Sunday, May 06, 2018

GOP Senate Candidate Says Military Service Is Inherently Conservative

It is a fact that when the votes from military bases come in, they heavily favor conservative candidates

A Republican candidate in Wisconsin’s heated Senate race questioned the thinking of military service members who are Democrats, arguing that their service contradicts their political views.

During an interview on Wednesday with WTMJ radio host Steve Scaffidi, Marine veteran and GOP Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson discussed his military service and cited former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as an example of a Democrat who signed up to serve the country.

He continued, “Those veterans that are out there in the Democrat Party, I question their cognitive thought process because the bottom line is, they’re signing up to defend the Constitution that their party is continually dragging through the mud.”

Nicholson also told Scaffidi that “to defend the Constitution ... is, of course, a conservative value” and that the “Democrat Party has wholesale rejected the Constitution and the values that it was founded upon.”

VoteVets, a progressive veterans advocacy group, called on Nicholson to apologize for his comments.

“What a horrible thing to say about his brothers & sisters,” the group tweeted Wednesday. “We disagree with conservative veterans, but their views are their right.”

After the radio interview, VoteVets shared several tweets from veterans and veteran advocates who said they were insulted by Nicholson’s remarks.

Despite his declarations about conservative values, Nicholson’s own GOP credentials have been questioned during his campaign to challenge Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) for her seat in the U.S. Senate.

Nicholson’s primary opponent Leah Vukmir, a GOP state senator, questioned his “track record as a Republican” last week during the candidates’ first public debate. Nicholson, a corporate consultant, was an active Democrat during his college years, leading the College Democrats of America as president and even speaking at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

“We know more about Kevin’s track record as a Democrat than we do about his track record as a Republican,” Vukmir said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

After Nicholson’s interview with Scaffidi on Wednesday, Democratic Super PAC American Bridge released a statement accusing Nicholson of insulting fellow veterans based on their political views.

“Our servicemen and women lay their lives on the line every day to protect Americans’ right to freedom of expression,” American Bridge spokeswoman Amelia Penniman said. “That Kevin Nicholson imagines otherwise is an affront to those who serve, and to the Constitution he claims to protect.”

“Kevin Nicholson is so desperate to hide from Republican primary voters that he used to be a Democrat that he is willing to publicly disparage his fellow veterans,” Penniman added. “That’s the very worst of political opportunism.”

Nicholson’s campaign clarified his comments to CNN’s KFile by focusing on his criticism of the Democratic Party and Democrats, claiming they have “shown overt disrespect to our veterans.”

“Kevin made clear that all members of the military ― regardless of their political party ― sign up to defend and protect the Constitution and its principles,” campaign spokesman Brandon Moody told CNN.

“But Kevin also believes that the Democrat Party has become unmoored from the Constitution and has lost its way.”

Nicholson’s parents made news in February after they gave the largest possible donation to Baldwin’s primary campaign, months after their son had announced his bid to run against her.


Secretive Commissions Determine Who Violated Anti-Discrimination Laws. Now Republicans in 1 State Are Fighting for Reform

The nation has been transfixed with the story of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, and how the Supreme Court will hold in his landmark First Amendment case.

But his story didn’t begin at the Supreme Court. It never does.

As the highest appellate court, the Supreme Court reviews the facts and issues of law at the trial level. Usually, this means that a judge previously made some ruling, perhaps in the context of a jury trial or preliminary issues that come before the court.

But Phillips’ case didn’t start out that way. He never saw a judge who was duly appointed in Colorado through the judicial merit system on the trial level, and he never had the opportunity to demand a jury.

Instead, Colorado’s current system for claims of discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation go through the Colorado Civil Rights Commission—an agency of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

The seven members on its panel are not required to be attorneys or have any legal education. At least four of them (the majority) must be “members of groups that have been or might be discriminated against,” and per the commission’s own website, the proceedings are “confidential”—meaning that there is very little transparency or oversight regarding how the commission actually makes its findings of fact and conclusions of law.

In Phillips’ case, a complaint was filed before the commission, which conducted its secretive investigation and hearings, and determined that Phillips was in violation of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. This was followed by a closed proceeding before a panel, which very likely may have been biased toward claims being made on the basis of sexual orientation.

In fact, during oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Dec. 5, 2017, Justices Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor questioned the commission’s hostility and the comments from one of its commissioners.

This raises the question: What else goes on in this Civil Rights Commission and other similar commissions across the country?

According to the ACLU, Colorado is one of 21 states as of 2017 that has anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation, and seven more states limit anti-discrimination claims to public employment only.

