Has anyone been following this “raisin taking” case before SCOTUS? It has to do with the government literally taking a portion of a producers crop because they want to keep prices artificially high:
The forced transfer is part of a 1937 program that requires farmers to turn over a large portion of their raisin crop to the government so as to artificially reduce the amount of raisins on the market, and thereby increase the price. Essentially, the scheme is a government-enforced cartel under which producers restrict production so as to inflate prices.
And, of course, you know who loses – consumers. And producers. But note the program’s birthdate – yup, a New Deal bit of nonsense that should have long been trashed. Given how the oral arguments went yesterday before the SCOTUS, it may soon see the dumpster. The government first tried to argue that it really wasn’t a “taking”. That didn’t go well. So:
[Deputy Solicitor General Edwin] Kneedler put most of his emphasis on the argument that there is no taking because the Hornes and other raisin farmers actually benefit from the program that confiscates their raisins. In the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, the government’s argument here is that the Hornes are actually “ingrates” who should be grateful for the government’s largesse. As several justices emphasized, even if the Hornes really do benefit from the confiscation of their property, that does not change the reality that a taking has occurred. The fact that property owners benefit in some way from the taking of their property may affect the level of compensation they are owed. But it does not change the reality that a taking has occurred in the first place. Justice Samuel Alito noted that the government’s logic leads to the conclusion that there is no taking in any situation where the government seizes personal property for purposes that might potentially benefit the owners in some way.
The most important argument, and the one usually overlooked or ignored, is as follows:
If private firms tried to establish a similar program on their own, the government would bust them for a blatant violation of antitrust law.
So why is our government doing it?
The Advice Goddess (Amy Alkon) takes on “trigger warnings” and does a very credible job explaining why they and those who would impose them should be ignored:
I’ve thought this for a while. They are yet another way for people who have done nothing noteworthy to get attention and have unearned power over others.
In fact, she entitles her piece “Trigger Warnings: A Form of Covert Narcissism.” She also quotes a Kent State professor who “gets it”:
Kent University’s professor of sociology Frank Furedi claims that calls for trigger warnings are a form of “narcissism,” with a student’s desire to assert their own importance acting as more of a factor than the content they are exposed to.
In other words, it’s a form of avoidance they can lay on the person who “triggers” them.
This brings me to my favorite line in the Alkon trigger warning piece:
And as I’ve noted before: If you are so emotionally traumatized by the normal college curriculum, you do belong in an institution, but not one of “higher learning.”
The Climate Change Nazis are just not happy with “liberal democracy” because, you know, it depends on the will of the people instead of the will of the all knowing elite. Some selected passages from a piece by Mark Triffitt (Lecturer, Public Policy at University of Melbourne), and Travers McLeod, Honorary Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at University of Melbourne:
… Specifically, the failure to tackle climate change speaks to an overall failure of our liberal democratic system…
… Successfully tackling climate change and other big policy challenges depends on making tangible the intangible crisis of liberal democracy.
It means understanding that liberal democracy’s governance machinery – and the static, siloed policy responses generated by such democracies – is no longer fit for purpose.
So, solution? (I bet you can guess):
[D]emocratic powers should be transferred to unelected bureaucrats, who would still somehow be “accountable” to parliament, despite having “staying power” beyond individual political cycles.
Or in their own words:
Granting more decision-making power to institutions independent of the government of the day, but still accountable to parliaments (such as the Parliamentary Budget Office or Infrastructure Australia). This would increase the capacity of policy planning and decision processes to have staying power beyond individual political cycles.
Yes, because when the party in power is the same party that wants whatever the bureaucracy wants, oversight is so exceptional and wonderful and our freedoms are protected to the nth degree – not! There are closet despots everywhere, and especially among the climate alarmist crowd.
And finally there is the Hill/Billy update, this one concerning a uranium deal with the Russians:
The latest installment in the ongoing saga of shady Clinton Foundation finances is a story involving a deal in which Russians took take greater control of a major U.S. uranium company, Uranium One.
The details are somewhat involved, but the gist is that because the takeover deal involved uranium, a strategic asset, it required approval from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Around the same time the deal was going through, the Clinton Foundation took millions of dollars in donations from a foundation run by the founder of Uranium One and did not disclose the transaction, in defiance of an arrangement made with the Obama administration to identify Clinton Foundation donors. In addition, Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 by a Russian financial firm linked to the Kremlin for a speech in Moscow as the deal was happening. The New York Times has an extensive report, building on work from Peter Schweizer’s book about the Clinton Foundation’s foreign funding, Clinton Cash, here.
The questions raised by the story are obvious: Did the millions in donations to the Clinton Foundation, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to Bill Clinton for his speech, have any influence on Clinton’s decision as Secretary of State to approve the project?
