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Flowers column: Erasing Kate Smith won’t cover America’s hypocrisy

We have become a society that demands the utmost purity from our members. No flaws, no past errors, no gaffes in the distant past. We must all be like Caesar’s wife, completely beyond reproach.

Well, not all of us, actually. Liberals are now the ones who make the social rules, and so the only ones who have to have a pristine resume are their philosophical enemies. This past week gave us the perfect example of that new normal, which very much resembles the old hypocrisy.

Singer Kate Smith has been banished to the land of newly discovered racists by both the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Flyers, because someone dug up some songs she sang nearly 75 years ago that were — to hear some say it — racially insensitive.

I’m not even going to go into what she sang, because it’s actually irrelevant. What is important is that Kate was a conservative Christian woman who is beloved in this area for her rendering of the song “God Bless America,” which once made her heroic and which now subjects her to ridicule.

No one is taking responsibility for removing her statue from outside the stadium in Philadelphia, and no one is taking responsibility for erasing her “God Bless America” from the playlist. Some Philadelphians whom you would suspect are quite happy about the shunning of Kate, including Philadelphia City Council hopeful and all around annoyed black man, Asa Khalif. Others are a bit surprising, like one well-known sports personality, who tweeted: “Flyers clearly need to dump Kate Smith. What’s most surprising is none of this came out for all these years. Kate Smith was born in 1908 in a Jim Crow South. Sad to say, racism was part of fabric of this country from Founding Fathers on. We must still stand against it every day.”

If I actually knew this gentleman, which I don’t, I’d tell him the story about my father Teddy who went down South to Mississippi in 1967 and had a run-in with the Klan during his summer of registering black voters and “standing against racism.” I would also tell him that my father loved Kate Smith and would find it ridiculous that somehow, throwing a blanket over her statue is considered a brave blow for civil rights. I guess that’s because he dealt with people who were wearing other types of bedding over their heads on a dark country road in Hattiesburg.

So as I was saying, we demand absolute purity from our heroes. Kate sang some songs that people didn’t like at a time when most of us weren’t even born, and she’s gone. It doesn’t matter that she was truly heroic during World War II. My friend Dan Cirucci reminded me of just how heroic: “Some things to remember. During WW II, Kate Smith traveled nearly 520,000 miles and sold a record $600,000,000 in war bonds in a series of round the clock radio appeals. This prompted FDR to declare “Kate Smith IS America.”

You know who else had the right credentials, or rather, the “left” credentials? Paul Robeson. The guy with the beautiful booming baritone just got a plaza named after him by Rutgers University. They called him a “pioneering scholar, athlete, renowned international entertainer and (excuse me while I try not to choke here) a visionary human rights advocate.”

You know what else Paul Robeson was? A communist, a traitor to the United States and a big, big fan of Stalin. I wonder how the “visionary human rights advocate” who was so blinded by his hatred of America squared his buddy Joe with the gulags, the exiles and the executions. Oh yeah, and that little incident where he starved the Ukrainians. I guess they were too busy talking about racism in the U.S. to worry about the genocide occurring in the Soviet Union. Maybe we should ring up the folks at Rutgers and ask if they have any plans of throwing a tarp on Paulie’s head.

Yes, my friends, the hypocrisy is appalling. I’d call on God to bless America and heal our wounds, but I’m thinking He’s pretty pissed off at what we did to his songbird this week. I’ll touch base with him later.

Copyright 2019 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at cflowers1961@gmail.com.

Thiessen column: Trump is right to call out Democrats for their hypocrisy on sanctuary cities

WASHINGTON — It is mystifying why Democrats are so up in arms about President Trump’s declaration that he is considering releasing illegal immigrants into so-called “sanctuary cities.” After all, Trump’s plan simply follows the Democrats’ own policy prescriptions for dealing with illegal immigrants.

First, Democrats support releasing illegal immigrants into U.S. communities. Just a few months ago, during the negotiations to end the government shutdown, Democrats sought to limit the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention “beds available for interior enforcement” to about 16,500 per day, and to reduce the overall number of available beds to less than 36,000. In January, ICE was holding 48,088 illegal immigrants.

When Homeland Security officials warned this could force the release of thousands of illegal immigrants, Democrats openly declared it was their goal to do precisely that. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, said the goal of capping the beds was to “force the Trump administration to prioritize deportation for criminals and people who pose real security threats, not law-abiding immigrants.”

