Thursday, May 28, 2015

Last Call For Border In Order

The myth of the porous US-Mexico border is finally being put to rest, and it's a Democratic president that actually did something to "secure the border".

As the Department of Homeland Security continues to pour money into border security, evidence is emerging that illegal immigration flows have fallen to their lowest level in at least two decades. The nation’s population of illegal immigrants, which more than tripled, to 12.2 million, between 1990 and 2007, has dropped by about 1 million, according to demographers at the Pew Research Center. 
A key — but largely overlooked — sign of these ebbing flows is the changing makeup of the undocumented population. Until recent years, illegal immigrants tended to be young men streaming across the Southern border in pursuit of work. But demographic data show that the typical illegal immigrant now is much more likely someone who is 35 or older and has lived in the United States for a decade or more.
Homeland security officials in the Obama and George W. Bush administrations — who have more than doubled the Border Patrol’s size and spent billions on drones, sensors and other technology at the border — say enhanced security is driving the new trends. 
“We have seen tremendous progress,” said R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. “The border is much more secure than in times past.” 
The issue of border security is central to the broader debate over immigration reform that has roiled Washington in recent years and is emerging as a flash point in the 2016 presidential campaign. Congressional Republicans have insisted on greater border security before they consider legalizing any immigrants who came to this country without proper documents.

For those of you playing at home, the number of undocumented immigrants has gone down over the last several years.  They have left America, either under their own power, or under deportation.  The Obama administration has been so successful in deportation that frankly, it's done too good of a job of deporting undocumented immigrants and want to fix the root cause of the problem.

But Republicans refuse to allow immigration to be fixed.  Their number one excuse is that Obama has done nothing to "secure the border".  That's a massive, complete, and total lie.  If anything, brutal economics is driving the undocumented out of the US.

That still leaves the issue about what to do with the undocumented that are already here, but Republicans refuse to do anything about it...or they want to round up 12 million people into camps and deport them.

So no, the problem with immigration is not a border security issue, but a political one.

Good Old Fashioned Ukranian Shoe Leather

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the Russian military is still happily consolidating territory gains and nobody seems too interested in kicking Moscow out of the place, but in the age of social media, showing the world what Vlad Putin is up to isn't so difficult.

“Independent researchers, using open sources and rigorous methodology, have demonstrated that Russian troops and Russian weapons have been an important part of the fight in Ukraine’s east,” said John E. Herbst, a former American ambassador to Ukraine and one of the authors of the report,Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine, which is to be released Thursday by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based research center.

While the most recent photograph analyzed in the Atlantic Council report was taken in February, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, said in an interview in Washington on Wednesday that there was ample evidence that Russia still had forces in Ukraine and was sending arms to separatists there. 
“Russia is present in eastern Ukraine,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “This is something we have from our own intelligence. But in addition to our own intelligence, it is based on open sources.” 
The report comes as European nations are preparing to vote next month on whether to ease or maintain economic sanctions on Russia because of its role in Ukraine. 
“The way Russian propaganda works, it makes it seem you can’t possibly know the truth,” said Eliot Higgins, a British-based researcher who founded the investigative website and led the effort to analyze the imagery for the Atlantic Council report. “If you try to counter it by doing the same thing, you are just adding to the noise. But you can get to the truth by pointing to the open source data and what’s publicly available.”

The question is, will the EU, NATO, or US do a damned thing about it?

Mr. Stoltenberg declined to say how many Russian troops were in Ukraine or positioned near its border. But one Western official, who asked not to be identified because he was discussing intelligence reports, said Russia had moved about nine battalion tactical groups close to its border with Ukraine, and that as many as five additional battalions could be sent there in coming weeks. The number of troops in such units can vary, but a battalion could have about 1,000 troops, creating a potential force of well over 10,000 Russian troops in Ukraine by this summer. 
It is unclear if Russia is preparing for a major offensive to help Ukrainian separatists seize more territory or if it is trying to put pressure on the Ukrainian government to make more constitutional concessions. Either way, the moves by Russia’s military are a violation of the peace agreement that was negotiated in Minsk, Belarus, in February, which called for the removal of foreign troops, the pulling back of heavy weapons and the disbanding of “illegal groups.” 
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said in a speech on Wednesday that the conflict over Ukraine is “a test for the West,” and that “President Putin is wagering that he has greater staying power.”

He does.  There's simply no appetite right now for anyone to intervene as long as there's not daily footage of carnage, and even then nobody's going to do much (ask the Palestinians how that works out.)

Left Out In The Cold

What a shock to see a Republican operative like Peter Wehner (who served in the Reagan, Poppy Bush, and Dubya administrations) think that the Democrats are liberal extremists.  What a greater shock to see Wehner writing an op-ed in the NY Times saying as much.

AMONG liberals, it’s almost universally assumed that of the two major parties, it’s the Republicans who have become more extreme over the years. That’s a self-flattering but false narrative. 
This is not to say the Republican Party hasn’t become a more conservative party. It has. But in the last two decades the Democratic Party has moved substantially further to the left than the Republican Party has shifted to the right. On most major issues the Republican Party hasn’t moved very much from where it was during the Gingrich era in the mid-1990s. 
To see just how far the Democratic Party has moved to the left, compare Barack Obama with Bill Clinton. In 1992, Mr. Clinton ran as a centrist New Democrat. In several respects he governed as one as well. He endorsed a sentencing policy of “three strikes and you’re out,” and he proposed adding 100,000 police officers to the streets. 
In contrast, President Obama’s former attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., criticized what he called “widespread incarceration” and championed the first decrease in the federal prison population in more than three decades. Mr. Obama, meanwhile, has chosen to focus on police abuses.

That's his evidence.   Clinton was a centrist, Obama is a Seekrit Mooslem Marxist Kenyan anti-colonialist Socialist.  (Ironically, he end up making a really good case for electing Hillary out of it too, then paints her of course as an extremist.)

In some respects, like gay rights, the nation is more liberal than it was two decades ago. On the other hand, it is more conservative today than it was in the mid-1990s. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that Republicans have opened substantial leads over Democrats on dealing with terrorism, foreign policy and taxes. They’re competitive on the economy, and a good deal more competitive than in the past on traditional liberal issues like immigration and health care. Self-identified conservatives significantly outnumber self-identified liberals.

Um, no.  They don't, Pete.

But thanks for playing.


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