Edgartown

By Steve Woodward

(Sing along with your friends to “Allentown” by Bruce Springsteen)

Well we’re livin’ here in Edgartown
And they’re closing all the B&Bs down

Down in Washington they’re killing time
Undoing norms
Reciting false lines

Well looks like the nasty immigration war
Has now come to the Atlantic’s shores

Met resistance from Barack Hussein O
He and Michelle sim-plee reee-fused to go
And compassion for we folk is sinking quite low

The Obama estate on Martha’s Vineyard, Edgartown, MA.

But they’re livin’ here in Edgartown
Trapped here in a human lost-and-found
Awaiting promises that Biden made
Just walk right on in
Pour in and invade

So we flew on up to Mass, had a ball
But now imprisoned by a Leftist cabal
They’ve never really told us the deal
We’re drinking cold Cokes
It’s getting surreal

Now, Ed-gar-town is drivin’ us out
‘Cause their immigration love is in doubt
They just want us back — a way down south
And sure like to talk … both sides of their mouth

Nope, we’re not livin’ here in Edgartown
Why’d the locals greeted us all with a frown?
Bussed us over to a naval base
Now we just wait, unsure of our fate

Oh no more livin’ high in Edgartown
Will we be free or left adrift, sentenced … to … drown?

Soft tyranny prevails

By Steve Woodward

The presumption on the left in 2019 is that Republicans enter public service to engage in activities that advance human suffering. This despite common knowledge that politicians across the spectrum have proven themselves across the ages to be deeply flawed, and largely harmless more often than not. On this many can agree. But a recent diatribe by a fellow resident of Pinehurst serves as a reminder that, while all humans are flawed, some also are deranged.

In a July 31 letter-to-the-editor published by The Pilot, a newspaper in the Sandhills run by media lefties, Ken Owens of Pinehurst, a suspected invader from a northern state opined:

“When Gov. Roy Cooper explained why he would veto the Republican-backed budget plan, he got straight to the heart of what is wrong with our Republican legislators. … There are a lot of poor people in North Carolina, and it seems that the Republican legislators want to keep them that way. Note to Mr. Owens: The state’s poverty rate has fallen every year since 2012 after spiking to 18%, entirely during the rule of a Democrat controlled General Assembly for 140 years through 2010. Look it up.

The writer then ramped up his scolding of Republican policies.

  1. They refuse to expand Medicaid. Because it is rife with peril to do so for the people who allegedly will benefit. Gov. Cooper vetoed the 2019-21 state budget because it does not expand Medicaid. Guess what? If North Carolina covers the so-called Medicaid insurance gap and the federal government rolls back its current 90% coverage of the cost to states, NC will be rocked by a cost surge and Medicaid for All will become Medicaid for Fewer. In the shorter term physicians will cease taking on new Medicaid patients to avoid being overburdened, or simply to stay in business. Meanwhile, the Cooper veto is denying state employees and public school teachers scheduled pay raises. Look it up: States that bought into expansion when Obamacare passed are regretting the decision today. Costs have spiraled upward, limiting expansion as intended.
  2. They cut unemployment compensations. Unemployment compensation at previous levels was unsustainable and smothering the state in debt north of $2 billion. Today, the state has a budget surplus and unemployment is trending downward in step with a national trend. Do the math.
  3. By raising the sales tax, they (Republicans), in effect, raised taxes on the bottom 40 percent at the same time that they were cutting taxes for the top 5 percent. The Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed legislation in 2007 allowing counties to raise sales taxes by a quarter-cent to increase revenue as needed. Meanwhile, the state sales tax (4.75%) is lower today than it was in 2011 (5.75%). Which “they” are you accusing of political malpractice?
  4. They removed many poor people from food stamp programs. No one has been “removed”. In 2015, the state legislature took a common sense step to rein in food stamp program abuse. It reinstated a federal requirement — invoked during the Obama administration — requiring food stamp applicants to demonstrate they are working, volunteering or taking classes a minimum of 20 hours a week. And it impacted only adults under 50 who do not have children. As usual, Democrats eventually opposed these minimum standards because they champion soft tyranny through economic enslavement of citizens. They want reliable voters to become addicted to entitlements that go on forever, no questions asked. 
  5. They cut child care subsidies and slashed dental care programs for poor kids. Another blanket, baseless accusation ignoring reality. Government funded child care is complex because no amount of subsidized care will make everyone happy, or address every need. Ever. In 2014 the General Assembly tweaked qualifications to direct more subsidized child care to children under age 6 — citing the importance child care experts place on nurturing children from infancy. There have been no “cuts”. The pending 2019 state budget adds $3.2 million to the program. Activists dismiss this because there are kids on waiting lists representing a fraction of those receiving subsidized care. Of course, under the soft tyranny of liberalism, it is out of bounds to ask why many low income families continue having children they can not afford to raise. It is not an unfair question: If a couple already has one or more children, and both parents are working full time to support their families, why is it the state and federal government’s responsibility to underwrite child care for yet another child brought into the world, planned or unplanned?  

“What I don’t understand is why “the people” keep re-electing them”, Owens laments. “They are not there ‘for the people’. They are there to please the wealthy and the corporations that donate to them.” Who donates to Democrat candidates? Homeless people and companies too small to incorporate? No, to the contrary Democrats have been known to collect from sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, socialist billionaire George Soros and sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, not to mention employees of the largest publicly held companies in America: Amazon, Facebook, Google and the list goes on.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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?