Wall would make crime fall?


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President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Hispanic pastors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Hispanic pastors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


FILE- In this Jan. 2, 2019, file photo White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington. Mulvaney says Trump is prepared for another government shutdown if Congress won't work with him to secure the southern border. Mulvaney spoke Sunday, Jan. 27, on CBS' "Face the Nation" and "Fox News Sunday." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)


A family leaves to apply for asylum in the United States, at the border, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Tijuana, Mexico. The Trump administration on Friday will start forcing some asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. courts, an official said, launching what could become one of the more significant changes to the immigration system in years. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)


Trump doubts negotiators will strike budget deal he’d accept

By DEB RIECHMANN

Associated Press

Monday, January 28

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said the odds congressional negotiators will craft a deal to end his border wall standoff with Congress are “less than 50-50.”

As hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers prepared to return to work, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that he doesn’t think the negotiators will strike a deal that he’d accept. He pledged to build a wall anyway using his executive powers to declare a national emergency if necessary.

“I personally think it’s less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board,” Trump said in an interview Sunday with the newspaper.

The president was referring to a bipartisan committee of House and Senate lawmakers that will consider border spending as part of the legislative process.

The president’s standoff with Democrats on Capitol Hill is far from over and the clock is ticking. The spending bill Trump signed on Friday to temporarily end the partial government shutdown funds the shuttered agencies only until Feb. 15.

It’s unclear if the Democrats will budge. Trump seemed girded for battle over the weekend, sending out a series of online messages that foreshadowed the upcoming fight with lawmakers. “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!” he tweeted.

Is Trump prepared to shut down the government again in three weeks?

“Yeah, I think he actually is,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said. “He doesn’t want to shut the government down, let’s make that very clear. He doesn’t want to declare a national emergency.”

But Mulvaney said that at “the end of the day, the president’s commitment is to defend the nation and he will do it with or without Congress.”

The linchpin in the standoff is Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for his prized wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, a project Democrats consider an ineffective, wasteful monument to a ridiculous Trump campaign promise.

Asked if he’d willing to accept less than $5.7 billion to build a barrier on the southern border, Trump replied: “I doubt it.” He added: “I have to do it right.”

He also said he’d be wary of any proposed deal that exchanged funds for a wall for broad immigration reform. And when asked if he would agree to citizenship for immigrants who were illegally brought into the U.S. as children, he again replied, “I doubt it.”

California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the leading Republican in the House, said Democrats have funded border barriers in the past and are refusing this time simply because Trump is asking for it.

“The president is the only one who has been reasonable in these negotiations,” he said.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, a member of the Democratic leadership in the House, said his colleagues are looking for “evidence-based” legislation.

“Shutdowns are not legitimate negotiating tactics when there’s a public policy disagreement between two branches of government,” he said.

Jeffries said that Democrats are willing to invest in additional infrastructure, especially at legal ports of entry where the majority of drugs come into the country.

“We’re willing to invest in personnel. We’re willing to invest in additional technology. … In the past, we have supported enhanced fencing and I think that’s something that’s reasonable that should be on the table,” he said.

Trump has asserted there is a “crisis” at the southern border requiring a wall, blaming previous presidents and Congress for failing to overhaul an immigration system that has allowed millions of people to live in the U.S. illegally.

Last month, he put that number at 35 million, while on Sunday he pegged it at 25.7 million-plus — figures offered without evidence. “I’m not exactly sure where the president got that number this morning,” Mulvaney said.

Both are higher than government and private estimates.

His homeland security chief cited “somewhere” between 11 million and 22 million last month. In November, the nonpartisan Pew Research Center reported 10.7 million in 2016 — the lowest in a decade.

The president also tweeted Sunday that the cost of illegal immigration so far this year was nearly $19 billion; he didn’t cite a source.

Compare that with research in 2017 from a conservative group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for less immigration: $135 billion a year or about $11.25 billion a month — a figure that included health care and education, plus money spent on immigration enforcement.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. said that he thinks a compromise is possible.

“The president went from talking about a wall along the entire southern border at one point during the campaign … to let’s have barriers where they work and let’s have something else where barriers wouldn’t work as well,” Blunt said.

The partial federal shutdown ended Friday when Trump gave in to mounting pressure, retreating from his demand that Congress commit to the border wall funding before federal agencies could resume work. The bill he signed did not provide the money Trump wanted for a barrier, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called “immoral” and has insisted Congress will not finance.

Mulvaney said Trump agreed to temporarily end the shutdown because some Democrats have stepped forward, publicly and privately, to say they agree with Trump’s plan to better secure the border.

Mulvaney said they told Trump they couldn’t split with Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and work with the White House if the government remained closed.

