Thursday, November 30, 2006

Column for November 30, 2006

Stand up and fight against organized crime

If you read the police report in this paper each week, you will find a lot of reports of theft. Theft is committed in various forms. Victims of theft come in various forms, as well. There are more victims of theft than you think, and by the end of today's column, you will know what I mean.

I am sure that many retail stores have dealt with theft by shoplifters, especially with "Black Friday" last week. There are always news stories about such crimes. I actually saw one about calendar stores having a high incident rate of supermodel calendars being shoplifted.

I was a victim of theft just this past week. A man whom I have hired to perform yard work has stolen from me. This man comes to my house often asking for work to do. When I have the work and the cash (I rarely carry cash) at the same time, I allow him to perform chores. I always pay him fairly, often generously. What I do like is that he is willing to work for the money rather than just beg for a handout. This time, however, he has earned my distrust. After the last job, he stole one of my rakes that I left out for him to use.

It is needless to say that the man will never get any more of my business again. He has been in and out of jail for theft over the years. Just within the past few months, he stole from another local resident, and it didn't take CSI Selma long to apprehend him. He had a history of theft, but never against me, so I wanted to give him a chance.

This whole scenario brought to mind so vividly the idea that we do the same thing on a regular basis as taxpayers. We ignore a long history of thievery and yet continue to pay money to known thieves. Surface arguments can be made that citizens of the entire United States were tired of theft by Congress and voted many of the culprits out of office this recent election. If history is any indicator, we will only get more of the same, just a different party at the helm.

On a more local level, we have been stolen from regularly. The Global Transpark has been a boondoggle for years, but we continue to dump millions of dollars into it. Illegal dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway has sucked millions of dollars from taxpayer pockets. The Triangle Transportation Authority (TTA) was sucking millions of dollars from taxpayers and was looking for another billion dollars for a light rail system. Illegal immigrants drain our economy of billions of dollars in government services. A school bond in Wake County is about to steal millions of dollars from taxpayers. We will have a bond referendum here in Johnston County soon.

Believe it or not, I collect antiques. They are not the sort that I can find here in Selma, unfortunately. The latest purchase for my collection has not even arrived yet and I found that I am being overcharged on my credit card. Will I seek to rectify that with the dealer? You bet I will. Do I seek the same with our government? I sure try.

Whether it is a $15 rake taken from my car port, unnecessary tax dollars taken out of my paycheck, fees for emissions testing on my car, or an increase in my property taxes while attempting to tear down an old water tower, I see it all as theft. The heinous part about governmental theft is that it is institutional and seen as acceptable.

When one person steals from you, you have legal recourse, you may get your property or money back, and the perpetrator may go to jail. When government steals from you, it is with threat of force, jail time if you fail to assent, and we as citizens have little recourse.

Get involved. Fight against legalized theft. Contact your elected representatives. Attend town council and county commission meetings. Let your voice be heard. Be like McGruff the Crime Dog, and "take a bit out of crime", even if it is legalized governmental theft.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Column for November 23, 2006

School bonds are NOT "for the children"

"But it's for the children!" we are constantly told. If you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it. That is exactly what was learned from Nazi Propaganda Minister, Paul Joseph Goebbels. That tactic is being employed on a daily basis in American politics. The Goebbels Technique, argumentum ad nauseam, is basically repeating the same falsehood until it is accepted as truth.

In May, Johnstonians will decide yet another bond issue for the school system. Just this past week, the bond amount was announced as $99 million. Fortunately, the bond will not be anywhere near as large as the one that the Wake County voters just passed. Ours will be only about ten percent of theirs. None the less, there are still falsehoods associated with most bond issues.

Never believe the lie that we will not have to raise taxes in order to pay for a bond. A bond is merely another expenditure on top of the other obligations we already have or will have. A single issue may not trigger a tax increase, but there are always other factors in budgets. Budgets are not static, they are dynamic in nature.

