“Immigration Rights”–What Are They?

While Joe Biden was exhorting Detroiters to “take back America,” presumably from Barack Obama and himself, the president also expounded on the meaning of Labor Day. His themes were tiresomely familiar–we are the good guys, Republicans are the bad guys–but one interesting feature was his reference to “immigration rights.” This passage laid the groundwork:

When unions and CEOs, when law enforcement and the evangelical community, when folks who usually don’t agree on anything agree that we should be fixing our broken immigration system, but the Republicans in the House of Representatives have been sitting on a bill for more than a year, it ain’t [sic] right.

Actually, our immigration system is “broken” only in that the Obama administration refuses to enforce the laws. If the administration similarly refused to enforce federal laws against forgery, you could equally say that our currency system is “broken.” And the legislation that the Republican House refuses to pass is opposed by a large majority of Americans, notwithstanding its support from CEOs and union bosses.

Obama went on to liken “immigration rights” to other rights in the liberal pantheon:

Cynicism is a bad choice. Hope is the better choice. Hope is what gives us courage. Hope is what gave soldiers courage to storm a beach. Hope is what gives young people the strength to march for women’s rights, and worker’s rights, and civil rights, and voting rights, and gay rights, and immigration rights.

What are those “immigration rights?” Legally, of course, no one has a right to violate our immigration laws, whether the Obama administration enforces them or not. So what does the president have in mind here? It seems clear that Obama isn’t suggesting that immigrants are somehow being denied their actual rights under American law. Certainly he made no such explicit claim. Rather, his point appears to be that some people–not everyone in the world presumably, but some unspecified group of people–have a “right” to enter the United States, or stay here, even though it is illegal to do so under U.S. law, as long as Barack Obama opposes the law in question.

No coherent theory of law or justice supports such a proposition, but when has that ever stopped Barack Obama? “Immigration rights,” implying the right to violate others’ actual, legal rights, has now become liberal dogma. Who in the Democratic Party news media will point out the absurdity of the president’s position? No one, I suspect.

Joe Biden: Take Back America–From Me! [Updated]

Today, giving a Labor Day speech in Detroit, Joe Biden went full Democrat, unleashing a rant about the middle class. His theme was that America’s middle class is getting a raw deal, and at one point he yelled, “So folks, it’s time to take back America!”

I agree that the middle class is, in important respects, getting a bad deal. But then, I haven’t been the vice-president for the last five and a half years. It is extremely odd for a sitting vice-president (and a career politician who was a Senator for 36 years) to bemoan the condition of the country and call for the overthrow of the powers that be. From whom are we to take America back, if not from career politicians in Washington, in particular the administration that has made a mess of both domestic and foreign policy for nearly six years?

Then, too, consider that Biden delivered his stemwinder in Detroit. Middle class Detroit has suffered more than almost anyone. As has often been noted, as of 1960 Detroit had the highest median income of any American city; now, it is a ruin of abandoned homes and businesses. But from whom should Detroiters take back their city? They have been ruled exclusively by Democrats–quite a few of whom have been jailed–for decades.

So I have considerable sympathy with Biden’s call for those who are not on the government payroll; who are not cronies of the Obama administration; who aren’t getting special favors from Congress; who can’t find full-time jobs because of Obama’s slow-growth economy, compounded by Obamacare; and who don’t work for Goldman Sachs, to take back America. I just think it very odd to find the vice-president on my side of the barricades.

Beyond that, one good thing about Biden’s outburst shouldn’t go unnoticed: it is nice to see that “take back our country” is no longer racist.

UPDATE: Reader Sean Giordano put together this entertaining video. “Take our country back” may or may not be a “racist” sentiment…it just depends!

Which raises, once again, the question why anyone would mind being labeled a “racist” by the Left, since the word has lost all meaning, and is usually applied in situations that have nothing whatever to do with race.

Dems Say: Only “Hillbillies” Want a Strategy

Donna Brazile, Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, sometimes appears to be one of the more responsible leaders of the Democratic Party. But look what she retweeted this morning:

That’s dumb, obviously, an expression of the mindless hate that is pretty much all that is left of modern liberalism. But it also reflects, I think, the frustration that Democrats feel at having to defend the indefensible Obama administration.

Cheap Grace, Expensive Suits

There are certain TV preachers who shall go unnamed who peddle an updated version of the “prosperity gospel” in which faith leads to riches and happiness—just like that! To be fair, there’s a secular version of this coming from the academic pulpit as well, in the guise of “happiness research.” But in both cases, I wonder why the preachers need such expensive suits to promote what Bonhoeffer rightly called “cheap grace,” or maybe they’re just trying to prove that even an expensive suit can still be empty.

It’s as though the Book of Job went missing from their copy of the Old Testament. The great G.K. Chesterton wrote a short essay about the Book of Job that gets to the heart of the matter better than most of the long commentaries of learned Biblical scholars. Like this:

Here in this Book the question is really asked whether God invariably punishes vice with terrestrial punishment and rewards virtue with terrestrial prosperity. If the Jews had answered that question wrongly they might have lost all their after influence in history. They might have sunk even down to the level of modern well educated society. For when once people have begun to believe that prosperity is the reward of virtue their next calamity will be obvious. If prosperity is regarded as the reward of virtue it will be regarded as the symptom of virtue. Men will leave off the task of making good men successful. They will adopt the easier task of making out successful men good.

I may just have to start doing regular Chesterton installments here.

