Defanging

Put away that gun, this part is simple

Try to recognize what is in your mind

God help us, help us lose our minds

These slippery people help us understand

What’s the matter with him? (He’s all right)

How do you know? (The Lord won’t mind)

        —Talking Heads, Slippery People

 

Just a little food for thought today.

Having successfully stalled on immigration so his party didn’t have to face the voters on the issue, President Obama is now locked and loaded to move forward with unilateral executive action on amnesty, bypassing a Congress that come January will be controlled by the largest Republican majority in some 60+ years.  It used to be that “elections have consequences,” but I guess that’s only true if you still believe the Constitution and its concepts of separation of powers and enumerated (read: expressly limited) powers still mean anything.

Article I is really pretty clear on this:

“The Congress shall have the Power . . . To establish an [sic] uniform Rule of Naturalization[.]”

To the extent that the authority to regulate the border is exclusively the province of the Federal government, that power is vested solely in Congress.  It appears nowhere in Article II, and thus is not among the powers granted to the President.  In the land of the New Imperial Presidency, where a Republican landslide gets spun as simply an electoral mandate to give Obama whatever he wants, however, it appears that things are going to work a little differently.

But an added development is a little chilling.

NBC’s Tuscon affiliate is reporting that the Office of Border Patrol Training and Development has been inspecting border agents’ M4 carbines (the modern version of the old M-16, the military version of what we civilians carry as the AR-15).  I’m all for training, and periodically inspecting the weapons deployed in the field to ensure they are in good working order seems like a reasonable practice, except there’s just one minor problem:

The agents aren’t getting their rifles back.

That’s right, when the DC boys come to inspect, many of these rifles are not being returned, nor are they being replaced.  Agents are left with so few rifles that they are forced to share from a common pool, meaning no one has a rifle with sights adjusted to their particulars.  And many of the rifles removed from service have only routine minor maintenance issues that frankly any competent armory ought to have sufficient parts in stock to accomplish the repair on site.  Yet the men and women charged with securing the border are being left without adequate firepower to do it effectively, let alone safely.

We face an unprecedented wave of illegals, encouraged by the Imperial President’s promises of amnesty.  Reports that nearly a half million were caught last year—begging the question how many weren’t—were cleverly suppressed until after the election.  Now the Emperor’s minions are systematically disarming your Border Patrol.  But let’s look at this in its broader context.

This is the same administration that deliberately furnished thousands of military grade weapons to Mexican drug gangs, then lied about it, and is now hiding from it.  This is the same administration that is militarizing non-security-related government branches such as the Department of Education, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, purchasing thousands upon thousands of weapons and billions of rounds of ammunition.  And they can’t manage to find spare parts to get Border Patrol rifles back in service?

Obama and his Progressive hoardes have been trying to disarm you, the American Citizen, for years.  You no longer need guns for self-defense—not that that’s the valid Constitutional inquiry—they argue, because you have government security in the form of, among other things, the Border Patrol and Police.  Now they’re actually disarming the Border Patrol.  Meanwhile the likes of Eric Holder are stoking the embers of what will inevitably become an anti-police inferno in Ferguson, Missouri, thus effectively disarming the police nationwide, as they now face the Hobson’s choice of either not defending themselves, or being subject to politically-driven automatic murder indictments regardless of how legitimate the evidence shows their actions to have been.

Obama’s already gutted the military.  Now he’s rendering the Border Patrol and local police operationally impotent.  Which begs the question:

Who’s minding the gates to the castle?

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Dropping Birth Rate Is Trouble

 

Declining numbers at an even rate

At the count of one we both accelerate

My Stingray is light, the slicks are starting to spin

But the 413’s really diggin’ in

            —The Beach Boys, Shut Down

 

Last Thursday I found myself in waiting room hell, pending surgery to repair a ruptured biceps tendon (hazards of starting martial arts training in one’s mid-40’s).  All three TVs (plus the one in pre-op) were mercilessly tuned to ABC’s The View.  As a side note, Thursday’s episode featured guest host Katherine Schwarzenegger, whom ABC billed as an “author and activist”—she in fact has written a book titled Rock What You’ve Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty from Someone Who’s Been There and Back, whatever that has to do with anything—but who in reality is a 23 year old recent college graduate with two famous actor parents.  I am at a complete loss as to what she could bring to the table, although I suppose her level of insight and expertise fit right in with Whoopie Goldberg (actor/comedian), Barbara Walters (faux journalist), Joy Behar (actor/comedian), and Sherri Shepherd (actor/comedian—anyone seeing a pattern here?).

Despite my best efforts to run or hide, I was unable to avoid a segment entitled “The Child-Free Life.”  Goldberg introduced the segment by referring to a recent piece in Time—she gave no specifics as to the date, issue, author, or even the title, which I soon learned is apparently standard procedure on the program, but I think I found it here—that noted the U.S. birth rate has dropped to significantly low levels.  The general premise of the segment, it became immediately apparent, was that this was OK, maybe even a good thing.  And for the next four minutes, the ladies discussed the evils of having children and the virtues of not, all to the intermittent cheering of the studio audience.

