DPRK-U.S. summit a go in Singapore

Washington’s demand for a “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” is inconsistent with Pyongyang’s intention to achieve denuclearization gradually, said Zheng Jiyong, director of the Korea Research Center at Fudan University, adding that …

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DPRK-U.S. summit is back on – again

Washington’s demand for a “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” is inconsistent with Pyongyang’s intention to achieve denuclearization gradually, according to Zheng Jiyong, director of the Korea Research Center at Fudan University …

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New Hampshire Senate Rejects Occupational Licensing Bill

The New Hampshire Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee rejected a bill that would have created a state commission for reviewing occupational licensing rules.

The committee voted to reject House Bill 1685 (H.B. 1685) on April 5. The state House of Representatives had approved the bill in March.

Opportunities Squashed

H.B. 1685’s sponsor, state Rep. Bill Ohm (R-Nashua) says his bill could have helped people get  jobs and lift themselves out of poverty and drug addiction.

“New Hampshire has an interesting dichotomy,” Ohm said. “We have extremely low unemployment but high levels of opioid addiction. We have perhaps 15,000 recovering opioid addicts sidelined from our workforce, and a need for able-bodied working adults. One part of the bill was to make New Hampshire ‘recovery friendly’ by requiring licensing boards to determine, in advance, whether an individual’s criminal record would disqualify that individual from obtaining the appropriate license.”

Ohm says H.B. 1685 would have created opportunities for those seeking to better themselves.

“The intention of the bill was to increase employment opportunities for those who wish to work,” Ohm said. “It does that by starting a process to review all occupational licensing over a five-year period to see if the current laws are appropriate.”

Hoped to Cut Cronyism

Ohm says many occupational licensing rules reflect obvious cronyism.

“Some professions, such as cosmetology, require more than 1,000 hours of training to get an appropriate license,” Ohm said. “The expense of that training serves to discourage job seekers who wish to enter that profession, and seems to primarily benefit those who wish to restrict additional competition. If an EMT can qualify for a license with 40 hours of training, is cosmetology that much more dangerous to public health and safety?”

‘Little Public Purpose’

David Harrington, an economics professor at Kenyon College, says his research has led him to conclude occupational licensing needlessly increases the prices of goods and services.

“Most of my studies of occupational licensing involve the funeral industry,” Harrington said. “I have found evidence that more stringent requirements to become a funeral service worker increase funeral prices paid by consumers and reduce the likelihood that they choose cremation, because funeral directors persuade many of them to purchase a more expensive, traditional earth burial.”

Ohm says many government occupational restrictions have little real benefit for the general public.

“Licensing is certainly appropriate for occupations that put the health and safety of the public at risk, such as medical professionals, but other licensed professions, such as an athletic trainer or an auctioneer, seem to involve little public risk,” Ohm said. “Requiring a state license to enter certain professions seems to create a high barrier to entry with little public purpose.”

Disparate Impacts

The burden of government permission slips is especially heavy for women and ethnic minorities, Harrington says.

“Women are less likely to be funeral directors in states that require all funeral directors to be embalmers,” Harrington said. “I also think that these laws make it difficult for immigrants to enter funeral directing to serve their communities.”

Free-Market Alternatives

Ohm says the public can ensure the safety and quality of goods and services without government control.

“Professions should be open to jobseekers who meet appropriate standards of training and proficiency,” Ohm said. “Industry or government certifications, proof of insurance and bonding, and even social media reports are less restrictive ways to protect consumers than licensing.”

Editor’s Note: This article was published in cooperation with The Heartland Institute’s Budget & Tax News.

PHOTO: New Hampshire State House in Concord, NH. Photograph taken and uploaded by Jared C. Benedict on 29 December 2004. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

The post New Hampshire Senate Rejects Occupational Licensing Bill appeared first on New Revere Daily Press.

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Chris Collins, Acclaimed Business Coach, Praises Starbucks’ Open Door Policy

With global influence, Chris Collins, founder of Syndicate X , a “Secret Society for Entrepreneurs and Leaders,” author of Gamification: Playing For Profits , and the host of Chris Collins Unleashed , praises Starbucks’ new “no purchase necessary policy”. “Their store environments are created with the intention of making you want to hang around and be more comfortable,” Collins explains.

