Left and right mislead with language on immigration; expand the Peace Corps…

November 29, 2018

Just some more thoughts on the immigration issue:

Both the political right and political left go to excess in and mislead by way of language when discussing immigration, as they do on all topics. That is one reason why I prefer to think of myself as in the middle, neither right nor left — although I imagine most of us middle-of-the-roaders tend to veer one way or the other.

But let me get to the point. This photo caption jumped out at me:

Cliven Bundy, hero to the radical right, now says he doesn’t support Trump’s wall, nor the gassing of women and children – Guardian Photo

Never mind who Cliven Bundy is (well, I mean he is the guy who thinks he should be able to use federal land to graze his cattle for free and not follow any rules or regulations as most stock raisers do.). But who wrote …”gassing of women and children…”?

This was supposedly from a piece out of the Guardian news outlet. It was in The Daily Kos, an ultra-liberal blog (hey I read right-wing stuff too).

The reference of course is to the use of tear gas by American authorities at the Mexican border to fight back a rush of people trying to illegally enter the U.S.

But the implied comparison has to be the sending of women and children (and men of course too) into gas chambers as part of the mass execution of millions by the German Nazis in World War II we know as the Holocaust. There of course can be no linking of the two. These people were not forced by soldiers to suffer the gas. And tear gas is not generally deadly — just terribly uncomfortable. I know I was subjected to it at least two times in army training. Far better to make people uncomfortable than to shoot and wound or kill them I’d say.

So this is irresponsible hyperbole on the left.

On the right we have the president and others linking all illegal border crossers to terrorists, rapists, killers, thieves or just plain layabouts.

And back on the left you have the misleading use of words when they insist as designating those who illegally enter the country as simply “immigrants”. Well, yes, if they did immigrate then they are “immigrants” but that conveniently leaves out the fact that they did so against the law. The English language is rich enough that it has more precise ways of saying things to convey an accurate meaning or picture. These “immigrants” or “migrants” (and we used to call U.S. citizens who follow the crops migrants) are entering or trying to enter the U.S. without going through the proper channels. You can make an argument that they ought to be allowed to enter but if you refuse to admit what they are doing or attempting to do is illegal you are using language to create deception by omission if nothing else.

It does not seem to be getting much press but I have read that the Trump administration and the newly-installed Mexican administration headed by President Manuel Obrador are talking together about a plan, including economic aid, to deal with the surge of migrants (they are migrants) from distressed countries in Latin America going through Mexico and headed for the U.S. border (some as we have seen already reached it) threatening to cross over one way or the other. I think both administrations do not want to admit too much about cooperation due to their own political bases. And I am not 100 percent they are talking.

Some of these desperate people are deciding to turn back and go home (if they can).

I have to question the judgment of people who would take their children in their arms and try to rush the border. They were endangering them. But some are obviously desperate because of the violence and poverty in their home countries, and I must thank my lucky stars that I am not them.

Several decades ago (in one of my other lifetimes) I was working as a journalist on an agricultural story. Some people from the tiny African kingdom of Lesotho were on a visit here in California to look at our modern methods of irrigation. One of the men commented to me in an offhand fashion that the U.S. Peace Corps was greatly appreciated in his country.

From the way he said it I gathered that he meant they were helpful in both the technical and diplomatic sense. They helped to create good feelings between people.

From my admittedly limited knowledge of Peace Corps accomplishments I believe that they have indeed done a lot of good around the world. I know that the Peace Corps has also at times run into security problems and there have been some problems with Peace Corps personnel, but that is the case among any group of people.

For my money I’d rather support an expansion of the Peace Corps than troop numbers or military aid to hot spots around the world.

We need streamlined immigration for all and better information for migrants heading for our borders

November 27, 2018

We can’t always make things all better around the world and we can’t make people respect each other and get along with each other — can’t really do it here at home sometimes.

I feel badly for those poor, mostly innocent, and seemingly uninformed migrants at our border. While I abhor President Trump’s approach to the whole thing, simply using desperate people as political pawns or tools for his own purposes, I also know we can’t just throw the border wide open with no controls. And we cannot accept all the people of the world who may live in poverty and amid violence in their homelands. If we did, then all of us, they and we, might all then likely be living in poverty and violence from the chaos that would ensue.

