Tag Archives: border crisis

Social media offer some barometer of public mood

Judging the mood of the country through social media posts is a bit like relying on those instant Internet polls. Neither is very accurate and could be slanted depending on who you associate with on social media and who is answering the Internet “surveys.”

I get into exchanges with my network of Facebook “friends” about the state of things in the United States. I at times feel a bit lonely, as so many of those who read my Facebook posts — usually fed from this blog — have swilled the conservative Kool-Aid that makes them think the country has gone straight to hell under the leadership of the “socialist, Muslim-sympathizing, empty-suit fraud,” aka, the president of the United States, Barack Obama.

Others with whom I’m acquainted through this medium tilt the other way and they, too, weigh in with their own thoughts on the state of affairs in America.

I keep getting the feeling, though, that they — and I — are getting out-shouted. My friends on the other side have taken command of the public megaphone and are winning the argument.

One individual today said the nation has gone to pot. She’s given up on things, or so it appears.

This sorrowful attitude makes me wonder about just what has been accomplished since Barack Obama became president. Let me count them, as best I can remember:

* The annual federal budget deficit has been cut by more than half.

* Job growth is accelerating, although not at a rate fast enough to suit many people.

* Domestic energy production is at an all-time high; yes, many have credited private industry, not government, for that fact.

* Home foreclosures have slowed dramatically; meanwhile, new home construction has accelerated. Has anyone taken a look at all the houses being framed in Amarillo lately?

* Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.

* We’re deporting illegal immigrants at record rates. Our southern border remains too accessible to illegal entrants, but we’re catching them and sending them back to their country of origin.

OK, have we had a run of perfection? Of course not. Then again, no presidential administration in my lifetime has been run perfectly.

International hot spots are burning hotter than ever in Iraq and Syria. Ukraine and Russia are going nose to nose. Israel is defending itself against Hamas terrorists who keep launching missiles into Israeli neighborhoods. Terror groups are kidnapping women and girls in Nigeria, beheading captives in the Middle East and persecuting Christians and other religious minorities throughout the Third World.

Amid all those international crises, critics keep yammering about the United States doing too little. What are the options? Send in ground troops to settle these disputes? Clamp economic embargoes? Do we ship more armaments to our friends, and if so, at what cost? What about those who say we should cut off “all foreign aid” and concentrate solely on the needs of Americans here at home?

It’s fair to ask: Has this country over the past two decades taken on too large an international role in a time when our adversaries have become more diverse, more elusive and pose greater and more varied existential threats than our former, easily identifiable enemy, the Soviet Union?

I am not a Pollyanna. I understand full well the challenges that await us. I also appreciate the challenges we’ve met over the years.

Has the United States of America gone to pot, as so many of my social media acquaintances have suggested? We’re just as strong as ever.

Mexico is responsible, too

I’m trying to imagine this conversation occurring at the White House, or perhaps at Los Pinos, Mexico’s official presidential residence.

It would involve U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena.

Obama: I’m glad we’re meeting today. Let’s talk about that refugee crisis on our common border, shall we?

Pena: Certainly, Mr. President.

Obama: OK, then. What are you going to do to stop the flow of young people from your southern border, all the way through your country and into my country?

Pena: Well, we’re doing our best. But we have about 1,500 miles of territory from our southern frontier to our border with the U.S. Do you want us to stop these children en route?

Obama: Yes, I do. Look, Mr. President, I’m getting pounded by critics at home because — they contend — we’re not doing enough to protect our borders. But the way I see it, protection also must depend on our neighbors doing the best they can to protect their own territory against trespassers. Oh, and by the way, we are rounding up these children and young adults by the thousands, holding them in detention, and trying to figure out what to do with them. You said it yourself: Those refugees are traveling several hundred miles through your country to get to ours.

Pena: Well, you know what? You make a good point. From this moment forward, I’m going to mobilize our military, notify our local police authorities to ensure that they search out, locate and intercept busloads crammed with young people heading north. I would suppose they’d be easy to detect.

Obama: Good to know, Mr. President. That’s what hemispheric neighborliness is all about.

***

Has this conversation occurred? I don’t know. Should it? Absolutely.

Obama is doing his job

John Boehner cracks me up.

The speaker of the House admonishes the president of the United States to do hi job, then sues him for … um … doing his job.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/do-your-job-mr-president-109840.html?hp=l3#.U-TcCVJ0yt8

What gives with this guy?

