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Westlake Legal Group > Government

Neil O’Brien: So you want to level up. In what way? And how will you do it?

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-01-26-at-11.26.11 Neil O’Brien: So you want to level up. In what way? And how will you do it? Young People Yorkshire Wandsworth wages Unemployment uneml Transport Standard of Living south Sandwell Older people North East North minimum wage London jobs housing Highlights Hartlepool growth Government GDP Equality employment economic growth Culture Columnists chesterfield Birmingham Anand Menon

 

Neil O’Brien is MP for Harborough.

Anand Menon has a telling anecdote from the EU referendum campaign. Making a speech in Newcastle, he said economists were forecasting a plunge in GDP if we voted to leave. He was interrupted by a female heckler: “That’s your bloody GDP. Not ours.”

She’s not alone in feeling that national statistics don’t reflect the experience of her area.  The Prime Minister says he wants to “level up” poorer places. I think that’s great. But how should we measure whether we are succeeding? In fact, why do we want to do this?

In one sense, the answer’s obvious. We just won a huge majority by gaining seats in places we’ve rarely or never held. Places that voted to leave, feel ignored by Westminster and left out of growth. But there are good policy reasons as well.

For Conservatives, the sorts of things we might do to level up (like helping attract new jobs to a town with high unemployment) might be more attractive ways of spreading opportunity than lefty solutions like increasing benefits. Handups not handouts.

Levelling up might mean fixing imbalances caused by government itself: much of the government’s most growth-enhancing government spending (transport, housing, research, culture) is currently skewed towards London.
We might want to level up because a more even distribution of economic activity is correlated with stronger economic growth overall. It’s striking that there are no major economies that are richer per head than Britain and have a more unbalanced economy.

Levelling up could mean regenerating poorer areas, meaning we no longer have resources like land and infrastructure overloaded in some places, while underused elsewhere. People don’t simply leave their homes in the face of local economic problems. That’s particularly true of lower earners who rely more on family networks for help.

Levelling up mean could closing the gap between unemployed workers and job opportunities, again increasing growth overall. A more even pattern of growth might lead to higher levels of wellbeing as well as growth. Do we really all want to cram into London and the Home Counties? Rather than being crowded into tiny flats in a couple of congested cities, wouldn’t we rather spread out, and live in bigger houses with gardens?

But what exactly are we trying to level up where? And how will we measure it?

First, we need to look at smaller areas, not just big regions. We aren’t just interested in the difference between say, Yorkshire and London, but in the differences within them. Places with problems can be right next to places that are booming, although places that are isolated tend to do worst.

Second, we need to take a rounded view of levelling up, not just have one measure. Our measures should include whether we are getting unemployment down and employment up. The data on employment is reliable even for small areas. Differences between areas have shrunk as unemployment has been slashed. But in local authorities like Chesterfield, Hartlepool and Birmingham, the unemployment rate is still over eight per cent – twice the national average.

We could look at people’s own reported well being. But the data from government surveys doesn’t have a big enough sample size to tell you anything reliable about local areas. In so far as there are patterns, there’s not much government can do to influence them: people seem to be happier in more rural areas, but we can’t move the Lake District to London.

Measuring people’s incomes needs to be part of measuring progress – but we need to be careful about what metric we use, because different measures give different results.

For example, whether income differences between areas are getting bigger or smaller depends how you measure income. If we look at Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) per head, it looks like Britain is diverging. Between 1997 and 2017 income per head in London raced ahead from 22 per cent to 43 per cent above the national average, while the North East fell further back, from being 14 per cent to 19 per cent below.

But if we look at median household income (based on the governments Family Resources Survey) we seem to see convergence. In fact, if we look at incomes after housing costs, London isn’t even the richest area any more. On that measure the North East caught up, from being 14 per cent below average in the mid 1990s to 10 per cent below, while London fell back, from seven per cent ahead to smack on the national average, and the richest areas, the South East, fell from 14 per cent ahead to just 10 per cent ahead.

Why such a different picture? The key is the word median average. If we look at mean average incomes on the very same measures we see divergence not convergence. That’s because the incomes of poorer workers have been converging, but the incomes of richer workers above the median have diverged. Both matter.

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) lets us look at that in detail. It shows that rich people’s incomes differ between regions much more than poorer workers (see graph at bottom).

People working in London who are on the 10th percentile of incomes (i.e. only ten percent of people earn less than them) earn 16 per cent more than people in the same position across the country. However, high earning Londoners at the 90th percentile, earn 54 per cent more. And these differences for higher earners have been getting wider. In 1999, top earning Londoners were “only” 40 per cent ahead of the national average.

It may be that poorer people’s incomes are crunching together while richer folks diverge because of a combination of the rising National Living Wage, tax cuts aimed at the bottom end, and the growth of tax credits & Universal Credit. All of these help a greater proportion of people in poorer areas, while changing things less for higher earners.

But we should measure what’s happening across the board in poorer areas, not just for the poorest people there.
ASHE is probably the best measure of whether we are really “levelling up” earnings. It is generated from tax data, so has much more detail than other measures. It lets you see that people in the Huddersfield constituency earn much less than people in Leeds East, and that incomes have grown more in Hull than Barnsley.

