Friday, April 20, 2018

Here's Why You Shouldn't Necessarily Believe The Racism Claims Against Starbucks

Starbucks is in the process of being consumed by the liberal pitchfork mob it spent years placating. It's certainly tempting to sit back and enjoy the schadenfreude. But my disdain for pitchfork mobs is greater than my disdain for liberal corporations, so I will now do something I never thought I would do: defend Starbucks. Sort of.

Let's first take a look at the mess Starbucks has fallen into. The company is currently the subject of protests and boycotts and extremely bad press because of two "racist" incidents that occurred in two different locations over the span of a few days. It all started when a video surfaced of two black men being arrested at a store in Philadelphia. We were not given many details — and still we do not have many details — but the image of two black men being led out in cuffs was enough, in the minds of the mob, to prove bigotry. No other explanation has been entertained. No further evidence has been sought.

Then, on Monday, a video from a Starbucks in Los Angeles went viral. In this case, a black man was denied the code to the bathroom because he was not a paying customer. He then took out his phone and began filming. He discovered that a white man had been given access to the bathroom without buying anything, so he proceeded to berate the manager on duty (who was, by appearances, not white). Now that manager's face has been plastered everywhere online, and she has been labeled a bigot and a racist without anyone stopping to even consider what her side of the story might be.

Perhaps racism is really the culprit in both cases. Perhaps it is the culprit in one and not the other. But a rational and honest person would want to consider the entire context of these incidents before accusing anyone of something as serious as racism. It is just unfortunate that there aren't very many rational or honest people left in America. And there are none at all in a pitchfork mob.

The situation in Philadelphia obviously looks quite bad, but looks — especially the look of a viral video devoid of context — can be deceptive. Here is the missing context (or some of it, anyway): the two men were sitting in the store, taking up seats, without having actually purchased anything. That is, technically, loitering and trespassing. It just so happens that the Starbucks in Philadelphia has a policy against loitering. Loitering is apparently a significant problem at that location and the manager says that she has had some tense moments with loiterers in the past, including one incident where someone chased her around the store after refusing to leave.

The store employees tried to deal with the men peacefully. The men were informed that only customers can sit at the tables or use the restrooms — which is, again, a policy that this particular establishment has a history of enforcing — but the two refused to abide by the policy. When they were told that the police would have to be called, they responded, "Go ahead and call the police. We don't care."

The police arrived and negotiated with the men for several minutes. Still they would not leave. Finally the officers arrested them because there was literally no other option. A police officer cannot just allow someone to trespass on private property. If a trespasser will not clear off the premises, the police cannot say, "Well, okay, then. Never mind." They must uphold the law.

Of course it is claimed that white people loiter in Starbucks all the time without being asked to leave. This must prove that these men were singled out for their race. Perhaps it does. But if the men were arrested for "being black in Starbucks," you'd think there must be many similar stories from that same Starbucks location. Presumably, the Starbucks in Philadelphia has hundreds of black patrons come in and out every single week. If the manager is so uncontrollably racist that she actually called the cops on two black men simply because they are black, why didn't she do the same with any of the hundreds or thousands of other black customers she's seen in the store?

And here's another question: Has this manager ever done the same to white people? She says she has enforced the loitering rule plenty of times in the past. Were they always black people? If she has done exactly the same to people of her own race, wouldn't that disprove racism with absolute certainty? Are we sure that the loitering policy at the Starbucks in Philadelphia was enforced based on skin color? How are we sure? Does someone have proof?

The bathroom incident in Los Angeles is even murkier. It is standard policy in almost any urban restaurant or store of any kind to give bathroom privileges only to paying customers. Just last week I was refused the restroom at a cafe in D.C. because I hadn't purchased anything. So, I purchased something. It never occurred to me that my rights may have been infringed upon.

It is not necessarily significant that a white man had been able to use the restroom even as a black man was not. It could be evidence of racism, or it could simply be that the white man is a regular customer and the staff knew he would buy something. Regular customers often enjoy special privilege, regardless of their race. It could also be that he was given the restroom code by an employee who was more lax about the rules, and the black man was refused the code by an employee who was not so lax. Either of these explanations seem more plausible than the idea that a non-white woman working at a Starbucks in Los Angeles is racist against black people. Again, if that's the case, one must wonder how she has functioned at a store where an extremely high percentage of the customers are racial minorities. Was this her first day on the job? And her first day in Los Angeles?

Perhaps it was. Perhaps she's a filthy racist. Perhaps the manager in Philadelphia is a filthy racist. But I have seen no evidence to support those charges. And until someone can provide some, I won't be grabbing my pitchfork. And neither should you.


