Lincoln in 1838 foresaw America in 2020

August 19, 2020

Dusting off this old blog, because I was listening to the Power Line podcast, and something guest Charles Lipson said moved me to reread Lincoln’s Lyceum speech of 1838, when he was only 28 years old, and I was struck by this passage in particular. If you’ll bear with the more florid rhetoric of the time, I think you’ll agree that Abraham Lincoln at even a young age appreciated the danger we now face.

“But all this even, is not the full extent of the evil.–By such examples, by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint, but dread of punishment, they thus become, absolutely unrestrained.–Having ever regarded Government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations; and pray for nothing so much, as its total annihilation. While, on the other hand, good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws, and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country; seeing their property destroyed; their families insulted, and their lives endangered; their persons injured; and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better; become tired of, and disgusted with, a Government that offers them no protection; and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose. Thus, then, by the operation of this mobocractic spirit, which all must admit, is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any Government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed–I mean the attachment of the People. Whenever this effect shall be produced among us; whenever the vicious portion of population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision-stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure, and with impunity; depend on it, this Government cannot last. By such things, the feelings of the best citizens will become more or less alienated from it; and thus it will be left without friends, or with too few, and those few too weak, to make their friendship effectual. At such a time and under such circumstances, men of sufficient talent and ambition will not be wanting to seize the opportunity, strike the blow, and overturn that fair fabric, which for the last half century, has been the fondest hope, of the lovers of freedom, throughout the world.

I know the American People are much attached to their Government;–I know they would suffer much for its sake;–I know they would endure evils long and patiently, before they would ever think of exchanging it for another. Yet, notwithstanding all this, if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property, are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the Government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come.”

Now look at the news and at the near-total collapse of law and order in New York or Portland or Seattle or Chicago or… on and on. Look at the elected officials, supine before mobs, when not collaborating with them out of fear or even sympathy. The police rendered craven by a lack of support, and attempts to enforce the law denounced as tyranny. People hounded in their own homes, realizing no authority was there to protect them or even hold the mob in check through fear of punishment.

I’ve joked in the past that Lincoln was an “American Jesus,” dying for our sins. But reading this speech and looking at us today… He may well have been a prophet.

 


Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2019

It’s Independence Day here in the US, in which we celebrate our break with the British Empire. We’re 243 years old and, despite what some sanctimonious Lefty scolds might think, I think we’re doing pretty darned good. We’re not without our problems or faults, but I continue to believe America is exceptional among the nations of the world and that we are indeed a force for good. If you’re looking for some good Independence Day reading, there’s always the Declaration of Independence itself. Think of it as a short ideological summation of who and why we are.

Then there’s the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which function as a citizen’s “owner’s manual.” And yes, to those of you in other countries raising an eyebrow about now, we do tend to place those documents on a pedestal. You have to admit, however, they’ve worked well for over two centuries. How many republics and constitutions has France had in that time?

Gosh, it’s become quiet…. Winking

A lot’s been written around the Web about today, so I’ll spare you my musings. Instead, I want to leave you with something that I think symbolizes the best of the “Spirit of 1776:” new American citizens being sworn in at naturalization ceremonies across the country.

Welcome, fellow Americans! 

Happy 4th of July, folks. Enjoy the hot dogs and fireworks. 

UPDATE: Historian Victor Davis Hanson, as always, puts it better than I:

On this troubled Fourth we still should remember this is not 1776 when
New York was in British hands and Americans in retreat across the
state. It is not 1814 when the British burned Washington and the entire
system of national credit collapsed — or July 4, 1864 when Americans
awoke to news that 8,000 Americans had just been killed at Gettysburg.


