It makes sense when you have different political parties in control of the White House and Congress for there to be big battles about spending and threats of a government shutdown. But it makes no sense with Republicans in control of the House, Senate and White House to be talking once again about a government shutdown.

The problem according to those in Washington is that Democratic votes are needed in the Senate to get to the 60 votes needed to bring the matter to a vote.

What the Republicans could do is eliminate the rules that require 60 votes to do just about anything in the Senate and go to a simple majority. The Democrats did it when they really wanted a bill passed and the Republicans did it for judicial appointments.

Bodies are ruled by the majority. It would appear that the main reasons the Republicans won’t make the change is because they fear they will soon be in the minority and because of tradition.

The first objection may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the Republicans can’t get anything done in the Senate then the voters may decide they might as well elect Democrats. Some of the Republican base is still bent out of shape over the failure of the Republicans to fully repeal Obamacare after running and winning for years by promising such a repeal. Others in the Republican base are upset that no wall is being built.

In Washington it’s hard not to get the “inside the Beltway” attitude and forget that most of the country feels and believes differently from those who live in Washington and either work for the government, or work for a private company dependent on the government. There are almost no real private sector jobs in Washington that wouldn’t fold if the government disappeared.

Plus, for Republicans it is doubly difficult because Washington is one of the most Democratic cities in the country. When Republicans leave Capitol Hill for their residences in Washington, they are surrounded by Democrats. Then there is the constant haranguing by the mainstream media, which is overwhelmingly liberal.

But it is time for the Republicans in the Senate to face reality. They can stick to their old traditions and wait for the Democrats to win control of the Senate, at which point the Democrats will throw out the old traditions as quickly as they need to, or they can take advantage of the situation themselves.

Unfortunately for Republicans, it appears the Republicans in the Senate don’t have the will to give up traditions and don’t have the clout to get Democratic votes.

If the government does shut down, it is totally the fault of Republicans who control the government. The Republicans promised that things would be different if they controlled the government, but spending certainly hasn’t been reduced, which is the reason the government is about to shut down, and the only major accomplishment by the Republicans is the tax reform legislation.

President Donald J. Trump has made a huge difference in the economy by eliminating Obama era regulations, but he has done that by executive order where he doesn’t need the support of Congress.

*****

The ultra liberal mainstream media have become so biased that they are making themselves inconsequential. Sen. Dick Durbin said that Trump used a bad word to describe certain countries. Trump said he didn’t say it. Sen. Tom Cotton said he didn’t hear Trump say it and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen testified under oath that she didn’t hear Trump say it. The only person on the record who is saying that Trump used the term is Durbin.

Yet, according to the mainstream media, there is no doubt that Trump said it, that Trump is lying about not saying it and the Republicans who say they didn’t hear it are lying to protect him.

The mainstream media are using to their advantage a well-known truth: You can’t prove a negative. The Republicans are not saying categorically that Trump didn’t use the word because the best they can do is say they didn’t hear him use it.

Most of the folks working in the mainstream media have been to at least a meeting or two. Some may have always been too important to attend an actual event, but most have been down in the trenches at one time or another. There are a lot of side conversations at meetings. People talk to the person next to them and ignore what is going on at the actual meeting.

Probably this is not allowed by North Korean President Kim Jong Un, where anyone who speaks or even closes their eyes while he is speaking is immediately taken out and shot with an anti-aircraft gun. But in the free world people talk to each other during meetings and this meeting was said to be fairly raucous. Therefore it would not be honest for someone to say that categorically Trump didn’t use the term, because they don’t know what he may have said in an aside or what he said when they were talking to someone else. Or what he said when so many people were talking that they couldn’t hear what anyone was saying.

The mainstream media are claiming that because Cotton won’t say without any doubt that Trump never said that word, that means Trump said it.

There is no “Trump reportedly said” in these articles. Or far more honest would be “according to Sen. Durbin, Trump said.” But there is none of that. Durbin said Trump said it; the only person who can absolutely deny it is Trump, and he has.

If nothing else, it is really poor journalism, but it has done exactly what Durbin and the Democrats wanted it to do.

Trump and the Republicans got a big win with tax reform. The Democrats know it. People are going to start seeing more money in their paychecks. Walmart has already raised wages and gives credit to the tax reform legislation.

If the economy booms, as Republicans say that it will, Democrats are going to have a hard time explaining why they were so opposed to reducing the amount of money people are forced to hand over to the government.

It looked like Trump was going to get another big win with immigration reform. Trump had offered to give up a lot. His base doesn’t like the idea of giving any illegal immigrants amnesty, but Trump was willing to make a deal. He was willing to trade Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for a wall and comprehensive immigration reform.

It appears the deal has fallen apart because everyone is so concerned about what Durbin said that Trump said. The Democrats are no longer talking about DACA, they are too busy attacking Trump for the term he supposedly used, and also for saying that not all countries are great places to live.

From a political standpoint it was a brilliant move by Durbin and the Democrats, who couldn’t afford to give Trump another big win. It would have hurt Trump somewhat with his base, but in the long run if Trump could get comprehensive immigration reform and a wall, it looks like Trump thought it was worth the trade.

Trump is a dealmaker, and in making deals you rarely get everything you want or even everything you say you have to have. But if the Republicans give in and pass a DACA bill without a wall and without comprehensive immigration reform, the border will be flooded with young people crossing to take advantage of the bill.

If a 16-year-old comes across the border in May and in June tells the authorities he has been in the country for five years, how can they prove he hasn’t been? He, by definition, crossed illegally and there is no record of that crossing.

*****

It seems people have largely forgotten that the DACA program is unconstitutional.

None other than former President Barack Obama said it was the first time he was asked to implement it.

Only Congress has the legal right to change immigration policy. The president, according to Obama, can’t legally do it by executive order. But Obama later decided he could get away with it and did.

The policy itself that Congress is now talking about revising was never passed by Congress. It also only applies to a small number of people who entered this country after 2007 and were younger than 31 on June 15, 2012. So a DACA recipient can be as old as 36, not a child in anybody’s book. If a person illegally immigrated to the US in 2007 as a 24- or 25-year-old, they qualify for DACA.

Although children do qualify, so do young adults, but nobody talks about young adults who came here on their own. Why should someone who illegally entered the US in their 20s be given special privileges? The rhetoric is all about small children who were brought to this country illegally by their parents and raised in the US, but the program includes a large number of people who certainly were not brought here by their parents and were not raised here.

It was a typical Obama program – it didn’t fix the problem but Obama received enormous amounts of good press for being so compassionate, because the mainstream media were willing to ignore the reality of the program and simply use the White House talking points as facts.

DACA itself doesn’t make any sense as a policy. The idea is that the children are not responsible and shouldn’t be punished for the actions of their parents. Is it punishment to have to live in Mexico? One might think that the Mexican government would object to the idea that the people in that country are essentially in prison.

If the program is made law, then the children will be allowed to stay in the US, but it does nothing for their parents who presumably would be sent back to their home countries. So much for keeping families together – unless the parents are also given a path to citizenship, and then you have effectively given amnesty to millions.

Of course, if the Democrats get their way then the Dreamers will be given a path to citizenship and they can then provide a path to citizenship for their parents.

But despite the rhetoric about helping children, the Democrats are not doing this out of the kindness of their hearts. They know that the vast majority of the new citizens will register to vote as Democrats, and with millions of new voters the Democrats might be able to win back control of something.

Right now the Republicans not only control the House, Senate and White House but also 32 state legislatures. The Democrats control 14. There are 34 Republican governors and 15 Democrats.

The Democrats need help and they aren’t getting it from the traditional American voters.

It’s also going to get much worse for the Democrats if the tax reform legislation causes the boom in the economy that is predicted.

Another problem the Democrats have with a good economy is that it pushes more people into the middle class. The Democrats pretty much have a lock on voters who depend on government assistance, but with the middle class the Democrats don’t do nearly as well.

An improved economy is not good for the Democrat Party, which might be one explanation for Obama’s economic policies, which put a lid on growth in the US for eight long years. No other modern American president has managed to go eight years having an economic growth rate below 3 percent. Some think that was because of Obama’s poor economic policies, but another way to look at it is that Obama was using every tool at his disposal to keep the economy under wraps. It’s hard to say which is worse.

*****

President Obama said that he was going to have the most open and transparent administration in history and ended up with one of the least.

Once, photographers were allowed to take photos through the windows of Obama working at his desk in the Oval Office and it was considered a big news event.

Trump last week allowed the press to stay in the room with cameras running for an hour while he negotiated with members of Congress over immigration reform.

The way those deals usually work is that the press is allowed in to get photos while the elected officials pose and chat with each other. But before anything significant is said, the press is hustled out of the room.

Everyone, particularly the press, was shocked that Trump allowed them to stick around while real issues were being discussed.

Trump takes questions all the time, holds impromptu press conferences, and he did a long interview with a New York Times reporter in the dining room at Mar-a-Lago with no aides present. He tweets his raw thoughts out to the world.

Trump really is the most open and transparent president in history and he gets no credit for it because the mainstream media hate him.

Mostly they hate him because he defeated the woman they worship – Hillary Clinton. But they also hate him because he constantly points out how poorly they do their jobs and calls them “the most dishonest people in the world.” Trump is known to exaggerate, but he’s not far wrong.

A recent report showed that 90 percent of the press coverage of Trump by the three major networks was negative and only 10 percent was positive. This was of statements when an opinion was expressed.

*****

Trump does have a way of getting himself in trouble by saying something that most Americans agree with. People who want to immigrate to the US from certain countries are given special consideration, not because of persecution or war, but because their countries are in such bad economic condition.

Haiti, along with having constant political turmoil, was hit by a devastating earthquake and seems to attract hurricanes like a magnet.

It is the second oldest free republic in the New World, second only to the US, but it has a long, violent and troubled political history.

It is an extremely difficult place to make a living, as Hillary Clinton’s brother Tony Rodham can tell you. Rodham somehow gained a concession to mine for gold in Haiti, which has rich deposits, but even with the influence of the Clinton Foundation behind him he couldn’t do it. The physical and political infrastructure simply isn’t available for that type of operation.

For decades, major league baseballs were made in Haiti, but production had to be moved to a more stable country.

Haiti gets hundreds of millions of dollars from the US government every year and millions more from nonprofits.

Here is a question that somebody should be able to answer: If Haiti is such a great place to live, why do so many Haitians get on makeshift boats and risk their lives making an extremely dangerous crossing to the US?

I don’t know what words Trump used to describe undesirable countries for immigrants, but it does seem like, as usual, the left wants it both ways. They say that the countries are so dangerous and economically deprived that the people from those countries should be allowed to come and live in the US. But they also want to say there is nothing wrong with those countries and to imply that the have any more problems than the US and Western European nations is racist. You can’t have it both ways.

Some countries of the world are clearly better places to live than others. The huge influx of immigrants to Europe from the Middle East and North Africa is not because those are great places to live right now.

*****

I don’t know why everyone doesn’t find these extreme leftwing liberal mainstream media types as funny as I do.

Because somebody said that Trump used a bad word in describing some of the countries people are immigrating from, according to the liberal media the Democrats are now going to take over the House and Senate this year, and then the White House in 2020.

Do these people not remember anything? When Trump was running for president he made a far worse comment about women. It was vulgar, it was crude, and it certainly implied a level of sexual harassment. Also it was on videotape, so there was no doubt that he said it.

After the video of him making the statement came out, the mainstream media went nuts. Trump was going to have to drop out of the presidential race and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence would run in his place. The national Republican Party was going to withdraw its support from Trump and, of course, the final conclusion was that Hillary Clinton was going to win in a landslide.

None of that happened. And although the mainstream media still don’t want to admit it, Trump is president and Hillary Clinton is not.

Trump may or may not have used the term that some Democrats reportedly said he did. Whether Trump said those words or something else, the sentiments are true. Some of these countries that people are immigrating from are really bad places to live. It’s the reason they get special permission to come to the US. So if these places are not bad, then send them all home. But according to the Democrats, to send people home to these wonderful places to live would be cruel and unusual punishment. It doesn’t make sense.

*****

You have to love the climate change true believers. They used to be the global warming true believers but they ran into a little problem, the globe didn’t get any warmer for about 20 years, so they kept their beliefs but changed their name.

Climate change is really no different from weather change. Weather is short term and climate is long term – both are constantly changing.

Yes, the climate is changing and has always been changing. If the climate weren’t changing, the northern United States and all of Canada were be under glaciers. It is true that most glaciers are shrinking, and they have been for over 10,000 years. It’s a tough argument to say that a relatively few men building fires to cook food and stay warm brought about the end of the Ice Age, and nobody makes that argument.

The climate change argument is not that the climate is changing – everyone knows that it is. The argument is that man’s activities are causing the earth to warm faster than it would absent man.

But what I haven’t seen and keep requesting is how much is man’s activity affecting climate change. How much of the warming that has been taking place for the past 10,000 years is due to the activity of man and how much is natural? Is man responsible for a 10 percent increase, a 90 percent increase or what? If man completely stopped burning anything, how much would that slow the current rate of climate change? If these questions cannot be answered, how can anyone make a rational decision on whether ending the industrial age and going back to being hunter-gatherers who eat their food raw is worth the sacrifice?

If this is science, there should be numbers based on facts and the scientific method.

*****

OK, the folks in Hawaii who thought they were going to die shortly in a nuclear attack deserve some sympathy. But the government should start being honest with people about a nuclear attack. If a nuclear missile strikes Honolulu, being out of your car and under an overpass isn’t going to help.

When I was in elementary school we were taught to hide under our desks, as if a desk would protect us from a nuclear explosion. It appears the government hasn’t advanced much.

But what the mistake of pushing a button that sent people into a panic really proves is that it is impossible to get fired from a government job.

The employee who caused all of that turmoil and disrupted hundreds of thousands of lives was reassigned. In the private sector there would be no question; if someone made a mistake that huge they would be fired. The person is utterly incompetent.

Plus, what kind of system is it that pressing one button twice sends out a message to hundreds of thousands that they are facing imminent death? It’s more difficult than that for me to delete an email.

Not only should the person who actually pressed the button be fired, his boss should be fired for allowing someone that incompetent to be anywhere near the button; and the head of agency should be fired for having such a button in the first place.

But it appears that despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of people were told they were about to die, no one will lose their job.

If the opposite were true, and a real disaster were approaching and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency could have saved thousands of lives by putting out an alert and the employee neglected to press the button, if he lived through it he wouldn’t be fired either.

One of the biggest problems in government is, once a person gets hired they have a job until they retire. And when they retire they do so with benefits that far exceed anything in the private sector.

*****

I went back and read the “Trump dossier” prepared by Christopher Steele and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. It appears that what Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller is doing is investigating the allegations in the dossier. How in the world did that happen?

It is an amazingly poor document in every aspect. It is poorly written. It is annoyingly repetitious and much of the information is third hand and based on completely anonymous sources who spoke to anonymous sources about what some third anonymous source said, or said they heard.

There is good reason why no legitimate news agency would touch it. You know that as much as The New York Times hates Trump, and as much as it wanted to do everything in its power to keep Trump from being elected, if there was anyway the Trump dossier could have been cleaned up and turned into a legitimate story, The New York Times would have been done.

If it was used, and it appears that it was, to get a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to put FBI surveillance on the Trump campaign, then that is a problem that has to be taken care of immediately.

It also appears that Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS who commissioned Steele to write the report, was involved in instigating the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russians in Trump Tower.

Simpson admits to meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr. before and after the meeting. Even if you believe in coincidences, and I don’t, then that is a tough one to swallow.

Congress is finally supposed to be getting all of that information, after being stonewalled by the FBI. But right now in Washington it appears everything else has come to a halt while the nation discusses what Durbin said Trump said.

*****

CNN covering the supposed use of a foul term by Trump reminds me of a 3-year-old who has been told it’s OK to say “doo-doo.” So for a couple of days that is all the 3-year-old says.

CNN used the term that it claims, without proof, that Trump used 195 times in one day. How on earth could that be necessary? Other media outlets have never used the word, just as they didn’t when then President Obama used a similar term or when Vice President Joe Biden used the F-word speaking into an open mic.

*****

Then you have the weird controversy about whether Trump said, “I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un.” Or “I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un.”

As someone who has transcribed conversations for over three decades, I can assure you that most of the time you can’t tell the difference in those two words by listening; you have to go with the context. Most of us are not extremely careful speakers. We slur, we mumble, we make contractions where no real contractions exist.

Can your imagine the press arguing about whether Trump said, “Comeer,” which is not a word, or “Come here”? It is an absurd thing to have an argument about, but the extremely liberal mainstream media will go after Trump for anything.

It would seem that by quoting Trump as saying that he had a good relationship with Kim Jong Un that the news media was adding fuel to the fire that Trump is insane.

Parisian Promenade at Bicentennial Garden