Latest Crystal Coast Tea Party News and Views

Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriot groups:   (Everyone is cordially invited to any of our meetings.  If you can, come an hour or so early to eat, chat, and get acquainted!):

MOREHEAD CITY GROUP, Weekly Meeting:   Every Tuesday @ 6 PM, Golden Corral in Morehead City, NC, on Arendell Street.

WEST CARTERET GROUP, Semi-monthly Meeting:   On the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays @ 6:30 PM, Ribeye’s Restaurant, Cape Carteret, NC.

JACKSONVILLE-ONSLOW TEA PARTY PATRIOTS:   Every Tuesday @ 7pm, Logan’s Roadhouse on Western Boulevard in Jacksonville.  For more information, contact ThomasHAustin@hotmail.com.


 

On the Crimean Border, Putin Rattles the Nuclear Sabre

As I have written previously, HERE, Russian President Putin views the incorporation of the western Ukraine as a key part of his long-range plan to gather many of the former Soviet satellite states around the motherland once more.  Like many others, I also think that he recognizes the weakness of President Obama, and will therefore press his territorial ambitions before the end of Obama’s term.

In the current issue of the online Financial Times, Gideon Rachman has up an article about the escalations in recent months of Russian rhetoric as regards their nuclear capabilities.  He also quotes the current commander of European NATO forces, U.S. General Philip Breedlove, as saying that Putin’s military had moved to the Crimea “forces that are capable of being nuclear”.

From his article, this telling excerpt:

Last week, Pravda – the Soviet mouthpiece during the cold war – ran an article headlined, “Russia Prepares Nuclear Surprise for Nato”.  It crowed that Russia has parity with the US in strategic nuclear weapons and boasted: “As for tactical nuclear weapons, the superiority of modern-day Russia over Nato is even stronger.  The Americans are well aware of this.  They were convinced before that Russia would never rise again.  Now it is too late.”

The recent elections in the U.S. have drawn attention away from the situation in the Ukraine, but it is by no means resolved.

For the entire article, click HERE.

NC/VA Mid-Term Turnout: The Bannock Street Project

Michael Bennet is the junior Senator from Colorado.  He became Senator after being appointed by the Colorado governor to serve out the remainder of Ken Salazar’s term after Salazar resigned to become President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior.  Bennet was then elected to a six-year term on his own merits during the 2010 mid-term election, which many have characterized as one of the first big tests of the Democrats’ so-called “Blueprint” for turning redstate Colorado into bluestate Colorado.  Bennet’s 2010 election effort was run out of a building on Bannock Street in Denver, Colorado, so the application of the successful Colorado Blueprint to the key battleground states in 2014 became known as the Bannock Street Project.  For the 2014 mid-terms, the Democrats identified ten battleground states on which to focus the Bannock Street Project’s $60M strategy.  Those ten were Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Michigan, Montana, and West Virginia.

It seems to be a matter of opinion as to whether the Bannock Street Project was a success.  In light of the many victories for Republican candidates, it would seem to be an obvious failure.  But for Nate Cohn, about whom I have posted previously, HERE, the coin has two sides.  In his November 14th postmortum at The Upshot, his NYT political blog, Cohn gleans insights from comparing the election results in two neighboring states, North Carolina and Virginia.  Writes Cohn:

The preliminary and qualified answer is that the Democratic field effort was probably a success.  An analysis of precinct and county-level returns, supported by exit polls and limited voter file data, suggests that the turnout in key Senate battlegrounds was generally more favorable for Democrats than it was in 2010.  When it wasn’t, the Democratic turnout still seemed impressive when compared with the states where they did not make significant investments, like Virginia or Maryland.

North Carolina has 100 counties, and Virginia, our neighbor to the north, has 95.  With the possible exception of the area just south of Washington, D.C., our income and ethnic demographics are also somewhat comparable.  Cohn continues:

Perhaps the most compelling comparison is between Virginia and North Carolina.  The two states are demographically similar, and both had close contests.  But Democrats invested heavily in field efforts in North Carolina, while they made little or no effort in Virginia, which was not thought to be competitive.  Better still for our analysis, the states also have significant precinct-level data from this year and 2012.

and

Since 2010, turnout increased by 14 percent in North Carolina counties that voted for President Obama, but just 4 percent in counties that voted for Mitt Romney.  In Virginia, turnout fell by 4 percent in Obama counties, but 2 percent in Romney counties.

Note that in the graphic below, based on the U.S. Election Atlas site run by David Leip, the last off-year election in Virginia was the gubernatorial race of 2013.  Also, North Carolina counties are depicted in purple, while Virginia counties are shown in green.

NC-VA_Turnout_1

There are many lessons to be learned from the recent election results.  But, in our joyful gratification for the Republican gains, we must not forget that they can be transitory.  We cannot let up.  If anything, we must redouble our efforts for 2016.

For more on the Bannock Street Project, check out THIS article from earlier this year by Ed Kilgore of the Washington Monthly.

Ribbing the 2014 Election Losers & Serving Notice for 2016

Like me, there are those of you who do not subscribe to the Carteret News-Times.  You therefore may have missed the advertisement below, printed in yesterday’s Sunday edition.

CarteretDemocratRIP_Final

The ad was intended as a bit of fun, but with a serious message; the CCTPP is preparing to do all we can to continue our efforts to inform and educate the Carteret County voters over the next two years, with the objective of repeating our success in helping to elect conservative candidates in the 2016 general election.  Please join us.

