Archive for Republicans

Lost and Found

Lost: One Republic, 238 yrs old, fixer-upper; red, white, and blue; friendly, but do not abuse; answers to “America”.

Found: 30,000 emails (see above):

Up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever.

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed congressional staffers from several committees on Friday that the emails were found among hundreds of “disaster recovery tapes” that were used to back up the IRS email system.

“They just said it took them several weeks and some forensic effort to get these emails off these tapes,” a congressional aide told the Washington Examiner.

Just “weeks” and “effort”, huh? That’s all it took to recover the irrecoverable? On a Friday, the Friday before Thanksgiving week, no less? And they accuse us of cynicism!

The missing emails extend from 2009 to 2011, a period when Lerner headed the IRS’s exempt-organizations division. The emails were lost when Lerner’s computer crashed, IRS officials said earlier this year.

In June Koskinen told Congress the emails were probably lost for good because the disaster recovery tape holds onto the data for only six months. He said even if the IRS had sought the emails within the six-month period, it would have been a complicated and difficult process to produce them from the tapes.

The IRS also lost the emails of several other employees who worked under Lerner during that period.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee he chairs will be one of the committees that will examine the emails.

“Though it is unclear whether TIGTA has found all of the missing Lois Lerner e-mails, there may be significant information in this discovery,” Issa told the Examiner. “The Oversight Committee will be looking for information about her mindset and who she was communicating with outside the IRS during a critical period of time when the IRS was targeting conservative groups. This discovery also underscores the lack of cooperation Congress has received from the IRS. The agency first failed to disclose the loss to Congress and then tried to declare Lerner’s e-mails gone and lost forever. Once again it appears the IRS hasn’t been straight with Congress and the American people.”

I said the other day that Putin is to Obama as Obama is to Congress. Putin flouts the law, abuses norms, lies, justifies, and laughs in the face of argument or protest. Oh, did I write “Putin”? That’s Obama. Putin doesn’t even bother prevaricating; he just takes. It’s time for Ukraine—and Congress—to fight back. Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

In lieu of good men, we’ll just have to hope for the best from the Republicans—i.e. we’re hosed.

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Playing Chicken vs. Being Chicken

The reason Vladimir Putin is eating Barack Obama’s lunch is because Putin behaves like a crazy-a**-motherfu**er. In such a stare-down, Obama doesn’t just blink, he flutters his eyelashes.

In the stare-down over amnesty for criminal aliens, however, Obama is Putin: he’s acting like George III on steroids.

And Republicans in Congress can’t look him in the eye:

The only way for Republicans to block the president’s planned amnesty-by-executive order is to withhold funding for its implementation.

Republicans have yet to devise an agreed strategy to withhold funding that wouldn’t be met by an Obama veto.

Such a veto would result in at least a partial government “shutdown.”

Even though (1) Republicans would continue to fund 99 percent of government, including all essential services and personnel, and (2) Obama’s veto would be the proximate cause of the “shutdown,” Conventional Beltway Wisdom is that Republicans would be blamed for the “shutdown.”

Media will hype stories of alleged catastrophes, disasters, and cataclysms purportedly caused by the “shutdown.”

Media will utterly ignore stories about the profound harm amnesty causes to American workers, American sovereignty, health and safety, the federal budget, and the rule of law.

Republicans know they’re wholly inept at explaining the simplest of facts to the American people and refuting media/Democrat spin.

Consequently, Conventional Beltway Wisdom holds that the “shutdown” will do extraordinary political damage to Republican election prospects for 2016.

Republicans tend to believe what they read in the Washington Post.

Republicans are, therefore, terrified of a “shutdown.”

Republicans are apparently oblivious to the fact that last year’s disastrous “shutdown” resulted in a Republican takeover of the Senate, the largest GOP majority in the House since WWII, control of two-thirds of state legislatures, and GOP governorships in super-blue Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois.

Republicans are similarly oblivious to the fact that Oregon voters rejected driver’s licenses for illegal aliens by a 2–1 margin.

Republicans are apparently unaware that Obama is more unpopular than at any point in his presidency and, post-Grubergate, has less credibility than Baghdad Bob.

