Intentions do matter. Zero-tolerance political correctness lead to mistakes.

It is a sad commentary on how far we’ve gone with political correctness that a person with good intentions cannot make a mistake without losing his job.  Professor Jon Bolen of Simpson College appears to have had only the best of intentions.  He spoke the unspeakable N-word when giving an example of how the word the R-word, redskin, can be hurtful to indigenous people, especially when used as part of the name of a professional football team in Washington.  He made a sincere apology and agreed that he should have simply used the term “N-word” instead of the actual word that it stands for.  He should simply be forgiven.  But this is what happens when a zero-tolerance policy or attitude is adopted. We are not teaching our children well. Humans make mistakes. Intentions do make a difference. I hope that there is a groundswell of support for professor John Bolen.

Link to article in The Des Moines Register:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2019/11/16/simpson-college-students-demand-action-after-professor-uses-slur/4205805002/

Drug Prohibition causes the associated violence

Under our current regime of drug prohibition in the U.S., it is true that American drug users support the violent drug cartels in Mexico.  If we ended the drug wars, and instead legalized and regulated peaceful drug use, and treated addiction under a medical model, the violence associated with the illicit drug trade would mostly go away.  When CVS opens a drug store across the street from Walgreens, they don’t get into a gun battle.  When a drug store is robbed, they call the police instead of sending out a gang to get revenge. It is the government policy of prohibition that causes the violence associated with the illicit drug trade.  Our drug wars will be endless until prohibition is ended.

Link to related Wall Street Journal opinion:  https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-cartelization-of-mexico-11572999461

Don’t ban vaping!

It was like a breath of fresh air to read in The Des Moines Register that our Iowa Attorney General, Tom Miller, used logic in concluding that banning vaping by adults in Iowa would be a mistake.  (See link to Register article below.)   It does appear clear that almost all of recently rreported deaths and severe illnesses were the result of vaping black market products that contain THC, not nicotine.
While it may be true that no amount of vaped nicotine has been proven safe, we do know that vaping popular legal nicotine products has been going on for years without the type of health problems that have been reported recently.  We also know that nicotine vape products do not contain the tars and other substances in cigarettes that are known to cause cancer.
It’s reasonable to think that vaping nicotine is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, and that going from smoking cigarettes to vaping can be a good step towards quiting a nicotine habit altogether.  But, prohibition of vaping would only worsen the health problems, just like with opioids, where people who purchase their drugs on the street have no idea of the strength or purity of the products they are buying.

Senate should approve Steven Menashi for Court of Appeals

I disagree with Daniel Cotter’s essay i The Des Moines Register urging our U.S. Senators to reject Steven Menashi’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals.  (See link below to Register “Your Turn” essay.)    What I’ve learned by watching Steven Menashi’s Senate testamony and reading his writings makes me think he would be a very good appellate judge.
The fact that the two Democratic Senators from his home state of New York don’t support him should be considered irrelevant, regardless of precedent.  The Senate “blue slip” tradition which permitted a Senator from the home state of the nominee to veto the nomination, is the remnant of a good-ol’-boy’s-club attitude that should be discarded.
His opponents take his comments out of context and make them appear to have the opposite meaning of his actual position.  For example, nine years ago he wrote that it was okay for Israel, a democratic country, to have an official state sanctioned dominant religion.  The Left says this means he is a white supremacist.  No, he is simply a defender of Israel’s right to exist, and of the right of the people of that nation to decide how they will be self-ruled. He testified before the Senate that the United States is not a country that is based on a single religious or ethnic tradition.  He also testified that he values our, “…country’s tradition of tolerance and equality before the law…”
So, I ask Senators Grassley and Ernst to support the nomination of Steven Menashi to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Our federal legislators should oppose reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank

I urge our elected federal representatives to oppose the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.  (The Ex-Im Bank provides taxpayer guarantees to U.S. companies that export and sell products to international customers.  Authorization is set to expire on 9/30.)  This has been and continues to be a quintessential example of crony capitalism.  If a U.S. exporter has customers who find it difficult to find financing, the seller can always guarantee a loan and get a security position to get the asset back in a worst case.  If they still cannot get financing, the seller could provide direct financing.  In any case, our government should not guarantee such loan private companies.

I’m sure that small and large Iowa export companies are heavily lobbying for reauthorize the Bank.  I hope our representatives resist the pressure and vote against this bad policy where taxpayers are asked to take the risk and private companies reap the profits.

We don’t need a new mandatory federal government entitlement program.

Our population is aging and we all want to stay in our own homes as long as possible.  We definitely do have an increasing demand for in-home caregivers.  But I urge our Presidential candidates and our elected federal representatives to not support the mandatory Universal Family Care proposal as described  by Al-jen Poo in her recently published essay.  (See link below to the “Your Turn” essay by Al-jen Poo published in The Des Moines Register on 9/19/2109)
We do not need, and should not create, a new federal government sponsored, taxpayer funded entitlement program!   Such a scheme would make us even more dependent on our government.  Caregiving for family members at home should be left to family, friends and voluntary charitable efforts. This is part of being a family and accepting responsibility for ourselves and our loved ones.  Yes it is a burden, but it is one that we should accept.
LInk to Register “Your Turn” essay:

 

Time to start reducing use of government force in transportation fuels.

The forced use of biofuels, euphemistically called the Renewable Fuel standard (RFS), was established in 2005.  Then as now, the RFS requires refiners and importers of transportation fuels to add minimum amounts of ethanol or bio diesel to their fuel, or be subject to fines.  The requirement has grown from 4 billion gallons in 2006 to 15 billion gallons for traditional ethanol for 2019.  Existing legislation requires a completely unrealistic total of 36 billion gallons by 2022, including at least 16 billion gallons from cellulosic biofuels.
The current “rebellion” by Iowa biofuel leaders against the waivers of the FRS requirement that are being granted to small refiners is understandable.  (The waivers allow small refiners to be exempt from adding bio-fuels to their gasoline or diesel.)  All businesses that are dependent on government protection will fight back if they feel their favored status is being threatened.  Biofuels producers and their suppliers (corn farmers), will lobby hard and loud to stop any reduction of the RFS.
Will the subsidies and use of force ever end?  After 13 years of increasing subsidies, we now need to pass laws to start reducing, and over time end, the forced use of ethanol.