Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Politics

Biden Tax Plan Would Hurt The Emerald Isle

I think it’s kind of funny that the Irish were celebrating Biden’s win due to his Irish heritage and he might tank their economy.

For the last 20 years Ireland has had a simple message: invest here and you will pay just 12.5% tax on your Irish profits.

That compares favourably to headline corporation tax rates of 19% in the UK, 30% in Germany and 26.5% in Canada.

 

It is an article of faith in Irish politics that the 12.5% rate has been vital to attracting US investment.

But that tax advantage could be seriously undermined if President Biden gets his way.

 

The most striking of his proposals – and the one of most consequence for Ireland – is for a global minimum corporate tax rate.

 

The US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has suggested a 21% minimum rate.

 

“We are working with G20 nations to agree to a global minimum corporate tax rate that can stop the race to the bottom,” she said in a speech last week.

 

“Together we can use a global minimum tax to make sure the global economy thrives based on a more level playing field in the taxation of multinational corporations.”

 

Essentially that would mean if a company paid tax at the lower Irish rate, then the US (or other countries) could top up that company’s tax in their jurisdiction to get it to the global minimum.

 

So if a US company had a presence in Ireland primarily for the tax advantage, that advantage would disappear.

Elites Collude to Consolidate Power

Nothing says “unity” like a bunch of superrich elites lecturing the rest of America to “shut up and get in line.” Make no mistake… big business and big government love each other. They don’t like it when the little people talk back.

More than 100 corporate leaders joined in a Zoom call on Saturday to discuss ways they could counter new voting regulations that some see as a move to reduce electoral participation.

 

Their call was convened in response to new rules in Georgia, signed into law by the governor on March 31, which critics say brings back Jim Crow-era restrictions.

 

Executives who have said they would sign on include ones from: Pepsi, PayPal, Starbucks, AMC Entertainment, Merck, Hess and T. Rowe Price, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Another Teacher Rants at Kids on Zoom

Can you really claim to be a professional if you behave this way?

‘If your parent wants to talk to me about their profession and their opinion on their profession, I would love to hear that,’ she says.

 

‘However, if your parent wants to come talk to me about how I’m not doing a good enough job in distance learning based on what you need as an individual?

 

‘Just dare them to come at me.

 

‘Because I am so sick to my stomach of parents trying to tell educators how to do their job.’

Far too many of these government teachers and administrators feel absolutely no accountability or responsibility to the communities they serve. They are offended that parents and other school stakeholders even have an opinion about how our schools operate.

The really troubling part of this is that this kind of ranting and unprofessional behavior has likely been going on in our schools for years – DECADES. The only reason it is a story now is because the “teaching” is happening virtually and can be recorded and viewed by someone other than the kids. We should be extremely worried about what happens behind closed doors in our schools.

Perhaps it’s time for teachers to wear body cameras? Or, at least, a camera with audio in every classroom? It would be pretty easy to archive footage to protect both teachers and students when there is an accusation of wrongdoing.

Systemic Racism in Our Government Schools

This disparate treatment is not by accident. It is because of intentional policy choices. Our government schools are at the very center of systemic racism in our country. If we want to fight racism, we should start there – NOT by more indoctrination, but by dismantling them and putting power and money in the hands of parents.

MADISON – Most schools in Wisconsin were delivering at least some in-person instruction to students during the first half of the school year but students in the state’s urban centers were most likely to be learning virtually, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review of initial state data shows.

 

Students learning from home during the fall were more likely to be living in poverty and to be children of color while many children living in suburban and rural areas who are more likely to be white had the option of attending class in person, raising concerns over the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on Wisconsin’s longstanding and massive gap in academic achievement between its Black and white students.

 

[…]

 

By March, nearly every school in Wisconsin was conducting at least some coursework in person, according to a review last month by the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

 

But for Milwaukee and Madison the availability of in-person education was sparse at that time, with both districts holding classes almost entirely virtual. The two districts — the largest in the state — are in the process of returning most students to in-person classes part of the time.

 

Citizens Sue City of Green Bay Over Elections

The evidence is pretty clear that city officials ceded the management of the election to a private interest group.

