Report from Louisiana: Election Countdown

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Saturday was the last day to early vote in the gubernatorial election and the turnout across the state has been quite heavy. The scene was surreal in Shreveport as the line to vote snaked outside the Registrar of Voter’s office out on to the street, extending at least two blocks. The day was clear and crisp, vibrant blue skies and bright sunshine.

As we stood in line, across the street at the Caddo Parish Courthouse, two rallies were in competition with each other to have their voices heard. One group of about thirty-five were there in support of the Confederate monument that stands in front of the courthouse. (Its fate is still in litigation). They waved various Confederate state and battle flags and marched around the courthouse square chanting about preserving history. A second group, a climate change activist group, held posters and signs denouncing drilling, global warming, and burning coal while marching the opposite direction around the square. At one point the climate change group stopped and faced those of us in the voting line and shrieked “ROCK THE VOTE, Y’ALL!”

It was a bizarre sight. People in the line around us snickered and wondered how many of those climate change folks rode their bicycles or their cars downtown. They were all wearing sneakers and plastic sunglasses…the hypocrisy was curious. On the other hand, the monument supporters were interesting too. All in all, it made the wait in line fairly interesting. It’s probably the most people I’ve seen in downtown Shreveport on a Saturday in quite some time.

President Trump has been spending some time in Louisiana these past few weeks as the election nears. Before the primary last month he spoke to a capacity crowd in Lake Charles in support of Republican candidate Eddie Rispone. Last week he spoke in Monroe, Louisiana and the local news there reported over 40,000 people requested tickets to that event. The overflow crowd was served by large screens outside the arena; and President Trump will be in Bossier City on November 14 to lobby for Eddie Rispone.

Election day is November 16 and currently the pollsters are reporting that the race is “too close to call.” It will come down to turnout. I’ll be honest – I’d be surprised if Gov. Edwards loses. Eddie Rispone doesn’t have any political experience which is not necessarily a bad thing; a lot of people see Edwards as just conservative enough on some hot-button issues that they can stomach him. Plus, Edwards is using fear, now telling voters that Eddie Rispone will “rip away their health care” and freeze Medicaid.

Fear is a powerful tool.

Thankfully this will be over soon.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation (LSU Press). She blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Progressive indoctrination in US schools has reached dangerous levels

It is difficult to pinpoint just when progressive indoctrination began at the college level in this country, it began slowly and under the radar at first.  What is abundantly clear today is that indoctrination has reached levels that are hazardous to our constitutional republic.  You can see just how dangerous the level of indoctrination has become from the Federalist article 4 Reasons Socialism Is More Popular Among Americans Now Than Ever Before

The supporters of socialism are not simply the young, but they’re disproportionately young people who are college-educated. The more college they have, the hotter for socialism they get. According to a 2015 poll, support for socialism grows from 48 percent among those with a high school diploma or less, to 62 percent among college graduates, to 78 percent among those with post-graduate degrees.

Those on the left probably jump immediately to the conclusion that support for socialism is just a natural outgrowth of big brains and elite educations. But there is, in fact, a less obvious but ultimately far more compelling explanation: Something — something bad — is happening at universities to pull students toward the (far) left.

We have already seen above that what’s not happening at even elite universities today is a whole lot of education in important subjects such as history. What we are getting instead is a lot of groupthink and indoctrination. Universities have always skewed a bit left. But beginning in the early to mid 1990s (for reasons I’ve explained in some detail elsewhere), ideological diversity began to vanish entirely, as the leftward deviation turned tidal.

Unfortunately the progressive indoctrination has spread down to high schools and grade schools because progressives infected teaching colleges.  The indoctrination has also been spread down to this level by teacher unions. 

Multiculturalism has always been a vehicle used to spread progressive indoctrination. Here is a particularly ridiculous example I found on Breitbart  Seattle Schools Plan Curriculum to ‘Explore’ Cultural Appropriation of Math.

The Seattle school district is putting into place a K-12 curriculum that encourages students “to explore how math has been ‘appropriated’ by Western culture and used in systems of power and oppression.”

