Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Politics

Biden’s Bad Math

He doesn’t even pretend to have an actual plan to pay for this.

Joe Biden last night brought the total new spending commitments announced in his first 100 days in office to $6 trillion – but he’s facing questions over whether the tax rises he proposes will be enough to fund the programs.

 

Speaking to 200 lawmakers in Congress last night, Biden set out plans for his $2.3 trillion ‘American Jobs Plan’ that he called ‘a blue-collar blueprint to build America’. It joins the American Rescue Plan and The American Families Plan, at a time when national debt is at its highest level since 1945.

 

The American Rescue Plan, worth $1.9 trillion, has already passed the Senate in a 50-49 party-lines vote held in March, and aims at giving aid to American citizens amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The proposed American Families Plan is worth $1.8 trillion, so with The American Jobs Plan, the combined total of Biden’s three plans stands at $6 trillion, that would be spent over roughly 10 years.

 

In order to pay for this, the president announced a series of tax initiatives including a rise in corporation tax, in marginal income tax for the top 1 percent of earners, and in capital gains and dividend tax rates for those earning over $1 million per year, as well as an increase in funding to the IRS to chase town tax evaders.

 

Biden also intends to crack down on multinationals, forcing US firms that make money overseas and companies who use offshore businesses to pay significantly more in taxes under his ‘Made in America’ tax plan.

 

According to experts at The Tax Foundation, Biden’s tax increases announced in Congress on Wednesday would raise an estimated $2.37 trillion.

 

Their analysis of Biden’s taxation plans in full project that his planned taxes will raise a total of $3.3 billion – however this is subject to many factors including the performance of the economy.

 

The looming gap between Biden’s $6 trillion spending ambitions and the projected tax revenues raises the prospect that the President will resort to further borrowing to cover his spending.

COVID Vaccines are Very, Very Effective

If you have a vaccine, there is no reason at all for you to worry about masks and social distancing. If you aren’t vaccinated, then you are a free American making a choice for yourself. You assume the risk. Either way, there is no reason not to return to full normal.

The “breakthrough” infections represent 0.03% of people who have had both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer injections or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

That’s a higher share than the 0.008% represented by 7,157 breakthrough cases among more than 87 million fully immunized Americans reported last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the CDC said the national tally is an undercount, and experts say some infections are expected among those fully vaccinated because no vaccine is 100% effective.

 

[…]

 

In about half of Wisconsin’s breakthrough cases, those infected reported no symptoms, Miller said.

EAA AirVenture Returns

It’s great to see Wisconsin’s summer fun returning! So the good folks who run EAA can host an event that attracts hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world, but Cedarburg can’t have their little Strawberry Festival. It’s not about the science. It’s about priorities and will.

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — The aviation event that draws hundreds of thousands of people to Oshkosh returns this summer after the coronavirus pandemic forced organizers of EAA AirVenture to cancel last year’s gathering.

 

[…]

 

Masks will be strongly recommended if attendees are unable to socially distance. Proof of a COVID-19 vaccine will not be required to attend. The convention runs from July 26 through Aug. 1.

 

FBI Repeatedly Breaks Law

We are living is a post-law America when federal law enforcement agencies regularly break the law for their own agendas.

The FBI searched troves of communications sucked up by the National Security Agency for information on ‘racially motivated violent extremists’ without a warrant, ignoring previous warnings it was breaking the law.

 

The FBI’s requests for access to masses of electronic communications harvested by the National Security Agency (NSA) is revealed in a newly declassified report from the United States’ secret surveillance court.

 

It shows the FBI has continued to perform warrantless searches through the NSA’s most sensitive databases for routine criminal investigations, despite being told by a federal judge in 2018 and 2019 that such a use was an unconstitutional breach of privacy.

 

[…]

The FBI has traditionally only been allowed to seek data in cases of national security.

 

But after the bureau began making requests for routine criminal investigations, the FISA courts have been cracking down on how the FBI can access the data of Americans who are caught in these sweeps.

 

The FBI has been repeatedly blasted by federal judges over its use of the NSA’s vast electronic sweep of emails, texts and other electronic data.

 

In October 2019, the agency was found to have performed tens of thousands of illegal searches on Americans.

Germantown Schools to Promote Critical Race Theory in Classrooms

Germantown schools are officially off the rails.

On April 12, the Germantown School Board voted unanimously to remove CRT from curriculum in all Germantown schools. On Monday night, the School Board rescinded that action and so allowed inclusion of CRT, after more than two hours of public comment and presentations from staff. Michael Loth dissented.

 

“During the past two weeks, we have learned a lot about CRT and we are grateful for that,” School Board President Bob Soderberg said. He apologized to the public that the CRT matter had not been discussed more openly before the vote two weeks ago.

 

Germantown Superintendent Brett Stousland recommended the original action be rescinded, during a brief staff presentation to the board on Critical Race Theory.

 

“One of the tasks was how it’s used, where it’s used, when it’s used (in Germantown),” Stousland said.

 

Stousland said that on review of Germantown coursework, CRT is only specifically mentioned in two classes, both of which are high-level high school courses. He said in those courses, CRT is taught as one lens — a perspective through which society can be viewed — as feminism, economic, Marxist, psychoanalytic and other lenses are also taught.

 

Director of Teaching and Learning Brenda O’Brien said CRT is a lens for viewing racial inequalities in history and society. In discussion with teachers over the past two weeks, she said some expressed concerns that if all forms of CRT were banned, it could lead to any teaching about incarceration statistics, Jim Crow law, voting laws, segregation and other historical and current events being labeled CRT and therefor disallowed.

 

“To disallow this exploration would create a stunted, grossly incomplete study of history,” Germantown High School Social Studies teacher John Whitehead said.

I wouldn’t allow this teacher anywhere near my kids. He isn’t teaching. He’s indoctrinating.

Strawberry fields for never

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

By canceling the Strawberry Festival, the organizers are not preventing the spread of COVID-19. All they are doing is robbing their community of an influx of economic activity that is desperately needed after a year of lockdowns and business restrictions. The board is strangling their own community with the fear of a preventable and treatable virus. It is not rational or compassionate. It is stupid and cruel.

 

Wisconsin’s summers are legendary for the bevy of local festivals, fairs, concerts, and events that draw people together with the bond of humanity. Citizens must demand that their events and traditions continue. If local organizers balk, then they should be replaced with people who actually care about the health of the community beyond the virus. We could all certainly use more community and human interaction after this long, long winter of isolation.

Evers Paves Way for Government-Mandated Vaccine Passports

Evers continues with his totalitarian tendencies. There is no small “r” republicanism in this man.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed Republican-backed bills that would have prevented health officials from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine and allowed churches to be closed during the pandemic.

 

Evers said in his veto messages Friday that he objected to the bills because they limited his ability to respond to the pandemic.

 

The action has little immediate effect. There is no state order limiting how many people can gather in churches or any indoor venue, although there are some limited local ordinances. There are also no mandates in place from state or local health officials requiring vaccines for the general public.

 

Biden’s Tepid 100 Day Approval Rating

I don’t remember anyone blaming Trump’s approval rating on “intense partisanship.” But with fawning media coverage, this is the best he can do?

Intense partisanship is holding Joe Biden to a tepid job approval rating — the third-lowest for any president at 100 days in office since Harry Truman — along with continued economic dislocation, pandemic impacts and questions about Biden’s view of the size and role of government.

 

All told, 52% of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of Biden’s work in office, lower than any president at 100 days in office since 1945, save Gerald Ford in 1974 (48%, after his unpopular pardon of Richard Nixon) and Donald Trump at 42% in 2017. For the 14 presidents from Truman to Biden, the 100-day average is 66%.

The Armenian Genocide

Good for Biden. This has been too long in coming. Now call out the genocide being perpetrated on the Uighurs.

President Joe Biden on Saturday issued the document Armenian Americans have pursued for decades: a declaration that the Ottoman Empire’s slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenian civilians was genocide.

 

It’s a deceptively simple action, carrying no force of law. Yet it’s a bold move for Biden, who has gone beyond what any American president has ever been willing to do. Until now, presidents have declined to formally apply the term “genocide” for fear of sparking a backlash from Turkey, which vigorously denies it. According to the Turkish account, World War I-era violence between Muslim Ottomans and Christian Armenians led to large casualties on both sides. According to most historians, however, the evidence is clear the Turks engaged in a years-long ethnic cleansing campaign that included forced death marches and mass starvation.

The Warrior Rests

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

Doctor John McAdams passed away last week. He leaves behind a legacy as a warrior for freedom of thought and speech in an era that desperately needs more warriors like him.

