Still a blood sport

In 44 B.C., when Marcus Junius Brutus plunged his dagger into Julius Caesar and the dying leader of the world’s major civilization muttered “Et tu, Brute?” politics was clearly identified as a blood sport. Public assassinations, quiet coup d’état take-overs, declared civil wars, street riots and many sinister activities to gain political power were and are characteristics of a blood sport with profound consequences.

While daggers, poison and various lethal devices are used in other nations to create political change, the 21st century has brought us a new weapon — modern communication networks. The weapons are words and the methods are profound. Today’s Brutus may be your nightly TV news anchor, a college professor, or a skillful writer presenting opinion via print media.

Yes, “the pen is mightier than the sword”, according to novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton. These words were written in 1839 for his historical play, Cardinal Richelieu. With modern TV screens, plus streaming images and photos generated by the citizenry at large on laptops and mobile devices, the pen is joined by unrelenting audio and images created to mold people’s thinking.

Most public opinion regarding public policy can be segregated between the extremes of an ideological spectrum, either right (conservative) or left (liberal), and the middle has a tendency toward one or the other. Give and take cracker barrel discussion has been smothered by passion. Opponents today are unyielding with the certainty that there is no merit whatsoever to opposing viewpoints.

Wikipedia notes that the Media Research Center (MRC) is a politically conservative content analysis organization based in Reston, Virginia, and founded in 1987 by L. Brent Bozell III. Its stated mission is to “prove — through sound scientific research — that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values.”

Not so fast, retorts the left. In response its supporters have organized The Center for American Progress (CAP) in 2003 as a left-leaning think tank. CAP sponsored the organization of Media Matters for America in May 2004 to combat the conservative journalism sector. The force behind the information is David Brock and his group has been funded by notorious billionaire George Soros, a dedicated globalist.

Fabrication, distortion and outright lying make up much of the progressive message. Brock put a couple of notches on his belt with a takedown of notable personalities, beginning with New York radio icon Don Imus, who was off the air for months after insensitive comments about black female athletes from Rutgers University. Heavy hitters such as the late Roger Ailes, creator of Fox News Channel, and former FNC show host Bill O’Reilly, eventually run off the air by a New York Times report followed by advertiser boycotts, are among those who have endured the effects of the Brock smear machine. Media Matters frequently targets FNC host Sean Hannity, who has endured multiple advertiser boycotts.

Just like the gladiators in a Roman arena who are trying to kill each other for the entertainment value, today’s combatants have few rules and no ethics. Ask Bernie Sanders, a naïve socialist with gobs of popular support, if he ever had a realistic chance to win the recent Democrat party nomination. In today’s political world his answer will continue to be politician-speak double talk. But it was Bernie’s blood on the floor when all was said and done after the 2016 nomination season.

Political blood sport has a new chapter in the conflict as the laws of our nation are used against opponents by an investigator (“Special Council”) commissioned at the highest level of the Federal justice system. To the public, that individual has a stated objective of finding truth. The designee is granted extraordinary powers as well as unlimited funding and the media seems to delight in the process. Special Council Robert Mueller’s investigation into so-called Russian collusion was launched following a recommendation by the Department of Justice that followed months of speculation about Russian hacking of Democrat party data and possible foreign influence on the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Caught in the “investigation” can be many second- and third-level individuals, who can be charged with inconsequential process crimes that carry long prison terms. These folks are encouraged to “cooperate”, which means they will testify under oath about a higher up in return for a slap on the wrist by the Court. Blackmail, for sure. The nonspecific statute is a mighty tool in the prosecution toolbox.

The public quickly forgets pop culture star Martha Stewart’s and Bush 43-era White House official Scooter Libby’s jail time. The FBI can lie to an interviewee during a meeting, but the subject goes to jail for a false statement to the agent. And to prove a point the government can bankrupt an individual through defensive legal fees, ruin careers and with a shrug walk away when the process is finished.

Now that politics is defined even more so as a blood sport, predicting the future is uncertain. Reason and rationality are cast aside (thus, we see current Democrat members of the House presenting baseless articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump). Wisdom in the collective opinion of the people might be the only way to counter the destructive nature of political blood sport.

If not, well, Et Tu, Brute.

– Walter B. Bull Jr.

 

The Trump trap

As gridlock rages on in Washington, we are discovering that the shared commitment by Moore County Republicans to pursuing security, opportunity, liberty and victory is not always embraced by lawmakers. This only has become magnified in the age of Trump as Republicans in Congress seem paralyzed by the power they wield as the majority party.

It seems inexplicable that Obamacare has not been dismantled or that meaningful tax cutting is proving to be an excruciating legislative chore (even though Republicans were elected by voters who name these as priorities). As it turns out, there is an obvious explanation. It is proffered by North Carolinian and veteran political analyst John Davis, keeper of The John Davis Report.

Congressional leaders take heed: Every despicable, incompetent, crude, insulting, immature, reckless, irresponsible and insensitive thing that (President) Trump has ever said or done COMBINED, is not as bad in the minds of his supporters as a do-nothing federal government rigged for the privileged few.

