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The cure for toxic masculinity is real masculinity

The cure for toxic masculinity is real masculinity

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Since the #MeToo phenomenon hit, I have started asking my female friends directly about their everyday experiences with men. For example, what proportion of men that they “meet” on a dating app send utterly inappropriate communications, and how often in everyday life does a guy disrespect them in a way that’s overtly or implicitly sexual?

While I am sure that my circle of male friends isn’t fully representative of the population of men at large, I was shocked to discover from my unscientific survey how many men have no clue about how to behave. Based on the combined responses of several women I trust, the number of men who say or do something offensive to a woman they don’t know on a dating app, almost right out of the gate, may be just shy of a majority.

And many a young woman can, if you ask her, relate tales of men making inappropriate remarks, shouting out of a car window as she walks down the street, whipping out his genitalia after one too many drinks, or being opportunistically crude at a coffee shop, even as she sits there with a very young child. (These were all stories I was told.) For some young women, these things seem to happen on a more or less monthly basis.

My recent conversations with female friends about the matter has led me to this question: what the hell is wrong with these men, and why are there so many of them?

What has happened to men?

To me, this is not a question about sexual harassment. It’s a more fundamental one: an old-fashioned idea called manners. My female friends’ experiences with men have surprised me because they have to put up with a lot more, and a lot more often, than I could have expected based on the evidence available to me as a result of my interactions with other men.

Even though I have robust views about not calling gittish and crass people “predators” or those on the receiving end of rude behaviors “victims”, it must be horrible to have to put up with so much boorishness. I don’t think I’d have the patience for it.

How have we let this happen?

If you’re male and reading this with the same limited appreciation of the matter as I had before I started asking my female friends to list examples of ill-mannered, sexually-loaded behavior, you may be skeptical. I urge you, however, to do the same thing as I have done and ask a cross-section of your female friends to give you examples of their personal anecdotes of such behavior from the last few months. They may well provide more than you expect.

Thinking on all of this, and being appalled by bad manners anywhere for any reason, I have started considering what I, as a man, should be saying to other men, if anything, about this problem. My long-held opinion (stated elsewhere) that Western culture is suffering a crisis in masculinity may well find sympathy among many of those who have been fervent in driving the #MeToo phenomenon, but I suspect my prescription for solving this crisis may be more controversial: I believe we need more masculinity, not less, and we need it because what the Louis C.K.s and the Weinsteins of this world have been doing is not an expression of masculinity in its true sense at all.

I’d like to see us turning to these men and asking them in a very disappointed tone, as opposed to a dramatic and scandalized one, “How pathetic are you — and why?” Because that question in that tone conveys the important message that their behavior doesn’t make them more manly; it makes them less so.

Toxic masculinity is the problem, not simply masculinity

Scientifically trained, I generally take care to get out of my own subjective way in my political articles, but this time, I’ll make an exception and happily admit that what follows is a subjective, almost intuitive suggestion offered in the hope of inviting constructive discussion.

The true masculine, or the “sacred masculine” if you prefer, is kind, honest, controlled, disciplined, heroic, protective, strong, rational, and even clever. Throwing out the baby of masculinity with the bathwater of disrespect is absolutely the last thing we need to be doing. Telling men that masculinity is inherently flawed or dangerous is to tell a lie born of misdiagnosis. The moral vacuum in which Weinstein and Franken and others of their ilk operate can only be filled by a celebratory masculinity that is held up as something to aspire to.

If there is such a thing as a spiritual law, none is more certain than, “What is focused on is made bigger,” so let us define that highest version of masculinity as an invitation to men – a north star, if you will, to guide them as they interact with others. That would enable those aspects of men that are gendered, sexual, and desirous to be integrated into the highest versions of who they are, rather than denied or pathologized only to be expressed in distorted ways that can, indeed, reasonably be called “toxic.”

Treating toxic masculinity with real masculinity and pointing to the difference between the two has the benefit of engaging the irrepressible male ego on the side of good — of aligning maleness with manners rather than against them.

Perhaps most importantly, a culturally normalized notion of proud and positive masculinity would allow mothers once again to be able to say to their sons, “This is how you treat a woman, and, in so doing, this is how to be a man.” Boys want to be men, so we can surely only improve them by appealing to that desire rather than suppressing it and thereby creating a vacuum to be filled by a distorted and hollow replacement.

Attention: Men. Don’t be stupid.

Shocking as they are, it’s not all the male bad manners that astonished me most about the stories I’ve recently heard. It’s male stupidity. After all, if I were a man who wants any kind of sexual satisfaction or affirmation from a woman, and the most sophisticated play I had was to shout out of a car window, rub up against her on a train, or ask her if I can masturbate in front of her, then you’d hope that I’d eventually work out that my method isn’t all that effective.

How deficient, one may ask, does a person have to be to be unable to assess the results of his actions against his goals, especially as the results (or lack thereof) repeat themselves over and over? Indeed, a need for sexual affirmation or activity that is so great that they would cause me to leave my manners at the front door should, even if I were a sociopath, motivate me to start collecting the data. (Rationality is supposed to be a “masculine trait” too, isn’t it?) How long, then, before the thought hits that being rude to every second woman that I find faintly attractive isn’t getting me what I want from them?