It seems to me that in some of those nations in Central and South America where gangs have all but taken over the United Nations ought to step in — although I don’t put much stock in that body.

And I suppose we in the United States are reaping part of what we sowed by supporting right-wing dictators who kept the masses in their place until they revolted by way of left-wing guerilla groups.

I watched a documentary the other night called Maria’s Story about the insurrection in El Salvador in the 1980s. The female peasant leader indicated she did not think of herself as left-wing or communist but she joined the left-wing guerilla forces (supported by communists) to gain a decent standard of living and human rights for her people (meanwhile the U.S. was on the side of the government that fought them).

But from what I could gather from some research (not complete) was that after the leftists won she became an elected official in a coalition government but tired of politics and became a teacher.

But today El Salvador is worse off than ever, with some reports saying it is the most violent country in the world. Gangs have taken over.

I know that in some of these countries corruption by the right has been replaced by corruption by the left. I think corruption and politics and government favoritism to certain classes of people always go hand in hand. Virtually no nation or people is immune. But the United States and the European democracies have come closest to the ideal.

I continue to believe the best policy for the United States is to steer clear of nation building. We often only make things worse. I suppose we will always have clandestine operations as part of our geopolitical strategy but I would hope they stay clandestine and don’t suck us in to all-out no-win wars, as they have so far.

In an attempt to understand the thinking of those desperate migrants at or headed to our southern border, I suppose they were given hope by the fact that over the years we have sort of turned a blind eye to illegal immigration in the name of cheap labor. And indeed many gained a foot hold here and progressed up the ladder. Now relatives and friends wish to do the same.

We need better relations with Mexico, which has its own extreme problems with gang violence. But perhaps Mexico with its language and cultural ties with the rest of Latin America could help us counsel those wishing to flee the violence and poverty of their own nations. We can’t just take in caravans of refugees en masse but we could set up some more streamlined system of allowing in immigrants fleeing imminent danger or persecution and seeking asylum. For others there ought to be a more streamlined system of applying for entry, perhaps requiring legitimate sponsorship or proof of possessing needed skills (I will admit that I do not know the requirements at present).

The implied message of welcome sent out by turning a blind eye to cheap undocumented labor and our support of tyrannical governments in Latin America has come back to bite us.

But I think for the present we do not need to act like there is an invading army. I certainly don’t see that. We do need to maintain order though, but at the same time not become trigger happy. Rocks can critically injure or kill someone but border guards, be they Border Patrol or military, should avoid gun vs rock confrontation if at all possible (remember Kent State or look it up), things can get out of hand too easily. On the other hand, those who think to cross our borders unchallenged do need to be put on alert that such is not a wise decision.

Tear gas was used this week to halt a surge of migrants across the border, at least that is not lethal.

Perhaps there needs to be some kind of cross-border outreach to get the word out to migrants that they will not just be allowed to waltz into the United States and that they will not find the streets paved with gold and a free lunch.

I would tend to support continued food and other aid for distressed populations in Latin America and elsewhere but only with the assurance that it goes to the people who need it.

And there may be diplomatic steps we can take with some of the nations that could lead to them having governments that are more responsive to their people.

But a loud mouth president who disparages other nations and peoples with vulgar language is not diplomacy and offers no hope for anyone outside or inside our nation.

We have always had some kind of limits on our immigration, sadly sometimes unfair ones, such as exclusion of Chinese, for example, but at the same time we had a lot more room. Many of our ancestors migrated west across wide open country for opportunity. But of course our frontier days are long gone.

We have limits. We don’t want to become flooded with refugees like Europe has been.

If people could solve their own problems in their own countries things might go better for us all.

But living peacefully together is a human problem for which no one has a complete answer.


Respect for the law is what holds us together, Trump has no use for it…

November 23, 2018

The president has certain powers but what gives him those powers and what makes him stay within them?

I mean the president’s powers are laid out in the Constitution but all that is open to interpretation. The president might read it one way and others another. Also I think much of the power of the presidency comes from custom or tradition developed over time.

One custom is that the president defer to the decisions of the judiciary (I wrote “custom” because the requirement may not always be explicit). Our constitution set up the judiciary as one of the co-equals among our three branches of government, the administrative (the president and his cabinet), the legislative (both houses of congress), and of course the judiciary (the federal courts), as mentioned. Each has its own powers either explicitly written into the constitution or understood by custom and tradition.