True, it doesn’t let you see benefit income, but levelling up should focus on helping people sustainably earn more, not increasing benefits. Crucially, it lets you look at the distribution of earnings, not just a misleading average that might not tell the full story.

Finally, when we are measuring progress, we need to have a sense of what the counter-factual is. With radically different qualification levels and very different age profiles, different areas are unlikely to grow at the same rate. In Wandsworth 70 per cent of people have a degree. In Sandwell in the Black Country, just 20 per cent. The average age in Sheffield Central constituency is 26. In North Norfolk, 54, because so many are retired. These patterns can change over time. A place can attract more young graduates. But we need to have some sense of what the initial baseline is if we are going to realistically work out if we are making a difference.

“What gets measured gets managed”, they say. If we really want to level up, it’s crucial to be clear about what we are trying to achieve and how we are going to measure it.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Politics of And. Securing the Majority. 4) Getting more Conservatives appointed to public bodies

The phrase is Tim Montgomerie’s.  He used to deploy it roughly as follows.  Yes, politics means making choices.  But they doesn’t always have to be either/or.  The Conservatives can have immigration control and international development.  Green growth and more fracking.  Same-sex marriage and transferable tax allowances.

The new majority Tory Government won’t necessarily smile on these examples.  But it will want to follow the principle.  To this end, ConservativeHome is reviving The Politics Of And.  In one series, we will examine Securing the Majority.  In another, Growing the Majority.  Boris Johnson will want to do both.

– – –

The view from Conservatives inside government is excoriating.  Government appointments are “a job creation scheme for civil servants”.

The picture is of a blobocracy of civil servants appointing other quangocrats to committees who in turn appoint other quangocrats to committees who in turn – but you get the point.  “It’s a self-perpetuating oligarchy,” one insider told ConHome.

Call us – or our sources – paranoid, but it doesn’t mean that the system isn’t out to get Conservatives (with a big C and sometimes without one).

“There’s a general bias towards “appointability’,” another source told us.  “That means ease with all the diversity and equality jargon.  Nothing wrong with these aims in themselves.  But the candidates for appointment who tend to be most fluent in the language tend to be Soft Left.”

It is a familiar refrain.  When Chief Executive at Business for Britain, Matthew Elliott’s pieces on biases within Appointments became the stuff of ConHome legend.

David Cameron was in Coalition, and his team didn’t really focus on appointments until relatively late in the day.  The Francis Maude got stuck in from the Cabinet Office, together with two energetic SpAds: Simone Finn (now Baroness Finn) and our former columnist, Henry Newman, later of Open Europe.

Legend has it that Maude was once asked how many Permanent Secretaries had left their posts since Cameron became Prime Minister. To which he replied: “Not enough.”

Oliver Dowden, now very much an up-and-coming Minister, took an interest when Deputy Chief of Staff at Downing Street.  Their work made a bit of a difference.  David Prior went to the Care Quality Commission; Lord Green to the Natural History Museum. William Shawcross to the Charities Commission; Peter Bazalgette to the Arts Council.

Then Cameron went, Theresa May came, the Conservative majority vanished – and progress was carted off to the deep freeze.  Now there is a Tory majority of the best part of a hundred, and two strategic options going forward.

The first would be for Downing Street and CCHQ to seek a massive punch-up with the civil service over appointments, and seek to wrest political control of the system.  This isn’t going to happen.  Number Ten needs the civil service to help deliver its priorities, and even as revolutionary a figure as Dominic Cummings knows this well.

There is some room for manoeuvre with “appointability”.  The Code for Government Appointments could do with an overhaul.  Boris Johnson could do a lot worse than appoint Baroness Finm to conduct a review.

But a different approach is likely to bear more fruit more swiftly.  The long and short of it is that Number Ten needs to oversee a kind of shadow system – part of it government; another part Party (since taxpayers’ money can’t and shouldn’t find party political activity).

Each week, this site runs details of prominent government and public sector vacancies, in order to encourage Conservatives to apply.  The shadow system needs to build on it.

It can identify potential candidates; encourage them to apply; train them for interview (which would be a CCHQ or Party operation), spot and stop attempts to carve them out – yes, these things have been known to happen – and encourage Ministers to take an interest in appointments and question recommendations.

In this way, public and Party interest would come together.  Public bodies need diverse people as members.  And Conservatives, whether they come with a small c or a big one, are part of the tapestry of diversity.  If Downing Street hasn’t already been on the blower to Lord Maude, it should be.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Rachel Wolf: I co-wrote this Conservative manifesto. And so can say that its focus was on neither the rich nor the poor.

Rachel Wolf is a partner in Public First. She had co-charge of the 2019 Conservative Manifesto. She was an education and innovation adviser at Number 10 during David Cameron’s premiership and was founding director of the New Schools Network.

Labour has responded to this election with arrogance. The Conservatives, with humility. This is, given the result, extraordinary – and is a reminder of why we won.

Jeremy Corbyn and his acolytes won’t accept that people disliked him and thought that his programme was  undeliverable. Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has made clear that those who have – for the first time – voted Conservative must now be convinced they made the right decision.

This is clearly correct. There is no deep bond between the Conservatives and these voters. One must be forged.

I spent the election campaign co-writing the manifesto (a major team effort). The programme focuses on the needs and priorities of the new Conservative voter.

