Tuesday, August 29, 2017

An Upside Down World

Looking at the images coming out of the Houston area it looks like the world has been turned upside down. However, the rain will stop. The flood waters will recede. Recovery and rebuilding will begin. Houston will be restored better than ever in the end.

However, the world is turned upside down in other ways. We see it nearly every day.

Ideology take precedence over facts.

Emotion controls over logic.

Political correctness eclipses practical realities.

Core values and norms that have guided societies for thousands of years have been tossed aside in the inverted world we live in today.

It is not clear whether this flood of nonsense will ever end.

There is no better example to illustrate that fact than the case of 22 year-old Kaylee Moats who has recently started a GoFundMe page to raise money for surgery to treat her for Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome.

MRKH syndrome is a condition in which a female is born without a uterus, cervix, vagina or vaginal opening. As a result, a woman with MRKH can never conceive and bear children and it is impossible to have any intimate relationship.

Reconstructive surgery can be done to create a vaginal opening to remedy the latter problem but is not considered a "life saving" procedure and is not defined as an "essential benefit" under Obamacare.

Therefore, it is not covered by any health insurance plan. As a result, Kaylee's sister started the GoFundMe page and publicized her situation with the goal of raising the $15,000 required for the surgery.

What is ironic is that if  Kaylee had instead wanted to change her gender (rather than trying to fix her gender) it would be considered an "essential benefit" and would be covered under Obamacare. In other words, Kaylee could become Kenneth and have that surgery paid for by Obamacare. However, she cannot get the surgery she needs and just be a complete Kaylee.

Of course, the reality is that Obamacare or "insurance companies" do not really pay anything in these cases. The cost of these surgeries is borne by the other individuals in the insurance pool. The federal government is merely mandating that "essential benefits" must be part of the insurance coverage. This means you and I pay for all of these "essential benefits" in our insurance premiums.

All of this gets turned even further upside down when you consider that until last week our military was spending tax dollars on medical treatments and sexual reassignment surgery for transgender personnel. President Trump has instructed the Pentagon to stop this Obama-era practice as well as cease admitting transgender individuals into the military.

We are even further upside down when we now also have convicted killers serving life sentences in prison receiving taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgeries as recently occurred in California.

Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who was convicted of leaking national security secrets and received a 35-year prison sentence, put it all together when he (she?) received approval for sex reassignment surgery while still in a military prison. Manning's sentence was commuted by President Obama three days before he left office.

I can only imagine what a Washington, Grant, McArthur or Patton might think today.

Their world's were turned upside down by Revolutionary War, Civil War and World War. Real life and death consequences where failure would likely mean the end of our society as we know it.

Today we turn our world upside down and risk the end of our society as we know it by ideology and political correctness gone wild. It is something to behold if not for how dangerous and destructive it is.

On the subject of Bradley Chelsea Manning, I could also not resist posting the two tweets below (hat tip to @JackPosobiec) to show how the American Civil Liberties Union views "justice". Further evidence of an upside down world. Justice is no longer blind. It all depends on who you decide is on "the right side" and who you deem to be on "the wrong side".

The ACLU's even-handed view of "justice".

This tweet was right after President Obama commuted the sentence of Manning.

This is the tweet the ACLU put out last week after Trump pardoned Arpaio.

Let us keep in mind that Bradley Manning blatantly violating his oath as a soldier in the United States Army as well as federal law.  He was convicted by a jury of his peers and sentenced to a 35 year prison term.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of violating an order of a federal judge to stop enforcing federal and state immigration laws. The judge had ruled that Arpaio could not allow his deputies to question or detain anyone on the suspicion that they might be in the country illegally or turn them over to federal immigration authorities. Arpaio continued his immigration enforcement in defiance of the order arguing that “If they don’t like what I’m doing,” he said, addressing his opponents, “get the laws changed in Washington.”

By the way, the 85-year old Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt by a single judge. His request for a jury trial was denied by that same judge "on the grounds that the law did not require juries in cases in which the potential jail term was so short (six months in this case)".

I guess the judge forgot that the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed..." (emphasis added)

The Obama Department of Justice seems to have specifically charged Arpaio with a criminal misdemeanor in this case to avoid a jury trial. Most legal observers believe that Arpaio would never have been convicted in a jury trial in this case. If what Arpaio did was so lawless why was he only charged with a misdemeanor?

According to the ACLU, and many in the mainstream media, it is "justice" to commute a 35 year sentence for breaking the law to time served but it is "injustice" to pardon a 6-month sentence for enforcing the law?

The statue of Mary and Jesus that was removed from San Domenico School in San Anselmo, CA
Credit: http://www.marinij.com/social-affairs/20170824/san-anselmos-san-domenico-school-creates-stir-by-removing-catholic-statues

The topper in all this upside down world we live in today is the story out of California about the Catholic elementary school in San Anselmo that took down statues of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, and other religious figures, because "it could be alienating for that other religion, and we didn't want to further that feeling", according to the school's Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Indeed, we live in a world turned upside down.

May the flood waters recede.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Rain--Too Much and Too Little

Too Much Rain.

All of our thoughts and prayers right now are with the 7 million people in and around Houston, Texas that are dealing with the deluge and floods resulting from Hurricane Harvey.

This catastrophe hits particularly close to home as my daughter lived in Houston until six weeks ago. This is a picture that was taken by a friend of hers on Sunday morning. The water continued to rise throughout the day as the rain continued. This morning my daughter saw on Facebook that another person on that street was requesting a boat to evacuate their family of seven as 2 feet of water had inundated their house. This is about six blocks from my daughter's former home.

Fortunately, the last reports we have is that the houses on her former street are still dry.

Houston faces a long recovery period and it is certain there will be many who will ask how this could happen. Most certainly there will be those who blame this extreme weather on human-caused "climate change".

What they will fail to mention is that this is the first category 3 hurricane to strike the United States in almost 12 years. That is the longest period without a hurricane striking the continental U.S. since data began being recorded in 1851.

As bad as this catastrophe is, and as difficult as the recovery will be from this deluge of rain, it will likely pale in comparison to the human suffering and dislocation that resulted from the lack of rain in the Southern Plains 80 years ago.

Too Little Rain.