All states have similar commissions to Colorado, or another similar government agency that is responsible for enforcing civil rights laws, including a state’s anti-discrimination laws. (A state-by-state list compiled by FindLaw can be found here.)

What is particularly alarming about states like Colorado is that the Civil Rights Commission has virtually no accountability or transparency, with no ability for people who are defending against claims of discrimination to obtain meaningful due process through a judge or jury.

Public perception of the commission on both sides of the political aisle is that the commission is biased toward LGBT community members, which is to say that the commission lacks legitimate public trust for being an independent arbiter.

This type of required submission to an agency that is wholly administrative in nature (not judicial) deprives both parties of due process.

Just last week, Justice Neil Gorsuch’s concurrence in the Supreme Court case Sessions v. Dimaya underscored the constitutional principle that administrative law often invites unpredictability and arbitrariness, which cuts directly against fundamental notions of fairness to litigants.

So too, administrative agencies invite unpredictability and arbitrariness. After all, what the composition of a Civil Rights Commission may be today might vary widely from what the Colorado commission was in 2012 for Phillips’ hearing. There is no consistency in what is required for appointees and no form of oversight other than a court appeal on the merits.

So what can be done?

The Colorado Legislature is currently evaluating this exact question in the context of a legislative sunset review of the Colorado commission. This review process should act as a “job performance” evaluation of sorts, and seek to answer the question: Is the commission fulfilling the job for which it was created? Can it be more effective? Can it be enhanced? Can it be more transparent? Can it build more public trust through more legitimacy?

Obviously, none of those questions should have a partisan response, and both sides of the aisle should be concerned with legitimacy in the process of arbitrating claims of discrimination.

And this is about much more than just Masterpiece Cakeshop. The seven members of this commission are assigned to Colorado’s population of 5.2 million people. That’s one commissioner for every 800,000 people, who collectively represent a wide variety of viewpoints and trust that their government will not itself discriminate.

Initally, Republicans in the Colorado Senate have proposed several amendments to the bill. Those amendments would reauthorize the commission in the area of public accommodation, including in making substantive changes to the appointments process, its transparency, reporting, oversight, and due process in the form of allowing both parties to “opt out” of the commission’s jurisdiction.

These enhancements to the commission absolutely make sense. Not all claims are appropriate for the commission to hear (similarly to a judge recusal), and both parties should be able to go to a traditional judicial forum rather than an administrative agency if they wish, even if they later agree to mediate their dispute with the court’s oversight.

For claims that parties agree to bring to the commission, it is always good to make the commission as prepared as possible to perform its job.

Predictably, the LGBT lobby in Colorado is opposed to any changes to “their” biased commission, and testimony earlier this month before the Senate Judiciary Committee revealed this bias. Testimony from community members stated that “the commission has our back,” and other similar statements suggested the commission is not an impartial arbiter.

As of this week, Republicans in the Senate dropped the opt-out amendment in favor of a bipartisan agreement with Democrats to provide two main enhancements: First, the commission would increase in size to nine members and appointments would have to maintain a 5-4 split between Republicans and Democrats; and second, the commission would be subject to legislative audit for purposes of transparency and accountability.

This new amendment passed Monday morning by a vote of 35-0. Both parties in the Senate appear hopeful that House Democrats will support this bipartisan effort to enhance the commission’s legitimacy. Otherwise, the commission should not be reauthorized, period.

States need to take a good, hard look at their administrative enforcement process, particularly for claims of discrimination. Impartiality, legitimacy, and due process matter, and they are constitutionally required.

Hopefully, Colorado will pave the way for other states to use the legislative review process meaningfully and prove that equal protection under the law is something everyone should enjoy, not just some.


Homophobes, Hypocrites and Joy Reid

If "progressives" didn't have double standards, they'd have no standards at all   

In 2014, Mozilla founder and former CEO Brendan Eich was forced to resign from the company and the board of the nonprofit foundation that owns it. The reason? In 2008, he donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8, which stated that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Despite the fact that Eich kept his personal beliefs to himself, Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker insisted Eich “cannot lead Mozilla in this setting.” What “setting” is that? The one that brooks no deviation whatsoever from progressive orthodoxy — unless one happens to be an MSNBC news host named Joy Reid.

Reid wrote a slew of anti-homosexual blog posts in 2006. The archives of those posts were initially discovered by Twitter user @Jamie_Maz who noted they were “far worse than 1st reported” and “had nothing to do with Republican hypocrisy on gay marriage.” Maz further revealed that Reid “gleefully accused people of being gay and posted a number of questionable things.”

