Millionaires & Billionaires Fighting “Oppression”

Oppression certainly isn’t what it used to be. Instead of vicious police dogs, water cannon, billy clubs and Bull Connor, America is greeted with the sight of millionaires and billionaires kneeling in football stadiums trying to make white America feel guilty without so much as a Chihuahua yapping in the background.

And they aren’t alone. The Opposition Media, celebrity culture, leftist pastors, educators, politicians, various groin activists and Hollywood were all united in condemning the USA for the alleged subjugation of blacks. The protesters had no compunction about attacking the president and insulting the flag.

If this is “oppression” it’s news to Stalin, Hitler, Saddam and Kim Jong–Un. If I were a white supremacist, I think I’d demand my money back. From all appearances it’s whites, conservatives of all colors and taxpayers who are being told to sit down and shut up.

Instead of being a lonely and dangerous stand against institutionalized brutality and “oppression” the “take a knee movement” has rapidly become this fall’s Ice Bucket Challenge. The difference being the Challenge was a showy, self–involved effort on behalf of a real disease, while take a knee is a showy, self–involved effort on behalf of a grievance fantasy.

The left claims to own science, so lets look at the data. First of all the Us is one of the least racist nations on the planet. An investing and investment newsletter, with the credibility–dissolving name of Insider Monkey, performed an analysis of racism polls that included “responses of over 85,000 people from 61 countries” and found the USA didn’t even make the top 25 of the most racist countries.

The number one for racism was India with South Korea at number 25. What researchers did find was the US ranked #12 on a list of the Least Racist Countries in the World. The report concluded, “We believe America, on average, is one of the most racially tolerant countries on Earth.”

So much for “oppression.” But no protest implying malevolence on the part of whites would be complete without including “police brutality.” Data here proves there may be individually brutal cops of all colors, but there is no institutionally brutal police regime threatening blacks or anyone else.

Philippe Lemoine did an analysis of the Police ­Public Contact Survey (PPCS). It’s a 70,000 sample of US residents 16 or older that’s representative of the whole population. Participants are asked if they had an encounter with the police during the past year. If so they are asked for details, including any use of force.

This means data from the survey is based on personal encounters with law enforcement and not speculation on encounters other people have had with cops based on OpMedia reports or “community rumors.”

Lemoine found “just 16 unarmed black men, out of a population of more than 20 million, were killed by the police…These figures are likely close to the number of black men struck by lightning in a given year. The comparison illustrates that these killings are incredibly rare, and that it’s completely misleading to talk about an ‘epidemic.’ You don’t hear people talk about an epidemic of lightning strikes and claim they are afraid to go outside because of it.”

The case for routine police harassment is just as fraudulent. Black men have less yearly contact with police than whites: 17.5 to 20.7 percent. And as for injury, protesters in the stadium have a greater chance of getting a rug burn at the hands of Monsanto than they do a bruise at the hands of the cops.

“Actual injuries by the police are so rare that one cannot estimate them very precisely even in a survey as big as the PPCS, but the available data suggest that only 0.08 percent of black men are injured by the police each year, approximately the same rate as for white men.” Lemoine reports.

It would make more sense to accuse the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of brutality since black men are 44 times more likely to be injured in a car crash.

Lemoine’s conclusion: “The media’s acceptance of the false narrative poisons the relations between law enforcement and black communities throughout the country and results in violent protests that destroy property and sometimes even claim lives.”

So why are the knee people blaming ticket holders and the audience? There aren’t any billionaires, mayors or Members of Congress in the stands. All the people with real power are on the field insulting the blameless over a grievance that doesn’t exist.

During the Civil War black soldiers in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry — immortalized in the movie “Glory” — could distinguish between individual bigots and the flag of the nation that was fighting to free the slaves.

I wonder why privileged football players, and their enablers in politics and the media, can’t do the same.

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Kaepernick: When Taking a Knee Is All About Me

Just think — if Tim Tebow had taken a knee for Antifa instead of God he might still be in the NFL. Or at least he could be a topic of conversation for people wondering why Tebow wasn’t playing. I find it ironic a league that is now encouraging “celebrations” after a touchdown, frowned on Tebow offering a quick word of thanks after a score.

Offering a word of thanks certainly isn’t a problem with Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick loses his starting QB job and decides to make himself a spectacle by kneeling during the National Anthem to protest racism in a league that’s 70 percent black.

Tebow loses his starting QB job and quietly accepts an insulting assignment as a blocker on the punting unit, where he suffers broken ribs as a reward for being a team player.

