Stakeholders v. Stockholders

The notion that stakeholders and stockholders battle for control of major business corporations is an oversimplification of a much more complex reality involving managers, regulators, investors, and social justice warriors (SJW), many of whom seem to have forgotten the reasons that corporations formed in the first place. All the major players need level-headed thinking on […]
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Shortages in Charts: New & Used Vehicle Inventories Collapsed, Supply at Clothing Stores Gets Tight, Food Stores Near Normal

Over-stimulated demand, tangled supply chains: shortages for some, plenty of supply for others. The historic stimulus from $5 trillion in government deficit-spending and from $4 trillion in Fed money-printing within a 16 month period resulted in a historic spike in consumer spending on goods. When the demand shock hit retailers and other companies, they were suddenly […]
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The Future Of Woke Investing

“Environment, Social and Governance” is a confusing mouthful of terms, but it’s the driving force behind making American businesses compliant to the left-wing agenda. As Justin Danhof, Esq., recently noted, it’s a “wildly important topic that’s not talked about enough.” Justin — who until recently was Director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) […]
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A China In A Bull Shop

China has taken a number of steps of late to restrict enterprise. Press reports often phrase that there has been a “crackdown” on the private sector as if a private sector really exists in China. In other cases, they have stepped in, as in the case of Hong Kong, to destroy freedom and the economic […]
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Cleveland Indians’ Name Change Isn’t About Protecting Native Americans

Since 1915, my adopted home city has been home to the Cleveland Indians, a name selected through a newspaper poll–a very democratic method indeed. They were previously the Cleveland Naps and really, what greater cause is there to cheer for? (Sadly, “Nap” was just a popular player’s nickname.) But the woke came for Indians–and last […]
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The Great Academic/Sports Double Standard

And why Pawan Dhingra has it wrong about extracurricular learning. Starting in elementary school and continuing through high school, aspiring athletes are encouraged by parents, coaches, and society at large to spend considerable hours training and practicing outside of the school day and off-campus, oftentimes at the additional cost of private leagues and coaches. And […]
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A Fantastic Decision for the AR-15

The Miller v. Bonta gun-rights decision is a couple of months old now, but it’s a stem-winder that does not fail to inform and entertain. In it, Roger T. Benitez, United States district judge for the Southern District of California, declared California’s system of gun laws that banned the purchase and possession of AR-15 rifles […]
The post A Fantastic Decision for the AR-15 appeared first on PRICKLY PEAR.The Miller v. Bonta gun-rights decision is a couple of months old now, but it’s a stem-winder that does not fail to inform and entertain. In it, Roger T. Benitez, United States district judge for the Southern District of California, declared California’s system of gun laws that banned the purchase and possession of AR-15 rifles
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The Miller v. Bonta gun-rights decision is a couple of months old now, but it’s a stem-winder that does not fail to inform and entertain. In it, Roger T. Benitez, United States district judge for the Southern District of California, declared California’s system of gun laws that banned the purchase and possession of AR-15 rifles unconstitutional. There’s a link to a PDF of the decision on the Gun-Tests.com website (search for “Bonta” or click here), and I encourage Gun Tests, readers, to go through all 94 pages. For those of you who don’t want to do that, or who are afraid of PDFs like the folks in the Progressive commercial, I will quote from the decision extensively here. I cannot overstate how impressed I am with the decision’s reasoning, logic, clear writing, and dry humor as Judge Benitez takes down the arguments of AR-15 banners in California, and by extension, in other restrictive areas of the country. But enough blandishment. Please enjoy the meat I’ve carved out below, which jumps to other pages in the back.

Background: The case name in Miller v. Bonta was originally Miller v. Becerra, with Rob Bonta being named in his official capacity as the active Attorney General of the State of California. Formerly, the California State Attorney General was Xavier Becerra, who is now the 25th Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. On August 15, 2019, James Miller, a board member of the San Diego County Gun Owners, sued then-Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the Director of the California Bureau of Firearms, alleging that the ban was an unconstitutional restriction of Second Amendment rights.

Miller was joined by the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee, California Gun Rights Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation, and Firearms Policy Coalition, along with three other San Diego County residents who said they legally own rifles or pistols but are unable to use high-capacity magazines in them due to the law.

On June 4, 2021, Judge Benitez ruled that California’s Roberti–Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989 (AWCA), which banned the ownership and transfer of specific models of firearms that were categorized as assault weapons, and other California gun-ban strictures, are unconstitutional violations of the Second Amendment on their face. In the decision, Judge Benitez made a great many points of law and facts that are worth noting. The blocks of language below are cut-and-pasted directly from the decision, except I’ve removed most of the legal cases and footnote cites.

From the decision, Page 1, line 17: “Introduction:”

Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle, the AR-15 is the kind of versatile gun that lies at the intersection of the kinds of firearms protected under District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) and United States v Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939). Yet, the State of California makes it a crime to have an AR-15 type rifle. Therefore, this Court declares the California statutes to be unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs challenge a net of interlocking statutes which impose strict criminal restrictions on firearms that fall under California’s complex definition of the ignominious “assault weapon.”

Page 2, line 17

This case is not about extraordinary weapons lying at the outer limits of Second Amendment protection. The banned “assault weapons” are not bazookas, howitzers, or machine guns. Those arms are dangerous and solely useful for military purposes. Instead, the firearms deemed “assault weapons” are fairly ordinary, popular, modern rifles. This is an average case about average guns used in average ways for average purposes.

One is to be forgiven if one is persuaded by news media and others that the nation is awash with murderous AR-15 assault rifles. The facts, however, do not support this hyperbole, and facts matter. Federal Bureau of Investigation murder statistics do not track assault rifles, but they do show that killing by knife attack is far more common than murder by any kind of rifle. In California, murder by knife occurs seven times more often than murder by rifle. For example, according to F.B.I. statistics for 2019, California saw 252 people murdered with a knife, while 34 people were killed with some type of rifle — not necessarily an AR-15. A Californian is three times more likely to be murdered by an attacker’s bare hands, fists, or feet, than by his rifle. In 2018, the statistics were even more lopsided as California saw only 24 murders by some type of rifle. The same pattern can be observed across the nation.

Page 3, line 10:
A. Pre-Heller Origin of the Assault Weapons Control Act (“AWCA”)

It is clear today, in the year 2021, that individuals have a right to keep and possess dangerous common arms. But California’s Assault Weapons Control Act (“AWCA”) was enacted in the year 1989. In 1989, the California Legislature was concerned that an assault weapon “has such a high rate of fire and capacity for firepower that its function as a legitimate sports or recreational firearm is substantially outweighed by the danger that it can be used to kill and injure human beings.” AWCA then banned assault weapons by specific makes and models.

AWCA was a policy choice unencumbered by constitutional considerations. The California Legislature weighed only the firearm’s value for sports and recreation against the relative dangerousness of the weapon and the danger of it being misused by criminals. It was a different time in legal history.

Page 4, line 2:
B. Pre-Heller Second Amendment Jurisprudence

In 1989, most judicial thinking about the Second Amendment was incorrect. Prior to 2008, lower court opinions did not acknowledge that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to own firearms, or that the right applied against the states… In the year 1989, the California Legislature was not concerned with maintaining room for a citizen’s constitutional right to have a common firearm of one’s choosing to defend hearth and home. In making its policy choice, the California Legislature neither mentioned a modern rifle as a means of self-defense, nor did the core Second Amendment right appear to have been any part of its consideration. The formal legislative findings say nothing about self-defense. The balance was simply about criminal use, on the one hand, versus sporting or recreational activities, on the other hand. In the pre-Heller jurisprudential milieu, the pure policy choice made sense.

Page 6, line 3:

Concerning AWCA’s prohibited-features amendment, the Attorney General has not identified any relevant legislative history or legislative findings about the societal dangers of pistol grips, flash hiders, telescoping stocks, flare launchers or barrel shrouds. The State’s legislative information website lists several committee reports leading up to the signing of Senate Bill 23 by California Governor Gray Davis on July 19, 1999. But there are no studies of criminal gun usage recounted. There are no assault weapon experiences of other states or cities recited. There are no public hearings described. There is one indication, however: Senate Bill 23 was said to be similar to Assembly Bill 2560, which was passed the previous year, but vetoed by California Governor Pete Wilson. Governor Wilson issued a statement with his veto criticizing AWCA’s prohibited-features approach and offered this analogy: “If this bill’s focus were high speed sports cars, it would first declare them ‘chariots of death’ and then criminalize possession of Ramblers equipped with racing stripes and wire wheels.”

Page 8, line 2:

As an aside, the “assault weapon” epithet is a bit of a misnomer. These prohibited guns, like all guns, are dangerous weapons. However, these prohibited guns, like all guns, can be used for ill or for good. They could just as well be called “home defense rifles” or “anti-crime guns.”

The mechanical design features that identify a rifle as a California “assault weapon,” it is argued, tend to help a person shoot the rifle more accurately under pressure. The Plaintiffs make the point that this is a better condition for all lawful uses, i.e., a more accurate gun is better for everyone. After all, responsible gun-owners worry about the ending point of every round fired. If shooting in self-defense, a home defender wants every round to hit only attackers.

In contrast, the Attorney General argues that better accuracy makes it a more dangerous weapon. According to the Attorney General, “assault weapons enable a shooter to fire more rounds rapidly in a given period with greater accuracy, increasing the likelihood that more individuals will be shot and suffer more numerous injuries.” The implied context is a mass shooting. In the terrible mass shooting context, which fortunately is a rare event, reducing the number of innocent victims is the State’s goal, although it is not at all clear that a less accurate rifle would reduce the number of victims. A less accurate rifle in the hands of a mass shooter may very well result in different victims, but not necessarily less victims. On the other hand, in the self-defense context, which seems to be more common, taking accurate shots at attackers is vitally important for the innocent victim. While the state ought to protect its residents against victimization by a mass shooter, it ought also to protect its residents against victimization by home-invading criminals. But little is found in the Attorney General’s court filings reflecting a goal of preventing violence perpetrated against law-abiding citizens in their homes. Instead, the State’s litigation stance is more like the view recently expressed by a police chief in Oakland, California: we do not want victims to arm themselves; we want them to be good witnesses. Of course, a dead victim is a lousy witness.

Page 9, line 14:
E: Criminal Penalties

The State prefers a policy of residents not arming themselves with assault weapons, and for those who do, arresting residents. California Penal Code 30600 imposes a felony criminal penalty for anyone who manufactures, distributes, imports, keeps for sale, offers for sale, or lends an “assault weapon.” … As one commentator describes it, “[m]ere possession of an object that is commonplace and perfectly legal under federal law and in forty-four states will land you in prison, [will] result in the loss of your rights including likely the right to vote, and probably [will] cause you irreparable monetary and reputational damages, as well as your personal liberty. All of this despite the absence of even a single victim.”

Page 10, line 18:

The Second Amendment protects modern weapons. Caetano v. Massachusetts, 577 U.S. 411, 412 (2016). The firearms banned by California Penal Code § 30515 and deemed “assault weapons” are modern weapons. They are principally AR-15 type rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Plaintiffs and others refer to them as “modern sporting rifles” although they are clearly useful for more than just sport. They are modern rifles that do not look like the iconic rifles from years gone by. They are fabricated with synthetic polymers and anodized aluminum in cerakoted colors of black and brown and green. Parts once made of solid wood on guns of the past are gone. These modern rifles are constructed of lightweight alloys and titanium nitride barrels in angular skeletonized shapes. To those who grew up watching movie “westerns” with John Wayne, or Chuck Connors (“The Rifleman”) on television, modern rifles just do not look like rifles. The AR-15 platform in particular, is an “open source” design and includes firearms made by numerous manufacturers under different product names with countless variations and adaptations. In fact, the platform’s ability to accept modifications with ready-made retail parts without the need for specialized tools or expertise, is part of what makes these rifles popular. What advances in firearm design the future holds for these arms are yet to be imagined. When the term “modern rifle” is used in this opinion, it principally refers to a rifle built on the AR-15 platform with prohibited features.

Page 11, line 21:

Although the Attorney General sees it differently, the Supreme Court also recognizes that the Second Amendment guarantee includes a right to keep and bear firearms that have “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.” Miller, 307 U.S., at 178. Miller implies that a weapon that is commonly owned and that is useful for the common defense for a militia member is also protected by the Second Amendment.

Page 12, line 18:
A. The Heller Test

… [I]t is time to put the constitutionality of AWCA to the test. Two tests will be used: (1) the Heller test; and (2) the Ninth Circuit’s two-step levels-of-scrutiny test.

The Heller test is a test that any citizen can understand. Heller asks whether a law bans a firearm that is commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. It is a hardware test. Heller draws a distinction between firearms commonly owned for lawful purposes and unusual arms adapted to unlawful uses as well as arms solely useful for military purposes. As applied to AWCA, the Heller test asks: is a modern rifle commonly owned by law-abiding citizens for a lawful purpose? For the AR-15 type rifle the answer is “yes.” The overwhelming majority of citizens who own and keep the popular AR-15 rifle and its many variants do so for lawful purposes, including self-defense at home. Under Heller, that is all that is needed. Using the easy to understand Heller test, it is obvious that the California assault weapon ban is unconstitutional. Under the Heller test, judicial review can end right here

Page 15, line 4:
2. Popularity Nationally

Nationally, modern rifles are ubiquitous. In 2018 alone (the most recent year with data), 1,954,000 modern rifles were manufactured or imported into the United States. Over the last three decades, 19,797,000 modern rifles have been manufactured or imported into the United States and the numbers have been steadily increasing.

Page 15, line 22:
3. More Popular than the Ford F-150 Pickup Truck

Modern rifles are popular. Modern rifles are legal to build, buy, and own under federal law and the laws of 45 states. There are probably more modern rifles in circulation than there are Ford F-150 pickup trucks. In 2018, 909,330 Ford F-150s were sold. Twice as many modern rifles were sold the same year. Imagine, every time one passes a new Ford pickup truck, it is a reminder that two new modern rifles have been purchased. That is a lot of modern rifles owned by Americans.

Page 17, line 8:

At the core this is a simple case. Like the cases of Heller and McDonald, here the government bans an entire class of very popular hardware — firearms that are lawful under federal law and under the laws of most states and that are commonly held by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law [the Assault Weapons Control Act] survive.

*****

This article was published at GunTests on July 20, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the author.

No Science Is Ever Settled

Purity is a poor test for us fallen creatures: Nobody, bar perhaps the occasional Mother Teresa, is that good. Not strictly because we individually fall short of our ideals, but because it’s impossible for anyone to reach, establish, or even view the end destination – neither in scientific knowledge nor in moral virtues. With the […]
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Purity is a poor test for us fallen creatures: Nobody, bar perhaps the occasional Mother Teresa, is that good. Not strictly because we individually fall short of our ideals, but because it’s impossible for anyone to reach, establish, or even view the end destination – neither in scientific knowledge nor in moral virtues. With the benefit of hindsight, even an imbecile can tell that a genius was wrong.

If you state that what we know today is the highest form of completed moral and scientific achievements, you’re falling prey to the very same hubris of those who came before you did. All but the most progress-minded of them also thought that theirs was the peak of their civilization; that surely, nothing could surpass their grand edifices and their supreme discoveries and moral perfections. If today’s hypersensitive keyboard warriors at Ivy League universities or opinion sections of major newspapers think they have the moral high ground to so thoroughly condemn our times, they’ve learned very little from the history they so desperately despise. For Areo Magazine, Heather Heying appropriately writes that

[t]oo many would make themselves judge, jury and executioner of certain concepts and conversations, while claiming to be the sole proprietors of truth. They are engaging in a grand narcissism: they imagine themselves as, for the first time in history, able to see everything. It is akin to declaring themselves God.

Almost Nothing Is Settled

Thankfully, science and the way it is done has come far from the apostasy-chasing nutjobs that populate our political institutions and (social) science departments. We learned long ago that we can more easily tell what is wrong from what is correct – it often only takes a single instance of disconfirmation to denounce a grand hypothesis. That’s why we do science on a basis of rebutting hypotheses, of disproving our peers’ research, and constantly have our own subject to others’ critical review. We have natural experiments and randomized control trials, meta-analysis and literature reviews, statistical tests and multivariate regression analysis. These are tools that further our understanding of what is and what happens in the world: tools that have problems and can be gamed, but nevertheless are improvements over the gut-feeling critical theorist or the arguments from n=1 that dominate social discourse.

Science isn’t declared by a show of hands. Reality isn’t determined in the High Court, or by a vote in Congress. But if there are enough people with large enough megaphones and powerful enough platforms, it doesn’t matter much what science, properly interpreted, indicates. There is no universal judge to punish you for overstepping your intellectual bounds and, as long as you fool enough others, Queen Cersei’s advice to her son and heir Prince Joffrey still stands: “One day you’ll sit on the Iron Throne and the truth will be what you make it.”

It was settled science that banning alcohol was a good thing for American society in the 1920s. It was once settled science that the Earth was the centerpiece of God’s universe. In the highly erudite and Christian 11th century, the settled science for curing headaches was to cut open the scalp of the poor person desperately in need of aspirin (or the Hippocratic Oath) – and add salt.

“Facts change all the time,” wrote Samuel Arbesman, a complexity scientist formerly at Harvard in his 2012 The Half Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has An Expiration Date. “Smoking has gone from doctor recommended to deadly. Meat used to be good for you, then bad to eat, then good again; now it’s a matter of opinion.”

None of that is because the underlying reality changed: smoking was as deadly to the 1950s doctor who thought it harmless as it is to a 2-packs-a-day fellow today. What happened in between were three things: the evidence that smoking was harmful got better; as the evidence piled up, scientists doing the research gradually changed their minds (and older generation scientists died out); and new information trickled through to the public.

Any one of those steps can misfire. Evidence can be muddled, or outright fraudulent for a long time; scientists, being people too, can refuse to accept the evidence, or lean against it for considerable time; and the public can draw the wrong information from scientific results. In a sense, it’s more miraculous that we get anything right than it’s surprising that the majority of all research findings are false.

What that implies for the world of today and tomorrow is uncomfortable to those who think we can mandate scientific truths from above: that vaccines are safe and effective, that masks and lockdowns worked well, that climate change is a terrible danger of cosmic proportions, that energy for the 21st century can be supplied by low-density unreliable sources, that fat and salt are unhealthy but carbs are safe. What’s even more stunning is that The Science could possibly shift as quickly as the religious Covid-zealots have changed their minds in the last seventeen months: lab leak is tin-foil conspiracy, until Savior Biden was in and it was both permissible and the Consensus View; vaccines are safe and effective and harmless and crucial even for children to takenever mind that we didn’t have children or pregnant women in the trials, or we haven’t monitored long-term effects in a ~6-months old rushed product, with no downside liability for the companies issuing it.

A serious scientist holds scientific facts, theories, and hypotheses forever provisional: what we think we know can always be improved upon or change. That doesn’t mean we can never state anything with some degree of confidence or be pretty sure about some relationship in the real world. Some things, like gravity in conditions resembling our planet, we know fairly well. Others, like the Law of Demand or land area of North America, we’re fairly confident about – and they’re unlikely to shift any time soon. Why? We’ve observed them and refined our understanding of them for a very long time, and the observational tools and the theoretical underpinnings haven’t yet been debunked. Time matters; Lindy decides.

Others still are eternally in flux: the world record in the 100-meter sprint, the world’s chess champion, or the number of inhabitants of our planet. Still, they’re facts: not perhaps eternal scientific ones, but still statements about the world that are true. They can shift; our understanding of them can shift; or the spread of that shift in the wider population or political sphere can shift.

John Tierney at City Journal recently advised us to “not expect those who follow ‘the science’ to know what they’re talking about. Science is a process of discovery and debate, not a faith to profess or a dogma to live by.” Doug Allen in The Australian explained that “as soon as people start talking about ‘the science’, that’s a sure sign they want to make a political point.” If it’s consensus, Michael Crichton explains, “it isn’t science; and if it’s science it isn’t consensus.”

Nassim Taleb chips in too, in his characteristic blunt prose: “Had science operated by majority consensus, we would be still stuck in the Middle Ages, and Einstein would have ended as he started, a patent clerk with fruitless side hobbies.”

Science lives on controversy and breeds conflict. It’s only politics and the ideological mind that require “consensus” and “settled science.”

That alone should make us pause before we absolutely and unequivocally proclaim what is: that men may be women, that climate change is out of control, that the lab leak hypothesis is a racist hoax, that unbacked fiat money was beneficial for the masses, that democratic government based on violence was a good idea to harmonize and unify communities.

How does a thoughtful person navigate this?

Evidently, some things that seemed obviously correct turned out wrong, and others that for long stretches of time were wrong, unthinkable and even heretical, turned out right. Many famous psychology experiments dominated our popular understanding of the human psyche, only to be demolished one by one. Extrapolating this simple and long-run tendency of human societies leads us to ask: which of our currently dominant beliefs about the state of the world, what is and what isn’t, will in time be disproven? For which of the things we so strongly advance, with the force of the Deity(?) Himself, will our ancestors hold us in contempt and shamefully gloss over?

If you march for science, you’re probably not a scientist. If you think democracy is a safeguard for science, you haven’t been paying attention. If you think science is when people of authority agree, you’re not just naïve but heavily deluded.

Stop venerating science in the singular and start embracing its core, plural, and contentious ethos: that plenty of people are wrong about almost everything, all the time. Even – perhaps especially – those with lots to lose.

*****

This article was published on July 22, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

Hamilton, The Musical, Will Be Getting At Least $30 Million in Federal Aid. Hamilton, The Man, Is Partly to Blame.

Alexander Hamilton had some great ideas, but he had some pretty bad ones too. The past year and a half have been a trying time for the theater industry. Though auditoriums around the country used to host music, dancing, and laughter, they have now grown accustomed to silence, and perhaps even a bit of dust. […]
The post Hamilton, The Musical, Will Be Getting At Least $30 Million in Federal Aid. Hamilton, The Man, Is Partly to Blame. appeared first on PRICKLY PEAR.Alexander Hamilton had some great ideas, but he had some pretty bad ones too. The past year and a half have been a trying time for the theater industry. Though auditoriums around the country used to host music, dancing, and laughter, they have now grown accustomed to silence, and perhaps even a bit of dust.
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Alexander Hamilton had some great ideas, but he had some pretty bad ones too.

The past year and a half have been a trying time for the theater industry. Though auditoriums around the country used to host music, dancing, and laughter, they have now grown accustomed to silence, and perhaps even a bit of dust. Productions that were not killed outright have been on life support, clinging to desperate hopes that the pandemic will be over sooner rather than later.

One of the most famous shows caught up in this mess is the musical Hamilton. Though it has been wildly successful since its 2015 opening, the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have forced it to go into hibernation like nearly every other show. However, as the New York Times recently reported, the musical is set to receive $30 million in federal aid, and could receive up to $50 million in total.

The aid is coming from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which is designed to help movie theatres and other entertainment venues stay in business until the lockdowns are over. The program was created as part of the $900 billion COVID relief bill passed by Congress in December, and it is just one of the many federal bailout programs that are now propping up businesses and organizations across the country.

Through the program, which commands $16 billion in total, productions can apply for grants of up to $10 million. Currently, Hamilton’s Broadway production and two of its touring shows have each received $10 million grants. Its other two touring shows are still waiting to hear back.

Hamilton and Subsidies Go Way Back

At first glance, the case for these grants almost seems obvious. Here is an industry that is clearly struggling through no fault of its own. It only makes sense to help it weather the storm.

What’s curious about this line of reasoning is that it actually stems directly from Hamilton himself. In many ways, Hamilton was the main champion of subsidies among the founding fathers, and it is largely his arguments which people appeal to when they defend the practice today. And though Hamilton’s original proposals were restricted to subsidizing manufacturers, his arguments have been applied to increasingly wider spheres of business over the years. Indeed, the government he helped to create is now even subsidizing the musical that bears his name. As Mark Twain is credited with saying, “History doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes.”

So what were his arguments? Essentially, Hamilton believed that the general welfare could be improved if the government gave “pecuniary bounties” (subsidies) to manufacturing industries that were still in their infancy, because the subsidies would help grow a new industry that would otherwise struggle to get off the ground.

“In new undertakings,” Hamilton wrote, “[subsidies] are justifiable, as they are oftentimes necessary.”

Now, a common objection Hamilton faced was that subsidies merely “serve to enrich particular classes at the expense of the community.” But Hamilton didn’t buy this argument.

“There is no purpose,” he wrote, “to which public money can be more beneficially applied, than to the acquisition of a new and useful branch of industry, no consideration more valuable than a permanent addition to the general stock of productive labour.”

Though Hamilton only made the case for supporting infant industries, a similar line of reasoning has been used to recommend subsidies for industries that are temporarily weak or disadvantaged (like musicals about founding fathers in the wake of a pandemic), with the idea being that the economy would simply be worse off without them. But while it may be tempting to embrace the pro-subsidy argument as a means of “saving” these industries, there are gaping holes in this analysis that deserve scrutiny.

Hamilton, Meet Hazlitt

The main problem with Hamilton’s position is that it ignores trade-offs. Though it’s true that government subsidies can help businesses that are struggling, the question is, at what cost? Every dollar the government gives to a business is a dollar that must be taken from somewhere else. But such redistribution can hardly be said to grow the economy as a whole. It merely helps one part of the economy at the expense of the others. It grows one sector by shrinking the rest.

So how do we determine the best allocation of scarce resources? This is where free markets are pivotal. Whereas government subsidies merely pick winners and losers based on political connections and popularity, free markets systematically funnel resources toward ventures which best meet the demands of consumers.

If a business venture looks promising, investors will shift capital in its direction, and the profitability of the venture will reflect the extent to which it helped consumers. Likewise, if businesses are taking a loss, it is an indication that the resources they use would better serve the interests of consumers in other parts of the economy. Thus, it would actually be in the best interest of consumers to let weak businesses fail, because the capital they employ can then be used for other, more valuable purposes.

Henry Hazlitt explained this well in his classic book Economics In One Lesson.

“The result of [a] subsidy is not merely that there has been a transfer of wealth or income, or that other industries have shrunk in the aggregate as much as the X industry has expanded. The result is also (and this is where the net loss comes in to the nation considered as a unit) that capital and labor are driven out of industries in which they are more efficiently employed to be diverted to an industry in which they are less efficiently employed. Less wealth is created. The average standard of living is lowered compared with what it would have been.”

“The idea that an expanding economy implies that all industries must be simultaneously expanding is a profound error. In order that new industries may grow fast enough it is necessary that some old industries should be allowed to shrink or die. They must do this in order to release the necessary capital and labor for the new industries…Paradoxical as it may seem to some, it is just as necessary to the health of a dynamic economy that dying industries be allowed to die as that growing industries be allowed to grow. The first process is essential to the second.”

Consumer Demand Will Return: We Just Need to Wait for It

As we can see, the problem with Hamilton’s suggestion to subsidize new manufacturing industries is that resources would be taken away from other industries where they would be put to better use. If the new industry is truly promising, it should have no trouble raising capital from investors eager to make a profit (the flood of capital into the emerging cryptocurrency space is a great example). But if investors are not willing to fuel its growth voluntarily, they are signaling that they do not see enough consumer demand there, so it would be counterproductive to effectively force them to devote resources to that industry.

A similar line of reasoning can be used regarding the grant for the musical. Simply put, the money that went to Hamilton would probably have been better used in a different industry if it had been left up to investors and consumers.

Of course, it’s tempting to try to bring back the structure of production we had before the pandemic, but the reality is that market conditions have changed. Even without the lockdowns, it’s likely that most productions would have shut down, either of their own volition or due to a lack of demand. Thus, trying to artificially restore the pre-pandemic status quo is simply hampering our ability to adjust to the new reality we find ourselves in.

With that said, I’m a big fan of Hamilton, and I’m truly hopeful that it will come back in full strength once this is all over. But the government should let me contribute to that outcome as a willing customer, not as a begrudging taxpayer.

American manufacturing never needed subsidies to thrive, contrary to Hamilton, the man. Neither does Hamilton, the musical.

*****

This article was published on July 24, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from FEE, Foundation for Economic Education.

And the Number #1 Housing Market in America Is …

The average population of the top 20 metros on the WSJ/Realtor.com Housing Market Index is just 300,000. That’s not the whole story, however. For the first time in more than a decade, my wife and I are looking at moving. So it piqued my interest when I stumbled upon a Wall Street Journal article examining […]
The post And the Number #1 Housing Market in America Is … appeared first on PRICKLY PEAR.The average population of the top 20 metros on the WSJ/Realtor.com Housing Market Index is just 300,000. That’s not the whole story, however. For the first time in more than a decade, my wife and I are looking at moving. So it piqued my interest when I stumbled upon a Wall Street Journal article examining
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The average population of the top 20 metros on the WSJ/Realtor.com Housing Market Index is just 300,000. That’s not the whole story, however.

For the first time in more than a decade, my wife and I are looking at moving. So it piqued my interest when I stumbled upon a Wall Street Journal article examining the hottest housing markets in the US.

For those unaware, the Journal regularly publishes the Emerging Housing Markets Index, a collaborative project with Realtor.com that ranks housing markets in the top 300 metros across the US on various factors, including real-estate demand, price trends, wages, small business activity, and employment opportunities.

This underscores one of the strengths of the US system: federalism.

It turns out that Billings, Montana, claims the top spot in America because of its beauty, strong appeal to remote workers, and affordability. For homeowners in Billings, the results have been favorable.

“The average single-family home-sale price in Billings and the surrounding area was $376,248 in June, up 32% from a year earlier, according to the Billings Association of Realtors,” the Journal notes.

That’s not the whole story, however. It turns out that Billings is part of a much larger trend. According to the index, smaller metros are dominating larger ones in home buying activity. In fact, the average population of the top 20 cities on the index is just north of 300,000. Home prices in these markets rose 13.7 percent over the last year, on average, and include the likes of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Rapid City, South Dakota, and Huntsville, Alabama.

While no single factor explains the trend, evidence suggests that Americans are “voting with their feet” to embrace safer, freer communities. (Respondents who moved to Montana admitted safety was an important factor in their decision, following the most violent year in the US in decades, while others cited low taxes.)

Don’t be surprised if more Americans decide to exercise one of their great freedoms: the power of exit.