Many other leading Democrats — including presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., — have gone further, proposing to abolish ICE altogether. In 2013, when she was House minority leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., — now the House speaker — called for an end to deportations for illegal immigrants who have not committed felonies, declaring “Our view of the law is that … if somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation.” Some Democrats, including California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and presidential candidate and former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro, have gone so far as to propose decriminalizing illegal border crossings entirely. “The truth is, immigrants seeking refuge in our country … shouldn’t be a criminal-justice issue,” Castro said.

So, Democrats have been pretty clear — they want illegal immigrants released and allowed to live in the United States.

Where should they live? Well, it was Democrats who created “sanctuary cities” as sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. If they want illegal immigrants released, why would they oppose having President Trump release them into the very sanctuaries they created for that express purpose?

If anything, the Democratic leaders of those sanctuary cities are working overtime to turn them into magnets for illegal immigrants.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed in his 2019 inaugural address to make the entire state of California a “sanctuary to all who seek it,” and on his first day in office, he proposed making illegal immigrants eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, until age 26. Some sanctuary cities are even allowing illegal immigrants to vote in local elections. In 2016, San Francisco passed Proposition N, which allows illegal immigrants to vote in school board elections. And in 2017, College Park, Maryland, became the largest U.S. city to allow illegal immigrants to vote in municipal elections.

Sorry, Democrats, you don’t get to have it both ways. You can’t on one hand try to force Trump to release illegal immigrants, create sanctuaries for them and arrange local laws to encourage illegal immigrants to come to those sanctuaries, and then simultaneously be outraged that Trump wants to do exactly what you have said should be done with those who cross our borders illegally.

Whether Trump can legally follow through on his proposal to send illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities is in question. But there is nothing morally wrong with what he has proposed. There is certainly no harm being done to the illegal immigrants. Far from it, they would be sent to welcoming communities where they would receive free health care, protection from deportation and possibly even the right to vote. And then the Americans who voted to turn their cities into magnets for illegal immigrants could bear the costs of supporting them.

If anything, it is conservatives who should be up in arms over the idea of releasing illegal immigrants into sanctuary cities. Once they are in sanctuary cities, then it will be harder to find and deport the ones committing violent crimes. Just ask the family of Kate Steinle.

Trump’s plan likely won’t ever come to fruition, but the president is effectively calling out Democrats for their hypocrisy. There was a time when many Democrats believed, as Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a 2009 speech, that “Illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple.” No longer. If Democrats won’t help the president secure the border, then there’s nothing outrageous about making them live with the consequences of the policies they advocate.

Follow Marc A. Thiessen on Twitter, @marcthiessen. (c) 2019, The Washington Post Writers Group

Guest opinion: Be responsible in South Canyon during elk calving season

Our elk population is constantly being threatened by fragmentation. New biking trails are completed, and more trails are planned to be built in crucial remote and wild areas.

The concept of biking trails connecting communities and neighborhoods has significant merit. In contrast, the idea of biking trails into remote and wild areas needs to be heavily scrutinized. Our community and our leaders must take a stand and learn to say “no thanks” to outdoor recreation that is not sustainable and jeopardizes wildlife habitat.

As our population grows and our recreation needs increase these decisions are even more important to the future success or failure of our wildlife.

Elk calving is a delicate process that our community should value and protect. However, actions that we are taking threaten the species. The elk calving process is complicated and fragile. As outdoor recreational users, we all must ask if what we are doing supports or detracts from critical elk habitat.

During April, the female elk (cows) are highly agitated as they begin the process of giving birth.

During the month of May, the cows realize that birth is inevitable, and they leave the herd. The cows separate individually and attempt to find an isolated location within their known migration area. They are under significant stress, and their increased needs for solitude and nourishment are essential to complete a successful birthing process.

From May and into the first part of June, the cows give birth in solitude. The calves are basically helpless for the first few weeks as the cow remains in seclusion. These next few weeks or month are critical as the mother attempts to nourish and protect the calf from many dangers.

In early June, the cow and calf must locate and rejoin the herd for protection. The entire herd will eventually move to higher elevations for the summer.

