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The Democrat world: Where desperation rules

04 Karl Do I wish President Donald Trip would be less confrontational, less “in your face” with some of his comments? Yes, I do. However, I confess that I give him more latitude than I give to Democrats when it comes to assessing strategy, tactics and general conduct.

There are two major reasons for this response. One is that Trump is producing extremely positive results for America and even the world. The other is that what I see as negative in his conduct pales in comparison to the mob-inspiring actions and comments of Democrats. They are desperate. Alexander Suvorov spoke truth when he said, “There is nobody more terrible than the desperate.”

Consider recent comments by several leading Democrats. References are not given here because the statements have been reported widely in printand by video:

Hillary Clinton to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour: “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about. That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”

Eric Holder, Attorney General in the Obama Administration: “It is time for us as Democrats to be as tough as they are, to be as dedicated as they are, to be as committed as they are. Michelle always says, Michelle Obama, I love her. She and my wife are really tight. Which always scares me and Barack. Michelle always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them.”a

Representative Maxine Waters, D-C.A., referring to the Trump Cabinet: “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

The three individuals quoted above will likely argue that they were not calling for violence against those who differ with the positions taken by Democrats. The problem is that no matter what one intends by their words, the speaker must always consider how people might react to what is said. These pronouncements, and others like them, have, and are, contributing to creating a mob mentality among many adherents to Democratic intentions for the direction of this nation.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a mob as “A large and disorderly crowd of people especially: one bent on riotous or destructive action.” The following incidents certainly fit the mob criteria.

From an article by Leah Millis titled “DHS Secretary

Nielsen Shouted Out of Mexican Restaurant by Protesters:” “Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was chased out of a Mexican restaurant Tuesday evening by protesters confronting her over the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Protesters crashed her meal, yelling ‘shame!’ and ‘If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace!’ while Nielsen appeared to look down at her phone before eventually exiting the restaurant.”

From an article by Avi Selk titled “Ted Cruz and wife are shouted out of D.C. restaurant over his support for Kavanaugh:” “Members of protest group Smash Racism DC heckled Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife until he left a restaurant in Northwest D.C., on Sept. 24. Heidi Cruz stood frozen in the middle of the restaurant, hands clenched beneath her shawl, teeth bared in what might have started as a grin before it changed to something else. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had not yet removed his overcoat. He and his wife had not yet reached their table, which sat set and ready for them just a few paces away: a cream-cushioned booth, as reserved. But the Cruzes had not ordered all this chanting.”

These are just two examples of the mob action I believe is being prompted by the Democrats’ ruthless disregard for life and privacy; a ruthlessness rooted in their desperation. Look again at how Heidi Cruz was affected by this mob action. If this is what we want – and are willing to accept – in our political process, this country is in far more trouble than I realized.

Another outgrowth of desperation is to, at almost any cost, seek to control the thinking of people who, by their speech and actions, make a desperate situation even more desperate. The current prime example of this point is Kanye West, an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur and fashion designer. This is a black man who unabashedly supports Trump. He, along with Jim Brown (former outstanding player in the National Football League), recently met with Trump in the Oval Office.

To appreciate the lesson from how West is being treated because of his support for the president, one must view the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRY3UHI7cTU.This video shows the entirety of what West said during the portion of the meeting that press were present. Summarized below is just some of what he addressed:

1. Welfare is the reason so many black Americans are Democrats. There came a point when jobs were limited and fathers lost their employment. Democrats offered welfare that came with more money for having more babies.

2. There is a connection between decreased mental health facilities and the increased prison population.

3. “Bravery helps beat the game of life.” He talks about his mother and father separating; leaving his home with not a lot of male energy. His view of himself as a man is helped by the way Trump makes things happen.

4. If the president does not look good, we don’t either.

5. When a reporter asked why he said President George Bush did not care about black people, West responded that he was “programmed to think from a victimized mentality, a welfare mentality.” He has broken free of that destructive mentality.

6. “Stop and Frisk” is not a tool that would help relationships in Chicago.

7. Open industries in cities like Chicago so that people have employment. Implement tax breaks so that creating jobs in cities can be profitable. Bring jobs back to America.

