Archive for June, 2007

All the proof I need is a quote in this Newsweek article. Here’s the specific quote:

“Jon Bruning is just an ambitious and aggressive young man and he’s taken a gamble on Senator Hagel not running for re-election,” said Hagel’s political director, Kevin Chapman. “If Senator Hagel does run for re-election, then Jon Bruning will likely step down for the good of the party.”

To set that quote up properly, let’s take a look at that section of the article:

How substantive a threat does Bruning pose? No reliable independent sounding has yet been taken. According to a poll recently commissioned by Bruning’s office, he finds himself 9 percentage points ahead of Hagel in a head-to-head contest. A study undertaken by Nebraska’s Democratic Party has Hagel’s “positive” rating at 51 percent compared to Bruning’s 61.

Hagel’s camp dismissed both sets of data as unreliable and almost certain to change. Bruning, they argued, is an opportunist positioning himself to capitalize should Hagel decide to make a White House run or, perhaps, retire. “Jon Bruning is just an ambitious and aggressive young man and he’s taken a gamble on Senator Hagel not running for re-election,” said Hagel’s political director, Kevin Chapman. “If Senator Hagel does run for re-election, then Jon Bruning will likely step down for the good of the party.” (Bruning’s campaign replies that he is in the race to win, regardless.)

The truth is that they know Hagel has betrayed conservatives by being the media’s ‘Sunday morning darling’. They know that he’s voted against the war funding supplementals and voted with Ted Kennedy on immigration. That isn’t a good thing to do if you’re running for re-election in a deeply red state. That’s why I find Bruning’s 9-point lead credible.

These races point out the difficult questions facing the Republican Party heading into the 2008 campaign. How do candidates address the legacy of the last eight years? How closely should they associate themselves with President Bush? And above all, how should the party position itself on Iraq–given Bush’s abysmal approval ratings, and the public’s serious dissatisfaction with his handling of the war?

The questions aren’t that difficult. If Republicans hope to keep their base intact, they’ll have to prove that they’re serious about national security. Unlike Democrats, we take national security seriously. As for addressing “the legacy of the last eight years”, they simply point out that Republicans took national security and the GWOT seriously. They didn’t try distancing themselves from the NSA intercept program. They didn’t shy away from making life and death decisions. As for “the party position itself on Iraq”, their position should be simple: We took out a genocidal tyrant who exported terror and oppressed a region. No apologies needed.

“In 1996 [when Hagel first ran for Senate] we loved him, we would have taken bullets for the guy,” said Bruning. “I don’t know what happened. Maybe the Senate changed him. But he’s forgotten where he came from.”

Simply put, Hagel had a sterling reputation in 1996. He tarnished that reputation forgetting his roots and talking down President Bush and siding with Ted Kennedy too often.

I’ll say this, too: That quote from Bruning shows he knows how to hit hard. It’s another indicator that he’s bigtime. He’s got a definite future in GOP politics.

That’s more than I can say about Hagel.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Now that Ted Kennedy’s immigration ‘reform’ bill has died a humiliating death, Democrats are trying to change the subject by announcing a new plan to unilaterally surrender in Iraq.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are expected tomorrow to announce a new coordinated effort to force votes in July to end the Iraq war, according to Democratic insiders.

Reid has already publicly declared that Senate Democrats will offer four Iraq-related amendments to the upcoming 2008 Defense authorization bill, including a proposal by Reid and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) to set a firm timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by next spring.

Pelosi is planning to announce that the House will also vote on a bill setting a new withdrawal timetable of April 1, 2008, although the details of the proposal were still up in the air at press time, according to Democratic sources. The House will consider this proposal as a freestanding bill, said the sources.

Pelosi is also planning to force a vote on a proposal by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, to repeal the 2002 use-of-force resolution for Iraq. This “deauthorization” proposal may be offered as an amendment to the 2008 Defense spending bill, which the House is scheduled to take up following the week-long July 4th recess.

