Have you heard? Democrats hate America.

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Photo by T. Chick McClure on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, someone close to me, who is a Republican, posted on Facebook this message:

We hated Obama like you hate Trump.

Except we hated

Obama because he

hates America.

 

You hate Trump

Because YOU hate

America.

And I saw comments posted in response to articles in The Washington Post that Democrats hate America.  I wondered where this came from.  Why do Republicans think that Democrats hate America?  So I searched and found a Facebook page called “Democrats Hate America.”  This is their story, quoted from their Facebook page:

Every day, the modern Democrats take the side of criminals, illegal aliens, and foreigners over law-abiding U.S. citizens. Democrats despise free speech and the free exchange of ideas. Democrats despise Democracy, where free pe0ple [sic] can speak their minds and argue for change or not without being attacked and insulted. Democrats routinely act in bad faith and tell lies about their opponents. Democrats also despise the rule of law, and always seek political, extra-legal, and corrupt judicial pronouncements to circumvent the law the People want.

Yes, we were all Democrats once, until we did years of independent research, reviewing source documents, interviews, statements, statistics, etc. At some point, we had to be honest with ourselves. We had to admit that we believed in a Big Lie: the modern Democrat Party.

Please submit your examples of how Democrats Hate America. . . .

P.S. We reject the use of threats and violence, except in extreme cases where force is needed to defend oneself or others. If attacked by a Democrat Resistance member, try to run away. Use force only if there is no escape from Democrat violence. And use only that force necessary to stop the threat, and no more than that.

I had no idea that Democrats were such ignorant, hateful, violent, lying criminals who hate free speech.  I was shocked.  One post says that Democrats don’t want to secure the border because “Democrats benefit politically and financially from the work of Drug Cartels/Human Traffickers. Naturally, there will be no evidence of direct payments made to Democrats by Crimimals [sic].”  If they have no evidence, how can they make this statement?  I thought they conducted “independent research.”  Where is it?

Adding to this anti-Democrat fervor is a book called “Why the Left Hates America,” which, according to Publishers Weekly, criticizes those who criticize the United States government.

Then the Washington Times used Gallup poll data that only 32% of Democrats are “extremely proud” to be an American as evidence that Democrats hate America.[1]  And because 46% of Democrats answered this poll in the same way when President Obama was in office, the Washington Times concluded that “the left only likes America when a progressive-slash-socialist is at the helm — which, in constitutional terms, would mean the Dems only profess pride in America when America’s headed down a path it was never intended to tread. How quaint.”[2]

The same is being said of Republicans.  It turns out that they, too, hate America.[3]  But at least the sole article that makes this statement backs it up with facts.  In contrast, Republicans offer no facts at all.

Do all Americans hate America?

No American – Republican or Democrat – needs to be “extremely proud” of America to be patriotic.  Those who want to improve America – to “make it great again” – can be patriotic.  So criticizing the government by those on either side of the aisle does not make them unpatriotic.

Mark Twain said, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”  Patriotism is not unquestioning loyalty to a political party.  It is loyalty to a country.

But accusing others of being unpatriotic without facts is not patriotism.  It is hate.  When someone accuses another of being unpatriotic based only on speculation, those people look like they hate everyone but those in their own party.  That is a whole lot of hate.

 

[1] Cheryl Chumley, Democrats hate America – and here are the numbers to prove it, The Washington Times, July 3, 2018.

[2] Id.

[3] Carol Anderson, Why Do Republicans Hate America, Huffington Post, January 18, 2018.

 

Every day is Backward Day in the Trump Administration

!yaD drawkcaB yppaH

 

Today is National Backward Day.  It honors everything backward.  That means this is a great day to honor the Trump Administration.

Why do I say this?  Because the policies of the Trump Administration move our country into the past. For example, Mr. Trump promised in his campaign to “bring back jobs in manufacturing after decades of decline.”[1]  But “[t]o those who see the future of the American economy in services, these promises seemed backward.”[2]

President Trump also wants to build a wall across our Southern border.  Texas State Representative Will Hurd (R.) rightfully called it “a third-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”[3]

And President Trump promised to put coal miners back to work mining “the dirtiest of fossil fuels”[4] by loosening pollution regulations on coal-fired power plants.[5]  But coal is no longer cost-competitive with cheaper natural gas and the declining costs of cleaner, renewable energy.[6]   In short, coal’s time is over.

