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[VIDEO] Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage is Hurting the Workers It’s Intending to Help

Three years ago, the city of Seattle voted to gradually raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour in the name of human decency and basic fairness. Several cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have done the same thing. Critics argue that boosting wages by bureaucratic diktat leads to fewer hours and jobs for low-income and low-skilled workers.

Now what The Washington Post calls a “very credible” study from researchers at the University of Washington finds that the critics are right. The Post calls this bad news for liberals. But the real victims are low-skilled workers.

The study finds that when wages were increased to $13, employers cut hours by 9 percent. That means that low-skilled workers saw their monthly compensation decrease by an average of $125.

Studies that downplay the effects of minimum wage hikes have mostly focused on teenagers and fast food workers. But the study at the University of Washington paper looks at the impact on workers spanning all ages and all demographics.

The findings may surprise progressives who believe that the only limit to higher pay for workers is the greed and selfishness of business owners. But it doesn’t come as a surprise to those who remain unconvinced that the law of supply and demand can be amended by city councils. Labor is simply another cost for any business, and when the price of something goes up, we tend to buy less of it.

Another takeaway from the study is that if you want to raise the income of low-skilled workers, taxpayers should pay for that burden through direct cash payments or other forms of welfare. Offloading the cost to employers has unintended consequences, even though it’s a lot easier to demonize business owners for being greedy cheapskates than to build a consensus around raising taxes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Science Shopping: Seattle Socialists Commission New Minimum-Wage Study After Dismissing Unfavorable Results of First One

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City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.

Dan Springer  reports: When a University of Washington study came out this week showing Seattle’s minimum wage has cost 5,000 jobs and is hurting low income workers, city leaders attacked the messenger –- a team of respected economists at Washington’s premiere public university.

The researchers, led by Jacob Vigdor, were hired by the city in 2014 to study the effects of Seattle’s $15 wage experiment. The contract called for five years of research. City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.

“The moment we saw it was based on flawed methodology and was going to be unreliable, the Vigdor study no longer speaks for City Hall,” said Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant.

Sawant, a former economics professor at Seattle Central Community College who ran for office as a Socialist, accused the UW team of “ideologically editorializing.” She and Mayor Ed Murray then contacted Michael Reich, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

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Reich is currently co-chair of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Before earning his PhD in economics from Harvard, Reich was a founding member of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE), a group seeking a “human-centered radical alternative to capitalism,” according to its website.

Reich has authored several studies on the effects of raising the minimum wage. They all concluded that increasing the minimum wage only helps low-skilled workers.

As soon as Seattle politicians knew the University of Washington study found raising Seattle’s minimum wage from $11 to $13 an hour led to a 9-percent cut in hours worked and an average of $125 less earned each month, they commissioned Reich to do his own study and then criticized UW’s research.

According to emails obtained by Fox News, Reich was given a deadline by Murray. His work was to be completed just before the University of Washington team announced its results. Vigdor, the director of the study, shared with city council staffers the preliminary results of the research and provided a timeline for when it would be made public. Read the rest of this entry »


Socialist Utopia Setback: Seattle’s $13 Minimum Wage Led To Drop Of $1,500 In Income For Low-Wage Earners

Ben Shapiro writes: Remember that time Seattle’s socialist city council member Kshama Sawant pressed for the city to increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour? I actually debated Sawant on the issue; I asked her if she would be in favor of raising the wage to $1,000 per hour. She misdirected from the issue.

Seattle actually ended up embracing $13 per hour, raising the minimum wage from $9.47 in 2014 to $11 in 2015 to $13 in 2016 under the theory that an increase wouldn’t throw people out of work, wouldn’t encourage part-time hiring, and would inflate salaries enough to allow more affordability in the Seattle housing market.

From the dustbin of history: The socialist zombies of Seattle

A new study demonstrates that, as usual, central planning of the economy leads to precisely the reverse of the results the planners seek to achieve.

According to a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research:

Using a variety of methods to analyze employment in all sectors paying below a specified real hourly rate, we conclude that the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016. Evidence attributes more modest effects to the first wage increase. We estimate an effect of zero when analyzing employment in the restaurant industry at all wage levels, comparable to many prior studies.

In other words, restaurants didn’t fire anybody, they just put them on part-time shifts and cut back their hours. That shouldn’t be a surprise, since that’s precisely what happens every time the government places an extra burden on employers. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Police Officer Charged in Large Coast-to-Coast Pot-Smuggling Operation

From left, Seattle Police Officers Alex Chapackdee, Jojo Cambronero, James Manning and Craig McRae do the Cupid Shuffle with the crowd at the Othello Park International Music and Arts Festival at Othello playground in South Seattle Sunday, August 19, 2012.

 reports: Veteran Seattle police Officer Alex Chapackdee is accused of helping his brother-in-law and others smuggle at least 100 kilograms of marijuana to the East Coast. In return, Chapackdee was paid $10,000 a month, charges allege.

Federal prosecutors will ask that a suspended Seattle police officer charged with being part of a large-scale East Coast marijuana smuggling ring be held in jail pending trial.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida set a detention hearing Friday for Alex Chapackdee, who faces a mandatory-minimum five-year federal prison sentence — and perhaps up to 40 years — for his role in allegedly transporting hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Washington to Baltimore then driving back with boxes of cash. The court also could impose a fine of up to $5 million if he’s found guilty.

Chapackdee, a veteran Seattle police officer, appeared briefly in U.S. District Court in Seattle Monday afternoon along with three co-defendants named in a 15-page complaint unsealed Monday. He was arrested last Friday and suspended from duty without pay.

[Read the feds’ complaint against Le, Chapackdee, others (PDF)]

More than two dozens shocked friends and family members crowded Tsuchida’s courtroom during the brief hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Vince Lombardi said the serious allegations and significant penalty prompted him to seek detention for all four defendants. Read the rest of this entry »


Sources: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray to Announce Tuesday He Will No Longer Seek Re-Election

SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray will announce Tuesday morning that he will no longer seek re-election to a second term, two sources close to the mayor confirmed Monday night.

Murray will make the surprise announcement at a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the sources confirmed.

Murray previously said he would continue to run for re-election but his campaign has been troubled since a 46-year-old Kent man, Delvonn Heckard, filed a lawsuit in April claiming Murray paid him for sex when the man was a teenager in the 1980s and Murray was in his 30s.

Murray denied the allegation and said it was politically motivated. Read the rest of this entry »


FOURTH man Accuses Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of Paying Him for Sex

A Murray spokesman denied the latest allegations, made in a court filing late Tuesday, calling them a “sensational media stunt.” The mayor’s lawyers Wednesday morning redoubled their effort to get a judge to sanction the attorney who submitted the new court filing and is representing another man who filed a lawsuit last month.

The new accuser, 44-year-old Maurice Jones, said in a sworn court declaration he was introduced to Murray by Delvonn Heckard, the Kent man who filed last month’s lawsuit claiming Murray sexually abused him as a teenager in the 1980s.

Jones’ declaration, filed in King County Superior Court, was brief, saying he had been to Murray’s Capitol Hill apartment at an unspecified time and that Murray “gave me money for sex.”

ulie Kays, one of Heckard’s attorneys, said Wednesday that Jones was in his midteens at the time. “He recalls at least two instances when, as a teenager, Murray paid (him) for sex. Once at Murray’s apartment and once in a car,” she said.

Jones’ declaration added he was “not part of any right-wing conspiracy” and that he is gay — a reference to Murray’s argument that accusations against him by Heckard and two other men are politically motivated.

The handwritten declaration was taken at the King County Regional Justice Center in Kent on Tuesday by Kays and Lincoln Beauregard, Heckard’s lead attorney.

Jones, who has a lengthy criminal record, has been held on drug charges since late March.

The document was prepared and passed through a glassed-off visitation partition to Jones for his signature, Kays said. The declaration was filed in court along with a photograph of Beauregard holding the document, with Jones on the other side of the glass partition. Both men are smiling.

