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Shannon column: Richmond proves the left hates you and your guns

Virginia’s 2nd Amendment rally was a huge disappointment for Big Nanny Mike Bloomberg, Gov. Ralph Northam and gun-grabbing busybodies across the nation. The event failed to produce the Reichstag Fire the left was secretly hoping would occur.

Over 22,000 armed 2nd Amendment supporters gathered in the state capital with loaded firearms, and there wasn’t even a single accidental discharge.

Talk about your misfire.

And the “armed militia groups planning to storm the Capitol” that forced Northam to declare a state of emergency? The feds arrested six losers before they could stock up on jerky, and one of those was a Canadian.

Had there been violence, it would have provided the perfect pretext for the left to accelerate the 2nd Amendment rollback in Virginia. Simply owning a gun would be all the “red flag” authorities would need.

Although entirely peaceful, the event was a failure. The very next day leftist legislators passed three 2nd Amendment violations the rally crowd specifically opposed.

What the rally did accomplish was revealing how the left, its stenographers in the Opposition Media, its elected officials and its stooges in law enforcement view normal Americans who value a Constitutional right leftists don’t like.

That view alternates between utter contempt and hyperventilating fear.

The left initially tried to discourage turnout by characterizing the gathering as a Klan rally without the carbon footprint. Those who were willing to risk being photographed near the only confirmed racist in town ­— Gov. Northam famous for his blackface/Klan robes photo and nickname “Coonman” in his college yearbook — received additional discouragement when warned they might be caught up in violence from armed militia groups that were going to “storm the capitol.”

Law enforcement stooges angling for an appointment piled on, too. Attendees who wanted to convene on the capitol grounds were going to be penned up like illegals behind an Obama fence. Participants were told to come early because there would only be one entrance to the concentration pen, and there would be a single bathroom inside for thousands. (The accepted rule of thumb for abortion “rights” rallies and illegals’ amnesty gatherings is 1 bathroom per 100.)

Fortunately, 2nd Amendment supporters aren’t as stupid as Gov. Coonman. Rather than be herded into Northam’s Gitmo for Guns, thousands more armed supporters stood outside the fences where current law allows the open carry of weapons. (Look for this to change in the near future.)

Storming militias, white supremacist groups, assorted bigots, law breakers, armed bullies and trigger-happy vigilantes all failed to put in an appearance. That didn’t stop the left from using its favorite adjectives anyway.

Northern VA Rep. Don Beyer tweeted, “[Richmond] drew large numbers of white nationalists, militias and racist conspiracy theorists. … Neo–Nazis tried to use the rally to launch violent attacks.” All of which are lies.

WoePost columnist Petula Dvorak, the chronicler of conventional wisdom, combined lies and contempt. “Y’all, it smelled like fear out here in Virginia. … One group pushed through crowds in a conga line of camo and Carhartt. … ‘Racist, white supremacists coming through,’ one line leader bellowed, laughing, like everyone should know he really isn’t racist.”

The writer who really captured the left’s Zeitgeist was a creature named Will Bunch who writes for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He’s also the most dangerous because he would deny your constitutional rights because he’s afraid.

Here’s his description of a gathering of law-abiding Americans exercising a right guaranteed by the Constitution: “America — although we may be too frightened to even admit it — just witnessed arguably the most successful use of terrorism on U.S. soil in nearly a generation, even if this time was non-lethal. … American citizens were deprived of [1st Amendment] rights on Monday — on Martin Luther King Day, of all days — by an intimidating bullying, armed mob. Do not dare call this ‘peaceful.’”

Bunch was evidently too lazy to discover the Virginia Civil Defense League, which organized the rally, has been holding their event on that day for over a decade. Why? Because 2nd Amendment supporters have jobs and need a day off to travel to Richmond to contact their legislators.

And Bunch is too fearful of an inanimate object and too drunk on his faux outrage to grasp that my exercise of a constitutional right does not threaten him.

His fear is our problem.

There’s no compromise with anti-gun extremists. They have an agenda and a long–term plan. Each “compromise” is another step toward neutering the 2nd Amendment.

The language Northam, Beyer, Dvorak, Bloomberg and Bunch use is not how one refers to someone whose views they respect. Their language is not how one refers to someone whose constitutional rights they respect.

