Editorial: Nevada senators say asylum seekers should be allowed in

And you thought the people you elected to represent you in Washington would, you know, represent you, the Nevada taxpayer.

Instead, Nevada’s senior Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto has chosen to represent foreigners. She and 22 other Democratic senators, as well as independent Bernie Sanders, have signed a letter addressed to the heads of the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security demanding that the Trump administration rescind a policy that forces largely Central American asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting an immigration hearing. 

In January the Trump administration began enforcing what it calls Migrant Protection Protocols, but others have dubbed it the Remain in Mexico policy. The practice started in San Diego but in July was expanded to the Texas border. 

Prior to this, illegal immigrants who claimed to be fleeing persecution in their home countries were freed into the U.S. and given dates to appear for a hearing of their claim, often months or even years away.

In June, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told a congressional hearing that a recently conducted study of 7,000 family units revealed that 90 percent failed to appear for their scheduled hearings and simply vanished inside the country, according to Fox News. 

“It depends on demographic, the court, but we see too many cases where people are not showing up,” McAleenan said. “Out of those 7,000 cases, 90 received final orders of removal in absentia, 90 percent.” 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Fox reported, encountered 144,000 migrants at the border in May alone. McAleenan testified that 60,000 children had been entered into Homeland Security custody in just the previous 40 days.

The senators’ letter, dated Aug. 27, claims that at one point more than 30,000 asylum seekers were waiting in Mexico for adjudication of their asylum cases but that number may well have risen to 60,000 by now.

The senators make a humanitarian argument, without addressing the costs to U.S. taxpayers for education, incarceration and welfare benefits. 

“Under the Remain in Mexico policy, the United States has turned its back on its domestic and international legal obligations by forcing men, women, and children to await resolution of their U.S. asylum cases in parts of Mexico plagued by violence,” the senators’ letter states. “While in Mexico, these asylum seekers have limited access to lawyers and shelter, which makes it nearly impossible for them to prepare their cases and effectively denies them meaningful access to the U.S. asylum system.”

The letter recounts specific examples of kidnapping, extortion, trafficking, rape and murder of would-be migrants forced to remain in Mexico. “From January to May 2019, Doctors Without Borders treated 378 patients in Nuevo Laredo,” the letter says. “Of these, more than 45 percent had experienced at least one episode of violence and about 12 percent had been kidnapped while waiting to cross into the U.S.”

In addition to Cortez Masto, U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also signed the letter.

As you may notice, several of them have been or still are Democratic presidential candidates.

There is a process in law for legal immigration. Simply opening the borders to all comers is an affront to those who follow the law and a burden on U.S. taxpayers.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

For our grandchildren: Taxation without representation

The Senate has now passed the so-called budget deal previously approved by the House and President Trump is expected to sign it.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the measure avoids a government shutdown in the fall by suspending the debt ceiling until after the 2020 election and provides more than $2.7 trillion in discretionary spending over the next two years, which means the deficit will grow by $1 trillion a year for the foreseeable future.

Who will pay for today’s spending tomorrow? Our grandchildren, who have no say in the matter. That’s what was called taxation without representation at the time of the Revolution.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said the deal marks the death of the Tea Party movement, according to Fox News.

“Both parties have deserted – have absolutely and utterly deserted – America and show no care and no understanding and no sympathy for the burden of debt they are leaving the taxpayers, the young, the next generation and the future of our country,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “The very underpinnings of our country are being eroded and threatened by this debt.”

Apparently, Republican Rep. Mark Amodei was the only Nevada delegate to vote against this atrocity.

In 2016 Trump promised to wipe out the national debt in eight years.

At least a drunken sailor will sober up eventually.

Who likes the Iranian nuke deal? Anyone?

Former Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly has been meeting with an Iranian official in an effort to save the nuclear deal he helped put together.

President Trump has a May 12 deadline for renewing the deal or bailing out of it.

Kerry’s efforts come on the heels of Israel revealing it has a half ton of documents showing that Iran continues to work toward developing a nuclear arsenal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is not accusing Iran of violating the deal, but is pointing out the deal is so weak Iran doesn’t need to break it, while it continues its nuke development. “I say that a deal that enables Iran to keep and hide all its nuclear weapons know-how, is a horrible deal,” he said.

The deal was supposed to be that Iran would curb its bid for nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting sanctions that were hurting the nation’s economy.

