The “Dreamer” Spin

If your news sources are limited to the mainstream media, you may have the impression that President Trump is randomly breaking up families and deporting illegal immigrants. Stories in the mainstream show crying children whose parent or parents are being deported, and these stories just reek of sympathetic angles. However, when you look past the obvious, you often find out that what you are being told may not be the entire story.

Hot Air posted an article today about one such story about a deported illegal alien.

The article reports:

ICE agents took Armando Nunez Salgado into custody outside his home. According to family members, he was in the backyard when agents walked right in through the side gate. His 14-year-old daughter Isabel Salgado dissolved into tears.

“I cried. I got very emotional, I was really sad,” said Isabel. “I mean to watch someone who is part of your everyday life and then you just have to watch him leave without saying goodbye. It kind of hurts.”

Armando is a construction worker who has been in America more than 30 years. His wife Elena Ponce said his parents brought him to the U.S. when he was only four years old.

The article at Hot Air begins to tell us more of the story:

But it turns out, Armando does have a dangerous past. After our interview, his family members told KPIX 5 he was involved in gangs and drugs for a long time.

In fact, at one point, he was on ICE’s most wanted list for charges of felony force and assault with a deadly weapon.

…“On Sunday, Feb. 25, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) San Francisco Fugitive Operations Team arrested ICE fugitive Armando Nuñez-Salgado, 38, a citizen of Mexico and documented Sureño gang member, who has been previously removed by ICE on four prior occasions. Over the past 18 years he has accumulated criminal convictions in California that have resulted in more than 15 years of prison sentencings. His criminal convictions include assault with a deadly weapon (statutorily enhanced because of his gang member status), burglary, hit-and-run causing injury and evading a peace officer.”

The man had been deported four times and done fifteen years in prison! This is not an innocent man who is an asset to America.

If You Dislike ‘Big Pharma’, You Should Also Dislike ‘Big Pot’

There is a move in America to legalize marijuana. I don’t know if it can be stopped. I doubt it can. Marijuana is proclaimed to be a miracle cure for everything from headaches to ingrown toenails. Well, it may have medicinal value, but it also has a pretty serious downside. I remember looking at the Sunday paper in California after medical marijuana was legalized. The last four pages were ads from doctors who would prescribe it to cure any ailment. All you had to do was call. The legalization of medical marijuana essentially made recreational use much easier to do legally. So what are the consequences of legal marijuana?

Yesterday Dr. David B. Samadi posted an article at Fox News about some of the dangers of legalizing marijuana.

The article states:

From a health standpoint, why is legalization of another mind-altering drug the right thing to do?  The U.S. is already in the midst of a devastating prescription opioid and heroin crisis.  And individuals from all walks of life struggle with the abuse of alcohol and drugs.

It may be too late, but taking an illegal drug and making it legal needs to be well-thought out, to determine what impact this major step will have on future generations.

…What is especially concerning is the fact that the marijuana of today is not the same as it was back in the 1960s or 1970s. Over the past few decades, the concentration of THC in the cannabis plant has been increasing, making it more potent than ever.

A fairly recent popular method of getting high is smoking THC-rich resins extracted from the plant. Extracts are quite powerful, delivering very large amounts of THC to the body. This has sent many users to the emergency room.

…Researchers are still studying the long-term effects of marijuana. But what is known is that the younger a person begins using pot, such as in the teen years, the greater the declines in general knowledge, impaired thinking, learning difficulties and lowered IQ.

The article discusses the medical claims and research on marijuana:

At this time, treating medical conditions using marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. There is still insufficient data from large, long-term, well-designed studies on the potential risks versus benefits of using marijuana to relieve symptoms of certain medical conditions.

There are however, ongoing studies on cannabidiol, a component of marijuana that does not have the mind-altering effects of THC. That may hold potential promise in helping conditions like drug-resistant epilepsy and some psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, substance use disorders, schizophrenia and psychosis.

The article concludes:

No matter how much fun using marijuana looks like on TV or in the movies, no matter what your friends say about it, no matter how many people tell you it’s harmless, and no matter what laws politicians pass to get votes or raise tax revenue, remember one thing: unless you have certain medical conditions where the drug may be beneficial, you are better off without it.

The campaign to legalize marijuana is not unlike the campaign to encourage smoking that went on in the motion picture and entertainment industries up until recent years. We all saw how well that turned out.

The Definition Of Serendipity

Serendipity means a “fortunate or happy unplanned coincidence”. We may be seeing an example of that concept in one of the unintended consequences of the recently passed tax bill.

Yesterday the Associated Press reported the following:

In New Jersey and California, top Democratic officials want to let people make charitable contributions to the state instead of paying certain taxes. In Connecticut and New York, officials are exploring a switch from income taxes to new ones on payroll. A few governors have even called for tax cuts.

The ideas are bubbling up as state lawmakers begin their 2018 sessions and assess the effects of the Republican tax overhaul that President Donald Trump signed into law last month. Lawmakers and governors in some states are grappling with how to protect their constituents.

Loosely translated this is what is happening as a result of the fact that states with low state taxes will no longer be subsidizing states with high state taxes. Under the current plan, if your real estate taxes were $20,000 a year, which is not unusual in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey or California, you knew you could deduct them on your federal income tax, so it really wasn’t that important to you. Now those deductions will be limited to $10,000 and you will still have to pay the balance to your state.