Their language is how the authorities refer to people they intend to disarm and force into an outdoor enclosure with one bathroom per 6,000.

Copyright 2020 Michael Shannon, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of “A Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” He can be reached at mandate.mmpr@gmail.com.

Tuesday letter: impeachment trial

Tell Gardner to do his sworn duty

President Trump deserves a fair impeachment trial. So do the American people. So why has the Senate declined to call witnesses — those advisers and officials closest to the president — who could corroborate, contradict or expand upon prior testimony given before the House impeachment panel?

These key witnesses could be called to testify, if four Republican senators would join 47 Democrats to issue subpoenas. At least one potential witness, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, has indicated that he would honor such a subpoena. 

I hope that citizens of good will — no matter what their political persuasion — can agree that we deserve to learn the truth. 

Our own Republican Sen. Cory Gardner knows in his heart of hearts what his patriotism requires. But he might need a little nudge.

If you have time to read this newspaper, you have time to make a call. You can reach Sen. Gardner’s Washington office at 202-224-5941. Tell the senator to do his sworn duty. Make a difference. Do it right now. 

Ed Colby

New Castle

Monday letters: impeachment, Biden

Cover-up in progress

We are now watching the proceedings of the impeachment trial of Trump. The Republicans are blatantly lying about the injustices done to them by the House of Representatives, where Trump was Impeached. The “facts” are obvious of Trump’s lies and crimes. The Republicans can’t argue the facts, so therefore are acting like victims.

Republicans, please start paying attention to what is happening to our country. Grow a spine and “think” for yourselves. For those of you who have grandchildren, as I do, please think of their future. What are you thinking or are you simply “not thinking”? Are you just going along with other Republicans simply because you’ve been a Republican all your life? It is no longer the party of “family values.” It seems to me you have become the “party of bullies and liars.”

The ugliness and lies of this administration grow worse every day. They have lifted the rock, and all kinds of cockroaches are climbing out. Trump’s Attorney General, Bill Barr, is the worst threat to our democracy of all of them, because he now has the power. He is lying right along with Trump and destroying any semblance of integrity, civility and honesty in Washington. He is supposed to be America’s Attorney General, not Trump’s personal attorney. Facts matter, people! Stop living in a “conspiracy lalaland” of Trump. 

I’m still praying that people will start paying attention and listen to “facts,” rather than the lies and conspiracies cooked up on FOX news and the other right wing conservative media. It is so very obvious there is a “cover-up going on.” Pay attention, please. Alternative facts are nothing but lies. It is so disheartening to see what America has become: a country where people don’t seem to care about truth, integrity, kindness or honesty.

Linda Carr

Eagle

Was Biden freelancing?

In the video of Joe Biden bragging about forcing the firing of a Ukraine prosecutor who was investigating his son, Hunter, he said, “Call the president if you don’t believe I can withhold a billion in aid.”

Why has no one asked Barack Hussein if Joe had his OK to conduct foreign policy by extortion and if so, why? Or was Biden freelancing?

Too bad the Dem’s puppet media won’t pursue anything outside their biased liberal agenda. 

It’s not the Russians we should worry about, it’s our media that we should distrust, if not fear.

Bruno Kirchenwitz

Rifle

Manieri column: A state of laziness? I don’t think so

I was hoping we weren’t going to make the list but, deep down, I knew better.

The votes have been counted and yes, my adopted home of Kentucky is one of the laziest states in America. (It also happens to be the eighth most obese state in the country.)

Six other states — Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee — reported the highest levels of inactivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The results were based on surveys of adults who were asked the question, “During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?”

I’m calling a foul right away. The question is clearly biased toward traditional forms of exercise.

I’m not suggesting that just because Kentucky also has the dubious distinction of having more adult smokers than any state in the U.S. — except West Virginia — that walking to the store to buy cigarettes should be considered exercise. Although if you walk far enough, you might have a pretty good case. It gets a little tricky if you smoke on the way back.

Nevertheless, it would set a dangerous precedent — counting steps to the fridge, for example, could someday be considered exercise. It’s not that far-fetched. Some believe “competitive eating” is a sport. I’ve never believed jamming six dozen, soggy hot dogs down one’s gullet is very sporting.

