Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It is not the end of the world as we know it

To listen to the major news networks, one would think that the dips in the worlds major stock exchanges today is the end of the world as we know it. It is not. This is what is called a market correction.

For far too long, due to China's currency manipulations, China's market values have been inflated. That change a bit last night, when China's markets fell. As a result, markets fell in Europe, and then the United States.

Is it good news? No. Is the end of the world as we know it? No.

The China bubble was bound to burst, and the European and American investors were bound to feel the consequences of that in the market place.

I believe this happened as a correction, but there were also two other factors to keep in mind. One factor was the political venerable bede of our time, Alan Greenspan, remarking on Monday that a recession was likely. That was worth a couple of hundred points down on the DOW. The other was the assassination attempt on Vice President Cheney in Afghanistan. Such things always make markets go bear.

In other words, people, relax. Yes, I know the news does not seem good. But, take a deep breath. Don't dump your investements. Just stay the course and take a deep breathe. The American, European, and yes, Chinese economies are very strong by historical measures. The events of today, and perhaps of the next few days will just be a hiccup.

The only way this could result in a recession or depression is if investors overreact and start selling at high rates.

If that happens, which I admit it could with President Bush's approval ratings so low and such an angst in America, then Katie bar the door.

But, it won't be the market's fault. It will be the people's fault for overreacting to a logical adjustment.

Is being an American hero enough?

One thing is sure. We Republicans have two heroes in the campaign for President. One is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the man who took on the New York mafia, took on the New York City bureaucracy and rushed to ground zero and nearly lost his life when the twin towers come crushing down. The other is Senator John McCain, a man who told Ho Chi Min's minions to kiss his behind and took beatings for it when he chose to stay a POW with his men.

Both McCain and Giuliani are heroes without question.

The question is, will being a bona fide American hero be enough to win the Republican Presidential nomination?

McCain's past campaign in 2000 and other acts as a maverick make him a hard sale as the establishment candidate. The establishment candidate usually wins the Republican nomination. McCain is even polling a few points lower here in South Carolina than he scored in his bitter loss to President Bush in 2000. That begs the question, are there more Republicans who think of McCain as the wild maverick as opposed the solid hero who deserves the nomination nod?

Rudy Giuliani faces another type of question. While no one doubts his guts and this courage under fire, his stands on abortion, gay rights, and gun control especially are problematic in Republican circles, especially in a Republican Presidential primary in South Carolina.

It presents an interesting situation. While the Republicans seem blessed to have two bona fide heroes running for nomination, the climate today might push aside their hero status for someone else. Highly organized and well financed groups on the right might come into a place like South Carolina and attack those two heroes with such political ferociousness that victory will slip from their hands.

Is that a good thing? I do not know. But, what I do know is the Republican party has two heroes running for its nomination. If the groups on the right push them out of the nomination, then whomever is the nominee will be just another politician, like those the Democrats are offering.

It seems to me in the general Presidential election either hero, McCain or Giuliani would beat those running on the Democratic side. I sincerely believe being a bona fide American hero would be enough to win the general election against a hack like Hillary Clinton or a neophyte like Obama. Edwards or Gore might present a more interesting challenge, but as of now, they both appear to be out of the running for all practicable purposes.

The big question is, will be a bona fide American hero be enough to win the nomination? We will all learn that here in South Carolina over the next few months.

What are your thoughts. I look forward to a robust discussion.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Why I am a Republican

One of the many questions I have recieved via emails, phone calls and posts, some published some not, over the past few days is why I am a Republican. One friend made it clear to me, "Democrats would never treat you like this. They are just nicer people." I don't know about that.

But, I do know why I am a Republican after all these years.

Over the past nearly 10 years, as a personal injury lawyer for one year and a real estate lawyer for the rest of that time period, I have had the opportunity to be in the living rooms of hundreds, indeed, nearly three thousand, South Carolinians. The first year I spent going to living rooms and hospital rooms being the first legal consultation someone got. The remainder of the time, I have been to realtor's offices, bank offices, and living rooms closing real estate refinance loans and real estate transactions.

