The mainstream media have found a way to blame the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, on President Donald J. Trump.
It is an incredible stretch, but the mainstream media have managed to take the blame from the Charlottesville and Virginia law enforcement and place it on Trump because his initial statement was not considered strong enough in its condemnation of the white supremacists who were holding the rally.
But to be fair, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is also being attacked for defending the right of all Americans to free speech. The ACLU defended the white supremacists in court when Charlottesville attempted to move the rally to another site.
If only polite noncontroversial speech were protected by the First Amendment, there would really be no need for a First Amendment. It is radical speech, the kind that makes people’s blood boil, that needs protection. No matter how distasteful the beliefs expressed at the rally were, according to the ACLU, the white supremacists had a right to express those views and that right was recognized by the courts.
But neither the white supremacists nor those who came to protest against them had a right to attack those who they disagreed with. Unfortunately, both sides came ready for a fight and that fight got completely out of hand, resulting in the death of one young woman and the serious injury of many more.
What people should be asking is, why were the white supremacist protestors and those protesting against them allowed to fight each other. Why weren’t they kept separate as is normally done in situations where there are two groups that vehemently disagree. The evidence is that the two opposing groups were allowed to fight by the police.
Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas has given the weak excuse that the police had to put on their riot gear. That doesn’t make sense. The police should have been in riot gear before the confrontation started, and if for some inexplicable reason they were not, then they should have placed themselves between the two groups in whatever gear they were wearing.
A full investigation needs to be done about why law enforcement in Charlottesville was so unprepared for the riot that was taking place in their streets. If the police truly had no idea what was about to happen, then that indicates a level of incompetence that is nearly unimaginable in today’s world with its instant communication. Certainly both sides came prepared for a violent confrontation. The job of the police was to prevent that confrontation from going beyond shouting at each other and waving signs and flags. It is far simpler to prevent a confrontation from happening than to stop it once it has started.
A much more believable explanation is that the Charlottesville police wanted to allow the white supremacists to be attacked, but they misjudged the intensity of the attacks and of the response by the white supremacists; by the time they grasped the gravity of the situation, it had gotten out of hand.
As distasteful as the beliefs of the Klan, Nazis and other white supremacists are in our country, they have a constitutional right to express their views. Hate speech is protected by the Constitution, and that has been upheld by the Supreme Court. In one famous case, the ACLU defended the right of Nazis to march through a neighborhood where Holocaust survivors lived and the Supreme Court upheld that right.
The law enforcement in Charlottesville had a duty to protect the white supremacists at their rally. The Greensboro police have, many times in the past, protected the Ku Klux Klan when it has held rallies in Greensboro. Many of the officers protecting the Klan at those rallies were black, as was the Greensboro police chief. There is no doubt that the chief and the police officers protecting the Klan disagreed with the ideas being expressed by the Klan members with every fiber of their being, but they did their jobs and protected the Klan members’ right to speak. There was no violence because the police prevented any protestors from getting close enough to attack the Klan members.
In Charlottesville, the police didn’t protect the white supremacists and one of those white supremacists attacked the protestors with his car, killing one and severely injuring over a dozen. If he is found guilty in a court of law, he will be made to pay for those crimes, as he should.
But like everyone in this country accused of a crime, no matter how heinous, he has a right to a fair trial and to be represented by a competent attorney. If and when he is convicted, he will be punished for his actions.
Trump’s initial statement seemed to condemn both sides – and the violence on both sides should be condemned. Those protesting against the white supremacists had every right to protest, but they didn’t have the right to attack the white supremacists for their beliefs, no matter how distasteful they found those beliefs.
James Damore, who was fired from Google for his long essay on diversity, has attracted support from the alt-right and his response to CNN is one that Trump would do well to repeat often. Damore said, “I do not support the alt-right. Just because someone supports me doesn’t mean I support them.”
Trump cannot stop people from supporting him or from singing his praises, but because they agree with some of his political views doesn’t mean that he agrees with their views.
Because the mainstream media are so liberal, this is portrayed as a problem for conservatives, but almost never portrayed as a problem for liberals. Some communists and anarchists supported Hillary Clinton in the presidential election because she was much closer to their political views than Trump. Hillary Clinton wasn’t called to denounce her belief in communism and anarchy simply because some people with those beliefs supported her.
Some white supremacists support Trump. In the minds of the mainstream media that makes Trump a white supremacist, which is unfair.
Political views in this country are extremely diverse. Just because someone with political views that are far out of the mainstream chooses to support a candidate who is far more mainstream doesn’t mean that candidate is way out on the left or the right edge of the field. It simply means that those holding beliefs far out of the mainstream find a particular candidate’s views closer to their own than the other candidate.
If all of a candidate’s supporters had to agree with every political belief they had then nobody would ever be able to put together enough votes to win. In the US, with only two major parties, anyone who desires political power has to choose one of two parties.
