Author Archives: mjohnson

The Border Crisis Continues

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  OCT 1, 2021

There are anywhere from 19,000-60,000 more immigrants headed for the southern border of the US. In addition, immigrants recently deported to Haiti are ready to make another try at getting in here.

The crisis at our southern border isn’t going away. It is getting worse, and the Government has seemed helpless in trying to do something about it.

In September an estimated 30,000 migrants crossed into the country. Many of them forded the Rio Grande River and set up a makeshift encampment under the bridge connecting Mexico and the United States at Del Rio TX, hoping for an open gateway into their promised land.

Now they’re gone. All 30,00 of them. Half of them disappeared in a matter of a few days, along with the telltale signs of their squalid encampment. You would think you were watching a television sci-fi series. They were there at the beginning of the week and gone by the end of it. Poof!

“They want those people out from under that bridge so they can’t be seen anymore. It’s an optics thing,” unnamed Department of Homeland Security (HS) officials told the Washington Examiner. “They are moving them around for process and release. They’re going to have everyone at the bridge gone in the next two days.” Continue reading

The Creeping Crises

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  SEP 27, 2021

“A difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention.”
Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of crisis

Crisis is a term not to be used lightly.

There are more crises confronting the country than there have been in decades. Far from hyperbole, “crisis” fits like a glove on the resurgence of COVID-19, the humanitarian debacle at our southern border, and the record number of homicides on our streets, too many of which have put teenagers and small children in the bullseye. We’ve had record floods, record fires, record heat, record drought, all crises when you consider the number of related deaths, lives and property destroyed, and damage to the environment.

But there are several other crises that are in urgent need of serious attention because their consequences can be just as devastating to millions. They’re insidious, not the kind that bring eyeballs and clicks to news stories. They creep up slowly and are dismissed because no one knows how to fix them.

A perfect example is the Federal budget, over which Congress and the President are engaging in age-old partisan one-upmanship. We haven’t adopted a legitimate Federal budget in decades.

Budgets are gargantuan political and fiscal monstrosities that reach into every aspect of American life. They’re like the Titanic. If not designed, built, and steered with the skill of a seasoned seafarer, they will sink functional fiscal policy. Continue reading

Striking Elements of the 9/11 Anniversary

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  SEP 13, 2021

“Let me speak directly to veterans and people in uniform: The cause you pursued at the call of duty is the noblest America has to offer. You have shielded your fellow citizens from danger. You have defended the beliefs of your country and advanced the rights of the downtrodden. You have been the face of hope and mercy in dark places. You have been a force for good in the world. Nothing that has followed — nothing — can tarnish your honor or diminish your accomplishments. To you, and to the honored dead, our country is forever grateful.

“In the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks, I was proud to lead an amazing, resilient, united people. When it comes to the unity of America, those days seem distant from our own. A malign force seems at work in our common life that turns every disagreement into an argument, and every argument into a clash of cultures. So much of our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear, and resentment. That leaves us worried about our nation and our future together.

“I come without explanations or solutions. I can only tell you what I have seen. On America’s day of trial and grief, I saw millions of people instinctively grab for a neighbor’s hand and rally to the cause of one another. That is the America I know.

“At a time when religious bigotry might have flowed freely, I saw Americans reject prejudice and embrace people of Muslim faith. That is the nation I know. At a time when nativism could have stirred hatred and violence against people perceived as outsiders, I saw Americans reaffirm their welcome to immigrants and refugees. That is the nation I know. At a time when some viewed the rising generation as individualistic and decadent, I saw young people embrace an ethic of service and rise to selfless action. That is the nation I know.

“This is not mere nostalgia; it is the truest version of ourselves. It is what we have been — and what we can be again.”
George W. Bush speaking in Shanksville, PA 9/11/21

The commemoration of 9/11 is already fading from memory. It is inevitable in a society in which experiences come and go in nanoseconds, not long enough for us to reflect on them, but some aspects of the attack and its aftermath are worth holding on to. Continue reading

Immigration: A Checkered Past, a Challenging Future

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  SEP 1, 2021

Part II of II — Read Part I

On the first day of the new year 1892, Annie Moore, a teenager from County Cork, Ireland, became the first immigrant admitted to the US through Ellis Island. It was the day the new gateway to a new world opened to an old world of people with hope in their hearts of a bright future. After a 10-day ocean crossing from her native land, Annie was welcomed by immigration officials and given a ten-dollar gold piece.

She was among 700 immigrants, including two brothers, who passed through the Island that day and among 450,000 admitted in that first year of operation. She and her brothers were soon reunited with their parents, already in New York.

Before Ellis Island was closed in 1954, more than 12 million people from all over the globe—Russia, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, and others—made their way through Ellis in a never-ending stream of humanity. They came in search of something better than the poverty, famine, economic depression, dislocation, or religious persecution in their homeland. Continue reading

President Jerry Ford Saved 130,000 South Vietnamese Lives

BY FRANK HILL  |  AUG 2021

Originally published in The North State Journal

The past two weeks in Afghanistan have been an unnecessary and unmitigated humanitarian and geopolitical disaster.

It didn’t have to be this way. President Biden and his national security team appeared to be totally flummoxed when they tried to explain how the withdrawal of troops, American citizens, and Afghani sympathizers became so chaotic under their watch.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin somewhat unbelievably said American military forces did not have the capability to go outside of the Kabul airport to get all of the estimated 11,000 Americans safely out of Kabul. There was hardly any talk about how this administration and national security leaders were going to evacuate the estimated 250,000 Afghani U.S. sympathizers who were translators, spies, drivers, informants, and subcontractors who are now in danger of being executed by the Taliban. Continue reading

Illegal Immigration Worsens in Cloud of Political Smoke

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  AUG 23, 2021

Part I of II

“A couple of days ago I was down in Mexico and I said look, you know, if, if our borders are the first line of defense, we’re going to lose and this is unsustainable…We can’t continue like this, our people in the field can’t continue and our system isn’t built for it.”
Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, quoted from a leaked tape recording of a private meeting with border patrol agents in Texas, August 12, 2021

You have to appreciate the Secretary’s candor, even if in private. While he has intimated as much in his public statements after touring the border, this is the most honest assessment we’ve had from anyone in the Biden Administration.

While the White House grapples with the unmitigated disaster unfolding in Afghanistan it should also not diminish the priority of dealing with another unfolding disaster on our southern border.

It’s about time that someone senior in the Administration said what most Americans have known for a long time. The President and his underlings, including the Secretary and a good many progressive members of Congress, have been in public denial about the chronic crisis on our border. The propaganda, the almost comical prohibitions against the use of certain words in describing events there, the refusal to support enforcement of our immigration and criminal laws have gone on long enough. Continue reading

Graveyard of Empires Welcomes Another: RIP

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  AUG 17, 2021

“The State Department could not immediately be reached for comment. Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday (August 12) that the departure of Americans from the embassy was “not an evacuation,” but rather “a reduction in the size of our civilian footprint.”
Susannah George and Bryan Pietsch reporting in the Washington Post 8/15/21

Ned, tell that to the families of the three Afghan souls who fell from the sky as the US military cargo plane rose from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul with US evacuees on board. Tell it to the Afghans we all saw clinging to the side of the plane or the hundreds of Afghans running alongside as it prepared for takeoff.

The scenes from this war-torn and war-weary country are heartbreaking; as the President called it, “gut-wrenching”.

It is painful to watch the desperation of those people, especially the women and children, who face yet another period of brutal Taliban rule.

You can’t help but feel angry and humiliated. The US is engaged in surrender once again, acknowledging the failure and probably futility of yet another nation-building escapade in a country where the religious extremes allow no separation of church and state, none of the freedoms women and children enjoy in democracy, and none of the safeguards against government oppression. It is what has been described as “a graveyard of empires.” Continue reading

Questions Left on the Table in Jan. 6th Investigation

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  AUG 1, 2021

“I am still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day”
Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, July 27, 2021

It is one of the more memorable and widely-reported quotations to come out of the first and so far only scheduled hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol.

It was in a response to Rep. Liz Cheney, who asked Sergeant Gonell about former President Donald Trump’s assessment that the crowd that marched on the US Capitol on Jan. 6 was, he said, “a loving crowd. There was a lot of love in the crowd.”

Gonell was one of an estimated 140 people injured that day, mostly police officers who will be recovering long after the public’s memory of that day fades.

The cops were badly outnumbered. They were beaten, gassed, stabbed, jabbed, and crushed against walls and doors in a vain attempt to hold back an angry mob whose aim was preventing the formal certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Some declared themselves intent upon killing or kidnapping the Vice President and elected Members of Congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Continue reading

Cheney Dilemma Challenges Republicans to Think Again

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  MAY 17, 2021

“As a republican, I say to my colleagues on this side of the aisle that the Republican party faces a challenge today that is not unlike the challenge which it faced back in Lincoln’s day. The Republican party so successfully met that challenge that it emerged from the Civil War as the champion of a united nation—in addition to being a party which unrelentingly fought loose spending and loose programs.”

Those were the words of Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith June 1, 1950, in the wake of what became the maniacal campaign of fellow Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy to purge Communist sympathizers from the Federal Government and the movie industry.

McCarthy encouraged bad behavior and perpetrated severe threats to our freedoms. He was the grandfather of cancel culture.

In her famous “Declaration of Conscience’ speech Smith dared challenge the intimidating McCarthy, warning against a Republican regime “embracing a philosophy that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty (that) would prove …disastrous to the nation.” Smith said “I do not want to see the Republican Party win that way. While it might be a fleeting victory…it would be a more lasting defeat for the American people…”

Democrats produced their own version of a popular despot. Just a short two decades earlier they had to face down Huey Long, a corrupt, mean-spirited, and flamboyant Governor of Louisiana and US Senator. When once challenged on acting contrary to the Louisiana constitution, Long declared “I’m the Constitution around here now.” He caused a near riot in the State Capitol, and later was the target of an armed insurrectionist movement in response to his attempt to stay in office illegally. Lt. Gov. Paul Cyre, who earlier supported Long’s impeachment, took control of the state when Long was out of town. Long was assassinated in 1935.

The similarities between then and now are striking. It is a shame we do not learn from the events in our history that give us perspective and map for us the road ahead. Continue reading

Mother’s Day Recollections at 100

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  MAY 9, 2021

Marge would have been 100 years old this year, in August. We were never sure whether she was born on August 1 or 2, but after a century it really doesn’t matter.

I loved my Mom and each passing Mother’s Day, I learn just how much.

Marguerite Ellen Brown was reared and went to school in Sioux Falls, SD, born there in 1921 to Earl and Veronica Adams-Brown. Earl and Veronica brought her up in a strict Catholic household during the depression with four younger brothers. It was a tough male-dominated environment.

All of the siblings served in World War II, except the youngest, Uncle Jack. Howard was a Navy pilot in the Pacific theater. Earl joined the Army and served in General Douglas MacArthur’s elite honor guard. My sister’s granddaughter Isabella found in her research that brother Richard Leo (Dick) lied about his age and joined the Army in 1942 at the age of 16. Continue reading

Immigration Not a Crisis, Illegal Immigration Is

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  APR 29, 2021

“The Southern border is not under control. It’s a mad house. We have car chases on a daily basis. We have immigrants jumping off trains. We have them coming into our schools…coming through people’s yards…most of the time now when your dogs bark at night, you wonder if somebody’s getting in your car or somebody’s fixing to break into your house.”  — Uvalde TX Mayor Don McLaughlin, April 2021

The frustrations and fears of people in one small Texas town epitomize but don’t really dramatize nearly enough the scope of the crisis on our Southern border. It is a real and serious crisis, President Biden and his legion of language manipulators notwithstanding. His persistent campaign to add a rosy tint to the crisis is reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s early portrayal of the COVID crisis.

Immigration is one of the perplexing and perpetual issues that have taunted the Republic since the first explorers dropped anchor here, my ancestors and likely some of yours among them.

It has been both a scourge and salvation of our successful experiment in individual, economic and societal freedom. The vast array and diversity of the people our way of life has beckoned here has helped mold the American character. It has also challenged what we have stood for, what we have strived to be. It is hard to calculate the benefits that flow from the American melting pot. But it is also difficult at times to surmount the problems that have spilled over the edges, particularly unlawful entry. Now it has once again gotten away from us; out of our control.

Continue reading

President, Congress on a Spending Spree

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  APR 4, 2021

A White House summary of its new infrastructure plan before it was unveiled put the total price tag at 2 trillion, 251 billion dollars.

But the media and most others talking about it had already rounded off the figure to an easy to read, easy to say $2 trillion. In other words, to keep things simple they lopped off $251billion. I remember Senator Ev Dirkson’s popular refrain: “A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon we’re talking about real money.”

Do you have any idea how many trips around the Moon it would be if you laid 251 billion dollars end to end? Neither do I, but I did some rough calculations. If you divided it among every American who received a stimulus check this year each would get $1,976. The defense department could buy 19 Gerald R. Ford nuclear class aircraft carriers. The total defense budget in 2000 was $293 billion. How about 5 billion, 20 million hot meals at $50 apiece? You could buy every team in the four major sports leagues-baseball, football, basketball, and hockey and have enough left over for two more aircraft carriers. You could buy Finland. Continue reading

The On-Again, Off-Again Filibuster Fight is On Again

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  MAR 28, 2021

There is a strong political wind blowing against the filibuster in the Senate.

The filibuster is a practice that arguably protects the rights of the minority in the Senate by allowing unlimited debate on most measures—talking a bill to death—unless the bill gets 60 votes, a practice known as cloture, to shut off debate. Some contend the threat of filibuster also encourages bipartisanship, which is good.

The debate over the filibuster is one that has always generated more heat than light, but in today’s climate where civility is a sign of weakness and timidity, the debate generates even more hypocrisy, hyperbole, disingenuousness, and nasty partisanship.

Senate Democrats, along with the President, who used to support the filibuster, are now taking the debate to new heights, or lows, by accusing those supporting the filibuster of racism. The race card is being played by Senator Elizabeth Warren, among others, and her friends in the media. They contend that the filibuster was created as a parliamentary procedure for blocking anti-slavery legislation and is a “relic of the Jim Crow era.”

A little history sometimes clears the air of hyperbolic pollutants. The use of the tactic can be traced back to the Roman Republic and a debate in the Senate over tax collectors pitting Marcus Cato against rival Julius Caesar in 48 BC. It’s an interesting tale but not relevant. Continue reading

Another Tragedy Mishandled by the Media

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  MAR 27, 2021

No one can argue with the Asian community’s long-simmering anger over the significant increase in violence against Asians over the past year—up 149 percent—and the timid response of society and the media.

It is understandable that the senseless murder of six Asian Americans caused an eruption of that anger across the country. The shooting spree was a display of unspeakable brutality that just defies comprehension.

The agony and anxiety of Asian Americans, however, is no excuse for the national media’s unwarranted campaign to portray Atlanta as the work of a racist white guy motivated by former President Donald Trump’s incitement of blame on the Chinese for the spread of the coronavirus, and Trump’s own timid response to white supremacy.

The coverage has been consistent with radical new paradigms in news dissemination. One of them is that if facts get in the way of a righteous narrative, the facts can be ‘reimagined’. Continue reading

Civility Is a Path Out of Desolation

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  FEB 28, 2021

“If we do not join now, to save the good old ship of the union on this voyage, nobody will have a chance to pilot her on another voyage.”
— President-Elect Abraham Lincoln February 15, 1861

It is probably not ‘woke’ to quote Lincoln.

San Franciscans are still thinking about scouring his name from schools. Elsewhere his statues are being pulled down like Hussein’s were in Baghdad.

The rail-splitter’s name and legacy are being purged from history by pseudo-progressives who prefer their own version of antebellum and Native American history without the benefit of pertinent facts or an ounce of reason. They’ve concluded Lincoln must go.

Those of Us—also a great band once upon a time in the Great Plains—who came of age in the 60s and 70s try to keep an open mind, but it’s tough. We recall how our elders damned Elvis and his gyrating hips (under their breath, of course) and how we thought they were so out of touch glued to the black and white watching Lawrence Welk. What was with the bubbles? Continue reading

Enough is Enough. The President Must Leave

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  JAN 8, 2021

When President Trump invited his hard-core supporters to Washington to protest the congressional certification of the electoral college vote declaring Joe Biden the President-Elect, he surely knew what he was doing. He has been toying with and exploiting the emotions of his supporters for years and when they got to Washington, he incited them to head for the US Capitol for a “wild” protest.

The Capitol was desecrated by violence. It hurt. I saw rooms in which I once worked, in hallways and rooms once revered. But the President did not condemn the insurrection; he told the rebellious horde that he loved them.

Only on Thursday, Jan 7, after a category five storm of anger and repudiation did he step before a camera and read from a script that the invasion of the Capitol was wrong.

He should resign the Presidency immediately. Hopefully, everyone around him including his family will encourage him to do so. Continue reading

Georgia Senate Campaign Can’t Find Kendelyn

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  JAN 4, 2021

“Kendelyn?”

Silence.

“I am sorry. I must have the wrong number,” a hesitant and polite voice offered.

“Well, you do and you don’t,” I replied. “You have the number you were supposed to dial, but you’ve got the wrong person. My name isn’t Kendelyn and I don’t live in Georgia. I have been getting calls and texts from you folks for months and would appreciate it if you would take me off the call list.”

“Yes, of course,” the polite voice responded.

She did not have to tell me why she was calling. I knew. Her call was one of a barrage of incoming missiles from both sides in the January 5 special elections in Georgia. I have received nearly 200 text messages, phone calls, and emails, many of them for Kendelyn. Continue reading

The Election is Over; Time to Govern If We Only Could

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  DEC 22, 2020

“Our mess of an election has finally, officially, irrefutably been resolved. We owe this to the brilliance of our Founders, but we deserve credit too for our continued fidelity to their vision.”
Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal 12/17/20

Hallelujah, Sister Peggy. Can we have an amen?

It is indeed over. The Electoral College voted 306-232 on December 14, ratifying the November results and completing a critical formal step in the American tradition of a peaceful transfer of power from one presidency to another.

It’s the Electoral College that calls the election officially.

It seems to be a common presumption in this country that the Constitution authorizes the national media to call our elections based on their keen political intuition, careful analysis of voting precincts, and exit polls. We then are expected to fall in line as though their declarations are formal, official, and final.

I looked again at Article II and the 12th Amendment of the Constitution and found no such instructions. Nor do I believe there are any written into any law other than the law of the political jungle. Good thing. The media of late have not been too swift at calling elections correctly as Thomas Dewey, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton all discovered.

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‘Tis the Season of Hope, Help, and Some Heroics

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  DEC 8, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act became law at the end of President Donald Trump’s signing pens on March 27, 2020. It was the centerpiece of four bills aimed at relief from the virus.

Since then, we’ve been pounded by one crisis and one catastrophe after another: floods, fires, hurricanes, recession, and deadly riots. Compounding it all is a lethal virus that we couldn’t even name, let alone tame. It continues to rampage through big cities, small towns, and farms. It has killed 280,000 people from 15 million cases, with more dying every minute. That foreboding statistic doesn’t count those who have taken their own lives or succumbed to maladies associated with the pandemic.

The medical community, several government agencies, charitable organizations, and those incredible American volunteers who always show up in times of crisis have all mobilized to fight the virus. The outpouring has been life-saving and heartwarming. Continue reading

Most Important Election in a Lifetime? Not Yet

BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON  |  NOV 10, 2020

Election day has come and gone. Well, it has come, but it isn’t gone…yet. The court challenges continue, hopefully for not too much longer. There is evidence of voter fraud and partisan mischief as there has been in just about every presidential campaign in our history, but the resistors have not made a compelling case for widespread fraud the likes of which would change the course of history.

The media has declared Joseph Biden the winner and it appears that presumptuous unofficial coronation will stand. It will be a great relief, a national exhale. Congratulations to him and to Senator Kamala Harris, who broke through so many glass ceilings on her climb to the Vice Presidency she’ll have to watch where she steps.

The 2020 election was touted as the most important election in our lifetime.

The message fell flat. We have heard it too many times, before too many elections. This time candidates and pundits began adding the phrase: “no, this one really is!” I’m not sure whether they were trying to convince their audience or themselves, because it wasn’t.

The election was important, as are most in a democratic Republic. But was this one the most important of a lifetime? History would say no unless you’re 11 and missed the election of our first black president. Common sense and a cold dose of reality say no, too.
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