Monthly Archives: June 2013

Super “Reporter” Matt Boyle Misses The Real Story

Matt Boyle has another breathless bit of idiocy today…ObamaCars (sorry, no links for sensationalist hit whores).

Breitbart News has learned there is a provision included in the immigration bill that could be used to give free cars, motorcycles, scooters or other vehicles to young people around the country over a period of 15 months after the bill passes.  The new provision is a result of the latest addition to the Corker-Hoeven amendment, which is essentially an entirely new version of the bill.

The proof for this?

“(f) USE OF FUNDS.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The funds made available under this section shall be used—
(A) to provide summer employment opportunities for low-income youth, with direct linkages to academic and occupational learning, and may be used to provide supportive services, such as transportation or child care, that is necessary to enable the participation of such youth in the opportunities.

But here’s the story Scoop Boyle missed…if “transportation” support means “cars, motorcycles or scooters” (what, no bikes, Segways or rickshaws?) then clearly “child care” means, “live in nannies”! God I wish I had a kid so I could get me a hot Swedish ObamaAuPair!

BTW, according to this link via Jon Henke, supportive transportation services means a…bus pass.

But the hot ObamaNannies are still on, right?

I wonder if Boyle’s “GOP Senate source” for this is the same one the tipped them off about Chuck Hagel’s “Friends of Hamas”?

FTR- I defended Breitbart against the whole “Friends of Hamas” thing because every outlet has run with bad info. But if you keep doing it, running with sensationalist but incorrect information isn’t a one off mistake, it’s a business plan.

Don’t Be Fooled, Amnesty Is Part Of An Effort To Drag The GOP Further To The Left

Notice how we don’t hear much about how Hispanics are “natural conservatives” anymore? Lately all the talk is about how the GOP has to “change” and “adapt” to the reality of minority voters.

I cite Jennifer Rubin not because I think she’s particularly insightful but rather because I think she’s a useful mouthpiece of a certain kind of Republican. I’d call them Bob Dole/Bob Michal types others use the catchall of “the establishment”. Whatever you call them, there’s a certain strain of Republican who sees Ronald Reagan as the outdated rightward fringe marker of the GOP and is trying to bring the party back to what they see as its rightful place…a sidekick for, not a competitor of, the Democrat party.

He’s Rubin laying out what she sees as the GOP”s problems.

So let’s recap. The GOP stopped reaching out to minorities. It adopted a harsh tone, opposing immigration reform and threatening to round up anyone here illegally. And its extra-harsh rhetoric on the evils of government (rather than the reform of government) didn’t connect with minority voters, who saw no obvious appeal in a message that castigated all receivers of benefits as moochers.

The exceptions, not surprisingly, have been the governors. In 2009, Chris Christie took 32 percent of Asian voters in New Jersey. In 2010 Rick Scott got 50 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida. In 2010 Brian Sandoval got 33 percent of the Hispanic vote and 40 percent of the Asian vote in Nevada. Rick Perry got 11 percent of the African American vote and 38 percent of the Hispanic vote in Texas. And in 2012 Mike Pence got 14 percent of the African American vote in Indiana.

In other words, when Republicans eschew harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on improving health care, schools, etc. they can make the case to a much greater percentage of minorities. This should surprise no one, but the bearers of the anti-immigration reform and anti-government (as opposed to pro-reform) message don’t seem to get it. Hopefully GOP primary voters do and will choose candidates wisely.

First and foremost I’d like see Rubin name a single figure of any import in the GOP who ever suggested rounding up illegal immigrants. But let’s put aside a “conservative” who is so quick to smear her alleged compatriots using the same tired lies as Ted Kennedy and focus on what she advocates.

Beyond that, it’s clearly the goal of some Republicans to strangle in the crib any efforts at controlling, let alone shrinking the government. They simply want the GOP to be the Tory party…control some of the wilder impulses of the left and manage the welfare state better but under no circumstances actually rock the boat by challenging the shared big-government assumptions of the political elite.

2010 was a scary wake up call that almost spiraled out of control.

Mitt Romney’s nomination was a good check on the wilder impulses of the right. Here was a guy who had implemented ObamaCare at the state level. Romney never ran on shrinking government, he ran as a competent manager who would tinker at the edges but basically keep the ship of government moving along nicely.