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California Wins Battle in Ongoing War Against ‘Assault Weapons’

Law-abiding Californians’ right to buy and sell AR-15s and other popular semi-automatic rifles shrank this week after a judge upheld state rules targeting “assault weapons.”

The National Rifle Association’s state affiliate had challenged rules, set to take effect on July 1, that expand the existing definition of “assault weapon” to include centerfire rifles with “bullet buttons,” plus a slew of handguns and shotguns. Those rules, the group’s lawsuit argued, extend far beyond what a 2016 state law authorized.

“The legislature has found and declared that the proliferation and use of assault weapons poses a threat to the health, safety, and security of the citizenry of California,” Superior Court Judge Mark Snauffer, a Democratic appointee in Fresno, wrote in an little-noticed opinion published Wednesday. “The challenged regulations appear to carry out the intention of the legislature.”

Snauffer’s decision underscores how hostile to gun owners the California judiciary has become. Just as the state is trying to nullify federal marijuana and immigration laws, it’s also trying to effectively nullify the federal Second Amendment. And unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in, California’s anti-gun politicians and bureaucrats might get away with it.

“We’re disappointed but not surprised,” says Sean Brady, an attorney at Michel & Associates who represents the California Rifle and Pistol Association in the case, known as Villanueva v. Becerra. “These complex technical cases are usually challenging, particularly when you’re up against the state.”

The technical question arises from a fairly straightforward law. In 2016, the California legislature expanded the definition of so-called assault weapons to sweep in ones outfitted with a bullet button. A bullet button is a quick release system that allows magazines to be swapped in and out by using a bullet tip as a tool. The goal of the law was to restrict removable magazines.

But the state Department of Justice seems to be targeting more firearms—and requiring their registration by July 1 upon pain of criminal penalties—than the law actually authorizes. The plaintiffs argue, convincingly, that the department “has promulgated and is currently enforcing a whole host of regulations that go far beyond the registration process without adhering to the [Administrative Procedure Act’s] requirements.”

For instance, the regulations reclassify certain shotguns as assault weapons (assault shotguns?), move up the deadline for obtaining a serial number for 3D-printed or homemade firearms, and limit the definition of “family member” for joint registrations of affected firearms.

Under California law, probably the most Draconian in the country, so-called assault weapons are heavily restricted. They cannot be rented at gun ranges. They cannot be inherited. They cannot be sold to another California resident. They cannot be imported. And owning one is a crime unless it’s registered with the government. Officials appear to hope that the number of Californians with fully functional AR-15s or equivalents will keep shrinking and eventually, with time, drop to zero.

In addition to this administrative challenge to the 2016 Assault Weapons Control Act, the California Rifle and Pistol Association filed a constitutional challenge invoking the Second Amendment. It had no more success. U.S. District Judge Josephine Staton, an Obama appointee, sided with the state a few weeks ago, saying: “Even an outright ban on certain types of semiautomatic weapons does not substantially burden the Second Amendment right.”

A third lawsuit challenging the Assault Weapons Control Act on both constitutional and administrative grounds has been on hold since it was filed in November. Plaintiffs in this case, Holt v. Becerra, include the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation.

“We’re very disappointed in what I think is a very wrong ruling by the court in Fresno,” says Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition. “We’re reviewing it and reviewing options. We’ll do the best we can to give gun owners a fighting chance.”

Given the political leanings of much of the California judiciary, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Instead, this week’s decision will embolden government officials working diligently to turn the Golden State into a Second Amendment–free zone.

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NYT: Say, Iran may be building ICBMs after all

Surprise! The Iranians may have been cooking up long-range ballistic missiles all during the time that both Tehran and the Obama administration downplayed those possibilities. As far back as 2011 or earlier, Iran has operated a secret missile-development site near Shahrud, the New York Times reported. For those keeping score, that would be four years before the US agreed to a deal that did nothing to restrain such activities:

When an explosion nearly razed Iran’s long-range missile research facility in 2011 — and killed the military scientist who ran it — many Western intelligence analysts viewed it as devastating to Tehran’s technological ambitions.

Since then, there has been little indication of Iranian work on a missile that could reach significantly beyond the Middle East, and Iranian leaders have said they do not intend to build one.

