Author Archives: R.D. Walker

A new Star Trek series is coming…

I have two reactions to this…

1) Yippie!

2) Are there no new ideas? Is everything now derivative?

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Regarding the GOPe Congress

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Let the truth be told.

A president’s budget proposal tends to be a curious document that acts as part wishful thinking and part a projection of hope into the future. For example, Bush’s last budget proposal showed a federal government that was on track to produce a balanced budget within a few years. Obama’s budget, on the other hand, anticipated a massive spending increase in the first year (due to stimulus spending) followed by pretty typical increases of about 6 percent per year.

That “6 percent” is important because in 2009 it was the rate at which federal spending had grown year over year for almost 30 years. So that is the number the Obama team used as their standard for how quickly spending should keep growing.

But after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2011, despite what you may have heard, they really did put a brake on federal spending. A really good brake. In fact, since 2011, federal spending has increased at only 1.3 percent per year … the slowest rate since the aftermath of World War II.

If you took the difference between Obama’s projected spending and the actual spending appropriated by Congress for all five years, it’s a jaw-dropping difference of $2.5 trillion.

Without the Republicans in Congress…

Obamacare would be single payer or at least there would be a public option which just the on-ramp to single payer.

The assault weapons and magazine bans that New York and other states have adopted would be the law of the land. There would be a national gun registry.

We would have a carbon tax or, at minimum, cap and trade right now.

Amnesty would have been easily passed by Congress and signed by Obama.

State right-to-work laws would have been overturned by federal law.

The national debt would be much higher than it already is.

Taxes would be substantially higher.

Without the Republicans in Congress, you would hardly recognize America today.

I think this idea that they did nothing to stop Obama is ridiculous. Even the Democrats call them the “Republican obstructionists” and blame them for ruining Obama’s legacy.

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Hillary Clinton lying for 13 minutes straight

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Trump’s SCOTUS list a good list…

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The most persuasive argument as to why I should vote for a candidate for president who is indifferent at best and openly hostile at worst to every principle of government I hold dear is the judges. The only possible reason I might consider putting on my hip waders and gas mask and entering the sewer lagoon to vote for Donald Trump is the state of the Supreme Court.

The list of potential candidates for the Supreme Court released buy the Trump Campaign today is a good list.

It looks like all good and no bad candidates. Somebody on Team Trump did his homework.

It is a sad commentary on the state of the republic, however, that so much hangs in the balance in the appointment of a single justice.

If I change my mind and cast a vote for Trump – a big “IF” – it won’t be a vote for Trump. It will be a vote for a Supreme Court Justice.

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You might as well see it here…

This is all over the Internet. There is something in this photo that kind of pops out at you when you finally see it. Have fun and don’t tell. Make people figure it out themselves.

Once you see it you won’t be able to unsee it.

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GMO foods won’t harm you

That is the finding of an exhaustive study.

Genetically engineered crops are safe for humans and animals to eat and have not caused increases in cancer, obesity, gastrointestinal illnesses, kidney disease, autism or allergies, an exhaustive report from the National Academies of Science released Tuesday found.

Work on the 388-page report began two years ago and was conducted by a committee of more than 50 scientists, researchers and agricultural and industry experts convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It reviewed more than 900 studies and data covering the 20 years since genetically modified crops were first introduced.

That’s a lot of work and study to produce a report that won’t change a single mind. Comments from the article….

You have got to be kidding me.. Of course they are harmful and I think most people are smart enough to know the truth…

Not buying this. These corporate entities are so huge and tied to the government they could buy any “facts” they want.

Of course! That is what they get paid to say…

This is a complete turn around .. sounds fishy, very fishy .. like this result was “arranged”

Bulls%#+. Looks like Monsanto got ahold of this report’s authors. Don’t believe it. Buy and eat organic, locally-grown if possible.

What a mess government has made of science. Nutritional science is constantly stated and reversed. Climate science is so corrupted by politics that it is impossible to tell what is and isn’t true. The result is a world where people are more willing to trust their uninformed instincts than the results of scientific studies. The people trust no one and trusting no one is not an unreasonable position to have.

The growing distrust of all authority is the fault of those who have politicized science. That said, distrust of scientists and other authorities is a pretty direct path to ignorance and superstition.

These are difficult days.

