Once A Community Organizer, Always A Community Organizer

President Obama has reentered the political scene. He is in the process of buying a beautiful waterfront home on Martha’s Vineyard. He is also involved in an organization called “Redistricting U.” The organization’s website is Allontheline.org.

Here is some information from the website:

  • “I’ve always believed that training is at the heart of organizing. It’s why I made it a priority in my 2008 campaign and throughout our larger movement for change in the years since. … The movement for fair maps will determine the course of progress on every issue we care about for the next decade. And we can’t wait to begin organizing when the redistricting process starts in 2021. We need to build this movement from the ground up – right now.” — President Obama
  • As a campaign of the National Redistricting Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization, All on the Line’s primary purpose is the advocacy and the promotion of social welfare. However, in limited instances, and only when consistent with our values and mission, All On The Line may engage in grassroots electoral work.
  • All On The Line is a campaign of the National Redistricting Action Fund (NRAF), an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), which is chaired by Eric H. Holder, Jr., the 82nd Attorney General of the United States.
  • The All On The Line campaign began, in part, when NRAF combined forces with Organizing for Action, an organization founded by Obama aides that grew out of President Obama’s campaign infrastructure. The power of ordinary people coming together to enact change is central to the beliefs of President Obama and Eric Holder, and they are both active in this effort and supportive of this campaign.

The states targeted by this organization for redistrict6ing are Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. It is interesting that all but one of these states voted for President Trump in 2016. President Trump lost in Colorado by less than 5 percent.

So what is this really about? President Obama is watching his legacy being destroyed as President Trump is rebuilding the American economy. President Trump is on track to be reelected despite the efforts of the mainstream media and the hysterics of the Democrat presidential candidates. Redistricting reform is the name President Obama is giving to his efforts to make sure President Trump is not reelected.

 

Almost A Year Later

On September 14,  2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. It crawled across North Carolina very slowly. A friend described it as being stalked by a turtle. New Bern was particularly hard hit. New Bern is located where the Neuse River and the Trent River come together. East winds pushed water inland up the Neuse and into the Trent River. The water had nowhere to go, and downtown New Bern was under water. Restaurants and businesses were flooded. People lost homes and cars. The Cajun Navy spent the night evacuating people in low-lying areas that had not evacuated. It was a long and scary night. Thank God for the courage of the Cajun Navy.

It’s been almost a year. Some of the businesses have come back. Some haven’t. The Convention Center is still closed and is expected to reopen in October. I read one report that said that they found alligator tracks inside the Convention Center. That would not be surprising. Not all of the downtown hotels are open yet.

But the city is coming back. We will recover. Below is a picture that illustrates that fact:

The bear speaks to New Bern’s strength & recovery from hurricane #florence & features several honors to first responders on the back. #downtown #historic #newbernnc #bearcountry Congrats CresCom!

The ‘bears’ are a part of the landscape in New Bern. There are hundreds of large bears painted to represent various aspects of life there. The above bear took a short trip during the hurricane!

It is good to see New Bern recovering. We are not fully recovered–there are still houses that have not been repaired, roofs that have not been repaired, and other needs, but we are definitely moving in the right direction. The new bear represents that fact!

So Remind Me Why I Voted

We live in a representative republic. We elect people to represent us. Occasionally we actually vote on issues via referendums, ballot initiatives, etc. Those votes directly reflect the will of the voters.

In 2018, the General Assembly passed a law putting an item on the ballot that required voters to show identification in order to vote. Governor Cooper vetoed the legislation; the Senate overrode the veto. The measure was also challenged in court, but that challenge seems to have gone nowhere.

The voters of North Carolina approved voter id by more than 50 percent. The Governor has called the law racist and unnecessary. If everyone is required to show identification, how is that racist? The law is necessary because we have a number of voters on our voter rolls that are over 110 years of age. I doubt that all of those people are still alive. There are also situations where fifty or more people are listed as having the same address–an address that does not have an inhabitable building. There have also been situations where people who voted were asked to serve on a jury and told the court they couldn’t because they were not American citizens. Wow.

Yes, voter id is necessary. Yes, the voters of North Carolina voted for it. Yes, Governor Cooper, you should be representing the will of the voters.

Maybe The Race Wasn’t About Gender

On Wednesday, The Hill posted an article with the following headline, “Heavy loss by female candidate in Republican NC runoff sparks shock.” Wow. This is totally biased reporting. I live in North Carolina’s Third Congressional District. I voted in the election The Hill is talking about. It wasn’t about gender.

The article notes:

Murphy had earned the endorsement of a slew of high-profile Republicans, including Freedom Caucus founders Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), after the legislator pledged to join the group if elected.

The House Freedom Action Fund, which is affiliated with the Freedom Caucus, spent $236,000 to defeat Perry in the contest. 

Former New York City Mayor and Trump confidant Rudy Giuliani also threw his weight behind Murphy in the final days of the race, recording robocalls on behalf of the candidate. 

However, Perry was not without funds or endorsements. She ended up raising $373,851 for the primary and the runoff, below the $543,991 raised by Murphy.

But she had the backing of various Republican female PACs, including the Winning For Women Action Fund, which dropped more than $680,000 supporting Perry and opposing Murphy in the runoff.

So if you add up those numbers, Murphy had $779,001, and Perry had $1,053,851. That may explain why I received a mailing (sometimes two) from Joan Perry every day. It was annoying. I voted for Greg Murphy. The fact that Joan Perry is a woman was not a consideration for me. She is very smart and very well spoken. I have heard her speak and was impressed with her as a person. However, she is a doctor. She is not a business woman, and she is not a politician. She would have been a total novice in Washington. The determining factor for me was the fact that Greg Murphy aligned himself with the Freedom Caucus. She did not have the experience to do that–he did.

Identity politics does not work. It’s wrong. People are getting wise to it. I want experience, ideas, and some hope of being honestly represented.

Trying To Get It Right

Dale Folwell is the State Treasurer of North Carolina. He was responsible for getting the state out of debt to the federal government unemployment benefits program (over the objections of many Democrats) and is now working to bring transparency to health benefits for state workers (again over the objections of Democrats and some Republicans).

The Carolina Journal reported on June 17th that Mr. Folwell is actually  making some progress.

The article reports:

With a deadline just 13 days away, Community Care Physician Network, North Carolina’s largest network of independent physician clinics, announced Monday, June 17, it signed on to the State Health Plan’s cost-cutting Clear Pricing Project.

Community Care Physician Network is associated with 2,500 primary care clinicians, pediatricians, family medicine physicians, obstetricians/gynecologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. The group has more than 880 practices statewide. The network treats more than 2.5 million North Carolinians, including 700,000 Medicaid beneficiaries.

“Their physicians are leaders in our state in developing the highly regarded medical home model. They’re known nationwide for high quality care, patient satisfaction and by using their innovative, collaborative approach to drive down costs,” Folwell said in a news release announcing the move.

Folwell says health care costs must be reduced immediately. The State Health Plan is only 3% funded, has $35 billion in unfunded liabilities, and will become insolvent in 2023. The Treasurer’s Office projects taxpayers could save $258 million and plan members $57 million annually under the Clear Pricing Project. The changes take place in 2020. Providers have until June 30 to join the project.

