Waiting For The Next Step

For thirty-five years, I lived about ten miles from Kraft Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. New England sports fans are dedicated–even when their team is losing. I learned to appreciate the New England Patriots (actually I am a Jets fan, but I learned to appreciate the talent of the Patriots). I wasn’t really surprised to hear today that Tom Brady will be leaving the New England team. It has been an amazing 20 years for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about Tom Brady’s announcement that he is leaving the New England Patriots.

The article includes an Instagram post by Tom Brady:

The article concludes:

That era has finally closed out, and what an era it was. It was the kind of dominance that free-agency and the draft were designed to prevent by providing parity to the NFL. It seems unlikely that we’ll ever see it again, but that’s part of the fun of playing the games. At the very least, Brady earned that Greatest of All Time title, and we had fun watching him do it — even if many of us were wailing and gnashing our teeth while he did. No matter where he lands, it’s a long shot that Brady can generate that kind of dominance in the time he has left, but he might have enough to take a more complete team to the Super Bowl. Never count him out.

I will miss watching Tom Brady play. He made the game look easy.

 

 

I Had To Check To See If This Was A Satire Site

The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley, a member of the ‘squad’ that includes Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, has stated that now is the time to commute the sentences of some federal prisoners who are vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak. Well, wait a minute. Prison might be one of the safest places right now if access to the prison is controlled. The virus does not come from nowhere–someone has to come in contact with someone who has it or is in the process of coming down with it. It cannot simply walk into a prison without being carried by a person. If prisons are kept secure, there is no reason for anyone to be in danger of contracting the virus.

The article quotes her statement:

“This pandemic, COVID-19, has certainly highlighted and exasperated every socio, ratio, and political fault line in our country. And I’m just advocating to make sure that when we are talking about those that are most vulnerable, our low-income residents and citizens, those experiencing homelessness, our seniors, that we are also including the incarcerated men and women, who are certainly amongst one of the most vulnerable populations. And given the crowding and overpopulating in our prisons for a confluence of other reasons … are an ecosystem in a petri dish for the spreading of this pandemic, which is why I partnered with my colleagues, Reps. [Nydia] Velasquez, [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez, and [Rashida] Tlaib, to lobby the Bureau of Prisons to use their full power and to communicate guidance for how we will contain and mitigate this epidemic behind the wall,” she said.

…“Specifically, do they have access to testing? Secondly, has anyone already tested positive, and what are the quarantine measures? Again, given the overpopulating, and the fact that many of these facilities are already subpar, and that incarcerated men and women do not have access to soap, to alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and to regular showers: You know, what is the guidance both for those that are incarcerated and for staff?” said Pressley, who also mentioned exacting “clemency” to take care of the “most vulnerable” inmates.

Why are Democrats so anxious to put criminals back on the streets? There probably are situations where clemency might be a good idea, but the idea of letting a large number of criminals out could potentially put more Americans in danger due to criminal activity. Oddly enough, it might also put the former prisoners at higher risk for the coronavirus.

A Democrat Member Of The House Ethics Committee Has Been Arrested

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today with the following headline, “Feds Arrest Crooked State Democrat David Nangle in Massachusetts — He Was Sitting on House Ethics Committee.”

The article reports:

Nangle is a compulsive gambler.
MassLive reported:

Massachusetts State Rep. David Nangle, who is accused of using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, had “regular cash flow problems as a result of extensive gambling,” federal prosecutors said in court records.

The Democratic state representative was arrested Tuesday on several charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, filing false tax returns and making false statements to a bank…

…“Despite his salary and perks, Nangle was heavily in debt, had poor credit (with a credit score reported as low as 593), and had regular cash flow problems as a result of extensive gambling at various casinos…,” federal prosecutors said.

Elected by the voters of Massachusetts.

Real-life Stories About Green Energy

Massachusetts is generally a pretty liberal state. Green energy is popular there. However, recently there have been some events that have caused some state residents to question the wisdom of ‘going green.’

On February 13th (updated February 14th) The Cape Cod Times reported:

After years of running into roadblocks, residents who live near Future Generation Wind made some headway Wednesday night when the Plymouth Board of Health unanimously voted to declare the four turbines along Route 25 a nuisance.

“We want to do justice to this and to all the parties involved,” board Chairwoman Birgitta Kuehn said.

The board also unanimously voted to take action on the turbines within a reasonable time.

Up to 30 residents from Bourne and Plymouth crowded into the meeting room to complain again about how the turbines negatively affect their lives on a daily basis.

“It is amazing to me that these turbines were built in a residential area,” board Vice Chairman Barry Potvin said. “This is clearly something the Board of Health has to take up, because we are sworn to protect the health and safety of the people who live in this area.”

The article explains some of the difficulties in removing the turbines:

The four 500-foot ConEdison Solutions wind turbines were installed in June 2016. They sit close to the Bourne border, but because they are located in Plymouth, it has been difficult for Bourne residents to fight through their own town government.

