Boots & Sabers

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Biden Stonewalls Congress

It’s almost like Biden is the head of a criminal family organization.

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee emerged outraged from a two-hour secure briefing with Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines, threatening to grind the chamber’s business to a halt if the Biden administration does not provide access to the classified documents seized from the current president and former President Donald Trump.

 

Senators in both parties have claimed the administration is refusing to let them see the materials, even blocking lawmakers with the highest security clearance, like Senate Intelligence Committee members, while the special counsel probes are ongoing over how Biden and Trump handled the classified records while out of office.

 

“I’m very disappointed with the lack of detail and a timeline on when we’re going to get a briefing, not on anything dealing with criminality — that’s an appropriate Department of Justice responsibility — but it is our responsibility to make sure that we, in our role as intelligence oversight, know if there’s been any intelligence compromise,” Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va, said in a rare rebuke of the administration.

Biden’s Whale-Killing Machines

What a mess.

State leaders and the Biden administration have homed in on the industry because the power of offshore winds can produce a rare round-the-clock source of greenhouse-gas-free electricity – and one difficult for future administrations to undo once turbines are in the ground. The administration set a goal for 30 gigawatts of new power from offshore wind by 2030. That is about 3 percent of what the country needs to get to 80 percent clean electricity by that time, according to estimates from a team led by University of California at Berkeley researchers.

 

The industry paid more than $5 billion to the federal government for the right to build off the coast as the Biden administration made a large number of leases available last year. Some of the world’s largest energy companies, including BP, Shell, Equinor and Duke Energy, now plan to spend billions more constructing thousands of skyscraper-size turbines off America’s shores that will produce enough juice to power roughly 7 million homes, according to the American Clean Power Association, a renewable-energy trade group.

 

The nation’s first large-scale project began construction off the coast of Massachusetts a little more than a year ago, and surveying vessels are now charting the East Coast for the next wave of construction. That work is happening in the same area where a die-off of humpback whales began seven years ago and where scientists and federal officials are now working to prevent the North Atlantic right whale, one of the world’s most endangered marine mammals, from going extinct.

 

“We have an unprecedented amount of whales dying here at the same time there is this industrial activity taking place on a scale that has never before happened in these waters,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, a local nonprofit. “Why is this not being investigated? Why are these companies getting a pass?”

 

Achieving the Biden administration’s target would require the installation of thousands of the machines, which will tower as high as three Statues of Liberty stacked on top of one another when their blades reach for the sky. The blades alone can be the length of a football field.

 

But it has been slow going. There are only seven working offshore wind turbines in the entire United States at the moment. In Europe, there are more than 5,000. China also has thousands.

I doubt that the turbines are really killing whales, but it shows how difficult it is to get anything big done in America nowadays.

Biden Pushes for Less Affordable Housing

It’s like Democrats don’t know how real people think and act.

“In the absence of robust investments in fair and affordable housing, it is clear that additional timely executive action is needed to address the urgent issue of historically high rental costs and housing instability,” the lawmakers wrote. “…We urge your Administration to pursue all possible strategies to end corporate price gouging in the real estate sector.”

 

Specifically, lawmakers had called on the president to direct the FTC to issue new regulations defining excessive rent increases and enforce actions against rent gouging, suggestions that are aggressive than what the administration has so far put forth. The letter also asked to have FHFA put in place rent protection for tenants living in properties financed with government-backed mortgage properties, which is more closely aligned with what the president outlined on Wednesday.

 

In Wednesday’s announcement, the administration also sought to rally state and local governments — as well as the private sector — to protect renters.

 

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, for instance, have agreed to cap annual rental increases to 5% per year for federal- or state-subsidized affordable housing.

Do you know what will result in even less affordable housing? The government punishing people who choose to build it and rent to marginal renters. If government is going to cap rents and make it impossible to evict deadbeats, landlords will just stop participating in that part of the market.

April ballot gets even more important

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

Wisconsin’s April election is shaping up to be one of the most important spring elections in decades. Not only is there an election for the state Supreme Court that will decide whether the court retains its majority of constitutional conservatives or flip to an activist tool of leftists ideologues, but the Legislature has placed two important referendums on the ballot for the voters’ consideration.

 

[…]

 

The second statewide referendum on the April ballot is far more important. Article 1, Section 8(2) of Wisconsin’s Constitution currently prohibits judges from considering anything other than what it will take to ensure that a defendant will appear in court when setting a bail amount. The result of this prohibition has been that judges are hamstrung into granting low bail to defendants even when there is a glaring risk that the defendant will commit more carnage before their court date.

