Birthright Citizenship: Trump Sabotages the GOP

Donald Trump stirred up another ugly controversy and invited unnecessary resentment of Republicans over what would be impossible for a President to change and isn’t even worth fighting about.Trump-birthright

Predictably, Mr. Trump’s first written policy document was a package of immigration reform proposals including an end to birthright citizenship.

Trump’s roaring pronouncements regarding this idea kicked off heated debate over so-called “anchor babies” who, because they were born in the US are American citizens even though their parents are citizens of other countries who entered the US illegally. Unfortunately, the debate has been heavy on emotion and fury but light on reason.

More on why they’re called anchor babies and why the nickname is misleading in a bit.  First, the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.  The first sentence is:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

This language was enacted in 1868, three years after the Civil War, primarily to protect black people, many of whom were recently freed slaves, from malicious schemes to deny their basic rights based on assertions they were not genuine citizens.  This first sentence of the 14th Amendment was intended to make clear that they were citizens and thus entitled to all the rights and privileges of citizenship.  In 1868 there were no “illegal immigrants” as we understand this term today, so the 14th Amendment’s authors may not have anticipated the concept of “anchor babies.”

We’ll discuss the qualifying clause “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”  below.

Why are they called “anchor babies”?  A lot of people, perhaps including Mr. Trump, believe that the birth of a baby in the US is an immediate grant of immunity from deportation for the illegal immigrant parents and other family members.  But this isn’t true.  Under laws enacted decades ago a citizen must be at least 21 years old before he or she can apply for permission for parents or other family members to reside in the US legally.  The process takes several years, the outcome isn’t guaranteed, and there’s an additional three year waiting penalty for family members who have previously lived here illegally.

Thus, reality completely debunks Trump’s assertion that the opportunity to give birth to an American citizen baby is “the biggest magnet for illegal immigration” drawing millions of people who otherwise would not have come across the border illegally.  Most illegal immigrants are desperately poor, under-educated people, looking for immediate job opportunities and/or immediate government funded benefits.  They do not see themselves as taking step one in an elaborate, high-risk, anchor baby scheme that won’t pay off for 25-35 years, if ever.

Now let’s look at the Supreme Court’s thin record of precedents regarding the first sentence of the 14th Amendment.  On his Fox News program Bill O’Reilly thundered triumphantly at various guests that in a 1985 case, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) vs Rios-Pineda the Supreme Court had decreed that a child of an illegal immigrant born in the United States was a citizen.

However, Mr. O’Reilly vastly overstated his point.  INS Vs Rios-Pineda was about an entirely different matter.  Mr. Rios-Pineda and his wife were illegal immigrants who had applied for permission to remain in the US.  Their application was denied and they had gone through several appeals over a period of six years, during which time they had had two children in the US.

But the Supreme Court case was not about the children.  The question resolved by the Courts’ ruling was whether or not the US Attorney General had the authority to deny them yet another appeal.  The Court’s opinion mentions the children in language called “dicta” because it’s incidental to the ruling and doesn’t become a precedent binding on lower courts in the future.

In fact, the court’s “holding” or it’s actual ruling, was that the Attorney General did have the authority to deny another appeal, resulting in immediate deportation of the family including the two citizen children.  So the fact noted by the court that the children were citizens was irrelevant to the family’s fate.  It didn’t help them at all.

Citizen children are routinely deported with their parents.  They can stay here, separated from their parents, only if family members who live here legally are willing and financially able to take responsibility for them as guardians.

Another Supreme Court case fueling the TV shouting matches is United States Vs Wong Kim Ark, decided in 1898.  But Wong, who contested actions taken against him by immigration authorities and won his case, was the son of LEGAL Chinese immigrants.  Thus this case is not relevant to the anchor baby question.

Finally, more furious arguments in favor of Mr. Trump’s position come from commentators citing the qualifying clause  mentioned above, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”  This language was intended to exclude a very small number of babies born to visiting foreign diplomats and a much larger number born to Indians who were considered citizens of their tribal nations, not the United States.  But, since Indians were made full, unqualified, United States citizens by an act of Congress in 1924 this clause would seem to be moot today.

