Showing posts with label American Thinker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American Thinker. Show all posts

Friday, July 29, 2016

Something very weird about Hillary’s face at the convention

Ann Althouse writes a perceptive commentary (hat tip: Instapundit) on an aspect of Hillary Clinton that bothers me a lot, too: that wide-open-mouth/insane-elation thing with her face.

Specifically, she analyzes a still photo of President Obama onstage with her at the Wednesday night session of the DNC:

She explains the really weird facial expression this way:
… my theory was that she's stuck making the best of doing appearances where she needs to look like the person who is intensely loved but she does not believe she is loved.
The specific reference here is standing next to Obama, who is well liked at a personal level by a majority of Americans.  But remember that ever since she graduated from law school, she has been standing next to her husband, who is even more than Obama a charming fellow  so charismatic that he was able to charm even Newt Gingrich right after the GOP won control of Congress in 1994.  From Hillary’s perspective, her adult life has been one long lesson in being the unlikable one in a very prominent couple.

There has to be a lot of resentment.  The stories of screaming matches, thrown lamps, and the rest are credible to me because Hillary has endured a level of private humiliation at her husband’s hands, in ways overt as in all the extracurricular sex, but also in ways completely unintended, the product of her negative charisma.
The result of all this is a burning desire to surpass Bill, to occupy the Oval Office, and get revenge for his casual ease at being liked.

And the facial expression?  I think it is a window into the intensity of Hillary’s desire, buried deep within her soul, and rarely allowed out.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Birthright Citizenship Opponents Should Not Rely on 14th Amendment Congressional Debates

Opponents of birthright citizenship often cite fragments of the congressional debate over the Fourteen Amendment’s Citizenship Clause to argue that the amendment’s drafters intended to exclude the children of visiting foreigners.

However, reliance on these fragments is a mistake.

Opponents of birthright citizenship face a number of difficulties that have encouraged them to rely on those fragments. Among them:

* Language in the earlier Civil Rights Bill clearly excluding foreigners was deleted from the amendment. This change was not, as sometimes claimed, necessary to exclude tribal Indians.

* Any interpretation that excluded foreigners would undercut the principal purpose of the Citizenship Clause. That purpose was to grant citizenship to the newly freed slaves and their children. For reasons explained below, most (perhaps all) of those slaves were technically foreigners.

As I explained recently, in two cases the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that the Citizenship Clause’s term “subject to [U.S.] jurisdiction” means subject to the English common law doctrine of “allegiance.” In general, that doctrine recognizes most children born in a country as natural born citizens, including the children of visiting foreigners. And in the more crucial case, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the allegiance rationale was central to the holding, not mere “dicta” as sometimes asserted.

The best way to counter these problems would be to uncover evidence that state legislatures ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment understood “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” to exclude foreign visitors and their children. It is the understanding of, or meaning to, the ratifiers -- not the intent of the drafters -- that carries most weight in constitutional questions. Fragments from the congressional debates are not only weak evidence of meaning, but relying on them may be counterproductive.

The two most cited congressional comments are those by Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan and Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, both proponents of the amendment. Howard’s comments have been taken as excluding all resident foreigners from the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction.” Trumbull said that the phrase meant “Not owing allegiance to anyone else.”

But anyone who reads Senator Howard’s comment in context can see that it actually is ambiguous. He said the amendment’s phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” would exclude:
persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of embassadors [sic] or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of person.
This could mean that the exclusion covers “foreigners and aliens and those who belong to the families of ambassadors.” But also could mean “foreigners [or] aliens who belong to the families of ambassadors.” (Remember that the punctuation was not Howard’s, but the shorthand reporter’s.)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sanders, Carson rising in Iowa polls

The latest Des Moines Register poll is out today and it gives a boost to the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Dr. Ben Carson.