Seriously? You have to ask that question?
The reaction to the story from team Clinton, meanwhile, does not exactly inspire confidence that the Clintons have been entirely transparent about what transpired.
For example, Fox News reporters, also drawing from Schweizer’s book, dug into various aspects of the story, and found evidence that officials from Kazakhstan’s state-owned energy company Kazatomprom visited with Bill Clinton at his home in New York to inquire about a possible deal with Westinghouse, which is also involved in the nuclear energy business. When contacted about the meeting by Fox News, a Clinton Foundation spokesperson denied that the meeting had ever happened. But when Fox News produced photos of the meeting, the Clinton spokesperson changed the story and said that it had happened.
In short, Clinton’s spokesperson flatly lied about a meeting Bill Clinton had with foreign officials, and admitted the truth only when presented with evidence to the contrary.
“Flatly lied”. Or as most would put it, “business as usual”.
So many things, so little time.
-You have to laugh at this one, I don’t care who your are.
In late February, the City University of New York announced that it had tapped Princeton economist and New York Times blogger Paul Krugman for a distinguished professorship at CUNY’s Luxembourg Income Study Center, a research arm devoted to studying income patterns and their effect on inequality.
About that. According to a formal offer letter obtained under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, CUNY intends to pay Krugman $225,000, or $25,000 per month (over two semesters), to “play a modest role in our public events” and “contribute to the build-up” of a new “inequality initiative.” It is not clear, and neither CUNY nor Krugman were able to explain, what “contribute to the build-up” entails.
The left often times seems intent upon removing parody as a means of criticism by becoming parody proof. And you wonder why tuition continues to spiral out of control?
-Special Snowflakes rule academia anymore, and they’re not fans of free speech. Collective tantrums apparently work. From the inaugural “Disinvitation dinner”, George Will:
“Free speech has never been, in the history of our republic, more comprehensively, aggressively, and dangerously threatened than it is now,” Will, who’s had his fair share of protests, panics, and bans, told the audience. Today’s attack isn’t just about process, he noted: It’s “an attack on the theory of freedom of speech,” with a belief “that the First Amendment is a mistake.”
All you have to do is watch how speakers who rub the dominant feminist culture on any campus the wrong way are treated:
Witness Christina Hoff Sommers, a well-known author, former philosophy professor, and, most recently, a YouTube star. Sommers, who describes her approach as “equity feminism,” is a refreshing change from mainstream modern feminism, which long ago click-clacked aboard the crazy train, ripped up all return tickets, and then hit the bar in the club car hard — not in a fun way, alas, but rather to weep and mutter various bad words over low-grade apple martini knockoffs garnished with mascara smears. Partnering with the American Enterprise Institute, Sommers has made a splash with her “Factual Feminist” video series, in which she calmly challenges and debunks oft-accepted and frequently absurd feminist talking points.
Bad news for those in the cocoon. So, instead of being intellectuals and curious, they retreat to their “safe spaces” or ensure that the speaker can’t be heard by themselves or others.
Sommers’ approach, in other words, is straightforward, fact-based, and lucid. But this, as the zealous, easily wounded students at Oberlin College and Georgetown University demonstrated over the past week, simply will not do. Faced with a speaker who thinks outside the box, campus groups lit up in protest. Students taped their mouths shut. Others heckled and jeered Sommers as a “rape apologist.” Still others advertised alternate “safe spaces” for students “traumatized” by a speech.
“The students were so carried away with the idea that I was a threat to their safety,” Sommers told the website Campus Reform, that Oberlin officials “arranged for security guards to escort me to and from the lecture to protect me from the safe spacers.” This sounds sane, if it’s Opposite Day.
What’s a good comparison of the state of places of higher eduction that have enabled such behavior? Well this seem right to me:
If you’ve ever been to a junior high slumber party, you might recognize the following scenario: In the midst of high jinks and general good times, suddenly one girl will drift off to a corner. Her feelings, somehow, have been hurt. Slowly, a few sympathizers, clear suckers for drama, make their way into her corner. They rub her back, ask why she’s crying, and, even if the answer is absurd, spend the rest of the evening casting baleful looks at the rest of the girls, who are oblivious, living large, sucking down Mountain Dew, and gleefully watching movies their parents would never allow them to watch. (In my case, this was almost always “Dirty Dancing.”)
Cowardice might not be fun, but for some, self-pity — cowardice’s common companion — certainly is. This is especially true if someone else is egging you on. Sadly, huge swaths of today’s college campuses, supposedly pinnacles of higher learning, have morphed into a giant preteen slumber party with an alarming population of sulking corner girls.
