Teddy Roosevelt, the U.S. Flag, and ‘Americanism’

In 1904, the United States was booming under President Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.’s dynamic leadership.

Roosevelt took over as president after a Polish anarchist assassinated President William McKinley in Buffalo. The populace loved Roosevelt, who had been the Rough Riders’ leader, an author, an outdoorsman, a rancher and the New York governor. No city was thriving more than New York with its immigrant-fueled population growth and its flourishing economy.

New York was big enough to support three professional baseball teams – the National League’s Giants, the American League’s Highlanders, and Brooklyn’s Superbas. The Highlanders and the Superbas eventually became the Yankees and the Dodgers.

Immigrants loved baseball, in part because some of their fellow first- and second-generation immigrants excelled on the diamond. Among the most outstanding were Pittsburgh Pirates’ shortstop Honus Wagner, an eight-time batting champion and the Baltimore Orioles’ third baseman John J. McGraw, who ranks third in career on base percentage just behind Ted Williams and Babe Ruth.

Opening Day 1904 at Hilltop Park, a single-deck, wooden structure also known as “The Rockpile,” matched the Highlanders against the Boston Americans, the Red Sox forerunners. Hilltop, built in Manhattan’s Washington Heights section, had a spectacular view. To the northwest lay the Hudson River and the Palisades; look in the opposite direction and the Long Island Sound and the Westchester Hills were visible.

Heavy snow fell during April 14’s morning hours but when the 3:30 game time rolled around, the weather was dry and bitterly cold. The nasty weather did not deter the 69th Armory Band from entertaining the spectators which included former National League star Cap Anson and injured Giants catcher, Roger Bresnahan, the catcher who designed shin guards and the batting helmet.

As the 15,842 fans filed in, attendants issued each of them a small American flag which they waved enthusiastically at the game’s most dramatic moments. When a bouquet of American red roses was presented to Highlanders’ manager Clark Griffith, the flags came out in unison, a reflection of the nation’s love for baseball and the patriotism Roosevelt instilled in citizens and new immigrants alike.

When Americans’ leadoff hitter Patsy Dougherty stepped into the batter’s box, the band struck up “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and fans jumped to their feet to excitedly wave their flags again. Although “The Star-Spangled Banner” was a popular tune, playing the song at a baseball game was highly unusual. Not until 1931 did a congressional act make the song officially the National Anthem.

The bugs, 1900s baseball-speak for fans, saw an entertaining game, marked by memorable performances by all-time greats. New York bested Boston, 8-2. But the 37-year-old Americans’ losing hurler Denton True “Cy” Young went the distance. By the time Young hung up his spikes, he notched 511 career wins, a record no pitcher will ever equal. And neither will any pitcher ever match winning hurler “Happy Jack” Chesbro’s 1904 season – 51 games started, forty-eight completed, and forty-one victories. Wagner, McGraw, Bresnahan, Griffith, Anson, Young and Chesbro are in the Hall of Fame.

1904 was baseball’s first 154-game season, a standard that lasted until 1961 when the leagues expanded into divisional play. When the season ended, the Americans edged out the Highlanders by 1 and one-half games.

Roosevelt’s term ended in 1909, but still a youthful forty-nine, he remained active politically and advocated for “New Nationalism,” a program that promoted labor over capital and banned corporate political contributions. Although defeated in his 1912 effort to regain the White House, Roosevelt remained a staunch patriot and promoted the American flag’s significance until his 1919 death.

Nine months before his passing, Roosevelt wrote to economist and American Defense Society board member Richard Hurd. With World War I over, Roosevelt wrote, a continued fight to protect “Americanism” and the U.S. flag should forever remain the U.S.’s top priority.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Baseball Research and Internet Baseball Writers’ Association member. Contact him at [email protected].

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On immigration, taking a lesson from 1924

A century ago, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, also known as the Immigration Act of 1924, which precipitated a two-generation-long pause in mass migration.

Upon Coolidge’s signature, multiple benefits to citizen workers ensued immediately. Immigration dropped from 707,000 in 1924 to 294,000 in 1925. Within a year, more than 400,000 fewer job seekers entered the U.S. During the next 45 years, the same time length as the Great Wave which lasted from 1870 to 1924, immigration averaged 200,000 annually, dramatically less than earlier totals.

The immigration pause meant that those who arrived during the Great Wave had time to assimilate into a stronger, more cohesive nation. Monetary benefits – higher wages – accrued to blue-collar workers, and especially to Black laborers who prospered at an even faster rate than their white contemporaries.

Black American leaders have been historically onboard with significant immigration reductions. Of course they are. Basic economics 101 dictates that a tight labor supply is good for workers. When the 1924 act cut off the large supply of foreign-born labor, employers had nowhere to turn except to American workers who they had previously underpaid and subjected to often abysmal on-the-job conditions. And without Congress authorizing a continuous stream of foreign labor into eastern and Mid-Atlantic factories and steel mills, roughly six million southern Blacks migrated north to take advantage of newly created job opportunities.

