How do we honor our dead?

Today – Memorial Day – is supposed to be a remembrance of all those who perished while serving in uniform, defending this nation.  It’s fitting that we have such a day.

But do we really honor our fallen?  This picture captures well the fact that today’s peace is underpinned by yesterday’s carnage:

holding up society

Would you be incensed if the young man in jeans was wearing a swastika armband?  I’d venture most Americans would.  It would show an appalling lack of appreciation how many of the dead represented in the image died to destroy Hitler’s regime.  But what if the young lady were wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt?  Or if the child were dressed in the uniform of the Soviet-era Young Pioneers, complete with a badge picturing Lenin?

Continue reading

Removing incentives for invasion

The southern border of the United States is little more than a line on a map these days.  Migrants are flooding across it in unprecedented numbers, overwhelming the Border Patrol and the immigration courts charged with sorting legitimate claims of asylum from the far greater number of people using it as a wedge for entry.

The word is out: if you want to cut the long line of people waiting legally to immigrate to America, just sneak across the southern border and ask for asylum. Every day now, Customs and Border Protection agents stop more than 3,000 people entering the U.S. illegally and the number has been trending upward rapidly. No one knows how many others slip through undetected.

Almost all of these people fail to meet the definition of a refugee, which is someone with a specific and well-founded fear of persecution in the place they are fleeing. But they have been coached to say the magic words necessary for arresting officers to begin a lengthy adjudication of whether or not they are bona fide refugees deserving asylum — which can take years. Thanks to permissive laws and activist progressive judges — especially those on the renegade Ninth Circuit based in San Francisco — the government must often release these asylum-seekers into America, after which most will evade authorities unless they are caught for another crime.

This is ridiculous.  The current broken process is nothing but incentive for more of the same, as people realize once they’re here, they’re here more or less for good, legitimately or not.  But there’s a way to remove that incentive:

We should take a page from the past and transport asylum-seekers to our base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  The public is most familiar with the use of “Gitmo,” as it is known in military lingo, for detaining high-level terrorists — illegal combatants caught on the battlefield who are awaiting military tribunals (at which the Pentagon has also failed). But Gitmo was used to house two large waves of Haitian immigrants trying to come to America illegally in the 1990s during the administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Keeping them there and repatriating the vast number who were not legitimate asylum-seekers created a disincentive for more to come.

Yes, let’s get the word out that dubious claims of asylum will get you an indefinite stay on Cuba until your hearing, after which you will be returned directly to your country of origin, having never been turned loose within the United States.  To top it off, let’s get a complete biometric profile on everyone we have to process this way, and make it clear that future attempts to enter the country illegally will be met with much more unpleasant consequences.

This is hardly cruel and unusual.  I’ve been to Naval Station Guantanamo.  The weather is lovely, and so is the island.  No need to use the prison facilities – just set up large campgrounds within which they’re free to move around until their case is adjudicated.  There is no legitimate objection to doing this — the only people who would complain are those within our own country who seek to facilitate this invasion under legal cover.  Frankly, I think some of them could use an extended stay in Guantanamo as well.  The word ‘treason’ is thrown around lightly these days.  But actively undermining one’s own nation and its sovereignty would seem to fit the classic definition pretty well.

Save up all your tears

Shocked at Trump’s intention of giving Sanctuary cities exactly what they say they want — more illegal immigrants — Cher cries “what about Americans?”

Cher Tweet

I particularly liked the “(Many are VETS)” part, given current trends:

Democrats in Albany may be having second thoughts about blocking a bill that would help children of injured or fallen veterans go to college…

The committee instead approved $27 million in tuition assistance to so-called “dreamers” – students brought to the country by their parents illegally when they were children.

“Taxpayer money for free college for illegal immigrants… yet struck down a bill that provides free college tuition to gold star families. Absolutely wrong and insulting,” Assemblyman Michael Lipetri of Long Island’s 9th District added.

That a leftist like Cher is suddenly tweeting like a “deplorable” shows how effective Trump is at twisting them like a pretzel around their own politics.  It’s my fervent hope that undecided and independent Americans are looking at the Democrats’ reactions to his proposal to send illegals to “sanctuary” cities and asking “so wait… then why is it OK to inflict that on everyone else?”

We don’t need to just reelect Trump in 2020.  We need to give him a Congress fully prepared to support him.

A shift in the narrative?

I can only hope that Conrad Black is correct, and that the majority of people are waking up to the fact the Left and the media (but I repeat myself) have been projecting false realities as smokescreens since late 2016:

For more than two years, the United States and the world have had two competing narratives: that an elected president of the United States was a Russian agent whom the Kremlin helped elect; and its rival narrative that senior officials of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and other national intelligence organizations had repeatedly lied under oath, misinformed federal officials, and meddled in partisan political matters illegally and unconstitutionally and had effectively tried to influence the outcome of a presidential election, and then undo its result by falsely propagating the first narrative. It is now obvious and indisputable that the second narrative is the correct one.