New Congresspersons Learn The Ropes

In January, the U.S. House of Representatives will seat 41 new Republicans and 17 new Democrats.  The Senate will seat 12, 11 of them Republicans.  As I write this post, many of those 70 newbies will be either in Washington or making plans to be, as they all have an orientation process to go through.  The following excerpt is from a New York Times article on that process:

There is no instruction manual for serving in Congress, but Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and House majority leader, did send his newly elected Republican colleagues a 125-page spiral-bound document called “Hit the Ground Running” that offers advice on hiring a chief of staff and opening district offices, and a helpful list of orientation “dos and don’ts.”

For more details on the orientation process and insights into the arrangements made by some individuals, click HERE.  For some readers, however, the article may be behind a paywall.

Immigration Reform: Money Talks

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article written by their reporter Julia Preston, in which she identifies the main funders of the push in recent years for “comprehensive immigration reform”, also known as amnesty.  It is a good article, but it may be behind a paywall Illegal_Immigrants_2for most readers.  Hence my extensive excerpting, beginning with this:

Over the past decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.

<snip>

The philanthropies focused on a dozen regional immigrant rights organizations that make up the backbone of the movement.  They also supported Latino service organizations like NCLR, also known as the National Council of La Raza, and legal groups like the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, and the National Immigration Law Center.

<snip>

The Ford Foundation already had a decades-long track record of funding nonprofit organizations aiding immigrants.  In 2003 Ford and Carnegie joined with several other donors to create an unusual collaborative fund to augment support for local groups.  Since then, Carnegie has given about $100 million for immigration initiatives, all in conventional charitable donations, including millions to help legal immigrants become American citizens.

The Open Society Foundations of Mr. Soros, an immigrant born in Hungary, have invested about $76 million in the past decade under the rubric of immigrant rights, according to Archana Sahgal, a program officer.

The Atlantic Philanthropies were founded by Charles Feeney, an Irish-American billionaire who built his fortune with a chain of duty-free shops.  Atlantic has given nearly $69 million in 72 immigration grants in the last decade.

By the way, it you click on any of the three links above to the latino immigration support sites (NCLR, MALDEF, National Immigration Law Center), you will probably see where some small portion of that $300M went.  These sites are well designed and pretty slick.

While it is good to know who the opposition is, we should not let these “big money” numbers diminish our committment to blocking any immigration legislation that includes an amnesty.  Remember, the recent election results showed clearly that the big money does not always prevail.

Count Me In

Dan Way of the John Locke Foundation put up a piece yesterday at the online Carolina Journal about the results of a telephone poll taken on the Wednesday and Thursday after Election Day.  Here are the first three paragraphs from the article:

More than half of North Carolina voters and 70 percent of Republicans would be less likely to re-elect Gov. Pat McCrory if he supported the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, according to a poll released today by the Foundation for Government Accountability.

“I think there are huge political consequences for Medicaid expansion that no one is talking about that this poll reveals,” said Christie Herrera, a senior fellow at FGA, a free-market research and advocacy organization based in Florida.

“The more that North Carolinians know about Medicaid expansion the less they like it,” she said, noting that voters also indicate they would be less likely to re-elect state representatives who support the expansion under Obamacare of Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

And this, from later in the article:

Opposition to expanding Medicaid rose to 68.12 percent when respondents were told expansion would require $716 billion in cuts from seniors’ Medicare benefits; 67.13 percent were opposed after learning it would result in funding cuts to education, roads, and public safety; and 44.16 percent opposed it simply when they were told expansion was a key part of Obamacare.

Count me as being among the 70% of Republican voters who favor a primary challenge to the Governor if he were to lead an effort to expand Medicaid in North Carolina.

The whole article, worth reading, is HERE.

Dan Sullivan is the new Senator from Alaska

The Associated Press reports this morning, HERE, that the Alaska state board of elections has now counted enough absentee and early votes to have established a mathematical certainty that Republican challenger SmileyFace1Dan Sullivan is the winner in the closely contested race with Democratic incumbent Mark Begich.  Sullivan will therefore become the new junior Senator from Alaska after the swearing-in ceremonies in January, bringing the Republican majority in the Senate to 53-47.  And if, as expected, the winner of the December run-off election in Louisiana between Republican challenger Bill Cassidy and incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu goes to Cassidy, the final tally will be 54/46.

Senior U.S. Navy Officer relieved over China Assessment

As regular readers will know, I have written often about the activities and putative intentions of China with respect to the South China Sea.  One of those posts from last February, HERE, was about the assessments of a U.S. Navy Senior Intelligence Officer, Captain James Fanell, in regard to the specific objectives behind China’s Mission Action 2013 exercise, which took place in November, 2013.

Captain Fanell’s official title is (or was) Deputy Chief of Staff Intelligence & Information Operations (PACFLEET), and his assessment was formally presented to an annual conference in San Diego of the senior members of the American military naval forces as well as naval contractors.  The theme for the 2014 conference, known as the 2014 Western Conference & Exposition (WEST-2014), was “Shaping the Maritime Strategy: How Do We Make It Work?”.  Also on the conference panel alongside Captain Fanell was Rear Admiral James Foggo, the Navy’s Chief of Operations, Plans, & Strategy.

Now comes word, via the Navy Times, that Captain Fanell has been relieved of his post by Admiral Harry Harris, apparently over the candor he displayed in his remarks at the West-2014 conference.  It seems that the Pentagon brass, and presumably the U.S. State Department, feel that his assessment of China’s intentions threaten the relationship between the U.S. and China at a time when the Obama administration is trying to engage China.

