Yikes: Majority of Americans Unable to Name One Supreme Court Justice

H/T Town Hall.

It took me a little time but I named all nine.

A recent poll, commissioned by C-Span, found that the majority of Americans – 52 percent – can’t name a single Supreme Court justice. It also found that the vast majority of Americans – 91 percent – believe that the Supreme Court has an impact on their everyday lives.

Among the likely voters surveyed, 48 percent were able to name a Supreme Court justice. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the most cited at 25 percent, followed by Justice John Roberts (14 percent), and Clarence Thomas (14 percent).

A small group of those who responded incorrectly (1 percent) cited President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice.

The survey also found that 69 percent of those surveyed say they have been closely following the news about the nomination process to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

However, just over a third (35 percent) of those surveyed could identify Kavanaugh as President Trump’s pick; 65 percent could not.

Notably, only 28 percent thought that the U.S. Supreme Court acts “in a serious and constitutionally sound manner.”

“Two in three American citizens who have an opinion think the U.S. Supreme Court is a partisan political body similar to Congress and those numbers are rising,” said Robert Green, Principal at PSB research, which conducted the survey for C-Span. “More Americans get their information on the High Court from TV and online media today than ever before. The easiest way to convey to the public that the Supreme Court takes its responsibilities seriously as a constitutional court would be to permit Americans to view the Court oral arguments unfiltered through TV or online.”

The results were based on PSB research’s online interviews conducted “from August 13-15, 2018 among n=1,000 U.S. likely voters.”

Kilroy Was Here: How A Graffiti Cartoon Bolstered The Troops During WWII

H/T War History OnLine.

I can remember a couple of my uncles and several family friends that served in World War II talking about some of the weird places they saw the Kilroy graffiti.

A little comic relief really does work to calm the nerves and reduce tension. A welcome and a nod can make a new and frightening place seem for just one second a little less scary. For U.S. troops in WWII that welcome comic relief often came in the form of a beloved big-nosed cartoon named Kilroy.

Kilroy, a Ziggy like cartoon peeking over a wall, told soldiers in caption that he had blazed the trail for them. They knew that their comrades had been there before them and it gave them a little boost before the proverbial shit was about to hit the fan.

So who was Kilroy? Most sources and historians think that the origin of the tag was James J. Kilroy, a shipyard inspector. He was a riveter paid by the rivet. Workers marked their rivets with chalk, and Mr. Kilroy didn’t want anyone taking his credit so he marked his rivets with the statement “Kilroy was here”.

A lot of these marks were in hard to reach places once the ship was entirely assembled and were not disturbed or painted over, so service men going to war would often see them when they shipped out. The phenomenon was interesting to them and it became superstition evolving into a meme of sorts. Soldiers thought that ships in which a Kilroy tag was found were good luck because the fastidious Kilroy had properly checked that it would be strong against the enemy.


The original markings didn’t include the cute little figure peeking out, but as servicemen began copying the phrase at points all over Europe, he quickly became a popular addition. Speaking of popularity, it became something of a game to find a place he hadn’t and to be the first to tag it. Kilroy popped up all over the world wherever a battle was being fought from the Pacific back ‘round to the Atlantic.

The phenomenon wasn’t only American – other Allies had versions too, like “Mr. Chad” for the U.K. and “Foo” for Australians. In fact, the figure now recognized as Kilroy is actually Mr. Chad. Chad came with funny sarcastic phrases like “Wot? No engine?” painted on a glider and when he merged with the Kilroy phenomenon, those phrases were replaced with “KILROY WAS HERE”.

Legends of where they were found abound and as the word “legend” suggests, it’s fun to hope that they were true. One story involves Stalin going into a previously unused restroom at the Potsdam Conference to later say upon emerging, “Who is Kilroy?” The phrase is said to be on all of man’s greatest landmarks from the Great Wall to the moon. In a barn in Bastogne, it was written “KILROY WAS STUCK HERE”.

Engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial in Washington DC
Engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial in Washington DC

The meme was fun for the Allies, but it confused and paranoid both Hitler and the Japanese in WWII. The Japanese at Guadalcanal found a tank with the phrase and reported it to senior officers who were baffled. When Hitler heard of Kilroy and his miraculous penchant for showing up before his fellow allied soldiers (like on a Japanese island in the middle of nowhere), he assumed Kilroy must be a super-spy and set out to find him.

After WWII, Kilroy continued to make appearances in popular culture and was eventually a comfort and comic relief during Vietnam. Perhaps the most fitting appearance he’s made or will ever make is on the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. Because Kilroy WAS there.

Company, Union Deny Embezzlement Scheme Affected Negotiations

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

Color me shocked there is an auto industry executive involved in an embezzlement scheme. Snark

How many union thugs are involved that have not been caught yet?

Chrysler exec gets 5+ years in million-dollar corruption case.

The United Auto Workers union and Chrysler are distancing themselves from the executives at the center of a multimillion-dollar embezzlement scheme.

The Department of Justice announced that former Fiat Chrysler vice president Alphonse Iacobelli received a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence for his role in diverting more than $4 million from a worker training center known as NTC. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said the sentence reflected his betrayal of United Auto Workers members who were supposed to benefit from the job training at the training center.

“The Court’s sentence recognizes the serious harm done to rank and file union members who were betrayed by their UAW leadership who were bribed by Fiat Chrysler and its executives,” Schneider said in a statement. “Labor-management corruption poisons and undermines the collective bargaining process, and today’s sentence demonstrates that it will be vigorously prosecuted.”

The Department of Justice has expanded its investigation into the training center beyond the individuals from the company and union who siphoned money meant to train workers for their own means. The federal investigation found that Fiat Chrysler and UAW officials used funds to pay off credit card debt, mortgages, and make luxury clothing, jewelry, and automobile purchases, including a $350,000 Ferrari for Iacobelli. The agency is now looking into Fiat Chrysler and the UAW to see if such payoffs affected collective bargaining agreements for workers since some of the embezzlement took place during contract negotiations.

Both Fiat Chrysler and the UAW have denied knowledge of the corruption scheme before the federal government announced its charges against Iacobelli and union officers. They have said that the scheme reflects the action of bad actors, rather than systemic problems, and both say they are cooperating with federal investigators. UAW said it was “appalled” by Iacobelli’s actions and welcomed the stiff sentence handed down on Monday.

“Whatever may be said about the misconduct of others at the NTC, these thefts from the NTC by Al Iacobelli had nothing to do with trying to influence collective bargaining,” the union said in an email. “They had everything to do with Al Iacobelli’s personal greed.”

UAW emphasized that it is taking steps to safeguard against future wrongdoing from individuals involved in collective bargaining. It says the bribes played no role in contract renegotiations with the company.

“We are confident the terms of our UAW contracts were not impacted by Iacobelli’s fraudulent conduct at the NTC,” the union said. “The UAW has and continues to respond by making changes to ensure this type of criminal behavior will not happen again.”

Fiat Chrysler also emphasized that the bribery and embezzlement payoffs did not affect its negotiations with the union. The company said any benefits accrued from the misdirected funds went to individual criminals, rather than to the employer. A spokesman said Fiat was a “victim of illegal conduct by Al Iacobelli and certain other rogue individuals.”

“The conduct of these individuals—for their personal enrichment and neither at the direction nor for the benefit of the company—had no impact on the collective bargaining process,” Fiat Chrysler said in an email. “The behavior involved a small number of bad actors who stole training funds entrusted to their control and co-opted other individuals who reported to them to carry out or conceal their activity over a period of several years.”

Iacobelli’s sentence followed the announcement that Monica Morgan, the wife of late-United Auto Worker official General Holifield, will spend 18 months in prison for fraud perpetrated at the center. The NTC is now suing to recover the embezzled money from union and company officials.


