Tag: California

Black Belts Banned in California Over Public Safety Concern

Ryan Lau | @agorisms | Satire

In a shocking new development in California Sunday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that would ban martial artists from becoming black belts. The measure passed through state legislature easily after the murder of an innocent man at the hands of a karate black belt.

Three weeks ago, 35-year-old dojo owner Jason Shreve was walking home from work when a masked man attacked him with a knife. In defense, he disarmed and broke the leg of the man, who died that night from hypothermia. One state senator called the act “inexcusable”, pointing to a recent rise in attacks by martial artists and comparing it to gun violence.

“You simply don’t see this pattern in other developed countries”, asserted Toni Atkins, the state’s Senate President pro Tempore. “And in those countries, people aren’t allowed to just turn themselves into military-grade weapons. This measure will certainly help to keep citizens of California safe”.

Penalties for Black Belts

The bill, which goes into effect March 1st, makes it a felony to knowingly promote a karate student to the rank of black belt or higher. Existing black belts may keep their positions, but may not advance in degree. Dojo owners in violation of the law will face a minimum fine of $100,000 and up to three years in prison. Black belts caught seeking training will also face a smaller fine of $5,000 for the first offense.

Additionally, it outlines severe penalties for practicing self-defense techniques in the real world. Lower ranks may continue to practice only in registered dojos. Anyone learning or teaching martial arts beyond a state-recognized location may face up to a year’s imprisonment. Black belts doing the same may also be subject to treason charges. The bill makes it clear that the government provides security for its citizens; therefore, the only reason people would need to turn themselves into weapons is to use themselves against the state.

In efforts to pacify martial artists in the state, California will be voluntarily buying back all black belts from March 1st to June 1st. Compensation will vary depending on the age of the belt and what school it came from. However, lawmakers warn that any citizen hoping to pass off their normal black belt for a martial arts black belt will face stiff penalties.

America’s Martial Arts Problem

Proponents of the law have pointed out how easy it is to begin martial arts training in America. Brown has previously noted that “it’s easier to begin the road to a black belt than it is to get birth control. You can just walk into a dojo and sign a form; the next thing you know, they’re converting your body into a deadly weapon. This practice is not American and does not represent the values we preach in California. I hope other states can follow our lead and bring this country out of the dark”.

All in all, the state legislature echoed Brown’s sentiment. They believe that the new measure will help to deter violence. Despite this, minority rights groups believe that the new law will unfairly affect minority colors.

“The government is clearly banning black belts while allowing white belts to still train”, remarked minority rights activist from the group Black Belts Matter. “I thought that we had abandoned these policies 50 years ago, but it appears discrimination in America is still rampant”.

Currently, seven other states require all martial artists to register themselves with authorities as lethal weapons. This move is unique thus far to the Golden State. However, the United Kingdom recently passed a similar measure that strictly outlawed all martial arts in formal dojos.

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LA Teachers Strike: Class Sizes Are Not to Blame

Michael Ottavio | United States

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Teacher’s Union went on strike. In doing so, they turned down the two-year contract that would have given all teachers a roughly 3% raise each year. This led to a roughly 30,000-strong LA teachers strike to demand more funding and, most of all, lower class sizes.

It is no secret that California does not have the best public school system in the nation. As a state, California regularly ranks among the bottom 25. As USA Today reported, only 29.2% of fourth graders in the state of California are proficient in math, and 27.8% in reading. In addition, California has a graduation rate of about 83%, the 21st lowest in the country. However, California also has an average teacher’s salary of $77,000, the third highest in the country. There is some disconnect happening in California, and the students are not to blame.

The LA Teachers Strike

With chants like “Hey hey! Ho ho! We’re fighting to keep class size low,” this teachers strike is mostly about putting a cap on the number of students per class.  The strikers also got a statement from newly elected congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in several tweets. One stated that she was “Very proud of L.A. public school teachers today for taking a stand. Teachers are the unsung heroes of American democracy. Today they’re putting everything on the line so our nation’s children can have a better shot.”

Faulty Logic

It is no surprise that progressives in Congress and around the country are supporting the striking teachers. However, the logic doesn’t seem to hold up very well. There is little evidence to support the claims that lower class sizes will lead to better outcomes for students. Other countries such as Japan and Korea have class sizes that greatly outnumber class sizes in the U.S. Coincidentally, those same countries also test into the top ten most educated in the world.

Image result for class sizes by country usa today
Class size around the world

The Brookings institute has reported that even though there have been some studies that show a reduction in class size increases student achievement, there have been other studies that show the opposite or no effect at all. These studies list California as a state in which experimenting with lower class sizes yielded mix results. Currently, the evidence does not show a definitive correlation between lower class sizes and better student performance.  Results like that hold questionable relevance to legislative action.

No Improvements to Come

To clarify, people should always have the right to seek out as much money as they can make and the conditions in which they want to work under. However, the cause ceases to be morally justifiable when seeking more funding comes at the expense of the taxpayers you’re failing. These government-funded unions are holding over half a million students and their parents over a barrel.

