I find it amusing that a few people have commented on my political views, believing I have become less conservative.
Change is good. My mother used to say, “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” But in fact, I have changed little in my views.
What has changed is the political leadership in the state. For decades, the Democratic Party dominated, making numerous bad decisions which I criticized. That made me appear pro-Republican.
Now the Republican Party is dominating the state, making numerous bad decisions, which I have criticized, making me appear pro-Democrat.
It’s not me that’s changed. I am doing the same thing I have always done – my job as a journalist, exposing bad policy and corruption. The only thing that has changed is the political party in power.
What I’d like to see in this state is competition. Competition is good. It drives excellence. Having one party dominate, whether it be Republican or Democrat, is not good. We need two competitive mainstream political parties that can serve as a check and balance on each other.
Unfortunately, race is standing in the way of this. We have devolved into essentially a black Democratic Party and a white Republican Party. This is about the worst possible result that could have happened.
Since African Americans make up only about 35 percent of the vote, such race/party affiliation will lead to a permanent domination by the Republican Party and all the corruption absolute power entails. Can you say “Kemper power plant?”
Meanwhile the African American Democratic Party will remain in a state of essential disenfranchisement, powerlessness, leading to alienation and eventual unrest.
It will take some charismatic leaders in the Democratic Party and some colossal failures in the Republican Party to turn this situation around. As voters, we need to be less ideological and more practical about our politics.
I don’t watch TV news. The blurting heads bore me. I’ve heard it all before.
I suppose I am lucky not to be a fanatic. Fanatics scare me. Fierce ideological adherence to any viewpoint typically leads to disaster, violence and tragedy. Just look at ISIS and the communists.
I felt sorry for the Obama haters and now I feel sorry for the Trump haters. It must be miserable to be so angry all the time.
Libertarians also scare me. I appreciate their faith in the free market, but their pursuit of ideological consistency can lead to some monumentally bad decisions.
My political ideology goes right back to the founding fathers of the United States. They were like the Beatles of political philosophy. The perfect group at the perfect time. There will never be another. The greatness of our country goes directly back to them.
Like George Washington, I am skeptical of political parties. I have always been registered as independent.
Balance of power, reliance on personal initiative, primacy of liberty, respect for the free market, appreciation of original sin, faith in God, international neutrality, decentralization of government . . . these were the cornerstones of the founding father’ political philosophy and they are likewise the cornerstones of my political philosophy.
There is a role for government, but when possible, the first solution should be to harness the power of the free market and personal initiative to achieve the objective.
For instance, I am glad we have a government for roads, law enforcement and national security. I am glad we have an anti-trust division to keep a huge corporate monopoly from capturing markets and stifling competition. Unfortunately, these days, Google and Facebook don’t have to worry much about that.
Just because I am for charter schools doesn’t mean I am anti-public schools. I am for competition and letting the best system prevail.
Same with the Kemper power plant. The problem there was no competition. We need to dismantle our archaic power grid monopoly and let competition prevail.
Where government has a legitimate role, it needs to do it well. Allowing our roads to crumble is a dereliction of governmental leadership. What a shame. It will end up costing five times more.
The government ought to focus on performing excellently the functions it has legitimate reason for undertaking. Likewise, the government should abstain completely from interfering in the parts of life in which it has no business being involved.
There is no monopoly on political insight. As a world, we are engaged in international on-the-job training. As the communists proved, rigid, centralized governments don’t work. But the moderate welfare states of Europe do, even though they may be too socialized for many Americans.
One has to be pragmatic. That’s my biggest criticism of the current state Republican leadership. By being one of 16 states that did not expand Medicaid, Mississippi has turned down a billion dollars a year for seven years running.
I don’t like socialized medicine, but it is the law of the land. In 1913 our country ratified the Sixteenth Amendment giving Washington D.C. the right to take our money. We are foolish not to accept it when they offer to give it back. The Republicans are putting ideology above their loyalty to Mississippi.
Unlike corporate subsidies, which hurt existing employers struggling to retain a limited number of skilled workers, federal Medicaid dollars are strictly upside, allowing our small-town hospitals, typically the town’s biggest employer, to grow.
The expanded Medicaid would have helped 300,000 Mississippians who work but struggle to make ends meet. These are the very people we need to keep in Mississippi. Now they are moving to other states where they can get better health care. For the first time in 50 years, our state has quit growing. Bad decisions do lead to bad results.
There is one position on which I am ideologically fervent: Liberty. When I see the thugs and dictators in China, Russia, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Venezuela, it makes my blood boil. Politics is one thing, freedom is another.
At the recent G-20 meeting in Hamburg this month, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin met on the side with President Donald Trump for what they called an "informal" 15-minute session. Press reports indicate that they discussed "adoptions."
Presumably, this refers to the Russian ban on American adoptions of Russian infants that was enacted in 2012 to retaliate against the United States for new sanctions imposed by the Congress on Russians. The sanctions, called the Magnitsky Act, were voted to punish individual Russians who were complicit in the jailhouse murder of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who was arrested after exposing hundreds of millions of dollars of corruption by Putin.
At the time of the adoption ban, Russia was the third-most popular country for infant adoptions with almost 1,000 adoptions each year. Putin wants the Magnitsky Act repealed by Congress.
To say that Putin and Trump discussed "adoptions" is a euphemism for the fact that they likely talked about repealing the Magnitsky Act. Because Magnitsky's charges of corruption were personally leveled at Putin and perhaps because he might have been involved in the murder, the Russian leader has pushed hard for it repeal.
The push to weaken the Magnitsky Act interfaces with the charges that Trump and Putin conspired to fix the U.S. election. The Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and her countryman, lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, both were hired as lobbyists for a foundation pushing for repeal of the Magnitsky Act. And they were also both present at the now famous meeting with Trump's son and also raised the issue of "adoptions" with him.
To add to the mix, Fusion GPS, the research and strategic intelligence firm that hired former British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Trump, also worked to lobby against the Magnitsky Act.
So we are driven to ask the question: Did Trump promise Putin to weaken -- or at least not expand -- the Magnitsky Act?
The fact that Putin's lobbyists raised the Magnitsky Act with Trump Jr., and that the dictator himself brought it up with the president, shows how important the question is to Putin personally. If Trump relented and gave in to Putin on the issue, it is a very big deal indeed.
The media, so far, has not penetrated beyond the description of the meeting as being about "adoptions" to get at the real issue beneath.