We are not in 1932 when unemployment was still over 20 percent of the
work force, and industrial production was less than half of what it had
been just three years earlier, or July, 1942, when tens of thousands of
American were dying in convoys and B-17s, and on islands of the Pacific
in an existential war against Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Thank God it is not mid-summer 1950, when Seoul was overrun and arriving
American troops were overwhelmed by Communist forces as they rushed in
to save a crumbling South Korea. We are not in 1968 when the country
was torn apart by the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin
Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the riots at the Democratic
convention in Chicago. And we are not even in the waning days of 1979,
a year in which the American embassy was seized in Tehran and hostages
taken, the Soviets were invading Afghanistan, thousands were still
being murdered in Cambodia, Communism was on the march in Central
America, and our president was blaming our near 6-percent unemployment,
8-percent inflation, 15-percent interest rates, and weakening
international profile on our own collective “malaise.”

We live in the most prosperous and most free years of a wonderful
republic, and can easily rectify our present crises that are largely of
our own making and a result of the stupefying effects of our
unprecedented wealth and leisure. Instead of endless recriminations and
self-pity — of anger that our past was merely good rather than perfect
as we now demand — we need to give thanks this Fourth of July to our
ancestors who created our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and suffered
miseries beyond our comprehension as they bequeathed to us most of the
present wealth, leisure, and freedom we take for granted.

Note: This is an updating of a post I made years ago for this holiday.


Government-mandated minimum wages cost jobs

January 19, 2019

If only someone had warned us:

NYC restaurants cutting staff hours as minimum wage hits $15

The legal minimum wage for New York City employers with 11 or more workers rose more than 15 percent on Dec. 31, 2018, to $15 per hour from $13, giving fast-food, retail and other employees a bump in pay. But some New York City restaurant owners say the latest minimum wage hike is forcing them to cut workers’ hours just to stay afloat.

The article then makes an odd claim:

It’s not just a New York phenomenon, however: Minimum wages rose in 20 states with the new year, forcing businesses across the country to grapple with higher payrolls — and compete for workers with giants like Amazon that are already offering $15 an hour.

So, the need to “compete” for workers required the state to artificially raise wages beyond what many businesses can afford? This is helping how? 

The article then talks to someone “helped” by this new law:

“We lost control of our largest controllable expense,” he told CBS MoneyWatch. “So in order to live with that and stay in business, we’re cutting hours.”

Bloostein said he has scaled back on employee hours and no longer uses hosts and hostesses during lunch on light traffic days. Customers instead are greeted with a sign that reads, “Kindly select a table.” He also staggers employees’ start times. “These fewer hours add up to a lot of money in restaurants,” he said.

But the victims aren’t just the employees:

Bloostein said he has increased menu prices, too. “So as a result [of the minimum wage hike], it will cost more to dine out,” he said.

Meaning people on a budget will likely dine out less often. Great work!

As I’ve argued many times before, labor is a cost of doing business that businesses have to account for. When costs go up, these firms have only a few choices:

  1. They can pass on the cost to the consumer, risking the loss of customers’ business.
  2. They can cut labor costs by reducing hiring, cutting back hours, laying off employees, and automating.
  3. They can decide the reduced profit isn’t worth it and close shop, costing all employees their jobs.
  4. They can move out of the jurisdiction, probably costing local employees their jobs.

We’ve seen examples of this happening time and again in recent years, and the people who get hurt are the very ones these “enlightened” policies are supposed to help. Does a minimum wage of $15 per hour help when the jobs have been filled by order-taking kiosks and tablets?

Wages should only be determined by economic logic: what the business can afford to pay vs. the worker’s desired wage (and other benefits, such as learned skills, &c). If the business doesn’t pay enough for the work required, then they won’t find good employees: the business will suffer and they will be forced to raise wages to compete, if they want to stay in business.

Anything else is an attempt to impose utopia by people who don’t understand the way the world works, or by politicians looking for donations from unions.

h/t Mike LaChance at Legal Insurrection


Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2018

It’s Independence Day here in the US, in which we celebrate our break with the British Empire. We’re 242 years old and, despite what some sanctimonious Lefty scolds might think, I think we’re doing pretty darned good. We’re not without our problems or faults, but I continue to believe America is exceptional among the nations of the world and that we are indeed a force for good. If you’re looking for some good Independence Day reading, there’s always the Declaration of Independence itself. Think of it as a short ideological summation of who and why we are.

