Saturday, June 16, 2018

Immigration Nightmare Continued

I've written previously that our immigration policies are seriously broken.  The laws are convoluted and do not help us maintain our sovereignty nor do they adequately address the need to accommodate the people who want to come here.  The laws are inconsistent in their application and different administrations (read that Presidential administrations) can and do apply the laws to their way of thinking.

President Trump has obviously made immigration a centerpiece of his administration.  He said from the first day of his candidacy that one of his most important issues was to stop illegal immigration.  There are a lot of facets to this goal, but stopping illegality is the centerpiece.  To do this he has focused on building a barrier (a wall, electronic surveillance, using geographic advantage, etc), targeting the most dangerous illegal aliens (i.e. MS-13 gang members), deporting those who have broken our laws, and returning those who cross the border illegally rather than apply Obama's catch and release policy.  The President also has proposed dealing with the illegal and unconstitutional issue of the "Dreamers" by providing a path to citizenship.  Unfortunately, the Congress has not been able to come up with a viable solution to the Dreamers dilemma.  But that is a recurring theme.

The latest dust-up over immigration is the issue of what to do with the children of those who cross the border illegally.  It is a complicated issue because of the status of the adults and the need to ensure the safety of the kids.  I've heard a lot of hysterical blathering about how Trump is ripping kids from the arms of their parents, putting them in cages, creating concentration camps, and blah, blah, blah.  The political cartoonists have gone wild and the open-border crowd who don't care about our borders or our laws are wailing.  The usual suspects in the media are apoplectic on how these poor innocent kids are being treated and how despondent the parents are.

Of course, like everything, there are two sides to every story.  And in this case probably many sides.  I saw an article that a friend posted over on FB from Rich Lowry in National Review that attempts to make sense of it all.  Now I know NR has a certain bent.  I know Lowry isn't going to be hired by MSNBC anytime soon.  But as I read this I thought that it was a balanced explanation of the situation as we see it today.  I'm sure there are some inaccuracies or some things might be viewed through the lens of Lowry's leanings, but all in all it's a pretty good, non-hysterical description of what's going on.

I've said previously both above and in other pieces that our immigration laws are shamefully broken.  The blame for this lays squarely at the feet of Congress.  They have refused to fix it.  Until they do, then whichever current administration is in power will try and deal with the problem in whatever way they believe is correct.  Some will hate it, some will like it.  But the ones caught in the middle are the people trying to do the right thing and immigrate legally and the poor souls who are so desparate that they will risk life and limb and their children to cross the border.

Here's the article:

The Truth about Separating Kids
By RICH LOWRY
May 28, 2018 
Some economic migrants are using children as chits, but the problem is fixable — if Congress acts.
The latest furor over Trump immigration policy involves the separation of children from parents at the border.
As usual, the outrage obscures more than it illuminates, so it’s worth walking through what’s happening here.
For the longest time, illegal immigration was driven by single males from Mexico. Over the last decade, the flow has shifted to women, children, and family units from Central America. This poses challenges we haven’t confronted before and has made what once were relatively minor wrinkles in the law loom very large.
The Trump administration isn’t changing the rules that pertain to separating an adult from the child. Those remain the same. Separation happens only if officials find that the adult is falsely claiming to be the child’s parent, or is a threat to the child, or is put into criminal proceedings.
It’s the last that is operative here. The past practice had been to give a free pass to an adult who is part of a family unit. The new Trump policy is to prosecute all adults. The idea is to send a signal that we are serious about our laws and to create a deterrent against re-entry. (Illegal entry is a misdemeanor, illegal re-entry a felony.)
When a migrant is prosecuted for illegal entry, he or she is taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals. In no circumstance anywhere in the U.S. do the marshals care for the children of people they take into custody. The child is taken into the custody of HHS, who cares for them at temporary shelters.
The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entity or another crime. The migrants generally plead guilty, and they are then sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day, although practices vary along the border. After this, they are returned to the custody of ICE.
If the adult then wants to go home, in keeping with the expedited order of removal that is issued as a matter of course, it’s relatively simple. The adult should be reunited quickly with his or her child, and the family returned home as a unit. In this scenario, there’s only a very brief separation.
Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children.
That’s because of something called the Flores Consent Decree from 1997. It says that unaccompanied children can be held only 20 days. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit extended this 20-day limit to children who come as part of family units. So even if we want to hold a family unit together, we are forbidden from doing so.
The clock ticking on the time the government can hold a child will almost always run out before an asylum claim is settled. The migrant is allowed ten days to seek an attorney, and there may be continuances or other complications.
This creates the choice of either releasing the adults and children together into the country pending the ajudication of the asylum claim, or holding the adults and releasing the children. If the adult is held, HHS places the child with a responsible party in the U.S., ideally a relative (migrants are likely to have family and friends here).
Even if Flores didn’t exist, the government would be very constrained in how many family units it can accommodate. ICE has only about 3,000 family spaces in shelters. It is also limited in its overall space at the border, which is overwhelmed by the ongoing influx. This means that — whatever the Trump administration would prefer to do — many adults are still swiftly released.
Why try to hold adults at all? First of all, if an asylum-seeker is detained, it means that the claim goes through the process much more quickly, a couple of months or less rather than years. Second, if an adult is released while the claim is pending, the chances of ever finding that person again once he or she is in the country are dicey, to say the least. It is tantamount to allowing the migrant to live here, no matter what the merits of the case.
A few points about all this:
1) Family units can go home quickly. The option that both honors our laws and keeps family units together is a swift return home after prosecution. But immigrant advocates hate it because they want the migrants to stay in the United States. How you view this question will depend a lot on how you view the motivation of the migrants (and how seriously you take our laws and our border).
2) There’s a better way to claim asylum. Every indication is that the migrant flow to the United States is discretionary. It nearly dried up at the beginning of the Trump administration when migrants believed that they had no chance of getting into the United States. Now, it is going in earnest again because the message got out that, despite the rhetoric, the policy at the border hasn’t changed. This strongly suggests that the flow overwhelmingly consists of economic migrants who would prefer to live in the United States, rather than victims of persecution in their home country who have no option but to get out.
Children should not be making this journey that is fraught with peril. But there is now a premium on bringing children because of how we have handled these cases.
Even if a migrant does have a credible fear of persecution, there is a legitimate way to pursue that claim, and it does not involve entering the United States illegally. First, such people should make their asylum claim in the first country where they feel safe, i.e., Mexico or some other country they are traversing to get here. Second, if for some reason they are threatened everywhere but the United States, they should show up at a port of entry and make their claim there rather than crossing the border illegally.
3) There is a significant moral cost to not enforcing the border. There is obviously a moral cost to separating a parent from a child and almost everyone would prefer not to do it. But, under current policy and with the current resources, the only practical alternative is letting family units who show up at the border live in the country for the duration. Not only does this make a mockery of our laws, it creates an incentive for people to keep bringing children with them. 
Needless to say, children should not be making this journey that is fraught with peril. But there is now a premium on bringing children because of how we have handled these cases. They are considered chits.
In April, the New York Times reported:  Some migrants have admitted they brought their children not only to remove them from danger in such places as Central America and Africa, but because they believed it would cause the authorities to release them from custody sooner.
Others have admitted to posing falsely with children who are not their own, and Border Patrol officials say that such instances of fraud are increasing.
According to azcentral.com, it is “common to have parents entrust their children to a smuggler as a favor or for profit.”
If someone is determined to come here illegally, the decent and safest thing would be to leave the child at home with a relative and send money back home. Because we favor family units over single adults, we are creating an incentive to do the opposite and use children to cut deals with smugglers.
4) Congress can fix this. Congress can change the rules so the Flores consent decree will no longer apply, and it can appropriate more money for family shelters at the border. This is an obvious thing to do that would eliminate the tension between enforcing our laws and keeping family units together. The Trump administration is throwing as many resources as it can at the border to expedite the process, and it desperately wants the Flores consent decree reversed. Despite some mixed messages, if the administration had its druthers, family units would be kept together and their cases settled quickly.
The missing piece here is Congress, but little outrage will be directed at it, and probably nothing will be done. And so our perverse system will remain in place and the crisis

Friday, June 15, 2018

Trump Explained

A friend posted this over on FB.  He didn't attribute the writer but I think this is as spot on as anything I've seen to explain our President.  It has amazed me that the press can't seem to figure him out.  This should be required reading for any member of the media that gets assigned to cover him.  Don't know that it would do any good and their institutional bias would most likely overcome this bit of truth, but at least they would have the info.