War Graffiti Leaves An Enduring Document

H/T War History OnLine.

Mural of Black Soldiers in Union Army – Facade of Enslavement and Civil War Museum. By Adam Jones CC BY-SA 2.0

In 1917, Marcel Duchamp made the art world stand up and notice by signing his name on a urinal.  This display was a sensation because it introduced the idea of art as determined and not defined by class, but also closed the distance between so-called high art and low art.

It might be a stretch to call graffiti low-art, but that’s precisely what it is.  Anonymous, often vulgar, it nonetheless serves as an enduring record of those who came before, and can often say a lot about not just the person who wrote it, but the types of people and their experiences.

That’s why some say ‘war graffiti’  is important.  As long as war has existed, there have been soldiers carving their names into furniture, marking their passage, and leaving an enduring record.  Often, it’s the only record of their existence, as it’ done when death can strike without warning and leave no trace that the person ever existed.  These images and words exist as a defiant public proclamation of a human being’s existence.

Airborne troops admire the graffiti chalked on the side of their glider as they prepare to fly out as part of the second drop on the night of 6th June 1944.

Not unlike the street-level graffiti scrawled across buildings in the inner cities, the drawings of soldiers are part of a culture with its aesthetics, vocabulary, and unique characteristics.  American troops from both sides would scratch images and names onto surfaces during the Civil War.

Some of these ranged from common sentiments of what unit was present and their accomplishments to creative insults and curses placed on the enemy, like the polite suggestion that Jefferson Davis should be consumed by a shark that will be eaten shortly after by a whale, who will then go to hell.

Graffiti left by Soviet soldiers cover the pillars inside the ruins of the German Reichstag building in Berlin.

Others include requests for prayers.  Since towns in Northern Virginia changed hands frequently, soldiers would often have the chance to respond to the graffiti of their adversaries, and some of these exchanges have been preserved in historic homes.

Fifty-two years later, the First World War brought more than a million American troops through France, and they left a plethora of messages and drawings on horses, bunkers, and trenches.  However, it was the underground caverns of impromptu barracks where the Americans made their mark, carving their timeless messages into cave walls.

Graffiti from the World War II on the Island of Alimia, Greece.

These were silent markers, a document to prove that they existed, before going up into glory, or death.  The notes include names, unit designations, animals, the names of hometowns, military insignia, patriotic slogans, names of sports teams and other familiar resemblances of home life.

In contrast, the Second World War brought millions of United States troops to European shores, and with them they brought Kilroy.  Kilroy could best be described as a communally shared image, asserting himself with the scrawled phrase “Kilroy was here,” which would often be accompanied by a cartoon of a little man with a bald head peeking over a wall, with a large nose and fingers visible.

Soviet Graffiti in Brest Litovsk – “I’m dying, but do not give up! Farewell to the Motherland” – Stauffenberg CC BY-SA 3.0

Kilroy was everywhere.  Troops storming a beach or taking a village would discover that Kilroy had preceded them.  A perhaps apocryphal tale has Josef Stalin returning from the bathroom during the 1945 Potsdam Conference demanding to know who Kilroy was.

An enterprising G.I had tagged the bathroom.  Did Kilroy exist?  After the war, several people came forth, including James Kilroy from Massachusetts, who stated that he’d written the phrase on each of the ships he’d worked on as an inspection marker.

Engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial Washington D.C. By Luis Rubio CC BY 2.0

Regardless, he served as a silent guardian, keeping watch over American troops in battle and it’s therefore fitting that there is a Kilroy carved into the stone of the National World War II Memorial in Washington.

Masters of Armored Warfare – 6 Historic German Tanks

H/T War History OnLine.

A look at German tanks from World War I and World War II.

Though initially slow to adopt tanks, the Germans eventually became masters of armored warfare, with some of the most effective vehicles of the Second World War.