I’m not sure when children, as an abstract concept, became such anathema in this country that we cheer their non-existence.

Among the arguments offered by the esteemed panel:

  • It costs $295,000, before college, to raise a child (Walters, spouting a very official-sounding exact figure, but citing nothing);
  • Years ago someone did a poll showing that 100% of parents of adolescents regretted having children (Walters, operating from memory);
  • Child-free is happier and stress-free (Schwarzenegger, citing her own personal observation from her vast 23 years of life experience, with which she expressly disagreed in the very next breath);
  • Not everyone should have children (Schwarzenegger, to spontaneous roars from the audience);
  • Mommy has to be the conflict-resolver whether there’s one child or multiple (Goldberg, never explaining why that’s a problem); and
  • Children nowadays don’t/won’t take care of their parents (Walters, again citing nothing).

The level of analysis and intellectual depth of the discussion was just staggering.  To her credit, Behar—in her lone contribution to the conversation—did argue that you should have one child “in case you need a matching donor.”  I’m not even sure she wasn’t serious; if it was a joke, no one laughed.

Now, I will agree with Miss Schwarzenegger that not everyone should have children, and I won’t argue that we should enforce some kind of mandatory birth quotas.  But the tenor of the discussion on The View, I fear, reflects a growing societal aversion to children.  And that’s troubling indeed.

The Time piece Goldberg apparently used to kick off the segment centered on 2009 data from the National Center For Health Statistics, and took the position based on loose generic anecdotes to Europe and the idea that lost births can simply be replaced with immigration, that a dropping fertility rate was no problem.  But The Washington Times recently did a piece using the same study updated to 2011 data, and the necessary conclusions are problematic.

The general fertility rate fell to 63.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, a historic low.  The total fertility rate fell to 1.89 births per woman.  The reason this is trouble is it’s well below the statistical replacement threshold of 2.1 necessary simply to maintain a population.  In other words, all else being equal, a birth rate that low means population decline.  And in a society dependent upon multiple ponzi-scheme-driven entitlement programs, what that means is the economic engine is running out of gas.

Consider Social Security, which even the Social Security Administration openly admits is dependent upon having perpetually growing numbers of payors paying into the system in order to fund future outlays; in debt parlance this is referred to as an “unfunded liability”—an obligation to pay in the future for which there is no present savings or revenue stream.  With a declining population, there simply aren’t enough future young people paying in to fund the benefits payments to the larger number of retirees.  The system becomes upside-down, and it necessarily collapses on itself.

Medicare is in largely the same situation, with benefits payments to seniors being dependent upon funding from a sufficiently large base of younger taxpayers.  In a different way, Obamacare will eventually also face the same problem, as there are fewer and fewer younger healthy premium contributors to offset the disproportionate benefits payments to the older and sicker cohort.  None of which is sustainable.

That’s assuming all else is equal, which, of course, it’s not.  And that’s not necessarily a good thing.

As noted above, the Time piece assumed that any declines resulting from low fertility rates will be made up through immigration.  Query whether they should.  I have previously noted that the bulk of our immigration does not consist of wealthy skilled people likely to be large net contributors to our entitlement system, but of impoverished low-skilled laborers, mostly from Latin America, likely to be net consumers.  Rather than curing the fiscal imbalance in the system, the immigrant population increases an already unsustainable draw on ever-depleting funding resources.  But there’s another issue.

While the population as a whole is at fertility rates below replacement levels, consider that the Pew Center reports that the fertility rate among U.S. Muslims is around 2.8, meaning that the muslim population is increasing—in addition to immigration—while the general population is decreasing.  And when you add in the fact that the Muslim population is younger, thus further increasing their potential for total births—a 20 year old is more likely to have additional children over her lifetime than a 35 year old—and the potential for dramatic demographic shift is clear.  One need only look to Europe, where the declining birth rate phenomenon has been playing out for decades, to see the consequences.  Much of Europe has already become Islamicized, with many countries expecting to see Muslim populations exceed 10% within the next 15 years.  In Britain, some predict a Muslim majority by 2050.  

Why is that a problem?

Leave aside the fact that in a 2011 Pew Research poll nearly 20% of U.S. Muslims found themselves unable to say that violence in defense of Islam was never justified, and that a similar percentage had either a “favorable” view of Al Qaeda, or did not know.  Never mind that 20% said they did not want to assimilate—then why the hell are you here?—and another 16% said they wanted to both assimilate and remain distinct from larger American society—query how you have it both ways.  And forget that while Pew didn’t publish U.S. results for this question, globally the overwhelming majority of Muslims favor making Sharia the law of the land (it’s impossible to give a figure because Pew deliberately broke the results down by region to mask it, but except for Southern/Eastern Europe, regional majorities in favor ranged from 64% to 84%).

