COVINGTON CATHOLIC STUDENTS INCIDENT

I’m not sure what to make of this story. On the surface it was a confrontation among groups of Hebrew Israelites, indigenous rights activists and high school students on a field trip to DC. But, in a deeper sense, it was about race (as are most things in present-day America) and a typical rush to judgment on social media and by the press.

According to the “Washington Post” and other news accounts:

1. The Covington Catholic students were in DC to attend the annual March for Life. Afterwards, they had gathered in the vicinity of the Lincoln Memorial to wait for their buses, which would transport them back to Kentucky. Some of them were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.

2. The Hebrew Israelites and a separate group of Native American activists were in the area for the Indigenous Peoples March. By way of background, it should be noted that, contrary to what their name implies, the Hebrew Israelites are not Jewish. In point of fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center has described them as a “black supremacist extremist group” that believes Jews are “devilish impostors” and whites are “evil personified.”

Initial news reports, fueled by a misleading, incomplete video, gave the impression that some of the students were taunting and intimidating one of the Native Americans. For example, the students were falsely accused of chanting “build the wall.” In addition, one of the students appeared to be “smirking” at the NA. Various media outlets and social media castigated the students mercilessly, especially the “smirker.” The twitter police were particularly vicious. The students’ church issued an apology for their behavior. Many of the students and even their families received death threats, and the school was forced to close on Tuesday for security reasons.

Well, as usual, the media got it all wrong. By Sunday, the full video revealed a different perspective. The “Washington Post” admitted that the incident was “more complicated” than it had appeared at first. That’s probably an understatement, but it’s as close to an admission of error as we’re likely to get. If one views the full video it becomes apparent that the HIs instigated the confrontation, perhaps with the intent of causing an incident for the many cameras in the area, which, of course, is exactly what happened.

Perhaps, because they noticed the MAGA hats the HIs began hurling derogatory insults at the students, such as “Donald Trump incest babies,” “white crackers,” faggots,” “incest kids,” and the old standbys “racists” and “bigots. They called an AA student “Kanye West” and said they would “harvest his organs,” (whatever that means). Then, one NA activist approached them playing a drum, again in what appeared to be an attempt to agitate. In the words of one of the students, he came “within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.” I believe the student showed remarkable restraint. He did not do or say anything to the man. The so-called smirk? Come on. That look could be interpreted many ways. Maybe, he was just amused at the spectacle.

The kids were confused and didn’t know what to do. For the most part, they just stood there staring. After a while they began to chant school songs. They did not retaliate or threaten anyone. These were high school students, mere kids. From what I could see they comported themselves better than the adult protestors. Eventually, the buses arrived, and the kids left.

CONCLUSION

So, what do we have here?

1. We have a hate group taunting a group of high school kids who were waiting for a bus.

2. We have a NA activist apparently trying to incite a reaction for the cameras. (I’m not really sure what his intent was.)

3. Most of all, we have a media and twitter universe mischaracterizing a story because they are too lazy or prejudiced to seek out the truth. Once again, the media, which is supposed to rigorously seek out and report the truth, does the opposite. This was the second incident within a few days. And we wonder why the country is so divided.

4. In my opinion, the real losers are the kids who were tormented for no good reason. As I said, ironically, they had comported themselves better than the adults. Incidentally, how ironic is it that the incident took place at the site of the Lincoln Memorial.

One of my readers suggested to me that it would be a nice gesture if President Trump, in a show of support and goodwill, would invite the students to the White House I concur. Maybe, he could serve them “Big Macs” and “Whoppers.” LOL.

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MORE TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME

On January 6, 2019, I published a blog describing Trump Derangement Syndrome, what it is, how it developed, who is suffering from it, and what the cure will be. I’m sure some of you thought I had “gone off the deep end,” so to speak. However, last Friday we were all treated to a perfect example of TDS in action.

Briefly, what instigated this manifestation of TDS was an article in “BuzzFeed” by Jason Leopold and Anthony Courmier alleging that Mr. Trump had directed Michael Cohen, his personal attorney, to perjure himself before Congress. What about? A matter of national security? The 2016 election? No, and no. It was with respect to a building project in Moscow. Huh? A building project in Moscow? Does that make any sense at all? As we all know, perjury is a felony. So, if true, that would constitute solid grounds for impeaching Mr. Trump, or worse. So, why would Mr. Trump direct his attorney to lie about that of all things? In the words of “Mr. Spock,” “it’s not logical.”

Sensible people would ask themselves these questions and question the veracity of the report. But, not our crack BuzzFeed reporters, and not the mob that has been suffering from TDS for the past two years.

The reaction among various Dems and most media outlets could only be described as euphoric. “We did it! Hallelujah, we finally got him” (or words to that effect)! Never mind the presumption of innocence. BuzzFeed said it was so, therefore, it must be. After all, look at the splendid way in which they broke the Trump “dossier story.” Yeah, right.

Below please find a sampling of the highlights, or, rather, lowlights, of their reaction:

1. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, who has announced his candidacy for president, jumped right in, tweeting “If the BuzzFeed story is true, President Trump must resign or be impeached.” If true? Well, of course. I could say that if it’s true Mr. Castro is a serial rapist, he should be in prison. That would be just as valid as his tweet. His tweet was woefully premature, at best.

2. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chairman of the IC vowed to “do what is necessary to find out if it’s true.” Gee, I feel safer already.

3. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, reassured us his committee will “get to the bottom of it.” I’m sure the continuing investigation of Mr. Trump will be at the very top of his committee’s “to do” list.

4. The media, not to be outdone, also weighed in. All day long, we were treated to inane commentary on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, and by various print journalists. No need to verify the facts and the sources. Forget about the presumption of innocence afforded everyone by that pesky document we call the constitution. Russia! Russia! Russia! Impeach! Convict! Worse than Nixon! TDS was running amok.

Well, NOT SO FAST! It turned out that the story was so seriously false that the special counsel’s office directed spokesman Peter Carr to put out a statement that the BuzzFeed story was “not accurate.” This was an extraordinarily unusual move, as the special counsel’s office has generally been extremely close-mouthed regarding its investigation. Obviously, the SC thought this story was so ridiculous that it felt compelled to make an exception.

BuzzFeed’s response was to issue a statement of support for its intrepid reporters. Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief, stated “we stand behind our reporting and the sources who informed it…” I doubt that any objective person believes it now.

CONCLUSION

In my opinion, the larger point here is the media’s continuing lack of credibility. I view this as another sordid example of media bias. Mr. Trump points this out continually, and incidents like this make it hard to deny his assertion. According to the Media Research Center 90% of the media coverage of Mr. Trump in 2018 was negative. I know BuzzFeed is not exactly a shining example of quality journalism, but many other outlets were also all too eager to jump in without verifying the facts. Many of us have been complaining about the divisiveness of the country. Something like this only makes it worse.

Representative Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, stated that this episode demonstrates why “the special counsel should release his final report quickly to end speculation about its contents.” I would agree, and I would hope the report is made available to the public. After two years of innuendo and falsehoods that have divided the nation we have a right to know the contents, which should outweigh any national security concerns.

CAROL CHANNING

She was an extremely versatile performer – actress, singer, dancer and comedienne. She starred on Broadway, in movies and on tv. Her career spanned eight decades.

Carol Elaine Channing was born on January 31, 1921 in Seattle, WA. She was an only child. At the time of her birth, her father worked as an editor at “The Seattle Star,” but, a mere few weeks afterward, the family moved to San Francisco, where Channing was raised and where her father became a Christian Science practitioner, teacher and editor.

Channing’s father was half African American on his mother’s side. She was unaware of this until, at the age of 16, she left home to attend Bennington College. At that time, her mother told her because, as Channing put it, “she didn’t want [me] to be surprised if I ever had a black baby.” I would guess Channing was shocked at this revelation, since both she and her father had the Nordic, Germanic coloring and appearance of Channing’s paternal grandfather.

Channing always said she had decided by the age of nine that she wanted to perform on stage, preferably as a singer. Around that time, she also discovered she could make people laugh, for example, by imitating the voices and mannerisms of her classmates. As a child, she got some exposure to the theatre when she would accompany her mother when she delivered newspapers backstage.

During her junior year at Bennington she began auditioning for parts on Broadway. After one performance the theatre critic of “The New Yorker” presciently wrote “you’ll be hearing more from a comedienne named Carol Channing.” Soon afterwards, perhaps, inspired by that lavish praise, she quit school and pursued her career fulltime. Predictably, there were some bumps in the road as, for a time, Channing was limited to small roles at minor functions or benefits and appearances at some of the Catskills resorts. In addition, she had to take odd jobs to make ends meet, all in all, a typical story with respect to a struggling young entertainer.

Channing landed her first job on stage in “No for an Answer” in 1941. Small and understudy rolls followed. Then, in 1948 she landed a featured role in “Lend an Ear.” She received the Theatre World Award, and illustrator Al Hirschfeld featured her image as a “flapper” in his widely distributed drawings. That notoriety helped her get the lead in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” which turned out to be one of her most famous roles.

Her most famous and enduring role, however, was as Dolly Levi in “Hello Dolly” in 1964 for which she won a “Tony.” “Dolly” is probably one of the most famous roles in theatre history. Channing created the role, which, subsequently was played by such luminaries as Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman, and Martha Raye, among others. Audiences and critics, alike, loved it. For example, columnist Dick Kleiner wrote: The plot seemed “old-fashioned” and “uninspired, but then…Carol Channing comes out, turns on her huge eyes and monumental smile – and you sit there with a silly grin on your face for 2 1/2 hours, bathed in the benevolent spell of a great comedienne…” “The show ran for 3,000 performances, which, at the time, was the longest-running musical in Broadway history.

Additionally, Channing appeared in many films. Probably, her best was “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” for which she won a Golden Globe and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1968.

Channing appeared frequently on tv. In the 1950s she appeared on the “Burns and Allen Show” and later with George Burns on various specials. Beginning in the 1960s she made frequent appearances as a guest on various comedy, sitcom, and variety shows, such as “The Andy Williams Show,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Nanny,” and “Sesame Street,” among many others. Additionally, she appeared on the popular quiz shows “What’s My Line (a dozen or so times) and “Hollywood Squares.” From 1992 – 1995 she did voiceovers for animated shows, such as that of “Grandmama” in an animated version of “The Addams Family.” Through this wide variety of roles, she was able to demonstrate her versatility as an actress, singer dancer and comedienne.

Channing was married four times. Interestingly, her last one was to her junior high school sweetheart with whom she reconnected in 2003 while recording the audiobook of her autobiography.

Some interesting tidbits about Channing:

1. She had some highly unusual dietary habits. For one thing, she avoided eating restaurant food for some 15 years. On those rare occasions when she could not avoid a restaurant she would bring her own food, for instance, zucchini or chopped celery, in sealed containers. She would order an empty plate and glass and dig in. She would eat seeds for dessert. In the mid 1990s she relented and did begin to eat restaurant food.

2. She avoided alcoholic beverages of any kind.

3. In 1964 she was tapped to perform at the Democratic Convention. She sang a parody of “Hello Dolly” called “Hello Lyndon.”

4. Channing was an ovarian cancer survivor.

5. In 1970 Channing became the first celebrity to perform at a Super Bowl halftime show, and she is one of the few to have performed at more than one.

6. In 1973 it was revealed that she was on President Nixon “Enemies List.” Channing always said that was the “highest honor” of her career.

CONCLUSION

Channing was the recipient of many awards, too many to mention here. As I said above, she was one of the most versatile and enduring performers ever. Her initial appearance was in 1941 at the age of 19, and she continued to perform well into her 90s. That’s eight decades, folks. Quite a run.

Channing died on January 15, 2019 of natural causes at the ripe old age of 97. Rest in peace Carol. You entertained us and made us laugh. You will be sorely missed.

I HAVE A DREAM

January 15 is the birthday of, in my mind, the greatest civil rights leader in American history. Of course, I am speaking of Martin Luther King, Jr. As is the case with many of our holidays, we celebrate it on a Monday, the third one in January, rather than on the actual day. This year, it will be celebrated on January 21, which is the latest possible date.

This year will mark the 51st anniversary of his untimely assassination on April 4, 1968. For some people, the holiday holds no special meaning; it is just a day off from work, a day to spend with family or friends, part of a long three-day weekend. For many of us, however, particularly those of us who were alive in the 1950s and 1960s, it is much, much more.

MLK was born on January 15, 1929. In my opinion, he became the most prominent and influential American civil rights leader in the 1950s and 1960s, if not ever. MLK was more than just a pastor. He believed that more could be achieved by civil disobedience and non-violence than by violence. He preached peaceful disobedience, sit-ins, marches and demonstrations, often in the face of violence and cruelty by the police and others, rather than rioting. In this regard, he was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. In turn, he inspired others such as the Black Civil Rights movement in South Africa.

He also recognized the power of the press to bring attention to his cause and influence public opinion. For example, as many as 70 million people around the world witnessed the police brutality inflicted on the peaceful black and white marchers in Selma, Alabama, including women and children as well as men. Those images, broadcast live on TV and radio, appalled and disgusted many people and provided an immeasurable boost to the public awareness of the injustices being visited upon blacks in the South. These events were captured dramatically and realistically in the 2014 movie, “Selma,” which featured David Oyelowo as MLK. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.

Unlike any other African American leaders before or since, he had the ability to unite, rather than divide. Although he was criticized by some of the more militant civil rights leaders of the time, such as Stokely Carmichael, he commanded the support and respect of a large majority of blacks and many whites as well. In that regard, he was similar to Nelson Mandela.

After his death, despite the urgings of some civil rights leaders who wanted to continue MLK’s philosophy, more militant African American leaders, such as Mr. Carmichael, came into prominence. There was rioting in over 100 US cities, and a slew of violent incidents at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago in front of the national press and millions of Americans. The Civil Rights movement was changed forever.

MLK came into prominence in 1955 when he led a bus boycott, peacefully, in Montgomery, Alabama. The boycott had been fueled by the famous Rosa Parks incident in which she had refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white person. She was arrested on December 1. (Most people don’t know that earlier that year in March a similar incident had occurred, also in Montgomery, involving Claudette Colvin, a black girl who also refused to give up her seat to a white man. However, that case did not receive the same notoriety. Civil rights lawyers declined to pursue it because Colvin was 15, unmarried and pregnant. They chose to wait for a case with a more favorable fact pattern, and they were proven to be right.)

Later, MLK became the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and remained so until his death. He applied his non-violence philosophy to protests in Selma, Ala., St. Augustine, FL, and the March on Washington, D. C., among others. He made it a policy never to endorse a particular political party or candidate. He believed he could be more effective if he were neutral and not beholden to anyone. Furthermore, in his view, neither party was all bad, and neither one was perfect. In his words, “[t]hey both have weaknesses.”

Perhaps, MLK’s most famous moment occurred during the famous March on Washington in August 1963. Ironically, MLK was not the primary organizer of the march. That was Bayard Rustin, a colleague. The primary purpose of the March was to dramatize the plight of blacks in the South. Civil rights leaders, including Roy Wilkins, NAACP, Whitney Young, National Urban League, A. Philip Randolph, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, John Lewis, SNCC, James Farmer CORE, and MLK, wanted to bring awareness of these issues right to the seat of the Federal government. More than 250,000 people of all ethnicities and colors attended. MLK was one of several speakers, and he only spoke for 17 minutes. But, his “I Have a Dream” speech became one of the most famous speeches ever. The March, in general, and MLK’s speech, in particular, are credited with bringing civil rights to the political forefront and facilitating the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Some little-known facts about MLK:

1. His birth name was Michael King, Jr., after his father. In 1931 his father changed his own name to Martin Luther King, after the German theologian, Martin Luther, whom he admired. At the same time, he changed his son’s name.

2. In 1958 MLK was stabbed in the chest after a speech by a woman who had been stalking him, and he nearly died.

3. The FBI began tapping MLK’s telephone as early as 1963. Robert Kennedy, who was Attorney General at the time and who is viewed as a staunch supporter of civil rights, in general, and MLK, in particular, authorized the tapping.

4. MLK won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at the age of 35, the youngest age ever at the time.

5. MLK won a Grammy Award in 1971, posthumously. It should be noted that he won it, not because he displayed a great singing voice, but for a “Spoken Word Album,” “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.” In addition, he won countless other awards and was awarded some 50 honorary degrees from various colleges and universities.

6. The US Treasury has announced that it will be redesigning the $5 bill. It will still feature Abraham Lincoln on the front side, but the back side will feature depictions of events that have occurred at the Lincoln Memorial, including MLK’s “I have a dream” speech. The Treasury expects to have these new bills in circulation by 2020.

7. Even though MLK was one of the great public speakers of his time, inexplicably, he got a “C” in a public speaking course at the seminary. (Kind of like a baseball scout saying Babe Ruth can hit “a little bit.”)

8. MLK is one of three individuals and the only native-born American to have a holiday named after him. In case you’re wondering, the others are George Washington (born in the COLONY of Virginia), and Christopher Columbus.

Some MLK quotes to ponder:

1. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

2. “The time is always right to do what is right.”

3. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

4. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

5. “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

6. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

CONCLUSION

Today, there is much division among African Americans as well as their leaders. Some are moderate and want to work within the system; others are more militant. Many of them have their own agendas and look for any excuse to foment distrust and discord. I believe that these “race hustlers,” and we all know who they are, do more harm than good, but that is a subject for another blog.

In my opinion, we have made much progress in the area of civil rights. For example, we have elected an African American president (twice); an African American sits on the Supreme Court; and African Americans hold and have held positions of prominence in every field of endeavor, including business, entertainment, sports, and the military. But, still, it is a work in progress. We can do more.

One can speculate whether and to what extent MLK’s assassination changed the course of history. In my opinion, had MLK lived, the Civil Rights Movement would have been considerably different over the last 50 years, more peaceful and less divisive, with better results. Furthermore, his assassination had a significant impact, not only on the history of the civil rights movement, but also on the overall history of the country, itself. I hope and believe that eventually a moderate leader will emerge and bridge the gap as MLK did half a century ago.

So, as you enjoy the holiday in whatever manner you choose, I ask you to reflect for a moment on where we are as a nation regarding civil rights, where we want to go and how we get there.

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY – JANUARY

As long-time readers know, this has long been a featured topic.

According to Wikipedia, January 1, New Years Day, is the most celebrated holiday worldwide. Many historically-significant events have occurred on this date as well as on other dates during the month. Please see below:

1/1/1502 – Portuguese explorers, led by Pedro Alvarez Cabral, landed in present-day Brazil. They named the location Rio de Janeiro (River of January).

1/1/1660 – Samuel Pepys commenced his famous diary, which was to become a definitive chronicle of life in late 17th century London. Famous events described in it include The Great Plague of 1664-1666, which wiped out roughly one-fourth of London’s population, and the Great Fire of 1666, which destroyed much of the city.

1/1/1776 – George Washington unveiled the first national flag, aka The Grand Union Flag.

1/1/1863 – President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the Confederacy.

1/1/1892 – Ellis Island opened. Over 20 million immigrants were processed there between 1892 and 1954 when it closed.

1/1/1901 – The British Commonwealth of Australia was founded.

1/1/1959 – Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba.

1/1/1999 – The Euro was born.

1/3/1924 – British Egyptologist, Howard Carter, discovered King Tut’s sarcophagus.

1/3/1959 – Alaska became the 49th state.

1/7/1714 – British inventor, Henry Mill, received a patent for the typewriter.

1/8/1815 – Despite being badly outnumbered, the Americans under the command of General Andrew Jackson defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans, arguably one of the most significant military victories in our history.

1/10/1863 – The world’s first underground railroad, appropriately named the “underground,” opened in London.

1/10/1920 – The League of Nations was born. It failed because the US never joined it.

1/10/1946 – The first meeting of the United Nations was held in London.

1/11/1964 – The US Surgeon General issued a report declaring that cigarettes might be hazardous to one’s health.

1/12/1932 – Hattie Caraway became the first female US senator when she was appointed to complete the term of her deceased husband.

1/15/1870 – The donkey was first used as a symbol of the Democratic Party. It appeared in a cartoon in Harper’s Weekly.

1/19/1966 – Indira Gandhi was elected Prime Minister of India.

1/19/1983 – Klaus Barbie, aka the Butcher of Lyon, was arrested in Bolivia.

1/21/1793 – In the aftermath of the French Revolution King Louis XVI was guillotined.

1/22/1901 – Queen Victoria of England died after having reigned for 64 years, the longest tenure of a monarch up to that time.

1/22/1973 – The Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade legalized abortion in the US.

1/24/1972 – A Japanese soldier, who had been hiding in Guam for 28 years unaware that WWII had ended, was discovered.

1/27/1945 – The Russian Army liberated Auschwitz.

1/27/1973 – The US involvement in the Vietnam War ended.

1/28/1935 – Iceland became the first country to legalize abortion.

1/28/1986 – The space shuttle, Challenger, exploded killing seven persons, including Christa McAuliffe, a teacher, who was to have been the first ordinary citizen in space.

1/29/1919 – The 18th Amendment, which legalized Prohibition, was ratified.

1/31/1943 – German troops surrendered at Stalingrad, which marked one of the turning points of WWII in Europe.

Birthdays – Paul Revere-1/1/1735; Betsy Ross-1/1/1752; Louis Braille-1/4/1809; Joan of Arc-1/6/1412; Millard Fillmore (13th President)-1/7/1800; Elvis Presley-1/8/1935; Richard Nixon (37th President)-1/9/1913; Alexander Hamilton-1/11/1755; John Hancock-1/12/1737; Benedict Arnold-1/14/1741; Albert Schweitzer-1/14/1875; Martin Luther King-1/15/1939; Andre Michelin (pioneered the use of pneumatic tires) 1/16/1853; Benjamin Franklyn-1/17/1706; Muhammad Ali-1/17/1942; General Robert E. Lee-1/19/1807; Edgar Allen Poe-1/19/1809; Douglas MacArthur-1/26/1880; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart-1/27/1756; William McKinley (25th President)-1/29/1843; Franklyn Delano Roosevelt-1/30/1882; Jackie Robinson-1/31/1919.

OPEN BORDERS SCAM

I have concluded that the open borders crew has been perpetuating an elaborate scam on the American middle class and working class. The perpetrators include politicians of both political parties, although truth be told, they are more prevalent on the Dem side of the aisle, plus their allies and supporters in the media and elsewhere. They would have you believe that if you want to secure the southern border you are cold-hearted, immoral, racist, or some combination of all three. As we know, when someone with whom you are debating calls you a racist they are telling you they have no facts to support their position. Hence, they have already lost the argument. What is the basis for this provocative opinion? Read on, and you shall see.

First, let’s examine the open borders “(OB)” arguments, which are disingenuous, at best:

1. Walls don’t work and are immoral to boot. This is Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s favorite argument, and it is being repeated by other pols and media supporters. The fact of the matter is that walls do work and have worked whenever they have been and are being used. They worked for the Chinese 1,000 years ago, for the Vatican from the last days of the Roman Empire and for Israel and the US southern border presently. Are they foolproof? No. Do they secure the border by themselves? No, again. But, they are an effective deterrent, especially when used in concert with other means, such as humans, drones and modern technology. Don’t just take my word for it. Mike Morgan, former chief of the Customs and Border Patrol under President Obama, endorses them as do many other agents and law enforcement personnel. These are the experts who live it every day. They know.

I ask you, if walls don’t work, why do we continue to build them around exclusive gated communities? You can be sure that Nancy and many of her allies live in gated communities with 24X7 security. As far as being immoral, that is not fact, just opinion. Nancy is entitled to hers, but does that mean she views the Pope as immoral?

2. Most drugs enter via ports of entry, not over the border. That may be true, but that shouldn’t mean we ignore the border. That’s like saying heart disease kills more people than cancer, so there’s no point in trying to cure cancer. Why can’t we address both?

3. Illegals will just climb over it or tunnel under it. Again, why should that prevent us from making it more difficult for them. Try to imagine a migrant lugging a 200 foot ladder 1,000 miles so he can scale a wall. LOL. In addition, the wall is not intended to be the sole deterrent. It would be used in conjunction with the other means, as mentioned above.

4. It is expensive. Really? The government that wastes money continually, that readily funds border walls and other security measures in foreign countries, and that has run up a $21 trillion debt is telling us that $8 billion for a wall on our southern border is expensive and wasteful. Does anyone really believe that?

5. More undocumented immigrants overstayed their visas than entered over the border. First of all, that statement is supposition, not fact, since we don’t even know how many illegals are living in the US. Estimates run as high as 22 million, but your guess is as good as mine. Secondly, see #2 above. Why can’t we address both.

6. Illegals commit fewer crimes, proportionally, than Americans. I am not aware of any survey that supports this assertion. But, even if it were true that does not mean we shouldn’t try to eliminate those crimes by controlling our border better.

The OB advocates will not tell you the real reasons for their position. I have mentioned this before, but it bears reviewing. The real reasons are economic and political.

Until the last few years US pols were strongly, if not uniformly, opposed to illegal immigration. For example, in the 19th century Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which restricted immigration of Chinese. In the 1960s the renowned activist, Cesar Chavez, who organized the union of the migrant fruit pickers in Cal, and, who, to this day, is revered in the state, strongly opposed illegals. Despite having only a 7th grade education, he was astute enough to recognize that an increase in the supply of unskilled workers would be detrimental to his union members. Chavez coined the derogatory term “wetbacks” to describe the illegals and even organized border patrols of union members to intercept illegals. (He also coined the term “yes we can,” which became the slogan for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.)

Up until the last few years liberal politicians such Obama, both Clintons, George McGovern and CA Governor Jerry Brown, Sr. expressed opposition to illegal immigration. For example, in 2006 Congress passed the Secure Fence Act, which I have discussed in a previous blog, with bipartisan support. Among those who voted “yea” were Senators Biden, Boxer, Schumer and Clinton. Since then, the Dem party has undergone a radical transformation on the issue. It would be interesting to ask them why they changed their minds, but then again they would probably lie.

As I said the real reasons for advocacy of OB are political and economic. Below please find a brief summary:

1. Political. The Dems have determined that illegals, who utilize a disproportionate amount of services, are more likely to vote Dem when and if they are given the right to vote (and make no mistake, that is their objective). This conclusion is supported by most polls. Also, even though common sense tells you that OB is bad for the country on many levels, they despise Mr. Trump so much they would rather harm the country than approve the wall and give him a “win.”

2. Economic. The first law of economics is the law of supply and demand. The greater the supply, the less the demand for the product or service being offered and the lower its value. Thus, business owners want to create and perpetuate a large supply of cheap unskilled labor as exemplified by illegals. Regardless of the pay and working conditions it figures to be better than where they came from. So, who benefits? The wealthy and the elites who hire these workers. Who is hurt? The middle and working class who compete for many of the same jobs. Don’t fall for the fallacy that illegals only take jobs Americans don’t want, such as dishwashers, gardeners, and nannies. Some do, but many take other jobs, such as construction, service, and manufacturing. Ironically, those that are hurt the most are disproportionally African Americans and Hispanics, which are the very people that Dems purport to look out for. Chavez understood this and fought against it. Where are today’s unions?

CONCLUSION

Despite the extreme seriousness of this issue I have to laugh when I see people try to defend OB on TV. OBs are so illogical, arguments in favor are often ridiculous and based on opinion, not fact. For example:

1. Rick Wilson labels supporters of the wall as “inbred, not bright and not sophisticated.”

2. Don Lemon scoffs that a wall is a 5th century solution to a 21st century problem.” Sounds good, but it’s a silly and disingenuous argument.

3. In the Dem rebuttal “Chancy” said President Trump was “manufacturing a crisis” regarding the border. This was mimicked uniformly by various other politicians and media commentators, such as Tim Keane, James Carville and many others who, miraculously, used the same exact “manufactured crisis” term. By the way, “Chancy” looked like they were posing for a remake of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.” They inspired many memes on social media. My favorite was by Greg Gutfeld, who said they looked like they were about to sell him a reverse mortgage.

4. While fact-checking President Trump the “Washington Post” took exception to his statistic that 266,000 illegals were arrested last year. They said it was “accurate” but “misleading.” Huh? If it’s “accurate,” it’s factually correct. “Misleading” constitutes “opinion,” not “fact.”

5. In particular, I enjoyed Dem commentator Jonathan Harris’ humorous attempts to parse the difference between a “fence,” which was approved in 2006 and a “wall,” which he opposes.

So, when pols spout their disingenuous justifications for OB recognize it for what it is. You may dislike Mr. Trump for his personality or even his politics. Fair enough. You’re entitled. But, on this issue the facts support him.

TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME

There is this disease going around. It was first noticed in 2016, but it has been growing in intensity. It is very contagious, and there doesn’t seem to be any cure. Primarily, it affects Dems and liberals, but others can be susceptible as well. I am speaking, of course, of TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME, aka TDS.

Of course, I am being somewhat facetious. To my knowledge, TDS is not classified, officially, as a mental illness by the medical community, but I and many other observers believe it is a real condition. In a recent article in “Psychology Today” Rob Whitley, PhD, places it in the “folk category of mental disorders that are considered real conditions by the general public, even though they are not recognized as such by [the medical community].” Whitley adds that Trump’s words and actions have often driven TDS sufferers to distorted, extreme and often irrational opinions, actions, emotions, and behaviors, such as seeking “safe” rooms, using “therapy dogs,” or attacking people in restaurants or theatres. We have observed all of these activities and others as well.

Incidentally, Whitley is not some far-out fringe character. He is the Principal Investigator of the Social Psychiatry Research and Interest Group (SPRING) at the Douglas Hospital Research Center. Furthermore, he is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the prestigious McGill University and has published over 100 papers on the field of social psychiatry.

Wikipedia defines TDS as a “neologism (a new word, phrase or expression that is in the process of entering into general usage) describing a reaction to President Trump by liberals, progressives, and ‘Never Trump’ neoconservatives who are said to respond to Trump’s statements and political actions irrationally and with little regard to Trump’s actual position or action taken.” Some TDS suffers have taken this a step further by denigrating his supporters as well.

I believe the term originated with the late Charles Krauthammer, a conservative political commentator and psychiatrist and frequent critic of Trump’s. The term was also applied by some to George W. Bush during his presidency, but to a lesser extent. It is also used by Trump supporters to describe irrational statements and actions by Trump critics.

Examples of TDS abound, to wit:

1. The entertainer, Madonna, while speaking at a protest march, stated she has thought “an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” I highly doubt she would actually do that or that she would even know how to do it, and she later said her comment was taken “wildly out of context.” But, the fact that she said it at all illustrates my point.

2. Actor Robert De Niro really became unhinged during a speech at the Tony Awards when he blurted out “First I wanna say, f**k Trump. It’s no longer down with Trump. It’s f**k Trump.” I ask you, is that rational?

3. Donny Deutsch, an advertising executive and frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” has described GOP ads as “racist” and “xenophobic,” and he described Trump supporters as “like Nazis.” Does he realize he is calling roughly half the country’s voters “Nazis.” He is showing his ignorance of what real Nazis were like. He could use a history lesson. Tell me that’s not TDS.

4. Rick Wilson, a GOP strategist but no fan of Mr. Trump’s has referred to Trump supporters derisively as “ten-tooth based rubes.” He should be banned for that inane comment, but he probably won’t be.

5. Tune in to “The View” almost any day and you will be treated to a TDS comment by Joy Behar or Whoopi Goldberg. Probably, they realize that the only reason anyone even watches the show is to see what inane anti-Trump commentary they will blurt out next.

The above examples are bad enough, but we also have elected politicians weighing in.

1. Hank Johnson (D-GA) has called Mr. Trump an “authoritarian, anti-immigrant racist strongman.” Moreover, he stated that Mr. Trump has “taken over the Republican Party much like Hitler took over in Germany.” For good measure, he went on to attack Trump supporters as “older, less educated, less prosperous and…[often] dying early…from alcoholism, drug overdoses, liver disease, or simply a broken heart.” Moreover, he has characterized Jewish settlers as “termites” and “vermin” and warned that the island of Guam would “tip over and capsize.” Another ignoramus who could use a lesson in history and civility.

2. During a speech before “MoveOn” newly elected Representative Rashida Tlaib (MI) blurted out “we’re going to impeach the motherf***er.” Classy. Tlaib, who is one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress, is also a strong opponent of the US giving aid to Israel and supports the abolition of ICE. Tlaib gives two for the price of one – a moron and a bigot. I wonder if the voters in her district are now suffering from “buyer’s remorse.”

3. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, needs to watch her rhetoric now that she is the most senior Dem and third in line for the presidency. I understand that she opposes the border wall, but she should not be calling it “immoral.” Does she realize that in doing so she is, by extension, labeling anyone who has a wall or is in favor of a wall immoral as well. That would include not only approximately half of the country’s voters who elected Mr. Trump to build one, but also the Pope, since the Vatican is protected by a wall. And, what about the thousands who live in gated communities surrounded by walls? Are they “immoral” too? I don’t know where Nancy lives, but it’s a safe bet that her home is protected by a barrier of some sort and/or 24X7 security.

4. Perhaps, the worst instance of TDS is this last one. A reporter named Katherine Timpf disclosed that a college student at the University of Arizona told her that as part of a course on the Holocaust her professor assigned her class to write a paper comparing President Trump’s policies to those of Nazi Germany. The clear implication was that there was an equivalence between the two. This, from a professor of history, who, obviously, should know better. If that isn’t TDS I don’t know what is.

Trump supporters have used the term as well, for example:

1. Senator Ted Cruz on “Fox and Friends” opined that “most of the media…have what I call Trump Derangement Syndrome where all they can do is attack the president all day long on the scandal of the day.”

2. Senator Rand Paul attributed the Dems’ fixation on “Russian collusion” to TDS.

3. Sean Hannity accused the “Washington Post” of TDS for blaming President Trump’s stance on climate change as being “complicit” in the various hurricanes that have been battering the country.

4. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has often wondered why President Trump’s critics have continually focused on negatives while refusing to acknowledge the booming economy.

5. President Trump, himself, has observed, correctly, that the Dems were in favor of a wall, and even approved funding for it, until he said he was, whereupon suddenly they became opposed to it. Classic TDS.

CONCLUSION

DHS comments and actions by private citizens and news commentators are bad enough, but the fact that elected officials could behave the way they have is downright scary. In particular, the comparisons to Hitler and Nazis should offend every decent person. They are a grave insult to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust (as well as those who managed to survive and their descendants).

How do some of these people get elected anyway. The sad fact of the matter is that many of them are not too bright. They exhibit a very sparse knowledge of history, economics, civility, and even common sense (which, as we know, is not “common” at all), and are devoid of empathy for those who espouse a legitimate difference of opinion on the issues. We see reaffirmation of this every day. It is downright embarrassing. As I have often said, they are good at only two things: getting elected, and getting re-elected. Sad, but true.

By the way, I predict that TDS will magically disappear in January, 2025. LOL.

GOVERNMENT GRIDLOCK

Welcome to two years of gridlock, American style.

For the most part, the Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they promulgated our system of government. In particular, establishing three separate branches of government each with the authority to “check” the others was a stroke of genius. This system of “checks and balances” has served us well for some 230 years.

However, in order for the system to function effectively the politicians who run our government must exhibit a certain degree of reasonableness. Yes, many of them have significantly different political, social and economic philosophies, and each wants to cater to their supporters who elected them and (hopefully) will re-elect them. But, at the end of the day, it is normally necessary to compromise to accomplish anything of substance. The real lions of the Congress, such as Lyndon Johnson, Ted Kennedy and Everett Dirksen, to name a few, knew this and practiced it time and again. Fringe players were marginalized, and deals were made that everyone could live with. Otherwise, what we get is not a functioning government, but gridlock.

Gridlock is a situation where neither side is willing to give in, to compromise, to recognize that the other side has valid points. Both sides dig in their heels, harden their positions, disparage the other side, not only politically, but personally as well, the fringe elements of both parties take control, and nothing gets done. My friends, I am afraid that we are now facing such a situation.

It is all well and good that the Dems have won control of the House of Representatives. It is a validation that our system of government works. But, given the current political climate, I fear that rather than producing healthy debate, it will produce gridlock, which will not serve any of us well.

Already, there are ominous signs that the Dems will be focusing on investigating President Trump rather than governing. Some investigation would be healthy and appropriate but not to the level of excess I foresee. I fear many of the Dems in the House and their supporters exhibit an almost irrational hatred of President Trump that affects their judgment (what many Trump supporters call TDS, or “Trump derangement syndrome”). They don’t want to see him succeed in anything, even if it would benefit the country. Moreover, they want to impeach him regardless of whether or not there are legitimate grounds to do so.

I think most people would like to see the Congress address issues such as the government shut-down, immigration and border security, healthcare, our involvement in conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria, our relations with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, and modernizing our infrastructure, among others.

Instead, I fear the leadership of the House will be focused on investigations, on “getting” Trump. We have already seen indications of this, for example:

1. Maxine Waters, the incoming head of the House Financial Services Committee, has signaled her intention to subpoena President Trump’s tax returns and investigate his business dealings with banks such as Deutsche Bank, which she has characterized as “one of the biggest money laundering banks in the world.”

2. Adam Schiff, incoming head of the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, wants to investigate President Trump’s alleged Russia connection. This past October, in an op-ed in the “Washington Post” he asserted that “there are serious and credible allegations the Russians may possess financial leverage over the president.” Moreover, he inferred that Mr. Trump has been “laundering Russian money through his businesses.” He even claimed that there was a “very real prospect” that the Justice Department would indict him “on the day [he] leaves office.” Really? Serious charges, particularly in the absence of proof.

3. Elijah Cummings, incoming chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, figures to be very busy. He told the “Huffington Post” he plans to investigate President Trump’s “many conflicts of interest,” how and why Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn obtained security clearances, to demand documentation on “every child who was separated from their parents at the border and where they are now,” and “corruption within the Trump administration.” He self-righteously proclaimed he “would consider it legislative malpractice not to do it.” TDS?

4. Finally, incoming Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerrold Nadler, announced on “CBS, This Morning” he will be making liberal use of his committee’s subpoena power to provide Congressional “oversight” and “accountability” that, he claims, have been lacking for the past two years. For instance, he intends to investigate President Trump’s decision to fire attorney general, Jeff Sessions, his “nativist policies” that “target refugees, migrants and immigrants already living in the US,” and the Administration’s policy of “rip[ping migrant] children from the arms of their parents.” More TDS?

5. Various House committees have signaled their intent to investigate cabinet members such as Ben Carson for “nepotism and cronyism” and Ryan Zinke for “conflict of interest.”

CONCLUSION

There is nothing new about Congressional oversight and investigations. They are as old as the republic, itself. Even George Washington was investigated by Congress. More recently, we had Congressional investigations of Presidents Reagan, Clinton and Bush. As I said, they are an integral part of our system of checks and balances. What I object to is when and if they become so all-consuming that the government grinds to a halt and substantive work does not get done. That will not be beneficial to any of us.

I would urge the House Dems to employ their powers of investigation judiciously. Furthermore, I would urge both parties to seek consensus, not discord. There is much work that needs to be done. Those congresspersons who have one eye on 2020 should not lose sight of 2019.

NEW YEAR’S EVE

Wow, another year has gone by! That was fast. As we all know, the older we get, the more time seems to speed up.

Tonight, people around the world will celebrate New Year’s Eve. Although the specifics of the celebration may differ in various countries, it is generally a time of social gatherings, parties, eating, drinking, and merriment.

The Pacific island nations of Kiribati (aka Christmas Island), which is nothing more than a coral atoll in the Central Pacific, and Samoa, which is the western-most of the Samoan Islands, were already the first to celebrate; American Samoa, which includes seven tiny islands and atolls in the eastern part of the Samoan Islands, and Baker Island, which is an uninhabited atoll 3,100 km southwest of Honolulu, will be the last.

New Years Day has been celebrated on January 1 since 45 B. C. That year, Julius Caesar decreed that the Roman Calendar, under which the new year occurred in March, be replaced by the Julian calendar. It has been January 1 ever since.

Below please find a sampling of celebration customs in various countries:

1. In the US NYE is celebrated with parties with family and friends and other special events. For example, Chicago features a music show and fireworks over Lake Michigan; San Francisco features yoga parties and concerts; Atlanta boasts the (“Peach Drop”); Nashville has the (“Music Note Drop”); and New Orleans features live music, a “fleur-de-lis drop,” and parties centered around the French Quarter.”

However, by far the biggest and most significant celebration is in NYC. Since 1907 people have been gathering in Times Square to watch the “Ball Drop.” The “Ball Drop” has been held annually every year since, except for 1942 and 1943 when it was canceled due to the wartime blackout.

At precisely 11:59 pm, a specially-designated “guest,” who has been chosen in recognition of his or her community service, will push a special “red button,” which will activate a huge Waterford crystal ball. This ball, weighing some 12,000 pounds, will then begin its descent from the roof of One Times Square down a 141-foot high pole. Exactly one minute later, at midnight, the ball will reach the roof of the building, and huge lights will signal the start of the New Year. This year’s guest is singer Bleta “Bebe” Rexha.

The original “ball” was constructed from wood and iron and lit with 100 incandescent bulbs. Over the years, it has gone through various iterations. The current “ball” features a computerized LED lighting system.

Times Square has been the focal point of NYE celebrations in the US since 1904. That year, the first organized NYE celebration, consisting of an all-day street festival culminating in a huge fireworks display, was held there. It was reported that at midnight the celebratory noise could be heard as far away as Croton-on-Hudson, some 30 miles away.

The celebration was organized by the “New York Times” owner, Adolph Ochs, to commemorate the opening of the “Times” new headquarters located in the tiny triangle at the intersection 42nd Street, Broadway and 7th Avenue. The city renamed the area Times Square in honor of the venerable publication.

[Quiz questions: 1) What other historically significant event occurred in NYC in 1904? 2) What was Times Square’s name prior to 1904? See below for the answers. ]

Two years later the City banned the fireworks display. Ochs’ response was to replace it with the “Ball Drop.” The details of this “Ball Drop” have evolved over the years, especially technologically.

The celebration, itself, has also evolved over the years. Due to the world we now live in, security is tighter than the proverbial “drum.” For example, regarding the police and “alphabet agencies,” it is “all hands on deck.” Police will be omnipresent. Undercover officers will be imbedded in the crowd. Even drones will be used.

This year it is estimated that as many as two million people will cram into the area to witness the “Ball Drop.” Many of them will arrive early in the day in order to secure a prime viewing spot. They will be herded into viewing sections called “pens.” Nice terminology. Additionally, for security reasons, food, drinks, waste baskets, toilet facilities, knapsacks, large bags and pocketbooks, among other items, will be prohibited. Best to arrive early, and if you have to leave for any reason, good luck returning. It is estimated that in excess of one ton of confetti will be dropped at the stroke of midnight. Thankfully, I don’t have to clean it up.

Viewers will be treated to a cornucopia of entertainment, featuring artists such as Christina Aguilera, Bastille, Snoop Dogg and Sting, among others. Many people consider this an important item on their “bucket list.” In addition, some 200 million other Americans and 1 billion persons worldwide will watch on tv and/or live streaming on their mobile devices.

Entertainment from various venues is also featured. The most famous and enduring entertainer was Guy Lombardo, who from 1928 to 1976 entertained from the ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria, first on the radio, then on TV. After his death in 1977 other programs became prominent, most notably “Dick Clark’s “Rockin’ New Year’s Eve.” After his death, the mantle passed to Ryan Seacrest and others. Traditionally, NYE is the busiest day at Disneyland and Disney World, which feature Disney-character shows and fireworks.

2. In Canada the mode of celebrations vary by region. For example, in Toronto, Niagara Falls and other areas of Ontario, there are concerts, parties, fireworks and sporting events. On the other hand, in rural Quebec some people go ice fishing. Montreal features concerts and fireworks.

3. In Mexico, families decorate their homes in various colors, each of which symbolizes a particular wish for the upcoming year. For example, yellow would symbolize a wish for a better job, green, improved finances, white, improved health, and red, general improvement in lifestyle and love. At midnight, many Mexicans eat a grape with each chime of the clock and make a wish each time. Some people bake a sweet bread with a coin hidden inside. Whoever gets the piece with the coin will be blessed with good fortune in the coming year. Finally, some people make a list of all the bad events that occurred to them over the past year on a piece of paper and then burn the paper to symbolize a purging of all the bad luck.

4. As you might expect celebrations in England focus around Big Ben. People gather to observe fireworks and celebrate. In addition, many celebrate in pubs or at private parties.

At the stroke of midnight it is traditional to sing “Auld Lang Syne.” I have always been curious as to the derivation of this song and why it is sung at New Year’s. The origin is murky, but it has generally been attributed to the Scottish poet Robert Burns. He wrote it in 1788, but it is likely that some of the words were derived from other Scottish poems and ballads. “Auld Lang Syne” literally translates into English as “long, long ago,” “old times,” or “days gone by.” Thus, at the stroke of midnight we bid farewell to the past year and, at the same time, wish to remember the good times. In some areas the song is also sung at funerals, graduations and any other event that marks a “farewell” or “ending.” Sometimes the singers gather in a circle and hold hands.

As usual, the weather will be a significant factor. This year, rather than last year’s frigid temperatures, weathermen are predicting temperatures in the 50s, and there is a better than average chance of rain and fog. We could approach the record of 58 degrees (1965-66 and 1972-73). Viewers should plan on getting wet and, maybe, having their view of the “Ball Drop” obscured by the fog.

CONCLUSION

Whatever your NYE plans may be and however you may celebrate, I urge you to be careful and drive safely and defensively. Pay particular care to watch out for the “other guy.” This is one night where too many people celebrate excessively and drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. These people should not be on the road, but, nevertheless, they are, and they are dangerous both to you and themselves. For this reason, Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s long-time side-kick on the “Tonight Show” and a noted party-goer, used to refer to New Year’s Eve derisively as “amateur night.” New Year’s Day is the second most deadly holiday for drivers. (Thanksgiving is #1.) Moreover, a whopping 42% of the driving fatalities on NYD are the result of DUI.

Answers to quiz questions: 1) The city’s first subway line opened in 1904. 2) Longacre Square.

Enjoy yourself, but don’t become a statistic.

WALL STALEMATE

At the present time, probably the most controversial item under discussion is the proposed southern border wall. Simply put, President Trump and his supporters want it; the Dems and some GOPers are opposed. Neither side has shown any willingness to compromise even though they could do so if they really wanted to. Both sides are dug in, and the intransigence has caused a government shut-down, which is likely to last at least until the New Year. In my opinion, this stalemate is politically-motivated. As the song goes: “It’s all about the base.”

I have written several blogs analyzing the reasons for the Dems’ strong opposition to even a modicum of funding for a wall, and there is no need for me to rehash it now. But, I do find the fervent opposition among many of the leading Dems to be puzzling and even illogical. Perhaps, Mr. Trump is correct when he speculates that they are only against it because he is for it.

What do I mean? Perhaps, a little history will be illuminating. The construction of a physical barrier along the southern border can be traced to 1990. At that time, we built 14 miles of fencing between San Diego and Tijuana. Then, in 2006 funding for a “fence” sailed through Congress with strong bipartisan support. The Senate passed the bill 80-19 with Senators Obama, Clinton and Schumer, for example, all voting “yea.”

In addition to a fence, the law provided for other security enhancements such as vehicle barriers, checkpoints, cameras, satellites and drones. To be sure, the effectiveness of this law has been mixed. A 2017 GAO report described the various methods by which the fence was routinely being defeated, such as by driving vehicles over ramps, tunneling under the wall, and even tossing drugs over it to accomplices waiting on the other side. One can cite this either as evidence that “walls don’t work” or that it demonstrates the need for a better, more secure wall, buttressed by modern technology, rather than a mere “fence.” Take your pick. I should point out, however, that Mr. Trump has been advocating a significantly higher and more substantial wall supplemented by more modern technology.

CONCLUSION

One of the major issues that carried Mr. Trump to the White House in 2016 was his pledge to construct a wall on the southern border. I believe he has accomplished a great deal in just two years, however, his inability to secure funding for the wall is a big disappointment. This is particularly true given his reputation as a dealmaker and the fact that the GOP has controlled both houses of Congress for the past two years. With the Dems slated to take control of the House next week the likelihood of a wall is dwindling rapidly. Too bad.

All this over a few billion dollars, which is a mere drop in the bucket compared to our deficit of $21.8 TRILLION. This stalemate is like a tantrum between two children. No one looks good. Who will be the adult in the room? Maybe, if Mr. Trump called it a “barrier” or “enhanced fence” instead of a “wall” it might get funded.

Some have speculated (gleefully) that this failure may result in Mr. Trump’s defeat in 2020. I think that in a business where even a few months can be a lifetime, such speculation is very premature. November 2020 is a very long way off, and a lot will happen between now and then. That said, I believe it will be a black mark on his record.