We went to the movie theater this week; not to see the latest loud, violent, grotesque and inane picture such as those imposed on us with annoying trailers for nearly a half-hour prior to the feature film. This picture was made for Americans who want to learn and think about what we might expect from another presidential term under the ideology of Barack Hussein Obama (a.k.a. Barry Soetoro—named for his mother’s second husband).
As far as I can tell, relatively few people know about the production titled: “2016: Obama’s America.” The film grossed over $6 million this past weekend (a “blockbuster” more than $9 million by last Monday) yet we saw no press promotion; no public announcements; no rave reviews. Word had spread through the “alternative media”: Internet, talk radio and e-mail. I had an uneasy feeling that we were involved in some clandestine affair. Would there be flack-vested, masked and armed government agents at the door to turn us away, shut down the theater and confiscate the film? Not yet anyway.
The audience on a Monday afternoon consisted of, I’d estimate, about 50 or 60 mature adults. I noted a somber mood during and after the film. It was foreboding, almost surreal— difficult to comprehend that Americans had elected a president conditioned with anti-American, communist and Muslim sympathies.
According to an Associated Press writer, “2016” is a “new conservative film” produced and narrated by “conservative scholar” Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza is a scholarly guy. He’s an accomplished author and a competent investigator. The film was professional quality. Wilmington StarNews film/book editor Ben Steelman praises the production as “finely polished, with dramatic camera angles and skillful, rhythmic editing,” but he calls it “a 90-minute campaign commercial.” (link)
D’Souza set out on a quest to understand why our current president acts radically different than previous holders of the office—not connected to the views of most Americans. What he found in travels, interviews and in Mr. Obama’s own words was disturbing. I didn’t see this from a partisan political perspective; rather, in my opinion, it was a serious effort to inform Americans, largely uninformed, about their president—why he often publicly says one thing and acts in contradictory ways.
As far as I could tell little in the film is new, but the American press has been totally disinterested in Obama’s background. One of Obama’s communist mentors admitted that if the public knew about it he would never have been elected. Supporters are in denial and accuse Obama opponents of racism. But they will have a difficult time labeling D’Souza “racist.”
D’Souza is an immigrant from India with skin color indistinguishable from that of Mr. Obama. Early in the film D’Souza introduces himself and describes his background; not unlike the early life of Obama. Both are persons of “color.” They grew up in Third World countries previously colonized by Western governments. They were sheltered from appalling social conditions and given educational opportunities. They attended prestigious American universities. But that’s where the similarities end.
While D’Souza chose the path of assimilation and appreciated the miraculous freedom and opportunities he was offered in America, Obama was taught that Americans oppressed and victimized people of color around the world and profited unfairly from their resources. In college D’Souza identified with people who believed in the “American Dream” and worked to achieve it; Obama sought out professors and mentors who hated America and aligned with communist ideology using radical, sometimes terrorist, methods to change America and retaliate for perceived grievances.
D’Souza’s documentary traces Obama’s personal history and that of his extended families connecting a long line of dots—sometimes confusing and difficult to follow. He visited Kenya, Indonesia and Hawaii to trace the story of where Obama got his worldview—presumably tied to his biological African father, the subject of the Obama autobiography: “Dreams from my Father.”
Often in the film background Obama reads from this book; in his own words confirming much of what D’Souza references. He interviews Obama’s relatives and various scholars who provide anecdotal evidence to explain Obama’s social conditioning; suggesting the motivation for his presidential views and actions, both foreign and domestic.
