Category Archives: Immigration

Thoughts and Prayers Template

OK. So, in El Paso, Texas a white supremacist used a military style weapon to kill 20 people and send more to the hospital. In Dayton, Ohio only 9 were killed by a gunman. So, what day is? Another day in America.

At this point we don’t know much about the Dayton shooter. But odds are that the El Paso guy drove for about 8 hours for the express purpose of protecting the fatherland from the Hispanic invasion. Have no clue as to where he got the idea that there was some invasion. Who could have inspired such blind hatred? Where did he get this from?

And, as usual, members of the Democratic (aka Socialist) Party called for stricter controls on guns. In fact, they passed a background check bill in the House which now sits on Moscow Mitch’s In box…also called the “waste basket”. The Dems have this odd idea that if nutcases could not get their hands on weapons of mass destruction there would be fewer mass shootings. Fewer children murdered in cold blood. What kind of logic is that?

And, as usual the members of Trump’s GOP have offered their thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims. Ted Cruz. Moscow Mitch. Donald himself. The entire crew is really broken up over this one. They are very sad. Sad. Very sad.

But the GOP has a problem. Over 100 mass killings already this year. How do you keep your sadness fresh? How do you keep track of the devastation of human life while maintaining your support for domestic terrorists? How do you maintain the facade of concern? Not an easy task.

Which is why I am here. To help. Like usual.

I am offering the GOP members of Congress a simple template for grief. Even they should be able to  fill in the blanks. Or have a staff member do it. Just fill in the blanks, print and you are ready for the camera. Roll em.

My fellow Americans. I recoil in horror at the senseless murders of (fill in a number) our fellow Americans. The sacred place (fill in name of school church, synagogue, mosque or mall) has been forever blackened by this evil deed. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Texas (fill in a different state if appropriate, although you can figure it is probably Texas). My wife (add name of wife, not girlfriend, be careful here)and I both kneel and pray to God for the victims and first responders. Today (fill in date) will forever be a black day in US history. We must combat this evil by prosecuting the offender to full extent of the law. That will make the families of the dead (fill in men, women and or children) feel much better about their loss. Let us hope we never have to go through such a traumatic event again. May God bless you and God bless the NRA.”

Fill in the blanks. Read. Repeat next week.

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Filed under border control, Conservatives, crime, Cruz, GOP, government, gun control, immigrants, Immigration, NRA, Politics, prayer, racism, Republicans, Trump, United States, violence

Cages for Only $700 per Day

I have seen estimates from a couple sources. NPR says it costs $770 per day. The Washington Examiner, a conservative source, says it is about $670 per day.

This is what taxpayers are paying to private, some times religious, organizations to house immigrant minors. The “unaccompanied” minors, most of whom WERE accompanied when they crossed the border. But who were then taken from their parents and so now are labeled “unaccompanied”.

We are paying about $700 a day for EACH child. Let the fiscal conservatives swallow that. $700 each day.

Who is making $700 a day “housing” these kids? Are cages that expensive? And is the cost of frozen food so much more near the border?

Now, for $700 I can get a round trip flight from New York City to Europe.

For $700 a day I can go to the Big Apple. Stay in a very nice hotel. Sate my appetite  at the best restaurants. Indulge in Broadway play. And still have plenty of money left over for the cab ride and an excellent  happy ending “massage.”

For $700 a day I can make payments on a BMW and have it paid off pretty darn quick.

A farmer in my neck of the woods could easily hire a couple for farm laborers for half that amount.

For $700 a day these kids could be housed in luxury apartments, provided with plenty of food and personal tutors.

$700 a day. That is $3,500 a week. Keep a kid for a month and each little immigrant child is worth $14,000. A little gold mine. Keep em as long as you can..

What do these children get for $700 a day. A bunk bed? A cage? Some providers claim they provide 3 meals a day. And they provide a trip to a bowling alley ! And multi-colored crayons and coloring books ! That is a pretty generous and Christian thing to do.

I mean, when can you find crayons for only $700 a day. I am surprised these private organizations are not going broke.

Of course, when this catastrophe of the Trump years is behind us we will get the facts. The connections between Betsy DeVos and other members of this pirate crew to the owners of these for profit holding centers for children. This gang of grifters using the treasury as their private slush fund.

The stench of corruption of this administration just grows and grows and grows.

I wonder how much perfume you can buy for $700 a day?

 

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Filed under border control, Budget, Conservatives, government, immigrants, Immigration, Politics, Taxes, Trump, United States

20,000 Guatemalans

 

The first time I traveled to Guatemala was after the civil war in the 1990s. I lived with a family in Antigua for a week and then traveled around the country. Including a white knuckle flight over hundreds of miles of jungle to the Mayan site of Tikal.

The second time, my spouse and I spent a few weeks , living in a wonderful resort on Lake Atitlan and exploring various parts of the country by bus and van. Visiting villages only accessible by boat, experiencing the colorful market at Chichicastengo, enjoying coffee in the colonial city of Antigua. Interacting with friendly people. Great memories.

Guatemala is about 50% or so Mayan. So the Spanish and Mayan peoples live side by side, but in different worlds. A colorful mixture of cultures and religions and languages. After being immersed in the colorful culture where women still wear bold colored huilpiles, denoting their village, coming back to the US was like trading in an HD color TV for an old black and white with rabbit ears.

Now, it seems, Guatemala has once again descended into violence and division. The government or gangs are once again creating a hostile environment. I really don’t pretend to know what is going on, but it is too bad.

The valleys of fertile farmland we drove through are probably the greenest I have ever seen.

According to the latest US Aid report the US has invested tax dollars in Guatemala in an attempt to make life better for the people. The legal system has been streamlined and modernized in an attempt to give the “accused” some basic rights.

Another section of the report outlines the economic aid we have given the Guatemalans. Evidently US aid has increased the exporting of crops by about 50%. More income for the farming sector.

Also, according to the US Aid information sheet, our assistance has led to the creation of 20,000 more agricultural jobs for Guatemalans. So, let’s see what that means.

The average size of a family is about 4 people. Probably 5 people or more  in the rural areas. So, 20,000 jobs probably supports 100,000 people.

That is 100,000 people who have no reason to emigrate to the US for a better life. 100,000 people who now can stay in their native land and make a living. 100,000 fewer people to process at the US border.

Now, Mr Trump has said he will end all aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The total aid to these three countries is $ 500,000,000. Total. For some perspective, this is the cost of about 4 Lockheed Martin F-35B fighter jets.

Of course, economic aid to Latin American countries, delivered mainly through NGOs, only helps to lessen the potential immigration to the USA. This is the idea behind trade agreements and aid programs. To assist people living in their own homelands so they do not need to emigrate.

Eliminating this aid is just not smart policy. Unless your objective is to increase the pressure at the border to create a humanitarian crisis.

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Filed under border control, Foreign policy, Immigration, Politics, Trump, United States

Understanding Trump

If you are a logical person or a reasonable person Mr Trump may be hard to understand. His decisions, the way he treats people, his lies, his tweets may all seem the rantings of a loon.

After 3 years of campaigning and watching him on the stage I have come to some understanding of why he makes the kinds of decisions he makes. While on the surface they make no sense, if you can put yourself in his mind (and there is plenty of room) you may be able to make sense of him.

I was trained as an anthropologist, which is important. What an anthropologist tries to do is understand people who think in ways that are quite different from what we might consider “normal” in our society.

For example, the Yanomami (or Yanamamo) have a ritual they perform when someone dies. They cremate the body and mix the ashes of the deceased into a “stew”. The family then passes around the stew and everyone takes a drink. On the surface this is pretty disgusting and makes no sense.

However, to the Yanomami this action shows the highest regard for the dead. The dead become part of the living.The dead person becomes one with those who are still alive. It is the ultimate spiritual and physical connection. Odd behavior to us, but completely “normal” under their belief system.

So, when we look at Trump’s decisions we should not assume he holds the same values, beliefs, life experiences, etc. as a normal American. We should instead, an an anthropologist, try to understand his motives and beliefs by his actions. We should assume nothing, but rather look for a pattern of behavior to better understand the motives of that behavior.

For example, Trump is obsessed with destroying the ACA, also called Obamacare. Now, this program provides health insurance to millions of Americans. When the GOP tried to destroy it the outrage was so great that they could not do so. People like it. It guarantees health insurance for the working poor and supports the private insurance industry. Yet, Mr Trump insists he wants it ended, with no plan to help the 20-40,000,000 Americans who would lose insurance if he succeeds.

A logical person might ask: Why? Why try to destroy a popular program that is working? Now, if a better alternative was offered there might be a reasonable discussion. But there is no alternative offered, just the end of Obamacare.

Combine this with his other illogical actions concerning the border wall. His call for an investigation of Smollett, the black guy in Chicago, his history of discrimination against African-Americans in housing, etc. and a clear picture emerges.

He is a racist. Anything Obama did, no matter how helpful to the citizens, he is intent on undoing. While he criticizes black Americans and calls for all kinds of “investigations”, he never criticizes white supremacists or calls for investigations of police who kill blacks.