W.E.B. DuBois wrote in the 1929 issue of the NAACP magazine The Crisis that the 1924 legislation’s “stopping…the importing of cheap white labor on any terms has been the economic salvation of American Black labor.”

In 2020, the Brookings Institution issued a paper titled “Examining the Black-White Wealth Gap” that chronicled U.S. history’s multiple examples of Black earnings being denied before it had a chance to grow and create generational wealth. At the time of the Brookings’ study’s publication, median Black household wealth was less than six percent of white wealth. Black households, Brookings found, had too few net assets to withstand even temporary financial setbacks. A major cause that prevented Blacks from moving up the economic ladder was more than fifty years of high immigration that began with the Hart-Cellar Immigration Act of 1965, which loosened labor markets and kicked off another immigration Great Wave which endures today.

One hundred years after Coolidge, immigration is more contentious than at any other point in American history. President Joe Biden’s immigration agenda represents the worst of worlds. Millions of unvetted illegal immigrants, of which a significant percentage are working age males, have crossed the U.S. border apparently with few marketable skills in today’s technology-oriented society. Most seem to have come to the U.S. in need of affirmative benefits, or perhaps the benefits were the incentive.

The consequences of Biden’s welcome-the-world immigration agenda are reflected in the Census’ report that the U.S.’s foreign-born population hit 46.2 million (13.9 percent) of the overall population in 2022, an all-time high. In 1970, the foreign-born numbered 9.6 million (4.7 percent) of the total U.S. population.

The Center for Immigration Studies compiled the data which it collected from publicly available federal statistics. Too many people arriving in too short a period strains vital social services like medical care and education and depletes irreplaceable natural resources like water and agricultural land, exactly the outcome that the 1924 legislation prevented.

Because it imposed national quotas that favored northern Europeans and excluded other nations, the 1924 act was flawed. But its intention to reduce immigration to manageable levels was not. The 1924 Congress expressed the noble desire that the nation grow at a slower, more sustainable pace and that its citizens’ needs be prioritized. Since Biden and his inside circle have different, nefarious objectives, legislation like the Immigration Act of 1924 won’t happen during what remains of the president’s term.

Even truly securing the border may be too much to hope for, but it would be a good starting point.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is an Institute for Sound Public Policy analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].

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Remembering Pat Tillman, killed by ‘friendly fire’

Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman shocked the sports world in 2002 when he walked away from a $3.6 million NFL contract to join the U.S. Army Rangers.

Tillman, who attended Arizona State University on an athletic scholarship, had been a first-team All-American and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1997. By 2000, two years after he joined the Cardinals, Sports Illustrated named Tillman to its NFL All-Pro team.

But eight months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tillman and his brother, Kevin, enlisted in the Army and completed basic training together. Pat then fulfilled the Ranger Assessment & Selection Program requirements and was assigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion in Ft. Lewis, Washington. Tillman was deployed and participated in the initial invasion of Iraq, what became known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. One year later, Tillman entered Ranger School and, upon finishing his training in November 2003, was shipped to Afghanistan.

On April 22, 2004, Tillman and Afghan allied soldier Sayed Farhad were killed by Afghan enemy combatants in a firefight near the Pakistan border – or so the official and ultimately proven false story went. The Army issued a purposely deceptive statement about the circumstances surrounding Tillman’s death. As Tillman was leading his team to help comrades caught in an ambush, the Army claimed he was fatally shot while fighting “without regard for his personal safety.”

Weeks after Tillman’s burial, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division investigated the incident and concluded Tillman and Farhad were killed by “friendly fire.” The lengthy coverup included the Army’s order to Tillman’s fellow Army soldiers to lie to his peers about the circumstances that led to the two deaths.

Tillman’s mother, Mary, and his father, Patrick, were heartbroken when they heard the truth, something they suspected since the Army had been tight-lipped when they pressed for the details that surrounded their son’s final moments. Tillman’s family and other critics insisted President George W. Bush and his Department of Defense didn’t want negative press with a re-election campaign soon to get underway. In her congressional testimony, Tillman’s mother said: “The deception surrounding this case was an insult to the family, but more importantly, its primary purpose was to deceive a whole nation.”

Ironically, just days before he was killed, Tillman told the Washington Post the U.S.’s invasion and occupation of Iraq was illegal and immoral.

In a 2021 op-ed, Tillman’s brother, Kevin, railed against the government’s craven disinformation campaign waged against Pat’s memory and condemned America’s forever wars. Kevin opined that the Iraq invasion began with a barrage of administration lies about Saddam’s supposed supply of weapons of mass destruction, his reputed links to al-Qaeda, and the idea that American soldiers were liberating the Iraqi people. Some of the troops were assigned to run around Baghdad, “east, west, south, and north somewhat,” looking for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.