But President Donald Trump this Thanksgiving week has essentially threatened the courts. He railed against a justice who ruled against him in an immigration case and complained that the administration almost always loses in the ninth circuit court of appeals and went on to say that such could not stand. When the chief justice of the Supreme Court disputed Trump’s depiction of the court system as all politics Trump lashed back at the chief justice. This Trump vs the chief justice dispute was on Twitter, our modern form of shorthand and short thinking in communication.

(I have never used Twitter and don’t even know how and don’t want to — I do try to put some thought into what I write. Twitter always seems to me kind of like random thoughts racing through your head, some of which you have not developed well and some of which might be involuntary or just should not be said).

However, yes, there is politics involved in the judiciary. How do you separate politics from any governmental function? Government is power and politics is the competition for power.

But what really makes the president defer to a judicial decision? What could the judiciary do if the president refused? Send a federal marshal over? Seems unlikely. And over to do what?

Long ago I took my first political science class at the local community college (I later, much later, obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science which by itself is probably worth less than the paper it is written upon, in strict monetary value, but that’s a different story). I don’t recall the professor’s exact words but basically he said the only thing that makes the president follow the law is a basic respect for the system. And I think he added that respect among everyone else in and out of government is what makes it work.

And really, police and other law enforcement personnel aside, that is what makes civilization and democracy work.

In third-world countries and some nations in Latin America (just as an example), the military sometimes steps in, in the name of restoring order. That is because the soldiers are faithful to their superiors or those who directly pay them. In the United States soldiers are faithful to the nation and their Commander-in-Chief, the president.

At some levels of the government, below the presidency, I suppose officials might be subject to direct arrest or some penalty if they defy the law. But the president is a different matter. The president is not supposed to be above the law. But then again he is the president — who under our custom has become a super powerful person, even called the “leader of the free world”.

But if the president defies the courts, then there is a constitutional crisis. It happened during President Richard Nixon’s second term in office. Nixon fired the special prosecutor investigating him, although another one was appointed, and then initially refused to comply with a legal subpoena to hand over secretly-made voice tape recordings in the oval office which showed his culpability in a break-in and subsequent cover-up of the opposing Democratic political party’s headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C., hence the name of the Watergate scandal.

Nixon eventually bent to the will of the courts. In fact, he bent to the will of his political party (Republican) and much of the populace by resigning the presidency.

For all of his bad points, in the end Nixon believed in the system. He believed in his country. He put his country first. Back in 1960 when he lost in a razor-thin election  for the presidency to John F. Kennedy in which there were suspicions of voter fraud on the part of the Kennedy campaign Nixon declined to contest the election. He reportedly feared it would cause a loss of faith in the system. Instead he came back to fight another day.

Today we have a president who is ignorant of law and tradition and/or indifferent or actually resistant to it.

Trump will likely ignore or at least disrespect the law until his vaunted base and his feckless Republican Party protectors, who hang onto his coattails and do contortions to make excuses for his excesses in order to hold onto their own power, decide he is not worth the trouble and even Trump realizes he has no cover. What then, if that ever happens? who knows?

I have faith that our nation will survive it all, but he is shaking the very foundation of our democracy and is sullying the name of our nation around the world. People still look up to America or they still want to until we mess that up.

And maybe telling it like it is, is not always the best option. I mean in a way Trump was telling it like it is when he said that he is willing to put up with the murderous ways of the Saudi crown prince if the U.S. can continue to have a reliable and economical oil supply from Saudi Arabia. While the U.S. has a long history of supporting brutal dictators for the purpose of its own economic and geopolitical interests, it did not announce to the world its selfish motive.

Trump did indicate that supporting the crown prince was the lesser of evils, the other evils being Iran, Syria, Russia. But to come out and say that we will do anything for oil is a bad message to send. Trump seemed completely indifferent to civility and humanity. Everything is transactional in the business sense to him.

And in the original post here I forgot to include that Trump also said he was not going to break with the Saudis and ruin our ongoing weapons sales to them. It’s all about the money. Never mind the fact that the U.S. is selling arms to the Saudis and assisting otherwise in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen in which women and children and innocent civilians in general are being murdered or starved to death as the direct result of our activities there. I imagine the average American does not even know where that country is or that the U.S. is involved in the war there. Maybe the all-volunteer (mercenary) military was not such a good idea after all (I’m up in the air on that one). The military of course just follows orders, but if the general public had a stake (such as sons or daughters being subject to the draft, well).

