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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

230 year-old U.S. Constitution is under attack by the Left


Thirty-nine delegates represented the people of the 13 original states at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When they signed the document on September 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was ratified and put into effect.

While the United States is young at just 230 years, the United States Constitution, our country’s supreme law, is by far the longest lasting constitution in human history. And it is responsible for our nation becoming the freest and most prosperous nation ever.

Those two paragraphs contain far more information about our Constitution than a frightening number of American citizens actually know about their founding document.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a poll about the Constitution in 2014, and it revealed how shockingly little people know about even the most basic elements of our government and the Constitution that formed it.

Here are some examples from the poll:
* More than one person in three (37 percent) could not name any of the rights protected by the First Amendment.
* Freedom of speech was identified by 48 percent, but the right to peaceably assemble came in at just 10 percent, freedom of religion at 15 percent, freedom of the press at 14 percent, and the right to petition the government at 3 percent.
* Only one of four (26 percent) could name all three branches of the government. (In 2011, 38 percent could name all three branches.)
* One-third couldn't name any branch of government.
*Asked which party has the most members in the House of Representatives, 38 percent said they knew the Republicans were the majority, but 17 percent responded the Democrats were, and 44 percent reported that they did not know (up from 27 percent who said they did not know in 2011).
*Asked which party controls the Senate, 38 percent correctly said the Democrats, 20 percent said the Republicans, and 42 percent said they did not know (also up from 27 percent who said they did not know in 2011).

Annenberg’s director, Kathleen Hall Jamieson lamented, "Protecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are. The fact that many don't is worrisome."

An Annenberg poll in 2017 would likely produce even worse results. The future of both our freedom and prosperity are in question in our country, largely because our schools and families have failed to teach our young people the fundamentals of America that are essential to creating informed citizens and preserving our republic. And as bad as the picture painted by the Annenberg study is, The Federalist online paints a picture that is much worse.

“U.S. civics education, if it exists at all, is being transformed into a political machine to push left-wing causes, undermine American government, and incite civil unrest,” writes The Federalist’s managing editor, Joy Pullman.

A 525-page report from the National Association of Scholars titled “Making Citizens: How American Universities Teach Civics,” reveals the “New Civics” that uses attractive, bipartisan-sounding words like “civics” and “service learning” to trick Americans into allowing Leftist political machinery to hijack public funds and young minds, Pullmann wrote.

“Poor civics instruction has increased over the past half-century,” she wrote, “likely contributing to the broad decline of American civic life.” She then listed some long-standing and strong social influences we are losing:
* Volunteering has dropped dramatically despite increases in unemployment and free time
* Far fewer Americans participate in social activities and organizations
* Those who join the military are increasingly drawn from a narrowing subset of Americans
* Many adults have scant knowledge of American government and history (but still can vote!)

Anyone over the age of 60 should recognize the high degree of failure of our education system and families to properly educate our youth about the wonders of the United States of America, so that they can actually perform as competent and loyal citizens.

Recent protests adequately show that the demonstrators do not understand the First Amendment. They often don’t have an informed idea of what they are demonstrating against, and many protests are based not on what actually happened at an event, but instead on a perception of it. And, they either don’t understand, or don’t care, that a constitutionally protected protest is neither violent nor destructive.

Karl Marx would be proud of the Left’s efforts and success. We see his words at work: “Take away a nation’s heritage and they are more easily persuaded.”

Quiet subversion, done both deliberately and through ignorance, is at work in many schools and the news media. Once regarded as living its motto “all the news that is fit to print,” The New York Times has abandoned fairness and objectivity, an infection shared by much of the national news media, which now seem to subscribe to the motto, “all the news that fits.”

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as having answered a question about whether the Founders had created a republic or a monarchy with this statement: A republic, if you can keep it.

A large number of the American people have decided that our republic should no longer be kept, and will happily sacrifice its historic and broad successes.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The DACA and DREAMERS: The Good, the bad, and the ugly


The Democrat/liberal crisis of the moment has changed. Since President Donald Trump ordered the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) suspended last week, DACA has totally blown the Russian election collusion (that was fervently hoped for, but didn’t cause Hillary Clinton’s self-destructive campaign to fail) off their rumor sheet and whisper campaign.

And Leftists have retreated to their safe and familiar habits, and are again calling names. Trump is “cruel.” So many Democrats have used that word lately that it must have been directed from party leaders. It is suspected that in response to Trump’s action the Democrat Party issued a talking point: “Say it’s cruel! Say it’s mean! Say it’s heartless! And stick to the message!”

The Left’s beloved DACA program has many failings, beyond being unconstitutional. Former President Barack Obama hated it before he loved it and issued the Executive Order. Twenty-two times he told the world that such a thing was beyond the power of a mere President, and he couldn’t do it because he wasn’t the Emperor of the U.S. Then he did what he couldn’t do, calling it a temporary stopgap measure. "This is temporary. Congress needs to act," he said.

What Is DACA? According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): “On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.”

At first glance DACA may seem like a humanitarian action, designed to give illegal aliens whose parents brought them here as children a temporarily protected, but not lawful, status if they meet “several guidelines.”

What Trump is being called all sorts of names for doing, however, is really so much less than his Leftist critics are accusing him of. He is passing the ball for this immigration matter to where it actually belongs: the Congress. That is one thing Obama actually was right about.