No one likes it when their gravy train is cut off.

The article further reports:

This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his state-of-the-state speech to pledge to sue over the GOP tax plan, which he called “an assault” by the federal government. A lawsuit would add taxes to the growing list of Trump administration policies that Democratic states have challenged in court.

Other states have not committed to sue, but some leaders have indicated they’ll explore the idea.

“I’m certainly not a constitutional lawyer, but the notion that this is not constitutional is something we want to pursue,” said Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s Democratic governor-elect.

Officials in California and Connecticut also said this week they were considering legal options.

In high-tax states, officials have been focused on protecting taxpayers from the impact of a new $10,000 cap on deductions for paying state and local taxes. In California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, more than one-third of tax filers claim the state and local tax deduction on federal taxes; the average deduction in each state is over $15,000.

The Constitution gives Congress the right to levy taxes. Good luck with your lawsuit.

It is remotely possible that fiscal responsibility may be forced on some of our high-taxed states. When you consider that the Founding Fathers saw each state as a laboratory to experiment with unique ideas, it becomes obvious that some states did better than others in controlling expenses. Those states which controlled expenses have been subsidizing those that spent wildly for years. It is nice that things are changing. Now the governments of those states who have overspent need to change.

How Is This Not A Violation Of The Second Amendment?

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Keep in mind when reading that amendment that the Bill of Rights, which includes the Second Amendment, was added to the Constitution to further insure the rights of citizens–not the rights of the government. This Amendment is there to insure the rights of the people to possess arms.The Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord occurred because the British, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were ordered to capture and destroy military supplies that were reportedly stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. From our beginnings as a nation, Americans have wanted to protect their right to bear arms.

California seems to have forgotten America‘s history and the U.S. Constitution. Breitbart posted an article today about new regulations going into effect in California starting today.

The article reports:

Currently, law-abiding Californians must buy their ammunition from a licensed in-state ammunition dealer. This means that Californians who buy ammunition online must have that ammo shipped to a licensed in-state dealer and pay that dealer a fee when picking up the ammo.

These controls immediately lessen the supply of ammunition, thereby driving up the price for those who demand it. Also, these controls set the stage for phase two of ammunition control, which will consist of requiring a point-of-sale background check for ammunition purchases starting January 1, 2019. The point-of-sale background check will also carry a processing fee, which will drive the price of ammunition even higher.

These controls are in addition to the requirement that law-abiding Californians obtain a firearm safety certificate from the state before buying a firearm, endure a ten-day waiting period for gun purchases, pass a universal background check, register all firearms with the state, and live under the shadow of gun confiscation laws. There is an “assault weapons” ban, a ban on campus carry, and a new law against K-12 teachers being armed to shoot back if under attack at school.

California also has a “good cause” requirement for concealed carry, which allows bureaucrats within the issuing system to strictly control the number of permits given to law-abiding citizens. This single gun control has resulted in limiting the number of permits issued in Los Angeles County to 197; Los Angles County has a population of 10.2 million, yet only 197 concealed carry permits have been issued to the law-abiding citizens residing there.

That looks like infringement to me! Unfortunately the result of these laws will be more guns in the hands of those who do not follow the law and fewer guns in the hands of those who do follow the law. That is not the way to lower the crime rate.

Where Are People Going?

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article citing the statistics of where Americans are relocating. The article leaves me wondering if liberalism is so wonderful, why are Americans leaving the most liberal states:

The article reports:

Three Democratic-leaning states hemorrhaged hundreds of thousands of people in 2016 and 2017 as crime, high taxes and, in some cases, crummy weather had residents seeking greener pastures elsewhere.

The exodus of residents was most pronounced in New York, which saw about 190,000 people leave the state between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released last week.

…Despite the massive domestic out-migration flow, New York’s net population grew slightly, largely due to high levels of international immigration and a so-called “natural increase” — the difference between births and deaths in a given year. New York’s net migration was about minus 60,000 residents, but the state had 73,000 more births than deaths, resulting in a net population growth of about 13,000.

 Illinois was not so fortunate. Long-beset by twin budget and pension crises and the erosion of its tax base, Illinois lost so many residents that it dropped from the fifth to the sixth-most populous state in 2017, losing its previous spot to Pennsylvania.

Just under 115,000 Illinois residents decamped for other states between July 2016 and July 2017. Since 2010, the Land of Lincoln has lost about 650,000 residents to other states on net, equal to the combined population of the state’s four largest cities other than Chicago, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.

California was the third deep blue state to experience significant domestic out-migration between July 2016 and July 2017, and it couldn’t blame the outflow on retirees searching for a more agreeable climate. About 138,000 residents left the state during that time period, second only to New York.

However, because California was the top receiving state for international migrants, its net migration was actually 27,000. Add to that number a “natural increase” of 214,000 people, and California’s population grew by about just over 240,000, according to the Census Bureau.

The increased migration from other countries into California is a partial explanation of the fact that in recent decades California has gone from a reliably red state to a totally blue state.

All three of these states have high state taxes. Those taxes will no longer be fully deductible under the new tax laws. It will be interesting to see how the new tax laws impact future migration from these states.