Then there’s the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which function as a citizen’s “owner’s manual.” And yes, to those of you in other countries raising an eyebrow about now, we do tend to place those documents on a pedestal. You have to admit, however, they’ve worked well for over two centuries. How many republics and constitutions has France had in that time?

Gosh, it’s become quiet…. Winking

A lot’s been written around the Web about today, so I’ll spare you my musings. Instead, I want to leave you with something that I think symbolizes the best of the “Spirit of 1776:” new American citizens being sworn in at naturalization ceremonies across the country.

Welcome, fellow Americans! 

Happy 4th of July, folks. Enjoy the hot dogs and fireworks. 

UPDATE: Historian Victor Davis Hanson, as always, puts it better than I:

On this troubled Fourth we still should remember this is not 1776 when
New York was in British hands and Americans in retreat across the
state. It is not 1814 when the British burned Washington and the entire
system of national credit collapsed — or July 4, 1864 when Americans
awoke to news that 8,000 Americans had just been killed at Gettysburg.


We are not in 1932 when unemployment was still over 20 percent of the
work force, and industrial production was less than half of what it had
been just three years earlier, or July, 1942, when tens of thousands of
American were dying in convoys and B-17s, and on islands of the Pacific
in an existential war against Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Thank God it is not mid-summer 1950, when Seoul was overrun and arriving
American troops were overwhelmed by Communist forces as they rushed in
to save a crumbling South Korea. We are not in 1968 when the country
was torn apart by the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin
Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the riots at the Democratic
convention in Chicago. And we are not even in the waning days of 1979,
a year in which the American embassy was seized in Tehran and hostages
taken, the Soviets were invading Afghanistan, thousands were still
being murdered in Cambodia, Communism was on the march in Central
America, and our president was blaming our near 6-percent unemployment,
8-percent inflation, 15-percent interest rates, and weakening
international profile on our own collective “malaise.”

We live in the most prosperous and most free years of a wonderful
republic, and can easily rectify our present crises that are largely of
our own making and a result of the stupefying effects of our
unprecedented wealth and leisure. Instead of endless recriminations and
self-pity — of anger that our past was merely good rather than perfect
as we now demand — we need to give thanks this Fourth of July to our
ancestors who created our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and suffered
miseries beyond our comprehension as they bequeathed to us most of the
present wealth, leisure, and freedom we take for granted.

Note: This is an updating of a post I made years ago for this holiday.


Two Heartening Responses to Seattle’s Self-Destructive Tax Grab

May 4, 2018

There’s hope for Seattle, yet.

International Liberty

I wrote last July about how greedy politicians in Seattle, Washington, were trying to impose a local income tax.

That effort has been stymied since there’s anti-income-tax language in the state constitution (Washington is one of nine states without that punitive levy), but that doesn’t mean the city’s tax-and-spend crowd has given up.

There’s a proposal for a new scheme to impose a “head tax” on successful companies.

The top three percent of the high grossing businesses in Seattle will carry the load of Seattle’s proposed employee head tax. Backers are calling it the “Progressive Tax on Business.” The tax will apply only to those companies with $20 million or more annually in taxable gross receipts as measured under the City’s Business and Occupation tax. The city estimates that will be 500 businesses. …the tax is based on total revenues and not net-income. …Councilmember Mike Obrien has been pushing…

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243 years later, the shot heard round the world still echoes

April 19, 2018

(This is a re-posting of something I wrote in 2009, in honor of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. If, however, you want to read an account of the bloodiest battle of that day and its all too human cost, read about the fight at Metonomy.)

I’m a bit red-faced Blushing that it took a British blog to remind me that today is the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, generally regarded as the opening skirmish of the American Revolution. Tory Historian points out that both sides claimed victory, but perhaps I can be forgiven a bit of national pride for arguing that we won on points: the advance column withdrew under fire and was considering surrender when it was rescued by Percy’s brigade. General Gage then found himself besieged in Boston. Flag

Regardless of any “Monday-morning generalship,” it is fitting that the anniversary comes just a few days after the Tax Day Tea Parties, a genuine grassroots movement that organized itself to protest Washington’s mad plans to borrow and spend like drunken sailors on pay day — and, inevitably, to make us pay for it all with ruinous taxation.