Once the darling of the right, with amnesty Rubio has managed to marginalize himself nicely. He’ll help deliver amnesty in the Senate and be key to pushing the GOP House to cave and join the “right thinking people” who know best. As a bonus, when this is done he’l have damaged himself with the right to point he won’t be a rallying point for those unfashionable tea party types.

Notice how Rubio hasn’t been hit in the MSM for his 180 degree change on amnesty? There are rewards and protections for playing ball. I predict we’ll see more “growth in office” by Rubio as he realizes how badly damaged his brand is on the right.

To be clear, I don’t believe this is some sort of nefarious plot run in the shadows by a cabal of puppet-masters. It’s simply the natural tensions created in a large political party. What we are seeing is a massive disconnect between the party in government and it’s permanent infrastructure on one side and the activist base on the other. While I  think while it is destructive of the country as a whole, a move even further to the left makes perfect sense for the GOP.

I used to think the GOP needed better liars, candidates that sounded liberal and reasonable back home in purple states but voted hardcore rightwing in DC. The Democrats are great at producing these candidates. Guys like John Tester, Tim Johnson or Joe Manchin talk all sorts of good ol’ boy crap back home  but vote hard left as they are told when necessary back in DC.

The reason the GOP doesn’t produce candidates like that is most professional politicians are go-along, to get along types. They want to be liked, to be seen as one of the “right kinds of people” . While the cultural cues and rewards remain firmly in control of moderates and liberal, most people will want to be seen as part of that tribe. It takes a special kind of person who will stand up for years on end while being hammered by local and national media, by accomplished people they respect or who will provide a cushy job when all is said and done. Conservatives simply don’t have sufficient rewards to offer compared to what liberals and moderates do.

2010 marked the greatest victory of the grassroots in a generation. That the other side was able to co-opt one of the stars of that victory is prof that it it’s a fight the grassroots can’t win. In the end, the power of the permanent professional political glass to woo and reward defectors will always trump the base’s greatest threat…a primary challenge. For every Mike Lee, Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, there will always be many more Bob Corkers, Rob Portmans and sadly, Marco Rubios.

Shorter Andrew McCarthy: The FISA Court Is What Its Critics Claim–A Rubber Stamp. And That’s A Good Thing.

Congressman James Sensenbrenner, currently  formerly the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says that the Obama Administration is violating the terms of the Patriot Act with the wholesale collection of “meta-data” from cellphone companies.

Earlier this month, the Guardian reported on the Obama Administration’s dragnet collection of phone data with rubberstamp approval by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. The scope of the NSA’s metadata program – peering into the lives of hundreds of millions of innocent Americans – is incredibly troubling. There is no legitimate explanation for tracking the numbers, locations, times and duration of the calls of every American.The collection and retention of all telephone records coming in and out of the United States is excessive and does not fall within the guidelines of Section 215.

Andrew McCarthy thinks the reported collection is perfectly legal under the terms of the Patriot Act.

Section 215 expressly permits the government to obtain the business records of American citizens. Furthermore, it does not require that either foreigners or Americans be “targets” or suspects in a terrorism investigation before their business records may be obtained. It merely requires the executive branch to have reasonable grounds to believe the records are “relevant” in some way to a national-security investigation — not to prove that it has such grounds, but merely to state that such grounds, in the executive’s judgment, exist.

In subsection (b)(2), Congress provided three broad examples of how business records could be “presumptively relevant” to an authorized investigation. These involve records that “pertain to” (i) “a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power”; (ii) “the activities of a suspected agent of a foreign power who is the subject of such authorized investigation”; or (iii) “an individual in contact with, or known to, a suspected agent of a foreign power who is the subject of such authorized investigation.” Notice, however, that the statute frames these as nonexclusive examples of how records could be relevant. Significantly, there is no hard limitation on what the executive branch may deem to be “relevant.”

(Emphasis mine)

That’s unlimited police state nonsense.

Statutory requirements aren’t “examples”. They either authorize specific things or they don’t. Try telling the IRS, “I took your list of deductions as “examples” but since there were “no hard limitations” on what I deem to be a “deduction”, I just went ahead and credited myself with the power to come up with a few more”.

