Monday, August 31, 2015

Say It Ain't So Vin Scully!

Deep down us die hard Dodger fans have known that this dreaded announcement of sorts would come from the greatest baseball announcer of all time, Vin Scully.
This past Friday evening it was announced that Mr. Scully would return to the Dodger announcer's booth for a record 67th season. And on Saturday, in the most understated way, Mr. Scully made it clear that it will probably be his last season.
Mr. Scully has nothing to prove. It's just that he loves what he is doing. Who would not want to do what he is doing? To someone like Mr. Scully, it is a job yet he makes it so, so effortless. For a man pushing 88 years old, and he does not seem it. He is sharp as a tack.
One thing that people forget about Mr. Scully in the television age is that he started on radio at a time when one had to not just announce the game but make you be there and feel like you are in the stands with the actual fans on site. That is why unlike today's announcers, especially on television, overly depend on the so-called "color" commentators.  Mr. Scully still announces games as if he is on the radio and does not need to have a second banana.
Of course on occasion Mr. Scully is not as quite on top of a game but again, for 87 years old, he does a superior job compared to people half his age.
Unfortunately, many of us Dodger fans have had to miss the calm, cool and collected voice that is Mr. Scully due to new ownership and a greedy television deal.
The Dodgers television broadcasts are now on a Time-Warner cable station called SportsNet LA. Because it is on pay television, deals had to be worked out with multiple distributors including DirecTV, which is what your humble blogger has. The reason most distributors did not want to carry the Dodger station is that Time-Warner and the Dodgers wanted the cost passed to the subscribers and most did not want to do that for it would be a rather substantive one. One hopes that since Mr. Scully has indicated 2016 would be his last season, something can be worked out to maximize distribution.
There are so many memorable moments that Mr. Scully was a part of but the one that sticks out is when Kirk Gibson hit his dramatic, bottom of the ninth inning, home run to defeat the Oakland A's in game one of the 1988 World Series. That was the last World Series the Dodgers were in and won.
I think that it is worth watching again, don't you?
The understated allowing the crowd to be the story is so awesome. So amazing. No shouting. No hollering. One could tell how Mr. Scully was admiring such an effort as a fan and student of the game.
The other aspect of Mr. Scully that is so important is that he has never, ever been a homer. That is he calls a game pretty down the middle. If the Dodgers screw up, he'll tell you. If the other team does something great, he will not tell you in a discouraging way but again, down the middle.
Most sports announcers are known for giving a little extra 'atta boy!' towards the team that employs them. But not Vin Scully.
Is there any one out there that can shine the shoes of the longtime Dodger announcer?
And the successor should not even try. Who ever succeeds Mr. Scully needs to develop their own style and repertoire. That person needs to go out on their own, so to speak.
Although I am sad that in 2017, there will not be Vin Scully saying the immortal words, 'it's time for Dodger baseball", a part of me wants to see who succeeds the immortal Mr. Scully. But that part of me will still ask, say it ain't so Vinny!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Gospel According To Mark

No, not the Gospel according to your humble blogger but the Gospel of the actual apostle named Mark.
Today at my church I did a reading from the Gospel according to Mark as it was Morning Prayer and a lay minister could do the Gospel reading.
For some reason, this Gospel really struck me on several levels. It is about the Pharisees and the purity and dietary laws and Jesus' retort of it does not defile a person what goes into their mouth but what comes out of the mouth.
So, here is the reading:

 Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, the noticed that some of his disciples. were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them (For the Pharisees, and all of the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders, and the do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it;-and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles). So the Pharisees and the scribes and asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?" He said to them, 'Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,

"This people honours me with their lips.
 but their hearts are far from me;
 in vain do they worship me,
 teaching human precepts as doctrines.
 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.'

 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, 'Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.

