Hurricane Deception

By Steve Woodward

The tweet was snarky, as is to be expected. It speculated that President Donald Trump cancelled a scheduled trip to Poland, not because of the looming threat of Hurricane Dorian, but because he is lazy and needed an excuse to spend the holiday weekend playing golf, as usual.

Imagine the false outrage had Trump made the trip to Poland? The twitter-sphere would have condemned him for abandoning the homeland amid yet another climate change-generated natural disaster. Dorian is Trump’s Katrina!

Over on Facebook, we’ve encountered a chorus of whiners reacting to Trump’s forthcoming appearance in Fayetteville, NC (Sept. 9), on the eve of a special election for a U.S. congressional seat in NC-9. The outrage centers on a narrative that Trump’s 2020 campaign is saddling municipalities with unprecedented costs, closing in on $1 million, for additional security and other logistical needs when he rolls into to town for his signature rallies.

Naturally, no one mentions how the campaigns of sitting presidents seeking re-election handled these costs in the past. George W. Bush and Barack Obama were called out for similar fiscal “abuses”. Obama used Air Force One to travel with then Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for a 2016 joint campaign appearance, but a Bush era ethics lawyer had no issues with the arrangement.

It’s an unavoidable problem, Richard Painter said in an interview with ABC News, for presidents who are simultaneously commanders-in-chiefs and the leaders of their respective political parties.

“I don’t think this is controversial,” Painter said. “A president that won’t campaign for his own party isn’t the leader of his own party. If someone claimed that President Bush was abusing taxpayer money to campaign, we would have laughed at that.”

But in the era of Trump this type of reasoned analysis is no longer possible. The narratives build one upon the other in the media’s endless quest to diminish him and marginalize his administration and supporters. His campaign doesn’t reimburse? Of course not, as a businessman he was famous, or so it goes, for refusing to pay contractors what they were owed.  Everybody knows that (because it has been repeated for three years running). He’s lazy because he plays rounds of golf despite working more hours than any president since perhaps Abe Lincoln (never mentioned), and granting more media access than any president ever (not even close).

Authors Gary Marcus and Annie Duke explain how unrelenting fake news perpetuates Trump delusion syndrome in a piece they co-authored for The Wall Street Journal, which lays out how the Left and its compliant media hold the truth hostage so effectively. It is a simple matter of exploiting behavior.

In a world of information overload and distraction wrought by technology and daily life as we know it “we tend to assume that whatever we hear is true.” Admittedly, this is an objectionable generalization but it is not aimed at readers of this blog. It is aimed at the growing sector of society identified by Rush Limbaugh as the “low information voter.”

The authors site numerous studies that have demonstrated how vulnerable human beings are to being snookered. A 2017 study by faculty at New York University examined around 500,000 social media messages. Subtle words such as “hate”, “destroy” or “blame” accelerate the spread of these messages by 20% per emotional word.

“Fake news tends to avoid nuance or neutral language and frequently adds layers of emotion and moralizing — all of which makes false items spread much faster than the real thing,” Marcus and Duke wrote. They conclude a war can be waged on fake news by teaching “information literacy” across all age groups.

In WSJ August 31 – September 1 editions, the newspaper profiles prolific novelist Salmon Rushdie. His 14th just-published novel is a contemporary version of a 17th-century classic, “Don Quixote”. His motivation for writing it partially draws on the fake news and reality TV phenomena from which almost no one readily escapes.

“We live in a moment in which truth is stranger than fiction,” Rushdie says, “and so the fiction has to decide how strange it needs to be in order to get close to the truth.”

This week’s fictional thread, which inevitably will work its way back to the Trump White House, is that Hurricane Dorian is another in a series of monster storms delivering “unprecedented” fury.

“The truth is that the storms that are hitting the Caribbean with this intense magnitude are historic, unprecedented, and these storms are manmade storms,” contends Emory University Prof. Tiphanie Yanique in a televised interview with the independent news hour Democracy Now.

The guest and her interviewer, both clearly in lockstep with the climate change narrative, failed to address a well documented chronology of Category 5 hurricanes. The first Cat 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin was recorded in 1924, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), followed by 34 more through this year. Only four have hit the United States as a Cat 5 across 95 years.

