Category Archives: Taxes

Finland will end its “basic income” experiment by year’s end

universal basic income

Pay attention and learn a lesson, Bernie.

From Fox News: The Finnish government reportedly announced Tuesday that it will end the country’s universal basic income program by year’s end — and appears to be taking on new measures to cut benefits to those who do not actively seek employment.

Finland was considered the first European country to pay a monthly check of $685 to its unemployed between ages 25 and 58. It was considered a pilot program — serving 2,000 randomly selected jobless people — that its founders hoped to expand.

“It’s a pity that it will end like this,” Olli Kangas, who oversees the Finnish government agency that focuses on social welfare and helped design the program, told the New York Times.

“The government has chosen to try a totally different path,” Kangas said. “Basic income is unconditional. Now, they are pursuing conditionality.”

David Whitley summed up Finland’s decision in the Orlando Sentinel.

“Proponents said the program wasn’t comprehensive enough to gauge its merits,” Whitley wrote. “Critics say it would have required a 30 percent tax increase on an already over-taxed population to be viable.”

But some cities, including San Francisco, continue to look into the basic income theory, the Times wrote. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2017 said that basic income should be explored “to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

That was essentially Finland’s theory when announcing the pilot program.

The initial move was met with skepticism from citizens who questioned whether an unemployed young person would be motivated to find a job if they were making a steady income, albeit small.

“There is a fear that with basic income they would just stay at home and play computer games,” Heikki Hiilamo, a professor at the University of Helsinki, told the paper.

DCG

Middle school student in Nevada sues school district after being punished for wearing pro-2A t-shirt

don't tread on me t-shirt

Hit ‘em where is hurt$.

From USA Today: An eighth-grade student is suing a school district in Nevada after he was told to cover his pro-gun T-shirt because it was in violation of the district’s dress code.

The federal lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in Reno, alleges that the Washoe County School District’s dress code, which prohibits depictions of “anything that promotes weapons,” is a violation of the student’s First Amendment rights.

“This lawsuit challenges, at its core, the school district’s policy which we believe is unconstitutionally overbroad and violates the First Amendment on its face,” said Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition.

The student, who attends Depoali Middle School, is identified in the lawsuit only by his initials, “G.M.,” but a press release from the Firearms Policy Coalition identifies his mother as local police dispatcher Audrey Guardanapo and his father as former law enforcement officer and U.S. Marine veteran Shaun Guardanapo.

The students was disciplined twice for wearing pro-gun clothing, according to the lawsuit.

He was first disciplined on Nov. 20 for wearing a shirt from a local gun store, Sparks Black Rifle. That shirt depicted the store’s logo, which according to the suit uses the silhouettes of a rifle and handgun.

He was again disciplined on March 12 for wearing a shirt promoting the Firearms Policy Coalition. That shirt features the words “Don’t Tread On Me” and a coiled snake. It also includes references to the Second Amendment and other “constitutional themes.”

The second shirt did not depict an image of a firearm. 

The lawsuit was filed by the student through his parents and is backed by the Firearms Policy Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition, two non-profit groups aimed at protecting the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

The shirt did not promote or advocate illegal activity; it contained no violent or offensive imagery; nothing on it was obscene, vulgar or profane. … And yet (the student) was prevented from wearing his shirt based on school officials’ disagreement with the message they believe it conveyed,” the lawsuit states.

Just days before filing the lawsuit, the coalition launched a website and accompanying guide aimed at helping students who identify as pro-gun use speech and their First Amendment rights to counteract this year’s nationally organized student walkouts calling for stricter gun control legislation.

According to the lawsuit, the student’s teacher instructed him to cover the shirt. The student told the teacher that he could express himself through how he dressed, to which the teacher replied that he could have his “Second Amendment rights when he turns eighteen,” according to the lawsuit.

He was then threatened with further discipline if he wore the clothing again.

“At the end of the day, that’s all it takes to constitute a First Amendment violation,” Combs said.

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DCG

Surprise! $930 million “Move Seattle” transportation levy is not meeting stated goals

government solve all problems

Guess how much it costs (per mile) to build a bike lane in Seattle…

Take. A. Wild. Guess.

And then imagine a private construction firm trying to justify their inability to magnificently under estimate projected costs.

From Seattle Times: Move Seattle, the $930 million transportation levy approved by Seattle voters in 2015, is falling behind on a number of its promised street and sidewalk improvements, and funding shortfalls will likely force some projects to be downsized or abandoned, according to a new review by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

SDOT, which is tasked with completing the levy’s projects, blamed higher costs from the booming local-construction market as well as new priorities since the levy was passed and uncertain federal funding.

The agency also undersold the costs of the projects it was promising during the push for public approval in 2015, SDOT officials said.

“We do not have enough funding right now to do everything that was promised, we just don’t,” SDOT interim Director Goran Sparrman said Tuesday at a Move Seattle levy oversight committee meeting. “Some of those dollar amounts estimated for what projects would cost were clearly insufficient, even at the time.”

He said that the agency was not prepared, in 2015, to execute projects on the scale that the levy and the city promised. The 10-year, property-tax levy is twice the size of its predecessor, the Bridging the Gap levy, which expired in 2015.

