Saturday, June 29, 2013


Barack Obama’s three-country visit to Africa stopped in Johannesburg, South Africa and was met by more than 1,000 protesters in nearby Pretoria.
1,000 Protest Obama In Pretoria, South Africa
Credit: Getty Images
The protest was put together by “No You Can’t” or “Nobama.” Organizers managed to bring anti-Obama and anti-America protesters from labor unions, climate activists and the South African Communist party.
Mr. Ndlozi of NobamaMdbuyiseni Ndlozi, the national coordinator of the “No Obama” told reporters, “I think it’s very clear at the moment that the Nobel Peace Prize givers made a mistake.”
Ndlozi went on to accuse the president of failing to keep his campaign promises as well as continuing wars he promised to end; starting more wars (though without saying which ones); and continuing U.S. aggression and human rights violations (no specifics here either).
South Africa’s Communist party was also participating in the Pretoria protest. One member, Solly Mapaila told reporters that his group was marching because “We don’t share similar values with President Obama and the USA — which represent injustice, aggression, imperialism and an atrocious system of capitalism.”
Yousef Omar of eNews Channel Africa filed this report from the Pretoria protest:
In addition to the street protests in Pretoria, the Association of Young Communists plan on making their voices heard Saturday when Obama receives an honorary degree from the University of Johannesburg in Soweto. reports:
South African Students Congress and the Young Communist League will be protesting UJ’s “poor and undemocratic” decision to award Obama an honorary doctorate.
The president’s Africa trip wraps up with a visit to Tanzania on Sunday.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Immigration bill clears Senate, faces uncertain future in House:

Vowing they’ve learned the lessons from the 1986 amnesty, the Senate on Thursday approved the biggest changes to the immigration system in a generation, promising this latest version will prevent another wave of illegal immigrants while at the same time granting a pathway to citizenship to most of the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country.

The 69-32 vote, which saw 14 Republicans join all 54 of the chamber’s Democratic caucus members support it, is likely the high-water mark for immigrant-rights advocates, who held prayer vigils and watching parties Thursday in anticipation of good news for illegal immigrants who’ve been waiting, in some cases for years, for legal status.
“Shouldn’t we give them the same chance that we’ve given wave after wave of immigrants?” said Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who has worked on this issue for years and who was one of the eight senators who wrote the bill that passed.

The battle now shifts to the GOP-led House, where hours before Thursday’s final vote, Speaker John A. Boehner said the Senate bill is dead on arrival.

“The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes,” the Ohio Republican said flatly at his weekly press conference, before going on to attack the Senate version as too weak on border security.
The path Mr. Boehner laid out appears to lean toward a piecemeal approach to the issue, rather than the broad approach the Senate took in mixing legal immigration, enforcement and the status of illegal immigrants into a 1,200-page bill.

Senators gave Thursday’s vote the full pomp of landmark legislation, with Majority Leader Harry Reid asking that senators vote from their desks — a formality reserved for the biggest issues, such as the 2009 vote on President Obama’s health care law.

“It’s historic in nature,” said Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, who is one of the chief reasons the legislation has advanced so far this year.

Indeed, it was Mr. Reid’s re-election in 2010, followed by President Obama’s own re-election in 2012, that pushed immigration back to the fore of the political conversation.

Since Mr. Obama’s November victory congressional Republicans have held a fierce internal debate over whether they need to pass a legalization bill in order to be competitive with Hispanic voters in upcoming elections.
The crux of the Senate bill is a deal to offer quick legal status to illegal immigrants, but withholds full citizenship rights until some conditions are met.

The key difference between supporters and opponents has been over how strict to make those conditions. Democrats have said they don’t want to do anything that would interfere with the path to citizenship, and they have succeeded in beating back amendments to make the citizenship path contingent on provable success in reducing illegal immigration.
Instead, the bill ties citizenship to measures of spending and to whether certain infrastructure and manpower are in place.

The one major amendment that passed called for adding 20,000 Border Patrol agents to the southwest, and would push the Homeland Security Department to build an additional 350 miles of pedestrian fencing, which would, in many places, likely replace the vehicle barriers the government built in the last six or seven years after the last immigration debate.

Mr. McCain said the staffing, infrastructure and new technology are the guarantees he needs to be certain the failures of 1986 aren’t repeated.

“I can tell you from 30 years of being on the border, this bill secures the border and anyone who says it doesn’t does not understand our security needs,” the senator said.

But immigration law enforcement agencies said the Senate’s bill falls short on security.
The unions for both immigration agents and officers who handle legal immigration benefits called the legislation an “anti-public safety bill and an anti-law enforcement bill,” saying it will actually cut down on interior enforcement, which all sides agree is critical to preventing a new wave of illegal immigration.

“It provides legalization for thousands of dangerous criminals while making it more difficult for our officers to identify public safety and national security threats,” the two unions’ presidents said in a joint statement.
Even many of the Republicans who voted for the bill said it needs changes, and said they hoped the House would rescue the legislation.

But they portrayed their vote Thursday as a choice between a disastrous “de facto amnesty” now and an improvement under the Senate legislation.

“It is a good solution to a hard problem,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who helped write the bill.

The Senate bill would lead to between 7 and 8 million illegal immigrants gaining legal status and work permits. Several million of those — agriculture workers and young adults who were brought to the U.S. as children — will have an early shot at citizenship, while the rest will have to wait at least 10 years as the government spends money on border security.
The legislation creates several categories for future workers to come — many of them as new legal immigrants, and others as guest-workers, who are supposed to go home after their visa expire.

