Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The Joy of Being Blissfully Self-Unaware

'What, Me Worry About Truth?'
It must be great going through life completely and blissfully self-unaware.

There is a certain amount of hypocrisy that comes along with the territory once anyone enters the political world. Slightly shading the truth to score a political point here, slightly accusing opponents of doing the same thing as you are doing there — politics is not a place where everyone is telling 100% of the truth 100% of the time, that is for sure.

Not even your friends.

However, coinciding with the spread of COVID, a pandemic of amnesia must have also hit America that selectively targeted the collective memory of the left, based on how they are reacting to the election challenges now underway.

Chief Impeachment Orchestra Leader Democrat Adam Schiff recently said: “It is just tearing down our democracy… I do expect, in the new Congress, that yes, [Republicans will] continue to try to go after Joe Biden, delegitimize Joe Biden. They won’t be interested in getting things done.”

He didn’t even blush or blink an eye. The leader of the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th century, Tomas Torquemada, would have at least squirmed a little when confronted with his hypocrisy.

There used to be a time when political figures who said such things were ostracized and laughed out of Washington, D.C., never to be taken seriously again. They became a caricature of themselves due to their rank hypocrisy.

From the moment on election night 2016 when the media had to declare Donald Trump as the winner, people on the left and in the media immediately pushed the idea that “the election was rigged!” They claimed Trump won only because he colluded with (take your pick) Russian foreign agents, the KGB, Vladimir Putin, hackers, Ukraine or Boris Badenov, and therefore his Presidency would be illegitimate.

Democrats and the media spent the next four years — four years, mind you, not just four weeks — telling everyone that the electoral system in American was unsafe and untrustworthy. The Trump campaign is challenging the 2020 election results and claiming voter fraud and the untrustworthiness of the Dominion Systems voting machines, among other things.  All of a sudden, like Paul on the road to Damascus, liberal Democrats have seen the light and are now saying everything is perfect with our electoral system so move along; there is nothing to see here.

Please. Give American citizens a break. There has to be some sort of outer limits on how much hypocrisy the country can take.

Politics has always had its share of dirty campaign tactics, claims of “stolen elections” (see JFK; Chicago, Mayor Daley; Texas, LBJ 1960) and claims of illegitimate presidencies (see George W. Bush 43, 2000; Rutherford B. Hayes, 1876; and Benjamin Harrison, 1888)

There was no sincere concession by Hillary Clinton and Democrats in 2016 to “ensure a peaceful transition of power” to the incoming Trump Administration. In his well-worth-reading book, “Shattered,” Jonathan Alter describes in great detail how Clinton brought her chief political strategists together in her hotel suite the day after the election and told them to start spreading the idea that she did not lose the election fairly, telling them to blame it all on the Russian Collusion hoax to discredit President Trump and make him appear as “illegitimate.”

“The Resistance” was formed overnight, with Madonna saying she would like to blow up the White House and Whoopi Goldberg and The View spouting off fantastical theories of Trump being a Russian puppet for the next four years. Impeachment proceedings led by the aforementioned Inquisitor Schiff ended in nothing.

Joe Biden called for “unity” and “healing” on Nov. 7 after the media declared him the winner and “president-elect.” He could call on all the people who either funded or participated in the riots in Raleigh and major cities across the nation to raise money, roughly $1 billion or so, to completely pay for the repair of buildings and small businesses that were destroyed since Memorial Day if he were serious about uniting the country and healing the nation.

Otherwise, he is as self-unaware as the rest of the Resistance. He might as well put a lid on every day at 9:30 a.m. and stay in the basement of the White House if claims of malfeasance in 2020 fail to prevent his inauguration on Jan. 20.

“Malice towards none; charity towards all.” You know, the Lincoln thing.

(first published in North State Journal 12/2/20)

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Great Reset

"Now's Our Change Your World!"
 If you haven't about The Great Reset  yet, you will.


 Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” slogan, of which no   one knew the meaning or purpose, is a direct lift  from The Great Reset Manifesto, let’s call it, concocted by the dreamy-eyed elites of the world   who attend annual ritzy, star-studded winter retreats  in Davos, Switzerland under the auspices of the  World Economic Forum.

“In short” the wealthy elites of the world proclaim to the rest of the world, “we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism.”

To save the world, these elites demand “the world must act ... to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions; ...every country... must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed”.

In other words, these elites demand that the entire world embrace socialism; impose much higher wealth taxes, which they will avoid paying, that’s a given; promulgate onerous regulations on banking and industry; and pass massive Green New Deals, which would “only” cost U.S. taxpayers and consumers $93 trillion to implement.

Liberal socialists never say anything about cutting government spending, lowering government regulatory burdens on business and people, getting rid of archaic government programs that have been proven ineffective, or removing legal barriers for people who want to start a business and provide a better life for their family.

Liberal socialists simply believe a lot more government is good. Conservatives don’t. It is pretty much that simple.