As he has with previous allegations, a Murray spokesman vehemently denied the latest claim. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

On March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a week later, we now know the more likely reason that Seattle failed to disclose this tax revenue; because the money raised fell woefully short of the figure projected by supporters of the tax.

In July 2015, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess proposed legislation he dubbed a “Gun Violence Tax,” contending that “It’s time for the gun industry to help defray” the cost of criminal violence perpetrated with guns. Burgess’s proposal was unanimously passed by the city council on August 10, 2015. The legislation imposed a $25 tax on firearm sales, a $.02 per round tax on .22 and smaller caliber ammunition, and a $.05 per round tax on ammunition greater than .22 caliber. The revenue was intended to be used to fund anti-gun research at the Harborview Medical Center.

On August 24, 2015, NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit in King County Superior Court to prevent the city from enforcing the new tax. NRA’s complaint pointed out that the tax violates the Second Amendment and is also impermissible under Washington law. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that governments are not permitted to attack constitutionally-protected conduct through taxation. In the First Amendment context, the Court struck down a Minnesota use tax on ink and paper used in publishing. In that case – Minneapolis Star Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue – the Court warned that “A power to tax differentially, as opposed to a power to tax generally, gives a government a powerful weapon against the taxpayer selected.”

Washington’s firearms preemption statute also bars Seattle’s tax. Section 9.41.290 of the Revised Code of Washington states,

The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components.

and,

Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.

Washington law does provide a small number of specific exemptions to the state firearm preemption statute, but these concern local zoning in relating to firearms dealers, carry in certain municipal buildings, and the discharge of firearms.

Despite the plain language of Washington’s preemption statute, in December 2015 King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson upheld Seattle’s tax. NRA and our allies have appealed the court’s decision, and the case now sits with the Washington State Supreme Court.

In advocating for the tax, Burgess and other supporters of the legislation repeatedly cited figures from the City Budget Office that claimed the tax would raise between $300,000 and $500,000 a year. In an email to the Times this week, Burgess confessed, “During its first year, the firearms and ammunition tax payments received by the City were less than $200,000.” It is not clear how much less than $200,000 the city collected.

According to the Times, to come up with the outlandish $300,000-$500,000 figure, the City Budget Office “obtained the annual number of background checks for gun sales in Washington. Then they looked up what percentage of Washington’s licensed gun dealers were in Seattle and used that to guess the number of firearms sales in the city.” In addition to the fact that its analysis was too rudimentary to offer an accurate estimate of gun sales in Seattle, the budget office appears to have made no attempt to predict the impact the significant tax would have on the behavior of gun dealers and buyers.

Making this projection appear even more ridiculous is that the 2016 tax shortfall occurred in a year that witnessed record gun sales nationally and in the Evergreen State. In 2016, there were 713,996 NICS background checks conducted in Washington, whereas the 2015 total was 502,280. Washingtonians were buying plenty of guns in 2016, but as many predicted when the tax was proposed, not in Seattle. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: University of Washington Campus Suspected Shooter Arrested

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The circumstances under which the victim was shot remains unclear.

A man was shot Friday night on the University of Washington campus during a protest for a controversial speaker, and the suspected shooter turned himself in claiming self defense, police said.

A large crowd packed the Red Square area of campus Friday night protesting a speech by controversial Brietbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Police were blocking the entrance to Kane Hall, and investigators said bricks and paint were thrown at officers.

“The person of interest in the shooting … turned himself in to University of Washington police. He is now being questioned about the incident.”

— the Seattle mayor’s office said in a statement.

Medics received the shooting report at 8:26 p.m., after Yiannopoulos’ speech began in Kane Hall, but while a large crowd of protesters remained outside.

UW students were alerted to the suspected shooters arrest early Saturday morning. He was being questioned early Saturday morning by UW police, who are handling the investigation.

The shooting victim is 32 and suffered a life-threatening gunshot wound to the abdomen, Seattle police said. He was in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center, and was previously identified by authorities as a 25-year-old…(read more)

Source: KIRO-TV

Person of Interest in Shooting at UW Protest Turns Himself In

David Caplan and Karma Allan report: A person of interest in the Friday night shooting of a man at a protest at the University of Washington has turned himself in, the office of Seattle mayor Edward Murray announced early Saturday morning.

“My prayers are with the victim, whoever he is.”

— Milo Yiannopoulos

“The person of interest in the shooting … turned himself in to University of Washington police,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. “He is now being questioned about the incident.” The University of Washington Police Department is handling the shooting investigation, with support from Seattle Police Department detectives.

The 32-year-old victim was hospitalized with a possible life-threatening injury after being shot by the suspect in the abdomen at the protest, which according to ABC affiliate KOMO, was pegged to the slated 7:30 p.m. speaking engagement of alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos. Some were also protesting Donald Trump’s presidency. Read the rest of this entry »


$1 Million Bail Sought for Suspect in #MountVernon Officer’s Shooting

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MOUNT VERNON, Wash.  KOMO Staff & Associated Press report: A man suspected of shooting a police officer in the back of the head was ordered held on $1 million bail Friday.

The suspect, identified in court documents as Ernesto Lee Rivas, 44, appeared in Skagit County Superior Court the day after the cold-blooded shooting.

Rivas, who has a lengthy criminal history, was arrested earlier Friday morning after a seven-hour standoff in Mount Vernon that began after a police officer was shot and critically wounded, the Washington State Patrol said.

The online roster for the Skagit County Jail shows Rivas was booked at 1:55 a.m. Friday following his arrest.

Court and State Patrol records show that Rivas has eight felonies on his record, including unlawful possession of a firearm in 2011 and unlawful imprisonment in 1998. He was subject to a domestic violence protection order last year after the mother of his child accused him of stalking her at work.

At Friday’s court hearing, prosecutors said the suspect is being held for investigation of attempted first-degree murder. It was not immediately clear if Rivas has obtained an attorney. Read the rest of this entry »


Jury Begins Deliberating Fate of Accused SPU Shooter

SEATTLE — The case against the man charged in the Seattle Pacific University is now in the hands of a jury. Closing arguments wrapped up Monday afternoon and jurors went right into deliberations. Jurors will have to decide if Aaron Ybarra was insane or just filled with hate when he opened fire at Seattle Pacific…(read more)

Source: Q13 FOX News


Rock in the Suburbs: Why Punk Moved Out of the City and Into the Cul-De-Sac

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With unaffordable Progressive Disneyland hell-hole cities like San Francisco’s predictable cost-of-living increases and perverse real estate inflation driving out all but the wealthy and well-connected, the bright lights don’t beckon young punks like they used to.

Shows like that are increasingly common in Santa Rosa, and it has a lot to do with the prohibitive cost-of-livingpunk-sneer in nearby San Francisco. “I had every intention of moving down to the city,” said Ian O’Connor, 23, who organized the gig.

[Read the full story here, at The Guardian]

“But when the time came, it was too expensive.” Instead, in the last three years, he has booked dozens of all-ages gigs in Santa Rosa, mostly at unofficial venues: detached garages, living rooms, lobbies of sympathetic businesses. The scene thrives on the participation of people like him, area natives in their early 20s who, not so many years ago, would’ve likely moved an hour south to Oakland or San Francisco.

O’Connor stressed that though Santa Rosa is relatively affordable, the local punk scene faces challenges that cities with established reputations lack. “If you’re in the big city, you can sort of just jump into the stream,” he explained. “If you’re in a small town, you have to get down on your hands and knees and dig a ditch so that the water can run.”

“I had every intention of moving down to the city. But when the time came, it was too expensive.”

— Ian O’Connor

One hallmark of punk’s inception in the Bay Area and throughout the Pacific northwest was the notion of cities as places of possibility, so hollowed out by eroding tax bases and selective civic neglect that they seemed “deserted and forgotten”, as music journalist Jon Savage wrote of his 1978 trip to report on San Francisco punk bands such as Crime and the Dead Kennedys. “It was there to be remapped.”