If you look at Mr Trump’s decisions and take the view that he is a racist, they all make perfect sense. His attacks on the people of Puerto Rico , Mexicans, ripping brown children from their parents, saying he wants more folks from Norway, etc. The overall , inevitable controlling factor, from the point of view of an anthropologist, is that this man makes policy decisions based on skin color.

Another area where Mr Trump’s decisions seem incomprehensible is his relationships with various foreign leaders. While he “loves” Kim Jung Un and respects Putin, he criticizes the leaders of democracies.

Why would an American president humiliate himself before Putin. Why kowtow to the dictator of Saudi Arabia? Why talk about his love relationship with Kim Jung Un? All three of these men are vile dictators who murder their political opponents. They kill newsmen. They destroy all critics. All three have raided the wealth of their own people and live like kings while so many in their countries have nothing.

What is the underlying attraction these men have as far as Trump is concerned? What is it about his value system that makes them attractive to him?

The conclusion I have reached is not that they “have anything on him”, like “compromat”. Rather, he admires brutality and physical strength. He sees the way these men “control” their populations with terror and he admires that. He sees that as a positive value. Leaders who are feared and bowed down to. Above questioning.

Why has he gone through so many cabinet members and advisers? He needs “yes men” around him. People who will tell him he is the greatest thing on Earth. Sycophants. Anyone who would disagree with him is put in his place or fired. No opinions other than that the the supreme leader can be allowed.

So, any decisions he makes must be unquestioned. He values complete loyalty to him and a disregard for any legal or normative structures. He losses the battle for the wall, so he simply says he will violate the law and build it anyway. If his political opponents disagree they should be destroyed. The free press must be destroyed, as well. There can be no exchange of ideas, only capitulation. In his world view that is the way a “great leader” acts.

Now, I am not justifying Mr Trump’s actions. Only trying to make sense of them. He does have guiding principles, even though he is probably not even cognizant of them himself.

He believes in strong man rule and the inherent superiority of light skinned people. If you keep in mind those 2 principles all of his actions, tweets, speeches, violations of the law and norms make sense.

It also helps one understand that so many Americans share that world view. After all, Mr Trump has plenty of support. You will never understand Mr Trump unless you understand that fact as well. He is not alone in his core beliefs. Admiration for authoritarian rule and racism. A lethal combination.

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Filed under ACA, african-american, blacks, Immigration, liberals, logic, obama, Obamacare, Politics, POTUS, president, racism, Society, Trump, United States

State of the Union 2019

Mr Trump, with permission from Nancy Pelosi, will be giving the State of the Union message on Tuesday. Many people will not be able to watch him because they have better things to do. Like watch reruns of Happy Days. Clean up some dog poop. Put on toe fungus ointment. The list is endless.

Have no fear. Due to my extensive contacts with the Deep State I have been able to obtain an early draft notes of Mr Trump’s address. A special thanks to Kelly Anne Convoy, who shall remain anonymous. Hopefully. So, as a public service, here are the preliminary notes to Donald’s address. These are only notes, so Mr Trump may or may not use them.

Card #1: Say hello to our troops. Best troops ever. Remind them of your military service . You wanted to go to war and we probably would have won the Vietnam war but your father’s doctor said : No way, not with those heels! Sad. Very sad. Don’t call Pelosi a bitch. If you do, she will nail your ass for the next 2 years. THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT. Don’t cross Pelosi. PLEASE.

Card#2: Best president ever. Best economy in the history of the world. Since time began in 4004 BC. Remind them they can’t impeach someone who is doing such a fantastic job. Finally America is respected by Russia after the failed Obama stuff. DON’T say he was born in Kenya. That one is no longer useful. Mention that Kamala Harris sounds like a foreign name to you. Maybe SHE was born in Kenya. Just saying. America for Americans. Remind them to lock her up. Lock her up.

Card#3: You are building the wall. Biggest wall ever. Everyone knows walls work. Obama has a wall around his house. Keeps out illegal rapists. WHAMMO That will wing em. You don’t need congress to build a wall. You already have the money, so you don’t need congress. Also, condemn the Democrats for not giving you wall money, even though you don’t need them to give you wall money. Make that clear. They refuse to give you what you don’t need. Also, remind them that Mexico has already paid for the wall. DONE deal ! The wall is built. As promised!

Card #4: Tell them how tough you are. You got North Korea to give up all their nukes. They have promised. Remind them that you know more than the stupid CIA that claims Kim is still building nukes. FAKE NEWS. Remind them that Obama never would talk with Kim, but you out dealed the dictator. No more nukes in Korea. You are the best president ever. (Tell them). Smarter than the CIA. Kim PROMISED. He promised. Gave his word.

Card #5: Remind them how Russia is a hoax. All of Russia. You never met Putin. No one in your campaign ever met Russians. You can’t even find Russia on a map. Can’t even find a map. You don’t even know who Putin is. Also, you now have the best relations with Russia ever. By far. And Putin says he never would do anything like SPY. Ridiculous. Fake news. Putin said so, too. He PROMISED he did nothing. So, there you have it. He was very strong when he said it. VERY STRONG! Tell them you could fire Mueller if you wanted to but you don’t want to. So there.

Card#6: Tell them how the unemployment is so low. Lowest ever. It is so low that there are no unemployed. Only the lazy illegal immigrants who come here for handouts. And they rape our white women. Especially the blonde ones. Instead of working, they rape. Everyone else has a great job. And everyone has health care, thanks to your health care plan. And the bridges are all fixed and all the potholes are gone. People say so. Remind them that people say so. Another promise fulfilled. Everyone has the best health care ever. Thanks to you.

Card#7: Remind them that you are the commander in chief. That means you have all the power. You could have come to the Congress and delivered the State of the Union anytime you wanted, but you didn’t want to until now. You can go to war anytime you want. Or Jared wants. Or Bolton wants. . Watch out Venezuela. And Iran. You will defeat them like you defeated ISIS. ISIS is no longer around. All gone. Fake news if anyone says anything else. ISIS is no more.

Card # 8: Don’t use the “n” word. THIS IS IMPORTANT. There are a lot of darkies on the Dem side and they will try to make a big deal out of it. Also, your true supporters know you are a racist, no need to remind them.

Card #9: Finish by saying God Bless America. This is of utmost importance. God…Bless…America. Remind them that you are the greatest Christian ever to be president. If you don’t remember anything else (which is a good bet) don’t forget the God Bless America line. It is better than Lock Her Up. Which reminds me. Tell them you do have the power to pardon all family members…and yourself. And you intend to do so. And there is nothing Nancy can do about it, so NYAHH, NYAHH.

 

So, if you miss the State of the Union, don’t worry. You read it here first. It is in safe hands. Of the greatest president ever!  God Bless America.

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Filed under Christianity, GOP, government, immigrants, Immigration, nuclear weapons, Politics, POTUS, Society, Trump, United States

Negotiating With Terrorists

Should we negotiate with terrorists? I mean, if a Mooslim takes a hostage and then makes an demand, should we agree to those demands? Is that smart? Or does that just encourage other bad actors to take more hostages?

Which brings me to my friend Dward Farqward, who was holed up in the Third National Bank here in Monkey Valley, Arkansas. Now, since I knew Dward from our mutual work on the “Bullets for Bunnies” program , he agreed to let me into the bank to talk.

Me: Hey, Dward. I am here with the police and SWAT team  and they want you to send out your hostages and surrender.

Dward: Well, I can deal. Here’s my conditions. I get to keep all the money from I stole from the bank, am guaranteed a private plane to the Seeshell Islands and a Cleveland Browns authentic  football signed by Lou Gehrig.

Me: Well, Dward. I don’t think they will agree with all that. Maybe I can get them to lessen some charges.

Dward: Nope. My way or I will shut this bank down for as long as it takes. I feel bad for the hostages and the folks can’t access their money. But it is not MY fault. I am willing to negotiate.

Me: Well, Dward, the thing is. You created this mess by robbing the bank in the first place.

Dward: I needed money. What was I supposed to do?

Me: Did you ask for a loan? Talk with the bank about a line of credit?

Dward: WHAT? That would have been a sign of weakness! What if they would not give me EVERYTHING I wanted? It would have been humiliating. Besides. I had a gun. So, I have my rights. 2nd Amendment.

Me: But Dward. You are hurting so many people. And there really is no way out for you. Eventually you will have to give yourself up.

Dward: Not a chance. I have 20 hostages. Let em starve. Then the police will come crawling on their knees. This is not my fault. If the SWAT team had stayed out of this I could have been on my way by now. Don’t try to put this on me.

Me: But Dward, you are the one with the gun. You are the one with the unreasonable demands.

Dward: No. This is what the American people want. They want me to keep these hostages. They want me to take the money. They want me to demand a plane to the Seashells. Not my fault. Not my fault.

Me: Well, Dward, this is not going to end well. Either hostages will die or you will. You cannot just take the law in your hands.

Dward: As long as I have the hostages, I AM the law. Those are my demands. Take em or watch the blood flow.

Update.

