Playing Politics With Immigration

The Hill posted an article today about President Obama’s decision to delay any executive order regarding immigration. First of all, it is not President Obama’s job to write an executive order regarding immigration–that responsibility belongs to Congress.

The article reports:

Latino groups on Saturday promised they would “not soon forget” President Obama’s move to delay any executive action on the border crisis until after the midterm elections.

A White House official said Obama decided to postpone acting on immigration until after November because of the tremulous political season and “Republican’s extreme politicization of the issue.”

Loosely translated this means that if the President unilaterally passed amnesty for illegal immigrants, the Democrats would seriously lose the midterm elections.

The article further reports:

While a number of Democrats facing reelection pressured Obama to delay action after he vowed on Friday to move on immigration “soon,” a leading Democrat, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.) has urged the president to “lean in” on reform.

Gutierrez scolded his colleagues earlier this week, telling them to “stand aside” and let Obama take action.

Gutierrez is scheduled to hold a press conference in Chicago on Monday with immigrant families that will be impacted by the administration’s decisions on immigration and deportations, an advisory states.

Our immigration system needs reform, but more than that, our borders need to be secure. Anyone can enter America through our porous borders. (In August I posted a picture at rightwinggranny of James O’Keefe crossing our southern border dressed as Osama Bin Laden.) What kind of a terrorist attack do we have to have in America before we pay attention to border security?

 

 

The Obama Administration Makes The Right Decision

Yes, you read that headline right. The Hill posted an article today in their Global Affairs blog stating that the Obama Administration has decided to deny a visa to Hamid Abutalebi, Iran‘s chosen Ambassador to the United Nations. Abutalebi has admitted that he worked as a translator and negotiator for the student group that held Americans hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran for 444 days.

The White House has informed the United Nations of this decision.

The article reports:

Abutalebi’s nomination prompted bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill, where both chambers of Congress passed legislation that would prevent the government from providing a visa to any United Nations ambassadors with ties to terrorist attacks against the United States

…The bill could be seen as a violation of a 1947 treaty that obligates the United States to grant entry visas to the representatives of U.N. member states, which was signed as part of the bid to attract the permanent headquarters to New York.

But Carney said the White House shared the concerns at the root of the bill, and would work to implement its “intent.” He hinted that Obama might sign it but attach a signing statement questioning its constitutionality.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the sponsors of the legislation Congress passed this week, praised the administration’s decision.

But Lamborn said Obama should still sign the bill to establish the legal authority to deny Abutalebi’s visa.

“I urge the President to sign the Cruz/Lamborn legislation which passed the House and Senate unanimously that actually gives the him the legal authority to deny this visa and future attempts to get terrorists into the United States with diplomatic cover,” Lamborn said in a statement to The Hill.

The appointment of Abutalebi was an illustration of the fact that Iran simply assumed that the President would not have the backbone to protest. I am glad that they were wrong.

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I Really Don’t Think This Is Helpful

The Hill is reporting today that the Obama Administration’s claims that they have been tough on illegal immigrants with criminal records does not agree with the facts.

The article reports:

An internal Department of Homeland Security document compiling statistics on arrests and deportations in 2013 showed that ICE agents encountered 193,357 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions but issued charging documents for only 125,478. More than 67,800 were released.

The data came from an end-of-year “Weekly Departures and Detention Report.”

The Center for Immigration Studies, a research group that favors stricter enforcement of immigration laws, estimates ICE agents released more than a third of illegal immigrants with criminal records they detained.

“ICE released 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013, or 35 percent of the criminal aliens encountered by officers. The vast majority of these releases occurred because of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies,” Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, wrote in a memo summarizing the DHS document.

ICE classifies illegal immigrants as criminal if they have been convicted of a crime, not including traffic offense, Vaughn noted.

Until current immigration laws are enforced and convicted criminals are deported, I think any discussion of amnesty for illegal aliens should be put on hold. We desperately need to change our immigration policies–people who want to come here legally and want to assimilate should be encouraged to come here–their applications should be quickly processed. People who are here illegally should go to the end of the line, but their applications should also be reviewed quickly. Illegals should be denied access to welfare and health insurance until they go through the process of becoming American citizens. New American citizens should be prohibited from welfare programs until they have been here for at least five years–anyone can temporarily be in need, but we don’t need to encourage people to come here strictly to go on welfare and live at everyone else’s expense.

