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Tell a parent of a child with autism that 40 percent of children on the autism spectrum also have an anxiety disorder, and odds are you won’t be met with surprise.
Parents of children with autism are all too familiar with the signs of anxiety; the outbursts when a predictable routine unexpectedly changes, the self-soothing behaviors to cope with inner worry, the obsessive-compulsive rituals. While these anxiety symptoms are often masked by a child’s autism, they present a real challenge for children and their families. Children with comorbid anxiety and autism experience more behavioral issues and functional difficulties than children with one disorder or the other.
Researchers are still investigating the best approach for treating anxiety in children on the autism spectrum. While medications used to treat anxiety in people without autism show some evidence of helping kids on the spectrum, they also seem to worsen other behaviors, namely hyperactivity, impulsivity, and insomnia.
That’s not to say parents should rule out medication — research is still underway, and so far, results show that medication can help some children with autism and anxiety, if not all. However, it’s not all parents can do to alleviate anxiety in their child.
If you have a child with anxiety and autism, these strategies may help.


Trigger Management

Identifying the anxiety triggers of a child with autism is difficult, especially if the child has developmental delays that affect the ability to communicate. However, many children with autism share similar triggers, including unfamiliar situations, changes to routines, social situations, and lack of sleep. Many children also have sensory triggers; while these tend to be highly individual, parents can familiarize themselves with sensory processing disorder to learn the types of sensory hypersensitivities and narrow in on their child’s specific triggers.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven effective against anxiety disorders in the general population, and there’s evidence to support its use in children on the autism spectrum as well. CBT aims to alter a patient’s thought patterns to reduce negative responses to difficult situations. This gives children the tools they need to manage their emotions without outside intervention. Researchers have found that CBT is effective not only against anxiety but also anger, depression, and other emotional challenges.



A 2019 study found that over 80 percent of children with autism experienced improved anxiety symptoms after six months of treatment with cannabidiol-based oil. While the study in question used a CBD product with low amounts of THC, which isn’t currently available outside of states with medical cannabis, parents can access legal hemp-derived CBD products no matter where in the US they live. While CBD oil is the most available product, children who have issues with the taste or texture of oil may do better with CBD gummies. Parents should talk to their child’s doctor or therapist before adding CBD to their child’s treatment regimen, as well as read up on the different gummies currently available on the market.


Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques quiet the intense physiological response triggered by anxiety. However, in order for relaxation techniques to be effective, children must practice them in safe situations. Parents can role play stressful scenarios with their children and teach them how to identify difficult thoughts and emotions and manage them through relaxation. Deep breathing is one technique used by neurotypical individuals and people with autism alike. Children with autism may also find calm from fidgeting or positive sensory experiences, such as playing with water or stroking a comfort object.
As you can see, there’s no quick fix for anxiety in children with autism. The experience of anxiety is a highly individualized one, and the coping strategies and treatments that work for one child may have no meaningful effect on another. However, by experimenting with different strategies and finding what resonates with their child, parents can turn their child’s anxiety into something predictable and manageable.

Submitted by
Jenny Wise

Tuesday, 28 May 2019 19:43

Hurricane Preparedness

Determine Your Risk

Hurricanes bring hazards to the U.S Coastlines and Inland areas, including storm surge along the coast, inland flooding due to heavy rainfall, tornadoes, strong wind, rip currents and large waves.
Find out today what types of wind and water hazards could happen where you live, and then start preparing now for how to handle them. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem.
Their impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland, and significant impacts can occur without it being a major hurricane. Now is the time to prepare for a potential land-falling tropical storm or hurricane.

Develop an Evacuation Plan

Find out today if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone. Plan where you'll go and how you would get there. Leave immediately if ordered to evacuate and be sure to plan for your pets.
The first thing you need to do is find out if you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if you’re in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in a zone or unsafe home, and work it out with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Put the plan in writing for you and those you care about.

Assemble Disaster Supplies

Get your supplies before hurricane season begins. Have enough food and water for each person for at least three days. Be sure to fill you prescriptions and have medicine on hand. Radios, batteries and phone chargers on are also must haves. Gas up your vehicle and have extra cash on hand.
You’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of three days. Electricity and water could be out for at least that long. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. Many of us have cell phones, and they all run on batteries. You’re going to need a portable crank or solar powered USB charger.