“Everybody wants to look at this and say the president lost,” Mulvaney said. “We’re still in the middle of negotiations.”

Mulvaney appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Jeffries and McCarthy spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Blunt was on Fox.

Op/Ed Column

Toddler Trump needs a timeout in the Oval Office

Melissa Martin

Self-syndicated Columnist

President Trump announced an end to the government shutdown on January 25. Is it a real deal to reopen the federal government or another tactic of the power-grabbing politician? Is Trump backing down or bamboozling Congress again? Is this a permanent or temporary solution? The elephant and donkey games continue.

Trump is using his demand for a $5.7 billion border wall to justify his irrational reactions. Our forefathers and former presidents would be appalled at the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. I hope the ghost of Benjamin Franklin visits him next Christmas. Would Trump follow in the footsteps of Ebenezer Scrooge and change his wicked ways?

What Do Americans Think?

“A strong majority of Americans blame President Donald Trump for the record-long government shutdown and reject his primary rationale for a border wall, according to a new poll that shows the turmoil in Washington is dragging his approval rating to its lowest level in more than a year,” according to a recent article in The Philadelphia Tribune.

And just who are the people that Trump is holding hostage? You, me, us. We are a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

According to a 2019 article in USA Today, “The president has threatened for weeks to declare a national emergency to redirect money to free up the $5.7 billion he wants for constructing a border wall. The move would curtail Congress, which under the Constitution directs appropriating funding to federal agencies.”

Per a 2019 report from the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of those surveyed disapprove of Trump’s job performance. www.pewresearch.org/.

Trump the Toddler

President Trump reacts just like a toddler when he doesn’t get his way. “I want what I want when I want it and how I want it and where I want it!” He’s throwing an adult temper tantrum in the Oval Office. And Americans are paying the price. Will someone put Trump in a timeout chair? Or make him take a nap. He’s a pouting president in need of emotional regulation.

Per a 2018 report from the Pew Research Center, 24 percent of Americans say Trump is even-tempered, while 70 percent say that description does not apply to him. www.pewresearch.org/.

What’s wrong with the White House picture? “There’s something of an industry devoted to the psyche of President Trump. He’s an executive-in-chief like no other. He doesn’t read, appears to be ignorant of history (American, European, Middle-Eastern, Asian, whatever) and cannot control his Twitter finger,” penned Professor Madelon Sprengnether in a 2017 article for Psychology Today.

Immigration Irony

The irony of Donald Trump’s stance on immigration. Melanija Knavs (Melania Trump) was born in Novo Mesto, and grew up in Sevnica, in the Yugoslav republic of Slovenia. The First Lady of the United States was not born in America. She obtained U.S. citizenship in 2006.

The irony of Donald Trump’s stance on “chain immigration.” Reported in USA Today, First lady Melania Trump’s immigrant parents were sworn in as U.S. citizens in 2018. “The Knavses were eligible for green cards and to apply for citizenship because their daughter is a citizen, having taken the oath herself in 2006, shortly after she married Donald Trump in 2005.”

More irony. Donald Trump’s first wife and mother to his three oldest children, Ivana, is an immigrant from Czechoslovakia.

Both Republicans and Democrats need to read the book, Tantrums!: Managing Meltdowns in Public and Private (1-2-3 Magic Parenting).

How is it that an American president can hold the government captive when he doesn’t get his way? I’m baffled. Are you?

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.

THEIR VIEW

A Bipartisan Shutdown Solution

As the government shutdown enters its second month, our divided political system appears no closer to a resolution than when this disgraceful and unnecessary standoff began. There’s an obvious way to end it—and to ensure a fiasco like this never happens again.

President Trump very much wants $5.7 billion for his border wall. Democrats very much want a permanent solution for 1.8 million immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, known as “Dreamers.” Democrats of all stripes oppose the wall. A majority of Republicans favor both the wall and permanent relief for the Dreamers, but a fervent minority of Republicans—Mr. Trump’s base—denounce even temporary measures for the Dreamers.

Party discipline in the House has reached quasi-parliamentary levels that British Prime Minister Theresa May must envy. So there are only two legislative routes to end the stalemate: Either one side capitulates, or a bipartisan group of senators takes the initiative that their leaders have spurned.

If there were serious political leadership in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would co-sponsor legislation pairing $5.7 billion for the wall and permanent legal status for the Dreamers. By Tuesday the two had gotten only as far as introducing a dueling pair of piecemeal bills that might catalyze serious negotiation after both fail, which seems likely. Mr. McConnell has subordinated the Senate’s independent constitutional role to the whims of the president, while Mr. Schumer has characterized President Trump’s recent offer of Dreamer relief for wall funding as “more hostage-taking,” insisting that the government must reopen before immigration talks can begin. For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has denounced the wall as “immoral,” a characterization that makes negotiations impossible and that Mr. Schumer has conspicuously refrained from endorsing.

