Don’t bet on public support for Oregon’s sanctuary law

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Ballot Measure 105, which would throw out Oregon’s Sanctuary law, doesn’t have a prayer in November, right?

Certainly not in Democrat-led Oregon with its progressive bastions of Multnomah, Lane and Benton Counties and the large overwhelmingly liberal population of Portland.

Don’t be so sure.

Beneath the surface of highly visible and noisy liberal activism there’s considerable concern among the general public about illegal immigration and its ties to a breakdown in respect for the law.

Even many diehard liberals, though supportive of legal immigration, are showing frustration with illegal immigration and with those advocating open borders and the abolition of ICE.

Many are becoming not just uncomfortable with illegal immigration, but hostile to it, seeing as as inimical to an ordered society.

If there was ever a consensus among liberals that welcoming all immigrants, legal and illegal, was the right and moral thing to do, that consensus has shattered.

In a March 2018 Gallup poll, for example, 58 percent of respondents, including 48 percent of Democrats, said they were worried about illegal immigration. This level of concern is typical of what Gallup has measured over the past 18 years, apart from a window between 2006 and 2011 when roughly two-thirds of Americans expressed worry.

That may be one reason why Measure 105’s opponents have come together as Oregonians United Against Profiling, avoiding any reference to illegal immigrants, undocumented immigrants or illegal aliens.

An early sign of public discomfort with illegal immigrants in Oregon came in 2014. That was when, despite a slew of organizations and public figures urging a yes vote, voters overwhelmingly overturned a state lawthat would have given state issued photo ID in the form of driver cards“without requiring a person to provide proof of legal presence in the United States.”

Public impatience with the ICE protest camp adjacent to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in South Waterfront was also a sign of liberal weariness with immigration activists.

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While Portland liberals might once have been expected to embrace the protesters, it became clear as the protest continued that support for the camp was dwindling, particularly among residents and business owners in the South Waterfront area. Liberals there didn’t want their upscale neighborhood trashed by hostile, obscenity-spewing, pathway-blocking, unruly protesters either. Even Mayor Wheeler, who initially took a hands-off stance, buckled to public pressure to close down the camp.

Liberal tolerance in Oregon, particularly in Portland, is also being tested by problems associated with escalating homelessness.

When Officer Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, wrote in a July 16 Facebook post, “Our city has become a cesspool,”the public response was largely supportive.

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In a KGW News poll asking if viewers agreed with Turner, 94 percent of respondents said yes. Even many online commenters on Portland media sites agreed. “I am a liberal, but am with police on this one,” said a Willamette Week commenter. “Undermining their hard work is counterproductive and hurts us all.”

Awareness if shifting public attitudes on illegal immigrants may have contributed to today’s statement by Knute Buehler, Republican candidate for governor, that he supports Measure 105.

“I see it as way to remove barriers between local and state law enforcement communicating and cooperating with federal officials to keep Oregonians safe. It’s regrettable that this measure is even needed.”

All this tells me the defeat of Measure 105 is far from a sure thing.

 

 

 

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United States Olympic Committee: rotten at the top

Sexual abuse isn’t the only scandal under the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

While most of Oregon’s Olympic hopefuls and those from around the country have had to scramble to pay the bills for their training, employees of the non-profit USOC have been wallowing in exorbitant salaries.

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“The road to Pyeongchang is paved with blood, sweat, tears, and a whole lot of money,”  the Aspen Times wrote before the 2018 Winter Olympics. But not every aspiring Olympic athlete has a big bank account.

“Many of them had to crowdfund to get (to PyeongChang),” wrote Washington Post reporter Sally Jenkins. “They bartended, cleaned houses and begged their local police to hold bake sales to help them pay for training and plane tickets.” More than 1,000 campaigns were up on crowdfunding site GoFundMe when you searched “2018 Olympics.” And only a handful of Olympians actually reap big payoffs from their victories.

Meanwhile, USOC executives and staff rake in the dough.

According to the USOC’s Form 990 tax return to the IRS, USOC staff took home $52,949,974 in salaries, other compensation and employee benefits in 2016. At least 13 of the non-profit’s 375 employees collected over $300,000 each and 129 individuals collected over $100,000 each.

And the compensation numbers are just as distressing at some of 47 national governing bodies under the USOC umbrella.

