Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Supreme Court Is Not Everything

Democrats and Liberals are in full meltdown mode upon the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement.

Why is that?

The tweet below gives the real reason why the Liberals are melting down.

The Supreme Court is everything.


I thought the Constitution was everything in The United States of America.

Why is the Supreme Court everything to Liberals?

The Democrats know that without the Supreme Court "making law" they have little hope in realizing their progressive ideals. They have generally failed in establishing any of their agenda through Constitutional means. Most everything they care about in the last 30 years did not come from legislation or constitutional amendment but by the opinions of five Supreme Court justices. Look no further than abortion and gay marriage as prime examples. Or the affirmation of the constitutionality of Obamacare.

There was a time when the Constitution meant something. It was respected for what it was. So were the limitations that were carefully crafted into the document by the Framers. Even when there was pretty compelling language in the Constitution to bend it to the "current times" it was ruled out of bounds. Has something been lost?

Consider a few examples in our history.

President Lincoln had effectively abolished slavery through his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 but he still believed in the necessity of following Constitutional standards and proposing the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.

Lincoln's effort in this regard is the subject of the 2012 movie "Lincoln". Why did he see the need to go though all of that effort when it could have been done by the Courts or by letting his Emancipation Proclamation do the job? He did it because he wanted the legitimacy of the process. He wanted something lasting and permanent.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution provides that Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes. Nevertheless, the income tax law of 1892 was ruled unconstitutional because it was considered outside the power of Congress. The 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913 to allow it.

There is also nothing in the Constitution signed by the Framers that precluded women from voting. All references in the document were to people, not men.  However, the culture and custom was generally for only males to vote. Nevertheless, it took the 19th Amendment in 1920 before it became the law of the land. Interestingly, 15 states (beginning with Wyoming in 1870) granted women the right to vote before adoption of the 19th Amendment.  Since voter eligibility was an issue left to the states (in that it was not specifically enumerated in the Constitution by the Framers) women in these states voted in both state and federal elections before 1920.

Was the Constitution designed to change with time? Of course. That is what the amendment process is for (Article V).  The Framers in their wisdom also considered this carefully.  They did not want it amended for some passing fancy.  Nor did they want a small majority to change the key foundations of the governing document to the detriment of a significant minority.  Therefore, 2/3 of both the House and Senate can come together and propose any amendment.  They do not even need the President to concur.  Alternatively, 2/3 of the states can come together and call a convention to propose their own amendments and bypass Congress completely. You don't even need the President or Congress in this method.

 If the amendment is ratified by 3/4 of the states it is adopted as part of the Constitution.


If the American people want a federal government with expansive power they can have it. They can allow gay marriage. Or ban it in all 50 states. The same with abortion. They can ban the use of alcohol or repeal the ban and allow it again. They can provide a constitutional right to marijuana or other drugs. They can require everyone to buy health insurance or anything else.

However, it is simply not within the power of a handful of judges to suddenly discover fundamental rights that have somehow been hidden in the Constitution for over 200 years and start applying them to 325 million citizens by fiat.

That is why there is an amendment process to the Constitution.  It is hard and it was meant to be hard.
However, what the Democrats have not been able to gain at the voting booth they have chosen to win at the Supreme Court.

That is why the Supreme Court is everything to Liberals. Every new appointment to the Supreme Court that President Trump makes puts their agenda at risk. They know that they do not have the support of the necessary majorities of American voters to support and extend their progressive agenda. They do not want to follow the Constitution to get there. Our Founders wanted a clear consensus before we made radical changes to the rules that governed us. The Democrats simply don't want to wait and do the heavy lifting necessary to get what they want.

They may find out that was a bad strategy. What the Supreme Court gives it can also take away. The only sure way to change America is to change the Constitution. The Founders provided a way to do that. The Democrats thought they had found an easier way. However, the Supreme Court is not everything. The Constitution is everything.

If you want to know a major reason why the country is so divided right now look no further than what the Supreme Court has done to undermine our constitutional principles. It has moved the country before it was ready to move to support that progressive agenda.

For the Democrats, the stakes are even higher with Justice Kennedy's replacement than they were with the Gorsuch appointment. Gorsuch replaced Scalia which many saw as an even trade from a judicial balance perspective. Kennedy has been a swing vote on many issues meaning that his replacement with a more conservative jurist raises the stakes considerably. You can expect a contentious confirmation process no matter who Trump nominates.

Of course, none of this will compare to what we should expect when Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 85) or another of the four liberal justices needs to be replaced. If the Democrats were crying when Kennedy submitted his resignation I hate to think what their state of mind will be if Trump would need to replace Ginsburg or one of the other liberals.

To give you a sense of how the stakes involving the confirmation of Supreme Court justices has changed over the last 30 years, look at this graphic on the "Votes for Supreme Court Justices". As you can see, there is not much bipartisanship left when it comes to confirming our justices.

Adam White, who is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institute, puts it all in perspective.

I would say it differently.

The Supreme Court is not everything.

The Constitution is everything.

It is time that everyone recognized that.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Silent Majority

The term "The Silent Majority" was first used in the late 1960's to describe the mass of Americans who supported Richard Nixon's first Presidential bid but who were not politically outspoken, vocal or active.

However, they did vote. Their votes allowed Nixon to defeat Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 Presidential election. That year saw a lot of protests and anger about a number of issues-civil rights and the Vietnam War chief among them-but Nixon prevailed against the much more vocal activists on the left.

It seems to me that a similar dynamic is going on right now in America. The last several years have seen a lot of noise from fringe groups that are given outsized attention by the Mainstream Media. Black Lives Matter. Occupy Wall Street. Antifa. Hollywood celebrities. NFL players who don't stand for the National Anthem.

However, every day and in every way, the work of America goes on. Farmers tend their fields. Truckers drive their routes. Grocers stack their shelves. Nurses care for their patients. The people who keep America going do not generally have time to protest, pontificate or be prickly about political issues. They generally are too busy trying to support their families, pay their taxes and be good citizens of their community.

The Silent Majority may not be visible and vocal but it is a mistake to think that they don't care or are not willing to stand up when they see that their country is heading in the wrong direction.

It became very clear to me that The Silent Majority was still in place in this country back in 2012 when leftists tried to boycott Chick-fil-A because its CEO expressed support for traditional marriage. What did The Silent Majority do? They responded by supporting a Buy-cott of Chick-fil-A on August 1, 2012.

The boycott failed miserably as throngs of The Silent Majority flooded Chick-fil-A on that day. Many waited hours in line to get a chicken sandwich. I was one of them

The Silent Majority lined up to eat at Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, August 1, 2012
Port Charlotte, FL

That day gave me renewed confidence that all was not lost during the Obama years. The vote in November, 2012 tested my beliefs but the election of Donald Trump in 2016 reaffirmed to me that there still existed a Silent Majority who wanted to "Make America Great Again". They were not ready to turn the country over to socialists and leftists who found faults in everything in America and wanted to remake it in their idealized image.

2016 showed that The Silent Majority was still interested in defending the Constitution, the rule of law, the American economy, our border and the men and women who serve in uniform.

You would think that defending each of these would be easy for any American. However, the Democrats seemed to have lost their way on each of these core issues. What have they become when they are openly rooting for a recession? What have they become when they seem to care more about the "rights" of illegal immigrants than the rights of American citizens? What have they become when they want peace talks with North Korea to fail? What have they become when they are encouraging people to "harass" officials in the President's administration?

Political scientist Thomas Schaller recently opined that he thinks we are at "the beginning of a soft civil war" in the United States.  To see the recent actions of the Left it is easy to make that case.

Of course, the Left argues that Trump started it all. However, they seem to forget that 62 million votes from The Silent Majority and 306 electoral votes from 31 states put Trump in office. When they attack Trump they are effectively attacking those 62 million members of The Silent Majority.

Trump has famously stated that he could do almost anything and he would retain his support of that Silent Majority. My advice to Trump is that he should not get carried away with himself. Nixon showed that the support of The Silent Majority can be short-lived if there is misconduct and you continue on a path that the majority determines is ill-advised (Vietnam War). However, if Trump continues to do what he says he was going to do when he ran for election (and stays out of new -found troubles) I think he will continue to retain that support.

If you doubt the strength of that support take a look at this graphic that shows the job approval of all Presidents since Truman at the 500 day mark from their own party. Only Bush 43 (in the aftermath of 9/11) had stronger support than Trump. This is also despite incessant 24/7 negative Mainstream Media coverage. When have you seen this information in any coverage?

The New York Times and other members of the Mainstream Media apparently cannot understand why Trump's core support remains so strong. It is because Trump is merely doing what he said he would do. Why is that so hard for liberals to understand? I believe it is because that is not the way they understand the political game is supposed to be played. That is especially true for liberal Democrats.

Look no further than Barack Obama as candidate compared to President Barack Obama. I wrote a blog about all of this called "President Opposite". Candidate Obama was against gay marriage (wink-wink). He was going to bring everyone together (wink-wink). He was going to set a new bipartisan tone in Washington (wink-wink). He was going to lift millions of people out of poverty (wink-wink). He was going to reduce everyone's healthcare costs by $2,500 per year (wink-wink).

Cynics would say that this is the only way that liberal Democrats (are there any other kind of Democrat right now?) can get elected today. If they truly ran on what they believed they would never be able to garner the votes required to be elected in anything other than liberal enclaves.

I have often referred to the book "The Fourth Turning" in my blog posts over the years. In May, 2016 I even asked the question of whether The Fourth Turning had brought us Donald Trump? If you have not read this blog post read it and see what you think. If you read it previously, read it again now that you have some additional perspective on the subject. After all, despite the continuing disbelief of the Left and the Mainstream Media, Trump did WIN.

William Strauss and Neil Howe make the point in that book that the last 60 years have been an era where things generally never got settled. There were not true winners or losers. There was no winner in the Korean War or the Vietnam War. Issues like abortion and gay marriage have never been settled the way the Founders designed them to be settled---with a Constitutional Amendment. The result has been a lot of division and diversity of opinion. All of that has left us divided when we need to be united.

When Strauss and Howe wrote The Fourth Turning over 20 years ago they predicted that we would enter an era beginning in 2005 that they referred to as the fourth turning where the populace and culture would begin to insist on finality. Consensus would form on many of the big issues we faced. It is the only way that society can move forward. There are times that society will surely fail if it remains divided. Fourth Turnings (that occur about every 80 years) require a unity of thought and purpose for a society to survive. Think of the Revolutionary War period. The Civil War. The Depression and World War II. These were all separated by roughly 80 years.

In 1860 it became clear that the issue of slavery in the United States had to be decided once and for all. It was not enough to merely prevent its further spread. It had to be torn up by its roots. There could be no compromise. One side would win. One would lose. That is the only way a true war ends. There is finality. The fight is completely taken out of the losing side forever.

I don't know how this "civil war"  will end. However, I know that it will only end when one side is thoroughly defeated and demoralized. That is the lesson we learn from history.

I also know that The Silent Majority will determine who wins. Fringe players may make a lot of noise but it is the will (and votes) of The Silent Majority that will determine the outcome in this "civil war".

That is why I see the 2018 mid-term elections as so important to determining where we are headed.

Will the Democrats see the resurgence which is normal in a mid-term election of the opposing party to the President?

What does it portend for the Democrats if a blue wave does not materialize and the GOP builds on its gains of the last eight years?

Don't pay attention to the noise.

Pay attention to what The Silent Majority thinks and does.

That is where the power of America has always been. And that is where it remains.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Deeply Disturbing and Dangerous

A month ago I wrote about the mounting successes that Donald Trump has had and the declining number of NeverTrumpers there were in the Republican party. I specifically profiled the conversion of Glenn Beck in that blog post.

Since that time, Trump had his successful meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore and the Justice Department's Inspector General has released his report showing the disparate treatment of the DOJ and FBI in their investigations of Trump and Hillary Clinton. More and more Americans see the Mueller investigation to be what Trump calls it---a witch hunt.

Yes, Trump has taken a PR beating on the issue of the child separation issue on the border. However, as I explained here, the Trump administration's treatment of the children is essentially no different than Obama's. Few understand that the entire problem has largely resulted from Obama's liberal use of the asylum rules that created a massive influx of people and children from Central America to our border. The only real difference is that Obama was releasing hundreds of thousands of illegals into our country without regard to existing law.

In addition, do you think it is coincidental that the entire child separation issue suddenly materialized at exactly the same time the IG Report was being released and right after the Singapore summit?

As a wise friend of mine used to say.

"There is such a thing as coincidence. However, it is very, very rare."

In my earlier post I pointed out that the mounting successes of Trump would mean the Democrats, the Deep State and the leftists would get increasingly desperate.

The Democrats and Deep State seem to get more desperate by the day. Their entire world is being turned upside down. They told everyone that Trump would be a disaster.  Every day that passes with another Trump success destroys that narrative. Instead of more "Never Trumpers" we are seeing more voters who are seeing what is happening with their own eyes. There are more Glenn Beck's out there and that has to really scare the Democrats and the Deep State.

Since Trump first gained the GOP nomination they have been determined to find something or do something to drive Trump from office. There is not much they have not thrown at him over the last two years. I am still amazed that Trump is not only standing but succeeding. It would not surprise me to see the attacks get even more ferocious in the coming weeks.

Desperate people do desperate things.

Keep all of this in mind as we look for what might be next.

We live in interesting... and dangerous... times.

Let's just look at a few things that have transpired since I wrote that passage last month to show you how desperate and dangerous those on the left are becoming.

We had Robert DeNiro make a spectacle of himself on live TV at the Tony Awards.

“I’m going to say one thing: f**k Trump,” said De Niro, prompting many in the crowd to rise to their feet. As they applauded and cheered, he continued, “It’s no longer ‘down with Trump.’ It’s ‘f**k Trump.’”

