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PowerLine -> Trump supporters teach Starbucks a lesson

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  • Trump supporters teach Starbucks a lesson
  • What’s next for Obamacare reform in the Senate?
  • Alan Sokal, Call Your Office
  • Recalling Max Eastman
  • From Ramsey to Dayton
Trump supporters teach Starbucks a lesson

Posted: 28 Jun 2017 01:34 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Earlier this month, a North Carolina woman named Kayla Hart entered a Starbucks coffee shop in Charlotte, North Carolina wearing a pro-Trump T-shirt. According to Hart, Starbucks employees laughed at and taunted her. They shouted “build a wall” and shoved her drink at her. The label on the drink said “build that wall” in the place where her name should have been.

The baristas in the back cracked up. Hunt says she walked out because everyone was staring at her.

On Saturday, in response, nearly 50 Trump supporters engaged in a peaceful sit-in at the coffee shop. All of them wore clothing or carried items that signified their support for President Trump.

According to The Blaze:

The peaceful sit in, which began at 2 p.m., completely filled the Starbucks location — and even the parking lot, for a little while. The group had no demands, but instead wanted to stand up to a business they felt was disrespectful toward their political views, Mecklenburg County Republican Party board member James Tatro told The Charlotte Observer. . . .

Members of the pro-Trump group told Fox 46 Charlotte that the sit-in started out a little tense, but the mood shifted when people started ordering beverages using names associated with the White House, like Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“I gave them the name Trump and … they were very gracious about it,” Shellie Anderson told the TV station. “We just wanted to reverse the little negativity… It’s really good to come together and take something negative and just come in here and be respectful.”

The Mecklenberg County Republican Party boosted that the sit-in group consisted of representatives from the board, Hispanics for Trump, Women for Trump, and Deplorable Pride, a pro-Trump LGBT group. To me, it’s unfortunate that the organizers felt the need to put together their version of a rainbow coalition in order, as one of them said, to show “that Trump supporters are just as human as anyone else.”

Trump won the 2016 election and he carried North Carolina by 3.6 points over Hillary Clinton. His supporters shouldn’t be taking on the burden of proving their humanity.

Starbucks has apologized for its treatment of Hart. It said: “We have spoken with our store partners about this situation and are using this as a coaching opportunity for the future.”

It’s a sad commentary that Starbucks employees need to be “coached” not to insult customers who show support for the President of the United States or any other public official or candidate for office.


What’s next for Obamacare reform in the Senate?

Posted: 28 Jun 2017 01:04 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell announced that there would be no Senate vote on Obamacare reform legislation this week. Instead, the Senate will take up the matter of reforming Obamacare in July.

Also yesterday, GOP Senators met with President Trump at the White House. The purpose was to see how the pending bill might be altered so as to get at least 50 of the 52 Republicans to vote “yes.”

Based on second-hand reports about the meeting and other developments, here, for what it’s worth, is my understanding of where things are:

Sen. Susan Collins has made it clear that she sees no revisions to the Senate bill that would cause her to vote for it. This is probably just as well. It would be unfortunate at several levels if the GOP tried to alter the bill to capture Collins’ vote.

However, McConnell now needs to keep defections from the center to one. If, say, Sens. Murkowski and Heller both vote “no,” McConnell can’t get to 50.

This probably means the GOP will have to move somewhat to the left on Medicaid reform. This issue is, I believe, the main hang-up for GOP moderates.

If all of the moderates except Collins come aboard, McConnell still needs all conservatives but one to support the revised legislation. Sen. Rand Paul looks like a very hard sell, so Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson become crucial.

They can’t be won over on the Medicaid side — that would lose the vote of Heller and probably of Murkowski. But perhaps they can be won over on the market-based, regulatory side — in other words, by adding reforms that will overcome to a greater degree than has been attempted so far the stifling Obamacare regulations, giving more sway to market forces.

Senator Cruz has proposed an amendment designed to accomplish these things. It’s called the “Consumer Freedom Amendment.” Among other things, the amendment would allow insurers to sell slimmed-down, lower-premium plans (e.g., “catastrophe plans”) to consumers who don’t want to pay for all 10 medical services mandated by Obamacare.

To do so, insurers would also have to offer an Obamacare-compliant plan. But I see no problem with this. Give consumers a choice, rather than have the government decide.

Here, then, is the possible compromise that might get McConnell and Trump 50 votes: soften the Medicaid reform and add Cruz’s consumer choice concept.

I have suggested that the test for Obamacare reform legislation should be twofold: (1) is it better than Obamacare and (2) will it produce lower premiums/deductibles.