Sweden’s violent reality is undoing a peaceful self-image. Shootings have become so common that they don’t make top headlines anymore

Sweden may be known for its popular music, IKEA and a generous welfare state. It is also increasingly associated with a rising number of Islamic State recruits, bombings and hand grenade attacks.

In a period of two weeks earlier this year, five explosions took place in the country. It’s not unusual these days — Swedes have grown accustomed to headlines of violent crime, witness intimidation and gangland executions. In a country long renowned for its safety, voters cite “law and order” as the most important issue ahead of the general election in September.

The topic of crime is sensitive, however, and debate about the issue in the consensus-oriented Scandinavian society is restricted by taboos.

To understand crime in Sweden, it’s important to note that Sweden has benefited from the West’s broad decline in deadly violence, particularly when it comes to spontaneous violence and alcohol-related killings. The overall drop in homicides has been, however, far smaller in Sweden than in neighboring countries.

Shootings in the country have become so common that they don’t make top headlines anymore, unless they are spectacular or lead to fatalities.

Gang-related gun murders, now mainly a phenomenon among men with immigrant backgrounds in the country’s parallel societies, increased from 4 per year in the early 1990s to around 40 last year. Because of this, Sweden has gone from being a low-crime country to having homicide rates significantly above the Western European average. Social unrest, with car torchings, attacks on first responders and even riots, is a recurring phenomenon.

Shootings in the country have become so common that they don’t make top headlines anymore, unless they are spectacular or lead to fatalities. News of attacks are quickly replaced with headlines about sports events and celebrities, as readers have become desensitized to the violence. A generation ago, bombings against the police and riots were extremely rare events. Today, reading about such incidents is considered part of daily life.

The rising levels of violence have not gone unnoticed by Sweden’s Scandinavian neighbors. Norwegians commonly use the phrase “Swedish conditions” to describe crime and social unrest. The view from Denmark was made clear when former President of NATO and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview on Swedish TV: “I often use Sweden as a deterring example.”

In response, the Swedish government has launched an international campaign for “the image of Sweden” playing down the rise in crime, both in its media strategy and through tax-funded PR campaigns. During a visit to the White House in March, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven admitted that his country has problems with crime and specifically shootings, but denied the existence of no-go zones. Sweden’s education minister, Gustav Fridolin, traveled to Hungary last week with the same message.

But the reality is different for those on the ground: The head of the paramedics’ union Ambulansförbundet, Gordon Grattidge, and his predecessor Henrik Johansson recently told me in an interview that some neighborhoods are definitely no-go for ambulance drivers — at least without police protection.

Swedes are not prone to grandiose manifestations of national pride, but the notion of a “Swedish Model” — that the country has much to teach the world — is a vital part of the national self image.

Since crime is intimately linked to the country’s failure to integrate its immigrants, the rise in violence is a sensitive subject. When the Swedish government and opposition refer to the country as a “humanitarian superpower” because it opened its doors to more immigrants per capita during the migrant crisis than any other EU country, they mean it. This has resulted in some impressive contortions.

In March, Labor Market Minister Ylva Johansson appeared on the BBC, where she claimed that the number of reported rapes and sexual harassment cases “is going down and going down and going down.” In fact, the opposite is true, which Johansson later admitted in an apology.

Similarly, in an op-ed for the Washington Post, former Prime Minister Carl Bildt described the country’s immigration policy as a success story. He did not elaborate on violent crime. After repeated attacks against Jewish institutions in December — including the firebombing of a synagogue in Gothenburg — Bildt took to the same paper to claim that anti-Semitism is not a major problem in Sweden.

“Historically, in Sweden it was the Catholics that were seen as the dangerous threat that had to be fought and restricted,” Bildt claimed, seemingly unaware that the laws he cited also applied to Jews. Intermarriage was illegal and hostility was based on ideas of Jews as racially inferior. Bildt’s attempt to relativize current anti-Semitism with odd and inaccurate historical arguments reflects how nervously Swedish elites react to negative headlines about their country.

Another spectacular example is an official government website on “Facts about migration, integration and crime in Sweden,” which alleges to debunk myths about the country. One “false claim” listed by the government is that “Not long ago, Sweden saw its first Islamic terrorist attack.”

This is surprising, since the Uzbek jihadist Rakhmat Akilov has pleaded guilty to the truck ramming that killed five people in Stockholm last April and swore allegiance to the Islamic State prior to the attack. Akilov, who is currently standing trial, has proudly repeated his support for ISIS and stated that his motive was to kill Swedish citizens. He also had documented contacts with international jihadis.

