How many Kurds died in Kentucky?

By Randall Poulton | Nov 14, 2019

The Trump-hating media continues to roll out various fake news “bombshells” in an attempt to smear Donald Trump and his policies. The title of this column refers to one of the most egregious: The ABC national news repeatedly ran video of a nighttime machine gun shoot held at The Knob Hill Gun Club, claiming it showed the slaughter of Kurds in Syria. So far, no word on how many Kurds died at the Kentucky gun club, but I think it is safe to assume none! Today’s mainstream media is beyond shame; they will do anything to smear Trump.

Prior to the Kurd slaughter fiasco, the bombshell of the week was that the U.S. economy is poised to go into recession. This one was particularly ridiculous. Why? Because a recession is defined as a decline in gross national product (GNP) for two consecutive quarters. As of this writing, the GNP has expanded every quarter for the last 12 quarters! In fact, all indicators show the U.S. economy is cooking. Here is the true story:

After being stagnant under Obama, wages are now expanding at almost 3% a year. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): Wages and salaries increased 2.9% for the 12-month period ending in June 2019 and 2.8% for the 12-month period ending June 2018. In fact, lower wage earners and minorities are doing even better. According to the Census Bureau, the national household median income is now almost $62,000. And, because of Trump’s tax cuts, you get to keep more of your hard-earned money. Making more and keeping more: a wonderful thing!

Unemployment remains at the lowest in half a century. According to BLS, in October, the unemployment rate rose a tick to 3.6%. But this is actually good news! Why, because during October, 42,000 General Motors employees were temporarily “unemployed.” They were not really “unemployed”; they were out on strike. But the BLS counted them as unemployed! All the GM folks are now back at work, so everyone expects the November numbers to show another decline in the unemployment rate. If you are looking for work, finding a job has never been easier and wages have never been higher!

Inflation is holding a little below 2% a year. That is healthy. According to the BLS, the Consumer Price Index for Consumers increased 1.7% over the last 12 months. This despite the dire warning that Trump’s trade war with China would drive up prices. Like the slaughter of the Kurds, this, too, never happened! (BTW: Best estimates are that fewer than 200 Kurds died in Syria during Turkey’s “invasion.”) It seems increasingly likely that China will soon capitulate to Trump’s demands for a level playing field.

Interest rates remain very low. If you want to buy a house, 30-year mortgage rates are under 4%! This is an incredible deal. Owning a home is not for everyone, but at 4% interest, your monthly payment on a $100,000 house is less than $600 a month! I remember when an 8% mortgage was considered a good deal.

How is your 401(k) doing? Since Donald Trump was elected in November 2016, the stock market is up over 50%! OK, I know not everyone is directly invested in the stock market, but when big companies do well, their employees share in that profit via higher wages and bonuses. According to Walmart, their average full-time associate in America now makes $14.26 per hour. That’s $2,500 a month before taxes and a wage almost high enough to handle the payments on a $100,000 mortgage.

None of these economic statistics foretell a recession, yet that was all you heard on the “news” a few weeks ago. In fact, the October numbers indicate the U.S. economy is “unambiguously strong,” according to Kathy Bostjancic at Oxford Economics. The U.S. economy and U.S. workers are doing much better under Trump than they ever did under Obama. And it gets better.

Crime is down, too. After increasing during the last two years of the Obama administration, both violent crimes and property offenses dropped in 2017, according to the FBI. As compared with 2016, the violent crime rate declined by almost 1.0%, including a 1.4% drop in homicides (which would have been a 1.8% reduction were it not for the acts of one deranged individual in Las Vegas). Meanwhile, the decline in property crime was even more pronounced, with a drop of 3.6%. Somehow, this “good news” story has eluded the mainstream media.

Not only are we safer at home; far fewer of our young men and women are dying in senseless foreign wars. Since Jan. 1, 2017, there have been 45 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan. Still too many, but way down from the bloody Obama years when nearly 1,000 Americans were dying in the Afghan dessert annually. Elsewhere, “Rocket Man” has stopped nuclear testing and Korea is no longer threating to bomb America. Last week, Trump signed off on two anti-terror operations that killed both the head of ISIS (al Baghdadi) and his top lieutenant. At this rate, in a couple more years, maybe Trump wins the Nobel Peace prize.

That brings me back to where I started. When Trump decided to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, the mainstream media exploded. We were “abandoning our allies,” they claimed (how many times did you hear that refrain?). The Kurds would be slaughtered. (Good luck with that. I would take the Kurds over the Turks). What crap! The fact is, the Kurds hated ISIS and the U.S. hated ISIS. We fought together and destroyed ISIS. That was that. There was no long-term alliance, any more than when the United States and Russia temporarily combined to fight Germany. That “alliance” dissolved with the final gunshot of World War II.

I wish the Kurds well, but we have no dog in their centuries-long dispute with Turkey (or Syria)!

Randall Poulton is a columnist for The Republican Journal. He lives in Winterport.

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