STUMP » Articles » Divestment Dumbassery: Know What You're Protesting » 19 April 2018, 21:26

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Divestment Dumbassery: Know What You're Protesting  


19 April 2018, 21:26

Today’s lovely divestment follies comes from someone who got press because he’s “just a kid”, but in the interim he entered legal adulthood (and the media circus has moved on). I am not even going to use his name, because: I don’t want to. (I will be quoting his tweets and other stuff, so it’s not like I’m totally ignoring who he is. I just don’t feel like doing this. I’m just a blogger, so I’ll do what I want.)



Speaking of doing what one wants, part of this person’s notoriety comes from calling for boycotts. For example, he called for a boycott of advertisers on conservative commentator Laura Ingraham’s shows (she does both TV and radio, I think). So about 11 advertisers dropped (maybe a few more…wait, according to this it’s up to 27), but she still has her shows. Someone thought it amusing to mock her sponsor loss.

But here is one of the real results: her ratings went up. Which is hardly surprising to me (who does not watch/listen to any of her shows) — there were probably a bunch of people who didn’t know about her shows and wanted to know what it was all about. I’m pretty sure Rush and Hannity also get bumps whenever some liberal/leftist bitches about them in national media. Whenever they lose sponsors, they seem to be able to find new ones. Yay for opportunity!

Oh, and something about boycotting the NRA, and they’re going great guns (not sorry) in membership numbers now. (Note: I’m a Life Member of the NRA… I think I upgraded to something above that at one point, but I forget. I just want to keep getting the magazines…the ones made of paper, I mean.)

Bottomline: a few boycotts called, where the targets of the boycott seem to be doing pretty well from the heightened attention.

So we have that background to what comes next: an even dumber boycott.

Interlude — Jim Treacher: When Was the Last Time a Boycott Worked?


Going to a “mainstream” media outfit for the item, and then I’ll go elsewhere for the mockery.

After Laura Ingraham, Parkland Activist David Hogg Calls for New Boycott Against BlackRock and Vanguard

Parkland student and gun legislation campaigner David Hogg has called for investors to boycott BlackRock Inc and The Vanguard Group, two of the world’s largest investment management companies, over their holdings in gun companies.

“[BlackRock] and [Vanguard] are two of the biggest investors in gun manufacturers; if you use them, feel free to let them know,” Hogg said Tuesday in a series of tweets, with the hashtags #BoycottVanguard and #BoycottBlackRock.

BlackRock and Vanguard are two of the largest managers of exchange traded funds, and are the biggest owners of publicly traded firearms manufacturers, including Storm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands.
BlackRock has said it will create new funds for investors who wish to avoid holding stocks in gun manufacturers. It has also said it will hold discussions with gun manufacturers about their businesses.
A Vanguard spokesperson told CNN that most Vanguard funds “do not have exposure to gun manufacturers,” and that 359 of its 388 funds do not directly invest in Sturm Ruger, American Outdoor Brands or Vista Outdoor.

It also said that investors can put money in a social fund that excludes gun manufacturers.

I swear, where can I buy a vice fund? I want booze, boobs, blackjack, and bazookas. I think there’s tremendous growth opportunities in these extremely popular areas. Maybe I should start such a fund.


Anyway, neither Vanguard or BlackRock are the ultimate owners of these stocks. They are wrapping all these holdings up for other people to invest in. What the guy is saying “Don’t invest in gun stocks”. Okay, fine…

…. and Vanguard and BlackRock both have gun-eschewing funds. BlackRock explicitly has done this, and Vanguard has “socially conscious” funds that eschew other evil goods, like gas (I’m assuming).

Going after Vanguard and BlackRock is pointless. They’ve got broad market funds, which means they probably own stock in every publicly-listed company in America. I wouldn’t even be surprised to hear that they’re the top holders of… wait for it… every damn publicly-traded company in America. They’re unlikely to change that, unless they’re happy with losing a bunch of assets.

If he really wants people not to invest in gun companies, then he should probably try to get those stocks de-listed. Might be a heavy lift, you know. I assume there would be all sorts of legal issues, and the SEC might not look too kindly on this sort of thing. But I am not a lawyer.

I bet some private equity groups would be happy to take a bunch of these companies private. Woot! Opportunity!

But more to the point, I bet BlackRock and Vanguard like seeing their heightened publicity. Yay, free advertising! People are looking at us! We can hawk our lovely gun-free funds to people!


So here comes the mockery! But I’m lazy. There are far funnier and sharper people than me who already commented publicly… so I’m gonna use it!

Twitchy grabbed some of the reactions:

Yup — and that $6.3 trillion does not belong to BlackRock. It belongs to its clients… many of which are insurance companies, endowment funds, and pensions. So that’s yet another layer of institutions one needs to get through (and oh wait — those institutions have fiduciary duties…..)

Vanguard is also huge. Again, these funds do not belong to Vanguard. They’re asset managers.

As I said, BlackRock and Vanguard funds both probably hold large amounts of stock in every U.S. company (and plenty of non-U.S. stocks, too).


As Steven Crowder points out, it’s highly unlikely that an 18-year-old just happened to think this up:

Also, please don’t insult me and expect me to believe that an eighteen-year-old decided to call for a boycott of asset management companies on his own. I hope we’re past believing this is all organized by a bunch of tweens sitting around a kitchen table. Leftist political organizations – and the millionaires and billionaires who fund them – are the ones obsessed with divestments. David Hogg is obsessed with people paying attention to him.

Maybe Kyle has people feeding him factoids as well. The difference is he doesn’t have 90% of cable news and the entertainment industry creating a cockamamie backstory for him.

So sure, I don’t think the guy came up with this thought himself, but I do wonder about whatever brain trust thought this was a good idea…..

….perhaps they own BlackRock or Vanguard stock and wanted to boost them?

….maybe a stealth way to advertise to conservatives (“hey! Maybe we’ll get some of that Chick-fil-A magic!”) and maybe an indirect way to advertise to liberals (“Oooh! Free coverage for our socially conscious funds!”)

Hmmm. Maybe the SEC really should get involved here.

It could just be that the folks trying to organize this are really not as smart as they think. Or maybe they have an entirely different goal that I’m not seeing — all the anti-gun talk is more likely to rile up pro-gun folks to go donate & vote this year, if it’s intended as a distraction from anything Trump-related … yeah, you can’t suck up Trump’s oxygen. Heck if I know.

I think the null hypothesis of “maybe they’re idiots” cannot be disproven.


(Some of these may be re-runs..but it’s from the last couple weeks.)

It’s quite annoying to watch this crap.

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