So, you want to compare Trump and his followers to Hitler and the Nazis?

Politics of Division

“If you vote for Trump, then you, the voter, you, not Donald Trump, are standing at the border, like Nazis.” – Donny Deutsch.

So, you want to compare Trump to Hitler and his supporters Nazi’s because he wants to arrest and deport illegal aliens? First, former president Obama deported more illegals than any president before him, earning him the nickname: “Deporter in Chief”. So where was your outrage then? Second, but most importantly, when ICE deports illegal aliens they send them back to their country of origin. They arrive there safe and probably in better condition than when they entered the U.S. If not wanted by the authorities in their own country, they are free. Many of them as we know will return to the U.S., a funny thing to do if you believe Trump’s America is the Third Reich revisited.

Compare that to the actual Hitler and real Nazi’s When they rounded up Six million Jews, Slavs, and others they were sent not home, but to concentration camps where most of them died or lived as slaves. The religious and ethnic minorities that were rounded up were not allowed due process, they were offered neither hearings nor trials, there was no pleading their case, no requests for asylum. There was no “catch and release, ” there was no recidivism rate for Holocaust victims. When a member of Himmler’s Totenkopf SS found you, that was it, you were a slave of the Reich until death or the Allies freed you.

If you want to compare Trump to Hitler based on deportations of illegal immigrants, then what you are saying is that being sent back to a country like Mexico or Honduras is like being sent to Treblinka or Auschwitz. The problem with that is that aliens returned to Mexico or some other country find themselves free and alive at the end of their experience with ICE or the Border Patrol. Not so much in the case of Nazi death camps. Anyone unlucky enough to have an encounter with the German Totenkopf SS was looking at guaranteed slavery and/or death. Our immigration laws actually prevent human beings from being made into slaves by human traffickers and the like.

Attempts to liken Trump to Hitler due to his stance on immigration are not just historically wrong but are hurtful to the memories of all who suffered at the hands of the Nazis. The Holocaust victims were never allowed to plead their cases, never given a hearing, never allowed any due process. Illegal immigrants are. The Jews and Slavs captured were used for slave labor, our immigration policy is an impediment to those who wish tho traffic in human beings. An encounter on the part of illegal aliens with ICE or the Border Patrol will usually result in that person being returned healthy and alive to their home country. Capture by the Nazi SS always resulted in the enslavement and usually the eventual death of those captured. To compare Trump and his supporters to Hitler and his is not just historically inaccurate, it is divisive and dishonest. Moreover, the hatred and distrust this causes prevent rational discussion of the very real problem of illegal immigration.

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The State of the Union Drinking Game

SOTU Drinking GameThe State of the Union speeches can sometimes be tedious and predictable. There will be the long list of achievements that the President wants to highlight, coupled by an even longer laundry list of things he wants to Congress to act on. They’re full of soaring rhetoric, with each president making an obvious effort to get in that one, memorable line that will be quoted ad nauseam later that night and the next day. This year however, with President Trump, things promise to be a little more entertaining. When Trump speaks, you can never be quite sure what you’re going to get. Still, there will be the usual SOTU trope: The long introduction with the President working the reception line, the call outs by the President to guests in the chamber who he thinks personify a certain virtue, or a the need for a certain pet program. The camera will inevitably cut to shots of some general or admiral when the talk turns to defense, the Supreme Court when a decision of theirs is mentioned, or the relevant cabinet secretary, whenever the speech refers to something they’ve or their department have done or might do.

Whether boring or not, make the address even more interesting by playing the State of the Union Drinking Game:

The rules are simple: Every time during the address the President utters one of the designated words or phrases, or anytime one of a few select events happen, you take a drink of your favorite adult beverage.  You must of course, be of legal drinking age to play, unless your favorite adult beverage is non-alcoholic, in that case…you’ll probably make yourself sick either way!

Take a sip anytime any President Trump says one of the magic words or phrases:

  • Fake News
  • Obstruction, obstructionism
  • Unqualified
  • Leading from behind
  • America First

…Or each time any of the following happen:

  • Protester disruption

  • A member of the audience is recognized by the President.

  • The camera cuts to the Supreme Court Justices (take an extra sip if any of them are asleep)

  • The camera cuts to Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi for a reaction shot.

  • Chants of “USA! USA!” breaks out.

Seven Things That Won’t Happen in 2018.

Happy New YearEveryone likes to make New Year’s predictions. Just to be a little different, here is a list of things that are exceedingly unlikely to happen in 2018. Although there are scores of pundits, celebrities and other talking heads who will try and convince you otherwise, here are seven things that logic and clear thinking suggest won’t occur in calendar year 2018…

  1. Global Warming. Have you been outside lately? The polar bears will be quite safe in 2018.

  2. Nuclear War. No, WWIII won’t start over a tweet, despite what the pundits from MSNBC and CNN want you to believe. (Gotta hedge a little because we’re talking about Kim Jong Un here after all. ) If it does happen it will be because N. Korea does something tragically stupid, and God-forbid maybe even gets in a single blow before they cease to exist. It won’t happen however, because President Trump calls Kim Jong Un fat or “Rocket Man”.

  3. The Taxpocolypse. Lower Taxes won’t destroy the country. On the contrary, expect more economic growth.  The promise of lower taxes has already helped the economy and should continue to do so in FY18.

  4. Immigration Stormtroopers. Democrat scare tactics are just that, scare tactics. There will be no squadrons of ICE rounding up foreigners and people of color for mass deportation. There will be no liquidation of East L.A., or South central Chicago.  Yes, plenty of illegal immigrants will be deported, after due process and according to existing law, but if you seriously believe they’re coming for you, and you’re a legal alien- well, you’re a just a little bit gullible.

  5. Venezuela: “A socialist success story”. There’s an outside chance of them becoming a capitalist success story some time in the future, but will take some doing and would probably take years. On a related note, the Che Guevara-T-shirt wearing-die-hard-leftists in this country (still) won’t acknowledge that socialism destroyed that country.

  6. A “wave election” for the Democrats. Conventional wisdom says the party that holds the White House loses Congress during the mid-terms. The Democrats have little to offer except anti-Trump sentiment. If the stock market continues to go up, and GDP growth stays where it is or increases, the public won’t have much incentive to change course. Only if the economy goes south or a major crisis arises and is bungled by the White House will the Democrats have any chance of retaking either branch of Congress. That having been said, Capitol Hill is the Republicans’ to lose.

  7. Impeachment proceedings. Since the Republicans hold Congress and probably will after 2018, Trump would have to have committed an actual high-crime or misdemeanor, not an imagined one to get himself impeached. Sorry left-leaning news media– not gonna happen, not in 2018 and probably not ever.

Trump’s first 100 days evaluation: Good, with some improvement needed.

trump-1st-100-daysAs past presidents have shown, a president’s term can’t be judged by their first one hundred days, Kennedy had a terrible first hundred days, Carter was highly successful at doing the wrong things during that period.  That having been said, it is a good mile marker, an opportunity for course evaluation and correction.  I give President Trump a “B” for his first 100 days. He’s done as well as can be expected for someone with no previous political experience. He’s maxed-out on what a President alone can do in that period. He’s started to dismantle the regulatory state, and has exceeded expectations in the area of foreign policy.  American is back in the business of leading. His administration stumbled a bit on the initial travel ban rollout. He has yet to make any major economic policy.  He (luckily) has not had to deal with any world crisis of the 9/11 or Cuban Missile Crisis magnitude so those remain ungraded.

He has definite room for improvement though. He’s learned the hard way that the Courts are against him, but that is a fixable problem over the long-term. He’d have done better if certain Federal courts actually followed the Constitution. He made a good start with the appointment of Gorsuch to SCOTUS. Where he’s fallen short is when he’s needed the cooperation of Congress. Not getting the healthcare bill on the first try has exposed a need to add dealing with Capitol Hill to his skill set. Like it or not, he’s a politician now and needs to learn how to herd cats. There are also those things that one can only learn by being President, so far at least he’s shown an openness to growing with the job, which is good because the job’s only going to get tougher from here.

Trump has met expectations in some areas, and exceeded them in others, but he’s gone as far as his business skills alone will take him.  He needs to learn how Washington works– not how it should work, but how it really works. He has considerable negotiation skills as we all knew, but now he’s going to have to apply them to a whole new realm of problems and situations that just never occur in the boardroom.  The seeds he sows now with regards to economic policy will take some time to bear fruit, if at all.  It’s too early to judge on that front.  Thankfully, he’s not had to deal with a world-class crisis, although ISIS and North Korea are working hard to provide him with one.  He’s done okay so far but his hardest days are ahead of him.  He’s going to have to continue to grow as a President and he’s not likely to be afforded much time to learn on the job.  On top of that he has many adversaries within the beltway and the media looking to trip him up at every turn, not for the sake of America, but for the sake of damaging his presidency.  That’s not fair, but that’s the reality he faces.  He can and needs to do better despite all that is against him.

The Freedom Caucus won the battle but still could lose the war.

trump-1st-100-daysIf President Trump is correct, Obamacare will implode and the Democrats will have little choice but to join the effort to fix healthcare. Don’t count on them to bring conservative solutions to the table though. The problem for the Freedom Caucus if this happens will be to hold onto the concessions they gained during the last few days. The more Democrats elect to take part in the effort the less chance any further conservative initiatives will make it into any new healthcare legislation. The Freedom Caucus having won this most recent battle, may well lose the war.  The best hope for the Freedom Caucus going forward is to continue to explain to the American people at every opportunity the virtues of their positions on healthcare and build public awareness of them to the point that by the second go-round they seem common sense.  They will need to expand their sphere of influence beyond conservative diehards to the more moderate Republican constituencies and Trump supporters if they are to have any hope keeping their gains in tact much less building upon them in the event that Democrats decide they want a hand in fixing the mess they made with Obamacare when next attempt at healthcare reform is made.

A Bad Call by the U.S. Courts

With the memory of the big football game still fresh in the minds of many, here is an allusion to that sport that explains the recent rulings against President Trump’s travel ban…

Imagine that during a NFL game,  one team’s coach calls a new play.  The play works and the team seemingly scores a touchdown, but the referee throws a flag, calling a penalty.  The coach of the offence team politely beckons the ref to the sideline for a chat.  The coach cites the rulebook to the official saying every element of the play was legal, from the players on the field, to their movements, to their contact with opposing players etc.  The referee says the penalty will stand because he felt the other team wasn’t prepared for such a play, and therefore the play wasn’t fair. The play goes up to the review booth and the call on the field stands and there was no touchdown.

That’s basically what happened this week with the U.S. District Court and 9th Circuit Court reversing the president’s perfectly legal travel ban.  Like the referees in the example, the judges made a call based not upon what the “rulebook” says, but what they thought was equitable.  That is not their job, their job is to know the rules and make sure the government sticks to those rules when enacting policy.  It’s not for them to judge if a policy is good, only that it is legal per statute and the Constitution. It’s for us, the voters to decide if the president’s policy was a good one.  The courts need to stick to their jobs and not assume the responsibilities delegated to others under our system of government.

President Trump, Day One

Congratulations to Donald Trump, our 45th president.

trump-1st-100-daysJust after noon Friday, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as our 45th president.  An improbable run for the White House that began over a year ago culminated in President Trump taking the oath of office in front of the Capitol building.  Inside the Mall, tens of thousands cheered.  Outside the Mall, thousands protested, at times violently, while others showed support.  Immediately after being sworn in, he gave his inaugural address that focused on how he would put America first in every decision as president saying, “We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.”

Rebels Without Causes

President Trump’s inauguration was marred by violence as anti-Trump protesters lashed out on the nation’s capital.  While much of the protesting was done peacefully, there were many protesters determined to disrupt the proceedings, showing little respect for their fellow citizens attempting to show support and maybe catch a glimpse of our newly minted 45th president.   Part of the problem is that for many, protesting has become a sport, a diversion devoid of any real meaning. It no longer seems to matter what the subject is, or even if the problem is real or imagined. These rebels without causes have taken to protesting like others do skiing or rock climbing. It’s just another outdoor sport except it’s borne from societal decay, done not for any real purpose than the adrenaline rush. Perhaps the worst part is that it dilutes the message who peacefully protest for sincere, heartfelt causes that deserve our attention.