“It made good sense to us,” Conrad Flick, Community Care Physician Network co-president, said of linking with the reconstructed plan. “We’re dedicated to our communities and our patients, and focused on providing them with better and more cost-effective health care.”

The article concludes:

The N.C. Healthcare Association, the lobbying arm of hospitals and large health systems, continues to oppose Folwell’s plan. The group pushed for passage of House Bill 184 to halt the reforms and launch a two-year study instead. The House passed the measure, but it has gotten no traction in the Senate.

Hospitals say the cost-cutting features of Folwell’s plan jeopardize the survival of rural hospitals. Folwell said most rural hospitals will be better off financially under the plan, and nine of 10 primary care physicians will get more money.

Montana is among a handful of states that use the reference-based pricing model for their state health plans. Officials there told Carolina Journalthe results are positive.

Dale Folwell is attempting to bring the same sort of fiscal sanity to healthcare in North Carolina that he brought to unemployment benefits. Let’s hope that he is successful.

If You Voted For A Democrat In North Carolina, This Is What You Got

Yesterday The Daily Haymaker posted an article about the vote in the General Assembly that failed to overturn Governor Cooper’s veto of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

This is the essence of the bill:

If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of North Carolina and entitled to all the protections of such laws. Any infant born alive after an abortion or within a hospital, clinic, or other facility has the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for any newborn, or for any person who comes to a hospital, clinic, or other facility for screening and treatment or otherwise becomes a patient within its care.

By not overriding the Governor’s veto, the law has now declared that a living, breathing baby is not a legal person and is not entitled to the rights of a legal person. That is truly a dangerous place to be. You can make the argument that a baby in the womb is not a person (although scientifically that argument does not stand up), but how can you declare a living, breathing human being not a person? In the future are there going to be other living, breathing people who the legislation will declare do not have the rights of a legal person? This isn’t about abortion–this is about providing care for a living human being.

The article notes:

They’ll call you a bigot if you don’t want guys dressed like girls in the restroom or locker room with your wives or daughters. They’re also for stronger protections for barnyard animals than for newborn humans. Meet Wayne Goodwin’s Democrat Party, 2019 edition.

Common sense is obviously not a functioning part of the North Carolina Democrat party.

Good Deeds Rarely Go Unpunished

In late February, H.R. 184 was introduced into the North Carolina House of Representatives. In early April, H.R. 184 made it to the North Carolina Senate where it was referred to the Committee On Rules and Operations of the Senate. There it sits. It’s a bad bill, catering to special interests, and need to die there.

So exactly what is H.R. 184? On April 4, 2019, Raynor James wrote an article describing the debate in the North Carolina House of Representatives over H.R. 184. In her article Raynor explained that H.R. 184 would tie the hands of State Treasurer Dale Folwell in dealing with the rapidly growing problems with the State Health Plan.

An article in The Daily Haymaker on March 26 explains some of what is going on:

Former state representative Dale Folwell (R) worked wonders in cleaning up the highly FUBAR-ed unemployment insurance system. You would think it would be a no-brainer to put him on fixing that money-bleeding nightmare known as the state health plan. (The plan made it to its current sorry state in no small part to the micro-managing mischief by legislators in both parties who saw it as their own personal piggy-bank and slush fund.)

So, along comes Dale Folwell trying to do exactly what the legislature empowered the state treasurer’s office to do years ago:  competently manage the state health plan.  Folwell decided taxpayers needed to understand exactly what  health care providers were billing the health plan FOR.

This did not sit well with the folks at the hospitals and clinics sending in those fat, vague, non-specific bills.  Armies of lobbyists were dispatched to spend dark money on ads smearing Folwell and his pricing transparency plan.  A lot of politician pockets were lined.  A bill got drafted (with a lot of lobbyist, um. “help”)  that tied Folwell’s hands on exactly what he could to in regard to the state health plan.

The bill, H184, got its first hearing in the House Health Committee today.  Conveniently, there was NO roll call vote on this expensive legislation — with a total cost over 3 years of $400 to 600 MILLION. 

The bill did get amended.  The time frame for the “study” on  changing the health plan was shortened. The state employees — who stand to be affected the most by this bill — got their representation on the “study committee” expanded from ONE to TWO.  (Isn’t that nice?)    And the whole package is still going to cost the taxpayers an additional $241 MILLION.

The article then explains the problem:

There was no real good reason to do this. It went against one of the alleged core principles of the majority party. The prime beneficiaries of the state health plan — the state employees — appear to be solidly behind what Folwell is doing. Taxpayers — seeking to avoid a $400-600 MILLION hit from doing NOTHING and “studying” the idea of reform — appear to be all for it.

But the deep-pocketed lobbyists who are so kind and compassionate to campaign accounts all over Jones Street were not happy and HAD to be mollified.

Some Republicans are fighting back. There was a Resolution at the North Carolina Third District Republican Convention today that backed Dale Folwell and his efforts to clean up the State Health Plan. The Resolution passed easily.

The Resolution included the following:

In 2008, expenses for the North Carolina State Health Plan were roughly $2.2 billion; today they are roughly $3.4 billion. Medical and pharmaceutical costs are increasing five to nine percent annually and current spending projections estimate that the plan will be insolvent by 2023 unless action is taken. The campaign to fix the state healthcare plan is opposed mainly by special interests–hospitals and those who profit by the inefficiency and inflated costs of medical care under the current system.

I was told that the bill would probably die in committee. I hope that happens. However, the fact that saving taxpayer money was opposed by special interest groups should not come as a shock to any of us. That fact underlines the need for citizens to stay aware of what our legislature is doing. North Carolina is in a strong position economically–it is a place where businesses relocate. If our State Health Plan is not brought under control, our taxes will increases to cover the cost of the program and we will be much less attractive to businesses looking for a place to be.

Bad Day at Black Rock

Below is a guest post by Raynor James, an eastern North Carolina resident who has followed the debate on North Carolina House Bill 184 very closely:

Tuesday, April 3rd was a sad day in the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Let me tell you about it. Dale Folwell is North Carolina’s Treasurer. He’s a very popular fellow for all the right reasons. He did a good job when he served in the North Carolina General Assembly. He got North Carolina’s unemployment insurance out of debt to the Federal Government when he served in Governor McCrory’s administration, an accomplishment that continues to save North Carolina’s employers significant sums annually. He’s known as a problem solver.

North Carolina’s State Health Plan (which pays for medical expenses of current and retired state employees) is seriously underfunded and is projected to be bankrupt by the year 2023.When Dale Folwell was elected Treasurer, many who voted for him expected him to solve the Plan’s problems as its administration was in the Treasurer’s portfolio.

Enter HB-184 which if implemented will tie the Treasurer’s hands and not allow corrective action to be taken while a committee studies the situation.

HB-184 was debated on the floor of the House April 3rd. Let’s look in on how some conservative House members tried to kill the bill.

First, Representative Michael Speciale offered two amendments to the bill. Representative Speciale’s first amendment would give the Treasurer a vote on the study committee and would make it impossible to expand the size of the committee (something that is sometimes done when the “powers that be”don’t like the direction a committee seems to be taking).

