Posts Archive

War on democracy

By Steve Woodward

From both ends of the political spectrum a narrative is spinning in response to North Carolina’s embattled U.S Congressional districts. The essence is that the time has come for state Republicans to yield any presumption of controlling how districts are drawn despite their majority status in the statehouse and the U.S. House of Representatives.

This new “logic” dictates that Republicans must yield because the world has changed. Gerrymandering simply has become too precise, too data driven and, thus, overtly racist and unfair. Just ask former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, the ringleader of a national campaign to weaken Republican control of gubernatorial, state legislative and state court seats. Holder’s organization filed the lawsuit that just a few days ago received a favorable ruling from a three-judge NC superior court panel (two members are Democrats, of course): re-draw your U.S. Congressional maps immediately, or else. Republicans hold 10 of the 13 North Carolina seats in Congress. Not acceptable, say the Holderites. The wrong voters voted to impose an unfair imbalance.

E Holder
Obama AG Eric Holder

Now what? Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8) whose district includes Moore County very likely will be assigned to another district, or Moore will end up in another district. A member of Hudson’s staff acknowledges Republicans are powerless to stop what’s coming. The spokesman said the redrawing easily could result in 10-3 flipping to 6-7, the worst case scenario. This upheaval also handicaps fundraising by candidates like Hudson because he’ll find himself an unknown among new constituents.

Democrats claim they want to kill gerrymandering once and for all by taking map drawing out of the hands of politicians from parties in power, the American way for decades and a fact of life in our state during 140 years of Democrat control of the General Assembly until 2011. Confident in the public’s short memory span, Holder told The New York Times North Carolinians were “forced to vote on manipulated electoral maps … drawn to create a partisan outcome.”

Once a “fair” system of map drawing by independent bodies is in place, Democrats want us to believe they’ll never again try to leverage gerrymandering should they seize power in North Carolina, or elsewhere. (If you buy that, look at what happened in Virginia on Election Day 2019 as a result of new independent maps approved last February shifting Republicans into six Democrat dominated districts).

The Pilot‘s editorial board in November 6 editions declares “it’s time finally to bring meaningful reform to the redistricting process.” In fact, there is a bill pending (HB 140), known as the FAIR Act, proposing a constitutional amendment placed on a future ballot that would afford voters the opportunity to make a choice. The left claims passage would lead to “transparent” map drawing by independent panels. But who will form the panels, and what will stop well funded organizations like Holder’s from packing them with radicals? Nothing.

From the right comes another call for a serious look at the FAIR Act, and from none other than John Hood, author, television commentator and chairman of the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank. Hood’s November 6 column in The Pilot declares “the handwriting is on the wall”, pointing to how the court-ordered redrawing of General Assembly maps played out in October. “North Carolina now has fairer legislative districts because a court ordered the General Assembly to open up the process and stick to neutral criteria,” Hood writes.

Hood, who should know better, inexplicably gives “court ordered” maps a presumption of purity. Since when are courts devoid of activist Democrat judges? Since when are lawsuits by well funded far Left entities acting in the best interest of all voters rather than Democrat voters and candidates?

The former Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has a ready answer. Since never. Now chair of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, Walker says Democrats have toiled for a decade using power grabs disguised as well intentioned state lawsuits.

“They pick a state, they sue until it’s blue,” Walker told National Public Radio’s Miles Parks. “Sooner or later their goal is to make those states blue and add as many House seats as they can, to keep Democrats in power for the next decade or more.”

The forthcoming 2020 Census data will bring a new round of redistricting opportunities across the country in 2021. This scenario comes around once every decade. North Carolinians very well might end up living with a FAIR Act and its unaccountable map drawing panels, but numerous states where Democrats are in control will go right back to gerrymandering traditions that are abusive only when Republicans apply them.

 

 

An October surprise

By Steve Woodward

What spell did Democrats cast over Republicans when both sides, by a nearly unanimous joint-session vote, approved three nominees to the State Board of Education on October 2? Before that date, Republican majorities within the House and Senate refused to vote on Governor Roy Cooper’s nominees, and had declined to put forth nominees of their own.

In fact, a post on the Governor’s web site dated January 2019, accuses the GOP-controlled General Assembly of holding up approval of nominees as a tactic to postpone a January 11 hearing on allegations of voter fraud in the 9th Congressional district.

Prior to October 2, it seemed perfectly logical that a Republican-controlled legislature in Raleigh would stop a Democrat governor from attempting to stack the deck within the Board of Education. These days, the classroom is where American values go to die.