Even worse than DeNiro's actions, the audience gave him a rousing standing ovation?

A Democrat state legislator posted this on Facebook to welcome Vice President Pence to Philadelphia.  How ironic that this guy represents people in the City of Brotherly Love.

A Congressional intern shouted F**k you to the President of the United States as Donald Trump walked through the Capitol Rotunda.

Former NBA Hall of Fame great Kevin McHale is being threatened and liberals are attempting to have him fired from his tv analyst job because he was seen at President Trump's rally in Duluth, MN. Yes, he was merely seen. He was not heard. He did not speak and had no official role. He did nothing but attend the event and he supposedly can be found in the picture below. I never could find him. You would think a 6'10' man would stand out a little more. Where's Waldo? No, where's McHale?

The Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was harassed and harangued while having dinner at a Washington, DC restaurant by a number of liberal activists. Does it comes as a surprise that one of the Democrat Socialists of America who crashed the restaurant with chants and outbursts actually works for the Department of Justice.?

The DOJ employee defended herself by stating she was exercising her constitutional right of free speech. I guess Secretary Nielsen does not have any rights.

Finally, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was refused service at a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia because she works for the President of the United States.

When you see all of this you begin to think that Republican and Trump supporters should be added as a "protected class" to prevent discrimination being used against them.

I cautioned several weeks ago that desperate people do desperate things.

This is indeed desperate but is also deeply disturbing and dangerous.

I think it is time that those on the left take a deep breath and fully consider what they are doing.

Can you imagine if any of this had occurred during the Obama Presidency what the reaction would have been?

It is unthinkable.

What I do not understand is that there were millions and millions of people who were just as unhappy with the policies of Barack Obama for eight long years. Count me among them.

These people did shout profanities at him.

They did not threaten his supporters and try to take their livelihoods away from them.

They did not go into restaurants and shout at his cabinet officers while they ate dinner.

They did not refuse to serve them.

They did not threaten to boycott those that they did not agree with.

They did it the American way.

They went out and voted and sent a message that they were not pleased with the direction the country was headed under the direction of Obama and the Democrats.

The result was the largest turnover from Democrats to Republicans officeholders in history in such a short span of time.

Looked at across the political landscape, the Democrats lost over 1,000 political offices to Republicans between 2008 and 2016 including the House, the Senate and the Presidency.

The Washington Post shows the bigger picture in this graphic.

Credit: The Washington Post

You would think the Democrats might learn something from the experience?

They apparently haven't.

There is another way. There is another path. It worked for the Republicans.

Those of us who were not happy with Obama's policies got out and voted and turned his policies around. Apparently, Democrats think the answer is to just get vicious and vile.

Is it that the Democrats just don't have anything positive to sell to the American people?

Is that why they are on this deeply disturbing and dangerous path?

Let's hope this will soon pass.

If it doesn't, I truly fear where this path leads.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Trump and Immigration

There is no issue in America that Donald Trump has had a bigger impact on than illegal immigration.

As I have written before, there is no way that Donald Trump would have been elected President without his strong stance on this issue.

It separated Trump from the pack of 17 other GOP candidate during the primaries and it was a defining issue during the general election.

Illegal immigration is a powerful issue because most Americans see it as fundamentally unfair. Americans are not anti-immigrant. However, they care about the rule of law, and most importantly, they believe in a even playing field. Both the rule of law and fairness have been ignored by every Presidential administration over the last 30 years.

I dare say that the average American has a much better understanding of the harmful effects of illegal immigration than the average politician or Washington bureaucrat. Each year they have seen the problems compound with the steady influx of illegals in their everyday experiences at the grocery store, at the mall, at the their children's school and at work.

In June, 2016 I wrote about an interesting poll that I had seen that I suggested could be a hint that Trump might surprise the political pundits in the November election in much the same way that Brexit had surprised those in Great Britain.

The poll was conducted by San Diego's Union Tribune and KGTV-TV. What really surprised me were the responses on illegal immigration at that time.

Bear in mind this poll was conducted in San Diego County which has a large Hispanic population. It is also in California which is probably the most predictably liberal Democrat state in the union.

This is what I wrote almost exactly two years ago.

In that survey, when asked if people who entered the United States illegally should be allowed to stay or be deported, by a margin of 54%-34% the respondents said they should be deported.
That is pretty astounding when you consider that we are talking about San Diego County, California.
Let's look at the demographics of San Diego County.
33% of the county's residents are Hispanic. That is almost double the national average.
Only 46% are white compared to 62% for the nation at large.
Obama beat Romney 53%-45% in San Diego County in 2012.
Obama beat McCain 54%-44% in 2008.
Republicans were in favor of deportation in the poll 76%-16%. Independents favored deportation 58%-38%. Democrats said let them stay by 52%-34%.
More interesting was the fact that Hispanics favored deportation by 52%-38%. That is almost the same as Whites at 52%-35%.
Even more interesting is that by a 48%-34% margin the survey respondents who supported deportation stated that all illegal immigrants, including children born in the U.S. of illegals, should be deported. 66% of Hispanics who supported deportation held this view compared to only 45% of Whites.
However, the most interesting factoid in the survey was this response.
61% of those favoring deportation (that is still over 30% of the entire survey sample) would be personally willing to pay an additional $4,000 in taxes to pay for the estimated $500 billion it would cost to identify, round up and deport the illegal immigrants in this country. 
I don't know where this ends but when that number of people in one of the most Hispanic counties in the United States (ranked 8th for % of Hispanics in the U.S. ) says that they would dig into their own pockets to pay for deportation tells me something.

Of course, we now know that Trump did use the immigration issue, among others, to win the Presidency. He has also fundamentally changed the conversation on illegal immigration in the country.

In the process he also has had a tremendous impact on how Republican candidates speak on the issue of illegal immigration. Before Trump came along it was rare to hear a GOP candidate speak about building a border wall or challenging cities that declare themselves to be sanctuary cities. You now see very few serious Republican candidates that do not have these issues as centerpieces of their campaigns.

We often do not appreciate how much difference one man can make. Trump has been that difference on the issue of illegal immigration.

If you need further proof look at the vote in the House of Representatives today on the Goodlatte bill involving illegal immigration.

Recall that it was five short years ago that the United States Senate passed the "Gang of Eight" immigration amnesty bill by a vote of 68-32. That bill would have allowed 12 million illegal immigrants to receive amnesty and be allowed to have a pathway to citizenship while doing very little to secure the border and reform the broken immigration system that relies on chain migration and a lottery for most of the over 1 million green cards given out every year. In fact, it would have increased the number of green cards given out each year.

That bill was never voted on in the House for two reasons. First, angry voters overwhelmed the offices of their GOP representatives with complaints about the bill. Second, House Speaker Boehner believed that the bill might pass if put to a vote with full Democrat support joined by moderate Republicans.

Congress has still not made progress on comprehensive immigration reform but the dynamics of the debate has shifted. Amnesty is a really dirty word now and chain migration and the lottery system are being questioned.

