Friday, March 31, 2017

Misbehaving Presidents' Mixed Messages

We don't win anymore. When was the last time we won? Did we win a war? Do we win anything? Do we win anything? We're going to win. We're going to win big, folks. We're going to start winning again, believe me. We're going to win.” – President Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 24, 2017

Isn't winning a great message to hear from a sitting U.S. president? Contrast that to the Obama years, plagued by gargantuan failures and losses. For example, most telling was the actual level of U.S. unemployment: 95 million able-bodied Americans absent from the workforce. (The U.S. Department of Labor repeatedly claimed the rate hovered around a measly 5 percent.) Such a diet of consistent falsehoods included Obama's famous, “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it.” That whopper earned him left-leaning Politifact's Lie of the Year in 2013.

Interestingly, misrepresentation is the defining characteristic of modern-day Democratic presidents (and failed hopeful Hillary Clinton). All that's now required is a slick persona, a tenuous grasp on truthfulness and the gift of honeyed words earnest in their bewitching power to distract the public. With Hillary's hubby, his failings were of a personal nature, embarrassing peccadilloes highlighted by an affair with a then 22-year-old intern. Remember Bill's infamous claim, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss [Monica] Lewinsky.” (The scandal rocked his presidency, but didn't end it. Ultimately, he received a pass because adultery was successfully spun as a private matter. However, his public disgrace affected his ability to govern much more gravely then was acknowledged at the time.) Also detrimental to the nation, were Barack Obama's numerous untruths. Like Clinton, he was abetted by a fawning press—and a foolishly forgiving electorate.

That same latitude is never granted to their Republican counterparts. Remember, George H. W. Bush's broken pledge, “Read my lips: no new taxes”? That one flip-flop cost him his 1992 re-election bid. By contrast, Barack Obama, not Ronald Reagan, was the true “Teflon president” . His big government tenure was “transformative” in all the wrong ways: obtrusive, overregulated and overtaxed (read: the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ObamaCare mandate because its legal basis is a tax!). Combine those systemic problems with a ballooning federal government, wasteful programs, deficit-spending and virtually doubling the nation's debt: a record-shattering 9.3 trillion! That's more in Barack Obama's eight years than all previous presidents combined (read: 212 years from Washington (1789) to Clinton (2001))!

In retrospect, the pre-election electorate was ravenous for a new voice, specifically an unapologetically pro-American one. (Hillary Clinton isn't that. Essentially, she promised a de facto Obama third term.) Enter the plain-speaking Washington outsider, a billionaire capitalist, who brashly articulated all things wrong with progressives in government. Central to that message was the concept of winning: obviously for himself and theoretically, one hopes, for the country. Today, how is that goal achieved by threatening the Tea Party's Freedom Caucus? Ironically, he attacks the very group he should champion:

“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” — President Trump's tweet at 9:07 AM on March 30, 2017

Under any circumstances, it's frankly nonsensical to ever conflate conservative Republicans with militantly obstructionist Democrats. Such groups are naturally philosophically opposed: political oil and water! For a campaign promise thwarted, he calls out the Freedom Caucus for rightfully scuttling Paul Ryan's disastrous “ObamaCare Lite” replacement? Thus, in the superficial name of “winning,” isn't that precisely like burning a village to the ground in order to “save” it?

The political landscape is, and remains, ripe for meaningful change. However, as of late, Mr. Trump's appealingly razor sharp campaign rhetoric is not living up to his muddled actions. To again reference the same CPAC speech:

“I'm here fighting for you and I will continue to fight for you. The victory and the win were something that really was dedicated to a country and people that believe in freedom, security and the rule of law. Our victory was a victory and the win for conservative values.”

A self-proclaimed guiding principle negated by his recent rant against House Republicans who stand for that precise thing! Immersed in the Washington swamp, allied with House Speaker Paul Ryan, is it possible he's lost sight of what conservatism means in concrete terms? After all, words are insubstantial compared to policy and practice. For his part, Mr. Ryan talks an equally good game. (Recall, he's been in Congress since 1998. That's 17 years before he assumed leadership of the lower chamber on October 29, 2015. For further context, for the last 7 years, the GOP has promised to repeal and replace ObamaCare.) With his reputation as a policy wonk, where has Mr. Ryan been all this time? His Johnny-come-lately response was a rushed bill—with the Republican brand simply slapped on—that fundamentally lacked bipartisan consensus: no Democratic support and not enough Republicans to pass the measure.

The American Health Care Act should have been a free market solution to health-care, but it wasn't. Hopeful for a “win,” President Trump mistakenly backed Ryan's loser: a bureaucratic 3-phased shell game that would have kept the government behemoth in place with superficial changes like substituting tax breaks for government subsides. So, it's wrong to scapegoat the Freedom Caucus for their lack of support. This debacle—this legislative “Rosemary's Baby”—is all Paul Ryan's mad creation. For this mess, he should be replaced forthwith. To that end, someone from the Freedom Caucus would be fitting.

Thus far, Mr. Trump's dealings with Congress have not lived up to his appealing CPAC rhetoric. The author of “The Art of The Deal” need not play things so fast and loose by vilifying other Republicans. While he owes the Republican establishment nothing, he would be wise to adopt the following Reaganesque Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any conservative. To do otherwise artificially divides the GOP against itself. And given their demonstrated lack of effective leadership, they need all the help they can get.

Polarizing allies won't achieve the right results for the American people. Still, Trump's willingness to work with everyone is exactly what President Reagan did. In that regard, “The Great Communicator” effectively went directly to the American people over the heads of his detractors (as The Donald does with his well-conceived tweets). Yet, Mr. Reagan never used the bully pulpit to literally bully anyone. Therefore, killing his Tea Party darlings in this way is something “The Gipper” would never do. That's not winning; it's reactionary, shortsighted and ultimately self-defeating. 

Lasting success for America equals a staunchly conservative agenda. To get there, Mr. Trump needs to appropriate the cohesive framework of principles embodied by the Freedom Caucus. Going forward, embracing them—rather than Paul Ryan's ilk—would greatly aid his cause. For instance, they would make an ideal legislative sounding board while he makes deals and takes constructive action. As modern history clearly demonstrates, only Democrats get away with misbehavior and mixed messages. Those types of mistakes are invariably fatal to the prospects, and success, of any Republican president.

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sanctuary Policy's Rotten Core

Is it really any surprise to discover that accused child rapist Henry Sanchez-Millian, 18—and his father Adolfo Sanchez-Reyes, 43—are both illegal aliens? Perhaps the state of Maryland—so concerned with family unification of other nation's citizens on American soil—can arrange a holding cell for father and son to share? After all, that's the convoluted reasoning behind their sanctuary practice (that actively subverts federal immigration law). Therefore, by their logic, a communal living arrangement behind bars is the most humane thing to do. At any rate, the son has been charged with first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual offenses. If convicted, he faces the penalty of life imprisonment. On the other hand, his father contends with the comparably mild rebuke of deportation. That means separation of the two for the foreseeable future, if not forever. An ironic outcome given what started this mess in the first place.

This situation definitively demonstrates the domino effect of lawlessness. A dreadful chain of events that began with our porous southern border—the choices of a Guatemalan father and son to border jump—and Barack Obama's eyes closed catch-and-release program that reunified the pair! Speaking of two lawbreakers, Sanchez-Millian's wingman in that bathroom tryst with a 14-year-old at Rockville High School, is El Salvadorian Jose O. Montano, 17. (Reportedly, he was sent to Maryland to join an uncle.)