Those that President Trump has appointed to head federal agencies have worked against the goals of those agencies:

  • Scott Wheeler at the Environmental Protection Agency: The mission of the E.P.A. “is to protect human health and the environment.”[7] The person in charge of this mission is a former coal lobbyist.  And he has acted in accordance with his former occupation, proposing changes to the way the government evaluates the costs and benefits of air pollution generally and the regulation of mercury emissions specifically.[8]  This change invites the very industry that causes mercury emissions — the coal industry — to challenge their regulation in court.[9]  And Wheeler is involved in other rollbacks of E.P.A. regulations that threaten the health of this country and climate change.[10]

 

  • Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior: Among other tasks, the Interior Department “conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources.”[11] Instead, Zink promoted opening the East Coast to offshore drilling, weakened the Endangered Species Act, and slashed the size of two national monuments, “constituting the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history.”[12]  His resignation is unlikely to stop the abuse of this country’s natural resources with his likely replacement to be David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist.[13]

 

  • Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development:  With no experience in housing or urban development, Nancy Pelosi called him a “disturbingly unqualified choice.”[14]  But more disturbing is his view on fair housing policy, which he called “social engineering.”[15] Under Carson, more federally subsidized housing is failing inspections, unfit for human habitation, and is not being remediated.[16]  But with subsidies tied to housing, tenants cannot leave.[17]  Carson has also proposed raising poor families’ rents.[18]  In other words, he heads up a housing agency that is not interested in housing anyone.

 

  • Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy: The mission of the U.S. Department of Energy “is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”[19]  Once vowing to shut down the Department of Energy, Perry is now in charge of it.[20]  In the battle between economic growth and protecting the environment, Perry has chosen to boost the economy by supporting fossil fuels.[21]

 

  • Betsy Devos, Secretary of Education. The Department of Education’s mission “is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”[22]  An advocate of school choice, Devos has sought to permit children to abandon public schools by giving tax money to private schools that they attend.[23]  And she has worked to protect for-profit colleges who failed to provide legitimate degrees by eliminating loan forgiveness to their students.[24]  To oversee fraud investigations at the Department of Education, she appointed the former dean of Devry University, who paid $100 million to settle a lawsuit against Devry for misleading marketing tactics.[25]  In short, Devos is an Education Secretary who has worked to harm students and public schools and is not interested in ferreting out fraud in education.

 

So, if President Trump honors Backward Day, he’ll reverse his backward direction and move this country forward.  That will be a day to celebrate!

 

[1] The Economist, Manufacturing jobs are defying expectations, October 18, 2018.

[2] Id.

[3] William Cummings, Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd calls Trump border crisis “a myth,” USA Today, January 20, 2019.

[4] Nicole Goodkind, Trump Says He ‘Saved Coal,’ but Miner Deaths Nearly Doubled in His First Year, Newsweek, January 27, 2018.

[5] Brad Plumer, Trump’s New Pollution Rules Still Won’t Save the Coal Industry, The New York Times, August 22, 2018.

[6] Nicole Goodkind, Trump Says He ‘Saved Coal,’ but Miner Deaths Nearly Doubled in His First Year, Newsweek, January 27, 2018.

[7] United States Environmental Protection Agency.

[8] Dominique Browning, This Coal Lobbyist Should Not Run the E.P.A., The New York Times, January 14, 2019.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] U.S. Department of the Interior.

[12] Julie Turkewitz and Coral Davenport, Ryan Zinke, Face of Environmental Rollbacks, is Leaving Interior Department, The New York Times, December 15, 2018.

[13] Id.

[14] Rebecca Harrington and Skye Gould, Meet the Cabinet:  Here are the 24 people Trump has appointed to the top leadership positions, Business Insider, March 13, 2018.

[15] Id.

[16] Suzy Khimm, Laura Strickler, Hannah Rappleye and Stephanie Gosk, Under Ben Carson, more families live in HUD housing that fails health and safety inspections, NBC News, November 14, 2018.

[17] Id.

[18] Id.

[19] U.S. Department of Energy.

[20] Rebecca Harrington and Skye Gould, Meet the Cabinet:  Here are the 24 people Trump has appointed to the top leadership positions, Business Insider, March 13, 2018.

