Time for a Border Fence—For Canada?

It turns out that the Manitoba Herald newspaper does not exist (at least not since 1877), nor is there a real journalist named “Clive Runnels,” and this story is four years old, but aside from that, I thought this was worth passing along while we await Emperor Obama’s immigration decree tomorrow:

Canadians: “Build a Damn Fence!”

From The Manitoba Herald , Canada ; “Reported” by Clive Runnels

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration.  The recent actions of the Tea Party, and the fact Republicans won the Senate, are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they’ll soon be required to hunt, pray, and agree with Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it’s not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animalrights activists, and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

“I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn,” said Southern Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted, and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken.  When I said I didn’t have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?”

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. “Not real effective,” he said. “The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn’t give any milk.”

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, and drive them across the border, where they are simply left to fend for themselves.  “A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions,” an Ontario border patrolman said. “I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water.  They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though.”   When liberals are caught, they’re sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border.  Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching half-a-dozen young vegans in powdered wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed seniorcitizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the ’50s. “If they can’t identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age,” an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organicbroccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies. “I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can’t support them,” an Ottawa resident said. “How many arthistory majors does one country need?”

In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada, Vice President Biden met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals. A source close to President Obama said, “We’re going to have some Paul McCartney and Peter, Paul & Mary concerts. And we might even put some endangered species on postage stamps. The President is determined to reach out,” he said.

Lindsey Graham, you are the weakest link

Lindsey Graham, in an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s show, advocated a return to the requirement that all presidential nominations receive 60 votes in order to be confirmed. Graham told Hugh:

If you keep it at 51, all they [Democrats] have to do is pick up three, four Republicans and I’m worried that you’re no stronger than your weakest link. Having to get to 60 is a much more collaborative process.

The point is well-taken. It’s doubtful that, with a 54-member caucus, Republicans can avoid the few defections that will enable the confirmation of President Obama’s left-wing nominees.

Graham should know. If his track record is any guide, he is one of the Republicans most likely to break ranks with Republicans and vote to confirm left-wing nominees.

For example, Graham voted to confirm both Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. He did so with his usual preening. Here is the Atlantic’s description of Graham “dramatically cast[ing] his vote for Kagan”:

No one spent more time trying to beat President Obama than I did, except Sen. McCain.

I missed my own election — I voted absentee. But I understood we lost. President Obama won. I’ve got a lot of opportunity to disagree, but the Constitution, in my view, puts an obligation on me not to replace my judgment for his, not to think of the hundred reasons I would pick someone different. … I view my duty as to protect the Judiciary and to ensure that hard-fought elections have meaning in our system.

This was also Graham’s mantra when he voted to confirm Sotomayor, the “wise Latina.” Graham takes pride in voting for left-wing nominees, proclaiming it his “duty” as the cameras roll.

It’s possible, given Graham’s 2016 presidential aspirations, that he will be more inclined to vote against Obama’s nominees during the coming two years. Still, it’s rich to hear “the Arlen Specter of the South” express concern about “weak links” in the Republican caucus.

With the possible exception of Lisa Murkowski, a principled, non-grandstanding believer granting deference to presidential nominees, Lindsey Graham has been the weakest link ever since Arlen Specter left the caucus.

Day of infamy, part 2

Megyn Kelly played a particularly effective video compiling statements of President Obama against the exercise of executive authority regularizing millions of illegals — precisely what he is about to do. The video is posted at here at Fox News Insider, which introduces it as follows:

For years, he has called such action illegal; in fact, “The Kelly File” found 25 instances in which Obama said so on camera.

“Today we know he’s about to do the very thing he said would flout the law, the very thing he said would be ‘very difficult to defend legally.’ And his defenders say, ‘Well he misunderstood the law.’ For six years?” Megyn Kelly questioned.

Here is the video.

Day of infamy

FDR famously characterized December 7, 1941, as a date that would live in infamy because of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor that day. By the same token, Barack Obama’s willful attack on the Constitution marks today as a date that will live in infamy because of the president’s willful violation of the limits on his power. (“Infamy” is the word that Peter Wehner attaches to Obama’s forthcoming action.)

A certain novelty adds to the disgrace of the president’s assault on the Constitution. Obama has himself repeatedly made the constitutional case against what he is about to do. Among the videos compiling excerpts of Obama’s statements making the case against what he is about to do is the one below put together by National Review.

Has a president ever willfully violated the limits on his authority placed on him by the Constitution? Has a president ever done so for narrow partisan purposes? I believe that the willful excess and low motives that attend Obama’s action make it unprecedented in our history. Obama has delivered us to some kind of a nadir.

Ted Cruz votes to hamper U.S. anti-terrorism intelligence gathering

The Senate has failed to pass the “USA Freedom Act,” which would have hobbled our government’s efforts to conduct electronic surveillance of terrorists. Good. As Mitch McConnell argued, with ISIS and other blood thirsty terrorist groups on the rise, this is “the worst possible time to be tying our hands behind our back.”

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden have described the “USA Freedom Act” as “reform only ISIS could love.” But they are wrong. Ted Cruz loves it too, or at least liked it enough to vote against the filibuster that blocked it. In effect, Cruz voted for the legislation.

Mukasey and Hayden explain why a vote for the “USA Freedom Act” is a vote to hamstring our intelligence services in their efforts to keep America secure:

For starters, the bill ends the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of what is called telephone metadata. This includes the date, time, duration and telephone numbers for all calls, but not their content or the identity of the caller or called, and is information already held by telephone companies.

The bill would substitute a cumbersome and untried process that would require the NSA, when it seeks to check on which telephone numbers have called or been called by a number reasonably associated with terrorist activity, to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court, and then scurry to each of the nation’s telephone-service providers to comb through the information that remains in their hands rather than in the NSA’s.

Nothing in the bill requires the telephone companies to preserve the metadata for any prescribed period. Current Federal Communications Commission regulations impose an 18-month retention requirement, but administrative regulations are subject to change. It isn’t hard to envision companies that wish to offer subscribers the attraction of rapid destruction of these records, or a complaisant bureaucracy that lets them do it.

Perversely, the Act would make it more difficult for law enforcement officials to obtain metadata on terrorist communications than on the communications of garden-variety criminals:

The bill’s imposition of the warrant requirement on the NSA would be more burdensome than what any assistant U.S. attorney must do to get metadata in a routine criminal case, which is simply to aver that the information is needed in connection with a criminal investigation—period.

The case for the Act rests on the paranoid style politics we’ve come to associate with Rand Paul:

Proponents say this change is necessary to allay fears that the NSA could use telephone metadata to construct an electronic portrait of an American citizen’s communications, and determine whether that person has, say, consulted a psychiatrist, or called someone else’s spouse.

However, only 22 people at the NSA are permitted access to metadata, and only upon a showing of relevance to a national-security investigation, and they are barred from any data-mining whatsoever even in connection with such an investigation. They are overseen by a Madisonian trifecta of the FISA court, the executive and committees of Congress.

The Act’s solicitiousness of terrorist privacy rights extends to overseas communications:

Under the bill, if the FISA court directs any change, however technical, in the gathering of information from foreigners abroad, no information gathered before the change is implemented could be used before any official body in this country—agency, grand jury, court, whatever.

Then, there is the insertion of a permanent, court-appointed advocate to oppose government applications before the FISA court. As Mukasey and Hayden point out, “even when the government applies for wiretaps or search warrants in ordinary criminal cases there is no advocate opposing the application.” Why does Ted Cruz want to treat terrorists more favorably than ordinary criminals?

Judge John Bates, a former presiding judge of the FISA court and no rubber-stamp for the government, has objected to the use of such an advocate in national security cases. He notes that this advocate cannot conceivably be aware of all the facts, and would simply add to the burdens of the court. The result could well be a sacrifice of both national security and privacy.

Hmmn. An advocate who doesn’t know all the facts gumming up the works. Sounds like the perfect job for Rand Paul.

The FISA court was never intended to be an adversary tribunal; it is simply an extra safeguard against abuse. By converting FISA into an adversary tribunal, the Act would, in the words of Mukasey and Hayden, create a three-headed constitutional monster:

It is a violation of both the separation of powers principle and the Constitution’s appointments clause by having judges rather than the president appoint the public advocate, and then it has the advocate litigate against the Justice Department when both executive offices are supposed to be controlled by the president.

Not surprisingly, Eric Holder supports the “USA Freedom Act.” Not surprisingly, Rand Paul opposed it for not going far enough. He wanted to repeal the Patriot Act too. But what about Ted Cruz?

He has embraced Rand Paul style paranoia before. However, I had hoped that the rise of ISIS would produce a sobering effect on Cruz. Apparently not.

There was, though, one prominent 2016 presidential prospect who voted against the “USA Freedom Act” and for the right reasons — Marco Rubio. I struggle with a Rubio candidacy because of his alliance with Chuck Schumer on behalf of amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Given his vote in favor of hobbling our fight against ISIS, I will struggle at least as much with a Cruz candidacy.

If You Like Your Utility Rates, You Can Keep Your Utility Rates

When the EPA announced in June its proposed climate change regulations that it admitted would do nothing about climate change, it also claimed that its aggressive restructuring of the American electric power sector would see cost reductions for consumers. You almost expected EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to say, “If you like your utility rates, you can keep your utility rates.”

No one over the age of six, or not a member of an environmental organization, believes this of course. According to one recent round up of independent third-party assessments of what is likely to happen, utility rates for states that currently generate a lot of coal-fired power are going to go up by 25 percent or more:

U.S. electricity markets face years of higher prices as clean-air regulations shut more coal-fired power plants than earlier forecast, cutting supply and forcing producers to rely more on natural gas.