What changed in October? Even a left wing site, The Progressive Pulse, had no tangible explanation, characterizing the board confirmation as “a major turnaround.” This blog (RESOLVE) derives its name from an acronym: “Republicans for Security, Opportunity, Liberty and Victory that Endures”. Liberty requires transparency. Victory endures only when the victors prevail in the day to day of legislating.

In this case, it looks as if the Republicans caved. But, if that’s true, what leverage did Democrats bring to the joint session?

We asked Carolina Journal reporter Lindsay Marchello through an email exchange. Marchello reported the approval of J.D. Buxton, Wendell Hall and Donna Tipton-Rogers in a piece entitled, What You Might Have Missed. But it did not delve into an explanation for the about-face among all but a handful of Republicans.

“I assume Republicans liked the batch of nominations this year better than last year,” she replied by email. “As for J.B. Buxton’s nomination—which was denied last year with no explanation—I assume they approved him this year as a sort of olive branch to the Governor while the budget stalemate continues.”

It’s certainly a possible scenario, but why wave an olive branch at a governor who refuses to recognize the financial peril of Medicaid expansion, the cause of the budget stalemate? We are awaiting a reply from the office of NC-25 Sen. Tom McInnis in an effort to unravel this mystery. Also mysterious was a post on the web site of Republican House Speaker Tim Moore following the vote. It reported the General Assembly’s approval of the trio of board nominees, while introducing another surprising thread:

“Two other current board members re-nominated by the Governor (our emphasis) – James Ford and Jill Camnetz – were not voted on and will continue to serve on the SBOE pending further action by the General Assembly.” Do the math. Five Cooper supported board members now preside on the 12-member Board of Education. That’s five Democrats. A sixth is Reginald Kenan, a Southeast region board member. A seventh is SBOE vice chairman and Cooper appointee Alan Duncan, former chair of the Guilford County BOE. In other words, Republicans inexplicably helped tip the scales toward Democrat control of the SBOE.

And lastly, why were Republican lawmakers quoted within Tim Moore’s web site post gushing about the newly elected board members?

Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union): “I am happy the General Assembly is moving forward in confirming the Governor’s appointments.”

Rep. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga): “Each of the nominees confirmed today have distinguished backgrounds in education and are qualified for the role.”

Let us RESOLVE to keep asking questions about the October 2 surprise.

 

Results trump rage

By Steve Woodward

By now we know beyond a doubt that the corrupt mainstream media, Democrats, feminists, and Never Trumpers among Republicans despise President Donald Trump on numerous levels and gleefully ignore substance (results of policies) to advance the narrative that he is unfit to hold the office.

Even Trump believers/supporters along with practical Americans who want a strong economy, a secure southern border and a mighty military struggle to defend Trump. They wish he would not tweet, that he would not punch back against every critic, or that he would not joke about pursuing a third term (unconstitutional).

A young Conservative media prodigy, Kassy Dillon, set off a Twitter-storm when she dared to be forthcoming about Trump. On September 13, the Pepperdine University graduate student and founder of the Lone Conservative media platform tweeted, “Here’s the thing: I’m voting for Trump but I wouldn’t be friends with Trump. I’m not voting for (Democrat Andy) Yang but I’d definitely be his friend.”

Dillon’s pragmatic approach to political ideology is not new. She focuses on issues, policy and substance. She could care less if she’d rather not have a Diet Coke with the President. In fact, prolific Twitter user Trump even replied to her tweet. “I’m OK with that!”

A recent survey by the Heritage Foundation’s Heritage Action for America arm sheds light on a dire necessity: Republican and independent voters in 2020 must embrace the issues and debate anti-Trumpers on substance. There is a temptation to waste time condemning false “reporting” about Trump’s tax returns, “whistle blower” allegations, Justice Kavanaugh’s past or the White-House-in-crisis narrative. We’ve been doing this since November 2016 to no avail.

By engaging voters in three comprehensive surveys, Heritage Action sought “to find out what issues currently motivate the coalition that elected Donald Trump and Republican congressional majorities in 2016, so that we can keep that coalition together and expand it while simultaneously advancing the conservative ideas we hold dear.

“We found that the GOP isn’t connecting the dots between its own innate conservative principles and voters’ preferences—which, our polling reveals, are more similar than many realize.” Let that sink in.

