By Ray Hunkins, guest columnist
Over the 18 months of the Biden Administration, I have often wondered why obvious remedies for failed policies were not implemented to limit the political damage they were causing.
With the President’s poll numbers plunging to precipitous levels, it seems to me to be common sense to put an end to the “bleeding” and correct the highly visible policy errors.
However, the Administration has stubbornly refused to do anything except dispute a problem exists in the first place, or assert that if a problem does exist, it’s because of the “mess” left by the prior Administration, or the result of a “crisis” not of the Administration’s making.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the open Border and climate change policies that have proven so counter-productive and so unpopular with the American people. The effects of these failed policies have rippled through our Nation, its economy, politics and culture.
The stubborn refusal to change course and correct the obvious negative effects of open Border and climate change policies, have resulted in serious adverse political consequences. These consequences include a degradation of the political fortunes of the Democrat Party (see special congressional race in South Texas last month), and the prospect of a good old fashioned, “whopping” in November.
So why not change these ineffectual policies and stop the bleeding? Many have claimed its because of incompetence, arrogance or declining mental status of the President. While each of those may have something to do with the refusal to correct obvious problems brought on by the Administration’s policy choices, I believe the real reason is rooted in ideology.
While common sense and our eyes tell us that the “war on fossil fuels” and “open borders” are leading to catastrophic problems for our Nation, to the ideologues in and around the Biden Administration, the “true believers”, they are not problems at all. Rather, they are part of the prescription for “fundamentally changing America”, the announced goal of progressive ideologues, since at least the Obama-Biden era.
Though many treat it that way, “Ideology” is not a pejorative. The definition, “a system of ideas and ideals, especially relating to politics and governance”, seems like normal equipment for most of us. To be sure, there are both good and bad ideologies, but show me a person without an ideology and I’ll show you a person devoid of principles that govern action.
“Ideologue”, on the other hand is deservedly a pejorative. It is defined as a person having an “uncompromising and dogmatic adherence to an ideology””. Some synonyms are, “fanatic”, “militant” and “zealot”.
A way of looking at these words is this: having an ideology is a good thing, but being an ideologue is not.
When ideologues design and promote bad policies based on an unwelcome ideology, there will be resistance and push-back. That pretty well describes where we are in this Country, especially when it comes to policy prescriptions implemented by the Administration in two areas: the crisis at the Southwest Border and the alleged crisis resulting from “climate change”.
Rahm Emanual, Chief of Staff in the Obama-Biden White House, once famously proclaimed, channeling Saul Alinsky, “you never let a serious crises go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
With regard to both Border security and climate change, true to Emanual’s advice, the ideologues in and about the Administration have seized opportunities to do things that have never been done before and could not be done but for the real and alleged “crises”.
The Southwest Border Crisis
There is no question that the Biden-Harris policy on illegal immigration is the product, at least in part, of the ideology of George Soros and the labyrinth of Open Society Foundations which were funded by a Soros gift of 18 billion dollars in 2017.
The Open Society Foundation and its multitude of sister organizations have funded many millions of dollars in programs that encourage illegal immigration and support illegal immigrants. In 2018 the Open Society Foundation spent 63.3 million dollars on migration issues.
The immigration ideology of the Open Society Foundations can best be summarized in the words of the Foundations’ founder, George Soros, an ideologue if ever there was one: “The crucial issue of our time is how to overcome the obstacles posed by national sovereignty in pursuit of the common interest” In other words, sovereign borders should not be an obstacle to immigration.
In Biden’s America, they are not.
Since Biden-Harris took office, U.S. law enforcement has encountered over 2.6 million migrants from across the Globe (150 nations) trying to enter the United States illegally. Just in April of this year the most encounters ever in a month, 234,088, were recorded by Customs and Border Protection (“CPB”), an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
In the latest month available, June, 2022, 207,416 apprehensions were reported by CBP. 68% of these were single adults. 15,271 were unaccompanied children (752 per day).
Many of these illegals have learned that if they claim asylum, they will be “welcomed” by the Department of Homeland Security, given food and shelter, “processed” and then transported to the interior of the United States, all at taxpayer expense, most never to be seen again by immigration authorities.
The numbers exclude the multitudes who have purposely evaded apprehension by law enforcement. These are the infamous “gotaways” that the Border Patrol and other law enforcement along the Southwest Border worry about. They are the individuals and groups, single males mostly, that are detected by drones and remote cameras, many in camouflage utility uniforms, who are attempting to evade detection and who most certainly are entering our country for nefarious purposes.
Fox News reports, that according to DHS sources, an average of 55,000 “gotaways” are illegally entering the United States each and every month. The number of “gotaways” who have entered the U.S. since the beginning of FY21, again according to DHS sources, is 900,000.
Normally, the Border Patrol would be making every effort to interdict the “gotaways” for obvious reasons. These (mostly) men represent likely danger to the people of the United States. Not by accident, Border Patrol agents are kept busy “processing” those illegals who want to be apprehended so they can claim asylum and be released to await their court dates, years from now (most are “no-shows”). Meanwhile, the cartels, aware that DHS priorities for CBP personnel are “processing” illegals who are apprehended, are guiding the “gotaways” across the desert and to pick-up points away from the Border.
So far, this fiscal year, apprehensions of non-citizen criminals at the Southwest Border have totaled 12,314 and so far, CBP have detained 56 people on the Terrorist Watch List.
In a Minority Report of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations issued in June of this year, it was stated: “Worsening an already bad situation, transnational criminal organizations have identified and capitalized on weak U. S. enforcement, these criminal groups rely on lax enforcemet.” The report goes on to say that the activities of these criminal organizations, “have a detrimental impact on the safety and security of the United States.
The thin and thinning green line of the Border Patrol agree. In a statement issued in March of this year, the National Border Patrol Council warned: “9-11 was twenty-one years ago and it is obvious the Administration has forgotten. Thanks to the Administration placing immigration at the top of his priorities and border security at the bottom, the President has successfully made this country a safe haven for terrorists again.”
Lack of effective enforcement caused by tasking Border Patrol agents with “processing”, “chauffeuring” and “babysitting” has opened the Border to drug smuggling. Drug seizures by CBP in June 2022 were up 25% (by weight) compared to May.
In FY 2022 to date, Illegal drugs seized include cocaine (50,000 lbs.), heroin 1,400 lbs.), methamphetamine (133,000 lbs.), Fentanyl (8,400 lbs.) marijuana (112,000 lbs.) and other substances. It should be emphasized, that these numbers represent the drugs seized, not the drugs smuggled into the U.S.
The most dangerous of these drugs, Fentanyl, originates in Communist China and is smuggled by the cartels into the U.S. across the Southwest Border, sometimes as an added substance in pills manufactured in Mexico. The U.S. Center for Disease Control reports that Fentanyl is now the number one cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 45.
So far this year, 100,000 deaths have been attributed to “drug overdoses”. Two-thirds of those overdoses involve Fentanyl and almost all of it is smuggled across our Southwest Border. The deaths caused by Fentanyl may be thought of as “collateral damage” resulting from the Administration’s open border policy.
The Southwest Border is in chaos and every state is affected. What is the Biden-Harris Administration doing about it? Working on optics and public relations and transporting illegals away from the Border, but not much else.
The Administration did nominate the woke Chris Magnus to be Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. He was confirmed by the Senate on a vote of 50 to 47 with 49 Democrats and 1 Republican (Susan Collins of Maine) voting “Aye”. Morale in the Border Patrol under Magnus’ leadership is at an all time low.
The good men and women of the Border Patrol want to protect our borders. The ideology of this Administration will not allow them to do so. The cartels control the Border. We are all more at risk because ideologues are in charge of the Southwest Border.
The Alleged Crisis of Climate Change
“Climate change” is an ideology, almost a religion, and its dogma justifies many bad policies that have brought our economy to its knees, drained the public treasury and re-focused attention away from more pressing problems.
Rahm Emanual’s advice has not been forgotten by the climate fanatics that once worked for Obama-Biden and now work for Biden-Harris. Every heat wave, cold wave, flood, drought, hurricane, or other significant weather event is the result of climate change crisis, according to the current climate czar, John Kerry, and the climate czar emeritus, Al Gore.
I should clarify the I’m a firm believer in climate change. “Climate” simply means the weather over an extended period of time. “Weather” changes daily, weekly, monthly, annually, and over geologic time.
The phrase, “climate change” constitutes a redundancy (two words that are unnecessary in a phrase because they mean the same thing). Indeed, I believe the climate has been changing since the beginning of time and I believe it will continue to do so. How much of the changing climate is attributable to man’s activities, is open to debate and man’s ability to meaningfully alter weather or climate is highly questionable.
But, in the name of “climate change” as the Biden Administration defines the term, twenty-first century Luddites, the climate change warriors, have declared a war on fossil fuels. It is a popular war among the Progressive Left and therefor within the Biden Administration.
The war started against coal under the Obama-Biden Administration. Remember Obama’s statement that power plants could continue to use coal, but they would be bankrupted for doing so? Under Obama-Biden, coal began its long decent. “Enlightened thinking” among the Climate Change Ideologues, no longer accepts coal as a cheap source of reliable energy. “Enlightened thinking” has also brought the nation brown-outs and black-outs.
During the Trump Administration, a counter-offensive was launched against those seeking to eliminate fossil fuels and, as a result, the United States became energy independent. We no longer relied on unstable areas of the World or despotic regimes to supply us with energy. That changed when Biden-Harris took office.
Under Biden, a plethora of executive orders, burdensome regulations and other means have been employed to drive a stake through the heart of the oil and gas, coal and associated industries. Refineries, pipelines, power plants and the entire fossil fuel infrastructure built over the last century at enormous cost, are now disfavored by the climate change zealots.
New projects for traditional sources of energy are not being permitted by the Administration’s regulatory agencies. Neither are permits being issued for oil and gas drilling. New leases are not being issued on public lands and in some cases, existing leases are being cancelled. The result, inflation, has been nothing short of devastating for our economy and the American consumer. Inflation has skyrocketed to just under 10% and rising. Gasoline and diesel costs have soared. Our economy has officially entered a recession. This too is viewed as, “collateral damage”, a means to an enlightened end, to Utopia: “0” carbon emission by 2050.
Moreover, the energy sources that were supposedly going to replace fossil fuels, solar and wind, though heavily subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, are incapable of replacing fossil fuels and have proven unreliable. Large segments of wind and solar infrastructure are manufactured in China.
Currently, wind and solar provide only 3% of U.S. energy. Despite this, the target date for getting off fossil fuels, is 2035
A consequence of the war on fossil fuels is a resulting war on agriculture, a heavy user of diesel and fertilizer, products derived from oil and gas. At a time of impending global food shortage, the American producer is less productive because of the rising input costs caused by the Administration’s anti- fossil fuel policies, implemented in the name of, an illusory “climate change” crisis.
Fossil fueled power plants are being decommissioned in favor of heavily subsidized, unreliable solar farms and wind turbines. What could possibly go wrong? Ask Texas Governor Abbott. Reliance on windmills for electric power caused wide-spread power outages when a storm iced up the wind turbines last February.
What does the Biden Administration propose as a remedy for the rising price of oil and gas? Electric vehicles. Recently Biden’s Secretary of Transportation explained that the more pain felt by average Americans at the gas pump, the more benefit for the lucky ones who can afford a new electric car. Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in testimony before a House Committee recently, stated: “The more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicles”. The words of an out of touch, arrogant ideologue.
A “fundamental transformation” of the American energy economy is underway, at unbelievable cost, whether you like it or not. That’s what ideologues who have power do: Force change that is not wanted in the pursuit of their utopian ideology.
The ideologues are in charge in the Biden-Harris Administration. It makes little difference to them what the people they govern desire. The ideology is more important than the welfare, safety and prosperity of the American people.
If the ideologues who inhabit the halls of the bureaucracy think about it at all, they must have a sense of impending doom and a sense of urgency to get as much of their ideological agenda in place as possible. That is why our Southwest Border will continue to be dangerous and subject to the atrocities of the Mexican cartels. It is also why inflation will continue to ravage our economy and our standard of living will decline. Its “collateral damage” resulting from the war on fossil fuels.
Have we learned a lesson? Time will tell.
Ray Hunkins is a retired attorney and rancher and was the Republican nominee for Governor of Wyoming in 2006.