Collateral damage

By Steve Woodward

Should any intelligent, proud American be shocked or dismayed by the staggering number of (left wing) politicians, and their disengaged constituents, feigning compassion for children of illegal immigrants while expressing disdain for U.S. border security? Our mutual security.

Not in an age when the recent former editor of The Wall Street Journal, no less, writes that radical socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is “one of the most important political figures of our age” while he questions “capitalism’s limitations in answering deeper human needs.” Will Gerard Baker, now Editor at Large, soon entertain an offer from The New York Times? He certainly seems to be auditioning.

Not in an age when Gillette, decades long maker of men’s grooming products, launches a campaign likely to enrage many of its customers across multiple generations. The campaign boils down to, “Buy our razors but, please, stop being masculine, male and a societal toxin.” It’s a safe bet that the best a man can get for shaving soon will be another brand, any other brand. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, might be forced to rename Gillette Stadium, perhaps inking a naming rights deal with #MeToo.

Admittedly, these are trivial examples in contrast to the real world tragedies imposed by illegals pouring across our southern border. But the mainstream, drive-by, anti-Donald Trump media, appendages of the “new” Democratic Party, are far more invested in decrying “income inequality” or “toxic masculinity” than reporting on a 14-year-old girl forced to work as a prostitute.

It happened just outside of Washington, D.C. The ABC television affiliate (WJLA) reported it, but not Associated Press, not The Washington Post, not The Washington Times, and other local TV stations. Many digital outlets picked up on the WJLA report, including The Western Journal:

Felix Silva-Zuniga is an alleged associate of the MS-13 gang who was in this country illegally, according to WJLA-TV. He’s accused of paying a gang leader $100 for access to a 14-year-old girl, raping her, and secretly recording the encounter to blackmail the teen into providing more sex.

Silva-Zuniga, 52, is a native Honduran. Before she was raped, the girl had been trafficked to the D.C. area, where she was forced to work as a cocktail waitress during drug deals.

Meanwhile, out on Long Island in New York the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has tied a legal loophole that is exploited at the southern border to the recent beating of a Huntington, N.Y., teenager by MS-13 thugs. DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman explains what happened:

Two of the suspects entered into the country illegally through the unaccompanied alien child loophole in the Rio Grande Valley. … Not only are the alleged assailants MS-13 gang members, but they entered the country illegally as unaccompanied alien children from the Northern Triangle. The Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act incentivizes unaccompanied alien children to enter the country illegally with little to no chance of ever being removed.

Democrats need to drag Hillary Clinton away from her Chardonnay barrels and make her their anti-border security spokesperson. She could dust off one of her all-timers: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

That, sadly, seems to be the prevailing Democrat illogic. We do not need to close loopholes; we need to open our arms to the “children” (but only the ones CNN camera crews discover). We do not need border security; we need to secure a pathway to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. We do not need a wall or barriers because that is so unenlightened, so 2013, so Trumpian.

If there must be, now and then, collateral damage such as 14-year-olds threatened and raped, so be it. If there must be federal employees denied pay, so be it. What difference does it make?

Where true leaders go

By Connie Lovell

Peggy Noonan, in a year-end column for The Wall Street Journal, asks “Trump insiders” to speak candidly about how the administration conducts the people’s business.  Two years are indeed enough time to evaluate the conduct of our government—including the duplicity in Congress and the vigilante style of the Justice Department and the IRS. Yet Ms. Noonan focuses her ire on President Donald Trump while overlooking these and other malefactors.

When the press stretches facts about events on Capitol Hill and in the bureaucracy, when the Justice Department decides to obfuscate facts and ignore subpoenas, when we learn that Congress has a secret slush fund to silence sexual-harassment accusers, these scandals often are made public by Trump insiders willing to speak honestly about what Americans have long suspected.

jim mattis
Gen. James Mattis

When Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned his post, we heard his message. The former general is in the fight to win, as is expected of a fine career officer. Yet others in the administration argue candidly that it is futile to fight a war for 18 years without rules of engagement sufficient to defeat our enemy. Experience tells us that peace does not come through empty promises and plane loads of cash.

There are indeed many books about the chaos in the Trump administration. But there also are many others authored by supporters of the president, willing to put their reputations on the line in defense of the president’s accomplishments and his right to govern.