Some of the most notable revelations include:

  • Voters in five key swing states overwhelmingly reject single-payer healthcare, with 65% of respondents opposing it.
  • Common ground between Democrats, Republicans and independents is found in multiple categories. Increased funding for job training (95% Dems/81% GOP/86% IND). Support for mandatory medical care for infants surviving attempted abortion (71% Dems/85% GOP/76% IND). Across all voter categories, 75% are certain or hopeful that their family’s financial situation will improve going forward (56% Dems/88% GOP/74% IND).
  • Even on the subject of taxes, there is strong evidence that Trump administration economic policy will sway independents and attract begrudging approval from Democrats. 58% of respondents say taxes on middle class Americans are “too high” (63% Dems/53% GOP/60% IND). And, there is strong agreement that taxes paid by small businesses are too high (52% Dems/64% GOP/60% IND).
  • A clear majority, 57%, of general election voters say national Democrats are “becoming increasingly extremist”, while 65% oppose Socialism.

It is not extremism alone that likely will plague the Democrat nominee for President in 2020, as well as other Democrat Congressional candidates nationwide. It is their rampant corruption and disregard for voters, willfully concealed by a compliant media. Democrats recently unveiled their newest “reason” to impeach Trump — his conversation, as reported by an unidentified whistleblower, with Ukraine’s newly elected president.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, who pretends to be challenging Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, said Trump committed treason if he asked Ukraine’s leader to investigate Joe Biden’s (very shady) interaction with Ukraine when he was vice president under Barack Obama. “The penalty for treason,” Weld said on MSNBC, “is death.”

The death knell is chiming for any pretense of substantive political debate and any evidence that the rule of law applies to both parties. Beneath the din, the will and wishes of American voters slip further away, quaint relics of the past.

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Deception

By Steve Woodward

The tweet was snarky, as is to be expected. It speculated that President Donald Trump cancelled a scheduled trip to Poland, not because of the looming threat of Hurricane Dorian, but because he is lazy and needed an excuse to spend the holiday weekend playing golf, as usual.

Imagine the false outrage had Trump made the trip to Poland? The twitter-sphere would have condemned him for abandoning the homeland amid yet another climate change-generated natural disaster. Dorian is Trump’s Katrina!

Over on Facebook, we’ve encountered a chorus of whiners reacting to Trump’s forthcoming appearance in Fayetteville, NC (Sept. 9), on the eve of a special election for a U.S. congressional seat in NC-9. The outrage centers on a narrative that Trump’s 2020 campaign is saddling municipalities with unprecedented costs, closing in on $1 million, for additional security and other logistical needs when he rolls into to town for his signature rallies.

Naturally, no one mentions how the campaigns of sitting presidents seeking re-election handled these costs in the past. George W. Bush and Barack Obama were called out for similar fiscal “abuses”. Obama used Air Force One to travel with then Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for a 2016 joint campaign appearance, but a Bush era ethics lawyer had no issues with the arrangement.

It’s an unavoidable problem, Richard Painter said in an interview with ABC News, for presidents who are simultaneously commanders-in-chiefs and the leaders of their respective political parties.

“I don’t think this is controversial,” Painter said. “A president that won’t campaign for his own party isn’t the leader of his own party. If someone claimed that President Bush was abusing taxpayer money to campaign, we would have laughed at that.”

But in the era of Trump this type of reasoned analysis is no longer possible. The narratives build one upon the other in the media’s endless quest to diminish him and marginalize his administration and supporters. His campaign doesn’t reimburse? Of course not, as a businessman he was famous, or so it goes, for refusing to pay contractors what they were owed.  Everybody knows that (because it has been repeated for three years running). He’s lazy because he plays rounds of golf despite working more hours than any president since perhaps Abe Lincoln (never mentioned), and granting more media access than any president ever (not even close).

Authors Gary Marcus and Annie Duke explain how unrelenting fake news perpetuates Trump delusion syndrome in a piece they co-authored for The Wall Street Journal, which lays out how the Left and its compliant media hold the truth hostage so effectively. It is a simple matter of exploiting behavior.

In a world of information overload and distraction wrought by technology and daily life as we know it “we tend to assume that whatever we hear is true.” Admittedly, this is an objectionable generalization but it is not aimed at readers of this blog. It is aimed at the growing sector of society identified by Rush Limbaugh as the “low information voter.”

The authors site numerous studies that have demonstrated how vulnerable human beings are to being snookered. A 2017 study by faculty at New York University examined around 500,000 social media messages. Subtle words such as “hate”, “destroy” or “blame” accelerate the spread of these messages by 20% per emotional word.

“Fake news tends to avoid nuance or neutral language and frequently adds layers of emotion and moralizing — all of which makes false items spread much faster than the real thing,” Marcus and Duke wrote. They conclude a war can be waged on fake news by teaching “information literacy” across all age groups.

In WSJ August 31 – September 1 editions, the newspaper profiles prolific novelist Salmon Rushdie. His 14th just-published novel is a contemporary version of a 17th-century classic, “Don Quixote”. His motivation for writing it partially draws on the fake news and reality TV phenomena from which almost no one readily escapes.

