A mentor’s story

By Steve Woodward

We spent a few hours together on weekends for a span of nine months. He was a high school teenager. I was assigned through a local agency to be his mentor. We both were novices — at being mentored and mentoring.

Let’s call him Buddy. Buddy was an atypical “troubled youth”. He was not always in trouble, or always pushing limits, or always back talking. He was, however, mostly neglected like so many teens denied an upbringing within a stable family. When I was introduced to Buddy he was living with an adult sister, who is married and has a child of her own. The arrangement came about after Buddy was involved in a domestic dispute in another state, which left him estranged from his mother and charged with several offenses as a juvenile.

I never pressed his sister for details. She often repeated that he was a good kid who just ended up in a bad situation.

His father lived hundreds of miles to the south. Buddy rarely spoke about him. Nonetheless, Buddy traveled to visit Dad for a period of time during the mentorship. He had very little to say about the visit when he returned. Buddy had very little to say about anything. He was painfully quiet, acutely shy and, I was told, uneasy around other kids in his high school. In fact, Buddy kept a distance from kids in the school he was attending when I first came onto the scene. It was a school for kids with behavioral issues. The deal was that Buddy would be eligible to transfer to a “normal” public high school if he stayed out of trouble. He was wise enough to know that trouble was one encounter away. So he told me he stayed clear of other kids, went to his sister’s house right after school and spent a lot of time alone in his room. He played video games, listened to music and lifted weights. I did my best detective work to get that much detail out of him.

Eventually, Buddy was transferred. That was progress. I had the impression he was proud of himself. A rye smile was the only confirmation of that. If I could get a smile out of him now and then that, too, was progress. When we first began our Saturday or Sunday interactions, I would try to chat him up. I was lucky to receive a head nod, or “yes” or “no” for my efforts. Finally, I figured out that if I endured long periods of silence Buddy eventually would mumble a question. “Ever been fishin’?” “Do you like motorcycles?” “Do you play video games?”

As time passed, there was no doubt that he enjoyed our get-togethers. His sister always delivered Buddy right on time, and off we’d go. He had a typical teenager appetite for junk food, sweet tea and jumbo soft drinks. He was the most meticulous eater I’ve ever seen, and not one to chit-chat over a meal. During our occasional sit-down meals, Buddy typically ordered chicken and french fries. He would eat all of the fries, one by one, before moving on to the chicken. We made a deal that he would try one new menu item. Eventually, he ate seafood. A dramatic breakthrough.

My mentor role was focused on spending time with Buddy away from school, so I was tasked with finding new things for us to do or see. We visited Fort Bragg, an indoor skydiving facility in Raeford (where Buddy was a willing participant), and a car show in Charlotte at the speedway. We attended a Panthers football game one sunny Sunday, and a Hurricanes hockey game in Raleigh. We went fishing, bike riding around Reservoir Park, and hung out during a fall arts, crafts and food festival. Buddy was doing all of the things I never did as the father of a daughter with a horse.

I never was able to come close to peeling away his emotional shell to understand what was going on inside of his head. I never wanted Buddy to feel he was being interrogated. Occasionally, he would giggle convulsively while we were together. I wondered if this was an expression of joy, or an expression of what he thought about his gray haired, salad eating, sparkling water sipping mentor. Maybe he thought of me as a big dork. No telling. Nonetheless, when our time together came to an end — his charges were dropped and he was green lighted to leave town and move in with his Dad — Buddy strained to look me in the eye as he stammered, “I’m gonna miss you, man.”

I miss Buddy, too. My experience tells me that Americans might consider spending more time mentoring and encouraging neglected teens and less time knee-jerk reacting to gun and other violence perpetrated by emotionally damaged young men. Just think how many Buddys are out there today with no one to talk to who cares about them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subverting democracy

By Nicole Russell

North Carolina officials have made a deal with the transgender lobby.

Last week, they reached a settlement determining whether transgender-identifying individuals can use bathrooms that match their “gender identity” in public buildings.

The settlement allows these individuals to use the bathroom of their self-professed gender identity within buildings owned and operated by the state government, including state parks and historic sites.

Read more of this report by Nicole Russell published August 7, 2019, by The Daily Signal.

Russell’s conclusion:

This new settlement subverts the usual democratic process by dismissing constituents and the lawmakers they elected, acquiescing to the vocal wishes of a small group of elected progressives, the ACLU, and a handful of transgender activists.

Be vigilant Moore Republicans. Activist judges never rest.

