Friday, June 29, 2012

Obamacare: Up to the People to Save America from the New Dred Scott Decision

I am wandering well out of my playpen but here goes.

I am not a Constitutional expert, so I am having a bit of difficulty wading through the arguments about whether Roberts' reasoning was or was not flawed.  All I can see is that the Obamistas argued that their health care monstrosity did not involve taxing us, and Roberts has said it does, but Congress has the authority to do it under a clause of the Constitution which the Obamistas were not using to support their argument, so Obama can go ahead and ruin us. Apparently it is not unconstitutional to be a disaster of a president and for Nancy Pelosi to be in Congress.

I guess that's the argument. People a lot smarter than I am will tell me if I am wrong.

I love the line being put forward by some of my liberal friends, to wit, the Court has spoken, time to move on to another issue. I guess abolitionists should have left the slavery issue where it was after the Court's Dred Scott decision . . . .

Anyhow, for me the point is the whole matter is now in the hands of the people. Yet another reason to get Obama out. The list is long and getting longer.

Donate to the Romney campaign. Get your friends to vote Obama out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Immigration Mess

Nobody knows exactly the impact of the Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration law (let's hope the ruling on Obamacare is clearer.) The spinners are spinning. The pundits and journalists are declaring "winners" and "losers." In the end, however, all we really know is that our current immigration mess will only get worse. Obama's "Rose Garden Pardon" has added to the confusion as it makes one thing clear: the President has no intention of enforcing the laws he is sworn to enforce. This despite that he had previously gone about boasting of the 1.4 million people his administration has deported. Now he has decided for political reasons not to seek to change a law he does not like, but merely not to enforce it. Imagine if Governor Romney became president and announced he would not prosecute any Wall Street businessmen accused of insider trading or of running Ponzi schemes. Just imagine . . . sigh.

In sum, it's the silly season; it's an election year, and immigration is an issue nobody has wanted to confront for some 40-plus years. Neither the right nor the left has come up with solutions that respect three basic principles of our history: we are nation of immigrants; we are a nation of compassion; we are a nation of laws.

On one extreme end of the debate, we have what I will call the "Rawhide" or the "round'em-up-n-move'em-out" school. Folks, that will not happen. Our society would not, could not and should not tolerate mass raids and arrests of millions of persons; the instantly transmitted images of uniformed, armed, stony-faced bureaucrats breaking into homes and places of work, forcing millions of human beings onto planes, trains, trucks and buses, terrified women and children clutching cheap suitcases, crying and beseeching, would and should tear us apart. At least not since the despicable Andrew Jackson, we are not that kind of country; we should not be that kind of country. That will not happen. Forget about it, and, furthermore, despite the MSNBC-type caricatures, this is not something that most Americans, including conservatives, would support.

Those few who want to "throw them all out," must acknowledge the vital role played by immigrants in our history and in today's economy. We need immigrants; we should welcome immigrants; they are a vital part of what makes America unique. Cuban immigrants, for example, turned Miami into the exciting and vibrant city it has become. Immigrants, mostly Eastern European Jews, built Hollywood and the world-dominating American entertainment industry. And on and on. The examples of immigrant contributions to America's culture, economy, science, and politics are too numerous to list.

On the other extreme end, we have what I will call the "all ye, all ye outs in free" or the "let'em-all-in" school. That cannot be either. We are already the most generous nation on earth when it comes to immigration; we take in over one million legal immigrants every year. No other country comes close to that. We, however, have the right as a sovereign nation to control the number and type of people we allow in; we have the right to defend our borders, laws, institutions, culture, and traditions. We owe no explanations to anybody. Our first loyalty as a nation must be to our citizens, their rights, and their interests. We have a long tradition of defending our sovereignty, and that tradition should not be cavalierly ignored. Those who advocate open immigration have to acknowledge the high levels of crime associated with illegal immigrants and the stress they place on taxpayer funded services, e.g., schools, emergency rooms, prisons, as well as the disregard for our laws and sovereignty that they represent.

There are powerful economic and political interests that lean towards the "let'em-in" philosophy. We, of course, have the agro, food, maintenance, and retail industries that need cheap, unskilled labor. We also have in this corner well-organized interest groups such as teachers' unions, who want more students to keep schools open, and the Democratic Party which, frankly, relies on non-citizens voting in key districts, and needs them to justify massive social programs (illegal aliens, for example, exaggerate the demographic and political importance and poverty level of Hispanics). We also have Hollywood and the mainstream media always eager to put out those Janet Cooke-style heart-tugging stories of noble and abused aliens in America, e.g., "Blind Lesbian Single Mother College Valedictorian War Hero Faces Deportation to a Land She has Never Known."

When dealing with the immigration question we need to look at the horrendous thicket of laws and procedures we have that allegedly govern our policy. They don't, of course. Almost every law and procedure has an escape clause that essentially invalidates the law or procedure. In my days on the visa line, the governing wisdom was, "ninety percent of the time, you can't get in trouble if you issue." Denial of a visa almost always meant Congressional letters, calls, dealing with lawyers, and having to justify yourself to the  bureaucrats in the visa office back home as they dealt with outraged Congressmen and relatives. It was that philosophy, of course, exemplified by the late and disastrous Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Mary Ryan, that let in the 9/11 terrorists.

This is not an impossible problem to solve.

The laws on immigration need to be completely rewritten in plain English. There is no point in having laws that you either cannot or will not enforce. There is no point in having these laws if you have a gaping hole in the system that encourages people to violate them. Illegal entry into the United States should not be rewarded. We do not need to make our immigration laws as draconian and inhumane as they are in, say, Mexico, Nicaragua, or Venezuela, but it should be clear that you cannot derive benefits by violating them. Those who play by the rules will be rewarded, those who don't, won't. Not hard to understand.