The state of California has shown us many times that pouring millions into public education does not work. Of course, it is not going to work this time. Our country’s education system is failing. The same teachers who are failing their students by being ineffective are going to continue to do that whether the class size is 30 or 40. Until we see a massive education reform in our country and get rid of the tenure system that prevents the firing of ineffective teachers, public unions are going to continue to take advantage of the taxpayers that fund them. As a result, our students will continue to suffer for it.

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Gun Groups File Lawsuit in Defense of California Gun Owners

Thomas DiGennaro | United States

The FPC is at it again, furiously defending gun owners and their rights. This time, they have partnered with the Calguns Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Madison Society Foundation to file a joint suit against the State of California, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California DOJ Bureau of Firearms Chief Martin Horan, and California Deputy Attorney General Robert Wilson. This suit is filed by legal representation for two California residents, as well as the previously listed advocacy groups.

The two residents are Chad Lipton and Paul McKinley have previously (decades ago) been convicted of non-violent felonies in states outside of Californias jurisdiction, have had those felonies vacated by their respective courts, and have no federal prohibitions against firearm ownership. However, California DOJ has still not afforded them and outright denies them, their firearm purchases. The California DOJ is awfully aware that Arizona and Washington (the courts of original jurisdiction) have restored and recognized their Second Amendment Rights, which is a key factor in this lawsuit being filed.

This contradiction between Washington and Arizona’s courts to California’s courts extends the unconstitutionality of the matter from solely the Second Amendment to the Fourteenth Amendment as well, specifically the “full faith and credit” clause. Plaintiffs also argue that this contradiction occurs because California and its DOJ has set out to prevent as many citizens from being armed as they can make a legal justification for, no matter how remote or unconstitutional. They have “ignored the judgments and pronouncements of the courts of other states because they do not prefer the policy outcome“, and thus the Fourteenth Amendment violations. While California isn’t exactly known as the most gun-friendly state, there are still over 4.2 million gun owners residing within its borders, and many of the elected officials, as well as chief law enforcement, are working very hard to reduce that number. 

“The question presented by this case is whether the State of California, through its chief law enforcement officers, can prevent current California residents who are not federally or otherwise prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms if their previously-disqualifying offenses, which occurred in other states, have been vacated, and especially when their fundamental, individual rights have been fully restored to them by courts of competent jurisdiction in those respective states”, reads the first lines of the key filings of the legal suit.

Firearms Policy Coalition is a well run, fierce, and vehemently pro-gun advocacy group that puts the dollars you give them towards legal action to defend the rights of gun owners in all fifty states. Prior to their role in this suit, they filed two separate suits against the ATF and the Trump Administration for the bump-fire stock ban and are actively devoting time and resources to the cause they stand for, unlike the NRA, who don’t earnestly fight for your gun rights.

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Minimum Wage Raises Are Causing Price Hikes – Just As Expected

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

For us it’s very simple. There’s no big pot of money out there to get the money out of.

That was the statement of Mike Wiggins, owner of Granny Schaffer’s restaurant in Joplin, Missouri. He is being forced to raise the prices of food items up to 20 cents for one reason: the minimum wage increase.

He estimates that he may have to pay an additional $12,000 in annual wages to his staff, which is only to the harm of consumers, due to the direct effect that it has on the prices of goods.

But this incident is not isolated to Missouri. New minimum wage requirements are going into effect in 20 states, ranging from a nickel per hour increase in Alaska to an increase in $1 hourly in states such as Maine, California, and Massachusettes. In Seattle, large employers are going to have to pay $16/hour at the minimum. Similarly, in New York City, it has gone up to $15/hour.

As a Yahoo! Finance report indicated:

Economic studies on minimum wage increases have shown that some workers do benefit, while others might see their work hours reduced. Businesses may place a higher value on experienced workers, making it more challenging for entry-level employees to find jobs.

Studies from the University of Washington showed that when Seattle raised its minimum wage to $11’hour, then further to $13/hour, there was a 6.9% reduction in hours for those working for less than $19/hour, leading to a net decline in hours and ultimately leaving the workers worse off.

And all of these results are expected. Free-market economists have been explaining this for years. Ultimately, the worker’s effort for a certain amount of time is a good being sold from the worker to the employer. Like any good, there is a standard supply and demand graph that it can be analyzed against. And in this model, a minimum wage acts as a basic price floor.

The graph for each quality of work is different, with the equilibrium point (the wage agreed upon by the worker and employer) residing at a different position based on the worker’s skill. If the employer determines that the worker’s labor is worth something around $20/hour, this price floor will have no effect. But when this exact same price floor is enacted where the equilibrium wage is at $6/hour, this worker will be guaranteed unemployment.

Economists understand that a price floor leads to a surplus of unsold goods. In this case, it leads to a surplus of low-skilled workers who cannot sell their skill because the government mandated that they cannot reach a voluntary agreement with their employer.