The so-called "Dust Bowl" lasted almost a decade spanning the 1930's.

This is how History.com describes the Dust Bowl.

The Dust Bowl refers to the drought-stricken Southern Plains region of the United States, which suffered severe dust storms during a dry period in the 1930s. As high winds and choking dust swept the region from Texas to Nebraska, people and livestock were killed and crops failed across the entire region. The Dust Bowl intensified the crushing economic impacts of the Great Depression and drove many farming families on a desperate migration in search of work and better living conditions. It had a devastating effect on the Southern Plains region of the United States.

2.5 million people in the area were forced to permanently move. To put that number in context, the entire population of the United States then was about 125 million at the time. It was the largest migration in American history.

100 million acres of farmland were rendered unusable for agriculture. That is roughly the total size of the entire state of California.

Oklahoma lost some 440,000 people as a result of the Dust Bowl. 250,000 of those ended up in California between 1935 and 1940 as well as the storyline for John Steinbeck's famous novel, The Grapes of Wrath.

What caused the Dust Bowl?

First and foremost it was caused by a shift in regional weather patterns. You can see that clearly in this graph that charts annual precipitation amounts in Oklahoma for the last 120 years. Notice the deep and sustained drought that lasted the entire decade of the 1930's.

Compounding the problem were poor agricultural methods and federal policies that encouraged too much prairie grass land to be tilled for crops. With sufficient moisture these lands could grow wheat. However, when the drought came, and with no prairie grass to hold the soil in place, the winds in the plains turned the eroding soil into massive dust storms.

Similarly, the disaster in Houston has been compounded by too much development, too much concrete and other hard surfaces that have replaced prairie lands that used to absorb the water. That water now runs off and is channeled into tighter and tighter areas where flood potential is high.

Those Dust Bowl storms did not just stop at the border of Oklahoma. The top soil blew all the way to the East Coast of the United States.

On May 11, 1934, a massive dust storm two miles high traveled 2,000 miles to the East Coast, blotting out monuments such as the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol.
The worst dust storm occurred on April 14, 1935. News reports called the event Black Sunday. A wall of blowing sand and dust started in the Oklahoma Panhandle and spread east. As many as three million tons of topsoil are estimated to have blown off the Great Plains during Black Sunday.

What struck me as I read the history of the Dust Bowl period is how such events would be reported today if such a calamity occurred.

Think about it again.

2.5 million forced to move. 440,000 in Oklahoma alone. 100 million acres of farmland (the size of California) rendered unusable.

All because of drought.

Do you think something like this today would be blamed on a bad run of weather?

Of course not. This would be cited as Exhibit A as proof of man-made climate change. Or proof that fracking in Oklahoma caused the drought.

Carbon taxes would be levied. Oil and coal would likely be outlawed. Gigantic sums would be spent on "green" technologies. All in the name of saving Oklahoma and the planet.

However, look at the chart above one more time.

Wet periods were followed dry periods ever few years in the 40 years leading up to the 1930's.  There was then the extended drought lasting 10 years. It was followed by 10 years of above average moisture and another 10 year dry period in the 1950's. If anything, the period since has resulted in fewer extremes---especially on the dry side.

What does this tell me about climate change?

Yes, it is always changing. Temperatures have risen and fallen. Precipitation has fallen and risen. And all of it has been happening well before anyone had ever heard of a carbon footprint.

What would the reaction be when the rain started falling again in the Dust Bowl?

"Rain has returned to the Plains states. Our concerted actions against man-made climate change has saved the world!"

They would be wrong.

Who did people thank after the Dust Bowl ended?

Almighty God.

He is in control.

May He bless the people of Houston and its environs in this time of need.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

An Inconvenient Sequel

I doubt that there is anyone who is a bigger snake oil salesman or hypocrite than Al Gore. That is saying something when you consider the competition that exists in Washington, D.C.

Gore has been making dire predictions about the climate for over 25 years. He started claiming that we were on the verge of catastrophic climate change in his book, Earth in the Balance, in 1991.

In 2006 Gore made his catastrophic climate change warnings into a movie, An Inconvenient Truth.

In that film Gore predicted that we had but ten years to get things right on earth or face catastrophe. He stated that our weather would get increasingly warmer. That our climate would become more severe with more hurricanes and tornadoes. And that by the summer of 2015 the Arctic sea would be ice-free.

I debunked all of these predictions with the actual facts in my post "An Inconvenient Truth +10" on the tenth anniversary of the release of the film.

Al Gore is at it again with the release of another movie titled "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power".  I guess it was time for Gore to once again revise and extend his 10 year warning period for catastrophe to overtake us.

It would be somewhat amusing if not for the hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth that Gore has accumulated as he has peddled his propaganda.

What makes it all the more infuriating is looking at the way Al Gore conducts his personal life. For someone who claims that the world is going to come to an end because of catastrophic human-caused carbon emissions, Gore sure does not do much personally to save the planet.

Al Gore took a lot of heat (sorry, I could not resist) after the release of his movie in 2006 that his home in Nashville, Tennessee consumed 20 times more energy than the average American home.

Gore responded by stating that he was going to extensively remodel his home by installing solar panels and geothermal heating. It appears that he did follow through on these improvements and also invested in other energy savings improvements---new energy efficient windows, a rainwater collection system and a new driveway with rainwater permeable bricks that channel water to the collection system.

Nashville, TN home of Al Gore
Credit: virtualglobetrotting.com

The National Center for Public Policy Research estimates that Gore invested at least $250,000 and possibly as much as $500,000 on his energy efficient remodeling effort.

You would think that investing that much money in "green" solutions would mean that Gore's house would now be a model of energy conservation.

You would be wrong.

I guess you could also say that An Inconvenient Sequel is a good way to also describe the energy consumption at his Nashville home after all of his "green" improvements.

In 2007, before he made all his improvements, Gore's house was consuming 220,000 kWh of electricity per year. In the last 12 months, that number was 230,889 kWh.

Gore is now using 21.3 times the average homeowner compared to the 20 times he used a decade ago even though he spent upwards of $500,000 on "green" energy solutions that he is urging on everyone else to "save the planet".

By the way, those installed solar panels produce just 5.7% of the annual energy consumption for the house.

I don't think Al Gore ever learned anything about Return on Investment (ROI). Why would he? He is a liberal Democrat.

Here is Al Gore's actual energy usage for the last 12 months on his Nashville home. It is the real truth about power usage at Gore's home.

I find it particularly interesting that Gore is using over 66,000 kWh of energy per year to heat his pool. Heating that pool alone requires about 6 times what the average homeowner uses in energy per year.

Don't you think that if you are claiming that the planet is being harmed to such a degree by catastrophic human-caused climate change that you could sacrifice a little yourself by doing without your heated pool?

I cannot state it better than The National Center of Public Policy Research did in the conclusion to its report on Gore's energy usage.

Upon winning the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Gore stated, "The only way to solve this [environmental] crisis is for individuals to make changes in their own lives." Judging by his own home electricity consumption, Gore is failing to live up to the standards he expects of everyone else.

Al Gore---Snake Oil Salesman.

Al Gore---Hypocrite.

Take your pick.

And to think that this man came within 537 votes in Florida of becoming President of the United States.

In God We Trust.

It could be that people are finally becoming wise to the ways of Al Gore and his climate change claptrap. It appears that Gore' new movie is bombing at the box office.

According to IMDb, the movie has grossed just $3.0 million in U.S. theaters since it opened three weeks ago. More tellingly, it brought in $961,000 at 180 screens its first weekend but only grossed $816,000 at 556 screens on its second weekend of wide release and $331,000 at 514 screens on its third weekend. That trend is no friend for this film.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Longest War

I watched President Trump's address on Afghanistan last night and it was encouraging that he is willing to try a new approach in the war in that country---fight to win.

Forget the nation building. Forget telling the enemy your timetable. Forget the restrictive rules of engagement. Forget looking the other way as Pakistan plays us in the war. It is time to play to win.

Afghanistan, is by far, the longest war in America. It is now almost 16 years long. However, I think the description given by Secretary of Mattis to President Trump when advising him on the war to be more accurate.

"Mr. President, we haven't fought a 16-year war so much as we have fought a one-year war, 16 times."

For perspective, consider the length of these other U.S. wars.

World War I    24 months
World War II                    46 months
Civil War                                            52 months
Afghanistan                                                              191 months

President Trump stated in his speech that his instinct was to get out of Afghanistan. He stated his instincts are usually right. However, he has taken the advice of his advisers after hearing all the facts.

My instincts on Afghanistan match Trump's. I have spoken to those who have fought on the ground in Afghanistan. They have told me that beyond the restrictive rules of engagement the real problem is that the Afghans do not want to fight for their country. The Afghan forces are more likely to run than fight when engaged. Most of their troops are serving not for love of country, but for the pay they receive for wearing the uniform.

Unless this changes, it will be impossible to "win" in Afghanistan. Trump fully understands that by this statement in his speech.

America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress. However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check. The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden. The American people expect to see real reforms, real progress, and real results. Our patience is not unlimited. We will keep our eyes wide open.

The most refreshing thing I heard in the speech was the President of the United States referring to ISIS rather than ISIL.

We are accustomed to our Presidents showing defiance to our enemies rather than deference. In particular, to enemies as brutal and barbaric as ISIS. Unfortunately, that was not the case with President Obama.

Let's hope a change in attitude from our Commander in Chief can make all the difference in America's longest war.

For context, please read what has been my most read blog post in the almost seven years I have been writing  BeeLine.

(Originally published September 7, 2014)

You may wonder, as I did, why President Obama and his administration refer to ISIS as ISIL.

As ISIS rose to power in Syria and Iraq over the last year or so, we consistently heard it referred to as ISIS for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

All of a sudden our President started referring to it as ISIL.

I understood where ISIS came from. What does ISIL stand for?

It turns out it is the acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

What is the Levant?

It is a term used for centuries for the area shown in the map below.  The Levant today consists of the island of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey. It does not include Iraq.

In other words, Obama is effectively giving due recognition to the ambitions and dreams of these extreme Islamists for their caliphate by his use of the term ISIL. Notice also that ISIL includes all of the territory of Israel. ISIS does not.

Consider this perspective from BeforeItsNews.com, which wonders about the President's use of ISIL instead of ISIS.

Now, to us Westerners we don’t really make much of a distinction, do we? No, honestly from our perspective its all about the same. But how would a Muslim living in the Middle East view it? Just what is the Levant anyway? Let’s take a look.
The geographical term LEVANT refers to a multi-nation region in the Middle East. It’s a land bridge between Turkey to the north and Egypt to the south. If you look on a map, however, in the near exact middle of the nations that comprise the Levant, guess what you see? Come on, guess!It’s Israel.
When Barack Obama refers over and over to the Islamic State as ISIL, he is sending a message to Muslims all over the Middle East that he personally does not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation, but as territory belonging to the Islamic State.

With the exception of Reuters, no news organization was using the term ISIL until President Obama started to use it. However, it seems the ISIL label is being used more in the media thanks to the consistent use of it by our President and his administration. For example, the Associated Press recently started referring to ISIL instead of ISIS. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post still refer to the group as ISIS.

When has the President of the United States ever been so deferential to a sworn enemy of the United States?

ISIS is a group that has stated,

“I say to America that the Islamic Caliphate has been established and we will not stop."

“We will raise the flag of Allah in the White House."

We are a long way away from when President George Herbert Walker Bush (41) referred to Saddam Hussein leading up to and during the Gulf War as SAD-em rather than Suh-DOM, which was the accepted pronunciation of Hussein's name. Bush clearly did this intentionally to get under Hussein's skin in some way. It should be noted that he stopped pronouncing it this way when the war was over.

There was an ulterior motive. Does Barack Obama have his own motive in using ISIL, rather than ISIS?

Those who are regular readers of BeeLine know that I am not a conspiracy theorist. I draw my conclusions based on facts and analysis of those facts. However, in this case, it really does make you wonder what Obama is doing, doesn't it?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trump's Worst Week Ever?

The mainstream media was out in force this week highlighting what many described as the worst week ever for President Donald Trump.

Of course, at least ten times during his 30 week Presidency, one media outlet or the other has stated it was his worst week ever.

