Displaying items by tag: opinion

Ever since I left for college and began talking to my dad on the phone regularly, he’s answered my call with “Hello, darlin’.” I’ll never tire of hearing his deep voice say those two words. Conway Twitty isn’t the only country singer I grew up knowing intimately. In my childhood home on Village Court in Weaverville, we had an antique RCA Victrola (floor model). You walked in the front door, up a flight of stairs and it was right there. I can still see it clearly in my mind.

North Carolina and its citizens are better off with HB2’s repeal. It’s a giant step forward, and despite criticism from the right and the left, I am glad we have at least moved the ball closer to the endzone.

HB2 was an embarrassment, a bad joke whose punchlines kept North Carolina in the crosshairs of pundits and comedians. The bill was morally wrong.

I was all set to write another column on Donald Trump, who somehow seems more unhinged with each passing week, but when I sat down to write it, I had an epiphany: it is opening day of baseball season, spring is the air, and the NCAA basketball championship is just hours away. Simply put, I am in too good a mood to write about Trumplethinskin. This week, I would rather eat a bowl of thumbtacks than spend one more minute thinking about him.

By Norman Hoffman • Guest Columnist

A guest column by Joseph Trisha in the March 22 edition (www.smokymountainnews.com/archives/item/19589) makes a plea for unity and putting aside opposition to President Trump. This would be more credible if the Republicans had done the same for Obama when he became president instead of opposing virtually anything that Obama accepted or supported.

The difference with current concerns about Trump is that his political career is based on lies. His initial ascent in politics, his campaign, and his presidency all have a foundation based on lies. He gained national prominence with the lie that Obama was not born in the U.S. — as if that made a difference. McCain, Romney, and Cruz were all born in foreign countries, yet that was not an issue. Why? Because their mothers, like Obama’s, were all American citizens — and they were white.

During the campaign, Trump lied about almost everything form the Clinton Foundation to unemployment statistics. Trump claimed unemployment was not around 5 percent as the data showed, but as high as 40 percent, which was ridiculous even for a lot of minority subpopulations. As soon as he became president, the 5 percent figure was declared accurate.

Trump lied about giving healthcare to everyone. In point of fact, the TrumpCare bill that he pushed was nothing but a tax cut for the wealthiest. It did not increase healthcare coverage to anyone. More than 20 million people covered by the Affordable Care Act would have lost coverage. Insurance would not have been more affordable for anyone. What the TrumpCare bill did was cut the taxes on the rich in the ACA that help pay for subsidies for those who would otherwise not have coverage.

Trump claimed he had no business with Russia, but his son stated that Russians were involved with a disproportionate proportion of the Trump family businesses. In 2014 Trump bragged that he did business with Russian oligarchs.  Last year his son-in-law met with Russian bank officials who also have ties to the Russian spy agency and possible involvement in money laundering. 

The previous columnist stated, “President Trump has accomplished many positive changes…” However, Trump has no positive accomplishments. The alleged saving of 800 jobs at Carrier was a case of smoke and mirrors. A recent news report indicated that Carrier was cutting 700 jobs in Indiana. Other jobs were also cut. The so-called saved jobs were not going overseas in the first place.

The writer correctly indicates that the debt is an important issue, but not for Trump. His new budget would cut taxes for the wealthy and increase the debt. It makes no economic or mathematical sense to cut taxes if you want to cut the deficit or national debt. One does not take a pay cut to be better able to pay the mortgage. Tax cuts have never improved the economy or created jobs — they have only added to the deficit.

In short, we cannot believe anything President Trump or his administration say. Their history is to say one thing and do the opposite.

(Norman Hoffman lives in Waynesville and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

I’m severely under-acquainted with the Midwest. 

My older son has a game on his Kindle that asks him to identify certain states or place them in the correct location on a map, and it’s the Midwest that always stumps me. Is that Kansas or Nebraska? And is that one there Illinois or Iowa? What do Missouri and Minnesota even look like? Which ones borders Canada? Are the Dakotas considered “Midwestern”? You get the picture.

Where’s Mark?

As in Rep. Mark Meadows, our Republican congressman who reportedly represents the rural and economically challenged residents of mountainous Western North Carolina? Where is he, literally, after his prominent role in the healthcare drama that played out last week in our nation’s capital (otherwise known as the swamp).

Well, if you pay attention to his press office and watch night-time cable news (I’m guilty of both), you’ll find that he’s spent the weeks leading up to the momentous healthcare vote last Friday making the rounds of the various talk shows. Meadows was seemingly basking in the limelight provided by his leadership of the Freedom Caucus, the renegade GOP faction that foiled the President Trump and Rep. Paul Ryan healthcare initiative that was to replace Obamacare.

I found them in the corner of the basement, hidden like Easter Eggs underneath a blue tarp which was itself partially obscured by a couple of discarded boxes. Our basket of baseballs. I cannot recall exactly when or why we started keeping a dozen or more baseballs in an old Easter basket — most likely because it was handy and I couldn’t lay my hands on a bucket just then — but for the past several years, when spring rolls around and chases the frost out of the yard, I make my annual descent into the basement to fetch the baseball basket.

By Paul Strop • Guest Columnist

Last summer when we returned to this country, the presidential election was in full cry, and almost every day (it seemed) we heard, “lock her up,” and “build a wall.” The first, I assume referred to the candidate’s opponent, and the second, I assume, referred to the rally-goers’ demand for protection.

Walls have been built for centuries by kings, sultans and dictators for the purpose of protecting their territories and their royal cities from marauding armies who would pillage and destroy these cities. Moulay Ismael in the 17th century built walls to protect his royal city of Meknes. Today, thousands of visitors travel to Morocco to marvel at these structures which still stand. The Great Wall of China was built hundreds of years ago for protection against raiders from Eurasia. Millions of tourists every year walk on these existing walls.

By Joseph Trisha • Guest Columnist

So who else is tired of negative politics and the constant negative President Donald Trump reports every time you turn on the news channel? The news media should just stick to the facts — whether good or bad — without the spin or half truths.

Wouldn’t it be great no matter who was in office if the representatives would just concentrate on helping the people who placed them there? Wouldn’t it be nice if the news outlets would just cover the news with truth and without the constant negativity focused on those who are opposite of their party?

It was July or August of 1999, best I remember, and the Swain County Commissioners at that time were meeting in a cramped boardroom in the Administration Building. I’m not sure if anyone from a newspaper other than The Smoky Mountain Times covered these meetings, but we had published the first issue of our upstart newspaper in June of that year. As its only reporter at that time, I was finally getting around to one of Swain’s meetings.

I was a little out of sorts as I wandered in unannounced. I found an empty chair against the wall that was so close you could have touched the commissioners. They all greeted me as I told them who I was and what I was there for.

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