I remember having to represent the United States at hearings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on our border fence. I was outraged that I had to sit there and defend something no other country has to defend: the right to protect its borders. Mexico, for example, was not called to task for its horrendous treatment of illegal Central Americans; Argentina did not have to defend its treatment of Bolivians. We need to secure our borders. Period. As noted above, we have that right and do not have to justify ourselves to anybody. To do this will require money. Protecting our long borders does not come cheap. Entering a foreign country via an unofficial entry point, without a visa, is a crime punishable by jail everywhere but in our country. That has to change.

Here I will get in trouble with my libertarian friends.  As I have written before, I think we have ceded too much control to cops and prosecutors and regulators of all sorts. We need a burst of freedom in this country that will drastically reduce the laws and regulations on the books; way too much is illegal and that gives ambitious and overly eager cops and prosecutors way too much power. That said, many of the problems posed by illegal aliens here could be solved with a national identification card. There, I said it. Let the abuse begin. Such a card is opposed by many on the right as it would give too much information to the feds about us. I doubt that. The info is already there, and we are constantly asked for id to board a plane, get into a government building, cash a check, make a large purchase, open a bank account, visit our kids at school, etc. We might as well have a uniform id card that clearly lays out that we are legal residents of the United States. Re children brought here as infants, yes, we could make an exception for those brought in say several years before the kick-in of the new id scheme.

The left opposes the national id because it would inhibit or even stop completely voting by illegal aliens, their collecting of a slew of public benefits, and would lead to many if not most illegal aliens packing up and leaving. That would, as noted above, have an adverse impact on the need to have ever more social programs and the highly paid bureaucrats to run them.

None of this is possible with the current crew in the White House.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Rant: Postcard from Paraguay

Some of my former colleagues at State and nearly all of the Presidents of Latin America are in a twitter over the ouster yesterday of Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo. While this is not going to be a major issue in our elections (bold prediction that!) it does show something about the prevailing mindset both among those who handle relations with Latin America and among Latin American heads-of-state.

First, Paraguay. I have been to Paraguay twice. It is a wonderful country with some of the nicest people you will ever meet.  It is bilingual (Guarani and Spanish) with a colorful history, and a thriving literature, music, and art environment. Asuncion is a delightful city with beautiful colonial era churches and monuments, and first-rate museums. It  also has some of the best steaks I have ever eaten, and, in fact, is a major beef exporter.  It also, until just a few years ago, was an isolated and remote country that lived under dictatorship for most of its existence. Only relatively recently has it had a functioning democracy. It is also a place where people believe all sorts of wild conspiracy theories. My personal favorite, one pushed by the left, was that the US had built a secret military base there to steal Paraguay's water. I heard even very senior Paraguayan politicians talk about this base, absolutely convinced that it existed somewhere out in the vast Chaco.

Me: "Can you take me to the base? Or show me its location on a map?"
Paraguayan Interlocutor: "Nobody knows where it is. It is a secret."
Me: "How do you know it exists?"
P.I.: "Everybody knows it exists."
Me: "What does the base do?"
P.I.: "It is here to steal our water."
Me: "How do you know the US wants to steal your water?"
P.I: "Why else would the Americans build a secret base?"
Me: "But, uh . . . oh, never mind . . .  I'll have that one. Rare, please, with chimichurri."

Ah, the wonderful loop of lefty loopy loopiness.  How endearing that they would think that the country that can't keep a secret would be able to build a base in Paraguay so hush-hush that absolutely, positively nobody knows where.

Second, Lugo. I have met him on three occasions, once in Paraguay and twice in Washington. How do I put this diplomatically and delicately? He is certifiably insane. He is the stuff of novels and comedy movies. A Catholic bishop gone mad who promotes a weird blend of populism, sixteenth century anti-Protestant dogma, a dash of Marxism, some anti-US rhetoric, and some other odds and ends.  He had  become a follower of Venezuela's ailing Hugo Chavez and Ecuador's increasingly unstable Rafael Correa, and at the OAS and the UN, Paraguay took on the anti-US rhetoric of his ALBA masters. As a priest, he had several children, some of whom he officially acknowledged as his.  Paraguayans frequently referred to Lugo as "the father of our country."

Lugo used his office to promote land seizures and, frankly, violence against landowners by the poor. For him, the law was a flexible, plastic, pliable material which could be bent, pulled, and twisted into whatever form he saw fit. He encouraged violence, and he got it; dead cops and dead poor people. The Paraguayan congress had enough of the violence and wackiness, impeached and convicted him in rapid fire order, and swore in Vice President Federico Franco. President Franco will hold the office until national elections in 2013. The new chief executive has run into a firestorm of criticism from around the region, especially the Chavez controlled ALBA nations, but others as well.  Lots of gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over the supposed lack of due process, with some alleging the Congressional action is tantamount to a coup a la Honduras.

Third, I am no Paraguayan constitutional expert, but any process that involves open voting by elected officials, and does not involve firing squads or electrodes to the genitals, is a dramatic improvement over what has happened before in Latin America and Paraguay. To have your process criticized as undemocratic by the likes of Castro and Chavez is no shame.

Fourth, this is an opportunity for the US to begin to undermine ALBA influence and shore up a rocky democratic regime. The worst thing we can do is criticize, criticize, criticize, and do what we did in Honduras--i.e., let Venezuela take the lead. The US should act like a democratic superpower and not let ourselves get steamrolled by loud Latin American executives who do not like to see fellow chief executives removed, even by democratic means.

In other words we need to act as though Obama were not our President . . .

Friday, June 22, 2012

Where is Hillary Clinton on Fast and Furious?

Under Attorney General Eric Holder, the Department of Justice declared war on the people of Mexico.

Using the ATF, the Justice Department carried out a covert operation that violated the laws of the United States, supplied thousands of weapons to the enemies of the government and people Mexico and killed hundreds of Mexican citizens. The operation also produced the collateral damage of one or possibly two murdered US federal agents, and put at risk the lives of other US citizens on this side of the border. In other words, Obama and Holder have lied, and hundreds have died in a war against our southern neighbor.