The situation “remains very fluid”

FOX News is touting the video below this morning as “jihadis gone wild.” They assert that it depicts Libyan jihadis disporting themselves at what is described as the CIA annex to our embassy in Tripoli. If this is the CIA annex, this must be the double secret pool outside it.

CNN reports on the video in “Libyan militia uses vacated U.S. embassy in Libya as swim club.” In the CNN report, the (vacated) US Ambassador to Libya sounds a little like Baghdad Bob. She conforms that the video depicts an annex to the embassy compound but assures us that all is well. An unnamed State Department official, however, concedes that the situation “remains very fluid” (I’m guessing no pun intended):

Ambassador Deborah Jones, who is not currently in Libya, tweeted that the images appear to show a residential annex in the U.S. Embassy compound. But Jones said “the U.S. Embassy Tripoli chancery & compound is now being safeguarded and has not been ransacked,” and “those who have actually visited the embassy know the truth.”

A spokesman for the General National Congress says the militias securing the U.S. Embassy compound are still there safeguarding it.

“The militias are under the command of the Libyan General Staff, and what happened was not an attack on the embassy grounds, nor was it an attempt to ransack its offices,” Omar Hmaidan said.

“What happened (the frolicking at the pool) was an isolated behavior by some of those who were in charge of protecting the compound. We don’t condone it and we don’t accept it,” he said.

A senior State Department official said the United States is “seeking additional details” about the incident.

“At this point, we believe the Embassy compound itself remains secure but we continue to monitor the situation on the ground, which remains very fluid,” the official said.

The video seems to carry a humiliating message to us in the United States, whose efforts were indispensable to the enjoyment of the jihadis. We are left with the nagging question whether the pool supplies were secured when we abandoned the embassy. As Drudge would say, developing…

UPDATE: David Kirpatrick covers the story here for the Times and also reports that the scene is “a residential compound.” Kirkpatrick goes along with minimizing the significance of the takeover, but he also weirdly reports that the scene results from a “nonviolent invasion” of the compound. He seems to be operating as much in the realm of public relations as journalism.

Democrats: Still Seeking the Bottom of the Low Road

Fred Barnes notes in The Weekly Standard that “Democrats Take the Low Road” in their desperation to keep their Senate majority. Ratifying that judgment is the New York Times, which includes a story today entitled “At Risk in Senate, Democrats Seek to Rally Blacks.” The subhed is even more revealing: “Move to Channel Anger.” (Note: this subhed doesn’t appear on the online version of the story; it’s just in the print edition, which I receive to boost the pulp and paper industry.)

This “news” story has virtually no facts that count as news or fresh information; it is one of those stories that makes the obvious seem profound to Times readers simply by appearing in the Times. Gee—parties try to turn out constituency groups that lean their way. Stop the presses: dog bites a mail carrier!

But ponder that subhed “Move to Channel Anger” a bit further: It reveals that the Democratic Party’s interest is for blacks to stay angry. Which means it is in the self-interest of the Democratic Party to make sure racial discord is a permanent condition. (This also explains the political calculations about Obama’s proposed move to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.) Still think Democrats seek solutions to poverty and urban decay? Maybe there’s a reason inequality and urban decay are worst where Democrats have been in charge the longest (Detroit).

Or try this headline as a thought experiment: “At Risk in House, Republicans Seek to Rally Whites.” If Republicans said openly their strategy was to mobilize white voters the Times would never stop screaming that Republicans are racist. Oh wait—that is what they say anyway. So why don’t they say the same thing about Democrats when they make direct racial appeals instead of an appeal to the public good? Hmm, maybe that tired charge about Republicans is a case of projection.

In any case, Fred Barnes better be ready with a follow-up piece, because that low road hasn’t reached the bottom of the abyss yet.

Obama invokes success of Bush-Cheney security policy as grounds for his complacency

As we have often observed, and did so again in the post just below this one, Team Obama specializes in excuses for inaction and complacency in the face of the threat posed by ISIS and other Islamic terrorists. But I never thought that, among its excuses, would be praise for the policies of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Yet, as Daniel Halper reports, President Obama used just that excuse at a fundraiser in Rhode Island last night. Obama told Democrat fat cats that despite what “seems like. . .just wave after wave of upheaval, most of it surrounding the Middle East,” presently there is little reason for alarm:

The good news is that we actually have a[n] unprecedented military capacity, and since 9/11 have built up a security apparatus that makes us in the here and now pretty safe. We have to be vigilant, but this doesn’t immediately threaten the homeland. What it does do, though, is it gives a sense, once again, for future generations, is the world going to be upended in ways that affect our kids and our grandkids.

Naturally, Obama didn’t identify the leaders who, after 9/11, built the security apparatus that “makes us in the here and now pretty safe.” Clearly though, as Halper says, the architects were “President George W. Bush, with the assistance of his faithful vice president, Dick Cheney,” sometimes over the objections of Barack Obama and many of his fellow liberal Democrats.

Putting aside Obama’s praise for the policies of Bush and Cheney, his statement in Rhode Island manifests a shocking degree of complacency. Is it really “good news” that we are “pretty safe”? Is “pretty safe” the standard that Obama is willing to settle for?

And is the upheaval in the Middle East a matter of concern only for “our kids and our grandkids”? ISIS is well on its way to establishing a state roughly the size of New England. Iran is well on its way to developing nuclear weapons.

The dangers to our homeland posed by these developments cannot be characterized as something that will affect only our kids and grandkids. 9/11 teaches us that much.

Obama has consistently and vastly underestimated the threat posed by ISIS, a group he dismissed last winter as “the jayvee.” It seems that even now, Obama has not learned this lesson.