All Trump did was to remove an improper order, and put the matter where it belongs. Sensible people won’t criticize Trump for that. And, Congress has six months to do the appropriate thing for these illegal alien residents. And at least until then, the DACA people are as safe today as they were before Trump’s action.

But the real problem is that, like so many things in the Obama administration, despite there being laws and regulations that are unambiguous, administrative agencies frequently ignored them, and did so without penalty. And, unsurprisingly, it turns out that the DACA implementation was rife with failure and fraud.

A story by Margaret Menge detailing much of these irregularities was published on LifeZette online last week. Quoting Matt O’Brien, an attorney who until last year was a manager in the investigative unit of USCIS, “as many as half of the approximately 800,000 people who now have work permits under DACA may have lied on their applications to get approved.”

Worse, O’Brien said, “these people were almost always approved anyway, because of the attitude of managers in the field and the chief counsel’s office.” He added, “The whole way the program is set up, it just facilitated fraud, and I’m not entirely confident that wasn’t intentional.”

With six months allotted for Congress to act, some believe that there are enough potential votes to create a path to citizenship for these DACA recipients, referred to as DREAMERS, for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. And, they can renew their two-year work permits if they were to expire before March 5, 2018.

But Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, says this would be a mistake. “USCIS never verified anything people put on their DACA applications,” she said, citing an example of how dangerous this might be. A DACA applicant named Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez was granted DACA status, despite USCIS admitting it had not checked this gang member’s application. He went on to murder four people in Charlotte, NC. The government agency merely accepted his application as truthful and accurate, never checking any of it.

She said that under George W. Bush, applications were thoroughly checked. “It’s the type of due diligence that the private sector does routinely,” she said.

O’Brien confirmed the failure of the application process, saying, “I personally witnessed an alarming number of people who had gang affiliations applying for this program,” most of whom, he said, were approved.

Menge’s article concludes by noting that the “approval rate for DACA in the two most recent quarters of fiscal year 2017 was approximately 97 percent, with only 3 percent of applications denied.”

Contrary to the idea that DACA is a humanitarian effort to help children of illegal aliens brought here by their parents, it is just another avenue the Left uses to allow anyone into the country, with no regard for their potential to harm American citizens.

Monday, September 11, 2017

2,996 Tribute to 9-11 Victims



Editors Note: What follows originated in 2006, and is repeated in 2017.

2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11. 



On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers joined together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each person payed tribute to a single victim.We honor them by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.

So reads the introductory material on the 2996 Web page. I was assigned James Arthur Greenleaf, Jr. I was the 1357th blogger to sign up for the 2,996 Tribute project.

The name of each 9-11 victim was been assigned to a blogger.

This project was a very moving one for me. In searching for information on Jim Greenleaf’s life, I was deeply touched by who this young man was. 

James Arthur Greenleaf, Jr., age 32, native of Waterford, Conn. Mr. Greenleaf was a foreign exchange trader at Carr Futures and died at the World Trade Center. He was a resident of New York, N.Y. Mr. Greenleaf was a 1991 graduate of Connecticut College, he was the son of Mr. And Mrs. James Greenleaf, Sr., and the former husband of Susan Cascio, a 1992 graduate of Connecticut College.
 

The following was posted by Mr. Greenleaf’s mother on Legacy.com 

April 6, 2002 

My Dearest Jim, 

Almost 7 months have passed and not a day goes by that I don't think about you. Some days I pretend that I just haven't seen you in long time and that you will be visiting soon. I know that it will be a long time till we see each other again, but it does help on the bad days.

Just this week Dad and I received 2 letters from old friends of yours recalling some great times that they spent with you and they wanted us to know what an impact you had on their lives. One letter we received said that she had children of her own and just hoped that some day they might grow up to be the kind of person that she remembers you as being. What a 
wonderful tribute to the fine man that you were. You touched so many people and I'm sure that you had no idea of how others thought of you. 

I know that I kissed you and told you how much I loved you every time I had the opportunity to, but I wanted to say it to you today again.
 

I love you so much,
 

Mom
 

Peter, Bryn and I talk about you all the time and remember all the wonderful times we spent together. 
(Patricia Greenleaf, Waterford, CT) 


Quilt graphic thanks to Kim at United in Memory

The James A. Greenleaf, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established to honor and remember a dear family member and friend who lost his life as a result of the catastrophe which occurred in New York City in 2001. The fund will be used to provide financial assistance to students attending St. Bernard High School.


Dave McBride also hopes to help others by honoring the memory of his long-time friend with the 5th Annual 5K River Run For The Fund. The race, which takes place this Saturday, May 13th at Ocean Beach Park in New London, is part of the Greenleaf Memorial Foundation, which also incorporates an annual Golf Tournament and a Memorial Dinner. McBride and James Greenleaf were best friends since high school, graduating from St. Bernard in 1987.

Sadly, Greenleaf lost his life because of the terrorist acts that occurred as he was working in New York City on the morning of September 11th, 2001. In a tribute to Greenleaf, his family and friends created the James A. Greenleaf, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc., with proceeds used to award full book scholarships for 8th grade students to attend St. Bernard High School. The organization received approximately 30-40 scholarship applications annually, which require a formal essay and teacher recommendations that are reviewed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The fund also hopes to increase its scholarship offerings either to St Bernard students or other local students who will be attending college.


 Leave a message in honor of James Arthur Greenleaf Jr.

