Thursday, October 1, 2009

It was only a minute . . .

The recent brouhaha over our school kids reciting President Obama's
campaign slogans has had more legs than most would have anticipated. Liberal
apologists, culture vultures, and their enablers are joining forces to
minimize the impact of the event and those challenging it. With all due
respect, I would rather not.

Indoctrination and learning

I am a little surprised that trained and experienced educators would
pooh-pooh the idea that rehearsing, performing, grouping, and repeating would
not be common tools used to teach and/or program kids. It is nonsense to
pretend otherwise. Was this a conscious and intentional effort to brainwash
the kids to be Obama fans - I hope not. I never consciously and
intentionally run over squirrels - but when it happens they nonetheless absorb the

The Program Had Good Intentions - Honoring Our Presidents

Fair enough. But there is a big difference in quoting the past wisdom of
a bunch of 'dead white guys' and singing songs filled with the current
campaign slogans of a live black guy. What is the difference - only one -
those dead guys cannot benefit from the attention. The live guy can and

Political Correctness

I have gotten a bigger kick out of the people saying we should "be nice"
than the people denying the orchestrated impact. Where did all this "we
just need to get along" bologna get started? I am all for embracing the
challenges of civility and truth, but when did that become a license for
rolling over and pretending everything is OK when it is not? I am not
interested in "being nice" to people who are corrupting my country and the future
of my grandchildren. Political correctness is one of two things - always -
an act of manipulation or an act of surrender - neither is good.

People of the Lie

Some twenty-five years ago, Christian psychiatrist Scott Peck, wrote a
book titled, People of the Lie. With crystal clarity he shared his belief
that our country was busy mass producing a generation of liars, deceivers,
and manipulators in government, religion, and business that were one day
going to take the heart out of America. His words were prophetic. In
today's America, image, political correctness, and safety more often than not t
rip reality, truth, and courage. Our culture is increasingly devoted to
avoiding accountability and embracing politicians who say what makes us
happy. That brings me to my next point.


Yes, it is true, the one minute tape at Sand Hill-Venable elementary
school near Asheville, North Carolina, demonstrated the same indoctrination
techniques used by those guiding the Hitler Youth in Germany in the thirties.
If you need a more current model, check out the methods used by Communist
China, Castro, Chavez, Al-Qaeda, and Hezbollah.

Creating a Personality Cult around Our President

The current President has illuminated his mission of creating the greatest
change in America's social and political structure in history. His
success will be largely predicated on his popularity. There are a number of
'right wing fanatics', 'religious zealots', and other members of the mumbling
majority who disagree with his mission and do not wish to support the
creation of a cult status for the gentleman. That resistance extends to
publicly funded schools and our children.

Good guys and bad guys

People wanting to avoid accountability like to play 'good guys and bad
guys'. If one can vilify the opposition, then one doesn't have to think and
one can minimize the other person's impact. It's a lazy approach to
dealing with a complex world, but it is simple and satisfying. Higher authority
encourages us to "reject the sin - not the sinner". Higher authority
also encourages us to uphold our sense of truth.

It is Not Christian to Challenge Our Teachers and Administrators

More nonsense - the Bible prizes accountability in matching enthusiasm to
love and Jesus always upheld truth regardless of the expense. It would be
my suggestion that many of us as Christians are licensing cowardliness,
laziness, and enabling when our society is sorely in need of courage,
discernment, and tough love. There is absolutely nothing passive in the model
of Jesus or the demands of Christianity.

The Guy Who Released the Video Violated the Law

I find this exercise in political terrorism most telling. Roaches run
when you turn on the lights. Roaches do not like light. Roaches seek to
turn off the light. People, including school teachers, principles,
politicians, and media representatives should not behave like roaches.

One minute

The argument has been made that this one minute video was taken out of
context. My use of the word 'Nazi' has been taken out of context too, but I
don't care. I used in on purpose to illustrate a point - brevity does not
necessarily minimize impact. Use one curse word in your next prayer
meeting and then come talk to me about "it was only a minute".

I would like to offer my personal thanks to the gentleman who had the
original courage to post this video. Thanks are also due to those who have
kept the issue and the concern alive. You can see the video on this site-

Monday, September 14, 2009

Your Local Chamber of Commerce and Corruption

Like most communities, my home city, Asheville, NC has a local Chamber of Commerce. This organization of local business interests is manned by enthusiastic and, from experience, well intended people. On the plus side, these good folks unite the business community and give voice to the importance of commerce. On the minus side, like most special interest groups, they are busy gaming America.