Like I said, there is so much in this reading to think about for Christians and non-Christians alike.
It seems so natural for us to wash our hands before touching food. To wash the dishes each time we use them. We think about doing this not just to be clean but to kill germs. But what we do not think about is that this tradition came from Judaism. So it was Surprising that Jesus Christ, a Jew, did not tell some of the disciples that they should clean their hands. The Pharisees and the scribes noticed this. They called Jesus out on this.
Jesus Christ's response is so epic. It is condemning tradition without meaning. Way back before this time, there was no set tradition of cleanliness. The laws of Leviticus began all of this. Keep in mind that Jesus was not about throwing out all the laws but emphasizing the laws that the religious authorities of the time were forgetting.
That is loving your neighbor as you love yourself and the Lord God with your mind, body and soul.
But the great litany of awfulness that can come out from one's mind and eventually mouth is astounding. We have all, without a doubt, committed at least one of the 13 acts Jesus describes as defiling a person. And some have probably at one time or another completed the list. Knowingly or unknowingly. I don't think most people set out to be bad. But it's when people forget that there is real evil in the world, it is when one can rationalize committing such evil acts.
Sometimes in our attempt to help and or to hold a fellow Christian accountable, we are huge on the judgement. Again, we act like we have never said something or committed a bad act. One of the easiest things is to be envious of other people. We think we are not as good looking as someone else. Or that we do not have what another has. And so on and so forth. We need to take the self-inventory of what we DO have. How we are fortunate not to have some horrible facial condition. And so on and so forth.
What Jesus is really saying is that it's the bad thoughts that we have that we need to worry about and not some purity laws. Clean hands do not necessarily equal a clean heart.
That is the power of this reading. That is the Gospel according to Mark.

Friday, August 28, 2015

What The Donald And Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger Have In Common

The other day I was talking with a friend, one who is taking a serious look at Donald J. Trump and his candidacy, and I pointed out to him what really worried me is that the Donald would turn out to be another Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Lo and behold last night in my looky around the internets, I came across this excellent post by John Fleischman making the same case.
And like myself, Mr. Fleischman regrets having been swept up in Arnoldmania.
It was the recall election in which then Gov. Gray Era Davis ended up being recalled. It was a two-part ballot. No matter how you voted on the question of whether the Gray Era should be recalled or not, you could vote for his replacement. The recall passed and political neophyte Schwarzenegger won. As you can see here, county by county it was a blowout in many. Even Los Angeles county almost went for the recall. But the left-wing precincts of No Cal, especially the Bay Area, opposed the recall. Mr. Schwarzenegger won with 49% of the vote with over 100 candidates. 
The history of how Mr. Schwarzenegger became governor is very important.
Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Schwarzenegger made his announcement on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Mr. Schwarzenegger then campaigned like the dickens on a very similar platform that Mr. Trump is running on. The establishment is bad. As Mr. Fleischman points out, Mr. Schwarzenegger had a broom as a prop on the campaign trail and said "We are going to sweep out the special interests!" And another great line was "We are going to take the government back!" Now I would say we can insert laugh track here, but we shall wait for that.
One of the actual serious issues that accelerated the recall election was the Democrats passing a massive hike in the vehicle registration fee. Many motorists had to make the choice of paying the fee and eventually letting their state-mandated auto insurance lapse. Mr. Schwarzenegger ran hard on that issue and used that to constantly drive home the point that taxes in 2003 California were already, to coin a phrase, too damn high.
Upon Mr. Schwarzenegger's triumph, he was able to roll back the vehicle registration fee to pre-hike levels. There was seemingly some willingness to have good will on the part of Democrats who were clearly taken aback by the public's anger.
Gov. Schwarzenegger was trying to reform state unions and state spending in general. But eventually the Democrats reverted to their old tax and spend ways. So the governor's brain trust proposed putting several proposals on a special election ballot. That is all it took for the school teacher unions to ramp up a campaign against any reform measures, especially regarding union dues. Because the Democrats controlled the state legislature, there was no chance to steer the reforms through the legislative process. Good thinking outside of the box, right? Well by the time Team Arnold could muster up enough signatures to put his proposals on the ballot and fight back, the public's mind was already made up. Thus, as you can see here, propositions 74, 75, 76, and 77 went down to ignoble defeat. 
From the day after those election results until the day he left office, Arnold Schwarzenegger became Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Why he was so whipped, much of his team quit and he appointed a Democrat to be his chief of staff.
Remember the special interests? They are essentially running the state of California into the ground. Remember the government he wanted to take back? It is worse now than it was then. To prove how whipped Gov. Benedict Arnold was, before he left office, he agreed to . . .hike the vehicle registration fee. The very issue that he ran against, he caved.
As Mr. Fleischman points out, he is a conservative and he was buying the bull from Benedict Arnold. It sounded so good. There were no details, but one just felt Arnold could run the government like a super hero he often portrayed in the movies. We conservatives did have a choice in congressman Tom McClintock. Mr. McClintock did pull about 13% of the vote. But too many of us believed in Arnold. That he could do whatever he wanted and would follow through.
But it ended up that we were fooled. The recall made us feel good in getting rid of rubbish. But what did we replace the Gray Era with? As it turned out, more garbage.
Many of the Trumpettes will not want to hear this. They are, as I am, so desperate for someone to show some real leadership, they do not care to know more than the Donald is saying what many conservatives are thinking. The Republican-led congress is all but impotent. They are not following through on any of the issues that conservatives care about. Like voting to repeal Obamacare. Of course I don't expect the Dear Leader, President Obama, to sign the bill. Or pursuing tax cuts. Showing that they will not be bullied by the president and his Democrat allies.
Some of the GOP presidential candidates are not exactly sounding that they want to pursue a serious conservative agenda. Jeb! Bush comes to mind. But Ohio governor, John Kasich, also seems to be twisting about enacting a conservative agenda.
But the problem is while the Donald is berating these impotent "leaders", he is not offering any serious proposals. And if you really think that the border wall will be built, may I sell you a bridge in Saudi Arabia? If you think that 11,000,000 illegal aliens are going to be deported, sorry it won"t happen. And if any Trumpette is paying attention, the vast majority of those deported will be able to go through an expedited process to RETURN to the United States. It's a half-assed amnesty, worse than the so-called "comprehensive immigration reform"/.
I saw the same thing happen under worse circumstances in 2003. So did a conservative activist named John Fleischman. The ending really sucked. And if, God forbid, it should somehow end the same way, God help the United States of America.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Donald Is Losing Fox News With New Megyn Kelly Tweets

