Government is mostly malevolent–conscientious parent edition.

A Libertarian friend of mine, David K. Williams, likes to say: “Government is largely malevolent.” He posts this frequently on social media, along with a link to a story about some bureaucrat or petty tyrant making life harder, worse, or both for ordinary folks trying to do ordinary things. I think I will take after my friend David in this practice.

Today’s illustration is this outrage from a school district in Virginia. A mom has been criminally charged for the way she tried to protect her daughter from ongoing bullying at school. I’m confident this mom will not be convicted of anything. In a sane universe, which we may or may not inhabit, the charges will be dropped, and whoever decided to cite and or charge her will be tarred and feathered and humiliated.

But there is a more important point here. This is government. This is the mentality of government. A mom trying to protect her baby against bullying that school administrators were powerless or apathetic to remedy, puts a recording device in her daughter’s pack. It gets discovered.

Mom gets charged not only with felony wiretapping, but with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Let me be clear. This is not only outrageous rubbish, it is a manifestation of the controlling mentality. The mentality that exists mostly in government. Did any of the busy-bodies who reviewed this situation think: “Wow. Poor kid. Poor mom. What can we do to help solve this situation?” No. The execrable jackals were afraid of being embarrassed. They were ticked that a parent might permeate their sanctum. Someone went to the rule book and combed through, looking for ways to punish the rabble and make an example.

This is not unique. This is not rare. This is what happens when citizens challenge authority.

It is a mentality that can thrive only in the public sector. In the realm of free exchange, when a company abuses you, you can look to a competitor. In the realm of regulated living, when the bureaucrat takes an interest in you, you can only pray that he’ll apply a little soap as he goes about his business. Please read the story linked below and get mad, then take action.

The phone number for Norfolk Public Schools is (757) 670-3945

The phone number for the Norfolk Police Department Chief’s Office is (7575) 664-3277

The phone number for the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office is (757) 664-4444


Mom charged after putting recording device in daughter’s backpack

A few random reasons I’m pleased Donald Trump won on November 8, 2016.

Let us count some ways…
Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks bold truth to the shameful and corrupt United Nations. They aren’t used to that.
Secretary James Mattis and US forces have refocused military priorities on effectively defending America and fighting its enemies. The conflict with ISIS has turned in a big way.
Secretary Rex Tillerson is not trotting the globe trying to surrender American interests to dictators and global terror leaders.
Secretary Scott Pruitt is working hard to bring reason and law to the pursuits of the out-of-control, lawless bureaucrats of the EPA.
Secretary Betsy DeVos is working to restore due process to accused students in universities, and working to retract micromanaging regulations in K-12 education.
Donald Trump withdrew America’s submission to the Paris Accord, forced unilaterally by Obama and Kerry.
Donald Trump is moving to withdraw Obama’s illegal subsidies to insurance companies to make Obamacare appear to work.
Donald Trump withdrew America’s participation in the globalist Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Donald Trump withdrew Obama’s unilateral bans on drilling in Gulf waters and in the Arctic.
Donald Trump refused to lie to certify that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal.
Secretary Rick Perry is working to allow energy production, not to choke it.
Trump and Pruitt withdrew Obama’s so-called clean power plan, a sweeping takeover of the electric grid and an assault on coal energy.
Donald Trump talks about enterprise, business, and profit like they are good for America, not like they are suspect, selfish pursuits that deserve scrutiny and a tight leash.

Denver DA Stretches Logic with No Charges in Cheerleader Stretching Incident.

Something about the Denver DA’s decision not to file charges in the case of Denver East High cheerleaders being forced into the splits stretches credulity. Last summer, a disturbing phone video hit social media and then news channels showing a high school coach, helped by team members, forcing young women in obvious pain down into a split position. One athlete, 13-year old Ally Wakefield was in obvious agony, and cried out “please stop” nine times. The forced stretching tore ligaments and muscle tissue. She required medical treatment and months of physical therapy. This disturbing 30-second video shows her ordeal.



