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Monday, March 19, 2018

Congressman Trey Gowdy sends stern message to John Dowd

This is another view of Congressman Trey Gowdy ~

South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy received justifiable criticism from me, when he engaged in relentless questioning of Secretary Hillary Clinton, during the bogus Congressional Benghazi hearings. I can't excuse Congressman Gowdy for his over the top drilling of Mrs Clinton during 8 grueling hours of senseless questioning about the Benghazi tragedy.
A FoxNews report: Trey Gowdy to Trump Lawyer John Dowd ~  "WHEN YOU'RE INNOCENT .. ACT LIKE IT"
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) urged President Donald Trump and his lawyer on Sunday to stop flailing at special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and to let the probe continue unimpeded.

Also....Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) ~ GOP lawmakers must stand up for Mueller

Asserting that “when you are innocent … act like it,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) urged President Donald Trump and his lawyer to allow special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to continue, Fox News reported.

Gowdy said that the efforts of Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, to end Mueller’s probe did the president a “disservice” and that the counsel’s team need the “time, independence and resources” to complete the probe.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Gowdy said “I think the president’s attorney, frankly, does him a disservice when he says that and when he frames the investigation that way. If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it.”

Gowdy is chairman of the House Oversight committee. He said he hoped the president and Dowd would not try to force an end to the investigation. Trump mentioned Mueller for the first time in a tweet Sunday morning.

“Give Bob Mueller the time, independence and resources to do his job,” Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, told Fox News

“And if you are innocent, act like it. … If you’ve done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as fulsome and thorough as possible.”

Frankly, it's tough for me to give Congressman Trey Gowdy a pass on his horrible grandstanding while he pointlessly questioned Secretary Hillary Clinton about Benhazi. Nevertheless, he is correct to criticize Donald Trump, via the warning to Attorney John Dowd.

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Medicine of caresses ~ from Pope Francis

Pope Francis Calls Nurses, "Experts In Humanity" - Thanks Nurse Who Saved His Life ~ The medicine of caresses

Love is the best medicine, Pope Francis tells pediatric patients

Pope urges nurses to touch the sick like Jesus

Pope Francis met representatives of Italy’s National Federation of Professional Nursing Orders in the Vatican 
Pope Francis met Italian nurses on 3 February, 2018.  (Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY - "I thank her and I want you to know her name: Sister Cornelia Caraglio,” said Pope Francis as he remembered the nurse who saved his life, at 20 years old.

"When, at the age of 20, I was on the verge of death, she was the one who told the doctors, even arguing with them, 'No, this isn't working. You must give more,'" the Pope said during a meeting with thousands of nurses - members of Italy's national association of nursing professionals.

“And thanks to those things [her suggestions], I survived,” recalled the Pope.

The Pope Thanks Nurses
Pope Francis thanked all nurses in attendance, "you are there all day and you see what happens to the patient. Thank you for that!" he continued, “many lives, so many lives are saved thanks to you!”

He spoke about the importance of the nursing profession and the unique relationships nurses form with all members of the healthcare team - patients, families, and colleagues. Pope Francis stated that nurses are at “the crossroads” of all these relationships.

Furthermore, Pope Francis acknowledged the “truly irreplaceable” role nurses play in the lives of their patients. “Like no other, the nurse has a direct and continuous relationship with patients, takes care of them every day, listens to their needs and comes into contact with their very body, that he tends to,” stated Pope Francis.
The Pope called nurses, “promoters of the life and dignity of the persons.”

He spoke about the sensitivity they acquire from “being in contact with patients all day," and addressed the healing power of listening and touch. Calling touch an important factor for demonstrating respect for the dignity of the person.

He praised nurse’s continuous and tiring commitment to their individual patients despite the patient’s societal status. Calling a nurse’s care particularly important in a society which often leaves weaker people on the margin, only giving worth to people who meet certain criteria or level of wealth.

Pope Francis called the nursing profession “a real mission,” and referred to nurses as, “experts in humanity.”

When speaking of touch, Pope Francis told the story of when Jesus healed the Leper through touch. Encouraging the nurses, "we must recognize the importance of this simple gesture," Pope Francis said. "Mosaic law forbid touching lepers and banned them from approaching inhabited places. 

But Jesus went to the heart of the law, which is summarized in love for one's neighbor," stated Pope Francis.

While acknowledging the difficulty of the nursing profession, Pope Francis encouraged patients to have patience with nurses, to not demand things from nurses and to smile more at their nurses.
The Pope reminded nurses, "a caress, a smile, is full of meaning for one who is sick. It is a simple gesture, but encouraging, he or she feels accompanied, feels closer to being healed, feels like a person, not a number.”

Pope Francis encouraged nurses, to not forget the “medicine of caresses.”

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A Democrat Conor Lamb won in Pennsylvania 18 ~ Republicans lost

Conor Lamb Wins Pennsylvania House Seat, Giving Democrats a Map for Trump Country

Representative elect Conor Lamb Pennsylvania District 18 

In the purest philosophical world of politics, the word "politics" refers, globally, to "citizens". Unfortunately, the modern usage imply partisanship. If something is "political", it's a metaphor for the issue or the subject being, somehow, not entirely legitimate.

Which is precisely why the Republicans are deliberately creating political mixed messages about how it is that a Democrat Conor Lamb was able to win the election in the Pennsylvania 18 Congressional District. In fact, (a ridiculous "recount" notwithstanding) more people in the gerrymandered Pennsylvania district received more votes than did the Republican, Rick Saccone.

Here is an opinion "echo" published in the Pennsylvania newspaper "Delaware County Daily Times", by the editor. It explains how Conor Lamb won the popular vote ~ this is written in a prose that even a dummy can understand.

A funny thing happened in southwestern Pennsylvania this week.  A Democrat won.

In a district that Donald Trump won by 20 points a little more than a year ago.

And after a couple of visits from Donald Trump himself, as well as a parade of GOP heavy hitters.

The message, at least if you believe House Speaker Paul Ryan, was pretty clear. The Wisconsin Republican believes the results in the special election for the 18th District seat in Congress should serve as a “wake-up call” to his party as they face what is increasingly an uphill battle to hold onto their majority in Congress.