Ms. Noonan suggests that honest Trump insiders are cowed by the president’s operatives, becoming “figures of “obloquy.” I am not a Trump insider but I am not afraid to speak up on the president’s behalf. I voted for him to expose the inner sanctum we call our government and shed light on the corruption we all know exists. He has persevered to the point of friction and beyond, and that is where true leaders go.

Originally published as a letter-to-the-editor in The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 4, 2019

A soft coup d’etat ensues

By Steve Woodward

The walls are closing in on Donald Trump, pundits and politicians now agree. Michael Cohen has turned on him. What else does he know? There is no proof of Russian collusion, but campaign finance violations will do the job. Robert Mueller is taking no prisoners. James Comey brags that he “got away” with FBI agents grilling General Michael Flynn without counsel present, thrilled to ruin a patriot who joined Trump’s orbit. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer wag their disapproving fingers at Trump with cameras rolling in the Oval Office because, well, he’s an unworthy President.

And, yet …

WASHINGTON (Reuters): The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits tumbled to near a 49-year low (in early December), which could ease concerns about a slowdown in the labor market and economy.

Democrats/Media: Trump and the Republicans must be stopped.

Infrastructure boomThe Wall Street Journal: State and local government investment in roads, bridges, buildings and other infrastructure hasn’t returned to its previous peak, but it is now showing signs—late in the expansion—of a real recovery. Bigger state and local tax collections, propelled in part by an acceleration in sales-tax receipts from consumer spending, is boosting capital projects and driving a municipal borrowing boom.

Democrats/Media: Trump and the Republicans must be stopped.

Breitbart: In October, imports used in computer manufacturing amounted to over $40 billion. That represents a savings of about $640 million over what they would have paid for those products a year earlier – more than half of the additional tariff payments. A big part of the tariffs are actually being paid by foreign manufacturers who now receive fewer dollars for their goods. People who think they have a better understanding of trade than the president like to mock Trump for saying that China and others pay tariffs but evidence suggests Trump has it right.

Democrats/Media: Trump and the Republicans must be stopped.

The Daily Caller: U.S. oil production hit 11.7 million barrels a day during the week ending Nov. 16. That’s unchanged from the previous week, but up significantly from the week ending Nov. 9. Oil companies are pulling more than 2 million barrels more out of the ground now than during the same time period in 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported. That’s a 21-percent increase in oil production in the past year.

Democrats/Media: Trump and the Republicans must be stopped.

Rush Limbaugh: “I feel duty-bound to warn you and to give you a heads-up about what we’re gonna face. Donald Trump’s gonna have perhaps the most embattled presidency in — well, certainly in our lifetimes, and I dare say maybe in modern American history. They’re not going to quit and they are a new kind of stupid. They are not logical. They make no sense whatsoever. But they are going to have the media on their side, and that’s the danger.”

Rush uttered these words Nov. 22, 2016. Sadly, he was deadly accurate. But there is solace to be found in knowing that Donald Trump never quits.

 

 

 

Fraud cloud over NC 9

By Steve Woodward

Bladen County has a checkered history as a vote fraud hotbed in North Carolina. Democrats have complained about it for nearly a decade because they rarely win in the 9th District, which includes Bladen. But at least one Republican acknowledges a similar trend.

“Over that period of time authorities have failed to get to the bottom of that problem,” State Senator Dan Bishop said during a recent news conference covered by Carolina Journal. “The problem is not being solved by prosecutorial authority so far, and certainly not by the state board of elections over three administrations” spanning Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, Republican Pat McCrory, and sitting Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

For now, the final count in the race for the U.S. House seat in the 9th finds Republican Mark Harris, a Baptist pastor, holding a 905-vote lead on Democrat Dan McCready, but the state refuses to certify the result because a few volunteers came forward with stories of absentee ballot mishandling. Harris could use some divine intervention about now.

The alleged perpetrator is a Bladen County political activist, an otherwise obscure soil and water conservation supervisor and convicted felon, Leslie McCrae Dowless, Jr., who has worked in at least five campaigns since 2010, The Washington Post reports.

National media outlets have been paying attention, presumably because they salivate at the possibility that another reliably Republican House seat will flip to a Democrat. The right-leaning The Wall Street Journal editorial board has taken notice of the drama in western North Carolina, even while scolding “Democrats (who often) insist that vote fraud is a myth”:

“Forty percent of the mail-in ballots for Bladen County were never returned, and it was 62% for neighboring Robeson County. That compares with 24% district-wide. So one suspicion is that Mr. Dowless could have perhaps destroyed hundreds of Democratic ballots.”

The word “perhaps” hangs over the resulting count because, ultimately, investigators have only the claims of volunteer absentee-ballot collectors recruited by Dowless — and voters who say their ballots were handed over to these collectors — as evidence of fraud. Unlike Broward County, Fla., mysterious boxes of ballots, mailed in or cast on election day, have yet to materialize in Bladen or Robeson.

The WSJ’s editorial did not conclude that fraud occurred in NC’s 9th. But it rightly shed light on the perils of making fraud easier than it should be.

“One lesson from this mess is the folly of pushing to expand ballot access without regard for ballot integrity. North Carolina implemented ‘no excuse’ early voting in 2000, which was expanded in 2002 to mail-in ballots. Previously, a voter had to demonstrate he was sick or would be out of town.”

The point is well taken and should be reviewed thoroughly by the state’s election officials, especially given North Carolina’s growing national reputation as the home of election chaos. And if you think court ordered re-districting wreaked havoc this election cycle, TheHill.com reports there looms a daunting worst-case scenario if the state decides a new election between Harris and McCready in the 9th is not necessary.

Observes TheHill.com: “The U.S. House of Representatives, which has the ultimate authority over congressional elections, can also call for a special election, which would trigger a new filing process, to be followed by a primary and general election (our emphasis added).”

If this happens, not only will Mark Harris be missing as the elected representative of his district on Capitol Hill, our state will have no elected representative in the halls of Congress for the foreseeable future.

The state board of elections holds an evidentiary hearing on Dec. 21.

Bush 41

By Steve Woodward

Fox New Channel political analyst Chris Stirewalt, a marvelously plain talker, provided a first take in the moments after President George Herbert Walker Bush was memorialized and commended to God inside the Washington National Cathedral, December 5.

“It made me very proud of my country,” Stirewalt said, because the service was a demonstration of civility by and between political enemies in a polarized age. “We should hold (elected officials) to it.”

In other words, Bush 41 is gone but his legacy has a chance, albeit slim, to thaw the ideological cold war that is poisoning our nation and corrupting our media.

There were moments perhaps we never thought we’d see during the eulogies. Hillary Clinton smiling, really glowing. Who else could possibly evoke joy from such an embittered, tormented human being? She is. This not criticism. Or, James Baker crying uncontrollably as he contemplated spending the finals hours of his dear friend’s life at his bedside. Baker’s public image is stalwart, serious. He is a man with a Texas-style stiff upper lip.

It also was impossible to overlook that traditional marriage is alive and well in both parties in an era of endless pandering to gay marriage and transgenderism. George W. and Laura. Donald Trump and Melania. Barack Obama and Michelle. Bill Clinton and Hillary. Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn. The institution of marriage remains, for now, bi-partisan, at least among our leaders.

Historian Jon Meacham, probably not a Republican, but a celebrated presidential historian, author and, as exhibited in the Cathedral, master orator, was pointed in his praise of Bush 41 as a fighter, a man firm in his convictions, one who did not merely settle into what was to be a life of privilege.

George H.W. Bush could have been an oilman, period. He could have done anything he wanted to do. Bone fishing. Golfing at the world’s most exclusive venues. Hanging out at the family compound in Maine. Living a private life with his beloved Barbara. Attending philanthropic galas.

But instead he chose to serve his country, subject himself to media taunting (remember when he “lost his lunch” at a ceremonial dinner in Japan), immerse himself in the unification of Germany, the final chapter of the Cold War, despite its risks. He was not afraid to take on the toughest challenges of his times.

The man with an aisle seat in the front row of the Cathedral at the memorial is repeating the choices Bush 41 made. Lead. Take risks. Go full-throttle. Forsake a life of comfort and privilege. Subject your spouse to the unrelenting scrutiny cast upon a First Lady.

Trump haters never will buy into it, but the parallels are inescapable. No, Trump never flew a military aircraft into a perilous mission. He never worked in Washington’s corridors of power. He is not a George H.W. Bush in demeanor.

