“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Al Jazeera and Starbucks.



Earlier this week I watched a segment of Al Jazeera's money program , hosted by Ali Velshi.  At the end of the show, he waxed eloquent about anti-second amendment activists on the payroll of Bloomberg, and a major campaign being funded by Bloomberg to force Krogers to ban firearms on their premises.

Velshi said that both Starbucks and Target had acquiesced in the demands of these shills for Bloomberg.

I emailed Kroger, Target and Starbucks.  So far, the only one I have heard back from is Starbucks. I got a computer generated response, probably triggered by the subject line of my email. It makes it clear that Al Jazeera was, as they often do, putting out false information.  Before someone says "why do you watch it then" it's because they have much better on the ground coverage of middle eastern events than all the American news combined. Of course, it's stilted, anti-american and pro Islam but after years of listening to shortwave news from countries across the world I'm used to filtering the propaganda .

Here's the response from Starbucks.  It seems a reasonable middle of the road stance to me.

An Open Letter from Howard Schultz, ceo of Starbucks Coffee Company

Dear Fellow Americans,
Few topics in America generate a more polarized and emotional debate than guns. In recent months, Starbucks stores and our partners (employees) who work in our stores have been thrust unwillingly into the middle of this debate. That’s why I am writing today with a respectful request that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.
From the beginning, our vision at Starbucks has been to create a “third place” between home and work where people can come together to enjoy the peace and pleasure of coffee and community. Our values have always centered on building community rather than dividing people, and our stores exist to give every customer a safe and comfortable respite from the concerns of daily life.
We appreciate that there is a highly sensitive balance of rights and responsibilities surrounding America’s gun laws, and we recognize the deep passion for and against the “open carry” laws adopted by many states. (In the United States, “open carry” is the term used for openly carrying a firearm in public.) For years we have listened carefully to input from our customers, partners, community leaders and voices on both sides of this complicated, highly charged issue.
Our company’s longstanding approach to “open carry” has been to follow local laws: we permit it in states where allowed and we prohibit it in states where these laws don’t exist. We have chosen this approach because we believe our store partners should not be put in the uncomfortable position of requiring customers to disarm or leave our stores. We believe that gun policy should be addressed by government and law enforcement—not by Starbucks and our store partners.
Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.
For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.
I would like to clarify two points. First, this is a request and not an outright ban. Why? Because we want to give responsible gun owners the chance to respect our request—and also because enforcing a ban would potentially require our partners to confront armed customers, and that is not a role I am comfortable asking Starbucks partners to take on. Second, we know we cannot satisfy everyone. For those who oppose “open carry,” we believe the legislative and policy-making process is the proper arena for this debate, not our stores. For those who champion “open carry,” please respect that Starbucks stores are places where everyone should feel relaxed and comfortable. The presence of a weapon in our stores is unsettling and upsetting for many of our customers.
I am proud of our country and our heritage of civil discourse and debate. It is in this spirit that we make today’s request. Whatever your view, I encourage you to be responsible and respectful of each other as citizens and neighbors.
Sincerely,
Howard Schultz

18 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I'm not comfortable with using someone's place of business as the front for political activism, regardless of the issue. For instance, I don't really care one way or the other about abortion. Suppose that pro and anti- activists starting hassling my customers, or running them off. I'd be unhappy about that. If Starbucks was running a gun buy back program, or in other words, if they enter the arena of their own volition, that' a whole different thing. But as far as I can tell, they got sucked into this against their will.

      I understand people who push the open carry issue. But being very aggressive about it runs the risk of alienating middle of the road, no current opinion voters. Even the NRA, no friends of Bloomberg and his ilk, has asked gun owners to back off on these demonstrations because it does more harm to the cause than good. A certain subtlety goes well in situations like this. I sometimes wear camouflage, and I sometimes have longer than usual hair for a man, and often a long beard. But I'm not sure I am the right one to select as a poster child for gun owners on a national level, so someone who looks like me walking around down town with an AK47 is probably Bloomberg's idea of nirvana.

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    2. Sorry for the delete, I got something worded wrong I think, so to avoid any potential confusion I deleted it.

      But long story short, a few trouble makes ruined it on both sides, and as much as I hate to say it, the open carry bunch was more st fault on this than the anti-gun bunch.

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  2. Harry,

    I don't plan on watching the califate network anytime soon, but I ask: Have you ever once seen a "moderate" Muslim condemn jihadists?

    As for Target/Starbucks, I will continue with my conceal carry, what they don't know won't hurt anybody. --Troy

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    1. Starbucks only addressed concealed carry in a very oblique fashion, probably intentionally so. I'm not going to stop carrying for anybody, period. But I don't go into the Starbucks in our grocery store . About the cheapest thing they have is $3.00 a cup and I'm not about to pay that.

      Al Jazeera is conflicted. The Qataris hate us, but allow us to have a big base on their territory because they are afraid of Iran. They want us out of the middle east, but call us weak and cowardly because we aren't coming back in to kick ISIS in the face. They run stories about every ill in America, from poverty, to race, to how cruel we are about not letting millions of Mexicans and Central Americans in, but they imprison people who try to sneak into their country to work. I don't think there really truly are any moderate Muslims. If so, they are taking great pains to stay off the skyline.

