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He came out of the gold-plated suites and privileged classes of New York, screwing over others as an unbearable dork.
A loan from his father made it really all possible. But he helped to create a son who was insecure and irascible.
A braggart and a playboy he soon became, shamelessly flaunting his wealth with nobody but himself to blame.
But woe-is-me his elitist education and job success couldn’t correct a defective personality, given his proclivity for lying and womanizing and that was his reality.
By night he had the morals of an alley cat, but in the daylight of business he was nothing but a “dirty” little rat. Some women nonetheless saw him as somebody’s Mr. Right, despite the fact he really wasn’t too bright.
Onward and upward ever did he go, trampling people and businesses just for show. Oh my! He went ahead buying and building, building and buying, buildings that could reach the sky, that he was somehow the perfect guy who ended up so high.
But soon his empire began to crumble, implode and abort, when he finally started to end up in bankruptcy court.
He desperately wanted to be wealthy beyond all belief, but when his Atlantic City and fraudulent Trump University ended in a legal brief, it caused contractors and students alike only misery and grief. With this business failure and his tumbling fall, they began to feel he was not a clever business mogul at all. Soon the public began recognizing he always wanted others to take the blame, for his bad business decisions and that brought him much shame.
. He began to have dreams that he was some kind of Adonis and God’s gift to women with whom he was never modest. He liked to grope and fondle women any time he wanted, and cavalierly act and never be undaunted.
It is alleged he raped, beat and threatened a young girl of 13 in 1994; he believed he could get away with it, after all, he thought; she was just a little whore.
The irony of ironies surfaced just five years earlier when Trump couldn’t be anything but surlier, when he accused and condemned publicly like a shark, five minority teenage boys of raping and beating a white female jogger in New York City’s Central Park.
Exoneration followed when the five young men were released from prison when justice had finally arisen. Trump continued his aggression because of his obsession despite the fact their convictions were vacated based on DNA evidence and a murderer’s confession.
Trump enjoys hurting innocent people; it’s his way of feeling superior like a rising phoenix soaring above a church steeple. Just like a criminal offender who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client, Trump looks in his own mirror and sees an awesome 10 foot giant. Delusions of grandeur follow him everywhere, but he, quite frankly, doesn’t really give a damn or a care.
Bigger and bigger his fantasies did grow, till one day he could even see his own glow. .He thought to himself I am the anointed one, and wouldn’t it be so much fun to become the next president for which there is no precedent. He dwelled on this fantasy ‘till one day he thought he really should be president and become the White House’s next resident. Didn’t you know, it was all just to be a really big TV reality show?
Elected he was and that caused such a buzz. The American people immediately went into a catastrophic depression, hoping beyond hope his actions wouldn’t bring war, locus, petulance or even a recession.
He and his tweeter have created much theater. This barbarian has many short comings because his tweets are like non-sensical nothings. His arguments and statements are mostly fallacious and he desperately needs an editor to deal with his thinking processes that are non-sequitur.
He bragged about crowds being larger than ever, thinking his lies would make him look clever. Despite losing to Hillary Clinton by 3 million in the popular vote, he tried to hide his lack of support behind his ugliest, ugliest gloat.
One of Trump’s greatest mistakes came back to punch him in the chin, 21 days after he had appointed then terminated a security advisor named Flynn. Successes by Trump seem to elude him making him feel all the more grim. What can you expect from the president, who Senator Mitch McConnell said, “Our New president, of course, has not been in this line of work before.” and probably thought to himself he’s really just a baboon and a jerk?
Running a government in today’s world is no small matter. The only thing Trump has going for him is his egotistically-driven swagger. Trump has done nothing to really help his own base, other than to generate divisiveness based on someone’s race.
It seems a delusional state can always amass, when followers follow him and his values so crass, and values everyone should dump in the trash. Collectively, Trump and his ardent followers are headed toward the gates of hell, where they all together one day will dwell.
This charlatan and con man extraordinaire with his authoritarian personality and outlook on life, is creating a country with too much strife. The Nazis, KKK and white nationalists came out of the woodwork, to sing the praises of their anointed God in the White House and put to sleep forever any notion of sanity, because everywhere they go they are nothing but a calamity promoting their insanity.
Playing to his base or his white-nationalist Homies he showed he was dictator of all the people by firing Mr. Comey. Mr. Comey was a distinguished director of the FBI and was forced to be laid-off, so Trump could continue to run the government like an evil despicable man named Adolf.
He tries to convince everyone he is really a tough guy and a smart-looking social dandy, but most believe this is a façade; he’s really a sissy-like pansy. He walks around the White House like a Peacock in heat, thinking about how best to construct his next tweet.
Final Poetic Comments
Most people in the country wanted to puke at the fluke of the 2016 election. They wanted to wish it away, keep him at bay, and never be president—not a single day. He brought the American public to tears, by creating incipient anguish and playing to their worst fears.
History books must omit any mention of American’s greatest political rake, while Trump voters come to accept the fact that they caused our country’s greatest mistake.
When he leaves office there will be no statutes or honors to bestow upon Trump, except for that golden calf that will bring such wrath. Once again Moses will come down from Mount Sinai and chastise Trump supporters for their wanting an autocracy instead of a democracy, all because of their fatuous idolatry.
But another group known as elected republicans can share in the blame as well, because come midterm election day in 2018, they have about as much chance of surviving the election as a snowball in hell.
Trump has surprised everyone by working with democrats to do something to perhaps end their stale-matted combats. At stake today are the lives of 800,000 DACA immigrants who are often treated without respect and fear their departure might be imminent.
Republicans want no role in helping these people stay in America, because love of humanity is for them just too esoterica. They never want to help blacks, Hispanics, Asians or other minorities, the socially disenfranchised, or the lower economic classes. This is because that would defy the moneymakers and republicans always need to dehumanize the masses. Just like the 1994 Contract with America failed and never came to pass, the voters in 2018 need to kick them all out on their ass.
To be sure, there is nothing wrong with being a political conservative; however, it’s just better to choose to be a forward-looking liberal alternative. After all, no conservative is perfect because he lives in the past where time waits for no one, and he hides behind false narratives and the rhetoric of divisiveness, and can’t get legislation through Congress, because of his lack of purpose and decisiveness.
At the heart of a republican’s defect is the inability to put themselves in the shoes of another, or to act benevolently like a caring big brother. Words like sympathy and empathy have great meaning, but republicans prefer to treat others with an attitude that is de-meaning. Remember the sage advice we heard in our youth sometimes out of the blue, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”
Bigots and bandits the Republican Party does comprise, for an informed public that should come as no surprise. Trump the con man played the public for fools and pretended to drain the swamp by changing all the rules. He’ll never keep his promises or create a new promised land. He will bypass any original campaign promises with a sigh, because at heart Donald Trump only believes in one thing—“Me, Myself and I.”
Donald Trump is kind of existential threat to humanity, creating through his executive orders a state of mass insanity. He is not unlike all the nut cases in Samuel Beckett’s 1952 play, “Waiting for Godot,” where they demonstrate that life has no meaning at all, and only suffering, or didn’t you know? That is, he is more than a threat to our mere existence. He threatens our entire way of life, underlying American values and Constitution, all at his insistence.
Impeachment Impeachment where do we stand? It’s waiting for witnesses to take the stand. Obstruction of Justice, Abuse of Power, collusion with Russians, financial crimes and mental incapacitation will soon be terms that are much much clearer, once the House prosecutors and the Senate jury get nearer, to impeaching that garish rogue who thought he was in vogue, who came on the scene despite being obscene.
It’s a sad commentary on American life that we’ve all had to bear witness to a real life tragicomedy in the White House for almost 9 months now. Why has there been any comedic aspect to it? It’s because every time Donald Trump or his surrogates opened their mouth, I was constantly laughing like hell!!! Once again, I say this from my heart; it demonstrates just how peculiar it is when life imitates art.

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Donald Trump’s Presidency in Jeopardy
Impeachment Now on the Horizon

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. The Constitution, Article I, Section 3: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.
Donald Trump’s approval rating is at a 70-year low; it is now at 36 percent. In the months ahead there is a high probability that the presidency of Donald Trump will come to an end in impeachment or resignation. It will be the culmination of an intensive investigation by the Special Prosecutor and intelligence committees in both the House and Senate.
When it comes to criminal charges (and this is my best guess) many people in the Trump Administration, including Donald Trump himself, will be charged with criminal offenses or violations of constitutional law or other federal laws. Without boring my audience and re-hashing all of the things that have led to a failed Trump presidency, I think this Blog would better serve an audience by going over the impeachment process that will be carried out, factors related to the motivation of the Russians to hack our election, and something rather unique in all this, i.e., the concept of “life imitating art” or “art imitating life.” This latter concept will be explained against the backdrop of the strange, often bizarre relationship between the reality of a Trump presidency and the fantasy of the entertainment industry of which he was a part. Explanation will follow shortly.
In addition, it will be important to describe what this author believes was the real underlying motivation of Vladimir Putin to direct a cyber-attack against the United States during and preceding the American presidential election of 2016.
I doubt that President Trump will be removed from office because of treason because the United States is not currently in a “declared war.” However, sharing classified information (top secret, secret, or confidential) with officials of a foreign (albeit enemy) country is a federal crime tantamount to espionage. In addition, the following crimes may come into play during the impeachment process of Donald Trump. These crimes include:
• Obstruction of Justice
• Abuse of Power
• Violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emolument Clause
• Espionage
• Violation of federal laws related to financial or political corruption including illegal campaign finance laws and regulations

The following is an article by Charlie Savage for the New York Times, dated May 17, 2017 and describes how the impeachment process works.