But if a President is to be judged by playing the hand he is dealt and marching toward the fight, fending off the arrows of naysayers and incoming media fire, I’d guess Bush 41 is from a distance rooting for Trump 45 now that Bush is free of the vexing nature of living in an imperfect world, as someday we all will be.

 

 

The $300 million elephant

By Steve Woodward

State Treasurer Dale Folwell has identified with tremendous clarity his next mission to keep North Carolina financially secure. He wants to prevent healthcare providers, UNC Health foremost among them, from fleecing the health plan for state employees to the tune of $300 million in the next several years.

Folwell, the first Republican state treasurer in 142 years, is sounding alarms in Raleigh. Many knew it was coming and yet still do not want to hear them.

Dale Folwell.111918He brought his message to Moore County Republican Men’s Club members and guests on November 19 in Pinehurst by raising a question that is both query and disparagement of the current system. “I know what you’re charging (the plan),” Folwell said. “What am I supposed to pay you?”

In other words, why don’t I know what I’m paying for before I decide on a course of treatment? This is otherwise known as competitive pricing. Capitalism, actually.

Reports the Winston-Salem Journal:

“Folwell wants to change how health care providers are reimbursed in an initiative that could save SHP members up to $60 million initially and $300 million overall. The plan is North Carolina’s largest purchaser of medical and pharmaceutical services at $3.2 billion in 2017. It represents more than 720,000 teachers, state employees, current and former lawmakers, state university and community college personnel and their dependents, and non-Medicare retirees and their dependents.”

When Folwell asked UNC Healthcare to provide documentation it hid behind patient privacy concerns. He asked a simple question and received redacted documents in reply. Folwell challenged UNC Healthcare to detail what medical procedures and pharmaceuticals actually cost and to prove that the state is receiving the discounts it negotiated. At the recent Men’s Club luncheon, Folwell displayed the thick stack of documents which appeared to have been generated by a faulty printer. No data, just page after page of blacked-out information. UNC Healthcare has raised a finger to the state treasurer. It’s the middle digit.

Why does Folwell persist? He knows waste and excess when he sees it. The state’s pension funds were paying Wall Street custodians $700 million in management fees when Folwell took office in 2016. He already has trimmed those fees by $100 million. Real money.

Currently, the state budget covers around four percent of the state health plan’s $3.3 billion — with a B — annual budget, even as annual healthcare costs are rising by 6.5 percent and pharmaceutical costs are projected to increase by 9 percent.

“The track we are on is not sustainable,” Folwell said in Pinehurst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilot embraces Trump hate

By Steve Woodward

The Pilot’s editorial standards achieved a new low when editors published a letter by Clifton Frye (The Morning After, Nov. 10) in which the author drew comparisons between the President of the United States in 2018, Donald Trump, and Germany’s Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

Mr. Frye contends President Trump is a “(Russian Premier Vladimir) Putin-lover” and unconcerned about “home grown terrorist attacks”. What delusion. Domestic terrorism is driven by the refusal of citizens to be vigilant about their neighbors’ mental health issues and by the continuous illegal entry of undocumented individuals, which Democrats openly facilitate.

Being “bankrupted and sued” – which Mr. Frye assigns as a Trump flaw — comes with the territory of running a large commercial real estate empire. Bankruptcy is aided and abetted by Democrats who delight in seeing companies reorganize, which is the essence of bankruptcy. This is far different from liberal states, where pensions are bankrupt with no solutions to restructure them, save for raising taxes – again and again.

Mr. Frye says the President “feeds on divisive rhetoric”. Why? Because he desires to Make America Great Again, a goal shared by millions, control our southern borders and denounce trade partners who have taken advantage of our country for decades?

The notion that this positions President Trump as a modern day “Hitler” revolts Jewish Harvard University law scholar and lifetime Democrat Alan Dershowitz.

“It’s a horrible analogy because it’s a form of Holocaust denial,” Dershowitz said. “When you say Trump’s like Hitler what you’re saying is that the Jews of Germany and the Jews of Poland didn’t suffer anymore than we’re suffering now, and that there were no gas chambers, that there were no death camps.”

None of this occurred to the Pilot’s editorial board?