Friday, May 29, 2009

Off to a great start

The Obama administration has pledged "clean as a whistle" government spending when it comes to the stimulus money. And I suppose by Community Organizer standards they are doing pretty well. No one has been caught buying a yacht with the money...yet.

And all the hoopla has been impressive. Why, just go to and take a look at all the effort the White House has made to get the money to the projects. Ah, the great pronouncements found at For instance:
"The President has made it clear that every taxpayer dollar spent on our economic recovery must be subject to unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability."

From Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff
Memorandum to Head of Departments and Agencies, February 9, 2009
"We cannot overstate the importance of this effort. We are asking the American people to trust their government with an unprecedented level of funding to address the economic emergency. In return, we must prove to them that their dollars are being invested in initiatives and strategies that make a difference in their communities and across the country. Following through on our commitments for accountability and openness will create a foundation upon which we can build as we continue to tackle the economic crisis and the many other challenges facing our nation."

From Peter Orszag, OMB Director
Memorandum to Head of Departments and Agencies, February 18, 2009
“The Administration is committed to investing Recovery Act dollars with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.”

Well, they stumbled a bit with the appointment of Nancy Killifer as Obama's Chief Performance Officer when she had to withdraw over tax problems. But that's OK.

Along comes the document issued by the White House, "100 Days, 100 Projects." It sounds so very impressive.

Except Jake Tapper at ABC discovered that project #1 in the report, Regency House in DC, had a few problems. The report touts $27 million in green initiatives.

Well, not exactly.
Most of the projects were from the Bush days. Only $44,000 for solar roof panels could be called stimulus money. Gee, from $27 million down to $44,000. Hmmm. And even the $27 million figure was for all the DC housing projects, not Regency House.

Oh, and the claim that so far the administration has created or saved 150,000 jobs. Not really. Not in any verifiable way.

The White House at first said they had put $46 billion of stimulus money in to play.

Well, not exactly.
The revised White House figure is $36 billion.

Close enough for a Community Organizer but not nearly adequate to meet the standards of

It sort of reminds me of the origins of the stimulus package price tag. It wasn't based on anything concrete. "We wanted a really big number," said Ben Bernanke's press secretary.

This is looking like Chicago Style Politics on a global scale. No one is even close on the money and everybody is taking credit for projects they weren't involved in. All that's missing is a shoe box full of money...but it's only been 100 days.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The sharp tongues of the progressive elites

Sonia Sotomayor, US Supreme Court Nominee
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political strategist and PR guru
Question: Were you consulted on the name for the Obama dog?
“One was Miss California.”

Joe Klein, journalist
Commenting about paraplegic commentator, Charles Krauthammer:
“There's something tragic about him...His work would have a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he's writing about.”

President Obama
While discussing his bowling skills on late night TV:
“It's like -- it was like Special Olympics, or something.”

Some folks think the left is somehow different, but I think only the lack of outrage from the media prevents the labels from sticking. Otherwise, they’d be intolerant, insensitive racists. Note that the first three comments were clearly leveled at enemies. At least Obama wasn’t on the attack.

Still, he let slip his true inner feelings. That comment came from somewhere.
Proof positive there is a double standard when it comes to political correctness.

Following the 287(g) money

I guess I shouldn’t be so disappointed. Even the experts don’t know for sure.

I was trying to determine the year-to-year federal budget for 287(g), the partnership between ICE and local law enforcement.

It should be easy. There should be a chart showing previous year, current year, and proposed budget for next year. Something like this from the DHS Budget Book for 2006: If I want to know what Federal Air Marshals cost from year-to-year, I look at the chart provided by Homeland Security

But there is no such chart for 287(g), at least not that I could find. But I did find these authoritative statements from experts:

Statement 1
“In the last three years, the 287(g) program’s budget has increased from $5 million to $60
Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Statement 2
“In fiscal years 2006-2008, ICE received about $60 million to train, supervise, and equip program participants.” Government Accountability Office (GAO) report 09-109.

Of course, it isn’t easy. It all depends on how you account for it. For example, some numbers include the Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) where 287(g) agencies call to verify immigration status. But that center also services many other agencies including the ICE CAP officer program, IAQ, and various other federal, state, and local departments.

My point is that we ought not pay too much attention to the MILLIONS of dollars being quoted at these hearings. They are quoted only to prove a point and as they say, “liars figure.”

So, here’s the best I could do:
Obama’s Budget for 2010
“not less than $5,400,000 shall be used to facilitate agreements consistent with section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1357(g))”

2009 ICE budget fact sheet
“State and Local Law Enforcement Support……$14.2M”

ICE 2008 and 2007 (Press release)
“The 287(g) program is named after the section of law under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that authorizes ICE to train local officers to enforce immigration law. The 287(g) program received more than $42 million for training and other associated costs under the current fiscal year 2008 budget - up from just over $15 million the program received in 2007.”

2007 ICE budget fact sheet
“• State and Local.........................................$4,326”

So, here’s the SWAG:
2006: $5 million
2007: $15 million
2008: $42 million
2009: $14.2 million
2010: $5.4 million (proposed by the White House)

Now, try to square that with the statement on May 6, 2009 by the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano:
“DHS also has continued to expand its partnerships with state and local law enforcement under the 287(g) program, which gives specially trained officers authorization to perform immigration enforcement duties under the supervision of ICE agents and officers.”
“We are expanding our efforts to identify, arrest and deport criminal and fugitive aliens.
We are working on improving the 287g program so we continue to work effectively with proper guidance and oversight with our state and local partners.”

How can you possibly expand a program when you keep cutting the funding for it?

Well, you can’t. The program is written into law, agencies are waiting for it, and the bureaucrats withhold it from us by underfunding.

ICE can continue to set out decoys like “ICE ACCESS” and “Secure Communities” to appease the citizens, but neither of the programs mentioned are written into law.

How can we expect illegal aliens to obey the law when those who are paid to enforce it ignore the law themselves?

Burris, TAKE......

....(whatever it is. I lost count!)
There is yet ANOTHER story in the Roland Burris journey to assume Obama's Senate Seat. The Senate Ethics Committee will hear a wiretap of Roland Burris offering to write a check to Blago before the end of the year to avoid the new contributions rules. Roland was speaking with Blago's brother Robert at the time.
Roland's lawyer says the tape is a good thing because it shows that there was no pay-for-play involved. Besides, Roland never actually wrote the check. Why? Because Roland thought it might be misinterpreted as a bribe. (You'll just have to trust Roland on that statement because there is no proof.)
And he decided NOT to write the check long before Blago was arrested on December 9th. (Again, you'll just have to trust him about that.)
We're not sure what his explanation is about failing to mention this whole transaction when he testified before the Illinois House, or in any of Roland's amendments to that testimony.
A couple of things are very clear from the transcript of the wiretap:
1) Roland really wanted Obama's seat in the Senate.
2) Blago really wanted cash so he could look strong in the 2010 campaign.
3) Roland wanted to hide his donation to Blago using third parties.
4) Blago didn't care how the money came, as long as he got it.
Read the transcript here:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Colin Powell, GOP icon

So General Powell is out telling the world that HE is the true Republican; that the face of the GOP is black and moderate-left. Hmmm.

Here’s what Colin said on “Meet the Press” two weeks before the presidential election:
"I think he is a transformational figure," Powell said. "He is a new generation coming ... onto the world stage and on the American stage. And for that reason, I'll be voting for Sen. Barack Obama."

As a key reason, Powell said: "I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration."

"I can't deny that it will be a historic event when an African-American becomes president," Powell continued, speaking live in the studio. "And should that happen, all Americans should be proud — not just African-American, but all Americans — that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It would also not only electrify the country, but electrify the world."

"And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities — and you have to take that into account — as well as his substance — he has both style and substance, he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president."

Powell said that he is "troubled" by the direction of the Republican Party, and said he began to doubt McCain when he chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

"Not just small towns have values," he said, responding to one of Palin's signature lines.

"She's a very distinguished woman, and she's to be admired," he said. "But at the same, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Sen. McCain made."

Powell, 71, also used his "Meet the Press" appearance to criticize McCain and his campaign for invoking the former domestic terrorist William Ayers.

"Sen. McCain says he a washed-up old terrorist — then why does he keep talking about him?" Powell asked.

