Book review: Sheriff Mike Lewis – Constitutional. Uncanceled. by Haven Simmons

This book came out last month, and it’s an intriguing one.
Cover image via Amazon.

One would think I don’t read books anymore, and to be honest I had no idea it had been over a half-decade since I reviewed one here on monoblogue. However, I believed this would be an interesting tome with which to renew the tradition, given the local connection of both subject and author, a retired communication professor from Salisbury University.

Moreover, I thought I could shine a unique light on the book as both a published author myself – someone who knows what it’s like to put together a book requiring hours of research and attempting to make it palatable to a reader who wishes to know more about the subject – and as a former constituent and eventual supporter of the title subject. There were quite a few names familiar to me dropped within the book; as one would imagine that drove a lot of my interest in reading a volume that my wife actually purchased for her enjoyment. (It’s why I’m waiting a week or so to put out this review so as not to give her any spoilers.)

Mike Lewis, however, was not just my sheriff when I lived in Wicomico County before crossing over to Delaware two-plus years ago. Arguably the national platform for drug interdiction and Second Amendment support he’s created via his frequent media appearances make Lewis the third-most recognizable figure of his generation with a Salisbury-area background, trailing only Terminator series actress Linda Hamilton and longtime Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Seidel.

Furthermore, not only are Lewis and I almost perfect contemporaries in age and upbringing as we were both born in the same year and have at least some (in my case) amount of rural background, there’s always been that political aspect surrounding him – once he became a household word in Wicomico during his first campaign in 2006, swamping a four-person GOP primary field with 59.7% of the vote then winning handily that November, Mike got to a point where supporters would have jumped at the chance to help elect him to any higher office he wanted. One interesting tidbit I found in SMLCU is that he once promised his wife he would only serve two terms as Sheriff, but instead filed for a fifth last year. Should he be re-elected in 2022, though, he would match his immediate predecessor, the late Sheriff Hunter Nelms, with five electoral victories. Coming back for a sixth term in 2026 would give Lewis the opportunity to serve even longer than Nelms’s 22 years on the job. (An old-school conservative Democrat, Hunter was appointed in 1984 to finish an unexpired term and served through the 2006 election, where he opted not to seek another term.)

In an epilogue describing his book, Simmons recounts the three themes he was attempting to address: first, Lewis’s ambitions and accomplishments, second, those things that the policing profession entails, and lastly, “the big picture of government and the greater society that places law enforcement in a crucial, albeit vulnerable and often underappreciated position.” Out of the three, the book scores well on the first and last parts, but becomes a bit of a drag on the second portion, much of which comes out as a laundry list of offenses that takes up the book’s second, lengthy chapter – 66 pages out of a book that’s 177 pages, excluding epilogue, acknowledgements, end notes, and photos. (That extra material brings the book to 221 pages overall.)

The problem with that second chapter is that dozens of arrests are detailed, including one I really didn’t need a reminder of – the embarrassing Julie Brewington DUI incident from 2018. (I served with Brewington, a TEA Party leader in Wicomico, for my final two years on the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee.) This list could have been honed down to perhaps a couple dozen of the biggest ones, and the final part of the chapter that mainly deals with incidents in the local schools and at Salisbury University should have been a standalone chapter, particularly as the book then transitions into the seminal case that has occurred under Lewis’s watch: the Sarah Foxwell murder case from Christmas 2009. (One departure from the book: while Lewis talks about tying yellow ribbons to mailboxes to denote yards that had been searched by property owners, I distinctly recall they were asking for red shirts or rags because I remember tying one of my old red shirts to a wagon wheel we kept at the end of the driveway where we then lived in the Foxwell search area so they knew we had checked our property. Perhaps – surprisingly – Mike’s memory is less clear than mine on that one, or maybe it was an either/or situation since most houses don’t have yellow ribbon on hand.)

However, once that slog of a second chapter is complete, the book moves along at a nice pace through the time period and events that made Lewis a household name among county sheriffs nationwide, among them the Foxwell case, assisting at the Baltimore riots in 2015 and becoming an impromptu spokesman for the police gathered there, and Mike’s advocacy for the Second Amendment. We also get a glimpse of then-candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign stop in nearby Berlin and the fact that Lewis initially backed Marco Rubio in the race thanks to a previous encounter with him on a drug interdiction fact-finding mission to South America.

SMLCU also gets its share of ink from a couple local politicians, most notably former Wicomico State’s Attorney turned Circuit Court Judge Matt Maciarello and State Senator Mary Beth Carozza, who gushed that, “Mike Lewis was and is the real deal when it comes to defining a top cop – a leader through and through, who day in and day out, leads by example.” While Wicomico County has strong leadership in that regard, it should be pointed out that there was a modest write-in campaign against him in 2018 that netted perhaps 7% of the vote – most likely from malcontents in the local “defund the police” crowd who don’t like Lewis’s aggressive stance toward crimefighting. I have news for them: it’s clear from this book that he doesn’t like them, either.

Unfortunately, all books have a cutoff date for production and printing, so one loose end that would have been worth following up and asking more about was the effort by Lewis to declare Wicomico County a Second Amendment preservation county last year. It ends with a vow to reintroduce the legislation this year, but the question is whether the county would take up something like that in an election year. There were a lot of disappointed people when Lewis backed away from the bill, which many believe is necessary as a counterweight to the overbearing government in Annapolis and Washington, D.C. The book quotes former Delegate Don Dwyer as claiming, “The role of the sheriff is to be an interposer between the law and the citizen.” Added Dwyer, “Sheriffs do have the power to nullify or ignore a law if it is unconstitutional.” Pointed out several times in the book is the fact the sheriff (as opposed to a police chief) is an elected official, thus the public trust is placed upon the officeholder with the accountability of election always in the background.

In sum, a tidier book may have gotten the point across with more brevity, but overall this is an interesting look at a law enforcement officer who has perhaps gone out of his way to have an outsized influence on people both inside and outside his chosen profession. I recall when Mike was first running that I worried about his outside interests:

Lewis is a wonderful teacher. I sat in last month’s WCRC meeting and was fascinated by Mike’s presentation. I’m not a cop but I learned a lot about traffic stops and drug interdiction from just 20 or 30 minutes listening to him speak. Had Hunter Nelms decided to run for another term, I’m certain Mike Lewis would be starting a second career traveling the country and even internationally as a teacher and expert on drug interdiction. It almost seems like a waste having him as a county sheriff when he could do a great job and touch many more people with a career path like he was contemplating.

For Wicomico County Sheriff,” August 20, 2006.

As it turns out, he was more of a multitasker than I gave him credit for – since I endorsed his chief Republican opponent for the primary before backing Lewis in the general – and the book overcomes its flaws to make most of those points.

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I am (indirectly) quoted in this book as “a blogger.” Simmons quoted a blog post I did in 2013 at the Second Amendment townhall meeting held by Lewis, which is also credited in the end notes. I guess, thanks to this review, Haven now gets unsolicited advice for a second edition of this book should one come about.

Thinking the unthinkable

I don’t always agree with pundit Erick Erickson, but I remain a fan of his because he comes at things from a unique but conservative perspective. Erick was one of those #NeverTrump folks who eventually came around about the same time I did, since we both voted for him the second time. So while the conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump will run and win a second term, Erick pumps the brakes a little bit on the idea in two different respects and I think both deserve discussion.

Given that modern American presidents tend to win a second term, it would be silly for Republicans to restore President Trump to office wherein he could only stay four years. Republicans would be giving up the historic default of eight years for one man to serve two separate four year presidencies. The 2028 primary would begin before the 2024 presidential cycle even concluded. He’d be the lamest of ducks.