The Navy Times article is HERE, and for good measure, the WikiPedia page for the “Senkaku Islands dispute” is HERE.  And, in case any reader wonders why I attach such importance to developments in the South China Sea, it is because the Senkaku Islands, as well as many other disputed islands in the region, are currently regarded as Japanese territory and are thus included in the United States’ mutual defense treaty with Japan.  In other words, if China tries to take any of these islands by force, the U.S. is obligated to provide military assistance to Japan.

Previous posts on the situation in the South China Sea and on other matters related to U.S. military interests may be assessed by clicking on the “Military Affairs” sub-category (under the “Issues” category) from the sidebar to the right (only on the website’s Home page).

Eastwood’s “American Sniper” to be released late this year

UPDATE

To see a preliminary review from The Hollywood Reporter, click HERE.  They think it will be one of Eastwood’s best.

ORIGINAL POST

Director Clint Eastwood has announced that his movie depicting part of the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle will be selectively released late this year, presumably in order to be eligible for all the 2015 award ceremonies.  The movie is based on the book American Sniper, and the movie is to have the same name.  The full release of the movie, which stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle and Sienna Miller as his wife Taya, is scheduled for January 16, 2015.

In a related note, the Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) website has now listed the movie, HERE.

Asset Forfeiture: an egregious abuse in Iowa

I have written before, HERE, about police power abuse in the form of asset forfeiture laws and their enforcement.  In that connection, I have come to believe that everyone should:CopsAbusePower

a]  ALWAYS, at the earliest opportunity, ask a law enforcement officer why you were stopped on the highway or why you are being otherwise detained in order to get his reason on the record;

b]  NEVER give consent to a police search of your vehicle, your home or other real property, or your person;

c]  NEVER linger past the point at which the LEO acknowledges that the process related to his previously articulated reason for detaining you has ended, and if that point is not readily discernable, ask the LEO outright.  Specifically, never respond to any questions asked beyond that point, no matter how innocuous they may seem.

If you wish to know one of the many reasons why I advocate this, click HERE.

The 2014 Morehead City Veteran’s Day Parade

UPDATE

Two more photos , thoughtfully provided by mcronin, have now been added to the image rotator below.

ORIGINAL POST

Beautiful weather and a large crowd came together yesterday to produce a very successful Veteran’s Day Parade for Morehead City, their 20th.  There were over one hundred seventy entries, and the Crystal Coast Tea Party’s float was number 131.  Some photos are shown in the rotator below, and the full write-up from the Carteret News-Times is HERE.

  • VetsDayParade2014_5 VetsDayParade2014_5
  • VetsDayParade2014_2 VetsDayParade2014_2
  • VetsDayParade2014_4 VetsDayParade2014_4
  • VetsDayParade2014_1 VetsDayParade2014_1
  • VetsDayParade2014_3 VetsDayParade2014_3
  • VetsDayParade2014_6 VetsDayParade2014_6
     

Several amateur photographers were asked to send their photos of the parade and/or of our float for inclusion is this post, but nothing has been received at this writing.  If any new photos are received, I will update this post and include them in the rotator.

SCOTUS to take on King versus Burwell

I’ve written twice before this year (HERE and HERE) to comment on the progress through the federal court system of two ObamaCare cases.  The two are among the many filed that are predicated on the contention that ObamaCare subsidies cannot be legally paid when the health care coverage is purchased via a federal exchange (i.e., through the Healthcare.gov online portal) by a resident of a state that did not establish a state exchange.  North Carolina, of course, is one such state.

The first post noted the ruling in July of a 3-judge panel at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in a case named Halbig versus Burwell.  The panel ruled, via a 2/1 majority, that such subsidies were illegal under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or ObamaCare).

The second post was about a similar ruling, this one from a District Court in eastern Oklahoma in a case known as Oklahoma versus Burwell.

In the D.C. Circuit case, Halbig versus Burwell, the defendants (the Obama administration’s DHHS head Sylvia Burwell or her successor) had asked that the full court review the case, and their request had been granted.  Since the Obama administration has succeeded in recent years, with Senator Harry Reid’s help, in appointing several new liberal justices to the D.C. Circuit Court, this move was expected to eventually result in a victory for ObamaCare by way of an “en banc” reversal of the 3-judge panel’s ruling.

Now comes word in an announcement Friday that the Supreme Court has agreed to review King versus Burwell, another such case arising out of Virginia.  In this case, a 3-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Richmond, reached the conclusion that the residents of all fifty states were eligible for the federal subsidies, regardless of whether their state had created an exchange.

Since the lower federal courts are now split, the Supreme Court must resolve the basic issue.  We do not know which justices voted in favor of taking on the case, but it takes a minimum of four Supreme Court justices to grant certiorari, and it is something of a truism among court watchers that SCOTUS does not usually take on a case for the purpose of affirming a lower court ruling.  In addition, Justice Kennedy, the justice who is usually characterized as the Court’s current “swing vote”, was one of the four dissenters in NFIB versus Sebelius, the 2012 case in which Chief Justice John Roberts presided over a 5/4 majority to uphold the ObamaCare individual mandate.

There is, therefore, some basis for taking the optimistic view that there is substantial sentiment on the court for a view of the subsidies issue that is not in accord with that of the Obama administration’s Justice Department.

Another “Disparate Impact” Case

I am beginning to think that the Obama administration may set a new record for the number of regulations and/or executive actions that have or will be struck down by the federal courts.  The most recent instance happened on the day before the mid-term election, when Judge Richard Leon of the D.C. circuit (appointed by G.W.B.) wrote in his opinion that the Justice Department’s interpretation of the Fair Housing Act language “appears to be nothing more than wishful thinking on steroids.”

