Censored

By Steve Woodward

This post is comprised of two Letters to the Editor submitted to The Pilot. To date, they have not been published despite their timely subject matter.

Written August 24, 2020

How many times an hour does mainstream media breathlessly remind us about the deadly coronavirus? Every chance it gets, with an emphasis on “cases”, any one of which might prove to be, you guessed it, deadly, and could indicate a new wave of positives. “Could” and “might” are vital armaments in virus weaponization and the war on common sense.

Perhaps if we paid serious attention to what else is actually deadly we’d recognize that Dr. Anthony Fauci would not have the market on fear mongering cornered. Have we seen these headlines very often? Ever?

Deadly Black Lives Matter Marxists fuel gun violence in Louisville, New York, Portland, Seattle.

Deadly Chicago weekend: five killed, 61 shot. 

Deadly Sanctuary Cities see surge in crime, murders, disease spread.

Deadly Planned Parenthood performed record 345,000-plus abortions during 2017-18.

Attacks on police officers on the rise nationwide with often deadly outcomes. 

Potentially deadly side effects of depression amid virus mounting.

A drug with 60-year record touted by President Trump, hydroxychloroquine, could be deadly. Virus vaccine expected to be approved in months, 100% safe, should be mandatory.

President Obama endures media firestorm as deadly 2009-10 H1N1 pandemic claims lives of at least 540 children in U.S.

As vice president, Biden supported Obama’s refusal to secure Benghazi compound resulting in deadly consequences on September 11, 2012.

These are just a few of the many headlines rarely written or remembered. What this year’s hysteria is rooted in is a presumption of absolute safety to which remarkably large numbers of us seemingly adhere. But the reality is this planet of ours is a killing machine both owed to nature’s fury and man’s evil. Cowering at home with layers of masks and barrels of hand sanitizer cannot protect anyone from his destiny.

*************

Written July 13, 2020

With my wife and mother, I worshipped inside the historic walls of The Village Chapel in Pinehurst on July 12. It is one of very few area churches exhibiting faith and courage by re-opening. 

What does this say about our culture? I believe it says that religious persecution is escalating. Amid virus hysteria, clergy and church elders should denounce government-imposed bans on in-person worship. Instead, they cower and comply even while disingenuously paying lip service to divine provenance during Facebook Live “services”.

Pushing back against tyrannical government figures requires gathering on Sundays in the presence of God to call upon him to embolden Americans and fill us with the spirit of our founders. A classic hymn contains these words: “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.”

If Christians are afraid to march through the doors of a church, the battles ahead will be mismatches. These battles will come. They are raging in American streets. Monuments are toppled without consequence. Businesses are looted in the name of racial inequality. Masked citizens meanwhile hide in shadows, washing their hands of responsibility.

What will believers do when religious statues and churches are targeted, as surely they will be? Why? Young Americans are emerging from universities as trained Marxists, God despising, undeterred by societal norms. 

In July, a Catholic church in Ocala, Fla., was set ablaze during mass. The perpetrator, 24, drove his vehicle inside and used gasoline to fuel a fire. He said he is on a mission. 

And he is not alone. Has a lifetime of worship and sermonizing prepared American believers to oppose our persecutors, both soft tyrants and violent militants? Or must we acknowledge that the freedom for which generations fought and died is defenseless against anarchists and a politicized virus?

American Al Qaeda

By Steve Woodward

If we are expected to patiently observe a phasing in of a return to freely living our daily lives amid Wuhan Virus hysteria, should we not expect, demand, a phasing out of domestic terrorism overwhelming our urban streets? Government had all of the solutions for the former, issued as “emergency” orders, but suddenly is silent on how to combat the latter. No orders.

Radical left Democrat mayors and governors (including North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper) have repeatedly admonished us to “stay at home”, followed by guidance that we are “safer at home”. Now, it turns out they were right but for the wrong reason. Cooper expressed that he was “frustrated” by mounting unlawful riots in the state’s urban centers after an incident in Minnesota involving a white police officer and black man. But where was the executive order to call in the National Guard, where was the order declaring Antifa and its network of at-the-ready flamethrowers what they are, domestic terrorists? (President Trump took care of that on Sunday).

Political tyranny suddenly has yielded to political gamesmanship and anarchy in the streets not far from home, in Charlotte, Fayetteville and Raleigh. If states and municipalities were not prepared for the invisible Wuhan Virus, they certainly have been shown even more ill-prepared to combat highly visible and well orchestrated assaults on private businesses and innocent citizens.