One of the oldest tricks in the political playbook is to change subjects after you’ve been humiliated. The tactic has a couple of benefits. One benefit is that it plays to your political base to keep them energized. The other benefit is that it takes your humiliation off the front page. In this instance, though, Reid’s and Pelosi’s move is fraught with peril.

One peril is that they’re putting their presidential candidates in the unenviable position of having voted for defeat. Obama and Clinton pretty much have to cut off funds if they want any part of the defeatist nutroots votes in the primaries.

Another peril rising from this stunt is that they’re putting all those freshmen House members in a bad position. People don’t like the war but they hate politicians that vote for defeat.Many of these freshmen are in the south, where patriotism and hawkishness run rampant. If they vote for unilateral surrender, they’ll get their heads handed to them and Pelosi will be a single term Speaker.

Coming to think of it, there is another peril that they will have earned. They will have earned the moniker of being unserious about national security before they’ve let the surge work.

Let’s pose these questions:

What happens when the surge uproots AQI? What happens when Gen. Petraeus reports in September that major improvements have been accomplished? What happens if Iraqis make political progress? Won’t that make Democrats look more like cheap politicians than statesmen?

In the end, I’d be surprised if they pushed this to its limit because it’s just too risky politically. God knows that these Democrats aren’t that courageous.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this article, a British bomb squad defused a “potentially massive bomb”. Here’s what we know thus far:

A terror attack appeared to have been foiled in Haymarket, London on Friday morning when a suspected bomb was found and defused by sappers. Sky News sources said that the device, which was found in a silver Mercedes, was potentially “massive.”

Terrorist police were investigating after explosives officers were called to The Haymarket road, near Piccadilly Circus, shortly before 2 a.m., police said in a statement. “They discovered what appeared to be a potentially viable explosive device,” police said. “It was made safe.” Britain’s Press Association quoted an unidentified police official as saying: “The indications that we have got so far are that it was certainly a big device.”

The area around the vehicle was cordoned off as a precaution while explosives officers examined the vehicle. London transport officials said the Piccadilly Circus Underground train station was closed. An eyewitness told Sky News that he saw a car being driven “erratically” before crashing into some bins. Bouncers from the nearby ‘Tiger Tiger’ nightclub saw the driver of the vehicle running away.

Here’s what CNN’s article said:

CNN’s International Security Correspondent Paula Newton said the initial indications were that the suspected bomb was “a relatively crude device that was made with possibly petroleum or gas.”

She said it was potentially aimed at theatergoers or nearby nightclubs, echoing plots recently thwarted by anti-terror police in which Islamic militants intended to attack prominent dance venues and shopping malls.

Friday’s incident could prove to be the first major test for new Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the former finance minister who succeeded Tony Blair just two days earlier, appointing new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, in charge of domestic security.

Let’s hope Mr. Brown passes with flying colors.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The opening segment of Thursday night’s Glenn Beck show was great if you love great slam quotes. Here’s a sample from the opening segment:

DOBBS: Well, the Democratic leadership in the Senate distinguished itself for complete incompetence, ineptitude and deceit throughout the entire process.

I don’t often agree with Mr. Dobbs but I totally agree with that statement.

BECK: You’re more of an optimist on this than I am, then. Because I look at this, and I see…you know, look, eagles fly high, but weasels never get sucked into jet engines. Why were so many people…

DOBBS: I’ve got to think about that.

BECK: Think about that one. Why are so many weasels being…being willing to be sucked into a jet engine? They were willing to buck the system.

You can’t say that Glenn Beck isn’t entertaining to listen to. He’s right, though, in saying that the Washington weasels didn’t care about our voices until we melted down the Capitol Hill switchboard. I’m fairly certain they noticed then.

DOBBS: I truly believe that what we will remember this day for…you know, one of my favorite quotes of the day, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who as far as I`m concerned should be…I hope the voters of South Carolina come to their senses.