I last wrote about the issue of “disparate impact” on October 25th, in a POST in which I noted that SCOTUS had agreed to take up the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs versus The Inclusive Communities Project case, and that the case would be an important one because of the potential for the Court to back away from the “disparate impact” doctrine established by Griggs v. Duke Power.

The case before Judge Leon was brought against HUD by the American Insurance Association (AIA).  The members of the AIA were burdened by the Obama administration’s over-reaching interpretations of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, interpretations which had the effect of permitting HUD to bring many of the members’ business decisions under scrutiny for civil rights violations.  In an example from 2012, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), a NYC-based public interest group, sued Allstate Corporation for refusing to insure flat-roofed houses in Delaware.  In their suit, NFHA claimed that minorities were more likely to live in such buildings, and that they were therefore subject to discrimination by Allstate’s policy.

As an aside, in his twelve years on the federal bench, Judge Leon has compiled an interesting history.  For details, check out his WikiPedia page, HERE.

The Internal Revenue Service, a Law Unto Itself

I did not post about this in the run-up to Election Day, but not because it does not deserve our fullest attention.  Reporter Shaila Dewan of the Obama_HammerNew York Times put up an article on October 25th (possibly behind a pay wall) about the latest egregious abuse by the Internal Revenue Service, this time relating to the practice of “structuring”.  These are the two opening paragraphs:

For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant.  For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime.  Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

and later in the article:

… money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed.  Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

Critics say this incentive has led to the creation of a law enforcement dragnet, with more than 100 multiagency task forces combing through bank reports, looking for accounts to seize.  Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000.  But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000.  Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious activity reports.  Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight.  The median amount seized by the I.R.S. was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.

There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000 cash unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement.  But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant.  In one Long Island case, the police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910.  The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.”  The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.

I don’t think the idea of a truly flat tax is feasible, but one strong argument in its favor is that the IRS could be virtually eliminated.

The full article is HERE.

Random Ruminations, Episode 1

1]  Beginning in January, with the Republicans in control of both houses of the United States Congress, President Obama will have been boxed in, not into lame duck status exactly, but into a situation where executive action will be his only means of exerting power.  I therefore think that, far from capitulating to the calls for bi-partisanship, he is probably going to be as confrontational as ever.

What, then, is he likely to do?  Here are some possibilities of actions he make take over the next two years, largely gleaned from published punditry:

  • Accelerate his misguided efforts to reach an accord with Iran, in order to add another notch on his legacy.
  • Act to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.  If he does, the question will be what does he do with the remaining terrorists who are still in custody there.  Does he move them to facilities within U.S. borders, or simply turn them loose?
  • Act to implement defacto immigration reform.
  • Turn loose the EPA regulatory hounds.
  • Urge his minions at the National Labor Relations Board to find ways to empower unions.
  • Continue to tinker with ObamaCare in an effort to make the citizenry more attached to it, thereby making it harder for Congress to abolish it.

2]  ObamaCare was signed into law in January of 2010 after having been passed in the Senate by a sixty-vote majority, all Democrats.  Courtesy of reporter Philip Klein’s analysis, we now know that, of those sixty who voted for passage of ObamaCare, twenty-eight lost their senate seat in either the 2010, 2012, or 2014 elections.  True, not all lost their seats outright, but it can be argued that at least half of the losses can be attributed to their ObamaCare vote.  Maybe including Kay Hagan’s.  For another view in agreement with Klein’s (and mine), check out THIS very short piece at the online Weekly Standard from reporter Jeffrey Anderson.

3]  Ever heard of the REINS Act?  Look into it, HERE, because I’m hopeful that the Republican Congress will make it a priority next year.

4]  The election results are bound to put a lot of pressure on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg, who, despite her age (81) and health problems, is on record as saying that she did not want to retire until there was a likelihood that her successor would be as liberal as she.  With the senate in control of the Republicans, that cannot happen JusticeGinsbergduring the remainder of President Obama’s term, and she has to consider that Obama’s successor may very well be a Republican.  My guess is that she will retire next year rather than attempt to hold out for another six years.  President Obama will nominate a woman to replace her, of course, as her’s has now become known as a “woman’s seat” on the court, but it will be a less liberal woman if the nominee is to have any hope of being confirmed.  Some are suggesting 54-yo Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota’s senior Senator and a former chief prosecutor in the State’s Hennepin County.  Klobuchar’s formal political membership is in Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, which is closely tied to the national Democratic Party, and she was first elected in 2006.

5]  One of the things that Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, soon to be Majority Leader, will have to decide early on is whether to change the Senate rules for confirmation of judges to the lower Federal courts.  As readers may remember, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid cravenly changed the rules to provide for only a simple majority in order to assure confirmation of three liberal Obama nominees to the Federal bench at the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. circuit.  My view?  Sauce for the goose …

6]  I was heartened to see columnist George Will come out in favor, within his list of the six things that the Congress should do first next year, of mandating the quick completion and activation of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository.  For some detail on this fifteen-billion dollar debacle, click HERE.

As always, readers are free to agree or disagree via an e-mail message to me.  Just click the Contacts / Contact CCTPP menu, then click on the Webmaster link.

CCTPP Members: Help Needed for Vet’s Day Parade Float

As can be seen in the Events List at right, the Morehead City Veteran’s Day Parade is scheduled to begin at 11am Saturday.  Our CCTPP float will be at position #131 of the queue, which will be on Shepard Street somewhere between 16th and 17th streets.  Members are asked to be there an hour earlier (by 10am) in order to help out with decorations, loading of chairs, boxing of candy, etc.

Way To Go, Carteret County!

