Biden is already killing jobs.

Almost any U.S. employment snapshot looks grand compared with last April when COVID shutdowns rocketed joblessness to 14.8 percent. By December, the seasonally adjusted rate fell to 6.7 percent. So, everything zen?

As the song goes, I don’t think so. Current unemployment is nearly double what it was in December 2019 and remains higher than at any point since March 2014. Neither the 2001 recession nor the 1990 downturn drove joblessness so high. And this doesn’t express the problem’s full magnitude. The effective unemployment rate, including those who have given up looking for work and those who involuntarily work part-time, is 11.7 percent, compared with 6.8 percent a year ago. Alas, this may be as good as it gets for a while: unemployment declined precipitously since its April peak but flattened after November.

Workers and job seekers hardly need more pressure. Yet the new president promises tons of it.

Joe Biden has spent mere days in the White House but has already used his administrative power to kill thousands of jobs, starting with 1,000 directly tied to construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline whose permit he cancelled. Not only will this cost the U.S. many more jobs later on, while making transport of Canadian oil more expensive and less safe, it has already vexed America’s relationship with its closest ally and largest trading partner.

And while America should chiefly concern itself with the wellbeing of Americans, it’s worth noting how much this project meant to our northern neighbor. After congratulating Biden on his election last November, Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a press release declaring he “looked forward to further strengthening the Canada-U.S. relationship and to engaging on key issues, including… energy cooperation such as Keystone XL.” The day before Biden took office, Alberta’s Conservative Premier Jason Kenney pleaded publicly “that President-elect Biden show Canada the respect to actually sit down and hear our case about how we can be partners in prosperity, partners in combating climate change, partners in energy security.” No such luck.

How much will Biden’s sacrifice of jobs, cheaper fuel, and hemispheric political capital mitigate climate change? According to an environmental impact assessment conducted by the Obama-Biden administration, little if at all. Obama’s own former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar supported building the pipeline, calling it an environmental and economic “win-win.”

The president will, of course, need Congress to approve some of his other job-slaying ideas, such as hiking the minimum wage to $15 per hour. And since two Republican senators couldn’t manage to get themselves reelected in Georgia, he’ll likely get that approval.

Raising the minimum wage for the first time in 12 years—indeed, more than doubling it—will get Biden plenty of fanfare but it won’t benefit more workers than it will make too costly to employ. Occasionally, economic analyses supporting an increase will make their way into the headlines. These studies often comes from labor-funded institutions like the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Unprejudiced economists overwhelmingly take the opposite view. A 2019 survey of U.S. economists by Lloyd Corder of Carnegie Mellon University found that 74 percent of them oppose a minimum-wage hike of the size Biden proposes, with two-thirds considering $10 per hour or less a more advisable wage floor.

According to Corder, “[R]ecent surveys of businesses, franchises and other groups suggest that such minimum wage raises may actually harm workers, resulting in fewer jobs, greater difficulty in younger workers finding employment and adoption of automation and other changes to offset the higher cost of labor.”

Not content to constrict the potential supply of American jobs available, Biden is also expanding the pool of job seekers by augmenting the inflow of immigrants. Dispiritingly, this could result in reversing recent progress on labor-force participation by native-born workers. While that improvement began in 2014, the Center for Immigration Studies’ Research Director Steven Camarota has argued compellingly that the recent slowdown in immigration during the Trump administration aided the trend.

On this score, Biden has already done some damage by executive action. One order he signed on his first day as president strengthens the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which impedes deportation of those who arrived in the U.S. as children. Another order halts construction of the border wall with Mexico. Biden has called on Congress to further weaken immigration controls.

Americans had better hope COVID-19 and its resulting restrictions go away soon. If so, that’ll be the only good news American job seekers get for some time.

The Chauvin-Floyd Affair

“(Officer) Lane asked, “should we roll him on his side?” and the defendant (Officer Chauvin) said, “No, staying put where we got him.” … Officer Lane said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” Officer Derek Chauvin replied, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.” 

These quotes – exculpatory evidence – are taken directly from the criminal complaint filed against Officer Derek Chauvin, which was either all or in part, taken from the unedited body-cam videos of the officers during the arrest of George Floyd. 

As stated, Officer Lane was “worried” meaning he was thinking about unpleasant things that might happen because of excited delirium. Officer Chauvin replied “That’s why” meaning this was the reason he was trying to keep George Floyd in the position he was. But this has not been publicized, at least as of this writing.

There are some interesting facts about Excited Delirium that are pertinent to this case. Indeed, they are an integral part of this incident.

According to a study of Excited Delirium ( EXD) conducted by Drs. Takeuchi and Henderson of the USC Keck School of Medicine and Terry Ahern of UCSD Medical School, which was published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, EXD is “ …characterized by agitation, aggression, acute distress and sudden death, often in the pre-hospital care setting. It is typically associated with the use of drugs that alter dopamine processing, hyperthermia, and, most notably, sometimes with death of the affected person in the custody of law enforcement. Subjects typically die from cardiopulmonary arrest, although the cause is debated. Unfortunately, an adequate treatment plan has yet to be established, in part due to the fact that most patients die before hospital arrival. (Emphasis not in the original)

This scientific research also notes, “As mentioned before, people experiencing EXD are highly agitated, violent, and show signs of unexpected strength so it is not surprising that most require physical restraint. The prone maximal restraint position… where the person’s ankles and wrists are bound together behind their back, has been used extensively by field personnel. In far fewer cases, persons have been tied to a hospital gurney or manually held prone with knee pressure on the back or neck.” (Emphasis not in the original).

Therefore, Officer Chauvin was not committing an act of murder but implementing a restraining technique. Indeed, he may have been trying to prevent Floyd from hurting himself.

The criminal complaint reveals more facts about this incident than the strategically edited, very damning to the police, video touted by the media. That video played endlessly, shows George Floyd walking handcuffed one moment and then suddenly on the ground the next with Officer Chauvin placing his knee against Floyd’s neck. But there is a huge gap in the video indicating the events preceding the interaction between Chauvin in Floyd. 

Given the recent history of mainstream media doctoring videos this is very disconcerting. One must wonder why a profession that claims to tell the truth would do this.

There are other very important facts contained in the body-cam videos that are omitted by the media reportage. For example, Floyd, a man with a prior arrest for a violent felony – a home invasion and armed robbery – resisted arrest and threw himself down on the ground to avoid being placed in the police car for transport.

Another fact omitted by the media; Floyd was complaining about not being able to breathe while he was standing. Does this not indicate that Chauvin’s actions did nothing to suffocate him?

Still another fact obscured by the media is the preliminary report by the Medical Examiner which stated, “The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”

Knowing these facts, not just supposition and half-truths, does it still seem that Officer Derek Chauvin, committed a cold-blooded racist murder as the elite media have implied?

But we have been here before.

The media and other fringe groups tried to lynch Officer Darren Wilson in the Michael Brown shooting in August 2014. The media and fringe groups tried to lynch the Baltimore police officers in the Freddie Gray case in April 2015.

But when it came to the killing of unarmed white men by police, which happens much more frequently – there was no reportage of the breadth, depth, prominence, and frequency of unarmed white men killed by black or Hispanic police officers. Ask yourself why the media imbalance between these two.

We all know the reason why. Because for American journalists, for the American media, and – for a certain small percentage of the American public – White Police Officer Lives Do Not Matter. They did not matter in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and they do not matter in Minneapolis, MN in 2020.

derek chauvin – george floyd – excited delirium

Learn From Other States, Reject Casinos

America’s largest casino company launched a TV and radio ad blitz last night aiming to stoke Texans’ FOMO—their fear of missing out.

“Every year,” one ad explains, “Texans spend billions of tourism and gambling dollars at casinos in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico—billions that could be staying here.” Las Vegas Sands, the corporation funding the campaign, wants state lawmakers to put a measure legalizing casino gambling on the election ballot in November. The bill under consideration would permit construction of one hotel casino in each of the state’s four largest urban areas.

The Lone Star State does have some of the most restrictive gambling laws in the U.S. It has no casinos, save a few small tribal establishments. States with comparable regulations include Alaska, Utah, and Tennessee. 