However, Mr. Trump’s supporters while admitting that illegal immigrants are “subject to” or must obey the laws of the United states, still claim they are still not “subject to the jurisdiction” because they don’t “owe allegiance” to the United States.  This “owe allegiance” concept comes from Common Law, rooted in a past eras.  Do American citizens “owe allegiance” in the same way as citizens of Kingdoms?  Since we’re free to leave, free to renounce citizenship, free to become citizens of another nation it would seem that we don’t “owe allegiance.”  Very few Americans abandon their citizenship, not because we “owe” something,  but because we want to stay here.

In fact, the Supreme Court has never issued a ruling to directly answer the question, does the 14th Amendment make the children of illegal immigrants citizens?  Certainly the four liberal Justices now on the court who nearly always vote as a partisan block for whatever Democrats want would not vote for anything that might curtail immigration.  Conservative Justices are different from liberals in their aversion to rulings contrived to secure desired results rather than honest enforcement of Constitutional language.  So, they too would likely hold that “anchor babies” are citizens, based on the plain language of the 14th Amendment.

A Constitutional Amendment is theoretically possible.  But that would require two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress followed by three-quarters of state legislatures.  Also, attempting to deny citizenship to certain babies would be a much more complex administrative challenge than the bombastic Mr. Trump has bothered to discuss.  Birth records are generated by cities and counties on certificates that do not include immigration status.  Do we really want to shift this function to the already bloated federal government?   Would Mr. Trump hire federal officials to monitor maternity wards, verifying parental citizenship?  What about illegal immigrants who are temporarily “legal” because they are exempt from deportation pending review, like the Rios-Pineda family mentioned above?  Would their children be citizens?

In order to convert the legitimate anger and dismay of millions of us feel over uncontrolled immigration into votes for him,  Mr. Trump invites negative reactions from Hispanic people toward all Republicans by focusing on something a President can’t change and, given the state of the law isn’t even worth fighting about.  Indeed, if the border were secure, the relatively small number of births to illegal immigrants would fall nearly to zero leaving birthright citizenship a non-issue.

One of the reasons Republicans suffer election defeats is they get blamed for alleged harm done by their polices, when those policies were never implemented.  For example, we’re told that Republican inspired “deregulation” caused the financial crisis of 2008 when no regulations were repealed and the real cause was federal regulatory interference in the mortgage lending business.

Let’s hope some of the other GOP candidates have the spine to challenge Mr. Trump’s reckless ideas before the GOP once again snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

Six Years of ObamaNomics: A Grim Anniversary

President Obama and his media cheer leaders insist that his economic record should begin not at the beginning of his term but six months later when the recession ended and positive economic growth began.  Thus, we mark June 2015 as the sixth anniversary of ObamaNomics.  Our chart below measures the Obama era post-recession recovery, and every previous recovery exactly as he and his supporters want, starting at the first quarter of positive GDP growth after each recession.

10-GDPs-to-Q2-2015According to the report published Thursday by the Commerce Department, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an annualized rate of 2.3% in the second quarter, ending June 30th. This is about average for the past six years, but not nearly strong growth to begin a genuine recovery, restore the job market and expand prosperity.  And, as the chart shows we’re still suffering through the weakest post-recession recovery since the government began issuing quarterly GDP reports 66 years ago.

Last fall the Administration spiked the football on news of two quarters in a row exceeding 4% growth.  We were told the President’s policies were working and prosperity was growing. But the three quarterly reports since then average an unacceptable 1.66%.  So there’s no celebratory talk from the White House this week.