In 2009, just as in 1775, popular sentiment erupted to send distant masters a message. Thankfully, this time, shots weren’t needed, but the point was made just the same: Don’t tread on me.

treadflag

To update it for the current day, “President Trump” is what you get when the ruling caste spends years not really listening to people: they were trod upon, and the people bit back.

 


More Dishonest “Poverty” Research that Doesn’t Measure Poverty

June 25, 2017

Key point: “A country where everyone is impoverished will have zero or close-to-zero poverty because everyone is at the median income. But as I’ve explained before, a very wealthy society can have lots of “poverty” if some people are a lot richer than others.”

International Liberty

I periodically share data showing that living standards are higher in the United States than in Europe.

My goal isn’t to be jingoistic. Instead, I’m warning readers that we won’t be as prosperous if we copy out tax-and-spend friends on the other side of the Atlantic (just like I try to draw certain conclusions when showing how many low-tax jurisdictions have higher levels of economic output than the United States).

I’m sometimes asked, though, how America can be doing better than Europe when we have more poverty.

And when I ask them why they thinks that’s the case, they will point to sources such as this study from the German-based Institute of Labor Economics. Here’s some attention-grabbing data from the report.

The United States has the highest poverty rate both overall and among households with an employed person, but it stands farther away from the other countries on its in-work…

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Study: California once had 150 straight years of stormy, wet, weather

June 21, 2017

They’re right. If this happened now, the Green Cult would blame this on the dread demon Carbon Dioxide.

Watts Up With That?

From Vanderbilt University and the “yes, but if it happened today, it would be blamed on global warming” department.

Wet and stormy weather lashed California coast… 8,200 years ago

First high resolution evidence of California climate response to Holocene 8.2 ka event

The weather report for California 8,200 years ago was exceptionally wet and stormy.

That is the conclusion of a paleoclimate study that analyzed stalagmite records from White Moon Cave in the Santa Cruz Mountains published online Jun. 20 in Scientific Reports.

The Golden State’s 150-year stretch of unusually wet weather appears to have been marked by particularly intense winter storms and coincides with a climate anomaly in Greenland ice cores first detected in 1997. Before this “8.2 ka event” was discovered scientists thought the world’s climate had been unusually stable during the Holocene, the geological epoch that covers the last 11,700 years of Earth’s history.

This image…

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(Video) VDH on why we fought in Vietnam

May 29, 2017

Another video for Memorial Day. In this case, it’s not America’s Forgotten War, but the war America would like to forget: the Vietnam War. Historian Victor Davis Hanson explains why we fought there and how we lost:

Over the past several years, the reading of recent revisionist histories of the war have convinced me that, for all the domestic turmoil we experienced, we threw away a won war in 1974-75 and that, as I’ve long suspected, following a strategy similar to what we pursued in the second part of the Korean War might well have preserved South Vietnam as an independent state. As Dr. Hanson mentions, our failure to do so had terrible repercussions in Vietnam and in Cambodia.

A parallel with Iraq also inevitably comes to mind: as did Nixon in Vietnam, the Obama administration inherited a divisive war, but a war that was being won. All that was needed was to show endurance and political will to secure the peace. And, again -though not for the same reasons- we failed to do either.

Both conflicts show the need for the United States to come up with a coherent political strategy to secure the victory after we’ve won on the battlefield. We’re great at the latter, but, since Korea, we’ve been terrible at the former.

And Memorial Day is a good day to remind ourselves of the need to fix that, so that the sacrifices of the honored dead aren’t wasted.


(Video) Memorial Day and America’s “Forgotten War” in Korea

May 29, 2017

korean war

The Korean War (1950-53) is sometimes called America’s “Forgotten War,” the one that came between our crushing victory in World War II and the turmoil of our defeat in Vietnam.

It’s forgotten in part because its results were, at first glance, inconclusive: the North Korean regime survived, and the war was suspended in a ceasefire. In other words, a “draw.”