When they faced British tanks during World War I in 1916, the Germans were at first shocked and then dubious about these new weapons. Once they recovered from their initial fear and alarm, they focused on the limitations of the early vehicles, which often became stuck in the mud and broken ground of the Western Front.

For some time, they didn’t try to imitate the British vehicles, and it was only in March 1918 that the A7V, Germany’s own combat tank, made it to the fighting front.

A7V tank at Roye on 21 March 1918.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-P1013-316 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The A7V adapted the chassis of a Holt tractor, adding an armored hull around it. A 57mm gun captured from the Russians was installed in the front of each tank, with six or seven Maxim machine guns mounted at firing ports around the rest of the body. The commander had a small raised cupola, from which he had to shout to be heard by his crew.

The rear of the tank Mephisto while on display at the Australian War Memorial.Photo: Nick-D CC BY-SA 4.0

With Germany running short of industrial materials, only around 30 A7Vs were built and they made little difference in the war.

PzKpfw I

When Germany began openly rearming in 1933, one of its first priorities was to quickly equip the army with tanks. Military thinkers such as Heinz Guderian had convincingly argued for fast, hard-hitting armored formations as the future of war, and Hitler wanted to make this a reality for Germany.

The PanzerKampfwagen I (PzKpfw I) was the first product of this policy. Hastily put into production, it entered service in 1934. It was a light tank with only two crew and two machine guns for armament.

Panzerkampfwagen I Ausf. A (Sd.Kfz. 101) on display at the Deutsches Panzermuseum Munster , Germany.Photo baku13 CC BY-SA 3.0

Like many German weapons and soldiers of the 1930s, the PzKpfw I saw its first service in support of Franco’s regime in the Spanish Civil War. There, tank crews discovered to their own misfortunes that the PzKpfw I was too lightly armored to stand up against any sort of anti-tank gun.

Panzer I ausf A 2

Despite its inadequacies, the PzKpfw I saw widespread use in the invasions of Poland in 1939 and France in 1940, where it made up for a shortage of heavier tanks. A few took part in the invasion of Russia in 1941 but were quickly taken off the front line. A couple hundred saw further service as command vehicles.

PzKpfw III

Based on the performance of the PzKpfw I and its successor the PzKpfw II, the Wehrmacht commissioned two tanks to form the basis of its new armored formations. These were the anti-tank PzKpfw III and the PzKpfw IV support tank.

PzkpfWg III Ausf. H. Photo Fat yankey CC BY-SA 2.5

The PzKpfw III was a medium tank. Original models were equipped with a 37mm gun, but this proved inadequate for penetrating contemporary tank armor and was later replaced by a short-barreled 50mm gun. Two machine guns were also fitted, one in the hull and the other mounted coaxially with the main gun.

PzKpfw III Ausf. E command tank in Greece 1941. This vehicle is fitted with a dummy 37mm main gun and a dummy MG 34 co-axial machine gun but has an actual ball-mounted MG 34 machine gun on the right side of the turret’s mantlet.Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1994-009-17 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

An excellent gearbox, good suspension, and wide tracks contributed to the PzKpfw III’s fine cross-country performance.

The PzKpfw III was produced just in time for 100 of them to take part in the invasion of Poland, and 350 were fielded in the invasion of France. Thousands more were made over the next two years. But as with the PzKpfw I, its armor proved too thin to stand up against most enemy guns.

Panzer III in Yugoslavia with a striking loop antenna on the engine compartment.Photo Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-185-0137-14A : Grimm, Arthur : CC-BY-SA 3.0

The first years of the war had proved that heavy tanks were needed. Germany responded with one of the finest weapons of the war.


The appearance of the Russian T-34 forced the government to finally listen to a request the army had been making since 1937: to commission a heavy tank. Two vehicles were quickly designed and the simpler one went into production in 1942. This was the Tiger, produced by Henschel.

North France, Panzer VI (Tiger I).Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-299-1805-10 / Scheck / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Tiger was a huge step up from the PzKpfw models.  Its front armor was impervious to Allied guns at all but the closest range. Its 88mm main gun could penetrate 100mm of armor at distances of up to a kilometer. It was the most impressive tank in the world and kept its fearsome reputation until the war’s end.

Panzer VI (Tiger I). Photo: Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-299-1805-16, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Tiger did have some limitations. Its maneuverability wasn’t always efficient, so skilled opponents could sometimes get around it. If the engine wasn’t running, the turret had to be traversed by hand. But these impediments were nothing compared with its power and toughness.


Also commissioned in response to the T-34, the Panther was a medium tank created by the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg and put into production in November 1942.

At 45 tons, the Panther was heavier than most medium tanks. This was partly because of its armor, which was up to 120mm thick at the front and provided superior protection against Allied guns.

Main armament- 75 mm KwK 42 (L 70).Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-478-2167-09 Bayer CC-BY-SA 3.0

The size of its weapon contributed to its weight as well as to its excellent performance on the battlefield. Its 75mm gun was twice as long as that carried by the PzKpfw IV, giving it greater power and range.

Tough, powerful and maneuverable, the Panther was one of the best tanks of the war. Initial technical problems saw the first production run returned to the factory for modifications, but from then on the Panther performed satisfactorily. Together with the Tiger, it gave the Germans a significant edge in tank-on-tank combat.

The Panther was intended to counter the Soviet T-34 Tanks.Photo Thorsten Hansen CC BY-ND 2.0

Leopard I

During the 1950s, the reformed West German Army was initially equipped with American M47 and M48 tanks. The government, wanting a tank of their own, started working with the French on a tank-building collaboration. When this fell through, they spent several years commissioning and testing prototypes before selecting the Leopard I, which entered service in 1965.

Leopard 1.Photo 270862 CC BY-ND 2.0

Read another story from us: A Look Inside The Most Feared Tank Of WWII, The Panther

A solid main battle tank equipped with a British 105mm L7 gun, the Leopard was West Germany’s most successful tank of the Cold War. Thousands were built, with later versions adding features such as night sights and improved tracks. The design was exported to several other countries.

Protesters Try To Extort Store Robbed By Michael Brown Prior To Ferguson Shooting

H/T Bearing Arms.

Even in death, Micheal Brown is still robbing the store and assaulting the store owner.

The shooting death of Michael Brown ignited a firestorm in Ferguson, Mo. Yet again, protesters who knew nothing but what the liberal media prattled on about accepted the story of a “gentle giant” gunned down by racist cops at face value, even after an investigation found that the officer acted in self-defense.

Now, years later, protesters are still lashing out. Their target these days is the store that Brown robbed before the fatal shooting.

You see, surveillance video of the incidence showed Brown robbing the store and shoving the cashier. This, apparently, is just unconscionable.

Protesters believe that the surveillance clip mischaracterized Brown and that the store should have done more to say so. Recent protests at Ferguson Market have been strong enough to close the store the first week, Jay Kanzler, an attorney for the store, said Saturday when the store was open again.

Police said there had been no arrests.

In an effort to move forward, Kanzler said, he was part of a formal meeting Aug. 17 at Ferguson police headquarters that included Michael Brown Sr., state Rep. Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis, activist Anthony Shahid and attorney Anthony Gray, who listened by telephone. The protester group had the following requests:

• Address Michael Brown Jr.’s character.

• Close the store for three days on the anniversary of his death.

• Create a scholarship in his name.

• Find ways to interact and give back to the community.

• Stop selling Dormin, a sleeping capsule, and other items that can be misused to get high.

• Retain a black-owned security company to protect the store.

“It seemed like everyone in the room was open to working it out,” Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss said. “It was a friendly, robust discussion.”

Kanzler said the store ultimately agreed to all of the requests by Wednesday, other than closing the store for three days. Instead, he said, the store would close on the anniversary of Brown’s death and provide a free barbecue the day before.