Those states nearly rival Texas in another regard: all have booming economies with standout rates of GDP growth in the last quarter of 2020. Texas, of course, tops them all with a 7.5 percent growth rate. 

Perhaps, then, Texans shouldn’t wallow in FOMO at the urging of the gambling industry. Perhaps they’ve done well to reject many of the economic follies to which other states have succumbed. But they still might wonder, what harm would arise from casino gambling? Other states have unwittingly answered: plenty.

Estimates by the National Center for Responsible Gaming—an industry-founded group—indicate that between three million and four million Americans are pathological gamblers. Other estimates suggest the number of gambling addicts is as great as eight million (or three percent of American adults). The nonprofit National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that one-fifth of pathological gamblers attempt suicide. A full quarter of these gamblers file for bankruptcy at some point.

Casino operators feign sensitivity to the woes of problem gamblers, but the former invariably depend on the latter. Extensive research has determined that between 30 and 60 percent of casino revenues come from gambling addicts. Casinos have become adept at tracking their biggest spenders (i.e., their most extravagant losers), through loyalty cards and other technology, as well as enticing their repeat business through complimentary drinks, free gifts, limo service, and other perks.

Even the design of the casinos’ electronic gaming devices works to fuel gamblers’ addictions. Slot machines, for example, are sometimes programmed to frequently show “near misses,” with a jackpot symbol appearing just barely over or under the payline. This sparks an “almost-won” feeling that keeps the player engaged in trying again and again for an actual win. According to Atlantic writer John Rosengren, these machines are devised “explicitly to lull [users] into a trancelike state that the industry refers to as ‘continuous gaming productivity.’”

But, one may ask, don’t Texas’s restrictions merely drive problem gamblers to take their pathologies to Louisiana or Oklahoma? Actually, in many cases, no. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission determined that living within 50 miles of a casino doubles the probability someone will develop a gambling addiction. Fewer casinos mean fewer addicts.

So, then, the costs of expanded gambling are real. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens don’t receive much in return. In my home state of Pennsylvania, casinos were approved in 2004 under the pretense that slot revenues would provide substantial property tax relief. A 2020 comparison of average property tax burdens by state found that—14 casinos later—Pennsylvanians still endure the 11th highest average property tax bill. New Jersey introduced gambling in the 1970s as a means to avoid tax hikes and that, needless to say, didn’t work out. A 2016 SUNY-Rockefeller Institute of Government study of gaming revenues showed this outcome has befallen state after state.

As for gambling as an economic development boon, good luck enlisting any respected urban policy expert of any political stripe in the cause. The liberal planning guru Richard Florida calls downtown casino building “city-ruining of the highest order.” Center-right Harvard economist Edward Glaeser, who doesn’t object to new casinos in theory, sees “considerable downsides to gambling” and publicly opposed the building of a slots parlor in Worcester, MA. 

These flashy commercial edifices don’t increase local prosperity because, in addition to worsening crime and family breakdown, they displace spending that would normally go toward non-gaming consumption. Casinos reshape the economy, but they don’t grow it.

Texas has had time to observe other states trying this idea. It will have no excuse for repeating their mistake.

Biden’s Border Crisis Is Endangering Texans

President Biden’s inaction regarding the surge of illegal immigrants at the southern U.S. Border has been nothing sort of disastrous. Foolishly deciding to shift from former President Donald Trump’s tough stance on immigration has led to a crisis of epic proportions that directly endangered Texans as violent criminals are making their way into the U.S. On Tuesday, Houston CBS affiliate, KHOU 11, reported that a Mexican man convicted of murder in May 2020, who was deported back to Mexico, was arrested Sunday night in Progeso, Texas.

Unfortunately, this is just one of the many examples of the complete deterioration of border security and the immigration problems our country faces. Murderers, violent criminals, and drugs are constantly entering our country and innocent Americans are the ones who suffer. Politicians are failing to do their job in protecting the people of our country. Democrats are particularly culpable as they ignore the security of Americans to prioritize thousands of non-citizens looking to enter the country illegally. And while we should show compassion to those fleeing unsafe circumstances and looking to come to this country for a better life, there must be law and order in this process. Plenty of people flee their countries and dangerous circumstances to come to America yet they do it legally.

Sadly, identity politics and the radical agenda of Democrats are forced onto Americans putting them in danger. The unidentified man who was caught in Progreso and murdered someone in Houston was also arrested six months before he committed murder for “assault causing bodily harm” and sentenced to 30 days in jail, according to KHOU 11. It should be legitimately questioned as to why he was not deported after his arrest, but this is indicative of the illogical decisions and unsafe conditions the illegal immigrant crisis has caused in this country.

And things have taken a turn for the worst.

According to KHOU 11, the Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol revealed the urgency that the current border crisis has created – the number of criminals apprehended at the southern border is nearly five times greater than it was at this point in 2020. Whereas 338 criminals were taken into custody in 2020, there have been 1625 illegal immigrant with criminal records arrested. And of those apprehended, these criminals have previously been convicted in the United States for assault, narcotics trafficking, sexual crimes, and murder.

What should be of great concern is the staggering increase during this surge. In a press release from April 8, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) stated that there have already been over half a million encounters, 569,800, this fiscal year – a increase of 24 percent from the previous year. Furthermore, this also revealed a 34 percent increase from 2019 – the year before the pandemic started. In March, CBP reported a jaw-dropping 71 percent increase of illegal immigrants trying to enter the country from February 2021.

Illegal narcotics smuggling is an additional problem with the migrant surge. CBP reported that cocaine interceptions increased 26 percent, methamphetamine increased 91 percent, and heroin increased 22 percent. When these drugs get into our country, it is Americans who suffer. Americans are the ones who are destroyed by drug addiction. This is a narcotic assault on our country and Democrats are not doing anything. They are letting innocent people suffer to appease their radical base. They would rather focus on identity politics or felons shot by police than innocent Americans succumbing to the horrendous acts of criminals smuggled in from Mexico.

Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation reported that in 2018, nearly 25% of all federal drug arrests occurred in the five judicial districts along the southern border. Spakovsky also reported that in the year prior, there were more Mexicans arrested for federal crimes than U.S. citizens. Additionally, migrants from Central America were responsible for 20 percent of federal arrests in 2018. Another important caveat to consider is that non-citizens comprise about 7 percent of the U.S. population, yet were responsible for 64 percent of all federal arrests in 2018.

These statistics are abhorrent but they reveal how dire the situation the border crisis is. However, one would be hard pressed to find out these statistics dominating the news cycle or media circuit. President Trump’s immigration policies were predicated on defending and protecting the lives of Americans from criminal illegal aliens. He was scoffed by many on the left and the threat was diminished and labeled as xenophobic and racist. Unfortunately, those that are killed from criminal illegal immigrants no longer have a voice to object to the complete disregard of American lives. If you are reading this article, you still do.

Constitutional Carry Passes Texas House!

For years Texas lagged behind peers in support of the second amendment. Before today, 19 states had pro-gun laws on the books giving citizens the right to carry without a permit. Today, the Texas House of Representatives led by Matt Schaefer (Rep. – TX 6) and supported by a Republican majority passed constitutional carry.

The bill will move to the Texas Senate after the third and final reading in the house where it will then be in the hands of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senator Brian Birdwell.

Trust the Science? Where are the COVID Surges in Texas?

Texas Governor Greg Abbott drew the ire of left wingers everywhere when he issued an Executive Order on March 2 that Texas would lift all mask mandates and open their state 100 percent. And according to them, this was a big mistake and would lead to a resurgence of cases, death, doom and gloom. Funny thing has happened, it has not.

“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said in a press release announcing his Executive Order. “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.”

President Biden joined in on the condemnations insinuating it was a stupid mistake.

“The last thing you need is Neanderthal thinking that, in the meantime, everything is fine, take off your mask,” Biden said. “It’s critical that we follow the science. Wear a mask and stay socially distanced.”

White House Press Secretary stated that “This entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic. California Governor Gavin Newsome called the move, “absolutely reckless.”

Dr. Rochelle Wallensky, Director of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was also very critical over Abbott’s decision. “Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”

And so far, regarding Texas, they were all wrong.

