Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Owen

Everything but tech support

Jed

Tech support

Biden to Rescind the Independence of Independent Contractors

This will be devastating to the technology sector.

The Labor Department on Wednesday announced the withdrawal of the Trump-era independent contractor rule that allowed businesses to classify workers as independent contractors as opposed to employees.

 

The administration’s move, effective Thursday, allows for workers considered “gig workers” to have minimum wage and overtime compensation protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employee classification has major implications for companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, which depend on gig workers.

 

“By withdrawing the Independent Contractor Rule, we will help preserve essential worker rights and stop the erosion of worker protections that would have occurred had the rule gone into effect,” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said in a statement. “Legitimate business owners play an important role in our economy but, too often, workers lose important wage and related protections when employers misclassify them as independent contractors.”

Biden Supports Violating Intellectual Property Rights and Patents

I guess the pharmaceutical companies will have less motivation to develop vaccines and treatments for the next pandemic.

President Biden’s trade representative released a statement saying the White House would support a waiver on the intellectual property rights owned by the makers of Covid-19 vaccines during the pandemic.

 

The campaign for this has been going on amongst NGOs, some US Congressional Democrats and some developing countries such as India and South Africa. And as recently as March the US, the UK and the EU were resisting the moves in negotiations at the WTO in Geneva.

COVID Fear Porn Peddlers Reach Hysterical Pitch

There are two pieces in the Washington County Daily News today by lefties who claim that Righties are all anti-vax and are unpatriotic for being so. Both assertions are false. Here’s one:

Still, mandate or not, it makes no sense that workers won’t step up for a shot and help move toward herd immunity for their community and the good of their country. Right-wing dogma insists on individual rights, but what about a civic obligation to get a shot and help achieve herd immunity so we can all go about our personal lives without restrictions?

 

In effect, the anti-vaxxers are freeloaders. They are riding on the backs of the majority of the people who get their vaccinations and thereby make everybody around them more safe.

 

It’s just too bad that the politics of the day put individual liberty and indulgences ahead of obligations to our fellow Americans. It’s a fake kind of patriotism that says, “I’ll do what’s good for me, and to hell with my fellow man.”

 

They are like draft dodgers in days of national military crisis. We are in another form of national crisis. It does not involve weapons and killing combatants, but it is a war against an insidious infection that will take more lives than all the battles this country has ever faced.

First, while there vaccinations have slowed, it is not all people who oppose vaccinations. There are some, sure, but the largest group seems to be people who are just not that upset about the whole thing and haven’t made the time to do it. In any case, looking at the county map of vaccination rates in Wisconsin, there is no evidence that more conservative counties are lagging behind liberal counties. Washington, Ozaukee, and Waukesha counties – the famed conservative “WOW” counties – all have a comparable or higher vaccination rate than liberal Milwaukee, Rock, or Eau Claire counties. The difference in vaccination rates seem to be driven more by demographic factors than ideological ones. In our personal lives, we know this to be true. So the premise that “conservatives are anti-vaxx” is a hoax being perpetrated by Leftist propagandists.

Why are they making this accusation? Because of the second accusation – that people who do not want a vaccine are unpatriotic and uncaring about their fellow man. That is also a lie – a wretched and destructive lie. It is based on a Marxist or Fascist (two branches of the same tree) notion that the collective is more important than the individual. Under that doctrine, all individual choices become subject to the will of the collective. It is authoritarian and hateful. It is the doctrine of a ruling class – or those who want to rule. It is not a doctrine based on freedom or live of your fellow man.

By lying that conservatives are anti-vax and then lying that anti-vaxers are unpatriotic, the Leftist propagandists are using a very old tactic to sow distrust and unrest prior to the next election. It is about the acquisition and use of power. It is not about you, your health, or vaccines. Those are just a tool in the propagandists’ belts. If it wasn’t vaccines, it would be environmentalism, justice reform, gun rights, or any other issue where the Leftists claim that any opposition to their position is unpatriotic and, therefore, invalid.

Make your own choice. If you want to get vaccinated, go for it. If not, that’s fine. That is the choice of a free person.

Armed Patron Confronts Armed Protesters

I watched a peaceful, if loud, BLM last summer where several of the BLM organizers were armed with AR-15s and the like. There were also several counter-protesters with similar weapons and handguns. Nothing violent happened. An armed society is a safer society.

Video shows the diner pointing his handgun at the protesters who were arguing with him as one female demonstrator urged the group to keep moving down the block.

