Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Culture

Denver Plans for Basic Income Experiment – No Men Allowed

I bet all of the drug dealers are looking forward to the boom market conditions.

Denver is set to provide 140 homeless transgender and non-binary people with $12,000 in no-strings-attached cash to help lift them out of destitution – and combat the squalid encampments and soaring crime rates plaguing the Mile-High City.

 

The city has allocated $2million from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund the program, which will be run by the Denver Basic Income Project to mainly get women, transgender and non-binary people housed.

 

The total program, which will cost up to $9million, is seeking to help around 820 people, but the $2million provided by the city will fund around 140 people.

 

[…]

 

The participants – which will mainly be women, transgender and gender non-confirming individuals – will be chosen at random after applying and will more than likely begin receiving payments starting in November, according to ABC 7 Denver.

Jewish University Resists State Coercion

It’s a shame that they are forced into this position.

(Reuters) – Yeshiva University, ordered by a judge to formally recognize an LGBT student group even as the Jewish school in New York City argues that doing so would violate its religious values, on Friday announced that it has halted the activities of all its undergraduate student clubs as it plans its next steps.

 

Yeshiva’s announcement came two days after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block New York state judge Lynn Kotler’s June ruling that the university is subject to a city anti-discrimination law and must recognize the club called Y.U. Pride Alliance.

 

Citing upcoming Jewish holidays, Yeshiva said in an email to students that “the university will hold off on all undergraduate club activities while it immediately takes steps to follow the roadmap provided by the US Supreme Court to protect YU’s religious freedom.”

SCOTUS Allows State to Force University to Violate Religious Beliefs

That’s a shame. Another blow against religious liberty.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has cleared the way for an LGBTQ group to gain official recognition from a Jewish university in New York, though that may not last.

 

By a 5-4 vote Wednesday, the justices lifted a temporary hold on a court order that requires Yeshiva University to recognize the group, the YU Pride Alliance, even as a legal fight continues in New York courts.

 

Two conservatives, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, sided with the court’s three liberal justices to form a majority.

 

The disagreement among the justices appears to be mostly about procedure, with the majority writing in a brief unsigned order that Yeshiva should return to state court to seek quick review and temporary relief while the case continues.

 

If it gets neither from state courts, the school can return to the Supreme Court, the majority wrote.

Push for Teachers that “Look Like Me”

Here is a very long and very interesting article about the disparity between the racial diversity of teachers compared to students. The data and challenges are interesting, but this part troubles me:

Students benefit when they have teachers who look like them

 

[…]

 

When she got to middle school, Lor noticed teachers who looked like her for the first time. She wasn’t placed in their classrooms, but she wished she would have been; wished she would have had teachers she could relate to in that way.

 

[…]

 

“Having a diverse teacher in your classroom helps you realize that you can also become a teacher, you can become a doctor, you can do whatever you want,” she said.

I do think that diversity in teaching is important. I wish that we would take a more expansive approach to diversity to include things like ideology, sex, and background instead of just race. As a boy, I rarely – RARELY – had a teacher that “looked like me.” Since I went to school in Texas and Saudi, my teachers were overwhelmingly women, but were more racially diverse than in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, teachers are overwhelmingly white, middle class, liberal, and female.

BUT, while diversity is an important and laudable goal, we must purge this notion that kids can only learn, or learn best, from teachers that “look like them.” We are reinforcing that expectation in our kids, and it is damaging their ability to learn. If it is wrong to say that I learn better from white men (it is), then it is wrong to tell an Asian girl that she would learn better from Asian women. Teachers are individuals and should be treated as such.

Instead, we should be reinforcing the ethics of acceptance and respect for authority with our kids. We should be teaching them that they can learn just as much irrespective of the physical appearance of the teacher. By telling kids that they need teachers to look like them in order to learn, we are teaching them racism and bigotry.

Let’s continue to encourage racial minorities, conservatives, and men to join the ranks of teachers so that our kids will benefit from a broad experience, but let’s stop teaching kids that they should judge the quality of their teacher by the color of their skin.

Credit Cards to Start Tracking Gun Purchases

We continue to see the expansion of corporate/government collusion to implement an invasive surveillance and coercion state. I will be making my purchases with cash.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approved creation of the merchant code on Friday following pressure from gun-control activists who say it will help track suspicious weapons purchases.