Predictably, the press will attack the credibility of D’Souza’s work. Recently, Associated Press writer Beth Fouhy attempted to discredit his thesis writing under a headline, “Anti-colonial Obama not plausible.” Ms. Fouhy lists several specific actions by Obama mentioned in D’Souza’s documentary to support his suggestion of the president’s anti-colonialism. “Many of them don’t hold water,” she writes. (link)
I conclude from viewing the D’Souza documentary that the filmmaker’s revelations are valid and likely credible. Of course, no one can know precisely what another person is thinking, or what exactly motivates his decisions—D’Souza doesn’t claim that clairvoyance. However, based on what I saw in the film and from other observations of presidential actions (not his words), I think that D’Souza’s thesis is believable.Read full article » No Comments »
The Wilmington StarNews Editorial Board (Publisher Robert Gruber and Editorial Page Editor Tricia Vance) interrupted its usual biased “commentary” to announce a new policy: “Specifically, we will not endorse candidates for office,” (formerly assumed to be a duty to the readers) except that they will “make recommendations on ballot issues and constitutional amendments,” including the proposed baseball stadium. Fine. That is their prerogative. (link)
The Board goes on to justify frequent and obvious liberal biases with hypocritical language. Conservative readers have long noted this and StarNews editors have been confronted at this site. We offer commentary on their views and that of other political activists with whom we disagree. But, we don’t hide our positions behind a façade of “objectivity and fairness.” Several comments referring to presumed disinterest in politics made by the Board give us pause to ponder the question: Who do they expect will be fooled?
These two people doth assume too much: that unlike “partisan” people they hover above the political fray; that they “do not have a vested interest” in political outcomes; that they “strive hard for objectivity and fairness”; that they are nonpartisan. Please.
By definition editorials reflect personal opinion. Editorials don’t have to be fair, objective; or even accurate and honest. Why not courageously say so? We understand.
The “debate” over endorsements, say Board members, overshadows “robust, fact-based debate on the issues at stake, as well as candidates’ positions on these issues.” So, they now remove that shadow.
But a larger cloud looms over the Editorial Board. Now they “have an opportunity to argue our principles,” it is written. That begs the questions: Should we assume that they have not previously had an opportunity to argue on principle? If not, why not? And, of what principles do they refer?
Strange those editors bring up that subject. I recall an editorial on May 17, 2009 in which the Board listed ten “long-held principles” that guide their editorial decisions speaking with an “independent and decisive voice.” That sounds good, as did the principles. However, often I find that those statements of principle don’t match some of what appears on the editorial page.
In fact, in a series of one-sided “debates” (no editorial response) at this site, I discussed each of the principles and pointed out editorial disparities on various issues. For example, a first editorial principle stated that editors expected government to be accountable to the public. I expressed my opinion:
Star-News editorials rarely expose and explain to readers such unaccountability as the irresponsible use of public money to fund nonprofit organizations; excessive spending at the community college and university; and wasteful city spending on an inefficient bus system and downtown projects favoring a few commercial interests, while neglecting the local infrastructure.
Editors conclude the new policy editorial with high-minded language. They say a “newspaper’s editorial page has a duty to help drive discussion of the issues.” They hope to “keep the focus on a vision for our community, our state and our nation.”
That raises a fundamental problem with liberal editors; they accept collectivist visions of how we should live, and often support political visionaries and bureaucrats to carry out unworkable idealistic illusions. Of course, all that leads to imposing bigger government, higher taxes and more regulation on us—resulting in less individual freedom. That policy I cannot abide.Read full article » No Comments »
The city of Wilmington has already been ridiculed for spending lots of extra taxpayer dollars getting the parking deck back out of the hands of the people they sold it to downtown. Now they want to give away another $900k on a piece of property considered to be a “second location” for the baseball stadium.
An attorney with the Raleigh firm Parker Poe sent Deputy City Manager Tony Caudle a draft agreement indicating the city would pay $4.5 million for the Sawmill Point property. County records show the property sold to Sawmill Point Investors LLC in July for $3.6 million.
In other words, the people who bought the property would make a staggering $900k PROFIT in just a few months. That’s astounding in light of the devastating property devaluation that has taken place in downtown over the past few years. The property was foreclosed on just last year.
. . . first developed by RiverFront Holdings LLC principal owner Dave Spetrino – went into foreclosure. At the time the city discussed buying it, the property was owned by SunTrust Bank.