President Trump will continue to make fools of U.S. Senate and House leaders who continue to protect the swamp, who put the moral high ground of the way things have always been done ahead of getting things done. Those who value civility over outrage.

The mainstream media, Democrats and even some centrist Republicans remain in a constant state of despair about Trump, his candor and his Tweets. He is not “presidential” enough. Precisely, notes Davis. If we want to see “the swamp” drained, you don’t do it with a Jeb Bush or a John Kasich.

“Donald Trump,” Davis writes, “is what you get when there is no presidential way to drain the swamp.”

He further cites the recent showdown between Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican, and Trump. The President views Corker as just another entrenched swamp creature, even though Washington conventional wisdom would dictate that Trump avoid skirmishing with the chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

Corker went after Trump in the aftermath of the Charlottesville (Va.) white supremacy march, joining a media chorus of feigned outrage directed at Trump because he did not adequately denounce the incident (though he did in no uncertain terms). Corker questioned Trump’s stability and competence, playing into the long held media narrative. Trump tweeted that he found Corker’s criticism odd in that Corker had begged for Trump’s endorsement before announcing he would not seek another Senate term. Observes Davis:

That’s it for Corker. He is now in the Trump trap. The latest Republican on a long list to fall prey to Trump’s ploy of needling his opponents into the tangled web of reactionary vindictiveness.

At their peril, DC swamp politicians continue to miscalculate the political consequences of demeaning Trump as an individual, or diminishing Trump’s presidency through inaction. Trump’s approval rating is below 40% but he remains a rock star in contrast to tepid Congressional approval numbers. Davis observes that they apparently fail to see what is coming in 2018, a tidal wave of dissatisfaction.

Unfortunately for establishment Republicans, the voter outrage that propelled unpresidential Donald Trump past their hand-picked candidates for president is now being redirected against US Senate and House Republican incumbents in next year’s GOP primaries. In today’s political environment, the establishment is the kiss of death.

 

 

 

 

States: Take the 10th

Individuals protect themselves from incrimination by “taking the 5th”, exercising rights granted in the Bill of Rights by the Fifth Amendment. It appears the time has come for states, including North Carolina, to protect their rights by “taking the 10th”.

The Tenth Amendment is a beautifully crafted sentence, if only because it is a case study in word economy. It reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

While the subject of North Carolina’s voting district map, as legally drawn by a Republican majority, is mired in court rulings and shrouded in uncertainty ahead of the 2018 elections due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling related to a similar legal challenge in Wisconsin, an informed citizen already knows where things are headed.

In this era of monuments to American patriots being taken down, of professional athletes declining to stand in respect for the flag, and core American Judeo-Christian values being dismissed as offensive, who can be surprised by a movement to deny states the right to conduct their own affairs in matters of drawing up voting district maps?

North State Journal political columnist Frank Hill provides useful historical perspective on the evolution of district gerrymandering from an accepted, if not messy, norm left up to individual states, to the current hand-wringing about racially motivated mapping that, suddenly, needs to be taken up by the courts and, ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court. It is no coincidence that this arises at a time when Republicans have a stronghold on statehouses and Governors’ mansions.

A Wisconsin group that recently navigated a redistricting case to the Supreme Court (a ruling is expected next spring), bases its argument on the premise that redistricting had been “too extreme” and for partisan political purposes. This prompted Hill to ask a question: what is too extreme?

How about a congressional district that was drawn in North Carolina that was 91 percent Democrat by registration in 1984? That was the makeup of the Second Congressional District I ran in during the 1984 campaign as a Republican. Sadly, the same masses of lawyers and advocates who are today running to the Supreme Court to declare gerrymandering as “unconstitutional” in any way, shape or form were not as concerned about it in 1984.

It is no longer 1984, to be sure, as we find radical judges and courts more than willing to dispute what has always been a “specific constitutional duty given to state legislatures,” Hill writes.

Back in June, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling on 28 North Carolina legislative districts. The lower court said these districts had been re-drawn to achieve illegal racial gerrymanders, diluting black votes, reported the Raleigh News & Observer. Which has led to the latest, even more disturbing, development in this story. In late October, a three-judge federal court panel announced it will appoint a Stanford University law professor to review nine legislative districts emerging out of a second re-districting effort by N.C. lawmakers in August.

Naturally, the far-left Southern Coalition for Social Justice applauded the decision to rob state legislators and their constituents of a constitutional right. Its executive director was quoted in news reports actually defending the idea that insertion of a voting rights scholar from California would “result in fair districts for all North Carolinians.”

Hill properly turns to an inconvenient fact to highlight the hypocrisy of Democrats condemning the evil partisan gerrymandering by the Republican majority. His point will be the basis for what should be vehement opposition to allowing a Stanford professor to influence North Carolina’s redistricting.

The North Carolina General Assembly has a long and proud history of drawing partisan gerrymandered districts at the federal and state level long before the Republicans took over control in 2010. All of it by Democrats since at least 1898.

