1. Nah, that’s not a misleading title! An op-ed in the Times yesterday had the alarming header, “Trump’s New Target: Citizenship.” In fact, the piece was about the movement to end automatic U.S. citizenship for those born here of illegal immigrant parents, and the Trump administration policy of seeking to “denaturalize” foreign-born citizens who achieved citizenship status by withholding disclosure of previous crimes.
As with many aspects of the bizarre national immigration debate, support for continuing the first principle is hard to justify. It is a remnant of a time when there were no restrictions on U.S. immigration, so the birthright rule made sense. Now, when illegal immigration is a serious concern, the same principle creates a perverse incentive to break the law, and makes immigration law enforcement complicated and difficult. The second issue is more debatable. The New York Times has another “good immigrant” story, this time one that seeks sympathy for Norma Borgoño, a Peruvian immigrant who took the oath of citizenship in 2007. The Justice Department has moved to revoke Borgoño’s citizenship, claiming that she committed fraud when she applied for it. She apparentlyfailed to disclose that she had taken part in a serious crime several years before her application, then four years later, in 2011, pleaded guilty when she was charged for helping her employer defraud the Export-Import Bank of the United States of $24 million.
Writes the Times, “Since President Trump took office, the number of denaturalization cases has been growing, part of a campaign of aggressive immigration enforcement that now promises to include even the most protected class of legal immigrants: naturalized citizens.” That is a deceitful sentence, full of spin, as is the entire story. For “aggressive immigration enforcement” read “enforcement.” The U.S. has every right, and in fact a duty, to assess what kind of people it wants to allow to become citizens, and criminals need not apply—after all, we have enough of them already. The Times finds it significant that Borgoño hasn’t been charged with her crime when she applied for citizenship, but she was still a criminal, and the crime wasn’t stealing a loaf of bread, either. It also spins that her aiding a massive theft was “to no benefit of her own.” Oh! Then that’s OK, then! Presumably there was the benefit of keeping her job with her boss the felon, at very least.
The Trump administration isn’t “targeting citizenship,” but rather naturalized citizenship that was improperly granted, based on false representations.
2. The irresponsible neglect of the national infrastructure continues. I could write about this every day, and maybe I should. A microcosm of the national crisis is illustrated in the recent news that the New York City subway system is still falling apart, and even after the city spent about $333 million on emergency repairs its condition has barely improved. Waiting until transit systems, bridges, roads, railroad track, waterways, sewer and water pipes, airports, the power grid and the rest of the structures that support civilization start crumbling, stifling commerce and killing people is an idiotic and suicidal approach to a basic function of government, but that has been our national policy since the 1960s. President Trump has claimed that addressing this was a priority, and maybe it will be, but recent history suggests that nothing will be done of substance until there is a lot of sickness, death, and destruction.
3. Pink Floyd would approve... Addison Barnes, a student at Liberty High School (How ironic!) in the Hillsboro School District in Oregon was just awarded $25,000 in damages and legal fees from the school, and principal Greg Timmons was ordered by a judge to write an apology to the 18-year old senior for suspending him when the student wore a t-shirt sporting the message, “Donald J. Trump Border Wall Construction Co.”
School officials initially justified the censorship by arguing that the shirt would contribute to a “hostile learning environment,” since 33% of the school population is Hispanic-American. However, the school had permitted other students to wear political messages, including those promoting illegal immigration. Barnes sued the school in May for violating his First Amendment rights, and won.
Of course he was right. School indoctrination presents a real dilemma. To some extent we want students to be “indoctrinated” into core cultural and ethical values. The problem is determining when such cultural education crosses the blurry line into political indoctrination.
One simple fix that would avoid the Oregon problem: ban all political, religious, philosophical and commercial messages on student clothing. Students are in school to learn, not to advertise.
4. This was stupid and unethical, but Planet Fitness asked for it. Creepy Eric Stagno says he was just enjoying Planet Fitness’s “Judgment Free Zone” culture when he started exercising naked at the club. How unfair of the company to have him arrested for indecent exposure, lewdness and disorderly conduct!
5. Hanlon’s Razor? I sure hope so…At the controversial Trump-Putin press conference in Helinski, Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asked “President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?” Putin answered, “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.” The official White House transcript of the press conference, however, omits that exchange, and the White House videotape does as well.
This just can’t be an effort to airbrush history and the news, can it? If it is, it’s beyond stupid: the transcript and video without the redaction are available everywhere, including YouTube. Whether this was intentional or not, it is so incompetent it makes my teeth hurt. If this was a goof, it is the kind of mistake a White House already justly under fire for lack of transparency and credibility cannot afford to make, and if it was deliberate, that suggests stupidity on a cosmic level seldom seen in this galaxy.
UPDATE: There is actually an innocent explanation for this, which I explain HERE...
6. Finally, this happy note: Jason Spencer, that Republican state representative from Georgia who was tricked into pulling down his pants and screaming “Nigger!” on camera, has agreed to resign from the Georgia legislature at the end of the month.