From: Lisa LaGalia Date: 11/19/2004 Message: Hi babe it me. Still not better without you. Can't you take me there where you are. We should be together
From: Maureen Griffin Balsbaugh Date: 08/29/2005 Message: At every one of your events. We know you are there in spirit....laughing.

This comment was left just a few days ago:

Thank you for posting information on Jim Greenleaf. We went to high school together. During the three years, we played football and ran track together. We ate many lunches together. 

 
With my return to the US in 2007, I have been able to attend the annual golf outing twice. The outpouring of help given by friends of Jimmy is very inspiring. His scholarship is helping many children attend St. Bernard H.S.

Thank you for the great site.
John

PS As an aside, we lost another high school friend that day, Eric Evans. He was in one of the towers when they fell. Both gone but not forgotten.



Jim Greenleaf, rest in peace.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Our country’s traditions and core values are on the decline

In recent years many of our cultural values have been eroding, and in some cases are being consciously abandoned.

Standing and holding your hand over your heart during the performance of the National Anthem is a part of many activities. It is a simple but sincere way of honoring our nation and paying tribute to the opportunities it provides and its protection of personal freedom that is unparalleled in the world. Rather than honor the country that has been so good to them, some now balk at this simple act, and instead remain sitting, or “take a knee” in protest.

In fact, protest is becoming the new national pastime. Most anything that upsets somebody may well become a protest movement. A large segment of the population seemingly feels led to either start a protest, or take part in them. And some things that now upset folks are things that once were hardly noticed.

For example, some women are offended when a male in a standing position talks to a female who is sitting down. “Mansplaining,” it is called, and is considered offensive because the man is deemed to consider himself superior to the woman.

And then when a male sits and spreads his legs wide apart, that, too, is offensive to some females. They term this “manspreading,” because the male is thought to hold himself in such high regard that he can take up more space than he is due.

We also see the long-established idea of working for a living and supporting yourself and your family being abandoned in favor of welfare, food stamps and Medicaid replacing earned income. Government encourages this by making it too easy to get by without working. The ethic of getting a basic education and either going to work or continuing your education to prepare for a career no longer seems important to many people.

Sometimes economic conditions and a shortage of available jobs force people onto government support. Government imposes policies that instead of encouraging job creation often stifle it through overly strict, crippling regulations and daunting taxation, and then government spends tax revenue to support the people its policies have put on the unemployment line.

Two-parent families have given way to single-parent families, and the harm to children in that situation is often substantial. These families most often lack a father figure, whose presence can and should be a positive influence on children. And, it is becoming common for single mothers to have more children, not because they want more children so much as because they get more money from the government by doing so.

Educating children about our country’s history and values no longer takes place in many homes, and that responsibility gets transferred to schools. But then many schools no longer adequately fill that role, either. Consequently, lots of our younger citizens have no idea why America is a great place to have been born and to live, and without that understanding, proper attitudes of citizenship do not form.

Is it any wonder, then, that so many college kids cannot cope with normal events in life, and react with fear when they encounter unfamiliar or different ideas? With safe spaces and trigger warnings, even if schools still present subject matter without an ideological bias, many campuses shield students from lessons that teach about life and being an adult in the 21st century. College life should expose young people to new and different ideas and teach them to seek truth, but too often, it does not.

Further complicating the educational experience is the widely promoted idea that everyone needs a college education, and there are ample scholarships, grants and loans available to help pay for it. Colleges are embroiled in an arms race to attract students and the money they bring with them through lavish dormitories and other facilities.

Of course, not everyone needs a college education, and not everyone can complete the requirements for a diploma. And many students pursue degrees in fields that do not allow them to support themselves. Meanwhile, thousands of good paying jobs go unfilled that less expensive vocational training would have prepared people to perform.

As the college experience continues to devolve on many campuses, a group of professors from Princeton, Harvard and Yale have introduced a program that runs counter to the developing new college environment. They encourage students to avoid crippling campus groupthink and to instead think for themselves.

Sixteen professors from the three schools signed a letter warning the Class of 2021 at their school about the danger of “falling into the vice of conformism” on campus.

Princeton Professor Robert P. George told Fox News host Tucker Carlson, “We’re telling our students not to fall into that groupthink,” he said. “You should be pursuing the truth. That’s what being in college is all about. It’s learning to pursue the truth and it’s learning to become a life-long truth seeker.”

To the extent this productive attitude spreads and influences more young people, the positive college environment of old will be restored, and will produce more well-grounded young people who are prepared for adulthood. That will help a lot.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

“Poor Donald, he can’t help it. He was born to do things wrong!”


A president’s true effect on his country can’t be fully and accurately assessed until some time after his or her term ends. But looking at Donald Trump’s record so far indicates his effect will be almost 100 percent negative, as is plainly demonstrated by media coverage and the estimates of his Democrat and liberal enemies.

Sure, he’s been in office only seven months, but all that really means is that his negative record is ultimately going to be absolutely YUGE and unparalleled!

How could so many American voters have been so wrong last November?

Trump is a man who has become famous only because his father gave him money, right? Daddy, we are told, provided gifts of $1 million or maybe $100 million. Detractors say that is why he is now worth $3.5 billion, according to Forbes, only 35 times the highest reported level of help of $100 million. What’s special about that? Surely any or all of the rest of us could have done that well?