After all the hostages were executed by Dward he gave himself up. His attorney, Rudy Giuliani ,  is pleading “insanity”. Not for Dward. For himself.

Dward is happy. He made his point. And 34% of Americans have donated to a  GoFundMe Account named: Dollars For Dward, Our Homegrown Terrorist.

 

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Filed under Conservatives, Immigration, Politics, POTUS, Society, Terror, Trump, United States

Brexit and the Wall

Today the British Parliament will vote on the Brexit plan put forth by Prime Minister May. I don’t know how the vote will turn out.  The fact that they are even bothering with that nonsense shows how easy it is to manipulate voters using racism and BS.

Similar to Trump’s “Wall” idea,  Brexit is just that, an “idea”.

A word.

A concept.

A vague feeling in the gut.

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”
(MacBeth, Act 5, Scene 5)
The wall and Brexit are tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

There never was a plan for Brexit. Just a Putin-backed, Trump supported PR campaign to spread the illusion.The illusion that Britain is being overrun by immigrants from the Middle East. Overrun because of its connections with the EU. The darkies are coming, the darkies are coming !

So, 52% of the British people (mainly in the rural areas) voted to leave the EU. Without any actual debate as to what that divorce would look like. No one knew what the vote actually meant. The Putin-backed campaign to rip the UK from the European Union was based on the simplest propaganda techniques. Say it over and over and over. Keep it vague. Play on fear. Fear of the “other”. The oldest trick in the book. And it stays in the book because it works. A good trick. Play on fear. It works.

So, now the UK is faced with an economic and political catastrophe of its own making. Putin set out the worm of xenophobia. The fearful bit. Took it in . Hook, line and sinker. As they reel in the big one they discover it is not a trout. It is not a pike. It is not a perch or blue gill. It’s an old musty, Russian shoe.

Trump’s wall is the same. First, recall that the “wall” was a mainstay of the Trump-Putin campaign. Go for the fear. Go for the hate. But in the case of the wall, the American people REJECTED the idea. They saw through the BS. Perhaps they understood the geography of the Mexican border. Perhaps they just saw through all the Trump BS.

But, because of our rural-oriented Electoral College, Trump was elected anyway. Even though the majority of the American people had the sense to reject his ideas. So, we have the idea of a “wall”.

No plans. No public hearings. No specifics. One day it is concrete, the next day it is steel slats. One day it costs $ 5.7 billion, but that is only for the start. Eventually it may cost over $30 billion. For what? No one can tell us what it will look like. How it will cross the Rio Grande River in the places where the Rio Grande winds into and out of Mexico. How it will be built across one of the highest mountain ranges in the American. How deep it will have to be built to anchor it in the deserts. How much land will have to be taken from ranchers and farmers, and, of course, from Native Americans.

In other words, it is an “idea” without a specific plan.

But that matters not. Like Brexit, the “wall” is a symbol more than anything else.

A symbol of isolationism. Fear. Hatred of the “other”. A symbol of “Trumpism”.  A solution to a problem that does not exist.

Brexit and the Wall. Two tales told by idiots. Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.

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Filed under Foreign policy, government, Immigration, Politics, Trump, United States

Let’s Hear It For the Wall

What is wrong with a wall? A fence? A barrier? Nothing.

As Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats have voted for in the past. All of them have voted for partial fences or barriers as part of an overall strategy to control illegal immigration. They cannot deny it. And so did the Republicans. They also voted for comprehensive border control. The Democratic House just passed a bill  that the GOP Senate passed last month. Mr Trump will not sign it. Keeping the government open and border security in place. So, why the controversy over a 2,000 mile wall all the way across the US -Mexico border?

I have a number of barriers on my property. To keep animals in. To keep animals out.

I have a chain link fence across part of my backyard to keep my dogs from running off. They can see through the fence and get chuffed when the squirrels run up the trees. And go absolutely bananas when a few deer lope through the woods. They want to run. They want chase. The fence keeps them in. It works. It performs as expected.

My wife has a field where, in the summer, she keeps her horse. We have an electrified fence around the field. It is just a few wires attached to a low voltage box. When you touch it it creates a small jolt. Enough to teach a horse not to break through. Of course, it doesn’t stop the deer from leaping over it. Or a cat or dog or fox from sneaking under it. It is designed to keep horses in and works quite well. It performs as expected.

Every other year we raise chickens. As meat birds. We have a chicken wire fence around the chicken area. So they can wander around and get some “free range” exercise in their short time on Earth. Initially I put up a fence that had wire squares, too small for chickens to get through. One year we had an extremely small chicken that would run THROUGH the fence and back in again. So, I had to adjust the fence and add chicken wire all around. Problem solved. The chicken fence works well. It performs as expected.

I built that chicken coop for our chickens. Because at night the raccoons come out. And fat juicy chickens are high on the raccoon and fox menu. One of my farmer neighbors lost about a dozen chickens to a weasel one year. Others have lost chickens to foxes. I have never lost a chicken. My coop, which keeps the furry foodstuffs in safely at night is impregnable. The Fort Knox of chicken coops. It performs the expected.

There is about an acre of my property where I don’t have a wall or fence. The part that is a lowland. A swamp. A wetland. It extends from the road to the woods. Even if my dogs escaped they could not run away through it.  The deer avoid it. I cannot walk through it without getting sucked into a squishy marsh. So, it remains an untouched little part of the ecosystem. Putting a fence or a wall around this would be a massive waste of money. I don’t have money to throw away on walls that don’t work. The wetland performs as expected.

Back to the border wall.

Nine members of the US House of Representatives represent districts that border  Mexico. Every one of them opposes a long wall. Not because they want “open borders” but because a long wall , in and of itself, is not the appropriate solution to the problem. All want walls where they work. Near towns and cites. In fact, there are already walls, (voted for by the Dems and GOP) , because they are appropriate. But not across the entire border.

These nine members, who know more than anyone else the problems of illegal immigration, do not want to waste money. They want drones. They want more border security personnel. They want rapid response teams. They want border control that works.

So, do we need a “Wall” across the entire border? Is it even possible to build? What would it cost? More important. Is it the best, smartest way to spend our tax dollars? And why do we shut down the the government over a dispute over a wall?

We need to open up the government. Then we need hearings. Yes, hearings. We have NEVER had any public hearings on the best way to control the border. Let us see the actual wall, where it will go and what it will cost. If a wall or steel barrier is the best way to secure the border, then let us have a public discussion. With experts to testify as to the cost and feasibility.

Perhaps the GOP can make a solid case that the best way to spend tax dollars effectively to control the border is a wall. At this point there is NO SPECIFIC plan for what a wall would look like or cost. Perhaps the Democrats can make the case that the best way is a combination of a wall, where appropriate, and more modern techniques where those work better. At this point they have NO PLAN for border security.

So, let’s have hearings and see what is really going on. If this is so important to Mr Trump should he not welcome the chance to show how and why the 2,000 mile wall will work and what it will cost? With facts? With data? With evidence? With a cost analysis? Shouldn’t those who want other types of border security be allowed to make their case?

So. Open the government. Congressional hearings on border security. Let’s “hear it” for the wall.

From Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall”

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;.....

.....Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense....

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/mending-wall

 

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Filed under immigrants, Immigration, Politics, Trump, United States

No Left Turn

At  President Trump’s long speech/ press conference regarding the negotiations over a border wall he made a number of points worth considering.

For example, he pointed out that he may no longer want a concrete wall, despite his recent claims that he wanted a concrete wall. Then he said he wanted a concrete wall. Then he said he wanted a steel wall if that is what the Dems want. Or maybe steel slats you can see through. A negligee wall. A flimsy, provocative steel wall.

He demonstrated his expert knowledge of building materials by explaining that steel is stronger than concrete. That is something we had not considered before. It may be a good idea for the rest of the nation to start using steel instead of concrete. For bridges, railroad tracks, even automobiles and trucks. It would last longer and be stronger. Score one for Mr. Trump.

Another thing he mentioned was that today many Mexicans just drive to the fence or wall and keep driving. Then , they turn left and BINGO!. They are in the USA! Yes, he did. He said that they “turn left” at the end of the wall and just drive into the US! This is outrageous! So, how can we stop them?

My idea. Put a guard at the end of the fence !!! Also, put up a “No Left Turn” sign, maybe even with a traffic light. That would be pretty cheap. Or one of those European socialist traffic circles. The poor fools would never figure out how to get out of one of those. Of course, you would need a big , beautiful sign  in English and in Spanish and (because we have THOUSANDS of Muslim terrorists entering every year) also in Arabic.  Now, when the illegals drive to the end of the fence and try to turn left. GOTCHA ! NAILED ! Sorry, amigo, no entry today.

Mr Trump also pointed out that the Democrats want OPEN BORDERS! Yikes ! They do not want a wall or a fence or even any border security. Yikes! He also pointed out that Chuck and Nancy and the guy from Kenya had, in the past, voted FOR fencing. To the tune of billions of dollars! Now, they don’t want to buy a wall just because Trump wants it. It is ALL ABOUT DONALD. He explained quite eloquently that they want open borders so in the past they have voted for border security…Let me try that again. The Dems want open borders so they have supported billions of dollars for border security.  Just shows how sneaky they are .