SDOT gave no actual numbers or estimates of the size of the funding shortfall.

“I’m not surprised by the findings, but I still don’t really know the scale,” said Alex Krieg, co-chair of the levy’s oversight committee. “This is dollars and cents but we don’t have dollars and cents on this assessment.”

The new review, ordered by Mayor Jenny Durkan earlier this year, says the levy is achieving many of its goals, but points to eight program areas that need “further review and adjustment” because the cost of the promised projects is now greater than the available funding.

The areas short on money include: building new protected bike lanes, repairing damaged sidewalks and building new ones, building curb ramps at intersections, repaving arterial streets and creating seven new RapidRide bus routes.

“Costs have increased due to rising local construction costs,” SDOT writes in the review. “Additionally, in several levy sub-programs, cost estimates included in the original budget were insufficient to meet the levy commitment.”

For instance, the levy originally estimated that bike lanes would cost about $860,000 to build, per mile. While costs vary significantly by project, a nearly complete four-block extension of the Seventh Avenue protected bike lane through downtown has cost about $3.8 million to build, or nearly $13 million per mile.

The recently completed Second Avenue protected bike lane cost $12 million a mile, Sparrman said.

“I thought the mayor was going to have a heart attack when I showed her,” he said.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

Sanctuary California: Two previously-arrested, deported sex offenders re-arrested in Cali

illegal aliens godinez and cervantes

Illegal aliens Godinez and Cervants tried to benefit from sanctuary California’s policies…again

How much longer will the citizens of California allow this blatant crime and illegal activity to continue, harming their citizens?

Absolute madness…

From KESQ (Palm Springs, CA):  Indio Border Patrol agents arrest two sex offenders attempting to illegally enter the country.

The first man was arrested Tuesday at around 10 am near Ocotillo. Juan Manuel Arteaga-Godinez, 43, is suspected of making an illegal entry into the U.S. Arteaga-Godinez was transported to the Highway 86 checkpoint for identification and processing.

Record checks revealed Arteaga had been previously arrested and convicted for crimes involving sexual misconduct twice in San Diego County.

The first conviction was in 2006 for sexual battery and indecent exposure, and the second conviction occurred in 2011 for molesting a victim under 18 years of age. Arteaga is being held in federal custody pending prosecution of felony and immigration charges.

The second incident occurred Wednesday night around 10:35 p.m., when agents encountered a man near Calexico and determined he was illegally present in the United States.

The man, identified as Walter Inzunza-Cervantes, 34, was arrested and taken to the El Centro station for processing. Record checks revealed Inzunza was convicted in 2011 in Indio of Felony Sexual Battery, and sentenced to 123 days in jail.

Inzunza is being held in custody pending his prosecution for Re-Entry After Removal.

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DCG

Gun control, Baltimore style: 29 killings in past three weeks

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh

Heckuva job mayor!

From Baltimore Sun: For a while, there was reason to hope. Twelve days without a killing in February. Declining street violence in March. Optimism around a new police commissioner. After a three-year spike in violent crime, a long and bloody siege that brought Baltimore international attention, the city seemed finally to be heading toward peace.

Then came April. Someone executed a mother and daughter inside their house. Stray gunfire killed a 65-year-old woman on her porch. A wanton shooter wounded a 69-year-old man outside his home.

Baltimore police counted 17 killings last month, but 29 within the past three weeks. For Baltimoreans and for the officials charged with keeping them safe, a familiar dread is returning.

“Of course, the frustration is there,” said Chief T.J. Smith, the police spokesman. “You see the moments of hope, and we haven’t given up hope, certainly. … Then you have these unfortunate moments, these spates of violence.”

Police blame some of the recent bloodshed on a war between two West Baltimore groups. The Western District, the department’s smallest, has seen the largest share of violence this year: 18 people killed, more than double the total in any other district. Nine people were killed there in the past 30 days.

Commanders across the department have deployed additional officers to try to quell the rivalry. “I don’t want to get too specific,” Smith said. “We are aware of who they are.”

Police worry that the killings of Chanette Neal, 43, and Justice Allen, 22, could set off retaliatory violence. Unknown killers kicked in their back door and shot the mother and daughter to death two weeks ago.

Prosecutors had accused their son and brother, Antoine Benjamin, of participating in a murderous West Baltimore drug crew. But they dropped a murder charge against him last week. He still faces a gun charge.

Benjamin’s attorney, Jeremy Eldridge, said his alleged crimes have nothing to do with the killing of his mother and sister.

Pinky Louise Ruffin was killed by stray gunfire last weekend. The 65-year-old grandmother was shot on her porch. Police said the bullets were intended for Marques Patterson. The 22-year-old was also killed in the attack.

In the days after, police dispatched additional officers to try and stem the rising violence.

As mourners gathered in Park Heights for a viewing for the mother and daughter, police deployed a command truck, SWAT officers, patrol cars at both ends of the block, and an officer standing at the front door, as a precaution.