The negativity about Trump drones on and on and on and on and on and on.

I am a news junkie but I can no longer bear to hear the same thing over and over and over again on the network news and cable channels.

The mainstream media seems to have made it its sole purpose to demean, denounce and delegitimize President Trump.

They may yet succeed. At their core, most people detest political drama and a constant drumbeat from the media that amplifies anything and everything about Trump will undoubtedly take a toll over the long term. Mother Theresa herself could not withstand this type of barrage.

However, as I wrote at the depths of Trump's problems after the Access Hollywood video surfaced last October, I have learned to "Never Say Never With Trump." 

I have learned to not bet against Donald Trump. He has defied the odds week after week over the last year and a half. He fights to win. It is too soon to count him out. Too many people have counted him out and have been proven wrong.

If you doubt it, take a look at Trump's approval ratings after his "worst week ever".

Only 34% approved of Trump's job performance going into his worst week ever.

After Charlottesville, after Bannon was fired, after the media attacked him day and night for a week, Trump's approval rating rose to 38%.

That may look bad. However, do you know what Trump's approval rating was on November, 8, 2016, on election day before he won the Presidency?


63 million people voted for Trump although only 38% told pollsters they approved of him on election day. As the media tries to make it seem as if all those people are uneducated, uncultured, unrefined and racist, it bears remembering again that those are the most votes for a Republican candidate in history. More than Reagan. More than either Bush. More than McCain. More than Romney.

Yes, the number of voters has grown. However, that is still worth thinking about. The Left and the liberal media want you to believe that Trump voters are out of the mainstream. No, it is the mainstream media that is out of the mainstream.

Look no further than the current controversy about Confederate war statues. A recent NPR/PBS.Marist poll (after Charlottesville) asked whether these statues "honoring leaders of the Confederacy" should remain as a historical symbol or "be removed because they are offensive to some people? By 62%-28% overall, registered voters stated the statues should remain. Independents stated they should remain 58%-32%. Even so-called "soft" Democrats stated they should remain 52%-33%.

The only group that thinks the statues should be removed are so-called "strong" Democrats. However, 34% of them still thought the statues should remain.

I guess you could call most of the mainstream media "strong" Democrats so it is probably no surprise how they are reporting all of this.

The same can be said of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who has called for Speaker Paul Ryan to remove all Confederate statues from the Capitol.

"The Confederate statues in the halls of Congress have always been reprehensible," Pelosi added. "If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately."

Strangely, if the statues have "always been reprehensible" why didn't Pelosi do something to remove them when she was Speaker of the House for four years?

If you want to know why I say "Never Say Never With Trump" look no further than the actions of the press and people like Pelosi.

Trump may have his flaws, faults and foibles.

However, there are two sides in this drama. Trump is not the only bad actor in this political play. In fact, one of the things that appealed to voters about Trump he is that he was not the typical politician mincing words and trying hard not to offend anyone. He doesn't pretend to be something he is not. The same can't be said about the media and politicians like Nancy Pelosi.

The people understand this better than ever. They see the bias in the media and the hypocrisy of politicians like Pelosi in starker terms than ever before. It is on full view everyday. That is why Trump's poll numbers can go up after his "worst week ever."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Insuring Domestic Tranquility

One of the critical functions of government  is to "insure domestic tranquility".  It is in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution. Most historians trace the roots of this important governmental role to concern by the Founders on what they had witnessed in "Shay's Rebellion" that transpired shortly before they convened to draft the Constitution.

Shay's Rebellion involved men who took up arms to protest conditions in the country after the Revolutionary War. They tried to take justice into their own hands. The vehemence and violence that occurred had a profound impact on our Founders as they gathered shortly thereafter to draft the Constitution. Insuring "domestic tranquility" became a key reason for a strong national government.

Shay's Rebellion was also the catalyst to bring George Washington back into public service after his retirement as the leader of the Revolutionary Army.  The Rebellion convinced him to return to public service and work for a strong federal constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation. In fact, Washington had no patience for trying to influence or appease protestors who exercised violence. He wanted "a government by which our lives, liberties and properties will be secured" to insure that such tumults would not be allowed to occur in the future.

Our constitution that was created in the aftermath of that civil unrest had as its primary purpose the protection of our liberty.

However, as James Madison explained so well in speaking of the protection of our liberty,

 "Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power."

This is useful perspective to have as we see what has unfolded in the actions of extremist groups on the left and right recently.

Alt right demonstrators carry torches and foment hate in Charlottesville
Credit: @TomasTaylor4

People have the right to exercise their free speech and to peaceably assemble. However, they do not have the right to occupy parks, take over streets, disobey municipal ordinances and disrupt the lives of other citizens.

They do not have the right to walk down a street carrying a torch spewing hateful speech.

They do not have the right to shout down speakers that they do not agree with at public meetings or gatherings.

They do not have the right to intimidate and threaten other people with clubs and bats in their hands.

They do not have the right to enter public property and tear down statues and monuments with which they do not agree.

They do not have the right to take justice into their own hands no matter how abhorrent or obnoxious those that they oppose may be.

Alt left (Antifa) protestors
Credit: @FormerlyFormer

President Trump is taking an enormous amount of criticism for remarks he made in the aftermath of the violence and death of a protestor in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.

There seem to be three main complaints about his actions.

  • He did not condemn the white supremacist group forcefully enough in his first statement.
  • He assigned blame to the extreme groups on both sides for what occurred.
  • He was reluctant to paint all of the alt right group protestors with a broad brush because he supposedly did not want to antagonize his "base".

If there is one thing we know about Donald Trump by now is that he is not the most artful speaker of the English language. He is also someone who does not hem and haw. He does not spend an eternity thinking through every word he utters before he speaks. He does not spend time with flourish and fine points. He tells it like he sees it. It is one of the reasons he got elected. Compare and contrast Donald Trump's speaking style with Barack Obama. Trump probably gets out twice as many words in a minute as Obama did. 

However, with all that being said, I have a hard time distinguishing any substantive difference in what Trump said related to Charlottesville compared to what Obama did regarding the Black Lives Matter protests that ended in so much violence.