Never mind Teapot Dome, Checkers, Chappaquiddick, Watergate, or Iran-Contra: "Fast and Furious" is arguably the greatest scandal in American political history. It most certainly is the greatest scandal never  reported by the main media outlets. Obama's misadministration sought to launch an attack on the second amendment by "proving" that lax US gun laws led to Mexico's drug-fueled violence. It decided to "prove" that by providing the guns. It was the ultimate in cop weapon throw-down or evidence planting.

Imagine if the situation were the reverse. Imagine that the Attorney General of Mexico, in order to argue for stronger anti-drug laws in Mexico, decided as a matter of policy to provide drugs to the most powerful US criminal gangs. How would we react? Drone strikes on Chapultepec Castle, anybody?  I must say that the Mexican reaction has been surprisingly muted to Obama's declaration of war against Mexico.

So where is our Secretary of State on all of this? During my time at State, I worked a great deal on Latin American issues. The line about "drugs flow north and guns flow south" was a constant theme. Those of us in the field, actually in the field, in the places where the dope and violence are, knew that was false. I ran into a lot of guns, violence, and dope dealers. I never saw evidence that the dopers were getting guns from the US. Stolen cars, yes, but weapons, no. I raised my doubts about this as I have reported before. I was not the only one. Lots of us doubted the line we were being handed and forced to repeat.  So now it turns out that we were wrong. The guns were coming from the US, well, that is, once we elected Obama and his misadministration's deliberate policy of sending guns to the dopers.

So, then, what did Hillary Clinton know and when did she know it? She herself went about saying that 60-90% of the weapons in the hands of Mexican drug gangs came from the US, which, of course, meant we needed stronger gun laws in the US. All of us worker bees in the State Department got "mea culpa" talking points to use that said the same thing.

So was Secretary Clinton in on the DOJ/ATF fraud or was she a victim of it? What is her position? If she was bamboozled by Holder, has she taken the matter up with the President? Does she have a position on the fact that our government was waging a covert war against Mexico? Shouldn't the Secretary of State have a position on this matter? Shouldn't she be demanding the AG's resignation or offering up her own in disgust?

Why no questions for the Secretary of State?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Emerging Lie about Fast and Furious: George Bush Did It.

As the mainstream media has reluctantly, ever so reluctantly, begun to "discover" the Fast and Furious scandal, we can detect a lie that is growing and growing in the frequency with which it is told and one which Republicans are not swatting down. The lie was just repeated by White House spokesman Carney who asserted that F&F began under the Bush administration and that it was AG Holder who put an end to it.

F&F, however, was not merely a continuation of the Bush administration's "Wide Receiver" Operation.  WR used a time-tested law enforcement tactic of "controlled deliveries" of a relatively small amount of weapons, some 300 or so, to known criminals, followed the guns, and then arrested the culprits. No weapons were allowed across the border; no weapons were "lost."

Holder's F&F was something completely different. It was an attempt to "prove" a long-held liberal and media assertion that US gun stores and gun shows supplied most of the weapons to the Mexican drug gangs, and the only way to clamp down on drug-related violence was to enact ever-stricter gun control legislation in the US.  One problem: The evidence to support this hypothesis did not exist.  The geniuses at DOJ and ATF, therefore, decided to create the evidence. It was evidence planting on a massive scale. The ATF and prosecutors forced legitimate gun store owners to sell weapons, often over the written objections of those owners, to "straw purchasers" who then provided the guns to Mexican criminals. The ATF encouraged thousands of these sales, followed the transport of the weapons, and watched as they crossed into Mexico where all control was lost.  We know what happened then: hundreds of Mexicans were killed along with one and possibly two US federal agents (BrianTerry and, possibly, Jaime Zapata).

This is not Watergate. How many people died in Watergate? This is criminal behavior of the rankest sort. People on both sides of the border have died because of F&F. The Obama misadministration's deliberate assault on the second amendment has produced a bloody disaster. This is one of the greatest stories ever ignored by the media. Now that the media can no longer ignore it, it behooves all of us who believe in preserving our fundamental freedoms, including those in the second amendment, not to let the media and the Obama misadministration twist, distort, and lie when dealing with this scandal.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

President Barack "Flying Wallenda" Obama: Another "Fast and Furious" Death Defying Stunt

One day in the pavilion at Karakorum, Genghis Kahn asked an officer of the Mongol guard what, in all the world, could bring the greatest happiness. 
"The open steppe, a clear day, and a swift horse under you," responded the officer after a little thought, "and a falcon on your wrist to start up hares." 
"Nay," responded the Kahn, "to crush your enemies, to see them fall at your feet -- to take their horses and goods and hear the lamentation of their women. That is best."


I open today's blog with the cheerful quote above, one often falsely attributed to "Conan, The Barbarian," but rightly belonging to the Great Kahn.  The memory of this exchange came to me as I watched the ongoing debate over "Fast and Furious," and the White House's latest "Death Defying Flying Wallenda" stunt, the invoking of executive privilege to prevent us from seeing what happened in that criminally botched ATF operation.  Clearly the Democrats are seeing themselves as the crushed enemies of the GOP hordes, and responding to "the lamentations of their women" they are engaging in ever more crazed acts of desperation. 

Obama's "executive privilege" claim comes at the twelfth hour, just before a vote by Issa's committee on whether to hold AG Holder in contempt of Congress.  It is an outrageous stunt designed to do two things: (1) obviously to prevent us from seeing prior to the elections what the thinking and decision-making was that lead to "F & F"; and (2) to distract attention from the parlous state of the economy by having a giant Washington DC political food fight dominate the airwaves and have voters just shrug and say "a pox on both houses."  The mainstream media which has almost completely ignored the scandal until now, will tune into it in the middle and soon rule it just Republicans and Democrats doing their thing in an election year, and nothing to worry about. 