I’ve argued before that this is an incorrect way to view the war. True, we failed in our initial objective: to liberate all the Korean peninsula. But our later goal, the survival of the South Korean state, turned into a good few could have anticipated. Since the war, South Korea has become a prosperous democratic nation and a close ally of the United States. So, while we didn’t achieve all our war aims, it’s hard not to call this “victory.”

North Korea, on the other hand, gives new meaning to the phrase “Hell on Earth.”

For Prager University, historian Victor Davis Hanson (1) looks at the Korean War and offers not only the same reasons I adduce to call it a win, but also points out why it was an intensely moral fight on the part of the US and its allies:

The Korean War, and the men who fought it, should never be forgotten.

(Reposted in honor of Memorial Day)

Footnote:
(1) One of my intellectual heroes.

 


242 years later, the shot heard round the world still echoes

April 19, 2017

(This is a re-posting of something I wrote in 2009, in honor of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. If, however, you want to read an account of the bloodiest battle of that day and its all too human cost, read about the fight at Metonomy.)

I’m a bit red-faced Blushing that it took a British blog to remind me that today is the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, generally regarded as the opening skirmish of the American Revolution. Tory Historian points out that both sides claimed victory, but perhaps I can be forgiven a bit of national pride for arguing that we won on points: the advance column withdrew under fire and was considering surrender when it was rescued by Percy’s brigade. General Gage then found himself besieged in Boston. Flag

Regardless of any “Monday-morning generalship,” it is fitting that the anniversary comes just a few days after the Tax Day Tea Parties, a genuine grassroots movement that organized itself to protest Washington’s mad plans to borrow and spend like drunken sailors on pay day — and, inevitably, to make us pay for it all with ruinous taxation.

In 2009, just as in 1775, popular sentiment erupted to send distant masters a message. Thankfully, this time, shots weren’t needed, but the point was made just the same: Don’t tread on me.

treadflag

To update it for the current day, “President Trump” is what you get when the ruling caste spends years not really listening to people: they were trod upon, and the people bit back.

 


No money for Jerry Brown’s high-speed choo-choo?

March 19, 2017

Via Legal Insurrection:

A few, short weeks ago, I reported that President Trump’s Secretary of Transportation halted the transfer of millions of dollars in funding for the California bullet train, our governor’s legacy project.

However, those monies were not the sole source of funding. The main source of ongoing support for the train is the income from the cap-and-trade auctions that California sponsors.

It appears as if the all the air (carbon dioxide included) has gone out of the cap-and-trade market.

Let’s pause for a moment to contemplate that last sentence. What meaning can we draw from it? 

A boondoggle was being funded by a fraud.

I’ll let you read the rest of Leslie Eastman’s post if you wish, but here’s the summary: the governor and our leftist legislature tried to find alternate sources of funding for the high-speed rail project by granting it a share of revenues expected from our cap-and-trade auctions, established under Governor Schwarzenegger in a stupid quest to fight a problem that does not exist, catastrophic man-caused global warming.

But I digress.

The original funding has been tied up in lawsuits, and the Trump administration has already made it clear it’s not going to waste public money on this project. Thus the measure to divert cap-and-trade revenues. Only, for various reasons, no one is interested in buying the modern equivalent of Confederate war bonds. The auctions raise almost no revenue, threatening the viability of the high-speed railroad.

I call this a good thing.

I’ve inveighed against this stupid project before, so I’ll spare you another rant. California has many, many needs: our finances are a mess, our roads and highways are lousy, our schools are mediocre, and our dams are crumbling.

But Jerry Brown wants his legacy: a high-speed choo-choo that won’t meet the projected speeds and ridership, and is running way past projected costs.

As Victor Davis Hanson wrote:

Governors who cannot build a reservoir have little business fantasizing about 200-mph super trains.

Let’s hope the failure of the cap-and-trade auctions is the pinprick that finally bursts the Governor’s fantasy bubble.

h/t SteveinTN

PS: Speaking of aging infrastructure, we have another crumbling reservoir.


Putin, Trump, and False Moral Equivalence

February 6, 2017

Regardless of what the President says, there is no moral equivalence between the US and Putin’s Russia.

