Once A Community Organizer, Always A Community Organizer

President Obama has reentered the political scene. He is in the process of buying a beautiful waterfront home on Martha’s Vineyard. He is also involved in an organization called “Redistricting U.” The organization’s website is Allontheline.org.

Here is some information from the website:

  • “I’ve always believed that training is at the heart of organizing. It’s why I made it a priority in my 2008 campaign and throughout our larger movement for change in the years since. … The movement for fair maps will determine the course of progress on every issue we care about for the next decade. And we can’t wait to begin organizing when the redistricting process starts in 2021. We need to build this movement from the ground up – right now.” — President Obama
  • As a campaign of the National Redistricting Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization, All on the Line’s primary purpose is the advocacy and the promotion of social welfare. However, in limited instances, and only when consistent with our values and mission, All On The Line may engage in grassroots electoral work.
  • All On The Line is a campaign of the National Redistricting Action Fund (NRAF), an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), which is chaired by Eric H. Holder, Jr., the 82nd Attorney General of the United States.
  • The All On The Line campaign began, in part, when NRAF combined forces with Organizing for Action, an organization founded by Obama aides that grew out of President Obama’s campaign infrastructure. The power of ordinary people coming together to enact change is central to the beliefs of President Obama and Eric Holder, and they are both active in this effort and supportive of this campaign.

The states targeted by this organization for redistrict6ing are Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. It is interesting that all but one of these states voted for President Trump in 2016. President Trump lost in Colorado by less than 5 percent.

So what is this really about? President Obama is watching his legacy being destroyed as President Trump is rebuilding the American economy. President Trump is on track to be reelected despite the efforts of the mainstream media and the hysterics of the Democrat presidential candidates. Redistricting reform is the name President Obama is giving to his efforts to make sure President Trump is not reelected.

 

A Program That Is Getting Results

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the oldest voucher program in the United States. This program began in 1990. The program offers private school vouchers to low-income Milwaukee kids using a lottery system. The article reports that just 341 students participated in the program’s first year. Today, that figure is nearly 30,000 across 126 public schools.

The article reports:

Because it has been running for so long, the MPCP has been widely studied. Past analyses have found that it increases math scores (although not reading), as well as high-school graduation and college enrollment rates. Other voucher experiments have also shown encouraging results: A 2013 study found that Washington, D.C.’s voucher program increased graduation rates by 21 percentage points, while a 2015 analysis of New York’s voucher system saw an increase in college enrollment among students with black mothers.

The authors of the new paper looked at data on students from elementary school through ninth grade who were enrolled in Milwaukee private schools in 2006. They identified 2,727 MPCP students, then used a detailed methodology to “match” them to comparable students in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system based on where they lived, their demographic information, their parents’ educational backgrounds, and other controls.

Having constructed their “treatment” and “control” groups, the researchers then looked at how each group faired in relation to pivotal achievement milestones: completing high school, ever enrolling in college, completing at least a year of college, and graduating from college.

The article concludes:

“MPCP students are more likely to enroll, persist, and have more total years in a four-year college than their MPS peers,” the authors write. “We also find evidence that MPCP students are significantly more likely to graduate from college, although that college completion finding is only statistically significant in our sample of students who entered the program in third through eighth grade.”

Specifically, MPCP students who were in ninth grade in 2006 were 6 percentage points more likely than their MPS peers to enroll in a four-year college—46 percent versus 40 percent. MPCP students who were in third through eighth grades were 4 percentage points more likely to enroll in a four-year college, and 3 percentage points more likely to graduate (all effects statistically significant).

These results contribute to what the authors call “a growing body of evaluation results indicating that private school voucher programs positively affect student educational attainment.” They point in particular to a Florida program, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the effects of which on graduation are “nearly identical.”

“The collective evidence in this paper indicates that students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program tend to have higher levels of educational attainment than a carefully matched comparison group of Milwaukee Public School students,” the authors conclude. “The MPCP students are more likely to enroll, persist, and experience more total years in a four-year college.”

Obviously the children using the vouchers to attend private schools are getting a better education than the students in public schools. I would guess that children involved in the voucher program also have a higher level of parental involvement–one of the keys to success for students. The children involved in the voucher program probably also know that there may be penalties for not doing the work required. I suspect that discipline in the private schools is probably more prevalent than in public schools. Our public schools have become places where children are not held to an academic or behavior standard. The success of the children in the voucher programs is an indication of problems in our public schools.

The Things They Never Told Us About Wind Power

An article at the Center of the American Experiment website tells us some of the things the media might not have mentioned about wind power:

An industrial wind facility in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin has been decommissioned after just 20 years of service because the turbines are no longer cost effective to maintain and operate. The decommissioning of the 14 turbines took many people by surprise, even local government officials and the farmer who had five of the turbines on his property.

What’s really surprising about these wind turbines being decommissioned after 20 years is the is the fact that people were surprised by it. You’d be astonished at how many people I talk to that have no idea that wind turbines only last for 20 years, maybe 25. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory says the useful life of a wind turbine is only 20 years.

The following chart appears in the article:

So what do we do with these things after they have lived their useful life span? Can we dispose of them in a way that is environmentally safe?

The article notes:

The short usable lifespan of a wind turbine is one of the most important, but least-talked about subjects in energy policy.

In contrast to wind, coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants can run for a very long time. Coal and natural gas plants can easily run for 50 years, and nuclear plants can be updated and retrofitted to run for 60 years. This has profound implications for the cost of electricity on a per megawatt hour basis that seemingly no one is talking about.

When the federal government puts out their cost projections for energy, the numbers they produce are called the Levelized Cost of Energy, or LCOE. These numbers are supposed to act as a measuring stick that allows policymakers to determine which energy sources will best serve their needs, but these numbers are wrong because they assume all power plants, whether they are wind, coal, natural gas, or nuclear will have a 30-year payback period.