“Following ISO’s decision to establish a new merchant category code, Visa will proceed with next steps, while ensuring we protect all legal commerce on the Visa network in accordance with our long-standing rules,” Visa said in a statement.

Mastercard said on Friday that following ISO’s approval, “we now turn our focus to how it will be implemented by merchants and their banks as we continue to support lawful purchases on our network while protecting the privacy and decisions of individual cardholders.”

American Express said when ISO develops a new code, the company will work with third-party processors and partners on implementation.

The code will show where an individual spends money but not what items were purchased.

It is worth point out, again, that this is yet another anti-2nd Amendment effort that will no stem crime. Crooks don’t buy their guns with a credit card.

The great othering of the American right

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

There he was. The president of the United States of America. Standing in front of our Independence Hall bathed in blood-red light of Soviet imagery and flanked by two uniformed Marines. With two fists raised, Joe Biden declared that millions of Americans who disagree with him are not only wrong, but they are angry extremists who they must be suppressed.

 

Like so many authoritarians before him, Biden and his administration have launched a concerted effort to other anyone who disagrees with the regime’s political and cultural orthodoxy. Biden and his leftist supporters are going well beyond simple argument in their attempt to dehumanize and delegitimize anyone who disagrees with them. We have crossed another mile marker on the path to tyranny.

 

Biden said, “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” He went on to say, “MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution, do not believe in the rule of law,” and, “I agree Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.”

 

By Biden’s rhetoric, it would be irresponsible and dangerous to let such people govern. If true, then such people should never be allowed to hold the reins of power because they lack the legitimacy to govern, right? Lest you think that Biden is only talking about a small sliver of the Republican Party, his administration has made it clear that “MAGA Republicans” is a distinction with an amorphous definition that is stretched to include anyone who disagrees with the regime.

 

Before the speech, the president’s press secretary said, “what the president said … was that when it comes to MAGA Republicans, when it comes to the extreme ultra wing of Republicans, they are attacking democracy. Right? They are attacking, taking away rights and freedoms,” and, “When you are not with where a majority of Americans are, then you know, that is extreme. That is an extreme way of thinking.’

 

By the Biden administration’s own words, anyone who supported Trump or anyone who has views that are not whatever the Biden administration declares to be the majority opinion is now “extreme.” It does not seem to occur to them that with an approval rating hovering below 40%, Biden’s own supporters would be considered “extreme” by that definition.

 

This attack from the Biden White House is no idle threat. We have seen how the Biden administration, like the Obama administration before it, has weaponized the federal bureaucracy against opponents. The FBI has now been caught interfering in multiple federal elections by colluding with Big Tech, suppressing information that would be damaging to leftists, and targeting conservatives. The IRS was forced to apologize for targeting conservative groups. If you think that the 87,000 new IRS employees that were just authorized by Biden will not be used to target conservatives even more, you are naive.

 

Days before Biden’s Blood Speech, he mocked supporters of the Second Amendment, saying, “for those brave right-wing Americans … if you want to fight against the country, you need a F15.” As commander of the Armed Forces, the cavalier suggestion that he would unleash the military on Americans is chilling.

 

This is not about Trump. The same rhetoric is happening right here in Wisconsin. The state’s largest newspaper published a scathing attack piece against Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels for donating large sums of his personal wealth to Catholic and Protestant churches. Because those churches do not agree with the leftist orthodoxy, Michels’ support was demonized, and Governor Evers has labeled Michels an extremist. If you attend a mainstream church and put a few bucks in the collection plate, are you an extremist? Biden and Evers think you are.

 

This is not about whether you supported Trump or not. This is about an America where we are allowed to have and express different viewpoints and values, and when we win elections, we are allowed to govern according to those values. Biden and the leftist regime are attempting to redefine all political opponents as extremists who lack legitimacy to have their voices heard or to govern. This othering of the American right by Biden creates a justification for Biden and other leftists to silence, suppress, and oppress political opponents with the full force of the government under the banner of “saving democracy.” It is un-American.

 

We must not let this stand. Vote. Vote as if our republic depends on it.

 

It does.

