Friday, September 29, 2017

Sustainability Of Rural Colorado | Colorado General Assembly

Sustainability Of Rural Colorado | Colorado General Assembly

SB17-267

Sustainability Of Rural Colorado

Concerning the sustainability of rural Colorado.
Session:
2017 Regular Session
Subjects:
Capital Construction
Education & School Finance (Pre & K-12)
Higher Education
State Revenue & Budget
Transportation & Motor Vehicles
Section 16 of the bill repeals the existing hospital provider fee program, effective July 1, 2017, and section 17 creates a new Colorado healthcare affordability and sustainability enterprise (CHASE) within the department of health care policy and financing (HCPF), effective July 1, 2017, to charge and collect a healthcare affordability and sustainability fee that functions similarly to the repealed hospital provider fee. Because CHASE is an enterprise for purposes of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR), its revenue does not count against the state fiscal year spending limit (Referendum C cap).
Section 17 of the bill also requires CHASE to seek any federal waiver necessary to fund and, in cooperation with HCPF and hospitals, support the implementation, no earlier than October 1, 2019, of a health care delivery system reform incentive payments program. Sections 2, 3, 6, 7, 11, 13, 15 through 20, 22, and 32 make conforming amendments, with section 32 extensively modifying FY 2017-18 appropriations to reflect the repeal of the hospital provider fee program and the creation of CHASE. Section 34 specifies that the effective date of sections 2, 3, 6, 7, 11, 13, 15 through 20, 22, and 32 of the bill is July 1, 2017, and that those sections do not take effect if the centers for medicare and medicaid services determine that they do not comply with federal law.
Section 11 of the bill permanently reduces the Referendum C cap by reducing the FY 2017-18 cap by $200 million and specifying that the base amount for calculating the cap for all future state fiscal years is the reduced FY 2017-18 cap. As is the case under current law, the reduced cap is annually adjusted for inflation, the percentage change in state population, the qualification or disqualification of enterprises, and debt service changes.
Section 24 of the bill specifies that for any state fiscal year commencing on or after July 1, 2017, for which revenue in excess of the reduced Referendum C cap is required to be refunded in accordance with TABOR, reimbursement for the property tax exemptions for qualifying seniors and disabled veterans that is paid by the state to local governments for the property tax year that commenced during the state fiscal year is a refund of such excess state revenue. The exemptions continue to be allowed at current levels and the state continues to reimburse local governments for local property tax revenue lost as a result of the exemptions regardless of whether or not there are excess state revenues. Section 27 prioritizes the new TABOR refund mechanism ahead of the existing temporary state income tax rate reduction refund mechanism as the first mechanism used to refund excess state revenue.
Section 12 of the bill requires the state, on or after July 1, 2018, to execute lease-purchase agreements, including associated certificates of participation (COPs), for up to $2 billion of eligible facilities identified collaboratively by the state architect, the office of state planning and budgeting (OSPB), and state institutions of higher education for the purpose of generating funding for capital construction projects and transportation projects. The lease-purchase agreements must be issued in increments of up to $500 million in FYs 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22. The first $120 million of lease-purchase agreement proceeds from the FY 2018-19 issuance must be used to fund capital construction projects with most of that amount being dedicated for funding of level I, II, and III controlled maintenance projects. The first $120 million of lease-purchase agreement proceeds from the FY 2019-20 issuance must be used for capital construction projects as prioritized by the capital development committee. Remaining proceeds are credited to the state highway fund and are required by section 31 to be expended to fund state strategic transportation project investment program projects that are designated for tier 1 funding as 10-year development program projects on the department's development program project list, with at least 25% of such proceeds being expended to fund projects that are located in rural counties. At least 10% of such proceeds must be expended for transit purposes or for transit-related capital improvements.
The maximum term of the lease-purchase agreements is 20 years, and the maximum total annual repayment amount for lease-purchase agreements is $150 million. Lease-purchase agreements must be paid, subject to annual appropriation by the general assembly or annual allocation by the transportation commission, first from up to $9 million from the general fund or any other legally available source of money, next from up to $50 million of legally available money under the control of the transportation commission solely for the purpose of allowing the construction, supervision, and maintenance of state highways to be funded with the proceeds of lease-purchase agreements, and last from up to $85 million from the general fund or any other legally available source of money.
Sections 5 and 8 of the bill specify that an academic facility is not eligible for controlled maintenance funding if it is acquired or constructed, or, if it is an auxiliary facility repurposed for use as an academic facility, solely from a state institution of higher education's cash and operated and maintained from such cash funds and if the acceptance of construction or repurposing occurs on or after July 1, 2018.
Section 29 of the bill, in accordance with previously granted voter approval, increases the rate of the retail marijuana sales tax, which is currently 10% and is scheduled under current law to decrease to 8%, to 15%, effective July 1, 2017. Section 30 holds local governments that currently receive an allocation of 15% of state retail marijuana sales tax revenue based on the current tax rate of 10% (i.e. the amount attributable to a 1.5% tax rate) harmless by specifying that on and after July 1, 2017, they receive an allocation of 10% of state retail marijuana sales tax revenue based on the new rate of 15% (i.e., the same amount attributable to a 1.5% tax rate).
Of the 90% of the state retail marijuana sales tax revenue that the state retains for state FY 2017-18:
  • 28.15% less $30 million stays in the general fund;
  • 71.85% is credited to the marijuana tax cash fund; and
  • $30 million is credited to the state public school fund and distributed to rural school districts as specified in section 4.
Of the 90% of the state retail marijuana sales tax revenue that the state retains for state fiscal year 2018-19 and for each succeeding state fiscal year:
  • 15.56% stays in the general fund;
  • 71.85% is credited to the marijuana tax cash fund; and
  • 12.59% is credited to the state public school fund and distributed to all school districts as specified in section 4.
Section 4 of the bill requires the $30 million of state retail marijuana sales tax revenue that is transferred to the state public school fund for FY 2017-18 to be appropriated to the department of education and allocated 55% to large rural school districts and 45% to small rural school districts and then distributed to the large and small rural school districts on a per pupil basis. Section 4 requires all of the state retail marijuana sales tax revenue that is transferred to the state public school fund for FY 2018-19 and for each subsequent fiscal year to be distributed to all school districts and institute charter schools as part of the state share of total program funding. On and after July 1, 2017, section 28 offsets a portion of the state retail marijuana sales tax rate increase by exempting retail sales of marijuana upon which the state retail marijuana sales tax is imposed from the 2.9% general state sales tax and section 23 makes a conforming amendment to ensure that local governments can continue to impose their local general sales taxes on retail sales of marijuana.
Section 9 of the bill requires each principal department of state government, other than the departments of education and transportation, that submits an annual budget request to the OSPB, when submitting its budget request for FY 2018-19 to the OSPB, to request a total budget for the department that is at least 2% lower than its actual budget for the FY 2017-18. The OSPB must strongly consider the budget reduction proposals made by each principal department when preparing the annual executive budget proposals to the general assembly for the governor and must seek to ensure that the executive budget proposal for each department for FY 2018-19 is at least 2% lower than the department's actual budget for FY 2017-18.
Section 10 of the bill eliminates FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20 general fund transfers to the highway user tax fund required by current law. The eliminated transfers are in the amounts of $160 million on June 30, 2019, and $160 million on June 30, 2020.
Section 14 of the bill specifies that on and after January 1, 2018, for pharmacy and for hospital outpatient services, including urgent care centers and facilities and emergency services provided under the 'Colorado Medical Assistance Act', HCPF rules that specify the amount of copayments for such services must require the recipient to pay:
  • For pharmacy, at least double the average amount paid by recipients in state fiscal year 2015-16; or
  • For hospital outpatient services, at least double the amount required to be paid as specified in the rules as of January 1, 2017; except that
  • For both pharmacy and hospital outpatient services, the amount required to be paid by the recipient may not exceed any specified maximum dollar amount allowed by federal law or regulations as of January 1, 2017.
Section 21 of the bill requires HCPF, within 120 days of the enactment of the federal 'Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act' (ACE Kids Act) and subject to available appropriations, to seek any federal approval necessary to fund, in cooperation with hospitals that meet the specified requirements, the implementation of an enhanced pediatric health home for children with complex medical conditions. HCPF must comply with ACE Kids Act requirements for its participation.
Section 25 of the bill terminates an existing temporary income tax credit for business personal property taxes paid that is available only for income tax years commencing before January 1, 2020, one year early so that it is available only for income tax years commencing before January 1, 2019. Section 26 replaces the terminated temporary credit with a more generous permanent income tax credit for business personal property taxes paid on up to $18,000 of the total actual value of a taxpayer's business personal property.
Section 1 of the bill makes a legislative declaration that all provisions of Senate Bill 17-267 relate to and serve and are necessarily and properly connected to the General Assembly's purpose of ensuring and perpetuating the sustainability of rural Colorado.

