Starbucks Fail

A Starbucks in Tempe, AZ, had one of its baristas ask five police officers who were having a pre-shift coffee either go sit somewhere else or leave altogether because one customer felt “threatened” over their being where the customer could see them.

In the hoo-raw ensuing, Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said

We have a deep respect for the Tempe Police and their service to the community.

That’s plainly not true. If Starbucks really cared, if it had any actual respect for the police—much less a shred of self-respect—it would have had a better-trained crew of baristas who wouldn’t knee-jerk insult cops over a snowflake’s made-up beef.

The Cost of a Celebration

President Donald Trump held America’s Independence Day celebration with a Salute to America, centered at the Lincoln Memorial.

Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told—the story of America.  Today, just as it did 243 years ago, the future of American Freedom rests on the shoulders of men and women willing to defend it.

Just to pick out a couple of things: The Wall Street Journal cited “Democrats” complaining about

the use of military hardware for a traditionally nonpartisan celebration.

Because defending our nation’s existence and celebrating those who do that defense isn’t nonpartisan.  Sure.

Nike Fail

Nike has signified its agreement with Colin Kaepernick‘s assessment that Nike’s planned Betsy Ross-flagged shoe, intended to be released for Independence Day celebrations, was offensive to some by canceling the release.  Kaepernick’s claim was that

he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery

Never mind that, were it not for those evil slavers who founded our nation and fought for our independence, we’d still be dealing in slavery and indentured servitude—and guess what would be the lot of current immigrants, legal and illegal.

Trade and the Rule of Law

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked for President Donald Trump’s help, at the G-20 meeting in Japan, to get the People’s Republic of China to release the Canadian hostages that the PRC kidnapped in retaliation for Canada’s detaining a PRC company executive for criminal investigation.  Trump has agreed.

Gerard Gayou suggested in his piece at the link,

Mr Trump may worry that challenging Mr Xi on political prisoners would jeopardize a trade deal, but pressing China on the rule of law should be a priority.

Is Renault a Useful Business Partner?

When Fiat-Chrysler offered a merger deal with Renault, Renault’s subordinated partner, Nissan, expressed reluctance unless its subordination to Renault could be revised upward at least somewhat so that it could have a greater voice in the resultant combined company.

Note, though, that the French government is a major shareholder of Renault, and the government has a virtually controlling number of seats on the Renault board: Nissan was—and is, given subsequent events—subordinate to the French government as much as it is to its nominal business…senior partner.

The French government interfered with the offer, and it dithered and stalled, and finally Fiat-Chrysler lost patience and withdrew its offer.

Only Part of the Story

New Hampshire publishes on a State Web site the prices charged by hospitals in the State, and President Donald Trump is working up an Executive Order that would, with some differences in breadth (including information on the prices negotiated with insurers), make the practice a nationwide one.

Price transparency is a Critical Item in controlling—bringing down—the cost of health care, but it’s only part of the story.  A measure of cost transparency would be useful, too, not only for the consumer, but for governments as they look for (non-subsidy, non-tax) ways to further price competition.

Tax and Spent Progressive-Democrats

In spades.  They’re in a race to bankrupt us.  Or, as The Wall Street Journal put it,

The Democratic presidential primary is turning into a bidding war.

Senator and Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D, MA) has broken out of the starting gate with an offer of forgiveness of $640 billion in student debt for our votes.

Senator and Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I, VT), though, has caught her at the first turn: he’s offering $1.6 trillion (yes, that’s with a ‘t’) in canceled student debt plus tuition-free “public” colleges.

Federal Government and Home Lending

Investors worry about the impact on home mortgage costs from the Trump administration’s efforts to reform Federal involvement in the business—for instance, cutting Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loose from Federal controls and support.

The WSJ‘s subheadline of the article at the link sums up those investors’ worry:

[A]ny overhaul to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could reduce or eliminate the federal backstop

To which this investor—and home-owner and mortgage payer—says, “Yeah, and?”

There should be no Federal backstop at all, there should be no Federal involvement in this, or any other, industry at all.  Federal involvement only distorts the market, and Federal money, being the increased demand of additional and protected money, only drives up costs.

Not an Iron Curtain

But it is intended to be a chain-link fence.  It’s not intended to keep folks out, though, but like its Big Brother, it is intended to “encourage” folks to stay in.

Connecticut has expanded its mansion tax on homes.  Here’s how it works.  On sale, Connecticut taxmen will exact from the seller a 2.25% tax on the value of the sale that exceeds $2.5 million.  This is an increase from the already existing “conveyance tax” of 1.25%, but it adds a fillip: if the seller stays in the State for a suitably long time after the sale (“suitable” being defined by the State’s politicians), he’ll get the money back as a tax credit.  If he leaves Connecticut for greener and friendlier pastures too soon to suit those politicians, too bad—he loses those 2.25%.

Health Care for All

In Great Britain, Justice Nathalie Lieven of the Court of Protection (an ironically named court, as you’ll see in a bit) has ordered a woman’s pregnancy be terminated by abortion in the mother’s 22nd week.  The woman has the mental capacity of a grade schooler, and so Lieven has ordered the abortion ostensibly for the mother’s own sake.

Never mind that neither the woman nor the woman’s mother want the abortion, and the woman’s mother has said she would care for the baby—her granddaughter—as well as her daughter (for whom she already cares).  Lieven insisted