Boots & Sabers

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France’s Foreign Minister Compared Biden to Trump

Ooo… that’s gotta hurt in the halls of the White House. I wonder if anyone told Biden.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the announcement a “stab in the back”.

He called it a “brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision” that reminded him of former US President Donald Trump.

French diplomats in Washington cancelled a gala to celebrate ties between the US and France in retaliation.

Lawmakers Introduce Anti-Riot Bill

Meh. The problem with preventing/punishing riots doesn’t have anything to do with the laws. There are plenty of laws against destroying property, assaulting people, disrupting traffic, etc. The problem is that they happen in liberal cities where the politicians and local police lack the will to aggressively enforce those laws.

Remaining at a protest that turns violent or destructive could result in felony charges in Wisconsin under a proposal from Republican state lawmakers.

 

Sponsors say the plan is partly in response to last summer’s violence and destruction in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. It would create a definition of “riot” in state law and impose new penalties.

 

Under the bill, a riot would be defined as an unlawful assembly of three or more people that includes an act or threat of violence by at least one person that poses a risk or would result in personal injury or property damage, or an act that “substantially obstructs law enforcement or another governmental function.”

 

The proposal would make it a felony to participate in a riot that results in “substantial damage to property or personal injury,” with a minimum penalty of 45 days in jail and a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine and up to three and a half years in prison. It would also make it a misdemeanor crime to attend or incite a riot or to block a thoroughfare while participating in a riot, with a minimum penalty of at least 30 days incarceration and a maximum penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and 9 months in jail.

Student Debt Breakdown

Interesting data. It helps inform us that when we are talking about the student debt “crisis,” we’re mostly talking about people who took on a lot of debt to go into lucrative professions. To have taxpayers pay that debt is really to have the working class pay off the debt of the professional class.

Overall, graduates with associate’s degrees borrowed an average of $14,000, as compared to bachelor’s degree grads who borrowed $23,000.

 

Then there are master’s degrees, of which the costs have been a large focus of the conversation around the price of higher education in recent months. Master’s degree holders borrowed a median of $40,000, according to the data, while professional degree recipients took out a median of $144,000 while doctoral degree graduates borrowed a median of $73,000, according to the data.

 

“The one pattern that really did jump out at me … is that the student debt for a master’s degree and for professional degrees is just off the charts,” Gillen said. “There’s really, really high debt for graduate programs. That doesn’t always hold for doctoral programs, which I felt was kind of interesting.”

Biden’s Deal Draws Ire of America’s Oldest Ally

Making friends

France is reacting with anger after being left out of an agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia to give Australia nuclear-powered submarines.

 

In a statement issued by French Minister Of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-yves Le Drian and Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, the country said the decision announced on Wednesday “is contrary to the letter and spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia, based on a relationship of political trust as well as on the development of a very high-level defence industrial and technological base in Australia.”

 

The statement went on to call the announcement “regrettable.”

Biden Backs Milley Despite Treason Revelations

Biden’s judgment is remaining consistent.

WASHINGTON — The White House affirmed on Wednesday that it was standing by Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who according to a new book may have circumvented the military chain of command by reassuring a Chinese general he would warn Beijing if then-President Donald Trump ordered a nuclear attack on the rival superpower.

 

“The president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism and his fidelity to our Constitution,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing.

What kind of chumps are we?

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News this week.

America is increasingly becoming a country where if you work hard, play by the rules, take care of your family, and live up to your responsibilities, you are a chump. Not only are you a chump, but you are held in contempt by those who want what you have.

 

Many of us grew up in an America where we were expected to build our own American Dreams. In our teens or early adulthood, we would enter the workforce in some low wage job to work our way up the ladder. Without any real skills or experience, entry level jobs were compensated accordingly. Those first jobs were grunt work, but they taught us responsibility, diligence, work ethic, and the value of a day’s work.
Now the thought of a crummy first job has become taboo. Some people expect their first jobs to be “family supporting” even when there isn’t any family to support. Convinced that they posses a personal dignity that wafts above the demands of menial labor, they sit home and sponge off others while waiting in their lobby of their own future.

