Wednesday, January 19, 2022



Political Preferences and Public Policy

Emotions matter a lot more than policy in determining vote

Social scientists who study elections tend to assume that voters have public policy preferences and that parties and candidates design their platforms to conform with those preferences. In fact, the direction of causation (mostly) goes the other way. Members of the political elite draw up their platforms, and voters adopt the policy preferences of those candidates and parties.

Public policy issues are numerous and often complex, with compelling arguments on all sides. Meanwhile, citizens and voters, as individuals, have no influence over public policy outcomes, so they have little incentive to become informed.

Voters know that their one individual vote will have no influence over an election outcome. Think about this yourself. If you had voted for Joe Biden for president in the last election, who would be president today? If you had voted for Donald Trump, who would be president? And if you didn’t vote in the election, who would be president? The answer to all those questions is Joe Biden.

Realizing that their one vote will have no influence over public policy, voters vote for candidates and parties that make them feel good about themselves rather than considering whether the policies those candidates and parties support are good policies. If their friends or family members support a candidate, people get a good feeling of group solidarity by supporting that candidate. If voters think of themselves as having a certain ideology or political orientation, they will vote that way to reinforce that political identity.

Citizens and voters anchor on political identity. It might be a party, a candidate, or an ideology. Most of their political preferences are then derivative of that identity. People don’t think: I support a woman’s right to have an abortion, I support more gun control, I believe the government should be more involved in health care, and I think impediments to voting should be relaxed. Therefore, I am a Democrat. The reasoning goes the other way. People identify as Democrats; therefore, they support a woman’s right to have an abortion, more gun control, and so forth.

Citizens and voters adapt their public policy preferences from the political elite–the people who actually determine public policy. One implication is that citizens and voters have less influence over public policy than a romantic notion of democracy would suggest. The political elite tells voters what to think, and they fall in line behind their leaders.

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Washington Cashes In on Inflation

The country may be upset with inflation, but in many ways political Washington has never had it better. Covid-19 has been the excuse for record government spending and the abuse of regulatory power such as vaccine mandates and an eviction moratorium. And now we learn that tax revenue is rushing into the Treasury even as politicians plead poverty.

That’s the news you haven’t read about last week’s December budget review from the Congressional Budget Office. The budget gnomes report that federal receipts in the first fiscal quarter, from October to December, increased by a remarkable 31%. That’s a cool $248 billion increase to $1.05 trillion for the quarter.

Individual income taxes revenue soared by 55% in the quarter, or $189 billion, to $536 billion. Corporate income taxes rose 44%, or $30 billion, to $99 billion. Payroll taxes and a variety of other receipts, including a 16% increase ($4 billion) in remittances from the Federal Reserve, made up the rest.

This boom for the Beltway reflects the strong growth in nominal GDP. With 7% inflation, nominal GDP is increasing by double digits, which leads to higher nominal profits, wages and salaries. Washington gets the revenue windfall from taxes on those nominal increases even if average wages for workers falls behind inflation, as they did last year by 2.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 7% rate of inflation is Christmas all year ’round for the federal government. State governments are also reaping revenue windfalls.

CBO says the federal government still had a $377 billion budget deficit in the first fiscal quarter as outlays increased 6%, or $75 billion, to $1.43 trillion. The spending increases came mainly from the pandemic-related transfer payments passed by Congress last March. That included increases of $59 billion in refundable tax credits (mainly the higher child allowance), $21 billion more for food and nutrition (mainly food stamps), and $18 billion more for schools.

The lesson here is that Washington doesn’t need a tax increase. As the economy grows, the revenue will keep flowing, even if the pace of increase slows. Even amid Covid’s Omicron variant surge, the economy is growing smartly and doesn’t need new spending. Everyone who wants a job can get one—or two. The economic problem is inflation, which is hurting workers even as it rewards politicians.

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HS Football Coach Fired for His Post-Game Prayers Will Have His Case Heard by the Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday it will hear the case of a former assistant football coach in Bremerton, Washington, who was removed from his job because he refused to stop praying on the field.

Joe Kennedy, a devout Christian who coached at Bremerton High School, started kneeling and offering silent or quiet prayers that evolved into him giving motivational speeches to players that frequently included religious content and prayer.

After a game in October 2015, Kennedy knelt on the 50-yard line. He was then surrounded by other coaches and players, as well as spectators who came onto the field from the stands.

A week later, after again praying on the field, he was placed on leave. The Bremerton School District did not re-hire him for the following season.

Kennedy sued. What followed was a series of lower court decisions that sided with the school district.

In 2016, a U.S. District Court judge in Tacoma declined to issue a preliminary injunction requested by Kennedy asking the court to have the school district re-hire him immediately.

In 2017, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Kennedy was not entitled to immediately get his job back because he took advantage of his position when he prayed on the field after games.

In 2019, Supreme Court declined to review the case in which the court’s conservative wing made its concerns known.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a concurring opinion joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh that “the Ninth Circuit’s understanding of free speech rights of public school teachers is troubling and may justify review in the future.”

In 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton ruled in favor of the school district’s motion for summary judgment and Kennedy’s lawyers appealed.

On Friday, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the case, according to The Hill.

Kennedy’s attorneys were pleased.

“No teacher or coach should lose their job for simply expressing their faith while in public,” said Kelly Shackelford, the head of First Liberty Institute, which is representing Kennedy, in a Friday statement after the nation’s highest court agreed to hear the case.

“By taking this important case, the Supreme Court can protect the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including praying in public, without fear of punishment.”

Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which represents the school district, was less enthused about the Supreme Court taking the case.

She said the district had followed the law, characterizing Kennedy’s actions as “coercive prayers.”

“This case is not about a school employee praying silently during a private religious devotion,” she said in a Friday news release. “Rather, this case is about protecting impressionable students who felt pressured by their coach to participate repeatedly in public prayer, and a public school district that did right by its students and families.”

The First Amendment to the Constitution reads, in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The case is expected to be argued in spring, with a ruling to follow in June, NBC News reported.

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The Senator Fauci Called a ‘Moron’ Is Now Publishing Disclosures Much of the Public’s Never Seen

The Republican senator who was mocked as a “moron” by Dr. Anthony Fauci has posted revealing details about Fauci’s finances on his website.

Based upon those documents and analysis by Adam Andrzejewski at Forbes, during the pandemic year of 2020 as many Americans were struggling to survive, the Fauci household raked in about $1.7 million overall.

During a Tuesday hearing, Republican Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas said that Congress and the American people should be getting a full disclosure of Fauci’s finances.

“All you have to do is ask for it,” Fauci said. “You’re so misinformed, it’s extraordinary.”

Fauci later said the information Marshall seeks “is totally accessible to you if you want it.”

“We look forward to reviewing it,” Marshall said.

Then came a hot mic comment from Fauci. “What a moron,” Fauci said softly “Jesus Christ.”

Marshall then demanded copies of unredacted records of Fauci’s finances Friday. When he got them, he put them online, according to a news release on Marshall’s website.

“Dr. Fauci lied to the American people. He is more concerned with being a media star and posing for the cover of magazines than he is being honest with the American people and holding China accountable for the COVID pandemic that has taken the lives of almost 850 thousand Americans,” Marshall said in a statement on his website.

“Just like he has misled the American people about sending taxpayers dollars to Wuhan, China to, fund gain-of-function research, about masks, testing, and more, Dr. Fauci was completely dishonest about his financial disclosures being open to the public – it’s no wonder he is the least trusted bureaucrat in America. At the end of the day, Dr. Fauci must be held accountable to all Americans who have been suing and requesting for this information but don’t have the power of a Senate office to ask for it,” he said.

The documents on Marshall’s website cover a wide variety of income sources.

Andrzejewski, a Forbes contributor, posted a detailed analysis: He noted that over all, “the Fauci household’s net worth exceeds $10.4 million.”

The Fauci family income for 2020 totaled $1,776,479, he wrote, “including federal income and benefits of $868,812; outside royalties and travel perks totaling $113,298; and investment accounts increasing by $794,369.”

The Forbes post said Fauci’s investment account was worth $8.4 million and his wife’s investments came in at $2.1 million, with a variety of accounts contributing to that total.

“Some on the right have speculated that Fauci may have profited off the pandemic. The disclosures show that he’s invested in fairly broadly targeted mutual funds, with no reported holdings of individual stocks,” Andrzejewski wrote.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made $434,312 in salary in the 2020 fiscal year, while his wife, Christine Grady, the chief bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health, earned $234,284, Andrzejewski wrote, noting that the documents put the salary of Fauci’s wife at $176,000 for FY2020.

Figures for the 2021 fiscal year, which ended in September, have not yet been made available.

Writing for the Center for Public Integrity, reporter Liz Essley White noted that while the documents Marshall wanted are available if anyone is familiar with the rigmarole to get them, that does not mean the process is as transparent as it ought to be.

