Carolyn McCarthy as one of the few people in congress that may have sponsored legislation that is good for the majority of the public on a variety of issues. In Continued withholding of solutions in Clackamas and Newtown I cited her positively because in addition to supporting reasonable gun control legislation, which has been her signature issue since getting into the Congress she also sponsored legislation to eliminate corporal punishment in schools and apparently she has also sponsored legislation to ban texting while driving. My impression of her was that she might be one of the few members of Congress that might be worth keeping.
So it was somewhat of a surprise when I found out she was one of the congressional members listed on Open Secrets as holding stock in Wal-Mart. This may create a major conflict of interest for even one of her most important issues, gun control, since Wal-Mart is almost certainly the biggest supplier of guns in the country; and furthermore, with the discussion about background checks for guns it is already subject to those; so it would benefit if gun shows had to make them and lost their advantage over Wal-Mart.
Not that I'm opposed to background checks; I'm not; but it could give the opposition a legitimate claim that she is supporting this to benefit Wal-Mart. More importantly it could give her an incentive, subtle or not, to focus on aspects of this that don't impact Wal-Mart while ignoring those that do. even if she isn't inclined to do so it still creates what they often refer to as the "appearance of a conflict of interest," when they want to avoid coming right out and saying that someone is corrupt. In most cases when they use this phrase it is obvious to many people that it is more than just the "appearance of a conflict of interest," however in this case it may not be so obvious; and as I have indicated she has often sponsored legislation that is quite good unlike many other members of Congress who appear to be blatantly corrupt.
Last year Wal-Mart Shootings (Blogspot) began compiling an enormous amount of information on gun related incidents that have been happening at Wal-Mart including many shootings and murders. This isn't the first time questions were raised about safety at Wal-Mart; in 2006 "Is Wal-Mart Safe?" a statistical study based on incidents in 2004 (PDF) came out and raised some serious questions about Wal-Mart's policies. To this day many of them still haven't been addressed properly. I did my own review of some of this in "Wal-Mart shoplifting vigilantism gone wild?" where I tried to explain why I believe that a major part of the problem is the policies that they implement that involve maximizing profit at the expense of everything else including worker safety, the quality of their merchandise and the dramatically increased amount of crime that occurs on their own premises as well as elsewhere. Addressing the problem with guns will surely require a closer look at all these details as well as efforts to market to children which Wal-Mart may be involved in. this could mean that Carolyn McCarthy and other legislators with a financial incentive in Wal-Mart might be inclined to focus more on the policies that won't impact their profits than those that do. This may not even be intentional especially when it is so hard to get anything through. This makes it easier to make a strong argument for one aspect, like background checks, while ignoring others which should also receive discussion. And that is exactly what is happening in the mainstream media.
Wal-Mart Shootings has reported numerous incidents where people have bought their guns at Wal-Mart or even attempted to steal them and used them later in crimes. Clearly this should raise doubts when one of the leading lawmakers for gun control holds stock in the company that is heavily involved in gun sales and many of them have lead to many crimes.
If I wanted to target someone who was the worst I might have asked Joe Barton or John Boehner to divest; and frankly I also think they should as well; however at the same time I think they're both severely lost causes and they should just be run out of the Congress as effectively and quickly as possible. Joe Barton is the one who famously apologized to BP for the treatment they received after they polluted the Gulf of Mexico with their spill. Even if these two were to divest their stock they clearly indicated on numerous cases that they couldn't be trusted to do anything.
Another reason why I think she should divest this stock is that the candidates that obtain the support should be subject to the highest scrutiny not the least. It is tempting to look the other way when it comes to wrong doing by the lesser of two evils. I remember I supported Bill Clinton and in 2000 John McCain who was on the "Straight talk express" for a while when I had doubts about some of their activities; in both cases it became clear that they were much worse than they seemed and overlooking their flaws only helped escalate the race to the bottom in the political world.
There are several other representatives that have liberal or progressive reputations that hold Wal-Mart stock including Joe Kennedy III and Linda Sanchez. This should raise serious doubts about the political system where even the politicians that seem the most sincere turn out to have conflict of interests. The gun control issue is just one of many other issues that raise major problems with Wal-Mart. They have also been implicated in a massive bribery scandal; the use of illegal imagrants for their cleaning crews; sex discrimination; cutting so many corners in the manufacturing section that it endangers lives and results in low quality merchandise that falls apart in a fraction of the time products used to last; overcharging customers and under paying workers. this is just a small sample of the problems they have; it would take much longer to go through all of them and one of the most important things they have been doing is lobbying to suppress voters rights so that it will be tougher for their critics to hold them accountable. This is beyond corruption; it is also an attempt to undermine democracy itself.
pics on Sodahead
If these aren't enough reasons to boycott and divest Wal-Mart stock there are many more some of which I have compiled under the author tag "Wal-Mart Watch and more that were provided by Activist Post or many other locations if you look around the web. If you would like to contact Carolyn McCarthy or any of the other representatives that hold Wal-Mart stock and ask them to divest please do so. Or if you can repost some of this information or draw attention to it any other manner feel free to do that as well. Carolyn McCarthy's home page is here.