Hatchet job on Lt. Gov. Reeves and shoddy journalism

I admit to being surprised on July 7 when I first read the Clarion-Ledger story that all but accused Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves of putting political pressure on the Mississippi Department of Transportation regarded a road project on Lakeland Drive (Hwy 25) that involves the gated community where Reeves and his family live in Flowood. Mississippi Today soon piled on with its own story about the issue. In my opinion the Clarion-Ledger story was clearly shoddy journalism. I was even more surprised the byline on the story was that of Geoff Pender, political editor of the Clarion-Ledger. It was not long after I read Pender’s story when I received a comment about the story, from someone not in the Reeves camp, saying the Clarion-Ledger was “out to get” Reeves. If you want more balanced accounts and more accurate accounts of this very hot issue, I suggest reading the column below by Jim Prince, publisher of the Neshoba County Democrat and the following column by Alan Lange, owner and editor of Y’all Politics.

http://neshobademocrat.com/MobileContent/EDITORIAL/Editorial/Article/EDITORIAL-Hood-deep-fries-Tater-Tot/7/302/43614

 

http://yallpolitics.com/2018/07/31/internal-documents-show-mdot-execs-repeatedly-whitewashed-staff-assessment-of-safety-being-the-driver-behind-lakeland-frontage-road

 

And what about MDOT? I have known Central District Highway Commissioner Dick Hall  for many years. He is a good man, a good public servant and I have a lot of respect for him. However, during the recent Neshoba County Fair, I listened to Hall’s interview on the J.T. Show on Supertalk Radio. I later read reports of his speech at the Fair. Considering both the interview and speech, it would not surprise me if Hall received a thank you note from Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood.

Why is this type of shoddy journalism a problem, and even unfair? The original report in the Clarion-Ledger, was followed by the story in Mississippi Today. Naturally, the story by Pender was picked up by the Associated Press and published in other newspapers and broadcast media across the state. Attorney General Jim Hood said he would investigate the allegations of political pressure. Hood investigating in itself is a joke. But what if Hood’s investigation turns up no proof that Reeves, members of his staff or others applied political pressure? What if all the allegations prove false? Most people won’t remember the subsequent stories. People are quick to believe any allegation against a public official or politician. The damage has already been done.

Commissioners should MDOT executive director

And what about Melinda McGraft, executive director of MDOT? During the current controversy involving MDOT, press reports and Lt. Gov. Reeves, Hall praised McGraft as an outstanding professional engineer. I don’t doubt that for a minute. But McGraft is more than an engineer. She is executive director of MDOT. For her allegations of political pressure and comments to the press, Hall and the other two highway commissioners should have the balls to fire McGraft.

“Media is corrupt. It’s chosen a side.”

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, Republican of California and chairman of the House Select on Intelligence, recently said this in an interview with The Wall Street Journal: “Today’s media is corrupt. It’s chosen a side.” Of course, Congressman Nunes was talking about the national media. However, the same journalism plant is growing in Mississippi. A few years ago when Haley Barbour was governor of Mississippi, Barbour gave his usual speech before a huge crowd at MEC’s annual Hobnob event. During his speech Barbour commented about the “Clarion liar”. I chuckled to myself as I thought his remark would not be reported in the Clarion-Ledger’s report of his speech. Of course, it was not in the newspaper’s story the next day.

The Scary Democrat Duck

 

American Civil Liberties Union calls for protest rally at Mississippi Governor’s Mansion