Kaepernick says he can’t “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” and “there are bodies in the street and [cops] getting away with murder.” How this squares with the fact he was adopted by white parents and felt comfortable wearing socks that depicted police as pigs while cops were standing only a few feet away went unexplained.

Both players aren’t particularly good pocket passers and both frequently resort to running with the ball when pressured.

Tebow isn’t offered another chance in the NFL even after spending an entire off–season working with a QB–whisperer to improve his throwing mechanics. Kaepernick evidently spent his off–season growing an Afro that rivals that of Angela Davis in her heyday. Tebow’s football career is over and no reporters are asking if he was blackballed because of his Pro–life Super Bowl ad.

Kaepernick appears to be done, too and the Opposition Media, which invaded the sports page, is convinced he’s being blackballed.

Sally Jenkins in the Washington Post condemns NFL owners, “They care that he is a disrupter–dissenter who refuses to play the stock character role assigned to him and might threaten a bottom line. As a result, they have blacklisted him — there is no other term for it — and in doing so have unintentionally underscored his message about pervasive injustice for blacks.”

Then she can’t tell the difference between being fired for an internal memo meant to stay inside the company and a public workplace insult that offends a majority of the customer base. Jenkins sees equivalence between James Damore, Google engineer who authored the memo, and Kaepernick, “You don’t have to agree with Kaepernick taking a knee during the anthem last season — or Damore’s reasoning and language — to be offended by the fact that they are out of jobs for speaking their well–intentioned minds.”

Her colleague, Jerry Brewer, appears to think Kaepernick is a modern Paul Revere warning America of a resurgence of the Klan as “racists feel empowered again.”

Neither of these hyperventilators gives any credence to what Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown said of Kaepernick. Brown knows something about racism. He played in the Jim Crow NFL before the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Brown knows about personally suffering systemic, government–imposed racism and he thinks Kaepernick is a poseur.

Brown told The Post Game, “I’m going to give you the real deal: I’m an American. I don’t desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I’m not gonna do anything against the flag and national anthem… this is my country, and I’ll work out the problems, but I’ll do it in an intelligent manner.”

That’s not a observation that’s going to generate coverage for Brown in the OpMedia, just as Green Bay Packers Safety Ha Ha Clinton–Dix wearing socks with the names of four Dallas police officers murdered by a Black Lives Matter assassin fell into the media’s memory hole.

I’ve never heard a reporter ask Kaepernick what country he prefers to the US? I doubt it’s China, even though white people have no privilege there. The People’s Republic just passed a law making it illegal to mock the Chinese national anthem and the offense is punishable by up to 15 days in jail.

Reporters also never ask Kaepernick how he will know he’s achieved success. Will it be when blacks are allowed the vote? When a black woman has a top–rated national talk show? When the US elects a black president?

The fact is Kaepernick is a marginal QB with a bad attitude who missed the limelight. He’s also a guy whose commitment to “racial justice” was so immutable he backed off the protests when he was trying to land another team.

It’s time for Kaepernick to find another line of work where insulting Americans is part of the company culture. I hear ESPN is hiring.

Is a Shortage of Brownies Next?

What a man considers a crisis tells us a lot about his character. In the past governors have declared a state of emergency for hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, riots, epidemics, crime waves, Trump rallies and earthquakes.

Evidently in Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval thinks those problems are too 20th Century for him. He’s declared a state of emergency because Nevada is running out of marijuana! Maybe Sandoval had a severe case of the munchies that clouded his thinking or maybe his priorities are just different, but mobilizing the state government because of a “wacky tobaccy” shortage breaks new ground in emphasizing trivialities.

Nevada has legalized the sale of mota for “recreational” uses (are there truthfully any other?) and just two weeks after the chronic crop went on sale retailers began warning their supply is almost down to seeds and stems.

Personally I question the need for a state of emergency. I was under the impression maryjane users were a calm, mellow lot more prone to expressing outrage if stores ran low on Cheetos after a “bake sale.”

While it was the sellers who were more prone to violence.

Yet blaming the governor for the laughing grass shortage is probably unfair, since he didn’t support dope legalization in the first place. The blame rests on a supposedly “conservative” Republican legislature that let crony capitalism get in the way of the competition they allegedly support.

So what did the legislature do? How could it foul up something as simple as legalization? Why do I feel strangely lethargic and uncompelled to post the Newsmax link?