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But with the same cities stricken by intensifying affordability crises – premiums on space that make somewhere to live, let alone rehearse and perform, available to a dwindling few – they don’t beckon young punks like they used to. And though reports of music scenes’ deaths tend to overstate, news of shuttering venues (see eulogies for The Smell, The Know, and LoBot) deters some of the intrepid transplants needed for invigoration. Dissipating metropolitan allure, however, helps account for the strength of scenes in outlying towns.

“The people who before just came to the shows are now setting them up. It’s been pretty astounding in terms of genuine participation…We could move and struggle somewhere else, but I think there’s a lot of people who’d like to see Santa Rosa become something like Olympia.”

— Ben Wright

In Santa Rosa, Acrylics are at the center of things. The five-piece, which recently announced a forthcoming record on leading west coast punk label Iron Lung, boasts a lashing and cantankerous sound, with staccato new-punk-250turnarounds and nervy guitar leads. They share members with a constellation of groups, including tightly wound punk outfit Fussy; sturdy hardcore units Rut and Service; and the dynamic noise-rock band OVVN.

“People in Olympia don’t think moving to a bigger city would be daunting – just dumb. Why pay five times the rent?”

“The people who before just came to the shows are now setting them up,” said Ben Wright, 24, who recorded recent releases by most of the aforementioned groups and plays guitar in Acrylics. “It’s been pretty astounding in terms of genuine participation… We could move and struggle somewhere else, but I think there’s a lot of people who’d like to see Santa Rosa become something like Olympia.”

Scott Young, 28, grew up in the Pacific northwest and moved to Olympia, Washington, in 2006. Until recently, he played bass in Gag, a winkingly scabrous hardcore band that’s lately influenced the genre significantly. Corey Rose Evans, 23, moved to Olympia from the Bay Area in 2010 to attend Evergreen State College and eventually joined both Vexx, a raucous foursome composed of inventive, tactile instrumentalists and a mightily expressive singer; and G.L.O.S.S. (“Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit”), a blistering and bold hardcore outfit that foregrounds transgender issues and skewers reformist politics. The scene is decidedly autonomous, centered around small labels and self-organized gigs. Read the rest of this entry »


Suspect’s Identity Revealed; Arcan Cetin in Custody in Washington Mall Shooting

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The suspect in a shooting at a Washington state mall Friday that left five people dead has been caught, the Washington State Patrol said Saturday.

Arcan Cetin, 20, of Oak Harbor, was arrested, a spokesman for the state patrol said. The patrol first announced the arrest on Twitter at around 7:15 p.m. local time (10:15 p.m. ET).

Five victims — four females and a male — were killed after a gunman described as wearing a black T-shirt and black shorts opened fire inside a Macy’s department store at the Cascade Mall in Burlington just before 7 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET). Oak Harbor is about 28 miles southwest of Burlington.

Image: Rachel Marsh, Selena Orozco

Rachel Marsh, 15, right, and Selena Orozco, 15, left, carry flowers as they attend a prayer service, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, at the Central United Methodist Church in Sedro-Woolley, Wash. The service was held in regard to Friday’s fatal shooting of several people at a Macy’s department store at the Cascade Mall in nearby Burlington, Wash. Both girls said they knew one of the victims of the shooting. Ted S. Warren / AP

Security footage showed the man entering the mall, apparently without a weapon. In additional footage from about 10 minutes later, he “entered Macy’s with a rifle and fired multiple times,” Mt. Vernon police Lt. Chris Cammock said earlier.

Image: Shooting at the Cascade Mall in Burlington

A handout picture provided by the Skagit County Department of Emergency Management earlier Saturday shows the suspect in the fatal shooting at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, Friday. WASHINGTON STATE PARTOL

The four female victims were pronounced dead Friday night, and the male victim was taken to a hospital where he died overnight, authorities said. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: Rifle Recovered at the Scene of the #CascadeMallshooting, Suspect Still At large 

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UPDATE 8:32 a.m. (PT): Authorities say they have recovered a rifle at the scene of the Cascade Mall shooting. The suspect is still at large, and a manhunt is underway. At this time, police do not have a name or positive identification on the suspect. Early descriptions based on witness accounts described the suspect as “Hispanic”; however, the race of the suspected gunman has not been confirmed by authorities.

Police say the suspect appeared to enter the mall without a weapon, and walked into a Macy’s approximately ten minutes later with a rifle. There, the suspect fired multiple times and killed four women at the scene (one man died of his injuries at Harborview Medical Center). Read the rest of this entry »


Open ‘Safe Places’ in Seattle, King County for Heroin Use, Task Force Says

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A task force is recommending the creation of sites in King County to provide medical supervision for people using illegal drugs like heroin, which would be the first in the U.S.

Vernal Coleman reports: The task force formed to help fight a heroin epidemic in the Seattle area has recommended the opening of public, supervised sites where addicts can use heroin.

The sites, supported by both King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, would be the first of their kind in the country.

“If it’s a strategy that saves lives … then regardless of the political discomfort I think it is something we have to move forward,” Constantine said during a Thursday news conference.

Murray said he would support establishing the sites if it can be done “in a way that reduces the negative impacts” on neighborhoods.

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The recommendations released Thursday call for a pilot program to establish two “community health-engagement locations” in targeted areas where users can inject heroin under medical supervision as an alternative to public restrooms, alleys and homeless encampments like The Jungle.

[Read the full story here, at The Seattle Times]

The committee called for putting one site in Seattle, and another outside of the city in an area where a high number of heroin overdoses have been recorded.

“One of the driving ideas behind this is creating a safe space where we can get people the medical, prevention and treatment services already provided elsewhere,” said Brad Finegood, committee co-chairman and assistant director of the King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division. Read the rest of this entry »


Corrupt Propagandist Seattle Public School Teachers to Wear Anti-Cop Shirts to School

KING 5 reports teachers at John Muir Elementary School will allegedly be wearing t-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter, We Stand Together” to signify that they agree with Black Lives Matter’s mission.

“It’s something that can be controversial, but just the fact that our whole staff was on board with it, was pretty amazing to me.”

According to one of the teachers at the school, the entire staff will be participating.

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“It’s something that can be controversial, but just the fact that our whole staff was on board with it, was pretty amazing to me,” she said.

Jennifer Whitney, who came up with the idea for the t-shirts, told KING 5, “It’s part of the oppression, the systemic oppression continues on that’s the reason that we’re not seeing changes.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Hilarious: ‘Common Sense Gun Control’ People Know Nothing About Guns

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Political commentator and actor Steven Crowder decided to set up an experiment to see just how well people that want “common sense” gun control knew about firearms.

He set up a tent for “Citizens Coalition for Common Sense Gun Reform” to ask people that do not own or are interested in guns to see how much they knew about firearms and which ones should be banned based on “common sense.”

gun-range

Crowder quickly finds out that the people who are in favor or “common sense” gun control know very little about guns in the first place and what they are capable of. The people justdecided which guns should be banned based on how it makes them feel.

[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]

For example, many people wanted more “tactical looking” firearms banned, but yet other kinds of rifles displayed on the table were fine, such as hunting rifles. Crowder does point out on the side that the AR-15 is actually a popular small game hunting rifle but because it looks tactical, it should be banned.

People were also not well informed on what types of guns were used in crimes and thought that the AR-15 is used in many cases, but as Crowder points out, from 2007 to 2015, 70% of shooting murders are from handguns.

Source: American Military News

common-ignorance

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong”.

— H. L. Mencken

Democracy? In Moderation, Please.

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Buried somewhere in the above Daily Beast article is probably a perfectly decent, arguable case for a certain kind of small-ball, incremental legislation. Unfortunately, but predictably, its case is comically undermined by hateful, shallow, silly, dishonest writing.

dishonest

Ohh! Those evil Republicans! They should be taken out and horsewhipped! Here, hold my drink. I’ll do it. Get outta my way. I’ve got some GOP ass to beat. Oh, never mind.