Sanders inched closer to Hillary Clinton 37-30 while Ben Carson drew nearer to Donald Trump 23-18. A significant result in the poll shows Carson and Trump tied when you factor in voters' first and second choices combined.
The poll result on the Democratic side will add a couple of levels of anxiety for Democrats over the sinking Hillary Clinton campaign, which now appers close to being in free fall.
Poll results include Vice President Joe Biden as a choice, although he has not yet decided whether to join the race. Biden captures 14 percent, five months from the first-in-the-nation vote Feb. 1. Even without Biden in the mix, Clinton falls below a majority, at 43 percent. 
"This feels like 2008 all over again," said J. Ann Selzer, pollster for the Iowa Poll. 
In that race, Clinton led John Edwards by 6 percentage points and Barack Obama by 7 points in an early October Iowa Poll. But Obama, buoyed by younger voters and first-time caucusgoers, surged ahead by late November. 
In this cycle, Sanders is attracting more first-time caucusgoers than Clinton. He claims 43 percent of their vote compared to 31 percent for Clinton. He also leads by 23 percentage points with the under-45 crowd and by 21 points among independent voters. 
Sanders, a Vermont U.S. senator, has become a liberal Pied Piper in Iowa not as a vote against Clinton, but because caucusgoers genuinely like him, the poll shows. An overwhelming 96 percent of his backers say they support him and his ideas. Just 2 percent say they're motivated by opposition to Clinton. 
Back in January, half of likely Democratic caucusgoers were unfamiliar with Sanders, who has been elected to Congress for 25 years as an independent. He has jumped from 5 percent support in January to 30 percent. Clinton, a famous public figure for decades, has dropped in that period from 56 percent to 37 percent. 
"These numbers would suggest that she can be beaten," said Steve McMahon, a Virginia-based Democratic strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns dating to 1980.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Can Trump Round Up 20 Million Illegals?

Donald Trump recently appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show and was presented with an emotive scenario intended to bring Trump into the quandary of the establishment.

In context of rounding up illegals for deportation, Mr. Trump was asked about the families.  What about the undocumented people living in our country, working hard and raising children?  Is Trump going to bust into every home Janet Reno-style and drag families, kids and all, to the southern border?

This scenario creates quite the image and will be used repeatedly by the press to show just how unworkableunfair, and heartless Trump’s idea really is.

Trump’s response to the scenario was: if we are to have a country, we have to enforce our laws, and the “good” people will be fast-tracked back into our country with legal status.

The first half of Trump’s response is great – we have to enforce our laws.  But for Trump and the GOP candidates who are taking a “hardline” stance on those who have broken our laws and disregarded our sovereignty, I would like to take the emotion out of this scenario and present a laconic response for the candidates.

First, under O’Reilly’s lachrymose scenario, the issue of anchor baby citizenship comes to the fore.

It’s axiomatic that the insane policy of granting U.S. citizenship to the offspring of illegal alien parents must be ended (and the 14th Amendment doesn’t need to be amended to stop it – but that’s another article).

So the unasked and unanswered question is: if the policy of indiscriminate birthright citizenship is ended, should children already afforded citizenship be allowed to keep their status?  In other words, should they be grandfathered in?  Should United States law state that going forward, citizenship will not be awarded to the offspring of illegal resident parents?

Inasmuch as certain individuals were given U.S. citizenship, I tend to think they should be grandfathered in (although the U.S. is not obligated, and an argument can be made to send them all back).
If they are grandfathered in, then the emotive scenario of the press falls flat.

It falls flat because U.S. policy is such that the parents of anchor babies are not deported and become the beneficiaries of de facto legal status.  If grandfathered in, O’Reilly’s tearjerker scenario becomes moot.
Once the new law goes into effect (prohibiting anchor baby citizenship), residents south of the U.S. border will be on notice that if they somehow get past the expected border wall, they will face arrest instead of taxpayer benefits (irrespective of hardship stories).

Now a quick word about rounding up millions of illegals for deportation.

The best way to handle this question is to point out the obvious.  No one is proposing going door-to-door and collecting and dropping off hundreds of thousands of people at a time at the border.

Deportation will happen naturally, and many will leave voluntarily.  As illegal aliens come into contact with the police and other government agencies, they will be arrested and deported.  This means that once birthright citizenship for illegals ends, not many new illegals are going to be applying for taxpayer-funded welfare benefits.  If they do show up, they will be arrested and deported.  Any benefits currently granted irrespective of anchor baby citizenship will not be dispersed – illegals will scarcely apply with the guarantee of arrest and deportation.

About the morality of deporting those who trampled our laws and sovereignty underfoot.

Trump is right.  If we are to have a country, we have to enforce our sovereignty, borders, and laws.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

ObamaCare's True Cost

We recently spoke with Dr. Claudette Lajam, NYU Hospitals for Joint Diseases, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, as well as Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, NYU Langone Medical Center. She does pediatric, assisted in the lauded robot knee-replacement procedure, affiliates with Cornell Medical and the Alpha Award Club, and hosts Sirius Radio, Monday evenings. These will do for a start.

Lajam was speaking on “The Myth of Choice” to the NY County Republican Women’s Club. We stayed afterwards to schmooze and exchange views on reproductive topics and related hot-button topics. “Choice” means more than pregnancy termination.

Not inconsequentially, Dr. Lajam -- pert, personable, honey-blonde wife and mother -- is sole female surgeon specialist in her practice field in the city. The hospital in which she plies her skills is No.1 in safety.

To get where she is, she had to stay focused, tough, mindful of her colleagues, ahead of thousands of would-be’s. Not, as anyone knows who has tried to wrest an appointment with an in-demand pro, a breeze. 

Thoughtfully, Dr. Lajam referred to the fact that 26 August is the 95th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution -- after a long, bloody fight by incredibly doughty women who suffered jail, torture, humiliation and public shamings.

“There’s more to Choice than genitalia,” asserted the ‘orthopod.’

Because the Feds are so involved in care, micromanaging medicine and its practitioners, all independent hospitals in Queens, she notes, are gone.

Every surgeon generates seven or more support staff: aides, accounting, intensivists, resupply, nurses, and the like. When you cut a hospital, you cut all ancillary staff that keeps it humming -- and patients in standard ameliorative care.

Medicine is Big Biz.

Why aren’t we more aware of the irritating negatives and foreclosing of real ‘choices’? “There’s no meme for these things,” responds Dr. Lajam. “The abortion meme is there, and gets a constant workout,” shutting out other valid concerns. That narrows what some seem to be able to envision.

“The leading cause of doctor visits in the U.S.,” Lajam continues, “is musculo-skeletal problems.” As a consequence of President Obama’s signature, deeply meddling Affordable Care Act, unneeded workers in those hospitals -- mostly women -- were excessed. They lost what had been good jobs, benefits, decent pay.

Monday, August 24, 2015

President who once called for a 'new era of civility' now calls opponents 'crazies'

Remember when, following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, President Obama sanctimoniously lectured the nation on the need for a “new era of civility”?  Speaking before thousands in an arena at the University of Arizona, he solemnly told us:
At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do ... it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.
Obviously, that was just so much hypocritical blather.  Yesterday, in Nevada before a Democratic fundraiser crowd, the self-described “feisty” president was not at all interested in healing a nation deeply divided on his deal with the Iranian mullahs.
Obama declared himself ready for the challenges he faces this fall in dealing with a Republican Congress that disagrees with him on the budget, energy policy, education and much more.
Obama said that as he'd ridden to the fundraiser with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, they'd done some reminiscing and spent some time “figuring out how we are going to deal with the crazies in terms of managing some problems.”
He didn't identify exactly who the two of them had defined as “crazies.
Multiplying the hypocrisy, the president pivoted from insulting his opponents to self-righteous invocation of higher principle:
But Obama spoke at length about his differences with the GOP Congress. And he lamented that “too often, our political debates are not about what's best for the country but what's best for the next election.”
So how is it possible for a serious man to be so fork-tongued as to insult those who disagree with him while donning the mantle of statesmanship and civility?  Actually, President Obama answered this question a couple of years ago: 
I actually believe my own bullshit.
Let’s hope that when the billion-dollar fundraising for his presidential library and related monuments is completed, that aphorism will be engraved in stone above the entrance.

Why We Have More Than 40 Million Functional Illiterates

Hundreds of websites still casually assert what is probably the most destructive sophistry in the history of education:
The Dolch Sight Words [created in the 1940s] are a list of the 220 most frequently used words in the English language. These sight words make up 50 to 70 percent of any general text….Dolch found that children who can identify a certain core group of words by sight could learn to read and comprehend better. Dolch's sight word lists are still widely used today and highly respected by both teachers and parents. These sight words were designed to be learned and mastered by the third grade.
Even at a glance, you may see several problems.  Just because they were “designed to be learned and mastered” by the third grade doesn’t mean they will be.  The majority of children cannot master these words by any grade, if by master you mean name them with automaticity at reading speed

“Respected by both teachers and parents” is a slippery construction that conspicuously omits mention of “reading experts who conduct research.” 

