Roger is columnist with the The Graham Starr newspaper.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Roger Carlton is our guest on this blog. He has another thought provoking post about our political situation today. CAN WE HANDLE THE TRUTH is a good question we must all ask ourselves.
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Monday, August 17, 2020
Friday, July 24, 2020
We welcome Roger Carlton back for another of his interesting posts. Roger is columnist for the Graham Star Newspaper in Robbinsville, NC
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is one of three branches of the Federal Government. Congress and the Executive Branch are the other two.
One thing is certain. The Founding Fathers had great experience with an all-powerful monarch in the form of King George III. They wanted nothing to do with repeating the tyranny of that leadership so they created a form of government with balance of powers. The Congress made the laws, the President carried them out and the Supreme Court settled disputes. Pretty close to a perfect construct at the time. Not so good today because many of our leaders have forgotten that deliberation of issues based on scientific facts and compassionate implementation is the necessary foundation of democracy.
My conservative friends rejoiced over the Senate's confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito. They rent garments and gnashed teeth over the appointments of liberal Associate Justices Steven Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. Yet, until recently, the past six presidents, of which three were D's and three were R's, did a pretty good job of bi-partisan appointments of fair and balanced people. The labels conservative and liberal don't seem to apply to all votes of the current SCOTUS.
Recent decisions by the Supreme Court have my conservative friends in a dither. They have concluded that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court has sold them out. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Supreme Court has acted responsibly and defied their pundit-imposed labels in these controversial cases. Most importantly, one of the three branches needed to put on its adult britches and avoid the chaos being created by the other two.
Here are a few of the controversial cases. The first is letting our President know that he does not enjoy blanket immunity to avoid responding to subpoenas for his tax records. The Court acted responsibly by sending the debate back to lower courts so that the tax filings would not be released until after the election in November. To quote Chesterfield Smith who was President of the American Bar Association during the Watergate investigation, when the Supreme Court ordered President Nixon to release certain damaging Watergate information for which he claimed executive privilege, "No man is above the law."
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recent decision stopped the White House from ending the program which has kept 650,000 young immigrants in limbo for years. Ending the program would have sent them back to the countries from which they were taken by their parents. The Supreme Court made it clear that the Administration had not made a rational case to justify the harsh decision. The same reasoning caused the 2019 decision to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.
The Louisiana abortion legislation that doctors had to have privileges in nearby hospitals "to protect the women" was overturned because the exact same law had already been overturned in Texas. The majority opinion regarding expansion of the Civil Rights Act to include employment for the LGBTQ community was written by President Trump's appointment Neil Gorsuch. The ability of employers to deny providing insurance coverage for contraceptives based on religious or moral beliefs was upheld. One other case allows states to use public funds for scholarships to attend religious schools where only private schools were allowed before. There have been decisions by the SCOTUS that make both liberals and conservatives happy and unhappy.
So, save your garments and don't wear out your teeth. Let's respect the Supreme Court as our last line of defense against the chaos we see in the other two branches.
Send us your comments about this article. Let us hear your opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States. Send email or leave a comment in the Comments section below.
Sunday, July 5, 2020
This column launches headlong into an important and controversial subject. One that is red hot now as it should be. The subject is the removal of symbols, statuary, memorials, flags, street names and many other "honoraries" to people whose principles and deeds in their time have grown to become offensive in our time. A key example is the current debate over the Confederate flag being a portion of the Mississippi state flag. That will soon come to an end just like it did in South Carolina after the mass murder which took place in an African American church five years ago last week. Good riddance to that symbol which has lost It’s meaning as a symbol of the Confederacy and has come to represent a hateful defiance of the rights of African Americans to be treated equally under the law.
Taking symbols yet another step, the Black Lives Matter demonstrations both peaceful and riotous, have brought to the fore the destruction or voluntary removal of hundreds of statues and monuments to Confederate heroes. Recognizing that the fervor on both sides of the removal issue is at a fever pitch, it is best that our elected leaders decide to remove the statues before they are destroyed. We are making a mistake to simply take these memorials out of harm's way.
There needs to be a plan to place the statues in a museum that explains to future generations how our democracy nearly broke up over the issues that these statues commemorate so that we can learn from the mistakes of the past. To obliterate history is to enhance the probability of repeating our mistakes.