I think the world can look up to us and forgive us of any sins if it can see a greater good. But if you strip all that away in the crass Trump outlook, nothing is left.

Back in Nixon’s time we had statesmen who put country first over political party. We seem to be lacking that today. Well I hope that I will be proved wrong on that one.


It is disturbing that Trump questions U.S. intelligence services when their reports, such as the evidence is that the crown prince ordered the torture and assassination of a journalist, do not conform to his positions but uses those reports to bolster his case when they can be used to support his positions. It shows that he has no regard whatsoever for the truth. And more disturbing yet is that he feels there is a base out there that does not really care for the truth but only blind obedience to someone they can follow like Nazis to Hitler.

Yes, it is obvious that I do not support Trump. But I would resent someone dismissing what I have said simply as sour grapes for having someone I don’t like in office. I would not bother to write about it all if it were only that.


China fooled us and went capitalist but preserved the communist party…

November 19, 2018

Communism as an economic system has always failed and I would imagine always would. However, China has tried something different: communist control of a capitalist system, or something like that.

And it seems to be working big time — well economically speaking.

But before we get carried away, although the people of mainland China have enjoyed a new prosperity in a land with a history of wretched poverty they do not have what we in the West would call freedom and they do not have democracy which we cherish.

I did not write that they had forfeited that for a higher standard of living because I am not sure they ever had real freedom, and I think I am correct in saying there has never been democracy on the mainland.

This comes to my mind after reading the first part of what I guess is a five-part exposé by the New York Times on the rise of China as a super economic power (and military threat).

I’m not going to give you a complete review of the piece here but I suggest you check it out if you have not already.

As is noted in the piece, it was thought that if the West traded with China and introduced its capitalist ways China would eventually turn away from communism and Western-style democracy would take hold. It has not. It seems its communist leaders have blended the benefits of capitalism for creating wealth and raising the standard of living for the masses and the upper echelons, of course, while maintaining the tight grip of the communist party on the governmental structure and politics. And there is still a state-run economy but it is augmented buy a private economy, or maybe the other way around — whatever.

None other than Richard Nixon who got his big break early on in politics by characterizing himself as one of the chief warriors against communism in the Cold War went to Communist China once he became president and led the way to opening up relations with that nation which led to it becoming our major supplier of cheap goods and one of the sources for borrowing money and piling up trillions of dollars in our national debt. China sold us a lot more than we ever sold them.

But Nixon’s brave move was seen as an economic boon and a way to convince the communists and the people over which they ruled that they should abandon communism and go capitalist and in so doing install Western-style democracy, which surly it was thought was a necessary ingredient in the transformation into a capitalist economic system. Maybe not.

Well read the article and the ones to come.

But my own immediate thought is this: the Chinese people (not talking the other China on Taiwan or even Hong Kong, which is part of communist China now but still has a special status) have not had the freedom we have in the West but they have had poverty. Now they have upward mobility. As long as they have their good life and the state does not seem to intrude too much into their own personal lives, as far as they can tell, or if they are careful what they say and do, they may be quite content. And that is their business.

But they do not have an independent judiciary like us with a system of or protection of personal rights and freedoms. And if the Chinese communist party sees to it they never will.

And China as I read it has a large system of public surveillance cameras (but so do we nowadays, although much of it in private hands) and is developing universal face recognition. This all is in the name of security.

Oh, the article says one way the communist party keeps control is the use of fear, fear of the people that if they question authority that they will be snatched up and put into jail or executed (and this does happen), or fear of criminals from which only the party, the government, can protect the populace.

Communism, which claims to be a form of socialism, has no room for personal freedom. Strangely both where communist systems have been tried and where fascist systems (which claim to be the direct opposite and which identify with extreme nationalism and blind obedience to a nationalist state and leader), the former being considered on the far political left and the latter on the far right, the result is exactly the same — the loss of all individual freedom.

I want to have a good standard of living and I want security and I want personal freedom but I am not willing to give up that freedom in the name of security and a standard of living. And maybe I want security above all, but wealth without freedom is not security to me.

Maybe we went a little too far in trying to trick the commies into being converts to Western capitalism and democracy. Maybe we got tricked.

Russian communist Vladimir Lenin was quoted as saying:

When it comes time to hang the capitalists, they will vie with each other for the rope contract.”

And that was just a quotation I pulled — I am not for hanging anyone myself. And I personally believe strongly in the capitalist system which seems rather natural to me and to offer the best opportunities for wealth and freedom (although it is a guarantee of neither).


On the one hand we need to mind our own Ps and Qs but on the other hand if the Chinese system of capitalism with strict communist control were to be exported (beyond Vietnam and Cuba) it would threaten our own system. But still, I do wonder that if over time authoritarimism would fall out of favor. I think it is human nature to want to be free.





Trump may be melting but only real actions for the people will preserve Democratic gains…

November 16, 2018

Could it be that macho Donald Trump is (something) whipped? I don’t have to say the actual word, but it is one Trump famously used in the Access Hollywood tape.

The demise of the great dictator or the Great White Nationalist Hope has been predicted or announced so many times before in these past two tumultuous years only to each time amount to a chimera of wishful thinking.

But now many observers seem to indicate that he might be in a meltdown, increasingly isolated with no real friends — kind of Nixonian. He doesn’t even have a “Bebe” Rebozo. You almost have to be a baby boomer or older to get that. Of course Trump does not probably even like the idea of friends — he himself is all that he needs — Oh, and ratings (it’s all so-called reality TV to him). What he needs is a mirror. But maybe he no longer even likes what he sees there.

He tried to use some form of Orwellian newspeak to craft a win out of a drubbing in the midterms. The Democratic Party took back the house. While the GOP held onto the senate, it suffered some unexpected losses there too.

Then he went to Paris and to save from having a bad hair day due to bad weather he skipped a ceremony to honor WWI veterans. Being too insensitive himself and likely ignorant of world history he failed to realize that was a faux pas and then he blamed it on bad advice and/or he was not allowed. He’s the president. And he needed advice on the importance of it all?

And back home trophy wife Melania publicly called for the resignation of a security aide she had clashed with — Melania who is not an elected official nor an official at all of the government. While Trump might agree with her, it put him in an embarrassing position, that is doing what his wife tells him (even if all good or smart husbands do just that).

Also Trump knows now that the Democrats have taken back the lower house of congress they have the power to investigate his questionable actions and the Republicans will not be able to bar or stymie it all, as they have.

It’s almost as if Trump is the Wicked Witch of the West and Democrat Dorothy has thrown a bucket of water on him.

“I’m Melting!”


But for my money the Democrats will do well to use their newfound power to enact new policies and law for the good of the people and treat Trump as a lame duck. The same voters who put them into power and then pushed them out and then brought them back in can once again oust them.






You can deny climate change but you cannot deny megafires…

November 12, 2018

What with the worst fire in California history (so far) ongoing, Chico State University magazine’s cover story couldn’t have had better timing. It was titled “The Rise of Megafires”. And it was published and written before this latest fire. But we have had so many of late here in California it was already big news.

The fire is just east of Chico and has destroyed the town of Paradise.

And what do I know about fires or fire prevention? Not enough I am sure. But I have observations:

Back in the 19th Century it was not uncommon for towns, big and small, to have major fires, often burning down whole communities. And this phenomenon continued into the early 20th century. There was the great Earthquake and Fire in 1906 in the city of my birth, San Francisco.

But for, I’m guessing, 80 years or more now, that has not been common. We have more fire resistant structures and improved methods and equipment and technology to fight and prevent fires.

However, now we have at least three things combined that have resulted in a new danger: climate change (I know there are deniers) that has brought on the phenomenon of “megafires” that burn more intensely (hotter) than in the past, more housing and other structures built throughout the forests and wildlands, along with wild lands and forests that have grown unchecked with loads of brush and other fuels that feed the fires once ignited.

When addressing climate change one should get past the politics and ignorance and just accept that there is a climate change going on. You can argue what has caused it or whether it is just a natural progression of the earth’s climate cycles but unless you believe the earth is flat you cannot deny it. And like I always say, I defer to the scientists as a whole rather than politicians or the loud mouth at the bar on the subject of climate change.

This summer a new and scary phenomenon was encountered by firefighters real near (like within miles) of where I live — the fire tornado, with the intense heat of the fire creating its own weather. They have also been observed in the Camp Fire blazing east of Chico.