I’m making the case here for those of us who engage in silly forms of exercise that are not only physically challenging but really, really dangerous.

Flipping tractor tires, pulling sleds, jumping on boxes, throwing a medicine ball against a wall until you black out — now that’s exercise.

And deadlifting. I’ve found that there’s nothing better for a guy in his 50s with a bad back than lifting very heavy weight off the floor. If the potential for severe injury isn’t there, what’s the point?

Ever hear of a Bulgarian split squat? How about a Turkish get-up? Or what about a Pittsburgh sampler? Actually, I made the last one up but the first two are legit, and I hadn’t heard of them either until I started doing CrossFit.

My personal favorite is the hammer swing. You get to hit a big tire as hard as you can, over and over, with a sledgehammer. Short of wrestling a bear, I can’t think of anything more fun.

The CDC kept federal and state health officials busy for four years collecting laziness data. Where were they when I was doing 10 thrusters, five split jerks and a three Sumo deadlifts?

Golf? Gardening? Please. Where’s the danger? I suppose you can get clocked by a Titleist. And Vito Corleone did drop dead is his garden. All I know is if I don’t have to sign a release form to do it, I’m not interested.

Besides, I’m just as much a danger to myself in my own home. The other day, I was standing on a folding chair — yes, dumb — taking a screw out of the wall when the chair did what folding chairs are supposed to do. I crashed, face-first, on the bedroom floor. I got up and finished the job. One thing I’ve learned from my fitness routine is that a potentially debilitating fall is no reason to stop.

I’m not really trying to defend Kentucky here. Besides, how can I, what with the inactivity, obesity and smoking?

I am defending the often-overlooked and underappreciated alternative exercise community. Do our battered shins (I missed the box a couple of times), strained shoulders and ruptured discs mean nothing?

Don’t talk to me about “calisthenics.” You want calisthenics, I’ll give you calisthenics. You try five sets of five pull-ups, 10 burpees and 25 air squats. You’ll see visions.

I know that running around a parking lot with heavy sandbags on your shoulders isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But we demand equality and recognition. This is 2020 after all.

The CDC and the rest of the world can pretend we don’t exist but we’ll be here, with our Russian kettle bell swings, squat jerks and high pulls.

I demand to be counted, assuming I survive.

Copyright 2020 Rich Manieri, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Rich Manieri is a Philadelphia-born journalist and author. He is currently a professor of journalism at Asbury University in Kentucky. His book, “We Burn on Friday: A Memoir of My Father and Me” is available at amazon.com. You can reach him at manieri2@gmail.com.

Sunday letters: Impeachment trial

Tell Senator Gardner to do his sworn duty

President Trump deserves a fair impeachment trial. So do the American people. So why has the Senate declined to call witnesses — those advisers and officials closest to the president — who could corroborate, contradict or expand upon prior testimony given before the House impeachment panel?

These key witnesses could be called to testify, if four Republican senators would join 47 Democrats to issue subpoenas. At least one potential witness, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, has indicated that he would honor such a subpoena.

I hope that citizens of good will — no matter what their political persuasion — can agree that we deserve to learn the truth.

Our own Republican Sen. Cory Gardner knows in his heart of hearts what his patriotism requires. But he might need a little nudge.

If you have time to read this newspaper, you have time to make a call. You can reach Sen. Gardner’s Washington office at 202-224-5941. Tell the Senator to do his sworn duty. Make a difference. Do it right now.

Ed Colby,
New Castle

Cover-up in progress!

We are now watching the proceedings of the impeachment trial of Trump. The Republicans are blatantly lying about the injustices done to them by the House of Representatives, where Trump was impeached. The facts are obvious of Trump’s lies and crimes. The Republicans can’t argue the facts, so therefore are acting like victims.

Republicans, please start paying attention to what is happening to our country. Grow a spine and think for yourselves! For those of you who have grandchildren, as I do, please think of their future. What are you thinking or are you simply not thinking? Are you just going along with other Republicans simply because you’ve been a Republican all your life? It is no longer the party of family values. It seems to me you have become the party of bullies and liars!