I can’t blame Republicans for something they haven’t done. But if they end up having done nothing, Obama should throw them some table scraps because they will truly be his bitches.

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Ripe for Impeachment

I’m not saying it’ll happen: impeachment is more a political act than a legal one.

But Andy McCarthy makes the case:

I drew on Faithless Execution in last weekend’s column and in a follow-up Corner post, positing that, short of credibly threatening impeachment, Congress and the courts can neither compel a president to enforce the laws nor stop him from using his plenary pardon authority to grant a sweeping amnesty. That gets Obama two-thirds of the prize he is pursuing — namely, several million aliens whose illegal status has been purged, put on the path to inevitable voting rights that will give Democrats an invincible electoral majority.

By calling on Congress to pass a bill to his liking, Obama has admitted he doesn’t have the authority to do this on his own. He has said exactly that several times over the years, as captured in a video we posted yesterday. By issuing this fiat, therefore, he will exceed his authority—by his own admission and reasoning. Either the proposed amnesty will have no validity; or, if he attempts to enforce it, he will be violating the Constitution. Again, he says so.

That may seem like a political impossibility—I am far from prepared to issue one of my Thirstradamus predictions—but it may become more possible over time:

Congress could, in theory, block the president from granting illegal immigrants legal status and other positive benefits (such as work permits) without impeaching him. To do this in reality, though, Congress would have to use its power of the purse. Translation: It would take the credible threat of a government shutdown to check the president’s lawless conferral of benefits.

Alas, that constitutional parry has already been disavowed by GOP congressional leadership.

Against this backdrop, I am gratified that Fox News’s Megyn Kelly and Charles Krauthammer have just given the topic of impeachment in the immigration context more of the serious consideration it deserves. Appearing on The Kelly File Thursday, Dr. Krauthammer asserted that the president’s anticipated amnesty decree for millions of illegal aliens “is an impeachable offense.”

He is plainly correct. As Faithless Execution elaborates, “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the Constitution’s trigger for impeachment, is a term of art for abuses of power that violate the president’s fiduciary obligations to the American people he serves, the constitutional system he takes an oath to preserve, and the laws whose faithful execution is his core duty. High crimes and misdemeanors are not — or at least, not necessarily — the same as “crimes” and “misdemeanors” prosecutable in the courts. Impeachment is a political remedy (i.e., the removal of political authority), not a legal one (i.e., the removal of liberty after criminal indictment and conviction).

A sweeping amnesty for millions of unrepentant lawbreakers that punishes American workers, imposes crushing burdens on the states, and betrays law-abiding aliens who comply with our immigration rules is not an indictable offense. Yet it is obviously an impeachable one. So is the failure to enforce the immigration laws. And the effort to award by executive decree benefits that only Congress has the power to grant is patently lawless and thus just as clearly impeachable.

Exactly. And, not to be tiresome, but Obama, the ex-Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law, has said so himself, repeatedly.

The argument goes on, but let me peel off here to discuss the politics. Impeachment requires a majority vote in the House, one I believe would pass easily. The case then is handed over to the Senate for “trial”. To convict, two-thirds (67) of the Senators need to vote in favor. When the new Congress is seated, there will be 54 Republicans, all of whom (let’s say) will vote for impeachment. Can they convince 13 Democrats to go against the party (and the country) to join them? Almost certainly not.

Obama’s proposed decree is politically unpopular, as is he, and a few Dems will vote to impeach. But not enough. As McCarthy says, impeachment is a political act more than a legal one. And there are more than enough political hacks among the Democrats in the Senate to spare The Nation’s First African American President™ from the humiliation of impeachment.

So, is it worth it to proceed? Democrat pollster Pat Caddell described Obama as a “raging narcissist”. Such people do not slink away with their tails between their legs. He’s not bluffing. He doesn’t have to: he can do the math as well as I can (both of us having gone to the same university). I’m not sure I see the point in pursuing a strategy that has almost no chance of success at the end, will leave the offending act unchanged, and may be political overkill.

And I’d vote to impeach him faster than you can say “undocumented citizens”.