Since their installation, the Buzzards Bay Action Committee, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserve and protect Buzzards Bay, has collected approximately 360 complaints from residents in the area. Complaints include shadow flicker, nausea, vertigo, sleep disturbance, headaches, anxiety and sound disturbances.

The article concludes:

In October 2018, the Bourne Board of Health found the turbines were a nuisance and sent a letter to the Plymouth Board of Health, Planning Board, Board of Selectmen and Zoning Board of Appeals, which is responsible for licensing the turbines. No action had been taken since.

If the turbines are removed it would mirror what happened to the two turbines that were at the Falmouth wastewater treatment plant.

After residents in that town complained of the negative impacts from the turbines, a Barnstable Superior Court judge ordered in 2013 that neither turbine could spin again. The November town meeting voted to spend $2.5 million to dismantle the turbines.

The Falmouth turbines, however, were town-owned on town property. The Plymouth turbines are on private property and are owned by a private company.

Moving forward, members of the Buzzards Bay Action Committee plan to attend the Plymouth selectmen’s meeting Feb. 25 to further discuss the issue and possible next steps.

So let’s look at some of the consequences of this particular rush to ‘green energy.’ The residents whose electricity comes from the company that put up the windmills have paid for the installation of the windmills in the form of higher electric rates. Since Massachusetts’ electric customers have an option to choose their electric provider, I suspect the company has lost customers. Meanwhile, I would guess that the rates for the remaining customers have increased. The residents of the towns involved are also expected to use their tax money to dismantle the windmills. This adventure into ‘green energy’ which relied on government subsidies rather than the free market has been a lose-lose for the residents of the towns involved.

The only reasonable path to ‘green energy’ is the free market. Even at that, it may be that the search for ‘green energy’ is similar to the never-ending search for a perpetual motion machine, a concept that totally ignores the basic principles of physics.

Rewriting History One Campaign Stop At A Time

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about a recent statement by former Vice-President Joe Biden.

The article reports:

Former Vice President inaccurately claimed on Saturday that he helped convince Republicans to vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

Biden, who has a history of embellishing his political accomplishments, made the claim while boasting about his ability to forge bipartisan consensus during a campaign rally in San Antonio, Texas.

Evidently he was not all that great at forging bipartisan consensus–no Republicans voted for the Affordable Care Act! In fact, Scott Brown, after winning a special election in Massachusetts, somehow was delayed in taking his seat while waiting for the Massachusetts authority to certify the election. Instead of newly-elected Senator Brown being able to vote on the Affordable Care Act, a Democrat appointed by a Democrat state governor was able to cast his vote. I guess the former vice-president forgot all that..

The article notes:

The former vice president said:

The fight ahead of us is not about just what we have planned, its about … whose going to take on and get these things passed. We need someone with proven ability to bring people together and do the hard work of getting legislation passed. I’ve done that, I’ve done that before. Finding Republican votes for … Obamacare.

Stay tuned. I am sure there will be more to come.

Will Massachusetts Have A New Senator Kennedy?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts. Representative Kennedy has confirmed reports that he is considering running for the Senate to replace current Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.  It will be interesting to see if he actually runs. Senator Markey is well liked among Massachusetts Democrats, and Joe Kennedy running against him might not be well received by the Massachusetts Democrat party.

The article concludes:

Earlier this month, when a Markey spokesperson was asked about the possibility of Kennedy primarying the senator, Giselle Barry, said, “Senator Markey is running for reelection no matter who enters the race. He is crisscrossing the state and will run his campaign hard every day.”

The other senator from Massachusetts is 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren. In the event she wins the 2020 general election, she would be forced to vacate her seat in the Senate. She stuck by her previous endorsement of Markey a couple weeks ago, while also calling Kennedy “an amazing reports” amid reports that the congressman could enter the race.

Elizabeth Warren is not up for re-election until 2024. This could get interesting.

New England Really Doesn’t Do Heat Waves Well

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about one way the Braintree Massachusetts Police Department is dealing with the extreme heat that has hit New England this week. New England really does not tolerate heat well. New Englanders are spoiled–even when it is hot during the day it cools down at night. They handle blizzards beautifully, but they just don’t handle heat well. Every few years they get a real heat wave. This is that year.

The Braintree Police Department posted the following on the Internet:

I love a police department with a sense of humor.

A Disturbing Trend On College Campuses

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Basically that means that even people you disagree with have the right to speak. However, that principle is not being taught on many of our college campuses.

The Daily Signal posted an article today about some recent events at Williams College.

The article reports:

At Williams College in Massachusetts, biology professor Dr. Luana Maroja wrote online last year that she was concerned about student and administrator attitudes regarding free speech. She gathered more than 100 faculty signatures on a petition calling for the school to adopt what is known as the “Chicago Principles,” a statement in favor of free expression developed by the University of Chicago.

More than 60 schools have endorsed this statement, a welcome response to the disrupted events and other nonsense that have plagued universities around the country.

Some Williams students will have none of it. Maroja says that more than a dozen of them barged into a faculty meeting last November holding signs such as “free speech harms” and saying faculty were trying to “kill” the students.