In his column, Kevin wrote that the invasion was “catastrophic,” and resulted in Iraqi society’s destruction, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of American soldiers, even Iraq’s leadership was removed and its military disbanded – mission accomplished, in President George W. Bush’s eyes. Neither Bush nor the rest of his top officials were held responsible for what happened.

Tillman was 27 when he was killed in a futile, senseless war. In his wartime journals, he repeatedly wrote of the strength he drew from his family, friendships, and from his high school sweetheart and eventual wife, Marie Ugenti.

Shortly before his deployment to Iraq, Tillman wrote a “just in case” letter to his wife for her to open in the event of his death. The letter sat on their bedroom dresser for months before the fateful day arrived.

Tillman’s final request: “I ask that you live.”

Ugenti wrote a book titled “The Letter: My Journey through Love, Loss and Life.” Ugenti has remarried and, with her new husband, has five children. She also chairs the Pat Tillman Foundation, a non-profit that provides academic scholarships to military service members and their spouses.

Posthumously promoted from specialist to corporal, Tillman was also awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. The accolades are cold comfort to Tillman’s family and friends.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Baseball Research and Internet Baseball Writers’ Association member. Contact him at [email protected].

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VP sweepstakes coming into final stretch

Former President Donald J. Trump may be tied up a Manhattan court room, but he’s active online.

One of his fund-raising efforts asks supporters to help him choose his vice president. In a mass email, Trump asked “Which person would you select as your next Vice President? Type in the person’s name here.”

Trump will make up his own mind, but the potential candidates list is long, and his choice is important. A significant faction of registered GOP voters dubious about Trump’s candidacy could be swayed toward the former president based on his VP selection.

Even though Nikki Haley abandoned her presidential campaign in early March after losing all but one state in Super Tuesday’s primary races, she’s still managed to clinch 13%-18% of the GOP electorate in the battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Haley’s performance causes GOP insiders to question whether her supporters will ultimately back Trump, cross party lines or simply stay home.

Trump’s VP will, if history holds, debate Kamala Harris on September 25 at Lafayette College, a key event that follows the first scheduled presidential debate, September 16 at Texas State University (though neither Biden nor Trump have committed to the debates).

A look back: The first vice presidential debate occurred in 1976 between two seasoned Senators, Kansas’ Bob Dole and Minnesota’s Walter Mondale. The exchanges were lively; Mondale called Ford “a hatchet-man.” Both were veteran politicians, tough and loyal, Dole to the right politically of incumbent President Gerald Ford and Mondale to the left of the challenger, Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter.

Among the names being bandied about for Trump’s VP are three U.S. Senators: Ohio’s J.D. Vance, Florida’s Marco Rubio, and South Carolina’s Tim Scott. Other names into Reps. Byron Scott of Florida and Elise Stefanik of New York, but forget them. If Trump wins, he’ll need every congressional supporting vote he can get, and to remove five certain yeas from Congress on his agenda would be folly.

Another name mentioned is also a highly unlikely choice. Although Trump flew North Dakota Governor and one-time 2024 presidential hopeful Doug Burgum to his Wildwood, New Jersey rally, the moderate is, like the presumptive nominee, an old, white billionaire. North Dakota has three electoral votes, and in 2016 and 2020 Trump won the state by a 2:1 ratio. Trump would gain nothing from an electoral college angle if he added Burgum to the ticket.

That narrows the prospects down to Tulsi Gabbard who, in many ways, is an ideal VP choice. Gabbard is young, attractive, well-spoken, a former four-term House Democrat, and an Iraq War veteran. In 2022, Gabbard abandoned the Democratic Party because of its shift to the far-left, or as she put it, is “now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue and stoke anti-white racism, undermines Americans’ God-given freedoms, demonizes the police but protects criminals, encourages open borders, weaponizes national security for politics’ sake, and pushes the country ever closer to nuclear war.”

In further explaining her decision to switch to the Independent Party, Gabbard said the Democratic Party no longer believes in a government that is of, by, and for the people. The 2020 presidential hopeful gave the keynote speech in March at Mar-a-Lago to the 1917 Society, a volunteer group dedicated to preserving the Constitution.

On voters’ top concern, immigration, Gabbard’s grade while she was in the House was as bad as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, F-. Gabbard was on the wrong side of every important immigration issue – she voted against stronger border and interior enforcement, and in favor of expanding worker visas that displace employed Americans. Her congressional votes showed that, at the time she cast them, she encouraged amnesty enticements and rewarded illegal aliens. Another irrevocable negative: Gabbard endorsed Bernie Sanders in 2016 and, after she ended her own presidential campaign, Biden in 2020.

Should Gabbard’s dismal congressional immigration voting record and her past presidential endorsements surface in her debate against Harris, the Hawaiian could point to her recent criticism of Biden’s open borders, her support of Israel and, in general, her more traditional values and say she’s evolved politically and socially since becoming an Independent.

Trump promises to name his VP before the GOP national convention in Milwaukee in July. In the end, he may not choose Gabbard, but he absolutely cannot remove any of his congressional allies.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is an Institute for Sound Public Policy analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].

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Willie Mays was a Mother’s Day gift to New York

On Mother’s Day in 1972, Willie Mays returned to New York.

The Giants’ hero from the 1950s was now a member of the Mets, and smacked his 647th career home run in the fifth inning of his first game back.

Mets owner and president Joan Payson, mother of five, and San Fransisco Giants’ chief executive officer Horace Stoneham had agreed to a deal that would let Mays end his playing days in New York, where he first appeared as a rookie in 1951, and where he remained beloved. Returning to New York had already been a long-time goal for the “Say Hey Kid,” then 41-years-old.

Though Mays’ career was ending, donning a New York team uniform brought delight and nostalgia to the city’s National League fans, who felt abandoned after the Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers uprooted to California in 1957. The Mets, whose first season was 1962, also provided a Big Apple alternative for confirmed Yankees haters.

Payson wanted Willie back with the Giants. Mets chairman Donald Grant acknowledged Payson’s sentimental attachment but also noted the opportunity for Stoneham to show generosity towards his fading player. Grant said “The club [the Giants] isn’t drawing and it’s down in the standings. He can say ‘I’ve done the greatest favor I can do for Willie. I’m sending him home where he wants to be. I’m sending him to the Mets.’”

Mays, at the press conference that announced his trade, confirmed Grant’s thought process. “When you come back to New York, it’s like coming back to paradise.”

In 1972, Mets fans were in mourning. The beloved Mets manager, Gil Hodges, died from a heart attack at age 47, a little less than a month before Mays’ arrival in Gotham. Hodges had led the Mets to their first World Series triumph in 1969; Mets coach and Yankees icon Yogi Berra took over for Hodges. Mays’ link to 1950s baseball in New York — often referred to as the “Golden Age of Baseball”— provided an emotional balm to the distraught Mets fans.

Sadly, the Mays-Mets love affair was doomed from the start. Mays and Berra were at odds because the aging outfielder took unauthorized time off and vanished without permission. Fans preferred to remember the fleet-footed, power hitting Mays, and not the slow, error-prone, weak hitting outfielder that growing old had turned him into.

On September 20, 1973, Mays announced his retirement on the “Today Show,” and said at age 42 and with a .211 batting average, baseball wasn’t any fun. Mayor John Lindsay declared September 25 “Willie Mays Day” and the Mets, in a tight pennant race, held “Willie Mays Night” for their game against the Montreal Expos. Among the 44,000 attendees were Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider and other Hall of Famers that were Mays’ peers in his peak years.

Before the game, the 24-time All-Star spoke briefly and modestly: “I never considered myself a superstar. I considered myself a complete player.” Mays didn’t play in his team’s 2-1 victory, and he rode the pine for the balance of the season, a big disappointment to the future first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee. As Mays said: “I came in playing and I’d like to go out playing.”

Mays got his wish when he got two hits in Game 2 of the World Series against the Oakland A’s, including one in the 11th inning. The A’s would go on to defeat the Mets 4-3.

Mays, now ninety-three, struggling with glaucoma and living under a caretaker’ supervision, is baseball’s oldest living Hall of Famer, a bittersweet milestone.

Since 2020 ten Hall of Famers including Hank Aaron, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline, and Tom Seaver have passed, all Mays’ contemporaries. Playing twenty-two seasons as an MLB center fielder with a record 7,095 put outs and 6,066 total bases, Mays ran more stylish and faster outfield miles than any player before or since.

From his millions of fans, “Say Hey” Willie!

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Project for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].

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Merrick Garland MIA during campus upheavals

Last week, amid nationwide student protesting that threatened Jewish students and effectively shut down college campuses, twenty-seven Republican senators sent Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona a letter urging them to restore order and shut down the antisemitic, pro-Palestine mobs.

The letter requested an April 24 update that detailed the steps the attorney general’s office would take to restore campus order and allay the Jewish students’ fear for their safety.

A week later, the senators have yet to receive a formal reply.

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing last year, Garland – who is Jewish – emotionally testified that the Department of Justice’s function is to provide equal protection to all. He then tearfully shared the story that two of his grandmother’s siblings were Holocaust murder victims. The protection of the law provided equally to all, Garland continued passionately, is what makes America great, and what saved his immigrant grandmother’s life when the U.S. took her in. “Under the protection of our laws, she was able to live without fear of persecution,” Garland concluded.

Garland’s refusal to actively support Republicans’ calls to protect Jewish students is a sign Biden has intimidated him. But principled attorney generals stand up for what they believe in.

Last November, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio urged Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the stepson of a Holocaust survivor, to revoke the visas of agitators who support Hamas. In his statement, Rubio reminded Democrats that a visa is not a constitutional right, but rather temporary permission for foreign nationals to visit the U.S. After Rubio filed a motion to deport terrorist sympathizers, Senate Democrats blocked it. President Biden also rejected Rubio’s suggestion, and instead extended protections to “some Palestinians” from deportations.

Biden’s remarks regarding Palestinians’ protections are telling, and consistent with his open borders policy. The president said he has determined that with some exceptions “it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to defer for 18 months the removal of any Palestinian subject.”

First, Biden did not explain the thought process that led to his conclusion that “the foreign policy interest of the United States” is advanced by the non-removal of Palestinian subjects. Second, U.S. presidents do not have the constitutional authority to determine which foreign nationals remain and which must be removed. Third, Biden pressed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to reward with work permission Palestinian “non-citizens whose removal has been deferred.” Biden then pressed the secretary “to consider suspending regulatory requirements with respect to F-1 non-immigrant students who are Palestinians,” presumably a recommendation that students be granted employment authorization, an affirmative benefit that their visa forbids.

Mayorkas does not have the sole authority to defer deportation or to grant work permission to non-immigrant visa holders or visa overstayers. Congress, not the Executive Branch, has the ultimate authority over immigration. And more foreign-born authorized workers depress native Americans’ job opportunities – since 2019, all the net job growth has gone to immigrants.

Biden’s sweeping statement for Palestinian protections could include rabblerousing students who may be present on F-1 visas. The non-immigrant student visa is a program that allows international students to study at American universities, with the understanding that after graduation, they will return home to use their U.S. degree to improve their native countries’ quality of life.

Many, however, overstay their visas, and because of the relative ease with which foreign graduates of U.S. colleges may remain in the U.S. and seek employment, recent American graduates frequently compete with their foreign peers for jobs. Because employers view corporate diversity as positive, they give preference to international candidates over equally qualified Americans. In FY 2022, an estimated 850,000 visa holders – including 55,023 student and exchange visitors – overstayed their visas.

The F-1 visa is an unwieldy program that has no annual limit on incoming students. For the 2022/2023 academic year, more than a million international students were enrolled in U.S. universities, including 19,001 at Columbia, the epicenter of the ongoing student chaos.

To help assure a safe and orderly academic environment, the State Department must review the F-1 visa, impose an annual numerical total that does not exceed 500,000. They much also work with Homeland Security to institute a vigorous post-graduate enforcement policy to ensure students return home when their visas expire.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Project for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].

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Five Pinocchios for Gavin Newsom

Add California Governor Gavin Newsom’s name to the list of prominent elected officials who blatantly lied about their personal histories.

Senator Elizabeth Warren lied for years about her alleged American Indian heritage. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal falsely claimed to have been a Vietnam war combatant.

Instead of slinking silently away under the cover of darkness, Warren and Blumenthal shrugged their lies off and successfully campaigned for re-election. Warren first identified as an American Indian in the 1980s and listed under race on her State Bar of Texas registration form as American Indian. Voters disregarded Warren’s brazen misrepresentation during her presidential bid. In her telephone call to the Cherokee Nation’s principal leader Bill John Baker, Warren apologized, then went about her Senate career unscarred.

Blumenthal claimed to have served in Vietnam, a falsehood the New York Times exposed. Truth be told, Blumenthal never went to Vietnam. Instead, he obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war. Blumenthal claimed that he “misspoke” about Vietnam, but he nevertheless has been elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, 2016, and 2022.

Although not as outrageous as Warren’s and Blumenthal’s lies, Newsom’s whopper is notable, and an effort to enhance his shadow presidential campaign. As Newsom tells the story, he was headed to a community college until Santa Clara University’s baseball coaches phoned with a partial scholarship offer which, he said, “changed my life, my trajectory”. But former coaches and teammates countered that Newsom’s baseball biography, repeated again and again through interviews and glossy magazine profiles and coverage of his 2021 baseball-themed children’s book on overcoming dyslexia, inflated his baseball credentials, and gave the impression that he was a more accomplished player than he was.

A junior varsity recruit who played only during the fall tryouts in his freshman and sophomore years, Newsom left the baseball program before the regular season began without ever playing an official game for the Broncos, an NCAA Division-1 school. Newsom does not appear on the Broncos’ all-time roster or in media guides published by the athletic department.

Rumors persist that Democrats are plotting to dump Biden and his miserable poll ratings. Newsom waits anxiously in the wings. But from a national voters’ perspective Newsom’s curriculum vitae makes him increasingly unelectable. Should Newsom ever reach the campaign trail, he’d be on the defensive from the get-go.

California has amassed an enormous $73 billion deficit, in large part because the dysfunctional state has driven taxpayers away. The massive, mounting debt coincides with the large numbers of fleeing taxpayers, one of California’s primary sources of revenue.

Census data shows that California’s population dropped by about 75,400 between July 2022 and July 2023. Many of the people leaving California are taking significant resources with them. California experienced a net loss of more than 27,000 tax filers with an adjusted gross income of over $200,000 between 2020 and 2021, according to the Tax Foundation.

Newsom will push more Californians out of the-once Golden State if the legislature approves his energy bill plan. California lawmakers propose to change the way electricity is billed to households, part of Newsom’s tax the rich scheme. Instead of paying for the electricity consumption a household uses, the home will also be billed based on its income. A draft of the new law requires that people earning $28,000-$69,000 be charged an extra $20 to $34 per month. Those earning $69,000-$180,000 would pay $51 to $73 per month, and people earning more than $180,000 would pay a $85-to-$128 monthly surcharge. California has one of the nation’s highest costs of living and ranks third in highest residential energy costs. Residents making $28,000 annually are struggling financially, especially if they’re supporting large families, and cannot afford an energy surtax. They too may soon be heading for the highway.

The California Public Utilities Commission has until July 1 to implement the new rule into the billing process.

A stumping Newsom would meet strong headwinds on his immigration agenda, national voters’ biggest concerns. Newsom’s welcoming immigration laws will make it impossible for him to pose as an enforcement advocate. His latest affront: effective January 1, 2024, all illegal aliens, regardless of age, will qualify for Medi-Cal, California’s version of the federal Medicaid program for low-income individuals.

Newsom estimates conservatively that 764,000 illegal aliens will enroll, exacerbating the already strained Medi-Cal system that provides for 14.6 million Californians, about a third of the state’s population. An estimate by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office calculated that providing Medi-Cal to California’s illegal alien population would cost the state over $6.5 billion annually, a tough pill for taxpayers to swallow when the budget is $73 billion in the red.

For the DNC, pushing Biden aside to make room for the potentially less electable Newsom would be a roll of the dice. The party is better off with the devil it knows, Biden, than to gamble on the duplicitous Newsom.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Project for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].

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Wall Street giddy over mass migration

A direct relationship exists between high immigration levels and the phone research of pro-expansionists, which insists immigrants are making a significant fiscal contribution to the economy.

Economists tout the “more immigration is better” argument, even though their logic is sophomoric and cannot stand up to the obvious flaws in their reasoning. The three-year long border surge that has given the green light to releasing eight million or more illegal immigrants into the U.S. interior is economic good news, shills insist. Instead of worrying about unvetted illegal aliens settling into established communities nationwide, Americans should rejoice in their contribution to higher gross domestic product – or so the story goes.

Last month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that legal and illegal immigration will generate a $7 trillion boost to gross domestic product over the next decade, a conclusion the agency arrived at after including the recent immigration surge. Wall Street is euphoric about millions of unvetted, unskilled, under-educated, non-English speaking border surgers. If only the general population could see the labor and societal advantages to an open border instead of wringing its hands about, as President Biden refers to them, the “newcomers,” then all would be hunky-dory.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which revised up its near-term economic growth forecasts, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and BNP Paribas SA were among banks that acknowledged the so-called economic benefits from surging immigration. In her letter to its forty-two million clients,

Janet Henry, HSBC Holdings global chief economist, wrote that no advanced economy has benefited from immigration as much as the United States. Henry wrote “the impact of migration has been an important part of the U. S. growth story over the past two years.”

HSBC Holdings reported a 2023 $30.3 billion pre-tax profit.

Before analyzing the “impact of migration” that Henry touts, the obvious must be addressed. Per capita growth, not GDP, is the true measure of a society’s prosperity. While it is accurate that a larger population invariably results in a greater aggregate economy – more workers, more consumers, and more government spending – all expand the GDP. But a nation’s standard of living is determined by per capita, i.e., per person, GDP, not the overall size of the economy.

Studies like “The Effect of Population Growth on Economic Growth” have shown that population growth negatively affects economic growth. Another study, “Is Low Fertility Really a Problem? Population, Aging and Consumption,” found that low fertility rates, which the media bemoans, increase per capita economic growth and raises standards of living. The authors conclude that “low fertility is not a serious economic challenge,” and instead, they find that “The effect of low fertility on the number of workers and taxpayers has been offset by greater human capital investment, enhancing the productivity of workers.” They added that “Targeted immigration policy might be helpful, although we are somewhat skeptical on this point.”

By targeted immigration, the authors mean thoughtful – an immigration policy that works on behalf of, not against Americans. Biden’s immigration agenda does the opposite; his open northern and southern borders harm all.

Immigration’s “impact” depends on who and where the illegal aliens have settled. The assumption is that the illegal immigrants benefit from coming to the U.S. But not all are better off – some are working for slave wages in meat processing plants, others are sex trafficking victims, and still others are sleeping on the streets, hustling for food, or stealing. Illegal aliens have perpetrated numerous violent crimes against innocent citizens. Chicago, Denver, Boston, and New York residents have watched helplessly as illegal aliens have transformed their communities. Displaced citizens have no voice in the elitist federal, state, and municipal governments’ destruction of their communities.

More on Henry’s immigration “impact” that she overlooked, perhaps because it doesn’t fit the designated media narrative. Millions more people mean more stress on vital services essential to a properly functioning society – schools, hospitals, roads and housing. After three years of Biden’s open border, all those services have undergone negative, undesirable “impacts.”

Immigration expansionists never mention the multiplier “impact.” The millions that have arrived will soon petition their family members left behind, grow their existing families, or start new ones. Today’s eight, ten or twelve million illegal aliens – don’t forget to include 1.5 million gotaways – will be because of family reunification and anchor baby births, within a couple of decades, 20 or 25 million.

Recent history proves that immigration is the main population driver that brings with it substantial challenges. From the Center for Immigration Studies: “immigration from 1982 to 2017 added 52.7 million people to the U.S population — 35.78 million immigrants and 16.93 million descendants – 16.03 million U.S.-born children and 890,527 grandchildren… immigration accounted for 56.3 percent of U.S. population growth from 1982 to 2017.”

When Wall Street economists with their advanced Ivy League degrees opine about immigration, they project an air of credibility which a large segment of the public buys into. That’s too bad because, when the subject is immigration, most economists are selling a self-serving bill of goods without even a passing mention of the negative consequences.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Project for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].

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Opening Day 1969: ‘The Kid’ returns

During the spring of 1969, spirits were high in the nation’s capital. The cherry trees along the Potomac River were in bloom. Cautious optimism prevailed that newly inaugurated President Richard Nixon would fulfill his campaign promise to end the Southeast Asian war.

But more than anything for DC’s sports’ fans, legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi had agreed to assume the Washington Redskins general manager and head coach positions. And Hall of Fame great Ted Williams, “The Kid,” accepted owner Bob Short’s offer to manage the moribund Washington Senators.

Short, a trucking and hotel mogul, had previously owned basketball’s Minneapolis Lakers and moved the team to Los Angeles before selling the Lakers for $5.2 million. Among Short’s goals were to entice more Senators fans and turn a profit. To achieve those objectives, he wanted a big name to take the Senators’ helm.

Williams was certain that he could help the punchless Senators. When Short offered a five-year, $65,000 salary with perks that included a $15,000-a-year hotel suite, an unlimited expense account, a title as vice president and an option to buy 10 percent of the team for $900,000, Williams became the new Senators manager, and set out to prove that he had leadership skills.

The woebegone Senators that Williams inherited were mocked throughout baseball, including in their home city. The 1968 Senators finished in 10th place, dead last, with baseball’s worst record, 65-96. The team also drew the fewest fans, 565,000, a 206,000 decrease from 1967.

The 1968 club had a .623 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, fourteen points below the league average. In 1969, Senators batters had a .708 OPS, eighteen points above the league’s .690. The Senators drew 630 walks in 1969, compared to 454 the previous season. Even with the rule changes that lowered the pitcher’s mound and tightened the strike zone, the Senators showed an astounding improvement of 176 free passes. Williams understood the age-old axiom that a walk is as good as a hit.

Pitchers also improved under rookie manager Williams. The hurlers listened to Williams’ daily spring-training sermons on hitting and how to exploit American League opponents. In 1968, the Senators ERA of 3.64 was sixty-six points above the league average, 2.98. The next season, Washington’s pitchers reduced their ERA to 3.49, 14 points below the rest of the AL, 3.63. Williams’ 1969 Senators won eighty-six games, a 21-game improvement over 1968 and the team’s best record since 1945.

Fans flocked to Robert F. Kennedy Stadium to watch the Senators; the team drew 900,000 paid admissions, and Williams won the Manager of the Year Award. Unfortunately, the 1969 Senators proved to be a one-year wonder, returning in 1970 to their habitual doormat as “first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League.” A 70-92 record landed the Senators in sixth and last place in the American League East

Despite high-profile trades, which brought Curt Flood and a washed-up Denny McLain to the Senators in 1971, the team declined to 63-96. The Cleveland Indians spared them last place in the American League East.

Short had raised ticket prices, and fans refused to pay more to watch a lousy team play in an unsafe neighborhood. Senators’ frustrated fans – 14,500, about twice the daily 1971 attendance – saved their worst behavior for September 30, the final American League game played in Washington.

When the fans destroyed the field, umpire James Honochick forfeited a Senators’ 7-5 lead to the visiting Yankees. The fall out: a long-anticipated September 1971 announcement that Short was moving the Senators to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, to the ingloriously named Turnpike Stadium. The Senators were renamed the Texas Rangers.

Williams befuddled the baseball world when he agreed to accompany the limping Senators to Texas. One disastrous year in Texas was enough for “The Kid.” The Rangers lost one hundred games, had a .217 team batting average, a 15-game losing streak, and finished 20-1/2 games behind the next to last California Angels. Williams retired, and headed home to Islamorada to pursue bonefish, a skill that gained him a place in the International Game Fishing Hall of Fame.

For more than three decades and through multiple league expansions, Washington unsuccessfully sought a major league team. Finally, in 2005, the Montreal Expos moved to D.C. to become the Washington Nationals, the 2019 World Series champions.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Baseball Research and Internet Baseball Writers’ Association member. Contact him at [email protected].

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On St. Patrick’s Day, remembering when the Irish ruled the ring

The date: September 7, 1892. The place: New Orleans. The event: the World Heavy Weight title battle, featuring challenger John J. Corbett taking on champ John L. Sullivan.

No Super Bowl has so captivated the nation’s attention and aroused its passion more than the bout between Gentleman Jim and Corbett, who most referred to as John L. “the Boston Strong Boy,” America’s first sports hero.

Corbett and Sullivan were both sons of Irish immigrants. Sullivan had won the title ten years earlier and had defended it against all comers, including a 75-round bare-knuckle title defense marathon in 100-plus degree heat against Jake Kilrain.

Sullivan was the last of the bare-knuckle champions, pugilists who slugged each other fearlessly in fights that lasted for hours. He won the bare-knuckle title 1882 from another intrepid Irishman, Tipperary-born Paddy Ryan, six years older, at least ten pounds lighter, but an inch or two taller, which gifted him with greater reach.

With the crowd estimated at 5,000 and following an old tradition, Sullivan tossed his hat in the ring at 11:45 am, and Ryan entered moments later. The men then approached the scratch line in the center of the ring and shook hands. From the first round, Sullivan took charge. After nine rounds and only twenty minutes, Sullivan knocked Ryan out with a final right-handed punch, the last-ever bare-knuckle heavyweight championship.

In the decade between capturing the crown from Ryan and accepting Corbett’s challenge, Sullivan defended his title dozens of times, which led to his braggadocio dare: “I can lick any SOB in the house.” Sullivan had a well-deserved reputation as a street brawler and a drunk.

When Sullivan and Corbett faced off, boxing was in transition from a mostly illegal to a legitimate sport. Corbett’s ascendency to the top challenger’s slot helped improve boxing’s image. College-educated and a bank clerk before he turned to boxing, Corbett began his career in 1886. He fought his matches wearing padded gloves that the new Marquis of Queensberry rules permitted. Other revolutionary changes included three minutes rounds followed by a minute of rest; declared wrestling illegal, imposed the mandatory ten second count, and introduced weight divisions

Because he wore his hair in a full-grown pompadour, dressed fashionably and used excellent grammar, Corbett became known as “Gentleman Jim,” and because of his advance, then retreat style, became recognized as modern boxing’s father.

On the big night, a crowd of over 10,000 jammed the arena. Sullivan weighed in at 212 lbs. – 25 lbs. heavier than his challenger. Betting was heavy with Sullivan, a prohibitive favorite. Two thousand miles away and connected by telegraph, beacon lights atop New York City’s Pulitzer Building alerted the fans below as to which fighter was winning – red for Sullivan, white for Corbett.

Years later, Corbett published a book which described the blow-by-blow. From the first round, Sullivan was aggressive; he wanted to eat Corbett up right away.

“I sidestepped out of the corner and was back in the middle of the ring again, Sullivan hot after me. I allowed him to back me into all four corners, and he thought he was engineering all this, that it was his own work that was cornering me,”Corbett wrote. “But I had learned what I wanted to know – just where to put my head to escape his blow if he should get me cornered and dazed. He had shown his hand to me.” Sullivan taunted, “Sprinter!” The fight’s pattern had been established.

By the time the 21st and final round arrived, Sullivan had been beaten as much by his advancing age as by the skills of the younger boxer. Bruised, bloodied, and beaten, Sullivan hung on to the ropes to address the crowd, still chanting his name, “Gentlemen, I stayed once too long. I met a young man. I’m glad the title remains in America.”

Sullivan’s only career defeat came against Corbett.

Sullivan retired to his farm in Abington, and after a lifetime of overindulging in alcohol and food, died a pauper at age 59. Corbett treasured his title and held on to it as a vehicle to promote other ventures. In 1887, Bob Fitzsimmons knocked Corbett out in the 14th round. In 1933, age 66, Corbett died of liver cancer.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Society for American Baseball Research and Internet Baseball Writers’ Association member. Contact him at [email protected].

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