A parent’s letter of complaint to Denver Public Schools took months to prompt DPS to investigate. Only after news stations got involved did officials take action against several involved parties. Five East High and DPS employees, including one of the district’s lawyers, were placed on leave. Ultimately, the coach was fired, and East High’s principal and athletic director resigned. Three ousters and administrative disciple of a district lawyer raise obvious and still unanswered questions about the chain of events and the far reaching ripple effects.

The Denver Police Department and DA’s office opened an investigation last August. On Saturday, October 14, the DA’s office released a statement on its website that no charges would be filed.  If Friday night is the traditional dumping ground for releasing embarrassing political stories, Saturday must really be the hoped for graveyard of bad news. DA Beth McCann’s full statement announced:

The video of the incident involving the injured student that has been widely disseminated is painful to watch. However, after a very thorough and careful review of all of the evidence gathered in the investigation and the statements of many members of the cheerleading squad, I have concluded that the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges. In order to prove a charge of criminal behavior, the case must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.


There are differing opinions regarding the use of this technique of cheerleading training. While I believe the technique should not be used, that is not the standard of proof for a criminal case. Most of the cheerleading squad participated in the technique that day, and there are differing accounts of the circumstances.


The individual involved should not be a coach in high school sports and he no longer is. The principal and athletic director of the school have retired and resigned. The message should be clear that this type of technique has no place in high school cheerleading coaching. The bad judgment of the coach, however, does not constitute a prosecutable crime.

Several things are remarkable about the statement. First, it asserts that use of the technique in the video is subject to opinion and debate. However, she asserts, the man who committed the acts should not be a coach, and now, she reassures, he’s not. Two other jobs also were ended for good measure. These sound like dire consequences for something that ostensibly is debatable.

DA McCann allows in her own view the stretching technique was inappropriate, but then asserts that that is not the legal standard, which is, that evidence must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. That is an illogical connection. First, despite McCann’s reference to “differing accounts, the evidence of what happened is irrefutable. It was witnessed by millions. Second, the patent unreasonableness of what happened in the gym that day is evidenced by public outrage and three terminations. Further, it’s unclear what differing opinions McCann might have received, but if prosecutors want expert opinion on the reasonableness of the actions, they can consult NFL cheerleader Bria Petty who says this is awful and in all her years in the sport, she has never seen anything close to it. Or they can consult Dr. David Jewison, a team physician for several Division I college sport teams, who says it is absolutely wrong and inappropriate.

Finally, if the DA’s office wants to trifle with something as technical and irrelevant as the applicable law, they should peruse Colorado’s statutory definition of assault, which occurs when “a person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person.”

This disturbing case raises several questions that need answers from DPS and the the Denver DA. Why were the athletic director and the principal implicated in the supposedly isolated bad judgment of a coach? How did a district lawyer fall under suspicion and scrutiny? Why is the video evidence of what happened and an athlete’s documented injury insufficient to charge a case and take it to a jury?


Giving Due Process to Accused Men Perpetuates Campus Rape Culture, Say Betsy DeVos’s Feminist Critics.

