Category Archives: Democrat Party

A California Attempt to Repair the Crumbling Pillar of U.S. Education

The “teacher’s unions” have probably caused more damage to our country than about anything I can think of. The negative, life-long, impact the the poor educational system has had on America’s youth is off the chart. But I guess, 80 million Americans keep voting them in?? mrossol

WSJ 11/28/2021, by Andy Kessler

Public-school education has gone from bad to worse. In the Chicago Public Schools, only 26% of 11th-graders were at grade level in reading and math in 2019. Remarkably, the school system had a record-high graduation rate of nearly 84% in 2021. Those students must have had strong senior years! This is why over half of first-year community-college students in the U.S. take at least one remedial course in reading or math. In the U.S., 43 million adults are illiterate. This is a disgrace.

 

In pre-pandemic California, only 32% of fourth-graders were at or above proficient for their grade in reading. Only 19% of eighth-grade Hispanics read at grade level, and only 10% of eighth-grade blacks did. Those who find disparate impact everywhere should be screaming from the rooftops that public education is racist. Instead, silence.

Despite these poor results, spending per student goes up each year. New York spent $25,139 per student in fiscal 2019. In California, it’s over $20,000. So why haven’t outcomes improved? Parents know why. Bad teachers don’t get fired. Because of tenure, even some capable teachers mail it in. Bad school districts don’t get fixed. Caps on charter schools, even those with proven records, limit their ability to put pressure on public schools. Teachers unions are all-powerful.

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Welch is trying to improve California’s education system. He tells me we need “accountability of quality education.” You may recall the 2014 Vergara v. California decision, a suit Mr. Welch and others funded. Filed on behalf of nine public-school students, the ruling found that five California statutes related to teacher tenure, firing bad teachers and layoff policy violated the state’s Constitution. In his ruling, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu noted, “Evidence has been elicited in this trial of the specific effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”

No matter. The California Court of Appeal reversed Vergara in 2016 stating: “With no proper showing of a constitutional violation, the court is without power to strike down the challenged statutes.” In the court’s view, the California Constitution guarantees merely a free public education.

So Mr. Welch was back where he started, with, he says, an “educational system that doesn’t prioritize its actions to educate the children to a degree necessary to function in our society.” Bad teachers are constitutionally protected.

But with his background as a logically thinking Cornell-educated engineer, he set out to prove bad teaching was “a constitutional violation.” In the Democrat-controlled California Legislature, that was going to be a tough sell. Teachers were the fourth-largest campaign contributors to California’s legislative races in 2020 behind energy, prison guards and healthcare. “The Legislature won’t listen to the people,” Mr. Welch grumbles.

Fortunately, Californians can change their constitution through ballot initiatives. And voilà, a group named Kids First including Mr. Welch filed the Constitutional Right to a High-Quality Public Education Act. Here’s the key provision: “And law, regulation, or policy, or any official action affecting students generally, which does not put the interest of the students first, shall be deemed to deny this right.”

Critics will focus on the lack of a definition for “high-quality public education.” Mr. Welch explains, “The metric for existing or any future legislation, and every school board decision, is ‘Does it make students better or worse?’ ” Pretty simple, yet I suspect it would be deadly effective. This would, by necessity, launch many lawsuits to challenge the status quo of tenure, of the inability to fire bad teachers and of everything else. It would become the guiding principle for any new legislation: Does it put kids first? “The corollary to this right is the existence of a high-quality teaching profession,” Mr. Welch says.

And then there is this provision: “The remedies for this right shall not include new mandates for taxes or spending.” It’s smart for two reasons. It will help the initiative pass, and history has shown that throwing money at the problem doesn’t work.

The cost? Around $8 a signature—they need a million to get on the ballot—plus the cost of the inevitable TV-ad battle with the California Teachers Association and its 310,000 members. That could get expensive.

I asked Mr. Welch why he wants to spend his time and hard-earned capital on this. “What we’re doing to our kids is horrific,” he says. “I can’t think of a greater loss of potential than the poor quality of education of our children. And all the other societal problems that come with it. The prison system uses educational outcomes—fourth-grade reading levels—to determine what size correctional facilities they’ll need.” Scary.

I think a successful Kids First ballot initiative would do more for “equity” than any government program. “The best way in making a productive functioning society is making sure everyone lives up to their potential,” Mr. Welch says. “Education is one of the basic pillars of American democracy.” That pillar is crumbling.

Write to kessler@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-crumbling-pillar-of-education-california-dave-welch-vergara-school-choice-charter-11638115242?mod=hp_opin_pos_2#cxrecs_s

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Brazen Shoplifting and Traumatized Staff Impacting Company Profits

So Dems don’t want to prosecute shoplifting.. Hmm. mrossol

The Epoch Times, 11/24/2021

November 24, 2021 Updated: November 24, 2021
biggersmaller

Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said Tuesday that theft is a growing problem in the company’s stores, and the aggressive behavior displayed by shoplifters is “traumatizing” staff members, which has led to retention issues in the otherwise tight labor market.

