Today At The Supreme Court

Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). It is interesting that the case has taken so long to get to the Supreme Court.

In September 2017, the Heritage Foundation reminded us of the following statement by former President Obama:

Responding in October 2010 to demands that he implement immigration reforms unilaterally, Obama declared, “I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.” In March 2011, he said that with “respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.” In May 2011, he acknowledged that he couldn’t “just bypass Congress and change the (immigration) law myself. … That’s not how a democracy works.”

I guess he changed his mind. Also, just for the record, former President Obama was supposed to be a Constitutional Law Professor. We are not a democracy–we are a representative republic. Did he know that?

At any rate, DACA is now at the Supreme Court. Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about the coming hearings.

The article notes:

The long-running battle over the Trump administration’s bid to end the Obama-era program for young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” will land before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
***
“The administration has basically chalked up the fact that they are going to lose a lot of these cases in the lower courts,” said Thomas Dupree, a former top Bush Justice Department official and now an appellate attorney.

“But they’re playing the long game. I think that there are those in the White House and the Justice Department who have made a calculation saying, ‘Look we can absorb all these losses in the lower courts because we are going to win the endgame when this case gets into the Supreme Court.’”

It remains to be seen how the court will rule, however, on this complicated issue — which concerns the limits of one president trying to rescind the policies of his predecessor.

The article concludes:

I haven’t studied the briefs so as to be up to speed on the technical arguments that will be presented to the Court tomorrow. But at the end of the day, it is hard to see how the courts can hold that the president is legally barred from carrying out his constitutional duty to see that the laws–including the immigration laws–are faithfully executed.

Stay tuned.

Money Doesn’t Always Win Political Races

A number of the Democrat victories in Virginia were heavily funded by George Soros. George Soros also poured $800,000 into a political campaign in New York to unseat Sandra Doorley, a Republican District Attorney in Monroe County, New York.

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article about Tuesday’s elections.

The article reports:

George Soros, the Hungarian billionaire, succeeded in toppling two fine Northern Virginia prosecutors this year in Democratic primaries. Pouring unheard of amounts of money into local prosecutor races in Arlington and Fairfax Counties, Soros was able to take down Commonwealth Attorneys Theo Stamos in Arlington and Raymond Morrogh in Fairfax. They will be replaced by prosecutors who are borderline qualified, if that, and who very likely will adhere to the radical, anti-law enforcement agenda of Soros, their money man.

The article concludes:

Add the amount Soros spent on the Monroe County race to what he spent in local prosecutor races in Virginia and elsewhere, and you see how badly the Hungarian billionaire wants to “decriminalize crime” (Lonsberry’s phrase) in the United States.

Fortunately, Monroe County voters don’t share Soros’s pro-criminal agenda. They reelected Doorley handily. She captured around 56 percent of the vote.

Afterwards, Doorley thanked Soros for his involvement. She declared:

The Republican Party in Monroe Country is not dead, and we are alive and well. And look at all the great people, here. We still have the energy and we will be back. And I am back for another four more years, so, thank you, George Soros!

Soros deserves to be taunted. However, I don’t buy the suggestion, other than in jest, that his large contributions to left-wing candidates in local races are counterproductive. Soros made a difference in Virginia, and I suspect that Doorley’s race was closer than it would have been without the Hungarian’s $800,000 contribution to her opponent.

Soros keeps probing for weaknesses in the opposition to his radical plans for America. He does so skillfully. Fortunately, Monroe County passed his “stress test” on Tuesday.

Money does not always win elections.

 

This Could Be Very Good News For The Rule Of Law

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog yesterday about a new development in the court case involving General Flynn.

The article reports:

Judge Emmet Sullivan reportedly has cancelled a November hearing he had scheduled in the case of Gen. Michael Flynn. Judge Sullivan said he is cancelling the hearing “in view of the parties’ comprehensive briefing concerning Defendant’s Motion to Compel Production of Brady Material.” In other words, he has all the argumentation he needs to rule on this motion.

In this post, John discussed and embedded Flynn’s reply brief in support of that motion, filed by Sidney Powell. He described the evidence presented by Powell on Flynn’s behalf as “bombshells.” I think that’s a fair characterization.