How the Impeachment Process Works
Background
“WASHINGTON — The account from the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey of President Trump pressing him to drop an investigation into Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, has escalated talk among the president’s critics that his actions may amount to obstruction of justice and grounds for impeachment.
Asking F.B.I. to drop an investigation is obstruction of justice, Representative Ted Deutch, Democrat of Florida, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. ‘Obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense.’
But several legal specialists across party lines cautioned that talk of impeachment was premature while the facts remained unclear; the White House has denied that Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Comey to drop the case.
Still, the early chatter has heightened interest in how the impeachment process works. Here’s what you need to know:
What is impeachment?
The Constitution permits Congress to remove presidents before their term is up if enough lawmakers vote to say that they committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Only three presidents have been subjected to impeachment proceedings. Two were impeached but acquitted and stayed in office: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 and 1999. A third, Richard M. Nixon in 1974, resigned to avoid being impeached.
What is the process?
First, the House of Representatives votes on one or more articles of impeachment. If at least one gets a majority vote, the president is impeached — which essentially means being indicted. (In both the Nixon and the Clinton cases, the House Judiciary Committee considered the matter first.)
Next, the proceedings move to the Senate, which holds a trial overseen by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
A team of lawmakers from the House, known as managers, play the role of prosecutors. The president has defense lawyers, and the Senate serves as the jury.
If at least two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed, and the vice president takes over as president.”
What are the rules?
There are no standard rules. Rather, the Senate passes a resolution first laying out trial procedures.
‘When the Senate decided what the rules were going to be for our trial, they really made them up as they went along,’ said Greg Craig, who helped defend Mr. Clinton in his impeachment proceeding and later served as White House counsel to President Barack Obama.
For example, Mr. Craig said, the initial rules in that case gave four days to the Republican managers to make a case for conviction, followed by four days for the president’s legal team to defend him — essentially opening statements. The Senate then decided whether to hear witnesses, and if so, whether it would be live or on videotape. Eventually, the Senate permitted each side to depose several witnesses by videotape.
The rules adopted by the Senate in the Clinton trial — including limiting the number of witnesses and the length of depositions — made it harder to prove a case compared with trials in federal court, said former Representative Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican who served as a House manager during the trial and is also a former United States attorney.
‘Impeachment is a creature unto itself,’ Mr. Barr said. ‘The jury in a criminal case doesn’t set the rules for a case and can’t decide what evidence they want to see and what they won’t.’
What are the standards?
The Constitution allows for the impeachment and removal of a president for ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ But no controlling authority serves as a check on how lawmakers choose to interpret that standard, which makes it as much a question of political will as of legal analysis.
In the case of Mr. Clinton’s trial, for example, Robert Byrd, a Democratic senator from West Virginia at the time, told his colleagues that he thought Mr. Clinton was clearly guilty of perjury but that removing him from office was a bad idea.
‘To drop the sword of Damocles now, given the bitter political partisanship surrounding this entire matter, would only serve to further undermine a public trust that is too much damaged already,’ he said. ‘Therefore, I will reluctantly vote to acquit.’
Mr. Clinton was impeached by a Congress in which the opposition party controlled both the House and the Senate. In Mr. Trump’s case, his party controls both chambers, making it more politically unappealing for them to vote to impeach him.
What about the 25th Amendment?
Adopted in 1967, the 25th Amendment provides another mechanism for removing a president. It is geared toward dealing with a president who becomes too disabled to carry out the duties of the office, as opposed to presidential lawbreaking.
Under its procedures, if the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet tell Congress that the president is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,’ the vice president immediately becomes the acting president. If the president contests that finding, but two-thirds of both chambers of Congress side with the vice president, the vice president remains the acting president for the rest of the term.”
What really is the underlying motivation of Russia’s Interference in U.S. Elections?
Donald Trump’s financial dealings that relate to the Emolument Clause of the United States Constitution may transcend the country of Russia. Payments may be coming into the coffers of Donald Trump financial holdings from many countries.
However, it is clear that Russia is the pivotal country when it comes to hacking into a democratic country’s election, and whose motivation to engage in collusion with the Trump campaign not only occurred but was spearheaded by the Kremlin’s top man: Vladimir Putin.
If you’re not familiar with the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. law, here is the most important thing to understand: Russian President Vladimir Putin and everyone in his orbit hate it.
“A purely political, unfriendly act,” Putin called it at the time, and he has been railing against it ever since.
Congress wanted to punish Russian human rights abusers by barring them from entering the U.S. This followed the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died at age 37 in a Moscow prison where he was held — and allegedly beaten — after accusing Russian officials of massive tax fraud.
The law symbolized the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia. Days after Congress passed it, the Russian parliament responded by banning American citizens from adopting Russian orphans.
In a bizarre 2013 trial, a Russian court went even further, convicting Magnitsky of tax fraud — four years after he died.

Politics
Donald Trump Jr. Meeting Included Russian Lobbyist:
The Magnitsky Act re-emerged as a front-burner topic this week in connection with the investigations surrounding President Trump’s campaign and possible links to Russian meddling in last year’s presidential race.
Russia has lobbied hard for repeal of the act. That’s what Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya said she was doing when she met with Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York.

Politics
Trump Says He Would Invite Putin to White House ‘At the Right Time:’
News broke Friday that she was accompanied at that meeting by Russian-American Rinat Akhmetshin. He is known as a skilled political operator who has worked in both the former Soviet Union and the United States on behalf of his clients, according to a U.S. journalist who has known him for two decades.
Akhmetshin has also spoke freely about his past in Soviet military intelligence, according to the journalist, Steve Levine, who works for Axios in Washington.

Politics
5 Questions Raised By Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails:
However, in remarks to The Associated Press, Akhmetshin said he served in a military unit that was part of counterintelligence but was not trained as a spy.
Levine first encountered Akhmetshin in Kazakhstan. There, in 1998, he provided Levine with confidential banking and legal documents pointing to financial corruption by the country’s president.

Politics
Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails about Meeting with Russian Lawyer: Annotated
“His signature is to be able to drill very, very deeply in the former Soviet Union, in a very knowing way,” Levine said. “Here in Washington, he’s this very unusual character, who may be the most skilled lobbyist I’ve met.”
Akhmetshin is, he added, “someone who can ingratiate himself with members of Congress and their staffs, power figures here, and make things happen.”
Levine said they’ve been in touch periodically over the years, including in brief email exchanges in recent days as Akhmetshin’s name began to surface in media reports.
Akhmetshin, who has become a U.S. citizen, has aggressively lobbied against the Magnitsky Act. Just a few days after his meeting with Trump Jr. in New York last year, Akhmetshin was in Washington to promote a movie called The Magnitsky Act — Behind the Scenes.
The film was shown at the Newseum in Washington on June 13, 2016. It offers the Russian government’s version of events and claims that Magnitsky was not mistreated by Russian authorities.
Trump Jr. has also said that — to his disappointment — last year’s meeting with the Russians focused on the Magnitsky Act. Trump Jr. was told in advance the meeting would produce critical material on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. When the topic turned out to be the U.S. law, he considered it a waste of time.
Analysts have offered many theories on why Russia wanted to meddle in the U.S. presidential election: to undermine the credibility of the U.S. vote or to harm Hillary Clinton, whom Putin blamed for the protests leading up the Russian presidential election in 2012.
Rarely mentioned is the Magnitsky Act, a relatively obscure matter inside the U.S. but a major frustration for Russia’s leadership.

Life Imitates Art and Vice-Versa
Here we are in the summer of 2017, six months into the presidency of Donald Trump. As I think back over the last two years of this nightmare with Donald Trump, I am convinced he lives in a childish fantasy of his own creation, ego-driven, and propped up by those around him in his close circle of “want to-be” important people.
Nationally, his supporters have dwindled to only 36% as of July 17, 2017. With the failure of his administration to repeal and replace Obamacare even his remaining supporters will never benefit from a low-cost comprehensive health care plan. This is unfortunate since a disproportionate number of his supporters are in dire need of good health care, particularly psychiatric mental health services.
It is both beguiling and perplexing to know that a degenerate womanizer and misogynist, white nationalist racist, crude, anti-intellectual buffoon could ever be elected president of the United States. And yet, here we are! Doesn’t say much for the intelligence and moral fiber of a sizeable portion of the American electorate— now does it?
He has tarnished the status of the highest office in the land and that, my friends, is unforgivable. He has taken a great American institution and turned it into garbage. I cannot help but see the quixotic (foolishly impractical, unrealistic, or capricious) parallel between the real life Donald Trump and the fantasy world he lives in.
There is an old expression that “art imitates life.” Ironically, sometimes the reverse is true, i.e., life imitates art. But in the make-believe world of art we often watch on television or in the movies, fantasy often parallels what’s going on in the real world. And television or movies often draw on material from the real world. It’s almost symbiotic in nature. Oscar Wilde seemed to believe however that this observable parallel was not equal.
Oscar Wilde Statement in 1889
Life imitating art. Anti-mimesis is a philosophical position that holds the direct opposite of Aristotelian mimesis. Its most notable proponent is Oscar Wilde, who opined in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying that, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.”
Sometimes the symbiotic relationship between life and art is fortuitous, at other times it seems like it is planned. For example script writing drew from current day events some of its planned material in the award winning TV drama series House of Cards (Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright).
The U.S. version of this series gives us an inside look at the greed and corruption in American Politics. Recently Vanity Fair looked at the similarity between Donald Trump and House of Cards president Frank Underwood (initials F.U.).
On May 30th Yohana Desta wrote the article. Titled “Trump vs. Underwood: 7 Times House of Cards Hit a Little Too Close to Reality.
Trump vs. Underwood: 7 Times House of Cards Hit a Little Too Close to Reality
Season 5 of the hit political series mirrored the Trump administration in a number of eerie ways.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers about Season 5 of House of Cards.
House of Cards has always pulled from the headlines. The political Netflix series, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, thrives on mirroring the more conniving side of U.S. statecraft, combing through American history to find story lines that feed and shape its White House narrative. The new season debuted Tuesday morning at a time when the country’s current president, Donald Trump, is besieged by allegations of obstructing justice and colluding with Russia, among other claims. Numerous moments in this latest installment of House of Cards reflected this moment in history perhaps a little too well. From Senate investigations to startling political tactics, here’s all the times this season might have hit too close to home.

1. Everything is a “distraction”
In Episode 1, Washington Herald editor Tom Hammerschmidt dismisses one of Frank Underwood’s political tactics as merely a “distraction” to the underlying issues at play. In most circumstances, that would be a fairly benign thing to say, but it’s a pointed choice of words that’s hard to ignore in an age when Trump’s critics have urged people not to get “distracted” by the president’s tweets or outlandish comments, and his Trump’s supporters have argued that all the chaotic “distraction” is actually part of his master plan.
Of course, the season ends with Underwood revealing that a large amount of the chaos that takes place actually is part of his master plan—but that’s a rather Machiavellian feat that Trump himself will likely not achieve.

2. All the executive orders!
Presidents throwing their weight around with executive orders are nothing new, but the incessant signing of new orders (some of them incendiary and arguably unconstitutional) is now a hallmark of Trump’s first 100 days. There are shades of his bullishness in Episode 2, when Frank Underwood declares an executive order for protecting “voting centers” and enforcing strict border restrictions, invoking “Section Blah Blah of the Blah Blah Act and Section Blah Blah of Title Blah Blah, Paragraph Bullshit Bullshit.”
The episode is bookended with Underwood secretly manufacturing a fake hack by terrorist group I.C.O., using it to prod the government to make a declaration of war. Hacks, terrorist attacks, and war talks! Where have we heard this all before . . . ?