Every command issued by Great Reset/One World Government proponents strikes at the core of American individualism. American individualism and self- initiative led to the creation of such ground-breaking innovations as the IPhone, Amazon and Google, nothing close to which has ever been invented under socialist or communist regimes. Wait until the Great Reset dries up American innovation; Millennials and liberals will then see the adverse side of too much governmental control of our economy, then they will be ready for more free
market capitalism.

Americans should understandably feel a little queasy when they hear Prince Charles or Canadian PM Justin Trudeau gush about how the COVID pandemic provides the “perfect opportunity” to change everything. Only totalitarians at heart think a pandemic or crisis is “a great time to impose their will on the world.”
Hitler took power during the post-WWI economic depression in Germany to “restore the Fatherland,” to name perhaps the worst case in recent history.

Capitalism and free markets survived 50 million worldwide deaths of the Spanish Flu in 1918 and 100 million+ deaths in World War II. There were no "Great Resets” then. According to the World Bank, the rate of extreme poverty in the world was cut in half from 1990 to 2013, mainly because of the explosion of free markets and capitalism around the globe.

Capitalism doesn’t need to be “reset;” it needs to be unleashed and allowed to flourish without excessive government intervention.

When evangelicals hear about The Great Reset elites governing everything, their hearts will skip a beat. Worldwide universal contact tracing of individuals, massive centralized computer record-keeping for infection and vaccination and quarantining may sound like, and actually be, solid public health policy to
bureaucrats and elites.

However, if it starts to move into the realm of ideas such as implanting computer chips into every individual, evangelicals the world over will be triggered unlike any triggered community we have seen to date. There is too much symbolism and apocalyptic end times imagery that would accompany such a
policy from the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.

Great Resetters: Please don’t go there. We don’t need that right now. Everyone’s nerves are too frayed as it is.

Theologian Karl Barth used to urge his fellow Christian colleagues and students to read the Bible in one hand with the newspaper in the other. We agree, just don’t read the Book of Revelation while reading about the Great Reset.

It might get too scary.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Tiger Woods, The Masters and Life Lessons

Dustin Johnson won the 2020 Masters in record-breaking fashion with a dominating five-stroke victory at Augusta National.

Tiger Woods did something many golfers consider to be even more impossible, and it was hardly even reported or covered during the broadcast or the media reports the next day.

Defending champion and five-time Masters green jacket winner Tiger Woods trailed Dustin Johnson by 11 shots heading into the final round Sunday — not a totally impossible lead to overcome, given Tiger’s history of playing extremely well in the last round of the 15 majors he has won and Johnson’s history of not finishing well in three other majors he led heading into Sunday, but difficult nonetheless.

Tiger got off to a solid start, parring the first hole and putting for eagle on the par 5 second hole, before settling for a birdie. He stumbled with bogeys on three of the next eight holes, taking him out of any serious contention to win his 16th major.

He had eight holes to play. Real golfers know they can’t give up when they know they can’t win. They have to finish the round they started barring severe injury and do the best they can.

He parred the 11th hole before stepping up to the most treacherous, and shortest, hole at Augusta National, the 155-yard par 3 12th hole, called Golden Bell after a bright yellow forsythia shrub.

The tee shot at the 12th hole at Augusta is one of the most terrifying shots in all golf. There is a landing area about 15 feet in diameter on the green where you have to hit your shot in order to have any chance at a par, much less a birdie. The green is usually slick as ice and any ball that lands short of the green almost always rolls back into Rae’s Creek.

Tiger hit his first shot on the front fringe of the green and, sure enough, it rolled back into the creek for a one-shot penalty. He hit his next shot, his third due to the penalty, and it, too, hit the green but had enough backspin that it rolled back into Rae’s Creek for another one stroke penalty.

He pulled out another ball to hit from the fairway side of the creek, his sixth shot. Remember: this is Tiger Woods, five-time Masters champion and one of the two greatest golfers in history, Jack Nicklaus being the other, making these mistakes, not some weekend hacker.

It hit the green hard and landed in the back bunker often described as treacherous. From a very awkward stance, he hit his sand shot too low and too hard and it skittered across the green and back into Rae’s Creek once again for a third penalty stroke. He pulled out another ball; pitched it onto the green lying eight and then two-putted for a 10.

There is no label for seven strokes over par on a single hole as there is for a double, triple or quadruple bogey. There are no words for the humiliation and dejection any golfer experiences who makes a 10 on a par 3, especially with 13 million people watching on television.

Somehow in some other-worldly way, Tiger Woods maintained his composure as he walked to the 13th tee. He birdied the par 5 and then parred No. 14 before doing what really is impossible for other mortal golfers: he birdied the next four holes in succession, the par 5 15th hole, the par 3 16th hole, the par 4 17th hole and the par 4 18th hole, to finish with a closing round 76 to finish the tournament tied for 38th.

Tiger Woods went from experiencing the worst hole of his long and storied career to his best score ever over the final six holes at the Masters in less than 90 minutes. How can anyone recover mentally and emotionally from such a disaster in such a short period of time to produce such extraordinary results?

