Archive for the 'Law' Category

Spending and corruption

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

In 1959, the federal government spent $92 billion, of which $40 billion was military spending. President Eisenhower warned of the corruption danger inherent in the military industrial complex with that $40 billion in spending.

Now federal spending is around $3.5 trillion, and half a trillion of that is defense. So we’ve gone from $50 billion in 1959 to $3000 billion today in federal non-military spending.

The corruption is rampant and it is bi-partisan. James DeLong gives many nasty details about how healthcare policy and lobbying work. Peter Schweizer describes how DC politicians with modest salaries become rich through practices that are legal for them but would get businessmen thrown in jail. That’s the government today.

Pants on fire yet?

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Jonah Goldberg:

Say I like my current car. The government says under some new policy I will be able to keep it and maybe even lower my car payments. But once the policy is imposed, I’m told my car now isn’t street-legal. Worse, I will have to buy a much more expensive car or be fined by the IRS. But, hey, it’ll be a much better car! Why, even though you live in Death Valley, your new car will have great snow tires and heated seats. This is what the government is saying to millions of Americans who don’t want or need certain coverage, including, for instance, older women — and men — who are being forced to pay for maternity care.

Meanwhile: “The White House and State Department signed off on surveillance targeting phone conversations of friendly foreign leaders.” Meanwhile, you can still keep your insurance. The good news is that in the parallel universes of reality and BS, it’s getting really hard to ignore the BS, even for the biggest fanboys and girls.

When you don’t know what you don’t know

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

What happens when you put a guy with zero e-commerce experience in charge of the healthcare equivalent of Amazon? You get a disaster that even the NYT is forced to notice. And the spin is made funnier in that it is so divorced from reality. This was entirely predictable of course. The faculty lounge doesn’t care much for the businessman, and they think they know better to boot. We suspect these nincompoops were genuinely surprised by the failure of reality to conform to their airy-fairy dreams.

Cuts and subsidies

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

WSJ:

Here are the number of pages published on certain recent days in the Register: 498 pages on September 11, 193 on September 17, 369 on September 20, and 401 on September 30…The 401 pages on September 30 included such proud bureaucratic work as: a proposed Agricultural Marketing Service rule to increase assessment rates for blueberry promotion, a notice from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration about exemptions for commercial vehicle operators with diabetes, and a proposal from the Fish and Wildlife Service to provide threatened status for the bird known as the rufa red knot.

The good news is that the funds saved by furloughing the Federal Register employees has been used to pay overtime to Park Rangers so that they can stand guard at formerly unguarded open-air memorials to shoo their owners away.

Welcome to the future…..maybe

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Henninger and Geraghty:

Big labor unions and smaller franchise restaurant owners want out. UPS dropped coverage for employee spouses. Corporations such as Walgreens and IBM are transferring employees or retirees into private insurance exchanges…the Cleveland Clinic has announced early retirements for staff and possible layoffs. The…Achilles’ heel is technology. The software glitches are going to drive people insane. Creating really large software for institutions is hard. Creating big software that can communicate across unrelated institutions is unimaginably hard…software has to communicate—accurately—across a mind-boggling array of institutions: HHS, the IRS, Medicare, the state-run exchanges, and a whole galaxy of private insurers’ and employers’ software systems…

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will no longer be selling new individual insurance policies in 41 Wisconsin counties, including Dane, Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Rock. Whether its through the exchanges or not, individuals will only be able to buy new policies in 31 out of 72 counties…insurance plans bought by individuals will end in 2014…Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon customers appear to be the first to receive their notices this week. Three customers contacted The Oregonian complaining that they face premium hikes of between 30 and more than 100 percent if they stay with Regence…The state Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) says it has received dozens of phone calls and emails from Washington residents upset by letters from their health-insurance carriers informing them their current health plan will be discontinued at year’s end

Running a business is hard work and very complicated, whether it’s a $2 million revenue restaurant or a $200 million complex industrial company in a highly technical field. You have to take great care when you make incremental changes, and enormous training is necessary when you implement things like a new ERP software system to control the guts of the business — from production planning and control to managing supply chain issues. 18 months or so of detailed careful planning and training at all levels of our industrial company.