Lost behind recent, louder political headlines, the controversial buzz this week has been about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos peeking behind the curtains of higher education. She’s scrutinizing the kangaroo courts known as university disciplinary proceedings, and the role of pressure from her own department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in driving the problem. Indications are, she has concerns about what she’s seeing.
Regarding issues like alleged hate speech, civil rights violations, or sexual misconduct, universities have gained a bad and well-deserved reputation for trampling the rights of the accused while pressing for politically correct results in support of leftist oppression narratives. University administrators certainly can be overbearing wardens, but a lot of the pressure they are bending to comes from the OCR. DeVos’s willingness to take the issue seriously and consider corrective measures is driving fury and apoplexy on the Left.
Enabling rape deniers,” “legitimizing rape,” “embracing misogynists,” “bizarre Christian tilt,” “enemy of victims” are a few of the howls from the liberal blogosphere. These criticism are bogus reactionary leftism. Ms. DeVos is looking into a flawed system that is bad at what it does, cannot adequately supervise hormonal college students of both sexes or protect real victims, often stomps on the accused in an effort to compensate, and sows injustice and broken lives along its relentless path.
The New York Times was more evenhanded in its treatment, and reported DeVos is grappling with important dilemmas. “[A] system without due process ultimately serves no one in the end,” the Times quoted her as saying. Still, DeVos is not looking to return to any bad old days of injustice and sexist dismissal: “We can’t go back to the days when allegations were swept under the rug and I acknowledge there was a time when women were essentially dismissed. That is not acceptable.”
How things came to this pass follows a convoluted story. In brief overview, universities are operating under a law that is not designed to police college sex. Federal regulators have pressed the law and universities into applications neither it nor they were designed to address. College hook up culture is, arguably, an untamed frontier of a setting to try to enforce modern feminist theories challenging commonly held understandings of consent, and expanding concepts of assault or misconduct. Universities are institutionally incapable of justly adjudicating the tensions and fissures that result.
The legal story starts with Title IX of the U.S. Code. Passed by Congress in 1972, that law establishes a simple and reasonable standard: educational institutions that receive federal money may not discriminate on the basis of sex. If they are found to discriminate, they risk losing federal funds. Essentially, it is an education sector supplement to laws prohibiting sex discrimination in employment and public accommodations.
In barring sex discrimination, Title IX has been pressed into service of theories that might seem to stretch its original concept, such as creating a de facto quota system in high school and college sports, to ensure that the number of athletic participants accurately reflects the sexual composition of schools. While it has done much good in expanding opportunities, critics assert it has caused harm in forcing to schools to eliminate some sports traditionally pursued by men, and to add new women’s teams to make sure the percentages balance.
More recently, it has sparked some scrutiny of the rather male slant of faculties in the hard sciences at major universities.
One area federal officials pushed Title IX in recent decades is addressing increased reports of sexual misconduct on college campuses. Since at least the 1990s, often under pressure from federal regulators, colleges have more actively policed allegations of assault or misconduct.This apparently healthful development, though, poses important questions. Certainly, schools should not tolerate known sexual assault or abuse within their spheres of authority. But, does that necessarily mean schools should be the arbiter of when violations occur?
Sexual assault is against the law. It is a civil and criminal violation. There are civil and criminal authorities and courts that police and administer justice in these things. Under pressure from activists and regulators, and perhaps a bit of mission creep from turf-building administrators, colleges have moved to occupy this space as well.
The record of such intervention has been problematic. It accelerated under a controversial move by the Obama OCR in 2008. College disciplinary proceedings are not courts of law or bound by the codes of criminal or civil procedure. Media attention and federal pressure have generally pushed far more toward protecting victims and punishing predators than to ensuring due process, fair proceedings, and just results. Academic KC Johnson and journalist Stuart Taylor have documented a litany of abuses of accused sexual aggressors: Limited or no access to relevant accusations or evidence; limited access to help by or participation from legal counsel, no right to confront or cross examine the accuser, withholding or exclusion of exculpatory information, such as evidence that suggested sexual contact was voluntary, and, harsh consequences and sanctions, often even before any official hearings or determinations occurred, and so on.
In 2008, Obama’s DOE kicked the already slanted deck with what is referred to as a Dear Colleague Letter. The letter essentially ordered universities to lower the evidentiary bar for accusers from “clear and convincing evidence” (which was already below the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”) to the ordinary civil standard of “preponderance of the evidence” which effectively means even a 1% stronger belief in the accuser’s charges than the denials of the accused requires universities to find for the accuser and deliver punishment to the accused.
This intervention by correspondence worked two kinds of injustice. First, it was a change in federal policy without any of the niceties of passing a real regulation, such as chance for public comment and opposition to the change. But, the letter left it sharply clear that schools would comply, or they would risk federal enforcement and loss of funds.
Second, an ordinary preponderance standard is grossly inadequate for the ruinous consequences that universities can inflict. A negative finding will result in expulsion, loss of educational opportunities, including enrolling in other schools, loss of employment prospects, humiliation before peers, friends, family, and community. This is not the stuff of a civil damages law suit. It is life scarring.
Activists, administrators, and regulators argue that the consequences of sexual assault are worse, and cut and scar more deeply. They are probably right. But that is exactly why there are public institutions whose role it is to apply the law and seek just results. Even in a civil sexual harassment case with lesser potential for ruin than a university “judgment,” an accused has greater rights and standing to defend, answer charges, and seek a just outcome.
This is the context that Betsy DeVos is wading into. How did universities become the presumed sexual parents and guardians of student behavior on campus? Is that even authorized by existing law? Are universities equipped for the task? Have the scales tipped too far in pressing for a “conviction”? Would it make more sense to rely on civil and criminal authorities and return the academic focus to education?
These are important questions. The Department of Education is appropriately considering them.

