Border Chaos

Photo by David Peinado on

Our southern border has always been problematic.
It’s been difficult to get bipartisan consensus on the number of new arrivals permitted.
But there has been a shared sense that this land will grant political asylum to those fleeing repressive regimes.
We have agreed that Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua are repressive regimes in this hemisphere.
The Cuban diaspora dates from the early 60s and there is no doubt the overall positive impact such immigration has had. Miami would not be the metropolis it has become without the Cuban influx.
Venezuela’s diaspora started as former president, Hugo Chavez, who died in 2013, began to
undermine their oil industry through mismanagement. Subsequently the outflow of people increased drastically when his appointed successor, Nicolas Maduro, became a tyrant.
To date, over 7 million Venezuelans, a fourth of its population, have seen no option but leave their country and brave the enormous difficulties of emigrating to neighboring nations, not all of which have been receptive.
In recent months, more and more of those refugees turned north, hoping for asylum here in the US. At first they were able to get through but as the numbers surged, strict limitations were imposed.
President Biden has now in place a parole system, whereby 24 thousand Venezuelans per year will be allowed in so long as they arrive by air and have sponsors here in the US.
The action was determined by the upcoming mid term elections.
Mr Biden made the choice to appeal to the undecided voters who might look with disfavor on the increase in new arrivals.
But lost in the shuffle were the merits of the asylum seekers. These are mostly young people who have faced great hazards in the long journey from Venezuela, crossing the northern part of Colombia, up through the Darien Gap, then Panama and up through the entirety of Central America to finally get to our border. Mostly done on foot. To then be told, ‘No. We will no longer accept you. You have to have a sponsor and money for a plane trip. Goodbye.’
I don’t think democrats are going to get any more votes than they would have because of the refusal to grant asylum to Venezuelans.
Americans who are set against immigration will see the restriction as an electoral maneuver to get their votes, not a move born of conviction.
The choice to sharply limit the asylum offer to Venezuelans is short sighted.
Venezuelans are not the frequent requesters of such assistance. They would rather stay in their country if the conditions for their prospering allowed it. But they are fleeing brutality, imprisonment or starvation.
For those who made the difficulty journey, what is there to do now? Go all the way back? Plead for mercy from one of the impoverished Central American countries they crossed?
Their options look dismal.
Mr Biden, whom I deeply respect, and who has done a wonderful job uniting the West in Ukraine’s battle against Russia, should have stuck with the asylum option. Asylum could have been limited, pending a change in conditions in Venezuela.
We are a land of hope and we need to keep it that way because it is integral to our commitment to freedom. The same commitment that Biden has made to Ukraine and that will eventually lead to a markedly diminished Russia.
The large number of Venezuelans arriving ought to be seen as genuine seekers of relief, able bodied men and women eager to repay with their work for the opportunity granted. Men and women who can also help us fill the gap in labor shortages we face.
There are distinguished Venezuelan born people in our midst who have made important contributions to our nation, such as Leo Rafael Reif, current president of MIT (through the end of this year).
And I read that much private assistance has come forward to aid those who did make it through.
Mr Biden, there is still time. Please change your stance and allow the asylum applications of Venezuelans fleeing their home country and ready to get to work to build a better life.

The Business Side – China

Photo by Manuel Joseph on

Two American business executives, Ray and Andrew, talk about the China threat.