 

In the spring of 2003, I received an email from an old friend asking if I wanted to start a weblog, or blog, with him. The internet was in its toddler phase. It was before Facebook and Twitter existed. Internet Explorer was the most popular browser, Yahoo was the most popular search engine, and the first iPhone was still four years in the future.

 

Blogging was just coming into its own as a way for amateurs to share their thoughts with the world. It was a revolution in media access where a pajama-wearing basement-dweller could rival media giants with the power of thoughts, well-constructed arguments, and the right mix of style and character. For a few years, the Wisconsin blogosphere was a vibrant avant-garde exploring cultural and political discussions hitherto controlled by the mainstream media or consigned to sloshy conversations at the end of the tavern bar. We were of different ages, backgrounds, circumstances, philosophies, and motivations, but were united in the celebration of this new medium of free expression. We ventured out of our homes to meet each other in person at blog summits and casual gatherings. It was at was one of these blog events that I first met the Marquette Warrior in person.

 

Doctor John McAdams was a conservative professor at Marquette University during the time of the radical leftist takeover of that once Jesuit center of learning. His blog was titled “Marquette Warrior” with the stated goal of providing “an independent, rather skeptical view of events at Marquette University,” and it certainly fulfilled that mission.

 

Doctor John McAdams passed away last week. He leaves behind a legacy as a warrior for freedom of thought and speech in an era that desperately needs more warriors like him. McAdams was jovial, witty, occasionally crass, extraordinarily intelligent, and unapologetically conservative. His professorial tone and pleasingly lax physique belied his steely spine. McAdams was not one to casually suffer affronts to liberty or what he thought was right. While he fought a long, brawling ideological battle with his employer and the leftists reshaping his beloved university with many advances and setbacks, he will be best remembered for taking that fight to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and winning a landmark ruling that will protect academic liberty for generations.

 

McAdams has been blogging about incidents at Marquette University for over a decade when, in 2014, he blogged about yet another incident of woke indoctrination that has become commonplace throughout academia. A graduate student was teaching a class when she lectured her students that gay marriage was ethically and morally correct and that any arguments against it were automatically homophobic and immoral. When a student objected that it was at least worthy of debate — especially in an ostensibly Catholic university — the instructor shut down debate as illegitimate.

 

McAdams blogged about the incident arguing that irrespective of one’s views on gay marriage, a university classroom was supposed to be a place where divergent ideas could be debated openly and honestly. That is the difference between education and indoctrination. Education invites scrutiny and debate. Indoctrination rejects all discussion as inappropriate and immoral.

 

That post by McAdams began a story that would end in his unequivocal victory. In retaliation to the blog post, Marquette University suspended McAdams and offered him the opportunity to return to the classroom only if he would prostrate himself before the university overlords and beg for forgiveness. But McAdams was made of stiffer stuff. He fought. He fought hard. And he won.

 

McAdams fought the university all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In the landmark 2018 ruling of McAdams v. Marquette University, the court ruled that the “University breached the Contract by suspending Dr. McAdams for exercising his contractually-protected right of academic freedom,” and ordered him reinstated. McAdams humbly returned to the classroom for the remainder of his life.

 

Dr. McAdams’ fight was a fight for all Wisconsinites. When others were swept away by the Legions of Woke, the lonely Marquette Warrior was the rock upon which they broke. He will be sorely missed.

BLM Leader Advocates for Big Tech After Receiving Millions

Always follow the money

Tech moguls who made their fortunes from Facebook, Twitter and Netflix have donated at least $7.5 million to groups tied to BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who has in turn publicly backed their policy goals, according to a new report.

 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, and Patricia Ann Quillin, the wife of Netflix’s billionaire CEO, all gave generously to Cullors’ PAC and associated charities, according to the New York Post.

 

Cullors for her part has strongly advocated for ‘net neutrality’, a policy that financially benefits online content providers such as Netflix and social media sites.

 

And the cozy relationship has even seen Facebook and Twitter censor perceived criticism of Cullors, with Facebook going so far as to block users from sharing a DailyMail.com article detailing a controversy over her expensive real estate holdings.

Pro-Choice About Vaccines

Here, here.

 

Johnson said it was legitimate to question whether people with a low risk of suffering a serious illness from COVID-19 should get vaccinated. He promised to “vigorously oppose” vaccine passports.

Whether or not you get a vaccine is a private medical decision that’s between you and your healthcare provider. It’s none of my business.

Cedarburg Cancels Festival

This is insane.

