Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Is Immigration Dead?
Published on on June 24, 2014

The political fallout caused by the expected immigration of 90,000 children this year (52,000 so far) over the Mexican border completely recasts the immigration debate. No longer must Republicans hypothesize or may Democrats deny that amnesty catalyzes illegal immigration. The children of Central America have resolved that question by descending on our border demanding admission and anticipating the right to stay.

Nor can the administration maintain even a pretense of tightening border security in return for legalization of those already here. President Obama has foreclosed that option and squandered any credibility by repeatedly dangling legalization and an end to deportations. As the children of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala have gotten the green light, Republicans come to realize that there will not be a border fence but a revolving door, if Obama has his way.

The 14 Senate Republicans who voted for an omnibus immigration bill relying on assurances that the border will be sealed must now realize that they have swallowed a total fiction. Obama has no intention of sealing anything.

Nor are the children wrong in thinking that they can get away with coming here and staying. In all of 2013, we deported 2,000 children, a handful compared to the 52,000 who have come here thus far in 2014.

Already, Democrats are pushing for legislation giving children free immigration lawyers, and estimates of the proportion that could be entitled to amnesty go as high as 40 percent. The 12-year-olds in Central America understand the real U.S. immigration policy a lot better than the White House does: Once they are here, they probably can stay. (And then bring their families.)

Before Obama stupidly lowered the likelihood of deportations and gave the impression that immigration was now the Latino equivalent of the Oklahoma Land Rush, there was a consensus in this country. The amendment introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) seemed to embody what Americans of both parties were willing to accept: Seal the border and then, gradually, begin legalizing those already here. Whether citizenship would follow remained a source of contention.

The consensus was based on Obama's excellent record in his first term at sealing the border. Helped by a bad economy in the U.S., the outflow of immigrants began to equal or exceed the influx. Among those already here, Obama increased the rate of deportation from about 250,000 annually under former Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton to more than 400,000.

But, as he geared up for reelection, Obama's need for Latino support led him to order the implementation of the Dream Act by an executive order, suspending eligible youth deportations.

As his second term has unfolded, Obama has cut deportations in half, virtually ended them for all but criminal immigrants, opened the possibility of amnesty for families of military and of Dreamers themselves, lowered employer fines and ordered border guards not to shoot.

These actions shattered the consensus that had begun to emerge and have doomed immigration reform.

But they have also set the cause of reform back years. No longer do Americans trust their government to enforce immigration laws, and they realize that the weaker the rules are, the more people will come.

This unexpected flood of children to the U.S. must undermine the faith of all but the most determined advocates of immigration reform. Obama's policies have massively backfired.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

China Is Ready to Use Its Military Might

By Joshua Kurlantzick
May 29, 2014 1:48 PM EDT

Over the past two months, as China’s maritime disputes with Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam have escalated, most foreign observers and American officials, though worried, have shown little concern that the conflicts would explode into a full-scale war. After all, for more than three decades China has profited enormously from being part of the global economic system. Its military, though growing, remains far less technologically advanced than American armed forces. And for 30 years, predictions that China one day would try to dominate its region by force have always been proven wrong.

Repeated warnings, with nothing coming of them, created a boy-who-cried-wolf scenario in Washington. In the early 1990s many human-rights activists, including some Democratic politicians, worried that China, ostracized after the Tiananmen crackdown, would lash out. China indeed fired missiles near Taiwan in 1995, but after the Clinton administration sent aircraft carriers into the Taiwan Strait, Beijing backed down. Instead it launched a charm offensive aimed at its neighbors, boosting aid, investment, and cultural diplomacy across the region. Western foreign policy leaders and China experts have come to assume that China has too much invested in the world today to smash it up. Beijing has “embraced global institutions and their rules and norms. … [That] has helped guide its spectacular economic growth and integration into the world economy,” notes China specialist Wendy Dobson of the University of Toronto, in a typical commentary about Beijing’s role in the world.

But this time the wolf might actually be here. China’s highly nationalistic new leadership may no longer simply accede to the existing international economic and security order; instead it appears to want to change that order, even if that means harming some of China’s most important trade ties. Beijing has started to show its tough-guy stance by, among other things, claiming ownership of islands lying between it and Japan and by enforcing its massive—and utterly ridiculous—claims to almost the entire South China Sea. But unlike 10 years ago, many of Beijing’s angry neighbors are no longer weaklings.