[21] James Osborne, Energy Secretary Rick Perry calls shift away from fossil fuels ‘immoral,’ Houston Chronicle, March 7, 2018.

[22] U.S. Department of Education.

[23] Laura Meckler, The education of Betsy Devos:  Why her school choice agenda has not advanced, The Washington Post, September 4, 2018.

[24] Gail Collins, The Bane That is Betsy Devos, The New York Times, August 17, 2018.

[25] Id.

 

Why are men – and boys – making decisions about women’s bodies?

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Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

The recent episode involving the boys from a Covington, Kentucky high school and a Native American activist has ignored the reason for the boys being in D.C. in the first place.  These high school boys were there to participate in a pro-life march.[1]  Now, wait.  Let that sink in.  These high school boys were there to participate in a pro-life march.  They drove half-way across the country so they could tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.  Who do they think they are?

Well, they are probably exactly like men across this country who are telling women that if they get pregnant, they have to carry the baby to term.  Women are being attacked on two fronts.

First, abortion rights under Roe v. Wade are being whittled away by state legislatures.  With conservative Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh joining the U.S. Supreme Court, state legislatures feel emboldened to pass more anti-abortion measures.  Several state legislatures are expected to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as 18 days after conception.[2]  Other states have enacted bans on abortions of Down’s Syndrome babies.[3]  Another state seeks to include abortion in the state’s definition of felony homicide, which could be punishable by life in prison.[4]  Many of these laws have been challenged in court.[5]

The second area of attack is legislation that subjects mothers to jail time if they cause harm to the fetus – even accidentally.[6]  In fact, at least 38 states and the federal government have these fetal homicide laws.[7]  In those states, a mother who took a drug prescribed by her doctor or who was involved in a car accident and wasn’t wearing a seat belt can be charged with manslaughter if the fetus dies.[8]  In some states, pregnant women have lost the right to consent to surgery or receive treatment for a medical condition.[9]  If you are a woman and become pregnant in one of those states, your body is no longer your own.[10]

And who is leading these efforts?  Men.  In Kentucky, the Senate Majority Leader said that his state challenging Roe v. Wade “would be absolutely the pinnacle of my career in the legislature.”[11]  In Missouri, Florida, and South Carolina, the lawmakers introducing fetal heartbeat bills are men.[12]

Obviously, men cannot get pregnant.  Absent legal process, men also do not have to take responsibility for a baby they fathered.  Even after proving paternity in court, men can disappear and refuse to support that child.  Yet men are telling women that they have to carry these babies to term.  And in 38 jurisdictions, these women have to do so carefully – or they may serve time in jail.

Whether you support abortion or not, it is women who should be making these decisions – not men whose lives proceed uninterrupted by pregnancy and childbirth.  And certainly not high school boys who know little or nothing about women’s reproductive issues.

In short, I am not willing to listen to a grown man – let alone a high school boy — tell me how to live my life.  Are you?

 

[1] Michelle Boorstein, Kentucky bishop apologizes to Covington Catholic students, says he expects their exoneration, The Washington Post, January 25, 2019.

[2] David Crary, Battles expected in many states over abortion-related bills, Chicago Tribune, January 18, 2019; Heather Shumaker, Dear State Legislatures:  Stop Advancing Unconstitutional Abortion Bans, National Women’s Law Center, May 14, 2018; Micaiah Bilger, South Carolina Bill Would Ban Abortions After an Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins, LifeNews.com, January 11, 2019.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Editorial Board, A Woman’s Rights, December 28, 2018.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] David Crary, Battles expected in many states over abortion-related bills, Chicago Tribune, January 18, 2019.

[12] Samuel King, Missouri to Consider ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion Restriction That’s Been Struck Down Elsewhere, KCUR, January 24, 2019; Micaiah Bilger, South Carolina Bill Would Ban Abortions After an Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins, LifeNews.com, January 11, 2019; Danielle Garrand, Florida bill would ban abortions if fetal heartbeat detected, CBS News, January 22, 2019.

Don’t put up with another shutdown!

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Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash

We Americans have permitted our government to behave this way.  The shutdown may be over for now, but the border wall battle rages on with another showdown coming in three weeks.  We tolerated forcing 800,000 federal employees to live without a paycheck.  We consented to the drag on our economy.  We accepted the long TSA lines.  But we don’t have to.  And we shouldn’t.  This is our country and our government.