CEDARBURG — The 2021 Strawberry Festival has been canceled. The Festivals of Cedarburg Board made its decision Wednesday night based on current CDC guidelines and COVID-19 trends. The festival was scheduled for June 26-27.

 

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” said President Jim Pape in a press release. “We’re all looking forward to a sense of normalcy, to summer days when we can get out of our homes and gather together again. With vaccines becoming more and more prevalent, Strawberry Festival seemed like it might be the perfect opportunity for that — a smalltown early summer outdoor festival. But we need to make sure we’re doing it safely, and current statistics and restrictions just make it too difficult to predict what conditions will be like in June.”

 

Strawberry Festival was also canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Festivals of Cedarburg decided to turn it into a mini virtual festival. Almost 1,000 people logged into the Virtual Strawberry Festival.

There are large gatherings going on all over the country and there is no evidence that COVID has an easy time spreading through them. Baseball games? Fine. Riots? No COVID there. Tourist attractions? Open and doing just fine. Elections? Good.

Furthermore, everybody over 16 in Wisconsin is eligible for a vaccine and they are readily available. In fact, there are areas where they have vaccines sitting around waiting for people. By the time June comes, there will be absolutely no reason that anyone who wants a vaccine shouldn’t have one.

Finally, if you don’t want to attend a festival or keep you shop open during it – don’t. Don’t go! The fact that you are worried about an event doesn’t mean that you get to cancel it for everyone else. If there’s anything we have seen, it’s that there is an enormous demand for anything that is open. Every time something opens, it’s mobbed. Restaurants that have opened to capacity are filling it. And the people who want to stay home for good or bad reasons are perfectly able to do so. Our society shouldn’t cater to their FOMO.

These board members aren’t following any science or common sense. They are just lazy, fearful hacks who don’t want to get off their butts and continue Cedarburg’s marvelous traditions. Shame on them.

Who is on the board? I have no idea. They don’t put their board members on their website. But you can find their generic contact information here if you are in the mood to be ignored.

Biden Proposes Massive Tax Hike

Americans should be penalized for daring to improve their lot in life /sarcasm

Bloomberg News reported Thursday afternoon that Biden is planning a capital gains tax hike to as high as 43.4% for wealthy Americans. The proposal would hike the capital gains rate to 39.6% for those earning $1 million or more, up from 20% currently, according to Bloomberg News, citing people familiar with the matter. Reuters and the New York Times later matched the headlines.

 

“Biden’s proposal effectively doubles the capital gains tax rate on $1 million income earners,” said Jack Ablin, Cresset Capital Management’s founding partner and CIO. “That’s a sizable cost increase to long-term investors. Expect selling this year if investors sense the proposal has a chance of becoming law next year.”

Police Officer Stops Knife Attack

Why let the facts get in the way of a good narrative?

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the fatal cop shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant shows police violence ‘disproportionately impacts black and Latino people’ during Wednesday’s press briefing.

 

She suggested the shooting was an example of racial bias after Columbus police released bodycam footage showing the teen lunging at another girl with a knife.

 

[…]

 

On Wednesday Columbus police released more graphic footage showing Bryant lunging at another girl with a knife.

The Warrior rests

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. In it, I think back on the impact of the Marquette Warrior, Dr. John McAdams. The world needs more people like him.

Doctor John McAdams passed away last week. He leaves behind a legacy as a warrior for freedom of thought and speech in an era that desperately needs more warriors like him. McAdams was jovial, witty, occasionally crass, extraordinarily intelligent, and unapologetically conservative. His professorial tone and pleasingly lax physique belied his steely spine. McAdams was not one to casually suffer affronts to liberty or what he thought was right. While he fought a long, brawling ideological battle with his employer and the leftists reshaping his beloved university with many advances and setbacks, he will be best remembered for taking that fight to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and winning a landmark ruling that will protect academic liberty for generations.

Whitmer Heads to Florida During Pandemic

Rules for thee

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office is responding to a report she traveled out of Michigan to Florida about a month ago to visit her father in a report by Michigan Information and Research Service published Monday.

 

According to spokesperson Tiffany Brown, Whitmer’s father is battling a chronic illness and has a home in Florida. Brown said he is vaccinated against COVID-19 and that the governor is tested regularly and has never tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Brown said the trip was not at taxpayers’ expense and that she was not gone for long.