Health care has elements of both kinds of business above, and by the way, it’s a company with revenues of $3,000,000 million or so. Healthcare Inc is 15,000x bigger than the industrial company above, and that understates its complexity, since it spans technology, finance, manufacturing, and the delivery of complex services on a variable timetable whose planning horizon can be as low as zero minutes. The young are the only group that supports the insane restructuring of the largest industry in the country all at once at 12:01 am next week. And of course the joke’s on them, since they are the group that subsidizes everyone else. With a little luck, the Julias will not be low information voters very much longer

Some reading and a little on defunding

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Strange times these. Without getting into the substance of most of the following, here are some interesting pieces. Daniel Henninger‘s shows why even MoDo is using the word “weird.” Jeremy Rabkin raises both historical and legal questions about Syria. J.R. Dunn dives right in, and the more controversy the better as far as he’s concerned.

Finally, wrt Karl Rove’s taking issue with the ACA defunding tactic, we wonder why the hawks don’t settle for this: yes, we are going through some motions, and no, there’s not going to be a government shutdown, which would be a PR nightmare. But we want the other guys to own the ACA, and so we’re going through this kabuki so you will remember in 2014 that it wasn’t us who sold you the fantasies that the ACA would generate $2500 savings per family, while you keep your doc, and will create 4 million jobs while saving $1.3 trillion dollars. Perhaps you’ll know better next time not to believe rubbish. BTW, how are those 30 hours a week jobs working out for you young voters? We’re with the crew that says, don’t stand in front of an impending train wreck, photograph it from every angle as it happens and replay it, over and over again in slow motion.

Back to their comfort zones

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Whew, that was fast. A few days ago, it seemed like all-Syria-all-the-time, and the media was discomfited. Then a deranged guy killed 12 people and all was back to normal; round up the usual suspects. Assault weapons! (Oops!) Sequester! Sigh.

However, there’s still some Syria for those who continue to be fascinated by that train wreck. The NYT has a very interesting piece on Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. With the way he behaves he couldn’t make it in the US State Department of today, which tells you a lot about us and them.

Your government at work

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

USA Today:

after the opening kickoff of the Arizona Cardinals’ preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, Cardinals season ticket holder John Coulter wanted to take a picture. He says he asked his 15-year-old son to hold his beer cup while he did so. Seconds later, two undercover officers with the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control approached him. Coulter says they told him that what he did was illegal and that he could be arrested for it. In the end, officers escorted the father and son out of the University of Phoenix Stadium. Officials say Coulter is lucky he was able to walk away from the situation. “Providing alcohol to an underage person or an underage person in possession of alcohol is a Class 1 misdemeanor,” said Sgt. Wesley Kuhl of the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control. “The consequences could be up to, and this is a maximum, of two years in jail”

Hey, the guy was guilty of something after all. Steyn has more on the snooper state. What percentage of government employees with police or snooping powers are smart, have sound judgment, and always play by the rules? What are the others doing?

Needed: a new Hays Code and more

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

A culture is sick when it bends over backwards to accommodate any tiny group with a perceived problem, but refuses to deal with truly enormous issues. Fatherless families are the source of much of the senseless violence the nation experiences. In Detroit, 79% of births are to unwed mothers; how can any good come of this?

Another enormous issue is the widespread acceptance of vulgarity, which is shorthand for the abandonment of cultural standards. The Hays Code was eliminated in 1968, and we’ve seen what that has produced. Not all of it is bad of course, but cable TV and the internet have made inappropriate language and other material available to any toddler who can work his iPad. And look at Twitter, where celebrities feel free to say disgusting things in strings of four letter words. Role models!

Moreover, popular music has developed a vile two-track system of debasement. The over-the-air radio version of a tune is edited to delete the real lyrics of the music, though the kids have the real version in the club and in the Cloud. Did we mention that luxury goods and liquor companies conspire with the disgusting producers of this music to get product placement in the lyrics?

So if you create incentives for lost youth — fatherless families, no cultural standards, and encouragement of exploitative, often violent, hedonistic behavior — is it any surprise that you get what you incentivize for?