He said this: “Remember this day if you vote no.” I think every American ought to remember this day, because for the first time in a long time, Glenn, the American people actually heard their voices being heard…

Our voices were heard because we demanded that they be heard. We demanded that they be heard by voicing our opposition to this bill loudly, persistently and logically. We let them know that we disagreed with them. What’s better is that we could tell them what specific parts of the legislation we disagreed with. That exchange led to this great TV moment:

BECK: And they’re going to silence the voices of America.

DOBBS: Imagine this. Senator Trent Lott and Senator Dianne Feinstein, about as far apart in the American political spectrum as you can imagine, both come together on…get ready…comprehensive immigration reform, that devastating piece of nonsense they call legislation, and bringing back the Fairness Doctrine and doing something about you guys and gals and talk radio.

And let me say…let me just say this as clearly as it can be said. Without talk radio, over the last decade, tens of millions of Americans would never have had their voices heard by anyone in this political process. And if you permit it, it’s all on us.

It’s time for all of us to email our senators and representatives and tell them that we’ll scrutinize every vote they take that impacts national security, whether it’s immigration, Iraq or whatever. It’s time that they learned that we can do that because of the internet. It’s time that we told them that we demand that they get rid of these Frankenstein bills that avoid the usual committee process.

It’s obvious that oldtimers like Trent Lott and Ted Kennedy haven’t figured out that the internet gives activists research abilities that previously weren’t available. It’s also provided us with communication options that didn’t exist, either. While Lott whines about conservative talk radio, the truth is that alot of credit for the uprising properly belongs to the Right Blogosphere.

We first learned about the specifics of the ‘Grand Bargain’ because Hugh Hewitt read the bill on Memorial Day weekend, then proposed specific changes here. We learned about the pre-approved amendments because Ed Morrissey read through them and published them on his blog.

Harry Reid was taken to the woodshed because we learned that he was trying to pull a fast one with the ‘Clay Pigeon Maneuver’. When we learned what it was, it was obvious that they weren’t serious about improving the bill. It was obvious that they were only trying to find a way to cram the bill down our throats. That’s the biggest reason why Norm Coleman voted against cloture:

“Today I voted against moving the immigration bill forward. It became increasingly clear that there were still too many problems with this bill and not enough time to correct them. Throughout this debate, the American people did not trust that the Congress or the President had the resolve to secure the border. In the end, their suspicions rang true, as we were unable vote on amendments to strengthen the border and workplace enforcement mechanisms, as well as ending the practice of so called “sanctuary cities.”

From the beginning, this bill was hastily put together; it skipped the committee process, and was rushed to a conclusion on the floor. In the end, we must find a way to bring the more than 12 million illegal immigrants out of the shadows. However, we must do so in a way that determines who is living inside our country, secures our borders, and restores the rule of law to our immigration policies and enforcement. I remain hopeful that we can successfully address this issue sometime in the future, because we must.”

That’s one of the most coherent explanations for why the legislation failed that I’ve heard from a politician. Sen. Coleman is exactly right. Most importantly, he responded to the emails that Minnesota GOP activists sent him (myself included) by voting the right way. Now he’s on firm footing as he runs for re-election.

Standing in stark contrast to Sen. Coleman’s statement is Hillary’s statement, which shows she isn’t in step with the American people:

“I am deeply disappointed that we still have not solved our nation’s immigration crisis. We need comprehensive immigration reform, and I hope that we can find a solution that secures our borders, respects the rule of law, and honors both our history as a nation of immigrants and our basic values of respect and compassion.

“In particular, as part of this solution, we must protect the sanctity of families and repair the broken, unfair bureaucratic system that forces lawful immigrants to live apart from their spouses and children. I am hopeful that one day soon we will be able to create a fairer process for people and families who are playing by the rules and seeking to come to this country in search of the American Dream.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues on a solution that honors all of these principles.”