Get Insurance Check Up

Check in with your insurance agent well before hurricane season. Remember that flood insurance must be obtained separately. Prepare your home and vehicles according to your policy, and know where your insurance documents are located and take them with you if youevacuate.
Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Don’t forget coverage for your car or boat. Remember, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate policy for it, and it’s available through your company, agent or the National Flood Insurance Program at Act now as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.

Strengthen Your Home

There is alot you can do around your home to help protect it from the strong wind that come with hurricanes. Well ahead of the approaching storm, trim trees on your property, shop for approved window covering, collect loose outdoor items, secure all doors on your property, and find a safe location for your vehicle.
If you plan to ride out the storm in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications.
Many of these retrofits do not cost much or take as long to do as you may think. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand the winds.

Help Your Neighbor

Many people rely on the assistance of neighbors before and after hurricanes. Help your neighbors collect the supplies they'll need before the storm. Assist them with evacuation if ordered to do so or check on them after it's safe for you to head outside.
Many Americans rely on their neighbors after a disaster, but there are also many ways you can help your neighbors before a hurricane approaches. Learn about all the different actions you and your neighbors can take to prepare and recover from the hazards associated with hurricanes. Start the conversation now with these Neighbor Helping Neighbor strategies.

Complete a Written Plan

Writing down your plan will help you avoid mistakes when faced with an emergency and ensure everyone in your home is prepared for the next storm.
The time to prepare for a hurricane is before the season begins, when you have the time and are not under pressure. If you wait until a hurricane is on your doorstep, the odds are that you will be under duress and will make the wrong decisions.
Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan. Know where you will ride out the storm and get your supplies now. You don’t want to be standing in long lines when a hurricane warning is issued. Those supplies that you need will probably be sold out by the time you reach the front of the line. Being prepared, before a hurricane threatens, makes you resilient to the hurricane impacts of wind and water. It will mean the difference between your being a hurricane victim and a hurricane survivor.


Monday, 15 April 2019 21:42

Boat Responsibly in Lee County

Boat sober!

Waterways are second only to highways when it comes to accidental deaths. Many factors impact an individual when underway. Sun, wind, noise, vibration from the boat, motion and dehydration all act as stressors to the body when boating. These stressors can negatively impact a person's balance, vision, coordination and judgment. When alcohol is added to the mix, all the negative impacts can be seriously magnified. Not only is it important for the operator to boat sober, passengers also have an obligation to act responsibly. Erratic behavior or sudden, unexpected movements can result in injury, capsizing or a fall overboard. Alcohol can cause even greater disorientation to a person thrown into the water. So for captain and crew, boat safe, boat sober.

Big water, big boats, big foam

It is always a smart idea to wear a life jacket that allows unrestricted freedom of movement at all times on board an open boat. Being immersed unexpectedly in the water is a situation of last resort. In the circumstances of being forced to ride out a storm or abandon ship, a life jacket with maximum flotation, turning ability can provide protection. When rescue arrives, you'll be glad for the survival colors, reflective tape, whistle, light, locator beacons and anything else that has kept you alive and visible in open water. Skydivers wear their parachutes...

Football players wear their helmets...

Drivers wear their seat belts...

Responsible boaters wear their life jackets! A U.S. Coast Guard Approved life jacket is designed to place an unconscious victim in a face up position, however it must fit properly. Too big, and the life jacket will ride up around your face. Too small, it will not be able to keep your body afloat. Life jackets designed for adults will not work for children! Try It on For Size: #1 Check the manufacturer's label to ensure that the life jacket is a proper fit for your size and weight and U.S. Coast Guard Approved.
#2 Make sure the jacket is properly fastened with all the straps and buckles in good condition.
#3 Hold your arms straight up over your head.
#4 Ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arm openings and gently pull up.
#5 Make sure there is no excess room above the openings and that the jacket does not ride up over your chin or face. For the best fit, try the life jacket in shallow water under safe and supervised conditions.
#6 Inflatable type life jackets only count under the law if they are actually being worn and are prohibited for Jet Ski Operators and water skiers.
#7 It’s a good idea to write the name of your vessel or registration number on the life jacket to help with lost lifejackets.
#8 Have life jackets within reach on your vessel and explain to passengers where they are and how to use them.
#9 Every person on board under the age of 13 must wear an approved Type I, II or III while the vessel is underway.
#10 Take a safe boating class.
Learn more valuable boating tips at the “About Boating Safety” Class on Saturday, April 20th from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in South Fort Myers at the Pine Ridge Community Center (next to the Iona McGregor Fire Station #75) at 15660 Pine Ridge Rd, Iona, FL 33908. The cost is $45 per person and includes study material. Advance registration is required, by phone 239-690-6780 option 1 or online at - the class fills up quickly so register today.
The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the lead agency protecting America’s seaward frontier in recreational boating safety. Our vessels and aircraft deploy across the U.S. and they aid or save countless boaters every year.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit

Editorial Note:
Adult life jackets do not work for children. This Photo demonstrates children’s instinct to reach out to parent and would fall out from the bottom of an adult life jacket. Use a children’s life jacket that fits properly and use the crotch strap.
Kayaks and Paddleboarders need life jackets
On a vessel underway, children under 13 must wear an appropriate Coast Guard-approved life jacket Type I, II or III while the vessel is underway unless they are below deck or within an enclosed cabin.
Life Jacket Loaner Station can be found on Fort Myers Beach by the fishing pier. Supported by Sheriff’s Youth Activity League, Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Golisano Children’s Hospital and Lee County, in partnership with Lee County Medical Services, Florida Department of Health and Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties and Vasari Cares Foundation, Inc., Women's Golf Association.

Thursday, 11 April 2019 07:12


Dear Doctor: I was a huge Luke Perry fan in high school, and like so many others, I was shocked that he had a stroke at just 52 years old. Isn't that awfully young? How do you know if you're having a stroke?

Dear Reader: While it's true that the majority of strokes occur in people 65 and older, they can happen in people of any age. This includes not only young and middle-aged adults, but also children and even infants in utero.

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and diabetes. Of the 795,000 people each year who have a stroke, 140,000 do not survive. A significant percentage of those who do survive are left with a range of disabilities that affect speech, movement and cognition. One of the challenges for younger stroke victims is misdiagnosis. Symptoms can be mistaken for conditions like migraine, seizure and inner ear disorders.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, which happens in two ways. The most common type of stroke, known as an ischemic stroke, occurs when blood is unable to travel through a blood vessel and reach the brain. This can be due to a clot that arises in or travels to the brain and blocks the vessel, or to narrowing of the blood vessel itself. In a hemorrhagic stroke, the second major type of stroke, the blood vessel tears or ruptures. In both types of stroke, the result is the same -- the oxygen and nutrients carried by the blood can't reach the brain cells. In a very short period of time, the brain cells begin to die.

A third type of stroke is known as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. This is when stroke symptoms appear for a brief period of time but then go away. These so-called "mini strokes" can sometimes be precursors to a major stroke, so it's important to take TIAs seriously and seek medical treatment immediately.
Signs of stroke include sudden weakness or numbness in a limb or in the face, often on just one side of the body. Sudden dizziness, confusion, garbled speech, loss of balance or coordination, or problems with eyesight in one or both eyes can also signal a stroke. So can the advent of a sudden headache, often quite severe, sometimes accompanied by tingling sensations in the face or body.

A useful memory prompt for stroke symptoms is the word FAST. The letters represent three major indicators of stroke. F is for face drooping, A is for arm weakness and S is for speech. The final letter, T, stands for "time to call 911." That's particularly important because swift treatment can be the difference between life and death. It can also affect the level of disability that the stroke causes in a survivor. Studies show that receiving emergency medical care within three hours of the first symptoms of stroke results in less disability three months later as compared to those for whom medical care was delayed. So no matter someone's age, when symptoms suggest a stroke, seek immediate medical help.

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, and Elizabeth Ko, M.D.

Thursday, 11 April 2019 07:03

To Unplug 'Unplanned'

The conversion of Abby Johnson -- from one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in America to pro-life leader -- sounds like the kind story line that would never make its way into the movie theater. But it has. "Unplanned" debuted in 1,059 theaters on March 29 and grossed $6.1 million on its opening weekend, double the commercial expectations. It received an A-plus CinemaScore from audiences. It has been expanded to 1,700 sites and is captivating millions with its heart-wrenching portrayal of the reality of abortion and the organization that champions the atrocity.

Johnson estimates she was personally responsible for overseeing 22,000 abortions at her clinic in Bryan, Texas, during her Planned Parenthood career. She had two of her own. This is her story, necessarily rated R because of its honest depiction of what transpires inside the Planned Parenthood clinic. The opening scene depicts the moment of conversion. Abby, who serves in a management capacity, is asked to assist with an ultrasound abortion of a 13-week-old baby. She watches -- and the viewer watches very real footage -- as the unborn baby resists, moving desperately to avoid the suction tube. It swooshes into the cylinder of death, exiting into a bucket with blood and pieces of human tissue. The womb is now empty. Abby Johnson falls apart.

We go to the start of the story, with her two abortions, her unlikely marriage into a strongly pro-life family and her rise of the ranks of her local Planned Parenthood outlet. She knows she has made it when director Cheryl ceremoniously invites her to come into the "P.O.C" room -- the clinic's sanctum sanctorum, open only to the chosen few. When a nurse asks if Abby knows what "P.O.C." stands for, she offers the euphemism "products of conception." Her colleague sardonically provides the correct answer: "pieces of children." Abby and Cheryl approach the table containing the body parts of countless babies. Little feet. Little hands. Little heads. The parts of every aborted child must be accounted for so they can be sure nothing is left inside the womb.

Unsurprisingly, "Unplanned" has received the same opprobrium from the cultural elites as last year's pro-life movie "Gosnell." A half dozen major music labels refused to license their tunes for the movie, including Disney, Universal Music and Sony/ATV. Cable TV networks refused to run ads for the movie -- USA, Lifetime, HGTV, the Travel Channel, the Cooking Channel, the Food Network ... even the Hallmark Channel!

The movie was trashed on TBS. Unfunny radical feminist Samantha Bee bizarrely claimed the movie was "mostly made up" and mocked it for suggesting that taking on the nation's largest and most powerful abortion conglomerate is scary.

Bee tried to suggest that Johnson couldn't possibly turn her heroes into monsters: "No matter where you go, no matter where you hide, I will give you health care!" Ripping babies apart is "health care."

Even social media giants were hostile. On the opening weekend, the movie's Twitter account was suspended for a time, which Twitter claimed was a mistake, as if anyone believes that line any longer. Then fans of the movie couldn't successfully follow the account. Twitter has a nasty habit of blocking pro-life material as "inflammatory."

Newspapers refused to review the movie. The New York Times reviewed 12 new movies on debut day, but not "Unplanned." This included a review of "Diane" (released in only three theaters nationwide), a liberal documentary on former Trump strategist Steve Bannon called "The Brink" (in four theaters) and the French Canadian teen comedy "Slut in a Good Way" (in seven theaters).

The Washington Post had no review from its own critics in the "Weekend" section but directed readers to its Common Sense Media page for parents, where those outside critics said the film was inappropriate for children under 17. This camp thinks abortion is appropriate for teenage girls but a movie about abortion is not.

Maybe this near silence is for the best, since one of the few film reviewers, Frank Scheck of the Hollywood Reporter, thought he was being witty when he explained, "There have been films that treated Nazi doctors conducting evil experiments in concentration camps more sympathetically."

Scheck somehow can't absorb the fact that there is evil in Planned Parenthood, that it is a big business making a profit from exterminating more than 300,000 unborn babies a year.

Abby Johnson came to understand it and devoted her life to fighting the horror of abortion from that moment forward.

Her babies are in paradise, dancing with delight.

L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham

Thursday, 11 April 2019 06:57

Local Happenings and Updates


Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) has established a Construction Management Department, offering a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Management. The program was introduced to the business community with a Day at the Ballpark on March 16th. The event was sponsored by REIS, Lee BIA, the CCIM Chapter, Realtors Land Institute (RLI), and FGCU. The Construction Management Department is part of the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering at FGCU.


The Lee County Board of County Commissioners has delayed the public hearing on land uses in wetlands until May 22nd. County staff has proposed an amendment (CPA1029-00001) to the Future Land Use Plan that will authorize Lee County to issue Development Orders for non-residential uses in the wetlands category where impacts are authorized by a State agency.