No, don’t worry about that.  Forget how women and homosexuals fare in places where Muslims wield political control.    Pay no mind to the fact that the only tolerance Islam admits is of itself, and they will sue for all things accommodating Islam, while at the same time accommodating no one else.  Leave all that aside, because worrying about such things makes you an Islamophobe, and the ladies of The View simply can’t have that.  Just consider this:

76% of U.S. Muslims approved of Barack Obama’s job performance as of 2011

68% of U.S. Muslims favor even bigger government and more services.

Even the DNC doesn’t get those kinds of numbers.

This is where we’re heading with current birth trends and immigration.  Thought you might want to know.

****************

EDITOR’S NOTE:  I am in a cast following my surgery, making typing difficult.  Will try to post when I can, but traffic is likely to be slow for awhile.

Open Border Lunacy

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

            —John Lennon, Imagine

 

Apparently MSNBC has some talking head idiot named “Touré”—that’s it, just the one name, like some over-egoist soccer player—they choose to broadcast pontificating on political issues of the day.  I’m not sure what qualifies him for that task, other than he’s evidently a Northeast liberal elitist.  His resume consists of stints as a music critic for Rolling Stone, and teaching the history of hip-hop at the Tisch School of the Arts in New York.  Henry Kissinger, he ain’t.

At least he’s not Chris Matthews.

Yesterday he waded into the immigration debate, overtly advocating open borders as the solution to all the world’s ills.  Let me first point out that as someone living in Southeast Texas, it kills me to listen to the shrill cries for amnesty and open borders from people in places like Boston, New York, and Chicago.  You people don’t have to live with the consequences of an open border; because of geography, you can’t get into those places without getting through customs first—i.e., there’s no border in your neighborhood for illegals to cross.  Come down here with me where federal inaction and overt blocking of state action to make up the difference has left to some degree a de facto open border, and see the refugee camps full of disheveled men hoping a day job will land on them—notice, I didn’t say they were looking for work; I said they were waiting for work to come to them.  Come check out our overcrowded schools bursting at the seams with kids who don’t speak a lick of English.  Come check out the grocery stores that are forced to advertise Se Acceptan WIC—We Accept Food Stamps—so that the non-assimilating illegals can take advantage of our welfare system.  Then let’s talk about open borders.

Touré’s basic premise is that “we already have open borders for large corporations [and] if it’s good for the global corporate rich guys, why isn’t it good for people[.]”  He seems to operate under the impression that (a) immigration by corporations and individual people are the same thing, and (b) corporations can pick up and move to another country at the drop of a hat.  Both assumptions are wrong.

Taking them in reverse, it’s not so simple for the board at GM to just decide to open a plant in, say, China and there it is.  Not so fast.  First you have to ensure that the country you want to do business in isn’t on a State Department sanctioned list.  There are any number of permits that have to be negotiated and obtained from the host country, often requiring the payment of certain, er, “fees.”  Naturally, there will be a few incidental expenses.  Often there are requirements to employ a certain minimum number of host country citizens.  Union agreements have to be worked out.  There’s the not so small task of finding a suitable location, which may require negotiating some kind of a lease arrangement, since foreign concerns often cannot own real property. 

Some businesses are legally barred from moving to some places at all; you think Anheuser-Busch can open a Budweiser brewery in Saudi Arabia?  And ask TransCanada how that whole project to build the Keystone pipeline in the U.S. is going.

No, it’s not so simple for a corporation to pack up and move that we can just say corporations already live in a borderless world.

By the way, notice how Touré always ties “corporations” with “rich” or “fat cats,” as though they have wealth obtained dishonestly at the expense of people, presumably poor people who are being prevented from immigrating here.  There’s always got to be some emotional class-based us-versus-them thing with the Left.

Touré also equates the immigration of people with the immigration of corporations, as though they’re the same thing with the same implications.  They’re not.

First—and this is a big one—corporations don’t vote.  Yes, they are permitted under our First Amendment jurisprudence to express their political interests, which includes the ability to donate money to campaigns.  But they don’t get a ballot.

But Rusty, open borders doesn’t mean citizenship; immigrants aren’t going to be voting.

Uh huh.  Let me tell you something, Sport: down here they have voting parties where they fire up the barbecues, serve up the cervezas, and get everyone they can find to sign absentee ballots.  Don’t tell me non-citizens don’t vote.

Perhaps the bigger point, though, is that corporations are net producers, while the immigrant population you’re talking about when you talk open borders are net consumers.  Touré tries to argue that immigrants are skilled workers and entrepreneurs that benefit the economy, but those highly productive people that want to come here already can and do; existing immigration policy has avenues for them.  The people who need an official open borders policy to come here are the very lowest-skilled, lowest-wage workers.  They don’t pay taxes—contrary to Touré’s argument—but they do consume welfare benefits:  food stamps, subsidized housing, free emergency room medical care for routine treatment.  Meanwhile, they take advantage of publicly-funded infrastructure—like jamming public schools with kids whose English is inadequate for them to keep up, slowing down curriculum for other students, and forcing the diversion of scarce resources to create alternative ESL programs—and other government services, all paid for by somebody else.