 

Way too many Wisconsinites have been victimized by criminals who were out of jail because of grossly low bail.

 

The referendum on the ballot asks the voters to amend the Constitution to allow judges to consider, “the totality of the circumstances, including the accused’s previous convictions for a violent crime, the probability that the accused will fail to appear, the need to protect the community from serious harm and prevent witness intimidation, and potential affirmative defenses” when setting bail for someone accused of a violent crime.

 

If the amendment passes, it does not mean that Wisconsin judges will use their newly granted latitude to impose appropriately high bail for defendants who have a history of habitual thuggery. There are far too many leftist judges on the bench who will continue to coddle crooks with low bail. If Wisconsinites want to keep more violent offenders off the streets for longer, they will have to get to the polls and elect better judges. But the good judges will use their new power to protect Wisconsinites with higher bail for violent criminals and Wisconsin will be better for their diligence.

Mummies Are Racist

Oh, for cripes’ sake.

But some museums in Britain are now using words other than “mummy” to describe their displays of ancient Egyptian human remains.
Instead, they are starting to adopt terms such as “mummified person” or to use the individual’s name to emphasize that they were once living people.
[…]
“Like many museums, important aspects of our collections and the way that we display them have been shaped by imperial and colonial thinking and actions that were based on racial and racist understandings of the world,” the spokesperson added.
“In response, we are reflecting on how we represent imperial and colonial pasts to our audiences. In our galleries, we are making changes to displays and labels to address historical bias.”
For example, the spokesperson said, the museum is altering the panel accompanying a mummified man to focus on “how ancient Egypt was co-opted into the idea of ‘Western civilization,’ disconnecting Egypt’s ancient heritage from modern Egypt.”

Taxes Are Racist

I agree. Abolish them.

Tax season is starting for all Americans — but the tax code’s provisions play out very differently for white families compared to families of color, new research says. The tax benefits from some of the most advantageous parts of the federal income-tax code accrue disproportionately to white families, according to Treasury Department findings that show the broader implications of dry tax rules. White families are pulling in more than 90% of the tax benefits that come from lower tax rates for capital gains, more than 90% of the tax benefits from itemized charitable deductions and 90% of the deduction attached to qualified business income — all while representing an estimated 67% of families, researchers said.

Hate, yes, but racial hate?

To be fair, several sides are guilty of jumping the gun before the facts are known. It would be nice if we could all agree to wait 48 hours after any tragic event before assigning our favorite narrative. Your narrative might be true, but that doesn’t mean that every incident is validation.

Despite police not releasing the suspect’s identity or race, some liberals on Twitter were quick to pin the horror on white supremacy and anti-Asian hate before all the facts were known.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tweeted: “We must stand up to bigotry and hate wherever they rear their ugly heads, and we must keep working to stop gun violence.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Saturday’s shooting was “A horrific example of needless gun violence. With bigotry toward AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) individuals as a possible motive.”

Meanwhile, #StopAsianHate many Twitter users condemned the violence, punctuating their tweets with “#StopAsianHate.”

Racoon Rescued After Testicles Froze to Track

Oof. Glad he’s okay.

A male raccoon was rescued after its private parts became frozen to a railway track in southern America.

 

A railway worker was braving -12C conditions in Cochran, Georgia, when he and a colleague came across the distressed animal on the line. It was seen straddling the rail with its testicles stuck to the metal.

 

Neil Mullis used warm water and a shovel to dislodge the raccoon in a process that took five minutes – after which the animal ran free.

 

He told local media: “I poured the warm water under his bottom while a co-worker worked the shovel under his butt to try and break him loose.

 

“After about five minutes of slowly working him loose, he was free. He jumped off the rail and ran in the woods, never looking back.”

Land’s End Embraces Gen X

I’m glad to see them recognize their blunder and return to their core value.

Most retailers are tripping over themselves to stay relevant by courting younger Millennial and Gen Z shoppers. Not Lands’ End.

As it looks to grow its customer base, Lands’ End is bucking the trend by purposely embracing the “forgotten generation,” Gen Xers.

[…]

“There was a strategy at a point in time where we were going to bring in Millennials,” Lands’ End CEO Jerome Griffith, who is retiring at the end of January, said at the ICR conference last week. “It didn’t fly with our customers.”

In a rush to grab the attention of younger consumersthe retailer stumbled and made fashion missteps. Sales tumbled as its core older shoppers were put off by stylish dresses and high-heeled party shoes showing up next to the comfort clothing embraced by moms and dads.

