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Columns
Tyrrell: Mr. President, put up that wall

WASHINGTON

Of all the Judeo-Christian virtues, the one that utterly baffles me is humility. I mean, what is in it for me? In observing our 45th president the past year or so, I believe he, too, shares my skepticism of humility. Charity? Sure. Kindness? But of course. But humility?

I cannot see any benefit for me in practicing humility, and I am pretty sure Donald Trump thinks similarly. In fact, I dare say he has never even tried practicing humility. I certainly have not. Nor have I tried Chinese cuisine, which, by the way, has no known dessert.

Over the past few days, I have watched our president respond to calumnies directed at him by a past employee who, while in the White House, dressed like a garbage man, and a glabrous hoaxer who has already admitted that his rude book about the Trump administration abounds with falsehoods. Yet he published it anyway.

The president remains unruffled. Angry, yes. But calm. In fact, over the weekend, he tweeted, “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart,” whereupon he once again poked fun at “Crooked Hillary.” I wonder how she responded. Possibly, she threw a lamp at Bill.

The president has every reason to be rather high on himself. He is a self-made businessman, a billionaire. He has been successful on television, and the first time he ran for high office he won the highest office in the land. In his first year in office, he has created a vibrant economy, made extensive appointments to the federal judiciary (in fact, he has made more appeals court appointments in one year than any president has since the appeals court was established in 1891), deregulated on a vast scale, got his tax reform through with the elimination of the Obama-era individual mandate and, now, starting on immigration reform and the building of his promised wall.

What is there to be humble about?

He amassed some of his wealth as a builder. Actually, I believe he is the only American president who made a fortune as a builder. George Washington may have built a shack or two on his estates, for he was pretty much a self-made man, too, but I expect Donald even transcended George as a builder. Now, the 45th president wants to make good on his promise to build a wall across our southern border to keep out the jihadis, the drug gangs and the illegal aliens—all promising members of the Democratic coalition. Why would anyone gainsay him? Law enforcement can surveil some immigrants, but keeping an eye on all of them is out of the question.

His wall is a part of his overall immigration policy, which is intended to fix our broken immigration system. Before President Trump entered the White House, illegal immigrants were overwhelming our southern border. Now, even without a wall, the number of illegals has declined. They know that Trump keeps his promises. Already he is demanding alterations in immigration policy to end chain migration, by which legal immigrants can bring in members of their extended family, often dozens of family members, many of whom have fictitious connections to them.

Then, too, he wants to end extending immigration to foreigners based on their winning a visa lottery pick that allows unskilled or low-skilled people into the country. It is part of a “diversity” program that is open to people who come from countries with historically low immigration rates to the United States. Presumably, their claim to a green card is that so few people from their country have ever wanted to live here. What kind of recommendation for citizenship is that?

Candidate Trump argued a country that cannot control its borders has very little claim to being a country. He might also argue that a country that does not demand anything else from would-be immigrants other than the luck of the draw or a “diverse” background is not much of a country either. In the 21st century, with terrorism arising all around the world and many terrorists aiming their invidious weapons at the United States, I think it is time to bring our immigration standards up to date. Immigrants ought to demonstrate a love of America before they arrive here. Let them demonstrate some knowledge of the land they might be adopting.

Last week, President Trump spoke of the wall costing $18 billion. He also spoke of reviving the confusing immigration laws. Go to it, Mr. President, and by the way, develop a dress code for the White House. Be wary of shabbily dressed counselors.


Letters
Your Views: Agency shouldn't be spending money on wooing Illinois residents

In response to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation spending $1 million to woo Chicago residents to Wisconsin--wrong, wrong, wrong! Who thought this up? Someone missing their friends in Chicago? Someone with ties to the advertising community?

Taxpayers are not responsible to do the recruiting for employers. I hope this has nothing to do with the Foxconn deal. Please excuse me for some of my ignorance, but isn't WEDC the agency Walker created to fill the 250,000 jobs he promised in his first term and the one that has had problems ever since?

There are probably thousands of residents that are working in jobs well below their capabilities to make ends meet because the jobs are not here. We need better paying jobs here and not just the Mount Pleasant area. Use the money for that or some other deserving agency and dismantle WEDC and put those people into the real work force or send them packing to Chicago!

BERNIE NELSON

Milton


180114ed

Community

Bingo—1 p.m., Janesville Moose Lodge, 2701 Rockport Road, Janesville. Call 608-752-0809.

Ceramics for Beginners—1-3 p.m., Rotary Gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville. Heather Hansen of Pottery By Five leads the class. All tools will be provided. Participants must be able to attend another session Jan. 21. Call 608-314-8411. Cost: $55 for Friends members, $62 for the public.

Exhibits

Jeanne Hannula, Sharon Larson and Sarah McConnell—Bragii Coffee House and Wine Bar, 107 N. Walworth Ave., Williams Bay. Runs through Jan. 31.

Faith

Breakfast and Sunday school—9 a.m., Salvation Army Community Center, 514 Sutherland Ave., Janesville.