The scary Democrat duck first appeared on my Facebook page, and it was quickly determined the duck was a Democrat because it wanted free food and water. That was confirmed when the duck received endorsements from Sam Hall, executive editor of the Clarion-Ledger, the news staffs of the Clarion-Ledger and Mississippi Today, Bernie Sanders. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the newest star of the radical left, socialist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York City. Less than 24 hours later, the scary Democrat duck appeared again (see bottom photo) when he wanted more handouts and free water. I quickly heard from Ricky Cole who noted the duck was a Muscovy Duck and Cole charged I was “harboring an illegal.” As Cole is a former chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party, I was surprised Cole referred to the duck as illegal, instead of just being undocumented. On Facebook I then heard from Wayne Brown, retired Southern District Highway Commissioner.  Brown is a professional engineer and suggested I build a pond for the duck. Brown kindly said he would donate his engineering services to build the pond. With those free labor services, I decided to check to see if the Mississippi Department of Transportation would provide the remainder of the funds to build a pond for the scary Democrat duck. Melinda McGraff, executive director of MDOT, said she would first have to check with Sam Hall and Geoff Pender of the Clarion-Ledger to determine if the pond would be built within 433 miles of the home of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in Flowood, Mississippi.

Did the scary Democrat duck vote for Thad Cochran in the 2014 Republican primary against Chris McDaniel?

Will the duck be a factor in the 2018 contest for the U.S. Senate between Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, Chris McDaniel and Mike Espy? McDaniel reportedly is claiming the duck was one of the Democrats who supported former Sen. Cochran by voting in the 2014 GOP primary. There are also reports Hyde-Smith called the White House begging for President Trump to endorse her because the scary Democrat duck could seriously impact her candidacy. Espy maintains he is not so sure our duck friend is a Democrat. Espy apparently thinks the duck resembles one of the federal prosecutors when Espy was indicted on 39 counts of accepting more than $35,000 in gifts, trips and favors. Espy was forced to resign as Secretary of Agriculture after he was appointed to that post by then President Bill Clinton.

Of course, the ACLU is undeterred and still plans to hold a protest rally outside the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson. The Clarion-Ledger and Mississippi Today promise to send 282 reporters to cover the protest. The keynote speaker is expected to be Attorney General Jim Hood who will say everything is just ducky with the scary Democrat duck.

Thousands on the Brooklyn Bridge; 300 at Mississippi’s Governor’s Mansion

Undocumented is illegal

A few weeks ago I visited one of my sons and his wife who live and work in New York City. On Saturday, June 30, we crossed the East River into Brooklyn to visit a museum and have lunch. We witnessed what various New York media described as thousands of protestors on the famous Brooklyn Bridge. I then looked at the Jackson Clarion.Ledger online edition to read the headline saying “hundreds” of protesters rallied outside of the Governor’s Mansion. The leftist American Civil Liberties Union, one of the organizers of the Mississippi rally, estimated the crowd at 300. I’m sure the ACLU’s crowd estimate would not be on the low side. By contrast, one Jackson TV estimated the crowd at “over 100.” Then I read the Jackson newspaper’s story by Anthony Mcdougle. The writer’s story almost sounded as if it was written by an ACLU member. Mentioned were the “cries of undocumented immigrant children.” The correct word is not undocumented. It is illegal. Actually, I doubt anyone on the left or right took joy in the separation of children from their families. Not mentioned was that before the protests on the Brooklyn Bridge and outside the Governor’s Mansion, President Trump had already issued an executive order to not separate children from their families. An ACLU official said that what was happening on our border with Mexico was “reminiscent to what happened to black people long ago.” What a bogus comparison.

Several things should be noted. It is a U.S. policy that children are separated from their parents if the parents are sent to prison for murder, tax evasion, robbing a convenience store or for committing any other felony crimes for which the parents are sent to prison. Crossing the border illegally, by law, is a criminal offense. And in all the whining we are

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Sen. Hyde-Smith hands Chris McDaniel a legitimate campaign gift

National debt is now over $21.1 trillion ($21,110,000,000,000) and rapidly growing

