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“Ignoring The Reality To Pursue The Myth”: “Sanctuary Cities” And Violent Criminals–Myth And Reality

If you’ve been watching the rhetorical (Dondald Trump) and even legislative (the U.S. Congress) Republican effort to exploit the killing of Kathryn Steinle on a San Francisco pier by a recidivist immigration law violator into a general crackdown on cities that don’t always interrogate suspects or notify ICE about immigration violations, you should most definitely read Suzy Khimm’s explainer at TNR.

In an effort to restrict the overbroad notification requirements that had led hundreds of cities to stop routine referrals to the feds, and also to begin to redeem his own pledge to focus immigration enforcement on serious criminals, the President had authorized a new program to replaced the Secure Communities initiative that had essentially failed to target the high-risk illegals:

The administration is hoping that newer, gentler version of Secure Communities—rebranded as the “Priority Enforcement Program”—will entice cities like San Francisco to overcome their reluctance to cooperate with the feds. PEP narrows the criteria for deportation, prioritizing convicted felons, national security threats, gang members, and those immediately caught at the border. It’s begun to win over some critics of Secure Communities, including the police chief of Dayton, Ohio. But the program only began to take effect on July 1—the same day that Steinle died.

And the “reforms” Republicans are pushing for wouldn’t help much at all:

The House bill that passed Thursday, which was sponsored by California Representative Duncan Hunter, would take away funding from communities that restrict the collection of information about immigration or citizenship status. This is part of a decades-old fight on immigration: Los Angeles has a law dating back to 1979 saying that police can only ask about status if individuals are booked under certain crimes; San Francisco has a similar law. But there’s little evidence that such laws have anything to do with the recent tragedy: Officials at every level knew that Steinle’s alleged killer was unauthorized to be in the U.S. “What is the public policy problem that these proposals seek to address? it’s not even clear to me these are actually related to the Kate Steinle shooting,” says Greg Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “The incident has given lawmakers and demagogues an opportunity to scapegoat immigrants.”

I know it’s hard to imagine lawmakers putting aside an executive initiative that would probably solve the problem they are complaining about instead of doing something ineffectual themselves, but it’s happening. They are ignoring the reality to pursue the myth.


By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, July 28, 2015

July 29, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Immigrants, Immigration Reform, Sanctuary Cities | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Fear Mongering, Because It’s All They Have Left”: The GOP Is Desperate To Win The Mid-Term Elections

They supported the sequester which cut funding research for the Center For Disease Control. Maybe we could have been closer to a cure for a certain virus. They refused to hold confirmation hearings for President Obama’s choice for Surgeon General because they don’t like the nominee, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy (big surprise! Could the NRA’s objection have something to do with it?) Gee, we could have used one right about now. They decided to not come back from their fall break (after a long summer vacation) to vote on going to war against ISIS and instead are campaigning for the mid-term elections.

And now certain members of the Republican party are running election ads attacking the President and Democrats for not doing more to stop both the Ebola virus and ISIS. To me, this is the height of hypocrisy.

One GOP campaigner, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) even went so far as to lie on Fox News and say at least 10 Islamist State fighters were captured at the southern border. This, after others concocted a false scheme where they say immigrant children were entering the country with the Ebola virus.

Either the GOP is very clever, playing on the fears of US citizens or they are desperate to win the mid-terms. But the truth is the President has shown leadership and taken bold action on both issues. He sent troops and medical aids and supplies to the Ebola afflicted African nations. He has appointed an Ebola Czar, Ron Klain, a veteran DC insider with experience in navigating the government bureaucracy and after calling on the President to appoint such a position, of course, the GOP are condemning his choice because they say he has no medical background.

My understanding is that this appointee will not be actually doctoring or healing those with the disease but coordinating and overseeing an effort to find a cure and assist health care workers and hospitals and tracking down those exposed to the virus.

The President and Secretary of State John Kerry have assembled an impressive coalition of many nations including Arab ones to help fight ISIS. Our bombing of ISIS headquarters in Syria and Iraq and most recently the Syrian Kurdish border city of Kobane have ISIS on the run. President Obama has said it will be a long fight but we must prevail.

The ironic thing is that even though Republican lawmakers support the President’s actions against ISIS, many have blamed him for their emergence and have constantly called him weak on foreign policy issues. I remember a time when it would have been deemed treasonous to not back our Commander in Chief in times of war.

Instead of constantly condemning, I would like to know what the GOP plans to do. Besides a travel ban which many experts believe would hamper efforts to contain the virus where it started, I have seen no solutions from Republicans to either of these crises.

I notice we hear little these days about Obamacare which was supposed to be the defining issue of these mid-terms. I guess that means those people who have it like it (and can keep it). My question is why don’t the Democrats turn it into an election year plus and call out the naysayers? Is it because it is too closely tied to the President? The GOP may be fear mongerers but the Dems are cowards.

It seems to me those seeking election should campaign positively and tell what they have done and will do for the American public rather than running away from the tough issues or blaming the other side for all the ills in the world. No wonder Congress has an approval rating of 16 percent. They talk about the President’s being low at 40 percent but he’s 24 percent higher than they are.