Top 10 current scams in American politics

Top 10 current scams in American politics

Top 10 current scams in American politics

Posted September 29, 2017 08:10 AM by Steve Deace

Scam alert sign


10. The GOP establishment claims to be "all about beating Democrats," yet Mitch McConnell and his minions wasted a whopping $30 million trying to beat Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate primary.
9. Anything that has John Kasich's name attached to it.
8. The same people claiming NFL players have a "First Amendment right" to protest during the national anthem fail then to acknowledge that those who disagree also have a "First Amendment right" to protest the protest.
7. Claims the NFL protests during the national anthem aren't about the national anthem. Then why the hell are they doing it during the national anthem? There are plenty of media outlets that would give these players all the "woke" time they wanted, apart from the national anthem. If I chose the family Christmas gathering to get my SJW on and tried to claim I wasn't protesting Christmas, my family would want to know why on this of all days am I protesting when there are 364 others?
6. Hillary Clinton claiming she's willing to take responsibility for her 2016 defeat, while not taking any responsibility for her 2016 defeat.
5. Trump's previous claim that he could "shoot someone on Fifth Avenue" and his base would still support him. See Tuesday's Alabama Senate primary for more information.
4. Those on the Left trashing women who didn't vote for Hillary last year, while at the same time claiming "gender is just a social construct." So which is it? Does gender matter or not? Are women independent or not? Why were there three Thompson Twins? I'm so confused.
3. Those on the Right who criticize Judge Roy Moore for "going too far" in opposing judicial tyranny yet seemingly offer no alternative action plan. Except for "it really sucks, but whatever a leftist judge conjures up from his pagan bowels is now the law. However, we're gonna write one chill white paper about it, bro."
2. The Republican Party's eight-year promise to repeal Obamacare.
1. Anything that starts with the phrase "scientific consensus." Science is a process searching for proof via verified evidence acquired through observation and experimentation. It is not a consensus. Not to mention, scientific "consensus" has previously claimed Pluto was a planet, Pluto wasn't a planet, and then Pluto was a planet again. Just in my lifetime, scientific "consensus" has changed its mind on global cooling, fiber, red meat, low-fat diets, high fat diets, artificial sweeteners, dark matter, whether dinosaurs are more closely related to reptiles or birds, the human genome, string theory, whether the universe had a beginning or is a constant, and I could go on, but by now you get my point that "scientific consensus" is pointless progressive propaganda.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Oops! Climate Cultist Destroys Own Position

