All posts by DC Gilbert

I am an author, blogger and an un-apologetically patriotic American. I enjoy martial arts, shooting sports and writing. I currently live in Asheville, NC with my German Shepherd named Sophie.

The Minimum Wage Dirty Little Secret

1386260319008-2There are about 320,000,000 people living in the United States.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 3,000,000 people are working for minimum.  That is one percent (1%) of the population.  So is the minimum wage uproar really about giving one percent of Americans a pay raise, or is something else afoot here?

The fact is that unions and their members benefit directly from minimum wage increases even though not a single union member works for minimum wage.  This is why organized labor is coming out in strong support of Obama’s proposed minimum wage increase.  If he or she can still find a job, the average private-sector union member earns $22 per hour … well above minimum wage.

There are two common formulas used in  setting baseline union wages.  The first is as a percentage above the state or federal minimum wage.  The second is simply mandating a flat wage premium above the minimum wage.  On its website, the UFCW notes that many union contracts are “triggered to implement wage hikes in the case of minimum wage increases.” Such wage increases, the UFCW advertises, are “one of the many advantages of being a union member.”

Minimum-wage hikes are beneficial to unions in other ways. Minimum wage increases restrict the ability of businesses to hire low-skill workers who would gladly work for lower wages in order to gain job experience. Union members thus face less competition from workers who might threaten union jobs.

This view is not just mere speculation. In 2004, a study published in the Journal of Human Resources by economists William Wascher, Mark Schweitzer and David Neumark concluded that lower-wage union workers typically see a boost in employment and earned income following a mandated wage hike. You just have to ignore the corresponding drop in jobs and earned income for non-union minimum-wage workers. They may have been priced out of the jobs they need, but that is not the union’s concern … its members have landed higher wages and reduced competition for jobs.

The dirty little secret is that  union members would see their paychecks grow as the result of a Democrat-backed mandate; even though the overwhelming majority of scholarly evidence says that these wage increases have a negative effect on employment.

Perhaps the American people should be more concerned with teaching the one percent of Americans earning minimum wage how to fish; rather than on giving them a fish.  That might even allow some of those 3,000,000,000 to somehow find their way off the Democrat’s progressive plantation and into a life of real opportunity and freedom.

Global Swarming

How I long for the good old days.  Do you remember back when it was just so cool to scoff at any and all warnings about new American foreign policies or old potential threats by anybody who actually knew what they were talking about?  I remember when highly intelligent, arrogant, Ivory Tower progressive-liberals with no real-world experience or common sense were boldly trashing the comments of anyone one who did not see things their way?

Do you remember the debate where Barack Obama haughtily “schooled” Mitt Romney about his lack of understanding of foreign policy after Romney made comments about the potential threat Russia still presented.  How did that work out?

  • We have unresolved Russian aggression in Ukraine.
  • Russian bombers are currently flying missions over the Gulf of Mexico
  • Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua are forming stronger military ties with Russia and can provide bases for Russian combat aircraft and missiles.

I remember when George W. Bush was ridiculed for his comments about the Axis of Evil in which he included Iran, Iraq and North Korea.  Today we see:

  •  ISIS / ISIL / DAESH or whatever you want to call it …  in Iraq and Syria, forming alliances and sponsoring attacks her in the U.S.  Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Israel are doing their own thing … tired of waiting for the Anointed One to declare which side of the war on terror he is on.  Yes …Yes … I know we are not “at war” with them, however, they are at war with us and have been since the 70s.Obama’s efforts at containment and degradation certainly didn’t stop ISIS fanatics from shooting up a cartoon contest here in the U.S.  Tell me …. how do you contain a threat that recruits via twitter and Facebook?
  • We are facing a nuclear-armed North Korea who’s leader just executed a loyal, longtime senior member of his own government who, by the way, also loyally served his father … by shooting him with an anti-aircraft gun!  And for what you might ask?  Dozing off in a meeting.  And this idiot is just itching for a reason to launch a missile at someone!
  • We have a president who is so blinded by ideology and so anxious to be seen doing something … that he is willing to sign a disastrous deal with Iran; one that we know they will not adhere to and will practically guarantee them nuclear weapons shortly after he leaves office.  Iran’s leaders just keep stringing Obama and Kerry along like a couple of organ grinder monkeys!  It is freaking embarrassing!

However, the real  icing on the cake is this:

CNN REPORTS U.S. STRATEGY TO CONTAIN ISIS SEEMS TO BE UNRAVELING.


Don’t you have to have some sort of a recognizable strategy … before it can actually begin to unravel?  Guess not!!

Should Democrats or Conservatives move to North Korea?