Now that the Supreme Court has waded into debating the merits of gerrymandering, it seems inevitable that the body ultimately will be forced to do something it has expressly avoided for more than 200 years. It will have to decide if the Tenth Amendment still matters.

 

Reform terrifies tax addicts

High profile individuals in American society when caught engaging in criminal, deviant or unethical activity disappear into rehab programs, hoping to recast themselves as victims. Addicts are sympathetic figures, the thinking goes.

But how are we to feel about addicts who won’t/can’t seek treatment? In the case of tax addicted Washington politicians on the left, they should be judged as scoundrels, at the very least. How else to characterize tax-and-spend zealots such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who says the Trump administration’s proposed tax cuts are “just plain immoral.”

Warren and her fellow tax revenue addicts break into sweats at the mention of tax cuts like alcoholics hearing suggestions of a return to Prohibition. They always fall back on the same tired rant. Tax cuts benefit only the richest Americans and give little relief to working class citizens (as if Warren, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, et al, actually know any such people). Corporate tax cuts only enrich the titans, not the factory workers. On and on they drone.

That’s why Republicans need to do a better job when it comes to promoting the actual effects of the tax cuts they propose under President Trump. They need to be very specific about the objectives of cutting taxes by drawing on jaw dropping data neatly summarized by columnist Walter E. Williams writing for DailySignal.com, “The Facts About Who Pays the Most in Taxes in America”.

Thirty-seven million tax filers have no tax obligation at all. (That’s 45.5% of American households). … These Americans become natural constituencies for big-spending (Democrat) politicians. After all, if you don’t pay federal taxes, what do you care about big spending?

But the average hard working American typically does not fixate on federal spending and national debt. That’s Washington insider stuff. Working class Americans want a path to higher wages and upward mobility within their chosen industry. The surest way to make that a realistic goal is to ease the tax burden on American corporations.

Williams deftly points out that the current 38.91% tax on U.S. corporate earnings, the fourth-highest in the world, is a tax on living, breathing people. A corporate tax cut potentially has more impact on a middle-class family than a tax cut on its take-home pay. Democrats refuse to acknowledge this because, of course, the narrative must always be that corporations are evil.

If a tax is levied on a corporation, it will have one of four responses or some combination thereof. It will raise the price of its product, lower dividends, cut salaries, or lay off workers. In each case, a flesh-and-blood person bears the tax burden.

The messaging is really simple. President Trump and fellow Republicans must not be trapped into using empty jargon when talking about tax reform.

More than 45% of American households pay zero federal income tax. Just say it. Less than 1% of the population, according to data Williams cites, pays 70.6% of federal income taxes. Just say it, while advocating for some relief for these folks, too. But most importantly, just say that a significant corporate tax rate cut from about 39% to 20% will open floodgates of higher wages and greater upward mobility for working class Americans.

If passing real tax cuts means that scores of Congressional Democrats disappear to enter fiscal rehab, just think of what that would do to ease gridlock in Washington.

Trump ‘sabotages’ Obamacare, finally

A Fox News Channel commentator cleverly selected a golf reference to describe the impact of President Donald Trump’s October 12 executive order on a law bearing a famously disingenuous name, the Affordable Care Act. Harris Faulkner said Trump’s order will “take a divot” out of the law, a.k.a., Obamacare.

To carry that a bit further, it is one of those big, sloppy divots off of a drenched fairway that splatters one’s golf togs on precisely the day white slacks seemed a good fashion call. Obamacare, as time has proven, is not a pristine, sun-drenched Pinehurst No. 2 during a U.S. Open. It is a beaten up municipal course with poor drainage and a neglectful maintenance crew. Continue reading “Trump ‘sabotages’ Obamacare, finally”

The fallacy of ‘gun control’

The Washington Post‘s relatively new mantra reminds readers that “Democracy Dies in Darkness”. In the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre perpetrated by a maniacal individual, who owned unfathomable numbers of weapons and was not on law enforcement radar, we are reminded anew that “Propaganda Thrives in Darkness”. The Post, in Oct. 3 editions and online, underscored this truth by publishing a stunning admission by a former “gun control” advocate, who sheds light on a reality that the newspaper’s editors and readers likely will find unsettling, if not heretical. Continue reading “The fallacy of ‘gun control’”

The ignorance of ‘the knee’

Do young Americans know, were they ever taught, that the Star Spangled Banner, today our National Anthem, was written to chronicle an actual wartime attack by British naval ships on American soil? Do they know that on a September morning at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, the star spangled banner still waved because American soldiers, expecting they would die, stood under direct cannon assault to keep the flag’s pole standing? Do they know that the anthem’s writer, lawyer Francis Scott Key, warned British officers of their futility even as they shelled the fort to symbolically take down the American flag? Do they know Scott proclaimed the assault would fail because the American soldier “would rather die on his feet before he’ll live on his knees”?

Of course they know none of this, these ignorant, arrogant athletes who fancy themselves warriors on a battlefield while playing a game. If they knew, how could any one of them fall to a knee? This 12-minute video (provided by Paul Shaffer, a member of the Moore County Republican Men’s Club) should be required viewing in NFL locker rooms and in schools: