Tag Archives: immigration

This is not how to govern, Congress

What a way to govern … not!

Congress is fighting over how to pay for immigration measures. It cannot settle a dispute over whether to pay for construction of a wall along our nation’s southern border or whether to extend protection for those U.S. residents who were brought here when they were children as their parents sneaked into the country illegally.

The consequence of this dispute?

The government might shut down — if only partially — in the next 24 hours.

Republicans who run both congressional chambers are scrambling to find yet another stop-gap solution that will delay the next shutdown threat for a couple of weeks.

Oh, and then we have the president of the United States. Donald J. Trump reportedly is a non-player in the negotiation over how to find a longer-term solution to this problem. Media reports say that Trump is making zero phone calls to congressional leaders, suggesting he’s leaving it exclusively up to lawmakers to find an answer.

Even congressional Republicans are complaining about the lack of a “reliable partner” in the White House.

Trump torpedoes GOP strategy

I’m trying to imagine Lyndon Johnson leaving a matter such as this to Capitol Hill. The late former president came to the presidency after a distinguished career in the U.S. Senate. President Kennedy plucked him from his Senate majority leader post to run with him as vice president in 1960. LBJ never lost his congressional connections.

Trump, though, has none of that kind of history. Zero, man!

Effective governance is supposed to comprise a partnership between the legislative and executive branches of government. It’s not happening these days.

Republicans are barely talking to Democrats in Congress, and vice versa. The president, meanwhile, is maintaining a position that I suppose he might say is “above the fray.”

As a result, Congress might stumble and bumble its way to another short-term Band-Aid repair, only to wait for the next deadline to approach before we face yet another government shutdown threat.

How about trying this: Work together for a change in the hunt for common ground. Fund the government, repair the problem — and stop threatening to shut down a government that is supposed to serve all Americans all the time.

Maddening.

Follow Canadian model on immigration? C’mon, Mr. AG!

I cannot believe the attorney general of the United States said it.

Actually, I can.

AG Jeff Sessions told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that the United States should follow the Canadian model on immigration and restrict entry of those seeking to come here to those with demonstrable skills.

Why should the United States accept people who are “illiterate” in their own countries? Sessions asked.

Sessions has hit me where I live, so to speak.

I happen to be the product of immigrants who came here in the early 20th century from where Donald J. Trump might consider to be “sh**hole countries,” Greece and Turkey. My grandparents produced families comprising individuals who contributed a great deal to this country. My grandparents didn’t possess professional skills; they weren’t well-educated; they were humble folks whose only aim was to come to the United States of America and build a better future for themselves and the families they wanted to produce.

They were just like millions of other immigrants who built this country into the powerhouse it has become.

Thus, I resent terribly any assertion that the United States should somehow limit those who come here through some sort of “merit-based system” that allows only those with certain educational levels or can demonstrate professional skills.

Furthermore, what’s with this idea of patterning our immigration policy after another nation?

Didn’t the president campaign for office on a pledge to “put America first”? Didn’t he in effect tell the rest of the world he cared little — if anything — about how they conduct their internal policies?

The basic principle behind our immigration policy has established the greatest nation on Earth as the beacon for the rest of the world. People want to come here because of the opportunity the United States offers to those who choose to become Americans.

Get a grip, Mr. Attorney General.

Sh**hole story just keeps roiling

The sh**hole story is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sat before a Senate committee today and couldn’t recall hearing Donald J. Trump use the term “sh**hole” to describe African nations, as well as Haiti and El Salvador.

Intelligence Committee members grilled her on what she heard. They queried about what Sen. Dick Durbin said he heard, as he attended the White House meeting on immigration.

Then came a curious response to a question from Sen. Patrick Leahy.

The president had said during the White House meeting that the United States needed to encourage more immigration from Norway, which Nielsen acknowledged during her testimony today.

“Norway is predominantly white, yes?” Leahy asked. Nielsen actually said — and I am not making this up — that she didn’t know about Norway’s predominant ethnic composition.

I am left to wonder … huh, are you kidding me?

The Homeland Security boss doesn’t know that a significant Scandinavian country comprises citizens who are, um, quite white? Many of them are blonde; they have blue eyes; they’re, um, nothing like the folks who come here from those “sh**hole countries.”

This story won’t go away.

Especially when the Trump administration keeps trotting Cabinet officers out who cannot respond to direct questions with equally direct answers.

POTUS is at it again with Twitter ‘bullying’

Welcome to the president’s world of Twitter targets, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

The Illinois Democrat has now been tagged “Dicky” by Donald John Trump Sr.

You see, Durbin stands by his assertion that Trump used the term “sh**hole” to describe Haiti, El Salvador and nations of Africa; he coined the label during a White House meeting on immigration. Durbin was present in the meeting. He said he heard it. He said Trump made that remark “repeatedly.”

Why do we get all these immigrants from “sh**hole countries,” the president reportedly said, adding that he preferred more immigration from “countries like Norway.”

The remark has drawn international scorn. Trump denies he said it. Sure thing, Mr. President. I believe you, just like I believed your claim that Barack Obama was born in Africa and couldn’t serve as president of the United States.

So, the guy who pledged to be the “most presidential” occupant of the White House in history after he took office has dredged up yet another Twitter nickname.

I think one might call this a form of Internet “bullying.”

Oh, that brings up a couple of questions: How about the first lady’s stated desire to make Internet bullying a hallmark during her time in the White House?

Have you had The Talk with your husband, Melania Trump?

POTUS keeps telling us how smart, rich, non-racist he is

Heroes don’t brag about their heroic acts.

Geniuses don’t tell us how smart they are.

Great athletes — the late, great Muhammad Ali notwithstanding — don’t crow about their athletic prowess.

Wealthy folks don’t boast about their riches.

And non-racists don’t need to tell us they aren’t racist.

So … why does Donald John “Stable, Rich, Non-Racist Genius” Trump Sr. insist on reminding us of his myriad admirable qualities?

The president stood alongside a fellow Republican this past weekend, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and told us that he is “not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed.” The response was directed, I presume, at a reporter who had asked Trump “Are you a racist?”

I am baffled by this president’s insistence on reminding us of the things that need no reminder.

The racist label has been given new prominence in the wake of Trump’s statement about immigrants coming here from “s**thole countries” that, by the way, happen to be populated by citizens with dark skin. This statement attributed to the president, of course, follows a distinct pattern of disparagement and disrespect of certain individuals and institutions.

So, he tells us he is “not a racist.” Big … deal! His actions and his myriad utterances over many years suggest something quite different.

He bellows about how rich he is. Then he refuses to release his tax returns, ignoring a custom followed by presidential nominees for the past 40 years. Those returns would tell us whether he is as rich as he claims to be.

And his intelligence? Well, he keeps yapping about how he knows “the best words,” and how he attended the “best college,” where he was an academic star. Just wondering: Has anyone seen this guy’s college transcript?

As CNN’s Chis Cillizza has noted, the president clearly is “overcompensating” for what appear to be some serious shortcomings.

My own view is that someone who tells you he is the “best” at anything, he usually isn’t. If he has to remind us that he is “not a racist,” well, you know …

An ’embarrassment’? Yeah, do ya think?

Chuck Hagel isn’t your run-of-the-mill Donald John Trump critic.

He once served as defense secretary for President Obama. Oh, but wait! The man isn’t a squishy liberal. He also is a former Republican senator from Nebraska, one of the many states known to be rock-ribbed, red-state Republican bastions. Hagel also is a Vietnam War veteran, serving there in the U.S. Army. He’s been in battle and knows its consequences.

So, when Chuck Hagel calls the president an “embarrassment” to the nation, well, I tend to listen to him.

Hagel sat down with the Lincoln (Neb.) Star-Journal in which he unloaded on the president. He tore into him for his reported “sh**hole countries” comment describing Haiti, El Salvador and nations in Africa that account for many immigrants coming into the United States.

“Donald Trump is doing great damage to our country internationally,” Hagel told the newspaper.

He said lawmakers take an oath to defend the Constitution and not stand blindly behind any individual or their political party. “I was philosophically a Republican with a conservative voting record,” Hagel said, “but that did not mean I would always go along with the party.”

So, he’s not going along. He is speaking from his heart and telling us what’s on his mind. Moreover, he is speaking for a lot of his fellow Americans — such as yours truly — when he tells us that the president is embarrassing us.

I happen to be embarrassed — and ashamed — by the conduct of the man who is our head of state.

Thus, I share Secretary/Sen. Hagel’s pain.

‘I am not a racist’ Oh, really?

Donald J. Trump says it clearly and with seeming conviction.

“I am not a racist. I am the least racist person you’ve ever interviewed,” said the president of the United States.

OK, then. That settles it, right? Trump isn’t a racist. He didn’t actually question Barack Obama’s place of birth and his legitimacy as president; he didn’t actually call those countries in Africa, as well as Haiti and El Salvador “sh**holes”; he didn’t actually say an Indiana-born federal judge couldn’t decide a case involving Trump University because “he’s a Mexican.”

Well, I believe the president’s denial of racist leanings reminds many of us the time President Nixon told us “I am not a crook.” We know how that turned out in the 1970s, yes?

Trump has taken a tremendous amount of criticism for his sh**hole comment, which he reportedly made during a White House meeting on immigration.

This blog has used the “racist” term, too, to describe the president’s leanings. Indeed, the record that includes a large body of demonstrable evidence of racial bias can be used as a counterweight to the president’s assertion that he doesn’t harbor bias against people who don’t look like him.

The sh**hole comment about nations that produce immigrants to the United States — coupled with an assertion that the United States needs to encourage more immigration from “countries like Norway” — only fuels the fire that’s burning close the White House.

Donald Trump can tell us all he wants that he is not a racist. The lengthy record of previous pronouncements, though, tells us something quite different.

Who can we believe regarding POTUS’s gutter mouth?

It’s come down to this: No longer can I take a single thing that Donald John Trump Sr. says at face value.

I do not believe unequivocally a single statement he can make.

Take his recent use of the term “sh**hole” to describe Africa, Haiti and El Salvador. He denies saying it. This morning, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who was in the room when the president said it actually stood with Trump in his denial.

Others in the room — Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill. — said Trump used the term. Durbin said he uttered the term “repeatedly” while talking about immigration.

Trump’s lying is so pervasive, so inclusive, so very disturbing that I’ve crossed a key threshold that now casts into doubt every single utterance that flies out of his mouth.

My state of disbelief rivals how I used to feel about a one-time Amarillo, Texas, figure. I refer to the late Stanley Marsh 3, the eccentric millionaire artisan/lawyer/goofball who in his day did some mighty strange things.

The Weather Channel came here in the early 2000s to cover a weather-related event and while the TV weatherman was on the air, Marsh — while wearing a feathered head dress — started prancing around in the background doing some sort of Native American dance.

Marsh was the strangest of strange dudes. It got so weird that there came a time when there wasn’t a single thing one could say about Marsh that I could dismiss out of hand.

“Hey, did you hear that Stanley flew to Mars and brought a Martian back to Earth with him.” I always felt in the deepest part of my gut, “You know … I wouldn’t put it past him.”

And so it is with Donald Trump. The man has been heard in public using filthy language. He referred to pro football players protesting police conduct against African-Americans as “sons of bi*****. ” He has used what my father used to call “the functional four-letter word” on more than one occasion since becoming a politician. He has done the same with the scatological term as well.

So, when he denies calling certain nations of the world “sh**hole” countries, well … I don’t believe his denial.

The man is a liar.

No such thing as ‘off the record’

Michael Smerconish is a smart commentator and CNN TV host.

He offered a prime piece of political wisdom this morning when he said, “There’s no such thing as ‘off the record.'”

There it is. A lesson that no doubt has not been lost on the “stable genius” who sits in the Oval Office of the White House. Donald Trump clearly knew that when he described African nations and Haiti as “sh**hole countries” would be picked up and flashed around the world.

As Smerconish noted today, seemingly everyone has a smart phone equipped with a camera and a recording device.

When the president blurts out a racist comment, or when he makes declarations that are sure to offend millions of Americans — let alone billions of other world inhabitants — he is speaking only to a narrow audience: his political base, the 30-some percent of Americans who stand with him no matter what.

As Smerconish noted today, Barack Obama was caught telling a fundraising crowd that many Americans “cling to their guns” and their religious faith; four years later, Mitt Romney was overheard telling a crowd that “47 percent of Americans” who live on government programs will vote for President Obama “no matter what.”

The world is listening to these politicians.

I get that Trump’s sh**hole comments aren’t a precise parallel to the examples cited already. Still, Donald Trump called an entire continent a place full of “sh**hole” countries populated by dark-skinned people. Lawmakers heard him say it and have declared they heard it. Such a statement sounds pretty damn racist to me.

He has offended millions of Americans.

Trump doesn’t care. His base hangs with him.

Does the president ever surprise us?

The more I think about it, the less surprised I get over the epithet that flew out of Donald John Trump’s mouth earlier this week.

I refer to his questioning why the United States accepts immigrants from “sh**hole countries” such as Haiti and those in Africa.

African Union member states have called on a retraction and an apology from the president of the United States. Democratic politicians in this country are howling about the racist-sounding rant the president leveled during a White House meeting to discuss immigration issues.

But this comment merely is the latest in a disturbing pattern of behavior that Trump has demonstrated for many years.

He questioned Barack Obama’s legitimacy as president; he called white supremacists, Klansmen and neo-Nazis “very fine people”; he said an Indiana-born federal judge couldn’t adjudicate a case because of his Mexican heritage; he has attacked a Muslim Gold Star family; he called Mexican immigrants criminals; he called for a ban on all Muslims entering this country.

And on and on it goes. Seemingly forever.

He cannot control his impulse to denigrate groups of people. He seems always inclined to target darker-skinned people or non-Christians. He plays solely to his political base.

Why is it a surprise, then, that he would blurt out an epithet about “sh**hole countries comprising dark-skinned citizens?

It’s not. The surprise would come if Trump ever could find a way to offer a word of kindness and compassion for those who want to come here in search of a better life.

I do not expect that from Donald Trump.