Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Astigmatic Ideology of the Obama Presidency (Part 1)

Barack Obama’s charismatic performance during the 2008 electoral campaign was, to many, electrifying and highly exciting. His ability at eloquent oration, contrasted to former President Bush’s down-home style punctuated by frequent errors, was especially impressive, and led many people to suspend rational thought and analysis and come to the absurd conclusion held by historian Michael Beschloss, that Obama’s IQ was “off the charts”. Beschloss even went so far in his schoolgirl-giddiness to assert that Obama was “probably the smartest guy ever to become President.” Never mind that it was inevitably revealed that the teleprompter was to Obama what wax wings were for the mythological Daedalus. Remove the teleprompter…and Obama’s wings melt. It’s great entertainment to watch him crash to earth.

A year and a half into the presidency, Americans have caught on, and are increasingly disturbed by the absurd positions the administration has adopted. No longer appearing to be the great intellect many once believed him to be, Obama now appears incurably befuddled.

There is no issue that better highlights the administration’s contradictory and nonsensical folly, than the quandary in which it finds itself regarding the Arizona immigration bill, SB1070.

We all would do well to recall that Arizona passed SB1070 in response to unacceptable crime rates within the state connected to illegal immigration, and about which the Federal Government was simply not responding. The Government has, for several decades now, failed to fulfill its responsibility to secure the borders and to process the millions of immigrants who flaunt federal immigration laws. So the Arizona legislature carefully authored SB1070, with the specific intent of allowing local law enforcement to help enforce federal law. The law was in no way written to change, alter, or counteract federal law.

What’s more, out of concern that local law enforcement, while attempting to enforce the law, might violate the civil rights of citizens, the authors carefully stated in multiple locations that racial profiling was prohibited, and that officers could only request proof of citizenship when 1) the persons questioned had already been detained for other legal police matters, and 2) there were grounds for suspicion that the persons questioned were not US citizens.

The law was very carefully designed to support the federal laws, and to help federal agents to enforce the law, and not to undermine it.

High ranking members of the Obama administration could not even wait until they had actually read the bill before maligning it publicly. Department of Justice Attorney General Eric Holder was caught out while giving testimony before congress and had to admit that he had not read the law he was criticizing. The same embarrassment befell Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano, and Assistant Secretary of State PJ Crowley, who went so far as to compare the Arizona law to Chinese human rights offenses.

It was no surprise when Attorney General Holder announced that he was filing suit to block the Arizona law. What was surprising was that the reason given had little to do with the concern about civil rights violations: the Obama administration’s position was that the Arizona law “interfered with” the Federal Government’s authority to regulate immigration.

There can be no doubt that the conflict between Arizona and the Obama administration will eventually end up in the Supreme Court, where Obama is going to have great difficulty convincing the Supreme Court that a state law that strengthens and supports federal law, somehow preempts the federal law. Consider marijuana laws as an analogy. There are federal laws that make growing, selling or distributing marijuana a crime. If a state passes laws that prohibit the growing, selling or distributing of marijuana and allows local police to enforce the law, they have not preempted the federal law, but have simply supported it. The Arizona immigration law does exactly that.

Click HERE to Read Part II

The Astigmatic Ideology of the Obama Presidency (Part 2)

Evidence for the befuddled, confused and contradictory opinions on immigration within the Obama administration can be found by a cursory examination of their actions taken since the issue arose.

In the midst of Obama Administration vs Arizona immigration law battle, Obama appointed Harold Hurtt to head up the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of State and Local Coordination. Hurtt is a former police Chief in Houston and Phoenix, and is a supporter of “sanctuary city” policies.

Sanctuary cities are those municipalities that “that do not allow municipal funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws, usually by not allowing police or municipal employees to inquire about one's immigration status.”

That is to say, that the governments of cities have made the decision unilaterally to ignore federal law and to prohibit their officials from enforcing them. These laws were a response by liberals within local governments to reject the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, under which a number of crimes became grounds for deportation.

As an example, The 1979 Los Angeles policy stated: “Officers shall not arrest, nor book persons for violation of title 8, section 1325 of the United States Immigration code”

To put it quite simply, being in the country illegally was already grounds for deportation, but the 1996 law specified that illegal immigrants who committed additional crimes locally should be arrested, held in custody, and then reported to ICE for deportation. The sanctuary city proponents like Mr. Hurtt, realizing that they could gain political power by courting the Hispanic vote, rebelled against the federal law and declared that they would not assist the Federal Government. What’s more, they actively prohibited police from asking questions about residency status and reporting them to ICE.

Many illegal immigrant criminals have been released because of these policies, and US citizens have become victims of their crimes as a result.

At about the same time Obama was appointing a “sanctuary city” proponent to head up ICE, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer met with Obama in the White House, and they shared their opinions about the law. Brewer got Obama to agree to send National Guard troops to the border—but only 1,200 of them—and said his administration would contact her in two weeks to inform her of his decision whether or not so sue Arizona. Weeks passed, and still no one from the White House had contacted the Governor’s office.

To the contrary, word of the suit was leaked to the press by Secretary of State Clinton while visiting Ecuador, infuriating Governor Brewer due to the lack of protocol and disrespect. “"If our own government intends to sue our state to prevent illegal immigration enforcement, the least it can do is {to} inform us before it informs the citizens of another nation," she said.

Insult was added to injury when Arizona Senator Kyl demanded an audience with Obama. In a meeting with his constituents after that one-on-one discussion, Kyl revealed that Obama had explained his unwillingness to help Arizona: “The problem is, if we secure the border, then you all {the Republicans} won't have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform…In other words, they're holding it hostage."

He later responded to Obama’s speech calling for immigration reform by declaring: “All Americans would be better served if this Administration focused on implementing proven border security solutions rather than engaging in demagoguery and criticizing states that have been left to enforce immigration law because of the federal government’s unwillingness to do so.”

Taken together, we now see that while Obama publicly declares that he takes national security seriously, and agrees that the problem of illegal immigration should be solved, his actions reveal that he is more focused on winning votes from the Hispanic constituency instead of protecting the rest of the citizens. While he threatens to sue Arizona for passing a law that supports Federal Law, he then appoints a man who supports laws that undermine federal immigration laws to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. And when confronted in the Oval Office by Senator Kyl, Obama reveals that he recognizes the scope and severity of the crisis in Arizona, but will not act to protect US citizens because to do so would be to give up political leverage that would win him electoral support from the Hispanic voters.

Obama’s focus is not on fulfilling his duties to protect the American citizenry, but rather, to protect and defend his own political career.

Click HERE to read the Conclusion

The Astigmatic Ideology of the Obama Presidency (Conclusion)

The reality of the Presidency seems to be a major inconvenience to Obama, and complaints about the problems he “inherited” have become a rather tedious mantra emanated from the White House. Economic crises, two wars, terrorism, difficult healthcare policies, financial reform, a pestilent immigration issue boiling up at the wrong moment—and then the BP oil spill. Anyone with eyes not clouded by cult-like adoration for Obama could see that he failed to show leadership during more than two months as the spill worsened.

As the BP oil disaster unfolded, Obama found himself desperate to regain the appearance of being “in charge” after weeks of incompetence. He proudly declared that he was sending 17,000 troops to the Gulf of Mexico to help with the cleanup.

This pronouncement appeared to have perplexed a number of officials, such as Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. His spokesman, Dan Turner, said “We just don’t have a need for them right now.” Lt. Col. Ron Tittle, director of the public affairs with the Florida National Guard, seemed to have no idea what their mission was, and struggled to speak supportively: “While there is a challenge to determine which mission we may be called for, we continue to plan for potential missions.” In other words: we have no idea what we’re going to be doing, but we’ll try to be ready.