In reaction to that level of stupidity alone, I can’t help but feel that men should be asking other men, “What is this nonsense?”

That would be an approach to making better men that makes more of true masculinity, not less of it. It’s an approach that says to those who are toxic in their approaches to women, “That’s the opposite of masculinity. That’s what you do when you’re not a man. That’s what you do when you haven’t got the basics.”

Holding the feminine and the truly masculine sacred

I love the polarity that exists between the masculine and feminine. Long before #MeToo, I was writing that no one benefits when men can’t be men because masculinity itself has almost become taboo. Men who can’t be, and feel like, real men cannot give women the pleasure of feeling like real women.

I stand by all of that, but when I first wrote it, I was missing something: there are a bunch of men out there on dating apps and shouting out of car windows who actually are making women feel very much like women – but not the kind of women they want to feel like being. You could say, rather, that toxic male approaches are causing women to have a toxic experience of their own femininity. How dare we do that to something so exquisite and delicious?

So, my message to men who are disrespecting women is that you are making it harder for the rest of us. By giving women good reason to be wary of any kind of male approach, you’re making all the women out there skeptical of me and the decent examples of my gender. And I’m not OK with that.

But I also have a message for mothers. Mom, it’s okay to make your son a man. It’s okay to use that word. Only once you’ve used that word can you turn around and say, “This behavior isn’t masculine; it’s pathetic. And by the way, son, if you actually want to get with an attractive woman, here’s how not to do it. Don’t disrespect her; don’t throw crude one-liners out of a car window, and don’t send a picture of your genitals to her on a dating app. If you want to get the attractive women, the smart women, the kind of women you’re going to enjoy — and you should — then why don’t you learn a little bit about them? Indeed, why don’t you learn a little bit about the difference between them and you?”

And that last piece is so important because I have a sense (and I could be wrong) that many people who have been pushing the #MeToo phenomenon hard are of the more third-wave-feminist persuasion, wanting to collapse that distinction between men and women. (It’s all socialization, they say.) But I’m suggesting the exact opposite approach to solving the problem out of which #MeToo has arisen.

Why not tell our boys what’s great and beautiful about masculinity so that once we’ve built them up in what they are, they have no need to feel threatened or intimidated by learning about the feminine other — that other that will drive them through life in more ways than they will ever consciously realize? Let’s spend more time promoting models of positive masculinity than on telling guys, young and old, that, and why, we’re all awful. (We’re not.) Let’s talk up the good alpha-males: those who are comfortable in their masculinity — assertive while respectful, confident while polite, ambitious while kind. They exist in all areas of life. The next time you’re about to talk about Al Franken’s shenanigans, how about talking instead about one of those real men, who gets what he wants through respect? And draw the contrast between them explicitly.

Spoiler alert: Sex is amazing. So seek it properly.

Then, as we start celebrating healthy, robust masculinity, let’s not slip back into thinking that the problem we are trying to solve has anything much to do with sex. As Oscar Wilde famously said, “Everything in the world is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.”

That applies here and now – albeit not in quite the way Wilde meant it.

The unacceptable sexual behaviors of men who exhibit toxic masculinity are rooted in something to do with power – but not primarily in the conscious exertion of sexual power over another. Rather, their disrespectful treatment of women for a sexual prize (which they invariably fail to win) is reflective of a lack of inner power as men which leaves them resorting to aggressive behavior and exploiting the immediate superficial and circumstantial power that exists by virtue of a professional relationship or particular social or economic context.

Men shouldn’t behave disrespectfully toward women not because there’s anything wrong with their sexuality, their desire, or their masculinity. No; they shouldn’t do it because no one should disrespect anyone, ever. Period. End of story.

We have to take care, then, that we don’t misdiagnose the disease just because it is more easily seen in certain situations than in others: disrespect from men is disproportionately observed in the sexual domain because the male sexual imperative is never really turned off, and it necessarily manifests in ways that are directly seen and experienced by women (assuming the men are straight).

Women, please help us good men police our own by talking up positive masculinity – the masculinity that you want more of. Celebrate the polarity between your femininity and the masculinity of the men you like. Tell us that it’s ok to be sexually assertive and thoroughly masculine – but only in the right context. And explain to us that that context always involves the prior establishment of mutual respect, a sense of safety, and trust. We are basic creatures. You, ladies, are gatekeepers. So let us know that respect and social competence will open that gate much more easily than will crude attempts to bash it down.

In short, don’t ask us not to be men. Ask us to be real men.

— Robin Koerner

Robin Koerner is British-born and recently became a citizen of the USA. A decade ago, he founded WatchingAmerica.com, an organization of over 200 volunteers that translates and posts views about the USA from all over the world, works as a trainer and a consultant, and recently wrote the book If You Can Keep It.

Source: Will County News

Illinois lawmakers look to see if they can regulate Bitcoin

Illinois lawmakers look to see if they can regulate Bitcoin

FILE - Bitcoin, cryptocurrency
Shutterstock photo

Illinois lawmakers aren’t letting the latest fad in investing go unnoticed. The Illinois House is ready with a new task force to look at how to regulate Bitcoin, or if they even can.

State Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, said Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency is designed to be decentralized and free from the regulations of traditional cash. So there is a question as to what Illinois can do to regulate Bitcoin.

Andrade says, instead, he expects a focus on blockchain, which is the peer-to-peer sharing technology behind Bitcoin.

“I think the regulations are going to focus more on making blockchain technology more acceptable,” Andrade said. “Having the ability for people to use blockchain technology in everyday life. As in contracts, or real estate transfers, titles, and deeds.”

Andrade said he doesn’t want to see Illinois go too far with limiting Bitcoin or the blockchain technology.

“We are not here to over-regulate. Absolutely not,” Andrade said. “I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable in investing in Bitcoin.”

Andrade is expecting a report on what the state can do to regulate both Bitcoin and the blockchain in a few weeks. He said it may be months before there’s an actual plan for new regulations.

Source: Will County News

Med marijuana growers optimistic they will be unaffected following federal policy change

Med marijuana growers optimistic they will be unaffected following federal policy change

FILE - Chris Stone, CEO of HCI Alternatives
Chris Stone, CEO of Springfield and Collinsville medical cannabis dispensary HCI Alternatives

Photo courtesy of HCI

Two medical marijuana growers in Illinois were not immediately concerned about the U.S. Department of Justice’s new stance on enforcement of federal marijuana laws. However, one wondered to what extent the federal government will go in enforcing such laws and whether a federal prosecutor could close his business.

A news release Thursday from the DOJ said, “Congress has generally prohibited the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana.”

The move returns power to “federal prosecutors who know where and how to deploy Justice Department resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantle criminal gangs.”

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the announcement “simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”

That news release has raised concerns with Illinois state lawmakers and legal medical cannabis operations alike.

Illinois medical cannabis dispensary Maribis has operations in the Springfield area in the DOJ’s Central District of Illinois and also in the Chicago area in the Northern District of Illinois.

Maribis General Manager Dan Linn said said the DOJ’s new stance is causing him concern.

“The reality is that if there was a U.S. attorney in the Central Illinois district who wanted to kind of gain some national headlines, they could very well come in and arrest us,” Linn said.

He doesn’t anticipate that will happen, necessarily, but Sessions has seemingly created that potential.

HCI Alternatives has dispensaries in Springfield and in the DOJ’s Southern District of Illinois in Carbondale.

HCI CEO Chris Stone wasn’t too concerned about federal involvement.

“For good operators like us who are fully compliant with the law, and are actually over compliant with the state law, I don’t worry about this because, you know what, we do a great job,” Stone said. “And I would hope that most if not all the other dispensaries and cultivation groups in the state do a great job. So I don’t think those are the guys that are going to be affected by this.”

Both Linn and Stone said a federal amendment making medical pot off limits to federal enforcement also provides them assurances.

 

Linn said Maribis is telling their patients to get more involved in the political process “so that we can actually see a potential change on the federal level and the law and the scheduling of cannabis which would allow many benefits for our patients and our business.”

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said Congress should take the issue up to respect state’s rights.

“Those citizens chose that path and to me the federal government ought to respect that in this case as I’ve asked the federal government to respect it in many other instances,” Davis said.

He notes that states with medical marijuana laws see a statistical decrease in the number of opioid addictions because people find relief through cannabis, rather than synthetic opioids, prescription pills or street heroin.

Trump administration Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the move highlights the DOJ’s priority to enforce federal law.

Source: Will County News

President Trump is Right – We Need Welfare Reform

President Trump is Right – We Need Welfare Reform

Originally published at Fox News. by Newt Gingrich

President Trump is Right – We Need Welfare Reform

The Trump economy is strong. The stock market is at record highs and the unemployment rate is at a 17-year low. This is thanks largely to the Trump Administration’s aggressive regulatory reforms and the passage of historic tax cuts. Business after business is celebrating the passage of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by announcing new investments, bonuses, and pay raises.

But despite soaring business confidence and a strong economy, businesses are scrambling to find workers to fill 6 million open jobs. And now, their primary challenge is to get people who have been sitting on the sidelines back to work.

President Trump knows our broken welfare system is a major barrier to achieving this goal, and he has vowed to tackle welfare reform next. And it’s a good thing, because welfare definitely is, as the President put it, “out of control.”

In 2000, over 17 million Americans received food stamps, officially known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. That number has swelled to more than 42 million today. As a result of Obama Administration’s policies, the number of Americans on food stamps is now greater than the population of Canada.

Nationwide spending on the program is roughly $70 billion annually — 20 percent of which is wasted on junk food, candy, soda, and other sugary drinks. Consider California, which spent more than $1 billion on food stamp benefits in August and September alone.

During the Obama years, liberals argued that the program was expanding rapidly due to the recession. But that was only half the story, as the Obama Administration also expanded program eligibility through aggressive administrative actions.

And now, despite the booming economy and employers who are desperate for more workers, enrollment in food stamps remains high — and is not expected to return to pre-recession levels any time soon, if ever.

The good news is that President Trump has a chance to take on food stamps in the upcoming Farm Bill, which funds the program and is reauthorized every five years. The bad news is that unfortunately, the food stamp program is not the only runaway welfare program.

Medicaid enrollment has soared to nearly 75 million, with almost one out of every five Americans on the program. Medicaid spending is now 30 percent of state budgets, and the number of working age, able-bodied adults on the program has more than quadrupled since 2000. Even worse, 52 percent of non-disabled adult enrollees do not work at all. Let me repeat, these are able-bodied Americans who have decided not to work.

Similarly, Social Security Disability for working-age adults nearly doubled from 1996 to 2015, increasing from 7.7 million to 13 million and pulling more working-age adults out of the workforce. Are we to believe, with all of our workplace safety and health care advancements in the past 20 years, that Americans are now nearly twice as likely to become disabled as they were two decades ago? Or are there simply now more people collecting disability who are actually fully capable of working?

This is why President Trump’s plan to tackle welfare reform is so important. With no major federal welfare reform in over 20 years, these programs have continued to consume more public funds and encourage more Americans to seek dependency, rather than a productive work life.

When we worked with President Clinton to pass welfare reform in 1996, it helped drive the boom of the late 1990s. The welfare rolls shrunk by 60 percent nationwide and low-income families formerly on welfare went to work and saw their incomes increase by 25 percent. As a result, child poverty rates fell every year through 2000. In fact, it was the largest improvement in children leaving poverty in American history.

To do this again, we must get people back to work. One of the reasons that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash welfare dependency hasn’t grown out of control, while enrollment in other welfare programs has dramatically increased, is that TANF has a work requirement and a time limit. Conversely, the food stamp program has a work requirement for only a narrow segment of adults and has been largely waived, and Medicaid has none at all, although states are now askingthat it be added. The Trump Administration’s budget wisely proposes applying work requirements more broadly in the welfare system.

It’s smart because work requirements help lift people out of poverty. Maine and Kansas have shown that work requirements in TANF and food stamps helped people more than double their earnings.

The President should take an all-of-the-above approach to welfare reform. He should pull back on some of the Obama Administration’s overreaches, approve waiver requests, advocate for Congress to reform food stamps in the upcoming Farm Bill, and work with Congress on additional legislation.

Now is not the time for structural entitlement reform of Social Security or Medicare, but there is no better time economically and politically to tackle welfare reform and enable millions of Americans to experience the power of work. There is no more powerful economic force than an American experiencing the dignity of work and pride in a paycheck, earning the admiration of their children and the respect of their community. Let’s unleash it.

Your Friend,
Newt

Source: Will County News

Jeff Sessions hates freedom

Steve Balich Editor Note: The 10th Amendment says if it is not an authority given in the Constitution, it is the responsibility of the States. Our Constitution is the ultimate authority for the rule of law in the U.S. Therefore the Federal Government should stay out of making law they have no authority to do.

Jeff Sessions hates freedom

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday moved to eliminate the provision that allows states to regulate the legal sale of marijuana and opened the door for a massive ramp up of attacks on legal pot businesses by federal drug enforcers.

Whatever you thought about President Barack Obama, his administration’s decision to get the federal government out of the business of attack states where voters opted for marijuana legalization was a win for states’ rights.

Sessions evidently is not such a fan of states’ abilities to determine what’s right for their residents.

As The Associated Press reported:

The Trump administration threw the burgeoning movement to legalize marijuana into uncertainty Thursday as it lifted an Obama-era policy that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will now leave it up to federal prosecutors to decide what to do when state rules collide with federal drug law.

Sessions’ action, just three days after a legalization law went into effect in California, threatened the future of the young industry, created confusion in states where the drug is legal and outraged both marijuana advocates and some members of Congress, including Sessions’ fellow Republicans. Many conservatives are wary of what they see as federal intrusion in areas they believe must be left to the states.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who represents Colorado, one of eight states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, said the change contradicts a pledge Sessions made to him before being confirmed as attorney general. Gardner promised to push legislation to protect marijuana sales, saying he was prepared “to take all steps necessary” to fight the change, including holding up the confirmation of Justice Department nominees. Another Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, called the announcement “disruptive” and “regrettable.”

The policy in question was instated via what’s known as the Cole Memo.

The Cole Memo and FinCEN guidelines adopted under the Obama administration were heralded as an end to aggressive federal marijuana enforcement efforts that would allow state legalization experiments to run their course.

In a letter to Sessions last year, several pot state governors explained why the AG should leave Cole alone.

They wrote:

The Cole Memo and the related Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) guidance provide the foundation for state regulatory systems and are vital to maintaining control over marijuana in our states. Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences. Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states. Likewise, without the FinCEN guidance, financial institutions will be less willing to provide services to marijuana-related businesses. This would force industry participants to be even more cash reliant, posing safety risks both to the public and to state regulators conducting enforcement activity.

So, people in certain states decided that prohibition of marijuana doesn’t work and organized to change their laws. Decriminalization is working.

Sessions doesn’t care. His only concern with this issue, it seems, is whether the federal government is able to exert the full force of its power making bureaucrats and private prisons rich with the disastrous War on Drugs.

Source: Will County News

Our lives are regulated by unseen authority

Millions live and die and never know that their lives are regulated by unseen authority. Every detail of our lives is prescribed. Doctors, lawyers, Indians or chiefs, we are regimented into the system.