Furthermore, even if these words make up two thirds of a text, that means a child cannot read every third word.  Nothing resembling reading can take place. 

Note that phonics instruction would allow the student to read every word by the second grade.  But the sight-word method promises that by third grade, the children will know a small subset of English words but still remain largely illiterate.  What sort of promise is that?

Even all that is not the full indictment.  Trying to memorize many graphic designs – and that’s what learning to read with sight-words entails – is virtually impossible.  The brain becomes cluttered with hundreds of partly memorized designs, all of which look quite similar.  There are children with photographic memories who can survive.  But let’s focus on the average student.  This child might not be able to memorize even 100 sight-words each year, or ever.  But the real flaw is that few children achieve automaticity.  Most are always wandering slowly in the forest, so to speak.  If parents understood how hopeless and painful this process is, they would never allow their children near sight-words.

So we need a way for parents to grasp viscerally that sight-words are a mission impossible for almost all children.  Consider:

Dolch words for first grade include think.  Fluent readers of English see the phonics in this word; they see the logic of this word.  As a result, such readers do not realize how utterly bizarre and difficult this word looks to first-graders told to memorize the design as a sight-word.

It’s important that everyone see this word as the first-grader sees it.  In fact, there is a simple way to do this.  Here are the same letters arranged in other ways: hinktinthknihkthtnikkhtnitkhin.

From the point of view of visual memorization, they are all equally difficult.  For experimental purposes, pick one of them and memorize it (as a shape, not a series of letters).

One site actually prints the official dogma: “Many students do not need extra practice with the Dolch words, as they learn them by reading them repeatedly in context.”

This nonsense is repeated to parents, who then expect their kids to acquire these words the same way a dog picks up burrs in the woods.  It’s not so easy.  If schools were serious about memorizing word-shapes, children would draw them over and over.  Flashcards would be used relentlessly.  But keep in mind that our schools constantly campaign against rote memorization, which is said to be a great evil.  Meanwhile, they’re asking children to commit rote memorization on hundreds (and in Whole Word’s heyday, thousands) of English words.  So you know they are hypocrites.  But let’s stick to the task at hand.  Consider the words again.  I bet you can’t pick out the one you memorized:


That’s a bit of a trick, because these are six new configurations made from the same group of letters.  The point is, English letters and words look a lot alike.  There is not much to work with.  And imagine the nightmare of longer words.

In the process of trying to memorize these look-alike designs, the brain is soon overwhelmed by complexity and clutter. Furthermore, our eyes scan a face or visual design from all directions.  But English must be read left-to-right, letter by letter, then by syllables and words, but always left to right.  The instant our eyes start darting around, which they always do with graphic designs, reading is finished.  Sight-word readers report the most amazing cognitive problems.  Words slide around on the page.  Words reverse themselves.  This doesn’t seem to make sense until you consider that the eyes are jumping around on the page in random jerks, thus inducing complementary side-effects. 

For many children, the next step is to be told they have dyslexia, which simply means they don’t read well.  They are told they have ADHD.  They need an appointment with a shrink.  They need to take Ritalin.  Pretty soon these children are a mess inside and out, all because their school gave them an impossible task.

Even if you do memorize the 220 sight-words perfectly, you have been set up for a lifetime of cognitive schizophrenia.  You will read some words phonetically and some as designs, back and forth in no predictable order.  You won’t know which kind of word is coming next.  There will be anxiety as your eyes go from left to right.  What is this next thing coming at you?  Is it in your sight-word inventory?  No, apparently not, which means you have to read it phonetically.  Your brain has to make a lot of extra decisions, which cripples reading speed.  You become one of those millions of people who never reads for pleasure because it is, for you, hard work.
Experience suggests that girls are more patient with bad pedagogical methods.  Many boys become angry and sullen.  They pull back and refuse to participate.  If you want to know why American college students are 57% female, think first of the phrase “sight-words.”

When Rudolf Flesch published Why Johnny Can’t Read in 1955, he thought he had made the case so compellingly that no one would dare promote sight-words in the future.  He was wrong.  Our Education Establishment spun off the International Reading Association in 1956.  Their dozens of celebrated experts continued to promote sight-words up until the present day.  First-graders still come home with lists of sight-words that they must commit to memory.  So we have a surreal situation: sixty years later, many a Johnny still can’t read.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say that Balanced Literacy and Whole Language are the contemporary repositories of all the bad reading theories from the last 85 years, perpetuated to the degree that each separate community will tolerate them.  Now, Common Core seems comfortable with locking in all of this baggage.  That should tell us from the start that Common Core is not serious about improving education.  Common Core Math loves elaborate and elusive word problems – not a good idea anyway, but just imagine these semi-illiterate kids struggling with “Juanita, Charlotte, and Darcy walked to the mall to buy seven bags of stickers, but they had only $22.45 between them and…”  Even the parents are getting ulcers from trying to help their kids.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

'Anchor Baby' Flap Shows Left Losing Grip

anchor babies - Google Search
“You said that you have a big heart, and that you’re not mean-spirited,” queried ABC reporter Tom Llamas. “Are you aware that the term ‘anchor baby,’ that’s an offensive term? People find that hurtful.” The target for Llamas’s pique, of course, was presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Yes, “hurtful” and “offensive.” Llamas joined ABC less than a year earlier, but he had already mastered the rudiments of progressive patois, the language of victimization. As ABC’s designated Hispanic avatar, he felt free to spell out the left’s newly revised semantic codes to the insufficiently ethnic Trump.

“You mean [anchor baby] is not politically correct, and yet everybody uses it?” said Trump defiantly. “You know what? Give me a different term.” Llamas had swung at the wrong piñata.

There was no good answer to Trump’s question. Said Llamas lamely, “the American-born childs [sic] of undocumented immigrants.” This suggestion was so foolishly cumbersome even his fellow reporters snickered. Trump scoffed, “You want me to use that? Okay. I’ll use the word ‘anchor baby.'” Game, set, match -- Trump.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Making College More Affordable (and Less PC)

Outside of the 50 or so top schools, American higher education is troubled. This is especially true as tuition soars and students receive diplomas of questionable value. In 2014, for example, the average bill at a private college for tuition plus room and board was $42,419; at a public school the tab was $18,943. And the long-term trend is for even larger increases. Meanwhile, in 2013 students typically graduated with $28,400 in debt they can scarcely pay back while many have difficulty finding decent jobs thanks to “expertise” in gender studies and similar empty calorie majors.  

Fear not, however, Hillary Clinton has a rescue plan. The gist of her solution is a $350 billion ten year infusion of federal funds for both public universities and students struggling to pay off loans (they could only re-finance the loans). About $175 billion would go to states to free students from having to borrow to finance their education. In exchange for the infusion, recipient states would be obligated to boost their higher ed spending and (somehow) slow the rate of tuition increases. Funding would come from capping the value of itemized tax deductions of the wealthy. Tougher rules would be imposed on for-profit institutions while schools that serve low-income and minority students would receive financial assistance. Lastly, there would be greater transparency regarding graduation rates. All and all, open the flood gates for ever more college education, though the value of the degree is increasingly being questioned.

This plan is doomed even if Hillary is elected. It fails to address the meager employment prospects of many of today’s graduates and it is hard to imagine Republicans in Congress voting for a tax-the-rich scheme that so obviously rewards a major Democratic constituency. Hillary is just pandering and ineptly so.
But the good news is that many of the cost problems bedeviling our colleges are reversible if there is sufficient political will.

Let’s start with soaring tuition. This cannot be fixed by handing out yet more Washington subsidies. After all, tuition has climbed as federal funds to college students similarly climbed. A far better solution is to cut tuition cost and this is hardly rocket science; hundreds of profitable corporations regularly slash costs and these lessons can be applied to universities.

Think of students as consumers over-charged for a shoddy degree. Fortunately, such excesses have long been covered by consumer protection laws. Just as the government now regulates telecommunication fees, it should enact legislation requiring schools to disaggregate their services so financially hard-pressed students, like Verizon customers, can buy a barebones “education only” plans. Outside cost accountants can determine the price of this “academic only” option and thus free students from forcibly subsidizing dormitory housing, meal plans, recreational facilities, activity fees (including expensive speaker fees), healthcare, and all of today’s university mandated social engineering (e.g., mandated workshops on the joys of diversity). My guess is that few students want these imposed frills and left to their own, would save thousands per year while the PC infrastructure would go into the dustbin of history.  