But, it also just might be a wake-up call for Democrats, a guide to regaining their footing in what was once a dependable blue voting block.

That would be blue collar, middle-class working people.

Those very voters who fell for Trump’s populist allure, who felt their voices no longer were being heard – or much mattered – in Washington, D.C.

Those voters who felt they were shunned by Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ standard bearer in 2016.

Conor Lamb, the Democrat who posted a razor-thin victory over Republican Rick Saccone, is not your normal Democrat. Yes, Republicans are considering a recount and even a legal challenge. It won’t change the bottom line: This was in part a referendum on President Trump and his political clout. Voters rejected it in favor of a Democrat who didn’t always sound like a Democrat.

Even the president’s tried-and-true campaign tactic, slapping him with a mocking nickname, didn’t work this time. That’s because “Lamb the Sham” was nothing of the sort.

Republicans tried to paint him as a potential puppet for House Dem boss Nancy Pelosi. In other words, this Lamb would be another sheep in Pelosi’s flock.

But Lamb wasn’t having it. He actually ran against his party’s leadership, noting early in the campaign that he would not support Pelosi for Speaker should the Dems win back the House.
And that’s not all. Lamb didn’t sound like a traditional Democrat on another key issue, either. He’s a staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights.

But he also zeroed in on two elements that used to be the Democrats’ bread and butter: union rights and economic fairness. He campaigned against the Republican tax cut plan as being excessively tilted to the wealthy. He focused on health care, which polls said was the No. 1 issue in the district. He railed against expected attacks from Republican leaders in Washington on Social Security and Medicare.

He also eschewed any attacks on those who supported Trump in the district. Instead he extended an invitation to Trump supporters to back him, instead of lashing out.

On the flip side, Saccone spent the final days of his flailing campaign aligning himself with the president, at one point indicating that he’d like to be his “wingman.” It didn’t work out.
Democrats, already licking their chops at what they see as a potential anti-Trump blue wave in November, might use the Lamb campaign as a blueprint to win back those areas that cost them the White House in 2016.
They could use Lamb as a prototype for candidates in conservative-leaning states where they struggled in 2016.

In more moderate districts, especially here in southeastern Pennsylvania, the stunning setback for the GOP likely set off even more alarm bells – and possibly will cause more incumbent Republicans to mull their future and consider getting out, as many have already done.

The hard lesson from Tuesday’s vote for Republicans is that it’s entirely possible that the president won’t be able to save them.

The White House, of course, tried to paint a different picture. 

Instead, the GOP trotted out the argument that Lamb won because he ran a “Trump” campaign. (MaineWriter ~ OMG ~ lie after lie and yet another lie!)

Democrats counter instead that the results merely show the limits of Trump’s popularity and the growing anti-Trump sentiment among voters.
Ryan in essence told his troops to put the wagons in a circle, that they need to “get to work,” not take anything for granted, and expect a tougher-than-ever battle among Democrats rejuvenated by their huge win in southwestern Pennsylvania.
The silence of the Lamb? Not this guy. 

Lamb's message is being heard all across the nation.

MaineWriter ~ Pennsylvania 18 election for "dummies" ~ Conor Lamb is the Democrat who received the most votes.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Research ~ Arming Teachers Won’t Save Students

An echo opinion letter published in The Fairfield Mirror describes how evidence cannot support how giving teachers guns will prevent school gun violence. ~ By Ariana Puzzo

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said during an interview on Feb. 15 that there should be consideration for training and arming teachers in the event of a school shooting. 

Following her remarks, The Hill reported that Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) rebuked DeVos’ suggestion. 

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” The Hill reported that Murphy said, “There’s zero evidence, empirical or anecdotal, that more guns leads to less gun crime.” 

Likewise, the National Education Association released a statement on Feb. 21 denouncing the idea. The United Federation of Teachers firmly rejected arming teachers in a statement that NBC New York reported on Feb. 22. I agree that arming teachers will not resolve the epidemic of school shootings that plagues the United States. Even if the shootings decline, there are dangers in allowing firearms into classrooms. Rather than shifting attention by offering harmful solutions, we must focus on practical approaches to combating gun violence. These strategies include pushing for legislation requiring universal checks for those purchasing guns and banning high-capacity magazines.

Following the horrific February 14, 2018, Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., gun control conversations re-entered political discourse. Donald Trump (wrongly) reaffirmed on Feb. 21, that arming teachers would end school shootings. 

According to The Guardian, Trump said, “If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.” 

The lack of logic employed by DeVos and Trump is staggering. 

Betsy DeVos was eviscerated in a 60 Minutes interview when Lesley Stahl asked simple questions and knowing facts. In a 13-minute segment DeVos gave nonsense, double-talk, half-answers, and an interrupted air of unearned superiority. 
Firstly, a study by John J. Donohue, a Stanford Law School professor, indicates that “states that have enacted so-called right-to-carry (RTC) concealed handgun laws have experienced higher rates of violent crime than states that did not adopt those laws.” 

Newsweek, who discussed the study, added that Donohue looked at data from 1977 to 2014, and was unable to find definitive evidence that crimes decreased in areas where more people carried guns. More so, NBC News reported that Daniel Webster, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, made the same argument that “the number of incidents of aggravated assault grows” when states allow citizens greater access.

Secondly, even if teachers are trained to use guns, there is no guarantee that their abilities will not be hindered in high-stress situations. After Trump said on Feb. 21 that marines could be “spread evenly throughout the school,” veterans found fault in his argument. According to The Guardian, Jay Kirell, a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, posted a tweet on his Twitter account saying, “Cops & soldiers literally get paid to do this & most of them can’t shoot accurately under stress.” 

Trump and DeVos’ narrow perception that the safety of students relies on gun access for educators overlooks the reality that other countries have limited access to firearms, and do not have the same high degree of gun violence overall or in schools.

