The Wall? What wall?

(This is longer than usual because of the topic. “The Wall” vs. “open borders.”   I’m expressing my opinion below; if you have an opposite opinion write your own column. If you hate the idea of a fence/barrier/wall to discourage illegal border crossings, then stop reading, because nothing below will likely change your mind. Oddly, however, most Democrat leaders have changed their minds from 10 or 12 years ago.)

COLUMBUS: You probably know that Will Rogers said, “I’m not a member of any organized political party… I’m a Democrat.”  Will also made it clear he was neutral in his political commentary. Common horse sense was the most important factor. Yes, humor and some silliness came into play.

Let’s start today with the silly. Nancy Pelosi offered a 3-point “Pelosi Plan” instead of “The Wall.” 1. Build a Beaded Curtain (not to be confused with an Iron Curtain.) 2. Hire 10,000 cowboys on horseback to corral any immigrant who figures out how to break through the beads. Will the cowboys be armed? No, no, no. Only lassos.   3. Hire 50,000 other folks, as follows: 10,000 judges to rule on asylum claims; 10,000 lawyers to prosecute the cases; 10,000 lawyers to represent the immigrants; 10,000 wranglers to care for the horses; and 10,000 to repair and replace beads.

The Pelosi Plan for border security is intended to have the same result as the border security plans in place for the last 30 years.

Nancy Pelosi should be out of the picture, at least until January 3. The House already voted for a budget bill with $5 Billion for the wall. But the Senate needs 60 votes, not just the 51 Republicans, to pass the budget bill. So, nine Democrats would have to agree with Republicans that we need a secure border to minimize illegal immigration. Chuck Schumer has controlled his Democrat Senators with an iron fist; no one has dared to cross him, including two from West Virginia and Indiana who won re-election in November by saying they would support Trump’s border wall. With the urgency of the government shutdown, the Senate should be called back in session for a vote January 2. Then we will  know who favors border security and who wants to continue the shutdown.

By the way, Schumer was for a border wall before he was against it. Does that sound like common sense?

Democrats do make a valid point. They claim it is unreasonable to build a wall on the entire 1954-mile border. There are mountains, cliffs, canyons, the Rio Grande River, and other geological features where construction would be nearly impossible. So for that reason, they say no portion of a Wall should be built because it is immoral. How about if we build a Wall where the immigrants like to cross? Common sense says let’s put up a wall or fence where immigrants find it easiest to sneak in. This will deter many. Others will look for other spots to sneak in. So that’s where the next sections will be built. What about the ones who tunnel under it, or climb over it? If the wall itself is nearly impenetrable then our officers can spend their time finding the few who do somehow get across.

Why doesn’t Mexico pay for the wall? They will, indirectly. The total annual net cost of folks here illegally is at least $25 Billion. This includes law enforcement, education, medical, and social services. A Wall won’t eliminate that total cost, but the investment in a complete “secure border” should pay off quickly.

What about the 40% who come by other means and overstay their Visas? Once we stop the 60%, those will be much easier to control. We know who they are, and where they entered. Technology can be used to track them down.

There are other issues including businesses that hire illegal immigrants at low wages, “social activists” who encourage immigration by any means possible, and politicians who expect to gain votes.

If you think Will Rogers would support unlimited immigration, think again. The Cherokees and all other Indian tribes in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) would have voted for a wall along their border with Kansas on the north and Missouri and Arkansas to the east to keep out “Intruders.” The Indians petitioned Congress for support to protect their border. After much debate, in 1898 Congress came down firmly on the side of the Intruders. Will 2019 be any different?


Weekly Comments: Congress plays Santa Claus

The Republican Congress passed a Democrat budget bill. Instead of trying to reduce our $19 Trillion debt, Congress and the President are adding another half Trillion dollars.

The bill was loaded with Christmas presents for practically everybody that votes. It’s the exact opposite of most Christmas presents because these will be paid for by the children and grandchildren. See, they’re too young to vote now. By the time they can vote Congress will likely pass even more expensive budget bills that will draw their attention away from this one.

When you write a bill that’s 2000 pages of fine print you can pack a whole lot of secret gifts in there. You can bet those Congressmen and Senators that voted for a 2000 page bill only read the handful of pages that had some special favors for their favorite voters. As to any appropriations they might be strongly opposed to, well, they just ignored ‘em.

If you have youngins in the family, and you are fortunate enough to take in some extra dough from components of this appropriation such as oil exports or a solar subsidy, you should squirrel away a big chunk of it for the kids. When they start paying taxes they’re gonna need all the dough they can get.

Historic Christmas quotes by Will Rogers:

“I am too busy replacing presents to write today. I bought some mechanical and electric things for the kids and wore ’em out playing with ’em myself.” DT #120, Dec. 23, 1926

“Well, the neckties were all red and the socks were all too small.  So there is practically nothing I can do but just sit and wait for another holiday.”  DT# 441, Dec. 25, 1927
“This has been the hottest day we have had in California in years. Everybody that is not at the beach is huddled under the thousands of outdoor Christmas trees to get in the shade. Even the imitation snow is melting. All Santa Clauses are in bathing suits and wearing a palm leaf fan for whiskers.”  DT# 1065, Dec. 24, 1929

“Merry Christmas….  Men, act surprised this morning as if you didn’t know the tie was coming.”  DT #121, Dec. 24, 1926

“Well, Christmas has passed. I was just thinking if there was some way to make the Christmas spirit continue during the other days of the year, why we would be the most happy and wonderful Nation on Earth. Gosh, if all of us that was able would just feed and do things for folks without waiting till Christmas. I think we mean well, but we just sorter got in our heads that about one day a year pays our obligations off, then we swell up and hide our Conscience till the next gift day comes along.” WA #628, Jan 6 1935

Weekly Comments: The Shutdown Puzzle

You probably know that President Trump wants $5 Billion to continue construction of The Wall. He said he is willing to take the blame for “shutting down” the government December 21, if Congress does not add this to the roughly $4000 Billion already in the budget. Yes, you read that right; $5 Billion would increase government spending by 0.13 percent. But Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are adamantly opposed, even though ten years ago they were in favor of a secure border to keep out illegal aliens.

Here are four observations on a possible government shutdown.

First, the budget for three-fourths of the federal government has already been funded (including the military), so the impact of a shutdown would be minimal.

Second, most of the expense of a shutdown happens before the shutdown because everybody has to waste time planning for a possible shutdown.

Third, whether a shutdown lasts one hour, one day, or one month, employees are always paid for the time they sat at home. The idea that a couple of weeks without any federal government activity would save money is a joke.

Fourth, the shutdown would start on Saturday, Dec. 22, and essential employees would still be on the job. Here’s a question: How many non-essential federal workers are planning to take vacation days during the Christmas-New Years week? Would you believe, all of them? So political haggling could result in a 10-day shutdown, until January 2, and most of us wouldn’t even notice. And  those workers would get the days off, without being charged vacation leave, then get paid later anyway. What a country.

Now, I don’t mean to joke about a shutdown. I know it is a serious issue and is not desirable for anybody directly affected.

Concerning the $25 Billion total cost of The Wall, and why doesn’t Mexico pay for it… imagine a solid wall had been in place for the last ten years, with only needed workers allowed in, legally. No freeloaders. No drug dealers. No MS-13 gang members. Does anyone doubt we would have saved over $25 Billion in various government services already?

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“There is very little dignity, very little sportsmanship, or very little anything in politics.” DT #1949, Nov. 2, 1932

“Politics is not the high class, marvelous thing that lots of you picture.” Nov. 10, 1932

Washington investigations, a final note on President Bush

In Washington, Robert Mueller put out information on two of the main culprits he is going after, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.  Are they guilty? More important, did they spill the beans on Donald Trump?

Suppose you went to a college football game between two rivals. The next day you read newspaper reports from the home cities of both teams. Amazingly, you wonder if the writers watched the same game.

Well, it’s the same with this “Mueller game.” Of course, President Trump claims there was no connection between the charges against those two and Russian influence in his election. Trump’s opponents claim the charges show a clear path to immediate impeachment.

Former FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress behind closed doors. Even though it was not public, he refused to answer a lot of interesting questions. The transcript of his answers was released, with whole sections blacked out. So we still don’t know his role (or President Obama’s role) in deciding who’s phones would be tapped during the Trump and Clinton campaigns in 2016.

George H. W. Bush took a final train ride, from Houston to his final resting place at Texas A&M University. His family had a great history with railroads and he enjoyed train rides. In the week since his death, everyone, especially media folks, was heaping praise on him, as a gentleman, a warrior, and for his life time of public service.

I read an interesting statistic about media coverage during Bush’s 1992 campaign. Even though the economy was rapidly recovering from a downturn in1990, over 90 percent of stories on the economy were negative. Then miraculously, in the month after the election of Bill Clinton, almost 90 percent of similar stories were positive.

Here’s an interesting question about the Bush presidency. How might it have changed if Republicans had controlled Congress those four years? As it was, Democrats had solid control of both the House and Senate.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“At the great San Diego World’s Fair yesterday [former president Herbert] Hoover received a tremendous ovation.

There is no country in the world where a person changes from a hero to a goat, and a goat to a hero, or vice versa, as they do with us. And all through no change in them. The change is always with us. It’s not our public men that you can’t put your finger on. It’s our public. We are the only fleas weighing over 100 pounds. We don’t know what we want, but are ready to bite somebody to get it.” DT #2768, June 19, 1935

Remembering President Bush, Soybeans, Immigration and The Wall

The Lame Duck Congress is up against a wall. They have to pass a budget that President Trump will sign. And Trump says he won’t sign any budget unless it includes several Billion for The Wall.

Meanwhile Senator Chuck Schumer, the Minority Leader, said if there is a government shutdown it will be the Republicans fault because they control the House, the Senate and the Presidency. An optimist would conclude he will encourage other Democrat Senators to go along with whatever the 52 Republican Senators decide. But he’s shrewd; he knows it takes 60 votes in the Senate to pass a bill.

I hate to say it, but a lot of Democrats prefer to have the humanity issues with Hondurans storming the fence, Border Patrol officers responding with tear gas, teen age boys confined in tents, and women and children having to live in the mud in Tijuana. Democrats say all these immigrants must be given asylum hearings, although they know that only about 3 percent are accepted for asylum. (Most of the other 97 percent stay here illegally.)

Our farmers are breathing a bit easier. Apparently China has agreed with President Trump on a deal that will delay some tariffs and China will buy soybeans and other farm products. We have huge piles of soybeans and corn from record yields, with much of it stored outside.

President George H. W. Bush died Friday at age 94. Barbara Bush died a few months ago, and most folks feel he was ready to join her in Heaven. He was President from 1989 to 1993, and would have likely been re-elected for a second term if Ross Perot had not run as a third party candidate.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Live your life so that whenever you lose it, you’re ahead.” WA #445, July 5, 1931

“No man is great if he thinks he is. It’s great to be great, but it’s greater to be human.” DT #1122, Feb. 28, 1930

“Now these fellows in Washington wouldn’t be so serious and particular if they only had to vote on what they thought was good for the majority of the people in the U.S.” WA #64, March 2, 1924