It is the living rooms that gave me my experience. It was in the those living rooms, from a million dollar home on Hilton Head to a doublewide in Wahalla, that gave me the perspective I have. I learned that the people in those homes are far more alike than different. They have dreams. They want a better life for themselves and their children. They are black, white, hispanic, asian, and anything else you can think of.

I also learned that people tend to keep in their living rooms things that make them proud. For some, it is a portrait of a great man, like Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcom X, and of course, Jesus Christ. For others, its displaying a hard earned GED or a picture of a child serving in Iraq. There are also those who show off the prize fish caught or the prize buck shot. Then there is man whom I will never forget who lived in a home near Myrtle Beach. That man had displayed the Silver Star for Valor for action he took in Vietnam. I spent most of my time in his home listening to his story.

I will also never forget the little girl on St. Helena Island who asked me what it took to be a lawyer, only to have her own mother abrublty cut her off and call her stupid for asking such a question. That is when I realized one of the root problems we face in education in this state. No government program, liberal or conservative, can ever make up for family putting down ones dreams. There is a culture of failure that no proposal by Mark Sanford or Jim Rex can overcome until that culture of failure is hit head on.

From it all, from elderly folks refinanicing their homes to give their children money, to a couple refinancing to pay off a bill due to a heart attack, to airline stewardesses to real estate wheelers and dealers, I come to learn people and South Carolina. I know every little town of this state far better than I ever dreamed to I know the good barbecue joints, and my waistline shows it. . I dare say I have sat in more living rooms of more South Carolinians than anyone holding statewide office today.

I learned that people are all pretty much the same. And, as such, I can be a conservative and Republican. I believe, with all my heart, that if government is limited, and taxes are kept low, and government just got out the way, people would thrive, if leaders have the courage to not only do the before mentioned but encourage people to dare to dream and break the culture of failure. I say that because in all of my travels, I have never met one person who wanted to be worse off, wanted to pay more taxes, or wanted to fail.

The woman on St. Helena Island putting down her daughter's dream questions was as close I have come in my many living room visits of someone not wanting their children to be better.

I will admit that little girl and her mother haunts me when I think of education issues. But, much stronger than that haunting is my belief in the people of South Carolina. It is a belief forged in the fire of reality that is being in so many living rooms, black, white, yankee, native, and so forth.

That is why I am a Republican, and will always be. Perhaps I am a different kind of Republican, though. Because I believe the good ole boy from Ware Shoals can make it just as much as the rich guy on the island or the black woman in Orangeburg. I believe in people, like Reagan.

That makes being a Republican easy.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I miss ole Dale Earnhardt

It is hard to believe it has been six years since we lost Dale Earnhardt. I remember that day so well. I remember the details of that Daytona 500 like they were yesterday. I remember Earnhardt slinging up towards the wall, getting hit by Kenny Schader. I remember Darrell Waltrip in the Fox Sports booth saying, after yelling for his brother's win, " I hope Dale is alright." I remember veteran racer Kenny Schader taking a startling step back from Earnhardt's car in the infield and motionally frantically for emergency workers to get to the car. I remember Dale Jr., still in uniform, running to the infield care center.

I remember a visibly shaken Mike Helton, then President of NASCAR telling the world, "we have lost Dale Earnhardt."

It felt like a family member had died.

Dale Earnhardt was one of us. He had worked his way out of the cotton mills of North Carolina to become arguably the greatest NASCAR driver of all time. He did so with a determination to win and boundless courage. He was my hero.

There was more to him than just on the track. A couple of years before his death, my brother and I had stood out in the rain at Greenville-Pickens Speedway for an autograph session with Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty. Petty was a nice guy, as well, I must note. But, for some reason, Gordon would only sign certain things. When I got to Earnhardt, all I had for him to sign was my Earnhardt cap I had on my head, which was soaked. You never forget your encounter with a legend, so here is how it went.