Soft tyranny prevails

By Steve Woodward

The presumption on the left in 2019 is that Republicans enter public service to engage in activities that advance human suffering. This despite common knowledge that politicians across the spectrum have proven themselves across the ages to be deeply flawed, and largely harmless more often than not. On this many can agree. But a recent diatribe by a fellow resident of Pinehurst serves as a reminder that, while all humans are flawed, some also are deranged.

In a July 31 letter-to-the-editor published by The Pilot, a newspaper in the Sandhills run by media lefties, Ken Owens of Pinehurst, a suspected invader from a northern state opined:

“When Gov. Roy Cooper explained why he would veto the Republican-backed budget plan, he got straight to the heart of what is wrong with our Republican legislators. … There are a lot of poor people in North Carolina, and it seems that the Republican legislators want to keep them that way. Note to Mr. Owens: The state’s poverty rate has fallen every year since 2012 after spiking to 18%, entirely during the rule of a Democrat controlled General Assembly for 140 years through 2010. Look it up.

The writer then ramped up his scolding of Republican policies.

  1. They refuse to expand Medicaid. Because it is rife with peril to do so for the people who allegedly will benefit. Gov. Cooper vetoed the 2019-21 state budget because it does not expand Medicaid. Guess what? If North Carolina covers the so-called Medicaid insurance gap and the federal government rolls back its current 90% coverage of the cost to states, NC will be rocked by a cost surge and Medicaid for All will become Medicaid for Fewer. In the shorter term physicians will cease taking on new Medicaid patients to avoid being overburdened, or simply to stay in business. Meanwhile, the Cooper veto is denying state employees and public school teachers scheduled pay raises. Look it up: States that bought into expansion when Obamacare passed are regretting the decision today. Costs have spiraled upward, limiting expansion as intended.
  2. They cut unemployment compensations. Unemployment compensation at previous levels was unsustainable and smothering the state in debt north of $2 billion. Today, the state has a budget surplus and unemployment is trending downward in step with a national trend. Do the math.
  3. By raising the sales tax, they (Republicans), in effect, raised taxes on the bottom 40 percent at the same time that they were cutting taxes for the top 5 percent. The Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed legislation in 2007 allowing counties to raise sales taxes by a quarter-cent to increase revenue as needed. Meanwhile, the state sales tax (4.75%) is lower today than it was in 2011 (5.75%). Which “they” are you accusing of political malpractice?
  4. They removed many poor people from food stamp programs. No one has been “removed”. In 2015, the state legislature took a common sense step to rein in food stamp program abuse. It reinstated a federal requirement — invoked during the Obama administration — requiring food stamp applicants to demonstrate they are working, volunteering or taking classes a minimum of 20 hours a week. And it impacted only adults under 50 who do not have children. As usual, Democrats eventually opposed these minimum standards because they champion soft tyranny through economic enslavement of citizens. They want reliable voters to become addicted to entitlements that go on forever, no questions asked. 
  5. They cut child care subsidies and slashed dental care programs for poor kids. Another blanket, baseless accusation ignoring reality. Government funded child care is complex because no amount of subsidized care will make everyone happy, or address every need. Ever. In 2014 the General Assembly tweaked qualifications to direct more subsidized child care to children under age 6 — citing the importance child care experts place on nurturing children from infancy. There have been no “cuts”. The pending 2019 state budget adds $3.2 million to the program. Activists dismiss this because there are kids on waiting lists representing a fraction of those receiving subsidized care. Of course, under the soft tyranny of liberalism, it is out of bounds to ask why many low income families continue having children they can not afford to raise. It is not an unfair question: If a couple already has one or more children, and both parents are working full time to support their families, why is it the state and federal government’s responsibility to underwrite child care for yet another child brought into the world, planned or unplanned?  

“What I don’t understand is why “the people” keep re-electing them”, Owens laments. “They are not there ‘for the people’. They are there to please the wealthy and the corporations that donate to them.” Who donates to Democrat candidates? Homeless people and companies too small to incorporate? No, to the contrary Democrats have been known to collect from sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, socialist billionaire George Soros and sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, not to mention employees of the largest publicly held companies in America: Amazon, Facebook, Google and the list goes on.

Voter ID hangs on

By Steve Woodward

North Carolinians voted last fall to amend our state constitution to require every registered voter to present valid identification at polling places. Viewed by intelligent human beings in and beyond our state as a no-brainer, the amendment’s passage instead caused Democrat activist craniums to all but explode.

This despite the fact that, at the end of 2018, 35 states required or requested “some form of identification at the polls,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  Yet there was North Carolina on a list of states holding the dubious distinction of requiring zero voter ID, including known Democrat-controlled sanctuaries for illegal immigrants such as California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Quite an exclusive club.