That Twitter thread appeared on April 19. Five months prior, on Dec. 3, Reid had apologized for other anti-homosexual posts she had written, and given her stature as a reliable purveyor of the progressive agenda, it is likely another apology would have been more than enough to put this refueled controversy behind her. Or she could have done what many people do, (such as Barack Obama who opposed same-sex marriage before he approved of it), and simply said her views had “evolved.”

Instead, Reid released a statement to the leftist website Mediate on April 23, declaring the additional posts had been written by an “external party” that “manipulated material from my now-defunct blog.” Reid further insisted she had discovered the hacking in December, and that she “began working with a cyber-security expert who first identified the unauthorized activity, and we notified federal law enforcement officials of the breach.”

The following day, NBC released two letters from Reid’s attorney, dated Dec. 19 and Dec. 22. The former letter was sent to the Internet Archive and the latter one was sent to Alphabet, which owns Google. Both demanded the companies remove the “hacked” archives of Reid’s blog. The network also released a statement from Reid’s “security consultant,” Jonathan Nichols, who purported to have “significant evidence” of the hacking.

Unfortunately for Reid, such an absurd assertion was a bridge too far, even for some on the same side of the ideological divide. The Daily Beast suspended Reid’s column “amid mounting scrutiny of the MSNBC host’s claims that she was the victim of a cyberattack that posted dozens of homophobic statements on her former blog,” the Huffington Post reported April 26. That same day, Daily Beast columnist Kevin Poulsen explained why, noting that Reid’s consultant “had trouble producing the promised evidence. And what he did produce failed to withstand scrutiny, according to a Daily Beast analysis. Blog posts that Nichols claimed do not appear on the Internet Archive are, in fact, there. The indicators of hacked posts don’t bear out.”

Again on April 26, Reid backed off her original claim. “I hired cybersecurity experts to see if somebody had manipulated my words, or my former blog,” Reid said. “And the reality is they have not been able to prove it. But here’s what I know: I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things because they are completely alien to me. But I can definitely understand based on things I have tweeted and have written in the past why some people don’t believe me.”

So why isn’t Reid being held to the same standard that applied to Brendan Eich? Or the one applied to former CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord, who was fired for using the Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil” in a sarcasm-laden Twitter exchange with Media Matters president Angelo Carusone, whom Lord had accused of using fascist tactics to organize a sponsor boycott of Fox News commentator Sean Hannity?

A Feb. 10, 2018, New York Times headline says it all: “How Joy  Reid Became a Heroine of the Resistance.” The article mentions her apology to Crist — along with the need for it, which Reid attributes to the nation’s “polarized” political climate. “People don’t just want to disagree with the people they disagree with,” she asserted. “They want to destroy them.”

Reid should know. In an effort to deflect the spotlight away from her own past positions, she brought supporters from the radical homosexual Left onto her show. One of them, Brandon Wolf of the Dru Project, declared that America has “homophobic psychopaths running the United States government today,” and that if Vice President Mike Pence were in the White House, “he would have us all in concentration camps hoping to pray away the gay!” In response, Reid expressed appreciation Wolf was “bringing that up.”

Thus, some efforts to destroy people one disagrees with are “more equal” than others.

In stark contrast to CNN and Lord, NBC has circled the wagons around Reid. An NBC spokesperson who declined to be identified told Politico that Reid would remain on the air while the investigation into her claims is conducted. The spokesperson declined to say whether the network itself will conduct its own investigation.

Last Wednesday, Reid’s lawyer, John H. Reichman, released a statement through MSNBC, confirming that the FBI “has opened an investigation into potential criminal activities surrounding several online accounts, including personal email and blog accounts, belonging to Joy-Ann Reid.”

Americans might be forgiven for wondering why the same FBI that demonstrated an appalling lack of curiosity regarding possible felonies committed by Hillary Clinton would enmesh itself in an investigation of a TV host’s 12-year-old blog entries. They might also be forgiven for wondering if ordinary Americans would enjoy similar efforts conducted on their behalf by the nation’s foremost law enforcement agency, or whether such efforts are undertaken only for the powerful and privileged.

Regardless of what the FBI finds, Reid will likely remain on the air. In an appearance last week on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Boston Herald columnist Michael Graham offered great insight as to why. He revealed he was sent a series of tweets by people who stated that while they are homosexual and liberal, as long as Reid hated Trump, all else is forgivable.