One thing about ol' Donald J. Trump that we are finding out is that his hair is not the only thing that is thin about him.
It appears that his skin is even thinner. Why I'm not sure how the heck it stays on it is so thin.
Yesterday, Fox New Channel's Megyn Kelly returned to her show, The Kelly File after a planned 10 day vacation. That vacation was not long after the Donald and his Trumpettes pummeled Mrs. Kelly for daring to ask the Donald some tough and pointed questions with regards to women. Many of the Trumpettes took to social media and believed that they actually influenced Mrs. Kelly and or Fox News Channel in a "hasty" vacation. Many believed that Mrs. Kelly would not be back on the air because of the terrible way she treated the new Jesus himself. How dare her ask the Donald about how he treats women. How dare Mrs. Kelly ask about the fact that the Donald made what most conservatives only a few months ago a comment about his daughter's figure and that if she wasn't his daughter he would be trying to date her.
That got under the skin of the Donald and his Trumpettes who believe that he was not asked serious questions in the GOP presidential debate. It did not matter that he got more air time than any other candidate and went over the allotted time on more than one occasion.
So, for your perusal, here is what the Donald thought about Mrs. Kelly's return to her show via his Twitter account:

I liked the Kelly File much better without @megynkelly. Perhaps she can take another eleven day unscheduled vacation.

"@bigpaulfla: @realDonaldTrump She has come back looking like Nancy Grace.

"@mstanish: @realDonaldTrump @megynkelly The Bimbo back in town . I hope not for long. 

Yes, this is what we want in the next potential president of the United States. A childish assault on someone for daring to ask questions. Hey Donald, what will you do when say a conservative talk show host like Hugh Hewitt will ask you tough questions during the next debate? Are you and your Trumpettes going to diss Mr. Hewitt? Call him a bimbo?
Well, many of the staff on Fox News took to their twitter accounts and had a lot to say. This link gives a good summary. But one in particular caught my eye and that was Trump supporter, for lack of a better word, Sean Hannity and this wise tweet of advice:

My friend @realDonaldTrump has captured the imagination of many. Focus on Hilary, Putin, border, jobs, Iran China & leave @megynkelly alone. 