8. Relook at how we teach. Kids lose interest in school because they are bored. Be creative, such as using playing basketball to teach math.

Look at that partial list of what West said to Trump. Now consider some of what was said in the media about his visit, as reported by Craig Bannister in an article titled “CNN Panel: ‘Kanye West Is What Happens When Negroes Don’t Read,’ ‘Token Negro of the White House.’”

“CNN panelists repeatedly slurred rapper Kanye West over his support for President Donald Trump, and host Don Lemon did nothing but laugh when they did. A former South Carolina state representative, Democrat Bakari Sellers, now a CNN contributor, warned that Kanye’s opinions show ‘what happens when Negroes don’t read:’ ‘Kanye West is what happens when Negroes don’t read. And we have this  now and now Donald Trump is going to use it and pervert and he’s going to have someone who can stand with him and take pictures.’”

“Another CNN contributor, Tara Setmeyer, called West the White House’s ‘token Negro.’ ‘He’s an attention whore, like the president. He’s all of a sudden now the model spokesperson. He’s the token Negro of the Trump administration.’ She went on to suggest that West’s support of Trump is a sign of mental illness.”

Note that Lemon, Sellers and Setmeyer are black; however, their attacks on Kanye are totally representative of what, without regard to race, gushed forth from liberal media types and their followers. Tucker Carlson asked the right question: “If they think he is crazy, why are they attacking him?”

They are attacking Kanye because he is thinking for himself and exposing the Democratic game of making amazing promises to Black Americans while delivering little or nothing. Democrats cannot afford to have black people start thinking for ourselves. That’s why they must stop the Kanyes of the world, almost at any cost. Desperation demands it.

Sadly, in pursuit of power, Democrats not only seek to control thought, but they will literally destroy lives in pursuit of power. That is especially the case when power seems beyond their reach and desperation sets in. The latest example here is their despicable treatment of then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh in his Supreme Court confirmation process. Equally reprehensible was their treatment of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. This lady made what proved to be totally uncorroborated sexual assault allegations from 36 years ago against Kavanaugh. She wanted to remain anonymous. Her allegation was only known to Democrats but was passed to the media. That act of leaking resulted in Ford losing her anonymity and having her life turned upside down.

The picture here is one of Democratic desperation that is producing a mob mentality, which results in loss of civility, attempts to control thought and employing tactics that unfairly negatively impact the lives of people. We cannot allow this mob approach to reside in America.

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News deserts are a fact of life

03 Margaret It is no exaggeration to say that our great American free press in all its various forms is under siege. Our own president calls the Fourth Estate “the enemy of the people” and demeans its work as “fake news.” But the greatest threat to our oldest and most traditional medium, the American newspaper, comes not from Donald Trump but from technological developments and proliferation of niche media, including social media. The American newspaper that was our watchdog during the founding of our nation, the Civil War, the Great Depression and great social upheavals into the 21st century faces severe diminishment if not outright extinction.

Into the early years of this century, the newspaper on our kitchen table told us a bit of everything about the world around us – hard news, sports, trends in living, who had died – and gave us the crossword puzzle. Its core mission, as our nation’s founders understood and supported, was to be a check on governments at all levels, but it strove to be the total package. As technology exploded in this century, though, bringing us cable and satellite television, the internet and smart phones – all of which operate in the moment 24/7 – newspapers could not keep up. Throw in the Great Recession and the future got even shakier and scarier.

Consider these facts from a study just released by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism.

More than one in five newspapers has folded its tents since 2000.

Newspapers that remain are sometimes called “ghost papers” because they are now ghosts of their former selves. Dramatic drops in advertising revenue mean greatly pared-down staffs unable to provide the news coverage they once offered to local communities – city council and county commission meetings, school board happenings and local spot news. What is more, over half of our nation’s newspapers have changed hands in the last decade, often moving from locally owned and operated businesses to newspapers chains, owned and headquartered elsewhere, accountable to shareholders, not local communities. As the UNC-CH study puts it, “the people with the least access to local news are often the most vulnerable – the poorest, least educated and most isolated.”