F&F is one of the most serious scandals to emerge from Washington in decades (see a good summary here). This is the stuff of countless Hollywood conspiracy movies. The media, however, has largely ignored it or tried to dismiss it. It is, after all, a conspiracy not by evil white male bankers, redneck Southern Senators, deranged Army Generals, the CIA, the KKK, or a combination of all those. No. This is a conspiracy by leftist political bureaucrats and politicians to undermine and destroy the second amendment, one of the fundamental pillars upon which our freedom rests.  The fact that the conspiracy put thousands of guns into the hands of drug cartels, resulted in the murders of hundreds of Mexicans, and, of course, in the death of Border Patrol Officer Brian Terry is of no consequence. It was for a good cause . . . can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs. 

As I have noted many times before, liberals see what they believe. For years they have been telling us that, yes, the drugs flow north from Mexico, but the guns flow south from the USA. The evidence on the ground, however, did not support that assertion.  I served for years in Central and South America, and was bombarded with that line about the guns flowing south. It was not true. Those of us in the field knew that. The guns were coming from Asia, Eastern Europe, and corrupt police and army personnel in Latin America, not from gun shows in Texas, stores in Arizona, or biker gangs in California. The liberals so wanted to believe that evil redneck gun store owners and the NRA were the culprits, that they concocted a scheme to make it so! Using DOJ prosecutors and pliant ATF bureaucrats, they forced gun store owners to sell guns to "straw purchasers" who were then allowed to walk the guns across the border to the drug cartels. One of the casualties was a Border Patrolman by the name of Brian Terry--so much for the Democrats' love of public sector employees.

Yet another reason to vote this crew out in November . . . 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Europe's "President" Blames the USA . . .

It's painful, but do read up on the nonsense underway at the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

The world's major nations, with one or two exceptions, are in the hands of confused dopes with no idea of what they are doing. One of the biggest dopes is none other than European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. He is the classic Eurocrat: able to be arrogant, pompous, stupid, anti-American, and wrong in several languages. In other words, he is a bit like a mad maitre'd at a five star restaurant. In response to a perfectly good question from a Canadian reporter who asked why North Americans should be expected to help bail out Europe, Barroso, who makes about $30,000/month plus housing and other benefits, quickly let his inner anti-American take over, blaming Europe's crisis on the United States. He is an ideological fool. Europe has been living well-beyond its means for years, for decades, in fact. It relied on a free-ride provided by the United States on defense, and almost unfettered access to the US market. The beginning of the end for Europe came with the Euro, the magical amulet that would make Europe a superpower and shake off the global economic domination of the United States.

What the Euro did, of course, was something quite different. As we have discussed before, the Euro made unproductive Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece as expensive as productive Germany. Thanks to German productivity, shoddy bookkeeping of the Al Capone variety, and willful blindness and chicanery by European politicians and electorates, for a time it seemed the Euro was, indeed, a magical potion that would restore the grandeur that was Europe's. Alas, however, reality came knocking, and the brutal mathematics of the market place finally caught up with the Europeans. The whole EU house of cards is now in danger of collapse. The solution? Let the blame game begin! It wasn't wild spending (such as on Barroso's salary), or a vast entitlement culture, or anything else the Europeans did that caused the crisis. NO!  It is the fault of the United States . . . when times are good, however, I don't hear the Eurocrats thank the USA.

Dog bites man . . . nothing to see here, move along . .  .

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jonathan Pollard: Let Him Stay in Prison

The US and Israel are and should be close allies. We have common values, common interests, and common enemies. The United States is and should be Israel's best friend and vice-versa.

I hope Israelis appreciate that at least since the Nixon administration the United States has had Israel's back. The much despised Nixon, let us not forget, ensured Israel would survive the 1973 Yom Kippur war.  At that time Israel was alone and under attack from far superior forces which had the initial advantage of surprise. The Nixon administration set up an amazing resupply effort that kept the ammo and aircraft replacements flowing to Israel. The US was ripping frontline equipment out of our own forces and shipping it to Israel in a matter of hours. Since then, of course, with the possible exception of the current US misadministration, the US has remained a faithful ally. We have taken heat in the UN and around the world, including having our people killed, because of our support for Israel.  When I worked at the UN it was not unusual to have votes of 180-2, with the US and Israel the "2." That was fine. We knew we were right,

All this makes the Pollard issue painful for those of us who are strong supporters of Israel. Pollard was an intel analyst at the Pentagon who apparently decided that we were not sharing everything we should with Israel, and set out to provide it.  He apparently provided information we had on Syrian air defense capabilities, information that we had not shared with the Israelis. We apparently did not want anybody to know how we could detect and presumably defeat those air defense capabilities. Should we have shared the intel with our ally, Israel? Perhaps that is a legitimate question, but it was not within Pollard's authority to answer the question on his own and act upon it. He had no right to defy the policy set by the U.S. government, and he knew it.  He knew that what he was doing was against the law, and against the oath he took.

There is no evidence I know of that Israel went out to recruit Pollard; he seems to have been a "walk-in." That said, Israel can be accused of not acting like a true ally when Pollard walked in. The Israelis should have ratted him out to the US. They didn't.

Pollard was rightfully convicted and sentenced to prison. Did he do as much damage as the Walkers, Hanssen, or Agee? I do not know, but have my doubts. Did he do as much damage as the leakers in the current White House who apparently have leaked critical information on ongoing operations? No, he most likely did not. He, however, violated the law, showed he could not be trusted with America's secrets, and he knew the risks involved.

Israeli officials and others should stop asking to have Pollard released.

Further Reflections on Obama's Immigration "Policy" & Fake Soldiers

I don't get it. There is so much wrong with what President Obama did  last Friday unilaterally abrogating a portion of our immigration laws, and so little strong negative reaction.

First, I would note that his policy change is probably open to legal challenge. The executive has prosecutorial discretion but it cannot just issue a blanket statement saying it will not enforce a law at all for a certain group of people. That is just wrong, both legally and morally.

Second, the numbers are all over the place.  I have seen some estimates that his policy affects about 800,000 persons, persons brought to the US while minors, now between the ages of 18 and 30, no criminal record, been in school, or the military. How do we know that? Where does that number come from? It is just made up, that's all.