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Then and Now

From the Daily Caller in January 2011:

Harry Reid on raising the debt ceiling in 2006:

“If my Republican friends believe that increasing our debt by almost $800 billion today and more than $3 trillion over the last five years is the right thing to do, they should be upfront about it. They should explain why they think more debt is good for the economy.

From The Hill yesterday:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is moving legislation to push the debt limit until Dec. 31, 2014, well beyond next year’s midterm election.

Senate aides estimate the bill would increase federal borrowing authority by about $1.1 trillion.

Is there any doubt that this whole discussion is based on politics and not based on what is good for America and Americans? Until we vote professional politicians out of office, this is the kind of nonsense we will have to live with.

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Have The Democrats In Congress Realized That President Obama Plans To Make Them Obsolete?

The Hill is reporting today that President Obama’s plan to combat climate change does not include any action by Congress.

The article reports:

President Obama is launching fresh battles over climate change with plans to curb emissions using executive powers that sidestep Congress — including controversial rules to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.

The basic premise of the need to combat climate change is not valid. WattsUpWithThat.com posted the following graph on its website. The graph is from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration):

updated-june-at-max-temp11[1]

So why is the President making a speech about climate change today? He is hoping to take the focus off of the IRS, Benghazi, and the other scandals that have plagued his administration. President Obama does not seem to understand the concept of working with Congress to reach a compromise on proposed legislation. Hopefully, we will still have three viable branches of government by the time the Obama Administration is over.

Please follow the links above to The Hill and WattsUpWithThat to read further details of the President’s proposals.

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Over The Top On Gun Control

A California newspaper called the Mercury News posted a story on Thursday about a toy gun exchange in a local elementary school.

The article reports:

At Saturday’s event, called Strobridge Elementary Safety Day, a Hayward police officer will demonstrate bicycle and gun safety, and the Alameda County Fire Department is sending a rig and crew to talk about fire safety.

Fingerprinting and photographing of children will be offered, with the information put on CDs for parents to use, if needed, in a missing child case. All youngsters attending will be given a ticket to exchange for a book, Hill said.

Every child who brings a toy gun will get a raffle ticket to win one of four bicycles, Hill said.

Hill said he got the idea for the toy gun exchange from a photographer, Horace Gibson, who takes students’ school pictures and who expressed concern about the spate of shootings of young people by police in Oakland.

Hill said police are rightfully fearful of being shot when they encounter so many armed suspects, and there have been cases nationwide where police mistook a toy gun for a real one.

Sometimes it’s hard just to know where to start. Why are you demonstrating gun safety while you are taking toy guns away from children?

Elementary Principal Charles Hill stated, “If we want older kids to not think guns are cool, we need to start early.” Sir, I realize you are much better educated than I and have had a lot of experience with children, but you have missed some very obvious points. If younger children are taught respect for themselves and for other people (generally speaking, respect for life), and if they are taught morals and values, they are quite likely to conclude that guns used for immoral purposes are not cool without your having to brainwash them. The problem is not the guns–it is the values we are teaching our children. We have taken the Ten Commandments off of the walls of our schools. Regardless of how you feel about the Bible or about religion, those Ten Commandments were a visual reminder to all students that at some point in their lives they were going to have to answer to an authority higher than themselves. You would get better results from having the children recite the Ten Commandments every morning than you would from confiscating a million toy guns.

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About Those Airport Flight Delays

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the flight delays the traveling public has been experiencing and their solution.

I love the opening paragraph of the article:

The Democrats proposed sequestration as part of a package to secure an increase in the debt ceiling, but they never expected it to go into effect. When it did, they felt double-crossed, apparently because they thought Republicans owed it to them to fold like a cheap suit, as usual. When the Republicans figured out that sticking with the sequester was a pretty good outcome–it represented a modest, but real, restraint on federal spending, which is what Republicans always say they want–the Democrats went to Plan B.

Plan B or course was cutting in places where the cuts would be most visible and hurt the American public the most. There was no regard for what was good for the country. But some Americans are getting smarter and seeing through the game that is being played. First of all–they are not cuts–they are cuts in the rate of growth. Second of all–some of the Republican leadership is as guilty as the Democrats on this one. The only people in Congress who seem to have any idea that government spending is truly out of control are some of the House Republicans–generally not the leadership.