FT_Science1.GMO_

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Obama raises the cost of doing business in America

Another day, another increase in the cost of labor.

The White House revealed details Tuesday of its most sweeping action to fight income inequality since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. And unlike Obamacare, it will require no input from Congress.

The measure is a Labor Department regulation that will increase by more than four million the number of workers who qualify for overtime pay whenever they work more than 40 hours in any given week. At a time of stagnating wages — amid a tepid economic recovery that has yet to lift household income above where it stood 16 years ago — the rule will allow Obama to raise wages without increasing the minimum wage. That’s an option the Republican Congress has blocked, prompting 29 states and the District of Columbia to set their hourly wage minimums above the federal $7.25.

When there is no change in supply or demand and the price is artificially raised, the result is a decrease in quantity demanded. Not sometimes. Every time.

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Czechia

chechia

Bohemia and Moravia, Czechoslovakia, Czech Republic, Czechia

Politicians in the Czech Republic are trying to put decades of debate to an end by announcing a new name for the country: Czechia.

In a meeting with reporters this past week, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said he supported the move, suggesting that foreigners often mangled his country’s name when he met them abroad. “It is not good if a country does not have clearly defined symbols or if it even does not clearly say what its name is,” Zaoralek said, according to the Czech News Agency.

Although Czechia has the backing of the president, prime minister and heads of parliament, it still has to win cabinet approval and be registered with the United Nations. Once that is all done, Czechia will officially become the conventional short-form name for the country, while the Czech Republic will remain the conventional long-form name.

It sounds a little like Chechnya but otherwise it is all good. Not that anyone asked me but, as a man of Bohemian ancestry, I am good with it. It sounds more like a place name and less like a placeholder.

This gives me the opportunity to shamelessly post some photos from when I was in Prague last October.

Click to enlarge.

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More below the fold…

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As Democrats fight, polls improve for Trump

Trump is closing in. Clinton is still ahead but just barely. The Democrats are in disarray. If the GOP candidate where anyone other than Trump, I have to believe the Republican candidate would have a strong lead by now.

Donald Trump appears to be making rapid progress in unifying Republican voters behind his presidential bid even as Democratic discord between backers of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders reaches new highs.

An NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll released Tuesday morning showed Trump and Clinton performing at exactly the same level within their respective parties. Each commanded 87 percent support.

The poll also suggested that hopes among Democrats of an easy win over Trump are misplaced. Tuesday’s poll had Clinton with an edge of just 3 points in a hypothetical match-up: The former secretary of State led Trump 48 percent to 45 percent.

This graph made up my mind for me. I will be registering as an independent.

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There is a new GOPe in town and the GOPe party leader is Donald Trump.

I will be getting off the bus at the next stop.

An NBC News/SurveyMonkey online poll released Tuesday morning showed that nearly six in 10 Republican voters “trust” Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, to lead the party. Only four in 10 voters say they have more faith in Ryan, the 2012 vice presidential nominee, as the party’s leader.

Asked directly if he believes Trump is the leader of the Republican Party, the Speaker replied: “Good Lord, I hope it is, because the person who is getting the nomination is the person to lead our party.”

It is incomprehensible to me that anyone would have more faith in Trump than Ryan. That, by the way, isn’t an endorsement of Ryan. It is hard for me to imagine how anyone could have faith in Trump period.

exgop

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Important Social Media Pro Tips

Pro Tip #1: When running for Congress and posting screen shots on social media, double check those open tabs on your browser.

For example, can anyone identify what Mike Webb, a Republican running as an independent in Virginia’s 8th district, did wrong here?

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Pro Tip #2:
When you get caught with open porn tabs on your browser, for the love of God, come clean. Do not make up excuses like this.

“Curious by nature, I wanted to test the suggestion that somehow, lurking out in the pornographic world there is some evil operator waiting for the one in a gazillion chance that a candidate for federal office would go to that particular website and thereby be infected with a virus that would cause his or her FEC data file to crash the FEC file application each time that it was loaded on the day of the filing deadline, as well as impact other critical campaign systems,” Webb wrote.

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A War Against Faith

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The Little Sisters of the Poor is a Roman Catholic religious institute for women. It was founded in 1839 by Saint Jeanne Jugan to care for the elderly. It exists in nations around the world and in the United States. As you probably know, devout Roman Catholics oppose the use of contraceptives. This isn’t a new thing. It has always been so.