Opponents of voter ID view the privilege of voting through the same lens as everything else in their world — race. They believe it is inherently racist to require minorities, people of color (insert your go-to oppressed category here) and those who live in poverty to possess a form of ID. Never mind that this presumption on the left that poor minorities can’t access or don’t need an ID only magnifies their strategic scheme of imposed economic soft tyranny. This keeps certain classes of citizens reliably dependent on government entitlements and, thus, reliably dependable Democrat voters. Or so goes the theory of the past century or more.

Governor Roy Cooper pounced after the amendment won voter approval, attempting to veto what he condemned as a “sinister and cynical” effort to disenfranchise North Carolina voters. His veto was overridden. That merely set off legal challenges to the amendment. This is how the left responds to the “will of the voter” in the 21st century. If they disagree with the outcome — Donald Trump being duly elected President is their highest profile source of outrage — they wait for courts to overturn or stonewall with prolonged appeals.

The state NAACP used the same anti-Trump claim of Presidential “illegitimacy” to launch its request for judicial review of the amendment’s passage. Racist Republicans, argued the NAACP, gerrymandered their way to power and, therefore, represent an “illegal supermajority”. By extension, the votes of those who supported the voter ID amendment don’t count. Let that third-world logic sink in.

But a Wake County Superior Court judge could not see the flawed logic — the prism of racism appearing once again — and agreed with the NAACP’s outrage in a ruling last February. While he was at it Judge Bryan Collins also voided an amendment to cap the state income tax. What if entitlements for those reliable voters run short of cash? We can’t cap the income tax and protect the “rich”, aka, people who carry IDs!

Despite more than 55% voter approval of an ID amendment last November the left and their compliant activist courts were having none of it. They’ve been seething since 2010 when Republicans gained control of the General Assembly for the first time in 140 years. Hell bent on revenge, Democrats appeared to score a major victory when the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017 upheld a lower court ruling that erased 28 state house and senate districts that existed only for one reason — so-called “racial gerrymandering.”

That potential mess was remedied by a team led by a Stanford University academic brought in to “fix” NC’s districting lines for 2018. Meanwhile, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a lawsuit in a Wake County court to keep the hope of overturning voter ID alive.

More than eight months later, a three-judge panel ruled July 19 that voter ID will be required, per the amendment, in 2019 elections. The panel dismissed five of the six claims in the suit. However, by keeping one claim on the table and deciding not to dismiss the case entirely, the panel did not enshrine voter ID and continues to ignore the will of the voters.

Democrats charge North Carolina ceased to be a functioning democracy when Republicans surged to power in 2010. But if there is a case to made for deteriorating government accountability to our citizens, it’s clear the finger points at a hijacking of democracy by activist judges and their Democrat allies.

 

Is our flag next?

By Steve Woodward

As do many, I have a friend who tries persistently to view everything around him through an apolitical lens. I suppose it’s his alternative plan for managing blood pressure.

When I mentioned my outraged reaction to Nike’s willful compliance with the left’s poster child for oppressed millionaires, Colin Kaepernick, in connection with withdrawing Betsy Ross flag emblazoned Nike footwear, my friend did not concur. He does not agree that Nike caved to one of its highest profile, most radical endorsers, and therefore should be called out. Quite to the contrary, my friend sees Nike’s decision as a stone cold business decision intended to inspire an important target audience of consumers — the growing number of Americans who no longer are sure they really want to be (Americans).

Nike-air-max-1If absorbing the very good possibility that his assessment is correct does not turn your outrage into sadness, we’ll assume you are standing in line as we speak at a Nike store. In fact it is more than a possibility. Forbes.com reports a 2% increase in Nike’s stock price after the Ross decision, adding $3 billion to the company’s market value virtually overnight.

Observing the socialist-leaning, anti-American left routinely hijacking formerly enjoyable holidays, such as Independence Day, or global sports events, such as the just concluded soccer Women’s World Cup, only deepens my profound sadness. At the same time, I do not equate sadness with defeat. The remaining 45% of citizens who are extremely proud to be American are also extremely likely to continue defending our nation’s core values, to denounce Nike and other consumer brands which applaud the decline of patriotism and leverage it as a sales strategy, and to feel ashamed of American athletes such as Team USA soccer star Megan Rapinoe for using a world stage to f-bomb the nation’s majestic White House, trample an American flag in plain sight and infer that her talents stem from her identifying as a lesbian.

Are we to accept that celebrating American independence on the Fourth of July, celebrating historic women like Betsy Ross and celebrating dominant American athletes wearing the red, white and blue are tied to a bygone era?

