Politicians Urge No on Ballot

One of the most important voting items on the October 3 ballot is a referendum on whether to add a sales tax to help fund pensions and health care benefits for firemen and policemen.

As with all tax issues, I always urge a “no” vote. Once a tax is instituted, it just never comes off. The only exemption to this rule happened more than a decade ago in 2006 when Congress got rid of an 1898 tax on phones that was instituted during the Spanish American War.

Who knows if the tax money goes to the proper place? Most of it appears to go to line politicians’ coffers by benefiting their lobbyist friends.

Besides, we pay too many taxes anyhow. This is particularly true in Memphis with our highest in the state sales tax and high property taxes. We are driving people away with these fees.

Amazingly, two city council members are urging the public to vote “no” on the referendum.
Kemp Conrad and Edmund Ford penned an op ed in the Daily Memphian telling why.

Here’s what they said:

Memphis has a critical issue on the ballot this election, and that is why we are asking you to vote “No” on the sales tax referendum. A sales tax increase would return us to a dangerous fiscal path that jeopardizes the long-term outlook for Memphis, and for the police officers and firefighters the referendum purports to benefit.

Normally, a tax increase would be a simple choice of voting “Yes” because you believe in what the tax hike will pay for and you believe the government will use the money for its intended purpose. This proposed tax increase isn’t that.

This sales tax referendum asks you to approve a sales tax increase to return our pension and healthcare benefits to a plan that only five years ago found Memphis on the precipice of fiscal ruin.

Before we explain why this tax increase is bad for our city, we should provide a little context.

In 2015, our city faced a fiscal cliff. There were three options back in those dark days: a 30%-plus property tax increase; a massive reduction in city services, including mass layoffs; or reform of an antiquated, unfair and unaffordable healthcare and pension scheme that Memphis taxpayers could no longer afford for the two-thirds of retirees who don’t even call Memphis home.

Had we not chosen to act, we would have been forced with – at minimum – a state takeover of your pension plan and at worst, a bankruptcy. Pensioners would likely have received a fraction of their retirement.

The Memphis City Council studied the matter in depth and then took bold action to create a hybrid pension plan and adjust to healthcare benefits that were sustainable, yet still fair and competitive. We advocated for this change because we care about the long-term viability of Memphis – not just the next union election.

We also care about city employees – especially those in public safety as they risk their lives every day – and they deserve to have a pay structure and retirement vehicle that they can count on over the long haul.

The Ponzi scheme plan of yesteryear once again being promoted by the unions may be good for union bosses trying to keep their positions, but does not do right by all city employees. The former plan was simply not sustainable.

Even so, this was by far the most difficult issue we had to advocate and vote for in our time on the City Council. This year, the city has achieved the once elusive goal of fully funding our mandated ARC (annual required contribution) – a $50 million annual additional lift – and we did it without raising taxes, but by running our $708 million City of Memphis government more efficiently.

If you vote for restoring the Cadillac benefits of the past, please know two things. First, the experts estimate that maxing out this regressive sales tax, as the referendum would do, will generate $54 million per annum, and in a downturn this number will certainly drop. Also, based on state law, via a referendum, Shelby County government can take half of these proceeds to fund their own programs, leaving the city with only $27 million to accomplish the referendum’s stated goals.

By taking away the private exchange for retirees and shifting more financial burden to the city (taxpayers), the city’s actuary, PwC, and our finance team, have estimated that adding all employees and retirees back into the prior plan would cost $43 million in year one – conservatively $40 million for additional healthcare costs and $3 million for the pension. Even if the county did not take its share, it would only be a matter of time until the additional revenue was gobbled up. But if the county does elect to take its share, Memphis is in the red by $16 million in year one!

It is impossible that the sales tax increase will fully fund any of the listed items in the referendum. Even if the city chooses to restore the benefits of the past, there simply is not enough money in this sales tax to cover the increasing healthcare and pension cost. We will quickly be back in the same dark, deep hole we dug Memphis out of less than five years ago.

Finally, consider two important facts. First, you should know that regardless of what the referendum language states, it’s up to a vote of the City Council every year on how this money gets spent. And we don’t even know who will be on the council next year and what their governing philosophies will be.

Even if the citizens vote “Yes,” the government has no obligation to spend the money on the items listed. Yes, you read that right. You are really only voting to increase the sales tax, not to restore benefits. So, vote “For” if a game of three-card monte with your money seems to be a good idea. You will be the “mark”.

Second, we have already created and funded universal needs-based pre-K. Full stop. And we have doubled our paving budget. Since these items poll well, the unions threw them in for good measure to trick voters.