Why has China abandoned its smiling diplomacy, which helped it sign a free-trade agreement with Southeast Asia and gave it enormous influence over Asian governments? After all, by scaring countries such as Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam in recent years, China’s leaders have not only damaged trade relationships but also pushed many of these nations into the arms of the U.S.

Amid a war of words and water cannon with Vietnam, President Xi Jinping declared that “in Chinese blood, there is no DNA for aggression or hegemony.” But Xi almost surely approved the recent decision to move an oil rig into waters claimed by both China and Vietnam, and he is hardly backing down. After the anti-China riots in Vietnam, China’s foreign ministry declared that it was Hanoi, not Beijing, that was “distorting the facts [and] conflating right and wrong on the global stage” and implicitly threatened further punishment.

Today’s Chinese leaders, particularly those immediately below Xi, came of age after the Cultural Revolution. Instead of chaos and poverty, they have known an increasingly rich and powerful China. Within the Communist Party, the hawks have applied pressure on top leaders to take tougher and tougher policies. They have a ready audience: Xi himself always had nationalist leanings and came into office vowing to restore the greatness China enjoyed for centuries. And compared with even a decade ago, when most Chinese wanted their leaders to focus on continuing the country’s economic miracle, the ever-richer middle class is interested in foreign relations and staunchly backs a more forceful leadership.

With China’s impressive weathering of the global economic downturn and with the rest of Asia becoming dependent on trade and investment from China, Beijing believes that its territorial rivals cannot, over the long run, afford to fight back. Although China’s actions might lead its neighbors to work with the U.S., many Chinese officials believe rightly or wrongly that Asian nations cannot align with a weakening U.S. forever. What’s more, China has effectively defanged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) so that the organization cannot stand up for members such as the Philippines or Vietnam. Beijing has done so by essentially buying the loyalty of some Asean countries, such as Cambodia. Since the Asean nations operate by consensus and unanimity, China needs only one country on its side to sabotage the group.

The Philippines had developed warm feelings for the Chinese during the late 1990s and early 2000s, when China invested in a massive new railway project in the Manila region and became one of the country’s biggest foreign aid donors. But those feelings have curdled. Filipinos are coming to the conclusion that Beijing is serious about claiming all of the South China Sea and will not settle for anything less. When Philippine President Benigno Aquino III publicly questioned the claims, China disinvited him to a trade fair, even though such diplomatic snubs are almost unheard of.

Aquino recently told Bloomberg News that he wakes up every day thinking about China’s threats to his country. Manila’s dilapidated navy is no challenge to China’s military, which just acquired its first aircraft carrier. Since 2010 the Philippine government, which two decades ago threw out U.S. bases, has been sending one top official after another to Washington to demand, cajole, and plead for military equipment and other aid.

China’s military buildup and more aggressive behavior has sparked an arms race, with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam recently purchasing submarines, cruisers, fighter jets, and other arms. Southeast Asia’s arms purchases are growing faster than almost any other region in the world, with military spending rising 3.6 percent in 2013, according to an analysis by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. China boosted its military spending by more than 12 percent last year.

All-out conflict in Asia is not inevitable, despite China’s burgeoning power and nationalism. If the Asean nations were able to unite more effectively, it could apply diplomatic pressure on China to negotiate some of the claims, reducing the possibility of military conflict. A hotline connecting top Chinese leaders to the capitals of Southeast Asia doesn’t exist. But if one were put in place, it might help prevent small incidents from escalating into war. Otherwise, the potential for conflict is high. If China tried to move Philippine marines already encamped on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, Manila, riding a wave of nationalist sentiment, might feel compelled to strike back, launching an attack on Chinese ships. If China struck back with its own navy and air force, Manila would have no one to talk to immediately in Beijing to stop the violence from escalating.

