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Guest MINDSETTER™ Gardiner: Craft Beer, Libel, and GOP Politics - Will the Russians Stop at Nothing?

Sunday, March 04, 2018


It’s hard to believe, but as reported in GoLocalProv, local business Revival Brewing Company, by its manager, Sean Larkin, publicly defamed and denounced some innocent customers as “racist and “white supremacist” earlier this week and refused them service. 

Well, it turns out, as part of Larkin's apology, his post-apology complaint was not “racism” or "white supremacy” but rather his worry that a bunch of mostly young Reagan Republicans were going to be “crushing Progressives” while lustily drinking craft brew. Revival Brewing Company’s manager didn’t like that the organizer of the event promoting the intent to “crush Progressives” and perhaps was looking for an excuse to cancel the event. 

Well, send me the book advance because we have here a wonderful vignette of how the side that lost the election of 2016 has reacted by lashing out and crying racism and white supremacy and all manner of ad hominem attacks instead of sticking to intelligent discussion or cooperation upon the real issues.

As succinctly reported in GoLocalProv Wednesday, Larkin cancelled the American Freedom Foundation’s networking event at Revival planned last Wednesday. He relied on an Instagram from “Mamapolocoplypse”and/or “good folks on the internet” that claimed not only that the AFF was white supremacist and racist, but also lumped in the Revival Brewing Company in Cranston for hosting the event. You know, liking craft beer, being a Reagan Republican, winning the Electoral College vote, it’s all racist. 

In the Instagram post “Mamapocolypse” also said that along with that the AFF, Revival Brewing Company, should go "f--k themselves." Well, Revival’s manager Larkin sprang into action. Like an avenging angel of progressive politics, Larkin rushed to Facebook to trash and condemn the hapless Reagansvolk. He echoed and endorsed the libelous claim that the American Freedom Foundation is racist and white supremacist, and also threw his tasting manager under the bus -- hard -- for booking the group in the first place. Finally, Larkin, standing broad in the gleam of a purifying Facebook glory, heroically pronounced the event cancelled. 

A Nuanced Apology 

And then he made GoLocal Prov. And then, he had to apologize the very next day, because the American Freedom Foundation is not racist or white supremacist. Mission Accomplished.

But, the apology is nuanced and qualified. Wrote Larkin:

Blindly and without a major investigation into the group's background, I made a vague statement this is still up and posted in its unedited form. For that, I owe the AFF an apology.

Oh, without a “major investigation” like going to American Freedom Foundations website which would reveal easily (gasp) mainstream Reagan Republicans? You only owe an apology for doing practically nothing to investigate, but nothing else? What are we to take from your words '"for that?” Larkin seems to imply he was otherwise justified in smearing the Republican group which is a bad idea when you owe an apology without reservation.

And what about the prelude to the apology, the grand argument that you ought not to hold Larkin accountable at all:

Yesterday was a whirlwind of information and emotions. It started with folks accusing my company of supporting "White Supremacy." This is an accusation that I'm sure most of you would agree is disturbing.

Apparently, exposure to the words “white supremacy” is disabling and incapacitating. He can’t be held culpable for a gratuitous and self-indulgent cancelation of a Republican group’s networking event in the most malicious way possible. It’s a problem with the losers of 2016. They say malicious things, like calling people racist, but it’s all justified because they are upset. 

In his apology, Larkin seems to wants to make sure you understand that he’s only exonerating the members of the local chapter, when he writes, "I have no formal proof nor do I suspect anyone in the AFF Rhode Island Chapter to be racist or have any ties to "White Supremacy."

Larkin's investigation should have taken him to the National Chapter website, which is clean mainstream Reagan Republicanism. The faces look like those on Revivals’ Yelp reviews page. Making craft beer isn’t racist because most of your clients are white. Being Republican is not racist because most of your numbers are white. Being white is not racism, nor do whites need to accuse each other of racism and white supremacy just to prove they aren’t. There seems to be notes of that, natural and minor, in Larkin’s posting and his apology. d

Finally Larkin’s apology offers the perfect ending for this vignette, this “revenge of the sore losers” tale. Just like the election of 2016, the Russians may have been involved.

My initial reactions on the matter were fueled by misinformation and I and we as a company made statements before all the facts were clear.

Apparently, Mamapocolypse, and Larkin's other sources were not “good folks on the internet” at all but some dark unidentifiable source of misinformation. Isn’t it enough they elected Trump? Will the Russians stop at nothing?


Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017

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Sponsor: GoLocalProv

Sample: N=403

Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017

Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)

Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.

Prev Next

Are you registered to vote at this address?

Yes: 100%

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When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Unaffiliated: 49%

Democrat: 32%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: .4%

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Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?

Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...

Definitely be voting: 78%

Probably be voting: 13%

50-50: 9%

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In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 39%

Wrong track: 45%

Mixed: 10%

Don't know/Refused: .6%

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What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?

Jobs and economy:  21%

Education: 12%

Taxes: 12%

Roads: 12%

State budget: 9%

Corruption/Public integrity: .8%

Healthcare: 3%

Governor: 3%

Homelessness: 2%

Immigration: 2%

Other: 7%

Don’t know: .9%

Prev Next

Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 35%

Changed for the worse: 16%

Not changed at all: 43%

Don't know/Refused: 5%

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Over the same time, has your family's financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 26%

Changed for the worse: 19%

Not changed at all: 54%

Don't know/Refused: 1%

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Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?

Net: Approve: 28%

Definitely approve: 15%

Probably approve: 14%

Net: Reject: 67%

Probably reject: 19%

Definitely reject: 48%

Don't know: 4%

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Could you please tell me your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 15%

35-44: 15%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 2%

High school grad: 16%

Technical/Vocational school: 1%

Some college: 23%

College grad: 34%

Graduate degree: 24%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

$50,000 or less: 27%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

$150,000 or more: 13%

Don't know/refused: 17%

Prev Next

What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

American/None: 21%

English: 13%

Italian: 13%

Irish: 12%

Black or African American: 6%

Latino/Hispanic: 6%

French: 6%

Portuguese: 3%

Jewish: 3%

German: 1%

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Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?

Excellent: 13%
Good: 12%
Fair: 14%
Poor: 57%
Never heard of:  0%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 22%
Good: 29%
Fair: 23%
Poor: 15%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 6%

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Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 17%
Good: 22%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 28%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 7%

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Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 9%
Good: 29%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 27%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate:  8%

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Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 7%
Good: 30%
Fair: 20%
Poor: 18%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 11%

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Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?

Excellent: 6%
Good: 28%
Fair: 30%
Poor: 31%
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 16%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 8%
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%

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Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 20%
Fair: 28%
Poor: 17%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%

Prev Next

Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 18%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 13%
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%

Prev Next

Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?

Excellent: 5%
Good: 21%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 10%
Never heard of: 20%
Cannot rate: 23%

Prev Next

Would you say that Jorge Elorza has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Mayor of Providence?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 24%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 22%
Never heard of: 9%
Cannot rate: 15%


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