Virginia Hull Welch's Blog: BooksontheBeach

April 6, 2018

Henrico County, Va.’s Short Pump Middle School recently hired a “diversity director” to influence undesirable student behavior. The director’s annual salary is $99,000. Yet an Henrico County high school mathematics teacher's starting pay is $45,741. I was never good at math, but it seems to me that a Henrico County math teacher makes less than half of the County’s new social engineer.

What is the new director going to do? Force black kids sit next to white kids in the lunch room?

Meanwhile, across the United States public school teachers are striking for higher pay and cash for dilapidated or nonexistent classroom supplies. Case in point: West Virginia, where school spending has increased 39 percent since 1992, while during the same time enrollment dropped by 12 percent and nonteaching staff (district personnel, assistant principals, curriculum gurus, teachers’ aides, and the like) increased by 10 percent.

West Virginia teacher pay during that period dropped 3 percent.

It’s the same across the country. More kids are moving to private and charter schools but public school administrative staff numbers keep ballooning. When I was in school in the 1960s and 70s, we had one principal per school (of three and four grades), and sometimes an assistant principal, and an office secretary. I went to large schools in a major metro area. Now even smaller schools have a principal and assistant principal and secretary for every grade. Whereas we had one psychologist per school, there are public schools in the United States right now where nonteaching staff comprise fully one-half of school staffing.

And now we have a diversity director to make sure there is equal distribution of everything by color, language, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Social engineering is what it is, and it’s at the expense of teachers. This latest is an insult to teachers, who are undervalued and marginalized at every turn. I personally know three young teachers who taught for two to three years—fewer years than they studied for the job—then left, swearing they’d never go back. Low pay, insufficient classroom supplies, long hours, administrative burdens that increase year after year, and disrespect from students and parents sends them packing, exhausted and disillusioned.

But school districts keep demanding they are underfunded. Funds are allotted by state legislatures and communities vote for bonds to make up any shortfall. But the money doesn’t get to teachers’ paychecks. Where does it go? We both know the answer.
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Published on April 06, 2018 15:53 • 55 views • Tags: diversity, social-engineering, strike, striking, teacher, teacher-pay

March 30, 2018

As I wrote last week, inalienable rights are rights that cannot be taken from us by anyone, including government, because they are given to us by God. They are integral to humanity. They can be infringed but they cannot be transferred. They are ours forever.

Supreme among our rights is free will. The right to choose our destiny is so primary to being human that even God will not violate it. Free will was his idea. Consequently, if you want nothing to do with God now or in eternity, that is your right. He will not impose his graces upon you now nor his heavenly home upon you after death. The path to Hell is paved with the decision to reject God.

Knowing this—that free will is supreme among our rights and a characteristic of being human—explains why infringement of it engenders such blistering universal outrage. To violate our free will is to deny our humanity, and to deny humanity is to denigrate who we are.

Two unenviable classes of people, prisoners and slaves, are systematically denied free will by their governments. The prisoner may bear some blame for his or her condition, but the slave never deserves to lose rights. The plight of the slave is the fiercest injustice to humanity.

Prisoners and slaves have a few things in common. They have been stripped of their 1) free will; 2) possessions; and 3) weapons. The loss of these things gives the oppressor control. The oppressed must have their weapons confiscated because no one chooses to be a prisoner or a slave. Either condition must be imposed and maintained by force.

That’s why gun control is really people control. The founders of the United States didn’t insert the Second Amendment into the Constitution so that we can hunt. The Constitution was written to establish a new form of government. From this context we know that framers were concerned about government oppression and loss of liberty (“free state”) that would result if the populace were to be stripped of firearms. When the governed lack the means to defend themselves, the government grows bold, even tyrannical. History confirms this. Josef Stalin of Russia confiscated civilian guns in 1929. Mao Tze Tung of China confiscated them in 1935. Adolf Hitler of Germany confiscated them in 1938. Millions of citizens of these countries citizens were decimated by their government because they lacked a means to defend themselves. They lacked guns.

A hallmark of free people is their ability to defend themselves. Self-defense is critical to liberty because free will—liberty—is infringed by force. Government is force.
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March 21, 2018

Ever looked up “inalienable” in a dictionary? In our Declaration of Independence it appears as “unalienable,” but no matter. It means something you possess that cannot be taken away. Nontransferable. Nonnegotiable. Indefeasible—it can’t be lost, annulled, or overturned.