 

Some of us chose the path of college to gain an education necessary for our chosen careers. We worked, scrimped, and chose a college within our means. Many of us also borrowed money with the full understanding that it was a debt we were incurring as an investment in our own futures and would pay the money back with the wages of that future.

 

Now we are being told that we must also pay off the bad investments in others’ futures too. When that neighbor kid took out massive loans to go to a college she could not afford to get a degree in something that had little market value, she made a bad investment. But instead of being responsible for her choice, she tells us that we must pay for her bad choice with a righteous entitlement that is only learned in our most esteemed universities.

 

As we began our families, many of us grew up in an America where we were expected to be responsible for them. We had to feed, clothe, house, and educate our children so that they would become responsible adults who could build their own futures and contribute to their communities. This often meant making personal compromises. We scaled our living expenses to live on one income so that one parent could stay home or worked overtime to afford help. We bought the store brand food, took “vacations” to the neighboring county, lived in modest homes, and became masters of the thrift stores.

 

Now we are being told that all those compromises we made in our own lives to care for our own families cannot be expected of others. Instead, we must pay to feed every kid in school whether their families can afford it or not. We must pay for child care for other people’s kids. We are not permitted to question the choices of parents who enjoy their steak dinners and vacations as they expect us to feed, clothe, and provide child care for their children. To ask such questions is deemed insensitive and inappropriate.

 

As we thought about getting older, many of us put money away to care for ourselves in our dotage. We have spent a lifetime pulling money out of our earnings to stash away with the hope of growing old. Again, we made compromises. We ate out less, bought cheaper houses, made that old couch last another year, and just lived with that dent in the car door instead of fixing it. A lifetime of little compromises is the price borne to afford an independent old age.

 

Now we are being told that if we have managed to save a nest egg for ourselves that we must share it with those who never made those compromises. Even now, the liberals in Washington and Madison are eyeing retirement funds as “wealth” to be taxed and taken for those who lived as if they would never grow old.

 

Now President Joe Biden is mandating vaccines, but only for Americans who are working and being responsible. If you are an illegal alien, are on the dole, work for Congress, are a refugee, or refuse to work, you do not have to get vaccinated. Only Americans who are gainfully employed are being forced to choose between getting vaccinated and pauperism. Irrespective of your opinion on federal vaccination mandates (I vehemently oppose them), only Americans who are being responsible, working, contributing members of society are feeling the heavy jack boots of Biden’s mandates.

 

So what kind of chumps are we? Why work hard, make personal compromises, and invest in a future that you will never be able to enjoy?

 

These questions are why socialism always fails. People are compassionate and want to help care for those in our society who are truly not able to care for themselves. When, however, people are forced to work harder to pay for those who are unwilling to care for themselves, they become chumps. And when the chump’s burden of paying for their lazy neighbor becomes too heavy and robs them of the rewards of their labor, then the chumps give up and look for some other chump to pay the bills. The cascade continues until there aren’t any more chumps left to pay.

Parents Push Back on SEL and CRT Curriculum in West Bend

I heard rumblings about the West Bend School Board’s meeting last night, but the video of parents sharing their views is incredibly compelling. Check out the Washington County Insider for more.

Quite a few parents asked the board to call an emergency meeting to remove the SEL and CRT curriculum from the West Bend School District.

 

“Stop teaching SEL in Badger and the high school and take emergency action to remove it now. You are causing harm to our children,” said parent Corine Freund. “It is not safe in our school. My son got beat up last week in your school district and I am tired of it.”

 

Nicole Casper has two children and already removed one from the district opting for homeschooling. “Why do you think it’s ok to continue teaching something parents don’t want,” she said. “Why is there such a pushback against parents who are concerned to have this stopped?”

 

Jamie Dutcher read from SEL curriculum that promoted a website for 13-and-14-year-old children. The website loveisrespect.org reminded students to “clear your history after visiting this website.”

 

“Sex can be a fun and gratifying activity for you and your partners to enjoy together. Five tips for your first time. … You can live chat your questions to us.”

 

Dutcher said she asked superintendent Jen Wimmer about the site and Wimmer told her the website was stricken from the curriculum.

National Guard Called out to Bus Kids

I’m beginning to suspect that there is a bit of mission creep in the National Guard.

The National Guard has been mobilized in Massachusetts to ferry kids to and from school amid a nationwide shortage of bus drivers exacerbated by COVID.

 

Up to 250 members of the Guard will be activated to address the shortage, following a direct order from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to deploy the servicemen, as school and state officials across the country have been forced to deal with the dearth of drivers.

The stated mission of the Guard is:

The Army National Guard’s federal mission is to maintain well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and provide assistance during national emergencies (such as natural disasters or civil disturbances).

Does a bus driver shortage really meet this threshold? Remember that members of the Guard have day jobs. They have to leave those jobs, travel away from their families, and give up their personal time when they are called into action. I expect that serving members are more than willing to do that to keep a city from being burned by rioters, helping recover from a hurricane, or going to actual war, but to drive kids to school?

Given the personal sacrifices that Guard members make whenever they are called up, we shouldn’t be so cavalier about it. They are not just a bunch of temp employees for the governor to use at will. They have a specific mission.

Democrats Looking to Feed the Spending Beast With Massive Tax Hikes

Just remember than whenever you see people saying that taxes will only impact “the rich,” that is how the income tax was originally sold.

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats unveiled a sweeping proposal for tax hikes on big corporations and the wealthy to fund President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan, as Congress speeds ahead to shape the far-reaching package that touches almost all aspects of domestic life.

 

The proposed top tax rate would revert to 39.6% on individuals earning more than $400,000, or $450,000 for couples, and there would be a 3% tax on wealthier Americans with adjusted income beyond $5 million a year. For big businesses, the proposal would lift the corporate tax rate from 21% to 26.5% on incomes beyond $5 million, slightly less than the 28% rate the president had sought.

 

In all, the tax hikes are in line with Biden’s own proposals and would bring about the most substantive changes in the tax code since Republicans with then-President Donald Trump slashed taxes in 2017. Business and anti-tax groups are sure to object. But Democrats are pressing forward.

What kind of chumps are we?

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

America is increasingly becoming a country where if you work hard, play by the rules, take care of your family, and live up to your responsibilities, you are a chump. Not only are you a chump, but you are held in contempt by those who want what you have.

 

[…]

 

Now President Joe Biden is mandating vaccines, but only for Americans who are working and being responsible. If you are an illegal alien, are on the dole, work for Congress, are a refugee, or refuse to work, you do not have to get vaccinated. Only Americans who are gainfully employed are being forced to choose between getting vaccinated and pauperism. Irrespective of your opinion on federal vaccination mandates (I vehemently oppose them), only Americans who are being responsible, working, contributing members of society are feeling the heavy jack boots of Biden’s mandates.

 

So what kind of chumps are we? Why work hard, make personal compromises, and invest in a future that you will never be able to enjoy?

 

Tesla Opens Dealership on Tribal Land to Avoid Law

Coming to Wisconsin.

Electric car manufacturer Tesla opened up its first sales and service center in New Mexico this week thanks to a first-of-its-kind partnership with a tribal nation.

 

New Mexico has laws on the books that prohibit car makers from selling directly to customers without going through third-party dealerships. The law has prevented Tesla from establishing an official presence in the state over the years.

 

But now Tesla has found a way around that. The electric car maker partnered with the first nation of Nambé Pueblo to open its first facility inside a defunct casino on tribal land north of Santa Fe, where the state law does not apply.