After that, tensions escalated. The College Fix reports that a professor subsequently “threatened violence” if Williams adopted the Chicago statement. All this, because Maroja dared to promote the idea that Williams should maintain a “climate of mutual respect.”

If that isn’t troubling enough, a poll of the students is even more troubling:

A recent survey of college students found that more than half of respondents say shouting down speakers is “always” or “sometimes” acceptable. Sixteen percent of respondents say it is “always” or “sometimes” acceptable to use violence to stop a speech protest or rally.

These responses are disturbing. Civil society – life in the office, in your neighborhood, at your child’s soccer game – depends on people tolerating those who do not share their beliefs, not trying to silence them through intimidation or violence. The American Dream dies if we live in fear of persecution.

Williams officials should take seriously the threats posed to the next generation of adults that come from limiting the ideas that can be considered on campus. The school should require students to attend sessions on free speech during freshman orientation – and explain that hiding from ideas with which you disagree is a poor strategy for life.

New policies for public universities in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin now serve as examples of how to protect everyone’s freedom of expression in a campus community.

These policies affirm the idea that anyone should be allowed to protest or demonstrate in public areas as long as they do not prevent others from doing the same. Moreover, they stipulate that their public universities must be prepared to penalize individuals who silence others.

The article notes that Williams is a private college and can set its own policies regarding free speech. However, it is troubling that the First Amendment is no longer appreciated or practiced on some college campuses.

There Are Some Amazing People In Our Country

CBN News featured an article today about Orville Rogers. Orville Rogers runs marathons. That is not particularly unusual until you consider the fact that Orville Rogers is 101 years old.

The video below tells his story:

The article reports:

At 101 years young, Orville Rogers still has a spring in his step and shows no signs of slowing down. the former airline pilot still remembers the day he fell in love with flying. “I was a young boy about ten years old, and (Charles) Lindbergh circled my school house, in 1927, after his transatlantic solo flight,” Orville recalls. “That cemented my desire to be a pilot.”

The article explains why he became a long-distance runner:

He also became a long-distance runner after reading several studies on longevity and exercise.

“Dr. I Min Lee, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, complied a study and her conclusion was that people who exercise very vigorously for long periods of time, could expect to get back in added lifespan, nine hours of added life for every one hour of physical exercise. That is phenomenal.”

Orville not only ran a number of marathons; he holds two world records in the 90-100 age category. “I entered two races in Boston, Massachusetts March 23rd, 2008: the 800 meter and the one-mile run,” Orville says. “And three weeks before the race in March 2008, my wife died. I talked to my children about it and we agreed she’d want me to continue to compete, so I did. And I won the 800 meters, set a new world record. The mile record, I really slaughtered. I ran it in 9:57.”

Two years ago, Orville wrote his life story in his book, The Running Man. “It tells of my experiences in life, my flying, my running, my giving, and my family life and I hope it’s of a benefit and a help to people who may be questioning how they need to serve the Lord better.”

Please follow the link above to read the entire story. Orville Rogers is an amazing man who has led an amazing life.

This Lady Needs To Read American History

The Herald Mail Media reported yesterday that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, speaking at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, stated the following:

“Capitalism is an ideology of capital — the most important thing is the concentration of capital and to seek and maximize profit,” Ocasio-Cortez said. And that comes at any cost to people and to the environment, she said, “so to me capitalism is irredeemable.”

Although she said she doesn’t think all parts of capitalism should be abandoned, “we’re reckoning with the consequences of putting profit above everything else in society. And what that means is people can’t afford to live. For me, it’s a question of priorities and right now I don’t think our model is sustainable.”

…While America is wealthier than ever, wealth is enjoyed “by fewer than ever,” she said.

“It doesn’t feel good to live in an unequal society,” she said, citing an increase in homelessness in New York City among veterans and the elderly while penthouses sit empty. “It doesn’t feel good to live in a society like that.”

Let’s look at those statements through the lens of American history. In November 2005, the Heritage Foundation published an article about communism in America.

The article included the following notes on American history:

Recalling the story of the Pilgrims is a Thanksgiving tradition, but do you know the real story behind their triumph over hunger and poverty at Plymouth Colony nearly four centuries ago? Their salvation stemmed not so much from the charitable gestures of local Indians, but from their courageous decision to embrace the free-market principle of private property ownership a century and a half before Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations.

Writing in his diary of the dire economic straits and self-destructive behavior that consumed his fellow Puritans shortly after their arrival, Governor William Bradford painted a picture of destitute settlers selling their clothes and bed coverings for food while others “became servants to the Indians,” cutting wood and fetching water in exchange for “a capful of corn.” The most desperate among them starved, with Bradford recounting how one settler, in gathering shellfish along the shore, “was so weak … he stuck fast in the mud and was found dead in the place.”

The colony’s leaders identified the source of their problem as a particularly vile form of what Bradford called “communism.” Property in Plymouth Colony, he observed, was communally owned and cultivated. This system (“taking away of property and bringing [it] into a commonwealth”) bred “confusion and discontent” and “retarded much employment that would have been to [the settlers’] benefit and comfort.”