The ugliness and lies of this administration grows worse every day. They have lifted the rock and all kinds of cockroaches are climbing out. Trump’s Attorney General, Bill Barr, is the worst threat to our democracy of all of them because he now has the power. He is lying right along with Trump and destroying any semblance of integrity, civility and honesty in Washington. He is supposed to be America’s Attorney General, not Trump’s personal attorney! Facts matter! Stop living in a conspiracy la la land of Trump!

I’m still praying that people will start paying attention and listen to facts, rather than the lies and conspiracies cooked up on Fox News and the other right wing conservative media. It is so very obvious there is a cover-up going on! Pay attention please! Alternative facts are nothing but lies! It is so disheartening to see what America has become: a country where people don’t seem to care about truth, integrity, kindness or honesty!

Linda Carr
Eagle

Reagan column: The new rules of impeachment

I must have said it a dozen times since the Democrats’ impeachment miniseries took over our televisions, but I’ll say it again.

The Democrats and their allies in the liberal media think history began this morning when they rolled out of the left side of their beds.

It happened again during the Democrats’ opening impeachment tirades in the Senate.

Democrats are still wasting our time – and ignoring their jobs – trying to prove that President Trump should be impeached because he abused the power of his office and because he obstructed Congress by claiming executive privilege.

The obstruction charges against Trump are for refusing to let administration officials testify before the impeachment hearings in the House and for withholding documents the House had requested.

Well, if using or threatening to use executive privilege for those reasons are impeachable crimes, George Washington and every president since JFK, including my father, is guilty – often on multiple counts.

In 1962, for example, JFK used executive privilege to order his military adviser General Maxwell Taylor to refuse to testify before a congressional committee investigating the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Between 1980 and 2012 it was used 25 times.

President Clinton, the all-time modern leader, asserted executive privilege 14 times to try to keep his staff from appearing before various grand juries and congressional committees.

George W. Bush used it six times, including in 2008 when he told his Attorney General to assert executive privilege in response to a congressional subpoena for documents related to an investigation into who outed Valerie Plame as a CIA operative.

Meanwhile, President Obama employed executive privilege so many times that even the liberal media of the day questioned the legitimacy of invoking it.

The prime example was the infamous “Fast and Furious” case in 2012, when Attorney General Eric Holder used executive privilege to shield documents from Congress that were related to the Obama administration’s program to let illegally purchased guns flow across the Mexican border.

Congress obviously didn’t rush out and impeach those pre-Trump presidents for obstructing Congress or for posing an existential threat to the U.S. Constitution.

They let the legitimacy of invoking executive privilege in each case be decided in the courts, where it belonged. That’s why we have three branches of government.

But now, thanks to the Democrats’ blind hatred of President Trump, the bar has been lowered to where if a president doesn’t immediately roll over and give Congress whatever people or documents it wants, he’ll get impeached.

It’s been frustrating having to watch the first three ridiculously long, tedious days of the Senate impeachment hearings, which Democrats are cynically using as a weapon to stain Trump ahead of the 2020 election and hurt some Republican senators who face tight races in the fall.

Everyone has known for months what the outcome of the House Democrats’ impeachment show trial will be – the Republican Senate will never find Trump guilty.

I’m starting to really feel sorry for the members of the Senate who are trapped at their desks for twelve-hours at a time without their smartphones.

They have to sit in silence as Schiff and his solemn crew say over and over again how the U.S. Constitution and our national security were put at risk by a phone call our treasonous president made to the president of Ukraine last summer.

All those poor senators are allowed to drink is milk and water. The rest us watching the hearings on TV are lucky.

We can always get up and do a few Jello shots or drink some tequila to pass the time and ease the pain.

Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.

Polman column: The Trump trial is Democracy’s ultimate stress test

In a column on the eve of the 2016 election, I warned that if Donald Trump were to inexplicably occupy the White House, he would wreak havoc on American values, and his “authoritarian sensibility” would precipitate “a systematic breakdown of our democratic institutions.” I was merely stating the obvious. Any two-bit seer could foresee how his destructive reign would play out.

Now it’s playing out.

The 53 Republicans who run the chamber are busily abetting Trump’s authoritarian assault on democracy and the rule of law by systematically sabotaging any semblance of a fair impeachment trial. On Tuesday, in a series of votes, they blocked all attempts to subpoena witnesses and new evidence. And Wednesday, in Davos, Trump openly boasted about his coverup: “We have all the material. They don’t have the material.”

Trump has predictably stressed our constitutional system to its breaking point. Mitch McConnell and his lockstep legions seem determined to break it.

They’re doing so in defiance of American majority sentiment. According to a Washington Post-ABC poll, 71 percent want to hear witnesses at trial. Other recent mainstream polls have seen similar results, including a new Quinnipiac poll, where 66 percent say they want key ex-aide John Bolton to testify.

In the Senate chamber, they appear totally unperturbed that Trump’s lawyers are offering zero evidence to refute the Articles of Impeachment – which prove that Trump shook down a foreign power to get domestic campaign dirt for his re-election bid, then covered up his abuses. They apparently don’t care that Trump’s core anti-impeachment argument is a crock that would shock the Founding Fathers.

Basically, Trump’s legal eagles claim that the two impeachment articles are “ridiculous” because they don’t specify that Trump committed a crime. One of those lawyers, TV talking head Alan Dershowitz, said last weekend that Trump should not have been impeached because the articles merely describe “non-criminal actions.” He said on TV that “the (House) vote was to impeach on abuse of power, which is not within the constitutional criteria for impeachment.”

But here’s the obvious rebuttal: “(Impeachment) certainly doesn’t have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and poses great danger to our liberty. You don’t need a technical crime.”

Thank you, Alan Dershowitz! Because that’s what he said on TV back in 1998, when he deemed Bill Clinton’s extramarital sex to be sufficient grounds for impeachment.

The Founders never specified that impeachment and removal required a crime – because at the time the Constitution was being drafted, there was, as yet, no federal criminal code. Instead, the Founders anticipated that Congress – awarded the sole power of impeachment – would take its cues from Alexander Hamilton, who spoke broadly about “the misconduct of public men… the abuse or violation of some public trust.”

Remember, last month, when Republicans were lauding law professor Jonathan Turley, who’d testified at the House hearings that he thought Democrats were moving too fast on impeachment? Well now Turley says that Trump’s lawyers are wrong to claim that impeachment requires a crime. That claim “is at odds with history and the purpose of the Constitution… I do not believe that the criminal code is the effective limit or scope of possible impeachable offenses.”

The gist of Trump’s defense argument – the argument that Senate Republicans are destructively indulging – is that he can do whatever he wants, and that whatever he wants is sanctioned by divine right simply because he wants it. Who is he, King George III? That’s the monarchist mindset that the American Revolution’s soldiers fought and died to overthrow.

So now we’ve arrived at the end game. McConnell and his colleagues appear bent on ratifying Trump’s power abuses, thereby destroying the checks and balances that are crucial to our constitutional order. The only hope is that Democrats – with the winds of public opinion at their backs – can hold Trump and the Senate Republicans accountable at the ballot box.

I warned in my 2016 pre-election column that a Trumpist future “is down the dark path at the fork in the road. If we take it, we own it.” We took it, we own it, and the election 10 months hence is our last best chance to reverse it.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at DickPolman.net. Email him at dickpolman7@gmail.com

Saturday letters: An argument for veganism, and the failure of our democracy

We have allowed social norms to supersede our own

On Jan. 27, the world will observe the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Hitler’s largest death camp. It’s an opportune occasion to reflect on how each of us can help end oppression.

A key question facing historians is how could an enlightened society that produced our civilization’s greatest philosophers, poets and composers also produce its most notorious mass murderers? How could it get millions of ordinary citizens to go along. Was the Holocaust a peculiarly German phenomenon, or are other enlightened societies capable? And, is it just about killing humans, or does it extend to other sentient beings?

Jewish Nobel laureate, Isaac Bashevis Singer provided a clear answer when he wrote: “To the animals, all people are Nazis.” His message was that, even in our own country, we are willing to subjugate our own compassion and affection for animals to those of our society. We have allowed social norms to supersede our own.

It follows that the only way to end our own participation in oppression is for each of us to reclaim our own moral values. Our very first step should be to drop animals from our menus.

Fred Stoddemeyer
Glenwood Springs

The world will bear witness to the failure of our democracy

(This letter was originally addressed to eight select U.S. senators including Cory Gardner.)

Dear Senator, I am from Colorado. From what I have read and observed about you, you are one of the senators who we might hope to facilitate an honest impeachment hearing.

I’m neither a Democrat or Republican, but I would like to encourage you to vote to hear witnesses in the impeachment hearing of President Trump. From what I have seen as a non-partisan voter, he appears to be guilty of bribery or extortion of Ukraine. But, without witness testimony, truth cannot be established. If witnesses such as Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Mick Mulvaney and possibly Mike Pence are not interviewed, the truth cannot be discovered. If the senate refuses to interview witnesses, they are, without a doubt, obstructing and flaunting our democracy and their Constitutional responsibility to ensure an honest attempt to rule on the impeachment of President Trump.

This senate will go down in history as an example and catalyst of the failure of our democratic form of government. As an independent voter, I am disgusted, alarmed and ashamed of a majority of the senate — locking arms and blocking the discovery of facts underlying the impeachment. If witnesses, documents and facts are barred from exposure in this impeachment investigation, the rest of the world will bear witness to the failure of a democracy.

Please do not fail our nation.

Jim Markuson
Glenwood Springs

Guzzardi column: Focus on birthright citizenship and its cousin long overdue

Amidst Washington, D.C.’s impeachment hysteria, the Trump administration has taken aim at the lowest hanging fruit among immigration abuses – birth tourism. It’s an underground cottage industry, often criminal, where unscrupulous hotel owners that cater to specific ethnicities advertise abroad to entice women (at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars) to travel to the U.S. to give birth to an American citizen baby.

In a long overdue action, federal authorities recently charged 20 Chinese operators of “You Win USA” that brought hundreds of women to Irvine, Calif., at costs that ranged from $40,000 to $80,000 to deliver a U.S. citizen. Indictments filed in U.S. District Court charged the perpetrators with immigration fraud, money laundering and identity theft. Lying on a visa application, which the hotel proprietors encouraged, is a crime that makes the petitioner inadmissible. Predictably, many of the indicted fled back to China.

During the last 15 months, President Trump announced he’s considering issuing an executive order that would ban awarding citizenship to children whose mothers are in the U.S. illegally or are noncitizens. The U.S. and Canada are the only two advanced nations that grant automatic citizenship to children born on their soil regardless of the parents’ immigration status. To discourage birth tourism, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom have modified guidelines by mandating that at least one parent be a citizen of the country or a legal permanent resident who has resided locally for several years. Various bills which Congress introduced in past years with similar requirements went nowhere.

The lax policy in the U.S. is easily abused. Thousands of women, late in their pregnancies, come to the U.S. each year from countries as distant as South Korea or as close as Mexico to give birth. Some arrive legally as temporary visitors, but with the intent of giving birth to an American baby. Others enter illegally. Once the child is born, he or she receives a U.S. birth certificate and qualifies for a passport. The parent and child’s futures are linked irreversibly to the U.S.

From this process sprang the term “anchor baby,” meaning that the child’s citizenship status anchors his parents to the U.S.

For decades, controversy has swirled around birthright citizenship. At the ongoing debate’s core is the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, Section 1 provision: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Illinois Sen. Lyman Trumbull, one of the 14th Amendment’s principle authors, said that “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” meant subject to its “complete” jurisdiction, and therefore “not owing allegiance to anybody else.”

Whether a foreign national either illegally present or present on a temporary, nonimmigrant visa is subject to U.S. jurisdiction is a point worth debating, and one that the Supreme Court may ultimately have to decide. In the meantime, birth tourism is thriving.

No one knows exactly how many American citizen births to tourists or illegally present migrants occur annually. One study found that about 35,000 birth tourism babies are delivered on U.S. soil each year. Additional research showed that each year about 40,000 annual births come from legally present guest workers, students and exchange visitors.

Birthright citizenship serves no legitimate purpose, endangers national security and hurts Americans. The children get Social Security numbers, access to 13 years of free public education, low in-state university tuition and employment privileges. Eventually, they can petition their extended families to enter legally which would significantly accelerate population growth and job competition.

Immigration advocate and former U.S. Immigration and Nationalization Service director Doris Meissner acknowledged birthright citizenship’s pitfalls. Meissner told The Wall Street Journal, “As long as you have birthright citizenship, it’s true this is something that can be exploited.”

President Trump is right to push to end birthright citizenship, and equally correct to criticize birth tourism. U.S. citizenship should be treasured, not handed out like a door prize to disingenuous individuals who’ve figured out how to exploit the U.S., and its generosity.

Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

Toussaint column: Practicing a taxing form of gratitude

In 2018, a fellow worker opined to me that all taxes — and all government — should be abolished. I found his remark a bit paradoxical since, at the time, we were both serving as election workers paid by Garfield County.

Continuing to ruminate on that comment, I’ve become convinced that three life experiences have proved to me the folly of such an extreme libertarian view: living in big cities, traveling in third-world countries, and struggling through a major natural disaster.

Because I traveled to Ghana in 1972, I have an inkling of what un-governed life might be like. Several machine-gun-toting, khaki-clad, Akan-speaking thugs pulled my tourist group over at a roadblock. They never identified themselves. Perhaps they were connected with the coup that overthrew Kofi Busia a month earlier? I never found out why they grilled our driver and tore apart our luggage. Squatting in broiling sun beside a rutted roadside for hours, I had ample time to think about the impossibility of contacting our own government. The coup had cut off all phone service, radio and TV broadcasts. We whiteys could have just disappeared. …

My experience following San Francisco’s 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was similarly eye opening. When phone service, gas and electric, traffic lights and airports all shut down, the economic engines of any megalopolis quickly stall out. When roads and bridges are disabled, when food and medicine can’t be delivered, crisis looms just days away.

While I don’t like paying sales, property or income taxes, I do appreciate civilized infrastructure.

Like several friends, I have experienced health crises that prompted trips to CU’s Anschutz Medical Campus near Denver. That requires either an I-70 trip or a medivac helicopter. Since Uncle Sam picked up 90 percent of the tab for our interstate highways and since he also pays the air traffic controllers, it’s our tax dollars at work either way.

While I’m thinking about Anschutz — which got $553.5 million in federal grants last year — I’d also like to thank Colorado for its public schools. I got a fine education, from kindergarten through two BAs from CU Boulder. I do wish Colorado would do a better job now in investing in our shared future. Despite one of the nation’s best economies, we rank a sorry 42nd in student funding and a shameful 46th in teacher pay.

I’m really fond of our national parks and the U.S. Forest Service; I wish we hired enough rangers to truly care for our public lands. I was appalled to learn how much damage was done when they were off the payroll during government shutdowns.

I’m also happy to pay for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If you use broadcast or Internet weather forecasts, you get that information courtesy of NOAA’s National Weather Service. If you eat fish, go boating or venture into hurricane country, you’re benefiting from NOAA’s work in fisheries and oceanic conditions. In 1900, when a hurricane killed nearly 12,000 people in Galveston, they had no warning. Today, thanks to NOAA’s satellite systems and dual-polarization radar, we get three to five days warning of major storms.

While thinking about weather, I’d like to tip my hat to Colorado’s highway department. You can’t spend much time in the mountains without experiencing the rush of gratitude that comes from seeing the blue and yellow lights of a CDOT snowplow flashing through a whiteout.

I’m also happy to support the federal Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration and the EPA. I’d guess that conservatives who want to abolish these public health agencies never spent much time in West Africa. There, taking a drink of water, purchasing food or eating dinner out can prove to be a death-defying act.

What’s more, due to international air travel, diseases like SARS, Ebola and West Nile virus can arrive from such under-governed places in mere hours. When they arrive, who you gonna call?

And what if you’ve gotta flee?

Few in this valley will soon forget the Lake Christine Fire. Ultimately, our safety arrived in the form of public servants from more than 38 tax-supported agencies: local towns, counties, police, firefighters from 28 states, EMTs, the Forest Service, the BLM — even the Roaring Fork School District, which sheltered evacuees.

Come April, I might upload my taxes on the internet, a convenience invented by the Defense Department and supported by federal grants until it became commercially viable.

More likely, I’ll choose to hand my 1040 over to Marty at the Carbondale post office. Much as I appreciate FedEx and UPS, I wouldn’t care to entrust my private financial data to an anonymous, profit-driven concern. I trust Marty far more. He’s no faceless bureaucrat employed by the US Postal Service. I know him. What’s more, I know where he lives!

Nicolette Toussaint lives in Carbondale. Her column appears monthly in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com.