Ray – Much too much is made of China taking advantage of what we produce, then working with it to improve it.
Andrew – They do a good job at it.
Ray – They do. The way to deal with it is keep improving our products. Making them better and better. Sure, if a particular technology is highly specialized and critical for our security, we should consider not letting them have it. But only for a little while. We should see China as a challenge for us to keep getting better and better. We’re in the making and selling of stuff, anything, and constantly improving it.
To do that we need markets. China is a great market.
Andrew – Does the Chinese state subsidizing private businesses gives them an advantage?
Ray – Of course. So, for critical industries, we should get our government to subsidize us too.
Andrew – We can’t change China. Might as well join them.
Ray – In some things.
Andrew – Do you have any doubt that they have the ambition to become the dominant power in the world?
Ray – No doubt at all. We just won’t let them. Period. If we need to go to war, then that’s what we’ll have to do.
Andrew – Nuclear war?
Ray – We don’t need to go there. More sophisticated conventional weapons should do. In Ukraine, the mobile launchers they now have are making a difference. And if they get the F-16’s they were promised, it will turn things around.
We just have to compete better with China. They are stealing from us because we have more than they do. In some areas, where they’re making a lot of progress, we need to invest more here in the states.
But China ought to be seen as a great stimulus to us, so we can become more efficient.
Andrew – We need to keep track of what they produce so we won’t become dependent on them.
Ray – Right. We shouldn’t become dependent on any one country. Just in case there’s conflict and the supply lines get gummed up. Like with Covid and in Ukraine. That was amazing how Europe got so trusting of Russia to provide their energy needs.
Andrew – So you’re not afraid of China getting stronger?
Ray – I’m not. But we need to keep getting stronger than them. As I said, let’s look at them as a stimulus to do better. Not just economically but politically.
Andrew – Do you think immigration gives us an advantage?
Ray – I do. There’s two things that give us a huge advantage. One is immigration – people all over the world want to come here, not to China. And the other is Freedom. They don’t know what that is in China. But they dream of it in secret.
I’m a believer that as they continue to get richer, one day they’ll want to have their freedom, too.
That will upset a lot of people in the communist party.
Andrew – Any challenges that you see we’re having trouble with?
Ray – Yes. We need to give our people more opportunity for advancement. So they can get a better education and earn more. If that means raising taxes on the wealthier, so be it.
The more educated our work force the better.
But keep immigration open. And our freedom.
Andrew – You heard about Liz Cheney announcing she’s interested in a presidential bid?
Ray – I did. She needs to change her stand on abortion to have a shot. Just say, ‘I changed my mind. This is too important to women. I’m now pro choice.’ And women would run to vote for her, just to see her in the primary debates go up against Trump and say to him, ‘Hey, didn’t you just try to overthrow our government? What are you doing here?’
Andrew – You think Biden will run again?
Ray – I do. And if Ukrainians manage to push back Russians he’ll win handily. That’s how important that war is.
Andrew – What do you think of Musk?
Ray – I think they’ll force him to buy Twitter and he’ll say to himself, ‘I should watch my mouth.’
Andrew – Thank you, Ray. We’ll meet again., apple podcasts.

Oh Italy!

Photo by Davide Cacciatori on

You keep turning right politically.
You keep mishandling the immigration issue.
Granted, you’re right there, at the front of the problem. Immigrants from Africa keep coming to your shores, but there are ways to handle the problem.
Immigration from less developed areas is the leading problem we face today.
Technology has made the world smaller. People anywhere can see how much more there is elsewhere and they want to be part of it. They reason they live only once and so want the opportunities they are denied in their homelands because of their flawed political and economic institutions.
Man was born in Africa. We’re all Africans. I am African.
Advanced nations need to do more to assist the evolution of poorer nations, and thus help create conditions for those born there to commit to assist in their national betterment.
Until then, the desperate will risk their lives in search of a better life.
Until the needed structural changes come about in their homelands, we need to work with the immigrant.
Limits need to be set, of course, and every nation has a right to do so, but show kindness and tolerance to the desperate knocking at your door and begging to be let in. Begging for respite.
You are a creative nation. You gave us the Renaissance. The world knows of your enormous creative potential.
Do not turn back on it. Exercise it. Let it shine fully. Come up with new solutions.
I worry that your turning right politically is countering the creative energies you are capable of.
I worry that some of your politicians have openly embraced Putin.
I worry that you sympathize with a leader like Viktor Orban, in Hungary, who openly states his nation does not want diversity. Is that sensible to say in a world growing more and more diverse?
Is that not being like the ostrich and burying your head in the sand?
Dare to lead, Italy! Dare to embrace diversity and it will enrich you.
Have faith in your capacity to adapt, to invent, to show the world the way we should go.
Do not flinch from your responsibilities as a nation with such rich history.
Sure, there was a time when you embraced fascism, but you evolved.
Do not go back.
You are a highly capable nation. Be true to your heritage. Meet the hard problems of our time.
Choose leaders who value and promote independence of thought, who challenge you to use your brain, not to blindly follow them.
Do not take your cue from leaders like Trump in America who has made every effort to turn off dialogue in our land.
Rise, Italy, rise and dare to light up the torch of reason like you once did.

PS: Do not do like Britain who, in one of their darkest moments, recently came up with a scheme to send unwelcome immigrants to Rwanda.

Reflections on Recent News

Photo by Natalie Dupin on

         On Possible Settlements of About $450,000 per Immigrant (WSJ 11/1/2021)

They are now being proposed on behalf of immigrant families alleging trauma when parents and children were separated after they crossed the border – illegally – in 2018.

The separations occurred as part of the zero tolerance enforcement policy put in place in 2018 by the Trump administration to deal with illegal immigration from Mexico.

Talk of settlements is in progress, reportedly to avoid the higher costs of going to trial.

Approximately 940 claims have been filed so far by families affected with no certainty as to how many more will do so. The total cost to the government may reach $ 1 billion.

Clearly, it was wrong and inhumane for the Trump administration to act as they did.

But should monetary awards be granted to such families, absent death or other cruel physical damage? No.

These families crossed illegally. They may have been desperate to cross, in defiance of the law, given untenable circumstances at home, and so they crossed, braving the risks involved in their search for freedom and the opportunity to remake their lives.

Separation of the members of the family was one such risk.

To now have a settlement in their favor is not fair to other Americans who deal daily with labor and housing problems, limited education, reduced access to health care, crime or otherwise unsafe neighborhoods.

In the spirit of justice, these immigrants who crossed illegally and were so mistreated, could be granted a path to permanent resident status. But not given monetary rewards.

Let the new immigrants deal with the same problems lower income Americans have to face every day. Would lower income Americans like to get an award the size of the proposed settlements? Yes, why not? What about our suffering, they would argue.

Mr Biden should not allow these absurd monetary settlements to be granted. There must be a way to block them.

Many Americans would be offended that their own priorities take second place to those of illegally crossing immigrants.

Republican legislators are loudly protesting this idea. It is clear that they see the political potential of playing this up.

It would be very harmful politically for democrats to go along with the proposed settlements.

Control of the House of representatives has been in jeopardy. Why add vulnerability? Never mind the Senate which is evenly split. An issue like this may lead the swing vote to give both houses to Republicans in next year’s elections.

Biden has to stop this. This won’t go away and will badly hurt the agenda he seeks to push through to assist millions of Americans who have been waiting for years for fairer policies to improve their lives.  

With the proposed settlements, the new immigrants would go right to the front of the line.

Mr Biden and his administration need to keep the big picture in mind.

                     A Shortage of Butchers in Britain

                      (The Economist – Oct 23rd-29th – Britain Section)

Post Brexit, the National Pig Association estimates there are approx 125 to 150 thousand pigs waiting to be turned into pork. To prevent them from going to waste, the government recently authorized 800 new visas for butchers, although more than 10,000 may be needed.

But there are language requirements (post Brexit) that are raising obstacles.

One representative of the British Meat Producers Association had this to say about such requirement for butchers: ‘they wanted to work with their hands so probably weren’t top of their class.’ Then added, “our HR (Human Resources) people aren’t sure they’d pass the test in their own language.’

Dear sir, must you stick your head up in the clouds so high, just as you need others?

Here are your fellow citizens eagerly asking for the additional butchers (to be drawn mostly from countries in the European Union) and you are putting them down.

All the years spent in the trade and still it got away from you – confronting the old prejudice that manual skills are at odds with intelligence.  

You are not alone, for the people in HR appear to think alike.

But, of course, we all stumble here and there.

Just come down to earth and maybe you won’t make the same mistake again.

Manual skills are a precious gift. I wish I had them.

As way of atonement, do give thanks to these expert cutters who are providing the pork that makes you a living.

And as you do, ask yourself, could I do the job?

                                             Oscar Valdes.

Digesting Trump. Squaring with Immigration

Photo by William Fortunato on

First of all, digest Mr Trump the nation must. 

Digest him as in understanding what drives him.  

Otherwise we leave unprocessed the yearnings and motivations that led his followers to the absurdity of the assault on the Capitol on January the 6th and make a repeat possible.

Otherwise we leave unprocessed the ongoing attachment by a significant sector of the Republican party to a man who lacks the ability to lead.

Mr Trump can stir and inspire many people but that does not make him a leader. 

A leader is the person who can work with those they inspire to elevate them through a greater understanding of what ails the nation, not simply to play to their passions. 

If the so called leader does not do that, then they are no more than a rabble rouser. 

At the very core of what divides the nation today are immigration and inequality of opportunity.

I’ll take immigration. 

There is a reluctance in the average Trump supporter to accept that immigration is essential to our path forward.

Without immigrants from all over the world – not just from England and Ireland and Germany and Scandinavia – we would not be where we are.

It is hard for the average Trump supporter to accept that.

Without immigrants we will not have the hard edge to answer China’s challenge.

Business loudly asks for them. ‘Give me your immigrants!’ the business community says loudly to the world. ‘If you want to work hard and make something of yourself, this is where you must come!’

The average Trump supporter, fearing they may lose standing in their own land, is reluctant to endorse that call. 

Trump sensed that and said to himself, ‘this is my ticket to the White House. God knows that in all my years I’ve never done a thing for anyone in public life (a life mostly spent building hotels and golf courses for the rich and then filing timely bankruptcies) but I now see this great emotional need in Americans, so why not milk it?’ 

And people fell for it. 

Many Trump supporters realize now that something is very wrong with the man they voted for but are having trouble moving past. 

Immigration has much to do with it.

Immigration is not an easy subject. The rest of the world is also having trouble dealing with it. 

But hold on to those antipathies and gradually nations will lose their competitive edge.

Hold on to those antipathies and you lose the stimulus for renewal.

To our credit, in spite of strong nativist sentiments, America has kept its doors open to immigrants. 

Immigrants equate renewal. Renewal equates progress. 

Keep our doors open and we will have plenty of brain power to shape our future.

Close them and we will injure ourselves.

Trump could not lead because he could not build bridges. Not to other Americans, not to other nations, not to himself. Yes. Let me restate the latter. He could not build bridges to himself. If he had, he would have become an integrated man. But he did not. An integrated man is one who reflects and recognizes others may have better formed opinions than his. Trump could never do that. And thus his fundamental failing. 

An integrated man would have accepted the loss in the election and asked his supporters to accept the results, examine the mistakes made and move past.

An integrated man would have accepted that the doctors in the Center for Disease Control knew more about viruses than he did. If he had, he would probably have won the election in spite of all his failings. 

But he could not accept any of the above because he does not have an open dialogue with himself that can lead to reflection and to accepting that others may know more than him. 

Doctors at the CDC spend all their time dealing with viruses, but Trump thought he knew more than them.

But the man could tweet. Oh, yes. And degrade others. And make stuff up. Plenty of it. 

That so many Americans fell for his act and still do is something that needs to be digested. 

Processed. Understood. So we can move on.

The whole nation has to process a profoundly maladjusted leader and why we chose him in 2016.

That is on all of us. That is on the entire nation.

If we do not do the processing required, then we will repeat the same mistakes.

We cannot afford that.

China, of course, is counting on us not doing our homework. And so are all our detractors in the rest of the world.

Oscar Valdes.

First Generation or Second?

They were standing in line for ice cream when they started talking, very much mindful of social distancing and both wearing masks. It was a hot summer day.

CoVid 19 and the expectation of having a vaccine came up. Just a few days before, Russia had announced that they had produced one. The news had aroused skepticism in the scientific community, in and out of Russia. Had the rush to being first sacrificed safety?

The line for ice cream was long and moving slowly.

Robert was dark skinned and spoke with a Hispanic accent. Carol looked Hispanic but had no accent. He was in his mid thirties, she in her early twenties and they had never met before.

‘You were born here?’ asked Robert.

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘my parents came from Paraguay. And you?’


‘What a mixture we are,’ reflected Carol.


They chuckled.

‘That would make you second generation American,’ said Robert.

‘First generation,’ she answered.

‘Ah, I don’t agree.’

The line moved forward a little.

‘Why’s that?’ asked Carol.

‘First generation is the one that made the trip. The one who generated. The generation that will have an accent for the rest of their lives, no matter how hard they try. First generation will always be asked “Where’d you come from?” Even though they may have been in this country half a century.’

Carol smiled. ‘I am first generation born.’

Robert shook his head. ‘I think first generation should not be qualified, it should be exclusive to those who made the trip. Those, who like me, don’t intend to go back.’

‘I think you’re being too rigid,’ said Carol.

He smiled. ‘Maybe. You speak Spanish?’

‘I don’t.’

‘Chose not to?’

‘Didn’t happen. But I’m working on it.’