This does two things, it artificially reduces the cost of wind power by allowing them to spread their costs over 30 years, when 20 would be much more appropriate, and it artificially inflates the cost of coal, natural gas, and nuclear by not calculating the cost over the entirety of their reasonable lifetimes.

The search for totally green energy is not unlike science’s search for a perpetual motion machine. Scientists and engineers may come close, but the perpetual motion machine cannot exist because it contradicts the laws of physics.

When People In Politics Forget The Rules

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the antics practiced in Wisconsin in recent years by those attempting to remove and tarnish Governor Walker. The (so-called) legal basis for the attacks was the John Doe law.  In a 2015 article, I told the story of the John Doe Law being used as the basis for a swat-team-like invasion of a home where a teenager was home alone. The pretext for the invasion was coordination between conservative groups and Scott Walker’s campaign for governor. Please follow the link to the article to read the entire story–it is chilling.

Scott Johnson reports:

On Wednesday, a Wisconsin judge unsealed an 88-page report on the state Department of Justice’s (WIDoJ) investigation into a leak of sealed evidence from the politically motivated “John Doe” investigation of Gov. Scott Walker, his supporters, and various conservative groups related to his recall election campaign. The 88-page report is posted here.

The report lacks an executive summary. The pseudonymous Warren Henry summarizes and comments on the report for the Federalist in “Bombshell report: Political persecution of Scott Walker swept up high-level GOP officials.” Mike Kittle summarizes and comments on the report for Wisconsin’s MacIver Institute in “DOJ report: Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe was more sinister than first reported.”

The events reported in this report do not belong in a representative republic. Unfortunately, I suspect some of these intimidation tactics are being currently used to block the agenda of President Trump. They were not successful when they were used against Governor Walker, and hopefully they will not be successful when used against President Trump.

The article concludes:

The wrongdoing now detailed in the WIDoJ report is of the deeply fascist variety that exceeds my poor powers of denunciation. Suffice it to say that it combines the instruments of tyranny — physical torture omitted — in the service of the suppression of conservatives. The story is shocking almost beyond belief. One might ask where the outrage is, but at this point we should probably ask if anyone is paying attention.

All of the people involved in these activities belong in jail. I’m not holding my breath, but they belong in jail.

Undermining Our Society–One College At A Time

The Daily Caller is reporting today that taxpayers are funding course at colleges that actually undermine America.

The article reports:

Two more taxpayer-funded American universities — the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Colorado Denver — will offer undergraduate courses focused exclusively on how “whiteness” is a serious social problem in the upcoming spring 2017 semester.

The course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is matter-of-factly called “The Problem of Whiteness.”

The description for the course focuses on America’s — and the entire world’s — whiteness problem explains that “white supremacy was created by white people” and suggests that “white folks” “have the greatest responsibility to eradicate it.”

The class “will ask what an ethical white identity entails, what it means to be #woke.”

I would like to explain that white people did not have a choice as to whether or not they were born white. I would also like to explain that many white people, many black people, and many people of other races have worked hard to make America a land of equal opportunity for all. Note that America is a land of equal opportunity–not equal outcome. There will always be people with more talent and more brains who are more successful than some others. Otherwise wouldn’t we all go into sports, music or acting and make millions? People are not perfect and therefore cannot create a perfect society. We try, and most of us do the best we can, but perfection is not ours to have.

The article includes the following story:

Last academic year, hundreds of students and professors at UW–Madison marched and protested because campus cops located a black student during a class and arrested him for allegedly spray-painted politically-charged graffiti — including “RACIZM IN THE AIR,” “DON’T BREATHE,” “– GOD” and “THE DEVIL IZ A WHITE MAN” — on a bunch of buildings all over the taxpayer-funded campus.

The spray-painting vandalism caused over $4,000 in damages to university property.

The arrested student, Denzel McDonald, calls himself “King Shabazz.” It’s not clear if McDonald chose this name to honor King Samir Shabazz, a New Black Panther Party national field marshal who has a face tattoo reading “Kill Whitey.”

Meanwhile, the University of Colorado Denver is offering a three-credit course for the spring 2017 semester called “Problematizing Whiteness: Educating for Racial Justice.”

A flyer for the course posted around the CU Denver campus — spotted by Campus Reform — features a Soviet-style red fist clasping a pencil and an invitation to “JOIN THE FAMILIA NOW.”

Critical Whiteness Studies addresses the need for a deeper analysis of race, one that accounts for both sides of the race coin, that of the plight of people of color AND how Whites are also complicit in a system of race,” the flyer course description explains.

Does this sound like we are teaching our children how to be successful or are we teaching our children to be victims? These are taxpayer-funded colleges. I don’t want to see the government setting the curriculum for colleges, but I do think in cases like this we need some sort of limits (or find students and professors with enough common sense to throw this garbage out).

Sometimes You Just Have To Wonder What Motivates People

In the 2016 Presidential Election, the third party candidates received about 4 percent of the votes. That is a combined total. Most estimates say that Jill Stein received about 1 percent of the vote. So why is Jill Stein demanding a recount? What does she have to gain?

Fox News posted an article today pointing out that Jill Stein’s call for a recount in several states has received twelve times more news coverage from ABC, NBC, and CBS than her campaign.

The article reports:

When Jill Stein was the Green Party’s candidate for U.S. president, the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) only gave her 36 seconds of coverage. However, as soon as she launched a campaign to contest the presidential election and demand a recount of ballots in several key states, the evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC managed to find 7 minutes and 26 seconds of coverage for her in just four days.

On November 26’s NBC “Nightly News,” anchor Lester Holt began a story on the recount by implying that the election may not be over yet, “if you thought the presidential election was behind us, word came today from the Hillary Clinton campaign that it will back the state-wide election recount effort put on by third party candidate Jill Stein in three key battle ground states.”