Yesterday The Hill posted the following:

The House on Friday passed legislation that would let the government redirect millions of dollars to air traffic controllers’ salaries and expenses in a bid to end sequester-related furloughs that have caused flight delays around the country.

Members approved the Reducing Flight Delays Act in an overwhelming 361-41 vote, just a day after the Senate approved the same bill by unanimous consent. A two-thirds vote was needed, as House leaders called it up as a suspension bill.

The bill was sent directly to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

The vote is a victory for House Republicans, who had been pushing for a restructuring of the $600 million sequester cut to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to avoid air traffic controller layoffs. In contrast, Democrats were looking for a broader solution to the sequester that included new taxes.

As John Hinderaker points out in the Power Line article, the sequester does not need a solution–it is a solution. I guess The Hill hasn’t figured that one out yet.

The article at Power Line concludes:

One of conservatives’ chief frustrations for a generation is that most Americans say the federal government spends too much money, and wastes too much money, yet it has proved more less impossible to convert this consensus into meaningful spending cuts. Perhaps the sequester will be seen, with hindsight, as the moment when the American people finally said “Enough,” and meant it.

I hope so.

 

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Is The Goal To Solve Problems Or To Punish The Rich?

The Hill posted an article today about the budget proposal expected to come from President Obama in the near future. One aspect of the budget will be to limit how much ‘the rich’ will be able to keep in their individual retirement accounts.

The Obama Administration says that this proposal will add ‘fairness’ to the tax code. The provision is expected to raise $9 billion in ten years. At this point, I would like to point out that the current budget deficit is approximately $16 trillion dollars, and the projected annual deficit for 2013 will probably be in the neighborhood of $1 trillion dollars.

Let’s look at this concept of ‘fairness’ for a moment. How is it fair to continue to take money away from people who earn it and give it to people who don’t? How is it fair to punish someone who has worked hard and been successful for their efforts and success? Who has decided that we need ‘fairness?’ In 2009, the top 1% of earners paid 36.73 percent of the taxes (according to the National Taxpayers Union). How is that fair?

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Quote Of The Week

On Thursday, The Hill reported:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she opposes a cut in congressional pay because it would diminish the dignity of lawmakers’ jobs.

 “I don’t think we should do it; I think we should respect the work we do,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “I think it’s necessary for us to have the dignity of the job that we have rewarded.”

What about all of the Americans who have not had raises or bonuses in two years because of the condition of the economy?

It Wasn’t Great, But It Could Have Been Worse

Sorry for the lack of optimism in the new year, but the basically the average American was not the winner in the budget deal passed by Congress this week. Yes, we avoided the fiscal cliff, but we continued the direction of more government spending and bigger government.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the bill the Senate passed would raise taxes on 77 percent of American households. The Hill reported yesterday that the bill the Senate passed will add roughly $4 trillion to the deficit when compared to current law, according to new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

On December 31st, Breitbart.com reported that the Congressional Budget Office has determined that the last-minute fiscal cliff deal reached by congressional leaders and President Barack Obama cuts only $15 billion in spending while increasing tax revenues by $620 billion—a 41:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts.

So where do we go from here? I guess it depends on what America wants to be. When you look at the history of America, you realize that America was settled by people who were not content to stay where they were in their social or religious situations. The Pilgrims came here to find a place to practice their religion without government interference, the Irish fled the potato famine and the harsh conditions imposed by their British lords, and many Jews fled the pogroms of Russia and European countries. All of these people (particularly early in our history) took risks in coming here. Americans later left the comfort of their eastern homes to settle the western frontier. Historically, we have been a people with a work ethic who expect to be rewarded for our efforts. If government spending and programs continue at their current rate of growth, will we be able to maintain that spirit of adventure, risk taking and achievement or will it be wiped out by government programs? Recently I was talking to a friend who is a retired teacher, and she shared a story with me about an experience she had while working on her graduate degree. One of the students in the graduate program was the third generation of his family to be on welfare. Obviously, one of his goals in getting an education was to break that cycle. That is wonderful. However, it was less wonderful when he stated that if he couldn’t get the job he wanted after completing the program, he would simply go back on welfare because that paid pretty well. That is the danger we face with an ever-expanding government.