The complaint alleges that the Center for Tech and Civic Life illegally dictated how Green Bay ran its election when it provided the city with $1.6 million to facilitate voting during the coronavirus pandemic. Minneapolis attorney Erick Kaardal cited a grant agreement that broadly required Green Bay to use the funds for “the public purpose of planning and operationalizing safe and secure election administration.”

“We want people to accept election results, and that requires fair and transparent elections,” Kaardal said during a news conference at the Brown County Courthouse.

The Gun “Epidemic”

Words matter.

“This is an epidemic, for God’s sake, and it has to stop,” Biden said in a Rose Garden speech.

Sit back and think of all of the government overreach we have experienced in the last year under the auspices that we had to do it to fight an “epidemic.” The government shut down businesses; forced people to stay home; forced people to wear masks; suspended civil rights to assemble, petition government, due process, speedy trials, etc.; changed election laws; funneled trillions of dollars to special interests and corporations; restricted interstate travel; nd on and on and on. The government did all of that to fight an epidemic.

So by calling violence committed with guns an “epidemic,” does that give Biden, Evers, and others the same cover to do the same thing to fight it? Could the government suspend carry laws, force gun registrations, and more to fight it? If not, why not? Do you think they won’t try?

There is a reason that Biden’s handlers put that word in his mouth.

Biden to Bypass Congress to Further Restrict Civil Rights Today

Biden has learned his lessons well from Herr Evers and others. Why bother with the legislature if it might be icky?

Later on Thursday, Mr Biden will say that he has given the Justice Department 30 days to propose a rule that will help reduce the number of “ghost guns”. These guns are self-assembled, which means they do not contain a serial number and cannot be traced.

I’ve been around guns and gun people all my life. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the phrase “ghost gun.” This appears to be a bit of showmanship. On the issue itself, there are only three reasons that guns don’t have a serial number from a manufacturer. First, they were filed off. Second, someone built the gun from parts. There are a lot of hobbyists out there who like to build their own guns instead of just buying them. Third, the gun is old from a period when serial numbers were not required. Whatever the case, if a person sells it, whether or not a gun has a serial number doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not the seller is required to run a background check. That is regulated by whether or not the seller is a licensed dealer or not. But the background check is on the person buying the gun – not the gun.

Here is what I think this is intended to do. The background check form has a spot to enter the serial number of the firearm if it has one. But the government doesn’t need that information to process the check. I think this is designed to give the government an excuse to deny background checks based on the form being incomplete. This is designed to just make it more of a hassle by throwing up bureaucratic roadblocks.

Mr Biden will also give the Justice Department 60 days to come up with a rule on stabilising braces for pistols. Under the rule, the braces, which can be used to turn a pistol into a short-barrelled rifle, would be subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act.

So killers will use a short rifle. This is an overreaction that doesn’t actually do anything other than annoy people, but it does allow politicians to say that they are “doing something” when they are not.

The Justice Department will also be asked to draft a “red flag law” which states can then use to create their own legislation. These laws authorise the courts and law enforcement to remove guns from people thought to be a risk to the community.

This is still a state issue, so it really depends on your state. The Justice Department can wrote all the samples they want. All it does is waste taxpayer money.

Court Ruling Saves Federal Taxpayers $50 Million per Month

With the economy rebounding and the unemployment rate at less than 4%, do we really still need the “extra” money for FoodShare? Shouldn’t people be working and buying their food at pre-pandemic levels?

Officials say last week’s Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling striking down Gov. Tony Evers’ COVID-19 emergency order means that next month the state will begin losing more than $50 million per month in emergency supplemental FoodShare benefits.

 

The state Department of Health Services says if the Supreme Court would have allowed the governor’s emergency order and mask mandate to last for one more full day, into April, FoodShare members would have been covered through the month of May.

Harris Ignores President’s Border Assignment

I suspect that Harris is too much of a political animal to want to be tied to the humanitarian catastrophe occurring at our southern border.

Kamala Harris has still to visit the US-Mexico border or even hold a press conference about her new duties in the two weeks since being tasked with addressing the migrant crisis.

 

The Vice President spent Easter weekend at her Brentwood home in Southern California where she baked a ‘beautiful’ roast pork with rice and peas, but did not find time in her schedule to visit the nearby border.