Americans possess many inalienable rights, the most well-known being life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. The rights themselves are not my focus here. I want to focus on inalienable. Our rights can’t be taken away by government because they were not given to us by government. America is unique among nations in that our founders acknowledged that which is “self-evident”: Human being are endowed with rights by a Creator.

But evil people try to deprive us of our rights. They can never really take them because they are part of human nature. As long as we are human, we possess inalienable rights. And as long as we are on this earth, evil people will try to infringe on our ability to exercise our rights. To protect ourselves against such people we formed a government, the United States of America, which derives its power (government is force) by the “consent of the governed.” We gave it the power of force to secure our individual rights.

Government’s only duty is to secure the inalienable rights of the governed against those who would deprive us of those rights. If you forget everything I say here, at least remember this: Government exists only to protect inalienable rights.

BUT, said the founders, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Government is force. We gave the government the authority to use force to secure our rights when evil people would deprive us of those rights. But what if the government becomes “destructive of these ends?” That is, what if the government becomes the one that deprives us of our inalienable rights? Then we have the right to “alter or abolish it,” that we may establish a new government, one committed to securing our rights.

The next time you read about the “role” of government in social welfare, social engineering, global policing, universal basic income, etc., think again about the one and only reason we gave our government the power and the means to rule over us. Your life and liberty are at stake.
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January 8, 2018

We’re currently parked on the banks of the Potomac River in Maryland, just over the border from the land of the free, that is, our home state of Virginia.

Life is different here, even though Virginia is so close that I can see it through my RV window.

According to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., Maryland is one of the top five most unfree states in the Union. Cato evaluates states’ policies that restrict or enforce myriad American liberties. It scores on fiscal policy, regulatory policy, labor-market freedom, health insurance freedom, occupational freedom, cable and communications, incarcerations and arrests, lawsuit freedom, marriage freedom, education, gun control, alcohol/marijuana/tobacco/gambling freedoms, asset forfeiture, travel freedom, civil liberties, legality of prostitution, religious freedom, and campaign finance. You can read and download a free copy of the most recent report here:

https://www.freedominthe50states.org/

Maryland scores right up there with California and New York (of course), when it comes to overall lack of freedoms. Why is this a thing?

Until now I hadn’t given Maryland much thought, even though a family member has always referred to Maryland as the “Big Plantation.” Heretofore I had thought this term extreme, the utterance of someone not bothered with details, more prone to make sweeping generalizations tied to stereotypes.

My thoughts are changing. The moment we leave Virginia by crossing the Harry Nice Bridge (toll collected by Maryland: $6; Virginia collects nothing) the cost of a gallon of gas goes up nearly a quarter. The price of the cheapest champagne jumps $3. Maryland merchants aren’t richer than Virginia ones, they just act as tax collection agents of the State. Further, when I drive around Maryland I must leave my .38 special behind. Maryland doesn’t recognize my concealed carry permit. I miss my gun, particularly when I’m out at night. Maryland deprives me of my 2nd Amendment right, including when I’m in Baltimore, a city that appears fifth on the list of 30 American cities where you’re most likely to get your head blown off by a violent criminal.

I ask you: Do Maryland citizens enjoy better education, higher quality of life, or lower crime as a result of excessive regulation and taxation of virtually every aspect of their lives? The data reflects a resounding No.

And then this morning. I was approaching the Bridge to drive into Virginia when I mistakenly pulled into a closed toll booth. I recognized my error, looked in the rearview mirror and saw no vehicles behind me, so proceeded to back up a few feet and pull into an open toll booth. Within a few seconds I saw the flashing blue light. After the officer asked for my I.D., her very next question concerned weapons in my vehicle.

WHY does the .38 in my car matter in such a case? The focus on regulation of the firearms of free, law abiding citizens is the hallmark of a tyrannous government. Firearms are the first tool a government confiscates from a free people to control them. Weapons are never allowed in the hands of slaves. If you live in a “shall issue” state, that is, your state shall issue a concealed carry permit at your request, instead of a “may issue” state, fight to see that the law isn’t changed to strip you of the great equalizer. Get informed. Vote. Support organizations that fight for gun rights. Marylanders lost their shall issue rights. Other states don’t have to.
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December 2, 2016

This week President-elect Donald Trump made a deal with the CEO of Carrier Corp., a U.S.-based HVAC company, to stop the transfer of about a 1,000 American jobs to Mexico by applying a simple, tested formula: Trump promised to reduce the company’s taxes by about $7 million.