“It doesn’t need to be this difficult to obtain documents that the law gives the public the right to see. Congress could change this by requiring agencies to preemptively post the financial disclosures of high-level career officials like Fauci, as the government does for political appointees and senators,” she wrote.

To that end, Marshall has said he will file the Financial Accountability for Uniquely Compensated Individuals Act, or FAUCI Act, to make financial disclosure information easily available.

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Trump is right. The election was rigged

David Flint

It was inevitable that 6 January would be used in a desperate attempt to breathe life into a regime undoubtedly America’s worst in living memory. Yet again, a compliant media beat up an incident which the authorities encouraged, one which resulted in no deaths attributable to the trespassers, but during which a Capitol police officer shot dead a female air force veteran without any apparent justification.

The mainstream media still report the untruth that President Trump falsely claimed the 2020 election was compromised by widespread fraud. His claim is neither false nor is it restricted to fraud. It is centred on manifest breaches of the plain words of the Constitution which demonstrate, conclusively, that the election was rigged.

Not that the fraud was insubstantial. Despite media polling which could not have been more wrong, the election was significantly closer than in 2016. If only 22,000 votes in Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin were found to be Trump’s and not Biden’s, the Electoral College would have been tied with the decision constitutionally going to Trump.

Fraud seemed to be everywhere. A key example was the announcement on the night of the election, when Trump was clearly leading, that counting in key states would close because of a water leak in one place. Scrutineers (‘observers’) were sent home. Then, without re-calling the scrutineers, counting was resumed in the early hours. Unsurprisingly, Trump’s lead was dramatically and overwhelmingly reversed. Only a well-paid defence lawyer could say with a straight face, that this was not fraud.

Television viewers across the world were subsequently amazed to see a security video showing counting after scrutineers had been sent home, where boxes of votes were pulled out from under the tables. Viewers also saw scrutineers seated either at such a distance from the counting that they could see nothing, or outside the room with the viewing window papered over.

The respected African-American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas makes the important point that the absence of strong evidence of systemic fraud is not, in itself, sufficient for the public to have faith in the integrity of elections.

‘Also important,’ he says, ‘is the assurance that fraud will not go undetected.’ The system has to be such that the declared results will be accepted by the losers.

Americans used to have this by adopting crucial reforms which have been undermined in recent years. These are the secret or ‘Australian’ ballot, a single election day, and the fair administration of the elections. Subject to an overriding legislative power vested in Congress, the Constitution makes it clear that it is for state legislatures, and state legislatures only, to regulate elections.

Invariably ignored by the mainstream media, the constitutional mandate in Article 1, Section 4, could not be clearer: ‘The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof…’.

A vast number of breaches of this provision by state governors, bureaucrats and often elected partisan state judges resulted in the whittling away of these key safeguards.

But both the secret ballot and the single election day are crucial to ensuring electoral integrity.

One notorious method was the mail-in ballot, especially where the roll is so questionable that it is even larger than the population of the constituency.

The vastly extended periods for voting and the receipt of mail-in votes makes a mockery of the longstanding legislative prescription of the election always being on ‘…the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November’.

Discussing the results with a conservative Australian former politician sceptical about Trump’s objection, he asked me to suggest something he could read showing systemic electoral fraud.

Pointing out Trump’s objection was not just about fraud, I recommended he read the pleadings in the Supreme Court case, Texas v. Pennsylvania, where Texas and 17 other states alleged that Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin violated the Constitution by changing election procedures through non-legislative means. (Today I would also recommend Mollie Hemingway‘s recent superb book, Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.)

The Court squibbed hearing this case on a mere technicality. Apart from those brave souls, Justices Alito and Thomas, the judges must have been terrified about the violence likely to be unleashed by the Democrats’ terrorist arm, the BLM. After a summer of unmitigated violence, and for daring to hear an abortion case, Senate Democrat Minority Leader Charles Schumer made this threat from the very steps of the Court:

‘I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.’

(Schumer would be in gaol if he did that in Australia.)

As for the election, the real losers are not only the American people, but a world dependent on American leadership to defend freedom.

Through a rigged election, a corrupt establishment removed probably the greatest president since at least Ronald Reagan, in terms of achievement at home and abroad.

The establishment has waged a constant war against Trump from using a ‘paid-for’ fake dossier about Russian collusion to brief the electoral college in an attempt to overthrow the 2016 election, to the Obama administration, in its dying days, working out ways to protect officials who had lied to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.

Their final success was to install an administration led by an under-achieving career politician, patriarch of a family demonstrably involved in the sale to foreign plutocrats, including Chinese communists, of access to and influence in the very heart of Washington, a betrayal of both the American people and the free world.

But they have not succeeded in their ultimate goal of destroying Trump and that for which he stands.

Now that Americans have seen what the establishment has planned for them, Trump and indeed Trumpism is, in terms of support, more unassailable than at its high point in 2020, which even those who rigged the election have to concede.

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My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022



Why is it still considered OK to be ageist?

Lucy Kellaway does well below to set out the problem of unreasonable discrimination against old people. I am 78 myself but retired early from the workforce to concentrate on business so have had none of the problems described below.

Lucy does however ignore the elephant in the room when she looks at the cause of ageism. She is right in saying that older people do tend to have handicaps such as poor memories and discomfort with new technology but ignores a major problem: Appearance. Youth is the beauty ideal in our society. And that has its reasons. Our health is best in our youth and it is undoubtedly an exciting time with intimate relations. I had a ball for many years.

So for whatever reason, the physical appearance of the old counts against them A young person is felt to look better and more desirable as company. And that counts. Appearances count, and can count very heavily.

A graphic realization of that is the desperate attempt by many women to retain their youthful looks. Cosmetic empires are built on that. It's a reasonable recognition of the relevance of physical appearance in our society. People don't like an aged appearance and don't want it around themselves

In my own case my looks deteriorated at the expected pace but I was still doing well into my 60s. The crunch came in my 70s. When a long relationship came to an end, I had difficulty finding a new one.

So I don't think that rebelling against the limits of the aged will do much good. The aged themselves have to promote and demonstrate the assets they do have. And they are many. Some are mentioned in passing below. We have so many that it is rather churlish to rail against areas in which we have handicaps. We should be grateful for a life well-lived instead. And if our life was not well-lived we should look at why and accept what cannot now be changed -- JR



In September 2018 Ian Tapping, a project manager at the Ministry of Defence, called a meeting with HR. He had been in dispute with his employer and wanted to make a bullying and harassment claim. In the course of the conversation his HR manager asked when he intended to retire — Tapping, who was in his early sixties, subsequently quit and sued the MoD for age discrimination.

Last month he won his case. A judge ruled that it is illegal to ask someone about retirement plans unless they have raised the subject themselves, which had not happened in this instance. Such a question was ageist, said the judge, as it would not have been put to a 30-year-old.

The verdict was duly reported in the Daily Mail and the paper’s readers, who like nothing better than a spot of outrage, were well and truly disgusted. This country has gone mad, they exclaimed.

Given that the average Mail reader is only a couple of years younger than Mr Tapping, the hostility was odd. Ageism is so rampant that they are likely to have been the butt of it themselves. A 2021 World Health Organization survey found that every second person holds ageist attitudes, while according to the National Barometer of Prejudice and Discrimination, a 2018 study undertaken for Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, 26 per cent of people experienced age discrimination in a year.

Survey after survey establishes the same things: people over 50 find it harder to get job interviews (unless, perhaps, they are applying to be president of the US) and are more likely to be eased out of existing jobs.

The ruling last month seems an obvious case of progress. It rightly puts retirement on a par with pregnancy — over the past couple of decades, employers have learnt not to ask a young woman when she plans to have a child, unless they want to end up in court. Now it turns out that the same principle applies to older workers.

This may require quite some adjustment, as that sort of question is asked all the time. When I discussed the case with a 56-year-old friend, she said her boss at the world-famous consumer goods company where she works had that very week asked: “Am I correct to assume you intend to be on the organisational chart at the end of 2022?” Which was a fancy way of implying he would not be sorry if the answer was no.

Not only will employers have to adjust, they will need to do so snappily, as there are so many more older workers about. In 2012, a quarter of the UK workforce was over 50 — by 2050 it will be over a third. On average, men in the UK now work till 65, two years longer than in 2000. Women now retire on average at 64, up from 61 20 years ago.

Although ageism is everywhere, few victims choose to do a Tapping and take their employers to court. Even though it has been illegal in the UK to discriminate on the basis of age since 2006, such cases make up only a negligible percentage of the overall workload of employment tribunals. “It’s still under the radar,” says Lyndsey Simpson, founder of the employment website 55/Redefined, “because people don’t want to go on the record. They think they’ll be attacked and they think it will be career-limiting. I’ve lost count of the number of men who are turned down for jobs and are told: you are overqualified, or you don’t meet our diversity requirements.”