Jennifer Lawrence Obsesses Over Politics

This is mentally unhealthy woman, but I don’t think she’s alone.

The Kentucky native specifically mentioned the issues her father’s Trump support have caused, ‘I just worked so hard in the last five years to forgive my dad and my family and try to understand: It’s different. The information they are getting is different. Their life is different,’ referencing the information conveyed by the top news host to her parents and those like them.

 

The new mom said to the publication, ‘I’ve tried to get over it and I really can’t. I can’t.’

 

But not being political is also a deal-breaker for the Oscar winner.

 

‘I can’t f— with people who aren’t political anymore. You live in the United States of America. You have to be political,’ she said, indicating that she has left her family with the choice of being political in a way she agrees with, or not f—ing with her, and no third option.

 

‘It’s too dire. Politics are killing people,’ the actress known for dramatic turns said.

 

[…]

 

She says she periodically broaches the subject with her family, but realistically isn’t convincing anyone.

 

‘I broach the subject in the sense that I unleash text messages. Just: Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. They don’t respond. And then I’ll feel bad and send a picture of the baby,’ she told Vogue

I expect there are a lot of folks like Lawrence who have allowed their political views to so saturate their lives that they have lost the ability to have human connections with people of opposing views. I also expect that they are a minority. We all have some people like this in our families.

There are also millions and millions of Americans who can care passionately about public or cultural issues, but still control themselves enough to relate to people on all of the other parts of life. There’s just a lot more to life than politics. Yes, it is important, but there is so much more to the human condition.

I pity Lawrence. I hope she finds balance enough to reconnect with her family as people and family instead of as political enemies.

Herb Kohler Dies

RIP to a titan who did so much for Wisconsin.

Herbert V. Kohler Jr., a business titan who fortified his family’s namesake manufacturing firm and put Wisconsin on the world golf stage with the creation of a course named Whistling Straits, has died.

 

“His zest for life, adventure and impact inspires all of us,” his family said in a statement Sunday. “We traveled together, celebrated together, and worked together. He was all in, all the time, leaving an indelible mark on how we live our lives today and carry on his legacy.”

 

Kohler, 83, who died Saturday, was the CEO of Kohler Company for 43 years before he handed the role off to his son, David Kohler, in 2015. Since then, he continued in the company as its executive chairman.

The great othering of the American right

I had to submit my column for next week early because of the long weekend and they put it in the paper today. Here’s a part of my early column in the Washington County Daily News.

There he was. The president of the United States of America. Standing in front of our Independence Hall bathed in blood-red light of Soviet imagery and flanked by two uniformed Marines. With two fists raised, Joe Biden declared that millions of Americans who disagree with him are not only wrong, but they are angry extremists who they must be suppressed.

 

Like so many authoritarians before him, Biden and his administration have launched a concerted effort to other anyone who disagrees with the regime’s political and cultural orthodoxy. Biden and his leftist supporters are going well beyond simple argument in their attempt to dehumanize and delegitimize anyone who disagrees with them. We have crossed another mile marker on the path to tyranny.

 

Biden said, “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” He went on to say, “MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution, do not believe in the rule of law,” and, “I agree Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.”

 

By Biden’s rhetoric, it would be irresponsible and dangerous to let such people govern. If true, then such people should never be allowed to hold the reins of power because they lack the legitimacy to govern, right? Lest you think that Biden is only talking about a small sliver of the Republican Party, his administration has made it clear that “MAGA Republicans” is a distinction with an amorphous definition that is stretched to include anyone who disagrees with the regime.

 

[…]

 

This is not about whether you supported Trump or not. This is about an America where we are allowed to have and express different viewpoints and values, and when we win elections, we are allowed to govern according to those values. Biden and the leftist regime are attempting to redefine all political opponents as extremists who lack legitimacy to have their voices heard or to govern. This othering of the American right by Biden creates a justification for Biden and other leftists to silence, suppress, and oppress political opponents with the full force of the government under the banner of “saving democracy.” It is un-American.