‘I love the English language,’ said Robert. ‘I love Spanish too. But I came here because of other reasons.’

He stood in front of her but had turned around to face her and didn’t notice the line advancing again. She reminded him of it and he moved up.

‘It is very good that you are choosing to learn Spanish,’ Robert said.

‘Thank you.’

‘I tell you something. I think of myself as a New American. I don’t go around saying that but, in private, that’s how I think of myself. So when people look at me a little strange because I speak with a heavy accent, I feel okay. I just tell myself, I am a New American, the person I’m talking to just doesn’t get it.’

‘Cool,’ said Carol.

‘I tell you something… in my dreams, I speak without an accent.’ He gave a proud smile when he said it.

‘That’s funny’ replied Carol.

‘In my dreams, I’m perfectly fluent, just like you, and the language flows so nicely. I love seeing myself speak in my dreams. But sometimes, I speak in Spanish too. It depends.’

The line moved up again. There was only one attendant taking the orders for ice cream.

‘I wish I had a job where I worked mainly with language… but maybe later.’

‘What do you do?’ she asked.

‘I work in construction. I do everything… walls… plumbing… electrical. I like it. I keep a list of the properties I have helped build, so I can go by on my days off… get out of my truck and stand nearby… watch the people going in and out… and I say to myself… I helped build that. That building is there partly because of me. I take great pride in what I do. And sometimes I go and watch other workers do their jobs… and when they see me looking at them, I give them the thumbs up… and they wave back.’

It was now his turn to put in his order and he told the attendant what he wanted and then said to Carol, ‘I treat you today.’

‘Oh no, that’s okay, thanks.’

‘Please, let me treat you.’

‘All right,’ consented Carol, and she stepped up to order her serving.

Ice creams in hand they strolled a few paces down the sidewalk, social distancing in mind.

‘I share this with you… soon after I came to this country… I was standing on the roof of a building laying on the tile. It was very hot and I wore a wide hat and had to be careful not to lose my balance and slide off the building and break my neck. Then I noticed that a person standing on the street below was looking up at what I was doing. I looked back expecting that they would give me some sign that they approved of what I did. But the person just stared back. I just shrugged and went back to my work. But I said to myself, why couldn’t that person just wave at me?’

‘Didn’t take much,’ said Carol.

‘So that’s why I do it. I always wave at people that are doing their work. Just to say thank you.’

Then she said, ‘Thank you for the work you do.’

‘You’re welcome.’

‘I have to go now,’ said Carol. ‘Thank you for the conversation. I enjoyed it.’

‘You are most welcome. Don’t forget, I am first generation and you are second generation… but we are both New Americans.’

And with that, they raised their ice creams to each other in a gesture of friendship and she started walking away down the sidewalk.

Robert looked after her, quietly pleased that she had acknowledged him and, quietly hoping that, one day, he’d have a daughter like her.

Oscar Valdes is the author of Psychiatrist for A Nation. Available on Amazon.

Bloomberg Rising

It certainly looks like it.

When I first heard that he had made up his mind to jump in, I thought it was too late. But no longer. Instead, he appears very well organized (see MikeBloomberg2020) and his plans of action are likely to appeal to the mainstream of the electorate. As such, he will likely draw from ambivalent Trump supporters, particularly those who do not want to see the recent gains in the economy jeopardized by a radical democratic candidate.

Bloomberg brings to the table considerable experience as a three term mayor of New York. New York, mind you, not South Bend, Indiana.

Bloomberg also has a record of extensive commitment and support to liberal causes, not like Mr. Trump whose foundations had questionable finances and whose Trump University had to close under a cloud.

What scandal has been ascribed to Bloomberg? None that I know. Compare Trump.

Experience matters. Character matters.

A man gifted with exceptional business savvy coupled with a commitment to public service is a rare find, indeed. Why waste it?

Is Bloomberg coming forward to enrich himself some more? Absolutely not.

He is coming forward at a very important juncture in our history because he genuinely feels he can make an important contribution. One that is sorely needed at a time when our relations with longtime allies are being frayed, a time when immigration is under attack not only here in the US but in the world at large, a time when climate changes are being ignored by Mr. Trump.

At this crucial moment, Bloomberg is putting himself on the line and saying, ‘I am willing to serve the nation whose institutions and opportunities made possible my success’.

Men or women who have had the chance of savoring success because of their own efforts, are men and women who are generous. And because they are it is then reflected in their broad-minded ideas. Compare the stinginess and narrow mindedness of Mr. Trump.

Is Bloomberg buying the election?

Nonsense. People who say so are not thinking.

Bloomberg is saying that he can finance his campaign, that he does not need any contributions because he can afford it. That does not mean he can buy my vote. Or anyone’s vote.

In the court of public opinion, Bloomberg has to make his case for public support and compete with every candidate in the race.

I, for one, will not hold his wealth against him. That would be silly.

Why rebuff a highly capable and intelligent man because of his billions?

Which brings me to this next point. I have no doubt, that Bloomberg will not hesitate to show his tax returns. Compare Trump. So tell me, who would you then deem to be more trustworthy?

Remember the saying ‘don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?’

That’s where we are, folks.

We have a gift horse in the race and we ought not look him in the mouth.

Let us examine his plans, let us subject him to the greatest scrutiny, please. But let us not rule him out because he has been enormously successful.

Will he be able to go up against Trump? I think so.

Am I ready to vote for him? No.

I need to first see him in a debate. I need to see him under fire. But from what I’ve seen so far, I like Mike.

One final point. Bloomberg has good ideas on immigration. Still, I favor my proposal that we have a National Referendum on Immigration Reform. The issue is complex and should be decided by all Americans. Let us not be afraid of looking at who we are on the subject. We need Borders not Walls. With a National Referendum we will have Borders we will stand by United.

Disclosure: I do not know Bloomberg nor anyone in his circles.

We Need Borders Not Walls.

A Call for a National Referendum on Immigration Reform.

(this article was submitted to the OpEd section of the NYTimes on 1/22/20 but rejected. Then submitted to the Washington Post on 1/27/20 and withdrawn from consideration on 1/30/20)

There is the strong possibility that Trump might get reelected, regardless of the damage the impeachment process may cause.

In 2016, Trump took the immigration issue and whipped his supporters into a frenzy. He painted a picture that immigrants where the reason neglected Americans had not fared better economically. Or socially.

It was the immigrants’ fault. And he would clean house, build a wall, put in restrictions, stir as much hatred as possible so his loyal supporters could march to the polls and put in that ballot for him.

But immigration is not Trump’s issue. It is the nation’s issue. All of us should have a say in the matter.

We need borders not walls.

Borders that are held firm by the consensus of all Americans.

A caravan of would be immigrants forms in Central America and heads for our southern border.

Why should that be unsettling to us if we, as a nation, have taken a position and made it into law? It shouldn’t.

The reason it is unsettling is because we have not had the discussion. We have not had the open discussion of the pros and cons of immigration. We have not put all cards on the table and had a healthy debate on how much change to allow and so we do not stand firm on our beliefs.

Do some Americans feel guilty at the sight of impoverished would be immigrants seeking refuge in our land? Yes. But do we need limits? Yes we do.

Do we leave it to businesses to decide who comes in and when? No. But we should hear what they have to say.

Do immigrants lower wages? Yes they do. Do immigrants take jobs that other Americans don’t want? Yes they do. Are immigrants taken advantage of by businesses? Yes they are.

Should Americans fight to preserve what they have built? Yes we should.

And all the while we have to accept that change enriches us. The lack of it impoverishes us.

Immigration has helped us become the strong nation that we are but the rate at which we allow immigrants has to be managed.

It should be up to all Americans to decide on the numbers to admit.

It should not be up to Trump or his supporters for they do not, let me stress that, they do not represent the will of this nation.

Didn’t Trump lose the popular vote by 2.9 million votes?

Wasn’t his election marred by Russian interference as documented by the Mueller report?

We do need new legislation on immigration for we must be in control of our borders but such control should be based on a consensus reached by all Americans.

Which is why I am proposing that we hold a National Referendum on Immigration.

How many immigrants should be allowed in, with what skills, from which countries, for how long a period? (set periods would allow for revisions)

After discussion on the pros and cons, then all Americans would vote on what to do about it. Then it would go to congress to be made into law.

But the discussion has to be national, not left up to our elected representatives, which is why I am proposing the national referendum where all citizens would vote.

Our democratic presidential candidates have not taken this matter seriously.

Immigration deserves to be front and center in this political campaign, with a sound plan to address it, otherwise Trump will do the same that he did in 2016 and stir more hatred of immigrants in his supporters.

Hatred divides us. Discussion helps us build bridges. And borders we will stand by united.

Dear Meghan and Harry

I read with delight that you have decided to break away and chart your own course.


Of course, Harry, you knew that once you tied the knot with Meghan, it was going to be an exciting ride. She carries that sparkle. So I’m not that surprised that things are turning out as they are. And there’s a whole lot more to come.

The two of you are choosing, in your prime, to go into the world and explore the wonders of it.

Little Archie will be most appreciative of your choice.

I’m not up on the latest, and don’t know if you’ve decided on a country, the US or Canada, but I say that if you’re going to break away then break away and come to America.

Anywhere in America would be fine, but I’m partial to the West Coast. Of course, you will likely be bicoastal.

I think the English will end up appreciating your decision but it will take a little time for them to get it. But they will. Envy is a tough nut to crack.

Meghan, I confess I have not seen your acting, but from hearing you speak and behave, I have no doubt that you are very good. So why not return to acting? With your new title and position, I have no doubt that offers will pour your way, if they are not doing so already.

So why not give it a shot? You would be paving the way for your family’s financial independence.

And Harry could easily get involved in the producing end and the two of you would be writing your own ticket.

By virtue of the circles you will have access to, opportunities will abound. So be bold.

I have no doubt, for instance, that soon enough, the two of you will be hobnobbing with the Obamas and will make friends with Oprah and company if you haven’t already.

Please do get involved in worthy causes and become models for others. There’s plenty to do in this country, much to learn and much to give.

And Harry, as an immigrant, you will discover the joys of that journey, at a time in our history when, in your native country as well as ours, barriers are being raised against immigration.

Should we not call you the Royal Immigrant?

Good luck to the two of you and little Archie, and may the energies you bring, find fruitful destinations.

Take Immigration and the Economy Away from Trump. Now!

There is the possibility, let’s be really clear about it, that Trump might get reelected.

It sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it, but there it is.

A man who lost the popular vote in 2016 by nearly 2.9 million votes has a chance of becoming our president for another 4 years.

Trump took the immigration issue and whipped his supporters into a frenzy. He painted a picture that immigrants where the reason they had not fared better economically. Or socially.

It was the immigrants’ fault. And he would clean house, build a wall, put in restrictions, stir as much hatred as possible so his loyal supporters could march to the polls and put in that ballot for him.

But immigration is not Trump’s issue. It is the nation’s issue. All of us should have a say in the matter.

Immigration has helped us become the strong nation that we are. A nation one hundred times better than Trump (who, while decrying immigrants, has married two immigrant women).

It should be up to all Americans to decide how to handle immigration.

It should not be up to a man who lost the popular vote.

His supporters do not represent the will of this nation.

We do need new legislation on immigration for we must be in control of our borders. But such control should be based on a consensus reached by all Americans.

Which is why I am proposing that we hold a National Referendum on Immigration.

How many immigrants should be allowed in, with what skills, from which countries, for how long a period?

After a set period of discussion on the pros and cons, then all Americans would vote on what to do about it. Then it would go to congress to be made into law.

Our democratic presidential candidates have not taken this matter seriously.

Immigration deserves to be front and center, with a sound plan to address it, otherwise Trump will do the same that he did in 2016 and stir more hatred of immigrants in his supporters.

To check him, a plan is needed. And it is needed now!

On the Economy.

Is it better than under Obama? Yes. This in spite of the dampening effect of the ill advised tariff war with China. But who blocked the needed spending to boost the economy during 2010-2015? Republicans in congress (please see Paul Krugman – The Legacy of Destructive Austerity – NYTimes 12/30 2019). The same Republicans who then, after Trump became president, chose to reverse course and approve such spending.

The duplicity of Republicans has to be exposed. Their blocking of Obama’s economic measures clearly harmed Americans’ economic wellbeing.

Democratic presidential candidates need to be very vocal on these two issues.

The harm caused by Republican policy has been devastating to the nation.

It should be front and center in the presidential political debate.

Finally, a word in support of Common Cause’s effort to Fix The Broken Electoral College by  sponsoring a proposal for a ‘National Popular Vote Compact’ which is ‘… an agreement among states to guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.’

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