If charter schools can exist on just the funding per student and absolutely no funding for facilities, then our traditional school system can obviously find better ways of fiscal management. I was listening to a charter school administrator recently speak about how their group runs two different schools, they have multi-million dollar construction going on, and they do it all with less staff and for less money than our government run school system.

Some easy problems to solve with our alleged overcrowding are simple. First, we need to abandon the concept of smaller class size as being superior. What we really need is discipline of those students. Unfortunately, the younger teachers and administrators are products of the same undisciplined system themselves, and therefore do not demand better behavior.

Other simple issues that will lead to better fiscal management are simply to cease the education of students who do not belong in this country to begin with. I have had enough of my tax dollars going to support those who are here illegally while others who wish to come to this nation through legal means are languishing away, hoping for their opportunity to enter this nation.

Charter schools typically use far less staff than do regular schools. Only about 50 cents out of every dollar we pay in taxes go to the classroom in public schools. The average is much better in charter schools, which are lighter in administrative costs. When we have multiple principals, redundant administrators, and pay our Superintendent of Schools more than we pay the Governor of North Carolina, there is a problem.

As taxpayers, we should demand accountability in our school system instead of writing off the costs as being "for the children". For far too long, liberal mindsets have allowed the taxpayers to be shaken down for more money for more and bigger schools, smaller class size, and more staff. Instead of the children becoming the beneficiaries, the true beneficiaries are the labor unions such as the NEA. The largest educators' labor union and their ilk benefit from power, increased union dues from larger staff numbers, increased spending, and the protection of incompetent teachers.

Tell a lie long enough and people will believe it. It is not for the children. It is for the education of our children. There is a big difference. The former is an emotional tug; the latter is rational and evokes responsibility. Is the purpose of our schools to produce children or to produce an education within children? Is it to give a palatial indoctrination or is it to provide an academic environment in which children can learn?

My vote will still be a resounding NO. When my tax dollars are spent wisely and miserly, then perhaps I will change my opinion. We obviously have ways that we can be much more effective and creative with our tax dollars and cut wasteful spending and administration. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that we will have the resolve to change a broken system or ignore the propaganda machine.

Don't even get me started on the idea that the Communist Manifesto calls for universal government administered education…and we are answering that call.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Column for November 16, 2006

Commentary on Election 2006 Results

Since last week's column had to be written prior to the election, I was not able to comment. We now know that the Democrat Party will retake control of the House and Senate. My comment is simply that the Republican Party lost the election, the Democrats did not win it. What I mean is that the Republican Party had a dozen years to make all the changes in accordance with what they espouse. They didn't perform. Instead, they have passed legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley, McCain-Feingold, and No Child Left Behind. They have increased government spending and the size of the institution at an unprecedented rate. They also allowed corruption within their ranks rather than eliminating it immediately. Much like the Bengals vs. Chargers football game I am watching while writing this column, the Republicans have left gaping holes in their defense, allowed their opponents to run many plays run for a touchdown, and they blew a fantastic lead.

The GOP legislators have done a few good things while in office. They have blocked amnesty programs for illegal immigrants, lowered taxes, and allowed the Clinton gun ban to lapse. Look for all of these things to be reversed in a Democrat controlled Congress. Also look for attempts at socialized medicine, federal gun control, an attempted early military withdrawal from Iraq, a weaker national defense, and the cutting of funds for intelligence services and the military. People will usually vote selfishly for the candidates and policies that benefit themselves personally. You will especially find this in many of our citizens who want to suckle off the government nipple like a piglet on a sow. This shows yet another reason to curb illegal immigration and not grant amnesty to their populace. It is obvious that one huge motivation behind allowing their increased numbers is for the voting block they represent.

Regarding the foreseen gun control attacks, I will be donating more money to the organization of my choice for legal defense against unconstitutional gun control legislation. For the record, I am neither Republican nor a member of the NRA and will not donate to either. I have, however, donated to individual candidates of my choice and Gun Owners of America. I encourage you to donate to the causes and candidates you support, as well.

Looking at other results, I only wish the Jim Black, the NC Speaker of the House, was a local politician instead of hailing from the Mecklenburg County area. That way, I could have voted against him. It appears that the scandal ridden weasel may have squeaked a victory by as few as seven votes, as of my last check. Jim Black is perhaps the most blatantly corrupt man in our state legislature. None the less, he has maintained sufficient support to get re-elected. I have a coworker that lives in Black's district. We had lunch together last week after the election. I asked him if he made it out to vote. He said that he did not vote last Tuesday. Half jokingly, I told him that if he and eight other people has gotten off their lazy (censored) and voted, then Jim Black would have been defeated.

Looking at the Johnston County scene, I pretty much predicted all the races with a few minor exceptions. We have little change in the status quo, with a few exceptions such as Susan Doyle's election to District Attorney. I am not looking forward to future elections when bond referenda show up like the gigantic one for Wake County Schools. If we spent money efficiently in the first place, the bond would not be necessary. But I see it on the horizon for Johnston County, and of course we will hear the propaganda mantra that "it's for the children".

As I look at the results of the election, I am reminded of the nation of Israel demanding to have a king like the other nations. Give us a king, they said. They regrettably got Saul. Give us entitlements, socialized medicine, punishment for being wealthy, illegal alien amnesty, higher taxes, and contempt towards our own military. Give us hand outs, increased spending in state government, bond obligations, and we will overlook blatant corruption. Give us a king like other nations, and we got the equivalent in this election.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Column for November 9, 2006

The mid-term elections are over and I am glad they are. This was the most nasty campaign season that I can remember in a long time, especially for a mid-term Congressional and local election. Even races as local as District Attorney have gotten personal and negative.

The problem with negative campaigns is that they work. Exposing your opponent as some sort of immoral deviant is effective. I did learn more about some of the candidates as their dirty laundry was exposed. Some items were profound, others miniscule.

Some of the problems I have seen with elections are not necessarily the mud slinging or campaign tactics. They are nothing new. In watching documentaries about other political campaigns in other time periods, I saw a lot of the same tactics. That is just politics.

The problem seems to be some of the election process itself. One big problem is so called non-partisan elections. They are not really non-partisan, but it sure does cause confusion for the voting public. It is especially futile when partisan political organizations give their endorsements in allegedly non-partisan campaigns. I have voiced this concern many times over the years.

We are expected to know what candidates stand for in order to cast an informed vote. If someone has a Democrat, Republican, other party, or no affiliation, it is possible to at least get some sort of idea of the candidate's alliance or ideology. When voting for school board, judges, or in municipal elections, this is a handy bit of information.

I have looked at the sample ballots and at those from previous elections and see some profound problems. Why should anyone have ballots with or be able to cast a vote for anyone not from their district? The county commission races have three districts on one ballot. Why do we run elections in that manner? It is beyond my comprehension that we should be allowed to even consider marking a ballot for another district. Why do we even have districts if it makes no difference to voters?

Clayton had having a ballot initiative over changing to a system of electing town council members by district. I have advocated this for Selma for some time and it is what I believe to be the best solution for municipalities. There is a lot of puffery and propaganda that Clayton voters will in effect lose their right to vote if the town goes to districts for municipal voting.

This is just what I said, propaganda and puffery. What people are not being told is that the entire crux of the opposition is that some minorities believe that there should be minority representatives on any given elected board and that they are not properly represented if that is not so. The minority groups like voting as a block to cast large numbers of votes for a minority candidate, thereby guaranteeing the candidate's election. They mistakenly believe that they have no representation otherwise. A candidate's quality is not determined by skin color.

District elections allow for proper representation of an entire geo-political zone, not just a particular faction within that region. If there is a good candidate who happens to be a minority, then they should obviously be elected. A candidate should not be elected merely because of one's race. That is blatant racism being employed rather than voting based upon issues and ideals. It is an incredibly ignorant method of voting. No racial group should be guaranteed a representative of their race upon a governing board. The people as a whole, however, should be guaranteed quality candidates regardless of their racial background.

The Town of Selma has no representation on the Council from the entire west precinct. The present electorate consists of all men and women from the east side. I realize that it would take a change to the town's charter, but we should really consider changing our method of election to election by district. In addition, we should consider the addition of a few more members to the Town Council. This would truly give the town a better representation of the entire populace rather than all officials being elected at large. Clayton leaders deserve applause for their courage to at least consider the change in their town. I can only hope that the same could happen in Selma.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

You can leave me a voice mail for all to hear

Friday, November 03, 2006

I don't write the column titles!

For those of you who read my column in the November 2, 2006 "Selma News", I want to assure you that I do NOT write the column titles that appear each week. I submit the column itself and the paper staff writes the title. Even when I submitted titles, they have written their own.

In the Nov. 2 column, the title given by the paper staff totally distorts the column content and actually yields a totally different meaning than what the column says. For that I wholeheartedly apologize, though it is not something that I have control over.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Column for November 2, 2006

It is almost election time again. I hope that you all are planning to get out and vote and that you are doing some research into what candidates you will support. I did so for the primary election and am redoing that for the mid-term election in less than a week. The election will cover our Congressman, School Board, County Commissioners, judges, and other local offices.

It is no less important than any other election. Actually, perhaps more important, since seldom does an action in Washington D.C. have a greater single impact on every resident of a county than what our local officials do here. It is just lower profile.

I was reading one local media outlet's endorsements for various races. I found the School Board endorsement interesting, if not disturbing. This medium said, "our nod goes to ___ because he is the parent of young children, and young children are what the school board is all about."

I decided to write an email to that candidate after reading this endorsement. I wanted to share some perspective as to why I would or would not vote for him. I am sharing this with my readers because it sums up my perspective and to encourage you to do reading and outreach about and to your candidates and elected officials. I am only editing a few statements for brevity and names.


I read "our nod goes to ___ because he is the parent of young children, and young children are what the school board is all about." I wanted to let you know that I will not vote for you because you have young children. I will most likely vote for you because I actually looked to see who the candidates were and read their candidate profiles. You seem conservative in your approach as well as practical.

You mentioned one thing in your profile "...allow us to continue to grow without having a higher tax burden on the Johnston County families." That is something that I always look for. The views about the burden on the people who pay the bills are important, since that tells me whether a candidate will think creatively or not, and give consideration to efficiency with the millions of dollars we already send to the county schools.

"young children are what the school board is all about." No, young children are NOT what the school board is all about. EDUCATION is what the school board is all about. They are not there to be elected babysitter supervisors or Big Brother. They are there to direct the way in which the county handles its education system. If people would get that concept down rather than all things being "for the children" as an emotional pull for power, then perhaps we could gain back ground in the quality of our education system that we have lost over the years.

If parochial and charter schools can educate children for far less money that we are spending per student and give a higher standard of education at the same time, perhaps it is time to reevaluate our system. Just within the past week, I was listening to charter school administrators who were discussing how their several schools receive the same amount of public money per student as other public schools. However, they do NOT receive any money for facilities. Within the amount of money they receive, they must pay for building construction or rental. They are doing so with great success, even building $12 million dollar facilities. That tells me that our existing public system is extremely inefficient and needs to change. The figure thrown around was that only about 50% of tax dollars for education make it to the classroom. The other half is eaten up in administration. If this is true, I want someone who is elected to work to change that. When our Superintendent of Schools makes more money than the Governor of North Carolina, something needs to change.

If you are in that paradigm, then you will certainly have my vote, not because you have young children.


I encourage you to encourage the candidates you support with your voice, your cooperation, and most importantly your informed vote.