That amendment passed by a vote of 106 to 5.

Representative Speciale’s second amendment would remove Section 2 from the bill. Section 2 requires that Blue Cross-Blue Shield continue to be used during the study period.

It also prevents the Treasurer from switching the Plan to using referenced based pricing for medical services to the Plan during the study period.That amendment failed by a vote of 88 to 23.

During debate on HB-184 itself, Representative Larry Pittman cited a memo from the Plan’s Board of Trustees that projects that the plan will be out of money in 2023, and said that we can’t wait on a two year study. He talked about how hospital groups were groaning about how burdensome the Treasurer’s planed payment changes would be on them [tie pricing of medical services to 172% of the average Medicare pays for the same service], and pointed out how well funded many hospitals are. In support of his assertion, Representative Pittman mentioned that the hospital at East Carolina has given $10 million dollars to fund a stadium.

Representative Pittman asked that members not pass the bill and added that when Treasurer Folwell had requested info from the hospital groups, they had sent him the schedules he asked for with page after page blacked out. “They might as well have slapped him in the face and spit on him,” Representative Pittman said.

He continued by saying passage of the bill would hurt both members of the Plan and taxpayers who pay the freight and pointed out that members of the Plan are also taxpayers, so they get hit two ways.

He stated that Dale Folwell is “competent” and “honest” and renewed his request by saying, “Defeat this bill.” Representative Michael Speciale said, “We’re told that if we don’t pass this bill, the sky will fall; we’ll lose our rural hospitals.” He went on to say that they’d heard the same thing when he was trying to get rid of the CON [Certificate of Need] laws [which did not pass] and shortly thereafter they closed one of the hospitals in my district.”

“I hear fake news ads” [on the topic of rural hospitals closing if HB-184 doesn’t pass] when I drive in my district.”

Representative Speciale went on to say that Dale Folwell got the people together who are opposing him [mainly large hospital groups] and asked how much waste, fraud, and abuse there is in the system. The answers they give him ran from 12% to 25%, so he took a middle number and asked them to figure out how they could reduce costs by 15% and said that they needed to get together again as soon as that was done.

After that meeting, Treasurer Folwell tried to set follow up meetings, and time after time he was stonewalled.

Representative Speciale continued, “Now we’re faced with $33 to $36 billion dollars in unfunded liabilities. If we don’t allow him to cut costs, how are we going to cut costs because it’ll be on us!”

“Dale Folwell has increased what would be going into rural hospitals. He’s compromised, but they won’t budge an inch.If we do not pass this bill, then the hospital lobby will sit down and talk to him. Let the state Treasurer do what he was elected to do. Throw the politics aside and vote NO!

Representative Keith Kidwell said, “For the last 10 years, health care costs have gone up and up. We asked Treasurer Folwell to handle it. Let’s not bobble him,or we’ll be faced with taking $235 million to $509 million [dollars] from the general fund to deal with the problem AND $1.1 billion will be added to the unfunded liability.”

“HB-184 will cost us a ton of money!” “Cut through partisanship and look at the numbers! We HAVE to block this bill!’

In spite of those eloquent pleas and others, too, HB-184 passed 75 to 36, and it will now be sent to the North Carolina Senate where it is hoped that wiser voices will prevail.

If you’d like to hear the whole debate, you can go to the NC General Assembly website at which NC House sessions are archived.

Thank you, Raynor. This is a picture of what is going on in the North Carolina state legislature. President Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex. What we see here is the result of intense lobbying by the healthcare-industrial complex. We need to stop this bill.

This Would Be Beneficial On A Number Of Levels

CBN News posted an article today about an innovative energy source that would be beneficial for both energy production and for the environment. The article hits close to home because it involves an issue North Carolina has been discussing for a number of years.

First of all, I need to say that I know very little about hog farming and hog waste. However, it does make sense that some of the by-products of hog farming might create an environmental problem. However, there seems to be an answer that will be profitable for everyone.

The article reports:

In fact, to Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy, converting hog manure to natural gas for powering homes and businesses has a sweet smell of success.

“We think it’s a lot simpler, and we think it will change the face of how manure is handled and turned into energy going forward,” Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables, told CBN News.

…So how does it work – turning this waste into energy? Often called biomethane, renewable natural gas is pipeline-quality gas that comes from organic matter like hog waste.

CBN News went to North Carolina to tour Circle K II Farms, a Smithfield pilot project.

“Manure actually is a positive thing,” said Westerbeek. “It creates value, and it helps fertilize crops; it helps produce energy. It’s not a bad thing. We view manure as an opportunity.”

Kraig Westerbeek explains how the process moves from the hog buildings to a huge covered lagoon called a “digester.”

“The product, natural gas, is actually a product of digestion of the solids by bacteria, so for that reason, it’s called digestion,” he said.

…The manure is funneled under the large plastic cover of the lagoon, and it’s mixed over and over. Bacteria break it down, producing what’s called biogas, which causes the cover to bubble up. That gas is 65 percent natural gas.

The biogas produced at farms then moves through gathering pipes to a gas-upgrading unit. That’s when Dominion Energy steps in.

“Where we come in – you see this plant back here – we’re gonna lend our engineering expertise to create a process that’s as efficient as possible in creating clean, renewable natural gas that customers can use,” Childress said.

At the gas upgrading system, the natural gas from the farm is refined. When it leaves there, it is 99.1 percent natural gas. It then enters a pipeline and is funneled to homes and businesses.

The article concludes:

This project involves partnering with local farmers like Dean Hilton, who’s been raising hogs for nearly 15 years. He calls it the “wave of the future.”

“After meeting with Kraig on the trial site, we realized that there’s a lot of opportunity in the fact that we can actually reduce our manure in our current lagoons, as well as turning the solids, the new solids into renewable energy,” Hilton said.

Westerbeek admits turning manure into renewable natural gas is “fairly expensive”.

“You have an investment in a digester like you see in the background, and then the gathering pipelines to gather the gas from different farms and bring it to a central location,” he explained.

“And then one of the more expensive parts of this is actually cleaning the gas from its form as biogas from this digester into pipeline-quality natural gas,” Westerbeek continued.

Both he and Childress along with their bosses believe it’s a worthy investment leading to clean energy, plus economic benefits for their companies, rural America and the general public.

This seems like a win-win situation. Now if we can just do the same thing with cows…

The Case For Voter ID

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday with the following headline, “Study: Voter ID Laws Don’t Stop People Voting.”

The article reports:

Strict voter ID laws do not suppress turnout, a new paper finds, regardless of sex, race, Hispanic identity, or party affiliation.

Requiring photo ID to vote is a hotly contested subject in American political discourse. Proponents argue that it is necessary to insure against fraud and preserve the integrity of the American electoral system. Opponents argue that it will disenfranchise otherwise eligible voters—many of whom would be poor and of color—who are unable to easily obtain ID.

In total, 10 states, ranging from Georgia to Wisconsin, require voters to show ID in order to vote. Seven of those states require a photo ID, and three do not. An additional 25 states “request” that voters display ID, but may still permit them to vote on a provision ballot if they cannot. The remaining states “use other methods to verify the identity of voters,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The new research, from an economics professor at the University of Bologna and another at Harvard Business School, indicates that “strict” voting laws of the type implemented in those ten states do not have a statistically significant effect on voter turnout.

