The Nation’s Governors Respond to Trump’s Gaffes – “Here, Hold my Beer!”

President Trump has embarrassed himself many times by speaking off-the-cuff about the coronavirus.  His challenger, Vice President Biden, has embarrassed himself many times by not being able to complete a sentence when speaking about his COVID-19 plans (as well as just about everything else).

There must be something inherent in a crisis that exposes the abject stupidity of politicians and their complete obliviousness in enacting meaningful and effective policies to deal with crises like the coronavirus outbreak.  They are only capable of crafting extreme policies that amount to nothing more than political theater, which usually have adverse consequences that ultimately cause more problems than the crises these politicians are trying to address.  Not to mention the obvious fact these politicians are merely imitating one another – very few actually consider the implications of their policies and perform their own analysis.

It’s almost like several of the nation’s governors have looked at Trump’s gaffes and said, “Hold my beer!”

Michigan Governor Whitmer banned people from purchasing house paint and seeds for gardening at shops that were already open!  She banned landscape maintenance services from mowing residents’ lawns.  Individuals could not use motorboats, but boats without motors were permissible.  Of course, Whitmer had to protect her patronage of political hacks; those who supposedly “perform necessary government activities” were exempt from her draconian restrictions.

New Jersey Governor Murphy has seemed far more concerned with the economic impact COVID-19 would have on illegal aliens in his state, than on the economic devastation his policies are causing to the small businesses and jobs of New Jersey citizens and legal residents.

43 states enacted arbitrary, and ultimately ineffective, lockdown regulations.  There was no rhyme or reason behind many of these policies.  “Essential” workers and businesses were allowed to continue to operate, although the definition of “essential” was arbitrary and inconsistent between, and in some cases, within, states.  It was obvious governors were winging it by placating their fearful and panicked residents with empty and ineffective political theater, none of which were justified by any empirical evidence.  Unfortunately, their acts of political pandering did have genuine negative impacts on the health and economies of their residents.

Although Governor Whitmer has been cited as instituting the most stupid, arbitrary, and heavy-handed regulations, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has quickly established himself as the most tone-deaf, presumptuous, and incompetent governor in the nation.  Despite his almost-daily dog and pony show, Cuomo has excelled in instituting ineffective regulations, while at the same time feigning ignorance or ignoring actions that would have truly been effective at addressing coronavirus in the nation’s hardest hit state.

It’s probably not fair to point out the recommendations that New York purchase additional ventilators and supplies in 2015 went unheeded.  Yet Cuomo was not alone in ignoring these recommendations.  Governors in several other states overlooked their own need to restock critical supplies, as did the federal government.  Indeed, it would have been hard to justify those expenses to taxpayers without an obvious, immediate need.  Hindsight is 20/20 and we shouldn’t fault politicians for not having crystal balls.

We can even forgive Cuomo for his self-serving appearance at a location staged to look like a full warehouse early in the outbreak.

More recent actions, and inaction, have displayed that while Cuomo is busy preening on national television, he has failed to actually implement policies that would truly protect his residents from coronavirus.  Cuomo has proven himself to be tone-deaf and incompetent in not only recognizing the consequences of his actions, but also in protecting the most vulnerable residents in his state.

When residents began protesting against Cuomo’s policies, complaining they were first prohibited from performing their jobs and then hadn’t received their unemployment checks, Cuomo failed to empathize with fate his constituents who were quickly running out of money and unable to feed their families and pay their bills.  Instead, Cuomo’s contemptuous response was, “”You want to go to work?” Cuomo said. “Go take a job as an essential worker. Do it tomorrow.”

Never mind that these workers would NOT have been unemployed had it not been for Cuomo’s ill-advised policy to lockdown the state except for favored individuals and institutions he deemed “essential.”  And never mind that these workers, many of them small business owners, toiled for years to develop the unique skills to perform their real jobs.  It is not simple, nor is it lucrative, for these workers to quickly transform themselves into “essential” workers.

These people HAD jobs, and Cuomo’s directives took those jobs away.  Cuomo could have displayed just a little bit of empathy and consideration for the individuals harmed by his own policies.

More seriously, while Cuomo was engaging in the political theater of ineffective, one-size-fits-all lockdowns, he was ignoring the needs and the plight of New York’s most vulnerable residents.

It was obvious, even before COVID-19 established a toehold in the United States, that coronavirus was particularly dangerous to the elderly and people with certain existing health issues.  This reality was driven home when the first substantial U.S. outbreak, in Washington state, impacted a nursing home. 

In spite of these known factors, New York established a policy which REQUIRED nursing homes to admit patients who have tested positive for coronavirus.  New York failed to appreciate, or purposely ignored, the danger of introducing a contagious individual in a closed environment filled with aged and vulnerable people.  Instead of establish segregated facilities for individuals infected with coronavirus, New York’s policies REQUIRED nursing home operators to accept individuals who posed a real and direct threat to their elderly residents. 

When a formerly compliant media finally asked Cuomo about the policy, the governor feigned ignorance, “That’s a good question. I don’t know.”

Wouldn’t one think, when most states are seeing 40% + of their coronavirus fatalities occurring in nursing homes and senior assisted living communities, the governor would be on top of this situation and rescind such a dangerous directive?  Instead of focusing on a statewide lockdown, the governor would have saved more lives had he been more attentive to the situation in adult living facilities, where many of the vulnerable citizens lived.  Instead, the governor appeared to be totally ignorant of the situation.

To add insult to injury, when nursing home operators appealed to Cuomo to help them obtain needed personal protective equipment (PPE), Cuomo callously responded, “it’s not our job!”

A reasonable person would think, if government was to get involved in a crisis of this magnitude, it would do all it could to help out facilities caring for the most vulnerable people.  You would think the state government would NOT issue regulations that put more people at risk.  Considering that well over 3600 New Yorkers who perished from coronavirus lived in nursing homes and adult care facilities (and this number is probably dramatically understated), a reasonable person would expect government to pay particular attention to these institutions when crafting a coronavirus mitigation strategy.

It appears that Governor Cuomo is not such a reasonable person.  He had been happy to preen in front of the television cameras.  He has been an enthusiastic spokesman for stay at home orders that are ineffective for most of the population, and economically devastating for all.  But when it comes to protecting those known to be most vulnerable to coronavirus, Cuomo has feigned ignorance and displayed dismissive callousness.

Much has been said about Trump’s half-baked ideas and comments that appear to endorse unproven treatments of coronavirus.  Whereas Trump’s ill-advised comments may have resulted in a handful of deaths by truly stupid people, Cuomo’s callousness and inattention has contributed to the deaths of thousands.

It should be apparent that government is usually ill-equipped to provide effective leadership during most crises.  During the coronavirus outbreak, most politicians have been far more interested in avoiding blame and preening for the cameras, rather than truly addressing the needs of those most likely to be adversely impacted by COVID-19. 

Was Julian Castro correct that We Should be “Pissed?”

During the June 27, 2019 Democratic presidential debate, candidate Julian Castro stated, “We saw that image today that broke our hearts,” referring to photos of  Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter drowned after crossing the Rio Grande River to illegally enter the United States.

Both Castro and the debate moderator, José Diaz-Balart, stated that Martinez Ramirez and his family were seeking asylum in the United States because of the economic hardships the endured in El Salvador.  Expanding on his reaction to the drowning, Castro stated, “It should also piss us all off.”

Castro was right, it should piss us off!  But not for the reason he alleges.  In fact, Castro, Diaz-Balart and their ideological allies have propagated this myth that anyone wanting to enter the United States is eligible for asylum.  This myth has provided false hope to many individuals seeking to bypass the legal immigration process.  They have been led to believe that asylum is possible if they are economically destitute in their home countries, or if they live in dangerous areas. 

In fact, none of this is true.

Asylum is not offered by the United States for people suffering economic deprivation, nor is it available for people who reside in violent or dangerous places.  Asylum is only legally available to people “because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” 

If a person is unable to prove that he or she is actively being persecuted by a governmental or de-facto governmental policy directed specifically at specific races, religions, nationalities, social groups, or political opinions, that person is not eligible for asylum in the United States.  Even if a person is a victim of persecution due to their membership in the listed groups, people are not eligible for United States asylum if there are areas in their own nations where that persecution does not exist or if they pass through another country in which that persecution does not occur.  In fact, if a person makes a frivolous claim for asylum, that person may be permanently prohibited from any kind of immigration to the United States in the future.

It is true that the “catch and release” policy of asylum seekers used under previous presidential administrations facilitated illegal immigration.  Those seeking to bypass United States immigration law knew that the asylum claims system was overwhelmed.  If people claimed asylum after arriving on United States soil, they were usually given a future court date and were permitted to remain in the United States.  It is no surprise that an overwhelming majority of those who claimed asylum never appeared for their court dates.  Instead, they remained in the United States as illegal immigrants.

Recognizing that well over 90% of requests for asylum are denied by our courts and that the vast majority of those claiming asylum never returned for their court dates, the Trump administration ended the “catch and release” policy.  Instead, applicants for asylum were either incarcerated while waiting for their court dates or were refused entry until the courts would be able to hear their cases.  Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez chose not to wait in accordance with United States policy, and instead took the dangerous path of fording the Rio Grande River with his family to enter the United States illegally.  From all appearances, Martinez Ramirez was not legally eligible for asylum anyway.  He was attempting to enter the United States solely for economic reasons.

It is obvious that there are many politicians, particularly in the Democratic party, who are encouraging people to immigrate illegally and to improperly claim asylum.  Julian Castro and José Diaz-Balart exemplified this during the June 27, 2019 debate.  This tactic undermines United States immigration law, overwhelms our immigration enforcement resources, and puts potential immigrants at risk.  One can not know if these politicians are signaling false hopes for asylum in order to pander to certain electoral constituencies, intentionally undermine immigration law, or out of sheer ignorance.  But their actions in holding out false hope puts more potential immigrants at risk than any of Trump’s policies.

Most of the Democratic presidential candidates served in Congress.  They know (or should know) that President Trump did not create immigration law.  Immigration law emanated from Congress – the president just enforces the laws passed by Congress.  Each of these candidates had the opportunity to propose new immigration laws.  None of them did.  Instead, they advertise false hope to potential immigrants in order to sabotage Trump’s presidency.  This is an abdication of their own responsibilities and a reckless policy that puts lives at risk.  I fear the Democrats don’t recognize the consequences of their actions and are only concerned with the political advantages they may provide.

Should we have completely open borders?  Some make strong cases that we should.  But the United States (or any other nation) can’t have unconstrained immigration and generous and universal social welfare programs.  If we wish to retain the current level of welfare programs, we must carefully vet potential immigrants to ensure they won’t become burdens on the public welfare system.  If we instead decide to open our borders completely, we must recognize that our current social welfare programs will be quickly overwhelmed by freeloading immigrants who will put significant pressure on the public treasury.

Regardless of the type of immigration laws we desire, it is not within the authority of the president to create such laws.  Immigration laws may only be created and passed by Congress.  If any presidential candidates who once served in Congress claim they will change immigration law as president, they are lying!  They had their opportunity to do so while in Congress.  If they failed to reform immigration law when serving in the body responsible for creating such laws, what makes one think they will successfully change the law while serving in a position that does not have the authority to create laws?

Julian Castro is right when he says we should be pissed about immigrants dying as they try to reach our shores.  We should be pissed that there are pandering politicians who make people believe they can receive asylum even though they are not legally eligible to do so.  We should be pissed at politicians who seek to undermine the laws they are responsible for creating just because they with to pander to certain groups in order to secure a political advantage.  We should be pissed at politicians who use desperate and uninformed people as pawns in their attempts to secure political points.  Yes, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez was ultimately responsible for the poor decision that cost him and his daughter their lives.  But they were encouraged to make that decision by politicians who falsely and cynically held out hope for asylum to Martinez Ramirez.

It is those politicians who should be targets of our ire!

The Tantrum of the Snowflakes

snowflakes

 

It had to come to this.

Members of the “everybody gets a trophy” generation have taken to the streets to “protest” the election results, and in some cases, to riot.  It’s a shame that no one ever taught them that taking meaningless action to express dissatisfaction with a free election is not protest, it’s a temper tantrum.  If these people are really dissatisfied with the direction they feel the government is moving, they should craft a compelling argument for their positions.  Glorified loitering and inconveniencing others is hardly a compelling “statement.” 

But, before they attempt to craft an opposing argument, they should put some of their wounded feelings aside and try to employ reason.  The left has been spoiled for generations.  When the Democrats controlled government, they had the ability to use the coercive power of government to pander to any of their perceived needs.  It didn’t matter what those needs were, whether the programs to address those needs were effective or right, or even whether the consequences of the government programs they desired were counterproductive.  It just mattered that government did something, and that someone else paid for it or bore the consequences.

Typically, when Republicans took control of the apparatus of government, they employed restraint.  Traditional Republicans usually believed in limited governmental power and in allowing each person to exercise their own individual liberty.  In a worst case scenario for today’s fragile, precious snowflakes, the Republicans merely rolled back some of the more egregious abuses of governmental power and temporarily reduced the programs of the social-engineering elite.

Now, the left is confronted, for the first time in over a century, with a Republican president who supports a very activist, involved government, and not a limited government.  And this phenomenon was created and supported by the left, as they incrementally expanded the powers of the centralized federal government and decreased the power of the states and the liberty of individuals.  Finally, they are confronted with the prospect of seeing an intrusive, all-powerful government conceivably being used by the opposition to impose a different set of coercive policies on the population.  Forgive me if I have little sympathy for those who are comfortable allowing the government to impose its will on the population when one group is in power, but uncomfortable with having a different group impose its will when it secures power.  Did the left really think that governmental tyranny would only exist while they held the reigns of power?

These “protestors” come from a generation with a limited, insulated worldview.  They were raised by “helicopter parents” who shielded them from any personal responsibility and protected them from any of life’s unpleasantness.  For many, this is the first time they didn’t get what they thought they wanted; the first time somebody actually said, “NO!” to them.  Their sense of moral superiority has been honed to the point that they can’t even conceive of any different viewpoints, and the only way to handle opposition is to demonize and try to dehumanize those with contrary opinions.  When they seek out others, they surround themselves with like-minded sycophants and only follow media that reaffirms their previously held views.  Individual liberty is an afterthought, if it is considered at all.  Many of the young seek out the homogeny of self-affirmation, rather than the challenge of considering, and responding to, different life experiences and viewpoints.  They herald diversity as an ideal, but fail to actually practice it.

It never occurred to these precious snowflakes that a large, intrusive central government might actually be used against them and advance an agenda contrary to their preferences.  Their sense of moral infallibility blinds them from realizing that there is an inherent contradiction in supporting an all-encompassing, intrusive government in some areas, while opposing it in others.  They don’t recognize that restoring a small, constrained government is preferable to a large, dictatorial, activist government, because their moral worldview can’t process the fact that some people want to live their own lives, make their own decisions, and bear their own consequences free of the whims of elites.  They have failed to realize that when a person or entity is granted unlimited powers, they won’t hesitate to use those powers in any way they see fit.

Donald Trump may very well be a bad president.  Contrary to a century of Republican practice, he has advocated for a very proactive government.  If he follows through on his promises, he won’t wield power much differently than previous Democratic administrations.  The policies may differ a bit, but the methodology he proposes comes straight out of the “progressive” playbook.  Those who protest against the election of Trump, because they fear he might actually implement certain policies, must recognize that the entire system of government must change.  A large, monolithic government that micromanages people’s lives and property must give way to the government our Founders conceived – small, responsive, and dedicated to preserving, and not infringing upon, personal and economic choice and liberty. 

Just replacing one dictator with another won’t do.
  There will always come a time when a dictator will do something that certain people won’t like.  Right now, the young protesters are experiencing this reality.  If they want to be effective in changing things, the young protesters must look beyond their narrow worldview and address a structure that allows potential despots of any persuasion to wield power.

Or, we can just give them all trophies so they go back home.