 

In the past two weeks she has also visited Connecticut for a talk with the Boys and Girls Club of New Haven, traveled to Oakland to meet with Gavin Newsom to show support amid his potential recall election, and made a trip to a bakery in Chicago.

 

Harris has also been busy moving into her new residence at the Naval Observatory just days after she complained about living out of suitcases while it was being renovated.

 

On March 24, she was tasked with leading the efforts to tackle the ‘humanitarian crisis’ amid a surge of migrants trying to enter the US since Joe Biden‘s administration came into office.

Buttigieg’s Fake Ride

LOL

The Secretary of Transportation, 39, was seen arriving at the building on his bike Thursday to attend a Cabinet meeting with Joe Biden. It appeared the politician had cycled in from his office at the Department of Transportation three miles away.

 

However, footage from WFMZ-TV  quickly went viral after it purportedly showed Buttigieg’s security detail unloading the bike from the back of a ‘gas guzzling’ SUV just blocks back from the White House.

 

[…]

 

The Department of Transportation told The New York Post that Buttigeg ‘rode his bike to the White House cabinet meeting’.

 

They did not say whether the bike ride began at Buttigieg’s office, which is located in the DOT building three miles away.

 

However, they did claim that he rode the entirety of the way back.

Bezos Supports Higher Barriers to Entry for Competitors

Heh

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has said he supports raising taxes on US companies.

The comments by the world’s richest man come as US President Joe Biden is pushing to raise the corporate rate from 21% to 28%.

In case it was unclear, let me help explain this. Bezos and Amazon are very rich and operate on a global scale. They have legions of lawyers and accountants to shift money around the globe to minimize their tax burden. Emerging competitors do not have that scale or capacity. Higher taxes eat into an emerging competitor’s profit and ability to grow, innovate, and acquire. Bezos supports higher taxes because he knows that he won’t pay them, but many of his competitors will.

Wisconsin Overpaid Unemployment by $102 Million (so far)

Yikes. The screw ups keep coming. Meanwhile, sit back and just ponder how much of our grandkids’ money our government is wasting.

Federal data show Wisconsin overpaid $102 million through October. Wisconsin is one of 11 states labeled red on a national map for unacceptably high improper payment rates. A researcher with the National Unemployment Law Project said the long backups to get people paid contributed to the problem.

 

[…]

 

The Department of Workforce Development did not return our call Monday.

 

[…]

 

The Labor Department Inspector General estimated $89 billion of CARES Act unemployment money went to people it shouldn’t have.

Evers’ abuse of power stopped by state Supreme Court

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

The court acted with good reason, for if a governor were permitted to rule in a permanent state of emergency, then the state Constitution is meaningless, and elections no longer matter. Governor Evers disagreed with the policy decisions of the Legislature, so he resorted to continually reissuing emergency declarations to enact his policy choices. In this case, Governor Evers was acting from behind the mask of compassion and claiming that only he knows the “science” that will save us all.

 

Despots, however, never rise to power by telling the people that they will strip them of their civil liberties and crush them under the boot of oppression. Despots always rise to power with the promise to protect the people from something like a foreign aggressor, internal strife, or, in this case, a disease. Despots claim that normal government is not sufficient to respond to this unprecedented apocalyptic crisis, so normal government must be suspended in favor of the nimble and extensive power of autocratic rule.

 

[…]

 

First, the Supreme Court waited far too long to issue its ruling. The original petition happened on October 15, 2020, and oral arguments were heard on November 16, 2020. The court waited until March 31, 2021 to issue its ruling. That is almost half a year between the petition of the court and the court’s ruling. In a case in which the state Constitution has been suspended while a rogue governor issues orders from behind a permanent state of emergency, the people of Wisconsin have a right to expect more expeditious action from their elected Supreme Court justices. They are elected to make rulings on important issues facing the state and their sloth smacks of snobbery.

 

Second, the ruling was decided by a single vote with four justices voting in the majority and three in the minority. The law is crystal clear in this case and yet three of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court justices supported the governor being able to suspend normal government forever by continually issuing emergency declarations. Wisconsin is on the razor’s edge of slipping into autocracy with almost half the court cheering for it. That should keep every freedom-loving Wisconsinite up at night.