I get it. The campaign tactic is to deflect from the good economic news and the growing support for Obamacare. But I am hoping the electorate will reject the fear mongering and the voter suppression and the cowardly avoiding of the hot button issues and do research and vote for those who run clean campaigns and have proven themselves good public servants. There must be a handful of them out there. The only way to exact change is to throw out those who have no solutions but constantly complain. Negativity is not what we need right now, rather it is a coming together of hearts and minds to solve our problems in a constructive way regardless of party.


By: Joan E. Dowlin, The Huffington Post Blog, October 21, 2014

October 22, 2014 Posted by | GOP, Midterm Elections, Republicans | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Tom Cotton’s Whopper”: A Circular Right-Wing-Bloggers-To-Fox-News-To-Republican-Pols Collective Delusion

I’ve generally operated under the assumption that we’re living in an age where lies, even the most obvious and outrageous of them, need to be challenged or they become tomorrow’s “facts.” So I’m glad TNR’s Danny Vinik went to the Department of Homeland Security and asked about Rep. Duncan Hunter’s claim that Islamic State operatives have been found crossing the U.S.-Mexican border. Hunter says he was told that by unnamed border control agents. DHS says it’s “categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground.” That’s bureaucratese for “Hunter either made this stuff up or relied on uninformed Border Patrol gossip.”

But sometimes this stuff seems to just sponteneously spring up because it’s politically convenient. Greg Sargent went to some trouble to track down the sources for Tom Cotton’s rather audacious claim that IS is working with Mexican drug cartels to pose an imminent threat to Arkansas (yes, Arkansas), and found it was all sort of a circular right-wing-bloggers-to-Fox-News-to-Republican-pols collective delusion. But every time it’s repeated there’s a new “source.”

Now you can say this is just politics as usual. But let’s remember Tom Cotton is the subject of massive national GOP adulatory hype. If he wins in November, he’ll immediately be the subject of presidential speculation, if not for 2016 then soon down the road. As Charlie Pierce says, we have an obligation to “nip the career of young Tom Cotton in the bud before he does real damage to the country.” He’s already doing real damage to the truth when it comes to understanding actual terrorist threats.


By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, October 8, 2014

October 9, 2014 Posted by | Republicans, Right Wing, Tom Cotton | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Defense Hawks Swoop”: House Republicans Pushing Back Strongly Against John Boehner On Defense Cuts

John Boehner should probably stop doing interviews.

His reported talk with the Wall Street Journal‘s Stephen Moore that was published Monday under the provocative title “The Education of John Boehner” (an illusion, I am confident, to William Greider’s famous “The Education of David Stockman” piece in late 1981 that nearly got Stockman fired as Reagan’s budget director) is continuing to cause him problems. Intended, presumably, to convey a sadder-but-wiser-and-tougher sense of his negotiating posture on fiscal issues after the “fiscal cliff” deal, the story got lots of attention for Boehner’s assertion that “the tax issue is resolved,” and some for his depiction of the stark differences between himself and the president on every basic fiscal and economic issue.

But the part of the story that’s biting him in the butt right now involves the spending sequestration that was recently delayed for two months, and that had been widely considered a leverage point for the White House with Republicans, given their frantic desire to spare the Pentagon any cuts. The Hill‘s Russell Berman and Jeremy Herb explain:

In his interview with The Wall Street Journal, Boehner said that during the late stages of the fiscal-cliff negotiations, it was the White House — and not Republican leaders — that demanded a delay in the $109 billion in scheduled 2013 cuts evenly split between defense and domestic discretionary programs. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Vice President Biden ultimately agreed to push the sequester back by two months, partially offsetting it with other spending cuts and leaving $85 billion in remaining 2013 cuts in place.

The Speaker suggested the sequester was a stronger leverage point for Republicans than the upcoming deadline to raise the debt ceiling, for which he is insisting on spending cuts and reforms that exceed the amount in new borrowing authority for the Treasury. Therefore, the willingness of Republicans to allow the sequester to take effect is “as much leverage as we’re going to get,” Boehner told the Journal.

Negotiating 101 tells you that you don’t make that kind of assertion unless you’ve got your ducks in a row and know you won’t be undercut by the people you claim to be speaking for. It seems Boehner did not do any of those things:

House Republican defense hawks are pushing back strongly against Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) claim that he has GOP support to allow steep automatic budget cuts to take effect if President Obama does not agree to replace them with other reductions….

Not so fast, two defense-minded House Republicans told The Hill.

“I don’t support that,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a member of the Armed Services Committee whose district includes one of the nation’s largest military installations. “You get into dangerous territory when you talk about using national security as a bargaining chip with the president…”

One defense-minded Republican lawmaker said Boehner’s position would amount to a broken promise to his conference.

“In order to get the Republican Conference to pass the debt-limit increase last time, he promised them sequestration would not go in place,” the Republican House member said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “To be using sequestration and these defense cuts in the next debt-limit talks certainly is pretty bad déjà vu for the Republican Conference.”

So all Boehner really accomplished in his boast to Stephen Moore was supplying further evidence that he had it backwards: Obama has the leverage on the defense sequester, and Boehner is just blustering.

You know, there’s a natural tendency to think that people who have risen to the top of any profession are reasonably bright, and are advised by dazzlingly bright folk who truly earn their bloated salaries as strategic wizards. Time and again, that turns out not to be so true.

BY: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, January 10, 2013

January 11, 2013 Posted by | Budget | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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