USA Swimming, for example, is responsible for selecting and training teams for international competition including the Olympic Games. In 2016, when the USA Swimming Board of Directors extended the contract of USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus through Dec. 31, 2020 , it agreed to pay him just short of $1 million a year.

This despite serious questions about sexual abuse claims by swimmers and a 2014 story, Unprotected, in Outdoors Magazine that blew the lid on swimmers’ complaints.”There’s a horror in the shadows of American competitive swimming: a continuing legacy of sexual abuse, usually involving male coaches who prey on young women—and a governing body that looks the other way,” Outdoor writer  Rachel Sturtz reported. Wielgus died of complications from colon cancer in April 2017.

Another national governing body, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), compensated both a former and current CEO in the year ending April 30, 2017, according to its Form 990 .  William Marolt, who led the USSA as CEO for 18 years before retiring in March 2014, received $741,696 in compensation while his successor, Tiger Shaw, pulled in $510,683.

Then there was Dan Flynn, CEO of U.S. Soccer, whose compensation for the year ending April 30, 2017 totaled $832,655. The U.S. men failed to even qualify for the 2016 Olympics soccer tournament; the American women lost to Sweden in the earliest exit the team had ever made in a major tournament.

The USOC revels in pushing out heartwarming stories about the noble Olympics and the athletes who sacrifice to achieve their dreams for America’s greater glory, but it doesn’t talk much about the loot its executives and staff pull in.

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“A house built on greed cannot long endure.” Edward Abbey

In 2016, the most recent year for which compensation data is available, high earners at the USOC included:

CEO Scott A. Blackmun: $1,075,604

Chief Financial Officer Morane Kerek: $301,586

General Counsel Christopher McCleary: $417,416

Chief of Paralympics/NGB Richard W. Adams: $371,550

Chief of Sport Performance Alan R. Ashley: $498,252

Chief Marketing Officer Lisa P. Baird: $592,934

Chief Development Officer Jon M. Denney: $579,027

Chief of Communications Patrick D. Sandusky: $434,622

Managing Director Info Technology Trevor E. Miller: $359,750

Managing Director Marketing Richard Poll: $340,015

Mng. Director, Govt. Relations, Desiree Filippone: $327,529

Mng. Dir. Marketing Peter Zeytoonjian: $301,695

Former Chief Paralympic Russell C. Huebner: $336,754

CEO Blackmun resigned in March 2017, ostensibly because of health problems, but also likely because of sex abuse scandals and oft-criticized excessive salaries at the USOC.

The outrageous compensation payments in 2016 were part of a pattern of steadily escalating compensation in recent years. The 2016 payments were 13 percent higher than payments in 2014 ($47,026,640) and 2014 payments were 7 percent higher than payments in 2012 ($43,939,962).

“To many Olympic athletes, those USOC executives still look like the 1 percent,” wrote Philip Hersh, a former Olympic Specialist for the Chicago Tribune. “That is not an image they should want.”

 

P.S.: The just-completed World Cup reminds us that it’s not just the Olympics that’s over the top in handing out money. The 36 members of scandal plagued FIFA are scheduled to meet just three times this year, but each will be paid $250,000  for their participation.

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KGW and CBD: A failure to inform

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It wasn’t exactly fake news, but it wasn’t the whole story either.

On Monday, July 9, KGW-TV ran a story about how CBD-infused products are gaining popularity.

 CBD is one of many compounds, known as cannabinoids, that are found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. It does not change the state of mind of the person who uses it, although it does appear to produce significant changes in the body.

The KGW story came across more as breathless cheerleading than a news report.

It began with a folksy item about a brewer infusing his beer with CBD for flavor.

“But it also has some other benefits,” said reporter, Keely Chalmers. “Many health experts believe CBD helps with things like pain, anxiety, seizures, even some cancers.”

That might be why business at a Portland CBD Hemp Store, where you can get CBD-infused candy, dog treats, oils and more, has been so good, she continued.

The story also featured a massage therapist who began offering CBD-infused massages and “within weeks the calls from satisfied customers started pouring in.”

Chalmers even threw in a segment featuring Dr. Nephi Stella, Co Director
of the University of Washington – Center for Cannabis Research, who she said asserts that CBD “has proven therapeutic qualities and is safe.”

Cannabinoids have a very good safety profile,” the researcher said in an interview. ‘It all depends on dosage and how much you take and how often.”

Sounds good, huh?