“But there are 5 simple rules for understanding President Trump. They define how he’s lived his life until now. And what still drives him at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If you understand them, you will get what he’s doing. If you don’t, there’s always a job waiting at the New York Times.
1. Act, Don’t React
Trump hates reacting, he loves taking the initiative and forcing others, rivals, competitors, media syndicates or foreign dictators, to react to him. That’s the essence of strategy and he nails it the way few have.
When UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson muttered that there was a “method to his madness”, that was it.
The method is becoming the driving force in an escalating conflict. Instead of reacting to attacks, Trump forces his attackers to react to him. He takes the initiative and leaves his opponents sputtering.
That’s how he became the President of the United States. It’s what he’s doing internationally.
By acting, Trump takes control of each encounter. What happens next may not be ideal, but Trump cares more about maintaining the initiative than about forcing a specific outcome. He doesn’t see politics as a chess match, but as a boxing match. He doesn’t get locked into predetermined goals. Instead he lets the kinetic confrontation create opportunities by exploiting his opponent’s reactions.
Picking a fight with the North Korean dictator, led to a peace summit. A trade war with China has already led to some serious concessions. A trade shoving match with Europe and Canada offers potential wins.
Unlike previous administrations, Trump isn’t satisfied with the status quo. And that means that he tries a lot of things.
That takes us to Rule 2.
2. Try Everything
Critics have poked fun at Trump’s failed business ventures. But you don’t succeed without trying and failing.
Trump is comfortable with failure. He knows that if you’re willing to knock on 100 doors, you might get 1 sale. His approach to politics is trying a lot of different approaches and policies to get to a win.
When Obama expressed a willingness to meet with dictators and terrorists, it’s because he was already sympathetic to them. The seeds of the Iran deal were always in him. The negotiations just took him where he already wanted to be. Trump however isn’t meeting with Kim Jong-un because he likes him. He’s doing it because it might pay off. Or it won’t and then he’ll try something else.
Obama needed Iran. Trump doesn’t need North Korea. He can take it or leave it. He’s hungry for wins, but he also sees the potential for them everywhere so he doesn’t overcommit to any individual deal.
Political professionals scoff at that scrappy attitude. They insist on the importance of posture and position. Trump knows all about posture and position, but he refuses to be its prisoner. He can insult Kim one day and flatter him the next. Politics is just business with countries instead of companies.
Trump’s approach is the same to both politics and business. Do whatever it takes to get the deal. And then decide if the deal is worth taking.
3. Chaos is Power
Most people want to minimize chaos. Countries and companies spend fortunes, fight wars and dedicate decades to reducing chaos. Trump however thrives on chaos. Instead of trying to control chaos, he generates it, causing uncertainty and then offering a sense of security in exchange for a good deal.
That’s what Trump is doing with trade. It’s what he did to China and North Korea.
Trump tries everything (Rule 2) and escalates confrontations (Rule 1) so that his opponents have no way to counter him except by escalating the confrontation and creating more chaos. And then Trump forces them to negotiate by proving he can function in a chaotic and uncertain situation better than they can.

That’s how he got North Korea to the table. After decades of the Norks intimidating previous administrations by creating chaos with their threats, Trump topped those threats. The media warned that a nuclear war would break out. Instead China and North Korea chose a peace summit.
The summit may come to nothing, but Trump had already broken the Nork ability to intimidate us.
China, Europe and Canada don’t want a trade war. They have nothing to gain and plenty to lose. By creating economic chaos, Trump also became the only man who can end the chaos and restore security.
Chaos is power.
When the United States became a world power, its administrations emphasized stability over everything. Trump welcomes chaos because it’s a much more effective negotiating strategy. Entities that seek order can be intimidated with chaos. But politicians who seek chaos can’t be intimidated.
Trump doesn’t seek order. He wants victory.
4. Never Show Your Hand
Conventional politicians have a narrow window of agenda items. They’re very clear on what they want, what they don’t want, what they’re willing to do and what they’re willing to give up to get it.
Trump has always been ambiguous. Parse his sentences and you can read them three different ways. Each assertion eventually uncovers a contradiction. That’s confusion. Tactical confusion.
As Trump has mentioned plenty of times, he loves being unpredictable.
Trump is the only president in a century who is able to go into negotiations with a completely unpredictable outcome. And the roster of competing figures around him only creates more chaos.
To truly create chaos (Rule 3), you have to be unpredictable. That creates insecurity. It forces your opponents to read things into every move you make. And then to be stymied by the futility of it.
Ambiguity leaves the other side unable to assess what the United States would actually settle for. Instead it ends up offering far more than we would settle for just to restore that sense of security.
Trump is the most famous man in the world. And yet his decision-making remains mysterious.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to be the Bad Guy
If Americans have a fatal flaw, a weakness that undermines our domestic and international politics, it’s a need to be liked. Most other countries don’t wonder whether the rest of the world likes them.
Blame Hollywood, dime novels or comic books, but as Americans we see ourselves as the heroes. And our enemies, foreign and domestic, know that they can break us by making us question our goodness.
It’s how they did it in Vietnam, in Iraq and too many foreign policy debates to count.
One of Trump’s great strengths is that he’s not afraid to be the bully, the heavy and the jerk. He can flatter Kim Jong-un, Trudeau and any other leader. Or call them names.
He can say shocking things and take unacceptable positions if it gets him what he wants.
That’s the attribute that upsets and infuriates Never Trumpers. But it also gives the United States far more negotiating leverage and freedom than it ever had before. And that’s why the people chose him.
Trump embodied all the things that had been going unsaid and all the truths that needed telling.
Past presidents valued their personal relationships with foreign leaders. But Trump is willing to throw a punch at the boy band leader of Canada if it gets a farmer in Wisconsin a better deal for his dairy.
On the global stage, President Trump has forced North Korea, China, Europe and Canada to react to him. He’s trying everything. He’s creating chaos. He’s hiding his hand and he’s winning.
The media shouts that Trump is isolated. If he were isolated, the world wouldn’t be revolving around him. The world doesn’t stop when Putin or China’s Jinping issue a statement. But a single Trump tweet can upend the priorities of international diplomacy for days, weeks and even months.
Trump isn’t reacting to the world. The world is reacting to him.
And as long as he can keep the world reacting to him, he’s the one setting the agenda for the world.”

Friday Funnies

This is a great concept.  Lot's of money to be made...


Friday, June 8, 2018

Fair Winds...

If you've been reading at all you know that there are several people from whom I draw inspiration.  I look to these people for reference, for thought provoking ideas, and sometimes to either confirm or refute something I might believe.  They never let me down.  Never.  At the top of this list is Charles Krauthammer.  I know I'm not the only one.  I know that there are tens of thousands who revere his writing and commentary.  I know my blog is some little inkspot on the vast social miasma.  But the letter from Dr. Krauthammer today detailing the graveness of his disease is at once both devastating and inspiring.  I've heard all of the tributes poring in on Fox News and read several beautifully written thoughts from Twitter to Facebook to traditional print media.  And they are all true.  He is quite simply a giant in the world of political dialog.  His humanity, his intelligence, his humor, his logic, his forthrightness will not be forgotten nor matched.  His persistence in the face of severe disability will continue to inspire.  I've missed him for the past year that he has been ill.  I shall miss him even more knowing he won't be back.  As we say in the Navy...Fair Winds and Following Seas Dr Krauthammer!
A Note to Readers 
By Charles Krauthammer
Opinion writer
June 8 at 12:01 PM
I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.
In August of last year, I underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in my abdomen. That operation was thought to have been a success, but it caused a cascade of secondary complications — which I have been fighting in hospital ever since. It was a long and hard fight with many setbacks, but I was steadily, if slowly, overcoming each obstacle along the way and gradually making my way back to health.
However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.
I wish to thank my doctors and caregivers, whose efforts have been magnificent. My dear friends, who have given me a lifetime of memories and whose support has sustained me through these difficult months. And all of my partners at The Washington Post, Fox News, and Crown Publishing.
Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers, and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work. I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.
I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.

Friday Funnies


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Israel

I haven't posted anything substantial in a while because...well, because there is just too much going on.  It's like sensory overload.  Just when I hear of some absurdity that might be worth a post and ponder a reaction the world has moved on.  I'm not a guy who is glued 24/7 to social media or MSM, but I am attuned to what is going on.  But it takes me some time to gather my thoughts.  It seems that more and more lately by the time I've pondered and considered and outlined what I want to say, it's old news.  So I decided to just stand down for a bit.

But the absolutely crazy and ridiculous response from the loonies on the left and the MSM to the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem has been beyond reasonable.  Way beyond.  First of all, every President since at least Bubba has said they were going to move the Embassy to Jerusalem.  No one had the balls to do it.  Trump said he would do and did it.  And you'd think it was the worst action in history.  From my perspective as an ordinary guy who pays attention, this was the right move and a logical move.  Somehow we've got to move the needle and this might do it.  We've been kissing the ass of the Palestinians for so long, they think they can get away with anything.  We need to show them whose side we're on.  And we did.

But here's the nutty thing.  Not one Democrat attended the opening.  Not one.  And the Jewish vote in the U.S. is largely Democratic.  Someone explain that to me.  There is no logic in Jews voting Democratic.

And the MSM is aghast at the riots and the loss of life in Gaza.  But here's the thing.  Hamas caused this.  No one else.  And guess who controls Hamas.  Yep...Iran.  Figure it out.  There weren't any riots on the Jordanian border or the West Bank.  It was all in Gaza.  Where Hamas calls the shots.  Again...figure it out.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...the MSM has still not figured out Trump.  It is beyond me that they can be so dumb.