This is not the first time that politicians called for guns in schools following a shooting. After the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Newsweek stated that executive director of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, said that guns in schools, not legislation, will stop mass shootings. It is clear that LaPierre’s true motive is to sell more guns, not to protect children who are seeking an education. If we want to effectively protect people in ways that were proven effective in other countries, we should implement the aforementioned universal checks and ban high-capacity magazines.

In October 2017, in the aftermath of the Las Vegas Strip shooting, The New York Times published the article, “How to Reduce Mass Shooting Deaths? Experts Rank Gun Laws.” 

Among measures that experts indicated could potentially prevent mass shootings — though they acknowledged the unpredictability of mass shootings — was “outlawing large-capacity ammunition magazines that enable rapid fire.” Likewise, they suggested universal checks as a potential measure that could lessen the shootings. Each measure had 62 percent and 89 percent public support, respectively. Also, when ranked on a 1-10 effective scale as 6.8 and 6.6, the statistics were within the top five highest rates. So, rather than focusing on the goals of gun supporters who reinforce “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” we must consider the best interest of children, who should not be within range of firearms.

Overall, European countries have greater restrictions. Although a country such as the United Kingdom does not have similar access to guns, citizens are not in greater danger. In a March 2016 article, The Guardian argued, “A look at four countries show that tougher gun laws have been central to these efforts, but that enforcement and culture may also play important roles in preventing violence.” Changes in the U.K. occurred after Thomas Hamilton shot and killed teacher Gwen Mayor and 16 five-year-old and six-year-old students in Dunblane, Scotland on March 13, 1996 with his “legally held arsenal of handguns.” 

National outrage about Hamilton’s ability to purchase firearms after being disavowed as a Scout leader due to his behavior toward young boys in part yielded the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997. The act “banned all cartridge ammunition handguns, except 22 calibre single-shot weapons,” and paved the way for future measures to tighten the law. Although gun crime increased in certain years, Mark Mastaglio, who worked for the Forensic Science Service, affirmed that the legislation “had a huge impact on registered gun owners in the UK.”

The belief that mass gun violence can be eradicated by placing guns in classrooms and training teachers to use them has no proven effectiveness. The practical solution is to observe other countries and understand how they handled gun violence in the past, and how we might emulate them to see similar results. 

Moreover, lawmakers and citizens in favor of protecting the right to bear arms should consider the price, and whether it is worth the lives of Americans, including many who cannot legally vote, to change the laws that affect their lives.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Russia ~ Failure of Speaker Ryan and Senator McConnell

Failing on Russia will be the legacy of the 115th Congress ~ echo opinion published in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

An excellent analysis ~ 

"worth pointing out that the party that led the charge for a multi-year, multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded effort to turn the Benghazi tragedy into a conspiracy now cannot find the bandwidth to seriously investigate an attack on our sovereignty."
Ryan Cahill opinion ~ Congress has tragically failed on Russia ~ By Ryan Cahill

The Justice Department indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for interfering in the 2016 election. They stand accused of organizing pro-Trump rallies, stealing Americans’ identities, and leveraging social media to sow discord among a polarized electorate. A lawyer for former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who was indicted on a litany of charges in October, has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators. 

Meanwhile, Gates and his former boss, Paul Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016, were charged (again) by the Justice Department in a sealed indictment. All of this happened in the past few weeks.

This is the new normal for the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s potential involvement in the same. Where many media outlets and some elected officials have approached these issues of foreign interference, high-level collusion, and obstruction of justice with the appropriate seriousness and concern, Republican leaders in Congress have failed.

This ineptitude is not a new development. Before election day in 2016, when the intelligence community came to the conclusion that Russia was intervening in our election on behalf of then-candidate Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to participate in a bipartisan statement condemning such behavior. More recently, House Speaker Paul Ryan has resorted to verbal jujitsu when asked about the president’s behavior as it relates to the Russia investigation, calling the legitimate attempts to safeguard our democracy a “political distraction.” 

Not to be outdone, however, is Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, who is using his power to throw chaff at the Mueller investigation with cherry-picked and misleading information – all in the face of objections from the FBI and Trump’s Justice Department. Nunes also likes to joke about the threat of Russian actors on Twitter.

When it comes to legislative action, the paralysis is even more alarming. Last summer, the Senate and the House voted overwhelmingly (something they hardly do on anything lately) to impose tougher sanctions on Russia in the wake of their brazen election interference. 

Trump, facing the threat of a veto-override, issued a damning statement (that included a boast about the value of the Trump Organization), signed the bill out of public view, and then simply refused to enforce it.

Highlighting Republican hypocrisy on national security issues has become the equivalent of investing in your 401K: After the first few payments, it’s not sexy or interesting, and the marginal benefit hardly increases, but it’s always necessary. 

So it’s worth pointing out that the party that led the charge for a multi-year, multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded effort to turn the Benghazi tragedy into a conspiracy now cannot find the bandwidth to seriously investigate an attack on our sovereignty. During my time working in the House of Representatives, while President Obama was in office, I endured countless speeches centered on executive overreach and our “lawless president.” Now, when the president refuses to enforce a bipartisan law that they just passed, there’s no outrage.

This is the behavior of a group of individuals who are guided by the principle of staying in power, instead of using it for the public good. Considering that the vast majority congressional districts are safe from a challenge from anywhere except their own party, members of Congress are incentivized to placate their fringe constituents first and ask questions relevant to national security later. Unfortunately, this is a zero-sum game: The president’s insistence to dismiss Russian threats to our elections has left us woefully vulnerable to future interference – and it’s the Republicans’ failure in Congress to hold him accountable or protect institutions that ensure our democracy.

This will be the legacy of the 115th Congress. When Robert Mueller, a Republican once appointed as FBI Director by George W. Bush, completes his investigation, those results will be the metric by which to measure the concurrent congressional investigations. It’s likely that there will be plenty of daylight between what the Republican-led efforts to get to the bottom of this and Mueller’s final report look like, and rest assured the usual suspects will do everything they can to downplay it until the next news cycle.

History will undoubtedly reflect the abject failure of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to respond adequately to this assault on our democracy. In the meantime, only the results of this fall’s elections will determine whether they can get away with it.

