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 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.

 

 

 

The Awakening

By Jim Lexo

I am a lifelong Republican, starting with helping my parents campaign for Dwight Eisenhower. I was very young. Throughout the years I embraced the Republican principles of balanced budgets, strong national defense, individual rights and the other common sense principles that make for a strong, viable Republic.

When Donald Trump came on the scene I thought there was no way this guy could win, and no way will he be capable of representing Republicans. One of the Republican Governors or Senators will surely win the nomination went the conventional wisdom. Having worked in the “traditional” wing of the party I was not tuned into the growing conservative bloc of voters who felt there was little difference between the parties. No matter who gets elected, they concluded, we keep drifting to the left.

Surf to Victory capSo Trump is elected and does and says things that initially appear to be outrageous. He tells our NATO allies they need to start carrying their weight on the cost of defending Europe. He starts what looks to be trade wars with China, Mexico, Canada and Europe (free trade Republicans go crazy).  He calls the leader of a rogue nation (North Korea) that has nuclear capabilities “Little Rocket Man”.  He kills the Iran nuclear “deal”. He tells the U.N. we are not going to give foreign aid to nations that do not support our goals. On and on. You get the idea. Finally, a President who says things we all think about but are too afraid to say out loud.

Despite the second guessing, negative reports and high drama, it turns out Trump has been right on all the issues.  We are getting better trade deals; rogue nations are falling in line; allies are not taking advantage of us like they used to; mortal enemies are afraid to make a move because they don’t know how Trump might respond, and so on.

My point is that Trump has awakened me to the fact that “business as usual” had us on the path to socialism and basic ruination. Would a Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or Scott Walker been able to achieve all of the accomplishments Trump’s administration has in less than two years? I doubt it. Trump’s bold moves have resulted in positive outcomes that may very well allow America to remain the greatest nation for another century.

What it took was someone who knew what he wanted to accomplish and how to make it happen. This bold, new Republican era must be sustained by a red wave of voter turnout, both during early voting and at the polls, through November 6. Trump’s achievements can not be repeated too often as we work in our communities to get out the vote.

Trump train rolls on

Washington and the corrupt mainstream media are abuzz about who to believe amid an embarrassing confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Accusers of Kavanaugh claiming he was some teen-aged sexual predator and raging drunk are losing credibility — if ever they had any — with each passing day.

While Democrat Senators are obsessed with Kavanaugh’s high school days and his yearbook, not his career, and while the media hangs on every word, what can not be challenged is the runaway success story of Donald’s Trump’s presidency. The well orchestrated smear campaign against Judge Kavanaugh might ultimately drive more Republicans than usual to the November mid-term polls to avenge Democrat tactics. But if voters somehow have managed to shut out the confirmation fiasco, what ought to be driving them to the polls to vote for Republicans and secure the GOP’s continued majorities in the U.S. House and Senate is an avalanche of good news drowned out by a scandal-a-day, deranged press corps.

The Trump Administration reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico on the largest trade deal in history, governing $1.2 trillion in trade.

The results of a newly released Gallup poll indicates that the Republican Party is at a seven-year high in favorability among American voters.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Oct. 2 at a record high (26,773.94), its 14th record close of 2018.

Consumer confidence rose in September to its highest level in about 18 years. The index rose nearly FOUR points since the August poll.

Across America, African American and Hispanic unemployment is at record lows due to Trump-led tax cuts and sweeping de-regulation that stifled business growth during the Obama years. Jobs and opportunities are flowing into communities.

Employment in North Carolina reflects trends nationwide. In our state, August employment reached an all-time high of more than 4.8 million jobs.

The Gross Domestic Product – which signals the health of our economy — grew at a rate of 4.2% last quarter. Average growth was just above 1% quarterly during the Obama era.

The United States is balancing trade deficits with key partners such as China, ending terrible deals with adversarial nations such as Iraq, and promoting peace in the Korean peninsula by promoting open dialog between President Trump and North Korea’s dictatorial regime.

Spread the word.

The art of the possible

By Norman Zanetti

Democrats and their media cheerleaders are doubling down on stupid. They continue to marginalize everything President Donald Trump and Republicans have engineered. This should prompt another major belly-smacker in this year’s mid-term elections.

Following years of dreary regulatory and anti-business agendas, we now have a template for sustainable growth. The art of the possible has moved the needle from red to green.

Restoration comes with a price in this hyper-partisan environment. The positive intermediate and long-term effects make worthwhile tolerating some short-term pain and risk. Hosts of politically shallow intellectuals on CNN, MSNBC, and in the mainstream press, now fear the signature issues that elected Trump, and majorities in both houses, will prevail over their progressive psychosis about Trump’s fitness for office.

Particularly daunting is the growing credence of media suppressing evidence that a host of illegalities were perpetrated by members of the Obama administration to undermine then-candidate Trump. Among them were FISA warrants under false pretense for broad surveillance; leaks from then-FBI Director James Comey; his exoneration of Hillary Clinton prior to her Congressional testimony; and those contributions to the Clinton Foundation. I foresee a lot more powder keg revelations still to come.

Despite the perpetual state of indignation toward President Trump by the New York Times and Washington Post, along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s attempts to criminalize civil matters, voting by the left is unlikely to unleash a so-called “blue wave” come November. What will continue to drive motivated Republican and independent voting is boarder control reform, tax reform, regulatory reform, military upgrades, and addressing trade imbalances. And don’t forget wage growth, which will benefit a swath of Americans next tax season.

My question as to the media’s endless false narrative known as Russian collusion is: Why would Russians have wanted Trump to win? He was a political unknown. Plus, the Russians got away with so much during the Obama-Clinton years, why would they not have longed for a “third Obama term” (President Clinton)? The Russians feast on weakness. During Obama’s reign, the entire Mideast fell apart, causing mass migration and genocide. Nothing was done to address North Korea, or continued civil unrest in Africa. They had to know Trump was, at the very least, unpredictable. Why then do anything to help his chances?

Norman Zanetti is a frequent contributor and local political observer. This essay originated as a letter to New York Times op-ed columnist David Leonhardt. We salute Mr. Zanetti for having the mental fortitude to endure perusal of the Times.