Golf is just a game but sometimes it teaches life lessons we never forget. The main lesson is sportsmanship; golfers are the only athletes who call penalties on themselves to honor the rules of the game. Imagine such an ethic existing in every other aspect of life from business to politics to friends and family.

But in this almost unreported example, Tiger Woods teaches us to be resilient, to never give up, to take what life deals us and try to be excellent in whatever we do each time we do it.

There are some life lessons for us as a nation in that as well.

(first published in North State Journal 11/18/20)

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Weight of Representative Self-Governance

At the time this piece was being written, the outcome of the national presidential election, and any other federal, state or local election, was unknown.

What we do know is that sometime, hopefully election night or Wednesday morning, or by the end of this week at the latest, we will know who is going to make decisions for us from the White House over the next four years on huge public policy issues for this great country of ours.

The great thing about representative democracy in a free nation is that each of us who votes has a vested interest, a stake in the outcome of each election. Our side may win or lose, but we still had a say as long as we exercised our right to vote.

America is not like the monarchies of Europe that many fled in the 17th and 18th centuries. No political primogeniture exists in America where the first-born son of the king takes over control of the kingdom to make decisions without consulting us.

Hillary Clinton was quoted recently as saying she “was born to be president” in a recent New York Times Opinion podcast, “Sway.”

Uhhhh, sorry Senator/Secretary Clinton, but obviously you were not born to be president. The Kennedys and the Bushes have had a good run in public service, but they have no divine right in America to the White House or any other political office, nor does anyone else, including the Clintons.

Every candidate has to earn enough votes to win. They compete on a merit basis for your vote, each and every last one of them.

With that vote comes an awesome responsibility for every citizen. Whomever you have voted for in the election, you own a piece of what they do in office. If you voted for more freedom, less government regulation, law and order and a strong foreign policy, you most likely voted for President Trump.

If you voted for former VP Joe Biden, you most likely voted for him because you 1) hated Donald Trump with a passion, 2) did not like his leadership or perceived lack thereof on COVID, 3) wanted more action on climate change and 4) wanted health care coverage for everyone.

If you voted for President Trump, you own a piece of his Twitter comments and somewhat outlandish comments in public on a wide variety of things. You might like most of his policies but his behavior and demeanor come as part of his package as well.

If you voted for Joe Biden because you tired of President Trump’s character and personality, you may get a more Caspar Milquetoast persona. However, in addition to getting a blander president, just know you probably will get the following as well: The $93 trillion Green New Deal, massive new tax increases, massive new regulations, the $32 trillion Medicare For All national insurance program and Elizabeth Warren as Treasury secretary for four years. Maybe eight.

To every #NeverTrumper Republican and Unaffiliated voter who voted for Biden because you thought you were getting a “moderate” president: if he wins, you will soon own all of the policies that the far-left socialist wing of the Democratic Party will foist upon him. He will not be able to veto everything they want to do. Given his advanced age, it is also fathomable that his running mate, Kamala Harris, will become president before 2024, and then you will have guaranteed the most socialist government America has ever had.

You can’t not own the results of your vote. You freely gave it to the man through which these policies will be introduced and passed and signed into law. Embrace every aspect of the Biden/Harris New World of American Socialism, because you will have helped make it happen.

Unfortunately for all of us, we all “own” the massive $26 trillion, soon-to-be $30 trillion national debt, regardless of who wins the White House. We can’t seem to vote for people who will balance the budget and reduce this threat to our future prosperity, so we are all guilty in this regard.

Rejoice in your victory, whichever side wins. Because you will get everything that is coming to you, the good and the bad and the very ugly.

(first published in North State Journal 11/4/20)

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

"Win Without Crowing; Lose Without Crying"

Al Mann, Duke University 1936
Long ago in Durham, North Carolina, there was a football program for elementary school-age boys — the Al Mann Towel Football League, which played on an open field in Forest Hills.

No hitting. No pads. Just blue or red t-shirts and shorts with a towel stuck in your belt that would get pulled by the opposition when you had the football which meant you were down at that point. Kids learned how to work together as a team and got some exercise and a lot of fresh air before going to a Duke or Carolina “real” football game later that afternoon.

Care to guess what was really being taught all those Saturday mornings?

Sportsmanship, fair play, integrity and honor. Football was way, way down the list.

Al Mann had been a championship boxer at Duke University before World War II. All of the parents of the boys who played in his league grew up in the Great Depression, the one that makes anything we have gone through look like a garden party. Later, after all that hardship growing up, those parents fought in and suffered through World War II, the bloodiest and most costly war in contemporary human history in terms of lives lost.

They knew what honor, duty and responsibility meant. They had lived it.

Al Mann opened every practice and ended every game with his trademark challenge to every young man in his program: “Win without crowing; lose without crying”.

If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times. In a world of total chaos, unemployment, famine and war, the only things that carried those parents through difficulty was their word, their honor, their trustworthiness as a friend and neighbor. Winning to them really meant “survival,” but it should be done without berating the fallen opponent. Losing to them meant, “this time, perhaps, but save the tears to reflect on what you could have done better to win the next time.”

