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.

 

 

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.

 

Loathing hatred

By Steve Woodward

Trump Derangement Syndrome came to the fore in 2016 when angry marchers screamed at the sky, when so-called comedian Kathy Griffin depicted a decapitated Donald Trump, and when so-called entertainer Madonna publicly acknowledged her inclination to blow up The White House.

But now, two years in, what was formerly laughable is devolving into a degree of contempt for the President of the United States, for Republicans, for American values, for Constitutional principles and, most sadly, for Christianity few have witnessed in their lifetimes.

It is spreading, it is vile. The mainstream media fans its flames, daily. Democrats, now openly and willfully embracing Socialism as the foundation of a soon-to-be remade America, are deliberately wreaking havoc, sewing seeds of chaos and resisting all calls for civility. They relished the partial federal government shutdown. They cheer on a growing crisis at the Southern border still. They want only to stop Trump and Republicans from delivering on pledges to get serious about border security. Desperate asylum seekers are mere pawns, not unlike federal employees working without pay. So what? You’ll thank us someday, you saps.

Hatred is more alarming than delusion, more dangerous than derangement, more corrosive than disillusion. And it’s everywhere.

Rush Limbaugh: “They have become poisoned by a loathing hatred for us. … This is unchecked, unabated hatred. … Folks, that’s who these people are, and one of the reasons they exist today is that we have never stood up to oppose them. Well, we have. The Republican Party has not stood up.”

ky student
In 2019, a KY high schooler is ridiculed as a “punchable face” for wearing a MAGA cap.

The Left in 2019 tells themselves they are acting to save the country. They are the patriots. They must hijack journalism, as television host and Trump hater Joy Behar said on the air, because “we’re desperate to get Trump out of office,” even if that means shamefully distorting events surrounding the March for Life in Washington, and smearing the Catholic high school students who wandered into a firestorm afterwards. The left seems to believe that it will prevail only by laying bare its deepest held disgust for God and country, decency and tolerance. The self-proclaimed party of tolerance of transgenderism, gender neutrality, illegal immigrants committing crime and acts of murder, endless abortions and organ harvesting, has no tolerance for the millions who duly elected President Trump and other duly elected Republicans. None.

Writing for New York magazine (Jan. 25, 2019), Conservative author Andrew Sullivan decries “the abyss of hate versus hate” in a piece bearing the same headline. Sullivan watched all of the available video of the March for Life, where Native Americans beat drums and Black Israelites shouted anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-white smears. More appalling than these groups and their unprovoked confrontations with the Kentucky kids, Sullivan concludes, was the media’s inclination to twist the narrative, write about it breathlessly as “white privilege” run amuck and, then, defend it unapologetically after video analysis debunked virtually everything that was initially reported.

“There’s a reason why, in the crucial battle for the legitimacy of a free press,” Sullivan writes, “Trump is still on the offensive. Our mainstream press has been poisoned by tribalism. My own trust in it is eroding. I’m far from the only one.”

And what was the reaction to Sullivan’s conclusions? A hate-spewing George Mason University law professor who, as of this moment, still has his job, defied facts on the ground as irrelevant.

“These were wealthy, privileged, white teenagers in MAGA hats marching against abortion. That is plenty of reason to want to skullf— all of them until there is nothing left but giblets and red jelly. I don’t hate them for smirking and (peacefully!) protesting against people they disagree with, and I don’t hate them for (what) they did necessarily, I hate them for what they are and what they represent. F— these kids for their politics, f— them for their Catholicism and their kkkuntserveatism, and their hateful hats. You shouldn’t need a video of some s—heel with a punchable face to know that.”

You can dismiss this demented individual as just that, but we must not forget that he is interacting with young people every day, and that George Mason is collecting tuition in order to pay Prof. David Bernstein. Perhaps he should be designated a non-essential employee.

But the threat to our democracy is not limited to rogue academics. Americans are electing people of this mindset to govern in the corridors of the U.S. Capitol. This has come to the attention of economic and cultural commentator Ben Stein, who denounces the blatantly Socialist positions espoused by the media’s newest political darling, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), recently sworn-in to her first term at age 29. She is an avowed Socialist who, even as Venezuela crumbles, advocates for a 70% marginal income tax rate for America’s highest earners, free public college, the abolishment of border and immigration control, and Medicare for all.

Stein went on Fox Business to challenge the Socialist tide. He was skewered for referencing historical truths, that “there are an awful lot of people (emphasis, ours, on awful) who have no idea that Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung all came to power promising the same kinds of things that (AOC) is promising. … These promises are old promises and they invariably lead to bad things.”

Meanwhile, do not hold your breath waiting for re-empowered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to rein in Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. AOC is, not unlike government employees and would-be immigrants, a useful idiot.

Collateral damage

By Steve Woodward

Should any intelligent, proud American be shocked or dismayed by the staggering number of (left wing) politicians, and their disengaged constituents, feigning compassion for children of illegal immigrants while expressing disdain for U.S. border security? Our mutual security.

Not in an age when the recent former editor of The Wall Street Journal, no less, writes that radical socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is “one of the most important political figures of our age” while he questions “capitalism’s limitations in answering deeper human needs.” Will Gerard Baker, now Editor at Large, soon entertain an offer from The New York Times? He certainly seems to be auditioning.

Not in an age when Gillette, decades long maker of men’s grooming products, launches a campaign likely to enrage many of its customers across multiple generations. The campaign boils down to, “Buy our razors but, please, stop being masculine, male and a societal toxin.” It’s a safe bet that the best a man can get for shaving soon will be another brand, any other brand. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, might be forced to rename Gillette Stadium, perhaps inking a naming rights deal with #MeToo.

Admittedly, these are trivial examples in contrast to the real world tragedies imposed by illegals pouring across our southern border. But the mainstream, drive-by, anti-Donald Trump media, appendages of the “new” Democratic Party, are far more invested in decrying “income inequality” or “toxic masculinity” than reporting on a 14-year-old girl forced to work as a prostitute.

It happened just outside of Washington, D.C. The ABC television affiliate (WJLA) reported it, but not Associated Press, not The Washington Post, not The Washington Times, and other local TV stations. Many digital outlets picked up on the WJLA report, including The Western Journal:

Felix Silva-Zuniga is an alleged associate of the MS-13 gang who was in this country illegally, according to WJLA-TV. He’s accused of paying a gang leader $100 for access to a 14-year-old girl, raping her, and secretly recording the encounter to blackmail the teen into providing more sex.

Silva-Zuniga, 52, is a native Honduran. Before she was raped, the girl had been trafficked to the D.C. area, where she was forced to work as a cocktail waitress during drug deals.

Meanwhile, out on Long Island in New York the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has tied a legal loophole that is exploited at the southern border to the recent beating of a Huntington, N.Y., teenager by MS-13 thugs. DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman explains what happened:

Two of the suspects entered into the country illegally through the unaccompanied alien child loophole in the Rio Grande Valley. … Not only are the alleged assailants MS-13 gang members, but they entered the country illegally as unaccompanied alien children from the Northern Triangle. The Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act incentivizes unaccompanied alien children to enter the country illegally with little to no chance of ever being removed.

Democrats need to drag Hillary Clinton away from her Chardonnay barrels and make her their anti-border security spokesperson. She could dust off one of her all-timers: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

That, sadly, seems to be the prevailing Democrat illogic. We do not need to close loopholes; we need to open our arms to the “children” (but only the ones CNN camera crews discover). We do not need border security; we need to secure a pathway to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. We do not need a wall or barriers because that is so unenlightened, so 2013, so Trumpian.

If there must be, now and then, collateral damage such as 14-year-olds threatened and raped, so be it. If there must be federal employees denied pay, so be it. What difference does it make?

Pilot embraces Trump hate

By Steve Woodward

The Pilot’s editorial standards achieved a new low when editors published a letter by Clifton Frye (The Morning After, Nov. 10) in which the author drew comparisons between the President of the United States in 2018, Donald Trump, and Germany’s Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

Mr. Frye contends President Trump is a “(Russian Premier Vladimir) Putin-lover” and unconcerned about “home grown terrorist attacks”. What delusion. Domestic terrorism is driven by the refusal of citizens to be vigilant about their neighbors’ mental health issues and by the continuous illegal entry of undocumented individuals, which Democrats openly facilitate.

Being “bankrupted and sued” – which Mr. Frye assigns as a Trump flaw — comes with the territory of running a large commercial real estate empire. Bankruptcy is aided and abetted by Democrats who delight in seeing companies reorganize, which is the essence of bankruptcy. This is far different from liberal states, where pensions are bankrupt with no solutions to restructure them, save for raising taxes – again and again.

Mr. Frye says the President “feeds on divisive rhetoric”. Why? Because he desires to Make America Great Again, a goal shared by millions, control our southern borders and denounce trade partners who have taken advantage of our country for decades?

The notion that this positions President Trump as a modern day “Hitler” revolts Jewish Harvard University law scholar and lifetime Democrat Alan Dershowitz.

“It’s a horrible analogy because it’s a form of Holocaust denial,” Dershowitz said. “When you say Trump’s like Hitler what you’re saying is that the Jews of Germany and the Jews of Poland didn’t suffer anymore than we’re suffering now, and that there were no gas chambers, that there were no death camps.”

None of this occurred to the Pilot’s editorial board?