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  3. My most recent correspondence of this nature was with Target. I received a similar email where they tried to "tightrope walk" the line between giving the hoplophobes what they want and not angering us gun toters.
    In a big way I do feel sorry for SOME of these retailers. They get caught up in all this crap between factions.
    I hear folks warning that the USA could become "balkanized" in the future. I think it has been started already, likely in the '60s, by the reds, and we are in the end stages of cultural separation, and the first stages of the coming conflict.

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    1. I'd agree that the U.S. is balkanized, and has been. On the Red State, Blue State mentality, on racial issues, and many others. There isn't any "we the people anymore". There's just a bunch of different special interest groups squabbling for the biggest share of the pie. I wish it wasn't that way, but that's how it looks to me.

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  4. Philosophically the idea that honest men (people) carry guns openly and those with something to hide conceal their weapons has more than a little merit. Personally I carry concealed everywhere it is practical (not swimming), responsible (I am of sound mind and body ie not drunk) and legal (felony not 'asked to leave').

    Open carry is legal in a lot of areas but not customary in many of them. For example in Seattle and well all of Louisiana it is 100% legal but you will turn heads and probably interact with cops. In areas where OC is legal and customary I like to have the option and sometimes exercise it.

    However to make a long story short I have little use for the in your face open carry (particularly of rifles) crowd going into public venues and stores/ restaurants to cause a big scene. If they want to have a protest/ celebration and rent out a park to BBQ and do speeches I say rock on. However the idea that taking your assault rifles out for lunch or a cup of coffee is going to do anything at all positive is a serious exercise in optimism. I am rabidly pro gun but the way to get soccer moms from non gun owning families on our side is not to scare them.

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    1. On a philosophical level, I have no problem with open carry. But as a matter of "real politik" it's counter productive. We have had a good ten years as gun owners, with Supreme Court decisions, and even the 9th Circuit Court going our way on some important issues.

      But, as the Greeks pointed out, "those whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad." I think, riding this wave of victories, some gun owners have developed hubris. That never fails to end badly. I can't imagine anything more calculated to enrapture Feinstein, Schumer, Giffords, Bloomberg and the other Hivists than having people running around in coffee shops with AK47 rifles or the like. It's very counterproductive and puts what we have gained in jeopardy.

      So I don't advocate ostentatious displays of weaponry in inappropriate venues. I agree with you, we need the votes and that's not the way to garner them.

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  5. Never been in a Starbucks and like you the notion of spending 3 to 8 dollars for a cup of coffee, even if it is pimped up with syrups and cream doesn't do much for me. As far as the gun issue goes, concealed carry permits do serve a purpose and keep the hysterics from the anti gun public to a minimum. We are lucky in that Maine is a "shall issue" state.

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    1. No way I'm paying their prices for a cup of coffee, I don't care if it does smell like pumpkins.

      Concealed carry suits our needs. You can protect yourself and your family, and others if need be. At the same time, it doesn't jeopardize the image we need to project, as responsible individuals. Some mindless drones will always be against guns, no matter what. Still , we don't need to help turn others against us through ill judged , aggressive acts in inappropriate venues. I hope things will settle down on that issue.

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  6. Interesting. So all media lies not just ours.

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    1. Al Jazeera lies like hell. You can catch them at it all the time. They don't really understand the U.S. and they have third rate anchors. Some of their news reporters are ok, except they have to follow the Qatari line on things like Hamas being wonderful people and Israel being evil. Watching their shows, I get some great video feeds but I have to wonder how they can read their scripts with a straight face.

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    2. Incidentally, I don't always catch them out. I believed the report on Starbucks and Target at face value initially, but Commander Zero pointed out that what was said on the show might just be their "spin" on pre existing policy, which has turned out to be the case for Starbucks. I'm still waiting to hear from Target.

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  7. Hey Harry.

    (captaincrunch)

    One viewpoint is that they 'starbucks and target' are private business's and they have the right to turn away legal gun owners, henceforth they lesson the security at their private business so I will not be spending money at either store. They both suck anyway, so it's no tactical loss.

    Yeah' Al Jizeria sucks ball's. Sorry for the crudeness, but if a meteor from outer space strikes Al Jizeria's building into a random bits of chaotic matter, I will get another twelve pack of Shiner Bock beer, bacon and the latest issue of Hustler Magazine and throw a party.

    I would call it a "Beer, Bacon and Babe's Party" No Koran's or Burka's allowed (Damn, its good to be a redneck)

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  8. I would shed no salten tears if they went away.

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  9. I don't go to Starbucks anyhow. I went there once, my mouth dropped at the cost of what I ordered, and I didn't go back.

    I understand it's more about the principle than actually going there.

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    1. Well, Alissa, my Scotch Irish heritage mitigates against conspicuous consumption, so I'm not buying there.

      My initial anger at Starbucks has cooled a bit since I found out they are just trying to stay out of it and not get involved in the issue. As long as they don't succumb to pressure from the Gun Nazi's , I don't expect them to take a pro gun stance. They are in business to make money , not politics.
      So , I'm ok with that. My mom is addicted to Starbucks and I was going to pressure her to quit going, but now she can keep on having her latte's!

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