As everyone will know by now, Carteret County was a clean sweep for Republican candidates in yesterday’s mid-term elections.  There will be lots of speculation about exactly what accounted for this outcome or that, but I have to believe that our Tea Party effort was responsible in some significant part.  It also helped that, in this instance, the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots’ preferences happened to coinside with those of the Carteret County GOP.

And here are two charts to ponder.  The first is of the partisan races, which includes all the local candidates in addition to the U.S. Senate contest between Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan.  Click to enlarge.

Partisan_Chart

The next chart, below, depicts the results of the election for judges.  Click to enlarge.

Judges_Chart

The Shifting NC Electoral Demographics – UPDATED

On Saturday I put up a post with a graphic illustrating the statewide North Carolina voting patterns of certain demographic factions, which showed that the Democrats are doing a much better job of turning out the vote than are Republicans.  Unfortunately, the picture has only gotten worse now that the numbers are in for the full early voting period.

The updated graphic:

NYT_NC_EarlyVoting_Updated

To compare with the graphic shown in my earlier post, scroll down.

The Phony War, 75-Years On

Great Britain declared war on Nazi Germany in September of 1939, days after Hitler broke his word and directed his military forces to invade Poland.  England declared war to honor their military alliance with Poland, but they did so with the full knowledge that they were totally unprepared to fight the Nazis.  Along with the other allies from World War I, including the United States, they had virtually disarmed in the aftermath of winning the “war to end all wars”.  They desperately needed time to re-arm, and so for a period of about eight months (from September, 1939 through May, 1940) neither side fired a shot against the other.  This period came to be known as the “phony war”.

In many ways, the phrase can be aptly used to describe what is going on with President Obama’s air campaign against the ISIS forces in the Middle East.

Max Boot, a well-known military correspondent, put up a short piece over the weekend at the online Commentary Magazine site which highlights some aspects of this lunacy.  From the lead-in:

If you want a laugh, go to the Central Command website and click on their press releases.  Every day there is a new dispatch about the anti-ISIS air campaign in Iraq and Syria known incongruously as Operation Inherent Resolve.  The latest release is from October 28: “U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria Monday and today using attack and fighter aircraft to conduct four airstrikes.  Separately, U.S. and partner nation military forces conducted nine airstrikes in Iraq Monday and today using attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.”

What’s so funny here?  The fact that Central Command is trumpeting a mere 13 airstrikes, which only highlights how anemic this whole air campaign remains.

The full article, for which you may be required to register, is HERE.

Obama’s Southern Border Policy and the EV-D68 Virus

Suspicion has been growing that President Obama’s executive order from earlier this year, in which he granted permission for thousands of young hispanic immigrants to legally cross the southern border into the United States and then be bussed all around the country, is responsible for the national epidemic of the EV-D68 virus.  This is a serious concern, as the virus has already killed nine people in the U.S., paralyzed over GangstaGuvfour dozen others, and hospitalized hundreds more.  The epidemic, which began in August, is especially worrisome because there is no vaccine for EV-D68, an enterovirus which manifests itself in scores of slightly different strains.

Last week, Neil Munro put up a well-researched article on the Daily Caller website that explored several aspects of the issue, including the apprehension on the part of many researchers and other health care professionals that expressing too keen an interest in the origins of the outbreak could jeopardize their federal grant funding.

From the article:

The inflow of roughly 9,000 under-13 children from Central America were guided by smugglers or relatives to the Texas border, and then handed over to U.S. border agencies.  Obama’s agencies knowingly relayed most of these 9,000 “unaccompanied” kids to their parents or relatives living illegally in the United States.

<snip>

Roughly 14,855 people came over in 2013 in “family units,” and another 68,445 “family unit” people arrived in 2014, according to federal data.  That’s a total of 83,300 “family unit” people, with roughly 40.000 under-13 kids in two years.  Only a few hundred migrants were immediately sent home, even though the president has the authority to repatriate them.  Instead, Obama’s deputies released nearly all of the parents and kids to travel where they wished, pending their eventual appearance in court.

The full article, to which I have linked via the print page, HERE, is lengthy but worthwhile due to the scope of its content.

The Shifting North Carolina Electoral Demographics

For those who live in the Crystal Coast area, it is sometimes worth reminding ourselves that the dominant political attitudes here are not shared by all other areas of North Carolina, particularly the very blue center.  Nothing so far this election season has illustrated this better, at least to me, than the following graphic put up yesterday by Nate Cohn, a political reporter for the New York Times.  Cohn is getting the voting data each day from the NC Board of Elections, then using it to run some interesting comparisons.  The first notable factoid is that, through Thursday, the number of EARLY votes cast throughout North Carolina was almost equal to one-third of the TOTAL votes cast in the 2010 mid-term elections.

NYT_NC_EarlyVoting

Although I was born in Raleigh, I only lived there through age six or so before my father moved us elsewhere in search of work.  I moved back to Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park area as an adult in 1966 for the same reason.  I sold all my Wake County property in 2011, so I was a resident of the greater triangle area for about 45 years.  Over that period, I had the unpleasant experience of seeing it turn from red to purple to blue, as IBM and many other national companies established a presence there and began to transfer employees in from other states.  Over the three years that I worked as an accountant for IBM-RTP (beginning in 1966), I listened to uncounted stories from my Yankee co-workers, most of them transferred in from plants in Armonk, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, and Buffalo, NY, about how wonderful it was to now be living in a locale with such great weather, friendly people, low taxes, and reasonable home prices, and about how miserably repressive the tax and regulatory burdens had been in New York and the other states of the northeast from whence they came.