Sage advice that I am sure the Donald will not take.
For the fact that the Donald wasted time on the fact that Mrs. Kelly was even back on the air shows what his priorities really are. It's not illegal immigration. It's not dealing with Red China. It's not about jobs. It's not about Hilary Clinton and the Democrats. Hell, it is almost never about Hilary Clinton or the Democrats. The priority about Donald Trump is to remind people about how butt-hurt he was because someone asked him some questions he did not want asked. He didn't like the questions so he attacked the questioner.
Some conservatives think that Fox News is getting soft and not all that conservative. Sure there is Sean Hannity. But really, they are moving left because they have hired some establishment MSMers like Howie Kurtz to host the show Media Buzz. But what that shows is that Fox News is trying to be a news operation first. One that, yes, can be fair and balanced in news analysis. Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News is not some lefty as he was one of President Richard M. Nixon's press people. The irony is how much Mr. Nixon hated the media.
But to have any Fox News employee on a debate stage asking softball questions of any GOP candidate, or Democrat, would be very offensive. The fact that Mrs. Kelly chose to ask about the Donald's relationship with women is I am afraid fair game. The reason is because of comments made by the Donald himself.
Which is what the Trumpettes need to take a deep breath and ask themselves, if our guy freaks out over this, what happens during a domestic or international crisis? Will President Donald explode publicly? Will he take to Twitter and make a delicate situation worse? George Will dared to ask that question and he got the RINO treatment from the Trumpettes.
The most important way to see a candidate is how that candidate reacts to situations. And whenever the Donald is not in control of any given situation, he does not do well. He gets personal and down in the gutter. To me it shows a lack of temperament. It shows that the Donald is not ready for prime time.
After all, the Donald is beginning to lose Fox News, his most favorable outlet. It does not bode well down the road.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Two Scary And Accurate Thoughts On Donald Trump

Just in case you did not know it, I am not exactly a big fan of one Donald J. Trump and his merry band of Trumpettes.
Don't get me wrong, at one level, I get the frustration that the Donald represents. The political class doesn't really listen to the voters and does what it wants no matter what. Although the Donald's anger is directed at the ossified, incompetent Republican leadership in and out of congress, there is always Bernie Sanders, the vowed Socialist reminding the left-wing base of the Democrat party how they have been betrayed as well.
Sen. Sanders is the left's and Democrats' problem.
As a conservative and Republican, my concern is about the conservative movement and it's place in the Republican party.
My serious opposition to the Donald is that at the end of the day he is not a conservative, does not care about issues-please note issueS-that are of great importance to conservatives, and will govern with the wind if, God forbid, he should win the GOP nomination and or worse, be elected the 45th president of the United States.
The following two articles, first from Ben Domenich of The Federalist and Peter Weber of The Week do sort of get to the same thing.
Mr. Domenich believes that the Donald is playing a dangerous game of White identity politics with his hyperbole on illegal immigration. I dispute that because Mr. Weber states something that I could tell you. That there are a core of Hispanics that actually are for strong border security. Even for the Donald's plan to ship all the illegals, 11,000,000, back to the nation of origin.
OK, I must digress here.
The numbers of illegal aliens is absolutely unknown. 11,000,000 or 20,000,000 or 30,000,000 is just at best a guesstimate. If we actually knew the numbers, it would actually be easy to round em up and ship em out, right? We are putting a number to at best guess a round number for purposes of trying to figure out a lot of different things.
Back to this post.
Mr. Domenich's thesis dovetails to Mr. Weber's article about a core of Hispanics that are none too thrilled about illegal aliens, especially from south of the border, including and especially from Central America. A lot of the opposition is based on people taking a piece of their pie, so to speak. Many Hispanics that oppose the current wave off illegal immigration are actually victims of it. When it comes to such things as in-state costs for illegal children or the so-called anchor babies means that many of the Hispanic children born here are competing with people who were not born here for their space at public colleges and universities. Especially in regards to student loans, grants and scholarships.
I agree with Mr. Domenich that if the GOP and modern American conservatism throws away the fusionist coalition that has been built by people like Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich, we will be no better than liberals and the left in playing identity politics. And he is correct.
What drives the Donald and his supporters, quite bluntly, is his bellicose personality. For whatever reason, the hardcore supporters of the the Donald, the Trumpettes, seem perfectly down with the Donald if he should do end arounds the United States constitution to meet his seemingly indecichperable goals. I ask all over Facebook and the internets if those that support the Donald would be down if he did what the current occupant of the White House, the Dear Leader, President Obama, has done in excessive and questionable executive orders so long as it advances supposed conservative goals. Man do those crickets chirp and chirp loudly.
When I say that the Donald is our Obama, people get incensed but it is true and even worse because we do not know anything about what he would do outside of illegal immigration. Even that is questionable. But the Trumpettes are impressed with his personality and seemingly angry, no nonsense approach to our problems.
Which is why, as Mr. Weber points out nicely, the Donald would be a mini-dictator or caudillo a la Francisco Franco of Spain. No, it will not be by a violent civil war that it would happen but by the fact even elements on the conservative sign are perfectly OK with someone who might not be a leader within the context of the rule of law. Which is what has animated, correctly, a large part of conservative opposition to the Dear Leader, President Obama.
It's one thing to tap into righteous anger about a political class that has become more distant from the voters at all levels. City, county, state and federal. It's great to state the obvious. That they do not listen to their constituencies. They promote policies people have said they do not want. Pet projects the purveyors of big government on both sides try to shove down our collective throats. But it is harnessing that anger into something productive that I do not see the Donald doing. He's just spouting off on his bar stool and saying he can do what he says because now he is incorruptible. After telling all in the last GOP presidential debate how very corrupt he has been. And proudly. The Donald is either not well informed on a variety of issues or deflects a question with some kind of BS. Or he will give one answer to one interviewer/reporter and a different one to another interviewer/reporter. That should turn people off, alas it does not. It simply makes Trumpettes even more invested in their dude.
And that leads to people believing that we need a supposed conservative strong man as opposed to one that can clearly express and govern as a conservative.
It is one of the scariest aspects of the Trump candidacy.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ann Coulter And John Kasich Mock Pro-Life