"They're trying to connect [Obama] to some kind of terrorist feelings, and I think that's inappropriate," Powell said. "Now I understand what politics is all about — I know how you can go after one another. And that's good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign, and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Gov. Palin has indicated a further rightward shift."

Powell said a big job of the new president will be “conveying a new image of American leadership, a new image of America’s role in the world.”

“I think what the president has to do is to start using the power of the Oval Office and the power of his personality to convince the American people and to convince the world that America is solid, America is going to move forward … restoring a sense of purpose,” he said.

Powell certainly sounded like a true Republican last October, didn’t he?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Colonel Blimp

A few weeks back I attempted to draw a parallel with our day and Britain in 1958, using the writings of C. S. Lewis on the nanny state of his day.

It seems we have additional similarities. Obama can’t say enough about Islam. He apologizes for us overseas. Turkish students are a higher priority than the tombs of our soldiers.

The present fiasco of Guantanamo and torture ooze of repentance on behalf of the nation.

And Michelle wasn’t proud of America until her husband was nominated for president.

Here is an essay called Dangers of National Repentance, written by Lewis in 1940. Ironically, he was complaining about the Church apologizing for the nation, while we struggle with an apologetic leader who can’t seem to find a church to attend.

The idea of national repentance seems at first sight to provide such an edifying contrast to that national self-righteousness of which England is so often accused and with which she entered (or is said to have entered) the last war, that a Christian naturally turns to it with hope. Young Christians especially--last-year undergraduates and first-year curates--are turning to it in large numbers. They are ready to believe that England bears part of the guilt for the present war, and ready to admit their own share in the guilt of England. What that share is, I do not find it easy to determine. Most of these young men were children, and none of them had a vote or the experience which would enable them to use a vote wisely, when England made many of those decisions to which the present disorders could plausibly be traced. Are they, perhaps, repenting of what they have in no sense done?

If they are, it might be supposed that their error is very harmless: men fail so often to repent their real sins that the occasional repentance of an imaginary sin might appear almost desirable. But what actually happens (I have watched it happening) to the youthful national penitent is a little more complicated than that. England is not a natural agent, but a civil society. When we speak of England's actions we mean the actions of the British Government. The young man who is called upon to repent of England's foreign policy is really being called upon to repent the acts of his neighbor; for a Foreign Secretary or a Cabinet Minister is certainly a neighbor. And repentance presupposes condemnation. The first and fatal charm of national repentance is, therefore, the encouragement it gives us to turn from the bitter task of repenting our own sins to the congenial one of bewailing-- but, first, denouncing--the conduct of others. If it were clear to the young that this is what he is doing, no doubt he would remember the law of charity. Unfortunately the very terms in which national repentance is recommended to him conceal its true nature. By a dangerous figure of speech, he calls the Government not "they" but "we". And, since, as penitents, we are not encouraged to be charitable to our own sins, nor to give ourselves the benefit of any doubt, a Government which is called "we" is ipso facto placed beyond the sphere of charity or even of justice. You can say anything you please about it. You can indulge in the popular vice of detraction without restraint, and yet feel all the time that you are practicing contrition. A group of such young penitents will say, "Let us repent our national sins"; what they mean is, "Let us attribute to our neighbor (even our Christian neighbor) in the Cabinet, whenever we disagree with him, every abominable motive that Satan can suggest to our fancy."

Such an escape from personal repentance into that tempting region
Where passions have the privilege to work
And never hear the sound of their own names

would be welcome to the moral cowardice of anyone. But it is doubly attractive to the young intellectual. When a man over forty tries to repent the sins of England and to love her enemies, he is attempting something costly; for he was brought up to certain patriotic sentiments which cannot be mortified without a struggle. But an educated man who is now in his twenties usually has no such sentiment to mortify. In art, in literature, in politics, he has been, ever since he can remember, one of an angry and restless minority; he has drunk in almost with his mother's milk a distrust of English statesmen and a contempt for the manners, pleasures, and enthusiasms of his less-educated fellow countrymen. All Christians know that they must forgive their enemies. But "my enemy" primarily means the man who I am really tempted to hate and traduce. If you listen to young Christian intellectuals talking, you will soon find out who their real enemy is. He seems to have two names--Colonel Blimp* and "the businessman". I suspect that the latter usually means the speaker's father, but that is speculation. What is certain is that in asking such people to forgive the Germans and Russians, and to open their eyes to the sins of England, you are asking them, not to mortify, but to indulge, their ruling passion. I do not mean that what you are asking them is not right and necessary in itself; we must forgive all our enemies or be damned. But it is emphatically not the exhortation which your audience needs. The communal sins which they should be told to repent are those of their own age and class--its contempt for the uneducated, its readiness to speak evil, its self-righteous provocations of public obloquy, its breaches of the Fifth Commandment. Of these sins I have heard nothing among them. Till I do, I must think their candor towards the national enemy a rather inexpensive virtue. If a man cannot forgive Colonel Blimp next door whom he has seen, how shall he forgive the Dictators whom he hath not seen?