So what is going on? We all remember how the media treated Donald Trump. We all remember that the media did not want Donald Trump elected or his policies to be put in place. Why? Because the news media and the Democrats have a working system that pays well and provides access. Donald Trump is a threat to that system. Any doubt that can be thrown into the election results can be used to de-legitimize the Trump Presidency and the Trump Administration. That is part of the story. But there is even more. Jill Stein ended her campaign with serious campaign debt. She has already raised more money for the recount than she did for her campaign. (It would be interesting to know where the recount money is coming from.) The excess money raised for the recount can be used to pay off her campaign debt. Hillary Clinton has signed on to the effort because it keeps her in the spotlight in the hopes of running again in 2020. That is the only way foreign governments will continue paying large amounts of money to hear Bill Clinton speak or donate large amounts to the Clinton Foundation. There is no chance that the election results will be overturned (and a strong possibility that voter fraud on the part of the Democrats in Wisconsin may be discovered–The Gateway Pundit).

Get out the popcorn–this is going to be interesting.

Scott Walker Has Left The Presidential Race

Like the gentleman he is, Scott Walker has quietly left the Republican party race for the Presidential nomination.

He sent an email to his supporters that included the following statement (as posted on Power Line):

Sadly, the debate taking place in the Republican party today is not focused on [Ronald Reagan’s] optimistic view of America. Instead, it has drifted into personal attacks.

In the end, I believe that voters want to be for something and not against someone. Instead of talking about how bad things are, we want to hear about how we can make them better for everyone. …

Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With that in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.

I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current frontrunner. This is fundamentally important to the future of the party and – ultimately – to the future of our country.

Hopefully we will hear more from him in the future. I would have liked to have seen him as the candidate.

Some Good News From The Wisconsin Supreme Court

On July 6, I posted an article about the use of a Wisconsin law called the “John Doe Law” to intimidate people who support conservative candidates. People have had their houses invaded by the police and their Constitutional rights denied because of their support of conservative candidates.

Today, Scott Johnson at Power Line reported that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ended John Doe investigations.

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported today:

“It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing,” Gableman ( Justice Michael Gableman) wrote.

Calling the challengers brave, Gableman wrote that their litigation gave the court “an opportunity to re-endorse its commitment to upholding the fundamental right of each and every citizen to engage in lawful political activity and to do so free from the fear of the tyrannical retribution of arbitrary or capricious governmental prosecution. Let one point be clear: our conclusion today ends this unconstitutional John Doe investigation.”

This is a practice that needed to be stopped as soon as possible.

When Politics Gets Totally Out Of Hand

I am a conservative. I totally disagree with liberal policies. I do what I can to see that conservatives who believe in the U.S. Constitution get elected. However, I am willing to believe that there is some common ground between conservatives and liberals and I believe they are as entitled to work for their causes as I am for mine. I am not sure how many liberals share that belief.

National Review posted an article today about an attack on conservatives in Wisconsin that has been going on for a while. I mean a physical attack based on something called a John Doe law.

The article tells the story of one incident:

It was still dark outside when “Jonah” (not his real name) heard the pounding on his front door. As luck would have it, he was awake — or mostly awake. He’d gotten up at 4:00 a.m. on October 3, 2013, to see his parents off to the airport. They were leaving on a quick trip to raise money for the children’s charity his father runs. Jonah was 16 at the time, old enough to stay home alone for a short time, but not old enough to deal with what awaited him on the other side of the door.

The pounding continued, and Jonah peered out the window to discover its source. To his horror, he saw uniformed officers, their guns drawn. “Police,” they yelled. “We have a warrant.” An officer shined a flashlight on a document Jonah couldn’t read. Unsure what to do, but unwilling to defy the authorities, he let them in.

Jonah was ordered not to tell anyone what had happened–even officials at his school. When he asked first to call his parents and then to call a lawyer, he was told no both times.

The article further reports:

The pretense for the October raids was suspected “coordination” between various conservative organizations and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s campaign — activity that a trial court has held constituted nothing more than entirely legal “issue advocacy,” if it even occurred. Because they’d had the temerity to engage in this issue advocacy — constitutionally protected free speech — multiple conservative citizens were subjected to so-called John Doe proceedings by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat.

…At present, John Doe II is halted. In response to a challenge from Wisconsin conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a trial judge blocked multiple prosecution subpoenas, holding that they “do not show probable cause that the moving parties committed any violations of the campaign-finance laws.” This ruling has been appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and a decision that could potentially end Chisholm’s witch hunts once and for all is expected any day. At least one victim isn’t waiting for such a decision before she takes action. Cindy Archer has filed a civil-rights lawsuit against Chisholm, and more suits may be coming.

I have posted other stories about the activities of the Milwaukee Country District Attorney here and here. Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you choose to occupy, this story should concern you. If public servants are allowed to use their offices to intimidate political opponents, we are in serious trouble. I hope all of the people whose houses were stormed into by misguided police sue everyone responsible. That may actually be the best remedy, as the courts, as of yet, do not seem overly concerned.

When State And Local Governments Are Totally Out Of Control

Yesterday Cindy Archer posted an article in the Wall Street Journal explaining why she has filed a civil-rights lawsuit against Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.

This lawsuit is the result of serious abuses of power by the District Attorney in an effort to intimidate and silence supporters of Scott Walker as Governor. Please follow the link above to read the background on the story. I am going to focus on some of the abuses of power by the District Attorney and his political allies.

Ms. Archer chronicles some of the events:

Nothing could have prepared me for waking up to the shouts of men with battering rams announcing that they were about to break down my door on that morning in 2011. It was so unexpected and frightening that I ran down from my bedroom without clothes on. Panicked by the threatened show of force, I was then humiliated as officers outside the window yelled at me to get dressed and open up. I quickly retrieved clothing and dressed as I unlocked the door.

Agents with weapons drawn swarmed through every part of the house. They barged into the bathroom where my partner was showering. I was told to shut up and sit down. The officers rummaged through drawers, cabinets and closets. Their aggressive assault on my home seemed more appropriate for a dangerous criminal, not a longtime public servant with no criminal history.