If you’ve never owned a business, the significance of this formula might pass right by you. I’ve owned several businesses, and one of the first lessons I learned is that local, state, and federal taxes are the biggest threat to a business’ profitability other than paying too much for the business in the first place. To wit: At one time I owned apartment houses in a semirural county in another state. The property tax rate in that little county was higher than what I used to pay in California (California!) and what I was paying at the time in Northern Virginia—and both of those places have hugely higher personal income rates than the citizens of the little town where I had my apartments. And by the way, this state also demanded that I pay PERSONAL income tax to it although my home was in Virginia.

When this state kept raising the property tax, I had three choices: 1) raise the rents (greedy landlady); 2) quit maintaining the buildings and grounds (slumlord); or 3) sell and set up shop elsewhere (bye bye landlady).

That’s because corporate taxes are a tool the government uses to hide its rapacious tax collection habits from ordinary consumers. The American corporate tax is a bit like the European value-added tax (VAT). It's designed by government to hide its existence from the consumer. Corporations DO NOT pay taxes—they merely collect them on behalf of the IRS. People pay taxes. When corporate tax rates rise corporations merely increase the cost of goods and services to cover the increase. YOU, the consumer pay the tax when you purchase the goods or services. As long as every manufacturer is paying the 35 percent corporate income tax—that is, all competitors are domestic—American manufacturers face an even playing field because they all price their products and services more or less the same. They all build the 35 percent tax rate into the cost, and the consumer is no wiser.

But with the onslaught of cheap Asian imports creating stiff price competition, American manufacturers face an impossible situation. They cannot compete with the bargain-basement prices generated by very low labor rates (and lower corporate tax rates) from across the globe and continue to pay the 35 percent American corporate income tax—the second highest in the world. So to stay viable, these companies move their operations to where labor rates are low (Mexico, Asia, etc.). That’s the only way they can stay in business.

That’s what I did. I sold my apartment buildings and started investing in a business-friendly state. I spent the entire 5 years I owned property in that other state feeling like a cow waiting to be milked. Never again.

All levels of government, local to federal, reduce taxes to create incentives for business to move into their neighborhoods. It’s the first and surest way to attract business to a locale. Tax incentives are used for all kinds of social engineering too. Governments lower or even eliminate taxes on certain merchandise to encourage you to buy (medicine/food/clothing in some states). The flip side to this: They tack on outrageous taxes to encourage you not to buy (alcohol and tobacco, for example). They know that tax incentives affect the movement of money, either in or out of our pockets.

So I ask you: Why doesn’t Congress wake up and slash the corporate tax to bring business back to America? They know what works.
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October 20, 2016

As Mr. Trump says, why don’t women speak up when they’ve been sexually harassed or molested or downright attacked? The question begs analysis. I’ve spent a lot of time lately asking myself this question. Why didn’t I speak up when it happened to me?

~ Age 10, at my father’s employee picnic in a forested park. A middle-aged man offers me money in exchange for physical contact. I freeze. Then I run. I tell no one.

~ Age 16, I'm walking alone down a busy road in the middle of the day, a car pulls up next to me and the driver, a lone male, asks for directions. I glance into the car and see that his pants are down and he is masturbating. I tell my girlfriends but not my parents. It never occurs to me to report him to the police.

~ Age 21, third year at university. I chase a peeping tom out of the women’s locker room showers. I tell my boyfriend. I vaguely remember thinking I should report it to campus security, but I worry no one will believe me. To this day I regret not speaking up.

~ Later in my 20s, during two job interviews male interviewers offer me work other than that which was advertised, if you know what I mean. I am so rattled I leave their offices with no intent of returning. I tell my husband.

~ In my early 30s, a sports therapist begins stroking my hair during an appointment for joint pain (located nowhere near my hair). I am so shocked at the intimate contact that I forget about the pain and skedaddle out of his office. I tell my husband. And no, I don't tell any authority. I think I thought then that hair stroking wasn’t overtly sexual and I’d sound excessively sensitive (“imagining it all” they’d say) to anyone in authority. Times have changed and I’ve grown up. Today I wouldn’t hesitate to file a formal complaint.

This list doesn’t begin to cover the catcalls, being followed as I walked down the street by strange men in cars, being followed my groups of young men in cars while driving with my girlfriends, the leers.

In most cases I didn’t know the men’s identities and I had no evidence, no cell phone video to share with police. Reporting would likely have been a fruitless exercise in humiliation, and there wasn’t much at stake—but that's because I was thinking only of myself and not future victims.