Ryan Cahill is the digital manager at Truman National Security Project and is a native of Ohio. Follow him on Twitter @rwcahill.

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Puerto Rico ~ Knights of Columbus humanitarian aid and help for stranded monks

A $100,000 donation was also sent to the Archdiocese of San Juan to assist with immediate needs.

Grounded in prayer, knights across Puerto Rico continue relentless relief and recovery efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

by Wallace J. de la Vega ~ a freelance journalist based in San Germán, Puerto Rico.
At the break of dawn Sept. 21, some two dozen men emerged from their wind-whipped homes carrying chainsaws, hatchets and machetes. After sizing up the destruction that Hurricane Maria had swept across the island during the night, they set to work.

For days, these members of Knights, San Benito Abad Council 9572 in Patillas, in southeastern Puerto Rico, cleared the way through fallen trees, downed power lines and the pieces of homes and other debris. Then came the mammoth task of supplying food and fresh water to a suffering population whose electrical grid had been wiped out.

“We thank God who gave our council the opportunity to work together and show people the power of God and of faith through actions,” said Grand Knight Noel de León.

De León and his brother Knights in Patillas were not alone. Throughout the island, Knights mobilized to serve their neighbors in the aftermath of the storm.

Armando Vivoni Jr., grand knight of Monseñor José Torres Díaz Council 3836 in Rio Piedras, near San Juan, and K of C General Agent José Lebrón-Sanabria played pivotal roles, helping to orchestrate the distribution of two huge shipments of food and supplies donated by the Supreme Council.

“When the first shipment arrived, Knights all across Puerto Rico rallied together in planning and putting our call to charity into high gear,” Lebrón said. “Councils, assemblies, state council officers, past state deputies, field agents and lots of wives of members joined forces as never before in the distribution effort.”

The Knights have continued to support communities lacking basic goods and services. As of mid-February, thousands of homes were still without electric power, and hardly anyone in the central mountains had running water.

Ongoing local initiatives have been aided by the Supreme Council, which has committed more than $1 million in relief to the island, including material aid for those most in need and funds to help rebuild severely damaged churches and other Catholic institutions.

Charity and Solidarity

Two days after Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the Supreme Council authorized a relief shipment consisting of 132,000 pounds of food and other goods, which reached the island in early October. 

A $100,000 donation was also sent to the Archdiocese of San Juan to assist with immediate needs.

Vivoni was instrumental in coordinating the shipment from the U.S. mainland and distributing it to Puerto Rico’s interior, as his household hardware business is a certified freight company.

“Thanks to the help of the field agents of the fraternal insurance, things started moving very fast,” Vivoni said.

Lebrón, who is a member of San Francisco de Asis Council 15849 in Las Piedras, organized a convoy of 10 pickup trucks manned by Knights to distribute food and water along with power generators, batteries, portable gas stoves, roof tarps and flashlights.

“That was one of the biggest challenges in my life, because no one had electricity,” recalled Lebrón. “We have 41 councils in Puerto Rico, so I divided up the shipment among the 10 trucks for distribution across the island. Those councils received the food, cooked it and delivered it to those in need, often for many weeks.”

Members of Lebrón’s own council cooked and delivered thousands of free meals to the local community for eight weeks following the hurricane. 

Among the benefactors was Rafael Cordero-Tolentino, a paraplegic man who lives with his 79-year-old mother in Las Piedras.

“It was a crisis situation for us because our stove was electric and we couldn’t cook,” said Cordero, who is also a member of Padre Agapito Iriberri Council 5014 in Humacao. “God bless my brother Knights for helping us.”

Recently named disaster relief coordinator for Puerto Rico, Lebrón worked with Vivoni and state council officers to organize another convoy at the end of November 2017 to distribute a second large shipment of food and supplies from the Supreme Council.

Every Sunday for more than three months, the seven K of C field agents of Lebrón’s agency also cooked between 150 and 200 hot meals in their own homes and distributed them after Masses in the parishes around the island.

Thomas P. Smith Jr., the chief insurance officer for the Knights of Columbus, remarked, “We have always known that our agents are devoted members of the Order first, and dedicated to the principles of charity, unity and fraternity. These acts of assistance to their brother Knights during a great time of need demonstrate this. The entire field force is proud of what these men in Puerto Rico have done and continue to do.”

Field agent Héctor Lebrón-Sanabria, who is a member of Council 5014 and José’s brother, noted that their service as Knights is rooted in faith.

“I had hope in God that everything was going to be all right in my house with my family, but I still had to accept that it was getting worse,” he said, recalling his prayer as Hurricane Maria first made landfall. “It was so important to pray during the hurricane, as well as after, because we can hear God saying, ‘You are my sons, you are my people. You know I will take care of you.’”

Determined to Rebuild

Once the extreme flooding had subsided in Patillas’ rural areas, Grand Knight Noel de León and the members of Council 9572 delivered hundreds of pounds of food and dozens of cases of bottled water to a local shelter, where they cooked for families in need. As Christmas approached, the council then distributed Habitat for Humanity home repair kits, some 1,000 toys, and several thousand hot meals.
In the western town of Aguada, where Christopher Columbus first set foot in Puerto Rico, Domingo Serra-López, grand knight of Fray Alonso del Espinar Council 6242, served as a municipal volunteer in the immediate aftermath of Maria. He visited urban and rural areas to assess the extent of material damage and people’s needs. This led members of Council 6242 to prepare hundreds of meals with food donated by the Supreme Council and the National Guard, delivering them to families in the hardest hit zones.

“Maria did a lot of damage, but at the same time it was a blessing because people were helping each other,” said Serra. “It was brotherhood, completely brotherhood.”

In the Diocese of Ponce, on the southern side of the island, the Knights’ cooking, aid distribution and physical labor were based in Nuestra Señora del Carmen Parish, located in the economically depressed Playa sector. The parish church, which lost its roof and was severely damaged by Maria, will be rebuilt with aid from the Order.
“The people of this parish have deep Catholic roots, and the church is extremely historic,” explained State Deputy Miguel Vidal-Lugo.