Let's accept the 800,000 number for now, however, and assume that all of those people were actually subject to being deported. Well, my friends, our President Obama just threw another 800,000 people into the "legal" workforce at a time when real unemployment is probably in the 16% to 18% range. Happy 4th of July American workers! What does the AFL-CIO have to say about that?

Third, I love the blather about patriotism and military service. The suddenly weepy-eyed patriotic Obama ignores one simple fact: the US military does NOT accept illegal aliens. I repeat, the US military does not accept illegal aliens. Look it up. A military recruit must prove he or she is a citizen or a legal resident of the United States. Any illegal alien in the military has committed some sort of document fraud, e.g., a forged "Green Card," birth certificate, US passport, or a naturalization certificate. In other words, he or she has produced the sort of documents we are told poor minorities are incapable of producing to get a valid photo id for voting . . . hmmmm.

Fourth, why the preference for those who have been in high school or college?  What about some poor kid who just worked? Does work have no value in our society? Why the favoring of better off illegal aliens, the ones who attended taxpayer supported schools?

Fifth, let's not even get started on the blatant pandering in an election year.  This President has had some three and half years to propose a reform of our creaky immigration system.  He has done nothing. Suddenly  some four-plus months from a close election, there is the "urgency of now" to this absurd little patch on the sinking immigration ship.

Sixth, why the assumption that this is an issue "Hispanics" care about more than any else? How about jobs, national security, deficit spending, etc.?

Yet another reason to vote against Obama next November. How many do we need?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Grecian Urn

Yes, the Greeks are voting, again. They have two main choices. The first choice, and the favorite of the Eurocrats and Europe's diminished capacity political classes, is The New Democrat Party, which sort of pledges a sort of allegiance to a sort of austerity program that will sort of guarantee a continuing bail-out from Germany, oops, I mean the rest of Europe.  The NDP "promises" to push for "austerity" in exchange for staying with the Euro and getting lots and lots and lots of money from, well, you know.  In the other corner we have my favorites, the Syriza Party.  The Syrizans are open and honest about their thievery.  They want to keep the Euro, reject austerity, and demand that the Germans keep underwriting Greek expenses forever and ever.

We are seeing a whole continent and potentially the whole world's economy being dragged to ruin by insane leftist policies in Europe and, tragically, in the United States, once upon a time the only adult in the room when it came to economic issues.  The results of the Greek elections are irrelevant. The NDP cannot deliver on "austerity" and the Syriza has no intention of even trying. The Greek economy is in total collapse; Greeks and others are pulling about one billion dollars a day out of the country. It is too late to talk about minor austerity programs or tax increases or pension reforms. It is time for the wrecking ball. The solution for Greece's problems will be ugly and painful and have international consequences that none of us can foresee. Greece must get out of the Euro, reestablish its own currency, and let the market determine the real worth of Greece's currency and economy. It is a nightmarish scenario but it is the only one that offers any hope for Greece--and Spain, Italy, Portugal. When you stop and think about the complexities involved in disentangling Greece and the Euro it is very daunting, e.g, stopping the capital flight, doing things quickly and even secretly, setting the "IPO" price for Greece's new currency, dealing with the sudden contraction of national wealth, etc. Not doing it, however, offers no long term hope for Greece or Europe unless the German ATM is going to continue to spit out the cash forever and ever.

In my view, it would be better for all for the Greeks to elect the honest crooks of Syriza than the usual devious crooks of the New Democrats. It would clarify the issue mightily.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Sort-of Amnesty from a Sort-of President

The President's announcement on his misadministration's new policy on young "illegals" is a classic Hail Mary Pass. It smells of desperation. It is another ill-thought-out patch on our already chaotic immigration laws, regulations, and policies, and does nothing in the long term to deal with the ostensible problem it seeks to solve, i.e., dealing with young illegal aliens. It throws under the bus legal aliens who have played by the rules, already hard-pressed American workers looking for scarce jobs, and ongoing efforts to develop a rational approach to immigration.

It is an electoral stunt that leaves many important questions unanswered and highlights the hypocrisy of this misadministration. To start, the details are hazy.  How will Homeland decide whether an illegal meets the requirements? Presumably that involves the alien confessing to being illegal, and, in the process, likely ratting out his parents, and perhaps other relatives. What happens to illegal alien spouses of such aliens? Do they benefit from the new status as "quasi-legal?" For how long can a person remain as a "quasi-legal?"

I find particularly ironic that the illegal alien seeking the benefits of this approach will have to produce considerable documentation. Weren't we told that minorities and poor people could not produce the documentation needed to get a valid voter id? It seems they will have no problem producing documentation to affirm their "quasi-legal" status.

This is another mess by perhaps the worst President we have ever had. It is a mess created for one purpose alone, winning the election. It won't work.

Friday Rant: Obama Campaign Stumbles On

This humble blog has noted before that the Obama campaign seems incredibly inept and lost for a theme. The past few days have done nothing to change that view. In the past, however, I have been too critical of Obama's campaign as a campaign.  The problem facing Obama's supporters is not the campaign's messaging, organization, etc., the problem is Obama. Certainly in my lifetime, and that of most Americans, President Obama is the most radical, cynical, anti-American, and, thankfully, inept president we have had. He wasted his honeymoon period with crazed, out-of-control spending, and Obamacare. Neither approach has done anything to improve the economy, and, in fact, both have contributed to the current economic malaise that threatens to become a Greek-like crisis for us.

No president even remotely in touch with the broad electorate would have thought that featuring rich New York airheads such as the silly Sarah Jessica Parker and the grotesque rich leftist snob Anna "Nuclear" Wintour in the campaign would do anything genuinely positive. The repellent dinner party being given in NY by these two dopes, at $40,000 a person, to which two little peons will be "invited" is the stuff of comedy skits worthy of Monty Python and the old SNL.  Other than to the hopeless arugula set, or those addicted to TMZ or MSNBC, to whom does this appeal?