The Message Hidden Inside The Message

I have been a fan of Peanuts cartoons ever since I was old enough to read them. I have visited the Charles M. Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. I have eaten at the Warm Puppy Cafe and watched the skaters skate. I have Tivo‘d the Charlie Brown Christmas special. I watched it this morning. Then I read something that made me realize I had missed a major truth in the cartoon.

Yesterday The Federalist Papers posted an article about the Charlie Brown Christmas special. I love the special–it deals with the feeling some of us get when we are up to our necks in shopping and responsibilities and we are in danger of losing the meaning of Christmas. Obviously, the most important scene in the cartoon is the scene where Linus schools Charlie Brown in the true meaning of Christmas, but there is a hidden message in that scene which I had missed.

Here is the scene as posted on YouTube:

Notice that as Linus begins quoting the Biblical story of Christmas he is still holding on to his security blanket. That is not unusual, Linus is rarely seen not holding on to his security blanket. However, notice that just as Linus quotes the angel saying, “Fear not,” he drops his blanket. The message here is that Linus understands that his security is not in that blanket–it has a bigger source. Previously I had not noticed that.

Merry Christmas to everyone, and may you follow the example of Linus and ‘fear not.’

The Insanity Continues

The Daily Caller posted a story today about the latest protest of the National Anthem.

The article reports:

According to, the national anthem is a “racist song” and the NAACP wants to push state lawmakers to change it.

Alice Huffman, the president of the California chapter of the NAACP, said the song is “racist” and that it “doesn’t represent our community. It’s anti-black people.”

 The cites the song’s third verse, which is usually not sang, as evidence of its racist overtones. The third verse includes a line that says, “no refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”

When the song was written in 1814, slavery was still legal in the United States.

Slavery is part of America’s history. It’s not a positive part, but it is a part. In 1814, slavery was legal.

Just as a point of information, according to a website called federalobserver:

…according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America.

And how many of these 10.7 million Africans were shipped directly to North America? Only about 388,000. That’s right: a tiny percentage.

Slavery is over in America. Unfortunately it is still alive and well in other parts of the world. Those protesting the National Anthem might do better to protest the places where slavery still exists.

Eliminating A Tax Break That Only Benefits The Rich

The class warfare that surrounds tax reform is bothersome. It’s not constructive and most of the information is false. The reason some tax cuts appear to benefit the rich is that the rich pay 80 percent of the taxes. They are the ones who need tax breaks. However, there is one tax break that generally impacts the rich that may disappear if the tax code is truly reformed.

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes. The article explains how this deduction impacts the residents of California:

Yes, California has high state income taxes. For instance, the rate for millionaires is 13.3 percent. It’s not insanely lower for the middle class, either: A married couple making $103,000 or more would pay a 9.3 percent rate, and while $103,000 might go far in plenty of areas in the United States, California’s outrageously high housing prices ensure that such a couple wouldn’t have an easy time paying all the bills.

But those Hollywood liberals raking in the big bucks and paying the 13.3 percent rate? Well, they’re not actually paying the 13.3 percent rate, thanks to our current U.S. tax code, which allows deduction for state and local taxes.

Let me explain. Currently, if anyone files taxes with itemized deductions, he can deduct his state and local taxes. In other words, if Joe Random makes $250,000 a year, and pays $26,000 in state and local taxes, and then donates an additional $14,000 to charity annually, he could deduct $40,000 from his salary—and pay federal taxes on only $210,000.

This deduction has big benefits for wealthy Californians. According to The Heritage Foundation’s research, that deduction means the effective tax rate for rich lefties in the Golden State is 8 percent, not 13.3 percent.

Essentially the rest of the country is subsidizing California’s high tax burden.

The article further reports:

Furthermore, for individuals pulling in over $200,000 a year, the average benefit of the state and local tax deduction is $6,296, according to Heritage research. For those making in the range of $40,000 to $50,000, that benefit shrinks to $134.

And it’s not just California whose blue-state government is currently raking in the perks thanks to the tax code.

“Just seven states receive 53 percent of the value of the state and local tax deduction: California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut,” write Rachel Greszler, Kevin D. Dayaratna, and Michael Sargent in their upcoming report for The Heritage Foundation.

Why should Americans from red states and lower-tax blue states be subsidizing other states? If states like California want to embrace big government, that’s fine—but they should also have to finance it themselves, not ask for a handout from the rest of the country.

Ending the deduction for state taxes would help make the income tax more equitable for everyone. There will be loud cries from the states it will impact, but it still needs to be done. Hopefully the Republicans will have the courage to do it.

Does The Truth Matter?

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the reporting of the recent shooting in Fresno, California.

The article reports:

The Associated Press edited the words of a Muslim man who allegedly killed three white people in downtown Fresno Tuesday afternoon and shouted “Allahu Akbar!”

The suspect, 39-year-old Kori Ali Muhammad, holds fervent anti-Trump beliefs according to his social media profile, and he told police afterward that he hates white people.

Rather than reporting the gunman’s literal words, however, the AP reported the gunman as saying “God is great.”

If David Duke made a racist statement saying ‘n***s are inferior’, would the media report it as ‘white people are wonderful’? I don’t think so. Yet that is essentially what the Associated Press (AP) did. By translating the phrase into English, the report misleads the reader into believing that some sort of Christian fundamentalist with a grudge against President Trump killed these people. There is no way an ordinary person would interpret this as an act of domestic terrorism by a radical Muslim (which it was) from the AP report.