After World War II, America did not take over Germany or Japan and subject their people to imperial rule as Roman Caesars did when they defeated an enemy. America helped both nations rebuild so their people could prosper in democratic freedom from tyrannical rule.

America won without crowing… and left.

Those Great Depression/WWII parents sought to instill in their children those same qualities of working hard, self-sacrifice, loyalty and honor.

Apparently, those lessons have been forgotten by many in public and private life today.

We have a very contentious presidential election upon us. Militant progressives are threatening to riot and burn down the streets if Joe Biden is not elected president. Each side is gearing up for what could be a long, tedious, contentious legal battle that could stretch on for months unless there is a massive landslide one way or the other that no one in their right mind could contest.

Progressive liberal Democrats never gracefully accepted the results of the 2016 election when Hillary Clinton lost. They did not follow the lead of Richard Nixon in 1960 when he gracefully conceded to JFK, even though he knew at the time, which was proven and admitted to later, that Mayor Daley had stolen the election for JFK in Chicago, and JFK’s VP running mate, Lyndon Johnson, had stolen the election for JFK in Texas.

They did not follow the lead of then-VP Al Gore in 2000 when he gracefully conceded to George W. Bush 43 after an extended recount in Florida and subsequent ruling by the Supreme Court. Both Nixon and Gore could have formed a “resistance” movement and fought the new administrations tooth-and-nail for four years, but both men had enough decency and respect for the history of the United States and its people not to put the nation through such turmoil.

They both “lost without crying.” At least in public. Nixon in 1960 and Gore in 2000 set the bar for how losing political candidates should conduct themselves at any level of elective politics.

To their credit, JFK and Bush 43 “won without crowing” and set about to lead this country as the Constitution instructed chief executives to do.

Al Mann does not have a Wikipedia page dedicated to what he did for the young men of Durham long ago. Perhaps he should. Before next Tuesday’s election.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Margin of Error Explained by a Carny Barker at the State Fair

'Hey! You There! You Are Gonna Vote
Republican! Am I Right? Am I Right?'

Have you ever had a guy at the State Fair verbally accost you, saying he can name your age and if he is wrong, you would win a prize of your choice?

Ever notice what the margins of error are that makes him a winner and you a loser?

“If I guess within 3 years of your age, you lose!”

Depending on your age, that sounds reasonable.  At age 64, your inner egotistical mind might think: “Hey! He might think I am just 50! What do I have to lose other than $1?”

At age 7, the chances of losing are much higher. Most kids’ ages are easily guessed since plus/minus 3 years would put a 7-year old in the range of 4 to 10 years old that most anyone, including the carny barker, could readily guess.

If you were 64, the carny barker would have to guess either 60 and below or 68 and above for you to win. He intuitively has a 95% degree of confidence you are between the age of 61 (3 below 64) and 67 (3 above age 64).

The carny barker has 7 years to choose from, not just the three above or below your real age. He could guess 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66 or 67 and still win since he could guess you were 64.

Many public pollsters are the age-guessing carny barkers of the political world. They just don’t tell you they are.

When you see public polls saying, “Joe Biden Is Up 10% over President Trump!”, what you don’t hear are all of the caveats about their sample size and makeup. Many times, poll results are published that have no relationship or bearing on what the final demographic makeup of the voting electorate will be when the counting is done.

Many public pollsters are the age-guessing carny barkers of the political world. They just don’t tell you they are.

A public poll saying Biden is up 10 is trying to make you believe the final result of the election will be 55-45. Any poll is just a snapshot of the mood of the electorate on that date with that selected sample of people. Any political person can write questions and select a favorable sample to produce the results they want to produce to help their side win and depress the other side so they don’t vote.

Since the margin of error is plus or minus 3 for either side, 55% could be on the high side by 3 points and 45% could be on the low side by 3 points, meaning the gap could be just 4 at 52-48, much closer than a 10-point blowout.

Pollsters will say they have a 95% degree of confidence, meaning that they believe that 95 out of 100 times taking the poll with the same sample set of respondents, the result will be in the 55-45 range, including 52-48.

Nothing is ever really certain in politics, which is why we actually have elections and don’t rely on polls to elect our leaders.

Any statewide poll in North Carolina that is not based on interviewing a sample that will approximate a final voting electorate population that is roughly 74% white, 20% black, 5% Hispanic and 1% Asian or other races with appropriate educational level, income status, political affiliation and age distribution is suspect.

Six of the last 10 presidential elections in N.C. have been decided by less than 5 points. Only Bush 43 (twice), Bush 41 and Reagan ran away with double-digit victories in North Carolina.

Chances are there will be a close election on Nov. 3 in many statewide and district races. Emotions are running high amongst partisans on both sides, which guarantees increased enthusiasm to vote.

Just don’t let a carny barker pollster drive you crazy until then.

(first published in North State Journal 10/21/20)

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Go Back to the Future with “President” Joe Biden… If You Dare

The average annual rate of real GDP growth under the policies of President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden from 2010-2017 was 2.1%.  

There are no “ifs, ands or buts” about that fact. Anyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own set of fictional facts, to paraphrase former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). 

Economic growth was not “great,” as Joe Biden and the Democrats want you to believe. In fact, it was dismal, desultory, sub-standard and poor. 

Most business owners, small and large, were on virtual strike during the entire Obama/Biden Administration. They were unwilling to invest, expand and hire aggressively until the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, when they realized the heavy-handed, business-unfriendly policies of Obama/Biden and Hillary Clinton were on their way out of the White House at noon Jan. 20, 2017. 

It was one of the worst periods of stagnant economic activity ever. Almost as bad as under President Jimmy Carter.  

Which is saying something. 

After the crushing economic recession of 1973-74 caused by the “oil crisis,” which looks almost quaint now that America is energy self-sufficient, the economy rebounded to grow an average of 5% in real GDP under the policies of President Gerald Ford in 1976 and into 1977. President Carter somehow figured out how to mismanage both fiscal and monetary policy such that the hellhounds of inflation (12%) and sky-high interest rates (21%) were unleashed on every American consumer, worker, retiree and citizen.  

Real GDP growth under Carter’s leadership collapsed to average only 1.86% per year from 1979-1981. 

President Reagan’s free market policies sparked real economic growth rates that averaged 4.5% annually from 1983 to 1988. The real 7.4% growth rate in 1984 is more related to the momentum coming out of bad recessions since so much of any recovery is attributed to regaining lost ground and jobs quickly.  

Every new administration elected after a recession has enjoyed the “miracle” of high economic growth rates far in excess of 2% in the first several years of new leadership. Except under VP Biden, who says he was appointed by President Obama to lead us out of the greatest recession since the Great Depression. 

George H.W. Bush 41 was defeated by the recession of 1990-91 that was still lingering far into 1992 when former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton won in a three-way race that included Ross Perot. For seven out of the eight years of Clinton’s presidency, Americans enjoyed annual 4% real GDP growth rates fueled by the first internet boom. 

In 2010 at least, and certainly 2011, America should have experienced similar economic booms of 4%, 5%, 6% or 7%+ annual real economic growth rates that generated millions of new high-paying jobs.  

It did not happen. There was not one single year under VP Biden/President Obama’s leadership when America achieved real inflation-adjusted growth rates over 2.6%. 

How could it? First the financial banking system had to heal from massive wounds, most of it self-inflicted by reckless, overleveraged loan and investing policies. Then President Obama insisted on saddling the U.S. economy with much higher taxes, more federal deficit-spending, exorbitant regulation and a virtual government takeover of health care which constituted 16% of the entire economy. He and VP Biden crammed the ACA through Congress without a single Republican vote. 

Vice-President Biden whole-heartedly supported every single Obama policy. He never said anything negative about their joint strangulation of the American economy, not even when President Obama said 2% growth was the “new normal” for America. 

Mr. Biden wants you, the American voter, to go back with him in time to “the halcyon days of the Obama Administration,” a time that was so unsuccessful that the American economy, employment and stock market took off the day after Americans realized their terrible policies would end, because Hillary Clinton was not elected to continue them. 

Progressive liberals and #NeverTrumpers want to bring back those dark days to you, the America citizen. Go ahead if you want to vote for Joe Biden and other progressives, but just know you will be hurting yourself, along with 160 million other working Americans of all races, religions and ages who have prospered since Nov. 9, 2016. 

(first published in North State Journal 10/14/20)

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

What Unites — And Divides — Us As Americans

You know what really identifies us as Americans?

Our independence. Americans don’t want other people telling them what to do. They, we, didn’t want the King of England telling us what to do; we don’t want the United Nations telling us what to do and we don’t want our bosses, neighbors or spouses telling us what to do all the time.

We sure as heck don’t want people in the other political party telling us what to do. We are not an acquiescent society of individuals by any stretch of the imagination.

“Asking” though is an entirely different matter. My father used to say he loved North Carolinians because if you asked them for help, they would give you the shirt and coat off their backs. However, if you demanded their shirt and coat, they would tell you to go to hell and fight you tooth and nail.

You know what really divides us as Americans?

That same hard-headedness and independence. We get entrenched in our beliefs and ways of looking at the world and its problems and find it hard to see things “another way”.

Such is our collective life together today in America. We see it in all aspects of life but most explicitly expressed in our sordid national politics. Hardly anyone today seeks to persuade with facts and logic with a touch of humor anymore.  The left has abandoned all pretense of “positive persuasion” and now “demands” everyone thinks like they do; say what they say and spend tens of trillions of your tax dollars and borrowed money forever like they do.

Republicans tend to not care as much about what people say or do as long as they don’t try to force them to do the same. But they still have entrenched positions they are unwilling to give up without a fight to be sure.

Ask anyone if they want to be dictated to on a daily basis. Chances are close to 100% they will answer in the negative, often with emphasis added.

The left and the media have done a good job, in their minds, of dividing us as a nation into various tribes: rich vs. poor; white vs black; atheist vs religious; straight vs gay. Identity politics has ruled American politics for the last 30 years, perhaps even longer.

