Day: January 22, 2018

A Different Perspective on DACA


Sometimes it is helpful to look at an issue from another perspective, to see what the other person is seeing.  Since we’ve been hearing and reading about the immigration-DACA issue for so long now, let’s attempt to look at this topic from perspectives different from the common theme.  These other perspectives attempt to move beyond simple emotion and ask slightly more meaningful questions regarding the topic, reaching for a reason-based solution.

The common theme is “They were brought here by their parents through no fault of their own.  Why should we punish them by making them go back?”  The first word we can turn around is “punish.”  A completely different way to view this might be as follows.  “You were born in a Central or South American country and were destined to spend your first 25 years (at least) in that country, which affords significantly fewer opportunities than are available above the Rio Grande.  But, as luck would have it, you were randomly selected, among all of the 600 million people who live down there, to be able to spend your first 25 years in the promised land, where essentially every single measure of quality of life exceeded that which you initially faced.  At the end of that time, you’d be asked to go back to your native country and begin to contribute there.  Perhaps, when back home, you might even be able to improve your homeland.  You’d have an exponentially better chance of doing so, given the opportunities you were provided.  In fact, one could make the argument that you would have an obligation to do so, given the complete randomness of your selection.  So, given that choice, DACA children, which would you have selected?”

There are essentially two options:

  • “No, thank you – I’d rather stay here and grow up in my native country, which is so lacking in hope that my parents broke laws just to escape.”
  • “I’ll take that lucky opportunity, and I look forward to the chance to pay back some of what I’ve been gifted by committing to take my skills back and help my native land.”

It is difficult to imagine anyone picking the former.

Now, in addition to finding a new perspective from the DACA recipient side, let’s take a view from the DACA benefactor side – that which we fortunate U.S. citizens might take.  We recognize we’ve got a wonderful country with plenty of opportunity.  We are thankful for that, and inside each of us there is a sense of wanting to share that blessing – we’d like to see others in the world have that same opportunity.  But if we want that opportunity for some, don’t we want it for all?

So, if we honestly recognize that our goal is good economic and quality-of-life opportunities for all, we’re now in a predicament.  It is folly to think we can bring 600 million people here and expect the U.S. to still be a land of great opportunity (and simultaneously leave empty an entire beautiful continent).  As a nation, we are clearly not spending any time considering this concept, choosing instead to see only what is at our doorstep and immediately jumping onto the emotion bandwagon.  That approach contradicts our big-picture goal.  Even worse, given the educational level of this nation, that method of problem-solving is completely shameful and irresponsible.

If we really do care about all the others, we have no choice but to help them where they are.  Simply encouraging the most mobile to come to the U.S. is completely contrary to the goal.  Thus, perhaps another concept in the common theme, which we can turn around, is the term “making them go back,” instead viewing it as “enabling them to go back.”  At this point in time, the U.S. has a great opportunity to promote the goal of helping those people by helping their native countries.  “Here are millions of your people.  For years, we have given them opportunities they never would have had back home.  They are healthy and welleducated, have been exposed to a culture of self-determination, and have many ideas on business.  Please welcome them back and watch as they help your country grow.”  That would be a twist on the dialogue.  We may even kick in some targeted money to help the most promising returning business folks get started in their home countries, with an eye on building an environment where people will not desire to emigrate.  Compare that to the current DACA solution, “just let them stay,” which does absolutely nothing for the home countries (the root of the problem), contains absolutely no thought about immigration solutions for five or twenty years from now, and guarantees that the problems remain.

To summarize, in contrast to the current state-of-the-art discussion on DACA (comprising little thought and much emotion), the views offered above are examples of potentially more helpful perspectives.  They are initiated by an honorable emotion (“we’d like to help other people”) but then go the next step to consider the bigger picture and attempt to solve the real problem.  Such an approach, and subsequent dialogue, is what should be expected of an educated public and its elected officials.  Two hundred years ago, a group of men sat together and created an entire country and government.  Though emotion may have initiated the concept, the documents they produced (from the Federalist Papers to the Constitution) were full of reason and intelligently addressed topics much more complicated than this.  Let’s take a lesson from them and provide a reasoned solution, not an emotional kick-the-can-down-the-road.

Sometimes it is helpful to look at an issue from another perspective, to see what the other person is seeing.  Since we’ve been hearing and reading about the immigration-DACA issue for so long now, let’s attempt to look at this topic from perspectives different from the common theme.  These other perspectives attempt to move beyond simple emotion and ask slightly more meaningful questions regarding the topic, reaching for a reason-based solution.

The common theme is “They were brought here by their parents through no fault of their own.  Why should we punish them by making them go back?”  The first word we can turn around is “punish.”  A completely different way to view this might be as follows.  “You were born in a Central or South American country and were destined to spend your first 25 years (at least) in that country, which affords significantly fewer opportunities than are available above the Rio Grande.  But, as luck would have it, you were randomly selected, among all of the 600 million people who live down there, to be able to spend your first 25 years in the promised land, where essentially every single measure of quality of life exceeded that which you initially faced.  At the end of that time, you’d be asked to go back to your native country and begin to contribute there.  Perhaps, when back home, you might even be able to improve your homeland.  You’d have an exponentially better chance of doing so, given the opportunities you were provided.  In fact, one could make the argument that you would have an obligation to do so, given the complete randomness of your selection.  So, given that choice, DACA children, which would you have selected?”

There are essentially two options:

  • “No, thank you – I’d rather stay here and grow up in my native country, which is so lacking in hope that my parents broke laws just to escape.”
  • “I’ll take that lucky opportunity, and I look forward to the chance to pay back some of what I’ve been gifted by committing to take my skills back and help my native land.”

It is difficult to imagine anyone picking the former.

Now, in addition to finding a new perspective from the DACA recipient side, let’s take a view from the DACA benefactor side – that which we fortunate U.S. citizens might take.  We recognize we’ve got a wonderful country with plenty of opportunity.  We are thankful for that, and inside each of us there is a sense of wanting to share that blessing – we’d like to see others in the world have that same opportunity.  But if we want that opportunity for some, don’t we want it for all?

So, if we honestly recognize that our goal is good economic and quality-of-life opportunities for all, we’re now in a predicament.  It is folly to think we can bring 600 million people here and expect the U.S. to still be a land of great opportunity (and simultaneously leave empty an entire beautiful continent).  As a nation, we are clearly not spending any time considering this concept, choosing instead to see only what is at our doorstep and immediately jumping onto the emotion bandwagon.  That approach contradicts our big-picture goal.  Even worse, given the educational level of this nation, that method of problem-solving is completely shameful and irresponsible.

If we really do care about all the others, we have no choice but to help them where they are.  Simply encouraging the most mobile to come to the U.S. is completely contrary to the goal.  Thus, perhaps another concept in the common theme, which we can turn around, is the term “making them go back,” instead viewing it as “enabling them to go back.”  At this point in time, the U.S. has a great opportunity to promote the goal of helping those people by helping their native countries.  “Here are millions of your people.  For years, we have given them opportunities they never would have had back home.  They are healthy and welleducated, have been exposed to a culture of self-determination, and have many ideas on business.  Please welcome them back and watch as they help your country grow.”  That would be a twist on the dialogue.  We may even kick in some targeted money to help the most promising returning business folks get started in their home countries, with an eye on building an environment where people will not desire to emigrate.  Compare that to the current DACA solution, “just let them stay,” which does absolutely nothing for the home countries (the root of the problem), contains absolutely no thought about immigration solutions for five or twenty years from now, and guarantees that the problems remain.

To summarize, in contrast to the current state-of-the-art discussion on DACA (comprising little thought and much emotion), the views offered above are examples of potentially more helpful perspectives.  They are initiated by an honorable emotion (“we’d like to help other people”) but then go the next step to consider the bigger picture and attempt to solve the real problem.  Such an approach, and subsequent dialogue, is what should be expected of an educated public and its elected officials.  Two hundred years ago, a group of men sat together and created an entire country and government.  Though emotion may have initiated the concept, the documents they produced (from the Federalist Papers to the Constitution) were full of reason and intelligently addressed topics much more complicated than this.  Let’s take a lesson from them and provide a reasoned solution, not an emotional kick-the-can-down-the-road.



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How Republicans Gain Seats This Year


Daily reports by the media express the likelihood that the Republicans will lose seats in both Houses of Congress.  They point to loses in Alabama, Virginia, and Wisconsin by Republicans as proof that Donald Trump is dragging down the party.  Trump’s poll numbers are offered to demonstrate his unpopularity.  These numbers are questionable, to be sure, as Democrats are often over-represented. 

Clearly, these polls demonstrate how Trump’s personal style rattles many.  They reflect the constant negative press reports, which do not recognize his impact upon our national economy.   Routinely, the off-year elections will cost the party that occupies the White House seats in the Congress.  Yet there is a way to ensure that this effect is minimized or reversed.

The Republicans must draw a stark contrast with the Democrats.  The best way to do this is to put together legislation that makes the reduction in the personal tax rates (just enacted at the end of 2017) permanent.  Bringing this legislation forward will draw a direct line that any Republican can support and run on.  The public will gladly support this in most states.  The few exceptions, such as New York and California, are already a lost cause for gaining any seats.

Many Republicans from these states are planning on retiring (so far, a total of 30 have indicated this desire), which will likely put pressure on Republicans to hold their numbers.  They need good and thoughtful candidates to run for office.

In the Senate, it is possible to gain seats, as more Democrats are up for re-election.  Many are in states that supported Trump.

The best way for Republican candidates to gain victories is to align themselves with Trump’s economic policies.  The economy is booming, and with sustained growth due to the new tax law, this benefit will accrue to the administration.  If the primaries give candidates like Judge Moore, then the outcome is problematic. 

Further, the Republicans must place long-term funding for the military within the continuing resolutions, taking this issue off the table.  Let the Democrats decide if they want to stop funding national priorities over ensuring that the military is funded sufficiently.  Today, most voters will not support this, as the military is now viewed positively.  As the economy improves, the pressure to support social welfare programs diminishes among most citizens.

If the House were to bring forth an immigration bill that the White House could support, then that would also put the Senate Democrats on the line to decide which priorities are critical for them.  The compromise offered by the Gang of Six senators gave a clear negotiated victory to the Democrats on chain migration, the wall, and the visa lottery.  The outrage by Democrats over Trump’s language is proof that the change in message was necessary to thwart a clear understanding by the public of how the Democrats rolled the Republicans.

Repatriation of companies’ foreign assets, as Apple has announced, will occur quietly among most businesses.  Growth of factory jobs will ensure that the forgotten blue-collar middle Americans support the administration.  These voters will continue to support Trump despite the press reports.

Despite a year of nonstop negative reports, Trump has managed to govern.  His supporters do not miss this.  Moderates will slowly see his bombast as distinct form his policies over time. 

As the DOJ begins to unravel the corruption in the previous administration, the Democrats will find it harder to scream about Trump collusion.  Robert Mueller and his investigators will not go away quickly, but as time marches on, the public will forget the details.  Unless they can find some direct illegality by Trump or his family, the damage will be limited.

The Democrats have one strategy to stop Trump’s policies.  Stalling and opposition can be a great defense, but the Republicans must be on the offense.  This is the reason Trump tweets daily.  Perhaps the Republican legislators can learn this technique.  Effective communications have not been the hallmark of Republicans.  If they learn how to press the issues, they will prevail in the off-year elections of 2018.

Daily reports by the media express the likelihood that the Republicans will lose seats in both Houses of Congress.  They point to loses in Alabama, Virginia, and Wisconsin by Republicans as proof that Donald Trump is dragging down the party.  Trump’s poll numbers are offered to demonstrate his unpopularity.  These numbers are questionable, to be sure, as Democrats are often over-represented. 

Clearly, these polls demonstrate how Trump’s personal style rattles many.  They reflect the constant negative press reports, which do not recognize his impact upon our national economy.   Routinely, the off-year elections will cost the party that occupies the White House seats in the Congress.  Yet there is a way to ensure that this effect is minimized or reversed.

The Republicans must draw a stark contrast with the Democrats.  The best way to do this is to put together legislation that makes the reduction in the personal tax rates (just enacted at the end of 2017) permanent.  Bringing this legislation forward will draw a direct line that any Republican can support and run on.  The public will gladly support this in most states.  The few exceptions, such as New York and California, are already a lost cause for gaining any seats.

Many Republicans from these states are planning on retiring (so far, a total of 30 have indicated this desire), which will likely put pressure on Republicans to hold their numbers.  They need good and thoughtful candidates to run for office.

In the Senate, it is possible to gain seats, as more Democrats are up for re-election.  Many are in states that supported Trump.

The best way for Republican candidates to gain victories is to align themselves with Trump’s economic policies.  The economy is booming, and with sustained growth due to the new tax law, this benefit will accrue to the administration.  If the primaries give candidates like Judge Moore, then the outcome is problematic. 

Further, the Republicans must place long-term funding for the military within the continuing resolutions, taking this issue off the table.  Let the Democrats decide if they want to stop funding national priorities over ensuring that the military is funded sufficiently.  Today, most voters will not support this, as the military is now viewed positively.  As the economy improves, the pressure to support social welfare programs diminishes among most citizens.

If the House were to bring forth an immigration bill that the White House could support, then that would also put the Senate Democrats on the line to decide which priorities are critical for them.  The compromise offered by the Gang of Six senators gave a clear negotiated victory to the Democrats on chain migration, the wall, and the visa lottery.  The outrage by Democrats over Trump’s language is proof that the change in message was necessary to thwart a clear understanding by the public of how the Democrats rolled the Republicans.

Repatriation of companies’ foreign assets, as Apple has announced, will occur quietly among most businesses.  Growth of factory jobs will ensure that the forgotten blue-collar middle Americans support the administration.  These voters will continue to support Trump despite the press reports.

Despite a year of nonstop negative reports, Trump has managed to govern.  His supporters do not miss this.  Moderates will slowly see his bombast as distinct form his policies over time. 

As the DOJ begins to unravel the corruption in the previous administration, the Democrats will find it harder to scream about Trump collusion.  Robert Mueller and his investigators will not go away quickly, but as time marches on, the public will forget the details.  Unless they can find some direct illegality by Trump or his family, the damage will be limited.

The Democrats have one strategy to stop Trump’s policies.  Stalling and opposition can be a great defense, but the Republicans must be on the offense.  This is the reason Trump tweets daily.  Perhaps the Republican legislators can learn this technique.  Effective communications have not been the hallmark of Republicans.  If they learn how to press the issues, they will prevail in the off-year elections of 2018.



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Pot Politics: How Democrats Politicize the Recreational Marijuana Issue to Win Midterm Elections


One of the reasons the Democrats lost the November 2016 election was low voter turnout.  As the 2018 midterms approach, Democrats have politicized the recreational marijuana issue as a means of increasing voter turnout, knowing that many in their voter base want the recreational use of marijuana to be legalized.  They put the recreational marijuana issue to a vote in the 2016 California election. 

The recreational marijuana use law in California went into effect on January 1, 2018 – just by coincidence, a midterm election year.  And just as the Democrats had hoped, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general of the United States, announced that he has reversed the Obama-era Holder-Lynch policy, called the Cole Memorandum, which generally stated that the federal government will not enforce parts of the Controlled Substances Act.  Sessions has asked U.S. attorneys to begin prosecution of recreational marijuana use.

Democrat hopes that Jeff Sessions would take the bait were realized.  They can use the public attention over the Sessions war on the legalization of marijuana in California as an issue to exploit in the fall to 1) bring out voters of all ages and 2) simultaneously portray Jeff Sessions and the Republican Party as the bad guys who are all against recreational marijuana use and should be voted out of office.

That this was a planned strategy can be seen by the media hype being given to anti-Sessions politicians in marijuana-friendly states.  For example, Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, has come out against the Sessions announcement, promising to fight Sessions.  This portrays the governor as someone with admirable qualities – ready to “resist,” in the language of the DNC, the efforts of stodgy, stiff, fun-hating conservatives to outlaw their access to marijuana.  And if the resistance to the Sessions mandate spills over and attaches to President Trump, all the better.  All of these Democrat politicians are merely actors in the politics of pot charade.

That this is part of a multi-year plan can be easily seen when Obama’s actions are reviewed.  President Obama’s memo to the U.S. attorneys was not a formal executive order, but a guideline not to enforce the federal ban on marijuana sales in all states.  (The president does not have any legal authority to pick and choose which federal laws will, and will not, be enforced, but he can prioritize.)

If the Democrats truly wanted to help pot-smokers they could have easily, in 2009 or 2010, when they controlled the entire Congress and had president Obama on their side, removed recreational marijuana from the list of controlled substances.  But they didn’t.  And why they didn’t should be a lesson in the politics of pot for those who support recreational marijuana use.

Barack Obama stated in his book Dreams from My Father that he tried marijuana in his younger years.  So pro-pot voters thought that in Obama, they had a true believer: someone who would be their representative in the White House, who would not fight the legalization of marijuana’s recreational use. 

But Obama turned out to be a closet opponent of the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana – he followed his party’s carefully designed strategy of not federally legalizing marijuana nationwide.  This left the state-by-state battles open, to be used by the DNC to mobilize pot-friendly voters in upcoming elections.  And Democrats think that if voters will turn out for state elections, they will not ignore the federal offices on the ballot.

Democrats have framed recreational marijuana legalization as a state issue – that when states vote to legalize recreational use, that legalization is sufficient.  But it’s not.  All states must obey federal controlled substances laws.  Democrats want to portray Sessions and Trump as the bad guys who are taking rights away from people who live in states that have pseudo-legalized recreational marijuana use.  In reality, states have no authority to defy federal laws, and Democrats know it.

For many election cycles, political observers have pointed out that Democrats always put the legalization of pot on the ballot in order to boost voter turnout.  But what is different is that now the spotlight is on Sessions and the federal law that bans recreational marijuana use.

In the past twenty years, of the two political parties, only Democrats had the congressional power needed to decriminalize pot at the federal level.  One can argue that they are solely responsible for the fact that it is still a federal crime to possess marijuana.  But they have cleverly blamed the federal criminalization of marijuana use on Sessions and Trump.  It’s part of their perpetual strategy to increase President Trump’s negatives.

Marijuana-supporters should remember this: there would be no battle over the legalization of pot if Democrats didn’t enable one.  So the Democratic Party puts its own political power over the legalization of recreational marijuana.  Knowledge of this scam should turn marijuana-smokers against Democrats.

Pro-legalization voters are pawns in the national DNC strategy to increase voter turnout.  Their real strategy is to manipulate their voters with promises; the DNC chooses politics over pot.  The last thing they want to do is permanently legalize recreational marijuana use, at the federal level, in all fifty states. 

One of the reasons the Democrats lost the November 2016 election was low voter turnout.  As the 2018 midterms approach, Democrats have politicized the recreational marijuana issue as a means of increasing voter turnout, knowing that many in their voter base want the recreational use of marijuana to be legalized.  They put the recreational marijuana issue to a vote in the 2016 California election. 

The recreational marijuana use law in California went into effect on January 1, 2018 – just by coincidence, a midterm election year.  And just as the Democrats had hoped, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general of the United States, announced that he has reversed the Obama-era Holder-Lynch policy, called the Cole Memorandum, which generally stated that the federal government will not enforce parts of the Controlled Substances Act.  Sessions has asked U.S. attorneys to begin prosecution of recreational marijuana use.

Democrat hopes that Jeff Sessions would take the bait were realized.  They can use the public attention over the Sessions war on the legalization of marijuana in California as an issue to exploit in the fall to 1) bring out voters of all ages and 2) simultaneously portray Jeff Sessions and the Republican Party as the bad guys who are all against recreational marijuana use and should be voted out of office.

That this was a planned strategy can be seen by the media hype being given to anti-Sessions politicians in marijuana-friendly states.  For example, Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, has come out against the Sessions announcement, promising to fight Sessions.  This portrays the governor as someone with admirable qualities – ready to “resist,” in the language of the DNC, the efforts of stodgy, stiff, fun-hating conservatives to outlaw their access to marijuana.  And if the resistance to the Sessions mandate spills over and attaches to President Trump, all the better.  All of these Democrat politicians are merely actors in the politics of pot charade.

That this is part of a multi-year plan can be easily seen when Obama’s actions are reviewed.  President Obama’s memo to the U.S. attorneys was not a formal executive order, but a guideline not to enforce the federal ban on marijuana sales in all states.  (The president does not have any legal authority to pick and choose which federal laws will, and will not, be enforced, but he can prioritize.)

If the Democrats truly wanted to help pot-smokers they could have easily, in 2009 or 2010, when they controlled the entire Congress and had president Obama on their side, removed recreational marijuana from the list of controlled substances.  But they didn’t.  And why they didn’t should be a lesson in the politics of pot for those who support recreational marijuana use.

Barack Obama stated in his book Dreams from My Father that he tried marijuana in his younger years.  So pro-pot voters thought that in Obama, they had a true believer: someone who would be their representative in the White House, who would not fight the legalization of marijuana’s recreational use. 

But Obama turned out to be a closet opponent of the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana – he followed his party’s carefully designed strategy of not federally legalizing marijuana nationwide.  This left the state-by-state battles open, to be used by the DNC to mobilize pot-friendly voters in upcoming elections.  And Democrats think that if voters will turn out for state elections, they will not ignore the federal offices on the ballot.

Democrats have framed recreational marijuana legalization as a state issue – that when states vote to legalize recreational use, that legalization is sufficient.  But it’s not.  All states must obey federal controlled substances laws.  Democrats want to portray Sessions and Trump as the bad guys who are taking rights away from people who live in states that have pseudo-legalized recreational marijuana use.  In reality, states have no authority to defy federal laws, and Democrats know it.

For many election cycles, political observers have pointed out that Democrats always put the legalization of pot on the ballot in order to boost voter turnout.  But what is different is that now the spotlight is on Sessions and the federal law that bans recreational marijuana use.

In the past twenty years, of the two political parties, only Democrats had the congressional power needed to decriminalize pot at the federal level.  One can argue that they are solely responsible for the fact that it is still a federal crime to possess marijuana.  But they have cleverly blamed the federal criminalization of marijuana use on Sessions and Trump.  It’s part of their perpetual strategy to increase President Trump’s negatives.

Marijuana-supporters should remember this: there would be no battle over the legalization of pot if Democrats didn’t enable one.  So the Democratic Party puts its own political power over the legalization of recreational marijuana.  Knowledge of this scam should turn marijuana-smokers against Democrats.

Pro-legalization voters are pawns in the national DNC strategy to increase voter turnout.  Their real strategy is to manipulate their voters with promises; the DNC chooses politics over pot.  The last thing they want to do is permanently legalize recreational marijuana use, at the federal level, in all fifty states. 



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