In a letter, with jointly agreed-upon language, to protest leaders that were at the Aug. 17 meeting, Ferguson Market said it recognized there was a “perception that it played a role in fostering negative opinions of Michael Brown Jr. post-August 9th,” and it wanted to restore relationships with the community. “The Market understands that this perception has hurt the relationship it has enjoyed with many of its customers for years. It is hopeful that the Market can restore those relationships by taking meaningful steps to eliminate this perception.”

In other words, the protesters want to force Kanzler’s client to abandon his business because he was the victim of a crime.

I mean, that’s what this really is. It’s a case of extortion. They gather outside the store, trying to drive away business, and they say they will continue to do so unless he sells.

Extortion, plain and simple.


Remember when the left thought victim-blaming was bad? Well, it still is, unless it’s leftist-supported causes doing the victim-blaming. After all, the store was the victim of the robbery. Why are they being blamed for what happened afterward?

No one made Michael Brown rob the store or assault the clerk. No one made Brown attack the police officer. That’s all on him.

Even if you discount the officer’s claim of what happened, the video shows Brown robbing the store. These protesters are expecting what? The store to say, “Oh, he was a good boy who didn’t do nuffin’?”

Well, he did. All the store did was turn over video showing it.

And now these protesters want to destroy someone’s business over it. They want him to sell his business to them, probably at a substantial loss. If it happens, expect the store to be closed within the year.

I hope it doesn’t, though. This kind of activist-extortion has got to end, and this is as good a place as any.

David Hogg’s Latest Extortion Attempt Dumbest One Yet

H/T Bearing Arms.

I hope Smith & Wesson’s lawyers smack David Camera Hogg down a peg or two.

David Hogg feels pretty good about himself. He has adoring fans, girls begging for selfies with him, and even celebrities who express admiration for him. When you’re 18-years-old, that’s a lot of reason to think you’re actually someone.

Plus, let’s be honest here. Hogg has had a few successes here and there. His boycott against Laura Ingram may not have pushed her off the air, but it did create quite a pinch for Fox News. He managed to press Publix not to support candidates for office–not exactly the intention, but it also means they won’t support pro-gun candidates, so I’m sure he sees it as a win.

Now, however, he’s trying to extort Smith & Wesson, and it’s freaking hysterical.

David Hogg


Dear, Smith and Wesson should you not choose to be morally responsible by

1. By funding gun violence prevention research with 5 million dollars annually.


2. Stop manufacturing guns that are illegal under the 2004 Massachusetts assault weapons ban

David Hogg


We will destroy you by using the two things you fear most.

Love and economics 🙂 see you soon.


Kid, you’re out of your depth.

You see, boycotts only work when you get people who would otherwise buy a product not to do so.  If you want to boycott Ford, you buy a Chevy instead, for example.

However, most people won’t boycott Bugatti simply because they were never going to buy a Bugatti anyway.

In a similar vein, Hogg’s threats to take down Smith & Wesson are empty for one simple reason: Smith & Wesson customers generally think David Hogg is a twit who needs to learn what the hell he’s talking. They’re not about to boycott Smith & Wesson because some pretentious teenager who thinks he matters tells them to boycott the company.

The people who follow Hogg are anti-gun activists, not gun owners. Oh, there might be one or two gun owners in there, but by and large, they’re rabid anti-gun activists who think firearms are awful. Hell, the handful who may own guns now isn’t exactly the kind of people who will be buying another in the near future.

In other words, his followers aren’t likely to do a thing to hurt Smith & Wesson’s bottom line.

But you know what his efforts might just do? They might tick off enough of us that we head to the gun store and buy a Smith & Wesson just out of spite.

In his effort to threaten and take down the company, Hogg might just put Smith & Wesson on more stable financial footing than any other firearm manufacturer in the nation.

Of course, Hogg thinks he can do it, which is hilarious. He believes he can somehow dissuade gun buyers from Smith & Wesson? Oh, the hilarity.

But then again, he’s also thinking that somehow Smith & Wesson is bound by the assault weapon ban that bars the selling of certain firearms, not the manufacture of them. Smith & Wesson isn’t selling these guns in places they’re not legally allowed. They’re making them for sale in states that aren’t run by morons.

And, if the law changed to bar them from making them, they’d simply open up a plant in a free state and start making the guns there. This isn’t rocket science.

Except for Hogg, who thinks the law (a) applies to the manufacturing of certain firearms and (b) that he can force Smith & Wesson to do anything.

My advice? Invest in popcorn futures. This is going to be good.

WATCH: Ami Horowitz Explains American Business-Crushing Shipping Law Trump Just Took Action To Stop

H/T Right Wing Folks.

President Trump is making  America competitive again.

On Thursday, President Trump issued a presidential memorandum that takes aim at a decades-old shipping agreement with a United Nations agency that gives some foreign countries, including China, a dramatically unfair advantage over American-based companies when it comes to shipping costs. The policy is costing American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually and has made it extremely difficult for American companies to compete in the online marketplace.

In a newly-released video, filmmaker Ami Horowitz explains why the administration’s actions are crucial in giving American companies a fighting chance in the e-commerce world. E-commerce, Horowitz explains, is “the fastest growing segment of consumer sales, and is becoming a more important part of our economy every day.” But the marketplace “is quickly becoming the domain of the Chinese, in large part because the ecommerce playing field is tilted sharply in favor of Chinese merchants at the expense of their U.S. competitors.

The slanted playing field is the result of an international treaty with the U.N.’s Universal Postal Union that gives preference to less wealthy, “transitional” countries, of which China is included, by forcing federal postal services of wealthier countries to subsidize freight rates for packages coming from the poorer companies.

“Shipping costs have become a big part of the decision-making process when buying something online,” Horowitz says. “The primary reason for this imbalance is a decades-old arrangement for incoming packages set by a U.N. agency called the Universal Postal Union. A deal was made to ship other packages, including China, anywhere in the U.S. for about $1.50, without regard to the real costs borne by the U.S. Postal Service.”

In other words, American customers ordering online often find it is cheaper to have a product shipped from a foreign country than one in the U.S. The result has been China’s growing dominance in e-commerce at the expense of American businesses.


On Thursday, Trump made clear that the U.S. will no longer allow this unfair policy to continue. Here is an excerpt of the memorandum:

(i) UPU terminal dues, in many cases, are less than comparable domestic postage rates. As a result:

(A) the United States, along with other member countries of the UPU, is in many cases not fully reimbursed by the foreign postal operator for the cost of delivering foreign-origin letter post items, which can result in substantial preferences for foreign mailers relative to domestic mailers;

(B) the current terminal dues rates undermine the goal of unrestricted and undistorted competition in cross-border delivery services because they disadvantage non-postal operators seeking to offer competing collection and outward transportation services for goods covered by terminal dues in foreign markets; and

(C) the current system of terminal dues distorts the flow of small packages around the world by incentivizing the shipping of goods from foreign countries that benefit from artificially low reimbursement rates.

NPR: Department of Education Wildly Overstates Number of School-Related Shootings in New Survey

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

Wow NPR has actually performed a random act of journalism.

he Department of Education reported there were 235 school-related shootings in the United States during the 2015-16 school year, but NPR could confirm less than 5 percent of the incidents occurred in a new report.

Of the 235 school-related shooting incidents, NPR only confirmed 11 of them. It reported 161 schools or school districts told NPR no shootings had occurred, four were miscategorized, and 59 could not be either confirmed or unconfirmed by NPR.

The huge discrepancy calls into question the reliability of data disseminated by the government on the pressing issue of school safety.

The Department of Education told NPR it relied on school districts to give accurate information in its annual Civil Rights Data Collection. It asked for the 2015-16 school year, “Has there been at least one incident at your school that involved a shooting (regardless of whether anyone was hurt)?” It published the eye-popping number—”nearly 240 schools (0.2 percent of all schools)”—this spring.

It was nowhere close to the left-wing advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety’s data on the question, which listed 29 shootings at K-12 schools during the same period. Only seven schools appeared on both the government’s and Everytown’s lists:

separate investigation by the ACLU of Southern California also was able to confirm fewer than a dozen of the incidents in the government’s report, while 59 percent were confirmed errors.

One of the biggest reasons for the discrepancy in the Civil Rights Data Collection number was the Cleveland Metropolitan School District listing 37 incidents in its district alone for that year. Roseann Canfora, the district’s chief communications officer, told NPR that 37 schools had in fact reported incidents involving “possession of a knife or a firearm,” the previous question on the form. The district slotted the number in the wrong line in the survey.

There are multiple other examples of situations that didn’t involve the discharging of a firearm but were listed as shootings:

Ray Poole, the chief of legal services for the Nassau County School District in Florida, told us that at one school where a shooting was reported, Callahan Middle School, on Nov. 21, 2015, a Saturday, a student took a picture of himself at home holding a gun and posted it to social media. “We got wind of it and nipped it in the bud.” No shooting.

The CRDC shows seven shootings in DeKalb County, Ga. Police reports provided to us by that district give a sense of more of the many, many ways the data collection may have gone wrong.

At Redan Middle School, there is a report of a toy cap gun fired on a school bus — not a shooting.

The CRDC shows a shooting at Stone Mountain Middle School, but a police report shows an incident at Stone Mountain High School instead.

And district officials provided a police report showing that there was a shooting after a McNair High School football game — in August 2016, after the time period covered in the survey.

Liberal California Passes Law to HELP Criminals Get Out of Jail



H/T Right Wing Folks.

We need to extend the wall President Trump wants on the border to included blocking Commifornia from the rest of America.

With the stroke of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s pen on Tuesday, California became the first state ever to eliminate cash bail for criminal suspects awaiting trial.

You read that right.

Gov. Brown Press Office


➡️@JerryBrownGov Signs Legislation to Revamp California’s Bail System, Protect Public Safety: https://bit.ly/2N2YWvI 

California is now going out of its way to help criminals stay out of jail. The state is also a “sanctuary state,” which shields criminal illegal immigrants from federal immigration authorities.

The controversial bill will replace the bail system with a “risk-assessment” system, leaving much of the decision-making up to the judge.

“The legislation gives officials 24 hours to determine whether other suspects should be released before trial. That time can be extended by 12 hours if necessary,” the Associated Press reported. “Opponents of the legislation say it gives judges too much power. Some worry dangerous people will go free and won’t return for trial.”

“Most” suspects arrested for nonviolent misdemeanors will likely be released with no questions asked within 12 hours, according to the AP.

Los Angeles Times


Breaking: California Gov. Jerry Brown signs a landmark bill to overhaul the state’s money-bail system, replacing it with one that grants judges greater power to decide who should remain incarcerated ahead of trial http://lat.ms/2NspPpZ 

Gov. Jerry Brown signs overhaul of bail system, saying now ‘rich and poor alike are treated fairly’

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a sweeping change on Tuesday to the system of bail for criminal defendants in California “so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” he said.


Fortunately, suspected criminals charged with violent felonies, however, won’t be eligible for pre-trial release.

“Brown’s signature gives the state’s Judicial Council broad authority to reshape pretrial detention policies,” the report added. “Each county will use the council’s framework as a basis to set its own procedures for deciding whom to release before trial, potentially creating a patchwork system based on where a suspect lives.”

The Wall Street Journal


Gov. Brown of California eliminated cash bail “so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly.” The ACLU isn’t so sure. https://on.wsj.com/2wsV2C9 

California eliminates cash bail, accelerating a national trend

California Eliminates Cash Bail, Accelerating a National Trend

California Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation eliminating cash bail for people accused of crimes, in a major step forward for a growing national movement


Maybe one day California can focus on passing laws that benefit law-abiding American citizens.