A few years ago, North Carolina tested a voter ID system during a primary election. Turnout was higher than in previous primary elections. The voter ID requirement did not suppress the vote. The system allowed the poll workers to scan the voter’s driver’s license in order to print the correct ballot. Implementing that system allowed the lines to move quickly and resulted in more efficient voting for everyone. The idea that voter ID limits voters is a myth. You need an ID to do a lot of everyday things, so most people have an acceptable form of ID.

The article concludes:

At the same time, the study’s authors use the same data to examine the actual effect of strict voter ID laws on voter fraud itself, and similarly find no statistically significant effect. Using two datasets of voter fraud cases (which represent a cumulative 2,000 proven or hypothesized events over eight years), the study examines the relationship between laws and frequency of measured voter fraud, finding no evidence of a change after implementation.

This finding is naturally limited by the extremely small number of voter fraud cases actually identified: fewer than one per million people per year. It is possible that voter ID laws would be more effective suppressing fraud in a context where it was more evidently prevalent; as is, the authors estimate that the laws themselves only cover about 0.3 to 0.1 offenses per million people per year.

In total, then, the paper suggests that voter ID laws are not suppressive, but also that they do not have much of an impact on elections overall.

“Our results suggest that efforts both to safeguard electoral integrity and enfranchise more voters may be better served through other reforms,” it concludes.

Voter ID will not end voter fraud. It will, however, make it more difficult.

This Really Shouldn’t Be A Surprise

A few years ago, I moved from Massachusetts to North Carolina. There was some culture shock. One part of that shock was the gun culture of some of the South. I grew up in a house where no one hunted, so the whole gun thing was very foreign to me. One of the first things I did was to take a gun safety course to education myself. I learned a lot and began to understand why the Second Amendment is so important to our freedom. Unfortunately the leaders in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have not yet gotten that message.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted the following headline, “Boston Mayor’s Office to Force Doctors to Identify and Document Patients Who Own Guns.” Wow. What is the Mayor’s office doing collecting information from doctors?

The article reports:

Here are three of the top goals for health care legislation outlined by his office:

Involving doctors in gun safety: This act would require medical professionals to ask patients about guns in the home, and bring up the topics of gun safety. The goal, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said, is to identify those at risk for domestic violence, suicide or child access to guns in order to guide people to mental health counseling, resources or other help. “We’re just asking them to help identify ways to save lives,” Gross said.

The fact that a patient owns guns would not be put in their medical record, and is not intended to have physicians help solve crimes.

Chief of Health and Human Services Marty Martinez said that while the program is already common practice at many of the city’s community health centers, legislation would broaden the program statewide.

Does anyone actually believe that gun ownership would not be made part of a patient’s medical record? If the measure is supposed to save lives, what action are the doctors supposed to take after they have determined that a person has guns in the house?

I may be paranoid, but this seems like a back door approach to finding out who has guns so that the guns might be taken away later.

Some Overlooked History

Yesterday The American Patriot’s Daily Almanac posted the following:

On October 25, 1774, one of the first organized political actions by American women occurred in the town of Edenton, North Carolina, when fifty-one ladies gathered at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth King and signed a proclamation protesting the British tax on tea. Led by Penelope Barker, the patriots vowed to support resolves by the Provincial Deputies of North Carolina to boycott “the pernicious custom of drinking tea” and avoid British-made cloth until the tax was repealed.

The ladies of Edenton signed a resolution declaring that “we cannot be indifferent on any occasion that appears nearly to affect the peace and happiness of our country.” The boycott was, they declared, “a duty that we owe, not only to our near and dear connections . . . but to ourselves.”

It was a bold move in a time when it was considered unladylike for women to get involved in political matters. Unlike the participants of the famous Boston Tea Party, the Edenton women did not disguise themselves in costumes, but openly signed their names to their declaration “as a witness of our fixed intention and solemn determination.”

At first the British sneered at the Edenton Tea Party. One Englishman wrote sarcastically, “The only security on our side . . . is the probability that there are but few places in America which possess so much female artillery as Edenton.” They soon discovered otherwise.

Sometimes freedom has unique beginnings! Obviously the British did not understand that there was a revolution coming.

Hurricane Florence

I would like to say a few words about Hurricane Florence and its aftermath. I live in New Bern, North Carolina, one of the areas hit hard by the hurricane. Thankfully the damage to my house was limited to a tree coming down in the driveway and an amazing amount of tree parts that were brought out to the curb. However, not everyone was so fortunate.

During the storm, the Cajun Navy helped rescue people who were stranded by the flood. Other groups also assisted in that effort. Since the storm, we have seen volunteers come in from all parts of the country to help restore power, to help feed people who lost their homes, to help people more large trees that fell, to help remove wallboard and items from flooded homes, and to collect clothing and school supplies for those in need. Neighbors and friends are helping each other in the recovery. There have been free meals for those in need provided by churches and outside groups. Some of the groups involved in helping people impacted by the hurricane are Operation Blessing, Samaritan’s Purse, and Team Rubicon.There are others, but those are the ones I am familiar with. The local churches are playing a major role in the recovery–Temple Baptist Church has provided meals; Without Limits Christian Center has acted as a home base for Operation Blessing. Churches in nearby towns also impacted by the hurricane have also provided food and clothing for those who need it.

The students in Craven County will be out of school tentatively until October 8. The early college students went back to school on October 1. There are still many displaced students and teachers, and I am sure this will be a challenging year for all of us.

This has not been an easy time for coastal North Carolina, but it has been a time of neighbors helping each other and sharing resources. It will be a long process to get back to normal, but we are definitely moving in the right direction. The New Bern Mum Fest will go on as scheduled on October 12 – 14th. Our city is open for business. We have a long way to go, but we will get there through working together and helping each other.

The Economy Under President Trump

Breitbart is reporting today that the Labor Department has stated that initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 207,000 for the week ending September 29th.

The article reports on the impact of Hurricane Florence:

Hurricane Florence, which hit North Carolina and South Carolina last month, affected claims, according to the Labor Department. The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending September 22 was in North Carolina. Claims in South Caroline rose by 2,830, the third largest rise behind Kentucky.

The article concludes:

Jobless claims, which are a proxy for layoffs, have been closely watched for signs that trade disputes would be a drag on the labor market. Earlier this year, economists predicted that the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration would cost 400,000 jobs. That prediction now looks way too pessimistic.

The jobless claims data has no impact on the monthly employment report, which is scheduled for release on Friday. Bloomberg’s survey of economists sees nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 18o,000 in September after rising 201,000 in August. The unemployment rate is expected to fall one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8 percent, an 18-year low first hit in May.

President Trump may not be the perfect role model for your son, but it is obvious that he is a very savvy businessman who is working for the benefit of all Americans. I hope all Americans will vote next month to elect people who will support his policies. His economic policies are obviously working.

Making The Election Process More Confusing Than It Already Is

On August 31, The Washington Post posted an article about redistricting in the State of North Carolina. Before I go into detail, here is a picture of what is being discussed:

I don’t know about you, but the bottom map looks much more logical than the top map.

This is what true gerrymandering looks like:

I am sure I could have found many other examples, but this is one I know. Note the lavender that meanders from the Rhode Island border up to near Boston. I suppose it is simply an incredible coincidence that the lower part of that lavender is less populated than the area approaching Boston. Also, much of the lower part of that lavender tends to be Republican. What better way to dilute those votes than combine them with the more densely populated Democrat areas approaching Boston. Massachusetts is a one-party state, and its Congressional districts have never been challenged in court. Hmmm.

At any rate, the courts threw a monkey wrench into North Carolina’s November election. It is too late to change the districts, undo the primary elections, and print the ballots. It appears that saner heads have prevailed and the districts will remain in place at least until November.

The article reports:

The plaintiffs who persuaded federal judges to declare unconstitutional North Carolina’s Republican-drawn congressional maps have “reluctantly concluded” that there is not enough time to draw new maps in time for the November elections.

A three-judge panel ruled this week that the maps were an “invidious” plan to favor Republicans over Democrats and had resulted in the GOP capturing 10 of the state’s 13 congressional districts in 2016, even though its share of the statewide vote was just over 53 percent.

There is a reason we live in a representative republic and not a democracy. I think the redrawn districts appear to be much more logical than the previous districts.

Proof That Economic Policies Matter

The Cato Institute posts a report on freedom in each of the fifty states. The link posted here will send you to the North Carolina report, but you can get to information on any state from that link. I am focusing on North Carolina because it so beautifully illustrates the idea that economic policies matter.

This is the write up on North Carolina:

North Carolina is a rapidly growing southern state with a reasonably good economic freedom profile and an even better record on personal freedom, especially when compared with its neighbors.

North Carolina gradually improved its fiscal policies from 2011 to 2016. State taxes fell from 6.2 percent of adjusted personal income to a projected 5.7 percent, right around the national average. Local taxes have held steady over that period at 3.3 percent of income, seven-tenths of a percentage point below the national average. Debt and government consumption and employment fell, but so did financial assets.

Despite large inmigration, North Carolina has disdained excessive controls on the housing supply. Eminent domain was never effectively reformed. Labor law is good, with no minimum wage, a right-to-work law, and relatively relaxed workers’ compensation rules, but an E-Verify mandate was enacted in 2011. Regulation has killed off the managed care model for non-large-group health insurance. Cable and telecommunications have been liberalized. Occupational freedom is a weak spot, especially for the health professions. A sunrise review requirement for occupational licensing proposals was scrapped in 2011. North Carolina is one of the worst states for insurance freedom. It has a large residual market for personal automobile and homeowner’s insurance because of strict price controls and rate classification prohibitions. It also has a price-gouging law and a minimum-markup law for gasoline. Entry is restricted for medical facilities and moving companies. North Carolina’s civil liability system has improved over time and is now about average.

North Carolina has one of the best criminal justice regimes in the South. Incarceration and victimless crime arrest rates are all below average. There is no state-level civil asset forfeiture, but local law enforcement frequently does an end-run around the law through the Department of Justice’s equitable sharing program. Gun rights are more restricted than in many other southern states, with carry licenses somewhat costly to obtain and hedged with limitations. Plus, buying a pistol requires a permit, there is local dealer licensing, background checks are required for private sales, and most Class III weapons are difficult to obtain (sound suppressors were legalized in 2014). Alcohol freedom is mediocre because of state liquor stores and somewhat high markups and taxes. Marijuana has not been liberalized apart from a 1970s-era decriminalization law. Gambling freedom is quite low. School choice was introduced in 2014, but only for students with disabilities. Tobacco freedom is about average because of reasonable taxes and workplace freedom (but not freedom in bars or restaurants).

The information also includes:

Note that the article says that North Carolina gradually improved its fiscal policies between 2011 and 2016. So what happened in 2011–the Republican party took over the legislature after 140 years of North Carolina being a one-party state (Democrat). The Republicans in the legislature have continued to cut taxes and cut spending. Those economic policies have brought people to the state and improved the economic position of the state. Economic policies matter.

Avoiding Shenanigans During An Election

I apologize in advance for the long length of this article, but I want to illustrate how events can be twisted for political purposes. North Carolina is currently a state with a Republican legislature and a Democrat governor. Needless to say, Democrats want to bring us back to 2012 when we were a one-party Democrat state. Some of their tactics aimed at unsuspecting and sometimes uninformed voters are a bit questionable. Fortunately the Republicans in the state legislature identified those tactics in advance and took action to keep things honest.

The story begins with an email sent out to many Democrats in Craven County, North Carolina. The letter was sent to encourage people to come out to a Townhall meeting hosted by State Representative Michael Speciale. I have left out the names of the author and recipient. The letter reads:

With less than a day’s notice given to their constituents and fellow lawmakers, legislative leaders called a surprise special session today with the sole purpose of changing election laws — all less than 90 days before voters will begin casting their ballots.

The legislature opened by suspending traditional rules so they could rush through two specific pieces of legislation that will leave voters with less information on their ballots this fall.

The first, House Bill 3, allowed the legislature to take control of writing captions for the six constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot this fall. With its passage, House Bill 3 eliminates any chance voters will receive clear amendment explanations on the ballot. Instead, voters will only see the caption “Constitutional Amendment” and constitutional language approved by lawmakers this summer. Votes will be asked to vote “FOR” or “AGAINST.”
The second, Senate Bill 3, removes party labels from candidates who registered with that party less than 90 days prior to candidate filing. The bill would strip the party designation from at least one prominent Republican N.C. Supreme Court candidate, and, based on comments made during the session, appears designed to advantage another candidate.

Both are now headed to the governor for consideration. Rule changes today mean that the legislature could override gubernatorial vetos on the same day they’re issued.

Today’s costly convening is the latest in a long line of power plays at the expense of taxpayer dollars and our state’s democracy. It also underscores the need to stay informed about the proposals on the November ballot— and we hope you’ll join us in those efforts.

Sign the pledge to vote AGAINST anti-voter amendments on the ballot this fall and fight back!

We’ll be in touch soon with other ways to be involved, including events, actions, and volunteer opportunities in your area.

Together we can push back against attempts to hide the ball from the public when it comes to the proposed amendments — and ensure that North Carolina voters navigate all that’s on their ballot this fall.