During most of these conversations, it always struck me as curious, as well as unfortunate, that these co-workers, who felt such relief at having escaped the burdensome tax and regulatory structures of the northeastern states, continued the political voting patterns that had eventually resulted in those very burdens.

The influx of notherners into the Triad continued long after I left IBM, of course, probably until the present day.  And in my view, a major factor in the bluing of North Carolina has been that very influx.

The full article, HERE, also contains related information for Colorado and Georgia.

Can’t We PLEASE Put These Folks In Prison?

Most readers will be at least somewhat familiar with the efforts of North Carolina’s Jay DeLancy and his Voter Integrity Project, but do you know that James O’Keefe, the video prankster who makes a specialty of exposing the fraudulent practices of the liberals behind such organizations as ACORN, also has a focus on voter fraud?

Yep. And, standing on the shoulders of DeLancy’s VIP, his Project Veritas Action group just finished an expose on voter fraud in western North Carolina. The seven-minute video is below, and it’s a dilly.

Those Rascally Russian Rapscallions

Via the Washington Post’s late edition yesterday, reporter Ellen Nakashima had up a short article on the Obama administration’s belated admission that the White House computer networks had been breeched by Russian hackers.  In explaining the severity of the breech, the Obama folks did what they do best; they lied through their teeth.  Here’s a key excerpt from the announcement by White House officials:

White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said that the intruders did not damage any of the systems and that, to date, there is no evidence the classified network was hacked.

“In the course of assessing recent threats, we identified activity of concern on the unclassified Executive Office of the President network,” said one White House official.  “We took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity. . . .  Unfortunately, some of that resulted in the disruption of regular services to users.  But people were on it and are dealing with it.”

Scott Johnson of Powerline reported this two weeks ago, and his sources say the problem is much worse than the President’s minions are admitting.  From Johnson’s latest post on this issue, HERE, he says this:

The computers in the Executive Office of the President have been down for two weeks because they were hacked by a foreign power–the Obama administration now says Russia–and administration technical personnel are having trouble bringing them back on line.  This is a huge story, obviously, and it is inconceivable that PowerLine knew about it, but no one in the vast Washington press corps got wind of the fact that computer systems belonging to the White House and dozens of important federal agencies (National Security Staff, to name just one) had been hacked and were out of commission.

The Powerline story also links to Johnson’s earlier posts on the breech.

Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” turns Fifty

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” speech, presented in 1964 in support of the presidential candidacy of Senator Barry Goldwater.  This was about two years after Reagan had switched his registration from Democrat to Republican, and about two years before he would run for the governorship of California.  The speech, about a half-hour long, is rousing, and I well remember seeing it for the first time on the college dormitory television soon after my 23rd birthday.  It propelled Reagan even further into the national conservative limelight, and today is ranked as one of the greatest speeches in American political history.

In recognition of the speech’s significance, I have created a new page (HERE) under the menu category “Education / Historic Events”, and on that page you will find the official video of the speech, as well as the text transcript of it.

Over the course of his career and his presidency, of course, Reagan gave many excellent speechs.  The “Boys Of Pointe Du Hoc” speech given at the commemoration of the D-Day 40th anniversary on June 6, 1984 is one, the speech at the Bradenburg Gate in 1987 in which he said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” is another.  But there are more, many more, and for those who wish to see a complete list, go HERE.

Quarter-Cent Sales Tax Option Referendum, Revisited

A majority of the attending members of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots, at their vote meeting of October 7th, decided that we should oppose the proposed quarter-cent sales tax option for Carteret County.  However, in the interim since then, at least one member of the Carteret County Commissioners has come before us to argue that we should reconsider.  The Commissioner was Co-Chairman Robin Comer, and his remarks are summarized in my earlier post about the meeting, HERE.

Even among a slate of all-Republican Commissioners, we don’t often see complete unity on an issue.  However, it appears that in this case, the other Commissioners are fully in accord with Co-Chairman Robin Comer’s views.  Therefore, I think we should lend an ear to their arguments, and consider them carefully.  Toward that end, the following points are added to the ones summarized in my previous post:

  • If the referendum passes and the quarter-cent sales tax is implemented, it is expected to generate $2.5-million annually.  If it does not pass and the Commissioners are forced to turn to a property tax increase instead, the property taxing rate would need to rise about 1.49-cents per $100 valuation in order to generate the same amount of revenue.
  • Since Carteret County’s economy is so dependent on tourism, and the attraction of our navigable waterways such an integral part of our appeal to tourists, the County estimates that over half (between 55% and 60%) of the revenue raised from the quarter-cent sales tax will be paid by visitors to the County rather than by County residents.  This helps to ensure that all the beneficiaries of waterway maintenance participate in its cost.
  • Like most of our readers, I am generally opposed to tax increases of any stripe.  However, to keep this in perspective, consider the following; were any individual to spend $10,000 within Carteret County in a given year on goods and/or services subject to the tax, his total expenditure from the quarter-cent option would be only $25.
  • To lessen the burden of the quarter-cent tax on our County residents even further, food, gasoline, prescription drugs, certain agricultural supplies, and motor vehicle purchases are exempted.
  • In answer to the question of what will be done with any quarter-cent tax revenue that exceeds the amount needed for waterway maintenance in any given year, Robin Comer and other Commissioners have stated that consideration would be given to using some of the funds for ditching projects within the County to address flooding problems.
  • The Commissioners intend to set up a Waterways Management Committee (WMC), with each of the seven members to be appointed by the Commissioner from their district.  In this way, the dredging agenda from all areas of the County will be given equal consideration when the WMC votes on waterway priorities.  This method will ensure that, for example, the Newport River will not be disenfranchised in favor of Taylor’s Creek or other waterways.
  • To address the concerns of those who fear that the revenue from the quarter-cent sales tax would soon get diverted to other uses, the Commissioners have pledged, in a formal resolution, HERE, to isolate the revenues and related expenses within the County budget in order to make them transparent to the public.  The key phrases (edited for brevity) from the resolution are:

Whereas, the Board of Commissioners intends to allocate … tax proceeds for waterway dredging and maintenance and intends to appoint a waterways management board to prioritize the need for these purposes and administer the funds to accomplish same; and

Whereas, to distinguish and separate the revenues produced by this … tax …, a Special Revenue Fund will be established to receive and account for the sales tax revenue.