The most able and fit young men in Plymouth thought it an “injustice” that they were paid the same as those “not able to do a quarter the other could.” Women, meanwhile, viewed the communal chores they were required to perform for others as a form of “slavery.”

On the brink of extermination, the Colony’s leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.

As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. “This had very good success,” Bradford reported, “for it made all hands very industrious.” In fact, “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been” and productivity increased. “Women,” for example, “went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn.”

The famine that nearly wiped out the Pilgrims in 1623 gave way to a period of agricultural abundance that enabled the Massachusetts settlers to set down permanent roots in the New World, prosper, and play an indispensable role in the ultimate success of the American experiment.

A profoundly religious man, Bradford saw the hand of God in the Pilgrims’ economic recovery. Their success, he observed, “may well evince the vanity of that conceit…that the taking away of property… would make [men] happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.” Bradford surmised, “God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

There will always be inequities in wealth. A person who works 12-hour days will generally earn more than a person who works a 6-hour day. People who invent things or have new ideas generally do very well financially. Rewarding innovation provides an incentive for progress. Capitalism (or the free market economy) is not perfect, but it creates fewer problems than any other economic system. Those touting the wonders of socialism need only look at the economic history of Venezuela during the past ten years. Once the wealthiest country in South America, now a place of unspeakable poverty. That is the fruit of socialism or communism.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez, please learn your history.

A New Dimension Of Twisted Logic

Channel 25 in Boston reported yesterday that Rosiane Santos, 41, of Falmouth, Massachusetts, was arrested last Friday at a Mexican restaurant in Falmouth for assaulting a man because he was wearing a “Make America Great Again” Hat. The man involved, 23-year-old Bryton Turner of Mashpee, was smart enough to record the incident on his cell phone when she began verbally attacking him. The verbal attacks were followed by knocking the hat of off his head multiple times.

The most interesting part of this is found in the concluding paragraphs of the article:

As Falmouth police officers were escorting Santos out of the restaurant, Macarao (bartender Geo Macarao) said she took another swipe at Turner.

“I couldn’t imagine somebody just coming up and hitting them when there’s cops right here,” Macarao said.

“She just tried to grab my hat in front of four officers, not smart,” Turner said.

Santos, a Brazilian immigrant, said while she regrets her actions, she claims she was provoked.

“I had a little bit to drink maybe that’s the reason that I couldn’t walk away but being discriminated for so many times in my life, I just had to stand up for myself,” she said. “He’s not a victim. I am the victim. I have been bullied, OK?”

So let’s look at the logic here for a minute. It was okay for her to assault someone because she had a little too much to drink, she had been bullied in her life, and she had to stand up for herself. How was assaulting a man who simply entered a restaurant to pick up his food standing up for herself?

I think it is time to take a serious look at the attacks on Trump supporters and give the attackers the severest penalties possible. These attacks are not the earmark of a civilized society. President Trump is not responsible for these attacks–the attackers are responsible for these attacks. In November 2016, The Daily Caller posted a list of substantiated attacks on Trump supporters at that time. There have been many more since them. Again, President Trump is not responsible for these attacks–the attackers are. That is something we all need to remember.

 

Something To Consider On A Sunday Morning

The information below is from the book In God We Still Trust by Dr. Richard G. Lee.

Samuel Adams, the great American patriot accused by King George III of being “the chief rabble-rouser” of American Independence, wrote the following in a letter to James Warren, the president of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, in 1779:

A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader. How necessary then is it for those who are determined to transmit the blessings of liberty as a fair inheritance to posterity, to associate on public principles in support of public virtue.

Until public virtue again becomes part of our culture, there is little hope for our future.

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.

What’s Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander

Much has been made about contracts President Trump entered into with sexual partners that were supposed to buy their silence. We saw how well that worked. Meanwhile Congress had a slush fund used to pay off sexual harassment claims and other matters dealing with misbehavior on the part of Congressmen. That fund was paid for by taxpayers.

The Daily Wire reported yesterday that the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a bill yesterday (by unanimous consent) that will require Congressmen to pay out of pocket for settlements with former staffers and aides who accuse them of sexual misconduct and will not be allowed to rely on taxpayer money to defend themselves in lawsuits brought by former colleagues.

The article reports:

The Huffington Post reports that the bill goes a bit further than just limiting cash flow, reforming a grievance reporting system mired in the 1990s: “Under the current law, which has been in place since 1995, Capitol Hill staffers who claim they’ve been harassed or discriminated against have to undergo counseling, mandatory arbitration and a 30-day ‘cooling off’ period before going to court. They won’t have to do any of that anymore.”

The bill doesn’t accomplish everything Speier [Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)] set out to do. The provisions within the bill are limited to sexual harassment claims and sexual misconduct claims only — not claims of discrimination, even if those claims are sexual in nature. The bill also does not provide representation to alleged victims free of charge. Although those two requests were in the House version of the bill, Senate leadership encouraged the bill’s authors to pursue those objectives in separate legislation.