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., saw this coming and wisely wanted to save the country all this pain by impeaching him before he ever got sworn in as president. Perhaps she was in such a hurry because she wanted get it done before her trial for ethics violations begins. And some of her patriotic Democrat comrades are still working toward that end. Bless their hearts!

And CNN’s “reporter,” Jim Acosta – who has benefitted from his own journalistic failures since Trump made him famous by noticing and publicizing them – acted on an assumption. Immediately upon hearing the dire predictions of catastrophe of Hurricane Harvey advancing on the Texas coast, Acosta apparently assumed Trump was watching baseball rather than acting in advance of the storm to deal with the developing crisis. He texted Trump with the question “what is your administration doing about the hurricane to keep Texans safe?” By then, Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had already talked by phone and the federal government was already acting, and Abbott has praised the federal response. Oops!

No doubt Al Gore will soon publish another book or make another movie with withering criticism of Donald’s failure to remain in the Paris Climate Accord, that “doctrine with no teeth,” which he’ll swear could have turned the storm to the south, sparing America altogether.

Sure, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a hero to many Arizonans for his unwavering enforcement of federal immigration laws the federal government refused to enforce. The feds’ abdication meant great harm and discomfort to the people of Sen. John McCain’s home state.

But how could Donald dare to pardon the man before he was even sentenced for the misdemeanor charges he was found guilty of – by a judge, not a jury – and robbing that judge of the pleasure of punishing a man she convicted of upholding federal law?

Shouldn’t a president’s powers of pardon and commutation be reserved for people convicted of serious federal crimes, as Bill Clinton did on his last day in office for 140 such criminals, some of whom were his relatives and friends? Or, for releasing 1,500 federal prisoners and Gitmo detainees, as Barack Obama did over eight years?

Even some so-called Republicans, like the aforementioned John McCain, are critical of Trump. McCain said the timing was bad and especially so because “Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for” doing the job the federal government refused to do to protect Sen. McCain’s Arizona constituents.

With these acts Trump has joined the ranks of previous presidents, doing things their enemies dislike. Remember Barack Obama’s “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” bragging on the Affordable Care Act, or “The police acted stupidly” trying to protect personal property, or when he curtsied to Muslim leaders upon meeting them?

Many people do not like Donald Trump, a condition he readily contributes to by some actions, but also because he doesn’t do things the way they expect a president to do them. However, being different isn’t necessarily being wrong. Remember, in 1532 it was a certainty that the Earth was the center of all things. But Nicholaus Copernicus revived an ancient theory saying the Sun was actually the center and Earth revolved around it. According to the existing beliefs, he was wrong. But he wasn’t.

Many in the media and the public take Trump’s words literally without thinking about what he was trying to communicate. Yes, that may be hard work, but reporting accurately is also hard work, and the media needs to step up its game.

Of course, Trump should do a better job of making sure his words convey their intended meaning; but the media must remember that their job is to convey the true message, the intended message, and leave their petty, adolescent feelings aside.

Reporters and media outlets are charged with accurately, objectively and fairly informing the public. Report what happens, good, bad and ugly, and let the people decide how to respond. Americans don’t need you to tell them what to think.

America’s future is far more important than the hurt feelings and emotional upheavals of Trump’s enemies.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

America’s summer of discontent proceeds, and violence increases


Back in 1961 when Willie Nelson composed and released a soon-to-be famous ballad, its title described a situation our country would see a few years later. The title of that song is perfectly applicable today: “Crazy.”

There are always at least a few crazy things going on in America. Today, the list is long, and growing. For example, there’s the manic movement to remove statues of some of the South’s and the Civil War’s better-known personalities, or rename things honoring them that adorn the American south.

Elected officials, who ought to know better, are surrendering to the small, but very loud, group that shrieks to remove them for no better reason than that they do not like them. They say that these memorials conjure up visions – not memories – of slavery, which was wiped from our land 150 years ago.

Cities and colleges are caving in with increasing frequency to the shrieking, and the movement’s criminal element is taking matters into its own hands by destroying these pieces of our history, sometimes in the dark of night, with no regard for anything beyond their own limited impulses.

Interestingly, as recently as this time last year, no one was complaining about these memorials. What has happened since to excuse these often illegal acts and exercises in bad judgment?

A somewhat older crazy thing is the protest against the “Star Spangled Banner,” most notably by athletes who remain sitting, or take a knee when the national anthem is performed prior to an athletic contest. This is a long-standing tradition only recently seen as problematic.

It is interesting how many Americans whose talents earned them fame and fortune somehow believe the country that provided the opportunity for success is now their enemy. They now protest against the country that has rewarded them. Biting the hand that feeds you is generally not a good plan.

A group organizing a “Unite the Right” rally at the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va. was treated fairly in its permit request, although city officials did later try to interfere with the plan. After a judge upheld the original permit, the group, described as “white nationalists” and “KKK,” went forward with its rally supporting protection of the Lee statue.

Another group appeared at the rally site, one that apparently did not have a permit. This Leftist group was there to protest against the pro-Lee rally. Sometimes referred to as “Antifa,” for “anti-fascist,” the group is known for its fascist methods in fighting what it calls fascism. Crazy?

Violence ensued. Who started it is unknown. Both sides were violent and had implements/weapons to assist them. The police did almost nothing to stop the violence, and one police officer, whose name was not given, said Charlottesville police received a “stand down” order.

