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Cohen: Democrats pursue victory at any cost

There’s a reason Democrats continuously combat Republican-led efforts to enact sensible voter ID laws while simultaneously pushing for noncitizens, felons and 16-year-olds to be able to vote.

It’s to win future elections—at any cost.

Take the left’s latest crusade to abolish the Electoral College that’s currently sweeping the country. On Tuesday, the Nevada Senate voted 12-8 to, if the measure is signed by its Democratic governor, become the 15th state—plus the District of Columbia—to elect future presidents via the popular vote. Prominent Democrats including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and many other presidential hopefuls are advocating for future presidents to be elected via the popular vote, rather than the time-honored Electoral College enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

Naturally, this explains why this growing chorus of Democrats wants minors and even felons voting while also supporting open borders and sanctuary cities, among a kaleidoscope of other head-scratching protections for illegal immigrants who brazenly violate U.S. customs and immigration laws. It’s to give left-leaning states with large populations an advantage while granting potentially millions of noncitizens the ability to vote Democrat in future elections.

The stark reality is the Democratic Party today prefers a broken immigration system, one that acts as a sieve for millions of undocumented people into our country—no matter the national security risk—in order to obtain those votes come Election Day and keep the Democrats in power. It doesn’t matter to power-hungry liberals whether sex traffickers, drug dealers or even ultra-violent MS-13 gang members are entering the country.

In their Machiavellian mindset, if scores of illegal immigrants vote Democrat—tipping future elections in their favor—they’re welcome in the U.S., no matter the collateral damage. Whatever it takes to win.

Take Massachusetts. Last month, two liberal district attorneys, Rachel Rollins and Marion Ryan, filed a federal lawsuit to block Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from entering Massachusetts state courthouses. This measure, if passed, would ban immigration officials from arresting illegal immigrants in the courthouses and deporting them. Note that on the very same day the reckless lawsuit was filed by these activist DAs, Bay State ICE agents arrested two dangerous gang members in two Suffolk County courthouses: an MS-13 gangster and a thug from a rival 18th Street gang—both illegal immigrants with criminal records that include assault and battery, possession of dangerous weapons and more.

If the lefty district attorneys in Massachusetts get their way in the future, these types of ultra-dangerous gang members and other criminal noncitizens will be shielded from deportation—and free to do unimaginable harm in our local communities. Yes, not all illegal immigrants are violent or dangerous, but all it takes is one rapist, murderer or terrorist to inflict irreparable harm—something Angel Families who’ve lost loved ones to criminal illegals across the nation tragically know firsthand.

Meanwhile, elsewhere throughout the nation, so-called progressives continue to roll out the red carpet for illegal immigrants, with some states enacting measures to give noncitizens free health care, public housing, welfare benefits and other freebies on the backs of taxpayers. Savvy voters ought to consider the motive behind these Democratic-driven measures.

Ultimately, it all comes down to votes and keeping the left in power.

Guest Views: No pardons for U.S. war criminals

The power of the president to pardon is absolute. There is no chance for review, except for Congress to remove the president if he exercises it without principle.

Presidents of both parties have misused their power. Usually, they have done so for political reasons, to reward supporters or contributors. It happened again last week, when President Donald Trump pardoned former newspaper publisher Conrad Black, who was convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice related to sales of his newspapers but later wrote a glowing biography of Trump, and former California Republican Assembly leader Patrick Nolan, who pleaded guilty to racketeering in a 1990s political corruption case but who also pleased Trump by criticizing the Russia investigation.

Trump has used his power more judiciously in pardoning deceased boxer Jack Johnson and commuting the sentence of Alice Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender who served 21 years in prison.

But now Trump is considering a series of pardons that would be grotesque. He is preparing to grant clemency to current and former American servicemen accused of war crimes.

Let that sink in. These are men, some already convicted, who betrayed our nation’s honor and integrity with their actions toward other countries’ citizens.

Among them are:

Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL platoon leader scheduled to be tried soon on charges that he routinely sprayed machine-gun fire randomly into civilian neighborhoods in Iraq, killed an unarmed schoolgirl and an old man as a sniper, and stabbed to death a captured and wounded Islamic State fighter who was around 15 years old. Gallagher was turned in by seven fellow Navy SEAL commandos, who did so despite warnings from superiors that they could jeopardize their military futures.

Army veteran Nicholas Slatten, found guilty of first-degree murder in a notorious 2007 incident in which he and fellow Blackwater contractors opened fire in a Baghdad traffic circle and killed 14 unarmed civilians.

Mathew Golsteyn, an Army Green Beret major accused of killing a suspected Afghan bomb maker after the unarmed man had been released and then disposing his body in a burn pit. Golsteyn admitted to the killing in a TV interview.

Four Marines videotaped urinating on corpses of dead Taliban fighters, after which they were found guilty of dereliction of duty.

Charges of war crimes must be carefully considered. But two cases have resulted in convictions. The other two clearly are troubling. There was no valor here, no misunderstood motives, no defense of American values. These are not cases in which a president should feel compelled to grant a pardon. Doing so, especially for Gallagher, would send an awful signal to other military members about their commitment to honor and duty.

The fact that Trump apparently wants to do so as part of the commemoration of Memorial Day—the nation’s formal recognition of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who gave their lives in honorable service to their country—is disgraceful.

Other Views: Send legislators a message on the importance of clean water

This coming Wednesday, May 29, you have an opportunity right here in Janesville to get your voice heard on a crucial issue: Wisconsin’s drinking water crisis.

On that day, the Legislature’s Water Quality Task Force is making a stop at Blackhawk Technical College for a public hearing. It will take place in Room 1400B at 10:30 a.m. Please attend if you can.

The lawmakers on the task force need to hear your personal stories. They need to hear that you’re concerned about your water quality and the long-term health of your family.

According to the Rock County Health Department, one in six of the county’s 11,000 private wells contains harmful bacteria, and one in three wells contains dangerous nitrates.

It’s also a problem for local schools. The Gazette reported in a March 2018 headline, “Elevated levels of lead found in 40 water sources in Janesville elementary schools.”

This is not just happening here. It is happening across Wisconsin.

Surveys and studies of Wisconsin water show more than 80 water systems—serving 20,000 households—are at risk for lead-contaminated drinking water. One-third of Wisconsin’s private wells have tested positive for pesticides. Just recently, 42 percent of wells in a tri-county area in southwest Wisconsin tested positive for bacteria, chemicals or both.

No level of lead is safe. Children whose blood contains elevated levels of lead are at risk for brain damage and reduced IQs, even increased violent behavior. Nitrates are life threatening to babies and are linked to cancer—as are substances known as PFAs.

Celina Stewart, a mother in Nekoosa, lost her infant daughter to a fatal brain malformation associated with high levels of nitrates. Another Wisconsin mother lost her pregnancy.

Here in Rock County, lead paint remains a major threat for lead poisoning. And dangerous lead pipes are still in homes, with lead laterals serving those homes. In rural areas, nitrates continue to inundate private wells.

This is unacceptable. It is wrong. And it must be fixed now.

Fortunately, our elected officials are finally acknowledging the crisis. Gov. Tony Evers declared 2019 the year of clean drinking water, while Assembly Speaker Robin Vos formed the Water Quality Task Force coming to Janesville. This bipartisan effort is unprecedented in recent history. It’s a once-in-a-generation chance to solve our drinking water crisis.

So on Wednesday, please tell your elected representatives that you expect solutions to the drinking water crisis in the Janesville area and statewide.

Please tell them to approve a clean drinking water budget that saves kids from lead poisoning, protects private wells from dangerous chemicals and bacteria, and gives local communities the resources they need to protect their citizens on their terms.

Please tell them to take direct, bold action now or generations of Wisconsinites—our kids and grandkids—will suffer for their failure.