The National Museum of African American History in Washington D.C. displays slave shackles and other artifacts of slavery. The museum tells the story of the horrors of slavery. It also tells the story of the many accomplishments of the descendants of the slaves. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum uses the Nazi Swastika to symbolize the horrors of the Holocaust. The displays of belongings of people who died in the gas chambers are powerful. So powerful that a warning is given to parents to prepare their children regarding what they are about to see.
Saturday, June 6, 2020
Sunday, May 31, 2020
This post by Roger Carlton, columnist for the Graham Star newspaper in Robbinsville, NC.
Don't get your dander up. This column is about the Roe in Roe v. Wade who recently passed away.
The column does not take a position on the issue. That is for each of us to decide and for the courts to resolve in a civilized society that believes in the Rule of Law. What this column is about is the manner in which advocacy groups use and abuse the power of traditional and social media to make their case.
Jane Roe's real name was Norma McCorvey. She was an abused child who spent years in a Texas reform school. Her first child was born out of wedlock and raised upon court order by her mother. She wanted to terminate her second pregnancy. Rather than go to an abortion mill, she told her doctor that she had been raped in an attempt to have an abortion in Texas where the procedure was illegal. She was denied.
Two young lawyers, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, took up her cause. They chose her to make the test case because she could not afford to travel to a state where the procedure was legal and because of her very difficult and sympathetic personal history. The Wade in Roe v. Wade was Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade.
Norma signed the affidavit to file the case in March 1970 more than 50 years ago. The U.S. Supreme Court found in her favor in 1973 which was long after the baby was born and given up for adoption. So the plaintiff in this case never had the abortion she sought.
Many years later, Norma McCorvey went public in a giant media splash and said that she no longer believed that a woman should have the right to choose. She became the poster child for the Reverend Randall Terry and his Operation Rescue. She was their Oscar winning spokesperson. Norma knew she was being used and was a willing player because she was paid $456,911 as documented in IRS required annual reports for non-profits. These payments are called benevolence gifts.
The pro-choice movement was devastated. They had largely deserted Norma after the case was resolved because she wasn't pretty enough, said what she thought sometimes profanely and had a sordid reputation. Actresses and other spokespeople just played better in the court of public opinion and in the eyes of the media. Norma really resented this.
No story is over till its over. Nearing death, Norma recanted. She said that her change of mind was not what she truly believed. She said "Sometimes women just make mistakes." The media splash this time was not nearly as great, most likely due to the focus on Covid 19 and embarrassment over being duped. She really believed that reversing Roe v. Wade would cause unthinkable chaos. That conclusion will become clearer as the many state Supreme Court cases are joined and wend their way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Friday, May 22, 2020
Saturday, May 16, 2020
Located on Lake Santeetlah facing south across the the lake using my Apple I-Phone 7. The time was around 6:30 am and the shot lasted for less than 10 minutes. The early bird catches the best image.
Roger Carlton is columnist for Graham Star newspaper. He was once a writing student of mine. He has developed a great eye for photography. I believe this view is from his lovely home on Lake Santeetlah in western North Carolina.
Roger says the Graham Star is using some of his photos on the front page of the newspaper. Who says life can't get better after retirement? Roger has found a new calling with writing and photography. He spent his working years in city management. We are happy to have him as part of Writers' Circle around the Table.
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Enlightening words from Roger Carlton, columnist for the Graham Star newspaper.
The death tolls, monumental human suffering, acts of human kindness, heroic efforts to tame the beast and economic impacts on millions of unemployed workers will be in our memories forever. There is one more aspect that needs some thought. It is the "Effectiveness Trap" as expressed by Brett McGurk.
First, who in the world is Bret McGurk?
He is an American diplomat who has served in senior national security positions under Presidents Bush II, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Most recently, he served as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. He is a Distinguished Professor at Stanford University.
It is pretty easy to conclude that he is a smart guy who has served presidents of both parties in a distinguished manner. Most importantly, he quit his role when the decision was made to pull out of Syria. That was a great loss to policy-making, but an ethical stand because he thought it was a terrible mistake.
The Effectiveness Trap keeps men and women from speaking out – as clearly or often as they might – within the government. And it is the trap that keeps people from resigning in protest and airing their dissent outside the government. It is one of the great moral questions for a senior government executive or advisor.
It is the predicament in which Drs. Fauci and Birx find themselves daily in COVID-19 press conferences regarding the Administration's efforts to contain the medical, economic and political crisis with which their leadership is confronted.
This columnist did not think much about the moral dilemma for these two heroic doctors, until they were confronted with how to react to the question raised regarding ingesting bleach as a potential preventative for the impacts of the virus. A simple "not a good idea" would have been the best answer in a normal world.