It’s worth mentioning that the Hays Code was a private, commercial agreement, not government censorship. In the present day, the Twitters and Facebooks of the world could decide to not publish four letter word postings. The broadcasters could decide not to air music that had a non-bowdlerized version available elsewhere. The consumer products companies could decide not to subsidize this rot. There’s probably a way for technology companies to better ensure that the toddlers get Barney instead of porno Barney. As for the unwed mothers and fatherless families, most of those in media and politics have been gutless wonders on this major issue, but we’ve been encouraged to see liberals like Juan Williams and libertarians like Larry Elder speaking clearly about the devastation this has caused. Hard to counter the non-stop propaganda, however.

A new world gets recreated with every new generation. We’ll just have to see whether our current troubles are an irreversible secular decline or more of a cyclical, self-correcting phenomenon.

Make him an offer he can’t refuse

Monday, August 19th, 2013

NYT:

Federal authorities have opened a bribery investigation into whether JPMorgan Chase hired the children of powerful Chinese officials to help the bank win lucrative business in the booming nation, according to a confidential United States government document.

In one instance, the bank hired the son of a former Chinese banking regulator who is now the chairman of the China Everbright Group, a state-controlled financial conglomerate, according to the document, which was reviewed by The New York Times, as well as public records. After the chairman’s son came on board, JPMorgan secured multiple coveted assignments from the Chinese conglomerate, including advising a subsidiary of the company on a stock offering, records show.

The Hong Kong office of JPMorgan also hired the daughter of a Chinese railway official. That official was later detained on accusations of doling out government contracts in exchange for cash bribes, the government document and public records show.

The former official’s daughter came to JPMorgan at an opportune time for the New York-based bank: The China Railway Group, a state-controlled construction company that builds railways for the Chinese government, was in the process of selecting JPMorgan to advise on its plans to become a public company, a common move in China for businesses affiliated with the government. With JPMorgan’s help, China Railway raised more than $5 billion when it went public in 2007…

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced criminal charges against two of the bank’s former traders in London, accusing them of masking the size of the $6 billion loss.

The S.E.C., conducting a parallel investigation, is seeking to extract a rare admission of wrongdoing from the bank related to the losses. A settlement, which could come as soon as this fall, will also include a hefty fine, according to people briefed on the matter.

The agency’s bribery inquiry could pose an even steeper challenge to JPMorgan. Although banks are prone to the occasional trading blunder — JPMorgan produced record quarterly profits despite the losses in London last year — a corruption inquiry could leave a more lasting mark on its reputation. It might also spur the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation.

It’s been Mob Week on AMC. We hold no brief for corrupt practices of US corporations, but this looks like pretty small beer. Investigated by the government for hiring somebody’s daughter 10,000 miles from Washington? The same thing happens all the time right here in the US among folks who run companies, hedge funds and investment banks, and their directors and clients. Hmmmm. Would it surprise you to learn that while Jeff Immelt plays ball with the gang in DC, Jamie Dimon is a foe of the wrecking crew? Didn’t think so.

Unreality TV

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Five years ago America stopped being a country and became instead a TV show. Rubbish that would make a carnival barker blush was broadcast regularly. The media did not guffaw; they swooned. Critical judgment ceased in the era of the app. Scandals became as serious as a tweet, or even less serious than that. We’ve now gone through two generations of Julias who know neither Shakespeare nor the Bible, yet think they are the font of all wisdom. They believe in things like catastrophic AGW, and feel free to mock those who are skeptical. Things that are not only insane but totally unworkable are now law. Hard to see this ending well.

Easy solution: stop all those guys with briefcases on Park Ave at 8am

Monday, August 12th, 2013

NYT:

a federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities in New York… The stops, which soared in number over the last decade as crime continued to decline, demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, as well as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, according to the 195-page decision. Judge Scheindlin’s criticism extended beyond the conduct of police officers; in holding the city liable for a battery of constitutional violations, the judge found that top police officials acted with deliberate indifference…The Supreme Court had long ago ruled that stop-and-frisks were constitutionally permissible

Bloomberg: “It’s worth remembering that as recently as 1990, New York City averaged more than six murders a day. Today, we’ve driven that down to less than one murder a day. Think about what that change really means: if murder rates over the last 11 years had been the same as the previous 11 years, more than 7,300 people who today are alive would be dead.” More disturbing statistics here.

