Hard experience.

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AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

We’ve all heard the old bromide that says, “Experience is the best teacher.” I would go on to say that perhaps it is the only teacher. Such has certainly been the majority of my observation with respect to raising kids. You can tell your son a thousand times to leave dad’s pocketknife alone. But that admonition doesn’t have meaning until the kid slices his finger with it. (Yes, I’m that kid.)

So it may prove to be with respect to two key policy positions of President Donald Trump. From the speech that he gave at the bottom of that escalator in June 2015 right up until today, Trump has been absolutely consistent on two subjects: border security and China.

Today’s piece deals with the former. Next week, we’ll take up the latter.

For at least the past 30 years we as a society have willfully ignored the obvious health risks attendant to letting people sneak into our country. And we have largely – albeit not totally – gotten away with it. But truth be told, disease does not respect borders and as a result, a responsible nation should.

Let us stipulate that the COVID-19 virus likely came into the United States via passengers arriving here legally on airliners inbound from Asia. But that stipulation doesn’t change the fact that a dangerous pathogen could have just as easily come in via our porous southern border. It didn’t this time. But it could the next – and will eventually.

If we want a free society that conducts business around the world, we have little choice but to accept the risk that disease – potentially devastating disease – can come into the country via the International Arrivals area at the airport.

But we don’t have to accept the risk of disease entering the country via illegal immigration. If we bear that risk, we do so voluntarily and at our peril. Forget the negative economic effects of illegal immigration. For now, don’t think about the impact on the wages of U.S. citizens on the lower rungs of the employment ladder. Never mind the additional burden illegal immigration places on our already overburdened social safety net.

Just look at the human and economic devastation brought about by the importation of the COVID-19 virus and ask yourself the question: Why would a high-functioning nation like the United States magnify that risk by orders of magnitude by allowing a million people or more per year to sneak into the country completely unvetted and unscreened?

Foreign nationals that legally apply for either a ‘green card’ or U.S. citizenship are required to see a doctor and be checked for, among other things, communicable disease. The question begs, why bother when we let tens of thousands of people in every month without so much as a look?

Donald Trump has been right all along about illegal immigration. Perhaps our currently shared experience of thousands of premature deaths and widespread economic devastation will help convince us of that fact.

Next week, we take up China.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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28 Responses

  1. Now THERE’S pretzel logic.
    Because of THIS, The Wall?
    The one “Mexico will pay for?”
    Generous of you to “stipulate.”

    • Paul Gleiser says:

      Pretzel logic? Are you serious? There’s nothing pretzel-like about it. It’s as linear as a runway centerline. Either you control your borders or you assume the risks of your decision not to. As we have now seen, one of those risks is the importation of pathogens.

      • Want to close the border? Have Texas State Police now merely interviewing motorists inbound from Louisiana tell ‘em to turn around!

        Split Screen…

        Box on the left: News footage of mass grave burials on public land in New York:
        https://youtu.be/P6Tleba2HCk

        Box on the right: Firefighters and civilian New Yorkers applaud hospital staffers, exiting, exhausted, at shift change:
        https://youtu.be/OPufBRxgaE4

        Long angry paragraphs to follow here are pertinent to neither reality.

        Even beloved Fox News no longer takes the whole daily Trump Show live. Even the beloved MyPillow guy is pitching-in.

        RIP Bill Withers: https://youtu.be/AyYep_bXM3w

        • C M Solomon says:

          What is your conclusion, therefore, of the 911 terrorists and the mayhem they caused because we didn’t protect our border sufficiently given your example above? This China sourced virus disease will kill far more Americans, but that is NOT the logic you understand?. Paul’s straight line logic IS reality. Your logic is something from another universe where space is so curved that straight line logic is outlawed, hence, the diseased mind of the TDS mental virus that has infected all Liberal, Socialist, and Marxist Democrats.

          • Having read your first sentence, aloud, slowly, several times, I still don’t understand it.

            But your second sentence is encouraging. You’ve evolved beyond the denial encouraged by Rush Limbaugh calling this virus “the common cold,” and The Dear Leader’s February 27 prediction that “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

            Keep washing your hands.