Here is a quote from the Breitbart article that was originally from an article in Education Week

In most places, if schools offer ethnic studies at all, it’s usually in a stand-alone course in high school. But increasingly, schools and districts are starting to sprinkle ethnic studies across the K-12 spectrum. Seattle is taking a highly unusual approach by weaving the field’s multicultural and political questions not just through all grade levels, but into all subjects.

Politically correct revisionist history has been a mainstay of progressive indoctrination.  It is a particularly dangerous one because it is meant to undermine the entire foundation of our constitutional republic.  This Daily Signal article Woke History Is Making Big Inroads in America’s High Schools chronicles the spread of this revisionist history.

Two years ago, the Indiana Legislature mandated that high schools offer an ethnic studies elective. As approved by the state’s Education Department, the class teaches about the contributions of ethnic and racial groups, various cultural practices, as well as such concepts as privilege, systematic oppression, and implicit bias. And now three states—California, Oregon, and Vermont—are trying to create authoritative statewide templates that, advocates hope, will make it easier for schools to adopt ethnic studies.

The statewide California ethnic studies curriculum was proposed in June by an advisory committee, composed of ethnic studies teachers and professors, and met with public outcry that such classes are designed to recruit students into political activism, indoctrinate them with ideological jargon, and promote the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Multiculturalism may seem warm and fuzzy on the surface however it is meant to tear down one particular culture, the culture of the United States.  Here are two great Thomas Sowell Quotes which sum up this sham.

Much of what is promoted as “critical thinking” in our public schools is in fact uncritical negativism towards the history and institutions of America and an uncritical praise of the cultures of foreign countries and domestic minorities.

What “multiculturalism” boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture—and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture.

It will be extremely difficult to turn the tide back on this progressive indoctrination but it is something we must do to save our constitutional republic.  Ending Common Core and all other federal intrusions, while taking local control of K-12 schools, are important steps in the process, along with completely relaxing the iron grip of teacher unions.

A political horror story – This is what the US would be like if the Democrats win in 2020

In honor of Halloween I decided to write a truly horrific article.  This is the absolutely scariest scenario I could possibly imagine for the United States as we know it – the Democrats not only taking the White House, but also taking control of the Senate, while maintaining control of the House. 

For proof of the truly catastrophic consequences of this scenario we only need to examine the campaign promises of the Democratic presidential candidates, the Democratic party platforms, and the track record wherever Democrats and other leftists have been in control to implement their policies. 

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and other Democratic presidential candidates are pushing wealth distribution.  There are no betters examples of the devastating consequences of this tragically flawed economic policy than Venezuela and California.  History has provided everyone with numerous other examples of the economic carnage that would result from this deeply flawed idea, but that won’t stop the Democrats from implementing it here if they won control.  The entire US would rapidly be transformed economically into California, then into Venezuela. 

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have openly talked about nationalizing different private industries, and I believe others would do the same.  ObamaCare was an attempt to nationalize the entire US health industry and that was a disaster.  All industries were nationalized in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries, with epically horrific results.  The same would happen here.

Nothing can strangle a business more rapidly and thoroughly than government regulation.  The Democrats would overburden US companies with so much red tape the economy would quickly sputter to a halt.

The Second Amendment would quickly be gutted if the Democrats won control.  They would not accomplish by altering the Constitution.  It is clear to everyone that they would enact extremely strict gun control through unconstitutional legislation and activist judges who would gut the Second Amendment,  Only criminals and the government would have guns making everyone vulnerable to criminals and government tyranny.  One candidate has even talked about out right gun confiscation, that won’t end well at all.

Free speech would be a thing of the past.  Political correctness would become a universal standard  of  speech.  Opposing idea would be labeled hate speech and those daring to offend would be punished. If you think this is an overstatement just look at liberal controlled college campuses and countries like Great Britain.