As Taranto would ask, Fox Butterfield, is that you?

Question

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Why is a guy who says this still alive? He has patiently explained his motive for multiple murders, even if some in the media are in deep denial. So he freely admists he’s guilty of multiple murders based on the same rationale that the US routinely dispatches drones to incinerate his confrères, and all this happened four years ago. Why is he still breathing? Why do we read this: “Jurors were told the trial could take months.” Huh?

Jeantel = Julia

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

“They old, that’s old school people” said Jeantel, speaking of the Zimmerman jury. “We in a new school, our generation, my generation,” she continued, and she is correct. The Ivy League’s Vietnam draft dodgers, in a war the US waged incoherently and generated 360,000 KIA or WIA, became graduate students with deferments until 1968, and after that the protests became so intense that the draft itself was cancelled in 1973. They went on to teach, and became chairs of departments in history, the social sciences, and the appalling graduate schools of education in the US. (Perhaps things would have turned out the same if the US had chosen victory in Vietnam rather than defeat, but the ten years of slow bleeding in a Korea 2.0 that few understood had some awful consequences.) Now we’ve gone through two succeeding generations of professors and teachers mentored by them, each one progressively less learned and more hostile to traditional America. The young, like Jeantel and Julia, have been indoctrinated to believe that their forbears are old school, and represent values and ideas to be buried ASAP. Jeantel = Julia. The Julias voted against the ancien regime by 5.4 million votes. The dumbification of America has proceeded apace for forty years and the oldsters ignore it at their peril.

Aw, forget it. The elite universities of the West have been in decline in the humanities and politics for a couple of generations now, Vietnam or no Vietnam.

What they’re teaching all the Julias

Monday, July 15th, 2013

This is well worth reading regarding the deranged quality of criticism of the trial of the hour. We found a couple of things particularly interesting. First is the comparison to anti-semitism, which is something we hadn’t thought of before. Second is the characterization of Thomas Jefferson. Let that one sink in an consider the implications of viewing US history from such a perspective. No wonder the Julias are lost. Finally, Alan Dershowitz’s reflections are interesting, as is the alleged attempt by the prosecutor to get Dershowitz punished for his criticisms.

Two views, and more

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

A law professor at the University of Colorado via Salon:

the trial of George Zimmerman for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin was all about race. And because it happened in America, the people who benefit politically from the same invidious forces that led both to Trayvon Martin’s killing, and the acquittal of his killer, will deny that race had anything to do with either the killing or the verdict.

Suppose Trayvon Martin had been a 230-pound 30-year-old black man, with a loaded gun in his jacket. Suppose Zimmerman had been a 150-pound 17-year-old white kid, who was doing nothing more threatening than walking back from a convenience store to his father’s condo.

Suppose Martin had stalked Zimmerman in his car, until Zimmerman became afraid and tried to elude him. Suppose Martin had gotten out of his car and pursued Zimmerman. Suppose this led to some sort of altercation in which the big scary black man ended up with a bloody nose and some scratches on the back of his head, and the scared skinny (and unarmed) white kid had ended up with a bullet in his heart.

How do you suppose the big scary black man’s claim of “self-defense” would have gone over with a jury made up almost entirely of white women? But of course this is America, which means that the scary figure in this story is the skinny unarmed teenager, because in America pretty much any black male over the age of 12 in this sort of situation is going to be presumed to be the ”aggressor,” the “thug” – in short,” the real criminal,” until he’s proved innocent, which he won’t be, even if he’s now a dead, still unarmed teenager. And his killer is a grown man who provokes a fight with an otherwise harmless kid, starts losing it, and then shoots the kid dead.

Because this is America, pointing out that a black boy can be shot with impunity by a more or less white man because many white Americans are terrified by black boys and men is called “playing the race card.” The race card is what the people who benefit politically from the fact that many white Americans are terrified by black boys and men call any reference to the fact that race continues to play an overwhelmingly important, and overwhelmingly invidious, role in American culture in general. And in the criminal justice system in particular.

Trayvon Martin was stalked by George Zimmerman because he was black. Trayvon Martin is dead because he was black. George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin because the boy Zimmerman killed was black. If you deny these things, you are either a liar or an idiot, or possibly both.

Roger Simon:

Forget the over-zealous prosecutors and the repellent state attorney Angela Corey (who should be immediately disbarred or, my wife said sarcastically, elevated to director of Homeland Security) and even the unfortunate Trayvon Martin family (although it is certainly hard to forget them — they have our profound sympathies), the true loser at the Zimmerman trial was Barack Obama.

By injecting himself in a minor Florida criminal case by implying Martin could be his son, the president of the United States — a onetime law lecturer, of all things — disgraced himself and his office, made a mockery of our legal system and exacerbated racial tensions in our country, making them worse than they have been in years. This is the work of a reactionary, someone who consciously/unconsciously wants to push our nation back to the 1950s.

It is also the work of a narcissist who thinks of himself first, of his image, not of black, white or any other kind of people. It’s no accident that race relations in our country have gone backwards during his stewardship.

Congratulations to the jury for not acceding to this tremendous pressure and delivering the only conceivable honest verdict. This case should never have been brought to trial. It was, quite literally, the first American Stalinist “show trial.” There was, virtually, no evidence to convict George Zimmerman.

There has been a fair amount of reaction to this case in the political and celebrity worlds. Having listened to commentary from left and right, we observe that the narratives believed by each correlate pretty well with how they vote, which isn’t that surprising. It’s also, sadly, not surprising that the partisan media failed to do its job or that in the increasingly post-religious vulgarian America, many people don’t think twice about calling for the jury to be murdered.

Odds and ends

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

The state of the media today, common sense MIA. Strange doings at MSNBC. In some cases, PC is not only suicidal, but abets murder. Speaking of PC, look at the case of the author of one of the best sci-fi novels of recent decades. Sorry, there is no compromise. A Jacksonville paper, Jack Cashill and Larry Elder comment on you-know-what. An piece on invisibility. FPRI says Syria is Iran’s Stalingrad. This NYT story went on for almost 5000 words. What a world. Here are a few jokes to lighten the mood.

Your USA today

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Via Roger Kimball:

I took 3 of my grandchildren jug fishing (tie string to a milk jug, attach a hook and bait and set them in the water, come back hours later and bring in the fish). This was a first for my kids. We left about 9:00 p.m., and after setting out two of the jugs we got stopped by two officers from Illinois Department of Natural Resources (appropriately shortened to DNR). They were going to do a safety check. They had guns, dressed as Gestapo, and had bulletproof vests. First they said my boat DNR registration was expired. The sticker on the side of the boat said 2013, but apparently it expired on June 30 and because of “budget cuts” the state did not send out a renewal notice this year. There was enough money, however, to hire these two guys to patrol Lake Sara on Saturday night. None of the adults had a fishing license, but we told them that it was the kids who were doing the fishing and they didn’t need a license. Oops, shouldn’t have questioned them: they asked for my boat license and registration. I said I had it at home and asked if I was supposed to have it with me on the boat. They said that I wasn’t required to keep it on the boat but that it helped. They asked for my driver’s license and I told them I didn’t have it with me. They asked for me to work my horn, which did not work, never has. They asked if I had a whistle. I didn’t. They wanted to see my throw preserver, which luckily I had. Then they asked to see the life preservers which I had. Then the fire extinguisher, which luckily was charged. They said that they could not enforce the codes of Lake Sara, but that one person told them that jug fishing could only be done down at fisherman’s cove, where we weren’t. He added that another person said you could jug fish anywhere. But only the kids could put the jugs in and take them out. They then called some state number and made sure that the boat was registered to me. So someone was manning DNR phones on Saturday night. After 45 minutes, they gave me two warning tickets for the lack of horn and registration expiration.

Everybody is guilty of something. In our view there should be zero new laws. Every year, at the federal, state and local level, 10% of existing laws should be repealed, and this should go on for four years. It’s up to legislatures to prioritize which ones. The same for regulatory agencies. Come to think of it, we’d vote for a candidate who ran solely on this platform.