Is it not, then, the duty of the Church to preach national repentance? I think it is. But the office–like many others–can be profitably discharged only by those who discharge it with reluctance. We know that a man may have to ‘hate’ his mother for the Lord’s sake. The sight of a Christian rebuking his mother, though tragic, may be edifying; but only if we are quite sure that he has been a good son and that, in his rebuke, spiritual zeal is triumphing, not without agony, over strong natural affection. The moment there is reason to suspect that he enjoys rebuking her–that he believes himself to be rising above the natural level while he is still, in reality, grovelling below it in the unnatural–the spectacle becomes merely disgusting. The hard sayings of our Lord are wholesome to those only who find them hard.

There is a terrible chapter in M. Mauriac’s Vie de Jésus. When the Lord spoke of brother and child against parent, the other disciples were horrified. Not so Judas. He took it as a duck takes to water: `Pourquoi cetter stupeur?, se demande Judas. . . . Il aime dans le Christ cette vue simple, ce regard de Dieu sur l’horreur humaine.’ (‘“Why this stupefaction?” asked Judas ... He loved in Christ his simple view of things, his divine glance at human depravity.’) For there are two states of mind which face the Dominical paradoxes without flinching. God guard us from one of them.

*Colonel Blimp was a British cartoon character

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Welcome back, Carter"

I saw the above phrase on a tea party sign and thought it clever. And here's a prime example.

Below is an article by Porter Gross, our intelligence chief during the days right after 9/11. He has some interesting comments about the amnesia of some members of congress as well as the problem of airing our laundry in public view.

As I read it I couldn’t help but think of Jimmy Carter’s early days. Human rights trumped all else in his naïve world of trust. It seems we didn’t learn much in 1977. We are back at it again with Obama and the Democrat majority.

But it is such a dangerous game. I fear we will see greater turmoil than hostages held for 444 days as a result of our naïveté.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Great Placater

I finally figured out what was bothering me about the Obama speech at Notre Dame. It actually is one of my pet peeves about elected officials.

Here is a letter I received from a Republican Congressman:
"Thank you for contacting my office with your concerns. It is good to hear from you. In our fast-paced world, I appreciate the fact you took the time to share you views on the issues of importance to you.

"I was elected to represent you in the U. S. House of Representatives; therefore, I will keep your views in mind should this issue be brought to the House Floor for a vote. Americans have many ways of being able to voice their opinions to their lawmakers. I am glad you took advantage of that right you have as a citizen.

"Again, thank you for contacting me. If I can be of more assistance, please feel free to contact me in the future.

"Very truly yours,"

I don't care that it was printed on recycled paper with soy ink.

This congressman didn't tell me his position on the issue. He didn't even mention it in his form letter. His tone was patronizing. He was clear to tell me I had a right to my opinion.

It was a pat on the head from an all-knowing politician.

Obama's speech yesterday was a voice-mail form letter. No commitment to change. No explanation of his position. Nothing more than his approval of the First Amendment, as long as we don't "demonize" him or make of him a "caricature."

That performance might have worked for a moderate, but not for the man who signed overseas abortion orders within the first 48 hours of his presidency. Not for the man who has filled his administration with rabid pro-abortionists in strategic positions. Not for the man with a voting history in Illinois of partial-birth abortion.

His slightly conciliatory tone has more to do with polling numbers than a genuine interest in re-examining the question.

Sorry, I've already got enough form letters.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Can you hear me now?

Could this be the catalyst, Ms. Napolitano?