As with all wars, it is easy for both sides to convince themselves that if they hold out a bit longer, the other side’s will to fight will collapse. Eventually, responsible leaders realize compromises have to be made. This is why the war in Afghanistan has entered its 18th year—and why U.S. diplomats are now trying to broker a political solution. After more than two decades of intense partisan strife, it is time for some domestic peacemaking as well.

As with most truces, acceptance will be painful. For most Democrats, the wall is more than a policy dispute; it is the symbol of what they loathe most about President Trump. For many Republicans, the wall stands for resistance against what they regard as Democrats’ unreasoning hostility to the president, and permanent relief for the Dreamers is one piece of the amnesty they have spent their careers opposing.

But this is precisely the point. The issue that triggered the current stalemate cannot be resolved with a mere “split the difference” funding agreement. Achieving the comprehensive immigration reform that has tied Congress in knots for years will require each side to accept something it regards as morally troubling.

Congress also has the power to ensure that this current battle becomes the shutdown to end all shutdowns. As early as 1981, the U.S. comptroller general suggested that Congress enact a mechanism to prevent political disagreements from interrupting the basic functions of government, a device that became known as the “automatic continuing resolution.” In brief, Congress would pass a law stipulating that if it could not reach an agreement before a current appropriations bill expired, funding nonetheless would continue in a manner the law specifies.

The benefits of such a law are obvious. Federal employees would not be forced to visit food pantries and plead for relief from their creditors. The public would know that Transportation Security Administration inspectors would remain on duty at airports and that national parks and museums would stay open. Trust in government would increase, and the rest of the world would spend less time wondering whether what was once the world’s most admired system of government had taken leave of its senses.

Lawmakers would have to take exceptional care with the details of legislation authorizing automatic continuing resolutions. If these resolutions set funding on a downward path over time, as Republican Sen. Rob Portman has proposed, they could become vehicles for back-door budget cuts without Congress’s explicit consent. If the resolutions lasted indefinitely, they might decrease incentives for members of Congress to make the explicit choices that responsible budgeting requires. They could reinforce what is already a strong status quo bias in a legislative branch divided sharply along partisan lines. These are legitimate worries, but they do not touch the heart of the matter: Government shutdowns damage employees, citizens, management efficiency, economic growth and public trust. They are the wrong way to resolve the issues that divide us most deeply.

(A Bipartisan Shutdown Solution. Wall Street Journal. January 23, 2019.)

Trump needs to go big to secure immigration deal

President Donald Trump could make a lot of history — good history — in the next two weeks. But to do so, he needs to reach back to his inner gambler. If he tosses aside the counsels of his usual advisers on immigration, Trump can break the deadlock, fix the border-security immigration mess, and in so doing, earn a lasting place in U.S. history among the most consequential presidents.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is one of those people who, when they write an OpEd, everyone on the responsible center-right should read and ponder what it says. His OpEd, published on Friday in the Wall Street Journal, takes a couple of unnecessary, counterproductive shots at Trump that may handicap the reception of Gates’ major message at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but hopefully Trump and senior advisers look past that to the core message: Go big — very big — to solve the impasse. And go in an unexpected direction.

President Lyndon B. Johnson relished, as a Southerner especially, being the president to deliver the Civil Rights Act of 1964. No fair reading of the history of those critical laws can overlook Johnson’s absolutely essential decision to throw in with a politically perilous position that ran counter to his solid supporters in the segregationist South. As Michael O’Donnell summarized in 2014, Johnson went big, and history has been rightfully kind to him. As harsh as the judgments about his Vietnam policy have been, Johnson is always at least partially redeemed from his vulgar, often self-interested dealings and his disastrous war policy by this magnificent decision to demand equality for all Americans regardless of race.

President Lyndon B. Johnson relished, as a Southerner especially, being the president to deliver the Civil Rights Act of 1964. No fair reading of the history of those critical laws can overlook Johnson’s absolutely essential decision to throw in with a politically perilous position that ran counter to his solid supporters in the segregationist South. As Michael O’Donnell summarized in 2014, Johnson went big, and history has been rightfully kind to him. As harsh as the judgments about his Vietnam policy have been, Johnson is always at least partially redeemed from his vulgar, often self-interested dealings and his disastrous war policy by this magnificent decision to demand equality for all Americans regardless of race.

To get a permanent fix for barriers and technology funding via a large endowment, Trump has to offer more than a temporary fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as well. To secure the funding and thus border security, Trump must secure the position of the more than 10 million people in the country without permission. That includes the “Dreamers,” of course, but it would go far beyond the DACA and temporary protected status populations.

The goal should be regularization of all but the sliver involved in violence and crime. For everyone else, a path to permanent residence should be laid out. Regularization boards in every county could quickly sort through and approve for regularization most of the undocumented population — withholding regularization from those whose records indicate they have brought violence or crime into the county. Eligibility for citizenship 25 years after first adult entry or 10 years after entry as a minor (with future crime or violence earning a quick exit back to the country of origin) vaporizes all but ideological extremist opposition. Building serious border barriers while also executing regularization reform quickly minimizes the incentive to head north. Restricting eligibility to those who entered the country before 2019 redoubles the deterrent. And a harsh crackdown on employers of the non-regularized will put teeth into the big deal.

All it takes is a president with an eye, indeed a fixation, on history’s judgment and an awareness of the Johnson precedent. The new law need not be long and convoluted, because Trump really can pull off a domestic “Nixon to China” here. He can order the law be concise, its delegations to the counties complete and nonbureaucratic. He has, after all, set the table for a big breakout with the shutdown and Saturday’s speech. Even the Democrats’ reflexive rejection of his opening offer Saturday plays to Trump’s advantage.

Go big, Mr. President. Solve the interrelated problems of border security, the “Dreamers” and, yes, all the undocumented.

Go big, Mr. President. Write a chapter in this history books to rival Johnson’s.

(Trump needs to go big to secure immigration deal. Hugh Hewitt. The Washington Post. January 21, 2019.)

Some 70,000 Brussels protesters demand action on climate

By RAF CASERT

Associated Press

Monday, January 28

BRUSSELS (AP) — At least 70,000 people braved cold and rain in Brussels on Sunday to demand the Belgian government and the European Union increase their efforts to fight climate change, the Belgian capital’s fourth climate rally in two months to attract at least 10,000 participants.

The event was described as Belgium’s biggest climate march ever, with police estimating slightly bigger crowds than a similar demonstration last month. Trains from across the nation were so clogged that thousands of people didn’t make the march in time.

Some 35,000 students in Belgium skipped classes Thursday to take their demands for urgent action to prevent global warming to the streets.

“Young people have set a good example,” protester Henny Claassen said amid raised banners urging better renewable energy use and improved air quality. “This is for our children, for our grandchildren, and to send a message to politicians.”

Even though the direct impact on Belgian politics was likely to be small since the country currently is led by a caretaker government, the demonstrations have pushed the issue of climate change up the agenda as parties prepare for national and European Union elections in May.

The march ended at the headquarters of the European Union. The 28-nation bloc has been at the vanguard of global efforts to counter climate change but still came in for the protesters’ criticism.

“Society as a whole could do a lot more because they’re saying ‘Yes, we’re doing a lot,’ but they’re doing not that much. They could do a lot more,” demonstrator Pieter Van Der Donckt said.

Citizen activism on climate change Sunday was not limited to Belgium.

Thousands of people made human chains or held other climate events around France.

In Paris, there was a debate inspired by a recent petition for legal action to force the government to set more ambitious goals for reducing carbon emissions that create global warming.

President Emmanuel Macron sees himself as a climate crusader, but suffered a serious setback when fuel tax increases meant to help wean France off fossil fuels backfired dramatically, unleashing the yellow vest protests now in their third month.

Associated Press writers Daniela Berretta in Brussels and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Hispanic pastors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2019/02/web1_122210321-35706bcee2f34dd5b42a9dd0a855ae08.jpgPresident Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Hispanic pastors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

FILE- In this Jan. 2, 2019, file photo White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington. Mulvaney says Trump is prepared for another government shutdown if Congress won’t work with him to secure the southern border. Mulvaney spoke Sunday, Jan. 27, on CBS’ "Face the Nation" and "Fox News Sunday." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2019/02/web1_122210321-77cf3f88b1f84c809aa3d336f55d197a.jpgFILE- In this Jan. 2, 2019, file photo White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington. Mulvaney says Trump is prepared for another government shutdown if Congress won’t work with him to secure the southern border. Mulvaney spoke Sunday, Jan. 27, on CBS’ "Face the Nation" and "Fox News Sunday." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

A family leaves to apply for asylum in the United States, at the border, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Tijuana, Mexico. The Trump administration on Friday will start forcing some asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. courts, an official said, launching what could become one of the more significant changes to the immigration system in years. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2019/02/web1_122210321-a0bb4b06290846409fc2ef445c9cd6de.jpgA family leaves to apply for asylum in the United States, at the border, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Tijuana, Mexico. The Trump administration on Friday will start forcing some asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. courts, an official said, launching what could become one of the more significant changes to the immigration system in years. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
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