The rapid jerking of knees

Every time there’s a disaster, whether natural or man-made, there’s always that moment of passion when it’s determined the politicians have to DO SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter whether that action is really necessary and not ill-advised, it just has to appear to deal with the problem and make them look good.

The last time the liberals came so hot and heavy for our guns was the aftermath of Sandy Hook, but that was a case of curious political timing: since the shooting occurred during the lame duck period between the election and the swearing-in of a new Congress, it meant that some of the momentum for change was blunted by the three-week interim before a new Congress, who hadn’t run so much on gun control, was sworn in. Yes, there was a call for “common-sense” (read: overrestrictive and unconstitutional) gun laws, but that wasn’t really part of the Obama re-election platform.

Almost a decade later – and with a detour to a Florida high school included – we have the same situation with the Uvalde massacre. Yes, the situation in Uvalde is complicated by what appears to a be a badly botched response by local officials, but that portion of it doesn’t fit the narrative that the guns the shooter had were completely responsible. By gummy, dem guns just up and fired themselves – a shame the guy holding them had to be shot by a police officer to stop the gun from shooting. And it’s amazing that all this comes up in an election year when the Democrats have exactly zero avenues of success to run on.

Anyway, some of these bills were already languishing in the Delaware General Assembly, but in the days after the tragedy there was a renewed push for gun reform in the same warmed-over package that was going nowhere. The bodies were barely cold when most of these provisions were introduced:

  • Banning the sale of assault weapons (HB 450) – new bill
  • Limiting high-capacity magazines (SB 6) – introduced in March 2021, substitute bill put in place June 7, 2022
  • Raising the age from 18 to 21 to purchase most firearms (HB 451) – new bill
  • Strengthening background checks by reinstituting the Firearm Transaction Approval Program (FTAP) (HB 423) – introduced May 2022.
  • Holding gun manufacturers and dealers liable for reckless or negligent actions that lead to gun violence (not yet introduced)
  • Banning the use of devices that convert handguns into fully automatic weapons (not yet introduced)

Out of the six, the Republicans seem to be most supportive of HB423, as several are either sponsoring or co-sponsoring the measure because it brings the background check back to the state. That bill has advanced out of committee already, as has HB450 and HB451. The substitute SB6 has already passed the Senate on a 13-7 vote, with the “no” side being bipartisan thanks to lame-duck Senator Bruce Ennis.

A state 2A advocate by the name of Brad Burdge had this to say about these bills being considered in Delaware:

HB450 – “Cut & Paste” law from Maryland’s law, passed nearly 10 years ago that would outlaw purchase, possession and sale of AR-15 and similar weapons.  Weapons already owned would be grandfathered.  This has been proposed and rejected by several legislative sessions, yet the current rash of events reported around the country appears likely to sweep it into law.  The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association (DSSA) is already preparing to take this to court as an unconstitutional abridgement of Article 1, Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution with provides that ” A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.”  The AR-15 and similar rifles are not “weapons of war”, as no military in the world uses them.  They are a semi-automatic version that is cosmetically similar to the M-16/M-4 “Automatic/Select-Fire” weapons used by many military units.

HB451 – Increases the age of purchase, possession and ownership of any firearm from 18 to 21, excepting military service or under the supervision of someone over 21.

SB6 – Outlaws firearm magazines with capacities in excess of 17 rounds.  It requires those currently possessed to be turned in to law enforcement within a matter of weeks.  Amendments that modified this law to penalize persons who commit felonies with high capacity magazines (over 20 for pistols and 30 for rifles) is scheduled to be stripped from the bill.

HB423 – Would shift the responsibility for background checks on firearm purchases from the Federal NICS system to the Delaware State Bureau of Investigation.  This would appear to provide for approvals based on more accurate and timely data.  Delaware DOES NOT report all felony violations to the Federal NICS process – only mental health issues!  Delaware condones potential sale of firearms to convicted felons!  Many of the gun rights/activist organizations SUPPORT this bill as an improvement on the current process and it is co-sponsored by several Republican legislators.  It would also negate the value and avoid the issues associated with SB3, which requires a “License to Purchase” a firearm.  SB3 is redundant and adds bureaucracy and expense to the purchase process, as these checks would be performed at the point of sale – again.

“Unconstitutional, Anti-Gun Bills on the Legislative Hall Agenda,” June 6, 2022.

Given that description of HB450, I just might have to go back and update my testimony against that bill from 2013. I especially love some of my rewrites of the Second Amendment they seem to be proposing.

But these are troubled times for those who believe in the Second Amendment. Even with the defection of Bruce Ennis, there’s a 13-8 majority in the Senate that will pass these and probably 24 (if not more) votes in the House. Methinks if we can hold this off (even in court) until November, though, we may be able to turn these things away.

Another reminder: elections matter

In the wake of Uvalde the politicians generally divided on two sides, with one side being more “bipartisan” than the other. And while there were a few courageous folks who reminded the people that the gun, no matter how “scary” it looks, is an inanimate object that could sit loaded forever and do no damage unless and until someone picked it up, most politicians licked their finger and stuck it up in the wind. Since the media was blowing around the theory that the shooting was all the fault of the “assault rifle” that the shooter was carrying, that’s how the politicos came down.

While it was a disappointment – but no surprise – that a fair number of RINOs came out on the latter side of finger-stickers, as it stands right now we have a Democrat in charge of this state. And, of course, he led off his usually boring and non-controversial “week in review” e-mail with his statement on what we should do post-Uvalde:

So many across the country are feeling helpless and hopeless this week. A massacre of an elementary school classroom has come on the heels of a racist mass shooting in a grocery store. But elected officials — here in Delaware and across the country — are not helpless. The reality is we can do something about these horrific tragedies. In every state in the nation, and in Congress, we have the ability to pass legislation to make it harder and harder for people to get their hands on weapons that cause these mass murders.

We have made progress here in Delaware, but it isn’t enough. I’m committed to working with the General Assembly to continue doing our part to prevent these shameful, appalling, unnecessary tragedies. In the meantime, my heart is with the victims and their families.

“Reflections On This Week,” Governor John Carney, May 27, 2022.

Since I’m not afraid to proclaim my help and hope comes from Jesus Christ, I suppose I don’t fall within that “so many” category. Maybe we just need more to join those ranks.

And yes, our elected officials aren’t helpless. But we don’t need legislation to make it harder to get guns – we need legislation to make sure more of them are around when and where they’re needed, such as in West Virginia the other day.

What has to be obvious to all but the most fanatical gun grabber is that the Uvalde shooter was a mentally sick individual. As with most of these incidents, the bread crumb trail was easy to follow after the fact – unfortunately, no one put the pieces together beforehand and got the kid the help he could have used.

This message is about the other 99.999% of gun owners who are responsible enough to know what their weapons are capable of and treat them with due respect. There’s only a small percentage of them who would even desire to carry them around, but what if even 5% of those gun owners used a right to carry concealed? That’s one portion of the solution we can use, but I guaran-damn-tee that’s not what Governor Carnage has in mind when he says he wants to make it “harder and harder to get their hands on weapons.”

However, I titled this post “elections matter” because there’s a simple fact at play here: despite the fact there’s a few short weeks left in our regular General Assembly session, that’s more than enough time to whip out more gun-grabbing legislation. (Generally, the worst of legislation is the knee-jerk type that comes together the quickest. I’m sure all those gun control lobbyists already have their wish list bill ready to go, just waiting for a crisis such as this. Can’t waste it!) But you definitely can’t discount the thought of a Special Session later this summer to deal with gun legislation, especially since the Democrats nationally have nothing else to run on and it’s an election year in Delaware too.

Alas, we can’t get rid of John Carney until 2024 and he’s term-limited anyway. (One 2023 story will be the battle to succeed him, which will start in the latter half of the year.) Because of the census and redistricting, though, every seat in the General Assembly is up for election this November. Also on the ballot is the important law enforcement post of Attorney General, where incumbent Democrat Kathy Jennings is not term-limited out but has a Republican contender in Julianne Murray.

Let’s look at the General Assembly, though. While the filing deadline isn’t until July 12, most of the Senate incumbents who are running for re-election have already filed: the exceptions are the embattled Darius Brown in District 2, John Walsh in District 9, and Dave Wilson in the 18th District. The House, however, is a bit more muddled as the majority of incumbents are still waiting to file, including most of the group from Sussex County. We know that Rep. Steve Smyk is leaving District 20 to try for the Senate District 6 seat that’s opening up with the retirement of Senator Ernie Lopez and a Republican, Bradley Layfield, has come on board for the newly-relocated House District 4 in the Long Neck area.

Being that we are still a month and a half away from the filing deadline, it’s the way-too-early guesstimate of the chances that Delaware Democrats withstand the battering their party label is getting from the sheer incompetence (or intentional destruction) of the Biden administration, but at the moment here’s how things look.

In the Senate, there is a Democrat only filed in 7 seats, a Republican only filed in 6 seats (one would be a flip, at least until John Walsh or another Democrat files) and 8 seats up in the air as both a Democrat and Republican have filed. At this second, it is possible that the Republicans could get the majority but more likely they could cut into their 14-7 deficit. A four seat pickup isn’t that much of a stretch, though, considering just a few years ago there was a special election where control of the Senate was in the balance.

In the House, the disparity of filings has the Democrats enjoying a 15-5 bulge but all that changes once Republicans begin to file. (At the moment, one is replaced by a Libertarian, which would be a historic day for that party.) The GOP would have to hope the GOP wave currently sweeping the nation isn’t dashed by the breakwall of redistricting that favored the Democrats as much as possible – remember, just population changes likely flip a seat as the former Democrat Rep. Gerald Brady’s District 4 seat was the one moved to Sussex. The GOP needs six addtional seats to gain control, but with all 41 House seats up as usual this is their best chance in a decade and the political winds are the most favorable for them since the Obama wave ended Republican control back in 2008.

Returning to the Senate for a moment, bear in mind the GOP picked up at least one seat each election during the TEA Party era, even despite Christine O’Donnell. (In 2008 things looked really bleak as it was 16-5 Democrat then, even with there still being a handful of centrist-to-conservative Democrats in the Senate back then.) So a four seat gain is a stretch, but because all 21 are up it’s possible.

Assuming they get control, at that point all the Republicans need is a spine. Granted, that may be more difficult for them to come by than legislative control but it would be nice to have the other side have to come over to be bipartisan for a change and maybe they can get common-sense legislation like elimination of gun-free zones on most public property and funding the construction and staffing of places for those kids who show signs of becoming the next Uvalde shooter to go for the help they need. (And that includes faith-based initiatives.)

Indeed, elections matter. Let’s do better in November, Delaware.

My thoughts and unanswered questions about the Uvalde shooting

You know me: in most instances I like to wait a few days and digest all sorts of takes, hot and cold, before I put up my two cents about events such as this.

I first heard about what some are calling the Texas Massacre (no chainsaw required) in the afternoon and evening after it happened. Initially I thought just a couple people were involved, putting it in the category of the type of school shooting where jilted ex-boyfriend decides he can’t live without his ex and plans to make sure no one else gets her either. Obviously that’s tragic but life rolls on – unless it’s local we don’t even remember the name of the school where it occurred a month later.

But as the reported death toll from Uvalde continued to increase, we began to hear about this as an event rivaling Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland. Because it was an elementary school and not a high school, the best parallel to me is Sandy Hook, and it just so happens I wrote at some length about it in the wake of the shooting four times – once the day of, the next two days on the folly of a gun ban and the media’s fascination with guns, and a wrapup of sorts a few days later like in this situation. After re-reading all I wrote on Sandy Hook, it’s amazing how closely the Uvalde shooting is hewing to that line, even to the point of reporting how close the kids were to a break. (Sandy Hook occurred days before Christmas break, while Uvalde occurred in the last days of the school year.) Even more scary was the fact that both lone gunmen shot their parental figure first, then took off to a school important to the parent. (Initially some reports were that the Uvalde shooter’s grandmother died; in fact, she was shot in the face but managed to survive.)

The passage of almost ten years hasn’t dissuaded me from a pro-gun stance because, just like Sandy Hook, the gun wasn’t the real problem: the problem was a child whose upbringing seemed to fail in a moral sense. What parent is “training up a child in the way they should go” if the kids are playing Call of Duty for hours on end and talking about shooting up a school on social media?

But we all know that the one approach from the Democrat Party is a demand to restrict our Second Amendment rights by banning what they term “assualt weapons” or “weapons of war.” In this case, as a start they’re talking about reinstating the “assault weapon ban” that was in place for about a decade between 1994 and 2004 – funny, that didn’t stop the Columbine shooting. In addition to that, they’re seeking to nationalize “red flag” laws that have turned tragic.

Yet the more I hear about the timeline of events in the Uvalde shooting, I think the focus on the gun is misplaced.

There’s a balance which has to be kept between freedom and security. We could create hardened compounds out of our schools, with metal detectors, intruder locks on classrooms, bulletproof glazing, and so forth, but what message does that send to a child? Besides, someone has to man a metal detector, locks can be left unlocked (like the back door apparently was at the Uvalde school because it was an awards day), and glazing does nothing if there’s an open door. None of these security measures are foolproof.

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about having an armed veteran or retired police officer volunteer his or her time at a school, much like a school resource officer. (This person could be the supplement to the employed officer.) Obviously, that’s going to be an availability issue at times because people have appointments and incidents which come up in real life. On balance, though, I think between this and various non-intrusive security and procedural upgrades we would do more to enhance school safety than a gun ban would ever hope to achieve. (Apparently there was a camera system at the school so they could track the shooter’s movements – after the fact, as part of the investigation. Wouldn’t it have been nice for the police to be able to tap into that?)

The problem with banning anything is that there’s an instant black market for the product if people still desire it – and they usually do. Ban smoking in an office building and you’ll walk through a cloud at the door. When people complain about that and the facility places a restriction on smoking by the doors, they just move farther away. When they still get the complaints the facility bans it on the property, so people go to their private cars for their nicotine fix. That’s how it works.

People didn’t stop drinking alcohol for Prohibition, they just made mobsters like Al Capone wealthier. If people want what the regressives consider “assault rifles,” they will get them somehow, to the benefit of criminals. Do you honestly believe people will give them up willingly, and do you want to be the law enforcement officer to try and enforce that?

I’m just as sick of reading about these tragedies as anyone else, although I’m not going to mock the “thoughts and prayers” crowd like others do because prayers for comfort and healing are always welcome to me. If the unthinkable happened to me I would appreciate the support as I tried to piece my life back together.

But I don’t have the answers. All I can tell you is that I strongly believe the gun ban proponents are barking up the wrong tree, and their alacrity after the incident just feeds the scuttlebutt beneath the surface out there about Uvalde being a government-backed “false flag” operation to seize the media narrative, take people’s minds off the horrible economy and whatever else the government is doing to usurp our rights, and lay the groundwork for disarming the population. Sorry to sound all Qanon on you, but that’s the thought process people have been led to after the last two-plus years of being told we shouldn’t question authority and if a schmuck like me can sense it, what does that say about the trust we have in our institutions?

Something in our institutions let the Uvalde shooter down, and he wasn’t equipped to deal with it in a manner acceptable to civil society. The gun was just the tool the shooter used to exact the price that over a score of people paid.

Odds and ends number 112

It’s time for what seems to have become a monthly or so airing of those chunks of bloggy goodness I create out of the whole cloth of my e-mail box. Say that three times fast.

As always, these snippets run between a couple sentences and a few paragraphs depending on how much I can write about them, which is why at times things get “promoted” like my last article. Anyway…

An upcoming day of action

If you live in Delaware and are into the Article V convention idea, then June 7 is the day for you. Convention of States Action president Mark Meckler – yep, the guy of Tea Party Patriots fame and a familiar name to readers of Rise and Fall – is scheduled to lead a rally on the east steps of Leg Hall in Dover. But it won’t be a stand around and cheer event as those attending will fan out and try to convince legislators that we as a state should back an Article V convention. (This is why the event is on a Tuesday.)

One of the tasks given is to “deliver an information packet (provided) to your own legislators.” However, I suspect that my legislators would already be on board considering both properly voted against a 2016 blanket recission of existing convention calls (HCR60 in that session.) Hopefully someone can say hello to Bryant and Tim for me in that case.

There’s also some interesting reading on that front from CoS, as writer Jakob Fay addresses a critique of anti-CoS talking points and adds some insight of his own.

The bill to nowhere

Speaking of our esteemed legislature, it’s up to the Republicans to save us from a sneaky tax hike. Thanks to a lawsuit brought by the usual left-wing suspects who believe our public schools aren’t enough of a money sinkhole, the three counties in Delaware now have to reassess every single piece of property.

(The plaintiff in the lawsuit was a group called “Delawareans for Educational Opportunity” described in the suit as “parents of low income students, English language learners, children with disabilities in kindergarten through grade three, and other parents with students attending high poverty schools.” Since I doubt those parents had the coin to sue the state, it’s really that eeeeeeevil “dark money” the Left claims to hate behind it.)

To address this unapproved school tax hike, Rep. Mike Smith introduced a bill that insures “that school districts collect the same total revenue after reassessment as they did the previous year.” Yeah, when pigs fly. It’s a great idea, but we know that bill goes nowhere past committee because, to Democrats, too much money for schools is never enough. But ask for school choice and you get crickets.

As they always say, elections matter. Do better this year, Delaware.

Where are the jobs?

It’s always fun to see the conventional wisdom buckle under good old-fashioned analysis, and fortunately there’s somebody who’s paid to go through this data so I can share it.

One selling point of offshore wind was its job creation aspect, but a recent analysis by the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy put the lie to that. As David Stevenson concludes, “(study author) Wood Mackenzie is generally reliable, but this study misses by a country mile and is misleading elected officials and the public.”

It’s always been a pipe dream that we would somehow create thousands of jobs building, erecting, and maintaining wind turbines that only last about 20-30 years. Supposedly wind is free and renewable energy, but the millions of dollars needed to collect and harness it has to come from somewhere as does the natural gas backup plant required when the wind doesn’t blow for a spell, as happened off Europe last year.

There’s a reason I occasionally remind people that, once they received access to reliable electricity, farmers stopped using their windmills to create power.

Indivisible is so pissed over abortion

And this was an e-mail I got on Mother’s Day, no less – from a mother!

As you can imagine, the regressives at Indivisible are in a way over losing their cherished right to abort their babies practically at will. There are a couple lines worth mentioning and responding to.

The right-wing is trying to impose their narrow, cruel, patriarchal, white nationalist vision of the world on all of us. They want to force us into obeying their rules and living our lives bound by their twisted worldview. 

We deserve the right to make our own healthcare decisions. We deserve full control over our own bodies. We deserve full control over our own lives. 

Leah Greenburg, “Overturning Roe v Wade is deeply unpopular,” May 8, 2022.

Sorry, Leah, having a baby is not a “healthcare decision.” You ceded control of your body when you decided to have intercourse, so if the result of that is a human being with unique DNA then the burden is on you to carry it to term. At that point you concede “full control over our own lives” because there is another life inside you, full stop. (The irony here is that Leah and her Indivisible co-founder husband, Ezra Levin, have often put a photo of their young child at the end of their monthly newsletters.)

The second point is this:

This is a huge coup for the worst people in our country. But if you’re watching closely, you may have noticed that for a party on the verge of achieving one of its greatest goals, Republican elected officials don’t seem very happy. In fact, they don’t seem to want to talk about this at all. Instead, they’re talking about the circumstances of the leak. They seem to think if they can kick up enough of a fuss about how this came to light, everyone will forget about what the light reveals.

Ibid.

Of course the conservatives are talking about the leak because it’s unprecedented. We’re supposed to have trust in our institutions and leaking this decision was made for one reason and one reason only: to try and change someone’s mind, or, failing that, perhaps eliminate the problem. (Why do you think there’s additional security around the SCOTUS these days? This is why I thought the decision should just be released as is.)

Imagine if someone connected with a right-leaning justice had leaked the Obergefell decision taking away the states’ rights to recognize (or not to recognize) same-sex “marriage”? Wouldn’t the Left have demanded the ruling be made official immediately so that some gun-toting Deplorable didn’t coerce a justice into switching his or her vote to the right side? The Obama administration would have had Homeland Security and every other alphabet agency dropping all they were doing and turning over rocks to find the leaker so they could be punished.

So spare me the crying on both counts. Make Dobbs law and return abortion to the states so we can have our own crack at it. Speaking of that…

How to protect women (and babies)

I just became aware of this via Maryland Delegate Neil Parrott, a friend of this website and a two-time (and final) Maryland Legislator of the Year in 2017 and 2018.

In its infinitesimal wisdom, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill this spring allowing, among other things, non-physicians to do abortions (the Abortion Care Access Act), so there’s a group attempting to petition this to referendum this fall.

It’s an uphill battle to be sure – securing 25,000 signatures by May 31 and the rest of the 75,000 needed by June 30 – but if anyone knows how to do it, that would be Neil Parrott. I encourage my Maryland friends to participate.

Additional abortion insight

If you’re not reading the Substack of AND Magazine, you probably should be. I probably have eight or ten articles I could include here, including tomes on debit cards for illegal aliens and how those children are being forced to work, taking weapons away from our troops to send to Ukraine, Wuhan flu lockdowns in China, and so much more. In fact, it’s such good stuff I decided to pay for a month and see what else I can get. (What I receive for free is quite good.)

But since I’m talking about it: earlier this month, in what was basically three consecutive posts, Sam Faddis laid out part of the Left’s plan regarding abortion:

Once upon a time, the Democratic Party seemed to believe in the Democratic process. It focused on organizing and turning out the vote. No more. That party is dead.

It has been replaced by something that looks a lot like Marxist revolutionary movements throughout history. It has no use for the popular vote. It believes in the power of the state and when necessary, the use of mob violence to intimidate its foes. It is getting ready to unleash its thugs into the streets again in response to the anticipated reversal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.

While Joe conjures up the specter of a right-wing, white supremacist, trans and gay-hating wave of domestic extremism, the radical domestic movement of which he is a part is already mobilizing and taking to the streets. If the Supreme Court exercises its authority, overturns Roe v. Wade, and returns the question of abortion to the legislatures where it properly belongs our cities will burn.

Sam Faddis, “They Don’t Just Want To Kill Babies – They Want To Kill The Republic,” AND Magazine, May 5, 2022. All emphasis in original.

And when the first pro-abortion protestor is cut down by police it will be George Floyd all over again. You don’t put up fences for peaceful protest.

Let’s go on, shall we?

A group calling itself ‘Ruth Sent Us’ is calling for its followers to invade the homes of those Supreme Court justices it has identified as being likely to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade

(…)

If you try to sign up to participate in a Ruth Sent Us event you are redirected to the site for an organization called Strike for Choice. This group is organizing similar actions all across the country targeting businesses and corporations that it does not believe have been sufficiently vocal in standing up for “reproductive freedom.

Strike for Choice operates under the umbrella organization Vigil for Democracy, which is actually organizing a whole series of “strikes” each one of which focuses on a different point in a far left agenda. Vigil for Democracy expresses a radical agenda explicitly directed at supporters of Donald Trump and members of the MAGA movement. Earlier this year it organized a series of “strikes” outside U.S. Attorney’s offices demanding that Republican lawmakers present in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021 be arrested and tried for treason. In the old Soviet Union they called those show trials.

Sam Faddis, “Here Come The Foot Soldiers Of The Revolution,” AND Magazine, May 6, 2022. All emphasis in original.

These are the “thugs” that are being unleashed on the streets, as Faddis wrote. Several years ago I participated in a pro-life protest up in Easton and we just stood on a sidewalk on a day the Planned Parenthood branch there was closed, yet we had a police officer watching our truly non-violent protest. Obviously not everyone follows those rules.

Finally, Faddis concludes in his last piece:

What we are seeing is not protest. What we are seeing is not the work of disconnected local groups of concerned citizens. What we are seeing is an ongoing revolution with the intent of destroying the existing social, political and economic order. It exploded into view in the runup to the 2020 election and was aided and abetted by a new media which told us to ignore the obvious import of what we were seeing.

The target now is religion in America. Churches, synagogues, and mosques will burn. God himself is under attack.

Sam Faddis, “God Is Under Attack – The Mob Comes For Religion,” AND Magazine, May 9, 2022. All emphasis in original.

It so happens our church is currently participating in a fundraiser for a local pregnancy center. While Salisbury is fairly far away from the big city, it’s not unthinkable that their facility could be doxxed and vandalized because they promote alternatives to abortion. It tells me something when women are advised to avoid “pregnancy centers” by abortion advocates because when they visit such a place they may actually come to the realization that either they can get the support required to raise their child or can give the child to a loving adoptive family, like the adopted child of one of my relatives and his wife.

Finding my way onto mailing lists

When I used to blog on a daily basis back in the day, I was on a TON of mailing lists. (In essence, I used to try and write a single-subject odds and ends piece daily. That got to be too much with a family and full-time job.)

Once in awhile I still see the results of that time as new things slide into my e-mail. So it was with a group called People for Liberty. Now I have somewhat libertarian roots but maybe my guardrails have drawn a bit closer as I’ve gotten older and more into my faith.

But in reading about Bitcoin 2022, a National Liberty Day of Service, or a medical marijuana event called Chronic Palooza, it gave me an opportunity to reflect on how libertarianism as I see it seems to work.

In my mind, political thought is linear. You could imagine it being a highway, with one direction taking you through the villages of liberalism, socialism, and communism on the way to totalitarianism where one group controls everything and somewhere there is one person who controls that cadre. In the other direction you have the towns of conservatism and libertarianism, with the road leading to anarchy as every person has the ultimate in liberty. However, the nature of people dictates the Darwinian principle that only the strong survive, thus, somewhere there is one person who would reign supreme.

In other words, that line forms a circle where you end up in one place regardless of the road you take. Where I want to be is on the opposite end of that diameter where there’s an equal share of liberty and responsibility. In my mind, this is where faith tempers liberty to the extent required to place us on the opposite side.

I think I’m going to leave a very intense issue of odds and ends on that note. I was going to toss in some Rick Weiland for comic relief, but I’ve had enough of the loony left for now.

The separation of church and state

Initially this was going to be part of an upcoming “odds and ends” piece, but the longer I thought about it, the more I felt it needed the promotion. So here you are.

Erick Erickson is the only person I pay for a Substack subscription, and it’s because he writes well about the interection of political conservatism and religion, seeing that he has a background in both. Now I don’t always agree with him, but in a couple pieces lately he’s made good points I felt were worth sharing and expanding on. The odds and ends regarding Delaware and other things can wait a day or two. After all, it IS my sandbox here.

In the first instance, Erick ponders the question whether you can be a Christian and a Democrat at the same time. I’m going to assume for the sake of the argument that we are not talking about a Joe Biden who is a Christian for show but governs in a manner that’s not too Biblical, in my estimation. Then again, that could just be my bias showing, so let’s get to Erick’s money paragraphs here:

If I, formerly elected Republican Erick Erickson who has never and will never vote for any candidate who is pro-abortion and once filibustered a resolution to make Barack Obama an honorary member of my city council before advancing legislation to privatize the local police force when it tried to unionize, were to sit in a church and have the pastor tell me to vote Republican, I’d have to leave the church. I know some people go to church for political rallies. I go for Jesus. For a pastor in a pulpit to tell me I must choose one group of sinners over another because the sins of the Democrats are so much more at war with Christian culture than the sins of the Republicans, the pastor would still be telling me to choose a sinner instead of Jesus. Preach the gospel.

But preach the gospel in such a way that convicts the congregation of their sins. Preach Christ in such a way that there is a clear alternative to the world. Preach on the sins and do not shy away from them. I suspect if a preacher does this, he will be pulling people out of allegiances to sin and allegiances to politicians who are hostile to the things of God without turning them off over partisanship.

Erick Erickson, “The Partisan Church Divide,” Erick Erickson’s Confessions of a Political Junkie, May 2, 2022.

It’s granted that those in my little church in Salisbury, Maryland tend to vote Republican simply because the Democrats seldom put up a candidate in state and national elections who is appealing to them. Yet if I were to check into their political registration I wouldn’t be surprised to find that a lot of them remain Democrats because either that’s how their family always voted or because they believed in the role of government being a hand up. On the latter point, I believe generations of handing up have made people dependent on the god of government and not the God whose Son was Jesus Christ. People who have rendered unto Caesar no longer seem to render unto Christ what is His, yet many of those who follow Christ serve their fellow man through volunteering, freely giving of their time and treasure.

But Erick concludes with his Most Important Point:

I fear for the Republican Party when my Christian brothers and sisters who allied with the GOP over abortion or sexual ethics get so focused on the sins of the other party that they, in allyship, are not as bold in calling out the sins inside our own tent. We will become just like the Democrats over time — a party without God convinced we carry His banner to deliver a false heaven of idolatry to this earth of idol worshippers.

Ibid.

This is a part where I struggle to some extent – not that I see Republicans as perfect by any stretch of the imagination, which is why I’m no longer in their party – but there’s such a wealth of material on the other side it’s like shooting fish in a barrel and I sometimes get to looking at it as taking the gains where I can get them. For example, Donald Trump was far from a perfect man but he advanced the cause when it needed to be promoted. Because absolute power corrupts absolutely, we can spend hours heatedly pointing out the foibles of politicians of all stripes while forgetting we only control the life of one person – the self.

I thought the timing of this was interesting when only a week before Erick had written about the Right suffering from “a persecution complex.” On that front, it brings up an interesting point.

Over the last few months, our small group from church has spent its time watching an episode of The Chosen each week. For those unfamiliar with The Chosen, it’s a crowdsourced episodic program available online or on several non-network outlets through Angel Studios – it’s even watchable through an app on your phone. (Another project of Angel Studios is called Dry Bar Comedy, which gives you an idea of their worldview.)

The Chosen follows the adult life of Jesus Christ, the main story beginning at the point where he begins performing miracles and gathering disciples. But a constant on the program is the heavyhanded spectacle of the Roman Empire, which seems to look at the Jews overall as something of a barely tolerated nuisance and sees Jesus as someone who is not only anethema to the “official” Roman multitheistic religion but also one who upsets the apple cart of having subjects to the Emperor (at that time, Tiberius) and his state-level leaders, such as King Herod Antipas. I have no idea if the series will lead there, but surely the subject of persecution will arise if they explore the time of the apostle Paul, who spent the first years of his adult life as Saul, one of those persecutors. “I am Jesus who thou persecutest, it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks,” said Jesus in Acts 9.

In this nation of ours we spend a lot of time kicking against the pricks, as we fight tooth and nail over the right to kill our babies, keep God out of our schools but allow groomers promoting transgenderism to teach classes, and generally otherwise excuse behavior that would have been frowned upon in the generation of my parents. (I’m thinking in a Proverbs 22:6 manner here.) Yet I continue to pray for revival despite all that, and I’m sure Erick does too.

As I said, I don’t always agree with him but more than most I think he gets it. These are just two good examples.

Incremental progress?

So the much-ballyhooed 2022 school board elections are over, and the winners will soon get to place their stamp on their respective districts for the next four years (in most cases.) More to the point of this post, though, it was about this time last year that I wrote the following:

It was a great idea for Patriots for Delaware to take that first step (of endorsing school board candidates), and now they have some inkling what to expect. Hopefully come May of next year, they will be celebrating some initial victories on the road back to sanity for the state of Delaware.

“Disheartening numbers,” May 13, 2021.

As it turned out, the Patriots for Delaware did get a couple victories – but also a couple stinging rebuffs as well.

This cycle was interesting in that the state GOP also got involved by noting which school board candidates were registered Republicans, so to me you had three groups of hopefuls worth watching:

  • Those candidates endorsed by Patriots for Delaware – a total of 11.
  • Those candidates listed as Republican. In contested elections, there were also a total of 11, but there wasn’t as much overlap as one might think.
  • Incumbent candidates. Here in Sussex County there was only one in the five contested school board elections. By my count statewide there were nine, which is surprising given the number of seats available.

While the P4D batted a collective .000 in contested elections last year (their one winner won by acclamation) they improved to 2-for-11 this year by winning contests in Delmar and Milford. However, at the same time they lost two incumbent endorsed candidates in the Colonial and Capital school districts as they were among those seeking re-election who fell short. Basically they lost a little ground in terms of directly endorsed candidates as the winners won in smaller districts.

The Republicans, on the other hand, did a shade better in going 3-for-11, with the caveat that three of their losses came in seeking the same seat in the Smyrna district. (Perhaps they did a good job of splitting the vote for the incumbent, who won.) Out of their two incumbent GOP stalwarts running, the one who had the P4D endorsement lost (Leo Magee in the Colonial district) while the other one who wasn’t so endorsed won (Linda Hitchens, here in Laurel.)

The incumbents were the story to me. Particularly in Sussex County, there were a number of incumbents who chose not to run again – Hitchens was the only one in the five contested Sussex elections. Out of nine incumbents who ran around the state, though, five of them lost at the ballot box, so there was a lot of change made in that respect. Two of the five holdovers who lost, as I noted, got the Patriots for Delaware endorsement so that may have been a step backward, but one of the Republicans knocked off an incumbent in Smyrna so their representation stayed fairly even. (Along with Hitchens, another Republican retained her seat in the Woodbridge district over a P4D-endorsed candidate.)

So where do we go from here?

The one thing that stuck out at me about this race locally was the deluge of signs purchased for (or by) Linda Hitchens. I mean, I tip my hat for making the expenditure because it helped her win, but that expense may have been overkill and now she’s stuck with a garage full of signs for four years. But it led me to learn a little something about Delaware’s campaign finance laws:

Notwithstanding § 8003 of this title, or any other provision of this chapter, a candidate for election to a school board or to any other public office that pays less than $1,000 per year is not required to form a candidate committee if the candidate signs under penalty of perjury a statement, in a form prepared by the Commissioner, certifying that the candidate does not intend or expect that the candidate’s campaign will receive or spend, from the date of the first contribution or expenditure on behalf of the candidate’s election until the end of the year in which the election for the office is held, more than $5,000. If, notwithstanding the execution of the statement, the candidate’s campaign nevertheless receives more than $5,000 in contributions or expends more than $5,000, including any contributions or expenditures by the candidate, before the end of the year in which the election for the office is held, the candidate shall, within 7 days after the receipt or expenditure in excess of $5,000, notify the Commissioner and cause to be filed all reports that would otherwise have been required under this chapter.

Title 15, section 8004, Delaware Code Online.

Basically the candidate signs a form similar to what I called an ALCE when I ran in Maryland, so they don’t have to publicly account for their spending in a small-dollar election. That’s why I don’t find campaign finance information on most school board candidates.

It makes me wonder if conservative groups like Patriots for Delaware should endorse with cash rather than Facebook posts. A $500 donation, good list of supporters – that list of e-mail addresses and social media friends has to be good for something – and a couple volunteers in any school district can litter the place with yard signs that bring name recognition. Moreover, if there’s more name recognition it may be our supporters that fill in the gap between what little turnout there is (in Laurel it was 2.4%, with the biggest downstate total Milford’s 7.84%) and even 10% turnout, which would swamp all the elections. To use Laurel as an example, if they could have brought turnout up to 10 percent strictly with supporters of Joe Kelley, they would have won that race by over 700 votes! Even getting it to 5% turnout with his supporters would have won it.

To use another example, in Seaford, getting out just 1% more turnout with supporters of P4D-endorsed George Del Farno would have taken it for him, as Seaford lagged with abysmal 2% turnout.

Based on the last couple years I had an over/under of 400 votes for Laurel, but for the second straight year we fell short. (In the last three years we have gone from 582 votes in 2020, mostly in person, to 358 last year and just 283 this year. So my wife and I were almost 1% of the electorate, as I talked her into voting. As a reasonably local comparable, Woodbridge went from 282 in 2020 to 722 last year back down to 436 this year. I guess some races are more interesting than others.) Still, it’s worth noting that it’s not just our side trying to ratchet up turnout – supposedly the Democrats were doing their own GOTV drive for school board elections, but I’m not sure that has as much impact down here.

Obviously there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on the legislative races this fall, since everyone in the Delaware General Assembly is on the ballot this year. But the lesson we can learn from the school board race is that our side needs to figure out a way to cut through the noise and turn out voters.

Spilling the beans

Editor’s note: I actually wrote this on Saturday and debated putting it up for Mother’s Day, but chose not to. So you get it a couple days after.

What seemed like a quiet week in the leadup to Mother’s Day was suddenly roiled last Monday by the leak of a draft ruling revealing the Supreme Court was planning on repealing its badly considered Roe v. Wade decision from 49 years ago. Obviously the mainstream media, which should be focusing on who had the audacity to violate the Court’s trust and prematurely release what is obviously a controversial decision, is now fanning the flames of protest as aggreived supporters of abortion scream about “muh rIGht to PriVaCy!”

It’s become apparent that some radical spilled the beans in a desperate attempt to head off the decision, probably hoping that what appeared to be a 5-4 ruling would be nullified by a “change of heart” by one of the nine jurists. The early money was on a clerk in Sonia Sotomayor’s office, but I heard an interesting theory the other day that it was someone connected to recently-appointed justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is likely in the process of being brought up to speed regarding the Court’s procedures.

(I say 5-4 because, despite the so-called 6-3 “conservative” lean of the Court, the draft decision was not written by John Roberts. Usually the Chief Justice writes the majority opinion.)

Regardless of who decided to breach the Court’s trust, that person has stirred up a tempest comparable to the January 6 aftermath, leading many to fear for the safety of the conservative justices – who are now the subject of protests at their homes – and a call to release the decision as is.

I think that’s the way they should go, for several reasons. First of all, I do not put it past the deep state Left to attempt to assassinate one of the majority of five, which would set up a 4-4 tie, thus affirming the Fifth Circuit’s ruling that the Mississippi law this case is deciding is unconstitutional (and by extension that Roe v. Wade is constitutional.) Or, if it were learned that Roberts allowed Alito to write the majority opinion that he would join in, that would perhaps lead to the “solution” of putting KBJ – who has already been confirmed to replace Stephen Breyer – in to replace this hypothetical slain SCOTUS jurist to rule on the case she hadn’t heard because “abortion on demand must be saved!” (It sounds crazy, but I’ll bet I’m not the only one who has already thought about this.)

Needless to say, the usual caterwauling about court packing and breaking the filibuster to codify baby murder into federal law started almost immediately – almost as if someone was tipped off about what was going down so they could get that Astroturf opposition underway.

To me, though, overturning Roe v. Wade places the question where it belongs: at the state level. Unless they quickly traveled from somewhere out west or the Bible Belt South, it’s highly likely those aggrieved women who were already protesting at the Supreme Court last week will still have their cherished “right” to murder babies in the womb because their states (including both Delaware, passed in 2017, and Maryland, which rejected an effort to repeal a 1991 law expanding access to abortions in 1992) have short-sightedly dictated it be so. Not only that, there are certain entities who are already lining up to pay for women to travel to states that allow abortion to do so. (As an example, those who hail Elon Musk as a hero for purchasing Twitter may not like his company’s promise to do this.)

I will grant I didn’t always feel this way. If I lived in Maryland back in 1992 I probably would have been fine with rejecting the repeal proposal because back then I believed the lies the pro-choice side regularly puts out, particularly the bits about “unviable fetal mass” and “clump of cells.” It took a little bit of thought and realization that life had to begin somewhere, and there was a reason people have baby showers and gender reveal parties besides being a way to score free stuff off of other people: there was a life which had been created and the parents were eagerly anticipating it. And despite the fact I became more libertarian as I grew older, I departed from their orthodoxy that the right to choice of the mother trumps the right to life of the child, regardless of whether it could survive outside the womb or not. (Hence, I’m much more likely to support a pro-life Libertarian candidate than a pro-abortion one. That’s a party with a robust debate on the subject.)

As for the tired argument that pro-abortionists make about bringing a child into a poor family or abusive situation, or bringing a severely handicapped child into the world, I would counter that there is always someone out there who can give the child the proper care and loving home it deserves. There’s a reason states have safe haven laws. Moreover, the argument is always paired up with the charge that those who are against abortion on demand also don’t support government-paid health care, child care, and so forth. Your point? Those are the type of laws that should also be decided at a state or even local level – of course, the problem there is that states and localities don’t print money and have to balance their budgets – thus, they demand Uncle Sugar in D.C. pick up the tab.

I know I have people who disagree with me on this question, but the bottom line is: if their mother had made the “choice” to abort them, they probably wouldn’t be here to bitch about it. So they should thank God that their mom did not, and do what they can to make sure other babies have that same opportunity. We now see over the last 49 years what the false vow of “safe, legal, and rare” has led to.

The trouble with populism

Anyone who has read here over the last 16 years or so can guess that, most of the time, I vote for the Republican candidate in a electoral race. But there have been exceptions over the years, especially when I have a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate I like better, and 2020 was one of them.

When I endorsed for Delaware’s U.S. Senate race 18 months ago, I noted:

(Lauren Witzke) would be an almost automatic choice except for two places I vehemently disagree with her: one being the idea of incentivizing marriage and family through government policy (as opposed to that of merely not penalizing it) and the other being her stance against right-to-work as some sort of appeal to Big Labor voters – never mind that jobs tend to accrue to right-to-work states when all other conditions are substantially equal. Those are two big strikes against her, and her reaction to RBG’s death was very nearly strike three – somehow she managed to foul it off and stay alive.

“For Delaware 2020,” monoblogue, October 25, 2020.

Thanks to the Libertarians running a right-leaning candidate I voted for Nadine Frost instead, and it turned out I didn’t cost Lauren the race by doing so; in fact, she trailed all four other GOP statewide candidates and I don’t think it was because Chris Coons is all that popular.

The allusion to RBG upon her passing was really controversial, but in looking that gem up I found this quote from Witzke:

“Well the truth of the matter is that the Delaware GOP keeps losing and they think they can beat the liberals by becoming more liberal and that’s not gonna be the case, this is war.”

Roman Battaglia, Delaware Public Media, “GOP Senate candidate retains party backing, despite condemnation of social media posts,” September 21, 2020. Quoting Lauren Witzke.

Perhaps it’s a good thing Witzke hasn’t thrown her hat into the House race (since there’s no Senate race this year) because then how do you explain “becoming more liberal” with this social media complaint?

In full support of Student Loan Forgiveness:

Having crippling student loan debt makes it as difficult as possible for young people to buy a home, get married, and have children. An entire generation has become a slave to debt, signing their lives away at 18-not knowing that the US Government would import the third world to compete with them and push wages down in the workforce.

If the GOP was really the “party of the working-class” they would get behind this and get this done, in addition to seizing college endowments to prevent it from happening again.

Lauren Witzke, Social media post, April 28, 2022.

Never mind she got slaughtered in the comments, I have to say my piece too.

There’s a difference between conservatism and populism. One big worry I had about a Trump presidency early on was that the GOP would be pushed in a more populist direction, but he generally managed to straddle the line well and didn’t let his populist side out too much.

But in Trump’s term, he made two moves toward canceling student loans: in September 2019, before the CCP virus struck us, he signed an executive order that canceled student loan debt for permanently disabled veterans, which he estimated would save veterans “hundreds of millions” of dollars. And of course, during the pandemic Trump began the process of pausing student loan payments and interest that Joe Biden has continued, saving an estimated $90 billion for borrowers.

A pause of payments and interest, though, is a lot different than wiping out their student loan debt. And it wouldn’t necessarily help the working class, according to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy. Bear in mind that graduate degree holders – who don’t tend to be working-class – hold 56% of the outstanding student loan debt, so they would benefit the most from forgiveness.

It was a long, long time ago but I was one of those who took out student loans to go to college and I remember handing Sallie Mae about $120 or so a month beginning six months after graduation. I’m not going to say it was easy or that I always paid them on time, because student loans are a little like medical bills: hard to collect because you’re not taking away the ER visit for the flu, the knee replacement, or the bachelor’s degree if the payments are late like you can for a car or a house. But, over the span of fifteen years and a couple forbearances and refinances, I got my student loans paid off. Even as liberal as we considered Bill Clinton to be back in that era of my student loans, the idea of forgiving them for the masses was not seriously considered.

Aside from the giant issue with seizing college endowments – don’t you love it when government confiscates private property? – there are three huge problems with what Witzke and much of the other regressive community is backing.

First off, I’m still looking for the place where it says our federal government should have a role in education like this. One thing that disappointed me in the otherwise relatively stellar Reagan legacy is that he couldn’t convince the public to warn Congress that the Department of Education was really unnecessary, and maybe they need to think about defunding it if they wanted to stay in Congress. Reagan was a “Great Communicator,” but not so much a lobbyist for creating a public outcry for ridding us of an unnecessary Cabinet post. More recently I was hoping Betsy DeVos would help that process along, but, alas, Donald Trump couldn’t compete with the votes purchased with Zuckbucks and…well, you know what happened. Then again, you read what Trump did with student loans in the grafs above so I don’t believe he was really down with the struggle, either.

Secondly, it further erodes the idea of commitment. We already have issues with the concept when it comes to marriage and relationships in a culture where celebrities seem to be having a contest as to who can have the highest number of marriages and divorces and the most kids out of wedlock, with our society either cheering them on (as in “you do you”) or just turning a blind eye. This is how our culture has devolved since the era of our grandparents; an era which Witzke seems to want to restore – she uses the policies of the nation of Hungary as an example* – but this time through generous government subsidies that our ancestors didn’t need and, out of pride, would have likely refused anyway. Having the government step in and say, “yeah, we’ll pay off the student loans you took out for your womyn’s studies degree” just feeds the entitlement society we’ve become. Student loans, then, go from a hand up to just another handout.

Finally, on the college front, the biggest part of the reason those ivory towers have become so fat and happy financially these days – with those endowments that Witzke covets for government seizure in the millions or even billions of dollars – is that they have raised tuition and fees with impunity knowing that the government makes student loans widely available for any warm body they accept. Students don’t even have to get a degree, but the college gets paid for spouting off whatever the woke flavor of the day is and now the taxpayers will be footing the bill. If it were the colleges having to come up with the coin for the failures of their students, you better believe they would be more prudent and careful with who they let in and what is taught, don’cha think? It may make ditchdiggers out of all those “diversity, equity, and inclusion” department hires but the world needs honest labor, too.

There’s been a political cartoon turned meme making the rounds for awhile that makes the point more succinctly than I did, but I’ll go with a paraphrase: You took out a student loan, pay it back. I didn’t say it was easy or without sacrifice, but honor a commitment for once.

(*) I will give Lauren credit in that she writes well in an Ann Coulter vein. But I still disagree with her on this student loan thing.

Running for office: knowing the office

This is the second of two parts; the first part is here.

Once you know you’re ready to seek office and have the family’s blessing, the next step is knowing what you’re getting into insofar as the duties of the office you seek are concerned.

Qualifications

As I briefly alluded to in the previous post, there are certain offices which require a specialization that limits the available pool of people who are qualified. For example, a county attorney would have to be a member in good standing of the state’s legal bar or a county engineer would have to be a registered engineer in the state. In a small county or other locality that could limit the potential pool of those who can seek the office to a few dozen or fewer. By that same token, party offices which are on the ballot would require the aspirant to be a member of that political party.

Most offices, though, have relatively few qualifications aside from age or legal standing, and in those cases where cities or counties have home rule and qualifications aren’t included in state law, those are usually found within the locality’s charter or constitution. However, these basic qualifications don’t include a list of duties which are also required (or requested) for participation: everything from regular public meetings and work sessions of a local council to the office hours required for someone like a clerk of courts. In the case of specialized positions, a careful reading of the law is good but having a friendly supporter who knows the office (perhaps having served there or in a similar position) is an even better asset.

To be or not to be in a party?

Once that question is answered, the next regards party affiliation. There are some offices (mainly municipal) which have elections deemed to be non-partisan, while county, state, and federal offices are almost always sought via partisan primaries. While there is no ironclad requirement to have a party affiliation to run for those offices, the rules – unfair as they may be – make it much simpler to run as a member of either the Republican or Democratic parties. There are myriad regulations which will apply in different states, so this general guidance comes with the caveat emptor that there are always exceptions to the rule.

As I noted above, more often than not municipal elections are non-partisan; thus your voter registration will not come into play insofar as appearing on the ballot. (In some cases, though, parties will send out a list of their endorsed candidates to registered voters as well as hand them out at the polling place.) But it’s a funny thing about municipal elections: there are many, many cases where they are begging for candidates to the point where the remaining legislative body might be required to appoint a town councilman because no one ran for the post in an election. If you’re lucky enough to be the sole applicant for such a position, congratulations and enjoy your term in office.

In the more likely case there will be a contested election, local rules will dictate the requirements for a primary, which (if necessary) is normally held several weeks before the general election and winnows the field down as required. There are also filing deadlines and campaign finance rules to be aware of, which will be more generally outlined a little later.

Learning the ropes

But since most of those who are interested in public office seek a legislative position such as a school board or county council seat, or to become a member of a larger body such as a state House or Senate, one of the best things to do in preparation for the task ahead is to learn the position. At a basic level, this is fairly simple: for example, many local city council meetings are broadcast online or via their public access channel so you can see how the meetings are conducted. (The agenda should be made available as well.) In addition, a good guide to that sort of parliamentary procedure is a book called Robert’s Rules of Order, which is widely available. Most legislative bodies use that as a basic procedural manual, adapting to local customs as necessary. Work sessions and other non-public meetings, though, may be conducted in a less formal manner to permit greater discussion and presentation.

However, the more difficult task may be learning about the legal liabilities and exemptions public officials in a particular state or locality are entitled to. There are laws against malfeasance and misfeasance in office that are put there to guard against people using the public trust to enrich themselves or to conspire with others for those ends; however, there are also exemptions from certain types of liability based on being a public official.

One of the best ways to find out about all these things is to ask those who have been in office about them. Of course, there is some circumspection required in that your political opponent who is already in the office won’t be readily volunteering information about the job, but there are others who would be on your side to ask, too. Having served in the office, they would know the ins and outs of the task as well as how to dot the i’s and cross the t’s to keep things legal.

Asking of experts and knowing the laws are even more important if the position you seek is an executive one – not just being a mayor or governor, but also for positions like clerk of the court or a commissioner of agriculture. In these cases, there are oftentimes staffing issues to be dealt with, especially if you’re faced with a decision whether to maintain the employees who may have been part of the problem with how your opponent ran things or be the new broom that sweeps clean and perhaps has to reinvent the wheel until they’re up to speed. Sometimes the office full of political loyalists is the obstacle that needs to be eliminated to better serve the public.

The platform

For executive positions, it helps to have a platform you want to implement, something which should be simple in principle (perhaps three to four main points) but have ideas and talking points to back them up. Let’s say you wanted to run for mayor because you feel city services are lacking for the taxes you’re paying. (And who doesn’t?) In that case your platform may be one of providing more efficient city services while holding the line on taxes, and that’s a start. The next logical step would be to determine what you would do with the surplus: perhaps you would rebate taxpayers through lower taxes, increase the frequency of trash pickup, or you may want to acquire land for a new park. In other words, a good platform should have a short-term item or two as well as a vision for the longer term. Bear in mind, however, that your executive vision can only go as far as the legislative branch will allow because, in most cases, they approve the budget. This is where the selling of your platform to voters comes in handy because the legislative branch has the most important votes in terms of running in office as opposed to for office.

If you are a government skeptic like me, you generally believe that there’s healthy pruning to be made among all its branches. Unfortunately, not everyone is of that same mindset and indeed there are many worthy tasks a local or state government should take upon themselves to do. It’s why the slash-and-burn approach to government isn’t popular or proper, and why there’s always a spoonful of sugar required for people to take the required medicine.

And just as there’s a role for government to play, there’s a role for knowing the legal rules around running a campaign. This is why you need some helpers.

Depending on the office, the first volunteer you may need is a campaign treasurer. That person tracks the money going in and going out, which is a vital part of the process. In small campaigns like those where a treasurer is needed, that person could be your spouse or significant other, a co-worker, or a trusted friend, but in more major campaigns it’s most helpful to have an experienced hand at your side because there are significant legal and financial ramifications for that person selected as campaign treasurer if deadlines are missed or improper reporting or foul play is discovered. You’ll find that having a good treasurer is like gold, and oftentimes the same person is used by a candidate as long as he or she is in office because then there’s no need to reinvent the wheel of learning the ins and outs of campaign finance.

In my opinion, after a treasurer says yes there are two other volunteer positions that need to be filled right away. The first is the person for coordinating the scheduling, which is extremely important: even in local races there’s a need for having someone who tracks the places the candidate needs to be to gather support such as forums, festivals, and fairs, leads organization of door-to-door and/or phone bank efforts on the candidate’s behalf, and can be the contact person and gatekeeper for the campaign.

A close second, particularly in this day and age, is the social media and website coordinator. (On a local level it may be possible for one person to wear both hats, but once you get beyond the municipal level it’s really two tasks.) Again, in my humble opinion, early on that person needs to impress upon the campaign treasurer that money should be spent on a good-quality, professionally-produced website and not something that looks like an off-the-shelf DIY job. If the funds aren’t there, the next best thing would be a well-run, frequently-updated social media site (in fact, the candidate can secure the domain name that redirects there until a more formal website can be secured) – on the other hand, good social media may be all that’s necessary for small local races and it’s still vital for any race, whether local, state, or national.

There is one other piece of advice I want to give before I move on, and this is an important one in larger campaigns: be prepared to “smile and dial.” As I said in part one, something I never liked to do was ask people for anything and money is at the bottom of the list of things I would like to ask for. Unless you have the means to self-fund your campaign, though, it requires you to ask for money and in-kind donations, such as a venue to conduct your fundraiser.

**********

This is about as far as I got with the subject, and aside from just writing the last five paragraphs about the volunteers it was the start of what I thought could be a nice pamphlet-sized e-book guide with more expert advice.

So I need two things: input on whether this is something viable for me to pursue, and, if so, more help from experts in the world of organizing campaigns. Most of those folks are a bit busy right now, but there will be a slack time sometime we may be able to talk.

I just get so frustrated when people who I think would be excellent candidates fail because they have no idea what they are getting into – maybe they found out too late that the economics weren’t viable or the family really wasn’t that supportive once the other side began giving out grief.

But there are still ways for them to help the cause: just look at me. Yes, I’ve been on the ballot before and won – and I have lost, too. Losing hurt, and I took it personally. However, in my case, the way I had served in the previous time made me indispensible to the cause so they found a way to keep me onboard until a vacancy occurred and I could be reappointed. And a few of them still miss me as I’m no longer around, but I’m in the next phase of life now.

If I had asked myself these questions earlier on, would I have become involved? Probably. But the learning experience about the process (and my individual abilities and talents) also led me to know that I have my place in the fight as a journalist, advocate, and observer, not as an elected official. Perhaps someone who reads this, though, may have the aptitude needed to advance the cause of Constitutional government as an educator and public official, and that’s why I wrote this brief series and put it out there as a possibility for revised and extended remarks. Let’s hope I can find some of those folks.

Running for office: what you should know

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series I spoke about Saturday: the beginnings of a tome about how to run for office. Let me know what you think about the progress so far.

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Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage. – President Dwight D. Eisenhower

We may think elections are corrupt, particularly in the wake of the controversial 2020 balloting. Yet on the day after that fateful election, thousands of people woke up determined to change things, and the way they decided to make the corrections was to run for office.

There’s only one big problem with that: while running for office seems relatively easy – hey, I just fill out a little paperwork and get my name on the ballot, right? – the hard truth is that there is a process involved. This guide was intended to make the complex understandable and break the daunting task of electoral success down into easier steps, with the goal of winning elective office so you can more easily work to make needed changes.

It should be noted up front, however, that I’m writing this from the perspective of a conservative Christian who is most interested in getting like-minded people into local and state offices. While this guide could, in theory, be used as a how-to book for running for President, be advised that there were over 1,100 people who ran for that office in 2020 and you heard about only two or three of them who had national party backing, tons of press coverage, and millions upon millions of dollars to work with. If you already have all these qualifications I don’t believe you will need anything costing less than what your high-dollar consultant would charge for a nanosecond of his time.

As for the rest of you who wish to be service-minded citizen legislators and have no desire to make politics your sole purpose in life, read on, but bear this in mind: your desire to be a public servant doesn’t necessarily need to be only on the elective front. The world also needs volunteers to serve on the various boards, agencies, and other entities which affect people’s lives in the community. Oftentimes those who secure these unpaid positions, such as members of the zoning committee, library board, or other community service posts, parlay their experiences there into elective office by making those connections and friendships that ease the transition into elective politics. That’s a little bit of free advice for you (and also a good start to knowing yourself and knowing how to campaign, as you will find out.)

Another option is to make yourself indispensable to someone seeking office themselves. As you will eventually read, campaigns need volunteers. Sometimes those volunteers become paid staff and, every so often, become the successor candidate in his or her own right once the officeholder moves up or moves on. It’s certainly a good way to learn the ropes and can be a lot of fun if you’re working with the right candidate and the right people.

Since there’s so much to know about the process, I broke it into five “knows,” some of which I’ll delve into in this post and the next one, with others that may come as future writings of mine:

  • Know yourself. This is the necessary first step before anything else can be accomplished.
  • Know the office. Not just the procedures for being elected to it, but the duties and powers that are implicit in the position for which you are running.
  • Know the rules. Most of this will have to do with party politics and campaign finance, but there are other coordination issues which can trip up first-time candidates as well.
  • Know how to campaign – time and money. A successful campaign requires good time management skills since you can only be in one place at a time. It also requires enough funding to make building name recognition more successful in the places where you can’t be.
  • Know how to win. When you are successful, do so with grace and humility. Be a leader and an example for others to follow.

Remember first that you don’t have to do this all by yourself; in fact, in most places you can’t go it alone because you need assistants just to be legally able to run.

My goal in writing this is to help create a crop of citizens who will devote a period of time in their life to bettering their community through the public service of political office.

Know yourself: Are you up for the challenge?

Since it’s most likely you’ve made the effort in reading this with the goal of running for and winning office, the first thing you should consider is what you want to accomplish by being there. You should really have a clear set of goals or governmental philosophy in mind, particularly if you’re running for an executive office. There you will certainly run into those whose desires are the opposite of yours: for example, you may be all in favor of reasonable growth and development in your area but others you’ll be working with may want all new development to come to a screeching halt – so it helps to be an eloquent spokesperson for your point of view. It’s also a good time to decide whether you will run under a party banner or not, although generally municipal races are non-partisan. (In most states, though, anyone who has access to voter registration records can likely find out your affiliation and voting pattern.) Regarding those party procedures, we’ll get to that a little bit later.

The next thing to weigh on that balance is your personality type. If you’re an introvert who doesn’t like to deal with people, this would not be the career (or even term or two in office) for you. Obviously you’ll have to put yourself out before the public on the campaign trail in order to earn their trust and their vote, and that’s not an easy thing to do for a person who likes to keep their private lives to themselves – and that’s even if you don’t have skeletons in your closet, a point I will get to shortly. Temperament is also key: voters don’t tend to look kindly on people who are known for flying off the handle and being verbally abusive. As you read on, you’ll find that secrets are hard to keep when you seek to become a public official.

Moreover, once you get into office the main thing constituents will expect for you is some sort of service and to remain active in the community. As their representative in an elected body or head of government, your personal “to-do” list becomes subordinate to the needs and desires of those who won’t necessarily choose those times convenient to you to express their opinions and requests. Elective office is certainly different than a 9-to-5, 40 hour per week job.

And speaking of job, another factor on your personal scale would be your financial situation. While we often hear of politicians who get fabulously wealthy after attaining high office, I’m hoping those of you reading this are in it for the right reasons and not as a get-rich-eventually scheme.

However, it’s a fact that most people who work for a living would probably have to take a pay cut to take a job as an elected official – oftentimes, it’s a full-time job that pays like a part-time one. For example, the job of County Executive of a county near my home – a county of 100,000 people which has a city of 35,000 as its seat and is a regional hub for a metro area twice that size – will have an annual salary of $107,000, beginning with the next term. (As a private-sector comparison, that salary is about what the average construction manager would expect to make.) In the brief history of the position, the county has elected two executives, one being a longtime government employee and the other a self-employed businessman. Someone with the type of experience required may see the salary as insufficient for their needs, and the same holds true for representative positions. On the other hand, offices where this may be less of a problem are more specialized positions such as county attorney, sheriff, engineer, or insurance commissioner. Those positions may pay more commensurate to the required education and experience.

Rehashing your past

Next on the consideration list is a sad fact of life: the advent of social media and easily accessible public records means it’s more likely any misstatements or mistakes in your past will be dredged up. Any off-color joke you passed along because you thought it was funny, fight you had with a neighbor where the police were called, nasty divorce, or history of drug use (as in “I did not inhale”) will surely find its way into a campaign, sooner or later. Whether it’s a disqualifying factor really depends on the offense, the voter, and the position being sought.

In 2020, there were two Republican candidates in my state of Delaware who ran for federal office despite serious mistakes they had made in their lives that landed them in prison. While Matthew Morris could not overcome this and other factors in losing his U.S. House primary, U.S. Senate candidate Lauren Witzke made opioid addiction a key part of her platform. Once incarcerated as an addict and convicted drug runner, Lauren got herself clean, served her sentence, and later ran a religious-based organization focusing on teens who were disadvantaged. More importantly for this narrative, she was up front about the issues she had, choosing not to try and hide them. While she was unsuccessful running against an incumbent in a heavily Democrat state, she brought issues to the forefront which may have been ignored with a more conventional candidate.

As I see it, to be a public servant honesty is the best policy. There are always people who envy you, covet what you have, and don’t want you to succeed. Like crabs pulling the one which is managing to escape back into the cage, their job seems to be that of preventing others to be successful.

Getting buy-in

Once you have convinced yourself that you’re emotionally able to run for and succeed in office, and you verify your financial situation is such that you can handle the job with or without sacrifices, the next important step is securing the blessing of your family. Without them in your corner, you may gain office but lose everything you love – and that’s no way to live.

It’s obviously easier for a single person to run for office, but many of those who have the most desirable traits for officeholders are also the ones who have settled down in life and begun a family. If that’s your situation, then getting the buy-in from the wife and kids is the logical next step. They have to be made aware of the proverbial anal exam your life will undergo and prepare themselves for it – even the most popular person in town has a few enemies with an axe to grind and those in the political opposition who don’t mind playing dirty to keep the other side down. This is particularly an issue when a candidate has school-age children; truthfully family concerns are the biggest hurdle against “normal” people running for office. It may not be the main thing for an aspirant for a local position, but once you get into the realm of state legislator and higher office, security of loved ones becomes a little bit of a concern.

Finally – and this is somewhat related to the personality aspects I began this post with – one running for office needs to ask whether he or she can complete the sale to a voter. In the end, elections are about you convincing the majority of the electorate that you are the proper person to address their concerns, provide constituent service when required, and remain a vital part of the community despite having other duties. No candidate is going to get 100 percent of the vote in a contested election, but the idea is to have the most votes of anyone running in cases where there’s no Electoral College to contend with.

In the next part, we’ll look at knowing the office.

The problem with being just opposition

Over the last few days I’ve gotten very frustrated with the system, so rather than get mad I think I’m going to not let good writing go to waste. More on that in a few paragraphs, but allow me the license to tell you a few reasons why I’m in such a way these days.

Here in my Laurel School District, we have an election for the one seat available on the school board this year. The two candidates are a lady who’s seeking her third term on the board and a gentleman who I’m guessing is a political newcomer, and very possibly may have ideas that can shake up the status quo his opponent would presumably maintain considering she’s the president of the board and seeking yet another five years running our public schools.

The interesting thing, though, is that Linda Hitchens, the lady in question, has run unopposed her first two times through in 2012 and 2017; thus, there was no actual election those years. So one would think that she would be easier to contend with because she’s never run a real campaign to keep her seat – once the filing deadline in her previous two tries passed with no opponent, the seat was hers by acclamation. However, she’s amassed the campaign money to pepper the district with signs in front of houses on the east end of the district near where she lives (and by the dentist office I went to Friday – no cavities!) There’s not much on my more rural end of the district, though.

So it’s very frustrating to me that, as a first-time candidate who has no name recognition in the district, that Joe Kelley – insofar as a search of the dreadfully inefficient Delaware state campaign finance website has shown – doesn’t even have a campaign finance account set up.

(As an aside, I can’t figure out why Delaware’s campaign finance system is so difficult while Maryland’s is very straightforward, when they use the same platform.)

Even more so, when Joe has the free opportunity to expound on his platform thanks to the Delaware Independent website, he doesn’t respond. Is he going to do the same to the Laurel Star newspaper if they come calling? I may not like the status quo – and you can’t get much more status quo than the board president – but if I’m not presented with a good alternative why should I even bother to vote? At that point, just having the votes of the people with signs is massive overkill for Hitchens, since I bet I saw 5o of them in driving around.

And then we have the case of one Christopher Hill, who is supposedly running for Congress as a Republican in the same primary as perennial candidate Lee Murphy. The only reason I knew this, though, was because I stumbled across Hill’s FEC filing on their website doing research for my election sidebar, which led me to find his own campaign website that I link to. But even the state Republican Party refers to him as “Chris Hall.” (Maybe they’ll change it after they read this.)

This came to mind because of a bizarre incident. A couple weeks back I received a text that went like this: “Hi Mike, Christopher Hill here. If you have a chance, give me a call about the race. (phone number.)”

This came on a late Sunday afternoon; in fact, I was at a Shorebirds game. So I couldn’t get back to him that evening; as it turned out it took a few days. But once I got back to Christopher via text I realized it was probably a case of mistaken identity since he said, “all I need is Smith’s cell number,” which I don’t know. So he apologized. (Then again, I should ask how he got my cell number.)

But if you look at Hill’s efforts thus far, you find a off-the-shelf Wix website he occasionally updates but no social media. If he thinks he’s going to beat Lee Murphy (let alone knock off LBR in November) with a campaign run from a website, well, life doesn’t work that way. Perhaps Hill believes he can make the rounds of various festivals and fairs this summer, such as the Delaware State Fair, but the groundwork should have been laid several months ago.

Now I don’t want to sound overly critical, but I believe there are a number of people who get into politics rashly. For example, right now at the top of Hill’s website in something like 72-point font is “Day 1: Drafting an article of impeachment against Biden for allowing the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to be invaded by illegal aliens.” A lot of people may agree – and, let me tell you, it’s more than those three states thanks to Joe Biden’s overnight air shuttle service – but that accounts for one day. And did he have to make this into a rant at the front of your campaign website? Is this a blog or a campaign he’s running?

In the case of Joe Kelley and our local school board, he filed for the job first but had to know that Linda would be running again. Did he plan for that likely occurrence?

Obviously, there are cases where circumstances get in the way of a campaign but there are too many times where I see people with good ideas about government crushed down by a system stacked against them. But then again, there are rules out there that all sides have to contend with so the playing field becomes more level. Somewhere in the past, all those people in the system were once neophyte candidates themselves but they figured out how to get into the clique. And that leads me to the idea of good writing not going to waste.

This was sort of a rash decision somewhat in the vein of running for office, but then again I’ve been there and done that several times in Ohio and Maryland. And if I cared to right here, I could tell you in several paragraphs about the exhaustive differences between those two situations which led me to essentially the same party office, but on a varying scale.

Long story short: after the 2020 election I hatched an idea that for awhile was going to be another book, and could yet end up being so after all once I blow the dust off of it.

I had set up five “how-to” main points, and had written out in draft form an introduction and lead-ins to a couple of these chapters. The reason I stopped was because I was in a quardry whether to write it straight up, or make it sort of a narrative that followed Joe Sixpack on his race to become mayor of his town – or did that sound too hokey? But the burning passion faded as other things took precedence so I haven’t worked on this project since the tail end of 2020.

Honestly I don’t know if this project will ever become a book, but in seeing how some of these nascent local campaigns are going I think it’s time to share what little expertise and observation I have and put up some of these ideas as blog posts. If I get enough of a positive reaction and more expert input – which was also part of the plan, but I hate asking for anything – maybe I can go forward with the project after all. (It’s not just 5:00 somewhere, there’s also an election somewhere.) Perhaps you can think of the next two to three blog posts as a lengthy book proposal, but over the next few days I’ll do some editing and drop these on you as a series of posts and see what reaction I get.

There was a reason I started writing all that back at the end of 2020, and I have to remember that everything occurs in the Lord’s time, doesn’t it?

Update 4/24: I did find a questionnaire Kelley filled out, from the League of Women Voters, so now I have a little bit of an idea where he stands. Most of my point still remains, though.

Odds and ends number 111

Here you are…more of those nuggets of bloggy goodness that take up anywhere from a couple sentences to a few paragraphs. They’re things that weren’t enough to merit a full post but plenty worth writing about anyway. It’s one of my longest ongoing series for a reason. So read on…

The election in question

If it was worth my writing about, it’s worth giving the results. On Saturday the city of Seaford agreed with me that the incumbents were worth retaining in an overwhelming fashion: Mayor David Genshaw won by a margin of 412 votes to 189 for challenger Pat A. Jones and City Council member Matt MacCoy won with an even 400 votes against challenger Stacie Spicer’s 199. In terms of percentages, Genshaw had 68.55% and MacCoy had 66.78%, which to me seem like a hearty mandate to keep on the trajectory they’ve established. Congratulations to both and hopefully this is the start of a year of victories for common sense in Delaware.

A little runaway

Another cause I’ve championed recently is the idea of an Article V convention, more popularly known as a convention of states. But I briefly had a pause when I read this paragraph in a story about federal involvement in Alabama’s state affairs:

That is, unless We the People join with the states to call a Convention of States. A Convention of States is called under Article V of the Constitution and has the power to propose constitutional amendments that limit the power, scope, and jurisdiction of the federal government. 

What does this mean in plain English? Basically, amendments can be written that get the feds out of virtually every area of state policy. Healthcare, education, energy, the environment, and agriculture would be among the host of issues that could be left to exclusively state control.

“Article V Patriot,” “White House says they’re going to start targeting state lawmakers working to protect children from transgender surgeries, radical sexual ideology,” Convention of States Action, April 8, 2022. Emphasis in original.

Perhaps the biggest fear that opponents of an Article V convention have is the idea of a “runaway convention” where the people who ostensibly meet to write amendments that “limit the power, scope, and jurisdiction of the federal government” instead decide to do away with the Bill of Rights. While amendments can be written to get the federal government off the backs of the states, it follows that their role could be abolished, too.

I suppose the fact that 38 states have to ratify any amendment gives us a little bit of protection in that regard, as there would probably be 13 states that hold on to restraints on federal power. Unfortunately, there are probably as many that would oppose any conservative amendments out of spite and that’s the other area where work is needed.

I just didn’t think that particular analogy is a good “sell” for the CoS.

Thirty-eight with an asterisk*

Speaking of Constitutional amendments I got an e-mail from my old liberal pal Rick Weiland, who has branched out from his lack of success in South Dakota to a similar lack of grifting aptitude on a nationwide basis. A few weeks back he claimed it was time to enact the Equal Rights Amendment because it had passed in 38 states.

In 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and also the last state needed to meet all constitutional requirements to allow it to finally become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The ERA will add protections to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens, regardless of gender, nationwide.

We’re 4 months into 2022 and the ERA has not been published by the Archivist. The Archivist has an administrative duty to publish the amendment and thus officially add it to the Constitution, but refuses to overrule a Trump administration roadblock to do it.

Rick Weiland, “It’s time for the Equal Rights Amendment,” April 7, 2022. Emphasis in original.

That “Trump administration roadblock” is the logical result of five states since rescinding their ratification, either by outright legislation or by its not being ratified prior to a Congressionally-imposed deadline in 1982. Meanwhile, ERA advocates claim they have the numbers but need Congress to render inoperative both the deadline and the recissions, pointing to the length of time it took to pass the 27th Amendment – first proposed as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791, it wasn’t ratified until 1992. (However, Congress put no time limit on that one.) Their roadblock is the Republicans in the Senate, who have threatened to filibuster the Senate resolution (the House passed its version with a narrow majority.)

As I’ve stated from almost the beginning of this website, instead of an ERA this would be a better amendment:

Congress shall make no law that codifies discrimination for or against any person based on their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This Amendment shall also be construed to include a prohibition on Congress enacting additional criminal code or punishment solely based on these factors.

Pretty cut and dried, isn’t it? No mealy-mouthed “The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” It’s “Congress shall make no law.” Let’s get that equal rights amendment done.

Creating more informed voters

Four years ago I was a Maryland panelist for iVoter Guide, which was a fun experience and pretty natural for me because I liked doing the research.

Well, they’ve been on the hunt for more volunteers and I reckon that their time to deal with Delaware and Maryland is coming, now that we’ve finally reached the oft-delayed filing deadline in Maryland. (Delaware’s filing deadline isn’t until July but they only have one federal race, for Congress. So they’re probably not in need of much help.)

Now, it’s possible you might be needed in another state, but it’s still an interesting process that anyone from concerned citizens to political junkies can find a part in. So why not do your part? (I think I will, hopefully in Delaware but I may be interested in other states like Ohio and Michigan, since that’s the area in and around the 419 I grew up in.) It’s much easier than creating a website from scratch.

A holiday from a boondoggle

As I wrote this over the weekend, Maryland drivers were swarming gas pumps in the state to beat the end of a gas tax holiday that expired at the stroke of midnight on Easter Sunday. But David T. Stevenson of the Caesar Rodney Institute proposes an even better holiday: the state of Delaware enacting a “tax-free carbon holiday.”

As Stevenson explains, the state of Delaware – like several other liberal-run hellholes in the Northeast – joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in 2009. Some state have rescinded their memberships since, but the remainder soak their local utilities by demanding a fee for each ton of carbon produced, with the state deciding what to do with the proceeds.

In Delaware’s case, 65% of the RGGI proceeds go to a non-profit that’s supposed to divvy out grants for energy efficiency projects, but instead has been hoarding cash to the tune of an estimated $16 to $17 million last year, bring its total up to nearly $100 million, according to Stevenson. The other 35% is designated for the state’s Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC), which administers programs assisting low-income consumers with the energy bills and weatherizing their dwellings. (In other words, wealth transfer.) Stevenson claims DNREC is sitting on its own cash surplus of $20 to $25 million.

We just saw the passage of a bill that uses a portion of the federally-fueled state surplus to give a $300 check to any Delaware resident who paid taxes in 2020. (That still doesn’t make up for what Uncle Sam raped us for, but regardless…) Perhaps the state can allow for an appropriate credit to any electric ratepayer in the state to soak up this surplus, which is basically money they paid as part of their utility bills anyway. Stevenson concludes that, “We note that New Hampshire returns RGGI revenue to electric customers, and Connecticut sends all RGGI revenue to its General Fund.” I like that first idea, and it can be the prelude to winding down our participation in this long-standing mistake.

The perpetual emergency

While AND Magazine has put up a lot of great content since I last produced odds and ends – including a look at upcoming election fraud, the issue with transgender men demanding to be placed in women’s prisons, and the situation on the ground in Afghanistan now that the Taliban is in full control – I’m choosing just one to discuss, the perpetual emergency.

The CCP virus caused a lot of disruption in our lives, but none greater than the loss of our liberty. As author Sam Faddis notes in his opening:

At the heart of the debate over COVID-19 restrictions is the distinction between rights and privileges. For most of human history some supreme authority, – a king, a sultan, a class of aristocrats – has presumed to grant to the common people certain privileges. By definition, as privileges, they can be granted, and they can be taken away.

The American concept of liberty is built on something fundamentally different. We do not enjoy privileges. We have rights. They are enshrined in the Constitution, but they are given to us by our Creator. We do not have the right to free speech, because some ‘body of humans’ granted it to us. We were born with it, and it cannot be taken away.

For two years now powerful interests in this country have attempted to change this. They have used all the power at their discretion to convert our rights into privileges that can be taken away whenever the powers that be decide some “emergency” requires it.

The real danger therein is obvious. Once you have enshrined the principle that an “emergency” justifies the revocation of God-given rights, it requires only the declaration of an “emergency” to do it again. And again.

Sam Faddis, “There Will Always Be An Emergency – The Assault On Our Liberties Has Just Begun,” AND Magazine, March 20, 2022.

In this case, Faddis continues on to talk about how rising fuel prices are the new “emergency.” Instead of the state cutting us a check, though, he details some of the ideas the International Energy Agency – a NGO with no ties to our government – would have enforced on our nation: reduced speed limits, mandatory work from home three days a week, car-free Sundays, cutting prices on mass transit, alternate-day car access to big cities…and the list goes on.

You’ll notice two things about this: one, our government is already thinking about ways to mandate this somehow, and two, they’re not discussing the most obvious solution, which would be to increase the supply of fuel to meet demand. In an effort to save face, the Biden regime restarted oil leases on federal lands, but at a greatly reduced and limited clip compared to the previous administration, where $2 a gallon gas was not uncommon.

But liberty lost is not easily regained, even if you elect the right people. Speaking of that:

An opponent to Liz Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney may be the most hated politician in Wyoming (and perhaps much of the rest of the nation.) Polling is as sparse as people in America’s least-populated state, but a story from last summer in The Federalist suggested she has very little support in the state anymore.

Yet there may be a problem here, and I’m sure there are a few in the Cheney camp (which is essentially the national GOP establishment) who aren’t helping to create it by encouraging additional stalking horses to water down and spread out opposition in the Republican primary August 16. It’s possible Liz Cheney could win a huge primary with just 30% of the vote, so where would those 70% of Republicans and conservative independents turn?

Well, it turns out that the Constitution Party has a ballot spot in Wyoming and they have already selected their candidate, an erstwhile Republican by the name of Marissa Selvig. “I am beyond excited that it is official, and I am even more excited for the voters of Wyoming to have a real, constitutional choice in this race,” Selvig said in a party release. “It is long past time our elected officials honor their Oath to ‘uphold and defend’ the Constitution with integrity and honesty. That is exactly what I intend to do when I am elected in November.”

Now I’m not going to claim I know what’s best for Wyoming, but on a broad scale her platform is both well-written and common-sense. If it comes down to a four-way race between a Democrat, Libertarian, Cheney, and Selvig (those four parties were on the 2020 ballot) it will be interesting to see how Marissa does. Even if Cheney loses the primary, though, it’s possible the sheen has come off the GOP in The Equality State.

And yes, just to answer any naysayers about my Seaford endorsements, Marissa is a woman I would vote for.

A better offer

We all know that Elon Musk has offered to purchase Twitter and take it private, but given the “poison pill” resistance put up by Twitter’s current major stockholders perhaps there’s another way to introduce Musk to the world of social media – and it would cost Musk far less.

Andrew Torba, CEO of Gab, wrote this as part of an open offer to Musk:

We built our own servers, our own email services, our own payment processor, and so much more not because we wanted to, but because we had no choice if we were going to continue to exist.

What we are missing at the moment is an ISP. I fear that the next big leap of censorship is at the ISP level, with ISP’s blocking access to Gab.com. You solve that problem with Starlink. Together we can build infrastructure for a free speech internet.

I am willing to offer you a Board seat along with equity in the company in exchange for you selling your Twitter position and investing $2B into Gab. My offer is my best and final offer.

Andrew Torba, “Gab.com’s Offer To Elon Musk,” April 14, 2022.

For that matter, I could have the same issue with my ISP. Even though I’ve had the same server company for the sixteen-plus years I’ve had monoblogue, they are on at least the third owner I’m aware of and who knows how tolerant they will remain. Obviously I don’t have the coin for my own infrastructure, and I suppose that since this a hobby/obsession for me that’s the way it will stay.

But a few grand would be nice for my own server…heck, I’ll even do Starlink even though the state is finally contracting to bring me more reliable broadband.

The Delaware Way, explained once again

I could almost put this in the category of “duh” but since Rep. Bryan Shupe is one of those who tries not to let partisanship cloud his worldview, I’ll refrain.

But he brings up something that does belong in the category of elections matter: if you are a Republican in the Delaware General Assembly, your bill has a less than 50-50 chance of even getting a hearing in committee.

In the House Administration Committee during the 150th General Assembly, 67% of the bill submitted to this committed were heard. Of the bills submitted by the majority party, 86% of them were heard by the committee. Of the bills submitted by the minority party, only 38% of them were heard by the committee. In other words, 62% of bills submitted by the minority party were never heard in committee.

During the 151st Committee, which will end on June (30th), 2022, 66% of the bill submitted to the committee so far has been heard. Of the bills submitted by the majority party, so far 78% of them have been heard by the committee. Of the bills submitted by the minority party, so far only 42% of them have been heard by the committee. In other words, 58% of bills submitted by the minority party have not been heard in committee so far.

There seems to be a correlation between what party submits the bill and if the bill will be heard in this committee. 

Rep. Bryan Shupe, “Politics overriding House rules,” March 31, 2022.

There would be a bit of research involved, but it’s worth noting that the online records of the Delaware General Assembly date back to the 140th session (1998-2000.) The accusation here is damning enough, but the compare and contrast would be even better – back then the parties were more congenial with one another, with part of the reason being that the House was Republican-controlled through 2008 while the State Senate has been controlled by Democrats for at least 30 years, per Ballotpedia. It would be eye-opening to see how prior performance, particular in the era of GOP control of the House, compares to that of today.

Programming note

It’s that time of year again: the Shorebird of the Month will return for another year.

I’ve traditionally done it the first Thursday of the month, but on months where Thursday falls on the 1st or 2nd I wait until the next one. So gazing at my calendar, and bearing in mind how the best-laid plans go, these are the projected SotM dates: May 5, June 9, July 7, August 4, and September 15. The September date is so late because we have ten games currently scheduled in September – if they don’t play at least ten I will combine August and September numbers and only pick one set for the month-plus, but I won’t know that until the regular season ends September 11. Shorebird of the Year will follow a week later and picks and pans the week after that.

Aside from that, I’ll start collecting items that interest me now for the next edition of odds and ends.