But there’s an unmentioned problem. There are still very little long-term safety data available and there is “no scientific evidence” that most CBD products can be effectively used to treat or cure serious diseases, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The only product the FDA has approved, based on well-controlled clinical trials, is a purified form of CBD to treat seizures associated with two rare, severe forms of epilepsy in patients two years of age and older.

Not only is there no scientific evidence that other CBD products are safe or effective, but the FDA has taken recent actions against companies distributing unapproved CBD products marketed in a variety of formulations, such as oil drops, capsules, syrups, teas, and topical lotions and creams.

…we remain concerned about the proliferation and illegal marketing of unapproved CBD-containing products with unproven medical claims,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on June 25, 2018. “The promotion and use of these unapproved products may keep some patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases.”

The KGW report also failed to disclose that CBD products are being produced in a no man’s land in terms of regulation. “CBD is being produced without any regulation, resulting in products that vary widely in quality,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “It really is the Wild West. Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say whatever the hell he wants on a label and sell it to people.”

And even where people have used CBD in some form and claimed it had a positive effect, that’s hardly scientific proof of efficacy. “There’s no control, so it’s basically how do you know if we’re dealing with the true effect of the drug or just simply a placebo effect because somebody thinks they’ve been given a drug that will be beneficial?” said Timothy Welty, chair of the department of clinical sciences at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in Des Moines, Iowa.

KGW’s story wasn’t false information designed to masquerade as news, the definition the Columbia Journalism Review says is favored by most white papers and news reports about the problem. Instead, as in so many other media failures, the error was one of omission.

And that undermines trust in the media.

 

 

 

Starbucks: Another nice mess

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Starbucks is in a mess of its own making, and it’s going to get worse.

On Monday, July 2, a report  prepared at Starbucks’ request came out advising the company on its diversity efforts. The report followed an incident in April when a store manager in Philadelphia called the police after two black men who hadn’t bought anything didn’t leave the store when asked.

The report’s extensive list of recommendations, if adopted, would reach deep into Starbucks’ operations with a litany of actions high on the liberal agenda. Now, if Starbucks fails to embrace the recommendations it will surely be subject to more accusations of racial bias and bad faith.

But the list shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Starbucks. After all, in a bid to placate the left, Starbucks gave the report assignment to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Heather McGhee, former president and now senior fellow of Demos.

The NAACP is hardly a neutral observer on racial issues and Demos is a left-wing think tank launched in 2000 by a group of liberal activists, journalists and politicians, including then-state Senator Barack Obama. To top it off, Demos’ Board Chair is progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren’s daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi.

Reading the report’s recommendations is like listening to a panel composed of Al Sharpton, Rachel Maddow, Cornell West, George Soros and Jon Stewart:

  • Encourage unionization of Starbucks’ workforce. “…we recommend that the company recognize, respect and encourage the fundamental civil right that is collective bargaining.”
  • Make worker pay transparent. Let all workers know what other workers are making.
  • Do a Civil Rights Audit.“…conduct…a comprehensive and independent review of the company’s processes, policies and outcomes across a range of metrics, including racial diversity of staff at all levels and contractors throughout the supply chain.”
  • Change how staff are evaluated and promoted. “Bluntly, some managers and even corporate leadership may not have a future with the company under the new standards. “
  • Pay a $15 an hour starting wage.“Economic security is a racial equity issue.” (According to Glassdoor, a typical Starbucks Barista salary is $9 an hour)
  • Provide support to police departments. Offer financial and in-kind support to assist with anti-bias training by police departments and in-kind rewards to departments that complete initial trainings.
  • Eliminate arbitration requirements. “Mandatory arbitration agreements prevent employees from bringing individual claims in federal courts, essentially privatizing civil rights employment claims.”
  • Give money for education. Commit financial resources towards supporting college readiness and SAT preparation programs in Philadelphia high schools.

And as if that isn’t enough interference in Starbucks’ business, the report says Starbucks should, “Appoint an independent consultant…to monitor the effectiveness of these measures, and to regularly report back to civil rights organizations.”

You can be sure that the left will assiduously follow Starbuck’s follow-up on the report’s recommendations and call out the company publicly for any perceived sluggishness in implementing change.

And the media will breathlessly jump on every allegation, presenting a constant management and public relations nightmare.

Listen carefully and you can almost hear the company’s employees and shareholders muttering the Laurel and Hardy line— “Well , here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

Another fine mess