To close, we are running a more efficient government, reducing costs and using technology to provide better services. Since 2016, our police officers have seen pay increases from 9.75% to 11.75%. Our Fire Department employees will have seen theirs increase by 10%. We have a full-staffed Fire Department and have hired more than 450 additional police officers in the last three years. We are on track to graduate 196 officers in 2019, our largest number since 2009. Attrition is back to normal levels. We are on the right track. Voting against maxing out the sales tax keeps the focus on the right priorities and keeps us moving boldly forward in a fiscally responsible manner.

This is not the time to look in the rear-view mirror and return to the past – the carnage of that wreck is still smoldering behind us. We need to mash the accelerator and keep moving forward. If we do so, our brightest days are ahead. Vote against the referendum and by doing so, you will support the New Memphis.

Has Hell frozen over?

Memphis Restaurants’ Politics

I was unaware that the Memphis Restaurant Association had a political action committee.

It’s understandable that they want to lobby for laws and actions that benefit their industry. After all, it’s what makes Washington one of the richest places in America.

But what kind of politics are they backing?
It’s quite interesting if you go to their website, www.memphisrestaurants.com. They have many categories to click: About, Directory, Events, News, Blog, Resources, Contact, Join. There’s also Industry News, Resources and Legislative Updates. Here’s a list of the PAC members: https://memphisrestaurants.com/member-directory/#!directory
To get a taste of the prevailing sentiment there was this outrageous blog story posted from the Memphis Flyer:

1960s: Threat of nuclear war, civil rights protest marches, bloody clashes in the streets, riots.

2017: Hold my beer.

Early last week, we were all concerned when the president of the United States offered the possibility of the U.S. taking military action against Venezuela in off-the-cuff remarks. A few days before that, most of us were appalled to find ourselves in a tweet-inspired nuclear stand-off with North Korea.

Ho hum. How boring.

So, last Friday, white supremacists upped the chaos ante in Charlottesville, Virginia, with a “unite the right” march in which they carried guns, waved Nazi and confederate flags, and chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans. In the ensuing counter-march on Saturday, one of the alt-Nazis took it upon himself to drive a Dodge Charger at high speed into the crowd, injuring 19 people and killing a young woman named Heather Heyer.

President Trump stepped off the golf course long enough to issue a de facto statement, reportedly written by his staff: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence” Trump said, then added, “on many sides, on many sides.”

Did you hear about the Racist Asshole Cafe? Yeah, no entrees but many sides.

Yes, I stole that from a wag on Facebook, but when your president is incapable of differentiating between murderous white supremacists carrying Nazi flags and people marching in support of equality and civil rights, dark humor is a logical response.

These are dark times. And, as it was no doubt intended, Trump’s statement was seen by the Nazis as wink in their direction, a message that the president was not going to call out those who were using his name to promote their sordid cause.

Ku Klux Klanner David Duke said as much: “This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back; we’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump … That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back, and that’s what we gotta do.”

Two days later, after mounting criticism over his initial remarks, even from members of his own party, Trump read another statement, this time specifically stating that “racism is evil” and denouncing “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

He read carefully from prepared remarks and didn’t ad lib. But the message to the alt-Nazis had been received. Richard Spencer, the imminently punchable leader of the white nationalist movement said as much: “[Trump’s] statement today was more kumbaya nonsense. Only a dumb person would take those lines seriously.”

The battle lines are drawn now, between those who want to reestablish white dominance of America and those who seek a country that offers equal opportunity and justice for all. And that battlefield has turned to the symbolic vestiges of the War Between the States — statues and monuments honoring the confederacy — many, if not most, of which were erected in response to the civil rights struggles of the 20th century, not the war itself.

In Memphis on Saturday, several hundred people gathered at the foot of the city’s Nathan Bedford Forrest statue to hear speakers decry the fact that the founder of the Ku Klux Klan sits in the middle of one our most prominent city parks.

This week, the city filed suit against the state to enable it to remove that statue and another one of Jefferson Davis, which sits incongruously in a downtown park, a purposeful thumb in the eye of black Memphians that was erected in the 1960s.

But people are getting impatient and demanding quicker, more forceful action. The citizen-toppling of a statue in Durham, North Carolina, this week has gotten the attention of many activists. No one wants the battle of Charlottesville to be re-enacted in Memphis, but the city and the country — thanks to the president’s dog whistles to the uglier elements of his base — are being forced to confront the deeply planted seeds of American racism.

We’re all going to have to pick a side. And there aren’t “many.”