While we need to deal with climate change and do whatever we can to at least mitigate its detrimental effects, if not correct them, that is mostly long term for any positive effect (even though we must act as soon as possible).

The magazine article I referred to said that nine of ten of these fires (90 percent) are man caused, either by carelessness (accident) or arson. So we need to push fire safety and go after the arsonists.

(And the weird and terrible thing here is that while some arsonists are simply mentally unhinged, some do it for economic gain. As a news reporter I once covered a story in which a local businessman who supplied fire suppression equipment to the public fire fighting agencies, such as bulldozers — wildland fire fighting is big business — hired a man to set fires.)

I think people take a big risk when they build homes in the middle of the forest or other wildland and they ought to realize it. I am surprised they can even get insurance.

Another thing,  I wonder if we are building large enough fire breaks between the forests and housing and commercial development. I think that might have been the problem in my own community in a megafire we had here this summer. The fire ripped through parts of the town with the loss of many homes and of human life.

The article quoted some experts calling for a return to the idea of prescribed burns to clear out the forests of uncontrolled growth that clogs them with tinder-dry fuel.

I know that this already goes on. But there are dangers. A few years ago one in the local area got out of control.

They also called for more livestock grazing to control grass. Over the years, I think it is true, that federal grazing allotments have been cut back because in times past some areas were over grazed.

And I know loggers object to being prevented by environmental regulations from cutting more trees. They say in fact that is what the forests need for their health.
They need to be thinned.

While I know diddly squat about best forest practices, I don’t like the looks of clear cutting, where whole swaths along hillsides are denuded, leaving bare ground. It looks ugly and opens up the terrain to erosion. It is still being done in places. I drive past a particular recent clear cut every week almost.

Whatever we do it has to be a coordinated effort between the many agencies and jurisdictions and ownerships involved in our forests and wildlands.

And if you have any forests and/or wild lands anywhere near you, this fire season has proven you are not safe even if you live in town. People get little to no notice, the fires spread so fast, and then have to flee for their lives and get caught in traffic and sometimes have to abandon their cars and run. Some have died in their cars.


And fire season has become year round.










In the face of the Democratic assault, some Trumpers dismissive…

November 7, 2018


So it seems this Wednesday morning that with the taking back of the majority in the House things are evened up. And that is better for democracy. It’s a check on extremism and perhaps what has been a budding dictatorship.


As I write this it already looks like the Democrats will take back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, even though the polls have just begun to close in the East on this mid-term election day (Nov. 6, 2018). Not sure I will be able to write any more than this post tonight or even update it quickly tomorrow. I’m on my real job.

But if this be true, what does it mean?

Most political observers (well maybe excluding some Trump supporters) will say it is a repudiation of President Donald Trump, himself, his administration, his policies, his presidency.

I would too, but if that is too strong for some Republicans or Trumpohites, then I would offer this: it could restore some equilibrium in the constant political struggle between the politics of the right and left.

What is interesting to me and a little galling is the tactic by some pundits or bloviators on the right in the face of the predicted vanquishing in the lower house of congress by the vote of the people to play dismissive of it all.

In my last post I think it was I referred to one right-wing radio host who talks with a southern twang that I think that although might be his normal voice is used nonetheless as an instrument to convey down-home wisdom and common sense, you know common sense the kind common folks have as opposed to the kind intellectuals or people who think too much have. He was dismissive of all the enthusiasm that today has turned into I believe a record turnout for the usual low turn-out midterms and even general elections maybe. He uttered something to the effect that “people are so excited”, using, as I just indicated, a dismissive tone of voice.

Kind of reminds me years ago but long, long after it was proven by medical research that cigarettes can cause cancer and lung diseases and that filters were useless, one cigarette brand ran an ad in magazines that said something like “you’re probably confused by all the hub bub about health and cigarettes” (that was not the exact wording but I used quote marks to give you a flavor if you will of it). They were being dismissive of the dangers of cigarettes.

Today a decidedly right-wing-oriented radio host out of Fresno complained that these fired-up voters (and he was referring to anti-Trumpers I am fairly sure) were not looking at the real issues.

Well Trump is not on the ballot, but it appears the issue that has prompted the high voter turnout is Trump and the atmosphere he has created.

