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Want to Battle “Fake News”? Do It with the Real Thing.

It would appear that the “alt-right” hysteria has been supplanted by “fake news” hysteria as the American Left goes through its post-election stages of grief.  To be absolutely clear, here, I’m open to the possibility that made-up-story click bait is an existential problem for our society, and I’d welcome serious discussion about whether and how to address it (and at what cost in freedom and treasure), but my goodness, can’t the news media just report the news?

Today’s Providence Journal features an article from Craig Timber of The Washington Post, which the Rhode Island paper gives the click-bait headline, “Russian propaganda helped spread ‘fake news.'”  How bad is the article?  The reader must plow nearly halfway through the 700-word article before Timber bothers to identify the “researchers” whose word he is passing along as tantalizing truth.

Even when we find out who the sources are, they’re just a bunch of names, which the Providence Journal does not contextualize with any details about their backgrounds, their fundings, or any detail that ought to give them credibility.  Timber’s original article in his home paper is longer and therefore has more detail, but even so the question of whether the Russian government used social media and the Internet as a field for propaganda is not put in the context of all of the other interests, on the Left and the Right, attempting to do the same thing.

On The Week, Edward Morrissey argues that the “fake news” narrative is indicative of liberals’ contempt for those who do not share their views.  It can’t be that an astoundingly horrible and corrupt candidate like Hillary Clinton simply lost.  It must be that somebody else was able to deceive the rubes more effectively than the Democrats were. Ian Tuttle of National Review Online is correct to highlight the hypocrisy of handling “fake news” in an ideological fashion.

One need only look at Craig Timber’s report for evidence, according to which one of the dread objectives of Russian masterminds is “undermining faith in American democracy.”  And yet, here is the Washington Post, the Providence Journal, and other reprinting news organizations furthering that objective by building a narrative, essentially, that the election was rigged.

Why?  Because it serves their partisan and ideological agendas to do so.

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The Learning Community’s Divisive Propaganda

Charter schools are still public schools, correct?  They’re still supposed to inculcate values that are truly shared among all of those who have no choice but to fund them, right?

I ask in reaction to an outrageous and divisive op-ed that three leaders of The Learning Community in Central Falls published in yesterday’s Providence Journal, apparently in their official capacity.  These educators are stoking dangerous fear and distrust among their very young students — implicitly accusing the Rhode Islanders who pay their high salaries of exhibiting “emboldened white supremacist, sexist and xenophobic attitudes and actions, escalating locally and nationally.”  They assert that Vice President–elect Mike Pence is “anti-gay.”

I emailed the codirectors, Sarah Friedman and Meg O’Leary for elaboration on that point, but they have not responded.  Had they done so, I would have asked whether their students participate in Governor Gina Raimondo’s sexist girls-only contest.

Their op-ed appeals to fellow educators, “if there is no neutral stance on bullying, there is no neutral stance on bigotry.”  Well, isn’t excluding boys discriminatory?  Isn’t it bigotry to dismiss Mike Pence as “anti-gay” because he understands our rights of free expression and free association to include the right to determine what events one will service occupationally?  Isn’t it bigotry to tell people that they “must reject their whiteness”?  “No neutral stance on bigotry” is nothing but an excuse for them to indulge in what they know is inappropriate behavior.

If the leaders of a public charter school took to the pages of the state’s major daily to slander their fellow Rhode Islanders and make clear that they were propagandizing students with Republican messaging, there would most certainly be consequences.  What consequences will there be for the heads of The Learning Community and the division that they’re using taxpayer funds to sow?  None, because their indoctrination serves the progressive ideology and Rhode Island’s insider system, even as it harms their students by failing to prepare them to live in a pluralistic society that respects the rights of others.

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Bannon an Early Indication of the Suspicion the Left Has Sown

Ian Donnis gave me some space in his weekly bullet-list column to offer a conservative perspective on the Stephen Bannon brouhaha. Sample:

In short, those of us not caught up in the internecine feuds between Trumpkins and NeverTrumpers can’t help but see the fingers of progressive guru Saul Alinsky, who advised radicals to “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” It’s a tactic to sow chaos, division, and hatred. However, the effect may be to unify the Right. We’re watching this tempest spun up within the mainstream media, which we understand to hate us, with the pervasive involvement of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which we’re inclined to see as a hate group.