What is the system? It is the totality of laws, regulations, social pressures and morality which regulate our lives, including our very thoughts.

Some call the system democracy. Some call the system Americanism. Most believe that we are free and that our freedom evolved from the Constitution.

Our lives are an expression of the confluence (the blending of influences) of the establishment. We do not feel or see the regimentation and the bridled force that programs our lives to produce for the system which George Orwell called “Big Brother.” We unconsciously give our minds and bodies to the system.

We literally give our labor for numbers on pieces of paper that some influence told us was money. Through force and regulation these numbers imply confidence that we can exchange for bread. The illusion is compounded when we are forced to return some of the numbers to government as “taxes.” Yes, we live and die with abstract numbers which the system has taught us is money. But the system has not taught us or revealed to us that the system created these numbers. They cost the system nothing.

These numbers that we sell our bodies and souls for is the heartbeat of the system. No one dare inquire into the source of these numbers. The fraud and deceit is too big to discuss, too powerful to challenge, and too incredible to imagine. The system has omitted any challenge to itself.

What is the force that cements the system? It is police power.

Government is police power. Government by definition, by nature, by history and by practical existence is police power. Government would not and could not exist without police power. When governments lose their police power, they collapse.

Every act of government and its politicians is motivated by its police power. Government police power is awesome, and it is a hush-hush subject.

Let’s go to Black’s Law Dictionary. “Police power is the power of the state to place restraints on the personal freedom and property rights of persons for the protection of the public safety, health and morals or the promotion of the public convenience and general prosperity. The police power is subject to limitations of the federal and state constitutions, and especially to the requirements of due process. Police power is the exercise of the sovereign right of a government to promote order, safety, security, health, morals and general welfare within constitutional limits and is an essential attribute of government.” Marshall v. Kansas City, MO. 355 SW 2nd 877,883.

Public Policy: What is public policy? The term “public policy” is a very innocent and disarming term which in reality is the very opposite of the public impression. Public policy is the system in writing and practice.

Public policy is actually the police power in action. It is the manifestation of police power — the implementation of government force. Back to Black’s Law Dictionary on public policy; “That principle of the law which holds that no subject (that’s you) can lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to the public or against the public good. The principles under which the freedom of contract or private dealings is restricted by law for the good of the community. The term ‘policy,’ as applied to a statute, regulation, rule of law, course of action, or the like, refers to its probable effect, tendency, or object considered with reference to the social or political well-being of the state…”

There you have it — a police state. Do not be deceived by mention in Black’s Law Dictionary definition “to limitations of the federal and state constitutions…” Police power is not limited and does not come about by due process but by usurpation and wrongful seizure of your mind, your body and your wealth through deception.

If you read this Black’s Law Dictionary definition closely, you will see that the interest of the state in all matters prevails over you, the individual.

When politicians and bureaucrats talk about democracy and public policy, they speak with a forked tongue. They want you to believe that these terms refer to personal liberty. They do not, and the politician knows that they do not. They know that they refer to the police power and enforcement of state authority over the individual. They are code words for government force.

“Government is not reason; it’s not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it’s a dangerous servant and a fearful master…” George Washington.

Police power is physical force. If you fail to file and pay your income tax, you will be introduced to the police power of the government. (I use the terms “pay” and “income tax” in the vernacular, not in the monetary realism sense as we have discussed in the past.)

But police power limited to physical force and intimidation can be overthrown even by citizens who have no guns. To limit our definition of police power to physical force would indeed make this discussion as frivolous and childish as “Ned in the First Reader.”

Police power goes far beyond the definition given above from Black’s Law Dictionary. We speak of the subtle and hidden power of government to persuade the public mind. Government persuasion is the indoctrination of the individual through his church, his public school, through his fraternities and the media to sacrifice his person, his individuality and his property for the “greater good” of the group. Group is translated government authority.

Once we yield our minds to government force under the pretense of “the greater good” or “the national interest,” there is no need to concern ourselves with “the right to bear arms.”

In our high school and college history classes we learned about the abolition of slavery in America. However, we learned nothing about the nationalization of slavery with police power as outlined above. Statutory freedom shackled with mental marriage to the beast is a study in the pathology of the public mind. This means that we are given certain freedoms by way of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights on one hand and brainwashed into servitude on the other.

Police power is sovereignty of the state over mind, body and soul. To believe otherwise is to live by illusion.


Yours for the truth,
Bob Livingston
Bob Livingston

Source: Will County News

The mainstream media seeks to underreport it, these numbers don’t lie. 

Only a few days into 2018 and we’re already off to a roaring start.  This week the Dow reached and surpassed the historic mark of 25,000, but that’s only the beginning of good financial news.  The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also reached record highs.

Below we’ve compiled several highlights that demonstrate just how solid the economy is growing under President Trump and the Republican Congress.  No matter how much the mainstream media seeks to underreport itthese numbers don’t lie. 

For example, well over 100 companies have awarded employees with “Trump Bonuses” after tax reform victory.  Not only are we seeing job opportunities increasing, our economy is also witnessing the lowest level of job-layoffs since the 1990s.