Cape Coral City Council has approved a major rewrite of the Land Development Code (LDC), which now will be reviewed by State agencies. The changes are intended to make the LDC more consistent with zoning and facilitate commercial and multi-family residential development. The amended LDC may be reviewed on the City’s website, along with an interactive mapping tool to compare existing zoning with proposed zoning.



Home Rule: HB 3 would prohibit local governments from imposing or adopting new regulations of businesses after a certain date. Preempts regulation and licensing of professions and occupations to the state. Proceeding through committees with minor revisions.

Impact fees: HB 207/SB 144 would revise minimum requirements for adoption of impact fees by specified government agencies. Exempts water and sewer connection fees from Florida Impact Fee Act. Bill has passed all referred committees.

Open and Expired Building Permits: HB 447/SB 902 is moving through committees with much support - provides requirements related to open & expired permits, permit requirements, closing of permits, amendment of Florida Building Code, applicability, & notice requirements.

Wetlands Mitigation: CS/SB 532 authorizing a local government to allow permittee-responsible mitigation on lands purchased and owned by a local government for conservation purposes under certain circumstances; requiring such mitigation to meet specified requirements. Bill has passed the referred Senate committees.

Dredge and Fill Permitting: HB 799 urges Congress to direct U.S. EPA to issue memorandum of agreement so Florida may complete assumption of section 404 dredge & fill permitting program under federal Clean Water Act. On State Affairs Committee agenda April 8th. Comprehensive Plan Amendments: HB 6017 removes acreage limitations applying to small-scale comprehensive plan amendments. Bill is proceeding through House committees with strong support. Opportunity Zones: HB 481 would enable state and local governments to provide incentives to developers if they proceed with opportunity zone projects that benefit the local community. Bill is in committee review.


“In my opinion, and the opinion of the US Supreme Court, 414 clearly allows the President complete control of our Borders (Plenary power, as the Supreme Court has stated) when aliens attempt to enter the US, illegally, to do harm to the US economy as well as do physical damage thereto and to assault our Border Security men and women! Therefore, funding for enforcing 414 must be available lest the Law would be a useless piece of paper. In times of emergency, such as thousands assaulting our Border illegally, there must be funds available WITHOUT declaring a National Emergency or Disaster; keeping in mind the purpose of the funding is to enforce 414 which only requires a Proclamation and not even an EO, let alone the declaration of National Emergency! If the President believes fencing is necessary to enforce 414, then by law he certainly doesn’t need a Judge or Congress permission to do what the Constitution requires…”Protect, Preserve and defend” the Constitution on the US! Barriers stop/slow down people that is why militaries since before Christ have used barriers… to stop people!!!

Close the Border under the 1952 Immigration and Naturalization Law (Public Law 414) by Proclamation only, until barricades can be built, only allowing in those with current legal access. (A request for asylum is not current legal basis for entry! Security of our Borders/Nation is much more important than asylum for anyone from any other country!)


Let them run to the 9th Circus and file, have DOJ fight it but ignore the Injunction and start building and keep building the fence. It is necessary for barriers in order to enforce PL 414! They cannot stop the enforcement of that law with any court orders!!! It can only be stopped if the President allows it to be stopped. That was Congress’s intent by making it Enforceable by Proclamation only without an EO, to avoid the “cumbersome interference of any Judicial Jurisdiction”!

When the President issues his Proclamation he is closing the Border and because of PL 414, and the Supreme Court Decisions specifying that the President has Plenary Power on Immigration and Naturalization…the President will not tolerate any attempts to interfere with his protecting the American people ! There is an emergency at the Border and he will do whatever it takes to protect America!

Should an injunction by the 9th Circus or any other Federal Jurisdiction be attempted; that would be Interference with a Duly Elected President Attempting to enforce a “Judicially Reinforced Action” and it would therefore be an intentional attempt to interfere with a sitting Presidents’ ability to carry out the “Lawful and Required Duty, of the President to Protect US Citizens”.