The authors, accomplices, and dupes of this attempted overthrow of constitutional government are now well along in reciting their misconduct without embarrassment or remorse because—in fired FBI Director James Comey’s formulation—a “higher duty” than the oath they swore to uphold the Constitution compelled them. Or—in fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s words—“the threat” was too great. Nevermind that the nature of “the threat” was that the people might elect someone he and Comey disapproved of as president, and that that person might actually serve his term, as elected.

Black concludes that “Without realizing the proportions of the emergency, America has survived the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War.”  Call me a jaded pessimist, but I think it might be too early to say that with any certainty.  Just because Trump’s enemies’ narratives are unravelling doesn’t mean they are any less committed to removing him from power, or at the least trying to hobble his freedom of action through “lawfare.”  Their actions over the past two years define the term “subversion.” Meanwhile, Trump’s base (including me) is increasingly exasperated that those miscreants have yet to see any semblance of justice applied to them, and that States and cities continue to defy the Federal government by declaring themselves “sanctuaries” for unauthorized invaders.

No, we haven’t “survived” anything yet.  We just don’t know how long the fuse is on this particular powder keg, or whether anybody can unlight it.  And yes, it’s appropriate to compare it to the crisis of the Civil War.  These are not ordinary political differences.  They are instead existential in nature.

Stay tuned, boys and girls.  In the meantime, ask yourself how prepared you and your loved ones are if the explosion does occur, and take action accordingly.

For those with ears to hear

I was impressed by President Trump’s State of the Union address.  It was one of his better public speaking performances, and whoever helped him craft the remarks instilled some great message discipline.  The speech covered a wide range of topics, some of which I thought could have been left for a different venue in order to tighten up the key points.  But those key points shone through, as this analysis by Glenn Reynolds shows:

So one of the interesting things about Trump’s speech last night is how it seemed calculated to demolish all the standard anti-Trump tropes from the media and from the left and to do so with compelling imagery. Consider:

Trump’s a Nazi: Praise for Holocaust survivors, and a touching rendition of “Happy Birthday.” (With Trump waving his fingers like a conductor).
Trump hates minorities: Brags about record low black, Hispanic, and Asian unemployment — while white-clad Democratic women, overwhelmingly white themselves, sat prune-faced.
Trump’s a Russian tool: Withdrawing from the INF Treaty.
Trump’s a warmonger: Without me, Trump says, we’d be at war on the Korean peninsula. Also, I’m looking at pulling out of Afghanistan.
Trump hates women: Except he got even the prune-faced white-clad Democratic women up dancing (and chanting “USA! USA!”) when he talked about record female employment in and out of Congress.

And his rebuke to socialism was designed to strip the glamour that the media have tried to imbue it with by tying it to the abject misery of Venezuela.

In debate, I think this is called cutting across your opponent’s flow. ((As a former competitive debater, I can confirm that term.  – Jemison))  And I think it’s Trump’s opening shot at 2020, as well as an effort to undercut the “Resistance” in and out of Congress. Plus, as Ann Althouse notes, despite the predictions of lefties like Robert Reich (see below) it was all wrapped in optimism and sunny American exceptionalism.

Genuinely Reaganesque.

There’s one Reynolds missed.  While I’m not in favor of the government providing taxpayer-funded family leave after the birth of a child, I was very glad to see him pivot from the “image of a mother holding her new baby” to the horrors of the recent pro-abortion legislation in New York and Virginia.  The contrast was deliberate and well-executed, followed by a call to Congress to outlaw late-term abortion (it’s a start).

Overall I was encouraged by the way in which the speech was an invitation to work together for the good of the country, without retreating from strongly held policy positions.  If the goal in politics is to capture the middle ground, I think Trump did a good job of it last night.

Naturally, many in the country today are dismissing everything he had to say.  Some, like Senator Chuck Schumer, were dismissing it even before hearing it.  No matter how reasonable Trump tries to be, nor how many facts he arms his talking points with, there will continue to be those partisans who refuse to listen.  Not only because they are invested in the Democratic party, but because they abhor the vision of America Trump’s election represents — a return to the roots, if you will.  The most “Reaganesque” moment of the speech in my opinion was when Trump pledged our nation would never be a socialist country.  The fact there were audible boos in the halls of Congress to this rejection of socialism should be a wakeup call to Americans who value their freedom.  It is not hyperbole to say there are members of Congress dedicated to subverting everything our Constitution and our history stand for.  They will not be swayed by reasonable arguments, demonstrable facts or the evidences of history.  They will have to be fought tooth and nail as if the survival of our nation depends on it.

Because it does.

A guy can hope

President Trump sent word this afternoon he will make a major announcement from the White House tomorrow at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.  Were I his speech writer, my draft would look something like this:

My fellow Americans,

For the past 29 days, parts of your Federal Government have been shut down due to the lack of an authorized budget for 2019.  About 800,000 workers have been on furlough, uncertain when they will see their next paycheck.  Essential services like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, on which many Americans depend, are close to exhausting their resources and leaving citizens in danger of hunger and other financial hardships.