This is a mixed victory. One aspect of being in the public eye is that you are vulnerable to false claims made by people seeking money. In corporations, the corporations simply pay the ‘victim’ without confirming the charges because in the long run that is cheaper and easier. One example that comes to mind is a company in Massachusetts that awarded a large settlement to an employee who claimed sexual harassment. The company paid the claim despite the fact that the employee had lived with the person she made the charges against and actually had two children with him. Rather than debate the circumstances, the company paid. Not all charges against Congressmen are valid, and it is actually easier (and probably cheaper) to pay all of them. This may not actually be a step forward.

Reading Between The Lines

Anyone with any connection to Massachusetts can read between the lines in this story.

The Boston Herald posted an article today about the release of James “Whitey” Bulger’s FBI file.

The article reports:

The FBI is saying “unusual circumstances” are jeopardizing the release of James “Whitey” Bulger’s potentially damning agency file, with the Herald being told it’s not a high priority.

In one startling excuse to not release the file expeditiously, the FBI claimed “the matter” did not rise to the level of “exceptional media interest” that raised “questions about the government’s integrity.”

Bulger was once a Top 10 Most Wanted fugitive — listed for years just after Osama bin Laden. He was accused of 19 murders and convicted of 11 after being caught hiding out in Santa Monica, Calif., in the summer of 2011 with his longtime lover. Multiple movies and TV shows based on his murderous ways were pumped out by Hollywood, including the blockbuster “The Departed.”

Bulger’s corrupt FBI handler in Boston, John “Zip” Connolly, is serving a 40-year prison sentence for his part in protecting the notorious killer. The 78-year-old has exhausted his appeals and remains locked up in Florida.

Bulger was beaten to death Oct. 30, hours after his transfer to a federal maximum-security prison in Hazelton, W.Va. He was 89. A private funeral Mass was held a few days later in South Boston.

During his heyday as head of the Winter Hill Gang, Bulger was a prized FBI informant — a dangerous deal with the devil that tarnished the agency for years.

On March 21, 2018, Sara Carter reported the following:

Mueller had similar troubles during the 1980s in Boston when he was Acting U.S. Attorney from 1986 through 1987. Under Mueller’s watch in Boston, another one of the FBI’s most scandalous cases occurred. At the time, an FBI agent by the name of John Connolly, who is now in prison for murder-related charges, had been the handler for James ‘Whitey’ Bulger. Bulger, who Connolly aided in escaping FBI custody in the 90s, was a notorious mobster and murderer who had been working as a confidential informant for the FBI against other crime syndicates in the Boston area. Mueller, who oversaw the FBI during his time there, was criticized by the media and congressional members for how the situation in Boston was handled. Bulger, who committed numerous murders during his time as an informant, disappeared for more than 16 years until he was finally captured in California in 2011; by that time Mueller was director of the FBI.

Are you naive enough to believe that Bulger’s FBI file will ever see the light of day?

Going Against Conventional Wisdom

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about a recent study of which states are the wealthiest and which are the poorest. Then Breitbart compared those results with the voting records of the people in those states. The results were surprising.

The article reports:

Democrats paint themselves as the party looking out for the little guy and more interested than Republicans in representing the poor and their best interests.

But according to Ken Fisher, the founder and executive chairman of Fisher Investments, best-selling author and one of the richest men in the United States, a USA Today study released earlier this month that shows the economic profile of all 50 states, ranked by household income, reveals much more.

When Fisher read what he called “a breathtaking economic profile” of the states he found in it something that was “embedded” in it that reveals what he believes is “arguably the greatest unseen political truth of our time.”

This is the surprising correlation:

USA Today headlined its story reporting on its findings: “Wealth in America: Where are the richest and poorest states based on household income?”

But Fisher headlined his commentary about the study published in USA Today on Sunday: “Midterms: Poorest states have Republican legislatures, and richest have Democratic ones.”

“Fathom it, and you will see how politics may unexpectedly affect economics and wealth for years to come,” Fisher wrote.

The article points out that the five richest states have legislatures controlled by Democrats. He doesn’t mention that those states also have some of the highest tax rates in the country. Those states are Maryland, New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.  According to an article at Wallet Hub, a website that ranks states according to tax rates, Maryland ranks 44th, New Jersey ranks 47th, Hawaii ranks 51st, Massachusetts ranks 45th, and Connecticut ranks 49th in the list of states with the lowest tax rates. Yes, I know there are not 51 states, but the District of Columbia was included in the list.

I guess you have to move to a state with a legislature controlled by Republicans if you want lower taxes.

Making The Election Process More Confusing Than It Already Is

On August 31, The Washington Post posted an article about redistricting in the State of North Carolina. Before I go into detail, here is a picture of what is being discussed:

I don’t know about you, but the bottom map looks much more logical than the top map.

This is what true gerrymandering looks like:

I am sure I could have found many other examples, but this is one I know. Note the lavender that meanders from the Rhode Island border up to near Boston. I suppose it is simply an incredible coincidence that the lower part of that lavender is less populated than the area approaching Boston. Also, much of the lower part of that lavender tends to be Republican. What better way to dilute those votes than combine them with the more densely populated Democrat areas approaching Boston. Massachusetts is a one-party state, and its Congressional districts have never been challenged in court. Hmmm.