Last month, when 62-year-old Adam Boulton left his post as political editor of Sky News, he told the Times it was by “mutual decision” and that the channel was concentrating on “the next generation”. He added: “Television is very sensitive to the idea of diversity.” There seemed to be no irony in his remark — the thought that true diversity should also include age had not occurred either to him or his employer.

Not only is age the poor relation in diversity policies, it is still perfectly acceptable in polite society to be rampantly ageist. In The Atlantic last month was an article bemoaning the fact that America no longer generates big ideas in culture, science or business. One reason for this, said the writer (35), was that the people in charge were getting older — and older people were not so good at coming up with new ideas. If he had said that women were less creative, he would have been cancelled on the spot. But this aspersion, which he made little attempt to stand up, sailed through all checks and balances and, once published, caused minor grumbling rather than full-on fury.

Our blindness to ageism is particularly puzzling as it is a prejudice not against people who are different from us (other races, genders etc) but against our future selves. According to Ashton Applewhite, the US anti-ageism campaigner and author, this hostility is a product of fear. We dread getting old because we overexaggerate the risk that we will end up in an old people’s home, senile and smelling of pee.

Fear may be part of it, but there is something else going on too. The ageism against my generation — I am 62 — feels personal. We aren’t allowed to feel discriminated against because we’ve had it so good.

I mentioned this article to a 25-year-old friend at the school where I teach. She rolled her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I just can’t feel bad for you boomers. You guys have got the pensions. You’ve destroyed the climate. I live in a rented flat with illegal cladding — you live in a huge house. All the power structures in society benefit you. How many top people in companies or politicians are under 30?”

I pointed out that 2m older people in the UK live below the poverty line. I said older people are expected to tolerate discrimination of a sort that other groups are belatedly being freed from. She scoffed; I challenged her to unload her view of boomers.

“Technophobes! Narrow-minded!” she began.

“Borderline alcoholics! Stuck in your ways! Terfs!” chimed in another twentysomething who shares the same office.

The first then added: “But it’s not all bad. You guys are useful for advice on mortgages.”

OK, I thought, age discrimination cuts both ways. “Snowflakes!” I yelled back at them. “Entitled! Lazy!”

In a way, the slanging match was fun and was a sign of how well we get on. These are my two best friends at school and mostly we seem to be a living example of why age diversity at work is good for everyone. We all agree that our differences make our working lives better (as well as being good for our students). But our debate made me uneasy and left me wondering if there is some ugly stuff lurking under the surface.

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Judge Deems WI Election Commission’s 2020 Election Behavior Unlawful, Drop Boxes Illegal

Ballot drop boxes don’t necessarily imply fraud, but they open the door to the possibility of fraud. The possibility of election fraud creates doubt in the integrity of the election process. It’s as simple as that.

The absentee ballot drop boxes widely deployed in Wisconsin during the 2020 election have been ruled unlawful by Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren, according to Just the News.

According to Bohren, the Wisconsin Election Commission overstepped its authority in issuing instructions to election officials concerning the use of drop boxes, sent out in March 2020 and again in August 2020.

The WEC guidance had enough potential impact on the election process to require approval by the state Legislature. The Legislature never got the chance to approve it. Bohren called the WEC’s move a “major policy decision that alter[s] how our absentee ballot process operates.”

The judge ordered the WEC to recant the instructions in a ruling that could have a large impact on Wisconsin’s midterm elections. The ruling will likely be appealed.

This isn’t the first time the WEC has found itself in hot water.

Racine County sheriff’s investigators found evidence of voter fraud at a local nursing home last year, according to Just the News. Sheriff Christopher Schmaling accused the WEC of not only allowing but encouraging nursing home staff to fill out ballots for residents.

It doesn’t end there.

The WEC, on its own authority, ruled that voters could invoke the status of “indefinitely confined” in order to cast absentee ballots. Because of this, 250,000 people were allowed to vote without adhering to standard voter ID requirements. The “indefinitely confined” status was rarely invoked until the WEC ruling.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court found that the WEC erred in allowing voters to invoke the “indefinitely confined” status if they did not, in fact, have a severe illness or disability.

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RNC Warns: Democrat Election Reform Essentially ‘Freedom to Cheat Act’

Republican leaders are warning against the left's push for federal election reform, declaring that the Freedom to Vote Act is essentially a ploy to cheat elections.

“We call it the Freedom to Cheat Act,” explained Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said of the Freedom to Vote Act during a call with reporters.

“It eviscerates state voter ID laws, which 36 states have passed,” she continued. “This bill eliminates states’ more secure voter ID requirements, replacing them with a process that is rife with fraud.”

Breitbart reports:

The sweeping bill would order states with voter ID laws to widen their accepted forms of voter identification to allow for several alternatives, including forms of identification that do not contain a photo.

The influential conservative thinktank Heritage Foundation, which has actively been lobbying states to tighten their election processes, deems “model” voter ID rules to be those that require voters to present a government-issued ID that contains a photo and makes clear that the voter is an American citizen when they go to cast their ballot. In December, Heritage scored states on this metric and found six states, including Georgia — a state that has become ground zero in the fight over election laws — received perfect scores in regard to voter ID laws specifically. Another 22 states received at least partial credit or more for their voter ID laws.

“Democrats don’t want free and fair elections. They want elections only Democrats can win," added National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Sen. Rick Scott.

“We’ve watched this last year, they’ve had a difficult time, the Democrats, passing their radical agenda so they want to change the rules,” he said. “They want to change the rules so they can ban voter ID, even though it’s very popular around the country.”

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Waukesha Massacre Undermined the Charlottesville Myth

The sound of screams replaced the music as a red Ford Escape slammed into the crowd, killing six people and wounding more than 60 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Nov. 21. Amid the bloodbath that evening were dead and dying victims as old as 81 and as young as 8. Their killer, Darrell Brooks, a 39-year-old black man and Black Lives Matter supporter, had deliberately driven into them. The Christmas parade slaughter was everything that the establishment claims Charlottesville was.

The Waukesha bloodbath fell out of the news and down the memory hole overnight, presumably because it recalled too vividly the events in Charlottesville during the 2017 Unite the Right rally, and suggested unwelcome comparisons. While Waukesha did not elicit ruling class outrage, Charlottesville has become part of our national mythology, a day of shame for millions of Middle Americans. It has been used to justify destroying historic American national symbols and to further empower the regime that dominates our lives, lest we repeat that awful day.

The most obvious difference between the two incidents is also the most inconvenient one for an establishment built upon political correctness. James Fields, who was 20 when he drove into a crowd at Charlottesville, did not, though troubled, have a previous criminal history. He is also white.

Brooks, however, boasts a formidable list of criminal acts spanning two decades and across multiple states. When he struck in Wisconsin, Brooks had an outstanding warrant related to a sex offense in Nevada. And, in a video unearthed on Twitter, he admitted to impregnating a minor and to being a child sex trafficker. That’s just for starters.

Documents obtained by the Daily Mail reveal that Brooks shot his nephew in July 2020 in the heat of an argument over an old cell phone. His bail was initially set at $10,000, but Milwaukee County judge David Feiss lowered it to $500. Brooks was out by February 2021. According to Fox News, three months later while out on bail, Brooks was arrested in Georgia after he savagely beat the mother of his child.

Six months later, upon his release by Georgia authorities, Brooks capitalized on the charity of the criminal justice system when, on Nov. 2, he punched and ran over the same woman, this time in Milwaukee. Brooks was booked the next day, but prison wouldn’t hold him long, even though the red flags were flying. A pretrial risk assessment dated Nov. 5 certified him as a severe public threat. Nevertheless, he posted a $1,000 bond on Nov. 11, the same day he was scheduled for a plea and sentencing hearing related to the July 2020 incident.

Less than three weeks later, Brooks plowed into the crowd of mostly white parade goers in Waukesha, purposely aiming for people and avoiding vehicles. The town’s black police chief, Daniel Thompson, who helped lead a protest in Waukesha during which his officers knelt before Black Lives Matter demonstrators amid the June 2020 riots in that city, told the local press he was unsure about Brooks’ motive.

However, the killer’s political views and Facebook posts provide unmistakable clues. Brooks had posted about “knocking out white people” and enslaving them. He explicitly supported Black Lives Matter, the Black Panther Party, and the Black Hebrew Israelites, a black supremacist group. Brooks even bragged about being a “terrorist” in one of his rap songs.

Still, the authorities claim that Brooks was merely leaving the scene of his latest domestic dispute, although they admitted that police were not pursuing him at the time. They say he passed a side street which would have taken him around the parade, and that he intentionally penetrated barriers intended to stop traffic. Brooks showed no remorse after the slaughter.

In an open letter to the media, his mother blamed the system for his crimes. Brooks is mentally ill, she said, and should have received treatment, but instead got a “jail cell.” Had Brooks truly received what he deserved at the hands of Milwaukee County authorities, six people would still be alive and scores more would not have been seriously injured by Brooks’ Nov. 21 attack.

His mother’s statement also undermined Brooks’ appeals for sympathy. “Darrell did not come from a bad family like many people have said. He came from a loving Christian family and is the grandson of ministers,” she wrote. In other words, Brooks had been given every chance to succeed by his family and the justice system. Still, Brooks only pities himself. “I just feel like I’m being [made out to be a] monster—demonized” and “dehumanized,” he told Fox News Digital in his first jailhouse interview.

It took a slaughter of innocents for Court Commissioner Kevin Costello to slap Brooks with a $5 million cash bail, which the Milwaukee branch of Black Lives Matter attempted to raise to free Brooks. Costello assured the public that the “extraordinarily high” bail was warranted, as if he needed to explain himself for not giving Brooks his umpteenth chance, which is far more than what James Fields received.

Given Fields’ background, one would think he should have received the same compassionate touch with which the media has covered Brooks. In 1996, before Fields was born, a drunk driver killed his father. He grew up a quiet but troubled kid who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of six. He was admitted to a psychiatric hospital twice by the time he was 10, diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, and his social life was characterized by isolation and limited social interactions outside of his relationship with his disabled mother.

A high school teacher with whom he was close said Fields “was a very bright kid but very misguided and disillusioned.” He noted Fields’ flirtations with radical ideas: “I feel like I failed and that we all failed.” Fields’ mother reported fits of violence to the police when he was in the eighth and ninth grades. She told officers that he was on anger medication. But Fields quit taking those drugs when he learned that they would prevent him from joining the military—a recruiter reportedly explained that he needed to drop the medication.

After graduating in 2015, Fields managed to enlist but washed out a few months later. He worked as a security guard making $10.50 an hour when the Unite the Right rally was organized to prevent the removal of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville. Fields had been off his medication for two years by that time.

Skirmishes erupted on the first day of the rally, Aug. 11. The second and final day would be one of utter chaos, where right-wing protesters and left-wing counter-protesters were seemingly encouraged to fight. According to FactCheck.org, the ACLU of Virginia tweeted on the evening of Aug. 12 that the Charlottesville police had been ordered “not [to] intervene until given command to do so.” The president of a New York Black Lives Matter chapter told a CNN affiliate that the “police actually allowed” both sides to “square off against each other” while watching from afar. “It’s almost as if they wanted us to fight each other.”

In the aftermath, the city commissioned a report prepared by Timothy Heaphy, a former U.S. attorney in Virginia, to review the mistakes made by law enforcement. It noted that on Aug. 12, just before Fields accelerated into the crowd of counter-protestors, the Charlottesville Police Department called medics to a parking lot where a militia member had been hit with a rock in the head. The police left the scene once the ambulance departed, and the militia members also prepared to leave as counter-protestors descended on them. “Aerial footage shows that one of their cars accelerated to flee the counter-protestors, nearly running one of them over,” the report states. “The crowd of counter-protestors reacted angrily, kicking and swinging objects at the car,” while others were seen “chasing on foot” as it sped away. The report mentions other instances of counter-protestors harassing rallygoers in their vehicles and blocking traffic while swarming the streets.

When Fields attempted to drive out of the area, he encountered a large crowd in the street between him and the intersection where two other cars were waiting. Footage of the incident shows Fields slowing down a bit on the approach, although a counter-protestor had previously confronted him with a rifle, which presumably had him on edge.

In a since-deleted Facebook post, Dwayne Dixon, a leftist UNC teaching assistant professor and an Antifa member, bragged: “I used this rifle to chase off James Fields from our block of 4th St. before he attacked the marchers to the south.” As Fields neared, the crowd appeared calm—until a counter-protestor hit the back of his Dodge Challenger with what appeared to be a baseball bat and Fields slammed down the accelerator. When the dust settled, one person would die alongside 35 wounded.

Unlike Brooks, Fields was immediately denied bail. Though he and much of the GOP have remained silent about Waukesha, South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott declared the Charlottesville crash “an act of domestic terror” within three days. Since Fields had no criminal record, the prosecution relied heavily on his political views and social media posts to establish motive—all things that have been deemed out of bounds in assessing Brooks’ motives.

Nor did Fields’ documented history of mental illness matter, though it has become central to the Brooks narrative. During Fields’ trial, as reported by The Hill, prosecutors stated, “In sum, any mental health concerns raised by the defendant do not overcome the defendant’s demonstrated lack of remorse and his prior history of substantial racial animus.” Mental illness is for violent nonwhites; peckerwoods are diagnosed with “white rage.”

In the end, Fields, a young first-time offender, received two life sentences without the possibility of parole and an additional 419 years on top of $480,000 in fines. A jury also found the rally organizers liable and put them on the hook for more than $25 million in damages.

Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, the man who admitted that Brooks’ bail was set “inappropriately low,” had, some years earlier, conceded that someday his liberal policies would get someone killed. “Is there going to be an individual I divert, or I put into treatment program, who’s going to go out and kill somebody? You bet,” Chisholm told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2007. According to TMJ4 News, in 2021 alone, 10 other domestic abusers tried by Chisholm had cash bonds set at $1,000 and subsequently went on to commit additional felonies while awaiting trial, just like Brooks. A complaint to remove Chisholm was filed by Milwaukee County taxpayers in mid-December, which Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers promised to review.

Every society has myths that underpin its religious, moral, and social regulations. They explain why we must speak, think, and act a certain way. The myth of Charlottesville is intended to brand ordinary Americans with a mark of shame. It is by way of such shaming that the ruling elite gains power and legitimacy. A little thing like the Waukesha massacre cannot be allowed to undermine that.

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Liberal City Gets Dose of Reality After Raising Minimum Wage to $19.50/Hour

I’m not quite sure if it’s the majority position among conservatives when it comes to minimum wage, but my opinion is that there should be no minimum wage.

Whatever an employer offers and whatever an employee accepts as wages should be between them and the government should have no say whatsoever.

It’s not that I believe that workers should be paid less, I think they should be paid what they’re worth and what they mutually agree upon. If a guy is willing to work for a lesser wage because the job doesn’t require much effort and he just wants that easy sort of life, then so be it. He can always say no and go somewhere else, but someone might be happy with that.

So often I’ve seen job postings in which they don’t mention what the pay for the position is. This seems like an absolute waste of time. What sort of employee are they looking for?

I think businesses should be upfront about what they’re willing to pay and the people who come to apply for that job has that expectation that this will be how much they earn.

That said, the left believes that the minimum wage should be higher. In some cases, they think it should be much higher. I’ve seen some people say that the minimum wage should be upwards of $20-$30 per hour. This is pure insanity and would bankrupt businesses and destroy our economy completely.

One city, however, had a taste of what that looks like after the minimum wage shot up to $19.50 per hour.

According to The Blaze,

Portland is currently under a citywide COVID state of emergency, something the City Council had an opportunity to repeal last month, but refused. That failure meant the state of emergency would still be in effect come Jan. 1, which was the date that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ordered the city’s hazard wage to take effect.

Because Portlanders demanded a minimum wage hike and their City Council refused to take responsibility and repeal the city’s state of emergency, every employer in town was suddenly forced to pay workers at least $19.50 per hour. And they would have to continue to do so until the council got its act together.

Thankfully some business owners and their supporters were willing to make a stink over the whole ordeal.

The Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce made its voice heard, telling its members to let the City Council know what they thought.

“Large chains will be able to absorb the added costs of a $19.50 minimum wage, but small businesses in Portland will not be able to absorb these costs without direct increases in prices or cuts to services and staff,” the chamber said, according to the Press Herald. “This strikes directly at our local economic self-reliance and makes it just that much harder for local organizations to compete.”

Some business owners expressed concerns and said that minimum wages of $19.50 per hour would mean they would have to leave Portland because that just becomes unsustainable.

Eventually, the City Council voted 8-1 last week to lift the state of emergency and thereby cut the minimum wage by $6.50 to $13, effective Jan. 13 or Jan 14

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My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Monday, January 17, 2022




Being logical, rational and reasonable is no defence against Leftist hate

Nathan Cofnas

According to the mainstream narrative about race, “white supremacy” is an all-controlling social force responsible for bad outcomes such as racial disparities. According to an alternative narrative popular on the far-Right, Jewish influence is a similarly powerful force, which explains outcomes disliked by those on the Right, such as multiculturalism and mass immigration.

Last year, I published a paper in the Israeli philosophy journal Philosophia arguing that both the woke and the far-Right narratives are wrong and rooted in similar errors. I focus on the work of Cal State Long Beach psychologist Kevin MacDonald. MacDonald argues that Judaism is a “group evolutionary strategy,” and that Jews were a necessary condition for the triumph of liberalism, which he sees as bad for white gentiles. His approach is similar to that of MSNBC anchors who cherry-pick (real or imagined) examples of racism and then spin fanciful stories about how these isolated cases illustrate a “system” of “white supremacy.” MacDonald points to examples of prominent Jews promoting liberalism, ignores prominent liberal gentiles, and claims to find evidence that Jewish liberals are secretly motivated to undermine gentile society for the benefit of their co-ethnics.

In my paper I address three specific false claims made by MacDonald and other advocates of the anti-Jewish narrative: Jews (a) are highly ethnocentric, (b) hypocritically promote liberal multiculturalism for gentiles/Western countries but not for Jews/Israel, and (c) were responsible for liberalism and mass immigration to the US.

Why bother refuting MacDonald? Why not just dismiss him as an antisemite? There are at least three reasons to engage with him. First, some respected scholars have (publicly or privately) endorsed his ideas. Second, Jewish influence is a legitimate topic for scientific investigation, and his theory cannot be dismissed a priori. Third, he has been enormously influential on the far-Right, and many of his readers interpreted the lack of a refutation as proof that there are no good arguments against his views. So both scholarly and political considerations dictate that he should be given a fair hearing.

On January 1st, MacDonald’s reply to me, “The ‘Default Hypothesis’ Fails to Explain Jewish Influence,” appeared online in Philosophia. I strongly agree with the decision to publish this. If there are compelling reasons to publish my side of the debate, then the other side should be given a chance to make its case. MacDonald’s response meets the normal standards of publishability, ergo it should be published. Mainstream scholarship in all areas with which I am familiar (philosophy, psychology, nutrition, etc.) often distorts sources, cherry-picks facts, and the like. The fact that MacDonald’s scholarship displays these flaws does not, therefore, seem like a sufficient reason to deny him (but no one else) the right to reply to criticism.

But many philosophers do not think that controversial ideas should be discussed—let alone defended—in academic journals. And so the backlash swiftly followed. On January 2nd, Philosophia’s associate editor Moti Mizrahi called on the editor-in-chief Asa Kasher to “reconsider” the publication of MacDonald’s paper, then resigned in protest.

The next day, University of South Carolina philosophy professor Justin Weinberg, who runs a popular philosophy blog called Daily Nous, wrote a post attacking Philosophia, MacDonald, and me.

When I first started writing on conspiracy theories about Jews, I thought this would win me some political correctness points. After all, I say there is not a Jewish conspiracy! But, as I discovered, that’s not how it works. The only way you’re allowed to criticize a politically incorrect idea is to call its proponents a slur ending in “-ist,” “-ite,” or “denier.” If you try to provide evidence against it then you are guilty of taking the evil idea seriously and therefore just as doubleplusungood as someone who actually believes it. Luckily, I don’t care about gaining political correctness points, or I would live my life very differently.

The original version of Weinberg’s post (archived here) begins with the calumny that both MacDonald and I agree that “Jews insinuated themselves into positions of power and influence, ‘transforming America contrary to white interests.’” This is of course the opposite of what I argue. As I say in the abstract, one of the three main points of my paper is to refute the claim that “Jews are responsible for liberalism and mass immigration to the United States.” And I have never framed my critiques of leftism in terms of “white interests.” After I complained, Weinberg revised his opening sentence slightly. But his post still says that the fact that an Israeli journal published these papers must pose a challenge to “presumptions of [the] debate” that both MacDonald and I accept—as if I, too, believe in a Jewish conspiracy to censor discussion of Jews.

This is not the first time Weinberg has spread such lies about me after I crossed an ideological red line. In 2020, for example, he published a guest post falsely claiming that I support racial segregation in education. Once again, thousands of philosophers will read an outrageous lie about me. Weinberg did this without even providing a link to my paper where people could see what it actually said and quickly discover that he was misrepresenting it.

Nor did Weinberg provide a link to MacDonald’s paper, which he portrayed as a mad, nonacademic, antisemitic rant. (I will say more about this misrepresentation in a moment.) Many philosophers in the Daily Nous comments section and on social media have said that MacDonald’s paper should be retracted and/or that this isn’t a legitimate topic for discussion in an academic journal. But no one produced good arguments for these positions.

In one of the most upvoted comments on Daily Nous, SUNY Buffalo philosophy professor Lewis Powell notes that MacDonald’s work “has been roundly rejected by his own former institution, at the level of his department all the way up to the entire academic senate.” For Powell, this is an important reason “why we shouldn’t engage [MacDonald] academically.” If you’re looking for an idea that’s not worth considering, I cannot think of a better example than we shouldn’t discuss X because X has been rejected by some faculty senate. (After I pointed out how ridiculous this is, Powell denied saying what he clearly said.)

Powell also blames me for “elevating [MacDonald’s] non-serious non-academic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories into more serious academic venues by engaging them.” Other commenters similarly compare MacDonald’s work to theories like flat-earthism that do not merit serious discussion. But here’s the thing: MacDonald’s work is not like flat-earthism, nor is it “non-academic.” I have suggested that his arguments are based on “systematically misrepresented sources and cherry-picked facts.” But, as I mentioned earlier, so is a great deal of mainstream scholarship that is published without controversy. MacDonald provides quotes and evidence—most of which are not completely made up—that on the face of it seem to support his case. An intelligent, informed reader cannot immediately know what’s wrong with his arguments. If MacDonald had employed his talent for misrepresentation and cherry-picking in the service of wokism—if he concluded that whites rather than Jews are the source all of the world’s problems—he would have had a distinguished career publishing in leading journals.

Lingnan philosophy professor Derek Baker suggests that “a journal could adopt ‘We’ll publish any controversial idea—except Nazi conspiracy theories’, as its editorial policy, and that would work fine.” Although this might sound good in theory, such a policy might not be so fine in practice. Virtually all conservatives have views that would be considered in some broad sense to be “Nazi conspiracy theories” by many liberal academics. Every Republican president and presidential nominee since World War II has been compared to Hitler by many on the Left. (It didn’t start with Trump.) The 2024 Republican nominee, as well as everyone who votes for him or her, will no doubt be seen by many academics as “literally Hitler.” Even liberals who deviate slightly from woke orthodoxy—such as Kathryn Paige Harden, who acknowledges that genes play a role in individual differences in ability and personality—are sometimes accused of holding Nazi views. Who is going to decide what views count as “Nazi conspiracy theories” that are disqualified from discussion in journals?

Under the editorship of Asa Kasher, Philosophia has been one of the few respected journals in the field that is open to publishing work defending genuinely controversial views. Not coincidentally, it has also featured some of the most interesting philosophy papers in recent years. The fact that it is an Israeli journal run by Jewish editors makes the publication of MacDonald’s paper a particularly bold statement: all sides of a debate should be heard, and we are not afraid of Kevin MacDonald’s arguments.

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Hillary Clinton criticizes 'white moderates' with quote from MLK after Senators Sinema and Manchin backed the filibuster and killed Biden's voting rights plans

Hillary Clinton took a thinly veiled dig at Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin on Friday, tweeting out a Martin Luther King quote about 'the white moderate' who ends up blocking 'the flow of social progress.'

It came less than 24 hours after the two holdout senators effectively killed President Biden's hopes of pushing through voting rights legislation.

As if there were any doubt at what she meant, she cheekily added: 'This is a subtweet.'

After combining to first weaken and then stop Biden's huge Build Back Better spending plans last year, the two centrist senators on Thursday restated their opposition to reforming the Senate's filibuster rule.

That meant Biden and his party lieutenants would need 60 votes to steer through his package of voter protection measures - an impossible task given Republican opposition.

Clinton, a former Democratic presidential candidate, offered the words of King in response.

'MLK Jr. said: “I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice, and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress,"' she tweeted.

'This is a subtweet.'

King's line - taken from his 1963 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail' - set out his disappointment with some white people allied to the civil rights cause, who said the right things but balked at the direct methods necessary to get results.

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Another Muslim hater with a conspiracy theory about Jews

A woman who who worked as a volunteer with victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster and claimed on Facebook that victims of the blaze were 'burnt alive in a Jewish sacrifice' has been found guilty of stirring up race hate.

Tahra Ahmed, 51, posted 'virulently' antisemitic conspiracy theories on social media, with one sent just days after the fire in West London that claimed the lives of 72 people.

An Old Bailey jury deliberated for eight hours to find her guilty - by a majority of 11 to one - of two charges of stirring up racial hatred by publishing written material.

During the trial, prosecutor Hugh French said Ahmed's posts in January and June 2017 had 'crossed the line as to what is acceptable in a liberal society'.

On June 18, 2017 - four days after the disaster - she posted a video on Facebook of the blaze and referred to it as a 'Jewish sacrifice'.

She stated: 'I've been at the scene, at the protest and at the community meetings and have met many of the victims...some who were still in the same clothes they escaped in.

'They are very real and genuine, their pain and suffering is raw and deep and their disgusting neglect by authorities continues.

'Watch the footage of people trapped in the inferno with flames behind them.

'They were burnt alive in a Jewish sacrifice.'

Ahmed went on to link Grenfell to an antisemitic conspiracy surrounding the 9/11 terror attacks in New York in 2001.

On June 18, 2017 - four days after the disaster - she posted a video on Facebook of the blaze and referred to it as a 'Jewish sacrifice'. Pictured: Grenfell Tower ablaze on June 14, 2017

An earlier post, on January 26 2017, also set out an antisemitic conspiracy theory, jurors were told.

Police launched an investigation after a story was published in The Times newspaper on December 11, 2017, focusing on some of those who attended public meetings after the fire.

An examination of Ahmed's Facebook account revealed a history of antisemitic comments, the court heard.

Mr French said that, while Ahmed's Facebook account demonstrated 'strongly held beliefs', the two posts identified were 'clear demonstrations of racial hatred'.

The prosecutor said: 'Looking at the language of the posts, the crude racial stereotyping and the insulting tone, the Crown say that you can infer that she posted them either intending to stir up racial hatred (or) that racial hatred was likely to be stirred up.'

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Land of the free? Liberty has dwindled for most Americans over past 20 years because federal government has encroached on freedoms previously decided by individual states

Americans' freedoms have been gradually eroded over the last 20 years, a new study has found, with the COVID-19 pandemic giving local officials more power over everyday life.

A new study by the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank that promotes individual liberty, limited government and free markets, has assessed each of the 50 states under 23 different categories and produced an overall ranking.

The most and least free states are unchanged - New York being the least free, followed by Hawaii and California, and New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada being the most free.

The three least free states all have Democrat governors; two of the three freest states have Republican governors, except Nevada, ruled by Democrat Steve Sisolak.

William Ruger and Jason Sorens, the Cato Institute researchers who compiled the annual report, said that their analysis showed individual liberties were being curtailed across the board.

'Although the rights of some have increased significantly in certain areas, for the average American, freedom has declined generally because of federal policy that includes encroachment on policies that states controlled 20 years ago,' they state.

They looked at factors that varied depending on the state - such as taxation, marriage restrictions, rules around wearing seatbelts in cars and helmets on motorbikes, and marijuana and gambling laws.

New Hampshire, whose motto is 'live free or die', unsurprisingly came at or near the top on most metrics - although they were at the bottom of the rankings for land use and marriage equality.

'We ground our conception of freedom on an individual rights framework. In our view, individuals should be allowed to dispose of their lives, liberties, and property as they see fit, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others,' the authors wrote.

'This understanding of freedom follows from the natural-rights liberal thought of John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and Robert Nozick, but it is also consistent with the rights-generating rule-utilitarianism of Herbert Spencer and others.'

Florida was ranked the freest state, with no individual income tax. 'Florida does especially well on economic freedom, and even more so on fiscal policy,' the authors write. 'Indeed, it is our top state on both.

Florida is followed by Tennessee and third New Hampshire.

'The Volunteer State lacks an income tax, and both state and local tax collections fall well below the national average,' the report notes.

New Hampshire's overall tax burden is well below the national average at 8.1 percent. The state government taxes less than any other state but Alaska.

The average individual income tax rate for all taxpayers is 13.3 percent, according to a Tax Foundation report from February 2021.

All three states have Republican governors.

EDUCATION

Arizona, Florida and Indiana are leading the way when it comes to education, taking into account requirements and restrictions for private and homeschools.

The most restrictive states are North Dakota, ranked 50, followed by Nebraska and Michigan

'North Dakota remains the very worst state in the country for educational freedom,' the authors write.

'Private schools and homeschools are both more harshly regulated than anywhere else, and the state has no private or public school choice.'

The Cato Institute recommends that Doug Burgum, the Republican governor of North Dakota, eliminate teacher licensing, mandatory state approval, and detailed curriculum requirements for private schools, and reduce the notification and record-keeping burdens on homeschooling families.

Maryland - ranked 46th for educational freedom - 'is one of the least free states in the country, and it has had this status since the beginning of our time series in 2000,' the authors write.

Homeschools and private schools are tightly regulated, the latter more so, thanks to mandatory state approval and teacher licensing.

The state raised the years of compulsory schooling from 11 to 12 in 2014, and then to 13 in 2017.

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Sunday, January 16, 2022


The Chinese are insecure about their eyelid shape

In a remarkable example of a cultural cringe, Chinese have taken Western eyes as the ideal. It is common throughout Asia among those who can afford it to have their eyelids "done" by a plastic surgeon. They beat themselves up over it

image from https://www.neican.org/content/images/2022/01/1640672787195407-1.jpeg

A deplored image


Chinese netizens have been debating about “squinty eyes” in the last few weeks. The debates centred on a series of advertisement posters from Three Squirrels, a Chinese snack maker, featuring a model with small, narrow eyes.

At the heart of the controversy is the perception by some Chinese netizens that these ads invoked the “slanted eyes” stereotype associated historically with Western racism against Asians. On that basis, they accused Three Squirrels of being “unpatriotic” and “insulting China”.

The Three Squirrels controversy is not an isolated instance. Recently, Mercedes Benz and Dior also came under fire for depicting models with small, narrow eyes in their ads. Chinese animated film I Am What I Am, a story about a boy and his friends chasing their dreams and becoming lion dancers, have come under attack for the eye shape and size of the main characters.

Hypersensitivity

This torrent of outcry underscores China’s political and social environment. Deteriorating relations between China and the US, paranoia about external and internal enemies, Chinese state propaganda, and social media dynamics have made the soil conducive for nationalist discourse.

The Chinese party-state and a portion of the Chinese public have become hypersensitive to perceived insults. This hypersensitivity is hurting China’s relations with the broader world and eroding political tolerance at home.

Yes, the “slanted eyes” stereotype has a long history of association with Western racism against Asians. One prominent example of this is the fictional character Fu Manchu, the personification of the “yellow peril” threat to Western society.

And, indeed, the label “slit eyes” and its associated pulled-eye gesture are highly offensive to Asians even though Western mainstream societies no longer consider Asian eye features as a mark of racial inferiority.

Regardless, today’s racists, like their predecessors, tend to assert their superiority by exaggerating minor variations in human genetics. A slightly more pronounced epicanthic fold becomes “slit-eyed”; a slightly different skin tone becomes “yellow”.

But the Chinese critics are overreacting. They are projecting their nationalist agendas, paranoia and sensibilities onto the aesthetic expressions and intentions of others.

In the case of Three Squirrels, this is a local Chinese company selling to Chinese consumers. Why would it intentionally “insult” its customers by getting into bed with Western racism? It makes no sense whatsoever. A better explanation is that the company was trying to capitalise on international fashion trends.

Some idiots have attacked the model featured in the ads for her looks, labelling her “unpatriotic”. How can the features of one’s eyes be “unpatriotic”? Can the shape of a cloud or the contours of a mountain be “unpatriotic”?

In the eyes of the beholder

Large, double-lid eyes are considered beautiful by the Chinese mainstream. This preference is so strong that millions of young Chinese feel the need to undergo double eyelid surgery every year. Some critics have internalised this preference so deeply that they seem incapable of comprehending that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder: “are you telling me some people find small eyes beautiful? That’s absurd!”

The more sophisticated critics argue that the Three Squirrels controversy underlines the cultural and aesthetic hegemony of the West. They say that China needs to fight western oppression by developing its cultural and aesthetic confidence. Central to this narrative is the idea that bad apples in China are helping the West by self-Orientalising.

But this argument is fatally flawed. First, the standard of beauty varies across time and cultures. For much of China’s dynastic history, tiny feet and small eyes, for example, are considered physically appealing. The mainstream standard of beauty in China today is a distinctively modern product, one heavily influenced by western material culture and aesthetics.

Second, despite calls for emancipation, these critics are having the opposite effect: enforcing conformity of aesthetic expression. Ironically, their aesthetic intolerance is stigmatising their compatriots with small, narrow eyes, the very features that were used historically by Western racists as symbolism for Asian degeneracy.

Moreover, times have changed, aesthetic tastes have shifted, and aesthetic symbols are being repurposed. Small, narrow eyes and other Asian physical features have actually become cool among many Western youngsters due to the global influence of Asian culture.

Yet, some Chinese critics are trapped in the past. Unable to transcend their own prejudices and ignorance, they fail to see the transformative potential of embracing diversity.

A mature society allows space for political and aesthetic pluralism. The Chinese don’t need any more shackles on freedom of expression, including self-imposed ones introduced in the name of liberation.

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Why Voter ID Requirements Make Sense

Last March, 220 of the 221 Democrats in the House—but not one Republican—voted to pass the For the People Act.

The introduction to the bill claimed it had the following purpose: “To expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and for other purposes.”

“Congress also finds that states and localities have eroded access to the right to vote through restrictions on the right to vote including excessively onerous voter identification requirements,” said the bill.

One section of the bill carried this title: “Permitting use of sworn written statement to meet identification requirements for voting.” It says:

Except as provided in subsection (c), if a state has in effect a requirement that an individual present identification as a condition of receiving and casting a ballot in an election for federal office, the state shall permit the individual to meet the requirement—(A) in the case of an individual who desires to vote in person, by presenting the appropriate state or local election official with a sworn written statement, signed by the individual under penalty of perjury, attesting to the individual’s identity and attesting that the individual is eligible to vote in the election; or (B) in the case of an individual who desires to vote by mail, by submitting with the ballot the statement described in subparagraph (A).

“The [Election Assistance] Commission,” the bill said, “shall develop a preprinted version of the statement described in paragraph (1)(A) which includes a blank space for an individual to provide a name and signature for use by election officials in states which are subject to paragraph (1).”

So, if this bill were to become law, a person could simply sign a preprinted government form and drop a ballot in a mailbox without presenting anyone with an identification.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has offered a slightly stricter bill in the Senate. It is called the Freedom to Vote Act.

One part of this bill is headlined: “Voter Identification and Allowable Alternatives.” It says in part: “If a state or local jurisdiction has a voter identification requirement, the state or local jurisdiction—(A) shall treat any applicable identifying document as meeting such voter identification requirement.”

“The term ‘applicable identifying document’ means, with respect to any individual, any document issued to such individual containing the individual’s name,” the bill says.

It then stipulates that this document can only have expired within the past four years. “The term ‘applicable identifying documents,’” says the bill, “shall include any of the following (so long as that document has not expired or, if expired, expired no earlier than four years before the date of presentation).”

Some of the “applicable identifying documents” then listed in the bill are completely reasonable: “A driver’s license or an identification card issued by a state, the federal government, or a state or federally recognized tribal government.”

Some are more dubious: “A bank card or debit card.”

So, if this bill became law, a debit card that expired in 2021 would be a valid identification for someone voting in 2024.

It is not unreasonable in the 21st century to require people who want to vote to demonstrate that they are legally eligible to do so by presenting a valid form of identification.

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The Great Re-sorting Is Here

Americans have been fleeing the most liberal states in mass numbers. Those numbers are about to increase even more.

Between July 2020 and July 2021, approximately 352,198 residents of New York state embarked for warmer climes. Over that same period, the District of Columbia lost 2.9% of its population. California lost 367,299 people via net domestic migration. Illinois, another failing blue state, saw a net domestic out-migration of 122,460 people.

Where did all these blue state refugees go? To red states, of course. Texas picked up 170,307 Americans migrating from other areas. Florida picked up 220,890 people. Arizona picked up 93,026. Idaho had the fastest annual population increase in the nation.

The only region of the country to gain population was the South, which now holds 38.3% of the total population of the country—and which picked up 657,682 Americans migrating from different areas. The Northeast is now the least populous region in the United States, and saw a net population decrease of 365,795 residents. All net increase in population in the West was due to births and international migration, not domestic moves.

It’s not just individuals—it’s companies. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, just signed the largest-ever lease in downtown Austin for floors 34 through 66 of the tallest tower in the city. Elon Musk has relocated his company headquarters to Texas. My own Daily Wire relocated in 2020 from California to Nashville, Tennessee.

In other words, red state governance is a magnet; blue state governance is a disaster. Yet blue states cannot change course. They cannot simply jettison their adherence to failed ideas like single-payer health care or voting for illegal immigrants. To do so would be to acknowledge error. And so instead, they are banking on unearned moral superiority—virtue signaling—to fill the gap where good governance should be.

Thus, red states are grandma-killing hellholes (where blue state legislators vacation); red states are brutal suppressors of voting rights (where Stacey Abrams wants to run for governor again); red states are filled with vicious dog-eat-dog trickle-down capitalists (who must be taxed to pay for national spending programs).

None of this is bound to convince Americans to vote Democrat. It’s not designed to do so.

Democrats have banked on a consistent electoral strategy since former President Barack Obama’s 2012 victory—the strategy of driving out a base comprised of minority voters and college-educated women. But that strategy is collapsing—as Ruy Teixeira, once the nation’s leading proponent of that strategy, admitted in November, “If Hispanic voting trends continue to move steadily against the Democrats, the pro-Democratic effect of nonwhite population growth will be blunted, if not cancelled out entirely, and that very influential Democratic theory of the case falls apart.”

It’s falling apart in real time. But Democrats can’t pull out of the tailspin. They’re too invested in the lie that their programs are popular to notice how many Americans are calling up U-Haul.

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49 Pro-Life Groups Urge Senate Opposition to Biden’s Nominee for FDA

A coalition of pro-life organizations expressed opposition Wednesday to the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s choice to run the Food and Drug Administration, saying the nominee has used selective research to push approval of mail-order abortion pills and to ignore their risks.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on Biden’s nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to be FDA commissioner. Califf previously served in the position during the final 11 months of President Barack Obama’s administration, from Feb. 22, 2016, to Jan. 20, 2017.

If confirmed by the full Senate, Califf would replace Dr. Janet Woodcock, who has served as the acting commissioner for the past year.

While Califf was at the FDA helm, the agency in 2016 reduced the reporting and safety requirements on chemical abortions, making a pregnant woman’s death the only adverse event the FDA required to be reported. Previously, the FDA had required that severe, life-threatening adverse reactions be reported.

In December, the Biden administration’s FDA moved to weaken long-standing safety regulations against mail-order abortion drugs to allow for at-home use without medical oversight.

“Now, the Biden administration seeks your consent to return Dr. Robert Califf to the top spot at the FDA, where he will be asked to approve mail-order chemical abortion,” says the coalition letter from 49 pro-life leaders, spearheaded by the Susan B. Anthony List. “With a track record of rubber-stamping abortion industry demands and with permanent authorization of unsafe mail-order abortion hanging in the balance, Califf is the wrong choice for FDA commissioner. We urge you to vote ‘no’ on his nomination.”

The coalition letter notes that during Califf’s confirmation hearing in front of the committee, he didn’t address his role in weakening safeguards against the abortifacient drug.

“Instead, he told the committee that he trusted that any decision made by the FDA would be based on the best available data,” the coalition letter says. “There is a cruel irony in the fact that FDA data is ‘woefully inadequate’ data, due to Califf’s own decisions while serving as FDA commissioner during the Obama administration.”

The “woefully inadequate” reference was to a 2021 study published on the approval of chemical abortion medication that said:

The FDA Adverse Event Reporting System is woefully inadequate to determine the post-marketing safety of mifepristone due to [the system’s] inability to adequately assess the frequency or severity of adverse events.

The reliance solely on interested parties to report, the large percentage of uncodable events, the redaction of critical clinical information unrelated to personally identifiable information, and the inadequacy of the reports highlight the need to overhaul the current [Adverse Event Reporting] System.

The coalition letter notes that even with the lack of data, there were 20 reported deaths from chemical abortions and about 600 life-threatening emergencies, and more than 2,000 other severe events reported.

“Califf has a record of putting the abortion lobby’s extreme agenda ahead of women’s safety and the lives of unborn children,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement Wednesday. “There is little doubt he will permanently authorize mail-order abortions if confirmed to lead the FDA. The Senate must protect mothers and children by rejecting his nomination.”

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My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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Friday, January 14, 2022



George Monbiot does not like Britain's attempt to rein in Gypsy lawlessness

George is a veteran Green/Leftist. He thinks "mobile people" should be given free land and their chronic criminality should be ignored

At last, we are waking up to the astonishingly oppressive measures in the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, intended to criminalise effective protest. At last, there has been some coverage in the media, though still far too little. The Labour party is finally feeling some heat, and may find itself obliged to stop appeasing the Daily Mail and vote against the government’s brutal amendments in the House of Lords next week.

But as we focus on this threat, we’re in danger of forgetting something else buried in this monstrous bill. It’s the provision that turns trespass from a civil into a criminal offence, allowing the police to arrest people who are Gypsies, Roma and Travellers (GRT) and confiscate their homes, if they stop in places that have not been designated for them. Under the proposed law, any adult member of the group can be imprisoned for up to three months. Given that authorised sites and stopping places cannot accommodate the GRT people who need them, this is a deliberate attack on a vulnerable minority.

Put these elements together – the curtailment of protest and the persecution of a minority, alongside blatant corruption and barefaced lies, the bypassing of parliament and the new power in the nationality and borders bill enabling the government arbitrarily to remove people’s citizenship – and you see the makings of an authoritarian state. These measures look horribly familiar to anyone cognisant of 20th-century European history. But they also have deep roots in Britain’s peculiar brutalities.