Complicating matters is federal law (U.S. Supreme Court decision in Plyler vs. Doe (457 U.S. 202 (1982)) that mandates school age illegals are entitled to a public education same as citizens. For their part, the local school administration enrolled these two wrongdoers—not as a junior and senior respectively—but in ninth grade classes. That's how this duo of older, Spanish speaking foreigners had access to this much younger female (among many). (The sexual assault occurred on school property at approximately 9 AM on Thursday, March 16.) Specifically, how else would Montano have met her, or been present to push her into that boys' bathroom? His attorney, David Wooten stated, “This was a consensual act. It was preplanned.” Wooten bolsters his claim by asserting that the victim texted “explicitly compromising images of herself”. Said last week and repeated Monday, Sanchez-Millian's lawyer Andrew Jezic reiterated, “All parties were willing participants.” If you're wondering why both narratives so tightly correspond, both men work together at the same firm!

All potential mitigating factors, if legitimate, have yet to be determined. Meanwhile, per Maryland state law the age of consent is technically 17, but persons aged between 14 and 16 may consent to sex given a small age difference of not more than 4 years for the older party. That's immaterial here as her assailants, near or just beyond maturity, have both been charged as adults. So, Sanchez-Millian and Montano may have gotten away with flouting our immigration laws, but they will likely get no pass for their brutal bathroom misadventures involving gang-raping and sodomizing a fellow ninth-grader.

This egregious circumstance is one of many cautionary tales. How American society is being destroyed within by the wrongheaded embrace of the undocumented under the guise of dogmatic “tolerance” and multiculturalism. The actual problem isn't America's systemic discrimination of foreigners. By any measure, what country celebrates diversity, or differences, more fully than us? The wholesale rejection of illegals has nothing to do with their superficial attributes such as ethnicity or country of origin, as pro-illegal proponents laughably insist. Indeed, their knee-jerk demonization of objectors as “racists” are lame attempts at distraction: a subject-changing excuse to justify their bizarre advocacy of naked lawlessness.

In that regard, if our laws are so draconian, why do so many clamor to live here (by any possible means)? Historically, as today, America remains a melting pot with one modern caveat: a person with legal status is warmly welcomed here; one who doesn't, isn't. Likewise, would any sensible person open their private residence to cohabitate with total strangers? Is America not the beloved “home” of her legal inhabitants?

In truth, illegal aliens are criminals: an invading underclass of squatters. They're the ones that don't respect our laws and customs—not vice versa as their supporters loudly proclaim. Therefore, a wildly chaotic influence is exerted, like acid upon our culture's social fabric. As important building blocks of that foundation are our public school systems, witness the snowballing uproar caused by this outrage at Maryland's Rockville High School! The additional revelation that Adolfo Sanchez-Reyes is also undocumented is yet more salt to a whole community's open wound. After all, it's obvious Sanchez-Millian's father acted as a familial magnet, didn't he? A butterfly effect of what was, what could have been avoided, and what should have been prevented.

From every angle, this specific incident is intolerable. These affiliated troublemakers including Montano and his uncle (whose legal status is unclear) should have been immediately expelled, not permitted to enter and reside within the United States. But, they were and a radiating cascade of escalating crime, loss and disruption is the predictable result. Most tragically, would the unnecessary suffering of a violated 14-year-old child and her aggrieved family—sacrifices upon the altar of politically correct multiculturalism—happened otherwise? Worrying about the fate of foreign lawbreakers while ignoring the rights of victimized citizens explains the topsy-turvy nature of our mixed-up, rather than mixed, society.

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Horror Within “Sanctuary” School

Part of the reason the president has made illegal immigration and [a] crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this. Immigration pays its toll on our people if it's not done legally. And this is another example.” – Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, on March 21, 2017

What was 18-year old Henry E. Sanchez-Milian—a full-grown adult from Guatemala—doing in the ninth grade at Maryland's Rockville High School? Likewise, his El Salvadorian partner in crime, Jose O. Montano, 17. Both now stand accused of carnal crimes so depraved that they're almost too graphic to describe. For their sheer brutality against a fellow 14-year old student, their assault has risen to the president's attention. Even this eventuality—and their swift, same day arrest due to the girl's immediate report—is ultimately little consolation. Clearly, her life has been forever changed.

Around 9 AM last Thursday March 16, the two suspects approached the victim in a remote hallway near the gym. Per court documents released that Friday, the girl stated she knew Montano but not Sanchez-Milian. Montano asked for a hug, grabbed her buttocks, and requested sex but was refused. After being rebuffed a second time, he pushed her into a boys' bathroom. She resisted, held onto a sink, but was overpowered into a stall. Montano then stripped her. The possibility of escape was nullified by Sanchez-Milian who swiftly joined his co-conspirator. Cornered, trapped like prey—her cries, begging and screams ignored —they took turns restraining her, forcing her to perform oral sex before gang-raping and sodomizing her. So much for her right to autonomy as a U.S. citizen. What of this child's reasonable expectation to safety in a public school?

A fundamental truth that neither the school system in Maryland nor U.S. Border Patrol in Texas want to acknowledge: if this duo of illegal aliens had not been present in the school (or for that matter, the country), this outrage would not have happened.

Two of Barack Obama's “Dreamers” have visited a nightmarish hell upon an innocent. Recall, these young men were raised elsewhere during their formative years. They've only been stateside for roughly seven or eight months. How could they understand our cultural norms? Therefore, it's beyond naive to assume that these illegal foreigners on—or just beyond—the cusp of manhood, would instantly or instinctively acclimate to our customary respect for female minors. Indeed, they were the fox in Montgomery County's underage hen house. Its doors thrown open by do-gooder school authorities in the name of “diversity” and “inclusiveness”. Rather than being the farmer who protects his defenseless, the school abetted her assault by creating the environment in which such a calamity occurred.

Sanchez-Milian's path to infamy started as so many other border jumpers do. After all, what true incentive does any lawbreaker have to embrace our cultural standards, or heed our laws? As background, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Matthew Bourke said:

“In August 2016, Henry Sanchez-Milian was encountered by a border patrol agent in Rio Valley Grande, Texas, who determined the individual had unlawfully entered the United States from Mexico. Sanchez-Milian was issued a notice to appear [Barack Obama’s de facto ‘catch and release’ policy] in front of an immigration judge, which is currently waiting to be scheduled.”

In hindsight, was it wise to cut this individual loose to disappear into the wild? In any case, he will never make that Texas immigration hearing now (whenever the system gets around to holding it). Ironically, Sanchez-Milian might get his wish of a permanent stay. He's charged as an adult (same as Montano) with first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual offenses. These crimes carry the possibility of life imprisonment. Subsistence in an American cage. A fate that's somehow too good for him.

At the moment, that's cold comfort to the violated 14-year old student. She has been utterly failed by every level of the government the new president has inherited. As we have seen, a systemic problem in which various local, state and federal elements share culpability. Still, the underlying trouble is a bureaucratic mind-set epitomized by Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner:

“To the extent we are quote coddling—we are coddling people who have been in this community for 25, 20 years and have never done anything wrong other than work one, two or three jobs, raise a family and be part of our community. They have done nothing wrong other than be here quote undocumented.”

That's convoluted thinking of the highest order. So, as long as this shadowy underclass of squatters doesn't defy our other laws everything is kosher? Make no mistake—simply by being present within our borders without permission—is already a criminal act. Thus, at best, the undocumented induce resource-draining chaos into our society if not outright danger as demonstrated here. The virtue of an underage girl obviously doesn't matter to two criminals who savagely took what they wanted, but it certainly should matter to the powers that be in Maryland.

Why then is local politician Roger Berliner outspoken about the wrong thing? His priority, as expressed previously at a meeting of county department heads early last month, is: “We’re fearful they’re [illegals] going underground in a way that will cause harm to them.” Cause harm to them? Tell that to last week's brutalized 14-year-old child! Today, rather than accept responsibility, Berliner publicly passes the buck, “One of two individuals [Sanchez-Milian] was stopped by ICE in Texas and released. How is this on us?” It's on him and his cohorts because of their collective failure to protect a student under their care while on school property. If she was Berliner's daughter, would he still be so blasé and obtuse?

Unfortunately, Berliner's nonchalant attitude is not unique. It's widely shared by many similarly insulated decision-makers who shape the public institutions that contributed to this wretchedness. For context, imagine the firestorm if one of the Obama girls had been in her shoes! Of course, that would never happen due to Secret Service protection. Still, the rule-makers responsible—specifically the former president—can afford to send their children to uber-safe private schools. Those places of privilege are not obligated to educate anyone who walks through the door, no questions asked. Thus, theirs are the real sanctuary schools. You know, the same ones the troublemaking Sanchez-Milians of the world—who jump borders and cross state lines—will never gain access to.

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog

Monday, March 20, 2017

Yelling “Fire” In Political Theater

Under certain circumstances, First Amendment protection of expression is not absolute. For example, causing a panic by uttering the false claim of fire in a theater. Such incendiary acts are disallowed precisely because they endanger public safety. In our contentious political realm, the social fabric of our culture is under equivalent attack by anti-American forces.

Naturally, that number does not include peaceful protesters. That assumes the MSM could bother to find any. For years now their spotlight has been exclusively trained on Black Lives Matter and/or other divisive figures detrimental to the healthy functioning of our democracy. In that regard, disagreement doesn't entitle anyone the latitude to threaten members of the Electoral College, the president, his wife or the White House itself.

Some fifty days into the Trump presidency all of the above has now occurred. In fact, the drumbeat of sedition started well before The Donald even assumed office. Recall that GOP electors in the Electoral College were hounded—even receiving death threats—if they cast their ballots for him! (Of the 270 required, Trump ultimately prevailed with 304, but lost two votes due to a pair of faithless electors.) To that end, anti-Trump Hollywood celebrities encouraged them to go rogue (via a viral video). Still, the gauntlet was really thrown down one day after the Inauguration. At the Washington's Women's March, singer Madonna announced she had “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House”.

Today another attention seeking rapper, Snoop Dogg, has followed the Material Girl's lead. In a music video called “Lavender”, he shoots “Clown-In-Chief Ronald Klump”: a Donald Trump look-alike in clownface. (His weapon is a Joker-style prop gun with a 'BANG' flag so “President Klump” is unharmed, but the message of metaphorical assassination is clear.) True to form, an understandably miffed Trump tweeted, “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!” That's actually an astute observation despite its surface meaning. For starters, it's highly unlikely his predecessor would have been the subject of such a stunt. After all, can one imagine Snoop Dogg having the temerity to shoot a clownish caricature of Barack Obama?

To that end, Mr. Obama habitually employed methods to silence dissenters. That's why on January 2, 2014 CNN's Jake Tapper stated, “the Obama administration has used the Espionage Act [the draconian 1917 law] to go after whistle-blowers who leaked to journalists ... more than all previous administrations combined.” That law, coupled with others, was used to obtain the email and phone records of Fox News's James Rosen. Even a New York Times reporter, James Risen, was not immune. He fought a successful seven-year battle to protect a confidential government source with a potential jail sentence hanging precariously over his head. Still think Snoop Dogg would have dared to cross Obama as he did Trump?

Unlike with the last guy, public figures' lips are flapping with unfiltered abandon. The difference with past generations is political dissent was generally principled and civil, not based on a cultish devotion to a set of ideas, or automatically demonizing the other side. To make a political point for today's objectors, is it right that their messages be so acidic and deliberately personal? As bad as Snoop Dogg's video is, his nephew Shad Moss (a.k.a. Bow Wow, formerly 'Lil') took things to a new low with a salvo directed unfairly at Melania Trump: “Ayo @realDonaldTrump shut your punk ass up talking shit about my uncle @SnoopDogg before we pimp your wife and make her work for us.” Certainly, such a throwback attitude has no place in our evolved 21st century sensibilities. That means mutual respect between the sexes, not objectification.

Contrary to Bow Wow's demeaning view, all first ladies are apolitical symbols of American grace. Thus, these types of malevolent statements are completely beyond the pail. Would such misogyny be tolerated if it had been directed at Michelle rather than Melania? Where's the feminist outcry in Mrs. Trump's defense? This is yet more maliciousness from a growing list of wacky Hollywood entertainers. A disturbing trend already tiresome in the fledgling Trump era.

The selective outrage was on full display only when it came to defending Mrs. Obama. Recall the firestorm when Pamela Ramsey Taylor, director of West Virginia's nonprofit Clay County Development Corp., posted this unkind comment to Facebook, “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady [Melania Trump] in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a[n] Ape in heels”. In this instance, First Amendment freedoms—which are supposed to protect unpopular, even offense speech—did not shield Ms. Taylor from being fired from her job. (Amazingly, the fallout didn't end there. Local mayor Beverly Whaling also resigned over the controversy for posting a supportive reply, “Just made my day, Pam”.) So much for freedom of speech when it comes at the expense of a Democrat.

By any objective measure, isn't Bow Wow's first lady tweet targeting Melania as cruel as what was said of Michelle? Thus, the larger question looms: why the deafening silence in March of 2017 to the same venom that provoked fury in December of 2016?

Ah, the difference a presidential transition and a few months make; a tectonic cultural shift! Still, the underlying answer is that anti-First Amendment political correctness was weaponized during the Obama years. Then, for any reason under the sun—legitimate or not—no one could publicly criticize the Obamas without being absurdly labeled as a “racist”. From the fawning press to the eyes closed court of public opinion, virtually everyone treated the Obamas with kid gloves. This dynamic is further borne out by the fact that both remain widely popular despite his disastrous presidency and her coddled sense of entitlement (read: Air Force One travel, designer duds and 5-star White House living weren't enough for the missus. Michelle wanted to be paid to be first lady).

Unfairly, the Trumps have received extremely rough treatment compared to their indulged predecessors. I can recall no personal attacks leveled at Mr. Obama during his job-killing, government-expanding, debt-exploding tenure. While his gargantuan mistakes (read: Iran, Benghazi, Bergdahl, criminal aliens/porous border et cetera) and massive scandals (read: ObamaCare's broken promises, IRS targeting, Snowden's leaks and CIA spying et cetera) were repeatedly downplayed with the MSM's softest language. What should have been months-long newspaper filling Nixonian exposés were reported as one day stories, quickly dropped. Contrast that to the daily slings directed at Donald Trump. He's even denied the presidential tradition of a honeymoon! Beyond that, his administration, unlike Obama's, is under the media's microscope that wildly exaggerates the slightest missteps.

Rough treatment includes real or fictional threats of harm. That includes Snoop Dogg's character assassination of Trump—and his nephew's carnal call to engage Mrs. Trump in the world's oldest profession. Neither affront should be excused as a byproduct of our age's lack of civility. Likewise, Madonna's anarchist desire to incinerate the presidential residence should not get a pass.

Why should these lawless agitators enjoy First Amendment protection simply because they are geographically separated from their targets? A call to destroy the people's house. A veiled threat to the president's life presented as an artistic farce. A disrespectful tirade that belittles the presidential couple, threatening her with servitude. All are tantamount to yelling “fire” in that theater. Indeed, all statements strike at the heart of American's foundations that promote order and peace. Specifically, such anti-social communication incites violence by broadcasting alienation and mistrust. That, in turn, preys upon the impressionable to do wrong. The end result makes everyone less safe, keeps our society perpetually fractured.

For proof, one only need look to a U.S. president who was actually assassinated by a Hollywood actor. Today, that leader, Abraham Lincoln, is revered because he held the Union together despite the forces of chaos arrayed against him. His now famous words are ones all future rabble-rousers should heed: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog

Monday, March 13, 2017

Busted “Hero” Barry Bronzed

If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself.” – Eugene V. Debs

Apparently, that's true of the late Marion Barry: a half-century fixture of local D.C. government. While the American political landscape is chock full of colorful characters—some lovable scoundrels, others not so much—perhaps none fit this category better than the one nicknamed “Mayor for Life”. In that role Barry served for four terms as the district fell into corruption and insolvency. In 1989, at a D.C. budget hearing, then-Sen. John C. Danforth (R-Mo.) publicly chastised his mismanagement:

“Some governments are corrupt but are known for their competency in running the city. Others are incompetent but considered clean. [Washington's] government is scandalously corrupt and hopelessly incompetent.”

In fact, at his death, he was still in office representing Ward 8, having collectively amassed 16 years on the city council.

On the first anniversary of his demise, current D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser established a 13-member D.C. Commission to "Commemorate and Recognize the Honorable Marion S. Barry Jr". During a ceremony last week at the Wilson Building, a mock-up of the proposed life-sized statue was unveiled. (Reportedly, his fourth wife Cora Masters Barry, hated the hat: a fedora obscuring Barry's famous receding hairline. Well, D.C. Commission on the Arts Director Arthur Espinoza, manager of the project, should get that right!) The anticipated cost—to be raised through both public and private sources—is between $350,000 and $400,000.

This eventuality begs the question: with such a checkered past, does this particular individual warrant a grand commemoration?

First and foremost, Marion Barry was a survivor. Notably, last Thursday, March 9th, marks the 40th anniversary of the “Hanafi siege”, a little-remembered act of terror in the spring of 1977. (Hanafi Muslims were a radicalized, breakaway sect of the Nation of Islam.) These black men armed with swords and shotguns took hostages at three locations: a Jewish organization, a rival mosque and the government building where Barry worked. At 41, he was then a fledgling council member who suffered a chest wound above his heart. He recovered, but a reporter was killed and a security guard later suffered a fatal heart attack.

Another turning point in the then-mayor's life was January 18, 1990. At the Vista International Hotel—groping former girlfriend Hazel Diane “Rasheeda” Moore—the married Mayor was arrested in an FBI sting for smoking crack cocaine. Videotaped during the encounter and arrest, a muttering Barry blamed Moore: “Bitch set me up . . . . I shouldn't have come up here . . . goddamn bitch.” In the digital age, that event has been recorded on the internet for posterity. In the future, how exactly does a silent bronze statue speak louder about Barry's character than his own potty mouth?

For that utterance he became a popular punch line on late-night talk shows. Likewise, he was famous for the remark, “Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.” (For three consecutive years, D.C. homicides increased to record-breaking levels, reaching 474 in 1990. The nation's capital was then called the “murder capital”.) Still, as a survivor of gun violence, Barry was lucky to escape a second life-threatening fate that felled so many of his constituents: drug overdose. (Ironically, cocaine use killed his son—and namesake—Marion C. Barry, 36, on August 14, 2016.) Unlike those unfortunates, the older Barry lived a long life, expiring from cardiac arrest on November 23, 2014.

Indeed, this politician had a long history of running afoul of the law. Even in the waning two years of his life, Marion Barry racked up $2,800 in fees from 21 unpaid parking and speeding tickets. In spite of these violations, he caused a car accident after driving down the wrong way of a street into opposing traffic. True to form, this time the elder statesman blamed a “hypoglycemic attack” for his behavior. However, there is no good explanation for a 78-year-old Jaguar-driving community leader not to have car insurance and current tags.

Undoubtedly, the statue is intended to sanitize Marion Barry's reputation to future generations as a “champion of the downtrodden”. In the late 60s, he co-founded a group called Pride Inc. intended to help black men find employment. Later, as mayor, he expanded government to accomplish that goal. Yet, who remembers that compared to his decades-long embarrassing escapades of repeatedly flouting the law? For starters, he spent six months in prison for the “Rasheeda” Moore incident. Put aside his local popularity and visible job titles for a moment. His rap-sheet reads like a hardened criminal's: arrests for drug incidents (1990, 2002), incarceration (1991-1992), income tax evasion (2005), stalking (2009), corruption (2010), public exposure (2011), and political censure for taking kickbacks and accepting bribes (2010, 2013) et cetera.

Marion Barry's backers can superficially immortalize his likeness—but nothing will expunge his lengthy track record of wrongdoing. Even his outspoken supporters would likely acknowledge a deeply flawed human being. In the final analysis, the man's shameless and often illegal antics obscure any do-gooder residue gained early as a civil rights activist. Therefore, perhaps it's kinder to leave Marion Barry's “legacy” unbronzed: a well forgotten, but colorful footnote in local D.C. affairs.

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog

Friday, March 3, 2017

Virginia's Fundamental Transformation

Virginia joined the Union in June of 1788. Of the 13 original colonies, Virginia likely had the greatest historical influence on our fledgling democracy. Specifically, four out of the five Founding Fathers who comprised America's first generation of U.S. presidents—Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe—were born there. Is it any wonder why this state's tourism slogan is “Virginia is for Lovers”? Certainly, over the years, what state has been more purely or proudly American?

In this tumultuous age, pro-America means Republicanism. To that end, Virginia had dependably voted that way from 1952 to 2004. The one exception in that longstanding trend is understandable. It was the re-election of the first modern progressive, LBJ, in 1964. Recall, Virginians didn't vote for John Kennedy in 1960. Yet, with the entire nation still emotionally shattered by his assassination, they chose his vice president by a healthy 7.3 percent margin.

In the 2016 presidential election, the reason Virginia has not yet returned to its conservative roots is troubling. In large part, this is due to current Governor Terry McAuliffe, a close Clinton political operative (the chairman of her 2008 presidential campaign, best known for fundraising). Last April, he tried to restore the voting rights of 206,000 convicts. The violent and the non-violent alike. Statistically, 7 of 10 felons identify politically as Democrats. Therefore, it's reasonable to infer that Mr. McAuliffe played politics to aid his pal Hillary's ultimately failed candidacy.

The Court stuck down McAuliffe's blanket executive order, but that judicial rebuff only slowed him down. By piecemeal, he still managed to rubber-stamp 60,000 cons by Election Day. Virginia's House Speaker William J. Howell put the matter succinctly, “I am not surprised by the lengths to which he [McAuliffe] is willing to go to deliver Virginia to Hillary Clinton in November.”

Let's now add to the tally of the jailbird vote. Today's revelation is that thousands of non-citizens lurk on Virginia's voter rolls. A telling example is Loudoun County between 2009 and 2014. Virginia Delegate Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) uncovered 9,000 juror disqualifications due to non-citizenship. This result was culled from the 350,000 residents by comparing voter registration lists and Department of Motor Vehicle driver's license applications. Naturally, this figure is anecdotal, but it strongly suggests that voter fraud is real and ongoing in Democratic strongholds.

Last year, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF)—a conservative group striving to ensure the veracity of Virginia's voter lists—began demanding election officials turn over data on non-citizens, whether they voted or not. As 80 percent of illegal ballots favor the Democrat, Gov. McAuliffe's resistance to disclose this information is not hard to glean.

By hook or by crook, it appears, Hillary Clinton won Virginia 5.4 percent or 212,300 votes. What's unknown is how many of those votes were gained by the “alternative” methods described above. As Virginia's state motto is Sic semper tyrannis—meaning “Thus always to tyrants”—its governor is supposed to champion the people's will not actively subvert it.

Unfortunately, this systemic problem is not isolated. Look to Chicago's well-established pattern of dead people voting. Not to be undone is most populous California. Per a 2015 California Political Review poll, 13 percent of illegal aliens admit they vote. Indeed, the highly prestigious Pew Center indicates voter fraud is rampant. All told, perhaps millions of illegal votes: enough to throw the results of any election. In February, White House advisor Stephen Miller unequivocally stated this clear and present danger to the sanctity of our republic: “It is a fact and you will not deny it, that there are massive numbers of non-citizens in this country who are registered to vote.”

Twitter: @DavidHunterblog