Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Asylum Seeker Racket

It says: “Comments are disabled on some stories about sensitive topicsat the bottom of articles about hundreds of African “asylum seekers” coming into Portland, Maine on buses from San Antonio, Texas. That tells me The Portland Press Herald, Maine’s largest newspaper, knows illegal immigration is unpopular with Mainers and millions of other Americans across the country. The paper wants only its view presented and restricts opposing views.

Press Herald coverage amplifies anecdotes about the hardships endured by African families from Angola, Congo, and Cameroon who travel to Brazil, then Central America, and through Mexico to arrive at the Texas border demanding asylum. There’s no investigation, however, into who supported them on that long journey. Who paid their passage across the Atlantic? Who fed, clothed, and housed them on their months-long journey? Who told them to ask for asylum immediately after crossing the border and then ask to be bussed to Portland, Maine? Photographs of them arriving in Portland don’t depict people worn out after a harrowing journey. They’re well-dressed and some appear overweight.

A Swiss journalist named Urs Gehriger tried to interview these “asylum seekers” on the streets of San Antonio about how they got there. According to Fox News: “…he met hostility from people who didn’t want to share details about their experiences … and had rolls of $100 bills. They offered conflicting answers and contradicted each other.” They had crossed the Rio Grande illegally but immediately became “legal” after asking border officials for asylum because of the federal law congressional Democrats refuse to change. So, we can expect “asylum seekers” to just keep coming and they’re not illegal aliens; they’re “asylees.” Gehriger believes the illegals were coached on giving answers to authorities. “I had the impression that somebody told them not to speak about it,” and acting like “now we’re here, you have to help us, give us money,” he said.

Hundreds of Africans have arrived and as many as 1500 more are expected. There’s no hint in the PPH coverage about Mainers who believe Democrats support open-borders and who are unhappy about spending their tax money on people from anywhere in the world who make their way to Maine claiming “asylum.” How do “asylees” know that in little Portland, Maine they can get free food, medical care, housing, and education? When they arrive in Texas, they ask to be bussed here. Government officials in San Antonio also know Portland offers more free stuff for “asylum seekers” than almost anywhere else in the country.

When Democrats controlled Maine prior to 2012 and Portland gave illegal immigrants and “asylum seekers” General Assistance (welfare), the state reimbursed the city for 90% of it. Then former [Republican] Maine Human Services Director Mary Mayhew said in 2015: “For too long, legislators in Augusta have taken Maine citizens’ tax dollars and prioritized welfare dollars for illegal aliens over aid to elderly and disabled Maine citizens.” Former Governor LePage [also Republian] cut off state reimbursement for payments to illegal immigrants and “asylum seekers” in spite of efforts by then-Attorney General Janet Mills [a Democrat] to stop him. Now Democrats are back in control of Maine’s government and Janet Mills is governor. Expect them to restart the gravy train very soon.

It looks like Democrats are willing to pay for any number of people from anywhere in the world, yet they deny they support open borders. Yes, it’s nice to help people who are fleeing war and oppression, but is that the case with all of them? Many Mainers doubt it. Life in America is better than most places in the world and, according to a Gallup poll, a hundred fifty million more would like to come here. How many of those should we pay for? A million? Ten million? Fifty million? Ask a Democrat official and you won’t get a straight answer. Portland’s social services infrastructure cannot handle the ones we have already so local officials reach out to surrounding communities like South Portland where I’m also a taxpayer.

According to the Washington Examiner, Catholic Charities pays to bus the “asylum seekers” around the country. A ticket to New York for a family of five to seven cost $2000. Why would they do that? Is it because most of their budget comes from the federal government for resettling refugees and asylum seekers? American Catholic bishops support open borders and, according to newsmax.com: “Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services [in the USA] received $202,000,000 and $426,943,000 respectively in 2016.”

There are at least 3000 asylum seekers in Maine who wait two years for their cases to be heard by an immigration court. However, US Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan reported earlier this month that 90% of asylum seekers in the country never show up. Is that because their asylum claims are phony? After defaulting on their court appearances they all become illegal aliens again and McAleenan says very few will ever be deported.

Quite a racket, huh? Expect to read none of this in the Portland Press Herald.

Left & Right June 5, 2019

Mark Guerringue again sits in the left chair. The producer asks us both if we support President Trump's increasing tariffs on China and Mexico. I support the China tariffs but not necessarily the recent ones on Mexico. Mark questions all tariffs and thinks conservatives should too. They always did.