Okay, I’m better now. Complete details available at:

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/marijuana-mary-jane-yerba/2017/08/08/id/806537/

 

“Gde myaso?” Russian for Where’s the Beef?

Political campaigns are full of liars and fabulists. From the candidate who promises to repeal Obamacare root–and–branch, to the volunteer who lies about how many doors he knocked, campaigns attract people who are, as Mark Twain observed, “Economical with the truth.”

I know because I spent almost 40 years working in elections all over the US and in a handful of islands.

Think of all the disfunction and outrage you’ve ever endured in any organization where you’ve worked. Then condense the burned microwave popcorn in the break room, the idea–stealing colleague, the boss who doesn’t give the promised raise, the boasting braggart and the job description that changes monthly into a timeframe of only a few months.

That’s a political campaign.

The people outside the campaign who want to “help” are often no better. The relative that meddles, the donor with advice on campaign commercials and the family friend who has negative information that’s going to “blow the opponent out of the water.”

The Trump campaign had to deal with all these annoyance on the largest scale possible.

This brings us to Donald Trump, Jr. He’s a businessman with zero political experience. On June 3, 2016 he gets an email from a music publicist, who tells him a Russian singer says his dad met with the “Crown prosecutor of Russia,” who in turn said he had documents related to Hillary’s Russian dealings that would incriminate her.

The only difference between this and typical campaign fantasy mongering is the information wasn’t for sale.

Media hindsight is currently spinning this third–hand account of potential Russian government “help” as the latest confirmation of the Axis of Internet hacking conspiracy. What this “evidence” really proves is the Russia collusion scandal is the leftist equivalent of the Obama birth certificate conspiracy.

Neither the timeline nor the result stand up to objective scrutiny.

When Donald, Jr. received the initial email Trump wasn’t even the nominee. Instead he was the presumed nominee — although John Kasich had recently stopped taking his medicine and was attempting to organize other bitter–enders in an effort to seize the GOP convention.

Those of you who are counting may list this as the first attempted coup against Trump.

If you are as credulous as the Opposition Media it makes perfect sense the Russian security service, the FSB, would use a music publicist sending an unencrypted email as part of a nefarious plot to derail Our First Female President.

The situation was significantly different from Junior’s viewpoint. The message refers to a so–called “Crown prosecutor of Russia.” But it may as well have been the “Clown prosecutor of Russia.” The office is as imaginary as the documentation.

Google the phrase and you get 40,800 results that refer to the news stories about the email.

For Trump the primary motivation for the meeting isn’t a sit–down with some shadowy Russian. Donald, Jr. is maintaining a business relationship. The singer’s dad is a Russian big-shot Trump, Inc. has done business with in the past. The rule of thumb for operating in an oligarchy is: Keep the Oligarchs Happy! A meeting with a potential crackpot is a small price to pay to stay in the Russian market.

If the Russian “agent” does have information, so much the better. One thing his motivation couldn’t have been was joining some Russian conspiracy to steal the election. That’s because the alleged Russian DNC hack wasn’t announced until AFTER junior’s meeting.

The Russian scandal that had been in the news was in connection with Hillary’s ties to the infamous Uranium One deal.

As reported in the New York Times more than a year earlier, Sec. of State Hillary approved a deal where Russians acquired a majority stake in a Uranium One, giving Putin control of one–fifth of the uranium production capacity in the US.

That’s considerably more significant that gaining control of the Georgia voters rolls.

Uranium One was so grateful for Hillary’s generosity the chairman gave the Clinton Crime Foundation a total of $2.35 million. Hillary was still a government employee and couldn’t take a speaking fee, but Bill cashed a $500,000 check from a Moscow bank directly tied into the Russian government.

That is a genuine Russian scandal that actually happened.

Meanwhile Trump, Jr.’s meeting went like most of these negative hype–fests do. Rosa Klebb walked into the meeting, excuse me Natalia Veselnitskaya, and all she wanted to talk about was Russian sanctions, not Hillary shenanigans.

There was no Russian help. No Russian collusion. No beef at all.

The meeting was such a waste of time Jared Kushner walked out halfway through and resumed living a normal life. I would recommend obsessed members of the Opposition Media discard their tinfoil hats and do the same.

Siri Plans to Stop Taking Orders and Start Giving Them

Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced the company is going to focus on developing self–driving car “systems” instead of the car itself. In an interview with Bloomberg Television he explained this qualifies as an “MOA” effort as in “The Mother Of All AI projects.”

