June 2016

Diseases Cross Open Borders

The spread of the Zika virus has become so alarming that more than 150 health experts from over a dozen countries published an open letter urging the postponement or relocation of the Summer Olympics scheduled for August 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Never before in world history have the Olympics been cancelled due to a public health crisis.

“The Brazilian strain of Zika virus harms health in ways that science has not observed before,” the scientists warned. They added that an “unnecessary risk is posed when 500,000 foreign tourists from all countries attend the Games, potentially acquire that strain, and return home to places where it can become endemic.”

Imagine that! Global health experts are sounding alarm bells against the transmission of disease from one country to another, declaring that the risk is so great that the most famous international event of all should be called off to prevent it.

Yet our open southern border allows an even greater number of people from Zika-plagued countries to invade our country every year, and thereby spread their diseases in our communities. Most countries in Central and South America, not just Brazil, are beset by the Zika virus today.

Countries having a problem with the Zika virus include Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. Those are the same countries that are flooding our Nation with illegal immigrants.

President Obama demanded that Congress appropriate $1.9 billion to fight the Zika virus in other countries, but none of that money would be spent on securing our southern border against illegal immigration from Zika-plagued nations. Obama’s clueless Secretary of State, John Kerry, told the graduating class at Northeastern University, “You’re about to graduate into a complex and borderless world.”

Australia doesn’t have a wide-open border with adjacent countries, but an expert there expressed concern about the risk of a single Zika-infected person entering that nation. “A single person actually caused the epidemic that” Brazil is struggling with now, Australian Professor of Health Sciences Charles Watson observed.

In Britain, a professor of international public health, Jimmy Whitworth, warned pregnant women in that country to “think twice” before traveling to Texas and Florida, including Walt Disney World. Although Zika has not yet been found in American mosquitos, Professor Whitworth expects that to change “in two or three months’ time” because mosquito transmission is already occurring in Mexico and Cuba.

It is through mosquitos that the Zika virus can spread quickly from one infected person to others in the same community, causing terrible birth defects when pregnant women become infected. This transmission by mosquito is similar to that of dengue, an untreatable disease also being brought into the United States from Central and South America.

The Zika virus is not the only devastating disease that is brought into our Nation through illegal immigration. The Ebola virus with its 70% fatality rate has killed more than 11,000 people worldwide and caused a national panic in 2014 when it reached our shores through an African visitor who was not properly screened before he showed up in Dallas.

Among refugees from Somalia who have been resettled in Minnesota, a shocking 22% are infected with latent tuberculous (TB), which is more than five times the rate in the general American population. In addition to its harmful effects to health, TB is also very costly to treat: easier cases cost $17,000 per patient, while the most serious strains cost $430,000 per patient using treatments extending over three years.

Promoters of free trade insist that our economy can absorb these astronomical health care costs, but they drive up health insurance premiums for everyone. Illegal immigrants typically lack their own health insurance, and they show up at emergency rooms to demand medical care paid for by the American taxpayers.

Measles cases are also brought to us mostly by immigrants. Measles outbreaks in detention centers for illegal aliens are commonplace now.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has officially advised pregnant women to postpone visiting the many Central and South American countries having a Zika epidemic. But if it makes sense to tell Americans not to go there, then why does the Obama Administration welcome infected people from those countries to come here?

The World Health Organization concluded that cancelling or moving the Olympics would not have a significant benefit in slowing the spread of the Zika virus. But their reasoning is due to the fact that the virus is already widespread in many countries in the Western Hemisphere, though not yet in the United States.

We have no control over whether the Olympics is cancelled, but we do have control over our borders. Billions of taxpayer dollars are currently spent on disease control that could be more cheaply and more effectively used to halt the flow of illegal aliens over our southern border.

Failed Republicans Want to Rewrite the Constitution

Did you ever wonder why unsuccessful candidates merely “suspend” their campaigns after losing a key primary, instead of terminating them? Surely all those candidates knew that it’s impossible to restart a presidential campaign once it’s been suspended. In the famous words of Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter Alice Longworth, “You can’t make a soufflé rise twice.”

The 2016 Republican presidential primaries yielded one “presumptive” nominee, Donald J. Trump, plus 16 candidates whose presidential campaigns were “suspended” but could remain in business for many more years. What’s the future for a “suspended” presidential campaign?

In the case of three Republican also-rans, the answer arrived in my mail last week in the form of a solicitation to support something called the Convention of States. Former candidates Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal have all endorsed that project, along with former Senator Tom Coburn, and a couple of conservative talk radio hosts.

The Convention of States is actually the same old con, or con con (constitutional convention), dressed up with a new slogan. Its goal is to activate a never-used procedure whereby Congress can call a convention for proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

According to the letter I received, the convention would propose a series of amendments to “limit the authority and jurisdiction of the federal government.” Since that was precisely the purpose of the wonderful Constitution we already have, why should we expect that some brand new language would do a better job than the most brilliant political thinkers in American history?

The deception of the appeal for a “convention of states” lies first of all in the name of the project. If you open your pocket Constitution, it’s easy to see that the convention authorized by Article V would not be a “convention of states” in any sense of the word.

States can send petitions asking Congress to call a convention, but only Congress can decide what petitions are effective to trigger calling a convention. Only Congress can decide how delegates would be elected or selected, how the voting power would be apportioned among the states, what rules would govern the convention, who would preside, and who would pay all the costs.

Article V of the Constitution has only 22 words about a convention for proposing amendments, but the most important is the word “call.”  Since only Congress can “call” the convention, it means that states have no control over who can be a delegate, who makes the rules, who sets the agenda, or who wields the gavel.

To prove the power of the call, read for yourself the official call for this year’s Republican and Democratic National Conventions, plus all the state and local party conventions being held this spring. Each of these calls is an elaborate document of many pages setting forth the rules, procedures, and eligibility for all persons wishing to participate.

The presidential campaigns that support a Convention of States are headed by two former governors and one absentee Senator (Rubio) who promised he would not seek reelection (before he changed his mind) and expected to be out of office. All three former officials may see their political future in promoting the unprecedented circus of a convention to draft amendments to our Constitution.

Another presidential also-ran, Senator Ted Cruz, has endorsed a different route to a constitutional convention, the version sponsored by the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force. When he was campaigning in Iowa, Cruz said that “we need quite a few constitutional amendments,” referring to some of the same ideas as the Convention of States.

Some conservatives assume that a constitutional convention would propose only conservative ideas like a balanced budget. It never occurs to them that Bernie Sanders supporters would show up to demand constitutional amendments requiring the taxpayers to pay for free college and other free stuff for everyone.

Less than a year before his untimely death, the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia called it a “horrible idea” to call a convention for proposing constitutional amendments. “Once you get those people together, you never know what they’re going to do. You’ll get everything but the kitchen sink written into the Constitution.”

The unsolicited letter promoting the Convention of States concluded by asking me to contact my Missouri state legislators, even providing their names and telephone numbers at the state capitol. Fortunately, the appeal came too late; the legislature adjourned May 13 without passing the COS resolution, so that bad idea is dead for another year in Missouri and the legislators’ telephones will not be answered.

Put the Wall in the Platform

The promise to build a wall along America’s southern border with Mexico has carried Donald Trump to his remarkable victory in the Republican primaries for president. Now it’s time to put that promise into the official Republican Party Platform.

Many would be surprised to learn that a border security fence or wall was not already in the Republican platform. After all, President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act which Congress passed in 2006 with the support of many Democrats including then-Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

In the 10 years since Bush signed that law in a staged photo-op, the government has actually built only 36 miles of secure double fencing instead of the 700 miles authorized by that bipartisan, high-profile law. As a result, our southern border is penetrated daily by wave after wave of drug smuggling, human trafficking, people with incurable or infectious diseases such as the Zika virus, and even Muslims and Chinese people who somehow made their way to Mexico.

Business lobbyists and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who hold too much influence in the Republican party, oppose a wall because it would interfere with their continued exploitation of cheap foreign labor at the expense of American workers. In addition to tolerating the flow of illegal labor, the Chamber wants to expand every category of visas for foreign workers, both skilled and unskilled.

According to Politico, Republican power brokers have convened “as many as 10 closed-door huddles with business lobbyists to discuss the party’s platform.”  Attendees were warned not to discuss details with the press, but you can bet that building a wall was not on their agenda.

The big-business lobbyists also expressed alarm at Trump’s promise to “discourage companies from moving jobs outside the United States.” One participant said his colleagues are “pretty much aghast” at Trump’s proposals to protect Americans against rampant cheating by our so-called “trading partners.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, meanwhile, has been developing his own agenda for Republicans in an effort to compete with Trump’s. Under the slogan “A Better Way,” Ryan’s proposals include old chestnuts like cutting taxes, entitlements and regulations, but nothing about limiting immigration or the hemorrhage of jobs to foreign countries.

The Ryan agenda is basically the same as what Jeb Bush and 15 other failed presidential candidates campaigned on, but those ideas obviously didn’t sell to the Republican electorate. The voters have spoken, and the future of the Republican Party starts with a wall along our southern border.

Even some members of the Republican National Committee are resisting the wall as a political statement that belongs in the party platform. One RNC member called the wall “a symbolic thing” rather than “a physical thing,” while another member said the border wall is not to be taken “literally” because “it is a metaphor.”

The two RNC members are right that the border wall would be a powerful symbol, but only if and when it is actually built. Once completed, the wall on our southern border would stand as a “metaphor” for the fact that coming to America requires the invitation and permission of the American citizens who are already here.

The 2012 platform has many good provisions, including opposition to “any form of amnesty” and support for states using their authority to enforce federal immigration laws. But building a wall is now the foundation of Republican immigration policy — and yes, Mexico will pay for the wall.

Yet the Chamber of Commerce calls it a “myth” that “building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and deporting all undocumented immigrants from the United States, would enhance national security.” The Chamber’s analysis asserts that a border security wall would cost between $15 and $25 billion to build, and not even $1 billion to maintain, but those are small sums compared to the real costs of illegal immigration.

The federal, state, and local costs of criminal justice to process and incarcerate criminal aliens is at least $15 billion a year, not to mention the harm caused by those crimes, such as horrific crashes that have occurred when smugglers drive the wrong way on freeways at night with their headlights turned off. Even deportation is not as expensive as opponents of border security pretend.

A wall along the border would reduce illegal immigration and cause real wages to increase for average American workers for the first time in more than a decade. That may not be something the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants for big business, but it’s something that would attract American workers to vote Republican.

‘A Banner of Bold Colors With No Pastel Shades’

Remarks by Ronald Reagan at the Republican National
Convention in Kansas City on August 19, 1976

Regan Speech

Thank you very much. . . . I’m going to say fellow Republicans here, but to those who are watching from a distance, all those millions of Democrats and Independents who I know are looking for a cause around which to rally and which I believe we can give them —

Mr. President, . . . your kindness and generosity in honoring us by bringing us down here will give us a memory that will live in our hearts forever. . . .

May I just say some words —

There are cynics who say that a party platform is something that no one bothers to read and it doesn’t very often amount to much. Whether it is different this time than it has ever been before, I believe the Republican Party has a platform that is a banner of bold, unmistakable colors with no pale pastel shades.

We have just heard a call to arms, based on that platform. And a call to us to really be successful in communicating, and reveal to the American people the difference between this platform and the platform of the opposing party, which is nothing but a revamp and a reissue and a running of a late, late show of the thing that we have been hearing from them for the last 40 years.

If I could just take a moment —

I had an assignment the other day. Someone asked me to write a letter for a time capsule that is going to be opened in Los Angeles a hundred years from now, on our tricentennial. It sounded like an easy assignment. They suggested I write something about the problems and issues of the day.

And I set out to do so, riding down the coast in an automobile, looking at the blue Pacific out on one side and the Santa Ynez Mountains on the other, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was going to be that beautiful a hundred years from now as it was on that summer day.

And then as I tried to write, let your own minds turn to that task. You’re going to write for people a hundred years from now who know all about us, we know nothing about them. We don’t know what kind of a world they’ll be living in.

And suddenly I thought to myself, if I write of the problems, they’ll be the domestic problems of which the President spoke here tonight, the challenges confronting us, the erosion of freedom that has taken place under Democrat rule in this country, the invasion of private rights, the controls and restrictions on the vitality of the great free economy that we enjoy. These are our challenges that we must meet.

And then again there is that challenge of which he spoke, that we live in a world in which the great powers have poised and aimed at each other horrible missiles of destruction, nuclear weapons that can, in a matter of minutes, arrive in each other’s country and destroy virtually the civilized world we live in.

And suddenly it dawned on me. Those who would read this letter, a hundred years from now, will know whether those missiles were fired. They will know whether we met our challenge. Whether they have the freedoms that we have known up until now will depend on what we do here.

Will they look back with appreciation and say, “Thank God for those people in 1976 who headed off that loss of freedom, who kept us now a hundred years later free, who kept our world from nuclear destruction”?

And if we failed, they probably won’t get to read the letter at all because it spoke of individual freedom and they won’t be allowed to talk of that or read of it.

This is our challenge. And this is why, here in this hall tonight, better than we’ve ever done before, we’ve got to quit talking to each other and about each other, and go out and communicate to the world that we may be fewer in numbers than we’ve ever been, but we carry the message they’re waiting for.

We must go forth from here united, determined that what a great general said a few years ago is true, “There is no substitute for victory.”