But I wonder if wielding the power of the purse might not be a better option, even if it does lead to a shutdown. The GOP feels it took the brunt of criticism for the last “shutdown” (slowdown, barely), yet it just won an historic election. Unlike impeachment, cutting off funds is, as this administration likes to say, a “time-limited, scope-limited” action. A specific remedy to an unpopular act.

I’d also take my chances in the Supreme Court, however this issue might come before them. Even there, the issue would be as much political as it would be legal. But I think a majority of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy would rule that the Constitution is not the president’s napkin at a barbecue joint, to be soiled, wadded up, and thrown away whenever it suited him. On that, I would give my Thirstradamus guarantee.

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Who Ordered the Egg Salad?

Remember all the stories about how Obama never mixed with members of Congress? He didn’t schmooze or gladhand? He even avoided his cabinet, preferring the company of intimate insiders like Valerie Jarrett and…Valerie Jarrett.

This has got to be hard for him to swallow:

Obama invited the top four House and Senate leaders to each bring along their top three deputies to the lunch in the White House Old Family Dining Room.


That’s right, sir. You take a big ol’ bite out of that s**t sandwich.

Republican aides said before the lunch that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is in line to become Senate majority leader, would press Obama and Democratic leaders to support dozens of House-passed bills that they believe could be quickly approved next year when the new Congress convenes and could help jump-start the economy.

Boehner and McConnell were also expected to remind Obama — as they did in public this week — that he runs the risk of spoiling any attempt at bipartisan cooperation if he takes steps to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws by using his presidential executive authorities, aides said.

“Finding common ground is going to be hard work, but it will be even harder if the president isn’t willing to work with us,” Boehner told reporters Thursday at his post-election news conference. “I’ve told the president before, he needs to put politics aside and rebuild trust.”

Which president does he mean? Fillmore? Not this one, surely. The first words out of his mouth to Republicans after the inauguration were “I won.” He has ignored Congressional intent, abused his office, and conspired with fellow Democrats in Congress to ruin the traditions and rules of the legislative body. Rebuild trust? Work with you? If you bring a knife, John Boehner, he’s bringing a gun.

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Demographics Against Democrats

Here’s a word you don’t often see associated with Republicans: Demographics.

Over the past five years, the Democratic Party has tried to add class warfare to its pre-existing focus on racial and gender grievances, and environmental angst. Shortly after his re-election in 2012, President Obama claimed to have “one mandate .?.?. to help middle-class families and families that are working hard to try to get into the middle class.”

Yet despite the economic recovery, it is precisely these voters, particularly the white middle and working classes, who, for now, have deserted the Democrats for the GOP, the assumed party of plutocracy. The key in the 2014 mid-term elections was concern about the economy; early exit polls Tuesday night showed that seven in 10 voters viewed the economy negatively, and this did not help the Democratic cause.

“The Democrats have committed political malpractice,” says Morley Winograd, a longtime party activist and a former top aide to Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton years. “They have not discussed the economy and have no real program. They are offering the middle class nothing.”

Winograd believes that the depth of white middle- and working-class angst threatens the bold predictions in recent years about an “emerging Democratic majority” based on women, millennials, minorities and professionals. Non-college educated voters broke heavily for the GOP, according to the exit polling, including some 62% of white non-college voters. This reflects a growing trend: 20 years ago districts with white, working-class majorities tilted slightly Democratic; before the election they favored the GOP by a 5 to 1 margin, and several of the last white, Democratic congressional holdovers from the South, notably West Virginia’s Nick Rahall and Georgia’s John Barrow, went down to defeat Tuesday night.

Rather than the promise of “hope and change,” according to exit polls, 50% of voters said they lack confidence that their children will do better than they have, 10 points higher than in 2010. This is not surprisingly given that nearly 80% state that the recession has not ended, at least for them.

Much more; do read.

But we have enough for discussion to work with here. The GDP grew a respectable 3.5% last quarter, after a whopping 4.6% the quarter before. The unemployment rate is finally below 6%, and the “Unexpected”™ weekly layoff numbers have been historically low recently. Yet nobody feels good about the economy.

Are we stupid? Or have five-plus years of piss-poor “recovery” left us jaded? The labor participation rate is still at historic lows, and 93 million Americans—about the total population of Spain and Kenya combined—don’t work.

And some of us have more personal reasons:

[W]hile failing most Americans, the Obama era has been very kind to plutocrats of all kinds. Low interest rates have hurt middle-income retirees while helping to send the stock market soaring. Quantitative easing has helped boost the price of assets like high-end real estate; in contrast middle and working class people, as well as small businesses, find access to capital or mortgages still very difficult.

Perhaps the biggest attrition for the Democrats has been among middle-class voters employed in the private sector, particularly small property and business owners. In the 1980s and 1990s, middle- and working-class people benefited from economic expansions, garnering about half the gains; in the current recovery almost all benefits have gone to the top one percent, particularly the wealthiest sliver of that rarified group.

You can bet Elizabeth Warren knows those numbers. It would behoove the Republicans to learn them too. I have no patience for bashing the wealthy and chanting about the “99%”, but if Obama’s recovery has left the middle class behind—how many new jobs are full time? who gets a raise any more?—smart people know their political future, and the country’s economic future, lie in getting that right.

And I do not want that person to be Elizabeth Warren.

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Beneath the Wave

The results are still being counted, but Republicans “obviously” had a good night, as even Obama conceded. In the Senate, in the House, and in state houses across the country.

Some point to various ballot measures around the country to demonstrate either the electorate’s hidden liberalism, or its evident confusion.

Me, I don’t see it that way:

Big money was a boon to groups fighting for and against ballot measures across the states on Election Day.

In 21 of the top 25 most expensive state ballot measure races in terms of television ad spending, groups that won the war on the airwaves also won at the ballot box, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of unofficial election results and preliminary data from media tracking service Kantar Media/CMAG.

But surprising upsets also showed that in the wild world of direct democracy, money isn’t everything.

“The relationship is more complicated than just ‘spending more [means] having greater success.’ There are a lot of other factors in terms of the electoral environment,” said Daniel Smith, a University of Florida professor and expert on such initiatives. “Ballot measures generally are easier to defeat than to pass.”

That’s by way of background. Defeat is easier than passing, and big money is a big decider.

But I would argue so is libertarianism:

Here’s a rundown of the major ballot measure results:

Abortion. Coloradans rejected a measure, for the third time in recent years, seeking to grant “personhood” to the unborn. North Dakota similarly rebuffed an amendment to insert into the state’s constitution “the inalienable right to life of every human being at every stage of development.” In Tennessee, however, voters approved new legislative power to regulate abortion, which opponents fear will result in limits on women’s access to the procedure.

Marijuana. Measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults passed in Oregon and the District of Columbia and appeared on track for passage in Alaska as well. (In the case of Washington, D.C., though, Congress has review power to block the move.) Oregon and Alaska would follow the example of Colorado and Washington State in setting up systems for regulating and taxing retail sales of marijuana. In Florida, a measure dealing with the medicinal use of marijuana fell short of the 60 percent approval needed to pass.

Minimum wage. Voters in four Republican-leaning states approved increases in their minimum wage at a time when Republicans in Congress have resisted boosting the federal minimum from $7.25 per hour. The states are Alaska (to $9.75 by 2016), Arkansas (to $8.50 by 2017), Nebraska (to $9 by 2016), and South Dakota (to $8.50 by 2015). The California cities of San Francisco and Oakland also voted to boost base-level pay.

Guns. Washington State voters approved a measure to expand background checks to private transactions and many loans and gifts. Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence hailed the vote as a symbolic victory in a nation where the public “supports expanding background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people.” According to the group, seven states will now require checks on all gun sales, up from two before the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

Food labeling. Colorado voters rejected a measure that would have required labels to help consumers identify foods with genetically modified organisms. Opponents of the labeling requirements, including food corporations and biotech firms, argue that GMO foods are safe and that the labeling would create undue costs, open the door to lawsuits over labels, and put an implicit stigma on GMO foods. A similar measure in Oregon was too close to call at press time.

Schools. Missouri rejected a constitutional amendment to reform teacher tenure in public schools. It would have made it easier for teachers to be fired and would have required teachers to be evaluated in large measure based on student outcomes.