The Fayetteville Observer, North Carolina’s oldest continually published daily newspaper and owned and operated by a local family for almost a century, was sold in 2016 to a newspaper chain headquartered in New York with a stable of 144 daily papers, according to its website. Up & Coming Weekly remains a locally owned and operated community newspaper distinguished by its community engagement rather than a commitment to news content.

Several weeks ago, I sat in on two focus groups, one composed of Democrats and the other of Republicans, talking about various political topics. Everyone in each group was conversant on and shared opinions about national politicians and national issues, but almost no one in either camp had any idea who represented them in the North Carolina General Assembly nor what the legislature has been up to in recent years. Most had a vague sense that Gov. Cooper was focused on hurricane recovery, but that was about it for state concerns. In a word, both groups were clueless about state issues and state candidates.

All sorts of entities, many of them digital, are working to fill the void left by the dramatic shrinkage of Americannewspapers, but most of these are in major metropolitan areas, leaving the hinterlands to become what are increasingly known as “news deserts.” The cold, hard reality, though, is that no fixes are on the horizon, which leaves us, the American people and voters, on our own to find out what our governments, especially at the state and local levels, are doing. It also gives both elected officials and bureaucrats much more rein to do whatever they want to do with very little public scrutiny.

No matter how one feels about “the media,” we should all understand that a free and available press is fundamental to the operation of our democracy. As the UNC-CH study authors put it, “We need to make sure that whatever replaces the 20th century version of local newspapers serves the same community-building functions. If we can figure out how to craft and implement sustainable news business models in our smallest, poorest markets, we can then empower journalistic entrepreneurs to revive and restore trust in the media from the grassroots level up, in whatever form– print, broadcast or digital.”

You can learn more about this national problem atwww.usnewsdeserts.com.

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Political action committee forms in Hope Mills

13Public action committee forms in Hope MillsThe Hope Mills Citizens for Change PAC, which began with just four founding members, has grown to 24 members in the last few weeks. The group, which unofficially refers to itself as the “Getting Stuff Done Committee,” has wasted no time getting stuff done. Last week, the group filed with the Cumberland County Board of Elections as an official political action committee and purchased signs to support its first objective: convincing the public to vote no on the four-year referendum in Hope Mills. 

The PAC formed due to a shared concern over the actions of the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners. During their short tenure, the board members have doubled their salaries and given themselves stipends for travel and cell phone costs as well as other benefits. But by all accounts, they haven’t accomplished much else. 

In early February, Commissioner Mike Mitchell suggested changing the town’s charter to allow board members to serve four-year staggered terms beginning with the 2019 election. The mayor and the top two vote-getters would all serve four-year terms while the remaining three seats would convert to four-year terms in the 2021 election. 

The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners held a public hearing in April to consider citizen’s input. After citizens argued against the referendum, the board immediately voted to move forward. In July, the board voted to approve Resolution 2018-10, and the referendum was placed on the November ballot. 

It’s been argued that four-year staggered terms would lend continuity to the board and decrease the period of adjustment for freshman commissioners. Mike Mitchell served four years and then took a brief hiatus before returning to the board in 2017. Since returning, he’s struggled to re-acclimate himself. During a January meeting, Mayor Jackie Warner had to remind him of details that had been discussed years earlier during one of his previous terms. 

   In July, the board voted to hold a public hearing to get public input on the offer made by Lone Survivor Foundation to buy municipal land. A week later, the board voted to cancel that hearing until they’d received the initial results of a Hope Mills Parks and Recreation survey. Board members were told in January the survey would not include detailed instructions on how to develop the available municipal lands. 

   The board received those results Oct. 1, and LSF president Tim Byrom submitted a second offer to purchase land the same day. He also asked to be added to the Nov. 5 meeting agenda to formally present his offer and field questions. While citizens waited for the board to set a date for a second hearing, the board voted to reject LSF’s offer. 

   Hope Mills citizens have used social media to express their disappointment and to accuse the board of wrongdoing. It’s been suggested the board never meant to hold a public hearing, fearing the results would be overwhelmingly in favor of the sale to LSF. To date, three citizens have publicly spoken against selling land to LSF. 