Senate Parliamentarian Invents New Rules

The rules don’t mean anything. Power means everything. The Democrats understand it. The Republicans don’t.

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Monday that Democrats can use special budgetary rules to avoid a GOP filibuster on two more pieces of legislation, setting the stage for President Biden‘s infrastructure agenda to pass in two packages with simple-majority votes.

 

It’s a win for Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) that allows him to pass Biden’s $2.25 trillion package by revising the fiscal 2021 Budget Resolution.

 

Schumer could pass a budget resolution for fiscal 2022 to do a third reconciliation package for the second half of the Biden infrastructure agenda. Or the fiscal 2021 budget could be revised a third time to set up a third reconciliation package.

CDC Recommends People Stop Sanitizing So Much

Once again, the CDC changes its guidance. This is not a bad thing. They should adjust their guidance to the actual evidence. But it should also be obvious that the CDC is not omniscient and they do get things wrong. That is why it is also acceptable to use our brains and think for ourselves in these things.

It’s time to unplug the sanitizing robots and put away the bottles of Clorox that seem to line the entrances to every school, restaurant and supermarket wanting to advertise its safety protocols. While such protocols may be reassuring to an anxious populace, they are not necessary, says a revised guidance issued on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

“It is possible for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects (fomites), but the risk is generally considered to be low,” the new CDC guidance says, estimating that the chance of contracting the coronavirus through surface transmission is lower than 1 in 10,000.

 

The coronavirus is spread almost exclusively by airborne and aerosolized particles, as scientists have known for months. Despite scientists’ growing certitude about how the pathogen is transmitted, many establishments have continued to insist on strict sanitization protocols. In some school districts, for example, classrooms close for full-day “deep cleaning.”

 

The persistence of such practices has led to the advent of a derisive term — “hygiene theater” — to describe rituals that appear to do little to stop the virus from spreading. It is not clear if the CDC’s new guidance will lower the curtain on those theatrics, given how entrenched some of those practices have become.

Enemy At the Gates

And Biden left the gate open.

At least two Yemeni nationals who were placed on the FBI’s terror watchlist have been arrested in California after crossing illegally from Mexico into the United States.

 

The two unnamed men – one 33, the other 26 – were detained over the last three months in the Calexico area of California.

 

The captures were made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents assigned to the El Centro Station.

Preferences for West Bend Elections

While I don’t live in West Bend anymore, I do have a strong interest in the community in which I raised my kids and in which I have so many friends. I’ve been asked to share my views on the local elections. So, were I to vote in the local elections there, here’s what I would do:

City of West Bend

The even-numbered Aldermanic seats are up for election. I agree completely with former mayor Kraig Sadownikow. The common council has lurched to the left, or at least, become very pro-government. The council is largely serving the interests of the employees instead of the taxpayers. There are two conservatives on the council of 7. Both of them are up for reelection and should be rewarded for their good work. That’s Randy Koehler in District 4 and Meghan Kennedy in District 8.

The remaining two seats are held by two aldermen who consistently vote to enlarge the scope and expense of government. They should be replaced with two conservative candidates, Chris Thompson for District 2 and Tracy Ahrens in District 6.

The opportunity is there to turn the council to a 4-3 conservative majority in a single election. Don’t pass up that chance, Benders.

West Bend School Board

There are three candidates running for two seats. Both of the incumbents are running for reelection.

The West Bend School Board is in an interesting place. They did a good job with hiring the new superintendent and they managed to be ahead of most other public school districts in opening their doors partially during the pandemic. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that they have continued to raise taxes to most allowed by law and introduced some truly leftist indoctrination into the curriculum. Both of the incumbents advanced the misguided referendum in 2019 that failed and are almost certain to support any future referendum effort. As a whole, the board votes are almost always unanimous while the entrenched special interests and “good ol’ boys” have lined up behind the incumbents. There is a reason for that. Follow the money.

Unfortunately, there is not an opportunity to change the direction of the school board this election, but there is an opportunity to start down that path. At the very least, there is an opportunity to elect someone new to the board who will offer a different perspective and be willing to occasionally break ranks with the majority. Disagreement is healthy in a diverse community with conflicting interests. It should worry you when disagreements in the community are not reflected in elected bodies. It is an indication that the elected board is not representing all stakeholders.

Were I to vote, I’d cast a single vote for Jody Geenen. One of the incumbents will win the other seat. It really doesn’t matter which one. They vote the same way.

City of West Bend Accidentally Borrowed Too much

From the Washington County Insider. The short story is that due to an error by city employees, the city borrowed $1.5 million more than they needed this year. The same city employees want to just stash the money to use next year, thus reducing borrowing next year. The problem is that the city taxpayers will be paying interest on that loan as it sits in a bank account somewhere doing nothing. Alderman Randy Koehler asks all the right questions:

During the Monday, March 15 meeting Dist. 4 alderman Randy Koehler asked if the council borrows about $1.5 million over the project cost in 2021, is there a way to make sure the council borrows less next year? He also asked, “We’re just going to sit on that $1.4 million for a year and do nothing with it? That doesn’t make any sense to me. And if we don’t need it why are we borrowing it,” asked Koehler.

 

The representative from Ehlers Public Finance Advisors said “the City could earn interest on the $1.4 million. You also have the ability to lock in at the day of sale at a fixed rate for the life of the debt at a low interest rate environment for not only this year’s projects but a portion of next year’s projects.”

 

Koehler responded. “You said we have the ability to earn interest but we’re also going to be paying interest on money for a year that we’re just going to leave sit there. I would like us to scale this back by $1.4 million and just borrow the $4.1 million that we need to do the projects this year. That way we’re not tying the hands of the council next year and we’re also not saying we have an extra $1.5 million and then next year we borrow the same… we can’t determine how that will go next year. I want to scale this back and borrow just what we need.”

 

A clarification was made that the money borrowed would have to be spent on roads.

 

City engineer Max Marechal was asked if the money could be used in 2021 on other road projects. Marechal indicated contractors are already booked through the end of the year.

 

During a separate interview Phil Cosson from Ehlers indicated the interest for a year on the extra $1.5 million would cost the City $20,000. The interest received on the borrowing would be “nominal,” according to Cosson. Questioned what the dollar figure on “nominal” is he said “less than $1,000.”

Green Bay Officials Likely Broke Election Laws

From MacIver

Republican lawmakers seem to have the City of Green Bay cornered on its relationship with Dem political operative Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein. Whether Rubenstein was an employee, contractor, or observer is an unresolved question – but regardless of the answer, laws would have been broken.

 

The City of Green Bay received a $1.6 million grant to help run its election from the Center for Tech and Civic Life – a facebook funded activist organization. As part of the deal, Democrat political operative Michal Spitzer-Rubenstein was given full access to the city’s election process – including central count on election night.

 

The Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections heard testimony from Meagan Wolfe on Wednesday, Mar. 31, 2021. Wolfe is the administrator for the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC). She said WEC has no authority to investigate, regulate, or even monitor outside groups relationships with local elections officials.

Democrats Push To Restrict Civil Rights

No.

During a Thursday press conference, Kaul and lawmakers called on the GOP-controlled state Legislature to approve measures in Gov. Tony Evers’ budget proposal that would expand background checks on gun sales and allow courts to block some people from buying firearms.

 

[…]

 

Under the governor’s background check proposal, which is sometimes called a “universal background check” measure, all firearm sales in Wisconsin would be subject to background checks. Right now, people who buy guns online don’t need to pass a check. 

That last statement is an outright falsehood. It seems like people who write these stories never know anything about actually buying guns.

Another part of the governor’s proposal would enact a so-called “red flag law” in Wisconsin, which would allow law enforcement or someone’s family or friends to petition a judge to temporarily revoke that person’s right to buy, own or carry weapons.

I get the impetus behind red flag laws. And in a perfect world where I could have confidence that they would be implemented objectively and justly, I would support them. But red flag laws are woefully subject to human error and bias. And in a world where our government has been weaponized against pockets of unfavored citizens, any red flag laws would be simply used as a bludgeon.

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