The criteria outlined in (b)(2) of Section 215 are the only cases in which the Congress has authorized the production of records (within the Patriot Act/FISA Court). In order to collect the records of someone the government has to be able to show that they fit into one of those three categories. This isn’t optional. It isn’t an invitation to find ever wider definitions that would eventually ensnare EVERY America who uses a cellphone. It’s the law. Full stop. End of story

To say they are nothing more than the noodlings of the Congress or a jumping off point for an active and imaginative executive branch implies a level of possible lawlessness that is breathtaking. Congress gave a specific grant of authority to the executive here; that they didn’t rule all other possible grants out doesn’t mean the executive can simply claim those other situations are OK too. If that were the case, why bother picking 3? Or any? Congress isn’t a consulting firm with expertise in investigative lines the Department of Justice might not have thought of. It’s a lawmaking body that either says you can or can’t do certain things.

.

McCarthy however gets to this flawed, open-ended executive power grab by conveniently ignoring part of what comes right before what he quotes. He’re what he left out.

(A) a statement of facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the tangible things sought are relevant to an authorized investigation (other than a threat assessment) conducted in accordance with subsection (a)(2) to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, such things being presumptively relevant to an authorized investigation if the applicant shows in the statement of the facts that they pertain to—

He actually argues that the Court has to accept that required “statement of facts” at face value.

Section 215 expressly permits the government to obtain the business records of American citizens. Furthermore, it does not require that either foreigners or Americans be “targets” or suspects in a terrorism investigation before their business records may be obtained. It merely requires the executive branch to have reasonable grounds to believe the records are “relevant” in some way to a national-security investigation — not to prove that it has such grounds, but merely to state that such grounds, in the executive’s judgment, exist.

(All emphasis is mine)

The biggest tell that McCarthy is wrong is the word “if”. That’s a condition. Who exactly, if not the court to which the application is being made, is to determine if the conditions are met? According to McCarthy the court has no role in determining whether or not the executive actually fulfills the conditions of the statute. What exactly is the purpose of the court then? A mere repository of executive assertions? Seems the DoJ could house that all by itself. That would save time and money.

McCarthy is right that the governments list of desired material is “presumptively relevant” but ONLY IF  the government shows the desired records falls into one the 3 criteria. Criteria McCarthy claims are mere suggestions. “If” places a specific duty…”if” the government can “show” to the court that the subject fits into the categories then you can have the records”. McCarthy brushes by this inconvenient bit of basic logic and grammar in pursuit of a nearly unchecked and uncheckable executive power by insisting “show” means “assert” and not as in every other judicial action “prove”.

In fact, the only decision McCarthy seems to allow the Court to make is that the investigation can’t be based “solely” on First Amendment grounds of an “American person“.

To accept McCarthy’s reading of the statute vice Sensenbrenner’s you have to accept the charge against the FISA Court…it’s merely a procedural rubber stamp and the three categories of people open to investigation are simply examples and not congressionally enacted limits.

What I think McCarthy is getting at is that if the executive says “this is national security related” that really ends any input from the other branches as Article II covers it all. Sure for image purposes he’ll allow Congress to have a little input but it’s not necessary really. And the courts? They can look at what the executive is doing but they can’t touch it.

This kind of zealotry for unchecked power is exactly what the Constitution is designed to prevent.

I’m not sure what’s more frightening, that people like McCarthy populate the government or that his interpretation of the statue as constructed is the one the Obama administration and the FISA Court agrees with. Either way, things have to change and the FISA Court, as currently constituted, is simply unacceptable.

Fun Factoid: 2013 Amnesty Less Costly For Illegals Than 2007 Attempt

2007 “Z-Visa”- $3,000

2013 “fine”-  $500 to $1,000

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The Fairy Tales TPM Tells Its Readers

Via Noah Rothman this bit of selective reality.

McConnell effectively acknowledged to disappointed conservatives that recently revealed IRS malfeasance probably wasn’t the consequence of any direct action taken by the White House.

“There might be some folks out there waiting for a hand signed memo from President Obama to Lois Learner to turn up,” he said, referring to conservatives and Republicans who have charged that the IRS was following White House instructions when it targeted conservative non-profits. “Do not hold your breath.”

“I am prepared to say, and did say today, that the President and his political allies encouraged this kind of bureaucratic overreach by their public comments,” he said. “But that’s quite different from saying they ordered it.”

So what did McConnell say in his speech?

These folks were talking about the Koch Brothers so much last year you’d think they were running for President. About six months after the President berated the Supreme Court, he even went so far as to call out Americans for Prosperity by name. It was like sending a memo to the IRS that said “audit these guys”.

And this.

So, no, I don’t believe that the President ever actually picked up a phone and told someone over at the IRS to slow-walk those applications or audit anybody. But the truth is, he didn’t have to. The message was clear enough.

But if the message was clear, the medium was also perfectly suited to the cause.

Funny how those bits got left out of the hysterical “Even McConnell thinks Obama is innocent!” story line.

 

McConnell At AEI

Speech as prepared for delivery.

 

Read the rest of this entry

The Folly Of Corker-Hoeven’s Approach To Border Security

Having killed the Cornyn “hard trigger” amendment today, the Senate is likely to move on to the fig leaf of Corker-Hoeven. Having removed the triggers tying improved border security and once again killed the long “required” bi0-metric entry/exit system, the Senate may pass a huge expansion of the US Border Patrol.

In an interview Monday night, Hoeven said, “For all of the people that they identify coming across the border, you’ve got to capture or turn back 90 percent of those folks…and only then can you go from Registered Provisional Immigrant to green card status.”

“You have to have not only the plan in place but the metric has to be met, prior to going to green card status,” Hoeven added.

Now, it appears that has changed. “The 90 percent is gone,” says a Senate aide familiar with the amendment. “In its stead is the doubling of the Border Patrol.” The amendment will propose adding about 20,000 new Border Patrol agents to the existing force of about 20,000, which amendment supporters say will result in an enormous improvement in border security.

First of all, it wasn’t too long ago that expanding the Border Patrol was too expensive according to Gang of 8 member Lindsey Graham. Now doubling it is going to be ok? My guess is that additional agents, like the entry/exit system, will be “authorized” but the money will never be “appropriated”.

But even if the agents show up, will doubling the force actually matter? History says….not so much. Remember we passed an amnesty bill in 1986 for 3 million people, now we’re talking in the range of 11 million. In that time (at least starting in 1993) the Border Patrol has grown five fold.

Source: US Border Patrol (pdf)

Source: US Border Patrol (pdf) (click to enlarge)

This is why Democrats didn’t want the Cornyn amendment to pass. They know securing the border is going to be very hard work and take a good long time. They want their “path to citizenship” no matter what happens on the border.

None of this is a compromise between amnesty and border security supporters, it’s simply amnesty.

Rubio Lays It Out Clearly For Everyone

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Jan Brewer…ObamaCare Stooge

"I swear Mr. President, I will do whatever it takes to pass your Medicaid expansion plan here in Arizona"

“I swear Mr. President, I will do whatever it takes to pass your Medicaid expansion plan here in Arizona”

When last we saw Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, she was vetoing every piece of legislation the Republican controlled legislature passed until they agreed to her budget which included expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare.

Since that didn’t work she’s now doing an end run around the GOP majorities in the legislature to pass the state’s ObamaCare plan.

Fed up with weeks of debate and delay on her top legislative priority, Gov. Jan Brewer called lawmakers into an unprecedented special session late Tuesday, bypassing the leadership of her own party to push through Medicaid expansion and the 2014 budget.

The governor’s surprise move comes after House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, adjourned until Thursday, stalling efforts by a bipartisan House coalition to pass Brewer’s 2014 budget and Medicaid expansion.


State law gives Brewer the authority to call a special session whenever she chooses. The only requirement is that she specify the topics of the session and not deviate from them, said election attorney Tom Ryan.

At least eight to 10 House Republicans are expected to join the chamber’s 24 Democrats in support of expansion, a coalition that has been loosely organized for months.

Basically by calling the legislature into special session, Brewer is forcing them to vote on her proposals and enabling a minority of Republicans to join with the Democrats to pass ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion.

What this amounts to is what Boehner does routinely to pass things a majority of his caucus doesn’t support…let liberal Republicans and Democrats take charge.

Naturally Republican leaders in the state House and Senate aren’t amused by Brewer’s tactics.

“This evening, Governor Brewer summoned legislators to convene a special session to address the FY14 budget and Medicaid expansion. The special session was called without any consultation with Senate or House leadership, and was designed to commence at the precise moment it was conveyed. We are disappointed and stunned that the Governor and her staff would resort to such an unnecessary, impulsive and unprecedented tactic.”

“Since the beginning of the session, Senate and House leadership have made the budgetary process a top priority. Additionally, the debate regarding the full implementation of Obamacare in Arizona was already fully under way. In fact, these two specific items have not only consistently been a top legislative focus, but the other essential bills of the legislature have also been moving through our respective chambers. Instead of allowing the process to proceed in an orderly manner, the Governor made the impetuous decision to intercede and collude with the democrat minority in order to force an expedited vote on her sole legislative priority of Obamacare.”

“We are frustrated and bewildered by her overt hostility and disregard for the budgetary process which was already well under way. The blatant disrespect and reckless practices exhibited by this Executive are less than what was expected of her and more than should be tolerated.”

Funny how “conservatives” often move left but liberals never do.

Remember, it’s never over until the liberals win.

Riding High On The Offense Against Obama Over Benghazi, HHS, And The IRS, The House GOP Decides To Turn Its Attention To…Abortion?

Via Noah Rothman, the timing of this seems particularly ill-conceived.

The House will vote next week on a bill banning abortions across the country after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“The trial of Kermit Gosnell exposed late abortions for what they really are: relocated infanticide,” Franks said in a recent statement. “I pray we use this as a ‘teachable moment,’ in the words of President Obama, and can agree that, at the very least, we are better than dismembering babies who can feel every excruciating moment.”

Though the bill is expected to pass given that the House Republican majority is largely opposed to abortion, it is likely to spark ire among some moderate Republicans in vulnerable districts for whom the vote could be politically damaging either way.

While I’m sympathetic with the goal, abortion isn’t the issue that primarily motivates me. I understand there are people who think stopping abortion is the most important, if not the only issue, I think this hurts in the long run.

First, you just know there’s going to be some Congressman who says something stupid and that will be the focus of the whole debate. No, that’s not a reason to never try and pass anti-abortion legislation but maybe a timeout is in order given the recent past.

As John McCormick points out, this type of legislation is much more popular than rape/incest exceptions. True but we all know this will quickly become another WAR ON WOMEN fight. It seems now is not the time to revisit that when the GOP is actually shedding that image and making headway against the scandal plagued Obama administration.

Politically the Democrats are on the run for the first time in 2 years. This will rally their demoralized based.

If the bill had any chance in the Senate or the White House you could argue for it but now you’re just saying we should throw away real gains to what end? Making a point everyone knows? It’s not a mystery the GOP is the pro-life party. No policy will change and no votes will move. But we’ll distract from all the scandals that have been working for the GOP for months.

As CAC points out via email, polling shows the GOP is cutting down on its truly awful numbers for the first time in awhile (pdf).

approval of the Republican party at
-9, Democratic party at +2.

That’s up significantly for the GOP, down dramatically for the
Democrats. That is more importance than the President’s numbers. The
scandals, including Benghazi, are all viewed by majorities as a big
deal.

R approval January: -23 rise of 14 pts

D approval January: +17 drop of 15 pts

So much for #overreach

Holder’s #…. are only better than the IRS’

Note the GOP isn’t actually popular, it’s just not as unpopular as it has been. Is that too much success for the party to handle? And they immediately have to go back to the issues that created the image that made it so unpopular in the first place?

Note I’m not saying abortion or so-cons make the GOP unpopular, I’m saying the way the GOP handled abortion related issues in the recent past (and was portrayed by the MFM) didn’t work out very well. Maybe a pause to rebuild some goodwill, re-evaluate how to talk about these issue and actually accomplishing somethings people care about is a better strategic approach than a messaging bill that will not stop a single abortion.

It comes down to what you think the best way to advance the pro-life cause is. A bill that will go nowhere or discrediting the liberal model of government to such an extent that more pro-life Senators and a pro-life President can be elected and actually make this bill a law?

You may want this to be “the hill to die on” but if you die on a hill and lose, you can’t keep fighting. Right now we are in the process of killing the Democrats on the hill they have to fight or die on…Obama’s administration. This just isn’t the time to shift fire for no gain other than feeling better about ourselves.