Retired Marine turned NC political power broker has the NCDP running scared



When Marshall Adame (a former Marine and retired Diplomat who worked with the State Department in Iraq) was elected Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Hispanic Caucus – nobody thought much about it.

Let’s face it, the Hispanic caucus had been dormant for a long time and they hadn’t made noise.  Democratic insiders figured it would take years to bring that caucus up to speed.

Well, they were wrong.

The day after Saint Marshall (as he’s called in diplomatic and clandestine circles) became Chair – he started making phone calls.  He worked a deal with other minority caucuses to form what he calls “a minority coalition.”

Now he and Willie Fleming, the former Chair of the African American Caucus of the NCDP are making plans to finally bring together, as one mighty voice (and vote), all people of color for a common goal: to get candidates elected who represent their interest.

Changing the way the game is played.

Fleming and Adame aren’t just supporting Democratic candidates because they happen to be Democratic front runners.  Both of these leaders have been called by all the major candidates running for office in North Carolina, including those running in the presidential primary.  And, both men have told the candidates the same thing: you’re not getting our support carte blanche, you’ll have to work for it.

The minority coalition is meeting this week after having several conference calls and they are hashing out their battle plans.

They’re scheduling candidates for interviews and all the candidates know when they’re called to the table, they are going to be grilled with tough questions.

Fleming told me recently in a telephone interview that he expects a significant  minority vote going to the polls in 2016 – somewhere close to 40%.

Adame is going one step further by saying “we’re not playing politics as usual.  Gone are the days where candidates can express interest in minority issues but once they’re elected those candidates forget about minorities until they need them again.”

They’re also fighting against the Democratic Party if it comes to that.

Democratic insiders are reluctant to support grassroots minority endeavors.  Mostly because insiders are afraid of a power shift away from special interest and pay-to-play.

The first thing Fleming and Adame talked about was the backlash from their own party and how to mitigate the fallout.

“We’re not going to let insiders, or anyone else, drive a wedge between this coalition and what we plan to do.  It just won’t happen,” Adame said.

But, can they make it happen?

By most accounts, yes.  Minority caucuses in NC have different opinions on some issues, but they’re willing to work for what they call the greater good.  Fleming says, “we know we won’t get everything we want and we won’t hear exactly what we want to hear from all the candidates.  But, taking all that together, we’re going to work for the candidates who represent us best – whoever those candidates may be.”

Fleming and Adame have a plan – a plan that has never been seen in NC before.  A cross between the Howard Dean strategy and Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign comes closest to explaining how they plan to get out the votes.

When all is said and done, their plans could be a game changer for North Carolina in 2016 and beyond.


In the original title, I wrote “ex Marine” to describe Marshall Adame.  That was brought to my attention and corrected.  It was pointed out that once a Marine, always a Marine.  It was a misspeak and not intended as anything derogatory.   Trust me, I’d rather brush an alligator’s teeth than to piss off a Marine – it’s safer.



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Don’t you just hate it when poor people wear nice stuff?

Picture this: an overweight woman standing in line in front of you at the grocery store checkout. When she gets to the cashier, she pulls out an EBT card from her $750 dollar Coach bag.

Burns you up doesn’t it?

Or how about a guy wearing a Ralph Lauren purple label shirt that is usually $250 dollars at Macy’s and you’re wearing a Wal-Mart button down in line behind him. He too pulls out an EBT card , this time at a convenient store, and buys a Pepsi.

Does that drive you crazy?

The first thing you think about is how hard it is for you to make a living and keep a roof over your head. Then you think that if it wasn’t for your tax payer dollars going to support these lowlifes you’d be able to buy nice things too.

But, looks can be deceiving.

Case #1:

The woman at the grocery story with the Coach bag is named Gloria. She works as a home health aide 24 hours a week. She’s tried to get a job with the local hospital for over a year and so far, no luck.

She’s got three kids and a husband trying to get disability because he can’t work after falling off a ladder cleaning gutters. He’s a roofer by trade and his back can’t take the punishment anymore. Gloria says he’s constantly in pain and sleeps maybe four hours a night because the pain wakes him up.

They’re on Medicaid because she has no insurance at work. The home care company doesn’t have full time employees.

Last month, when one of Gloria’s clients went to the hospital, her company didn’t have another client for her to take. Her hours were cut back to 20 a week for almost three weeks.

Food was hard to afford as her SNAP didn’t go up for that time period. She went to the food bank.

Oh, and that Coach bag–she got it at Goodwill and paid $25 dollars from last year’s tax refund check.

As it turns out, it was the only thing she bought herself with the extra money because the rest went to catch up bills. The refund check was a lot smaller than it had been in the past few years.

Case #2:

The guy at the convenient store is named Jerome. He works part time at a call center and he’s trying to get on full time. He says it’s hard to get on full time because the quotas are so high.

He worked at a manufacturing plant in western North Carolina up until a year ago. His was one of the last companies of that type to go out of business in the area. His unemployment ran out almost nine months ago. He was retrained for another career for free at a local community college. But, those jobs never materialized.

The plan was a company was going to build an extension onto the plant and hire another 150 people. That, so far, hasn’t happened.

He has a wife, who works minimum wage at a fast food store and a child in the second grade who gets free lunch.

Oh, and that $250 dollar Ralph Lauren shirt was bought from a thrift store in Chapel Hill. He paid $15 dollars for it along with some school close for his little girl. He’s got two shirts just like it as they both hung on a rack in the same place. He wears them both all week, alternating from one day to the next.

There are several morals to these two stories. And, there are many more real people who share the same, if not worse, hardships in North Carolina.

Despite what the politicians would have you think – North Carolina is not doing as well as you think and people judge by appearances. And, often misjudge.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong With Hillary’s Campaign

biden and hrcYesterday, as Vice President Joe Biden made his announcement in the Rose Garden, I watched Facebook weigh in and it was scary.

I’ve often said “Facebook doesn’t vote” so I’m not putting too much stock in what I read. But, I find a few things disturbing.

There are a lot of groups on Facebook supporting Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Many feminist run some of those groups and comment often on those pages.

But, because Biden didn’t make the gestures or say the right thing about Hillary apparently things they wanted to hear – the vitriol about him became overbearing.

As the day went on and the comments deepened, it is apparent that some feminist despise any male and any male’s opinion if the language doesn’t kowtow to the ordination of the first female president.

After reading the comments, some women think it’s their turn at the White House. Some even resent that Obama won in 2008. I hear and understand those concerns.

But, as a Hillary supporter, I don’t want think it is wise to see her campaign turned into a gender issue. I don’t think it will help her campaign win support on the issues. It could very well backlash and work the other way.

And more importantly, I do see that kind of hatred costing her votes in a general election (assuming she actually does win the Primary as most polls indicate).

Hillary is an accomplished politician and experienced Diplomat. There is no other person running, either Republican or Democrat, who brings to the Oval Office the acumen and qualifications she does.

Hillary Clinton is the best possible candidate to lead this nation into 2020.

For her to win the presidency – it will take male voters to go to the polls and vote for her.  It will also take women, African Americans, Latinos and Asians. 

In all honesty, I thought we were past some this vitriol – but if we’re not and if gender (and the negative language against men deepens) it will do nothing but make it harder for her to push forward toward the White House.

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The Marshall Plan for the NCDP

adame 2A few weeks ago, Marshall Adame won Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party Hispanic Caucus. By many accounts that caucus had been stagnant for the past two years as interest waned and participation slowed.

Marshall wants to change that, and he has an ambitious plan.

Marshall’s plan is for the Hispanic caucus to catch fire – not only with Latinos but with the rest of North Carolina Democrats as well.

adame 1“Latinos are making up a large portion of NC,” Marshall told me a few days ago. “It’s a resource that hasn’t been tapped. And, I intend to tap into that energy.”

Adame isn’t doing it alone; he has the help and enthusiasm of four other officers of the Hispanic caucus who won election at the same time.

1ST VICE CHAIR Juvencio Rocha-Peralta
2ND VICE CHAIR Ricardo Velasquez
SECRETARY Carolina Fonseca
TREASURER Tamara Bartreau

Marshall’s talking point is about “leveraging hope” as he outlined in a video he made a few days ago introducing himself as Hispanic caucus chair. You can watch the video here:

If Marshall is correct, close to 500,000 registered Latino voters can make a tremendous difference in the next North Carolina election process. There’s a lot riding on this 2016 political race, as the governor’s mansion and Senator Richard Burr’s seat are up for grabs.

The questions now become will the Latinos turn out to vote and will they turn out the vote for Democrat candidates?

Marshall Adame says yes. And, if Marshall’s energy is any sign of what his actions my entail, I think he might be on to something.

Adame is a hardworking man and passionate about his activism as evident by his past political experiences.

Adame ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008, in the primary, and 2012, in the general election against twenty-two-year incumbent Republican Walter Jones. His losses weren’t due to an absence of hard work—on the contrary; Marshall worked those races from sun up to sun down – sometimes to the chagrin of his wife of 46 years, Becky Adame.

But, Marshall was in an R+10, a heavily gerrymandered eastern North Carolina district. And, it hurt that for the first time in one hundred and twenty years, North Carolina voted into office a Republican supermajority in the state legislature.

Adame also ran for the Chairmanship of the North Carolina Democratic Party last year. He entered that race late after the urging of many state Democrats looking for a change.

In the short time he campaigned for Chair, Marshall gathered a third of the State Executive Committee votes and took most of the rural counties across North Carolina. Not a bad showing at all, considering he went up against a vetted Democratic insider powered by the almighty Jim Hunt machine.

But, Marshall Adame is much more complex and his political races only tell a small part of his story.

Marshall began his life in humble surroundings. He and his brother were homeless for much of their teenage years – living hand to mouth, scavenging food from dumpsters and trashcans and doing what they could to make ends meet.

Part of Marshall’s activism stems from knowing what it is like to live homeless and hungry. He and his brother banded together as homeless youths, and Marshall, even at that young age, was as much of a protector as his older brother was.

The story could end here and it would be a book worth writing.

Marshall entered the Marines having lied about his age to enlist. “It was the only thing I could do. And, it saved my life,” Adame told a gathering in Pitt County during his 2012 run for Congress.

Marshall went to Vietnam and stayed with the Marines when his tour was over. The Marines educated him and taught him leadership but he learned compassion from his early years of living on the streets of Los Angeles.

After Marshall retired from the Marine Corp he worked for the State Department. Of all the things Adame has done in his life – two things stand out in my mind. He saved the country millions of dollars as he played a senior role in wartime contract oversight and he saved the lives of more than one person in Iraq. He put his own life in peril to save others.

Between all of this, Marshall settled down in Jacksonville, NC and raised a wonderful loving family.

As Marshall will tell you, it’s no small miracle he’s here to tell his story or become the Chair of the North Carolina Hispanic Caucus.

He’s the only person I know of whom Blackwater, a wartime contractor working in Iraq, threatened to kill when he exposed their tactics in a newspaper article.

I doubt the Democrats will be that tenacious, but then again?

So, what is the Marshall Plan for the North Carolina Democratic Party? His vision is to organize as many Latinos in as many counties and precincts as possible.

He also wants to band with other minority caucuses throughout the state and collectively have a big voice.

Marshall has big dreams and a lot of energy – it will take both to move North Carolina forward. My feeling is that he will have to fight some Democrats as well.

Parts of the Democratic Party are fractured and Adame understands the task is large.

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The Case For Joe Biden’s Presidential Run

biden 2I have no way of knowing if the Vice President is getting into the 2016 presidential race. But, as I listen to the banter in Democratic circles, there definitely is something missing.  Maybe, just maybe, Biden can add a necessary ingredient to this cycle.

It’s too late for him to get in and effectively run a successful race.

No, not by a long shot; if Biden were to announce, the speculation would go away almost immediately. It would be as if he’s been in the race all along and he would hit the ground running.

There’s no point in Biden announcing just to split the vote from Hillary or Bernie.

Nonsense. This is America – and it’s still a democracy. We don’t predetermine a candidate’s acumen for the presidency before they have had a chance to throw their hat into the ring. And, we surely shouldn’t depend on media polls and cable news sound bites to decide who is best to run our country for the next four years.

Biden would only be a continuation of Obama’s Administration.

Really? I don’t see it that way but if that were the case would it be so bad? I see Joe Biden as his own man with his own issues. The Obama administration and the Office of the Vice President haven’t always seen eye to eye on every issue. Keep in mind that Biden was way ahead of Obama with same sex marriage.

What gives Biden a reason to run anyway?

Joe Biden is the only candidate who is respected across both sides of the isle. He has worked with Republicans and Democrats, finding common ground along the way, in an effort to enact legislation. Often, he’s been the go between from the White House to Capitol Hill.

There’s really on 40 or so members of Congress who have continually not worked with Biden: the Freedom Caucus. But, then again – they don’t work with anyone on the Hill.

I would like to see Biden run. It would be refreshing to have a president such as him; someone who has known heartache and has paid a heavy price but yet still picked himself up and pushed forward.

That’s the American dream in action – and that’s America.

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I’m not dead, yet!

I’ve had many email over the past few weeks wishing me a speedy recovery from my heart attack.

Thanks to all who have sent well wishes.

I’ll be back soon – I’m not dead . . . yet!  :)

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Kindle Screwed Self-Help Authors

A quick story:

The big multi-billion dollar corporation, Amazon, has changed the way they pay independent authors who write self-help.

Under the old system, called Kindle Unlimited 1.0, authors who wrote shorter books of twenty to fifty pages were paid around $1.35 per book if it was borrowed in Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon started Kindle Unlimited a few years ago, charging customers $9.99 per month to read as many books as they wanted.

What was good about it?  Many authors were writing very good self-help and how-to books that condensed down the padding many publishers like to see.

Traditional publishers want 300 page books because they’ve conditioned readers into thinking larger content means more worth.

It does not.

But, they get authors to pad books with “this is the story of Jenny and she overcame (blah, blah, blah).  I can do without the padding – in fact, I think it takes away from the book.

When KU 1.0 hit, many authors jumped at the chance to write REAL books that gave good information and were quick reads.

I was one of those authors.

Since the advent of Kindle Unlimited 2.0, authors are now paid one half cent per page.  So, a forty page book will yield me now, not the $2.08 as in KU 1.0, but 20 cents.  That’s hardly worth the time and effort to sit in front of a computer for hours researching and writing.

It’s not just self-help and how-to authors like myself – it’s all indie authors: erotic, romance, thriller, and horror short story writers.

The worst part (assuming this isn’t bad enough)

Many authors were starting to make cash – enough cash to do this full time.  Many authors I have spoken with love writing and helping others through their books.  But, not – it’s just not economically feasible to spend the time publishing when so many books are on the market and you make so little.

There are many ways to read up on how to do something, many ways to get self-help information but Amazon was a go-to source for many readers.

I personally know of several authors who are pulling out.  Some are going wide (distributing with B&N and other outlets) but others are just pulling out of the business, entirely.

It’s a shame and an example of how Amazon has gotten so big that they don’t blink over the fallout and what their actions do to other people – including authors.

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