Now, the Dems want to open the government until September and appropriate money for Homeland Security and Border Control until February. So they can continue to negotiate on border security issues. But Donald will have none of it. It is too important. It is a national emergency ! Which is why he does not want a bill to fund border security. Because border security is an emergency…So, because it is an emergency he does not want it funded…So…I am lost…

Finally Mr Trump made it clear that while he will not budge on a “big, beautiful, concrete wall” it is ok to call it something else. Maybe a “steel slat”. Or a “fence”. Or, if you want, a “wall”.  But it must be a wall, because modern technology, like sensors and drones,  does not work. As he said, he knows more about technology than anyone. So, there!

And it is also clear that Mexico is paying for the wall, as he promised they would. But, even though Mexico is paying for the wall he still demands that US taxpayers… uh… pay… uh… for the wall. Mexico claims they are NOT paying for the wall. Why would we need US tax dollars to pay for a wall that Mexico is paying for? But Mexico is wrong. Mexico IS paying for the wall. Which is why we need US tax dollars to pay for the wall that Mexico is paying for. Simple. Get it?

So, it all makes sense. Shut down the government to protect the American people. Refuse to fund Homeland Security to keep America Secure. Steel is stronger than concrete. Spend billions of US tax dollars on a wall that Mexico is paying for. Lock Her Up.

And when you come to the end of the wall, turn left. I do.

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Filed under immigrants, Immigration, Politics, Republicans, Society, Trump, United States

Humpty Trumpty

Humpty Trumpty demanded a wall

Made out of concrete

Thirty feet tall.

Humpty Trumpty shut government down

Stomping his feet

Punching the ground.

Humpty Trumpty called in the Dems

Chuckie just sat there

Nancy wouldn’t bend.

So Humpty Trumpty tweeted and moaned

The wall must go up

A no immigrant zone.

Humpty Trumpty begged and he pleaded

But Chuck and Nancy

Would not be defeated.

Humpty Trumpty then asked around

For a  ditch or a fence

Anything above ground.

Humpty Trumpty pretended to win

I got my wall

He tweeted with a grin.

But all Humpty got was some egg on his face

While Pelosi and Schumer

Put him in his place.

Humpty Trumpty sat on his wall to the sky

Then Humpty fell off, but he didn’t die

You see Humpty Trumpty’s wall was a lie

The Great Wall of Mexico…

Just 3 inches high.

 

 

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Filed under immigrants, Immigration, Politics, president, Society, Trump, United States

Open Border Outrage

News item: In an outrageous decision the Trump administration has opened the border between Mexico and the US to a flood of illegal immigrants.

US soldiers, sent to the border to halt the onslaught of illegal 4 year olds, has instead been ripping out miles and miles of barbed wire fencing! Troops sent down to protect law abiding Americans have instead been used to tear down the only defense we have against Guatemalan and Honduran terrorists!

“…U.S. Army soldiers have removed barbed wire along the US-Mexico border in areas where the Trump administration has said more border security measures are needed after local community leaders raised concerns.

About 2 miles of military-grade wire was removed from city land in Laredo, Texas, according to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials…”

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/trump-argues-wall-border-security-measure-gets-pulled-200004316.html

While president Obama and Secretary Clinton actually voted for increased border security when they were in Congress, this administration is now ripping down the very wall of barbed wire we need to protect us!! Outrageous!! And what reason do they give?

“…As the situation along the border continues to evolve, we will continue to assess our operational needs, including removal of the c-wire,” a CBP official said in a statement to ABC News….”

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/trump-argues-wall-border-security-measure-gets-pulled-200004316.html

What kind of double talk is that? These same folks that are demanding a wall (at the very reasonable cost of only $25,000,000 per mile), are destroying a perfectly good barbed wire barrier and leaving our borders unsecured. UNSECURED !!! And what about the cost?

Now, you can get barbed wire for about $8,000 per mile. And the US military will install it for FREE!. Does it not make more sense to keep the razor wire and save about $24,992,000 per mile? I mean, 40 miles of barbed wire saves the hardworking taxpayers a BILLION bucks! And consider, if you were a 7 year old fleeing for your life and  trying to cross the border wouldn’t you prefer climbing a ladder over a wall  (which might be fun) to crawling through razor wire and cutting your little hands and feet to a bloody pulp?

https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/fencing/install-a-barbed-wire-fence/

I long for the days when President Obama, called the “Deporter-in-Chief” by illegal Mexicans, was back running the show. Under Obama the illegal immigration rates reached an all time low. He stopped them at the border and sent them back. Illegal immigration  surged again under Trump but are now back to even lower levels than under Obama. So, the barbed wire is working!

So, why is Trump opening the borders to more illegals? Why are our troops sent out to destroy the very barriers that protect us from the women and children of Central America?

Let’s hope that the Democrats in the Congress can restore some sanity and demand that we protect our borders instead of ripping out our protection.

To paraphrase the late, great actor Ronald Reagan: “Mr Trump, do not tear down that wall !”

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General Admission Seating

Depending on which story you want to believe, there are somewhere between 4,000 and 7,000 men, women and kids from Central America moving northward to seek asylum in the USA. Rather than get into the facts of how this administration has fomented this “crisis”, just look at some numbers.

The US has a population of about 325,000,000. That is 325 million people.

For the sake of argument I will accept the higher number. 7,000 versus 325,000,000.

Pretty scary!

Now, about half or more of these 7,000 are women and children. And, under US law everyone has a right to apply for asylum. That does not mean they will get it, but they can apply. So, we have 7,000 folks fleeing violence and death. Did I mention we have a nation of 325,000,000?

Let us suppose that every single asylum seeker get admitted. That would have the effect of adding 14 people to the city of Detroit, Michigan. About 12 new people to Raleigh, North Carolina. 3 more folks in San Bernadino, California.  Maybe 4 people to Topeka, Kansas.

Another example may better illustrate. We are crazy about football in the US. So what if we offered every member of the caravan a free football ticket. General admission seating, of course.

So, we offer these 7,000 folks tickets to a football game. How would that look?

For example, in the Rose Bowl, these folks would take up 2 of the 28 sections. Well, not exactly. Less than 2 sections, but close enough. In most other stadiums they would take up maybe 3 sections.

Unless you are talking high school, of course. For example, at the Texas Alamo High school stadium these men, women and children would take up just about 33%! Imagine, a high school football game where every third person is an immigrant seeking asylum. One game, one stadium, that’s the entire caravan.

This is why the US sent the most highly trained military in the world to the border? (Admittedly it was the WRONG border. They were sent to Texas; the caravan is heading to California…but I digress). To stop a “caravan” composed mainly of women and children that would not even fill up half of a Texas high school football stadium? SCARY!!!

Next time you see the massive numbers of scary asylum seekers as shown by the news, just imagine how much space they actually take up at a college football game. But don’t buy the asylum seekers expensive  box seats.

Just give them general admission tickets.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under economics, immigrants, Immigration, logic, Politics, United States, violence

Tom Reed’s (NY-23) Lies and Children

I called my Congressman, (NY-23rd) Tom Reed’s office last week and complained vociferously about his cowardly statement about the young children being separated from their mothers at the US border. The statement from his website, June 19, 2018:

“We care about these children being separated from their parents. These kids are unfortunate bystanders to a long-standing epidemic of weak border security and outdated laws. Congress must act in this week’s immigration reform bill to change the law so that children are not ripped from their parents’ arms, but provided a fair and compassionate solution to this heart-wrenching issue.”

(Bold face is mine.)

https://reed.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=1461

I suggested to Reed’s assistant that this statement was weak and inaccurate (well, ok, I think I called Reed a “pussy”). At any rate, Mr Reed sent me a response by email (I assume it was a form letter sent out to his constituents and not a personal response). In this latest mailing he says, in part:

“…On June 27, 2018 I voted in support of the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 that would end this practice of separation, and would allow children to be held with their parents in family facilities. Congress must pass legislation to solve this crisis at our southern border. Current law and court settlements require that children not be held in the same detention centers that adults are held in while they await court proceedings. This means that, under current law, the children of parents who are waiting on legal proceedings cannot be held with their parents. We must work together to fix our immigration system and close the loopholes that allow tragedies like this to take place….”

(Bold face mine).

So. Let’s dissect this.

According to Reed the separation of children and their parents at the border is required by law. He cites no law. He cites no section of any law. He cites nothing. He simply echoes the lies tweeted by Donald Trump. Which is no surprise, since Reed was an early supporter and campaign organizer for Trump in NY.

Why does he not cite any specific law? And a fact check tells us why. According to independent fact checker website Snopes:

“…There is no federal law that stipulates that children and parents be separated at the border, no matter how families entered the United States. An increase in child detainees separated from parents stemmed directly from a change in enforcement policy repeatedly announced by Sessions in April and May 2018, under which adults (with or without children) are criminally prosecuted for attempting to enter the United States:…

“…However, neither the 1997 Flores settlement nor a 2008 human trafficking law cited in that release in any way stipulated that the government separate children from their parents:…

“…A cluster of rumors about the controversial separation of families at the border held that the policy came before the Trump administration, either stemming from a 1997 “law” or purported policies of previous administrations. Those claims were false. No federal law required or suggested the family separation policy announced by Attorney General Sessions in several sets of remarks during April and May 2018....”

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/was-law-separate-families-passed-1997/

So, while Tom Reed and President Trump claim that the ripping of children from their parents is a problem of the law, that is simply not the case. It is an executive decision made by the President. He chose to implement this nasty policy. And Tom Reed chooses to give him cover.

Tom acts as though this horrible situation is just, uh, well, the law. Which it isn’t. President Clinton did not do this. Bush did not do this. Obama did not do this. Why not? Because it is not the law. It is a very repulsive executive decision.

Final point. Just this week President Trump relented and ended the policy . Or at least he said so. Did Trump violate the law ?

Well, Tom, if this was a law mandated by Congress how can Trump unilaterally just change it?  A question I intend to ask next week when I call again.

Reed is one of those Trump politicians who talks the very moderate talk on TV. He is pushing his “brand” as one of the “Problem Solvers”. Then he votes against families, the poor, workers, SNAP and health care.

Now, he double talks about who created the mess of the toddlers from the border who, in his words , “…are …ripped from their parents’ hands…”

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The Final Solution To Illegal Kids

 

I sent this email today to The Department of Homeland Security. It finally solves the problem of broken families seeking asylum! (Yes. I sent it)

To: Honorable Kirstjen Nielson

Re: Tracking of Lost children

FR: Joe Urban

Some liberals are complaining because the children of immigrants have been taken from their parents. One of the things they complain about is that once separated it may be difficult or impossible to reunite parents and children.

I have a practical, intelligent solution to this problem.

As the process works now: Once the child is taken from a parent the child is put in a tent city or housed in some other facility for children. The parent then has to prove he is a legitimate asylum seeker. This can take some time. In the long process the parent may be sent back to where they came from. But the child may be lost somewhere in the system.

As it should work: How do we unite the child with the parents? Easy.

Every time an immigrant and their kids come to the US seeking asylum we process them in this manner.

The parents and all the children are given identical identity numbers. These unique numbers will be based on where they come from.

For example, if they come from Honduras they would be given an ID number that begins with an H. From Guatemala give them one that begins with a G. Etc.

So: H3476YTT9X would be a family fleeing from Honduras. All members would have the same number.

But how could we be sure that someone might not lie about their number? Problem solved.

These numbers would be tattooed in some color ink that would show up good on brown skin. I suggest a tattoo on the arm or neck so it is easy to see. So, all members of a family, once they apply for asylum, would be given the same permanent  tattoo ID number.

Also, this would make it easy to figure out where the kids are from once you take them from their mothers. Especially the really little ones who might not know where they live. Now, you could put all the “G”s in one tent, the “H”s in another tent, etc. This would make them happy to be with their own kind.

Finally, once the parents are released. Sent back to where they came from or in some rare cases given asylum, it would be easy to find their kids. You could just have a website that had all the family ID numbers. When a parent is released or deported that number is listed for all to see.

These could be checked every day by the guys who are holding onto the kids. If a number matches. BINGO. Send the kid back to the parents.

This would also eliminate a lot of bureaucracy and unnecessary paperwork. You would not have to keep written files since the numbers are permanent. And if they tried to enter again illegally you can nail them at the border! Also, if the police inside the US suspect someone is an illegal they could take their number and check it with you !

I hope you will carefully consider this suggestion since it will make identifying these people much easier and take the guesswork out of sending kids back home to their parents.

 

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Incidents of Travel Abroad

Now that we have returned from our 3 weeks in Andalusia (Spain) and a couple days in Dublin (Ireland) I can reflect on some of the experinces and lessons learned.

  1. Andalusia is everything I thought it would be and more. This area of Europe was controlled by Muslims until 1492. For hundreds of years , under Muslim control, memebers of all three religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) lived in relative harmony. Non-Muslims had to pay a special tax, but that was it. They could worship how they wanted. Then, some fundamentalist Muslim leaders started persecuting the Jews and Christians and things went downhill. Eventually the Christians (Ferdinand and Isabella) took over and things went off a cliff. The Spanish Inquisition was instituted and Jews and Muslims were tortured and murdered. End of Al-Andalus.                           https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Andalus

2. The customs official in Dublin. Friendly. Wished us a happy holiday. The customs official in Malaga, Spain. Friendly. When he saw that I had been born in Chicago and my wife in Detroit he decided to have a chat. He had been to the US and we talked about our travels and his travels in his broken English and our broken Spanish. We chatted for about 5 minutes before he stamped our passports and welcomed us to Spain. The customs official in the USA. Unfriendly. Unsmiling.

3. Pants. I bought 2 pair of travel pants which made travel so much easier. Three pockets within the pockets that zipped close. Wallet in front right. Passport in left front. All zippered in. Another zippered pocket in the back and another small pocket for a flip phone. No worries about getting anything lifted . ( I had my passport and money lifted by a very proficient lady on the Rome subway a few years ago).  These pants took the worry out of walking around. Nothing hanging around my neck.

https://shop.bluffworks.com/pages/travel-pants

4. Transportation in Spain. Reliable, clean convenient train service between cities. Fast. Reserved seats. Trains on time. Same with the buses. Clean, comfy.  At least the long distance ones that we took. When I think of train and bus stations in the US I think of the “other side of the tracks”. In Spain they are central and packed with people. The bigger ones have restaurants. It is possible to have decent public transport. Spain proves that.

http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html

5. Taxis. Dublin, Cordoba, Malaga and Grenada were fine. But in Seville the taxi drivers, noticing that we were tourists, always managed to fine the “scenic route” to our destination. Padding 1 or 2 euros to the bill. The fastest distance between 2 points is the one that gave the taxi driver a little more loot!

6. Food. Eat the local food. Ham is big in Andalusia. And “tapas”, those small servings of bread and ham or sausage or cheese that come with your beer. My favorite: Bull’s tail stew. Unlike Mexico, where I get sick for a day or 2 whenever I try to eat, in Andalusia neither of us had any problems. Food was great and fairly priced.

http://awanderingcasiedilla.com/2017/02/03/awc-guide-best-tapas-granada/

7. The reason I went to Andalusia. The Alhambra  in Grenada. The Mezquita in Cordoba. The Alcazar in Seville.  (google them) The ocean in Cadiz. The architecture from the Islamic period was not only monumental, but was decorated without using any human figures. So, intricate geometric patterns  were carved into walls, celings, doorways and tiles. The skill of the craftsmen is awesome.

https://www.alhambradegranada.org/en/info/nasridpalaces/alhambranasridpalaces.asp

https://mezquita-catedraldecordoba.es/en/

http://www.alcazarsevilla.org/english-version/

8.  Final note. Leaving Dublin heading for the USA. Unbeknownst to us, all travelers to the USA have to go through a double security system. First, the Irish system which is very thorough and relatively pleasant. Empty your pockets, walk through the body scanner, pick up your stuff. OK. But then, there is another sign with a big USA flag on it.

So, walk downstairs and go through a special US security system. Which is the same as the Irish system. Except for one difference. They don’t do a body scan. Now, understand this. We had to go through the Irish system to get into the departure section, then we had to go through a second system just for the USA.  After going through the US system we then got in line to go to the computer terminals. At these terminals you put in your passport. Then you either get on your tiptoes (if you are short) or crouch down (if you are tall) and have your picture taken. This picture then comes out of the machine on a long strip of paper. It gets better.

You now take this picture that you just took and walk 30 feet to the waiting US security station. Remember, you just walked 30 feet to this new station with the picture you just took. The security person looks at the picture  and looks at you. Remember you just took this picture in full view of the security personnel just 30 feet away. He then verifies that the picture you just took of yourself is actually you. To my undying relief the picture I just took of myself WAS, in fact, me! So, I was allowed to continue.

I am not sure what the purpose is of putting people going to the US through this senseless process. You have already been checked by airport security. You passport has been checked. And the silliest part, showing security the picture you just took of yourself. I am guessing in most cases the photo you just took  is usually going to be you. Unless you metamorphasize in the 30 feet between stations. If a would-be terrorist takes a picture of himself will he no longer resemble that photo 10 seconds later? (By the way, you still have to through US security when you land in the US) .

My conclusion: Theater. Adding some processes to play to a fantasy  that this somehow makes travel to the US safer, when in fact it just makes it annoying. Or perhaps the manufacturer of the computer/photo systems made sizable campaign contributions ?

Travel is great fun. Except for the airlines. And security. Can’t wait until they perfect the transporter beams. Beam me to Spain, Scotty!

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The Strange Case of Baby M

I met Baby M a couple weeks ago. She was approximately 2 and a half months old, but she was actually born 6 weeks prematurely.  So, she was still pretty tiny and just starting to grasp with her little fingers.

Baby M was born to two immigrant parents. Legal immigrants. One is working full time.