3. A suspicious election
No TV drama about a presidential election would be complete without absurd twists and turns. This season of HoC crafts a presidential race filled to the brim with scandal, illicit behavior, and shocking results, premiering just a few months after the U.S.’s own wild election in which Trump came out the victor over expected winner Hillary Clinton. In the show, Underwood prevails over projected winner Will Conway, who wins the popular vote, but, of course, Underwood wins the race by rigging the election in vital Electoral College states and engaging in voter suppression. In the real world, the Department of Justice and both houses of Congress are investigating potential Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and improper contact with members of Trump’s campaign, with new reports surfacing about their alleged collusion. (And voter suppression tactics figured in U.S. history long before Trump.)
The next episode shows how American citizens are reacting to the election, featuring a group of protesters banding together outside the White House and chanting “Not my president!” and holding signs that read “Never Underwood.” Both actions mimic the actual chants and signs seen during anti-Trump protests.
Later in the season, as Conway sinks deeper into a petulant downward spiral after losing the election, his adviser tries to cheer him up by saying, “You lost—but more than half the country still considers you their president.” Though Conway’s post-election temperament is miles away from Clinton’s reflective grace, it’s tough to imagine that people haven’t bolstered her spirits with the same kind of encouragement.
4. Acts of Russian aggression
House of Cards has already done a Russia-obsessed season, which would have been too on the nose had it premiered now. But it’s not done with Viktor Petrov, its version of Vladimir Putin, just yet. He turns up in the second half of the show as Russia approaches an American research facility stationed in Antarctica, poking around for oil. “It’s a brazen act of aggression,” Secretary of State Catherine Durant says in the episode. Her quote brings to mind actual acts of Russian aggression, such as recent reports of Russian fighter jets doing barrel rolls over U.S. planes, and flying close to a U.S. Navy surveillance aircraft.
This event also leads to a long line of backdoor negotiations with Russia, which might make some folks in the current administration (cough, Jared Kushner, cough) a bit uncomfortable.
5. A president under investigation
In Episode 9, scorned Congressman Romero decides to relaunch the committee investigating Underwood’s potentially impeachable offenses. With the Trump administration under its own investigation—and talk of impeachment fluttering around, just as they do for Underwood—it’s hard not to compare the two.
The investigation in the show also leads to the questioning of F.B.I. deputy director Nathan Green, who’s deeply entangled in the Underwood administration and has done a number of illegal things. Hey, does anyone remember if there’s anything crazy going on with the real world F.B.I. right now?
6. A gas attack in Syria
Episode 10 features a devastating gas attack in Syria, which the Underwood’s try to use to their political advantage. The attack eerily mirrors the recent chemical attack in Syria, which was one of the worst in the country’s history. Season 5 was already wrapped by the time the attack happened, so the show didn’t directly pluck from the headlines for that. However, it’s still a surprising (and incredibly sad) example of how the show veers dangerously close to real life.
7. “Welcome to the death of the age of reason.”
Those are the intimidating words Underwood snarls to the camera in this season’s penultimate episode during his committee testimony. “There is no right or wrong, not anymore. There’s only being in and then being out,” he says. His words, sadly, invoke the current age of “alternative facts.” Underwood’s message rings particularly true when held up against Trump’s own behavior. The current president is prone to making outlandish, verifiably false or simply unfounded remarks in interviews and on Twitter, while also waging a war against the media (#FakeNews), leaving his team to scramble and smooth out his claims. Meanwhile, the rest of the country anxiously watches and waits for whatever fresh hell is coming next.
Final Comments
The colossal failure of the country to elect a real president in 2016 will continue to dishonor and haunt us long after the last stench of Donald Trump is removed from the White House. With the mid-term elections around the corner, it is time for democrats around the country to gear up for a good fight against republicans who, besides Donald Trump, have also let the country down.
Needless to say the role of the new DNC head will be critically important in trying not just to elect more democrats, but to convince people of the United States that their interests come first in this sometimes chaotic world we all live in.
A final moment of reverie for this author, please. The character of Donald Trump we’ve all seen many times in our lives. It is like “art imitating life.” A daydream I had has kept re-occurring over the last two years. But my original stimulus for this daydream occurred more than 60 years ago.
In 1957 I was a freshman in high school. One important movie made in 1957 was an academy award-winning movie (Best picture, Best Director, Best Actor) known as Witness for the Prosecution.
It starred the great English actor Charles Laughton, along with Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power. I won’t sidetrack my readers by going into a detailed recounting of the plot. It was based on a very clever book by the much esteemed Agatha Christie originally written in 1925.
I connect this movie’s most dramatic court room scenes to Donald Trump. Imagine if you will Donald Trump (the Prevaricator-in- Chief as President) was being grilled by a Sir Wilfred Robarts (Charles Laughton). What a field-day that would be if, like the movie, when Sir Wilfred says to Trump in Laughton’s surly special voice, “ Were you lying then, are you lying now, or are you not in fact a chronic and habitual Liar? In the movie Charles Laughton screaming the word liar—was absolutely deafening.

A Few New Ideas for the Immigration Policy Debate

[A Two-part Series]

Part II

Shedding Light on the Issue of Immigration and Crime, and a Novel Proposal for a Humanitarian Approach to Immigration Policy

 

Do Immigrants (legal or illegal) commit a lot of Crime?

Where immigration is concerned most rule-making as laws are simply arbitrary beliefs of what is valued as a society depending upon which group is in power—in this case whites with a slim majority over minorities. And, solving the problem of immigration may simply mean reversing the creation of deviance through over-criminalization of people coming across the border.

    It is a fact that both legal immigrants and illegal immigrants commit less crime than do native born in the United States. The Cato Institute has done some remarkable research on the issue of immigrants and crime.

The following is a research article written by Alex Nowrasteh and published for the Cato Library. The study is dated July 14, 2015. The title of the article is “Immigration and Crime – What the Research Says.”

“The alleged murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by illegal immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez has reignited the debate over the link between immigration and crime. Such debates often call for change in policy regarding the deportation or apprehension of illegal immigrants. However, if policies should change, it should not be in reaction to a single tragic murder.  It should be in response to careful research on whether immigrants actually boost the U.S. crime rates.

With few exceptions, immigrants are less crime prone than natives or have no effect on crime rates.  As described below, the research is fairly one-sided.

There are two broad types of studies that investigate immigrant criminality.  The first type uses Census and American Community Survey (ACS) data from the institutionalized population and broadly concludes that immigrants are less crime prone than the native-born population.  It is important to note that immigrants convicted of crimes serve their sentences before being deported with few exceptions.  However, there are some potential problems with Census-based studies that could lead to inaccurate results.  That’s where the second type of study comes in.  The second type is a macro level analysis to judge the impact of immigration on crime rates, generally finding that increased immigration does not increase crime and sometimes even causes crime rates to fall.

Type 1: Immigrant Crime – Censuses of the Institutionalized Population

Butcher and Piehl examine the incarceration rates for men aged 18-40 in the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Censuses.  In each year immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives with the gap widening each decade.  By 2000, immigrants have incarceration rates that are one-fifth those of the native-born.  Butcher and Piehl wrote another paper focusing on immigrant incarceration in California by looking at both property and violent crimes by city.  Between years 2000 and 2005, California cities with large inflows of recent immigrants tended to  have lower violent crimes rates and the findings are statistically significant.  During the same time period, there is no statistically significant relationship between immigration and property crime.

Ewing, Martinez, and Rumbaut summarize their findings on criminality and immigration thusly:

“[R]oughly 1.6 percent of immigrant males 18-39 are incarcerated compared to 3.3 percent of the native-born.  The disparity in incarceration rates has existed for decades, as evidenced by data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 decennial census.  In each of those years, the incarceration rates of the native-born were anywhere from two to five times higher than that of immigrants.”

They continue by focusing on immigrant incarceration rates by country of origin in the 2010 Census.  Less educated young Mexican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan men (poorly educated young men are most likely to be incarcerated) make up the bulk of the unlawful immigrant population but have significantly lower incarceration rates than native-born men without a high-school diploma.  In 2010, 10.7 percent of native-born men aged 18-39 without a high school degree were incarcerated compared to 2.8 percent of Mexican immigrants and 1.7 percent of Guatemalan and Salvadoran immigrants.  These are similar to Rumbaut’s older research also based on Census data from 2000.  Controlling for relevant observable factors, young uneducated immigrant men from Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala are less likely to be incarcerated than similarly situated native-born men.

However, studies of immigrant criminality based on Census data alone could fail to give the full picture.  First, many of the answers given to the Census may have been educated guesses from the Census workers and not the inmates.  Second, the government has done a very poor job of gathering data on the nationality and immigration status of prisoners – even when it has tried.  That biases me against the accuracy of prison surveys by the Census Bureau.  Third, incarceration rates may better reflect the priorities of law enforcement than the true rates of criminal activity among certain populations.

Type 2: Macro Level Analysis of Immigrant Criminality

To avoid the potential Census data problems, other researchers have looked at crime rates and immigration on a macro scale.  These investigations also capture other avenues through which immigration could cause crimes – for instance, by inducing an increase in native criminality or by being easy targets for native criminals.

The phased rollout of the Secure Communities (S-COMM) immigration enforcement program provided a natural experiment.  A recent paper by Thomas J. Miles and Adam B. Cox used the phased rollout to see how S-COMM affected crime rates per county.  If immigrants were disproportionately criminal, then S-COMM would decrease the crime rates.  They found that S-COMM “led to no meaningful reduction in the FBI index crime rate” including violent crimes.  Relying on similar data with different specifications, Treyger et al. found that S-COMM did not decrease crime rates nor did it lead to an increase in discriminatory policing that some critics were worried about.  According to both reports, the population of immigrants is either not correlated, or negatively correlated, with crime rates.

Ousey and Kubrin looked at 159 cities at three dates between 1980 and 2000 and found that crime rates and levels of immigration are not correlated.  They conclude that “[v]iolent crime is not a deleterious consequence of increased immigration.”  Martinez looked at 111 U.S. cities with at least 5,000 Hispanics and found no statistically significant findings.  Reid et al. looked at a sample of 150 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and found that levels of recent immigration had a statistically significant negative effect on homicide rates but no effect on property crime rates.  They wrote, “[i]t appears that anti-immigrant sentiments that view immigrants as crime prone are not only inaccurate at the micro-level, they are also inaccurate at the macro-level … increased immigration may actually be beneficial in terms of lessening some types of crimes.”  Wadsworth found that cities with greater growth in immigrant or new immigrant populations between 1990 and 2000 tended to have steeper decreases in homicide and robbery rates.

Using panel data on U.S. counties, Spenkuch finds that a 10 percent increase in the share of immigrants increases the property crime rate by 1.2 percent.  In other words, the average immigrant commits roughly 2.5 times as many property crimes as the average native but with no impact on violent crime rates.  He finds that this effect on property crime rates is caused entirely by Mexican immigrants.  Separating Mexicans from other immigrants, the former commit 3.5 to 5 times as many crimes as the average native.  However, all other immigrants commit less than half as many crimes as natives.  This is the most deleterious finding that I discovered.

Stowell et al. looks at 103 different MSAs from 1994-2004 and finds that violent crime rates tended to decrease as the concentration of immigrants increased.  An immigrant concentration two standard deviations above the mean translates into 40.5 fewer violent crimes per 100,000 compared to a decrease of 8.1 violent crimes in areas that experienced a change in immigration concentration two standard deviations below the mean.  It is easy to focus on the horrible tragedies when somebody is murdered by an immigrant but it’s very hard to imagine all of the people who weren’t murdered because of the lower crime rates created by increased immigration.  In their summary of the research on this topic, they write:

“[T]he weight of the evidence suggests that immigration is not associated with increased levels of crime.  To the extent that a relationship does exist, research often finds a negative effect of immigration on levels of crime, in general, and on homicide in particular.

Some immigrants from certain countries of origin may be more crime prone than others, as Spenkuch finds above.  To test this, Chalfin used rainfall patterns in Mexico to estimate inflows of Mexican immigrants.  The idea is that lower rainfall and a decrease in agricultural productivity in Mexico would push marginal Mexican immigrants out of Mexico and into the U.S. labor market.  Mexican rainfall patterns and the subsequent immigration had no effect on violent or property crime rates in major U.S. metropolitan areas.

These trends have also been found on the local level.  Davies and Fagan looked at crime and immigration patterns at the neighborhood level in New York City.  They find that crime rates are not higher in areas with more immigrants.  Sampson looked at Chicago and found that Hispanic immigrants were far less likely to commit a violent criminal act then either black or white native Chicagoans.  Lee et al. found that trends in recent immigration are either not correlated with homicides or are negatively correlated in Miami, San Diego, and El Paso.  The only exception is that there is a positive relationship between immigration and black homicide rates in San Diego.

Numerous studies also conclude that the high immigration rate of the 1990s significantly contributed to the precipitous crime decline of that decade.  According to this theory, immigrants are less crime prone and have positive spillover effects like aiding in community redevelopment, rebuilding of local civil society in formerly decaying urban cores, and contributing to greater economic prosperity through pushing natives up the skills spectrum through complementary task specialization.

Note on Illegal Immigration

The public focus is on the crime rates of unauthorized or illegal immigrants.  The research papers above mostly include all immigrants regardless of legal status.  However, every problem with gathering data on immigrant criminality is multiplied for unauthorized immigrants.  There is some work that can help shed light here.

With particular implications for the murder of Kate Steinle, Hickman et al. look at the recidivism rates of 517 deportable and 780 no deportable aliens released from the Los Angeles County Jail over a 30-day period in 2002.  They found that there is no difference in the re-arrest rate of deportable and no deportable immigrants released from incarceration at the same place and time.  Their paper is not entirely convincing for several reasons, the most important being that their sample does not include the higher risk inmates who were transferred to state prison and were subsequently released from there.  There are also findings in their paper that seem to contradict their conclusion that isn’t adequately accounted for.  This is only one study of one sample in one city, but the results should be incorporated into any argument over sanctuary cities.

Conclusion

Both the Census-data driven studies and macro-level studies find that immigrants are less crime-prone than natives with some small potential exceptions.  There are numerous reasons why immigrant criminality is lower than native criminality.  One explanation is that immigrants who commit crimes can be deported and thus are punished more for criminal behavior, making them less likely to break the law.

Another explanation is that immigrants self-select for those willing to work rather than those willing to commit crimes.  According to this “healthy immigrant thesis,” motivated and ambitious foreigners are more likely to immigrate and those folks are less likely to be criminals. This could explain why immigrants are less likely to engage in “anti-social” behaviors than natives despite having lower incomes.  It’s also possible that more effective interior immigration enforcement is catching and deporting unlawful immigrants who are more likely to be criminals before they have a chance to be incarcerated.

The above research is a vital and missing component in the debate over the supposed links between immigration and crime.”

This alone is sufficient to ask the following question: If immigrants are more law-abiding as people than those who were born in the United States, then why is the government working to over-criminalize everyone who comes across our borders? The motivation is the same as before. That is, people who are already citizens by being second, third or fourth generation immigrants seem to have no qualms about casting aspersions at newcomers like Hispanics or Muslims. The new kid on the block has always been treated suspiciously. In addition, the psychological and sociological nature of “White Fright”/”White Flight” appears to show its ugly face again as to why such a large portion of a largely white electorate wants to discriminate against Hispanics, and the Muslim population of refugees who want to settle in the United States.

The belief that Donald Trump will better protect the United States through a ban of immigrants from Mexico/South America or from Muslim countries has not been well thought out, is discriminatory, and goes against the very laws (like the U.S. Constitution) he swore at inauguration he would uphold.

A Novel Proposal for a Humanitarian Approach to Immigration Policy—Basic Ideas

What is the basic program overall?

The operation of passports, visas and green cards should probably remain the same. However, whether one is already inside the country or outside, the issue of people wanting to seek full American citizenship is a separate issue altogether. There needs to be a re-definition or new definition of citizenship. It is my idea that two levels of citizenship should exist.

The first level would be called Temporary Citizenship, granted to all for 2 years while they relocate within the United States, seek jobs, receive humanitarian aid, and vetted initially in one of two locations (to be described in detail shortly).

The first location will require staffing and resources to open. But the original Ellis Island in New York needs to be re-opened. Both Ellis Island locations will need the resources of the United States government. Since American business owners are the beneficiary of this new untapped source of labor, they will be asked to contribute their fair share to this immigration plan.

The second level of citizenship would be called Full Citizenship and would occur after a temporary citizen passes the current requirements for Full- Citizenship.

Most naturalization applicants are required to take a test on:

  • English
  • Civics (U.S. history and government)

If these requirements are met, the vetted new immigrants would be given official notice that they are now a citizen of the United States of America.

It has been estimated that close to 40 percent of all current U.S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island (the one in New York). Trump’s plan to simply build a wall between Mexico and the United States is “not too bright” and won’t achieve its objectives.

A much better way to achieve this goal is both humanitarian and intelligent: (1) Enact amnesty as the policy of the United States in order to encourage, not discourage, people who want to become American citizens, (2) establish a new singular entry point along our southern border similar to the original “Ellis Island” that operated between 1892 and 1954. The new “Ellis Island” would function to welcome people from Mexico as well as South American countries, (3) in addition to opening a new “Ellis Island” along our southern border (soon to be called The Freedom Bridge), there needs to be a re-opening of the original Ellis Island for immigrants wanting to come into the country from elsewhere in the world, and (4) reduce the many hurdles and obstacles reflected in prior amnesty programs. Amnesty needs to be simplified not encumbered with needless over-regulation.

Once released to enter American soil, immigrants would all be given assistance in relocating across the country with federal, state and local job counseling, employment services and temporary housing and some monetary assistance, and offered educational programs and family services. County health departments would initially serve to provide health care to all newly arriving immigrants and their family members.

I am recommending that the federal government set aside, in the annual federal budget, an investment in helping newly vetted immigrants. Investing in people rather than wasting taxpayer money on some worthless, ineffectual wall, will generate over the long haul, a real return on one’s investment such as more people succeeding and paying federal, state and local taxes. Immigrants represent a real and potential source for expanding our economy and well-being. Where would the money for assistance come from?

The current 2017 fiscal year budget for the Federal Housing and Urban Development Department is 48.9 billion in discretionary funding, and 11.3 billion in mandatory funding over the next ten years. A modest annual investment of $2 billion dollars from this federal agency could be allocated each year to help provide newly entering immigrants to have all the services needed to give them a leg up on becoming a fully functioning American citizen.

Should there be amnesty? The answer is absolutely yes. But it still needs to be a program that facilitates rather than throws up unnecessary and capricious roadblocks all along the way. This mercurial and temperamental inclination of our nation’s representatives is to over-control people. It smacks of an authoritarian regime rather than a country bent on helping our citizens (or to be citizens) achieve the American dream.

What I did not like about the Amnesty proposals of 2012 by the Obama administration is that there were still too many hurdles or hoops to jump through to become a citizen of this great country of ours.

Paying the U.S. supposedly $5000 in back taxes, for those already illegally in the country, seemed like an unnecessary and somewhat arbitrary notion of creating hurdles that really block, rather than facilitate, becoming a citizen who will, in short order, be paying taxes anyway. So, what do I propose that would make sense?

What about El Paso, Texas

Under my system, one of the border agent’s duties would be to provide transportation to newly arriving immigrants from Mexico and/or South America. Instead of arresting people coming across the border they would be assisted by the border patrol in their journey to peacefully reach El Paso, Texas. This would mean helping people trying to cross the border anywhere along the way between El Paso, Texas and San Diego, California.

Instead of calling it Ellis Island II—– I think a more appropriate name would be “The Freedom Bridge.” What kind of city is El Paso, Texas?

“El Paso, Texas is about 300 miles south of Albuquerque and 300 miles east of Tucson. The metropolitan population of the city is about 830,000 and the 2010 US Census Bureau reports a population of about 650,000. Major industries in El Paso include manufacturing, cold storage, and call centers.

The El Paso economy is largely based on how well and how safe Ciudad Juarez is at any time. El Paso also benefits from its vicinity to the border and despite its rowdy neighbor Juarez; El Paso is one of the safest cities in the United States.

Recent trends in El Paso include a new triple-A baseball team with a new ballpark downtown. The triple-A team was previously in Tucson. The new ballpark has spurred some new development downtown including two proposed hotels. The office and industrial markets are currently steady with a few projects under construction. The multi-family and retail markets are doing well around Fort Bliss, which recently received a large influx of personnel returning from missions. New single-family residential projects are at the lower end of the price range and are building on the existing finished lot inventory. Overall, the market appears to be steady and recovering slowly from the long recession.”

All crossing the border into the United States would be shown respect and dignity and afforded common humanitarian aid. Arrival at the new Ellis Island”  would be the beginning of their journey toward citizenship. The new Ellis Island would not be a detention facility, but like its predecessor of 1892 to 1954, it would be a processing facility.

     Any decisions to deport someone could only come from legal due process with the right of any arriving immigrant to receive legal counsel. A lot of legislation will have to be passed before this plan can take effect.

The perfect city, in my opinion, for such an “Ellis Island facility,” is El Paso Texas with its bridge separating Juarez, Mexico from the city of El Paso. Juarez could be a staging area to ready tired travelers prior to their journey across the bridge (The Freedom Bridge) to the United States.

Crossing the bridge itself will have symbolic significance all by itself. The bridge to freedom will soon have as much significance as those passengers, back at the beginning of the 20th Century, who embraced the view of the Statute of Liberty as their ships docked in New York so long ago.

Mexico is not going to pay for the wall; perhaps however, they might be willing to assist this transition by providing much humanitarian aid to those who show up in Juarez as a staging area with food, water, sleeping bags, and written material to let them know what to expect once they cross the bridge.

Every potential citizen from Mexico or South America who goes through the new Ellis Island would be issued a red, white, and blue card as proof that they had come through the new Ellis Island in El Paso, Texas.

Each card would have a thumbprint and a one-of-a-kind identification number on the card besides full name, and city of origin. This would all be part of the vetting process. The green card system that currently exists could and should continue to operate for those immigrants who desire only a temporary stay in the United States. Passports and Visa’s would also continue to operate as they had in the past.

The “Ellis Island” card would be carried on the person to offer up should they be (legally or illegally) stopped by any law enforcement agency. After two years the card would simply be a souvenir to keep after full citizenship is achieved. Those who fail to meet full citizenship requirements by two years would be allowed to receive a one-time additional two year extension of temporary citizenship. Therefore, full citizenship would have to be earned in four years from date of vetting completion.

What about illegals who are already here in America?

With Amnesty the law of the land, former illegals would be free to come out of the shadows. Instead of a few U.S. cities being a sanctuary, the entire country would become a sanctuary welcoming all to our shores, the only restriction being they must be vetted and not exceed in total 1 million a year.        .

It should be pointed out that the number of illegals coming to the United States each year from south of the border has been dropping for several years (Trump gives himself credit for this) even though the decline in people coming across our southern border preceded his even becoming a candidate for the highest office in the land.

In addition, there are some walls erected along the southern border already. Tunnels have been created in various spots to go under the walls, rendering wall structures practically worthless. The new Trump plan to put concrete 6 feet below the wall won’t work either. This is because people will simply dig holes below the concrete plus the cost of such use of concrete along a 2,000 mile border would be astronomical.

Every sociologist knows that deviance, legally defined, is as much the product of the “rule–makers” as it is the “rule-breakers.” This notion is based on Labeling Theory in sociology. One day an illegal alien is a violator of immigration laws, but just as easily could be a non-violator without the stigma of a label defining that person as a rule-breaker. It all depends on who sets the rules and the defining of a behavior (with value judgments like “good” or “bad”) as such in the first place. By analogy it is no different in concept than to define the Japanese or Germans as our enemy but, since the end of WWII, they have become our ally.

Paying for a Humanitarian Approach to Immigration Policy    

As mentioned earlier $2 billion dollars would be needed annually (a modest investment by comparison to the total 2017 Fiscal Year Budget proposed). It should come from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development on an annual basis. So, how do we pay for the construction of a new Ellis Island and refurbishing and re-tooling of the original Ellis Island in New York?

The cost of creating, re-creating and operating two Ellis Island facilities on an annual basis is estimated to be, as a minimum, about 500 million dollars.  The cost of Trump’s wall has been estimated to be, at a minimum, about 25 billion dollars. The cost of two Ellis Island facilities would be 1/50 the cost of building a wall under the Trump plan. What this means is that the total cost of my idea would be approximately, $2.5 billion dollars a year. Once again, total cost of my proposal is 1/10 the cost of Donald Trump’s proposed wall. In terms of cost effectiveness my plan is significantly better and more cost effective.

Final Thoughts

People of every group in America believe in the value of every human being, no matter what their social status in life. Consequently, the whole concept of Amnesty needs desperately to be implemented in the United States. It is what a civilized people would do.

By accepting the 11 million undocumented people, predominantly from Mexico and South America, then ICE resources currently dedicated to removing illegals who are already in the country  would be better spent providing backup to overworked, underappreciated border patrol officers. A comprehensive immigration plan has been absent from the American consciousness for a very long time.

Both Presidents Bush and Obama wanted a comprehensive immigration plan but were unsuccessful in getting it legislatively passed. The current President has no interest in a comprehensive immigration plan. Until the current president is impeached, leaves office, or dies in office, it is unlikely a comprehensive immigration plan will ever become a reality.

A Few New Ideas for the Immigration Policy Debate

[A Two-part Series]

Part 1

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

These lines above are from the poem, “The New Colossus,” written by Emma Lazarus in 1883. They appear on the Statute of Liberty.

 

Introduction

It is an historical fact that since immigrants have tried to assimilate in America, it has always been the case that the “new kid on the block” has the most trouble or difficulty trying to fit in with their old country cultural norms, names and languages. And every group had their small number of bad “apples.” Sometimes the barrel of apples was quite large.

For example, the Five Points Gang in New York at the end of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century was a large criminal organization, primarily of Irish-Americans from the sixth ward (the five points of Manhattan, New York). There were many other immigrants that came to America, formed gangs, and proceeded to organize along race/ethnicity lines among the various neighborhoods in New York.

Considering the current state of politics under the Trump administration, the notion of a hypocritical nation jumps right out at you. The irony is so thick one could slice it with a butcher knife. Given the plurality of ethic and many Caucasian gangs at the turn of the twentieth century, the government nonetheless wasn’t proposing a policy to ban the Irish, Catholics, Polish people, Germans, Scottish, Italians, or later blacks.

Today’s target appears to fall on Hispanics and those of the Muslim faith. Every generation of Americans who were originally immigrants from other nations always fears the next generation coming to America. However, by the time all of these ethnic and religious groups become second and third generation citizens, low and behold, they tend to become fully assimilated true Americans. Why? It may sound like an overly used cliché, but America is still the land of opportunity, and the world knows it.

Values versus Facts Regarding Immigration

Ultimately, the pushes and pulls of political and social forces will determine what the Country’s immigration policy will be. This in turn will be determined by the “value judgments, preferences, biases, and conceptual framework” dictated by those in positions of power.

But please, make no mistake about it—there is no such thing as absolute truth or absolute right or wrong values. All values are relative, and our notions of what is truth are based on only one thing i.e., truth is only what we agree it is—nothing more, and nothing less.

But whether “agreed upon truth” has any relevance in the real world, there is but one arbiter who stands above the fray of conflicting value judgments and notions of truth. And that arbiter is not ultimate truth, but Facts.

Facts are a piece of information used as evidence, or as part of a report or news article. It is a thing that is indisputably the case. Consequently, Part I of this Blog will present facts on immigrants. I will do this by answering two questions a lot of citizens have about immigrants, and therefore, albeit, immigration policy.

In Part II, I will answer the question of how much crime is connected to immigration. I will also present a few ideas that are different from the original amnesty proposals, as well as the current White House administration that uses race and religion for purposes of supporting an extremist ideology that is the antithesis of American values as reflected in democratic institutions and the United States Constitution.

Of course, neither liberals nor conservatives can ever escape making value judgments. Values do underlie a lot of human choices. But values from any political identity that is devoid of knowledge, or are impervious to facts, does everyone a great disservice. We all need in our decision-making ability to be guided by facts, not ideology or religious extremism whether from the Left or the Right.

Questions about Immigrants

There are three questions I’d like to address in Part I and II: (1) should there be limits to immigration? (2) Why do we need more immigrants? And (3) Do immigrants (legal or illegal) commit a lot of crime? Part I will answer the first two questions; Part II will address the question of crime and immigration.

These are the types of questions that most citizens want answered. Facts may be able to dispel a lot of false assumptions made by a sizeable number of these citizens. The facts may dispel or contradict our notions of reality. This is why research rather than rhetoric should inform public policy on immigration.  

     Finally, in Part II I will present a new proposal for a humanitarian approach to Immigration policy, including the specifics on how to achieve such a policy. There will be a final comments section at the end of each blog.

Should there be Limits to Immigration?

The answer to this question is primarily a value judgment.  However, one way to create a logical and reasonable, data-driven way to address the issue of how many immigrants to allow in the United States each year is to consider how many taxpayer citizens die each year.

First, there is one birth every seven seconds in the United States, and one death every ten seconds. This amounts to approximately less than one percent (.77) increase in the population each year. However, newborns this year won’t be ready to pay taxes (generally speaking) for another 18 years.

We know that there are approximately 122,000,000 taxpayers who pay federal income taxes each year. Depending on how many die each year would give one an approximate estimate of how many taxpayers are needed for replacement. New immigrants might be able to pick up the slack as contributing taxpayers.

The increase in population due to the annual birth rate (which does exceed the number who die) won’t help the nation’s coffers. As said above, this is because, generally speaking, the newly born won’t be prepared to pay taxes until they are at least 18 years of age.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) do not obtain this type of data, i.e.,  (taxpayer deaths).

For the sake of argument, let’s assume this: There were 2,626,418 deaths in the United States in 2014. The United States had a total population of 317,000,000 in 2014. The percent of taxpayers represent about 317,000,000 / 122,000,000 or 39.2 percent of the total U.S. population.

Thirty-nine point two percent of the number of deaths would equal approximately 1,024,303 deaths of taxpayers. However, since 23.3 percent of the population is 18 or under, a fair guess would be that the actual number of taxpayer deaths in 2014 would be closer to 1,024,303 minus 238,662 or 785,641 taxpayers. All of this is based on assumptions. And, as we all know too well, “assumptions are the mother of all screw-ups.” However, for the sake of argument, let’s proceed further into this analysis.

One article I reviewed on this topic was titled, “Refugees and Asylees in the United States” dated October 28, 2015, by Jie Jong and Jeanne Batalova. They reported that:

“The United States is the world’s top resettlement country for refugees. For people living in repressive, autocratic, or conflict-embroiled nations, or those who are members of vulnerable social groups in countries around the world, migration is often a means of survival and—for those most at risk—resettlement is key to safety. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the United States resettled 69,933 refugees and in FY 2013 (the most recent data available) granted asylum status to 25,199 people.

By the end of 2014, as wars, conflict, and persecution worldwide continued to unfold, the number of people displaced within their country or having fled internationally reached 59.5 million, according to estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)—the highest level ever recorded.

And by mid-2014 there were more than 1.2 million asylum seekers worldwide. Ongoing war in Syria alone has led more than 4.1 million people to seek refuge in neighboring countries and beyond and to the internal displacement of more than 7.6 million Syrians.

In response to this humanitarian crisis, the Obama administration proposed to significantly increase the number of refugees the United States accepts each year—from 70,000 in FY 2015 to 85,000 in FY 2016 and 110,000 in FY 2017—and scale up the number of Syrian refugees admitted to at least 10,000 for the current fiscal year, which began October 1.

The United States offers humanitarian protection to refugees through two channels: refugee resettlement and asylum status. Using the most recent data available, including 2015 refugee arrival figures from the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security’s 2013 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, and administrative data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, this spotlight examines characteristics of the U.S. refugee and asylees population including the admissions ceiling, top countries of origin, and U.S. states with the highest resettlement.

It also explores the number of refugees and asylees who have become lawful permanent residents (LPRs), followed by an explanation of the admissions process.”

Summary Viewpoint:

     Immigration involves more than refugees from war-torn countries and asylees. It involves people escaping poverty, poor governmental response to poverty, crime in the neighborhoods, social injustice involving organized crime such as terrorist acts committed by drug cartels in Mexico and several South American countries.

  Simply put, based on my earlier analysis, the multi-faceted problem of immigration is not keeping up the pace with the country’s annual death rate, thus putting the nation at risk for fewer and fewer tax dollars for future federal budgets.

     We should be admitting somewhere around 785, 641 immigrants each year into the United States at the same time we are creating Amnesty for those illegals who settled in the U.S. in prior years. If one accepts the notion of amnesty and replacement of taxpayers who die each year, I think a perfectly reasonable upper limit of immigration could be set at 1million per year.

Why do we need more Immigrants?

     The answer to this question is best represented in an Obama Administration White House blog posted on July, 12, 2012 by Jason Furman and Danielle Gray. The title of the Blog was, “Ten Ways Immigrants Help Build and Strengthen Our Economy.

“Summary: Our American journey and our success would simply not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores from every corner of the globe.

America is a nation of immigrants. Our American journey and our success would simply not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores from every corner of the globe. It is helpful to take a moment to reflect on the important contributions by the generations of immigrants who have helped us build our economy and made America the economic engine of the world.

How do immigrants strengthen the U.S. economy? Below is our top 10 list for ways immigrants help to grow the American economy.

Immigrants start businesses. According to the Small Business Administration, immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start a business in the United States than non-immigrants, and 18 percent of all small business owners in the United States are immigrants.

Immigrant-owned businesses create jobs for American workers. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, small businesses owned by immigrants employed an estimated 4.7 million people in 2007, and according to the latest estimates, these small businesses generated more than $776 billion annually.

Immigrants are also more likely to create their own jobs. According the U.S. Department of Labor, 7.5 percent of the foreign born are self-employed compared to 6.6 percent among the native-born.

Immigrants develop cutting-edge technologies and companies.  According to the National Venture Capital Association, immigrants have started 25 percent of public U.S. companies that were backed by venture capital investors. This list includes Google, eBay, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, and Intel.

Immigrants are our engineers, scientists, and innovators. According to the Census Bureau, despite making up only 16 percent of the resident population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, immigrants represent 33 percent of engineers, 27 percent of mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientist, and 24 percent of physical scientists.

Additionally, according to the Partnership for a New American Economy, in 2011 foreign-born inventors were credited with contributing to more than 75 percent of patents issued to the top 10 patent-producing universities.

Immigration boosts earnings for American workers. Increased immigration to the United States has increased the earnings of Americans with more than a high school degree.

Between 1990 and 2004, increased immigration was correlated with increasing earnings of Americans by 0.7 percent and is expected to contribute to an increase of 1.8 percent over the long-term, according to a study by the University of California at Davis.

Immigrants boost demand for local consumer goods. The Immigration Policy Center estimates that the purchasing power of Latinos and Asians, many of whom are immigrants, alone will reach $1.5 trillion and $775 billion, respectively, by 2015.

Immigration reform legislation like the DREAM Act reduces the deficit.  According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, under the 2010 House-passed version of the DREAM Act, the federal deficit would be reduced by $2.2 billion over ten years because of increased tax revenues.

Comprehensive immigration reform would create jobs. Comprehensive immigration reform could support and create up to 900,000 new jobs within three years of reform from the increase in consumer spending, according to the Center for American Progress.

Comprehensive immigration reform would increase America’s GDP. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that even under low investment assumptions, comprehensive immigration reform would increase GDP by between 0.8 percent and 1.3 percent from 2012 to 2016.

As a nation of immigrants, we must remember that generations of immigrants have helped lay the railroads and build our cities, pioneer new industries and fuel our Information Age, from Google to the iPhone.  As President Obama said at naturalization ceremony held at the White House last week:

The lesson of these 236 years is clear – immigration makes America stronger.  Immigration makes us more prosperous. And immigration positions America to lead in the 21st century.  And these young men and women are testaments to that. No other nation in the world welcomes so many new arrivals.

No other nation constantly renews itself, refreshes itself with the hopes, and the drive, and the optimism, and the dynamism of each new generation of immigrants. You are all one of the reasons that America is exceptional. You’re one of the reasons why, even after two centuries, America is always young, always looking to the future, always confident that our greatest days are still to come.

We celebrate the contributions of all Americans to building our nation and its economy, including the generations of immigrants.”

Comments

Ha! So there you have it. How do we make America great again assuming this slogan has any real meaning in a country that is already great? It’s to bring in more (not fewer) immigrants each year.

The Winds of War Are Growing Restless

War is fast approaching our national doorstep

     One threat begs for action right now without delay. It is by a country bent on starting a war with the United States and our Asian allies. Who is it? You guessed right—it’s North Korea.

Background

The threat from North Korea has been hovering over the United States like the Sword of Damocles for decades. Not one, but four American generals, now believe North Korea already has the ability to fire an intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit the mainland of the United States. As most people know, there is an early warning system that provides some guidance as to our level of preparedness to deal with a nuclear threat. It is called Def con.

Def Con is “Defense Condition” and it indicates the level of preparedness of United States Military Forces.

Definitions of Def Con

Def Con 5 – Normal peacetime operations.

 

Def Con 4 – Still considered “peacetime”, but intelligence gathering is increased and national security measures are tightened. The U.S. was at Def Con 4 for most of the Cold War.

Def Con 3 – Military assets are readied. “Call signs” for deployed assets change from publicly-known signals to classified ones. The U.S. has been at this level 3 times, most recently after the events of September 11th.

Def Con 2 – Further increase of military readiness. All forces not already in position are placed on “stand by” alert. Def Con 2 was used once, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Def Con 1 – Maximum military readiness. All forces are active. Def Con 1 is considered to be the “total war” level and may only refer to a nuclear attack scenario since it has never been used to date.

From my perspective the United States needs to raise the Def con level immediately to Def con 3. Determination as to when to initiate Def Con 2 will come later as conditions warrant.

Understanding Imminent Threats

In reality, immigration as an issue is only tangentially related to national security. Too much attention is being paid to immigration as a potential risk while the real, more tangible imminent dangers to national security seem to be flying under the radar of public awareness.

We really do need to be vigilant at this time. The United States must be ready to counter the build-up of North Korea’s nuclear program. In addition, there is the American involvement in fighting ISIS worldwide as well as currently retaking of cities earlier lost to ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. To the credit of Barack Obama, nearly 40%-50% of ISIS troops were killed between 2014 and 2016 due to his strategic efforts. Nevertheless, the bulk of American military power at this point in time must be put together strategically. Our main focus must be on North Korea and the possibility that war between our countries is just a few North Korean aggressive acts away.

These threats are real folks! It’s time to get our head out of the sand. While I have confidence in the preparedness of the American military, I have absolutely no confidence in Trump Administration’s ability to handle dangers to our national  security. A Russian spy ship has been conducting operations to collect information on our submarine bases on the east coast and basically he has ignored this threat. If security wasn’t bad enough, just consider the incredibly misguided Trump budget proposal to cut huge amounts of money in the 2017-18 budget for the U.S. Coast Guard. “President Donald Trump’s proposed budget guidance is asking for $1.3 billion in funding cuts to the U.S. Coast Guard at a time when the service is doing more than ever, and is already severely under-resourced.”

North Korea: Confronting the Threat

The generals may be right, or may be over-estimating North Korea’s readiness for nuclear war involving long-range missiles. Either way, we must be prepared.     People may be blind to this, but the greatest threat from North Korea may not come necessarily from long-range missiles in pursuit of an American target.  Why you ask? Here is why: the best way for any country to have the element of surprise is to expand greatly their submarine service. Submarines can run silently and undetected, with stealth, and can stay close off shorelines. They can fire a nuclear warhead that will reach its target in less than 3-5 minutes.

What do we currently know about North Korea’s navy and submarine service?

The annual report of North Korea’s military capabilities by the U.S. Department of Defense, released in early 2014, identified the North Korean Navy’s strength at 60,000 personnel, 70 submarines, 420 gun boats, 260 amphibious landing craft, 30 mine warfare vessels, and 30 support ships.

Given the highly belligerent and threatening nature of North Korea to its Asian neighbors, the United States needs to expand its own Navy and especially our submarine service.

I’d rather see federal taxpayer money spent on 20 new nuclear submarines and several technologically-advanced reconnaissance planes that can detect submarines below the surface, than some mindlessly-conceived wall that won’t achieve its goal- preventing people from entering our southern border.

One Scenario Approach to Neutralizing North Korea

First off, we do not need to incinerate North Korea with nuclear bombs. The radiation alone will drift toward China and South Korea causing extreme chaos, misery, and mass exodus of refugees heading toward the borders of China and South Korea from North Korea.

The United States is in possession of missiles that can carry and bomb the equivalent of 11,000 pounds of TNT. When this MOAB (Mother of all bombs) is detonated, it will flatten and destroy an area one mile in every direction. These kinds of non-nuclear bombs would take out a city like Pyongyang in an instant. North Korean army, air force, and naval bases would suffer a similar fate.

I am not an expert on military strategies nor do I advocate one approach over any other. However, it is my belief that from now on war should be prosecuted based on the newest elements in a war. That is, the newest concept involves launching a “Hybrid War.”

Final Comments

During the House Intelligence meeting on March, 20, 2017 I heard the term Hybrid War for the first time. I credit Jackie Speiers of California for explaining it to the American public via those hearings. So what is Hybrid Warfare?

“Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare. In addition, hybrid warfare is used to describe attacks by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, improvised explosive devices and information warfare. This approach to conflicts is a potent, complex variation of warfare.”

It has long been the policy of the United States not to initiate hostilities but to let other countries make the first move. That policy was okay in prior generations where the U.S. was dealing with countries that predominantly possessed only conventional weapons. But times have changed.

Consequently, whoever the next president is, or the one thereafter (2020), an ultimatum needs to be given to North Korea. Either they dismantle their nuclear facilities or we will. If they violate the ultimatum both their nuclear facilities and their entire military must be obliterated, if not completely incinerated.    

 

 

 

Psycho in the White House

Psycho in the White House

Donald Trump is a lot like P.T. Barnum, a politician, showman and businessmen of the 19th Century. With Trump supporters genuflecting and fawning all over him, and Trump Administration lackeys acting like “Bagdad Bob,” is it any wonder that Donald Trump, the Prevaricator-in Chief, would strongly believe in the quote often attributed to P.T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute?”

Background

It has been almost 50 years since Barry McGuire’s song, Eve of Destruction played on every radio station and television network nationwide. His song signaled to the young of that era a new awakening about social injustice, racism, and the scourge of the Vietnam War.

The world seemed like it was falling apart in the 1960s, yet it affirmed a new determination to stand up for one’s rights and to challenge society and change its many antiquated cultural values and socially conservative attitudes.

Barry McGuire captured and articulated the essence of that feeling of determination. Nevertheless, make no mistake about it. The non-progressive cultural backwardness is still with us in the 21st Century. After all, how do you think Donald Trump got elected? Part of the answer is sociological/ psychological in nature. Beneath the surface of misdirected, fact-free assumptions and the banality of platitudes among Trump supporters, it was an underlying, deeply felt—“White Fright/White Flight.”

Nothing reflects this socially-driven backwardness more in 2017 than the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Since January 20, 2017, Donald Trump has been leading the United States toward implosion and compromising our international reputation worldwide. His travel ban on Muslims underscores his prejudice of immigrants from other countries as well as other various racial, ethnic and religious minorities. Singling out Muslims for a ban showed his true colors as a white nationalist. His kind of behavior was not a recent phenomenon. Remember, Trump was sued in court for racial discrimination by the federal government for violation of the Fair Housing Act. In an episode early in Donald Trump’s career, his New York real estate company was sued by the federal government for discriminating against potential black renters. After a lengthy legal battle, his company ultimately agreed to wide-ranging steps to offer rentals to nonwhites. The history and details of this case are very revealing.

Fred Trump, Donald’s father, was, unlike his son, a self-made man. He made his fortune by building thousands of units of middle-class housing in Brooklyn and Queens. But in the early 1970s, Donald was made president of the family company.  One of Donald’s first challenges came in October 1973, when the Justice Department hit the Trump Organization with a major discrimination suit for violating the Fair Housing Act.

The Times reported at the time that the Government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals “because of race and color.” It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.

In more recent years Trump accused President Barack Obama of not being born in America. The accusation was totally false. He now accuses him of committing a felony crime by bugging Trump Tower. He made both these charges by lying. Donald Trump has never backed up his accusations with any evidence at all.

Predicting the Future

 

No one can foretell the future, but I am willing to venture an educated guess that Donald Trump will be impeached in his first year of the presidency. It will likely be for committing treason (high crimes and misdemeanors) by trying to alter the election by conspiring with the Russians to rig and compromise the election in his favor. If he gives or has already given American top secrets to the Russians, he will be the first U.S. President in history to ever be sentenced to prison as a traitor.

There is also the possibility he may violate the emolument clause of the U.S. Constitution (prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility and restricts members of the government from receiving gifts), commit a sexual offense, or violate the Logan Act (United States federal law that details the fine and/or imprisonment of unauthorized citizens who negotiate with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States).

 

Eve of Destruction: Evidence is piling up every day

 

Just watch the major networks every day. As we all say—“The Plot Thickens.”

 

“WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.”

The journalistic investigative reporting work of Woodward and Bernstein during the 1970s Watergate Nixon Scandal asked two critical questions, “What did the President know and when did he know it?” What happened to Donald Trump and his advisors interacting with Russian operatives to conspire to rig the election? If evidence eventually reveals complicity with the Russians, I would choose to call this “Russia-Gate.”

     I just want to say that Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. The people who voted him in, reluctantly or not, should take responsibility for their error in judgment and start a campaign for Donald Trump to be removed from office. This will help his prior supporters earn vindication and extricate themselves from the shame and dishonor they have bestowed upon themselves and this great nation of ours.

What the Trump supporters thought was that a plain-talking guy with business experience, and no prior office or governmental experience (including no military experience either), was all that was required to be President of the United States. These collective opinions about qualifications trivialized the Office of the President. It was incredibly short-sighted and naive to have thought that way.

Consequently, the nation now has to undo allowing a mentally ill conman to remain in office. If Trump supporters wanted change, they should have changed parties and voted for Bernie Sanders during the primaries. That would have been the smart move.

     I support helping the mentally ill in this country. However, decisions affecting our nation are just too important to leave it to someone without their mental faculties intact.

Psychological Profile of Donald Trump

Confidence in Donald Trump to meet the needs of the nation is at a historically low point compared to all previous presidents in the post 1900 era. Donald Trump has many deficits in his personality. Two of the most important deficits observed are his lack of integrity and honesty.

As I said earlier, before Trump ran for president, he was promoting the idea that president Obama was not born in the United States. He maintained this lie for 5 years or more.

During the campaign he said Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the John F. Kennedy assassination, which was untrue. Upon Trump’s November election he claimed that millions voted illegally, all because his inadequate personality couldn’t handle the fact that almost 3 million more popular votes were cast for Hilary Clinton rather than him.

Following his inauguration, he claimed he had more supporters on the malls surrounding the Capital Building than Obama. The photographic evidence showed otherwise. Trump lives in a “Fact-free Bubble,” especially when he claimed that 2016 showed the highest murder rate, more so than in the previous 40 years.

As a prior criminologist and administrator in charge of a large agency statistical data center I can tell you his statistics on the highs and lows in the national murder rate are blatantly untrue.

A week ago Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of placing a wiretap in Trump Tower. Lying is a central core to Donald Trump’s personality; he is our Prevaricator-in-Chief.

Donald’s crush on Vladimir Putin is very troubling. I think the government’s investigation into Russia’s hacking and interference with the 2016 presidential election, in all its ramifications, will soon bear evidentiary fruit.

Other nations think Trump is a paper tiger. We need a president who is willing to preemptively strike North Korea’s nuclear facilities and military installations before they become an imminent threat to the United States. Most con men like Trump don’t have a backbone. He’s most likely a coward at heart. For the first time in our history we really do look weak and are an embarrassment before the world.

With his constant use of his twitter account to bully foreign leaders as well as anyone he sees fit to do so in the United States, he has proven that before, and since he has taken office that he is indeed, like a few of his supporters, unhinged, mentally disturbed and unstable. Time and time again he has shown himself to be a misogynist, racist, degenerate, thuggish, iconoclast.

     He has the mentality of a five year old; he is such a loose cannon—he has even bad-mouthed those who put him in office.      

As the late Howard Cosell used to say on Monday Night Football, “tell it….like…. it is!” People soon forget factual details, and people who voted for Trump made only value judgments rather than let facts guide them. And, to no one’s surprise Trump supporters are now beginning to experience “buyer’s remorse.” 

One of the underlying mistakes Trump voters made was to naively believe Trump represented change that would benefit them. Trump is not in favor of increasing the minimum wage that would’ve helped low income families; he is mute on helping college debt problems for many students and their families, and wants to spend unbelievably vast amounts of money for a useless wall rather than spend money to improve the lives of his supporters, or those who are elderly, or those considered below the poverty line or the working-poor.

Nowhere do you find Trump issuing executive orders to promote educational programs for youth and adults in the inner cities, as well as those troubled people found in the rust belt who desperately sought any kind of help to improve their lives. He does this keeping a straight-face while he lines his cabinet with the well-heeled and, in many cases, with people who are millionaires and billionaires. Having Trump as president is like “placing the fox in charge of the hen house.”

But thinking Donald Trump is clever as a fox gives him too much credit. The other day I heard a very insightful medical theory that might better explain all of a 70-year old Donald Trump’s very erratic behavior. I suggest that Donald Trump may be experiencing the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. What is the evidence: his paranoia, inability to remember things, not being able to remember what he has said (by making extremely contradicting statements) and his chronic self-serving tantrum-oriented 5 year old emotional out-bursts.

For Trump, in addition to forgetting he also shows an inability to recognize certain people; it has wider ramifications as well. He has not been able to recognize the true bigots in our country. They were mixed in with other Trump voters and were not troubled economically in quite the same way.

These were the white nationalists with white party affiliations whose core racist values repulsed everyone else including liberal progressives, moderate conservatives and well-meaning independents everywhere.

Conservative Legacy in America    

The legacy of the conservative movement in this country including the far right has never historically been anything to be proud of. It was progressive values, not conservative values that led the way to civil rights, human rights, women’s rights, LBGT rights, health care as a universal right, and the honest recognition today that 90% of the wealth in this country is held by the top 1-2 % of the population.

Conservatism has never been anything but an obstacle to forward-looking people everywhere. Conservatism is a moral and political stance that is anything but moral. It is a movement, much like a bowel movement, that craps all over the poor and disenfranchised with every breath they take. They are selfish, self-serving, self-aggrandizing, arrogant buffoons from every age group.

There are many reasons some people wish to live in the past. But the main reason is a fear of change, despite the fact that many who hold this view want government to change, but they ultimately cower and lack the courage to change them.

In other words, they blame everyone else for their lot in life, but never take responsibility for their own lives. They would have benefitted early in life had they read Paul Tillich’s famous work, The Courage to be.” Although these observations apply to a lot of people across the entire political spectrum, fear of change seems to have a more paralyzing and crippling effect on those citizens who consider themselves conservative.

Not everyone can become Horatio Alger but everyone can improve their own situation if they have the willingness (and courage) to do so. This is neither a liberal nor conservative idea. It is an American idea. We are in America after all— “the land of opportunity.”

Final Thoughts

It must be remembered that Donald Trump, like many of his close advisors who are his apologists in the White House, share much in common: (1) they tend to have a mind like a steel trap—nothing gets in and nothing gets out, and (2) they prove every day the alleged saying of the late P.T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

     P.T. Barnum was successful in life; Donald Trump, by comparison, is simply a flim-flam man who conned a very naïve voting public into thinking he had their interests at heart.  

Police in American Today:

Should a Police Officer’s License to kill be revoked in the United States?

 

This is one of the most difficult questions to address. A civilized society needs police and they should be honored for service to their communities. There are criminal offenders out there who want to commit violent crime, and who are willing to murder police officers who try to stop them. Societal self-policing just isn’t a viable concept in a large modern-industrialized country.

At the same time, social institutions like the police in America need to be held accountable for their actions as well. Some of the “bad guys” police are sworn to take down should also include some people who dress in blue and carry a badge and a gun. Some of these individuals need to have their license to kill—permanently revoked.

The crux of the problem in America is that police officer standards for the use of deadly force vary from state-to-state and agency-to-agency. These standards imply that training in the use of lethal force vary as well. This hodge-podge of training and lethal force standards has led to the worst of situations—the indiscriminate murder of people, thus violating the United States Constitution. The upshot of all this has made the officer on the beat judge, jury and executioner, whether warranted or not. This needs to change.

