Archive for the ‘THE GOOD DUDES’ Category
WASHINGTON — Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio says a new immigration bill he helped write needs stronger border security provisions or it will fail in the House and may even have trouble getting through the Senate.
Rubio, who is the chief emissary to conservatives on the contentious legislation, said in a radio interview and in an opinion piece being published in Friday’s Wall Street Journal that he’s been hearing concerns in recent days that more work is needed to boost the bill’s language on the border and he said he’s committed to trying to make those changes.
In his Wall Street Journal piece, Rubio cited “triggers” in the bill that aim to make new citizenship provisions contingent on border security accomplishments. Critics say those provisions are too weak, because in some cases the Homeland Security secretary is tasked with undertaking studies — but not with delivering results — before millions in the U.S. illegally can obtain legal status.
Rubio also mentioned revisiting “waivers” in the bill that give federal officials discretion in applying the law, another flashpoint for conservative critics; concerns about the bill’s cost; and the possibility of making legalization provisions for immigrants already here “tougher, yet still realistic.” He didn’t offer details.
“Clearly what we have in there now is not good enough for too many people and so we’ve got to make it better. And that’s what I’m asking for and that’s what we’re working on,” Rubio said separately this week in an interview with “The Sean Hannity Show” radio program.
“This bill will not pass the House and, quite frankly, I think, may struggle to pass the Senate if it doesn’t deal with that issue, so we’ve got some work to do on that front,” he said.
Rubio’s comments came during Congress’ one-week recess. Back home, lawmakers are hearing feedback about the 844-page bill. Rubio and seven Democratic and Republican senators — the so-called Gang of Eight — introduced the legislation April 17. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to begin voting on it next week.
In addition to improving border security, the bill would create new visa programs to bring many more foreign workers into the U.S., require employers to check their workers’ legal status, and create a new pathway to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living here illegally.
The bill faces a tough road in the Democratic-led Senate and an even tougher one in the GOP-controlled House, and some supporters say it will only be successful if Republicans believe it does enough on the border.
The bill allocates $5.5 billion for border measures aimed at achieving 100 percent surveillance of the entire border and blocking 90 percent of border crossers and would-be crossers in high-entrance areas.
The Homeland Security Department would have six months to create a new border security plan to achieve the 90 percent effectiveness rate. Also within six months, the department would have to create a plan to identify where new fencing is needed. Once that happens, people living here illegally could begin to apply for a provisional legal status.
If the 90 percent rate isn’t achieved within five years, a commission made of border state officials would make recommendations on how to do it.
After 10 years, people with provisional legal status could apply for permanent residency if the new security and fencing plans are operating, a new mandatory employment verification system is in place, and a new electronic exit system is tracking who leaves the country.
Critics say these triggers don’t do enough.
“The triggers aren’t triggers at all,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said in a statement. “The day the bill passes, there will be an effective amnesty for the vast majority of illegal immigrants — abandoning the Gang of Eight’s public promise of enforcement first.”
But changes aimed at strengthening the border security provisions could cause heartburn among Democrats. Advocates and the Obama administration have been reluctant to see citizenship made contingent on border security. Immigrants here illegally already face a 13-year path to citizenship under the bill — which Rubio said actually could stretch to as many as 20 years for some, given how long it takes to undertake certain steps — and anything that could make it more onerous raises concerns with supporters on the left.
The border security agreement is “a very fragile and delicately worded part of the bill,” said Angela Kelley, vice president for immigration policy at the liberal Center for American Progress. “To me it really goes to the fundamental question of workability.”
Border security is just one issue that’s likely to provoke a fight. There’s also a brewing dispute over whether the bill should recognize gay unions so that gays could sponsor their partners to come to the U.S. Gay groups are pushing for an amendment in the Judiciary Committee to allow that, but Rubio and other Republicans have made clear it would cost their support.
White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about the gay immigration issue on Air Force One en route to Mexico City on Thursday. “We have said that we support that provision, but we also think it’s very important to recognize that the overall bill here accomplishes what the president believes needs to be accomplished,” Carney said.
Read more: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/may/05/us-immigration/#ixzz2SdEcl03I
Sarah Palin’s fiery NRA speech: ‘Don’t make me do it’
May 4, 2013 by Tom Tillison
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gave a fiery speech Friday afternoon at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Houston, Texas.
In her typical manner, Palin takes on the media and President Obama. She spoke of Obama using the parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting to push his gun control agenda, saying he is “a president who writes the book on exploiting tragedies.”
At one point, Palin referenced New York Mayor Michael ‘Nanny’ Bloomberg and her use of a “Big Gulp” as a visual aid when she spoke at CPAC 2013.
In sharing with the gathering Bloomberg’s desire to ban the public display of tobacco products, she pulled out a can of “snuff” and started tapping on it like an experienced dipper, saying, “Don’t make me do it!”
The one-time Republican vice presidential nominee asked the convention attendees to “keep the faith” and “stand up and fight for our freedoms.”
By Thomas Sowell
While it is not possible to answer all the e-mails and letters from readers, many are thought-provoking, whether those thoughts are positive or negative.
An e-mail from one young man simply asked for the sources of some facts about gun control that were mentioned in a recent column. It is good to check out the facts — especially if you check out the facts on both sides of an issue.
By contrast, another man simply denounced me because of what was said in that column. He did not ask for my sources but simply made contrary assertions, as if his assertions must be correct and therefore mine must be wrong.
He identified himself as a physician, and the claims that he made about guns were claims that had been made years ago in a medical journal — and thoroughly discredited since then. He might have learned that, if we had engaged in a back and forth discussion, but it was clear from his letter that his goal was not debate but denunciation. That is often the case these days.
It is always amazing how many serious issues are not discussed seriously, but instead simply generate assertions and counter-assertions. On television talk shows, people on opposite sides often just try to shout each other down.
There is a remarkable range of ways of seeming to argue without actually producing any coherent argument.
Decades of dumbed-down education no doubt have something to do with this, but there is more to it than that. Education is not merely neglected in many of our schools today, but is replaced to a great extent by ideological indoctrination. Moreover, it is largely indoctrination based on the same set of underlying and unexamined assumptions among teachers and institutions.
If our educational institutions — from the schools to the universities — were as interested in a diversity of ideas as they are obsessed with racial diversity, students would at least gain experience in seeing the assumptions behind different visions and the role of logic and evidence in debating those differences.
Instead, a student can go all the way from elementary school to a Ph.D. without encountering any fundamentally different vision of the world from that of the prevailing political correctness.
Moreover, the moral perspective that goes with this prevailing ideological view is all too often that of people who see themselves as being on the side of the angels against the forces of evil — whether the particular issue at hand is gun control, environmentalism, race or whatever.
Barack Obama’s sense of humor fits perfectly with the elitist White House press corps that routinely cover him, and there was never a better example that one remark he made in his series of jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night.
Take note of the journalists’ responses from the transcript. Obama, targeting his intrepid foe Michelle Bachmann, said:
Of course, even after I’ve done all this, some folks still don’t think I spend enough time with Congress. “Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?” they ask. Really? (Laughter.) Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell? (Laughter and applause.) I’m sorry. I get frustrated sometimes.
I am not giving up. In fact, I’m taking my charm offensive on the road — a Texas barbeque with Ted Cruz, a Kentucky bluegrass concert with Rand Paul, and a book-burning with Michele Bachmann. (Laughter and applause.)
A book-burning. He’s essentially calling Bachmann a Nazi or some other kind of fanatic. And note that not only did the audience laugh, they applauded.
That’s repellent, but considering the odious haughtiness of the Washington elite, it’s not surprising at all.
Obama concluded his remarks with this:
Those of us in public office, those of us in the press, those who produce entertainment for our kids, those with power, those with influence — all of us, including myself, we can strive to value those things that I suspect led most of us to do the work that we do in the first place — because we believed in something that was true, and we believed in service, and the idea that we can have a lasting, positive impact on the lives of the people around us.
A positive impact? Coloring your opponent as a fanatic may be seen as hilarious and something to applaud for Obama and the Washington elite, but to think of themselves as positive in the same breath is nothing short of malevolence masquerading as beneficence.
By Cameron Josephration Plan
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) blitzed all five Sunday shows in his most public pitch yet for the emerging immigration reform bill, arguing that it would control the border and rejecting conservative criticisms that it provided “amnesty” for illegal immigrants in the country.
“This is not ‘amnesty.’ ‘Amnesty’ is the forgiveness of something. ‘Amnesty’ is anything that says ‘do it illegally, it’ll be cheaper and easier,’” Rubio, a member of the bipartisan ‘Gang of Eight’ senators set to unveil their immigration bill on Tuesday, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, is a key figure in winning GOP support for the bill overhauling the nation’s immigration laws through tighter border security and a pathway to citizenship for those illegal immigrants already in the country.
But the contentious politics also place the potential 2016 presidential candidate in a difficult spot, as many conservatives strongly oppose offering immigrants who came here illegally a chance to stay in the U.S. and eventually apply for citizenship. The charge is the most potent attack conservatives have lobbed at the bill.
Rubio defended the bill on Sunday, saying it would allow illegal immigrants to stay only after meeting a series of requirements, including having a job and paying fines, and would require them to wait years before applying for citizenship.
The Florida senator argued the time was ripe for addressing immigration reform.
“This is an issue that needs to be solved,” he said.
Rubio argued that the current system is “de facto amnesty” and that the bipartisan plan would greatly improve control of the border with Mexico.
He said the creation of an “entry-exit” monitoring system to keep immigrants from overstaying their visas, and an “E-Verify” system to make sure companies aren’t illegally hiring unauthorized immigrants would be a central component of the comprehensive bill.
But some conservatives are marshaling their forces in opposition to the legislation and Rubio has sought to allay their concerns about the bill.
Rubio pushed back against a report from the conservative Heritage Foundation that immigration reform would be costly to the government. A similar report helped derail immigration reform six years ago by undercutting conservative support for the measure.
“Conservatives love dynamic scoring,” he said, arguing the bill’s effects should be taken on the whole and not just looked at from what it would cost the government. “This will be a net positive for our country now and for the future.”
Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a close Rubio ally who helped get him elected in 2010, is now head of the organization — and has long been a staunch opponent of giving illegal immigrants any legal status.
Rubio emphasized on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the bill was “a starting point.”
“It’s not a take-it-or-leave-it offer,” he said, acknowledging the work ahead to win support.
Speaking CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rubio said the bipartisan group of senators behind the bill wouldn’t stop amendments to the legislation.
“We haven’t agreed to band together to keep anyone from amending it. There are 92 other senators who have their own ideas about immigration reform, who, quite frankly, I think, can help make this bill better,” Rubio said.
The Gang of Eight first unveiled their framework in January and have been negotiating details of the plan since then.
A House group is working on its own bipartisan immigration overhaul, and leaders from both parties have said they hope to move on legislation soon. President Obama has made immigration reform a top priority for his second term.
But House GOP concerns over citizenship and conservative calls for the border to be secured first remain key obstacles.
Rubio has taken a deliberative approach to talks on the bill, and has urged Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to move slowly, allowing time for senators to build public support for their proposals.
Rubio said on multiple shows Sunday that he wasn’t backing the bill to boost his political prospects or to help the GOP improve its standing with minority voters, but rather because the nation’s immigration policy was broken.
“There are political ramifications to everything we do in Washington, but it’s not the reason to do it and it’s certainly not the reason I’m involved in this,” he said on “Meet the Press.”
“This is not about improving anyone’s poll numbers. This is very simple — I’m a senator. I get paid not to just give speeches, I get paid to solve problems. This is a serious problem here in Florida, this is a serious problem in America,” he added.
Rubio did say the next Republican presidential nominee would need to address immigration, even if his or her views on the issue didn’t match what Rubio has proposed.
“The nominee of our party needs to be someone that has answers to the problems our country faces, and immigration is a serious problem,” he said.
On CNN, Rubio said that he hadn’t considered if the success of the immigration reform bill could affect his own chances in 2016.
“I really haven’t. I have a job. My belief has always been that if I do my job and I do my job well, I’ll have options and opportunities in the future to do things, whether it’s run for reelection, run for something else or give someone else a chance at public service. And that’s how I view this issue,” Rubio said.
Kevin Bogardus contributed
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/293743-sen-rubio-defends-emerging-immigration-deal-as-not-amnesty#ixzz2QXANwixQ
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After last month’s filibuster of the Obama administration’s new drone policy, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has received a lot of attention from both libertarians and Republicans. With Senator Reid looking to introduce new gun legislation soon, Senator Paul isn’t afraid to use the same method to get his opinions out there. Late last month Senators Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz all sent a letter to the Senate Majority leader. The letter threatened to filibuster the new proposed bill that would expand background checks and crack down on interstate gun trading.
But on Monday Rand Paul and 12 other GOP Senators will send a follow up letter showing their support for a potential filibuster. According to Politico,
Reid may be able to break a filibuster with bipartisan support, which would obviate the need to do an end run around Paul’s group. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has said he won’t support a filibuster if Reid promises to allow for amendments on the floor.
In the letter due to be sent Monday, a carbon copy of the first missive, Paul and his expanded group of allies reiterate that they “intend to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms, or their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance.”
The Gun Owners of America, a small group that has risen in influence because of its strict adherence to a pro-gun line, has pressured senators and the National Rifle Association to back Paul, Cruz and Lee.
“If, you are an NRA member, contact them,” GOA wrote in an action alert sent to its own members, some of whom are also in the NRA, on April 1. “Urge them to join with us in supporting the Paul-Cruz-Lee filibuster. That means they should tell senators to oppose the motion to proceed to any gun control vehicle, and to oppose cloture on the motion to proceed to any gun control vehicle.”
In addition to Paul, Lee, Cruz, Rubio and Moran, the Republican who have signed the second letter are Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Jim Risch and Mike Crapo of Idaho, Dan Coats of Indiana and Pat Roberts of Kansas.
“We will oppose the motion to proceed on any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions,” they write.
Perhaps once Senator Reid sees that several of his co-workers disagree with this new proposed bill, he will put a stop to the new measure. With 13 senators now willing to stand up for Americans’ 2nd amendment rights in filibuster style, it is clear that we have elected officials who care about protecting our interests. Hopefully their dedication to the issue is a sign to their colleagues that the 2nd amendment is not one that can be ignored.