Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Modern Day Civil War? (Part 2)

     The War Between the States.

     For those of us that grew up during the 60's, 70's or even earlier this was a term more widely used to describe the American Civil War.  We were taught that in this war, neighbors fought neighbors, brothers fought brothers, fathers fought sons.  The issues surrounding the causes were as divisive then as some of the ones we face today.  Historians, folks that record and interpret data and get paid to do so do not even agree on everything regarding the reasons this war was fought.  Most of today's population simply reduce the cause of the war to slavery.  Many dismiss this as a primary reason choosing to include it inside a larger problem of economics.  Some point to the elitist and hypocritical views of northern politicians bent on forcing their views on what they perceived to be a southern population that was somehow "beneath them".  Whatever cause you support, there is one undeniable fact; the country was so divided that citizens chose to withdraw from the United States.  The further removed from that time that we get (151 years and counting) the less impact it seems to have on today's Americans.  While the thought of individual states actually seceding from the Union seems like some ridiculous fantasy to our younger generations, we are getting to a point in our 's nation's history where tensions are so high between the federal government and the states that some have even suggested secession.  While this is highly unlikely to occur in our society today the tensions are still volatile enough that courts are increasingly having to rule on differences of philosophies as our federal government tries more and more to dictate state laws.  The Federal Department of Justice has virtually ignored prosecution of federal laws choosing instead to interfere with individual local matters even to the point of beginning investigations regarding social issues before the actual criminal investigations are completed.  At times they have been dispatched before the bodies are even cold.  It is not just an appearance that the DOJ has been trying to influence investigations at the local level while ignoring overwhelming evidence of criminal law at the federal level, it is reality.  The highest level of law enforcement, one that has to be free of political influence to be effective, has been corrupted.  To say that state governments and the federal government are at distinct odds would be an understatement, especially in those states that are considered "purple" states for the purposes of a national election.  See our own North Carolina as an example.
     Personally, what I have experienced the past 18 months is somewhat depressing.  I have seen those who express radical ideas vehemently defended and even advocated for by the media though their positions represent less than .1% of the general population.  I have seen those same folks shouting down more commonly held beliefs by citizens from both political affiliations and attacked as being somehow "prejudiced" or worse though they are only expressing their beliefs which is also protected free speech.  On the one hand the radical minority is screaming tolerance yet have zero "tolerance" themselves for those who hold more mainstream views.  The notion that everything that is a commonly held belief, principle or religious choice contrary to radical thought is somehow racist or even bigoted has caused a withdrawal of participation by those that are actually interested in improving society.  It does not matter how loud you shout at extremists or how much you try to reason while presenting data contrary to their beliefs; they will not change their positions one iota. Citizens that hold more moderate or reasonable political positions are the best hope for improvement.  They are not going to be reached when being constantly attacked and challenged simply because they do not take an extreme position or "take a side".  If compromise is your goal then that has to begin with reasonable, receptive people.  Strict categorization cannot be taken back by adding the qualifier "oh, we didn't mean you".  Again, the louder you shout and the more aggressively insistent you are, the less likely I am to hear what you are saying or give consideration to your cause.
     The example of my "almost 50 year friend" is not exclusive to them.  Moderate positions are currently "out of style" even to the point of condemnation.  This isn't divided simply between conservatives and liberals.  I have observed folks that I have known 30 years or more turn into angry and much more radical people than I ever imagined.  Obviously a good many of these acquaintances are of a differing political philosophy though were raised in a very similar family structure.  However, I have also observed those of similar political philosophies go completely intolerant of even friends of a moderate slight left lean.  The conversations have turned almost exclusively confrontational, rarely ending in any level of consensus.  No compromise.  No give and take.  No positive dialogue.  The sum of these ingredients is no positive progress.  It has led me to the position that those in the news and front and center in our political landscape are not interested in solutions, just their own personal gain.  If you wave a magic wand and allowed positive dialogue causing real progress to be made, many of them would be out of a job and out of the limelight.  Do you believe they are willing to sacrifice their notoriety, fame and personal fortune making for the betterment of common folks?  Those who would defend such individuals are either naive or aspire to be just like them.
     There are friends that I have known for years that have become aggressive and even inflammatory whenever political opinions are presented.  People I have rarely or never had a cross word with now argue vehemently even when there is no argument.  They are so consumed with defending their positions that they do not care to listen to what is actually being said to them and become defensive if you do not roll over and say "I agree with everything you said" regardless of whether they are basing their positions on fact or third hand propaganda.  Some I have unfriended.  A lot I have "un-followed".  A few I have been hurt by because they have decided to categorize me simply because I don't see things their way.  What really bothers me is that I and most all of us have allowed extremist politics to infringe on our personal lives and relationships in this negative manner.  We are divided as a country and as citizens of a state and community.  We are divided among our friends and even families.  We have been divided and we are are close to being conquered.  The War Between the States; can we survive another?
     Are we willing as American citizens to unite and defeat these foes that are much more common to us all than we have been willing to admit?  Or will we continue to elect the same mistakes over and over providing political fertilizer for their selfish ambitions of power and wealth?
     We must unite to do this ourselves.  I don't see Abraham Lincoln walking through the door to the White House anytime soon.                        