Surprise! Surprise! Today The Wall Street Journal is reporting there is labor strife all over Iran due to lousy economic conditions. Teachers, steelworkers, hospital staff and others have walked off the job.

The paper says the workers are angry at their employers and the government, because the nuclear deal has failed to deliver. There is high inflation and unemployment and the country’s currency is dropping in value.

“Where in the world is a worker whose wage is four times below the poverty line forced by the police to work?” WSJ quotes an Iranian activist as saying. “This is a crime. This is slavery.”

Remember those pallets of cash delivered by the Obama administration? Apparently a lot of that was spent on supporting fighting in Syria and supporting Hezbollah.

Kerry appears to be fighting for a deal nobody likes, even the Iranians.

Imagine what will happen if Trump backs out of the deal.

An Iranian protester in December. (Getty Images)

Why satire is dead

How do you defame a Las Vegas stripper and adult film actress?

defamation: the act of communicating false statements about a person that injure the reputation of that person

Usually one defames someone by falsely alleging they engaged in disreputable behavior, but Fox News is reporting that Stormy Daniels has filed a lawsuit against President Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen because he accused her of lying about having an affair with Trump.

“It was reasonably understood Mr. Cohen meant to convey that Ms. Clifford is a liar,” Fox quoted the complaint as saying. “Mr. Cohen made the statement knowing it was false or had serious doubts about the truth of the statements.”

Fox also quotes from a statement reportedly signed by Daniels in January:

“I recently became aware that certain news outlets are alleging that I had a sexual and/or romantic affair with Donald Trump many, many, many years ago. I am stating with complete clarity that this is absolutely false. My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more. When I met Donald Trump, he was gracious, professional and a complete gentleman to me and EVERYONE in my presence.”

Satire is dead when the truth is more outrageous.

What reputation is there to damage?

Stormy Daniels (AP pix)

Heck joins call for Trump to exit race for president

Donald Trump Friday. (AP photo via WSJ)

Donald Trump Friday. (AP photo via WSJ)

Friday afternoon, Republican Senate candidate Joe Heck’s campaign sent out an email strongly condemning the misogynistic language used by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that was caught on tape 11 years ago. (Here is a link to the tape, but the language is too foul to post.)

Today, Heck joined others in the party calling for Trump to step aside as a candidate and said he will no longer support him or vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down and allow Republicans the opportunity to elect someone who will provide us with the strong leadership so desperately needed and one that Americans deserve,” his campaign email quoted him as saying.

But Trump, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, said he will not quit.

WSJ reports former GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina has called on Trump to quit the campaign, as have Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho and Mike Lee of Utah. Others are withdrawing endorsements.

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota today tweeted that Trump “should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.”

Fox reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have chastised Trump for his lewd comments.

Even Pence slapped Trump. “As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year-old video released yesterday,” he said in a statement. “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.”

The 70-year-old Trump apologized, but could not unring the bell.

After Heck criticized Trump’s taped language, his Democratic opponent, Catherine Cortez Masto, former state attorney general, was quoted by the AP as saying condemnations ring hollow if Heck is still voting for Trump.

The AP quoted Danny Tarkanian, who is running for Congress against Democrat Jacky Rosen, as saying, “As the father of three girls, I find these comments disgusting. No man should ever talk about women like that.”

Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy, seeking re-election to Congress, said “no woman should ever be treated or described this way. There is no place for this kind of rhetoric in our society.”

Here is the full comment from Heck today:

“I’ve spent much of my life serving in the military where I stood beside some of the bravest men and women this country has to offer — willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedoms upon which this country was founded. They live by a code of honor, of decency and of respect. 

“As a husband and a father, I strive to bring that same code of honor into my personal life.

“I believe any candidate for President of the United States should campaign with common ethical and moral values and decency. I accept that none of us are perfect. However, I can no longer look past this pattern of behavior and inappropriate comments from Donald Trump. Therefore, I cannot, in good conscience, continue to support him nor can I vote for Hillary Clinton.

“My wife, my daughters, my mother, my sister and all women deserve better. The American people deserve better.

“Our campaign will move forward, and continue to be based on the core principles of the Republican Party, the need for conservative leadership and the requirement that all people be treated with respect and dignity.

“My hope is that this will not divide us and that we can unite behind Republican principles. We deserve a candidate who can ask him or herself at the end of the day, ‘Did I live my life with honor and do I deserve to be elected president of the United States.’