I’m not sure he thought that those who voted for Trump were just acting on emotion.

Kind of reminds me of when a woman politician is stridant she is seen as shrill or emotional. But when a man is he is seen as strong.

And finally, I read an article in National Review online and the writer claimed “voters are not serious”. I did not really get the point of his piece except that he seemed dismissive of a protest vote and thought voters really just use the exercise of the ballot to vent their frustrations. Well he might be partially correct at that.

I know the Trump era has frustrated me.

Again, I don’t know at this early hour I am writing this what will actually transpire or will have happened once most people read this. It could even be the Republicans maintain status quo (does not look like it though).

But the people will have had a chance to let their feelings be known. Voting alone will not solve problems but it is a really good start.

And as much as I cannot stand Donald Trump, I’ll throw him a bone:

He maintained during his presidential campaign that his outrageous statements get people to think and to act.

So we will see or will have seen, depending upon when you read this.

How much of a threat is the so-called migrant caravan? And would they come if employers did not entice them?

November 4, 2018

Is the so-called migrant caravan heading north through Mexico for real? Is it really a threat the United States?

The last I heard, and what I heard could be wrong of course, to the extent there is such a thing it is falling apart. Too many hardships.

But even if it is for real, how much of a threat is it? You mean to tell me we cannot protect ourselves from impoverished immigrants? I mean are they armed?

We do have the Border Patrol. Every time I am down near the border I see their vehicles all over the place. I know they cannot be everywhere at once and I know our border with Mexico is long and includes a lot of rugged and desolate terrain, but surely we have enough surveillance capability to detect large numbers of intruders.

(And so there is a law against using the military as police, which I do not know all the particulars to or whether there might be exceptions, but if we were really being invaded certainly the military has to be deployed in some fashion. President Trump has in fact dispatched a large contingent of the military in support operations, but I think support could become direct if need be.)

And I am led to believe from reports that include Republican campaign propaganda (that nonetheless may contain some truth) that often illegal aliens are caught but then let go for a future court date. Why? I never hear why. I mean cannot they be simply sent from whence they came? And I am most certainly not anti-immigrant.

Well maybe I can at least partially answer my own question. We do have due process in our law (it is a protection against law at a whim). And there is always the problem of people who have eluded the authorities for years and have families and who then face the prospect of being torn from them. And this is because we have a split personality policy between official and real life in which employers in certain sectors, everything from nannies, to field hands, to construction, to meat packing and who knows what? depend upon and take for granted a labor supply of the undocumented.

But there are rules for immigration. I mean can I just decide to live in, say, Mexico as a resident and avail myself of government services there on my own whim without following rules? I doubt it.

It is true that if there were a real wave of refugees such as have been flooding Europe from war-torn Syria and from parts of the African continent we might have trouble holding back the tide because of the sheer numbers and out of humanitarian concern — and we can hardly just shoot people, nor God forbid, would we want to. But I have not heard nor seen of that wave approaching or crossing our borders.

As I noted in this space recently, however, people are fleeing primarily central American nations, and Venezuela, which is actually South America, with corrupt governments that are connected with or possibly controlled to some extent by vicious gangs.

I’ll be blunt. If that continues and we really do face a wave of desperate people, like I alluded to in my previous post that becomes a problem for us. It’s a problem the United Nations should address. But that organization is sometimes feckless. And that may be because not all nations and people are ever going to agree and who really wants one-world government anyway? Not I. Sounds like tyranny. I am for sovereign nation states.

I am not for sending in the Marines, that is until we have no other choice.

We could try to work through the Organization of American States for starters but that is hard to do when we have a president who is seen as a racist and someone who is anti-Hispanic. And I am only going by his own speech. Words matter.

And finally. Even though many people have noted that a big draw for illegal immigrants is jobs offered and so why don’t we go after the employers of those illegal immigrants, that factor seldom gets much attention.

One right-wing radio blowhard that talks with that exaggerated down-home drawl that I guess is meant to signify he is simple folk with simple common sense and for white culture, Christian values (freedom of religion as long as your are Christian), was confronted by a caller who asked why the employers were not targeted.

But our right-wing host claimed that was straying from the root of the problem. Seems like that is the root. But the right-winger claimed these people are not looking for work, they are looking for a handout.

Well I am pretty sure most are looking for work. But within any group you will have freeloaders and even criminals.