4 US citizens found strangled in Tijuana
The Associated Press
7:09 p.m. May 14, 2009 San Diego Union Tribune

TIJUANA, Mexico — The bodies of four U.S. citizens were found strangled, beaten and stabbed in a van in this border city, two days after they reportedly left their Southern California homes for a night at the Mexican clubs, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The victims, ages 19 to 23 years old, were found tied up on Saturday, but their deaths were not reported earlier because they were under investigation, said Fermin Gomez, an assistant state prosecutor in Baja California.

U.S. consular officials in Tijuana said the victims – two men and two women from the San Diego and Chula Vista areas – were U.S. citizens. The state attorney general's office in Baja California said one of the women was Mexican.

Their deaths are the latest in a string of violence in Tijuana that authorities blame on a bloody turf war between drug cartels.

Bernard Gonzales, a spokesman for the Chula Vista Police Department, said a friend told the women's parents they were headed to nightclubs in Tijuana on Thursday night. They were reported missing the next day when they did not answer their cell phones.

Gomez said relatives of one of the victims told authorities they knew drug traffickers, and that one of the women had cocaine in her system.

The victims were Brianna Hernandez, 19; Carmen Jimena Ramos; Oscar Jorge Garcia, 23; and Luis Antonio Gamez III, 21, said Charles Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Tijuana. Ramos was believed to be 20 years old, but her age had not been confirmed.
----end of article----

Note: The comments below are not real, at least not yet.

Response from the White House: It has been determined that these citizens were strangled with bandanas purchased at a WalMart store in San Diego. Speaker Pelosi is introducing emergency legislation banning the sale of bandanas to people under 50. The CPSC is drafting a regulation requiring that bandanas be perforated every three inches, thus causing them to tear away if used as a weapon.

Response from Governor Schwarzenegger: Effective immediately, all bandanas sold in California will have a serial number. Bandana owners will be required to purchase a Bandana Owners Identity Card (BOIC) and wait three days for a background check before purchasing. All bandanas will have an imbedded RFID tag allowing it to be tracked. Arnold has demanded that bandanas be added to the list of cargo items being screened in southbound shipments.

International responses: France has declared itself a bandana-free zone. China has denied ever producing bandanas for the US market. The United Nations has established a new department to study the question.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Michael Steele to base

Ah, the incredible, shrinking GOP. Perhaps you heard GOP Chairman Michael Steele's assessment of the Romney campaign the other night. Steele said:

"Remember, it was the base that rejected Mitt because of his switch on pro-life, from pro-choice to pro-life. It was the base that rejected Mitt because it had issues with Mormonism.

"I mean, I hear what you’re saying, but before we even got to a primary vote, the base had made very clear they had issues with Mitt because if they didn’t, he would have defeated John McCain in those primaries in which he lost."

Romney mouthpiece Eric Fehrnstrom responded to Steele’s comment: "Sometimes when you shoot from the hip you miss the target. This is one of those times.”

Then Gail Gitcho shot back for Steele, saying: "Chairman Steele regrets the way his comments have been interpreted. Chairman Steele believes Mitt Romney is a respected and influential voice in the Republican Party and looks to his leadership and ideas to help move our party and our nation in the right direction."

Exactly what is the Republican base? Does anyone know? The “base” Steele refers to is the old Christian Coalition that is certain Mormons aren’t Christians and therefore neither is Mitt Romney.

Karl Rove’s “base” was anyone you could buy with a promise of entitlement. He saw the conservatives dwindling and tried to throw out the baby with the bath water. Well, no one recognizes the baby any more.

So, Steele is critical of just about everyone at this point. Does he have a particular person in mind for the 2012 candidate? From his point-of-view it isn’t Palin. It isn’t Limbaugh. It isn’t Romney.

Does Steele have a GOP philosophy in mind? Specter said that the GOP was moving too far to the right. That’s odd. When did that happen? Was McCain an example of that shift to the right? I don’t think so.

Where does Steele see the GOP right now? Today? Is it too conservative? Too liberal? What is his take on the current fiscal and social positions?

These are tough questions and it will take great leadership to answer them.

But alienating the most visible party members as he has a talent of doing does not bode well for the GOP.