Only weeks before, Arizona Governor Brewer had reacted to an issue of National Security, decrying the drug-related violence occurring across the border was spilling over to Arizona, and that an uncontrolled flow of illegal immigrants was wreaking havoc in her state, and she had contacted the White House to request that National Guard troops be sent to secure our borders and protect our citizen.

The President’s response: a law suit against the laws she had passed to try to protect her citizens, and a hollow promise to send a measly 1,200 troops.

But when Obama needed to appear decisive after his clumsy handling of the Gulf disaster, he ordered 17,000 troops to go there, without a clear mission. Yet again, political expediency trumps National Security.

With uncanny timing, a new report surfaced that tied the international terrorist organization, Hezbollah, to the Mexican drug cartels and illegal immigration. This national security threat is not new. The government has known for years that Mexican coyotes have helped members of violent gangs, such as MS13, and leftist organizations, such as the FMLN, enter the country. MS13 gang members were once caught helping to smuggle an al Qa’eda agent into the country. But the latest information did connect Hezbollah to the Mexican drug cartels and the expanding violence in Mexico that is spilling over the border, and should have been a clarion call to the White House to take the issue more seriously. It should have reiterated to the White House that Governor Brewer’s impassioned cries for help were warranted, and a real response required.

Instead, the White House proceeded with their lawsuit, and continued to ignore the Governor.

Realizing that the Federal Government was determined to undermine SB1070 on the grounds that it “interfered” with (or “preempted") Federal authority to make and enforce immigration law, Governor Brewer brilliantly countered by challenging the government to sue all sanctuary cities.

The administration’s response was stunning: the Federal Government sees no need to sue sanctuary cities for refusing to cooperate with federal authorities, while it considers SB1070 to be unconstitutional because it “actively interferes” with enforcement.

Tracy Schmaler, the spokeswoman for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., said: "There is a big difference between a state or locality saying they are not going to use their resources to enforce a federal law, as so-called sanctuary cities have done, and a state passing its own immigration policy that actively interferes with federal law."

The statement is absurd. As previously discussed, sanctuary cities did not “passively” ignore the federal laws; they actively order their law enforcement to disregard it. In many cities, the District Attorneys actively lowered charges to lesser ones that would not require deportation—but did so only for illegal immigrants, and not for US citizens facing identical charges. How can it possibly be constitutional for cities to enact policies that give greater rights and protections to non-citizens than it gives to citizens?

Far from being “passive”, the sanctuary city laws directly undermined the intent of the Federal Immigration law, as was pointed out by the author of the 1996 law, Rep. Lamar Smith.
"For the Justice Department to suggest that they won't take action against those who passively violate the law --who fail to comply with the law -- is absurd... Will they ignore individuals who fail to pay taxes? Will they ignore banking laws that require disclosure of transactions over $10,000?"
Take Rep. Smith’s analogy further: suppose Jackson Mississippi decided that it would passively ignore federal discrimination and desegregation laws. Would the Federal Government allow that to happen?

In California, there is a proposition up for a vote that would make the possession and sale of marijuana legal, in direct conflict with Federal laws. Will the Federal Government ignore this?

The attentive observer, carefully examining the details of the Obama administration’s policies, cannot help but notice the self-evident contradictions. A state law passed to mirror federal law and help in enforcement is criticized for “interfering” with enforcement, while policies enacted to ignore federal law and undermine the intent of the law is overlooked. A national security crisis on our border that calls for federal assistance is mocked, ignored, and then given short shrift, while a political crisis in the Gulf is given the troops needed at the border, even though the Gulf state authorities said they didn’t need the troops, and there was no clear sense of mission for them.

President Obama, once believed to possess astonishing clarity, instead suffers from an ideological astigmatism that prevents him from focusing on the country’s real needs, or the requirements of his office. Protecting the nation, securing its integrity, is the President’s primary responsibility, and not an annoying chore that the president can simply choose to ignore for political expediency.