Thanks to Norma for a link to a report on Walmart's refusal of an invitation to join Vice President Joe Biden's meeting on gun violence. Hell, even the NRA has deigned to attend.
Walmart no longer answers to anyone.
They own the legislatures. Even U.S. Rep. Steve Womack and Dr. No Boozman of Yellow Dog Republican land feel safe carrying Walmart's water on the Internet sales tax in a district where a vote even to put a highway tax issue on the ballot was viewed as toxic for some politicians.
They own the legislature now on education issues, see the coming charter school/voucher enabling session to begin next week.
They own the University of Arkansas. I think Walmart clout, as much as anything, explains the F*** You UAF Chancellor David Gearhart wrote for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette op-ed page about the newspaper's opinions on the UA's $5 million budget-busting, primarily in its fund-raising arm, that came with scant accountability for those responsible. Gearhart, of course, comes from the fund-raising world and he knows from whence the dough flows, particularly the Walmart empire where his brother is a top executive. It was, of course, the source of the UA's biggest gift, in part so that the university would create the Waltons' own "education reform" department to advance their political ideology. (PS: Hey, D-G. Curious. That story today about the UA budget analysis that showed the overspending was even greater than the $3 million bottom line the UA put out earlier, did you perhaps learn that from the numbers the UA compiled at my request and that I wrote about recently? Just curious. If so, you're welcome. If not, good you caught up.)
The nation's giant gun retailer darn sure doesn't intend to listen to any lectures from somebody as lowly as vice president of the United States.
UPDATE: I still don't think Walmart constructively answers to anyone, but it is sensitive to appearances, apparently. It has just announced it will deign to join the Veep after all.
At first, Wal-Mart was not going to send anyone to Biden's meeting, saying its senior leaders could not be in Washington this week and that it spoke in advance with Biden's office to share its perspective, spokesman David Tovar said.
"We underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person, so we are sending an appropriate representative to participate," Tovar added.