The nation rolls its collective eyes whenever they hear the phrase “comprehensive immigration reform” because they know that that’s Washington doublespeak for “We’re hoping that the voters won’t notice that we aren’t serious about fixing the immigration problem.”Thank God that enough politicians listened to our thundering voices. It’s about time they noticed.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

That’s how this article characterizes the immigration bill’s defeat:

The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush’s plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

After the stinging political setback, Bush sounded resigned to defeat. “Legal immigration is one of the top concerns of the American people, and Congress’ failure to act on it is a disappointment,” he said after an appearance in Newport, R.I. “A lot of us worked hard to see if we couldn’t find common ground. It didn’t work.”

Let’s see. Ted Kennedy wrote the legislation. Harry Reid tried ignoring the will of the people by using an extraordinary measure known as ‘clay pigeon’ maneuver to revive immigration bill.

A majority of Democrats voted for the bill (34 of 50) while a bigger majority of Republicans voted against cloture (37 of 49).

After taking all that into consideration, it’s still President Bush’s bill? The AP must figure we’re the most gullible idiots on planet earth.

Speaking of treating people like idiots, Mort Kondracke is getting on my nerves. Every time they talk about immigration, Mort launches into an anti-conservative talk radio diatribe. Tonight was no different. He said that conservative talk radio should be blamed for the immigration bill’s collapse. When Fred pointed out that 50 percent of the public was opposed to the first defeat of the bill and that 80 percent of the public were opposed to this bill, Mort simply said “Well, that’s because all they heard was negative” stories about the bill from the conservative talk radio hosts.

I’ll be sending Kondracke an email in a little bit telling him that his view that conservative talk radio hosts are the pied piper and that we’re mind-numbed robots is offensive. I’ll also include in that email the fact that the people who listen to conservative talk radio and read the top blogs of the Right Blogosphere are far more informed on legislation than the vast majority of Beltway media types.

It’s time that Washington got its head out of the sand and realized that we’re a force to be reckoned with. It’s time that they realized that we’re tired of their condescending ‘Washington knows best’ attitude. It’s time that they learned that we’re fed up with their doing what’s best for themselves instead of doing right by us.

Washington’s ways are beyond archaic. They’re living in a ‘Washington controls the message’ world ages after we’ve exploded that world. They’re living in a world that assumes that we can’t do our own research. We’re living in a world where we can research Bush’s sixteen words and read the studies that various governments did on the subject.

It’s time that we told them that we’re putting Al Gore’s internet to good use in holding politicians accountable.

UPDATE: Here’s the link to read Mort Kondracke’s unhinged comments about the immigration bill’s demise. Here’s the part that bothered me:

MORT KONDRACKE, ROLL CALL: Look, I think this was a horrible tragedy for the country and the Congress. This was a chance for this Congress to solve a big national problem on a bipartisan basis. And they almost got there, but they couldn’t. You know, and, basically–

HUME: Why couldn’t they?

KONDRACKE: Because the loudmouth, some of them nativists, some of them just…well, some of the Tom Tancredo gang does not want Hispanic Americans coming to–

FRED BARNES, WEEKLY STANDARD: The public hated the bill.

KONDRACKE: The public hated the bill because all they heard was criticism, and, basically, look, what finally happened in the end was that last year there were 26 Republicans who voted for a much more liberal bill than this one, 12 voted to keep the debate alive on this one. What happened was that the radio talk show hosts scared away…they created this drum roll out…yes, absolutely.

They created the drum roll in the Republican base, and they scared off senators like Lamar Alexander, and George Voinovich, and Gordon Smith, and Susan Collins, and moderate people like that. And they were terrified, so they voted against it.

I won’t pretend that I speak for the entire public but I can tell you that I’ve seen enough comments that the public hated the bill because they saw how many bad provisions were in this bill. Others hated the bill because they saw that the amendments weren’t going to get serious consideration. Still others hated the bill because we saw this as simply another Washington attempt to pass a bill, then claim it would fix the problem.

I also know that lots of people read the Heritage Foundation’s report that said this wouldn’t come close to fixing the problem at a cost of $2.5 trillion.