Then schools should be required to hire an experienced corporate cost cutter (see here) and perhaps pay them a commission for eliminating waste. For example, many schools supply expensive remedial education to their troubled admittees. What about requiring youngsters pay for their previous sloth but now permit outside firms to bid on these services? So, rather than State U tutoring semi-literate John, he will buy his literacy lessons via the Internet from a low-cost private provider (and out-of-pocket payments might even motivate him to learn). Meanwhile, students would no longer be required to buy expensive dead tree textbooks thanks to having all books available as e-books (schools might have to subsidize publisher royalties but think of the money saved by scaling back college bookstores). A once $75 chemistry book could now go for $5. Actually, this is already happening and many books are free. Similarly, the school’s library can be drastically slimmed down by developing networks for costly reference books, specialized research librarians and Google Books.

What about giving students first crack at campus jobs? Surely they can mow lawns or flip burgers. Berea College has long used this no-brainer policy and students pay zero tuition.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

You will never guess what liberals think of illegal aliens!

We are told repeatedly by the liberal media that opposing citizenship for illegal aliens is electoral poison.  It's automatic racism and will alienate the electorate and is a guaranteed path to losing an election.  The liberal media wants you to believe this despite the truth of the opposite: that an overwhelming majority of the country opposes illegal immigration.  That is their big lie.

We know that conservatives by and large are against illegal immigration, but what do liberals, who are a big chunk of this country, think about illegals?  The answer might surprise you.  In a recent article about the return of the term "illegal aliens," the comments section of the Times was filled with remarks, presumably by their typical liberal readers, in support of the term:

Vancouver WA 16 minutes ago
         Don't like "illegals"?
         How about "invaders" instead?

Northern California 16 minutes ago
Nobody's claiming "illegal immigrants" aren't human -- just that they're "illegal."

Basic Human Being
Of course the term is disrespectful. It is mean to convey contempt for those contemptuous foreigners who hold our laws in contempt and imagine they can disrespectfully ignore them.
Next question?

Basic Human Being
Those people impose large costs on the rest of us. They require interpreters because they do not bother to learn English before getting here. They have large families we are told to educate in Spanish at taxpayer expense. They do not have the skills to earn much meaning they pay little if taxes. They usually lack medical insurance in the US (though Mexico has medical insurance for their citizens) and do not get it from an employer so are on the hook for them.
Are we even allowed to point this out without being accused of bigotry?

Stanford Professor AC
Missoula, MT 3 hours ago
Why does this group of Mexicans - and their white liberal side kicks - believe they are exempt from the migratory rules that every other ethic group and industrialized nation follow?

Atlanta 3 hours ago
This has to be one of the most ridiculous articles I have ever read on this website! "Oh no, don't use the term 'illegals' because it will hurt their feelings!" Seriously? These people entered the country illegally, and therefore the term is apt. This is political correctness gone nuts!

Even the most popular comments ranked by readers (which are too long to quote here) are in opposition to illegal aliens.  And in previous articles on the subject in the Times I have seen, time and time again, in the comments section the overwhelming sentiment of liberal readers against illegal aliens.

I think polls have it right, and the overwhelming majority of Americans, conservative, moderate, and liberal, are against this flood of illegal aliens.  Any candidate who takes a firm, believable line on it and doesn't back down could be our next president.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Do We Want a Business Model for Our Country?

With the nation polarized and unable to move forward, many people are suggesting that what our country needs is a business model for governing. Forget about the moral issues. Run the nation like a business and everything will come out all right. Find a candidate who gets things done in business and that person will do the same thing for America, Inc. You can’t argue with success.

Such a pragmatic proposal definitely resonates with those who are fed up with government. People are tired of not getting things done. They don’t like running the country in the red. Getting the country on a spreadsheet is an attractive idea.

The problem is we don’t need a business model for governing. We already have one and it’s not working.

Our political system has always had something of a business model built into it. We already find in the literature of the Founding Fathers references to the nation as a “commercial republic,” a union of legitimate self-interest, aimed at providing progress, prosperity and security. American political rhetoric is full of economic references that hold progress and prosperity as the height of well-being. Anyone who strays from this narrative is quickly reminded, as was Bill Clinton in 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid!

If there is an image that corresponds to our political model, think of a thriving farm co-op or public corporation of shareholders. Citizenship is a kind of a co-op membership full of legitimate benefits with distributed risks, voting privileges, few liabilities, and plenty of entertainment. The key to keeping everyone happy is a robust economic order that ensures that members renew their membership with great enthusiasm.