There is also immense risk that the U.S. would be drawn into fighting. The Obama administration has stepped up arms sales to the Philippines and in April 2014 signed a defense agreement with the country that will allow U.S. forces to use Manila’s bases. In 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a landmark speech in which she declared that the South China Sea was a “national interest” of the U.S., the first time it had been referred to that way. At the time almost all Obama administration officials privately counseled reporters, policy analysts, and Asian leaders that China would never precipitate a war that could entangle the U.S. But that was when saying anything to the contrary was crying wolf. The countries of Southeast Asia see the wolf at the door. And with Washington increasingly committing itself to backing Asian partners, the U.S. might feel compelled to join a conflict as well.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dead Broke Hillary

Hillary Understands "Hard Life" - She And Bill Feel Your Pain
Published on on June 11, 2014

First, Hillary Clinton outright lied about her family's financial situation at the end of her husband's Presidency.  Telling Diane Sawyer that they were "dead broke," she apparently forgot about the $22 million in book deals they signed before they left the White House.  And the two multi-million dollar homes they bought while he was still in office.

Most people wouldn't call that dead broke.  But the Clintons aren't like most people.

Now, at the beginning of her book tour, Hillary Clinton is back-pedaling, trying to clean up her gaffe and show some empathy for the folks out there who have suffered in the recession and its aftermath.  Here's her message: She's just like the rest of us working stiffs, just trying to keep up with debts, mortgages, and tuition.  Really.  She knows just what it's like out there.

After making over $150 million since they left the White House, Clinton says she understands about the "hard life" that many people have to go through, saying it "wasn't easy" for her and Bill to get together the money to pay for their two mortgages and Chelsea's education after they left the White House.

Her husband told people "I feel your pain."  Now, she feels it, too.

Is she kidding?

Hillary Clinton has no idea how regular people live.  In her world, "hard times" means you have to get one of your millionaire friends to put up over a million dollars for a mortgage that you can't afford for a house you won't really be living in. And then you get lots of other people to donate tax free gifts of expensive china, silver, and furniture to fill the new house.  The rest you take from the White House and you're all set.  No need to worry about a thing.      

That's what people do in hard times, right?  Well, that's what Hillary Clinton did.

While living in the White House, the most luxurious residence in the United States, the Clintons paid only for food, dry cleaning, clothing and personal expenses.  The taxpayers paid for everything else -- their housing, maids, chefs, flowers, electricity, cars and transportation, insurance, subscriptions and books, entertaining and travel.

But unlike any other recent presidents, the Clintons went even further.  When they wanted a special vacation every year, they asked people they had never even met to lend them stunning vacation homes in Martha's Vineyard and the Virgin Islands.  They also borrowed Senator Jay Rockefeller's Jackson Hole estate in Wyoming when polls showed that the voters didn't like them hobnobbing with the rich and famous in the Vineyard.  But wherever they went, there was never a thought of paying for anything themselves.  How could they?  They were barely getting along.

In 1999, Hillary decided what she wanted to run for Senator from New York. There was one problem: she needed a residence in the State of New York.  It could have been just a one bedroom rental apartment, but that wouldn't have been posh enough for the First Lady.  So, instead, she bought a $1.75 million home in tony Chappaqua, N.Y.  There was one other problem: the Clintons didn't think they could qualify for a mortgage because of outstanding legal debts.  So what do people do when they can't qualify for a mortgage?

Most people would simply give up on buying a house they knew they could not afford.  But, if you're Hillary Clinton, you don't give up easily.  She wanted the house.  End of story.  So, if a bank wouldn't lend her $1.3 million, she'd just find a rich friend who would.  Think about it: The President of the United States with his hands out, begging his rich pals to put up over a million dollars so his wife could have an expensive house.  First, they tapped the White House Chief of Staff, Erskine Bowles, who initially agreed to the handout, but then backed out.  Maybe he figured out that it was inappropriate for the President to ask an employee to pay for his house.

After Bowles backed out, Terry McAuliffe happily jumped in to help out the first couple and deposited $1.3 million with the mortgage bank to guarantee the Clinton's payments.  Problem solved.

The "dead broke" couple made a $350,000 down payment.  Then, no worries.  To furnish it, they looted the White House and moved out furniture that had been donated to the home of the nation's chief executive.  Oh, and then they set up a gift registry -- like a bridal registry -- for wealthy donors to buy them expensive china, flatware, and furniture.  Hillary chose the Spode Stafford Flowers.  A five-piece place setting retails at almost $800.00 today.  She got over 16 place settings.  A United States Senator can't serve dinner on any old kind of plate.