This is a greater mental and policy shift than many realise. In my experience, with well over a decade doing policy work for the party and government, we Conservatives too often slip into thinking of the world in terms of wealthy and poor. In that world, the job of a compassionate One Nation Conservative is to provide help and support for people in dire need. Often, it presupposes they have chaotic and desperate lives.

This is a useless picture of the nation. The vast majority of people are not poor or wealthy. They are competent, good parents. They want criminals to be punished. They work and contribute to society – financially and in other ways. They rely wholly on the state for daily services and if things go wrong, but most of the time they cope. They are – to use the phrase that my husband and another ConservativeHome columnist James Frayne coined – Just About Managing. (Remember that?)

These are our new voters. And there are three areas that we had in mind and wove through the manifesto which are particularly crucial if they are to trust us again.

The first is fairness. More specifically, a system that recognizes effort and reward, but also bad luck and real need. For example, the manifesto promised what David Cameron tried and failed to achieve in his EU negotiation: to require migrants to contribute for several years before being able to claim benefits.

It promised to give local people discounted homes, and to build local infrastructure such as schools before people move into new developments.

It promised a much clearer link between crime and punishment, while also focusing on rehabilitation for those that are willing to work for it.

This is all about recognising the contract between people and the state: we expect everyone who can to contribute, we will look after those who need help, and we will punish those who break the rules. A huge proportion of our new voters think that contract is broken – on welfare, on immigration, on crime, on housing. The Conservative government must show it is restored.

The second area is public services. In five years, people need to find it easier to get a GP appointment, think A&E and social care is better not worse, and not believe that their schools are struggling with budgets. This was a huge focus of the manifesto. It requires looking at the entire system of delivery – recruitment, retention, incentives, performance: an enormously complex task to deliver simple but vital results.

The third area is place. There has been far more conversation on this topic than on either of the other two, and I’m not going to rehash the communitarian, or the ‘somewhere/anywhere’ debate.

But there is a reason why this manifesto had a massive focus on towns, on buses and local transport and reversing Beeching cuts, and also on all the civic and cultural infrastructure that makes a town worth living in. There is a reason that the increases in the science and R&D budget is focused not only on high risk new ideas but on regional growth. We should expect a lot more infrastructure spending in this area in the coming years.

These are all big challenges – and crucial to their delivery are two other great reforms.

Constitutional affairs: how do we make elections fair, how do we balance parliament, the executive, and the judiciary. How do we ensure that decisions are made in the optimal way?

Government itself: what does the civil service need to look like to deliver? Who gets recruited, how are they trained, how are they rewarded and held accountable?

The manifesto pledges sounded deliberately simple. Delivering on them is achievable, but unquestionably a five year project. We now have the chance, for the first time in more than 20 years to demonstrate what a majority government is capable of, and in that process help the people that Labour has left behind.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Unfit for office. But worse even than Corbyn are Labour’s moderates – who are willing to put his anti-Jewish racism into power.

It’s claimed that the twentieth century saw a totalitarianism of race, fascism, and one of class, communism.  But the truth is that the two tended to mingle.  The nazis were class warriors, at least in their earlier phases (the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, our italic).  And the communists were sometimes race ones.

Stalin “always hated Jews”, Paul Johnson tells us.  “He hated the fact that so many of his relatives wished to marry Jews, and refused to meet five out of his eight grandchildren.”

So perhaps the institutional anti-semitism of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership should be all that surprising.  But it still has the power to shock.  One Jewish party member was told that “Hitler was right”; another heard two members agree that Jews are “subhuman”. Another that “we only have prostitutes in Seven Sisters because of the Jews”. An unsuccessful council candidate was told to go home and count his money.

An online post referred to “bent-nosed manipulative liars”; another to “cockroaches of the Jew kind”.  Others used such terms as “kike” and “yid”.  One Jewish Labour MP was called a “yid c**t”.  Another was told that “we shall rid the Jews who are a cancer on all of us”.  The party has certainly lost the MP concerned.  It was Luciana Berger, now a Liberal Democrat – unable to bear Corbyn’s Labour any more.

Another member was called a “f**king Jew”.  Another former Labour MP, Louise Ellman, has left the party.  But why continue this shaming list?  Please note: none of these quotes are connected with Israel.  None of them even land in that murky territory where anti-Zionism and anti-semitism meet – for example, where Israel’s actions are compared to the nazis’.

All that is necessary to add is that the source of these quotes is decidedly non-Conservative.  It is the closing submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission of the Jewish Labour Movement, the party’s “only Jewish and longest-standing affiliate”, as it describes itself.  The assertion that Labour’s anti-semitism is “institutional” and “endemic” is the Movement’s own.

And it is in no doubt at all why it has come about.  “Since Jeremy Corbyn has become leader of the Labour Party, he has made the party a welcoming refuge for anti-semites,” the submission says.  It goes on to list in detail Labour’s failing to deal with the problem under the following headings: failure to implement processes to protect Jewish members from anti-semitism; hostile response to those calling out anti-semitism…

…Denial; discrediting of victims; defence of perpetrators; active victimisation of those calling out anti-semitism: on and on the submission goes.  The more of the detail one reads, the less Corbyn’s own personal views matter.  Whether he is or isn’t himself anti-semitic becomes scacely the point any more (though the evidence suggests that in his characteristic dim muddy way he is.  (“Zionists don’t understand English irony”, he once said.)