Did Obama forcefully condemn BLM in any stronger terms than Trump did the white supremacists? If he did, I cannot find any evidence of it. 

Did Obama blame police actions for causing the BLM protests (effectively blaming "both sides") and excusing the street violence that resulted? Yes. 

Did Obama go out of his way to not antagonize the BLM movement and its leaders Yes. He actually invited some of the leaders to The White House.

The big difference in all of this is that Obama got a pass from the media and the political establishment on everything he did. Donald Trump has not. You could call it a double standard but that gets nowhere close to the dimensions of the animus towards Donald Trump.

It is easy to say that Trump should walk, talk and tweet more softly knowing this reality. I am not sure that it would make much difference. A substantial number of Americans (and almost all of the media) do not want Donald Trump as their President.

The irony is that Donald Trump could never have been elected President but for the eight years of Barack Obama.

He would not have been elected if the illegal and unlawful Occupy Wall Street protests had not occurred and were allowed to take over our public parks.

He would not have been elected if the Black Lives Matter movement had not fomented so much violence and hate on the streets and against law enforcement in this country.

He would not have been elected had Barack Obama not worked so hard to create division and dissension in so many areas of American life.

At their core, most Americans, like George Washington, want a government that does not take sides, does not excuse violence and which secures our lives, liberty and property. They observed what was happening over the last eight years and did not like the direction of our country. I know that Democrats and liberals do not believe that to be true. However, facts are facts. Look no further than the votes of the American people for President, the turnover of the Senate, House and what has occurred with state and local offices. How else do you explain it?

I wrote about the Occupy Wall Street protests after I visited Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan back in 2011 and warned about its implications. It was a first-hand look at an abuse of liberty for which the Obama administration and local authorities looked the other way.

From my tour around OWS it was difficult to see anything positive.  Many of the signs had vile language.  It was difficult to see any kind of coherent message.  Seeing it first hand, it is clear that the media has downplayed the degeneracy of this group. 
We have real problems in this country.  If these are the people who are going to lead us to greater promise we are in far deeper trouble than we are already.
What is most troubling is the free pass that has been given to this group.  They have taken over what is privately owned property (although it is available to the public) in blatant disregard of individual property rights.  They have shown little respect for the people who live and have businesses in the area.
Would these actions have been tolerated if this was an openly Communist group?  The Ku Klux Klan?  New Nazi Party?  The Tea Party?  I think not. 

Six years later and what do we have? White Supremacists and New Nazis who think they should have the same rights to protest, use vile language and seek media exposure in the way the Occupiers and BLM did. Of course, that has led to radical leftists believing they have that right to confront them. In these situations in doesn't take much for violence to ensue. We saw that in Charlottesville as we have elsewhere the last few years.

A counter-demonstrator uses a lighted spray can against a white nationalist protestor in Charlottesville
Credit: Steve Helber, The Boston Globe

When two sides are looking for a fight they will usually find it.

Trump was right to condemn both sides.

He should make it clear that those that incite, foment or take part in violence will be dealt with harshly--alt right, alt left or alt middle.

Trump should make it clear that he is motivated by only one thing---the oath he took to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America".  His responsibilities are well defined.

It is high time that we start insuring domestic tranquility and hold people to account who choose to abuse our liberty.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Things That Are True Even If Trump Believes Them

James Damore, the Google engineer who was fired last week for referring to Google in a memo as an "ideological echo chamber" could just as easily have been referring to The New York Times.

The Times has had a particularly bad time in coming to grips with the fact that Donald J. Trump is President of the United States.

The number of negative stories about Trump is only surpassed by the number of positive stories it published about Barack Obama while he was President.

To be fair, the New York Times has actually been slightly more positive than the three major tv networks. This is an analysis of positive/negative coverage during Trump's first 100 days by Harvard's Kennedy School.

Credit: Harvard Kennedy School

One of my favorite quotes from election night appeared in the op/ed pages of The New York Times by columnist and noted economist (?) Paul Krugman on the morning after the 2016 when he famously wrote the following.

It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?
Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear.
Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.

This is a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the last year. That low point on the chart is when Krugman was writing that the markets would never recover.

Never is a long time. I don't like to cite stock market averages as scientific data. What goes up can go down. However, nine months later, Krugman could be said to have more than a little egg on his face.

Thomas Friedman is another New York Times columnist who resides within the "ideological echo chamber".  Friedman once said of Trump, "He doesn't behave as an adult, let alone President."

As I have written before, the Democrats, the media elites and  political establishment do not fear President Trump because they believe he will truly make a mess of things. Their real fear is that he will succeed. Nothing would be more damaging to their egos, reputations and view of the world. You need to understand this to understand their true animus toward the man. You should also understand that all of their efforts to destroy Trump are not for you benefit...it is for theirs.

That is why I found it interesting what Tom Friedman wrote a couple of weeks ago in his New York Times column about Trump.

Of course, he started the column by attacking Trump. However, what I found interesting is that if you assumed that in the following passage, "He" was referring to Obama as President, the same would be equally true.

He seems not to have grown a whit in the job. He has surprised only on the downside — never once challenging his own base with new thinking or appearing to be remotely interested in being president of all the people, not just his base.

However, Friedman moves on from there and provides a warning to his liberal friends.

What strikes me most about Trump, though, is how easily he still could become more popular — fast — if he just behaved like a normal leader for a month..
With the Dow at 22,000 and unemployment at 4.3 percent, oh my God, this guy could actually become more popular outside his base without much effort. That’s scary. 

Friedman then goes on to explain how well Trump has connected on what he calls the "gut" issues with voters. As he puts it,

Some things are true even if Donald Trump believes them!

What are those things?

• We can’t take in every immigrant who wants to come here; we need, metaphorically speaking, a high wall that assures we Americans can control our border with a big gate that lets as many people in legally as we can effectively absorb as citizens.

• The Muslim world does have a problem with pluralism — gender pluralism, religious pluralism and intellectual pluralism — and suggesting that terrorism has nothing to do with that fact is na├»ve; countering violent extremism means constructively engaging with Muslim leaders on this issue.

• Americans want a president focused on growing the economic pie, not just redistributing it. We do have a trade problem with China, which has reformed and closed instead of reformed and opened. We have an even bigger problem with automation wiping out middle-skilled work and we need to generate more blue-collar jobs to anchor communities.

Political correctness on college campuses has run ridiculously riot. Americans want leaders to be comfortable expressing patriotism and love of country when globalization is erasing national identities. America is not perfect, but it is, more often than not, a force for good in the world.

Thomas Friedman seems to have finally figured out why Donald Trump was elected President.

However, it was just not Trump's so-called "base" that elected him. Trump garnered 63 million popular votes. That was more than any Republican presidential candidate in history. More than Reagan. More than either Bush. More than McCain. More than Romney. Yes, the number of voters has grown. However, that is still worth thinking about. The Left and the liberal media want you to believe that Trump voters are out of the mainstream. No, it is the mainstream media that it out of the mainstream.

Can we expect that Thomas Friedman will soon be on the Trump Train?

Or is he just hedging his bets?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Quotas Over Quality?

Google was in the news last week for firing an employee who had posted a so-called "manifesto" on the company's intranet that took the company to task for its politically correct culture and the internal pressure to fill more positions in Google with women.

Of course, political correctness as defined by Google is inherently liberal and anti-conservative. Google also seems more interested in sentiments than in science based on the reaction to employee James Damore's views in his memo.

Damore titled his memo, "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber" and his major point was that Google's liberal political bias has led to the belief that all disparities in representation in job positions at Google are due to oppression. It therefore follows at Google that quotas are necessary to correct the oppression. Units and teams are pressured to add women and other minorities to staff tech jobs and managers are held accountable to the quotas.

Google is feeling pressure on the issue because of its workforce demographics. Their only answer seems to be to create quotas for women and other minorities.

Men are 69% of the workforce. Women are only 31%. 56% are White, 35% are Asian and only 4% are Hispanic and 2% Black.

Damore didn't even dare to address ethnicity issues in his memo.

However, he did question whether the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women are partially due to biological causes and that these differences may partially explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech jobs and at Google.

Google's closed-minded, liberal bias seems to have been confirmed by the firing of Damore.

On the other hand, Damore's description of the scientific disparities in the biological and brain differences between men and women has been confirmed in several analyses of the memo by PhD's in sexual neuroscience that I have read.

For example, consider the comments about the memo from Debra Soh, who holds a PhD in sexual neuroscience from New York University in an op-ed in The Globe and Mail.

Despite how it’s been portrayed, the memo was fair and factually accurate. Scientific studies have confirmed sex differences in the brain that lead to differences in our interests and behaviour.
As mentioned in the memo, gendered interests are predicted by exposure to prenatal testosterone – higher levels are associated with a preference for mechanically interesting things and occupations in adulthood. Lower levels are associated with a preference for people-oriented activities and occupations. This is why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to be dominated by men.

It is ironic that on this issue the ones who say we should embrace science are denying science.

Some intentionally deny the science because they are afraid it will be used to justify keeping women out of STEM. But sexism isn’t the result of knowing facts; it’s the result of what people choose to do with them.
This is exactly what the mob of outrage should be mobilizing for, instead of denying biological reality and being content to spend a weekend doxxing a man so that he would lose his job. At this point, as foreshadowed in Mr. Damore’s manifesto, we should be more concerned about viewpoint diversity than diversity revolving around gender.

I have written in these pages before of the need to get more American students interested in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines.

Why are 35% of Google employees Asian? They are much more likely to major in the STEM subjects.

Only 1 in 6 American students are majoring in the STEM subjects. On the other hand, 1 in 3 foreign students in American universities are majoring in STEM.

Women only comprise 16% of engineering majors in our universities. What are they more likely to major in? Anthropology, Archeology, Art History, Communications, Philosophy. Of course, Gender Studies is also on that list as I wrote about recently.

 This is a problem I have been writing about since 2011 in these pages.
Since women have traditionally been less likely to select STEM studies this has also exacerbated the technical skills problem in higher education. More needs to be done to encourage girls in these fields...
Is Google willing to sacrifice quality for quotas?

Has that become the only answer in order to lift up the unrepresented?

Unfortunately, that seems to be the case all too often.

It is even be taken to surreal extremes in a school district in Virginia.

It recently sent a letter to parents stating that it was going to implement a new system by which advanced Honors and AP classes would not longer be determined solely on merit but by proportional representation. How is proportional representation defined in Winchester, Virginia?
40% White, 35% Hispanic, 12% African American, 10% Mixed Race.

I wonder what Asian Americans are supposed to do in Winchester?

Why is this being done at this school?  This is a direct quote from the letter.

Winchester Public Schools, like many division across the country, continue to see outcomes that are disproportionate by race and social class. American demographic trends indicate that America will be an majority minority nation in the next 25 years. Therefore, the new work of American public schools is to develop systems to address disparate outcomes.

I thought the system that was supposed to be in place in public schools was to educate. Challenge students and lift them up. That is the way you address disparate outcomes. Is that done by giving everyone an A or deciding that the most advanced classes are awarded based on race or color?

By the way, after this story made headlines due to a parent in Winchester sharing the letter, the Superintendent of Schools for Winchester, VA denied that there was any plan for ethnic or race quotas for enrollment in advanced courses.

However, here is the exact wording in the letter as reported by The Winchester Star. (go to the bottom for the sub-heading "Equity Work"). You be the judge of the school's words.

Through our collective work, advanced classes such as AP and Honors will have proportional representation. Proportional representation is 40% White, 35% Hispanic, 12% African American, 10% mixed race.

We live in a very strange time.

Quotas over quality?

How does anyone become great that way?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Medicaid Migraine

In 2013, before the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, there were 72 million people enrolled in the Medicaid program at some point during the year.

Let's put that number in context.

The population of the United States is currently 326 million.

That means almost one in four Americans were on Medicaid before it was expanded under Obamacare.

Compare that to other familiar social programs.

There are only 58 million people on Medicare.

There are only 41 million retired workers receiving Social Security old age benefits. 

That 72 million number before Obamacare took effect has now grown to 98 million in 2017---an increase of 36% in the number of enrollees.

By 2026, the CBO estimates it will be 110 million. That means roughly one out of three Americans will be on Medicaid at some point in time during the year. That would also represent an additional 38 million on Medicaid than before Obamacare expanded eligibility.

Keep this in mind when you hear the CBO state that 23 million would "lose coverage" by 2027 under any of the GOP bills to repeal and replace Obamacare. 

At the time that Obamacare was passed, the CBO projected that 71 million people would be on Medicaid at some point in 2017. Bear in mind, this assumed that all states would expand Medicaid eligibility. The actual number this year---98 million.  And we are supposed to believe the CBO projections on the effect of a repeal and replacement bill?

The sad truth is that Medicaid is eating a large hole into the federal budget as well as the budgets of many states.

Consider my home state of Ohio.

Medicaid payments accounted for 37.7% of all expenditures in the annual Ohio budget for the fiscal 2015 year (the most recent year for which comparisons with other states is available).

That is the highest proportion of all 50 states. These are the 5 states with the highest percentages of their budgets going to Medicaid. The average for all states is now 29%.

It does make you wonder what Governor John Kasich (a supposed fiscal conservative) was thinking when he circumvented the state legislature and expanded Medicaid in Ohio.

If you want to know why education, roads, libraries and law enforcement have trouble getting their fair share of state budget dollars today, look no further than increases in Medicaid spending.

Everything else suffers when one item in the budget expands from 9.8% to 37.7% of total state expenditures over 30 years.

Jason Hall in The National Review has an excellent background article on what the Obamacare expansion has done to Ohio and why hospitals around the country are lobbying so hard to keep the Medicaid expansion money flowing their way.

The total cost of Medicaid expansion in Ohio---$400 million every month of taxpayer dollars. That is almost $5 BILLION per year in added costs for just one state because of Obamacare.

Kasich projected that 447,000 would actually enroll at the time it was implemented back in 2014. The actual numbers---725,000.

Do you hear that giant sucking sound?

Those are your tax dollars going to pay those Medicaid bills.

All of it gives me a migraine and it should give you one as well.

It is unaffordable. It is unsustainable. It is untenable in the effects it is having on other state services.

Most of the attention about Obamacare repeal is on the individual mandate and exchanges. However, Medicaid is a far bigger problem looking to the future.

The current Medicaid framework must be replaced. It is a key piece of the prescription to fix our health care system.

How is it going to get done?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Observations on Opioids

President Trump drew attention to the opioid crisis today in a briefing in response to a recent report from a Presidential Commission appointed by Trump that deems opioid addiction a "national emergency".

I wrote about the epidemic of drug deaths in the United States last year when I pointed out that the latest data had shown that the age-adjusted mortality rate had actually increased in 2015.

This was a total surprise in a country where medical advances have meant that mortality rates have been routinely dropping for years upon years.

Experts have blamed the massive increase in deaths from overdoses as the reason for the mortality rate increase.You get a sense of why this could occur by looking at this graphic depiction of the increase in drug overdose deaths by county across the United States between 2004 and 2014.

It has only gotten worse since 2014 when this graphic was produced.

A big reason for the increase in drug overdose deaths is due to opioids. I would guess that most people were not even familiar with the term 10 years ago. They might have heard of heroin but were less likely to consider some of the other varieties of opiates that involve prescription drugs ---morphine, OyxContin, Percocet, Vicodin, and fentanyl.

Credit: CDC
As you can see, drug overdose deaths involving opioids is nearly 10 per 100,000. This is 3 times the number in 2000.

During the Obama Administration we heard a lot about the need to control guns. We did not hear much about controlling drugs. This is despite the fact that overall deaths by guns was not increasing at anything close to the death from drugs. You would never have known it by listening to the President or watching the evening news.

You might be interested to know that the death rate just from opioid overdoses is now almost equal to those from both motor vehicles and guns. However, these death rates are declining or holding steady while drugs overdose deaths have exploded.

For all drug overdoses, the death rate per 100,000 is 16.3. For males, the death rate is 20.8.

Credit: CDC

In other words, the average American is 60% more likely to die from a drug overdose this year than from either a gun or a motor vehicle accident.  

It is indeed a national emergency that has gotten scant media attention compared to guns or cars.

I have found it interesting that those arguing that Obamacare should not be repealed are pointing to the opioid crisis as a reason to leave the law alone. They point to the need for Medicaid to treat patients with addictions.

However, Sam Adolphsen of The National Review recently asked the interesting question as to whether the expansion of Medicaid was actually partly responsible for adding to the opioid crisis. 

Medicaid hasn’t proven to be the antidote for the opioid epidemic ravaging America, but it just might be adding more poison. Much opposition to the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare has coalesced around a dubious talking point that Medicaid expansion is the best way to fix the opioid crisis. 

What if the Medicaid expansion is actually responsible for expanding the opioid problem?

While Medicaid may in some cases provide additional treatment options for an addict who is willing to engage, it also provides a “free” plastic card loaded with unlimited government funds that often increases access to opioids.

Is it just a coincidence that the seven states with the highest drug-overdose death rates (West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts were also among the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare?

In addition, studies conducted by the CDC indicate that prescribing rates for those on Medicaid are twice as high as for those on private insurance. 

Have we actually fueled the opioid problem by providing people an easier path to these drugs through a prescription card?

Let's consider my home state of Ohio. Obamacare has been responsible for more than 700,000 adults being added to the Medicaid rolls since 2013. 

Between 2013 (the year before Medicaid expansion) and 2015, deaths from opioid overdoses in the state increased by 44%! This year the state of Ohio is currently on pace to have as many deaths from opioid overdoses as the entire nation did in 1990.

What would explain such a dramatic increase in just a couple of years?

The sad truth about opioid addiction today is that many are becoming addicted through regularly-prescribed prescriptions. Half of all deaths are due to overdoses of prescribed medications. Others get hooked on prescription opioids and gravitate to street heroin and other opiates.

It is just not young people who are succumbing to these drugs. It is affecting all ages. In fact, the highest rates of drug-induced deaths are for those age 55-64.

Over the years I have found that most liberal ideas are well meaning and well intentioned. Medicaid expansion is probably one of them.

In a theoretical laboratory these ideas make a lot of sense. I think that is why so many academics are liberal. The ideas make such great sense in the classroom or a textbook.  Unfortunately, in the real world these ideas must face reality. 

A reality where human beings make decisions based on incentives or disincentives relative to their own self-interest. A reality where unintended consequences often have much greater effects than the intended consequences. 

Are we seeing that effect in the opioid crisis?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

An English Lesson

President Trump teamed up with Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) this past week to propose revising the law with respect to who can legally immigrate to the United States of America.

The proposed legislation would move the United States to a "merit based" immigration system and away from the current system that is largely based on family ties.

First, a little context on immigration into the United States that you may not receive on the evening news.

  • Although the United States has less than 5% of the world's population, 20% of all international migrants reside in the United States.
  • 45 million immigrants currently live in the United States. This is 4 times as many who live in any other country in the world.
  • Approximately 1 million immigrants are granted legal permanent residency status in the United States per year. 10.7 million were granted permanent status over the last 10 ten years.

Most of the 1 million that receive "legal permanent residency status" (green cards) get it today because of family relationships. In addition, 50,000 are admitted per year in a Diversity Visa Lottery. 

For 2017, 19.3 million people from around the world applied for those coveted 50,000 spots. 156 million have applied over the last 10 years. This represents about half of the population of the United States today.

It should be apparent in looking at these numbers why the United States needs a strong and well-considered immigration policy. It also needs to be well-enforced. 

Credit: pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/24/applications-for-u-s-visa-lottery-more-than-doubled-since-2007/

Most of the 1 million immigrants who are accepted into the United States for legal permanent residency every year are low or unskilled workers. This has had the effect of depressing wages in the lower wage classes. All of this puts great pressure on our welfare systems.

The White House wants to establish a new legal immigration system that would favor immigrants who are educated, speak English and have high-paying job offers.

As President Trump explained it, new immigrants must be able to “financially support themselves and their families.”

The proposed legislation would continue to favor immediate family members of United States residents, including spouses and young children. However, it would end prioritization for extended family members and adult children of residents.

As you might expect, the liberal media immediately attacked the proposal as "racist"or "unfair". The most high profile attack was from CNN reporter Jim Acosta who seemed to be particularly upset with the proposal to favor those who speak English.

Acosta accosted (sorry, I couldn't resist using that word here) Trump aide Steven Miller in a briefing about the bill by reading a passage from a poem that is at the base of the Statute of Liberty.

“The Statue of Liberty says, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ It doesn’t say anything about speaking English, or being … a computer programmer. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them they have to speak English? Can't people learn how to speak English when they get here?”

It certainly is true that people can learn English when they get here. However, if they cannot speak English they are almost certainly going to be relegated to lower paying jobs in our economy. As a result, they are going to be at greater risk of being on welfare, food stamps or Medicaid. They are also going to depress wages of lower-educated Americans who will also be forced to be more reliant on welfare. It is basic economics.

Mr. Acosta also does not seem to understand the rationale behind or the history of immigration that went on at Ellis Island where the Statue of Liberty stands. By the way, the immigration facility at Ellis Island was not opened until 1892. The Statue of Liberty had been installed there in 1886. Acosta seems to think the Statue was erected in respect of immigration.

It is nice poem but the fact is, as Michael Barone points out, "the most tired and poor seldom made it to the United States, because they lacked the money or the heartiness to afford or weather even steerage passage on a trans-Atlantic steamship."

Our immigration laws for most of our history have had strict requirements. Those with communicable disease have been barred as have those who were not literate or did not have a financial guarantor. Anarchists, polygamists and beggars have been ruled ineligible to immigrate into our country.  In fact, the immigration law of 1906 added a knowledge of English as a basic requirement for immigrants. What is being proposed is not new.

The bottom line for almost all of our history has been that immigrants had to be healthy and able to financially support themselves or they were turned away. You can see for yourself what the entrance requirements were in 1903 at Ellis Island here.

Why have an immigration policy at all? The only logical reason is to improve your country by importing human talent that will provide a benefit to the nation. This is the thinking that drove our immigration policy for most of our history. Immigrants with illness or who could not support themselves and their families were turned away. Often this was at Ellis Island after they had already faced an arduous journey here by ship. Those who were willing to work and contribute to our country were welcomed. Others were sent home. Why should it be any different today?

Acosta also does not seem to understand other things as well. He seems to think that speaking English is something that only people from Great Britain or Australia can handle.

“This whole notion … that they have to learn English before they get to the United States, are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?” he said.

This is where Steven Miller put one of the best smackdowns of a reporter I have seen of late on Jim Acosta. I guess you could say that Miller accosted Acosta.

“I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English,” Miller said. “It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree.”
“This is an amazing moment, this is an amazing moment. That you think only people from Great Britain and Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hard-working immigrants who do speak English from all over the world.”

Steven Miller knows of what he speaks. A little English lesson for you that Miller already knows.

All of this information is from The Language Blog, "Which Countries Have The Most English Speakers".

There are 840 million people who speak English in the world.

Just 268 million are in the United States. Just 225 million of those speak it as a first language. I found both of these numbers interesting because there are 326 million people in the United States.

That means that there are 58 million people in the United States that cannot speak English at all.

In addition, only 70% of the population of the United States uses English as a first language.

Here is a chart showing the countries with the most people who can speak English.

India has twice as many people who can speak English as in the UK.

There are more English speakers in India, Pakistan and the Phillipines than in the United States and UK, combined.

Notice that Australia and New Zealand do not even make the list for countries with the most English speakers.

Of course, speaking English and speaking it well are two different things. (In fact, the English probably do not think we Americans do a particularly good job with it.)

For most people outside of the U.S, U.K., Australia and New Zealand it is only a second language. The proficiency for others is not as polished as it would be as a native tongue.

The countries that have the highest proficiency in English are generally the Scandinavian countries. For example, 90% of those in The Netherlands speak English and their overall proficiency is rated high.

Is it unreasonable to consider the ability to speak English as a factor in our immigration policy?

You should also know that the ability to speak English is already a requirement to become a naturalized United States citizen.

Does it make sense to bring people to this country to be permanent residents who have not already shown a commitment to one of the core requirements for citizenship?

You have the facts.

Judge for yourself.