Standard & Poor’s estimates that 40 to 75 gigawatts (75,000 megawatts) of coal units may be shut by 2020, compared with announced permanent shutdowns of 27 gigawatts. About 18 percent of the closures expected through the end of next year will be replaced by natural gas and renewables, BNP Paribas SA forecast.

The loss of the cheaper coal units will boost power prices by as much as 25 percent on grids that serve about a third of the nation’s population, according to the Brattle Group, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based consulting company. The biggest impact may be in the Midwest and Northeast, where demand for gas for heating jumps during the cold-weather months.

“We are really in for a wild ride for five to six years because of the amount of coal shutting down in such a short amount of time and the transformation toward more gas being used to generate electricity,” Philip Moeller, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, said in an Oct. 23 interview. “Prices will definitely rise. The question is how much.”

It is not unusual to see warnings of high regulatory costs in an industry journal like International Coal Journal or Coal People, but in fact this story appears in Renewable Energy World, a journal that you’d think would be all for the new EPA regs that force the marketplace to tilt in their direction.

And renewable energy certainly needs the heavy foot of government on its side to “compete” in the marketplace. The Associated Press reports this week that the Brightsource Ivanpah solar farm that we’ve reported on before (most recently by Scott, noting that they now want a federal grant to repay their federal loan guarantee) isn’t producing the promised amount of electricity because . . . the sun isn’t shining as much as expected. Seriously?

Who’s Obstructionist?

We hear a lot about Republican obstructionism, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing–the Obama administration wants to do lots of things that ought to be obstructed. Still, it is odd how seldom we hear about Democrats being obstructionist. That is starting to change, perhaps, following the mid-term elections.

But think about the last six years: the Republicans wanted to obstruct Obamacare and the “stimulus” boondoggle, but they didn’t have the votes. The world would be a much better place, we now know, if they had succeeded. More recently they have been able to stymie smaller liberal proposals.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have obstructed some important conservative initiatives that would have yielded major, positive results. The Keystone Pipeline is one obvious example. Overwhelmingly favored by the American people, it has passed the House easily on several occasions, and last night it got 59 votes in the Senate–obstructed by the narrowest of Democratic Party margins. Keystone is a no-brainer jobs program. The Perryman Group study, done in 2010, concluded that Keystone would create from a quarter-million to a half-million new jobs:

Under “normal” oil price assumptions equivalent to the average for all of 2007, The Perryman Group found the gains in US business activity stemming from a permanent increase in stable oil supplies to include $100.144 billion in total spending, $29.048 billion in output, and 250,348 permanent jobs.

In the high-price case in which costs per barrel reach the peak levels observed in the summer of 2008, The Perryman Group measured the annual impact of an increase in stable oil supplies associated with the Keystone XL Pipeline Project to include $221.305 billion in spending, $64.193 billion in output, and 553,235 jobs.

But the Democrats obstructed that wealth creation, based on a global warming theory that they couldn’t articulate coherently–if Keystone isn’t built, the Alberta oil will be consumed in China, under less environmentally favorable conditions. Only an extremist could think that makes any kind of sense. Michael Ramirez comments:

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While the Democrats’ Keystone obstruction is well known, it is far from the worst example of their standing in the way of progress. The United States has a unique corporate tax regime: we not only tax income that companies earn in the U.S., just as all countries tax income earned within their borders. We also tax U.S.-domiciled companies on all income they earn in other countries, even though that income has already been taxed once. No one else is arrogant enough to do this. Not only that, we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world.

What that means is that American companies who earn money overseas, as all substantial companies do, can’t bring that money back to the United States and use it to develop facilities and hire employees here. If they bring the money back–the technical term is “repatriation”–it will be double-taxed, at America’s exorbitant rate. I would think that any corporate management dumb enough to bring money back to the U.S. under those circumstances would open itself up to shareholders’ lawsuits.

So around $2 trillion earned by American companies overseas is stuck there, contributing to the economies of South Korea, Ireland, Germany, Argentina, South Africa, Poland, India, China–you name it, but not the United States. Because of the unique arrogance and stupidity of American tax laws.

Everyone knows this is dumb–even Harry Reid probably understands it–and Republicans have been trying for years to change these repatriation rules in the tax code. But Democrats have obstructed any progress. That has been great for job creation around the world, everywhere except here. Why have Democrats gone out of their way to block job creation in the United States and ship jobs overseas? I can’t tell you. You will have to ask them. As best I can tell, they are lowering your income in order to appease the nuttiest and least-informed elements of their base.

In these and many other ways, Washington Democrats have done all they can to obstruct the progress of the American economy. This is the main reason why the current recovery, now five years old, is by far the weakest recovery of the post-war era. If we can end the Democrats’ obstruction, starting when the new Congress convenes in January, America’s economy could have a bright future.