Is our flag next?

By Steve Woodward

As do many, I have a friend who tries persistently to view everything around him through an apolitical lens. I suppose it’s his alternative plan for managing blood pressure.

When I mentioned my outraged reaction to Nike’s willful compliance with the left’s poster child for oppressed millionaires, Colin Kaepernick, in connection with withdrawing Betsy Ross flag emblazoned Nike footwear, my friend did not concur. He does not agree that Nike caved to one of its highest profile, most radical endorsers, and therefore should be called out. Quite to the contrary, my friend sees Nike’s decision as a stone cold business decision intended to inspire an important target audience of consumers — the growing number of Americans who no longer are sure they really want to be (Americans).

Nike-air-max-1If absorbing the very good possibility that his assessment is correct does not turn your outrage into sadness, we’ll assume you are standing in line as we speak at a Nike store. In fact it is more than a possibility. Forbes.com reports a 2% increase in Nike’s stock price after the Ross decision, adding $3 billion to the company’s market value virtually overnight.

Observing the socialist-leaning, anti-American left routinely hijacking formerly enjoyable holidays, such as Independence Day, or global sports events, such as the just concluded soccer Women’s World Cup, only deepens my profound sadness. At the same time, I do not equate sadness with defeat. The remaining 45% of citizens who are extremely proud to be American are also extremely likely to continue defending our nation’s core values, to denounce Nike and other consumer brands which applaud the decline of patriotism and leverage it as a sales strategy, and to feel ashamed of American athletes such as Team USA soccer star Megan Rapinoe for using a world stage to f-bomb the nation’s majestic White House, trample an American flag in plain sight and infer that her talents stem from her identifying as a lesbian.

Are we to accept that celebrating American independence on the Fourth of July, celebrating historic women like Betsy Ross and celebrating dominant American athletes wearing the red, white and blue are tied to a bygone era?

The corrupt U.S. media are more than determined to extract the joy out of everything to damage Donald Trump and diminish long standing traditions. The “Salute to America” parade, military flyovers and fireworks in Washington were derided as an obscenely expensive production and a platform for a Trump campaign event. It instead attracted a sea of patriotic humanity on the Mall in inclement weather, but the washout thunderstorms the media predicted never happened. America happened.

And now we are scolded by agenda-driven sports “journalists” for daring to be uncomfortable about behavior by U.S. team members during the World Cup in France. A good many Americans looking on recall a time not so long ago when our athletes competing in international events were required to “represent our country” with dignity and class. (In the 1986 Goodwill Games in Moscow, members of the U.S. women’s basketball team were derided for draping themselves in American flags after a victory).

With Nike rooting them on, the American women’s World Cup team spent much of the tournament drawing attention to themselves. Rapinoe kneels during the National Anthem. President Trump kindly invites the team to the White House before knowing if it would win a fourth Cup, and Rapinoe responds, “I’m not going to the f—ing White House”. They spend inordinate time talking, not about soccer strategy, but about how unfair it is they are not paid as much as U.S. men when they qualify for the national team, ignoring basic economics.

But instead of suggesting these unhappy campers tone it down, publications such anti-USA Today continued to applaud their self-absorption.

“(It was) a group that confronted the issues that have roiled our society – gender equity, sexism, what we stand for as a country – head on, making sure these much-needed conversations keep going,” wrote cheerleading Nancy Armour.

“Eventually, (Rapinoe) will endorse someone in the Democratic presidential race,” Christine Brennan wrote, nearly short-circuiting her keyboard with torrents of saliva. “Rapinoe is going to become as a big a person in our culture as she wants to be.”

More than likely, she will become a footnote by next week. Always happens. But should she venture into the political arena, how will Rapinoe explain post-victory video capturing her shoving away an American flag, leaving it on the pitch and partially trampling it as she and two teammates performed an obnoxious routine that might have been choreographed by street thugs?

It’s a good guess she’ll never be asked for an explanation. And it’s an even better guess that the revulsion Nike customers feel toward the Ross flag some day will be directed toward our modern day stars and bars. We’ve already seen Kaepernick’s kneeling replaced by violence in our streets by America hating, Trump loathing marchers and rioters. “Our media and popular culture institutions portray love of country as inherently racist and xenophobic,” writes Jarrett Stepman for The Daily Signal.