However the Congressional Budget Office said many of those guest-workers won’t go home, which means illegal immigration will continue even if the law is enacted. CBO said the bill would only cut down on about 25 percent of illegal immigration.

On the other hand, CBO said the bill will succeed in bolstering the U.S. economy and the taxes newly legalized immigrants and future immigrants will pay will help the federal deficit. Over the next 20 years immigrants will reduce deficits by a net of about $900 billion, CBO said.

Read more:
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Obama’s Proxy War on Mideast Christians Even if Obama really were Muslim, what more could he possibly do to empower Islam?

With the recent decision to arm the opposition fighting Syrian President Assad, the United States has effectively declared a proxy war on Syria’s indigenous Christians — a proxy war that was earlier waged on Christians in other Mideast nations, resulting in the abuse, death, and/or mass exodus of Christians.

Ironically (if not absurdly) this proxy war on Christians is being presented to the American people as a war to safeguard the “human rights” and “freedoms” of the Syrian people.  Left unsaid by the Obama administration is the egregiously inhuman behavior these jihadis visit upon moderate Syrians in general and Christians in particular, from bombed churches to kidnapped (and often beheaded) Christians.  Days ago they massacred an entire Christian village.

Nor can one argue that the Obama administration is unaware that Christian persecution is an ironclad aspect of empowering jihadis.  Both past precedents and current events repeatedly demonstrate this.
In Libya, the administration armed/supported the “freedom fighters” fighting Gaddafi, even though it was common knowledge that many of them were connected to al-Qaeda.  Again, the rationale was “our responsibilities to our fellow human beings,” as Obama declared in April 2011, and how not assisting them “would have been a betrayal of who we are.”

Soon after their empowerment, some of our U.S.-supported “fellow human beings” decided to rub America’s face in it by attacking the U.S. consulate — on the anniversary of September 11, no less — resulting in the murders and possible rape of American diplomats, even as Obama tried to attribute the attack to American freedom of speech (a la a YouTube flick).

Lesser known, however, is that Libya’s small Christian minority is being targeted.  Among other things, the very few churches there are under attack; nuns that have been serving the sick and needy since 1921 have been harassed and forced to flee; foreign Christians possessing Bibles have been arrested and tortured (one recently died from his torture).

In Egypt, Obama and Hillary joined the bandwagon to eject Hosni Mubarak, America’s most stable and secular ally for thirty years. Then the administration cozied up to the Muslim Brotherhood — an Islamist organization that until recently was banned in Egypt and no U.S. president would have been involved with.   Among other “achievements,” the Brotherhood produced Sayyid Qutb, who is idolized by al-Qaeda as the chief theoretician of modern jihad.

As expected, since the Brotherhood came to power, the persecution of Copts has practically been legalized, as unprecedented numbers of Christians — men, women, and children — have been arrested, often receiving more than double the maximum prison sentence, under the accusation that they “blasphemed” Islam and/or its prophet.  It was also under Brotherhood rule that another unprecedented scandal occurred: the St. Mark Cathedral — holiest site of Coptic Christianity and home of the pope himself — was besieged in broad daylight by Islamic rioters.  When security came, they too joined in the attack on the cathedral.  And the targeting of Christian children — for abduction, ransom, rape, and/or forced conversion — has also reached unprecedented levels under Morsi.

And now as millions of Egyptians prepare to protest Muslim Brotherhood rule on June 30, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson just asked the Coptic pope to dissuade the Copts from joining in the protests — proving yet again that administration is more concerned about the wellbeing of the Brotherhood than the “human rights” of those they most abuse, Christian minorities.

Outside the Mideast, where Muslims are often not majorities, the administration wages its proxy war on Christians in other ways.  For example, in Nigeria, where more Christians have been slaughtered and churches bombed by Boko Haram jihadis than all throughout the world combined, after the Nigerian government went on a serious offensive to neutralize Boko Haram, John Kerry warned it not to violate the “human rights” of the jihadis — the same jihadis daily abusing the human rights of Christians, often in most inhuman ways.

The meaning of Boko Haram’s name — “Western education is a sin” — is also a reminder that those Muslims who attack Christians naturally also hate the West, seeing the two as one and the same, all infidels.  In other words, wherever the U.S. has empowered anti-Christian Islamists, it has also empowered anti-American forces.  Put differently, Muslim persecution of Christians is the litmus test of how “radical” an Islamic society has become.  Thus, in all those Mideast nations that the Obama administration has interfered — Egypt, Libya, and now Syria — the increase of Christian persecution in those countries is a reflection of the empowerment of forces hostile to the U.S. and Western civilization.

At this point, some may well raise that old question: is Obama a secret Muslim doing all he can to empower Islam?  In fact, this is an irrelevant question.  For even if he was, what more could he possibly do than he is doing right now — under the gaze of a somnambulant America?

Don’t Take the Bait on Gay Marriage:If you’re so worried about gays getting married, take the fight to where it should be fought — family, friends, clergy, our personal lives. In other words, the private sphere. Leave this one out of government control. They’re dealing with a lot more than they can handle as it is.

You don’t have to have been Nostradamus to have known that the fight for same-sex marriage in the USA and in Europe has been over for twenty years or more.

The handwriting has been on the walls so long they’ve crumbled and turned into architectural relics out of Ancient Rome, as the polls swung inexorably in favor of gay marriage.

The Supreme Court decisions on Wednesday were the thinnest veneer of icing on an already many times baked cake. Legal challenges are irrelevant. They only delay the inevitable.
Any other clichés, Roger? Okay, here’s one. The horse is already so far out of the barn it’s lapped the field for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes combined.
So what are we to make of all this?
As the late James Gandolfini would say, “fughgeddaboutit.”
Do yourself and the right, center-right, and everyone else who’s got his or her priorities on straight a favor and move on.
Don’t do Barack Obama any favors!
He is on so many ropes you can’t count them. The only thing that can help him is for a bunch of rightwingers to start screaming about the sanctity of marriage.
Don’t do it! Don’t take the bait!
Make peace with your gay friends, neighbors, and relatives. They should thrive and be happy. Or be indentured to divorce lawyers for the rest of their lives like so many of us. Whatever happens happens.
Move on!
And for those who say we’re on the slippery slope to polygamy, incest, or whatever, stop it! There’s no concrete evidence for any of this. Gay people — the ones who are getting married anyway — want to be bourgeois like you. We’ve all met tons of gay people but very few (if any) polygamists and not a single person who is sleeping with their mother and/or sister. (Well, maybe in the movie Deliverance and I’m not even sure it really happened there.)

Look inside yourself and stop making this absurd, straw-man argument for which there is no serious real-life corroboration in the U.S., only in the Islamic world.

(That means you, Dennis Prager. You’re too smart for that kind of sophism.)
One thing Obama and his minions thrive on is distraction — and protest of gay marriage will be distraction one, I promise you.

Play offense, not defense.

You want some offense to play? Here’s a few: the IRS, Benghazi, Obamacare, the dreadful economy, massive unemployment, a deficit the size of Mars, fifty million people on food stamps, every citizen in the country being spied on, scientific nonsense about global warming, the blocking of U.S. energy resources, kowtowing to Islamofascists, Fast and Furious and the rest of the misuses of the Justice Department, porous borders, Mexican drug cartels, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood, nuclear Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, etc., etc., etc.

All that and you still want to worry about gays getting married?
Excuse me if I think you’ve got your priorities out of order?
And one last thing: you can’t have everything. No one can.

If you’re so worried about gays getting married, take the fight to where it should be fought — family, friends, clergy, our personal lives. In other words, the private sphere. Leave this one out of government control. They’re dealing with a lot more than they can handle as it is.

The Next Marriage Battle:

    Screen Shot 2013 06 26 at 12.23.56 PM The Next Marriage Battle
    So California’s Proposition 8 is gone. A coalition of liberal and conservative justices decided today that they did not have to decide the question they had just decided because the party that they authorized to stand up for Proposition 8 lacked the standing to stand there. At the same time, a very different Supreme Court majority, split along traditional liberal-conservative-Kennedy lines, invalidated the Federal Defense of Marriage Act—not, as some people anticipated, on narrow procedural grounds, but on a fairly sweeping interpretation of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process clause.

    Both rulings support what we used to call “state’s rights” but now (quite incorrectly) call “federalism” because “state’s rights” sounds too Jim Crow-y. States, it appears, are free to define marriage however they want, to marry whoever fits their definition, and to rest secure in the knowledge that the federal government will recognize whatever they choose to do. Vox Provinciae, Vox Dei.

    And this is the beginning of the next big marriage battle—one that will have profound consequences for what we mean when we say that we are a nation.

    States have been creating the lines for the coming battle for quite some time. By the end of the summer, fourteen jurisdictions (thirteen states and the District of Columbia) will permit same-sex couples to marry with all of the privileges and immunities of opposite-sex couples. Seven states currently have laws against same-sex marriage, and thirty more have constitutional provisions that prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.

    What this means in practice is that there will soon be a lot more lawsuits. Thirty states will be required by their own constitutions to deny marriage benefits to residents who have been legally married in other states. All of the couples so denied will have “standing.” Many of them will sue in federal courts. Some of them will win.

    They will win, I believe, because they have a very compelling argument under Article IV, Section I of the Constitution, which says that “full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.” You know, like marriage.

    Now, this is no slam dunk. There is a long legal tradition of applying the Full Faith and Credit Clause rigorously to court judgments but much less rigorously to state laws. There are certainly the legal precedents—if anybody wants to get caught invoking them—of runaway slave laws and pre-Loving v Virginia (1967) anti-miscegenation laws. In the past, we have allowed states to have different definitions of the word “marriage” and even of of the word “person”–but this has rarely worked out very well.

    And there is only limited refuge here for the states, even if they are willing to cite the devil to win a precedent. The legal definition of marriage bears directly on the types of legal judgments—about things like property rights, child-custody decisions, contracts, inheritances, etc.—that constitute the core purpose of the Full Faith and Credit Clause. The federal court system is going to have no shortage of difficult (and extremely interesting) questions to decide as these cases work their way through the system.

    In the meantime, marriage is going to be a mess pretty much everywhere. Just imagine, for example, what will happen if the State of New York decides it will no longer recognize any marriages performed in states that do not recognize its marriages. And that’s just for starters. Imagine what will happen if they stop recognizing divorces. Are any of us going to be comfortable knowing that we could be living in sin, or even committing bigamy, any time we cross a state line?

    Today’s decisions put us on the road to one of those “house-divided” moments that Abraham Lincoln was always talking about. Thirty states now have a constitutional requirement NOT to recognize the legal actions of other states—this is a condition appropriate for a loose confederacy like, say, the Eurozone or the Delian League, but it is not how actual nations are supposed to work. The purpose of the Full Faith and Credit Clause is to prevent precisely this kind of situation from arising or being allowed to continue. Both Madison and Hamilton believed that, if we cannot be secure in our legal standing from one state to the next, we are not citizens of anything that can legitimately be called a nation. The next marriage battle, therefore, will not be about inheritance rights and property divisions; it will be about whether or not we are a country.

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013

    Limbaugh: Democrats Push Amnesty to Replace 52 Million Aborted Since 1973,

    ( – Democrats are pushing  hard for some form of amnesty in the immigration bill for the estimated 11 million illegal aliens in the United States partly because they are looking to replace the 52 million Americans who never entered the workforce  -- and never paid federal taxes -- but instead were victims of abortion since Roe v. Wade, said conservative Rush Limbaugh on his talk-radio program.
    With the tax revenue, argued Limbaugh, the Democrats could expand government further and recruit more voters for their party. Roe v. Wade was the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide.
    On his June 14 broadcast, Limbaugh said that the Democrats have “got to come up with money. And they know this: If you use the popularly accepted figure of 1.3 million abortions a year, go back to Roe vs. Wade 1973, 52 million taxpayers haven't been born, is the way Washington looks at that.”
    “They don't look at it morally,” said Limbaugh.  “They don't look at it in any kind of cultural way or any kind of cultural impact. They just say we're 52 million people short.”
    “We got 52 million fewer people paying taxes,” Limbaugh continued.  “We gotta’ replace them. Hello amnesty. The Democrat Party needs a permanent underclass in order to keep themselves alive as Santa Claus, to keep winning elections and stay in power.”
    “The illegals’ income levels might be such they wouldn't be paying much [in taxes], but it's better than nothing,” said the talk-radio host.  “So, one of the reasons for amnesty is to replace the 52 million people aborted.”
    “I just want to tell you something,” he said.  “I really think that abortion is at the root -- you could do a flowchart -- I think abortion is at the root of so much that has and is going wrong in this country.”
    - See more at:

    Sessions: Immigration Bill Requires '3 or More' Fake Passports To Be A Crime:

    ( – Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) informed FBI Director Robert Mueller at a Senate Judiciary hearing on June 19 that the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill does not make it a crime to produce or traffic U.S. passports unless three or more fake passports are made or sold.
    “I would share with Senator Grassley deep concern that this immigration bill would say for passports -- which you [Mueller] should be aware of and need to be on top of – only those who produce, issue or distribute three or more passports have committed a crime,” Sessions said.
    Under the bill only those who forge, alter, and possess three or more passports will have committed a crime, and not only those who use any official material to make 10 or more passports will have committed a crime,” Sessions said.
    On page 1,557 of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, S. 744, under Section 3707, “Reform of Passport, Visa and Immigration Fraud Offenses,” the text states:
    “Any person who, during any period of 3 years or less, knowingly and without lawful authority produces, issues, or transfers 3 or more passports; forges, counterfeits, alters or falsely makes 3 or more passports; secures, possesses, uses, receives, buys, sells, or distributes 3 or more passports, knowing the passports to be forged, counterfeited, altered, falsely made, stolen, procured by fraud, or produced or issued without lawful authority; or completes, mails, prepares, presents, signs or submits 3 or more applications for a United States passport, knowing the applications to contain any materially false statement or representation shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years or both.”
    “Any person who knowingly and without lawful authority produces, buys, sells, possesses, or uses any official material (or counterfeit of any official material) used to make 10 or more passports, including any distinctive paper, seal, hologram, image, text, symbol, stamp, engraving, or plate, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.’’
    Sessions asked Mueller to check on that portion of the bill.
    “So I hope you would look at that,” Sessions said. “We would like the FBI’s advice if this makes it more difficult to produce integrity in the passport processing business.”
    “Would you look at that?” Sessions said.
    “Yes, will do,” Mueller responded.
    A procedural vote is expected late Monday to wind down debate on what could be the final compromise on the Senate bill.
    - See more at:

    Federal Regulations Make Americans 75 Percent Poorer:

    “Federal regulations have made you 75 percent poorer,” and as a result, “U.S. GDP is just $16 trillion instead of $54 trillion,” says an article in Reason magazine. It cites a study that finds that as a result of growing regulation,
    the average American household receives about $277,000 less annually than it would have gotten in the absence of six decades of accumulated regulations—a median household income of $330,000 instead of the $53,000 we get now.
    The researchers, economists John Dawson of Appalachian State University and John Seater of North Carolina State, constructed an index of federal regulations by tracking the growth in the number of pages in the Code of Federal Regulations since 1949. The number of pages, they note, has increased six-fold from 19,335 in 1949 to 134,261 in 2005. (As of 2011, the number of pages had risen to 169,301.) They devise a pretty standard endogenous growth theory model . . . to calculate how federal regulations have affected economic growth.
    Annual output in 2005, they conclude, “is 28 percent of what it would have been had regulation remained at its 1949 level.”. . .Regulations also affect the allocation of labor and capital—by, say, raising the costs of new hires . . .Overall, they calculate, if regulation had remained at the same level as in 1949, current GDP would have been $53.9 trillion instead of $15.1 in 2011. In other words, current U.S. GDP in 2011 was $38.8 trillion less than it might have been.
    CEI’s Wayne Crews says that “Obama’s record-setting red tape costs Americans $14,000 annually.” Crews recently released “the latest edition of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, which surveys the big picture federal regulatory state by numbers and costs.” For example, he notes, the EPA “added 223 rules in 2012,” with an “estimated compliance cost” of “$353 billion.” The costs measured in Crews’ report will likely be dwarfed by additional regulatory costs in the future resulting from laws backed by Obama, such as the 2010 healthcare law, and the Dodd-Frank Act. It will take years for agencies to issue the regulations called for by these laws, especially the Dodd-Frank Act, a 2,315-page measure whose massive costs are just starting to be felt and have yet to be tallied. Just one of its rules is expected to “cost American businesses $315 billion and increase annual borrowing costs by $43 billion,” according to the Financial Services Roundtable. The Dodd-Frank Act has already wiped out thousands of jobs and harmed the poor. Similarly, Obamacare is causinglayoffs in the medical device industry, and will wipe out many jobs. It is also replacing full-time jobs with meager part-time jobs in community collegesrestaurants, and other sectors.
    More regulations means fewer jobs. A liberal Yale professor recounts being told by a businessman that he would not hire more employees despite having a “successful business” due to the current political and regulatory climate. “How can I hire new workers today, when I don’t know how much they will cost me tomorrow?,” asked the businessman, “referring not to wages, but to regulation: He has no way of telling what new rules will go into effect when. His business . . . operates on low margins. He can’t afford to take the chance of losing what little profit there is to the next round of regulatory changes. And so he’s hiring nobody until he has some certainty about cost.”
    Boston business owner Terry Catchpole noted in The New York Times that economic uncertainty due to Obama administration policies has wiped out jobs at companies like his:
    Two years ago our executive communications company had 17 employees. Today it has seven . . . like many small businesses, we are dependent on big businesses as customers. And the big businesses that we would ordinarily depend on to become clients are sitting on their cash, because they are deathly afraid of an Obama administration that has been hostile to business . . . They have no idea where the administration’s next attack is coming from, and how much it is going to cost them to defend. So businesses do not spend money; they do not hire my company; and we cannot hire back those 10 good people we had to let go.
    Democratic businessman Steve Wynn called Obama “the greatest wet blanket to business and progress and job creation in my lifetime,” saying that “the business community in this country is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he’s gone, everybody’s going to be sitting on their thumbs.”
    Even agencies that lack the power to adopt much in the way of formal regulations effectively do so by adopting “guidelines” that interpret statutes to impose burdensome obligations never intended by the Congress that enacted them. The classic example is the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is discouraging hiring by creating a bad legal climate for employers. It has pressured employers, such as nuclear power plant operators, to hire people with criminal records as armed guards, even when they are prohibited by state law from hiring felons for such positions, as Jim Bovard noted in The Wall Street Journal, discussing the EEOC’s proceedings against a nuclear-plant operator that had refused to hire a twice-convicted thief. The EEOC sued Pepsi for doing criminal background checks, forcing the company to pay $3.1 million to settle the lawsuit. The EEOC is threatening employers who require high-school diplomas with ADA lawsuits. Employers’ ability to hire and fire based on merit has been under assault by the EEOC, which has ordered employers to discard useful employment tests and accommodate incompetent employees. A hotel chain was recentlycompelled to pay $132,500 for dismissing an autistic desk clerk who did not do his job properly, in order for it avoid a lawsuit by the EEOC that would have cost it much more than that to defend. The EEOC has sued companies that refuse to employ truck drivers with a history of heavy drinking, even though companies that hire them will be sued under state personal-injury laws when they have an accident. The EEOC used the threat of costly litigation for force a cafe owner to pay thousands of dollars for not selecting a hearing- and speech-impaired employee for a cashier’s position.

    Snowden Snowballs Into Colossal Embarrassment for Obama and his Foreign Policy Negotiated whats? Russia and China all too happy to show the world that they hold the cards, not Washington.

    Not even a week ago, President Obama was at the Berlin Wall vowing to scale back the U.S. arsenal in good faith that Moscow would follow suit in “negotiated cuts.”

    Before that, Obama was meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Palm Springs for a bilateral sit-down that he confidently branded as a positive step forward in U.S.-China relation:

    Buoyed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations of U.S. intelligence activities and after reportedly milking the hard drives of four laptops he carried into his Hong Kong hotel, the Chinese government defied a Washington extradition request and let Snowden leave the former British territory.

    Once safely at the airport in Moscow, his U.S. passport revoked, Snowden had cover from Russia as he obtained financial and legal assistance from WikiLeaks and petitioned Ecuador for asylum.

    Even if the Ecuador claim is intended to throw pursuers off his trail, any number of countries less than friendly with the Obama administration may be lining up to give the former NSA contractor safe haven. Considering Snowden was charged under the Espionage Act, there are enough political loopholes in extradition treaties to ensure the administration will have a hard time getting him back.

    And considering these disastrous turns for a president who declared first-term success in improving America’s image across the globe while resetting relations with old foes, America’s superpower image has taken a super hit with these Snowden snubs.

    “We understand that he departed Hong Kong yesterday and that he arrived in Russia. Beyond that, I would refer you with regards to his whereabouts to Russian authorities,” a testy Jay Carney told reporters at the White House briefing today.

    “I would say that we are, obviously, in conversations, and that we are working with them or discussing with them and — or rather, expecting them to look at the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden back to the United States to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged,” Carney continued.
    On Hong Kong, Carney gave a lengthy explanation of contacts the U.S. had with the special administrative region of China regarding the provisional arrest request.

    “On June 17th, Hong Kong authorities acknowledged receipt of our request. Despite repeated inquiries, Hong Kong authorities did not respond with any request for additional documents or information, stating only that the matter was under review and refusing to elaborate. On June 21, Hong Kong authorities requested additional information concerning the U.S. charges and evidence. The U.S. had been in communication about these inquiries and we were in the process of responding to the request when we learned that Hong Kong authorities have allowed the fugitive to leave Hong Kong,” the press secretary said.

    “We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official. This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive, despite a valid arrest warrant. And that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship.”

    Give past capitulations, the main question hanging in the air was what tanding the U.S. has to express said displeasure with China and Russia in any meaningful way. Carney had “no presidential communications to report out,” indicating Obama had not intervened with his counterparts at the presidential level.
    “But, obviously, we are communicating with our counterparts at the appropriate levels,” Carney added.
    When pressed repeatedly for more information about what the U.S. has done and what actions it might be willing to take — would the U.S. force a plane carrying Snowden to land? — Carney referred back to his prepared statements about Washington’s outrage.

    House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said “a president that can talk more about diplomacy and maybe flex some muscles should.”

    “This comes on the heels of the president’s trip to China and Russia. And look at the amount of respect that these two countries are paying to this president,” he added.

    McCaul said at this point he could see using “a lot of legal pressure, a lot of economic, a lot of trade pressures” to get Snowden returned. “I think the only thing other than that that we could possibly do would be some sort of rendition, which I think would be very controversial.”

    Other lawmakers tried dumping guilt on Russia. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) fired off a letter to Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak today urging Moscow “to apprehend [Snowden] and turn him over to United States authorities immediately.”

    “The Snowden case is an important test of the ‘reset’ in relations between our two countries,” Graham wrote. “Mr. Snowden’s own statements have made clear his guilt. If our two nations are to have a constructive relationship moving forward, Russian cooperation in this matter is essential.”
    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) urged Russia to turn over Snowden in a statement today.

    “Edward Snowden is not a whistleblower worthy of protection, but a fugitive deserving of prosecution,” said Menendez. “He violated his sworn pledge to protect classified information. He jeopardized our national security. And he betrayed the trust of the American people. This man is no hero.”
    Alexei Pushkov, the head of the International Affairs Committee in Russia’s Duma, was quoted by Reuters as saying, “Ties are in a rather complicated phase, and when ties are in such a phase, when one country undertakes hostile action against another, why should the United States expect restraint and understanding from Russia?”

    The Kremlin claimed it had no prior knowledge of Snowden coming to Moscow or where he currently is — but also made clear that it won’t be jumping in to hand Snowden back to the U.S.

    “Snowden did nothing illegal in Russia. There are also no orders for his arrest through Interpol to Russian law enforcement agencies,” RIA-Novosti news agency quoted an unnamed security official.

    China’s state-run press agency Xinhua reveled in the moment by leading its site Monday evening with “White House expecting Russia to expel Snowden back to U.S.”

    The story opened into a full package of pieces on the Snowden affair, including a Sunday commentary saying “Washington owes world explanations over troubling spying accusations.”

    “In the past few months, U.S. politicians and media outlets have thrown out Internet spying accusations one after another against China, trying to make it as one of the biggest perpetrators of Internet spying activities. And those claims were even highlighted during a highly anticipated summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama held earlier this month in California, which had been designed to help the world’s two biggest economies to build a new type of major power relations,” the commentary said.

    “The ball is now in Washington’s court. The U.S. government had better move to allay the concerns of other countries.”

    Like clockwork, today The Moscow Times ran a photo of Obama at the Berlin Wall last week with the headline “Russia Could Stand in Way of Obama’s Nuclear Cuts.”

    High court voids key part of Voting Rights Act

    a voting rights case in Alabama. The Supreme Court says a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced until Congress comes up with a new way of determining which states and localities require close federal monitoring of elections 
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act cannot be enforced unless Congress comes up with an up-to-date formula for deciding which states and localities still need federal monitoring.

    The justices said in 5-4 vote that the law Congress most recently renewed in 2006 relies on 40-year-old data that does not reflect racial progress and changes in U.S. society.

    The court did not strike down the advance approval requirement of the law that has been used, mainly in the South, to open up polling places to minority voters in the nearly half century since it was first enacted in 1965. But the justices did say lawmakers must update the formula for determining which parts of the country must seek Washington's approval, in advance, for election changes.

    Chief Justice John Roberts said for the conservative majority that Congress "may draft another formula based on current conditions."

    That task eluded Congress in 2006 when lawmakers overwhelmingly renewed the advance approval requirement with no changes in which states and local jurisdictions were covered, and Congress did nothing in response to a high court ruling in a similar challenge in 2009 in which the justices raised many of the same concerns.

    "The coverage formula that Congress reauthorized in 2006 ignores these developments, keeping the focus on decades-old data relevant to decades-old problems, rather than current data reflecting current needs," Roberts said.

    The decision means that a host of state and local laws that have not received Justice Department approval or have not yet been submitted will be able to take effect. Prominent among those are voter identification laws in Alabama and Mississippi.

    Going forward, the outcome alters the calculus of passing election-related legislation in the affected states and local jurisdictions. The threat of an objection from Washington has hung over election-related proposals for nearly a half century. At least until Congress acts, that deterrent now is gone.

    That prospect has worried civil rights groups which especially worry that changes on the local level might not get the same scrutiny as the actions of state legislatures.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by her three liberal colleagues, dissented from Tuesday's ruling.
    Ginsburg said no one doubts that voting discrimination still exists. "But the court today terminates the remedy that proved to be best suited to block that discrimination," she said in a dissent that she read aloud in the packed courtroom.

    Ginsburg said the law continues to be necessary to protect against what she called subtler, "second-generation" barriers to voting. She identified one such effort as the switch to at-large voting from a district-by-district approach in a city with a sizable black minority. The at-large system allows the majority to "control the election of each city council member, effectively eliminating the potency of the minority's votes," she said.

    Justice Clarence Thomas was part of the majority, but wrote separately to say again that he would have struck down the advance approval requirement itself.

    Civil rights lawyers condemned the ruling.

    "The Supreme Court has effectively gutted one of the nation's most important and effective civil rights laws. Minority voters in places with a record of discrimination are now at greater risk of being disenfranchised than they have been in decades. Today's decision is a blow to democracy. Jurisdictions will be able to enact policies which prevent minorities from voting, and the only recourse these citizens will have will be expensive and time-consuming litigation," said Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The group represented a black resident of the Alabama County that challenged the law.
    Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said, "This is like letting you keep your car, but taking away the keys."

    The decision comes five months after President Barack Obama, the country's first black chief executive, started his second term in the White House, re-elected by a diverse coalition of voters.

    The high court is in the midst of a broad re-examination of the ongoing necessity of laws and programs aimed at giving racial minorities access to major areas of American life from which they once were systematically excluded. The justices issued a modest ruling Monday that preserved affirmative action in higher education and will take on cases dealing with anti-discrimination sections of a federal housing law and another affirmative action case from Michigan next term.

    The court warned of problems with the voting rights law in a similar case heard in 2009. The justices averted a major constitutional ruling at that time, but Congress did nothing to address the issues the court raised. The law's opponents, sensing its vulnerability, filed several new lawsuits.

    The latest decision came in a challenge to the advance approval, or preclearance, requirement, which was brought by Shelby County, Ala., a Birmingham suburb.
    The lawsuit acknowledged that the measure's strong medicine was appropriate and necessary to counteract decades of state-sponsored discrimination in voting, despite the Fifteenth Amendment's guarantee of the vote for black Americans.

    But it asked whether there was any end in sight for a provision that intrudes on states' rights to conduct elections, an issue the court's conservative justices also explored at the argument in February. It was considered an emergency response when first enacted in 1965.

    The county noted that the 25-year extension approved in 2006 would keep some places under Washington's oversight until 2031 and seemed not to account for changes that include the elimination of racial disparity in voter registration and turnout or the existence of allegations of race-based discrimination in voting in areas of the country that are not subject to the provision.

    The Obama administration and civil rights groups said there is a continuing need for it and pointed to the Justice Department's efforts to block voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas last year, as well as a redistricting plan in Texas that a federal court found discriminated against the state's large and growing Hispanic population.

    Advance approval was put into the law to give federal officials a potent tool to defeat persistent efforts to keep blacks from voting.

    The provision was a huge success because it shifted the legal burden and required governments that were covered to demonstrate that their proposed changes would not discriminate. Congress periodically has renewed it over the years. The most recent extension was overwhelmingly approved by a Republican-led Congress and signed by President George W. Bush.

    The requirement currently applies to the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. It also covers certain counties in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota, and some local jurisdictions in Michigan. Coverage has been triggered by past discrimination not only against blacks, but also against American Indians, Asian-Americans, Alaska Natives and Hispanics.

    Towns in New Hampshire that had been covered by the law were freed from the advance approval requirement in March. Supporters of the provision pointed to the ability to bail out of the prior approval provision to argue that the law was flexible enough to accommodate change and that the court should leave the Voting Rights Act intact.

    On Monday, the Justice Department announced an agreement that would allow Hanover County, Va., to bail out.

    Monday, June 24, 2013


    The Senate has heard America’s demands for improved border security… and used them as an excuse to hastily rewrite the Gang of Eight immigration bill, stuffing it with untold loopholes and nuggets of pork, before setting up a deliriously hasty vote on Monday.  That’s right, folks: we’re going to get another vote on a thousand-page bill no one has read in its entirety.  As then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously remarked about ObamaCare, we’ll have to pass amnesty to find out what’s in it.
    Even Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standardwho is favorably disposed toward comprehensive immigration reform, called for Republicans to slam on the brakes before rushing another ObamaCare-style disaster through a quickie vote.  Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Kristol noted that this isn’t about adding the 200-page border security amendment authored by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) to the existing 1,200-page bill senators have (presumably) been given enough time to read.  Instead, the Corker-Hoeven amendment was ground into legislative powder and sprinkled throughout the bill, altering it in countless ways that no one really understands yet.  Every page of the bill is now like one of those everything-flavored jelly beans from “Harry Potter”: we have to swallow it to discover what it tastes like.
    Shoving this hot mess through the Senate without allowing at least a week or two for senators and their constituents to study the revised text is madness… and it seems like a violation ofSenator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) promise that “I don’t want to be part of a process that comes up with some bill in secret and brings it to the floor and gives people a ‘take it or leave it.’”  There’s nothing open or transparent about shoving a mystery bill down America’s throat without time to study or debate it.
    Although the revised bill has only been available for public review since Friday, a few interesting little surprises have already been discovered.  The Heritage Foundation spotted “several sweetheart deals” buried in the new text, including “special treatment for Alaskan seafood processing and $1.5 billion for youth job training.”  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) slipped a juicy bit of pork for his Vegas gambling connections into the security portion of the bill, by indefinitely extending a $100 million program to promote tourism, which was slated to end in 2015.  What the hell does that have to do with border security – or immigration reform, for that matter?  This isn’t about statesmen crafting legislation with a careful eye towards its profound impact on our national welfare; it’s thieves in the night scurrying away with bags of taxpayer swag before anyone has a chance to call the cops.
    As for the actual border security enhancements in the Corker-Hoeven amendment, the Heritage Foundation notes that they “sound great on paper, but dig a little deeper and you’ll see that, just like in the language of the bill, none of the border security measures in the Corker–Hoeven amendment have to be in place until illegal immigrants with registered provisional immigrant status are to receive green cards 10 years down the road.”
    So we’ve still got amnesty now, border security whenever.  We’re still talking about these silly, easily-disarmed “triggers” instead of requiring ironclad improvements first - which should encompass not just the physical security of the southern border, but internal security as well.  The Corker-Hoeven amendment has very little to say on that subject, beyond a vague promise to get more serious about tracking visa overstays.  Now there’s a problem whose persistence makes a mockery of the whole “secure borders” posture.  The same government that resists all efforts to clean up its voter registrations is going to use advanced (but not state-of-the-art) identification systems to crack down on a problem that any respectable 18th-century bureaucracy could have handled – namely, people who don’t depart the country on schedule when the visas they obtained from the U.S. government run out?
    There’s some significant resistance to the modified Senate bill, including a call from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents’ union to vote the bill down, because it’s too lax on internal security, allows too many gang members and other criminal aliens onto the “pathway to citizenship,” and leaves too many important issues at the discretion of bureaucrats.
    Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation, Senator Corker expressed hope that the House of Representatives would correct the interior-security problems with the Senate bill.  (What statesmanship!  Rush a lousy bill that nobody’s had a chance to read through the Senate, then cross your fingers that House Republicans will fix it!)  Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) tore into the bill on the same show, saying he opposed it because “it doesn’t do what it says… this bill grants amnesty first, and a mere promise of enforcement in the future.”
    Sessions noted that the promised 20,000 new Border Patrol agents in the Corker-Hoeven amendment “are not required until 2021,” and “no money is being appropriated for that… this is merely an authorization,” while its promise to build more border fencing is actually weaker than the existing law Congress passed years ago, then largely ignored.  As Sessions pointed out, the construction of more border fence is comically left entirely at the discretion of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has loudly stated that she has no interest in building any more fences.
    What makes all of this extra-insulting is that it assumes the American people don’t remember anything about previous amnesty deals, or even the Obama Administration’s proclivity for abusing any discretionary authority Congress grants it.  Reagan-era Attorney General Ed Meese made this point in a recent letter to the editors of the Wall Street Journalnoting that the 1986 amnesty bill was filled with the same smoke and mirrors we’re seeing today, and we all know how those promises of a carefully monitored pathway to citizenship plus enhanced border security worked out:
    The 1986 act didn’t turn illegal immigrants into citizens on the spot. It granted temporary resident status only to those who could prove they had resided continuously in America for five years. After 18 months, their status could be upgraded to permanent residency, and only after another five years could they become U.S. citizens.
    But advancement to citizenship was not automatic. Immigrants had to satisfy various requirements along the way. They had to pay application fees, learn to speak English, understand American civics, pass a medical exam and register for military selective service. Those with convictions for a felony or three misdemeanors were ineligible.
    Sound familiar? It’s pretty much the same “penalties and hurdles” set forth by the Gang of Eight. Today they call it a “roadmap to citizenship.” Ronald Reagan called it “amnesty.”
    The ’86 reform bill also had supposedly “rigorous” border security and immigration law enforcement provisions. So how did that pan out? On the day Reagan signed “comprehensive” reform into law, only one thing changed: Millions of unlawful immigrants gained “legal” status. The promised crackdowns on security and enforcement never happened. Only amnesty prevailed.
    We’re still allowing Congress to behave as if border security is a bargaining chip, or more accurately a hand-written I.O.U. they can toss into the ante during a high-stakes game of citizenship poker.  We know they don’t want to make good on that promise, thanks to the combined distaste of those who don’t want to perform a duty with little political payoff, and those who very much want the flow of illegal immigrants to continue.  There’s nothing particularly complicated about the notion of upgrading both internal and external security – this is supposed to be “comprehensive” immigration reform, isn’t it? – and achieving a dramatic reduction in the flow of illegals before taking the first steps toward extraordinary legalization for those who remain.  (There has always been a “pathway to citizenship” available for those who comply with America’s immigration laws.)
    But if we got that combination of enhanced internal and external security first, there would be real up-front costs to pay.  Increasing the deficit is problematic, and few in Congress wish to divert money away from politically profitable vote-buying programs to fund the thankless task of border security.  Furthermore, when the time for legalization finally arrived, there wouldn’t be 12 million illegals to grant amnesty any more – their numbers would have been reduced through more aggressive enforcement of existing  law.  And that would be a problem for some of those pushing this mutated Gang of Eight bill.  They’re also really looking forward to passing something that House Republicans can be forced to shoot down, creating a great opportunity for racial demagoguery going into the 2014 midterm elections.
    A sloppy bill passed by blindfolded Senators is just the thing to fulfill all those political-class ambitions, but there’s no reason the rest of America should go along with it.
    Update: Look what else just popped out of the revised immigration bill: a $1.5 billion “stimulus” boondoggle, based on one of President Obama’s failed big-spending “jobs bills.”  It got tossed in as a sop to avowed socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  Doubtless many more delightful surprises that have nothing to do with “border security” await us as we chew on those Corker-Hoeven everything-flavored magic jelly beans.