Don’t be surprised when a young person says something that makes them sound young

I don’t hold 24-year-olds’ youth against them, but at the same time, I’m not surprised when they say something that sounds, well, immature and uninformed. This is the reason that it’s often disappointing when a young person is put in a position to represent or speak for others. Tomi Lahren makes a good case against pushing them into the conservative limelight.

Here’s what she said:

I’m pro choice, and here’s why. I am a constitutional, y’know, someone that loves the Constitution. I’m someone that’s for limited government. So I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think the government should decide what women do with their bodies. I can sit here and say that, as a Republican and I can say, you know what, I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well…

Let me just start by saying, a “constitutional?” Really? In my English language, “constitutional” is an adjective, unless one is referring to a walk taken to improve one’s health.

Putting that aside, Lahren has, in the past, posted tweets that would lead one to believe she considers an unborn baby to have human rights.

Ms. Lahren has fallen into the indefensible trap of saying, “I think a fetus is a human being, but who am I to say that other women can’t kill their own babies?” Then she inexplicably ties her reasoning to federalism. Not content to stop there, she notes that anyone who doesn’t ascribe to her imbecilic line of thought is hypocritical. She may be surprised to know that millions of people nationwide have managed to find a way to be both pro-life and pro-federalism.

Imagine that.

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Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink

Quick! What’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions Washington State?

Licorice Ferns and Spaghnum Moss grow on a Big Leaf Maple treeDid you answer rain? Of course you did. You’ve all read Twilight, right? I mean, seriously, ferns grow on trees here. And you’d better pray that you don’t get lost in the woods, because the moss grows on all sides of the tree trunks.

Even in the arid part of the state east of the Cascade Range, you don’t have to go far to find water. The Columbia River not only provides clean hydro power, it’s also the backbone of the Columbia Basin Project, capable of irrigating over a million acres of otherwise useless land.

Because Washington has been so abundantly blessed with water, it makes an October ruling by the State Supreme Court even more baffling than it might otherwise be. The Hirst ruling deprives rural property owners of the rightful use of their land by restricting their ability to drill water wells.

Here’s an overview of the Hirst ruling.

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 6, 2016 that counties planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) must make their own determination of available water before issuing a building permit.

The case, Whatcom County v. Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board (also known as Hirst), overturns a 2015 Court of Appeals decision that held that Whatcom County could rely on the Department of Ecology’s determinations of available water to allow the use of wells (considered permit-exempt under the law) in basins not closed by Ecology.

Essentially, a county planning under GMA cannot issue a building permit that would depend on an exempt well—even if Ecology’s rule allows exempt wells—without showing that the well will not impair certain rivers and streams or a senior water right.

Not unsurprisingly, the Hirst ruling has virtually halted building in rural areas dependent for water on drilled wells.

Yesterday I asked you to consider whether the government could tax people out of homes outside the reach of economically feasible public transportation as a means to achieve the stated goal of  having the majority of people in the state living and working in “places that both support bicycling and walking for shorter trips and provide reliable and convenient public transportation that meets mobility needs for longer trips.”

chelan sage steppeNow I ask you to consider the Hirst ruling in that light. Property without access to water is unfit for human habitation.

I’ve said for many years that real property owners are only renting from the government. If you don’t believe that’s true, try not paying your property taxes for a couple of years. Now that they’ve made themselves the de facto owners of your property, they’re telling you exactly how you can use it. That’s their right as your landlord, isn’t it?

But beyond that, they’re asserting their right to control your access to a basic necessity of life – water. That scares me!

No one should be able to do that and I’m therefore very grateful that there are legislators in Olympia who agree and sponsored SB 5239. The bill has passed the State Senate and passage is now in the hands of the Democrat controlled House. If you don’t think the government should be able to withhold water from property owners, it can’t hurt to contact your State Representative and let them know.

 

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Dear Paul Ryan

Paul – can I call you Paul? – it’s a good thing you’re such a likeable guy; otherwise, I could really get to loathe you. For the past several years, you’ve been talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act. Silly me, I thought you had a plan. Instead, you introduced ACA-Lite and what a disappointment that turned out to be.