The corrupt U.S. media are more than determined to extract the joy out of everything to damage Donald Trump and diminish long standing traditions. The “Salute to America” parade, military flyovers and fireworks in Washington were derided as an obscenely expensive production and a platform for a Trump campaign event. It instead attracted a sea of patriotic humanity on the Mall in inclement weather, but the washout thunderstorms the media predicted never happened. America happened.

And now we are scolded by agenda-driven sports “journalists” for daring to be uncomfortable about behavior by U.S. team members during the World Cup in France. A good many Americans looking on recall a time not so long ago when our athletes competing in international events were required to “represent our country” with dignity and class. (In the 1986 Goodwill Games in Moscow, members of the U.S. women’s basketball team were derided for draping themselves in American flags after a victory).

With Nike rooting them on, the American women’s World Cup team spent much of the tournament drawing attention to themselves. Rapinoe kneels during the National Anthem. President Trump kindly invites the team to the White House before knowing if it would win a fourth Cup, and Rapinoe responds, “I’m not going to the f—ing White House”. They spend inordinate time talking, not about soccer strategy, but about how unfair it is they are not paid as much as U.S. men when they qualify for the national team, ignoring basic economics.

But instead of suggesting these unhappy campers tone it down, publications such anti-USA Today continued to applaud their self-absorption.

“(It was) a group that confronted the issues that have roiled our society – gender equity, sexism, what we stand for as a country – head on, making sure these much-needed conversations keep going,” wrote cheerleading Nancy Armour.

“Eventually, (Rapinoe) will endorse someone in the Democratic presidential race,” Christine Brennan wrote, nearly short-circuiting her keyboard with torrents of saliva. “Rapinoe is going to become as a big a person in our culture as she wants to be.”

More than likely, she will become a footnote by next week. Always happens. But should she venture into the political arena, how will Rapinoe explain post-victory video capturing her shoving away an American flag, leaving it on the pitch and partially trampling it as she and two teammates performed an obnoxious routine that might have been choreographed by street thugs?

It’s a good guess she’ll never be asked for an explanation. And it’s an even better guess that the revulsion Nike customers feel toward the Ross flag some day will be directed toward our modern day stars and bars. We’ve already seen Kaepernick’s kneeling replaced by violence in our streets by America hating, Trump loathing marchers and rioters. “Our media and popular culture institutions portray love of country as inherently racist and xenophobic,” writes Jarrett Stepman for The Daily Signal.

If the American flag, and by extension a secure and prosperous America, are the next targets in the left’s war on all things sacred, let us pray that the sadness filling our hearts quickly will engender in us the courage of our founders to draw battle lines and defend our freedom. We are, as Ronald Reagan warned, but one generation removed from losing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mueller effect

By Steve Woodward

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russian operatives and the Trump 2016 campaign finally produced a report after two years. The investigation determined no such collusion went on at any time, which was obvious with or without Mueller’s conclusion.

Collusion was a false narrative ginned up by Democrats and their media accomplices to ensure that Donald Trump’s presidency would be cast under a cloud of illegitimacy from day one. For those who loathe Trump, it was readily embraced, as was every other baseless allegation about Trump’s past and present.

In the aftermath, Democrats and Never-Trumper Republicans magnified Mueller’s refusal to “exonerate” Trump of obstruction during the marathon investigation. But obstruction was an element Mueller introduced with presumably deliberate intentions.

Charlotte attorney Stowe Rose, writing for North State Journal, observes that Mueller might not have brought down a sitting president, as anticipated by the corrupt media, but nonetheless achieved more far reaching goals, belying his previous stature as a man associated foremost with integrity. Rose insightfully paints a picture of a sinister Bob Mueller.

“Mueller (in his press conference) added that ‘… our Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrong-doing’,” Rose writes.  “Mueller thus tacitly provided the Democrats with the pretext to pursue further investigations and even impeachment proceedings, and the encouragement to do so.”

This was certainly Mueller’s intention from the moment he was appointed. He deliberately spent $40 million of taxpayers’ dollars to protract the drama and try to turn public opinion against the Trump White House. His scheme was hiding in plain sight, Rose concludes.

Not only has Mueller imposed a judicial standard straight out of Stalinist Russia, but he has exceeded his authority under the Special Counsel regulations.  These regulations do not authorize the Special Counsel to make recommendations that Congress consider or pursue further investigatory hearings or impeachment proceedings.

Rose’s assessment of Mueller’s fleeting chapter in American history is chilling and, no doubt, on the mark. The Democrats and the Washington establishment might some day regret the new “normal” they created when it is, inevitably, turned on them.

“What has taken place over the past three years is arguably the most egregious and damaging case of government corruption ever in the history of the United States,” writes Rose. “Unless those persons behind this scheme are held to account for their actions, this type of corruption will become an accepted aspect of our government and our electoral system, just as it characterizes unstable, corrupt regimes elsewhere in the world.”

Trump is accused of dividing our great country. What shall be said of those who seek to destroy it?

 

 

 

 

The good fight

By Steve Woodward

“I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”

Among the most beautiful, meaningful sentiments ever recorded, it is found in the Holy Bible, in Second Timothy. Who would not wish to express this emotion at journey’s end?

Michael Whatley2
Michael Whatley

Michael Whatley and Miriam Chu have finished the race. They’ve kept the faith. The newly elected North Carolina Republican Party Chairman and Vice Chairman most certainly fought a good and fair fight. Now, we begin, together, the next race. Because there always is the next race.

Sausage making is unpleasant. But in the end you have sausage. After an arduous weekend in Concord, not far from a famous speedway where all of the turns go left, the NC GOP righted itself, hopefully, in preparation for the 2020 election cycle.

The stars of convention weekend in Concord’s poorly ventilated convention center were the delegates, 1,368 in total (40 from Moore County). The convention chair, a man who, empowered with a microphone and a gavel, continuously beckoned us to be silent, to be “in order”, to “suspend” (a nice word for shut up), orchestrated a 12-hour day on June 8. It felt like a nonstop flight in coach in the back of a jumbo jet from New York to Johannesburg, South Africa, except with even worse food options.

But it was worth it, I kept telling myself after the convention ran over its scheduled conclusion by 190 minutes, because we landed safely and have reason to be inspired and more optimistic than we’ve been in recent months.

Whatley, who defeated Lee County GOP chairman Jim Womack by a narrow margin with 50.78% of the weighted vote, is well connected within the national Republican party and was instrumental in coordinating Donald Trump’s 2015-16 ground game in North Carolina. Whatley, in his first political race as a candidate, ran for state chair promising to bring about a “reset in Raleigh”. What remains to be seen if he will become familiar enough with the road to Raleigh.

Womack, a former Lee County commissioner, IT sales executive and active duty military serviceman, legitimately argued during the campaign that he was prepared to be a full-time state party chairman at a time when that level of focus is needed. Womack is retired; Whatley is a 12-year partner in HBW Resources, for which he is a government lobbyist in the transportation and energy sectors. He resides in Gastonia, NC, 184 miles by car from the State Capitol, but insists his fellow HBW partners are willing to give him flexibility to chair the party. But Whatley is not retired and has not suggested he is contemplating it.

Political observer and prolific blogger Brant Clifton sizes him up thusly: “Whatley’s experience has been in influence peddling and greasing politicians’ palms. That appears to clearly be what’s most important among the power players in the NCGOP. And it’s the same preoccupation that spawned the environment that led to those five federal indictments on April 2” (and the resignation of former party chair Robin Hayes).

Misgivings about Whatley immediately diminished, however, when Moore County’s political force of nature, Miriam Chu, was narrowly elected vice chair. Everyone who knows Chu knows she does nothing half way or in her spare time because she has none. She is resolute and resilient. Chu reports she traveled 12,000 miles campaigning for the job. What was not mentioned is that much of her traveling took place while she wore a medical “boot” on her left leg.

M Chu
Miriam Chu

Chu plans to be a full-time vice chair and, in the lead up to election night, articulated that she sees herself becoming “the liaison between the Chairman and other officers and organizations across the state.”

Speaking Monday before the Moore County Republican Women’s Club, Chu expressed confidence that she and Whatley are ready to move the party into a position of strength as the 2020 election cycle approaches.

Despite a recent party leadership void, elected Republican lawmakers have kept the state on a robust course economically. In Concord, Sen. Paul Newton (NC-36), co-chairman of the N.C. Senate finance committee, reported that this is the fifth consecutive year that our state has experienced a revenue surplus. The 2019 surplus is around $643 million. Meanwhile, the state’s “rainy day” fund has topped $1.1 billion. Newton said consecutive pay raises for public school teachers — a group Democrats always portray as neglected — have resulted in real money piling up for veteran educators. Today, a teacher on track to work for 30 years in the classroom will realize an additional $237,000 in pay as a result of continuous annual raises over the course that career.

The convention also heard from “Right Dan” Bishop, who will square off with his Democrat opponent in a special election for U.S. House in NC-9 in three months. Numerous convention speakers urged state residents outside of NC-9 to donate and volunteer to propel Bishop to victory. A May 24 poll by JMC Analytics and Polling found Bishop leading Democrat Dan McCready 46% to 42%. Notably, 10% weighed in as undecided.

Keep the faith.