Live Longer in North Korea!
Live Longer in North Korea!

Isn’t it a wonderful life here in the U.S. of Obama?  According to the Washington Post 15 Baltimore, MD neighborhoods have a lower life expectancy rate than that of North Korea!  May I also point out that since 1967, Baltimore has had nothing but Democratic mayors.

On the national scene, police officers are being murdered weekly thanks to the “racial leadership” provided by Barack Obama, Eric Holder and Al Sharpton!  I understand Al Sharpton’s daughter is suing New York City for $5 million for a sprained ankle.  Must be one hell of a sprain!  Hey … maybe I can get $2.5 million for my jammed finger!

Here is an interesting idea!  With all the heat Jeb Bush has been taking for answering a question truthfully about whether or not he would have ordered U.S. Forces into Iraq like his brother George W. did ….. I would like to suggest a few other questions be asked as well.

For Barack Obama:

1) If you knew then what you know now about what would happen if we left Iraq too soon, would you still have pulled all American forces out of Iraq so irresponsibly and without an actual adult negotiating a status-of-forces agreement first?

Knowing full well that Obama will certainly point the finger at someone else (probably George W. Bush), the follow-up question should be:

2) When in your presidency do you actually start taking responsibility for the decisions and actions of your presidency?

Hillary Clinton, since she wants to be the “Working Peoples’ President (Gosh … that has such a Communist ring to it, doesn’t it?),’  could also be asked the first question.

Despite all this, we hear from John Kerry that we should simply be calm, we don’t have to worry!  All is well.  The world is safer than it has ever been!  Safer though it may be, according to Kerry it is still “possible to have the kind of attack we’ve seen in Ramadi.”  I feel so much better knowing that … don’t you?  I am sure the 4000+ American soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq would have been so happy to hear this.

And yes, we may have to kill many more members of Daesh (or ISIS or ISIL or Islamic Terrorists or whatever the hell the name of the week is).  But the question is who is going to kill them.  The area surrounding the Daesh forces at Ramadi is currently filled with Iranian militia.  Iran is predominantly Shia and Iraqi’s in the area are mostly Sunni.  That should work out well …  don’t you think? Especially with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Israel deciding to go it alone due to their extreme lack of faith in the current American leadership!

But hey … things are going so well in the Middle East … just relax!  Take a chill pill!  Move to Colorado and smoke a doobie!  Global Warming is a much more dangerous threat!  Oh Wait … according to NASA’s records we haven’t seen any global warming in 17 years …. oops!

Strangely, I remain unconvinced!  There are estimated to be between 0.7 billion (700,000,000) to 1.9 billion (1,900,000,000) Muslims in the world. This is 25% of the world’s population or 1 in 4. There are estimated to be around 9.9 million (9,900,000); about 3.75 % of the total US population.

According to ACT! for America’s president and founder Bridgett Gabriel, the radicals are estimated to be between 15 to 25 percent of the Muslim population… at least according to all intelligence services around the world,”  That means we are looking at 105 million to 475 million people dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization.  However, Bridgett Gabriel is after all a favorite of conservatives who are concerned about terrorism. Therefore, we should not listen to her!  A much more conservative (no pun intended) estimate put forth is .01 percent of all Muslims being radicalized.  I feel much better now.  After all, that is only 7,000,000 to 19,000,000 people dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization!  We should all sleep much better at night knowing that!

Still waiting for all those moderate Muslims to stand up and shout … “Not in the name of our religion!!”

The silence is deafening!

.

Are you “Proud to be White?”

There is an email circulating around with the subject line “Proud to be White!  This email claims that during the 503 days between the Travon Martin killing and the Zimmerman verdict, 10,865 blacks were killed by other blacks.  The emails then asks, “can you name one?”

Can you name any victims of white on white murders over the same time period?  Just asking!  Statistically speaking, people kill the people they know; loved ones, friends and neighbors.  Because people of different racial backgrounds tend to live clustered together, they are far more likely to kill someone of their own race than someone of another race.

This email then goes on to claim that the U.S. ranks third in the world for murders, but if you remove Chicago, Detroit, Washington, DC and New Orléans, the U.S. is then fourth from the bottom.  All four of these cities are controlled by democrats and have very tough gun laws, so the inference is clear.

Let’s look at some facts.  images

Black on Black Murder Numbers: 10, 865 Blacks Killed by Other Blacks

The number of black-on-black murders in 2012 is better estimated at 6,002. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, the percentage of total homicides with black victims where the offender is also black has remained stable for years at 93 (As a side note, the rate for the percentage of total homicides with white victims where the offender is also white is 85).  According to FBI statistics, the total number of homicides in 2012 with black victims in the United States is 6,454.  If we apply the historically constant rate of 93 to that number, we get a fairly accurate estimate of 6,002 black-on-black homicides. The first number is what can be proven.  The second number is simply a fairly good estimate.

U.S. murder ranking claim: United States is third highest.

The most correct way of comparing countries is to look at the rate of homicides, or how many homicides there were for every 100,000 people.  According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in 2012 the U.S had a homicide rate of 4.7.  This rate is not even in the top 100.

By contrast, Honduras  is number 1 in the world and has a murder rate of 90.7, which is almost 20 times higher.  According to the United Nations, the U.S. is even a good bit below the global homicide average of 6.2.  I am not a big fan of the U.N., but you do have to get your global statistics from somewhere, and not just pull them out of thin air.

The email could be referring to the number of murders and not the rate, but even if you look at the number of murders which does not account for population differences, according to the U.N., in 2012 the U.S. is eighth behind Brazil, India, Nigeria, Mexico. Congo, South Africa and Venezuela.

Remove Four cities: United States drops to fourth from the bottom

The email also states that if just four cities with democrat mayors were removed from the tally of U.S. murders, this would plunge the country from third highest to fourth lowest in the murder rankings.

According to the FBI, in 2012, Chicago had 500 homicides, Detroit 386, New Orléans 193 and the District of Columbia 88.  This gives us an actual  total of 1,167 murders.  That same year, the United States had 14,827 homicides.  If we subtract those four cities, the murder total becomes 13,660. This will give us a drop in the homicide rate of 4.35, resulting in a drop of only 3 or 4 spots in the world rankings. This is nowhere near the bottom four. The bottom fourth and fifth spots are now held by Japan and Iceland with a homicide rate around 0.3 per 100,000.

And again, if we use the number of murders and not the rate,  when we remove those four cities, the U.S. would drop only two spots, below Colombia and Pakistan.   The U.S. would still, however, rank in the top 10.

The assertion that democrat mayors and tough gun control laws contribute to the higher murder rates is interesting.  However, not all democrats favor tougher gun laws and, in fact, some republicans do favor tougher gun laws.  Chris Christie comes to mind.

It is clear the cities and states allowing concealed carry do experience a drop in violent crime. Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.

Here are some other facts:

Fact: Gun homicides were 10% higher in states with restrictive CCW laws, according to a study spanning 1980-2009.

Fact: Crime rates involving gun owners with carry permits have consistently been about 0.02% of all carry permit holders since Florida’s right-to-carry law started in 1988.

Fact: After passing their concealed carry law, Florida’s homicide rate fell from 36% above the national average to 4% below, and remains below the national average (as of the last reporting period, 2005).

Fact: In Texas, murder rates fell 50% faster than the national average in the year after their concealed carry law passed.  Rape rates fell 93% faster in the first year after enactment, and 500% faster in the second.  Assaults fell 250% faster in the second year.

Fact:  More to the point, crime is much higher in states without right-to-carry laws.

Fact: States that disallow concealed carry have violent crime rates 11% higher than national averages.

Fact: Deaths and injuries from mass public shootings fall dramatically after right-to-carry concealed handgun laws are enacted. Between 1977 and 1995, the average death rate from mass shootings plummeted by up to 91% after such laws went into effect, and injuries dropped by over 80%.

It is also important to note that the murder rate dropped by 17.54 percent between 2005 and 2012.  Kelly Riddell, who wrote an article describing how concealed-carry applications were out pacing ObamaCare applications, said “a July study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 11.1 million Americans have permits to carry concealed weapons, a 147 percent increase from 4.5 million seven years ago. Meanwhile, homicide and other violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent.”

So by all means, be Proud to be White.  I certainly am.  But folks should also be Proud to be Black, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaskan Eskimo, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Arabic, or Jewish!  Take pride in your background, culture and ancestry.  Have the open-mindedness to respect and admire the good things from other cultures, races and ethnicities.  Perhaps most importantly, be Proud to be an American.  This is a great nation with a proud history.  It would be a real shame to lose all that to a handful of race-baiters and Alinskytes!

Valdosta State University Bans Air Force Veteran for Life

Valdosta State University in Georgia banned for life an Air Force veteran who attempted to prevent desecration of the US Flag. University students had laid the flag on the ground and were walking on it as part of their protest.

The veteran Michelle Manhart, also a former Playboy model, was quoted as saying, “I was just going over there to pick up the flag off the ground. I don’t know what their cause is, but I went to pick it up because it doesn’t deserve to be on the ground.”

Manhart, a former sergeant in the Air Force posed for Playboy Magazine in 2007; posing in uniform, out of uniform and while draped with the American flag. Reprimanded and demoted by the Air Force, Manhart left the military the next year.

PLAYBOY_MILITARYThe university president and the police sided with the student protesters and Manhart was ultimately given a criminal trespass warning which effectively bans her from any university activity for life.

In a statement posted on the college’s website, Valdosta State University President William J. McKinney said the American flag “represents everything that is best about our country” but also said that the demonstrators had a right to do so. “The Supreme Court has held, one of those things is the right to free speech, which includes the right to disrespect even the symbol of our country,” McKinney’s went on to say. “While I firmly disagree with the actions of the protesters, I understand their right to protest.”

While McKinney’s statement is correct, a lifetime ban from any college activity seems more than a bit excessive to me. In fact it is intended to teach a lesson to those who still respect the American flag and what it stands for. It essentially says your values are not wanted on this campus.

I hope people will remember this president’s message and that future donations and attendance at Valdosta State will reflect this state university’s one-sided support for the disrespect of this country, its flag, its values and its veterans … even if that veteran is a former playmate of the month.

Obama Administration Fakes Unemployment Statistics!? Who’d a thunk it!

In a memo obtained by the Washington Examiner, David John Marotta makes a strong case that the real unemployment number is 37.2%, and not the “official” government number of 6.7%.  Marotta accurately points out that while the unemployment number has declined, the number of Americans leaving the work force (or the people actually out of work) has been steadily increasing to record numbers. How can the unemployment rate go down, while the number of people leaving and staying out of the work force are going up?  The Obama administration simply changes the way they report these numbers!

Marotta points out that the “misery index,” an economic calculation made famous during the Carter years, is at a 40 year high.  Marotta also states that we cannot trust the numbers reported by the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department because, when it comes to the real unemployment rate and the true “Misery Index,” the numbers are simply put … fraudulent! The government is being dishonest in how it calculates both unemployment and inflation.  These are the two numbers used to get the Misery Index figure.

In a memo provided to his clients, David John Marotta calculated the real unemployment rate of those not working is a sky-high 37.2 percent, not the 6.7 percent advertised by the Fed.   A more accurate Misery Index is over 14, and not the 8 claimed by the government.

“The unemployment rate only describes people who are working or looking for work,” Morotta said. That means they leave out a ton of other people, such as those who have run out of unemployment benefits and those who have simply given up.

“Unemployment in its truest definition, meaning people who do not have any job, is 37.2 percent. This number obviously includes some people who are not or never plan to seek employment. But it does describe how many people are not able to, do not want to or cannot find a way to work. Policies that remove the barriers to employment, thus decreasing this number, are obviously beneficial,” he and colleague Megan Russell in their new investors note from their offices in Charlottesville, Va.

Perhaps a Little “Poetic Injustice”?

English Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

I hate to see anyone get the shaft! This is also not a fluke … this same kind of story is cropping up in the news more and more frequently.  I do think, however, this is a little “poetic injustice” and folks like these got exactly what they voted for!

San Francisco architect Lee Hammack says he and his wife, JoEllen Brothers, are “cradle Democrats.” They have donated to the liberal group Organizing for America and worked the phone banks a year ago for President Obama’s re-election.

Since 1995, Hammack and Brothers have received their health coverage from Kaiser Permanente, where Brothers worked until 2009 as a dietitian and diabetes educator. “We’ve both been in very good health all of our lives – exercise, don’t smoke, drink lightly, healthy weight, no health issues, and so on,” Hammack told me.

The couple — Lee, 60, and JoEllen, 59 — have been paying $550 a month for their health coverage — a plan that offers solid coverage, not one of the skimpy plans Obama has criticized. But recently, Kaiser informed them the plan would be canceled at the end of the year because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The couple would need to find another one. The cost would be around double what they pay now, but the benefits would be worse.

“From all of the sob stories I’ve heard and read, ours is the most extreme,” Lee told me in an email last week.

I’ve been skeptical about media stories featuring those who claimed they would be worse off because their insurance policies were being canceled on account of the ACA. In many cases, it turns out [2], the consumers could have found cheaper coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces, or their plans weren’t very good to begin with. Some didn’t know they could qualify [3] for subsidies that would lower their insurance premiums.

So I tried to find flaws in what Hammack told me. I couldn’t find any.

Hammack recalled his reaction when he and his wife received a letters from Kaiser in September informing him their coverage was being canceled. “I work downstairs and my wife had a clear look of shock on her face,” he said. “Our first reaction was clearly there’s got to be some mistake. This was before the exchanges opened up. We quickly calmed down. We were confident that this would all be straightened out. But it wasn’t.”