 

The facility opened Thursday with tribal leaders and state lawmakers in attendance who praised the deal.

UK Abandons Vaccine Passport Plans

Something like this should be unworkable in a free society. We’ll see how free Americans still are.

PLANS to introduce Covid vaccine passports have been SCRAPPED as Sajid Javid confirms people won’t need them to get into nightclubs and cinemas.

 

The Health Secretary revealed this morning that Covid jab passports won’t be introduced as a measure to fight the virus as we enter the winter months.

 

[…]

 

Previously, it was reported that Tory MPs were furious about the PM’s vaccine passport blueprint – with more than 50 poised to rebel against it in a Commons vote.

 

Steve Baker, deputy head of the Covid Research Group, said it’s “increasingly plain” the plan is about “coercing the young” into getting jabbed.

 

Rebel leader Mark Harper added that vaccine ID will be “pointless, damaging, and discriminatory”.

And earlier today, Mr Javid also confirmed that PRC tests for double-vaccinated Brit holidaymakers will be scrapped “as soon as possible.”

 

The Health Secretary revealed he’s already asked officials to get rid of travel testing rules, as they shouldn’t be in place for a second longer than “absolutely necessary.”

Wisconsin Manufacturers Worry about Mandate During Labor Shortage

Maybe this is a boon for small employers struggling for workers. It’s still a blatantly unconstitutional power grab by a tyrannical executive, but there are always silver linings.

Erik Eisenmann, a labor attorney in Husch Blackwell’s Milwaukee law office, has been hearing from employers who have been hesitant to mandate the vaccine because they don’t want workers to quit during a tight labor market.

 

“I have a lot of clients, especially in the manufacturing space, who tell me as much as 10 percent of the workforce might leave and go down the street and work for another company that doesn’t have a requirement,” Eisenmann said.

 

Torben Christensen, president and CEO of Wiscon Products Inc., a manufacturing parts supplier in Racine, said a mandate would be impossible for employers to monitor.

 

“Our job isn’t to be confrontational with our employees, we can’t even police them for time and attendance right now because there is such a labor shortage,” Christensen said. “How on earth am I going to start policing guys if they decide they don’t want to wear a mask or get the vaccine?”

 

Christensen’s company wouldn’t fall under Biden’s mandate — his company has about 45 employees. At its peak, he had around 65 people working for him.

 

Christensen said finding workers is the hardest part of his job, but he thinks vaccine mandates at larger companies in the area may encourage people to work for him instead.

 

“I feel it’s the guys and gals that are in manufacturing, the blue collar, that are nervous about the vaccine and don’t want to be told what to do by the government,” Christensen said. “I think it will open up opportunities for companies like mine and certainly the service industries that are struggling to find help.”

What I expect is that employers make is so easy to fraud that it isn’t much of a burden for employees at all.

Memo to politicians: Cut taxes

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released two memos last week with very similar numbers about two separate items. The first was about tax collections. The second was about tax expenditures. They tell a story about government and governance in modern America.

 

The first memo was about how money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund is being allocated. As part of the first big coronavirus stimulus bill passed by Congress in March of 2020, the state of Wisconsin was allocated $1.99 billion from the CRF to be used to cover unbudgeted expenses related to the pandemic by government entities. The memo details how the CRF money is being spent on things like health care facilities, payments to hospitals, contact tracing, and other logical things that were directly impacted by the pandemic. The memo also details how the CRF money is being spent on things like movie theater grants, broadband expansion, corporate welfare to ethanol producers, higher education funding, and a nice $233 million bucket for “state agency reimbursements.”

 

The use of CRF money is a perfect example of government and governance operating poorly. The CRF was designed as a gigantic slush fund to take tax dollars from all Americans in the form of federal taxes to be paid by future taxpayers to give to state and local governments in the present. By law, the money must be spent by the end of this year or it must be returned to the federal treasury. That is why the money is being poured into pet projects like broadband expansion, state agencies, and government education systems. Whether they actually need the money or actually incurred pandemic- related expenses is immaterial. What is more important is that the state spend the money before the deadline.