It would also be silly for the GOP to put in office a man who’d be no younger than Joe Biden is now. The GOP has a remarkable bench with deep experience. Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Doug Ducey, Kristi Noem, Ron DeSantis, and Mike Pence all have tremendous experience and all are younger than either President Trump or President Biden. Regardless of what you think about any of them individually, it would be a bit nuts to give up a potential eight years for any one of them for no more than four years for a second Trump term.

“It’s Only Sensical For the Nonsense,” Erick Erickson, January 18, 2022.

One could have accused the Democrats of the same thing by nominating a President who at one point openly eschewed a second term. Many thought Joe Biden’s job was that of picking a good vice president so she could be in office for ten years, with Biden stepping aside January 21, 2023. Obviously it could still happen but he definitely screwed up in picking the VP, who is reportedly hated by most of the Obama-era staffers in Biden’s White House.

And any of the names Erickson picked out would be good candidates for president, a light year’s improvement over the current occupant of the Oval Office. I think the top three for me at a 41,000 foot level, without getting into the nuts and bolts of where they stand on particular pet issues, would be DeSantis, Cruz (who I voted for last time in the primary), and Pompeo. I eventually was won over by the policies of Donald Trump but I can see where people may be thinking supporting him in 2024 is a hard pass, which may be why Trump is trying to clear the field by planning so many events this year.

Erickson goes on to make just this point by citing an interesting poll number. This is a longer blockquote, I believe it’s a radio show transcript from this past Tuesday that he added to his Substack:

If you’re listening to me right now, and you are 50 years or older, particularly 55 and older, then you likely believe Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican party. If you are younger than that, if you’re in your 40’s, your 30’s, your 20’s, you are less likely to be looking forward to the return of Donald Trump. It is a demographic thing.

60% of Republicans say they want Donald Trump to run again. He is the leader of the party. That’s down from 90% in November of last year, or November now of 2020. It’s down from 75% after January of 2021 to 60%, according to the polling averages. Averages are a little better indicator than an individual poll. So slightly less than two thirds of Republicans believe Donald Trump is the leader of the party. That’s actually fallen significantly in a year and a half. The people most likely to still believe it are over 50. Younger people are moving on fairly rapidly within the GOP. Some of you are going to send me hate mail and say, “This is all because I hate Donald Trump.” Not true. Just follow along and listen to me here before you rush to your keyboards.

Donald Trump held a rally in Arizona (last) weekend. I only know about the Donald Trump rally in Arizona over the weekend because the people who hate Donald Trump felt compelled on social media, CNN, and MSNBC, to tell us all what he said. The people who are most likely to talk about Donald Trump at this moment are the diehard Trump supporters.

“The Trump Haters Have Only Trump,” Erick Erickson, January 18, 2022.

I wish I had the numbers to back this up, but I don’t recall there being a whole lot of push to bring Jimmy Carter back in 1984, although they got the next best thing, the sacrificial lamb in Carter VP Walter Mondale, nor did we have a call for another term of George H.W. Bush in 1996. That time we got a different retread in Bob Dole, who lost with Gerald Ford in 1976 to the aforementioned Carter/Mondale team.

Interestingly enough, I think Erick brought up at some point previously that both those incumbents (Carter and Bush 41) lost in part because they had primary challenges: Carter in 1980 from Ted Kennedy and GHWB in 1992 from Pat Buchanan. Even more interesting: those two elections were among the most influenced nationwide by third candidates on the November ballot – liberal Republican John Anderson in 1980 and eventual Reform Party standard-bearer H. Ross Perot in 1992, when he ran as a true independent. I don’t think my memory is completely shot yet on these long-ago campaigns, so obviously this poll cited above is a testament to Donald Trump’s popularity with his base, and certainly the GOP will back him should he be the 2024 nominee. The question is: should he be?

To play a devil’s advocate, there are two key factors that would point to a “anyone but Trump” campaign in 2024. Most obvious is Trump’s age, as he would be 78 on Election Day 2024. Assuming Joe Biden makes it that long, our nation goes into uncharted territory this November 20 as we will have an octogenarian as our President for the first time. Do we really want to go with a second in a row? I tell you, those Boomers just can’t let go of power (although, in truth, Joe Biden is a member of the Silent Generation as he was born after 1928 and before 1946 – he almost certainly will be the only such President. After Ronald Reagan, who was close to 70 when he took the oath of office, and the 64-year-old at his inauguration Bush 41, we then skipped the Depression generation by going young with the Baby Boomer Bill Clinton.)

But the second is personality: Trump can be grating to some as he comes across as narcissistic. There are many who like that take-charge, take no crap aspect in the guy, but Joe Biden won the presidency because he convinced a number of mail-in ballot cards that he would be uniter to succeed the divisive Trump, who had really only divided the nation because the media told us so. And after at least eight years (some may argue we’ve been like this since Bush v. Gore) of divisiveness, surely there are Americans who like the America First, working-class everyman idea of the Trump Republican Party but think it’s time to move on from some of the figures who have divided us. At least in the first week of his term, we got an example from Glenn Youngkin in Virginia; however, the new governor’s bigger tests will be in dealing with what his legislature dishes out since the House of Delegates is Republican but the Senate remains Democrat because no seats were contested last year. (Had that been up for grabs, Virginia may well have switched from a Democrat trifecta to a Republican one overnight.)

Perhaps the Trump strategy is to run again with a young VP he can count on to carry on his legacy for another eight years, since there’s no way we’re repealing the 22nd Amendment anytime soon. (Trump only won 30 states the first time, and such a repeal – which was also discussed during Reagan’s, and to a far lesser extent, Obama’s second term – isn’t going to grab any of the states where Trump lost both elections.)

Someday historians may find out that the 2020 election was our “WTF” moment, the time when all logic seemed to go out the window and Americans voted for a slow national suicide. If we don’t want to fall like Rome, we need to make a course correction and it’s going to have to last at least eight years with a compliant Congress and court system that has restoring our Constitutional system in mind. If Donald Trump is the guy to lead that effort, more power to him – but he can’t be the only one.

Update: If you thought Erick Erickson was bad, you should get a load of what Ann Coulter had to say about Trump’s chances in 2024, comparing him to how Sarah Palin flamed out before the 2012 campaign. Remember when she used to be one of the biggest Trump backers?

An unconventional call

I pointed this out back in October when the event occurred, but one of the groups represented at the Unify Delaware Festival was the Convention of States organization. As I said back then, “This group is seeking a Convention of States to address term limits, a balanced budget, and government overreach. Problem is getting 34 states in our (supposedly) federalist republic to agree that’s a bug and not a feature.”

The CoS has been an idea that’s been around since our founding – obviously, since it’s covered in Article V of our Constitution – but it’s become an advocacy group now led by one of the original founders of the TEA Party movement, Mark Meckler. His rendition, explained here in a lengthy “pocket guide,” calls for a convention to discuss three key issues: imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limiting the terms for office for its officials and members of Congress. More or less, these concepts were some of those things original members of the TEA Party fought for before the movement became a grift – in fact, Meckler resigned from the TEA Party Patriots (which he co-founded) in 2012. In Chapter 9 of Rise and Fall I wrote:

After a three-year run at the top of the Tea Party Patriots, co-founder Mark Meckler resigned in February, 2012, citing “discomfort with the way the financial affairs of TPP have been handled… I believe that TPP is fiscally irresponsible in the way that it spends and manages donor monies.” Meckler also complained that, as treasurer, “I have been excluded from the distribution of critical financial information, and critical discussions about the finances of the organization.”

from The Rise and Fall of the TEA Party.