Never mind that this advocacy item masquerading as journalism doesn’t even attempt to demonstrate how the measures will have any impact whatsoever, to “avert mass shootings”. Which is understandable. One; averting mass shootings is not, and never was, the goal of activist gun-control legislation. And two; There’s no evidence that “averting mass shootings” can be accomplished by legislation in the first place.

Think the gun debate isn’t polluted with toxic stupidity from the Left? Read on:

“…But with the substantial distortion of our democracy around guns, they are the issue with which this particular method most adheres to the original intentions of the progressives who created it a century ago, at a time when large interests such as timber and railroads blocked popular reforms in legislative bodies around the country.”

wilson

The progressives who created it a century ago. Right.  Wait, you mean the puritan, racist, anti-constitutional Wilsonian reformers of that era, the progressive activists who gave us segregation, prohibition, and Jim Crow laws, those guys?

The early 20th-century progressives’ “original intentions” are in stark contrast to the intentions of our founders. Cautious, deliberative men, keenly aware of the historically destructive effects of “direct democracy“.

Ever notice how our most sacred and treasured rights are intentionally safeguarded, hardwired in the Bill of Rights? Completely out of reach of voters? 

Everett Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), portrait by David Martin, 1767

The founders were no fans of democracy.

“When two wolves and a sheep decide what to have for dinner.”

Benjamin Franklin definition of democracy is as clear now as it was over two centuries ago. Read the rest of this entry »


CASE CLOSED: FBI Officially Closes its Investigation into ‘DB Cooper’ Hijacking 

DBCooper

The mystery surrounding the hijacking of a Northwest Orient Airlines flight in November 1971 by a still-unknown individual resulted in significant international attention and a decades-long manhunt.

SEATTLE – Forty-five years after an unidentified man parachuted from the rear of a hijacked jetliner and into folklore with $200,000 in cash, the FBI is officially closing its investigation into the famous “DB Cooper” case that has transfixed people around the world ever since.

“Over the years, the FBI has applied numerous new and innovative investigative techniques, as well as examined countless items at the FBI Laboratory. Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation will now be preserved for historical purposes at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.”

— FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams

FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams said Tuesday the still-unsolved case was closed “in order to focus on other investigative priorities.” She called the DB Cooper hijacking case over Western Washington “one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history.”

During the course of the “NORJACK investigation,” as it is known by the FBI, agents reviewed all credible leads, coordinated between multiple field offices to conduct searches, collected all available evidence, and interviewed all identified witnesses, Dietrich-Williams said.

“Over the years, the FBI has applied numerous new and innovative investigative techniques, as well as examined countless items at the FBI Laboratory,” she said. “Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation will now be preserved for historical purposes at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.”

“He boarded the flight in Portland for a flight to Seattle on the night of Nov. 24, 1971, and commandeered the plane, claiming he had dynamite…In Seattle, he demanded and got $200,000 and four parachutes and demanded to be flown to Mexico. Somewhere over southwestern Washington, he jumped out the plane’s tail exit with two of the chutes.”

The mystery surrounding the hijacking of a Northwest Orient Airlines flight in November 1971 by a still-unknown individual resulted in significant international attention and a decades-long manhunt.

The suspect, who called himself Dan Cooper, was later misidentified in media reports as “D.B. Cooper,” and the name stuck. He boarded the flight in Portland for a flight to Seattle on the night of Nov. 24, 1971, and commandeered the plane, claiming he had dynamite. Read the rest of this entry »


James Bowman on the Eternal Inaccuracy of the Socialist-Invented Word ‘Capitalism’

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Like life, markets will generally find a way to survive. Socialism can harass and suppress what it calls capitalism—now, often just by calling it capitalism—but it can never replace it.

James Bowman writes: They’re demonstrating in Seattle about “capitalism” again. Young people, presumably of the hip variety now famed for supporting Bernie Sanders, rioted there on May Day.

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“You’ve got to wonder how, for all those centuries, nobody realized that they were either oppressed or oppressing merely by marrying and having children—just as it never occurred to either employers or employees that they were part of a system, whether called ‘capitalism’ or something else, until patently self-interested socialist theorists came up with a rival system that, they said, would solve all their problems.”

The Seattle Times reported nine arrests and several injuries to police, including one officer who was bitten. Meanwhile, James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institutenoting that a recent survey found 51 percent of young people, aged 18–29 described themselves as not supporting capitalism, wondered if the c-word “really isn’t the right word for the free enterprise system, the deep magic that has made America the richest, most powerful nation on Earth.”

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“The system should rather be called ‘technological and institutional betterment at a frenetic pace, tested by unforced exchange among all the parties involved.’ Or ‘fantastically successful liberalism, in the old European sense, applied to trade and politics, as it was applied also to science and music and painting in literature.’ The simplest version is ‘trade-tested progress.’”

I hope it will not sound immodest in me if I mention that this is what I have been saying for years. As I wrote back in June of 2002, “capitalism” is simply the socialist word for life. You can tell because even under socialism there is still capitalism, in the form of the black market.

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Like life, markets will generally find a way to survive. Socialism can harass and suppress what it calls capitalism—now, often just by calling it capitalism—but it can never replace it. 514B+AoYlbL._SL250_

[Order Deirdre McCloskey’s book “Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World” from Amazon.com]

You can’t replace an organic growth of human enterprise and ingenuity with a merely theoretical system designed by intellectuals to transform fallen humanity into a perfect society.

Mr Pethokoukis’s point is to promote Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World, by Deirdre McCloskey….(read more)

Source: thenewcriterion.com

 


Judge Tosses Seattle’s Absurd Ordinance Requiring Warrantless Garbage-Can Searches

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National Embarrassment: Seattle Public Utilities Privacy Violating Ordinance Laughed Out of Court.

Under the 2015 ordinance, garbage collectors were required to determine by “visual inspection” whether more than 10 percent of a trash can’s contents were made up of recyclable items or food waste. Violators are subject to fines.

The lawsuit argued that the ordinance essentially allowed warrantless searches, an invasion of privacy, and a ‘policy of massive and persistent snooping.’

Valerie Richardson reports: A state judge threw out a portion of a Seattle ordinance requiring garbage collectors to snoop through residents’ trash in search of food waste, calling the provision unconstitutional.

“Seattle can’t place its composting goals over the privacy rights of its residents.”

King County Superior Court Judge Beth M. Andrus issued an injunction against the garbage inspections but not Seattle’s residential food-waste ban, which forbids throwing away food scraps and compostable paper.

“A clear message has been sent to Seattle public officials: Recycling and other environmental initiatives can’t be pursued in a way that treats people’s freedoms as disposable.”

“This ruling does not prohibit the city from banning food waste and compostable paper in SPU-provided garbage cans,” the 14-page decision said, referring to the Seattle Public Utilities. “It merely renders invalid the provisions of the ordinance and rule that authorize a warrantless search of residents’ garbage cans when there is no applicable exception to the warrant requirement, such as the existence of prohibited items in plain view.”

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Under the 2015 ordinance, garbage collectors were required to determine by “visual inspection” whether more than 10 percent of a trash can’s contents were made up of recyclable items or food waste. Violators are subject to having their garbage cans tagged and fines of $1 per can for curbside collections or $50 per collection for multi-family units. Read the rest of this entry »


Amanda Knox Cleared of Final Remaining Bogus Charge: ‘Slandering Italian Police Officers and Prosecutor’

Ollie Gillman reports: Amanda Knox has been cleared of slandering police officers and a prosecutor in Italy.

Knox, who was cleared last year of murdering British student Meredith Kercher, was charged with slandering police in Perugia by claiming they interviewed her under duress.

The 28-year-old, who shared a student house with Miss Kercher when she was killed, said she was yelled at, slapped and threatened by police.

A judge in Florence threw the case out on Thursday after ruling that her comments were not slanderous.

Italian media said lawyers for Knox, who returned to the U.S. after her successful appeal and is now working as a journalist in Seattle, said she was ‘very happy with the acquittal’.

If she had been found guilty she would have had to pay each of the seven officials 15,000 euros ($16,300).