Consider the Goodlatte bill that was voted on today. It did not pass the House but it only needed 20 more votes to do so. Before Trump was elected I doubt that bill would have gotten support from more than 100 members. By the way, it did not get one Democrat vote. A second compromise bill was pulled from a vote because Speaker Ryan does not appear to have the votes. A few moderate Republicans might support it but more conservative GOP members will likely not. It is not expected to get any Democrat votes either.

The Goodlatte bill was referred to by the media as the "hard line conservative" bill. It would have provided 690,000 DACA illegals the opportunity to stay in the U.S. but there would be no pathway to citizenship. It also would do away with the visa lottery, end chain migration except for spouses and children and provide $30 billion for a border wall.

When you take a step back you begin to see what an enormous impact Donald Trump has had on this issue by comparing where we were with the "Gang of Eight" compared to "Goodlatte".

You also gain a better understanding of the political dimensions of this issue when you look at another poll that was recently conducted by McLaughlin & Associated for the Tea Party Patriots among 1000 likely 2018  mid-term election voters.

This was the summary conclusion that stood out to me.

By overwhelming margins, voters in virtually every subgroup strongly believe that it
is not fair or right to allow a particular group of illegal immigrants to “jump the line”
and be awarded the benefits of legal status and a potential pathway to US citizenship
before the hundreds of thousands of potential legal immigrants who have followed the
law and waited for years and, in many cases, paid thousands of dollars to immigration
attorneys to ensure they are complying with US law.

This is a breakdown of the subgroups in that survey.

Notice that this survey is couched on the "fairness" issue that I believe that is so important in considering illegal immigration.

Look at the numbers of some traditional Democrat constituencies on whether it is "fair" to provide amnesty to those who "jumped the line" compared to others who have attempted to follow the law.

(Fair/Not Fair)

Liberals                          29%/50%                        

Hispanics                       19%/70%

African Americans        14%/64%

Supporting amnesty for a Republican is almost akin to just saying that you no longer want to serve in elected office. Only 8% of GOP voters think amnesty is fair. 87% believe it is unfair.

All of this causes Paul Mirengoff of Powerline to suggest that the GOP is playing with fire with any vote for amnesty of any kind. What is really funny is that the Democrats seem to believe that they are playing with fire if they don't vote for amnesty of all kinds.

My guess is that the Democrats are much more likely to be burned on this issue before the Republicans are.

How can you ultimately win on an issue if you are on the side of illegal aliens, illegality and unfairness over American citizens, the rule of law and fairness?

Donald Trump understands this better than anyone.

Due to Trump, many more are understanding it today.

At some point a Democrat politician might.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

It's For The Children

"We need to do it for the children."

You hear this a lot as a political argument.

It is used to justify all sorts of things. Property tax increases. Increases in welfare funding. Increases in teacher salaries, or today, protection of pension plans for teachers.

Nobody wants to do anything but the best for children and it is therefore easy to make children a political pawn.

For example, consider Medicaid spending. When there are discussions about curbing Medicaid spending you almost immediately hear that we can't do that because we will hurt the children. However. the reality is that the elderly receives the largest share of Medicaid spending.

Medicaid spent over $192 billion on people over age 65 last year. Bear in mind this is over and above the $672 billion in Medicare spending for the year.

Medicaid spent $68 billion on children ages 0-18.

On a per capita basis, Medicaid is spending 5 times as much on the elderly as we are on children. In fact, Medicaid spends 3 times as much on the elderly as it does on those between 18-64.

Since it is easy to use children as political pawns it should not be a surprise that the Democrats and the Mainstream Media have all of a sudden decided they should use the children of illegal immigrants to attack Donald Trump.

What is more heart wrenching than to think about the separation of a parent and child?

Never mind that the same basic procedures that involved the care of children of illegal aliens that were followed in the Bush and Obama administrations are still in use under Trump.

You might have seen this image that was circulating on social media and was picked up by some mainstream media outlets that was originally posted by former Obama Senior Advisor Jon Faveau allegedly showing children in cages.

There was only one problem---it was an image taken in 2014 when Obama was President. Favreau had to retract this tweet but the damage was done and we still hear about "children in cages".

For context, this gives you a better perspective of what the children's holding facility looks like in McAllen, Texas. Are these cages or just cost-effective interior walls?

Here is the same facility in 2014 after it was constructed to attempt to deal with the tens of thousands of children who flooded into the country during President Obama's second term.

You might remember the chaos that ensued during that period.


Why is this all an issue right now?

As stated above, the Democrats and the media see it as an excellent way to attack Donald Trump.

However, that does not fully explain their motives.

Most of the illegal immigrant children that end up being separated from their parents end up that way because their parents have applied for refugee asylum in the United States. If an illegal is caught with children in a non-asylum situation they are normally processed quickly with their children and returned to their home country.

Under Obama, it became easy for illegals to seek asylum in the United States. Historically, when we think of refugee status we think of people seeking asylum from political or religious persecution. Under our rules you also have to show that the government of the country you are leaving is complicit in the persecution or is unable to control the conduct of private actors.

During the Obama years more and more people were granted asylum for stating they were escaping gang violence, domestic violence and other forms of criminal behavior. As you might expect, once that word got out to others, more and more people showed up seeking asylum. In addition, if they were caught entering the country, illegals learned to say that they were seeking asylum.

Even better, for those claiming asylum, you were released on your own recognizance until your claim for asylum was investigated and a hearing was held. Since you had a pending claim you also were allowed to work and your children were reunited with you. This might allow you stay in the United States for years due to the backlog of asylum requests.

Even better than that, due to court rulings, if an illegal immigrant child is apprehended at the border with their parents they must be released within 20 days. Obama took the easy path and just released the "parents" and children into our population. This policy also became well understood with the result that more and more illegals showed up with children. Of course, many were not their children.

As you might expect, claims for asylum and the number of children showing up at the border have exploded since the Obama years.

Here are a few mind-blowing facts that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen shared with the National Sheriffs' Association Conference this week.

  • There are currently 600,000 asylum cases in backlog right now.
  • Before 2011, only 1% of those arriving illegally claimed credible fear and sought asylum. Today that number is 10 times higher.
  • From October, 2017 to February, 2018, DHS saw a staggering 315% increase in the number of illegal aliens fraudulently using children to pose as family units.
  • Since 1975 the United States has granted refugee asylum status to over 3 million people from around the world. 
  • Each year the United States typically admits two-thirds of the resettled refugees in the world. The United States grants more asylum requests than all the other countries for combined.

For further context, consider that we hear all the time in the news about Germany taking in so many refugees. However, last year Germany had 198,300 applications for asylum from refugees. The United States had 331,700---67% higher.

The Trump administration has attempted to put an end to this insanity. Returning sanity to the asylum process whereby we are protecting those that really need refugee status for political or religious persecution. Protecting children who have increasingly become part of a human trafficking scheme to aid illegal immigration. 