Before I explain why I think both conservative diva Ann Coulter and Republican presidential candidate Gov. John Kasich of Ohio seem to have a problem with pro-lifers, there needs to be an explanation.
For some reason these days conservatism has been ghettoized, mostly by other conservatives. We know that there are the three stools of modern conservatism. That would be domestic policy, foreign policy and social policy. There are subgroups in there, but that is the conservative coalition. And like it or not, the political vehicle for that is the Republican party.
I consider myself a practioniner of the three stools. No one is more or less important to conservative thinking and or ideas.
But since the end of the Bush 41 presidency in particular, there are those that want to rid one part of the stool or another. Some want to have a more government policy, albeit a conservative one with supposed conservative outcomes. Some do not like what they think is an overly muscular foreign policy and would like almost nothing more than to have a Fortress America world outlook. And of course there are those that want to purge the conservative movement of the icky social conservatives and their outdated view of the culture and the world.
The debate about illegal immigration is somewhat hard to categorize. I would put that under a very important concern of social conservatives. But there are some foreign policy hawks that have legitimate, righteous concerns about unfettered illegal immigration. Especially in the age of world-wide jihad. And even some domestic/economic conservatives that believe there is a serious cost in illegal immigration.
I consider myself very much a pro-lifer. I do not believe in abortion on demand and especially all the way to the ninth month. I do believe in the political reality that if we are to at the very least place restrictions on late-term abortions, there will have to be the exception for incest and rape. Science is in fact and indeed proving that a baby is very developed at the 20th week of a pregnancy. And with the video revelations of the group Center For Medical Progress and the cavalier manner of essentially selling aborted babies as body parts and tissue, it makes this tweet from Ann Coulter very disturbing.
Miss Coulter is a huge supporter of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and especially his seemingly hard-line on illegal immigration. A separate post for another time. But in Miss Coulter's zeal to make illegal immigration the issue of the upcoming presidential election, this is what she was willing to give up:

I don't care if @realDonaldTrump wants to perform abortions in the White House after this immigration policy paper