Yes, anti-Muslim prejudice, and even anti-semitism, can be found on the Right.  ConservativeHome needs no-one to remind us so: after all, we were the first conservative media outlet, as far as we know, to call for an enquiry into the former – doing so as long ago as 2010.  We later supported an enquiry into all forms of hatred by the anti-extremism commissioner.  The Conservatives have taken up the idea of an independent enquiry.

But there is a solid reason why most of our media colleagues have fixed their attention on anti-semitism and Jeremy Corbyn rather than anti-Muslim prejudice and Boris Johnson.  It is because while parallelism always has a mesmeric attraction, there is sense in not applying it in this case.  Which is why Sayeeda Warsi’s campaign has struggled to gain lift-off outside its usual Guardian and Independent stomping grounds.

If the parallel really applied, Johnson would have been playing footsie for years with, say, David Duke.  (Steve Bannon is not the same thing – and his relationship with Johnson is clearly tangential, in any event.)  And the problem with Party members would be far wider and deeper than all the available evidence suggests that it is.  That independent enquiry into prejudice and hatred cross-party would tell us more.

In the meantime, there is an election to be getting on with.  Most voters will have what to them are more pressing reasons to reject Corbyn than anti-semitism.  After all, nearly all of them aren’t Jewish.  Labour’s anti-semitism thus touches few of them directly.  Far more simply don’t trust Labour with their taxes.  Or think Corbyn just isn’t a leader. Or hate his pro-IRA history. Or else just want to “get Brexit done”, as Johnson keeps putting it.

They nonetheless have – in the other sense of the words that follow – an interest in anti-semitism: a stake in opposing it, one might say.  Hatred of Jews is what doctors would call an early indicator, a bit like memory loss in relation to Alzheimer’s: a warning of what is to come.  If Labour is prepared to treat a group of people with such institutional viciousness, simply because of who they are, how will they treat other people they dislike?

If the party’s own internal processes won’t deal with anti-semitism justly, how can its leaders be trusted to use the machinery of government fairly?  For example, would businesses get a fair price for assets that are nationalised?  Would companies get proper value for the shares they commandeer?  What price would Labour compel landlords to sell their properties at?  What wages would they force businesses to pay?

As Neil O’Brien recently put it on this site: “where Corbyn’s ideas really differ from previous Labour leaders is that he doesn’t really believe in the rule of law. Your house, your business, your savings: all these things don’t really belong to you, in Corbyn’s eyes: you have them only as long as the government suffers you to have them, and they can be retrospectively taken away if he sees fit.”

The Jewish Labour Movement knows all this very, and has decided that, Labour though it is to the core, it cannot give Corbyn the thumbs-up – or even wrap itself in the silence that can be taken for consent.  Others have decided otherwise.  We know what his own Shadow Health Secretary thinks of Corbyn, thanks to Guido Fawkes’ story yesterday.

We scarcely need to guess what the stalwarts of Blairism and Brownism think: Yvette Cooper, Hillary Benn, Jess Phillips, Liz Kendall.  Unlike Berger, they haven’t been driven out.  Unlike Tom Watson, they haven’t walked away.

They’re still there – standing for election.  Their anti-Toryism outweighs Corbyn’s anti-semitism.  It must do: or they wouldn’t be prepared to support him as Prime Minister in the event of Labour forming a government.  We say that they are therefore even worse than he is – worthy of a place in an even lower circle of hell.

Corbyn either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the vileness of the institutional anti-semitism that he has brought to his party: the other of what was, until he got hold of it, Britain’s great modern democratic twins.  They know.  And truly, they care.  But not enough.

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The New Bond Villain is Gonna Do Some Damage, but Great News: He’s Eco-Friendly

Westlake Legal Group hollywood-573444_1280-620x413 The New Bond Villain is Gonna Do Some Damage, but Great News: He’s Eco-Friendly Uncategorized rami malek protest Movies James Bond Hollywood Green New Deal Government Front Page Stories environmentalism environment Entertainment democrats daniel craig Allow Media Exception

 

 

Are you ready for the next James Bond movie? I am.

And the new villain is gonna be, reportedly, that most dastardly thing of all: eco-friendly.

The Sun reports:

As the plot is shrouded in secrecy, it is not clear what the villain is plotting to do or how 007 confronts him.

But:

[Bond’s] unnamed nemesis – nicknamed Greenfinger by insiders – has a lair powered by an algae farm and with a Zen garden.

Perhaps he’ll do eco things like suspend himself from a bridge just before a national debate, and cost the city millions of dollars.

Aw, dang it:

For now, mum’s the word. Except the eco thing:

Director Cary Joji Fukunaga is so keen to keep the plot under wraps he has reportedly filmed three endings. But an eco-friendly villain would be a Bond first. One theory is that algae blooms can produce deadly toxins.

One source told The Sun Bond’s Enemy #1 will be played by Rami Malek, who won an Oscar for Bohemian Rhapsody. And he’s into slime:

[A] source said: “The baddie’s lair apparently has a giant algae farm.