There would only be one religion allowed in the United States and that would be the religion of Progressivism.  That would be done in the name of enforcing the mythical wall of separation between church and state.  Beto O’Rourke has openly called for punishing churches who dare oppose the Progressive orthodoxy.  Other Democrats would do the same if given power. 

Medicare for all would become the law of the land.  The entire US healthcare system would be transformed into the British National Health Service or the VA.  American medical innovation would grind to a halt and wait times would explode.  Health care rationing would soon follow.  Socialized medicine has always resulted in tremendous suffering.

Crime would explode everywhere in the United States like it has wherever Democrats have gained control.  This is a direct result of the policies Democrats impose.

Our economy would collapse because the Democrats would impose the Green New Deal,  all in the name of combating the mythological beast known as climate change. 

There would be so many other horrific consequences of the Democrats gaining control but I think this article would become so scary it would cause nightmares if I continued to list them.  I think I’ve listed enough for now.  Happy Halloween.

Report from Louisiana: Reading

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – The Louisiana Book Festival is coming up Saturday, November 2, and I’m kind of sad not to be going this year. Last year, my book had just come out and I was one of the invited speakers. It was a great experience!  This year, I’ll once again be speaking about Cammie Henry on that date, but this time in Natchitoches at an event on Creole Architecture at various locations in Natchitoches parish.

This year there are at least two Louisiana authors on the list of finalists for the National Book Award, Sarah M. Broom and Albert Woodfox, and actually both sound like books I would like to read:

Broom’s The Yellow House is a memoir named for the New Orleans East house in which she grew up. The house was destroyed after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, which is when Broom moved back to New Orleans. In the book, she discusses the impact Katrina had on her family….Woodfox’s book, Solitary, discusses his time in Angola Prison, where he joined the Black Panther Party. Woodfox and other members of the Panthers were accused of killing a white guard in 1972.

He would spend more than 40 years in solitary confinement before his eventual release in February 2016, and the book details the harrowing conditions he experienced.

Non-fiction is usually by go-to when I’m looking for something to read, but honestly, I go in spurts. I’m reading The Last Lynching: How a Gruesome Mass Murder Rocked a Small Georgia Town, now, and I also have a fiction stack.  I’m reading my way through Tana French’s oeuvre; I read The Witch Elm earlier in the year, loved it, and have now backtracked to read everything else she’s done. I love a good mystery and she always keeps me guessing.

My stack of books to-be-read is ridiculous.  It reminds me of this article I read in The New Yorker this week about online shopping v. brick-and-mortar shopping; the author was debating the idea of bookstores charging an entrance fee (absurd!), but in discussing his own reading habits, he said,

When I’m out in the world, having a stroll in a city or town, it’s difficult for me to pass a bookstore without at least having a browse. Never mind that I probably own more unread books than I could ever possibly read in a lifetime. Somehow, deep down, I think I believe that I will live long enough to read them and everything else, eventually. Books make me feel immortal, and I want more of them, always.

I can totally relate to this sentiment.

I am nearing retirement in a couple of years and everyone says, “Oh, but what will you DO!?”

I will read, of course, and I will write more books.  What else?!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and Her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Senator Warren’s Wealth Tax Plan would be hazardous to the US economy

During the last presidential debate Senator Elizabeth Warren talked about her plan to punish those who are the most success in this country.  Of course she did not use the word punish, preferring to use one of the usual progressive platitudes.  I’m sure you can guess which one in a microsecond.  Warren is not the only democratic presidential candidate pushing a wealth confiscation scheme, at least two others are.

This type of wealth confiscation has been tried in several states and a great many countries with the same disastrous results.  The Mises Institute article The Problem with Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth-Tax Plan discusses Senator Warren’s plan in great detail.   

The central argument of Warren’s the wealth-tax proposal is this: through a progressive wealth tax system — which means those with more wealth will pay higher tax rates — the wealthiest people in America will pay their “fair share” and that fair share will enable the equal redistribution of wealth.