The decision to concentrate on software, rather than both hardware and software is a new one for Apple. Normally the company designs the hardware along with the operating software and then ships the entire package off to China for manufacturing and intellectual property theft.

When the finished product returns to the US, Apple does its best to control the sales of all related products.

I’ve been with Apple longer than I’ve been with my wife. This is a fitting comparison since buying Apple is the hardware equivalent of matrimony. And even more fitting personally, since I’ve had excellent luck with refurbs, regardless of whether it’s Apple computers or wives.

Apple, like my wife, is a closed system that takes a dim view of playing the field. Cupertino prefers customers make all software purchases through the App Store. The same goes for hardware and the Apple Store.

Android, on the other hand, is a wild and wooly open system with many hardware manufacturers, many software producers and little if any standardization. Apple’s closed system is designed with control in mind.

Think of Hillary Clinton running a Best Buy.

Under Apple there is much more look–and–feel uniformity across the product spectrum, which comes with a price. Usually higher.

So, I would have had mixed feelings about owning an iCar.

I wouldn’t have liked being limited to buying gas at Apple stations. Sure the free operating software updates are nice, but that’s balanced with the thought of being lectured on the size of my carbon footprint by an Apple “Genius.”

Cook, at the time, hadn’t ruled out electric vehicles. He rhapsodized, “It’s a marvelous experience not to stop at the filling station or the gas station.” This only proves the chauffer maintains the car without Cook’s help.

Gassing up takes about five minutes. Charging up takes hours. Electricity may start cheap, but at the rate Apple changes the design of its propriety connectors, the cost of new adapters to plug into the power outlet will no doubt balance out the iFuel cost.

I think for the foreseeable future I’ll keep my manual car. If I want to drive with a woman that argues about routes and how fast I drive, I’ll just invite the wife.

CORRECTION: I was wrong last week. That column concerned NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decree allowing NFL players scoring touchdowns to make fools of themselves — while the blockers that made it possible are ignored.

That may have been attractive for ballerina ball fans accustomed to method acting from their players, but football should be a serious game.

If I wanted to watch bad dancing and mini–charades I’d attend a GOP townhall meeting when Obamacare repeal was on the agenda. When I watch the NFL, I’m hoping professional football players will act professional.

You may recall my temporary burst of optimism when Cameron DaSilva of Fox Sports reminded us next season the NFL will also institute a snap clock. It starts when an official signals touchdown and teams will have 40 seconds to get set and begin the conversion.

DaSilva reported there were 32 touchdowns that weren’t followed by a booth review, penalty or injury. Even without the Original Tap–Dancing Kid performing his routine, teams were taking an average of 45 seconds to snap the ball. Adding choreography would only make the situation worse.

My optimism crashed when I mistakenly calculated those 32 TDs were thinly spread over the 119 games in the season’s last seven weeks and playoffs. At that rate only one quarter of a TD per game would be influenced by the snap clock.

But I was wrong!

It wasn’t the last seven weeks, plus the playoff games. His survey was only for the seven playoff games.

I should have known something was off. Reviewing 119 games, even with fast–forward or NFL Red Zone is a significant investment in a research project for a reporter facing multiple deadlines. That kind of time commitment spent watching streaming video is more characteristic of the government; say the US Patent and Trademark Office.

While only seven games cuts the sample size and increases the margin of error, the results will do in a pinch. (If you know someone in the USPTO who is not under investigation by the Inspector General, maybe you could ask them to examine the other 112 games.) For me, 4.5 touchdowns per game, unsullied by freestyle ego–mania, is much better than what I feared.

Sometimes Saving Money Is Rocket Science

It’s ironic Elon Musk, one of America’s premier subsidy farmers, is also a perfect example of the difference between the private sector approach to cost and the government’s. Musk differs from earlier entrepreneurs like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford who became wealthy by building a better mousetrap. Musk became wealthy by harvesting government subsidies.

The LA Times ran the numbers and Musk’s Tesla Motors, SolarCity Corp and Space X “have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support.”

The best part about subsidy farming, as opposed to wheat farming, is that Musk isn’t required to make a profit. Tesla and SolarCity have been in business for ten years and neither has made so much as a dime.

Even more galling, much of Musk’s subsidies go to benefit one–percenter Global Warming hobbyists. Tesla buyers receive a $7,500 federal income tax credit for purchasing a new hummer that costs up to $135,000. One reason the average household income of Tesla customers is $320,000.