“We live in a moment in which truth is stranger than fiction,” Rushdie says, “and so the fiction has to decide how strange it needs to be in order to get close to the truth.”

This week’s fictional thread, which inevitably will work its way back to the Trump White House, is that Hurricane Dorian is another in a series of monster storms delivering “unprecedented” fury.

“The truth is that the storms that are hitting the Caribbean with this intense magnitude are historic, unprecedented, and these storms are manmade storms,” contends Emory University Prof. Tiphanie Yanique in a televised interview with the independent news hour Democracy Now.

The guest and her interviewer, both clearly in lockstep with the climate change narrative, failed to address a well documented chronology of Category 5 hurricanes. The first Cat 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin was recorded in 1924, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), followed by 34 more through this year. Only four have hit the United States as a Cat 5 across 95 years.

Now, test your information literacy as you read this concluding sentence: The most intense Cat 5 hurricane to make U.S. landfall hit the Florida Keys on Labor Day 1935. President Roosevelt was blamed, along with climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re a racist. Probably.

By Steve Woodward

Not long ago, two people in complete disagreement might have exchanged accusations of one being misinformed or closed-minded, or one simply would dismiss the other as a “jerk”. Then, on to the next tee. But when this author’s reputation was compromised recently by The Pilot newspaper, which published a private e-mail communication from me as a “letter-to-the-editor”, I experienced for myself the new age of 24/7 identity politics.

In subsequent published letters by readers, and elsewhere, I was labeled “racist, bigoted, angry, intolerant, ignorant, vile, hateful, and ugly” and my email content was called out as “discriminatory” and “inflammatory”.

And, because people are increasingly paralyzed by a fear of being associated with such labels, fellow members of a community service organization urged that I apologize or be reprimanded so they would not be seen as “complicit” with my viewpoints.

Although nothing in my exposed private commentary so much as bordered on racially charged rhetoric, and certainly did not include ethnic slurs of any kind — it was merely pointed, verifiable criticism — we are learning that this demonstrates the new normal of how the left and its socialist fringe members move to swiftly punish ideological opponents. Destroy, don’t denounce. Assassinate character, ask questions later. The late Saul Alinsky, author of “Rules for Radicals”, urged unrelenting ridicule of Americans and their values.

Frequent readers of The Pilot know that I am an avowed defender of American values, the Constitution, Conservatism, the Republican Party and President Trump. So it is logical that a recent flurry of criticism by these same readers would contain all of the left’s favorite buzzwords intended to silence people with whom they disagree.

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Heather Mac Donald observes that Trump, his supporters and the so-called white privileged in general, are persistently accused of racially charged divisiveness. Yet, “it is the media and Democrat leaders who routinely characterize individuals and groups by race and issue race-based denunciations of large parts of the American polity.”

As baseless accusations escalate the sad truth is that most Americans, even the most proud and loyal, will shrink into silence, afraid of earning a label, albeit unwarranted. Where does it end? Someone posts a scathing critique of a restaurant after a terrible dining experience. It’s an Asian sushi house or a black-owned BBQ joint. Racist! An employer asks an employee to cover garish tattoos on his arms and wash his hair. Bigot! Get out and vote for a pro-Christian, pro-traditional marriage, anti-abortion Republican. Inflammatory! Hate speech! Co-exist!

You are not even safe at church. This week, a 49-person delegation comprised of Brownson Presbyterian Church members, along with local black faith leaders, is traveling by bus to Washington, DC. Brownson is a predominantly white church, but to my knowledge has no history of prohibiting black or Hispanic congregants. Nonetheless, the stated itinerary of the trip focuses on visits to “civil rights monuments and museums … and a daily Bible study … to improve lines of communications within our community.” No time for the Lincoln or Jefferson memorials, or The Smithsonian. Nothing to see there.

The promotion of the bus trip was kicked off over a period of several weeks from the pulpit, and included a guest sermon by the author of  a book entitled, “Waking Up White”. It is an apologetic tome in which she regrets her upbringing amidst “white privilege.” Left unsaid by religious leaders, black and white, is the obvious reality that God determines the race of everyone of us. Furthermore, American society has long accepted the existence of the “black church” absent a hint of malice. But God help anyone who identifies as a member of a “white church”.

A former newspaper known as The New York Times recently announced it is launching The 1619 Project. It is not actually a project, it is a take down, the ultimate denunciation of the legitimacy of the United States of America, and the expansion of a narrative that Trump and his past and future supporters are virulent racists. Here’s the premise:

“The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

What, you do not subscribe to The New York Times? Racist.

 

 

 

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.