“Something like that would look very sinister and green so will look great on the screen.”

“Quite how it will impact Bond only the scriptwriters can know but fans will be keen to find out.”

As reported by The Daily Wire, Rami explained to The Mirror he was excited to be in the film, but he demanded his Middle Eastern character not be an Islamic terrorist:

“It’s a great character and I’m very excited,” Malek told The Mirror earlier this year. “But that was one thing that I discussed with [director] Cary Fukunaga. I said, ‘We cannot identify him with any act of terrorism reflecting an ideology or a religion. That’s not ­something I would entertain, so if that is why I am your choice then you can count me out’. But that was clearly not his vision. So he’s a very different kind of terrorist.”

Maybe he can be the kind of environmental terrorist who shuts down 20+ intersections or petrifies children to the point of them pledging not to reproduce.

Rami said he’s Egyptian, and he wants only positive representations of his people:

“I am Egyptian. I grew up listening to Egyptian music. I loved Omar Sharif,” Malek said. “These are my people. I feel so gorgeously tied to the culture and the human beings that exist there.”

Unfortunately — and, perhaps, yet unbeknownst to the actor — the fact that he’s the villain will mean he’s a mass murderer.

And murdering people for reasons other than religion doesn’t make it any better.

Westlake Legal Group 1f641 The New Bond Villain is Gonna Do Some Damage, but Great News: He’s Eco-Friendly Uncategorized rami malek protest Movies James Bond Hollywood Green New Deal Government Front Page Stories environmentalism environment Entertainment democrats daniel craig Allow Media Exception

Still, I’m really looking forward to Casino RoyAl Gore.

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article: here, here, here, and here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

At The Emmys, Cancel Culture Gets Called Out – From Perhaps An Unlikely Place

Candace Owens Eviscerates White Dems Lecturing Her On White Supremacy – ‘I’ve Been Black In America My Whole Life’

NBA Legend Charles Barkley Slams Democrats For Only Talking To Black People ‘Every Four Years’

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below. 

The post The New Bond Villain is Gonna Do Some Damage, but Great News: He’s Eco-Friendly appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group hollywood-573444_1280-300x200 The New Bond Villain is Gonna Do Some Damage, but Great News: He’s Eco-Friendly Uncategorized rami malek protest Movies James Bond Hollywood Green New Deal Government Front Page Stories environmentalism environment Entertainment democrats daniel craig Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A $2 Drug Test Identified Bird Poop as Cocaine. But Law Enforcement Continues to Use it, and People are Being Wrongly Imprisoned

Westlake Legal Group cocaine-396751_1280-620x534 A $2 Drug Test Identified Bird Poop as Cocaine. But Law Enforcement Continues to Use it, and People are Being Wrongly Imprisoned wrongly accused Uncategorized Science prison meth law enforcement law Government Front Page Stories Featured Story Drugs crime cocaine Allow Media Exception

 

 

Do you need a hit?

Of that white powder?

That Columbian booger sugar?

I’m talking, of course, about bird poop (they have lots of birds in Columbia).

If so, you might get arrested — for possession of cocaine.

According to a Vice report, cops across America have been using the same type of $2 test to determine whether any given suspicious substance is the ol’ 80’s standby or other illegal doorways to euphoria.

And that test has come up positive when supplied with bird droppings.

Additionally, it’s interpreted doughnut crumbs as meth and vitamins as oxycodone.

Man — that’s making want a dozen glazed meth.

In every case known to Vice, drug trafficking charges were eventually dropped, thanks to further testing by a state lab.

But the initial tests — known as “presumptive field tests” — have, as stated by Vice, “a history of being almost laughably wrong — if they weren’t putting people behind bars, even temporarily. And the follow-up lab tests that eventually clear people’s names can take weeks, if not months.”

During that interim, the article asserts, some who are innocent may be scared into accepting a plea deal rather than risking worse at trial.

Furthermore, those who can’t afford bail are stuck in jail as they decide which to do.

The article spotlights Cody Gregg, a homeless Oklahoma City man. He pleaded guilty, purportedly to get out of the city’s terrible lockup. He was charged with possession after a janky test identified powdered milk as Satan’s Snow.

The guy was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

It took nearly two months of jail time before he was cleared.

Claflin University Biology Professor Omar Bagasra insists, “You cannot indict somebody — put somebody in jail — over something you know has a very high rate of false positives.”

He knows a thing or two about it — he once partook in a Marijuana Policy Project study that determined a common field test wrongly identified spearmint, eucalyptus, and patchouli as the Devil’s Lettuce.

His research team pinpointed “the serious possibility of tens of thousands of wrongful drug convictions.”

To stress their point, the group repeatedly produced false positives before the National Press Club — from common substances such as chocolate bars.

As per a 2016 ProPublica investigation, the cheapo tests lead to thousands of arrests each year.

Fortunately, they’re frequently inadmissible in court, hence the follow-up in a proper lab.

But here’s how the little critters work: An officer drops a sample of something into a small pouch, then he breaks a capsule containing compounds which ignite a chemical reaction. A few moments later, your Kool-Aid Pixie Stick may have just snagged you a deuce in the joint.