Thank you,

So let’s look at what was actually done in that session. My source is the actual webpage for the state legislature because I wanted a neutral source.
The first bill (HB-3) deals with the naming of the Constitutional Amendments that will be on the ballot. Below is a screenshot of that law:
So what in the world is this about? Unfortunately the naming of these amendments has become politicized. One amendment that restores power to the legislature that had eroded in recent years was described on the ballot as a bill to limit the power of the governor. Nope. It has nothing to do with limiting the power of the governor; it has to do with restoring the checks and balances originally set in place. The bill passed in the session called on July 24 was not to confuse voters–it was an attempt to take politics out of the labeling of the amendments. There will be a short summary of each amendment on the ballot to allow voters to see exactly what they are voting for.
The second item, SB-3, deals with party identification in judicial races. The thing to consider when evaluating what you are about to read is whether this would be acceptable if the shoe were on the other foot.
HB-3 reads:
So what is this about? I am not naming names, although informed voters will know exactly what has happened. A Democrat candidate for judge changed his party affiliation to Republican at the last minute. He told colleagues that this was done to split the Republican vote in a particular race. The treasurer of his campaign is a Democrat, and all indications are that the ideas which previously determined his political affiliation have not changed. This was simply an effort to become a spoiler in the race. The law passed states that anyone who changes their party affiliation withing 90 days of an election will not have their party affiliation listed on the ballot. Sudden changes of heart are not necessarily viewed as valid.
This entire episode illustrates the need for informed voters. If someone simply read the misleading email sent out, they would have no idea of what is actually going on.

There Is A Reason The House Of Representatives Has Had To Do All Of The Work On The Illegal Surveillance Of The Trump Campaign And Transition Team

Have you wondered why all the information and investigation of the illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign and transition team has come out of the House of Representatives rather than out of the Senate? Well, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has the reputation for being one of the leakiest, most politicized, and most corrupt committees in Washington. The current chairman of the committee is Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina; the current vice-chairman is Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. Both are seriously entrenched creatures of the Washington swamp. That fact explains the following report.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted the following:

Chairman of the Senate Intel Committee Richard Burr (R-NC) said on Tuesday there were “sound reasons” why the judges issued FISA warrants on Carter Page.

The newly released Carter Page FISA docs, although heavily redacted, reveal the FBI and DOJ relied on Hillary’s phony dossier and liberal media reports as ‘evidence’ presented to the court in order to wiretap Page.

The FBI omitted the fact that the dossier was paid for by Hillary and the DNC.

This is not only criminal, but unconstitutional, says investigative reporter, Paul Sperry.

So spying on an American citizen based on information bought and paid for by a political opponent is now justified? Under what constitution? Has this man read the Fourth Amendment? Donald Trump’s constitutional rights were violated. If this is allowed to stand, we can expect it to happen again to anyone who disagrees with the party in power. That is not a good thing.

The article continues:

Even the argument the FBI thought Carter Page was an agent of the Russians doesn’t hold water. Carter Page was never charged or arrested for being a Russian spy, furthermore, not too long ago Page was actually helping the FBI take down Russians.

So now the FBI expects us to believe Carter Page flipped and became an agent for the Russians…yet they never arrested him?

Comey, Rosenstein, McCabe and Sally Yates all signed the FISA applications even though Hillary’s fraudulent Russia dossier was used as a pretext to obtain the warrants.

According to Senator Burr, these are “sound reasons.”

“I don’t think I ever expressed that I thought the FISA application came up short. There (were) sound reasons as to why judges issued the FISA,” Burr said to CNN.

Hopefully my fellow voters in North Carolina will remove this man from office during the next election. I don’t care if a Democrat replaces him–he has not lived up to his Oath of Office to defend the Constitution.

UPDATE: It should be noted that a copy of the unredacted FISA application was delivered to the committee on March 17, 2017. This was then leaked to the media by a staffer on the committee. That is one of many questionable actions by the committee regarding the illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign.

 

The Fight For Voter Identification

Voter identification is one of many ways to prevent voter fraud. For whatever reason, it seems that one particular political party seems to oppose voter identification even after evidence of voter fraud–non-citizens voting, dead people voting, hundreds of people claiming to live in a parking lot registering to vote, etc. In November, North Carolina will have a referendum on the ballot allowing voters to approve or disapprove of voter identification.

Civitas Institute, a North Carolina based group, posted an article last week showcasing international voter identification laws.

The article reports:

However, many countries hailed as more voter-friendly than the United States have voter ID laws in place.

Norway mandates that voters present a photo ID, including a “passport, driving license, or bank card that includes a photo,” to vote.

Voters in Northern Ireland must present an “acceptable photo identification” to cast an in-person ballot.

Germany requires that voters bring a state-issued voter identification card, but they can substitute another form of ID for that card if they fail to deliver it at the polls.

Ballots in Switzerland are issued by mail, and voters who return their ballots in person are required to show an ID and a state-issued polling card to do so.

France requires a voter ID.

Israel requires a voter ID.

Mexico requires a voter ID.

Iceland requires a voter ID.

It seems like common sense to want to know who is voting.

The article concludes:

Civitas has already pointed out that North Carolina’s constitutional amendment would bring the state into the mainstream within the country since 34 other states already require voter ID in some form.

Voter identification is innocuous among a majority of US states and various countries across the world. There is no reason to believe North Carolina would be the exception.

Collins claimed that the United States makes voting more difficult for its citizens than its peer countries and implied that voter ID requirements compound that disparity. Since many Western democracies also implement voter ID requirements, we rate this claim as false.

I will vote to support the implementation of voter identification. It is understood that the state will provide identification cards free for anyone who needs them. Most residents would be willing to drive anyone who needs transportation to wherever they need to go to obtain a voter identification card. Works for me.

I’m Not Sure This Is About What I Am Being Told It Is About

On Monday, Civitas posted an article about the North Carolina teachers’ walkout today. It’s called a walkout, but it is actually a strike. Schools are closed because the teachers have chosen not to teach today.

A Civitas article from May 9 points out the fallacy of comparing teacher’s salary across the nation–the cost of living in various states can be very different.

The May 9 Civitas article reports:

According to data compiled by NEA, the average salary for teachers in the U.S. in 2013-14 (the latest figures available) was $56,610. The average teacher salary in North Carolina in 2013-14 was $44,990. That figure ranks North Carolina 47th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The U.S. average national salary ($56,610) ranks 16th highest in the list.

…Let’s start with terminology. The very term “national average” implies a middle-range figure, not too high, not too low, somewhere in between. But is it? Are we really looking at a middle-range figure? We all know high numbers can skew averages.

That looks like exactly what has happened with the states with the highest average teacher salaries. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, California and the District of Columbia all have average teacher salaries above $70,000. These figures have skewed the average salary upward.

A true “average” would rank the national average somewhere in the middle of the states. However, it’s not. The 2014 NEA Salary Rankings & Estimates says the national average teacher salary is $56,610. Fourteen states plus the District of Columbia have higher average salaries than the U.S. average. That means 36 of the 50 states have averages that are below the national average teacher salary. So it’s fair to ask: Is the national “average” really a mid-range figure?

Teachers’ pay has increased in recent years in North Carolina. The legislature has planned another increase in the upcoming year. Governor Cooper’s plan would give a larger increase, but then increase taxes. Governor Cooper’s plan gives with one hand and takes away with the other hand.

The May 14th article at Civitas lists the purpose of the teachers’ walkout as stated at the Durham Association of Educators website:

The essay on the DAE website demanding everything is a mix of idealism and snark, guaran-damn-teed to torch any straw man who questions budget allocations that are ostensibly “for the children.” The piece is unsigned, but almost certainly written by DAE president Bryan (“There are powerful forces aligned to steal our joy and snatch our students’ futures”) Proffitt; it has his earnest and unforgiving style.

