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The Daily Planet's Opinion: February 2018
Sunday, 11 February 2018 11:36

Passenger train between AVL and HVL? A great idea

We heartily encourage Hendersonville train enthusiast Larry Morton  — and his supporters — in his efforts to promote the bold idea of launching passenger rail service between the Hendersonville depot on Seventh Avenue and Asheville’s depot in Biltmore Village.

A couple of months ago, Morton unveiled his idea before a gathering of Henderson County movers-and-shakers and he did the same thing in Asheville in January in front of Asheville and Buncombe County leaders.

We think Morton is a visionary and he seems to have quite a bit of business sense. A major drawback to his plan for the short-line operation is that it would not be feasible to run as a regular commuter train because the available track limits passenger rail cars to travel no faster than 30 mph.

Also, the first run of the day would be too late for commuters, and the last one, too early, because of limitations that give priority to regularly scheduled freight trains.

In his latest brainstorm, Morton is proposing that entertainment be offered, along with the rides. For instance, a train car (or cars) could serve as a rolling diner. (We think a “drinking” car, stocked with craft beers, could be a winner, too.) At night, the train could offer a cabaret on wheels, where bands and comedians perform.

The service, if approved, would be run by a commercial short-line railroad firm — and we encourage local officials to throw their support behind this novel idea.

The Candid Conservative: Are you a useful idiot?
Sunday, 11 February 2018 11:08
Special to the Daily Planet

A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”

Vladimir Lenin

 The problem

 Though routinely cited, Marxist despot Vladimir Lenin never used the term “useful idiots.” He didn’t have to. His actions clearly affirmed that chunk of his narcissistic vision.

Like all communists, Lenin understood that achieving the rarified atmosphere of the elite required one to convert the masses into mountains. Per his bloody wake, how many lived or died in the process was of no concern.

American community organizer Saul Alinsky was also a Marxist – and no one has done more to insert his mentor’s thinking into 21st century America.

That success can be tracked to an ever-expanding number of useful people – some of whom live right here in Asheville.


Clinton, Obama and you?

If the term “useful idiots” conjures up images of not-so-bright order takers stumbling around at their master’s bidding, your political savvy button needs an upgrade.

Yes, we tend to think of the little man as political cannon fodder and certainly “the masses” most typically references those in lower socio-economic realities. What’s lacking in creativity, smarts and power, can be found in numbers and enthusiasm. That’s useful.

But it remains that the bright and accomplished – like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – are the most useful.

That Hillary and Barack were Alinsky acolytes is easily affirmed. Both purposefully studied or were otherwise exposed to his methods. Hillary focused her senior thesis on analyzing Alinsky’s thinking. According to Alinsky biographer Sanford Horwitt, U.S. President Barack Obama was heavily influenced by the gentleman and followed in his footsteps as a Chicago-based community organizer. Horwitt further asserted that Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign echoed Alinsky’s teachings.

But the exclamation point comes in this dynamic duo’s duplication of his model.

Alinsky’s 1971 work “Rule for Radicals” is the best source for understanding this gentleman’s mission and methods. In that text he offers list of 13 “power tactics” that can be boiled down to the following: Act bigger than you are; paralyze and exhaust the opposition with relentless attacks-pressure-rules-ridicule, highlight your positives and hide your negatives as you highlight their negatives and hide their positives; and make radicalism fun and attractive while you paint tradition as tired and ugly. Sound familiar? You can watch a rerun every time Hillary or Barrack speak in public.

For affirmation of local usefulness, note the dominating footprint of left-minded letters-to-the-editor in most of our community’s publications.

Taking the summation above, you’ll note that Alinsky’s power tactics predictably frame about 90 percent of those submissions.

Here’s the real kicker – it’s clear most of the participants are excited about their usefulness.



What was Alinsky’s end game?

Alinsky died in 1972. As regards his departure, I like the thinking of WNC native Moms Mabley – “My Mama told me to never say anything bad about the dead. Well OK. He’s dead. Good.”

Unfortunately, his footprints linger in America – just about everywhere.

Alinsky is a background co-producer for most TV stations. He edits our newspapers and administers our public schools. A dysfunctional social safety net is dominated by people who think like Alinsky and America’s universities are almost universally Alinsky propaganda outlets staffed by Alinsky followers.

Why are so many people usefully foolish? That’s easy – it’s cool to be an “A-man” for the same reason it’s fun to have unprotected sex, drink and drive, skip church, spend money you don’t have or bully an inferior. Up front, Alinsky’s approach offers all the joy and none of the hardship. He’s selling a journey, not a destination.


Alinsky’s myopic and disguised agenda was to destroy America’s traditional success equation. Like all of Marx’s anarchistic followers, his follow-up plan was a wobbly construction of platitudes, assumptions and naive promises – none with a track record of success.

As with most addicts, for Alinsky it was keeping the high that mattered – not the consequence. His end game, and thus ours if we who know better stand on the sidelines, is death and destruction.



Alinsky’s A-Game?

Affirmation of the A-Man’s success surround us. Track the long-standing Marxist roots of Antifa. Listen to entertainers turned political experts threatening harm to conservative leaders with fists, clubs, bombs, knives and guns. Witness tenured college professors, elected officials and clergy endorsing laying hands and weaponry on members of congress, conservative speakers and Trump supporters.

When, in our darkest days have we seen so many people devoted to the willful destruction of so many other Americans? The Civil War was a battle between armies. Alinsky’s war is a battle between people – and it has potential to be far worse.

A reincarnated Lenin would remember – and smile at the fact most Americans don’t believe it can happen here.


Plan B

Alinsky acolytes comes in two flavors – naïve and hooked. Both reveal themselves with one affirming credential – intractable intolerance of other people’s views. Any thinking that requires violence and fanaticism to sustain itself is not thinking and it is not sustainable.

The second group – similar to opiate enthusiasts – will find rehabilitation an unattractive alternative to the stimulations of their passion. Most will burn-out on the anger, extremism, and irrationality they have learned to unleash but not restrain.

The naïve have a chance. If you’re still one of those who comes to attention when someone says the word “progressive,” it’s never too late to rethink your place amidst those hollow ranks of conformity.

We live in a hard world and no system is perfect. We can always improve America’s traditional success equation (Liberty+Opportunity+Responsibility=Prosperity), but not with Alinskyisms. What he offers is not the steady earned success of hard work – but the empty promises of a fantasy vision. Alinsky knew how to make things different. He hadn’t a clue about how to make it better.

There is no argument that in a hard world we all need to be useful. People like Marx, Lenin, Alinsky and other social predators were and are ruthless and relentless in misusing those good intentions to dark purposes.

Please do be useful. We need you. We need each other.

We do not need more of Mr. Alinsky. 


 Carl Mumpower, a psychologist and former elected official, is chairman of the Buncombe County Republican Party. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . 




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