Posts Tagged ‘leftists’

By John Ruberry

Some big news came out of Chicago on Tuesday. For the first time since 1996, and only the second time since the riotous year of 1968, the Democratic National Convention will be held in Chicago next year.

But more consequential news arrived Tuesday as well. America’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced it was closing four of its Chicago stores, half of its city presence. These outlets lock their doors for good tonight.

Chicago’s relationship with the big box giant has been a hate-love-hate one. In the early 2000s, the term “food desert” came into use to describe areas without access to fresh food, but really, what theses apologists were talking about were neighborhoods where supermarkets pulled out because of high crime, mostly shoplifting. In their place sprang small stores, family-run operations usually owned by people from the Middle East, or south or east Asia. Of course, these merchants charge shoppers more for goods because, without the volume discounts that the retail behemoths enjoy, they have to. 

And it was in the early 2000s that Walmart, and its primary big box rival, Target, wanted to open stores in major cities like Chicago. Target, even though like Walmart is non-union, got a pass from the opposition–the Chicago City Council and its union allies–because Target is a creature of the left. Walmart’s corporate philosophy was decidedly conservative then. So the City Council, that failed body that sees one of its members convicted on corruption charges every eighteen months or so, passed an anti-big box retail store ordinance in 2006, which Mayor Richard M. Daley vetoed. I believe it was his only veto in his 22 years as mayor. 

So Walmart arrived in Chicago, opening eight stores, some of them in impoverished areas. That’s the love part. 

And now for more hate. 

Widespread looting during the George Floyd riots in 2020 hit Chicago retailers hard. North Michigan Avenue, one of America’s premier luxury shopping areas, was devastated by a second round or looting two months later, igniting a retail exodus. As for Walmart, all of its Chicago stores were shuttered, four for two months. Two other stores, including one of the outlets that closes tonight, in Chatham on the South Side, were shuttered for six months. The Chatham location, a supercenter, was also set on fire. On this weekend’s edition of Fox Chicago’s Flannery Fired Up, host Mike Flannery said of the Chatham outlet, “It was virtually destroyed.”

Now it and three other Walmarts are closing.

Late last year, Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon, decrying shoplifting, particularly thefts conducted by organized gangs, issued a general warning. If local law enforcement didn’t do their job, “prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.” He added, “It’s just policy consistency and clarity so we can make capital investments with some vision.”

Last week, in response to McMillon’s comments, WIND-AM’s Dan Proft remarked, “That is a very vanilla way of saying ‘We can’t do business in a place that doesn’t enforce the rule of law.'”

And in Chicago and elsewhere Walmarts are closing because leftist public officials refuse to enforce the rule of law. Two weeks ago Chicago elected a neo-Marxist leftist, Chicago Teachers Unions product Brandon Johnson, as mayor. What did Johnson, then a Cook County commissioner, say about looting in 2020? He refused to denounce it. In fact, Johnson minimized it because looted businesses have insurance.


The mayor-elect was a defund-the-police proponent, until this year, when he wasn’t. Johnson favors something he calls “Treatment not Trauma,” he wants to send social workers instead of cops to domestic disturbances.

In a press release announcing the closings, Walmart said, “The simplest explanation is that collectively our Chicago stores have not been profitable since we opened the first one nearly 17 years ago – these stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years.” Hey, but at least, as Johnson pointed out, Walmart has insurance. Of course, insurance companies never lowball claims, they never raise rates, and they never cancel policies due to risk factors. Right?

As for Johnson, he’s off to a wretched start as mayor-elect. In his first national media interview after his runoff win over moderate Democrat Paul Vallas, Johnson blamed large companies for Chicago’s high crime and poverty rates. “We have large corporations,” Johnson replied when asked about criminality in the city, “seventy percent of large corporations in the city of Chicago — in the state of Illinois, did not pay a corporate tax.” That’s probably false–and while Chicago does have sales and property taxes, it doesn’t have a Detroit-style municipal income tax. Johnson claims he’s against a city income tax, but in a February Flannery Fired Up appearance, he repeatedly dodged questions on whether he supports one.