This intolerable situation exists for only one reason: the refusal of the Democratic leadership in Congress to approve funding our Border Patrol personnel have requested to secure our nation’s border and maintain our right to determine who may enter.  While the Democrats profess sympathy for those affected by these events, their actions show otherwise.  Last weekend many Congressmen were enjoying sunny Puerto Rico, in the company of over 100 lobbyists.  I was here, in the White House, waiting to discuss the issue.  This week, Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats planned to take a taxpayer-funded seven-day trip overseas, until I denied the use of our military resources for such travel at a time when portions of our government are without funding.  As I pointed out in my letter to Speaker Pelosi, our people are better served if she and Senator Schumer remain here in Washington so we can resolve this issue.

I campaigned in 2016 with a strong promise I would secure our border against illegal immigration and the flow of narcotics.  Our broken border and immigration processes have been political talking points for more than 30 years.  Now, the current opioid crisis and the documented number of violent crimes committed by those who break into our country prove the urgent need for action.  I was entrusted with this office by Americans who expected me to uphold my promise to act.  And I will.

As I speak, another caravan of migrants has been organized and is moving north through Mexico, seeking to enter our country without permission.  The defense of our nation is my greatest responsibility, and I have urged Congress for two years to provide the resources we need to meet these kinds of challenges.  But national security seems to be the only government spending program Democrats don’t like.  Therefore, I am declaring a National Emergency with regard to the illegal entry of persons and illegal substances into this country.  As part of this declaration, I have directed the Defense Department to provide all possible support that may be requested by the Customs and Border Patrol to enable them to detect, detain and quickly return to their country of origin anyone found crossing our border illegally.  I have also directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed immediately with the construction of additional physical barriers on our border, prioritizing locations and types of barriers as the Border Patrol believes will best secure our frontier.  I have directed the Defense Department to divert five percent of all previously approved operational funds for 2019 to enable the immediate start of this construction, and to support the agency’s assistance to the Border Patrol.

In addition, the State Department has been directed to cease processing of all immigration requests, including programs like the H-1B work visa, until the current impasse is resolved and the government restored to full funding.

To our hard working Customs and Border Patrol, I offer the thanks of a grateful America for the critical work you do. To our armed forces, I am confident in your ability to mobilize quickly the resources needed to aid our border agents.  To our furloughed Federal workers, I regret you have been placed in this position.  If Congress had passed their appropriation bills on time, and kept in mind my pleas not to leave out border funding yet again, we would not be where we are today.

A nation that cannot control its own borders loses control of its future.  If we cannot protect our sovereignty, nothing else we do will make or keep America great.  It is a blessing to have been born here, and we protect that blessing for our descendants by ensuring those who join us here show respect for the customs and laws that made our land attractive in the first place.  The actions I announced today are only a small start in solving the problem of our broken border and immigration policies.  I urge my counterparts in Congress to work with me in good faith to find long-lasting solutions for this and other issues facing our nation.  When you’re ready to do so, you know where to find me.  I urge you not to waste another 29 days.

Like I said, a guy can hope, right?

Beautiful

Because I have a background in professional communication, the Trump administration’s lack of message discipline often causes me to grind my teeth.  I’m seeing signs of improvement, however small.  Over the past several days, the president has been on Twitter, pointing out he’s available to discuss the budget.  Contrast that to the Congressional Democrats jaunting down to Puerto Rico last weekend, accompanied by over 100 lobbyists.  (Way to show solidarity with furloughed workers, donkeys!)

This, however, is brilliant.  Shortly before another Congressional junket was due to leave, using government aircraft, President Trump waved it off:

trump letter to pelosi

Naturally, Trump’s critics are calling this “petty” and “childish.”  But it’s a logical follow-up to the Speaker’s own letter yesterday suggesting Trump forego the State of the Union address due to the shutdown.  Note how many messages are packed into the letter above.  Pelosi sought to use the shutdown to deny the president a forum.  He used it to call out the Speaker for not sticking around to resolve the shutdown and restore workers’ paychecks, and at the same time cancelled a pointless seven-day vacation using government resources.  (I’ve worked my share of Congressional Delegation, or “CODEL” trips… I know whereof I speak.)

Forget the chattering classes.  Who do you think the average American in “flyover country” supports in this exchange of letters?

As for the State of the Union address, perhaps the President should simply deliver it to Congress via a prime-time TV address from the Oval Office, during which he talks with rank-and-file members of the Customs and Border Patrol about what they see everyday, and what they think it would take to secure the border.

Yes, our government is squabbling like children on a playground.  I can both mourn the current state of public discourse and at the same time recognize effective messaging when I see it.  I can also hope the squabbling only ends when there’s a commitment to finally secure our border and discourage the ongoing invasion of our country.

Build.  The.  Wall.