In the United States approximately 10% of newborns are born  prematurely. The costs associated with a preemie are pretty high. On average about $ 49,000 – $65,000, sometimes much higher depending on the services needed.

https://www.romper.com/p/heres-how-the-new-trumpcare-would-affect-premature-babies-kids-with-pre-existing-conditions-2414543

Under the ACA (Obamacare) insurers are required to cover births and babies. They cannot disregard “pre-existing conditions”. Before the ACA a pregnancy could be considered a pre-existing condition. For example, if a man changed jobs while his wife was pregnant and had to buy a new health insurance policy, his wife’s pregnancy could be considered a “pre-existing” condition. The insurer could legally avoid paying for the pregancy and birth.

In the United States, before Obamacare, it was even possible  for folks with good insurance to be stuck with big hospital bills. For example, in some hospitals the care for preemies is handled by a contracting service, not the hospital itself. So, while the health insurance company may cover the birth, it would not cover the special services needed by preemies. In some cases parents were on the hook for hundreds of thouslands of dollars. That was before the ACA.

The GP wants to repeal the ACA. Mr Trump wants to repeal Obamacare. If we repeal Obamacare we will repeal all the benefits.

The Cost of Premature Birth: For One Family, More than $2 Million

Back to Baby M. Baby M was not born in the United States. She was born in Ireland. To two immigrant parents.

All of the expenses associated with Baby M’s birth and the special care in the hospital under the care of professionals were paid for by the Irish health care system. All of them. (Remember that $49,000- $65,000 estimate).

Baby M needed a medical professional to come to her home once a week for a few weeks.  Typical for preeemies. All expenses were paid for by the Irish health care system.

Baby M will have all of her  health care expenses paid for, by the Irish health care system, up to the age of 6, except for dental. (Did I mention that neither of Baby M’s parents, nor Baby M herself, is an Irish citizen?).

Until she is 18, Baby M’s parents will receive a monthly stipend from the Irish government to help pay expenses for this new human being. This will amount to about 120 euros each month ($142.00 US). I am not sure if everyone qualifies for this or it applies only to couples where one person stays home to raise the child.

Of course, this must be paid for. The Irish do pay high taxes, by US standards. Workers who are married pay 20% of the first 42,000 euros ($ 50,000) and higher income workers pay 40% of whatever they earn above that amount.

http://irishlinks.co.uk/income-tax-ireland.htm

But, there is no income tax filing. The government just takes it all out of your pay each pay period. And there is no health insurance sign up for . No need to wade through dozens of different “plans” to try to figure out what you need.  Or go online to find a deal. When you change jobs your insurance is not impacted. So, no paperwork or research.

The case of Baby M is strange in the US. The automatic benefits she receives would be strange in the US. The idea that she gets free health care without filling out insurance forms is strange. The fact that Baby M will get a stipend to help her parents care for her is strange.

The good news for Baby M? She was born in Ireland where they seem to put their money where their mouth is. Where they put into practice a thing called “family values”. You know, that thing the GOP is always referring to. While they vote to end the ACA.

 

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Who Was That Old Lady, Anyway?

When I was little we had an old lady living with us. We called her “Busia” (boo-shah). She had been born in Poland and came to the USA in 1913 by boat, two small kids in tow. In steerage. She was meeting her husband, who was already in the USA working in the mines.

When I knew her she was already pretty old. She didn’t speak English because she had had a stroke. It also left her right arm partially paralyzed so the time I accidentally slammed the car door on her she didn’t feel a thing. Small favors.

Her husband, who I never met, was long dead. Her only son went to war against the Nazis. He was shot down and killed over Germany. She had a flag. The US government had sent her a flag.

She cheated at cards. And when you tried to call her on it she could not (or pretended she could not) understand what you were saying. Hopeless. But she made the best potato pancakes I ever have had. Been trying to duplicate them for 50 years. Haven’t succeeded.

Who was this old lady? For a long time I thought she was a close family member with a “bone fide” relationship. For a long time I treated as though she was a member of the family.

The other day I found out I was wrong. The USA’s new, improved “travel ban ” from a number of countries has gone into effect. No longer can anyone emigrate to the USA. The only exceptions are people from these countries who are close family members. Who have a “bona fide” relationship to a citizen or legal immigrant. I think that is not such a bad idea.

So, who is included as a “close family member”? Parents, spouses, siblings, fiances and children.

And who is specifically EXCLUDED from the category of “close family member”? Who cannot claim a close family relationship. Who is, for purposes of sponsoring immigration, a “stranger”.

This may surprise some of you whose children have had children. Among those not in the category of “close family member” are  “grandparents”. Grandma and grandpa are not “close family members” Fiances are. But not Gramps.

Which brings me back to Busia. Busia was my mother’s mother. Who lived with us off and on for many years. She was my grandmother. Who , at the time, I THOUGHT was a fairly close relative of mine. Not so. My mother’s mother was something else. What was she?

Who was that old lady, anyway?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-ruling-idUSKBN19S08N

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Trump’s Great Wall

Mr Trump was adamant. He was going to build a WALL. A concrete, brick solid WALL across the entire 1900 mile border with Mexico. His minions chanted : Build the Wall! Build the Wall!.

Of course, people with common sense said, “No”. The border crosses desert, mountain and river. Areas where building a wall would not only be prohibitively expensive, but impractical. And, we already have walls and fences covering much of the border where it is appropriate and feasible. Certainly extending some fencing and increasing border security was reasonable. But not a 1,900 mile solid wall.

Nevertheless, Mr Trump insisted that the border was porous. Rapists and criminals were streaming across the “open border”. Only his 20 or 40 or 90 foot high wall would stop the deluge of criminals pouring in from Mexico. Hillary Clinton, he said, wanted those borders “open” so all those rapists could easily force their way across the border. Of course, Clinton actually voted FOR the 700 mile border security fence in 2006, as did Obama. A sensible, bi-partisan approach to a real  problem. But we won’t let facts get in the way.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-presidential-debate-fact-check/2016/10/did-clinton-once-want-to-build-a-wall-too-230026

And the $25,000,000,000 price tag for his wall? No problem. Mexico would simply pay for it. He would somehow force Mexico, one of the poorer nations in the world, to fund a massive wall that he wanted. And they would do it for free. According to his campaign website Mexico would be “forced” to pay at least $5-10,000,000,000 for the wall on day one of his administration. Trump assured us.

Then Mexican president Nieto said: “Nope. Not going to happen.” He met with Trump and told him point blank. Then, after Mr Trump was elected the Mexican foreign minister, Massieu, reiterated that Mexico would not give the US any money to build a wall.

One of Trump’s main supporters during the election, Brandon Judd is the head of the Border Patrol Union. He supported Trump and his wall. In an NPR interview on November 17, 2016 Mr Judd seemed to be hedging his “wall” bet. He claims he has been advising Mr. Trump about border issues.

Now, Mr Judd says, Trump did not really mean a “wall”, just a border security system. Like we have now, except expanded. (Kind of like Senators Obama and Clinton voted for when they were in the Senate.) Walls already exist, said Judd. But a wall all the way across the border …uh…nope..

“…JUDD: The wall is going to be absolutely effective in certain locations. We do not need a wall along the entire 2,000 miles of border. And what I really appreciate about President-elect Trump is he understands that he doesn’t know everything. And every single time that I’ve sat down and spoken with him, we’ve talked about a wall. We’ve talked about whether it needs to be the full 2,000 miles of the Southwest border or if we just need it in strategic locations. And he’s been willing to listen and that’s very refreshing….”

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/17/502402360/border-patrol-agents-union-confers-with-trump-on-securing-the-border

So, we don’t really need a wall after all.  Just enhanced security. Like Clinton voted for in 2006 in the Border Security Fence Act? That 700 mile fence in strategic locations that has helped reduce illegal immigration?

But Trump wants a brick and concrete and mortar wall, right?

Again, the Judd interview:

“…JUDD: Well, we do want walls in certain locations. We do want a very effective wall. We’re not talking about a brick-and-mortar wall. If you build just a brick-and-mortar wall, they’re going to come up and they’re going to break that wall down. And then it’s going to be very, very hard to patch that type wall. You have to build something that is going to be very difficult to defeat….”

So, we shall see. Will Trump really try to build a massive wall,  as his supporters wanted. Remember the “Build the Wall” chant ? Second only to the “Lock Her Up” chants at the Trump rallies?

Of course, Trump HAS built wall before. In Scotland. When he took revenge on the Scots who lived on the land of their ancestors next to his newly built “golf resort”. When these Scots publicly opposed this boondoggle Trump responded by building a wall across their land,  effectively blocking their view of the ocean they had enjoyed for years. And he sent them the bill for the wall.  They never paid. But he did successfully destroy their ocean view. He taught them a lesson.

And in the past Trump has headed many building projects. And failed to pay his contractors.

So, maybe that is his plan. He will hire contractors to build a wall and simply NOT PAY FOR IT !  Or not build a wall as he promised? Or do nothing but simply TWEET that he has accomplished something?   Meanwhile, we haven’t heard much lately about the Great Wall of Trump. Time will tell.