If Our Leaders Don’t Follow The Law, Why Should We?

On Sunday, Breitbart posted an article about California State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon.

The article reports:

California State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Léon (D-Los Angeles) said last Tuesday that “half his family” was in the country illegally, using false documents, and eligible for deportation under President Trump’s new executive order against “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

De Léon, who introduced the bill, made his remarks at a hearing in Sacramento on SB54, the bill to make California a “Sanctuary State.

…Testifying before the Senate Public Safety Committee, De Léon defended the widespread practice by illegal aliens of using fraudulent documents to work and obtain taxpayer-paid benefits, dismissing any concerns California citizens may have about being the target of identity theft.

In an interview the following day on KPCC 89.3’s Air Talk with Larry Mantle, De Léon expressed outrage that President Trump’s executive order would include those who possess fraudulent documents or committed identity theft to obtain a Social Security number.

“Someone simply who received or purchased a [fraudulent] Social Security card down at McArthur Park, or elsewhere in my district would be eligible immediately for mass deportation,” De Léon said (at 11:45 in the link above).

Senator De Leon was interviewed by Larry Mantle, a talk show host after making the above statements.

Senator De Leon further explained:

Host Larry Mantle asked him: “… First of all, I just — I want to make sure I understand correctly: You don’t think purchasing a phony Social Security card and number should be a deportable offense?”

De Léon replied: “I don’t think so … the vast majority of immigrants — hard working immigrants — have done that.  I can tell you I have family members specifically who came here as undocumented immigrants, and they did the same thing. That’s what you need to do to survive in this economy.”

Mantle objected: “But of course the problem is, — and I know people too — who’ve had their Social Security numbers and identities stolen as a result of that….”

De Léon minimized the problem, saying it was not the same as “Russian” hacking.

So it’s okay to steal someone’s Social Security number if you are here illegally. Wow. That is the leadership in the California legislature. Just wow.



Voter ID Would Solve This Problem

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about the charge by Donald Trump that non-citizens voted in the last presidential election.

The article lists a few examples:

  • Election officials in a Kansas discovered that about a dozen newly sworn citizens had already voted in multiple elections when they offered to register them in 2015.
  • An investigation into a 1996 California House race in which Loretta Sanchez defeated incumbent Rep. Bob Dornan found 624 invalid votes by noncitizens in a race where Sanchez won by fewer than 1,000 votes.
  • A September report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation found more than 1,000 noncitizens on Virginia‘s voter rolls, many of whom had cast votes in previous elections.
  • A district-court administrator estimated that up to 3% of the 30,000 people called for jury duty from voter-registration rolls over a two-year period were not U.S. citizens.

The article also quotes John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, who have both tracked voter fraud extensively,. They made the following statement, “we don’t know how big of a problem voter fraud really is because no systematic effort has ever been made to investigate it.”

The only way to know how much of a problem voter fraud is would be to investigate it and to purge voter rolls of illegal or deceased voters.

I believe President Obama encouraged illegals to vote. Here are some quotes from an interview President Obama did with the Latin-oriented YouTube channel mitu, millennial actress Gina Rodriguez asked Obama:

“Many of the millennials, Dreamers, undocumented citizens – and I call them citizens because they contribute to this country – are fearful of voting. So if I vote, will Immigration know where I live? Will they come for my family and deport us?”

Obama responded: “Not true, and the reason is, first of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself. And there is not a situation where the voting rolls somehow are transferred over and people start investigating, etc. The sanctity of the vote is strictly confidential.”

The video of that interview can be found here.



Some Common Sense Regarding The Inauguration Of President Trump

Holly Robichaud posted a column in The Boston Herald yesterday about the Inauguration of President Donald Trump that will occur this Friday.

The column states:

Failing to comprehend the mood of the country, Democrats have been working feverishly to undermine Trump in every way possible. In doing so they are holding back our country and further sabotaging any chance for a political comeback in two years.

Their collective tone-deafness emphasizes how out of touch and how much they are dedicated to the status quo of big government. Voters have had enough of the Washington political gamesmanship. That’s why the outsider candidate won the White House.

…Not only do Democrats need to give Trump a honeymoon, but so do establishment Republicans. They need to put aside their damaged egos. Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham are trying to hijack foreign policy and Marco Rubio is offering up some political payback. Being frustrated that Trump did what none of them could — win the presidency — is not acceptable.

The people deserve at least a 100-day honeymoon with Trump. I urge the Republican establishment and Democrats to work with our new president to get things done. The status quo is over! It is Trump time.

The thing to remember about the election of Donald Trump is that with the exception of parts of California and New York, Donald Trump won the popular vote by a wide margin.

This is the popular vote if you exclude California:

Popular vote total outside California:
Trump: 58,474,401
Clinton: 57,064,530
Trump: + 1.4 million

We have some serious problems globally and within America right now. Donald Trump has won the right to put his policies in place to solve them. Let’s at least give him a chance.