Oops! Climate Cultist Destroys Own Position

Oops! Climate Cultist Destroys Own Position

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has been doing the leftist media interview circuit recently, pressing his peculiar thesis that professional (i.e., paid) scientists are a superior class of humans whose conclusions are intrinsically beyond reproach and must therefore be accepted blindly by unscientific lunks like you.
In each of these interviews, a non-climate scientist asks a series of predetermined questions designed to elicit rehearsed responses from the non-climate scientist Tyson, the upshot of which is that (a) people who question man-made global warming are anti-scientific fools driven by irrational agendas; (b) scientific consensus is not the product of the social and political pressures of academic life working on the minds of the career-motivated, publication-obsessed majority of scholarly mediocrities, but rather consensus is the very definition of Objective Truth; and (c) anyone who questions a scientific consensus poses a threat to the survival of democracy.
For an example of (a), here is Tyson's explanation of why some people continue to question the alleged scientific consensus on global warming:
What's happening here is that there are people who have cultural, political, religious, economic philosophies that they then invoke when they want to cherry pick one scientific result or another.
In other words, non-scientists who have the audacity to cite scientific results falling outside the consensus as grounds for questioning global warming are just people with agendas who are refusing to accept the settled science, for anti-scientific reasons.  This doesn't account for the actual scientists who produced those dissenting results or hypotheses.  Are they also to be dismissed as mere "deniers," since their views do not match the consensus?
Tyson's answer appears to be yes, as he offers this interesting definition of "objective truth," answering to talking point (b), above:
For an emergent scientific truth to become an objective truth – a truth that is true whether or not you believe in it – it requires more than one scientific paper. It requires a whole system of people's research all leaning in the same direction, all pointing to the same consequences. That's what we have with climate change as induced by human conduct. This is a known correspondence. If you want to find the three percent of the papers or the one percent of the papers that conflicted with this, and build policy on that – that is simply irresponsible.
So according to Tyson, science is ultimately defined not by superior individual minds defying accepted views – i.e., standing against a consensus.  No, science is rather defined by consensus itself, for consensus alone establishes objective truth, which "is true whether or not you believe in it."  (Funny – I always thought Nature or God established objective truth, but apparently, in our nihilistic progressive age, that task has devolved to the collective of university professors.)
And what is a scholarly consensus?  It is "a whole system of people's research all leaning in the same direction, all pointing to the same consequences."  Tyson conveniently leaves out the most important factor: "all beginning from the same underlying premises."
Scholarly consensus is what you get when a few people at the top of an academic hierarchy become gatekeepers and use their authority as peer-reviewers, thesis supervisors, and hiring committee members to influence the range and limits of "legitimate" research.  A new specialization that has detached itself from a broader system of inquiry, and therefore has relatively few prominent practitioners, as in the case of climate science, is most easily susceptible to this form of "consensus-building."
As for point (c), above, Neil deGrasse Tyson gives us this doozy:
I'm so disappointed that the country that I grew up in – that put men on the moon, that developed the internet, that invented personal computers and smartphones – that people are debating what is and what is not scientifically true.
By "people," Tyson means those who are not professional climate scientists.  Unless you are an officially accredited member of the fraternity of scientists, you may not debate "what is and what is not scientifically true."  In other words, shut up, ignore the evidence around you, and just follow your betters.  Failing to do so is, according to Tyson, "the beginning of the end of an informed democracy" – where "informed" means compliant.
Not being a professional (i.e., paid) scientist, I never received the memo announcing that ad hominem, appeal to authority, and plain old elitist condescension have now been enshrined as elements of the scientific method in good standing.
Leaving all that aside, Tyson's best argument for bowing before the god of scientific consensus – his only argument based on reasoning rather than intimidation – is in fact the "oops" moment to end all "oops" moments for a global warming apologist.  For this argument actually undermines his whole case, by justifying the core position of climate change skeptics.
Referring to the August solar eclipse, Tyson leaps at the opportunity to catch the "deniers" in a contradiction.
I don't see people objecting to [the prediction of an eclipse]. I don't see people in denial of it. Yet methods and tools of science predict it. So when methods and tools of science predict other things, to have people turn around and say "I deny what you say," there's something wrong in our world when that happens.
And I would say that when a renowned scientist fails to realize he has just blown his own position to smithereens, then there is something wrong in our world.
Tyson's analogy between global warming and solar eclipses is meant to be a zinger that wows the audience into submission, so that there is no need to flesh out the terms of the analogy more clearly.  But let's take a moment to clarify his point.
Scientific predictions are not standalone declarations made on the basis of some sort of magical thinking called "scientific method."  Rather, scientific reasoning is used to form hypotheses about certain aspects of the material world, which hypotheses are then typically evaluated over time by means of their predictive power.  In other words, predictions are the arena in which underlying scientific premises are assessed for plausibility.  The more evidence of accurate predictive power, the more believable the underlying theory becomes.
Let's look at Tyson's example of solar eclipses.  If you questioned whether the recent solar eclipse would really happen, you would truly have exposed yourself as an uneducated pleb who doesn't respect scientific method.  But why did you feel obliged to believe that the eclipse would happen?  Was it because there was a scientific consensus?
No – it was because every eclipse predicted in your lifetime has actually occurred, exactly when and as the scientists predicted.  None of us has ever met a person who could tell a story of "the eclipse that never happened" or "the eclipse that caught everyone by surprise."  Having not a single counterexample to cast doubt on the scientists' predictions, ordinary men and women have developed a complete trust in the validity of those predictions.
If, by contrast, we had seen that the astronomers were often wrong in their predictions of eclipses, or that there were often eclipses that no astronomers had predicted, or even that eclipses frequently occurred precisely when the scientific consensus insisted that no eclipse could possibly happen, then most of us would be skeptical about predictions of solar eclipses.  We would have every right to be.  No astronomer in these circumstances could reasonably demand that we trust the scientific consensus, given how often their predictions had failed. And even if, by chance, this year's solar eclipse had turned out more or less the way they predicted, we might reasonably classify that as a coincidence rather than as evidence for their theories, remembering how often their previous predictions had been false.
Or imagine that astronomers had taken to predicting both that an eclipse would occur this year and that no eclipse would occur, such that neither outcome could disprove their underlying theory.  Wouldn't we all – wouldn't even Tyson himself – regard such a theory with skepticism in light of its advocates' unwillingness to let it stand or fall on the accuracy of any decisive prediction?  Wouldn't Tyson accuse those scientists of trying to create an unfalsifiable theory – i.e., one which no empirical outcome could ever prove wrong? Wouldn't he question whether such an unfalsifiable theory qualifies as legitimate science at all?
The proper analogy, to clarify what Tyson leaves obscure, is between men's attitudes toward two underlying theories: those that have been used to predict eclipses, and those that have been used to predict various climatic outcomes.
Dozens of predicted climate outcomes have already failed to occur as predicted.  The desperate lunge Tyson and others are making at the recent U.S. hurricanes only draws attention to all the previous years when their predictions of greater and more frequent storms fell flat.  In those years, the red-faced warmists defended their inaccuracy by mocking the deniers with "it doesn't work that way."  Apparently, it now suddenly works that way.
This predictive failure explains why, whereas we anti-democratic skeptics (i.e., rational adults) happily defer to the expertise of astronomers whose predictions are always right, we refuse to bow before the climate "consensus," just as some Germans refused to bow before the scientific consensus ("objective truth") on Aryan superiority, and just as some in the nineteenth century rejected the scientific consensus ("objective truth") on the sub-humanity of the black race.
Though we may not all be paid scientists, we've all seen children trying to squirm their way out of a lie, so we can all understand Tyson's arguments well enough.  As with children, moral and intellectual hypocrisy can feel necessary in a desperate situation, but it rarely fools anyone.

Explaining the Narcissistic Rage of the Left

Explaining the Narcissistic Rage of the Left

Explaining the Narcissistic Rage of the Left

 
How to account for the scorched-earth hatred of Donald Trump?
He inspires a darkly fanatical dislike, disapproval, and disgust in his most ardent detractors.  He is a distillation for millions of unhappy Americans of all things repugnant, repulsive, and wretched.  The fever pitch at which he has been mocked, ridiculed, condemned, and threatened is beyond anything anyone in living memory has been subject to – let alone a sitting American president.  From Colbert's "holster" to Madonna's fantasy of blowing up the White House to Kathy Griffin's decapitation stunt, and De Niro's thug life wish to "punch him in the face," the gloves are most certainly off – if only to better grasp a bludgeon.  And that's just the celebrities.  Even a state senator from Missouri hoped for Trump's assassination on Facebook. 
Why such unabated arch-loathing?  One possibility is that Trump's triumph dealt the progressive left a narcissistic injury from which they are still reeling.  Is there another explanation for why previously sober, thoughtful Americans have abandoned the rational in such numbers?
The elite see their virtue, rectitude, and moral superiority reflected back to them in the films, newspapers, advertisements, TV shows, and magazines they themselves create, and it is intoxicating – a gauzy reverie of self-ratifying congratulation.  Is it any wonder, after such unmitigated success, that the left is apoplectic about having its echo chamber shattered by a barbarian like Trump?
The belief system of the progressive left includes the shared understanding that leftists have been anointed to determine what is good and right in American life and what is not.  Their candidate was ordained to hold the highest office in the land as the inevitable consequence of this orthodoxy.  That belief system was shattered at 2:30 AM on November 3, 2016, when the Associated Press called the election for Trump.
Cue shock, horror, denial, and a rage that might be termed the VSO – the Veruca Salt Option.  Named after the spoiled rich girl in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, whose nuclear tantrums at not getting what she wants result in her being literally relegated to the nut bin, the Veruca Salt Option is an apt descriptor for the infantilizing behaviors many on the left have engaged in following Trump's unthinkable electoral college win. 
Exhibit A was the spectacle of a "women's march," featuring a sea of resisters in the bright pink, knit wool "vagina" hats of first-graders – a march that hypocritically and explicitly excluded pro-life women.  Further instances of acting out included Reza Azlan of CNN calling Trump a "piece of [s---]," Maxine Waters's unhinged calls for impeachment mere months into the new administration, and Johnny Depp's mumble-joke about assassinating the president.
The groupthink that the most qualified nominee in history was unbeatable begat a bubble that Trump popped like a schoolyard bully.  In the parlance of the day, this "triggered" leftists throughout the land into dyspeptic, unbecoming tirades that have made for some galling exposures of untethered ultra-bias in media and political personalities.  This is a familiar strategy for a wounded narcissist: blame others, rage, and attack.  But it's disheartening to see it manifest so baldly.
The specter of Trump in all his gloaming menace, spouting his incendiary, charm-challenged rhetoric, only serves to further infuriate those already suffering great spasms of hate.  Taking exception to a man whose policies you find abhorrent is understandable, but when did the left – in the words of David Byrne – stop making sense? 
Trump is in favor of redefining marriage, has a ten-point plan for renewal of the inner city, employs more women than men as executives in his businesses, has been married to two immigrants, and has a Jewish daughter and three Jewish grandchildren.  These would seem to put the lie to claims Trump is racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ.  So why, given these many things on which his opponents might agree with the president, are they unmoved to acknowledge common ground?
Intellectual dishonesty is possible.  Sheer hatred is more likely.  Democratic representative Brad Sherman admitted that the animus against the president is so strong in the California legislature, for example, that he would be forced to oppose Mother's Day if Trump supported it.  Trump's win was not only a repudiation of globalism, elitism, and Obamism, but also a devastating rebuke to the core identity of the left.  The rage and denial are, in some ways, easy to understand.
In spite of or because of their outsized antipathy for Trump, this might have been an important moment for the Democratic left to undertake a clear-eyed accounting of why they lost an un-losable election.  Instead of honest forensics on their efforts, the left became a verb and began flame-throwing the administration early and often with an impressively hateful and single-minded campaign.  But a funny thing happened on the way to impeachment: Democrats stopped standing for anything at all, other than pitched loathing and hysteria. 
The Democrats of old, authors of the flawed but well intentioned Great Society programs and champions of working-class Americans, have self-abnegated in recent years to become ghosts of their own past.  Riven with identity politics, the progressive left is shot through with a central hypocrisy: that diversity is revered above all things – except for diversity of thought, which is reviled.  This core intolerance has resulted in an abasement of everything for which the left formerly stood.  
The real-time destruction of the left has been brought about by the wrecking ball that is Donald J. Trump.  He represents the razing of everything they stand for – for the impeccably curated fa├žade of caring, competence, and open-mindedness the left has traded on for decades.  The tragedy of it is Greek in proportion.
The left, and the many "conscientious conservatives" who Venn-diagram them, have lost power, influence, and reason like gouts of blood from the infliction of this narcissistic wound.  With historically few seats held in Congress and at the state level; no cogent message beyond "Trump is a goat rodeo on fire"; and a series of perverse policy positions on immigration, the First Amendment, and school choice, the Democrats have now reached a watershed moment.  Do the progressive left and the elites who lead them acknowledge that political correctness, however worthy it might have been, has Frankensteined into a kind of creeping McCarthyism?  Do they unpack this slow-motion train wreck of a once consequential party to seek the truth of their own responsibility for its demise – or do they continue to resist?  (And by resist, I mean tantrum.)  
I'm rooting for them – every yin needs a yang.  But the odds on entitled brats evolving into mature adults who take responsibility for their actions aren't great.  Why take a long, hard look in the mirror when you can smash that mirror instead – and unleash the Veruca within?