Of course this is ridiculous and manipulative. President Trump had denounced the white supremacists before this event and directly after it. This writer is no friend of the truth.
Other posts include “Corker Opens Up on Trump’s Shortcomings, Sees Need for Radical Changes” and “Cohen to Introduce Articles of Impeachment against Trump.”

These are all from 2017, but why are they still on their site? Are politics a good ingredient in what they serve the public?

When most people go out to eat they do it as an escape and a happy occasion. Who wants to get a slice of political pie on your plate? Some of these restaurateurs have already expressed their feelings on gay marriage, climate change, environmental concerns, immigration.

Maybe they should leave this at home and concentrate on cuisine. The only side we should have to pick should be soup or salad. If they want our bread.

Winning in NC and 2020

Last night’s win by Dan Bishop and Greg Murphy in North Carolina are good signs for the Republican party for 2020.

It was predicted to be a close race for Bishop. Even Rush Limbaugh had doubts. He blamed early voting and noted also that “The Democrat has a couple of years of name recognition, already campaigning for this seat. It’s not permanent. Whoever wins this is gonna have to run for reelection again in a presidential turnout year. This will not be anywhere near a presidential turnout.”
All true, but Bishop won at about 51/49. I’ll take it. In purplish areas of the country like that district in North Carolina, that is a good sign.
It also shows the extreme force of nature that is Donald Trump. Bishop had been trailing by 17 points weeks earlier. After the massive Trump rally, he won.

The Democrats have to be worried about this. For the past three years they and the media have thrown everything they can think of at President Trump. They daily find new outrages and pound them for all the hours they have on air.

But when President Trump takes to the campaign trail, he will be able to rally many to his side despite their attempts. Conrad Black at AmericanGreatness sees two ticking time bombs in 2020:

The first is the gigantic eruption of the scandalous attempt to affect and undo the 2016 election. The second is the fact that when the public finally looks seriously at the Democratic candidates, the race will tilt like a teeter-totter when a 300-pound man sits at the opposite end to a child.

Every candidate in serious contention for the Democratic nomination, except Joe Biden, has championed tax, immigration, health care, and environmental policies that the great majority of Americans will not seriously entertain—and that is without getting into reparations for descendants of slaves and natives, and legalized infanticide. And the one prominent Democratic contender who can claim comparative sanity and civility—Biden—lacks the acuity for the office he now seeks and always has.

Almost the whole political class, except the president and his inner circle (if he has one), is somnambulating into an election that will be a fiery coruscation to all the outrages and enormities of the last three years. It is like an immense fireworks display, mounting inexorably to a tremendous climax of indictments and an electoral landslide.

Logic would have to concur. Recently I have heard people describe the Democrats as insane. They are, but there’s more to it than that.

They are bent on punishing America and Americans. They won’t be happy until our lives resemble prisoners’ in a Siberian gulag.

Yes, it’s that bad. Everything they’re about is taking away: our money, our guns, our energy, our gas, our travel plans (green new deal), our choice to expand our family, our health care benefits, our borders – even straws for beverages! The only thing they don’t want to take away is a woman’s “right” to kill her child.

They offer fear plus, blood, tears, toil and sweat. Only this time there is no depression or World War II. That is our new lifestyle.

I think Americans will pass on that.

When You Need a Laugh

Joining the Babylon Bee for a daily chuckle is the Genesius Times.

What better way to make fun of liberalism than with humor? It’s probably the most effective tool to reach people in a way that will encourage them to think differently.

Here’s a sample of today’s laughs:

Headline: US Treasury honors Ocasio-Cortez with new ‘zero cents’ AOC coin

The economic intelligence of the US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is well-established and respected. But now it’s getting some serious respect from the US Treasury.

Starting this year, the Treasury will be rolling out the official AOC coins, worth zero cents.

You will not be able to buy anything with them in an effort to emulate the socialist paradise that Ocasio-Cortez endorses.

The irony is the homonym “zero sense,” which is funny since Ocasio-Cortez is so smart.

You can preorder your AOC coins on her favorite website and employer: Amazon.

You can bank on that making even the Lefties laugh.

Here’s another:

Headline: Thank God California banned plastic straws finally!

California has completed the equivalent of the moon landing today. They spent $4 billion ridding this beautiful feces-strewn state of evil plastic straws.

Many will say, “Straws aren’t a big deal with a homelessness and drug epidemic crushing the spirit of the people. Why worry about straws now? Look at this dump?”

But people said why climb Mount Everest, and yet Sir Edmund Hillary Clinton did it anyway. And people ask why worry about straws? Because we can!

Homelessness and drug addiction leading to a bunch of people shitting all over the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco are too big of problems. We can’t do anything about that. But we can ban straws! And so we did.