But many people are tired.  They are tired of the lies and the inaction and the blaming and the bickering coming out of Washington.  Some I know have simply stopped watching the news.  They just can’t take it anymore.

Others are waiting to see what happens next.  So America waits, either out of exhaustion or wariness.  And nothing changes.

Unlike a toddler throwing a temper tantrum, ignoring the President is unlikely to end his bad behavior.  He is more likely to behave like a kid who doesn’t get caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar – he’ll keep ruining his dinner and move on to the cash in your bureau drawer.  And like children bickering in the back seat, Congress, too, will continue its contentious ways if we don’t threaten to “come back there” by voting for someone else in the next election.

Urging the need for a border wall, President Trump calls the immigrants “a humanitarian crisis . . . on our Southern border” and an “invasion” that is “bad and dangerous . . . for our ENTIRE COUNTRY.”[1]

But a Texas Congressman with a district along the border calls that a “myth” and the border wall “a third-century solution to a 21st-century problem.”[2]  Republican Will Hurd offers a common-sense approach to address the problems of drugs and immigrants entering this country illegally.  He proposes four solutions: [3]

  1. Erect a barrier only where cities in America and Mexico butt up against each other at the border, like El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
  2. Increase “security at points of entry, where the bulk of illegal drugs come into the U.S.;”
  3. Improve “technology along the border to create a ‘smart fence;’” and
  4. Develop a “Marshall Plan for Central America” to improve life there so migrants will stay in their own countries.

The only thing left out of this plan is the majority of immigrants in this country — those who overstay their visas.  So we need to provide additional funding for their apprehension as well.

Let’s all get on board with this Republican and end this shutdown permanently by doing something about border security that will make a difference, not a monument.  Reach out to your representatives in Congress – by phone, email, or postcard — and let them know what makes sense to you.

[1] Rebecca Morin, Trump warns of invasion as he tried to pitch border crisis on the border,” Politico, January 11, 2019.

[2] William Cummings, Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd calls Trump border crisis “a myth,” USA Today, January 20, 2019.

[3] Id.

Most illegal immigrants would love a border wall

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Since 2007, more than twice the number of immigrants overstay their visas than cross the border.[1]  Of those coming across the border, 18% are seeking asylum.[2]  So, illegal immigrants crossing the border number only 218,820 per year with over 700,000 overstaying their visas. [3]

The Department of State would be the agency to deport those illegal immigrants.[4]  But no one is talking about increasing their funding.  In fact, no one is talking about visa overstays at all.

So these illegal immigrants have to be thrilled.  They are safe from deportation.  And they didn’t have to trek miles to the border and be separated from their children.  Life is easy for them and will likely remain so.

[1] Carmin Chappell, Most illegal immigration doesn’t come through the Mexican border where Trump wants to build his wall, CNBC, January 8, 2019.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Richard Gonzales, For 7th Consecutive Year, Visa Overstays Exceeded Illegal Border Crossings, npr, January16, 2019.

What’s all this fuss about the 2019 Women’s March?

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Photo by T. Chick McClure on Unsplash

The Women’s March will take place on January 19, 2019 all over the world and in cities across the country.[1]  But why should women march?  After all, they have the vote.  A record number of women have been elected to Congress:  25 of 100 senators and 102 of 435 representatives are women.[2]  Of the 50 states, nine have female governors.[3]  A quarter of all state representatives are women,[4] and nearly 5% of the nation’s CEOS are women.[5]  Women have made real progress.  Isn’t that enough?

Women outnumber men – in the population and at work.[6]  But the guy next to you doing the exact same job earns almost 20% more than you. [7]  Why not?  He needs it for his boy toys.  Those are expensive.

On the job, 38% of women are sexually harassed. [8]   But men flirting with women or commenting on their breasts and legs is flattering.  If they touch a woman or kiss her, what harm does that do?  Doesn’t it make her feel pretty?

And because the boss is likely to be a man who has done some of the same things at work, the harasser knows nothing will happen to him.  He’ll deny it, and she won’t be able to prove it.  If she complains, she won’t be fired – that’s illegal.  But she’ll be moved to another position or forced to leave when she is given negative performance reviews and shunned by her coworkers.