   It’s also been suggested the board voted quietly and quickly because Commissioner Jerry Legge would be absent during the November board meetings. With his absence, the vote would have been 2-2, and Warner, who has consistently supported the sale, would have been the deciding vote. 

   Grilley Mitchell, a founding member of the PAC and one of the citizens who spoke against the referendum, has lost faith in this board. He said, “I want someone in office that will only vote on the facts and do what is best for all of the people. Someone that will allow the citizens to have a voice to address issues that matter. Someone that will share the whole truth and not bits of information that only complicate issues.” 

   While the PAC was only established in the last few weeks, its members have created a long-term agenda to address the systemic issues plaguing Hope Mills politics, and they’re optimistic about creating positive change. 

   You can help by staying informed. Up & Coming Weekly is committed to bringing readers news from Hope Mills every week. Also read hopemills.net. Every article posted is full of links to tangible evidence of the board’s wrongdoing. And you can get involved by joining the PAC. The group is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HopeMillsCFC. 

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Election Day cometh

02 pub pen In just a few days the midterm elections will be history, and many of us will be overwhelmed with joy.

Politics at all levels havegotten completely out of control, mean-spirited and ugly. And it’s not about the people and issues any more. It’s about power, it’s about control, and it’s about money– but mostly about power and control. And our current politics know no boundaries; just check your mailbox.

On the bright side, it was refreshing last week to read an article by a former North Carolina representative, Rick Glazier, in the Oct. 27 issue of The Fayetteville ObserverGlazier wrote about the need for civility in politics, saying, “I see campaigns again this election cycle demeaning the process, filling every media possible with disgusting, debasing, destructive ads. And, being positive on one side of a piece of a mailer, but talking smack on the other, hardly enhances public debate of policies and positions in an intelligent, informed and thoughtful manner – which is precisely what we look to and need from our leaders. Of course, campaigns do this because they believe negative campaigning works. To a degree they are right, if by ‘works’ you mean winning an election. But holding public office is a public trust that goes far beyond winning elections – a contract between the office holder and the people who elected him or her. We breach that contract when we fail to campaign with dignity, or use the power of our office in a retaliatory or intimidating manner, because once that breach of trust occurs, you never get it back – with your constituents or your colleagues with whom you have to work while in office.”

He continues, “Only we can break that cycle. Only we the people can stop empowering these tactics by voting, even outside our own party preference, for candidates who don’t lower public discourse into the gutter. Indeed, if we mean it when we say we hate negative campaigning, then now is our chance to prove it with our vote; otherwise it is just whining without meaning.

“Words here are no substitute for deeds. In the end, Admiral Hyman Rickover had it right: ‘Great people talk about ideas; average people talk about events; and small people talk about other people.’

“Let’s together elect folks to office who talk about ideas! Let’s give rise to our better nature and selves.”

These sentiments are not surprising coming from a Southern gentleman like Glazier. You may not agree with his leftleaning political ideology, but no one can argue against his integrity, sincerity, statesmanship and lethally effective utilization of facts, logic and common sense when it comes to discussing and debating important issues.

Glazier’s observations here are accurate. Common sense, logic, compassion and decency seem to have dissolved at all levels of government. In Fayetteville and Cumberland County, we must ask ourselves some very serious and important questions: Do we have the best and brightest filling our elected positions or have we given in and surrendered to identity politics, intimidation and political correctness? Are these people innovative, thoughtful leaders with ideas and vision for the future, or are they self-serving political hacks taking up space and collecting pay checks for literallydoing nothing?

This begs another question. Why are good men and women shying away from public office? I believe the short answer is that they do not want to be associated with these do-nothing, ineffective scoff-offs who have no incentives to cooperate or compromise. Their priority is to stay in office at all costs – hence the ugly slander, personal attacks and assault on humanity. This is all they have left in the absence of knowledge, vision and compromise.

The good news is, this is America. We are an innovative and self-correcting nation. We are resilient. We are a country that will not easily yield to this kind of craziness long term. We have a responsibility to leave our children and grandchildren a nation that is freer, safer and better off. In the short term, this might be painful. However, in the long term, logic, common sense and civility will prevail and return as we realize these traits are essential to our survival as the greatest nation in the world.

Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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A lesson from the vampire bats

04 pittLet us now praise famous vampire bats. Today’s hemorrhagic stain on world literature is going to swoop down into a mysterious and misunderstood world. Vampire bats have their very own alias, Desmodus rotundus, which sounds a lot like some fat guy named Desmond picked out their genus names. If you are a sensitive soul or have a sensitive stomach, please skip the rest of this column and go to the crossword puzzle. 

Vampire bats have gotten a bad rap. We shall try to erase some bat stigma. Bats are forever associated with Dracula and things that go bump in the night. The literary Dracula was dreamed up by novelist Bram Stoker. Dracula was based upon the real-life Vlad Tepes. Vlad was a bad dude who lived in the 15th century in Transylvania. His nickname was “Vlad the Impaler,” which indicates he was not a guy to be trifled with. Vlad’s hobby was sticking his enemies up on sharp poles to scare away invaders. This tactic is even more frightening than forcing your enemies to watch 24 hours of Fox News. 

When Dracula wants to get into a castle bedchamber of a voluptuous sleeping lady, he transmogrifies himself into a bat. Taking a hint from an old Beatles song, Dracula in his vampire bat form comes in through the bathroom window protected by a silver spoon. Once inside m’lady’s bedchamber, Dracula reverts from his bat shape back into Count Dracula. The Count then begins to drain his next victim. 

Count Dracula is not nearly as sweet as Count Chocula. Count Dracula is much more likely to cause anemia than the diabetes that Count Chocula causes. It’s a question of choosing your poison. 

But back to our friends the vampire bats. The actual facts in this column are based on an excellent article written by Michael Greshko in “National Geographic’s” November 2015 issue. The alternative facts in this column are made up by me. 

The diet of vampire bats is blood. They don’t care about the blood type, just that it is blood from people or animals. All they eat is blood. All you need is love. 

   Being busy critters, they need to consume blood at least every two days, or they can starve to death. Each night, vampire bats go out on a hunting trip to find someone to love and drain. Among their bat superpowers is the ability to sense body heat, which leads them to supper. They are so adept at stealthily removing blood that a person may not wake up while serving as Soylent Green for a bat picnic. After their meal, the National Geo says bats will then urinate half of the ingested blood volume in 30 minutes. Don’t look up. 

  Vampire bats, like Trump voters, live in groups. Bats are more politically evolved than humans in that female bats appear to rule the bat covens. Bats share. If one of the bats comes back empty after finding no one to snack upon, the other female bats will share their bloody dinner with the hungry bat. Lacking an Easy Bake oven, the blood stuffed-bat can’t prepare a soufflé for the hungry bat. Instead, the full female bat will regurgitate blood into the mouth of the hungry bat. In effect, a bat full of donor blood becomes a flying blood bank that the Red Cross would envy. 

    Bats are social animals. They know who their friends are who has shared blood with them in the past. They also know who refused to share blood with them when they were hungry. 

    A fellow named Gerald Carter who worked for the Smithsonian Institution took it upon himself to go hang with the bats in zoos to study bat etiquette regarding bat “vomit snacks.” According to the National Geo, Gerald spent three years    “crouching in the bottom of their enclosure with a camcorder” observing bat feeding habits. 

    One wonders if, when Gerald was a little boy, did he always dream of crouching in a bat habitat for three years watching bats throw up? What childhood trauma could have led Gerald to such an odd career choice? But then, one could ask the same question of a proctologist or a member of the North Carolina General Assembly. 

    Gerald reports that if a non-sharing bat returned with an empty stomach, the other bats would not share their vomit snacks with the non-sharer. If a previously sharing bat came home empty, the other bats would provide vomit snacks of blood to the sharing bat. Bat karma is a killer. 

   So, what have we learned today? Vampire bats are nicer than some people. What seems a disgusting vomit snack to some people is ambrosia to bats. We would all be better off if we followed the advice of the late, great Rodney King, who once plaintively asked: “Can’t we all just get along?” 

    Bon Appetit. 

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