Corporations, on the flip side, do pay taxes.  But they don’t consume publicly-funded welfare and government services.  And they employ people—lots of people.  Touré tries to diminish the latter point by contending (citing no source for his figures) that “immigrant-founded ventures”—whatever that means—created over 450,000 jobs in the past decade, as though that qualifies immigrants as an economy-stimulating juggernaut.  Wow, that’s 45,000 jobs a year, which in a country where some 143 million are employed, that immigrant-created job factor is—if I’ve understood the scientific notation on the calculator correctly—comes to 0.00003% annually, plus or minus a zero to the right of the decimal.

Finally, Touré answers the national security issue with the imbecilic argument that it’s not our inability to control the border that threatens our safety, it’s Muslim poverty.  Again, the implicit message is that that poverty is itself our fault—more to the point, it’s the fault of the “corporate fat cats”—and not the result of a culture and society that got left behind some 700 years ago.  For Touré, the solution to Ahmed’s radicalization as well as the world’s economic woes is to throw open the borders so he can stop scratching in the sand in some forsaken hellhole and come flip burgers in America before some crazy Imam starts filling him full of hate.  

Every country on the planet exercises military control over its borders.  It’s among the most fundamental aspects of security.  And Touré’s argument that the 9/11 and (alleged) Boston bombers came here legally doesn’t make a case for throwing the doors wide open; if anything it highlights a porosity in the system that needs to be tightened up.  Further, there’s no telling how many would-be attackers have been stopped.

Fundamentally, though, Touré fails to understand the basic incompatibility between the existence of a welfare state and open borders.  If you pay for it, they will come.  In a country where less than 60% of the population that’s supposed to be here works, where 1 in 5 of the legal residents are on food stamps and some 40 million are on disability, the system is already under tremendous strain.  What would it look like with unlimited access to the global masses?  There’s a limit to what you can squeeze out of the diminishing ranks of the productive in order to fund livelihoods for the unproductive.

Fortunately, this was all on MSNBC, so outside of the monitors for Real Clear Politics, nobody saw this idiocy.

If You Want It, Here It Is, Come And Get It

Big Johnson:  I’m Special Agent Johnson of the FBI.  This is Agent Johnson.  No relation.
Robinson:       Dwayne Robinson, LAPD.  I’m in charge here.
Big Johnson:  Not any more.
            —Robert Davi as Big Johnson and Paul Gleason as Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson in Die Hard
I have to say I was a little taken aback by Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona immigration law.  Despite my prior cautions against reading too much into justices’ questions and comments during oral argument, I really thought the administration was going to lose this one, and lose it badly.
Boy, was I wrong.
By now you are undoubtedly aware that on Monday the Supreme Court struck most of the Arizona statute as unconstitutional on the basis that it “undermine[s] federal law” in an area where the federal government has exclusive domain.  “Undermines”?  How do you figure?
The Court struck three aspects of the Arizona statute.  One made it a crime for immigrants to seek employment without work permits.  This did not create a new state registration requirement.  The permits to which the law referred are federal work permits already required under existing federal law, and the hiring of someone without that permit is already illegal under existing federal law. 
Another made it a crime for immigrants not to carry their immigration papers on their person.  Again, this didn’t create a new state registration requirement; no one had to file an application in Phoenix to get an Arizona green card.  This part of the Arizona law was referring to the federal immigration paper work again already required under existing federal law.
The third stricken part of the Arizona immigration law allowed the police to arrest anyone suspected of committing a deportable offense.  Once again, Arizona wasn’t creating any standards for deportation, or otherwise establishing substantive immigration policy.  All it was doing was authorizing state and local police to enforce existing federal immigration law as established by Congress.  That is no different than local police making an arrest for interstate heroin trafficking, or for purchasing or selling an unregistered Class III firearm (i.e., a machine gun).