Spetrino, for those tracking such things, also receives taxpayer dollars through Wilmington Industrial Development as their chairman. He summarized his going financially down the tubes on the waterfront on this blog of his own making.
It wasn’t that long ago that crazy salaries were exposed by the StarNews for WDI, CEO Scott Satterfield took home $305,208 in base, bonus and incentive compensation in WID’s fiscal year 2009.
In 2009, New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington contributed a combined $214,656 through contractual agreements. They did the same in 2010 and still more tax dollars in 2011. John Hood documented this blog before.
Point is, the situation with the City of Wilmington remains incestuous and always end up passing taxdollars amongst a small group of insiders over and over again.
Also for those keeping track, the Chamber of Commerce continues pushing Richard Florida’s work with them even as he has consistently bashed cities building stadiums. It’s just funny!Read full article » No Comments »
Those were the epic words of Al Gore tying the devastation of a Cat-3 hurricane that came ashore in a city that failed to evacuate and government utterly failed. The problem is that Gore asserted the nightmare wasn’t due to the failure to evacuate but that man-made Global Warming was sending a signal to us and that many more Cat-3 storms would be on the way. That was in 2006.
Six years later and NOW weather folks are worried that we’re too complacent because we’re not getting hit often enough. From the Weather Channel:
As the U.S. nears 2,500 days without a Category 3 or higher hurricane, weather and disaster experts worry that Hurricanes Wilma, Katrina and Rita will become hazy memories and Americans will go soft, letting their batteries die, misplacing their flashlights and forgetting their emergency plans.
“Nobody thinks it’s going to happen. Nobody prepares,” says Scott Pinto, 48, food and beverage manager for Historic Inns of Key West.
Actually, we were all told it was going to happen more often with greater intensity. And it hasn’t. Instead the alarmists are focusing on sea level and drought issues. There’s always something. But it is worth noting that the catastrophic predictions of Gore have absolutely NOT come true. I will stand by my predictions since the beginning of this blog. We will get hit, eventually, that’s just the way it works and not because my vehicle doesn’t get 60MPG.Read full article » No Comments »
There’s just a few too many to keep track of succinctly, but we’ll try:
1) Olsen Park situation – facing legal scrutiny alleging that the city is NOT meeting it’s financial and development obligations on the park. More on this over at WWAY here.
2) Parking Deck fiasco – City sells it, buys it back for lots more than it paid for it, may consider selling it back for less than it paid for it. It’s just confusing. . . More on this from the StarNews editorial page.
3) Golf Course – Through all of this, not much has been said about the city purchasing a second golf course (yes, they have two). Only half of it will end up being a golf course, the rest will be a walking trail as far as we can tell, but nobody’s talking about it. Well over $1m in taxpayer dollars spent here as well.
4) Convention Hotel – $30k with a taxpayer paid consultant, multiple failed attempts to solicit a purveyor of hotels and after the fourth round they get Harmony Suites (sole bidder). Now the city is having issues with the fact that Embassy Suites has a tie to Hilton and Hilton might have a problem with a government favored hotel almost adjacent to their current hotel. Behind schedule, reducing proposed rooms from 194 to 174 and in over their heads, the city is delaying the agreement again.
5) Indigo Hotel – meanwhile, on the other side of the convention center, Indigo is modifying their hotel a bit, downsizing as well. This same hotel is on the property owned by a guy who owed the city a sizable tax bill, had a bankruptcy, is upside down on waterfront property. Oh, and owns the property the city wants to build a taxpayer funded baseball stadium on.
6) Baseball – Taxpayers are being asked to vote on a $37m taxpayer funded baseball stadium (with property tax increase) but the city doesn’t even have an agreement with the baseball franchise as of yet. Geesh!
The city is not running with a clear sense of reality lately and virtually no vision. This note doesn’t include the expenditures on the cross city trail, the fountain issues nor the deepening problem with morale in the fire and police departments that have watched city expenditures rise significantly even as their pay has not risen at all over the past few years save for a small raise this year.