What you are seeing from the Democrats and the mainstream media is not so much concern for "the children" but contempt for Trump and the reversal of the dangerous policies of Barack Obama that brought us to where we are today.

Think about it for a second.

There are 600,000 asylum requests in backlog!

Is there anyone left in Latin America?

It used to be that most illegal immigrants who entered the United States were young males from Mexico seeking jobs. We were told we needed the labor and therefore we should overlook the illegal immigration.

In the last decade the flow is increasingly comprised of women, children and "family units" from Central America seeking "asylum". We are now told to overlook the illegal immigration because we are breaking up families.

Donald Trump is trying to do something about this lawlessness. He is trying his best to get Congress to live up to its responsibilities on this issue. He is trying his best to end the chaos on the border. Quite simply, there are many that do want him to succeed on this or any other issue.

If you think that all of this is for the children, think again.

Note: If you would like more background on the subject I recommend you read  "The Truth About Separating Kids" by Rich Lowry in the National Review.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Bewildered By Berkeley

No state is more reliably liberal than California.

And no city within California is more liberal than Berkeley.

Therefore, it should probably come as no surprise that last week the city council in Berkeley declared a "climate emergency" in their city. They have done so because they see an existential threat to mankind that they see as more significant than that of World War II. Accordingly, they are calling for a mobilization of people and resources to respond at a level commensurate with what was required during that global war.

In fact, World War II is not a big enough crisis to compare to the "climate emergency" they state we are in. This is the "greatest crisis in history" according to the Berkeley city council.

“[W]e can rise to the challenge of the greatest crisis in history by organizing politically to catalyze a national and global climate emergency effort, employing local workers in a mobilization effort building and installing renewable energy infrastructure,” the resolution says.

Let's put all of this in context and consider other crisis periods in human history.

World War II included the Holocaust as well requiring the use of the detonation of two nuclear weapons to bring the war to a close. Is is estimated that more than 60 million people died during the conflict.

The Great Plague of the 14th Century is estimated to have resulted in the deaths of 75 to 200 million people in Europe and Asia. It took 200 years for the population of the world to recover to its previous level before the outbreak.

The Mongol conquests in Asia between 1206 and 1368 resulted in an estimated 40 million deaths.

It is estimated that as many as 80 million people have died as the result of famines in communist countries since 1921 in the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cambodia and Ethiopia.

I could go on and on.

I dare say that the city council of Berkeley does not seem to understand what a true crisis is.

Of course, another important issue for the city council to take up last year was a resolution that passed calling for President Trump to be investigated for impeachment barely two months after he took office.

Besides the World War II mobilization effort, Berkeley's city council is also calling for efforts to "humanely stabilize population".

It seems that the liberals in Berkeley believe all would be well if there weren't so many of us. Of course, that is clearly meant to be you and me, not them. They seem to believe that if there were not so many people that we wouldn't have so much in the way of carbon emissions. In their world the cars we drive, the electricity we use, and the products we consume are all evil. They are convinced that human caused carbon emissions are responsible for climate change.

However, if that is the case then why do carbon emissions look like this in the first image that NASA produced from a satellite that was launched in 2014 to measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

Credit: Orbiting Carbon Observatory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology

Do you notice that there is a lot more carbon emissions in the Southern Hemisphere that has a lot fewer people than there are in the Northern Hemisphere?

Dr. Tim Ball is a former Professor at the University of Winnipeg who has had a significant academic interest in climate over the years and writes often about the way the environment affects humans and the way humans affect the environment.  I cited Ball's work in BeeLine on this subject seven years ago in a blog post titled, CO2 Context.

Ball explains that part of the reason for this is that the oceans play a big role in controlling CO2 levels. The oceans absorb most the carbon dioxide produced on earth. However, cold water absorbs more CO2 than warm water. Notice that a lot of the high levels of CO2 concentration are near the equator.

Ball further explains that the reality is that humans are responsible for a mere pittance of the carbon emissions in our atmosphere. He cites data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide needed context.

According to the IPCC, who produce the original numbers, humans produce approximately 9 gigatons of CO2 per year. This is within the error factor for the amount of CO2 from at least two natural sources. Estimates of CO2 from natural sources are very crude as evidenced by the large error factors. Reports with headlines like, “Forests soak up more CO2 than thought” and “Old-growth forests absorb CO2 too: study” keep appearing. In 2010 humans produced 9 gigatons, but ocean output was between 90 and 100 gigatons and ground bacteria and rotting vegetation was between 50 and 60 gigatons according to Dr Dietrich Koelle. Spread the human annual production across the planet and it doesn’t even show on the world map. The pattern confirms this because it reflects natural sources.

To summarize, natural sources of CO2 on earth produce between 140-160 gigatons of CO2 per year and all human produced CO2 amounts is 9 gigatons!  Human produced CO2 is so minimal compared to naturally produced CO2 it is less than half of the margin of error of the estimate of natural sources.

It makes you wonder what the City of Berkeley thinks it can really do about any of this?

What is further confusing is that Berkeley is a sanctuary city.

If they believe that human population is driving carbon emissions why would they want to entice more people into their fair city? Isn't that counter-productive to mobilizing against the greatest crisis in the history of mankind?

It also should be noted that if someone is worried about "stabilizing population" it is not something that should be a big concern in California. Last year, California had its lowest birth rate per 1,000 people (12.4) in 100 years. That rate is one-half of what it was in 1990.

The same can be said for the United States birth rates in comparison to the rest of the world.

This chart compares fertility rates around the world based on the latest United Nations data. This is the average number of children a women will deliver in her lifetime. Bear in mind that a 2.1 fertility rate is considered the number required for a stable population. Less than that means that population will decrease over time. Higher will result in increased population.

Notice that the entire developed world has fertility rates that are below the replacement rate. The only groups that are generally higher are the Arab world and the Sub-Saharan Africa.

Do I have it right that the progressive liberals in Berkeley are really saying that they want Muslims and Africans to stop having so many babies?  What else could they be saying since the rest of world already has stabilized its population?

That is very interesting coming from a group that claims Donald Trump is a xenophobe and a racist.

All I can say is that I am completely bewildered by Berkeley.

If this is the emergency they claim it is when are they going to turn off their air conditioners (see note below), turn off their lights at night and begin rationing gasoline and meat?

That would be consistent with the life that was lived during World War II.

Until they start doing that don't let any of this "climate emergency crisis" nonsense in Berkeley bamboozle you.

Note on Air Conditioning: Air conditioning was rare in the late 1930's generally only being installed in movie theaters, department stores, plants and some hospitals. Many of these chiller units were actually relocated during the war to military production plants not be returned to civilian use until after the war. There was almost no residential air conditioning. Willis Carrier planned to get into this market after the 1939 World's Fair but those plans were abandoned until after the war as the manufacturing plants were converted to war production.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A World Turned Upside Down

Every day we see evidence that we live in a world turned upside down.

For centuries we lived under principles that served society very well.

For example, we recognized that there were differences between men and women and no one even considered the fact that there could be two husbands or two wives in a marriage.

It is not only that those core principles are questioned today but it has gotten to the point that anyone who believes in those traditional values is mercilessly attacked by the liberal left.

Never mind that these were universally held beliefs for several thousand years. Never mind that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and most every other Democrat held the same views a decade ago.

However, there is no longer room for discussion, disagreement or dissent.

In the process the rights of other citizens are summarily trampled and trashed.

Consider the case of the Christian baker in Colorado who did not want to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that he needed to supply the cake despite his strongly held religious beliefs. In the process, the Commission disparaged those beliefs and called them "despicable".

Interestingly, the Commission is charged with protecting religious rights in the same manner as sexual orientation rights. However, that responsibility did not seem to occur to the Commission when it considered the case of the Christian baker.

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court (in a 7-2 decision) ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had been so openly hostile and dismissive of the baker's religious rights that its ruling against him was invalidated.

This is a core issue in many cases today. Why is it that so many think that their rights and beliefs carry more weight and value than someone else's rights and beliefs?

We saw another example of this last week in the Connecticut state track championships where two boys (who now "identify" as girls) won medals in the 100 and 200 meter runs.

Terry Miller leaves the girls in the dust in Connecticut

The winner of the two events was Terry Miller (not Terri). As recently as this winter Miller competed on the boys' indoor track team at his high school.

I guess his female self-identification had a rather short incubation period.

While Miller is celebrating his new "identity" and (his? her?) two gold medals you have to ask about the girls that were left behind in the dust. What about the rights of the girls who worked and trained so hard for this event?

This is what the Executive Director of the CIAC had to say about that question.

“We do feel for them. Fully agree it doesn’t feel good. The optic isn’t good. But we really do have to look at the bigger issues that speak to civil rights and the fact this is high school sports.”

Indeed, what about the civil rights of those girls? Those boys may "think" they are girls but they have the anatomy, muscle tone and strength of a male.

I have some personal experience in the athletic realm pitting boys against girls at the high school level.

My youngest daughter was a very good high school field hockey player. In fact, she was an All-Western Pennsylvania player her senior year in addition to being the leading scorer in the Pittsburgh area.

Pennsylvania had a rule that allowed girls (or boys) to play on the teams of opposite genders if the sport was not offered to them. Thus, for example, a girl could play on the boys' golf team if there was no girls' team. All well and good for giving girls the opportunity to compete.

However, what about the opposite?

We found out how that works when in my daughter's junior and senior years a couple of boys decided to play on the field hockey team of another school. Our team won the games against that school because field hockey is very much a skill sport. To be successful you have to be good at handling the stick. These boys just took up the game their junior year. However, the size and speed difference of the boys was very apparent as I watched those games. Here was my daughter at 5'3" and about 110 lbs facing off with 6'0', 180 lbs. bruisers. It made me cringe and it made my daughter and her teammates mad about having to compete against members of the other gender.

It also made me wonder what would happen to girls field hockey if a school fielded a team of 11 boys who were willing to put on skirts and practice their stick skills for a few years?

It is the same thought I had looking at this story of the state track meet in Connecticut.

If we are to allow people to "self-identify" on what gender they are, we could soon have very few female athletes participating on the athletic field in many sports.

All because we don't want to recognize the unique and innate differences between males and females?

Bear in mind in all of this that the liberal left comes down swiftly and savagely on anyone who does not see it THEIR WAY.

Do you think the Executive Director of the CIAC was speaking freely? What bigger issues is she really concerned about?

Consider what happened to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey this past weekend when he tweeted that he had eaten at Chick-fil-A.

It did not take long for him to be attacked. It also did not take much time for Dorsey to retreat after he was attacked.

All of this because one CEO liked a chicken sandwich and another CEO stated six years ago that he believed in traditional marriage!

You would think you would have the right to eat a chicken sandwich you enjoy without being castigated.

You would also think that you should be entitled to hold a personal view based on what you believe to be Godly principles without being subject to vile and vicious attacks.

You may think you should be able to enjoy a chicken sandwich or still believe in marriage of one man and one women without being attacked. However, you would be wrong in the world we now live in.

It is a world turned upside down.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trump and Kim Jong Un

I have no idea whether President Trump will be able to successfully negotiate peace with North Korea and get Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons.

North Korea has a long history of being untrustworthy and unreliable. It may very well end badly and be an embarrassing episode for the President.

The one thing I am sure of is that no other President could have gotten this far.

They simply would not be willing to risk it.

There are many that are trying to minimize what Trump has accomplished to this point with North Korea. They are saying that Obama, Hillary or Bush could have done it.

If that is so, why didn't they do it?  That is all you need to know.

Others did not do it because they feared failure more that they sought success.

Trump has gotten us to this place because he did not fear failure. He was willing to put himself at risk by seeking a deal with Kim.


If this works out I think the statement that Trump made last night will go down as one of the most famous quotes of his Presidency. He made this statement referring to the opportunity that Kim Jong Un has before him but it applies equally to Trump.

'Anyone Can Make War, Only the Most Courageous Can Make Peace'

The willingness to put it all on the line is the quality that sets Trump apart from almost all politicians. He is not afraid to step out and, more importantly, he is willing to take the heat when he does.  You see it every day and the mainstream media and the political class tell us every day that Trump doesn't know what he is doing.

Yet, every day the results belie what they are telling us.

Look at the stand he took on immigration. No one else was taking this issue on when Trump starting talking about it the way he did. He has changed the entire conversation.

You can say the same thing about trade, the Paris climate agreement, the Iran agreement or dealing with ISIS. Yes, there is a lot of noise and complaints from both allies and enemies alike. However, things inexorably seem to be moving in the direction of the United States.

I wrote a blog post several months ago where I observed that a President could not be great unless they first were not afraid to be great.

People can say a lot of things about Donald Trump. However, they cannot say that he is afraid to be great.

Most Presidents never become great because they are typical politicians. They try to play both sides. They are afraid of offending anyone. They don't take strong stands. They are risk averse. They don't put themselves out there to succeed...or fail. In short, they are afraid to be great.

Greatness does not follow when taking the easy road. It only graces those who are not afraid of the challenge on the hard road.

Success is never assured. Trump may fail "bigly" with North Korea. However, give him credit where credit is due. He is not afraid to be great. That in itself is a rare commodity. Keep that in mind as you listen to those who criticize Trump.

Of course, any risk that Trump is taking on in these negotiations is probably far less in comparison to what Kim Jong Un is undertaking. When you are a dictator or despot the status quo is your friend. As Kim makes a move for rapprochement with the United States and the West he is putting something in motion he may not be able to control or contain.

The overarching risk is that his people get a whiff of freedom and begin to see how much others have that they do not. Once that genie gets out of the bottle it is difficult to get it back in. We certainly saw how that played out in the former Soviet Union and other Soviet bloc countries a generation ago.

You must remember that Kim got his position for no other reason than he inherited it. His grandfather and father who ruled before him retained power by brute force. The same is said to be true with Kim. Kim Jong Un reportedly had both his uncle and his half-brother killed because he feared they were plotting to overthrow him.

There are sure to be those within the North Korean military and government who are not happy with what Kim is up to. Just last week it was reported that Kim Jong Un had removed his three top military officials from their posts in advance of the Singapore summit.

Mintaro Oba, a former US diplomat who focused on North Korea policy, said Kim might be using the upcoming summit “as leverage to get rid of internal hardliners”. It was also possible the “summit created such a risk to his internal power he felt he had to protect himself by moving people around”.

It is always hard to know what is going on with North Korea. That is why it is so hard to predict where all of this will end up.

However, my guess is Kim Jong Un has calculated that the risk he is taking with Trump is smaller than the risk of continuing sanctions, his people starving and the fact that China may not be as willing to overlook the "Rocket Man's" antics as it has in the past.

The Korean Peninsula at night
How much longer are the North Korean people willing to live in darkness?
Credit: Planetobserver

It is entirely possible that Kim Jong Un is making a bet that he can bail himself out of his troubles and make himself a hero to his people in his own right if he can pull this off.

Then again, perhaps he is merely playing Trump like the North Koreans have done countless times before.

If that is the case Kim may also be taking his biggest risk of all. I don't think that Donald Trump will take kindly to being played.

Keep all of this mind as we watch how this plays out between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. The deal may fall apart. North Korea not walk the walk after all the talk. Trump may walk away in the end if he thinks he is being played.

However, for now it is a historic moment. It remains to be seen if it will become a great moment in history.

But we would not have gotten here without two men who were at least not afraid to be great.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Spelling It Out

Affirmative action policies are intended to give underrepresented minority groups an advantage in school admissions, employment or contracting.

The rationale is that minority groups, particularly those with darker skin, have suffered racial discrimination over the course of American history and that special advantages have to be provided to level the playing field for these groups. It is also argued that these minority groups lack the opportunities that caucasian Americans have enjoyed and that affirmative action programs are necessary to insure that opportunities are available for all.

Affirmative actions programs were first initiated in the early 1960's but they did not gain my attention until the the late 1970's when a young white man in his early 30's named Allan Bakke was denied admission to medical school at UC-Davis despite the fact that he had a better academic record and test scores than almost all of the minority applicants that had been admitted under an affirmative action program.

Bakke brought a legal action against the university and his case was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 which ruled that the minority quota admissions program should be struck down and Bakke admitted. However, the Court did not go so far as to rule that race could not be considered among other factors in admission decisions.

The U.S. Supreme Court has revisited the issue of affirmative action several times over the last 40 years but has generally continued the basic principle in the Bakke decision that outright quota programs are illegal but that race may be considered among a number of factors in respect of obtaining the "educational benefits of diversity" in admission decisions.

In the 2003 Supreme Court decision of Grutter v. Bollinger the court allowed the University of Michigan's affirmative action program to continue but the majority specifically stated that such programs should not be considered permanent.

"The Court takes the Law School at its word that it would like nothing better than to find a race-neutral admissions formula and will terminate its use of racial preferences as soon as practicable. The Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today." 

That was written 15 years ago.

Does that mean that affirmative action programs only have 10 years of life left in them?

I was thinking of all this as I saw the finalists compete in the 2018 National Spelling Bee.

These were the 16 Finalists.

Credit: Getty Images

These are their names, where they are from and the word they spelled correctly to advance to the final round.

Most remarkable.

We hear people throw around the term "white privilege" and statements like the "deck is stacked" against minorities and immigrants in this country. We hear that the color of your skin defines you and makes it hard to succeed in America.

I don't see much "white privilege" in the students on that stage. Most are children of recent immigrants with dark skin whose parents probably did not speak English as their native language. Despite that, these children are the best spellers in America.

These students did not need an affirmative action program to get on that stage. They dedicated themselves and worked hard. They did not allow anything to define them other than their results.

There is also no doubt that they also had supportive parents who encouraged their hard work. Those parents did not tell them that the system was stacked against them. They told them that in America you could achieve anything you set your mind to. They knew better than anyone else the truth of that statement because they had come to the United States for that opportunity---for themselves and their children.

Consider all of this as you think again about the wisdom of affirmative action programs. They have been in place in some form or fashion for over 50 years.

How much have they helped and how much have they hindered the cause of African Americans and other minority groups?

The lack of affirmative action programs does not seem to have hindered the advancement of minority groups from Asia. Asians have generally not been the beneficiary of affirmative action programs.

In fact, Asian Americans now seem to be the group that is suffering the most from affirmative action programs.

Look at this chart that shows admission rates for U.S. medical schools for the period 2013-2016 by race/ethnic group, MCAT scores and college GPA.

If you were Asian and had a MCAT score between 27-29 and a GPA between 3.2-3.8 you only were accepted 20.9% of the time. An African-American with the same profile was 4 times more likely to be accepted (81.2% vs. 20.9%). White students were admitted 29.0% of the time.

At the low end of the qualification scale, Whites and Asians with test scores of 24-26 and GPA's of 3.2--3.39 had almost no chance of admission to medical school. Black students were accepted more than half of the time.

You can better assess the disparity in acceptances by looking at this chart comparing average MCAT scores by race/ethnicity.

Interestingly,  overall medical school acceptance rates for black students is actually lower than that of white students.

How could that be when you look at the chart above?

One-third of all black applicants have MCAT scores below 20. Only 4.7% of white applicants have scores that low.

Why do so many black applicants apply with those low scores when white students do not?

Somehow black students must think that they have a reasonable chance at being accepted despite a MCAT that is totally uncompetitive while white students know to not even think about it.

Where did they get that idea?

Martin Luther King, Jr. famously stated that he had a dream that his children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.

Is that going on in the admission practices at our nation's medical schools?

It does not appear so.

Will affirmative actions programs be finally eliminated within the next decade?

Equity and fairness demand it. Let pure merit be the only measure used.

Those National Spelling Bee finalists prove the point.

These are students of color who come from recent immigrant families of which English is a second language for most of their parents. No affirmative action program put them on that stage.

The affirmative action that got them to the top of their class was their own dedication and hard work.

Nothing more.

You can't spell it out any better than that.

It should be a lesson for all to consider when considering the wisdom of affirmative action programs.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

D-Day Remembered

Last September I was able to fulfill a longstanding wish to visit the beaches of Normandy where American, British and Canadian forces came ashore in their quest to defeat Nazi Germany in World War II.

It was a memorable experience to tour the beaches and fields where so many brave men fought and died for the cause of freedom.

You cannot help but feel emotion as you look at the beautiful views and countryside while also thinking about the bravery, commitment and sacrifice that was made 74 years ago.

Here are a few pictures that I took as I visited those beaches in Normandy.

I am also re-posting a blog post I wrote five years ago about June 6, 1944---The Longest Day.

There are no words to describe how grateful I am to all those who embarked on that journey across the English Channel on that day. For all too many it was not their longest day---it was their last day.

Gold Beach--British Invasion and site of the makeshift harbor where 300,000 men and the material to support them were brought ashore in the 6 days after D-Day
Arromanches, France

Remains of a German pillbox at Pointe du Hoc which were prime objectives of the US Army Rangers led by Col. James Rudder. The Rangers had to scale a 100 foot vertical cliff from the beach to get to the pillbox. 70% of the unit were killed or wounded in the first two days after landing on Omaha Beach

Another view of the pillbox.
This is what awaited the Rangers after they finished their 100 foot vertical climb up the cliff from the beach.
How willing would you be to charge this position as machine gun fire strafes the top of the cliff?

The vestiges of a bomb crater at Pointe du Hoc

Omaha Beach Memorial

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

The Longest Day
(originally published June 6, 2013)

June 6. The Longest Day.


How many people today remember the significance of this day?

My first real exposure to the events and sacrifices of that day were in 1962 when my father took me to see the movie, The Longest Day, about the Normandy invasion of Europe.  He was a WWII veteran and he wanted to make sure that I understood what went on that day.  He told me after the movie, "I hope you never have to go through anything like that but you need to appreciate the sacrifices these men made for you."

Over 6,000 Americans lost their lives that day 69 years ago on the beaches of northern France.  By contrast, that is roughly equal to the total lives lost in over ten years of the War on Terror in Iraq and Aghanistan.

It was a day of incalculable horror and heroism.

I hope we never forget men of courage like Walter Taylor who pushed forward as so many others fell (or drowned) around them.

This article from the, "Remembering D-Day", written two years ago by Christopher Coughlin is worth the read.  You might also want to read this 1960 account of the "First Wave at Omaha Beach" by S.L.A. Marshall, the U.S. Army's chief historian, for a more comprehensive view of what transpired on those beaches that day.

From "Remembering D-Day".

History shows that on June 6, 1944, 160,000 US and allied troops were involved in Operation Overlord, the code name for the invasion of Europe. It was and remains the largest amphibious operation in history.
June 6th was also expected to be one of the most lethal days for US troops in American history, with carnage unheard of since the American Civil War.
Allied high command was so concerned about the anticipated, epic levels of violence, destruction and death that would meet the first wave of troops that they were reluctant to assign veterans of other invasions, fearing the men would be overwhelmed and break down. As a result, two of the three US divisions assigned to hit the beaches at Normandy had never been in combat.
And as history turned out, the high command's expectations of violence were more than justified.
At Omaha Beach, the US 1stand 29thInfantry Divisions, and the 2ndand 5thRanger Battalions, faced the veteran German 352ndInfantry Division, one of the best trained units in the German army.
Through acts of commission and omission, the majority of the allied landing craft missed their assigned sectors on Omaha Beach, causing confusion, and in some instances, landing American troops directly in front of German machine gunners.
As a result, casualties among the first wave of trooops were nothing short of catastrophic, where surviving American soliders were leaderless, isolated and traumatized by the violence surrounding them. The situation was so grave that senior commanders considered abandoning Omaha altogether.
But from the unspeakable carnage came a profound courage.

This is where Lt. Walter Taylor enters the story.
Slowly, small units of infantry, based on nothing more than individual initiative and survival instinct, formed up as ad hoc groups, and began to move the 1,000 yards off the beach to dunes to take on the German pillboxes and establish an allied foothold in Europe.
It was at that critical time of decision that Lt Walter Taylor, Company B (or Baker), 116th Infantry, of the 29thDivision, landed with the second wave.

Coming ashore, Taylor didn’t know that his commanding officers were already dead.
But, seeing the chaos, Taylor immediately took the initiative.

He led a group of men off the beach, crawling past the obstacles, barbed wire and mine fields, and eventually over the sea wall.

He continued to lead his men straight up the bluff and into the town of Vierville, where he engaged the Germans in a two-hour fire fight, and won without losing a man.

It was only later, meeting up with other elements of Baker Company, that Taylor realized that he was in command. The sergeant did a head count – there are only 28 men out of the original 240.
Undeterred, Taylor proceeded to lead the 28 men inland against an imposing German fortification with rock walls and artillery proof tunnels.

Taylor engaged the Germans there and continued the fight throughout the day, leading a force mixed from his company and several Rangers, trying to reach goals outlined in the Overlord plan for Day 1. This despite the fact, borne out on Normandy, that no battle plan survives the beginning of the battle.

By nightfall, Taylor and his men made camp near the village of Louvieres. An allied runner found them with a message to fall back to meet up with the remnants of the battalion, closer to the sea.

Taylor had led his men to a place a half a mile ahead of the rest of the United States Army in Europe. It was an incredible accomplishment.
From the "First Wave at Omaha Beach"
Taylor is a luminous figure in the story of D Day, one of the forty-seven immortals of Omaha who, by their dauntless initiative at widely separated points along the beach, saved the landing from total stagnation and disaster. Courage and luck are his in extraordinary measure.
Later, still under the spell, Price (one of Taylor's men) paid the perfect tribute to Taylor. He said: "We saw no sign of fear in him. Watching him made men of us. Marching or fighting, he was leading. We followed him because there was nothing else to do."

Thousands of Americans were spilled onto Omaha Beach. The high ground was won by a handful of men like Taylor who on that day burned with a flame bright beyond common understanding.

God bless Walter Taylor and all the courageous men who stormed the beaches of Normandy 69 years ago today.  We all owe them a debt of gratitude.  May the memory of their service and sacrifice never be forgotten. Let's hope that the flame that burned bright by their actions should never be extinguished.

Second Lieutenant Walter P. Taylor, United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 6 June 1944. Second Lieutenant Taylor's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 29th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, Ninth U.S. Army, General Orders No. 75 (1944)

Action Date: 6-Jun-44

Service: Army

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: 116th Infantry Regiment

Division: 29th Infantry Division

Source: Military Times Wall of Valor

Postscript: After I wrote this blog post 5 years ago the son of Walter Taylor posted this comment on my blog to complete the story.

"Walter P Taylor Jr who received the DSC on D Day did survive the war but not until he received two purple hearts. One at St Lo and another in Belgium. Walter married my mother who was serving in the American Red Cross in Nice France. Lt Walter P Taylor was reassigned there at the very end of the war as part of a detail to detain "very bad Germans and Frenchmen" for the occupation forces. Walter was assigned here because he spoke fluent German. Walter studied German in high school and was sent to Germany in 1936 as an exchange student. Walter who was born in 1915 died in 1973. Pictures and documents available."

Geoff Taylor

I also received this comment from Nicolas Bulte post this past February (almost 5 years after I wrote the original blog post and several months after I had visited the Normandy.  I wish he had seem my blog post earlier. It would have been nice to connect.

"I'm the owner of the farm-manour house of l'Ormel in Vierville where Lt. W. Taylor took shelter and so courageously distinguished himself on D-Day. Very happy to welcome you here if you happen to pass by Normandy and grateful for any additional information you may have about this particular action."

It all goes to show you what a wondrous thing the internet is.