Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rational and Irrational Ideas

Donald Trump has a lot of irrational ideas.  This does not mean all of his ideas are irrational, though.

It is sad to watch the Democrats go down the wrong road - the same road that the Republicans went down the last eight years.   Rather than try to be truly progressive, they are running a campaign of negativism and distortion, trying to put a slant on things that really don't need to be slanted.    Rather than offering positive proposals or reaching for common ground, they are shouting down everything in sight - and claiming that the public is on their side.  They seem to be more concerned with winning opinion polls than election polls, which is precisely how they lost the last election.

There are a whole host of irrational and often scary things that Donald Trump seems to believe in.  But there are also core things that are rational that Democrats seem to lump into the irrational beliefs.  And this is where they lose the middle-of-the-road voters and how they lose elections - by pandering to the far-Left and forgetting about the middle.

Here is a list, no means exhaustive, of irrational ideas and rational ideas of the new administration and the Democrats.

IRRATIONAL IDEA:   Millions of people are voting illegally in this country.    There is no proof for this irrational belief of Donald Trump, but there have been some scattered reported cases.   One lady in Texas got eight years in jail and faces deportation after registering to vote, even though she was a permanent resident and not a citizen.   Another person got a suspended sentence.   Yes, illegal voting occurs.  No, there is no evidence that millions of people are doing it.

RATIONAL IDEA:  People should show some form of ID to vote.   This idea makes so much sense that most people, even Democrats, scratch their heads when they are told this is a bad idea.   The party line is that voter ID laws discriminate against the poor, and they cite a "study" that claims as much as 10% of the population does not have a form of photo ID.   Other, more rational studies put this number at 1% or less, which is hardly a significant portion of the population.

There is a lady in Michigan who claims she cannot get a proper ID to vote with, and the ACLU is using her as a named plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit to overturn a voter ID law.   Why don't they help her get a proper ID instead?   States like Texas have even offered to amend their voter ID law to allow people to vote with an signed affidavit, which seems like a reasonable compromise, but one that a Federal Judge refuses to even consider.

News organizations like NPR claim that getting an ID is a "hassle" and can take "hours" at the DMV which may be "miles" from home.   But as I noted in an earlier posting, I was able to renew my driver's license at the Georgia DMV in about 15 minutes - and register to vote, if I chose to do so, at the same time.   Five minutes of that time was spent parking my car.

Of course, I had all my documents in hand before I went and took advantage of their online renewal process to fill out forms ahead of time.   And yes, getting identity documents can be a pain in the butt, but as I noted in that posting, the only form of ID I had at one time was a "birth announcement" from the hospital listing me as "unnamed male" Bell.   I had to write to the State of New York to get a certified copy of my Birth Certificate in order to register for the Virginia and Georgia bars, as well as be fingerprinted and put on the FBI database (something that I had to do before working for the government as well).

A hassle?  Yes, but I found it to be a worthwhile hassle.   If there are truly people out there who cannot obtain a photo ID, maybe we should spend our energies figuring out why and getting them an ID, because their lives would be better with it.    Making an exception for them when voting seems like a backwards approach to the problem.

Sorry, Democrats, I don't buy the argument that it is impossible or difficult for anyone to get a photo ID.  It is something everyone needs to do to participate in the economy.   We need to put this tired canard to rest that "poor people can't get IDs" because it really isn't true.

Moreover, when the Democrats take this position, it does make it appear they are defending voter fraud.   Look at it this way - if voter ID laws were passed in all 50 States, the GOP would stop whining about voter fraud and making their irrational claims.

IRRATIONAL IDEA:  Build a Wall and make Mexico pay for it.

RATIONAL IDEA:  We have a right to control our borders and decide who becomes a citizen.  One of the cruelest things about our immigration policy over the last few decades is that people who do the right thing and stand in line at our foreign embassies and fill out forms are the ones least likely to become permanent residents or become citizens.   You follow the rules, and you get shit upon.

On the other hand, if you take the arduous and often deadly trek to America and come here illegally, you are rewarded with the ability to stay and work, and possibly permanent residency or even citizenship (perhaps for your children, anyway).   It is a classic example of "It is better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission".

The Reagan Amnesty of the 1980's gave many hope that they if they came here illegally, another amnesty would be announced later on.  Immigrants also realized that standing in line and filling out forms would not result in getting in, so they decided to risk entering the country illegally.   This is, in effect, cruel, as we created a honey-pot attractant, and people will pay "coyotes" thousands of dollars to sneak them into the US, often only to be exploited, robbed, or killed.   

