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.

 

Stimulus but no relief

By Steve Woodward

A headline proclaims, “Senate Coronavirus Bill Prohibits Trump’s Hotels From Receiving Bailouts”.

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Trump International employees

What a relief, unless you happen to be a “worker” (the Left’s favorite word) in a Trump property currently shut down and taking a financial hit along with every other major hotel operator in the world. Which has us thinking about the surprise expressed by the mainstream media when President Trump said he hoped to resume economic activity across the country after Easter Sunday, April 12.

The reason this $2 trillion Corona-stimulus seems so randomly doled out is that many of the lawmakers behind it, especially the entrenched, career defenders of the status quo, have no idea how businesses are run, how they manage costs, manage labor and engage every day in staving off strangling regulations, which typically are chock full of unintended consequences.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the now notorious visionary Jim Clyborne, the South Carolina Rep. salivating on TV at the opportunity to hijack actual stimulus goals in favor of underwriting social re-engineering, do not employ people and are not dependent on a transactional economy. They rarely have run anything other than staffs paid for by taxpayers.

And although it comes as no surprise that petty Democrats in Congress would insist that Trump International be specifically shut out from the “stimulus” package, it also comes as we observe Trump understanding, intuitively, that a sick economy will do more damage to real people over time than a spreading virus that threatens a fraction of the population.

It is indisputable that Trump is perhaps the first modern U.S. President wired to empathize with a local restaurant owner who has grown from operating a small cafe to running numerous eateries, employing hundreds of people earning much more than a minimum wage. Trump’s hotels and golf resorts employ many times more than a multi-unit restaurateur but both face the same challenges, especially now.

The media pounced as soon as Trump suggested he foresaw the country “opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” “Reckless”, trumpeted The Washington Post, failing to note that it and other former news organizations delight in seeing the U.S. economy decimated. In the long run, the media will not blame Chinese bats.

As days of closures begin to threaten even the most robust businesses, owners are speaking up and shouting down the “solutions” coming out of Washington. One is Raleigh, NC-based caterer Houston Loper, who released a letter he forwarded to members of Congress that was published by North State Journal. Loper echoes what Moore County chef-owners such as Mark Elliott are espousing. Forget stimulus; let us get back to work.

This is Loper’s summation: “The goal should be to keep as many people employed and businesses running as possible. This pay-out decision (aka, stimulus) would cause businesses to close and more people to be unemployed and reliant on government assistance. If the government helped small businesses first, fewer people would be out of work.”

Mr. Loper is correct. The problem is this: the dignity of work is not well understood by the ruling elite in Washington. They pay lip service to the American spirit.

 

 

Bad, really bad

By Steve Woodward

Our self-appointed intellectuals become inarticulate in the face of the unpredictable.

“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare in the expectation that this (coronavirus outbreak) could be bad,” said Nancy Messonnier during a press conference on February 25. Messonnier is the Center for Disease Control’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

“I’ve got a feeling (emphasis added),” writes Peggy Noonan in her weekly column for The Wall Street Journal, “the coronavirus is going to be bad, that it will have a big impact on America, more than we imagine, and therefore on its politics.”

As former Obama enabler and ex-Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel once observed, “We can’t let a crisis go to waste.” This is classic Sal Alinsky (Rules for Radicals) thinking. If it takes a global virus to bring into lockstep the masses, so be it. Embrace it. Encourage despair.

We can presume that Ms. Messonnier has a duty to project a “bad” scenario, but what a choice of words. She and the CDC might have moderated this dire outlook by saying that the United States is prepared to minimize the spread and severity of the virus which, no doubt, it is. That seems less “bad”.

Certainly a CDC director carries more credibility than Noonan in the Journal citing her “feeling” that we are all doomed. From her hermetically sealed fortress in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Noonan gets to the heart of her premise deep into the column. I doubt many made it that far.

Trump Closeup2“If you want to talk about what could make a progressive (Bernie Sanders, of course) win the presidency it couldn’t be a better constellation than this: an epidemic, a economic downturn, a broad sense of public anxiety, and an incumbent (Donald Trump) looking small.”