The US has a long history of not attacking another country first. We didn’t get involved in World War II until after Pearl Harbor was attacked. World War I took the sinking of the Lusitania. For the Spanish American war it was the sinking of the Maine.
The Vietnam conflict was the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
It seems to make sense to keep to that tradition for North Korea. It appears to be too late to stop North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons or to stop their intercontinental ballistic missile program. North Korea now has nuclear weapons and ICBMs. The US could have stopped North Korea from developing these weapons, but former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all chose not to take decisive action.
Once nations are nuclear powers, they remain nuclear powers. Nations are not willing to give up that kind of power.
So the world has to deal with the reality that North Korea is a nuclear nation. I have read that experts on North Korea contend that although Kim Jong Un seems like a madman to Americans, his actions are not those of a madman but of a dictator consolidating his power. If Kim Jong Un is indeed not insane, then the best thing the US could do would be to leave him alone. Let him posture and threaten all he wants. If it is true that he is not insane, the US really has little to worry about. The message should be made with extreme clarity that if Kim Jong Un launches an attack against the US or any of its allies, then the US will have no choice but to destroy Kim Jong Un and his military.
But then, unlike Obama in Syria, the US has to be ready and willing to keep its word. Kim Jong Un has to know that he can continue to fire missiles into the ocean, but he has to make certain that they do not harm the US or its allies.
It’s not an ideal situation to have a dictator such as Kim Jong Un equipped with nuclear weapons, but convincing him that using them will mean the end of his reign may be the best the US can do at this point.
Some people have expressed surprise and confusion over the reported move by Hillary Clinton toward becoming a lay Methodist preacher. I don’t find it the least bit surprising. The Clinton Foundation has lost its ability to grant political favors. When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, donating money to the Clinton Foundation or paying Bill Clinton up to $750,000 for a speech resulted in favors to those making the payments.
Only a dunce is going to believe that the Clintons will ever have any political power again. Without political power or the promise of future political power, the Clinton Foundation is pretty much dead in the water.
So Hillary Clinton is looking for a new power base and moving over from politics to religion seems to make perfect sense.
What has gotten into North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis? Why would he want to join with Democrats and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is a Democrat in everything but name, to create more trouble for Trump?
Tillis and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) are sponsoring a bill that would make it more difficult for Trump to fire Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller. It doesn’t sound constitutional because appointing the special prosecutor is a function of the executive branch, but no doubt Tillis has found an attorney who says that putting additional restrictions on the executive branch by the legislative branch is legal. It would make more sense for a Republican to sponsor a bill that would make a special prosecutor more difficult to hire, not more difficult to fire.
But evidently Tillis is after some good press from the mainstream media and he has been getting it. Maybe next he will come out in favor of a tax increase and having the federal government take over health insurance with a single-payer plan, both of those would garner big support from the mainstream media.
The Tillis bill is similar to a bill sponsored by Graham and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), so from a liberal point of view Tillis is in good company.
However, before he goes after Trump too heavily, Tillis might want to look at the vote totals for the presidential election in North Carolina. Despite what the mainstream media predicted, Trump won North Carolina without much difficulty and if Tillis would study those returns he would find that most of the votes that went for Hillary Clinton are not votes that he would ever win.
If Tillis wants to continue down this path of opposing Trump, he isn’t going to be too popular in his home state and that is where it is important for Tillis to be popular. All those reporters for the mainstream media who are singing his praises in Washington and New York don’t get to vote in North Carolina, which is perhaps something Tillis should consider. Maybe during the Senate’s month vacation, when senators return home, Tillis will find that while his popularity on Capitol Hill has increased, his popularity in his hometown of Cornelius is waning.
Here’s a question that honest voters – Democrats and Republicans alike – should be asking: Why are the Democrats so opposed to investigating voter fraud?
If there is no voter fraud, as the Democrats say, then the investigation should show that the Democrats are correct and – unlike every other human endeavor – when it comes to voting, no one cheats.
All sensible people know that there is voter fraud. There is voter fraud for the same reason that there is bank fraud, income tax fraud, food stamp fraud, welfare fraud, nonprofit and foundation fraud, credit card fraud and every other kind of fraud that you can name. Some people are not honest and will cheat whenever they think they can get away with it. It may not be human nature to be dishonest, but it certainly is some people’s nature. There are people who would rather lie than tell the truth.
In elections there is a lot of power at stake. The person who wins by five votes wins just as much power as the person who wins by 5,000 or 5 million votes.
A few years ago in Greensboro, we had a young man – who had run the campaign for a candidate for the state legislature the year before – and he voted twice in the City Council election. He voted during early voting and then voted on Election Day. His double vote wasn’t discovered until after he had voted the second time.
This was not a first-time voter who was confused and didn’t understand the early voting and Election Day voting system. This was a young man who had been involved in politics and campaigns.
He voted both times from a fraudulent address. There is no house on the lot that was his official address for voting purposes. He couldn’t live there because there was nowhere to live and he didn’t argue that he did live on the vacant lot, just that he owned the lot and wanted to vote in that council district so he registered from the vacant lot.
So he voted twice in the election from a vacant lot, and what happened? One of his votes was removed from the totals, so he only was allowed to vote once like everyone else. He wasn’t charged with any crime. He wasn’t fined. The government takes parking at an expired meter more seriously than voter fraud, and exceeding the speed limit far more seriously.
This sends a message loud and clear to people who are not honest that they have nothing to lose if they attempt to vote more than once because, even if they get caught, there are no consequences.
One problem is that there is no infrastructure in place to ascertain whether someone is registered to vote in more than one state.
If a person moves from another county in North Carolina to Guilford County and registers to vote here, the Guilford County elections office notifies the county where that person was previously registered whether the person admits to being previously registered or not.
However, if a person moves from another state, all they have to do is tell the people at the elections office that they were not previously registered to vote. There is no central database and no way to check and see if the voter was previously registered.
It is dishonest to lie about not being previously registered, but we have jails and prisons filled with dishonest people, and then we have lots of dishonest people who have never been caught.
For something as important as voting, should we be trusting that everyone is honest and is going to tell the elections office where they were previously registered to vote? It doesn’t make sense.
Why not go forward with the investigation and find out how serious a problem it is and then our elected officials can decide if the problem is severe enough to take corrective action or if the country can live with 5 percent, 10 percent or 15 percent voter fraud.
No one can make an informed decision until they know what kind of problem they are dealing with and at present no one knows.
Requiring voters to identify themselves with photo identification would also go a long way toward stopping voter fraud. Why is it discriminatory to make everyone who votes identify themselves? It seems to simply make sense for the government to make certain that the person casting the vote is the person who is registered to vote.
I was listening to a couple of conservative radio talk show pundits talking about the recent travails of President Trump in political terms, poll numbers, Senate votes, chiefs of staff, leaks and legal issues.
I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. What Trump is now facing should more accurately be talked about in terms of a horror movie.
Trump promised to “drain the swamp.” What Trump is facing is not politics in the normal sense. This is the swamp fighting tooth and nail for survival. The swamp creatures that normally spend their time attacking and eating each other have turned to attack the common enemy – Trump. The swamp bugs are flying around his face and biting every exposed piece of flesh, little swamp creatures are biting his ankles and the bigger creatures are attacking him head on, but they are all attacking him. Swamp creatures don’t work together well, so there are problems organizing a united attack against him, but every time Trump takes a single step through the muck toward the drain to unplug it and reveal the swamp creatures in all their ugliness, the attacks get worse.
Trump is a Republican, so you would expect the Democrats to attack him, but the attack from Republicans has been even more damaging than from the Democrats because, regardless of party, they are all swamp creatures protecting their turf.
The swamp is the Washington establishment, the people who have been living on the government dole – some for their entire adult lives – like Special Prosecutor Mueller see the threat to their way of life. Mueller is “highly respected,” but by whom; by his fellow swamp creatures. The other swamp creatures say he is great. What he is great at is protecting all the swamp creatures, which includes the mainstream media, from an outside attack – in this case Trump.
Who hired Mueller? The Republicans in Trump’s own administration who in theory should be working with Trump but their first loyalty is to the swamp. Trump made some severe strategic errors. He thought he could depend on some swamp creatures to take his side and get them to attack other swamp creatures, but loyalty to the swamp is first and foremost and ranks far above party loyalty. The swamp creatures are attacking the outside force that threatens all of their livelihoods and threatens to destroy the very swamp where they live and prosper. There is a reason why three of the four highest average income counties in the country are suburbs of Washington. The swamp creatures know that if the swamp is drained they will all lose their lives as swamp creatures and will have to learn to adjust to life outside the swamp, and none of them want to do that, so they put aside their differences to attack the common foe.
Look at Sen. John McCain – the epitome of a swamp creature. He has been in Washington for over 30 years, and when it came time for him to choose between what was good for the swamp or what was good for his party, he didn’t hesitate; he got up out of his hospital bed and went to Washington to attack the man who was attacking the swamp.
Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is definitely a swamp creature and he was allowed into Trump’s inner sanctum. What was the result? Constant leaks of damaging information about Trump from the highest level of the Trump administration. Private conversations Trump had with members of his family and with foreign heads of state are now public.
Not just Trump, but the presidency has been severely damaged by the release of transcripts of conversations that Trump had with foreign heads of state. What head of state is going to have a frank conversation with Trump now knowing that their words will likely be on the front page of The Washington Post and The New York Times.