He would do better making hay with the constant folly of the Democrats in control right now rather than destroying what little unity is left.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What ya gonna do...

…when they come for you?*
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger has a lien on his house. Someone wants him to pay $11,668.10 if he wants clear title to his own house.

That someone is the IRS. It seems Todd owes taxes from 2007. Oops.

And another little tidbit; Todd’s wife is a State of Illinois employee, making $56,700 a year as Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's equal-employment opportunity officer.

And Todd’s salary as County Board President is $170,000 a year.

The official response to all of this?
Chicago Tribune:
Stroger has made arrangements to settle the IRS debt, according to a statement this morning from Eugene Mullins, Stroger’s spokesman. He said the administration would not respond to further inquires.

Chicago Sun Times:
Gene Mullins, a Stroger spokesman, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday night that Stroger and his wife already have made plans to pay the tax man.

But Mullins couldn't provide details beyond that, including how the Strogers let the situation get to the point where the IRS determined it needed to hold their feet to the fire by filing the income-tax lien with the Cook County recorder of deeds.

"It's a bill that him and his wife have made arrangements with the IRS on," Mullins said. "They made arrangements with them, and they're paying it off right now. They worked out a payment plan with the IRS."

I especially like the part where it says, "the administration would not respond to further inquires."

*Bob Marley, Bad Boys

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Making sausage

Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie nachts.

The less the people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep in the night.

~Attributed to Otto von Bismarck

Room 226 at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, is a hearing room where great speeches are made and our nation’s problems examined to the nth degree.

The dais is an elevated semi-circle with a façade of fine wood panels. There are 20 chairs for Senators, each with a microphone. Behind those 20 chairs are 30 more for aides and staffers.

At the focal point and at a lower elevation is the table for witnesses called by the Congress to give testimony on any number of issues. Some witnesses are there for a flogging about bird strikes or unsafe cribs. Others are called to bolster the opinion of one group or another. (Picture the purpose of “expert witnesses” called to “prove” a point in a court of law. You never call “experts” who disagree with you.)

Behind the witness table are a few rows of seats for observers, lawyers, media, and the bullpen for future witnesses.
Here are a few screenshots from room 226 on April 30, 2009. The topic is comprehensive immigration reform. I’ll try to explain them.

As the hearing begins, only three members of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration are present. The subcommittee is made up of TEN members. I wonder where the other SEVEN are? Kissing babies somewhere? Cutting ribbons at supermarkets? A fourth member will arrive later to give her speech.

Senator Charles Schumer conducts the hearing.

Senator Cornyn, ranking Republican, gives a speech.

Senator Feinstein shows up a little late and gives her speech.

Senator Kyl also speaks.
After 45 minutes, the Senators disappear to cast a vote on the floor. After a half-hour recess only TWO return.
Senator Cornyn leaves two hours into the hearing. (Well, that's actually only an hour and a half of hearing because they recessed to take that vote.) Schumer does the remaining hour and fifteen minutes all by himself.
You have to wonder how important immigration reform really is when you consider how sparsely attended this hearing really was.
Who really runs government? Well, in order to conclude this hearing it took the coaching of TWO staffers to end it properly. And Schumer has been in Washington since 1981.
Staffer ONE explains it to Schumer:
Staffer TWO helps him out:
Staffers ONE and TWO double-team the Senator from New York to make sure the hearing is closed properly:

The entire hearing was nonsense. No wonder even the members of the subcommittee show little interest. The only real expert in immigration law and the history of reform was Kris Kobach, and he was treated like dirt by Schumer.

At one point Schumer deliberately skipped over Kobach in a question he asked the other three members of that panel.

At another point he said Kobach was only interested in opposing amnesty and that was that.

Despite Schumer's frequent statements that the panel represented a variety of views on the subject, it was in fact a stage show of "expert witnesses" in favor of legalization.

I wonder if Schumer even listens to his own words. He began and ended the hearing with the opinion that Americans like legal immigration but do not like illegal immigration. Yet everyone who testified, with the exception of Kobach, was in favor of rewarding illegal activity with legalization. Not once did anyone discuss the incentive for future illegal entry created by amnesty/legalization.

Enjoy your sausage.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Feinstein's "fuzzy" farm figures

At the hearing on immigration reform last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein graced us all with her presence just long enough to make a speech about the dire need for immigration reform to relieve the poor farmers who need cheap labor.

She spoke of the anecdotal stories from farmers in California and elsewhere who either must switch to crops pickable by machine or go out of business altogether because they can’t find workers at any price who will do the “back-breaking work” of picking crops.

She should have stopped there. But she didn’t.

Instead she told the hearing that 1,560,000 acres worth of farmland was left fallow in 2007-2008. (Wow, I thought. That’s a lot of land.)

She should have stopped there as well. But she didn’t.

She went on to say that 84,155 of those lost acres went to Mexico.

If only she had stuck to the pity stories and NOT quoted all those figures.

We might have even pitied her tale that I-5 in California had to be closed because of dust storms, conjuring up Oklahoma in the depression days. But she had to quote acreage.

Now, let’s take a closer look at Feinstein’s figures. The 1.56 million acres represents under 1.7% of all farmland in the United States. Total farmland in the USA currently stands at 922,095,840 acres.

And 84,155 acres selling out to Mexico represents a measly 0.000091 % of all farmland in the United States.

And her entire premise rings hollow given her voting record on CAFTA and other South American trade agreements that undercut California’s ability to be profitable while growing crops for the domestic market.

Not to mention her scathing critique of guest worker programs and the impact of illegal aleins in 2004 as reported here:

Yet no one challenged her speech last Friday. No one even laughed.

More from the black robes

We live every day under the cloud of court rulings that require us to pay for the public education of illegal aliens and their children, to pay for biligual education, to print election information in foreign languages, and to give precious citizenship to children born to illegal aliens in the United States.

Well, here are two more Supreme Court rulings that may interest you.
The police are now limited in their power to search vehicles once an individual is arrested. Instead, if they want to search, they must do so with the perp in the car and without putting handcuffs on him. That doesn't sound very safe to me. (Arizona v. Gant)

You'll like this next one. You can't charge an illegal alien with identity theft unless you can prove that he knew the identity belonged to someone else. (You might need to read that a few times for it to sink in. Don't expect it to make sense.) So, much of the leverage prosecutors had with illegal aliens now goes down the drain. Viva los derechos (rights) of the illegal aliens. (Flores-Figueroa v. U.S., 08-108)

God Bless America. She needs it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Working hard in Washington

We all know that our elected officials "work for the voters." They say it all the time.

Here's an example of a hearing on Comprehensive Immigration Reform on April 30, 2009.

The video of the event shows presenters giving testimony to an empty dais!

So, here's the roll call of our senators working hard for us on this important issue:
Democratic Members
Charles E. Schumer, New York (Chairman)
Gave remarks, conducted the meeting
Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont
Dianne Feinstein, California
Came late, gave remarks, then left
Richard J. Durbin, Illinois
Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island
Ron Wyden, Oregon
Republican Members
John Cornyn, Texas (Ranking Member)
Gave remarks, attend about half the hearing
Charles E. Grassley, Iowa
Jon Kyl, Arizona
Gave remarks, then left
Jeff Sessions, Alabama

Never mind that the hearing was recessed twice so the Senators could go vote on the floor.

I know this hearing was mostly fluff by left-leaning "ringers" poised to tell Schumer what he wanted to hear, but don't you think the committee members ought to be there? Sure, they can read it all later (like reading the stimulus bill), but what about asking questions?

These people don't represent me. They should at least show up.

Hey, gimme back my soapbox!

It appears that the progressives are a bit put out when freedom of speech is on the other foot.

Example #1- Miss California USA, Carrie Prejean, stepped forward to commend the National Association for Marriage and stands alongside them in support of marriage between a man and a woman. In return, the California pageant organization chimed in with this critique of Prejean: “In the entire history of Miss USA, no reigning title holder has so readily committed her face and voice to a more divisive or polarizing issue. We are deeply saddened Carrie Prejean has forgotten her platform of the Special Olympics, her commitment to all Californians, and solidified her legacy as one that goes beyond the right to voice her beliefs and instead reveals her opportunistic agenda.”

So is YOUR judge’s question about gay marriage an “opportunistic agenda”?And Mario (aka Perez Hilton), a rabid gay rights advocate, has a right to put out a vulgar video attack about Prejean personally? She’s just standing up for marriage between a man and a woman. This is an agenda?