With the current President and current Congress, our chances of changing our current direction toward bigger government and increased taxes is very small. Conservatives are a very small part of Congress, and frankly, the Republican establishment is not a whole lot different from the Democrats when it comes to big government. The only real hope to turn this country around is the mid-term elections in 2014. Otherwise, we can expect to become Greece very soon.

One (very unpopular) solution to our current fiscal problem would be to make sure that every person in America pays taxes. Right now approximately 50 percent of Americans pay no income tax. If all Americans paid income taxes, they might be more inclined to elect people who were not likely to increase them!

Just one other note on the general state of affairs. As the third Quantitative Easing (QE3) begins to take effect, expect gasoline prices to rise. The current price for gasoline that we are paying at the pump is more related to the sinking value of the U. S. dollar than it is the price of oil. Unfortunately, unless economic policy in Washington changes, that will continue to be the case.

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Are These People Going To Vote ?

The Hill reported today on the changes that President Obama unilaterally made to America’s immigration policies. The Daily Caller also posted the story.

The Hill reports:

The new policy will not grant citizenship to children who came to the United States as illegal immigrants, but will remove the threat of deportation and grant them the right to work in the United States. 

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the policy change will apply to those who came to the United States before they were 16 and who are younger than 30 if they have lived here for five years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or served in the military. 

The Daily Caller points out:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, called the change a “decision to grant amnesty to potentially millions of illegal immigrants.”

“Many illegal immigrants will falsely claim they came here as children and the federal government has no way to check whether their claims are true,” Smith said in a statement. “And once these illegal immigrants are granted deferred action, they can then apply for a work permit, which the administration routinely grants 90% of the time.”

However, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who sponsored the DREAM Act, welcomed the announcement that he said “will give these young immigrants their chance to come out of the shadows and be part of the only country they’ve ever called home.”

I am sure we are going to hear more about this as the November election approaches. There are, however, a few obvious points about this policy change that need to be looked at. First of all, it is an obvious move on the part of the President to get the Hispanic vote. Second of all, it does not solve any of the immigration problem. What happens to the parents of these children–are they granted amnesty also? Third, it will not help the teenage unemployment rate, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates is currently 14 percent. This is, unfortunately, a political move rather than a practical move. I understand that nothing is going to get done in Washington between now and the election, but it would have made sense to put immigration on the list for the new Congress and administration (if there is a new administration) to deal with after January.

Marco Rubio posted the following on his website:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security regarding its immigration enforcement policies:

“There is broad support for the idea that we should figure out a way to help kids who are undocumented through no fault of their own, but there is also broad consensus that it should be done in a way that does not encourage illegal immigration in the future. This is a difficult balance to strike, one that this new policy, imposed by executive order, will make harder to achieve in the long run.

“Today’s announcement will be welcome news for many of these kids desperate for an answer, but it is a short term answer to a long term problem. And by once again ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress, this short term policy will make it harder to find a balanced and responsible long term one.”

The Senator has it right.

 

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The Evolving Continues

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an article on President Obama’s evolving positions.

This week we saw the President evolve in his position on gay marriage. I am sure that the fact that many of the major contributors to his campaign threatened to withhold their contributions unless he came out in support of gay marriage had nothing to do with the President’s change in position. Well, now the President’s position on coal is evolving. It’s not about the donations–it’s about the results of the Democrat primary in West Virginia. Keith Russell Judd, a convicted felon, serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, Texas, won 42.28 percent of the vote — or 49,490 votes — compared with President Obama with 57.72 percent or or 67,562 votes.

West Virginia depends on coal for its economy. Since the advent of supposed man-made global warming and the scare tactics that go with the theory, the Obama Administration has declared war on coal. This week, coal declared war on the Obama Administration. Coal-generated power plants are being targeted by the Obama Administration to be shut down–raising electric rates for everyone because there is as of yet no ‘green’ alternative to coal-fired plants.

The article at the Washington Examiner reports:

The Hill reported that he showed a screenshot of the Obama campaign’s website that noted every other kind of fuel–but coal–in their all-of-the-above program.