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lest We Forget

     "December 7th, 1941; a date which will live in infamy...."
                                                               President Franklin Roosevelt, December 8, 1941 

     The Empire of Japan attacked the United States Naval base in the U.S. territory of Hawaii.  The attack was unprovoked.  Until that time the United States had not participated in what is now known as World War II.  An "isolationist" movement existed in the country and support for entering the war in the European Theatre was not solid.  Allies such as Great Britain and France were being attacked on their soil and eventually France would be occupied.  Adolph Hitler and Germany was taking ground in other countries and had aligned themselves with another fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini of Italy.
     The "isolationist" movement virtually disappeared after Pearl Harbor.  With an attack on not only a U.S. held territory but also a major naval installation coupled with the crippling of the protection of our Pacific coastline, Americans had to consider the possibility of further attacks on home soil.  The oceans no longer an insurmountable obstacle, concern for the loyalty of Japanese immigrants already in this country were rampant.  Many were gathered and placed into holding facilities.  Hindsight tells us that this was a reaction to simply not knowing if any of those folks were infiltrators or supported Japan's cause.  Intelligence was not as sophisticated as it is today.  An over-reaction?  By today's political landscape along with what we know almost 75 years later many would argue so though our citizen's who lived during that time would tell you that after such an unthinkable attack there was just no way of knowing if subversives existed.  Fortunately, the Japanese Empire decided not to strike our west coast and our fleet and troops in the Pacific eventually prevailed against an enemy so dedicated to their leaders and their cause that years after the war was over Japanese soldiers were still being discovered having never left their posts.

     "Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts".
                                                            President George Bush, September 11, 2001

     15 years ago today, the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the White House were targeted by radical Islamic terrorists dedicated to kill as many American citizens as they could.  Three of the targets were successfully hit and only the brave actions of American civilians to retake an airplane and thwart the attempt on the White House prevented the total success of the radical Islamic terrorist's planned attack.  This attack did not occur on a U.S. territory or some remote island in the middle of the ocean.  This occurred inside the borders of the 48 mainland states.  It was not an action that began outside our borders.  It was carried out by subversives who had infiltrated our country through visas.  They were from Saudi Arabia (15), United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt (1) and Lebanon (1).  All had known ties to Al-Qaeda.  Only one of the original planned pilots in the plot were denied a visa.  Some even attained their flight training here inside the U.S.  2,977 U.S. citizens lost their lives and over 6,000 others were injured.  The naivety of American soil being impenetrable should have disappeared forever that day.
     Yet, how good is our memory?  Of course we have moments of silence and ceremonies honoring the memories of our fallen citizens.  Citizens who went to work that day feeling secure that America was a safe place to live and that our "enemies" that hate us and want to do us harm only exist in television news reports and are "way over there".  On September 11, 2001 we were given a minute taste of what it is like to be Israel.  They live with this threat every day and have since 1948.  We also were reminded of the World Trade Center bombings in 1993 which was also carried out by Al-Qaeda operatives that had illegally entered the country.  We remember and honor the dead but many of our citizens still seem to either forget how these acts of terror were carried out and by not only who but the manner in which they got here.
     The parallels between 1941 and 2001 are similar but are distinctly different in one way.  In 1941, the fear was "they might hit here".  In 2001 (and should have been in 1993) it was reinforced in dramatic fashion that "they did hit here.
     So exactly why do we have citizens allowing themselves to be influenced by left wing liberal politicians that all is well and that open borders are the way to go?  Europe apparently forgot; they are being overrun by Syrian refugees and others from the region and buildings and people are literally being blown up all over.  Great Britain has seen the light.  Yet, we have a Presidential candidate being criticized for wanting to control access to our country and one who wants to take on half a million refugees from this part of the world where a radical Islamic terrorist organization trains and operates and whose mission is to kill Americans.  And she wants to do it with little or no vetting or documentation on these refugees even with military and intelligence warnings that terrorist operatives will integrate and enter the country with them.  Are there actually American citizens that are so gullible or stupid in the face of recent history to believe this is a sensible mode of operation?
     We remember and honor the memories and lives of fallen civilians and also of those who gave their lives to protect the very freedoms and way of life we enjoy.  Are we now going to insult them by pretending that the dangers are still "over there" and expose our citizens to unnecessary perils and a feeling of insecurity simply to pacify left wing extremists or ensure political control?
     The WHO is important; so is the HOW



Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Modern Day Civil War?

Disclaimer #1

Donald Trump was not in my original list of potential Presidential candidates; in retrospect, not even top 50.

Disclaimer #2

I decided 25 years ago I would never, EVER vote for Hillary Clinton for any public office.