Now, test your information literacy as you read this concluding sentence: The most intense Cat 5 hurricane to make U.S. landfall hit the Florida Keys on Labor Day 1935. President Roosevelt was blamed, along with climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

Maybe GOP is too ‘hinged’

Until Saturday evening, members of the media and Democrats (and some establishment Republican elites) held up President Donald Trump as the living embodiment of a person who has become unhinged. That was before an obscure, marginally talented and vile so-called comedian named Michelle Wolf was invited by the White House Correspondents Association to spew one-liners during its annual gala. Wolf took “unhinged” to new extremes, and, in doing so, exposed how unhinged, dare we say deranged, our left wing mainstream media remains since the unthinkable happened last November 2016. Wolf exposed them because she had them laughing uproariously at her mean spirited monologue.

Trump arguably is more unfiltered or uncensored (by Washington standards) than unhinged, but he continues to irritate even some members of the media who retain a few threads of credibility. Columnist Peggy Noonan, to name one. In her weekly Wall Street Journal column April 27, Noonan railed against Trump’s “latest unhingement” during last week’s call-in to the Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” morning show. She took issue with Trump ranting about James Comey, the FBI, the vicious take down of his nominee to head the Veterans’ Administration, the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal”, and fake news.

Presidents traditionally have not spouted off. Everything was scripted and focus group tested before it was uttered. But consider the contrast between a wide ranging Trump rant, such as the one Noonan scolded about, and a well-crafted Barack Obama, fully hinged speech.

Trump: James Comey is “liar and a leaker”. Unhinged again. And true by all accounts.

Obama: “If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.” Not unhinged. Completely untrue.

There are numerous additional examples. The point is that when Trump goes off script he nearly always does so to further expose hypocrisy, media deceit and corrupt Washington insiders. And now there is new polling strongly suggesting that tightly hinged Republican lawmakers will be the reason Democrats could win back Congressional seats in the 2018 mid-terms. Writing for Townhall.com, Timothy Daughtry reports:

“A new poll of 1,000 likely voters by McLaughlin and Associates … (indicates) that the ‘Blue Wave’ so hoped for by the liberal media is not at all inevitable and that there is still a possible path to Republican victory in November. (The bad news in the polling results is) Republican voters are wanting results, and many in the GOP base see Republican leadership as supporting the swamp they were sent to Washington to drain.

There are but a few nuggets of encouraging data in the McLaughlin poll for DC Republicans, one being that “the generic ballot for Congress in the November election is essentially tied at 44% for Democrats and 43% for Republicans.”

Other poll results:

  • Among Democrats, 65% trust their party to do what it says it will do. By contrast, only 15% of Republicans trust their own party to carry out its promises, and that dismal percentage drops to 9% among the conservative base.
  • Overall, 46% of voters polled say the Republican leadership is “supporting the swamp that President Trump promised to drain.”
  • Trump’s job approval rating of 45% (in this poll) is higher than the job approval of the GOP Congress. Overall, 84% of Republicans and 73% of conservatives approve of Trump’s performance.

Different polls reveal different trends. The McLaughlin poll “dispels the … narrative that President Trump is a drain on the ticket.” But another poll released April 30, by Reuters/Ipsos, finds that a generally negative view of Trump among millennials does not predispose them to lean heavily in favor of Democrat lawmakers.

“The online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34 shows their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress slipped by about 9 percentage points over the past two years, to 46 percent overall. And they increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy.”

The report did not find a surge of millennials who’ve shifted to “overt support of Republicans (at 28% it’s about the same as a similar poll two years ago). Yet, heading into the 2018 mid-terms, these millennials also say “they were undecided, would support a third-party candidate or not vote at all.”

Polls ebb and flow, but almost all point to hapless Washington lawmakers in both parties who fail again and again to get out of their own ways, and thereby continue to sacrifice trust and voter approval. Meanwhile, Trump soldiers on despite the black cloud of the Mueller investigation and daily media attempts to diminish his administration.

But nothing can diminish the successful nomination of Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch, the defanging of the Obamacare mandate, restored relations with Israel, historic tax cuts and reforms that are changing American citizen’s lives and lifting their optimism, the hope of fairer trade with China, and, suddenly, the prospect of a denuked North Korea and a unified Korean Peninsula.

That strikes many as more unparalleled than unhinged.