Really? Why would you tweet such a thing, Ann? Are you saying the wholesale murder of babies at the hands of the Abortuary Industrial Complex is OK as long as we build that wall and round up all illegal aliens and ship 'em home (only the "good ones" can come back in a expedited process).
The visual of what Miss Coulter tweeted is revolting.
Putting that aside, this is a huge problem of single-issue candidates and their supporters. They are so focused on the one issue that they do not see the forest through the trees.
Mr. Trump is suspect in so many areas of importance to conservatives and even Republicans and especially on abortion, there is no doubt that he really has not given any serious thought to the issue. And make no mistake, it is an issue of importance to many conservatives beyond social conservatives. Especially the fact that the federal government grants over $500,000,000 annually to Planned Parenthood, a private, non-profit organization. Oh, and Planned Parenthood is not supposed to use the money to perform abortions. But if you really think that there is some accounting of that federal, re: taxpayers, money, there is sure as hell no viable proof of it.
I would expect Miss Coulter to mock the other side as in liberals, leftists and the like. But to casually tweet such a sentiment, on a Sunday no less, shows something unbecoming of one that I have liked over the years for her clear-eyed view of the world.
But Miss Coulter is simply a supporter of a candidate and based on one position.
Ohio Republican John Kasich is an actual candidate for president. And it appears that he does not like that the Republican party talks too much about abortion. 
Now to his credit, Gov. Kasich has made it harder for the Abortuary Industrial Complex to do business in Ohio. And when he served in congress, he was a very good congressman on abortion issues.
But the dirty secret is that the dude who is running Team Kasich is named John Weaver, a GOP consultant class loser if there ever was one. Mr. Weaver hates the conservative base that is the GOP. He really believes in somehow gaining respectability by narrowing and not expanding the field. After all, the greatest failure of Mr. Weaver's illustrious career was that of Sen. John "F--- You" McCain in 2000. Yeah, like any other political consultant, he can point to a success or two. Notably he did help Michigan GOP governor, Rick Snyder, win in 2010. But overall, Mr. Weaver is a weasel and a proven loser.
So, maybe this is why Mr. Kasich, again noted to be pro-life, felt a need to say the following:

I think (abortion) is an important issue, but I think there's many other issues that are really critical. Early childhood. Infant mortality. The environment. Education. I think we focus too much on one issue, and now that gay marriage is kind of off the table, we're kind of down to one social issue.

Where oh where does one start?!
Look, abortion is an important issue because it determines overall what kind of society we are. If we look at babies as nothing, then all the other issues that Gov. Kasich rightfully pointed out are not all that important. The whole reason of being that there is the Republican party is the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And that all are created equal. Not equal outcomes in life, but created equal. That is why the GOP was so against slavery. And in a similar vein, why since Ronald Reagan it has taken the righteous position of being pro-life.
Had Gov. Kasich actually made it a part of his litany rather than something separate, it would make the abortion issue a part of rather than a separate issue. For all of the issues are extremely important that he mentioned in his rip on pro-lifers.
And worst of all is that he falls into the leftist trap (and consultant-class Republicans) that there have only been two social issues that animate GOP voters. Abortion and same-sex marriage.
In fact and indeed, GOP voters look at early childhood development, infant mortality and education as equal social issues. Throw in criminal justice and prison reform and there is more than just abortion and same-sex marriage.
Conservatism and by extension the Republican party is a coalition. And for the most part there is agreement on issues. But it is tiresome to see when trying to push a certain agenda conservatives seem to like to mock those of us that are pro-life and that we are too focused on that one issue. It is why I am not a one-issue kinda guy. If I were I would sit out more elections than participate in. The one issue to me is the United States moving in and beginning a conservative Renaissance. Short-shifting our partners in coalition is not going to help us get there.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Sane Approach To Border Security First

