Coffee icon Starbucks is celebrating pride month by flying a huge, 800 square foot gay pride flag atop its Seattle, Washington worldwide headquarters.
Starbucks chairman, CEO, and president Howard Schultz has stood up to repeated attacks over his company’s support of LGBT civil rights, including same-sex marriage. Even aÂ National Organization For Marriage sponsored boycott, with a Dump Starbucks website and international campaign has not deterred the head of the $15 billion coffee giant standing for what he sees as right. And if this month’s foray into celebrating pride month is any indication, he never will.
Flying atop Starbucks world headquarters in Seattle, Washington is an enormous 800 square foot rainbow gay pride flag that measures 38 feet across and 19 feet high.
The idea wasn’t Schultz’s, it came from an employee, inspired after seeing Starbucks HQ fly theÂ Seattle Seahawks’ flag to celebrate their Super Bowl win.
â€œIt was such a surprise and it was so fun to see support for our hometown team,â€ Anthony Hesseltine, a Starbucks 10-year veteran, said in a company press release. â€œThen I thought, what if? No. Well, maybe?â€
Months later, Hesseltine began floating the idea of having the Pride Flag raised on Starbucks headquarters for the first time.
â€œThere was no resistance,â€ he said. â€œIt was more difficult for me to find and purchase the flag than it was to get people in the building to support the idea of flying the Pride flag.â€
As a sourcing manager for Starbucks supplier diversity program, Hesseltine has connections.
â€œNot everyone will approve of Starbucks flying the Pride flag. I donâ€™t wish any harm by having the flag fly, but I do want people to reflect,â€ Hesseltine says. â€œThe whole message is about diversity and accepting people for their differences. If you think about a rainbow, no one color is dominant. Itâ€™s a harmonization of different colors, each color contributing to the whole.â€
At Starbucks’ annual stockholders meeting last year, aÂ National Organization For Marriage-affiliated activist stood up and slammed Schultz for his decision to support same-sex marriage, wrongly blaming a dip in earnings to the move.
â€œNot every decision is an economic decision,â€ Schultz told him. â€œDespite the fact that you recite statistics that are narrow in time, we did provide a 38 percent shareholder return over the last year. I donâ€™t know how many things you invest in, but I would suspect not many things, companies, products, investments have returned 38 percent over the last 12 months. Having said that, it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity of all kinds.â€
â€œIf you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, itâ€™s a free country,” Schultz said. “You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much.â€
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‘Deliberately Deceived the Nation’: Legal Experts Stunned by ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Report on How Barr and Durham Protected Trump
Legal experts are now weighing in on Thursday’s bombshell, massive and months-long reporting from The New York Times that reveals, among several previously unknown allegations, that then-Attorney General Bill Barr and his special counsel, John Durham were handed apparent evidence of suspicious financial acts by Donald Trump, and proceeded to create a false public narrative that Durham’s investigation found evidence of “suspicious financial dealings” related to Trump, suggesting it was on the part of the FBI, not the president, in order to protect the president.
“On one of Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham’s trips to Europe,” The Times reveals, “according to people familiar with the matter, Italian officials — while denying any role in setting off the Russia investigation — unexpectedly offered a potentially explosive tip linking Mr. Trump to certain suspected financial crimes.”
The Times adds that “Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham never disclosed that their inquiry expanded in the fall of 2019, based on a tip from Italian officials, to include a criminal investigation into suspicious financial dealings related to Mr. Trump.”
“Mr. Durham never filed charges, and it remains unclear what level of an investigation it was, what steps he took, what he learned and whether anyone at the White House ever found out. The extraordinary fact that Mr. Durham opened a criminal investigation that included scrutinizing Mr. Trump has remained secret.”
Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law expert who literally wrote the book on the U.S. Constitution, calls the Times’ report “jaw-dropping.”
“When Durham unexpectedly found evidence of crimes committed BY rather than AGAINST Trump, he and Barr deliberately deceived the nation into thinking the opposite! This deep dive by the NYT is as jaw-dropping as anything I’ve read in the past decade,” Tribe says.
Law professor and former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) Sherrilyn Ifill, one of TIME’s 2021 most influential people in the world, accused Barr of “gaslighting” the public.
“Every line of this article must be read,” Ifill implored. “Horrifying breaches of professional ethics, misuse of DOJ investigative resources, and deliberate lies to, and gaslighting of the public. A grotesque perversion of the appropriate role of Attorney General.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, the well-known MSNBC legal contributor and professor of law, also calls it “jaw dropping.”
“Jaw dropping reporting. Lots here including an explanation of why Durham’s colleague resigned: under pressure from Barr to release an ‘interim’ report damaging Clinton & the FBI as the election drew near, Durham had a draft prepared that wasn’t factual,” she says.
Andrew Weissman, the former General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who spent 20 years at DOJ, including working under Special Counsel Robert Mueller, calls Barr “corrupt.”
“Can anyone really be surprised by this?” he asks. “Barr was just so corrupt and so corrupted the DOJ.”