At any rate, the courts threw a monkey wrench into North Carolina’s November election. It is too late to change the districts, undo the primary elections, and print the ballots. It appears that saner heads have prevailed and the districts will remain in place at least until November.

The article reports:

The plaintiffs who persuaded federal judges to declare unconstitutional North Carolina’s Republican-drawn congressional maps have “reluctantly concluded” that there is not enough time to draw new maps in time for the November elections.

A three-judge panel ruled this week that the maps were an “invidious” plan to favor Republicans over Democrats and had resulted in the GOP capturing 10 of the state’s 13 congressional districts in 2016, even though its share of the statewide vote was just over 53 percent.

There is a reason we live in a representative republic and not a democracy. I think the redrawn districts appear to be much more logical than the previous districts.

How In The World Did We Get Here?

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the recent Donald Trump rally in Minnesota. The rally was a typical Trump rally with cheering crowds and large attendance. At one point there was a picture of the crowd that appeared on the Internet. However, there were some events surrounding the rally that reflect the current insanity of political dialogue in America at this point.

The article reports:

But maybe the craziest leftist outburst of recent days is the attack on NBA Hall of Famer Kevin McHale. Scott and Howard Root wrote here about President Trump’s triumphant appearance in Duluth, Minnesota last night. Trump almost carried Minnesota in 2016, and in all likelihood, if he runs again in 2020, he will win the state’s electoral votes. A photograph taken at last night’s rally that appeared on Twitter, if studied closely, revealed that one of the thousands in attendance was Kevin McHale, who grew up in northern Minnesota and spends summers there.

The article includes the photo and states:

It’s pretty much a “Where’s Waldo” exercise, but if you study the photo closely enough, you can discern that McHale was one of the thousands in attendance. He didn’t speak, his presence went unmentioned, but he was there. And left-wing Twitter went nuts.

I lived in Massachusetts for thirty-five years and watched Celtics basketball, but there is no way I could find Keven McHale in that photo–but that’s not the point. Twitter went nuts–attacking both McHale and his wife.

This is one of the tweets shown in the article:

The article explains that this is simply one in a series of attacks by liberals on anyone connected with Donald Trump or supporting Donald Trump or his policies. It is not healthy dialogue.

The article continues:

This is a phenomenon we have seen repeatedly over the last year and a half. Liberals try to rule any support for President Trump out of bounds. Anyone who expresses even the mildest support for Trump is read out of polite society. He is shunned; he should be fired from his job; if he writes anything, it shouldn’t be printed; he is publicly denounced and inundated with hate; his home, in some instances, is besieged and his children terrorized. If he ventures out into public, he is harassed by bullies. This is the essence of 21st century liberalism.

And it is evil. It is incompatible with democracy or any kind of civil society. And, above all, it is completely crazy. After all, Donald Trump won the election. Donald Trump is the President of the United States. Liberals are trying to dictate, through mob rule and control over the press, that any support for the President of the United States is unacceptable and, if at all possible, career ending.

Everyone has the right to free speech, but it seems as if the liberals have totally lost any perspective they might have had. Personal attacks on people because of their political views are not constructive dialogue. Mob rule and bullying are not political strategies. Hopefully they will fail miserably and not be used again.

 

One Example Of Why We Need To Secure Our Borders

Yesterday Townhall.com posted an article about Santo Ramon Gonzalez Nival, who plead guilty to fentanyl, heroin and cocaine conspiracy charges in federal court on June 6. Mr. Nival lives in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Lawrence has been heavily impacted by the opioid epidemic that has plagued America. From 2013 to 2017, 140 people in Lawrence have died from drug overdoses.

The article includes the following information about Mr. Nival:

Santo Ramon Gonzalez Nival, a 40-year-old Dominican national, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine and fentanyl, and one count of illegal reentry of a deported alien, according to a statement released by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.
Nival has been detained since his arrest in May 2017. At the time of his arrest, he was illegally in the United States after being most recently deported May 19, 2009, according to Lelling.
In May 2017, Nival was charged after “a year-long investigation aimed at attacking the fentanyl and heroin crisis in Lawrence and surrounding areas,” according to the statement.

…Nival will be sentenced in September.

It is time to secure the border so that someone like this man cannot return after being deported. Thank goodness he is being kept in jail while he awaits sentencing.

 

Conclusions Not Based On Facts

Bearing Arms posted an article today about the game the media plays comparing apples and oranges in order to infringe on our Second Amendment rights. The latest example the media is sighting is Iceland.

This is a recent quote from NBC News:

Like many of his countrymen, Olaf Garðar Garðarsson is eager to get his hands on a rifle.

But he can’t just walk into a store and buy one. Instead, he is sitting through a mandatory four-hour lecture on the history and physics of the firearm.

This is Iceland — the gun-loving nation that hasn’t experienced a gun-related murder since 2007.

