American Elephants

We’ve Failed Six Times, But This Time We’ll Get It Right! by The Elephant's Child

Janet Napolitano

The trouble with Big Government (one of them at least) is that they keep doing the same thing over and over. They declare war on poverty, they reform failing American education, they rescue crumbling infrastructure, and they reform our broken immigration laws. Again and again, and it never works.

The key provision of the Gang of 8’s immigration reform bill tells  you everything you need to know. It requires the development within ten years, of a check-in/check-out system for foreign visitors. That is important because almost half of the illegal population came here quite legally, but never left. If we do not record who leaves, we don’t know who is still here when they shouldn’t be. The common 11 million number of illegals is a moving-average educated-estimate, roughly half illegal border-crossers and half who have overstayed their visas.

The illegal alien will get a “provisional ” status right after the bill is signed. The completion of the in and out system is a “trigger” of requirement that has to be satisfied before the formerly illegal aliens can upgrade from “provisional” status to a full green card which permits eventual citizenship.

Here’s the problem. Congress required the development of just such an entry-exit system 17 years ago. In fact, the demand to complete the system has been reiterated by Congress a total of six times since the original requirement in 1996. So the Seventh Time is presumed to be the charm?

The new bill, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, actually waters down the provision in existing law, which calls for a check-in/check-out system at all crossing points. The new bill requires it only at airports and seaports, though the majority of foreign visitors come across our land borders.

We have lots of legislation on the books about immigration. Congress voted in 2006 to build 370 miles of triple-layered fence and 500 miles of automobile barriers. Obama claimed in 2011 that the border fence was “basically complete,” but according to DHS only 36.3 miles of border fence actually exist.

Federal immigration agents have filed suit seeking to block President Obama’s deferred-deportation initiative. ICE agents across the country have been put in a difficult position, stuck between federal policy and the Obama Administration’s insistence that they are above the law. Kris Kobach, Kansas Sec. of State, and the legal representative for the ICE agents said:

ICE is at a point now where agents are being told to break federal law. They’re pretty much told that any illegal alien under the age of 31 is going to be let go.

Senator Jeff  Sessions confronted Napolitano: “I have never heard of a situation in which a group of law officers sued their supervisor and you for blocking them from following the law.”

Federal district court judge Reed O’Connor (Northern District of Texas) found that DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings when the requirements for deportation under a federal statute are met. In other words, DHS does not have discretion to refuse to follow the law.

In a startling and candid admission, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano argued to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that regardless of oaths to uphold the law, the president and the executive branch can choose what laws are to be enforced.

The Gang of 8’s bill is supposedly different because they “promise” not to have any amnesty until the security provisions are in place. But there is no trust left. No one believes DHS. When the President just decides that any illegal over the age of 31 is free to stay in defiance of laws to the contrary, the response should be prove it! Separate the bill into parts with the security and enforcement provisions all put in place and functioning before any path to citizenship begins. Sorry. You have lied to us too often.

When Congress tackles the Big Issues, they get anxious to pass a comprehensive bill — this one checks in at 844 pages — that solves everything, so they can move on to another issue. We have seen the failures of their “comprehensive bills” all too often.

Red Lines and Nerve Gas by The Elephant's Child


The White House admitted yesterday what has been known for some time. The Syrian regime has used chemical weapons to attack its own people. In 2010, Barack Obama stated that the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” for the United States, a “game changer” that would theoretically move the White House in an undefined way from its position of studied indifference.

The opposition has accused the Assad regime for some time of using chemical agents, but the White House has dismissed the claims. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced that the United States now believes “with varying degrees of confidence” that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its people. Whatever “varying degrees of confidence” means. Hagel said the intelligence community has been assessing the problem. Other countries have reached the same conclusion with a high degree of confidence. Except they aren’t usually expected to do anything about it.

Theoretically, when you announce a “red line”, a “game changer,” you have set in motion something like the entire Pentagon deciding what you should do about it. Threats that are just repeated with “varying degrees of confidence” elicit little confidence from either the people or any of the players. 70,000 dead is a lot of people.

If American aid can help to cause Assad’s downfall and lead to his replacement by a non-radical replacement, we should help. If getting rid of Assad simply means installing another radical regime, then we shouldn’t be talking about “red lines.”

Ideally, a leader of a regime who uses nerve gas on his people should have a giant fist descend like a hammer directly on his head, so its like will never be repeated. But ideal circumstances seldom happen. Dithering, needing ever more information, consulting with the UN and going all wishy-washy only makes the U.S, weak and our enemies bold, and that is the worst of all worlds.

A Private Moment of Contemplation, Honoring the Victims. by The Elephant's Child
April 26, 2013, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Freedom, Islam, Terrorism | Tags: , ,

Tuesday morning, the White House press office issued a peculiar announcement. President Barack Obama would hold a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston bombings. All by himself. At the White House. Heroically. No press. No one else present. Alone, for a private moment.

Just the White House photographer to record the sacred, private moment.


Just Repeal the Damn Thing and Have Done With It. by The Elephant's Child

Real Clear Politics average of polls of Congressional Job Approval shows only 14 % approve of the job Congress is doing, while 80% disapprove. That may head South even more when people discover what Congress is up to now. Bipartisan consensus has emerged in secret conflabs over the unsuitability of ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges that they are mandated to join under ObamaCare. (We don’t like them either).

The talks are said to involve Harry Reid, John Boehner, other top lawmakers and the Obama administration. Politico has pointed out the obvious when it notes the political risks involved in exempting congressional lawmakers and thousands of staffers from a key component of ObamaCare. The rationale for such an exemption makes this even clearer. The astonishing fact that Congress is contemplating such a hypocritical move demonstrates the mess that is the law that they have imposed on America.

The problem stems from whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer — in this case, the federal government. If not, aides and lawmakers in both parties fear that staffers — especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere.

And Congressmen are concerned about the hit on their own wallets. Possibly this concern should have extended to ordinary Americans?

John Boehner has a ready-made rationale for considering a congressional exemption. His spokesman says:

The speaker’s objective is to spare the entire country from the ravages of the president’s health care law. He is approached daily by American citizens, including members of Congress and staff, who want to be freed from its mandates. If the speaker has the opportunity to save anyone from ObamaCare, he will.

Seth Mandel has a marvelous article at Commentary:

Congress started by trying to pass a massive bureaucratic overhaul of nearly one-fifth of the American economy, stared blankly at thousands of pages of regulations they wouldn’t even consider reading, and voted to make it the law of the land. Along the way, the treated the amendment process like a game of frat house beer pong, and their personal pride determined which amendments got through. Unsurprisingly , they passed amendments that made a hash of the law, because they didn’t read the law before enacting it.

When Nancy Pelosi suggested that it would just be tremendously exciting if no one looked at the bill and then we all found out together afterward to what extent Congress had just wrecked an entire industry, she was speaking for members of Congress as well as the public. So when Congress found out what Congress had wrought, they got to work trying to undo part of what they had done (the part, naturally, that affected them the most).

So now that they’ve been discovered, Reid has turned it over to the Office of Personnel Management. Always helps when Congress has got themselves in an embarrassing conundrum if it can be  placed ‘out of their hands’ so they don’t have to vote on the record. Wouldn’t be a surprise if their job approval rating dropped even more. Perhaps we should even consider replacing them.

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