I SAY NO TO BOYCOTTING STARBUCKS

Sign the petition calling for Starbucks to help end police brutality.

 

Starbucks has proven to be one of America’s most responsible corporate citizens.

In 20Related image14 following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, by Officer Darren Wilson, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz took action when other corporations remained silent. Starbucks launched its national “Race Together” campaign that encouraged Starbucks’ baristas (workers) to write “race together” on customer coffee cups to spur conversations about race within Starbucks locations. Months later in 2015 following the shooting of Walter Scott, Starbucks CEO Howard D. Schultz was again venturing into the arena of race relations while appearing on stage at Spelman College—a historically-black women’s institution—as part of a panel discussion on the book titled Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? Again and again, Starbucks has been at the forefront of corporate America when it comes to cultivating a society where all people matter.

As President and CEO of ONUS, Inc.—a national organization committed to Resolving Longstanding Problems that Seem Too Big to Fix, I firmly believe in the power of boycotts. Following the killing of Michael Brown, ONUS conducted one of the most effective and long-standing boycotts in Ferguson, MO, against Sam’s Club and Walmart. Both stores routinely called upon Ferguson Police to arrest black men who verbally challenged managers’ decisions. Unlike Starbucks, Walmart, Inc. doubled-down in support of its employees’ hateful actions and made no apology for saddling good citizens, who happened to be black men, with unwarranted police records. Walmart then relied upon its deep purse to vigorously defend its deplorable actions.

Starbucks is no Walmart. While I firmly embrace boycotting as an effective tool of free speech, boycotting cannot and should not be Black America’s one retort to offensive acts carried out by individual employees representing what has proven to be a good corporate citizen. I do not mean to imply that Starbucks is perfect; I surmise that Starbucks still has internal issues related to race and diversity. Nonetheless, I appreciate the steps Starbucks’ CEO and Board of Directors have and are taking in response to the incident in Philadelphia, such as the swift issuance of a public apology, public rebuke of the offending employees’ actions and the planned shutdown of Starbucks outlets nationwide for diversity and customer service training. Starbucks is demonstrating that its promise to do better is far more than a mere gesture designed to quiet a public uprising.

Starbucks has earned what millennials refer to as “street cred.” Consequently, the Corporation deserves grace when employees make missteps or engage in discriminatory actions rooted in personal perspectives. While I am confident Starbucks will make right with the young men who were wrongfully arrested in Philadelphia, I urge its leaders to again take the corporate lead by helping to revamp policing in America nationwide. The Uniform Reporting Law Enforcement Improvement Act (URLEIA) is the solution to America’s policing problem and will effectively revamp policing from the ground up. Corporations, like citizens, have a responsibility to ensure policing nationwide is guided not by the whims of individuals and powerful conglomerates but by the constitutional and humane application of law. Encourage Starbucks to support The Uniform Reporting Law Enforcement Improvement Act (URLEIA).

 

Erase Putin’s Handprint

Op-ed by Jerroll M. Sanders, originator of the Revote Project

When top brass at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) called upon me to retool the complicated taxpayer notices sent to hundreds of millions of taxpayers annually, I initiated the mammoth task by launching an enterprise-wide review of IRS processes and notices. Months later, I stood before then Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti who asked, “Do you have any idea what you have accomplished?” For years, I have engaged in the practice of process reengineering and innovative problem solving for America’s largest corporations and governmental entities. Never was my penchant for problem solving more peaked than on the eve of November 8, 2016—as election results streamed across my television screen. I was convinced that, like thieves in the night, Russia had invaded our election system with precision and purpose and we will never know conclusively what they did while they were there.    

While pollsters scratched their heads, and broadcast commentators debated the wisdom of campaign strategies, I launched a revote campaign. A congressional candidate who had lost her congressional race joined me. While she shopped the skeletal revote legal brief I had drafted to various political camps, I posted a YouTube video calling for a revote and created an online revote petition at Change.org. During a broadcast of The Carl Nelson Show on WOL-AM 1450, I argued for a revote. Supporters of Clinton and Trump argued in favor of their candidate.

For weeks, the people who joined my effort and I were voices in the wilderness. On December 10, 2016, that changed when Former CIA Agent and CNN Commentator Robert Baer called for a revote during a CNN appearance. Baer said, “The Russians, it looks like to me, did interfere in our elections. We’ll never be able to decide whether they changed the outcomes; but I’ll tell you, having worked in the CIA, if we had been caught interfering in European elections or Asian elections, or anywhere in the world, those countries would call for new elections. Any democracy would.”

CNN Host and Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber responded to Baer with the same questions I have been forced to confront countless times when arguing on behalf of a revote. Melber said, “Bob, if I hear you correctly, are you saying we should have a new election? How would that work?” Baer explained that constitutional lawyers were better poised to answer Melber’s questions, but stood steadfast in his call for a revote.

My hopes that Baer’s appearance would give rise to a national discussion on a revote were quickly dashed. Major broadcast stations, media commentators and election officials have shown no interest in discussing a revote. Democrats—who were the targets of Russian hacking—have also remained largely silent on the subject, perhaps to avoid impugning the Obama Administration for an epic miscalculation. Silence on the part of Republicans, however, is more easily understood and undoubtedly emanates from their desire to retain the spoils of Putin’s hacking. After all, Putin handed them a clean sweep. They now control Congress and the Executive Branch and have the votes needed to reconstitute the U.S. Supreme Court and enact sweeping policies changes that will shape America’s destiny for the next 100 years.

Convinced Russia had determined election outcomes, I took note of a seldom-used provision in the U.S. Constitution known as the Guarantee Clause (Article 4, Section 4) and used it to formulate a legal argument that I shared with attorneys from esteemed law institutions and lawyer friends skilled in the practice of law. All advised me—a non-attorney—that the clause I had chosen was a “dead” clause; they emphasized there was no constitutional provision or law that could be used to secure a revote. I was convinced otherwise. So, I wrote the now infamous revote writ of mandamus and handed it to citizens in Denver, California and  Massachusetts to file in federal district courts on behalf of the people. I too was a Petitioner.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court was first to rule and cited the revote writ of mandamus as containing “novel constitutional claims.” I then commenced writing a revote appeals writ for citizen litigants to file at the U.S. Supreme Court. While the Supreme Court failed to assert jurisdiction over the revote case that listed the names of three women from Massachusetts, I remain convinced that the writ’s argument is spot on. It is irrefutable that:

  1. The United States has many territories, including a cyber territory.
  2. Article IV, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution says: “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion .  . . “
  3. The U.S. Government failed to protect States’ cyber territories against invasion during the 2016 election cycle.
  4. The 114thCongress violated their constitutionally-mandated Oath of Office when they helped swear into office candidates who were materially determined by Russia.

Investigations to determine if Trump Administration officials or associates colluded with Russia to influence 2016 U.S. elections are ongoing. But little has been done to safeguard future elections or provide redress to the American people who are the victims of Russian hacking.

The people of this great nation must reject the notion that a national revote is impossible because the U.S. has never held a federal revote. We must insist upon our right to elect officials to the highest offices in our land by appealing to State Attorneys General to file an original jurisdiction revote case at the U.S. Supreme Court on citizens’ behalf. State Attorneys General have perfect legal standing to bring such a case, since the writ argues that the U.S. Government failed to protect States against invasion during the 2016 U.S. elections. An affirmative ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court declaring the 2016 elections unconstitutional would accomplish an unprecedented reset by nullifying all actions taken by the Trump Administration. It would also compel Congress to quickly enact revote legislation, hold a revote to erase Putin’s handprint from the 2016 elections and install national election safeguards that prevent unauthorized encroachments into U.S. election systems in the future.

Note: Sanders has a lawsuit pending against petitioners named on the original revote writ and members of Revote2017 for claiming they helped write the revote writ and devise the Article IV, Section 4, legal strategy. Revote2017 has returned to the U.S. Supreme Court with a citizen case that violates Sanders’ derivative rights as a copyright holder.

The Many Dimensions of Jerroll Sanders