The day after the store closings were announced, Fox Chicago reported that six televisions were shoplifted from the Chatham Walmart. In a way, the five-finger-discounter was participating in a going out of business sale.

Chicago’s meddlesome priest, the obnoxious and bombastic Father Michael Pfleger, is one of the loudest voices condemning the Walmart closings. He is threatening to lead a boycott of a Walmart supercenter located just outside of Chicago’s city limits. Good lord, Pfleger is a bigger goof than I thought. If that suburban Walmart closes because of a boycott, it will mean one less shopping choice for Chicagoans–and an even larger food desert.

Tyson Foods, Boeing, Citadel, and Caterpillar are among the corporations who have recently closed offices in Chicago and its suburbs. As I mentioned earlier in this post, North Michigan Avenue is dying because stores are shutting down. Chicago’s population is declining.

The Chicago Exodus began in 2020. It’s accelerating now.

One more thought: On Saturday night a very large group of what the media called “teenagers,” thugs is a better word, descended on downtown Chicago. They smashed car windows, set some vehicles on fire, and two people were shot. I call that a riot. One woman watched helplessly as her husband was beaten by a mob. There was a similar gathering the night before at a South Side beach.

Chicago’s criminals are emboldened.

Hell has arrived. I’ve seen what an urban hell looks like. It’s called Detroit.

Let’s go Brandon!

John Ruberry is a regular suburban Chicago Walmart shopper who blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

This week Air, an Amazon Studios film, opens in movie theaters nationwide. It tells the story of Nike’s development of the Air Jordan line of sneakers in the mid-1980s. The shoes were the expensive footwear of Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan, who still appears in Nike ads.

What you won’t see in Air is the failed boycott of Operation PUSH in 1990 of Nike. Chicago-based PUSH, now Rainbow/PUSH, was, depending on who you talk to, either a major civil rights power of the late 20th century, or a shakedown operation. I belong to the latter camp. 

PUSH was founded in the early 1970s by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, but he departed PUSH to be serve as a shadow senator for Washington DC–what does that entail?– and to lead a new group, the National Rainbow Coalition, which merged with PUSH in 1996. Leading PUSH during the Jackson-less interregnum was the Reverend Tyrone Crider. 

Jackson’s gameplan for PUSH followed this pattern: He’d smear a corporation as racist, call for a boycott, then demand that these corporations hire more Blacks and other minorities–as well as more minority contractors–and then declare victory. But often those hired were cronies and relatives of Jackson. Coca-Cola, some CBS television affiliates, and Anheuser-Busch were prior targets of PUSH.

Of the latter, Jackson said, “This bud’s a dud,” a play on the brewer’s slogan for Budweiser at the time. In 1998, two of Jackson’s sons, Yusuf and Jonathan, purchased a Chicago Anheuser-Busch distributor

Shortly after taking the helm of PUSH in 1990, Crider picked a new villain, Nike. Unlike past targets/victims whose founders were either retired or long dead, Nike’s founders, scrappy entrepreneurs Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, were still with the corporation in 1990. Knight was the chairman of Nike at the time, he was only a quarter-century removed from when he was selling running shoes at track meets from the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant. 

When PUSH declared its boycott of Nike–sorry, I can’t resist–the sneaker giant pushed back. Nike quickly announced it would appoint a Black board member and a Black vice president, and hire some Black department heads, but a Nike spokesperson said that those moves were already planned prior to the PUSH attack.

Next came a nothing-but-net three-pointer by Nike from midcourt. In an open letter, Nike turned the tables on PUSH, requesting that it turn over “the membership of PUSH by geographical location, age, sex and race.” It gets better. Nike asked in that same letter, “Has PUSH been the subject of review or investigation by any federal or state agency? If so, state the name of the agency involved, the nature of the investigation and the findings or conclusions of the investigation.” Guess what? PUSH had been the target of a federal probe.