Government Beggars, Bluffers, and Bullies, and the Truth about Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

They fib about everything. In their endless campaign to get their hands deeper into Coloradans’ pockets, all the government pleaders, the non-profit advocates, the squinting analysts, and the sniffing journalists agree on their biggest enemy. The main target, the bête noir, the great white whale, public sector enemy number one is the Colorado Taxpayers Bill of Rights, the TABOR Amendment.
The taxing crew is forever trying to convince the skeptical public that TABOR, adopted by voters in 1992, has changed Colorado from a bountiful land of milk and honey into a North American colony of Somalia. This post is the first in a Tribe series that will explain why that charge is bogus and the taxers know it’s bogus.
The Moaners’ Litany:
First lets review a few of the descriptions of TABOR from the taxers.
The Denver Post is more measured than most when it says TABOR is “inefficient and ultimately hurtful to our growing state. [snip] TABOR’s powerful check on government spending in reality has been a padlock on the purse-strings. [snip] We are convinced Colorado needs more revenue to fund the quality of life we’ve all come to expect from this great state.”
The Colorado Fiscal Institute laments that TABOR saddles the state with “antiquated tax policy” that produces “painful results.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities warns that TABOR is a “formula for decline” that causes “essentially a permanent revenue shortage” that “slowly starves the services on which state residents rely”
And, of course, to protect the children, the National Education Association weighs in to condemn TABOR as
“a proven failure” that is “destroying public services in Colorado.”
Simple Proof They are All Dissembling:
So, are the critics right? Is Colorado withering on the vine? Does state government lack the resources to provide quality modern services? Does its budget put it in the company the bottom 10% or 5% of states? Or closer to the level of a developing nation?
Not at all, any of that. The basic budget fact is that Colorado has about as much money for its population as any other state. Less than some, more than others, and above the national average.
A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (no libertarian outfit) analyzed the budgets of all 50 states, including general funds, federal funds, and other state funds. The study reports Colorado at $6,320, ranks 23rd in per capita spending, right in the pack and a little above the middle.
It’s a very interesting list, and poses questions about some of the high and low placers. But, importantly, here are a few of the states that spend less per capita than Colorado: 26. Maine–$5,811; 28. Pennsylvania–$5,746; 31. Virginia–$$5,623; 32. Ohio–$$5,609; 33. Washington–$5,598; 34. Michigan$5,364;
As it turns out, California, at $6,420 lands just three spots above our Rocky Mountain home. And if government spending more money is the key to better living, why are so many Californians coming to Colorado? The US average, incidentally, is $5,777, landing between 27 Nebraska and 28 Pennsylvania. Colorado spends 9% more than the national average on each of its residents
The takeaway from these figures is that money, like all resources is finite. We all would like more. Your kid’s baseball team holds fundraisers because it needs more. Your school PTA does too. And the Girl Scouts. Every person, family, institution, and government would like and could use more money.
But, next time of one of Colorado’s public money hungry sob sisters tells you that TABOR is tightening his/her corset, don’t give in to guilt. Don’t let them off the hook without demanding better information. Smile and ask, why are you such a poor budgeter? Why do you need 9% more than Virginia for decent schools? Why do you need 9% more than Washington for decent roads? Why do you need 8% more than Kansas to provide health and human services?
The answers should be enlightening.
To be continued…