Also omitted, the long delayed and behind schedule 3rd street renovation, the multi-billion Skyway bridge desires, the 20% of Wilmington streets that have been determined to be unsatisfactory. The list goes on and on.Read full article » No Comments »
In stories reported about the Carolinas Cement Company’s proposal to rebuild a plant near Castle Hayne, N. C., Wilmington StarNews journalists invariably provide comments from various environmental nonprofit “advocates” with presumed credible authority to criticize, defame and litigate against the company. (link)
After more than three years of this, in my opinion, it’s way past time for StarNews “Watchdogs” to do some investigative reporting. We need answers to nagging questions about these people. The press has provided only superficial and self-promoting propaganda on them. Readers should learn who they are, how they are funded and what’s really behind their rabid, irrational attacks on the company. Below are a few of the questions that might help us understand what’s really behind this:
Why does the N. C. Coastal Federation and allied groups (some operating out of state) target the Carolinas Cement Co. alleging potential environmental and public health harms, while ignoring other big industries and government projects operating near Wilmington and the Cape Fear River with possibly greater potential threats?
(For example: the U.S. Army Military Ocean Terminal(link);
the N. C. Port at Wilmington(link);
an ADM plant at Southport(link);
GE Hitachi Nuclear facility at Castle Hayne(link);
the Brunswick Nuclear Plant(link);
and the New Hanover County WASTEC facility(link))
Who is Mike Giles, really? What authorizes him to be frequently cited by StarNews reporters as a “coastal advocate”? What’s behind his comment: “We’re going to keep a watch on them and not take our pressure off of Titan.”? Why does he go unchallenged when making false charges and threats?
What’s the activist agenda of the Southern Environmental Law Center? What are its connections with UNC and Duke Universities? Who funds this group and why? On what basis do these people have legal “standing” to bring lawsuits against Carolinas Cement Co.?
With no substantiation to support their charges and allegations, why aren’t the environmental activists being investigated for accountability and transparency in what they say and do? It’s time we had answers to these questions.Read full article » No Comments »
The city finds itself on the receiving end of potential legal action for its lack of action on Olsen Park from local attorney Gary Shipman:
Olsen Farm of Wilmington, LLLP, from whom the City of Wilmington purchased approximately 64 acres in 2007 to develop Olsen Farms Park, believes that the City of Wilmington has violated the terms of the purchase agreement by failing to undertake development of the park in accordance with its terms and has retained a Wilmington law firm to explore its legal options. “We’ve been asked to determine whether the City has breached the purchase agreement and what remedies exist for that breach,” said Gary K. Shipman of Shipman & Wright, LLP.
The City has recently announced plans to place a bond referendum on the ballot in November to fund a $37 million baseball stadium in the City, and Shipman said that this was particularly disturbing to his client. “We think that the City needs to fund and complete its current obligations before embarking on any others, and we’re hopeful that our discussions with the City over the coming weeks will refocus the priorities,” Shipman said.
Ouch! City priorities and leadership are sorely lacking these days.Read full article » No Comments »
It is unusual for the StarNews editors to EVER take exception with the actions of the Wilmington City Council, but they did on Saturday:
The city has spent a total of $4.75 million to buy back the 2.3-acre piece of property, which it owned up until 1997 when PB&G co-owner Gene Merritt bought it for $1.5 million. . . Ten years later, the concrete monstrosity was undeveloped and the city bought half the site back for $2.6 million with the idea that the site could become a small urban park. Then in June, the city council unanimously decided to pay another $2.15 million to get the rest of it back. . . Now another developer, Jim McFarland, says he’ll take the whole thing off the city’s hands for $2.5 million. Calculators up! Compute. The developer, who says he’d put up a hotel and parking area, is offering a little more than half of what the city spent to buy back what the taxpayers once owned in the first place. That would be a $2.25 million loss for the city, but a great deal for the developer.
LOL. . the editors don’t have a problem with the city buying a second golf course, the troubled Olsen Park, the delayed 3rd St. project, the continual wrecks with the 5th St. fountain, the actual utilization of the convention center or the $37m proposed baseball stadium, but they’re spot on with this boondoggle of a parking deck.Read full article » No Comments »
During the past several years Wilmington streets have become noticeably rougher for drivers and their vehicles. I’ve driven down some upstate New York stony streambeds that weren’t much worse. And probably Laura Padgett and other council members blame us non-city residents for the wear and tear.
Could it be that the big-spenders have neglected the streets (and what about the city sewer system?) and diverted millions of dollars to self-serving, grandiose downtown projects—schemes that benefit a few at the expense of many thousands of taxpayers and drivers? Nah, they couldn’t be that corrupt…could they?
Incidentally, we outsiders help pay for all this every time we make purchases within the city limits by paying sales taxes. We and city residents have all paid our “fair-share” that should have been used to repair infrastructure rather than spent on projects unrelated to proper government functions. Instead, the city council has chosen to “invest” the public’s money in real estate—an extension of the personal business of some council members and their cohort beneficiaries.
Adding insults to their immoral injury, city council will now increase residents’ property taxes—to pay for their negligent behavior— “$41 million for infrastructure repairs,” according to a Wilmington StarNews article by Julian March. But it’s worse than just the total cost. (link)
Mr. March reports that more than 25 percent of these taxes will fund more “parks improvements,” “public facilities” and “riverfront” upgrades. In fact, only half ($21 million) of the taxed money will be used “specifically for street rehabilitation.” How’s that for return on “investment”?
It’s puzzling why city taxpayers tolerate the irresponsible doings of the city council and its downtown interests. Do we need more evidence as to why the county residents and business owners in the Monkey Junction area fought long and hard to prevent being forced to pay higher taxes to support the schemes of these unprincipled people?Read full article » No Comments »
The Wilmington StarNews Editorial Board shows us, again, the only way statists think about government projects: how to get more revenue. They don’t seem capable of accepting the necessary axiom: Keep spending in line with what the taxpaying public can forfeit from their earnings; and the corollary: There must be a limit. Statists almost always assume as “needed,” spending proposed by politicians, bureaucrats and advocates.
For example, in a recent editorial the Board states: “North Carolina has identified more than $50 billion in road construction and mass transit needs through 2024.” This sentence includes several questionable (and wrong) assumptions. (link)
No. 1: “North Carolina” doesn’t identify anything; bureaucrats and transportation interest groups came up with this figure. No. 2: No one can know what specific projects should have priority and will be actually needed in the next 12 years. No. 3: It’s virtually certain that this number includes many things that won’t be needed.
For instance, there is no need for mass transit. Central planners and environmentalists have convinced many gullible and compliant politicians to spend on these projects hoping to force us to change our chosen lifestyle as they wish it to be. Billions of dollars are wasted on useless transit schemes that few people want; and nobody “needs.”
Wilmington’s visionary, statist Mayor Bill Saffo says, “The issue is how do you pay for this stuff when nobody really wants to pay for it?” Brilliant. Still, Mr. Saffo knows how to get his “stuff”—increase taxes. But with this profound comment he admits that “nobody” agrees with him.
Clearly, Saffo doesn’t understand (or doesn’t care) that most everybody with common sense will agree to pay taxes for reasonable and real needs that serve the general public—with limits on what government should do. They don’t want to pay for wasteful projects, cronyism and to subsidize the wants of a few at their expense.
The Board tells us that future transportation wants come to $50 billion, but that revenue projections add up to only $12 billion. “Do the math,” they say.
I did the math: $50 billion minus $12 billion equals $38 billion. That’s the amount we may assume will be diverted to what we don’t need—and what “nobody” should have to pay for.Read full article » No Comments »