International Liberty

Back in the 1980s, I would get very agitated when folks made excuses for brutal communist regimes by asserting that the United States also did bad things. This “moral equivalence” argument is now being recycled by Donald Trump, who basically excuses Putin’s brutality because America supposedly isn’t in any position to throw stones.

Here’s the interview, set to start at the point where Trump discusses Putin.

This is wrong. Absurdly wrong.

Though let’s start by acknowledging that the United States is far from perfect. Our history includes black eyes such as slavery, mistreatment of native populations, incomplete legal rights for women, internment of Japanese-Americans, Jim Crow laws, persecution of gays, and other sins.

Even today, we have plenty of bad policies that restrict human liberty, often exacerbated by examples of thuggish actions by government.

But, at the risk of sounding jingoistic and patriotic, the United States began with a…

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Why Trump is being inaugurated today

January 20, 2017
Fine as long as the mouth stays shut

“Thanks, Lefties. You helped make me a winner.”

Found this on Facebook. I’d say it’s nearly perfect:

how-trump-happened

 

And if that doesn’t get the point across, here’s an F-bomb laden tirade from a UK Lefty:

The Left isn’t the sole reason Trump won, of course. Something this extraordinary has many causes. But their sanctimonious jackassery was a huge part of it.

The next four years are on you, Social Justice Warriors of America. Own it, and enjoy.


Fake news? California did not just legalize child prostitution.

December 30, 2016

Send help.

“Fake news” has been all the rage in recent weeks as Clintonistas and progressives more generally search for any reason why Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump other than she was a horrible candidate.

The charge is, of course, horse manure for any number of reasons, but I’m going to level it here at a mendacious, tendentious article published in The Washington Examiner and written by Travis Allen, a California Republican Assemblyman. To wit:

No, California did not just legalize child prostitution.

If you’re like me and did a “WTF?” head-shake at the very idea that buying sex from a minor is now just groovy here, here’s a graphic of the headline, in case The Examiner changes it:

examiner

And here’s a quote from the article:

Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California. Yes, you read that right.

SB 1322 bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with the intent to do so. So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution.

This is, to put it kindly (and remembering this is a family show), ninety-five percent wrong and just right enough to mislead a lot of people.

Let’s do some digging, shall we? First, here is an excerpt of a press release (1) from Senator Holly Mitchell (D), the author of the bill:

The Governor has signed into law legislation that deems persons under the age of 18 who might previously have been charged with criminal prostitution as victims of sex trafficking, eligible for treatment rather than prosecution.

The law is supposed to protect vulnerable children from adult abuse, yet we brand kids enmeshed in sex-for-pay with a scarlet ‘P’ and leave them subject to shame and prosecution,” said State Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), who introduced SB 1322. “This is our opportunity to do what we say is right in cases of sex trafficking: stop the exploiters and help the exploited.”

When it comes to the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), the victims are criminalized under California law, often sent to juvenile hall and tagged with a rap sheet for prostitution.

So, Mitchell claims the bill treats child prostitutes as victims, rather than criminals. Regardless of Mr. Allen’s claims, this is not the same as legalizing child prostitution.

But a press release can be just as misleading as a news article, so let’s look at the bill’s actual text. Senate Bill 1322 (SB 1322) amends Section 647 of the California Penal Code. The relevant paragraphs are 647 (a) and 647 (b)(1) and (b)(2). I quote them here in full:

SECTION 1. Section 647 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

647. Except as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) and subdivision (l), every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor:

(a) Who solicits anyone to engage in or who engages in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view.

(b) (1) Who solicits or who agrees to engage in or who engages in any act of prostitution. A person agrees to engage in an act of prostitution when, with specific intent to so engage, he or she manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation to so engage, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a person who also possessed the specific intent to engage in prostitution. No agreement to engage in an act of prostitution shall constitute a violation of this subdivision unless some act, in addition to the agreement, is done within this state in furtherance of the commission of an act of prostitution by the person agreeing to engage in that act. As used in this subdivision, “prostitution” includes any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), this subdivision does not apply to a child under 18 years of age who is alleged to have engaged in conduct to receive money or other consideration that would, if committed by an adult, violate this subdivision. A commercially exploited child under this paragraph may be adjudged a dependent child of the court pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and may be taken into temporary custody pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 305 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, if the conditions allowing temporary custody without warrant are met.