Film

Rainbow Film Series: “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar”—2-4 p.m., Hedberg Public Library, 316 S. Main St., Janesville. Presented by Yellow Brick Road and Hedberg Public Library. Intended for adults; middle and high school students must attend with an adult. Discussion afterward. Call 608-758-6600.

Theater

“Sister Act”—2 p.m., Edgerton Performing Arts Center, 200 Elm High Drive, Edgerton. Presented by Rock River Repertory Theatre. Call 800-838-3006. Cost: $20-$22.


Other_views
Guest Views: Leave marijuana to the states

The U.S. is in the middle of an opioid epidemic.

From 2014 to 2015, overdose-related deaths from one opioid alone, heroin, increased by 20.6 percent, with nearly 13,000 people dying in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, there remain no known marijuana overdose deaths, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, and studies have found states that have legalized marijuana have seen a decrease in opioid-related deaths.

So, of course, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided to ramp up the fight against—legal marijuana.

This month, Sessions rescinded the Obama administration’s relatively hands-off policy toward states that have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use. Federal prosecutors where marijuana is legal under state law will now be free to decide for themselves how aggressively to enforce federal laws.

The Justice Department doesn’t have the resources to truly crack down on marijuana in states where they have no state and local support. But it doesn’t necessarily need them.

The main effect of Sessions’ action is to cause uncertainty, which will disrupt the newly burgeoning legal pot markets in states like Colorado and California.

The prospect of an aggressive federal prosecutor swooping in isn’t just a threat to marijuana businesses, but also anyone who does business with them, such as financial institutions or landlords.

Not coincidentally, Sessions also opposes reforming civil asset forfeiture, which allows the government to seize the property of the accused even before they’re convicted of a crime—and makes it difficult and sometimes impossible even for those found not guilty to get their property back. A landlord renting to a marijuana-related business might well have his rental property seized by the feds, should a federal attorney emboldened by Sessions’ renewed anti-marijuana crusade be inclined to press the issue.

Disrupting marijuana businesses is exactly what Sessions intends. He may lack the resources to carry on a full-scale drug war without state and local cooperation, but he can create chaos.

Why would Sessions do this? He is proudly stuck in the past and claims marijuana is “only slightly less awful” than drugs like heroin.

“I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable. I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful,” Sessions told law enforcement officials in a speech last year.

Senators in both parties spoke out last week against Sessions’ action. A bill in the U.S. Senate, S.1689, the Marijuana Justice Act, would end marijuana prohibition at the federal level and turn it over to the states.

Sessions may embrace federalism only when it suits his fancy, but the Senate should embrace it here and leave the war on marijuana up to the states that still choose to wage it, and not force it upon those that don’t.

—The Decatur Daily (Alabama)


Other_views
Other views: Fitzgerald mounts callous campaign to destroy careers

Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald needs to stop acting like a playground bully.

He is waging a vendetta against Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas and Ethics Commission Administrator Brian Bell.

Before Christmas, he and Speaker Robin Vos demanded their resignations, making wildly unfounded accusations against them.

And now Fitzgerald says he will take a vote on Jan. 23 in the state Senate to strip them of their jobs.

But Haas and Bell have done nothing wrong.

Fitzgerald is angry at them because they worked for the former Government Accountability Board, which participated in the John Doe II investigation of Scott Walker. This is guilt by association, and neither one of them was cited by Attorney General Brad Schimel in his recent report on the John Doe II leak.

In fact, Haas and Bell have the unanimous support of the bipartisan members of their respective commissions.

We, at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, along with other good-government groups, have interacted with Haas and Bell on numerous occasions and have always found them to be exceedingly professional.

That’s why 11 good-government groups, including the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and Common Cause in Wisconsin, have denounced Fitzgerald’s attacks in a recent open letter that former Senate Majority Leaders Tim Cullen, a Democrat, and Dale Schultz, a Republican, also signed.

The letter urges Fitzgerald “to call off the scurrilous attacks on Haas, Bell and the commissions they lead.”

It also notes that this is a particularly bad time to try to oust these administrators since this is an important election year. “Unduly trying to dismantle the leadership of the agencies responsible for running our elections and keeping elected officials accountable harms the whole system at a time when our focus should be on boosting voters’ confidence that their vote matters.”

What is most troubling is the vengeful attitude that Fitzgerald is displaying.

He seems to want to make an example of Haas and Bell so that no one will ever dare get in his way—or Walker’s way—again.

What’s more, Fitzgerald says he won’t even allow a public hearing so that Haas and Bell could have an opportunity to defend their good names.

He just wants to get them summarily fired.

Not since the days of Tailgunner Joe McCarthy has an elected official tried so callously to destroy the careers of such decent public servants.

We should not stand for this.

Please call Sen. Fitzgerald’s office (608-266-5600) and tell him to knock off this vendetta and hold a public hearing.

His conduct is beneath contempt. It has no place in “Wisconsin Nice”—and no place in a democracy.


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