Rumor has it that the Antifas have set their sights on likenesses of Col. Harlan Sanders. Good fascists must not allow a statue that represents southern fried chicken to remain a fixture in the white supremacist south.

In line with their fever over the existence of statues of Thomas Jefferson and Stonewall Jackson, Democrats have already altered their Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, renaming it the Unity Dinner. Will they now demand renaming the copious things honoring the late W. Va. Democrat Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who once was a member in good standing of the KKK?

Last weekend in Boston a group organized a rally in support of free speech, which, of course, was opposed by the same group that opposed defending Gen. Lee’s statue. Even the idea of free speech has opponents on the political Left. Crazy?

These organized political protests have reached the level of pure obsession, demanding the removal of long-standing monuments and memorials of America’s past that do actual harm to no one. Overcome by raw emotion, these opponents gather at locations of the subjects of their discontent, and often abandon the perfectly legitimate American act of peaceful protest in favor of illegal violence.

America is now more politically divided than it has been for decades. Some say as divided as it was in 1861, when disagreement drove southern states to secede from the Union, beginning the Civil War.

Are we headed for another civil war? The first one saw the states that seceded from the Union receive a brutal defeat. The disaffected are following the same path of those whose statues and monuments they now condemn. They have a poor grasp of history, and seem determined to repeat it.

The first civil war arose from serious and honest policy disagreement. What we see today is primarily emotional discontent, compounded by forces bent on fundamentally transforming the United States of America.

These protests are not spontaneous. America is under attack from within, but much influence, including funding, comes from outside. Paid protesters arrive from across the country to protest and conduct violence and destruction. People with the Workers World Party Durham, a hard-Left organization, were involved in bringing down a statue in Durham, NC, according to the Durham newspaper, the Herald-Sun.

We had better be prepared for more violence and destruction, unless authorities wise up and stop these violent protests.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The people’s will is at risk from election fraud and carelessness


When the topic of election fraud comes up, a lot of people say there is not much of that, except for the Russians.

The problem is that there is a good bit of evidence for domestic election irregularities, and little or none for the Russians having had a real effect in 2016.

Two recent inconvenient items remind us just how real election fraud really is.

The first is especially inconvenient for Democrats, as a college student working as a staffer for Harrisonburg Votes, described as being affiliated with the Democrat Party in Harrisonburg, Va., gets jail time. 

James Madison University student Andrew J. Spieles will spend 100 days in jail for knowingly turning in false Virginia voter registration forms during the 2016 election containing the names of dead people and other faulty information.

And, a woman in the country legally, but a non-citizen, has been sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $5,000 for voting illegally five times over a period of years. Rosa Maria Ortega of Grand Prairie, Texas, was sentenced earlier this year for the 2nd-degree felony.

Ortega had applied to vote in Tarrant County, but acknowledged she was not a citizen, and was turned down because she was not a citizen. Despite being told she was not eligible to vote in the United States, five months later, she applied again, claiming to be a citizen.

She did not vote in Tarrant County, but did vote in Dallas County, authorities say.

Four employees of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) were arrested earlier this month in a scheme to produce false identification documents enabling illegal immigrants to vote in Boston. In addition to the employees of the RMV, people selling illegal documents were also arrested for selling Puerto Rico licenses and official state ID cards to illegal aliens.

According to the Department of Justice website in Massachusetts, the document dealer sold Puerto Rican birth certificates and U.S. Social Security cards to the document vendor for $900 who then sold the stolen identities for over $2,000 to clients seeking false identities in Massachusetts.

This fraud was only discovered when Massachusetts State Police received an anonymous letter telling them what was going on in the RMV.

In October of last year The Washington Times published a list of states where regularities have been found:
** Colorado discovered that dead people voted in elections in several different years.
** Illegals were found voting in Virginia, but were only discovered after they self-reported.
** In Pennsylvania 700 voters might have voted twice in recent elections, and 43,000 others potentially had duplicate registrations in Pennsylvania or in Pennsylvania and another state.
** The secretary of state’s office in Pennsylvania mailed about 2.5 million voter registration postcards to people who are not registered voters, but are licensed drivers.
** At least 86 non-citizens have been registered voters in Philadelphia since 2013.
** Allegations of voter fraud in Tarrant County, Texas, prompted a state investigation. Of concern are mail-in ballots, which allow for people to vote from their homes without any ID or verification of identity. And then they found so-called “vote-harvesting” where political operatives fill out and return other people’s ballots, without their consent.
** An Indiana voter fraud investigation grows to 56 counties where police believe there could be hundreds of fraudulent voter registration records with different combinations of made up names and addresses with people’s real information.
** Three people are under investigation in Oklahoma for voting twice in the presidential primary. All three submitted absentee ballots before showing up to their polling place on March 1 and voted again in person.
** Underage voters were found voting in Wisconsin’s presidential primary. This involves six under-age students that voted, and the election workers didn’t even check their birthdays on their IDs.

All of these examples are evidence of both dishonesty and incompetence, or at least carelessness.

So, there is no question that there is election fraud in the United States, but how serious a problem is it?

In a free country founded on following the will of the people, voting is of paramount importance. Without a clean and honest election system, the will of the people may be subverted.

It’s time we get serious about protecting elections from illegal voters and others who work to weaken its security, or who fail to do their jobs competently.