The problems with the tests aren’t unknown to the powers that be, but they don’t always trickle down:

In 2000, the Justice Department issued guidelines requesting the tests’ manufacturers include warning labels telling cops that the tests could produce false positives and therefore require appropriate training. But ProPublica’s investigation found those guidelines were largely ignored. Newer, more accurate tests are available, but police departments don’t typically buy them because they can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

“If officers are not trained to get the message that a positive drug test is more equivocal than the label would make you think, you’ll have police officers thinking, ‘Positive means it’s definitely drugs,’” said Carl Takei, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality. Instead, a positive result means that the presence of drugs can’t be ruled out but should be weighed with plenty of other evidence before officers proceed.

The pouches’ flaws were considered — to a degree — amid the arrest of aforementioned homeless Cody Gregg:

Oklahoma City Police told VICE News that the officers did weigh other evidence in Gregg’s August arrest for possessing the powdered milk that tested positive for cocaine.

For example, Gregg had a prior history of drug convictions and ran from police when they attempted to stop him for a missing taillight on his bicycle. Once they retrieved the backpack he was carrying, they found the clear bag of a “white powdery substance” and a scale, too. All of those things factored into his arrest — not just the presumptive drug test.

Tulsa County public defender Natalie Leone claims she handles a drug case with false positives about once a month.

One such was that of Calamitous Carl:

This past May, Tulsa police found one of her clients, Carl Fisher, with a glass container of liquid that tested positive for meth in the field. Fisher, who’s homeless, was asleep in a car in a residential parking lot when officers approached him with guns drawn because they considered the car stolen. They tased him multiple times and dragged him out of the car, body-camera footage shows.

Fisher was arrested on drug charges, resisting arrest, and assault on a police officer. He was behind bars for nearly two months on what was initially a $160,000 bail before state lab results cleared him. He then remained in jail until October, when he agreed to plead no contest to the charge of resisting arrest.

So we’ve learned a few things: Firstly, don’t sleep in strange cars.

And as for your wacky substances, you’re out of luck initially, if a cheap test points the wrong way.

You may need to bolster your case to the popo. So maybe keep those vitamin bottles. And candy bar wrappers. And that doughnut box.

As it turns out, Mitch Hedberg was wrong:



-ALEX

 

A Forced Baptism, Sexual Assault, And A Cavity Search Comprise The Worst Non-Lethal Police Conduct You’re Likely To Find – By The Same Officer

Manure Mania: North Koreans Are Fighting Over Feces As The Government Demands Every Citizen Produce 200 Pounds Of Human Waste

Tragedy In Texas: Police End Up Shooting A Woman During A Welfare Check On Her. Some Are Calling It Murder

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Schiffing Gears – The Media is Intent on Making Impeachment Valid While Ignoring the Ever-Changing Storyline

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They will make this into a vital story even though the evidence continues to be elusive.

The press continues to loudly bang the kettle drums of impeachment and insist there is copious evidence to justify the proceedings. The latest is the strained attempt to show there is a shift among Republicans regarding impeachment. In a not at all desperate play CNN tries to insist that among ‘’moderate and liberal potential Republicans’’ there has been a shift of fifteen percentage points within this small subgroup. Ostensibly this represents…something.

Meanwhile what the press continues to ignore in noteworthy fashion is that the main figure in all of this impeachment hysteria — Rep. Adam Schiff — has consistently been starkly inconsistent in his claims. On nearly a weekly basis Schiff has made wholesale changes to his audacious claims, but two things have remained consistent; he continues to storm forward with impeachment invective, and the media will not look critically at his storyline.

One of the harbingers of someone having a story that is lacking in facts is when their claims and evidence changes on the fly. When new language or altered narratives become apparent then you are certain that they do not have all of the facts on their side. Take a look at the ever-evolving timeline of Adam Schiff on the Ukrainian phone ‘’scandal’’.

President Trump supposedly threatened the Ukrainian leader eight times during their call. This was said to be a grievous abuse of power. However once the President agreed to release the transcripts from his call that ‘’eight times’’ talking-point dissipated almost instantly.

Schiff pivoted away from that accusation, because – as he stated numerous times – the real criminal behavior was in the quid pro quo that Trump hand supposedly placed on his receiving help. Once that was seen as not entirely in the body of the call then Schiff came forward with the rather surprising announcement — there does not need to be a quid pro quo in order to justify impeachment.

Then we had the completely disqualifying behavior Schiff displayed during one hearing on the matter when he began quoting numerous lines from the transcript that did not at all appear in said transcript. His impotent claim that what he engaged in as ‘’parody’’, in order to illustrate what was ‘’really’’ said in the call should have seen him scorched across the journalistic universe. Instead the media backed him up and explained to us neophytes that it was a dramatic device.

Less reported was his coming out after the hearing and declaring that the Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire had voluntarily decided to come forward and testify. This, after Schiff had boldly accused Maguire of withholding the whistleblower complaint. Schiff then corrected himself and had to admit that Maguire appeared as a result of Schiff issuing a subpoena. It was clear that Schiff attempted to paint Maguire as another name who willingly was coming out in opposition to the President.

This also cuts to another dose of subterfuge by Schiff. He attempted to sell this lie about the whistleblower’s testimony being buried by administration officials when we have come to know that Schiff had been in contact with the whistleblower all along, and quite probably helped to craft the complaint. “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower, we would like to.” This had been Schiff’s claim repeatedly early in this process. Now we see this too was a bold lie.