The key passage in the essay reads as follows: “North Carolina’s educators, you see, believe in this radical idea that [all of our kids], every last one, should have:

  • Nutritious food, clean air, and poison-free water
  • Homes and neighborhoods filled with love and respite
  • Physical and emotional health and the resources and knowledge they need to care for their bodies
  • Emotional and physical safety
  • Boundless opportunities to laugh and learn and grow with their elders and their peers
  • Challenges that push them to test their limits while offering safety and grace when they inevitably fail along the way
  • Meaningful work and joyful play
  • Computers, books, clothes, balls, dolls…everything”

I wonder how many teachers have actually seen the list of things they are marching for. (In Russia, they used to call people who thought they were marching for one cause, but were being used for another cause useful idiots).

As an American citizen, I want the opportunity to earn all the things on the above list to be available to all Americans. Bringing that opportunity to all Americans would require bringing moral concepts back into our schools. It would require teaching our children reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as critical thinking skills. It would require promoting children to the next grade only when they have learned the necessary skills to succeed in that grade. It might even require bringing back the concept of God into our schools–letting our children know that there is a higher authority and teaching them to respect authority. The problem isn’t money–it’s cultural rot. No amount of money can fix that.

Teachers, your hearts may be in the right place, but your mathematics and critical thinking skills are not. You have wasted a day and been used for purposes other than those which you intended.

Attention North Carolina Voters

THIS IS AN UPDATE ON THE STORY BELOW–THE BILL WAS NOT INTRODUCED TODAY. However, we are not out of the woods yet. The bill can be introduced anytime in the near future. We just have to be informed voters and vote against the referendum if it shows up on the ballot in November! (Updated Wednesday, January 10, 2018)

 

Tomorrow in the North Carolina legislature a bill will be introduced to allow for the appointment of judges rather than letting the voters elect the judges. If the measure passes the legislature, it will appear on the ballot in November to be approved by the voters. This is a really bad idea.

These are the rules on who may serve as a judge in North Carolina:

Only persons authorized to practice law in North Carolina are eligible for election or appointment as a judge (district, superior or appellate). N.C. Const. Art. IV, Sec. 22. Because that wasn’t always the rule, there is an exception for persons elected to or serving in such capacities on or before January 1, 1981.

The result of this law is that it severely limits the number of people who may serve as judges. South Carolina, for instance, requires that judges have a college education, but there is not requirement that they have a law degree or are lawyers. So North Carolina has already limited the number of people who become judges. What will be the impact of having judges appointed instead of elected? First of all, if the judges are not accountable to the voters, who will they be accountable to?  Second of all, if a lawyer wants to become a judge, but isn’t part of the in crowd at the legislature, does he have a way of becoming a judge? If the legislature is appointing the judges, isn’t that one branch of government having authority over another supposedly equal branch? How much time do the legislators have to evaluate the judicial choices of their leadership? This suggested law seems to be the perfect way to put control of North Carolina’s judiciary into the hands of a very small group of people. That is a very bad idea.

Hopefully this bill will not get past the legislature, but if it does, beware of it in November.

Protecting Voter Fraud

The Daily Signal posted an article today about the President’s election commission that is investigating voter fraud.

The article reports:

Many of the states refusing to cooperate with President Donald Trump’s election commission aren’t in compliance with federal law on maintaining voter registration lists, according to government watchdog groups.

So far, 18 states and the District of Columbia have declined or are still considering whether to provide election data to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, established in May to examine and prevent voter fraud, among other concerns.

The commission requested voter registration data from every state and the District and 14 states include counties where registered voters outnumbered eligible voters based on Census Bureau data, according to findings from Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group.

The 1993 ‘motor voter law‘ requires states to purge their voter rolls of ineligible voters periodically.

The article explains:

Kentucky, a decisively red state in previous elections, had the most counties where registered voters outnumber eligible voters. California, a strongly blue state, also had significant problems, according to findings from Judicial Watch and the Public Interest Legal Foundation, both conservative watchdog groups.

Other states that outright refuse to cooperate with the commission are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.

The states of Arizona, Illinois, and Indiana are still undecided.

“Overall, in most of the states not providing information to the commission, there are a significant number of counties with problems,” Robert Popper, senior attorney for Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project, told The Daily Signal.

Common sense tells us that if registered voters outnumber eligible voters in a county, there is a problem. Every fraudulent vote cast in an elections voids the vote of a legitimate voter. That is the true definition of voter suppression and needs to be stopped.

Government By The People…Which People???

On Monday, The Conservative Review posted an article about some recent decisions by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding North Carolina. It seems that the wishes of the voters and the legislature have taken a back seat to the wishes of the Court.

The article reports:

As we’ve noted in a series of articles, the unelected federal courts have destroyed North Carolina’s right to self-determination. They have mandated transgenderism, blocked every voter integrity law, required very specific times and amounts of early voting, criminalized voluntary public prayer, and erased every single districting map — from federal and state districts to even county school board maps in middle of an election season and after candidates already spent enormous sums campaigning. Again, this was all done by federal, not state courts. They are rendering elections moot and are now ensuring that conservatives can never win elections by ruling Democrat racial gerrymander advantages into law and into the Constitution.

Now, the Fourth Circuit has unilaterally hired a liberal proctor to oversee and supervise the state legislature in the new redistricting it previously mandated.

It is not the duty of the Court to legislate–they are not elected officials and do not have that power.

The article continues:

It is first important to recognize that North Carolina received pre-clearance from Obama’s Justice Department, and the maps were upheld twice in state court. That should have ended the matter. Federal courts should have absolutely no jurisdiction over state legislative maps. Yet the federal courts nullified 28 legislative districts and remanded back to the three-judge panel, which includes two Obama-appointed judges.

The North Carolina legislature went back and drew a new, clean map that is better than anything Democrats put out when they had control for 100 years. That should have ended the matter. Yet the Obama judges, who have been accorded God-like power over subject matter the Constitution did not entrust to them, want to make sure the maps maximize the Democrat Party advantage. They gave standing to another lawsuit challenging three Senate and nine House districts. Last Thursday, in a written order, Judge Catherine Eagles wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel that she feels the new map doesn’t redress the “constitutional” violation and is “otherwise legally unacceptable” — in other words, it doesn’t contain enough Democrat advantages. So, in the ultimate act of legislating from the bench, the judge said that due to “the technical nature of determining an appropriate remedy” and “exceptional circumstances,” the court is appointing a “special master” to oversee the maps.

Thus, an unelected federal court with no constitutional jurisdiction over maps cleared by the DOJ and state courts is now requiring that de facto veto power over the new maps be given to an unelected “expert.” While this is not the first time officious federal courts have created a “special master,” the circumstances are particularly indefensible, given that the state has done everything properly until now.

This is not acceptable. The solution is nullification.

The Tenth Amendment Center explains the concept of nullification:

Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolutions claim that the U. S. Constitution was a compact among the several states-whereby the states delegated certain limited powers to the U.S. government; any undelegated power exercised by the U. S. government is thus void.

Furthermore, the general government is not the final and authoritative judge of its own powers, since that would make the government’s discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of those powers-but rather the parties to the contract, the states, have each an equal right to judge for themselves whether the Constitution has been violated as well as “the mode and measure of redress”-since there is no common judge of such matters among them.