I feel like you were just stringing me along and then jilted me at the altar.

jilted-bride

Being in denial, and what jilted bride isn’t, I watched your infomercial. You know, the one with the whiteboard? I like the way you rolled up your sleeves, to show how you were really getting down to work.

paul ryan infomercial

Let’s just say I remain unconvinced. Maybe the Continuous Health Insurance Coverage Incentive sounds good to you, but it sure sounds an awful lot like the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment. Maybe tax credits really are better than subsidized premiums, but not being all policy-wonkish, I’m not seeing it. It all sounds like spreading the wealth around to me.

And what was that all about when you said, “This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare?” I’ve heard something like that before…let me think…Right, I’ve got it. It was at the used car dealership, when the smarmy sales guy told me that if I went to pee, the deal was off the table.

Here’s the thing, Paul. I want to believe that AHCA is an improvement over ACA, but I haven’t found anyone yet who can explain to me why it’s better. And, let me tell you, the CBO report didn’t help you out any, despite their dubious credibility.

smarmy car salesmanYour “Three Phase Plan” isn’t fooling anyone, either. “We have to pass the plan in order to find out…” Oh, wait. That was a different plan. It kind of has the same feel, though. “We have to pass this steaming pile of crap in order to get to the good stuff.” Okay, sure. I suppose Tom Price can be trusted to hold up his end of the deal, but tell me this: If you have to pass Phase 1 through reconciliation because you don’t have the votes, how do you propose to pass the legislation of Phase 3? I don’t see how that works.

So, Paul, to sell me – and probably millions of other conservatives like me – you either need to be able to explain the “benefits” of your plan in language that I can understand or you need to toss the whole thing in the trash and start over. At this point, I prefer the latter.

Love,

Me

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The perplexing push for affordable housing

snoco houseBack in 2003, Mr. Words and I decided that we needed more open space than our tiny postage stamp yard afforded, so we started looking for a new home with a bigger yard. At the time, we lived in a virtual hovel in what was probably the worst neighborhood in a very expensive area and we knew we’d have to move farther “out” to find a house on more land within our price range.

Before that, many years ago, I lived in Sumner (now Bonney Lake), Washington, and worked in what is now called the SoDo District of Seattle. At the time, it was a 45 minute drive on good days, but could be much longer depending on traffic. In a car with no air conditioning. On bad traffic days in the summer, it could be brutal. But I did it because Sumner was the place we could afford a cute little house with a nice, big yard and friendly neighbors.

That’s what fiscally responsible people do, right? You live where you can afford the rent or the mortgage payment.

So you  might wonder why people like Seattle Mayor Ed Murray are constantly going on about the need for affordable housing and cutting deals by upzoning, or rezoning, various Seattle neighborhoods for more intensive use. This allows developers to build taller buildings, yielding more units with smaller footprints. The upzoning triggers a Seattle ordinance that requires developers include a minimum number of rent-controlled units in their buildings or pay a fee to help develop them elsewhere.

micro unitThat might also lead you to wonder why Seattle effectively killed the micro housing industry, which naturally provided affordable housing units without the need for government intervention.

To get back to my question, why doesn’t Ed Murray (or other mayors in large metropolitan areas, for that matter) just let market forces work? Why do he and the city council prefer to force developers to include rent-controlled (i.e., government controlled) units in their buildings?

Let me propose this: Affordable housing is only an issue of government concern when that same government wants or needs “everyone” to live in densely populated urban centers, and rent control only when government pursues perverse policies that unnaturally limit the affordable units that would otherwise be provided through the free market.

High rise housing in Hong Kong

Is high-rise housing, Hong Kong-style, in your future?

If you’re wondering why the government cares where you live, let me direct your attention to ESS HB 2815. This was passed into law in 2008 in response to then-Governor Christine Gregoire’s executive order 07-02. The executive order set some fairly aggressive goals for CO2 reductions which, to an ordinary person, seem rather arbitrary and unattainable given the current state of technology. At least one provision of the law, participation in the Western Climate Initiative, was abandoned when it became clear that the State Legislature was not likely to to enact cap and trade.

One thing that did come to pass was the implementation of a work group to study various policies that could be utilized in pursuit of those carbon reduction goals. In November of 2008, the work group presented a report with their recommendations. Among other things, the report concludes, “However, to significantly reduce VMT and GHG emissions in Washington State, the majority of people in Washington State will need to live and work in places that both support bicycling and walking for shorter trips and provide reliable and convenient public transportation that meets mobility needs for longer trips.”

Right now, just under half the population of Washington State, roughly 48%, live in the three most populous counties, King, Pierce and Snohomish. But not everyone in those counties lives in an urban area with access to public transportation. Consider this system map from King County’s Metro division. Do you see all those areas that have no bus routes? Those are areas where leftists would prefer that people not live.

This is an aerial view of Covington, Washington, an area included on the linked system map. Does this look like an area that can ever “support bicycling and walking for shorter trips and provide reliable and convenient public transportation that meets mobility needs for longer trips?”  No, it doesn’t, because going almost anywhere is going to be more than a short trip. Is it ever going to be close to where the majority of the people living there work? No again.

2017-03-15

 

Remember, the study group concluded that the majority of people in Washington need to live and work in urban areas. That means that to meet their goals, people who currently live in exurban and rural areas are going to have to accept that their lifestyles will change. This, in a nutshell, is why it’s vitally important to Ed Murray that the city include affordable housing.

ratsIf our leftist overlords are going to herd us into the cities so that we can live and work there like rats, there needs to be housing available. And too bad for you if you’d rather not live that way. Do you think it’s beyond the reach of government to make your daily commute a living hell? Or tax you out of homes outside the reach of economically feasible public transportation?

Leftists embrace an ideology that’s diametrically opposed to liberty. They want to control where you live, how you live, where you work, what kind of vehicle, if any, you can drive, and where you can go. That doesn’t leave much to your discretion, does it, but, I mean, really…is anyplace you can’t reach via public transportation a place that’s worth going? So no big deal, right?

You have to admire leftists; they never do anything that doesn’t move their agenda forward. So the next time you see a leftist say or do something that doesn’t make any logical sense at all, look for the hidden agenda.

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Only because government is too big

Why do people care so passionately about politics these days? When I was a child in the ’60s, my parents didn’t seem to care much about politics and neither did any of their friends. To this day I have no idea what my parents’ political views were, because they never talked politics, but I guarantee you that all my daughters are aware of my views. Well aware. Why are people now willing break off friendships and disown family members over political candidates?

A poll released by the APA in February found that over half of the respondents indicated that the political climate was a source of stress.

David Wasserman, writing at FiveThirtyEight, opines about the the death of purple America, those areas where political contests are decided by single-digit margins, but doesn’t speculate as to why. He concludes:

In an increasing number of communities like Baldwin County, Alabama, which gave Trump 80 percent of its major-party votes, and San Mateo, California, which gave Clinton 80 percent, an entire generation of youth will grow up without much exposure to alternative political points of view. If you think our political climate is toxic now, think for a moment about how nasty politics could be 20 or 30 years from now.

There’s a simple answer: Government is too big.

government is too big political cartoons

Take the case of Melissa and Aaron Klein. If those names don’t sound familiar, would it help if I had just called them the Oregon bakers? I’m guessing it would. Or how about the Kennewick, Washington, florist, Baronelle Stutzman? In both cases, Christian small business owners exercising their right to freedom of religion found themselves at odds with the government. The government may pay lip service to freedom of religion, but in practice, it’s treated as freedom of worship, so please keep your icky religion inside the four walls of your church where it belongs, thank you very much.

Property owners aren’t faring any better. Back in 2015, we heard about Andy and Katie Johnson, a Wyoming couple who built a pond on their 8-acre farm. Even though the pond became a haven for wildlife, the EPA found them to be in violation of a water rule that claims authority over every drop of water in the country. Have a puddle on your property? Yep, theirs. At the time this story broke, the Johnsons had been fined over $16 million. To sum that up, EPA  bureaucrats wrote a rule giving themselves the authority to ruin a farmer for improving his property.

Mike and Chantell Sackett found themselves in a similar situation with the EPA, except in their case they meddled with a wetland rather than creating one. Does is seem as though property owners just can’t win?

Gun and ConstitutionThe assault on 2nd Amendment rights is never-ending. I’m sure that gun control advocates keep hammering away in the hope that everyone else will cede their rights just to shut them up. Here in Washington State, every legislative session sees the introduction of new and varied gun control bills. And when the proposed legislation is so far out there that it can’t even pass out of committee, someone writes it up as an initiative and puts it on the ballot, confident that King County will bring home the win. It’s now possible in Washington to be stripped of your right to own firearms before you’re even aware any action has been taken against you.

The number of federal regulations is growing at truly astonishing rate and along with it, as Glenn Reynolds tells us, is the number of regulatory crimes. There’s no way for individuals to avoid running afoul of them because, as Reynolds points out, they’re often counter-intuitive.