That “standard” speaks volumes about the progressive mindset. Moreover, when one adds to the mix the Left’s infatuation with “intersectionality” — as in “overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage,” as blog puts it — it’s easy to see why protecting black, female progressive Joy Reid is far more palatable than protecting Caucasian, male progressive Brendan Eich. As for Lord, simply being conservative is tantamount to having two strikes before stepping up to bat.

Some “sinners” are also more equal than others.

“It’s possible that in the end Reid will discover her adversary isn’t a determined hacker, but a far more dogged foe: The Joy-Ann Reid of years past, writing in a voice she can no longer recognize as her own,” concludes Poulsen.

The bet here is most Americans recognize that if “progressives” didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all.


Universal Basic Income fails in Finland, but will the left learn its lesson?

Finland tried, and Finland failed. To combat high unemployment and wage stagnation, Finland’s government decided to try a universal basic income (UBI) experiment with a portion of their population. Establishing a UBI has been viewed as a favorable by liberals and Silicon Valley elites who view a UBI as a necessary method of injecting capital into the economy.

Unfortunately, as Finland just learned, giving citizens money without restriction does not fuel growth, it wastes money. Now, Finland is backtracking on their UBI program to instill real reforms to end individual dependency on the government.

The unemployment rate in Finland has exceeded eight percent since long before the UBI program began in January 2017. Petteri Orpo, Finland’s finance minister, told the Financial Times, “Working life has changed through globalization, automation. We have to reform our society in order to activate people to reach a higher employment rate…”

These fears of a more globalized future led Finland to a two-year experiment in basic income. The Financial Times continues to explain, Finland selected a large group of unemployed individuals to be given €560 (about $670) a month without any conditions on what individuals must do to receive the funds or where they could be spent.

The first glaring problem with the program was, of course, the cost.

One of the reasons the experiment could not continue or be expanded is because of the extreme tax hike it would require. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found in a Feb. 2018 report on Finland’s economy, while a UBI might enhance work incentives — a dubious finding, but okay, let’s play along — in order to universally adopt the policy, Finland would have to increase taxes by nearly 30 percent causing an increase in overall poverty.

Finland was placing their hopes in a system they could not afford, which is why they have decided against renewing the program at the end of this year. Instead, Finland is now pursuing the exact opposite style of reforms to fix their broken welfare system.

Jon Henley, the European affairs correspondent for The Guardian, explains, Finland has now introduced legislation to make some benefits for unemployed people contingent on the completion of work or work training.

Even finance minister Orpo had to admit to the Financial Times that the UBI system in fact made people “passive”. Orpo explained, “When we look at our economy that is now growing, we have tens of thousands of free jobs [that cannot be filled] and more than 200,000 unemployed people. We have to look at the incentives to work.”

Giving individuals free money while hoping they get a job might seem like a distant European concept, but it hits much closer to home. More and more people in the United States have advocated for a similar UBI model over the years.

Michael Hiltzik of the L.A. Times reports, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Elon Musk to apparently everyone in San Francisco, UBI is seen as a great way to kick-start economic growth and offset the impacts of automation taking jobs.

While the Finnish government insists full results on their experiment will not be gathered for several years, the country’s top economists believe it failed to do exactly what they had hoped, instead widening the free jobs gap and maintaining stagnant employment numbers.

For an example closer to home, techies like Musk should look no further than our own Social Security system.

While Social Security, including Supplemental Security Income, is not a UBI program because it is not universal, it does mirror how the program works: a select group receives a monthly guaranteed income from the state. Social Security can be seen as our own experiment in UBI and highlights the insurmountable revenue problem if it were to be made universal.

Sean Williams of the Motley Fool explains in April 2018, according to the Social Security Board of Trustees’ annual report, “Social Security is expected to begin paying out more in benefits than it’s generating in revenue by 2022. That’s only four years away. By 2034, after just 12 years of cash outflows, its roughly $3 trillion in asset reserves, which is primarily invested in special-issue bonds, is expected to be completely exhausted.”

This means in order for our Social Security system to survive; it will be forced to engage in dramatic benefit cuts or just borrow the money. If we cannot maintain the closest thing to a UBI system which we currently have, where there is an incentive to work, because there is still not enough revenue, it is clear we cannot universalize it in a context when there will be far less of an incentive to work. People will stop working and the system will collapse.

Finland tried the system people around the world claim will end the welfare state, but they found out the real truth. Universal basic income is the welfare state. The only way to truly end the welfare state is to incentivize people to be less reliant on the state, not more.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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