Monday, April 22, 2019

Celebrate the good that’s happening and fix the country’s problems

That President Donald Trump has many critics is no surprise. That he has created much of the negative feelings people have for him is also no surprise. One interesting question is, “how much of the anti-Trump fervor is legitimate opposition to his agenda, or a true belief that he is unsuited for the job, and how much is just an emotional reaction to his personal behavior?”

His pugnacious style, attacking those who criticize him, and fighting back against those who attack him, is at the root of much of the negative sentiment towards him.

Genuine dislike for Trump, some of that from hurt feelings, seems to be what drives most – or at least much of – the bad feelings toward him. So, if Trump can be fairly accused of obsessive behavior that drives much of the negative sentiment, are his detractors not also behaving obsessively?

Some abandon their professional ethics and standards, saying, in effect, “Trump made me do it.” And that attitude has taken its toll in the field of journalism, which has been severely damaged of late, and elected representatives and senators shirk their responsibility to their constituents in order to focus on obstructing Trump.

Why not balance those negative emotions with earned appreciation for the good things that have happened and are happening during Trump’s tenure as president, the strong economy being a major factor? Are these folks so petty that they cannot admit that he is doing some good things?

For example: since Trump took office unemployment has dropped, currently at 3.8 percent; we have the lowest unemployment rate in history for women, African-Americans and Hispanics; there are more job openings than there are unemployed Americans, seven million job openings and six million unemployed; the number of those counted as outside the labor force tumbled by 487,000 in 2018, asworkers who had become discouraged and dropped out of the labor force are coming back.

He has eliminated many regulations that impeded economic progress; tax cuts have further spurred the economy and resulted in people keeping more of their earnings; wages are going up with Real Weekly Earnings up 2.6 percent; manufacturing added more jobs than government, reversing the Obama trend; some companies that left the U.S. have returned, bringing jobs back; and the GDP growth rate is up.

Why not focus on fixing problems that the nation faces?

The Left largely sympathizes with the undocumented immigrants – that’s “illegal aliens” for the non-politically correct among us – and denies that the tens of thousands sneaking across the southern border and the tens of thousands more who have over-stayed their visas comprise a crisis. Trump, on the other hand, understands that it is a crisis, agreeing with the federal immigration workers and those states that have to try to deal with this senseless situation. 

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, instead of doing its job and helping to revise outdated and flawed immigration laws and procedures to help protect the country and the constituents that elected its members, plans to investigate Trump some more.

The Left’s favorite narrative is that these people are fleeing dangerous conditions, or are just looking for a better life. Of course some, likely most, are. There are proper ways of doing this, and sneaking across the border is not one of them. But others are sex or drug traffickers, robbers, rapists and murderers. 

All of those groups – both those having the best intentions, as well as those with the worst – have one thing in common: they are in the U.S. illegally. Why is any true American willing to allow this to continue?

And while the mainstream media has successfully downplayed this situation, the problem is much worse this year than last. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) reported on its website, “According to U.S. Border Patrol (CBP), in six and a half months their agents have apprehended more than 418,000 illegal aliens, which surpasses the total for FY2018. In the last six months, CBP has encountered more than 3,000 fraudulent family units. And CBP had apprehended almost 1,000 illegal aliens, mostly family units, before 5 a.m. on April 16.”

“Anti-enforcement politicians and Democrats in Congress reflexively blame the Trump administration or Central American dictators,” the report continued. “Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee (Wash.) even blamed the crisis on climate change.”

While we know that the Russians attempted to affect the 2016 election, as they have in previous elections, there is no evidence that anything they did had a real effect on the outcome. Therefore, Trump was properly elected as president under the electoral system that our Founders designed, and that has worked for well over 200 years.

There is important work to be done that is currently being delayed largely by the obsession to obstruct Trump, and ultimately remove him from office. Those things include: reforming our immigration system, straightening out the shambles that are the healthcare system, paring down the size and cost of government, and continuing to reduce harmful regulations. And these areas affect all Americans, Republicans, Democrats and everybody else.

Finding satisfactory solutions to these problems requires everyone’s good intentions and honest efforts. Now it’s time to get to work.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

William Barr joins Robert Mueller on the Democrat’s Wall of Shame

Attorney General William Barr testified recently before the House Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the Department of Justice budgetary request, but he was asked question after question after question about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russian collusion investigation, and the conclusions from  that report Barr released.

For doing his job as AG, Barr suddenly became the new Democrat target, as his conclusions from the Mueller report failed to satisfy the intense hunger of Democrats for evidence of impropriety, even criminality, by then-candidate Donald Trump and his team.

The sudden, virtually automatic and universal distrust of Barr by Congressional Democrats and the MSM for doing his duty in accepting the Mueller report and releasing the conclusions is more than just curious. 

Years ago, a Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed Barr by voice vote for attorney general under President George H.W. Bush. He was highly praised, both by Republicans and Democrats, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to recommend his confirmation, and then-Senate Judiciary Chairman, former Vice President, and now potential presidential candidate Joe Biden, and Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy both enthusiastically endorsed him for the position.

But now that political considerations have replaced obligations to duty, that support has vanished in a flash of desperate partisanship.

This same response occurred when Robert Mueller was named special counsel. Praise came abundantly from both sides of the political aisle, and Democrats could hardly contain their eagerness at the expected results of the investigation by this giant of a man, imagining a handcuffed Donald Trump being perp-walked out of the White House to the hoosegow along with Don, Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and yes, Melania and Barron, too.

But that was not what happened, and suddenly Mueller’s reputation lay in shambles in the gutters of Pennsylvania Avenue. Now there are two once-widely respected people associated with the Department of Justice who, by doing their jobs, lost the confidence and respect of Congressional Democrats.

When Barr’s appearance before the Subcommittee began, New York’s Rep. Nita Lowey, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, got things off to a creaky start: “Before getting into your budget request I want to discuss a serious oversight matter, your unacceptable handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.” 

“It’s been reported that the report is 300 to 400 pages, and I use the term ‘reported’ because we have no idea how long it actually is,” she continued. “All we have is your four-page summary, which seems to cherry pick from the report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president.” 

And how would she know whether he is cherry picking or not, since she complained about having no knowledge of what is in the report?

Her deep ignorance of the situation shone forth again when she said, “I must say it is extraordinary to evaluate hundreds of pages of evidence, legal documents, and findings based on a 22-month-long inquiry, and make definitive legal conclusions in less than 48 hours.” 

Again, she makes assumptions without having seen the document, which might have contained conclusions. And she also didn’t know that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, to whom Mueller reported during the investigation, helped Barr produce the document that contained the findings.

And then there was this brilliant question from Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence: “Who do you report to, the President of the United States or to the people of America?” 

After such great mischaracterizations of the Barr “summary,” the DOJ offered some perspective on it: "Given the extraordinary public interest in the matter, the Attorney General decided to release the report's bottom-line findings and his conclusions immediately — without attempting to summarize the report — with the understanding that the report itself would be released after the redaction process.”

Barr also aroused the ire of Committee Democrats, and others, when he said he believed there was “spying” during the presidential campaign.  By using the term “spying,” rather than their much-preferred and less-severe term, “surveillance,” he upset a lot of people.

Spying by any other name, like “surveillance,” is still spying. Which term is the correct one for listening to (intercepting) private conversations, and other such activities: Spying, eavesdropping, or the Democrats’ preferred term, surveillance?

Do you refer to your cousin as a relative, as family, or as kinfolk? Does it really matter? Isn’t this really just playing rhetorical games?

Whatever term one carefully chooses for describing the deed, spying is spying. AG Barr said the difference between legal spying and illegal spying occurs when there is a legitimate predicate for the deed. If there is one, fine; the spying is legal. If not, the spying is a crime.

After being questioned about believing spying occurred, Barr said that he wants to know whether the spying was done appropriately, or not, and plans to look into the matter to find if a suitable predicate existed to justify it.