If the American flag, and by extension a secure and prosperous America, are the next targets in the left’s war on all things sacred, let us pray that the sadness filling our hearts quickly will engender in us the courage of our founders to draw battle lines and defend our freedom. We are, as Ronald Reagan warned, but one generation removed from losing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mueller effect

By Steve Woodward

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russian operatives and the Trump 2016 campaign finally produced a report after two years. The investigation determined no such collusion went on at any time, which was obvious with or without Mueller’s conclusion.

Collusion was a false narrative ginned up by Democrats and their media accomplices to ensure that Donald Trump’s presidency would be cast under a cloud of illegitimacy from day one. For those who loathe Trump, it was readily embraced, as was every other baseless allegation about Trump’s past and present.

In the aftermath, Democrats and Never-Trumper Republicans magnified Mueller’s refusal to “exonerate” Trump of obstruction during the marathon investigation. But obstruction was an element Mueller introduced with presumably deliberate intentions.

Charlotte attorney Stowe Rose, writing for North State Journal, observes that Mueller might not have brought down a sitting president, as anticipated by the corrupt media, but nonetheless achieved more far reaching goals, belying his previous stature as a man associated foremost with integrity. Rose insightfully paints a picture of a sinister Bob Mueller.

“Mueller (in his press conference) added that ‘… our Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrong-doing’,” Rose writes.  “Mueller thus tacitly provided the Democrats with the pretext to pursue further investigations and even impeachment proceedings, and the encouragement to do so.”

This was certainly Mueller’s intention from the moment he was appointed. He deliberately spent $40 million of taxpayers’ dollars to protract the drama and try to turn public opinion against the Trump White House. His scheme was hiding in plain sight, Rose concludes.

Not only has Mueller imposed a judicial standard straight out of Stalinist Russia, but he has exceeded his authority under the Special Counsel regulations.  These regulations do not authorize the Special Counsel to make recommendations that Congress consider or pursue further investigatory hearings or impeachment proceedings.

Rose’s assessment of Mueller’s fleeting chapter in American history is chilling and, no doubt, on the mark. The Democrats and the Washington establishment might some day regret the new “normal” they created when it is, inevitably, turned on them.

“What has taken place over the past three years is arguably the most egregious and damaging case of government corruption ever in the history of the United States,” writes Rose. “Unless those persons behind this scheme are held to account for their actions, this type of corruption will become an accepted aspect of our government and our electoral system, just as it characterizes unstable, corrupt regimes elsewhere in the world.”

Trump is accused of dividing our great country. What shall be said of those who seek to destroy it?

 

 

 

 

AOC for bartender

By Steve Woodward

Democrat Presidential aspirant Joe Biden is channeling Margaret Thatcher from her grave, apparently. He says the former British Prime Minister is lamenting the United States in the age of Donald Trump. He meant to reference Theresa May, the very alive Prime Minister who probably could use an overaggressive Biden hug about now.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking to social media to explain that she is horrified by the food waste disposer in her apartment (never seen one, she says), and mystified by produce growing out of the dirt in a garden. She is, famously, an ex-bartender and gives this profession a bad name.

Electronic surveillance is not the same as spying, claims former FBI Director James Comey. But, either way, he and current FBI Director Christopher Wray express no regrets or even acknowledge that high ranking FBI personnel weaponized the Bureau in an attempt to bring down Trump’s campaign. Spying or not, scandalous.

Hillary Clinton is out on the irrelevance circuit proclaiming that the 2016 presidential election was “stolen” from her. She should have her irony meter inspected. Three years on, it is clear that Clinton’s campaign hired the opposition research firm that would aid and abet an effort to rig the election — in her favor, not Trump’s.

China is practically begging for an all-out trade war. Iran is rattling its sabers in the Middle East, targeting U.S. forces. Hamas terrorists are bombing Israel with renewed fervor. Christianity is under persecution to such a universal degree that one expert says Christians find themselves facing genocide across the globe.

But what is making headlines in the fully compliant left wing media? Outrage over President Trump presenting golf legend Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Barack Obama presented it to Biden, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey, but that was just fine.

