1. A record high of 75 percent of Americans now say immigration is a “good thing” for the country.
2. America needs more immigrants, not fewer, because our population is rapidly aging.
5. Trump’s claim that undocumented immigrants generate more crime is dead wrong. Both legal and undocumented immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States.
6. Violent crime rates in America are actually at historical lows, with the homicide rate back to its level from the early 1960s.
7. Illegal border crossings have been declining since 2014 – long before Trump’s “crackdown.” There is no “surge” in illegal immigration.
The True Test of Patriotism. Robert Reich, Point by Point:
On this coming Fourth of July, it’s worth pondering the true meaning of American patriotism – as opposed to the malignant, distorted view of it propounded by Donald J. Trump.
The poems of Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes, and the songs of Woody Guthrie, expressed loving devotion to America while turning that love into a demand for justice.
“This land is your land, this land is my land” sang Guthrie. “Let America be America again,” pleaded Hughes: “The land that never has been yet–/And yet must be – the land where everyone is free./The land that’s mine – the poor man’s, Indian’s Negro’s, ME –.”
Trump’s patriotism centers on symbolic displays of loyalty like standing for the national anthem and waving the American flag. But such displays haven’t been at the center of American patriotism, either. Historically, American patriotism has meant taking a fair share of the burdens of keeping the nation going.
- This includes volunteering time and energy to improving the community and country. It has meant paying taxes in full rather than lobbying for lower taxes, seeking tax loopholes, or squirreling away money abroad.
- It also means refraining from making political contributions that corrupt our politics, and blowing the whistle on abuses of power even at the risk of losing one’s job.
- Real patriotism involves strengthening our democracy – defending the right to vote and ensuring more Americans are heard, not claiming without evidence that millions of voted fraudulently and pushing for laws that make it harder for blacks and Latinos to vote.
- True patriots don’t inundate government with industry lobbyists, attack the freedom of the press, criticize judges who disagree with them, or fill the airwaves with lies. They don’t direct employers to fire employees who exercise their freedom of speech.
- True patriots don’t court foreign dictators, and don’t excuse tyranny by denigrating America.
- When asked whether Vladimir Putin is a killer, Trump responded “you think our country’s so innocent?” When asked about Turkish strongman Erdogan’s disdain for civil liberties, Trump said “when the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”
- True patriots don’t fuel racist, religious or ethnic divisions. They aren’t homophobic or sexist. To the contrary, true patriots seek to confirm and strengthen and celebrate the “we” in “we the people of the United States.”
Losing Our National Identity?
Trump is the first United States president to use the term “we” to refer only to his supporters. “My supporters are the smartest, strongest, most hard working and most loyal that we have seen in our countries history,” he tweeted recently. “As we get stronger, so does our country.”
A majority of today’s Americans do worry that the nation is losing its national identity. But that identity has never been centered on our support for a particular president or his policies.
Nor, more fundamentally, has our identity depended on the whiteness of our skin or the uniformity of our ethnicity. Our national identity has been our shared ideals.
If we are losing our national identity it is because we are losing those ideals:
- a commitment to the rule of law,
- to our democratic institutions, to truth,
- to tolerance of our differences, to equal political rights and equal opportunity,
- to participating in our civic life and making necessary sacrifices for these ideals we hold in common.
We must share these ideals if we are to have a functioning society. Without them, there is no America. Trump is doing everything he can to destroy these ideals. We must do everything we can to strengthen them.
This is the true test of our patriotism.
Pruitt is the symptom. Trump is the disease — Willie Brown
A racist, pervert and homophobe walk into a bar. The bartender asks “what would you like Mr Trump?” — Unknown Source
June 15, 2018 — Robert Reich has spot-on advice for the media: To the Press, after 18 Months of Trump.
I especially like item #5:
5. Focus on what he’s really doing, and put the day’s stories into this larger context. He’s (1) undermining democratic institutions, (2) using his office for personal gain, (3) sowing division and hate, (4) cozying up to dictators while antagonizing our democratic allies around the world, (5) violating the rule of law, and (6) enriching America’s wealthy while harming the middle class and the poor. He may also be (7) colluding with Putin.
What all this tells us is that the problem facing America runs much deeper than Trump’s personal awfulness. One of our two major parties appears to be hopelessly, irredeemably corrupt. And unless that party not only loses this year’s election but begins losing on a regular basis, America as we know it is finished.
What more can be said. When are we going to hold congress and the NRA accountable. By tolerating congressional inaction and NRA action we are effectively committing murder.
Robert Reich, in a recent post, lays bare the facts behind high US drug costs and Trump’s anemic drug plan.
…when Americans buy drugs in the United States, they really buy a package of advertising, marketing, and political influence-peddling.
As I reflect upon the state of American democracy I observe a growing crisis in ethics and integrity.
If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.
Tillerson said it’s the responsibility of all Americans to recognize “what truth is and is not,” and “what a fact is and is not.” Citizens must also demand the country’s future be “fact-based, not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises, but with a clear-eyed view of the facts as they are and guided by the truth that will set us free to seek solutions to our most daunting challenges,”
Ending on a dark note, he said that departing from the truth could mean “American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years.”
Paul Krugman, one of the smartest people on the planet when in comes to international trade, just posted his thoughts about Trump and trade wars, The art of the Flail. It is worth a read. Below are some exerts just to get your attention:
So is a trade war coming? Nobody knows — even, or perhaps especially, Trump himself. For while trade is one of Trump’s two signature issues — animus toward dark-skinned people being the other — when it comes to making actual demands on other countries, the tweeter in chief and his aides either don’t know what they want or they want things that our trading partners can’t deliver. Not won’t — can’t.
…Let’s talk in particular about the will-he-or-won’t-he confrontation with China.
In some ways, China really is a bad actor in the global economy. In particular, it has pretty much thumbed its nose at international rules on intellectual property rights, grabbing foreign technology without proper payment. And to be fair, Trump officials do sometimes raise the intellectual property issue as a justification for getting tough.
But if getting China to pay what it owes for technology were the goal, you’d expect the U.S. both to make specific demands on that front and to adopt a strategy aimed at inducing China to meet those demands.
In fact, the U.S. has given little indication of what China should do about intellectual property. Meanwhile, if getting better protection of patent rights and so on were the goal, America should be trying to build a coalition with other advanced countries to pressure the Chinese; instead, we’ve been alienating everyone in sight.
Fred Guttenberg — a father and statesman. A PBS interview, March 22, 2018. Parkland victim’s father: We will get gun reform in the U.S.
Listen to the video – it is inspiring. Below are transcript exerts:
As you know so well, Fred Guttenberg, what the gun lobby is saying, however, is that this is all about young people with an emotional or a mental — an emotional disturbance or a mental illness, and it’s about school safety, about making sure that schools are secure if someone shows up with a gun.
How do you answer that?
Well, I tell them, you know what? That’s all correct. Mental illness is part of it. Making sure schools are safe is part of it.
However, the common denominator in every tragedy is the gun. And, unfortunately, for the gun lobby, I think their influence has been, unfortunately, larger on our elected officials than it should have been over the years, and their influence is waning.
Their money is going away. OK? Public opinion has turned against them. I can speak to you and tell you, I have received — for every message I have gotten from someone in the gun lobby who maybe complains about what I’m doing, I have also gotten one or two messages from someone in the gun lobby who says, you know what? You’re right.
The issue isn’t the membership. It’s the leadership. And even the members of the NRA are saying, our leadership has failed us. They’re out of touch.
They’re sending me pictures of their cut-up NRA cards. OK?
So, when you ask me, do I think the gun lobby or whoever else says it’s about school safety, it’s about security and mental health, they’re right. I’m not going to tell them that’s not part of it, but guns are part of it, too.
You are a private citizen, Mr. Guttenberg, and yet I have seen you stand up and be forceful in talking to a United States senator, Marco Rubio from your state of Florida. I have seen you be forceful in the interviews, many interviews you have done.
Where is that courage coming from?
Well, my daughter.
My daughter was 14, but she was tough and, honestly, the toughest person who I knew. And, unfortunately, the way she died was running down a hallway with a gun at her back, and she was running for her life.
And I — every second, I think about the fear in her as she was doing it, and I also know how hard she was fighting to live. Honestly, because of what she went through, it’s perspective, but I don’t feel fear about anything anymore, because nothing could ever be like what she experienced.
And until I do something, so that no other parent will ever have to go through what my daughter went through and what my family is going through, I just have this need to fight like this.
This has gone on too many times. And ,in the past, whenever these tragedies have happened, I have found the conversation afterwards to always be way too polite, way too comfortable and way too temporary. I don’t feel like being polite. I don’t feel like making people comfortable. And I don’t feel like going away until something gets done.
And that comes from my daughter. She would expect me to do this.