If anything, the process that has led to the Right’s suspicion has accelerated.  Witness the scene when the cast of Hamilton on Broadway opted to single out Vice President–elect Mike Pence in the audience in order to deliver him a condescending speech with the basic message, “We believe all the worst that’s been said of your administration, and we wanted to disingenuously call for you to respect us by implicitly insulting you and turning your evening of entertainment into a hate-happening that’s sure to attract national attention.”

While I’m concerned about the danger and the rifts that progressives have lost no time in promoting, my perspective as a conservative is otherwise positive.  The opposition is leaving President-Elect Donald Trump no easy path to selling out his base.  By hardening the sides, rather than softening them, lefty activists are ensuring that he can’t afford to let down those audiences that cheer him and his administration rather than booing them.

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Updated: Dear RI Media: Is First-Woman-X Important or Not?

Let’s start with a counter factual.

Imagine that Rhode Island’s House in the General Assembly had historically been run by a Republican majority.  The current speaker of the House, a white man, just won narrow reelection and unanimous reappointment to his leadership position, bringing with him a white male majority leader.  The Democrat minority, by contrast, just elected the first female minority in the history of Rhode Island.

The reportage is not difficult to imagine.  The headline from every news outlet would be some variant of, “Democrat Minority Elects First Female Leader.”  Some reporters might look back in Rhode Island history to see whether any women had ever even bothered to run.  Others would look across the country and immediately inform their readers/listeners/viewers of Rhode Island’s position in the race to break the “glass ceiling.”

And yet, the House Republicans just elected Patricia Morgan (Coventry, Warwick, West Warwick) to the position — calling her “the first female House Minority Leader” in their press release — and the initial reaction of the local media is very different.

RIPR reporter Ian Donnis does mention this distinction, but phrases it as hearsay.  In paragraph 5, he notes that the new Minority Whip, Blake Filippi (Block Island, Charlestown, Westerly, South Kingstown), “believes Morgan is the first female minority leader.”  Patrick Anderson doesn’t bother mentioning gender in the Providence Journal blurb.

On Twitter, journalists seem more interested in being very clear about whether the vote was unanimous and making fun of Filippi for mentioning that he’s the first Millennial Whip.

Look, I think it’s all a phony game to continually make first-[identity group]-[position] proclamations, but the news media clearly does not.  If this particular appointment is not a Big Deal™, one really must wonder if the glass ceiling only matters insofar as it’s a branding aid to Democrats.

(Post script: As I prepared to click “publish,” the Associated Press story appearing on WPRI came out headlining Morgan’s gender.  That doesn’t change the certainty with which we might expect it to be the very first tweet and headline from every single news source were the parties reversed.)

UPDATE (11/17/16 7:15 a.m.):

After this was posted, WJAR headlined Morgan’s gender, as did the Providence Journal in its extended article.

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Early Successes of the Trump Presidency

Earlier today, I was thrilled to discover that the partisans at Politico had developed a reinvigorated concern for the national debt.  It was a reminder that, just walking in the door as a Republican, Donald Trump brings a whole series of improvements to the national civic environment.

In that vein, a lunchtime Facebook post by progressive Phil Eil is the stuff of pure glee:

PSA: Amazon sells pocket copies of the Constitution for $1. I bought a bunch and handed out copies to my students yesterday.

I don’t know how many copies of that very printing I have tucked in corners and forgotten in bags, having collected them at rallies and the like over recent years, and here we have a progressive (journalist and college professor instructor) handing them out as if he were a Tea Party type.  And Trump hasn’t even been sworn in, yet!

How can one not be optimistic about that turn of events — especially in contrast to the persecution of the “sexist” and assault on the civil rights of conservatives (without progressive or media objection) that was surely in store for us had Hillary Clinton won?  As I commented to Phil’s post, the next thing you know, progressives will be organizing public readings of the Declaration on Independence Day.

To be sure, Donald Trump can squander even that initial benefit, but should that day come, progressives can expect that (unlike them, when roles were reversed) conservatives will work to stop the pendulum from swinging to the point that they’ll have to laugh scornfully when they get to the parts about “he has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good” and “has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us” as we have had to do under King Obama.

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The Story of Rhode Island in the Trump-Clinton Divide

The other day, the Providence Journal published an interesting map showing that, much like the country as a whole, Rhode Island’s presidential votes were split by region, with the coastal municipalities’ going to Hillary Clinton and the interior going to Donald Trump.  The image oversimplifies, of course; several cities and towns in the northeast of the state don’t touch the coast, and Charlestown and Tiverton went to Clinton without her winning even half of the vote.