As you can see from the first component of her proposal, this is not just a tax increases of 2 percent on income, this is a tax on assets and wealth.  Components two and three prove that this is just the beginning,

First, households would pay an annual 2 percent tax on all assets for net worth equal or less than $50 million. Individuals and families who are worth more than a $1 billion would pay a 3 percent tax . Second, the Warren forecasts a revenue of $2.75 trillion, and that would be allocated in the creation of new government programs such as universal child care for every child age zero to five; universal pre-k for every three- and four-year-old; student-loan forgiveness; free tuition and fees for all public technical schools, two-year colleges and four-year colleges. Third, the Warren proposal aims to heavily tax corporations so that they would pay their so-called “fair share.”

The proposed 2 percent tax on the wealthy will only fund a tiny fraction of those new programs and there is no mention of the flagship progressive pipe dream, Medicare for All.  A massive amount of federal bureaucracy and regulation will be needed to ensure corporations pay their fair share.  This is discussed in the next quote.

The first consequence will be the significant expansion of federal authority over the economy. Even if, in theory, the Warren wealth-tax plan targets only the super wealthy at first, this does not mean that the middle-class is exempted from a potential rise in income tax. For Elizabeth Warren to fund all the programs that she wants to implement, taxing the billionaires — even at a very high level — won’t be enough. The middle-class will eventually be forced to contribute to the funding of these programs, which means that the plan, instead of alleviating the wealth gap, will reduce the purchasing power of the middle-class. This means that ordinary citizens will have a hard time saving for their retirement or to invest in business ventures. Moreover, the plan gives the federal government more extensive power and authority over the allocation of resources and the economy as a whole.

How bad will results of the plan be?  Check out the next quote.

As a result, federal agencies will have far greater control over how resources will be allocated and invested throughout the broader economy. Yet, experience suggests government allocates resources inadequately and inefficiently, while distorting markets, and leading to bubbles and malinvestments.

The second consequence will be a great decrease in productivity for the economy overall. Indeed, those who already own large amounts of assets often own those assets because they have managed to put them to good use expanding the economy and increasing employment.  The wealth tax, meanwhile, is built on the premise that government agents can convert that wealth into cash payments, and that the government knows better how to distribute it. 

Mass exoduses of those who produce always occur when these wealth redistribution schemes are  implemented which result in a large scale decrease in wealth and standard of living.  This will happen here because:

The Warren wealth tax plan may confiscate the material wealth of wealthy persons and families. But those same people can take their know-how and move elsewhere. The impact on American productivity would not be positive.

At first the negative consequences of Senator Warren’s plan may only affect the wealthy.  This won’t last long.  Very quickly the negative effects will spread down to the middle class.  This conclusion was reached by the author of the Mises article.

Senator Warren’s wealth tax plan, despite the well-intended programs that it will generate; will end up as merely a tool to increase the power of Washington policymakers. Over time, taxes will creep down the income scale as the income tax did, eventually hiking the tax burden for the middle class, while also cutting productivity which will drive down wages and wealth for everyone.

Very rapidly the negative consequences of the Warren wealth confiscation plan will ripple through the economy, eventually turning into a tidal wave of destruction.  This has happened wherever this type of plan has been implemented.

Report from Louisiana: What would it take to make you move?

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – What would it take for you to leave your community and relocate?

My family has lived in Shreveport for decades: my parents and my grandparents on both sides lived here. I’ve raised my own children here. My daughter never gave five minutes thought to staying here; she found a place to live in Texas and was gone before the ink on her diploma was dry. There are no jobs or opportunities for young people.

My husband is originally from the Midwest and while he loves visiting home, he doesn’t want to deal with the winters there, and I’m kind of thankful for that because I really do love living in Louisiana. Yes, it’s a politically screwed up state, but isn’t everywhere?

I love Louisiana: it’s never dull. I love the weather, I love the food, and I really do love the people. The scenery and diversity is perfection.

I am nearing retirement (another story in itself, thank you Common Core) and when I stop and think about it, there’s nothing much to hold me in Shreveport any longer. Crime is escalating, jobs are non-existent, poverty is high, and if the casinos ever pull out we will be in really bad trouble.

My neighborhood is one of the older, better ones in town, not high end, no HOA, strictly middle class. But it’s a pretty quiet neighborhood. Last night, someone came down our street and heavily vandalized folks Halloween decorations. My neighbors woke up to pumpkins smashed all over their vehicles, decorations pulled up, damaged, stolen.

Things like this have become the norm. Shootings are daily occurrences. Downtown is hollowed and filled with homeless people who aggressively panhandle anyone who walks the sidewalks. A day or two ago a young lady went to WalMart at 3:00 in the afternoon and was attacked in the parking lot.

Why do we stay here? Is it like this everywhere? I don’t think so.

Since my book came out last October we have spent the past year traveling all over the state for speaking engagements and I’ve fallen in love with a little town in south Louisiana. In fact, I’ve visited at least four times now and will be five before the end of the year. The people are nice, the culture is fabulous, the opportunities many. I think I need to move.

All of this is to say, what would it take for you to leave your community and relocate? What would be the deal breakers for you? The food? The local culture? Cost of living? Crime? Weather? Health care services?  There are a lot of things to think about.

But the older I get the more I realize our days are so damn limited and you never know how long you have. Why not live every single one of them to the best of your ability? 

Why settle?

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

1984 was supposed to be a warning not an instruction manual

George Orwell wrote 1984 as warning to his generation and to future generation, a warning against the totalitarianism that spread throughout many nations during the 1930s and 1940s.  Rather than heeding the warnings, leftists in this country seem to have embraced 1984 as an instruction manual or a playbook.  It may not be the case that they are literally using 1984 as their playbook, it is more likely that they are simply using the tried and true steps to implement their leftist policies which eventually will bring about the totalitarian society Orwell warned us about. 

The progressivism here in the United States is very similar to the other totalitarian leftist political philosophies, socialism and fascism.  The main difference is that progressivism has  a soft veneer of compassion and politeness, along with much better press agents.

All leftist political philosophies target children in an effort to implement social change, very often turning children against the older generations.  Look at how progressivism here infected colleges and universities first then grade and high schools. Compare that to this quote from Chapter 2. 

It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which The Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak —  ‘child hero’ was the phrase generally used — had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police.

Progressives here have constructed a set of beliefs which are built on many contradictions and absurdities.  If you don’t embrace these beliefs you are labeled an enemy and silenced.  AntiFa now physically attacks those who do not follow leftist beliefs and there have been many calls to imprison  individuals who do not follow along. Check out this quote from chapter 2

Like an answer, the three slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back to him: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappings of a cigarette Packet — everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed — no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.

There has been a concerted effort in this country to erase our actual history and replace it with politically correct revisionist history. Doesn’t this quote from Chapter 3 remind you of that?

And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth. Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control’, they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink’.

This quote from chapter 3 reminds me of the progressive orthodoxy that is crammed down our throats by the media and other adherents to Political Correctness.

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself.

Political Correctness is Newspeak.  That is abundantly clear from these two quotes from Chapter 5

Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten.

By 2050 — earlier, probably — all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron — they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like “freedom is slavery” when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.’

Collectivism rather than individualism is at the heart of all leftist philosophies, including progressivism.  This is captured in this quote from Chapter 7

The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering — a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons — a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting — three hundred million people all with the same face.

Progressives here have received a tremendous amount of help redefining reality through the liberal news media, infected educational system, and Hollywood, similar to this quote from Part 2 Chapter 5

In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.

This quote from Part 3 Chapter 2 reminds me so forcefully of the progressive attempt to force their world view down our throats.  Individualism is a major impediment to their world view,  Turning us into a mindless mob which embraces the twisted PC reality will be the end result of their efforts.

You are here because you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.

Like all leftist philosophies, progressivism is all about a small body of elite gaining power over the masses.  This quote by Obrien from Section 3 Chapter 3 captures that so well.

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

All quotes are copied from this Wikiquote page.

Report from Louisiana: An Edwards/Rispone Runoff

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – It was a wild night in Louisiana Saturday night.  LSU defeated Florida in Death Valley and John Bel Edwards and Eddie Rispone will face off in five weeks for the runoff election for Louisiana governor.

Edwards finished the night with 46% of the vote while the Republican vote was split between Rispone and Ralph Abraham. Rispone captured 27% and Abraham 23%.  Other contenders in the gubernatorial race were mere blips.

Friday, President Trump visited Lake Charles, LA to lend support for the Republican candidates. He did not endorse either Rispone or Abraham until after the returns came in last night; now he has endorsed Rispone.   Trump, of course, takes credit for getting Rispone into the runoff, and he may well have contributed. Lines to get inside to see Trump in Lake Charles were staggeringly long and people began camping out far in advance of the event.

Most pundits across the state do not see an Edwards re-election as a done deal:

In either scenario, Edwards will have a much tougher time scooping up support from Republican voters than he did in his first election. Edwards’ Conservative-leaning stances that attracted Republicans during his first election could seem more moderate when compared to Rispone’s. Edwards also can’t count on the same wave of support from Republican voters who had become fatigued with their party as they had with Edwards’ predecessor, former Governor Bobby Jindal.

He’s also almost certain to face critiques from Republican officials who held onto seats in Statewide offices after the primary, including one of his harshest critics Jeff Landry. And, he can expect to fight off attacks from the major Republican competitor who failed to beat Rispone to secure the runoff, Ralph Abraham.

Rispone often compares himself to Trump as a self-made businessman:

The grandson of Sicilian immigrants, Rispone grew up with six people in a one-bathroom house near the plants in blue-collar north Baton Rouge. He and a brother, Jerry, built ISC Constructors to a firm with revenue of $364 million last year.

Though much more soft-spoken and polite than Trump, Rispone upended the Louisiana Republican establishment by running as an outsider willing to blow up the traditional politics and historical governing structure to get things done.

Late Saturday night, Ralph Abraham conceded and endorsed Rispone.

The run off election is November 16.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Planation (LSU Press). Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Review: Season 5 of Peaky Blinders

By John Ruberry

Earlier this month Season 5 of Peaky Blinders arrived on Netflix. If you haven’t heard of the BBC show, it centers on a Gypsy organized crime gang from Birmingham, England.

The Peaky Blinders are named for the razor blades the actual hoodlums,-they were an 1890s gang–wore in their flat caps.

The television Peaky Blinders, who usually refer to themselves as the Shelby Company, Ltd., are led by Thomas “Tommy” Shelby (Cillian Murphy), a World War I veteran. The first season takes place in 1919, Season 5 begins in the auspicious year of 1929.

Tommy, at the end of Season 4, is elected to Parliament as a member of the Labour Party.

A new season of course brings a new primary villain, this time it’s Sir Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), a minor member of the British nobility who also sits in the House of Commons. If you are American, it’s likely that you’ve never heard of Mosley, but he’s one of the most notorious figures of 20th century Great Britain. He didn’t go as far as Benedict Arnold did during the American Revolution, but had the Nazis defeated Britain in World War II, it’s probable that Mosley would have been prime minister—with Edward VIII restored to the throne. A 2005 poll of British historians determined that Mosley was the Worst Briton of the 20th century. Jack the Ripper took the title for the 19th. Mosley not surprisingly was a virulent anti-Semite.

Sir Oswald pursues Tommy as an ally while Winston Churchill (Neil Maskew) does the same. Maskew is the third actor to portray Churchill in this series. What’s up with that?

The Black Tuesday Wall Street Crash puts pressure on the rest of the Blinders, particularly Michael Gray (Finn Cole), who in the first episode of the season awakens from a stupor in Detroit to learn that the Shelby Company money he invested in America has evaporated. He wants a bigger say in the family business, as does his American wife (Anya Taylor-Joy). The family matriarch, Polly Gray (Helen McCrory), Michael’s mother, continues to struggle to keep the family from tearing itself apart, and their battles now directly effect her lover, Aberama Gold (Aidan Gillen). Tommy’s older brother, Arthur, continues to battle his “animal inside me.” While Tommy and Mosley, politically speaking, court each other, the Peaky Blinders face a new foe, the Billy Boys, a Scottish Protestant gang, who joyously sing their fight song, which is based on the melody of “Marching Through Georgia.” The Billy Boys hate Gypsies and Catholics–the Shelbys are both.

Peaky Blinders has always played loose with history. Lighten up, though, it’s fiction!

On the other hand…

As 1929 winds down, Mosely announces the formation of a new political party, the British Union of Fascists. But after leaving Labour, the real Mosley first formed another new party, called, well, the New Party. After that came his fascist party. I bring this up because in his introductory speech as leader of the BUF, Mosley, complaining about Indian competition forcing the closing of British textile mills, sounds a bit like Donald Trump, with a dash of UK Independence Party founder Nigel Farage thrown in. I’m not a fan of historical parallels with the present, particularly when it comes to individuals. And I get it, many people believe in “Orange Man Bad.” But sheesh, can TV scriptwriters give us a break from that for once?

I see Season 5, quality wise, as a step back for Peaky Blinders, but better than the Russian sinkhole two seasons back. But a Season 6 apparently is in the works, and maybe even a seventh. And perhaps we will see a couple of other men portray Churchill. The 1930s offers many plotlines as the world marches again to war. Still, even a below-par Peaky Blinders is worth your time.

Peaky Blinders is rated MA. It contains graphic violence, drug use, and overt sexual activity.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Sorry Liz and Bernie—For a country to be free and prosperous private property rights must be sacred

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and most other Democratic presidential candidates  proclaim support for either outright socialism or policies that are very much like socialism in nature.  At the very heart of all of these policies is a diminishment of private property rights. 

The founding fathers of the United States understood that the right to acquire property and the right to use that property as wished where two of the most important God-given natural rights, rights that were essential for this nation to be both prosperous and free. That was a frequent topic found in their writing.

John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the rest of the founding fathers of the United States received a great deal of their education about the essential nature of private property rights from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government.  Here is a quote from Ch. V, sec. 27.  As you can see from this quote, money earned in the form of wages is one of the most crucial forms of private property.  It was written in 1689 and it is also the work that influenced the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution the most.

Every individual man has a property in his own person.  this is something that nobody else has any right to. The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are strictly his. So when he takes something from the state that nature has provided and left it in, he mixes his labour with it, thus joining to it something that is his own; and in that way he makes it his property. He has removed the item from the common state that nature has placed it in, and through this labour the item has had annexed to it something that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour is unquestionably the property of the labourer, so no other man can have a right to anything the labour is joined to—at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others

This quote from chapter 5 of Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith makes it absolutely clear that the money paid to an individual to perform work is the same as the labor itself and both are the property solely of the individual.  Progressives do not understand that at all. 

Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased; and its value, to those who possess it, and who want to exchange it for some new productions, is precisely equal to the quantity of labour which it can enable them to purchase or command.

John Adams had this to say about the importance of private property when he wrote The Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States in1787.

Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.

Thomas Jefferson wrote this about property in a letter to Samuel Kercheval

The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen, in his person and property, and in their management.

In this quote from a letter to Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, Thomas Jefferson echoes John Locke.

A right to property is founded in our natural wants, in the means with which we are endowed to satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by those means without violating the similar rights of other sensible beings.

Milton Friedman had this to say about private property in the interview “Free to Choose”: A Conversation with Milton Friedman

I think that nothing is so important for freedom as recognizing in the law each individual’s natural right to property, and giving individuals a sense that they own something that they’re responsible for, that they have control over, and that they can dispose of

Here is one last quote on this subject, this one from the essay Will Property Rights Return? written by my favorite author Thomas Sowell

Both free speech rights and property rights belong legally to individuals, but their real function is social, to benefit vast numbers of people who do not themselves exercise these rights.