Thus, every state can of its own authority nullify within its territory “all assumptions of power by others”-i.e., all perceived violations of the Constitution by the federal government.

The Kentucky Resolution uses the Tenth Amendment to justify a strict construction of the general government’s powers; any powers not expressly delegated to the U. S. government remain the province of the states or the people, and any exercise of those powers by the general government is void and can be struck down by the states on that basis.

Furthermore, Jefferson warns against construing the “necessary and proper” clause so broadly as to justify the assumption of undelegated powers by the general government; the intent of the clause was to only enable the execution of limited powers, not to indefinitely extend the general government’s scope. Otherwise, this part of the Constitution would be used “to destroy the whole residue of that instrument.”

We have wandered far afield from the republic our Founding Fathers envisioned. It is time to change direction and get back to where we belong. Nullification is one weapon in our arsenal that will allow us to do that.

 

Cutting The Cost Of Government By Improving The Economy

Yesterday Breitbart reported that in the last year food stamp [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)] enrollment has gone down in 46 out of the 50 states. The biggest drops were in Connecticut, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.

The article reports:

Connecticut saw the largest drop, with SNAP enrollment dropping 25.4 percent from May 2016 to May 2017.

The state also saw a pretty hefty drop in enrollment over one month — Connecticut’s enrollment in the food stamp program dropped 14.2 percent from April 2017 to May 2017.

North Carolina saw the second-largest decrease in SNAP enrollment with a 14.2 drop in the number of state residents participating in the food stamp program.

Part of the decrease has to do with a provision in the 2009 economic stimulus bill. The bill included a waiver of the work requirement in areas that were economically depressed.

The article explains:

The economic boom in these towns no longer made them eligible as of April 1, 2016, for a waiver from SNAP regulations. These regulations were put in place nationwide before the recession and require able-bodied adults without children to work at least 20 hours week, enroll in school, or take part in state-approved job training if they receive benefits for more than three months.

…The only four states that did not see declines in food stamp enrollment are Alaska, Kentucky, Montana, and Illinois. Each of those states reported slight gains in SNAP enrollment. Alaska saw the biggest increase in food stamp enrollment, with SNAP participation increasing by 4.1 percent. Illinois saw the second-largest increase in SNAP enrollment at 3.4 percent, and Montana reported an increase of 3 percent.

All of those states participate in the waiver program either statewide or in certain towns because of chronic unemployment in those areas.

Nationwide, food stamp enrollment has been on the downswing. Food stamp use in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in seven years, and 1.1 million Americans dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Trump took office.

There is a basic lesson here. When there is a work requirement to collect food stamps, enrollment goes down.

As I reported in July:

For example, in July 2014, Maine announced that it would no longer grant waivers from the work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

In order to receive benefits, they would thus have to work, participate in a work program for 20 hours per week, or do community service for about six hours per week.

It is important to note that this policy did not arbitrarily cut food stamp recipients from the program rolls. Able-bodied adults without dependent children in Maine were removed from the rolls only if they refused to participate in modest activities.

In fact, most of these individuals in Maine chose to leave the program rather than participate in training or community service, despite the strong outreach efforts of government caseworkers. This indicates that these individuals had other means of supporting themselves.

As a result of the new policy, the Maine caseload for able-bodied adults without dependent children dropped 80 percent in just a few months, falling from 13,332 in December 2014 to 2,678 recipients in March 2015.

I wonder what Congress had in mind when the waivers were put in place in 2009. We now have the examples of Alaska, Kentucky, Montana, and Illinois. All of those states still have the waivers, and they are the only four states whose economies have not improved sufficiently to remove the waivers. Food stamps without a work or training requirement does not help anyone–it simply creates dependency. How many times do we have to see this principle in action before we learn that lesson?

The Battle For Local Seafood In North Carolina

There is a song from the musical “Oklahoma” entitled, “The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends.” The song refers to the struggle between those who wanted to use the newly opened lands in the western United States for cattle and those who wanted to use the land for crops. There were some struggles before that issue was resolved. North Carolina faces a similar issue–a struggle between the commercial fishermen and the sports fishermen. At issue is the availability of fresh local seafood and the ability of small family commercial fishermen to earn a living.

Today I went to Raleigh to the legislative buildings (along with about three hundred other people) to talk to our state representatives about House Bill 867, which would have a serious negative impact on the commercial fishing industry in North Carolina. What is being proposed here actually happened in Massachusetts while I was living there. Over- regulation crippled commercial fishing businesses that had been owned by families for generations. The towns of New Bedford and Gloucester were particularly hard hit. I don’t want to see that happen in North Carolina. The Craven County Board of Commissioners has taken a stand on this issue. Hopefully the legislature will listen to their resolution.

This is the resolution:

Resolution To Oppose North Carolina House Bill 867

Coastal Fisheries Conservation / Economic Development

WHEREAS, the State of North Carolina and particularly Eastern Carolina counties, have a long history and lineage of commercial fishing from the Algonquian Indians trading fish to the modern day commercial fishing industry; and

WHEREAS, North Carolina commercial fishermen have made extraordinary gains with science in protecting the environment which they rely on for their wellbeing and way of life, and want to protect the waters and fisheries for the next generation along with generations to come; and

WHEREAS, commercial fishing in North Carolina is in a state of change. There are a number of economic pressures bearing down on industry participants such as competition from imported seafood, closing working waterfronts, and ever increasing government regulations ; and

WHEREAS, imported seafood is normally of lower quality, with little regulation and inspection of the product. Imported seafood has been known to have been raised in waters containing human or animal feces, and also injected with carboxymethyl cellulose, gelatin, and glucose; and

WHEREAS, due to recent appointments to the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission, the Commission has refused to listen and adhere to the advice of their own advisory committees including Finfish, Habitat and Water Quality, Shellfish / Crustacean, Northern Region, and Southern Region advisory committees; and

WHEREAS, the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission has gone against the advice of their advisory committees, and are currently trying to establish severe restrictions on the commercial fishing industry without scientific data or an economic impact study on which to base their restrictions. These restrictions go against the current Management Plan which requires future regulations be based on science and the data gathered; and

WHEREAS, House Bill 867 seeks to rewrite the North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act of 1997, which was passed after months of public scrutiny. House Bill 867 would reform the North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 without such vetting from the public; and

WHEREAS, House Bill 867 would eliminate the advisory committees which have a set amount of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, and scientists to advise the Commission and replace them with one, 20 member advisory committee appointed by the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission without any designation as to member’s qualification or status in the industry; and

WHEREAS, House Bill 867 also offers a commercial fishing license buyback plan which also gives insight to the implied destruction of a way of life for so many North Carolina residents that would cause a harmful impact to the state’s economy.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Craven County Board of Commissioners hereby opposes North Carolina House Bill 867 in its entirety and respectfully requests that North Carolina Legislators reject this legislation and support the State of North Carolina’s working watermen in order to sustain a way of life for many future generations and preserve a vital economic engine for North Carolina.

Adopted this the 15th day of May, 2017.

Some of the warriors from yesterday: