Immigration, The Wall, and State of the Union

The government shutdown lasted only 3 days, last Saturday, Sunday and Monday, when only essential government work got done. For most of us it was not much different than the previous weekend. Senate Democrats caused the shutdown because they wanted 800,000 nonlegal immigrants brought here as children by their illegal immigrant parents to receive legal status. Senator Schumer was the main supporter of the nonlegal immigrants, and he finally relented and voted for the temporary funding deal.

A few days later a formal proposal was submitted to legalize more than twice as many of these young folks. You might have expected Sen. Schumer and all the Democrats to be celebrating in the street. But, no. Former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, even called this plan (which would legalize almost 2 million young aliens) “racist.” That seemed odd since most of them are Mexican and I did not know Mexican was a race.

It’s not just the Democrats; a lot of Republicans don’t like it either. In fact, a similar bill of some sort has been introduced in Congress almost every year since 2001. Democrats and Republicans have kinda taken turns opposing it. It’s enough to make you suspect many prefer to keep the issue alive for political purposes instead of solving it. The stalemate may last for many years, maybe even long enough that the illegal parents will have conveniently died of natural causes.

One hang up is The Wall, and how to raise $20 Billion to pay for it. Well, I’ve got a plan. I read in the newspaper that last year Americans spent $80 Billion on Lottery tickets. So let Congress and the President pass a law that for the next 12 months all Lottery earnings go to pay for the Wall. You may say, “We don’t need $80 Billion.” You’re right, and that’s the best part. See, $60 Billion of the $80 Billion will go to the holders of the winning tickets, and that’s way better odds than they get now. With those odds, even Mexicans will be buying tickets.

President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union speech Tuesday night. Every good speaker will tell you to include only 3 or 4 key points. But he will likely feel obliged to cover 20 or 30.

Actually he should stick to only one point: the Economy. That would include improving wages and bonuses, income tax reductions, job growth, energy production, and the stock market. That’s it. Stop at 15 minutes. The opposing party always has a response after the speech. Let ‘em respond to the Economy. Don’t give journalists and TV commentators anything else to talk about. But you can bet Trump’s prepared speech will be about 45 minutes, and with his ad libs and extraneous comments, he will run over an hour.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Our President delivered his first [State of the Union] message to Congress. You know that’s one of the things that his contract calls for. One of the few stipulated duties of the President, and that is that every once in awhile he delivers a message to Congress to tell them the “Condition of the Country.” This message, as I say, is to Congress; the rest of the country know the condition of the country, for they live in it and are a part of it. But the Senators and Congressmen, being in Washington all the time, have no idea what is going on in America. So the President has to tell ’em.” WA #371, Feb. 2, 1930

 “A president just can’t make much showing against congress.  They lay awake nights, thinking up things to be against the president on.” WA #430, March 22, 1931

Will Rogers, President Trump and derogatory words

Nobody likes one word President Trump (supposedly) said last week in a private meeting.

What would have been the reaction ninety years ago?

Will Rogers knew, and was in conversations with, several Presidents, Senators and other high level officials between ~1920 and 1935. I am confident that in some of those situations of one-on-one or small group discussions, a few derogatory cuss words were heard.  Will never quoted any of those remarks, and I doubt that others, including journalists, ever reported those comments by the likes of FDR, V-P John Nance Garner, Sen. Tom Heflin, Herbert Hoover, or Coolidge.

With that background information, I think Will would take a different approach than 90% of the critics of Trump.

First, Sen. Durbin of Illinois, apparently the only Democrat invited to the high level discussion, has been around long enough to know that other countries would be upset to hear such a comment attributed to our President.  He did not care about an international firestorm; his only interest was to embarrass President Trump in an attempt to get a more liberal immigration agreement.

Second, we have not heard what caused Trump to get angry enough to make such a derogatory comment.  Here’s the background. President Trump has made it clear that any agreement to allow 800,000 so-called DACA immigrants (AND their parents!) to become legal citizens must also  greatly limit the “chain migration” system and END the Lottery system of pulling names randomly out of a hat to decide who can immigrate legally to the US. Instead, President Trump emphasized that immigration must be based on Merit.  (In a Merit system, people from any country in the world can apply and the “winners” would be based on OUR needs. Does the person have needed skills, such as nursing or computer engineering or desires to be a farm laborer? Does the person want to invest a large sum in a new manufacturing facility here? And other factors that make sense for America.)

So, with those ground rules set by Trump, here comes Sen. Durbin to the meeting with a great bipartisan DACA plan.  The Senator probably said something like this: Mr. President, we decided we need to expand the Lottery system to give priority to more immigrants from Haiti, Somalia, and other poverty-stricken African nations.

How would you have reacted to that statement if you were Trump?  Since you had already stated emphatically that all immigration must be based on merit, you would not have been pleased. Sure, you would not have cussed in mentioning Haiti and African nations. Instead you would have used an adjective such as “poor,” “poverty-stricken,” or “third-world”.  (Note that a similar derogatory word, “Hellhole,” has been stated by a Senator in a Congressional hearing a few years ago that was broadcast live on TV.  You probably don’t remember the uproar about that comment, because there wasn’t any. )

If you’re still with me, I hope this sheds some light on a controversial news story.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

[Newly appointed Secretary of War, Pat Hurley] “And he is making good right from the jump, too. He hadn’t any more than been appointed than he hatched one with Haiti. Course that’s not much of a war, but it may lead into something bigger and better.” DT #1052, Dec. 9, 1929

Frigid air and a hot stock market

Frigid temperatures have taken over most of the country, except Alaska. We’ve been cold so long that President Trump is getting credit for ending global warming. That’s a joke.

The economy has been growing since Trump’s election in November 2016, with the stock market up about 25 percent. That’s not a joke. He and Republicans deserve some of the credit. Frankly, many Democrats disagree. My question to them is this: If a Democrat was President, and Democrats had the majority in Congress, would the Dow average be at 25,000? Would it even be at 20,000?

Of course there are other factors in the economy including: Gross Domestic Product, employment, and wages. The number of people depending on “food stamps” dropped by 2 million.

President Trump should be cautious in predicting the Dow will reach 30,000. Yes it can keep climbing, but it can also drop to 20,000 or 15,000 or…

We’ll check back in a year to see how we’re doing.

In Washington, we seem to have a dog chasing its tail. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, is investigating collusion between Trump and the Russians based (partly) on information in a document called a “dossier.” Now, the Republicans in Congress want to investigate the ones who paid for and wrote that dossier.

Competition is getting hot for the award for Best Fiction: the Dossier, or Fire and Fury.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“I have read New Year predictions till I am blue in the face about the great future [of several companies], but I have yet to see one word on what [next year] holds for the Democrats. And that’s the very thing that makes me believe us Democrats may get a break in the coming year. I base my faith on the fact that 98 percent of all predictions are wrong, and on the fact that it’s an off year in politics and all off years are Democratic years.” DT #1071, Dec. 31, 1929

[early in the Great Depression] “Well, the old year is leaving us flat, plenty flat. But in reality it’s been our most beneficial year. It took some of the conceit out of us…  I don’t think [President] Hoover, the Republicans, or even Russia, is responsible for this. I think the Lord just looked us over, and decided to set us back where we belonged.” DT #1384, Dec. 30, 1930