But trust me, this will not keep Donald Trump and the Trumpettes quiet or even give it a serious thought.
This piece put out by the editors of National Review is one of the best regarding the illegal immigration crisis I have seen in a long time.
Unlike so many talking points and positions, this actually is about the one thing that most reasonable people agree about in regards to this debate.
Border security.
The problem with the so-called "comprehensive immigration reform" approach is that it takes on way too much all at one time. Sort of like so-called "comprehensive health care reform" or any other big government schemes.
What excites the Trumpettes is that their leader, the Donald, says he will build a wall along the Southern border of the United States and Mexico.
A wall is good in theory if there is one long line. But there is not. As we see there are hills, valleys and even a river that divides the two nations. It is probably impossible to build an actual wall. But as I have pointed out, mostly on Facebook, is that there is a multi-pronged approach. The editorial addresses that subject. There are parts of the border where an actual wall is possible and a good idea. But there are other parts that would require more of a barrier approach. And, this is most important, actually letting the Border Patrol do their job and arrest those crossing the border illegally. What upsets many Americans, myself included, is the way that the Obama administration has tried to essentially legalize millions of illegal aliens by executive order. And seeing just how easy it is to enter the United States pretty much with ease.
However, that is just a part of the problem.
Another part of the problem is that many people do come to the United States legally but simply overstay their  visas. And that there is no effective way to enforce our immigration laws at the workplace.
Here is where the Donald's supporters need to understand that even now, he is still essentially an open-borders dude. Interviewed by CNN, the Donald started with the canard that illegal aliens are doing the jobs that Americans won't do. Uh, Americans will not work for little if any wages. The reality is that illegals are often paid off the books, with cash. There is no discernible way to really track illegal workers. Really, if there are no illegals to clean the toilets and Americans will have to be paid a decent, market-driven wage, they will do it. And then there is the "plan" to deport the supposed 11,000,000 illegal aliens to the nation of origin (sorry but they are not all from Mexico). Then he would put most in the front of the line for an "expedited" reentry process.
As the editorial notes, it's amnesty-laundering and is in fact and indeed a much more costly process. As well as a true slap in the face to those that are trying to actually become American citizens the right and legal way.
What the the Donald and his Trumpettes are falling into the trap of is giving credence to those that want to approach this problem in the wrong way and worse. This is why the so-called "comprehensive immigration reform" folks will gain traction. Because they want to do something. Even if it screws up a system even worse than it is now.
Now I wish in the perfect world that we can have a humane policy of repatriating illegals back to their country of origin. But there is not. And the editorial points out what to do about those already here is secondary to solving the immediate problem of border security.
So here is the plan the editors of National Review advocate:

1) Build and supplement border barriers where appropriate, and see to it that they are patrolled.

2) Develop an effective system for those who overstay their visas, deport over-stayers, and impose heavy sanctions on them, and impose heavy sanctions , up to and including a lifetime ban on future travel to the United States. 

3) Mandate the national use of E-verify or another system for checking employment eligibility, and then take the necessary additional step of making sure that records are current and complete so as to avoid the use of hijacked Social Security numbers.

4) Reform employment laws to impose much heavier penalties on those that employ illegals, and make those cases easier to prosecute.

5) Decline to renew the legal status granted under President Obama's executive amnesty; and then, when that's done, on the matter of the illegals who are already here, do . . . more or less what we've been doing, at least for a while, deporting those illegals who come into custody as we do under current protocols. 

That is a solid plan that can lead to a serious decline in illegal immigration. And there is a serious policy for border security.
One aspect that I would add is to penalize so-called "sanctuary" cities for defying federal law by withholding any federal funds. I'm not asking the local police to become ICE agents or Border Patrol agents. But when they do have a suspect in custody and it is clear that person is an illegal alien, hand them over for deportation processing.
Here is also a reality we who live in border states do not realize.
That even in much of the United States, the perception is that illegal immigration is not a major problem. In almost all polling data, immigration issues are at the bottom along with global warming, aka climate change. No candidate is tying illegal immigration with the increasing possibility of the easy access of terrorists to the United States via illegal immigration and or legal immigration and simply overstaying a visa.
But those of us that live on the front lines of the problem, the border states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas see the problem first hand. And that is why so many people do not get why illegal immigration is not a much more serious and or higher-ranking problem that needs to be responsibility dealt with.
The GOP candidate that can take this and articulate it in a coherent manner will be the one that has a real handle on the issue and can frame it in solving the immediate problem now and work on the other aspects once we can verifiably know our borders are secure.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Why Are So Many Supporting Donald Trump?!