After they left, I surveyed the damage. Drawers and closets had been ransacked. My deceased mother’s belongings were strewn across the floor. Neighbors gathered in small clusters at the end of their driveways and the press arrived in force.

What had prompted the raid? My guess: As an adviser to Gov. Walker, I had played a lead role in drafting and implementing public-employee labor reforms that would propel him to the national stage.

No American should be treated this way.

Unfortunately, that was not the end of her ordeal:

In the months following the raid, I was interrogated by the district attorney’s deputies numerous times on a variety of topics related to the governor’s tenure as Milwaukee county executive, but I was never charged with a crime. I faced seven grueling confrontations that seemed designed simply to intimidate and harass me into providing damaging information about Gov. Walker—though I had none.

I have also been subjected to derogatory headlines and made the butt of jokes on talk radio and anti-Walker websites about everything from my personal appearance to my sexual orientation and mental stability. Neighbors became distant and suspicious.

Ms. Archer concludes:

My reputation and career have been damaged beyond repair. But knowing what I now know, there is a clear legal path forward. There should be no place in America where powerful law-enforcement officials are allowed to misuse their offices for political purposes.

American voters need to wake up and see what is happening to our political system. It has been taken over by thugs and bullies who do not care about our representative republic–they care simply about their own power and preserving it. It is time to get out the broom and do a clean sweep of those local, state, and federal officials who do not understand that they are supposed to represent the people and serve at the will of the people.

A Future Presidential Candidate?

Tonight I had the pleasure of hearing Governor Scott Walker speak to a group of North Carolina Republicans. The Governor spoke of the need to select a reformer as our next President. He stated that there are a number of good candidates already vying for the Republican Presidential nomination. The Governor cited his record in Wisconsin–turning a deficit into a surplus, raising the labor participation rate, and lowering unemployment. He has also lowered taxes in the state.

Governor Walker was elected in 2010 and 2014 and defeated an attempt to recall him in 2012. He has stood strong against hardball tactics of the left and been successful in defeating them.

I have not yet decided who I will support in the primary election, but I will definitely consider Scott Walker.

The Jobs Report In Wisconsin

Right now, Scott Walker is the top Republican fund raiser in the Presidential primary. He is also a favorite of the conservatives, which makes him a prime target of attack for the Clinton machine and anyone out there on the liberal side of the spectrum that has designs on the presidency. Get ready for the attacks–here are some of the facts.

Today’s Wall Street Journal posted an article about his record on employment in Wisconsin. Scott Walker took office in 2011. He faced a recall almost immediately, which he won. Despite the opposition, he continued his policies of cutting spending and lowering taxes.

The article reports the results:

Yet Wisconsin’s employment-population ratio has jumped 2.5%—significantly more than the national improvement rate. Wisconsin is also gaining ground against other states. In February 2011 Wisconsin ranked 12th in employment-population ratio. It now ranks ninth.

The U.S. employment-population ratio has grown 1.5% since Mr. Walker took charge.

The article further explains:

Some will rightly point out that the unemployment rate fails to account for people who can’t find a job and stop searching. And so a low unemployment rate is more meaningful if it is accompanied by high participation in the labor force. Since February 2011, the national labor-force participation rate has dropped to 62.7%, from 64.2%. Wisconsin’s rate, much healthier than the national average, has also declined but by significantly less, to 68.4% from 69.1%.

Wisconsin’s current 68.4% labor-force participation rate is particularly noteworthy because it represents an uptick over the past year from a low of 68.1%. Nationally, the average labor-force participation rate has declined to lows last seen during the Carter administration.

Given that Wisconsin’s unemployment has dropped to 4.6% from 5.6% in the past year, the state is in the enviable position of having lowered unemployment while increasing labor-force participation. Not surprisingly, this has helped Wisconsin move up to eighth place in state labor-force participation, from 12th in 2011.

Keep these figures in mind as you hear the attacks on Scott Walker that will be coming from the political left. I have not yet made up my mind as to whom I am supporting in the Republican presidential primary, but these are impressive statistics.

The Justice System Works–Sometimes The People In It Don’t

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted a rather blunt statement by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke (D). He stated that the charges brought against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray were “George Zimmerman and the Duke Lacrosse case all over again” and said “these cops are political prisoners, offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob.” He made this statement on Friday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.

This sounds like an inflammatory statement until you really examine it.

The article reports:

Clarke said of the charges, “it’s a miscarriage of justice. This neophyte prosecutor stood up there and made a political statement, Neil, and I say that because she’s chanting or voicing some of the chants from this angry mob. Her job is to tune that out. She said, I hear the voices. She’s not supposed to hear anything as she reviews this case that is not consistent with the rule of law and our system of justice. Look, I’m an experienced and a veteran homicide detective. I’ve had — I’ve participated in charging conferences. There is no way I have ever gotten a criminal charge within 24 hours after taking over all the reports and evidence to a prosecutor. A prosecutor who is thorough needs several days to sift through hundreds of pages of reports. They usually want to interview some of the witnesses themselves, in person, and they have to sift through all of the evidence, piece by piece, and they have to wait for some of the forensics evidence to conclude, to come back and that’s why I say on a minimum, three to four days. She just got this case yesterday. This is political activism. She’ll never prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, and I’m not going to silently stand by and watch my brother officers, offered up as human sacrifices, thrown like red meat to an angry mob, just to appease this angry mob.” And that “she rushed this thing through.”

In case you have forgotten, the Duke lacrosse case occurred in 2006. It involved false charges of rape filed against three members of the Duke lacrosse team. As a result of the accusations, the remainder of the 2006 lacrosse season was canceled. Remember, the charges were false and the men were innocent. Meanwhile, where do they go to get their reputations back (or their athletic scholarships)? We are watching the same thing happen in Baltimore. When the dust clears, it may become obvious that the police may have been negligent in following procedures closely (there are rumors about a seat belt that was not fastened that should have been), but from here it does not look like whatever happened in Baltimore is deserving of the media attention or the protests it is getting.