The cancellation of oral argument tells us that Judge Sullivan is ready to rule, but not what his ruling will be. I understand, though, that Gen. Flynn’s legal team considers today’s order by Sullivan good news. Its comprehensive discussion of prosecutorial abuse in this matter stands unrebutted.

Sidney Powell has done an amazing job for General Flynn. She has uncovered evidence that indicates prosecutorial abuse and other unusual happenings in the charges brought against him. Hopefully the charges against him will be dropped, and those responsible will be forced to pay restitution. It is a sad day in America when an innocent man who has devoted his life to serving his country loses his house in his battle to prove his innocence. Restitution should be required–not by the taxpayers, but by the members of the Mueller team who violated General Flynn’s civil rights.

More Insanity In Our Public Schools

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog about the oppressive nature of mathematics. Barbie said that math class was hard, but I don’t remember her using the word oppressive.

The article reports:

The Seattle public schools have developed a new “ethnic studies” curriculum that tells students that mathematics is a tool of oppression. Sure, some of us thought that back in junior high school, especially when we didn’t get around to doing our homework. But to have this view endorsed by the schools is remarkable. Robby Soave reports at Reason:

The [Seattle public school] district has proposed a new social justice-infused curriculum that would focus on “power and oppression” and “history of resistance and liberation” within the field of mathematics. The curriculum isn’t mandatory, but provides a resource for teachers who want to introduce ethnic studies into the classroom vis a vis math.

Why, exactly, would you introduce “ethnic studies” into mathematics? This is from Education Week:

If adopted, its ideas will be included in existing math classes as part of the district’s broader effort to infuse ethnic studies into all subjects across the K-12 spectrum.

Again: why would a school district do this, unless it is deliberately trying to foment ethnic division? The rot, sadly, is not confined to Seattle:

“Seattle is definitely on the forefront with this,” said Robert Q. Berry III, the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “What they’re doing follows the line of work we hope we can move forward as we think about the history of math and who contributes to that, and also about deepening students’ connection with identity and agency.”

Why is it the mission of the public schools to “deepen students’ connection with identity and agency”? If “identity” means ethnic identity, which I understand it does, I would think the public schools should be trying to do the opposite.

For whatever reason, our education system and our political leaders are more focused on emphasizing the things that divide us rather than the things that unite us. Why not encourage all students to identify as Americans?

If They Had Any Credibility Left…

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about the newest member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Mauritania is expected to be voted onto the Council today.

The article notes:

Mauritania, the west African nation where slavery remains a widespread practice, is expected to be voted on to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council on Thursday.
***
Mauritania made slavery illegal in 1981, but did not criminalize the practice of owning slaves until 2007. It was the last country to abolish slavery. According to a 2012 CNN report, only one slave owner had been prosecuted for owning another human being since the practice was made illegal.

While the Mauritanian government officially denies that slavery is ongoing in the country, Mauritanian watchdog groups allege that one out of every two members of the country’s Haratine ethnic minority group are enslaved, and that as many as 20% of the population is enslaved. The exact number of slaves within the country is unclear, and estimates range from 90,000 to 500,000. The Global Slavery Index estimates more than 140,000 people are currently enslaved in the country.

The article concludes:

Slavery persisted in Africa long after it was abolished elsewhere, and Mauritania is, one could say, the last pro-slavery holdout. In Mauritania, as has so often been the case, lighter-skinned Arabs own darker-skinned Africans. So what better candidate for the U.N.’s Human Rights Council could there be? There may be a more useless and corrupt organization than the United Nations somewhere in the world, but it isn’t easy to think what it might be.

The United Nations should be forced to pay their parking tickets and leave New York City.

Truth In Comedy

There is a bit of a dust up going on right now between China and the National Basketball Association. It seems that Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, posted a tweet showing support for Hong King’s freedom movement. Obviously, the Chinese are not a big fan of free speech. Mr. Morey has deleted his tweets and apologized, but that does not seem to be enough for the Chinese.

In an article posted today, CNBC reports:

  • Searches for “Houston Rockets” and “Rockets” in Chinese on Alibaba-owned Taobao and Tmall and another site JD.com, yielded no results.
  • It comes after Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the anti-government protestors in Hong Kong. The tweet was quickly deleted.
  • Chinese broadcast partners Tencent and state-owned CCTV said they would no longer show Rockets games.