This underscores one of the strengths of the US system: federalism. In their wisdom, America’s founders realized that the best way to protect liberty was to disperse power by allowing the states to be largely self-governing. As “laboratories of democracy” (to use the phrase of Justice Louis Brandeis), states and local governments will naturally govern in different ways, and as long as citizens enjoy the freedom of movement they will tend to gravitate toward states and communities that are peaceful, prosperous, and suited to their needs.

With many major US cities (and states) struggling under massive debt, regulatory burdens, and dysfunctional governments that only got worse during the pandemic, don’t be surprised if more Americans decide to exercise one of their great freedoms: the power of exit.

*****

This article was published on July 21, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from FEE, Foundation for Economic Education.

A Prescott Mayor for All Seasons (and Reasons)

The next Republican Prescott Mayor will be chosen in the August 3, 2021 primary. The two candidates are Phil Goode and the incumbent, Greg Mengarelli. Early voting began on July 7th. When people ask me why Prescott is so special and what does it mean to me, I always respond that Prescott is traditional America […]
The post A Prescott Mayor for All Seasons (and Reasons) appeared first on PRICKLY PEAR.The next Republican Prescott Mayor will be chosen in the August 3, 2021 primary. The two candidates are Phil Goode and the incumbent, Greg Mengarelli. Early voting began on July 7th. When people ask me why Prescott is so special and what does it mean to me, I always respond that Prescott is traditional America
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The next Republican Prescott Mayor will be chosen in the August 3, 2021 primary. The two candidates are Phil Goode and the incumbent, Greg Mengarelli. Early voting began on July 7th.

When people ask me why Prescott is so special and what does it mean to me, I always respond that Prescott is traditional America with the values and the culture that Americans have always loved and sought.

Many of us are fed up with the political class in Washington, D.C. and throughout state and local governments that holds its citizens in low regard and favors itself rather than the citizens it supposedly represents. Such a culture appears to be raising its head locally in this election.

Let’s look at the two candidates seeking victory on August 3rd. Which of these two candidates can best represent American values and protect Prescott culture, its small town feel, and critically, its future, with governance of water policy and development that is competent, honest, transparent and without even the perception of self-interest?

The key question is who will best “serve” the citizens of Prescott as Mayor? A generic description of the individual who will best “serve” the citizens of Prescott is the candidate who has a history of service for fellow citizens and community organizations and proven leadership roles in the real world not conflated with personal gain and profit.

The individual elected must be focused on the critical issues of water policy and carefully planned growth in the Prescott area, not allowing commercial and developers’ profits to drive poorly planned and damaging expansion, especially when tangled with self-interest or gain. The next Mayor and those around him should be free of any and all conflicts of interest, legal, perceived or otherwise.

Phil Goode has served America, his communities and his pre-retirement career positions and responsibilities with honor and commitment. He is a decorated combat Vietnam veteran, continuing to serve veterans in many leadership roles to the present day. He has served and led in many community organizations throughout his adult life and has been an active member in multiple Republican state and national election cycles.

He is a true constitutional conservative understanding the essence and uniqueness of the American experiment and the critical role of honest and transparent governance. He has served on the Prescott Zoning and Planning Commission and has been on the Prescott City Council since 2017. He knows well the trend of poorly planned growth, congestion and very real threat to our most precious resource, water, and recognizes the inaccurate projections for its use and maintenance currently occurring and facilitating huge increases in residential and commercial development.

His many service roles in Yavapai County and Prescott demonstrate his commitment to this community and his intention to “serve” as Mayor, not work and gain from the role but to apply a lifetime of experience in the practical affairs of organizations and industry to further the vision of preserving the culture, protecting the area’s critical water supply and managing Prescott’s growth, the city’s fiscal integrity, its small businesses and the way of life we enjoy and treasure in Prescott.

Phil Goode demonstrates fully the generic description of the person most qualified to lead Prescott as Mayor. His entire life has been about service. He is retired from a successful career in health care management at high levels. He knows from experience and intellectual depth the skills of management and leadership. He serves the city and the county at many levels as a committed but volunteering citizen.

The current Mayor, Greg Mengarelli was first elected in 2017. He is not retired and has recently negotiated with the Rodeo Board a position with Prescott Frontier Days which leases the rodeo grounds from the city for the annual Rodeo event. Will a Mayor Greg Mengarelli negotiate business arrangements with Rodeo Business Development Manager Greg Mengarelli? Will the Mayor, as Rodeo Business Development Manager receive bonuses or incentive payments for new business and events brought to the rodeo grounds, the grounds of which are owned by the City of Prescott? The Rodeo Board President is Chris Graff who also heads up an asphalt company (involving some of the rapid growth of projects throughout the Prescott area) doing tens of millions of dollars of business with the City of Prescott, the city whose mayor is Greg Mengarelli. The mayor’s wife, coincidentally, is a realtor having done residential sales previously, but is now active in commercial sales in the Prescott area.

None of this is necessarily illegal but does it reek of conflicts of interest? Does it seem “swampish” to use a deep state, Washington, D.C. description of the deal-making and abuse of position and power by those in governance? It isn’t just impropriety that makes politicians less than servants for their fellow citizens and generates disdain and distrust by voters. Just as importantly, it is the perception of impropriety that we as citizens should reject when we vote, granting the “consent of the governed”.

America is at a crossroads as is Prescott. The future of our nation and the future of this very special City of Prescott are at a critical junction hinging on the quality of leadership at the national and local level. It is a season of decision, a season of choices and with critical reasons for the right choices. Phil Goode is the clear Mayoral choice for all the reasons listed above. Phil Goode is A Prescott Mayor for All Seasons (and Reasons).

Vote in the 2021 Mayoral primary for this and future seasons of Prescott’s special nature and for the right reasons.

Biden White House Admits Using Big Tech to Silence Americans

In what rightfully can be described as one of the most anti-free speech pronouncements ever made by the U.S. government, the Biden administration has come clean on its incestuous relationship with Big Tech. The jaw-dropping news was first delivered July 15 by White House press secretary Jen Psaki when she said: “We are in regular […]
The post Biden White House Admits Using Big Tech to Silence Americans appeared first on PRICKLY PEAR.In what rightfully can be described as one of the most anti-free speech pronouncements ever made by the U.S. government, the Biden administration has come clean on its incestuous relationship with Big Tech. The jaw-dropping news was first delivered July 15 by White House press secretary Jen Psaki when she said: “We are in regular
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In what rightfully can be described as one of the most anti-free speech pronouncements ever made by the U.S. government, the Biden administration has come clean on its incestuous relationship with Big Tech.

The jaw-dropping news was first delivered July 15 by White House press secretary Jen Psaki when she said: “We are in regular touch with these social media platforms, and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team.”

Psaki continued: “We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the surgeon general’s office. We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

President Joe Biden’s press secretary then described the “proposed changes that we have made to social media platforms, including Facebook.”

The proposed changes include this downright Orwellian quip from Psaki:

It’s important to take faster action against harmful posts. As you all know, information travels quite quickly on social media platforms; sometimes it’s not accurate. And Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove harmful, violative posts—posts that will be within their policies for removal often remain up for days. That’s too long. The information spreads too quickly.

One day later, at her daily press briefing, Psaki doubled down on the administration’s pro-censorship position.

“It shouldn’t come as any surprise that we’re in regular touch with social media platforms,” she said, adding that “we work to engage with them to better understand the enforcement of social media platform policies.”

Then came this chilling statement: “You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others if you—for providing misinformation out there,” Psaki said.

So, the cat is officially out of the bag. The Biden administration is in cahoots with social media platforms to censor Americans’ freedom of speech.

Some say that social media platforms are private companies and so have the right to determine what is and isn’t allowed to be posted. This argument is less defensible by the day.

Social media companies, unlike every other media entity, are granted a liability shield courtesy of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. In a nutshell, the provision protects these companies from any consequences pertaining to what is posted by others on their platforms.

Because Twitter, Facebook, and other social media companies benefit greatly from this liability shield, they have an obligation to ensure that all Americans retain their right to post content, as long as said content is not “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.”

Furthermore, according to the law: “It is the policy of the United States to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services, unfettered by Federal or State regulation.”

Doesn’t this mean that the federal government has no business colluding with Big Tech to engage in censorship?

The law also states: “It is the policy of the United States to encourage the development of technologies which maximize user control over what information is received by individuals, families, and schools who use the Internet and other interactive computer services.”

This is plain as day. Individual Americans, not the federal government, are supposed to be in charge of what information they choose to imbibe on social media platforms.

The Biden administration, however, has other ideas. The administration has taken upon itself to determine what is and isn’t allowed to be posted on Big Tech, under the guise of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For now, the Biden administration is clamping down on “misinformation” and “disinformation” pertaining to the federal government’s vaccine program.

In a few months, what would stop the administration from censoring pro-Second Amendment posts in light of the out-of-control “gun violence” plaguing the nation? Or removing posts about anything the administration deems counter to its policy priorities?

The fact that the Biden administration is working hand-in-hand with Big Tech to censor posts it considers contrary to public health not only is Orwellian, it is anti-American.

Every American, no matter what side of the political aisle he or she stands on, should be concerned when Big Government and Big Tech act in unison to suppress free speech.

A Supreme Court justice said it well nearly 100 years ago.

“If there be time to expose through discussion, the falsehoods and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education,” Justice Louis Brandeis said in 1927, “the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

Corporate Media Outlets Lost More Than Half Their Audiences In The Last Year

Corrupt corporate media outlets that revolved their coverage around the quest to take down former President Donald Trump saw a significant decrease in traffic after he left office. According to recently released data, The Atlantic, ABC News, Time all saw a more than 50 percent decrease in audience since summer 2020. Forbes saw the largest […]
The post Corporate Media Outlets Lost More Than Half Their Audiences In The Last Year appeared first on PRICKLY PEAR.Corrupt corporate media outlets that revolved their coverage around the quest to take down former President Donald Trump saw a significant decrease in traffic after he left office. According to recently released data, The Atlantic, ABC News, Time all saw a more than 50 percent decrease in audience since summer 2020. Forbes saw the largest
The post Corporate Media Outlets Lost More Than Half Their Audiences In The Last Year appeared first on PRICKLY PEAR.Read MoreFeedzyEstimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

Corrupt corporate media outlets that revolved their coverage around the quest to take down former President Donald Trump saw a significant decrease in traffic after he left office.

According to recently released data, The Atlantic, ABC News, Time all saw a more than 50 percent decrease in audience since summer 2020. Forbes saw the largest drop with more than 60 percent declining viewership while Vox and Politico experienced more than 40 percent in audience reduction.

The New York Times, CNN, NBC News, CNBC, The Guardian, The Hill, Los Angeles Times, and Axios, some of the other publications that capitalized on anti-Trump rhetoric and fake news reporting saw traffic fall more than 20 and sometimes even thirty percent compared to traffic in 2020.

The same trends occurred in cable news. Not only did corporate media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC see large declines in audience viewership during the second quarter of the year, but Fox News, a notably right-leaning network, topped ratings for the quarter and the month of June.

“In total day, Fox News averaged 1.17 million in total viewers, down 35%; MSNBC posted 763,000, down 37% and CNN was at 580,000, down 49%. In the 25-54 demo, the numbers were 195,000 for Fox News, down 42%, 133,000 for CNN, falling 59% and 99,000 for MSNBC, dropping by 48%,” Deadline reported.

In 2017, Trump predicted the corporate media’s inability to capture viewers once he left office.

“Newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there, because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes,” he said.

*****

This article was published on July 19, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

‘Woka-Cola’: Ad Trolls Coke for Defending China, Giving Americans Diabetes

Consumers’ Research, a consumer advocacy group, launched a series of advertisements Thursday calling out Coca-Cola’s “woke hypocrisy” for its reported defense of China and alleged health concerns associated with its sugary drinks. Part of the campaign is a video advertisement satirizing a Coca-Cola commercial, which is set to music with lyrics like “Just drink Coke, […]
The post ‘Woka-Cola’: Ad Trolls Coke for Defending China, Giving Americans Diabetes appeared first on PRICKLY PEAR.Consumers’ Research, a consumer advocacy group, launched a series of advertisements Thursday calling out Coca-Cola’s “woke hypocrisy” for its reported defense of China and alleged health concerns associated with its sugary drinks. Part of the campaign is a video advertisement satirizing a Coca-Cola commercial, which is set to music with lyrics like “Just drink Coke,
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Consumers’ Research, a consumer advocacy group, launched a series of advertisements Thursday calling out Coca-Cola’s “woke hypocrisy” for its reported defense of China and alleged health concerns associated with its sugary drinks.

Part of the campaign is a video advertisement satirizing a Coca-Cola commercial, which is set to music with lyrics like “Just drink Coke, the road to obesity” and “China is our labor supplier that drives our stock price even higher.” The group also created a website, “alwayswokacola.com,” to continue to expose the company.

In addition to promoting the video advertisement that will air in Atlanta and nationwide, Consumers’ Research says it plans to drive mobile billboards around Coca-Cola’s headquarters, the Coca-Cola museum, and the Georgia State Capitol for 28 days.

“Today, we are launching AlwaysWokaCola.com and the accompanying ads as a satirical reminder to Coke to focus on their consumers, not woke politicians. The company has taken its eye off the well-being of the customer,” Consumers’ Research Executive Director Will Hild said in a statement Thursday.

“Their products continue to contribute significantly to childhood obesity, they have sourced sugar from companies in China reportedly using forced labor, and they have such poor quality control that racist directives, like ‘be less white,’ are included in staff training,” Hild added.

The campaign aims to “to amplify the voice of consumers fed up with how the company is failing them and as a warning to Coke and other companies,” according to the statement.

“Any corporation who decides to distract from their misdeeds by taking radical positions on political and social issues that are unrelated to their business to garner positive praise from woke politicians and press is on notice, it’s not going to work,” Hild said.

The new advertisements are part of a seven-figure campaign Consumers’ Research is conducting to also expose American Airlines, Nike, Ticketmaster, and the MLB, according to a press release. The Consumers First Initiative aims to give consumers transparency about companies so they can decide for themselves what products to buy.

Coca-Cola was sued along with the American Beverage Association in 2017 for allegedly knowingly misleading consumers about the health effects of its drinks. Coca-Cola said at the time that the accusations were “legally and factually meritless,” according to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

The plaintiffs in the case said they’ve since withdrawn the complaint, recognizing that both groups “have moved away from claiming that their products have no connection to chronic disease.”

The company also reportedly pushed back on legislation that sought to crack down on forced labor in China. Coca-Cola has been tied to sugar suppliers in Xinjiang, where China is reportedly committing a genocide against the Uighur ethnic minority group.

Coca-Cola defended, according to The New York Times, that it “strictly prohibits any type of forced labor in our supply chain” and has independent auditors monitoring its suppliers.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola continues to make statements about political issues in the U.S. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey earlier this year labeled a Georgia voting bill that has since been passed as “unacceptable.”

“It is a step backwards and it does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia around broad access to voting, around voter convenience, about ensuring election integrity—this is frankly just a step backwards,” he said. “We have said for many decades we promote within Georgia better society and better environment and this is a step backwards and our position remains the same. This legislation is wrong.”

The company also allegedly promoted a course that encouraged people to “be less white.” The lesson was later deleted from LinkedIn.

*****
This article was published on July 16, 2021 and is reproduced from The Daily Signal.

A Question of the Day From Just Facts Daily

The following question was recently posed in Just Facts Daily. The question stimulated The Prickly Pear Editors’ comments follow the explanation of the answer. What portion of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. have false identity documents that might allow them to illegally work, vote, and receive welfare? Is it 10%, 25%, 50%? And your […]
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Defend the Line

Conservatives still have much more to lose There’s a tendency on the right to assume that we have basically lost. The left controls the media, the universities, and the pulpit. They even managed to turn public health—previously the most boring and staid element of state power—into an ideological instrument.   They hold the Megaphone. Their civil […]
The post Defend the Line appeared first on PRICKLY PEAR.Conservatives still have much more to lose There’s a tendency on the right to assume that we have basically lost. The left controls the media, the universities, and the pulpit. They even managed to turn public health—previously the most boring and staid element of state power—into an ideological instrument.   They hold the Megaphone. Their civil
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Conservatives still have much more to lose

There’s a tendency on the right to assume that we have basically lost. The left controls the media, the universities, and the pulpit. They even managed to turn public health—previously the most boring and staid element of state power—into an ideological instrument.  

They hold the Megaphone. Their civil rights-based approach to power does an end run around democratic institutions by bringing an ever-expanding circle of behaviors and identities under the shield of protected classes. The seemingly preposterous Kendian principle that we must impose new racial discrimination to cure past racial discrimination is gradually becoming the new common sense.

It is necessary however to consider what the left has still not succeeded in seizing or destroying, not so much because we have been so resolute in defending it but because they are still getting around to it. “Look what they are doing to us this time!” has been the lame rallying cry of the Right since the 1950s or so. We need to ringfence our existing territory so we aren’t taken by surprise in the next five years when we get outflanked.

For instance, though it sounds picayune, the left is actively seeking to override the ancient principle that local communities ought to have some say over what goes on there. Zoning laws are notorious eye-glazers, but leftists are using them as a lever and cudgel. Arguing that restrictions on what can be built are a vestige of redlining, Jim Crow, and ultimately slave-catching, and asserting that “ZIP code is destiny,” leftists in states like Minnesota, Washington, and California either have or are desperately trying to establish state laws that override local zoning. Getting rid of single-family only zoning restrictions in the name of affordability, racial justice, and environmental sustainability is in fact an effort to impose density on local communities, and urbanify the political complexion of suburbs and exurbs.

This effort will raise the costs of the classic American dream of having a private house with a yard and a two-car garage. It will encourage everyone to live near mass transit, in quadruplex apartments, and discourage large families. It is a backdoor strategy to end what leftists call American apartheid, the supposed legacy of racial segregation that persists in residential demographics…..

*****

Continue reading this article, published July 12, 2021 at American Mindset.

The Time for School Choice Is Past Due


An old story tells of a big, successful store with a plaque in the employees’ lounge which read:

“Rule #1. The customer’s always right. Rule #2. If you ever think the customer is wrong, reread Rule #1.”

I bring this up because the public school education establishment (to be distinguished from the rank and file teachers, many of whom are dedicated public servants), often treat their customers as if they’re wrong and as if the education elites know better than the dumb parents.
School choice is the ultimate answer to America’s education crisis, and there ought to be bipartisan agreement on it. School competition makes education better, and gives all parents more options for their children. But the Left opposes it adamantly, though even a liberal newspaper surprisingly spoke out recently in favor of school choice.
Foxnews.com reports (7/9/2021):

“The liberal Washington Post editorial board on Thursday broke rank with the left and pondered why Democrats are so opposed to giving poor children a choice in schooling.”

The Washington Post opined,

“For 17 years, a federally funded K-12 scholarship program has given thousands of poor children in D.C. the opportunity to attend private schools and the chance to go on to college. And for many of those 17 years, the program has been in the crosshairs of unions and other opponents of private school vouchers…Their relentless efforts unfortunately may now finally succeed with House Democrats and the Biden administration quietly laying the groundwork to kill off this worthy program.”

What a tragedy. And who will suffer the most? Inner-city families.
The Left is all about power. But true public service is always about empowerment—empowering others, regardless of their socio-economic background—so that people can fulfill their God-given destiny.
The pandemic over the past year-and-a-half showed how the teachers unions held hostage many schools from re-opening in person.
During the shutdown, many parents discovered the option of homeschooling. In an interview for Christian television, Mike Donnelly of the Home School Legal Defense Association told me, “The U. S. census bureau issued a report recently that showed that homeschooling households doubled from about five and a half percent, before the virus, to over almost 12%.”
Homeschooling is not as radical as it sounds. Many of our founding fathers and key American leaders, like Abraham Lincoln, were home-taught.
In August 2020, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, observed, “If there was one positive outcome I could point to from the Coronavirus Pandemic…was the fact that public schools were shut down and kids were at home. Parents were to a larger degree, involved in what their kids were learning ….And I’ve heard from a number of parents, who are now rethinking education in terms of how they’re going to go about it post Coronavirus Pandemic.”
Fast forward to the present time and we see many parents revolting against some of what the education establishment is trying to cram down their throats, such as Critical Race Theory (CRT), a racist set of doctrines disguised in anti-racist garb.
CRT is a Marxist attempt to destroy America from within by teaching that white people always oppress minorities. Always.
When parents learn about CRT-type curricula in their schools, they have spoken out against it. Even many minority parents and parents in heavily-Democratic areas have opposed it. It certainly flies in the face of the goals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that America become color-blind and judge people according to the content of their character not the color of their skin.
But the major teachers’ unions have not backed down from the teaching of CRT. With the unions’ blessing, about 5000 teachers recently pledged to teach CRT, even if it’s illegal.
For example, President Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, promises to “legally defend” members of their union who teach CRT, even if in that particular school district it is illegal.
CRT has different manifestations in our schools. Gary Bauer notes in his End of Day (7/9/2021): “For example, at least 25 school districts around the country are using a book called ‘Not My Idea.’ Here’s how Amazon describes the book: ‘Not My Idea’ is the only children’s picture book that roots the problem of racism in whiteness and empowers white children and families to see and dismantle white supremacy.”
School choice seems to be the best answer to our education crisis, of which CRT is just the latest manifestation. And yet the Democrats are trying  to shut it down, as in the poor sections of the District of Columbia.
Ironically, those who claim to champion “choice,” by which they mean killing preborn babies, want a one-size-fits-all approach to education in a diverse country like America.
I think the teachers unions need to reread Rule #1.
©Jerry Newcombe. All rights reserved.

PODCAST: Take ‘The 1776 Pledge’ To Save Our Schools



During the recent CPAC meeting held last weekend in Texas, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) was one of the conservative speakers (7/11/21). During her talk, she made a passing reference to “The 1776 Pledge to Save Our Schools.” Being unaware of the pledge, I decided to look it up. It was developed by a group called, “1776 Action,” an organization dedicated to “Stopping the Anti-American Indoctrination of our Children and Grandchildren.”
I am told, this is a by-product of the “1776 Commission” as established by President Trump to support “Patriotic Education.” The Commission was quickly dissolved following the inauguration of President Biden.
There are actually two pledges listed in the “1776 Action” web site; one for citizens and one for candidates, such as school board members.
CITIZEN PLEDGE
As a citizen, I believe that:

  • The United States of America is an exceptional nation whose people have always strived to form a more perfect union based upon our founding principles.
  • Our Founding Fathers – including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson – as well as leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. were among the greatest Americans to ever live, and they deserve to be honored as heroes.
  • Our children and grandchildren should be taught to take pride in their country, to respect our founding principles of liberty and equality, and to have a sense of American history that is both truthful and inspiring.
  • Civics education should focus on the serious study of our founding documents and principles – not coerce students into engaging in extracurricular political action on behalf of contemporary policy positions.
  • Our young people should be taught to view one another not according to race or gender, but as individuals made in the image of God.
  • Teaching children to hate their country and each other is immoral and deeply harmful to our society and must be stopped.

THEREFORE, I PLEDGE to help replace elected officials, school board members, education commissioners, principals, deans, and university presidents who promote a false, divisive, and radical view of America and our fellow citizens with new leaders who respect our history, our values, our rights, and the God-given dignity of every person.
CANDIDATE PLEDGE
THEREFORE, I PLEDGE to the voters of (enter District/location name) that I will take concrete steps to do the following in our K-12 public schools:

  1. Restore honest, patriotic education that cultivates in our children a profound love for our country.
  2. Promote a curriculum that teaches that all children are created equal, have equal moral value under God, our Constitution, and the law, and are members of a national community united by our founding principles.
  3. Prohibit any curriculum that pits students against one another on the basis of race or sex.
  4. Prevent schools from politicizing education by prohibiting any curriculum that requires students to protest and lobby during or after school.

Frankly, I see nothing wrong with either pledge as this is how things worked years ago when I went to school. In essence, it is a throwback to another era.
As I interpret the pledges, this is obviously a reaction to today’s perception of academia which appears to be more interested in indoctrination as opposed to education. Case in point: a Virginia school district who recently came under fire for allegedly teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) and promoting transgender policies. Other school boards are also coming under fire for similar policies. Not surprising, attendance at school board meetings by concerned parents are increasing dramatically across the country, thereby denoting the politics involved.
If all citizens and School Board members signed these simple pledges, it might very well quell the uproar at such meetings. Then again, if they do not, the intensity may increase. It is simply a matter of whether you agree with the pledges or not. As for me, I agree.
CLICK HERE to visit the 1776 Action site to take the pledge.
Keep the Faith!
P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.
EDITORS NOTE: This Bryce is Right podcast is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

‘Biden’ Admin to Desperate Cubans: You Are Not Welcome Here!


But jihadis and violent criminals are welcome with open arms and blank checks.


‘From Daybreak Insider: From CBS News immigration reporter Camilo Montoya-Galvez: DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Haitian and Cuban migrants and asylum-seekers who try to come to the U.S. by boat will not be allowed to enter the country. Even if asylum-seekers establish fear of persecution, they will be resettled in third countries, Mayorkas said (Twitter). From Mark Hemingway: Guess they don’t think Cubans will vote Democratic, ergo they don’t have a claim for asylum (Twitter). Meanwhile, the New York Times reports old activists are thrilled to see so many young involved now. But, the story notes, “Human rights groups said it may take several days to get a clear picture of the scale of the government response because spotty phone and internet connections have made it difficult to track how many people were taken into custody” (New York Times). From another story: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was striking all the right notes, meeting with Cuban-American leaders in a round-table discussion to discuss the deteriorating situation in Cuba. DeSantis also corrected the Biden team for falsely painting the protests in Cuba as a reaction to the pandemic (RedState). Karen Swallow Prior posted a letter from a pastor in Cuba asking for others to “pray for the city” where he says “it is in complete collapse” as COVID is everywhere and “there is no medicine” (Twitter).
EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.
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BUMMER: Cuba’s Freedom Uprising Couldn’t Come at a Worse Time for the Party of Marx, Lenin, Alinsky & Obama


Everything You’ve Ever Seen About Cuba Is A Lie.

What bad timing. Just as the party of Marx, Lenin, Alinsky and Obama thinks it’s finally poised to flip America to the side of the hammer and sickle, the Cuban people have taken to the streets and are risking their lives to shed the yoke of communist tyranny. According to the Associated Press, protestors are being arrested and taken away in police vans. Some will never be seen again. Such is the price often paid for dissent in communist countries.
As reported by Yahoo News, anti-government freedom fighters in cities and towns across Cuba are waving U.S. flags as they protest the brutal regime that unleashed 60 years of Marxist  oppression on the Cuban people. That remarkable display of appreciation of America comes on the heels of high profile Democrats in this country, including Barack Obama, giving a wink and a nod as Biden voters burned the American flag, trashed it as a symbol of hate and oppression, compared it to the Confederate flag, and turned their backs on it at the U.S. Olympic trials.
In March 2016, when Obama no longer faced re-election, and with senior officials of Castro’s ruthless communist regime standing at his side, he defiantly posed in front of a six-story likeness of one of communism’s most revered heroes, the mass murdering Marxist revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara. To those who question Obama’s patriotism, posing in front of a six-story likeness of Guevara is tantamount to posing in front of a massive likeness of Stalin, Hitler or Mao.
With invaluable help from a fawning media that helped him conceal his true ideological beliefs, America’s first Marxist president was swept into the White House with the enthusiastic endorsement of the American people. Five days before he was elected, Obama vowed to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” See10-sec. video of that vow here. When Obama was first elected, few people who voted for him had any idea of the kind of radical “transformation” he had in mind.
Once in office, he legitimized Castro’s murderous regime by normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, a move that must have demoralized the Cuban masses, people who had suffered crushing oppression under the boot of the hammer and sickle. In a Feb. 2020 American Thinker article titled “The Crumbling of Cuba’s Grand Socialist Experiment”, I described that suffering:
John Alpert is an American photojournalist whose work is featured in the Netflix documentary, Cuba and the Cameraman (trailer). Alpert first went to the island nation in 1972, a little more than a decade after Castro seized power. Over the next 45 years, he returned to Cuba, each time taking pictures of its towns and cities and people. The images he took are a timeline that chronicles how disastrously Castro’s socialist revolution played out for the Cuban people over time.
A disarmingly polite young photojournalist at the time, Alpert was one of the few Americans granted face-to-face meetings with Castro. With the U.S. media curious about the grand socialist experiment unfolding in Cuba, Alpert was invited to appear on TV programming to discuss his conversations with Cuba’s communist dictator. Alpert was quite impressed when Castro said he was taking concrete measures to make life better for the Cuban people, citing as evidence a free health care system, free schools, free higher education, and shiny new and rent-free housing projects. When Alpert first visited Cuba, the shelves of grocery stores and other retail establishments were filled with consumer goods of every description.
To the young and idealistic photojournalist, socialism seemed to portend a bright future for Cuba. With its people happy and well taken care of by a paternalistic government, things were going well. But as time moved on, Cuba’s house-of-cards communist system imploded. The free goods and services given to the Cuban people were funded not by the country’s failed collectivist economy, but by a massive infusion of hard cash, gasoline, food, and other provisions from the Soviet Union. When the Soviets eventually pulled the plug as their own socialist economy was crumbling, the day-to-day lives of the Cuban people fell on hard times, a stark reminder of Margaret Thatcher’s observation that the problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people’s money.
The once-vibrant island nation is but another place where socialism added to its unbroken trail of failure. The country’s capital, Havana, was once an international tourist destination. Known as the “Jewel of the Caribbean,” Havana was a glamorous city with beautiful homes and modern vehicles. After six decades of socialism, only the communist rulers and their cronies live in upscale homes, and the country’s pot-holed roads are traveled by junker cars built in the middle of the last century.

Last year, four Millennial photojournalists affiliated with Turning Point USA (TPUSA) recorded their observations during a trip to Cuba. What they found is a police state that rigidly controls a society that’s in an advanced stage of decay and depravation. In 2019, the Cuban government announced nationwide rationing of chicken, eggs, rice, beans, soap and other basic products. According to a report I heard yesterday on the radio, Cubans are allotted only three eggs per month. Such chronic shortages are documented in “Everything You’ve Ever Seen About Cuba is a Lie,” a short video produced by the TPUSA photojournalists. Their video is worthy of being shared with K-12 and college students in this country, millions of whom are being spoon-fed a steady diet of Democrat propaganda about how wonderful socialism is … and what a rotten place America is.

©John Edison. All rights reserved.