The elite ruling class have condensed it to this: Virus bad; Trump really bad. A New York Times op-ed column came right out and said it, Trumpvirus. It was then repeated in a one-liner in the WSJ column by the former Reagan speechwriter, Noonan: “It couldn’t be a better constellation.” Translation: we will take as much collateral damage from a runaway (we hope) virus if it kills the Trump presidency. If David Brooks is the New York Times’ fake conservative, he is getting a run for his money from Noonan in the WSJ, the Mother Superior of the Republican establishment. Her former boss, anti-establishment President Reagan, surely is frowning from the heavens.

But we do not have Reagan in 2020. What we do have is a uniquely equipped iconoclast to guide us through Corona-gate. Trump already has been condemned by the corrupt media as completely ill-prepared to address our nation’s response to the presumed epidemic. It’s convenient. Yet it dismisses America’s tradition of resolve. We have turned back or faced down every dire inevitability the world has placed at our feet. Tyranny. Plague. Depression. Military attack. Energy dependence. HIV. Terrorism on our shores. Deep recession. Extreme weather. And, lately, we’ve faced the next challenge, revolution within our political system, the coming of age of the Deep State.

The Deep State loves viruses and disruption; it thrives on chaos, fear. Consider this chilling conclusion in a headline in The Washington Free Beacon: “The only predictable fallout of this coronavirus? Partisanship.”

Matthew Continetti, writing for the Beacon: “The pundits are having difficulty settling on a historical analogy for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Will the spread of the disease be President Trump’s Katrina or his financial crisis? Now that it is interested in coronavirus, a familiar pattern will set in. Data will be publicized without the slightest sense of proportion. … Speculation will be paraded as fact. And every conceivable negative outcome, from infections to deaths to plunging stock values, from reasonable and warranted travel bans to unanticipated diplomatic and economic fallout, will be related back to the president in an effort to damage his reelection.”

In this five-minute clip on YouTube, Dr. Drew Pinsky condemns the left (media) for absolutely salivating. Or is it celebrating?

The takeaway is that Pinsky, a board certified doctor of internal medicine, contends if we must have hysteria let it be driven by other data. “Let me frame it this way: we have in the United States 24 million cases of flu-like illness, 180,000 hospitalizations, 16,000 dead from influenza,” Pinsky said on the streaming news show Daily Blast Live. “Why is that not being reported? Why isn’t the message: get your flu shot?”

The people in the trenches, trying to understand the degrees to which COVID-19 is “bad”, are experts. The people hoarding air time are not experts. They are shameless politicians like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who want to throw breathtaking sums of money (that we do not have) at the badness.

“Schumer asked for $8 billion,” Pinsky said. “My response is, hey man we (have) got a homeless problem in Southern California and in Denver, would you please give us some of that $8 billion and forget about the coronavirus?”

Which has me wondering how terribly Peggy Noonan and the ruling elites must feel about the nation’s homeless crisis. Not bad enough, I’m guessing.

 

Liberty first

By Steve Woodward
As we say so long to 2019, just off the top of my head …

  • Wage increases within the workforce rising at their fastest rate in more than a decade, faster than for supervisors (bosses).
  • Record or near-record setting gains for the Nasdaq (35%) and S&P 500 (28%).
  • Dramatic declines in illegal US-Mexico border crossings. The mayor of Yuma, Ariz., recently lifted a state of emergency declared last April because “the release of migrant families into the Yuma area has ceased.”

    Labor surge
    Wages rose 4.5% year-over-year in November among bottom 25% of earners.
  • Record low unemployment among black and Hispanic populations.
  • Lowest unemployment overall since 1969.
  • Energy independence from foreign sources.
  • Trade deal set with Canada and Mexico.
  • Pending trade deal with China that will end decades of trade abuse by the Chinese.
  • Record federal judicial confirmations of Trump nominees (48 in three years).
I’m beginning to think it might be safe, finally, to retrieve the gold, cash and firearms I buried in anticipation of Y2K!
Conservative bulldog Sean Hannity repeatedly urges, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Many of us are not there yet. Democrats present much about which to be perpetually troubled. (The drums of impeachment will awaken us from our New Year’s hangovers soon enough). But, consider more positive awakenings such as two I discovered with pleasant shock in The Wall Street Journal‘s December 28 letters to the editor.
They are letters written by residents of California and Illinois, no less, where the radical lefts reigns. They are direct smackdowns of columnist Peggy Noonan, a Never Trumper and out-of-touch Upper East Side New Yorker. Noonan is all for impeaching President Donald Trump if for no other reason than he is an objectionable character.
From Evanston, Ill.: “Ms. Noonan writes that many ‘serious’ witnesses of ‘obvious stature’ in the House impeachment hearings said the president abused his power. I don’t see it that way. Those bureaucrats said they disagreed with Mr. Trump’s foreign policy, which they think they (emphasis added), rather than the president, get to determine. Ms. Noonan should not mistake their arrogance for seriousness.”
From Mill Valley, Calif.: “We want the craziness of the left highlighted plainly. We want the corruption of elected politicians, permanent bureaucracy, intelligence services, judiciary and media exposed and cornered. We are tired of the politically correct speech codes and the protected classes for whom there can be no consequences. We prefer liberty.”
That is as powerful a mantra as I can think of to sustain us in the battles ahead in 2020. Republicans prefer liberty.

Body (politic) shaming

By Steve Woodward

The Pilot, a newspaper, sometimes, persists in allowing miserable William Shaw to write gloom-and-doom columns appearing on its op-ed pages. Shaw’s keyboard must be by now nearly drowning in a steady stream of his spittle as he shrieks and flails while hunched over an IBM Selectric, ever true to his ongoing campaign to attempt to diminish a President and the Presidency of the United States.

A recent submission contends that those who dare to support, or even tolerate, President Donald Trump believe that a sinister “deep state” conspires to destroy or remove Trump. Shaw pooh-poohs these deep state influences. Yet, toward the end of his December 7 column Shaw laments that Trump offends the “body politic” that, asserts Shaw, defines a stable United States. I think it’s also known as the establishment, and “the Swamp”.

In other words, you are right, Bill. (First time for everything). The deep state, aka, the body politic, is indeed threatened by the Trump presidency because it disrupts conventional “equilibrium” and “scuttles democratic norms” imposed by the ruling elite, quoting the words of the expert you cited. To which I say, amen, and pass another helping of the Schiff-Nadler impeachment charade, which will damage Democrats for years to come.

Meanwhile, our nation is thriving as Shaw’s wrists ache from wringing. He contends Trump’s style is scuttling the status quo. You mean that glorious stagnant Obama-era economy for which the Left pines? In our scuttled state of chaos the U.S. finally has a robust economy, unprecedented calm and dramatically fewer illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico southern border, advancing trade negotiations with China, Canada and Mexico, historically low unemployment rates and historically high monthly job creation and wage gains. Many investors believe the success of Trump’s negotiators in lifting the cloud of a so-called trade war with China opens the floodgates to an even longer run of gains on the trading floors.

If there really is a deep state, why have the assaults on the Trump presidency been carried out far removed from murky shadows, with the media cheering? These assaults actually flourished in full view. Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff and the FBI’s leadership (ex-director James Comey) lied about the validity of the “Steele Dossier” and its role in securing a FISA warrant to spy on Trump surrogate Carter Page in 2016. The so-called dossier was opposition research underwritten by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, not by shadowy operatives. It was commissioned in the full light of day. Christopher Steele could not wait to run to the press. Last week, Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his long awaited report. It vindicates Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, who went public in February 2018 with proof that FISA application “materials” omitted relevant information and relied almost entirely on a discredited Steele dossier. Even The Washington Post begrudgingly acknowledges Nunes was onto something back then.

Lastly, there is Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation of Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia to compromise our 2016 elections. This could not have been a higher profile spectacle (because it was all the corrupt media had left to bring Trump down), especially after Mueller’s team concluded that said collusion never happened. The Horowitz report further reveals that law enforcement and intelligence communities went after Trump with brazen zeal.

Back here in the Sandhills, we can only imagine what Shaw’s next dire missive will contain. We hope Pilot editors will clean up some of the whoppers Shaw floated in the December 7 piece. Including: the Mueller report concludes that Trump obstructed justice; Trump is a racist because he supports immigration enforcement, and reacted improperly to “Charlottesville” (refuted more times than all of the lies about Trump, combined); Trump’s White House is a “hive of feuding factions”; Trump “tampered” with our electoral system; and Trump’s is a “shadow” foreign policy.

Like the Steele Dossier, riveting, and completely false.