Mark says tariffs never worked anywhere but I point out how the US Government used tariffs almost exclusively to support itself until the Graduated income tax was enacted in the early 20th century. Mark raises history too saying that tariffs on Merino wool were a boom to sheep farmers in northern New England in the early 19th century resulting in all the stone walls through what are now woods.

I bring up historian and biographer Dave Garrow's claim that Martin Luthor King was much more of a womanizer than previously reported. He participated in orgies and witnessed a rape by a fellow minister and laughed. Mark questioned why I brought it up and I answer that it shows mainstream media's bias against stories that don't fit their left-wing narrative. Mark says it's insulting when I question the professionalism of the New York Times and others in media. We go back and forth on that for quite a while.

At about the halfway point Mark brought a print-out of my column submission to his newspaper for the week and voiced several criticisms, ultimately saying he would not run it. It pertained to the Drag Queen Story Hour due to run at the Conway Public Library later this month. I see it as a danger for drag queens who are usually homosexual men to be models for children aged 3-8 who may become confused about their own sex. Mark says I'm wrong to conflate drag queens, homosexuality, and transgenders.

I contend there's a spectrum and what is lately referred to as gender dysphoria is on it. Mark says that's just wrong and they're all separate and distinct. This discussion takes up nearly all the second half of the show and gets heated. He claims I pull people out of thin air who support my ideas.

I cite research by Lisa Littman MD of Brown University who documented a group of fourteen-year-old females that together declared they were males after showing no signs of gender dysphoria previously. Mark contends she rescinded her study but I disagreed, pointing out that the former dean of Harvard Medical School backed up the science behind Littman's study. (Later I learned that she republished the study with minor modifications but didn't change her basic claims.)

Mark suggests I'm unenlightened and need therapy because my beliefs run counter to the LGBTQ narrative. I obviously disagree and claim that whoever dares publish data or opinions contradicting that narrative is publicly vilified by the LGBTQ lobby and Littman suffered a politically-correct assault at Brown University reminiscent of fascist tactics.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

The Transgender Juggernaut

Last Saturday’s Conway Daily Sun reported on a “Drag Queen Story Hour” at the local public library scheduled for later this month. According to the national organization for drag queens who want to read books to children, the target demographic is children aged 3-8. Books that “may be read” include: "Jacob's New Dress" by Sarah and Ian Hoffman and "Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress.” Children must be accompanied by an adult so parental permission is assumed. If that’s something to which parents want to expose their kids, so be it.

It’s hard to see this as anything but a further assault on societal sexual norms. I mean it’s not as if homosexual men are suddenly dedicated to raising literacy rates. The library program is voluntary but elementary schools are mandatory and supported by our tax dollars. Similar homosexual propaganda is endorsed by teachers’ unions and education bureaucrats at all levels and we’re paying for it.

Just before I retired from teaching, I learned that a boy in the lower grades thought he was a girl. His parents evidently believed he was and insisted that everyone at the local elementary school behave as if he were. I figured I’d be gone before he got to my classroom and wouldn’t have to deal with the situation, and that’s the way it worked out. All elementary staff used female pronouns and he used the girls’ bathroom. I don’t know how long his confusion lasted and I wondered if the parents went ahead with puberty-blocking drugs and penis amputation for him as well.

Perhaps the boy overcame his confusion. Seventy or eighty percent do according to brave psychiatrists not afraid to speak out, but when everyone with whom a sexually confused young person comes in contact cooperates with the pretense it will likely persist. I felt bad for the little boy because the rate of suicide attempts for so-called transgenders was and is higher than 40%. The LGBTQIA (and whatever other letters have added to the ever-expanding acronym) lobby insists it’s because of discrimination by people who continue to maintain that humans are male and female and cannot switch sex on a whim.

Others dispute that. According to Daniel Payne writing in the Federalist: “[I]t utterly ignores the most salient feature of transgender individuals: that they are mentally ill and need serious treatment. This is not a moral or ethical judgment. It is, rather, a fact. Individuals who believe they are a different sex than that of their biology are psychologically ill—self-evidently so—and one would quite reasonably expect a higher suicide rate from a portion of the population that suffers from so significant a mental illness (particularly a mental illness it is fashionable to indulge rather than treat).”