Quite the one-two punch. The virus shatters small businesses’ finances; the street thugs shatter their windows and recent returns to semi-normalcy. If the left saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to allow virus hysteria to take down the U.S. economy, just imagine how their heads must be spinning at the thought of leveraging renewed racial tensions, largely staged and carried out with great precision. They mobilize suddenly and formidably in a way reminiscent of Al Qaeda and Isis, as if they have lingered in the shadows until the moment arrives. The big difference is that these terrorists are bred from within our society.

During Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I strolled the neighborhoods and streets of Charleston, S.C. As I write, King Street in the heart of Charleston was covered in glass fragments and debris when the sun came up on May 31. A week ago, no one would have suggested there was radical tension in the air. Maybe it was simmering, but Charleston was not a city that felt tense. It felt open and resilient.

A few years ago, I directed regional marketing for a restaurant chain that had one of its locations on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. On the evening of May 30, a brick took out a glass panel in the restaurant, and the carnage was far worse heading up the street toward the State Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion, according to photos and video posted to social media. I spent many days and nights in downtown Raleigh, famous for its recurring street fairs. Downtown Raleigh is an emerging and thriving place as more high rise apartments spring up and more jobs come to town (courtesy of new inhabitants such open-source software firm Red Hat). What Raleigh is not — until recent days — is a city brimming with overt racial tension. During Cooper’s unconstitutional lockdown, a series of #ReOpenNC Tuesday protests, attended by all races and ethnicities, were conducted peacefully with only a handful of symbolic arrests, no police showdowns and absolutely zero property damage.

The current violent uprisings have happened before, as recently as 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore. They are happening now. They are likely to happen again. Why? The left blames our society for refusing to have a “serious conversation” about racial prejudice in our country. Cooper insists the latest protests arose to address “real systemic racism”. This is entirely disingenuous. The nation’s most impoverished, racially divided (measured by economic prosperity gaps) metro areas have been controlled and manipulated by Democrat politicians for decades. Their government solutions, their social engineering policies and cyclical programs to ingrain welfare dependency are deliberate. Yet conservatives are the racists. Just ask any mainstream media organization.

Without a hint of irony, a Washington Post columnist makes this recent observation: “It’s also notable that the cities where we’ve seen the most social unrest following high-profile police abuse cases — Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee and now Minneapolis — are cities with a well-documented history of police discrimination, abuse and violence. These are the cities where black people were probably more likely to have had their own bad experiences with police and, presumably, more likely to see themselves or someone they know in the shoes of Freddie Gray (Baltimore, 2015) or Laquan McDonald (Chicago, 2014) or Tamir Rice (Cleveland, 2014).”

And what else do these cities have in common? Democrat mayors appointing police chiefs who continue to preside over unethical, undisciplined forces comprised of cops who protect the bad actors in the department to uphold the fraternal code. (The Minneapolis cop charged with third-degree murder in the death of the apprehended George Floyd had 18 previous complaints about his conduct in uniform in his personnel file). This, rather than cleaning house, extracting the dangerous cops from the roster and finding ways to actually address racial tensions between law enforcement and young people caught in up in multi-generational hopelessness.

We’ve been told for two months to wash our hands. Turns out, Gov. Cooper and fellow Democrat governors, Democrat mayors and law enforcement leadership washed their collective hands and withdrew compassion for the most vulnerable long ago. The virus is not the worst blight on our society, after all.

 

 

 

Stay solvent

By Steve Woodward
The North Carolina General Assembly unanimously allocated $1.6 billion to fund Wuhan Virus relief programs two weeks ago. The money was sourced out of a pot of $4 billion sent down from Washington through the federal CARES Act.
Although no explanation as to the timing was offered, two bills were filed in the state Senate only last Thursday to tap into those federal funds in an effort to rescue state restaurants crippled by dine-in restrictions.
Return America
A Return America rally in Raleigh, Jones Street, May 14, 2020, coincided with a lawsuit filing that later overturned Gov. Cooper’s ban on worship service gatherings.

The Save Our Restaurants Act proposes the appropriation of $125 million, with $50 million targeting “restaurant stabilization”, and $75 million targeting “hotel stabilization”. The bill for whatever reason proclaims compassion for restaurants but allocates more money to hotels, many of which never have closed. In fact hotels are open while churches subsequently were ordered to close by Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper. (Saturday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order overturning church closures after a lawsuit was filed by Return America with the support of Republican state Rep. Keith Kidwell, D-79).

The genesis of the hotel-restaurant bill, and a parallel bill to support expansion of mixed beverage sales to take-out and delivery orders, will come as a surprise to Republicans, the party of small business and free-market capitalism. The two bills’ sponsors are Senate Democrats, Jay Chaudhuri (D-15, Wake County) and first-termer Harper Peterson (D-9, New Hanover), himself a restaurant owner.
Upon closer inspection, the Save bill is not likely to be a game changer for independent restaurants relegated to take-out service the past two months and facing deeply felt uncertainty going forward. If there is a forward. The most any restaurant will be loaned under the bill’s current language is $50,000. That’s right, it’s not even a typical Democrat bailout. It’s a loan at 3.5% interest. The bill is so weak that it gives Republicans an opening to counter it with a bill that actually sustains restaurants. It’s a no-brainer.
“I wish more of our (state) officials would get out and the realize the damage, and stop looking to the federal branch to fix things,” a Moore County chef told me. “They seem to think we will just bounce back.”
A glimmer of optimism was delivered Monday by Gov. Cooper, who described himself as “hopeful” that his incremental re-opening plan for small business will move into a long awaited Phase 2 this Saturday. Cooper also, for the first time, said he would consider regional re-openings as he stated the obvious, that “it’s important to cushion the blow to the economy.”
The blow was struck weeks ago, in reality, and will only come into sharper view as state tax revenues begin to crater. Furthermore, Cooper continues to insist that Phase 2 would extend four to six weeks, leaving already suffocating restaurants, salons and fitness clubs operating at reduced capacity. For eateries, dine-in or patio seating at 50% for an excruciating month or longer will hardly launch a turnaround and will keep employment way down.
The worst case scenario is not that people will die indefinitely from complications from the Wuhan Virus. Even the most extreme doomsayers are not pushing that narrative. Worst case is that businesses of longstanding close, never to return, even as the state sits on billions of federal relief that has not been allocated, and even as state lawmakers flirt with crushing debt by the temptation of receiving another round. The Democrats in Washington have created a new bailout monstrosity carrying a $3 trillion price tag (but it never will clear the Senate).
“When considering how best to structure federal aid, I think the best image to keep in mind is a shock absorber,” wrote John Hood, chairman of the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation. “As a condition for accepting any new round of federal funds, (state) governments should be required to restate their unfunded liabilities using honest accounting and then submit a clear plan for discharging the debt.”
This is essentially what legitimately small businesses are required to do if they were among those who managed to apply for and receive funds under the bungled Paycheck Protection Program via the original $2.2 trillion CARES Act. If it turns out they do not have enough employees left to use 75% of the PPP for payroll, the money received converts from a grant to a loan. For many, it’s not a matter of staying safe but staying solvent.

Socialism distancing

By Steve Woodward

A famous insurance company jingle repeats in my head as the iron boot of government imposes ever more suffocating restraints except where federal spending is concerned.

“Liberty, liberty, liberty. Liberty!”

In that vein, let us revisit the origin of the acronym used to identify our blog. RESOLVE: Republicans for Security, Opportunity, Liberty and Victory that Endures. More than at any point in post-World War II America, we are in dire need of resolve in its literal sense. By contrast, the acronym is not holding up. Security, opportunity and liberty do not co-exist at all with our invisible enemy spawned in China, COVID-19. Enduring victory will come. But when?

We all have had time, way too much time, to read and ponder how, as proud Americans, Republicans, Conservatives and freedom warriors, we should be responding to the unfathomable things besetting our nation, and the world. My conclusion is that liberty, speech and prosperity are worth fighting for in the best of times, when they can be taken for granted, but are especially worth fighting for when times are dire, when leadership is tested and waning, and when hysteria is spreading.

That time is here. Curl up and shut up, the conventional wisdom shouts. Be afraid. Do what you are told. Stay home. People are dying. Don’t complain about losing your job, about sports events being cancelled. And, please, stop whining about not being able to worship in your church. This is not a time to turn to God. This is a time for government.

People have been dying since the day each of us was born. They died en masse during plagues throughout history, when man had no medical weapons. They died in wars, when man invented weapons. They die when they are young, in their prime. (We’ve lost two young professionals in our community in the past few months to mysterious, fluke deaths). They die in tragic aviation crashes on a foggy Sunday morning (Kobie Bryant and his teen-aged daughter and her friends). They die in the middle of the night, stricken by acute asthma (my mother-in-law, age 54).  They die of natural causes. They die because they want to (suicide; two in my family). And the opposite holds true. I was acquainted with a woman who lived through the 1917-18 epidemic, went on to compete for the United States as an Olympian in 1920 and 1924, and survived to age 100 after attending the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

We live amid death on earth. It is part of life. That’s the perspective I am adopting. That gives me a green light to express concerns, to be downright ornery, about what is playing out here aside from escalating virus statistics.

First and foremost, please exercise socialism distancing. In other words, do not be a COVID-iot. With that in mind, do not fear you lack compassion if you, like me, are leery of the $2.2 trillion CARE stimulus. We will rue the day Republicans caved on this. We will rue the day Democrat Governor Cooper shut down bars and restaurants in our state without a plan to sustain them, leaving it to the feds. Anecdotally, I can report that local restaurants open for take out have had to downsize menus because suppliers are prioritizing deliveries to grocery stores, which are open without restrictions. Another blow to restaurants. How many body shots can they take?

None other than John Hood addresses the growing small business calamity in his latest column for Carolina Journal:

“Our government hasn’t just shut down businesses (some potentially for good), thrown hundreds of thousands out of work, and disrupted the daily lives of millions of North Carolinians with no clearly articulated standard for when the dictates will be lifted. Our government has also suspended our basic liberties as citizens of a free society.”

A church can not assemble for an outdoor service. A restaurant with a patio can not allow take out customers to sit on the patio under a blue Carolina sky. If we decide to challenge these baseless restrictions, what will happen. Will a Moore County sheriffs’ deputy drag a senior off the lawn in mid-sermon? Will a Pinehurst PD officer cuff me on the Lisi Italian patio?

Many of us wish we could arrest our Republican members of Congress for caving and voting to approve a $2.2 trillion EMERGENCY stimulus. There is much needed relief in the bill, but the add-ons are infuriating. It might well have been a $1 billion bill instead. Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-8) casually presented them in his weekly Sunday email. Hudson is a stellar public servant, but why advertise that the “stimulus” funds things that do not stimulate the economy?

  • Community Development Block Grants – $5 billion
  • Homelessness Grants – $4 billion
  • Transit Agencies – $24 billion
  • Airports – $10 billion
  • Assistance to Tribal Communities (Indian Health Service, Bureaus of Indian Education/Affairs, and Food Distribution) – $1.7 billion
  • Disaster Relief Fund – $45 billion
  • Emergency Food and Shelter Grants – $200 million
  • First Responder (FIRE) Grants – $100 million
  • Emergency Management Program Grants – $100 million
  • Byrne Justice Assistance Grants – $850 million
  • Economic Assistance Development Grants – $1.5 billion
  • Manufacturing Extension Partnership Grants – $50 million
  • Child nutrition – $8.8 billion
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – $15.8 billion
  • Community Services Block Grant – $1 billion
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program – $900 million
  • Child Care and Development Block Grant – $3.5 billion
  • CDC Funding for State Public Health Departments – $1.5 billion

These programs are funded. Now, thanks to Democrats leveraging a crisis, they will be hyper-funded. By money the federal government does not have.

Finally, as this national crisis unfolds, I am sure fellow Republicans are thinking, “How much of this martial law BS do we have to put up with?”

Fox News senior legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano has the answer, to which I suggest you cling to like God and the Second Amendment (to quote ex-President Obama):

“To our question of whether the government – state or federal – can confine persons against their will in order to protect public health. The short answer is yes, but the Constitution requires procedural due process. That means a trial for every person confined.

“Thus, a government-ordered quarantine of all persons in a city block or a postal ZIP code or a telephone area code would be an egregious violation of due process, both substantive and procedural. Substantively, no government in America has the lawful power to curtail natural rights by decree.”

In case anyone asks, there you have it.

 

Socialism = misery

By Norman Zanetti

People in countries throughout the world have lived and continue to live amid the ruins and failings of a socialistic system of government. Why then do Democratic party contenders for President find it a promising path for America to undertake?
Socialism has proven to be a system uniquely adept at the equal distribution of misery.  On the other hand, capitalism and the vast wealth it generates has made America the envy of the world. Our constitutional principles bind us to ancestors who had great foresight in promoting the American dream. It has fueled innovation, risk taking, and invention. With that comes wealth and prosperity.
Our wealth has allowed us to assist impoverished nations with financial and medical aid, and offer protection for them against unlawful aggression. Our success only has been nurtured by competing truths and opposing ideas.
Today’s world might seem too complicated to fit into one rigid political system; one ideology can’t be applied to all problems. But America could not have existed and expanded if it had been founded on economic redistribution. It took hard work and determination, with all citizens taking part. Free market capitalism is adaptable and resilient.
Socialism is a deeply unpopular domestic agenda for those who truly understand it. It affords draconian controls over liberties. It escalates into a government that gives the masses what they feel they deserve, forgetting that someone has to pay for it, borrow it,
tax for it and print money to cover it. To think millionaires, billionaires and corporations can pay for these excesses is ludicrous. Every strata of tax payer will be impacted.
A January Gallup poll supports the presumption that Americans know this intuitively. Gallup asked if voters would support a well-qualified candidate who is Muslim, or atheist, or a socialist. Sixty-six percent would vote for a Muslim; while 60 percent would vote for a self-described atheist. Support for a socialist drops to 45 percent.
Those touting socialism — including but not limited to Democrat presidential frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders — reveal an inexperience in governing we can’t afford to adopt in any way, shape, or form.