By this morning, presto, “clean coal” is where “fuel efficiency” used to be. Clean coal refers to technology used to filter emissions.

West Virginia has maintained stable coal production and has shipped much of its coal to China, where coal-powered electric plants open every week. The people of West Virginia were simply voting according to the best interests of their state. It seems as if the President is now beginning to understand what those interests might be.

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Roadblocks On The Way To Energy Independence

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that 70 House democrats voted for the Keystone Pipeline yesterday. The Keystone Pipeline was included in the Transportation Bill that passed the House yesterday by a vote of 293-127.

The Hill reported yesterday:

The bill creates another clash with the White House over the Keystone pipeline — a project at the heart of the Republicans’ energy agenda and their election-year attacks against the president.

Obama, facing divisions in his political base, has delayed a permitting decision on the project until after the election and threatened to veto the House bill over the pipeline language.

The House vote continues what has been a difficult path forward for transportation program funding, which often has bipartisan support.

Congress last month enacted a 90-day extension of highway programs before it left for a two-week recess, and the Speaker had hoped to use the break as one more chance to win support for the five-year transportation bill he has been pushing for months over objections from his conference.

Unless it is approved, the Keystone Pipeline will be a campaign issue this November. The majority of Americans are in favor of building it. Its construction will create jobs and lower gas prices at the pump (although I am not sure how quickly gas prices will go down). It will be interesting to see how the President and the Senate handle this.

 

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The STOCK Bill Has Passed The Senate

The Hill reported at 6 o’clock tonight that the STOCK bill has passed the Senate by a vote of 96-3. The main purpose of the bill is to prevent lawmakers from using inside information for personal gain in trading stocks and bonds. However, there were a number of other provisions in the bill that would limit some of the extra benefits lawmakers receive that were defeated.

The article reports:

But the underlying proposal to ban lawmakers from using private information they learn in the course of their duties to profit from stock trades or other transactions received broad bipartisan support.

“We tried to focus at the specific task at hand, closing loopholes to ensure that members of Congress play by the exact same rules as everyone else,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a sponsor of the legislation.

“This sorely-needed bill will establish for the first time a clear fiduciary responsibility to the people we serve, removing any doubt that the SEC and CFTC are empowered to investigate and prosecute cases involving insider trading of non-public information that we have access to through our jobs,” she said.

Only three senators voted against final passage: Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).

Voting against this bill would be a definite liability for any Senator running for re-election in 2012. The bill was originally sponsored by Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts after he learned that insider trading was going on. The 60 Minutes piece on insider trading by Congress which aired a few months ago galvanized public opinion against the practice.

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Is Anyone In Congress Reading The Constitution ?

 

Yesterday The Hill reported that six House Democrats, including Dennis Kucinich, have proposed a “Reasonable Profits Board” to control gas profits. When are they going to propose a “Reasonable Profits Board” to control movie industry profits, sports organization profits, college profits, etc.? Why are they only picking on the oil industry? Because they have an ulterior motive. When you read down the article a bit, you find it.

The article reports:

According to the bill, a windfall tax of 50 percent would be applied when the sale of oil or gas leads to a profit of between 100 percent and 102 percent of a reasonable profit. The windfall tax would jump to 75 percent when the profit is between 102 and 105 percent of a reasonable profit, and above that, the windfall tax would be 100 percent. The bill also specifies that the oil-and-gas companies, as the seller, would have to pay this tax.

Kucinich said these tax revenues would be used to fund alternative transportation programs when oil-and-gas prices spike.

What is going on here? It’s simple. This is using class warfare to channel the anger that will occur when oil and gas prices go up because of America’s energy policies. Why am I blaming America’s energy policies? The Obama Administration just ended the Keystone Pipeline project, which would have helped with America’s energy independence and helped keep gas and oil prices stable. Please note that the federal tax on gasoline is 18 cents per gallon. The government does nothing to earn that tax money–no exploration, no scientific research, etc., yet they collect money every time an American fills up his gas tank.

The government does not have the right to judge whether any corporation’s profits are reasonable or not. Blaming the oil companies for the Administration’s failure to encourage domestic energy production is simply wrong. At some point the American people will wake up and see what is going on if they haven’t already. The people proposing this should be voted out of the House of Representatives this year!

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