The American economy, while the most resilient in human history, struggles under the weight of decades of accumulated government intervention in the form of excessive regulation, taxation, and bureaucratic mandates, the most recent being Obamacare and the massive, Dodd-Frank financial regulation law.  These government intrusions into the private sector and the generally anti-business, anti-investment attitude of the Obama Administration discourages and deters entrepreneurs and investors, resulting in dramatically fewer of the business start-ups and expansions that create jobs and expand the economy.

Because Candidate Obama promised so much more than President Obama has delivered polls show voters are restive and dissatisfied. The clear, easily understood failure of Obama’s textbook, big government economic ideas is an historic opportunity for a Republican Presidential candidate, not only to win the election but to do so with a genuine mandate for reduction of federal taxes, regulation and intervention in the economy.

Income Inequality, an Old Political Scam (2)

Income Inequality is NOT the reason millions of Americans suffer insufficient incomes or are unable to access economic opportunity.  One person does not, by earning a high income, cause other people to earn low or no income.

The reason joblessness and middle class misery have been worse since the recession ended in 2009 than in any previous post-recession recovery is captured in this chart.  It compares “Private Domestic Investment” during the recession and booming, post-recession economy of the 1980s with the recent recession and our current anemic, post-recession economy.tracking-private-investment“Private Domestic Investment” (PDI) (displayed in the chart) is a component of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as measured and reported quarterly by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  PDI is the sum of expenditures on capital goods, for productive, business activities.  These investments include land, buildings, machinery, vehicles, computer technology, software, and equipment. NOT included in this measure are purchases of stocks bonds, and mutual funds.

Thus this statistic measures the heartbeat of a free market economy.  These are the key job creation investments. These investments plus the work of entrepreneurs, owners, managers and employees provide all the goods and services we consume.  Without capital investments there would be no consumer products or services, and there would be no jobs.

Like President Obama, President Reagan inherited a severe recession.  By some measures the 1981-82 recession was worse than the 2008-09 recession.  The unemployment rate was higher.  Interest rates on mortgages and business loans soared into double digits.  Home prices fell and there were waves of foreclosures.

But President Reagan’s economic strategies, based on his commitment to liberty, were exactly opposite of Obama’s.

  • Sweeping income tax rate reductions.  Every tax bracket rate from top to bottom was reduced by at least 25%.  Tax cuts left capital in the hands of entrepreneurs and investors who had earned it and thus were best equipped to invest in job creating enterprises;
  • Deregulation released the creative and productive energies of The People from the restraints of government interference.

President Obama and the Democrats in Congress did the opposite. Even though the economy was already over-regulated compared to the prosperous 1980s, they enacted additional, major, investment disincentives and barriers:

  • Obamacare, increasing health insurance costs and imposing expensive mandates and hiring disincentives on employers,
  • Dodd-Frank, an opaque, staggeringly large (2,300 pages) piece of legislation that created new regulatory agencies and tens of thousands of pages of new regulations restricting the financial sector,
  • Tax increases that fall mostly on entrepreneurs and business owners.

The results of these opposite strategies are captured clearly in the chart above. PDI always declines during a recession. But as the chart shows Reagan’s policies generated the beginning of an investment increase even before the recession ended.  In the third quarter of the Reagan era recovery PDI had come back to the prerecession level.  But in the Obama era PDI wasn’t restored to prerecession levels until the seventeenth recovery quarter. 

March 2015 was the end of the 23d recovery quarter and PDI was 7% above the prerecession level.  But in the 23d quarter of the 1982-88 recovery PDI was 31% above prerecession levels.

Progressive or liberal politicians who tell middle class voters their lack of sufficient income is caused by others earning high incomes are the same politicians who are responsible for the expansion of government that has resulted in anemic private investment during the Obama era.  They deliberately obscure the real problem, lack of investment, with emotional rhetoric about inequality, hoping to attract votes by generating anger and resentment against the very people who always fund nearly all of the private domestic investment tracked in the chart above, the rich – or the 1% – who got that way via business success. 

With more robust, continuous growth in domestic investment, as there was in the 1980s, there would be more demand for employees which would result in more more jobs, and higher wages.

 

Six Years After Recession The Jobs Crisis Drags On

In the Obama Era, for the first time ever, a falling unemployment rate is an indicator of economic deterioration.

America is still in the depths of an unprecedented employment crisis.  Yet our political leaders glibly claim the economy has recovered as they try desperately to divert our attention to distractions like confederate flags and global warming.July-arc-of-participation

Late last week, as we all turned our attention to the holiday weekend, the Labor Department issued it’s monthly jobs report.  The establishment media robotically chanted the White House scripted “good news” analysis, that 233,000 jobs were created in June and the unemployment rate edged down from 5.5% to 5.3%.  President Obama’s policies of mega-borrowing, mega-spending, mega-regulation and government run health care were “working,” they claimed.

Other details not so widely reported included:

  • April and May job creation numbers were revised downward by a total of 60,000, lowering the net gain for June to 163,000.
  • The unemployment rate fell only because 432,000 jobless people were reclassified – moved from “unemployed” to “not in the labor force” – in one horrendous month!  If those jobless men and women who counted as unemployed in May were still counted as unemployed in June, the unemployment rate would have been unchanged at 5.5%.
  • Because 432,000 jobless people were reclassified from unemployed to not in the labor force, the labor force participation rate dropped to a 37 year low of 62.6% shown in the chart above.
  • If the labor force participation rate were the same today as it was in June 2009 when the recession ended the June unemployment rate would have been 9.8%
  • If the labor force participation rate were the same as it was in 2008, just before the recession started the June unemployment rate would be 10.4%.

The labor force participation rate (shown in the chart above) is the percentage of the working age population that is “in the labor force” either by holding a job or qualifying for the label of “unemployed” by actively seeking a job every week.  As the chart above shows the participation rate has fallen precipitously since the end of the recession even as the Obama Administration has boasted of a steadily improving job market.

This decline in labor force participation is unprecedented.  Nothing like this has ever happened before in the sixty eight years since the government began reporting these monthly statistics.

Why is this happening? The short answer is big government:

  • Exploding regulations,
  • the highest taxes on business in the developed world, and,
  • the Obamacare mandates that impose new costs on employers, punishing them financially for hiring more people.

The quadrennial Presidential election campaign is a season when people who usually ignore politics pay at least some attention.  It is imperative that our fellow voting citizens understand this jobs crisis and it’s causes.  Republicans must nominate a candidate who is NOT comfortable with the big government status quo, who is driven to scale back government intervention in the economy, and who can explain, in soaring Churchillian speeches why America is in decline and what it will take to turn our situation around.

 

July 4th: Day of The Declaration of Independence

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

July 4, 1776:

Visionary men published radical ideas that altered the march of history.

The Declaration of Independence

We humbly suggest that part of every American family’s July 4th celebration should be rereading and reflecting on the great truths of The Declaration of Independence.  We individual, patriotic citizens must make sure children are exposed to this greatest of all political documents. We can no longer depend on government schools.

This revolutionary document established as “self-evident truth” that we are all created equal and that our rights come directly from God, our creator.  The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect, not to dispense or withhold those preexisting, God-endowed rights.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Continued

Astounding history from Ronald Reagan’s Second Inaugural Address:

Two of our Founding Fathers, a Boston lawyer named Adams and a Virginia planter named Jefferson, members of that remarkable group who met in Independence Hall and dared to think they could start the world over again, left us an important lesson.

They had become political rivals in the Presidential election of 1800. Then years later, when bothreagan-atpodium.jpg were retired, and age had softened their anger, they began to speak to each other again through letters. A bond was reestablished between those two who had helped create this government of ours.

In 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, they both died. They died on the same day, within a few hours of each other, and that day was the Fourth of July.

In one of those letters exchanged in the sunset of their lives, Jefferson wrote: “It carries me back to the times when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right to self-government. Laboring always at the same oar, with some wave ever ahead threatening to overwhelm us, and yet passing harmless … we rode through the storm with heart and hand.”