We are reminded frequently that voting is a right and it should be easy to vote. But voting is a solemn duty that must be properly supervised and operated.

One of the best ways to discourage voter fraud is requiring a photo ID obtained by proving eligibility to vote. A long list of everyday activities requires a photo ID, like buying liquor and cigarettes, but not voting. Many people oppose this helpful, common sense mechanism for one of the most important things people do.

They complain that somehow helping to assure only eligible voters can vote disenfranchises some people. But there are steps that correct that problem, and they are already in effect in many states.

Requiring a photo ID to vote is a necessary change, along with steps to help eligible voters register.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Mueller’s charge: A search for justice, or a fishing excursion?


Back in May, the Department of Justice announced that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein had appointed a special counsel “to oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters.”

Rosenstein said he had “determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” adding that his decision “is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. ... What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”

Rosenstein chose former Department of Justice official and former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, a man roundly praised by Democrats and Republicans alike. Supportive comments included that he has impeccable credentials, and the knowledge and ability to do the right thing.

However, over recent months some inconvenient truths have arisen.

A special counsel’s or special prosecutor’s job is to investigate known crimes. As Rosenstein said, no actual crime has been identified. Therefore, the Russian involvement in the election that has commanded the attention of the media and Democrats for more than a year is not a criminal case. It is a counter-intelligence case, which does not require a special counsel.

As Mueller began recruiting his team of lawyers to assist in the investigation, it was noted that some of the early ones were donors to Democrat candidates. And to date, as reported by The Washington Post, of the 14 names confirmed by the special counsel’s office, seven of them have “donated a total of $60,787.77 to [Hillary] Clinton and other party candidates.”

William Barr, Attorney General in the George H.W. Bush administration, told the Post, "In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party." Can this investigation be objective?

The order creating the special counsel ostensibly is for investigating Russian election involvement. However, it effectively has no limits. Having found nothing pursuable in the Russian intrigue, which was the reason for appointing a special counsel, Mueller has moved on to other topics. He is now looking into matters involving Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. If/when that one runs its course, another empty space awaits, like President Donald Trump’s business dealings years ago.

It is not unlike bringing a construction company executive to an empty field without a plan to follow, and saying, “build something.” There is no definite end to this process, unless someone somewhere can be indicted, or be persuaded to confess to something.

Critics say that Mueller’s job, and that of prosecutors generally, is to find a crime, and then to find a perpetrator, and it apparently is of little importance what the crime is, or who is responsible for it. Remember the investigation of Bill and Hillary Clinton in the Whitewater matter? It ended up being the Monica Lewinski matter. The two were barely related, if at all.

Prosecutors are known for “flipping” witnesses, pressuring them with prosecution for something – anything – to persuade them to tattle on someone – anyone – in order to avoid prosecution. A prosecutor’s job is, after all, to prosecute. No indictment in this matter indicates a failed investigation. Who wants that on their record?

Recently, Mueller impaneled a grand jury, and some think see that as an indication that Mueller is hot on the trail of criminal activity. And that is certainly a distinct possibility. However, another argument says grand juries are routine tools in such investigations, and assist in subpoenaing witnesses and aiding the investigation. Time will tell.

Be that as it may, conservative talk show host Mark Levin, who is a lawyer and president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, has a more threatening scenario. Calling it a “coup,” he said “Let me tell you what's going on here: they want to drag Donald Jr. in front of a grand jury and everybody else who was in that meeting – all eight of them – and see if they can find any contradictions in their testimony." Since there was no crime involved, Levin said the purpose is to “see if they can get somebody on a 'lie.' Perjury."

And now some suggest that Mueller is in breach of the rules and should resign.

The Daily Caller reported that Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ, said, “Robert Mueller is in ‘clear violation’ of federal law prohibiting a special counsel from having a conflict of interest and therefore must immediately resign as special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation.”

Franks, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Mueller’s reported friendship with former FBI director James Comey, who first worked under Mueller, leaked information to the press to encourage the appointment of a special counsel. That presents a clear conflict of interest, defined by federal law as: “a personal relationship with any person substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution.”

At best we have a bunch of Republicans being investigated by a bunch of Democrats. What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Wouldn’t it be great if we would buy “Made in America” again?”

 
Part of President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” mission is to reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing, and like nearly everything Trump says or does, that idea produced much criticism. A lot of that is the automatic Trump-hater response, but some resulted from reasoned thought and philosophical differences.

National Review roving correspondent Kevin D. Williamson discussed this in an essay titled “Made in America: Not Important in the 21st Century,” where he offers examples of products assembled in America that actually contain some or perhaps most parts made in other countries. The question is: do these products really deserve the “Made in America” label?

Calling Trump’s encouragement for us to buy products “Made in America” to support our manufacturers “a good slogan … [but] bad and incoherent policy,” reason.com’s Nick Gillespie went on to note that using more expensive American labor would increase the price of our products, and protectionist measures to exclude foreign-made materials from our markets runs counter both to the personal freedom the USA provides us, as well as the concept of free trade.

America is a “post-industrial nation,” Gillespie noted, and “the fact is that manufacturing jobs as a percentage of the work force peaked in 1943 and has declined ever since.”

He then urged pursuing policies that create new jobs, new opportunities and new wealth through “lower government spending, flatter and less distorting taxes, and less regulation.”

Opposition to Trump’s idea also includes the Chamber of Commerce and major players in the energy sector. As the Commerce Department worked to meet a late July deadline to present a plan to the president requiring oil and gas pipelines to be made with American-made steel, Trump’s allies in the energy sector warned that this might play havoc with his goal of energy dominance.

Gillespie is correct about the low percentage of manufacturing jobs. This decline occurred over many years, largely through natural progression, but as Gillespie hinted, external factors have also contributed. They had a significant negative effect that increased the decline, and removing those influences can provide some relief to manufacturing job losses.

Whereas technological advancement reduces the need for human work, natural progress in foreign countries is also a factor. In poor nations, people gladly work for pennies or quarters a day. While it may seem cruel to some of us to pay people so little for their efforts, those pennies or quarters are what enable them to achieve a better life in the less developed economy of their country.

If those workers can produce things that cost a fraction of what they cost if made by American workers, even after shipping them across the waters, businesses will go for the less expensive product in order to both enhance their economic situation, and to keep the price of their products lower.

But we often do things that increase our costs compared with other countries. High taxes and over-regulation on businesses, both of which put pressure on American companies to reduce costs to remain competitive, help push manufacturing jobs overseas.

The coal-mining sector is a good example of the effect of external factors. While natural gas usage was increasing and coal use was naturally trending down, Obama’s war on coal sped up that process through anti-coal regulations. That forced a dramatic decrease in coal use, wreaking havoc and harm much greater than if natural economic processes had been allowed to work.

Like coal mining, other manufacturing jobs are affected by the negative factors of over-regulation and high taxes. As Gillespie suggested, flatter and less distorting taxes, and less regulation would help make American steel and other products more competitive.

Other factors will also help to make American products more competitive, and provide a boost to U.S. manufacturing, such as a border-adjustment tax. The purpose of this tax is not to generate tax revenue to offset tax cuts, but to create jobs by evening out the playing field.

The U.S. is one of the few countries that does not tax imported goods and reward those exported to other countries, explains Newt Gingrich in his new book “Understanding Trump.” Taxing goods coming into the country, as other countries do to American goods, makes domestic goods more competitive, and helps create jobs and higher wages.

Gingrich also said that this “incentivizes businesses that want to sell in the United States as well as in other countries to move here, because it allows them to avoid the import tax.”

And lower the 35 percent corporate tax rate to something near that of nations to which American businesses have moved jobs. This will encourage those companies to bring back some, perhaps a lot, of the $2.5 trillion that they hold offshore to avoid the high U.S. corporate tax.

American manufacturing cannot return to 1943 levels, of course, but we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot with anti-business policies. We need to reduce corporate tax rates, impose a border-adjustment tax, and roll back harmful regulations to free up American manufacturers.

This will enable the creation of thousands of new jobs, increase productivity levels and bring in new tax revenue. It will make it easier and smarter to buy products “Made in America.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Illegal border crossings are down, but immigration issues remain



 
Immigration is the movement of people into a destination country of which they are not natives, or where they do not possess citizenship, in order to settle or reside there, especially as permanent residents or naturalized citizens.

Immigrating to the US is not a right; it is a privilege.

Most folks do not leave their home open to anyone with the desire to enter and live in them. They want to be sure that those they allow into their home do not want to harm them, or damage or steal their belongings.

Likewise, we must not leave the national borders open so that just anyone can come in. We have to make a determined effort to be sure that those who are allowed to legally enter America share our values, or agree to adopt them. They need to get a job and support themselves and their families, and to become true Americans.

The sloppy enforcement of our immigration laws and philosophy in recent years has produced a body of illegal aliens totaling around 11 million, according to some reports. The term “undocumented immigrants” is not appropriate for these people: Immigrants enter the country legally; these people entered the country illegally, or came in legally and over-stayed their visas.

As a result, the good people who come here for the best reasons, but are not here legally, have been overshadowed by the wicked deeds the many bad ones have committed. It’s time for that to change.

Seeing this problem clearly, unlike the previous resident of the White House, President Donald Trump campaigned on tougher enforcement of our borders and other measures to reduce or eliminate illegal entry into the U.S.

Since Trump was sworn in, good things have already started happening relative to illegal border crossings.

As reported in the Washington Examiner, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Thomas D. Homan, said that since Trump entered office, “illegal border crossings have crashed by almost 70 percent, ‘an historic low,’ arrests inside the country have jumped 40 percent and that demands for illegal criminals in local jails has skyrocketed 80 percent.”

"You can like President Trump, not like him, like his policies, not like his policies, but one thing no one can argue with is the effect they've had," Homan said. He is a 30-year immigration agency veteran, and the former chief of ICE enforcement.

Echoing that sentiment, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said on C-SPAN that the reduction in the number of illegal border crossers between the U.S. and Mexico is “nothing short of miraculous,” putting the reduction at 53 percent of the same period last year, all before construction of Trump’s vaunted border wall has even begun.

Judd told Fox News, “There’s a vibe, there’s an energy in the Border Patrol that’s never been there before in 20 years that I’ve been in the patrol.”

Complicating the illegal alien problem is the movement by more than 300 cities and counties to protect illegals in “sanctuary” jurisdictions. Homan said that ICE will hire 10,000 new agents and crack down on these sanctuaries. “In the America I grew up in, cities didn’t shield people who violated the law,” he noted.

While denying that ICE is being pressured to meet quotas, Homan said that ICE will focus on targeting fugitives, criminals, threats to national security, and illegals who had previously been deported and came back into the United States.