A Year on the Move

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

“A man who has lived in many different places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village.”– C.S. Lewis 

 

Last weekend my wife and I cruised our boat into the welcoming harbor in Port Washington. We had been gone for 379 days cruising America’s Great Loop. We traveled 6,425.9 miles through 17 states and three countries at an average speed of 9.05 miles per hour. We anchored in remote tidal creeks and behind the Statue of Liberty. We listened to the dolphins breathe as we celebrated the dawn of the new year behind Sanibel Island. We dodged the bustling tow boats in the Port of St. Louis on the Mighty Mississippi. We met thousands of people from all walks of life in hundreds of places. Along the way, I learned, or relearned, a few things.

 

Throughout our travels, we discussed politics with other people exactly zero times. It just does not come up that often in regular life. Instead, we talked about weather, family, traveling, local events, the rising price of everything, work, boats, jokes, and a hundred other things, but not politics. As someone who spends probably too much time involved with politics, it was revealing how few other people were interested. People are busy living and concerned with the things that impact their lives. Politicians would do well to remember that.

 

People are generally good. They are friendly, earnest, helpful, generous, curious, honest, and caring. In times of trouble, most people are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to help. They are tolerant and welcoming. Outside of the cities, much of the business of America is still done with a handshake. Observing America through our news and social media filters is to miss how much of real America lies beyond the horizon of those lenses. Americans work hard. Very hard. To travel the inland rivers of our nation is to see an older, more industrial side. The rivers are where great, heavy things are moved about and where the mines, quarries, and farms drain into the arteries of our economy. The knowledge economy is important, but it exists because of the muscle and sweat of hard people who do hard things.

 

Because many of the businesses we visited were generally declared “nonessential” during the national psychotic episode of COVID, we were witness to the devastating impact of those political decisions. Marina, restaurant, and shop workers gleefully welcomed us as their businesses struggled to groan back to life. We found many places closed forever, and all because some politician whose paychecks never stopped coming deemed some people’s livelihoods to be nonessential.

 

Our world is truly a diverse and beautiful place. From the Canadian fjords to the Great Dismal Swamp to the Big Muddy to the turquoise waters of the Bahamas, God created a truly wonderful place for us to live. As humans, we have a responsibility to conserve and protect our planet. From a public policy perspective, we must do so with common sense and a balance for the necessities of human progress. From an individual perspective, we must take personal responsibility to ensure that we do not unnecessarily damage our wonderful planet.

 

People throughout our great nation are delightfully unique while being manifestly the same. People love their families, celebrate their community’s history, brag about their local ice cream shop (“it’s the best you’ll find”), gripe about the weather, and chortle at a good joke. While we may speak with different accents and eat different foods, Americans are unified in their decency and common sense.

 

The wanderlust has always been strong in my bloodline. I firmly believe in the value of travel for travel’s sake. One does not have to go anywhere fancy or expensive, but one does have to go where someone is not to see and do things that one has not seen or done. Appreciate and enjoy places and people for what and who they are and not what or who they are not. There is no greater teacher than experience.

 

Finally, while travel is good for the mind and the soul, there truly is no place like home. While we have seen many wonders over this last year, Wisconsin can hold its own with any of them. The towering, tasseled corn, the smell of fish frying on a Friday night, the spirited barroom predictions about the upcoming Packers season, the stoic bluffs of Lake Michigan, and, of course, the best local ice cream make Wisconsin a cherished home.

 

By all means, go see the world, but never stop appreciating where the good Lord planted you.

A Year on the Move

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

“A man who has lived in many different places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village.” – C.S. Lewis 

 

Last weekend my wife and I cruised our boat into the welcoming harbor in Port Washington. We had been gone for 379 days cruising America’s Great Loop. We traveled 6,425.9 miles through 17 states and three countries at an average speed of 9.05 miles per hour. We anchored in remote tidal creeks and behind the Statue of Liberty. We listened to the dolphins breathe as we celebrated the dawn of the new year behind Sanibel Island. We dodged the bustling tow boats in the Port of St. Louis on the Mighty Mississippi. We met thousands of people from all walks of life in hundreds of places. Along the way, I learned, or relearned, a few things.

 

Throughout our travels, we discussed politics with other people exactly zero times. It just does not come up that often in regular life. Instead, we talked about weather, family, traveling, local events, the rising price of everything, work, boats, jokes, and a hundred other things, but not politics. As someone who spends probably too much time involved with politics, it was revealing how few other people were interested. People are busy living and concerned with the things that impact their lives. Politicians would do well to remember that.

 

People are generally good. They are friendly, earnest, helpful, generous, curious, honest, and caring. In times of trouble, most people are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to help. They are tolerant and welcoming. Outside of the cities, much of the business of America is still done with a handshake. Observing America through our news and social media filters is to miss how much of real America lies beyond the horizon of those lenses. Americans work hard. Very hard. To travel the inland rivers of our nation is to see an older, more industrial side. The rivers are where great, heavy things are moved about and where the mines, quarries, and farms drain into the arteries of our economy. The knowledge economy is important, but it exists because of the muscle and sweat of hard people who do hard things.

Fentanyl Deaths Nearly Double in Wisconsin

Tragic. Our soft on crime policies are not helping. And our open border is a pipeline of death.

MADISON (WKOW) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has issued a public health advisory about fentanyl’s presence in overdose deaths.

 

State health officials said there were 651 fentanyl overdose deaths in Wisconsin in 2019. By 2021, that nearly doubled to 1,280.

That’s a stark reversal of a pre-pandemic trend, when Paul Krupski, DHS’s Director of Opioid Initiatives, said Wisconsin actually recorded a decrease in opioid deaths.

 

[…]

 

MADISON (WKOW) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has issued a public health advisory about fentanyl’s presence in overdose deaths.

 

State health officials said there were 651 fentanyl overdose deaths in Wisconsin in 2019. By 2021, that nearly doubled to 1,280.

That’s a stark reversal of a pre-pandemic trend, when Paul Krupski, DHS’s Director of Opioid Initiatives, said Wisconsin actually recorded a decrease in opioid deaths.

Minneapolis Schools Defend Racist Layoff Policy

If they think that laying off white teachers first is an appropriate remedy for past racism, imagine what they are doing to white kids in that district.

Minneapolis Public Schools is defending its deal with the teachers’ union to lay off white educators ahead of their less-senior minority colleagues, arguing that it is a necessary measure to remedy “the effects of past discrimination.”

 

The school district released a statement to the Washington Times on Tuesday, offering a full-throated defense of the groundbreaking deal with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, led by president Greta Callahan.

 

“To remedy the continuing effects of past discrimination, Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) mutually agreed to contract language that aims to support the recruitment and retention of teachers from underrepresented groups as compared to the labor market and to the community served by the school district,” the district said in an email.

Profits From Abortions Plummet

Follow the money.

Abortions accounted for 40% of the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia revenue, Quinonez said, adding that there would be no easy way to replace such a large a chunk of the clinic’s $1.6 million annual budget. (At least for now, the clinic can again provide abortions, since a lawsuit brought by the clinic days after the Dobbs decision has paused enforcement of the ban.)

“Being unable to provide abortion care absolutely puts us in a precarious financial position,” Quinonez said. “Our ability to keep our doors open very much depends on revenue from the services we provide, as well as grants and donations.”

On Abortion

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

We are already seeing some states move to change their abortion laws after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The Indiana legislature is on the cusp of making abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother. In Kansas, the citizens voted to keep language in their state Constitution that keeps abortion legal before twenty weeks. In Wisconsin, abortion is already illegal except in cases where the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life and there does not appear to be any legislative appetite to change the law.

 

When the federal Supreme Court usurped the power of the states to regulate abortion, the public debate devolved into a robotic caricature of a discussion. Now that we, the People, will need to put in the heavy effort of deciding what our abortion laws should be through the rigorous legislative process, that debate should be joined in good faith with respect for our fellow citizens’ perspective. Herein I give explanation for why I oppose abortion in almost every circumstance and believe it to be the duty of government to protect people irrespective of their size or dependency.

 

Our nation’s Declaration of Independence set forth that we are all created equal and, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life.” Our United States Constitution went on to protect people from being deprived of life without the due process of law in the fifth and fourteenth amendments. Both documents are based on a fundamental understanding of Natural Rights.

 

Natural rights are universal and inalienable. They are not dependent on government, laws, customs, traditions, or societal norms. They are rights that are embedded in the very essence of humanity and are enjoyed by each individual irrespective of age, color, creed, nationality, gender, or station. The just duty of government is to protect those rights from being infringed upon by others and to regulate the outcome of when two rights collide.

 

The most precious Natural Right is the right to live. Life is the right from which all other Natural Rights flow. The only real question regarding abortion, then, is to determine when life begins, for once we have determined that a life has begun, it is incumbent on us to protect that life through the power of government.

 

Fortunately, here in the 22nd century, the mysteries of reproduction and gestation have been largely solved. Once an egg is fertilized, a unique DNA is created and cells begin to multiply until they form a human that we would recognize. Some would pinpoint the start of life at when the heartbeat starts, or when brain activity begins, or when the baby would be viable outside of the womb. Some would allow abortion even in the moments after birth under the argument that the baby is still woefully dependent on the mother. That is the same argument that could be made for infanticide well into the toddler years.

 

For me, the most ethical and logical point at which to mark the start of life is when that unique DNA is created. That is when there is a unique life. There is clearly nothing separate from the parents before that moment and there is someone unique after it. While one could argue that life begins at a more viable state, each of those benchmarks seem arbitrary. Our moral, ethical, and legal obligation to protect life should make us err, if we are to err, on the side of prudence. It is better to accidentally protect people’s pre-lives than it is to intentionally kill them.

 

With life beginning at fertilization, we must structure our laws to protect those lives. In the case of a mother not wanting a baby, we come into a conflict of the rights of two individuals. The baby has a right to life. The mother has a right to bodily autonomy. In such cases of conflict, we make laws to decide the best, least harmful, outcome. In no other area of law do we permit the killing of one individual to protect the bodily autonomy of another. Neither should we in this case. The consequences for the mother are significant, but the consequences for the baby are cataclysmic. In such cases, we must protect the life of the baby even though its very existence imposes obligations and consequences on the mother.

 

We must also remember that creating a new life is a joyous event — even when it is unplanned. A great many of us were not planned and we, and our mothers, went on to enjoy full, wonderful lives. If the mother does not want the baby after it is born, there are families ready to welcome a new baby and the mother can move on with her life. Any social stigmas of unplanned babies are largely extinct. Also, it must be added, that in an age of DNA, there is no excuse to not identify the father and ensure that he is equally accountable for the wellbeing of the child. Some of the best dads did not plan to be one. Both parents deserve to be treated with compassion.

 

The decision to have a child or not does not happen after conception. It happens before having sex. The decision to use birth control greatly diminishes the likelihood of creating another human, but there is still a chance. One must be willing to accept the consequences of that decision. Once another person is created, it is our moral, ethical, and legal obligation to protect that person.

 

I sincerely hope that Wisconsin leaves its current abortion law alone. It is correct. But if we are to debate changing the law, let us all engage with sincerity, respect, and reasoned positions. Wisconsin’s babies deserve as much.

On Abortion

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I put a taste below. I realized that as the abortion debate has moved to the state houses where we, the people, will actually have to debate the issue and come to some decisions, the rhetoric of abortion politics is still frozen in the theater of inaction in which SCOTUS froze it in 1973. This is one guy’s attempt to explain his position on the issue. Hopefully those with other opinions will offer them with the same sincerity and not resort to the crutch of “you hate women” or some such nonsense and we can have a grown-up debate about public policy. Pollyannish? Probably, but a guy can hope.

Our nation’s Declaration of Independence set forth that we are all created equal and, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life.” Our United States Constitution went on to protect people from being deprived of life without the due process of law in the fifth and fourteenth amendments. Both documents are based on a fundamental understanding of Natural Rights.

 

Natural rights are universal and inalienable. They are not dependent on government, laws, customs, traditions, or societal norms. They are rights that are embedded in the very essence of humanity and are enjoyed by each individual irrespective of age, color, creed, nationality, gender, or station. The just duty of government is to protect those rights from being infringed upon by others and to regulate the outcome of when two rights collide.

 

The most precious Natural Right is the right to live. Life is the right from which all other Natural Rights flow. The only real question regarding abortion, then, is to determine when life begins, for once we have determined that a life has begun, it is incumbent on us to protect that life through the power of government.

 

Fortunately, here in the 22nd century, the mysteries of reproduction and gestation have been largely solved. Once an egg is fertilized, a unique DNA is created and cells begin to multiply until they form a human that we would recognize. Some would pinpoint the start of life at when the heartbeat starts, or when brain activity begins, or when the baby would be viable outside of the womb. Some would allow abortion even in the moments after birth under the argument that the baby is still woefully dependent on the mother. That is the same argument that could be made for infanticide well into the toddler years.

 

For me, the most ethical and logical point at which to mark the start of life is when that unique DNA is created. That is when there is a unique life. There is clearly nothing separate from the parents before that moment and there is someone unique after it. While one could argue that life begins at a more viable state, each of those benchmarks seem arbitrary. Our moral, ethical, and legal obligation to protect life should make us err, if we are to err, on the side of prudence. It is better to accidentally protect people’s pre-lives than it is to intentionally kill them.

 

With life beginning at fertilization, we must structure our laws to protect those lives. In the case of a mother not wanting a baby, we come into a conflict of the rights of two individuals. The baby has a right to life. The mother has a right to bodily autonomy. In such cases of conflict, we make laws to decide the best, least harmful, outcome. In no other area of law do we permit the killing of one individual to protect the bodily autonomy of another. Neither should we in this case. The consequences for the mother are significant, but the consequences for the baby are cataclysmic. In such cases, we must protect the life of the baby even though its very existence imposes obligations and consequences on the mother.

Starbucks’ “Dens of Debauchery”

I haven’t willingly bought Starbucks for years precisely because their leadership has supported the policies that lead to this stuff for years. Perhaps Schultz is signaling a change from woke to awake? 

The CEO of Starbucks is intentionally shuttering more than a dozen profitable stores nationwide over disruptions that he’s blamed on the cities’ woke local elected leaders for ‘abdicating their responsibility’ to fight crime.

 

Howard Schultz said ‘America has become unsafe’ after he announced that 16 stores will close in several cities across the country – all set in left-leaning locales – because staff are being attacked and reports of drug use at the popular cafés.

 

The cities set to see closures include the company’s hometown of Seattle, as well as five other liberal-run municipalities. Those stores are in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, and Washington, DC.

Schultz warned that this is ‘just the beginning’ of store closures and said there ‘would be many more’ amid issues with mental illness, homelessness and crime.
[…]

The reported disruptions include drug use by paying customers and, more often than not, members of the public – who often take advantage of the company’s open bathroom policy, which allows nonpaying patrons to use their facilities.

 

As a result, the bathrooms have in large part devolved into dens of debauchery, regularly used by vagrants and homeless to do drugs and engage in other illicit behavior.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois Reports Increase in Wisconsinites Getting Abortions

This is kind of a silly story about a tragic topic.

The number of Wisconsin women seeking abortions at Planned Parenthood of Illinois has gone up 10-fold since June 24, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights and Wisconsin halted abortions, the head of the organization said Thursday.

 

[…]

Planned Parenthood declined to say how many Wisconsin patients have had abortions at its centers in Illinois since the ruling last month that overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
They won’t give numbers, so there really isn’t a way to validate their claims. But the claim itself is misleading.
“number of Wisconsin women seeking abortions at Planned Parenthood of Illinois has gone up 10-fold”
Okay. Until a few weeks ago, abortions were legal in Wisconsin, so it stands to reason that Illinois saw very few Wisconsinites getting abortions in their clinics. Why would a Wisconsinite travel to Illinois when they could get in Wisconsin? So the starting number for that alleged “10-fold” increase may be as few as 1 resulting in 10 additional abortions. Is that significant? It is for the children, but not for much else. If, for some strange reason, IL clinics have a history of 100 or more Wisconsinites getting abortions every month, then an increase to 1,000 is very significant.
What I would like to know is if the aggregate number of abortions has increased or decreased since the ruling? Wisconsin averaged about 500 abortions a month. Since the ruling, have IL and MN seen a net increase of about 300 abortions? If so, then abortions have not been reduced. If it’s substantially less, then the ruling may have already saved a couple hundred babies. We will need several months of data before we can really start to draw some conclusions, but the evidence from when other states increased regulations on abortions, the net number of abortions for the region decreased. We can hope.

Celebrating independence in 2022

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

As we celebrate another Independence Day and the blessings of our liberties, it is also incumbent on us to reflect on the state of the constitutional republic our Founders left us. President Ronald Reagan reminded us that, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” What time is it on the Doomsday Clock of the great American experiment?

 

The structure of our constitutional republic sits on pilings of genius sunk in a deep understanding of the human condition. Our Founders understood that any government requires some humans to hold power over other humans. They also understood that all humans are inherently flawed — sinful, in ecclesiastical parlance — and could not be trusted with power over others.

 

To square this circle, our Founders developed a constitutional framework that trifurcated power into three separate and coequal parts. Each part had distinct powers and restrictions with the other two parts serving as a check lest too much power be usurped by one part. In essence, the genius of our Founders’ construct is that it uses the worst parts of the human condition — envy, pride, bigotry, hubris, etc. — as a millstone to grind down the sharpness of concentrated power. In order for our great constitutional republic to function, it requires widespread consent of the governed in the form of mass voluntary obedience to the rule of law. We are a nation full of diverse opinions on what our laws should be and we hash that out through our elected government. Inevitably, there will be swaths of people who disagree with various laws for various reasons. For our society to function, it requires that the vast majority of the people accept and obey the laws even when they disagree with them. A small percentage of ne’er-dowells will violate laws for which we maintain a nominal police force to correct and punish, but most people must obey constrained only by their consciences and adherence to our form of government.

 

When laws are unjust, mass civil disobedience is a legitimate form of corrective action in a free society. This is when a significant percentage of citizens refuse to obey the unjust law. In response, the government can either enforce the law with increasingly aggressive tactics at the risk of enraging the larger citizenry, or forgo enforcement, thus undermining the authority of the law. We have seen that civil disobedience in response to a just law fizzles under the weight of societal indifference.

 

When we move beyond individual laws being unjust to government itself being unjust, then we venture beyond civil disobedience into the realm of uncivil disobedience. It is incumbent on a free people to throw off a government that has become tyrannical, but such action must be embarked upon with great prudence such that ”Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.” But when there is a sober realization that the totality of the government has become intolerably tyrannical and it can no longer be rectified through the established constructs of our constitutional republic, then rebellion is the only recourse left to the dignity and conscience of a free people.

 

Where are we in 2022? We are in dangerous times. There are significant and growing factions in our nation that have moved well beyond protesting what they perceive as unjust laws into rejecting the very institutions of government as irrecoverably illegitimate. Groups like antifa and the Youth Liberation Front are using every societal spark to rebel and destabilize our institutions.

 

Left to their own devices, these fringe groups would rage in a vacuum where the fire quickly snuffs out. But recent years have seen mainstream leaders and elected representatives give them oxygen by echoing and validating their claims that our nation’s very institutions have become irredeemable. Calls by established and trusted leaders that the Supreme Court, Electoral College, Congress, and president are not just wrong, but illegitimate, are a manifest call to replace those institutions — even by violence. After all, what free people can tolerate living under the yoke of an illegitimate and tyrannical government? Such calls are reckless unless they are intended to be traitorous.

 

Thankfully, most Americans still respect our core government institutions and are willing to do the hard work of continuing to make our nation fairer and freer through the arduous representative process laid by the Founders. As we engage in robust debates in the public square and consider heterodox views without murdering each other, so too must we boldly engage and reform our government institutions without murdering them.

 

So what time is it on that Doomsday Clock? It’s time to get to work.

UN Touts Benefits of World Hunger to Benefit the Rich

Wow… just… Wow. The liberal world order (that we are all paying high energy prices to support according to the Biden Administration) really hates us.

We sometimes talk about hunger in the world as if it were a scourge that all of us want to see abolished, viewing it as comparable with the plague or aids. But that naïve view prevents us from coming to grips with what causes and sustains hunger. Hunger has great positive value to many people. Indeed, it is fundamental to the working of the world’s economy. Hungry people are the most productive people, especially where there is a need for manual labour.

 

[…]

 

For those of us at the high end of the social ladder, ending hunger globally would be a disaster. If there were no hunger in the world, who would plow the fields? Who would harvest our vegetables? Who would work in the rendering plants? Who would clean our toilets? We would have to produce our own food and clean our own toilets. No wonder people at the high end are not rushing to solve the hunger problem. For many of us, hunger is not a problem, but an asset.

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