Even worse is what has developed into Obama's stump speech: a confused mishmash of trying to claim credit for the "creation" of some 4 million jobs, while denying that he engaged in wild deficit spending to stimulate the economy (the deficits were Bush's), but demanding more spending to stimulate the economy. His speech is full of class warfare bromides, empty phrases, e.g., "forward," "more to do," and trying to raise the dire spectacle of America returning to its past--uh, like when it was prosperous, Mr. President?

Even the AFL-CIO has begun to smell the roses. The bosses of that dying organization, the mainstay of the DNC, have announced that they will begin to shift resources away from the President's campaign.  The drubbing the unions got in Wisconsin, and the failure of the President to lend a helping hand, has had an impact.

The one thing the Prez has going for him is the still-strong reluctance of the mainstream media to hold him accountable for the miserable record he has compiled.  The MSM has hardly touched the "Fast and Furious" scandal; shies away from any in-depth look into the Solyndra debacle; gives him a pass on the very dangerous leaking of sensitive intelligence information; ignores his abysmal foreign policy; won't look at the deliberate efforts to protect the voting "rights" of non-citizens; and, of course, won't examine his utterly failed economic policies.  Given, however, the waning power of the MSM to set the agenda, having the MSM in your corner, Mr. President, is not enough.

President Obama can be defeated. For those of us who want that to happen, we have no better ally than President Obama. Carry on.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another "Triumph" for the Obama State Department: The OAS General Assembly

The hits keep on coming for the Obama foreign policy team, perhaps the most incompetent since the days of "Carter from Mars." Read this excellent analysis by Luis Fleischman of the Americas Report.  He describes the disastrous performance by  our boys and girls at the OAS General Assembly in Cochabamba, Bolivia last week. Makes for doleful reading.

On Leaking Intel: Watch for the "Meaning-of-is-is" Defense

As usually happens in US political scandals, the important matters are getting drowned in a wave of legalisms, hair-splitting, and all around lawyer talk. The real issue is not whether the information leaked by the White House, and that's almost certainly from whence it came,  was "classified." The issue is whether putting into the press critical information about US and other nations' ongoing counterterrorism and couter-Iranian programs damages our national security by imperiling the lives of human assets, trashing millions of dollars in programs, and undermining our ability to work against our enemies.  The lawyers are all ready to note that the President, technically, cannot be accused of "leaking" classified, since he has the power to declassify information.  If the President says something is not classified, it is not classified.

Those of us concerned about the cavalier attitude of this misadministration toward issues of national security, must not let a "techno-legal" argument allow this cynical President and his hack National Security Advisor escape responsibility for damaging our national security. I fear that the special prosecutor route is a dead end. The scandal must be handled politically. In my view a good model is the effort by Darrell Issa to hold the evasive Attorney General accountable.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The War on Terror: A Victory of Sorts

We have lots of gloom in the Western world, and lots of valid reasons for that gloom. Almost every major Western country, from Australia to Japan to the USA to the benighted European continent, has mediocre to genuinely awful leadership. The few bright spots, e.g., Canada, Israel, Estonia, Chile, Wisconsin, have not yet managed to generate the energy to hold back, much less reverse, the tide of mediocrity that threatens to drown us all in debt, political correctness, bureaucracy, and lawyers.  We, however, have one possible glimmer of hope that is becoming brighter around the world: the defeat of Islamist terrorism. The last few years have not been good ones for the jihadis.  We can and, in fact, are defeating them.

 There has not been nor likely will be a surrender ceremony on a warship, in a rail car, or in a courthouse, but the great terrorist movements of the late 20th century and early 21st century are in disarray and crumbling. Dogged determination, lots of resources, guts, and intelligence (in both meanings of the word) have produced a remarkable result. On previous occasions, this humble blog has argued that we needed to inflict a series of defeats on the Islamists to drive home the message that they can bring only death, destruction, and hopelessness to their followers. All over the world, in fact, we now see the jihadis in retreat and staring at defeat. The nonsense about how they will replace every slain "martyr" with five, ten, twenty, thirty, etc., recruits has been shown to be, well, nonsense. As LTC Ralph Peters once wisely observed, "When you kill a terrorist, you do not make a martyr; you make a dead terrorist." Al Qaeda (AQ) and its once vaunted family of affiliates is a shell of its former self. No other organizations have sprung up with the global reach of the decaying AQ network.

The death knell for AQ rang in Iraq. Whatever the reasons were for the intervention, and despite the fashionable claim that Iraq was a distraction from the "real" war on terror, AQ died in Iraq. The leaders of AQ made the very unwise decision to go to war head-to-head with the United States military. Bad mistake. Iraq turned into Al Qaeda's Battle of Lepanto. They took on not only the most powerful military ever to exist, but also one that learns from its mistakes, adapts quickly, and seems to have an endless supply of ever-improving equipment and tactics, and of extremely competent and brave warriors. It was the US Army and the US Marines who chewed up AQ. They annihilated AQ's "foreign fighters" in the streets of Iraq, house by house, block by block.  AQ never recovered from its direct challenge to the US military, anymore than did the Viet Cong 40 years before. About a year ago, the SEALS even put down AQ's "spiritual" leader and Grand Poohbah, the Viagra-ingesting, scrofulous degenerate Osama bin-Ladin. A steady succession of AQ "number 2s," and affiliate leaders in Yemen, Indonesia, Pakistan, and elsewhere have joined the old buzzard. Even in once hopeless Somalia the jihadis are on the run.

We have not done this alone, by any means. I hope one day Americans will learn about the invaluable assistance from our friends around the world, friends such as the British and the Canadians, both of whom have taken huge losses in the war, the Australians (for whom I have a special place in my heart), the Israelis, and others we do not normally associate with the war on terror, e.g., Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Poland, Jordan, Germany, and, yes, France.