Reporter Paul Edward Parker touch on some of the nuance in the numbers:

Four of the five communities with the highest median household incomes voted for Clinton, as did seven of the eight communities with the lowest incomes.

Essentially, Clinton drew her support from the wealthiest and poorest places, while Trump drew his from the middle.

Laying this out in more detail arguably tells the story of Rhode Island’s current condition in a single chart:

RImuni-clintonvotevsincome

In that red U, we see both the story of the “productive class” and the workings of the “company state.”

Refer back to this 2009 post on Anchor Rising, and you’ll see that the bottom of the U is almost exactly in line with the population that has been leaving Rhode Island throughout this millennium.  As those Rhode Islanders flee the state, those who remain are increasingly part of the “company state” or “government plantations” model, wherein highly paid service providers in and around government have incentive to increase the number of clients requiring subsidized services as a pretense for taking money away from those above the line for subsidies.

This model harms the economy and drives people away because it reduces the incentive and opportunity to work.  The “productive class” is characterized by the economic role of the people who tend to be within it.  It’s the broad class of people whose main function in the economy is to turn their effort and ingenuity into money that they can use to support and advance their families.

This trend is terrible for a state for a multitude of reasons, but two stand out as particularly profound and overarching.  The first is that the “productive class” is the group whose activities are the foundation of a thriving and advancing society.  They are the dynamism and hope for the future.

The second is that the erosion of this tier of the economy as a source of balance eliminates political competition. A loss of political competition will inevitably lead to a political monolith that is not only incapable of correcting itself, but also susceptible to simple, wasteful, and demoralizing corruption.

Those who sympathize with the high points of the U really need to reevaluate the long-term good of their policies.  The rest of us need to redouble our efforts to turn the tide.

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Constructing a Media Narrative with Distant Bricks

Part of my weekend went toward an attempt to view some unedited video taken by Steve Ahlquist of RI Future at the first #NotMyPresident rally in Providence.  My suspicion is that somebody in the crowd shouted some outrageous things (even more outrageous than the “shut up, white boy,” that slipped past the censor), and the smiling activist making a speech at the time agreed with him.

We know from news reports that other journalists were in attendance, and within ear shot, at the time, and yet I’ve seen not a word about it and precious little about the racism that the speaking activist, Mike Araujo, unambiguously proclaimed.  And yet…  here’s a story out of California that did make today’s Providence Journal, by way of the Washington Post:

Three young men were standing on the sidewalk [at a Veterans Day parade in a northern California town], each carrying a variation of the Confederate flag. …

Two of the men, the congressman said, were wearing Donald Trump T-shirts.

A few guys holding flags and wearing t-shirts in an unnamed town on the other side of the country?  That’s news.  Overt racism at an event in Providence?  Not so much.

An unconfirmed story about somebody threatening a Muslim college student and demanding she take off her hijab in Michigan?  That fits the narrative.  An anti-Trump protester holding a “Rape Melania” sign or a man being beaten while his attackers shout about his supporting Trump?  Eh, the page layout people just don’t see the space.

Led by the progressive hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the mainstream media is already hard at work constructing another false narrative.  For younger readers, this is now an undeniable pattern.  During the two terms of George W. Bush, the media made stars out of people who hated him and fomented as much outrage as they could.  During Barack Obama’s two terms, the “stars” turned into villains, and the president’s own outrages were barely covered and never, ever characterized as “scandals.”

Now, they’re back to ginning up “resistance” without missing a beat, and the violence they’re stoking is starting out at a much more fevered pitch.  With these stories, anybody who genuinely feels endangered in the Trump Era will only live under a larger shadow, and any of them inclined toward violence will only feel more justified in using it.

Anybody who might ask how we can trust a news media that behaves this way, the short answer is that we can’t.  Specific facts reported will likely be reliable (although look carefully for words like “unconfirmed” tucked deep in the text), but the narrative they’re constructing is false.  Moreover, it’s a central reason we wound up with Donald Trump as a president.  I shudder to think what might be next if they keep it up.

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Letting It All Sink In

Most of the links I’ve collected over the last couple of days for further consideration and possible posting have had to do with national politics, and I’m not much in the mood to join the chorus, right now.  I will say, though, that the implications of the election are encouraging, irrespective of the president elect (that is, if he stays out of their way).