I set the bar this low because I recognize that Trump could use a “win” and congressional Republicans don’t want to face the electorate next year without having done something about Obamacare. At the same time, neither Trump nor congressional Republicans can afford to own health care legislation that does not lower skyrocketing premiums. Hence, the second prong of my test.

Both the House and Senate bills are an improvement over Obamacare, I think. With something like Cruz’s “Consumer Freedom Amendment” added, the Senate bill would be an even bigger improvement.

Cruz’s amendment also seems likely to produce a reduction in premium prices. Plans that don’t include all 10 of the required Obamacare elements, some of which are completely unnecessary for many consumers, should cost less than Obamacare-compliant plans.

Thus, although the compromise bill I’ve outlined above would still be seriously flawed, it strikes me, at least on the first impression, as legislation the Senate should pass.


Alan Sokal, Call Your Office

Posted: 28 Jun 2017 12:55 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

I didn’t think it was possible to write a better satire of postmodernism as applied to the hard sciences than Alan Sokal’s great hoax on Social Text 20 years ago. But I have found a contender . . . Wait a minute.  I think this article is for real, in Ethnic and Racial Studies:

Racial physics or a theory for everything that happened

Marcus Anthony Hunter [Sociologist—natch—at UCLA]


This political commentary invokes the concept of racial physics, a theory of race and racism influenced philosophically and metaphorically by Albert Einstein’s principle of equivalence and theories of relativity, especially in light of the recent political season. The goals for this essay are twofold: (1) provide a critical race conscious assessment of the 2016 political season both within the United States and abroad, and (2) demonstrate how race and racism reflect a broader social cosmology of great consequence, underscoring the tendency among humans to develop constructs that persist across space and time with effects that mirror the nature and properties of matter and energy.

This article is not behind a paywall so we can sample some parts of it:

In my exploration of these persistent properties of race and racism, I found myself dreaming my way into the physics courses of Professor Albert Einstein. Awakened suddenly by the spirit of serendipity I read Einstein’s many writings, particularly his theories of general and special relativity. I was especially drawn to his insight about how gravity and acceleration/force collaborate as co-parents of the human experience of nature, matter and energy . . .

Stated differently, the history, acts and agitation between the oppressor and the oppressed since the colonial period has participated in making race function much in the way that Einstein characterizes gravity. Much like how gravity affects matter in the natural world, race in varying degrees draws people apart and together, binds people to sidewalks, neighbourhoods and institutions of civil society. Racism, in turn, operates as a socio-economic and political accelerant and force that leads to racially disparate outcomes and privileges.

The article wanders over to France, to Ann Arbor, Michigan on election day; from black holes to Black Lives Matter. None of it coherent.


Recalling Max Eastman

Posted: 28 Jun 2017 09:55 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

I often grab an old, forgotten book to take with me on overseas trips, and for my current trip, I grabbed Max Eastman’s Reflections on the Failure of Socialism. Eastman is one of those mostly forgotten figures from the first half of the 20th century who left Communism and became a conservative of a kind. Eastman had been, for a time, the editor of The Masses, and later The Liberator—both Communist publications. Eastman helped raise the funds to send John Reed to Russia, the trip that resulted in Reed’s famous Ten Days That Shook the World.

Eastman spent nearly a year in the Soviet Union around 1923, and it planted the seeds of his complete defection that didn’t occur for another decade. He came home from the trip still more or less a committed believer. But one interesting early passage bears note today.

Only one thing seemed to me calamitously bad. That was the bigotry and Byzantine scholasticism which had grown up around the sacred scriptures of Marxism. Hegel, Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin—these men’s books contained for the Bolsheviks the last word of human knowledge. They were not science, they were revelation. Nothing remained for living thinkers to do but to apply them, gloss them, dispute about them, expiate on them, find in them the germs of every new thought or thing that came into the world. Instead of liberating the mind of man, the Bolshevik Revolution locked it into a state’s prison tighter than ever before. No flight of thought was conceivable, no poetic promenade even, no sneak through the doors or peep out of a window in this pre-Darwinian dungeon called Dialectic Materialism. No one in the western world has any idea of the degree to which Soviet minds are closed and sealed tight against any idea but the premises and conclusions of this antique system of wishful thinking. So far as concerns the advance of human understanding, the Soviet Union is a gigantic roadblock, armed, fortified, and defended by indoctrinated automatons made out of flesh, blood, and brains in the robot-factories they call schools.

Sounds just like an American university! (Especially the very last sentence.)


From Ramsey to Dayton

Posted: 28 Jun 2017 07:27 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

The ongoing “Minnesota cage match” is now venued before Judge John Guthmann in St. Paul. The city of St. Paul sits in Ramsey County. The Minnesota House and Senate filed their lawsuit against Governor Dayton and his commissioner of management and budget in Ramsey County District Court, within shouting distance of the state capitol.