     I believe that I can report with a high rate of accuracy that the vast majority of Americans as well as most of you reading this blog agree with #1.  As polling indicates, a large majority of Americans do not trust Hillary Clinton and a significant portion would agree with me on #2 though not in the same overwhelming numbers as #1.  Battle lines have been drawn and two distinct sides have emerged.  Those who will never vote for Hillary/support Trump and those who will not vote for Trump/support Hillary.  It is not a coincidence that I have listed the negative before the positive, the "anti" before the "support".  That is how most folks feel.  For me, #2 overrides #1.  If Trump is 50, Hillary is no better than 51.  Doing #1 on my leg and telling me it's raining is better than a criminal lying to my face and dropping #2 on my head.
     However, this isn't a campaign article trying to convince you who to vote for or against.  That would be a huge waste of time for 80% of our voting population as they have drawn their line in the sand.  This is about the nastiness, the vile, the absolute lack of compromise to acknowledge that people on both sides of the political dividing line can have good ideas, share points of view or ethical positions.  It is about overreaching political correctness and the shame perpetrated on good people that extremist politics have brought to our society.  Disagree with an extremist point of view and you are labeled with a derogatory name or even slandered simply for disagreeing.  As a society we have been duped into believing that one party represents segments of society in total and that the other side is completely against certain religious denominations, ethnicities or races.  Americans allow politicians and their media allies to play on our emotions by not educating themselves on facts.  We should all know by now that media sensationalizes to fit their agenda yet we accept their interpretations as they present them without nary a thought of the actual truth.  We accept one sentence sound bites without actually questioning the context in which the statements are made or the full content of the speech or statement surrounding the single sentence.
     This election presents two completely different candidates; one who has never served in elected office and has developed a certain "celebrity" persona over his public career and one who has been in politics for 35 years with a resume void of accomplishment and fraught with failure.  The far right elitist Republican party cronies cannot stand the thought of their status quo world being upset.  They have a great fear of their  ancient positions being the least bit modified to fit modern times.  Having strong positions on moral and ethical issues or hot topic items such as abortion or gun control is not the problem.  Archaic positions on trade and lack of action by the GOP on previous campaign promises created the nominee.  They refuse to accept that their job performance is held in disdain by their own party members.  Some of these cronies would obviously prefer that their party nominee lose this election just so they can maintain their status completely disregarding the country's best interest. They are selfish; and to me they are useless.  There is far too much at stake in this election to act like spoiled brats.
     On the other side we have a candidate that has been sleazy, corrupt and unable to tell the truth her entire public life.  Her own party had to have "special rules" to ensure her nomination over a 74 year old socialist.  She continues to tell lie after lie, make denial after denial and excuse all of her incompetent and yes, criminal behavior as a vast right wing conspiracy, even in the face of video evidence to the contrary.  Her record of accomplishment in government is non-existent.  She cannot run on her record.  She is even now accusing the media of being "harder on my campaign than they are Trump's".  Really Hillary?
     Like it or not, one of them is going to win.  The rhetoric of the past 8 years coupled with the vitriol being spewed in this campaign is further dividing the country.  We have been fed a mountain of inaccurate and misleading stories.  Those who have made up their minds are quick to jump on any little quote or report even if they haven't bothered to confirm the truthfulness.  The last time I tried to point out any reasons I had for choosing who I was voting for, a person I have known for almost 50 years replied "she's better than that KKK leader Trump".  That statement made by an educated person describes perfectly what has become a problem in politics and society.  Donald Trump did not ask David Duke to endorse him.  The fact that he did does not make Trump a member of the Klan, much less a Grand Dragon or Imperial Wizard.  His positions on immigration does not make him a bigot either.  If you state "I perceive some of his comments" to be that way, fine.  To take the position that there is empirical evidence that proves he is a member of the KKK is not only false, it is irresponsible.  The past month that is all we have heard from Hillary as the Democratic party once again plays on hate, fear and racial division to draw votes.
     Mr. Trump has certainly had his mis-statements and there is no denying that.  Recently, he directed an appeal to African-Americans to try something different instead of the same economic policies that has seen unemployment go up, home ownership go down and food stamp dependence double the past 8 years by asking the question "what do you have to lose"?  Some of my friends who happen to be African-American, took offense to that question.  I understand their interpretation but also understand that they were not Trump's intended audience.  Whoever wins this election will not really have a significance on their lives in the way Trump was referring to.  None of the economic indicators of poverty apply to them.  Could he have asked "how can a new approach and a fresh vision be any more damaging than our current direction"?  Semantics, yes.  Is his question out of line or insulting?  Not to me but I am not one of the folks he was trying to appeal to either.
     Positions such as these and the "win at all costs" attitudes of political party groupies have greatly reduced the possibility of any semblance of harmony in this country on a national scale.  Large urban areas will continue to suffer and listen to local activists whose only goal is to continue division so they can remain relevant.  Media will continue to provide free advertisement for radical groups who will continue to yell, scream and confront innocent people in an attempt to exercise their free speech and suppress any dissenting views.  Jumping to conclusions will continue to be the norm with no corrections or apologies forthcoming when the original reports don't turn out to fit the investigated facts.  The divisions are so deep it makes one wonder if we are on the verge of a modern day version of Civil War; hopefully not taking up arms against each other or secession but certainly divided if not polarized by extreme points of view.  People are not interested in communicating if they are scared.
     20% of the country's voters will decide this election.  In many ways they are the smart ones.  They don't watch Fox News or MSNBC or even advertise who they are voting for.  They look at their paychecks, their schools, their confidence in national security and their personal situation in deciding who to vote for.  They won't be sidetracked by sensationalized incidents publicized with the intent to divert our attention from government incompetence.  They certainly won't hand a blank check to a candidate based on political affiliation.
     Political candidates encourage everyone to get out and vote"!  I would encourage everyone to educate yourself, not rely one iota on media reports then go vote.  If you hear a statement from a candidate as reported on a media outlet that sounds suspicious or "bad", go on line and find the entire speech then judge for yourself.  You might be surprised at how different a perception can be when the entire context is available.
     We have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to live as individuals and have our own beliefs without being told by politicos or media or radical antagonists what they should be.  We can even decide to believe in ideas and values regardless of which side of the aisle those philosophies land on. Does it not then make sense to stand up for those beliefs and not allow a political party, radical group  or a media outlet to determine what we believe or who we vote for based on biased reporting?
     It would be wise for any group that advocates their position in a loud voice and sincerely wants be taken seriously to understand that most of the people you are trying to convince to support your cause do not respond well to pressure or bullying tactics.  The more you yell and scream, the less I hear.  The more inaccurate conclusions you jump to without the patience to allow proper investigation to discover the facts, the less credibility you have.  The more indignance you display in refusing to admit fault, the less I care.  No matter your cause, if nobody is listening your efforts are for naught.  Intimidating folks creates withdrawal, not awareness.
     Hopefully, we are not too far gone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Conservative, Yes! Republican???