 

Louisville Metro Police spokesperson Alicia Smiley confirmed to Fox News that the protesters were also armed. Kentucky is an open carry state.

 

At least five people were arrested in connection with the incident. Charges include possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, failure to disperse and evading police, TMZ reported.

 

The man with his gun drawn does not appear to have been arrested.

 

[…]

 

Smiley, the LMPD spokesperson, said a restaurant worker described ‘multiple armed protesters entered the restaurant property, which included outdoor dining space’.

 

‘During the encounter both patrons and protesters brandished firearms,’ Smiley said.

 

‘This incident occurred after the arrests of southbound protesters in the area on the 1500 block of Bardstown Road.

 

‘The arrests of that group were made after protesters repeatedly blocked the roadway despite officers giving multiple verbal requests for them to utilize the sidewalk.’

 

A reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal also confirmed a ‘few protesters’ were armed, adding: ‘It was a very tense few minutes.’

Northwestern Mutual CEO Supports Education

Milwaukee (and Wisconsin) needs more leaders to speak out like this.

In a rebuke of Milwaukee Public Schools, Northwestern Mutual chief executive officer John Schlifske said the Milwaukee-based life insurance company is giving $750,000 to support charter and private schools in the city.

 

Schlifske announced the donation in an op-ed published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in which he criticized the underperformance of MPS schools, and its school board and Milwaukee Teachers Education Association’s efforts to “undermine” one of the district’s successful charter schools networks, Milwaukee College Prep.

 

MCP, which operates four campuses and has 2,000 students, announced it would cut ties with MPS following a financial dispute with the district and plans to join the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as its charter authorizer.

 

Schlifske blamed MPS for not working to retain MCP, saying the district wants to “eliminate the competition” with a charter school.

 

“Northwestern Mutual is the largest single property taxpayer in the city, and we are proud to invest in our corporate hometown. We support and invest in high-quality schools. But as a stakeholder, we just don’t see decisions being made to optimize student success at MPS,” Schlifske wrote.

Biden Wants to Rebuild Middle Class Based on Government Dependency

This should scare the hell out of everyone in the middle class and everyone who aspires to be in it. “Government support” is not a pathway to prosperity. It is, however, a pathway to dependency and control.

If the Biden administration gets its way, the reconstructed middle class would be built on a sturdier and much broader plank of government support rather than the vagaries of the market.

Lawmakers have unique opportunity with state budget

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

This is a unique opportunity for the legislature to offset state spending with federal dollars. For example, the most recent federal spending bill sends over $25 million to Wauwatosa, $405 million to Milwaukee, and $25 million to Green Bay. Despite being closed for most of the year, Milwaukee Public Schools received almost $800 million from federal taxpayers. The state government has received $210 million in infrastructure grants. Since all of these government bodies are flush with federal taxpayer cash, state lawmakers should reduce the amount that state taxpayers fund them by comparable amounts.

 

With so much federal tax money flowing into local and state governments, state lawmakers could save state taxpayers billions of dollars and send them money back to them in the form of substantial tax relief. In effect, state lawmakers could leverage the federal windfall for economic stimulus through meaningful tax cuts. Meanwhile, all state and local government priorities are completely funded.

Florida Ends All COVID-19 Restrictions

Huzzah, huzzah. Florida is open.

Declaring Florida’s COVID-19 emergency over, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed an executive order invalidating all remaining local emergency COVID orders and signed a bill into law that bars businesses, schools and government entities across Florida from asking anyone to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.

 

“I think it’s the evidence-based thing to do,’’ DeSantis said at a St. Petersburg restaurant where he signed the bill with House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson at his side. “I think folks that are saying that they need to be policing people at this point, if you’re saying that, you really are saying you don’t believe in the vaccines, you don’t believe in the data, you don’t believe in the science. … We are no longer in the state of emergency.”

 

The provision regulating so-called “vaccine passports” is tucked into SB 2006, a bill intended to update the state’s emergency powers in the face of a future public health emergency. The new law is effective July 1, but DeSantis also on Monday said he would sign an executive order invalidating all remaining local emergency COVID orders that are still in place after July 1 and suspend immediately any orders related to COVID-19 now.

Mask Mandate Fails in West Bend

Public pressure works. Thanks to all those citizens who showed up. It mattered.

May 3, 2021 – West Bend, WI – Taxpayers in the City of West Bend turned out in sizable numbers Monday night, May 3 to encourage the common council to vote ‘No’ on a policy recommending visitors to City buildings wear masks through August 31, 2021.

 

Although it was not a public hearing, members of the community were allowed to speak and a majority echoed the same thoughts including, “masks don’t work, masks offer little protection, catching COVID from passing in a hallway is negligible, Dr. Fauci has flip flopped on the issue, it is day 422 of ’15 days to slow the spread’ half the country is vaccinated and deaths are low, the government can stop dictating my choices.”

 

One person spoke in favor of a mask mandate for visitors citing his medical background and training as how he came to his conclusion that masks were beneficial. Alderman Jed Dolnick and alderman Mark Allen also spoke in favor of the mask policy saying they listened to their doctors.

 

A motion was made by Dolnick and seconded by Allen to pass the mask policy however it failed 6 – 2. Those voting against the policy included alderman John Butschlick, Brett Berquist, Randy Koehler, Tracy Aherns, Justice Madl and Meghann Kennedy.

Biden Takes Tactical Control of Drone Strikes

In other words, Trump gave tactical discretion to trained military officers in the field. They were effective in quashing ISIS and other threats. Now Biden has removed that discretion so that amateur politicians in the White House can decide.

While the Biden administration censored some passages, the visible portions show that in the Trump era, commanders in the field were given latitude to make decisions about attacks so long as they fit within broad sets of “operating principles,” including that there should be “near certainty” that civilians “will not be injured or killed in the course of operations.”

 

At the same time, however, the Trump-era rules were flexible about permitting exceptions to that and other standards, saying that “variations” could be made “where necessary” so long as certain bureaucratic procedures were followed in approving them.

 

[…]

 

The Biden administration suspended the Trump-era rules on its first day in office and imposed an interim policy of requiring White House approval for proposed strikes outside of the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. At the same time, the Biden team began a review of how both Obama- and Trump-era policies had worked — both on paper and in practice — with an eye toward developing its own policy.

 

The review, officials said, discovered that Trump-era principles to govern strikes in certain countries often made an exception to the requirement of “near certainty” that there would be no civilian casualties. While it kept that rule for women and children, it permitted a lower standard of merely “reasonable certainty” when it came to civilian adult men.

Police Give Few Details about Casino Killings

It seems odd that the crime was over 24 hours ago and they won’t release any more details than this.

Brown County sheriff’s officials provided more details at a midnight Sunday news conference but didn’t name the suspect or fully explain his relationship with the victims.

 

[…]

 

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office said two victims were killed and another seriously injured and rushed to a Milwaukee hospital for emergency surgery.

State and Local Governments are Flush with Cash

State Republicans should leverage federal windfalls for major tax relief. 

In states across the country, legislators who once stared into a terrifying abyss of red ink now face an embarrassment of riches, funded by a booming stock market, rising wages for those at the upper end of the economic stratosphere and what economists say is an unprecedented shift in the way consumers are spending their money.

 

But the trends are clear: Minnesota, which once faced a $1.3 billion deficit, now expects a $1.6 billion surplus. Michigan budget figures earlier this year showed a $2.5 billion surplus. Connecticut’s surplus was estimated at $70 million in January, and $130 million by March.

 

Colorado’s surplus stands north of $5 billion. Rhode Island will have an extra $44 million to play with. Oregon’s tax revenue came in so far ahead of expectations that the state is expecting to shell out more than $500 million in refunds to taxpayers, a provision in state law known as the “kicker.”

 

The catastrophe avoided comes in part from a stock market that has exploded during the pandemic. The S&P 500 index is up 81 percent since its nadir on March 20, 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 76 percent over the same period. Capital gains from those advances have helped make up for lost revenue growth; in states like California, specific initial public offerings from companies such as DoorDash and Airbnb provided their own unique boosts.

Eurozone Economy Continues to Struggle

This is the direct result of the policy choices of politicians.

Europe’s economies have been set back by a renewed surge in infections this year and Covid-related restrictions.

The eurozone shrank by 0.6% in the January-to-March period – the second consecutive contraction, which is a widely-used definition of a recession.

It is the second such episode, a so-called double-dip recession, since the onset of the pandemic.

 

However, among the national economies that have reported data so far, that pattern was repeated only by Italy.

 

Other countries reported some growth in one or other of the last two quarters.

The French economy did grow in the first three months of this year, by 0.4%, after a decline at the end of 2020, although the rebound was described by the national statistical agency as “limited”.

In Germany it was the other way around, with some growth in the fourth quarter of last year and a sharp decline – of 1.7% – revealed by the latest figures.

Austin Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Unfettered Homeless Camps

Even in Austin, the city government is way to the Left of the people.

In a hotly contested debate involving the city’s homelessness crisis, 57% of voters said they were in favor of reinstating criminal penalties for camping in public spaces and 42% said they were not.

 

More than 150,000 voters cast a ballot: 85,830 in favor, 64,409 against.

 

Proposition B took center stage among eight ballot propositions, giving residents the voice they did not have two years ago when Mayor Steve Adler and the Austin City Council made it lawful to camp in most public spaces by canceling a 23-year-old ordinance that had prohibited it.

 

The council’s decision to end the ban sparked a backlash from many Austin residents and business owners, particularly as the city’s unsheltered population seemed to multiply during the COVID-19 pandemic. Save Austin Now — the political action committee behind the push to reinstate the ban — raised $1.25 million in financial donations through April 21 and leased 29 billboards. The PAC’s co-founder, Matt Mackowiak, the Travis County Republican Party chair, said the fundraising total as of Saturday was around $1.75 million.

 

People Flock to Vegas

Weary Americans get back to having fun.

 

Capacity limits in Las Vegas casinos drop again Saturday — allowing 80% occupancy — while person-to-person distancing goes from 6 feet (1.8 meters) to 3 feet (0.9 meters). Masks are still required.

 

“People were just yearning to go someplace and let loose,” said Alan Feldman, a former casino executive who is now a fellow at the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

 

Among the first arrivals were people ages 60 and older who were recently vaccinated with time and disposable income, he observed.

 

Analysts said pent-up demand, available hotel rooms and $1,400 pandemic recovery checks from the federal government have contributed to the rush.

Trans Guv Candidate Supports Biological Divisions in Sports

News stories in 2021

Former Olympian and transgender reality star Caitlyn Jenner said she does not believe ‘biological boys who are trans’ should compete in girls’ sports in school.

 

In a brief interview with TMZ in Malibu as she was getting into her car, Jenner, who recently announced her bid to run for Governor of California, said: ‘This is a question of fairness, that’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school.

 

‘It just isn’t fair and we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.’

Budget Process Continues as Evers Pouts

Evers doesn’t play nice with others.

MADISON (WKOW) — Gov. Tony Evers said Thursday he has not been in talks with Republican leaders in charge of the legislature while GOP leaders on the committee that writes the budget said they could start taking votes on removing items from Evers’ budget as soon as next week.

 

[…]

 

“If the question is specifically ‘is there room to negotiate on tax increases, the answer to that would be ‘no,'” Born said. “There’s a lot of stuff in this budget that are areas of agreement, things we can work on, agree with, and negotiate if that’s what people want to do in the governor’s office but tax increases is absolutely not one of them.”

Inflation Coming

In my day, we called this “inflation.” 

Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Coca-Cola have all warned that they’ll raise prices on many of their products as raw material costs rise. Plastic, paper, sugar, grain and other commodities are all getting more expensive as demand outpaces supply. Companies are also paying more for shipping as fuel costs rise and ports experience longer delays because of congestion.

 

[…]

 

Prices for many consumer goods, such as toilet paper, ticked up modestly over the last few months, according to data from NielsenIQ. Pressure is building, though, as costs increase for companies and many have signaled that the price increases are coming later this year and likely into 2022 to offset the impact.

 

Cheerios maker General Mills is considering raising prices on its products as things like grain, sugar and other ingredients become more expensive. Hormel Foods has already increased prices for Skippy peanut butter and its turkey products. Kimberly-Clark, which makes Kleenex tissues and Scott toilet paper, said price increases will cover about 60% of its product portfolio and expects the increases and more productivity to offset most of the higher raw material costs.

Man Sentenced for Setting Fire to Police Station

This seems like an appropriate sentence.

A man has been ordered to pay $12m (£8.6m) for his role setting a Minneapolis police station on fire during rioting last May.

 

The fine for Dylan Shakespeare Robinson, 23, who pleaded guilty to an arson charge in December, will follow a four year prison sentence.

 

[…]

 

According to prosecutors, Robinson lit a Molotov cocktail which another person then threw at the Minneapolis Third Precinct headquarters – setting the building ablaze.

 

Surveillance video at the precinct shows Robinson lighting an “incendiary device” held by another person and later setting a fire inside the station near a first floor stairwell, officials said.

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