“So we said, you know what, we have this neat generation of customers right behind baby boomers, the Gen Xers. As we go out to look for new consumers, let’s go after them,” he said.

Handling Homelessness

This is the way.

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio – This Ohio city has a message for homeless people: You are not welcome here.

 

In Middletown, a city of 51,000 north of Cincinnati, officials opposed the expansion of a center that treats homeless people struggling with addiction.

 

The city created a “homeless crisis team,” which included the assistant city manager and police chief, to sweep the downtown and arrest people without housingOver six weeks, the team arrested 94 people.

 

“We don’t want to make this a comfortable place for them to live. Get them off the streets to where they can’t live by their rules,” City Councilmember Zack Ferrell said in a Facebook comment to a resident.

City leaders across the U.S. have attempted a variety of measures to deal with people without housing on their streets: Los Angeles declared a state of emergency and plans to get over 17,000 people into housing this year; New York City officials are now authorized to involuntarily commit people; Cincinnati cleared encampments.

 

In Columbus, efforts to combat homelessness are led by the Community Shelter Board. The nonprofit helps about 15,000 people each year find shelter and permanent supportive housing.

 

Few experts on the topic recommend Middletown’s approach, saying it’s ineffective and, in the long run, more costly. Formerly homeless people interviewed by The Enquirer said recovery housing rather than time in jail was crucial for them to become self-sufficient residents of Middletown.

 

Ferrell told The Enquirer he believes the Middletown’s efforts to sweep downtown have had a “major impact.”

 

“On almost an everyday basis right now, I have citizens reaching out to me, telling me they feel more safe and comfortable to walk their animals or walk to different downtown businesses,” he said.

Screw the experts. It’s not the job of the good citizens of Middleton to help vagrants become self-sufficient. They can go somewhere else to become self-sufficient and then move back. More often than not, people will not change their ways until they hit rock bottom. The failure of our public policy is that we have lined the rock bottom with pillows so that people are more comfortable living on the streets doing drugs than they are getting cleaned up.

What to do with Samaritan

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

Washington County’s Samaritan campus is at a crossroads. The time for tough decisions is upon us.

 

What should county taxpayers do for the people currently housed in the crumbling edifice of neglected obligations?

 

The Samaritan Campus is a senior care facility owned and operated by Washington County that provides skilled nursing, assisted living, and a residential care apartment complex for elderly citizens who cannot afford private care. It is funded through Medicare and Medicaid with shortfalls being covered by county taxpayers.

 

The problem the county is facing is severe, but not unique. The cost of operating Samaritan is far exceeding the funding provided by federal programs. Further, the facility needs a major renovation or rebuilding that will cost tens of millions of dollars.

 

Last year, Washington County taxpayers were paying nearly $50,000 per resident (about $2 million) to cover expenses and that is without the expense of a new or renovated facility. The ongoing expense for county taxpayers is projected to continue to increase exponentially.

 

Some have floated the notion that the county could use available money from one-time funds like federal COVID relief funds or opioid settlement funds to rehabilitate or reconstruct the facility. This may be feasible in the short term, but it does not fix the long-term funding problem. Using one-time funds to patch a systemic problem simply obligates future lawmakers to fix something because current lawmakers lack the courage to act.

 

What is to be done?

 

First, we must ask ourselves some hard questions. Should county taxpayers provide elder care to citizens who cannot afford it? There is no constitutional prohibition or mandate for county government to provide such a service. If the citizens of Washington County want to subsidize care for seniors, it is a policy decision. To date, county citizens have provided this service, so there is an absolute obligation to the seniors currently being cared for at Samaritan. Whether or not the citizens should carry this obligation moving forward is a separate question.

 

The second question to ask ourselves is, assuming county taxpayers are committed to providing for the county’s impoverished seniors, should the county own and operate the facility to do so? Experience should guide our answer to this question. Our collective experience is that, with exceedingly rare exception, government is terrible at running things. Government is a convenient, often abused, mechanism for the forced pooling of resources to expend on collective needs, but is pervasively inefficient, ineffective, and unresponsive when in charge of operations. We can see this in action at Samaritan itself, where decades of poor management and neglect have forced the county to this crisis point.

 

In Wisconsin, only 36 Wisconsin counties currently operate senior care facilities according to the Department of Health Services. The other counties either partner with private facilities to subsidize senior care where needed or forgo the financial obligation altogether. Washington County should transition the current residents to private facilities and support that transition with adequate funding. Using the COVID relief or opioid settlement monies to fund this transition might be necessary.

 

Whether or not county taxpayers should, or can, subsidize senior care moving forward will take some further thought. In the current arrangement, the taxpayer obligation to seniors is capped by the number of available beds at Samaritan. It is a physical cap. If the taxpayers subsidize senior care in private facilities with flexible capacity, would such a program attract seniors from outside of Washington County and become an unsustainable drain on taxpayer resources? Such potential unintended consequences will need to be mitigated should the county decide to subsidize senior care indefinitely.

 

One thing is certain. The situation at Samaritan has become intolerable and inexcusable. The caregivers are doing tremendous work but they are understaffed and under-resourced. Washington County is falling short of providing the dignity of care promised to Samaritan’s residents. This year must be a year of decisions and action — not another year of kicking the can down the road.

Invasion of Southern Border Continues Apace

And this is only the ones who were stopped. We have an American city flooding across the border every month.

WASHINGTON — A surge in Cuban and Nicaraguan arrivals at the U.S. border with Mexico in December led to the highest number of illegal border crossings recorded during any month of Joe Biden’s presidency, authorities said Friday.

 

The extraordinary influx came shortly before Biden introduced measures on Jan. 5 to deter Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans.

 

U.S. authorities stopped migrants 251,487 times along the Mexican border in December, up 7% from 234,896 times in November and up 40% from 179,253 times in December 2021, Customs and Border Protection said.

 

Cubans were stopped nearly 43,000 times in December, up 23% from November and more than quintuple the same period a year earlier. Nicaraguans were stopped more than 35,000 times, up 3% from November and more than double from December 2021.

 

More migrants were also stopped from Ecuador and Peru.

U.S. Directs Ukranian War Plans

So now we’re not just arming Ukraine, but directing combat actions? Can we admit that America is at war with Russia using Ukranian mercenaries?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Senior U.S. officials are advising Ukraine to hold off on launching a major offensive against Russian forces until the latest supply of U.S. weaponry is in place and training has been provided, a senior Biden administration official said on Friday.

 

The official, speaking to a small group of reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States was holding fast to its decision not to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine at this time, amid a controversy with Germany over tanks.

 

U.S. talks with Ukraine on any counter-offensive have been in the context of ensuring the Ukrainians devote enough time first to training on the latest weaponry provided by the United States, the official said.

SCOTUS Fails to Find Leaker

It appears that the flow of information was pretty loose – probably because they all trusted each other to not violate the secrecy of the court. Now that that trust is shattered, I hope they have implemented more stringent safeguards.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday announced that after a lengthy investigation it has been unable to conclusively identify the person who leaked an unpublished draft of an opinion indicating the court was poised to roll back abortion rights.

 

In an unsigned statement, the court said that all leads had been followed up and forensic analysis performed, but “the team has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”

 

The attached report suggested the court was not watertight, with some employees admitting they had talked to spouses about the draft opinion and how the justices had voted. The investigation conducted by Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley was largely limited to the court building itself and the people who work there, meaning that any actions taken by people at home or elsewhere using personal devices were mostly not within its scope.

 

The report also indicated that the justices were not scrutinized as part of the probe, with the focus on permanent employees and the law clerks who work for each justice for a year.

Lights Stuck On in School for Five Months

Ope.

One of the cost-saving measures the school board insisted on was a “green lighting system” run on software installed by a company called 5th Light to control the lights in the building. The system was designed to save energy — and thus save money — by automatically adjusting the lights as needed.

 

But in August 2021, staffers at the school noticed that the lights were not dimming in the daytime and burning brightly through the night.

 

“The lighting system went into default,” said Osborne. “And the default position for the lighting system is for the lights to be on.”

 

Osborne said they immediately reached out to the original installer of the system only to discover that the company had changed hands several times since the high school was built. When they finally tracked down the current owner of the company, Reflex Lighting, several more weeks went by before the company was able to find somebody familiar with the high school’s lighting system, he said.

U.S. – The Arsenal of Kleptocracy

Are we still not interested in all of the Biden’s dealings in Ukraine? Europe has far more interest in supporting Ukraine than the U.S. does, yet here we are emptying our wallets for them. Why? What’s the goal?

CNN — 

The US is set to finalize a huge military aid package for Ukraine totaling approximately $2.5 billion worth of weaponry, including for the first time Stryker combat vehicles, two sources briefed on the next tranche of aid told CNN.

The package is not yet finalized, one of sources said, but it could come before the end of the week.

The new aid – one of the biggest packages to be announced since the war began last February – would also include more armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles, according to one of the people briefed. Combined with the Strykers, it marks a significant escalation in the armored vehicles the US has committed to Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, known as MRAPs, are also on the list, the person said. The US has already committed to sending Ukraine nearly 500 MRAPs.