The one company that isn’t a subsidy vacuum is where Musk wields a sharp pencil. SpaceX has received a paltry $15 million in subsidies and much of that came from Texas when it built a launch pad. Sure Musk has $5.5 billion in government contracts with NASA and the Air Force, but he has to perform to get the money.

Musk’s lesson is his approach to recycling. When NASA was king, boosters were fire and forget. That works fine with a mortar, but applied to sending men to the moon, costs add up fast.

If you tossed the station wagon after every visit to see grandma it wouldn’t be long before the kids had only a hazy memory of what the old girl looked like. The same applies to the moon. Space priced itself out of even the federal market.

Reusing boosters would have saved money but the suggestion was viewed as crazy talk. For the bureaucrat a reusing boosters is all cost and no benefit. There are no awards in the federal service for saving money. Someone looking to spend less is not a team player, since leftover money in the budget means Congress won’t give the agency as much next year.

Recognition in the bureaucracy goes to the functionary that invents a new program with new spending, not the green–eyeshade who finds a way to do more with less. Besides the potential for bad publicity should a recycled rocket cause a mission to fail was a risk not worth taking.

That’s why SpaceX’s March 30 launch was such a milestone. It successfully launched a communication satellite into Earth orbit perched atop a Falcon 9 rocket with a first stage that had already been launched once and recovered.

Ray Lugo, who directed NASA science missions, told Florida Today, “It’s potentially a big cost-saver and it will make a difference, provided you can re-fly multiple times. If this works, over the long term it will be difficult for anyone that throws boosters away to compete.”

At least as far as SpaceX is concerned, Musk is now a money–saving fool. That launch also saw a first time recovery of the nose cone. Musk evidently had to fight NASA thinking. According to the Daily Mail, Musk ordered his engineering team to make the attempt, “Imagine you had $6 million in cash on a pallet flying through the air that’s just going to smash into the ocean. Would you try to recover that? Yes, you would.”

Maybe in the private sector, but the feds would be worried about Greenpeace activists if a fish died during recovery.

This is what competition does. Musk launches now have a cost advantage over those of Jeff Bezos, who has yet to recover a booster. Another former NASA administrator estimates SpaceX can cut 75 percent of the cost of a rocket by reusing boosters.

Musk is already offering launch discounts to customers who opt for recycled boosters.

His goal is for each booster to be used between 10 and 100 times with an additional goal of being ready to launch after a one–day turn around. That’s three times better than the turnaround time of an F-35, which under Pentagon management requires three days between sorties.

The case against privatization is always put in terms of there are just some things that only government can do, like space flight. Only, our government isn’t doing space flight anymore, because it priced itself out of the market.

The market rewards efficiency and innovation, while government rewards government employees.

It’s not rocket science to conclude if the market can bring down the cost of space travel, it can certainly bring down the cost of health insurance.

But if Congress won’t give the market a chance, the solution isn’t Musk’s recycling. It’s NASA’s fire and forget.

Dr. Dao’s Loss Was Our Gain

The saga of former United Airlines customer Dr. David Dao is getting more and more expensive for the airline. According to the Daily Mail, he didn’t get home with all his teeth or his baggage. It seems that although United’s O’Hare Airport staff had time to order Dao beaten, which caused the loss of two teeth, they didn’t have time to take his luggage off the plane before it departed.

Maybe the baggage compartment isn’t subject to being oversold.

After the incident United CEO Oscar Munoz evidently decided to emulate Jim Carrey in the movie “Liar, Liar” and kick his own a**. He issued a number of news releases and endured a series of interviews that only served to illustrate the truth of the old public relations adage: When you’re in a hole, stop digging.

First Munoz contended the 69–year–old doctor was “belligerent.” Then Bloomberg reports that Munoz said no United employees would lose their job or be punished in the wake of the incident. “It was a system failure across various areas, so there was never a consideration for firing an employee or anyone around it,” he explained.

Although accurate, the statement doesn’t begin to address all of United’s legal problems. Dao was bumped because of what was termed at the time an “oversold” condition. The contract United customers enter into and never read when they buy a ticket addresses “denied boarding” on an oversold flight. United’s enormous liability problem is Dao wasn’t denied boarding; he was boarded and seated on the aircraft, so the contract provisions no longer applied.

After the initial death–by–streaming the video caused, United clarified the situation. Their particularly aggressive brand of musical chairs wasn’t caused by overbooking. United needed to move a crew of four to Louisville for a flight the next day and Dao was in the fourth seat.

Now there are many examples of passengers being beaten during their commute. An entire train was hijacked in Oakland just this week. But Dao may be the first person in history who was beaten so someone else could commute.