“For us, it would be really strange if you could get a license to buy a gun and you had no idea how to handle it,” says Garðarsson, 28, a mechanical engineer. “I would find it very odd if [a gun owner] had never even learned which is the pointy end and which is the trigger end.”

Iceland is a sparsely populated island in the northern Atlantic. Its tiny population of some 330,000 live on a landmass around the size of Kentucky.

St. Louis, Missouri, which has a population slightly smaller than Iceland’s, had 193 homicides linked to firearms last year.

Icelanders believe the rigorous gun laws on this small, remote volcanic rock can offer lessons to the United States.

I have no problem with gun safety classes. I took one when I moved to North Carolina because I realized very quickly that the culture in North Carolina regarding guns was very different from that of Massachusetts. But I took that course by choice. No one forced me to do it. I think those courses are a good idea. I think forcing people to take them is a bad idea. Our gun crimes haven’t come from citizens who would be willing to take those courses. Even if we banned guns totally, criminals would still find a way to get them. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, but it also has a very high rate of murder by gun. The only reason a politician wants to take guns away from citizens or infringe on citizens’ rights to have guns is to increase the power of the government and decrease the power of citizens to prevent government overreach.

The article further reminds us:

Iceland and the United States are very different when it comes to key issues, namely those of culture. Iceland is culturally homogenous, with 94 percent of its population coming from Norse or Celtic roots and only six percent coming from some other group. Because of this, the Icelandic culture is easily dominant, making those who come from other cultures step up and adhere to the social rules of their new nation as much as the civil and criminal rules. The fact that the culture has been there, more or less, for over a thousand years solidifies that in a lot of minds. While that culture has changed over the years, it’s still there, and it drives society.

Meanwhile, the United States is culturally diverse.

What works for Iceland won’t work for America. Our culture is very different. Iceland is essentially a socialist country. As you drive through the countryside, all of the houses look alike–there are no houses that stand out with creative designs. It is a much more homogenous society than America. Our freedom and diversity are part of what makes us great. When the media says that Icelandic gun laws would work in America, they are doing both countries a disservice.

 

Going ‘Not-so Green’

On Friday, WattsUpWithThat posted an article about the promotion of off-shore wind farms by some eastern states in America. The article details some of the problems with off-shore wind farms.

The article cites the cost of the wind farms and the cost to consumers:

The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia have signed executive orders or passed laws to procure offshore wind systems valued at billions of dollars. Officials are eager to win leadership in what is perceived to be a new growth industry. The US Department of Energy has funded over $200 million in offshore wind research since 2011.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a law in 2016 requiring utilities to purchase 1,600 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind systems over the next 10 years. The law requires that wind systems be “cost effective to electric ratepayers.” But history shows that costs are likely to be far above the New England wholesale market price of 5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Massachusetts paid solar generators a subsidy of 25 cents per kilowatt-hour during the state’s solar build-out in 2013. Rhode Island’s Block Island wind system, the first offshore system in the United States, now receives over 27 cents per kW-hr, with an annual guaranteed rate increase of an additional 3.5 cents per kW-hr. New England residents must enjoy paying renewable generators more than six times the market price for electricity.

When we lived in Massachusetts, we were able to choose the source of our electricity. Since we lived in an all-electric house, it was to our advantage to choose carefully. We chose a company that got its electricity from Canada in order to avoid the increased cost of Massachusetts’ going green. I am not sure if that option is still available to Massachusetts utility customers.

The article explains the problem of wind turbines and hurricanes (which do happen on the east coast):

Specifications call for wind systems to withstand gusts up to 156 miles per hour, but this isn’t good enough for some of our Atlantic hurricanes. Last September, hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico with Category 4-strength winds and destroyed many of the wind turbines on the island.

Strong hurricanes occasionally collide with our eastern coastal states. The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 brought Category 3 winds to New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 delivered Category 2 winds along the coast from North Carolina to Maine. Hurricane Carol in 1954 and Hurricane Gloria in 1985 brought Category 3 winds to the shores of the wind system-promoting states.

Finally, the Norfolk and Long Island Hurricane of 1821 passed through most of the proposed wind turbine sites with up to Category 4 wind strength. The expensive wind systems planned by Atlantic States could all be destroyed by a single well-placed hurricane.

Offshore wind turbines are expensive, prone to early degradation, and in the case of the US East Coast, at risk in the path of strong hurricanes. State officials should reconsider their plans for offshore wind systems.

I sometimes wonder if our search for green energy is similar to man’s search for the perpetual motion machine. It would be wonderful, but the laws of physics seem to indicate that this may be more of a challenge than first thought. There may be green energy in our future, but it won’t happen until the government gets out of the way and lets someone make a huge profit in the free market. That is called incentive!

Eventually The Truth Comes Out

I lived in Massachusetts for a long time. Ted Kennedy was my Senator. There didn’t seem to be anything I could do about that. He was known to be a womanizer who did not always have the best interests of America in mind. At one point he wrote a letter to a Russian leader asking for help in making sure Ronald Reagan did not get elected. He also had addiction problems and was not noted for telling the truth. Nevertheless, he continued to get elected. I don’t know if the people of Massachusetts didn’t realize the kind of person he was or if they didn’t care. At any rate, the truth about Ted Kennedy is now coming out.

Yesterday The National Review posted an article about the movie “Chappaquiddick.” The movie deals with the events on Martha’s Vineyard the night Mary Jo Kopechne was killed. The movie is an honest portrayal (as honest as possible considering we really don’t know exactly what the chain of events was) of the events of July 18, 1969.

The article concludes:

Only the patriarch himself, Joe Kennedy (Bruce Dern), who is undone by a stroke and has only four months to live, reacts with the proper fury, slapping Ted on behalf of the nation. Imagine having sons like Joe Jr., John, and Robert and being left with only this one, the one expelled from Harvard for cheating, the one who was cited for reckless driving while a law student. Ted himself recognizes the futility of trying to match his legendary brothers: After what they did, he asks, what sobriquet does that leave for me? The fat one? The dumb one? An early scene of Kennedy racing his sailboat nails his personality: sloppy, vain, entitled, a man you wouldn’t trust to change your tire.

Yet in the end, aided by a confluence of forces both extraterrestrial (Apollo 11, which dominated the news that week) and tribal (Ted Sorensen, the family expert in blowing smoke), Senator Kennedy managed to save his career. All that Massachusetts voters required was a sincere apology, and he could fake that.

And so we had Ted Kennedy in the Senate from 1962 until 2009 doing untold damage to the country and to the U.S. Constitution.

 

It Sounded Good–It Just Wasn’t True

Last night Breitbart did a fact check on one point of Joseph Kennedy‘s speech that I thought was rather interesting.

Here is the comment:

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) claimed the host-city of his response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, Fall River, Massachusetts was “built by immigrants.”

Fact-Check: MOSTLY FALSE

What is now Fall River was first established in the 1600s by English settlers who were not “immigrants” but colonists. A native-born family, the Bordens ran a mill in what became the town for generations before and after the American revolution. Industrialization began when Col. Joseph Durfee, a native-born Revolutionary War hero built the first factory in 1811. Later, at the end of the 19th Century a wave of immigrants swelled the town’s population. Immigrants, however, never made up a majority of the population of Bristol County, where Fall River lies, even at their early 20th Century peak.

The Democrats are so busy trying to win the votes of people they hope to make citizens, they are misstating history. One might wonder if some of the groups of immigrants coming into this country now are immigrants or colonists.

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.

Ending Operation Choke Point

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about five Republican Congressmen who have asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end Operation Choke Point.

The article explains:

As reported extensively by The Daily Signal, the Obama Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, designed Operation Choke Point in 2012 to “attack internet, telemarketing, mail, and other mass market fraud against consumers, by choking fraudsters’ access to the banking system.”

The program works by using federal banking regulators to pressure banks out of doing business with entire industries the government declares to be “high risk,” choking their access to the U.S. banking system.

But instead of simply targeting illegal, fraudulent businesses, the program also affected legal business owners, who complained they were being unfairly denied credit and losing access to third-party payment processors central to running their businesses.

Over the past two years, The Daily Signal documented multiple cases of banks’ denying legal business owners access to banking services.

I reported in June of 2014 (here) that Mark Cohen, owner of Powderhorn Outfillters, a store in Hyannis, Massachusetts, that sells guns was denied a loan by TD bank because of the fact the he sold guns.

I quoted a Breitbart.com article, which reported:

Cohen explained what happened in an interview with The Daily Caller on Friday.

“This year I went to apply for a line of credit, and the bank manager came by the store,” said Cohen, adding that he’s known the bank manager for over 20 years.

“Mark, I apologize,” she said, according to Cohen, “your credit history is great, but the bank is turning you down because you sell guns.”

That is only one example of how Operation Choke Point was used to interfere with honest businessmen trying to earn a living. Payday lenders were also targeted by Operation Choke Point, and Community Financial Services Association of America, which represents some of the nation’s largest short-term lenders, such as Advance America, filed a lawsuit.

The Daily Signal provides a few details about the lawsuit:

The suit named the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the government agency responsible for creating a “high risk list” of industries to target. That list grouped categories such as “racist materials” and “credit card schemes” with “firearms” and “tobacco” sales.

In July, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that payday lenders may press forward with their lawsuit against the FDIC and begin the discovery phase. That phase allows the plaintiffs to depose government officials under oath and examine documents and emails related to the program.

“We are thrilled by the court’s order to enter the discovery phase, as this illegal federal program has been unduly harming legal entities for years,” Dennis Shaul, CEO of the Community Financial Services Association, said in a July press release. “It is high time that the government’s unlawful and unjust crusade against lawful and licensed businesses be stopped.”

The article also reports the following:

In April 2016, one of President Barack Obama’s top Justice Department officials behind Operation Choke Point admitted the program had “unintended but collateral consequences” on banks and consumers.

No kidding. Actually, I am not convinced the consequences were unintended.