The Next “To Big To Fail”

On December 23, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the problem with public employee pension funds. These future pensions are generally unfunded liabilities that municipalities take on when negotiating with public employee unions. What generally happens is that employees are promised great pension benefits instead of instant raises. That way the municipality does not have to raise its immediate budget–it looks as if it is being fiscally sane, and it quietly kicks the can down the road. In most cases (if not all) no provision is made to pay for these future benefits. Well, there always is a place where the can is no longer kicked down the road because the road ended. California is nearing that place.

The article reports:

Last week, the 85-year-old California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, slashed its official investment forecast going forward, meaning that state and local governments, police and sheriffs departments, and even school districts will have to spend billions of dollars more to CalPERS to support their future retirees. And, no doubt, it will mean higher taxes for all.

Sadly, this move won’t be enough. For years, the state has projected steady investment returns of 7.5% for CalPERS, the largest pension fund in the nation. But returns have been below that. So now CalPERS is trimming its return to 7% per year. But, given the pension fund’s mismanagement and poor performance, even that may be too high. Today the fund is a little over 60% fully funded, meaning it will have to raise billions of dollars more to be solvent. That means higher contributions for government workers, and higher taxes for average citizens.

It’s no accident. “CalPERS has … steered billions of dollars into politically connected firms,” wrote Steve Malanga in City Journal, back in 2013. “And it has ventured into ‘socially responsible’ investment strategies, making bad bets that have lost hundreds of millions of dollars. Such dubious practices have piled up a crushing amount of pension debt, which California residents — and their children — will somehow have to repay.”

That’s happening now. California’s famous Highway Patrol, for instance, has grossly underfunded its pensions. So it got the state to agree to a $10 hike in car registration fees to help make up the shortfall. No doubt, it will be asking for more soon.

It’s not just California. Across the country, pension funds have been underfunded, mismanaged and in some cases looted by managers. Today, according to the Fed, pension funds across the country are $2 trillion in the red — after being overfunded as recently as the year 2000. That means tax hikes are coming, like it or not.

This is a nationwide problem. This is also not a new problem. In 2010 I posted an article about the shortfall in union pension money. The close connection between many local politicians and local union leaders is a major contributor to this problem.

The Investor’s Business Daily article concludes:

In a scathing, just-released report, the American Legislative Exchange details how “rather than investing to earn the best return for workers, (politicians and fund officials) use pension funds in a misguided attempt to boost their local economies, provide kickbacks to their political supporters, reward industries they like, punish those they don’t and bully corporations into silence and behaving as they see fit.”

It’s quite an indictment. It’s time for a national commission to look into the misconduct and mismanagement — which pose a clear danger to the financial system — and answer the scariest question of all: Have public employee pension funds become too big to fail?

We have just elected a businessman to the Presidency. Hopefully he will have the skill and the knowledge to deal with this upcoming disaster. What is happening in California will eventually impact the rest of the country.

Why We Need Financial Accountability In Washington

On Monday, The Los Angeles Times posted an article about the Pentagon‘s request that California members of the National Guard pay back their re-enlistment bonuses.

The article reports:

The California National Guard told the state’s members of Congress two years ago that the Pentagon was trying to claw back reenlistment bonuses from thousands of soldiers, and even offered a proposal to mitigate the problem, but Congress took no action, according to a senior National Guard official.

The official added that improper bonuses had been paid to National Guard members in every state, raising the possibility that many more soldiers may owe large debts to the Pentagon.

“This is a national issue and affects all states,” Andreas Mueller, the chief of federal policy for the California Guard, wrote in an email to the state’s congressional delegation Monday. Attention had focused on California because it was “the only state that audited” bonus payments at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added.

In the email, Mueller reminded members of Congress that the Guard had informed them about the issue two years ago. Whether members of Congress understood the scope of the problem at the time is unclear.

Nothing like punishing the little people for the mistakes of the bureaucracy.

The article goes on to report the following:

Army Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe, the California Guard’s incentive manager, pleaded guilty in 2011 to filing false claims of $15.2 million and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. Three officers also pleaded guilty to fraud and were put on probation after paying restitution.

This is a disgrace. Promises were made, and even if those promises were made in error, they still need to be kept. To ask the members of the National Guard, who generally don’t earn much to begin with, to pay back thousands of dollars because the bureaucracy made a mistake is simply wrong. I also wonder why the California Congressional delegation chose to be quiet about the matter for two years.

I Am Told That This Is Not A Joke

At the bottom of the article I am about to mention, the Associated Press copyright appears. The article is from KPIX in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am not making this up.

The article reports:

California’s Legislature has approved regulations on cow flatulence and manure – both blamed for releasing greenhouse gases.

The measure was approved shortly before the end of the legislative session Wednesday after its author, Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, agreed to give dairy farms more time to comply.

In 2014, The Daily Caller reported:

As part of its plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the Obama administration is targeting the dairy industry to reduce methane emissions in their operations.

This comes despite falling methane emission levels across the economy since 1990.

The White House has proposed cutting methane emissions from the dairy industry by 25 percent by 2020. Although U.S. agriculture only accounts for about 9 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, it makes up a sizeable portion of methane emissions — which is a very potent greenhouse gas.

Some of these methane emissions come from cow flatulence, exhaling and belching — other livestock animals release methane as well.

I suspect that there may be some wives out there reading this that want to find a way to apply this law to their husbands. Just sayin’.