I think Gavin Newsom is an amazing leader and he should be president of the United States. He’s done such a great job everywhere he’s been in charge.

Sure, he’s presiding over the resurgence of the Bubonic plague, a disease that wiped out 1/3 of the European population in the Medieval Ages but, hey, he’s so dreamy.

That’s why I say Thank God—or generic celestial life force—that California banned straws finally!

Go and look at some of the others there at genesiustimes.com.

What Went Wrong at the CA?

Today’s edition of the CA is one of the most haywire in a long time. Something is definitely amiss at their new HQs.

First, Page 1 isn’t Page 1. There was a wraparound ad for the YMCA. Even though it was just 4″ wide it was called Pages 1 and 2. That made the front page No. 3. Huh? Since when did an ad get to be Page 1?

The main stories included one on Labor Day that, I guess, was supposed to make us gasp. Tennessee gained jobs in the administrative, support, waste management, remediation, food services; plus transportation and warehousing. We lost in state government (excluding education), printing and related support activities and local government educational services in the last decade.

Looks like a good thing to me. Isn’t it always good when government shrinks in favor of industry and private companies?

The other story concerned outrage over the lastest Memphis magazine cover. It features caricatures of Herenton, Sawyer and Strickland. The complaint is that these are racially insensitive. Could a little of the outrage be competition with the CA? They had another story about Memphis Magazine halting distribution of the issue and it was redundant to the earlier story.

Whether the complaint is valid, consider the cartoon of President Trump they ran on the same day on the editorial page. His lips are huge, his hair exaggerated, his demeanor off putting. But that is a standard they use for him everyday. If you’re in politics, you’d better be tough.

No one at the paper seems to care much about fairness or accuracy. A headline on the first letter to the editor reads “Remembering WWI.” Fine, but the letter talks about Hitler invading Poland and the subsequent Holocaust. If I recall correctly, that was WWII.

Even the obits – which aren’t always run daily as if Death takes a holiday – had a bizarre reading. A man named Kenneth Walker passed away at 46. His obit went on to list his achievements and family members, most of which involved Arkansas. The last three sentences may have needed a little proofreading. It says “interment will be at Crittenden Memorial Park … Marion, AR. Qui a mange toutes les tartes pop? Online condolences, etc.”

In French that translates as who ate all the pop tarts? No mention at all of any French connections preceded that line. An editor said it was on the funeral home website. Maybe they should have asked why or clarified.

Nobody cares at the CA. Nobody is watching the content and nothing is as important as the Leftist agenda.

Bernie’s Beef: He’ll Tax Meat

Are you feeling the Bern? If not, you will after reading this latest idea Social Sanders has come up with.

You know that he doesn’t feel you’re taxed enough. He and his fellow Dems won’t be happy til they take a good 80% of our incomes. Yes, it will be you, not the rich guys as they have ways of escaping taxes by putting monies outside of Uncle Sam’s reach.

Aside from everything else Sanders can get his hands on, now he wants to tax meat. You go to get a Big Mac and they’ll be a Big Tax on it. Want to grill a steak? Your wallet will be in flames after the beef tax you’ll pay. Chicken? It will have taxes slapped on it, too, whether at Kroger or at Chick-fil-A.

The topic came up Thursday in a campaign stop in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A woman asked, “So as you probably know animal agriculture is to blame for the majority of climate change and is the leading cause of deforestation water and air pollution and biodiversity loss with that being known what do you plan on doing to ensure that Americans limit their consumption of animal products?
“Second part,” she continued, “Germany has imposed a ‘meat tax’ in hopes of limiting this consumption. What are your plans to stop these large corporations from further usurping natural resources and polluting the planet?”

Sanders said, “Thank you for the question and it’s a good question all I can say is if we believe as I do and you do that climate change is real we’re gonna have to tackle it in every single area including agriculture, okay?
“And in fact, one of the things we want to do with our farmers out there is help them become more aggressive.” he continued, “and able to help us combat climate change rather than contribute to it. So we will certainly… you’re right we got to look at agriculture. We’ve got to look at every cause of the crisis that we face.”

What next? Ice cream? Yogurt? They also come from cows.

If anything, his response indicates that the Left uses the make believe climate change to accomplish all the restrictions they would want to put on Americans.

Most of us – thankfully – will have a beef with that.

Biden Gives Us New Word

Recently Joe Biden gave a heartwarming story about a heroic soldier refusing the Medal of Honor.

Only one problem: none of it was true. He made it. This is not a new thing with Biden, but he is clearly perfecting his technique. He not only tells a whopper now, but he also embellishes it, taking snippets of stories and patching them together in one outrageous tale.

