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.

Land of the Freebie?

By Steve Woodward

For most Americans it is taken for granted that we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Now it turns out that a new generation of Socialists disguised as Democrats envision a land where everything is free and bravery is the weapon of choice if you dare oppose them.

These same people who say they want to give us everything are, ironically, not the least bit interested in freedoms embraced by our nation’s founders. They want to strip us of self-reliance and independence in the very moment they hand over the keys to everything they say we need — and only a ruling elite class knows what that is.

The elites calculate that once they secure a vast pool of entitlement addicts, citizens and border runners alike, by doling out free education, free healthcare, and student loan forgiveness (a free diploma), and by making our nation gun-free, religion-free and speech-restricted, their power will expand and endure.

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recently expressed his belief that Americans of all ages must be stirred by the aspirational underpinnings of a free society (ours) rather than enslaved by a permanent entitlement state.

“When progressives promise government will pay for health care and college,” Jindal wrote, “they are really saying government will run medicine and higher education. Medicare for All explicitly calls for the abolition of private health insurance.”

If today’s students were allowed to think critically and possessed even a shred of familiarity with recent American history, they might already have concluded that entitlement addiction will never allow them to fulfill their potential or, for that matter, succeed beyond their wildest dreams.

martin-luther-king-jr
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Historian and author Shelby Steele asserts that Martin Luther King Jr. pursued freedom, not justice, but his legacy has been ignored by the left and it’s obsession with racial inequality, which meant blacks and other minorities were viewed as “victims who had to be socially engineered into equality.”

Steele is the author of Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country. The book’s title is self-explanatory, and Steele, a black scholar and expert on race relations, speaks with authority when he observes that minorities in the 21st century “suffer from underdevelopment, not racism. And, here, at last, is conservatism’s great opportunity.”

Empowering citizens makes so much sense, and is so embedded in America’s psyche, that you even can find Democrats who agree wth Jindal and Steele. Notably, Democrat policy wonk Ted Van Dyk, writing for the Journal on May 31.

In a piece entitled, “How Democrats Can Avoid Losing”, he laid out a scathing rebuke of the runaway freight train that is the far left Democrat party in 2019. Van Dyk makes the outrageous (and very obvious) observation that dismantling Confederate monuments does nothing toward addressing the “plight of black Americans in inner cities.” With black and Hispanic unemployment at historically low levels, the left, with typical media complicity, obsesses on “identity politics based on victimhood,” he laments.

As for promising a list of “free stuff”, Van Dyk correctly notes that these freebies are “out of line with most Americans’ core values.” Think about the millions of blue-collar laborers, lifelong union members and reliable Democrats who are proud of what they earned, or thrilled to have saved and paid for a child or grandchild to earn a college degree. Would they support free tuition and loan forgiveness? Not a chance. Intolerance of snowflakes seems inherently non-partisan.

“Why not go back to that perpetually workable thing,” writes Steele, “the American dream?”

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Signs of our times

By Steve Woodward

After witnessing numerous cases of “mob rule” endorsed by the Democrat Party, the smear campaign against Justice Brett Kavanaugh foremost among them, it is not surprising that Republicans’ campaign signs are being removed every day (or under cover of darkness) across our communities.

This is not a new tactic by the left, but it is rampant in 2018. Last weekend, a fellow citizen was observed offloading a stack of GOP campaign signs, presumably removed from numerous locations. Offloading is perhaps too polite. The signs were dumped at the Moore County Landfill off of Highway 5. A keen observer captured a photo of the perpetrator’s license plate. The photo was sent to local law enforcement.

Republicans do not waste time wallowing in victimhood. Sign removal is a misdemeanor but more than anything it is a pathetic, ineffective strategy. It merely reinforces why getting Republicans and independents out to vote (beginning Oct. 17 with the start of Early Voting) through Nov. 6 is our primary mission. Energizing Republicans is what the new hard left Democrat party seems to do best, starting with anthem kneeling, and continuing with violent anti-police marches, historic statue vandalism (UNC-Chapel Hill), the Kavanaugh assault and, most recently, the exposing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s false claim of Native American heritage.

In a week when Stormy Daniels was downgraded to a rain shower by a judge who ruled she must pay President Trump’s legal fees, when the Russian collusion hoax is being proven further by the silence of key players, and when the number of job openings nationally surpassed 7 million, and with data out that there are eight times more new manufacturing jobs than during the long Obama era slog, those who bet the ranch on a “blue wave” are planning ranch estate sales.

Locally, Republican campaign signs might be dwindling but motivated Republican voters are surging. In the last official week for regular voter registration ahead of the start of early voting Oct. 17, Republicans have registered a total of about 4,300 new voters statewide (versus about 2,300 Democrats).

In Moore County, Republican voter registration has already exceeded 2016 by nearly 400, with a record 27,691 registered as of Oct. 16. In the latest reporting period, the Moore GOP picked up another 115 registrants compared to 46 Democrat registrants and 89 unaffiliated registrants.

The question for unaffiliated voters across North Carolina, of which currently there are 5,800, is not complicated and it won’t be swayed by yard signs. The question is: Do they want mobs or jobs in 2018 and beyond?

 

 

 

Voting is a right and — in 2018 — an obligation

“The Kavanaugh (Supreme Court) nomination … has come down to an undiscoverable accusation. The defeat of a Supreme Court nominee on this basis would be a victory for a level of conscious political nullification not seen in the U.S. for a long time. Republicans in the Senate shouldn’t allow it, and voters in November should not affirm it.” (Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, 09-20-18)

Republicans are approaching one of the most consequential midterm elections of our lifetimes this November 6. We need historically high numbers of motivated voters to maintain Republican majorities in the U.S. House and in the North Carolina General Assembly. That means vote absentee (now), vote early at one of two locations, or vote Nov. 6 at your polling place — and bring friends and neighbors, even if you need to bribe them with coffee and doughnuts!