Meanwhile, with a few exceptions by select media outlets committing inadvertent acts of journalism, reporting on the U.S. economy as the marvel of the world (even China, if its leaders had an honest bone) and a work force partying like it’s 1969, is barely a blip on mainstream media’s radar. The MSM is all over Attorney General William Barr, who released the long awaited Mueller Report but somehow is to be charged with contempt of Congress. Any red-blooded American would freely admit being contemptuous of these frauds.

If the economy remains on its current trajectory, Biden will be asking to have Thatcher exhumed, and AOC will place her quivering hand into her food disposal (because she doesn’t know any better) when it’s in the “on” position. Against this backdrop of inside-the-Beltway hysteria, consider that:

  • The unemployment rate last was at 3.6% when Richard Nixon was beginning his first term as President in 1969. It is 3.6% in 2019.
  • Wage growth, which negates Democrats’ calls for national hourly minimum wages of $15+, hit 3.2% in April, the ninth consecutive month of wage growth north of 3%. In other words, inspired laborers will be blowing past $15/hour, if they have not already.
  • The last time unemployment among women was at 3.4%, Dwight Eisenhower was President (1953).

That’s good news for Ocasio-Cortez. When she loses in 2020, bartending jobs will be plentiful. Or, in this land of prosperity, she could try her hand at  food waste disposal sales.

 

 

 

Send in the clowns

… Where are the clowns. Send in the clowns. Don’t bother, they’re here.” – Stephen Sondheim, 1973

By Steve Woodward

It is increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to avoid opinion columnists who are so wrong on so many topics. Their renderings ramble on and on, littered with unsubstantiated statistics and unsourced assertions. I’m encountering these diatribes despite never, ever reading op-ed pages in The New York Times or The Washington Post.

Who needs those formerly credible publications when one can find the same extremes of anti-Republican, anti-Trump, pro-left vitriol in The Pilot? The April 28 edition showcased Robert Levy observing that illegal immigrants pouring across the southern border are the reason for the nation’s robust economy; William Shaw praising North Carolina teachers, who are not union members, for planning a union-style, May 1 March on Raleigh that will force school closures; and Don Tortorice lamenting Donald Trump’s strategy to rein in China’s intellectual property theft by imposing tariffs on its U.S. exports to trigger, for once, negotiations.

Levy’s tirade veered way off the rails in several passages, but this is the laugh-out-loud portion that is pure fantasy: “(Illegal immigrants in the workplace keep) employment numbers artificially high and unemployment, especially for blacks and Hispanics, artificially low.” Using this premise, we are supposed to believe that Democrats, who deliberately do nothing to stop illegal immigration, are nonetheless willing to let Trump get all of the credit for historically low unemployment and wage growth. Who does Levy think he is the kidding? Democrats would rather their voters (citizens, ex-cons and aliens) receive an entitlement than a job, every time.

Shaw cheers teachers who will abandon their responsibilities to swarm downtown Raleigh on May 1 during a demonstration coordinated by the National Education Association’s state affiliate (the NEA doggedly maintains presence in states without teachers’ unions). Teacher pay in North Carolina has risen steadily five consecutive years but “while progress is being made, teachers should not expect greater largesse from the General Assembly if they silence their voices.” What about the voices of parents who wonder why teacher pay always must go up regardless of student performance in the classroom? What about kids who can’t read in middle school?

In an April 29 column for RealClearEducation.com, Terry Stoops of the The John Locke Foundation observes that despite endless calls for higher teacher pay “results from state achievement tests administered last year show that only 56 percent of elementary and middle school students were proficient in math, and just 57 percent were proficient in reading.”

Why do teachers refuse to demonstrate to students that pay rises on the tide of merit, not entitlement? The students should be the ones in the streets.

Tortorice’s column is written like a textbook lecture, perhaps to be expected of a former professor at the Law School of the College of William and Mary. It is full of eye-glazing statistics and purports that tariffs are never paid by the country on which they are imposed. But Tortorice misses the essential point of the Trump-era tariffs on China. This so-called trade war is moving the two countries toward a long-term trade agreement with a goal of eliminating tariffs in both directions over time. Talks, potentially the final round, are ongoing as we speak. The imbalanced global trade system has been entrenched for too long and would never be challenged without a period of economic pain.