The High Cost Of Solar Energy That Isn’t Solar Energy

On August 12, The Daily Signal posted an article about Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a taxpayer-subsidized solar power plant in California’s Mojave Desert. Most solar power plants (if not all) are taxpayer-subsidized, so that is not unusual. What is unusual is what the power plant has had to do to compensate for the desert weather conditions.

The article reports:

Ivanpah is different. It uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight for generating steam that then drives turbines. These turbines produce energy in a similar fashion to that of traditional coal, natural gas, or nuclear power plants.

However, Ivanpah has a problem those technologies don’t: intermittency. Meaning the sun doesn’t always shine.

For Ivanpah, this is an even bigger problem than it is for plants that use solar cells, because at night the temperature in the desert falls dramatically and the water cools down.

So, the water must be reheated the next morning before power production can resume. Instead of relying on the sun to reheat the water, the Ivanpah plant burns natural gas.

A true description of Ivanpah, then, is that it is a hybrid solar-natural gas power plant. The electricity is not entirely solar produced, yet it is sold at the higher prices regulators allow for solar power, a benefit worth millions of dollars per year to Ivanpah’s owners.

This is how the solar scam works:

That’s how Ivanpah hits the “bad policy” trifecta that is all too common in today’s heavily subsidized renewable energy markets:

Rich consortium gets huge subsidies from taxpayers to build a plant. Check.  Regulators OK a contract that forces consumers to pay four to five times the going rate for its product. Check. And the product actually is nowhere near as “green” as people thought it’d be. Check.

The inconvenient truth is that Ivanpah uses a lot of natural gas to generate “solar” electricity, and neither the California Energy Commission nor the U.S. Department of Energy seems to care enough to come clean about it.

I am not opposed to solar energy. What I am opposed to is government meddling in the free market to the point where healthy competition is prevented from developing a product to generate energy that would be clean, efficient, and cheap enough to use. Since the dawn of science, scientists have been looking for a perpetual motion machine, and I wonder if the search for green energy is going to have the same amount of success. There are laws of physics involved in generating energy that control the process regardless of what the government, the power companies, or the consumers may want. Those rules are not variable and play a major part in our success in creating renewable energy.

Losing The First Amendment

Since the 1960’s (and possibly before that) our schools have been undermining the moral fiber of America. It began with teaching young children ‘situational ethics’ and introducing the idea that there really is not right and wrong–everything simply depends on the circumstances. The sexual revolution of the 1060’s further undermined the moral fiber of our culture. Meanwhile, colleges went from signing out of the dorm to go on a date to co-ed dorms. Many of the college students of the late 60’s had their traditional moral values destroyed during their college years. They then had children of their own and raised them accordingly. Our public (and at times, private) education system is largely responsible for destroying the moral fiber of America. Now California wants to pass a law that will accelerate the process and take away one refuge for parents who still believe in traditional morality and are raising their children that way.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about a new law being proposed by the California legislature.

The article explains:

California is considering a new bill that would remove a longstanding exemption from anti-discrimination lawsuits for religious colleges and universities.

The bill could potentially expose schools to civil rights lawsuits from students and employees, according to a report in the Associated Press.

Opponents of the bill, which include some schools, say it is an attack on religious liberty as the exemption allows them to craft campus policies in line with their faith. Religious institutions can currently assign housing through sex, and not on gender identity, and institute moral codes that include sexuality provisions.

How about creating a safe space for people who hold traditional values? A student does not have the right to attend any college he chooses–the college has the final say on who is admitted. By the same logic, if a parent or student does not like the social or moral policies or a college, they have the option of attending school somewhere else. The idea that a school has to bend to the will of a small minority that does not share its values and probably would not want to attend that school is somewhat illogical.

This is an infringement on the First Amendment rights of private schools and colleges. The problem occurs when these institutions accept federal or state money–‘free’ money always comes with strings attached.

The article reports:

Heads of religious colleges told the AP that the legislation would prevent them from signing an agreement with the schools to get state funding for low-income students.

The bill comes as red states have considered or approved laws that conservatives say strengthen religious freedoms. Supporters say such laws enable people to deny services that would violate religious beliefs, while opponents say they enable discrimination against LGBT individuals.

The proposed law illustrates two problems–first, the strings attached to any ‘free’ money, and second, the assault on those Americans who hold to traditional values. It is not my desire to discriminate in any way against members of the LGBT community, but in return, I expect them not to discriminate against my beliefs as well. The First Amendment says that the government cannot limit my freedom to practice my religion. The 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act was supposed to further insure that freedom. The fact that Congress thought it was necessary to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act actually tells us all we need to know about the current direction of America.


How Many Dead People Will Vote In November?

This is a story from May 2016, but it is very relevant to today’s events. On May 25, 2016, posted an article about voter fraud in Los Angeles. The story illustrates why voter identification laws are necessary.

The article reports:

A comparison of records by David Goldstein, investigative reporter for CBS2/KCAL9, has revealed hundreds of so-called dead voters in Southern California, a vast majority of them in Los Angeles County. “He took a lot of time choosing his candidates,” said Annette Givans of her father, John Cenkner. Cenkner died in Palmdale in 2003. Despite this, records show that he somehow voted from the grave in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010. But he’s not the only one. CBS2 compared millions of voting records from the California Secretary of State’s office with death records from the Social Security Administration and found hundreds of so-called dead voters. Specifically, 265 in Southern California and a vast majority of them, 215, in Los Angeles County alone. The numbers come from state records that show votes were cast in that person’s name after they died. In some cases, Goldstein discovered that they voted year after year.

This one local reporter, using this one method, uncovered hundreds of dead voters in just one small corner of the country — some of whom “voted year after year” after their deaths.

I wonder how many dead people will vote for Hillary Clinton.

What Happened To Equal Justice Under The Law?

Yesterday The Navy Times reposted a story from last July.

Here are the highlights of the story:

A federal attorney announced Wednesday that Bryan Nishimura of Folsom, California, pleaded guilty to the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials.

Nishimura, deployed in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 as a regional engineer, admitted to downloading classified briefings and digital records onto his personal electronic devices. He carried the materials off base and brought them back to the U.S. when his deployment ended.

An FBI search of Nishimura’s home turned up classified materials, but did not reveal evidence he intended to distribute them.

He was sentenced to two years of probation and a $7,500 fine, and was ordered to surrender his security clearance. He is barred from seeking a future security clearance.

Note that he is barred from seeking a future security clearance because of the way he handled classified materials. If the law were enforced equally, would a President Hillary Clinton be allowed to have a security clearance? Should candidate Hillary Clinton be allowed to handle classified information based on the statements by FBI Director James Comey? Does the law apply to everyone?

It’s Time To Elect People Who Have Read The U.S. Constitution

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article quoting a letter written by nineteen California legislators to the state attorney general.

The article reports:

California congressmen wrote a letter to state attorney general Kamala Harris claiming the freedom of speech “is not designed to protect fraud and deceit” of the likes being spread by oil company ExxonMobil about global warming.

Nineteen Democratic lawmakers told Harris her “investigation as to whether ExxonMobil lied about the truth of climate change and misled investors does not constitute an effort to silence speech or scientific research.

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it does not protect companies from defrauding the American people or improperly disclosing information to their shareholders,” lawmakers, including California Reps. Maxine Waters and Ted Lieu, wrote to Harris.

So these legislators want the attorney general to decide which speech is protected. Evidently they believe that only some speech is protected by the First Amendment. I think I have heard this story before in Animal Farm where all animals were equal, but some animals were more equal than others.

I Guess Representative Joe Wilson Was Right

The Washington Examiner reported today that California will ask for a waiver to cover illegal aliens under ObamaCare.

A Politico article posted last July explains how this works:

The California bill wouldn’t immediately open the state’s exchange to undocumented immigrants, who are primarily Latino. Instead, it would direct California to seek permission from the federal Department of Health and Human Services through an Obamacare waiver program that allows states to shape their own health care reforms.

However, the administration hasn’t spelled out the guidelines for the “state innovation waivers” program, which doesn’t start until 2017, and it’s unclear whether the White House would rethink its Obamacare coverage ban for undocumented immigrants. An HHS spokesperson said the department hasn’t discussed the California proposal with state officials and declined to comment on the bill.

Note that the waiver program was already built into the law. The Republicans in Congress have believed from the beginning of ObamaCare that the Democrat’s plan was to cover illegal aliens.

Wikipedia reminds us of an event that underlined that point:

On September 9, 2009, Wilson shouted at President Barack Obama while Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to outline his proposal for reforming health care.[35] During his address, Obama said: “There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”[36] In a breach of decorum,[37] Wilson pointed at Obama and shouted, “You lie!” twice.[38][39][40][41] Wilson attracted national and international attention for the incident.[42][43] He said afterwards that his outburst reflected his view that the bill would provide government-subsidized benefits to illegal immigrants.[44]

Then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel immediately approached senior Republican lawmakers and asked them to identify the heckler and urge him to apologize immediately.[45] Members of Congress from both parties condemned the outburst. “Totally disrespectful”, said Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) of Wilson’s utterance. “No place for it in that setting or any other and he should apologize immediately.”[46][47] Wilson said later in a statement:

This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.[48]

Obama later accepted Wilson’s apology. “I’m a big believer that we all make mistakes”, he said. “He apologized quickly and without equivocation and I’m appreciative of that.”[49]

What Joe Wilson did was a total breach of decorum, but he was the only one in the room telling the truth to the American people. It is obvious that the President was lying and the Congressman was telling the truth.


Wasting The Time Of The Local Deputy Sheriff

Yesterday The Conservative Tribune posted an article about an incident in Palmdale, California, that illustrates the erosion of free speech in America.

The article reports:

The boy, a student at Desert Rose Elementary School in Palmdale, always got an encouraging note along with a Bible verse packed in his lunch every day. Other students were curious about the notes, packed by his mother, Christina Zavala, and expressed that they, too, would like to have some.

Zavala was more than happy to oblige.

The above story is a very simple example of how little kids do things–if your mom puts something in your lunch box that is unique, the other kids want one too.

The story continues:

However, it didn’t take long for school officials to put an end to the sharing. On April 18, Zavala was told by a teacher that her son could no longer share the Bible verses at school, but he could share them outside the school gate after the bell rang.

Apparently that was not enough, and on May 9, the school’s principal banned sharing Bible verses on school property altogether, citing school policy.

And just to make sure the family understood the school’s firm stance, a deputy sheriff was dispatched to the Zavala’s home to reinforce the message.

What law was broken? Why would a deputy sheriff visit the child’s home? What is the school afraid of? Does the child not have First Amendment rights?

This is the correct response to the school principal‘s actions:

Attorney Richard Mast, who represented the Zavala family, told Fox News the visit was “outrageous and should shock the conscious of every freedom-loving American.”

“Apparently all the real criminals have been dealt with in Palmdale — and now they’re going after kids who share Bible verses during lunch time,” he added.

Raul Maldonado, superintendent of Palmdale School District, said he was reviewing the matter and did not answer questions regarding the sheriff’s visit to the Zavala’s residence.

Liberty Counsel has demanded the school stop suppressing and censoring the religious freedom of students. If they do not comply, they could face a federal lawsuit.

Little kids share. Let them.


Common Sense Rears Its Head posted an article today about a Los Angeles Times reporter who was surprised to find Latinos who are supporting Donald Trump for President. Robin Abcarian attended a Donald Trump rally in Fresno, California, and was surprised to find Latino supporters of Trump there.

The article reports:

It turns out that many of them are American citizens or legal immigrants who care about the country’s borders, and share the same views as fellow conservatives Republicans on a variety of issues.

His rhetoric about Mexicans doesn’t bother you, I asked?

“It’s about illegal aliens!” Jennings said. “Mom and I can’t go to Canada and just squat and get benefits. We couldn’t go to Mexico either without the proper paperwork. They’d put us in jail!”

“I’m Mexican,” Aderhold said, “and I understand that Mexicans do the farm labor, but there are a lot of legal ones. That’s how they should do it, the way my parents did.”

Note that these people were here legally. The people who have come to America legally do not want to see our borders erased–they want other people to stand in line and do things legally as they did. It is not a surprise to hear that many of them are supporting Donald Trump.

The Cost Of Paying A Higher Minimum Wage

Yesterday Twitchy reported that Wendy’s will be introducing self-service kiosks in their 6000 stores nationwide this year.

Investor’s Business Daily reported yesterday:

Wendy’s Penegor said company-operated stores, only about 10% of the total, are seeing wage inflation of 5% to 6%, driven both by the minimum wage and some by the need to offer a competitive wage “to access good labor.”

It’s not surprising that some franchisees might face more of a labor-cost squeeze than company restaurants. All 258 Wendy’s restaurants in California, where the minimum wage rose to $10 an hour this year and will gradually rise to $15, are franchise-operated. Likewise, about 75% of 200-plus restaurants in New York are run by franchisees. New York’s fast-food industry wage rose to $10.50 in New York City and $9.75 in the rest of the state at the start of 2016, also on the way to $15.

Wendy’s plans to cut company-owned stores to just 5% of the total.

There are some things those asking for significant increases to the minimum wage should keep in mind. Very few people are actually attempting to support families on minimum wage jobs–generally those holding those jobs are people attempting to enter the work force for the first time. These jobs allow them to develop basic workplace skills–showing up on time, being polite to customers, and showing up for work every day. Companies are in business to make a profit. If they do not make a profit, there is no reason for them to stay in business. No government has the right to determine what profit is acceptable–left alone, the free market will do that. Part of our current problem is that the government has interfered so much with the free market, that that normal checks and balances within the free market are not working as they should. The solution would be to get the government out of the marketplace–let businesses complete for workers and pay them what is necessary. It is also telling that because economic growth in America is currently slow, workers who would not normally be working in minimum wage jobs are working there.

Be Careful What You Support

Investor’s Business Daily is reporting that a week after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s $15 minimum wage boost into law, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent a memo to employees announcing that 500 jobs were getting cut.

The article reports:

Those workers might want to have a chat with the folks at UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research, who just days before Brown signed the wage-hike bill released a study touting the minimum wage as a boon to low-income household breadwinners.

After that report came out, Ken Jacobs, chairman of the UC Berkeley center, told the Los Angeles Times, “This is a very big deal for low-wage workers in California, for their families and for their children.”

It is a big deal, as well, to those soon to be out of work UC Berkeley workers.

But why is anyone surprised about jobs cuts following a wage hike? It’s one of the most basic laws of economics. Any high school kid taking Econ 101 can explain it:  If you raise the price of something, demand goes down.

Keep in mind, too, that a $15 minimum wage is more than twice the federal minimum wage today. And it would set the wage floor higher than it’s ever been. On an inflation-adjusted basis, the minimum wage peaked in 1968 at just over $10 an hour.

In a strong economy, raising the minimum wage might not be as much of a problem, but in an economy that is not rapidly expanding, companies simply do not have a large enough profit margin to handle the increase in the cost of employees. The demand for an increase in the minimum wage also overlooks the fact that most of the people who hold minimum-wage jobs are people who are just entering the work force. It is in that entry-level job that new employees learn basic skills–such as showing up on time, following directions, being responsible, etc. Those minimum-wage jobs give young people the skills they need to move on to higher-paying jobs. Increasing the minimum wage to the point where there will be less minimum-wage jobs accomplishes nothing positive. Unfortunately, it has become a Democratic policy talking point, and because of that, more young people who support this idea will lose their jobs if they succeed in increasing the minimum wage.