Monday, December 18, 2017

Efforts to Get Illegal Immigrant Smugglers – Not Illegals – Go Too Far

A young handyman in southern Arizona has been charged with allegedly smuggling illegal immigrants. There’s just one problem. The evidence overwhelmingly shows he was actually trying to transport them to the border patrol. Under the Obama administration, emphasis turned to targeting human smugglers instead of illegal immigrants, due to the politically correct climate dealing with illegal immigrants. Derrick McCoy, a 20-year-old handyman, is the latest casualty of this misguided approach.

The Arizona Daily Independent extensively covered the story. McCoy was asked to watch over the property of nearby neighbors Billy and Anna Grossman while they were out of town. Living in close proximity to the border between the U.S. and Mexico, the Grossmans are concerned about illegal immigrants and smugglers intruding, as well as wildlife. The couple was especially concerned about theft. The Grossmans have two horses, four dogs and five cats.

Sure enough, McCoy received a text message from neighbor David Robinson at 8:30 a.m. on November 11, alerting him that illegal immigrants had been seen near the property of two women and in front of the Grossman’s home. The women saw four Hispanic men in camo, who looked like the four men who had stolen a truck from one of their husbands four months previous. McCoy said that law enforcement takes 35 to 40 minutes to respond to incidents located there, since the Grossmans live in such a secluded location, so he thought he’d better go right over. He was told that the border patrol had been called already, so he did not bother calling them.

McCoy drove over to the Grossman’s property in his SUV and confronted the men. Only one of the four could speak English. When one of the men became belligerent, McCoy pulled out his gun and told them all to lie on the ground. Next, he told them to get into his SUV. He intended to drive them to the border patrol. They got into the car and lied down. A border patrol agent said a camera captured them getting into the SUV. While driving, McCoy said one of the men asked him if he would take them to Tucson. Since he was in a precarious situation with all four of them in his car, he said sure – even though he had no intention of letting them off the hook.

After a mere two minutes of driving, McCoy encountered several border patrol vehicles on the road. McCoy says he stopped immediately, got out of his car and told an agent there were illegal immigrants in his vehicle. The border patrol tried to claim afterward that McCoy tried to hide the fact that four grown men were lying down in his vehicle. They claim he told the men to “get down.” The illegal immigrants alleged afterward that they offered McCoy $200 to drive them, which McCoy denies agreeing to.  

The border patrol filed a federal criminal complaint against McCoy on November 13. He faces three to five years in prison if convicted. None of the border patrol agents are named in the complaint, an apparent anomaly. McCoy has been offered a plea deal.

The case against McCoy doesn’t pass the smell test. The Arizona Daily Independent sarcastically observes, “The idea that anyone with an ounce of sense would stop his vehicle for about 15 law enforcement vehicles and then lie about whether there were four grown men in his vehicle is worthy of a Marx Brothers comedy movie, but does not resemble anything that would happen in the real world, when an officer is in contact with an honest, sober citizen.” Why would McCoy try to evade the border patrol when he knew they’d already been called and were on their way? The border patrol saw the text message McCoy received. McCoy says he sees the border patrol in the area sometimes every day, sometimes only once a week.

The ranchers and farmers who hired McCoy could tell he didn’t move to the area in order to become a human smuggler. He was there to assist them, which included protecting their property from illegal immigrants and smugglers. The locals had nothing but good things to say about him to the Arizona Daily Independent. Neighbor David Robinson made a video with McCoy documenting what took place. McCoy lives with the Hargraves. Coni Hargrave believes his version of the story. “He just shoved his boots on and ran out of the house,” she said. “His main intention was to get them away from Billy’s so they wouldn’t take anything from him. He was responsible for Billy’s property while Billy and Anna were out of town.” John Hargrave watched the scene unfold from his front window as McCoy drew his firearm and had the illegal immigrants lie on the ground.

Misleading the illegal immigrants into briefly thinking he wasn’t going to turn them over to the border patrol, because McCoy was nervous about his safety being outnumbered and driving, is not the same as human smuggling. McCoy was performing the exact opposite of smuggling – he was turning the illegal immigrants in.

What this likely comes down to is some border patrol agents think they have to do something about illegal immigration, but since arresting illegal immigrants is considered politically incorrect, they are turning to arresting human smugglers instead. Since McCoy is white – so there won’t be a massive outcry – he’s an easy target. John Hargrave says, “It’s a feather in their cap. They can say they caught a smuggler. It looks good on paper, in other words.”

Billy Grossman goes one step further in his analysis, “They’re more after Americans than they are illegals,” he said. Ed Ashurst, a ranch manager and author who writes extensively on border issues, wonders why the border patrol didn’t arrest the four men before the confrontation, since they must have seen them on camera. This is a case of Orwellian, gross over prosecution, and it is horrific they have to ruin the life of a young man with an impeccable reputation in order to accomplish their politically correct agenda.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Surprisingly, Republicans and Conservatives Shouldn’t Fear a National Popular Vote

Republicans are hesitant to switch from our winner-take-all state laws allocating electors to the electoral college to using the National Popular Vote. The National Popular Vote Plan would award all of a state’s electors to the candidate who wins the most popular votes in all fifty states. There is a fear that such a move will benefit Democrats, since Democrats won the popular vote even though they lost the elections in 2000 and 2016. But the truth is, Republicans are likely going to lose their ability to win the necessary swing state of Florida in the future, and they can win the popular vote by campaigning differently.

The demographics of Florida are changing. More and more illegal immigrants are entering the country. Additionally, Puerto Ricans are flooding the country due to economic chaos and humanitarian crisis following Hurricane Maria at home. When they enter the U.S., because they are American citizens they can vote, and they vote overwhelmingly Democrat. Hillary Clinton had an almost three-to-one edge among Puerto Ricans in Florida last year. Both illegal immigrants and legal Puerto Ricans are counted in the census which is used for determining how many congressional seats and electoral votes Florida receives. This will soon result in an increase in Florida’s electoral votes, which will lean more Democratic as increasing numbers of Puerto Ricans vote (this doesn’t even take into consideration possible illegal immigrant voter fraud).

It is true that Democrats Al Gore and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election. But those weren’t true popular vote elections. The Republican candidates they lost to put all their efforts into a handful of swing states, and did a better job campaigning there than the Democrats. In contrast, Clinton’s campaign unwisely campaigned in non-swing states such as Arizona, while ignoring the swing state of Wisconsin. If there was a true popular vote election, the Republican candidates would run a completely different type of campaign, likely focusing on mobilizing their base in rural areas and red states. Regardless, Republicans still won the popular vote in 2004.

A presidential election using the National Popular Vote is not a radical proposal. Critics contend there would need to be a constitutional convention to amend the constitution in order to change the state-based, winner-take-all rule that most states use to send their electors to the electoral college. This isn’t necessary. The electoral college can remain. All the constitution says about electing the president is in Article II, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….” In order to change the system, individual states would merely need to revise state law to send their electors based on the National Popular Vote for the presidential candidates instead of winner-take-all. Currently, all states but two, Maine and Nebraska, have winner-take-all systems to send their electors to the electoral college.

Critics also claim that using the National Popular Vote in presidential elections would favor big cities over rural areas. This isn’t correct. Only one-sixth of Americans live in the 100 biggest cities. In contrast, in the current unfair winner-take-all system, only a handful of states decide presidential elections, the swing states. The 10 most rural states aren’t included, nor are 12 of the 13 smallest states. The winner-take-all system does not represent the vast majority of Americans. By the time voting results come in from key swing states, many voters on the West coast don’t bother voting because their votes essentially don’t count. This hurts minor candidates on the ballot in those states.

Under the current system, presidents shower pork on the swing states in order to get their votes. During the 2004 election, President Bush advocated for and got a trillion dollar expansion of Medicare in order to entice votes from the large population of senior citizens in Florida. Presidents take steps to help the coal industry in order to influence Pennsylvania, and the ethanol industry to help Iowa. Battleground states are twice as likely to receive exemptions from No Child Left Behind as fly-over states and twice as likely to have natural disasters declared.

There is another criticism that a rogue state secretary of state could frustrate the National Popular Vote Compact by refusing to certify the results. This is invalid, since plenty of federal and state laws prohibit that elected official from doing so.

Voter fraud will become more difficult under a National Popular Vote, because crooked party operatives will no longer be able to focus their efforts on just a handful of states, and the windfall of electoral votes for their illicit efforts will be smaller. For the same reason, it also reduces the possibility of recounts.

What did the Founding Fathers prefer? Not winner-take-all. The Founders debated various methods of the electoral college and almost adopted the proportional system at the Constitutional Convention. They never debated a winner-take-all system. As the states began to adopt winner-take-all, in order to ensure that their favorite sons like Thomas Jefferson won, Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton warned in an 1824 Senate speech, “The general ticket system [winner-take-all], now existing in 10 States was … not [the offspring] of any disposition to give fair play to the will of the people. It was adopted by the leading men of those states, to enable them to consolidate the vote of the State.”

There are a significant number of prominent conservatives who understand what is taking place demographically so they support direct presidential elections. They include former congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Bob Barr (R-GA), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and eight former national chairs of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. 

So far, 11 states have passed laws implementing the National Popular Vote Compact, and it has passed in at least one chamber of 12 other state legislatures, four of which are red states. It will go into effect when enough states have passed it to total 270 electoral votes. When polled (by a left-leaning polling company), 74 percent of Americans support direct presidential elections. This breaks down to 75 percent among Republicans and 78 percent among Democrats. The left naively thinks direct presidential elections will benefit Democrats, assuming that large urban areas will decide elections. This bipartisan support means there is a good chance it will happen.

The purpose of the National Popular Vote bill is to make every voter in every state politically relevant in every presidential election. This is the only way to right size the political influence of battleground states. Clinging to the winner-take-all system is a losing strategy for Republicans. Under that system, they will likely lose Florida by 2020 or 2024 due to demographical changes. It is better to take our chances with a direct presidential election than suffer certain defeat with the unfair, outdated, flawed current system that can and should be reformed. 

Reprinted from Townhall

Friday, December 8, 2017

Trent Franks' staffer defends him

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Congressman Trent Franks statement on leaving Congress

Congressman Trent Franks statement on leaving Congress

"I have always tried to create a very warm and supportive atmosphere for every last person who has ever worked in my congressional office. It is my deepest conviction that there are many staffers, former and present, who would readily volunteer to substantiate this fact.

"Given the nature of numerous allegations and reports across America in recent weeks, I want to first make one thing completely clear. I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.

"However, I do want to take full and personal responsibility for the ways I have broached a topic that, unbeknownst to me until very recently, made certain individuals uncomfortable. And so, I want to shed light on how those conversations came about.

"My wife and I have long struggled with infertility. We experienced three miscarriages.

"We pursued adoption on more than one occasion only to have the adoptive mothers in each case change their mind prior to giving birth.

"A wonderful and loving lady, to whom we will be forever grateful, acted as a gestational surrogate for our twins and was able to carry them successfully to live birth. The process by which they were conceived was a pro-life approach that did not discard or throw away any embryos.

"My son and daughter are unspeakable gifts of God that have brought us our greatest earthly happiness in the 37 years we have been married.

"When our twins were approximately 3 years old, we made a second attempt with a second surrogate who was also not genetically related to the child. Sadly, that pregnancy also resulted in miscarriage.

"We continued to have a desire to have at least one additional sibling, for which our children had made repeated requests.

"Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others.

"I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable. I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.

"We are in an unusual moment in history – there is collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety. It is so important that we get this right for everyone, especially for victims.  

"But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation. Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress as of January 31st, 2018. It is with the greatest sadness, that for the sake of the causes I deeply love, I must now step back from the battle I have spent over three decades fighting. I hope my resignation will remain distinct from the great gains we have made. My time in Congress serving my constituents, America and the Constitution is and will remain one of God’s greatest gift to me in life."