A pivotal moment came for me the other evening when I heard Rudy Giuliani discussing possible appointments that might fill out the Trump administration.  For most of them, it was a reminder that, before they backed Trump in the first place, I liked how most of these people approach policy issues.  This positive reminder has been reinforced by talk from the other side.  Here one clip from several local environmentalists’ press releases, which Alex Kuffner cut up and reprinted as a Providence Journal article:

“With an uncertain future and a federal government now determined to stop us at every turn, the innovative environmental work happening on the local and regional level is more important than ever,” said Josh Block, press secretary of the Conservation Law Foundation.

Sure, it’s a call to keep local funding going for crony projects and activism for economic deterioration, but if it’s not being pushed and largely funded from Washington, D.C., maybe Rhode Island can have an actual discussion of the policies.  Similarly for education:

Tim Duffy, the executive director of the Rhode Island Association of School Superintendents, worries that Republicans, who now control the House and Senate, will make good on their threats to cut federal spending on education, and possibly move to abolish the Department of Education in its entirety. …

Another area of uncertainty is school choice. Trump has proposed $20 billion to expand school choice for low-income children. Students could use the money to attend private, charter and traditional public schools of their choice.

Even the possibility that the federal government might put families first by skipping over the corrupt and inefficient educational bureaucracy to give federal education resources directly to families who need them is tantalizing.  As is this, via email, from Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza:

These results, and the current state of our nation, present a new opportunity and responsibility for cities to play a much larger role in shaping our democracy. As the mayor of Providence, I commit to doubling down on my efforts to advance a society that is inclusive, compassionate, and forward-thinking.

Yes, yes, he’s talking about “doubling down” on a worldview that is destructive and inimical to freedom and self actualization, but maybe without the federal government imposing progressivism from above and funding activists with tax dollars, we can actually make key decisions at the local level, where they ought to be made.

Nobody should be surprised when our dishonest president-elect looks for ways to back out of difficult promises, but even if his administration only partially reins in the corrosion and abuse of our civic system, we’ll be entering a new era.

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Fishy Mail Ballot Numbers in Cranston

Despite losing the ballot-box count on election night, Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello stood in front of his supporters and declared victory in the race for the Rhode Island House District 15 seat.  “We’ll be up conservatively 300,” he said.  With the Board of Elections wrapping up its mail-ballot count, last night, the speaker did win, but with only a 65-vote margin.

Mattiello’s spokeswoman, Patti Doyle, explained, “Part of the campaign strategy was to encourage our supporters to vote early.”  It is true that the District 15 precincts in Cranston experienced a higher percentage of mail ballots in the citywide race for mayor, but not by much.  In District 15, 9.3% of all votes for mayor were mail ballots, compared with 7.6% citywide.  However, that difference would only account for 121 votes, while Mattiello’s margin of victory in mail ballots was 212.

The mail ballot results in those precincts are also interesting.  Overall, Mattiello lost at the ballot box with 47.5% of the vote, but won in mail ballots with 63.4%.  Curiously, the strongest precinct for Republican challenger Steven Frias (706) also showed the biggest swing in mail ballots.  Frias won the precinct with 54.9% of the vote at the ballot box, but lost in mail ballots with only 26.8%.

Moreover, the ballot-versus-mail swings were nowhere near as dramatic in other races.  Republican President-Elect Donald Trump and Republican Mayor Allan Fung performed four and six percentage points worse in mail ballots, but Frias performed 17 percentage points worse.

cranstonelection-friaslead-mailvpoll

In short, on the numbers alone, Mattiello’s win ought to raise suspicions.  Add in Mattiello’s election-night confidence and indications of inappropriate handling and influence with mail ballots — not to mention the sheer power of the Rhode Island speakership — and the matter clearly deserves a thorough investigation.

More broadly, Rhode Islanders should consider the handling of a voting process that can differ so dramatically from the ballot box, whether because it is vulnerable to fraud or subject to direct involvement of powerful campaigns with each voter.

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And So Begins a New Phase of Paid Agitation

Rarely does one see such open racism in the pages of the Providence Journal — and never without implicit condemnation — as appears in today’s article about anti-Trump agitators in the streets of Providence:

“When we look at how the vote played out on Tuesday we saw white people betraying the working class,” [Mike Araujo, executive director of Rhode Island Jobs With Justice] said.

White people betrayed the working class?  Asking how this works, given Trump’s support among the white working class would be an overly intellectual response to what is nothing more than propaganda to cause tension in our society.