Knox was charged with slandering the officers back in 2011, when she was being questioned on charges of separately slandering Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba.

He spent two weeks in jail in 2007 after Knox accused him of murdering Miss Kercher, which was found to be untrue.

Her conviction for slandering Mr Lumumba is the only one that still stands against her name, with today’s hearing the last in her lengthy and highly documented legal tussle with Italian prosecutors. Read the rest of this entry »


China Tests New Hypersonic Weapon

China has conducted yet another test of a hypersonic glide vehicle designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses.

Franz-Stefan Gady reports: This week, the People’s Republic of China successfully conducted a sixth flight test of its DF-ZF (previously known as WU-14) hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), Bill Gertz of The Washington Free Beacon reports.

The DF-ZF is an ultra-high-speed missile allegedly capable of penetrating U.S. air defense systems based on interceptor missiles.

The launch of the DF-ZF took place at the Wuzhai missile test center in central China’s Shanxi Province. A ballistic missile transported the DF-ZF HGV near the edge of the atmosphere, where it separated from its launcher and then glided to an impact range a few thousands kilometers away in western China, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

“The DF-ZF flight was tracked by U.S. intelligence agencies and flew at speeds beyond Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound,” Gertz notes. Previous tests of the DF-ZF took place on June 7, January 9, and August 7, 2015, and December 2, 2014. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] 快乐光棍节“节 Kevin Spacey Wishes China a Happy Singles’ Day

“Good evening to the great people of China. I am the 45th president of the United States, Frank J. Underwood. And tonight, I wanted to take a moment to say hello to all of you out there to wish you a happy Singles’ Day.”

Felicia Sonmez and Gillian Wong report: Is Frank Underwood a fan of online shopping in China? We couldn’t possibly comment.

On Tuesday, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba rang in China’s Singles’ Day online shopping holiday with a star-studded gala at Beijing’s Water Cube. The event included a video appearance by actor Kevin Spacey, who plays the scheming politician Frank Underwood in the hit U.S. TV series “House of Cards.” The show airs online in China and is a favorite of China’s anticorruption czar – and perhaps even its top leader.

“Good evening to the great people of China. I am the 45th president of the United States, Frank J. Underwood. And tonight, I wanted to take a moment to say hello to all of you out there to wish you a happy Singles’ Day,” Mr. Spacey says in character in the video, which shows him seated at a presidential desk….(read more)

Source: China Real Time Report – WSJ


Seattle Wage Hike Off To ‘Pretty Bad Start’ 

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Connor D. Wolf reports: Seattle, which recently passed a $15 minimum wage, has seen the loss of 700 restaurant jobs despite the rest of the state seeing huge increases, according to a Wednesday report.

In its report, the American Enterprise Institute looked at restaurant job growth in both Seattle and the rest of Washington. The state itself has gained 5,800 industry jobs since January. Seattle, however, lost 700 jobs in the same time. The state minimum wage is $9.47. Back in June Seattle passed its own minimum wage of $15 an hour. The city ordinance is designed to phase in over the course of several years. It will reach $15 an hour by 2017 for most employers.

[Read the fully story here, at The Daily Caller]

“One likely cause of the stagnation and decline of Seattle area restaurant jobs this year is the increase in the city’s minimum wage,” the report speculated. “It looks like the Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start. Especially considering that restaurant employment in the rest of the state is booming, and nearly 6,000 more restaurant workers are employed today than in January.” Read the rest of this entry »


FORBIDDEN: Magna Carta Exhibition in China Is Abruptly Moved From University

Magna-Carta-NYT

The mysterious shift in venue took place the week before China’s president, Xi Jinping, is scheduled to make a state visit to Britain, the first by a Chinese leader in a decade.

HONG KONG — Michael Forsythe reports: China’s leaders have long behaved as if nothing could daunt them. But an 800-year-old document written in Latin on sheepskin may have them running scared.Xi-tall-Jinping-HT

“Magna Carta is widely considered a cornerstone for constitutional government in Britain and the United States, and such a system is inimical to China’s leaders, who view ‘constitutionalism’ as a threat to Communist Party rule.”

Magna Carta — the Great Charter — is on tour this year, celebrating eight centuries since it was issued in 1215 by King John of England. It is regarded as one of the world’s most important documents because of language guaranteeing individual rights and holding the ruler subject to the law.

“They fear that such ideology and historical material will penetrate deep into the students’ hearts.”

— Hu Jia, a prominent Chinese dissident

One of the few surviving 13th-century copies of the document was to go on display this week from Tuesday through Thursday at a museum at Renmin University of China in Beijing, the British Embassy said last week on its WeChat account. But then the exhibit was abruptly moved to the British ambassador’s residence, with few tickets available to the public and no explanation given. (The document is also set to go on display at the United States Consulate in Guangzhou and at a museum in Shanghai, the embassy said.)

It is not clear why the public showing was moved off the Renmin University campus. But Magna Carta is widely considered a cornerstone for constitutional government in Britain and the United States, and such a system is inimical to China’s leaders, who view “constitutionalism” as a threat to Communist Party rule.

[Read the full story here, at The New York Times]

In 2013, the party issued its “seven unmentionables” — taboo topics for its members. The first unmentionable is promoting Western-style constitutional democracy. The Chinese characters for “Magna Carta” are censored in web searches on Sina Weibo, the country’s Twitter-like social media site.

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Hu Jia, a prominent Chinese dissident, said he was not surprised that the exhibit was moved off the campus. He said that Renmin University had close ties to the Communist Party’s training academy and that the principles the document stood for were contrary to the party’s. More important, he said, Chinese leaders may have been concerned that the exhibit would be popular and that “many students would flock there.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Bern Your Enthusiasm’

Bernie Sanders IS Larry David

Bernie Sanders meets Curb Your Enthusiasm (via deathandtaxesmag.com)


Niall Ferguson: The Real Obama Doctrine 

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Henry Kissinger long ago recognized the problem: a talented vote-getter, surrounded by lawyers, who is overly risk-averse.

Niall Ferguson writes: Even before becoming Richard Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissingerunderstood how hard it was to make foreign policy in Washington. There “is no such thing as an American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger wrote in 1968. There is only “a series of moves that have produced a certain result” that they “may not have been planned to produce.” It is “research and intelligence organizations,” he added, that “attempt to give a rationality and consistency” which “it simply does not have.”

“It is clear that the president’s strategy is failing disastrously. Since 2010, total fatalities from armed conflict in the world have increased by a factor of close to four, according to data from the International Institute of Strategic Studies. Total fatalities due to terrorism have risen nearly sixfold…”

Two distinctively American pathologies explained the fundamental absence of coherent strategic thinking. First, the person at the top was selected for other skills. “The typical political leader of the contemporary managerial society,” 51X0CvBgwmL._SL250_noted Mr. Kissinger, “is a man with a strong will, a high capacity to get himself elected, but no very great conception of what he is going to do when he gets into office.”

[Order Niall Ferguson’s book “Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist” from Amazon.com]

Second, the government was full of people trained as lawyers. In making foreign policy, Mr. Kissinger once remarked, “you have to know what history is relevant.” But lawyers were “the single most important group in Government,” he said, and their principal drawback was “a deficiency in history.” This was a long-standing prejudice of his. “The clever lawyers who run our government,” he thundered in a 1956 letter to a friend, have weakened the nation by instilling a “quest for minimum risk which is our most outstanding characteristic.”

“Nearly all this violence is concentrated in a swath of territory stretching from North Africa through the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan. And there is every reason to expect the violence to escalate as the Sunni powers of the region seek to prevent Iran from establishing itself as the post-American hegemony.”

Let’s see, now. A great campaigner. A bunch of lawyers. And a “quest for minimum risk.” What is it about this combination that sounds familiar?

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

I have spent much of the past seven years trying to work out what Barack Obama’s strategy for the United States truly is. For much of his presidency, as a distinguished general once remarked to me about the commander in chief’s strategy, “we had to infer it from speeches.”