The columnist insists American taxpayers are paying for tariffs imposed on Chinese goods, yet the U.S. economy is growing every quarter (per a 3.2% GDP uptick in Q1), consumer confidence moved higher in a recent survey and inflation fears are off the table. Americans with a long view would rather reach an agreement that deters China from stealing intellectual property and gradually reduces tariffs.

This trio of diversions from reality pale in comparison to the unhinged column by ex-Reagan speechwriter and decades long pundit Peggy Noonan in the April 27-28 weekend editions of The Wall Street Journal.

Despite the innumerable ways in which the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have rewarded American citizens for their votes in 2016, Noonan is incensed that Trump has failed because he did not seek to pacify members of the Washington establishment (she calls them “the old ambassadors) who were willing to give him a chance. If, that is, he came around. Which Trump did not, thankfully.

“One by one,” she writes, “the ambassadors shut down and turned away. … They feared Madness of King George-ism. They’d come to think the president was, irredeemably, a screwball.”

The Swamp guards the status quo at any cost, but Trump is the one who is dangerous? The ambassadors, when they were younger, were equally skeptical of the fitness for the presidency of Noonan’s old boss, Ronald Reagan. Even when Americans cheered a booming 1980s economy long overdue, the ambassadors scowled and ordered another martini.

Now, here we are 30 years later. Noonan wrote beautiful words which once complimented the warm delivery of President Reagan. But her recent column was delivered like a manifesto written from a cabin in the woods after the meds ran out.

“There is an unarticulated wish out there to return to some past in which things were deeply imperfect and certainly divided but on some level tranquil, and not half mad,” wrote Noonan, who we assume uses “out there” and the Upper East Side of New York interchangeably, and chose not to name the deeply imperfect Barack Obama.

She reveals herself as just another horrified, well-heeled bystander peering over her bifocals, who longs for the return of a ruling elite in Washington and is incapable of understanding that this is just the opposite of what ordinary Americans between the coasts desire and will vote again to avoid in 2020 and beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

A sensible Washington

Editor’s note: In this era of Trump Derangement Syndrome in which no anti-American policy idea is too radical, and during which there is a relentless movement to erase symbols of our history, the fundamental principles behind America’s founding remain entrenched. But we are left to wonder for how much longer.

By Norman Zanetti

A treasure trove of exemplary governance is found in President George Washington’s farewell address to Americans. In his letter to the American people in The American Daily Advertiser in 1796, he wrote that he hoped citizens would support a strong federal government, though Americans at the time were local in their thinking and allegiances.

He cautioned that extreme partisanship among political parties would be “divisive and disruptive”, urging voters casting future ballots to do so for candidates favoring the common good instead of supporting strict party affiliation.

Washington forewarned extreme partisanship would result in “a spirit of revenge” to maintain one’s grip on power. His greatest concern, and rightly so, was intervention of external invasion, advocating a policy favoring neutrality and friendly commerce with other nations.

For years, this farewell address was read in congress on July 4th. For some reason the practice ended years ago. I recently recommended to our U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8) that he champion a revival of this tradition in the House of Representatives, especially as newly elected representatives begin their tenure. We need a groundswell of bipartisan cooperation to assuage the polarization that has afflicted both chambers and hindered addressing our country’s vital needs.

Washington’s words, a foundry for exemplary governing, should be on the minds of all of those who represent us, as well as among media members who cover them. His message should resonate when legislation is proposed and voted on.

 

Thanks, Tiger

By Steve Woodward

Joining millions of television viewers as golf legend Tiger Woods defied insurmountable odds to win his fifth Masters green jacket, 14 years after claiming his fourth, was intensely nostalgic.

I love the game of golf. Yet Tiger’s Masters resurgence had nothing to do with golf. Close your eyes. It’s 2005. Tiger was invincible. America was great, the indispensable nation. Our kids were still kids. Our backs were not stiff and sore. The media was, mostly, committed to journalistic integrity. Saddam Hussein was defeated in Iraq. The U.S. economy had roared back from the dot-com bubble. 9/11 still united us as a nation. George W. Bush had begun his second term as our 43rd President.

Tiger 2019
Tiger Woods wins fifth Masters.

Less than two decades ago, when Tiger Woods was the undisputed No. 1 golfer in the world, we took so much for granted that today, in 2019, is up for grabs, in jeopardy of demise.

Marriage was defined, as through the ages, as a union between a man and a woman. Gay marriage was not legally recognized.

The U.S.-Mexico border was secure.

A male was a male; a female a female. He, she. Men’s and women’s rooms.

No one faced a penalty for refusing to purchase medical insurance they either did not need or could not afford.

Speakers invited to university campuses rarely were uninvited due to the threat of violence posed by other student groups; and those who fulfilled their engagements rarely required security or feared for their well being.

There were no openly anti-semitic or progressive socialists serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. Elected federal servants were duty bound to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Barack Obama was a junior U.S. Senator from Illinois, working on a book in his spare time. Hillary Clinton was a junior Senator from Arkansas representing New York.

Tattoo shops were not very busy. Men wore suits and ties to work. Comedians were funny, entertaining.

I closed my eyes on Masters Sunday. Those harmonious Augusta National birds were chirping as if outside my window. Crowds roared as Tiger moved into a lead he would not relinquish. If only for a moment, it was 2005.

 

NC judge: Voters, what voters?

By Steve Woodward

It would be all too easy to sit back beneath the pines and shrug in disbelief about the uncertain direction in which our great nation is headed in 2019. Democracy is messy. Turbulence is the norm. No other sovereign nation has tried what our founders set into motion.

Yet, in this age of Trump Derangement, forces have been unleashed (forces emboldened and expanded during the Obama years) which are taking direct aim at our core principles. Christianity. Rule of law. Sanctity of life. Capitalism. Legal immigration.  Or, as newly unapologetic Socialist Democrats might put it, “their core principles, not ours.”

Once the Left became certain that President Trump, his voters, Republicans, Conservatives and, yes, even some Democrats, are on the wrong side of history everything changed. Right before our eyes. The Left now believes that a bloodless coup is justified. Robert Mueller be damned. And the Left also believes that free elections and their outcomes are mere inconveniences that can be worked around. Or ignored.

Up Highway 1, in Wake County, a superior court judge last week ignored North Carolina voters’ approval of two mandates on the 2018 ballot. Judge Bryan Collins, who it goes without saying is an activist pro-Left judge, ruled as unconstitutional two majority-supported amendments. One now requires voters to present a valid ID at polling places; the other caps the state income tax rate at seven percent.

Like federal judges who have exercised their (abused) power to overturn Trump executive orders or laws passed by elected federal lawmakers, Collins engaged in semantic and ideological gamesmanship to issue his ruling. He said the General Assembly was “illegally constituted” because 2016 district voting maps were declared racially gerrymandered by yet another activist judge.

Will of the voter? Voters can go to hell (if we’re not living in one already). The 55 percent supporting the voter ID amendment and the 58 percent in favor of a reduced income tax cap are of no consequence. They’re a bunch of racists. The state constitution doesn’t belong to them.

Because it’s common sense (another Republican principal under siege), 35 states have voter ID laws on the books. And states with low or no state income tax are watching the floodgates open to new residents, high-tax refugees pouring across their borders from California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. Recently, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo openly acknowledged the mass exodus triggered by his state’s commitment to “tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich.” But a judge in North Carolina has decided we’re better off if we have a state income tax rate capped at 10 percent, rather than seven percent. This, in a state with a budget surplus fueled by Republican policies.

Whether here under Carolina blue skies, or to our north in The Swamp, all efforts to derail prosperity and freedom, economic and religious, rally around one common goal: destroy Trump. It is breathtaking.

A U.S. Senate bill to put lawmakers on record opposing the abortion of babies after birth goes down, 53-44. Democrats in Congress and judges are hell bent on stopping President Trump from declaring a national emergency along our Southern border. The House voted Feb. 26 to terminate Trump’s declaration, the first time in history that has happened. Meanwhile, the Green New Deal is the hottest talking point on Democrat-aligned cable and network news. Advises the radical pop star masquerading as a member of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), our country’s future is so bleak due to “climate change” that millennials must question whether they should re-produce. It might soon be immoral to have a baby.

And Bernie Sanders is running for President. Again. More emboldened than ever. Benjamin Franklin famously said the founders bestowed upon us “a Republican, if you can keep it.” Can we?