In writing about the lawsuit yesterday I misspelled “Ramsey” as “Rasmey.” A friend wrote to note the typo. As an admirer of the man after whom the county is named, I seriously regretted that typo.

Ramsey County is named for Alexander Ramsey. Ramsey was born and raised in Pennsylvania, where he overcame personal hardship to become a lawyer and win election two terms in Congress as a Whig, from 1843-1847. After his two terms in Congress, he was appointed in 1849 to serve as Minnesota’s first territorial governor.

Ramsey had a lengthy and distinguished political career in Minnesota, which achieved statehood in 1858. He was elected the state’s second governor as a Republican in 1860, serving until 1863. In 1863 he resigned to run for the Senate. Elected in 1863, he served two terms. He also served later as Secretary of War in the Hayes administration.

Ramsey became a successful businessman as well. He built a house in St. Paul equipped with all the modern conveniences available as of 1872. It is now maintained as the Alexander Ramsey House by the Minnesota Historical Society (of which Ramsey himself was the first president).

On April 13, 1861, Governor Ramsey made his way to Washington to discuss patronage jobs with the Lincoln administration. News arrived the following day that Fort Sumter had been fired on and surrendered. In The Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers, Richard Moe recalls that Governor Ramsey rushed to the War Department to track down Secretary Simon Cameron, an old Pennsylvania acquaintance:

As Ramsey later told the story, he “found the secretary with his hat on and papers in his hand, about to leave his office. I said, ‘My business simply as Governor of Minnesota is to tender a thousand men to defend the government.’ “Sit down immediately,’ he replied, and write the tender you have made, as I am now on my way to [the White House].’ Ramsey wrote out the offer as requested, thus earning for Minnesota the distinction of being the first state to tender volunteer troops to save the Union.

The 1,000 men tendered by Governor Ramsey became the First Minnesota Volunteer Regiment, participating in virtually every significant battle fought by the Army of the Potomac until the unit was mustered out of service in 1864.

The First Minnesota is the storied regiment whose great moment came when General Hancock ordered it to make a suicide charge down Cemetery Ridge at a crucial moment on the second day of Gettysburg. All present heeded General Hancock’s “charge” command directly into enemy fire, as a result of which they sustained an 82 percent casualty rate. The regimental battle flag survives as a sacred relic kept on display in the rotunda of the newly refurbished state Capitol along with other regimental flags.

Ramsey is now mostly remembered as the man who called for the extermination or expulsion of the Dakota Indians when they went on a rampage against white Minnesotans in 1862. Hungry and angered by the government’s delay in delivering food as well as other grievances, the Dakota undertook a war that, according to President Lincoln, killed some 800 men, women and children in southern Minnesota.

Those who weren’t killed were terrorized. General Pope, dispatched by the War Department to restore order, described the scene as one of “wide, universal and uncontrollable panic[.]”

Ramsey appointed Henry Sibley commander of the forces raised to fight against the Dakota, notoriously stating that “the Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state.” This was a point on which General Pope agreed with Ramsey.

Sibley put down the uprising and appointed five officers to conduct summary trials that resulted in more than 300 death sentences. After reviewing trial proceedings to isolate the murderers from those who had simply participated as warriors in the uprising, Lincoln approved the hanging of 38 of the Dakota — “those,” in Lincoln’s words, “guilty of individual murders and atrocious abuse of their female captives.”

In 2013 Governor Dayton sought to rectify history in the current style:

“I am appalled by Governor Ramsey’s words and by his encouragement of vigilante violence against innocent people; and I repudiate them,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement… “The viciousness and violence, which were commonplace 150 years ago in Minnesota, are not accepted or allowed now.”

Dayton called for flags to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Friday, declaring it a day of remembrance and reconciliation on the 150th anniversary of the start of the six-week U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

He asked Minnesotans “to remember that dark past; to recognize its continuing harm in the present; and to resolve that we will not let it poison the future.”

The Star Tribune has more of Dayton’s 2013 statement here. Let me note that I don’t think Governor Ramsey “called for vigilante violence” or did anything wrong to put down the uprising. The uprising and its aftermath are part of a complicated story representing a sad chapter in Minnesota and American history, retold most recently in Duane Schultz’s Over the Earth I Come: The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862 (not recommended).

If Minnesotans know anything of Ramsey today, I am afraid that it is likely to be limited to his statement at the outset of the uprising, partially quoted by Dayton in his condemnation of Ramsey. He deserves better. Indeed, in considering the descent from Ramsey to Dayton, I think of the ghost’s lament to Hamlet: “…what a falling off was there!”


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