 

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When Is the First Debate?

Tonight is supposed to be the third debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A debate between 2 people who want to take on the job of most powerful and influential human being on the face of the Earth for the next 4 years.

I am still waiting for the first debate.

So far, all we have heard about is sex , lies and emails. Insults.  Smirking. Sniffling. Name calling. Promises of prison. Just a bad reality TV show. Not a debate. A spectacle encouraged by an unprepared press. Seeking ratings, not truth.

When is the first debate? Where is the moderator who will ignore sex. Ignore emails. Ignore polls. And just ask substantive questions. And then DEMAND substantive answers.

There was some of that in the first two shows, but hardly enough to learn anything about what the candidates actually would do. This is especially true for Donald Trump. A man who specializes  in used-car-salesman assurances and generalities rather than hard facts.

So, let’s have a moderator who asks , then demands straight answers. And one who factchecks and calls out the candidates when they are simply wrong about the facts.

Try these on for size:

What would you do to  try to bring jobs back to the US? What kinds of jobs would you try to help create? What is the proper role of the federal government is helping create those jobs?

What is your overall  tax policy. What should the rates be for various income levels? Do those rates generate the needed revenues to pay for the increases in spending you are calling for?

What are some areas in which you would hope to increase spending and decrease spending? By how much? Why are you focusing on those areas?

In terms of foreign affairs, what should the US role be in the Middle East? In regards to Russia? In regards to nuclear proliferation? In regards to the Palestinian – Israeli problem? In regards to the refugee situation in Syria?

What is your approach to illegal immigration? What, specifically do you see as the problem and what, specifically do you see as a solution?

As you know the President can do nothing without a Congress that is willing to compromise. What makes you think you can get Congress to work with you? To what extent are you willing to compromise to reach agreements?

What is the proper role of the Supreme Court? What kind of justices would you appoint? To what extent would you depend on the American Bar Association and other legal groups for vetting? Is there a litmus test for your judges? What is it?

So, will the moderator ask questions and hold the candidates to answers? Will he push them for specifics on policy?

Chris Wallace of Fox News. Fair and Balanced? Will he direct the candidates to policy and substance or focus on trivialities?

I am still waiting for the first debate.

 

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Good News is No News

It seems as though the news emphasizes almost nothing but catastrophe and encourages negativity. This is not new, but it seems to be overwhelming sometimes. And it leaves the impression that we live in a constant state of terror, unhappiness, fear and anger. Things are getting worse and worse. Danger around every corner. The end is near! That is the narrative.

Good news does not sell papers or drive “clicks”. Good news is boring.

Some good news.

In 2015, a total of 322,761,000 Americans were NOT killed by the police.

.https://www.rt.com/usa/326724-police-killings-usa-report/

The murder rate in Chicago is 1/2 of what it was in 1990. The murder rate in Washington DC is 1/4 of what it was in 1990.

https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/analysis/Crime_in_2015_A_Final_Analysis.pdf

Since the ACA (Obamacare) was enacted uninsured rates fell in every state in the union.Now only about 10%-12%  of the population remains uninsured.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2015/sept/us-census-data-shows-uninsured-americans-drop

At long last all US citizens, including homosexuals, can  marry and serve openly in the military.

Gays in the U.S. Military Are Now Protected Against ‘Witch Hunts’

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/26/417717613/supreme-court-rules-all-states-must-allow-same-sex-marriages

The US is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time since the 1990s.

http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/archive/2011/110525/twipprint.html

Americans demonstrated their generosity by giving more money to charity than ever before. , over $358 billion dollars in 2014.

Giving USA: Americans Donated an Estimated $358.38 Billion to Charity in 2014; Highest Total in Report’s 60-year History

US teen pregnancy rates are 50% LESS than they were in 1991, and have been falling.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/02/health/teen-birth-rates/

In July of 2009 the rate of inflation was 5.6%. In July of 2016 the rate of inflation was 0.8%. The trend has been steady.

Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2016

The unemployment rate in January, 2016, is down to 4.9% from a high of 9.8 % in January of 2010.

http://www.multpl.com/unemployment/table

Since 9/11 you are 15 times more likely to be killed by a deer, than by a foreign terrorist. And your chance of being killed by a deer are less than 1 in 15,000,000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deer%E2%80%93vehicle_collisions

http://www.vox.com/2015/11/23/9765718/domestic-terrorism-threat

And, the biggest good news surprise of all time. The Chicago Cubs, currently in 1st place, were predicted to win the World Series by the gambling establishment. (I wouldn’t bet on that one)

http://www.csnchicago.com/chicago-cubs/big-surprise-cubs-favorite-win-2016-world-series

So. Good news will not make headlines. Not as exciting as disasters. But cheer up. Things are not nearly as bad as some would like us to believe.

 

 

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Hiding Under the Bed

I have been reading a lot of history lately. The biography of John Adams. The biography of Alexander Hamilton. The story of the b-17 bombing of the Nazis during WW2.

Americans of the distant and recent past put their lives on the line. Whether they were right or wrong can be debated. Was Vietnam worth it? Was Afghanistan necessary? Was Iraq a proper response to 9/11?

Whatever your political philosophy it seems as though Americans have always stood up and faced whatever “evil” they needed to face. Even if some of that “evil” may be imaginary.

Until recently.

Over the last few years we have seen a new American emerge. This is the American of the political right wing. Just as American as you or I.  But Americans who have redefined what it means to be a “patriot” or a “citizen”

These Americans, unlike their forefathers, live in a state of constant fear. They are constantly horrified. Perpetually frightened.

They reject  the liberal FDR who, when faced with the most devastating economic disaster the US had ever known, responded by telling Americans, in his first inaugural address. “The only thing we have to fear is  fear itself”. A statement FDR repeated in 1941 in response to the Nazi menace.

They reject the words of another liberal president, JFK, who pronounced, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate”.

We might even try Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of the GOP, who said, ” Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts.”

Well. Not so.

Today, the entire right wing seems to be hiding under their beds, teeth chattering. To hear some of these new Americans talk you would think we are a nation of cry babies and cowards.

What are they afraid of?

Gays.

Transgender people using bathrooms.

Gays getting married.

People who want to take away their guns.

People without guns.

Women who want to control their own bodies.

Blacks.

Blacks voting.

Old people voting.

Anyone voting.

The government.

Muslims.

Foreigners.

Mexicans.

Atheists.

Teachers.

Gays in the military.

Black Lives Matter.

Communists .

Socialists.

Libtards.

Did I mention gays?

Perhaps we need to get these grown men out from under the beds. Be gentle with them. Pat them on their heads. Hold their hands. Tell them it will all be okay. Nobody is going to hurt them. No gays are going to attack them. No one is taking away their guns. Heat up some cocoa and give them a cookie.

The poor darlings are frightened out of their (half)wits.

Perhaps Plato said it best over 2,000 years ago.

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light”.

 

 

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The Smuggler

It was dark and chilly near midnight on the Texas-Mexico border. I had a tip that a smuggler was going to cross that night and I wanted to meet up with him. Do an interview.

(In order to maintain confidentiality all the names in this report have been changed. My name is Joe Urban but I call myself Luke. The smugglers name was Jorge Maria Hernandez Moctezuma Gonzalez. I will call him Jose).

Jose was driving a small truck. As it pulled up to the border  a customs agent stopped him and they talked. Jose shook the agent’s hand . The agent looked into his hand, slipped it into his pocket and waved Jose through. A bribe. A time-honored border tradition.

I followed Jose and his truck through the night on the long drive north. Sometime near dawn he pulled off into a small town and stopped at Eat Em and Weep Cafe. I went in and found him sitting at a corner table. Well. The only table. I introduced myself.

Luke: Hello Jose, I am Luke. The guy doing the undercover story.

Jose: I thought I was supposed to meet some gringo named Joe. And my name is not Jose,  it is Jorge Maria Hernandez Moctezuma Gonzalez. What do you want to know?

Luke: Why do you smuggle?

Jose: Because I like to help people. People have needs and I try to make their lives a little better.  It is my way of giving a little back to the world. And it pays good.

Jose rocked back in his chair and stared at the spiders crawling across the ceiling. He had a faraway look in his eye. The awe-inspiring, starry-eyed look  of a philosopher. Or a sleep deprived trucker. He continued.

Jose: You see. I bring to you North Americanos a little joy. A product that makes your miserable lives a little happier. What is wrong with that? Don’t you have the right to be happy like us Mexicanos?

Jose continues: You may think that you can get the same thing from Colorado. You think the best stuff comes from Colorado? Maybe. But no. Colorado cannot supply the entire nation. The law of supply and demand. Capitalismo!

Jose continues: You are thinking about your own internal supply. But my stuff is pure. Better. No extra junk thrown in . The best in the world. Why take  chance on some local supplier when you can have the best? Why take a chance when you know that my stuff has never killed anyone. Guaranteed pure. Uncut.

Jose continues: And you deserve the best. So I will continue to make the dangerous journey to El Norte. I will slip past the border guards..what?..oh, you saw me give him a bribe. Well,  I will continue the dangerous journey and bribing the border guards. It is worth it to see the smiles on the gringos faces when the delivery arrives.