But I often wonder why is the law against hiring undocumented people not rigidly and only selectively enforced. I never hear an answer from those who focus on illegal immigration as a campaign issue or from those like our faux folksy right winger who seemed to want to change the subject.


The other day President Trump made a remark that suggested that if rocks were thrown at soldiers on the border that they should respond with their rifles as if they were being fired upon by rifles. It was reported that he later “walked back” that remark. Well, two things: No. 1, Trump often says things for shock value, but No. 2, while he is certainly old enough, perhaps Trump does not remember Kent State or does not care. There, National Guard troops faced students protesting over the Vietnam War and the draft. Rocks were thrown by the students. Whether by order or not, some guardsmen fired their rifles and several students were killed and others seriously injured. I think these kinds of things happened to British soldiers in the troubles in Northern Ireland. It puts the military in a damned if they do and damned if they don’t position (the Border Patrol has already faced this). It does not help matters when the president suggests rifles should be used to counteract rocks. I mean it kind of sets up violence. Even so, yes, if people are forewarned, rifles could conceivably be used to repel otherwise unarmed invaders. But let’s not promote this.


Trump meets impeachment threshold…

November 1, 2018

While I take it the prediction by most pundits is that the Republican Party is expected to maintain control of the senate but the Democrats have a good chance of taking control of the house in next Tuesday’s mid-term election, I think it is safe to say that President Trump has met the threshold for impeachment.

And we have to remember, impeachment is a political thing — high crimes and misdemeanors are what the lawmakers say they are at the time, not a court, who has to go by statutes and legal precedent.

But by any stretch of the imagination, Trump who has stoked the fires of hell with his incendiary speech and who has lambasted our allies across the world and who has attacked the free press and has used threatening speech against all who oppose him or even attempt to mildly criticize him has I think piled up enough material from which Democrats could form a basis for impeachment. Would impeachment be the correct or practical road to take is another question. It might just make Trump stronger, galvanizing those who might see it simply as a political ploy by the political left or just a bad thing to do if you disagree with a president’s policies or personal behavior (excluding actual crime).

The problem too is that without taking control of the senate it is unlikely that Trump could be convicted. I mean if Trump went so far as to scare his own party, maybe so. But it seems although his actions and demeanor often make many Republicans uncomfortable, they seem so far to be content to look the other way as long as they see that his administration is at least helping them move most of their agenda forward — you know, tax cuts that favor primarily business and quashing pesky environmental regulations and health and safety rules (not to deny that some cumbersome bureaucracy needs to be streamlined and possibly some regulations reconsidered).

Evangelicals I read are becoming split over the question is it right to support Trump because he furthers some of their social agenda even as he has shown himself to be immoral. They have I think made a deal with the devil.

And when it comes to climate change, I think that to deny science in favor of dollars in the short run is poor planning to say the least. And does not God want us to be good stewards of planet earth which we are told he created? Or has wealth accumulation become Godly?

I imagine much of the Democratic political establishment would favor not going the impeachment route but instead going for more political control, i.e. taking the legislature back. A lame duck Trump seems appealing.

Not being a Trump supporter that is what I tend to think. But I do worry about what this terrible person is doing in the meantime.

Trump did not fire the bullets that killed the Jews in Pennsylvania. He, as far as I know, had nothing to do with the sending of letter bombs to Democrats — except that he helped create the climate that promotes such things by his incendiary and racist and intolerant speech. And that is a big exception. To me that is impeachable.

All this could be taken care of if more people became interested and aware of national issues and took some effort to be informed and to not blindly follow one-sided approaches to issues by only listening to what they want to hear and only reading what they feel comfortable with.

I mean Trump draws some of his strength from occasionally being at least partially correct on things or somehow being connected with things that seem to go right, such as a good economy and more jobs. And I am only going on what I read on that in that in my personal case I do not see a direct correlation between Trump policies and my pocket-book — but I am not complaining and will give him or his economic policies the benefit of the doubt for now (well destructive trade wars not withstanding).

But I think a moderate Republican or Democrat could have accomplished as much without tearing apart the fabric of our society and giving us a black eye seen around the world.

But unfortunately no one has risen to the occasion and/or voters or potential voters have been complacent.

Lots of polls being done. But the only one that counts at this time is next Tuesday’s (Nov. 6).