But if following the science meant still wearing a mask in Texas, and the facts show there has not been any increase in cases, what does that say about the science? What does that say about our leadership in this country?

And, not only have cases failed to rise in Texas, they are actively dropping! Since Abbot’s Executive Order (EO), Texas’ Covid-19 cases have dropped by about 4,000 per day, while the state’s deaths have dropped by 137 per day, according to The New York Times’ COVID tracker.

Dr. Anthony Fauci called Abbot’s EO “ill-advised” and “risky” on March 3. He claimed such actions were “premature” and it would likely lead to another surge of new Covid-19 cases in the Lone Star State.  

“That’s a dangerous sign because when that has happened in the past, when you pull back on measures of public health, invariably you’ve seen a surge back up,” Fauci said. He claimed that the only safe way to proceed during the pandemic is to wait until COVID rates fall to significantly low figures.

Yet, Fauci appeared on MSNBC ‘s Morning Joe’ on Tuesday morning and could not explain why Texas has not had any surges or negative ramifications stemming from Abbott’s EO. He was asked about the data and stated it could be wrong with a possible lag in reporting.

“You know it’s very difficult to just one on one compare that,” he said. “You just have to see in the long-range. I hope they continue to tick down, if they do that would be great. But there’s always the concern when you pull back on methods, particularly things like indoor dining and bars that are crowded, you can see a delay and then all of the sudden tick back up.”

Texas currently averages 3,224 new COVID-19 cases per day, the lowest number of new cases per day since June 19. The state also averages 88 deaths per day, the lowest since Nov. 4.

Texas could represent an interesting case if they continue to see a decline in numbers. While the data has shown this sharp decrease, Fauci was also quick to warn events such as a packed Texas Rangers stadium on Monday night could be “super-spreader” and result in numbers increasing. However, if this does not happen, it would be significant.

At the moment, Texas serves as an important case study in the cult-like mantra of “trust the science.” A blind allegiance to science is almost as bad, if not worse, than a widespread rejection of it. Science is constantly changing, evolving, and being updated as new data and discoveries occur. What was true one day may be entirely wrong the next.

While the notion of trusting science probably had some merit and good intentions in its original form, it evolved into a left-wing rally cry that is not predicated on fact but rather ideology. That could very well be the preeminent lesson from this pandemic.

Private Health Insurance Plans Fund “Gender-Affirming” LGBT Institutions via Hidden Tax

A non-profit called the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) receives hundreds of millions of dollars each year through a hidden excise tax known as a PCORI fee.

PCORI was established under Obamacare with the mission to assist people in making informed healthcare decisions. The non-profit is funded by a congressionally authorized tax called a PCORI Fee. The fee hits hundreds of thousands of private health insurance plans each year, extracting millions to create a behemoth non-profit. The 2019 PCORI Annual Report showed revenues of $615,205,771.

PCORI allocates funding with a preference toward minority populations, including Transgender (LGBT) persons. A quick search reveals some of the grants extended to these groups:

  • TRANS-ARC, a non-profit staffed by every manner of he/him, they/them, and she/her was recently the recipient of $99,957 to form a summit to study “how to best measure the benefits of gender-affirming surgery.”
  • UC San Francisco was awarded $2,146,837 in 2015 to develop “PRIDEnet: A Participant-powered Research Network of Sexual and Gender Minorities.”
  • The Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health University of Arkansas was awarded $249,892 for an ongoing project that will build “the capacity of racially and ethnically diverse trans/non-binary patients and community members, affirming clinicians and researchers to address stigma, discrimination, and other access barriers to affirming transgender health care in the South.”
  • A project concluded in 2018 which cost $1,530,716 to “Comparing Ways to Ask Patients about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Emergency Room.”

PCORI is a non-profit extracting hundreds of millions of dollars from America’s workforce and businesses through health insurance plans. The aforementioned projects may have legitimate medical purposes, but without proper oversight, it appears to be a slush fund for special interest. For those paying the tax, there is no way to object to the funding of these projects religious or moral grounds.

Railroading of Derek Chauvin Day 3

Genevieve Hansen, a prosecution witness, who was an off-duty firefighter at the scene, seems contemptuous of the judge and Chauvin’s attorney. It was so bad that the judge had to warn her not to argue with the court or with the defense attorney.

Genevieve Hansen, 27, a Minneapolis firefighter of two years, who was off-duty and a witness to the George Floyd arrest, testified for the prosecution. Her testimony was often contradictory and argumentative.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson asked her about her background and experience. She said has two years of experience as a firefighter. She also has training as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and acknowledged she is not as highly trained as Paramedics are.

When asked she responded that as a firefighter she has been in several burning buildings. Nelson asked her if a bystander at a fire ever told her that she is not fighting the fire properly. She said no. She was then asked if a bystander videotaped her while fighting a fire. She has seen citizens filming her. 

Nelson inquired to what affect this would have on the performance of her duties -would she change the way she did her job. She said no. She also said that no citizen has ever yelled at her while she was fighting a fire. Still, Nelson wanted to know that if hostile crowds were haranguing her, if she were surrounded by a hostile crowd would it prevent her from doing her job? She replied it would not.

So it was established that despite her criticism that Officer Chauvin did not listen to her or others in the crowd she would have done the same.

Hansen testified EMT’s do not enter the scene until the police judge it safe for them to do so. Police usually arrive first, they assess the situation. Only then are the Fire Dept. or EMT’s summoned. Nelson, despite Hansen’s combativeness and evasiveness, was able to have Hansen admit that she should have known that an ambulance had been called for Floyd.

The records and a transcript of her interview with investigating officers in May 2020 stated she arrived at 8:26:29 p.m. These records indicated that paramedics were called at 8:21 initially as a routine call but then upgraded to an urgent call within 90 seconds of the first request. But Hansen said she did not believe the records. But she did acknowledge that she had no idea when an ambulance was called. She claimed she knew that something was wrong because the fire engine arrived after the ambulance. This is not the usual procedure.

So Genevieve Hansen, a 27-year-old firefighter with two years experience and some training as an EMT, in other rudimentary training in medicine – feels qualified to judge that the police were doing their job incorrectly, she is right and the written record is wrong, and that she could diagnose Floyd.

Hansen’s testimony was also inaccurate. She said she saw four police officers on Floyd but there were only three. She said Floyd was a thin man, but he is not. 

Store employee Christopher Martin also testified for the prosecution. Martin was the person who took the $20 counterfeit bill and was tasked with retrieving the money.

Martin testified that in his opinion Floyd was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This was based on his conversation with Floyd in the store and also when he tried to recover the money for the fake bill. He did this by walking to the SUV in which Floyd was sitting with two other people. 

Twice Martin tried to persuade Floyd to return to the store and either pay for the cigarettes or speak to the manager. Both times he refused. The second time Floyd and his companion in the front of the seat of the SUV were both hostile. He admitted he was afraid of Floyd. Martin confirmed that he was present when his co-worker called 911, reporting a crime and asking for police help. He confirmed that he heard his co-worker tell the police dispatcher that Floyd was under the influence of drugs or alcohol

So the Chauvin’s defense attorney established that at least one witness was not only not very credible but outright hostile to the defense attorney, to the police, and to the court.  Another witness confirmed that Floyd was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and that he was intimidated by Floyd.

Once again, witnesses for the prosecution are helping Chauvin’s defense. They have depicted police who were restraining a combative George Floyd, using reasonable methods; police who did call for medical assistance for George Floyd as soon as they recognized there was a medical problem; police who performing their duty on a busy street with cars passing by, and in front of a hostile crowd; police who were dealing with a man, George Floyd, who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

This picture becomes clearer on Day 4 – as the prosecution witnesses once again validate that George Floyd was a drug addict, was on drugs the day he passed the counterfeit money, was belligerent, and that the police were doing what they could do to restrain him until he could be brought to the hospital. 

None of this adds up to murder – and these are the prosecution witnesses.

Dems’ Pro-Union Bill Is Anti-Worker

Like any good Marxist, Alex Press reveres working people. That’s why the Jacobin staff writer demands unionization for those who want it. And for those who don’t. And, surely, it’s why she judges workers who reject collective bargaining as ignoramuses who suffer from “widespread confusion.”