Special interest groups can serve a good purpose in raising awareness on issues that might otherwise go unnoticed. Unfortunately in today's "big government" America, where the free enterprise system and rule of law have been selectively laid aside, it is very difficult for special interest groups to resist the temptation to join the herd and milk the system. The result is a parade of selfish interest groups busily trumping the common interests. Despite a well contrived image, the 'American as apple pie' Chamber of Commerce is no exception.

It will come as no surprise to you that most politicians are elected and influenced on the basis of money above all other considerations. Over the past 10 years the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has invested more dollars in this insidious "Buy America" plan than any other lobby group in America. In fact they have outspent their nearest competitor - the American Medical Society - two fold. (1)

If you are businessman in America and a member of your local Chamber, ask yourself if that money has produced results you are proud of? If you are an average citizen, ask yourself if those dollars are directed toward the common good, or somebody's idea of a special deal? You can bet that no one invests these kinds of dollars in Washington just to feel warm and fuzzy.

When most folks think of the Chamber of Commerce there is an immediate mental connection with conservative values. It is a common mistake to place people or organizations with a business bias, like the Chamber and sister organizations such as the Manufacturers Executive Association, under this umbrella. Like many of our politicians, having a few conservative positions does not a conservative make.

Looking back at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsement of "Hillary Care" during the Clinton years offers a sobering reality check on the difference between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce image and reality. (2) There are others.

The U.S. Chamber's position on illegal immigration represents a chamber of horrors for those who believe in our free enterprise system and the rule of law. For decades, the Chamber has consistently fought reform and obfuscated immigration realities to the benefit of select members.

Their most recent illegal immigration offense was set-back this past week when Federal Judge Alexander Williams ruled against the U.S. Chamber and other plaintiffs fighting the use of E-Verify to validate legal employment status for Federal contract workers. (3) It was his position that the delay they sought would benefit their private interests more than public ones.

"While the court understands that some harm and inconvenience always accompanies changes ... plaintiffs have failed to show they are likely to suffer irreparable harm," Williams wrote. "Contractors can avoid contracting with the government if they do not want to use E-Verify for whatever reason."

In our community, as in many others in America, Chamber members and other special interests are using non-English speaking labor from an estimated pool of 15 - 20 million illegal aliens while 15 million Americans remain unemployed. (4)

With 10.1 percent of adult males in this country out of work, how does any organization continue to honestly claim that illegal workers do jobs that Americans won't or that good American workers can't be found for the jobs that do exist? (5)

The deeper truth is that many Chamber members want to have their company in America, make use of the benefits of our culture, but run their business with imported labor willing to work for wages lower than those necessary to attract American workers. This artificial means of wage manipulation sidesteps the natural wage adjustments that would occur under a more honest free market economy. (6)

You and I should be willing to pay a quarter more for a burger cooked by a legal worker. If a company's business model doesn't work here then then they should take their business elsewhere - not try to import their labor pool through the back door.

Paradoxically those who game the system are usually undermining their fellow Chamber members who try to use legal American labor for American jobs at American wages. The passivity of the "play it straight" membership with their organization's short-sighted policies on illegal immigration is fascinating. (7)

Speaking of shooting one's self in the foot, you might have an interest in our local Chamber's upcoming "luxury" trip to China. (8) At a time when our every energy should be devoted to keeping American jobs in America, vacationing with the country most often manipulating or ignoring our trade agreements and taking most of those jobs is a form of economic treason. This model is probably being mirrored in your own community.

For a bargain of $2,000, Asheville Chamber members can travel to China, Inc. for 10 days and get to know our abusers a little better. One has no doubts that the historically self-less and benevolent Chinese government is enabling this adventure with an eye on making sure that American jobs stay in America and the 'way out of balance' trade imbalance rights itself. Right?

No, not if you take a closer look at the industrial and manufacturing rape of America over the past 15 years. The U.S. government and the U.S. Chamber have led a charge that has found America going from one of the strongest manufacturing nations in the world to one of the weakest - from a nation that once funded the world to a nation that now lives on borrowed dollars and a fantasy future. (9)

Don't believe it? Ask yourself whatever happened to all that fairy dust once used by every Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. touting "high tech" bio-tech as the future that was going to replace "low tech" manufacturing. Seen any bio-tech lately?

Then there is that accompanying and frequently recited Chamber nonsense about America's future being found in the service industries and fair and free trade laws. As a country, if you are not building, growing, or mining something then you are slipping down the food chain. And there has been absolutely nothing close to a fair or free trade agreement for America in decades.

As former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca once famously warned, "We can't build an economy flipping burgers for each other and shopping in each others stores. Somebody's got to make something." The official policy indifference to the crucial importance of production over consumption illuminates the U.S. Chamber of Commerce more realistically as the U.S. Chamber of Corruption.

One does not need to be a business expert to see that America's economic foundation is eroding at an alarming rate. Take a look at the empty store fronts, shuttered plants, and loss of middle class jobs in your community. Don't be distracted by all the new foreign cars whizzing by - each represents more jobs in another country and less jobs here. Each is a 4 wheeled billboard pretending that "Made in America" doesn't count.

Speaking of which, the Chamber has consistently been at the forefront of the mass exodus of our economic base by pretending that making it here with legal workers doesn't matter. In fact, the Chamber has a persisting history of resisting and mocking "Buy American" initiatives. (10)

Why? Unlike China, 21st century American business thinks more about now than later. Our stock market, executive's salaries, and consumer based economy are all grounded in making sure the wheels keep turning today. One can burn their house to keep it warm, but that seems a bastardization of the American Dream.

It would not be my position that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is no longer relevant or necessary. To the contrary, this vast network has tremendous potentials to retrace its role of corruption and rededicate itself to the crucial mission of honest commerce.

Continuing to fight illegal immigration interventions and "Buy American" initiatives, while advocating for a consumer based service economy and unrealistic and abused trade relationships that steal our revenue and jobs, is dangerous work. These acts of cultural suicide should not go unchallenged.

That should be the mission of every Chamber of commerce member in America. Don't quit your organization - step forward and begin the process of recapturing it.

The good old boys and girls at the local Chamber have been busy swapping the American Dream for an American Nightmare. It's time to wake up.

Carl Mumpower
Asheville City Council

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obamacare Will Not Work

Editorial Submission - August 10, 2009

President Obama is correct in noting that America's health care system is too expensive and works too poorly for too many people. His solution - socialized medicine - is destined to fail for exactly the same reasons.

Obamacare is built on deception

For starters the Federal government has no demonstrated capacity to administer health care. Take a quick look at the inconsistencies of government services for Veterans and active duty military. Long lines, rationing, and quality control problems persistently plague both systems.

Some argue that government administered Medicare works, but it survives only by underpaying service providers and transferring the true costs to those with private pay insurance. In other words the government has to cheat to keep Medicare afloat.

Big government advocates are notorious for consistently underestimating the projected costs of new initiatives - it is true for wars in foreign lands - it is true for social programs. In this case, even the advocates for publically funded health care are finding the costs of Obamacare unsustainable.

If the socialist among us can pull of the con, we will get publically funded healthcare in one form or another. In the face of an aging population of baby boomers and a fast developing national budget crisis, one of two things will be certain to happen. The system will be milked until it collapses or rationing of services will eventually mock the promises of something for nothing used to sell the lemon.

What is wrong with the current system

Contrary to popular understanding, America does not have a free market health care system. In truth we have a hybrid mishmash of socialized medicine and consumer driven health care that is gamed by just about everybody.

We can start with you and me. Americans eat and drink too much, exercise too little, and rely on medicine to fix the results. The best and least expensive health care program is prevention and that responsibility starts with the person you greet in the mirror each morning.

The medical profession has become just that - a profession. Marcus Welby, M.D. began to retire when bureaucrats and lawyers began stepping into the examining room. Just as teachers have been disenfranchised from their classrooms, our physicians have lost control of their practices. The outcome - an increasing dedication to revenue over relationships that has too many M.D.'s, and especially specialists, milking the system for every dime they can effectively codify.

Then there is the reason so many of us enjoy lawyer jokes. Before his fall from grace, former Democrat Presidential contender and attorney John Edwards specialized in personal injury cases. That is where he developed his talents at manipulation and did his part to add to the $700 we each spend annually to fund medical tort liabilities.

Government games the system routinely by promising big services and then refusing to pick up the tab. In shifting the real costs to those of us who buy our own insurance, "Big G" effectively creates a health care tax hidden in the paperwork. Add all the unfunded mandates they pile on hospitals and a big share of every health care dollar is eaten up in Washington.

You may remember Ross Perot cautioning us on the "giant sucking sound" that NAFTA would create in America. Hospitals are the community version of the same phenomena. The bigger they are and the more they participate in the technology race, the more dollars they suck out of somebody's pocket. Though we love them so, one of the best places in your community to pick up a staph infection and a big bill is within the hallowed doors of your local hospital.

If you have watched the commercials touting the latest 'got to have it' drug, 'free' motorized scooter, or other 'you deserve it' medical service, then you know that there are a host of marketing agents driving health care in America. Marketing agents are rarely trained in patient health - they are well trained in advancing the bottom line.

We won't even talk about the ways health insurance companies manipulate the system to their advantage, but they are just as good as the rest of us at reaching into someone else's pockets. Unfortunately, America is running out of pockets.

So what is the solution?

America needs to play to its strength to fix our health care system. Our free market economy, if turned loose, holds the potentials to bring health care down to earth. Think flat screen TVs and what the free market did to availability and costs over a few short years. Speaking of short, here is a short list of ways to fix America's health care system without giving up America's heritage-

1) Get the lobbyist out of government - pharmaceutical and medical lobbyist spend a ton of our money each year manipulating the system to personal advantage. Get hold of the PAC contributions that your local Congressman receives from these folks to buy his/her seat in Washington and you will be ashamed of how our system has been corrupted.

2) Higher participant costs for those who abuse their health through obesity, smoking, drug abuse, and other high risk behaviors - self indulgence creates a bill that no society can sustain. Reintroducing the concept of personal accountability is the only way we will avoid rationed health care services in the future.

3) Tort reform - we cannot afford the defensive medicine tactics necessary to avoid law suits. Nor can we afford the impact of $300 an hour predators masquerading as public benefactors under a system of institutionalized extortion.

4) Stop the technology rush - primary care and prevention services offer the best bang for the buck and should receive most of the dollars. Those seeking higher technology should pay for the option just like those who want a Cadillac pay more than those finding satisfaction with a Ford.

5) All government programs must be properly funded on creation - shifting costs supports system dishonesty that leads to unfulfilled promises and system overload.

6) Consumer driven health care will only work if the consumer has accountability and knowledge - when is the last time you saw a price list in your doctor's office? We can help people help themselves, but making government, bureaucrats, employers, or anyone else responsible for our health care makes us pets - not patients.

7) Get the bureaucrats and fat cats out of the examining room - overregulation limits the number of health care providers we have and what they can do. Licensing boards, government regulators, and professional organizations do more to restrict competition than they ever do to protect consumers. If you doubt it, look at the statistics of people killed by medical errors and prescription meds each year

8) Get serious about Medicare and Medicaid fraud - those wishing a preview of Obamacare need look no further than these two highly abused governmet health care programs. Government enforces the corruption of these programs about as well as they enforce immigration law.

9) Insurance co-ops can help us help one another - most states currently rig insurance pools so that individuals, families, and small businesses cannot find strength and savings in numbers. The current system is another example of how big business and big government look out for big business and big government.

10) Stop the medical mythology game - 80% of the health care needs you and I have can be provided by a nurse or other health service profession requiring 2 years of training versus 10. We all like the idea of our own Marcus Welby, but that day has faded with the milkman. If we would let our system adjust to the realities of 21st century medicine, the protocols and low cost technologies exist to have primary care provided at Wal-Mart and the corner drug store for pennies on the dollar.

In conclusion

Obamacare is another big government lie that will lead to more taxes and eventual disappointments for the very people it is supposedly designed to serve.

Nonetheless, there is a legitimate call to fix our current health care mess. Solutions will not be found in leaving the broken parts in place or selling our liberties for Washington's magic beans.

The key to your health and mine will be found in the flat screen TVs that have so quickly gone from expensive indulgence to affordable convenience.

This is America and we have a history of doing things differently than the rest of the world. One of those differences is allowing the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of free people to find solutions and make them work. Health care, regardless of the hype and mythology, is no exception. If we can get government, professional organizations, lawyers, and others of self-service out of the way, there are plenty of bright minds to fill the void America's way. We will all be healthier for it.

Our President is a Racist

-Editorial Submission . July 28, 2009-

It is hard to hide your upbringing. President Obama's community organizer training and home church exposures shined through in last week's impulsive reaction to local affairs in Cambridge, Mass.

One guesses that the President wishes he had kept control of his own actions in stating that a police officer "acted stupidly" in arresting black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.

Unfortunately, Obama is steeped in a long tradition of racism that continues to flourish under the leadership of victim culture vultures like the Reverends Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Jeremiah Wright. These are men who clearly believe one can build a good life on a bad foundation.

I joined the service and volunteered for Vietnam when I was seventeen. My time there, like for most, was a mixture of good and bad exposures that left a pretty deep tattoo on my identity.

Vietnam's touch also propelled me toward school and a rewarding search for something better. Although it cost me a measure of my youth, to this day I consider the nudge worth the price.

For years I have watched many of my peers take a different course. Vietnam became the defining experience of their existence and a chain that stopped forward movement.

As a psychologist, I have noted with sadness as Veteran's groups, my profession, the Veteran's Administration, and other misguided souls oversold the PTSD mantra. The outcome has produced less recovery than mangled negative identities based on something bad (war exposures) as a rotten foundation for something good (moving on, living fully and reaching our potentials).

When a person's identity becomes largely defined by something bad that happened to them, that person ceases to be in control of their own destiny. It doesn't matter if one is on the receiving end of sexual exploitation, combat exposures, criminal violence, racist abuse, or any other harm. Using past painful experiences as a get out of life free pass adds insult to earlier injury. In a fallen world, we all have our own personal versions of Pain-nam.

Today's racial problems have less to do with issue of color than culture. Color was long ago discredited as a measure of character, intelligence, potential or anything else of importance. Culturally determined lifestyles and values, however, are very much measurable and thus judgeable. Man may be created equal, but cultures are not.

It would be foolish to defend the absurdities of the KKK and white southern racist cultures of the past. It is equally foolish to defend the absurdities of today's version of a what amounts to a black KKK masquerading as something more noble. The evils of racial oppression and exploitation come in many forms.

Professor Gates has evidently played the racial 'get out of life card' so often that he lost objectivity on the night of infamy. He apparently thought that a white cop backed up by two minority cops would be impressed by his celebrity status as a perpetual victim and back down when he played his well worn card. They were not, but evidently our President was.

Obama's lack of internal restraints and long term conditioning led him to reach down from Washington and lay his hand on local government affairs in Cambridge. His rush to racist judgment and assumption came so fast that he even beat Jesse and Al to the punch.

I, for one, am glad our President did what he did. A damage control beer at the White House may sooth feelings, but his unintentional illumination of the tired old practice of trying to build a healthy culture on a foundation of victimization, anger, and racist thinking has the potential to do something better.

The irrationality of a Harvard professor and impulsivity of the President has nothing to do with skin color - it has everything to do with cultural conditioning. It would my suggestion that past wrongs cannot be righted with new wrongs. These two gentlemen and a courageous cop offer us a birds-eye view into why not.

Republican Party Punches Grow Weaker

Editorial Submission - July 27, 2009

Trained boxers will tell you that the best punches come from the feet. A 150 pound lightweight with good footwork, can throw a 10 inch blow with more oomph than a heavyweight's haymaker. Ask any trained boxer about power and you will get the same answer - your foundation is everything.

Like a bloated former champion, the Republican Party continues to throw floundering shoulder punches at the opposition. Not surprisingly, the Democrats are dodging most of the blows and shrugging off the weak impact of the few that hit.

Without the firm footing of a principled foundation, Republican blows lack credibility. We are simply moving air and as Ernest Hemingway once noted, "confusing motion for action."

Republican leadership has recently been crying a lot of crocodile tears over Democrat spending. Those charges are easily sidestepped by noting that Republicans also spent like drunken sailors when they were in power.

Obama and his party's push on health care is certainly a back door to the stated goal of socialized medicine. What would you call the Medicare prescription benefits legislation pushed by Bush and his colleagues? The most expensive big government entitlement surge in Medicare history certainly meets the socialism smell test.

Got a problem with how Obama and the Democrats are ignoring the Constitution? Take a look at the Republican championed Patriot Act and undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and find the Constitutional authority for such.

Party politics in America today is about little more than swapping punches. The title belt may switch from election to election, but the outcome is the same - special interests continue to trample the common good.

I am a Republican in public office. I am a good one to the extent that I am familiar with my party's principles and uphold such where it counts - when I vote. I am so lonely that I have made a public offer to contribute $100 to the charity of anyone's choice who can show me another Republican elected official in my District whose walk matches their talk and votes match our party's stated priorities.

So far I have had no takers. Either my fellow Republicans are indifferent to charity (not likely as we give far more per capita than liberal Americans) or we are stuck with the truth. It is the rare Republican official whose voting record has any correlation between his or her campaign promises or our Party's principles.

So what does that mean? Simply that we continue to be a party without a foundation and that our power to fight the opposition is weakened by our refusal to stand firmly for something people can count on.

In the absence of a party of principle, people will go with the party of least principles in order to at least secure some of their selfish interests. That is why Democrats stand for and promise everything - they know that our party realistically stands for nothing and take full advantage of the vacuum.

Want to help heal the Republican Party and thus secure the future of America? Start by insisting that your local Party power structure start monitoring and rating local, state, and national elected Republicans for the match between principles and votes.

The process does not need to be adversarial, but it does need to be persistent. It is amazing what the light of day does to nudge accountability and political honesty.

Until such time as the Republican Party gets our feet firmly set on something American can count on, we will continue, like a tired old boxer, to slide into oblivion. It will not be because America is becoming more liberal - in truth the opposite is happening. It will be because we followed the course of Colin Powell, George Bush, and a host of other Republican leaders who confuse a few conservative positions and political expediency for principled driven public service.

My offer to my fellow NC 11th District Republicans remains in effect and no local charity has benefited to date. I would bet a similar offer in your District would fare no better.

It is a Good Time to Say No

It is a Good Time to Say No

The Asheville Citizen Times recently ran another targeted editorial cartoon depicting me as a self-important grandstanding politician with a dedication to the word no. They got two out of three right, but would not accept my reciprocal editorial response. I thought you might.
In the June 3rd Asheville Citizen-times, David Cohen's editorial cartoon offered a stereotypical depiction of Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower as a "self important, grandstanding politician" with a penchant for saying "NO". I do not enjoy a strong sense of my personal importance, but the editorial was otherwise absolutely correct.

It is myth that today's America is run on the basis of mature collaboration between value driven leaders seeking the common good. The truth centers on power - mostly in support of self, special, or party interests. For the super-minority operating from different motivations, grandstanding, as in illuminating issues with enthusiasm, is a crucial gizmo in the political toolbox.

Political satirists, usually mad at challenges to their special interests, will frequently and unsuccessfully attempt to put me in my place with the label "Dr. No". Anyone who has raised children understands that "NO" is every bit as crucial to success as "YES". In fact, I would firmly suggest that today's America needs a lot more "NO".

When it comes to accepting open air drug markets and prostitution in public housing and other vulnerable neighborhoods, anything less than "NO" seems insincere. If we truly believe in fair governance, the people living in the apartments of Deaverview should be as safe as the people living in elegant homes on Kimberly Avenue.

It is my pleasure to say "NO" to those who believe it is OK to ignore America's porous borders and the host of employers who exploit an imported illegal underclass. In a dangerous world, no country without boundaries can sustain itself. The heart of our free market economy is sold out when we allow self-serving employers to undercut their competitors, artificially suppress wages, and transfer health, social service, and education costs to the rest of us.

Restraint and responsibility have become bad words in our government's rapid embrace of totalitarian policies mocking the Constitution and ignoring the lessons of history. It is my pleasure to consistently say "NO" to those who are willing to mortgage our grandchildren's tomorrows for the "me" generation's selfish today.

Our local state legislative representatives have successfully manipulated control of Asheville's one billion dollar water asset. In a classic case of power over principle, makeup has been applied to misbehaviors any drug thug would recognize instantly. How could a politician with an ounce of courage say "YES" to the greatest act of political plunder in our city's history?

Those who believe that "NO" is every bit as important as "YES" can find a model in the wisdom of Winston Churchill. At the beginning of World War II this gentleman offered his shortest and best speech in a career filled with illustrious prose - "Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

Those with a dedication to special interests over the common good are not going to stop what they are doing. The corrupt power structure of my party and the other party are not likely to soon embrace principles as their defining mission. Those willing to steal America's future with false promises, big government excess, and greed do not seem inclined to alter their course.

Under such circumstances, I will savor the opportunities to say "YES", but I will not take off my "NO" button and surrender to the pressures of political correctness. America is busy mass producing "YES" men politicians schooled in the easy task of squandering other people's money and liberty. Their limited vocabulary necessitates a "Dr. No" - and that is important.

Limbaugh, Powell, and Chaney: Who is a Real Republican?

Editorial Submission-
May 26, 2009

"In the latest round of the increasingly heated intra-GOP feud, former Secretary of State Colin Powell Sunday defended his Republican credentials and fired back at radio host Rush Limbaugh and former Vice President Dick Cheney, saying the party had to expand beyond its conservative base."

Ex-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and former Secretary of State Colin Powell called on Republicans Sunday to be more inclusive. In what's become a running battle with conservatives, they suggested the GOP's status as a major party was at stake. Powell also hit back at former Vice President Dick Cheney, calling him "misinformed."


Like the wicked queen in "Snow White" seeking reassurance of her beauty via a talking mirror - most politicians define their image by persistently talking to themselves. In the absence of a magic mirror, voting records and actions offer the best credential check. On that basis, authentic principle driven Republican leaders are about as rare as albino unicorns.

The recent Republican heavy weight dust-up has illuminated political hypocrisy as surely as it has provided opportunity for introspection. All is not as it seems.

A Host of Pretenders

It is interesting to see Dick Chaney challenging the Republican credentials of his peers. His call for the Party to stand for something is sweet music, but he should have played that tune for the eight years he and the President controlled the executive branch of our government. During their tour of duty, this team violated about everything the "R" word stands for - including engaging in expensive foreign entanglements, increasing entitlements, minimizing the Constitution, and expanding government bureaucracy. Real Republicans walk what they talk.

Former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge has taken Chaney to task for daring to suggest that Colin Powell was no longer a Republican. I can understand why Ridge would do that. He made a job of not being real with the Constitution and playing loose with Republican core principles throughout his tenure. Certainly he would identify with those behaviors in others.

Colin Powell is officially still a member of the Republican Party. He may have failed to blow the whistle on our Iraq adventure while there was still time - he may have endorsed the most liberal socialist member of the Senate for the Presidency - he may be calling for Republicans to become more like Democrats to save the Party, but we can all rest easy that he has kept his official Republican secret decoder ring.

Rush Limbaugh continues to take the heat for dismissing the machinations of "moderate" Republicans pushing for a more socially acceptable version of the Republican Party. He is the only guy in the mix who understands the concept of principle over politics, power, popularity, political correctness, pragmatism and all of the "P" words that have kidnapped the Republican Party.

There is a reason Rush has a following and it doesn't have much to do with a charming personality. He stands for something, however imperfect, that is real.

Republican Values are Conservative by Design

Powell and other men of studied virtue are concerned that the party has been kidnapped by its conservative members. If our Party's stated principles mean anything, then those voices are the only ones who are remotely sincere about being real. All the rest are pursuing some camouflaged political effort to abandon values for other priorities.

The recent loss of favor of the Republican Party has little to do with a refusal to make the tent bigger. Over the past eight years the Republican Party power structure constructed a huge tent -- unfortunately filled with hot air. A trend that the Democrats are carrying on with enthusiasm.

Our problems in the Republican Party are the opposite of what Mr. Powell suggests - it is not that we are at risk for standing for something too restrictive; it is that we have failed to stand for much of anything.

I would raise the question about whether those right wing conservatives that everyone is so upset about dominating the Party ever really existed - at least when filtered through our true principles. What we had were Bush, Chaney, Powell, Ridge, Rove, Gingrich, and a host of enthusiastic followers pretending to be conservatives as they played out some form of political game behind a screen of spotty conservative positions.

Who or What?

Comedians Abbot and Costello once did a famously circular routine called, "Who's On First". The Republican Party's struggle for an identity will not be determined by who is on first, but what. If principles do not come first, then the rest is more hot air and political pretense founded on transient personalities.

If we do get real, it is my sense that America's mumbling majority will be delighted to have a political party that is careful with their liberties, values, safety, and resources. After all, that is the stated mission of the Republican Party. We best get on with it and let the pretenders take the headlines. Our job is to stand for something and take back America.