Gambling. Voters in Massachusetts were in favor of casino plans that are already on track, defeating a measure to pull out before the ventures launch. Rhode Island and Colorado rejected measures to expand gambling.

Hunting. In Maine, voters narrowly rejected a measure to ban the use of bait, dogs, and traps in hunting bears. Animal-rights advocates argued the methods were cruel and unsporting. Mississippi joined other states that have, mostly in the past two decades, enshrined a right to hunt and fish in their constitutions.

Taxes. Georgia voters supported a constitutional amendment to cap their income tax rate. Massachusetts voted to end gas-tax hikes that kick in automatically with inflation. Illinois voters gave an advisory thumbs up to the idea of a 3 percent surtax on income over $1 million to help fund education.

Not as much of a wave as the Republican monster, but on abortion, dope, taxes, the people mostly wanted less government involvement. Not true of Washington state on guns, of course, but the Sea-Tac metro area is reliably left wing (and anyway gun checks are not inherently wrong). Even the votes in favor of the minimum wage were underwhelming, as they all fell well below the $10.10 rate most libs want to impose. (I have gone on record as not opposed to a minimum wage hike, but purely on political grounds. I know it will cost jobs, but if opposing it costs votes, what’s the point? If people want fewer jobs, Senator BTL would like to keep his, thank you very much.)

No, I don’t see much evidence of liberalism, except where liberalism and libertarianism overlap. But if Republicans govern as the party to stop government encroachment (in ObamaCare, spending, amnesty for illegals, etc.), I think they will continue to reap the rewards of what Obama hath wrought.

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BOO!!!

Gotcha, suckahs!

The GOP is outright fear-mongering over a handful of infections. Sadly, it’s working — and just before Election Day.

The GOP’s lack of interest in news must be the explanation for why they continue to whip up fears about Ebola, right? For example, during Thursday’s U.S. Senate debate in New Hampshire, Republican Scott Brown mentioned that, “There is a rational fear from citizens in New Hampshire” that “people with diseases are coming through our border.”

Of course, Brown didn’t cite even one example of an Ebola-infected person sneaking into the United States. But hey, facts don’t matter when scaring voters.

[W]hy are the Republicans continuing with their one-two punch of “Ebola is going to get you” and “Obama is failing to protect your family?” Simple. Fear is the GOP’s modus operandi. We have seen the GOP use it effectively in the past regarding gay marriage, Muslims, blacks and Latinos. They scare voters into voting for them because frankly it’s much simpler than discussing complex issues—like creating jobs, immigration reform, or health care.

And here’s the worst part: Two polls released this week indicate it’s working again. A Politico poll released Monday found that nearly one-third of respondents said they were either losing or have no confidence in the federal government’s handing of the Ebola outbreak.

Add to that a survey released Wednesday that finds that the GOP’s fear-mongering has taken hold of Americans. Almost 46 percent said they were deeply concerned Ebola would spread widely across the country despite the fact that only two people contracted the disease on U.S. soil.

This couldn’t have played out any better for the GOP. First, they scare everyone. Then they position themselves as the guardians of the galaxy who will save us all from this dastardly threat.

Guilty as charged. What gave us away?

Just one small correction for this liberal, elitist hater of Mr. and Mrs. America. They were already scared.

Those few of them who still believed anything this government said compared the reality in the news with the effluvium excreted in news conferences, and came to their own conclusions. They were just looking for someone to represent their views. Republicans dutifully stepped forward (joined by more than a few Democrats, it must be said).

I think we’ll probably survive Ebola as a nation. The Obama regime is a much dicier proposition.

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The Life Of Julia: 2014

Remember the Obama 2012 campaign ads about Julia, who travels cradle to grave on government subsidies?

How’s Julia doing today?

If “Life of Julia,” President Obama’s 2012 online version of liberal paradise characterized by cradle-to-grave dependency on the government, were to be revived, the Republicans might be the ones to benefit:

President Obama delivers remarks at the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington in September. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)
Julia’s grandfather has been waiting for treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs for years and lives with pain. She liked the idea of Obamacare at first, but it turned out to be a nightmare to sign up and very expensive. She is now paying more than she used to for health care while her salary has been flat for several years. To keep up with expenses, she tries to take on extra work and rent out her spare room through Airbnb, but the city is threatening to shut that down. Her son, a recent college grad, is back living at home since he’s got a boatload of debt and rotten job prospects. Her younger child keeps getting A’s but doesn’t seem to be learning much; Julia worries whether she will be college-ready. The school choice program the state set up sounds great, but the Justice Department is suing to end it.

Meanwhile, her brother is getting discharged by the Army, part of the recent cutbacks. Having lived through 9/11, Julia is more nervous than she has been in a long time because terrorist groups seem stronger than ever and Iran may get the bomb. Ebola has freaked her out, and she has had to stop watching the news, which brings on panic attacks. With the Fed keeping interest rates so low, she is not getting the sort of return on her savings she counted on, and she’s worried Medicare is not going to be there for the long haul. The president sounds like a teenager — nothing is ever his fault.

More at the link. Great stuff. She gets into something called Reform Conservatism, which sounds interesting.

– Aggie

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Who Told?

It was supposed to be a secret!

Republicans Pave Way to All-White Future

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, [Sen. John McCain] said that, “I understand now, especially in my home state of Arizona, that these children coming, and now with the threat of ISIS … that we have to have a secure border.”

Follow that? Immigration reform, including the legalization of millions of immigrants already living in the U.S., is on hold because tens of thousands of Central American children have surrendered to border authorities. Also, because a sadistic army is killing people in Syria and Iraq. McCain, often a summer soldier when the forces of demagogy call, was perhaps too embarrassed to link Ebola to the new orthodoxy; of course, others already have.

Forgive us, for we have sinned. We thought that America could choose who came into this country. We believed America could screen the sick and the criminal. Whatever came over us?

“Secure the border” is an empty slogan and practical nightmare. But if you’re a conservative politician desperate to assuage (or exploit) what writer Steve Chapman calls the “deep anxieties” stirred by “brown migrants sneaking over from Mexico,” it’s an empty slogan with legs. It will be vastly easier for Republicans running in 2016 to shout “secure the border” than to defy the always anxious, politically-empowered Republican base.

He knows us so well—it’s almost like he’s in our minds!

Secure the border? What rot! Brown migrants? Ick! Always anxious? What makes you say that? Huh? What?

[T]he path of least resistance — and it has been many years since national Republicans have taken a different route — will be to continue reassuring the base while alienating brown voters. (After six years in which Republicans’ highest priority has been destruction of the nation’s first black president, it’s doubtful black voters will be persuadable anytime soon.) The party’s whole diversity gambit goes out the window. The White Album plays in perpetuity on Republican turntables.

That would be a significant problem if it resulted only in the marginalization and regionalization of the nation’s conservative party. But a racial hunkering down in an increasingly multi-racial nation will not be a passive or benign act. Pressed to the demographic wall, Republicans will be fighting to win every white vote, not always in the most high-minded manner. Democrats, likewise, will have a powerful incentive to question the motives and consequences of their opponents’ racial solidarity.

Immigration has always been about more than race.

Finally, he got something right. Immigration—illegal immigration—is about illegality. It’s about violating our borders (an act that gets you shot in many countries); it’s about violating our visas (which gets you thrown into jail and then deported,if you’re lucky, in many countries); it’s about forging documents and claiming benefits and evading taxes (which gets you enrolled in the Democrat Party in this country); it’s about illness, illiteracy, illogic, and, again, illegality.

By all means, give us “comprehensive immigration reform”, even if you aren’t going to like what it means to us.

PS: Just like President Obama, this guy seems awfully concerned with the welfare of the Republican Party. If we’ve already written off blacks (according to him), and are in the process of writing off “browns”, why doesn’t he just keep quiet and let us self-destruct? Very curious.

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Benghazi Blues

Over at NRO, something is bothering Andy McCarthy’s mind—and mine:

Why Won’t Republicans Get to the Bottom of Benghazi?
It’s not just Democrats who don’t want a full public airing.

In the midst of Libya’s civil war, the United States government decided to switch sides — we went from support for the Qaddafi regime that had been regarded as a key counterterrorism ally to support for “rebels” who very much included the anti-American jihadists Qaddafi had been helping us track. That was not just an Obama-administration policy preference; it had strong support from prominent senior Republicans in Congress. The toppling of Qaddafi that resulted enabled jihadists to raid the regime’s arsenal. That has greatly benefitted both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State terrorists currently rampaging in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and much of northern Africa.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration, again with significant Republican support, decided to aid and abet Syrian “rebels” who, as in Libya, very much included anti-American jihadists. There is colorable suspicion that this assistance included the gathering up of arms in Libya for shipment to Syrian “rebels.” Abdelhakim Belhadj, the al-Qaeda operative who was Ambassador Stevens’s “rebel” point-man in Benghazi, was clearly involved in at least one major shipment of weapons that went to Syrian “rebels” — including to some of the jihadist groups the United States is now bombing. That shipment was coordinated by Turkey, a country with which Ambassador Stevens, Secretary Clinton, and President Obama worked closely — a country whose ambassador was the last diplomat Stevens met with in Benghazi before being killed.

There will be no accountability for the Benghazi massacre absent a full public airing of what the United States government was doing in that most dangerous of places: Setting up shop among anti-American jihadists and staying there like sitting ducks even as other countries and international organizations pulled out. What was the benefit? Trying to limit the damage caused by switching sides in Libya? Fueling a new jihadist threat in Syria and Iraq — the very one we are now struggling to quell?

In Washington, there seem to be a lot of people resistant to a full public airing of the policy. They may not all be Democrats.

Libya, Syria, Turkey, Obama, Clinton, Stevens…and Republicans?

I’m as partisan as the next man—more, much more—and I love to see Clinton twisting in the wind, but if that’s all Benghazi is to Republicans in Congress, shame on them. If Stevens was part of some shady, dirty operation, maybe he knew what he was in for. Maybe Sean Smith did too. But Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty died trying to save them. I’d say their sacrifice deserves a little more than cheap point-scoring, regardless of where the story leads.

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Hints From Hussein

Why Barack! We didn’t know you cared:

President Barack Obama on Thursday said he still believes Republicans will move on immigration reform — anything else, he said, would be “suicide.”

But “it’s anybody’s guess how Republicans are thinking about this,” he said at a town hall event here.

Tell him, Rahm:

Does it not seem strange to you that Obama would be so concerned with the welfare of Republicans? He speaks so ill of them.

“I think the smarter Republicans understand this. Short term, though, they’ve got a problem in the tea party and others who oftentimes express virulently anti-immigrant sentiment,” Obama said, saying he’s confident that by 2016 at least “Congress will see the light, because the logic of it is too compelling.”

“My general theory is that if something makes a lot of sense that we should go ahead and do it, rather than not do it,” Obama said. “But that’s just me.”

Logic, huh? How about this sense? Why would anyone waste his time immigrating legally if he could get a better deal swimming across the Rio Grande? What controls on health and public safety do we have on criminal aliens? How can those working in jobs that illegals often do (landscapers, say) improve their lot when illegals drive down their wages? What future do illegals have as honest citizens when their introduction to this country is based on lies, deceit, law-breaking, tax-avoidance, etc? And what wretched Guatemalan would not hop the first freight train out of Tegucigalpa after a second amnesty (the first—and supposedly only—time being in 1986)?

But that’s just me. Thanks, though. Appreciate the concern.

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GOP: Grumpy Old Peni

Those angry Republicans!

Two international crises are giving Republicans new reasons to break out a familiar rallying cry — secure the border — just weeks before the midterm elections.

Secure the border? Who are these people?

Why would anyone want to secure the border?

A Liberian man’s death in Texas from Ebola is triggering worries that the disease could spread beyond West Africa, while efforts by ISIS to recruit Westerners is stoking fears that its influence could reach into the United States. The seemingly disparate issues are gelling into a single talking point for Republicans arguing that weak border security is leaving the United States vulnerable.

Those wacky Republicans! Ebola spread beyond Africa? ISIS try to kill Americans? What are they smoking? Next they’ll tell us that there’s been no global warming since Bill Clinton was monogamous (well, close).

Oh, btw, guess what ad tops this story on CNN?

Providing all your hemorrhagic fever needs since 1977.

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