It’s worth noting that this may be getting too big for even The New York Times to ignore.  Check out this headline from New Year’s Day: The Trump Effect: Business, Anticipating Less Regulation, Loosens Purse Strings.

In the same vein, CBS News recently released a report on how the tax reform legislation will likely impact different households throughout the country.  Even the CBS analysis showed that each of the three households examined would pay less in taxes as a result of the tax legislation. 

But perhaps the best news is that this is only the beginning of the great things to come as a result of lower taxes and reduced regulations under President Trump.  On the regulatory front, the Trump Administration already has done much to rein in the regulatory state.

For example, in his first year in office, President Trump has:

More is still to come.  For example, a recent analysis shows that our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will rise to well above 5 percent!  (This is an additional 2.2 percent growth in the long run). That increase translates to roughly $3,000 per household income increase!  That’s a significant amount for families struggling to make ends meet.  And remember, this is along with increased job opportunities and private-sector bonuses.

But as Club for Growth has been quick to note before, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed last December shouldn’t be viewed as the endgame – rather, it’s just the beginning.

As both the House and the Senate return to Washington next week, Club for Growth encourages Congress to seize this momentum and continue to fight for more pro-growth reforms.

Below we’ve compiled an outline of a few pro-growth starting points for this year, particularly as Congress looks to enact more reforms to grow our economy.  As Club for Growth has noted before, Congress should take up a new tax bill next year, which includes:

  • Having a real 25 percent maximum rate for businesses organized as subchapter S corps or LLCs, rather than artificial exclusions for sectors like financial services, and unfairly excluding 80 percent of business income from the pass-through rate.
  • Making permanent the temporary tax cuts for individuals.
  • Eliminating the Death Tax.
  • Repealing fully the Alternative Minimum Tax.
  • Cutting capital gains taxes to spur individual investments.
  • Repealing fully the taxes in Obamacare.

Race Update:
Yesterday Club for Growth PAC-endorsed candidate Josh Mandel announced he would be withdrawing his candidacy for U.S. Senate.  His announcement came in conjunction with news that Josh’s wife, Ilana, has a health issue that will require his time and attention.  As Josh explained in his statement, ‘Understanding and dealing with this health issue is more important to me than any political campaign.’

It’s with a heavy heart I share Josh’s news with you.  The Club for Growth PAC supports Josh in his decision to do what’s best for his wife and his family.

Club for Growth is grateful for all Josh has done to promote fiscal responsibility and transparency in his service to Ohio, and we have no doubt he would have made a great senator.  Josh is a conservative and a patriot.  Our prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time.

– Rachael Slobodien

Communications Director | Club for Growth

Please consider a donation to the Club for Growth to support our continued legislative advocacy efforts.
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Source: Will County News

CPS employees stole gift cards meant for students, watchdog says

CPS employees stole gift cards meant for students, watchdog says

Chicago Public Schools employees “stole or misappropriated” thousands of dollars worth of school-purchased gift cards that were intended to be used as incentives for students and families, according to an annual report from the district’s inspector general.

In one case, a principal of a school for vulnerable students stole presents of at least “$500 in gift cards that were donated to the students and were intended to help address their specialized needs,” Inspector General Nicholas Schuler’s office found. The same principal gave to an acquaintance 30 new backpacks filled with school supplies that had been donated, according to Schuler.

The misuse of gift cards was among a long list of alleged wrongdoing by teachers, principals and district families in the IG’s annual report, which was released Wednesday. Among other findings of the report, which does not identify schools or employees by name:

• An elementary school principal spent at least $22,000 in school funds for personal purchases at Costco and Apple stores.

• A district agricultural program employee used his meat processing company to sell eggs produced at the school for a profit.

• A principal used school funds to fund a “teachers’ lunch club” featuring lobster, shrimp and steaks.

• Families continued to use false addresses to get their children into highly competitive selective-enrollment programs.

The report covers investigations completed between July 2016 and the end of last June. It also summarized investigations that led to the ouster of district CEO Forrest Claypool, who resigned in December after being accused of trying to undermine an ethics investigation; found irregularities at a high school program for Cook County Jail inmates; and questioned the ability of blacklisted CPS employees to find work at independently operated district schools.

But a primary focus of this year’s report was the “wasteful” practice of purchasing gift cards that are intended to be used as incentives for students and families. The findings prompted the IG to demand changes in how the district supervises the widespread practice of buying gift or cash cards.

Dozens of CPS schools, offices and departments spent slightly more than $250,000 on 7,462 gift or cash cards between January 2013 and December 2016, according to Schuler’s office. Employees at five schools examined by the IG used some of those cards to make more than $10,200 in “personal purchases,” Schuler said.

According to the report, a principal and clerk at a program for vulnerable students used cards to spend more than $3,000 on items that “at best, were only somewhat related to educational purposes or, at worst, were clearly for personal reasons.” That included wedding favors, several purchases from an Iowa casino and “repeated expenditures at restaurants.”

Schuler said his office also discovered the school’s principal and other employees stole hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards that were donated to students, as well as hundreds of dollars in school funds. The former employees also tried to intimidate a teacher at the school into lying to investigators, Schuler said.

The principal and clerk resigned in light of the investigation, Schuler said. Two additional employees were fired.