Barry told Wall Street analysts on a conference call to discuss earnings that criminals often carry in weapons like guns or crowbars and threaten employees and customers. Consumer electronics have reported an increase in organized crime, according to the CEO.

The company has begun locking up products and hiring more security when possible. The safety of individuals will be prioritized over products, said the CEO. Locking up creates a delay in the customer experience as an employee is required to open up an enclosure each time for the customer.

“This is traumatizing for our associates and is unacceptable,” Barry said on the call. “We are doing everything we can to try to create [an] as-safe-as-possible environment.”

A common tactic is a loosely-formed gang of criminals who burst into the store and make off with an entire shelf’s worth of high-value goods, which they then resell. Barry said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the crime surge has begun to hit the company’s bottom line and its ability to retain staff.

 

Best Buy has reported fourth-quarterly earnings below expectations although shares have gained nearly 40 percent this year despite the supply chain crisis and resulting shortages.

It’s not just Best Buy that has been affected. Other retailers like CVS Health, Neiman Marcus, Kroger, and Walgreens are also facing similar issues, with Walgreens recently closing down five stores in San Francisco because of aggressive shoplifting.

Barry mentioned that San Francisco and other parts of California were “hot spots” for criminal activity but there were problematic areas in other parts of the country as well.

Organized Shoplifting

The Best Buy CEO’s comments come days after a dramatic criminal attack on a Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, California. On Saturday, a gang of 80 thugs pulled up to the store, blockaded the entry, and ransacked the luxury store. Employees were assaulted in the raid, which was over within a minute.

Then there was another incident with a Nordstrom store in The Grove retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles where a group of thieves smashed windows, triggering a police pursuit. Three people have been taken into custody.

The thefts are reportedly part of organized crime networks that recruit mostly young men for $500 to $1,000 to steal high-value store merchandise. The goods are then shipped to other parts of the country or resold online. The number of crimes has seen an increase during the holiday season, according to law enforcement officials.

“Crew bosses organize them, they’ll give him the crowbars, and in some cases even rent them cars, or provide them with escape routes or a list of products to actually go out and steal. It looks very chaotic but it’s actually very well organized,” Ben Dugan, president of the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, said to ABC News.

Retail security guards are not equipped to handle such aggressive criminal behavior. They’re not trained to subdue suspects or pursue them, but instead, to simply “observe and report,” according to mall security expert David Levenberg.

“The value of the merchandise is not worth somebody being injured or killed,” he told ABC News.

Levenberg added that cities with progressive prosecutors like Los Angeles and San Francisco are the hardest hit. “The consequences are minimal and the profits are substantial,” said Levenberg.

Many do not consider the recent spate of thefts in places like San Francisco as “shoplifting” because the term denotes an effort to conceal the crime.

One of the reasons behind this increase in criminal behavior is that, according to California state law, stealing merchandise worth $950 or less is just a misdemeanor, which means police won’t bother to go after the criminals. In cases when they do, and capture the perpetrator, prosecutors will let it go.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a new law in which he made shoplifting, even below $950, a crime but only when an organized syndicate is behind it and they plan to resell the stolen goods.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/

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Kyle Rittenhouse and the Left’s Terrifying Assault on Due Process

Well written article which captures much of what I have been saying and fearing for America. If freedom-loving citizens do not become more engaged to protect our Constitution and rights, we will deserve what we get. mrossol

WSJ, By Gerard Baker, 

The unhinged reaction from the left to Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal last week is easily dismissed as a glimpse into the rancid minds and rabid hearts of the ideological brigands of modern progressivism.
 

But it may offer clarity about the real threat posed by the Democratic Party and its fellow travelers to the values and institutions that have made America the most successful democratic republic in history.

 
 

With varying degrees of apoplexy, from President Biden on down, the party’s leaders and its allies emphasized their dismay with or rage at the decision by 12 of Mr. Rittenhouse’s peers, after due deliberation, unanimously to find him not guilty of first-degree murder and lesser charges in the killings of two men and wounding of a third during the August 2020 riots in Kenosha, Wis.

Mr. Biden, proving himself once again the consummate moral weakling, first declared his respect for the jury’s verdict, then pronounced himself—no doubt after consultation with his handlers—“angry and concerned.”

While the follow-up statement paid lip service to the idea that a jury’s decision should be respected, the more striking message was that remarkable emotional response to its unanimous decision.