The smear campaign to derail the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court demonstrates the ruthless intensity Democrats are bringing to the fight. They will do anything, make any claim, to win at any cost to diminish the Trump presidency.

But their counter-offensive itself is diminished by the indisputable facts that America is back!  Think about what has been accomplished:

  • We now enjoy lower taxes and fewer growth-killing regulations.
  • Consumer confidence and the value of retirement accounts are way up.
  • We have the lowest unemployment in decades – and the lowest on record for African Americans and Hispanics.
  • The GDP grew at the rate of 4.2% last quarter (average growth was 1.075% under Mr. Obama).
  • We are on the road to a modernized and stronger military.

Allowing the Democrats to win will reverse all of these achievements. We can’t let that happen! Be an informed voter, recruit fellow voters, and let’s keep America on the path to greatness. Again.

The art of the possible

By Norman Zanetti

Democrats and their media cheerleaders are doubling down on stupid. They continue to marginalize everything President Donald Trump and Republicans have engineered. This should prompt another major belly-smacker in this year’s mid-term elections.

Following years of dreary regulatory and anti-business agendas, we now have a template for sustainable growth. The art of the possible has moved the needle from red to green.

Restoration comes with a price in this hyper-partisan environment. The positive intermediate and long-term effects make worthwhile tolerating some short-term pain and risk. Hosts of politically shallow intellectuals on CNN, MSNBC, and in the mainstream press, now fear the signature issues that elected Trump, and majorities in both houses, will prevail over their progressive psychosis about Trump’s fitness for office.

Particularly daunting is the growing credence of media suppressing evidence that a host of illegalities were perpetrated by members of the Obama administration to undermine then-candidate Trump. Among them were FISA warrants under false pretense for broad surveillance; leaks from then-FBI Director James Comey; his exoneration of Hillary Clinton prior to her Congressional testimony; and those contributions to the Clinton Foundation. I foresee a lot more powder keg revelations still to come.

Despite the perpetual state of indignation toward President Trump by the New York Times and Washington Post, along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s attempts to criminalize civil matters, voting by the left is unlikely to unleash a so-called “blue wave” come November. What will continue to drive motivated Republican and independent voting is boarder control reform, tax reform, regulatory reform, military upgrades, and addressing trade imbalances. And don’t forget wage growth, which will benefit a swath of Americans next tax season.

My question as to the media’s endless false narrative known as Russian collusion is: Why would Russians have wanted Trump to win? He was a political unknown. Plus, the Russians got away with so much during the Obama-Clinton years, why would they not have longed for a “third Obama term” (President Clinton)? The Russians feast on weakness. During Obama’s reign, the entire Mideast fell apart, causing mass migration and genocide. Nothing was done to address North Korea, or continued civil unrest in Africa. They had to know Trump was, at the very least, unpredictable. Why then do anything to help his chances?

Norman Zanetti is a frequent contributor and local political observer. This essay originated as a letter to New York Times op-ed columnist David Leonhardt. We salute Mr. Zanetti for having the mental fortitude to endure perusal of the Times.

Wave goodbye to “the wave”

The far-Left media (AKA, the media) was gleeful after seeing turnout numbers for Minnesota and Wisconsin primaries on August 14. Democrat voters surpassed Republican voters by more than 250,000 in Minnesota, and outvoted the GOP by more than 80,000 in Wisconsin polling places. Overall voter turnout also was higher compared to recent primaries.

The numbers aligned with an ongoing narrative that a “blue wave” is coming this November with Democrat voters rising up to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives, which would stall President Donald Trump’s agenda indefinitely and allow House Democrats to stir up scenarios under which Trump might be impeached.

Buried amid the chest pounding the morning after the two primaries was an astute analysis by Professor David Canon at the University of Wisconsin, a liberal bastion. He warned against reading too much into Democrat turnout “given several hot contests” in the state.  The same can be said for Minnesota:

“Competitive races for open seats, and partisan enthusiasm for many of the candidates in a highly polarized climate, fueled the high turnout,” said Kathryn Pearson, political science professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

As primaries continue toward setting the stage for November, many tuned-in Republicans have rejected the threat of a “blue wave” because most Democrats (such as political novice Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th Congressional district) are running on a “resist Trump” platform, nothing more.

Ocasio-Cortez is pushing a Socialist agenda amid a booming U.S. economy. Brilliant.

Further rejection of the blue wave theory is provided by none other than a CBS News pollster whose newly released book, “Where Did You Get That Number?”, examines why 2016 polls never saw Trump’s stunning victory coming.

Pollster and author Anthony Salvanto points out that two polls forecast the possibility of a Trump victory in 2016. Both were tracking polls. Salvanto told The New York Post he is “relying more on CBS’s ongoing tracking poll and less on random-sample telephone polling ahead of this year’s midterm elections.”

One of the key findings of Salvanto’s tracking poll suggests Democrats are unlikely to find conditions suitable for wave surfing this November. He tells the Post:

“Voters say the Democrats need to do more than just oppose Trump. They’re asking, ‘What are they arguing we’ll get if they take the (House) majority?'”

For now, the Post reports, Salvanto’s polling indicates that few House seats will change hands in November — and that the GOP could very well hold its majority in the House. Of the nation’s 435 House districts, fully 85 percent will almost certainly stick with its current party affiliation come November, Salvanto projects.

If the tracking polls hold up, surf’s up this fall, and the waves will be red.