As a conservative and a life-long Republican, I can not figure out nor understand the appeal of one Donald J. Trump and why in the hell he is the GOP frontrunner.
Before I continue, let me say that if anyone regularly reads this blog should know, I am not some establishment toady in the least. I don't need to go into my bonifides but check out more here to get the point.
One aspect of the appeal is the frustration that many of us have that the GOP leadership in congress is not exactly doing what we would like them to do. The GOP congressional leadership seems interested in proving to the the MSM and the leftywhore media that they can "govern". Hell, even work with the Dear Leader, President Obama. That is all true. They have done nothing to promote, for instance, legislation that would address the subject of border security. One thing the base and the majority of voters seem to want is strong, verifiable border security. We want a wall built once and for all. We want Border Patrol agents to do their job and arrest lawbreakers trying to enter this nation illegally. It's a totally winning issue with wide, bipartisan support.
Is congress, the GOP-majority congress, doing anything about it?
Yes, that is the sound of crickets chirping loudly as hell.
How about defunding of Planned Parenthood? Again, that is a winning issue as we see the blood on the hands of those who were caught selling aborted baby tissues and possible suitable organs. Games were played by the senate majority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the senate essentially made sure that there was no possible way there would be 60 possible votes to defund the abortion provider.
I give but two examples that frustrate the base. There are quite a few others, but this inaction by a supposed Republican congress seems to have provided a lot of  the support that the Donald has gained in this campaign.
It appears that the issue du jour that animates the Trumpettes the most is illegal immigration.
Those that support the Donald loved it when in his presidential announcement that he would build an impenetrable wall and also have Mexico pay for it. Since then, like on everything else he is like crap-all over the place. What those excited about his seemingly tough stand on illegal immigration do not want to be told is that he does not oppose amnesty. That he would not deport the oft-reported number of 11,000,000 illegal aliens. For some sane approach to dealing with the illegal immigration problem, this from the editors of National Review is worth a read. I'm sure that the Donald will not read it because it might actually make him change his mind and support this strategy.
The Donald is a walking bag on contradictions.
On the one hand, the Donald claims that socialized medicine is awesome in Canada and Scotland. At one time in a past life, the Donald actually supported Hillary Clinton and her socialist-medicine power grab in the mid 1990s. Now during last week's GOP debate, he did take one conservative theme and supports being able to buy health insurance across state lines. But in the same breath he said that he will take care of those who do not have health insurance coverage and did not provide details.
That is kind of the Donald's style. Shoot off the mouth and seem like the tough guy in the room. Then when fleshed out in questioning, the Donald can not make his case.
I'm not sure what is worse. The Donald or his supporters.
Trying to engage with Trumpettes is almost as bad as engaging with lefties. Every discussion disintegrates into a Trumpette saying that if you're not with Trump then you are an establishment toady and really secretly for one John Ellis Bush, aka Jeb! Bush. There is this either or mentality the Trumpettes make and it is such a false choice.
It's not Trump vs. Bush. There are 15 other announced, serious candidates. There is really something for everyone. There is the establishment choice, Mr. Bush and a Tea Party favorite such as Sen. Ted Cruz. Or Gov. Scott Walker. There is the libertarian choice in Sen Rand Paul. There are unity candidates such as Sen. Marco Rubio or former businessman Carly Fiorina. They are but a few candidates. What the Trumpettes do is offer a false choice because their dude is anti-establishment. He's truth-telling. Of course when pressed, there is not any specific issue that they can articulate the Donald is truth-telling in the least.
If someone says that they are Tea Party and support the Donald, I don't get it. For the Donald himself admitted in the debate that he was in fact and indeed the biggest crony capitalist there is. He admitted, proudly, that he has bought off many a pol in both parties. The crux of the Tea Party and the frustration with big government are people like the Donald. The fact is the Donald has supported and continues to support eminent domain. That is when the government condemns an "blighted" area of property and deigns it a redevelopment area. Who has benefited by such decisions in New York City? Why of course, the Donald.
Please, Trumpettes, try to explain that to me.
A lot of the Donald's defenders say that he is conservative now. That Ronald Reagan used to be a liberal Democrat. The difference is that Mr. Reagan did not just one day go from FDR Democrat to Goldwater Republican. It was a serious evolution that basically developed throughout the 1950s/ In fact Mr. Reagan was still a Democrat and the head of Democrats for Nixon is 1960. By 1964, Mr. Reagan took the plunge and became a Republican. And a conservative Republican.
Just because the Donald talks tough on illegal immigration is not enough for me. I want my party to nominate the most electable conservative. I don't believe that is Donald Trump and I do not believe that is Jeb! Bush. We have a lot of time to go, but I will not get the support that Donald J. Trump has in his quixotic quest for the GOP presidential nomination.