That might explain why the Obama administration didn’t link missile development to the “bar” on Iran’s nuclear-weapons programs. That’s pretty weak sauce, though, considering how many test launches Iran made both before and after the JCPOA. They clearly were working toward some missile development, and they already had medium-range missile systems operational. Remember, Iranian leaders also insisted for two decades that they had no intention of building a nuclear weapon either, demonstrating the credibility of the regime when it comes to its stated military goals.

If that truly was the basis of ignoring missile development in the JCPOA, it’s not a very comforting thought. The truth behind the secret facility turned out to be fairly easy to uncover … once anyone put some effort into it:

So, this spring, when a team of California-based weapons researchers reviewed new Iranian state TV programs glorifying the military scientist, they expected a history lesson with, at most, new details on a long-dormant program.

Instead, they stumbled on a series of clues that led them to a startling conclusion: Shortly before his death, the scientist, Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, oversaw the development of a secret, second facility in the remote Iranian desert that, they say, is operating to this day.

This raises serious questions, such as: Did the Obama administration know about this facility when it agreed to the JCPOA? If not, how did it get missed? Does this facility have other purposes, such as, oh … nuclear-weapons development? The outsiders who managed to connect dots to the Shahrud facility can’t answer all the questions from satellite photos alone:

It is possible that the facility is developing only medium-range missiles, which Iran already possesses, or perhaps an unusually sophisticated space program.

But an analysis of structures and ground markings at the facility strongly suggests, though does not prove, that it is developing the technology for long-range missiles, the researchers say.

For its part, Tehran refuses to discuss any kind of limitation on missile development — at least for now:

Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on Wednesday that Iran would never compromise on its missile power, reiterating Tehran’s long held position that Iran’s missile power is of defensive nature, Fars reported.

Responding to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks on Iran’s missile power, Hatami said, “If the Islamic Republic wanted to pay attention to such delusional remarks over the past 40 years, it wouldn’t have gained such power, glory and dignity.”

ICBMs are not defensive weapons. They are by nature offensive weapons, used as a deterrent in some contexts, but the deterrent value lies in their offensive nature. They are designed to strike long distances away from borders and frontiers as a means of extending offensive capabilities. Paired with a nuclear-weapons program, they become an even greater offensive threat, one that would destabilize the entire region.

Defenders of the JCPOA will argue that the deal eliminated the threat of that pairing, but that’s nonsense. Even if Iran abided by the terms of the JCPOA, it would only have had to wait ten years to produce a nuclear weapon. Having an ICBM platform available for a nuclear warhead to fit it would fit perfectly into a strategy of dominating the region by nuclear blackmail, and would force others in the region to develop or acquire their own systems to counter it.

This is just another reminder that we cut a deal with a terrorist state that didn’t do anything to restrict its terrorist or its ability to develop platforms for later use against us. If anything, the JCPOA provided financial support for these efforts and others in the region, fueling conflict and pushing Iranian hegemony all the way to the Mediterranean, all without getting anything in return other than a piece of paper. We didn’t even get American detainees out of Iran. It’s a complete debacle, only becoming even more apparent with the passage of time.

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Why the Art Gallery of Ontario Removed ‘Indian’ from the Name of This Emily Carr Painting

The Art Gallery of Ontario has scrubbed the word “Indian” from the title of a painting by the late Canadian artist Emily Carr, because “that is a word that causes pain,” curator Georgiana Uhlyarik says.

The 1929 painting originally known as Indian Church was re-hung in the Toronto museum in early May under the new name Church at Yuquot Village, a nod to the B.C. Indigenous community where the church was located.

“We feel that we are moving something forward, rather than staying in one place and repeating … the hurt of that word,” Uhlyarik, the co-leader of the AGO’s department of Indigenous and Canadian art, told As It Happens host Carol Off.

The AGO’s move is part of a controversial global trend of removing racially charged language from older pieces of art.

The Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam launched the Adjustment of Colonial Terminology project in 2015 with the goal of reviewing 220,000 titles and descriptions.

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation

Uhlyarik said the AGO consulted the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation, on whose territory the church was located, before making the change.

“It was the very first phone call that we made,” she said.

The church in the painting was built on member nation Mowachaht Muchalaht’s territory by Christian missionaries in 1889. Carr first saw it on a visit to the West Coast in 1928.

“Carr was quite fascinated with it,” Uhlyarik said. “It’s a really quite a critical painting in her career.”