What many people don’t know about the airline business is many, if not most, of their cabin crews don’t live near the airports where they’re assigned. Crews flying out of Louisville may choose to live in a happenin’ city like Chicago, since the airborne commute is free. Dao’s teeth–rattling adventure could well have been the result of a lifestyle choice by the cabin crew in question. A tidbit that will cost even more if the case goes to trial.

The airline’s “system failure” was a pennywise–and–pound–foolish approach to overbooking. United supports the free market when it helps to make money, but dislikes the market when it costs money.

United began the market–based bidding process by offering $400 to passengers, but there were no takers. Then United offered $800. When that didn’t work the bidding was abruptly closed.

The supervisor hadn’t even gone up to the $1,350 maximum compensation required by law when he awarded Dao a free trip to Fist City.

And this is where the doctor’s loss becomes our gain.

Delta Airlines saw the post–knockout $1.4 billion drop in United’s stock price and decided to expand its auction for oversold seats. The Daily Caller reports Delta gate agents can now offer up to $2,000 in compensation and ground supervisors can go up to $9,950.

Now United is following Delta’s lead.

I’m a very satisfied Premier 1K flyer with United and today I received an email acknowledgement from Munoz that admits, “Our procedures got in the way of our employees doing what they know is right.”

To show Dr. Dao didn’t bleed in vain, in the future United “will increase incentives for voluntary rebooking up to $10,000.” Now the only violence in the cabin during an overbooked event will be when passengers didn’t think a volunteer held out for enough money and reduced compensation for the rest of the volunteers.

Even better, United now has a “no–questions–asked” $1,500 reimbursement policy for misplaced baggage. So if Dr. Dao’s new dentures are lost during a future flight he won’t have to supply the baggage supervisor with a cast of his teeth.

This is the most customer–oriented policy change that I can remember in the airline industry and we owe it all to Dr. Dao. I would almost suggest we start a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the good doctor’s physical therapy and PTSD sessions to demonstrate our gratitude.

But something tells me that after either the settlement talks or the trial concludes, Dr. Dao will have so much money he won’t be participating in any seat auctions regardless of how high the bidding goes.

United Airlines Package Tours Now Include Hospitalization!

I’m old enough to remember when the United Airlines slogan was: “Fly the Friendly Skies of United.” Now, according to Twitter wag GoodJuJu, the new motto is: “Our Service Will Knock You Out!”

It’s a cinch the passengers on United Express Flight 3411 got more than they bargained for — I knew United was upgrading seating and entertainment on those annoying puddle–jumper jets, but that floor show looked like a Trump rally!

CEO Oscar Munoz’ response to the incident was so inept he may as well have let the cop who cold–cocked the passenger handle the news conferences. At least that guy had some impact. The only mistake Munoz didn’t make was announcing that in the future all United passengers will be required to turn their cell phones off when they get a boarding pass.

Munoz began Unitedsplaining by blaming 69–year–old Dr. David Dao for all the trouble, claiming he was “belligerent.”

Alternate motto: If You Don’t Need a Wheelchair Before You Board, You May Need One After!

As a PR person I could have told Munoz he was going to have trouble selling that when Dr. Dao was an elderly, paid up, sober and seated passenger who just wanted to go home. On Monday a man claiming to be a United Express pilot called the Rush Limbaugh Show and, displaying the same concern for the paying customer that Munoz has, said, “Flying is a privilege.”

For pilots, yes. For passengers, no.

Flying for a passenger is a commercial transaction; not a boon bestowed on an unworthy recipient. In this case the good doctor’s “privilege” was revoked for because plane was overbooked.

Overbooking occurs when the airline sells the same seat more than once. The practice received official approval back when the Civil Aeronautics Board regulated airlines. (You can only sell a single item to multiple buyers when the government approves — think chair in a VA hospital waiting room — otherwise you go to jail.)

Then airlines lost money when a passenger called to make a reservation and didn’t show up, because the booked seat remained empty. This may be hard for modern consumers to believe, but back in those days a passenger would make a reservation and get a seat assignment WITHOUT PAYING A DIME! If he changed his mind at the last minute the airline lost money.

Even if the spontaneous passenger paid before changing his mind, it was easy to get a refund and fly another time.

Meanwhile, the market changed but government hasn’t. Why does that sound familiar? Passengers now pay extra to make a reservation on the phone, many tickets are non–refundable and the ones are refundable have a $250 change fee, plus added fare if the new flight is more expensive.