Similarly, people who are Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have been deprived of places where they can lawfully stop, and then punished for the absence of provision. According to a study by the Community Architecture Group, between 1986 and 1993 roughly two-thirds of traditional Travellers’ sites, some of which had been used for thousands of years, were blocked and closed. Then, in 1994, John Major’s Criminal Justice Act granted the police new powers against GRT people stopping without authorisation. With a cruel and perverse twist, the same act repealed the duty of local government to provide authorised sites, and removed the grant aid funding these sites. Partly as a result, a recent study by the group Friends, Families and Travellers found that, of the 68 local authorities they surveyed, only eight had met their own identified need for Gypsy and Traveller pitches. Though there is a long waiting list of GRT households seeking authorised sites and stopping places, official pitches have declined by 8% in the past 10 years.

Now the new bill would enable the police to confiscate people’s vehicles (in other words their homes) on the mere suspicion of trespass. When their homes have been seized and their parents arrested, GRT children are likely to be taken into care. The police bill would deprive this minority of everything: homes, livelihoods, identity, culture, even their families.

And, like the homeless people trapped between the Vagrancy Act and the housing qualification, it would put people who are Gypsies, Roma and Travellers in an impossible position. To apply for an official pitch, you must demonstrate “proof of travelling”. But if you don’t have access to official pitches, travelling will put you outside the new law. In other words, it is not a particular behaviour that is being criminalised. It is the minority itself.

The new authoritarianism meshes with a very old one, that harks back to an imagined world in which the peasants could be neatly divided into villeins (good) and vagrants (bad), where everyone knew their place, geographically and socially. Of course, the demonisation of mobile people, whether Roma or asylum seekers, does not extend to the government ministers and newspaper editors who might shift between their pads in London and their second homes in Cornwall or Tuscany. It’s about the rich controlling the poor, as if democracy had never happened.

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How This Labor Department Nominee Threatens 59 Million Workers

According to a study by Upwork, 59 million Americans, or 1 in 3 workers, performed independent work in 2021. And 9 out of 10 of them believe that “the best days are ahead” for freelancing.

(Freelancing, independent work, contracting, gig work, and self-employment all describe work that individuals perform independently instead of for a traditional employer).

But that could all change if the Senate decides to confirm David Weil to run the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

Weil’s track record in that same position under the Obama administration, and his statements and efforts to attack independent workers, would not only dampen their bright outlooks, but could put their entire livelihoods and ways of living on the line.

Independent work was growing even before the pandemic, as a desire for more flexibility and autonomy caused some people to shift from traditional employment to independent work. The pandemic has only increased the desire for greater flexibility and autonomy. In 2021, 56% of non-freelancers said they are likely to freelance in the future.

Another factor contributing to the rise in independent work is that the be-your-own boss model opens doors to work for people who otherwise couldn’t work. In 2021, 55% of independent workers said they were not able to work for a traditional employer because of personal circumstances such as their health or child care needs.

Independent workers are also significantly happier with their jobs and work-life balance, with about half of independent workers saying that no amount of money would cause them to switch from freelancing to traditional employment.

Many businesses—especially smaller ones—rely heavily on independent contractors to grow and compete with bigger companies. Employers with four or fewer employees use seven contractors, on average, to run their businesses.

Yet, the policies advocated by Weil deny that working for oneself could be better than working for a traditional employer and having one’s workplace conditions, compensation, and hours universally set by a labor union.

One of the Biden administration’s and Weil’s primary goals it to implement the PRO Act—a Big Labor wish list that includes upending independent contracting.

But that’s just the start. Among other things, the PRO Act would also: take away workers’ privacy and their right to a secret-ballot election; upend the labor market by overturning the franchise business model; invalidate 27 states’ right-to-work laws; and legalize secondary boycotts (subjecting neutral businesses to union-led strikes, boycotts, and harassment).

With most of the PRO Act’s radical agenda not possible through regular order nor through the reconciliation process, a Wall Street Journal commentary noted, “The White House will deputize the Labor Department to implement as much of it as possible through regulatory fiat. Weil would be a chief enforcer, and history shows he won’t be shy.”

Weil’s tenure over the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division under the Obama administration included regulatory measures that made it harder for people to work for themselves and harder for businesses—especially smaller ones—to grow and thrive.

The attack on franchise businesses under Weil—based on an academic paper he wrote about it as opposed to any real-world experience—was estimated to have cost franchise businesses as much as $33.3 billion annually, reduced employment by 376,000 jobs, and caused a 93% spike in lawsuits against franchises.

The Trump administration undid that damage—rightly determining legal liability based on whether a company has direct and immediate control of a worker. But now, the success and survival of thousands of franchise brands—including about 730,000 individual franchise operations and 8.4 million workers—could be on the line, including 39% of female franchise owners who say they would not have been able to own their business without the franchise model.

And Weil has proven his audacity to ignore statutory limits of administrative authority. If confirmed, Weil will likely attempt to revive his previous overtime exemption rule that was determined “unlawful” by a federal court in 2016. The judge in that decision—Obama-appointee Judge Amos L. Mazzant III—said, “the department exceeds its delegated authority and ignores Congress’ intent.”

The labor market is incredibly strong right now and a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic has been increased flexibility, autonomy, and more family-friendly workplace policies. Most workers don’t want to step back two years in time, less yet more than half-a-century to the one-size-fits-all industrial-era union model Weil wants to impose.

Moreover, with agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration already overstepping their statutory authority through vaccine and testing mandates on private employers, Congress shouldn’t arm the Department of Labor with someone who has proven his penchant for overstepping authority.

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Who Is Ray Epps? DOJ Won’t Say

Top federal law enforcement officials have declined to answer numerous questions about Ray Epps, the Arizona resident captured on video encouraging Jan. 6, 2021, protesters to breach Capitol Hill.

Controversy has surrounded Epps in recent months due to questions about his possible connection to law enforcement. Despite video evidence of him making repeated calls for action, Epps hasn’t been charged in relation to the Jan. 6 incident, and his photo has been removed from the government’s list of most-wanted people from the event.

The Democratic-led House committee investigating the breach reportedly stated on Jan. 11 that it has interviewed Epps, and that Epps denied any connection to law enforcement.

But at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing earlier that day, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) were unsuccessful in obtaining answers about Epps.

Cruz asked Jill Sanborn, FBI assistant director for national security, 10 questions about Epps and other potential undercover feds, none of which received substantial answers.

Sanborn admitted that she is aware of Epps, but said she doesn’t have “specific background for him.”

When Cruz asked whether Epps worked with the FBI, Sanborn declined to answer—likewise for when Cruz asked about whether federal informants participated in the riots, encouraged the riots, or removed barriers.

“I cannot answer that,” Sanborn responded to each query.

“Five seconds after Mr. Epps whispered to a person, that same person began forcibly tearing down the barricades. Did Mr. Epps urge them to tear down the barricades?” Cruz asked.

“Similar to the other answers, I cannot answer that,” Sanborn replied.

Cotton asked a similar line of questions to Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen, the head of DOJ’s national security branch.

Olsen said he wasn’t aware of any plainclothes officers among the Jan. 6 crowd, and that he didn’t know whether any undercover agents entered the Capitol.

“Your answers are all ‘I don’t know,’” Cotton said. “Did you prepare for this hearing? Did you know it was happening before this morning?”

Olsen also said he didn’t have any information about Epps.

“This was a man on the most-wanted page for six months. Do you really expect us to believe that you don’t know anything about him?” Cotton asked

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Joe Biden's workplace COVID-19 vaccine mandate blocked by US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court has blocked President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccination-or-testing mandate for large businesses, with the conservative justices deeming the policy an improper imposition on the lives and health of many Americans.

Mr Biden voiced disappointment with the conservative-majority court's decision to halt his administration's rule requiring vaccines or weekly COVID-19 tests for employees at businesses with at least 100 employees.

Mr Biden said it was up to states and employers to decide whether to require workers "to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated".

The court was divided in both cases, centring on pandemic-related federal regulations at a time of escalating coronavirus infections driven by the Omicron variant in a nation that leads the world with more than 845,000 COVID-19 deaths.

It ruled 6-3 to block the rule involving large businesses — a policy that applied to more than 80 million employees.

The court's majority downplayed the risk COVID-19 specifically posed in the workplace, comparing it instead to "day-to-day" crime and pollution hazards that individuals face everywhere.

The court said it was not an ordinary use of federal power, but instead "a significant encroachment on the lives — and health — of a vast number of employees."

The court said the rule affecting large businesses, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),

"Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life — simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock — would significantly expand OSHA's regulatory authority without clear congressional authorisation," the court added.

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My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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