Read it carefully:

  • Paragraph (a) discusses anyone who in a public place tries to get another to have sex, including for pay. In other words, it includes a potential John making an offer.
  • Paragraph (b)(1) criminalizes the person the person who offers sex in return for money – the prostitute.
  • Paragraph (b)(2) removes the criminal penalties for prostitutes under 18, but makes them a dependent of the courts so that they can get help to escape that life, not a juvenile record. They can be taken into custody. They are not let off to do it again, they are not “free to have sex in exchange for money.”

What SB 1322 emphatically does not do is decriminalize perverts offering to pay for sex with a minor –paragraph (a)– or the prostitutes’ pimps. It does not decriminalize statutory rape, which is what sex with a minor prostitute would constitute. Those are still crimes in California. To state it plainly:

Child prostitution is still a crime in California.

One can debate whether Mitchell’s approach is the right one and whether the bill is prudent, but to say it legalizes something as horrible as child prostitution is “fake news” that defames Senator Mitchell and Governor Brown, and is insulting to California and its people. The Washington Examiner should at a minimum change the headline or, preferably, retract the article. Assemblyman Allen owes his colleague in the state senate an apology for insulting her and to the people of his district for embarrassing them.

There’s a lot wrong with my home state, but legalizing child sex is not one of them.

PS: To say 2016 has been a weird year is by now a cliche. Whether in politics or pop culture, this year has seen many saddening, maddening, and just plain weird occurrences.

But, here we go again. I’m defending California Democrats, the people running this state into the ground, Governor Jerry Brown, and my state senator, Holly Mitchell, a down-the-line progressive whom I’d never vote for. And I’m criticizing a California Republican.

Like I said, 2016 has been weird, man.

Relevant Link: The Blaze also states the truth.

UPDATE: Linked at Red State.

Footnote:
(1) Yeah, the headline for the press release says there is “no such thing as a child prostitute.” This is as much bunkum as Allen’s article. Selling sex in return for consideration makes one a prostitute, whether willing or not and whether adult or minor. This kind of avoidance of the truth helps no one.


[Pearl Harbor] Seventy-five years ago today

December 7, 2016
"FDR asks for a declaration of war"

“FDR asks for a declaration of war”

On the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt delivered this speech to a joint session of Congress:

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And, while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, that always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

You can listen to FDR giving the speech here. (Real media file.)

Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the US. Four years later, Mussolini had been executed by his own people, Hitler had committed suicide, and Germany, Italy, and Japan were under occupation.

Today’s lesson: It’s not a good idea to make us angry.

(Reposting of an old post, somewhat edited.)

The Sociopath: Ben Howe’s documentary on Donald Trump. You need to watch this.

November 4, 2016

For those who haven’t voted yet, but who are leaning Trump and may still be open to argument. I’ll let the video and its “About” text speak for itself:

He’s been called an impostor, a fraud, a fake. A charlatan. His own ghostwriter for the book “The Art of the Deal” called him a sociopath. There are many words that describe Donald Trump, and there are just as many words that don’t describe him: Conservative. Decent. Serious. Presidential.

Donald Trump has spearheaded one of the most divisive campaigns in modern politics and, in the eyes of many in his own party, is unfit to hold the highest office in the land.

But when the dust settles, whether he wins or loses, how will his campaign for the presidency be remembered? As an insurgency? Is it the story of someone “who fights” taking on power while taking power? Or will it be a hostile takeover from an invader that played out on national television as sane people watched and despaired? Will Trump be remember as the head of a movement, or the head of a snake? Or even as the snake-oil salesman and crony who hoodwinked millions?

And what of those who resisted? History will remember the resistance, but it remains to be seen if that will be positively or negatively.

But perhaps most importantly of all, will the people who support him ever get a clear picture of who he REALLY is?

“The Sociopath”, a film by Ben Howe, will show you not only who this man is, but more importantly, how he got to where he is, who supported him in doing so, and what it could mean for the future of the nation if he is elected.

I remain #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary.

via Andrea Ruth on Facebook


You’ll be shocked to learn Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) may be corrupt.

October 24, 2016
No way!!

No way!!

Call me “crazy,” “paranoid,” or even late for dinner, but, somehow, it seems just a wee bit suspicious that Governor McAuliffe, a close Clinton retainer known to play fast and loose with the rules (1), saw to it that that over $600,000 was donated to the state senate campaign of the wife of the FBI Agent who was investigating… Hillary Clinton.

What. A. Coincidence.

The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an influential Democrat with longstanding ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, gave nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who later helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use.

Campaign finance records show Mr. McAuliffe’s political-action committee donated $467,500 to the 2015 state Senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, who is married to Andrew McCabe, now the deputy director of the FBI.

The Virginia Democratic Party, over which Mr. McAuliffe exerts considerable control, donated an additional $207,788 worth of support to Dr. McCabe’s campaign in the form of mailers, according to the records. That adds up to slightly more than $675,000 to her candidacy from entities either directly under Mr. McAuliffe’s control or strongly influenced by him. The figure represents more than a third of all the campaign funds Dr. McCabe raised in the effort.

Mr. McAuliffe and other state party leaders recruited Dr. McCabe to run, according to party officials. She lost the election to incumbent Republican Dick Black.

Via Jim Geraghty, who points out in his Morning Jolt newsletter that there may really be nothing there, but it sure looks bad when the spouse of a law enforcement officer takes money from a known supporter of the woman her husband happens to be investigating. Even if there’s no fire beneath the smoke, in our cynical age the suspicion of a corrupt quid pro quo is unavoidable and only helps deepen the sense of citizens that the system is rotten and rigged to protect the powerful.

For what it’s worth, given what we already know of the whitewash of the investigation into Clinton’s email scandal by the FBI Director and the Department of Justice, not only do I think there’s fire under the smoke, but it’s a five-alarm fire. Congress and the DoJ’s inspector general need to look into this right now.

Footnote:
(1) And that’s giving McAuliffe every benefit of the doubt that’s left in the world. For all time.


As Confirmed by New Global Rankings, Rule of Law Is Why Western Civilization Is Superior

October 20, 2016

And the deeper we fall into a cronyist progressivism –whether under Democrats or a “lite” Republican version– the further the rule of law will be eroded.

International Liberty

The great contribution of western civilization is the notion that the power of government must be constrained by laws.

This doesn’t mean that all laws (or even most laws) are good. But, as explained in this video, if the choice is between the “rule of man” (the arbitrary and capricious exercise of power) and the “rule of law,” there’s no contest.

This is why issues related to the rule of law account for 20 percent of a nation’s grade in the rankings from Economic Freedom of the World.

And it’s why some people get very upset when, for instance, the Obama Administration chooses to unilaterally change – or simply chooses to not enforce – certain laws that are inconvenient to the President’s agenda.

But while the rule of law has been eroding in the United States, the good news is that we still rank in the top 20…

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Pension Promises to State and Local Bureaucrats Are a Ticking Time Bomb

October 17, 2016

Interestingly, these pension bombs aren’t limited to just Blue states.

International Liberty

America’s main long-run retirement challenge is our pay-as-you-go Social Security system, which was created back when everyone assumed we would always have a “population pyramid,” meaning relatively few retirees and lots of workers.

But as longevity has increased and fertility has decreased, the population pyramid increasingly looks like a cylinder. This helps to explain why the inflation-adjusted shortfall for Social Security is now about $37 trillion (and if you include the long-run shortfalls for Medicare and Medicaid, the outlook is even worse).

But Social Security is not the only government-created retirement problem. State and local governments have “defined benefit” pension systems for their bureaucrats, which means that their bureaucrats, when they retire (often at an early age), are entitled to receive monthly checks for the rest of their lives based on formulas devised by each state (based on factors such as years employed in the bureaucracy, pay…

View original post 1,409 more words