“I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down and allow Republicans the opportunity to elect someone who will provide us with the strong leadership so desperately needed and one that Americans deserve.

“Today, I stand here disappointed in our choices for president but more committed than ever to bringing that same code of honor, decency and respect to the United States Senate.”

The Republican Party never should have nominated this reprobate in the first place. His track record was well known. He is not now nor has he ever been a Republican.

 

Obama has created amnesty with a stroke of his pen

Border apprehension (Photo by Caroline May via Brietbart)

“They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.” — John Adams

According to laws passed by Congress, those who enter this country without proper authorization have broken the law and are to be deported. Congress has in the past granted amnesty to such people, during the Reagan administration, for example. Congress has debated for years doing so again, but has passed no such law.

But the only people being deported as illegal immigrants in this second Obama administration are criminals, and not many of them. Fox News reports that of the 69,478 deported from the interior — not turned back at the border, which counts as deportation in this administration — 91 percent were previously convicted of a crime. Thus the chance of being deported for merely being in the country illegally is half a percent.

“You have the resources to do it, those resources should be dedicated to not just removing criminal aliens but anyone else,” Claude Arnold, a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent for 27 years. “The fact is, someone doesn’t want those laws enforced and it’s plain to see.”

In fact, even criminal illegals are being turned loose. As many as 19,723 were released as of April 2015, about the same as the previous year. Approximately 32 percent of federal prisoners are illegal aliens.

A Border Patrol agent recently testified before Congress that they are not stopping people from crossing the border illegally but are engaged in catch and release.

“We’re releasing basically everybody as long as you’re not from the country of Mexico. And even if you’re from the country of Mexico and you claim that you have a credible fear and you’re asking for asylum for one reason or another — we’re still releasing those individuals,” Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, testified.

He added, “If I were to guess, I would say that at least 80 percent of the individuals that the United States Border Patrol arrests at the border qualify for this catch and release program and in essence we are just letting them come into the United States.”

Fully 85 percent of those given notices to appear for a hearing never show, and the 15 percent who do are released for further hearings in the future or are given asylum.

Texas Federal Judge Andrew Hanen, who is presiding over a case brought by 26 states over Obama’s de facto amnesty executive orders, recently ordered attorneys for the Justice Department to undergo ethics training after they lied to him.

Hanen wrote:

“The United States Department of Justice (“DOJ” or “Justice Department”) has now admitted making statements that clearly did not match the facts. It has admitted that the lawyers who made these statements had knowledge of the truth when they made these misstatements. The DOJ’s only explanation has been that its lawyers either ‘lost focus’ or that the ‘fact[s] receded in memory or awareness.’ … These misrepresentations were made on multiple occasions starting with the very first hearing this Court held. This Court would be remiss if it left such unseemly and unprofessional conduct unaddressed.”

A government of laws?

 

VA secretary explains just how Mickey Mouse his agency has become

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?” Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald said during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Monday. “And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”

That is simply crass, crude, clueless and obtuse.

Waiting to board an amusement park ride is a bit different from waiting for pain-relieving or even life-saving medical care. You can’t ask the deceased what their level of satisfaction was.

Nevada’s junior Sen. Dean Heller unloaded in a letter to McDonald:

I write to you extremely concerned about the comments you made on May 23, 2016, comparing the length of time veterans wait to receive health care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to the length of time people wait for rides at Disneyland. Not only am I concerned about the flippant nature of your comparison but also the fact that you said that your agency should not use wait times as a measure of success because Disney does not either.  As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I believe it is my responsibility to follow up with you on the gravity of this issue as it critical to ensure that Veterans across my state are receiving the care they were promised in an expedient manner.

When men and women across our nation committed to serving America and risking their lives to protect us, our country promised that, in return, we would care for these service members upon their return home. This is not a Disney fairytale Mr. Secretary, this is reality. Recent statistics from Nevada show nearly 10,000 VA appointments remain scheduled over 30 days from the requested date. Given the issues that Nevada’s Veterans continue to face accessing VA health care, I do not believe that promise has been kept. Just a few weeks ago, I heard from a Nevada veteran’s wife about the difficulty she faced scheduling a cardiology appointment for her husband. When there are life-threatening issues that can make or break a veterans’ health, waiting is not an option, and Nevada’s veterans deserve better.

Time and time again, I have called for accountability at your agency, and I strongly believe that it should start with the top.  This is why your comments were not only disrespectful but harmful to ensuring that there will be any real change at the VA when it comes to the timeliness of health care appointment wait times.