But this I know: If one of these men were running for president now and he had pulled any of these stunts on me years ago, believe me, if I knew his name I’d be yelling it from the housetops. Much is at stake now, far more than my humiliation.
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August 26, 2016

I read all the hoopla about President Obama’s transgender bathroom bill with cynicism. I have nothing against transgenders, or homosexuals, for that matter. I’m not in charge of their lives. We will all give an accounting to God one day, and from what I’ve seen, heterosexuals have nothing on everyone else when it comes to clean hands.

But I am responsible for my own safety. And I believe that, to a degree, adults are responsible for children within their range, if for no other reason than the world is evil and children are small and innocent. That being said, I’d like to tell you a story. I recount it in detail in my book, “The Lesson,” which is classified as a based-on-a-true-story “novel,” but what I’m about to relate happened exactly as I describe in the book.

During my junior year at a private university in California, I was showering one afternoon in what I thought was a totally vacant women’s locker room when I noted a pair of eyes watching me, eyes that peeped to the side of a vinyl curtain directly across from my stall. Alarmingly, these eyes were at least eight inches higher than my own. The man was at least 6’4,” roughly 230‒250 pounds. And he was hiding behind a curtain, waiting for prey.

My customary response in fight or flight situations is to flee. I avoid confrontation. But that day I didn’t hesitate. I wasn’t afraid; I was angry at being ogled by a perp. I tore aside my own curtain and confronted the creep, demanded to know his business, and chased him out of the locker room. Yes chased.

That was forty years ago, but I remember it like it happened this morning.

The world we live in now is marked by an explosion of far more heinous crimes than a peeping Tom. And so I declare here: No one—no wrong-headed commander in chief, no congress, no legislature, no one at all—is going to defraud me of my right to defend myself and others, especially children, from male predators who, under new transgender rulings, masquerade as females solely to victimize women and children. It is reprehensible and beyond belief that anyone would push to let men who “identify” as women—particularly men who are endowed with what one can only term, scientifically, male physical traits—to enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms at will.

I will keep on chasing ‘em.
@Crazywomancrk
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August 23, 2016

In 11 major cities across the United States last week, life-like, life-size statues of a naked presidential candidate Donald Trump were erected by an activist group, INDECLINE. The group placed the effigies in prominent locations to draw maximum attention.

This rant is not about Donald Trump, nor is it about his rival, Hillary Clinton. What I think or you think or INDECLINE thinks about these characters doesn’t matter here.

This is about you.

There’s a saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” that runs like DNA through the social corpus of American history. It is a Bible quote, but the concept in this venue has nothing to do with religion. And it’s not really about what you “do” to the other guy. It’s about you, because what we approve or disapprove as a society is a bellwether of how we ALL will be treated, directly or indirectly, including you. At one time we approved slavery, which split society into color and class, undoubtedly slowing down women’s attainment of suffrage, because slavery put forth the widely accepted lie that some were mentally inferior by birth. At one time we widely approved of tobacco use, which made it appear the “adult” thing to do, thereby ensnaring generations of young people into an addiction that stole health and shortened lives. At present pornography is legal in all 50 states—we approve this too―which portrays women as merchandise to be purchased and consumed. It is no wonder that date rape, rape drugs, sex trafficking, and myriad sex crimes against women are common in the news. We created this culture of shopping for flesh. We will live in it until we choose to change.

But back to the naked Donald. This should bother you. It is not funny. It’s a shameless, coarse, bare (sorry, couldn’t resist) attempt to demean and humiliate another person by exposing his private persona. It’s neither art nor speech and merits no protection.

As distasteful as it seems, try to put yourself in his place. Standing. Naked. On a street corner. People gawking and pointing and tittering.

Still laughing?

@crazywomancrk
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August 19, 2016

Recently my husband and I emptied our enormous family home, put it up for sale, and moved into our RV. We’ve been married almost 39 years and have raised four children. I’m a veteran cook, baker, seamstress, quilter, embroiderer—I sew and hostess like crazy. My husband is a life-long bibliophile and lover of power tools.

We have stuff. Yet what to do with all that stuff was an easy fix. We gave it to the kids, donated to charities, and hauled the useless junk to the dump—I’m embarrassed to say how many trips my husband made in our pickup. Truly, we are ready for the simple life.