Tighter border control would put an end to this industry, or at least slow it down.

And yes, it is heartbreaking to hear about some Mom being deported, or some person who is probably a nice guy getting sent back.  Or that Korean adoptee whose parent's never got his citizenship papers in order, who was sent back to a country he never knew.  

But the point is, if you are in the county illegally, you cannot expect to be allowed to stay indefinitely.  The law is the law, and just because one administration chooses not to enforce it is no guarantee the next one won't (Marijuana dispensary owners, take note!).

What it comes down to is whether a country has a right to decide who can immigrate into its borders.   If you don't believe any country has this right, fine.  But the current law is, the country has this right.  And most countries are the same way, if in fact, more strict.  In Switzerland, if you immigrate into the country (which is nearly impossible to do) you cannot become a citizen.  Your children cannot become a citizen.  It is only third-generation immigrants who are allowed to apply for the privilege and even then it is an arduous task, although made slightly easier due to a recent referendum.

Compare the Swiss standards to ours - have a baby here, and they are US citizens at their first breath.   And people think our friends in Europe are so much more liberal than we are!

Yes, we should be compassionate.   But the Democrats are squandering valuable capital by defending a broken immigration policy and, like BLM, using poorly-chosen poster-boys for their cause.

IRRATIONAL IDEA:  Obamacare should be repealed immediately.

RATIONAL IDEA: Obamacare was poorly constructed, affects only about 10% of the population, and needs severe fixes.  I have written extensively about Obamacare before, so let me give you the Reader's Digest version:  We now have a patchwork of health care insurance systems, including Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, VA care, and private and government insurance plans.    Obamacare isn't available for people below the poverty line - why, I can't tell you.  It was a stupid mistake.   The subsidies cut off sharply above 400% of the poverty line - again why, I can't tell you.  It was idiotic.  Since the system has little or no cost controls, particularly for pharmaceuticals, prices have escalated dramatically.  Things like mental health care, eyeglasses, and sex-change surgery are covered - raising costs even further.  For folks just above the 400% poverty line, suddenly health insurance simply isn't affordable.

It was a great idea, but it just isn't working out as planned.   But the Republicans are finding it hard to unwind Obamacare without screwing a lot of people.   Democrats should use this opportunity to find common ground on "fixes" for Obamacare, or at least to help guide the process.   Sadly, neither side seems interested in talking to the other.

IRRATIONAL IDEA:   Tens of thousands of Americans are spontaneously protesting at hundreds of "Town Hall" meetings across the country.

RATIONAL IDEA:  This trend has only been reported in a few town hall meetings, and is likely part of an organized protest plan.  The media loves to report that this is some sort of trend going on all over the place, but when it comes down to it, mentions only by name, two or three actual town hall meetings and shows photos and footage from one.   I am not sure this is some huge thing, other than in the mind of the Left.

And yes, protests are usually organized.  It is rare that a protest arises spontaneously without someone behind it, pushing people and getting them to sign up and show up, even if it is just a posting on Facebook or an e-mail blast.

My Brother encouraged me to go to a protest back in the 1980's, in Washington.  A friend of his was involved organizing it, and it was against the Contras or something.   I was new in town and thought I would check it out. I showed up and they handed me a sign (pre-made, of course!) and we all marched and got on the evening news.   What was odd, that as a government worker in a tie and jacket, I think the other protesters thought I was an FBI agent or something.

But it shows that protests are indeed organized and orchestrated, and of course, you probably already knew this anyway.  You'd have to be an idiot to think otherwise.  Yet, the media acts all shocked when Trump accuses Democrats of organizing town-hall protests, as if that was some shocking irrational belief.   It kind of stretches the credibility of the Left.

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So what's the point of all of this?   Well, unless you want eight years of Donald Trump, the Left has to stop thinking delusionally.  Yes, delusional thinking is what got Trump elected.   But a lot of people voted for Trump in spite of his delusional thinking but because some of the issues he addressed had core rational ideas - ideas that even Hillary Clinton was behind.

Instead, we have a new "progressive" Democratic Party who thinks that full-on Socialism is the answer to everything and that shouting down the Republicans for the next eight years will accomplish something.   They just have to hope that like with Bush, the economy will eventually collapse, if they hope to gain office.   And if they gain office again, let's hope they don't squander the advantage with infighting and idiocy like the last time around.

In other words, what the GOP will do for the next eight years....