Variations of that phrase appear throughout her March 26 New Republic article flaying the many independent professionals who oppose a radical labor bill favored by President Biden. Called the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, it would prohibit state right-to-work laws that protect workers from paying involuntary union dues. It would furthermore classify most contract workers as employees, thus subjecting them to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Press insists the bill, which passed the U.S. House in early March, does not impinge on contractors’ autonomy in any meaningful sense. “The PRO Act is not intended to change the employment status of freelancers,” she writes, “nor will it force companies to do so.” As we’ll see, the “confusion” is all her own.

The proposed law, using the so-called “ABC test,” would permit workers to keep their independent-contractor status only if: “A) the individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under the contract for the performance of service and in fact; (B) the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and (C) the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.”

The inability of most independent contractors to meet all three conditions would render them ineligible to operate as such. That would harm millions of livelihoods, as almost 59 million Americans performed freelance work in the last year, more than 15 million of whom did so full-time. (It also bears noting that those who supplement their income through independent contracting are especially unlikely to satisfy the ABC test and can expect to suffer overwhelmingly.) Survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that about nine of every 10 freelance workers wish to continue operating independently. Multitudes of writers, information-technology professionals, and other workers have thus mobilized against the PRO Act.

Press argues that these professionals are ignorant of how the act would actually impact them. Specifically, she asserts that the legislation would only reclassify independent contractors as employees by applying NLRA protections of collective bargaining; she stresses that the bill doesn’t treat these contractors as staffers under other labor laws, e.g., wage and hour regulations, like California’s infamous AB5 law does. In short, the PRO Act only helps workers collectively bargain. Who among them could object to that?

But awkwardly, Press proceeds to quote Professor Michael LeRoy of the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Though a supporter of the PRO Act, LeRoy had been quoted in a Forbes article as saying “the law would possibly limit work for women, retirees, college students and other similar demographics.” Press claims the professor “tells The New Republic that the Forbes column misrepresents his views.”

Curious readers can view the full text of the original interview LeRoy gave to his university’s Illinois News Bureau. He spoke precisely the words Forbes attributed to him, reiterating his observation that the PRO Act “would likely have adverse effects on some types of workers.” 

LeRoy’s concluding remarks to the Illinois News Bureau are striking: “But let’s not forget what the PRO Act does: It would allow workers to vote for or against a union. If workers fear loss of jobs due to forming a union, they should vote no and keep the status quo.” Of course, under the PRO Act, workers who don’t wish to join a labor organization cannot refuse to pay union dues and will have no real power to negotiate their own contracts.

Private-sector workers who want to operate in collective bargaining units should always have that right, so long as they don’t compel the participation of their unwilling colleagues. But anyone considering such an arrangement should understand that the general effect of unionization on American incomes over the last half century hasn’t been positive. As Ohio University economist Lowell E. Gallaway and his research associate Jonathan Robe demonstrate in their 2014 study “The Unintended Consequences of Collective Bargaining”, unions have made labor more expensive, thereby curbing job opportunities in unionized sectors, raising the labor supply in nonunion industries, and in turn lowering wages in the latter occupations. While wage growth across the American workforce is imperative, it is only sustainable in the long run through rising productivity.

Not only does the PRO Act reject the proper course for enriching American workers, it introduces a host of outrageous changes to U.S. labor law. One provision would grant unions access to employees’ personal contact information—including cell phone numbers and email addresses!—in the run-up to a unionization election. Another would deny the right of workers to a secret ballot in such elections. The bill would furthermore force businesses to allow the use of their equipment (e.g. phones, computers, and email systems) for union purposes.

Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) summed up this legislation correctly when he tweeted, “This bill would destroy small businesses and thousands of Texas jobs in our communities who are struggling to stay alive during this pandemic.” Sadly, he was the only House Democrat to oppose the bill. May it die gloriously via filibuster in the Senate.

The Railroading of Derek Chauvin Day 2

Defense attorney Eric Nelson in the Derek Chauvin trial.

Chauvin’s attorney gets prosecution witnesses to admit it is not always possible to know if someone is unconscious during a “blood choke” and will fight again once revived. Also, another prosecution witness admits officers checked Floyd’s pulse several times.

You will not read or hear this in the mainstream media – even the putative conservative media. They all seem determined to condemn Derek Chauvin. But defense attorney Eric Nelson had an opportunity to question the prosecution’s witnesses. He discredited them. 

First, he questioned Donald Williams II, the professional mixed martial artist (MMA), who was at the scene when Derek Chauvin was trying to restrain George Floyd. Nelson asked Williams about his martial arts training. Williams said he practiced various martial arts such as Muay Thai, Wrestling, and Jiu-Jitsu. He added that he went from wrestling in college to being a Mixed Martial Artist about ten years ago. Williams acknowledged that he learned submission chokes. He has used them in training sessions and in bouts. He also acknowledged that an MMA contest employs all of the various methods of fighting: striking, grappling, and includes choking and other submissions. The point is to “knock the person out, render him unconscious” stated Nelson and asked Williams if this is true. Williams confirmed this is true.

Nelson then mentioned Williams’ professional MMA record. It is interesting he did. Because this is a fact mentioned in this Houston Courant column on March 30. This column noted that two-thirds of Williams’ losses were by submission choke. So Williams has been on the receiving end of being rendered unconscious or surrendering several times as a pro after being choked.

Then Nelson asked Williams to confirm, which he did, that in MMA contests there are weight classes. A 250 lb fighter is not matched with a 150 lb fighter, for example. Williams also acknowledged referees are present in matches. 

Williams also confirmed that when one fighter has another fighter in a chokehold the referee ensures that the fighter being choked is still conscious. This is because it is not always possible for one fighter to know when another fighter is unconscious during the application of a choke. 

Williams also testified that even after a fighter has been rendered unconscious by a choke, said fighter often will continue or want to continue to fight again after regaining consciousness. 

Williams gave uncertain or guarded responses about the difference between how an air choke works and a blood choke works. He also testified, because of his experience as a security guard, that there is a lot of anxiety and stress involved when working in front of a hostile crowd. 

Then Nelson established that Williams did not know what occurred prior to his arrival at the scene. For example, he was unaware that an ambulance had been called for Floyd. He was also unaware that police had been dealing with Floyd for fifteen minutes prior to his arrival. 

Donald Williams was reacting out of ignorance.

Williams also testified he did not hear any conversations among the three officers with Floyd. He grew angrier as he watched the scene unfolding in front of him. “I really wanted to beat the shit out of the police officers,” Nelson quoted Williams as saying. Williams called the police “bums” and more vulgar comments. Williams kept haranguing the police after Floyd was taken away by ambulance. 

Donald Williams was reacting out of anger.

Simply put, without knowing everything that occurred before, Williams passed judgment on the actions the police took without knowing why they did or what they did. He just made prejudicial presumptions that were hostile to the police. 

Donald Williams acted out of ignorance and hostility towards the police.

Nelson also cross-examined an unidentified female teenage witness. He asked the young girl if she ever said she observed the officers checking Floyd’s pulse. She said, “I even saw them check his pulse multiple times before the ambulance got there.” Initially, she denied saying this. But after Nelson showed her the transcript of her interview with law enforcement immediately following the incident she admitted it. She also said she was angry.

The prosecution witnesses were both angry and hostile to the police. Their testimony was at times guarded, evasive, or incorrect, or all three.

  • Derek Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson established that if Derek Chauvin used a chokehold he would not necessarily know when the person being choked is unconscious.
  • He also established that those who are rendered unconscious by chokeholds can revive and want to continue fighting.
  • He also established that contrary to media reports officers did check Floyd several times for his pulse.

Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson made powerful points and compelling arguments. He blunted – if not discredited – two of the prosecution’s leading witnesses. Even to the extent of extracting testimony that confirmed Chauvin’s innocence.

But you will not hear this on MSNBC, CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, or NPR. You will not read this in the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Boston Globe, Washington Examiner, OANN, or Newsmax. 

Read the Houston Courant to get the latest news about the trial of Derek Chauvin.