     Is anyone else frustrated?  Confused?  Mad?  My beliefs are pretty basic.  I believe in the United States Constitution.  I believe in God.  I believe in the rights and privileges bestowed upon us by our forefathers that established this country.  I have always believed (and for the most part still do) that 95% of Americans believe in three basic principles; they want to work for a living, they want to obey the laws of the land and they believe in some form of religion or worship.  Not only does that give most folks a lot of common ground to work with, it also leaves plenty of room for individualism, multiculturalism and even healthy dissent.  Whether right or left of center in your political views it should leave plenty of common ground to encourage compromise within our Amendments, General Statutes and local laws.  So how have we come to this place?
     I have been lamenting the fact that extremists have taken over both political parties.  My personal beliefs are grounded right of center; I am a conservative.  Being a "conservative" does not mean I believe everything any particular political party believes or tells me to believe.  There are different levels of agreement.  There are different details in every issue.  Individual beliefs are protected in this country and it's okay to have differing views that are consistent with conservatism though they may be inconsistent with one or two details.  Not every issue is black and white.
     It has been very easy to observe and point out left wing extremists and their views the past 8 years.  In my lifetime I have never seen such a turn to the left in ideology as the Democratic Party  has undergone since 2008.  Yes President Obama has certainly guided them in that direction but he cannot take all of the credit.  His rise to prominence came from a desire for change from the status quo within the Democratic Party and to a certain extent the country.  His campaign message of "hope and change" played into this desire and elevated him over all of his challengers who were seen as "establishment" politicians.  It did not take very long for folks wanting change to realize that his particular brand of "change" was not for them and voted Republicans back into the majority in the Congress in 2010 and 2014.  Democrats that have somewhat liberal views that do not agree with an extremist left wing agenda have been left to sit in silence for fear of being "called out" for daring to disagree with this President.  This also happens in cities like Baltimore and Greensboro where extreme liberal and progressive policies have killed the economy and caused a culture of poverty and government dependence.  The result is voter apathy where local elections (especially those held in odd years) rarely see representative turnouts leaving organized activists to return ineffective progressives to their seats election after election.  Instead of banding together to try and overcome the odds, folks that can have a decided affect by running as moderates or supporting those who would at least consider compromise take the easy way out; they move.  Bye bye property owners.  So long citizen tax base.  Adios businesses and corporations that can provide jobs to large quantities of people with limited education and job skills.
     I worked for the majority of my 29 years as a Greensboro Police Officer in east Greensboro.  My working area was and is a predominately minority population.  Sunday mornings were the most relaxing time to work in this area because most everyone was in church.  Most folks that go to church believe in God or at least some higher being.  Most of the political activists in this section of town in recent years are ministers.  Most ministers I have known in my life believe in God.  Yet at the Democratic Convention in 2012 in Charlotte, five voice votes were taken on whether to include God in their political platform.  After the 5th vote (which I still believe the "nos" prevailed) they declared "the ayes have it".  Are we to believe that the majority of the minority communities in this country that are traditionally registered and vote Democrat and have deep, traditional ties to their religious beliefs are now indoctrinated into left wing extremist beliefs?  I don't; yet they are all shouted down if they dissent one iota from the folks in charge.
    So here we are in 2016.  The Democrats are once again relying on old establishment Hillary to carry their banner forward.  The folks that rebel against establishment politics propelled Bernie Sanders to a competition so fierce the party had to come up with "super delegates" just to insure she would win.  With all the problems facing this country today, one would think the Republicans would have a cakewalk in November; one would think.  
     Donald Trump has won the Republican nomination fair and square.  He won because he is not establishment, says what most folks think when it comes to the economy, defense of our country, taking care of veterans, etc.  He comes with deficiencies and a lack of political polish, no doubt.  He says things that can easily be twisted into political fodder by a national press all to eager to keep the Democrats in power and their extremist supporters in line.  He is not a professional politician.  In other words, he ain't in the club!.
     And now his triumph and popularity has revealed other things.  More citizens turned out to vote in Republican primaries this year than at any other time in history indicating a block of voters once again anxious for change.  He revealed a total dissatisfaction with the status quo and a voting populace that no longer accepts excuses from what they perceive as ineffective Republican Congressmen and Senators.
     Mr. Trump has also revealed this; a Republican establishment so desperate to keep their club going that some of them are not only fighting the nomination but openly supporting Hillary Clinton.  Really?  A corrupt candidate that has the blood of Americans on her hands and shows absolutely no concern or remorse for their deaths, no concern or sympathy for their families is preferable simply so you can keep the club together?  Is there any wonder at all why conservative voters are now questioning allegiance to a political party that seems hell bent on alienating its' members?  Is this not a form of extremism?
     Ronald Reagen used to be a Democrat.  Bush the elder was considered a "moderate" when he originally ran for President.  John McCain was considered a "maverick" for views that did not always jive with old right wing establishment thinking.  Mitt Romney was a moderate.  All have won the Republican nomination and all were considered "inadequate" by the elitist establishment at one time or another, in one way or another.  You would think by now that those stubborn, establishment folks would get it.  Americans want a government that works, accomplishes what they are tasked by election to do and is representative of everyone, not just those with the financial means to win an election.  We don't care about your extremist's or political party differences; just do the job.  
     Left wing extremist policies have not worked at home or abroad the past 8 years.  There are also quite a few Republican establishment policies that have not worked the past several years.  President Reagen disagreed with some of those and successfully navigated Congressional waters to get things done.  Some compromise is good.  Mr. Trump openly disagrees with some establishment policies with regard to the economy, trade and immigration enforcement.  Why can't compromise work again?
     This election is one of the most important in our history.  Many issues vital to the future of our children and our health as a country are in the balance most notably a Supreme Court balance that is crucial.  Conservative and moderate voters have to unite.  It is becoming evident that we cannot depend on the leadership and establishment politicians of the Grand Old Party at this point to bring us together.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Left Wing Extremist Bait and Switch

     During the "comments from the floor" segment of the June 21st Greensboro City Council meeting, a frequent visitor to both the council and this blog approached and requested that "the City Council do something about Marc Ridgill".  Yes, our own favorite communist, anti-police agitator Brian Watkins was in front of Council yet again.  It seems Mr. Watkins is much like the school yard bully; when he has the dominant position he is empowered but punch the bully in the mouth and he complains of unfair treatment.  Poor Brian's complaint (which you can watch on video) is that he is "being targeted by Marc Ridgill because I target police officers".  Who woulda thunk it?  Me, a retired Greensboro Police Officer of 29 years of service and many friends and colleagues that still serve the city in the face of very little support from city government would even dare think about targeting an anti-police agitator who among his many vile practices steals Facebook photos from officers pages so he can write derogatory and disgusting things about them?  Would I even consider targeting a person that lives to hide behind several computer aliases yet refers to officers as "murderers" or "cowards", then cries boo-hoo to the Mayor and blames the police department because he doesn't like me exercising my First Amendment Rights to criticize his use of his First Amendment Rights?  As I stated to Internal Affairs when they called while investigating his complaint on me last month, "if he continues to attack Greensboro Police Officers or any law enforcement for no reason at all I will intensify my efforts to challenge him on every false claim he makes".
     However, if you're reading Brian (and we know that you are) this article is not about you.  The above example is classic left wing political bait and switch.  "I target but he shouldn't be allowed to".  It's the silly political season that has front and center two candidates that will produce water cooler debates for the ages.  It has already started and is already ridiculous.  If you are dyed in the wool Democrat you have already made up your mind that Hillary is the one.  If you are dyed in the wool Republican you have already made up your mind that you will never, ever consider voting for Hillary.  So if you are in the camp of "this is the best we can do?" and you actually pay attention to what goes on in the world you have a dilemma.  If you fall into this category, you are also going to decide this election.  Consider what we have heard in the last week in the media as well as what some of my "dyed in the wool" liberal friends have stated to me.
     "The things I have heard Trump say and the things his supporters say are scary.  He might start a war.  His positions on immigration and accepting Islamic refugees are racist.  If he wins he might put us back into a recession and he might destroy all of our trade agreements.  He isn't even that great of a business man."

     Admittedly there are some unknowns with a candidate that has not served as a politician.  That is a big part of the Trump allure.  Most folks with common sense from both sides of the aisle would agree that we are having trouble properly vetting legal immigrants and given the extraordinary rise in mass shootings since 2008 involving suspects with Islamic affiliations curtailing immigration from parts of the world where terrorists are concentrated would be a smart thing to do.  The position of Mr. Trump not being a great business man is just asinine.  Only four bankruptcy procedures out of over 1100 owned businesses; please.  It is correct to question his thoughts and policies, BUT are his unknowns really any greater than any other first time presidential candidate?  Promises are always made; how often are they kept?
     I don't have to rehash Hillary's record of non-achievement.  She is corrupt and even Democrats will admit that.  She talks about championing women yet has made millions off of countries that demean and torture women as a matter of law.  She takes money from many countries that will kill you for being gay or lesbian.  She even pays the men who work for her more than her female employees.  She has the blood of Americans on her hands and even blatantly lied to the families of those killed.  And when questioned about her responsibility for these Americans by Congress her answer was not one of remorse and sorrow but a very flippant "what difference does it make"?
     So your choice is this; no record as a politician and concerns about what he might do or a record so corrupt and poor that the candidate cannot run on it.  However, besides the candidates themselves it would be wise to consider some other left wing ideals represented by Hillary.  For instance, every time there is a mass shooting we hear from the left wingers "We need MORE gun laws".  Never mind that in 2008-2010 the Democrats had control of everything yet the topic wasn't brought up.  Would Democrat Senators have staged a sit in were this not an election year?  Was this a stunt to deflect attention from their candidates FBI investigations, unlawful e-mails and a bad resume?  Who would enforce these new laws?  Oh yeah, law enforcement.  The very ones you have attacked and denigrated for the past 8 years even to the point of not allowing them to enforce certain laws such as equipment violations.  How many editorials have we read right here in Greensboro criticizing equipment violation stops or impeding traffic stops?  Think the folks in New Jersey/New York appreciate enforcing the "broken windshield" law today?
     How about jumping to conclusions and involving yourself in local law enforcement cases and turning them into Civil Rights cases investigated by the Department of Justice before the local criminal investigation is finished?  Did the President, Department of Justice and media apologize for ruining a police officer's life when it turned out they were wrong?  Of course not.  Left wingers just move on to the next best thing that fits their talking points.
     The point is that in the left wing extremist world, oxymoronic behavior is a way of life.  You are with them or you are a racist, or a bigot, or insensitive.  The First Amendment is for left wingers, not conservatives.  Islamists must be allowed to pray in school to be sensitive to their culture.  Christians must not pray in school because it is offensive.  Private and Charter Schools are ruining public education and the folks that send their kids there are elitists and closet racists.  Discipline in public schools targets minorities and School Resource Officers create stigmas.  Police Officers are killing people and we must have reform.  Chicago; silence.  We must be very careful not to attach Islam to terrorists.  It is offensive to display the Ten Commandments on or around government monuments even though our laws are rooted on those very principles.
     I could go on and I am sure you could too.  The country is not perfect but I have a very difficult time believing that the majority of Americans regardless of political affiliation believe that radical points of view deserve more empathy than our traditional beliefs and values.  A religion founded in beliefs from abroad certainly does not deserve to be treated more prominently or favorably than any of the denominations and principles that this country was founded on.  It is way past time that the extremists were told to take a hike.
     Last week I chatted with one such left wing extremist about this Presidential race.  The "unknowns" with Trump were discussed and though I pointed out the naming of potential Supreme Court nominees as evidence of a known my left winger refused to accept it.  However, he did make a statement that I found incredible and a perfect example of left wing extremism desperation at its' finest.  In support of Hillary he stated;

     "Yes she is corrupt.  However, her level of corruptness falls well within acceptable political parameters".

Ponder that.  Understand that is the philosophy the vast majority of your media is operating under.  Is the first time political outsider more of a threat than the known corrupt crook?  Was the actor a better option than the incumbent peanut farmer?
     Conservatives you have been targeted.  We have to target those who would bully and threaten and spread vile falsehoods.  It's time to punch the bully in the face!          


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A High Opinion of Themselves

     Civic Service:

     "an organized period of substantial engagement and contribution to the local, national, or world community, recognized and valued by society, with minimal monetary compensation to the participant".