“They make it sound as if violence is out of control” — Stefan Sintéus, Malmö’s chief of police

The government’s excuse for denying the Islamic terrorist attack in Sweden is that no Islamic group has officially claimed responsibility. Given the importance these days of fighting fake news, the Swedish government’s tampering with politically inconvenient facts looks particularly irresponsible.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to put things in perspective. A recent piece by Bojan Pancevski in London’s Sunday Times put a spotlight on immigration and violent crime. The article caused a scandal in Sweden and was widely seen as part of the reason why the British and Canadian foreign ministries issued travel advice about the country, citing gang crime and explosions. “They make it sound as if violence is out of control,” said Stefan Sintéus, Malmö’s chief of police.

It didn’t seem to occur to the police chief that both the travel advice and the article could reflect the same underlying reality. After all, only a few days earlier, a police station in Malmö was rocked by a hand grenade attack. Earlier the same month, a police car in the city was destroyed in an explosion.

Officials may be resigned to the situation. But in a Western European country in peacetime, it is reasonable to view such levels of violence as out of control.

Paulina Neuding is the editor-in-chief of the online magazine Kvartal.


UK headhunter Josh Harrison blasts unemployed under-25s on LinkedIn

HEADHUNTER Josh Harrison made headlines after he branded unemployed young people “lazy little s**ts” online — but he’s standing by his controversial comments.

Mr Harrison, a headhunter from UK firm Harrison Allwood, made the comments in response to a LinkedIn post penned by entrepreneur Jack Parsons earlier this month.

Mr Parsons, 24, had shared his own story of unemployment and rejection, and said the UK’s job market was “broken” for young people.

But Mr Harrison, who is a millennial himself, responded by “calling bulls***” on Mr Parsons’ “poor us attitude”.

“I’ll tell you right now that it has never been easier for a young man/lady to find a reasonably well-paid job in this country and I’d go as far as to say regardless of qualifications, if you’re under the age of 25 and not in work without any good medical or mental health reason then you’re either a lazy little s*** or you’re setting your sights way too high,” he wrote.

“I’m not surprised us millennials are being called entitled. Kids these days measure their worth in the amount of followers they have on Instagram [and] they get upset if they’re not a CEO by 25.

“Everyone seems to want to start from the top, not work their way up. No one seems to want to get their hands dirty anymore.

“If you’re young and you’re not in work, it’s because you either don’t want to be or you’re not trying hard enough. Don’t blame society for keeping you out of a job when we’re living in the most open-minded, progressive, equality-focused period we’ve ever encountered.”

Mr Harrison’s extraordinary attack on members of his own generation was quickly picked up by the UK media — but the man who claims to be “one of the most viewed recruiters on LinkedIn in the UK” remains unrepentant.

In another post on LinkedIn, he has hit back at “biased” media reports about the stoush, and criticised Mr Parsons for labelling his comments as examples of “bullying”.

“Looking over my post numerous times, I just can’t comprehend how he comes to that conclusion. I do mention his name and call ‘bullshit’ on his opinion but the rest of the post itself is simply my opinion on our generation and how some of us could be labelled as being entitled,” he wrote.

“Jack himself says in the comments below my post that he is an advocate of freedom of speech, yet it seems like any opinion expressed that’s not aligned with his own is classed as ‘bullying’.”

He said Mr Parsons’ reaction to his opinion was “exactly the snowflake, entitled, sh*tty ‘poor me’ behaviour I was discussing in the original post”.

Opinion over the row is divided on social media, with some followers applauding Mr Harrison for his honesty while others insisted young people faced unique challenges when it came to finding a job in today’s market.


Bozell: Social Giants Perpetrating World’s ‘Greatest Censorship of Free Speech in History’

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube are all on a global “jihad against conservative thought,” Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell warned Monday.

Bozell, appearing on the Fox News Channel’s “Ingraham Angle” to discuss a new MRC/NewsBusters study documenting how the leftist social media giants are censoring and targeting conservatives, said the danger of the social media “jihad” cannot be overstated:

“It’s 50 pages documenting what conservatives have been suggesting has been happening. This is -- it sounds hyperbolic, but Laura, this is true.

“This is the emerging of the greatest censorship of free speech worldwide in the history of man. Now let me explain this. The left is on a jihad against conservative thought.”

“It's not just happening in the United States; it’s all over the world that the left is militant. Conservatives have to recognize this and conservatives have to start looking for new homes.”

The bias of the leftist social media giants is influencing billions of people worldwide, Bozell warned:

“These social media giants have audiences in the billions. And what we’ve shown in this massive report is whether it is Facebook, or Twitter, or Google, or YouTube, they are all employing different tactics to go against conservatives.”

Bozell was supportive of the suggestion that conservatives need “our own platforms” – but, noted that the founders of social media platforms like Facebook know that their businesses can’t survive if conservatives boycott them:

“I think we’re going to have to - but, Mark Zuckerberg knows, if conservatives leave, if they leave, the business model for these social media giants collapses.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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