Income Inequality: Century Old Political Scam (1)

First in a series.

President Obama, Hillary Clinton, media commentators, and misguided Republicans blame income inequality for middle class hardship and a host of other problems, even the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore.Obama inequality tweet  Mrs. Clinton’s campaign will allege that whoever becomes the Republican nominee caused or supports inequality and is therefore wicked and dishonorable

The President’s tweet needs context. “Fighting income inequality” is merely the current title of  an old political tactic of the progressive left, telling voters who lack sufficient income to blame their distress on people with higher incomes.

Certainly Barack Obama has been a devotee of attracting votes by generating the base emotions of bitterness and resentment toward wealthier people since his community organizing days, before the term “fighting  income inequality” became stylish.How much tax do the rich pay?

In fact, “inequality” is really just a buzz word umbrella for a batch of election campaign themes – and lies – progressives have used for a century.  First among them is the notion that high income people pay an insignificant share of total income taxes.  For example, Stanley Greenberg who provides polling and strategy recommendations to Democrats recently wrote that”

the American people are ready to tax the richest and disrupt that group’s special deal with government

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked why he was waiting and had not yet endorsed his old friend Hillary Clinton to be the Democrats’ Presidential nominee:

I think progressives all over the country, I think everyday Americans are demanding that their candidates—the President and every other level—really say that we have a plan that we can believe in for addressing income inequality…It has to include the willingness to tax the wealthy… [emphasis added]

Phrases like “willingness to” or “ready to” tax the wealthy are designed to nudge the naive and uninformed toward the perception that wealthy people pay an miniscule share of total taxes or even no taxes at all.  Because these assertions are heard so often most people perceive the wealthy as shouldering a far smaller share of the total  tax burden than they actually do.

The pie charts above present IRS data to bring the tax burden of high income people into perspective.  Because of America’s steeply progressive tax system the top 4% pay more than half – 56% – of all the income tax revenue the IRS collects.  The data is from 2012, the last year for which the IRS has completed it’s reporting.  The top two tax brackets were increased as of 2013.  Thus, when the 2013 report is published it will probably show an even larger share paid by the very few at the top.

By the way, the bottom 62% of taxpayers, those earning $50,000 or less, pay 6.4% of all the income tax revenue the government collects.

It’s important to note that while they claim to be horrified by income inequality Democrats and progressives never propose laws to prevent people from earning high incomes.  Why not? Two reasons:

  • Most voters, even those who support progressives, admire and/or feel an affinity or kinship with some high income people such as Hollywood celebrities and pro athletes.
  • The Massive Government machine progressive Democrats have manufactured has a rapacious appetite.  As the charts above show the top 4% feed the machine more than half of all income tax revenue.  So, while they bitterly complain about the rich earning “too much” Democrats desperately need the cash those rich folks provide to fund their multitudinous, government “programs.”

Democrats routinely blame high incomes earned by some people for less than sufficient incomes earned by other people.  But there is no cause-effect connection.  Complaining about “income inequality is simply the latest version of a decades old con progressives and Democrats use to attract the votes of people whose income is insufficient to support their needs or the lifestyle they desire.

The next post in this series will explore the value high income earners add to the American economy including making the existence of a middle class possible.

Hillary Clinton’s Golden Oldie Politics of Envy

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been bogged down in scandals since her bizarre, YouTube “announcement” back in April.  But over the weekend she delivered a much hyped “re-launch,” a speech in New York.  Beatles Yesterday

She began with a reference to a 1941 speech by President Roosevelt wherein he called for government to somehow guarantee “freedom from want.”  She noted correctly that Mr. Roosevelt had “inspired presidents who followed” including her husband and Barack Obama. 

She avoided an assessment of the Roosevelt inspired, six decade, big government campaign to buy “freedom from want” with trillions in resources extracted from the private economy that would otherwise have supported business investment, job creation and consumption of products and services. 

Obviously, these lost trillions did not purchase “freedom from want.”  America’s poverty rate was gradually declining before, but then stopped falling and has been virtually the same ince President Johnson launched his “war on poverty” panoply of programs six decades ago.  But regardless of this cataclysmic government failure, Mrs. Clinton’s speech confirmed she is undeterred from continuing on the same programs and policies.

Astonishingly, right after praising Obama and other Presidents for being inspired by big government schemes from the 1940s she accused “the presidential Republicans choir” of singing  “a song called Yesterday.”

You know the one — all our troubles look as though they’re here to stay … and we need a place to hide away… They believe in yesterday.

She then bellowed the perennial progressive sales pitch, rhetorical gimmicks and promises that literally date back a century: blame the rich, and promise freedom from financial distress in return for allowing government to tax more, borrow more, spend more and control more.

A key emotional appeal throughout the progressive’s century of expanding government’s power, cost and intrusion has been generating and nurturing resentment against the wealthy.  Here’s another quote from Mrs. Clinton”s “re-launch” speech:

While many of you are working multiple jobs to make ends meet, you see the top 25 hedge fund managers making more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined. 

Let’s stop and explore this comparison. Unlike teachers hedge fund managers aren’t paid a fixed salary. Their earnings are from investments, with wide variations from year to year. The same article that was Mrs. Clinton’s data source,  Institutional Investor Alpha’s annual Rich List report, also noted that only 13 of last year’s top 25 made the list this year. 

Hedge fund managers must put their own money at risk continuously and it turns out that six of last year’s top 25 lost money this yeartheir incomes were less than zero.  Each year, different people make the top 25 list.  Some “hit the jackpot” only once and then fall back into obscurity. 

Here’s a little thought experiment. Suppose it were possible to survey all of the 158,000 kindergarten teachers at the end of the year and identify the 25 who had the biggest one-year windfalls in addition to their salaries, from investments, or spouse’s business or inheritance, or maybe book royalties. If we compared our golden 25 teachers, to an average of all hedge fund managers, including the thousands who lost money, the teachers would look pretty good!  But because everyone knows what teachers do and approximately what they get paid, we couldn’t use this data to attract votes by generating resentment against teachers.

But, since most people know little or nothing about what hedge fund managers do, only that they’re connected with Wall St, Mrs. Clinton is definitely using them to generate votes by planting the negative emotions of envy and resentment.  She hopes to plant a perception in people who are struggling financially that the wealthy get that way by somehow robbing the rest of us of our just compensation.

But, note that progressives like Mrs. Clinton never try to provoke envy and resentment against high-paid athletes or actors or rock stars because voters are familiar those folks and mostly admire them.  It’s harder to feel resentment and envy toward an attractive, high-visibility celebrity than a faceless investment manager, toiling out of sight, in a Wall St. office building.  And, as an added bonus most celebrities favor Democrats with both vocal support and vast amounts of cash. 

How President Reagan Honored D-Day Heroes

An even more moving and inspiring speech than was usually delivered by this gifted speaker.

On June 6, 1984, the 40th anniversary of the D Day launch of the World War II invasion of Nazi Europe, President Ronald Reagan honored a gathering of courageous D Day veterans with a speech at the U.S. Ranger Monument, Pointe du Hoc, France.

The youngest D-Day veterans that day were 58.  Today, the youngest of those who survive are 89.

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Text of Mr. Reagan’s Remarks:

We’re here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 American Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers on the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.”

I think I know what you may be thinking right now — thinking “we were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day.” Well, everyone was.

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought — or felt in their hearts, though they couldn’t know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of D-day: their rockhard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”

These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

Economic Alarm Signals: Does Anyone Hear?

If the economy falls in America but the President, and the Congress ignore it, will The People suffer?

On Friday the Commerce Department issued a sharply downward revision of its GDP report for the first quarter of 2015.  Instead of growing at a miniscule 0.2% the economy contracted.  GDP came down 0.7%.Alarming GDP Decline

The establishment media barely noticed the economic contraction.  Obama Administration officials blew off the news as insignificant, a temporary blip due to worse than usual winter weather.  Move along, nothing to see here.   

As the next chart shows, even before the most recent quarter’s contraction we were suffering through the worst of the ten post-recession economies or “recoveries” since World War II.GDP-to-2015-Q1Revised

Hopefully, Administration spokesmen are right and the economy will resume it’s anemic pace of growth.  But, considering historic precedent they seem to be a bit overconfident.

Exactly 269 quarters have passed since the Commerce Department began tracking and reporting quarterly GDP, in 1947.

  • 225 or 85% of those quarterly reports showed positive growth or economic expansion.
  • 10 negative (economic contraction) quarters turned out to be the beginning of recessions
  • 19 negative quarters were the second, third or fourth in continuing recessions;
  • only 5 negative quarters in 66 years came and went as isolated phenomenon, not followed by a recession.  Three of those were before 1960.

So, a negative quarter is not a routine event.  A negative quarter that isn’t part of a recession is extremely unusual.  Ten out of ten recessions were signaled by the first of several negative GDP quarters.  Yet we’ve seen no sense of concern over this ominous economic indicator from the Administration or the media. 

The President has not altered his agenda in any way to head off a possible recession.  He has not eased back from his vow to “fight climate change” with sweeping new restrictions on the coal fired power plants that supply nearly half of the nation’s electricity.  The resulting spike in energy costs will function as a sweeping new penalty on American industry.  The only possible result is shrinking GDP and fewer jobs.

If the first quarter of 2015 turns out to be the beginning of a new recession – and based on history the odds favor such an outcome – the President will likely claim, as he has about each of his Administration’s crises and scandals, that he had no warning and learned about the recession from the news.  Then, he’ll blame the Republicans 

But the truth will be that his big government initiatives, including ObamaCare, the new Dodd-Frank law with it’s virtually unlimited regulatory power over banks and financial transactions, will have prevented a normal, post-recession recovery.

Honoring a Hero on Memorial Day

Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure ~Abraham Lincoln

Roy P. Benavidez, Medal of Honor Winner

Staff Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez United States Army distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely valorous actions on 2 May, 1968 while assigned to Detachment B56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam.vietnam-memorial-statue.jpg

On the morning of 2 May, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army.

After a short period of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire.

Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when the helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess aircraft damage. Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt.

Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team. Prior to reaching the team’s position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head.

Despite these painful injuries, Sergeant Benavidez took charge, repositioning the team members, directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members. He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team’s position.

Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy’s fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body of and classified documents on the dead team leader. When he reached the leader’s body, Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back.

At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his weary men, reinstilling in them a will to live and fight.

Facing a buildup of enemy opposition, and with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez mustered his strength, and began calling in tactical air strikes and directing the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy’s fire and so permit another extraction attempt.

He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades to the craft. He continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the aircraft door gunner from firing upon them.

With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft.

Sergeant Benavidez’ gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.

By the time the helicopter carrying Sergeant Benavidez and the others  arrived at a base camp he was thought to be dead.  As he was placed in a body bag he was recognized by a friend who called for help. A doctor came and examined him and he too believed Benavidez was dead. The doctor was about to zipper up the bag when Benavidez managed to spit, alerting the doctor that he was still alive.

Benavidez had a total of 37 separate bullet and shrapnel wounds from the six hour fight.  He was evacuated to Brooke Army Medical Center, where he eventually recovered. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism and four Purple Hearts. In 1969, he was assigned Fort Riley, Kansas.  In 1972, he was assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he remained until retirement in 1976.

On February 24, 1981, President Ronald Reagan presented Roy P. Benavidez the Medal of Honor.  Before the ceremony Reagan turned to the assembled reporters and said, “If the story of his heroism were a movie script, you would not believe it.”

Benavidez was an acclaimed speaker and author until his death from complications of Diabetes in 1998.

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