A lawsuit is likely to be filed in court that seeks to punish President Obama for taking executive action on the Affordable Care Act. Now he wants the president to act on immigration and to do something about the refugee crisis on our nation’s southern border.

I’m baffled by the mixed message.

Obama says he’s been doing his job because won’t do its job. Congress is fighting back, accusing the president of overstepping his constitutional authority.

Dysfunction reigns supreme in Washington, D.C.

It doesn’t matter any longer who’s at fault. The system just needs an overhaul.

Gov. Perry overreaching?

Texas lawmakers think Gov. Rick Perry might be overreaching his own self with regard to the planned deployment of National Guard forces to protect Texans against the influx of … children.

Seems that the governor is using his executive authority to spend $75 million in public money for this deployment, which some lawmakers think is an overreach.

Some lawmakers question Perry’s border funding move UPDATE

Interesting, eh?

I don’t know enough about the details of what kind of power the governor has in these matters, but it does intrigue me that this governor, who’s been so critical of federal overreach by the White House might be getting into a bit of a jam at home over the very same issue.

“The Legislative Budget Board has authority to move money around the budget in between legislative sessions. Perry, however, bypassed formal board action to free $38 million to pay for the Guard in the early stages of its deployment and to help fund a DPS border surge,” the San Antonio Express-News reported in its blog.

State Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, says the deployment doesn’t make sense in the first place.

He’s right. It doesn’t. The Guard can do little to stop the flow of children fleeing Central America.

The lame-duck governor, though, says he’s doing it for symbolic reasons.

Whatever. It now might against state law for him to just spend the money willy-nilly.

The irony is fairly rich, don’t you think?

 

Go for it, Mr. President

Congress had a chance to act on the border crisis in Texas and other states bordering Mexico.

It didn’t.

Now it appears President Obama is going — get ready for it — to take executive action to at least put an immediate, if temporary, fix on the crisis.

http://blog.mysanantonio.com/texas-politics/2014/08/texas-businessmen-obama-executive-action-on-immigration-appears-imminent/

Holy cow! Will the Congress sue him over that one, too?

I rather doubt it. Indeed, the speaker of the House of Representatives — which did pass a version of a bill to deal with the problem — has invited the president to use his power to act.

He surely should, given that Congress choked on the issue.

I’m no longer going to refer to this as an “immigration” crisis. It clearly is a “refugee” matter, given that the young people who have flooded to the country are fleeing repression, corruption, enslavement, even death. Those individuals are refugees by anyone’s definition.

They should be treated as refugees, not criminals, which is how many in Congress and around the country continue to view them.

What’s the president going to do — reportedly — to solve this issue by himself?

Obama met with some Texas business executives to discuss the problem, according to the San Antonio Express-News. They indicate that the president is looking at all legal options available to him. “The businessmen said they voiced their support for expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which pushes back deportations of young immigrants who aren’t legally in the country,” the Express-News reported on its blog.

So, does the president take action where the legislative branch has failed so far? Absolutely. Will the House of Reps take issue on this action, should it come, by adding it to its list of gripes against the president?

Pardon me while I laugh.

Hey, Congress … slackers!

A friend reminds me of one more laughable element related to Congress bailing without approving a refugee-crisis-repair bill.

It is that Republican critics of President Obama have been so very fond of blasting him for “all the vacations” he takes while crises are erupting.

They fail, of course, to acknowledge that the president never is off the clock. He’s away from the Oval Office or a week or two, then he’s back — with the goal of tending to business. That has been the case dating back for many decades, involving presidents of both political parties.

So, what about Congress?

Well, those fine ladies and gents are going to campaign for re-election, which means they’ll be out raising money; some of them are known to jet off to faraway places for what they call “fact finding missions.” Some of those “trouble spots” involve a variety of choice beachfront condos, mountaintop vistas, lots of exotic meals.

You get my drift here, yes?

This will be my final point on this subject before I move on, but I’ll just say once more with feeling.

The border crisis involving the young people fleeing their home countries for safety in the United States was billed as a national crisis. If it’s a national crisis, then why didn’t the House and Senate stay in session until dealing with it?

I guess they had more important things to do.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/house-gop-pass-border-bill-109662.html?hp=l1

One final bit of advice: Next time the president of the United States takes some time away from the office, I want his critics in Congress — and in the conservative media — to keep their collective traps shut.