However, this business model for governing depends upon two important pillars. The first is a great consensus to get along and smooth over differences, which is assured by the outward appearance of prosperity and the promise of the American dream.

The second pillar is a vague moral code that ensures some kind of order and serves as the foundation of trust and confidence that allows business to flourish and the rule of law to prevail. As long as these two pillars stand, the system works well.

But when the economic dynamo stalls or sputters over a long period of time, the glue of consensus no longer holds. When the vague moral code falls into decay, trust and rule of law disappear. What we are witnessing today is the breakdown of this cooperative business model.

That is why everything seems like a free-for-all. Everyone wants to blame the other for the failure of the co-op. Our elections have become like shareholder brawls where the officers are frequently changed. Opinion polls serve as quarterly earnings reports to which all scramble to adapt. Who wins is often the one who promises the most in the least amount of time. Americans are seeing a model that used to work so well now working contrary to their interests by not paying out dividends, but distributing uncertainties that cause anxiety, depression, and stress.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Trump showed how to speak truth on immigration; Now which GOP candidate will do the same on race?

In his August 17 monologue, Rush Limbaugh discussed Trump's spot-on immigration plan extensively, a plan that incorporates all three of the main points I summarized in my August 5 article, “Hard Truth for the GOP from its Base.” I can’t and don’t claim Trump got his plan from me -- any marginally thoughtful political observer not paralyzed by total dependence on corporate money can see America’s desperate need to halt illegal immigration and cauterize the risk of its recurrence. Not only did Rush praise the Trump plan, but -- at least as important -- pointed out, citing serious polling evidence, that Trump’s immigration proposal resonates loud and clear with the overwhelming majority of the US electorate (not just with Republicans and conservatives), and that any major Republican candidate who had timely addressed immigration as Trump has would be leading the field now by a wide margin.

Check out Rush’s monologue. It should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in the future well being of America. And forgive my pointing out that the same message can be found in my now two week old article.

The next major issue/opportunity that the mainstream Republican field is preparing to fumble through pusillanimous silence and lack of vision is the "black lives matter" fraud.

Expect the Democrat perpetrators of the Left’s latest despicable falsehood -- that America and its police are racist -- to soon start interrupting Republican candidates, as they already have Bernie Sanders. And to demand that the Republicans grovel and apologize too, as Sanders has. Recalling the debate, Scott Walker, ill-advised and politically tone deaf, has already shown how not to handle this issue: Asked what he would say to those who claim blacks are victims of racist police, Walker mumbled something PC about the need for thorough training and imposing consequences on bad cops. Thus, giving credence to the lie. I doubt that the cops of America and their families thank Walker for those remarks.

What Walker should have said, and what any Republican interested in winning the presidency should say to the thugs themselves, or to anyone who brings up their libels, is something like this:

"I've got news for you buddy/Ma’am: This is the least racist nation in history and so are its police. America is the best place on the planet to be a black person or to be any minority. The overwhelming majority of Americans, and their police, have been struggling for decades to treat everyone fairly and justly. To call this nation, its people or its police racists is a damned lie."

These sentences, if any Republican had the vision and courage to utter them, would be remembered to great good consequence. The vast majority of Americans feel in their gut they are not only true, but the heart of the matter. About 80% of the electorate would breathe a collective sigh of relief to hear someone at last stand up for the truth.
Once that core message had been delivered, the candidate could add whatever he/she wants about how the problem facing American blacks is not racism, which is a politically motivated lie, but that the problem includes the destruction of the black family, children growing up without fathers, and low wages and no jobs for black youth, at least in part because of out-of-control illegal immigration, all deliberately engineered by the Democratic Party to create dependency and buy black votes.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Kamala Harris, Dem Rising Star, Goes for the Jugular on Conservative Nonprofits

The Supreme Court is being asked to determine whether California’s ambitious Attorney General and candidate for U.S. Senate, Kamala Harris, has violated the First Amendment and federal law protecting confidential tax return information.

Harris is California’s top charity regulator, and has been delegated broad, unbridled discretion to tell charities and nonprofit advocacy groups what they must file to obtain a license to speak with potential and existing donors.