We need to remember that China is NOT a free country.

Meanwhile, enter Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame.

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about their response to the dust up.

The article quotes an article in The Guardian:

South Park’s creators have responded with a mock apology to reports that China has censored the programme, ridiculing the country and comparing President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh.

The “apology” from Trey Parker and Matt Stone comes after reports on Monday that China had scrubbed all episodes, clips and content related to the long-running comedy cartoon from Chinese streaming and social media platforms in response to a recent episode that was critical of the country.

The episode, called Band in China, took aim at what it portrayed as a tendency in US culture to adjust content to accommodate Chinese censorship laws. “It’s not worth living in a world where China controls my country’s art,” says one character in the episode.

The episode also includes a plot line in which a character is caught selling drugs in China and as punishment is sent to a work camp, similar to the mass internment camps in Xinjiang where an estimated one million people, including Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are detained.

The article also includes the non-apology apology from Trey Parker and Matt Stone:

I think that is called ‘speaking truth to power.’

Update On Hong Kong

Politico posted an article today about the latest events in Hong Kong. The article is taken from the South China Morning Post. Please consider the source when reading the excerpts.

The article reports:

Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has formally withdrawn the much-despised extradition bill that sparked the nearly three-month long protest crisis now roiling the city, confirming the Post’s exclusive report earlier on Wednesday.

She will also set up an investigative platform to look into the fundamental causes of the social unrest and suggest solutions for the way forward, stopping short of turning it into a full-fledged commission of inquiry, as demanded by protesters.

The decision to withdraw the bill will mean that the government is finally acceding to at least one of the five demands of the protesters, who have taken to the streets over the past 13 weeks to voice not just their opposition to the legislation, but the overall governance of the city in demonstrations that have become increasingly violent.

Apart from the formal withdrawal of the legislation, the protesters have asked for the government to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate police conduct in tackling the protests, grant amnesty to those who have been arrested, stop characterizing the protests as riots, and restart the city’s stalled political reform process.

Whether they will view the investigative committee as adequate in meeting the call for a commission remains to be seen. On the bill withdrawal, a government source said that Lam will emphasize that the move was a technical procedure to streamline the legislative agenda, with the Legislative Council set to reopen in October after its summer break.

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog today about Hong Kong. In the article he quotes a Claudia Rosette article at The Wall Street Journal:

[T]he millions of protesters. . .have been doing the world a heroic service. Like their predecessors at Tiananmen, they are exposing on a world stage the brutality of the Beijing regime. From the only place under China’s flag where there is any chance to speak out, they are shouting the truth, day and night, in the streets and from the windows—while they still can.

During more than 13 straight weeks of protest, Hong Kong’s people have demanded the rights and freedoms—including free elections—that China, in a treaty with Britain, guaranteed to Hong Kong for 50 years after the 1997 handover. At a press conference last week held by Hong Kong’s Civil Human Rights Front, which has organized some of the biggest peaceful protests, spokeswoman Bonnie Leung observed that if the authorities would simply keep those promises, “the whole movement will end immediately.”

Instead, President Xi Jinping and his puppet, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, have defaulted to threats, propaganda and force. Ms. Lam’s administration has deployed riot police, tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. Officers have made more than 1,000 arrests.

China has been pressuring Hong Kong companies, including Cathay Pacific Airways, to fire employees who join the protests. Chanting “Stand with Hong Kong! Fight for freedom!” the protesters have refused to back down. Some told me they are ready to die for their cause. Many of their predecessors did in Tiananmen.

Hong Kong police have begun firing warning shots with live ammunition. This weekend, police were caught on video beating unarmed civilians bloody on the subway. China has been conspicuously drilling troops of its People’s Armed Police across the border, and last week it sent fresh army troops to its garrison in Hong Kong, labeling this a routine rotation to ensure “prosperity and stability.”

(Emphasis added)

The article at Power Line Blog concludes with an UPDATE:

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has finally agreed to withdraw the extradition bill discussed above. She takes her order from Beijing, so it looks like China wants to avoid a Tiananmen Square style massacre and the worldwide condemnation it would bring.

Will this concession, absent the freedoms China promised Hong Kong in 1997, be sufficient to take the steam out of the protests? Perhaps.

Another possibility is that the protesters, if anything, will be emboldened by the concession and that China, having made it, will believe it can defend a crack down by claiming that the protesters couldn’t take “yes” for an answer.

 Stay tuned.

 

When The Numbers Are Just Not Cooperating

As the climate change hysterics from the Democrat presidential candidates continue, some of the actual facts seem to have gotten lost in the discussion.

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog yesterday with the following headline, “No U.S. Warming Since 2005.”

The article reports:

Even when measured, temperature records are not very reliable. The U.S. is generally considered to have the best records, but surveys show that over half of our weather stations do not comply with written standards. Some are located in places that obviously will be warmer than surrounding air, e.g., next to airport runways. Many are in cities, where temperatures are artificially inflated by concentrations of people, motor vehicles, buildings, etc. And on top of all of that, the alarmists who curate weather records have systematically fiddled with them, lowering temperatures that were recorded decades ago and raising recent ones, to exaggerate the supposed phenomenon of global warming.

The article continues:

In order to address some of these problems, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) implemented, beginning in 2005, a new surface temperature measurement system in the U.S.

[The U.S. Climate Reference Network] includes 114 pristinely maintained temperature stations spaced relatively uniformly across the lower 48 states. NOAA selected locations that were far away from urban and land-development impacts that might artificially taint temperature readings.

Prior to the USCRN going online, alarmists and skeptics sparred over the accuracy of reported temperature data. With most preexisting temperature stations located in or near urban settings that are subject to false temperature signals and create their own microclimates that change over time, government officials performed many often-controversial adjustments to the raw temperature data. Skeptics of an asserted climate crisis pointed out that most of the reported warming in the United States was non-existent in the raw temperature data, but was added to the record by government officials.

The USCRN has eliminated the need to rely on, and adjust the data from, outdated temperature stations.

So–not to keep you in suspense–what does the USCRN show so far? No warming:

I guess we might have a little more than twelve years left. Please follow the link to the article to read the rest of the information.

Not All Of What You Are Hearing Is True

Chicken Little is again running around yelling, “The sky is falling!” This time the attempt to induce panic in the general population is related to the fires burning in Brazil in the Amazon rain forest. The panicked extreme environmentalists cry, “The lungs of the earth.” The more rational environmentalists have a different perspective.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article that reports some facts and historical perspective on the fires.

The article reports:

It isn’t entirely a fraud–there are indeed fires in the vicinity of the Amazon rain forest. But the hysteria that has been induced by those fires, which occur every year at this time, is ridiculous. Wildly exaggerated claims have been repeated uncritically in the press, and celebrity ignoramuses and politicians have avidly circulated photos of pretty much every forest fire that has occurred anywhere in the world over the last 20 or 30 years, claiming they were taken yesterday in the Amazon region.

The controversy has reached the level of high diplomacy (or rather, low comedy) as European countries have leaned heavily on Brazil to do a better job of controlling fires, threatening among other things trade sanctions, while Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro declined European offers of aid, while pointing out that French president Marcon wasn’t even able to prevent a foreseeable fire at Notre Dame cathedral. Relations between Brazil and France spiraled downward to the point of a Facebook comment by Bolsonaro on the relative pulchritude of the countries’ first ladies.

Yesterday The Tennessee Star posted an article about the fires.

The Tennessee Star reports:

The origin of this Amazon fire crisis traces back to the beginning of August, when Bolsonaro sacked his Space Institute minister for publishing worrisome data about the 2019 fire season. The dry season in Brazil typically runs from August to November, as farmers use these months to burn dried-out timber previously cut during land clearing operations. Ranchers also prepare the land for cattle grazing.

An important point to remember about these fires, however, is that the rainforests themselves are not entirely or uncontrollably ablaze. Natural fire does not typically occur in these tropical forests due to suffocating humidity, wet dense foliage, and daily thunderstorms. What is burning right now is land near the forests where farmers and ranchers have cleared hundreds and hundreds of acres of trees. This is easily seen in satellite imagery, which scientists finally examined and compared to the past two decades.

The New York Times pumped the brakes on the misinformation and published a highly informative map showing the location of the fires on previously cleared land obviously related to farmers and ranchers.

The Brazilian state of Mato Grasso has been transformed into an “ocean of soybeans” the size of Iowa. On the periphery, the land is cleared at the rate of 2,500-square-miles annually.

This deforestation peaked in the 1990s but lessened significantly over the past 10 years. There is evidence, however, to suggest Bolsonaro’s government had cut back on enforcement measures against illegal fires and land-clearing activities. The initial reports about the beginning of fire season sent the international community into a panic, led by the Europeans.

The number of fires and cumulative area burned so far in 2019, on the other hand, is on par with previous years and described as “near average” by NASA.

The farmers are clearing their land for their soybean crops. According to a Reuters article from May 2019:

Soybean trading in Brazil has gained momentum in recent days, driven by a wave of Chinese demand, boosting prices and premiums paid at ports amid a weakening of the Brazilian currency, according to analysts.

An estimated 5.5 million tonnes of soybeans have traded over the past few days, and are slated to leave Brazilian ports in June, July and August, according to estimates by the Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics (Cepea) issued on Friday.

The boost in trading has been driven by the failure of the Washington and Beijing to resolve their longstanding trade dispute, which made China turn to Brazil for soybean supplies, the analysts said.

The fires are not extraordinary when viewed through the lens of history. The farmers are clearing their land in order to plant soybeans and graze cattle. The hysteria is unfounded and unproductive.

When Senators Don’t Read The Constitution

Article VI of the U. S. Constitution states:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog about the confirmation of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska.

The article reports:

The Senate today confirmed Brian Buescher, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska. Readers may recall that Senate Democrats attacked Buescher for his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service organization. I wrote about this here.

Sen. Kamala Harris was one of the Senators who led the charge against Buescher during his Committee hearing. His other main adversary was Sen. Mazie Hirono, one of the Senate’s dimmest members.

Harris isn’t dim, but she’s a hard core leftist and an incorrigible opportunist. Thus, her suggestion that Buescher’s membership in the Knights of Columbus makes him unfit to serve as a federal judge was over-determined.

The argument was that the Knights of Columbus takes the “extreme” position that a marriage is the union of a man and a woman. But, as Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out at the time, Buescher belongs to two other organizations that consider marriage to be the union of a man and woman (and that also are anti-abortion, another of the Knights’ “extreme” positions). The two organizations are the Catholic Church and the Republican Party.

Do Hirono and Harris think that Buescher’s Catholicism raises problems with his nomination? I assume they do, to the extent that Buescher takes Catholic doctrine seriously.

Buescher declined Hirono’s invitation to resign from the Knights of Columbia as a condition of being confirmed. The Senate confirmed him anyway.

The vote was 51-40. No Democrat voted to confirm Buescher. Harris and the other Senate Democrats running for president didn’t vote.

In September 2017, Dianne Feinstein made the following statement about the Catholicism of  Amy Barrett during the confirmation hearing for the judge:

Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that — you know, dogma and law are two different things. And I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.

People of faith who have been blindly voting for Democrats over the years might want to take notice of these statements made during confirmation hearings. Again, the Senators need to reread the U.S. Constitution. Faith is neither a qualifier nor a dis-qualifier according to Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.

 

When The Story And The Facts Collide

According to Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog:

On July 9, (2018) Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted:

Two decades after Brown v. Board, I was only the second class to integrate at Berkeley public schools. Without that decision, I likely would not have become a lawyer and eventually be elected a Senator from California.

That’s the power a Supreme Court Justice holds.

Harris’ election to the Senate is one of the lesser reasons to celebrate Brown v. Board. Moreover, it’s far from clear that Harris wouldn’t have become a lawyer without attending an integrated public school. Plenty of African-Americans became lawyers without having that benefit.

But is it even true that Harris was in only the second class to integrate at Berkeley public schools? Based on an examination of old yearbooks from Berkeley High, Freida Powers reports that classrooms at Berkeley High were already integrated in 1963, a year before Harris was born.

Maybe Harris meant that she was part of only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. But even if that’s true, and it seems implausible given the early integration of the high school, it’s ludicrous to suggest that attending a segregated kindergarten would have prevented her from becoming a lawyer and Senator.

At the Democrat debate this week, the story was retold.

However, Paul Mirengoff printed another article at Power Line Blog on Friday which reported:

I wondered whether Harris meant that she was part of only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. However, according to Gateway Pundit, Harris went to school in Berkeley for only two years before moving with her mother to Canada where she attended grade school and high school.

Maybe Harris means that her class (minus her) was only the second integrated class to proceed all the way from kindergarten through high school in Berkeley. This doesn’t seem likely either given the early integration of Berkeley High.

Harris presents a misleading picture of Berkeley and, implicitly, of her family’s status. A friend who graduated from college there around the time Harris depicts tells me:

Berkeley was not segregated or racist during that era. It was one of the most liberal places in the country.

I’d like to learn a lot more about [Harris’] busing. I accept that she took a bus to elementary school, but I don’t think they were busing kids to various neighborhoods for racial reasons in Berkeley in 1971. Makes no sense at all to me.

Her mom and dad were PhDs, and she went to India during summers to stay with her mom’s family (see Wikipedia). She makes it sound like they were poverty-stricken. . .or something.

Actually, Harris herself presented evidence that she did not live in a segregated neighborhood, such that she needed to be bused to attend school with whites. During the debate, she told of a would-be friend whose parents wouldn’t let her play with Harris due to race.

I guess the message in the Democrat debates is don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Karma Anyone?

A lot of elected officials have never worked in the private sector. This impacts their view of economics and how it works. Often people who support liberal ideas have not had enough economic experience to understand that ideas that may sound wonderful may not work out as planned.  A recent example of this is a bookstore owner in New York City.

Yesterday Steven Hayward posted an article on Power Line Blog about Chris Doeblin, the owner of Book Culture, a four-location independent bookseller in New York City. The bookstore has a reputation of being a progressive bookstore.

The owner of the bookstore is quoted in the article:

“Our four stores are in danger of closing soon and we need financial assistance or investment on an interim basis to help us find our footing. This is true in spite of the fact that business has been good and we are widely supported and appreciated,” [owner Chris Doeblin] wrote. “In the last 30 months the payroll costs for Book Culture have risen by 50% and it has been difficult to adapt quickly enough. We have now made the structural changes to our company and the cuts that will allow us to move ahead profitably once we find the financial resources we need.”

The operative statement in that quote is that the payroll costs have risen by 50%. The article explains:

Doeblin blamed payroll cost increases on the city’s minimum wage raise, which he says increased hourly wages for his employees “from $10 to $15.25 since December 2016” and forced him to initiate layoffs and reorganizing.

Now Doeblin has a solution for the problem, which further confirms his lack of understanding of how economics and the free market work:

Doeblin explained to Gothamist what he believes the business needs to survive, and his larger ambitions to try to help other small businesses stay alive in an ever-changing city: “I think we need at least $500K in a term loan but I hope to find $750K to a $1M,” he said. “I would like the city to immediately [guarantee] such a loan and then embark on a serious plan to improve the odds of small business in New York. I would like to be on that panel too, because there is a lack of creative optimistic thinking and action.”

This illustrates the reason we need to teach economics and the principles of the free market in high schools and colleges.

The Appropriate Response And The Slanting Of The Story

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog about the warfare of the future. In the article Mr. Hinderaker mentions that according to The New York Times, Russia and China are working on the technology of hypersonic weapons. These weapons would render our missile defense systems useless.

The article also mentions President Trump’s response to the Iranian attacks on oil tankers:

Cyber warfare is almost old hat by comparison. The Associated Press (AP) says that President Trump ordered cyber attacks on Iran in place of actual bombings:

U.S. military cyber forces launched a strike against Iranian military computer systems on Thursday as President Donald Trump backed away from plans for a more conventional military strike in response to Iran’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, U.S. officials said Saturday.

The article then illustrates how the Associated Press can spin a story by quoting the AP’s reporting on the President’s response:

“This is not a remote war (anymore),” said Sergio Caltagirone, vice president of threat intelligence at Dragos Inc. “This is one where Iranians could quote unquote bring the war home to the United States.”

Caltagirone said as nations increase their abilities to engage offensively in cyberspace, the ability of the United States to pick a fight internationally and have that fight stay out of the United States physically is increasingly reduced.

Note that the AP accuses the United States of picking a fight internationally.

The article concludes:

Did the U.S. pick a fight here? I thought Iran did that, by bombing tankers in international waters and shooting down an American drone. But for the AP, like many other American liberals, anything other than Obama-style supine acquiescence constitutes picking a fight.

Well said, sir.

Helping Solve The Healthcare Problem

It is becoming obvious that the Democrats in Congress are not really interested in solving problems. They have been absent on the border crisis and they have been absent on healthcare and health insurance. Meanwhile, President Trump is making gains in both of those areas.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about a recent change in health insurance regulations announced by the Department of Health and Human Services. The change will allow businesses to fund employees who buy health insurance on the individual market–something that until now has been illegal.

The article includes the announcement:

Today, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury issued a new policy that will provide hundreds of thousands of employers, including small businesses, a better way to provide health insurance coverage, and millions of American workers more options for health insurance coverage. The Departments issued a final regulation that will expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). When employers have fully adjusted to the rule, it is estimated this expansion of HRAs will benefit approximately 800,000 employers, including small businesses, and more than 11 million employees and family members, including an estimated 800,000 Americans who were previously uninsured.
***
Under the rule, starting in January 2020, employers will be able to use what are referred to as individual coverage HRAs to provide their workers with tax-preferred funds to pay for the cost of health insurance coverage that workers purchase in the individual market, subject to certain conditions. … Individual coverage HRAs are designed to give working Americans and their families greater control over their healthcare by providing an additional way for employers to finance health insurance.
***
The HRA rule also increases workers’ choice of coverage, increases the portability of coverage, and will generally improve worker economic well-being. This rule will also allow workers to shop for plans in the individual market and select coverage that best meets their needs. … [T]he final rule should spur a more competitive individual market that drives health insurers to deliver better coverage options to consumers.

Moving healthcare and health insurance back to free market principles will be better for everyone–it will increase competition and eventually drive costs down. This is a step in the right direction.

A Well-Deserved Honor

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line Blog today about a Presidential Medal of Freedom that President Trump will be awarding to Arthur Laffer, the father of the Laffer Curve.

So what is the Laffer Curve. The International Finance website defines it as follows:

The term “ Laffer Curve” was coined by Jude Wanniski (former associate editor of the The Wall Street Journal) in 1978 when Wanniski penned an article named “Taxes, Revenues and the Laffer Curve”. In December 1974, Wanniski who was the associate editor of The Wall Street Journal along with Arthur Laffer, Professor at the Chicago University, Donald Rumsfeld ( Chief of Staff of to President Gerald Ford) and Dickey Cheney (Rumsfeld’s deputy) were discussing President Ford’s WIN (Whip Inflation Now)  proposal for tax increases at a restaurant in Washington, Laffer grabbed a napkin and a pen and sketched  a curve on the napkin illustrating the tradeoff between tax rates and tax revenues, Wanniski later named it as the “Laffer Curve”.  A humble and honest academician who served Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s Economic Advisory Board, Arthur credited the theory to 14th century Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun and eminent Economist John Maynard Keynes.

This is what the Laffer Curve looks like:

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The “Laffer Curve” is a theoretical curve showing the relationship between applied income tax rate and the resulting government revenue. The theory propagates the following points:

    • A tax rate of zero would result in zero government revenue
    • A tax rate of 100% will also result in zero government revenue
    • As the tax rate increases to above zero, there is an increase in the revenues of the government
    • As the tax rate continues to increase, the resultant increase in government revenue begins to slow
    • At a particular point the curve peaks and turns back towards the horizontal axis

The Laffer Curve is the reason that the federal government will collect more tax revenue this year despite the fact that President Trump lowered taxes. When taxes are raised, those with the money to hire good tax accountants find a way to avoid paying high taxes and tax revenues go down. Those of us without good tax accountants (usually the middle class) are stuck paying the increased taxes. The spending power of the middle class decreases, and the economy slows down. When the middle class has more money to spend, the economy does well.

Congratulations, Arthur Lapper. The recognition is well deserved.