This particular call has now been adopted by fifteen states of the required 34, but progress has been slowed to a crawl as no state has passed this resolution since 2019. However, there is CoS legislation ongoing in 17 states, which would bring it up to 32 out of 34 if they should somehow pass it. Currently, Nebraska is debating becoming the 16th state and, as CoS points out, there is an interesting group of big-government suspects lined up to oppose the bill. On the other hand, it has a pleasingly varied list of endorsers from all over the conservative spectrum, and over the next week or so they will concentrate a push in Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

They are trying to kickstart the movement in other ways as well, debuting a commercial on Newsmax TV Saturday in conjunction with President Trump’s Arizona rally that night. Unfortunately, CoS completely missed an opportunity for further distribution by not placing a video of it on their website. That is a grievous unforced error in my estimation, since I don’t spend my day watching Newsmax whether Trump is on there or not. You have a blog – use it!

In essence, the Convention of States operates on the principle that Congress has no interest in limiting its own power, and that would be the correct interpretation – how many times did a Congressional hopeful come to a TEA Party group promising to change the system yet, three terms later, become just another captive of the Swamp? But it’s not an easy road: if you assume that every state that voted for Donald Trump at least once is a candidate for adoption, that’s only 30 states. You would need four “liberal” states to join in as well, and really the only one that is much of a possibility is New Hampshire, which somehow never voted for Trump but is otherwise a GOP trifecta. A flip of two seats in Virginia’s Senate next year may allow the Commonwealth to be state number 32 in this projection, but it’s going to take a sea change in other states to get them over the hump – and that assumes no states rescind their various calls for convention, which occurred in Delaware a few years ago. (They had a balanced budget amendment call, which was one of the CoS goals. And yes, that was a vote that made my first Delaware edition of the monoblogue Accountability Project as HCR60, so we know who is still on the proper side.)

Unfortunately, too many people still work under two misguided beliefs: one being that the government is actually looking out for them – as opposed to using your labor and your vote to further their own personal fiefdoms – and the other that the federal government will reform itself. Well, if the last century or so isn’t proof enough that the feds like amassing more control over the people and won’t stop even if you say pretty please, I’m not sure I can convince you otherwise. There are a lot of good people in government who are there for the right reasons, but it doesn’t take too many bad apples to spoil the whole bunch.

But in my estimation this may be the proper way to go, since the TEA Party tried using the political route and really didn’t make much everlasting change. Now it may not matter, convention or not, because there is a group in power that’s been ignoring the Constitution anyway, but we can try this method first before other means become necessary. Just ask Thomas Jefferson.

The perils of redistricting

I noticed on the news the other day that my home state of Ohio had its proposed Congressional redistricting map tossed out by a 4-3 Ohio Supreme Court ruling, with the Republican chief justice joining the three Democrat justices in claiming the map was, “a plan that is infused with undue partisan bias and that is incomprehensibly more extremely biased than the 2011 plan that it replaced.”

I’m going to be the first to admit that the Ohio Republicans in 2010, after being infused with the energy of the TEA Party, made it their mission to wipe out Democrat representation. One memorable piece of gerrymandering was shoestringing the Toledo-based Ninth Congressional District (my former home district) along the south shore of Lake Erie to the edge of Cleveland in order to place two Democrat representatives, Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich, in the same district. When both sought the seat in 2012, Kaptur prevailed and all but ended Kucinich’s political career.

So the Republicans have to go back to the drawing board, and in an interesting twist of state law, maps that pass without bipartisan support may only be left in place for four years. And the Ohio ruling gave yet more ammunition to Democrats to claim we need a national standard – enter my old uber-regressive friend Rick Weiland, who e-mailed me to say:

Republicans are only months away from rigging a decade of elections.

(snip)

In 2016, the Democratic governor of North Carolina won re-election with 51% of the vote, the same year Donald Trump won the presidency with slightly less than 51%. Yet, even though Democrats are winning approximately 50% of the votes statewide, they’re still ending up in a permanent minority in the state legislature.

Thanks to all of our hard work, Georgia has become a quintessential battleground state. But thanks to Republican gerrymandering, Republicans are expected to win 9 or 10 of Georgia’s 14 congressional seats. In Gwinnett County, Georgia, which has seen its demographics shift from 90% white in 1990 to 30% white today, this is not at all recognized by the maps drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature.

And, in Ohio, where Republicans win about 53% of the vote, the GOP is favored to win 80% of congressional seats.

“Freedom to Vote Act would ban partisan gerrymandering,” e-mail from Rick Weiland, January 11, 2022.

You can throw out that last sentence for the moment. But let’s talk about how people vote, and I’m going to take a look at Maryland for the moment because, unlike Delaware, they actually have Congressional districts.

In the last three Congressional elections, this is the share of the aggregate Congressional vote each party has received in the state of Maryland.

  • 2020: Democrats 64.7%, Republicans 34.8%, others 0.4%
  • 2018: Democrats 65.3%, Republicans 32.3%, others 2.4%
  • 2016: Democrats 60.4%, Republicans 35.5%, others 4.0%

In that time period, Democrats have held consistent around 55% of registered voters, while the GOP slipped slightly but stayed around 25%. Given that ratio one can assume unaffiliated voters split roughly 50-50, although in 2016 it looks like they tilted somewhat toward the GOP and slightly favored Democrats in 2018. (Another factor: there were fewer third party aspirants on the 2020 ballot, as the Libertarians and Greens didn’t field candidates. That may have had something to do with ballot access issues for the minor parties in Maryland, which has a stricter criteria for access than Delaware does.)

To make a long story short, in a given election between two candidates statewide in Maryland the split should run 65-35 in favor of the Democrats – in fact, 2020 was a perfect example of this. However, when you split the state into districts you’ll find that there are pockets of heavier Republican registration, and in 2010 the Democrats (who control redistricting) chose to pack as many Republican stalwarts as possible into the First District by switching portions of GOP-dominated Carroll County into the First and burying the rest in a tide of MoCo Democrats by placing it in the Eighth. This was done in order to swamp the formerly-Republican Sixth District in a separate crush of MoCo Democrats by eliminating its Frederick and Carroll county portions and instead thrusting it further into MoCo. (And as I’ll note momentarily, it worked.)

In the 2010 district map, centrist Anne Arundel County was mercilessly jigsawed into four different districts, while the more populous Democrat enclaves of Baltimore City and Montgomery County were sliced into three and Prince George’s into a hacksawed two based on the party’s need for dominance, maintaining through the decade a 7-1 advantage gained when the Sixth District flipped from Republican to Democrat thanks to the additional leftist MoCo voters. Once the map was approved, all but one of the changes in Maryland’s Congressional delegation during the decade came from retirement or death, as the only incumbent to lose at the ballot box was Sixth District Republican Roscoe Bartlett in 2012 – the chosen victim of Democrat redistricting. The same occurred in 2002 after that round of Democrat-controlled redistricting, when the Second District seat previously held by Bob Ehrlich (who won his run for governor) and Eighth District seat held by Connie Morella (who lost a re-election bid) flipped, changing Maryland from a 4-4 state to a 6-2 Democrat state. Aside from the Democrats gaining the First District for a term with Frank Kratovil in 2008 before he lost to Andy Harris, that’s the way it stayed.

This time around it’s the aforementioned Republican Andy Harris who is the target of Democrats, as they opted to not pack Republicans into the First and instead brought it back close to the configuration that gave the First District Kratovil in 2008 as part of Anne Arundel was once again placed in the First. (Additionally, Harris no longer lives in the district, which is now completely outside his home in Baltimore County.) Anne Arundel gets a slight break this time, though, as they are only in three districts, as is Baltimore City. MoCo now has the distinction of being cut in jagged fourths by the map.

By comparison, the map presented by Governor Larry Hogan’s redistricting committee (made up of equal portions Republicans, Democrats, and independents) came up with a Congressional map that respected county boundaries as much as possible. No county was chopped into more than three districts: in Baltimore County, only the extreme southern tip was placed in the city-centric Seventh District while the rest went into a Second District exclusive to the county and the First District. Meanwhile, Montgomery County had its own district in the Eighth, with a little piece of the western end of the county staying in the Sixth District (as has been traditional) and the rest – a slice along its eastern border – joining the northern half of Prince George’s County in the Fourth District. But since that would likely be a 6-2 Democrat split, it wasn’t good enough for the rabidly partisan General Assembly – never mind that a truly representative state of Maryland would probably shake out as a 5-3 Democrat majority based on their voting pattern.

(As you’ll see in its 160-plus pages, this Hogan redistricting committee proposal also covered state legislative districts, with the key change the elimination of multiple-member Delegate districts. The Democrats hated that, too.)

In circling back to Weiland’s plea – which echoes that of the most rabid Congressional Democrats – one has to wonder where the energy for leading by example went to. What happened to criticism of states like Maryland, Illinois, or California, where Republicans are gerrymandered out of any semblance of power? This is particularly true when Marylanders were presented with an alternative that was more fair.

The problem with pretty much any district map done geographically is that keeping things compact and contiguous means that you get urban areas that vote 90% Democrat (and have enough population for a district of their own) surrounded by suburban and rural areas that swing 70-30 or more the other way. To take a state like Ohio, you could easily get a 10-5 Republican split by just keeping the large three-C (Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland) urban counties in their own districts, plus maybe one that combines the Akron/Canton/Youngstown area and one based in Toledo. Just divide the rest of the state 10 ways, and it could pass muster geographically. Move north into Michigan: give the city of Detroit its own district and split up the suburbs into thirds or fourths – those are your D districts in Michigan. Given the size of the other cities in the state, there’s not enough urban area for a Democrat-dominated district.

(Turns out they were pretty close, giving Detroit two districts and the suburbs three, including combining the downriver Detroit suburbs and Ann Arbor area for a third strong D district. But the state is being sued by the “Detroit Caucus” because the city lost a seat from the hack job previously in place.)

Perhaps the best example of this approach is in Nebraska, where one district is basically the city of Omaha and close-in suburbs, another is the Omaha exurbs and the college town of Lincoln, and the third is everything else. In theory, all three representatives could now live within about 25 miles of Omaha – but one would have a heckuva district to cover. (The change from before is that the “rest of the state” district now comes close to Omaha – prior to this year the Lincoln district completely surrounded the Omaha one.)

What I do know is that the solution doesn’t lie in Congress. When the hypocrisy of ignoring the beam in your eye to focus on the speck in your brother’s eye (as described in Matthew 7:3) is so rampant there, they aren’t the answer. If the regressives had their way, districts would pinwheel out of urban areas in just such a manner that centrist and Republican voters would be shut out by their urban counterparts – who would also be in charge of counting the votes, and since urban areas always seem to report last, they would know just the margin of “mail-in votes” they need to create.

This is why Congress should not be in charge of their own elections – it’s bad enough what we sometimes have to put up with at the state level.

The J6 anger is still smoldering

A year ago, the nation watched in shock as an event I figured would draw less than six figures morphed into an invasion of the “people’s house.” Having said that, the government persevered and did what it came to do that afternoon a few hours later, certifying that Joe Biden was the winner of the 2020 election in spite of the doubts of its legitimacy shared by millions. (Sort of like the 2016 election, which those same people who swear up and down that Joe Biden really racked up 81 million votes continue to contend was the election that was actually stolen.) If J6 was a coup, I can’t think of one which failed more miserably in overthrowing the government.

However, maybe J6 was the coup but the target wasn’t those in charge. Perhaps we are still undergoing a slow-motion coup which began with the release and spread of a biological agent at a time when the American economy was firing on all cylinders. We still seem to be stuck at times in that fifteen days to stop the spread, and we see that’s not working as thousands who endured the “jab” and its various side effects are still catching the Wuhan flu, along with many who chose to trust their natural immunity or would not receive the vaccine for legitimate physical or religious reasons. Fortunately, the vast majority survive although too many have not.

At this time in 2020, we were just going through the latter stages of a long presidential campaign that was being slugged out on the Democrat side between the poll leader Bernie Sanders and two others close behind: Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden. And while Donald Trump trailed in the polls, it was close enough to suggest a repeat of 2016. But then the CCP virus showed up and all the voting rules were changed. Imagine that: we went through how many flu epidemics over the years but no one ever decreed the election rules needed to change until Donald Trump was in office.

But somewhere in the dim recesses of my memory I seem to recall hearing that the election would actually play out like it did. The cynic in me believes this survey and story was solely intended to set up the steal by claiming Donald Trump’s election night lead would be overcome by a deluge of late mail-in votes, and what do you know? That’s just how it played out. Imagine that.

It’s a lot easier to steal an election if you have 51% of ballots cast as mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania than a measly 4%. Or 50% in Georgia as opposed to 6%. Or 67% in Michigan rather than 25%. Or 57% in Wisconsin instead of 9%. Or, perhaps, 47% in Delaware rather than 4%. As the survey noted, “Trump leads by a remarkable 68% to 23% among those who say they are very unlikely to vote by mail, and by a still robust 50% to 39% among all but those who say they are very likely to vote by mail. Biden, however, leads among all likely voters by 50% to 40%.” Hey, since the “expected” result was a Biden win, why not manipulate the results to produce what was anticipated anyway? Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

And if part of addressing the issue involves holding a few hundred criminals whose offense was in essence participating in the same style of “peaceful protest” that occurred in cities around the country in the summer and fall of 2020 in jail for a year to be an example, more’s the better, right?

So color me skeptical that Democrats are really trying to franchise the rest of us by having a federal takeover of elections. If anything, it’s time for states to clean up their voter rolls by making those on the list affirmatively reply they are who they say they are and eliminate ballot harvesting and drop boxes: as we see now in Georgia, that was a surefire invitation to fraud that probably cost Donald Trump the state and a Republican majority in the Senate.

And just remember, the polls are out now, and there’s expected to be a Republican takeover of the House and perhaps the Senate this fall. So if the results don’t work out that way, we will know why, won’t we?

I just hope it doesn’t require a replay of Athens 1946 where bullets had to fly to have ballots counted correctly to get the true results and oust a Democrat machine.

The bite of inflation

Let’s begin 2022 by talking about an issue that has bullied its way into our national consciousness in the past year, inflation. All of us are paying more for various items, but in my case it’s measured with a quirky but useful yardstick.

I have a Friday lunch routine that began a couple years ago. In my “real” job I work four nine-hour days Monday to Thursday and have a four-hour Friday, meaning my weekend generally begins at lunchtime on Friday. So to start my weekend I go to Chick-Fil-A and order the same thing each week: a spicy deluxe meal with a side salad in lieu of the fries and a diet Dr. Pepper. (In and of itself, that’s a routine because it’s about the only time I drink Dr. Pepper. The one thing I don’t like about Chick-Fil-A is that they pour Coke products and I’m a Pepsi guy from way back.)

Because I always get the same thing, I know exactly how much it will cost before they ring it up. Thus, I was surprised a few weeks back when the number increased for the second time this year – sure enough, a look at my old bank statements confirmed this. Back in April that combo set me back $8.93, and over the summer it went up to $9.29, which was the number I was expecting. Instead, they told me it was $9.89!

Doing some hasty public school math with my phone’s calculator, the first increase was 4.03% while the second was 6.46%. Combined, in the space of about six or seven months, the price for my meal went up 10.75% – that’s pretty steep, because I don’t recall my income going up 10.75%. (I did get a raise in 2021, but not that much.)

Of course, there are costs involved, and the restaurant wants to stay profitable. So the increase has to be passed along to the consumer somehow, and since CFA hasn’t been cutting corners on the food they’re forced to charge more for it.

First and foremost, the smiling lady behind the Chick-Fil-A counter almost certainly has a higher wage now than she did when the year began, as do all her behind-the-scenes helpers. More importantly, the cost of the raw materials have gone up as chicken isn’t so cheap anymore, nor is produce or bread for the bun. It costs more to power all the food service equipment required to bring my sandwich and salad to my waiting hands.

But our nation got used to inflation that ran maybe 1-2%, meaning we might see just a modest increase every year. Now that we have so much funny money floating about, however, we got saddled with two significant hikes in six months. (And yes, I realize all this started with the last president. But he only did one stimmy, in reaction to the forced shutdown of “non-essential” businesses and complete revision of the service model for restaurants like CFA. In and of itself that was a gross overreaction, but I digress…)

Obviously I’m diving into the anecdotal here, but as a busy family we eat out a lot: usually three to four times a week for dinner. So we are attuned to the steady rise in prices that’s seemingly accelerated since the CCP virus began to take its toll on the restaurant industry and its players almost two years ago. It doesn’t matter if they’re chains like Chick-Fil-A or Texas Roadhouse or local restaurants such as Laurel Pizzeria, Pizza King, or La Tolteca in Salisbury – every time we go there it seems some of the prices have gone up a quarter here and 50 cents there. We get that costs are going up and food service is a brutal business model right now, but there has to be an end somewhere.

Perhaps if we stop with this artificial stimulation of the economy where valueless dollars are printed, we can eventually get back to that nice, predictable, and steady 1-2% annual increase (and bring back the period of not so long ago where wage increases were faster than inflation.) Otherwise, my over/under on my Friday lunchtime meal by the end of this new year is $11.50. Any takers?

We can make a partial course correction in 10 months. Hopefully some inspiring candidates for said change will step forth in the interim here in Delaware.

2021: a monoblogue year in review

As two weeks to stop the spread drags ever closer to two years, it’s time once again to review where I’ve been during the year.

My first post in January had perhaps the best first line of a year and perhaps the worst prediction. I began by saying, “From all appearances, January 6 may be a momentous day in our nation’s history, and grassroots supporters of Donald Trump will either be elated or despondent at day’s end.” But then I made the prediction, “Given that the 6th (a Wednesday) is a regular workday for D.C. and everyone else, I wouldn’t expect a major six-figure crowd there as there was for previous pro-Trump rallies.” Okay then. Upon further review, though, I still think it’s true that “if there really was an insurrection you would have had hot and cold bleeding politicians.” In that month I also had a rare guest opinion regarding Kamala Harris and shared my thoughts on becoming the loyal opposition.

What a way to begin the year, huh? I also started the second hundred of odds and ends, threw shade on my erstwhile professional organization, looked at the Gamestop stock phenomenon and asked what is truth?

It may have come out in February, when I reviewed my pleasing predictions. I also had to inform you of a new local grift as well as deal with another waste of energy and – believe it or not – more odds and ends. But the month gave those of us on the Right the sads because we lost our truth detector, a legend who finally repaid the talent he had been loaned.

I began my March by pondering the prospect of Trump fatigue, talking about some misdirection, then getting into local impact races. I then took a first look at how our state stacks up political district-wise before concluding with (you guessed it) even more odds and ends.

There was more of a Delaware focus in April as I looked at the changing of the guard in state political advocacy groups and attended one of the newbies’ local meetings, which had a heavy Second Amendment influence thanks to its location. That came in handy for a supportive 2A solution my member of Congress would never adopt, even though she should.

Then again, if Delmarva were a state she would possibly have company in Congress. I reprised a post I did in 2017 based on this cycle’s results and found we were still a purple region. Yet I found time to discuss infrastructure, too, and got myself back into practice for both the resumption of the Shorebirds season and a pictures and text post for the first time in over two years, well before the CCP virus hit us!

I began May with treatises on government dependence and fear before turning my attention to competing endorsements and disappointing results of the state’s school board elections. To make it a trifecta, our state also advanced a terrible idea – but what else is new? One thing new was a radio host with a radical thought I expanded on.

Part of my June docket had to do with the aforementioned radio host, who got some competition that ended an era in talk radio. But I brought back two things in the month: the odds and ends you breathlessly waited two months for and the Shorebirds of the Month I very, very impatiently longed to do for nearly two years.

But we also had to deal with it being pride month and with the avalanche of fake facts, for which I passed along some advice. I also talked about really fixing our Senate and announced someone wanted to fix the House – or at least represent us better – yet again, for the third straight election.

July began with a whimper and not a bang thanks to the Delaware General Assembly closing up shop a bit early, but I still did an accounting on them for this session. I also had some ideas to build up the state’s manufacturing base that led, of course, to more odds and ends. Yet after I discussed how not to be an aspiring writer, I foreshadowed an August post by discussing an upcoming event on Critical Race Theory, which eventually led off our eighth month.

It was a mellow sort of month as I looked at true lies from the opposition, dealt with a #TBT-style correction, and discussed growth in a post-growth town. I even got to do a brief rebuttal to a TEA Party critic because I put up one of my favorite post titles about beggars and hangers-on, too.

A long-neglected division of my site got a two-part update in September, but that wasn’t all. I took an updated look at the new 9/11 two decades later then, in the wake of California governor Gavin Newsom, I fantasized about the idea of a John Carney recall. And while I shockingly did more odds and ends, I had fun looking at my carbon offset and began wrapping up my Shorebirds coverage by detailing the final day and announcing my Shorebird of the Year at month’s end.

Former Trump administration official and Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson visited a local church to begin October, where we heard he was a pretty good brain surgeon, too. (A brain surgeon starting a new political organization, that is.) And once I got through my picks and pans as a Shorebird fan, I opined about a visit to the land of another potential Oval Office candidate, Ron DeSantis of Florida.

Once we returned home, there were rumblings of a pending electoral bloodbath in 2022 that had the far-left opposition worried. And before I closed the month with another edition of odds and ends I talked a lot about Patriots for Delaware, promoting and covering their Unify Delaware Festival and preliminary report on the 2020 election and voter integrity in the state. I even got one more post in November out of them thanks to the long-awaited return of Weekend of local rock.

Earlier in the month, though, we had a bellwether offyear election with (mostly) pleasing results, but the election in Delmar, Maryland was a broom that swept clean. I also began a look at redistricting I would follow on after my Thanksgiving message and Black Friday tradition.

As always, December began with my anniversary post, a sweet sixteen celebration this year. It was once again quickly followed by another tradition: the induction of a new class into the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame. I then pivoted quickly into a pair of thought pieces spurred by comments by the chair of the Delaware Libertarian Party before embarking on a three part series on the state’s legislative redistricting. Then I did one last odds and ends for the year before turning my scattered sights to the Pandora’s box of China, criticism of our Congressperson from her left (not much room there), a look at renewable energy, and the annual Christmas message.

That’s where I left it for another year. After a few days away I’m ready to start 2022 strong.

Wishes for a Merry Christmas 2021

Looks like we made it.

Although I always write these a few days in advance, I’m going to presume we weren’t wiped out by the Omega variant, so here’s my greeting to you. I was sorely tempted to repeat last year’s greeting because most of it is still in effect in certain portions of our ailing nation.

Fortunately, the part which holds most true can be excised from it, making this year’s message rather simple:

“Regardless, we must press on, and our biggest asset in that regard is the One who sent His son to be our sacrifice, that Savior whose birth we are celebrating tomorrow… My simple prayer this Christmas is that my readers come home, returning to a life with its priorities in order: God and family first, ‘stuff’ somewhere toward the end.”

With my wife this year, I didn’t buy her “stuff” that goes in a closet or quickly finds its way to a yard sale, I bought her an experience and memory where she will get to enjoy life in a different way for a few hours. The memories will be her gift. I’m echoing the last big holiday in saying I’m truly blessed, as my needs are pretty much taken care of and my wants are few.

In thinking about this holiday, I know Jesus received gifts when he was born and I’m sure all were useful to Him (some more than others.) But there comes a point where we have to ask ourselves what the most thoughtful gift we can give to someone is, and whether we are giving gifts to satisfy needs or cater to “wants” because we don’t want to sacrifice for what they need. In this case I’m thinking more about kids, having been around “only childs” most of my adult life. Some were way too spoiled with stuff by well-meaning family members who thought it would placate the kids, but turned out to do the opposite.

To that end, we’ve talked about inflation and the price of “stuff” a lot this year. While there is a risk of inflation in the waistline from consuming those Christmas cookies from your friends and co-workers and in gathering with the family for the Christmas meal and eating WAY too much, it should be remembered that there is no inflation with God’s love because it remains constant.

This is my Christmas message to all of my readers, as tomorrow my site will be dark.

Merry Christmas.

Digging out of the archives

This could have been saved for the next odds and ends post, but instead I decided it was a nice post for a slow time of year anyway. And, believe it or not, the information is actually useful for my blogging purposes.

This was the e-mail I received a few days ago. I couldn’t quote the whole thing because WordPress is funny about blockquoting lists, so judicious editing was applied:

Hello Michael,

I trust you and your loved ones are healthy and safe at this most unusual time.

I’m writing because you cited (a website, not the one he’s pitching for) here on Monoblogue.

(snip to excise list)

You can learn more (at a site, which I will get to.)

Do you think Monoblogue readers would find our guide helpful? If so, would you please insert a link for your readers? 

Either way, thank you for your consideration, Michael.

Best wishes,

Joel

Yes, another e-mail beseeching me to do something I may or probably don’t feel like doing. This guy was lucky.

Joel almost blew it when he laid it on oh-so-thick:

PS. (our site) was recently featured on Huffington Post & CNBC, and it’d make my day to see it on Monoblogue, too 😉

Yes, that’s his postscript.

Besides the fact that I’m being mentioned in the same breath as Huffington Post and CNBC, the reason I had to laugh was the post he cited. It’s a piece I wrote a decade ago during the 2012 presidential campaign as one of my endorsement selection posts. While this isn’t a #TBT, just for the fun of it here is what I wrote at the time about the eventual GOP nominee:

Mitt Romney shrewdly addresses energy independence in his “job creation” category. But terms like “government must be a partner,” “facilitate,” and “address market failures” don’t convince he wants a conservative, small-government solution. We see what kind of “partner” government has become, and it’s not government’s job to interfere with the market. And believing climate change is caused by mankind is a nonstarter. I’m deducting three points.

“For President 2012: Energy independence,” July 10, 2011.

At the time I was torn between endorsing Michele Bachmann and the late, great Herman Cain. Anyway, if Joel Foster is reading this, and despite the fact I appreciate his patronage of my site, I have to think he needs a hobby.

Yet in all this dross there was a little bit of gold. Joel wrote me on behalf of commodity.com, which is a little bit like another site I feature here called ammo.com – they sell a product or service, but also feature lots of reading material in their blog. And the story he pitched has an angle that concerns Delaware, thus succeeding in piquing my interest.

In it, I learned that certain states use more renewable energy than others. In fact, ultra-liberal Vermont should be proud of themselves because they receive 99.9% of their electricity from renewables. Now, before you imagine the charming fall landscape of Vermont littered with solar panels and wind turbines, it’s worth mentioning that hydroelectric generation is also counted as renewable and that’s where they receive most of that 99.9%. In fact, that’s the source for the top six states on the list, with seventh-place Iowa checking in with 59.4%, predominantly from wind. (I actually posted on situations that helped create this wind energy figure several winters ago.)

On the other hand, guess which state is at the very bottom of the list? Yep, that would be the First State, with a measly 2.5% of electricity created by renewables and the fifth-slowest growth rate in the last five years. Expressed in megawatt hours, Delaware produces the least by a factor of four behind the second-lowest generator (Rhode Island) and less than one-tenth that of the 48th ranked state in terms of production, Connecticut. Like a lot of states at the bottom, our leading contributor is biomass. (And the geniuses in Dover think they can get to some figure like 40 percent by 2035 or whenever? Dream on.)

A look at each leading source is interesting. Six states, including Delaware, have biomass as their leading renewable source, while 18 states are listed as hydroelectric, seven as solar thermal and photovoltaic, and the remaining 19 as wind. If you looked at it on a map, the Midwest is pronounced wind country, and hydroelectric rules the northwest, northeast, and Tennessee River valley. Meanwhile, solar rules the southwest and Florida but surprisingly picks off a few other states along the Atlantic coast, including New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Before I summarize the information at hand, I have a comment about the commodity.com blogsite. Unfortunately, while the blogging content on ammo.com comes primarily from a single, talented writer who works with a pro-liberty mindset like mine, a lot of what goes on commodity.com is writeups based on lists like the one I cite – a list of states and ranks in a particular area of interest, expanded to a paragraph or so on the top ten or fifteen states, including the list at the end. It’s the sort of work for which a content mill gives the article author a few dollars if he or she is lucky. (Or, even worse, they do it for “exposure.” That and five bucks will get you five bucks.) In looking at their author list, they seem to be a collection of small-time writers who may have other day jobs, or perhaps wish they did. It’s like paint-by-numbers for the written word.

As for Delaware, I guess it’s our lot to be at the bottom of the renewable list. We have too much cloudiness and haze during the year to be consistent solar producers and not enough steady wind onshore for wind energy. (Offshore wind has to be mindful of shipping lanes into Delaware Bay.) Unless we can make wattage out of chicken poop, we are basically stuck where we are – and that’s okay, because all those sources cited as renewable come in an arbitrary and capricious manner. (Hydroelectric is probably closest to reliable unless we have a severe drought.) I wouldn’t mind them doing the seismic exploration off the Delaware shore to site a couple test wells for oil or natural gas, but that’s not going to happen with our shortsighted state government insisting we depend more and more on unreliable sources of electricity. We can also see if there’s anything to having natural gas in the Delmarva Basin below us, but the anti-fracking zealots won’t allow that either.

Finally, one other interesting tidbit: at the end of the e-mail I found out this is a Delaware-based company – at least legally, since the address cited is that of Registered Agents Legal Services, LLC. It’s in an otherwise non-descript office building in the suburban area of Wilmington. Chances are their energy isn’t coming from a renewable source.

A PINO in our midst

This is just strikingly amusing to me.

I was perusing social media the other night when I saw this RedState article mentioned. Writer Mike Miller got his chuckle when he saw that the new derogatory term for progressives was to call those insufficiently down with the cause a PINO, for “progressive in name only.” Gee, I wonder where that came from?

But I had my own chortle when I saw who made the PINO list put together by the far-left advocates RootsAction: none other than the notorious LBR. (Yeah, it doesn’t flow but I don’t want to write out Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester another six times here.) This is what they indicted her for:

Lisa Blunt Rochester has served as Delaware’s lone congresswoman since 2017, after filling the seat vacated by Democratic Gov. John Carney; she made history as the first African-American and first woman elected to Congress from Delaware. While Delaware is a blue state (D+6, choosing Biden by 58 percent in 2020), Blunt Rochester has consistently been one of the most conservative members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Heralded as an “emerging player” in congressional healthcare policy, Blunt Rochester has not supported Jayapal’s Medicare for All legislation. Notably, Blue Cross/Blue Shield is among her top campaign contributors this cycle. In 2018, the insurance industry sector was Blunt Rochester’s top campaign funder, donating $105,226.

Blunt Rochester also failed to support either Green New Deal measure, and did not back the COVID-vaccine TRIPS waiver push. In 2020 and 2021, Blunt Rochester voted against 10 percent “defense” budget cuts, while voting for military spending hikes. She also voted last year to reauthorize government surveillance powers, and voted to expand those powers in 2018. According to the Open Secrets website, she receives substantial campaign donations from “defense/aerospace,” pharmaceuticals, “pro-Israel,” and oil and gas sectors.

Strikingly, Blunt Rochester was one of only two Progressive Caucus members who voted with Republicans in 2018 to weaken banking regulations in the Dodd-Frank Act, the Democrats’ fairly limited 2010 Wall Street reform law.

“Meet the PINOs: Progressives in Name Only,” Christopher D. Cook (edited by Jeff Cohen), Roots Action, undated.

Apparently membership in the Congressional Progressive Caucus is not enough – I guess these people actually expect her to vote with them to eliminate the military despite the fact she has a significant Air Force installation in her state and against the Green New Deal when her state is at the very bottom when it comes to producing “green” energy. And we won’t even talk about how Delaware is a banking state.

One thing I have learned that the radical Left knows is that all Congressmen have one thing on their minds: getting re-elected. They can pay lip service to having a higher calling all they want, but unless they’re really in it for a 2- to 4-year term it’s very likely they would like to either make the House a career or a stepping stone to even higher office. This easily explains why LBR is trying to play both sides against the middle: given her claim to fame and reason for being is that she’s the first black woman to represent Delaware, I don’t see a lot of conviction for anything except pandering for votes. It’s like you can tell she’s just waiting for Tom Carper to finally retire to take his seat; after all, that’s the Delaware Way.

It looks like the Roots Action folks did a lot of research, but they seemed to have missed something I didn’t: progressives on a statewide ballot in Delaware get smoked. Don’t take my word for it, though – you can ask Kerri Evelyn Harris and Jessica Scarane, wherever they are, because they were the last two challengers from the Left who received 35.42% and 27.15%, respectively, in taking on our two incumbent Senators who they deemed as not progressive enough. The trend is the wrong way there, brother – and you’re in even more hot water by being racist and sexist by taking on a woman of color.

So what does that mean for the GOP? Probably not a darn thing, since LBR’s membership in the Progressive Caucus has long since been baked into the cake. In fact, there are some circles in this state where the regressives being upset with her would be a campaign enhancement. Moreover, in perusing the state’s liberal blogs (particularly Blue Delaware and Delaware Liberal) I’ve noticed this study hasn’t come up as a topic of conversation – oh, Delaware Liberal has bellyached about LBR every so often but not obsessively – so I don’t think they’ll be calling her out on this because they’re trying to give her a glide path toward a date with the Senate in 2024.

I can think of a lot of better candidates for that post, and that’s even without a Laurel phone book in front of me.

Late edit: You may notice that I did a soft opening of the Campaign 2022 sidebar widget yesterday. Included is LBR, even though I haven’t seen an official announcement that she’s in.

China as the Pandora’s box

This was the piece I alluded to in my odds and ends post that was promoted. As you’ll see, it’s more than a few paragraphs’ worth of thought.

A few weeks ago I was reminded of something by a familiar group, the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Their missive that day was that China was about to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its ascension into the World Trade Organization, and needless to say AAM didn’t see it as an occasion worth celebrating. Quoting their longtime President Scott Paul:

It’s pat nowadays to point out how badly America’s political elites got China’s entry into the WTO wrong. But it’s astounding to reflect on just how wrong they were.

We were told that China would open its market to U.S. companies to sell their products. Instead, China has largely left its market closed, and those who are able to do business there must hand over their intellectual property in return.

We were told that China would play by the rules of global trade. Instead, time and time again, China has broken those rules, largely without consequence, costing millions of American jobs.

We were told that China would liberalize, moving from a planned economy and authoritarian state to a free market and a democracy. Instead, China has used central economic planning to dominate global industries and is now exporting its totalitarian model around the world. People are arguably less free in China now than they were 20 years ago, something that is certainly true in places like Hong Kong and Xinjiang, where China’s government is overseeing a genocide. 

Yes, it was a mistake for the U.S. to vote to allow China to join the WTO. But, while we can’t go back to 2001, we can begin to right the wrongs of 20 years ago.

Scott Paul, President, Alliance for American Manufacturing

If you thought it was bad twenty years ago, imagine the fateful decision made fifty years ago to allow President Nixon to visit China. At the time, though, Nixon’s visit (the first by an American President to the People’s Republic of China) was more about keeping peace, since the Vietnam War was ongoing and Korean War wasn’t all that far in the rearview mirror.

Getting to know each other better will reduce the possibility of miscalculation and that we have established, because we do have an understanding. And I know them, and they know me. And, I hope that would be true of whoever happens to be sitting in this office in the future. That means that there will be talking and rather than having that, that, uh, inevitable road, uh, of suspicion and miscalculation, which could lead to war. A miscalculation which, incidentally, led to their intervention in Korea, which might have been avoided had there been this kind of contact at that time.

Richard Nixon, February 29, 1972

Somewhere in the next decade or so, though, China began to realize that one way of improving their standard of living (and keeping hundreds of millions of peasants out of starvation) was to adopt a limited amount of capitalism by becoming the world’s manufacturer. Their three key assets were very cheap labor, a willingness to build factories to suit overseas interests without the need to worry about those pesky domestic environmental laws, and reasonably-priced shipping to the American market. A few years later, the hollowing out of American manufacturing was well underway as a stream of manufacturing jobs flowed across the Pacific from Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Erie, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, Flint, Milwaukee, and other Rust Belt communities. In essence, Paul’s indictment of China is correct.

Yet while some amount of manufacturing has indeed left China for greener pastures around the globe, they remain the predominant widget maker for the world. You pretty much can’t shop for anything anywhere without running across a product bearing those three infamous words, “Made in China.” Not only that, they’re tightening the noose on the rest of us because they’ve cornered the market on a number of valuable rare earth commodities, including those we left behind in Afghanistan – they quickly filled that vacuum, as they have in a number of other places where they’ve taken advantage of Third World debtor nations. Just like when a Mafia don does a favor for you, someday that deed will have to be repaid with a lot of interest.

And since I have an aversion to dealing with nations that point missiles at us, I’ve made it a priority on this site to promote “made in America.” Why else would I keep tabs on a group backed by the steelworkers’ union?

(There’s a bit of good news on the “Made in America” front, though – we may have one of the world’s largest deposits of lithium within our shores, if the environmentalists don’t find a way to derail its mining. Battery manufacturers would like that.)

I used to be a free trader, and perhaps at some distant time I may become so again. But that day will only come when everyone plays by the same rules and can be trusted, and China fails both those tests. In short – and it’s definitely against my nature to think and say this, but it has to be said – they’re lying Communist sacks of shit who would like nothing better than to stab us in the back and should be treated accordingly.

Perhaps if we hadn’t opened that Pandora’s box a half-century ago, China would still be struggling to feed their hungry, we might not be dealing with the Wuhan flu, and there may still be thousands of American factories in operation. But short-sightedness and greed seems to have won the day, much to our detriment.

Odds and ends number 108

It’s an end-of-year special on my e-mail box as I go out with the old and in with the new. You know the drill: I give you a paragraph or three on subjects that pique my interest enough to write on but not enough for a full post.

The two-tier Delaware system

I’m going to start out this one with part of an e-mail blast I received several weeks back from District 36 representative Bryan Shupe, the opening paragraphs of which read:

The debate over whether indicted State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness should resign or take a leave of absence from her post highlights a larger systematic failure on the issue of government accountability and transparency in Delaware.

Over the last 18 months, we have seen five Delaware elected officials accused of misconduct. While every citizen should find this disturbing, almost as troubling is that each case has been treated differently. As it stands, legislators pick and choose which colleagues will be held accountable and which ones will be subject to a lesser standard.

I do not believe justice is something that should be decided on an arbitrary sliding scale, based on the personal whims of legislators or the political affiliation of the accused. There should be clear protocols for handling all cases of official misconduct involving elected officials in an equitable fashion.

“Reform is needed to rebuild public trust,” State Rep. Bryan Shupe, October 28, 2021.

Indeed, the double- and even triple-standard is troubling, but all of the circumstances are different, too. In the case of McGuiness, the accusations are damning but she hasn’t had her day in court yet, either. (And to be honest, these charges aren’t really on a Cuomo level. Ask yourself just how many Democrats somehow finagle taxpayer-paid sinecures for their family and friends.) And the rumor has been floating around out there that this batch of dirt was dug up on her because her auditing is getting too close for comfort for those who have taken full advantage of the Delaware Way, if ya know what I mean – wink wink, nudge nudge.

You may also recall Shupe was the sponsor of a voting bill that got left on the cutting room floor after Republicans came to their senses and bounced the Democrats’ mail-in balloting bill last spring. Shupe’s common sense bill was intended to eliminate a practice where, in some municipalities (including Laurel) the voter registration for town elections is separate from those of state and federal elections – so people who think they are registered get shut out of the process. I had never heard of such a thing so this proposal made sense and deserved support, not a three-year-old’s tantrum.

Bad information

About the same time I got Shupe’s assessment of a two-tiered justice system, I got wind of a two-tiered media system.

A piece by Michael Watson of the Capital Research Center discussed the Good Information project, an attempt by far-left entities to open new media markets with websites that claim to be “non-partisan” but will provide a steady diet of pro-Democrat news. (Just like every other “mainstream” media outlet.) Here’s the money paragraph:

As part of the creation of Good Information, the group is acquiring McGowan’s former liberal agitprop network, Courier Newsroom. Courier Newsroom was a front for ACRONYM, operating what the left-leaning OpenSecrets called “a network of websites emulating progressive local news outlets. Courier has faced scrutiny for exploiting the collapse of local journalism to spread ‘hyperlocal partisan propaganda.’”

Michael Watson, “Onetime Disinformation Donors Back Left-Wing Propaganda Targeting Disinformation,” Capital Research Center, October 28, 2021.

I took a look at Courier Newsroom and it’s actually a professional-looking site that links to eight subsites – all in swing states: Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Their tagline is that they’re “Building a more informed, engaged, and representative America” but in order to do that they need to pull themselves off the left gutter and move over about 20 boards. (A little bowling lingo there. Sometimes straighter IS greater.)

Meanwhile, shouldn’t this be something someone on the right side of the spectrum would be doing? People actually believe these propaganda sites.

Another great piece by Watson appeared in The Daily Signal in November and should be required reading for my friends at Patriots for Delaware because it talks about how the unions elect school board members.

Hitting me where I live

This one comes ohsoclose to being promoted to its own post, but I think I can condense like Readers Digest. Here’s the key pull quote from a story I saw back in October.

On Sept. 16, 2021, Delaware lawmakers unveiled a plan to address a much-needed infrastructure improvement project – implementing high-speed broadband across the entire state. This $110 million investment was made possible with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and if completed will make Delaware the first in the nation to make wired broadband available to every home and business in the state.

(snip)

With the proper guidelines in place, getting to 100 percent connectivity is a reasonable goal. The strategic plan estimates that the number of Delawareans without access to high-speed broadband could be brought down by approximately 87 percent if providers were to extend their existing networks just half a mile from their current cutoff points. This approach is called “edge-out.” This approach lends itself to utilizing multiple means of connecting through cable, fiber, fixed wireless, mobile, wireline DSL, and satellite broadband. The plan also suggests using the funding to replace old and failing equipment to ensure that the investment is something that will benefit all Delaware residents for years to come.

Kathleen Rutherford, “The Last Mile: Can Delaware Deliver?”, A Better Delaware, October 29, 2021.

We are a family who is in a broadband desert. Currently I oscillate between a cellular tower-based service provider and phone hotspot depending on time of day and conditions – in the evening the hotspot tends to be faster. We live too far from a Bloosurf tower for it to be viable and, to be honest, our friends who live near their tower say their service is about worthless anyway.

Prior to this move, we had wired service through a cable provider, paying for it as part of a bundle. But there is a wrinkle out here in that we have Delaware Electric Co-Op as our electricity provider and I found out that Choptank Electric Co-Op, which has a similar customer makeup two miles from me across the border in Maryland, offers “broadband over fiber optic connections directly to the home.” So I asked my state representative, Tim Dukes, about this and so far I have no answer.

As far as I’m concerned, for a home internet setup “fixed wireless, mobile, wireline DSL, and satellite broadband” is trash. If you want to spend the $110 million wisely, let DEC (which primarily serves a rural area) wire our homes like Choptank is doing.

The merger

Longtime readers of mine probably know more about iVoterGuide than the average person. The group, which rates federal and state candidates for office from a Biblical perspective, recently announced it was merging itself with American Family Association Action. Debbie Wuthnow, President of iVoterGuide, explained that, “The need for voters to know accurate information about candidates on their ballots has never been greater, and the merger will allow iVoterGuide to immediately expand our coverage to include federal, statewide, and state legislative races in 35 states for the 2022 Primary Elections.  And we’ll continue to grow our coverage of judicial and school board races in key districts.”

As I found out a few years ago in helping them out – a “neat experience” – iVoterGuide is very thorough in their assessment of candidates and they do a reasonably good job of pegging where they stand on the political spectrum. So I wish them the best of luck with their merger, and if they need someone to help assess their Delaware candidates I’m happy to be of assistance.

More advice

I’m sure I have told you about ammo.com since their content pops up on this site from time to time, usually as an odd or an end. So I guess I have an imitator, at least according to this e-mail I’ve now received twice.

Monoblogue,

I came across your blog while doing a little research on a couple of Maryland’s gun laws, and your blog popped in my newsfeed. I appreciate many of your political views. As a Trump supporter, I thought (redacted) would be a good resource for (my site). The recoil score it provides is pretty cool. Haven’t seen it before. Do you shoot? I appreciated your content. 

More fun e-mail.

Jordan, yes, I received your e-mail. Twice.

I’m glad you appreciate many of my political views, but I don’t think the resource is really something I can use. Now if we’re talking paid advertising or sponsorship from the overarching site, well, that’s a different conversation. (Since I’m probably not in line for that Soros money discussed by Michael Watson above.) And to answer your question, I do shoot off my mouth (rhetorically) all the time.

So since I have closed up the e-mail box now (it’s much more streamlined) I can tell you there is one other item in it, but that one is getting a coveted promotion to a full post because I think I can do it further justice. That may be one of my last items of the year before I figure out my annual Christmas message and compile the year in review – can you believe it’s that time?

With that, I bring this odd year of odds and ends to an end.