In a move that runs counter to Trump’s “America First” initiative and efforts to provide jobs for Americans, the Department of Homeland Security earlier this month increased by 15,000 the number of H-2B visas for low-wage, seasonal workers for the remainder of this fiscal year on the basis that many businesses will not be able to find enough American workers this summer.

Defenders of such policies contend that Americans will not work these jobs because they are unpleasant or because they don’t pay enough; therefore foreign workers are the best solution. However, the Center for Immigration Studies found that the average hourly pay for an H-2B visa holder last year was $12.31, roughly 70 percent above the federal minimum wage.

You would think a lot of minimum wage American workers would take that increase in pay, as well as a lot of unemployed Americans who could get back into the labor force, even if temporarily. A Maine resort town, faced with a shortage of H-2B workers, solved their problem by hiring … Americans!

Our immigration problem would not have grown to its current crisis level had past administrations strictly enforced national immigration laws. As a result, millions of people are here illegally. The bad ones are now targets of government, but what do we do with those who are generally good people, except for their method of coming to America?

Some truly just want a better life and are living a generally good, clean life. What is the best way to deal with these “Dreamers?” There is a great sentiment for providing a strict and complex path to citizenship, and deporting millions of them is virtually impossible.

Perhaps a suitable compromise can be found.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Is it desperation, OCD, or is there actually some “there” there?




Who dares to deny that the circus-like atmosphere surrounding the Trump presidency is the most unusual political phenomenon in recent memory?

There is a lot of true craziness among the anti-Trump crowd. They criticize him for virtually everything, or nothing. Like the non-story involving Poland’s First Lady, who set the anti-Trump world ablaze when, after her husband and Trump shook hands, she had the audacity to shake the hand of Mrs. Trump before greeting the president. Oh, the horror! And daughter Ivanka sat in for him briefly at the G-20 meeting wearing a pink dress with – gasp – bows on it!

Perhaps the best evidence of compulsive obsession and the Left losing its grip on reality was Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Cal., who wanted to impeach Trump before he was even sworn in.

Other evidence of the high degree of obsession comes from a survey by the drug and alcohol rehabilitation group Detox, which found that “Over 73 percent of Democrats would give up drinking for the rest of their lives if it led to the impeachment of President Donald Trump...” Teetotaling would be good for those Democrats, as well as the country, however the survey did not provide a mechanism for assuring allegiance to the pledge.

It is quite likely that many people who desire impeachment don’t understand what it is or how it works. Impeachment is a political remedy; it deals with breaches of public trust, or injuries done immediately to the society itself, by certain government officials, but not criminal activity.

The grounds for impeachment require the significant likelihood that "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" (crimes by public officials against the government), have been committed, according to Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. It is not the appropriate solution for those dissatisfied with the results of an election, or the most fervent wish to be rid of a president some don’t like.

Impeachment does not remove a president from office. It is the first step in a two-step process; bringing formal charges against him or her, much like a grand jury indictment. Remember, Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives in 1998, but went on to serve out his term as president because he was not convicted in step two, the trial by the U.S. Senate, requiring the affirmative vote by at least two-thirds of its members.

The only other successful impeachment of a president was Andrew Johnson, who was acquitted by the Senate in 1868. Richard Nixon likely would have been impeached and convicted over the Watergate affair a few decades back, but avoided impeachment by resigning from office.

The record for presidential impeachment shows it is a difficult process without much success, as deliberately designed by the Founders.

Failures don’t impede Democrats in their efforts at futile goals, however. Obsession and compulsion are tough masters to defeat. Perhaps their real goal is just stirring up negative opinion among their faithful followers to interfere with the president’s agenda.

“If they had a good case based on real information, I think they would mention it by now and put their cards on the table,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative government watchdog group. He is also a former Pennsylvania state prosecutor and former counsel for the board of directors at the Legal Services Corporation. Talking with The Daily Signal, he added, “They don’t have high crimes and misdemeanors. They don’t have low crimes and misdemeanors.”

Despite any compelling evidence, or even evidence that isn’t compelling, those on the Left who have rallied to the idea include: MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, and other progressive or “resistance” groups, and a group of Congressional Democrats who either don’t understand the issues or the process, or just seek recognition.

This list includes the aforementioned Rep. Waters, along with Texas Rep. Al Green, California Rep. Jackie Speier, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maine Sen. Angus King, Texas Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal. And, let us not forget Virginia’s own Sen. Tim Kaine, who actually mentioned “treason.”

After admitting nothing has yet been proved, Kaine said, “We’re now beyond obstruction of justice, in terms of what’s being investigated. This is moving into perjury, false statements, and even potentially treason.”

California Rep. Brad Sherman actually has introduced articles of impeachment, although the House Democrat leadership hasn’t fallen in line with that move. The effort is almost certain to fail because only one Democrat, Al Green, has signed on to it, and based on known facts, it won’t go anywhere in a Republican-controlled Congress.

At some point, however, Democrats must chill down the rhetoric. Emotion and desire, however fervent and crushing they may be, must be put aside, an objective look at the actual case must be undertaken, and then they need get back to performing the national service for which they were elected. Fixing Obamacare and filling hundreds of government positions, for example, are important issues.

Obstruction of the nation’s business and deliberate clouding of the national narrative are harmful to the country.