No, you don’t have time to march.  You have laundry and housework to do.  Who is going to do it if you don’t?  If you go, you won’t have anything clean to wear to work on Monday.  Besides, you need to be home to cook the meals.

Hey, and what about these accusations of anti-Semitism against some of the leaders of the Women’s March?  They have denied it, but aren’t the accusations enough for you to abandon supporting equality for all women.  You don’t want to be associated with that.  So be happy with what you have and forget the march.

By the way, what’s for dinner?

[1] Women’s March 2019. https://actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/third-annual-womens-march-womenswave

[2] Drew Desilver, A record number of women will be serving in the new Congress, Pew Research Center, December 18, 2018.  http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/12/18/record-number-women-in-congress/

[3] Emma Green, The Year of the Woman Still Leaves Women With Terrible Representation in Government, The Atlantic, November 7, 2018.  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/11/the-2018-midterms-belong-to-women/575140/

[4] National Conference of State Legislatures, Women in State Legislatures For 2018, June 28, 2018.  http://www.ncsl.org/legislators-staff/legislators/womens-legislative-network/women-in-state-legislatures-for-2018.aspx

[5] Valentina Zarya, The Share of Female CEOs in the Fortune 500 Dropped by 25% in 2018, Fortune, May 21, 2018.  http://fortune.com/2018/05/21/women-fortune-500-2018/

[6] United States Census Bureau.  https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/LFE046217

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

Our country in 2021

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Photo by salvatore ventura on Unsplash

January 15, 2021:

Today, our new president gets sworn in.  This country has changed greatly over the last four years.  The economy has changed.  The environment has changed.  Immigration has changed.  Let’s take a look at what our new president has to contend with.

The border wall was built.  In early 2019, President Trump did not sign the appropriations bills put before him without funding for his border wall.  In a desperate attempt to end the partial government shutdown, Congress caved and gave him $1.6 billion for his wall.  But that was not enough.  It only built a part of the wall.  Eventually, Congress appropriated another $13.4 billion to complete it.

And the wall did reduce the flow of immigrants across the border . . . by 7%.  Because most illegal immigrants did not cross the border but overstayed their visas, the wall did little good.  Immigrants found other ways to sneak into this country, through tunnels and new ways to conceal themselves when crossing checkpoints.  But tourists visit the wall and giddily take pictures of “Trump’s Folly.”

Not only did the wall prevent few immigrants from illegally entering our country, its construction destroyed the nation’s richest butterfly refuge in the lower Rio Grande Valley.  So the wall pushed the Monarch butterflies, who were teetering on the brink of extinction, over the edge.

If the wall had not destroyed them, the environment would have.   The seven warmest years on record have occurred since 2010.  Hurricanes, extreme rainfalls, and wildfires continued to ravage different areas of the country.

Refusing to believe in climate change, the Trump administration pursued a pro-fossil-fuels agenda.  It permitted oil and gas drilling in western states, killing sage grouse to the point of extinction.  Seismic airgun blasts allowed by the Trump administration to search for lucrative oil and gas deposits have destroyed some marine life; and an oil spill permanently stained the Arctic after an oil corporation was permitted to drill oil and gas production wells there for the first time.  The Trump administration also rolled back federal regulations on vehicle fuel efficiency and the capture of methane in natural gas production, filling the air with toxins.  Coincidentally, the Trump administration cancelled a study of air pollution levels in 2018 and refused to permit any to be done since then.

President Trump also tried to revive coal mining, an industry dominant in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.   In West Virginia, coal mining pollutes its waterways; and a coal-burning plant in Houston releases dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide in the air.

The economy, too, will prove challenging.  The stock market has been on a roller coaster ride since late 2018, with the continuing trade war and tweets from President Trump sending stocks up or down.  Corporate farms have taken over family farms closed by Trump tariffs, interest rates rose, and the deficit is now at $1.5 trillion.  The Tax Cuts Act of 2018 resulted in more damage, causing companies to move manufacturing jobs overseas.

The bright side is that more people became interested in politics.  Citizens are telling their congressional representatives what they want and expect from them.  People are marching in every city across the country to protest policies repugnant to them.  Voter turnout is at an all-time high.  In fact, more people voted for this new president than any other in history.

But that won’t make the job any easier.  Yes, our new president has a lot of work ahead.