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Reader response: Are immigrants 'invading' America? (No.)

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In response to my "End the Border Patrol" column for The Week, a reader who identifies himself as a retired Air Force colonel writes:

What we have on our nation's southern border is no less than an invasion. An invasion of people trying to enter this country illegally--i.e., against the law. And who makes the laws of this country? You know good and well--Congress. So, we obey the laws that exist and if Congress wants something else, than they should DO THEIR JOBS.

Attila the Hun invaded Western Europe with fewer people and this nation cannot let its borders and sovereignty be disregarded as being done by these modern day invaders.


There's more, but you get the idea.

My response, in part:

I thank you for your letter, but I must strenuously disagree with your use of the word "invasion." As a member of the military, you surely know better.

If war is politics by other means, than an invasion is pointedly and purposefully political: A concerted attempt to commandee…

This is a pretty lousy argument against reparations

I'm not sure how an effective reparations program would work, but I do know that this is probably about the worst argument against it:

The room grew raucous at times, with spectators hissing at Republican witnesses and Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, the subcommittee’s senior Republican, when he spoke against the measure. In a comment that rippled throughout the hearing, Mr. Johnson suggested that great black leaders like Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington thought African-Americans should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. 

“Those great leaders encouraged people to take responsibility for their own lives, because that gives every human being a greater sense of meaning and satisfaction,” he said, adding that the bill “risks communicating the opposite message.”

 It's the old "bootstraps for thee" argument, and it presumes that whites have achieved their greater wealth by dint of hard work and grit, so why can't African Americans do the same? …

Are Iran and Al Qaeda allies? Prove it.

This story sounds very familiar:

Administration officials are briefing Congress on what they say are ties between Iran and Al Qaeda, prompting skeptical reactions and concern on Capitol Hill that the White House could invoke the war authorization passed in 2001 as legal cover for military action against Tehran.

Why skeptical? Well, remember...

Iran is a majority Shiite Muslim nation while Al Qaeda is a hard-line Sunni group whose members generally consider Shiites to be apostates. The two have often fought on opposing sides of regional conflicts, including the Syrian war.

If you're of a certain age, you'll remember how the Bush Administration tried so very hard to connect Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It was completely false. Some Republicans, naturally, choose to believe it anyway. But asserting that connection helped the administration make the case for the unnecessary and disastrous invasion of Iraq. Given that history, there's every reason to make the U.S. gover…

Pelosi won't even officially *criticize* Trump

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Washington Post:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday ruled out a congressional censure of President Trump, a move some lawmakers have suggested as a less divisive alternative to launching impeachment proceedings. “No. I think censure is just a way out,” Pelosi told reporters. “If you’re going to go, you’ve got to go. In other words, if the goods are there, you must impeach, and censure is nice, but it is not commensurate with the violations of the Constitution, should we decide that’s the way to go.” Great! Let's get the impeachment process started, then! Right?
On Wednesday, Pelosi cautioned against a scenario where Trump is impeached by the Democratic-led House only to be acquitted by the Republican-led Senate. “I don’t think you should have an inquiry unless you’re ready to impeach,” she said. “What I believe is that when we go forward, if we go forward, it has to go deep. It can’t be the Democrats impeach in the House; the Senate, in his view, exonerates. .…

Me @TheWeek: Trump is not a nationalist

My latest: The president claims to put "America first." But in the most important sense — defending the integrity of this country's governance and elections from foreign interference — the man is a good old-fashioned globalist. There is no such thing as a "sh--hole country" if Trump himself is the beneficiary; the president will do business with anybody willing to help him profit, personally or electorally.

Me @TheWeek: Elizabeth Warren's polarizing plan to make college free

My latest:

Today's rising student debt is largely a result of policy choices. The short version of the story is that student debt is rising because college tuition is rising — and college tuition is rising, in large part, because state legislatures across the country have slowly been abandoning their commitment to fund public colleges and universities.

The Great Recession is one of the villains of this story; it prompted legislatures to cut their funding commitments to higher education, and for the most part, those cuts were never restored. According to one analysis, state funding for public colleges and universities in 2018 was $7 billion below its 2008 levels — and that is after adjusting for inflation. One way public four-year institutions have stayed in business is by raising tuition by an average of 36 percent during that decade. It is no coincidence that student debt in the United States quadrupled, from $345 billion to nearly $1.4 trillion, between 2004 and 2017.

Today's …

Me @TheWeek: Reacting to the Mueller report

My take:
The Trump White House is just a high-level version of a sleazy pawn shop where the owner traffics in stolen goods. Everybody knows the owner is profiting from crime — including the owner — but as long as as he keeps his fingerprints off the precise moment the goods are stolen, he's allowed to keep making his living off the fruits of other people's wrongdoing.  It may not be technically illegal. But it sure isn't right. Please read the whole thing!