MSNBC legal analyst Jill Wine-Banks, a former Watergate prosecutor and the first woman to serve as US General Counsel of the Army was troubled by the picture The Times painted of how close Barr and Durham were, when special counsels are supposed to have great autonomy and not be shaded by any Attorney General interference.
“Even more troubling than Barr and Durham frequently having drinks and discussing the investigation is the fact that the only crime they discovered on their foreign trip was Italian intel about crimes by Trump,” she says via Twitter. “I want to know the status of that investigation!”
Some legal experts lament that despite the bombshells in The Times’ report, it appears nothing will come of it – certainly nothing from the House Republicans.
Former Associate White House Counsel Ian Bassin sardonically asks, “Surely McCarthy and Jim Jordan’s new Select Committee on ‘the Weaponization of the Federal Government’ will focus on this story and the actions of Bill Barr, John Durham and Donald Trump. Surely, right? Right?”
Wine-Banks also points to House Republicans’ new committee investigating what they claim is “weaponization” of the federal government.
“Barr’s relationship with Durham, his pressure on him to reach a certain result and their failure to follow up on Trump’s crime revealed during the investigation is what weaponization of the DOJ looks like — not what Republicans want to investigate now.”
Pete Strzok, who spent 26 years at the FBI including as Deputy Assistant Director of the Bureau’s Counterintelligence Division, and led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States election, speaks from experience.
“I can see Barr allowing the stunning amount of craziness (a gentle choice of word) described in this article,” he writes. “But does anyone in the current OAG or ODAG care about this? Durham has reported to AG Garland for twenty two (22) months now.”
“This,” Weissman adds separately, pointing to The Times article, “is all about the Trump weaponization of the DOJ – but we know that the House Rs won’t give a damn about it.”
Questions Raised About Another Freshman Republican’s Finances After He Refuses to Comply With Federal Law
Rep. George Santos (R-NY) isn’t the only freshman Republican facing questions about his personal finances.
An investigation conducted by News Channel 5 in Nashville has found that freshman Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN) never complied with federal laws requiring that he make disclosures about his personal finances.
In fact, notes News Channel 5, “not only did Andy Ogles ignore that law during the campaign, he continues to ignore it today.”
The law in question requires that Ogles and all candidates for elected office to disclose their assets and unearned income, their liabilities, and sources of income paid by one source that exceed $5,000.
Ogles’ office hasn’t responded to News Channel 5’s questions even though the Tennessee lawmaker’s refusal to comply with the law could result in up to a year in prison.
Ogles’ defeated Democratic opponent, Heidi Campbell, told News Channel that it was “frustrating” to see Ogles flout the law, which she complied with last year by releasing her personal finance information all the way back in April of 2022.
“We, as Tennesseans, deserve to have representatives who are following the rules,” she said.
Ogles was also regularly late in filing campaign finance reports, which also contained so many discrepancies that Ogles has received four different letters from the Federal Election Commission demanding that they be explained.
Watch: Santos Responds to Report He Joked About Hitler, ‘The Jews’ and Black People
U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) allegedly made a social media post appearing to praise Adolf Hitler while referring to “the Jews and Black” people, and frequently made pejorative “jokes” about being Jewish according to friends interviewed by Patch and screenshots of now-deleted social media posts.
In 2011, Santos “commented on a Facebook post with what appear to be intended-jokes about Hitler, a phrase that appears to salute Hitler and observations about ‘the Jews and black[s],’ exclusive screenshots obtained by Patch show.”
Patch, which published a screenshot of what appear to be Santos’ comment, reports he had written this: “hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh hiiiiiiiiiiiitlerrrrrrrrrrr (hight hitler) lolololololololololololol sombody kill her!! the jews and black [sic] mostly lolllolol!!! Dum”
Sarah Fishkind, whose LinkedIn profile describes her as a political organizer, posted video Thursday afternoon of her conversation with Rep. Santos.
“Do you have any comments about your most-recently-leaked Facebook comments about killing all Jews and Black people?” she asked, according to her post.
“I’m sorry?” Santos, appearing to be stunned, replied.
“It’s on the news right. now,” she responded, “that you Facebook commented.”
Santos replied with a frustrated huff, then said: “That’s going to be hard to hold.” It’s unclear what he meant by that comment.
While on his way to the House floor, I asked George Santos about his recently leaked Facebook comment saluting hitler.
— sarah fishkind (@sarahefishkind) January 26, 2023
Santos ran and won his congressional seat claiming to be a gay Jewish Republican, only later to falsely claim he never said he was Jewish, but “Jew-ish.” He also lied about his grandparents fleeing the Holocaust.
In an interview with JNS at the RJC meeting last month, Santos said, “as I always joke, I am Jew-ish” and repeated his claim about his grandfather “fleeing Hitler” in 1940.https://t.co/OTkCVt0uam pic.twitter.com/U3kn2ZNFhu
— Jacob Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) December 21, 2022
Jewish groups have condemned his false claims of Jewish heritage, which include false claims that his grandparents were “Holocaust refugees.”
Watch the videos above or at this link.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
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