On May 17 the U.S. Senate rejected a resolution by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. The vote was 21-76, with three senators not voting, against Paul’s Concurrent Resolution 76 to provide spending cuts to the Fiscal Year 2019 budget and future budget levels for fiscal years 2000 to 2028. The vote has been call symbolic, meaningless, political and nothing less than a show vote. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi called Paul’s measure a “theatric ” vote. Paul’s resolution was dubbed the “Penny Plan” because it called for a reduction of all federal spending by one percent over five years. Pro Hyde-Smith writers or anti-Chris McDaniel writers, one of Hyde Smith’s November opponents, quickly defended her vote. Actually, being pro-Hyde-Smith or anti-McDaniel are probably one in the same. Alan Lange’s Y’all Politics questioned whether the “Penny Plan” was the “real thing” or a “show vote.” Y’all Politics printed Hyde-Smith’s statement defending her vote.  Respected columnist Sid Salter wrote an even stronger response. Salter said Resolution 76 was more “political theatrics” than an “honest fiscal policy proposal.” I’ll agree the “Penny Plan” was a political vote under any circumstances. But since Sen. Hyde-Smith was appointed to replace Sen. Thad Cochran who retired for health reasons, she must now win a special election this November for the remainder of Cochran’s term. Apart from being a political vote, the bottom line is the “Penny Plan” was a vote to CUT federal spending.

Reducing federal spending is very important to Americans and future generations of Americans. The federal debt is now over $21.1 trillion dollars. That’s $21,110, 000,000,000 and climbing. For the current fiscal year, you and other American taxpayers, are estimated to pay total interest payments of $310 billion. These annual

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Sports gambling is not a massive new industrial development

Gambling is a tax on people who are bad at math

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that will open the door wider for legal sports betting, there’s been major press coverage, not just in the sports world, Because Mississippi’s casinos will be among the first in line to facilitate legal sports betting, there’s been no shortage of headlines about the potential for sports gambling in the state. In my opinion, some of the media coverage and other public reaction in the state almost seems like an exciting celebration.

I was already living in Washington, D.C. when casinos were going full blown on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Mississippi River. On my first trip back home after the casinos were in operation, I quickly noticed the numerous pawn shops that had opened in Biloxi and Gulfport. Crime, of course, had also increased. I soon learned the casinos pumped oxygen into their gaming areas. They didn’t want people to get too sleepy while drinking and gambling at all hours of the night. When they first opened, many of the casinos lowered the usual take for the house to encourage betters to think that lining their pockets with gambling winnings might be easier than it eventually would be. School teachers told me that after the casinos opened, the number of school lunches bought by students decreased towards the end of the school week. Early in the mornings, I watched as armored trucks pulled up in front of the major hotels/casinos. The armored trucks were taking money away, not putting it in the casinos. On the other hand, years later when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the casinos were rapidly constructed and back in business. There’s no question at all that the casinos contributed a great deal in the Gulf Coast economy bouncing back from the tragedy of Katrina. The same will happen when Mississippi casinos offer legal sports betting. Additional revenues will flow not only to the casinos but to many other businesses located in the same areas as casinos.

Jim Geraghty is a senior contributor for National Review and National Review Online. Geraghty wrote an excellent column recently about when we might expect when sports gambling is allowed in Mississippi and other states where it is currently not taking place.

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Politicians: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly; And Then There Is The Very Decent Gentleman

Thad Cochran – one of the best to ever serve Mississippi

For a man who was elected to the U.S.House of Representatives in 1972 and the U.S. Senate in 1978. Sen. Thad Cochran left quietly when he retired earlier this month. Cindy Hyde-Smith was appointed by Gov. Bryant to serve until the November 2018 special election. Headlines have been dominated by Cochran’s health, who Bryant would appoint to take Cochran’s place, what state Sen. Chris McDaniel would do, and the possible candidates in the special election. During almost 50 years of writing about Mississippi politics, I have met the good, the bad, and the ugly of the many politicians who have held or sought office in our state. There is no question Cochran has been and always will be one of my favorites.

I first met Cochran in 1972 when he, Trent Lott, and a college professor named Carl Butler were running for U.S. House seats and I was the state campaign manager for the very longshot, even hopeless campaign of Gil Carmichael who was opposing powerful Democrat James O. “Big Jim” Eastland. Carmichael was in the senate race because James Meredith was running as a Republican and Clarke Reed and other state leaders were  horrified Meredith might be the GOP nominee for the senate in November. The Meridian car dealer was put in the primary to defeat Meredith. One of the big events of the campaign was when then Vice President Spiro Agnew was coming to Mississippi to endorse the four congressional candidates. At the time, Agnew was even considerably more popular in Mississippi than President Richard Nixon. This was, of course, before

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Others can share blame with political boy wonder for Hyde-Smith campaign foul up

When Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Cindy Hyde-Smith to the U.S. Senate to fill the remaining term of Sen. Thad Cochran until this November’s special election, I received a call from a politically savvy friend. My friend held Hyde-Smith in high regard but was worried Josh Gregory and his partner’s firm, Frontier Strategies, were signed up her to direct her campaign. Frontier also directed Cochran’s 2014 campaign when Cochran narrowly defeated Republican primary challenger Chris McDaniel of Jones County. At one time, Gregory was regarded as sort of a boy wonder of political operatives in Mississippi. He did campaign work for former Gov. Haley Barbour and drove the political train that elected Bryant as lieutenant governor and then to two terms as governor. Gregory reportedly has also signed on to direct Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s 2019 race to succeed Tate Reeves as lieutenant governor. Gregory’s reputation took a hit this week when Hyde-Smith sent out a campaign fundraising letter saying she had the support of President Trump and Vice President Pence. She might and probably will eventually receive the endorsement of Trump, but when the letter was sent out, she had not.

On Tuesday I received two electronic versions of Hyde-Smith’s letter. It wasn’t much later in the day that Geoff Pender, political editor for The Jackson Clarion-Ledger wrote that while Hyde-Smith claimed she was supported by Trump, to date Trump and Pence had not endorsed her candidacy. Of course, Gregory can share the blame for this campaign foul-up with others. In Pender’s story, Jordan Russell, Hyde-Smith’s campaign manager, said the letter was a “drafting error” generated by an outside vendor hired by the campaign. What a pathetic response. I don’t care what outside vendor drafted the letter. As campaign

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Memo to Chris McDaniel: Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat

In an April 1 online appeal for campaign contributions, Chris McDaniel took several shots at recently appointed U.S. Sen. Cindy-Hyde Smith for the sin of once being a Democrat. Perhaps we should not forget President Ronald Reagan was a fellow sinner and a registered member of the Democrat Party until 1962, just two years before Barry Goldwater was the Republican candidate for president. As Reagan was an advocate of FDR’s New Deal, I suspect Reagan was more to the left than Cindy Hype-Smith while she was a Democrat in the state senate. Reagan supported Goldwater in 1964 and during that campaign Reagan became the leading national spokesman for conservatives. Just two years later former Democrat Reagan had the audacity to run for governor of California as a Republican and defeated liberal incumbent Democrat Pat Brown, Sr. by almost a million votes. And let’s not forget Ronald Reagan was also a union leader in the early days of his political career. McDaniel’s appeal for campaign contributions continued to hammer Hyde-Smith as being “across the aisle” in the legislature with the “liberal left–actively fighting against us.” It is so nice McDaniel can represent himself as the only true and pure conservative in Mississippi politics. McDaniel is so holier than thou he probably thinks Reagan, Goldwater and William F. Buckley, Jr. were not true conservatives and were just “establishment” Republicans who could not match his own conservative purity. Nothing changes my view of McDaniel. If elected next November, he will be ineffective in the U.S. Senate and even worse, will prove to be an embarrassment to Mississippi.

Gov. Bryant makes good pick to replace Sen. Cochran; GOP should rally to support Cindy Hyde-Smith

National Review, founded by William F. Buckley, Jr. calls Alabama’s Roy Moore a “deeply flawed” candidate; Chris McDaniel would be a deeper “deeply flawed” candidate

The seemingly endless name game about who will replace Sen. Thad Cochran until this November’s special election finally ended when Gov. Phil Bryant announced last week he will appoint Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith (CHS) when Cochran steps down in April. I think Hyde-Smith is a good appointment. She is a good person, will be a tough campaigner, and has served Mississippi well as a state senator and Ag Commissioner. Also give Gov. Bryant credit for not taking any guff from state Sen. Chris McDaniel and his supporters who were demanding Bryant appoint McDaniel instead of Hyde-Smith or any of the other Republicans who were mentioned as prospects. REPUBLICAN PURITY – For years the Mississippi Republican Party has encouraged and welcomed legislators and other local officials if they switch political parties. However, some Republicans are grumbling because CHS was first elected as a Democrat to the state senate in 2000 and did not switch until the last two years for her term before she ran for commissioner of agriculture in 2011. Some of those same leaders in the state GOP didn’t bat an eye when incumbent lieutenant governor Amy Tuck, a lifelong Democrat, switched to the GOP in 2002. Prior to serving as lieutenant governor, like CHS, Tuck also was a Democrat state senator. After wining her race for lieutenant governor as a Democrat in 1999, three years later she became a Republican. In 2003 she ran for re-election under the GOP banner. POLLING – Some Republicans hit the panic button when national polling showed only Gov. Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves or Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann could defeat McDaniel in a special election. Bryant stuck to his plans not to run despite pleas from President Trump and other national Republicans. Reeves also said no. Despite briefly reconsidering, Reeves eventually came back to his original position of not to run. Despite his popularity, in the party Hosemann will turn 71 in June. Because seniority has always meant so much for a small state like Mississippi, that was an obvious strike against Hosemann. The same polling showed McDaniel beating CHS, but at this time polling does not mean much for an election that won’t take place until next November. It is a very small snapshot of the current political landscape which is eight months from the election.

Andy Taggart can’t win, but he could sure help McDaniel and Espy

Then we also had noise coming from Andy Taggart, former chief of staff to the late Gov.

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Chris McDaniel is a very good reason to vote for Sen. Roger Wicker

Or anybody else if McDaniel instead runs in the special election to replace Sen. Thad Cochran

As Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker faces re-election in 2018, you may be an enthusiastic supporter of Wicker, you may lean towards voting for Wicker or you could even be undecided or indifferent about Wicker. Since state Sen. Chris McDaniel announced he will run against Wicker this year, everyone should move to the column of being a strong supporter of Wicker. Of course, everyone remembers McDaniel’s very nasty and classless campaign against Sen. Thad Cochran in the 2014 Republican primary. A week or so before McDaniel announced he will oppose Wicker, McDaniel told an Associated Press reporter he would run against Wicker, run for lieutenant governor, or be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2020. In that story McDaniel said before he decided which political course he would take, he would go to a “dark place” and pray.

Praying aside, McDaniel resides in a dark place

I would suggest McDaniel permanently resides in a “dark place.” In a March 1 email to raise funds for his campaign, he noted his race against Cochran four years ago and said, “Back in 2014, I challenged another Republican swamp creature here in Mississippi: Sen. Thad Cochran.” When Cochran announced on Monday, March 5, that he will resign his seat on April 1, the same Chris McDaniel said, “I wish Sen. Cochran nothing but the best in his retirement and thank him for his service to Mississippi.”

The real swamp creature is Chris McDaniel

After McDaniel called Cochran a “swamp creature”, I was not surprised when one of the state’s prominent Republicans told me the “real swamp creature is Chris.” And now, we will wait to see if McDaniel decides to drop out as an opponent to Wicker to instead run in next November’s special election to fill out the final two years of Cochran’s term. By comparison with defeated Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore in Alabama, McDaniel makes the very controversial Moore look like a statesman. Mississippi has enough problems without the embarrassment it would be if McDaniel is elected to the U.S. Senate.