Staff members at four other buildings used school-purchased gift cards to pay for a range of expenses that included telephone bills, car detailing at a BMW dealership, Kmart layaway payments and meals.

Schools sometimes used the gift cards after the district banned petty cash funds and stopped giving schools credit cards for some purchases, Schuler’s office found.

In addition to the misuse of the gift cards, Schuler criticized the extra expense the district incurs because of the processing and service fees.

Schuler’s office asked the Chicago Board of Education to create a new policy that specifies when schools can use gift cards, sets out how the cards would be tracked and limits their purchase to one competitively selected vendor. CPS on Wednesday said it was developing a broader policy to govern the purchase and use of gift cards.

During the year covered by the report, the inspector general’s office received 1,457 complaints. Schuler said his team opened investigations into 276 cases, a low rate that has previously been blamed on the IG’s limited resources compared to the sheer size of the school district’s workforce and budget.

Those investigations included more routine examinations of residency cases, purchasing or improper uses of sick time.

One less-routine case concerned an employee of a high school program that specializes in agricultural sciences. Schuler’s office concluded the employee violated district ethics codes by using his meat processing company to sell the school $800 worth of frozen turkeys, and purchase eggs produced at the school before selling them for a profit of roughly $130.

Also, the employee donated two mares to a school horse breeding program but was eligible to receive breeder’s awards if horses foaled at the school eventually won races.

CPS said the employee and two other members of the school’s staff accused in this case were reprimanded, and the meat processing company was barred from doing any additional business with the district.

Serious theft cases Schuler summarized included a one in which an elementary school principal allegedly stole at least $22,461 of school funds over a four-year period to purchase large amounts of alcohol, food and high-end electronics for his and his family’s personal use.

That principal left the district before any discipline could be carried out, though Schuler said the matter was referred to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

In a statement, CPS spokesman Michael Passman said the district “has worked to address the incidents outlined in the report, and we are reviewing the Inspector General’s recommendations to determine whether they will strengthen district operations and prevent misconduct.”

jjperez@chicagotribune.com

Chicago inspector finds school employees ‘stole’ gift cards  From ABC eyewitness News

Chicago inspector finds school employees 'stole' gift cards

An inspector general has found several Chicago Public Schools employees “stole or misappropriated” thousands of dollars in gift cards set aside as incentives for students and families.

Inspector General Nicholas Schuler noted the finding in a 75-page report released Wednesday showing other alleged wrongdoing including an elementary school principal spending over $20,000 in school funds for personal shopping and families using false addresses to get children into competitive schools.
READ: INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT

The report doesn’t identify schools or employees by name. It covers investigations between July 2016 and last June.

In another case a principal used school money to pay for a “teachers’ lunch club” with lobster and steaks.

Schuler says two employees resigned and two others were fired after investigations.

School officials say the district is addressing issues raised in the report.

In a statement, the Chicago Teachers Union said, in part: “With all of the resources that our students and their families lack, both inside of the classroom and in their own communities, it’s extremely disappointing to witness such selfishness coming from school administrators and Central Office.”

WLS-TV contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
educationtheftstudentscpsChicagoLoop

Source: Will County News

Profit From Gene Editing in 2018

Profit From Gene Editing in 2018
Alexandra Perry Photo By Alexandra Perry
Written Jan. 03, 2018
A few months ago, my dog chewed through the electrical cord on my fridge.

Before you get riled up and call PETA, know she is fine. Destroying expensive electronics is actually her favorite hobby.

The food in my fridge, however, was not so lucky.

I didn’t realize what she had done until two days after the fact, when the smell of rotting food became overwhelming.

At this point we reach the conclusion of my story, where I put $50 worth of slimy groceries in the garbage.

Now, this event taught me a lot of things, including the importance of proper dog training. However, my key takeaway was that we waste a lot of food in this country.

Me essentially shoveling money into the garbage made me think about exactly how much money and food Americans waste annually. A relatively small amount of research yielded some wallet-draining statistics.

The average American spends around $150 on food a week.

Of that amount, one-third will be wasted. And as food gathers in landfills, 9.1 million people will die of starvation a year.

Like me, you now may feel a bit guilty.

But my job is to be a researcher, so I researched solutions, and there are a few.

It turns out that dozens of companies are working to solve food waste and hunger. Out of these companies, one really stood out.

This company is a small biotech that is using gene editing to improve the foods we eat. If this company is successful, it could alter the way we look at food and make investors a profit in the process.

I want to talk a bit more about that company in a minute, but first, let’s take a second to talk about gene editing.

Gene editing may be the most important scientific discovery of our lifetime, and when you apply it to food, it could fix multiple problems, from food waste to bad nutrition.

First Off, What is Gene Editing?

Gene editing, put simply, is when DNA is deleted, inserted, or replaced in a genome.

If that doesn’t sound simple, just think of it like this: You are snipping away a piece of genetic code and replacing it with something else. In my mind, I imagine it like a large Lego structure. Instead of changing the blocks themselves, you are changing the directions. The structure that is built as a result is still altered.

That’s pretty incredible, which is why it comes as no surprise that gene editing has been generating a lot of buzz lately.

And while humans have been fascinated with gene editing since the 1970s, only recently have we gotten close to making major breakthroughs in the field.

We are close to this food breakthrough because of a revolutionary gene editing method called CRISPR-Cas9.

With CRISPR-Cas9, we could potentially wipe out multiple diseases, including HIV and cancer. Some scientists even believe CRISPR can stop aging in its tracks.

And this gene editing method isn’t just for humans anymore.

In theory, the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing method can also be applied to food, improving it for the better.

And the company that has access to this patent for modifying food could change the way we look at food forever.

How Gene Editing Can Be Used in Food

Gene editing can alter our food in many ways, all of which could make food better suited for the needs of our growing population.

First off, gene editing could make food last longer and survive different conditions.

No longer would I have to worry about my dog unplugging food storage devices. With gene editing, some fruits could possibly survive longer without refrigeration.

Longer-lasting foods could reduce food waste significantly. So, American households rejoice — maybe that $150-a-week bill will be getting a reduction.

Which brings us to another point: Gene editing can make food more affordable.

That’s right. Gene editing can make crops grow faster and in different environments. This would make food available to a wider population, and it could potentially cut down on the cost of food transportation. That’s a winner for your pockets and for the environment.

And then there is the big way gene editing will change food: eliminating the need for pesticides.

Currently, most of the food you eat has been exposed to pesticides at one point. Whether those pesticides are in the soil or sprayed directly onto the crops, they are usually present.

Specific pesticides have been linked to multiple cancers, meaning they shouldn’t be consumed.

But in our current food system, and because of large suppliers like Monsanto, getting food without pesticides is challenging.

But with gene editing, we could alter foods so farmers no longer have to use pesticides. This could help humans combat diseases the second food enters our body, minimizing cancer risk from the start.

So, How Do We Get There?

In reality, it might be a while before we have food modified with the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing method sitting in our fridges.

That said, the future always comes faster than we think.

If investors want to start profiting from CRISPR-Cas9 technology, the time is now.

You will recall that I mentioned a small biotech stock at the start of this article. The company behind that stock is working to engineer foods using the CRISPR-Cas9 patent, making it one of the first in the field.

In the coming weeks, we are going to be talking more about gene editing at Wealth Daily.

That conversation will culminate with a top-notch presentation on this small biotech from our senior technology analyst Jason Stutman. Jason has been working with companies pioneering the gene editing space for years.

I guarantee his presentation will show you how to profit from this gene editing revolution.

While you wait for his presentation, you can listen to him talk more about the technology on the latest episode of our Investing After Hours podcast, available here.

In the meantime, remember to keep an eye on the future. We are now officially in 2018, and it is an exciting time to be an investor.

Despite rumors that our current bull market will come to an end, many technology industries are alive and striving.

Outside of gene editing, we are keeping an eye on blockchain, artificial intelligence, and digital currencies. We plan to stay on these topics heading into 2018.

Best of luck with a whole new year of investments,

 

Alexandra Perry

Source: Will County News

Automatic voter registration law doesn’t allocate money for implementation

Automatic voter registration law doesn’t allocate money for implementation

FILE - Illinois State Board of Elections
Greg Bishop | Illinois News Network

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

Automatically registering voters anytime they register with certain state government agencies was considered a major legislative priority by some at the statehouse, but lawmakers haven’t put the necessary tax dollars behind it to get it started.

As it is right now, Illinois residents can opt in to registering to vote when they get or update information for a state ID card or driver’s license. Lawmakers pushed to make that automatic and to include more state agencies.

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the original automatic voter registration bill in 2016 with suggested changes he said made the bill better. Lawmakers followed his lead in 2017 and passed automatic voter registration.

Illinois State Board of Elections General Counsel Ken Menzel said that directed the elections board to start implementing the program.

“We haven’t gotten any money appropriated for it quite yet,” Menzel said. “There’s a supplemental appropriation request pending with the legislature but we do have staff working on it as best we can. The staff that’s working on it has been updating the board on a monthly basis.”

Menzel said the elections office would need more than half a million dollars to get technology and programming in place.

“For the thing to work, we’re going to need, for example, servers,” Menzel said. “And, of course, we’re going to need programming time to do that, and I think some of the money was going to adding staff to do the programming.”

There’s already been coordination between the elections board and the Secretary of State’s office, Menzel said, but other state agencies involved in the process are also going to have to be updated for AVR to work.

“We’ve got to get their systems collecting that data,” he said. “We’ve got to figure out how to get our systems to talk to their systems to transmit it.”

“It’s a fairly big undertaking,” Menzel said. “Without the money, it would be difficult to hit our benchmarks.”

The law says AVR should be fully implemented no later than July 2019.

Supporters of the law said they want to increase voter turnout and that the bill will help keep voter rolls accurate. Opponents said the measure wasn’t necessary and could lead to lower voter turnout percentages by adding scores of more voters to the rolls who might not actually go to the polls.

Eligible voters who don’t want to register to vote automatically when getting a service through the DMV or other state government agencies like the Illinois departments of Human Services, Employment Security, Financial and Professional Regulation, and Natural Resources have to opt out of the system.

The measure explicitly disallows any illegal immigrants to be registered to vote automatically when they apply for a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License.

 

Source: Will County News