Thankfully Brit Hume nails it:

HUME: I would submit that one of the things that went wrong here is the more the people found out about the bill, not just they heard opinions expressed about it, the more they found about what was in the bill, the less he liked it.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Now that the McCain/Kennedy/La Raza Open Borders Act has been defeated (badly, I might add), it’s time to lobby President Bush. No, I don’t think that’s an easy job but I’m certain that it’s the next logical step. Here’s why:

1. Heroes like Jim DeMint, Jeff Sessions and John Cornyn pointed out that the tools to prevent the flow of illegal immigrants were included in last year’s bill. President Bush signed into law a bill that authorized and funded the building of the fence, “more vehicle barriers, checkpoints and advanced technology to bolster border security.”

2. Congress has given President the tools to take a bite out of illegal immigration but he’s been reluctant or unwilling to use those tools. Therefore, it’s vital for us to lobby him to have the Justice Department and DHS to take enforcement seriously.

The sham that they just tried to perpetrate was disgusting. One benefit of the debate, though, was that it’s unified the GOP like it hasn’t been united since 1994.

3. President Bush still wants to get other things accomplished before his term expires, things that will require the base to be on board with. It’s essential that we point that out to President Bush. If he wants us engaged and pulling with him, he needs to accelerate the building of the fence so we know that he’s serious about border security.

If we put the intensity into lobbying President Bush that we sustained while lobbying the Senate, we have a chance of taking a serious approach to border enforcement. In other words, it’s fine to give yourselves a pat on the back but it’s important that we roll up our sleeves to get the next step accomplished, too.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This YouTube video says it all:

It doesn’t sound like Ms. Pelosi is winning the ‘hearts and minds’ battle these days. Who could’ve imagined that?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this article, the Flying Imams’ attorney, Omar Mohammedi, lost a frivolous motion yesterday. I characterized it as frivolous because of this quote:

“You have provided no legal authority supporting your request to limit public access to this case,” Montgomery wrote.

In other words, Mohammedi’s motion was likely a way of manipulating the press. It obviously didn’t work. Powerline’s Scott Johnson nails it with this quote:

CAIR is a master of media manipulation, but I doubt that it has previously sought to enlist a federal judge in its media management efforts. This story represents an almost unbelievable combination of chutzpah and bad judgment.

I couldn’t disagree with what Scott said. What I can do, though, is say that CAIR has lots of practice being the whiniest fake ‘civil rights organization’ in US history. It’s also worth noting that Mr. Mohammedi is the executive director of CAIR-NY. In fact, that isn’t the only thing that isn’t mentioned in this AP article. Here’s some information about the imams from a FrontPageMag article I did with Joe Kaufman:

The President of NAIF (and one of the removed imams) is Omar Shahin. Before NAIF’s founding in 2004, Shahin was the imam and President of the Islamic Center of Tucson (ICT), a mosque that represented one of Al-Qaeda’s main hubs in America, prior to the ‘93 attack. One of Shahin’s predecessors at the mosque was Wael Hamza Julaidan, a former colleague of Osama bin Laden and bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam. Shahin, himself, has admitted to once supporting bin Laden.

Throughout his time with and after leaving ICT, Shahin was involved in terror financing organizations. He was the Arizona Coordinator for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a Hamas charity whose funds were frozen by the U.S. government soon after 9/11. Under his leadership, thousands of dollars were raised for HLF through ICT. As well, Shahin was a representative for KindHearts, another Hamas charity that was shut down by the U.S. (February 2006). In both cases, Shahin walked free.

Omar Shahin was the imam that was the most quoted, and most outraged, imam after being removed from US Airways Flight 300. You’d think that he’d take a low profile after he helped raise funds for two charities that the Treasury Department has shut down. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. Instead, he’s maintained a higher profile since then.

According to this Treasury Department statement, KindHearts raised money to fund Hamas:

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today blocked, pending investigation, accounts of KindHearts, an NGO operating out of Toledo, Ohio, to ensure the preservation of its assets pending further investigation.