But letting go of the paper was like pulling teeth. It. Is. So. Hard. For. Me. To. Let. Go. Of. Documentation. I am the family secretary, accountant, and historian. Into storage went more than two four-drawer filing cabinets filled just with family photos, and that doesn’t count all the digital ones on memory sticks and CDs strewn all over my office nor the dozens of hard-copy albums that go back years and years. Warranties, manuals, and receipts for every major item we’ve purchased in decades, some of which we no longer own. All of the children’s records, including school work and hand prints and greetings cards all the way back to kindergarten. Copies of monthly bills back generations (so it seems). Photocopies of credit cards, in case they are ever stolen, even many that have been long since compromised by hackers. Wills, trusts, medical and life insurance statements. Tax statements so far back even the IRS isn’t interested. Paper in my office, in the storage closet, in the attic. Tons of paper.

What is behind this super glue-like attachment to paper? I’ve thought about this a lot. I think I fear I’ll be called upon to dredge up some old record and won’t be able to. Or maybe it’s just my ego, wanting to be admired for being so organized. Smug but snowed under.

But I’m changing. Recently my son commented that he no longer keeps paper. That is, he knows that anything important regarding his accounts he can retrieve online, so he doesn’t keep a copy of every little thing. That got me thinking. Other than one-of-a-kind items that must be in original format, such as birth certificates, or critical items necessary for a (God forbid) tax audit, nearly everything I’m hoarding in filing cabinets I can obtain online. Equipment manual? Just google it. A year’s worth of utility invoices or bank statements? Download them from the respective Web sites.

So do I really need to keep a copy of everything?

I assert: I do not. Recently I purchased an iPhone app that enables me to aim, shoot, and create a PDF in two seconds. I’ve begun making PDFs of every new large-ticket receipt, warranty, operations manual, etc.—all that stuff I used to file away—and backing it up to my laptop and the cloud. Then I throw away the paper copy. I’m managing our home with just one file drawer, and it’s only half-full. Let the mountain of paper fly. I’m not worried.

It feels ... wonderful.
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August 17, 2016

I learned a lot during my year volunteering at a local homeless shelter for women. I had one task: Write résumés for residents to assist with their job hunts. I interviewed them at length because rarely did a woman arrive with a résumé. I heard all kinds of sad stories to explain why these unfortunate souls ended up sleeping in a dorm in a pine bunk bed draped with donated quilts and eating meals on someone else’s schedule. Black or White, young or old, all the women had one or more of five things in common. I call them the Five Lies:
1. Little to No Education. Oddly, not one woman gave any defense as to why she had not acquired a marketable skill, trade, or college education but more often, not even a high school degree. I got the feeling that dropping out of school was the cultural norm and that most of them felt they “couldn’t” go to college. In an entire year I helped only one woman who had a college degree; actually she had a master’s degree in a highly sought after, lucrative field. But problem #2 (below) landed her in the shelter.
2. Substance Abuse, i.e., alcohol and drug abuse. This was a consistent theme, and most often it led to incarceration, which made it all the more difficult to get and keep a job.
3. Man Troubles. Multiple boyfriends/husbands who produced an amalgam of step-children who lacked stable family and home lives. Men came and men went. ALL of these women suffered from a debilitating assumption that they couldn’t expect much economic support from any of them. Their expectations of men were depressingly low.
4. Family Abuse. That is—and this is what shocked me the most—these women had used, abused, taken advantage of, overstepped their welcome, lied to, and stolen from their close family members so many times that the family, whom often lived near the shelter, refused to help the woman another time. Often it was the woman’s own children who refused to help. Time and again women related to me the ages and number of their grown children, who lived within 10‒20 miles of the shelter, but who would no longer take in their unemployed, addicted mother. This was the most bothersome part of the interview and doubtless stems from all the social chaos caused by problem #2.
5. Failure to Plan. Economic ignorance. No savings, not even in the good times. All of the women I helped, 100 percent, had worked in the past. Some had held semiprofessional jobs. But they had no savings. So when they were laid off, or their employer moved out of the area, or their love life disintegrated (I heard every one of these scenarios), they could not take care of themselves and their children. Yet they always had money, even while staying in the shelter, to get their hair done and nearly all of them had long, gorgeous $45 manicures.
In all that time I served only one woman whom I judged to be difficult to employ. She wasn’t addicted, just mentally slow. But even she had worked at manual labor in the past.

What’s my point? These women are not victims. They voluntarily took steps on the path to the shelter. If they are victims, it’s because they’ve been hoodwinked by a lie, a lie that leads to poverty. Their number one need isn’t money. If they had money, they’d lose it to one or more of the five lies. They deserve practical help (food and shelter). Compassion is in order. But most of all they need counseling to make better decisions.
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BooksontheBeach

Virginia Hull Welch
Bringing you book value from the sunny sands of Virginia Beach--reviews, discussions, tips about what's good in print.
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