Fighting Fire with Fire: A Republican Finally Co-opts Alinsky's Rules for Radicals

Fighting Fire with Fire: A Republican Finally Co-opts Alinsky's Rules for Radicals

Fighting Fire with Fire: A Republican Finally Co-opts Alinsky's Rules for Radicals

Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is considered the bible for the left, the Democrat Party playbook. Hillary Clinton wrote her college thesis on Alinsky’s book. Barack Obama is a disciple of this guide for community organizing. The reality is that the “Rules” are applicable to any political cause or movement, not just one on the left side of the political spectrum.

I kept hearing about this book and decided to read it for myself. Wearing a tin foil hat with a clove of garlic around my neck, I ventured to the dark side and opened the book. I found Alinsky’s philosophy and rules quite interesting. I also drew parallels to what is happening now, decades after the book was written. But not in an expected way.

Democrats are adept at using Alinsky’s rules to further their agenda. Many conservatives bemoan the fact that Republicans are unaware of these tactics or are unwilling to use them. Much like a baseball team not knowing they can bunt or run double plays and then wondering why the other team uses these tactics and wins games.
The rules can easily be used by the right too. In Alinsky’s own words, “In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people.” Who else in the GOP might say similar words? Paul Ryan? Mitch McConnell? Mitt Romney? Jeb Bush? None of the above. Only Donald Trump.
Who talks about returning power to the people, rather than maintaining power in the establishment? Or Congress? Or with the deep state? Remember what Trump said during his inaugural address, "We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people." Out of the Alinsky playbook.
President Trump is perhaps an unknowing Saul Alinsky disciple, following many of the “rules for radicals” when he campaigned for and won the presidency. One of few Republicans to use these rules to their advantage. Typically, Republicans act dumbfounded when these rules are used against them. Think John McCain and Mitt Romney. Or any of the many unsuccessful Republican primary candidates defeated by candidate Trump.
What tactics has Trump co-opted? “The job of the organizer is to maneuver and bait the establishment so that it will publicly attack him as a dangerous enemy.” Through his public comments and tweets, is there any doubt that the entire establishment view Trump as “a dangerous enemy”? Watch the news. Or the Emmy Awards. Or any of the many late night “comedy” shows. Read National Review or the Weekly Standard. Listen to Congressional #NeverTrumpers. Trump baits establishment, getting them in a lather over every tweet, typically looking foolish in their outrage. A few weeks ago, it was Melania’s high heels en route to hurricane-ravaged Houston. This week it’s Trump’s long-overdue straight talk to thugs and dictators at the United Nations.
Then there is ridicule, another Alinsky tactic. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage." Trump began this during the primaries. Little Marco. Low-energy Jeb. Lyin’ Ted. Then during the presidential campaign, Crooked Hillary.
All designed to unnerve his political opponents, to his advantage. It hasn’t stopped now that he is President. Cryin’ Chuck Schumer. And the latest nickname for the North Korean dictator, Rocket Man, and even, Little Rocket Man. A funny yet accurate description of the madman lobbing missiles across the Pacific. As the Elton John song describes, “I'm a rocket man. Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone.” If Trump’s executive order works, Rocket Man will indeed be alone.
Another Alinsky rule is, “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” Most Trump supporters love his tweets and nicknames. We cheer when he calls CNN’s Jim Acosta “Fake News”. We laugh when Trump retweets a GIF of him hitting a golf ball into Hillary Clinton’s back, while CNN huffs and puffs with indignation.
Finally, there is President Trump the other day at the UN, at an august gathering of the General Assembly, calling another world leader “Rocket Man,” disrupting the stuffy, pointy-headed decorum of the UN. But something his people enjoy immensely. Especially when his political opponents soil their pants over such an “unpresidential” remark.
Other Alinsky tactics Trump has utilized, "Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose." Or, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Just ask his political opponents.
I doubt Trump has read Rules for Radicals. Instead as a graduate of the New York City school of hard knocks, he instinctively knows how to organize and win. What a refreshing change to see a Republican co-opting and using these community organizing rules so successfully against the left and the deep state establishment.