Luke: Are you worried that President Trump will build a wall and and finally put an end to your smuggling once and for all?

Jose: No worry. My uncle Antonio Juarez Moctezuma Gonzalez owns 4 bulldozers. He plans to start a new business smashing into the wall each night at different places. He has already incorporated as “The Holes in the Wall Gang”.  We are ready.

So there you have it. A law breaking smuggler who justifies his actions by claiming to be a “public servant”. Another smuggler defying US laws. A disgrace to all. But the story has a happy ending for law-abiding citizens.

I followed Jose for hundreds of miles north as he drove through Illinois, Indiana and into Michigan. Finally the roar caused by his lack of a muffler, the black cloud of oily smoke  and sparks generated by a right taillight dragging on the ground caught the trained eye of a Michigan State trooper. He was pulled over. Caught. Nabbed.

When the back door of his truck was lifted , there was the contraband in plain site. BUSTED. Cases and cases of the illegal product. It would never reach the lips of addicted Michiganders.

“Crystal” bottled water from Mexico. Cases of it. In sealed plastic bottles. Direct from the bottling plant. Stenciled across the back of each case: Destination: Flint, Michigan. The jig was up. The uncut, super clean water was found before it could be delivered .

The troopers threw  the cases on to the ground and smashed the contraband into bits, Elliot Ness-style. They slashed the bottles and watched as the liquid gushed out onto the pavement. The pure, clean, fresh water flowed onto the highway. The good stuff. Just before he got in his cruiser and drove away I noticed one of the Michigan State troopers slip a couple bottles into his jacket. I couldn’t blame him. I figured he must have had kids.

 

 

 

 

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A Modern Christmas Story

The line of ragged refugees trying to gain entry into the US winds around the corner. Men in robes and tattered clothes. Women wearing veils and hijabs. Little , wide -eyed children peering out from behind their mothers’ flowing dresses.

The Border Control agent barks .”Next”

A young bearded man, with wife and baby crouching behind, slowly approaches.

“Name”?

“Yusef”

The agent is filling in a form.

“Where are you coming from?”

“The Middle East. We have had to leave our home.”

Agent:” Why did you leave?”

Yusef: “They are killing us. The new government has taken our property and demands that we give up our homes and possessions. We fled from the violence. If we go back they will kill us. Don’t send us back”

Agent: “Do you have any documents?”

Yusef:”No. We had to flee quickly. We left everything behind except what we carry.”

Agent, writing : “How did you pay for the airline tickets?”

Yusef: “We had a little gold, but that is now gone.”

Agent:”How do you intend to support yourself? Do you have any skills?”

Yusef: “I  worked in construction. I can build  things. I work with tools.”

Agent: “I see you wife is wearing a hijab. Are you Muslims?”

Yusef: ” Oh, no. She is just wearing the traditional veil. It means nothing.”

Agent: “Are you Christians? Do you  follow Christ?”

Yusef, looking  confused: ” No. We are simply refugees fleeing for our lives. Please help us.”

Agent, writing down something and looking concerned. “What is in those two boxes?”

Yusef: “Just some perfume and some medicines. It is all we have.”

The agent calls over some security who take the boxes and disappear into another room. “Sorry, those boxes will have to be destroyed. They had some odd looking substances in them.”

The agent looks at the young refugee family , down at his forms, and back up again. “You have no papers. You have no means of support. You CLAIM not to be Muslims, but you sure LOOK  like Muslims to me. You brought in some strange packages. And you claim your life is in danger but offer no  proof. ” He then takes out a big red stamp and loudly stamps the documents, hands them back to the young man and points him to the exit door.

“We will be putting you and your wife and child on the next plane back to the Middle East. Good luck. And Merry Christmas.”

The young man looks down at the document. The big red letters of the stamp are bold: ENTRY DENIED.

They cover the names of the applicants.

Yusef the Carpenter, wife Mary and baby Jesus.

 

 

 

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Contestant #4: Rubio…Less Than Meets the Eye.

(This is the fourth in a series of biased reports about the people who think they are qualified to be president. Really. They do. They think they should be the most powerful human being on earth. Really.)

I somehow missed it. On April 13 Marco Rubio evidently announced that he wanted to be President of the US. I missed it.

I had a little trouble finding his campaign website but I finally did. (marcorubio.com).

In announcing his candidacy he emphasized that he was a break with the old way of politics . A new beginning. A new way. Oh, I almost forgot. He announced his candidacy to his wealthy donors before he told the rest of us. A new way?

I checked his Senate website looking for specific legislation he has sponsored and/or passed. None mentioned. (rubio.senate.gov)

His campaign website has 5 issues. Each has a nice picture and the usual Obama-is-bad statements. I think someone should tell Marco that Obama will not be running again.

His 5 issues: Isis, Cuba, Iran, Abortion,Israel.

Nothing on health care. Nothing on unemployment.  Nothing on job creation. Nothing on immigration. Nothing on gun violence. To look at his website you would think he is running for Secretary of State….hmmm.

On ISIS he says we should kill them. He says we cannot “ignore” the problem. Yet, he has proposed no legislation authorizing the POTUS to do so. He does sit on the foreign relations committee, so he could write a bill.  But killing ISIS is a good idea. Obama should have thought of that.

On Cuba he says that Cuba is an exporter of terror and we should not have relations with dictatorships. Isolate dictatorships. An interesting principle. But he makes no comments about our China policy. He wants to keep Cuba isolated because it is a “communist” dictatorship. Maybe China is a nice communist dictatorship?  Did I mention he rejects the policies of the past and looks to the future?

On Iran he says we should isolate them as well. We should do what Netanyahu tells us to do. Does Rubio really think that the US can unilaterally decide world arms policies? And why should we look to Israel to determine our foreign policy?

On Israel he is clear. Obama  (there he is again) has “failed to stand with Israel”. But a quick check of military aid to Israel shows that under Obama the US has given much more aid than under Bush. More, in fact, than any other administration. Giving more aid and making it clear that we will support Israel in any attack is somehow “failing to stand” with Israel?  (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/U.S._Assistance_to_Israel1.html)

The only domestic issue he chooses to include on his website deals with abortion. He is unequivocal. Roe v Wade, which guarantees a woman the right to an abortion, is “morally wrong” and should be overturned. He does not elaborate .

In some of his speeches Rubio has called for more tax breaks to create jobs. (Reaganomics) He has denied the science of climate change. Wants to go back to a time when all abortions were illegal. He was for immigration reform or not. Opposes any gun restrictions. Wants to isolate Cuba. Did I mention that he wants to look to the future and rejects the policies of the past?

His main claim seems to be that he is young. He emphasizes his youth as though it is somehow a qualification in and of itself.

In the political boxing ring Rubio is not a lightweight. He is a featherweight. Old wine in new skins. A blast from the past.

Much, much less than meets the eye.

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The Liberals Are Coming! The Liberals Are Coming!

A Poem. With apologies to…well…everyone.

 

The Liberals Are Coming

 

Listen My children and who shall hear

The whining and crying of those who fear

Who dread the idea of rights for gays

And dream of a past of more bigoted days.

 

“The liberals are coming” is what they say

“The liberals are coming to take rights away”

“Gay liberals are coming to marry our sons”

“The liberals are coming to confiscate guns”

 

They ride through the internet,  fearful and mad

And watch Fox and Friends (which really is sad)

They worry that folks colored black, brown and red

Might all vote for Dems, a day they all dread.

 

Lockstep behind pundits their minds go a sail-in

Listening to Rush, Ann Coulter and Palin

Worshiping at the great temple of Cruz

Fearful of Muslims, agnostics and Jews

 

They see immigrants taking all jobs that are fun

Like picking tomatoes in the hot summer sun

And cutting up chickens and waiting at tables

(For non-union wages) and cleaning out stables.

 

But that half-breed from Kenya is the one they hate most

A communist-socialist they’d like to roast

That Marxist purveyor of health care for all

By tearing him down, they think themselves tall.

 

So afraid of the thought that workers have rights

If they could they would make every issue a fight

Compromise is a blasphemy they can’t conceive

For God speaks to them (or so they believe)

 

One wonders what happens to warp little brains

And cause them to focus on hatred and pain

See commies and Marxists behind every tree

And liberals plotting to “get stuff for free” ?

 

Well, the liberals aren’t coming,  so nothing to fear

The liberals aren’t coming, we’re already here

Over 200 years now and still doing fine

Slowly making life better,  one law at a time

 

Some “liberal” ideas that have taken hold?

Everyone voting. No slaves being sold.

Cleaning the water. Cleaning the air.

Minimum wages. Trials that are fair.

 

Medicare. Head Start. The old EPA.

(Well,  that one was Nixon’s…a “liberal” today)

Women have rights to their own personhood.

Social Security. See, it’s all good.

 

Let Fox-nurtured phobics keep crying in pain

With arguments silly and dumb and inane

And when they keep screaming and howling “Impeach!”

Remind them it was “liberals” who gave them free speech.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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