It was possible that a sexually confused student might transfer into my class and I resolved that I would not call her “him” or him “her” even if school authorities insisted and if I were fired I’d sue. I didn’t want to hurt the student’s feelings but I had a responsibility to other students. If I went along I’d signal that I believed it was possible to change from male to female or vice versa, and I didn’t. I wouldn’t pretend to admire the emperor’s new clothes or Morris’s tangerine dress as it were. I would resist the education Thought Police as well.

Mainstream media ignore developments counter to the LGBTQIA narrative so you’re not likely to read about so-called “transgenders” who regret their transition and seek to reverse their surgery. The Daily Wire quotes Professor Miroslav Djordjevic of Belgrade, one of the world’s leading genital reconstructive surgeons: “Definitely reversal surgery and regret in transgender persons is one of the very hot topics. Generally, we have to support all research in this field.” But universities will not fund it because it counters the LGBTQIA narrative.

Last week, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed a bill banning “conversion therapy” defined as: “any practice or treatment that seeks or claims to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” Maine therapists could lose their license if they help a child accept his/her biological sex. Canada’s Supreme Court ruled last month that a parent must allow his 14-year-old daughter to receive male hormone injections. Last year, an Ohio judge removed a female child from her parents’ custody because they refused to allow hormone injections.

Last year, Brown University Assistant Professor Lisa Littman MD published a research study on ROGD — “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” in PLOS One a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Among her findings: “Parents describe that the onset of gender dysphoria seemed to occur in the context of belonging to a[an adolescent female] peer group where one, multiple, or even all of the friends have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe.” To this former teacher of adolescent girls, her conclusions seemed eminently plausible.

Littman was vilified by the LGBTQIA lobby for “using transphobic dogwhistles” because she pulled the rug out from under the fashionable transgender juggernaut now getting its nose in the tent of the Conway Public Library.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Smelling Trump Supporters

Each time I enter Walmart in North Conway, New Hampshire I think about the 2016 text from former FBI agent Peter Strzok to his girlfriend, FBI Attorney Lisa Page: “Just went to a southern Virginia Wal-Mart,” Strzok wrote. “I could SMELL the Trump support.” Both were deeply into what now appears to have been a Machiavellian scheme to prevent Donald Trump from winning the 2016 election.

Walmart draws a different demographic than, say, a Sears Store, but it’s still in business while Sears is bankrupt. It sells almost every kind of item and usually at the lowest prices, so it’s no wonder the poor shop there. Often I hear condescending remarks about Walmart shoppers from people who think themselves elite sophisticates, a large percentage of whom I suspect supported Hillary. Where might Peter Strzok have smelled them? Whole Foods? Bloomingdales?

How many Walmart shoppers voted against Hillary after they heard her remarks about Trump’s supporters delivered shortly after the Strzok text above? “To just be grossly generalist, you can put half of Trump supporters into what I call ‘the basket of deplorables,’” Hillary Clinton told donors gathered at a Manhattan restaurant in September, 2016. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that, and he has lifted them up.” Many pundits think that remark cost her the election weeks later.

Ken Langone
After shopping at Walmart, I will often go to the nearby Home Depot or Lowe’s for tools and supplies. I think about the shoppers there and wonder about their politics. Mostly they’re tradesmen or do-it-yourselfers looking for the same items I am. They’re purpose-driven, knowing what they need for a particular project. They know how stuff works and know how to fix things when they break down.
Bernie Marcus
In the parking lot are many pickup trucks. I might see a Trump sticker but almost never a Bernie or Hillary sticker. I don’t see very many political stickers because contractors don’t wish to put off clients. Most small businessmen keep their politics private. I suggest Peter Strzok would “smell” more Trump supporters at a Home Depot or Lowe’s than at a Walmart.

Strzok and Page, in concert with many others, did everything they could to prevent Donald Trump from winning. They also worked the Hillary Clinton email investigation that recommended she not be indicted. Then they worked on the “counterintelligence” investigation of Donald Trump that turned into a criminal investigation shortly after his election. Mueller eventually fired them after their caustic, anti-Trump texts went public. According to the Washington Post, some went like this: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page texted Strzok in August 2016. “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.

Peter Strzok as he testified before Congress
Well, they didn’t stop it, but the two lovers were soon hired by Mueller to work in his dubious Russian collusion investigation, which they probably thought would lead to Trump’s impeachment. It didn’t, but Democrats are still hoping to impeach Trump for “obstructing justice” during the investigation into a “crime” for which it found zero evidence.

Electricians, plumbers, mechanics, and other tradesmen are called in to solve real-world problems. They diagnose, then figure out the easiest ways to make a repair. If they don’t solve problems they don’t stay in business. Neither politicians nor media operate under those constraints, however. Political problems like crime, terrorism, trade deficits, poverty, illegal immigration, deficit spending, unemployment, and so forth are reported by media. Politicians diagnose causes and propose solutions — but are not held accountable when problems persist or even worsen.

They escape accountability either by mouthing platitudes via teleprompter, by redefining the problems, or by proposing increased spending on heretofore unsuccessful remedies. For decades media assisted by glossing over failed solutions. When Donald Trump came down his escalator in June 2015, spoke plainly about what was causing our problems, and, without a teleprompter, explained what he would do about them, politicians and establishment media laughed.

When his poll numbers rose, media said it was a fluke and wouldn’t last. Months later he was brushing aside sixteen Republican opponents and cruising toward the nomination. A complete outsider with neither political nor military experience, he had it sewn up by June 2016 and the only thing standing between him and the presidency was Hillary Clinton — and she was under FBI investigation.

Together with Director Comey, Attorney General Lynch, and others, they successfully broomed the Hillary investigation, but Trump was elected anyway and Mueller found no collusion. Now the tables have turned and the investigators are themselves subjects of at least two investigations, one by another special prosecutor named John Durham appointed by Attorney General Barr.

Millions of ordinary people like the tradesmen I see at Home Depot have been watching this unfold right along. They know Trump’s solutions have been working in spite of vociferous opposition from Strzok and his ilk — whose chickens are now coming home to roost.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Body Control

Alyssa Milano wants women to be in control of their own bodies. Everyone should be, although it does get more difficult with age. I’ve added Milano to a list of “celebrities” of whom I had never heard until they made news by saying something stupid. I don’t know what she was famous for before her recent attempt at rallying American women to stage a sex strike in protest of legislation passed in a few conservative states that would virtually eliminate abortions. The irony seems lost on her, but seeking an abortion is a sign that women have not been in control of their bodies and got pregnant when they didn’t want to.

Even when I was a leftist, I knew abortion dismembered human babies and I was always firmly opposed to it. “Then don’t have one!” was the knee-jerk answer from pro-abortion lefties I debated, “but don’t stop a woman from getting one.” That’s been the legal status quo of abortion ever since 1973 when the US Supreme Court passed Roe Vs Wade, which claimed that somewhere in the Constitution is a woman’s right to abortion. Having read that document many times while I taught civics, I know abortion is not in the Bill of Rights. The twisted legal gymnastics that Harry Blackmun wrote in Roe is among the most labyrinthian since the Dred Scott Decision. That was reversed in a subsequent court and Roe Vs Wade may be as well, Allysa Milano’s sex strike notwithstanding.

My taxes don’t pay for abortion, I’m told — not directly at least. Some tax money goes to Planned Parenthood which does more abortions (about 1000 a day) than anyone in America, but the pro-abortion lobby insists the money pays for mammograms — but Planned Parenthood doesn’t do mammograms. And now, Maine Democrats have passed a bill that will make me pay for abortions and Democrat Governor Janet Mills is expected to sign it very soon. What can I do about that? Nothing, except continue to object. As far as I know, Catholic hospitals in Maine will not be forced to perform abortions as they are under Ireland’s new law.

Maine Governor Janet Mills
Because my mother was active in pro-life politics early on, I learned decades ago exactly how abortions are done at various stages of pregnancy right up to birth. The procedures are appalling, especially photographs of the results — pieces of dismembered babies that are unmistakably human. Most Americans have little idea of how abortions are done and pro-abortion activists desperately want to keep it that way. Transparency is abortion’s enemy. The “Pro-Choice” side doesn’t want women to see just what it is they’re choosing.

When I see print-outs of ultrasounds on refrigerators, I wonder how it must feel for women who had abortions to look at them. Do they get a lump in their throats when they congratulate the expectant parents who proudly posted the image? Technology has improved so much that the latest ultrasounds are vividly realistic. For decades, the abortion lobby has been lying to millions of women, convincing them that what is being aborted isn’t a human being, but just a lump of tissue.

They all support abortion
All Democrats running for president support abortion and the issue looms larger than it has in the past several election cycles. Four months ago, when Virginia Democrat Governor Northam commented on an abortion bill he would be asked to sign, we got an unvarnished view of how most Democrats think, and infanticide doesn’t repulse them at all. Northam, a pediatrician no less, said: "If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen [under the bill he supported]. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

The discussion would be about whether the now-fully-born infant would live or die. This month, during debate on the Alabama law outlawing abortion, Democrat state legislator John Rogers said: “Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now, or you kill them later. You bring them into the world unwanted, unloved, then send them to the electric chair. So you kill them now, or you kill them later.”

Such blunt talk by Democrats used to be only behind closed doors, but times have changed. Voters who were tired of the abortion debate hear this and think: “Wait, I thought it was just a lump of tissue, not a baby. What are they saying? Isn’t it murder to kill a baby?”

If Roe is reversed, I’ll still have to pay for abortions in Maine. The issue will again be decided at the state level, just as it was prior to 1973 — and Maine women won’t likely join Alyssa Milano’s sex strike.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Capturing The Spirit

Inch Strand, Dingle
After I’ve photographed something I feel an affinity for it. I’ve captured some of its essence. American Indians avoided having their picture taken because of a superstition that photos captured their spirit and would impede its travel to the spirit world after death. Think of the common phrase I just used: “having their picture taken.” Why do photographers use that phrase? Is something really being taken away?

Maine Coast
I think so, but the taking doesn’t diminish the subject. Rather, picture-taking supplements or strengthens it. Putting a picture on display spreads the spirit of the subject more widely as it imprints itself in the minds and souls of however many others focus on it. A good photograph should evoke a feeling in the viewer — something like what the photographer felt when he or she framed the picture and snapped the shutter.
Sumac in Autumn
Photographs have over-filled my 500 gig laptop. The overflow is stored on the cloud, wherever and whatever that is. It’s hard to trust something I cannot see and do not fully understand, so I store raw versions of all my photos on two separate hard drives each stored in a different building, but I only do that every couple of months. In the interim, I’ve taken dozens of shots to which I’m emotionally attached. Smaller, jpeg versions are stored on “the cloud” every time I download them, but I’m still nervous about losing them somehow.

Photography has only been around less than two hundred years and less than that in digital form — only since 1957. The first digital cameras for consumers were sold about twenty years ago. I understand how images were recorded on cellulose and then printed on paper. I’ve used a darkroom and smelled the chemicals employed in the process, but I don’t understand how a digital sensor works nearly as well. It’s been explained to me but not much sank in.
Evan's Notch
I like it though — very much: no chemicals, no darkroom, no bulky equipment, making multiple copies instantaneously. Sending them across the country or around the world is just as easy. Editing is a breeze once you learn the procedures. Competing camera-manufacturing companies are putting out equipment capable of taking pictures in lighting conditions that would have been impossible only a decade ago. Maybe best of all — costs keep going down. We can snap multiple shots — dozens, hundreds even, and discard those we don’t like at no expense. 

Good Book
Rarely do I photograph people, except for loved ones. Of them, I take many shots and then share with family and close friends. Cropping, editing, and categorizing the hundreds or thousands I take in a year brings each of them before my eyes many times — even before others see the pictures. Whether my subjects are looking into the lens or they’re unaware I’m photographing them, I see into them. So do others who view the images.
Willard Beach
Most of my subjects are comfortable with my constant shooting at family gatherings. They're so accustomed to me holding a camera they don’t seem to notice anymore. One of my grandsons who was three years old at the time got very annoyed, however. “You don’t have to take pictures of everything!” he said indignantly.
“Oh, but I do!” I responded, “especially people I love.” That didn’t persuade him and he began to hide his face when I was around with my camera until I negotiated with him. For a quarter, he would allow me unlimited shots for the rest of the day. After getting the coin he wasn’t aggravated anymore and after that, he stopped demanding payment. He’s six now and last week I photographed him and his siblings as they flew kites. He asked me to send him a copy of himself flying his kite for his iPad. I was happy to oblige, of course.

During my first visit to Ireland eleven years ago, I was struck by how many
people I saw on the streets of Dublin looked just like people I would see in Boston. From the open top of a double-decker bus, I used a telephoto lens to photograph iconic Irish faces. As I shot several dozen pictures, I was surprised to see that more than half of my subjects sensed I was looking at them and looked right into the lens. It was uncanny. How did they know? I was perched well above the street and they were on a busy sidewalk.
Kezar Lake Morning
After many decades taking many thousands of pictures, I can only conclude that there’s more going on than a mechanical, optical, chemical, and/or digital process. There’s something emotional and spiritual happening as well.