Even if overbooking was justifiable, United’s implementation wasn’t. Like many corporations United supports the free market when it helps make money, but dislikes the market when it costs money.

Airlines raise prices as flight times approach because the few remaining seats are more valuable, but it wants to put a lid on prices when it needs to buy the seats back. Here United needed four seats and it began the bidding at $400 and a free hotel room with meal vouchers, if the passengers gave up their seats.

That was too low, so the offer was increased to $800.

Still no takers, but instead of going up to $1,200 to see if that would bring demand in line with supply, the airline bypassed the market and decided to use force.

That money–saving decision that cost United $1.4 billion in stock valuation after the public became aware of the incident.

Overbooking, like free checked bags, is a relic of the past. When fans don’t show up for football games the team loses out on parking and concession revenue, but even rapacious Dan Snyder doesn’t overbook Redskins’ games.

If overbooking is allowed to continue it should be as a percentage of the load factor and airlines should be required to keep bidding until passengers relinquish their seats voluntarily, not at gunpoint.

The load factor for domestic flights has been on a steady climb since 2002, when it was 70.4 percent. So far in 2017 the load factor is 84.6 percent. Jet fuel prices are down and ticket sales are up. It’s a wonder United has any frustrations to take out on passengers.

I’ve flown United since it was called Continental. It’s my airline of choice and my frequent flyer level is so high, there’s no chance of me being bumped. But I will say this: In the future if I were a physician, I’d think twice before answering when a flight attendant asks, “Is there a doctor on board?”

Business Learns Trump Giveth and Trump Taketh Away

Conservatives always knew Trump’s policies would be a dog’s breakfast of competing initiatives and impulsive proposals. His State of the Administration speech only served to confirm it.

There were solid assurances to reestablish the rule of law and promises to develop a “historic” tax reform program that will make US businesses more competitive with other countries.

Unfortunately, waiting for tax reform from a Republican Congress that supports business because it makes campaign contributions and ignores competition because it doesn’t, is like waiting for a pause in an Obama monologue.

Rather than wait, Trump issued an order that requires the executive branch to remove two old regulations for every new one it issues.

That’s a great start; although something tells me at least initially the regulations deleted are going to be those covering the sodium content of salt pork issued to the Army of the Potomac.

But how does removing burdensome regulations on US business square with requiring those same businesses to provide paid family leave? I know it’s a logical progression from universal Pre–K, which is taxpayer–funded daycare, to paying mothers to raise their own babies, but it’s not logical for Republicans trying to make America competitive.

Trump’s new Commissar of Motherhood is going to be regulating up a storm. What number employees is the cutoff for coverage? Will men get to take advantage of paid leave? What about men who can’t decide if they are a man or a woman? Can homosexuals take off to raise a surrogate child? Is a polygamist limited to children from one wife or do all qualify? Does a mother of twins get twice as much leave? Can a divorced husband take off if he still gets along with the ex–wife and she has a child? Will leave only apply to immediate family or will it be like chain immigration and apply to cousins, uncles and people with similar last names?

Do mothers who abort their child get time off to sooth a guilty conscience? How long does the leave last? If a woman gives birth to a girl and a few years later she decides she’s a boy, can mom take another leave to help with the transition? If a woman adopts an infant, does she qualify? If a woman serves as a surrogate mother can she take paid leave, too?

Will the payment be a percentage of salary or a fixed rate? Will there be a means test? How about a citizenship test? Does a woman continue to earn seniority as she cares for junior? Does the leave clock for a premie start when the child was born or when it should have been born? If a mother’s state already has a paid leave program does she have to choose one or can she double–dip?

Just answering those few questions will generate reams of regulations. Will the Commissar get a free pass on the new one–for–two regulatory rule and start from scratch? Or will he have to persuade other agencies to donate old regulations he can sacrifice on the altar of red tape?

I’m sorry, but this has Ivanka’s fingerprints all over it and no one that I know of voted for her.

This program better left to the states. California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island already have leave programs. The other states are free to follow their lead and burden their businesses, too.

This is not to say I downplay the importance of motherhood. I don’t. Conservatives put much more emphasis on the nurturing of the nuclear family than the left does. Strong families build a strong society.

Let’s say Virginia, where I live, wanted to encourage working mothers to stay home with their children for the first three months. I could support a plan that takes inspiration from the foster parent program.

Virginia pays foster parents $462 a month for children under age four. It could start a new Leg Up on Life program that pays working mothers a similar amount for the first three months of the child’s life. This encourages mothers to take time off from work to establish a relationship with the newborn and removes some of the financial pressure.