-The circus is back in town and the Hill/Billy act is just as tired and old as it used to be. There’s a new book out pointing to how corrupt these people are … as if you needed a reminder. The “dead broke” Clintons are multi-millionaires who’ve raised government influence peddling to new and even more corrupt heights. And then we’re treated to the spectacle of Hillary flying coach and railing against the 1% and CEOs when she makes more money than any of them and her only child is buying a 10 million dollar Manhattan apartment. Forget about questioning lack of accomplishment as SecState – look at the money the Clinton Foundation raked in while she was in office. Quite an accomplishment wouldn’t you say?
“For three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years. Those entries were errors, according to the foundation: several foreign governments continued to give tens of millions of dollars.”
They just missed it … and, they’ll get away with it too, hide and watch.
-And while you weren’t watching, Erica Holder, er, Loretta Lynch was confirmed as AG by the Republican Senate.
Yes, today I’m going to talk about Hillary Clinton, who does indeed feel entitled and also seems to believe that the law is only for “the little people”. There are others who feel entitled to the presidency (on both sides) that I don’t want anywhere near it as well, but this is one person who would essentially be an Obama third term if she were to win … and her actions prove that.
Right now we have a man in the Oval Office who is, frankly, a scofflaw. If a law is inconvenient, he simply ignores it, or issues his own in the guise of an executive action or, working through his “executive agencies” sees that unelected bureaucrats produce regulations that do his will, all without Congress. Or oversight. Or the Constitution for that matter.
Now we have a contender for his position who has demonstrated the same sort of inclination to ignore the rules and laws that are designed to keep our elected and government officials on the straight and narrow and provide a vital record of their doings.
Hillary Clinton, did, with malice aforethought, conspire to work around the law and the rules that required her to do government business on a government email account. There’s no disputing this. The email server is in her home. It was set up prior to her becoming Secretary of State. And we know, thanks to a hacker, that she received highly sensitive emails from various cronies and State Department personnel on that account. An account that wasn’t at all secure enough for such traffic (that point made obvious by the hack).
Just last week, the Washington Post shocked the public with the news that the Clinton Foundation had “accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments” during Hillary’s “tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration.” In and of themselves, these gifts were highly abnormal.
But, as Charles Cooke continues:
“Rarely, if ever,” the Post noted drily, “has a potential commander in chief been so closely associated with an organization that has solicited financial support from foreign governments.” But the infringement is made even worse when one acknowledges that these donations were never so much as reviewed for eligibility by the powers that be within the State Department. There really is no other way of putting it than to record bluntly that, while she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was making private deals with foreign governments via private e-mail, and then declining to request the requisite approval from the U.S. government.
So, let’s see if we have this straight. Private email account, knowingly refusing to use the government one, and soliciting foreign governments for donations while Secretary of State?
That’s definitely, at a minimum unethical and an abuse of office. So who does she think she is?
Cooke answers that:
The answer to that question is as it ever was: She is Hillary Clinton, and she believes, with some justification, that she will get away with anything and everything she tries. “Why,” supporters grumble, “knowing full well how effective the charge of elitism can be during a presidential campaign, does she continue to take $300,000 per speech?” Answer: Because she’s Hillary Clinton. “Why,” others inquire, “when tempers are still hot and nerves are still frayed, does she continue to take money from the outfits that are widely blamed for the financial crisis of 2008?” Answer: Because she’s Hillary Clinton. “How could she possibly believe that her ex-president husband’s temporary inability to buy a multi-million-dollar house rendered her ‘dead broke’”? Because she’s Hillary Clinton, and she has a sense of entitlement that would make Imelda Marcos blush. And so, having been championed and overpraised for years, lionized more for her immutable characteristics than for any concrete achievements, and allowed to pretend that her few successes have been the product of her own ability and not her husband’s uncommon political talent, Clinton has of late fallen disastrously deep into the professional celebrity’s most pernicious trap: She has begun to believe her own hype. How long can it be before her fellow disciples begin to lose faith in more than just the small hours of the night?
Supreme arrogance, and a willingness to take a chance that this will all come to nothing. After all, we’re talking about the era of politics and government where no one is really held accountable for anything. The smartest woman in the world probably also figured we’d never put two and two together (i.e. private email, foreign donations). And if we did? Heh … they tried that out yesterday and it failed miserably:
The strongest argument in favor of this behavior — legally, at least — is that Clinton is a clueless, confused, and out-of-touch old woman who struggles to grasp basic technological concepts, and that she therefore had not the first idea what was expected of her. In the immediate aftermath, this was the first defense offered. It’s “worth remembering,” a former Clinton administration staffer assured me quickly on Twitter, “that Hillary didn’t have email until she was in her forties. She was clueless.” “I just mean,” he added, desperately, that “she’s no dummy — except possibly with computers — where she kinda is.”
Bulltacos. There have been countless stories and battles over the use of official emails that this is a complete non-starter. As Cooke notes, it’s “desperate”. This wasn’t some technodunce-granny completely befuddled by this new age. This was a deliberate and calculated attempt to circumvent the system:
Digging a little into the story today, Business Insider’s Hunter Walker recorded today that Clinton did not so much inadvertently continue to use her previous account as she had her team build and configure an alternative system over which she had full and unadulterated control.
Exactly. And now, she should pay the price.
If anyone can find it in themselves to hold people like Hillary Clinton accountable for her misdeeds.
I certainly have no qualms about doing it. At a minimum, she should be shamed, shunned and dismissed from public life. She’s demonstrated she isn’t fit to hold the highest office in the land. And we certainly don’t need and probably couldn’t survive an Obama 3rd term anyway.
That’s the apparent intent of a BATFE proposal as it applies to 5.56 ammunition. The left, for years, has been trying to ban “assault weapons”, which are, essentially dressed up semi-automatic rifles. Assault weapons, as you might imagine are capable of fully automatic fire. Such weapons are already illegal without a very difficult to get permit.
Nevertheless, it is a long cherished dream of the left to implement gun control, because, well the key word is the second one – control.
So, having been absolutely and totally rejected when they tried to impose such laws, they’re decided to take what Marie Harf would surely characterize as “a more nuanced approach“.
As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month revealed that it is proposing to put the ban on 5.56 mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers, including the huge outdoors company Cabela’s, to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president.
At issue is so-called “armor-piercing” ammunition, an exemption for those bullets mostly used for sport by AR-15 owners, and the recent popularity of pistol-style ARs that use the ammo.
The inexpensive 5.56 M885 ammo, commonly called green tips, have been exempt for years, as have higher-caliber ammunition that also easily pierces the type of soft armor worn by police, because it’s mostly used by target shooters, not criminals. The agency proposes to reclassify it as armor-piercing and not exempt.
But now BATFE says that since the bullets can be used in semi-automatic handguns they pose a threat to police and must be banned from production, sale and use. But, as Goodlatte noted, the agency offered no proof. Federal agencies will still be allowed to buy the ammo.
And, according the the article, there is no proof to provide. None exists.
Of course, the AR15 is one of America’s most popular weapons and hundreds of thousands of them, if not millions are in the hands of Americans. Certainly not a hard weapon for a criminal to get and use on police. However, they rarely do. They tend to eschew small caliber arms for those which have a bigger punch in a handgun.
So, logically, that makes little if any sense. As for the armor piercing capability, while I’m sympathetic to the point, a little proof of it being a problem would be helpful. To this point, everything I’ve read says it hasn’t been a problem to this point.
“This round is amongst the most commonly used in the most popular rifle design in America, the AR-15. Millions upon millions of M855 rounds have been sold and used in the U.S., yet ATF has not even alleged — much less offered evidence — that even one such round has ever been fired from a handgun at a police officer,” said Goodlatte’s letter.
Even some police don’t buy the administration’s claim. “Criminals aren’t going to go out and buy a $1,000 AR pistol,” Brent Ball, owner of 417 Guns in Springfield, Mo., and a 17-year veteran police officer told the Springfield News-Leader. “As a police officer I’m not worried about AR pistols because you can see them. It’s the small gun in a guy’s hand you can’t see that kills you.”
Another manufactured “crisis” and another “solution” which involves government using its coerscive power to ban something that a particular political ideology finds odious – beside you being free, that is. And, of course, it opens the door to more invented problems solved by more bans.
This is called “democracy”. One side gets enough votes to seize power and then they force their ideology on you – if not by legislative means, then by executive action. The document that is supposed to protect your freedom from government has been declared null and void. Your freedoms? Well, let’s just say that they’re up for interpretation depending on which faction is in power. But what is for sure is they’re eroded and will continue to erode under this system of politics. Government gets larger and more intrusive and as it does, it squeezes out your freedoms in the name of the “greater good”, or “for the good of police” or “the children” or whatever bit of gimcrackery they can use to attract enough votes.
Your freedom suffers the consequences.
What else is new, right? In the last presidential election, it was the “War on Women”, with George Snuffleupagus firing the first volley with an oddball question about contraception. This time around, it’s a report from Chis Christie’s tour of the UK:
As he toured the United Kingdom on Monday, Chris Christie seemed to leave his tough guy persona back in the United States. The potential Republican 2016 presidential contender punted on questions about whether Americans should vaccinate their kids amid a 14-state outbreak of a disease which is staging a comeback after being largely eradicated by science.
“All I can say is we vaccinated ours,” Christie said, while touring a biomedical research facility in Cambridge, England, which makes vaccines.
The New Jersey governor added that “parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”
Not exactly controversial unless you spin it the right way (which CNN does in the above article by accusing the New Jersey Governor of being uncharacteristically mealy-mouthed). And it would really help if you could get another potential candidate on the record saying something similar. Enter Rand Paul:
In a contentious interview today, Sen. Rand Paul said he’s heard of cases where vaccines lead to “mental disorders” and argued that parents should be the ones to choose whether they vaccinate their children, not the government. Paul is a former ophthalmologist.
“I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” Paul, R-Ky., said in an interview with CNBC anchor Kelly Evans.
“I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea. I think they’re a good thing, but I think the parents should have some input,” he added. “The state doesn’t own your children. Parents own the children and it is an issue of freedom.”
Again, not terribly controversial except for the “mental disorders” part. Which is what the media are now running with to paint all conservatives as “anti-vaxxers”:
NBC News – “Rand Paul: Vaccines Can Lead to ‘Mental Disorders'”
CNN – “Paul: Vaccines can cause ‘profound mental disorders'”
ABC News – “Rand Paul Says Vaccines Can Lead to ‘Mental Disorders'”
HuffPo – “Rand Paul: Children Got ‘Profound Mental Disorders’ After Receiving Vaccines”
Vox – “Rand Paul says he’s heard of vaccines leading to ‘profound mental disorders’ in children”
FactCheck.org – “Paul Repeats Baseless Vaccine Claims”
So on, and so on. The New York Times tackles it this way:
The politics of medicine, morality and free will have collided in an emotional debate over vaccines and the government’s place in requiring them, posing a challenge for Republicans who find themselves in the familiar but uncomfortable position of reconciling modern science with the skepticism of their core conservative voters.
The vaccination controversy is a twist on an old problem for the Republican Party: how to approach matters that have largely been settled among scientists but are not widely accepted by conservatives.
Suddenly, we’re all talking about vaccines and how those nasty, anti-science Republican weirdos are dangerous to society. Funny how that works. And of course, never let facts get in the way, such as Paul being correct about the mental disorders thing. Here’s his statement again:
I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.
Guess what? The CDC agrees with him (my emphasis):
MMR vaccine side-effects
(Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)
What are the risks from MMR vaccine?
A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions.
The risk of MMR vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.
Getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting measles, mumps or rubella.
Most people who get MMR vaccine do not have any serious problems with it.
Fever (up to 1 person out of 6)
Mild rash (about 1 person out of 20)
Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck (about 1 person out of 75)
If these problems occur, it is usually within 7-12 days after the shot. They occur less often after the second dose.
Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever (about 1 out of 3,000 doses)
Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women (up to 1 out of 4)
Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder (about 1 out of 30,000 doses)
Severe Problems (Very Rare)
Serious allergic reaction (less than 1 out of a million doses)
Several other severe problems have been reported after a child gets MMR vaccine, including:
Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness
Permanent brain damage
These are so rare that it is hard to tell whether they are caused by the vaccine.
While extremely rare, do long-term seizures, coma, lowered consciousness, or permanent brain damage count as “profound mental disorders”? I guess you make an argument that not all such cases do, but I would think permanent brain damage fits the bill.
Ironically enough, the FactCheck.org article actually highlights that Paul and the CDC are on the same page:
There have been some reports of “lowered consciousness” or permanent brain damage after a vaccine is given for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) or measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), but the CDC says that these are so rare that a cause-and-effect relationship cannot be determined.
Note that the CDC does not posit a causal connection, but then again neither does Paul. Indeed, he further clarified:
“I did not say vaccines caused disorders, just that they were temporally related — I did not allege causation. I support vaccines, I receive them myself and I had all of my children vaccinated,” Paul said in a statement. “In fact today, I received the booster shot for the vaccines I got when I went to Guatemala last year.”
Too late, since the media has its juicy soundbites already.
None of this is to say that GOP politicians don’t do this to themselves. Paul certainly didn’t have to even raise the specter of a potential causal link between vaccines and mental disorders. He should have known that, regardless of what the CDC and science says, most everyone was going to associate his comments with the debunked autism link. Even if there was a proven causal link, it’s so incredibly rare as to not be deserving of a mention. I get his thinking from a liberty perspective, but message delivery is vital and Paul failed at that.
The Chris Christie statements, on the other hand, don’t strike me as even slightly off, but clearly there was a theme building here amongst the media hivemind. The idea that the guy who insisted on quarantining the Ebola nurse is super interested in liberty does sound a sour note, and Christie probably should have led with the idea that routine vaccinations are safe and effective which is why everyone should get them. Seems like a rookie mistake for someone who’s been in the limelight for quite some time.
Not that it matters. The theme has been set, and the narrative will now run its course. Inconvenient facts such as who the anti-vaxxers really are, or what Democrats have had to say on the issue, will be glossed over or simply dismissed. And all vaccines will be treated the same so that if a GOP candidate balks at mandating, say, a flu vaccine, he or she will then be tarred as an anti-science, ant-vaxxer. Democrats and the Left will be fine with this since they have zero problems with government mandates. And thus the media has neatly cleaved the country it two wholly separate and unequal parts in order to drive the political wedge deeper.
So the citizens of San Francisco voted themselves an increase in prices, er, excuse me, a “$15 minimum wage” and thumb their noses at the laws of economics.
Reality hits back. Borderland Books, an iconic SF bookstore, provides the perfect two-fold example with this announcement:
In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018. Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it’s possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage. Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st. The cafe will continue to operate until at least the end of this year.
Many businesses can make adjustments to allow for increased wages. The cafe side of Borderlands, for example, should have no difficulty at all. Viability is simply a matter of increasing prices. And, since all the other cafes in the city will be under the same pressure, all the prices will float upwards. But books are a special case because the price is set by the publisher and printed on the book. Furthermore, for years part of the challenge for brick-and-mortar bookstores is that companies like Amazon.com have made it difficult to get people to pay retail prices. So it is inconceivable to adjust our prices upwards to cover increased wages.
The change in minimum wage will mean our payroll will increase roughly 39%. That increase will in turn bring up our total operating expenses by 18%. To make up for that expense, we would need to increase our sales by a minimum of 20%. We do not believe that is a realistic possibility for a bookstore in San Francisco at this time.
Note the key lines. “The change in minimum wage will mean our payroll will increase roughly 39%.” Yet, there’s not 39% room in the earnings to weather that increase, because an 18% increase in operating costs puts them in the red. Borderland Books explains why – retail price is almost impossible to get anymore so they can’t increase the price of the product to cover the cost. Result? The workers in the bookstore will have a wage of $0 as of March 31. I’m sure they’re thrilled.
Meanwhile the cafe will stay open because it can do what? Pass the cost on to the customer. So in essence, those who voted for the increase in minimum wage voted dollars out of the pockets of those who opposed it as well as their own. While the workers in the cafe will get their $15 an hour minimum wage, it will be achieved in an increase in the price of the goods the cafe sells (about 20%). And if their experience is anything like Seattle’s (which also instituted a $15 minimum wage) tips will dry up to next to nothing, while perks (such as free meals, parking, etc.) will be discontinued now that the workers make enough money to pay for most of them.
Yes, economic illiteracy has a price – and here it is. Fewer jobs, higher prices, all a result of fools who thought they could magic “a living wage” out of a vote without that having any consequences to the workers or themselves.
It seems like every pundit in the world is now ready to give the GOP Congressional majority advice on what they should do for the next two years. It would be nice if they’d tell the lame duck Dems and President how they should act as well. But I’m of the opinion these will be a very interesting two months.
The question I have, after the Republican victory, is what lessons they’ve learned from this big win? Here are a few that I think they should keep in mind:
1. While this was a big win, it doesn’t signal that the same will happen in 2016. We heard that sort of “wisdom” spouted after the impressive GOP win in 2010 – momentum from 2010 was sure to sink Obama in 2012. But it didn’t at all translate in the 2012 presidential race. Lesson: while there may be some momentum, what happens in the next two years is much more important than what happened on Tuesday.
2. Guess who focused on social issues? Guess who lost? “The war on women” was beaten to death. In fact, Colorado’s Mark Udall was being referred too as “Mark Uterus” with his almost singular focus on that. And then there was Wendy Davis’ attempt to cash in on it. Climate change was also a bust. Republicans were disciplined, focused on ObamaCare, the economy, jobs, etc. It paid off. You have to wonder if they’ll remember that. There are plenty of important and broad issues to campaign on. You don’t have to resort to divisive wedge issues to rally your base as those type issues tend to alienate badly needed independents. Lesson: stay focused on broad national issues and present solutions.
3. If I were to take anything from the election, it wouldn’t be Harry Reid’s interpretation. Reid now thinks everyone should “work together” because, you know, that’s what the American people want. Of course, Harry Reid knows next to nothing about what the American people want and has proven that time and time again. Certainly, if possible, bi-partisan is good. If not, then screw em. Yes, I know that with Obama in the White House, most of what they do is likely to be vetoed. But then it is up to him to explain why nothing is happening, not the Republicans. He becomes the “obstructionist“. Politics 101. Of course the GOP has flunked that course many times. Lesson: do your job and make the other party do theirs. If they do, then it helps build a very nice case that they need to go.
There are probably many more you can think of. I’m pitching these up here because they seem to me to be common sense lessons from this election. Yes, impressive win. Got it. Now what? What have you learned?
Well, if history is any indicator, many of the same lessons have been available to the GOP in other elections and they’ve essentially ignored them. The question of this day is “will they repeat history”?
Hard to call last night anything but a rout for Democrats as in “it was worse than they expected”. Pre-election polls seemed to indicate any number of tight races that could have gone to Democrats. But the results were certainly not at all in line with those polls. Nate Silver now tells us that many of the polls were skewed toward Democrats. When the results started coming in, they were shocking to many on the left. Mitch McConnell wasn’t really in danger at all. Perdue stomped Nunn in GA. Tom Cotton blew incumbent Mark Pryor away in Arkansas. Kay Hagen, a sure fire winner, down in flames. Those that predicted +8 GOP senate seats were right, even as the left had said that sort of a prediction was extreme.
And there were even more surprises in store. A 78 year old incumbent Republican senator in Kansas defeated a pseudo-independent handily. Colorado went red. Charlie Crist has now lost as Republican, Democrat and Independent. IL dumped an incumbent Democratic governor for a Republican. MA and MD put Republicans in the Governor’s mansion as well.
There were some firsts – Joni Ernst became the first woman to represent Iowa in the Senate – as a Republican (as well as the first female combat vet in the Senate). The GOP’s first black female, Mia Love, won Utah’s 4 district and represent it in Congress. And the first black Senator since reconstruction was elected in the racist South (just ask Mary Landrieu, D- LA about that) as a Republican from SC. An openly gay Republican was elected to Congress, and finally, the youngest women elected to Congress won an open district in NY that has been traditionally Democratic for the Republicans.
Democrat Mary Landrieu of LA faces a runoff she’s likely to lose and in Alaska it appears that Sullivan may edge Begich.
Wow. So what does it all mean? Well, we’ll see, but you know me, despite all this “change” I really don’t expect much to really change in today’s highly partisan atmosphere.
Maybe though, we ought to consider some other interesting things this election may portend. For instance, 24 Senators who voted for ObamaCare, no longer are Senators:
On the Senate side, going into Tuesday’s elections, 24 senators who voted for Obamacare were already out or not going be part of the new Senate being sworn in on January.
To be sure, it isn’t fair to attribute all of the turnover in the chamber to Obamacare. Many senators voted for Obamacare and lost re-election battles in which they were hit hard for their support for the law, and other Democrats were forced to retire because they had no hope of getting re-elected given their support for the law. But in some cases — such as John Kerry leaving his seat to become secretary of state, or Robert Byrd passing away — Obamacare clearly had nothing to do with it.
Obviously … but that’s still a large toll and certainly part of the political butcher’s bill. And then there’s the Immigration Reform Bill which most people viewed as an amnesty bill, and those who supported it:
Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas voted for the Gang of 8 bill. He’s GONE.
Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina voted for the Gang of 8 bill. GONE.
Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado voted for the Gang of 8 bill. GONE
Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska voted for the Gang of 8 bill. Almost certainly GONE
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana voted for the Gang of 8 bill. She will probably be GONE after a January runoff.
Alison Grimes supported the Gang of 8 bill in Kentucky. DEFEATED
Michelle Nunn supported the Gang of 8 bill in Georgia. DEFEATED
Greg Orman supported the Gangof 8 bill in Kansas. DEFEATED
Bruce Braley supoorted the Gang of 8 bill in Iowa. DEFEATED
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia voted for the Gang of 8 bill and BARELY SURVIVED against longshot challengers.
Remember, this supposedly is Obama’s next priority. Does he really want to muddy Democratic 2016 election waters this early in the game?
Hillary Clinton put her political clout and even her political future on the line in this election — from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and in races clear across the country — and as the dust settles this morning we’ll see how it paid off.
The news that Republicans took control of the Senate despite Clinton’s best efforts doesn’t bode well for her desire to become the next president of the United States.
Because if you think Hillary Clinton spent all that time and money crisscrossing the country trying to get fellow Democrats elected or help them keep their seats out of the kindness of her heart — you are sadly mistaken. The goal was to have as many of them beholden to her as possible — and to show that she is someone who can get it done. “It” being to raise massive amounts of money and win votes.
The GOP claimed control of the Senate yesterday by picking off Democratic incumbents in Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina and holding control of key seats in Kansas, Georgia and Kentucky, while picking up a vacant seat in Iowa. Hillary or Bill Clinton stumped in most of those states, and they wanted winning Democrats there who would owe them favors. She came out of the evening with at least one key win.
Not impressive. In fact, the Clinton’s couldn’t even stave off a loss in their “home state” of Arkansas. Perhaps the “inevitable” coronation of Queen Hillary isn’t quite as inevitable as she and the left might think.
So, certainly, lots to think about and lots to discuss. We’ve again seen a wave election. Past wave elections haven’t produced much in the way of positive change. Is there any reason to believe this one will?
Question of the day.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, this was indeed a repudiation of Obama.
Thanks to the Progressive movement at the turn of the last century, California, like several other states, has ballot propositions that the voters can approve or disapprove to get around the corrupt pols in the state capital. Here are the propositions on tap for tomorrow.
Proposition 1: Water Bond. Funding for Water Quality, Supply, Treatment, and Storage Projects.
Authorizes $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects, including surface and groundwater storage, ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration, and drinking water protection.
First, we don’t have a lot of space to borrow, especially with a $40 billion train line to build. Actually, we don’t have the money to pay for the $40 billion—some say $63 billion—train. So, let’s find the money in the annual budget for this. I’m sure there’s some spare change lying around with a $108 billion dollar budget in 2014, which is, by the way, $7 billion more than the 2013 budget.
Proposition 2: State Budget. Budget Stabilization Account. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.
Requires annual transfer of state general fund revenues to budget stabilization account.
This seems like a minimal nod to fiscal responsibility. I’ll buy it.
Proposition 45: Healthcare Insurance. Rate Changes. Initiative Statute.
Requires Insurance Commissioner’s approval before health insurer can change its rates or anything else affecting the charges associated with health insurance.
First of all, we already intentionally cut the insurance commissioner out of this loop by creating an independent commission to review rate changes. We did that because the insurance commissioner is an elected political hack who already has too much scope for hackery. If this passes, then health insurers will be prevented from raising rates by whatever San Francisco hippie gets elected insurance commissioner. Which sounds nice until you realize that insurers will lose money and simply leave the state.
Proposition 46: Drug and Alcohol Testing Of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.
Requires drug testing of doctors. Requires review of statewide prescription database before prescribing controlled substances. Increases $250,000 pain/suffering cap in medical negligence lawsuits for inflation.
Nobody wants to be treated by a crack-addled doctor, right? So, who could be against this? Well…me. Here’s the thing: This has very little to do with ensuring doctors aren’t drug addicts, and everything to do with trial lawyers looking for big malpractice paydays, by increasing payouts for malpractice lawsuits. That means malpractice insurance premiums will skyrocket, and doctors will leave the field…or the state. The doctor drug testing is eyewash to hide a trial lawyer money-grab. Screw those guys.
Proposition 47: Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.
Requires misdemeanor sentence instead of felony for certain drug and property offenses. Inapplicable to persons with prior conviction for serious or violent crime and registered sex offenders.
Right now, we have mandatory sentences for non-violent drug offenders. So we have to make room for them in prison. We don’t have that room, so we let robbers, muggers, and rapist, et al., go free instead. If you commit a non-violent offense, you simply shouldn’t go to jail, period. We need to keep people who hurt people in jail. If your crime is having a gram of coke or 2 ounces of weed, I can’t even count the number of shits I don’t give about imprisoning you.
Proposition 48: Indian Gaming Compacts. Referendum.
A “Yes” vote approves, and a “No” vote rejects, tribal gaming compacts between the state and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe.
Do you know what I care less about than imprisoning non-violent criminals? Whether or not Indians can have casinos, and whether they can have them outside their tribal lands. Besides, I really like the buffets.
So, there you have it: All of the propositions on the ballot. I wouldn’t dream of telling you how to vote, but I am telling you how I am going to vote. With that in mind…you know what to do.
Lord I get tired of the mealy mouthed politicians who try to explain away their political demise be claiming the backwardness of the region, people or the culture is why they’re losing.
Republicans are slamming Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) for comments they say suggested Louisiana voters dislike President Obama because of his race.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and Landrieu’s GOP opponent in her tough reelection race, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), both pounced on comments she made to NBC’s Chuck Todd that the South “has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans.”
“It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader,” she said, before adding that the South has not always been friendly to women either.
Apparently Mary Landrieu felt differently when she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and was re-elected by increasing margins in competitive races in 2002 and 2008. That’s right, the largely red state has elected a woman and a Democrat to terms totaling 18 years in the US Senate.
But now … sexism.
And we have an abomination of a President, one who has nothing to present in a “positive light”, who happens to be black, so … racism.
And don’t forget to throw in a stereotypical comment about the South … because she’s in danger of losing.
As usual, its everyone else that’s the problem, not the fact that Mary Landrieu has done things, such as vote for ObamaCare, that have caused the voters in the state to finally say “enough”. Nope, with Democrats, it’s never the message, policy or vote, it’s always something or someone else’s fault.
Racism. Sexism. Republican dirty tricks. Etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum.