Sunday, July 15, 2018

Putin-Trump Negotiation Fraught with Possibilities

It was November 1998. I was breakfasting alone in the dining room of Hotel Obryskya in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

Unexpectedly, I encountered two American couples. One was from St. Louis, the other from Denver. Both couples looked to be in their early forties. There were there for adoptions.

Krasnoyarsk is a large city, five time zones east of Moscow. It's appearance is reminiscent of Pittsburgh. Up until 1996, it had been closed to the west.

Twenty years ago, American adoptions of Russia's orphaned children was quite common. Both couples admitted that they were excited, yet apprehensive.

"You have to understand what they're saying." The Denver woman explained. "That Americans are here for adoptions, so that they can sell the babies' organs in America."

I was taken aback!

"Who, would say that?" I asked, shocked by this revelation.

"Oh, they are old Soviet social workers you find at these orphanages." The man from St. Louis quipped.

"They must think that we're monsters." The St. Louis woman added.

"We would never do such a thing." I responded angrily, remembering the angry looks that I had witnessed from Aeroflot attendants still sporting the outdated "hammer and sickle" insignia of the former Soviet Union. "Why would they even suggest such barbarism?"

"It's apparently ingrained in them." The Denver man concluded.

Six months later, my then fiance shared, "they were always collecting our unwanted toys, to give to the poor children in the United States."

We now know that both claims were fictitious. Americans don't adopt Russian babies for the purpose of selling their organs. And, American children are not the recipients of worn out toys from Russian children.

Pravda said otherwise. It represented the pinnacle of Cold War propaganda. In Donald Trump's words, this was "fake news."

Vladimir Putin concurs. He may be the most learned leader in the world on this subject. He has been quick to recognize the same forces at work in America.

To hear Putin's critics, you would assume and probably conclude that Putin is a strong advocate of media censorship. His apologists counter in insisting that he "only takes issue with fake news."

Both Russian and American media have some answering to do! There must be some semblance of factual representation by all media outlets concerned. It's critical, not to mention responsible! There is an opportunity at our wake. We cannot cloud it with petty partisan slants and certainly not with "made up" news!

This quickly arranged summit in Helsinki, has the look of the impromptu. Nobody knows what to expect. The Trump Administration thinks they know, at least part of what Putin expects to get out of it. What does America want? Well...

Media Establishment types and political hacks proclaim that if the new "Start" treaty is extended by five years, the summit will be considered a "success." Our President has more lofty aspirations.

Democrats insist that Russian election meddling should be the forefront of any discussion. It looks doubtful that President Trump will allow this issue to impede his agenda. He knows what Russia wants. He knows that Putin expects to give something in return. Election meddling is a concern. But, the topic potentially could change the tone of the negotiation.

So, what does Russia want?

Crimea. The Eastern Ukraine coal fields. Lifting of sanctions. Normalized trade relations, to be welcomed back to what would again be the "G-8." Not to mention extension of the "Start" treaty. Plus, some cooperation on the war against I.S.I.S..And, hopefully, no missiles in former "Warsaw Pact," Baltic, and Balkan countries.

Do they expect to get these concessions?


How flexible is Donald Trump?

The U.S.President is neither conservative or liberal, but pragmatist, as many conclude. Donald Trump knows that the Russians cannot and will not relinquish their hold on the Crimean peninsula. If it means going to war, they'll do it. At this stage, it's more practical to blame Barack Obama for the current predicament while asking for something in return.

Putin expects this. He would be shocked if Trump didn't drive a hard bargain. He knows that nuclear proliferation isn't a bargaining chip. Both nations equally view it's importance. Neither is Syria. True, it would be a minor concession if Russia asked Iran to exit the country. But will they?

Trump knows that, "Recognition of Crimean annexation, lifting of sanctions and return to the G-8" would be an expensive "home run," albeit an expensive one for Putin. How expensive?

There are several movable parts to the equation. Beginning with Eastern Ukraine. Putin expects the Americans to demand immediate cessation of hostilities there. Not to mention withdrawing all Russian military advisers from the region.

Where Crimea is 95% Russian, Eastern Ukraine is 30% Russian. Which translates to a sizable minority, but a minority nevertheless!
This is a major coal producing region. Leaving it to the Ukrainians would be huge! It would make them less dependent on Russia for their energy needs.

Then there is Georgia!

Today Abkhazia and South Ossetia are found in the Russian orbit. In the case of the latter, ethnic Georgians were expunged from the region. Russia later established military bases in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russia has contended that they made the move to "protect their oil pipeline."

Georgia sees their admittance to N.A.T.O. as their long term salvation.

Is Georgia a bargaining chip for Putin? Possibly. Georgia sources on the ground say that the traditional ties between Russia and Georgia go back to Georgian fear of the Turks. While Georgians like Americans and embrace the American culture, there will always be the question of proximity.

Nowhere to be found in the Russian-American discussion is the role that Christianity may play. Georgia is one of the oldest Christian counties in the world. It is one of the "cradles" of Christianity. Unlike the Soviet Union, which was officially Atheist, Russia is experiencing a Christian revival like no place in the world.

The Russian population in Georgia was 25% in 1959. Today, it is slightly less than 5% of approximately 5.3 million people. Putin knows that as long as there is an Islamic Turkey next door to Georgia, there will always be a need for some sort of relationship between the two countries.

Returning Abkhazia and South Ossetia to Georgian control would be viewed as a concession, but a doable concession; considering what the Russians would be getting. The same would hold true with Eastern Ukraine.

Could Trump get more? Probably, if not definitely!

A non-aggression treaty with the former Warsaw Pact, Baltic and Balkan countries would be on the table. Not that these countries would see it as a end all solution! There is zero trust and much justified fear within the psyches of these Europeans.

From Russians point of view, the populations of these Eastern European countries, coupled with Ukraine's population exceeds their own! Stalin's atrocities remain in their collective. The thought of hostile countries, to their West and South, armed to the teeth, brings chills to spines of Russian military leadership.

Russia could provide some help with North Korea.The Americans and Russians could easily come together in support of a nuclear free Korean Peninsula. Both relish he idea of a nuclear free Korean pennisula.

Anything else?

How about "free elections in Cuba;" under the auspices and scrutiny of America and Russia jointly. Putin would see this as nothing short of "exchanging Cuba for Crimea," yet not a total loss. We must remember that the Castro regime and it's aftermath was naught but a tattered remnant of the Old Soviet empire. Putin is interested in restoring Russia to it's original glory! But, not necessarily it's original Soviet glory...

Trump might kill "two birds with one stone," by instigating a "low cost Pork, Corn and Soy Bean deal," similar to the 1980 "wheat deal," or the 1989 "Bush's legs" overture. A bargain price on these commodities would be felt by the Russian people. And, it would partially make up for the losses incurred by Midwestern farmers in the trade dispute with China.

Last, but not least, Trump could demand that Russia allow American automakers to sell their cars, "duty free" in Russia. I recall my wife's cousin's husband paying almost $10,000 for a used Nissan in 2004. The same SUV could have been purchased for half of that amount in the U.S..

While it might not help Russian domestic production, duty free Chevrolet, Chrysler and Ford products would be immensely popular with the Russian people.

In truth, the Russian people are struggling. Low cost cars and commodities would ease the pain!

Let's not forget the space race!

A planned Russian-American voyage to Mars would capture the hearts of both nations. Considering the collective scientific knowledge, it's practical.

Is so much possible? Probably not! But what if it were?

Russia has it's eye on the Arctic and justifiably so. These top of the world lands contain oil, natural gas and precious metals including gold, in breathtaking abundance. Russians know that they control at least half of the Arctic. Normalized relations with the West would free up resources to take advantage of this remarkably potent treasure house.

Donald Trump's challenge will come from Democrats and members of his own party, including Neo-Con Senators, Lindsey Graham and John McCain who will be unable to see past Crimea. In their eyes, a war would be preferable!

It reminds me of a somewhat wry proclamation made by a Russian friend: "We simply need to buy another 20 years; so that certain people on both sides will have time to die."

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Understanding Russia/ Putin.

"A riddle wrapped inside of an enigma?"

So was Winston Churchill's assessment of the vast land known as Russia.

Americans tend to base their overall Russia positions on tradition, opinions from narrow political leaders and media bias. Delving deeper, they are greeted with surprises.

Russians look like Americans, for the most part. More so than most Europeans. The reason? Like the U.S., there has been much intermarriage between Europeans. There are scores of European peoples indigenous to European Russia.

The Mongol occupation lasted from 1200 to 1450 A.D. Naturally there was intermarriage. Centuries later, there was intermarriage with Tatars, who were akin to Middle Eastern peoples.

When Europeans were settling the North American continent, common practice saw European men marry Native American women. Later, European men married Mestizos. Texas was originally explored by men from Tennessee and Kentucky. They would invariably take Mexican wives. Most Mexicans living in Texas then and now were a mix of Spanish and Native American.

It's human nature to assume that foreigners so strongly resembling Americans, think like Americans. Here the resemblance ends.

Russians did not grow up with Aesop's Fables or Canterbury Tales. Nor, did they experiment with Democracy as the West did. Their Bible was never translated into Latin. Whereas Western Bibles were translated from Greek to Latin, the Orthodox Bible went from Greek to Old Slavic.

In short, Russia is not Western Civilization.

Russia's history has been a long, continuing saga of being invaded. Mongols from the East. Vikings from the West. Later, British and Turks from the South, Poles and Swedes from the West. Still later, the Napoleon lead French and finally Hitler and the NAZIS.

Most Americans are at least vaguely familiar with the Bolshevik Revolution. Few know about the first revolution, the one of velvet variety that immediately followed the Czar's abdication. Almost nobody is aware of the fact that the Bolshevik Revolution that replaced it, was largely financed by Western interests, including New York banking interests.

It's understandable why Russians aren't trusting! Theirs is a legacy of being invaded by countries who had previously sought alliances and signed treaties. One point of view that still holds is that America meddled in their revolution. Which is also understandable! In reality, America didn't; but Americans definitely did!

Vladimir Putin is easier to fathom. He comes from a "security" background. In fact, his ancestor was a member of Ivan the Terrible's "Oprichniki," the original secret police. This was 1569. Czar Ivan organized this small, but lethal private army to deal specifically with the Boyars and rebellious city, Novgorad.

In 1989, Perestroika(restructuring) found Putin in Dresden, East Germany . I later witnessed his appointment to Prime Minister by then President Boris Yeltsin, August 1999 while in Moscow. I recall my wife's surprise, questioning "why" President Yeltsin had chosen a "KGB guy."

There were discussions with several Russian friends about the appointment. Yevgeny Primakov's firing the previous May had taken many, both inside and outside of Russia, by surprise. Insight into Yeltsin's action came in reading the third chronicle of his autobiography, "Midnight Diaries." As he phrased, "Primakov's palate was simply too red."

Putin was a member of the Communist Party up until the Soviet Union dissolved. So was everyone else. Today, it's a consensus that Putin is not a Communist. In fact, his Presidential election opponent in 2000 was Gennady Zyuganov, the Communist Party representative.

To Americans, Putin's actions have often been questionable, if not despicable. From jailing and murdering Journalists to invading Crimea. It's a foregone conclusion, at least by Democrats, that Russia meddled in the 2016 American presidential election.

Putin insists that the Russians didn't meddle in the 2016 election. But what if they did! It's not that America has been "squeaky clean" regarding attempts to influence foreign elections!

Putin holds most Journalists in contempt. Not that he promotes sedition! Read the Moscow Times, the English language newspaper published in Moscow. It's spares no punches!

It should also be noted that Russia is arguably the "most homo-phobic non-Arab country in the world." There, homosexual men are referred to as "blue boys." It's understandable that gay media members see closer ties with Russia as potentially synonymous with a "return to the closet." Russians are well aware of strong American sentiment for a "sanctity of marriage amendment" to the U.S. constitution.

President Putin recently acknowledged his understanding of Donald Trump's battles with the "fake news" that has mushroomed since inauguration. In Putin's eyes, many of these Journalists represent Communists or, to use the label most recently applied by surprise, New York Congressional primary winner, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,"Democratic Socialists."

Putin's security background has ingrained within him, the danger signs. He knows that the dreaded enemy; those who want to return to the old way, is always lurking.

Putin is painfully aware that the Bolshevik revolution subsequently left more than 100 million dead, in it's wake! Better to deal with it in it's infancy! The rest of the world might take exception. But, the real danger lies within.

In many ways, this isn't a great departure from a Czar's mentality. And that might best explain Vladimir Putin and his overall methodology. He's well aware what happened in 1917. He has seen fringe elements rise and take control when receiving help from outside.

The Bolsheviks were only 60,000 strong. Yet, they gained control of a nation of 150 million. Trusting anyone, especially a divided America, is difficult. Perhaps more than any political leader on the planet, Putin knows what Donald Trump is facing.

Probably "two thirds," maybe even "three fourths" of the Russian population approves of President Putin. This shouldn't be surprising for people who have studied Russian history. There is a traditional affinity for strong, patriarchal figures; whether it be Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Joseph Stalin or Putin.

Crimea? Forget it! Here are the brief facts: 95% of Crimean residents are Russians, not Ukrainians. As history reflects, the original inhabitants were called "Crimean Tatars." Resembling Turks and predominantly Islamic, they greeted the NAZIS with open arms when they invaded in 1941.

When the allies reclaimed the peninsula in 1944, the Crimean Tatars caught the "wrath of Stalin." They were expunged from their homeland and exiled to Siberia. Most died in route.

The mild weathered peninsula became "Russia's Florida." Residents today, are mostly grandchildren of post WWII Russian transplants. 95% of Crimean residents speak Russian, not Ukrainian. Frustrated with alleged Ukrainian corruption, they asked Russia to occupy.

Russians point out that Boris Yeltsin was not authorized to trade the peninsula for nuclear weapons then housed in Ukraine. Military minds note that the Russia's Black Sea Fleet is anchored as Sevastopol. The existing lease expires in 2036.

Trump's suggestion that Russia return to what would again be the "G-8," drew immediate applause from Putin. Relief from U.S. sanctions also tops the wish list. The question becomes, "what concessions would Putin be expected to make?" One thing that the Russian President understands is "a deal."

Credit Donald Trump for acknowledging the truth about Crimea. He knows that this is one thing that Russia will not give up. Putin recognizes from a political standpoint, how great a concession Russia's annexation of the peninsula would be.

He's prepared to pay for it!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Immigration Riddle Solved with 14th Amendment Clarification.

"How much and how long?"

"Forty thousand dollars and twelve years; plus transportation costs."

It was November, 2007. My wife and I had were concluding an interview with a Miami Beach Immigration lawyer.

The subject was Pavel Zidiyarov, my brother-in-law. He had expressed interest in immigration to the United States. We were attempting to familiarize ourselves with the process.

On paper, Pavel looked to be the ideal candidate. Twenty-seven-years old, he was my wife's "kid brother." He was married, had two small sons and was the holder of college degrees in Accounting and Mathematics.

Pavel has recently completed his second visit to the United States. In winter of 2005, he had come with his father, Viktor Zidiyarov and seen Kentucky, Florida and parts in between. I smiled, remembering their visit to the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlanta and the four days that we spent with my aged Aunt in Clearwater.

Pavel had returned to America, February 2007. This time, he flew into Miami, departing from Cincinnati four months later. It was noted that in both cases, arrival dates and departure dates were exactly as they had been registered by his extremely punctual sister.

Pavel's interview with Homeland Security was a rigorous, two-hour interrogation, laced with accusations and insinuations. I was amazed with how much English that he had retained from his previous visit. In the end, he was cleared.

My wife wanted to sponsor her brother and his family for immigration. We were certain that it would be a "good fit." Pavel had an ingenuity like I had never seen. He was a natural problem solver. His gardening skills suggested "a green thumb." Coupled with his business training, all signs pointed to a future as a "nursery, landscaping entrepreneur."

The attorney was telling us that it would take "twelve years and $40,000."

"Why?" my wife questioned. "My friend got her parents over in less than a year."

"Parents and children are easier." The lawyer patiently explained. "Siblings fall under a different classification."

"But my parents don't want to immigrate." My wife insisted. "They are too old, too settled, have family there, including my sister and her children. Learning a new language would be difficult."

"I know. I know." The attorney acknowledged compassionately. "And if they did want to come, how many years would they be able to participate in the work force? Ten? You need "forty quarters" to qualify for social security. Yet your brother would likely work forty years. He has a handle on the language, is well educated and eager to assimilate. I know what you're thinking! Now, you understand what they mean when they say, "our immigration system is broken!" Believe me! It is!

"Thing is, your parents would need to come first, naturalize and then one or both could sponsor your brother.We are talking minimum five years."

"Wouldn't we be required to provide them insurance?" My question was practical.

"You certainly would."

"That would be expensive, considering their ages." My wife echoed ruefully.

"Yes, it would be. Unfortunately, those working and making good money always get it socked to them. You know, it only requires an income of $13,500 per year to be a sponsor. How did you come in, by the way?" The attorney looked over his half glasses.

"On a K-1, in 1999. I have been delaying naturalization but plan to do it in the next few weeks." My wife admitted.
"I knew that it would be required if I sponsored my brother."

"Twelve years?" I still found the time sequence difficult to believe. "Pavel would be 39 years old. There is no other way?"

"Well, off the record, there might be." The lawyer's eyes hinted contempt. Looking squarely at my wife, he asked. "Does your brother look like you?"

"I guess a little bit, not much." My wife answered honestly.

"What I mean," the lawyer clarified, "does he have blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin, like you?"


"You didn't hear this from me." He warned. "But it sounds like your brother and his family would be prime candidates for the "Southern Express." I trust you've heard of the Southern Express?"

Neither me or my wife had heard of the Southern Express. "No."

"Is it against the law?" My wife's blunt question came with a hard look.

"Slightly." The lawyer admitted.

"Not interested." My wife's answer was dismissive.

"Well, I wish I could help you." The lawyer arose from his chair, signalling the end of the meeting. "Until some weak kneed politicians get off their ass and deal with it, our immigration system will remain as it is: Broken."

The next day at work, we learned from another immigration lawyer, what the Southern Express was!

"Your brother-in-law needs to apply for Mexican VISAS for himself, wife and children." The attorney smiled cynically. "It's easy for a Russian to get a Mexican Tourist VISA. Then, they need to take the bus to Reynosa. From there, they simply walk across the river at the bridge. Everyone, including border guards will look at them and assume they're American Tourists. You might send them some T-shirts with some kind of insignia such as Florida Gators, Miami Dolphins,etc.

"From there, they catch the first bus to Houston. From Houston they can go any damn place they want, although I would suggest that you meet them somewhere in between, such as Nashville." He added.

"Wouldn't that be aiding and abetting?" I asked candidly.

"Yes, it would be. Technically!" The lawyer's eyes hinted slight amusement. "You know, what the United State's unofficial immigration policy is, don't you?"


"It's easier to get forgiven than get permission."

"Forgiven?" My wife's blank look indicated that she was unable to comprehend the seemingly twisted logic on display.

"Let's put it this way, Mrs. Willis." The lawyer's eyes sharpened. "Your sister-in-law comes in, punches out a baby. Suddenly she, your brother, and your nephews are able to stay."

"Why is that?" My wife remained unconvinced.

"Because the baby has "birthright citizenship," under the 14th amendment." The lawyer shook his head. "The government's policy has been to "unite families." Therefore, in the interest of keeping the family together, your sister-in-law, the mother, your brother, the father, and your nephews are now legally able to stay. Furthermore, they will soon have access to Medicaid and other entitlements."

"That doesn't make sense." My wife's face showed a puzzled look. "We try to be honest with the government. We offer to pay. And, we are told 12 years!"

"Yet," I picked up,"if you sneak them in, my sister-in-law has a baby, they not only can stay, they can get on he government's entitlement rolls?"

"Yeah, that's about it." The attorney grinned. "Try to do it within the framework of the law and the government gives you the cold shoulder. Break the law and you're in! Or, should I say, they are in; all of them! With the ability to get everything from free health care, to free college tuition, to food stamps, to AFDC to W.I.C., to low income housing subsidies."

"I cannot understand why the politicians won't do something." My wife's eyes flashed.

"It's about getting elected and reelected."

"I am not going to break the law." My wife's voice hardened.

"And, you shouldn't." The lawyer agreed. "You have a successful business. You have come here and made a stake for yourself. You have too much to lose! But so many don't! And until the government gets it act together, our immigration system will reward crime, while discouraging actually obeying the law!"

Sadly, on that day, my brother-in-laws immigration dream died.

In watching that dream die, "how" to fix the broken immigration system became vividly clear: We must revisit the 14th amendment! In doing so, we will learn that Congress was addressing citizenship for former slaves and people of color who had no status at that time. It was 1868. These two groups were the only groups who gained protection. It might be noted that the Native American did not officially gain U.S. citizenship until 1924.

Prior to 1868,there was no such thing as "an American citizen." You were a citizen of Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania or whichever state that you resided. This "oversight," has proven costly. The remedy is to simply clarify the intent of the birthright citizenship specified in 1868.

Is it doable?

It had better be! It amounts to having the will to do it.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Constitution is what it is. It is not a "living, breathing" instrument! To protect it, you amend it. This adjustment could eliminate countless problems. Especially with family separations.

We must not reward those who cheat. We cannot turn a blind eye to those who break the law through manipulating the system! Accurately defining birthright citizenship, based on Congressional intent in 1868, can and will end this absurd and destructive practice!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Black Americans Transcending Sordid Past, Making Strides

Has anyone experienced a "skin burn on the knee?" In athletics, they refer to this common abrasion as a "strawberry."

A strawberry is usually quick to heal; if it is able to avoid a bump or bruise. The wound will scab and heal without complications. However minor athletic injuries such as skin abrasions often fail to escape bumps and bruises! One little ding breaks the scab and the healing process must start over.

This little analogy is surprisingly applicable to race relations in America. We will make progress. Then, there will be some incident or even "slip of the lip" and we'll experience a relapse.

I was born and grew up in El Dorado, Arkansas. For those not familiar with Arkansas geography, El Dorado is located in the extreme, south central part of the state. It is 120 miles south of Little Rock, 13 miles north of the Louisiana State line.

El Dorado is "deep south." In other words it is more akin to Mississippi than Tennessee. Yet natives will tell you that El Dorado is more in sync with East Texas; with Louisiana flavor. Maybe it has something to do with El Dorado's being the "oil capital" of Arkansas.

Baby boomers who attended elementary school in El Dorado will quietly admit that the public schools were segregated. In fact, the entire town of 26,000 was distinctly segregated. In 1970, El Dorado was 38% African American. The White population accounted for the rest. I doubt that there were 50 "non Castilian Hispanics" in the city, or in Union County,population 50,000, for that matter!

In 1970 full integration came to Union County. Washington High School, El Dorado's long standing black institution, was closed. White and Black students were suddenly together. The result was different than expected.

There weren't fights and riots. In anything, there was relief. Peer pressure had prevented either side from becoming "too chummy" with the other. To an extent, this went away. White kids and black kids continued to segregate themselves. But, there was no real hostility and plenty of open communication.

What didn't go away was the fact that the black kids had not been privy to the same educational intensity prevalent in the white schools. To be sure, there were some superlative black students. But the prevailing demeanor was more in line with apathy.

In 1970 dozens of El Dorado's "fifty and sixty something" white teachers abruptly retired. They were replaced by recent college graduates. The new "norm" was to "float" students. In essence, Brown versus the Board of Education's" mandate was about "bringing a social change" to America. It had little to do with improving and advancing educational standards.

Well meaning elites blamed the substandard black educational institutions. The truth inside the question amounted to economic inequality. It wasn't that Washington High School received less money than marginally integrated El Dorado High School. It wasn't that teachers there were less qualified, worked less or failed to maximize every child's ability!

In came down to "after hours help on the home fronts."

Many black kids did not have mothers at home; because their mothers were often employed by white families. These black mothers helped raise the white children, in addition to cooking and cleaning their parents' homes.

People today continue to blame the white south for slavery, even through the 13 amendment's passage took place 153 years ago. Maybe it's because 100 years later, there still remained remnants of the old order.

Don't think for a second that the north isn't completely without stain. Prior to emancipation, the black man was, at best, a second class citizen in the north. In fact, he wasn't even that! Citizenship did not come until 1868 with passage of the 14th amendment. In 1965 black people in he north experienced a "coolness," as if they were uninvited guests. As a black friend from Atlanta phrased, "it was like we were there, but we weren't there."

1970 was a wake-up call; for black and white Americans.

Was continuation of an old system, in affect a "caste system" wrong? Sure it was! Yet, Black Americans were pretty much assured that they would be okay, if "they remembered their place." They had their school system. They had their movie houses, churches, and restaurants.

Unequal? Demeaning? Sure! But, historically they had seen worse! Much worse!

Interestingly enough, a friend from Cleveland, Ohio told me of his recent conversation with a black friend, who announced that he was returning to Alabama. Somewhat surprised, my friend queried. "Why? Aren't things better for a black person here than there?"

To his astonishment the answer was a definitive "no, because in the south, a black man always knows where he stands."

This sounds somewhat self deprecating, if not contradictory. What it amounts to is "familiarity." In the South, the races have always lived in close proximity. As individuals, White and Black Southerners generally like each other. A large number of White Southerners will admit to being "more comfortable in the company of a Black Southerner, than a white New Englander."

There are so called, "experts" from Boston and San Francisco who ridicule and chastise "flyover Americans," calling them racists, fascists and bigots. They even had a 2016 presidential candidate refer to them as a "basket of deplorables!" Yet, when you check credentials of these "experts," you'll note that most attended all white, elitist private schools.

To these "experts," the Black man is an exotic creature, the ideal "posture child," showcasing their call for an end to injustice and inequality. In short, the ideal tool to advance their "divisionist" agenda! Their quandary rests with the fact that African Americans ARE making huge strides toward making Dr. King's dream, a reality! Traditional "Al Sharpton style race hustling" is becoming stale! Especially when economic news from Washington includes record employment numbers for African Americans!

It's not that Black Americans aren't aware of their sordid past! Don't think for a minute that they fail to comprehend how unkind history has been to them; how unfairly their ancestors were treated! The question becomes, "where do we go from here?"

Can contemporary Black Americans forgive White Americans for crimes committed by their ancestors decades previously? I think some most definitely can and are doing so this day!

Without question, the majority of White Americans are ready to bring Black Americans fully into the American family. They are doing so with unimaginable expediency! Abraham Lincoln would be shocked if he were alive today!

True, we've had continuous "hiccups." That "scab" does get broken from time to time. But, we are doggedly making strides.

We cannot sanitize history. We must not run from it. We must embrace it. If for no other reason than the fact that history often repeats. We must know what we are capable of.

Sadly there are those who are simply too hurt and too angry to proceed. For these tormented souls, we should consider some form of compensation and subsequent immigration assistance. Hate destroys. It would be better to make a life in a place that you don't hate; with people whom you don't resent.

For some, the legacy of ancestors trapped in involuntary servitude may be too much to stomach! Never mind the fact that most English Colonists entered America as indentured servants. It's a haunting thought that will remain generations hence.

Yet with it comes the gritty acknowledgment that a place in America has been won. For this reason, more than any other, Black Americans should be supportive of strong, secure borders! Those pushing for open borders are no friend to Black Americans!

Shame on these "opportunists" who resort to racial disparities when on the losing end of an argument. These are the "true American deplorables!" To resort to such tactics is the essence of "cowardly."

Unfortunately, this is an adversary that knows no shame. They are comfortable pitting Americans against each other. For them, it's about "power' and nothing more. However, their "overconfident smugness" could be their undoing.

Expect Black Americans to tip the scales and find these "experts" wanting...

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Kentucky 6th District a Bell Weather for Midterms

Kentucky's 6th District may be the Congressional bell weather for fall midterms, and Americas' future.

Incumbent Republican, Garland Hale "Andy" Barr is seeking his fourth term. He replaced Democrat Ben Chandler in a second try in 2012. Chandler had nipped Barr by 772 votes in the 2010 congressional midterm.

Barr has been consistent with his promise to "support tax cuts, regulation cuts and to reduce the size, scope, and cost of government." A strong supporter of the recent Trump tax cuts and an ardent advocate of reapealing "Dodd-Frank," Andy sits on the powerful House Financial Services Committee.

2018's Democrat challenger is recently retired, Marine Lieutenant Colonel, Amy McGrath. McGrath's story is inspiring, if not sexy. She is a decorated combat fighter pilot turned student, turned university instructor. August 1st of 2017, she made the You Tube announcement that she planned to run against Andy Barr in the 2018 midterm.

Positioned expertly as the underdog, McGrath faced Lexington Major, Jim Gray who had been beaten decisively by Rand Paul in the 2016 Kentucky Senate race. Most pundits gave McGrath minimal chances of ousting Gray, who had the support of the national party. The outcome was not as close as even the most optimistic McGrath supporters predicted.

Without question, Barr has done a superlative job! Not only has he kept his promise to "support tax cuts, regulation cuts and to reduce the size, scope and cost of government," he has been one of the most vocal supporters for border security. And, he is bringing home results to 6th District.

From his position on the House Financial Services Committee, he was one of the architects of the "Financial Choice Act," proposed legislation that would begin the dismantling of Dodd Frank. This past week, President Trump signed into law a watered down version of the Act. But, changes so critical to Central and Eastern Kentucky made the cut! Perhaps the greatest accomplishment was the exclusion of Community Banks doing less than 500 mortgage loans per year from Dodd Frank and relief from Dodd Frank for the Mobile Home industry.

Making it easier to borrower money at Community Banks, and obtain small loans for mobile home financing, is more important to Americans living in Berea, than Boston, or Berkley! Expensive regulation from Dodd Frank, has forced better than 1500 Community Banks out of business. Because the little guys couldn't afford the armies of lawyers and accountants that Chase or Wells Fargo could. Now, they are exempted.

Barr who gained his undergraduate degree at Thomas Jefferson inspired, University of Virginia and later graduated from University Kentucky's law school, had immediately sized up the problem. His father, Garland Barr is a prominent Lexington C.P.A.. You might say that Andy "grew up" in an accountant's office. As a result, he was privy to hundreds of hours of tax law discussions. When you combine philosophy, law and numbers, the results are quite amazing!

Congressional Districts send Representatives to Washington D.C., with one purpose in mind: "To represent the needs of the district." From this perspective, Andy Barr has hit a "home run!" After initially supporting Scott Walker for the nomination, he has voiced unwavering support for Donald Trump. His support for Obama Care Repeal, Dodd Frank repeal, help for the V.A. and the Military, plus tax cuts, immigration reform and border control, are a reflection of the majority of 6th District voters. In short, this is what they wanted. This is what he promised. And, this is what they are getting and will continue to get!

Assuming that he wins in November...

Amy McGrath is a fine person. Her service to her country should be revered. She is married to a career military man, who happens to be a Republican.

Her political positions? Well..She supports free healthcare for all. On this subject, she is very close to Bernie Sanders. She opposed the U.S. exit of Paris climate accord. How she would vote on most pending legislation? It is always difficult to speculate when a "thin resume" is involved!

We know that she has a solid academic record, especially on globalist topics. How that would benefit Central Kentucky is unknown.

The question becomes, "is it worth it for 6th District to replace Andy Barr with Amy McGrath; when Barr has been instrumental in getting legislation passed that is vital to members of the district?"

We do know that a vote for Amy McGrath is a vote for Nancy Pelosi's return to House Speaker and Maxine Waters advancement to Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Nancy Pelosi called the tax cuts "crumbs." To her, they likely are "crumbs." Pelosi is extremely wealthy, with a net worth well north of 30 million. In her book, $1000-$2000 is "crumbs!"

Waters is another "limousine liberal" with a seven-figure net worth. Representing one of California's poorest districts, she herself resides in a home estimated to be worth 4.5 million. She has passed three bills in 27 years of service.

The economy is booming like never before. Unemployment is at an all time low. African American and Hispanic unemployment is the lowest in history. To hear Pelosi and Waters talk about today's America, "the sky is falling and the president should be impeached."

So, "is it worth it for 6th District to bring Andy Barr home, in favor of Amy McGrath, knowing what Andy has accomplished for the district? Do we want to put the breaks on the record setting economic recovery, pausing to impeach the president?"

That's pretty much Nancy and Maxine's agenda!

Amy? Well, she is a military hero and should be revered for her service to the country. Whether he votes lock step with Nancy and Maxine is unknown. One thing is for certain. If she strays too far from the party leadership line, she won't be appointed to any important committees. It goes back to "why" do districts send representatives to Washington.

In short, is it worth replacing Andy Barr with Amy McGrath?

Turnout in 6th district Kentucky should decide. If Republicans stop and weigh this elections impact on them personally, they'll show up at the polls in November. Andy Barr will win going away.

Such is the case with most "red leaning districts" like Kentucky 6th.

It's about rewarding results.

Monday, September 18, 2017

D.A.C.A. Compromise Creates Major Chance for Reform

An organized sedition initiative in Berkeley.

An outright war declared against police.

Sanctuary city mayors openly advocating "aiding and abetting" law breakers.

A state going as far as to vote to declare itself as a "sanctuary state."

The question becomes, "when will the country say, "enough is enough?"

Donald Trump rode into the White House on a wave of indignation, mixed with outright anxiety. To those who supported him, he represented a clear, strong voice against "the way that things were." He has faced long odds; grappling with everyone from the mainstream media to leaders in his own party.

Imagine for a moment! How would any President fare with a House Speaker and a Senate Majority leader not in sync with his agenda?

It wouldn't be easy! Ask Richard Nixon! The difference however, was that Nixon faced strong Democrat opposition in both the House and Senate. House Speaker, Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell are Republicans. Both have been accused of "slow walking" the President's agenda. It is probable that if the midterm elections were held this fall and both were on the ballot, neither would return next year.

Donald Trump is a "nimble" operator. Some might describe his as "mercurial." Which translates to "if Republicans can't get it done, he'll turn to the opposition party." Is this wise?

We must remember that Trump's constituency isn't exclusively Republican. In the 2016 election, a forgotten segment of America emerged, sweeping him first into the nomination, later into the White House. National Review called them the "disaffecteds." Two-thirds were independents. 23% were not white. The average household income made $30,000. Practically none of them trusted government.

Building a wall, effectively closing the borders was especially favored by these voters. The Republican Establishment wasn't thrilled! Not only did it come off as "anti-Hispanic," but it slowed the flow of cheap labor. Democrats saw those "border jumpers" as future voters.

The former assumption is simply racist! Most of the eleven million illegals in this country aren't Hispanic. Furthermore, Latin surnamed Americans are proving to be exceptional contributors to our "melting pot." Most favor strong immigration control standards.

The second position is easier to fathom. People who come into the country illegally are often poor, seeking to jump on America's entitlement gravy train. Naturally they would gravitate to a party that favors free health care, free housing, free food, free education and all of the associated "chits and boonies" that accompany Democrat leadership.

Donald Trump simply must accomplish two objectives: Tax Reform and the Wall. If he gets both, he will win a second term.

The failure of Obamacare repeal is another topic for a different post. But, it important to note that the inability of Mitch McConnell to secure the 50th vote, opens up all sorts of options for the President. Including, forging a different deal with the Democrats that might include something for both sides.

The real test may come with how the President handles the sanctuary city question. The hint that he might be willing to acquiesce in the D.A.C.A. question has conservatives like Ann Coulter ready to jump ship!

Don't jump yet! Has everyone read "the art of the deal?" I have.

Donald Trump is engaged in what he does best: negotiate. He knows that the Democrats cannot fail on D.A.C.A.. The President senses that "Chuck and Nancy" will happily "pay a pound of flesh," to bring these "Dreamers" into the American family, legally and permanently. This in itself, creates boundless opportunities!

Starting with, "getting bi-partisan support for his tax reform initiative." Notice how the President is touting "Middle Class and small business" as the primary beneficiaries? It's true!

Under the plan, the greatest benefactors in America would be individuals making between $35,000 per year and $350,000 per year, living in low taxed states. The odds of cutting corporate taxes to 15% are long. To cut them to 20% are excellent. The end result of both would be an unprecedented expansion in America.

"Requiring all new Americans to learn the English language." is favored overwhelmingly on both sides of the aisle. Why not make it official; as in an English Language Amendment? Requiring a voter I.D. card with photo would be easy enough to slip in, with stipulation that "only U.S. citizens" would be allowed to vote. Any municipality that proffered legislation to the contrary would be denied federal funding. Congressional representation would be based on "citizens and not persons."

"Aiding and abetting criminals" is supposedly against the law. Nobody is above the law. Even dissenting sanctuary city mayors! To give this assertion "teeth," the President would instruct Attorney General Sessions to issue arrest warrants for these mayors.

The first amendment guarantees free speech in this country. In places like Berkeley, they seemed to have overlooked this American right!

There is also a violent backlash against law enforcement officials in certain cities. Often the instigators are paid by divisive forces determined to create malaise in minority communities.

When attempting to overthrow a government, Communist revolutionaries attempt to do three things: (a) squelch free speech, (b)Interject cultural Marxism, AKA "political correctness" and (c) creating anarchy through violence.

The President could nip this entire movement in the bud with one brilliant, yet controversial stroke:

"Call for 1,000,000 civilian volunteers to uphold first amendment freedoms while assisting the police maintain order in troubled areas."

"Five times" that many will respond! These five million will not be Sunday soldiers! Expect the majority to be between 18 and 45. They will come with "AR-15's in one hand, 12-gauge pumps in the other hand and nine millimeters tucked in their belts!

As a friend from Alabama phrased. "Ten thousand or so of these folks show up in Berkeley, and the whole business will be over in twenty minutes."

Here is how it would work. American citizens providing their own ordinance would report to their state organizations. They would then be assigned to troubled areas where they would converge to "hermetically seal" them. All ground and air communication would be suspended. Within two weeks, law abiding, America loving residents would happily hand over the criminals to the authorities.

Where there is a problem, there is an opportunity!

For security purposes, if for no other, we need to hunt down agitators who are paying local residents to protest and inflict violence on citizens. GITMO was made for these people! Are you listening, George Soros?

We need a rail line connecting Alaska to the lower 48. It would begin in Anchorage and Fairbanks, join at Tok and turn southeast to Dawson Creek. From there, it's probable that the Canadians would either complete the railroad to the boarder, or allow us to do it. Ideally, this railroad would run the length of Alberta, picking up major cities, Edmonton and Calgary, before entering the U.S. just north of Babb, Montana.

Would "Chuck and Nancy" go for this? And, what about the wall?

The "wall is already being built." Soon it will become secondary in the discussion. At the forefront will be "Chuck and Nancy's" great accomplishment: "Winning Dreamers a path to citizenship." Missing would be the "extended family members of these Dreamers." The deal would specify "no access to entitlements" for ANYONE who was not a citizen or permanent resident alien.

Meanwhile, our President, the master negotiator, would have gotten the following:

*-Tax reform passed
*- The Wall built
*- English officially made the "one and only language for use" in the country
*- Voter I.D.'s with picture required to participate
*- Congressional representation changed to reflect citizens and not persons.
*- Sanctuary cities properly disciplined.
*- Securing a "lifetime labor force" to build a critical rail link from Alaska to the lower 48.

Wouldn't these sanctuary city mayors create "a big time stink?"

They might. But, what is to keep them from landing in a correctional institution for several years? After all, they did break the law... Are we suggesting that they are above the law? They are in a position of leadership. What happened to the axiom, "to more is given, more is expected?"

How about a state that had decided that law originating in Washington did not apply to them? I thought this question had been settled!

No doubt the A.C.L.U. among others, would launch a plethora of law suits. Where these would go is anyone's guess! Had the A.C.L.U. existed during Abraham Lincoln's presidency, the South would have gained her independence! At least under a 2017 mindset. In 1862, Lincoln would have interned those voices, suspending Habeas Corpus in the process!

The Urban Dictionary defines ANTIFA as "middle class champagne socialist/communist/anarchist white boys who don't like nationalists or fascists." Americans past their 80th birthdays and who grew up in Europe will attest to having "seen them before." Their children will openly reminiscence of the ruin and anguish they ultimately brought upon the continent.

This lingering memory alone, courtesy of these children, should result in a call by Democrats for the media to "stand down;" alternatively advancing the notion of "successful bipartisanship at it's zenith."

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Trump's Support Base Potent, Growing, Potentially Lethal

Donald Trump's election was not supposed to have happened.

Everything seemed to be falling in place. It would begin with a relatively easy victory for Hillary Clinton, probably in conjunction with reclaiming the Senate majority. A new America that included open borders, a single payer health care system and the world's highest corporate taxes, would take shape.

This America would include membership in the Trans Pacific Partnership. It would maintain an influential role in The Paris Climate Accord. And, it would welcome a new leftist Supreme Court member...

In essence, everything was going as planned! The Washington D.C. ruling class would hold onto their protected place, complete with special privileges. The United States would simply be a member of a global community, committed to the whims of the United Nations.

Republican "Globalist Neo-Cons" would splash around, issuing lip service objections. Quietly they would assure their financial backers that a Hillary Presidency "would actually be a safer route." A weakened military would continue fighting endless wars, for the sake of lining the pockets of a few.

The regulations would be increasingly oppressive. Companies would continue their quiet exodus, in search of more favorable business climes. Private citizens would take a more assertive approach to residence abroad. Seniors in search of more safe, affordable locales would bid the land that they cherished "adieu."

Oh,the anguish of carefully laid plans gone awry! But somehow, they did!

How did this improbable, if not impossible scenario come about?

A June, 2011 National Review article, called "Dangerous Disaffection," identified a segment of America Donald Trump refers to as "forgotten America." According the NR, they were "two-thirds independents, 77% white, averaged $30,000 income per year, didn't trust government and often didn't vote." Interestingly enough, there were no connections found to the conservative Tea Party movement.

National Review called them "the Disaffecteds" and they made up 20% of the United States population. Donald Trump found them.(Or they found him...) They connected. Hillary Clinton later referred to them as "deplorables." Unfortunately for her, they voted.

Pollsters didn't see it coming! Not because they were dishonest! These voters typically have only cell phones and are not included in surveys. Many who were reached were not forthcoming with their preference when asked. In the end, a lot of people were embarrassed! Even more were completely blindsided!

When the dust cleared, Donald J. Trump was president. As a special bonus, the GOP had managed to hang on to the Senate, further surprising perplexed prognosticators. Suddenly the Republican party controlled the Presidency and both houses!

The Democrats were understandably shattered! To the point that many couldn't accept the election verdict. For months America witnessed a Democrat party in denial. Their ever loyal ally, the mainstream media, was quick to accentuate every conceivable hiccup of the new administration. When a fallacy wasn't found, they simply manufactured one!

Donald Trump is a fighter. To smile and sit quietly while inaccuracies and outright lies were shoveled relentlessly upon him was unthinkable. He retorted vigorously. His supporters vocally applauded. The political class cringed.

Trumps unexpected victory brought new trials. Beginning with a contingent of Republicans who are enraged with both his perception of procedure and irreverence for tradition. Many are in leadership roles.

Trump's "America First," posture presents a quandary for "Establishment" Republicans. Most are "Globalist Neo-Cons." They refer to themselves as "free traders." Yet when Trump refers to "shipping American jobs overseas," he is pointing at their constituents.

To these sorts, Trump is the bawdy outsider, who doesn't respect the rules; doesn't understand how Washington works. Trump's now famous counter punch amounts to "drain the swamp."

Is there an end in sight? For Democrats, there is! It's called "impeachment."

Some Establishment Republicans might secretly be delighted to accommodate their friends across the aisle. Except for one small matter: These "disaffecteds" have been joined by the Christian right.Trump has tapped into another potent force mostly dormant in past times.

Governor Mike Huckabee and others estimated there to be upwards of 90 million Evangelicals in the U.S..In 2012, less than 30% voted. This Last cycle their participation neared 40%.

Both Disaffecteds and Christian Righters are not sympathetic to the status quot. Chances are, they will be the leaders in what Herman Cain calls, "a RINO hunt." This could be bad news for GOP establishment incumbents seeking re-election in 2018 and 2020!

Having corralled "forgotten American and Faith based America," Trump can face his adversaries with more than rhetoric! Any efforts to administrately unseat him would likely lead to civil war.

It amounts to a part of American that is not only willing, but ready to rumble. Decades of being continuously compromised by America's political class have left them in a foul mood. Donald Trump has emerged as their long awaited leader. An ingrained fear of Communism, coupled with a long held mistrust of Washington, have resulted in a potent force, standing ready to mobilize.

With blood in the eyes.