It is almost like we are not The United States of America but “The Divided States of America” which is unlikely to stand much longer.

One possible outcome on November 3 is that either side wins a resounding electoral victory and wipes out the other side for a decade or two. If there is such a sweep, we are either going to be a much more free democratic republic based on the principles of capitalism and free enterprise or we are going to become a socialist country in the mold of many countries in Europe.

Make no mistake about it: 2020 truly is a hinge election much like 1940, 1860 and 1780 that defined who we are as nation.  If he wins, Joe Biden is not going to be able to corral the extreme leftist socialists who provide any energy to today’s modern Democratic Party.

Biden says he “is the Democratic Party!”.  Biden may be the last white male to be nominated by the Democratic Party for President forever. He will join the Mohicans and the passenger pigeon on the list of extinct species.

If we have a status quo election with split control of the White House and Congress, the only way to get anything done will be the same things that have ever achieved anything of substance in Washington — clever leadership and compromise.

Ronald Reagan used to tell his legislative team “to go up to Capitol Hill and get 75%, 60% of what we want this year. We can come back next year for the rest.”

We compromise in every other daily aspect of life: business, marriage and friendships. Only in politics is compromise a four-letter word.

It is time to get over it. For our nation’s sake.

(first published in North State Journal 10/7/20)

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Swing states that could go to President Trump in 2020

To be fair and honest journalists, shouldn’t all journalists of good will talk about every state that could flip from 2016? What if every story or commentary had a list of the states Hillary Clinton won by a whisker in 2016 and examined the possibility of them flipping to Trump in November? 

Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16) and Wisconsin (10) represent a total of 46 electoral votes. President Trump won 306 electoral votes in 2016, so if he loses those three states and every other state he lost to Hillary Clinton, he will only garner 260 electoral votes in 2020. 

Joe Biden will become “President-Elect Joe Biden.” Kamala Harris will become “Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris.” Put that on your screensaver in case you forget. 

Major media outlets always include the critical states of Florida, Ohio and North Carolina in the “swing state” category. Many campaign experts on the ground think Florida and Ohio are going for Trump and North Carolina is slipping away from Biden despite millions being spent on ads across the state. 

What major news media outlets don’t ever talk about are the states that Hillary Clinton barely won that could flip to Trump this time around: Minnesota (10), New Hampshire (4), Maine (4) and Nevada (6), which represent 24 electoral votes. It is as if the press has suppressed any mention of such possibilities. 

President Trump could lose Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin and still win re-election with 284 electoral votes if he wins these four smaller states and keeps all the other states he won in 2016.  

There are any number of scenarios that could occur this year where President Trump could win or lose re-election. Nothing is for sure except for the fact that Joe Biden, or any Democrat, starts with at least 180 electoral votes in their back pocket from blue states such as California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington and Oregon. 

The “worst” Joe Biden can be beaten is approximately 358-180 in the Electoral College. No more 49-state landslides such as Ronald Reagan defeating Walter Mondale in 1984 until those big blue states become competitive politically again. 

Maine is perhaps the least likely state to flip to Trump due to its unusual allocation of electors by congressional district, the only state other than Nebraska to do so. The overall winner with the most votes gets 2 electoral votes in Maine. The winner in each congressional district gets one of the 2 remaining electoral votes. Hillary Clinton won the state by less than 20,000 but she won the electoral vote in ME-1 by 58,000 votes. Trump won in ME-2 by 37,000 votes. If Trump loses in ME-1 by less than the margin he wins in ME-2 this time around, he will pick up 3 of the 4 ME votes, as Hillary did in 2016. 

Insiders say that Trump is much stronger in Minnesota this election than he was in 2016 when he lost the state by 43,785 votes. He lost by only 2,732 votes in New Hampshire and 26,434 in Nevada. Trump only needs to flip 50%+1 of those votes, or 21,893 in Minnesota, 1,367 in New Hampshire, and 13,218 in Nevada to win all three states this time. 

Politics is like basketball. If your team misses a layup and the opposing team rebounds and scores at the other end, that is a four-point swing — the two lost plus the two gained.  

Same with the electoral college; if Trump wins Minnesota, he gets 10 electoral votes, but it means Biden also loses 10 electoral votes from 2016, for a net change of 20 electoral votes. 

When you start to see major media outlets talk about all of the potential swing states going either way, then you will know honest journalism is at least trying to make a comeback when it comes to national politics. 

But it won’t be this year. 

(first published in North State Journal 9/30/20)

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

They Gathered To A Place Called Political Armageddon

We all knew this day was coming.  

From the moment Roe vs Wade was decided by the Burger Supreme Court on January 22, 1973, even though it was soon overwhelmed by the Watergate firestorm, everyone in politics knew that the issue of abortion had the potential to tear America asunder. 

It has. The issue of abortion has pitted family members against family members, churches against churches and Democrats against Republicans. It has been the No. 1 litmus test for each side since at least 1980. Socialist Democrats now openly declare that no pro-life Democrat is welcome in their party. No pro-choice Republicans are in any kind of leadership position at the national level. 