Here’s the thing… her excuse for going and the precautions she took are perfectly reasonable. What is infuriating is that she feels that she should be allowed to make these choices for herself and her family while she chastises other people from making the same choices. It speaks to her arrogance and narcissism that she believes that she is endowed with a higher order of intelligence to make rational decisions that she would deny others. Just yesterday, she was in the news criticizing Michiganders for coming home from Florida.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Sunday blamed travelers for a growing number of B117 coronavirus variant cases — after asking for “grace” for a top staffer who took heat for a recent vacation in Florida.

 

“At the end of the day, this is going to come down to whether or not everyone does their part,” Whitmer told “Meet the Press.” “That’s the most important thing. This variant, the B117 variant, is what is growing so quickly in Michigan. We have the second most, I think, after Florida.”

 

“Michigan and Florida are not next to each other. But this is the time of the year that snow birds come home from Florida, where people are going on spring break, and all of these things can contribute to spread. That’s why we’re imploring people to take this seriously, mask up, get tested,” she said.

Meanwhile, Florida is handling the pandemic much, MUCH better than Michigan and having much, MUCH better results.

Perhaps more Michiganders should go to Florida to wait out the pandemic raging in Michigan.

January 6th Death Toll Detailed

While all of the deaths are tragic for their families, the fact remains that the only homicide committed at the U.S. Capitol that day was by an officer. We do not yet know whether that homicide was justified. If this was an “insurrection,” it was the least deadly one in human history.

A US police officer who died after January’s Capitol riot had two strokes and died from natural causes, the chief medical examiner for Washington DC has ruled.

Two men are accused of using a type of pepper spray on Officer Brian Sicknick.

 

However, the ruling means they are now unlikely to be charged with homicide.

 

The autopsy found no evidence of an allergic reaction to chemicals, nor of internal or external injuries, Dr Francisco Diaz said.

 

Officer Sicknick, 42, was defending the Capitol building from supporters of then President Donald Trump who stormed it on 6 January. He collapsed after returning to his office during the siege, and died the next day in hospital.

 

In his ruling, Dr Diaz found Officer Sicknick died of a medical condition which was not brought on by an injury.

 

[…]

 

Speculation over Officer Sicknick’s death was the source of widespread disinformation after the New York Times reported erroneously that protesters had bludgeoned him with a fire extinguisher – a claim the newspaper later retracted.

 

Four other people died in the Capitol riot – all pro-Trump protesters: unarmed Ashli Babbitt was shot at point blank range by a Capitol Police officer; two others died of heart failure and one from an amphetamine overdose.

Student Performance Plummets

First, note how hard it was for the reporters to get answers. Second, remember that these districts have also been shifting measurements so comparisons are skewed more positive than they actually are. Even with that… this is bad… really bad. Fox 6 did an excellent job and has a great interactive map with detailed background data that I encourage you to explore.

FOX6 started asking Milwaukee Public Schools for student performance records in January. The records the district eventually provided say the data was collected in February, but MPS did not turn the numbers over until April 1 – the night before spring break, one week after the school board voted on an in-person learning plan.

 

The data shows a jump in high school students failing one or more classes, from 46 percent pre-pandemic to 55.9 percent last semester.

 

The district said it could not locate records with GPA data from previous years; no one responded to FOX6’s repeated interview requests.

 

During a virtual press conference about reopening school buildings, Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley briefly answered a few FOX6 questions about the student performance data.

 

“I will say to you that this has been something that has happened around the country and I think that it’s been due to the shift to virtual learning and trying to meet the needs of all of our students,” Dr. Posley said. “That is something that we do have to address as a district.”

 

Wauwatosa’s records show a jump from 9.22% of middle and high school students failing one or more classes in the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year to 17.46% in the first semester of 2020-2021. Average GPA fell from 3.02 to 2.83.

Lockdowns and Isolation Drives Dramatic Increase in Drug Overdoses

Ouch.

“Isolation is really one of the toughest things for people with addiction. It’s easier to drink and to use if people aren’t noticing you. I think it’s easier to hide out,” Pierquet-Hohner said.

 

Troubling data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the dangers of not getting help.

 

From September of 2019 to September of 2020, there was nearly a 30 percent increase in drug overdose deaths across the country. In Wisconsin, the rise was 27.9 percent over that same time period.

 

“People when they take a substance like an opioid, it sends off pleasure responses in the brain that sort of tell people, ‘oh. this feels good,’” Dr. Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar said. She’s an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

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