Luis Mercado-Pacheco, diocesan deputy and a member of Monseñor Ricardo Surina Council 5950 in Ponce, said that a trailer full of water received from the Supreme Council was “a godsend” to the locals.

“We have been received with open arms here in Playa de Ponce, especially in the Puerto Viejo area, which was completely destroyed,” Mercado added.

Padre Antonio Uriarte Council 14281 in Ponce cooked about 200 meals a day for community members for several weeks. Once a month, on what they call Charity Sunday, they distribute free meals at Ponce’s town square.
State Deputy Vidal expressed enthusiasm about the Knights’ ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico and what they have accomplished.

“Things are moving along well,” he said. “There’s much sacrifice, and reaching homes sometimes is not easy, but we are doing it all over the island.”

“Not easy” seems to be a challenge that drives Puerto Rico’s Knights, who continue the work of recovery with unshakeable faith and commitment to stalwart service in the face of disaster.

“I’ve seen concrete houses that were demolished by the hurricane,” said Vivoni. “I’ve seen expressways covered with electrical poles that broke off, unbelievably. What I have seen breaks one’s heart. But the Knights’ first pillar is charity, and so we are determined to rebuild and get Puerto Rico back on its feet.”
Side bar feature story: A future Knight helps 
General Agent José Lebrón-Sanabria stands together with his son, Marco, and Benedictine Father Oscar Rivera, abbot of San Antonio Abad Monastery in Humacao, Puerto Rico, in the monastery’s chapel. They checked on the well being of the Monastery monks.
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD Marco, son of General Agent José Lebrón-Sanabria, attends a Benedictine school connected to San Antonio Abad Monastery in Humacao, on the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. It was here that Hurricane Maria first made landfall Sept. 20, 2017.

Two days later, Marco had a sudden realization. 

“I noticed my school bag and thought, ‘Wait a second, my school is in the middle of a forest, and everything outside looks like the videogame Wasteland,’” he recalled. “And so I told my dad, ‘Hey, let’s go check on the monks to see if they are OK.’”

As it turned out, a group of seven elderly monks had been trapped in their monastery, without food or water.

“We were in a critical situation,” explained Father Oscar Rivera,
abbot of the monastery for the past 21 years and postulator of the sainthood causes of Blessed Carlos Rodríguez Santiago, who was a member of the Knights of Columbus, and Venerable Rafael Cordero Molina.

“At first, they couldn’t get out because the road was blocked, so a group of us Knights and others cleared a narrow trail around the fallen trees,” said José.

“The Knights took care of things quickly,” added Father Rivera, “and they even got a huge machine to push the debris to the side.”

After clearing access to the Benedictine compound, Knights filled and delivered 55-gallon drums each day with fresh water from a spring located on a mountaintop 10 miles away.

“To fill one drum we had to wait in long lines with small buckets and it took more than 20 trips walking up and down, which was exhausting,” José said. “We did that for 18 days.”

Marco joined his father to fetch the water and also made trips with him to cook and deliver food to those in need.

“My dad has really inspired me because every day he would just go out and help people,” Marco said. “One day, I would like to become a Knight of Columbus too, because I feel that I’ve been put here on earth to help everybody that I can.”

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Gun safety means less assault weapons of mass destruction

In my random cruising of American newspaper opinion pages, the letters are clearly trending against putting more guns in schools.  

Although this observation is my own random sample, I find the trend to be evident in every random newspaper where I happen to check the opinion page. Therefore, my informal conclusion is that opposition to putting more guns in schools is widespread and not a partisan issue.  

Another "echo" opinion published in Scranton Pennsylvania, in The Times-Tribune:

How many must die? ~ Echo from Fern Oliveri, Carbondale PA

Editor: It has been 19 years since the Columbine school massacre in Colorado. Must we wait another 19 years to ban assault weapons when everyone in office now will be out of office by then?

This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. No one needs to have assault weapons, except for the military. The gun lobby and the National Rifle Association must be dissolved. The gun manufacturers are out to make money and the NRA gives money to politicians to not pass any gun reform laws. 

If members of Congress won’t start enacting new gun laws they must be voted out of office. How many more children need to die before something is done?
We might not have to wait 19 more years because the students from the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, have started a movement and they will vote in the next presidential election. 

President Trump tried to appease them with talk of change to the gun laws but is still under the control of the NRA.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has shelved the gun debate. Trump’s mind just runs from one thing to another. So, to distract from the gun control debate he is starting a trade war with tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Unfortunately, his base still loves him and some may think he is the best president ever, until they realize they are the ones paying for his tax reform bill for the wealthy. Everything else he does for himself. You, your children and grandchildren will pay for the trillions on the deficit they have increased.

Submitted by Fern Oliveri, Carbondale PA

MaineWriter ~ In my further opinion, assault weapons are weapons of mass destruction and no one person with a handgun or rifle will be able to stop a madman who is using one of them to mass murder people.  Safety in schools requires preventing access to assault weapons used to murder people.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Betsy DeVos isn't qualified to lead anything except selling toilet bowl cleaner

Inspired by Parkland students, Philly youth demand change

Follow the children.....

Walkouts have already happened in cities like Pittsburgh, where high school students marched Feb. 21 to show support for Parkland, Fla., students. Philly’s walk out was planned for Wednesday, March 14.

So much security in Washington. Why not in schools?

Donald Trump makes everything he touches into political partisan extremist issues....even the school security of our children.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will lead a commission tasked with broadly examining ways to protect schools from gun violence, the White House said. ~ USA Today
But, Republicans want to put more guns in schools with the false hope of trying to improve school security....

Stupid Betsy DeVos being in charge of school safety ~ proposal has angered education groups, who have said arming educators could put both adults and students at risk. National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García last month said, "Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence."

The National Rifle Association (NRA) sued to block a new Florida law, signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, that prohibits gun sales to anyone under 21.

Betsy DeVos is unqualified to be the secretary of anything. 

Indeed, the DeVos wealth comes from selling Amway toilet bowl cleaner. She probably doesn't even know how to use the products she sells.  She's not qualified to lead a commission about school safety, especially when the education community opposes her leadership. 

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Echo opinions about tariffs ~ from Pittsburgh: Costs will transfer to middle class

Prior to the Pennsylvania District 18 special election, rumors were circulating about the "real" reason Donald Trump made a surprise tariff policy on aluminum and steel. Coincidence? I don't think so. These two letters published in the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Post Gazette fly in the face of how tariffs will protect manufacturing. Instead, the tariffs will cost middle class consumers more money.

Two opinion letters to challenge the Donald Trump tariff on aluminum and steel, published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Tariffs are an indirect tax on consumers ~ Arthur L. Goldbert, Squirrel Hill 

Basic economics shows the Trump tariffs are a bad idea ~ Ruben Berrios, Highland Park, PA

Letter #1

Donald Trump steel and aluminum tariff is an indirect tax on all consumers. In other words, all people who consume products using steel and aluminum will pay for the tariff.

Higher costs to U.S. manufacturers using imported steel and aluminum will be passed on in higher prices to U.S. consumers. 

Domestic steel and aluminum prices will increase to the competitive market level that reflects the import tariff. And imported finished products, such as cars, that include steel and aluminum will also have higher prices as the importers will, for sound economic reasons, increase their prices to mirror the higher prices of domestically produced competitive products.

The argument for tariffs being supportive of our national security is wrong when the largest source of steel imports is Canada — a country whose citizens have fought and died in all wars and is the closest possible US ally.

Protectionism is not useful. But consider the potential impact of tariffs from other countries, and the potential loss of employment in the impacted businesses, and deciding how best to increase jobs in general and not in a specific industry. The latest jobs report showed a low unemployment rate and higher labor force participation. Certainly many unemployed steel workers could work elsewhere with a little help. The idea of having a guaranteed job for life is just no longer valid. ~ Arthur L. Goldbert, Squirrel Hill

Letter #2 

Loss of jobs in manufacturing has been due mainly to automation rather than competition from abroad. Under free trade, there are winners and losers, but as long as the gains outweigh the losses, trade is beneficial. It is competition that has lowered prices.

European allies are set on using retaliatory measures if Mr. Trump proceeds in slapping tariffs on the rest of the world. This will not be a win-win situation. On the contrary, once retaliation ensues, there will be severe consequences.

In addition, prices in industries that use steel and aluminum will rise and lead to inflationary pressure. This is basic economics that supersedes ideological posturing that will lead nowhere. Mr. Burris, how about learning some basic economics? 
Ruben Berrios, Highland Park, PA

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Puerto Rico ~ Bienvenido a Florida

Puerto Ricans are migrating into Florida. This migration is a response to lack of US support for the Puerto Rican people following the 2017 hurricane devastation

(Bloomberg Politics)*

US government (aka "Donald Trump") threw paper towels to Hurricane Maria survivors in San Juan, rather than extending the help needed, following the devastation caused when the category 4 storm hit the island.

An echo opinion, was published in the Orlando Sentinel, written by a Puerto Rico native. He honors his father's military service as a way to affirm ethnic patriotism. In other words, Puerto Ricans are Americans and immigrating to Florida, as citizens.

Papi, patriotism and the 'Puerto Rican Air Force' ~ Though he was raised on the island, my father’s love, dedication and loyalty to the United States was legendary.

ORLANDO (a Groveland writer), Florida

Call it a matter of family pride.

Call it the strength that binds us as a nation.

My father, Jose Cuevas Marx, was born in Puerto Rico in 1922. He retired from the United States Air Force a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. And just as he lived his life for two nations, he was laid to rest in 1991 at the National Cemetery in Puerto Rico. A true patriot.
Though he was raised on the island, my father’s love, dedication and loyalty to the United States was legendary. My three brothers and I were born on U.S. Air Force bases — my older brother and I in Puerto Rico and our younger brothers in Lincoln, Neb., and Wiesbaden, Germany. So you’ll probably guess what’s coming: 

We all served in the U.S. Air Force — or, as we called it growing up, “The Puerto Rican Air Force.” My father always made sure we knew we were the children of two flags. I believe he felt it was more about family and culture than political alignments. I imagine most Puerto Ricans feel the same sense of loyalty and love for both.

So now, it seems my tiny island has fallen on particularly hard times. Bad politics, bad economic policies and years of hoping things will get better, but sadly just more of the same. Add a natural disaster named Maria that devastated the island, and what do you get? The last straw for many Puerto Ricans. Even some of the “I’ll never leave my beautiful island” hard-line types have called it quits and made the move to the mainland.

Notice, I called it a move, not a migration, not an exodus

My father — always the realist — was just a little bit ahead of his time and decided to make the move a little sooner — 39 years sooner. “Way to be proactive, Papi.”

All across Central Florida, many cities and communities are receiving and welcoming our new neighbors from the Caribbean. What an awesome job Central Florida has done with the Welcome Wagon. Muchas gracias. Just like Puerto Ricans have been counted on to serve and defend our great nation since the first shot of World War I, Puerto Ricans continue to fight for a better life, adapting when things get rough, all of us together, as Americans.

Now, there will be some growing pains. This is to be expected. 

Not everyone likes a melting pot heavy on the Adobo. 

But if pride and patriotism could be measured in our nation, it would be surging up in Florida. And that’s in everybody’s best interest. My father always thought so.

Carlos Cuevas of Groveland is a member of the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Advisory

*Orlando, a metropolitan area of about 2.4 million, is especially attractive to the new Floridians, with the prospect of jobs in the Disney World-fueled hospitality industry, free couches from friends and relatives, and necessities like passable roads and functioning schools. But the mass migration has the city bursting at the seams.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Olympics raised the international bar for Korean diplomacy

Political leaders should learn from the powerful symbolism of the Olympian gestures.

An "echo" opinion letter published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper in West Virginia ~

Senators should ensure Trump can't attack North Korea

The 2018 Winter Olympic Games offered an important lesson in diplomacy. Even while political tensions between South Korea and North Korea remain high, athletes from the two countries walked together during the Opening Ceremony’s Parade of Nations. Athletes from both nations were be represented by one Korean Unification Flag.

Political leaders should learn from the powerful symbolism of these gestures.

In recent months, as Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have lobbed insults at one another about the strength of their nuclear arsenals, the threat of conflict between our two countries has become increasingly real. This drum beat toward war undermines decades of diplomacy and dialogue that have prevented conflict and slowed nuclear weapon development in North Korea.

To go to war now would be catastrophic. (MaineWriter ~ Now that Donald Trump doesn't have a Secretary of State, he's capable of anything.)

Military experts estimate that, even if such a war did not involve nuclear weapons, it would be lengthy, expensive, would require significant U.S. ground forces and would result in tens of thousands of deaths in just the first few days of fighting on the Korean Peninsula. If the war did involve nuclear weapons, the costs would be all the more substantial.

Members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, have been too silent on this issue. However, Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., has introduced a bill (S. 2047) that would bar the president from launching a military attack on North Korea without explicit congressional approval or an imminent threat. 

Signing this bill is an opportunity for senators to support diplomatic efforts over military action and would ensure that the president does not have the unilateral ability to begin a costly and dangerous conflict.

We should urge Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin to co-sponsor bill S. 2047. The stakes are too high for any other option.

Jamie Shinn ~  Morgantown  West Virginia

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Medicaid and rural access ~ better obstetrics care: Kaiser Health

Brianna Foster’s son Holden was born about a month early. Genesis Hospital was not only close to Foster’s home, it was equipped to handle premature babies, meaning she was able to take Holden home after a couple of days.
(Maddie McGarvey for KHN)

Medicaid payments allow struggling hospitals to maintain vital costly services such as maternity care. ~ By Shefali Luthra

ZANESVILLE, Ohio — Brianna Foster, 23, lives minutes away from Genesis Hospital, the main source of health care and the only hospital with maternity services in southeastern Ohio’s rural Muskingum County.

Proximity proved potentially lifesaving last fall when Foster, pregnant with her second child, Holden, felt contractions at 31 weeks — about seven weeks too soon. Genesis was equipped to handle the situation — giving Foster medication and an injection to stave off delivery. After his birth four weeks later – still about a month early, at 5 pounds 12 ounces — Holden was sent to the hospital’s special care nursery for monitoring.

Mother and son went home after a few days. “He was pretty small — but he’s picking up weight fast,” said Foster of Holden, now almost 4 months old.

Mother and son went home after a few days. “He was pretty small — but he’s picking up weight fast,” said Foster of Holden, now almost 4 months old.

Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people — including Foster, who most recently worked as a preschool teacher’s aide — is responsible for much of her good fortune.

Started in 1965, the program today is part of the financial bedrock of rural hospitals like Genesis. As treatments have become increasingly sophisticated — and expensive — health care has become inextricably linked to Medicaid in rural areas, which are often home to lower-income and more medically needy people.

Kaiser Health News is examining how the U.S. has evolved into a “Medicaid Nation,” where millions of Americans rely on the program, directly and indirectly, often unknowingly.

Medicaid covers nearly 24 percent of rural, nonelderly residents and offers some financial stability to rural facilities by reducing uncompensated care costs at hospitals that would otherwise be in dire straits. In some cases, it enables them to provide costly but vital services, such as high-risk maternity care.

Medicaid pays the tab for close to 45 percent of all U.S. births annually, and about 51 percent of rural births, according to research. In Ohio, Medicaid pays for about 52 percent of births, according to 2016 state data, the most recent available.

But efforts to control Medicaid costs are consistently high on Republicans’ to-do list. The Trump administration has encouraged states to introduce work requirements and other changes to Medicaid — changes that would almost certainly reduce the number of people it covers and the money rural hospitals receive. Ohio lawmakers have recently signaled they intend to require that Medicaid enrollees also be employed.

Matthew Perry, Genesis’ CEO, who identifies as conservative and finds plenty of fault in Obamacare, is concerned about high government spending. But he acknowledges that cuts to Medicaid would be deeply problematic for his hospital, affecting what services it can afford to provide. Perry keeps a map in his office to track local options for medical care, and the next-closest OB ward is an hour away in Columbus. What happens, hypothetically, if you take Genesis Hospital off the map?

“That’s a huge problem,” he said.
Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people — including Foster, who most recently worked as a preschool teacher’s aide — is responsible for much of her good fortune.

Started in 1965, the program today is part of the financial bedrock of rural hospitals like Genesis. As treatments have become increasingly sophisticated — and expensive — health care has become inextricably linked to Medicaid in rural areas, which are often home to lower-income and more medically needy people.

Kaiser Health News is examining how the U.S. has evolved into a “Medicaid Nation,” where millions of Americans rely on the program, directly and indirectly, often unknowingly.

Medicaid covers nearly 24 percent of rural, nonelderly residents and offers some financial stability to rural facilities by reducing uncompensated care costs at hospitals that would otherwise be in dire straits. In some cases, it enables them to provide costly but vital services, such as high-risk maternity care.

Medicaid pays the tab for close to 45 percent of all U.S. births annually, and about 51 percent of rural births, according to research. In Ohio, Medicaid pays for about 52 percent of births, according to 2016 state data, the most recent available.

But efforts to control Medicaid costs are consistently high on Republicans’ to-do list. The Trump administration has encouraged states to introduce work requirements and other changes to Medicaid — changes that would almost certainly reduce the number of people it covers and the money rural hospitals receive. Ohio lawmakers have recently signaled they intend to require that Medicaid enrollees also be employed.

Matthew Perry, Genesis’ CEO, who identifies as conservative and finds plenty of fault in Obamacare, is concerned about high government spending. But he acknowledges that cuts to Medicaid would be deeply problematic for his hospital, affecting what services it can afford to provide. Perry keeps a map in his office to track local options for medical care, and the next-closest OB ward is an hour away in Columbus. What happens, hypothetically, if you take Genesis Hospital off the map?

“That’s a huge problem,” he said.

Squeezed Hospitals, Cutting Costs

Like many rural hospitals Genesis is this area’s health care hub, the access point for primary care as well as mental health care, routine surgeries and other medical needs.

It is also central to the local economy.

Here in Zanesville, population 25,000, it seems as if almost everybody knows someone employed by the hospital.

Main Street is quiet — a stretch of scattered restaurants and pubs, county buildings and churches. Ten minutes away, across the river, Genesis anchors a stretch that would otherwise claim little more than fast-food chains, used car dealerships and cellphone shops.

This hospital, the flagship of a larger Ohio health system, is the product of a 2015 merger of two older town hospitals: Bethesda and Good Samaritan. Its 300 beds are the main source of health care across six counties — a quarter million people — and it delivers 1,500 babies per year.

Ask a woman in town where she would plan to deliver, and the answer is practically a given: Genesis, of course. Locals say it’s hard to conceive of a reality in which the hospital didn’t deliver babies.

In recent years, it’s also doubled down on other services, like cancer care, neurosurgery and open-heart surgery — which experts say can cushion a rural hospital’s bottom line, even if need isn’t as great.

Still, hospitals like Genesis often struggle with tight budgets and regular debates about whether cash flow can continue to support certain types of services. Rural hospitals have seen a sharp decline in the past decade. Nationally, 80 have closed since 2010 and the trend is expected to continue.

“When rural hospitals are squeezed, they have to look at what fixed costs they can shed,” said Katy Kozhimannil, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, who studies obstetrics access. “The fixed costs of providing obstetrics services are very clear, and very distinct."

Obstetrics requires pricey specialists, expensive malpractice insurance and, in the 21st century, the capacity to deal with extreme preemies and high-risk deliveries. At the same time, Medicaid reimburses hospitals less for this service— often below the cost of the care — than any other insurance program, making it a balance-sheet loss.

Already, about 45 percent of rural communities do not have a hospital with dedicated maternity care. From 2004 to 2014, almost 1 in 10 rural counties lost their hospital-based obstetrics programs, suggests research published last fall.

In Ohio, nine rural hospitals have dropped obstetrics since 2007 — including one that closed. The state currently has 73 small and rural hospitals in operation.

“We’ve seen a slow erosion of obstetrics in rural areas,” said Michael Topchik, national leader of the Chartis Center for Rural Health, an analytics and consulting firm. “And I’m afraid that further [Medicaid] cuts would exacerbate that trend.”

That scenario is part of the reason why rural health advocates have fiercely criticized GOP efforts at the federal and state level to cut Medicaid or to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s option for states to expand eligibility for the program.

Research suggests that states’ expansion of Medicaid eligibility led to greater financial stability for rural hospitals. Also, more generous Medicaid coverage increases the odds that rural areas have any kind of obstetrics program.

Potential cutbacks offer a complicated calculation in this conservative town, with practical considerations bumping into politics.

“Things like trauma and obstetrics and behavioral medicine … they’ve got to be subsidized by other, more profitable things,” said Perry, the hospital CEO. “You can’t repeal the laws of economics.”

Still, Muskingum County backed Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by more than 2-to-1. Its most recent congressional representative, Republican Pat Tiberi, was a vocal Obamacare critic who, until an early retirement this past January, consistently voted to repeal the ACA and pushed efforts to reduce Medicaid’s size and scope.

It’s obvious that better prenatal care means better outcomes.

A Public Health Concern

When pregnant women are geographically farther from health care, they and their babies are more likely to have poor outcomes, like lower birth weights, research suggests.

Foster said that if she had to travel to Columbus, she likely would not have made as many prenatal appointments. Each visit means scrounging up gas money and finding someone to watch her older son for at least three hours.

“It’s obvious that better prenatal care means better outcomes,” said Bijan Goodarzi, an OB-GYN at Muskingum Valley Health Center, a Genesis affiliate about a five-minute drive from the hospital.

And without an operational delivery unit, hospitals are unlikely to keep on staff obstetricians who are experienced in complicated births, experts said.

Keeping rural maternity services open with Medicaid funding also engages new mothers with the local health system in regions with high rates of chronic illness, drug addiction and smoking. The national opioid epidemic is acute in this corner of Ohio.

“What we see is someone who comes in with no teeth, or all rotted teeth or can’t eat. And she’s not complaining about dental work. She’s here worried about her pregnancy,” Goodarzi said.

Even as Obamacare repeal appears on pause, Medicaid remains vulnerable. In Ohio, many state lawmakers are pushing a cap on the state’s expanded Medicaid program — a controversial move that would almost certainly squeeze hospital revenue. Nationally, Republican leaders are weighing cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and other safety-net programs.

“If you pull too many of those foundational blocks out of the system that support the safety net … it can crumble,” said Perry, who worries about the effect of such cuts. “People can assume something’s always going to be there, when in reality, that assumption is not always true.”

Kaiserpermanente Health Netword’s coverage is supported by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation

Shefali Luthra:, @Shefalil

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Republicans lie about immigration ~ echo from David Brooks

In a summary (abbreviated) article, published in February 9, 2018, edition of "The Week", the New York Times columnist David Brooks described what American immigrants really look like and, in contrast, how Republicans conjure up lies to describe them.

Immigrants who are assimilating are living the American Dream.

David Brooks wrote:

As an advocate of moderation, Id like to be able to claim there's a reasonable middle ground on immigration. But, when you wade into the evidence, you find that the case for restricting immigration is pathetically weak.  Restrictionists insist the country currently has too many immigrants, bot legal and illegal, and that they're competing for jobs and eroding America's culture But, let's look at rural America from New England down to Appalachia and over to the upper Midwest. These places are often 95 percent white, with few immigrants. Are these places thriving? 

Rather, the situation is quite the opposite.

Those are some of America's most blighted communities, with few new businesses and jobs, widespread family breakdown, and rampant opioid addiction. Immigrants, on the other hand, show far more traditional American values than the native-born: Ambitious and optimistic they start new businesses at twice the rate of non-immigrants, have fewer our-of-wedlock children and commit less crime.  Moreover, the second and third generations of Hispanic and Asian immigrants are indeed assimilating, intermarrying and even identifying themselves as being white. 

It's no wonder some native born Americans resent immigrants, who are proving that the American Dream still works, when people are willing to do anything to succeed.  

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