In a year of pandemic, economic crash and resuscitation, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, riots, and a DEFCON status of 2 on the political danger scale, why not add a Supreme Court nomination and move it to DEFCON 1 six weeks ahead of the most contentious presidential election in memory? 

People on the left applauded the Roe decision as a freedom and right-to-choose issue for women. People on the right chastised it for being the consummate example of judicial overreach — finding the right to an abortion under the “penumbra” of privacy provisions in the Constitution — and usurping states’ rights with a sweeping federal jurisprudence decision absent any appropriate federal or state legislative action. 

Since then, every Supreme Court vacancy and subsequent nomination process has borne the patina of abortion politics, unspoken most of the time but clearly understood through coded questions and answers. 

With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, all non-partisan pretense has been thrown out the window. Everyone knows the next Supreme Court Justice could tip the balance of the Court into a somewhat permanent 6-3 conservative majority for the foreseeable future. Such a majority could pave the way for Roe vs Wade to not be fully overturned per se, due to the Court’s allegiance to “precedent,” so they say, but to be reversed in some way that allows the issue to return to the states to be decided state-by-state. 

Forty-two Supreme Court Justices have died while in office. Twenty-nine vacancies have occurred in presidential election years. Seventeen of the presidential year vacancies have been confirmed by the Senate in addition to a couple of recess appointments that were eventually confirmed, including William Brennan in 1956.   

Since 1900, there is no historical record of any incumbent president of either party refraining from nominating someone to fill the vacancy before the election. 

President Trump is going to nominate either Amy Coney Barrett or Barbara Lagoa at the end of this week. Both are esteemed jurists. Both are Catholic. Both are female. Ruthlessly attacking either judge carries enormous political risks for Democrats. 

If Republicans garner 51 votes on the motion to proceed to floor debate on the nomination, it will take place before the election. They have 53 senators today; they can lose Sens. Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah and still pass the nomination with the tie-breaking vote of VP Mike Pence, although Senator Romney has indicated his support for the nomination “if it reaches the floor of the Senate”. 

Just because a president nominates someone to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court doesn’t mean they have to be considered by the Senate. The Framers of the Constitution thought long and hard about the confirmation process and ultimately decided to give the US Senate advise-and-consent authority to approve Supreme Court appointments. 

If the White House and Senate are controlled by members of the same political party, the nominee gets confirmed. If not, then the nominee would not.  

Politics is just math by other means. It is not that hard to understand. 

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has set up a political Armageddon scenario everyone thought would happen one day, even before the ink was dry on Roe vs Wade. On top of everything else that has happened in 2020, it seems to almost be a fitting coda to add the most contentious issue possible — abortion — to an already overheated divisive presidential election. 

(first published in North State Journal 9/23/20)

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Trump Vs "Anyone Not Named Trump!"

There is no energy or enthusiasm for a Joe Biden presidency in North Carolina, or anywhere else for that matter. No one can say off the top of their head what Joe Biden would do as president. He certainly does not convey a lot of confidence in having him as the next commander-in-chief when he has to read responses to pre-screened questions from his notes or a teleprompter.

This election is solely about President Donald J. Trump. You either love him or hate him. The small percentage of truly independent swing voters is going to be swayed by his message on law and order and economic prosperity or not; and they will determine if he wins North Carolina or not.

Democratic strategists said long ago that the only chance they had to win North Carolina was to nominate a moderate like Joe Biden who would not scare off independent swing voters. However, his “moderation” is being brought into question because of his adoption of the socialist Bernie Sanders’ agenda almost lock, stock and barrel, which tends to scare off such voters.

History is not on Joe Biden’s side. In 1976, Jimmy Carter won N.C. handily over a Watergate-frazzled President Gerald Ford. The only Democrat to win North Carolina since then was Barack Obama in 2008 who won by only 14,000 votes over John McCain and his forgettable “Country First” campaign. President Obama, the most attractive and charismatic Democrat to run for the White House since JFK in 1960, lost N.C. by close to 100,000 votes during his re-election campaign of 2012 to the almost-equally forgettable campaign of Mitt Romney. Bill Clinton lost to President George H.W. Bush in 1992 and Bob Dole in 1996. His wife, Hillary Clinton, lost to Trump in 2016 by 177,000 votes.

In order to win North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes, Joe Biden has to: A) be more charismatic than Barack Obama ever was (which is impossible); B) be more personable than Bill Clinton (which is impossible); C) have more money to spend than Obama, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton combined (which is possible) and D) have a more robust voter turnout machine than Obama, the consummate “community organizer” (again which is impossible).

Joe Biden is going to have to throw the long ball and thread the eye of a needle to a receiver in the corner of the endzone (to mix a few metaphors) to win North Carolina. He is going to need a massive turnout of African-American voters that far exceeds the 19.7% of the final electorate of black voters who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. But if black turnout explodes and President Trump gets more than the 8% of the black vote than he got in 2016, say 10-12%, any advantage Biden may have gotten from high black turnout may be negated or even diminished.