Even one of Schiff’s loudest declarations over the years has been undone by his actions. All during the failed collusion investigation, Schiff was a loud proponent of transparency. It was his favorite cause. But now, after the fractures in the testimony of the whistleblower have been exposed, and the individual is said to be a hyper-partisan Trump opponent while heavily lawyered up with Democrat representation, Schiff does not want to expose his tool. He has called for the whistleblower to be completely shielded, to only give a written account, and to face no cross-examinations.

This is not the move of someone supremely confident in a testimony. Ever since the connection to Schiff has been revealed the Democrats now are holding back on the testimony, depositions, and transcripts. A curious behavior, after demanding the whistleblower be heard in unencumbered fashion before the Committee.

But the press, in its always incurious fashion, sees no reason at all to look into any of these inconsistencies. As CNN has become the All Impeachment, All The Time network you might think there would be a dedicated mind or two looking into the matter critically. Instead it is all pom-poms and cheerleading pyramids, as they root on their star quarterback Adam Schiff. Nevermind that he is ripping pages out of his playbook on an almost daily basis.

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The Tomahawks Come Out for Elizabeth Warren From Other Democrats on Health Care

Westlake Legal Group 31-elizabeth-warren.w529.h352.2x-300x200 The Tomahawks Come Out for Elizabeth Warren From Other Democrats on Health Care white house washington D.C. warren Social Media progressives Popular Culture Mitt Romney Michael Bennet Massachusetts Liberal Elitism Hollywood healthcare Health Care Government Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Constitution Conservatives Congress communism Colorado Capitalism biden Bernie Sanders Barack Obama Allow Media Exception 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren

The faux Indian references never get old.

Yesterday, I wrote about how Sen. Elizabeth Warren FINALLY has gotten around to talking about actually releasing a plan on Medicare for all. READ: FINALLY: Elizabeth Warren Will Unveil Her Medicare For All Plan. We Still Go Broke With It. This plan is full of crap that she can’t actually do. Simply because the system is already broke and taxing all the wealth in the country won’t fix that.

One of her colleagues in the race for the Democratic nomination in 2020 has taken notice and has decided to call her out.

According to Fox News

2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is being dishonest about her health care plan, which would add trillions to the deficit and raise taxes on all Americans, so she can use it as a soundbite, said Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo, on Monday.

“I think she’s not being honest about her plan,” Bennet said on “CNN Newsroom.” “I think her plan, which costs $33 trillion, is the equivalent of 70 percent of all the taxes that the federal government will collect over the next 10 years.

“I mean, it is a massive increase in taxes to this country and it hasn’t been explained to the American people,” he continued.

“It’s a soundbite. And more than that… it’s not based on common sense.”

What tipped you off, Senator, that her lips were moving?

Bennet has actually praised Bernie Sanders on his plan for at least being honest about how he is going to tax people for the luxury of free healthcare. Sanders is going to tax everyone and says it. Elizabeth’s plan, much like Obamacare was, is built upon a premise of “I won’t be around when the crap hits the fan so you guys figure it out.”

As we come up to the 100-day mark before the Iowa caucuses we are going to see that those who are on the bubble or are ticked off that they have not taken off in the polls start taking scalps of the frontrunner. (I CAN’T STOP.)

Warren has a very strained relationship with the truth and it is no surprise that she would put out a plan that other semi-reasonable people would immediately destroy. The last debate showed that when everyone took a shot at her they were letting her know she was full of buffalo chips. Going forward this pounding is only going to get worse.

Elizabeth should just go full Bernie and decide to be absolutely honest and say if you want mediocre health care for all then we have to tax you more than you have ever been taxed before. This is what you want, lemmings, so shut your pie holes and obey.

Maybe then her Senate colleagues also running for President would offer her praise instead of scorn.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

The post The Tomahawks Come Out for Elizabeth Warren From Other Democrats on Health Care appeared first on RedState.

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Missile Defense Now – Beats Missile Defense in a Decade…Maybe

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Let’s Play Some Defense, Shall We?

 

The planet has a bit of a nuclear weapon proliferation problem.

Many of the Good Guys have them.

The US Nuclear Arsenal

The Story of How Britain Got Nuclear Weapons

France Has Lots of Nuclear Weapons

India’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal Keeps Getting Bigger and Bigger

Included herein is a Good Guy – who may or may not have them.

Does Israel Really Have Nuclear Weapons?

And more and more of the Bad Guys have them.

The Big China Nuclear Threat No One Is Talking About

Russia’s Putin Unveils ‘Invincible’ Nuclear Weapons

Pakistan Has Lots of Nuclear Weapons

How Did North Korea Get Nuclear Weapons?

Excellent question.  Often, because the alleged Good Guys – are very, VERY stupid.

You Can Thank Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton for North Korea’s Nukes

If a Bad Guy wants to get there – they can often count on an alleged Good Guy being very, VERY stupid.

Fact-Check: Yes, the (Barack Obama) Nuclear Deal Hands ‘$150 Billion’ Over to Iran

The planet has a bit of a nuclear weapon proliferation problem….