 

One part of the CRF rules is telling. In order to facilitate “administrative convenience,” government school districts can spend up to $500 per pupil without being required to document the specific uses of the spending. The money will be arbitrarily “presumed to be eligible.” This amounts to $410 million in additional government spending that may or may not have anything to do with the pandemic.

 

The second memo that the LFB released had to do with a surplus in tax collections. When the Legislature wrote the budget in 2019 before the pandemic, they estimated that the state tax laws would collect about $17.6 billion in taxes for the general fund. The preliminary final estimate shows that the state actually collected $19.6 million in taxes. The state collected about $1.9 million more in taxes than they thought they would.

 

Bearing in mind that the original estimate did not take into account the pandemic, the surplus tax collections are astounding. In the 2020-2021 state budget, the Republicans in the Legislature fought off Governor Evers’ attempt to raise taxes and cut them instead. The result is what we generally see when government cuts taxes — tax collections go up.

 

The simple reason for this is because money is taxed when it moves. When people have more money in their pockets because taxes are lower, they do not bury it in the backyard. They use it. When they spend it or invest it, the money is taxed, thus resulting in higher collections. In particular, the greatest contributor to the tax surplus was higher corporate income tax collections. Corporations took their tax cuts, invested them back into their businesses, and grew taxable profits.

 

There is a point at which cutting taxes will result in lower tax collections because the economy is already flush with money, but all indications are that the state of Wisconsin could still enact large tax increases and still see tax collections increase. This is because Wisconsin’s tax burden is already much higher than it should be to balance tax collections with economic movement.

 

The tax surpluses are an example of government and governance doing something well. The Republican tax cuts put money directly into the pockets of taxpayers and business owners without going through layers of government bureaucracy and expense. The result was that tax collections went up and the state could provide almost the same amount of relief as they received from federal taxpayers in the CRF.

 

The LFB’s two memos highlight how cutting taxes not only results in more taxes being collected, but they also render politicized and bureaucratic relief funds unnecessary by just letting taxpayers keep the money they earned.

 

The best government is the government that governs least.

Biden Expands Reach of Federal Government with Sweeping Orders

I truly mourn the America we’ve lost. If we allow our president to use the violent power of the federal government to force needles into the arms of hundreds of millions of Americans, then we are definitely no longer in the America that previous generations enjoyed.

He said he had directed the US Department of Labor to require all private businesses with 100 or more staff to mandate the jab or request proof of a negative coronavirus test from employees at least once a week.

Nearly 17 million healthcare workers at facilities receiving federal benefits will also face the same requirements, he said.

 

[…]

 

The time for sweet-talking, for cajoling Americans to take the Covid-19 vaccine is over. The time for government mandates has arrived.

That was the blunt message Joe Biden delivered to the nation on Thursday afternoon. While many Americans have received at least one jab, the president laid the blame for the continued US health crises squarely at the feet of the 25% of the public who are unvaccinated and the politicians who he said were “actively working to undermine the fight”.

Mr Biden said his new vaccine orders were not about freedom or personal choice, but that’s exactly how some Americans will view them – as a forced choice between vaccination and continued employment. And while the mandates will increase the number of vaccinated Americans, it will also enflame a debate already rife with political tension.

Rebecca Kleefisch Announces Run for Governor

Here we go!

In an expected move, former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch on Thursday formally announced her gubernatorial bid for 2022.

 

The Republican and former TV news anchor, who spent eight years in office with former Gov. Scott Walker, is expected to face a contested GOP primary next fall, but Kleefisch made clear in an announcement video released Thursday that her sights are already set on unseating Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is seeking a second term after defeating Walker in 2018.

“I am running because I have two kids who I want to choose Wisconsin to live their American dreams and one day raise families here,” Kleefisch said in a statement. “But that is only possible if we start putting the people first. We need safe communities, great education with real choice and real standards, and good-paying jobs.”