PUSH demanded proprietary financial information from Nike, at the same time Reebok, a top competitor of Nike, purchased a full-page ad in the Operation PUSH magazine. That same open letter, according to a Chicago Tribune article, also called on “PUSH to supply details in 21 categories relating to how the organization made its decision to single out the athletic-wear industry.”

None of the celebrity endorsers of the time for Nike, whose ranks included Spike Lee, Bo Jackson, and His Airness, Michael Jordan, participated in the boycott. Georgetown men’s basketball coach John Thompson, a consultant for Nike who later served as a board member, also remained loyal.

By early 1991, PUSH laid off its entire paid staff, although other civil rights groups bailed it out a week later.

And what about Nike sales? “The boycott has had little apparent effect on Nike,” the Washington Post reported at the time, “whose earnings soared 58 percent last September, October and November over the corresponding period in 1989.”

Nothing but net.

Of course, now Nike is completely woke, Knight is retired and Bowerman died in 1999. Colin Kaepernick, a Nike endorser beginning in 2011, was featured in a series of Nike ads after he was handed his last NFL snap. In his last season as a professional football player, Kaepernick took a knee when the National Anthem was played before games. Kaepernick regularly speaks out in favor of various far-left causes, such as abolishing prisons and police departments.

For a time, Nike was gutsy. And the lesson for corporations today is clear. You can fight back against leftist threats and win.

Just do it.

When you stand up to bullies, they usually back down.

John Ruberry, who wore his first pair of Nike Waffle Trainer running shoes in 1977, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

While I was a child at the time, I don’t recall much during the politically turbulent 1960s and early 1970s in regard to protests of July 4th, that is, America’s Independence Day. 

But of course, 21st-century leftists will take things too far. And the progressives never seem to be at a loss for anger. The most egregious attack on the 4th, and to be fair, America, comes from Tucson, Arizona and in a since-deleted Tweet, captured by Libs of Tik Tok, the Pima County Democratic Party wrote, “F*ck the Fourth,” along with a graphic that included this message for the Tucson Women’s Network, “Bring comfortable shoes, water, lawn chairs, posters, and your anger.” The other group’s graphic, as you can see, doesn’t use an asterisk in the F-word.

The “F*ck the 4th” protest is in response to last month’s US Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson case, in an expected ruling–courtesy of a leaked draft opinion–which overruled Roe v. Wade and returns the abortion ruling to the states. 

And in those states, besides Arizona, there are pro-abortion protests planned in conjunction with Independence Day. There’s a call to wear black, instead of red, white, and blue on July 4th, which is not a particularly wise idea if you plan to be outdoors a lot on the holiday. The high temperature where I live is expected to be 91 degrees on the 4th. 

Bans Off Our Bodies Florida is now in the middle of a weekend boycott on retail spending to protest Dobbs v. Jackson. Also in Florida, on the Space Coast, there’s a pro-abortion protest there, Gannett’s Florida Today reports. Here’s some irony: To reach the story I had to click through a July 4th subscription special pop-up ad, as I did for another Gannett publication, the MetroWest Daily News, to learn about a Framingham, Massachusetts anti-Dobbs protest. “Fourth of July is cancelled,” one of the organizers says.

I don’t feel compelled to mention each protest, you get the point. But here’s one more. Leave it to my state, goofy Illinois, to take thing a step farther. The owner of a Chicago children’s boutique is organizing, along with the Chicago Abortion Fund, a “Families for Abortion Access” march.

Of course, the right to free speech, which of course includes unpopular speech, doesn’t go away on July 4th, once again the far-left is being offensive and angering the persuadable center by calling for “F*ck the Fourth” and more.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. He plans to spend part of the 4th at the Morton Grove Days festival, watching fireworks there, wearing red, white, and blue.