In all three aspects of the statute, all Arizona was trying to do was provide supplemental enforcement mechanisms in support of existing federal immigration policy as set forth in existing federal law enacted by Congress.  The Arizona statute did nothing to impair federal authority over immigration, and was in no way inconsistent with it.  Yet a majority of the Court held that where the federal government is supreme, even complementary State action is forbidden. 
The administration, in challenging Arizona’s law, has been long and loud in its cry that this was its exclusive domain, and that States needed to butt out.  And as if to put a final cymbal crash on it, the Department of Homeland Security within hours of the Court’s ruling suspended all cooperative arrangements with the State of Arizona.
Yes, Goose, I know the finger.
Disappointed as I am in the ruling—and as nervous as it makes me about what I had been convincing myself was going to be a Thursday ruling striking Obamacare, and I fear the prospect that Chief Justice Roberts might turn out to be another David Souter (surely the Bushes couldn’t have repeated their mistake, could they?)—there may be a silver lining here.  This ruling is more likely to motivate flagging Tea Party types to stay in the game and get to the polls than it is to drive happy Latinos to vote.  But I think there’s a step further that can be taken here.
Some of you are going to tell me I need to be careful what I wish for, and you may be right.  But it seems to me that two can play this game that the federal Beast is imposing on us.  If the federal government wants the States to butt out of its policies and programs, even with complementary support or enforcement, fine.  Here are some suggestions: 
I’d like to see Arizona Governor Jan Brewer—God bless her—continue to stick to her guns.  If her problem is the federal government isn’t enforcing its own laws in an area in which it claims exclusive jurisdiction, make it put its money where its mouth is.  She should get together with Texas Governor Rick Perry (no chance Governor Moonbat in California will go along, and I have no idea what you’d hear from New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez) and sue the United States, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and Janet Napolitano in federal court in Texas (we go to the 5th Circuit, not the 9th as you would out of Arizona) seeking a writ of mandamus and an affirmative injunction orderingthem to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 as it was written by Congress. 
Get as many states as will join to terminate (if possible) all leases for all federal agencies renting space on State property, and ban all federal law enforcement personnel from entering any State park or building.  What’s yours is yours, and what’s mine is mine.
End all State maintenance activities on Interstate highways.  Refer all complaints to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and explain that those are federal projects and are the responsibility of the federal government, as the federal government itself has made clear.  I’m sorry, I’d like to help, but we’ve been told by the White House and the United States Supreme Court to butt out of federal affairs.
Order all state and local law enforcement agencies to cease any efforts to investigate or arrest people in cases of tax evasion or any other enforcement of federal law.  Telephone or other communications from the FBI, Treasury Department, BATF, or any other federal law enforcement agency are not to be responded to beyond do it yourself.
Finally, end all State participation in Medicaid and any other unfunded federal mandates such as the Clean Air Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, etc.  Refer complaints to HHS, EPA, EEOC, or whatever the appropriate federal agency is.
The States are not mere subordinate subdivisions of the federal government to be employed or dismissed at the snap of the Beast’s finger.  They need to reassert their sovereignty, and the ongoing federal war against Arizona provides a perfect backdrop against which to do it.  The Beast picked this fight, not the States.  Time for the States to push back and tell the Beast “You want exclusive jurisdiction, you got it.  Take care of those things your own damn self.”
What’s the Beast gonna do about it?

Breaking All The Rules

I need you so, that I could die
I love you so, and that is why
Whenever I want you, all I have to do
Is drea—-eam, dream.
            —The Everly Brothers, All I Have To Do Is Dream
 
By now you are no doubt aware of President Obama’s (at times surly and even childish) announcement last Friday of a new Homeland Security initiative to suspend deportation of certain illegal aliens who were brought here as children and have kept themselves out of trouble.  The action fulfills his pledge last year to act where Congress fails to act, and was lauded by Hispanic activists and decried by conservative commentators as obvious political pandering.  All the usual sources have spent the weekend blasting the President’s announcement as an unconstitutional end run around Congress, and they’re correct.  
 
But I don’t see that anybody’s really detailing whythat’s so.
To begin, let me say that this isn’t an I hate Obama thing.  Nor is it some racist push to free America from the dead weight of people of color (and no, I’m not saying non-whites are dead weight; I’m mocking what I’m going to be accused of).  It’s true that I have substantive objections to amnesty and the DREAM Act, but the discussion today isn’t about the content of the President’s new policy.  It’s about how that policy has come to pass.
If you’ve ever tried to play a board game with a four-year-old, you know that the actual rules set out on the inside of the box only matter as long as they suit the four-year-old.  The minute it becomes more interesting or more expedient—four-year-olds can’t say “expedient,” but they dang sure understand the concept—those rules change, often unannounced and even in undefined ways.  The game, of course, then devolves into a meaningless chaos in which the only certainty is that either the four-year-old will win, or everything comes to an end and there is much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth.
Well, it seems that’s kind of what we’re dealing with with Obama.
I’ve covered this before here, and here, and here, and here.  But it appears we’ll have to go through it again. 
The cornerstone of our democratic republic, and the reason we’ve been able to avoid any meaningful attempt at a violent coup d’état to this point in our history, is that our government and society are based on the rule of law.  We don’t make it up as we go; decisions are made through the application of known principles without the intervention of discretion.  That is, we have a set of rules that are well understood and apply to everybody, such that we operate in a predictable set of circumstances, and we can be confident that the same rules that apply today will apply tomorrow.  That’s not to say we don’t change or evolve.  But even that evolution proceeds according to a defined and predictable process.
The Constitution is our basic legal framework, the rules on the inside of the boxtop setting out how the federal government is supposed to operate.  Article I, Section 1 reads, in its entirety:
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.
“All,” according to Black’s Law Dictionary, means “the whole of,” or “every member or individual component of.”  To “legislate” means “to enact laws.”  To “enact” is “to establish by law” or “to decree.”  “Power” is “the right, ability, authority, or faculty of doing something.”  The Framers could hardly have been more clear:  the entire right, ability, and authority to establish or decree laws—every bit of it—rests with Congress.  Period.  There isn’t even a second sentence to Section 1.
The Framers made no mention of the President in this respect.
But for the learning-impaired, we can go a step further.  Article II , Section 1 sets forth the basic job of the President:
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.
Nowhere in Section 1—or anywhere else in Article II—does the Constitution mention a power to legislate.  “Executive,” as distinguished from legislative or judicial, is the branch of government charged with “carrying laws into effect and securing their due observance.”  Indeed, to “execute”  is to “complete,” or “to carry out according to its terms.”  And not to put too fine a point on it, the only mention Article II makes of “laws” at all, other than in the context of appointing public officials (and even then it’s limiting the presidential appointment power to those matters that Congress decides by law to confer), appears in Section 3:
[The President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed[.]
The Constitution simply does not confer any power upon the President to create laws.  There is no exception for the President to act in an area simply because Congress doesn’t.  Nor is there an exception when it’s “the right thing to do.”  In the context of Obama’s announcement Friday, it doesn’t matter if his new policy is similar to a proposal made by Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio.  There’s a key difference:  Marco Rubio is a Senator—a member of that Congress that isvested with the power to legislate—and he can sponsor legislation. Obama isn’t, and can’t.  And in any event, no matter how good or right an idea it is, or how Republican its origins, Barack Obama and Marco Rubio don’t collectively comprise a majority or even an quorum of both houses of Congress.  They still need 218 Representatives and 50 more Senators to vote “aye” before their idea can become law.
Furthermore, Congress has acted with respect to the deportation of illegal aliens.  The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (8 U.S.C. § 1101 et seq.)—a law pushed by liberal favorite Ted Kennedy—lays the ground rules for immigration and deportation.  You can read it for yourself at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website here.  The statute confers NO discretion upon the President to enforce or not enforce the Act as he sees fit, and there is no exception from the deportation rules (8 U.S.C. § 1227 (Sec. 237 at the USCIS website)) for illegal aliens who were brought here as children.  There is very limited discretion vested in the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to do some very specific things in some very specific circumstances on a case-by-case basis, typically dealing with individual instances of domestic violence.  But otherwise, what the statute does do (8 U.S.C. § 1103 (Sec. 103 at the USCIS website)) is charge the Attorney General with the responsibility “to guard the boundaries and borders of the United States against the illegal entry of aliens,” a power Eric Holder has emphatically claimed for himself and the federal government in his lawsuit against the State of Arizona, but which his (and his predecessors’) dereliction in discharging is the root cause of the very dilemma Obama is purporting to address with his partial amnesty.   
This is the law enacted by Congress and to which the President is constitutionally bound to take care is faithfully executed.  I don’t see how unilaterally decreeing an express policy of refusing to enforce this law is “faithfully executing” anything.
To be sure, Barack Obama is not the first President to issue an executive order, nor is he the first to stretch the boundaries of presidential power.  But what we are seeing now is the pinnacle of a branch too long left unchecked, and it has now come fully untethered from its constitutional moorings.  The Framers deliberately excluded the ability to make laws—and refusing to enforce is, at a practical level, every bit an act of legislating as is drafting a bill from scratch, because it is effectively writing the law out of existence—from the discretion afforded the President.  Our Founders gave us a constitutional republic in which the power to make law rests solely with the People, through their representatives in the two houses of Congress.  They wanted to stay away from a government in which the power to make laws resided in the discretion of a single man.  They had a word for such a man:
They called him a “king.” 
And our Founders pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to be free of such a man.   

That Giant Sucking Sound

Listen (shhhhh) to what the flower people say
Listen (shhhhh) it’s getting louder every day.
—Spinal Tap, (Listen to the) Flower People
I think Ross Perot just might have been right about that giant sucking sound south of the border, although this time it’s not NAFTA that’s causing it.
It’s not getting a ton of national run—yet—but an investigative report aired last week by WTHR 13 in Indianapolis attempts to shed light on a massive illegal alien tax scam.  At the core of the matter are refunds given out by the IRS under the Additional Child Tax Credit, which allows even families that pay zero in taxes to claim up to $1,000 per child; in cases where this results in a negative tax liability, the IRS actually sends the filer a check.  According to the WTHR report, huge numbers of illegal aliens are using this program to collect billions in federal dollars.
The problem itself isn’t new.  Back in 2011, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a report titled “Individuals Who Are Not Authorized To Work in the United States Were Paid $4.2 Billion in Refundable Credits.” 
The title alone says a mouthful, doesn’t it?
The data from the Inspector General’s report reveals that in 2010, of 3 million returns filed under an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number—a substitute for a Social Security number issued for tax filing purposes, and almost exclusively to illegals—less than a quarter paid any taxes, while over two-thirds claimed the ACTC credit.  $4 billion in ACTC credits were paid out, against $870 million in tax payments collected, for a net outgo of $3.13 billion.    
In 2010 alone.
That’s right, your federal government in 2010 took over $3 billion from you and just gave it away to illegal aliens.  This happens every year.  Between 2005 and 2010, over $7 billion in ACTC refunds was handed out to people who are in this country illegally.  And the problem is getting drastically worse, as ACTC payments to illegals have risen over 400% (from $927 million in 2005 to $400 billion in 2010) over that time.   The IRS has been made aware of the issue, and the Inspector General has made specific recommendations for dealing with it; yet the IRS simply shrugs and says “that’s just the way the law is, nothing we can do about it.”
Funny how that hasn’t seemed to stop the Obama administration in any other area.
Congressional Republicans have tried to do something about this problem with the law this spring, but have been blocked by the usual suspects.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says restricting these credits to citizens unfairly targets children of poor Hispanic workers, many of whom were born here and are therefore citizens, even if their parents are not.  Leticia Miranda, senior policy advisor for La Raza—always known as a staunch advocate of our Constitution and U.S. sovereignty—says it’s “outrageous and it’s crazy” to impose the burden of removing these credits from people making close to minimum wage and raising children in this country.
Well, that’s where the WTHR report gets interesting.  It seems that not all of these children about whom Senator Reid and Ms. Miranda are worried are actually in the U.S.  In fact, many of them aren’t even the children of the illegal aliens claiming tax credits for them.  According to the WTHR report, it is commonplace for those claiming ACTC credits under an ITIN to claim credits for children still in Mexico (or wherever their country of origin is), or for nieces and nephews.  The report cites one example where four different illegals filed returns claiming 20 children at a single trailer home address—all of whom are actually in Mexico, according to the illegal whose address it actually is—totaling $29,000 in tax refund payments.  In another example, an illegal says he received a $9,000 refund including tax credits for his children living in Indiana and four nieces and nephews still in Mexico.
This, of course, is what happens when you create an entitlement-welfare culture.  If the government is going to provide everything for free, people will come with their hands out.  When you combine that with the inefficiency and incompetency that is inherent in any government bureaucracy, and it’s only a matter of time before they figure out how to cheat the system.  We already provide food stamps, free public schools, and free hospital care for illegals.  Now we’re literally handing out free money for anyone bold enough to tell the lie.  Yet somehow it’s the wealthy who already pay the vast majority of the tab for all these freebies that are the villains. 
It’s outrageous and crazy, all right.  But there are a couple of additional nuggets in this tale that you might overlook.
First, these people are filing tax returns and receiving refund checks.  Those checks have to be sent somewhere.  What this means is the United States federal government—you know, the one so desperately insisting that the border is secure and that defending that border is its province alone—knows who and where these people are.  Yet it does absolutely nothing about it.  Nada.  It just keeps cutting the checks, redistributing (in many cases because of outright fraud) money it took from you by force to people who have no legal right to be here in the first place.
The other interesting tidbit here lay in the concept of the Individual Tax Identification Number.  Illegal aliens aren’t eligible for a Social Security number, yet are required to file income tax returns (let’s just leave aside the inherent nonsequitur in that).  To do that, they have to obtain this ITIN.
An I.D.
A freaking federal I.D.
Now, these are people who, almost by definition, are the poorest of the poor.  Bereft of resources.  Making close to minimum wage, according to La Raza’s Leticia Miranda.  Indeed, much of the justification for those who oppose reforming the system is the need created by these people’s abject poverty.  Yet when it is necessary for them to obtain a federal handout, they don’t seem to have any trouble obtaining the required I.D., even when to do so they have to—at least ostensibly—risk arrest and deportation.
Contrast this reality with the shrill hypothetical complaints many of these same people on the Left make that requiring a simple I.D. to vote is too onerous a burden to place on blacks and other minorities.  They can’t afford it.  They can’t get to the government office that gives them out.  Well, some 2 million illegal aliens a year manage to overcome those obstacles when it’s time to collect free money.
That giant sucking sound?  That’s your money heading south, and with it, your country.  Meanwhile, the voting conga line forms to the Left.

Listen (shhhh).

Cinco De Mayo Outweighs The American Flag

You got a problem?
The problem is you!
—Sex Pistols, Problem
Ladies and Gentlemen, Common Sense has left the building.
As a young lawyer, I learned very quickly that in a letter from opposing counsel, nothing good comes after “Rusty, . . .”  Similarly, when during my drive home last Thursday I caught Mark Levin’s opening monologue, and the first thing out of his mouth after introducing himself was “A federal judge has ruled . . .” I knew we were in trouble. 
Ugh.
Levin went on to report on a ruling from U.S. Chief District Judge James Ware—an appointee of the first Bush administration, the same folks that gave us David Souter (uhhh, thankyouverymuch)—in which Judge Ware dismissed a suit filed on behalf of students at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California (about 10 miles southeast of San Jose).  It seems that these students chose to wear t-shirts bearing images of the American flag on May 5, 2010 (a/k/a “Cinco de Mayo”).  Citing fears for their safety, school officials told the students they had to turn their shirts inside-out—in other words, hide the American flag—or be sent home. 
Judge Ware ruled that the students’ First Amendment rights were not violated by the school’s actions, and that the school was entitled to take action where students were in danger or there was a risk of disruptions to actual learning.  In his ruling, he noted that the students wearing American flags were at risk, but those wearing Mexican flags colors were not, and that “[a]ll students whose safety was in jeopardy were treated equally.”  So, if I understand correctly, when loyal Americans are put in danger on U.S. soil during the celebration of a foreign pseudo-holiday, it’s the loyal Americans that we’re going to punish.
 
¿Que la chinga?
 
My problem here isn’t really with Judge Ware.  You’ll find I’m not a fan of an all-encompassing First Amendment.  It was never intended to mean anyone can say anything anywhere in any way that they want (you listening, 99%?).  On a legal level, Ware’s decision is probably correct–note, his decision is NOT that students can’t wear American flag t-shirts; it’s that the school is permitted to enforce a dress restriction in the name of safety and order.  My problem is with the idiocy at the school that got us to this point.
Let’s get something straight up front.  If you want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, that’s fine.  I don’t care.  But let’s understand what Cinco de Mayo is, because I’ll bet you dollars to donuts most of you don’t know, and in fact I’ll bet you 8 in 10 of the students actually celebrating it at Live Oak High School—where a full 20% of the student body as a whole can’t speak English—will get it wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) is not Mexican Independence Day similar to our 4th of July; that would be September 16, for those who are interested.  Rather, Cinco de Mayo commemorates a Mexican militia victory over invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.  It was a relatively insignificant battle in a war the Mexicans ultimately lost, so the celebration is kind of like if the Sioux Nations threw a huge kegger on June 26 to celebrate defeating Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn (maybe they do that, I have no idea).  And here’s the dirty little secret:  outside of Puebla itself, “Cinco de Mayo” isn’t really celebrated in Mexico at all.  Celebration of the event is really a U.S. phenomenon, and its rise in popularity in the last couple of decades has actually been driven mostly by beer importers as a means of increasing sales.  Call it an opportunity to share Mexican culture if you want, but don’t call it a major Mexican holiday, because it isn’t.
But here’s where it really stinks.  If Cinco de Mayo is really intended as a communications point and culture-sharing opportunity—as its proponents like to say it is—why were students wearing American flags in danger?  The entire premise of Judge Ware’s ruling is that the school is entitled to take action to protect students who are in danger, and to prevent the disruption of learning.  But who’s putting students at risk?  Who’s threatening to disrupt classes?  Judge Ware specifically noted that there was no evidence that kids wearing Mexican flags were at any risk at all.  While he meant this observation to bolster the case that the school’s decision to get rid of the American flags wasn’t discriminatory, it speaks volumes about what’s wrong here: 
The kids wearing the American flags weren’t the problem.
Clearly the problem at Live Oak High is that those students choosing to celebrate Cinco de Mayo were taking it and themselves a little too seriously and were threatening or inflicting some kind of violent retribution on those they saw as disrespecting them.  So why is it that the solution here wasn’t to, I don’t know, toss out the kids threatening or engaging in the violence?  Have we become such politically-correct pussies that we’ll punish innocent Americans before we’ll risk the charge of racism that would inevitably result from taking action against those who actually perpetrate the violence?
I get it that America is The Great Melting Pot.  We’re all immigrants (you might make an exception for my Cherokee forbears, but that’s a different article).  And I’m OK if you want to celebrate some of your culture and heritage from the old country.  But notice you don’t see similar behavior coming from St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.  Or Oktoberfest.  Or Chinese New Year. 
The problem arises when we cross the line from preserving culture to aggressive foreign nationalism.  A few generations ago, people immigrated to this country because they wanted to be Americans.  Yes, they continued to speak the old language at home.  Yes, they set up shops that sold their ethnic food, and they continued with some of the old traditions.  But they also worked to assimilate and actually become Americans.  They learned English.  They flew the American flag outside their homes and businesses.  They might have been Americans of German, or Irish, or Mexican descent, but they were Americans. 
What we see now, however, is an increasing number who don’t come here to be Americans; they want to be Mexicans (or Chinese, or Pakistanis, or what have you) living in the U.S.  You may not see much of this depending on where you live; I am inundated with it in Texas.  My local grocer has to post signs reading “Se aceptan WIC” (we accept food stamps) because too many make no attempt to learn English.  Homes, businesses, and vehicles are adorned with the flags of Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and the like—which would be fine, except they are never paired with the American flag.  When the Mexican national soccer team plays the U.S. team in Houston, it is far and away a “home game” for El Tricolor.  There is little or no effort to assimilate, because these people simply have no interest in actually being Americans, and this is the attitude that breeds the issue with violence over Cinco de Mayo.  Celebration of this minor non-holiday ceases to be simply a culture-sharing opportunity and instead becomes a sticking point of Mexican national pride, and at that point you’ve taken it too far. 
If you’re of Mexican heritage and you want to celebrate May 5 as a way of preserving some of that heritage, great; let’s break out the mariachis and have a few cervezas.  But if you can’t do it without starting a fight because someone else is wearing an American flag, I submit you need to take it somewhere else because the problem is you.   
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EDITOR’S NOTE:  This marks the 50th installment of Chasing Jefferson.  Thanks to those of you who have kept up and been so encouraging.