In the interest of equity I would allow both working and non–working women to be eligible. In the interest of keeping the program simple, the payment would not be means tested. If women already had paid leave from their place of employment, they could collect both payments.

This program has the advantage of being simple, non–federal and no burden on business. It encourages mothers without discouraging job creation. Best of all it doesn’t establish a federal entitlement Democrats could increase at some time in the future, like Trump’s does.

Ordering Dinner With a Side of Sanctimony

A nationwide group of restaurants is now offering diners a chance to stick it to the man while simultaneously putting the fork to their tofu. Those of you who’ve wanted to join a great moral crusade, but never got around to cleaning up the basement and inviting a Syrian “refugee” to move in, can now eat locally and be served globally.

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United has launched a “Sanctuary Restaurant” movement for eatery owners who want to stay current with the latest moral–posturing on illegal immigration.

Now diners in New York, Minneapolis, Detroit, Boston, Oakland, California and Ann Arbor, MN may encounter a sign in their local bistro that reads, “Sanctuary Restaurant: A place at the table for everyone.”

I suppose if the establishment adheres to a dining policy that’s anything like Obama’s immigration policy, the sign means when an illegal sits down at your table for lunch, you’ll be picking up the tab.

This is why I like eating at Red Robin. Management doesn’t spend time trying to demonstrate its empathy and there’s an E–Verify sign on the front door that means everyone working in the restaurant is legally in the US.

That certainly isn’t the case even in non–“sanctuary restaurants.” A diner at a Virginia Chipotle would have a better chance of sharing a meal with Hillary Clinton than being served by a citizen.

According to WNYW, “Roughly 80 restaurants are participating” in this low–level criminal conspiracy to harbor lawbreakers and obstruct justice. The idea is to publically position management as social justice warriors, while privately protecting their profit margin by keeping their illegals working for wages citizens won’t accept.

At least 1.3 million illegals are working in the restaurant industry and the wage exploiters hiring them tell Washington they need a “robust pool of workers,” which really means a cheap pool of workers. Just like Georgia plantation owners, whoops, make that commercial farmers warn that fruit will rot in the fields if they can’t pay Juarez wages to Juan, restaurant owners predict food will sit uncooked and unserved if diners expect to be attended by citizens.

Naturally, that’s not how participants describe the conspiracy. Oh–so–compassionate backers want Trump to “alleviate the fear of deportation and other harassment” for illegals. The goal is to “protect” the illegals, but from what? Heartburn? E.coli? Paying for Trump’s wall? Their authority to write policy ends with the menu.

Instead they come off sounding like the prayer in Luke 18:11 where the Pharisee loudly proclaims: “God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers or deportation supporters.”

I wonder if dining–while–smug patrons have thought their choice though. Patronizing a business harboring criminals has a potential downside. Management may draw the line at breaking immigration law, but there’s no evidence the staff won’t be tempted to branch out. Once they’ve violated the border, what’s a little identity theft or trafficking in stolen credit card numbers?

And if management opposes sending the help back to their home countries, what’s the policy on sending a bad meal back to the kitchen?

One thing is different in “sanctuary restaurants.” Instead of giving patrons a signaling device that glows and vibrates when their table is ready, the staff carries the black box and the premises clear out if an ICE agent enters

“Sanctuary restaurants” give the staff “know your rights training” and webinars on how to demand the feds produce some paperwork before a raid. The conspirators are also supposed to adopt “anti–discrimination policies” that I suppose mean if a Trump supporter mistakenly wanders in and orders in English he has a 50–50 chance of being served.

The fact that an organization supporting millions of illegal aliens, who continue to defy the law, can describe enforcing immigration law as “harassment” and publically recruit other businesses to join the conspiracy, without any fear of legal repercussion, is a stark indication of how official support for the rule of law has collapsed in favor of the rule of feelings.

Illegal immigration may be the hope for the future of the Democrat party and the secret shame of RINO Republicans, but I can guarantee you his promise to enforce the law is one of the main reasons Trump won.

Aside from waiting for food that’s never served, the other bugaboo of the anti–deportation crowd is higher prices. They claim if xenophobes insist on forcing restaurants to hire citizens, then prices are going up, because those sorts of people won’t work for Karjackistan wages.

For me, that’s no deterrent at all. If the choice is between paying a buck more for a hamburger or doing away with press one for English,” well, here’s your dollar.