The Railroading of Derek Chauvin, Day 1

The persecution of Derek Chauvin continued on the first day of the trial of Derek Chauvin. The term trial is used loosely here. Railroading, Kangaroo Court, Stalinist Show Trial, or Lynching of Derek Chauvin are all actually more appropriate labels. 

The media, liberal and conservative, already pronounced Officer Derek Chauvin guilty. Frankly, the media pronounced him guilty before he was arrested. For nearly the past year, America’s Fourth Estate has been acting as Judge, Jury, and Lord High Executioner. 

A great example is that of Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett. He wrote a column on March 29th that stated unqualifiedly Chauvin is guilty based simply on a segment of the video showing Chauvin restraining George Floyd.

Jarrett wrote an emotional plea, “Watching the recording was heart-wrenching and grotesque.  It was so atrocious that I venture to say it would be impossible for any compassionate person not to be incensed and angry at Chauvin’s actions, as well as his corresponding indifference to a human life.  Chauvin has a strange and defiant look on his face.  It made you wonder whether there was hatred in his heart.”  

This is a very strong condemnation by Jarrett. I felt compelled to contact him via tweet offering to debate him about his lurid – some might say disgraceful – accusations. I do not expect Jarrett to reply. Armchair Quarterbacks never do.

Jarrett said the same that night on Hannity. Noted use of force expert, Sean Hannity, concurred. Hannity, who always seems to manage working into a conversation that he is learning a martial art, weighed in by saying he knows for certain how to restrain someone, and that what Chauvin did was unnecessary. The world is awaiting Hannity’s next book, How to Effect Arrests Based on My Lifelong Experience Controlling Violent People. He will be plugging it soon on his show.

But Fox journalists were not alone in tying the rope to hang Chauvin. Read some of the tweets from the omniscient, self-anointed, guardians of truth, justice, and the American way:

At 10:50 AM on March 29, 2021, Glenn Kirschner a Legal Analyst former federal prosecutor tweeted: “As the prosecutor just said in his opening statement in the Derek Chauvin case: even after George Floyd becomes unconscious, defendant Chauvin, doesn’t let up, doesn’t get up.” This is a powerful statement . . . and powerfully incriminating against Derek Chauvin.” Just to make sure his followers know where he stands on this case Kirschner hashtags his tweet #JusticeMatters to demonstrate his partiality.

Now it is clear that Floyd was resisting arrest. He already tried to escape once. He was complaining about not being able to breathe well before he was on the ground. These are facts, not speculation such as expressed by the contemptible journalists Jarrett and Kirschner.

Another NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst, with the Twitter handle Joyce Alene (Joyce Alene White Vance) tweeted three minutes after Kirschner, “In opening, prosecutors say that when an EMT who was a bystander approached to try & check George Floyd’s pulse & render aid, Chauvin refused her & pointed his mace at her.” 

There is a recording of Chauvin telling a colleague that he wants to keep Floyd, who was acting violent and irrational, right where he was until the ambulance arrived. Now, why would Chauvin say this if he intended on murdering Floyd? As far as not wanting help from someone who claims to be an EMT well how does he know she is who she says?

Another tweet by a nonjournalist put forth a popular Leftwing conspiracy theory about Chauvin: “He’s a dirty cop that got busted by Floyd for being on the take at the club.” Her source for this? Who knows? 

Another MSNBC commentator Ali Velsh tweets: “You’ll hear both 8:46 & 9:29 referenced in the trial of Derek Chauvin. 8:46 comes from the Hennepin County Attorney’s initial complaint against Chauvin. Police body camera footage released in August showed Chauvin had his knee on #GeorgeFloyd‘s neck for 9:29.”

Once again it bears repeating, Chauvin is heard on audiotape saying he wants to keep Floyd still until an ambulance arrives.

Lauren Dawn Johnson, host of Fox 29’s GOOD DAY PHILADELPHIA tweeted: “Witness explains a lot of Derek Chauvin’s movements in the video as “putting pressure down on his neck.” The shoulder shifts show increased pressure on the neck.” 

Johnson may have been referring to a prosecution witness by the name of Donald Willliams II. He is a professional mixed martial artist. He has a professional record of five wins and six losses. All his wins came by decision. All of his losses were by being submitted with chokes or by technical knockouts.  

Williams said Chauvin used a blood choke. If this is true, then Williams is admitting that Chauvin was using a technique designed to render a person unconscious, not kill him. He knows this because of his experience as a mixed martial arts fighter. Such a choke is used in mixed martial arts competitions to make fighters unconscious. Williams lost many of his pro fights this way.

Besides Williams is incorrect by describing a knee on the back of the neck as a blood choke. It is not a carotid artery choke. The technique Chauvin used was a PMR or prone maximal restraint. This technique has been known to be problematic. (But more on this later in another column.)

Williams seems to lack credibility by any objective standard. His testimony is merely to incite the jury. He obviously did so to Lauren Dawn Johnson of Philadelphia’s Fox29 morning television program. 

But the media, Democrat politicians (and many Republicans – Mike Pence are you listening?), the self-anointed civil rights activists, and the Leftist fanatics should be honest and admit that this “trial” is not about Derek Chauvin. It is about dividing the nation, pitting one group against another, and promulgating hate. What happened to Floyd has happened to others – without regard to race, religion, creed, or gender. No, this “trial” is about perpetuating hateful stereotypes and tearing the nation apart.

What is being done to Chauvin is being done to all police everywhere.

The New York Times Can’t Get Basic Facts Right on Election Reform

Reprinted with permission from the Heritage Foundation.

Not surprisingly, the New York Times is pushing liberal talking points when it falsely asserts in an article from Tuesday that reforms by state legislatures to remedy the vulnerabilities in their election laws are “voting restrictions.”

Trying to guarantee the fairness and integrity of the election process, when polling shows a large number of Americans have lost confidence in the security of our system, isn’t “rolling back access to voting,” as they put it. It is ensuring that every eligible voter is able to vote, and that their vote isn’t stolen or diluted due to errors or fraud.

What does the New York Times categorize as a “voting restriction” that is “rolling back access to voting”? One example,  according to the Times, is a new Arizona law just signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey that “requires the secretary of state to compare death records with voter registrations.”

If you want to make sure that fraudsters can take advantage of a registered voter who is deceased in order to submit a counterfeit ballot in that voter’s name, you could, we suppose, call this a “voting restriction.” But we bet that most people would think that “rolling back access to voting” by dead people is probably a good idea. 

Examples of this and other types of fraud, which the Times asserts is just “voter fraud dogma,” as if it doesn’t exist, can be found in The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database, which contains over 1,300 proven cases of fraud. In 2020 in Paterson, New Jersey, and in 2018 in the Ninth Congressional District of North Carolina, political operatives committed such massive voter fraud that judges ordered new elections. We doubt voters there believe election fraud is just “dogma.”    

The Times credits our two organizations, The Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action, and our list of election integrity best practices published on Feb. 1, for some of the changes that Arizona adopted. This list of recommendations was based on years of research and experience in the administration of elections. 

If Arizona followed our recommendation that states complete “monthly comparisons of the statewide voter registration list with … state vital records” to identify voters who are deceased, we are happy that they did so.

In fact, we hope Arizona and other states that are pursuing election reforms  follow all of our recommendations, which are intended to ensure accurate, up-to-date voter registration lists.

That includes not just verifying and comparing voter registration lists with state death records. It also means doing the same thing with the databases maintained by state departments of motor vehicles; state corrections departments (to check for felons whose ability to vote has been taken away); and state welfare and public assistance agencies, to find information relevant to registration, such as address changes, deaths, citizenship status, or other factors affecting eligibility.

When it comes to voter ID laws, the Times just can’t help itself in pushing the false and insulting liberal canard that such laws restrict access and prevent members of the public, particularly minority voters, from being able to vote. The Times can’t admit that voter ID requirements are overwhelmingly supported by voters, no matter their race or the political party with which they are affiliated. 

Every state, including Georgia, that has put in a voter ID requirement provides a free ID to anyone who doesn’t already have one. Numerous studies, such as one released in 2019 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, have shown that ID laws do not “suppress” turnout, which is supported by more than 10 years of actual turnout data from states that have these laws in place.