Officers last week went after people with open warrants. They served 26 warrants, Smith said, and arrested and charged one man in a killing in February. “It’s a range of things we’re doing to go after people who are potentially causing some of the problems we’re seeing,” Smith said.

Walter Baynes, 30, was shot to death, and his grandfather, George Evans, 69, was critically wounded last week outside the family’s home in the 1700 block of North Regester St. A man who answered at the front door the next day declined to comment.

Police arrested and charged 17-year-old Eric Gilyard with murder in the shooting. He was jailed without bail, and there was no attorney was listed for him in online court records.

Smith said officers found a loaded gun in Baynes’ pocket. He said Evans was a bystander.

A neighbor said she heard the shots. “They stopped, then came again,” said the woman, who declined to give her name out of fear for her safety. Outside her window, she said, she could see the two men down on the sidewalk in front of their home.

The woman said she’s lived on the block 27 years and the Evans family has lived there as long. She said Evans and his wife had raised Baynes since he was a child.

Larry Weaver, Evans’ nephew, has said his uncle was probably trying to protect his grandson when he was wounded. Weaver said Evans would often sit outside on his stoop. “The whole neighborhood knew him,” Weaver said.

The neighbor said her street in the Broadway East neighborhood had been spared violence that has hit other parts of the city recently.

“I was surprised myself” to hear gunfire outside her door, she said. “It’s west, east, south, north. It’s all areas. You can’t predict when it will happen next.

Read the whole story here.

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DCG

Utopia! Bernie Sanders pushes plan for feds to guarantee every American a job

government solve all problems

It’s called “communism,” Bernie. And it DOESN’T WORK, no matter how much you demorats believe you can get it right.

From Fox News: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is preparing to unveil a plan for the federal government to guarantee a job offering $15 per hour and health care benefits to any American worker “who wants or needs one,” The Washington Post reported Monday.

It is not clear when Sanders will announce the plan and a Sanders spokesperson told the Post that it was still being crafted.

It was not clear how Sanders’ plan would be paid for. Republicans have long opposed a federal jobs guarantee, saying such a plan would be too expensive and impractical.

The Post reported that an early draft of Sanders’ plan calls for the government to fund hundreds of projects in categories such as infrastructure, education and the environment. Americans would be entitled to receive a job with one of those projects or receive job training to do so.

Sanders, who ran a surprisingly strong campaign for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and is rumored to be running again in 2020, joins two other rumored presidential contenders who have supported a jobs guarantee or offered guarantee plans of their own.

Last week, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. tweeted support for a jobs guarantee, saying it would help “regular Americans who are unemployed and willing to work to better their local community.”

On Friday, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. announced the Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act, which would call for the Department of Labor to select up to 15 areas to institute a job guarantee. According to Vox, which first reported on Booker’s plan, those jobs would pay the higher of $15 per hour or the prevailing wage and offer paid family leave and health benefits.

“The federal jobs guarantee is an idea that demands to be taken seriously,” Booker said in a statement. “Creating an employment guarantee would give all Americans a shot at a day’s work and, by introducing competition into the labor market, raise wages and improve benefits for all workers.”

DCG

Sadiq Khan warns Trump to expect loud protests if he visits the UK

sadiq khan and trump

I doubt President Trump is worried about this.

Khan is the one who should be worried Trump is going to call out the mayor’s own lack of “good leadership” regarding the rise in knife attacks in his city.

From MSN: Donald Trump should expect loud and peaceful protests if he visits the UK later this year, the London mayor has said. 

Sadiq Khan, who has frequently clashed with the US president since they were elected to office nearly two years ago, made the comments during a St. George’s event in London on Saturday. The former Labour MP added that the capital respects, embraces and celebrates diversity.

His comments come following reports that Trump is planning to visit the UK in the summer.

“I hope if he does come, he reflects on the difference good leadership can make,” Khan told the Press Association.

“We have got a great history in our city of protests… we have got a great history in our city of bringing about change by protest, the key thing is for it to be lawful, for it to be peaceful. I have no doubt that if he does come, there will be some people who want to express their views loudly and peacefully to the president.”

Khan also said how “the message should be loud and clear that we think it is wrong that anyone should be amplifying Far Right messages” or messages of hatred or division.

He added: “I was very disappointed to be honest that the leader of our closest ally was doing just that, and we shouldn’t be embarrassed to say to our best friend that we think they are wrong.

“I think our best friend, the USA, their leader was wrong when he retweeted messages from a Far Right group.”

Trump came under fire in November for retweeting a number of inflammatory videos from Britain First, which led Theresa May to condemn him at the time. The US president has not visited the UK since he was elected to the White House in November 2016.

The Daily Mail has reported a visit from Trump has been “pencilled in” for July, while the Daily Telegraph quoted an unnamed US official saying the president was looking at coming in the “late summer”.

In January Trump cancelled a visit to the UK to open the new American embassy, tweeting that the building’s relocation was a “bad deal”.

Khan said at the time that Trump had “got the message” after the president’s plan to visit sparked huge controversy and repeated calls for May to withdraw the invite.

His cancellation prompted media speculation that reasons for the snub included that Trump had been offended by perceived slights against him by UK public figures.

DCG