Morality, Anti-Morality, and the Left-Wing Great Hate-Hustle

Morality, Anti-Morality, and the Left-Wing Great Hate-Hustle

Morality, Anti-Morality, and the Left-Wing Great Hate-Hustle

The fashionable watchword this political season is morality.  Left-wing voices, especially, are heard providing moral instruction.  Here a moral, there a moral, everywhere the left is moral.  In listening closely to the subject matter of left-wing moral discourse, one notices only political issues – not real problems of everyday life – and one mental sin: hate.
Left-wing moral theory seems uninterested in the quandaries presented by human weakness – greed, lust, anger – which affect everyone.  Instead, left-wing moral proclamations address transgressive political attitudes, which in turn are alleged to make their right-wing adversaries "haters."  The ACLU no longer defends political speech that its members' morality deems hate.  And they are finicky about hate.  Particular hates, however old and irrelevant, such as Nazism, are now so intolerable as to supersede the First Amendment for those hard-left defenders of liberty.  Apple Corporation CEO Tim Cook has directed millions of dollars to the all-time superstar hate-hustlers at the Southern Poverty Law Center, while he travels the country lecturing about morality.  President Obama sermonizes that his flagrantly unconstitutional special rights directive called DACA must be preserved because its morality supersedes the rule of law.  Deporting illegals is immoral because it is hate.
Why are the lefties speechifying and air-poking about morality?  Because they are morally naked.  They have no moral code at all.  They have rejected the Judeo-Christian code, which guides the totality of action based in faith in God, and have exalted political dogma, which addresses good and evil only in political thought codes.  As the left wing collapses into anti-American lawlessness and the Democratic Party turns the corner into unvarnished, suicidal socialism, it becomes increasingly difficult not to notice that the left has no fixed moral principles – which is why squawking about morality is de rigueur.  For the last sixty years, the spasmodic remains of legacy liberalism have attacked and dismantled Judeo-Christian morality.  The left wing has filled the moral void of post-Christianism with one rule: groupthink unto others as you are commanded.
Because the American identity statement asserts that every person has God-given freedom to pursue happiness, bigotry that interferes with that defining affirmation has been a perpetual focus of American consciousness.  The shift from religiously based moral principles guiding action to politically based codes identifying iniquitous viewpoints is a fundamental transformation of American psychology.  The profound transformation from struggling against actual oppression, such as the Civil War, to focusing on iniquitous thinking, developed because advances in science and technology created so much sustenance, wealth, and comfort that actual subjugation and oppression based on race, sex, and religion became unprofitable and obsolete.  As actual persecution of minorities ended, political elites reoriented their rule over the American mind by proffering theories about hateful thinking against minorities, and by punishing anyone who challenged their theories of "privileging" and "marginalization."  The left-wing great hate hustle was hatched.  The dogma that conservatives, Christians, and traditionalists are haters is the psychodynamic of hate projection by which the ruling class intimidates, triangulates, and maintains mental control.
Mind is the greatest force in shadow creation.  Beyond time and space, the mind travels across the universe in an instant, connecting memories of so-called reality to those of imagination. The plumes and fumes of the mind are less than smoke until they gather the force of action.  Morality, therefore, refers to actions, not the spinning infinitudes of thought.  The highest moral achievement is service rendered from an appreciation of the divinity of the soul, in spite of the perverseness of thought.
Morality is comprehensive in scope, providing the true challenge to bigotry. Moral consciousness benefits all equally regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or any category.  Politically based valuation is inherently anti-moral. It worsens the stink of anger and division. The psychodynamic of faith-based morality is ego effacement, which is the opposite effect of politically based anti-moral hate calling.
Contemporary left-wing political dogma did not develop as an extension of faith-based morality, as did, for example, 19th-century abolitionism.  The anti-morality of left-wing hate-hustling arose in passionate opposition to Judeo-Christian morality, the tenets of which are, of course, labeled hate.  Blinded by self-satisfaction, left-wingers travel on the fumes of religion-based morality to keep chaos out of their own lives.  They take care that the unsourced and malleable hate-calling they invoke against others does not exact self-control or self-sacrifice.  In fact, what the left mislabels as moral issues – climate change, statue removal, multifarious hate-policing – is cherished because these issues are cheap exhortations devoid of personal moral sacrifice.
Left-wing anti-morality is not about doing good unto others, but rather about mouthing sensitivity to the marginalized.  Politically correct messaging is sufficient for salvation: anti-moralist voodoo mind-readers, wailing about nonexistent mental states called phobias and sniffing about "white supremacy."  American citizens have sufficient legal rights to take responsibility for their happiness (an inconvenient truth to the left wing).  Therefore, politically based anti-moral dogma does not focus on actual persecution or subjugation.  Instead, it identifies transgressive mental hate states – homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, white privilege, white supremacy, climate change denial – allegations that don't require evidence of actions of abuse against anyone.  These are providential psychodiagnoses because it is impossible to prove or disprove mental states.  This is why political activism of the left amounts to showy symbolism, like rich athletes plopping on cushy kneepads or Antifa/BLM types pitching poopie-diaper tantrums in the streets.  Much more fun than actually helping anyone.
The moral impulse originates in the unconscious as identification with infinite divinity.  Moral consciousness is knowledge of one's own true nature and the true nature of all others as infinite and divine.  Moral principles apply knowledge of the true self to questions of everyday life.  Universal and eternal, they provide resistance to all forms of bigotry.  Morality is the marriage of thought and action.  And because morality is socio-culturally mediated, "nonbelievers" can conform behavior to moral principles.  Righteous moral choice conserves mental energy, establishing a cycle of greater and greater actualization of the true self throughout life.  Immorality used to be called dissipation.  This is apt because immorality is the wasting of energy on unworthy purposes.
Psychology has not, as a field, contributed much to the understanding of morality because psychologists are themselves the clergy of secular humanism, albeit served with a side dish of spirituality.  The defining purpose of the psychological enterprise has been to help people place faith in themselves above faith in God and to be driven by their own feelings, passions, opinions, and desires.  This philosophy is the wellspring of anti-morality.  Most of psychological theory is man-made replacement morality that answers questions heretofore answered in America by Judeo-Christian religion.  Under the purloined imprimatur of science, psychology promotes entitlements and choices that are spiritually dangerous and dissipating.
Anti-morality operates as rationalization of one's own viewpoint, as opposed to following moral principles.  The prisoners of self-informed egoism reject their likeness to God and desperately look to find their likeness in political fellow travelers.  This is why the left wing clings together in echo chambers of self-appointed virtue, violently rejecting diversity of viewpoint.  Political dogma is their faith; finding hate in "the other" is their proof of orthodoxy.  Left-wing hate-hustling is reminiscent of selling dispensations to the gullible.

Can We Please Stop Pretending the NFL Protests Have Anything to Do with Free Speech?

Can We Please Stop Pretending the NFL Protests Have Anything to Do with Free Speech?

Can We Please Stop Pretending the NFL Protests Have Anything to Do with Free Speech?

Following the lead of the now unemployed Colin Kaepernick and on the heels of some fiery rhetoric from President Trump on the matter, more National Football League players than ever knelt during the National Anthem on Sunday in order to protest the institutional white racism in America that they presume exists. 
Invariably, there are the stock defenders of their actions invoking the First Amendment as an enshrined protection for their actions.  Even some unlikelier defenders, such as National Review, have framed this as a free speech issue.
To be perfectly clear, doing so is an exercise in stupidity.  The First Amendment provides Americans protection to enact displays of protest, certainly.  The question that goes continually and aggravatingly unaddressed is, protection from whom?
It would be wishful thinking, I suppose, to imagine that Americans who support the NFL protesters might take the fifteen or twenty seconds necessary to google and read the First Amendment. 
It reads:
Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
"Congress shall make no law."  The framers inscribed a document related to the powers and limitations of the federal government.  Therefore, it is only logical to understand that this refers to the federal Congress.  The federal Congress shall make no laws to infringe upon these rights.
So where is the federal law that outlaws kneeling during the National Anthem at a pro football game?  If there were such a law, it would run afoul of the First Amendment.  But there is no such law.
Also, I'm not aloof to the fact that judicial precedent in case law evidences a much broader interpretation of the First Amendment, suggesting that it applies to the state and local governments as well.  Even considering that broader scope raises another question: who is rushing to arrest the kneeling sports star for his violation of any such standing law at the state level?  No one.
So what has the First Amendment to do with any of this? 
Nothing.  Not one single thing.  Anyone with half a brain and thirty seconds to digest the meaning of the First Amendment should be able to understand that without difficulty.
Now let's move on and consider what these National Anthem protests actually mean.
The kneelers argue that they do not mean to disrespect the flag, or those who have fought and died for this country, or America as a whole.  Of course, their actions certainly disrespect all of those things, and suggesting otherwise should be ridiculous on its face. 
So why, exactly, are they kneeling?
Those kneeling assert that there is an epidemic of white police officers who work their beat every night with the explicit intention to murder innocent black people.  They are suggesting that there is an epidemic of institutional white racism in this country going unaddressed, and that the only way to draw attention to this, the Black Lives Matter narrative, is to kneel during the National Anthem at pro football games.
There is no convincing evidence that either claim is true, and it is a malicious narrative that has arguably already led to a death toll among police officers being targeted for their presumably widespread racism and brutality. 
The left argues that the players' demonstrations force me to recognize that this narrative exists, as if I'm not forced to recognize the existence of this narrative with the myriad protests and riots infused with this Black Lives Matter-inspired rhetoric and impetus.  They imagine that I and millions of other Americans don't accept this narrative only because it's not being adequately thrown in our faces.
I, among millions of other Americans, refuse to accept that.  I therefore find those kneeling during the National Anthem in order to advance that narrative despicable, entitled babies for whom I have no respect and who are undeserving of my financial support.   
Rush Limbaugh's comments encapsulate my feeling on this matter.  For me, it is sadness more than anger.  But the NFL has, regrettably, created these circumstances.
The aforementioned "free speech" argument touted by defenders of the NFL and the protesters fails on another front, beyond the immediate substance of the First Amendment.  That is, the NFL is quite comfortable censoring free speech, though it's unmistakable that the speech they choose to prohibit runs afoul of a leftist ideological impulse.  In 2016, the NFL threatened to fine teams who decorated their cleats with a "Never Forget" logo commemorating the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  They prohibited the Cowboys from wearing helmet decals honoring the five police officers killed by a Black Lives Matter advocate.
Yet while stifling this "free expression," they have no problems whatsoever with the Rams players taking the field with the "Hands up, Don't Shoot!" gesture, which was based on an entirely fictitious and dangerous narrative that led to those five Dallas police officers being slain.  And now, when players choose to disrespect the flag and our nation on the fans' time and the fans' dime to perpetuate that very same narrative, the NFL is equally conciliatory in allowing it.
And the NFL has the audacity to suggest that the current politicization in football was created by Donald Trump?  Though I don't agree with him using his platform as president to call for the firing of kneeling players or for a boycott of the NFL, these are certainly not circumstances of his design.
On Monday Night Football this week, the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals both locked arms and knelt before the National Anthem, acknowledging the protesters' position.  Then they stood and locked arms during the National Anthem.  It was a charade all too obviously meant to placate fans, while still giving a platform to espouse the dangerous and entirely untrue Black Lives Matter narrative.  "Unity" was the theme.  More "division" is what you can expect.
The most troubling thought crossing my mind?  That somewhere, Colin Kaepernick is smiling, quite pleased with himself.

Shelby Steele On the Perils of Political Correctness

Shelby Steele  Steele has dedicated much of his work to questioning our assumptions about race relations in America, social programs and political correctness. His most recent book, Shame: How America's Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country, puts forth the idea that liberalism, and the related desire to redeem America of its past sins through social programs, has instead prevented the advancement of the very groups these policies intended to help. Steele shares more thoughts on this topic
Societies have many of the qualities individuals have. America is a particularly great society. There's been no country like this ever before in all of human history. And all of the sins that America has committed in its past are nothing that's new. Many countries around the world had slavery and so forth. And America is to be honored and complimented for actually facing these problems and dealing with them. Nevertheless, [having grown] up during the Civil Rights Era, America was brought to account for the sin of slavery, for its mistreatment of women, for all of these things that white supremacy, in a sense, fostered…Still, we all live with the knowledge of this past tragedy and of the hypocrisy of it. I think that knowledge has generated in American life this need to be redemptive, to prove that we are not like that anymore. And so how do you show yourself to be redemptive? You keep deferring to those groups that are associated with that victimization and you keep trying to give them things and, in a sense, use them as a vehicle for America's redemption.
One of the points that I feel very strongly about, coming as a black [man], is that the deference that America has shown us since the '60s with the War on Poverty and the Great Society and welfare, these deferential policies that defer to our history of victimization now victimize us more than racism did. I grew up in segregation. I know exactly what it's like. And I had a more positive attitude toward America than many blacks do today who are the beneficiaries of Affirmative Action. I think that deference has become a very corrupting influence on the people that it tries to help. It's honorable that it wants to help these people but they never ask the people to be responsible for their own transformation and uplift and that's the great tragedy of deference and political correctness.
As I said in a [recent Wall Street Journal] article, political correctness is just the codification of deference…As blacks, we live in a society that keeps trying now to help us and to redeem itself through us. And that just pushes us into a symbiotic relationship with white America. We become their poster boy for redemption… It's now begun to hurt the fabric of American life. I think this past election is about that. Americans are saying, among other things, “We're tired of this. We know something's wrong. We may not know what it is but something's wrong."
Shelby Steele
The history of America has accused [white people] of the evil of bigotry. And so white Americans are insanely sensitive to being seen as racists or, to a lesser degree, sexists. And so this hyperbolic political correctness that we've descended into has to do with this neurotic response. But when people are living under that kind of threat of stigmatization, they don't even see the people they're trying to help. White people don't even see blacks. Political correctness is utterly and completely blind to the humanity of black America.
Everybody is under threat of stigmatization. Blacks are fanatical about who's really black and who isn't. Whites are fanatical about whether they're racist or whether they're not. Nobody is seeing each other as simply as human beings…
I'm old enough now to know that things do change radically in societies. My elementary school was the first desegregation lawsuit in the North. I remember the battle that we had to fight in order to win that victory. I think today we just continue to be in that position where we are exploited now out of good intentions rather than out of bad intentions and we then become invested in our own victimization -- that's what gets us attention, not our excellence. Black America, the culture, has been one of the richest cultures in the world. We've revolutionized music around the entire globe, we've produced one of the great literatures in modern times -- we've done some fabulous things, even while behind the wall of segregation. Whites have to be honest with us and say, “We can't help anybody who doesn't take responsibility for themselves." It won't work. You just become dependent and weaker. You become the very thing white supremacists said you were in the first place. Inferior. Deference rewards inferiority in minorities. And so how is that gonna happen? Well, we're gonna fight that out. This election was, in many ways, about that…
My father was born in the 19th Century. He never went beyond the third grade. He made something of himself. He taught himself how to read and write. That was a common thing in black America in those days. Everything was stacked against him -- everything. Yet he believed in his own freedom. He took the margin of freedom that he had and he made something of himself. Many blacks have done that. The black middle class didn't just come out of nowhere. That, too, is the result of a long history. Well, we have to get back to that. And whites need to understand that responsibility is the key to everything. Nothing's possible without it -- least of all [white peoples'] redemption. They're now, I think, living under a cloud of morally exploiting minorities for their own moral self-esteem…Blacks are really a currency now of legitimacy for American institutions…
Political correctness is now evil and it is what holds minorities down. So use the n-word -- I don't give a damn. But you will have some respect for me, for my abilities, for my talents, for the fact that I can function in this advanced, modern society. All I ever wanted was just simple fairness. My prayer is that someday we become as fanatical about fairness as we are now about political correctness.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