As Yahoo! Finance continued:

The new state minimum wage laws could affect about 5.3 million workers who are currently earning less than the new standards, according to the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute, based in Washington, D.C. That equates to almost 8 percent of the workforce in those 20 states but doesn’t account for additional minimum wage increases in some cities.

So we have unemployment, or we have what we saw in the case of Granny Schaffer’s. The prices go up and consumers have to pay more. And in this instance, we have the exact same issue with a price floor above equilibrium. There is always a tendency towards equilibrium in any business endeavor as F.A. Hayek shows us, so businesses are always cutting it quite close (unless there is a large change in the quantity demanded or supplied and there is a lag in the adjustment). Because of this, when the price is forced up because the employer does not want to lay off their workers, there will once again be a surplus of unsold goods. This is bad for the business, and consumers are not getting the goods they desire.

All around, raising the minimum wage is a bad bet. So why are we still pushing for it anyway?

The sole reason is the empty platitudes of liberal talking heads and the likes of Sam Seder. When faced with economic analysis, they simply ask “but how is it moral for the employers to not pay a ‘living wage'” (whatever that means). It is a failure to see the bigger picture and look past the immediate effects of a government program. Bastiat warned us that the unseen exists, but because it is unseen, it is hard for many to take into account. One may pity those ignorant of their own economic misgivings, but when you realize that their faults are affecting the economy as a whole, compassion quickly goes out the window.

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Governor Jerry Brown’s New Gun Control Laws Are Foolish

By Teagan Fair | United States

On Friday, Jerry Brown, Governor of California, signed bills advancing gun control within the state. A notable piece of this is a law that will raise the minimum age for buying rifles and shotguns from 18 years old to 21 years old.

It is a bit over seven months since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, when 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz killed 14 students and 3 teachers, injuring 17 others, using a Smith & Wesson M&P15, which is an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. This event launched the left into a full out attack on the second amendment and gun rights. Three weeks after the shooting in Parkland, California passed laws that raised the legal age to purchase a gun, banned bump stocks and allowed police to bar a mentally ill person from owning guns for up to a year if judged to be mentally ill by a court.

Seven months later, California has passed laws that will be put into place on January 1st. The minimum age to buy a rifle or a shotgun will be 21 years of age. These laws also ban firearms for those convicted of serious domestic violence and those who have been hospitalized due to their mental health more than once in a year. Another bill governor signed by the governor will make it easier for both family members and police to seize guns and ammunition from those who are ‘threatening and potentially violent’.

Like all of these proposed gun control laws, raising the minimum age to buy a firearm to 21 is ridiculous. Of course, you can join the military at 18 and kill people for the government. You can invade countries, attack people you’ve never met and destroy or take lives of innocent people if it’s in the name of the government, but you cannot defend yourself from people trying to attack you unless you are three years older than the minimum age to do previously mentioned activities. If it’s not in the name of the government, of course, it’s sinister now. You can vote for who will represent you at 18, but owning a tool used to defend from criminals, private or government, is somehow malicious. More people are killed by cars than guns each year, yet you can drive at 16 years old.

Not to mention the fact that putting a law on it will likely prove useless, as is true for most gun control arguments. For this particular case, if someone has their mind fixed on committing murders, they will 1. Do so whenever possible, whether that time is when they are 16, 18, 21, etc. and/or 2. Kill by any means necessary, whether that is doing so by gun, knife, car, chemicals, a bat, a sharp stick, jabbing a spoon into someone’s throat, etc. Additionally,  if someone is actually fully willing to commit mass murder,  they will not be scared of the fact that they are not allowed to buy a gun, considering the fact that it’s incredibly easy to purchase guns illegally, and no law will change that. It’s pretty hard to imagine a mass murderer thinking, ‘Man, I really want to go into a vulnerable area and kill as many defenseless children as I can in cold blood, but apparently I’m not allowed to go and buy a gun. Wouldn’t want to do anything illegal, because it’s not like I’m prepared to kill vulnerable teenagers!’ Obviously, if one does not fear mass murder, they will not fear buying a firearm illegally.

This rule can go for most legislation, including all of the previously stated laws coming into place starting in January. People convicted previously of domestic violence, will obviously not be afraid to illegally obtain a firearm if it supports the much worse crime they are already planning and not afraid to commit. Any future mass murder does not fear gun control laws. Yes, Governor Brown, even if they are mentally ill. Law abiding citizens, on the other hand, who have no interest in murder, hence why they are considered law-abiding citizens, are the only ones who will likely be affected by such laws, leaving them defenseless and in a worse state than before.

Governor Brown’s laws are foolish, both morally and practically. There is no excuse for us to sit and watch as our rights are gradually taken away. I advocate for those who wish for these rights to be protected to stand up to those enforcing these laws on law-abiding citizens so that we can attempt to protect our liberty.

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