You may recall that, in the Hobby Lobby Case, the Supreme Court ruled that under the Religious Freedom Act, religious organizations and closely held corporations with principles opposing contraceptives and abortifacients need not provide them. Instead, the government would provide them once the organization filled out the proper forms.

This satisfied Hobby Lobby but not the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Sisters believe that filling out the form would be the equivalent of hiring someone else to sin on their behalf. This, they reasonably conclude, would be a sin in itself. It would be the equivalent of hiring a contract sinner. They challenged the law.

At this point, the Obama Administration might have just walked away and had someone fill out the forms on behalf of the Sisters. They might have but they didn’t. They decided to wage a cultural war against the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Yesterday the Supreme Court refused to take the case kicking it back to the lower court with an order to the government to work this thing out. The court basically sad that the Obama Administration could and must find a way to provide contraception to women without involving Catholic nuns. In other words, the SCOTUS ordered the administration to stand down in their culture war, act like adults and figure this damned thing out. This was unanimous.

This is common sense and, if the administration’s goal was simply to ensure that the employees of the Little Sisters of the Poor had subsidized contraceptives, it would have been done years ago and without the involvement of the Supreme Court.

That wasn’t, however, the purpose of the administration. The goal of the administration was to overpower and intimidate the Little Sisters of the Poor. It was to demonstrate its power to force them to violate centuries old religious laws. It was to use the power of the state to override and crush religious freedom. It was a war against faith.

If not, the administration would have filled out the paperwork and been done with it three years ago. It would have been the reasonable thing to do.

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#ExplainIowa

This was May 4.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A black University of Iowa freshman told police that he was severely beaten by three white men who called him racial slurs, investigators said Wednesday.

The Iowa City Police Department said that it was investigating the assault of Marcus Owens as a hate crime. Owens, 19, walked in to the department late Monday to report the assault, which he said happened late Saturday in downtown Iowa City.

Owens told police that he was walking in an alley near several bars and restaurants when he was approached by a man and struck multiple times. Two others joined the attack, striking him several more times and calling him racial slurs, he told police. Owens described his assailants as three white men who were of average height and approximately 19 to 22 years old.

The #ExplainIowa hashtag was created to scold the University of Iowa for not wallowing in the event.

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Can anyone guess what’s in the news today?

I bet you won’t be surprised.

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The time Trump threatened to sue The Onion

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In 2013, the Onion made fun of Donald and Donald threatened to sue them. Thin skinned, litigious and generally hostile to free speech? It’s his nature.

Here is the letter from Donald’s attorney.

“To the Onion: I wish to call your attention to an article currently on your home page allegedly penned by Donald Trump entitled, “When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll Be Dead in About 15 or 20 Years.” Let me begin by stating the obvious, the commentary was not written by Donald Trump. The article is an absolutely disgusting piece that lacks any place in journalism even in your Onion. I am hereby demanding that you immediately remove this disgraceful piece from your website and apologize to Mr. Trump. I further ask that you contact me immediately to discuss. This commentary goes way beyond defamation and if it is not removed I will take all actions to ensure that your actions will not go without consequences. Guide yourself accordingly.”

Here is the Onion spoof.

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Nightmare in the TSA line

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It is getting to be more and more difficult to travel by air.

Hundreds stranded, passengers sleeping in COTS: TSA security lines of up to THREE HOURS cause chaos at Chicago O’Hare as national staff shortage at airports makes thousands miss flights

Dozens of passengers had to spend the night at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Sunday night due to long security lines

Already this year, some 4,000 passengers have missed their flights at the country’s third-busiest airport

The Transportation Security Administration has pledged to add 800 new screeners by June

But the union that represents TSA workers says they need 6,000 new screeners to make a difference on security lines

In response to the nightmare at O’Hare, the Obama Administration snapped into action and released an executive order requiring public toilets in the airport be unisex.

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America first and conservatism second? I don’t think so…

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Commentator Marvin said this in the comments…

At the end of the day, I am….America first and then conservatism.

I was going to respond to it and wasn’t able to. I couldn’t because there is so much in the comment that is open to interpretation. It is clear that he is subordinating conservatism to “America” but beyond that, different people will see it differently.

Question #1) What is “America”? Is it the nation-state? Is it the Constitution? Is it the land? Is it the culture? Is it the people?