But Washington is not a normal world and probably never has been. So the good doctors made the right moral decision and maintained their effectiveness for the greater good of our society. They did not quit in protest. These heroes just told the truth and maintained their leadership role. That is why we trust them. Their decision-making and recommendations come from scientific knowledge and unbiased concern ... not the politics of the moment.
We should all think about the effectiveness trap. When do you say, as immortalized by Johnny Paycheck in his 1977 hit,Take This Job and Shove It?
Here's the question. What did Johnny Paycheck know when he performed these lines 43 years ago?
"I been working in this factory for nigh on 15 years.
All this time I watched my woman drownin' in a pool of tears,
And I've seen a lot of good folks die that had a lot of bills to pay.
I'd give the shirt right offa' my back if I had the guts to say …"
Think about how you would end the verse as you go to the polls in November.
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Thanks to Roger Carlton for this post where he gives his thoughts on the political situation of today.
Roger is columnist for Graham Star newspaper in Robbinsville, NC.
Roger is columnist for Graham Star newspaper in Robbinsville, NC.
That ant had high hopes and so did a whole bunch of Presidential candidates. In that popular song by Doris Day the ant moved the rubber tree plant because he had high hopes. So what happened to those political high hopes held by so many candidates of promise?
Let's start with the debate debacles: The format was horrible. Point counterpoint is no way to inform the voting public of the character of the candidates or the merit of their proposals. Raising your hand for recognition demeans the office. It is what elementary school students do. It would have been so much better to give each candidate five minutes to express their five top problems and solutions. Brief and to the point. Frankly it means nothing to this writer to hear what one candidate thinks about another. Would you expect a candidate to say that their opponent's position is better than their own?
The pundit debate monitors did a terrible job of focusing the issues and controlling the screechers. Half the debate time spent on Medicare for all and no questions about climate change and the explosive growth of mass murder borders on malfeasance by someone who calls themselves a journalist. In this environment, the candidate with the best one liners seemed to be heroic to the debate monitors and the candidate with manners and who followed the rules was labelled weak. Did anyone make their decision on who to vote for based on debate performance? Doubtful.
The billionaire factor. One candidate spent $250 million starting nearly a year ago with a single message. He was the best person to beat President Trump. Could you figure out what he would do once elected? Another candidate spent $500 million in a few weeks telling us his role as Mayor of New York gave him the credentials to be a good President. Probably true but his total of 20 minutes of debate performance negated a lifetime of business, philanthropic and political success.
Please keep one thing in mind. The total primary expenses through Super Tuesday were nearly $900 million. The money went mostly to media so this kumatai slugfest was a source of untold profits for the media moguls and their stockholders. No wonder the Wall Street Journal vilifies one of the candidates as being a Socialist without explaining what that means. To put the dollars into perspective more money has been spent so far than the taxable value of 80 percent of the property in Graham County.
With all due caution to avoid political incorrectness the gender, gay, racial and religious factors remain top of mind with many voters. Let's be honest. It took 143 years from the end of the Civil War to elect an African American President and it has been 100 years since women were granted the right to vote. While the two remaining candidates don't fit into the definition of diversity, let us hope that they will select a capable Vice President running mate who comes from one of the groups that made capable candidates available but could not put them across the line for the top job.
The fire in your gut concern.
Many of the candidates had great resumes but bland personas. Bernie consistently railed against the oligarchs on Wall Street and the outrageous profits made by the medical companies. He wanted you to believe that the money changers needed to be thrown out of the Washington temple and he was the candidate to do that. Joe Biden said wait a minute. We can't afford all this. He was calm and did not point his finger at you. All the rest of the candidates fought for a place in the continuum of recognition by the media and failed to find a sweet spot.
Finally, voters saw through the opposition dirt researching and did not hold a candidate responsible for some stupid behavior or slip of the tongue 30 or more years ago. Who among us hasn't said or done something that they regret. Joe Biden helped his son with getting a lucrative job for which he was unqualified. Bernie praised some political strongmen with whom he was enamored many years ago. Has not the current incumbent in the White House done the same for his children and their spouses? Does he not cotton up to the current strongmen of the world?
All these factors taken together whittled down a broad and diverse group of candidates to two old white guys.
Perhaps Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest best describes the primary process to date. There are a few more big primaries. It seems that all the debate smoke and mirrors will now pare down to who has the best chance to beat President Trump. Is that any different than four years ago when the question was who had the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton?
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