When asked if the US was preparing to announce another Ukraine security package, State Department spokesman Ned Price told CNN, “Two words: stay tuned.”

Biden Threatens Americans with Overwhelming Force if they Resist Government

This is not a man who sees himself as a humble first among equals. This IS a man who views us as subjects.

President Joe Biden is once again pledging to ban “assault weapons.” In a speech at the National Action Network’s Annual MLK Day Breakfast, the president failed to define the term, as per usual, because there is no class of weapon that carries that distinction. Biden did, however, go back to his tried and true one-liner: “If you want to take on the federal government, you need some F-15s, you don’t need an AR-15.”

Ignoring the ominous nature of a sitting president threatening law-abiding citizens with the use of military force, the claim is dubious, at best, considering that we are a year and a half removed from the Biden administration surrendering Afghanistan to a group of goat herders carrying rifles similar to those owned by everyday Americans. Biden, who recently turned 80, surely can remember the United States taking a loss in the Vietnam War, against an adversary who did not exactly possess air superiority.

What to do with Samaritan

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

Washington County’s Samaritan campus is at a crossroads. The time for tough decisions is upon us.

What should county taxpayers do for the people currently housed in the crumbling edifice of neglected obligations?

[…]

The second question to ask ourselves is, assuming county taxpayers are committed to providing for the county’s impoverished seniors, should the county own and operate the facility to do so? Experience should guide our answer to this question. Our collective experience is that, with exceedingly rare exception, government is terrible at running things. Government is a convenient, often abused, mechanism for the forced pooling of resources to expend on collective needs, but is pervasively inefficient, ineffective, and unresponsive when in charge of operations. We can see this in action at Samaritan itself, where decades of poor management and neglect have forced the county to this crisis point.

In Wisconsin, only 36 Wisconsin counties currently operate senior care facilities according to the Department of Health Services. The other counties either partner with private facilities to subsidize senior care where needed or forgo the financial obligation altogether. Washington County should transition the current residents to private facilities and support that transition with adequate funding. Using the COVID relief or opioid settlement monies to fund this transition might be necessary.

Whether or not county taxpayers should, or can, subsidize senior care moving forward will take some further thought. In the current arrangement, the taxpayer obligation to seniors is capped by the number of available beds at Samaritan. It is a physical cap. If the taxpayers subsidize senior care in private facilities with flexible capacity, would such a program attract seniors from outside of Washington County and become an unsustainable drain on taxpayer resources? Such potential unintended consequences will need to be mitigated should the county decide to subsidize senior care indefinitely.

One thing is certain. The situation at Samaritan has become intolerable and inexcusable.

Schools Withhold Performance Awards in Widespread Fraud Scheme

This not only hurts high performing kids by limiting their future, but it also hurts poor performing kids who are not given the help the need when their failures go unacknowledged. Please, get your kids out of these schools. Their goals for your kids are not your goals.

Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has slammed the decision by seven Fairfax County schools to withhold from their students whether they received a prestigious national merit recognition as ‘maniacal’.

Only awarded to 50,000 of 1.5million high-schoolers who score well on the PSATS, the prestigious award can help students compete for scholarships, honors accolades, and college admissions.

The schools – which include America’s best-performing public school, Thomas Jefferson High – have explained their decision to keep the results secret as a form of ‘equity.’ They insist it’s part of a new school strategy meant to provide ‘equal outcomes for every student, without exceptions.’ – but parents are furious.

As a result of the deception, pupils whom had been named ‘commended students’ by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation were purposely left in the dark so as to not ‘hurt the feelings of’ other students.

[…]
The admission by the schools of failing to notify their students of any national merit recognition they may have achieved means students will miss important college scholarship and admissions deadlines.

Antisemitism at University of Michigan

Thes are the Klan rallies of the 21st century.

Social media users were shocked and outraged over a recent anti-Israel rally put on by pro-Palestinian protestors at the University of Michigan this week.

Clips of the protest depicted marchers, chanting “Intifada, Intifada! Long live the Intifada” a call to violent overthrow of the Jewish state inspired by Palestinian riots and rebellions against Israel in the late 80s, early 90s, and early 2000s.

“There is only one solution!” a female marcher was seen chanting, as the crowd behind her responded, “Intifada! Revolution!

Marchers, seen walking around the Ann Arbor campus screaming into bullhorns and waving Palestinian flags, were also heard chanting the infamous anti-Israel call to arms: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

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