Carr, who died in 1945, named the painting herself.

The original church burned down, but a new one erected in its place still stands and now serves as a community centre.

Along with the new name, the AGO has erected an informational panel beside the painting that details the history of the church and the context behind the name change.

“We are acknowledging that this is its history, that this is why it was called that, because that is in keeping with the language of her time,” Uhlyarik said.

“But that in terms of the title, we would like to open up this conversation by saying, ‘well, where is this place? What is the history of this place?’ We wanted to give the painting its place — sort of locate it, if you like, on the map.”

Cultural sensitivity in the arts

The name change has ignited debate about history and cultural sensitivity in the arts.

“While in general I am in support of the principles of reconciliation, as an artist I can’t support the change,” Carey Newman, a Kwagiuth/Coast Salish artist, told the Times Colonist newspaper.

“As an artist, I am always aware of my language. If I said harmful words, I would address and take ownership of them. Changing words merely obscures the truth of how people spoke.”

Jan Ross, curator at Emily Carr House, told the newspaper that when an artist names their own work, that name should stand.

“You have to see it in context or you are liable to repeat mistakes,” she said.

But Uhlyarik said the gallery has no intention of whitewashing history.

“We are not at all interested in hiding the history of what the object was titled by the artist and how it was exhibited and how it continues to be reproduced in all of the Emily Carr publications and postcards and posters that are around,” she said.

“We made a very deliberate point in including all this information in the label beside it. The painting itself stands with its history of colonialism, with the history of missionaries on the northwest coast.”

As for other works in the AGO collection with similar terminology?

“We’re going to take it case by case and do it responsibly,” Uhlyarik said. “Because I think it’s time.”

Indian Church

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Seattle-Based Businesses Push Back Against Job-Killing Head Tax

Earlier this week, Seattle’s city council voted unanimously for a harmful tax increase on businesses grossing $20 million a year.

Described as a “literal tax on jobs” and a “head tax,” under the new law, nearly 600 large Seattle companies, including Amazon and Starbucks, will be required to pay an annual tax of $275 per “head,” or full-time employees, for the next five years.

The Seattle city council stated its intention to use funds from the tax hike to pay for low-income housing and homeless services.

While well-intended, the policy is flawed and will ultimately hurt those it was intended to help. The tax increase will burden businesses and ultimately drive away future investors and job creators, leading to fewer jobs and opportunities for those who need them most.

Seattle-Based Businesses Fire Back

More than 100 business executives, entrepreneurs and investors responded with a letter opposing the tax, on the grounds that it would stifle future economic growth.

The group stated that the tax increase would send the message to businesses that “if you create too many jobs in Seattle, you will be punished.”

The head-tax plan also led Amazon to suspend construction on an expansion project in Seattle which would serve as an office for 7,000 employees, pending the city council’s decision.

Imposing a head tax punishes businesses for their success and discourages economic growth, hiring and future investment in the city. As the Seattle Times notes,

Amazon’s actions implied that the technology and commerce giant would add 7,000 fewer jobs in Seattle if the tax were implemented.

An economic-impact study commissioned by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce found that those 7,000 jobs represent $908 million in direct wages a year, hundreds of millions more in lost compensation for employees at businesses that sell to Amazon and reduced economic activity more broadly.

Amazon’s decision to push back against the city council’s tax hike did not go unnoticed. One union-backed activist group, Working Washington, responded to Amazon’s actions by comparing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to “a subprime mob boss lording it over a company town.”

In an extreme reaction, the progressive group then argued that Amazon should be charged with a felony and accused Amazon of violating a state law which makes it illegal to threaten politicians or public employees.

A Hostile Environment for Businesses
The Seattle city council’s head-tax plan originally called for businesses to pay $500 per employee annually, but after pushback from Amazon, Starbucks and other Seattle-based companies, the council reduced the proposed tax increase to $275.

After pausing its 17-story Block 18 expansion project until after the city council decision, Amazon ultimately decided to resume construction, but Amazon Vice President Drew Herdener stated,

We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs. … While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, we remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.

Herdener also highlighted Seattle’s revenue growth over the past seven years, stating, “the city does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending efficiency problem.”

Starbucks Senior Vice president of Public Affairs and Social Impact John Kelly also criticized the tax and pointed to the city’s reckless spending, stating,

This City continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside. If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction.