That includes Georgia, where turnout—including of black and Hispanic voters—went up dramatically after a photo ID law became effective.

Of course, you wouldn’t know that, since the New York Times story claims that Georgia’s voter ID law was “ruled discriminatory in 2005.” What the paper of record fails to explain is that the only provision of Georgia’s ID law that a court didn’t like was a requirement that a voter sign a form declaring he was “indigent” in order to get the free ID.

The state quickly changed that so a voter can now simply request a free ID, a minor blip that made no substantive change in the ID law. 

The court then dismissed the claim that the ID law was discriminatory, pointing out that in two years of litigation pursued by Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union, were unable to produce a single Georgian who would “be prevented from voting” due to the ID requirement.

That is why it is dishonest for the Times—and other outlets like CNN, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, and a host of others—to keep pushing the false claim that requiring an ID for voting in-person or absentee, one of our basic recommendations that Georgia took up, is somehow “restrictive” or will prevent “access to voting.” 

Average Americans agree with us on this issue, no doubt because they need an ID almost every day to buy a beer, cash a check, buy a cold remedy at their pharmacy, board an airplane, and get vaccinated for COVID-19. 

The Times mischaracterizes many of our other recommendations, trying to cast them in a sinister light.  It says our proposals include “preventing ballot collection.” The Times doesn’t want to explain that we only want to prevent the collection of absentee ballots by political operatives, campaign staffers, and other strangers who have a stake in the outcome of the election. 

Giving political operatives access to ballots puts them in a position to coerce and pressure voters and to change, alter, or fail to deliver a ballot. We fully support allowing family members and caregivers helping voters deliver their absentee ballots, but giving third-party strangers—vote traffickers—that ability is a reckless, dangerous policy.

It is true that we want to give greater access to election observers, but why in the world would the Times think that is somehow a “restriction” or a “roll back” of voting rights? The Times says we want to give greater access to “partisan” election observers, but the reporters must have missed the sentence where we say states should provide complete access to observers from “political parties, candidates, and third-party organizations”—that includes supposedly non-partisan “news” organizations like the Times.

Transparency is essential to guaranteeing the democratic process and maintaining public confidence in the fairness of our elections. That is why our State Department is constantly sending observer teams to countries all around the world and why every state has laws allowing observers.

Apparently, the Times disagrees with that and thinks elections should be conducted under a veil of secrecy. While that may be true with regard to the secrecy of the ballot, it should not be true of any other part of an election.

The goal of our best practices recommendations is to ensure access to the polls for every eligible citizen, and a fair and secure voting and counting process that minimizes errors, mistakes, and fraud. We want a system in which the public trusts the outcome of every election, even when the favored candidate loses.

It is unfortunate that the New York Times doesn’t seem to have the same goal.

Caitlin Flanagan Is Indefensible

Give Caitlin Flanagan this much: her April Atlantic cover story bashing nonpublic schools is a marketing triumph. Controversy sells magazines, and what’s more contrary than slamming private education at a moment when unionized public schoolteachers do so much to vindicate it? COVID closures, postmodernism, and 1619-style pseudo-history increasingly drive parents to seek refuge for their kids in independent institutions. Flanagan is attacking that refuge; and judging by the copious Twitter likes and retweets alone, it’s a canny move.

Flanagan’s commercial win is, all the same, a journalistic failure. In “Private Schools Are Indefensible,” she mainly derides these academies not for their faults but for their merits: they raise money well beyond the tuition that parents pay; they award “generous financial aid” to nonaffluent students; many have state-of-the-art teaching facilities; most have been holding in-person classes since last autumn. The real problem Flanagan identifies is the prodigious gap between the quality of education available to rich kids and that saddled upon poor ones—something more justly blamed on government schools. But having admitted the most compelling argument for educational choice, she instead requests that private schools “get a chain and a padlock and close up shop.”

Private-school choice opponents like Flanagan never explain why they want American education to become more evenly mediocre rather than more evenly excellent. A former English teacher at the prestigious Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, she contents herself with smearing academies like her ex-employer as petri dishes for fatuous socialites. This doesn’t completely work; Flanagan’s argument rests, after all, on the acknowledgement that privately educated children enjoy better schooling than their publicly educated peers. And so, she concedes that her Harvard-Westlake classes “read very good books and pressed students to think deeply about the words on the page.” She also recognizes that private education “allows [students] to dominate” academically at great colleges.

Yet she reels off ugly anecdotes as if they impugn all families who choose independent schools, and as if no horrible families let their children attend public ones. For instance, one nasty boy’s parents called Flanagan out twice for giving him an A- on a writing assignment. Another kid’s father “was so angry about his son’s French grade that he demanded an audit, with the teacher reading out the boy’s marks from her grade book while Dad angrily punched the numbers into his son’s graphing calculator.” We hear of children freaking out under pressure, as “some parents try to help their kids keep it together by asking doctors for study drugs or even sleeping pills.” We’re told of Washington, D.C.’s Sidwell Friends School, where, in 2019, parents reportedly “initiated a campaign of intimidation, surveillance, lurking on campus, and sabotage…” to ensure nothing would ever compromise their children’s elite college prospects. Racist incidents also come to light, e.g. non-black students using the N-word. (Looking back on my own schooling, I certainly heard numerous white buffoons use this slur. But I went to public school.)

Flanagan’s sketches are unflattering, but wade through them and you won’t find any ideas to better educate underprivileged students. Isn’t that the goal—or shouldn’t it be? More serious critics of choice programs like vouchers and tax credits will at least ask, do they work? Turns out, evidence that they do keeps accumulating.

Last Monday, Cato Institute education chief Neal McCluskey hosted an online forum with EdChoice fiscal researcher Marty Lueken and Kennesaw State University education economist Ben Scafidi to examine the latest such evidence. Foremost, they addressed the canard that private-school choice “siphons” money out of public education. Teachers’ unions and educrats who oppose vouchers, tax credits, or education savings accounts (ESAs) argue that these policies cost government schools by transferring revenue out of those institutions when families accept the assistance. But on balance, the programs leave public schools with more money because the outgoing kids take away variable costs like textbooks, supplies, food purchases, and sometimes school personnel.

While choice doesn’t lower government schools’ fixed costs—including buildings, land purchases, and utilities—its net financial impact on those schools remains helpful. A study Lueken published earlier this month, titled “The Fiscal Effects of Private K-12 Education Choice Programs in the United States,” analyzed 40 school-choice mechanisms across 19 states and found that they yielded between $12.1 billion and $27.8 billion in cumulative net public savings. That translates to a range of $3,200 to $7,400 per student recipient.

“When you think about it, public schools have the best fiscal deal on the planet Earth,” Scafidi observed. “Public school districts get to keep a huge fraction of funds… when students leave. No one else has that deal. Think about grocery stores: if you shop at Kroger every week for your groceries, and then next week you decide, you know what, I’m going to switch to Walmart…, in the future, Kroger doesn’t get to keep 60 percent of your grocery bill…. Think about universities: when a student leaves my university, Kennesaw State, and transfers to Georgia Tech—which happens from time to time—we lose all funding for that student: we lose state formula funding, we lose tuition and fees, we lose Pell grants…, all that funding follows the students. But public schools get to keep a huge fraction of funding for students they no longer serve, but yet they scream the loudest [that] ‘school choice is taking our money.’ It’s really silly when you think about it.” 

Lueken furthermore made the crucial point that school choice has been shown to benefit both public and nonpublic scholastic quality. Among 27 meticulous studies examining choice’s effect on the test scores of students who stay in public schools, 25 reported such students experienced slight test-score gains, one found no discernible impact, and only one detected a decrease in test scores. And, of course, research to date regarding the outcomes for student participants in vouchers, tax credits, and ESAs finds a largely positive effect, whether the measure in question is test scores, college matriculation, or parental satisfaction. (A compendium of this research can be viewed at

This reality, along with many teachers’ unions’ resistance to reopening schools, is why public interest in choice is surging. Legislators in at least 29 states have introduced bills this year to help families access the nonpublic academies Flanagan vilifies.

Toward ending her essay, Flanagan asks, “Shouldn’t the schools that serve poor children be the very best schools we have?” Yes, they should. So, when state lawmakers work to ensure that America’s best schools serve more poor children, maybe applaud them?

Houston You Have A Problem

Houston has a race and criminal justice problem. There is an enormous racial disparity of Black criminals and Black crime victims versus White criminals and White crime victims. 

While the Black population of Houston, according to 2019 estimates, is about 22 percent, Black crime victims are about 44 percent of all crime victims, according to the Houston Police Department data of Race of Violent Victims for 2019. Furthermore, Blacks make up 61.5 percent of offenders of Reported Violent Crimes in 2019.

Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, there is a lack of righteous indignation from the well financed – to the tune of about $90 million – “civil rights” international organization called Black Lives Matter. Why? Where are the violent protests against this blatant racial gap? Blacks are many times more likely to be killed by other Blacks than Blacks are to be killed by Whites, by White police officers, by police officers of any race, by Asians, by Hispanics, by Catholics, by Jews, by Muslims, by Buddhists, or by Hindus. 

The poor innocent Black victims of crime should want to see some reaction from the self-anointed guardians of Blacks. After all, Houston’s favorite son, George Floyd, who died while being arrested for passing counterfeit money in Minneapolis – after serving time for threatening to kill a pregnant woman during a home invasion- was given a royal send off, complete with a solid gold casket, by these self-anointed guardians.

Do not elderly Black women, who are murdered in Houston by young male Black criminals, deserve at least the ceremony, the funds, the publicity of a drug addict, with a prior conviction for a violent felony? So where is Floyd Mayweather, Beyonce, Lebron James, and Snoop Dog? Why are they not using their substantial wealth to support Black crime victims? Why the silence from Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rev. Al Sharpton, “Civil Rights” Attorney Benjamin Crump, Slim Thug, Leela James, Paul Wall, Congressman Al Green (D-TX), and Bishop James Dixon? 

Granted there must not be any political benefit to speaking out on behalf of Black crime victims murdered by Black criminals. But do they not have compassion for Black crime victims? Why do they only go public when a racial controversy they helped stoke can be exploited by them for fame and fortune?

We all know the answers to these questions! The exploitation of race in America for fame and fortune is an absolute disgrace. The line of people looking for personal profit, for professional profit, for publicity, and for political benefit is endless.

What is even worse is the fear and acquiescence by those who should be defending the forces of law and order in society. The silence of those who should be outraged by the idea that crime pays handsomely in America as long as it couched in racial terms is every bit as disgraceful as the exploitation of racial divisiveness.

My upcoming book Blue and Black, Policing and Race in America will delve into these issues and more.

Hospital Ownership Arrangements Criticized by Docs’ Advocates

Physician owners of the emergency practice at Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin reached a deal last month to buy out private-equity partner Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe (WCAS). The relationship between New York-based WCAS and the level-1 trauma center, among other similar arrangements between private investors and healthcare practices, has caused some alarm among members of the medical community. The concern has been that de facto non-doctor ownership of healthcare facilities hurts quality.

Regarding Dell Seton, based at the University of Texas Hospital in Austin, emergency medical experts have alleged that the dismissal or transfer of nine physicians this winter underscores an inclination on the part of corporate entities like WCAS to rely on underqualified personnel. In some healthcare settings, physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) increasingly perform roles once in the sole purview of medical doctors who are much more expensive to hire.

The possibility of shifting more advanced duties from physicians to other medical staff is an alarming one, according to Dr. Saba Rizvi, an Austin-based emergency physician and an at-large director of the Texas chapter of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM). Rizvi said this is especially disquieting in the COVID-19 era when patient volumes are higher than normal.

“Nurse practitioners are not equipped nor trained nor educated nor do they have the capacity or the background to do lots of things that emergency physicians do,” Rizvi told HC. In particular, she cited airway management procedures like intubations that some patients with severe coronavirus symptoms require. “[NPs] are not an adequate replacement for physicians, and it creates a safety issue for patients who arrive at that center to be treated.” She furthermore noted that, as a university hospital, Dell Seton “has an obligation to teach not only medical residents in the training of emergency medicine but also medical students from the Dell Medical School.” Rizvi fears their educations have been compromised.

Rizvi and other critics of such medical staffing decisions say they boil down to the profit motives of private-equity firms that manage medical practices. An article she published last October in Emergency Medicine News discussed broad criticisms of such ownership arrangements, contending that they not only worsen patient care but sacrifice physicians’ autonomy and due process rights.

Texas has a strong legal framework, known as a corporate practice of medicine (CPOM) law, precluding non-medical ownership of healthcare practices, but Rizvi says companies like WCAS have been able to skirt CPOM laws through what are called “workarounds.” These devices partner senior doctors at a practice with private investors, preserving the notion that the medical office in question is substantially doctor-owned. The problem, Dr. Rizvi said, is that state legal authorities need to be more aggressive in enforcing CPOM statutes.

In 1986, Texas’s statute was prominently enforced in the case Flynn Brothers, Inc. v. First Medical Associates. Therein, a state appellate court decided that even though the deal struck between the private company and the medical organization was portrayed by the two parties as an “independent contractor” agreement, it effectively amounted to non-medical corporate control and ownership of a healthcare practice.

Philadelphia-based Dr. Robert McNamara, a past president of AAEM, said other similarly worrying arrangements are ongoing in Texas, including the lay firm TeamHealth’s partnership with Memorial Hermann Health System and Envision’s partnership with UT Health East Texas. While WCAS is a subsidiary of partly physician-owned U.S. Acute Care Solutions, TeamHealth and Envision are owned entirely by private equity.

“Texas, with low malpractice rates, with the way reimbursements work, it’s an attractive area for these companies, because they can come in and they can charge a lot of money and not have a lot of expenses in terms of medical malpractice, so they’re all over” the state,” McNamara said.

Private equity has assumed an increased role in medicine in recent years. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, for instance, private equity is estimated to own more than 10 percent of the American dermatology market (an industry that has garnered high interest of late because America’s population is greatly aging). These business schemes, wherein private investors essentially head medical practices for a few years, cut costs, and sell the practices for a profit, has drawn the reprehension of political progressives but has also come under the scrutiny of free-marketers.

For example, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, authored a 2011 report in which he generally extolled innovations driven by entrepreneurs with the support of venture capital. He especially observed the role venture-backed firms played in the development of rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient dialysis clinics, and long-term care hospitals. But private-equity outfits function differently than venture-capital ones do. The former typically hold majority shares of a company and therefore assume managerial responsibility for that company; the latter, holding much less ownership in a corporation, leaves the management responsibilities to industry professionals.

“The largest flows of new capital into health services are coming not from venture capitalists focused on developing new concepts in how health care services are delivered, but from private equity investors who are raising funds to acquire—and consolidate—existing health care companies…,” Gottlieb wrote. “Private equity is focused on consolidating and streamlining health care businesses. In some cases, it has been used as a way to wring money out of existing entities, consolidate them, and gain market leverage that lets providers drive up prices. But such financial engineering rarely creates new innovation.” (Gottlieb has continued to lament that venture capital in healthcare has dwindled in the wake of regulatory changes made through Obamacare.)

However America’s healthcare industry reached this point, physicians’ advocates like Drs. Rizvi and McNamara are adamant that the trend toward greater private-equity involvement must end, so doctors are in full charge of medical decisions.

“For the benefit of the patients, you would hope that physicians would decide who is the best person to see a patient in an emergency department, not a company that’s trying to preserve its bottom line,” McNamara said. “The whole selection of who is going to work what shift, are you going to be seen by an emergency doctor, are you going to be seen by a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner, that’s the practice of medicine; and these are business decisions that are being made that really should be made solely by the practicing physicians who are at the site.”

Neither WCAS nor Dell Seton’s press office returned calls for comment.

This Incident Will Not Be Televised

Mugshot of Kenya Jenkins Jr., 21 – courtesy Omaha Police Department

It was only shoplifting. It was not dangerous. Shoplifting is not a capital offense. You should not die over a shoplifting crime.

This is a common refrain by the Socialist/Leftist/Communist/Democratic Party soi disant “civil rights” groups say whenever a Black person is shot by police over a petty crime like shoplifting. Is that not what the self-righteous journalists and pundits always say. You know who they are – Ted Tapper, Ben Crump, Al Sharpton, Don Lemon, Linda Reid, Chris Cuomo, Nicole Wallace, Joy Reid, ACLU, YWCA, Black Lives Matter, Antifa et al.  Shoplifting is not a violent crime. 

Try telling Jeffrey Wittstruck, a White, Omaha, Nebraska, police officer that shoplifting is a nonviolent crime. Wittstruck was shot four times in the head by Kenya Jenkins, a 21-year-old Black male, who was being investigated for shoplifting.

 It is important, in this context, to mention the race of the police officer and the race of the criminal. Why? Because whenever a Black person is injured, shot, and/or killed by a White police officer the news media make an extraordinary effort to inform the public of the races of the officer and the suspect. 

The assault occurred March 12 at the Westroads Mall in Omaha. Fortunately, Officer Wittstruck, a four-year veteran of the Omaha Police Department was listed as stable and recovering.

According to the information released to the press, police responded at 3:27 p.m. They were told by a Penney department store’s loss prevention employee that Jenkins put a package of T-shirts in a backpack and left the store without paying for them. He was being detained in the store’s loss prevention office.

Jenkins did not cooperate with the police. Does this sound familiar? It should. It was what one usually learns about the use of force by police that often result in an Arrest-Related-Death.   

Officer Wittstruck tried to speak to him. Officer Wittstruck asked Jenkins to take off his backpack. Instead, Jenkins put his right hand in his sweatshirt pocket. Once again, a familiar action by a suspect prior to the use of force by police.

Wittstruck asked Jenkins to show his hands multiple times, but Jenkins refused. This is an all too familiar act by a suspect preceding the use of force by police. 

Wittstruck began to place Jenkins under arrest. Jenkins began to resist. He refused to let Wittstruck place him in handcuffs. This is also a familiar pattern. 

A struggle began and Wittstruck tried to use his taser on Jenkins. But the taser was ineffective.  So far, this incident is following such a familiar pattern one might say it was scripted. 

It is at this point that the 21-year-old Black male Kenya Jenkins drew from his sweatshirt a gun. Jenkins then fired four rounds at Wittstruck, who was struck in the head and face. Jenkins then ran out of the loss prevention office to a white BMW in the parking lot. Jenkins sped away in the car.

Despite the seriousness and urgency of his wounds, Officer Wittstruck was able to inform police radio, quite calmly, “Help. I’m down. I need help. I’m in the loss prevention office. I believe I’ve been shot.”

One thing is certain. This incident will not be televised.

There will be no protests on behalf of Officer Wittstruck. There will be no riots in Omaha or anywhere else because of this incident. There will be no national news coverage of this incident. 

Shootings of police officers are not on instant replay. Shootings of police officers are not shown on never-ending video loops on the national news broadcasts. There will be no hand wringing by Brian Williams, there will be no gnashing of teeth by Lebron James, there will be no exhortations by Ariana Grande to provide more funding for police. 

Why? Because this incident will not be televised. You see there is no fortune, fame, or political benefit advocating for police. Maybe there should be.

So George Floyd was NOT Intentionally Murdered by a Racist White Cop?

So far, the most interesting aspect of the trial of police officer Derek Chauvin are the crimes for which he has not been charged. Chauvin has been vilified for his role in the arrest-related-death of a man resisting arrest.

Despite almost a year of riots, ranting and raving by cable news, and even condemnations by supposedly law-and-order radio talk show hosts, Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is not being charged with the intentional murder of George Floyd. Chauvin is not even being charged with a hate crime. So one may be forgiven for being bewildered. After all, there were riots all over the United States, all over the world, about this innocent Black man allegedly being mercilessly killed by a White racist police officer. After all, the Attorney General of Minnesota is Keith Ellison, the first African-American Minnesota attorney general and the first Muslim Minnesota Attorney General.

How could this be?

Yes indeed, how can this be? This lack of charges against Chauvin not mentioning race is incredible considering the portrayals of Floyd’s arrest-related-death as a racist hate crime and cold-blooded murder.

What is even more astounding is that while this depiction of a racially motivated murder may have originated with Black Lives Matter, Antifa, the race hustlers, the grievance industry, and especially the Leftist “civil rights” group, it was repeated by even so-called law and order Republicans. Conservative commentators such as Sean Hannity, the late Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager all were anxious to denounce Derek Chauvin. Republican politicians could not wait to run in front of a camera to condemn Chauvin as a racist murderer without a trial. Even other police officers could not wait to express their outrage.

Presumption of innocence be damned! 

But now we have a trial. A trial that is not about a racial hate crime. A trial that is not about an intentional, willful, premeditated murder. It is not a trial about a racist killer White cop! So were all the media, “civil rights” advocates, law-and-order politicians, Left wing politicians, and other police officers wrong when they said this was intentional murder motivated by racism?

Apparently they were. Do not expect apologies or corrections or mea culpas from these megalomaniacs and provocateurs.

Minnesota has two classes, for lack of a better term, of Second Degree murder. To my knowledge Chauvin is charged under § 609.19(2)(1)

This statute states: Subd. 2.Unintentional murders. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of unintentional murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years:

(1) causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony

This means the prosecution would have to prove that Chauvin unintentionally killed Floyd while committing or attempting to commit a felony. How this can be proven is anybody’s guess – although some “experts” have already pronounced Chauvin guilty.

But a purely dispassionate examination of the facts indicates that Chauvin only attempted to restrain Floyd, who was under the influence of controlled substances and was struggling with police. Indeed, audio evidence, the recording of the conversations from the officers’ body cams,  indicate that Chauvin only wanted to keep Floyd where he was until an ambulance arrived. 

Couple Chauvin’s stated intent with the fact that the immobilization technique Chauvin used was taught to Minneapolis officers (despite the claims of the mayor, the governor of Minnesota, and even the police chief who apparently is unaware – or does not want to admit- what his officers are trained to do). Then add that this  technique has been used by mental health workers and others to restrain people who are violent. Also add that a similar technique was used four years earlier against a White man in Dallas, who was also under the influence of drugs and also died, and it will be damn near impossible to establish that Chauvin intended bodily harm. Indeed, it may be difficult to prove any crime.

But there is one very big problem for Chauvin in his quest to get a fair trial from Ellison and his political buddies in Minnesota. They must placate the Leftist lynch mob. It is why US Attorney General Barr refused a plea deal on federal charges. The same Attorney General Barr who was incapable of finding any crimes by the FBI can easily find crimes by Minneapolis police officers – especially if he is liable to be called a racist.

Placating the Leftist lynch mob is de rigueur in modern America. One need only think back to the confirmation hearing of the putative conservative paradigm Justice Amy Coney Barrett. This solon, when asked about the George Floyd arrest-related-death, furnished an answer revealing how intimidated she was. 

Barrett answered fervidly, “Senator, as you might imagine, given that I have two black children, that was very, very personal for my family.” She added that together with her 17-year-old Black adopted daughter “ they wept.” Barrett continued that it was necessary to explain to her black kids that they might be subject to that “brutality.” 

What a contemptible answer by Justice Barrett. She prejudged a White police officer as a racist killer – denying Chauvin the presumption of innocence. She acted as judge, jury, and executioner. Barrett is a disgrace to her profession. 

Barrett’s loathsome pronouncement was a reminder that judges are not neutral arbiters. They are humans with their own prejudices, passions, and ignorance. Barrett is terrified of the Leftist lynch mob. She is more terrified of the Leftist Lynch Mob than she is terrified of  injustice!

So this is the dilemma for Derek Chauvin. He must prove his innocence – as opposed to the prosecution proving his guilt. There is no presumption of innocence for Derek Chauvin. His only chance for a fair trial is for him to have a jury of his peers and a trial judge who, unlike Amy Coney Barrett or Bill Barr, are not cowards. He needs an intrepid judge and jury. He needs a judge and jury who will stand firm against the Leftist Lynch Mob. 

Tragically, for Derek Chauvin, for American justice, and for law abiding Americans intrepid judges and jurors do not seem likely.