International Standards

At the international level there does exist international standards for lethal force that incorporates into it the belief that all human life is valued and needs to be protected. But this acceptance of the importance of the sanctity of all life is not universally shared or valued. Evidence of this is the wanton discriminatory murder of unarmed black men in the United States.

One of the great ironies of this lack of police standards for lethal force is that the United States is predominantly a “Christian nation” where there is an important Christian doctrine known as “Thou Shall Not Kill.”

In this blog I suggest that leadership does not start at the agency level. Leadership and new lethal force standards for all police agencies nationwide need to come from the federal level, primarily the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. With a Republican change in the White House, House of Representatives, and Senate I am not optimistic there will be any forthcoming leadership shown towards this important issue.   

The Police Problem in America

     Every year in America police officers murder or kill nearly a thousand people. This is more than triple all the terrorist and mass-shooting victims combined in the United States in a single year. Nearly 25% of all those killed or murdered by police officers are unarmed. The overall question that should be asked by society is this: Should a police officer’s license to kill be revoked?

The following information was obtained from Wikipedia:

“Although Congress instructed the Attorney General in 1994 to compile and publish annual statistics on police use of excessive force, this was never carried out, and the FBI does not collect these data either. The annual average number of justifiable homicides alone was previously estimated to be near 400.

Updated estimates from the Bureau of Justice Statistics released in 2015 estimate the number to be around 930 per year, or 1240 if assuming that non-reporting local agencies kill people at the same rate as reporting agencies. The Washington Post has tracked shootings (only) since 2015, reporting 990 shootings in that year, and more than 250 by the end of March 2016.”

Deaths by Race/Ethnicity Groups in 2015, according to The Counted

“The Guardian newspaper runs its own database, The Counted, which tracked US killings by police and other law enforcement agencies in 2015, and counted 1140 killed, with rates per million of 2.92 for “White” people, 7.2 for “Black”, and 3.5 for “Hispanic/Latino,” 1.34 for “Asian/Pacific Islander,” and 3.4 for “Native American.”

 

“The database can be viewed by state, gender (1086 male, 53 female, 1 nonconforming) , race/ethnicity, age, classification (e.g., “gunshot”), and whether the person killed was armed (853 armed, 224 unarmed). The database has continued to add new cases into 2016.

“Projects on police killings in the United States by The Washington Post and The Guardian were finalists for the 2016 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.

Two Related Issues of a Technical Nature

A related problem is that police nationwide are more effectively taught how to kill someone with a gun, but virtually no one is taught how to wound (e.g., how to shoot someone in the legs rather than the chest area). The chest area is large in comparison to the legs and would require “expert” use of a firearm to shoot someone in the legs. Too many officers nationwide are amateurs when it comes to the effective use of handguns like revolvers or semi-automatics. When a suspect is at a great distance it is better to use a rifle with a scope as far as accuracy is concerned.

The 224 unarmed victims of police shootings described above might be alive today had someone been good enough a marksman. Federal legislation is needed to overturn local and state training standards (where they exist at all) in the use of deadly force.  The shooting skill sets of police officers need to improve greatly, perhaps adopting FBI shooting skill levels. Or, perhaps not any officer to be hired who does not already have the shooting skills of an expert.

A second issue of a technical nature has to do with the need of police officers to be in possession of night vision goggles. Night vision goggles can, with some training, help police officers see their environment at night with more details. Differentiating between someone carrying their car keys from someone carrying a handgun might spell the difference between life and death in a dark alley. Research is needed to look at both of these technical issues.

U.S. Supreme Court in Tennessee versus Garner    

According to Wikipedia, in Tennessee v. Garner, 471.U.S. (1985) is a civil  case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that, under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.” It was found that use of deadly force to prevent escape is an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment, in the absence of probable cause that the fleeing suspect posed a physical danger.

Amnesty International Report on Deadly Force, 2015

The following is the Executive Summary from that report:

Hundreds of men and women are killed by police each and every year across the United States. No-one knows exactly how many because the United States does not count how many lives are lost. The limited information available however suggests that African American men are disproportionately impacted by police use of lethal force.

While the majority of the unarmed African Americans killed by police officers are men, many African American women have also lost their lives to police violence. Police officers are responsible for upholding the law, as well as respecting and protecting the lives of all members of society. Their jobs are difficult and often dangerous. However, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and countless others across the United States has highlighted a widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by law enforcement officers and an alarming use of lethal force nationwide. 

     Indeed, just 10 days after Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson,        Missouri, on August 9, 2014, St. Louis police officers shot and killed a young black man, Kajieme Powell, 25, who was reportedly holding a knife. Police claims that he was brandishing a knife were not borne out by the available video footage of the shooting.  Some of the individuals killed by police in the United States include the following: Rekia Boyd, an unarmed 22 year old black woman was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer on March 21, 2012; Eric Garner, a 43 year old black man, died after being placed in a chokehold by New York Police Department officers after being approached by an officer who attempted to arrest him for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on July 17, 2014; Ezell Ford, 25, an unarmed black man with a history of mental illness, was shot and killed by Los Angeles police officers on August 11 2014; Tamir Rice, a 12 year-old black boy, was shot and killed by officers in Cleveland, Ohio while playing in a park with a toy gun on November 22, 2014; Walter Scott, a 50 year old unarmed black man, was fatally shot in the back after a traffic stop for a broken light on his car in North Charleston, South Carolina on April 4, 2015; and Freddie Grey, a 25 year old black man, died from a spinal injury after being taken into police custody in Baltimore, Maryland on April 19, 2015. These are all cases that have received national media attention; however, there are many more including Hispanic and Indigenous individuals from communities across the country who have died at the hands of the police.

The use of lethal force by law enforcement officers raises serious human rights concerns, including in regard to the right to life, the right to security of the person, the right to freedom from discrimination and the right to equal protection of the law.  The United States has a legal obligation to respect, protect and fulfill these human rights and has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which explicitly protects these rights.

One of a state’s most fundamental duties which police officers, as agents of the state, must comply with in carrying out their law enforcement duties, is to protect life.  In pursuing ordinary law enforcement operations, using force that may cost the life of a person cannot be justified. International law only allows police officers to use lethal force as a last resort in order to protect themselves or others from death or serious injury.  The United Nations (UN) Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms provide that law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defense or the defense of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, and that, in any event, “intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.” Furthermore, international law enforcement standards require that force of any kind may be used only when there are no other means available that are likely to achieve the legitimate objective. If the force is unavoidable it must be no more than is necessary and proportionate to achieve the objective, and law enforcement must use it in a manner designed to minimize damage or injury, must respect and preserve human life and ensure medical aid are provided as soon as possible to those injured or affected.

Amnesty International – June 2015                      

 

All 50 US States Fail to Meet Global Police Use of Force Standards, Report Finds

“Amnesty International report describes ‘shocking lack of fundamental respect for the sanctity of human life’ as nine states have no laws to deal with police force.

     Police response to protests across the country in the wake of several high-profile police shootings points to a need for better standards, says Amnesty.

“Every state in the US fails to comply with international standards on the lethal use of force by law enforcement officers, according to a report by Amnesty International USA, which also says 13 US states fall beneath even lower legal standards enshrined in US constitutional law and that nine states currently have no laws at all to deal with the issue.

“The stinging review comes amid a national debate over police violence and widespread protest following the high-profile deaths of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; 43-year-old Eric Garner in New York; 50-year-old Walter Scott in South Carolina; and 25-year-old Freddie Gray in Baltimore – all unarmed black men killed by police within the past 11 months.

Amnesty USA’s executive director, Steven Hawkins, told the Guardian the findings represented a ‘shocking lack of fundamental respect for the sanctity of human life.’

‘While law enforcement in the United States is given the authority to use lethal force, there is no equal obligation to respect and preserve human life. It’s shocking that while we give law enforcement this extraordinary power, so many states either have no regulation on their books or nothing that complies with international standards,’ Hawkins said.

Amnesty found that in all 50 states and Washington DC, written statutes were too broad to fit these international standards, concluding: “None of the laws establish the requirement that lethal force may only be used as a last resort with non-violent means and less harmful means to be tried first. The vast majority of laws do not require officers to give a warning of their intent to use firearms.”

“The report also suggests taking action at all levels of government, making recommendations to the president, Congress and the US justice department, along with state legislatures and individual law enforcement departments. Amnesty suggests that laws be brought into compliance with international standards at every level, and that the justice department oversee a national commission “to examine and produce recommendations on policing issues, including a nationwide review of police use of lethal force laws … as well as a thorough review and reform of oversight and accountability mechanisms.”

“Hawkins told the Guardian he expected some resistance to the recommendations from police unions and other agencies but added his hope that ‘with so much attention on law enforcement and its use of lethal force within the US, in the next legislative session this report will produce some energy for change.”

 

The Supremacy of Federal Law

Article VI of the Constitution makes federal law “the supreme law of the land,” notwithstanding the contrary law any state might have.  In the important 1958 case of Cooper v Aaron, in which the Court considered the efforts of state authorities to block integration of Little Rock’s Central High School, the Court unanimously declared, “No state legislator or executive or judicial official can war against the Constitution without violating his undertaking to support it….If the legislatures of the several states may at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the Constitution itself becomes a mockery.”

Federal law, not state law, is “the supreme law of the land.” Despite the efforts of some states, even today, to “nullify” federal laws they disapprove of, few things in constitutional law are any clearer than the fact that any such efforts are grossly unconstitutional.  What remains a much more difficult question under Article VI is when a state law or action, which is at least arguably consistent with federal law, in fact creates sufficient conflict so as to justify finding it “preempted.”

Final Comments

The problem of totally professionalizing local police and county sheriff’s departments across the country will require a common sense approach that is composed of 7 recommendations:

  1. Requiring every police department in the country to adopt international standards in the use of lethal force
  2. Setting brand new guidelines in the training of police officers and deputies including shooting qualification standards currently required by the FBI.
  3. Establishing a new standard of investigative protocols that every agency must follow when a shooting by a police officer has occurred.
  4. A U.S. Justice Department program needs to be created for an ongoing assessment of the fitness of every police or sheriff’s agency in the country every two years and a report that is shared with local governmental jurisdictions.
  5. Non-lethal force technology needs to be front-and-center on the agenda of every law enforcement agency at the federal, state and local level.
  6. Every federal, state and local police agency needs desperately to acquire resources for the psychiatric evaluation of duty officers before any officer is authorized to wear any badge and carry any firearm.
  7. Every training package used needs to have a component to explain constitutional and all federal, State and local civil rights laws and their relevance.