Araujo’s are racist words of civil war, and yet the local news media will continue to treat him as if he’s just a well-meaning advocate essentially participating in a charitable activity.  Indeed, the article spins the militant demonstration — with disaffected young adults chanting “not my president” — as “Facebook driven,” but one suspects any use of Facebook was incidental to the organization of the event.  (Even the small, hyper-local yoga pants march took days to coordinate, and that wasn’t nationwide, as this one was.)

Reporter, Mark Reynolds, pulls up short, merely characterizing Araujo as “the chief speaker at the event — the person with the megaphone,” but he doesn’t offer any information about his group, Rhode Island Jobs With Justice.  Araujo became the executive director of the registered non-profit “Rhode Island Jobs With Justice Education Fund” in May.  The previous director, Jesse Strecker, was paid around $42,000 per year in salary and other compensation as the organization’s only listed employee.  (I haven’t expanded my search to see whether these activists receive additional income from other related sources.)

The group’s funding source appears mainly to be labor unions, and the activities that taxpayers subsidize by treating it as a non-profit appear to be limited to political advocacy.  In the current case, it is actively fomenting discord and division in the United States.

Politicians at the top of this pyramid, like Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, get to call for unity while their shock troops on the ground march around with racist words of division and hatred.  No doubt, the calls for unity at the top will last until a convenient moment, and then the leaders of the movement will declare some action or statement of Trump’s simply beyond the pale and thereby unleash another level of disruption and violence from the paid troops.

Meanwhile, the media will cover it all as just the simple expression of concern about the evil of the other side.

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We Took the Leap, Now for the Grab and Scramble

Last night, when even liberal outlets like the New York Times started putting Donald Trump’s odds of winning the election at better than 75%, my stomach started to ache.  I’ve made strides in overcoming stress since my very-stressful twenties, so it was a strange experience.  Making it worse was that my agita would have been worse if the results had been going the other way.

We’re now like the hero in an action movie who has made an unavoidable but frighteningly risky and dangerous decision, like diving for a falling rope bridge. We’re still going to have to leap for a handhold on the rocks as the bridge comes near the bottom, and then there’s all that climbing to do. But the alternative was slow torture by the Bad Guy followed by painful, ignominious, and isolated death, with our final thoughts devoted to the fate awaiting those whom we were trying to save.

The plans of those who would enslave us have been disrupted. Now we’ve got to work even harder to seize the opportunity, because the chaos around us may be even more immediately dangerous than the slow burn we were fighting before.

In that vein, I hope Trump’s ardent supporters (particularly the alt-right) see that they’ll need those of us who were more circumspect as ballast, so as to actually lead — to govern rather than crash and burn.  For one thing, that will mean some magnanimity and some practical concessions, like moving quickly to work with Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House.  For another, it will mean spending some time on practical steps that will unite use, such as erasing Obama’s imperial legacy by reversing his unilateral moves and wiping away policy lunacy like ObamaCare, as well as ensuring that a fair and thorough investigation and prosecution of the corrupt Clinton Inc. replaces the Obama administration’s cover-up and cleaning house in now-corrupt agencies like the IRS and the Dept. of Justice.

More than anything, though, I hope the shock of yesterday gives progressives and the media a wakeup call. But for their contempt for the American people, and especially those who don’t agree with the forward lunge into radical transformation, the country would not be in this place. But for Obama’s unilateral action, scorn for half the country, and then the sheer audacity of nominating a person like Hillary Clinton, we wouldn’t be here.  Identity politics have to be recognized for the poison that they are.

Those who aren’t thoroughly converted to the left-wing cult must rethink their political philosophies.  We can be absolutely sure that the lesson the zealots will take from the election results will be that they have to be even more calculating and ruthless.  Let’s just say that would be a mistake.

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With Reports of Ballot Machines Breaking Down Around the State…

… why should we be surprised that a state that can’t direct traffic, can’t implement a new DMV computer system for a decade, and can’t make a new $365,000,000 welfare program work out of the gate would be able to change voting technology without some glitches.  So, as with the Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP) debacle, leaving people waiting in line for days and not receiving payments, we have people waiting in line to vote and having to leave their ballots in an open box.  (That’s after a surprise week of heavy “early voting” during which no IDs were necessary.)