Example #2- It was a rather clever protest I thought. People pushing baby carriages around the Notre Dame campus. The carriages contained dolls splattered with blood. The school kicked them off campus (not very open-minded of them) and told them never to come back. According to the news story “such orders remain in effect forever unless the university decides to rescind them.”

But Randall Terry returned to the school the next day and was arrested on the spot by campus police and put in jail. He paid his $250 and is out on bond.

Example #3- Also from Notre Dame, the Laetare Medal is given annually to an American of note worthy of Catholic accolades. Past recipients include JFK and Dave Brubeck. This year Mary Ann Glendon was to receive the award. Glendon is no slouch, having been our ambassador to the Vatican and a current Harvard law professor.

But Mary Ann Glendon sent word to Notre Dame that she would not attend the commencement and would not accept the award. Why? Because the college is having Obama speak and will give him an honorary degree.

Notre Dame is “disappointed.”

Example #4- A congressional hearing was held on April 30th on the subject of immigration reform. Senator Diane Feinstein said this about those who disagree with her view on legalization: “There is indeed a dark side in this country. And that dark side really prefers to distort the issue. That dark side really caters to the fear in people that if we repair a broken system, that if we develop a comprehensive immigration plan that is fair to people, that moves people out of the shadows, which uses them in their most constructive and productive way, that it is harmful to this nation.”

Senator Schumer talked about toning down the rhetoric about illegal aliens.

Perhaps they want an ignorant citizenry, willing to trust them with this issue despite the repeated dismal results from Washington. How many times do commissions have to tell them they need to control the border, control the visas, deport those who are here illegally, and provide some sort of employee verification?

One can scarcely say they are doing their best when the very enforcement tools we need (fence, detention beds, ICE, border agents…) are regularly decimated by funding cutbacks?

Is it a “dark side” to suggest that family unification programs grow exponentially within a single generation? Or that “stacked deck” testimony from “experts” is a blatant attempt to ignore the very realities that have doomed past reform efforts?

Feinstein’s remarks point up the fact that our efforts are having an impact and are worth continuing.

Conservative Americans are beginning to step up on the soapbox, and that troubles the left.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Senate Hearings

This is how it starts. There is a webcast of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, held yesterday in Washington. It was put together by Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and was quite a show.

Webcast here. Over three hours long!

Seven of the eight testimonies were pro-amnesty and selected to present illegals as indispensible to our society and victims of current law.

Kris Kobach was the only one who actually used the word "amnesty" and was ridiculed for it by Schumer.

Kobach's testimony focused on the irrational idea that the people at Citizenship (USCIS) could even handle the workload of processing amnesty requests. The 2007 bill (that fortunately failed) required that all 12 millions be processed within a year and each individual approved within 24 hours.

Kobach did some simple math to show that it would take a department of 10,000+ NEW federal workers to process them, and that 24 hours was not an adequate time frame for a background check.

In the Q & A, Schumer asked Doris Meisnner, Clinton's Immigration chief, about the background checks. Here's what she said: “The worst thing that could be done this time around, based on what we learned during IRCA is a program that is retrospective, in other words a program that asks to look at documents from the past for people to prove that they’ve been in the country. That would be a deal-breaker. This should be a program that is prospective, getting people to register and come forward, a requirement to come forward, and then prospectively earn the adjustment to permanent residence and to citizenship. That’s an entirely different scheme to try and implement, but it matters very much how the legislation is written.”

Excuse me, but that is a clear misunderstanding of the need here. We aren't back in 1986! We need background checks. We very much DO NEED TO KNOW WHERE THESE PEOPLE CAME FROM.

So that's the gist of the nonsense being fed to Congress. These will be the testimonies every congressman will be reading and quoting this year. This is the background from which they will judge.

(This is the reason congressional hearings are such a farce and contrary to the legislative process that was intended by the Constitution.)

Now, had this been a REAL investigation, 2/3 of the testimonies would have been from people with a strong desire for enforcement first. That would reflect the tone of the people.

Instead, we'll have to create our own tone with calls, letters, faxes, and e-mails to congress and the White House.

As it stands, they live in a fantasy of their own creation and listen only to those they agree with.