No matter what government they live under, French are French, Germans are Germans and Italians are Italian. Without the United States government, what are Americans? Are we anything? It seems to me that while the French, Germans and Italians are families, we are more of a corporation. Even now, Texans are talking about divesting. America is diverse and young and does not have the ties that bind it like nation states built around an ancient, shared heritage.

So what does it mean to put America first? What are you putting first? What is America and over what are you prioritizing it?

Which raises a couple of questions.

Question #2) What is conservatism? Is it nostalgia for the past? Is it patriotism? Is it traditionalism? Is it tribalism? Is it Classical Liberalism?

for some, conservatism just means a yearning for the good old days. For others it is red, white and blue patriotism. Some have twisted into a form of tribalism that, at its extreme, is simple racism. For others, me included, conservatism is Classical Liberalism.

That “Conservatism” is the American preferred synonym “Classical liberalism” is why I can’t subordinate “conservatism” to “America.”

Once again, Classical Liberalism is support for limited government, the protection of private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press and international peace based on free trade.

The America I love would be nothing without the above values. Classical Liberalism (American Conservatism) can’t be subordinated to “America” in my mind because Classical Liberalism is foundation on which America is built. Without that foundation, there is no America to prioritize. In other words, America is nothing without the conservative values that make it America.

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“Sorry, we don’t take Obamacare”

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The Affordable Care act may offer affordable insurance, but people are discovering that affordable insurance does not equate to affordable care.

AMY MOSES and her circle of self-employed small-business owners were supporters of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. They bought policies on the newly created New York State exchange. But when they called doctors and hospitals in Manhattan to schedule appointments, they were dismayed to be turned away again and again with a common refrain: “We don’t take Obamacare,” the umbrella epithet for the hundreds of plans offered through the president’s signature health legislation.

“Anyone who is on these plans knows it’s a two-tiered system,” said Ms. Moses, describing the emotional sting of those words to a successful entrepreneur.

More at NYT.

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NYT: Nobel Peace Prize Winner Update

Obama has been at war longer than any president in US history.

President Obama came into office seven years ago pledging to end the wars of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On May 6, with eight months left before he vacates the White House, Mr. Obama passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.

If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama’s term — a near-certainty given the president’s recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria — he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.

The Taliban pretty much controls all of Afghanistan. There are more than a thousand US troops there.

Large parts of Iraq is controlled by ISIS and troop levels in that nation are ramping up.

Syria is an on-going disaster and now has American boots on the ground.

Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iran… The beat goes on. War without end.

More here.

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Tourists put Yellowstone bison in car

This isn’t really newsworthy but it is too good not to report.

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…as students were being taught at Lamar Buffalo Ranch, a father and son pulled up at the ranger station with a bison calf in their SUV.

“They were demanding to speak with a ranger,” Richardson tells EastIdahoNews.com. “They were seriously worried that the calf was freezing and dying.”

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Red Dawn, 1962

Here is a little Cold War nostalgia that may not be as outdated as people think.

Jack Webb (Dragnet) plays a Rod Serling-like role as he introduces us to Jerry Donovan — an average guy who shrugs off his inconvenient, civic responsibilities. Jerry “wakes up” in a communist-controlled town, where he’s the only American left. This film was produced for the Defense Department by studio mogul Jack L Warner and stars many Warner Brothers stock actors — including Jack Kelly (Maverick), Robert Conrad (Wild Wild West) and Andrew Duggan. At the time, Jack L. Warner was very staunch anti-Communist, even though he released a pro-Communist feature film, Mission to Moscow, in 1943.

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Graffiti in Lithuania

People walk past a mural on a restaurant wall depicting US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin greeting each other with a kiss in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on May 13, 2016. Kestutis Girnius, associate professor of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science in Vilnius university, told AFP -This graffiti expresses the fear of some Lithuanians that Donald Trump is likely to kowtow to Vladimir Putin and be indifferent to Lithuanias security concerns. Trump has notoriously stated that Putin is a strong leader, and that NATO is obsolete and expensive. / AFP / Petras Malukas

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What happens when you debauch the currency?

In Venezuela, the nation with the largest proven oil reserves in the world, the people of La Florida Caracas riot over a shipment of rice.