Nonprofit organizations are some of the most effective critics of government, other powerful institutions -- and ambitious politicians -- making them especially vulnerable to the desire to bully and censor them. The Lois Lerner/IRS scandal is a good example.

Harris decided to push the limits by telling charities that they may not solicit contributions unless they first file a list of their top donors, which is an extortionate prior restraint on speech. Those donors are found on a confidential “Schedule B” to the tax returns filed by nonprofits with the IRS. 

Federal law protects confidential tax return information, and even provides civil and criminal penalties against federal and state officials who violate the confidentiality law.  The IRS was ordered to pay the National Organization for Marriage for disclosing that organization’s Schedule B donor information to hostile blogs.

As or even more importantly, what Harris is doing flies in the face of the 1958 landmark Supreme Court decision in NAACP v. Alabama. That case held that membership lists are protected by the First Amendment from demands of states and their attorneys general.
The petition for the court to hear this case filed by the Center for Competitive Politics will be supported by an amicus brief filed by the Free Speech Coalition of Virginia, along with dozens of policy advocacy groups, and even charities such as animal sanctuaries. 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations may still add their name to the amicus brief in what may be a landmark case protecting privacy and rights of private association.

Here is a clip from the amicus brief to be filed explaining the collaboration between Lois Lerner and state charity officials:

A bipartisan report of the Senate Finance Committee about the Internal Revenue Service’s treatment of nonprofit organizations, issued August 5, 2015, references various unlawful disclosures of confidential tax information by the IRS, including the Form 990 Schedule B information of the National Organization of Marriage.[1]

Recent publicized violations of disclosure of confidential tax return information by the IRS -- and of course what is publicized is based only on the times that the IRS was caught -- demonstrate that even the federal service with its supposedly sophisticated guards of confidentiality is untrustworthy.  It defies logic to believe that state attorneys general, a partisan elected position subject to the temptations and whims of partisan politics no matter how dedicated and professional, would have better safeguards of such confidential tax return information.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

5 GAO employees indicted for stealing school lunches for their kids

The dollar amount involved in this scheme of employees of the General Accountability Office to steal school lunches for their children is miniscule; about $13,000. But there is a larger lesson that can be drawn from it; the sense of entitlement of government workers that gives them leave to abuse the public purse and steal from taxpayers.

Five employees with the Government Accountability Office, and one GAO employee’s spouse, were indicted Tuesday for working to illegally obtain reduced-price lunches for their children. 
The indictment resulted from the legislative branch agency’s own investigation into the school meals program, which found some of the GAO’s employees applied for the program and underreported their income to gain access to the reduced-price lunches. After the agency discovered the illegal activity, the GAO reported applications to the agency’s inspector general. 
“There is no excuse for stealing funds intended to go to children whose parents cannot afford the school lunches,” Maryland’s Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said in a news release announcing the indictment. “Their actions are made even worse by the fact that some of them claimed to have not just low income, but no income at all, even though they were working full-time jobs at the GAO.” 
The GAO, which notes on its website that it is often referred to as the “congressional watchdog,” investigates federal spending. GAO spokesman Chuck Young wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call that GAO employees were “both disappointed and surprised” to learn their colleagues were potentially committing fraud. 
“We will now be monitoring the judicial process and then determine what personnel actions might be appropriate,” Young said. Young later noted all of the employees indicted are administrative support personnel. 
According to the news release, between 2010 and 2014, the employees’ children received more than $13,000 in reduced-price lunches. The GAO employees named in the indictment include Lynette Mundey, an internal auditor and an outgoing member of the county’s board of education; Barbara Rowley; Jamilah Reid; Tracy Williams; Charlene Savoy; and James Pickney, whose wife is a GAO employee. Pickney allegedly failed to disclose his wife’s income, which rendered his family ineligible for the reduced lunch program. 
Each employee was charged with two counts of welfare fraud, two counts of submitting a false application for public assistance and one count of a theft scheme, according to a copy of the indictment.
This incident speaks to the general lack of concern harbored by many bureaucrats regarding how taxpayer money is spent. Up and down government we see managers taking expensive trips for "conferences" to Hawaii and even overseas. Other employees game the system to receive perks and pay to which they are not entitled. The rot is systemic and results from a lack of competent management at the top.

In any large organization, you will find graft and corruption. But the culture in government seems to magnify and encourage corruption at all levels by fostering that sense of entitlement not found in the private sector.

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