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“Today the U.S. faces three strategic challenges: the maelstrom in the Muslim world, the machinations of a weak but ruthless Russia, and the ambition of a still-growing China. The president’s responses to all three look woefully inadequate.”

At first, I assumed that the strategy was simply not to be like his predecessor—an approach that was not altogether unreasonable, given the errors of the Bush administration in Iraq and the resulting public disillusionment. I read Mr. Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech—with its Quran quotes and its promise of “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world”—as simply the manifesto of the Anti-Bush.

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“Those who know the Obama White House’s inner workings wonder why this president, who came into office with next to no experience of foreign policy, has made so little effort to hire strategic expertise.”

But what that meant in practice was not entirely clear. Precipitate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq, but a time-limited surge in Afghanistan. A “reset” with Russia, but seeming indifference to Europe. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle-Area School District Bans Game of Tag to Ensure Kids’ ‘Physical, Emotional Safety’ 

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 reports: A Seattle-area school district has banned kids from playing tag on the playground in order “to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students.”

“This means while at play, especially during recess and unstructured time, students are expected to keep their hands to themselves.” 

Mercer Island School District communications director Mary Grady explained the district’s decision to revisit “expectations for student behavior” and student safety.liberal-huh

“This means while at play, especially during recess and unstructured time, students are expected to keep their hands to themselves,” she told a local Fox affiliate. “The rationale

behind this is to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students.

“School staffs are working with students in the classroom to ensure that there are many alternative games available at recess and during unsupervised play, so that our kids can still have fun, be with their friends, move their bodies and give their brains a break,” Ms. Grady said.

But some parents are angry that they weren’t made part of the decision-making process to ban the popular childhood game.

“Good grief, our kids need some unstructured playtime,” mom Kelsey Joyce told Fox.

“I totally survived tag,” she said. “I even survived red rover, believe it or not.”

“I played tag,” said mom Melissa Neher. “I survived.”

At Reason writes:

“…Once again we have an age-old childhood tradition that is suddenly too dangerous for this generation of kids. How can it be that for 450+ years (and possibly since the beginning of time), kids played this very same game, but today’s youngsters are just too fragile to handle it?

Because, as psychologist and author Peter Gray so often reminds us: No other era that has ever underestimated children to this extent.

What’s more, our rule-makers do this with a condescending smile that says it is for the sweet children’s sake that we treat them like bonsai trees—delicate, beloved, in need of constant attention, and stunted.(read more)

“This decision needs to be reevaluated with input from the kids and from the community,” said Ms. Neher. She created a Facebook page to help spread the word to other parents about the ban. In less than 24 hours, hundreds of parents joined to voice their concerns, Fox reported. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: 2 Dead, 9 Critical After Tour Bus & Duck Boat Crash on Seattle Bridge

 

Source: NBC Nightly News – Twitter


[VIDEO] Xi Jinping’s U.S. Trip in 60 Seconds 

Chinese President Xi Jinping lands in the U.S. on Tuesday and will embark on a whirlwind of meetings. Here’s a quick guide to Xi’s itinerary.


Chinese CEOs to Scale Mount Rainier in New ‘Peace Climb’

Jeremy Page and Esther Fung The slopes of Mount Rainier, an active volcano overlooking Seattle, will witness an unusual China-U.S. joint venture this week, just before President Xi Jinping begins a state visit to the U.S. in the West Coast city.

Wang Shi, one of China’s most successful property tycoons, will lead a group of Chinese chief executives on an expedition up the mountain with Jim Whittaker, who became the first American to summit Mount Everest in 1963.

The event on Monday is to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1990 Peace Climb in which Mr. Whittaker climbed Everest again with Soviet and Chinese mountaineers in a bid to promote world peace.

Participants on Monday are hoping to send a similar message of peace at a time of mounting China-U.S. tensions, and to promote awareness of climate change — one area where Beijing and Washington are trying to cooperate.

“Today the same message still bears significance,” said 64-year-old Mr. Wang, Chairman of China Vanke Co., the world’s largest residential property developer by revenue. “Getting to the summit is not the main purpose of the climb.”

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

The event also demonstrates the growing interest in outdoor pursuits, especially among

wealthier Chinese, who are now venturing well beyond traditional tourist destinations.

Mr. Wang is one of China’s highest profile examples.

He has climbed Everest twice, in 2003 and 2010, is a keen rower and conservationist, and an independent director of the World Wildlife Fund.

“In the past two years I have been making trips between China and Seattle and other U.S. cities,” said Mr. Wang. “I’ve also become quite familiar with the mountaineering scene in Seattle.”

Mt. Rainier, whose summit is at 14,410 feet (4392 meters) above sea level, is an active volcano and the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S., according to the U.S. National Park Service.

Among the Chinese participants on Monday are members of the “Deep Dive” initiative which is run by Mr. Wang and aims to teach Chinese executives about foreign culture and business etiquette.

Mr. Whittaker said he was introduced to Mr. Wang through Washington State Governor Jay Inslee about three months ago.

Mr. Wang and the other Chinese participants were providing most of the funding of around $60,000 for the event, Mr. Whittaker said. Read the rest of this entry »


Old School Automats are Back, Courtesy of the Minimum Wage

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From the New York Times:

There’s a new quinoa restaurant in San Francisco — yes, quinoa restaurants are a thing in San Francisco, so that’s not what’s noteworthy. At this restaurant, customers order, pay and receive their food and never interact with a person.

The restaurant, Eatsa, the first outlet in a company with national ambitions, is almost fully automated. There are no waiters or even an order taker behind a counter. There is no counter. There are unseen people helping to prepare the food, but there are plans to fully automate that process, too, if it can be done less expensively than employing people…

Horn-and-Hardat-Automat-Times-Square-Vintage-Untapped-Cities

Last week, I was in a fast-moving line and browsed on a flat-screen monitor the menu of eight quinoa bowls, each costing $6.95 (burrito bowl, bento bowl, balsamic beet). Then I approached an iPad, where I tapped in my order, customized it and paid. My name, taken from my credit card, appeared on another screen, and when my food was ready, a number showed up next to it. Read the rest of this entry »


Revealed: Democracy Alliance Member Nick Hanauer Crafted Seattle Minimum Wage

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Hanauer is now at the center of a lawsuit filed by the International Franchise Association.

 reports: Radical venture capitalist Nick Hanauer served on a city advisory committee that eventually produced the legislation boosting minimum wages to $15 per hour. The legislation takes special aim at franchisees, forcing them to adopt higher wages than other small businesses under a shorter timeframe.

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“The truth is that franchises like Subway and McDonald’s really are not very good for our local economy. They are economically extractive, civically corrosive and culturally dilutive.”

— Hanauer, in an email obtained by the association

Hanauer, a private-jet-owning multi-millionaire who once had a speech scrubbed from the TED conference website for being “too political,” is a member of the Democracy Alliance, a shadowy collection of liberal millionaires and billionaires that funnels money into Democratic causes.

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The group has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into various liberal foundations, Media Matters, and Democratic super PAC Priorities USA. The group is secretive and does not divulge membership rolls, fundraising goals, or allow reporters at its annual meetings.

“Franchising has been under intense scrutiny by union activists and hostile labor regulators in recent weeks.”

Hanauer is now at the center of a lawsuit filed by the International Franchise Association to overturn the law, according to the Seattle Times.

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Wealth Destruction: Target Franchises.

“The truth is that franchises like Subway and McDonald’s really are not very good for our local economy. They are economically extractive, civically corrosive and culturally dilutive,” Hanauer wrote in an email obtained by the association.

The business group claims that the law is discriminatory because many franchisees are themselves small business owners akin to mom and pop shops. Franchisees pay licensing and other fees to large corporations to operate under the company umbrella, but the vast majority are independently owned and manage their own affairs. Read the rest of this entry »


Smoke and Mirrors: Seattle Sales Tax

This week, the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), firearms retailers, and private gun owners filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle, alleging that its new firearms and ammunition sales tax ordinance is illegal and unenforceable.

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“Overdose and non-gun suicide hospitalizations each occurred at a rate more than five times that of those involving a gun; hospitalizations for ‘injuries due to accidents’ had a rate almost seventy-five times greater.  With stats like these, it’s clear that anti-gun sentiment is the only thing driving the new taxes, not any real desire to address public health concerns of city residents.”

Earlier this month, Seattle passed the Firearm Tax and Ammunition Tax ordinance which imposes a new $25 sales tax on the retail sales of firearms, plus a per-round sales tax of two to five cents on ammunition.  The ordinance is slated to go into effect on January 1, 2016. A failure to pay the tax is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment of up to 364 days, or both.

[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]

A city report describes this as a “gun violence tax” that is estimated to generate revenues of $300,000 to $500,000 per year. The report adds, “[e]very effort funded by the revenues of this tax that reduces the probability of gun violence from taking place will save lives and money… Efforts funded by the gun violence tax that mitigate the public health, welfare, and safety impacts of gun violence will benefit this population.”

“In 2011, the Court of Appeals of Washington looked no further than the ‘plain language’ of the preemption statute before concluding that Seattle’s attempt to regulate the possession of firearms was unlawful. The complaint in the new lawsuit refers to this decision and states the City of Seattle is ‘not permitted to pass laws that target the sale of firearms and ammunition through any means.’”

The report fails to disclose any clear relationship between expected new tax receipts and a reduction in violence of any kind. The report asserts only that efforts funded by the tax which “reduce[] the probability of gun violence from taking place” will benefit Seattle residents, without identifying the nature of the “research, prevention and youth education and employment programs” or how these programs will work to reduce the “probability” of gun violence. (The report does confirm, though, that the City will be able “to track how much revenue is raised each year and analyze the programs to which that revenue is dedicated.”)

A group of local public school teachers from nearby schools use rubber training guns as they practice proper firearms handling during a teachers-only firearms training class offered for free at the Veritas Training Academy in Sarasota, Florida January 11, 2013. The December 14 tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has sparked a national debate about whether to arm teachers, prompting passionate arguments on both sides. REUTERS/Brian Blanco (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS EDUCATION)

“Citizens testifying before the City Council meeting on the new tax included a recent victim of a violent felony who was ‘appalled’ that the City was enacting an illegal tax that would force law-abiding citizens to pay for the impact of gun violence committed by criminals.”

The ordinance itself cites a 2014 study funded by the City of Seattle which reported, among other things, King County hospitalization rates due to a firearm-related injury (“of any intent,” presumably including self-inflicted and accidental injuries in addition to persons who were injured as victims of crime), and hospitalizations for other reasons.

[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]

Hospitalizations due to overdoses, non-gun suicides, and non-gun assaults were far more prevalent than gun-related hospitalizations. Overdose and non-gun suicide hospitalizations each occurred at a rate more than five times that of those involving a gun; hospitalizations for “injuries due to accidents” had a rate almost seventy-five times greater.  With stats like these, it’s clear that anti-gun sentiment is the only thing driving the new taxes, not any real desire to address public health concerns of city residents. Read the rest of this entry »


Legally Unenforceable: Seattle’s Self-Inflicted ‘Gun Violence Tax’ Draws NRA Lawsuit

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Seattle’s tax, which would take effect in January, would add $25 to the price of each firearm sold in the city.

SEATTLE (AP) — Gene Johnson reports: Three gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, sued the city of Seattle on Monday over its adoption of a so-called “gun violence tax,” a tax on firearms and ammunition designed to help offset
the financial toll of gun violence.

[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]

The complaint was filed Monday in King County Superior Court by the NRA, the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, along with two gun owners and two gun shops. It called the tax legally unenforceable because Washington state prohibits local governments from adopting laws related to firearms unless those local ordinances are specifically authorized by the state.

“The ordinance serves only as a piece of propaganda, because the ordinance’s mandates are legally unenforceable. The state of Washington has the exclusive right to regulate the sale of firearms in Washington, and cities may not enact local laws or regulations related to the sale of firearms.”

“The ordinance serves only as a piece of propaganda, because the ordinance’s mandates are legally unenforceable,” the lawsuit said. “The state of Washington has the exclusive right to regulate the sale of firearms in Washington, and cities may not enact local laws or regulations related to the sale of firearms.”

[Order Emily Miller’s book “Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved the tax this month, along with a companion measure requiring gun owners to file reports if their weapons are stolen or lost. The lawsuit does not challenge the reporting requirements. City Attorney Pete Holmes has argued that the gun-violence tax falls squarely under Seattle’s taxing authority. Read the rest of this entry »


Backwards in Seattle: City Council Imposes New Gun and Ammunition Tax, Exposing City to Lawsuits: ‘The only real purpose of this legislation is to run gun stores out of the city. I know it, you know it, the courts will know it”

MINIMUM WAGE VOTE -- SEATTLE CITY HALL -- RALLY -- 06022014 --  139162 Seattle City Council members  Tim Burgess speaks at a council meeting Monday afternoon.  At the meeting, the council unanimously passed the $15/hour minimum wage proposal . MethodeID: 3.0.2639093170#News#Local#20140603#3.0.2639093170

The Gun tax is designed to raise money for gun violence research and prevention programs drive gun stores out of business.

The Second Amendment Foundation says the city’s new law goes against the state’s preemption law which prevents any city or municipality from implementing stricter gun laws than the state.

SEATTLE –  reports: Seattle city council members unanimously passed a new gun and
0ammunition tax Monday afternoon.

“About a third of homes in Seattle have guns in them and our goal is that every one of those guns are safety stored.”

— Margaret Heldring with GAGV

That means more than 20 licensed gun dealers operating within city limits are facing hefty taxes starting January.

Seattle-gun-grabbers

“Switzerland has a fully automatic weapon in every household yet violent crime rates are very low. The real problem in violent crime is economic disparity.”

— Gun shop owner Sergey Solyanik

City leaders say they hope to raise $300,000 to $500,000 a year through the new gun tax. But gun shop owners are now threatening to sue the city.

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“Gandmothers Against Gun Violence marched to the steps of city hall on Monday in support of taxing guns and ammunition. They believe a $25 tax on each gun sold and up to a 5 cent tax on a round of ammunition will ‘help deter gun violence’.”

“Guns are out of control in this country,” Terri Hollinsworth with Grandmothers Against Gun Violence said.

The group says gun violence is an epidemic.

“Gun tax is designed to raise money for gun violence research and prevention programs.”

— Council member Tim Burgess

“About a third of homes in Seattle have guns in them and our goal is that every one of those guns are safety stored,” Margaret Heldring with GAGV said.

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“No way the city will be making any money on this bill in fact they will be losing money.”

— Sergey Solyanik

Gandmothers Against Gun Violence marched to the steps of city hall on Monday in support of taxing guns and ammunition. They believe a $25 tax on each gun sold and up to a 5 cent tax on a round of ammunition will help deter gun violence.

“Gun tax is designed to raise money for gun violence research and prevention programs,” Council member Tim Burgess said.

But opponents of the measure took center stage in front of council members calling the measure unfair and ineffective.

“I am appalled that you are enacting an illegal tax that forces law abiding citizens to pay for the impact of violence committed by criminals,” one opponent said. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: #BlackLivesMatter Subreddit Turns Private After Sanders Rally

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A Black Lives Matter’s subreddit turned to private after it got overwhelmed with criticism for what happened at the Sanders event.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to a packed crowd Saturday night at the University of Washington campus about his commitment to criminal justice reform as liberal-huhwell as addressing income equality.

“When the crowd asked the activists to allow Sanders to speak, one activist called the crowd ‘white supremacist liberals,’ according to event participants.”

Sanders gave his talk to a cheering audience of about 12,000 inside a university pavilion a few hours after he was shoved aside by several Black Lives Matter activists who are calling for changes to the criminal justice system. The women were screaming at Sanders to let them speak. Sanders eventually left the Saturday afternoon event at Westlake Park in Seattle without giving his speech.

A Black Lives Matter’s subreddit — r/BlackLivesMatter — turned to private after it got overwhelmed with criticism for what happened at the Sanders event.

[Activists who hijacked Bernie Sanders’ Seattle rally push #BowDownBernie hashtag]

[Anti-Free Speech Warriors Shut Down Guest Socialist: Bernie Sanders Leaves Seattle Stage After Event Disrupted by #BlackLivesMatter]

[Also see – SEATTLE: Bernie Sanders Loyalists Captured, Imprisoned, Sent to White People’s Reeducation Camps]

[More – Seattle Says #BowDownBernie (Not Parody)]

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“We are not the BLM. We are a sub aggregating links about BLM. What do we have to do with BLM organization/media or the events in Seattle? Nothing. Read the rest of this entry »


Minimum Wage Effect? January to June Job Losses for Seattle Area Restaurants (-1,300) Largest Since Great Recession

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Seattle minimum wage hike is getting off to a pretty bad start.

In June of last year, the Seattle city council passed a $15 minimum wage law to be phased in over time, with the first increase to $11 an hour starting on April 1, 2015. What effect will the eventual 58% increase in labor costs have on small businesses, including area restaurants? It’s too soon to tell for sure, but there is already some evidence that the recent minimum wage hike to $11 an hour, along with the pending increase of an additional $4 an hour by 2017 for some businesses, has started having a negative effect on restaurant jobs in the Seattle area. The chart above shows that the Emerald City MSA started experiencing a decline in restaurant employment around the first of the year (when the state minimum wage increased to $9.47 per hour, the highest state minimum wage in the country), and the 1,300 job loss between January and June is the largest decline over that period since 2009 during the Great Recession (data here). The loss of 1,000 restaurant jobs in May following the minimum wage increase in April was the largest one month job decline since a 1,300 drop in January 2009, again during the Great Recession. In contrast to the January-June loss  of restaurant jobs in the Seattle area: a) restaurant employment nationally increased by 130,700 jobs (and by 1.2%) during that same period (data here), b) overall employment in the Seattle MSA increased 1.2% and by 21,800 jobs (data here) and c) non-Seattle MSA restaurant employment in Washington increased 3.2% and by 2,800 jobs (data here). Read the rest of this entry »


SEATTLE: Bernie Sanders Loyalists Captured, Imprisoned, Sent to Worthless Progressive White People’s Reeducation Camps

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#BowDownBernie #BlackLivesMatter #WorthlessWhitePeople #SayYouAreSorry


Seattle Says #BowDownBernie (Not Parody)

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Black Lives Matter Seattle organizers and supporters take over Bernie Sanders’ rally at Westlake on Saturday, August 8, 2015.

Today BLM Seattle, with the support of other Black organizers and non-Black allies and accomplices, held Bernie Sanders publicly accountable for his lack of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and his blatantly silencing response to the ‪#‎SayHerName‬ ‪#‎IfIDieInPoliceCustody‬ action that took place at Netroots this year.

“The problem with Sanders, and with white Seattle progressives in general, is that they are utterly and totally useless…”

Bernie’s arrival in Seattle is largely significant in the context of the state of emergency Black lives are in locally as well as across America. The Seattle Police Department has been under federal consent decree for the last three years and has been continually plagued by use-of-force violations and racist scandals amongst their rank and file. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has refused to push any reform measures for police accountability, not even the numerous recommendations of his self-appointed Community Police Commission.

“As was said at the Netroots action, presidential candidates should expect to be shut down and confronted every step along the way of this presidential campaign.”

The Seattle School District suspends Black students at a rate six times higher than their white counterparts, feeding Black children into the school-to-prison pipeline. King County has fought hard to push through a plan to build a $210 million new youth jail to imprison these children, amid intense community criticism and dissent.

The Central District, a historically Black neighborhood in Seattle, has undergone rapid gentrification over the past few decades, with Black people being displaced from the only neighborhood that we could legally live in until just years ago. While white men profit off of the legalization of marijuana, our prisons are still filled with Black people who are over-incarcerated for drug offenses.

“White progressive Seattle and Bernie Sanders cannot call themselves liberals while they participate in the racist system that claims Black lives. Bernie Sanders will not continue to call himself a man of the people, while ignoring the plight of Black people.”

This city is filled with white progressives, which is why Bernie Sanders’ camp was obviously expecting a friendly and consenting audience for today’s campaign visit. The problem with Sanders’, and with white Seattle progressives in general, is that they are utterly and totally useless (when not outright harmful) in terms of the fight for Black lives. While we are drowning in their liberal rhetoric, we have yet to see them support Black grassroots movements or take on any measure of risk and responsibility for ending the tyranny of white supremacy in our country and in our city. This willful passivity while claiming solidarity with the ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter ‬movement in an effort to be relevant is over.

“Lines have been drawn in the sand. You are either fighting continuously and measurably to protect Black life in America, or you are a part of the white supremacist system that we will tear down in the liberation of our people.”

White progressive Seattle and Bernie Sanders cannot call themselves liberals while they participate in the racist system that claims Black lives. Bernie Sanders will not continue to call himself a man of the people, while ignoring the plight of Black people. Presidential candidates will not win Black votes without putting out an explicit criminal justice reform package. As was said at the Netroots action, presidential candidates should expect to be shut down and confronted every step along the way of this presidential campaign.

“Out of radical love for our Black brothers and sisters, we put our lives and our bodies on the line to testify to their persecution and resilience.”

Black people are in a state of emergency. Lines have been drawn in the sand. You are either fighting continuously and measurably to protect Black life in America, or you are a part of the white supremacist system that we will tear down in the liberation of our people. Read the rest of this entry »


Anti-Free Speech Warriors Shut Down Guest Socialist: Bernie Sanders Leaves Seattle Stage After Event Disrupted by #BlackLivesMatter

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John Wagner reports: A planned speech in Seattle by presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders celebrating the anniversary of Social Security and Medicare was scuttled Saturday after protesters from Black Lives Matter took the stage and demanded that the crowd hold Sanders “accountable” for apparently not doing enough, in their view, to address police brutality and other issues on the group’s agenda.

“Marrisa Johnson, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement in Seattle, asked the crowd to ‘join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable for his actions.’  …After several minutes of frantic conversations, Sanders left the stage…”

Sanders, who has emerged as the leading alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination, was the final speaker scheduled on a long program. Shortly after the senator from Vermont started speaking, protesters took the microphone, shared a series of local grievances with the crowd, including school disparities and gentrification in Seattle, and then asked for a period of silence to commemorate  the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown being shot and killed during a confrontation with a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Marissa Johnson, left, speaks as Mara Jacqueline Willaford holds her fist overhead and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stands nearby as the two women take over the microphone at a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. The women, co-founders of the Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter, took over the microphone and refused to relinquish it. Sanders eventually left the stage without speaking and instead waded into the crowd to greet supporters. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Marissa Johnson, left, speaks as Mara Jacqueline Willaford holds her fist overhead and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stands nearby as the two women take over the microphone at a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. The women, co-founders of the Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter, took over the microphone and refused to relinquish it. Sanders eventually left the stage without speaking and instead waded into the crowd to greet supporters. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Organizers allowed the period of silence, as some in the large crowd shouted for the protesters to leave the stage. Afterward, Marrisa Johnson, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement in Seattle, asked the crowd to “join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable for his actions.” She motioned for Sanders to join her at the microphone.

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“As Sanders left the event in Seattle on Saturday, he told reporters that he found the situation ‘unfortunate.'”

After several minutes of frantic conversations, Sanders left the stage and greeted people in the large crowd who had turned out to see him. Many chanted his name.

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The tense scene, which was streamed live by a Seattle television, was reminiscent of one July 18 in Phoenix, when a larger group of Black Lives Matter protesters disrupted a Democratic presidential forum at the liberal Netroots Nation gathering that featured both Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley. Read the rest of this entry »