I like Kleefisch a lot. She’s smart, passionate, articulate, unapologetically conservative, and works hard. She’s everything that Evers isn’t.

Evers Accelerates Pardon Pipeline

Lovely set of priorities.

Evers announced 71 additional pardons Tuesday, bringing his total since taking office less than three years ago to 263. He’s on pace to issue more pardons in three years than the nearly 300 that former Gov. Jim Doyle did over eight years. Evers has already surpassed the 262 pardons issued by Govs. Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum over the 16 years before Doyle took office.

Evers, a Democrat, revived the dormant pardons board and made issuing pardons a priority after former Republican Gov. Scott Walker didn’t issue a single one during his eight years in office before Evers defeated him in 2018.

 

[…]

 

Evers signed an executive order on Monday creating an expedited process for pardon applicants. Under the process, the pardon board chair may send an application directly to the governor without a hearing if the person committed a non-violent crime and sufficient time has passed since the conviction.

Also, application pardons can now be sought for multiple felony convictions. Previously, pardons would only be considered for the most recent felony and earlier ones would not be considered.

Denmark to Require Work for Welfare

Good for them. America could use some policies like this.

Some migrants in Denmark will now be required to work 37 hours a week in order to receive welfare benefits.

 

It will be a requirement for those who have been on benefits for three to four years, and who have not reached a certain level of proficiency in Danish.

[…]

 

The prime minister said that the rules were aimed at migrant women. The government says six out of 10 women from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey are not in work.

 

“It is basically a problem when we have such a strong economy, where the business community demands labour, that we then have a large group, primarily women with non-Western backgrounds, who are not part of the labour market,” she said.

Employment Minister Peter Hummelgaard said the jobs could range from picking up cigarette butts on the beach to working in companies.

Taliban Appoints Taliban Government

Anybody who expected anything different was kidding themselves.

(CNN)The Taliban on Tuesday announced the formation of a hardline interim government for Afghanistan, filling top posts with veterans of the militant group who oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition.

No women or members from Afghanistan’s ousted leadership were selected for acting cabinet positions or named to advisory roles, in spite of the Taliban’s promises of an inclusive government and more moderate form of Islamic rule than when it was last in power, from 1996 to 2001.
The Taliban named Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a close aide of the Taliban’s late founder Mohammad Omar, as acting prime minister and Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the group’s co-founders, was appointed his deputy. Mohammed Yaqoob, a son of Omar, was appointed acting defense minister.
[…]
The lineup of senior positions, which includes former Guantanamo inmates, members of a US-designated terror group and subjects of an international sanctions lists, presents the first snapshot of how the Taliban’s leadership of Afghanistan will begin to take shape.
Like many in the Taliban’s incoming cabinet, interim Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund is under United Nations sanctions. A long-time Taliban member, he has been leader of the group’s Shura, or Leadership Council, for about two decades.
Some analysts had originally tipped Abdul Ghani Baradar for the top role. Baradar served in the Taliban’s political bureau in Doha, Qatar, and led the Taliban’s peace talks with the US. He recently arrived back in Afghanistan after a 20-year-exile and reportedly met with CIA chief William J. Burns.
Two senior members of the Haqqani network, a US-designated terror group aligned with the Taliban and al Qaeda, will also be in the interim government. Both have been sanctioned by the UN and the US.

Federal Government “would touch virtually every American’s life, from conception to aged infirmity”

If this doesn’t scare the hell out of you, then you have an unhealthy trust in government.

WASHINGTON — When congressional committees meet this week to begin formally drafting Democrats’ ambitious social policy plan, they will be undertaking the most significant expansion of the nation’s safety net since the war on poverty in the 1960s, devising legislation that would touch virtually every American’s life, from conception to aged infirmity.

 

[…]

 

“If we get this passed, a decade from now, people are going to see many more touch points of government supporting them and their families,” Boushey said.

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