It is unfortunate that there is injustice in our society, but it has always been there and always will be there. Since the police involved were both black and white, I don’t see how this can be logically seen as a racial issue. It may be seen as a racial issue if one chooses to do so, but I am not convinced there is any logic to that point of view.

If conditions in Baltimore are that bad, the answer is found in the ballot box–not in looting and destroying personal property.

 

I Never Believed This Could Happen In America

Hot Air posted a story yesterday about a home invasion in Wisconsin. Unfortunately the home invasion was done by people who were supposed to protect Americans–not harass them.

The story reports:

She (Cindy Archer) got the dogs safely out of the house, just as multiple armed agents rushed inside. Some even barged into the bathroom, where her partner was in the shower. The officer or agent in charge demanded that Cindy sit on the couch, but she wanted to get up and get a cup of coffee.

“I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted.” Wrong thing to say. “This made the agent in charge furious. He towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me.”

They wouldn’t let her speak to a lawyer. She looked outside and saw a person who appeared to be a reporter. Someone had tipped him off.

What had she done to cause this invasion by armed police?

The article reports:

Archer participated in the efforts to reform public-employee unions in Wisconsin with the Act 10 proposal. Others noted by French also participated in conservative politics and policy development, all of whom got raided in exactly the same manner — warned not to talk about it, warned not to get a lawyer, all while the government confiscated their papers and computers.

Wisconsin has a John Doe Law, widely used by political types to silence or intimidate political opposition. The law was originally passed as part of campaign finance reform, but unfortunately has become a political weapon.

The article further explains what has happened with the John Doe Law:

The John Doe investigations are a form of domestic lawfare, and our constitutional system is ill equipped to handle it. Federal courts rarely intervene in state judicial proceedings, state officials rarely lose their array of official immunities for the consequences of their misconduct, and violations of First Amendment freedoms rarely result in meaningful monetary damages for the victims. …

Yes, Wisconsin, the cradle of the progressive movement and home of the “Wisconsin idea” — the marriage of state governments and state universities to govern through technocratic reform — was giving birth to a new progressive idea, the use of law enforcement as a political instrument, as a weapon to attempt to undo election results, shame opponents, and ruin lives.

Most Americans have never heard of these raids, or of the lengthy criminal investigations of Wisconsin conservatives. For good reason. Bound by comprehensive secrecy orders, conservatives were left to suffer in silence as leaks ruined their reputations, as neighbors, looking through windows and dismayed at the massive police presence, the lights shining down on targets’ homes, wondered, no doubt, What on earth did that family do?

This was the on-the-ground reality of the so-called John Doe investigations, expansive and secret criminal proceedings that directly targeted Wisconsin residents because of their relationship to Scott Walker, their support for Act 10, and their advocacy of conservative reform.

The United States Constitution states:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The John Doe Law will shortly be reviewed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. Hopefully the Courts will uphold the Constitution. If they don’t, we are in danger of losing free speech in America. As for the issue of money in politics–full disclosure of donors and amounts would do a lot to solve that problem–and it would avoid this sort of lawfare.

 

 

Even The New York Times Needs An Editor Sometimes

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line today about a New York Times editorial dealing with Scott Walker. Because Scott Walker is getting noticed by Republican voters, and because making him run for re-election in Wisconsin every year or so has not destroyed him, it is not a surprise that the New York Times would take a shot. However, the editorial might have been more effective if they had called him Mr. Walker instead of Mr. Scott.

This is an excerpt from the article:

ScottWalkerEditorialSomehow I really think this weakens their case against him–but it is funny. Evidently the error has been corrected (with no mention of it being made in the first place).

How Many Times Did Scott Walker Have To Run For Governor During One Term?

The American Thinker posted an article today about the legal attack on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in recent years. The opponents of Governor Walker have used “John Doe” investigations against the governor and midnight SWAT team raids on Walker’s political supporters.

The article reports:

Yesterday, Judge Lee S. Dreyfus of the Waukesha County Court unsealed a trove of documents in  he civil lawsuit being brought by the Wisconsin Club for Growth against the GAB (Government Accountability Board).

The article lists some of the information in the documents:

Staff members engaged in the probe seem to have defied their own board. Documents show the board voted on July 21, 2014 refused to reauthorize the investigation, on a 3-2 vote.

Documents show the GAB staffers were preoccupied with their own legal exposure rather than whether those staffers were engaged in a lawful investigation. As late as May, they urged the board to continue to fund the agency’s probe because “terminating the investigation could undermine the position of the Board’s investigators in the civil case, exposing them, and potentially Board members to civil liability with no legal support.” (snip)

Under state law, the agency’s board must meet “at least once every 90” days to review the progress of the investigation. The board must approve the reauthorization of the investigation or the probe is considered closed.

The GAB is not authorized under law to prosecute criminal investigations, such as John Doe probes.

GAB spokesman Reid Magney earlier this week told Wisconsin Reporter, “John Doe investigations are initiated by district attorneys and controlled by a judge, not the Government Accountability Board.”

Asked whether the board has reauthorized the probe, he declined to comment, citing confidentiality laws.

Technically, the GAB’s involvement in the investigation should have been terminated over a year ago.

According to documents, the GAB voted to authorize the probe on June 20, 2013 but did not vote to reauthorize until Sept. 25, 2013 – 97 days after the GAB’s investigation was officially launched.

GAB Judge Harold Froehlich extensively discussed the lapse at a board meeting in May 2014.

But the GAB, according to court documents, had been admitted as a party to the probe and assisting prosecutors 10 months prior to the board’s formal vote to begin its investigation.

The unsealed documents show GAB director and general counsel Kevin Kennedy and Jonathan Becker, administrator of the agency’s ethics division, involved the accountability board in the secret probe without the approval or even knowledge of the judges. Board members were not informed of the involvement until Dec. 18, 2012, some three months after Kennedy and crew jumped on board.