In my opinion, should any Federal Jurisdiction attempt to intervene in the President’s action he should direct DOJ to immediately issue arrest warrants for the Judge and the plaintiff filing for the injunction, have the Marshals bring the Judge and co-conspirator to WDC ,in cuffs for an appearance before a Judge for arraignment and request no bail as the Judge is a threat to the safety of US Citizens. Leave her in jail as long as possible and let it go through the system. When she finds out how expensive it is to, “ignore the Constitution in favor of radical, personal, agenda law making”, things will change in the 9th Circus, believe me ( most 9th Circus BS decisions are from female , activist, Judges and are reversed by the Supreme court)!
A filing Plaintiff should know that the President has the Power to defend our Borders and their plea of ignorance is no excuse for making a harassing filing. Put a serious effort to put a stop to that as well. Arrest the damn Judge and the filing Plaintiff!!! Why do you think 99% of the Federal Courts won’t touch INS issues?…because the SUPREME Court, of our beloved Nation, says so…Plenary Power!



Thursday, 11 April 2019 06:42


The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will expire again on May 1st unless Congress approves another extension.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also announced updates to the program that would become effective next year.

The revised program becomes effective October 1, 2020 and property owners will learn the impact on their rates on April 1, 2020.

FEMA says cost of coverage will rely less on flood zones and use other variables, such as risk of hurricanes and coastal surges, and proximity to a source of flooding.

It may also consider new loss-estimation technology that can account for threats from climate change and replacement costs.


Are most Democrat politicians trying to destroy the Electoral College? It’s all the rage among the Democrat presidential wannabes – almost a required litmus test for candidacy. The Framers had good reasons to devise this system: it’s a linchpin in our “representative republic” government which prevents “mob rule” and protects the rights of all citizens, not just the majority; it’s an “extra set of eyes” on the presidential election process; and it gives assurance that a handful of states won’t select our President. I look at this as 51 (including D.C.) separate popular vote elections, the results of each indicate for which candidate the state will cast its electoral votes. It encourages coalitions and national campaigning.

Those are important topics, but my goal here is to increase the visibility of initiatives intended to subvert the electoral process without amending our U.S. Constitution. The most prominent one is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). This initiative intends to guarantee the candidate winning the national popular vote is elected. To achieve success, NPVIC must get states to enact legislation whereby states pledge all their electors to the national popular vote winner.              

There are 538 electors so they must have the compact/agreement signed by states representing 270 electors. Only 14 states have agreed so far, but they already have 189 electors committed. If they tried to eliminate the Electoral College by Constitutional Amendment, it would require three-fourths of the states, or 38. So NPVIC seems much easier.              

What if the plateau of 270 electors is reached? Are there any defensive measures to be taken? Here’s what Article 1 of our Constitution provides: “No state shall, without the consent of Congress……enter into any agreement or compact with another state or with a foreign power……” That seems clear that they can’t do anything like NPVIC without the consent of Congress, but there’s significant disagreement about that among legal scholars. There’s sure to be a bitter and divisive Constitutional challenge if the 270-elector threshold is achieved.              

And there’s a new challenge developing. Imagine a situation in which an important “swing state” decides to “go it alone” for pledging their electoral votes to the national popular vote winner. This could be the case if there is sentiment among enough voters to join the “compact,” but they can’t depend on achieving that through successful legislation. Such is the case in Ohio. Opponents of the electoral process stand a good chance of having a voter initiative on the ballot in November which would amend the Ohio constitution to pledge Ohio electors to the national popular vote winner.              

This Ohio initiative is distinct from NPVIC, and might be successful. And considering the broad latitude states have in allocating electors, it may be Constitutional. Toss in similar success in a few more “swing states” and the complexion of our presidential election process is changed forever. The Electoral College would be destroyed. Is this a bigger threat than NPVIC?          

Discuss the Electoral College with your friends on the “left,” and ask them questions like: Do you reject the institution of the U.S. Senate since it does not proportionately represent the population? Since the Senate structure was set up to promote parity between the states rather than proportionate representation, do you minimize this original purpose of parity? Does your disdain for the Electoral College reflect your broader feelings about the representative form of government gifted us by our Founders? And, dear progressive friend, reflect back on 2004. George W. Bush received the most popular votes. Under NPVIC, California would have had to cast all their electoral votes for Bush, even though he lost the state to Kerry by a huge margin. Imagine the outrage that would have come from California Democrats.              

That’s where we stand with these attacks on the electoral process. I’ve concluded destruction of the Electoral College is less than likely, but is seriously plausible. The Democrats’ goal isn’t about improving our election procedures or governance. It’s all about Democrats improving their chance of winning. Whatever the outcome of these attacks on our form of government, the finish-line is probably a long way off. Yet it feels like it’s right in front of us, looming dangerously. We must work against it.