QUESTION:  If you were "dead broke," would you buy a $1.7 million house that you didn't plan to live in for a few years?  Would you have $350,000 for a down payment?

And then, a year later, would you buy another $2.75 million house in D.C.?

That's what the Clintons did and that's why they know all about the 'hard times.'  As Hillary said, it wasn't easy making all of this work.

Obama and Change

Monday, June 09, 2014

Obama Frees War Criminals

The "scandals" that come from Washington are so frequent they tend to desensitize us. I pray that does not happen with last week's release of the "Taliban Dream Team" from Guantanamo Bay.

In a moment of unusual candor, Obama conceded that they could "absolutely" go back to the battlefield and threaten the lives of Americans. But Obama assured us that their release "was conditioned on the Qataris keeping eyes on them… We will be keeping eyes on them."

The White House can't keep eyes on the IRS or the VA, but we're supposed to trust it can keep eyes on these thugs?

One of the Taliban 5 has already vowed to return to Afghanistan to wage jihad against us. On CNN yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed concerns that these terrorists might rejoin the fight. "I honestly think that's just a lot of baloney," Kerry said. Feel safer now?

There is a growing chorus of apologists at left-wing think tanks and in the media arguing that the released detainees pose no serious risk because they are aging and out-of-shape.

That completely misses the point. The Taliban 5 were not fighters -- they were leaders and government ministers. If the Taliban had a Pentagon, these would be their four-star generals!

This deal has demoralized our rank-and-file soldiers. Worse, it has encouraged our enemies. The Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Omar called the deal "a great victory." It feeds the impression that America is in full retreat in the battle against radical Islam.

But news of this deal has also sent shock waves of fear and anger throughout many Afghan villages. Two of the Taliban 5 -- Mohammed Fazl and Norullah Noori -- are wanted by the U.N. for war crimes involving the massacres of thousands of Afghan civilians.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fazl led a "scorched-earth offensive" in 1999 that "systematically demolished entire villages, blowing up houses, burning fields and seeding the land with mines." According to some estimates, 300,000 people were forced to flee for their lives. Noori is accused of massacring 8,000 Afghan Shiites in the Balkh province in 1998.

The Obama Administration just let these war criminals escape justice in exchange for a likely deserter.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Who We Gave Up For The Traitor

Senator John McCain, who spent years as a POW in Vietnam's infamous "Hanoi Hilton," referred to the terrorists released from GITMOthis week as "the hardest of the hard core. These are the highest high-risk people."

This is not the first time the Obama Administration has negotiated for the release of the Taliban 5, as they are known. But when news of previous talks leaked, administration officials were summoned to Capitol Hill to explain themselves. CNN reports that "Two years ago, then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress all five had been assessed as both too dangerous to release and too difficult to put on trial."

So, who are the Taliban 5 that Obama just released? They are: Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Mohammed Nabi Omari.

Fazl was a top Taliban general and is considered a war criminal by the United Nations, wanted for the murder of thousands of Afghan Shiites. One Taliban leader called Fazl's release "the best news I have heard in at least 12 years. His return is like pouring 10,000 Taliban fighters into the battle on the side of jihad. … His freedom will definitely inspire the whole Taliban movement."

Noori, also a Taliban general, was personally recruited by Osama bin Laden. He is also wanted by the U.N. for war crimes.

Wasiq was a former intelligence minister for the Taliban and directed much of Al Qaeda's pre-9/11 intelligence training. After the 9/11 attacks, he was instrumental in organizing tribal opposition against the U.S. invasion.

Khairkhwa was the former Taliban governor of Herat and heavily involved in heroin trafficking for Al Qaeda. He was also instrumental in convincing the Iranians, despite their Shiite/Sunni differences, to aid the Taliban's terrorist attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Omari was a top Taliban commander who coordinated Al Qaeda attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Under the terms of the deal, they will supposedly spend one year in custody in Qatar. But at least a quarter of all GITMO detainees, including those deemed "low-risk," have gone back to the battlefield. These thugs are top leaders. The odds are overwhelming that we will see their handiwork once again.