Seattle-based businesses recognize how detrimental the head tax will be, not only for their companies, but for the future economic climate in Seattle as a whole.

Head Tax Repealed in Chicago

The head tax has historically been a flop — and a nightmare for both businesses and consumers.

Chicago’s $4-per-employee head tax on employers with more than 50 full-time workers seems quaint when contrasted with Seattle’s $275 head tax. But for medium- to large-sized companies across Chicago, that $4-per-employee tax added up.

The head tax was in place from 1973 to 2012 and proved so detrimental to employers that it was eventually ended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel called the head tax “a job killer,” stating in 2011 that “eliminating the head tax is the right thing to do for businesses big and small.” In 2012, the tax was reduced to $2 per employee and was repealed by 2014.

The Head Tax’s Impact in the Future

In the future, cities should look to cut spending rather than raise revenue through harmful and misguided policies like a head tax.

Rather than impose tax increases, lawmakers should support competitive, pro-growth policies that will foster innovation, competition and economic growth in their city or state.

In Seattle’s case, rather than help the poor find jobs, raising taxes on businesses will do the opposite by driving job-creators out of the city and discouraging future investment. Washington State has a unique advantage as a state with no income tax, but Seattle’s new head tax significantly undermines that benefit.

High state tax rates are already driving residents away from California and New York, which economists predict will lose millions of residents in the coming years.

Businesses react similarly when faced with high taxes and adverse economic conditions. Imposing massive new tax increases on businesses will ultimately lead to fewer jobs, fewer opportunities and stifled economic growth for everyday Americans.

Seattle businesses and workers will unfortunately pay the price for their local lawmakers’ foolish decision, but hopefully it will serve as a warning for leaders elsewhere to avoid making the same costly mistake.

Read more about Seattle’s new tax on businesses here.

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Master Criminal Sentenced After Videos Posted Of Him With Gun

The more I go on in this life, the more I become convinced that when you talk about criminals, you probably need to differentiate the type of criminal you’re talking about. The hardened sociopath is truly dangerous but rare.

Then you have people who are probably just too stupid to know how to follow the law…or at least not get caught.

A convicted felon uploaded videos of him shooting a gun at a Maine firing range despite being banned from possessing firearms has been sentenced to over two years in prison.

Twenty-six-year-old Dane Mitchell was sentenced Monday at federal court in Portland to 27 months in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms. The Portland Press Herald reports the Boston man pleaded guilty to the charges last August.

Authorities say Mitchell and another person traveled to Gray in April 2017, where they rented firearms and fired the weapons at a shooting range — uploading videos to Snapchat. Boston police identified Mitchell and the shooting range from the videos.

Yes, take a minute there to process the stupid. It’s OK. Yes, the movie Idiocracy is shifting from fiction to documentary status, so take a moment. It’s even OK if you want to weep for humanity. Believe me, I understand.

That said, I’m sure the police are fine with Mitchell being stupid. It makes their job much easier, to be sure.

Don’t get me wrong, either. I want people like Mitchell to post their criminal misdeeds on the internet for all to see. I like the idea of the police catching them before they can do something to hurt someone.

But I’m also convinced that anyone who does this is probably more of a threat to himself or others more by accident than intention. It’s almost like someone like this lacks the brainpower to discern that things like laws exist and that they should probably not break them.

This isn’t me excusing his actions. I’d argue that locking him up is not only appropriate but beneficial to humanity as a whole. He probably should remain locked up for being a complete and total moron, even.

He’s not alone, either. There have been others who posted evidence of their (alleged) crimes online. None of these master criminals have been accused of moonlighting as members of MENSA, have they.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t negate the problem. Stupid people can still hurt and kill the innocent. Stupid people can still think they’re justified in hurting others for their own gain. Stupid people can still create widows, widowers, and orphans. They can do all of that and more, which is why we shouldn’t count on the police to catch the stupid people before they can do anything to us.

Look, if I’m looking down at the business end of some thug’s weapon, the last thing I care about is whether he’s a sociopath, an idiot, or something in between. All I know is that I’m in a dangerous spot and am probably about to get hurt.

But the upside with the stupid ones is that they tend to get themselves caught pretty easily. Especially by posting pictures proving their criminal acts on social media.

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