“KindHearts is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving,” said Stuart Levey, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “By utilizing this specialized designation tool, we’re able to prevent asset flight in support of terrorist activities while we further investigate the activities of KindHearts.”

The mosque that Shahin served at was also the mosque where Hani Hanjour, one of the 9/11 hijackers, worshiped at. Another notable with terrorist ties to Shahin’s mosque was Abdullah Azzam, UBL’s mentor.

Another point Joe and I made was that Mohammedi isn’t a stranger to representing unsavories:

The lawyer for the imams is Omar Mohammedi, the President of CAIR-New York, who is currently representing the Al-Qaeda-linked World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), in a 9/11 lawsuit for the murders of 3000 people, in which CAIR is also named a defendant.

That’s before we even start talking about CAIR’s being an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal trial against HLF. Here’s a screen capture that Joe made of how CAIR linked to the HLF website just days after the 9/11 attacks:

Here’s the caption explaining that screen capture:

Frame 3 note: Mid right, “Donate to NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund” is direct hyperlink to website of Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF).

I’ve said several times that CAIR opened its first office, in Washington, DC, after HLF donated $5,000 to CAIR’s founders. Here’s the link to the most recent time I posted that information.

With this much negative publicity still fresh in our minds, isn’t it predictable that Mohammedi wants to limit media access to the trial?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy and La Raza fell well short of the 60 votes they needed to invoke cloture and proceed to a final vote on the bill. Simply put, the good guys won. Almost all of the wobblies that I referenced yesterday voted to extend debate. In other words, YOUR CALLS AND EMAILS turned the tide. Congratulations. This is the short across the bow that we needed to send. Give yourselves a hearty pat on the back. I’m proud of you!!!

UPDATE: My bad. I reported the vote as 53-46. I didn’t make clear that there were more votes cast against than for. I should’ve titled the post 46-53 like this article did:

The Senate drove a stake Thursday through President Bush’s plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants, likely postponing major action on immigration until after the 2008 elections.

The bill’s supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.

Senators in both parties said the issue is so volatile that Congress is highly unlikely to revisit it this fall or next year, when the presidential election will increasingly dominate American politics.

UPDATE II: Leo’s back to his normal self again. In other words, he’s doing his happy dance. Welcome back, Leo!!!

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Much was made about the $4.4 billion enforcement package to the latest version of the Open Borders Act. (I refuse to call it immigration reform because that implies that its objective is to secure the US-Mexico border.) At the time, I voiced my skepticism that this money would be used on enforcing the border. The increasingly indispensable Jim DeMint has issued a press release that shines the light of truth on this despicable piece of legislation. Here’s what it says:

According to the CRS report provided to Senator DeMint, the mandatory spending in the bill could immediately be used for Z visas. It says, “(r)eceiving, processing, and adjudicating applications for the Z visa authorized by Title VI of the Act is one of the trigger mechanisms outlined in Section 1; this means that funding from the Immigration Security Account could be used for this purpose.”

In addition, the report says the funds could be used for Y visas and other programs once the trigger mechanisms have been met but it does not require the Secretary of Homeland Security to certify the trigger. The report says, “S. 1639 does not explicitly stipulate whether the certification required by Section 1 would have to take place prior to funding being made available for the additional purposes outlined in Section 2(C).”

This memo should be circulated before the vote to every Republican senator and every Democrat up for re-election next fall. If Kennedy’s and NCLR’s disinformation hits the airwaves, the wobblies will vote against cloture.

This has Ted Kennedy’s fingerprints all over it. If I were a millionaire, I wouldn’t bet a penny that he has an ounce of integrity. He’s a lying scumbag who should be treated like he’s radioactive. He isn’t the only deceitful person or organization involved in this mess. I can’t say that NCLR wants open borders but I’ll confidently say that they’d love seeing the federal government to expand the visa program to such an extent that it wouldn’t be appreciably different.

Here’s the link to the PDF file that CRS sent to Sen. DeMint. It’s well worth reading.

Most importantly, fill the senators’ inboxes & dial the phone until your fingers are numb.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative