Child Abuse In Our Schools

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about a lawsuit filed by some parents against an Oregon school district. The case began with an 8-year-old boy with a stomach issue and ends with that child being encouraged to be a girl.

The article reports:

Parents in Woodburn said their 8-year-old son was held back from recess multiple times for one-on-one conversations about his gender identity – and they had no idea.

The mother and father in Woodburn are now suing a school district for nearly a million dollars after they say a second-grade teacher singled out their son by asking him if he was transgender. The parents say the teacher had inappropriate conversations with the child at school without their permission. …

The parents say this all started when their son started using the staff restroom because of a stomach problem. They say their son was uncomfortable using the boy’s bathroom because of his medical condition. However, they believe the teacher assumed their son was uncomfortable because he was transgender.

“Still today, a year later, if he plays with my niece, he’s a girl in that moment… if he plays with my nephew, he’s a boy,” said the mother.

The mother says her son was left confused and hurt after being singled out. Now, a year later, the 9-year-old is taking anxiety medication and going to therapy, according to his parents. The family says the boy’s confusion and emotional distress has also affected the entire family. The father says he’s suffering from panic attacks and the mother says she’s now on medical leave, suffering from anxiety and depression, and staying home from work.

It is entirely possible that the panic attacks and anxiety on the part of the parents might be something of an overreaction, but their complaint is certainly valid.

The article notes:

There’s video at the link, but it’s not embeddable here. Bear in mind that this wasn’t a teenager, which might be bad enough, but an eight year old with a stomach problem. Even granting the best of possible intentions, why wouldn’t the first step in dealing with suspicions of gender dysphoria be to contact the child’s parents? It’s not as if the parents in this case are social neanderthals, at least from the perspective of Academia. They tell reporter Bonnie Silkman in the video that they aren’t concerned about what identity he chooses as long as he chooses it, and not get indoctrinated into it by an activist teacher.

The article concludes:

The most impressively loco part of this story is that the teacher still works at the school — a full year after the school confirmed the parents’ story. The only correction the teacher received was to be reminded of the district’s policies on “controversial issues” and to notify parents and the school when she “alters a student’s regular school day.” Meanwhile, this family will be dealing with the aftershocks of her actions for years.

The school district declined to comment on the story because of the lawsuit, but they might owe an explanation to the other parents in the district, especially to those whose children are within this teacher’s supervision. How many other children has she attempted to indoctrinate into transgender identities? And how many of the parents in this school district — and elsewhere — might start considering private schools or home-schooling to protect their children from predatory behavior?

If I had children in that school district, this article would cause me to consider seriously the option of home-schooling.

Actions Have Consequences

Most Americans strive to preserve the environment, despite how the more radical environmentalists portray them. The problem occurs when there is a small risk to the environment but a benefit to people.  Anything civilization does will probably incur a small risk to the environment, but benefits and risks need to be weighed carefully. New York State is paying a price for the actions of some of its more radical environmentalists.

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about some consequences of recent environmental activist victories.

The article reports:

If you know anything about New York in the modern era (both the state and the Big Apple), you’re likely aware that it’s not exactly a friendly landscape for the oil and gas industry. The “Keep it in the ground” crowd has a lot of influence with the Democrats who control the government. That why, back in 2013, when the new Constitution Pipeline was proposed to carry natural gas from Pennsylvania’s rich shale oil fields to New York, activists were able to block the construction despite it already having been approved by federal regulators. Similarly, when National Grid (the local energy consortium) requested an extension to the Williams Co. Transco pipeline, they were also tied up because of the outcry from environmental activists.

Here comes the surprise that nobody could have possibly seen coming. The city and its surrounding downstate region are still expanding with new construction projects, but their energy suppliers have told them that they will not be able to supply natural gas to any new customers because they’re already at capacity.

The article concludes with some interesting irony:

The additional ironic twist to all of this is they don’t even need those long pipelines to begin with. Or at least they wouldn’t need them if they were thinking clearly. The southern section of upstate New York is sitting on some of the richest natural gas deposits in the country in the form of the Marcellus Shale deposits. It’s the same formation delivering all of that natural gas over the border in Pennsylvania. But Andrew Cuomo and his Democratic buddies pushed through a moratorium on any and all natural gas drilling and it’s still in place today.

The state could be producing its own natural gas and supplying New York City more cheaply, but they’re refusing to do it out of spite. And now they’ve outstripped their fuel supply. This entire situation would be hilarious if it weren’t creating such a massive SNAFU for the energy grid.

I guess if you live in New York, you’d better make sure you have a working fireplace that you can cook on. The environmentalists put questionable science over the practical needs of people.

Taxes For Thee, But Not For Me

Hot Air posted an article today about the infrastructure bill being discussed in Washington. No one doubts that we need to make major repairs on our infrastructure; the question is how to pay for these repairs.

The Hill reports on a suggestion by Republican Chris Collins:

A Trump ally on Capitol Hill is calling for the doubling of the federal gas tax and airline fees in order to pay for the $2 trillion infrastructure package being negotiated by President Trump and Democratic leaders.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) is urging Congress to double the 18.4-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax, which has not been raised in more than a quarter century. He also wants to double the existing fee that airline passengers pay per flight.

“I not only support increasing the gas tax; I support doubling it. I support doubling the airline passenger fee from $4.50 to $8 or $9. Those are user fees. I won’t even call it a tax,” Collins told The Hill in an interview after Trump and Democratic leaders agreed Tuesday to try to fund a $2 trillion bill to improve the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Hold on there a minute, Congressman Collins. According to answers.com:

Members of Congress gets their gasoline free , although some pay for their gas out of pocket But don’t stop there. Those that pay for their gas will turn in their gas receipt and get their money back. Don’t believe me , just ask your friendly member of Congress.

Members of Congress also fly at government expense. So who is impacted by doubling the gasoline tax and doubling the existing fee that airline passengers pay per flight? It’s the ‘little people’–it’s not members of Congress. This is exactly the mentality that President Trump was elected to combat. This is another example of Congress putting a burden on the American people that Congress does not have to share. Any Republican Congressman that votes to increase any tax needs to be reminded why he was elected. Any Congressman that suggests a tax that will impact average Americans, but not Congress needs to face a primary opponent in the next election.

False Advertising

Hot Air posted an article today about the 5K Family Fun Run Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held in Queens, New York, on Saturday.

The article reports:

It started innocently enough. AOC advertised the 5K run as an opportunity to support her far left aspirational environmental policy known as the Green New Deal. It was billed as “a Family Fun Run supporting U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal on the Saturday following Earth Day.” That’s a clear statement, right? The message says come out and support AOC’s Green New Deal. Period.

It turns out that the $30 registration fee plunked down by participants went directly into AOC’s campaign coffers. Instead of saving the planet, they are saving AOC’s congressional seat. Ocasio-Cortez even told the runners that the purpose was to “fight for the Green New Deal together.” It is reported that 400 people turned out for the event. So, that’s a tidy sum for a campaign to raise on a Saturday afternoon in a congressional district.

It seems that charging children a registration fee when the money is going into campaign coffers is a violation of campaign laws–it is illegal for parents to donate their money on behalf of their children. I  somewhat sympathize with Representative Ocasio-Cartez on this one. Campaign laws are complicated, and it is easy to violate them unintentionally. However, it does appear that the advertising for this run was misleading at best.

The article concludes:

So, the moral of the story is to read the fine print, just as your parents told you to do as you became old enough to sign your name on the dotted line.

The questions you have to answer when you contribute to a political campaign are a bit much–if you are retired, you have to list what you did for work before you retired. Why is that important? At any rate, campaign laws are complex, and candidates ought to have someone on their staff to make sure they are in compliance. This was a rookie mistake.

Promises Made, Promises Broken

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about the latest twists and turns in the Jussie Smollett case. The article notes that two days ago Kim Foxx told the media that she thought the court had sealed Smollett’s court file due to a misunderstanding and that it would be unsealed once the error was recognized. Well, things have changed.

The article reports:

The state prosecutors’ association also faulted Cook County prosecutors for not objecting to a defense request to immediately seal the court file at Tuesday’s brief, unannounced hearing. By Tuesday evening, all traces of the case had been deleted from court records.

In an interview Wednesday with the Tribune, Foxx said she believed the case file had only been sealed due to a misunderstanding — and that the seal did not apply to the entire court file. Nevertheless, she said, the case file would be unsealed.

However, on Thursday, an office spokeswoman backed off that claim, saying the case file would remain under seal in its entirety by court order.

The Chicago Tribune ran to court yesterday to try to prevent Smollett’s lawyers from moving to expunge his file, which conceivably would mean all records related to the case getting destroyed. Smollett’s lawyers insisted they won’t try to do that — surely you trust them — and the presiding judge assured the Tribune’s attorneys that records wouldn’t be destroyed even if the file ultimately was expunged. “That isn’t what we do in Cook County,” he said.

So, look out next week for the inevitable headline, “SMOLLETT RECORDS DESTROYED AFTER FILE EXPUNGED; FOXX KNOWS NOTHING.”

Stay tuned.

 

 

Should A Representative Republic Represent Its Citizens?

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about a recent vote in the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

In the Democrats’ rush to pass HR1, a serious snag emerged for Nancy Pelosi and the rest of her party’s leadership. Republicans were able to force a vote on adding language to the supposed voting rights bill condemning the idea of illegal aliens voting in any elections. It simply read, “allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens.”

Sounds fairly basic, right? It’s already against the law for illegal aliens to vote in federal elections, though a few liberal municipalities have moved to allow them to cast ballots on the local level, such as in school board elections. Surely this is one area where we can generate some bipartisan consensus, yes? Apparently not. Out of the Democrats’ significant majority in the House, they only managed to find six people who were willing to support the measure and it went down in flames.

There are a few basic facts here that seem to have been overlooked. Illegal aliens are guests of America. They may have broken into the country, but they are guests. Do you let your household guests make decisions about how you run your household? Isn’t the running of the household left up to the permanent residents in charge? The fact that this amendment to HR1 did not pass tells you what HR1 is actually about.

I have written about H.R. 1 before (here, here, and here). If you are not familiar with the bill, please take a look at it. The bill is unconstitutional–Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution gives the states power over elections. H.R. 1 would give the federal government control of elections. Federalizing elections would also make it much easier to tamper with the results–because elections in states are not linked together, undermining them takes a much more widespread effort and is generally not worth it.

If you truly care about preserving our republic for our children, you need to vote all the Democrats who voted not to prohibit illegal aliens from voting out of office. People who are not here legally should not have a say in how our country is run. An illegal voter cancels out the vote of an American citizen. That is simply not right.

The article concludes:

I realize this theme gets beaten to death in the early days of any primary, as the numerous candidates race to shore up their support with the base, but just how far left can they go? Opposing the idea of allowing non-citizens, particularly those in the country illegally, to cast votes in American elections is not a fringe or even particularly right-wing idea. It’s baked into the fabric of the national consciousness. Even beyond the folks who will eventually wind up running for president, each of these Democratic House members is going to have to answer for this vote when they come up for reelection themselves. (And particularly in the more purple districts, you can rest assured that their Republican opponents will make sure they do.)

Tack on their votes in favor of infanticide recently and you’ve got a large chunk of the party – not just their POTUS hopefuls – who are veering so far to the left that the GOP may end up having a much better season than anyone is anticipating. What’s up next for the donkey party? Shutting down all Christian churces as “hate groups?”

Representative Lee Zeldin Explains Why He Did Not Vote For The Democrats’ Resolution Condemning Hate

Representative Zeldin’s speech condemning the Democrats’ resolution on hate speech was posted at Hot Air today. I wonder if anyone is listening. Here is the speech:

 

Attacked For Doing His Job

A smart police force keeps track of groups coming into town to hold rallies or protests. I am sure that any time the Tea Party or Antifa holds a rally in a city, the police are aware of the gathering and keep close tabs on it. That is their job. However, some of the residents of Portland, Oregon, seem to be unaware of the procedures involved in policing rallies.

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about some recent events in Portland.

The article reports:

Last week a Portland police lieutenant named Jeff Niiya was accused of colluding with right-wing protest group Patriot Prayer after a string of his texts were released to the public. Lt. Niiya’s job is to coordinate with protest groups coming to the city and the texts show him doing just that, i.e. chatting with Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson about the group’s intentions and planned movements. As I noted last week, Lt. Niiya has previously been in close contact with a member of Antifa who became an outcast when other members of the group learned she’d be talking with police.

…Despite the fact that it was the Mayor’s own office requesting the information Lt. Niiya was gathering on Patriot Prayer, the investigation prompted by Niiya’s texts remains ongoing. As part of that process, Police Chief Outlaw scheduled a listening session to hear the community’s concerns Thursday night. Reporter Andy Ngo, who attended the meeting, says it quickly became a “sh*tshow” and a “circus of identity politics and hysteria.”

Some attendees at the listening session called for the Portland police to be disbanded. This sort of foolishness in Portland is not all that unusual.

The article concludes:

It’s not hard to imagine why Antifa anarchists like the idea of a city without a police force. That’s pretty much what they got last August when Mayor Ted Wheeler allowed an Occupy ICE camp full of vile extremists to grow and fester. Protestesters became so violent that ICE officers called 911 for help but Mayor Wheeler ordered the police not to respond. When the same mob turned on a woman running a food cart and burned it down, the police never responded. In the end, it was Police Chief Danielle Outlaw who demanded the Mayor allow her to clear out the camp. Naturally, the protesters left behind loads of garbage for the city to clean up.

At this point, Chief Outlaw seems to be one of the few city officials with any sense. Hopefully, she won’t buckle under the pressure from extremists to condemn Lt. Niiya.

This would be comical if it were not so serious.

Recycling Bad Ideas

Hot Air posted an article today about Democrat Presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Both candidates have stated that they would be in favor of reparations for black Americans.

The article reports:

Last week, Senator Kamala Harris of California agreed with a radio host’s recent suggestion that government reparations for black Americans were necessary to address the legacies of slavery and discrimination. Ms. Harris later affirmed that support in a statement to The Times…

Ms. Warren also said she supported reparations for black Americans impacted by slavery — a policy that experts say could cost several trillion dollars, and one that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and many top Democrats have not supported…

“We must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country that has had many consequences, including undermining the ability of black families to build wealth in America for generations,” Ms. Warren told The Times. “We need systemic, structural changes to address that.”

I would like to suggest that this might not be a winning issue. The article notes that last year Rasmussen found 70 percent of Americans opposed to reparations for slavery.

How would reparations be a positive thing? The money would have to come from somewhere. The people who paid increased taxes to pay reparations would resent it. Also, what about people in families that were not here during slavery? Also, how would you prove that a black person had ancestors who were slaves? How about reparations for the soldiers who fought against slavery? How about reparations for the Native Americans for the way they were treated? How about reparations for the Japanese interred during World War II? How about reparations for the Irish indentured servants who were treated badly?

As you can see, this would be the beginning of a journey down a very slippery slope. How about we make sure that all people of every color are treated equally under the law and given equal opportunity? How about we work to change the culture in low income communities of all colors to encourage intact families, a culture of learning, and a strong work ethic? Encouraging those three things would do more to increase the wealth of poor black communities than all the reparations in the world ever could.

 

Denying Science In A Way That Is Politically Correct

When you are born, you have either an x and a y chromosome or two xx chromosomes. Men have and x and a y, and women have two x’s. These chromosomes determine your biological makeup. There are only two options. However, lately politicians have decided to ignore the science and determine sex without consulting any obvious physical characteristics.

Hot Air posted an article today with the following headline: “Gillibrand: We need to federally recognize a third gender.”

The article reports:

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is going to great lengths to establish her far-left bona fides heading into the Democrat’s POTUS primary. This weekend she upped the ante even further by jumping onto the transgender rights bandwagon. When asked by a reporter, Gillibrand indicated that she would certainly be in favor of recognizing a third gender (defined as “X” or none of the above) at the federal level.

Isn’t that basically denying science?

The article concludes:

But now that she’s on the record, it may be time to ask her what happened to that whole thing about Democrats being “the party of science.” That’s the position they claim to take every time the subject of climate change comes up. But there is absolutely zero, zilch, nada evidence in medical science that human beings can be some sort of “third gender” or be “genderless” if they decide they don’t feel like one or the other. The only exceptions would be intersex individuals with genetic aberrations to the 23rd chromosomal pair. Such individuals should be able to pick whichever gender they prefer (of the two available choices) for purposes of legal classification. But as for the other 99.99% of the population, applying such a standard to legal documents can cause any number of complications for everything from law enforcement needs to federal allocation programs.

To be clear, you can call yourself whatever you want. I don’t object to it personally and the government has no business suppressing your speech in that fashion. But just because you happen to be in denial of reality, that doesn’t mean that the rest of us (or the government) are under any obligation to go along with your views. Gillibrand is running off to join the circus of politicians beclowning themselves in an effort to establish themselves at the far leftmost extreme of the ideological spectrum. But looking at the latest poll numbers, she isn’t making the sale to the socialist base thus far and it’s tough to imagine this will do the trick.

The Democrats are working very hard to make something that used to be very simple very complicated. Let’s go back to having boy babies and girl babies. It was much easier.

This Makes My Heart Hurt

Yesterday Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about the spending bill the President signed this morning.

The article notes:

Forty-eight hours before the government would have shut down, Congress produced the conference report containing the seven remaining funding bills for the FY2019 budget. And less than 20 hours after producing the 1,159-page monstrosity, both the House and the Senate are expected to pass the bill. Perhaps members will take a nap with it under their pillow to absorb it by osmosis.

It’s not a good bill, and even if it were, how would anyone know? I am sure some members of Congress assigned various sections of the bill to staff members in the hopes of getting most of it read, but this is no way to run a country.

Meanwhile, the President is charged with defending our borders. We have had and continue to have thousands of people forming caravans to break into our country. Any public official who took an oath to defend our Constitution has an obligation to defend our borders. I really don’t understand why that is so difficult to understand. Well, yes I do–it’s about money and voters. When the Democrats look at illegal aliens, they see Democrat voters. Illegal aliens are already allowed to vote in local elections in some cities and states. When Republicans look at illegal aliens, they see cheap labor. Since much of the campaign money for Republicans comes from PAC’s related to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (made up of corporations that support cheap labor), Republicans are not inclined to seal our borders.

So what impact does illegal immigration have on those of us who are ordinary citizens? In June 2018, Numbers USA reported:

A recent report by the Migration Policy Institute, entitled Chilling Effects: The Expected Public Charge Rule and Its Impact on Legal Immigrant Families’ Public Benefits Use, revealed that 10.3 million out of the 22 million foreign nationals in the U.S. receive benefits from at least one welfare program funded by taxpayer dollars. Additionally, 54.2% of foreign national children, age 17 and younger, are granted welfare benefits. The data also showed that 46.3% of foreign national welfare recipients are adults, age 18 to 54, and 47.8% are older than 54.

MPI examined a leaked draft of an executive order that would deny green cards to individuals who use public benefits, or have relatives who do. The report goes on to explain how the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule would reduce the number of foreign nationals on welfare, cause a decrease in immigration levels, and make it more difficult for foreign nationals and their dependents to be eligible for welfare benefits.

A website called nokidhungry.org reports that 17.9 percent of American children under the age of 18 are living in households that experienced limited or uncertain availability of safe, nutritious food at some point during the year. (Source: Feeding America). That number is a disgrace when you consider the amount of money we provide to poor families in this country, but it also illustrates the fact that we cannot afford to support more low-income families–particularly if they are not American citizens.

It is pathetic that Congress could not support preserving our country. Thank God we have a President who is willing to fight to preserve America.

Most People Got Bigger Tax Refunds This Year Than Last Year

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about this year’s tax refunds. The article was in response to a Washington Post article claiming that people were getting lower tax refunds this year than last year.

The article at Hot Air pointed out a number of things that might result in getting a smaller tax refund:

But since we have to play this game, let’s figure out why your refund is smaller. Did you get a raise or a significant bonus last year? Did you perhaps start a new job that pays more? Were there any other major changes in your financial situation? Tax filing company Intuit has a list of possible explanations you could look for. They include things such as your filing status changing, the selling of assets or the possibility that you were hit with a penalty.

There will be a small number of people who lost out on part of their SALT (state and local tax) deductions, but that should really only have a significant impact on people in high-tax states like New York who are earning well into six figures. As for everyone else, if your income went up, did you adjust your withholdings accordingly? If not, perhaps you need to have a chat with an accountant.

The article also reminds us that a tax refund is a refund of the money that you gave to the government during the year. You allowed them to have that money interest free until you filed your tax return and they were obligated to give the money back to you. Ideally, your tax refund should be small–that means that you correctly calculated the amount of money you actually owed the government. The question is not how big your tax refund is–the question is how much money you actually paid in taxes. The size of your tax refund is simply a reflection of how much money the government took from you during the year.

Undermining Elections One State At A Time

I think most people understand that the Democrats look at people entering America illegally as future Democrat voters. However, it seems as if some of those expected votes are not happening in the future–they are happening now.

On Friday, Hot Air reported that the Texas Secretary of State has reported that as many as 58,000 non-citizens voted in elections in Texas between 1996 and 2018.

The Houston Chronicle reported that there has been some pushback on this statement:

“There is no credible data that indicates illegal voting is happening in any significant numbers, and the Secretary’s statement does not change that fact,” said Beth Stevens, Voting Rights Legal Director with the Texas Civil Rights Project.

Stevens said she is concerned about how the state is identifying the suspected non-citizen voters.

The Secretary of State’s office insists the data is accurate and relies on documents that the voters themselves submitted to DPS when they were trying to obtain drivers licenses. Non-citizens are eligible to get a Texas drivers license, but they are not allowed to register to vote.

“It is important to note that we are not using information self-reported by the person regarding citizenship status; rather, we are using documents provided by the person to show they are lawfully present in the United States,” the state’s director of elections, Keith Ingram, wrote in a notice to registrars in all 254 counties in Texas.

The article at Hot Air concludes:

Also, it’s not as if the Texas Secretary of State makes this announcement and suddenly the names on his list are removed. The Secretary of State in Texas doesn’t have the power to remove anyone from the voter rolls, so that will be done by county-level registrars. Those officials will check the names and give each identified person 30 days to demonstrate proof of citizenship. Only if they fail to do that or don’t respond at all will they be removed from the rolls.

It seems to me what’s really at stake here is the presumption that large-scale voter fraud doesn’t happen. If Texas can substantiate even a fraction of this list it would change the dynamic of future conversations about non-citizen voting. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens.

We need to remember that every vote by a non-citizen cancels out the legal vote of a citizen. For those claiming that cleaning up the voter rolls disenfranchises people, what about the citizens disenfranchised by non-citizen votes?

 

A Wall For Thee But Not For Me

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about some recent comments by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. It seems that walls work in other places, but they don’t work in America when President Trump wants them.

The article reports:

Baier (Bret Baier of Fox News)pressed on this point, asking Hoyer about border barriers that have already been built: “Would you remove those existing barriers because you say they don’t work?”

“No, no,” Hoyer replied.

“So they work there?” Baier asked. Hoyer rambled for a bit about people living along the Rio Grande and eventually, Baier asked him again, “So they work some places.”

“Obviously they work some places,” Hoyer said as if it hadn’t taken three minutes of concerted effort to get him to admit the obvious.

Not only do they work in some places, America has helped finance them in some places.

Some places in the world where border walls are used for security:

India and Pakistan

Morocco and Algeria

Israel and the West Bank

Cyprus

Northern Ireland

Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Saudi Arabia and Iraq

Turkey and Syria

Kenya and Somalia

The list is courtesy of The Washington Examiner.

So even some Democrats know that walls work, and the amount of money requested to build a wall is a totally insignificant part of the budget, so what is this about? Do not be fooled. The establishment Republicans do not want the wall any more than the Democrats do. To the Democrats, open borders represent future voters. To the Republicans, open borders represent cheap labor for their corporate sponsors who belong to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There is also the added aspect of the Washington establishment finally getting a victory over President Trump. The only way Americans are going to ever have a voice in Washington is if they clear out ALL of the establishment politicians in both parties. Term limits might be a really good place to start.

Legislating Against The Middle Class

Everyone loves vacations–the adventure of spending a few days in a different place and relaxing. However, vacations are not cheap. Travel can be expensive, and hotels are expensive. Several alternatives to hotels have appeared in recent years to make vacations more affordable and to give Americans a way to supplement their income–companies like Airbnb provide cheaper lodging at popular destinations and allow people to earn extra income by renting out their houses on a short-term basis. Needless to say, hotels are not happy about the existence of a cheaper alternative. In Massachusetts, the hotel lobby has been successful in creating regulations that will greatly limit the availability of Airbnb lodging.

On December 30, Hot Air posted an article about a law recently passed in Massachusetts that will probably end Airbnb in that state.

The article reports:

Baker (Governor Charlie Baker) is touting this as a compromise which he claims is able to, “avoid placing undue burdens on occasional renters.” This is nonsense, of course, because in order to qualify for the exemptions to most (though not all) of these new burdens on hosts, you can only rent out your room for a maximum of fourteen nights per year. For most hosts, that’s not going to be worth the bother of signing up for the app in the first place.

The article lists the new requirements for people who want to rent their property on a short-term basis:

And what are these burdens? First of all, anyone with a spare room will now have to carry the same type of insurance as a hotel chain, basically wiping out any profit they might make. On top of that, they’ll be paying a 5.7 percent state tax, plus another 6% tax if municipal or county governments decide to impose one.

Further, hosts will be legally required to list themselves on a publicly available registry. Proponents claim this allows neighbors to know who is renting out rooms to “strangers” but it’s obviously intended as an intimidation tactic, opening up hosts to public shaming, abuse or worse.

The bottom line here is that the hotel industry and their lobbyists have won a massive victory. They don’t like private citizens cutting into their business so they’ve greased the palms of enough politicians to essentially shut Airbnb down in the state. As the New York Times reported more than a year ago, leaked documents from the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) revealed, “a multipronged, national campaign approach at the local, state and federal level.” The goal of that campaign was to enlist elected Democrats to pass laws which would choke the life out of Airbnb and protect their profits. They specifically mentioned Boston as one of their key target markets, and now they have succeeded in bribing the state government to shut Airbnb down.

The article concludes:

It’s true that some people have begun “abusing” the system by purchasing large amounts of property and renting it out like a hotel using the app service. Perhaps a law like this might have been more palatable if it were applied only to people with more than ten rental units or something along those lines. But for all the private individuals with an extra room or a guest house who were using the system as originally intended and making a little extra money, this basically shuts them out of the game.

Airbnb already has one lawsuit in progress against Boston for similar municipal laws they passed earlier. Now they’re saying a new suit against the state may be coming. But if they find no satisfaction through the courts we’re probably seeing the beginning of the death of the gig economy along with the chance for private citizens to profit from their own homes or apartments.

I hope Airbnb wins their lawsuit. They are essentially the Uber of the hotel industry and are going to have to fight many of the battles against lobbyists that Uber had to fight.

Fact Meets Theory

John Sexton posted an article at Hot Air today about some parents who decided to try to raise their children ‘without feeling a lot of cultural pressure related to gender.’ It was an interesting experiment–eventually nature took over.

The article reports

At a time when more kids and teens are raising questions about the meaning of gender, Bonnie and Brian made a point of bringing up their children — Eliot and his sisters Toni, now 10, and Lena, 7 — in relatively gender-neutral ways. “It irked me when people said you can’t play with that because it’s a boy toy, or you can’t play with that because it’s a girl toy,” Bonnie says. They didn’t dress the girls in fancy pink baby clothes, for instance.

But no matter what Bonnie and Brian did, what happened looked a lot to them like nature taking over. The first time the family went to the local children’s museum, the parents laughed as 3-year-old Toni discovered princess dresses for the first time. She pulled them on with astonishment, as if to say, “Can you believe this?” Eliot, not yet able to talk, toddled away from her and right over to the train table.

“It’s funny,” Brian says. “I feel like I read stuff and listen to interviews with people that are like ‘Disney executives are driving little girls to want princess dresses!’ And I’m like, ‘Nope, little girls love this, and Disney’s making money off it.’ ” He laughs. “They just gravitated toward those things. They like what they like.”

Obviously not all little girls or all little boys will gravitate toward the same toys, but it is interesting to know that in most cases, there are some very basic differences between boys and girls. We need to recognize that all children are different and although they will have different strengths, there is more to the concept of gender than just a label.

How Cutting Taxes Creates Revenue

On November 16th, Hot Air posted an article about the impact of the Trump tax cuts on government revenue. As I am sure you remember, the Democrats called the tax cuts on individuals ‘crumbs’ and swore that the tax cuts would bankrupt the country. Well, that’s not exactly what happened.

The article reports:

Unemployment is at an historic low. Employment is at an all-time high. Wagers are growing after years of stagnation.

And now from all that increased economic activity, the federal government has just reported historic record tax revenues in October, the first month of the new fiscal year, of $252,692,000,000.

That’s more than $11.4 billion above revenue for October of last year, which was the previous record tax revenue for an October.

And it did this by collecting more than $3 billion less in personal income taxes, thanks to the tax cuts.

The new revenues were the result of increased business taxes because of increased business. Here’s how much different it was:

Corporation income tax receipts to the U.S. Treasury this year in October were a whopping $8,000,000,000. This compares to the previous October’s $3.8 billion.

Despite the record tax revenues in October, the federal government ran a deficit of $100.5 billion that month because, spending. That’s a problem that newly-elected members of Congress such as Indiana’s senator-elect Mike Braun, a businessman, said would be a major target in 2019.

The thing to remember here is that as unemployment decreases, government spending should also decrease. Unfortunately Congress did not get the message. Our problem is not the revenue–the problem is the spending. If either party were serious about curbing government spending, it would have been done by now. Obviously they are not. There are a few members of the Republican party who have been trying to put the brakes on runaway spending for years, but they are either not trying very hard or they are ineffective. At any rate, we need to elect Congressmen (regardless of party) who will pledge to bring the spending under control. It does no good to increase the revenue if the spending increases right along with it.

What Were These People Thinking?

Unfortunately politics is a blood sport. That is nothing new. It has been that way since the days of Julius Caesar.  Fortunately, not everyone in our nation who votes sees things that way. Many of us voice our opinions, but have no interest in threatening or promising to embarass people who do not do exactly what we want them to do. But there will always be a few people who say things or act in ways that actually harm their cause rather than help it.

Hot Air posted an article today that makes me wonder about the mentality behind a particular political campaign.

The article reports:

Supporters of Democratic candidate Scott Wallace in Pennsylvania’s First District have been going house to house and leaving some door hangers reminding people to vote. Nothing wrong with that message, of course, but these particular pieces are being described as Orwellian because of the implied threat they contain. Rather than simply saying you should get out and vote, the hangers have a cheerful message reminding the resident that records of whether or not you voted are public.

This is the door hanger:

I strongly believe everyone should vote. However, I wonder if this door hanger is helpful to the cause.

Things To Note…

European law, the Dublin Regulation, requires that asylum seekers register their asylum claim in the first country they arrive in, and that the decision of the first EU country they apply in is the final decision in all EU countries. This is the international law on asylum seekers. Somehow a lot of the American news media has neglected to mention that. The migrant caravan currently making its way to America is from Honduras. America is not the first country they have arrived in. It should also be noted that Mexico has a vested interest in stopping this caravan–if the caravan causes America to build the wall and stop illegal immigration, the amount of money sent from America to Mexico will decrease drastically. Those are only two aspects of the problem.

Hot Air posted an article about the caravan today dealing with some of the actions the Mexican government has taken regarding the caravan.

The article reports:

If you had any doubts about the intentions of the migrants in the Honduran caravan you can put them to rest. Mexico continues to make good faith efforts to deal with the flood of humanity in a legal fashion, but the organizers of the caravan have no interest in the law. This week the Mexican government offered the travelers refuge, supplies and the opportunity for permanent residency in two southern states if they applied for asylum. While hundreds of the Hondurans took them up on the offer, thousands more took a vote and decided once again to reject the plan, insisting that they were heading to the United States.

…As we’re seeing in this story, Mexico is also trying to take on the role of a Safe Third Country Agreement participant, even though we haven’t formalized that deal with them yet. By offering the migrants asylum status and temporary food and lodging while their claims are processed, there’s no reason the vast majority of them couldn’t remain in Chiapas and Oaxaca. It represents a major drain on Mexico’s resources to make such an offer and they should be earning a lot of credit and support from the United States for doing so.

Unfortunately, as I noted at the top, most of the migrants have no interest in accepting the offer. They plan to march on the United States border uninvited. We have no more ability to process that many requests in a short period of time than Mexico does and the travelers have already demonstrated what they plan to do if their demands can’t be immediately accommodated. They jumped one border crossing over from Guatemala to Mexico and they will obviously do it again when they reach the United States.

The caravan has more than 1,000 miles to go before they reach Texas. That gives us some time to come up with a plan to stop what can only honestly be described as an invasion. But that time isn’t unlimited, so the state and federal governments need to be working together and preparing for their arrival.

This may get very ugly, and we can depend on the American media to report anything that happens as unfairly as possible. However, we need to remember that as a sovereign county we have the right and responsibility to protect our borders. We also need to remember that the federal government is charged with protecting our borders. When the sympathy stories come out about these poor people, remember that they had a legal chance to settle in Mexico, they were paid to be part of the invasion of America’s southern border, and that the majority of them are military-age young men, The caravan heading for America is a disaster on many levels,

How To Spoil Your Daughter’s Fun

Evidently the idea of watching Disney movies has come into question as of late. I watched Tangled with my granddaughters and made a mental note of the fact that prince charming had a really checkered past. I watched Frozen with my granddaughters and noted that prince charming was a cad and a potential murderer. I watched Maleficent with my granddaughters and decided that Disney had been taken over by a group of radical feminists who were into special effects. Then I watched Into The Woods with my granddaughters and decided that Disney no longer dealt with moral lessons. At that point I gave up watching Disney movies with my granddaughters.

I grew up on Disney movies. Somehow I never expected a good-looking, rich man on a white horse to whisk me off to his castle where I would live happily ever after. After all, castles are drafty and generally don’t have central heating or air conditioning. I like my creature comforts. Well, evidently not all of today’s parents feel that common sense will overcome the lure of a handsome, rich man on a white horse with a castle.

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article that included the following:

This week there have been stories about two different Hollywood actresses who both find Disney Princess movies to be problematic in some way. Once celebrities are talking about it, it’s sure to become a trend if it wasn’t one already. First up is actress Keira Knightley who told Ellen Degeneres that she doesn’t allow her daughters to watch Cinderella or the Little Mermaid. From the BBC:

Knightley told Ellen DeGeneres that 1950’s Cinderella “waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don’t! Rescue yourself. Obviously!”

She said of Little Mermaid: “I mean, the songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello!”

The actress added: “And this is the one that I’m quite annoyed about because I really like the film. I love The Little Mermaid! That one’s a little tricky – but I’m keeping to it.”

The insanity continues:

Actress Kristen Bell, who starred in Disney’s megahit Frozen, also has problems with at least one of Disney’s princess films. During a recent interview with Parents magazine, she said she talks to her kids about elements of Snow White that bother her, including the kiss:

“Every time we close Snow White I look at my girls and ask, ‘Don’t you think it’s weird that Snow White didn’t ask the old witch why she needed to eat the apple? Or where she got that apple?’ I say, ‘I would never take food from a stranger, would you?’ And my kids are like, ‘No!’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m doing something right.’”

The apple question is not the only one that Bell—a Disney Princess herself as the voice of Anna in Frozen—has after reading the tale. “Don’t you think that it’s weird that the prince kisses Snow White without her permission?” Bell says she has asked her daughters. “Because you can not kiss someone if they’re sleeping!”

I just hope that these statements don’t discourage parents from letting their children enjoy Disney movies. The ones made in the early days of Disney were really fun.

From my friends at Power Line Blog:

School Policies Have Consequences

In 2013, the Obama Administration instituted the Promise Program (Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports & Education). The purpose of the program was to slow down the rate of students going directly from high school to prison. If essence, the Promise Program simply looked the other way if the students committed crimes. Broward County Florida schools adopted the program.

An article at a website called Matter of Cause posted the following:

Broward’s Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline was announced in early November. Instead of suspensions, students can now be referred to the PROMISE program, where they receive counseling for several days and then return to school. A host of non-violent misdemeanors no longer require an arrest, though officers can sometimes override that if they feel it is necessary (“I wanted to make sure deputies always had discretion,” says Scott Israel, Broward County’s sheriff). The school district’s Office of Minority Male Achievement reviews data to ensure that punishments for minor infractions and racial disparities are on the decline.

“There’s been success with other districts working to address parts of the problem,” says Alana Greer, an attorney with the Advancement Project who consulted on the agreement. In recent years, Los Angeles and Denver have limited the range of minor behavior infractions that can be punished by a suspension. “But what Broward did that really set it apart is they put together this incredible breadth of stakeholders. They have been able to not only address one piece of it, but create a set of policies that work together to hopefully eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline in Broward.”

Broward is unusual because representatives from law enforcement, the district, and the community were able to agree on reform, and the superintendent approved it. “In dealing with the previous administration, people were afraid to look at disparate impact issues,” says Weekes. “[Runcie] was not backing away from it.” The new superintendent released the data and acknowledged that the problem had a racial dynamic. “It’s a problem all over the country,” Runcie says, “and Broward is no exception.”

The article was very optimistic, but Hot Air posted an article today with the results of the program:

Broward County’s PROMISE program (which stands for Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports & Education) coincides with higher levels of violent crime among juveniles, even as levels of such crime have been falling statewide.

…Broward County now has the highest percentage of “the most serious, violent [and] chronic”juvenile offenders in Florida, according to the county’s chief juvenile probation officer…

Within two years of adopting the discipline reforms, Broward’s juvenile recidivism rate surged higher than the Florida state average.

The negative trends continued through last year, the most recent juvenile crime data show.

Prosecutors and probation officers complain that while overall juvenile arrests are down, serious violent crimes involving school-aged Broward youths – including armed robbery, kidnapping and even murder – have spiked, even as such violent crimes across the state have dropped.

Juvenile arrests for murder and manslaughter increased 150 percent between 2013 and 2016. They increased by another 50 percent in 2017. County juveniles were responsible for a total of 16 murders or manslaughters in the past two years alone, according to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice…

After Broward schools began emphasizing rehabilitation over incarceration, fights broke out virtually every day in classrooms, hallways, cafeterias and campuses across the district. Last year, more than 3,000 fights erupted in the district’s 300-plus schools, including the altercations involving Cruz. No brawlers were arrested, even after their third fight, and even if they sent other children to the hospital.

Federal data show almost half of Broward middle school students have been involved in fights, with many suffering injuries requiring medical treatment.

Because the students involved in the fights are considered “mutual combatants,” administrators tell parents they cannot be referred to police under the new discipline code.

The Promise Program may have sounded really good on paper, but it lacked a knowledge of human nature and teenagers–teenagers generally like to push boundaries. If they can get away with something, they will. That’s human nature. It was unrealistic to expect that undisciplined students would discipline themselves.

I Just Wish All Terrorists Were This Dumb

Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article about a would-be New York City terrorist. The way the New York Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered this plot is somewhat amazing.

The police were investigating a bomb threat called into a school. When a 15-year-old student was bored in class one day, her teacher, Christian Toro, told her to call in a bomb threat to liven things up. When the threat was investigated, the student told the authorities that the teacher had suggested it. (I can’t believe she was stupid enough to follow the suggestion.) The teacher resigned, and two days later his brother returned the laptop computer that had been issued to Christian Toro by the school. When a school technician examined the computer, he found an instruction book on how to make explosives. NYPD dropped by to pay the former teacher a visit. Meanwhile, the student indicated to authorities that her relationship with the teacher was inappropriate. The former teacher was arrested for statutory rape. The student also mentioned that she and a friend had been in the teacher’s apartment and had been paid to empty black powder from fireworks. The investigation of the former teacher continued.

The article reports:

So police got a search warrant for the apartment shared by the twin Toros — and hit paydirt:

They discovered a box on the floor of the bedroom closet containing a glass jar of black powder, 20 pounds of iron oxide, five pounds of aluminum powder, five pounds of potassium nitrate, and two pounds of confectioners sugar. A small container held iron oxide and aluminum powder that had been mixed into thermite, which the complaint describes as “an explosive material that can create heat and high temperatures.”

They also found Tyler Toro’s diary, which had all sorts of interesting comments, including this epigram: “UNDER THE FULL MOON THE SMALL ONES WILL KNOW TERROR.” Yeah, nothing creepy at all about that.

So let’s recap. The teacher had decided to build a bomb for “terror,” but rather than keep things quiet, he had teenage students emptying out fireworks for the powder in large quantities. He then started having sex with one of them, and then encouraged her to call in a fake bomb threat to relieve her boredom. If all this is true, the only thing Toro didn’t do is to install a large sign on his apartment building that said “TORO TWINS TERROR, INC.”

The article concludes:

If stupidity was a federal crime, Christian Toro would be a death-penalty case. And yet, it apparently took all of this sequence of events for someone to finally say something about the Toros and their black-powder reclamation project. Next time, let’s hope “see something, say something” gets taken more seriously earlier in the cycle. Thankfully, an alert IT technician at the school managed to get it right.

I wish all terrorists were this stupid.

One Example Of Why ObamaCare Needs To Be Repealed Immediately

The following excerpts are part of a Department of Health and Human Services Report from the Office of the Inspector General. The report states, “Colorado Did Not Correctly Expend Establishment Grant Funds For Establishing A Health Insurance Marketplace.” The report can be found on the Internet here.

