September 20, 2014
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Unionization of babysitters to burden taxpayers
My take on the news
Lonnie Barham

TAXPAYERS WILL FOOT LARGER BILL FOR BABYSITTERS: When our legislature and governor enacted a law last session that allowed unionization of privately owned, small businesses that provide in-home, state-subsidized babysitting services for low income families, many commentators bemoaned the fact that the move would cost Rhode Island taxpayer dearly. It’s coming to pass!

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the powerful, two million strong union that is trying to organize the Rhode Island childcare providers, has already negotiated a similar contract for home-based babysitting providers in Washington state. That contract gives providers state-subsidized health insurance, overtime pay, tuition reimbursement, $500 training incentives, and 10 paid holidays per year.

Look out Rhode Island taxpayers! Just like we said, the same kind of ludicrous benefits are coming to private-party providers in our little state. Not only has our state leaders thrust this unconscionable financial burden upon us, the likely unconstitutional law signed by the governor says that childcare providers who opt not to join the union must still pay union dues once a contract is negotiated. These are not state employees. They are privately-owned, small businesses. By forcing a small business to pay dues to a union, our state is depriving them of their First Amendment right to associate with whomever they wish as they petition the government for redress of grievances. This will be fought in the courts by “right to work” organizations, thus costing our taxpayers even more in legal fees.

Saying “we told you so” results in very little satisfaction. What will satisfy is for voters to penalize at the polls our nincompoop governor and every legislator who voted for this egregiously ill-conceived law.

IT’S ABOUT TIME HANDICAPPED PARKING ENFORCED: The Providence Police Department has begun a campaign to ticket drivers who park using fraudulent handicapped parking placards. Hurrah! It’s about time police start to enforce disabled parking regulations. How many times have each of us seen a car with a handicapped placard hanging from the rearview mirror pull into a handicapped parking space and watched the driver, the sole occupant, bounce out of the car and briskly walk to the store entrance. Many times the driver is not only physically capable of self mobility, but is actually young, strong and - by appearances - physically capable of playing a tough game of football or basketball.

We all remember the “retired” Providence police officer whose “disability” prevented him from working even a police desk job; yet, a TV reporter found him capable of lifting over 200 pounds at the gym. It’s people like this disgusting “retired” police officer who have the effrontery to use borrowed, stolen or fraudulent handicapped placards. Police in every city should follow the example set by Providence!

U.S. MILITARY STRIKE AGAINST SYRIA: The president “does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” That was President Obama in 2007 while a candidate for the presidency. Even though Obama is supposedly a “constitutional law expert” and his 2007 opinion was in consonance with the Constitution, he is now saying that he has the authority to conduct acts of war without the backing of Congress. He has wisely decided to seek congressional approval before ordering a military strike on Syria, but he still insists that he doesn’t have to have the backing of Congress.

He is dead wrong! While extremely repugnant and clearly in violation of international norms, the use of chemical weapons by Syria does not constitute “an actual or imminent threat to the U.S.” We should take military action, not only as a punishment to the Syrian dictator but also as the first step toward securing the plethora of chemical and biological weapons in Syria before they can fall into terrorists’ hands. But, Obama must have congressional approval before any military action.

Congress represents the people. The President’s job is to enforce the will of the people as decided by Congress. Had Obama ordered acts of war unilaterally, he would have been little better than the dictator against whom the force was directed.

PROVING MOTHER RIGHT: Remember as a child when your mother insisted that you could do something when you were totally convinced you could never accomplish it? Remember when she exhorted you with axioms such as, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”? Usually, after several tries, you managed to do what your subconscious had told you was impossible.

On Labor Day, Diana Nyad, a 64-year-old woman who had tried but failed numerous times to swim across the treacherous Florida Straits from Key West to Cuba, finally accomplished her goal. Previously failing on four tries, instead of giving up she “tried and tried again,” finally succeeding in her 35-year quest. She is a monument to persistence and to the caveat that we should all remember what our mothers told us about never giving up.

UNEQUAL PUNISHMENT: Sometimes it’s easy to understand why citizens of Afghanistan become upset with the American force that is supposed to be a protecting force rather than an occupying one. When they see the disparate punishments handed out by our military courts in two mass murder cases, they can’t help comparing the two. Afghans contrast the life sentence handed out to Army Sergeant First Class Robert Bales, the soldier who left a coalition base in Afghanistan and methodically went house to house murdering 16 innocent Afghan civilians - nine of them children, with the death sentence imposed on Army Major Nidal Hasan who went on a rampage at a Fort Hood, Texas deployment preparation center killing 12 American soldiers and a civilian employee. With such disparity in sentencing, it is easy to see why the Afghans may think the U.S. military considers American lives more valuable than Afghan lives. The death sentence should have been imposed in both cases.

IS OBAMA GIVING UP WAR ON DRUGS? Finally, the Obama administration is admitting that Americans in states that have approved the medicinal or recreational use of marijuana should be able to use the drug without fear of federal arrest. The Justice Department has issued guidance to all of its U.S. Attorneys telling them not to interfere with states that have passed laws that allow marijuana use or have made possession a non-criminal offense.

Is this the first step in the federal government’s surrender in the so-called “war on drugs” that has been such a dismal failure? Let’s hope so. The ill-conceived “war” has cost us more in the deaths of Americans, in property loss, in enforcement costs, in huge imprisonment numbers, and in filling the pockets of drug cartels than we could ever hope to gain from lowered drug use. Drug legalization with well-established regulations and taxation would lead to far less drug use and related criminal activity since it would provide the means for robust treatment programs in place of imprisonment programs.

Skeptics believe Obama is issuing the current relief guidance in order to appeal to younger, Democrat-leaning voters who comprise the largest bloc of pro-legalization voters. That possibility notwithstanding, it’s a good move by the President that should be applauded.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Unfortunately, It seems for every good thing President Obama does, he does something else that is wrong for America. To “keep more guns off the street,” he has directed his administration to issue rules that prohibit the importation by U.S. citizens of “military-grade weapons” that the U.S. has previously sold or donated to other countries. The ban affects, for the most part, only antiquated weapons like the M-1 Garand rifle used by infantrymen in WWII. This type of historical weapon is exactly what U.S. collectors seek to import but will no longer be able to acquire; only museums will be exempt. These types of guns are not found at crime crimes, but outlawing any type of gun makes it appear that Obama is doing something after his humiliating loss in recent gun control battles with Congress.

Pointing out how ridiculous the new rules are, a California collector, Ed Woods, said: “Banning these rifles because of their use in quote-unquote “crimes” is like banning Model-Ts because so many of them are being used as getaway cars in bank robberies.” It looks like Obama’s political posturing knows no limits!


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