Earnhardt looked up for the table and smiled at me. "This thing is all wet." Then he paused, and said, "thank you for standing out there for so long, let me see if I can find a dry place to sign." Earnhardt did. He signed on the corner of the bill that was dry. He handed the hat back to me and said, "go somewhere and get dry." That cap sits on the bookshelf in my home office. It was one of my most prized possessions.

That was Dale Earnhardt. One of us. A hero. I am still a hardcore NASCAR fan, but I sure do miss ole Earnhardt. He was and is still "the man."

The Ron Wlson debate/forum

As publicized in the Anderson Independent Mail and on Earl Capp's blog, I have agreed to attend a debate/forum with Anderson County Councilman Ron Wilson.

What might surpise everyone involved is that I have no intention of, in the Southern term, "carying anybody's water." While my previous post against Wilson did quote several bona fide sources, I believe Mr. Wilson debating me on those source's points is silly. Mr. Wilson needs to debate the sources that talk about his associations, not someone who merely points out what those sources said and comments upon it. If what those sources said, including his own website, are not what they appear, then he should debate them on such issues, or perhaps even himself.

That is not say I do not relish the chance to talk about conservative local government principles in an open forum. I think Anderson County is a prime example of the problem we have in South Carolina when it comes to local big government. Though 6-1 Republican, the Anderson County Council continues to preside over growing local government. There are real issues there to get into and discuss.

There is no debate to be had on what other people have said. They said it. It is published. Referring to them is not open to debate. It is what it is. If they are wrong, well, then Mr. Wilson needs to address them, not me.

Further, I have found there seems to be a lot of talk on another blog and on a local radio station up there that I am paid to do this, etc. Well, that is simply untrue. I have written on this blog and on SC Hotline about the problems with local government for a long time now. No one pays me to. Further, I realize that some of the folks who have nothing to do all day but sit around and dream up things about people and come with conspiracy theories will likely show their paranoia in public. All I can do is laugh about it.

Now, if the AIM or anyone else reads this and decides it is not worth their time, well so be it.

I thank Mr. Wilson for the chance to discuss the wide range of issues that faces Anderson County and local governments in general in South Carolina. It will shock me if Mr. Wilson gets personal in this discussion. He told me on the phone that he would not.

If Mr. Wilson will join me in politically condemning Kirk Lyons, The League of the South, and take down his sponsorhip of www.dixiebroadcasting.com because some of the affiliations it has, then I will be the first Monday night to applaud him, and I will immediatey publish a commentary saying the man is not what others say he is.

Then we will get on to the issues that really matter to the people.

If Save the SCV or the Southern Poverty Law Center has a problem with that, they can send someone to carry their water.

It is up to you Councilman. If you issue a press release condeming the before mentioned, we can just talk issues, or even not talk at all.

That is my challenge to you, Councilman. I

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Huckabee Plays the Right Tune for the Campbells

Mike Huckabee landed the endorsement of Iris and Mike Campbell for President of the United States. I was somewhat surprised at their endorsement. It is a fairly large pickup for Huckabee, who looked like a pretty weak candidate the past few weeks.

The question is, will it turn into many votes on primary day? I am mixed on the issue myself. On one hand, I think the Campbell name is still a power inside the state GOP while at the same time Mike Campbell did blow a race that was his to lose. Further, the endorsement shows that the old Campbell machine is now divided, with Warren Tompkins and his folks going with Mitt Romney for President.

That might leave John McCain being the one who really benefits from the endorsement.

Hopefully, Budget Caps will come to pass

As reported in the State and elsewhere, the SC House is set to start work on new spending caps. The House plan being worked on would cap state spending increases at the lesser of six percent or population growth plus inflation. A projection of revenue during the House session would determine the budget amount any amount of revenue over the spending cap would be placed in a savings account for emergencies and one time spending or tax cutting events.

The Governor wants stricter measures than the House is working on. But one thing will level the playing field between the Governor, the House and the Senate. Under the plan being worked on now in the House, the Governor's Annual Budget would be audited by state economists, and all three entities would basically work from the same set of numbers. That is not the case now.

I hope that egos and the like do not get in the way of making these budget steps take place. For, I believe it could the first step in a long line of reforms. But, the first step has to be made. I hope the Governor takes a lesson from Ronald Reagan and realizes that "half a loaf is better than none."

Friday, February 09, 2007

Anderson County Councilman Ron Wilson is a different breed of RINO.

The term RINO is now a part of the political lexicon of conservatives. The traditional breed of RINO is a politician who labels himself a Republican but is thought to be more of a Democrat in nature. However, there is another breed of RINO, and that is fascists who hide behind the Republican Party name and tarnish the conservative movement. Anderson County Councilman Ron Wilson is one of that different breed of RINO.

I am going to shine a political light on one Ron Wilson. Ron Wilson is not a Republican. He comes across, in my opinion, as more fascist than Republican. He has ties to people whose views are radical and extreme at best and downright racist at worst. Just check out www.dixiebroadcasting.com to get a starting taste. Check out Mr. Wilson’s presence and the affiliations of the website. (In that website’s defense, as a lover of old traditional music, the site does offer some good traditional music when the bull manure is not flying.)

In 2002, Mr. Wilson was elected Commander in Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Wilson’s moves to fill the hierarchy of the SCV with radicals were so strong, that Walt Hilderman, III created a group called Save the SCV. On his website, Hilderman contends “Wilson and Lyons have quietly filled the high level leadership positions in the SCV with members of the League of the South, Council of Conservative Citizens and Free Mississippi.” Further, Hilderman goes on to contend, “…shall the SCV be a political organization for contemporary issues in modern American politics or shall the SCV be the consistent defender and representative of the Confederate soldier…”

The result to such criticism of Wilson's leadership was, according to the Black Mountain Times and the Southern Poverty Law Center, the removal by Wilson of hundreds of SCV members. It would appear Mr. Wilson plays political hardball.

Perhaps that is why Councilman Ron Wilson is among the 40 so called hate group leaders, and the ONLY ELECTED REPUBLICAN watched by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Perhaps that is why Mr. Wilson served on the board of Southern Legal Resource Center, led by radical Kirk Lyons. Perhaps that is why Wilson’s daughter worked there.

In the Spring of 2004, Ron Wilson was soundly defeated for the state senate seat now held by Kevin Bryant. Later that year, as a bone to the radicals that seem to have a good bit of sway in Anderson County politics, the Anderson and Oconee legislative delegation nominated Wilson to the State Board of Education by a vote of 4-3.

Wilson did have some education experience. He supposedly ran a business once that sold home school textbooks to parents. Supposedly, one of the text books quoted heavily from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a book, proven by historians to be a forgery, that contends that Jews are trying to take over the world.

That experience did catch the eye of some when Wilson was appointed to the State Board of Education. Editorials around the state of South Carolina condemned the choice. The Island Packet’s editorial stated, “The last thing South Carolina needs is a state school board member known for racist and anti-semitic views.” The editorial can be found at www.islandpacket.com/editorial/story/4325631p-4106061c.html.

Wilson remained on the State Board of Education and served until being elected to Anderson County Council. Ron Wilson won the Republican nomination in a primary over the unpopular incumbent Bill Dees, who by all accounts ran virtually no campaign. Councilman Wilson faced no opposition in November of 2006 for the seat.

The result of that election is now the Republican Party has among its elected officials a man with at best a questionable background on the issues of race and the like. My own experience tells me we also have among our elected Republicans a man who will take tactics in politics that seem to be more like those of the Gestapo than of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater.

The Republican Party has no place in its big tent for those whose ideals of bigotry, racism, and political lackeys “going after” or “investigating” people have been long been thrown upon the trash heap of history. Our party is the party of Reagan and of Goldwater, men who believed in freedom, and in America.

To learn more about Ron Wilson, you can visit his website at http://www.atlanticbullionandcoin.com. There, you can check out the catalog bookstore, and see some of the conspiracy and other types of books he offers for sale. Further, you can find out more about Ron Wilson at Southern Poverty Law Center website. While I might disagree with them on some things, they have done outstanding research on hate groups, both black and white, and offer some pretty interesting tidbits about Councilman Wilson.

Throughout the next weeks, in between more important issues addressed on this blog, I will offer more on RINO Ron Wilson and how he is a disgrace to the Republican Party, and why Katon Dawson ought to publicly distance the South Carolina Republican Party from RINO Ron Wilson. The Conservative movement and the Republican Party has no room for such people as Ron Wilson. For far too long, we in the South who are conservative have been unfairly tied to racists and the like. The South Carolina Republican Party can do us all a big favor by publicly distancing itself from Councilman Ron Wilson, a RINO of a different breed.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rudy's in

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani filed the necessary paperwork and now he is in the 2008 Presidential race. As reported on SC Hotline, the Mayor made clear that he is opposed to gay marriage, and contends he is a true conservative.

The Mayor touts his record of reducing the size of government as Mayor of New York, along with his record of reducing taxes and fighting crime. Further, the Mayor was "Mr. Cool under pressure." during the attacks of September 11th, 2001.

It is hard to tell if that cool leadership will play into real political results in the SC GOP Presidential primary. But one thing is for sure, the McCain and Romney folks now have another contender to deal with. Giuliani is no small candidate. He brings a lot of credibility to the table, and he will will force the terrorism issue.

But will SC GOP voters vote terror, or vote reform, like McCain would have them, or will they vote in the wake of the surely negative campaign that is to come from Romney?

Only time will tell. But for now, welcome, Rudy, to the big time.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Edgars new SC Encyclodpedia reminds us of how thing used to be

My father recently gave me a copy of the Encyclopedia of South Carolina, edited by USC historian Walter Edgar. While there are a few things here and there I wish were included, overall the book is outstanding and a must read for anyone who wants to understand the history of our state.

One of the incidents recorded in the book came to mind with the recent story about our current Lt. Governor being deemed at fault in his airplane crash last year. Couple that story with the seeming endless stories about the Governor's clashes with legislature, and one would think SC politics was at its worst.

Well, Edgar's book shows it is not. In it, he mentions the death of The State's co- founder and editor, Narsico Gonazales at the hands of the current Lt. Governor, James Tillman.

Edgar's encyclopedia entry inspired me to do some research of my own.

It seems that Gonzales was an editor who strongly disliked the Tillman politics of the day, and especially the politics of Pitchfork Ben Tillman's nephew, then Lt. Governor James Tillman. James Tillman, by most accounts, was a notorious gambler, heavy drinker and just plain mean man. James Tillman ran for Governor in 1902, but lost his bid, and he blamed that loss on the editorials of The State.

On January 15th, 1903 with just a few days left on his term as Lt. Governor, Tillman shot Mr. Gonzales in broad daylight at the intersection of Main and Gervais, in front of the state capitol building. Mr. Gonzales died four days later from his wounds.

What transpired later was the stuff of legend. The Lt. Governor's lawyer was successful in moving the trial to Lexington County. There, after much controversy, the jury acquitted the Lt. Governor for the murder of Mr. Gonzales, basing its decision upon their belief that the Lt. Governor acted in self defense. The jury was packed with Tillman loyalists.

Lt. Governor James Tillman would never serve in public office again,and was an outcast in his own family. But, he did, to some people, get away with murder.

That little nugget of history ought to be considered by those of us who think that our politics today are so bad. At least people are not dying.

Take the time to read Walter Edgar's South Carolina Encyclopedia. It will educate you and give you some perspective on things if you take the initiative to research the stories of SC life the book opens one to.

While we may complain about out current officials not getting along, at least they are not shooting one another.