What Trump aide is going to offer an honest evaluation of events knowing that their conversation will be reported to the mainstream media?
The mainstream media are one of the most obvious swamp creatures. The reporters have spent years building relationships with the other swamp creatures, supposedly so that they can report to the American people about what is happening in the swamp. Of course, they all know that if they report the truth about the swamp then the American people will demand that the swamp be drained and they will lose all the work they have done for years or decades.
Trump has also made some smart moves. He has enlisted the support of his family, who are about the only people that he can trust in the swamp. But it isn’t enough because they don’t know the swamp.
Trump is also doing the only thing he can to hope to survive – he is enlisting the support of the American people who hired him to drain the swamp. But he needs far more support than he has been getting.
Look at what has happened to the only voice in the mainstream media that supported Trump, Fox News. All of its teeth have been pulled. When was the last time a network fired the host of its most popular show for unproven allegations? And Fox was willing to take the financial hit. Once the most popular network, it has fallen until now a network known for its anti-Trump diatribes has moved into the top spot.
The swamp, which includes pretty much everyone in Washington who didn’t move there with Trump, is going to continue to do everything in its considerable power to bring Trump down.
What Trump needs to do is get out of Washington as much as possible. His power lies with the American people who elected him, and he needs to spend more of his time rallying their support for his programs and policies. Trump cannot drain the swamp, but the American people can, and Trump’s best path to success is to enlist the active support of the American people.
It doesn’t make sense at this point to attack McCain because he will never run for office again, but McCain should be held up as an example of what happens when you send swamp creatures back to the swamp. They will say or do anything to get back to the swamp, but once they are there their loyalty is to the swamp, not the people who sent them there.
If Trump fails, then the swamp wins and it will be far more powerful than it is now. Trump appears to be the last chance the American people have to take control of their country back, and simply electing him president is not going to be enough to do the job.
The Democratic Party platform supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. It’s one of those feel good ideas that may look good at first. It would mean more than doubling the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and the end result would be putting a lot of low wage earners out of work, and most likely putting a lot of small companies out of business and forcing large corporations such as fast food chains to change the way they do business.
The reason is simple. To stay in business a company has to make a profit. If a company, for instance, is making a 5 percent profit paying 100 workers an average of $10 an hour, it likely will not be able to continue to make a profit and stay in business raising its wages by 50 percent. If a total of $1,000 an hour in wages for it’s lowest paid workers is all this company can afford it will reduce the labor force so that it has 666 workers making $15 an hour. Either the workers will be expected to produce more for the increased salaries or production will go down and the company, if it needs to volume to make a profit, may find itself losing money despite laying off a third of its lowest paid workers.
But as the City of Greensboro has learned, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is much more complicated than just increasing the paychecks of the lowest paid workers. If the lowest paid worker is making $10 an hour and their immediate supervisor is making $12 an hour, and the supervisor’s supervisor is making $14 an hour, then not only would the $10 an hour worker get a raise to $15, but his supervisor would need to get a raise to at least $17 and his supervisor to $19 and so forth and so on up the line.
The City Council passed a resolution to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The city is moving in that direction, but members of the City Council who don’t understand business or economics keep asking the city manager to go ahead and just do it. City Manager Jim Westmoreland has repeatedly told the City Council that it isn’t that simple or that cheap and the city needs to move ahead cautiously or they will have a huge mess on their hands because it isn’t simply the supervisors whose wages have to be raised but also the employees with more experience and training. If someone who was just hired is paid $15 an hour it isn’t fair to be paying someone with five years experience $15 an hour also. Salaried workers can’t be paid less than the people they supervise.
So although it sounds simple, it’s complicated – even for the government that doesn’t have to worry about making a profit. One of the reasons for the recent tax increase was the need to raise wages in response to the mandate from the City Council to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. More tax increases are likely to follow.
The major difficulty for business is economics. The $15 an hour figure was simply pulled out of a hat. There are a number of states where the median hourly wage is below $15 an hour, which means thousands of workers would have to get raises if the Democratic Party gets its way and raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
A simple indication of whether the minimum wage is a good idea or not is to consider if there were no minimum wage would employers be paying people $2 an hour. Some might try to, but it isn’t likely that many would because people wouldn’t work for $2 an hour. Wages would have to be raised to the point that people will work, and I don’t know what that is but in many parts of the country it is currently higher than minimum wage.
At the other extreme, what would happen if the federal government raised the minimum wage to $500 an hour? If the Democrats are right, there would be no drain on the economy, workers would not be laid off, companies would not close down. The result would be that minimum wage workers would be driving new Mercedes, buying vacation houses, going to work in Armani suits and generally living the life of someone making over $1 million a year.
I hope nobody thinks that would work, but if it won’t work to set the minimum wage at an arbitrary high number, why wouldn’t it work to set it at an arbitrary lower number.