Steve Bakke, Fort Myers

Thursday, 11 April 2019 06:34

2020: Socialist America or Trump's America?

In the new Democratic Party, where women and people of color are to lead, and the white men are to stand back, the presidential field has begun to sort itself out somewhat problematically.

According to a Real Clear Politics average of five polls between mid-March and April 1, four white men -- Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, "Beto" O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg -- have corralled 62 percent of all Democratic voters.

The three white women running -- Senators Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand -- have, together, a piddling 8 percent.

The lone Hispanic candidate, Julian Castro, is at 1 percent.

African American candidates Kamala Harris and Cory Booker fare better, with Harris at 10 and Booker at 3.

Who has raised the most money from the most contributors?

Sanders is first with $18 million; Harris is next with $12 million; Beto is third with $9 million in 18 days; and "Mayor Pete" is fourth with $7 million.
Warren, Klobuchar and Gillibrand have yet to file reports.

But the big takeaway from recent weeks is the sudden stunning vulnerability of the front-runner. Seven women have come forward to berate Biden for unwanted and offensive touching and crowding. Joe is on the defensive. Some in the #MeToo movement want him gone.

He is also being slammed for decisions across his 36-year Senate career -- opposing busing for integration, deserting Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas hearings, supporting a racially discriminatory crime bill, voting to authorize George W. Bush to take us into war in Iraq.

And unkindest cut of all: Barack Obama's stony silence about Joe's candidacy.

The most compelling case for the 76-year-old ex-vice president is that he can win back Trump's white working-class voters, and return Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to the Democratic fold.

Thus a major drop in Biden's polls could be terminal to his candidacy.

If Biden can't guarantee a victory over Trump, why go with Joe?

Yet, if he fades away as a candidate, as he has done twice before, who emerges as front-runner? The 77-year-old Socialist Bernie Sanders. If Joe fades, Bernie and the comrades will have removed the last large roadblock to a socialist takeover of the national Democratic Party.

And what would then happen if the Democrats simply held the House, added three Senate seats and defeated Trump in 2020?

An all-out effort to abolish the Electoral College that is integral to the historic compromise that created our federal Union. Puerto Rico and D.C. would become states, giving Democrats four more Senators and making America a bilingual nation.

A drive would be on to give 16-year-olds and convicted felons the right to vote in federal elections, freezing Republicans out of power forever. A packing of the Supreme Court would begin by raising by six the number of justices and elevating liberal activists to the new seats.

On the southern border, where 100,000 illegal migrants were apprehended in March, Trump's wall would come down, all peoples fleeing repression in Central America would be welcomed into the U.S., sanctuary cities would become the norm, and ICE would be abolished.

Open borders would be a reality, along with amnesty for the 12 million-20 million people here illegally, with a path to citizenship for all.

It is impossible to see how the U.S. border would ever be secured.

The Green New Deal would be enacted. Medicare for all. Free tuition for college students. Millennial college debts paid off by the government. Free pre-K schooling and day care. Guaranteed jobs for all. A guaranteed living wage. Repeal of the Reagan and Trump tax cuts. A re-raising of the corporate rate and a return of the top rate for individuals to 70 percent. New wealth taxes on the rich.

With climate change seen as an existential planetary peril, fossil fuel-powered energy plants -- coal, oil, natural gas -- would be phased out and a new national reliance on solar and wind begun.

There would be reparations for slavery. Abortion on demand right up to birth for all women.

Marijuana would be legalized.

Harris has urged that prostitution, sex work, be legalized.

How would the Green New Deal be paid for?

Under "modern monetary theory," currency is a public monopoly for the government, and unemployment is evidence that the monopoly is choking off the needed supply. So print the money necessary to get to rising wages, full employment and a booming economy.

To achieve Bernie Sanders' Socialist America, the filibuster would have to be abolished, easily done, and the Constitution altered, requiring the support of three-fourths of the states, not so easy.

Yet, as of today, the unannounced front-runner Joe Biden, who is taking fire from many quarters, appears to be the last man standing between Sanders Socialism and the Democratic nomination.

Should Joe falter and fall, Trump would be the nation's last line of defense against the coming of a Socialist America. For never-Trump conservatives, the day of reckoning may be just ahead.

Patrick J. Buchanan


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