Government at every level has intruded into our daily lives to such an extent that it’s no longer possible to adopt the casual apathy of my parents. Bureaucrats are like party crashers at a wedding reception. No one knows who they are or where they came from, but there they are, eating up your life savings and telling you that you should have done things differently or believed differently or understood your rights differently.

Politics has morphed into a high stakes game. When the government is big enough to ruin your business, devalue your property, bankrupt you or deprive you of your clearly stated constitutional rights, it’s no wonder people are passionate.


Thanks to Jon Gabriel for getting my thought process moving on this post.

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Seattle knows best

Washington State ferry, Olympic Range

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to live here?

I consider Seattle to be my hometown, having grown up in unincorporated King County with a Seattle address. The region is abundantly blessed with natural beauty and a mild climate, so it’s no mystery why people want to live and work there. Seattle also boasts a robust economy, in spite of a city council that at times seems perversely focused on creating a hostile environment for business.

The first blow to business was the 2014 ordinance raising the minimum wage in yearly steps to $15 per hour by 2017 for large businesses and by 2021 for small businesses. Seattle defines as large any business that employs more than 500 people nationwide.

However, local franchises for national chains such as McDonald’s are also classified as large under the ordinance, regardless of the number of people actually employed by the franchisee. Too bad, franchise holders, that you can’t be trusted to determine how much you can afford to pay your 75 employees. Seattle knows best. 

(Slightly off topic: It’s evident that raising the minimum wage is a really effective way to redistribute wealthfrom the low wage workers who will lose their jobs to the low wage workers lucky enough to retain their jobs. It also chills job growth, even in really hot markets like Seattle. But enough of that.)

The second and third blows came in quick succession. First, in August of 2016, the Council passed an ordinance that requires landlords choose on a first-come, first-served basis from among the pool of qualified candidates. The reasoning behind this is to prevent discrimination against renters with “alternative sources of income.” So much for being able to select the prospective renter most likely to, you know, pay rent.

But it’s also too bad for you, single mom, trying to rent your basement unit in order to help pay your mortgage, if the first qualified applicant can’t seem to take his eyes off your six-year-old daughter and sets off all your parental alarm bells. Seattle knows best.

fast food workerThen, in September of 2016, came the ordinance dictating how retail and food service businesses schedule their employees. The ordinance includes a provision that requires employers to pay additional “predictability pay” if, for example, they have to call in a substitute employee at the last minute due to illness. Too bad, business owners, if it’s a slow day and you have to pay previously scheduled employees to stand around doing nothing; it’s either that be subject to predictability pay. Because Seattle knows best.

I wonder…How much control over day-to-day operations can government seize from business owners before they lose effective ownership of their own businesses? It’s a question Seattle seems determined to find an answer for.

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Who schooled the Senate?

I’m sure you all remember the fuss Senate Democrats made over the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. Some of the most commonly voiced criticisms stemmed from DeVos’ lack of personal experience with public schools, either as a student or professional educator and her personal advocacy for charter schools and school vouchers.

Stern Obama

A good education is for me and mine, but not for you.

You’d think that Democrats and other leftists would be champions of charter schools and school vouchers. Instead, one of the first things Barack Obama did as president was to end the voucher program for Washington, D.C., students, despite evidence that the program was improving performance. The Democrat-controlled Congress was silent.

It’s not that Senators don’t love private schools. In the 114th Congress, 26 of 100 Senators attended private high schools, compared to about 8% of the general population. Six of ten Democrats who questioned DeVos in committee prior to her confirmation vote were, themselves, the beneficiaries of public school educations, chose private schools for their own children, or have grandchildren attending private schools. In 2009, 45% of Senators elected to send at least one of their own children to private school.

Why is it, then, that Democrats and leftists are so opposed to charter schools and school vouchers? It could be that they’re just that beholden to the National Education Association.

Or it could be this:

Group of students wearing uniformsWealth has it’s privileges and those privileges are not for you and especially not for your children. If allowed a superior education*, the next generation of riffraff might presume to compete with the children of the upper crust to become the power brokers of tomorrow and that cannot be tolerated.

The Democrats and their leftist masters rely on a permanent underclass to maintain their power base. Anything that challenges that must be stopped by any means possible and than includes sacrificing future generations on the altar of public schools.


* Another advantage of the most elite private school education is the opportunity to build networks among the already-advantaged.

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