The government of Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro has printed money to pay government workers and government supporters to the point that nation has the highest inflation rate in the world. The value of Venezuelan currency has plummeted and imports, especially food items like rice, are too expensive to purchase. As a result, there is nothing on the shelves in Venezuelan markets and, when there is, riots like those above happen. After all, people must eat.

The technocrats of the Marxist Bolovarian government have their finger on the problem. Venezuela’s economy czar Luis Salas says that inflation does not exist. Venezuela can’t default because it can print money. The problem is greedy capitalists who insist on not selling at a loss, not absurdly inflationary monetary policy.

“Inflation does not exist in real life,” he wrote in a 2015 pamphlet called “22 Keys to Understanding the Economic War.” “When a person goes to a shop and finds that prices have gone up, they are not in the presence of ‘inflation.'”

Salas has argued against the idea that excessive printing of money causes inflation – an almost universally accepted tenet of macroeconomics. He insists prices rise primarily because corporations seek excessive profit margins.

And the beat goes on.

Should you be afraid? I dunno. You tell me.

Trump: U.S. will never default ‘because you print the money’

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Weekend Stuff

1) Some countries have laws regarding what you can name your child.

2) If it is big enough, can you use a magnifying glass and moonlight to light a fire?

3) Typewriters to carbines…

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More below the fold…

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The US has a capital account suprlus

A “capital account surplus” is, for the most part, another way of saying “trade deficit”. When Americans buy foreign goods, they do it with dollars. Dollars are like IOUs. We pay with these IOUs but they have to redeem them to get their value. They do this by buying treasury bonds or investing in capital projects in the United States.

Here is the reality…

Lincicome1

We get products that we want and, in return, the dollars are invested in the United States. When Swedish Ikea builds what is in the image below in, say, Minneapolis, that is good for American workers.

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This is a long way of saying that a trade deficit is a manifestation of profit that virtually always results in a capital account surplus.

By the way, if the United States ever starts running a trade surplus, look out. A recession or depression is likely in the works.

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Regarding the price and availability of bacon and eggs…

Small, distributed hog confinement facility

Small, distributed hog confinement facility

There are more pigs than people in Iowa. You can drive across the state, however, and never see a pig. Unlike when I was growing up, you won’t smell them either. They are distributed across the countryside in small confinement facilities. This is true of poultry too. The manure gets spread locally as fertilizer. It is a very good, environmental, free market solution.

I was talking to a group of pork and egg producers recently about some of the more labor intensive aspects of pork and/or egg production. In Iowa, these tasks are commonly done by foreigners and, unsurprisingly, they are mostly Hispanics.

I asked the gentleman I was talking with the savings in hiring foreign labor. Surprisingly, he responded there was no savings. In fact, hour-for-hour, it probably costs him more.

I look surprised so he explained. He told me that to hire foreign labor in rural Iowa he had to contract with enterprises that organize that labor. He had to pay fees for transport them and to provide dorms. He had to contract with immigration lawyers and human resources contractors. He had to deal with the complexities of language and customs differences.

“So why do it?” I asked.

He explained that he couldn’t hire ten percent of the workers he needed in rural Iowa if he had to rely on natives. There just aren’t enough people willing to do the literally shitty, bloody, backbreaking labor associated with large scale livestock farm-to-market activities. They just aren’t there.

So, what happens to your bacon and eggs when they build the wall and close the border?

Discuss.

Bacon-and-Eggs-uprootkitchen.com_

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Black Lives Matter Matters

How does BLM matter? The Director of the FBI says their activities have resulted in a spike in violent crime, especially in African American environs.

The head of the FBI believes that a spike in violent crime in many cities may be due to officers’ fears of showing up on Internet videos confronting suspects.

FBI Director James Comey told reporters Wednesday that a “viral video effect” is leading to less aggressive policing that “could well be at the heart” of an alarming increase in murders in many cities, according to an account recorded by the New York Times.

“There’s a perception that police are less likely to do the marginal additional policing that suppresses crime — the getting out of your car at 2 in the morning and saying to a group of guys, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?'” he told reporters.

Comey’s remarks came after he was briefed on rising crime rates in more than 40 cities during the first quarter of 2016. The director did not reveal specific statistics, and the FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

So there you have it. More blacks have died violently than would have died had Black Lives Matter never existed.

That’s an ugly irony.

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