And it seems Kennedy and Becker misled the board about precisely when they had “learned” of the John Doe investigation, according to a Dec. 18, 2012 memorandum.

“Since the time of the October 23, 2012 Board meeting, staff has learned that the Milwaukee District Attorney has opened another John Doe investigation,” the memo states.

It is not a crime to be a conservative governor. Hopefully the people who attempted to make it a crime will find themselves defending their actions rather than attacking people for their political views.

Eliminating The Republican Candidates For 2016 By Misusing The Court System

I am not a lawyer, so much of what I am about to report I do not totally understand. What I do understand is that our judicial system can be used for nefarious purposes by those with political goals. That is one of many reasons we need the kind of tort reform that makes the person bringing a lawsuit with no merit pay court costs and damages. We have a bogus lawsuit going on in Wisconsin designed to oust Scott Walker from the 2016 presidential race.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a story explaining how much of the press is misleading the public about the charges against Governor Walker.

I am quoting the article extensively because I don’t have the legal background to explain exactly what is going on.

The article reports:

Here is what is going on: a group of partisan local prosecutors launched a never-ending “John Doe investigation” into essentially every conservative group in the state of Wisconsin. The “investigation” is a scandal, a naked effort to shut down conservative speech. Federal Judge Rudolph Randa described how the investigation proceeded in an Order dated May 6, 2014.

…The case in which Judge Randa ruled was brought by the Club For Growth and Eric O’Keefe. Plaintiffs alleged that the purported investigation was in reality an unconstitutional infringement of their First Amendment rights, intended to deter the expression of conservative speech. Judge Randa agreed. In his May 6 Order, he found that the partisan “investigation” had no legal basis:

“The defendants are pursuing criminal charges through a secret John Doe investigation against the plaintiffs for exercising issue advocacy speech rights that on their face are not subject to the regulations or statutes the defendants seek to enforce. This legitimate exercise of O‘Keefe‘s rights as an individual, and WCFG‘s rights as a 501(c)(4) corporation, to speak on the issues has been characterized by the defendants as political activity covered by Chapter 11 of the Wisconsin Statutes, rendering the plaintiffs a subcommittee of the Friends of Scott Walker and requiring that money spent on such speech be reported as an in-kind campaign contribution. This interpretation is simply wrong.”

Judge Randa analyzed the law as it relates to campaign finance. He noted that the conservative groups denied any coordination, and their denials appear to be well-founded. But, in any event, their activities were constitutionally protected and cannot be the basis of a criminal investigation.

After Judge Randa made that ruling, the people who brought the case against all of the conservative groups appealed.

The article continues:

The Court of Appeals issued an order to the effect that Judge Randa would need to make a finding that the defendants’ appeal was frivolous in order to retain jurisdiction. That resulted in another Order, dated May 8, 2014, in which Judge Randa described the discredited prosecutors’ appeal as “the height of frivolousness.”

The article concludes:

An appellate judge has now ordered certain pleadings in the case to be unsealed, an order to which the Club For Growth did not object. The hysterical accusations against Scott Walker that the Associated Press, the Washington Post and others are now gleefully celebrating are simply the unfounded assertions that the prosecutors made in a failed effort to justify their partisan investigation. They are precisely the allegations that have been resoundingly rejected by the federal judge who has presided over the case and who has found the defendants’ investigation to be a naked violation of the conservative groups’ constitutional rights.

So the reporters who are now trumpeting the discredited prosecutors’ assertions either have no understanding of the case, or they are part of the partisan witch hunt that gave rise to the unconstitutional investigation in the first place.

This type of lawsuit brought against conservative groups has two purposes–as the groups fight it, it costs them tons of money, draining their resources that would be used to get their message out. The other purpose is to discourage other conservative groups from speaking out. This type of lawsuit has also been used to quell free speech in other areas–anyone who says something negative about Islam is likely to be sued by the Council on American–Islamic Relations ( CAIR).

Our judicial system works, but it can be abused. We need to follow the example of Texas in instituting tort reform to prevent people from using our court system for political ends.

Good Government Makes A Difference

When Governor Scott Walker took office in January 2011, he began a wave of reforms that have advanced Wisconsin’s economy. Wisconsin added over 63,000 private sector jobs in 2011-12 following the loss of about 134,000 private sector jobs during the previous four years. The private sector job gains under Governor Walker are the best two-year gains under any Governor in over a decade.

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune posted an article about Governor Walker’s plan to use part of the state’s surplus to reduce taxes on the residents of the state.

The article reports:

Assembly Republicans put the finishing touches Tuesday on Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to devote a huge chunk of the state’s surplus to tax cuts, approving the proposal one last time before sending it to the governor to be signed.

…The bill calls for using the state’s projected $977 million surplus to cover property and income tax cuts. The measure would send $406 million to technical colleges to reduce their property tax hit and cut income taxes by $98.6 million. The changes would translate to a $131 reduction on a median-valued home’s property tax bill this December and save the average worker $46 in annual income taxes.

Admittedly, that’s not very much–a little over $200 for a family where both parents work–but it represents movement in the right direction. How many years have the residents of Wisconsin watched their taxes increase by that much?

Governor Walker created an environment in Wisconsin that attracted businesses, and businesses came. The irony of this is that many ‘experts’ have attributed the migration of Americans to southern states to warmer climates–frankly, I am not sure you could convince anyone to go to Wisconsin based on climate alone.

Congratulations to Governor Walker for a job well done!

 

 

 

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When Government Works

Yes, government can actually work. You haven’t heard about this one example because it really does not illustrate what the media wants illustrated, but government can work.

Yesterday The Blaze reported on some comments made by Rush Limbaugh about what is happening in Wisconsin. You haven’t heard much about this, but the state has done an amazing turn around.

The story reports:

The state of Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is “rapidly falling” and the government’s budget ended the year with a $912 million surplus, Limbaugh explained. He says the dramatic turnaround is due in large part to the conservative policies of Gov. Scott Walker.

What’s even more amazing, he continued, is the fact that Walker is going to “rebate the money in the form of tax cuts to the people, who he said own the money.” Limbaugh says the news is “earth-shattering” because, in one of the bluest states, Walker was targeted for removal twice but continued to implement conservative policies that he was confident would help his state — and his strategy appears to be working.

If you think back a little bit, you remember what Governor Walker went through to implement his plans for the state. He had protestors trashing the capitol, he survived recall elections, and personal attacks, but he just kept on moving forward.

The article reminds us:

“He’s going to cut income taxes and property taxes, and he made the point that it’s not just a gimmick of budgeting or accounting. It’s the result of serious, significant policy changes,” Limbaugh argued.

“Now, folks, what I just told you was not reported once anywhere in what you would consider mainstream media. It was not reported on one cable network, much less all of them. It was not reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the LA Times,” he added. “It was reported in Wisconsin. There was an AP story on it, maybe some local papers picked it up, but just as a filler.”

“And to me, for us as conservatives, Wisconsin and Governor Walker, I mean, everything that we want to happen, happened there,” the radio host concluded.

When government is done right, unemployment goes down, taxes go down, and everyone gains. When government is done wrong, unemployment goes up, taxes go up, the number of people receiving food stamps goes up, and everyone loses.

It is, in the long run, up to the voters to decide what they want.

“He’s going to cut income taxes and property taxes, and he made the point that it’s not just a gimmick of budgeting or accounting. It’s the result of serious, significant policy changes,” Limbaugh argued.

“Now, folks, what I just told you was not reported once anywhere in what you would consider mainstream media. It was not reported on one cable network, much less all of them. It was not reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the LA Times,” he added. “It was reported in Wisconsin. There was an AP story on it, maybe some local papers picked it up, but just as a filler.”

“And to me, for us as conservatives, Wisconsin and Governor Walker, I mean, everything that we want to happen, happened there,” the radio host concluded.

Listen to the segment via the Daily Rushbo:

Walker is proposing a $504 million property and income tax cut plan as a means to return some of the surplus money to the people of Wisconsin. Some Democrats and Republicans are already criticizing the plan and are calling for changes.

“The budget surplus is really your money,” Walker recently said at a meeting of the Wisconsin Grocers Association. “You earned it.”

However, some lawmakers are concerned that Walker’s tax cut plan would increase the state’s projected budget shortfall from $700 million to $800,000 million. The Republican governor argues the estimates don’t take into account any revenue growth, which he says will cover the difference.

The unemployment rate in Wisconsin dropped to 6.2 percent in December and has been dropping steadily since 2011.

Featured Comments

  • Shreknangst

    A $912 million surplus, turns into a projected $700-$800 million deficit … a $1.6 Trillion negative shift.
    Somehow that sounds like Reagan era traditional GOP math and economics … Where are the Tea Party and their idea of cutting deficits? This guy seems to be creating a massive one, and, naturally, Rush doesn’t see it.
    A 6.2% unemployment rate doesn’t leave much room for growth in the economy. To wipe out that $1.6 Trillion negative shift, the state would need to get to nearly zero unemployment.

    Shreknangst

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Balancing The Money In Political Campaigns

Unfortunately, political campaigns in America have an awful lot to do with money. The Citizen’s United case in the Supreme Court balanced out the money to some extent, but an unbelievable amount of money still goes directly from union dues to Democrat campaign coffers.
John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about some changes that may be coming to the political landscape because of legal challenges to the role of unions. The article includes the following chart from Open Secrets:

The chart shows the overwhelming disparity between union contributions to Democrat campaigns versus Republican campaigns. Some recent events in Wisconsin may be the beginning steps toward leveling the playing field.

A website called Right Wisconsin explains:

Now that Wisconsin’s educators have been given the right to choose whether or not to belong to a labor union, the unions are struggling to attract enough members to stay afloat. Proving all along that the union leaders didn’t really represent their members, as much as sponge off of them.

Under a provision of Act 10, public employee unions are required to file for annual re-certification by August 30 if they wish to remain a recognized bargaining unit. Thursday Afternoon, Mark Belling broke the news that only 37 percent of the teachers in the Kenosha Unified School District voted to reauthorize the union in a recent vote.
 
Now, given Brey’s (Christina Brey, speaking for the Wisconsin Education Association Council) comments in the Journal Sentinel, Kenosha is a trend setter, not an outlier.

So what does this mean? Most of Wisconsin’s public employee unions have lost between 30% and 60% of their members in the past two years. Obviously this seriously limits the amount of money they will be donating to political campaigns.

The article at Power Line reports:

The time has come, I think, to end the preferential treatment under which unions have long operated. Under the law, unions get a special deal: Section 7 of the Clayton Act exempts them from the antitrust laws. Absent that exemption, labor unions would be subject to the Sherman Act’s ban on combinations or conspiracies in restraint of trade. Repealing Section 7 would have one of two consequences: either unions would be deemed illegal per se as price-fixing conspiracies, or they would be subject to the Sherman Act’s Rule of Reason, under which they would have to prove that their net effect is pro-competitive rather than anti-competitive. Either way, unions would be fighting for their lives and would be in no position to dominate the political landscape.

Let’s truly level the playing field.

Why Elections Matter

The Chippewa Herald reported on Sunday that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has signed a $70 billion, two-year state budget.

The article reports:

The budget approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature includes all Walker’s priorities, including a $650 million income tax cut, expansion of private school vouchers and changes to the state’s Medicaid and food stamp programs.

…Walker made 57 changes to the budget using a veto power that allows him to cut words from sentences to change their meaning and remove individual digits to create new numbers. His two most significant vetoes eliminated provisions creating a bounty hunter program and kicking an investigative journalism center off the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

I live in Massachusetts, where our taxes are going up and the gasoline tax is going to be indexed to inflation so it can be automatically raised without the Democrats who control the state having to take responsibility for the tax increase. Massachusetts has some of the best schools in the country and obviously some of the least educated voters. I don’t know anything about schools in Wisconsin, but obviously their voters are pretty smart.

 

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A Move Toward Honest Elections

Fox News is reporting today that a Wisconsin appeals court has upheld a law requiring voters to show a photo ID when voting.

However, as the article reports, we are not out of the woods yet:

Republican lawmakers passed voter photo ID requirements two years ago, saying the move was needed to combat election fraud. The league wasn’t the only group that challenged the law. The immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera and the Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court, winning a permanent injunction blocking it. That injunction still stands, although the state Justice Department has asked the 2nd District Court of Appeals to review the case.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens have filed separate lawsuits challenging the law in federal court. Those suits are still pending.

The article further reports:

One of the chief authors of the voter ID law, Rep. Jeff Stone, R-Greendale, began circulating a new bill last week that would let poor people opt out. That bill is aimed at allaying concerns that requirements in the original bill are too burdensome.

The law requires voters to show either a state-issued ID card, valid driver’s license, U.S. passport, a student ID that expires within two years or a military ID.

I am not impressed by the claim that obtaining a photo ID would be burdensome for some people. You need photo ID for a lot of things today, and a state program to provide photo ID’s for residents would actually help the residents. You can’t buy cigarettes or alcoholic beverages without an ID, you can’t get a book from the library without an ID, you can’t board a plane without an ID, and if you drive, your license is your ID. Having a photo ID is not a bad thing.

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The Unmentioned Voter Bloc

Yesterday Dan Henninger at the Wall Street Journal posted an article about an often overlooked voting bloc–the evangelical vote.

The article reports:

When Mitt Romney‘s 2012 candidacy was gaining traction in the primaries, the conventional wisdom instantly conveyed that the evangelical vote, skeptical of Mormonism, would sink him.

What if in Ohio next week the opposite is true? There and in other swing states—Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida—the evangelical vote is flying beneath the media’s radar. It’s a lot of voters not to notice. In the 2008 presidential vote, they were 30% of the vote in Ohio, 31% in Iowa and 26% in Wisconsin.

Back in April, the policy director of the Southern Baptist Convention, Richard Land, predicted that evangelicals in time would coalesce behind Mitt Romney. Yesterday he endorsed Mr. Romney, the first time he has done so for any presidential candidate.

It is also interesting that the Reverend Billy Graham has endorsed Governor Romney and is actively supporting him.

As someone who shares the values of the evangelicals, I cannot understand how anyone who considers themselves an evangelical could vote for Barack Obama. President Obama has made his stand on life issues abundantly clear–he supports federally funded abortion, partial birth abortion, and forcing religious organizations to violate their consciences in order to fund his anti-life platform.

It will be interesting to see if the evangelical voters will bring their values into the voting booth.

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The People Have Spoken, The Courts Aren’t Listening

Yesterday Legal Insurrection posted an article about the court’s decision in Wisconsin to overturn the changes made to collective bargaining laws by the State Legislature. As you remember, we have gone through recalls of legislators and the governor of that state and the people supported them. Well, the court decided not to.

The article reports:

First it was Dane County Judge Sumi who interjected herself into the legislative process by striking down the collective bargaining reform law, only to be overturned by the State Supreme Court which rejected challenges to the process used to pass it

Now a different Dane County judge has struck the law down again (decision here), this time on the ground that state employees have a constitutional right to collectively bargain, and has reinstated the law as if the legislature never passed the reforms.

This is Governor Walker‘s statement regarding the decision:

The people of Wisconsin clearly spoke on June 5th.  Now, they are ready to move on.  Sadly a liberal activist judge in Dane County wants to go backwards and take away the lawmaking responsibilities of the legislature and the governor. We are confident that the state will ultimately prevail in the appeals process.”

He is right. It is just a shame that we have to fight this battle again and again. The voters have clearly stated their choice, and the state is recovering from a financial disaster. The judges decision needs to be reversed.

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Why Walker Won

Last night, National Review Online posted an article stating their opinion of the reasons Governor Walker won in Wisconsin. The recall election was a very expensive race–nearly $62 million spent by the end of May.

The article reports:

Walker won because his reform program is popular, and because it is working. The governor’s personal approval numbers in Wisconsin hover around 50 percent — not bad for a man whom most Wisconsinites have seen Photoshopped into a Hitler mustache and Nazi regalia at least once in the last year. But more telling is the popularity of Walker’s reforms. According to one recent Reason-Rupe poll, 72 percent of Wisconsinites favor the requirement that public-sector workers increase their pension contributions to 6 percent of their salaries. And 71 percent favor making government employees pay 12 percent instead of 6 percent of their health-care premiums.

These are actually modest reforms that did nothing more than bring the public sector employees more into line with what private sector employees receive as benefits. The savings on reforms like this can make the difference between a state having a balanced budget or sliding deeper into debt. Governor Walker brought fiscal sanity to the state budget.

The article at The Hill commented on the amount of money spent and where it came from:

Walker won because he represented the taxpayer, while his opponent represented the groups whose livelihoods depend on bilking the taxpayer. Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett served as less of an alternative than a vessel for Big Labor’s unmoored wrath. Barrett raised a mere $4 million on his own, while outside PACs did the heavy lifting — We Are Wisconsin raised more than $5.5 million in the last month alone, including seven-figure donations from AFSCME and the AFL-CIO, six-figure donations from the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, and a mere $720 from its three (that’s three) individual donors. The Left will complain that Walker outspent Barrett handily, but this is no vice considering Walker also handily outraised Barrett in individual donations, about three-quarters of which were for less than $50. It was Walker’s strength, after all, that convinced national Democrats to stop spending on a race they didn’t think they could win.

It was a very good night for conservatives, but this was just one battle in a very long war. We need to understand that bringing sanity back to public employee benefits is going to be a long, hard road.

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