Since They All Have Nukes And Missiles – We Absolutely Should Have Missile Defense

Right now, the only missile defense system we have doing any missile defensing – is the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD):

“The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System provides Combatant Commanders the capability to engage and destroy limited intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile threats in space to protect the United States….

“Ground-Based Interceptors are emplaced at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. A total of 44 interceptors are currently emplaced.”

A key component of the GMD – is the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV):

“The RKV is meant as an upgrade and supplement to the current Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV.

“Both systems are ground-based interceptors for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency designed to defend the U.S. mainland against long-range ballistic missile attacks.

“The RKV offers improved maneuverability and targeting performance compared to the EKV, which has a poor test record.”

Except – the Defense Department (DoD) just killed the RKV.

Pentagon Terminates Program for Redesigned Kill Vehicle, Preps for New Competition

Have there been tech issues?  There have:

“The EKV, designed to destroy targets in high-speed collisions after separating from a booster rocket, has struggled in testing….”

There were problems.  As there always are at some point with almost all things – especially things this high-tech and uber-sophisticated.

But we can take solace:

In the history of each and every thing that has worked – there was a time when each and every one of them didn’t work.

And the problems we were having – were being fixed:

“(It) has performed reliably in major test events in recent years including a complex salvo test earlier this year.”

Instead of the current, intact, in-place, improving system – what does the DoD have planned?:

“Now that the RKV is dead in the water, the Pentagon plans to move forward with a new, next-generation interceptor competition, the statement said.”

Except – are we anywhere near a “new, next-generation interceptor?”  We’re not even close:

“The defense official said the Pentagon is still working through the details of a new, next-generation interceptor competition, including when it will be initiated and the pace at which the technology will be developed and fielded.”

The Defense Department hasn’t even yet decided what “new, next-generation interceptor” means.  Because the DoD doesn’t even yet know what a “new, next-generation interceptor” is.

This is like killing the automobile – and then beginning the process of identifying the next mode of transportation.  Which hasn’t even yet been conceived.

Well, in the meantime – we need to get around.  So don’t preemptively kill the car.

And in the meantime – we need a missile defense system.  So don’t preemptively kill the RKV.

Since the current missile defense system is the only missile defense system even conceived – let’s keep it around.

At the very least – until you can actually define what “new, next-generation interceptor” means.

Our national security is far too important – to go fishing all over again…without any safety net whatsoever.

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San Francisco Refuses To Do Business With 22 States Over Anti Abortion Laws That Protect Babies.

Westlake Legal Group AP_1602261913331116-300x192 San Francisco Refuses To Do Business With 22 States Over Anti Abortion Laws That Protect Babies. progressives pro-abortion political correctness Patriotism Liberal Elitism Hollywood healthcare Government Gender Issues Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post donald trump democrats Culture & Faith Courts Conservatives Congress California Allow Media Exception Abortion 2019

A city worker uses a power washer to clean the sidewalk by a tent city along Division Street Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, in San Francisco. Homeless people have until the end of Friday to vacate a rambling tent city along a busy San Francisco street declared a health hazard by city officials earlier this week. The mayor’s office says about 40 tents remain, down from a high of 140 tents this winter. The tents have lined both sides of a street under a freeway overpass for months, drawing complaints from residents and businesses. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

As you can see from the photo above, San Francisco and California have no other problems to deal with so this state ban does take precedence.

As it has been previously written everywhere, we all know that California and her cities are a bit of a hot mess. San Fran, home of Nancy Pelosi, always makes sure to be one of the cities leading the charge of creating havoc. That, of course, gives them the right to dictate how other cities or states should be run.

Now they want to export their craziness by refusing to spend money in states that they disagree with about abortion. That’s right, states that are moving to protect children shall not benefit from San Francisco and it’s an influence.

How sad.

According to Fox News

City employees in San Francisco are now forbidden to take work trips or do business with companies in 22 states that have “restrictive abortion laws.”

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Vallie Brown announced the measure last week.

“Every day in this country, women’s reproductive rights are threatened, and we have to fight back. Just as we restricted spending with states that have laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people, we are standing up against states that put women’s health at risk and that are actively working to limit reproductive freedoms,” Breed said in a statement.

She added: “By limiting travel and contracting with certain states, we are sending a clear message to states that disregard the right to abortion.”

The only clear message you are sending is that you are griding an ax about states moving to protect the unborn and you look moronic doing it. Do you think the homeless person you are ignoring and letting suffer on the street gives a flying you know what about your moral preening Mayor Breed?

So what states are they planning on banning?

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

I’m disappointed that Michigan is not on there.

With the technology of saving and improving life in all stages advancing, this is a big problem for the pro-abortion crowd. They yell CHOICE at any cost but frequently it is becoming clear that life inside the womb can also live outside the womb weeks before previously thought.

So why would you snuff out that life at 18 weeks when it can thrive at 24 weeks? This is becoming more and more obvious for people with a conscious that actually care about human life and don’t just pay it lip service like the politicians in San Francisco.

I look forward to the day where these people are only allowed to travel within California and nowhere else. What a glorious day that will be.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

The post San Francisco Refuses To Do Business With 22 States Over Anti Abortion Laws That Protect Babies. appeared first on RedState.

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