Second, Biden is going to have to do a lot better among white voters than Hillary did in 2016. Biden has a 31% approval rating from white voters which is behind the very low 32% approval of white voters of Hillary Clinton.

There are no prominent third-party candidates expected to drain off 4% of the votes in North Carolina as Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein did in 2016. That could be as many as 200,000 votes that will either stay at home or force themselves to vote for either Trump or Biden. 100% of the Johnson/Stein 2016 vote will not go to either candidate.

And then there is the “enthusiasm gap.” The best get-out-the-vote machine is enthusiasm for a candidate, which is very hard to measure by pollsters. When registered voters who voted in the last four elections were asked, on a scale of 1-to-10, their commitment to vote, the number of 10s recorded for Trump out-numbered those 10s recorded for Biden by a 10-to-1 margin.

Joe Biden might slip through and defy the odds and history to win North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes on Nov. 3. But it all depends on turnout, not any poll. It always has.

(first published in North State Journal 9/16/20)

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Fascism From The Left

"I Can't Wait to Lead Antifa!

When Donald Trump was elected in 2016, progressive liberals and the media — but I repeat myself — started to freak out about “fascism” coming to America.

They were right to be worried. It did happen…but it came from the left, not the right.

They said Donald Trump would be the reincarnation of “Il Duce,” or “The Leader,” Benito Mussolini, fascist strongman of Italy before and during World War II. He joined forces with another madman, Adolf Hitler, to wreak death and destruction across Europe before American soldiers landed at Normandy to free millions from their insane megalomania.

Mussolini was machine-gunned to death on April 28, 1945, by the same Italian people he promised to help but led into disaster. His body was spit upon and mutilated before being hung downward by his feet in the Piazza Loreto in Milan.

So far, so good for us in America since 2016. President Trump is no Benito Mussolini. Or Adolf Hitler. He is pulling troops out of hotspots around the globe, not sending goose-stepping American soldiers into harm’s way.

“Fascism” comes from the Latin word fasces which was a symbol of a Roman magistrate’s authority depicted by wooden rods around an ax. Fascist governments believe in the power of concentrated authority in the hands of elites (namely themselves) who use armed force to enact their will on innocent citizens.

Fascists disregard and ignore democratic principles when it suits them. They use intimidation tactics to censor political and cultural opponents. They subordinate individual rights and personal freedoms, ostensibly “for the good of the society,” which of course is determined only by the strongman themselves.

In other words, they are bullies who rule by brute physical force, not by reason, logic or the law — just like the antifa terrorists American voters see every night on the news in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago and New York City. 

The American people — black, white, latino, old, young, liberal, moderate and conservative — all know these riots were not caused by President Trump or the US military but by an anarchist militant army from the left, dead-set upon the destruction of America as we know it today.

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Antifa is democracy.” George Orwell would be so proud.

Late on Election Night, 2016, Hillary Clinton refused to accept the results of an election or gracefully concede to President-elect Trump, as has been historical tradition even in close elections such as Nixon’s loss to JFK in 1960. In the early morning following her defeat, the seeds of blaming her loss on “Russian Collusion” and encouraging “The Resistance” to oppose the Trump Administration at every turn were planted and the past four years have been as tumultuous as any term in White House history.

Willful disregard for democratic principles is a hallmark of fascist movements. When fascists don’t get their way according to the rules, in this case, the US Constitution, they say, “Destroy the rules!”, not “How can we win the next time playing by the rules?”

Fascists love to restrict free speech and public discourse because it threatens their misguided dangerous agendas. Conservative speakers have been banned from speaking on college campuses for a decade now. If liberals think conservative ideas are so stupid, why not let them speak and prove their ignorance in public?

The “cancel culture” movement has gotten to the point where if anyone dares to say anything that disagrees with BLM or antifa, including standing for the American flag and singing the national anthem, Joe Biden and left-wing Progressives go into full attack mode, demanding their resignation or firing and being sent into permanent exile.

Joe Biden can’t even say antifa and BLM are responsible for this violence due to the risk of losing progressive left-wing support in his campaign for the White House. How twisted is that?

Fascists such as Mussolini espoused extreme nationalistic jargon designed to rally the populace around the preservation of the Motherland. In an oddly perverse way, antifa from the left uses extreme anti-nationalistic jargon to destroy the Motherland. They want the complete annihilation of America as we know it, and no Democratic leader takes them to task for it in public.

When big city mayors and governors are given the sole power to make decisions, they can make any decision they want and declare that it is “for the good of the society” without a lot of explanation. Many voters are still scratching their heads over lockdown orders that prevented them from attending worship services and going to the gym at the same time they could go to the local Walmart and ABC store.

Americans will have the chance to renounce fascism on Nov. 3. The only way to crush it is to turn out heavily at the polls and vote against every left-wing politician who has supported such violence, either in word and deed or by their silence since 2016.

(first published in North State Journal 9/9/20)

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