  2. R. Eagleman says:

    Ah yes, experience is the best teacher if we pay attention. Sadly though, experience is gained many times by lack of attention. My dad explained the difference in knowledge and experience as: “knowledge is what you get by reading the fine print in a contract; experience is what you get from NOT reading it”. Probably the most important application of “experience is the best teacher” in the relationship between illegal immigration and this pandemic is that “if we fail to learn from history(this experience), we are doomed to repeat it”. There always seemed to be a huge disconnect in the willingness of some communities to allow and even welcome people from third world countries with no knowledge of what they could be bringing with them. Even though there are very valid arguments for a wall to protect jobs, etc., in retrospect, reducing the potential for widespread disease seems to be more critical, not only to protect public health, but also our economic health. Our president has been sounding this alarm even before that ride down the escalator with Melania. Let us hope that the politicians who are so committed to importing sympathetic voters will pay attention to the likely consequences, and learn from this painful experience.

    • C M Solomon says:

      When the Democrat politicians can faithfully rely on the Fake media to cover up and literally switch blame for their own malfeasance, they will NEVER “learn from this painful experience” since they WANT a destitute population, cowering in fear and looking for BIG Government to save them. Remember, we are the Plebes, they are our Superiors and anything to the contrary is heresy.

      • If you don’t want “BIG Government” help, tear-up the check.
        You’ll be doing your small part to fight looming inflation.

        What nattering nabobs of negativity here (https://www.youtellmetexas.com/2020/03/26/everything-comes-at-a-price/) still don’t grasp is that relief-on-the-way is NOT Uncle Sam giving-back YOUR money confiscated-by-taxation. These checks are Monopoly money…INVENTED currency from the printing press, which your Uncle is personally running with his sleeves rolled-up, the lesser of two evils.

        Our best hope for avoiding the next Great Depression is aggressive mitigation, as Dr. Fauci explains, and even The Dear Leader now acknowledges. Turn that deep “V” shaped economic dip we’re navigating into a “W” and we’re screwed.

        Fortunately Trump not only now hears the science, but he seems to have discovered nuance. With his Easter goal come-and-gone, listen to how he’s already hedging the May 1 hope he so recently floated. When in doubt, assemble “a task force:”
        https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-coronavirus-reopening-economy-task-force

        On this special weekend, I hope the faithful among us will consider my succinct version of Glenn Beck’s windy invocation on Good Friday: What’s happening is God’s will. What we do about it is on us.

        And new fortunes will be made by smart capitalists among us who seize the opportunity to innovate SOLUTIONS. BE the cure. Since you’ve got time on your hands here’s a little light reading that has helped me earn a fine living in the decades since I first read it. Amazon is listing used copies as inexpensively as $1.14:
        https://www.amazon.com/dp/0394567846/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_TTIKEb4BDXEEY

  3. Richard Anderson says:

    Securing our southern border is imperative. President Trump knows this and is working hard to see that this important agenda item of his administration is completed. He has accomplished more than any President in my lifetime, yet so much more good is yet to get done. Great men like him come once in a great while whereas mediocre if not bad politicians are with us always.
    I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and I am going to do it again on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, so he can complete his important work of “keeping America great!”
    A blessed Easter to all.

  4. Buddy Saunders says:

    Well said, Paul. And R. Eagleman likewise is on the money. His father’s words are words I will remember and quote: “Knowledge is what you get by reading the fine print in a contract; experience is what you get from NOT reading it.” Love it!

    Citizens need to speak up regarding both illegal immigration and China. If current policies continue, immigration will be out of the U.S. and not in. And it is time the medical tail stop wagging the dog. We are killed our economy and with it far more lives than the China virus ever will. Keep in mind that the same mentalities that think diagonal back-in-parking is smarter than head-in-parking, and that always-empty park-and-ride lots like the one here in Arlington on Lamar reduce traffic congestion, are the very same bright bulbs deciding that our economy has to die for a greater good. The next virus, instead of the China Virus, could be the Mexican virus or the Scandinavian virus. A well-regulated border would give us a better chance at early warning and detection. I find President Trump anything but a liar. Rather, I find it turns out he is right on many things, immigration and China being just to biggies.

    Getting to China, I, too, have been saying for years that we need to make more things in the U.S.A., and especially the essentials, and buy a lot less from China. No country that becomes mostly a “service” economy will long remain a world power. We need to bring all kinds of industry and manufacturing home. And other countries should do the same if they want to maintain national health and independence.