The victory is made all the more special by the fact that our current President never believed we could win, never supported the effort, and came into office pledging in essence to dismantle its machinery. He wanted civilian trials for the terrorists; promised to close Guantanamo, and demilitarize the effort. Even the term "war on terror" was banned in official publications.  We have, however, in this case, the good fortune that President Obama is as cynical as they come.  He realized that those pledges were electoral losers. He did not close Guantanamo, and, in fact, in his typically cynical "Chicago way" of politics decided to get around the legal issues and niceties of prisoners by not taking any. Incinerate do not incarcerate. As noted before, he decided to ramp up the drone war and to order death for terrorists, even those with US passports, at a rate that the left would never have tolerated with the evil Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis.

The war is not over. Terrorists remain out there, still plotting, and they most likely will have some isolated successes, probably against civilian targets. The big issue, however, has been decided. The West and its values cannot be defeated by the jihadis. Only we can do that to ourselves.

Friday, June 8, 2012

President Obama: From the Dark Side of the Moon

Remember when the media ridiculed Newt Gingrich for promising a colony on the moon by the end of his first term of president?  I can see why.  President Obama already lives there, on the far, dark side of the heavenly orb.  It is the only explanation for the press conference he gave this morning.

What was the purpose of this press conference?  What great message did he intend to deliver to us mere mortals? He gave a scripted but garbled, rambling, and fanciful "analysis" of the state of the economy, full of phony numbers, empty phrases and useless advice to the Europeans. Listening to our President, the "private sector is doing fine" and what problems there are come from too little spending by the government because of the Republicans. Insanity.

No mention of tax cuts except to state, "Congress refused to pass this jobs plan in full. They did act on a few parts of the bill -- most significantly the payroll tax cut that's putting more money in every working person's paycheck right now." Wait a minute! Continuing the current payroll tax rate PUTS money into people's paychecks? Another liberal madness based on the assumption that any of your money the government doesn't take from you is a gift from the government. 

He inserted himself to no useful end into the issue of whether Greece should exit the Euro. He showed that neither he nor his speechwriter has a clue when talking about the global economy, to wit, " the Greek people also need to recognize that their hardships will likely be worse if they chose to exit from the eurozone." Why? How does he know that? Why is he getting involved in that issue? His advice to the Europeans? Their governments should spend more, not less, because austerity means less money for everybody . . . as before, a typical leftist delusion about where money and wealth originate. 

Even worse than the President's statement was the reaction of the press in the room.  Either these journos are totally illiterate when it comes to economic issues, so far in the tank for Obama they're never going to emerge, or both.  They tossed up a couple of tepid pro forma questions which allowed the President to repeat his original statement and to demonstrate the President's stunning ignorance. One question at the very end asked about the recent leaks of classified information coming from the White House, which the President answered by saying he found the issue offensive. Nice. Offensive? Stop leaking! 

This man must be defeated next November.

Friday Rant: Obama's Foreign Policy Drones On

It is early Friday morning. Too much coffee. Read too many newspapers and watched too many news and talk shows. Ready to rant.

This posting likely will be misinterpreted, but let's charge on.  I start saying that I wish a hideous outcome for the jihadis and their "cause." I detest them; they are intolerant, stupid, murdering, and cowardly scum.  In my years overseas, along with other Foreign Service officers, I was directly involved in several actions against the Islamists. In one case I remember very well, working with the local services, we got a very bad guy scooped off the street, and sent to an "undisclosed location." In another assignment, working closely with the local services and those of a friendly third country, we managed to have a couple of prominent jihadis, who had killed a lot of people, end up very, very dead, their bodies riddled with bullets and torn apart with explosives. I slept fine. Unlike way too many people in the Obama Administration, my colleagues and I took seriously then and now issues of classification and protection of sources, means, and people. We certainly never said a word to the press, and not even to colleagues who did not have a need to know, or to our own families. It was serious stuff involving millions of dollars of taxpayer assets and putting at risk many lives, American and foreign. The Bush White House never said a word, either--no puff pieces on how the President had given the "go." I say all this not to brag but to underline that along with many other Foreign Service officers who served in the "hard places," I have some "street cred" which allows me to be critical of Obama's "war on terror."

Obama is not serious about the war on terror anymore than he is about almost anything else. For the Obamistas the anti-terror effort is just another program to be augmented, abandoned, or otherwise used to benefit the Dear Leader. It is akin to the auto bailout, "middle class tax cuts," student loan interest rates, or the "war on women." How's it polling? People want the terrorists dealt with?  Prisoners lead to legal and political issues? OK, then no prisoners; let's make the Dear Leader into the world's foremost terrorist killer.

Let me digress with a personal reflection. Many years ago I served in a very raucous and war-torn Central American country. One of my jobs was to be the bayonet dummy for visiting groups of secular leftists and radical religious personnel. Once a week, I would brief them on the political and combat situation in the country; then they would spit on, shout at and hurl insults at me. When they got home they would write newsletters for their backers about how they told off the Empire.  One point was always the issue of political prisoners. These visitors would get very angry with me when I would tell them there were no political prisoners despite decades of warfare. They assumed I was covering for the local regime. They were too stupid to ask, "Why are there no prisoners after thirty years of war?" I think the answer is obvious. 

The Obama war on terror involves taking no prisoners. Like the dopey academic leftists they are, the Obamistas get themselves all tangled up in endless legalisms, and Eric Holder stupidities, which makes killing a better, i..e, easier, option politically. They have turned the word "drone" into a verb which means killing.  Al Jihadi, the number two of al Qaeda in (fill in the blank) got droned today . . .  Drone strikes, however, do not make a foreign or a defense policy. Drone strikes are easy. They are useful on many occasions, but they are not substitutes for the hard work of real counter-terrorism warfare. Dead jihadis do not talk. Obamistas rather incinerate a building full of people rather than "waterboard" or sleep deprive one jihadi. Drones, however, make for better press releases than quiet work in the shadows.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wisconsin Saves The World . . . Maybe . . .

No doubt about it.

Great result from the recall election in Wisconsin.