The mission of the Office of Inspector General (OIG), as mandated by Public Law 95-452, as amended, is to protect the integrity of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs, as well as the health and welfare of beneficiaries served by those programs. This statutory mission is carried out through a nationwide network of audits, investigations, and inspections conducted by the following operating components:

Office of Audit Services

Office of Evaluation and Inspections

Office of Investigations

Office of Counsel to the Inspector General

The report explains why the agency did the review–the review was part of a series of reviews of establishment grants for State marketplaces across the Nation. You can read the details if you choose, but the details are not what is important here–what is important is that the Federal and State governments never work as well as the free market.

This is the list of what the review found:

1. The Colorado marketplace did not expend $9,678,635 of Federal establishment grant funds in accordance with Federal requirements. Specifically, the Colorado marketplace:did not adequately document $4,398,333 in costs that it charged to the establishment grants;

2. charged the establishment grants $4,504,799 for unallowable hardware and software operational support and maintenance contract costs whose periods of benefit occurred after December 31, 2014;

3. improperly transferred costs totaling $312,449 from one establishment grant to another without demonstrating that these cost transfers were performed to correct bookkeeping or clerical errors;

4. did not efficiently and effectively administer establishment grant funds totaling $463,054 consisting of improperly awarded executive and employee bonuses, overpayments to subgrantees, unallowable promotional giveaway items, excessive and unreasonable tips, vendor rebates that were received but not credited to the establishment grants, and unallowable social activities;

5. drew down establishment grant funds that it did not immediately use;

6. entered into contracts with consultants and other contractors that did not conform to Federal and State requirements and the Colorado marketplace’s own policies on contract administration, including approval procedures and required contract information; and

7. engaged in a number of procedures and practices that, contrary to Federal requirements and cost principles and, in some cases, to the Colorado marketplace’s own  policies, (1) required the use of personal credit cards to purchase equipment, supplies, and services for the marketplace, (2) permitted self-approval of purchases on behalf of the previous executive staff, (3) permitted incomplete and inadequate disclosure of possible conflicts of interest, (4) did not properly document inventory of equipment, and (5) allowed the use of establishment grant funds to purchase equipment for a previous Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who kept it for personal use when the CEO left the organization.

These findings were caused by a lack of adequate stewardship of Federal funds. Specifically, the Colorado marketplace had not developed, finalized, and implemented policies and procedures to ensure that it expended and accounted for establishment grant funds in accordance with Federal, State, and Colorado marketplace requirements.

This is a chart showing the bonuses given:

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article about this report today.

The article concludes:

Later in the report, the IG explains that this was spent on a holiday party, with “cake, punch, holiday cards, and decorations.” Why the Colorado exchange felt it necessary to charge the federal government for those expenses will be one of the more interesting explanations we’ll hear … if we ever do hear it. At any rate, such expenses are explicitly prohibited from federal grants, as the IG points out in the report.

The whole report is damning for the arrogance of the bureaucracy when it came to spending federal grant money, especially on a flop like ObamaCare. One has to wonder just how many other states have used their federal grant money in such a cavalier manner, and for little purpose in the end.

It might be a good idea to note at this time what the planned future of ObamaCare actually was. Had Hillary Clinton been elected as President, the Democrats in Congress would have acknowledged that ObamaCare had failed and suggested a single-payer (read that ‘government run’) healthcare program similar to what Canada and the U.K. have to replace ObamaCare. When Donald Trump was elected, things got complicated for the Democrats. As I write this, they are fighting to preserve ObamaCare long enough so that it can fail and be replaced by single-payer healthcare. Hopefully the Republicans will not let that happen and will repeal ObamaCare quickly.

Let’s get the government out of healthcare.

 

 

 

 

A Circumstantial Smoking Gun

The Internet has gone a bit crazy (as it sometimes does) about new Hillary Clinton emails released that show her instructing someone to remove the classified header and footing from a classified document and then send it over a regular fax machine. That is a serious offense that would send an ordinary citizen to jail. Therein lies the problem–Hillary Clinton is not an ordinary citizen. That is not a problem for Hillary–that is a problem for America. Somehow we have forgotten the concept of equal justice under the law.

Ed Morrissey posted the details of the story at Hot Air yesterday. The article includes a picture of the email in question. I recommend going to Hot Air and reading the entire article, but here are some highlights:

Has the State Department released a smoking gun in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal? In a thread from June 2011, Hillary exchanges e-mails with Jake Sullivan, then her deputy chief of staff and now her campaign foreign-policy adviser, in which she impatiently waits for a set of talking points. When Sullivan tells her that the source is having trouble with the secure fax, Hillary then orders Sullivan to have the data stripped of its markings and sent through a non-secure channel.

I don’t even have the words to tell you how much of a ‘no-no’ that is when dealing with classified information. The relevant criminal (yes, I said criminal) statutes are posted in the article at Hot Air.

There is an update to the article at Hot Air that concludes:

Update: There are a few people wondering whether the “TPs” (talking points”) in question in this thread were classified in the first place. There are a couple points to remember in that context:

  • Unclassified material doesn’t need to be transmitted by secure fax; if the material wasn’t classified, Sullivan would have had them faxed normally.
  • Ordering aides to remove headers to facilitate the transmission over unsecured means strongly suggests that the information was not On top of that, removing headers to avoid transmission security would be a violation of 18 USC 793 anyway, which does not require material to be classified — only sensitive to national security.
  • State did leave this document unclassified, but that’s because there isn’t any discussion of what the talking points cover. They redacted the subject headers with B5 and B6 exemptions, invoked to note that the FOIA demand doesn’t cover the material (in their opinion).

Ordering the headings stripped, and Sullivan’s apparent reluctance to work around the secure fax system, makes it all but certain that the material was classified at some level — and Hillary knew it.

I am sharing this information because it is something voters need to be aware of. Do I think this will amount to anything? No. I have become somewhat cynical about enforcing any laws regarding the Clintons. Unless the FBI decides to go against the obvious political biases of the Justice Department, this is not going anywhere. If there is someone in the FBI who has enough ethics and backbone to pursue this, we might see something, but I doubt it. General Patraeus was charged and convicted of a much lesser infraction and was dealt with. He obviously was not part of the in crowd and did not know where enough of the bodies were buried. The Clintons know where all the bodies are buried and probably helped bury a few of them.