Now, there be it resolved, that the Carteret County Board of Commissioners hereby states its intent to use the revenues from … the tax … for waterway dredging and maintenance within Carteret County with a schedule implementation date of April 1, 2015.

Within the last few days, I have personally spoken to four of the seven current Commissioners, as well as to Mike Mansfield, the candidate running for a seat on the Board from District 3.  All four Commissioners have assured me that the vote for the Resolution (see above) was unanimous, and that they, along with Mansfield, are fully committed to seeing that the revenue from the quarter-cent option, should the referendum pass, be dedicated now and for the foreseeable future to waterway maintenance and dredging.  Chairman Robinson, moreover, declared that, with the way the Commissioners and County fiscal staff intend to set up the Special Revenue Fund, any other use would be so conspicuous as to invite the immediate condemnation of the concerned citizenry, and any Commissioner voting to allow such a diversion would put his re-election in jeopardy.

Let us make no mistake.  For as far into the future as we care to contemplate, waterway dredging and maintenance will continue to be vital to the economy of Carteret County, so the money to continue doing it MUST come from somewhere.  Since the federal funding has virtually dried up for projects other than maintenance of the Beaufort Inlet channel, and the State funding is available only in the form of a 50/50 match, the Commissioners have only two viable alternatives for finding the bulk of the needed money; either it comes from sales taxes, or from property taxes.

Resource materials on this issue are now up on the County website’s Home Page.  To view the informational brochure directly, click HERE, and to read the FAQ, click HERE.

Five Key Implications if Baghdad Falls to ISIS

That’s the title of an article from earlier this month by Patrick Poole, PJ-Media’s national security and terrorism correspondent. Since it appears Saigon_Evacuationthat it may be only a matter of time before ISIS takes the city, in spite of the Obama administration’s air campaign, Poole’s points, HERE, are worth considering.

Let’s all hope that our Green Zone troops and other Americans in Baghdad don’t end up being evacuated like the Saigon evacuees, pictured at right.

SCOTUS and the Law of Unintended Consequences

Earlier this week I put up THIS post about how the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case which has the potential of resulting in the curtailing, or perhaps even the rescinding, of the Court’s previous invention of the “disparate impact” doctrine.  The doctine was initially established in a case known as Griggs versus Duke Power Company, from 1971.

A couple of months ago, in the September issue of The American Spectator, Washington Free Beacon reporter and American Spectator contributor Bill McMorris put up an excellent article about Griggs v. Duke Power, and how, over the course of the last 40+ years it has been subject to the law of unintended consequences.  McMorris article is entitled “How The Supreme Court Created The Student Loan Bubble”, and here’s a taste:

The saga began in 1969 when Willie Griggs, a black man born in the segregated South, decided he was overdue for a promotion.  In order to get one, per Duke Power Electric Company rules, he had to pass two aptitude tests and possess a high school diploma.  Griggs smelled racism.  The tests surveyed employees on basic math and intelligence questions.  None of Duke’s fourteen black workers passed.  Griggs and twelve others sued the company for discrimination.  A district court and federal appeals court accepted Duke’s claim that the tests were designed to ensure that the plant operated safely.  Duke bolstered its case by pointing out that it offered to pay for employees to obtain high school diplomas and that white applicants who failed to meet the requirements were also denied promotions.

The Supreme Court wasn’t buying it.  This was North Carolina after all.  <snip>  Griggs found that if blacks failed to meet a standard at a higher rate than whites the standard itself was racist—a legal doctrine known as disparate impact.

and

“Despite their imperfections, tests and criteria such as those at issue in Griggs (which are heavily…dependent on cognitive ability) remain the best predictors of performance for jobs at all levels of complexity,” University of Pennsylvania Professor Amy Wax has found.

<snip>

“Most legitimate job selection practices, including those that predict productivity better than alternatives, will routinely trigger liability under the current [Griggs] rule,” Wax wrote in a 2011 paper titled “Disparate Impact Realism.”

The solution for businesses post-Griggs was obvious: outsource screening to colleges, which are allowed to weed out poor candidates based on test scores.  The bachelor’s degree, previously reserved for academics, doctors, and lawyers, became the de facto credential required for any white-collar job.

We know what happened next.  The federal government’s provision of Pell Grants and low interest student loans resulted in an abundance of funding to pay for college tuition and study materials, which in turn allowed the higher education institutions to both raise tuition and create frivolous and/or easy majors (Women’s Studies, African Studies, Native American Studies, Underwater Basket Weaving) to entice even the lazy students into signing up.

McMorris’ article at The American Spectator is HERE, and the full article is well worth the time it takes to read it.

The current case to be taken up by SCOTUS is known as Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs versus The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.  It is a very important case because of the potential for the Court to back away from the “disparate impact” doctrine established by Griggs v. Duke Power.  For more on the current case, check out THIS article on the ThinkProgress website from earlier this month.

Good Attendance at Fundraiser for Senator Sanderson

A barbecue fundraiser to benefit Senator Norman Sanderson was held this afternoon at the home of Stacy residents Chris and Kathryn Chadwick.  The weather was perfect, the food was bountiful, and the crowd was sizeable.  Below are a few images of the event:

     

I have no idea how much money was raised, but I think it is safe to presume that a good time was had by all.  Good luck, Senator Sanderson!

Highlights of the CCTPP Meeting of Tuesday, 21-Oct-2014

At our regular meeting on Tuesday evening of this week, the usual business was enhanced by two informal discussions, headed up by Eric Broyles and by Carteret County Commissioner Robin Comer.

First up was Eric Broyles, Chairman of the Morehead-Beaufort Tea Party, who brought the gratifying news that the Morehead City Town Council had, at least for now, dropped the idea of adding more median strips to the Highway-70/Arendell Street corridor.  Although Eric had obtained hundreds of signatories to a petition against the median additions, the Town Council anticipated his presentation in opposition and moved expeditiously to kill the proposal.  However, since this idea seems to be part and parcel of the NC Department of Transportation’s “Super-70″ concept, we should not think that a stake has been driven through it’s heart.

Second up was Commissioner Robin Comer, who had come to suggest that the CCTPP, in voting to oppose the quarter-cent sales tax option on the ballot for Carteret County, had not given sufficient weight to the RobinComer1urgency of finding money to continue the vital dredging projects in the County.

Although those who do not own a boat may not give it much thought, he said, keeping our waterways dredged is an indispensible part of maintaining the Crystal Coast as a vacation spot for out-of-state visitors and for the in-state weekenders as well.  And, since Federal funds for dredging have virtually dried up, the Commissioners had viewed the anticipated $2.5-million from the sales tax as a source for that purpose.

Although NC law would not permit the revenue to be formally dedicated to dredging, the Commissioners would have the revenue set up on the county’s books as a special “appropriated use account”, meaning that related revenues and expenditures from it would be readily identifiable to the public.  In this way, citizens could easily tell if the quarter-cent sales tax revenue was being diverted to other purposes.  He could not, of course, guarantee that a future Commission would not see things differently, but he believes that the current Commission is unified in favoring this plan, and would honor the commitment for so long as they held office.  It would be up to us and other conservatives in the County to continue electing conservative commissioners, people who would also honor the original commitment.

Although not all own boats, most of our members are long-time residents and property owners in the County, and understand well the importance of maintaining our waterways.  Running a boat aground can be an expensive proposition, and a visitor doesn’t have to do so but once in a supposedly navigable waterway to dampen his or her enthusiasm for returning to the same locale.  Indisputable, the economy of Carteret County is dependent on tourism, and the appeal of our waterways to fishermen and recreational boaters undergirds that tourism.

Several of the attending members were of the opinion that, had the NC General Assembly written the law in such a way as to permit the revenue from the quarter-cent sales tax option to be formally dedicated to a specific purpose, such as dredging, then our vote might have been to endorse rather than to oppose passage of the referendum.  However, according to Senator Sanderson (also present) a change in the law to that effect does not seem to be in the cards in the short term.  Therefore, Commissioner Comer is right in pointing out that we must get the revenue to dredge from somewhere, and if the ballot referendum for the quarter-cent sales tax option does not pass, the Commissioners will be forced to look at increasing the property tax.

UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Holt: Where is your apology to Mary Willingham?

Earlier today, he special report prepared by independent investigator Kenneth Wainstein on UNC-CH “no-show” classes for athletes was released.  The report is damning, and in response to questions about its content from reporters, UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Folt moved quickly to say that heads would roll, and she apologized to the student athletes for “prejudging their capabilities”.

But not a word about Mary Willingham.

As regular readers will know from my three previous posts this year on this subject, Mary Willingham was an academic advisor to the UNC-CH athletic department, and she was the first to call attention to the fact that many of the school’s athletes were essentially illiterate, either at the point they dropped out, or at graduation in those rare instances in which they actually gained a diploma.  For her efforts, the University effectively sacked her.

In the first (HERE) of my three earlier posts, I merely noted Willingham’s assertions as reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  In the second, HERE, I wrote at some length about the problem and presented an example of an essay written by one UNC-CH athlete to satisfy an assignment in a African-American Studies class.  In the third, HERE, I wrote about the extensive efforts on the part of UNC-CH Chancellor Folt and the University to discredit Willingham and her claims, aided and abetted by CNN, among others in the mainstream media.  In light of the revelations contained in the Wainstein report, this paragraph from an article written by CNN reporter Sara Ganim in mid-April of this year seems astonishing:

Without actually naming her, UNC released a summary report that implied she incorrectly deduced that 60% of the sample were reading below a high school level, and that 8% were reading below a fourth-grade level.  “Outside experts found no evidence to support public claims about widespread low literacy levels,” UNC said in a statement.

Although early accounts focused on Julius Nyang’oro, the former professor and chairman of the African Studies department at UNC-CH, the Wainstein report now puts Debby Crowder in the line-up.  Crowder was second in command to Nyang’oro within the Department.  Conveniently, both Nyang’oro and Crowder are retired.

The full article at the Charlotte Observer is HERE, and it is well worth reading.  To read the full Wainstein report (in PDF form), click HERE.

And another thing.  The article from the Charlotte Observer mentions one Alphonse Mutima, and identifies him as a Swahili professor.  I ask you, dear reader, WHAT THE HELL does UNC need with a SWAHILI PROFESSOR?  Jeez, Louise!