Republican reform Governor Scott Walker not only "survived" the expensive, and ultimately ill-advised recall vote staged by the big thuggish public sector unions, he triumphed in a way that provides at least a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dark panorama for the western world. There is a stark contrast between Walker's courageous stand against the destructive "business-as-usual-soak-the-taxpayer" policies to which we have all become accustomed, and the wimpy acquiescence of politicians in Greece, Spain, Portugal, California, Illinois, and New York. The Governor stared down the public sector unions, the lying mass media, the shouting academics and beat them soundly; Wisconsin has shown the way for the rest of the country, and, perhaps, the rest of the world. The Governor stood up for the taxpayers and the wealth-producers against the tax consumers and wealth absorbers.

Birthplace of Harley-Davidson, the Republican Party and Orson Welles, leader in the abolitionist movement, pioneer in labor law, and home of anti-Communist hero Joe McCarthy, Wisconsin has shown the way again.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Chicago Way? Leaking Intel to Win an Election . . .

Unbelievable. Even CNN, the biggest of the overtly pro-Obama news networks, has questioned the ability and willingness of the Obama administration to keep vital national secrets.

I find the cavalier attitude of this administration towards genuine national security secrets very troubling. This is the most leak-prone administration in my memory. Remember the phony brouhaha over the "leaking" of the name of Valerie Plame by a Bush Administration official, the despicable loud-mouth Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who allowed somebody else to take the blame? Remember all that angst? Remember the books, the movies, the money pouring in? I don't see any of that with this administration's far worse leaking, deliberate leaking, of highly sensitive details of ongoing operations against some of the world's deadliest terrorists.

It has to stop. Lives are being put at risk by the administration's cynical release of highly sensitive information as part of the re-elect Obama effort. Maybe that's the Chicago way, but it should not be the American way.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

QE II: Through It All, A Class Act

July 4, 1776. That's the date on the official excuse note. It was signed by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Samuel Adams, and others, and delivered by George Washington. As of that date, it's official: We Americans don't have to worry or care about monarchs.  And I don't.

That said, I can't help but feel a bit of affection for Queen Elizabeth II, who is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee as monarch. Sixty years on the British throne--longer than I have been alive. She has been an old school class act throughout her time as monarch. She has a powerful sense of duty that comes through clearly in whatever she is doing, even when it is plainly ridiculous, e.g., the fawning, idiotic statement she was forced to read upon the death of the hideously stupid, self-destructive airhead Princess Diana.  The few times I have heard the Queen say anything off-the-cuff--she is usually very heavily scripted--she appears to have a refreshing and biting wit, with a touch of sarcasm.  Her husband, the Greek-born Prince Phillip, is an appealing irascible old coot, who has dedicated his life to playing second banana.

Her parents were a class act, too, and she inherited that. Her sister did not, nor did the Queen's children.  Prince Charles, the "heir apparent," is smart compared only to his two younger brothers. Charles would have been happy as a Hollywood celebrity jumping onto every fashionable cause and trend. He has shown deplorable taste in women, and, in essence, lived a wasted life. His brothers have done likewise. His children, Harry and William, seem somewhat better than their dad, but the jury is still out.  I can see why the Queen has never given up the throne to her son, Britain's longest "serving heir apparent."

Anyhow, I like Queen Elizabeth. I wish her the best. Here's to another sixty years for you . . .

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mad, Madder, and Madderer . . . the Europeans and the Euro

Sorry. Yet another post on the insanity in Europe. It just just gets weirder and more destructive by the day.

The Euro-fanatics, in a bid to save their sacred coin, are going to provoke a global economic catastrophe. I have written before several times about the fallacious thinking behind the EU and the Euro, and its dire consequences for Europe and the world. To sum up, this EU/Euro project was motivated by envy of and animus for the United States. The EU is formed largely by a bunch of bureaucrats from nations that are has-beens, never-weres, and never-will-bes. The EU reps I have encountered in my career were the most insufferable and boorish dolts imaginable--but very well paid. They could barely contain their hatred for the United States, and liked to brag endlessly about how "Europe" was going to be the next super-power. They attributed all sorts of magical properties and events to "Europe," e.g., winning the Cold War, keeping the peace, designing an economic system that was the envy of the world, etc.  The Euro currency would be the crowning achievement: a mighty amulet that would ward off the evil Americans and their almost as evil and deluded stooges, the British (Note: EU bureaucrats, as a rule, do not like the British, consider them only partially European, resent their rejection of the Euro, and, above all, detest the special military and intelligence relationship between the UK and the US.)

Well, we have seen how it turned out. The Euro, in the end, became nothing more than the German Mark, sustained by the impressive German economy and the sort of bookkeeping that got Al Capone thrown into prison. The Euro fed the delusions of the poorer economies of Europe that they could spend like Germans without having to work and save like Germans. It was funny money. Wasn't real. There was always more of the stuff around. Despite the "strict" rules on deficits, nobody bothered to enforce them, and, as we now see, there is no way to enforce them even if somebody wanted to do so.  Economic meltdown in Europe.

We are now moving into the next phase of insanity. Instead of actively beginning the admittedly difficult process of killing off the Euro, the Kool-Aid drinkers in the Old Continent are trying to find a way, any way, to "save" the Euro, almost regardless of the havoc that incurs. The latest manifestation comes from Spanish PM Rajoy who is proposing some sort of a centralized European authority that would control the budgets of the member states. This follows on the French proposal for one European bond issuing authority. That's desperation. This authority would, in essence, have a veto power over spending and tax policies.

One wonders then, what would national politicians do? Why elect them much less pay them a salary? On the one hand, if the Germans were placed in charge of this authority, it might not be a bad idea. But that is not how it would happen in Euroland. I can tell you right now, the Europeans would come up with some weird weighted voting scheme that would give power over the authority to the spendthrifts and demand that the Germans pay for it. In other words, the German treasury would become the common property of all of Europe. It is not not unlike loaning out your credit card, and having no real say over how it can be used but being responsible for the debts incurred.

Will the Germans buy off on that?  Will the German politicians, not an impressive bunch, finally work up the courage to say, "Enough!" The best thing Germany could do for Europe and itself is for Germany to get out of the Euro.