Universities Fuel Growing Clash Between Fascism and Free Speech

An unlikely player is eroding one of America’s crowning contributions to human freedom. In a perverse role reversal, American universities are laying the ground work to alter the meaning of the First Amendment and the protections it has afforded free speech and inquiry for generations. The irony that the institutions thought to symbolize human learning and exploration should be leading the movement to control and restrict those pursuits seems lost on the activists and academics pushing that direction.

Recent violent and threatening incidents that prevented conservative or anti-leftist or simply provocatively intellectual figures from speaking at Middlebury University, Berkeley, UCLA and elsewhere have highlighted growing opposition to speech Leftist don’t want to hear. It’s not a new phenomenon. Researcher Stanley Kurtz reminds that protests to silence conservative speakers reach back to disrupting figures from the Reagan administration in the 80s, and have continued intermittently for speakers identified with Israel or the second Bush administration.


What’s changed is that the frequency and variety of incidents of mob censorship seem to be accelerating, students and activists are becoming more brazen and unyielding in their demands, they are taking their mission from the campus out to the streets, and university faculties and administrators are increasingly siding with the students and providing intellectual cover for the suppression of unwelcome ideas.
Now, we have unruly mobs not only blocking events on campus, but violently disrupting rallies supporting Trump on public streets. Berkeley’s paper, the Daily Californian publishes an essay by unidentified members of antifa–anti-fascist as they style themselves–asserting that to protect free speech and community safety, they will don masks and “militantly” disrupt speech they oppose.
We have the student government of Middlebury College–where hooligans recently chased off campus the eminent sociologist and author Charles Murray and injured the neck of the liberal professor who dared to accompany him—adopt an extraordinary resolution rejecting punishment for the disruptors. The audacious document declares that protest is a legitimate avenue not only to be heard, but to “compel decisive actions” by institutions. (Nice of them to let us know who is in charge). It also rejects resort to law enforcement because “arrest and criminal charges are associated with police violence and the carceral [sic] state,” smack of “the new Jim Crow,” stigmatize the protesters, and chill their future opportunities.
If this strikes you as lunacy, don’t look for backup from the “adults” running the university. Ulrich Baer, a professor and dean at New York University recently penned an essay in the New York Times “What the Snowflakes Get Right About Free Speech” siding with the students: True “free speech” should be understood to protect marginalized and victimized segments of society from dehumanizing and oppressive ideas of more powerful segments.
This creeping unofficial amending of the First Amendment is not going unchallenged. Legal Rights organizations like the Foundation For Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have represented students and won many important cases against abusive campus actions. But, the victories can be Pyrrhic as universities are some of the wealthiest institutions in society. Litigation can drag on for years, recoveries are usually modest in amount, and school coffers barely feel a sting. Universities are either more fearful of, or likely more ideologically aligned with the leftist militants on campus than they are about an occasional legal setback.
Recognizing this dynamic, some commentators propose congressional action to reclaim liberty on campus. Legislation could change universities’ cost benefit analysis either by withholding federal funds from institutions that fail to protect free speech on campus, and allow mob veto to disrupt the rights of others, or awarding much higher levels of damages to students and faculty whose rights are trampled.
The debate is heating up. It’s not as if Congress has proposed a Constitutional Convention or study committee to reconsider the meaning of the First Amendment. But, leading harbingers of culture and education certainly have. The Convention is underway and the future of freedom is at stake.