Surely this accomplishment should earn him a spot in Miriam Webster.

I see it as a verb. “To Biden” would not mean the same thing as to fabricate or lie. It’s much more colorful than that and implies self heroics and personal involvement. You couldn’t “Biden” for example, if you just told a story that was not true. You couldn’t be considered to “Biden” either if you yourself were not present in it – in fact, have a major role – in the big mendacity you’re spinning. It would also involve taking various different events at different times and weaving them into the narrative. And, you have to give the oath of authenticity, too. Joe called the story “God’s truth, my word as a Biden.”

That word as a Biden should indicate that he’s lying. He started early perfecting his technique. At Syracuse University College of Law, Newsweek reports “Biden used five pages from a published law review article without quotation or attribution,” according to a faculty report. He cited the source in only a single footnote. In a letter to law school faculty pleading not to be dismissed, Biden wrote, “if I had intended to cheat, would I have been so stupid? … I value my word above all else.”

Who can forget his first run for president in 1988 (not so much for that, but for what kicked him out)? He clearly plagiarized British Labor politician Neil Kinnock. Kinnock said: “Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? [Pointing to his wife in the audience:] Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?”

Biden said:

“I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? [Pointing to his wife in the audience:] Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? Is it because I’m the first Biden in a thousand generations to get a college and a graduate degree that I was smarter than the rest?”

You see, to Biden means that you don’t even find anything wrong with your tall tales.

Hillary Clinton has clearly Bidened. Remember her story about landing in Bosnia? She said, “I remember landing under sniper fire. “There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

News footage of the event however showed her claims to have been wide of the mark, and reporters who accompanied her stated that there was no sniper fire. In fact, pictures showed her being greeted by a young girl with flowers.

Maybe the dictionary would have to add to its definition of “Biden” that it only applies to Democrats. They are the ones most likely to Biden.

But feel free to use it if your own family members or friends seem to place themselves in the middle of an unbelievable, virtue signalling story. Its usage should become widespread with the lack of ethical constraints we experience today in our country.

Candidate Biden will probably soon be forgotten, but his legacy will at least be something that adds to the glory of the English language’s descriptive powers.

FBI Now CYA

If I lie to the FBI, I am in a world of hurt.
If James Comey lies, leaks and betrays his oath, he’s fine. No biggie.
For a long time we’ve been expected to believe that the problem at the FBI is with Comey. For the most part, it is.
I don’t share, however, the opinion that the rank and file are fine fellows. This has been the notion pushed by Sean Hannity and most politicians, but sorry, when the head is rotten, the rest is rotten, too.
Why should any agents care about adhering to the law anymore? Their chief didn’t. Why should they? What is the law if it is one thing to one person and another to another?

I’ve had people tell me “it’s a great institution. You can’t get rid of it. We need it.”

No, it’s been rotten since its inception headed by the notorious J. Edgar Hoover. He used the knowledge obtained by agents to blackmail anyone he liked, even presidents. Has it proven itself since his demise? Again, no. Just look at 9/11, the Pulse nightclub and the Boston marathon attacks. The FBI had knowledge of the terrorists but did nothing.

President Trump needs to dump the FBI and come up with a better agency. He won’t improve a thing by keeping on someone as untrustworthy as current director Christopher Wray. His mission is CYA and cares nothing about crime for American citizens. It’s upholding the Deep State that matters to him.
A comment at White House dossier summed it up nicely:

After he’s sworn in for his second term, Mr. Trump should take on the task of tearing down the J.Edgar Hoover building , brick by brick, until every rat traitor scurries back to the sewer they came from and where they belong.

Today’s FBI is tainted, almost obsolete, and full of pension seekers who can’t seem to stem the flow of state to state drugs, sex slaves, or stolen merchandise. Their once esteemed forensics are now duplicated by most state agencies, their formerly exceptional powers of investigation are limited by the advance of technical devices, and years of political interference has poisoned their ability to be effective.

Our country is awash in illegal drugs brought across our borders and transported by trucks, cars, even the US Mail and the FBI does nothing. Gangs like MS-13 pop up in multiple states to do things that the old Mafia would never do and the FBI does nothing.
Illegal aliens lie about their credentials to get government goodies or jobs and the FBI does nothing.
All of this is my opinion.

An accurate one, too.

Who has confidence in it anymore? The only logical conclusion to draw is that the FBI is a tool that allows officials to go after whomever they like and see the ones they dislike prosecuted and imprisoned.

But not them.

They are above the law.

If AG Barr can’t see that breaking the law is bad no matter who does it, then he can’t be trusted either.