The president’s politically motivated disregard for the rights of accused defendants is well documented by now. He had already included the young man among a video montage of “white supremacists” during his memorably “healing” campaign for the presidency. He also told the nation he was “praying for the right verdict” as the jury deliberated in April before convicting Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Running commentary on the guilt of criminal defendants is despicable when offered by barroom braggarts, but when it comes from the most powerful man on the planet it amounts to reckless endangerment of the rights of his fellow citizens.

But that’s the point.

In the minds of the ranting radicals of the Squad or MSNBC, dimly repeated by the president, these so-called rights—presumption of innocence, due process, trial by jury, proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, etc., are not the bedrock legal protections against overweening authority the Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence has deemed them to be. In the minds of the regnant left when they find the defendant unsympathetic, they are inconveniences, fetishized excrescences of judicial process that obstruct and subvert the larger and more important objective of social justice. In this increasingly popular account on the left, they are the armor with which the capitalist white supremacists protect their hegemony. As such they can be dismissed.

And so people like House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic congressman, his own intellectual vacuity helpfully filled in by Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, can demand that Mr. Rittenhouse face further prosecution under spurious civil-rights precepts designed to undo the principle of double jeopardy.

So too do the president and his party demonstrate disdain for other niceties of the law: extending the Covid eviction moratorium Mr. Biden knew was unconstitutional, imposing a blanket vaccine mandate on employers in the face of widespread advice that it wouldn’t pass legal muster.

It’s hard to resist the conclusion that the intention behind the denunciation by some of the left of the Rittenhouse verdict reflected an even darker instinct. Though the president himself called for restraint, some of the loud condemnations sounded like incitement of more of the kind of behavior that characterized the Kenosha riots in the first place. Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri tweeted: “The judge. The jury. The defendant. It’s white supremacy in action”—just as California’s Maxine Waters had promised unrest if the Chauvin verdict went the wrong way.

This is what the pernicious doctrines of the modern progressive identity left look like in practice. The “critical theory” they subscribe to says real justice cannot be delivered by a court, presided over by a judge whose outcome is determined by a dispassionate jury, since the entire structure is itself the product of racism, oppression and discrimination.

What they want is revolutionary justice. The legal system’s verdict will be supplanted by the people’s judgment so that someone like Mr. Rittenhouse will pay for his crime of defending himself and the property of others against the people’s paramilitary.

These same people professed outrage when a Republican-supporting mob attempted to subvert a constitutional process. Genuine democrats condemn both sorts of lawlessness.

Juries sometimes reach the wrong verdict. But no one who watched critical phases of the Kenosha trial can honestly assert that the evidence proved the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Far from representing some malign flaw in the legal process, it showed the system working at its best.

If the left’s reaction to this case doesn’t scare you, I am afraid you don’t understand what it represents, or how rapidly and how far the poison of this subversive and illiberal dogma has already spread through a political movement and ideology we once called liberal.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/kyle-rittenhouse-and-the-lefts-terrifying-assault-on-due-process-trial-verdict-not-guilty-11637597046?mod=opinion_lead_pos8

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‘We Want Them to Go Bankrupt’

Here is the Democrat Party in plain sight. This is what they want for the USA. What do you think? mrossol

WSJ  11/20/2021

Saule Omarova continues to make the case against her nomination to be Comptroller of the Currency, as critics need only to quote her own words. The latest example is a video interview she gave in February in which the Cornell professor opined on “the case for a U.S. national investment authority.”

The conversation at one point turned to climate change and its impact on fossil-fuel producers, and Ms. Omarova was on the case. “A lot of the smaller players in that industry are going to, probably, go bankrupt in short order—at least, we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change,” she said in the session that was part of the Jain Family Institute’s “Social Wealth Seminar” series.

She went on to say “that creates a lot of this sort of loss of jobs, a lot of displacement, and economic fallback that we cannot afford, really,” which is nice of her to concede. Bankruptcy isn’t painless, especially when the government drives you out of business.

But then she adds that the response would be to set up a National Capital Management Corporation that would “become a kind of equity investor at that point, taking over management of those companies and basically leading them through restructuring to a new technological basis and to a new technological business model.”

 

So first put private companies out of business “in short order,” then put government central planners to work to restructure them as the political class wants. Give Ms. Omarova credit for candor. Most progressives disguise their real intentions.

All of this matters because as Comptroller Ms. Omarova would have enormous authority to regulate banks. It’s clear from this interview that one of her policy ambitions is to deny capital to certain companies that she wants to go bankrupt. Senators will have to decide if they want the Comptroller to be a one-person systemic risk to the banking system.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/we-want-them-to-go-bankrupt-saule-omarova-comptroller-biden-nominee-11636668294?mod=hp_opin_pos_2#cxrecs_s

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