I’ve wondered whether the the state’s ruling elite finally allowed the elimination of the vote-for-one-party “master lever” option on the ballot because they were confident they had the whole electoral process more or less locked up anyway.  If we’re going to have a system that’s rigged to the core — down to the fundamental assumption that government policy should be built around vote buying — we might as well have elections that feel like something out of a third-world country.

At least the nature of our government system will be unmistakable.

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Wanting Your Business but Backing Those Who Take Your Money Away

Why businesses involve themselves with electoral politics — as distinct from policy matters and ballot questions — is a question worth considering.  All things being equal, companies (especially retail companies) should be disinclined to make public political declarations that they are under no obligation to make, and yet, Ted Nesi reports:

Noted: Tasca Auto, Cardi’s Furniture and Carpionato Group (!) out with a mailer to Cranston voters today backing Mattiello (D) and Fung (R)

Tasca and Cardi’s spend tens of thousands (perhaps millions) of dollars trying to make everybody in the area think well of them.  Why would they turn around and risk angering a large segment of their consumer base?  My household is finally getting to a place at which new furniture and cars are not out of the question, and I know this mailer makes me less inclined to contribute to Cardi’s and Tasca’s establishment-reinforcing bottom lines.

Granted, unlike the nation as a whole, Rhode Island isn’t exactly a fifty-fifty state, but even so, these companies must expect to derive greater profits through political support of the status quo than they would from all of the customers who’ll shop somewhere else because of it.  That, ultimately, is the problem, because mixed in with every other issue that voters must consider, it distorts the entire process by which we decide how we want to be governed.

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Clinton Just Can’t Be President

As this horrid campaign season comes to an end, Clinton’s supporters have proven that the country needs votes against her, as her, not as one half of “the two unpopular major party candidates.”

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CVS Layoffs – Political Policy AGAIN Comes Home to Roost in RI

[The Gaspee Business Network just issued the following statement/exhortation.]

We are incredibly sad to announce that amid the long standing depressed job market in Rhode Island as well as the worst business climate in the nation, hundreds of moms and dads, struggling young adults, and professionals were laid off today at the CVS corporate office in Woonsocket. The members of the GBN family wish to extend our deepest condolences to those who must now find some means of making ends meet right before the holidays amid one of the worst economies in the country.

The people to blame for these layoffs are the politicians that have run Rhode Island into the ground for decades.

Nothing will change until each and every career politician is removed from office on Smith Hill.

These government bureaucrats have made the cost to employ the hard working men and women in Rhode Island so expensive, companies have no choice but to outsource their labor to other countries.

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Imagining a Counterfactual State Police Colonel

Is State Police Captain Ann Assumpico the most qualified person on the planet, or even among the Rhode Island State Police, to take the reins of the department at this point in time?  I don’t know, but I’m sorry to say the appointment strikes me as unavoidably tainted.

According to Providence Journal reporter Katherine Gregg, Assumpico is (or was) the seventh in command in the department.  That seems like a rather large jump.  That seems like a rather significant number of professionals who’ve put in years of dedicated service to the state who were skipped over.

Even then, I probably wouldn’t say anything, but the person doing the appointment, Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo, annually conducts an official, unconstitutional, and sexist contest that discriminates against boys in Rhode Island schools.  She’s a politician who actively supports an astonishingly corrupt presidential candidate explicitly because she’s not a man.

Imagine the outrage we’d be hearing from all quarters if a male governor who hosted a no-girls-allowed contest and told voters they should pick the man running for president because of his maleness proceeded to skip over six higher-ranked women in the State Police to appoint a man.  This imaginative exercise is rated “too easy even to bother.”

All the journalists on-hand for Assumpico’s appointment as I write this just tweeted her statement that “she didn’t have any female role models in law enforcement growing up.”  That’s an unfortunate remnant of our societal evolution, but it’s one that our current cultural trajectory would likely eliminate within a few generations even without putting thumbs on scales.

Even so, in order to accelerate the process (and give powerful politicians credit for breaking the cultural speed limit), is it worth sending boys growing up now the message that they have no chance because of past history?  That they have to be seven times better than any girl in order to get any breaks?  Because the evidence suggests (see herehere, and here) that that’s the message they’re getting.

As for identity politics (seen in today’s earlier post, too), one gets the feeling that the people in charge, like our governor, don’t actually think that the jobs that we’re hiring people to do are the most important considerations, but rather the employees’ demographic qualities — which we used to be encouraged to see as superficial.  And if that’s the case, let’s just get government out of all of these apparently unimportant activities and pay people to be female or to have dark skin.

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