Worth reading at length

Friday, June 28th, 2013

John Hoeven and Hugh Hewitt:

HH: as I read this, I go on to read, limitation on requirements notwithstanding paragraph 1, nothing in this subsection shall require the Secretary to install fencing or infrastructure that directly results from the installation of such fencing in a particular location along the southern border if the secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain effective control over the southern border at such locations.

JH: Right, and when I read through that with my lawyer, he said because the earlier section is the controlling section that requires a minimum of 700 miles of fencing, this only gives some discretion as to where on that 2,000 [mile] border is placed so it’s put in the most effective areas. And I’m happy to go back and check on the controlling section and find out exactly what the sanctions are. I don’t know what it is off the top of my head, but I’m happy to go back and check it and get back to you.

HH: Senator, you’ve got to fire that lawyer, because honest to God, I have been doing Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act litigation for 22 years. I still do it. I’ve argued it before the 9th Circuit. There is absolutely nothing here that compels the construction of a fence. And the savings provision, and I want to read that for the audience…

JH: But the section you’re talking about, Hugh, again, just modifies the controlling section that requires a minimum of 700 miles. And I’ll go back and check on that section for you, and we’ll be back in touch.
HH: Okay, Senator, okay, that’s simply not correct, but I’ll let you check on it.
JH: Well, section 5 is the controlling section.
HH: And that was what I just read to you, was section 5b, was section 5b(5), and limitation on requirements, and in section 5b…
JH: Well, let’s…I’ll tell you what. Let’s check it out, and I’m happy to do that.

HH: Okay, now let me talk to you about the savings provision…Nothing in this paragraph, meaning the entire section 5, may be construed to create or negate any right of action for a state or local government, or other person or entity affected by this subsection. As you know, Senator, because you were the governor of a big state, whenever you need to cross a water of the United States, or impact critical habitat for an endangered species, you need the permission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, you need the permission of the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, and if you don’t get it, or even if you do get it, citizens can sue to block that. That’s why no ‘notwithstanding any contrary legal authority’ language was omitted from this, and I do not understand why you guys didn’t make this fence mandatory on a schedule without regard to any other law?

JH: Well, Hugh, again, we require the fence. Like I say, it’s one of the triggers that has to be met before there’s any green cards. And furthermore, the only discretion we put in was to try to get it in the places where it would be most effective on that 2,000 miles border. But it doesn’t mitigate the requirement that at least 700 miles are built. So…and remember, that’s just one of the five triggers that we have in place to defend the border.

HH: Well, see if you understand where I’m coming from, because if in fact I’m right, and they don’t come up with a plan, or when they come up with a plan, they want to put in a minimum pedestrian fencing that is easily breeched and easily crossed, and not double fence…

JH: Well, that’s, they already…that’s definitional for the pedestrian fence they already have there. You can go look at it.
HH: Oh, I have. I’ve seen it. I know what it is, and I’ve seen pictures of it.
JH: Okay.

HH: And it doesn’t have to be any particular height. It just must obstruct a pedestrian, and it’s not the traffic barrier. So it’s better than a traffic barrier, but it really doesn’t work, Senator. And 700 miles, do you have, I mean, why is that a magic number for you guys, because it’s a 2,000 mile border, and I’ve never seen anything that said it had to be 700 miles, nothing.

JH: Right, but again, you know, you’re just, well, because that is the 700 miles that if you go back to the earlier legislation that was required to be built that didn’t get built. And so we’re trying to make sure that gets done. But understand, that’s just one of the measures. We start with a $4.5 billion dollar technology plan that includes towers, it includes radars, it includes people, it includes drones, it includes helicopters, planes, all these things. But as far as the 700 miles, that goes back to what was required to be built before and didn’t get done, and that’s what we’re trying to do in this amendment, is make darn sure we secure the border first, and do all the things that need to be done to secure it.

HH: But Senator, this is where I’m at a loss. It would have been so easy to write a specific mandatory, absolutely as to mapping, construction standards, specifications, timeline, citizen standing to enforce, the denial of citizen standing to obstruct. It would have been so easy to write it, that given the fact that it is so opaque, so that someone like me, who’s a fence proponent looks at it and says this doesn’t do it, and I wanted to support this bill. I really did. No one can deny that. I’ve had Senator Rubio on the show like 15 times. But then this comes up, and I look at it and say you guys weren’t serious about this, and that…

JH: Well, let me say two things, Hugh, two things. One is I’m glad to look into that and get you some more information on it on some of these specifics you’re asking, because we very much worked to make sure that these things get done. Number two, remember, we ‘ve still got to work with the House to get it final. So if there is an issue in there that we need to further address, we certainly intend to do it.

HH: But Senator, Bill Kristol and I agree on this. We don’t want this to go to a conference. We do not trust a conference. We do not believe that if this is the best that the Republicans could to on security, on the border fence and other issues, we don’t want the House to pick this up. I think you guys killed immigration reform by not taking conservative demands for border security seriously in substituting, and I debated this with Senator McCain once. We wanted a fence, an honest to God, big, double layered fence with an access road with specs spelled out, and you guys blew through it in five paragraphs, and anyone can avoid this. Anyone with a, I mean, maybe not your lawyer, but I certainly can go to work for the enviros to stop this, and if I was a La Raza type, I could make sure this fence was never built, even it was only three feet and it could be hopped over. I mean, it’s a disaster.

JH: Well, again, I think that it, we’ve worked very hard to make sure the fence is in there. I think if there are things we can do to make it stronger or better, that’s what working with the House is all about, and we’ll see how that goes. But I think you’re focusing on one piece of something that includes far, far more in resources on the border.

HH: I am.
JH: You know, like I say, the technology…20,000 border agents, we’re going to double the number of border patrol agents on the border.

HH: I don’t care, because anything, and I want you to understand, anything that can be turned on can be turned off. Anyone that can be forward deployed can be sent backward. It’s sort of like the DREAM Act. The President didn’t want to enforce the immigration laws last year, so he didn’t enforce them. You can’t not enforce a fence once it’s built, and I’m just curious, last question, Senator…Am I really surprising you? Did no one tell you guys that the fence was everything for a large portion of the border security community? Did no one let you guys know this?

JH: The reason we put a fence in is because we felt it was important to people, and that’s why we’re trying to make sure it gets built. You’re raising concerns about exactly the specs and so forth. Hey, I think that, what I said to people all along is we’re not done in terms of a final product. If we can make it stronger, we intend to do that. But the whole focus of this amendment is to strengthen border security and to do it on the front end.

Not just the Stupid Party, though it is surely that. But a Stupid Party that does not like or respect its conservative base and is more than willing to act in bad faith. Self-delusional too. There was little to no enforcement after 1986. There was no enforcement in the 2007 Bush proposal. And consider the good faith regulatory track record of the last four years. And yet they actually seem to believe the drivel they’re saying. Remarkable. What explains that?

What fools these mortals be

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Hugh Hewitt:

Corker-Hoeven may have averted a train wreck, with Senators Schumer, McCain and Graham realizing that the only way to get the regularization they want is to build the fence the voters demand. Anti-regularization forces will automatically say the amendment is not enough and that it is window-dressing. I was prepared to do the same yesterday when early reports suggested it was merely a press release and not a fence guarantee. If the fence isn’t there or is ambiguous in its design or construction schedule, I’ll be back in the “kill the bill” camp. But for now it seems the Senate has successfully completed step one of immigration reform. It may be one step forward and two steps back when we see the actual language, but for the time being, I hope the GOP got one right. If it did, we can thank Marco Rubio. One last thought: If a commission is needed to certify anything, name the commissioners in the bill and spell out their duties. Pick people who bring credibility to the table, and avoid confirmation battles and gamesmanship down the road. Spell. It. Out. If the majority and minority in both houses get two each, fine; let’s have the eight names and their alternates as well. Nothing to chance, no chance for nothing. Trust but verify, as the Gipper used to say.

In case you haven’t noticed, there are no longer three co-equal branches of government. There’s Congress, the judiciary and a souped-up executive-media-academy-regulatory apparatus that does pretty much whatever it pleases. “Trust but verify?” Puh-leeze. Have the conservative pundits and GOP legislators learned nothing over the past five years? A thousand page bill here, 2000 page bills here and there, and enforcement that rewards friends and punishes enemies. What fools these mortals be.