The long game

By Steve Woodward

It is impossible to understand what religious persecution feels like until it comes home to a free land. It feels surreal. Worshipping inside the four walls of a church this past Sunday with a small gathering of Christians marked the first time I have experienced this horrible feeling. We were where we were not supposed to be, doing what we were not supposed to do in the company of others — praying, singing, contemplating scripture.

“Stay at home,” decreed North Carolina Democrat tyrant and Governor Roy Cooper back in March, joining governors across the nation imposing mass shutdowns to slow the spread of the Wuhan Virus. Cooper’s order specifically prohibits gathering for religious services in churches, or for that matter, anywhere. Dutifully, the churches closed and adopted streaming video services, excluding those most in need of their church community, the ones without internet or the know-how to use a device to access it.

There was so much outrage about businesses that were forcibly closed, hospital procedures that were deemed unnecessary and the suspension of education inside classrooms that the trampling of a Constitutional right to assemble and worship God was all but overlooked. This should never have happened. Churches should have been granted the freedom to make their own decisions about how to conduct services amid virus hysteria, using the same formula that determines how many people can enter a grocery store.

We know the left has poisoned higher education and K-12 education. We know the corporate-owned media has been coopted and is corrupt and compliant. We know voting integrity is increasingly at risk as the left becomes ever more brash about rigging elections. We know the courts have been packed with activist judges to render the will of the American voter meaningless (see NC voter ID lawsuits). And now, sadly, we must acknowledge that clergy and denominational governing bodies apparently have been similarly hijacked. Where was the outrage when Cooper abruptly banned church services? There was none expressed by the church where I am a member.

Thankfully, along came one pastor who stood up, opened the doors of his church and exercised his rights as a U.S. citizen.

This came in stark contrast to John Nagy’s Sunday column in The Pilot. The virus is “everywhere,” he wrote, failing to specify his source, scientific or otherwise, behind this declaration. Nagy’s was a tone of doom, of resignation that North Carolinians should not expect to live the lives we knew only a few weeks ago. Ever again. I sensed an underlying motive for writing it. This is what they’ve always hoped for in America on the left. Less freedom. More governance by edict. More social shaming of anyone who fails to comply with orders, no matter how extreme.

These ambitions were forecast as long ago as 1963 when a member of the U.S. House of Representatives placed into the Congressional Record the 45 goals of communism derived from a book recently published at the time, entitled “The Naked Communist”. Read the list here. It is clear the left has played the long game. More than a half century later the unthinkable goals they articulated are being achieved, one by one.

If we are being honest with ourselves, we must acknowledge, as Americans and as Republicans, and as North Carolinians, the Wuhan Virus appears increasingly to have spread across our world deliberately with a lot of collateral damage but one target, the United States. The U.S. economy, our health care system, our food supply, President Donald Trump, our Constitutional freedom, religious and speech freedom specifically (who will soon forget a Raleigh police officer announcing that protests are “non-essential” activities under Cooper’s iron boot orders?), and anything else the virus can disrupt along the way. Note the surge of nodding heads as the State Board of Elections turns up the volume on the necessity of 100% mail-in voting this fall. For our safety, of course.

The Wuhan Virus is exacting a sad but hardly unprecedented human toll. The broader death toll remains to be seen. The left is counting on historic carnage. God empowers us to win the war now being waged outside of labs working on vaccines, the war on liberty. Let us pray we have the courage to leverage that power so that churches, like some American businesses, do not close their doors forever.

Liberty and death

By Steve Woodward

A physician and UCLA academic writing in The Wall Street Journal lays out the near future in the clearest terms: “If we can’t shut down (the United States) for 18 months on the gamble that an effective (COVID-19) vaccine will arrive, how long will it be worth committing millions of families to poverty and uprooting lives, education and every other part of the economy?

If a life is not worth living, is it worth saving?

This is the question no one wants to ask in a thriving free society. But is must be asked.

Give me liberty or give me death. This is the original bumper sticker assigned to the American experiment. But does anyone actually embrace it? We will know soon.

Because liberty is being drained even as the Swamp stands strong. Americans are yielding rights and freedom because one person in a community, a person with many health issues, might contract COVID-19 and die. This is the justification for governors — who are more capable of denying us liberty than we previously knew — decreeing shut downs of churches, restaurants and other thriving businesses. Stay safe! Yet America was not built on the presumption of safety. We are a strong nation because we believe in God and his will, which will deliver different fates across humanity. We are a great nation because we have sent young men and women into battle, knowing many would not come back, We did not assure them of safety. We did not say, “Sign up and stay safe”.

If a life is not worth living, is it worth saving? Ronald Reagan famously said, “Our’s is a rendezvous with destiny.” And if you doubt it, look up and face destiny. Reagan didn’t say we would like it, the rendezvous. But here we are.

Is it a choice or an obligation? To preserve liberty even in the face of a health crisis? Do we stand by as the federal government plunges our society into debt? Do we stand by as governments prohibit us to assemble to worship on Easter Sunday, and beyond? Do we relinquish our God given right to be free of government tyranny?

No one knows how many will die in the weeks ahead. But now is not the time to cower in fear. Our founding fathers risked everything, their careers, their riches, their way of life, and very lives, to give birth to our nation. Today, our nation is just getting started, and again it faces turmoil.

We must ask, as did our founders, why do we want to live if life is shackled by tyrants who claim to know better than we, who threaten penalties if we hug a fellow human being, visit a restaurant or worship inside a church?

Give me liberty. Death is inevitable.

 

King Cooper

By Steve Woodward

A random tweet brought everything into focus. Twitter is derided by many but it is often a dispensary of common sense. The tweeter recognized we are going to have to come to grips as a nation with prioritizing how we help those vulnerable to COVID-19 versus how we mitigate the economic impact we impose on everybody else.

Forest Official PhotoEverybody else will take a much greater and longer lasting hit. But wait, you say. People will die. Yes, people do. Die. Every day. That’s not part of our context here. Restaurants closing under Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper’s iron-fisted executive order might never re-open. In fact, a majority will not. Jobs lost will never come back. The chains will survive, but your locally owned eateries and cafes will die, slowly, under the current scenario. I know these people. They are in disbelief.

North Carolina’s Republican Lt. Governor Dan Forest, a formidable opponent of Gov. Cooper in this fall’s election showdown, recognizes this. Forest called it out.

Earlier today Governor Cooper announced, via a press release, that all North Carolina restaurants and bars must close in-restaurant seating by 5 this evening. His mandate will devastate our economy, shutter many small businesses, and leave many people unemployed, especially in the rural areas of our state where food supply is already critical.

After the press release, and shortly before a scheduled press conference, I, along with other Council of State members, was asked to concur with the Governor’s decision with no discussion. The Governor held his press conference and made the announcement even after a majority of the Council of State voted not to concur with the Governor. Thus, he does not have the authority to issue this part of his executive order.

While I understand that all actions in a time of crisis are very difficult decisions and have many consequences, some decisions are so serious they require, by law, discussion with, and approval of, other state leaders.

Lt. Governor Dan Forest makes an important point. The necessity of closing all NC restaurants and bars might be debatable — especially if you own one — but there is no debate about this: the Governor is not a dictator who can ignore legal protocol, even in a crisis.

After his office issued a statement Forest elaborated via Twitter (@LtGovDanForest): “My statement today was about the rule of law, not about the rightness of the decision made by the Governor. Had a majority of council of state concurred with the governor, I would be in full support. … But a pandemic should not lead to unquestioned acceptance of every decision a Governor makes, especially when (his) authority to do so is anything but certain.” The Council of State has 10 members. Six opposed Cooper’s decision. All six are Republicans. He ignored them. Cooper presumes he is a king.

Roy Cooper was born into a tobacco family. He worked in the family law firm after earning his law degree from the University of North Carolina. Cooper was elected to the General Assembly in 1987. He has not held a job most of his adult life, never had to make a payroll, never had to adapt to government imposed regulations. The irony in 2020 is that Cooper is afforded the luxury of ruling by fiat because the GOP-led Assembly since 2011 has taken steps fiscally which find North Carolina sitting on a multi-billion dollar “rainy day fund”.

We are living in a time of marked extremism. We have a governor in North Carolina who would rather drain our budget surplus than let people keep their jobs and sustain their livelihoods. The suspicion — the reality — is he is taking advantage of an opportunity to expand  government control and reduce self reliance. It’s straight out of the American Left’s playbook. They’ve been waiting. China obliged.

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.

 

Socialism = misery

By Norman Zanetti

People in countries throughout the world have lived and continue to live amid the ruins and failings of a socialistic system of government. Why then do Democratic party contenders for President find it a promising path for America to undertake?
Socialism has proven to be a system uniquely adept at the equal distribution of misery.  On the other hand, capitalism and the vast wealth it generates has made America the envy of the world. Our constitutional principles bind us to ancestors who had great foresight in promoting the American dream. It has fueled innovation, risk taking, and invention. With that comes wealth and prosperity.
Our wealth has allowed us to assist impoverished nations with financial and medical aid, and offer protection for them against unlawful aggression. Our success only has been nurtured by competing truths and opposing ideas.
Today’s world might seem too complicated to fit into one rigid political system; one ideology can’t be applied to all problems. But America could not have existed and expanded if it had been founded on economic redistribution. It took hard work and determination, with all citizens taking part. Free market capitalism is adaptable and resilient.
Socialism is a deeply unpopular domestic agenda for those who truly understand it. It affords draconian controls over liberties. It escalates into a government that gives the masses what they feel they deserve, forgetting that someone has to pay for it, borrow it,
tax for it and print money to cover it. To think millionaires, billionaires and corporations can pay for these excesses is ludicrous. Every strata of tax payer will be impacted.
A January Gallup poll supports the presumption that Americans know this intuitively. Gallup asked if voters would support a well-qualified candidate who is Muslim, or atheist, or a socialist. Sixty-six percent would vote for a Muslim; while 60 percent would vote for a self-described atheist. Support for a socialist drops to 45 percent.
Those touting socialism — including but not limited to Democrat presidential frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders — reveal an inexperience in governing we can’t afford to adopt in any way, shape, or form.

Pre-socialism

By Steve Woodward

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (to be a member of the ruling government elite). It’s the end of another long year (for the thousands of Americans who live in the shadows, in despair, far removed from anything wonderful).

Here in Moore County we are surrounded by poverty within rural hamlets that are so close and yet so far. So far removed from our daily lives. So frequently ignored. But in Moore, and across North Carolina generally, we take on poverty across political lines through many faith-based and charitable organizations committed to providing services and hope to those in need, those in the grip of addiction, those who are victims of domestic and street violence. This has not been eradicated, not by a long shot, but we soldier on even as human trafficking and drug smuggling courtesy of illegal immigrants strain our defenses.

Common sense and human decency dictate that citizens must engage in a relentless war on poverty. But the hard socialist Left, specifically its leaders, would prefer that we stand down. Look no further than the state most associated with the Democrat party, California. Known for it’s breathtaking beauty and year-round mild weather (interrupted by deadly wildfires and mudslides), California’s major cities are, in fact, cesspools of human suffering. No matter how many hearts are left in San Francisco, lawmakers and leaders are not prone to affection or compassion when faced with acute homelessness

homeless_fig-2_web

I have a personal connection to the futile war on homelessness in Los Angeles. My take is that the war being waged is losing. I say this with regret because a former college roommate is the one waging it, and he has for two decades. The Giving Spirit enlists throngs of successful, healthy L.A.-area women and men to look the homeless in the eye, offer a glimpse of hope and supply them with life-critical sustenance kits. More than 53,000 have received these kits since 1999, during which TGS has deployed more than 18,000 volunteers and raised north of $3.7 million.

Despite a fractional 1% decline overall in  California’s homeless population in 2017-18, one quarter of the nation’s homeless — close to 140,000 people — are found in California, 50,000 in Los Angeles County alone. This year upon receiving TGS’s annual email soliciting a donation, I paused to wonder if, despite loyalty to my ex-college roomie and my admiration for his dedication, writing another check made any sense. The organization is addressing the immediate needs of people without shelter and basic needs fulfillment, but state lawmakers have for years done little to get them off the streets once and for all. I replied to the email something to effect of, “God bless you, but when are you Californians finally going to wise up and free yourselves from Democrat control?”

I meant it. My friend replied, “We don’t get stuck on policy and partisan rancor.” I reconsidered and submitted my donation. But is it not deeply troubling that my friend likely reflects the thinking of many fellow Californians? This is how the thinly veiled threat of socialism creeping into political agendas on the Left make advances.

Despite benefiting from robust tax revenue, California “is far from flourishing,” wrote  Manhattan Institute scholar Steve Malanga in The Wall Street Journal on November 23. The state is “increasingly beset by social and economic problems, from homeless encampments to rubbish-strewn streets to (Pacific Gas & Electric) blackouts.”

Meanwhile, California Democrats take pride in having transformed The Golden State into The Sanctuary State, with politicians earlier this year even considering Medicaid for all undocumented aliens. Brilliant. (Not even Medicaid expansion warrior Gov. Roy Cooper in Raleigh has dared go that far!) Meanwhile, there are plenty of bad policies already in place, wrote Malanga. Decriminalization of property crimes and drug offenses. Shelters that welcome pets. Free needles. All resulting in California becoming “a magnet for unstable street people from around the country, and disorder is growing.”

In June, California’s uber-liberal Governor, Gavin Newsom, approved a staggering $215 billion budget for the state. Money has been flowing for decades to address every need imaginable, but signs of improvement, even progress, are hard to find. This is socialism on full display. It fails every time.