No doubt this has not eased the Democrats’ disgust over Barr’s findings, and likely has caused a spike on their nervous meter, as the possibility of subversive shenanigans in the Obama FBI, DOJ and elsewhere being exposed looms large.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Jobs combat poverty; over-regulation discourages businesses and jobs

Magatte Wade was born in the West African nation of Senegal, was educated in Germany and France, then came to the U.S. She is a frequent speaker at business conferences and college campuses, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, MIT, and Wharton. She has started businesses and with her husband is working to create schools in Senegal.

Part of one of her addresses featured on YouTube dealt with how not to be poor. What she said to her audience is a good lesson for everyone.

“People are poor. Why are you poor?” She answered, “you're poor when you don't have enough money to meet your basic needs.” 

And then, the big question: “Where does a source of income come from for most of us?” The answer is, as former Vice President Joe Biden famously said: that three-letter word: ‘JOBS.’

This is not a bolt from the blue to most of us, but to her audiences in colleges and in her native Senegal, this solution may not be so obvious. In fact, some of her audiences responded that jobs actually come from government.

Yes, she responded, some jobs are provided by government. But where does government get the money to pay its employees?

“It comes from taxes. People who work, employees; people who hire them, the companies and employers, pay [taxes] so that we in turn pay these government people.”

So, “we're back to commerce … we're back to business.”

“So I say,” Wade continues, “okay, if ‘jobs’ is the solution to this massive, massive problem we have out there of poverty, then don't you think that maybe we should try to think about where jobs come from?”

If jobs are the answer, and jobs come from entrepreneurs, businesses, “then don't you think that we should really try and pay attention to what type of environment those businesses get to operate in,” Wade asked?

What a concept! Since businesses large and small provide the jobs people need to avoid poverty, and enable workers to pay taxes, and pay taxes themselves to support the government, let’s be careful about the environment that we create for businesses.

In America, it should be easy for someone with a new idea or just the drive to start a business that will provide goods or services, and hire some people to work in it, so long as it follows reasonable laws and regulations. The operative word is, “reasonable.”

Far too often, this is not easy, and sometimes impossible. 

Writing in Business Insider, Michael Snyder addresses this issue. “Small business in the United States is literally being suffocated by red tape. We like to think that we live in ‘the land of the free,’ but the truth is that our lives and our businesses are actually tightly constrained by millions of rules and regulations.” 

“Today there is a ‘license’ for just about every business activity,” Snyder adds. “In fact, in some areas of the country today you need a ‘degree’ and multiple ‘licenses’ before you can even submit an application for permission to start certain businesses.” It gets worse. “And if you want to actually hire some people for your business, the paperwork nightmare gets far worse. It is a wonder that anyone in America is still willing to start a business from scratch and hire employees.”

“The truth is that the business environment in the United States is now so incredibly toxic that millions of Americans have simply given up and don't even try to work within the system anymore.”

To put the regulatory issue into perspective, the Federal Register is where federal rules are catalogued. The number of pages in it was about 2,600 in 1936. That’s a lot of pages of rules, but it pales in comparison to the calendar year of 2016, when the number of Federal Register pages stood at 95,854.

Certain variables factor into this: Some rules take more pages than others, and page size is also important. However, most novels have 250 words per page, and a really long novel has 425 pages. At the end of 2016, the Federal Register had as many pages as 225 long novels, and 383 normal-sized ones.

President Donald Trump has implemented efforts to reduce regulations by signing an executive order on Jan. 31, 2017 for the agency requesting a new regulation to cut two older regulations.

A Daily Caller story said that the Trump administration “reported $23 billion in savings from 176 deregulatory actions in fiscal year 2018. Even more consequential, the administration has issued 65 percent fewer ‘significant’ rules — those with costs that exceed $100 million a year — than the Obama administration, and 51 percent fewer than the Bush administration, after 22 months in office.”

That’s a start, but a lot more needs to be done to give Americans the freedom and ability to start a business or get a job.

A final word from Magatte Wade: “Not living up to our potential is a failure for which the only person who can possibly be responsible is oneself.“

She’s right, of course, but things like over-regulation make that much more difficult for even those who are determined to succeed.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Border officials and facilities overwhelmed by illegal entrants

The number of illegal aliens captured at the southern border has overloaded the facilities that hold them, and thousands have been released into the country.

Illegal entry has been routinely called a non-crisis by much of the media and Congressional Democrats, and recently Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama, called it that. Appearing on CBS last month, Johnson said: "So here are the facts: the facts are that illegal migration on our southern border is a fraction of what it used to be." He added, "But a security crisis per se? No. I would not characterize it that way. I think there is some fear-mongering going on."

However, Saturday Johnson said on Fox News’ “Cavuto LIVE,” “By anyone's definition, by any measure, right now we have a crisis at our southern border.” He added, “According to the commissioner of [Customs and Border Protection], there were 4,000 apprehensions in one day alone this past week, and we're on pace for 100,000 apprehensions on our southern border this month.”

Perhaps Congress will finally get the message. Had Congress taken administration warnings seriously and acted to relieve the situation months ago, this crisis could have been resolved.

Representative Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, noted that in the heat of summer “it’s going to be very, very dangerous in this part of the country to have young kids, women and other folks to come in.”

Cuellar said, after speaking to Customs and Border Patrol agents, he had discovered a disturbing trend of adults “renting” children in Central America in order to increase their chances of being able to stay in the U.S. once they cross over.

Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch visited Guatemala earlier this year to get a first-hand look at the first of several caravans headed toward our southern border.

Contrary to reports in the media and those who support unfettered immigration that the migrants were mostly women and children, Farrell observed that while there were women and children in the caravan, he estimated that between 90 and 95 percent of them were men 15 to 45 years old. The children, he said, were “recovered from a human smuggling operation using the caravan as ‘cover.’”

He said that it’s “A highly organized, very elaborate and sophisticated orchestration,” not a sudden movement of thousands of people who just happened to all decide to travel north at the same time. It’s an “organized group of people pushing a certain political agenda by a group calledPueblos Sin Fronterasbeing aided by hundreds of that organization’s workers.”

This effort, he estimated, cost several millions of dollars for food, water, transportation, medical equipment, mobile hospitals and child services, which reminded Farrell of a complex military operation. And while they did walk portions of the tremendous distance through Mexico, they primarily traveled on chartered tour buses, dozens of them.

The media reports of the plight of the migrants say that “they are trying to escape daily violence and daily threats. People are dying left and right. The conditions are extraordinarily dangerous.”

Farrell interviewed some of the marchers. He started every interview with, “Why are you coming to America?”

“They all said that their reason for joining the ‘caravan’ was economic,” he said. “It was job driven. And then, someone would say, ‘Oh, yeah, … we’re also fleeing violence’ as an after-thought.”

And then, Farrell asked the obvious question: “Well, if things are so bad, why did you leave your family back home? Of course, they couldn’t answer that question,” he said. 

Perhaps the growing recognition of the crisis at the southern border will bring a realistic attitude about the nature of the numerous migrant caravans headed our way and get Congress to do its job, and take action to address this crisis.

President Donald Trump has threatened to completely shut down the border this week if Mexico doesn’t take steps to stop the caravans from traveling through to the border. He has already cut funding to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras because they have not taken action to halt the flow of migrants. 

Shutting down the border has some serious problems for Mexico and the U.S., so Congress must act quickly. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said yesterday on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” that his state cannot deal with the number of illegals entering it, and the same situation exists for other border states.

The Los Angeles Timesaddressed the border shutdown in February: “Fortunately for Trump, the law on immigration and related matters favors the president. Legal precedents have traditionally accorded the chief executive complete and nearly unchecked power to deny foreigners permission to enter the United States.”

"The exclusion of aliens is a fundamental act of sovereignty … inherent in the executive power," the Supreme Court said in 1950. And the Timesadded, “Congress adopted a provision in 1952 saying the president ‘may by proclamation … suspend the entry of all aliens and any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants’ whenever he thinks it ‘would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.’”

That does not, however, preclude a block by an activist liberal judge.