A year ago The Associated Press reported that the number of veterans waiting more than 30 or 60 days for non-emergency care has largely stayed flat, while the number of medical appointments that take longer than 90 days to complete had nearly doubled.

Nate Beeler

This was nearly a year after Congress doled out $16 billion to solve the problem of lengthy waiting lists. VA officials had been manipulating the waiting lists to make them look like vets were waiting less time to see a doctor than was actually happening.

In March of this year the Government Accountability Office reported that it studied 180 veterans newly enrolled in the VA health system. Sixty of that 180 had not yet seen a health provider and “nearly half were unable to access primary care because VA medical center staff did not schedule appointments for these veterans in accordance with VHA policy. The 120 newly enrolled veterans in GAO’s review who were seen by providers waited from 22 days to 71 days from their requests that VA contact them to schedule appointments to when they were seen, according to GAO’s analysis.”

The analysis found that the system lacks a comprehensive scheduling policy and there were ongoing scheduling errors. A VA report in September found nearly 900,000 listed as “pending” for health care, but Social Security records listed 300,000 of those as deceased.

What did McDonald do with that $16 billion? Go to Disneyland?

Heller asked the VA secretary to answer these questions by May 30:

— Does the VA remain committed to providing appointments to veterans within 30 days of the request?

— What are the current VA appointment wait times for veterans in Nevada and nationwide?

— For each fiscal year since implementation of the Choice Act, how many VA health care beneficiaries are obtaining appointments through the Choice Program as a result of an appointment wait time of 30 days or more?

— How do you explain to veterans that you believe their wait time for care is just as important as a wait time at an amusement park?

— When did your view on appointment wait times change to the point that you believe wait time should not even be a measure for the VA?

— Do you believe that the VA cannot achieve both timely and quality care simultaneously.

— Do you believe you are still fit to serve and advocate on behalf of veterans as the VA Secretary if you aren’t prioritizing the timeliness of their health care — the very reason you became Secretary in the midst of the 2014 VA health care scandal?

It matters not whether McDonald still thinks he is fit to serve. Does Congress? Better yet, what do veterans think?

McDonald put out a press release today that basically blames others for misunderstanding his commitment to improving the VA and offered no apology for his cluelessness and highly inappropriate remark. “If my comments Monday led any Veterans to believe that I, or the dedicated workforce I am privileged to lead, don’t take that noble mission seriously, I deeply regret that. Nothing could be further from the truth,” the statement reads.

For the record, Disney has spent more than $1 billion on something called the Disney MagicBand so customers don’t have to wait in long lines.

Nevada’s senior Sen. Harry Reid defended McDonald today.

“I support Secretary McDonald all the way. …” Reid was quoted as saying. “I’m an expert on poor choice of words. … I’m sure he would be the first to tell you, following my example, saying the wrong things is not the best way to go.”

Masters of malaprops still together.

Republican Congressman Joe Heck, who is running for Reid’s Senate seat also weighed in. He used the callow McDonald gaffe to call for passage of the stalled VA Accountability Act, which he said is intended to address the agency’s defensive culture and pattern of offering excuses instead of solutions.

“Secretary McDonald’s double down on his callous remarks invoking Disneyland is alarming because it suggests the defensive culture among management at the VA, which lead to the falsification of wait-time reports in the first place, persists under his leadership,” said Heck, a brigadier general in the Army Reserve medical corps and a veteran of the Iraq conflict.

“The remedy to the VA’s culture of excuses is a needed dose of accountability. Unfortunately, the federal civil service, which makes it extremely difficult to remove negligent or unethical employees, remains an obstacle to such reform,” Heck added, noting that the VA Accountability Act passed the House but is stalled in Reid’s Senate. “Every day that the VA’s accountability problem goes unaddressed, taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for the salaries of failed bureaucrats. Our veterans have given us all they have. Seeing that they get the care and benefits they need, earned and deserve is the very least we can do.”

Well, the VA is apparently doing the least it can do.

Surprisingly, former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who is running for Reid’s seat from the Democratic side, parted company with shrugging Reid and blasted oafish McDonald.

“Even for Washington, the tone deafness of these comments is stunning,” she said in a statement. “The VA needs to address the wait times at its facilities so our veterans get the care they need in a timely manner, not offer up false analogies and excuses. It’s long past time for the VA to get its act together.”