Congress quits on border crisis

This is just about perfect.

Congress yaps at President Obama to do something about the refugee crisis on our southern border. The president responds with a hefty emergency spending request. Congress then says it’s too much. Then both chambers fight among themselves. The House of Representatives approves a much smaller plan, while the Senate croaks.

Then the Congress goes home for the rest of the summer.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/house-gop-pass-border-bill-109662.html?hp=t1

OK, so what’s Barack Obama going to do now? Will he — heaven forbid! — invoke some executive authority to get something done?

This is an utterly ridiculous state of affairs.

The border is choked with refugees, mostly youngsters, fleeing repression in Central America. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called out the National Guard. For what purpose remains a mystery, given that the guardsmen cannot arrest anyone. Members of Congress, chiefly Republicans, accuse the president of allowing the crisis to build. They demand action. Then the president acts and Congress fails to follow through.

Now they’re heading home, or perhaps on some “factfinding” junkets to exotic locations. They’ll schmooze with supporters at faux “town hall meetings,” hearing from the home folks about what a rotten job the president is doing. Or if they represent voters who support the president, they’ll get a snootful about what a rotten bunch the Republicans have become.

Meanwhile, that so-called crisis our border goes unattended.

This isn’t how representative democracy is supposed to work.

Is Obama wrong about Congress's incompetence?

President Obama’s critics hammer him constantly because of his expressed frustration over the do-nothing Congress.

Is he wrong about his “friends” on Capitol Hill? Far from it. Consider this week’s follies.

* The House of Representatives shelved plans to vote on a $659 million bill that would address the border crisis involving all those young refugees fleeing into the United States illegally.

* Then the Senate failed to muster enough votes on a larger, $2.7 billion, package to tackle those very problems.

* Then the House leadership postponed that body’s five-week summer recess, citing the logjam over this refugee issue.

All of this seems to be forcing the president to take, um, executive action to get something done about a problem that supposedly has risen to the level of “national emergency.”

Except he can’t do that, because the Republican-controlled House has just voted on party lines to sue the president over his alleged overuse of executive authority.

Obama has been poking fun at Congress because it cannot work with the White House, among its own members, with members of the other party, or get anything done on behalf of the people who sent them there.

And they’re just itching to get out of town for the rest of the summer.

Ridiculous.

Dysfunction reigns in U.S. House

How much more chaotic can it get in the People’s House?

Probably a lot more than what we’re witnessing, but we we’re getting now is a sideshow worthy of a circus barker.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/31/politics/congress-immigration/index.html

The House of Representatives canceled a planned vote on a border security/immigration bill after leaders failed to get enough support among rank-and-file members to support it. It would cost about $659 million, far less than the $3.7 billion President Obama requested when the child refugee crisis erupted on the nation’s southern border.

Meanwhile, the Senate is wondering what to do with a larger bill.

What happens now? Well, Congress is about to take a five-week summer recess, which means that, all of a sudden, the border crisis isn’t quite as “urgent” as House leadership proclaimed it to be.

As I recall, they were yammering at the White House to do something about it. The president responded with his emergency spending request, but the persistent critics said, “Not so fast, Mr. President. We aren’t going to write a blank check here.”

Now the House has come apart at the seams yet again over a possible solution proposed by that guy who lives down the street in the White House.

This is effective governance? I think not.

Will shatters the Fox mold

http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/07/27/foxs-george-will-we-should-tell-child-immigrant/200215

George Will might find himself out of a job if the Fox New Channel brass takes serious exception to what the commentator said this morning on Fox News Sunday.

He said, and you should watch the clip attached here, that the United States of America ought to welcome the “criminals with teddy bears” into our culture, not send them back to their Central America homeland where they face possible, if not probable, harm.

I’ll just dispute one point in Will’s comment here. He mentions the nation has 3,141 counties. Divide the number of counties into the 57,000 or so child refugees who’ve come here and you have a mere handful of children moving into each county. That logic presumes we can distribute the children evenly among all American counties.

Whatever.

I found the exchange between Will and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace stunning.

Will is right to note that we’ve handled far more immigrants than what’s happening right now at the border. The “wretched refuse” ought to be welcome, he said.

Wow! I think I’ll try to catch my breath now.