    To that end, there is something we, the little guys, can do, even if we aren’t manufacturers ourselves. In the grocery store my wife and I check where things are made. A recent example: We didn’t buy the Kroger aluminum foil made in China. We did buy Reynolds Wrap made in the U.S.A. On a larger scale, my company buys plastic bags for packaging. Chinese sources have pestered me for years, trying to get my business, but I’ve stayed with my American supplier–getting an 18-wheeler load of bags every 10 weeks. Without those bags our production stops (a problem being faced by my many of my competitors who went Chinese). But my American source, a friend after so many years, is shipping what I need.

    If we as citizens, both as individuals and business owners, let companies know we won’t buy Chinese, they will switch (let’s given them time) to production here, bringing our country expanding industry and jobs. Some of those jobs can and should go to immigrants–those who are vetted and come here legally and without the next virus hiding in their hip pocket.

  5. Michael Reagan says:

    I distinctly remember in the early 90’s hearing on the radio and later reading in the paper when tuberculosis popped up in Texas with two cases. TB had been eradicated but is now alive and well in the USA. Before my parents were recently admitted to an assisted living facility, they had to prove they did not have TB; interesting indeed. The reason TB crept back into Texas and USA? Illegals from down south brought it in. Rubella virus a.k.a German measles was once wiped out as well; but guess what, now it is back. With our so called modern world of fast, easy travel to any point on the globe we get the Wuhan Chinese virus. Although this one is beginning to take the form of an engineered hybrid disease from a laboratory. Different, but still had to travel here from a human host.

    The Framer’s of our Constitution were quick to point out that being a free people came with many risks that would spark the population to rise up to want and execute unconstitutional actions. That we would voluntarily hand over these freedoms in the name of security. But two of the most basic actions of the Constitution is to “Provide for the common defense and Promote the general welfare” of us all. Do believe preventing unmitigated entry into our Country falls within these boundaries. Not just to protect us from Third World diseases we once conquered, but for new ones as well and a multitude of other obvious reasons. I do not care what Europe does, or any other country on the planet other than us in controlling their borders. But, the direction in which we are headed as a country in this supremely dumb politically correct environment needs to change. As Mr. Eagleman pointed out concerning knowledge vs experience. We now have the knowledge; we have had the knowledge but failed to act on China and Latin America. President Trump has been saying for many years to beware of China; but our politicians are in bed with them and have been. Many Texans who have lived or worked at or near the border will tell you, they have known of the threats coming from the south. I personally have worked at the border, listened to the residents, and witnessed the lack of respect for Texas law and the laws of the Nation. Respect is a big deal!!! I could go on and on about the border, but will save those stories for another time. Bottom Line (as Stone Cold Steve Austin would say) in surviving as a Country is to have secure borders and strict immigration policies that are enforced with the end goal of assimilating into the American culture. I don’t care if someone calls me a racist, xenophobe, or deplorable; time to put America and American values and culture FIRST! No military ever conquered Rome; it was destroyed from within in just the manner we are being slowly torn apart. I am a proud deplorable.

  6. Now that researchers have determined that the strain killing New Yorkers came from Europe, we’ll probably want to keep them out too.

  7. R. Eagleman says:

    Stop the presses! Here is a news flash for those who may not know: …….President Trump issued a travel ban from Europe a month ago! U.S. citizens who are trying to re-enter from Europe will be vetted and have a 14 day quarantine. When you get your information from the Huffington Post ( HuffPost) and USA Today this may not have been covered. He issued the travel ban from China on January 31st to the U.S., but there is no doubt that some entered the U.S. through Europe before March 12th. Can we now admit that his motivation for such action was justified and not xenophobic or racist as these publications and prominent Democrats, including their 2020 nominee accused? No, the leftists do not ever admit to false accusations, they just switch to another subject and throw out more unfounded charges. Wishing you all a happy and healthy Easter.

    • The Dear Leader is absolved!

      And as we await next week’s China episode, I’ll say it before Joe Biden gets to on the debate stage: “Mr. Trump, China plays you like a fiddle! And so does Kim Jong Un!”

  8. C M Solomon says:

    There is already a travel ban on at least 26 countries in Europe. The virus started in China and migrated to the entire world BEFORE the World Health Organization [WHO] (ultimately in bed with the original Chinese Communist cover-up) and our own communicable disease “government experts” knew about it. Hence, the early dismissal of the novel (unknown) characteristics of the virus as potentially serious and the unwitting travel into the US from possibly Italy and China at the same time because we unfortunately trusted the WHO.

    The prime responsibility of President Trump is to protect the citizens and agriculture of the USA from foreign invaders, viruses, and any other pathogens carried by humans, animals, or vegetables that could harm us individually or our free market economy in general. The FACTS are that we still don’t know the actual rate of infection, recovery, and death due to this virus, alone (without chronic death producing illnesses already underway). Until we do, Trump has no alternative than to STOP this virus before it overwhelms the population. We are already infected as a nation and may be wildly overacting by enforcing the draconian measures out of FEAR, not HARD DATA.

    It is high time that the so-called “medical government experts” catch up with reality and institute a definitive plan to accurately determine the HARD DATA with a large sample of otherwise healthy people of representative demographics (several thousand individuals without serious chronic health problems). They need to tell us the percentage of those infected, recovered, asymptomatic, and likely to live, likely to die, and the drugs that were effective if used to enable recovery. This would be based on actual cases that can be tracked from the beginning to the end of their exposure to the virus. Today, there are numerous reports that many had a mild/serious case of the “flu” (as they incorrectly guessed) that now have COVID-19 antibodies protecting them from the virus or spreading it to others.

    Trump needs to stop trusting highly inaccurate and unstable models and the medical apologists that support them. He also needs to get the number of cancelled surgeries, procedures and office visits that have put large populations in jeopardy that would otherwise get medical care. How many nurses and hospital staff have been terminated to make room for the targeted virus surge that never materialized? Almost all of the normal hospital business has also been shut down. Businesses both large and small are loosing millions every day to pay for their operating expenses based on unproven virus mortality data. This is not the way we have reacted to similar viruses in the past. Could this be a Media and Democrat frenzy induced panic?

    How can we justify additional multi-trillion dollar debt and the current shut-down of the US economy across such a wide variation of population densities and very large land masses for 330 million citizens of which 17 million have already filed unemployment claims in the last few weeks? The Fed has projected a 30% plus unemployment rate due to the corona virus economic freeze if it continues. The number of small business that will go bankrupt and never open again is unknown but is probably unacceptable.

    The Democrat-Media FEAR machine is in full gear to use this virus (and all the false speculation that remains unproven) to RESET this nation into a Progressive new era that demolishes the free-market enterprise system while achieving their long sought goal of a Socialist-Marxist top-down managed society and police state. On this blog we have our own Jim Acosta(s) contributing “false choices” at every turn of the discussion. This can’t lead to clear logical choices of action for this nation that is now under threat. This is sad. Trump must lead us to a successful destiny but also has to beat down the double-minded, two-faced, arrogant snobs that plague his every step. I just hope he will quickly determine friend from foe and get this nation back on track and with HARD reality leading his steps. And yet, the Democrats still insist on open borders and blind adherence to their bankrupt Socialist dogma while putting the American people at deadly risk to untracked imported diseases.

  9. C M Solomon says:

    Paul, with your permission, of course, I would like to pull quote from Angelo Codevilla from his article at:

    https://amgreatness.com/2020/04/02/doctors-doctored-numbers-and-democracy/

    To make intelligent decisions about countermeasures, we would need to have hard data about all these matters. Yet, for two months, doctors such as Anthony Fauci have messed up millions of lives and commandeered trillions of dollars while scaring the hell out of people and watching curves based on projections based on meaningless numbers. Watching the several curves resulting from the testing that is now ongoing and that is projected to continue as the country suffers will provide only more guesses, that will feed more models and more disputes.

    The most important fact about COVID-19, its TRUE MORTALITY RATE, is the number who die of the virus divided by the number infected by it. No algorithms. Simple arithmetic.

    In short, Fauci, et al., are showing themselves to be typical of our bureaucracy: over-credentialed, entrusted with too much power, and dangerously incompetent.

    Learning the true figures about precisely what danger the virus poses to whom must begin by taking into account one thing we know for sure about COVID-19: that many, if not most, of those infected by this unusually contagious virus show few or no symptoms. This suggests eventual near-universal contagion.

    But we don’t know how many of these asymptomatic people there are. Hence, meaningful epidemiological testing must include a random representative sample of the population, regardless of whether they are presumed to be infected or not. The numbers resulting from monitoring what happens to the health of individuals in this sample over a few weeks would tell exactly what percentage of people in each category and subcategory suffer what consequences from whatever contact with the virus they happen to have.

    The question of lethality is not resolved by mere counting of individuals who test positive and die. We have some data showing that COVID-19-positive people who suffer from certain diseases are likelier to succumb than others who suffer from other diseases or who are otherwise healthy.

    Sorting out causes of death is properly a medical judgment. The doctors who are scaring the hell out of the country in general might better spend their time using their medical skills to sort out the virus’s specific consequences—and recommending what currently available drugs may keep the sick from dying.

  10. C M Solomon says:

    Paul, again with your permission, of course, I would like to pull quote from Angelo Codevilla from his April 7 article at:

    https://amgreatness.com/2020/04/07/is-the-president-forgetting-politics-101/

    President Trump is an intelligent, practical man, conscious of his peculiar responsibility as the one and only person elected to be responsible for the whole country. He knows how wrong Fauci was in the professional judgments he had given in January and February minimizing the novel coronavirus’s effects—for which he is not being held responsible—even as Trump was damned as a racist for closing down air traffic from China on January 31.

    Every day, Trump (and the country) learns the ostensibly professional estimates by which Fauci, the Democrats, and the media have been flogging since mid-March are proving wrong by huge factors. And Trump knows that they are wrong because they are based on numbers that do not reflect reality.

    Like all who pay attention, Trump knows that the number of confirmed cases means nothing because most infections do not result in “cases,” and hence that the real number for infections is surely higher, possibly by an order of magnitude. Also, the counting of deaths from COVID-19 is being revised downward because many of these deaths result from other causes and are attributed to COVID-19 only because the person happens also to have tested positive. The smaller numerator and the enormously larger denominator means that the real lethality rate is a fraction of one percent. That is why the curves Fauci, the medical establishment, the media, and Democratic governors cite for keeping the country shut down mean nothing.

    One thing is certain: That the ruling class savors the grip on us that it has achieved during the past three weeks—above all the presumption that we must quietly accept non-legal decrees from on high. It will not give up that grip without a fight.

    Regardless of when Trump acts to reopen the country, they will do whatever is in their power to prevent him from exiting the path to political perdition which he has entered. They won’t give him a pass out of it, no matter what. Nothing that happens in April, or in May, June, or whenever, nothing that any curve does, will induce any of the ruling class to say, “OK, let’s all wash our hands, take precautions to protect the old and the obese, and get back to normal.”

    That, in turn, means anyone who may wish to lead America out of the quandary into which it has slipped because of our health officials’ incompetence and of President Trump’s apparent neglect of Politics 101 (who is on whose side?) will have to return to its fundamentals.

    To wit: Start from the fact that the ruling class is discredited. Separate yourself from it.

    Lose no opportunity to add to the discredit. Stress your own responsibility. Act on it. When they damn you, double damn them. Politics 101.

    My Comment: The proof that Codevilla is correct is the Task Force Press Briefings where one can observe the loaded, trick-laden questions from the arrogant “Got Ya” Media Democrats. Seeking the facts is NOT their goal! Spreading DISTRUST in Trump is all they care about. This Democrat FEAR pandemic must end quickly, or our Nation will enter serious Depression territory and experience massive suffering we can’t even begin to imagine.

  11. Holland Cooke says:

    Here’s the Bonus Question: “There’s a Trump arena rally in town tonight. Would you attend?”

    • R. Eagleman says:

      Holland, with all due respect, you make no sense!

      • Ducking the question?
        Relax.
        It’s a hypothetical.

      • C M Solomon says:

        I suspect that our Jim Acosta could be ignored some of the time simply because he just enjoys poking the bear.

      • C M Solomon says:

        It’s best to ignore taunts from Jim Acosta because he asks questions based on not only on a hypothetical but on false premises that don’t deserve a response. As Rush says, “don’t respond to a question if you don’t accept the premise or the foundation on which it is based”. The President isn’t required to answer a loaded question, either, and I wish he would stop doing it.

    • Richard Anderson says:

      You, nor the MSM, nor any Never Trumper, can separate the support of millions of Americans from President Trump. And his support is GROWING because of his excellent leadership during this time of the Communist China caused Corona Virus COVID-19 pandemic. But in any event, the reopening of the U.S.A. economy is paramount as The President has said. The flattening of the curve cannot be allowed to flatten the American economic engine* (*i.e. American lives and all they have worked for.) Thus, millions of our citizens are more than ready to get back to their work and small businesses.

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