I asked Hammack to send me details of his current plan [4]. It carried a $4,000 deductible per person, a $40 copay for doctor visits, a $150 emergency room visit fee and 30 percent coinsurance for hospital stays after the deductible. The out-of-pocket maximum was $5,600.

This plan was ending, Kaiser’s letters told them, because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. “Everything is taken care of,” the letters said. “There’s nothing you need to do.”

The letters said the couple would be enrolled in new Kaiser plans that would cost nearly $1,300 a month for the two of them (more than $15,000 a year).

And for that higher amount, what would they get [7]? A higher deductible ($4,500), a higher out-of-pocket maximum ($6,350), higher hospital costs (40 percent of the cost) and possibly higher costs for doctor visits and drugs.

When they shopped around and looked for a different plan on California’s new health insurance marketplace, Covered California [8], the cheapest one was $975, with hefty deductibles and copays.

In a speech in Boston last week [9], President Obama said those receiving cancellation letters didn’t have good insurance. “There are a number of Americans — fewer than 5 percent of Americans — who’ve got cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident,” he said.

“Remember, before the Affordable Care Act, these bad-apple insurers had free rein every single year to limit the care that you received, or use minor preexisting conditions to jack up your premiums or bill you into bankruptcy. So a lot of people thought they were buying coverage, and it turned out not to be so good.”

What is going on here? Kaiser isn’t a “bad apple” insurer and this plan wasn’t “cut rate.” It seems like this is a lose-lose for the Hammacks (and a friend featured in a report last month [10] by the public radio station KQED.)

I called Kaiser Permanente and spoke to spokesman Chris Stenrud, who used to work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He told me that this was indeed a good plan. Patients in the plan, known as 40/4000, were remarkably healthy, had low medical costs and had not seen their premiums increase in years. “Our actuaries still aren’t entirely sure why that was,” he said.

While many other insurance companies offered skimpier benefits, Stenrud said, “our plans historically have been comprehensive.”

Kaiser has canceled about 160,000 policies in California, and about one third of people were in plans like Hammack’s, Stenrud said. About 30,000 to 35,000 were in his specific plan.

“In a few cases, we are able to find coverage for them that is less expensive, but in most cases, we’re not because, in sort of pure economic terms, they are people who benefited from the current system … Now that the market rules are changing, there will be different people who benefit and different people who don’t.”

“There’s an aspect of market disruption here that I think was not clear to people,” Stenrud acknowledged. “In many respects it has been theory rather than practice for the first three years of the law; folks are seeing the breadth of change that we’re talking about here.”

That’s little comfort to Hammack. He’s written to California’s senators and his representative, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asking for help.

“We believe that the Act is good for health care, the economy, & the future of our nation. However, ACA options for middle income individuals ages 59 & 60 are unaffordable. We’re learning that many others are similarly affected. In that spirit we ask that you fix this, for all of our sakes,” he and Brothers wrote.

Consumer advocate Anthony Wright said it’s important to remember the way the insurance market worked before the act was passed, when insurers could deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. “It’s impossible to know what the world would have looked like for these folks in the absence of the law,” said Wright, executive director of the group Health Access.

“We certainly had an individual market, especially in California which was the Wild Wild West, where there was huge price increases, cancellations, a range of other practices.

“That doesn’t mean that there were certain people who lucked out in the old system, who wound up in a group with a relatively healthy risk mix and thus lower premiums,” he added. “The question is: Is health insurance something where people get a rate based on the luck of the draw or do we have something where we have some standards where people who live in the same community, of the same age, with the same benefit package are treated equally?”

Wright said discussions should focus on how to provide consumers like Hammack with assistance if they barely miss qualifying for subsidies.

So what is Hammack going to do? If his income were to fall below four times the federal poverty level, or about $62,000 for a family of two, he would qualify for subsidies that could lower his premium cost to as low as zero. If he makes even one dollar more, he gets nothing.

That’s what he’s leaning toward — lowering his salary or shifting more money toward a retirement account and applying for a subsidy.

“We’re not changing our views because of this situation, but it hurt to hear Obama saying, just the other day, that if our plan has been dropped it’s because it wasn’t any good, and our costs would go up only slightly,” he said. “We’re gratified that the press is on the case, but frustrated that the stewards of the ACA don’t seem to have heard.”

by Charles Ornstein

It is amazing to me that, like Lemmings, they still gulp down their daily allotment of cool aid and continue to worship and follow Dear Leader!  The old saying is, “Be careful what you wish for … it might come  true!”