      Global Service Institute, Washington University in St. Louis

     Get well Marikay.  No one deserves to be hurt.  And when you make sense you deserve to be applauded.  You see, Councilperson Marikay Abuzuaiter has gone on record as saying she would have voted against the proposed city council pay raise because "it doesn't feel right".  It ain't right!!  While others will attempt to give credit to Mayor Nancy Vaughn and Councilman Justin Outling for voting against it, I cannot.  Their reason of "it shouldn't begin until 2017" (next election year) though they agree with a raise is just not strong enough.  An average council raise of approximately 60% is the largest by a huge margin of any raise in possibly the nation's history for a city council.  Why is this so ridiculous (other than the obvious)?  Let me count the ways.
     As the Greensboro News-Record points out, the Greensboro City Council is currently among the lowest paid councils among North Carolina's largest cities.  This raise would make them among the highest paid.  The total new compensation would cost tax payers approximately $76,000 per year or roughly the salary of two new Greensboro Police Officers.  Is it right that this council is among the lowest paid?  One can certainly argue that they are among if not the lowest performing council in the state.  When I worked for the city we received performance evaluations.  Has the citizens of Greensboro evaluated the council's performance?  The numbers that measure such performance are certainly not complimentary; highest unemployment rate, highest use of food stamps, 20% poverty rate with the highest property tax rate in the state to boot and considering raising them even more.  There is no plan to alleviate these numbers and no relief in sight.
     This council also voted to raise the city manager's salary though his performance has been poor as well.  Then add in the fact that every councilperson would have you believe that the Greensboro Coliseum loses money every year yet continue to pay Coliseum Director Matt Brown the highest salary of all Greensboro City employees.  This would be either a ruse or gross incompetence.
     All of this yet city employees are not being compensated for carrying out their jobs anywhere close to a 60% raise.  My last ten years with the Police Department I was advised that I had maxed out for my pay position.  "We expect your same level of above standard work but you cannot make any more money".  Would the citizens agree that Council has performed at an "above standard" level?  Raises for city employees the past several years have been in the 2% range with only tenths of a percent distinguishing the difference between standard and above standard evaluations.  Long time benefits such as longevity pay have been taken away.  Council positions are part time jobs.  I realize that a good portion of our council does not work (which is a big problem in and of itself).  Others are handsomely compensated through job salaries or other means.  If your complaint is that city council business takes up a lot of your time therefore you believe you should be compensated for that time or it's not worth it, then get out. It's called civic service!
     City employees work infinitely harder than you, have to implement and live by the crazy things you approve then sit back and watch you refuse to support them, giving in to special interests and opportunistic antagonists; all the while supporting a City Manager that is at best your puppet.  We have stood by and watched council meetings, which should be specifically for city business, allowed by you to turn into circuses for people with social agendas.  Our council meetings have become a laughing stock completely void of professionalism.  We read about ordinances or motions being passed without even being read or even understood by council members.  We watch as failed attorneys such as Lewis Pitts are time and time again allowed to disrupt meetings with no consequences forthcoming.  And if that isn't enablement at its' finest, we then watch as tens of thousands of tax payer dollars are given to law breakers supported by special interests for unsubstantiated claims of false arrest or police abuse.  We even have the nerve to allow the city manager to direct punishment for officers in these cases though a judicial official has ruled the arrests lawful.  These actions and lack of support from council are despicable.
     Yet, you decide you deserve not only a raise but a 60 freaking percent raise?  Do you believe that by the city's own performance evaluation standard that you would be rated above standard?  Care to put it to a referendum?  Better yet, let's poll the city employees who have to implement and enforce your bidding; do you dare?
     Marikay is correct; it doesn't feel right.  Until the City Council's performance improves it ain't right.  Or to sum their performance up by city evaluation standards, they are not responding to training!  
     I recommend termination!                     

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark"

     Shakespeare used this line to denote corruption or the opinion that something was wrong.  Many city wide bloggers such as myself have suspected such here in Greensboro for many years.  Former city employees and especially police officers have known it for many years.  Regardless of one's views on the effectiveness of left wing progressive political practices, the combination of perceptions of impropriety and the actual catering to opportunistic antagonists now has Greensboro "circling the drain".  Campaign promises that were spoken of by the Mayor and incumbent council members are just a scant memory now.  Once again our council has decided that they like what they do, numbers be damned.  And while residents of Greensboro, especially those on the east side continue to wait on jobs and new businesses that can pull our city from the doldrums of poverty, council still wastes time on issues that are only important to those who wish to make a quick buck or keep their name in the paper.  Material that would fall into these categories would generate many blog articles.  Today I choose to address a particular practice of waste and a dangerous precedent.
     For years it has been common knowledge that the City of Greensboro will settle any lawsuit or financial claim if the cost of settlement is less than the cost of defending.  Every civil attorney in Greensboro knows this too.  In the past, exceptions have been made if the settlement would set such a dangerous precedent that literally thousands would come out of the proverbial woodwork to collect on any incident that closely resembled that settlement.  For instance, arrest on a mistaken identity might be settled if the asking price was reasonable as judgment would obviously be rendered to the complainant should the case go to court.  Even on cases where the evidence was at best marginal the city would take the fiscally effective way out.  In some ways, this makes sense as long as it does not negatively affect an employee who more than likely did nothing wrong.  Recently the city decided to give two brothers who were lawfully arrested $50,000.  How can I say "lawfully"?  Because a court official said so; and until another court official that has the title of "Judge" disagrees it will remain a lawful arrest.  In Greensboro, our City Manager seems to believe that he has the qualifications, experience and knowledge of the law to make those determinations.  He even believes that he should further embarrass his employees by offering apologies on their behalf without allowing due process to occur and finding out for sure if in fact the arrests are unlawful.  It's very simple; conviction means lawful, dismissed by a judge after motion means unlawful.  It's a pretty easy standard.  Yet, our Manager obviously did not want this case to be tried.  Was he pressured?  Probably.  Is he scared?  Oh yeah, obviously.  Did these two people deserve $50,000 for being unlawfully arrested?  Not at this point; and unless these cases are followed up on and prosecuted and a different interpretation is made by a judge they will officially remain LAWFUL.
     While I am researching this particular incident, another has slipped through the cracks in the amount of $10,000.  This settlement was in response to a known anti-police agitator being arrested twice on separate occasions by two different female officers.  This person is 6'5" and just north of 300 pounds with an aggressive demeanor toward officers.  On March 9, 2015 he was arrested for Disorderly Conduct during a counter protest.  He was also arrested on November 22, 2014 for Interfering with an Officer in the Performance of Her Duties.  In the filed lawsuit, communications with the Police Attorney and the Department, no detail of the alleged misconduct was described.  The lawsuit continuously and consistently refers to this:

     "displayed force against plaintiff and threatened him with immediate non-consensual body contact, consummating his assault and rendering it into a battery, by touching and handling his body while placing him under arrest and transporting him into a police vehicle".

There is no mention of what law the officer violated or why the arrest was unlawful.  Remember, the magistrate gave probable cause.  Touching someone in the act of taking him into custody for a lawful arrest is not only appropriate but necessary for the safety of the prisoner.  No other acts are described or physical injuries detailed.  No reasons are provided as to why they believe the arrest was unlawful.  No information or description of why they believe the officer acted with malice is provided.  This is repeated in the lawsuit for both arrests.  In the first one, the very obvious "slight of hand occurs".
     In the first case, our suspect approaches a driver who is being detained while the officer is conducting a traffic stop.  A traffic stop is an on-going investigation and this one was for a potential DWI.  Our suspect walks directly into the crime scene, hands the driver an item.  This alone constitutes Interfering.  The officer has no way of knowing what is being handed to the driver creating a huge officer safety concern.  No details of the officer's alleged misconduct are provided but in the lawsuit, the plaintiff admits this:

     "Plaintiff handed a printed flyer to the driver of the stopped vehicle concerning police liability, asked the driver if there was a problem to which the driver responded there was not.  Immediately, the plaintiff backed away somewhat, and continued recording the event with his cell phone photographic application".

You see, there is a confession in there that he violated the law.  This is why the city manager should butt out.  This attorney and plaintiff convinced the city manager that this was about recording a stop with a cell phone.  The recording had nothing to do with the arrest for Interfering.  The interfering was the actual entering of the crime scene and handing a detained suspect any item.  By entering the crime scene, this large, aggressive individual caused a big distraction to the officer taking her attention away from her detainee.  He then refused to remove himself to a safe distance from the crime scene allowing the officer to concentrate on her detainee.  His acts compromised her right and ability to maintain officer safety. That is the interference; the filming and camera had nothing to do with the violation of the law.  This time it was a piece of paper; what if he handed him a weapon?  Given the history of the plaintiff, just who had the intent of malice here?
     Yet, the powers that be settled.  Every civil lawyer in Greensboro knows that asking for a reasonable sum like $10,000 almost always will result in settlement.  However, to settle a blatant interfering charge and not allow both cases to be tried in a court of law to determine if the arrests were lawful is ridiculous.  To not at least make the plaintiffs provide any evidence of misconduct is incompetent.
     What do both of these cases, the $50,000 and $10,000 have in common?  All parties in both these cases are followers and were advocated for by Nelson Johnson.  In both cases a judicial official found probable cause for the arrests.  Both cases were recommended for dismissal by the city and not tried.  Worse yet, in both cases the city chose to punish police officers, docking them two days pay for arrests that have been determined lawful by every judicial official that has heard evidence in the cases.  Does anyone believe that in our current political climate that if it could be proven that two citizens were unlawfully arrested and grossly mistreated by the police with malice, that the restitution the court would award would ONLY be $60,000 spread between 3 people and their attorneys?
     These lawsuits are the equivalent of writing on a napkin with crayon "they arrested me and Nelson Johnson is my friend so pay me or he will call you bad names".  The City of Greensboro City Council, City Manager and City Attorney need to be held accountable.  Settling lawsuits is one thing; punishing police officers AND awarding tax payer dollars promote the perception that our officers did something wrong.  Zero evidence exists supporting that perception.  The judicial system certainly hasn't ruled so.  How much longer will the citizens of Greensboro stand by and watch the political, opportunistic antagonists in concert with our elected and appointed city officials continue to mistreat city employees in general and police officers in particular in the name of appeasement?
     $60,000 may not sound like much in the grand scheme of things but for the majority of residents of our city it sounds like a fortune.  Our city security is hanging in the balance at the moment though city officials turn a blind eye.  Stop corruptly wasting money and setting dangerous precedents and learn how to tell these opportunists NO.