We're All to Blame

We're All to Blame 

We're All to Blame

Walter E. Williams
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Posted: Sep 13, 2017 12:01 AM
We're All to Blame
The largest threat to our prosperity is government spending that far exceeds the authority enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. Federal spending in 2017 will top $4 trillion. Social Security, at $1 trillion, will take up most of it. Medicare ($582 billion) and Medicaid ($404 billion) are the next-largest expenditures. Other federal social spending includes food stamps, unemployment compensation, child nutrition, child tax credits, supplemental security income and student loans, all of which total roughly $550 billion. Social spending by Congress consumes about two-thirds of the federal budget.
Where do you think Congress gets the resources for such spending? It's not the tooth fairy or Santa Claus. The only way Congress can give one American a dollar is to use threats, intimidation and coercion to confiscate that dollar from another American. Congress forcibly uses one American to serve the purposes of another American. We might ask ourselves: What standard of morality justifies the forcible use of one American to serve the purposes of another American? By the way, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another is a fairly good working definition of slavery.
Today's Americans have little appreciation for how their values reflect a contempt for those of our Founding Fathers. You ask, "Williams, what do you mean by such a statement?" In 1794, Congress appropriated $15,000 to help French refugees who had fled from insurrection in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," stood on the floor of the House to object, saying, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article in the federal Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." Most federal spending today is on "objects of benevolence." Madison also said, "Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."
No doubt some congressmen, academics, hustlers and ignorant people will argue that the general welfare clause of the U.S. Constitution authorizes today's spending. That is simply unadulterated nonsense. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Congress (has) not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but (is) restrained to those specifically enumerated." Madison wrote that "if Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one." In other words, the general welfare clause authorized Congress to spend money only to carry out the powers and duties specifically enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 and elsewhere in the Constitution, not to meet the infinite needs of the general welfare.
We cannot blame politicians for the spending that places our nation in peril. Politicians are doing precisely what the American people elect them to office to do -- namely, use the power of their office to take the rightful property of other Americans and deliver it to them. It would be political suicide for a president or a congressman to argue as Madison did that Congress has no right to expend "on objects of benevolence" the money of its constituents and that "charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government." It's unreasonable of us to expect any politician to sabotage his career by living up to his oath of office to uphold and defend our Constitution. That means that if we are to save our nation from the economic and social chaos that awaits us, we the people must have a moral reawakening and eschew what is no less than legalized theft, the taking from one American for the benefit of another.
I know that some people will say, "Williams, I agree with most of what you say, but not when it comes to Social Security. Social Security is my money I had taken out of my pay for retirement." If you think that, you've been duped. The only way you get a Social Security check is for Congress to take the earnings of a worker. Explanation of your duping can be found on my website, in a 2010 article I wrote titled "Washington's Lies" (http://tinyurl.com/yd4lh8gg).

The Welfare State's Legacy

The Welfare State's Legacy

The Welfare State's Legacy

Walter E. Williams
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Posted: Sep 20, 2017 12:01 AM
The Welfare State's Legacy

That the problems of today's black Americans are a result of a legacy of slavery, racial discrimination and poverty has achieved an axiomatic status, thought to be self-evident and beyond question. This is what academics and the civil rights establishment have taught. But as with so much of what's claimed by leftists, there is little evidence to support it.
The No. 1 problem among blacks is the effects stemming from a very weak family structure. Children from fatherless homes are likelier to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes and end up in prison. They are also likelier to live in poverty-stricken households. But is the weak black family a legacy of slavery? In 1960, just 22 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families. Fifty years later, more than 70 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families. Here's my question: Was the increase in single-parent black families after 1960 a legacy of slavery, or might it be a legacy of the welfare state ushered in by the War on Poverty?
According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. Is that supposed to be a delayed response to the legacy of slavery? The bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.
At one time, almost all black families were poor, regardless of whether one or both parents were present. Today roughly 30 percent of blacks are poor. However, two-parent black families are rarely poor. Only 8 percent of black married-couple families live in poverty. Among black families in which both the husband and wife work full-time, the poverty rate is under 5 percent. Poverty in black families headed by single women is 37 percent. The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has.
The black family structure is not the only retrogression suffered by blacks in the age of racial enlightenment. In every census from 1890 to 1954, blacks were either just as active as or more so than whites in the labor market. During that earlier period, black teen unemployment was roughly equal to or less than white teen unemployment. As early as 1900, the duration of black unemployment was 15 percent shorter than that of whites; today it's about 30 percent longer. Would anyone suggest that during earlier periods, there was less racial discrimination? What goes a long way toward an explanation of yesteryear and today are the various labor laws and regulations promoted by liberals and their union allies that cut off the bottom rungs of the economic ladder and encourage racial discrimination.
Labor unions have a long history of discrimination against blacks. Frederick Douglass wrote about this in his 1874 essay titled "The Folly, Tyranny, and Wickedness of Labor Unions," and Booker T. Washington did so in his 1913 essay titled "The Negro and the Labor Unions." To the detriment of their constituents, most of today's black politicians give unquestioning support to labor laws pushed by unions and white liberal organizations.
Then there's education. Many black 12th-graders deal with scientific problems at the level of whites in the sixth grade. They write and do math about as well as white seventh- and eighth-graders. All of this means that an employer hiring or a college admitting the typical black high school graduate is in effect hiring or admitting an eighth-grader. Thus, one should not be surprised by the outcomes.
The most damage done to black Americans is inflicted by those politicians, civil rights leaders, and academics who assert that every problem confronting blacks is a result of a legacy of slavery and discrimination. That's a vision that guarantees perpetuity for the problems.

Who's Divisive -- the President or the Players?

Who's Divisive -- the President or the Players? 

Who's Divisive -- the President or the Players?

Dennis Prager
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Posted: Sep 26, 2017 12:01 AM
Who's Divisive -- the President or the Players?

Because the left dominates the news media, the entertainment media and academia, Americans are swimming -- actually, drowning -- in an ocean of lies.
Here are a few examples:
America is racist.
America oppresses its minorities.
America oppresses women.
Universities have a culture of rape.
There are more than two genders.
All cultures are morally and culturally equal.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were caused, or made more intense, by global warming.
Israel is the villain in the Middle East conflict.
Western civilization is a euphemism for "white supremacy."
The latest lie of the left is that, with regard to the conflict between the NFL and President Donald Trump, the president is the "divisive" party.
Whenever people on the left tell one of these lies, I always wonder if they really believe it. I have concluded that they nearly always do. Which is more frightening than if they knew they weren't telling the truth. With people who know they aren't telling the truth there is always hope. But there is no hope for people who believe their lies.
What other conclusion could any fair-minded person reach when people say with a straight face that Trump is the divisive party with regard to his conflict with players refusing to stand for the National Anthem?
Apparently, the question, "Who started it?" means nothing to the journalists, politicians and NFL players, coaches and owners who call the president "divisive."
So, before discussing Trump's reaction, our fellow Americans on the left need to answer some pretty simple questions: Has the behavior of those athletes has been divisive? Is kneeling while tens of thousands of people are standing divisive? Is publicly showing contempt for the American flag for which innumerable Americans risked their lives, were terribly injured, or died divisive?
The answers are so obvious that if someone denies that those actions are divisive, it inevitably raises another question:
Why would anyone deny it?
Here are three likely reasons:
First, most people on the left think that they are centrists, or at most center-liberal. Therefore, they deem whatever they believe to be normative and deem whoever differs with them to be divisive and ultimately extremist.
This is true for every issue. Take same-sex marriage. Redefining marriage to include two people of the same sex was the most radical change in the history of the family -- far more radical than, say, banning polygamy. Yet, I have never read or heard a person who favored same-sex marriage acknowledge that this was a radical change, not to mention divisive. On the contrary, people on the left believe that all those who wanted to retain the only definition of marriage any society has ever had -- the union between the two sexes -- are divisive and extremist.
Likewise, in the eyes of the left -- the media, academia and the Democratic Party -- it is not professional athletes who have refused to stand for the national anthem who are divisive; it is the president and all others who condemn the players for doing so.
Was the president's rhetoric over the top? I believe some of it was -- specifically, calling the players "sons of b------." No politician, let alone the president of the United States, should use expletives publicly.
But if the president had sharply rebuked the players and the NFL using soaring rhetoric, the left would have similarly accused him of being divisive.
Imagine the president had begun his comments by saying something along these lines:
"To see professional athletes publicly dishonor the flag for which hundreds of thousands of Americans have died, the flag that millions of Americans have seen drape the coffin of their child, their spouse, their sibling, their parent, or other loved one is as morally repulsive as it un-American. Of course, these players have the right of free speech -- and so do I, and that is precisely the right I am exercising now."
Had he spoken that way, would the left not have characterized him as divisive?
There is a second reason the left portrays the president, not the players, as divisive. They agree with the players that the flag represents a systemically and socially racist country. How could they not? The left is the primary reason many Americans believe that America, the least racist multiracial country in history, is a racist country.
A third reason the left calls the president, not the players, "divisive" is that the left will say anything about those with whom it differs. The left sees language as a tool -- not with which to express truth but with which to defeat its enemies. From Stalin calling Trotsky a fascist to the American media calling Trump and his supporters "Nazis" and "white supremacists," lying about one's political enemies is as part of leftism as hydrogen and oxygen are of water.
And why have non-leftist NFL coaches and owners also called the president "divisive?" Because they if they told the truth -- that the players are the divisive party here -- they would have no team.
So, then, if you agree with the players, say so. But have the honesty to acknowledge that it is they -- the first players in American sports history to refuse to stand during the national anthem -- that are the divisive ones. Honesty feels almost as good as fighting conservatives. Try it.

Is There Free Speech at Work?

Is There Free Speech at Work?

Is There Free Speech at Work?

On October 15, 2012, in Heather Bussing, HRExaminer, Social Media Policy, by Heather Bussing
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Is There Free Speech at Work? - by John Sumser - HRExaminer
Employees don’t have a Constitutional right to free speech or freedom of expression at work.
You know you can probably get fired for telling your boss to her face “Go to hell.” But complaining about her on Facebook can be protected speech. So what are employees’ rights to say things at work, and when can an employer control what is said?
No Constitutional Free Speech At Work 
Employees don’t have a Constitutional right to free speech or freedom of expression at work. The Constitution’s right to free speech only applies when the government is trying to restrict it. Even then, it’s not absolute. There is no free speech in your house; ask your mom. And there is no legal right to free speech or expression at work. (If you work for the government, there is a special set of rules that apply.)
So employers are generally free to restrict employee speech, at least while they are at work.
But Laws and Contracts Can Control When and What Gets Said
Some restrictions on speech are required by other laws. Laws prohibiting discrimination and sexual harassment, and laws protecting confidential medical and financial information prohibit employees from saying all sorts of things at work. Insider trading and trade secret laws prohibit employees from giving out certain information about company finances and transactions during certain times. Whistle-blowing is also protected speech, but it has to be based on the employer’s violation of a statute-not just doing something mean or unfair. Depending on the work, there may also be security clearance issues, contractual nondisclosure, and other policies that require silence.
Protected Speech Under the NLRA
Employees’ protected speech under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is actually an exception to an employer’s broad rights to restrict both speech and expression at work.  Section 7 of the NLRA gives employees the right to discuss wages hours and working conditions and organizing a union.
Just calling a boss or another employee names isn’t protected under the NLRA. There is a distinction between complaints about working conditions and personal gripes. Saying the supervisor is a wing-nut, even to another co-worker, is probably not protected until there is something more that shows the employee was trying to get other employees to change working conditions. While getting rid of a bad boss would certainly change the work environment, just calling her names won’t. So name-calling is usually a personal gripe, and not protected.
What employers can’t do is issue broad policies that prohibit employees from saying bad things about the company or the people in it- because that violates the NLRA. It’s the broad policy that’s the problem, rather than the specific statement.
Figure Out What The Real Concern Is
There is often cross-over between the employer’s legitimate interest in protecting its business and following its legal and contractual requirements, and the employee’s interest in discussing wages, hours and working conditions with other people at work. It all involves the work of the company. And sometimes it’s really hard to separate them out—which is why some of the decisions coming out of the NLRB don’t seem to make sense.
When employee speech is involved, it’s best not to start with policies or edicts. Figure out what the real concern is.
If it is protecting trade secrets, avoiding SEC violations, or protecting employee safety, start there. Remind or teach employees what a trade secret is, what defamation is, or why checking in on Four Square as you make the bank deposit is a really bad idea.
Explain why any restriction is important to the company. Telling people why something matters, gives them the ability to use their judgment when they come up against a situation that wasn’t covered.  Then trust people to do the right thing.  If they don’t, deal with it on a case-by-case basis.
Focus on what happened, not whether a policy was violated.
Employers Generally Can’t Control What Employees Say Away From Work
With social media, employers are often concerned about employees posting something negative about the company, its clients or employees. So lots of social media policies try to discourage, or just outright forbid, saying bad things online. This is where the policies get in trouble with the NLRB.
Some states, like California, also have laws that protect employees from being disciplined for the things they do or say off the clock. There are narrow exceptions if the conduct directly affects the company; but it has to be a pretty big deal that causes actual damage to the company. So if someone tweets that the boss is a douche bag, they generally can’t be fired if it was on their personal account while off-duty.
Now that everyone can tweet from anywhere on their smart phones, and people are working from many places at discretionary times, this distinction will get tricky.
Also, employers are not usually liable for what their employees do off-duty unless they are controlling it. So the more an employer tries to prevent being liable for employee actions by issuing policies, requiring disclaimers, and disciplining people for what they say and do on their personal social media accounts, the more likely the employer will end up being liable.
Controlling Speech Won’t Solve the Real Problems
If what the company is really worried about is looking bad, then it should probably look deeper to see if there are things going on that would make it look bad. If so, it’s not a social media problem, it’s a management problem. And policies and controlling what people say are not going to help.
There is no way to stop current or former employees from trash talking on social media. Employers shouldn’t try. It just creates a culture of monitoring and suspicion. Discipline, denials, and drama just make it worse.  Social media is fast moving and things pop up and die quickly if they are ignored.
The best way to encourage employees to say great things about you is to be a great employer with a great service or product.
There are some companies that are horrible places to work or their products and services suck. They won’t survive social media. And that’s a good thing.