For many reasons, the success of this delicate calving process has decreased substantially in Garfield and other surrounding counties. One cause of the decline is due to mechanized recreation and human encroachment into crucial elk calving areas. The unpredictable behavior of these mechanical disturbances can cause the cow to abandon her calf in favor of her own survival. Once the mother is chased out of an area, the calf has essentially no chance of survival.

Our town still has many lower level elevations that are ideal for elk calving that support the birthing process.

The South Canyon Coalition believes that one of these sensitive areas inside the canyon is located at what is also known as Coal Camp. We are asking the public and the mountain biking community to honor the delicate process and stay out of this area up until June 9 of each calving season.

The elk species and other wildlife is important to the values and lifestyle of our mountain community. When we recreate in the future all of us must ask ourselves if we are contributing to the success or failure of the wildlife. We will all enjoy our experiences more if we continue to educate ourselves and our visitors on using ethical and sustainable recreation habits.

The South Canyon Coalition is confident that outdoor recreation can be sustainable. Future planning and recreational uses must have proper knowledge and ultimate respect for our wildlife and our remote and wild areas.

This guest opinion was written by Craig Amichaux on behalf of the South Canyon Coalition.

(Editor’s note: The upper South Canyon trails at Coal Camp are currently under an extended seasonal closure until April 30 due to melting snow and muddy trail conditions. There is not an official wildlife closure in the area, however; just a suggestion from the South Canyon Coalition as stated in this opinion piece.)

Menconi column: Climate delayers are climate deniers

Are you feeling a little more than pissed that so much said and written about climate change is about the problem but not the solution? I am. How big is the problem?

From the International Panel on Climate Change Report, here’s a key section of the policymakers’ summary:

“The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching “net zero” around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing (carbon dioxide) from the air.”

You can find the IPCC Report here: https://www.ipcc.ch.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes we have one year to change course and get started.

“If we start today, when global emissions are still growing, the necessary rate is 10 percent. If we delay another decade, it will require us to cut emissions by 30 percent each year,” wrote David Wallace Wells in his New York Times best seller “The Uninhabitable Earth.”

In order to stop climate disaster, we need policy changes on world, federal, state and local levels. Here are 10 polices that should to be put in place to meet the call to action to a clean energy future for our children’s children:

1. Get rid of government handouts to the fossil fuel industry.

2. Give incentives to the renewable energy instead.

3. Start a works corps to build America’s renewables programs.

4. Enact a carbon tax to raise funds to invest in renewables and slow the growth of fossil fuels.

5. Stop future fossil-fuel development through banning drilling, fracking, etc.

6. Require utilities to produce all their electricity from zero-carbon sources — such as wind and solar.

7. Set energy efficiency standards for new homes and commercial buildings.

8. Curb methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

9. End the use of hydrofluorocarbons, powerful greenhouse gases used in air-conditioners, refrigerators and foams from the reduction in future emissions.

10. End endless wars for oil and profit and cut the 800 U.S. military bases and trillion-dollar-a-year budget by a third and redirect the spending to renewables, clean jobs, electric transportation and new research and innovation.

We are only 12 years away from locking in extreme warming. The IPCC report released last October had a huge impact on leaders around the world and ignited the Green New Deal. It laid out how little time we have, and helps us understand how much destruction is expected over the next 50-100 years during our children’s and grandchildren’s lifetime.

It also showed how global warming is 50 percent worse if we strive to keep on track of the 2 degrees Celsius goal of the Paris Climate Summit as opposed to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

If we put sustained policy and options in place, we can avoid the crisis. We have the technology in place. Solar is 90 percent cheaper than it was 30 years ago. China has surpassed us in development and implementation.

By 2050, 70 to 90 percent of our energy could come from renewables. In the next 10 years, countries like Norway will ban combustible engines.

We need 85 percent of electricity to come from renewables by 2050. We can do this on just solar alone. The oil and gas industry has spent nearly $2 billion to stop climate solutions, buy off politicians and tell us that it’ll cost over $50 trillion and millions of jobs to save their industries.

We need $2 trillion to $3 trillion per year in investments. We spend money on fossil fuel energy and methane emitting technology now. The U.S. spends about $300 billion on renewable already. If we increase that by 15 percent each year for 12 years that’s $10.5 trillion to fix the problem.

“There are now more jobs in renewable energy in the state of Pennsylvania than coal, natural gas, and oil combined,” said Bill Peduto, mayor of Pittsburgh. We have the evidence. If there’s going to be a Green New Deal, cities, counties and states need to adopt ways to become carbon neutral. Already, 108 cities have adopted a commitment to net carbon by 2030-2045. Your community can, too.

Climate justice is good for our economy, people and environment.

Start demanding our politicians, journalists, leaders and teachers working on the strategies and tactics to get the problem solved. My kids will be 46 and 44 in 2050, when we need to be at zero carbon emissions as a planet to postpone long-term climate destruction.

Next month I turn 60. I don’t have hope. I have kids. Let’s work as a nation like our grandparents and great grandparents did during World War II to protect the destruction to our democracy, economy and planet.

Arn Menconi of Carbondale is a former Eagle County commissioner and has run for U.S. Senate and Congress.

Shannon column: The Trump appointee who believed Trump

The suggestion that the Trump administration release illegal aliens in sanctuary cities was the inspiration of Deputy White House Policy Coordinator May Davis.

Broaching this idea indicates that Davis is either very courageous or never plans on eating an undisturbed restaurant meal in the D.C. area again.

Davis’ inspiration is a brilliantly creative example of political jujitsu. It takes what your opponent considers to be a strength – compassion for “undocumented immigrants” – and turns it into a negative when the beneficiaries of the bad idea land on unsuspecting resident’s doorsteps.

Even better, any complaint about receiving more of the illegals the politicians claim to love only exposes their moral exhibitionism.

Unfortunately, the reaction to Davis’ idea is additional proof of why conservatives and Republicans are going to be utterly defeated by the Open Borders left.

The left is focused on ends. The Democrat party wants to change the electorate through immigration regardless of whether the individual immigrant is legal or illegal.

In support of this long,’term goal the left ignores hundreds of American citizens killed by illegal aliens. It ignores citizens raped by illegal aliens. It ignores citizens assaulted by illegals. It ignores identity theft, welfare abuse and the billions spent by taxpayers to support illegal aliens.

The goal of a permanent leftist voting majority is too important to be delayed by sympathy for citizens whose luck ran out.

Republicans focus on staying in office while staying out of late night comedy sketches. They care more about avoiding a negative reaction by the leftist street (like the Arab street only without burning tires) than they do about achieving goals.

Judging by the reaction of National Review writer David French you’d have thought the idea of giving sanctuary cities more of the diversity that makes us so strong came from some community college Deplorable with a BMI of 50, instead of a graduate of Harvard Law School and former president of the Federalist Society in Cambridge.

French contends using “human beings as pawns” is repugnant, cruel and in his opinion “politically disastrous.” He’s also worried about Opposition Media coverage of the “compassion” that will be displayed in San Francisco when the caravan of illegals arrives.

This petticoat,’ruffling on French’s part is another form of surrender. Preserving the status quo on immigration equals defeat. Unless we work to change some of the variables in this equation the only unknown is when Republicans eventually disappear.

The “human beings” French is protecting with McAllen, Tx.’s tax dollars are volunteers here only to strip-mine American generosity. They continue to volunteer because there is no downside to being an illegal. If putting them on a bus is “cruel” then so be it. Let’s hope word gets back to Latin America.

French’s indirect support of the current catch,’and,’release policy means Trump is punishing the residents of states that voted for him, namely Arizona and Texas. What’s sensible about that? What is repugnant about giving voters that support sanctuary politicians more of the illegals they long to embrace?

French contends it will cause “chaos” there. Good. Better California and Massachusetts than Yuma, Ariz. which has just declared a state of emergency.

Reaction within the executive branch was no better. The fascists in the White House were routed by a red tape wielding defender of the administrative state. The New York Times reports Davis’ idea was presented to Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence who exercised the bureaucrat’s veto. He claimed ICE would be subject to “liability issues” during transport and had concerns about budget allocations.

And this character is supposed to be a “hard liner” on enforcement.

It’s not Albence’s job to approve or disapprove of the administration’s policy. His job to execute administration policy.

Donald Trump was given a nationwide mandate by voters to carry out his campaign platform. Albence hasn’t been elected to anything. He doesn’t run an ‘independent agency.’ He’s part of the administration. If he can’t perform his duties he needs to resign.

And how does the man who pledged to drain the swamp respond when some random alligator burps? Instead of sending a message by firing Albence, Trump surrenders again.

If Trump can’t find the motivation to impose his will on his own administration there is no chance he can impose his will on the open borders left. Winning this fight is going to take a sustained effort and a willingness to be impervious to the Sad Story Industrial Complex run by the Opposition Media. I don’t think Trump or his appointees have what it takes.

Millions of voters across the nation who want their country back voted for Trump in 2016. It’s too bad he couldn’t convince any of them to join his administration.

Michael Shannon can be reached at mandate.mmpr@ gmail.com.

Parker column: It is finished

WASHINGTON — Good Friday provided the language for a week that began with the terrible fire at Notre Dame Cathedral and ended with the long-awaited Mueller report: Jesus’ final words before perishing on the cross: “It is finished!”

The fires have been extinguished and the great cathedral’s two towers still stand. After nearly two years, special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible obstruction of justice and collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has finally ended.

There was no collusion.

In the span of a few days, we’ve been joggled between the banal and the sublime, from Trump’s “I’m [effed]” upon learning of Mueller’s assignment to the investigation to the millions who prayed that centuries of beauty be spared by the flames.

And yet, there is hope in the ashes. As Christians celebrate Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Christ, there is talk of rebuilding — another cathedral rising from the ashes. What has been lost can’t be replaced, but a church is not principally an edifice. All those who have labored and convened beneath Notre Dame’s enormous roof left something of themselves behind. Not even fire can destroy the immeasurable power imbued by centuries of meditations, supplications and grace.

Perhaps it is the season of penance and rebirth. But when I read the Mueller report, a redacted version of which was released to Congress and the public Thursday amid a flurry of media-induced hysteria, I saw corruption and misery. Trump, whom I don’t hate, contrary to what some readers say in their profanity-laced emails, is a villain but also a tragic figure. For him, there is never enough of anything — riches, possessions, attention and adulation.

At times, I feel sorry for him, because he has invited the wrath of millions and it can’t be easy to shoulder so much disapproval. When I said this recently to a friend, she replied: “It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who has no empathy.” True, but a person without empathy — the ability to feel what others do — walks a lonely path. Driven by lust for the material, such a person doesn’t know the company of what ancient philosophers called the transcendentals — truth, goodness and beauty, which correspond sequentially to the mind, the will and the heart, and which, according to Christian theology, lead to God’s infinite love.

Trump wages daily war against truth. Examples of his falsehoods and outright lies could fill a doorstop volume. In his report, Mueller further revealed that Press Secretary Sarah Sanders repeatedly lied to the public while accusing the media of producing “fake news.” Deceit begets more deceit.

Goodness is missing everywhere. Trump may have some good qualities, though it is hard to discern them given his propensity for hurtful, divisive rhetoric. To him, goodness is what he wills it to be, that which nourishes his narcissism and appetites, whether the compliance of women or the loyalty of comrades. Ironically, disloyalty may have saved him when aides refused to carry out his orders to obstruct the Mueller investigation.

Beauty, we’re told, is in the eye of the beholder. But is it? The Catholic intellectual tradition teaches that truth, goodness and beauty are “transcendentals” because they transcend time and place. Also, they are all part of and flow into each other. Truth is good and beautiful; goodness is true and beautiful; beauty is true and good.

One needn’t be a theologian, philosopher or Christian to recognize that Trump, defiant before truth and lacking goodwill, knows beauty only as a standard for useful women or towers bearing his name. He worships not in the cathedral of “our lady” but in the House of Gaud. Had Trump tagged along on Indiana Jones’ “last crusade,” we know which chalice he would have thought belonged to Jesus.

Although Mueller ultimately found Trump innocent of collusion, the special counsel made it clear that he was not innocent of obstruction of justice. Because Department of Justice policy prohibits indicting a sitting president, Mueller suggested that “Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office,” in accordance “with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

Most telling of all, however, was Trump’s own exclamation when Attorney General Jeff Sessions told him about the Mueller appointment.

“Oh my God,” he said, according to the report. “… This is the end of my presidency. I’m f—-ed.” Would that his prophesy come to pass and this ungodly episode in American history be finished.

Kathleen Parker’s email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

Cepeda column: Unauthorized immigrants help prop up America’s economy

CHICAGO — Whenever I see a viral video of a racist person harassing a Spanish speaker with brown skin because they seem “illegal,” I comfort myself with the vivid image of millions of Latinos watching the spectacle with bafflement as they fan themselves with a stack of $100 bills.

It’s not silly.

People act like unauthorized immigrants are the biggest pox upon the Great American Experiment, but the fact is that immigrants pour billions of dollars into the tax coffers of local and state governments every year. In fact, they paid an estimated $11.7 billion just in 2014, according to the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy. This includes an estimated $1.1 billion in state income taxes and $3.6 billion in property taxes.

Federal taxes can be added on top: The IRS estimated in 2015 that 4.4 million income-tax returns came from workers with no Social Security numbers, resulting in $23.6 billion in income taxes. This, of course, doesn’t include payroll taxes or the taxes paid by immigrants who work on someone else’s Social Security number.

For years, it’s been an open secret that unauthorized immigrant workers are propping up the Social Security retirement trust fund and Medicare systems — even though they can’t access benefits from either of those programs.

Most people don’t know that there’s been a system in place for unauthorized immigrants and other foreign-born people to get Taxpayer Identification Numbers with which to file income taxes since 1996.

Moreover, schemes to legalize immigrants have often hinged on requiring them to prove they have a track record of paying their taxes. This has, at least in part, resulted in a windfall for the government.

You also have to stop to consider that unauthorized immigrants represent but a small percentage of all the Latinos in our country — as a whole, all immigrants represent only about a third of all Hispanics.

And make no mistake: Latinos have money. They also have property.

“Over the past decade, Hispanics have accounted for 62.7 percent of net U.S. homeownership gains, growing from 6,303,000 homeowners to 7,877,000, a total increase of 1,574,000 Hispanic homeowners,” according to the 2018 State of Hispanic Home Ownership report from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

This same report calculated that the median household income for Hispanics rose to $50,486 in 2017, accounting for the largest increase in income (3.7 percent) among all racial or ethnic population groups.

As if this weren’t enough, we’re just sunnier about our finances than almost anyone else. In a recent analysis of national survey results, Florida Atlantic University found that 67 percent of Hispanics said they are financially better off today than a year ago, and 74 percent said they’d be better off over the next year. Meanwhile, 59 percent said they expected the country as a whole to experience good business conditions in the upcoming year.

Only people with a vested interest in a business would forecast economic conditions for the year ahead, folks.

None of these numbers fits with the impoverished, downtrodden and marginalized people you might imagine if your only exposure to immigrants is what you see on cable TV.

But, alas, well-to-do Hispanics who are the third or fourth generation in a family to attend a good college — or who are simply successful in life without having been traumatized at the border or otherwise harmed — are not of great interest to lots of people in the mainstream media who have the power to tell stories about middle- and upper-class Latinos.

To borrow the tortured cliché about how Hispanic voting power is a “Sleeping Giant,” many Latinos are unaware of the strength they wield in the marketplace as well. And, alas, so far they are unable or unwilling to transform their considerable economic clout into the kind of political power that stops prejudiced people from attacking those who “look” or “sound” like an unauthorized immigrant.

Don’t let ignorance get you down, though.

Remember: There are way more Latinos who have the capacity to use fistfuls of hundred-dollar bills to cool themselves than there are close-minded bigots who think they’re entitled to harass someone just based on the color of their skin or their ability to speak a second language.

Esther Cepeda’s email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com, or follow her on Twitter: @estherjcepeda.

Guest Opinion: Roads are the losers in 2019 Colorado Legislature

Fixing the crumbling and crowded roads across our state has been a talking point for politicians in Colorado for years, as the project backlog has grown to more than $9 billion.

Democrats who control the purse in the legislature don’t seem to feel any urgency to fix the funding issues creating the backlog. In his first address to the General Assembly, Governor Polis spent mere seconds talking about the underfunded transportation infrastructure, offering no real solution.

Even though many legislators made it part of their campaigns, funding for road improvements has unfortunately been a victim of the dysfunction and liberal agenda of the leaders of the Democratic majority. They seem to be counting on the roads getting so bad that Coloradans will approve a tax increase just to fix them.

Last November, Coloradans rejected both a sales tax increase and a bonding proposal that would have made a dent in the backlog of projects. That’s an incredibly clear message to legislators — prioritize our budget to fix critical infrastructure problems across the state.

How did fixing our roads become such an afterthought — allowing so many unfunded projects to back up over the years? Numbers released by the Colorado Department of Transportation calculate that paving one lane of one mile of roadway costs taxpayers $1.5 million, and one lane of widening a roadway will cost us $2 million.

If the current status quo remains, CDOT is projecting a $25 billion funding gap over the next 25 years. Fixing roads ain’t cheap, but they are necessary.

The most significant difference between my political philosophy and that of many of my Democratic friends is in what the ultimate goal and responsibility of government should be. By the votes of last November, it appears that most Coloradans agree with me that it is a basic role of government to prioritize funding infrastructure and fixing our roads and bridges.

Instead of doing the hard work, Democrats in the legislature are heading towards approving one-time minimal funding for road improvements, while developing ideas for “new revenue” (translation: tax increases).

There’s a plan to attempt to dismantle our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights by asking voters to permanently give back their tax refunds to the state. The proposal would destroy the part of our Constitution that puts spending guardrails on our government, without providing a stable funding mechanism for transportation.

There is also discussion of a gas tax … but they’ll call it a “fee” to avoid asking for taxpayer approval as specified by TABOR.

I live in the Denver area and I’m part of the large number of people who take the opportunity most weekends to get out of the city and head to the mountains, and regularly visit my family on the Western Slope. It’s a lifestyle that usually comes with a choice of waking up long before dawn or sitting in hours of traffic — no matter what season it is.

It’s frustrating to sit in traffic, but the consequences of bad roads can be much more far reaching than getting a late start on a ski day. They get us to work, keep our economy moving, transport medical emergencies and connect Coloradans.

It’s beyond time that the Legislature make it a priority — like many said they would during campaign season — and fix our roads.

Lindsey Singer is communications director for the political action group Colorado Rising Action.

Will column: The electric-vehicle tax credit should be taken off the road

WASHINGTON — Some government foolishness has an educational value that compensates for its considerable cost. Consider the multibillion-dollar federal electric-vehicle tax credit, which efficiently illustrates how government can, with one act, diminish its already-negligible prestige while subtracting from America’s fairness. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., hope to repeal the tax credit, which probably will survive because it does something that government enjoys doing: It transfers wealth upward by subsidizing affluent individuals and large economic entities.

In 1992, Congress, with its itch to supplant the market in telling people what to build and buy, established a subsidy for buyers of electric vehicles, which then were a negligible fraction of the vehicle market. In 2009, however, as the nation reeled from the Great Recession, the Obama administration acted on an axiom of the president’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Using the crisis as an excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway, those who think government planning of the U.S economy is a neat idea joined with environmentalists to persuade Congress — persuading it to dispense money is not difficult — to create a tax credit of up to $7,500 for consumers who buy battery-powered electric vehicles.

The tax credit was part of the administration’s “stimulus” package, which is most remembered for its promise of “shovel-ready” jobs. The president, too busy expanding the government to understand the consequences of prior expansions, discovered that such jobs are almost nonexistent, thanks to red tape that must be untangled before shovels can be wielded.

The tax credit quickly became another example of the government’s solicitousness for those who are comfortable, and who are skillful in defense of their comforts. Today, demand for electric cars is still insufficient to produce manufacturing economies of scale (after a decade of production, moral exhortations and subsidies, electric cars are a fraction of 1 percent of all vehicle sales), and batteries are expensive. So, The Wall Street Journal reports, the $42,000 average price for an electric car is $8,000 more than the average price of a new car, and $22,000 more than the average price of a new small gasoline-powered car.

The Pacific Research Institute has examined 2014 IRS data showing that 79 percent of the electric-vehicle tax credits were collected by households with adjusted gross incomes of more than $100,000, and 1 percent by households earning less than $50,000. A 2017 survey found that households earning $200,000 received the most from the tax credit.

Some states have augmented the federal credit: In California, where about half of electric vehicles are sold, consumers can gain up to $15,000; in insolvent Connecticut — blue states are incorrigible — $10,500. The credit is, however, capped: Manufacturers can sell only 200,000 vehicles eligible for the full credit. Now almost all manufacturers (including high-end companies Bentley, Aston Martin and Maserati) are entering the electric-vehicle sector, and the cap is impinging on some of them (General Motors, Nissan). So, at long last such vehicles can be allowed to sink or swim on their own, right?

Of course not. The Barrasso-Smith legislation is fiercely opposed by the manufacturers, who of course want to expand and entrench it by removing the cap, partly because they know what the Journal knows: “When Georgia ended its $5,000 state tax credit in 2015, sales of electric vehicles fell 89 percent in two months.”

Electric cars have cachet with advanced thinkers who want to be, or to be seen to be, environmentally nice. They do not think of such vehicles as 27.4 percent coal cars, that being the percentage of U.S. electricity generated by coal-fired power plants. According to a Manhattan Institute study:

“[B]ecause of stringent emissions standards and low-sulfur gasoline, new ICVs [internal combustion vehicles] today emit very little pollution, and they will emit even less in the future. Compared with new ICVs, ZEVs [zero-emissions vehicles] charged with the forecast mix of electric generation will emit more criteria air pollutants.” And the reduction of carbon dioxide — “less than 1 percent of total forecast[ed] energy-related U.S. CO2 emissions through 2050” — “will have no measurable impact on climate.”

The environmental excuse for the regressive tax credit being nonexistent, those Democratic senators whose presidential campaigns are fueled by fury about government being “rigged” for the benefit of “the rich” who are not paying “their fair share” will join their Wyoming colleague’s attempt to end the electric-vehicle tax credit, if they mean what they say. If.

George Will’s email address is georgewill@washpost.com.

West column: New Immigrations challenges loom for America

It’s been just a week since Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign from her post. While her departure was long overdue, it is also a sobering reminder of two critical facts in the age of Trump.

Former Secretary Nielsen approved the policy that led to the aggressive separation of children and parents on the southern border of the U.S. She did so in the hopes, shared with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, that this inhumane punishment would deter legal migration. And when questioned about the chaotic effects of her decision, she lied about it.

So on the one hand, Nielsen’s resignation is good: The policy that she authorized, implemented, and provided cover for created a logistical nightmare and incredible pain for innocent people. At least two children and one parent died in the course of detention. The American Academy of Pediatrics said that trauma from such a separation, even without reported instances of physical and sexual abuse, can stay with children for a lifetime. DHS took no steps to record which children were being separated from which parents, and the administration itself acknowledges that it may take two years to sort out the mess. And governments around the world denounced the United States, President Reagan’s “shining city on a hill,” for our morally abhorrent actions.

The severity of what Nielsen oversaw is a critical reminder that Trump administration “formers” must not be allowed to exit public life through the typical Washington revolving door that places them in cushy corporate, academic or lobbying gigs. From Sean Spicer’s book tour to Scott Pruitt’s energy consulting business to Corey Lewandowski’s Harvard fellowship, the post-Trump landings to date have been far too forgiving. It is incumbent on the media, academia and industry to stop rewarding these people for their moral failings.

It will also be the task of the next Democratic administration to hold those who executed on President Trump’s policies accountable. The Obama administration’s failure to prosecute or even publicly name and shame the Bush administration leaders who embraced torture (against both American values and operational effectiveness) was a failure that we cannot bear to repeat again. If children were orphaned, abused and traumatized by the U.S. government — and they were — people in leadership positions must be made to answer for the policies that caused it.

But these are long-term problems. As we look to the immediate future, there is the second issue with Nielsen’s departure: that whoever follows her may well be worse. Nielsen reportedly left the administration, after all, in the midst of a fight with the president about restarting the family separation policy. And since her recent departure, similar exits at DHS (among them Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady and Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles) have followed.

In fact, the speculation in Washington is that White House advisor Stephen Miller has targeted even more DHS appointees for removal in the service of a more extreme immigration policy. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen; the rate of turnover at the Trump administration is so high that ascribing rhyme or reason to it is a risky business. Regardless of who is pulling the levers of power, though, the change-up at DHS is a stark reminder that the cruelty and corruption that has so characterized this administration flows from the top down, meaning that each new appointee could well be worse than the last.

So ultimately, while Nielsen’s removal from DHS is ultimately a step forward for the nation, what comes next both in the long and short term matters just as much. It will be incumbent upon all of us to ensure that she and others are held accountable for the administration’s policies — and that they are the last ones making such harmful decisions in the first place.

Graham West is the communications director for Truman Center for National Policy and Truman National Security Project, though views expressed here are his own. You can reach West at gwest@trumancnp.org.