Deep concerns

Is it possible that escalating erosion of trust in our federal government is causing Democrats and Republicans, joined by independents, to find common ground in a nation seen as deeply divided? Perhaps even irreparably divided.

A new Monmouth University Polling Institute poll indicates that the entrenchment of a shadowy, post-Obama era “deep state” bothers those who embrace President Donald Trump as much as those who would cheer for a President Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

The poll, as reported by left-leaning The Hill, found that “74 percent of respondents believe in a ‘deep state’ when it is described as a collection of unelected officials running policy.”

“We usually expect opinions on the operation of government to shift depending on which party is in charge,” Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray said in a statement. “But there’s an ominous feeling by Democrats and Republicans alike that a ‘Deep State’ of unelected operatives are pulling the levers of power.”

Who are these operatives? They are everywhere. Former Congressional senior analyst Mike Lofgren, who toiled a total of 28 years on Capitol Hill, is author of The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, which lays out chilling insights.

Most significantly, “the Deep State does not consist only of government agencies,” Lofgren writes.

“In a special series in The Washington Post called ‘Top Secret America,’ Dana Priest and William K. Arkin described the scope of the privatized Deep State and the degree to which it has metastasized after the September 11 attacks. There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances — a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government.

“Seventy percent of the intelligence community’s budget goes to paying contracts. And the membrane between government and industry is highly permeable: The (former) Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, is a former executive of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the government’s largest intelligence contractors. His predecessor as director, Admiral Mike McConnell, is the current vice chairman of the same company; Booz Allen is 99 percent dependent on government business. These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and are rarely subject to congressional hearings.”

A vast majority of the American media is complicit in concealing the machinations of the Deep State. In fact, the media is, in reality, a Deep State appendage. This explains why it is so diligent in its efforts to make villains and “threats to national security” out of benign characters in the Trump orbit such as Carter Page, Jared Kushner and George Papadopoulos.

Deep staters surely must chuckle at all of this from the shadows.

 

Courting judicial overreach

North Carolina is one of six states facing uncertainty as to how federal court influence could change traditional procedures through which district maps — Congressional and state legislative — are drawn or re-drawn.

The outlook for 2018 is that no significant upheaval looms in our state, owed to the U.S. Supreme Court’s restraint in weighing in on lawsuits related to map redrawing with a mid-term election approaching. Yet, in three other states, SCOTUS rulings are expected to complicate voting dynamics in the short term.

This is but the calm before the storm. Writes NPR’s Domenico Montanaro: “By June, the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to decide three major redistricting cases — out of Wisconsin, Maryland and Texas — that will lay some of the foundation for what the maps will look like, not just this year, but after the 2020 census that could affect control of Congress for the next decade.”

Democrats are convinced that activist judges can help them dominate gerrymandering into perpetuity. Courts are increasingly seen as willing policymakers by the left.

The Wall Street Journal, in a February 21 editorial, forecasts the ominous trend:

While the U.S. Supreme Court has held that partisan gerrymanders may violate the U.S. Constitution, it has been unable to articulate a precise legal standard. Democrats are now trying to tempt the Supreme Court into intervening in the intrinsically political redistricting process with social-science methodology that purportedly measures proper representation.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently not only was tempted, but defiantly struck down, with a 5-2 liberal majority, a Congressional map drawn by that state’s GOP legislature in 2011. “With the help of Stanford University law professor Nathan Persily they drafted their own new map (Feb. 19) for use in the May primaries after (Democrat) Governor (Tom Wolf) and the legislature failed to agree,” The Wall Street Journal explained.

And what does Pennsylvania portend? Writes the Journal editorial board:

Pennsylvania will be the future in every state if the Justices decide that judges should be redistricting kings.

 

 

Hudson vs. 60 Minutes

Hudson on 60 Minutes

It was just a matter of time before last December’s passage of H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, by the U.S. House of Representatives sparked left-wing media outrage. Leave it to none other than CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday prime time program to unleash correspondent Steve Kroft on the topic, which 2nd Amendment antagonists distill as follows: far right, gun packing rural hicks versus reasoned, intellectual elites who desire a permanent ban on firearm possession by our citizens and confiscation of previously registered guns.

Enter our Congressman, Richard Hudson (NC-8), who authored and championed the bill all the way to the finish line. It passed in the House 231-198 last Dec. 6 and is in the U.S. Senate pipeline. During a tense moment in their taped interview, Kroft barely contained himself while scolding Hudson’s comparison of a reciprocal concealed carry permit to a driver’s license, which is valid in every state.

“It’s not like a driver’s license!” Kroft shouted, insisting that licensed drivers must demonstrate minimum proficiencies. Kroft is unaware, apparently, or deliberately ignores that H.R. 38 would grant concealed carry reciprocity exclusively to legally registered firearm owners who “would have to follow the laws of the state, county and municipality in which they are carrying concealed.”

Remarkably, Hudson’s retort was not edited out of the segment. He did not blink. “But, driving is a privilege,” he said. “Owning a firearm is a Constitutionally protected right. So there is a difference.”

Make no mistake, this was a hit piece from beginning to end, but not merely an attack on Rep. Hudson’s bill, or Tim Schmidt, founder in 2003 of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (also interviewed by Kroft). The objective of 60 Minutes producers and Kroft was obvious: to demean and belittle the “folks” in the red(neck) states who, unlike their educated blue state fellow citizens, are trapped in a time warp in which guns, as Kroft put it dismissively, “are woven into the culture.” They are, in other words, dangerous, exceeded only by the Constitution itself as a threat to society.

Kroft’s segment was not so much a “report” on an issue of the day as it was a televised op-ed. Two examples. In the first, he characterizes a Constitutional right as an idea:

The central tenant of Concealed Carry Reciprocity is that the 2nd Amendment gives people the right to carry guns anywhere they want. But that idea is more aspirational than factual.

In the second, Kroft despairs that he and his New York-based arbiters of 21st Century America can not disenfranchise an enormous swath of our population (the inference being that the people who elected Donald Trump are alive and well):

Whether people like it or not, that world (where guns are carried and concealed) already exists in many parts of the country, where people are quite happy with it. And so are their representatives in Congress.

Kroft’s parting shot at Rep. Hudson was to dismiss the core assertion behind the necessity of concealed carry as having been “refuted by numerous studies”, but without detailing these so-called “studies”, or who conducted them. Hudson stood his ground, which is not easy to do amid the glare of the famously intimidating 60 Minutes entrapment sessions.

I can tell you that in the last 20 years you’ve seen a huge uptick of gun ownership, you’ve seen a huge uptick in concealed carry, and, at the same time, you’ve seen violent crime drop. If you look at states with concealed carry, you’ve seen violent crime drop.

 

 

 

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 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:

Eclipsing liberty

Rush Limbaugh is perceived by the liberal left as a dangerous figure because his radio audience is vast and multigenerational. Democrat/Socialist politicians firmly believe that average American citizens are complete idiots (exhibit ‘A’ was the infamous admission by MIT economist and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber that the “stupidity of the American voter” assured Obamacare’s passage). They are convinced that Rush listeners are willing sponges, anxious to absorb whatever he says, and that Trump’s appeal, and victory, was driven by the Limbaugh Effect during the eight-year Obama era.

Conversely, there are substantial numbers of moderate Republicans, centrists and so-called independents (typically Democrats who are label averse) who dismiss Limbaugh as a bombastic entertainer, not someone to be taken seriously. Continue reading “Eclipsing liberty”