‘Undeclared War’ on Mexican Border Greater Challenge than Afghanistan, Congressmen Say

‘Undeclared War’ on Mexican Border Greater Challenge than Afghanistan, Congressmen Say
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) said at the hearing that Mexico’s instability is a greater risk to U.S. security than Afghanistan. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
(CNSNews.com) – The violence along the U.S.-Mexico border is the biggest threat to the nation’s security, members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security said at  back-to-back hearings on Tuesday.

Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) thanked the witnesses, including David Aguilar, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, for their service in an “undeclared war.”

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what all of you do,” Culberson said. “You truly are in our prayers on a daily basis.”

“You’re on the front lines of an undeclared war unlike any we’ve ever seen on the southern border probably since 1916,” Culberson said, referring to Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing’s expedition into Mexico with 10,000 troops in an effort to capture the infamous revolutionary Pancho Villa after Villa had conducted attacks inside the United States.

Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) said that the violence in Mexico is an “undeclared war” facing the United States. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
“I think we are at the point today that we need to send the Black Jack Pershing into the Southern United States and put it in command of a true, fast-reaction military force that can move up and down that border on the U.S. side,” Culberson said.

“We are in a state of undeclared war on the southern border that has already spilled over [into the United States], and it’s utterly unrealistic to think that it hasn’t,” he said.

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) told committee members and witnesses that the U.S. government might rethink its military and national security priorities.

David Aguilar, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, testified that while progress is being made on securing the border more work needs to be done. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
“In the other hearing I just came from, I learned that one of our problems is that the Department of Defense somehow puts Afghanistan ahead of the challenges on the Mexican border,” Lewis said.

“I used to head that subcommittee, and I’ll tell you that what’s going on with our biggest trading partner in respect to this drug problem, it is our No. 1 challenge,” he said.

The two back-to-back hearings on border security and the drug cartel-induced violence along the U.S. Mexico border, which lasted four hours, revealed details about the ongoing violence in Mexico as the drug cartels battle the police and military for access to smuggling routes that bring drugs into the United States and money and guns into Mexico.

“It’s caught the attention of Congress, it’s certainly caught the attention of Americans, especially those living near the border,” Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) said as he began the second hearing focusing on violence along the U.S. Mexico border.

Witnesses said drug dealers use gliders and a massive network of tunnels to surpass border security, including the 610 miles of pedestrian and vehicle fencing that’s been constructed along the border.

Jayson Ahern, acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said that seizures of cocaine have increased 119 percent in the last fiscal year.

He also spoke about cooperation between the U.S. and Mexican government in the “transit zone,” including an early January interception of a self-propelled submarine carrying 25 metric tons of cocaine toward the coast of Mexico.

Ahern said the U.S. Border Patrol “deals with drug traffickers on a daily basis,” and that last year 327 agents were assaulted while in the line of duty.

Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) chaired two hearing on Tuesday by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security on securing the U.S. border and the violence in Mexico spawned by the drug cartels. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

The hearing included discussion on a wide range of issues, including the progress and funding of the 2005 Secure Border Initiative and the treatment of women and children who are detained for illegally entering the country.

But Culberson said the answer to the border question has already been found in the Del Rio section of Texas where a “zero tolerance” operation, dubbed Operation Streamline, has resulted in approximately 80 percent of people who cross into the country illegally being arrested.

“It’s a great success story,” Culberson said. “This is, Mr. Chairman, the win-win situation we are looking for.”

Culberson said the operation is being implemented in other areas along the Texas-Mexico border with increasing success, adding that states like Arizona should consider a similar approach.

“The Tucson sector is a real problem, Mr. Chairman, and this is an incredible fact to wrap up on,” Culberson said. “If you are arrested in the Tucson sector, crossing into the United States illegally, carrying less than 500 pounds of marijuana, you have a 99.6 percent chance of never being prosecuted and never go to jail for more than a few hours, which is a source of great frustration to your border agents, isn’t it chief?”

“Yes, sir,” Aguilar said.

“And that number hasn’t changed much, has it?” Culberson asked.

“No, not at this point,” Aguilar said.

“So, Tucson is wide open,” Culberson said.

“Tucson is being worked on,” Aguilar said.

“You’re doing your best, but it’s the U.S. prosecutor,” Culberson said.

“The point is, is that there are wildly different levels of enforcement, the border is wide open in Tucson, we found the solution in Texas, and it’s real simple,” Culberson said. “It’s law enforcement.”

Marcy Forman, director of the Office of Investigations with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Mark Koumans, deputy assistant secretary for International Affairs with the Department of Homeland Security, and Mark Borkowki, executive director of the Secure Border Initiative, also testified at the hearings.

RAW DATA: Top 20 Earmarking Senators in the $410 Billion Spending Bill

Who is the biggest earmarker of them all? According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., takes the cake, with 60 earmarks worth $123 million in the latest spending bill before the Senate. 

But he’s hardly alone. The budget watchdog group has released its latest list breaking down the earmarks, lawmaker-by-lawmaker, in the $410 billion bill set to come up for a vote by the end of the day. The bill would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, with an 8.5 percent increase over last year and billions of dollars in pet projects. 

Here’s a breakdown of the top 20 earmarking senators and the value of their solo earmarks:

1) Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. — $122,804,900 

2) Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. — $114,484,250 

3) Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo. — $85,691,491 

4) Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. — $76,899,425 

5) Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss. — $75,908,475 

6) Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska — $74,000,750 

7) Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa — $66,860,000 

8) Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. — $53,133,500 

9) Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — $51,186,000 

10) Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii — $46,380,205 

11) Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. — $39,228,250 

12) Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. — $36,547,100 

13) Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt. — $36,161,125 

14) Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. — $35,577,250 

15) Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. — $27,169,750 

16) Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. — $26,628,613 

17) Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. — $25,320,000 

18) Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis. — $23,832,000 

19) Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. — $21,952,250 

20) Former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M. — $19,588,625

Click here to read the full report from Taxpayers for Common Sense. 

Feds spending millions on Kennedy legacy in Mass.

Feds spending millions on Kennedy legacy in Mass.

BOSTON – More than one out of every five dollars of the $126 million Massachusetts is receiving in earmarks from a $410 billion federal spending package is going to help preserve the legacy of the Kennedys.

The bill includes $5.8 million for the planning and design of a building to house a new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate. The funding may also help support an endowment for the institute.

The bill also includes $22 million to expand facilities at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum and $5 million more for a new gateway to the Boston Harbor Islands on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a park system in downtown Boston named after Kennedy’s mother and built on land opened up by the Big Dig highway project.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Kennedy, who at 77 is battling brain cancer, said he hadn’t requested the money for the library and institute, and that there are dozens of other earmarks in the spending bill for homeless services and community health centers.

The $22 million JFK library earmark was sponsored by fellow Massachusetts Democrat Sen. John Kerry, who is also a top sponsor for the money for the Kennedy Senate Institute. Kerry defended the library project, which he said is needed to upgrade the facility.

“This National Archives project will eliminate the worst archival storage space problem in the presidential library system and it will facilitate six years of work to expand the library,” Kerry said in a statement. “This shovel-ready project will also bring much-needed jobs to the area.”

A proposal to build a national institute on the U.S. Senate and to name it after Kennedy has been under discussion since 2003, but accelerated after Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer.

Local officials last year announced they were seeking up to $100 million to build the institute, which they said would focus on the Senate in general and Kennedy’s more than four decades of service to the body. The facility will be located in Boston on a four-acre plot near the JFK library.

About $20 million has already been raised for the institute, including contributions from drug companies, insurance companies and hospitals. Tentative plans called for a replica of the Senate chamber itself, as well as programs to train new senators.

The list of earmarks provided by Kennedy, Kerry and the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation highlights programs throughout the state, including $3 million to preserve New England fisheries; $1.7 million for land acquisition at Cape Cod National Seashore; and $333,000 to study any links between environmental pollutants and breast cancer.

“These funds will create jobs that are desperately needed, and will provide lasting benefits for all our citizens long into the future,” Kennedy said in statement accompanying a list of earmarks.

The billions in earmarks in the federal spending bill have been a source of contention.

President Barack Obama signed the bill which he described as imperfect. He said it must signal an “end to the old way of doing business.”

Critics led by Republican Sen. John McCain have denounced the 8,000 pet project contained in the bill as p

Voters’ Obama Folly Coming Home to Roost

Voters’ Obama Folly Coming Home to Roost

By Kyle-Anne Shiver

It’s only been 7 weeks since the man whose resume fits nicely on the back of a postage stamp became the most powerful human being in the universe.  As Presidents go, Barack Obama has proven at least one thing true:  change is like the flip of a coin.  Change can bring the best of times; change can bring the worst of times.  And anyone over the age of twelve ought to have known that.  Instead, 52% of the American electorate has run around like a bunch of howling ninnies for the past year chanting like a horde of Jim Jones’ followers, who can’t get enough of the poison kool-aid.

So much for progressive enlightenment.


With an economy in shambles, slinking toward all-out depression a little further each day, the President doesn’t know the difference between a popularity-based political tracking poll and the confidence meter of the stock market, which represents the actual savings and pension funds of millions and millions of ordinary Americans.  Heck, the golden boy of campaign one-liners doesn’t even know that P/E ratio stands for price/earnings, not profit/earnings. 


If only he had once had a paper route instead of all those pick-up games with the hoops.


That famed transition team — the team that was given greater inside access than ever in history by a more-than-gracious out-going President, is about to go down as the most incompetent bunch of nincompoops ever produced by a university system.   Those fancy degrees are evidently not worth the paper upon which they’re printed. 


In a time of mounting economic peril, even as the transition team dithered, one would have thought that fully staffing the Department of the Treasury would have been top priority.  Not for this bunch.  Timothy tax-cheat-TurboTax-challenged Geithner is a one-man Treasury Department and is so out of touch that he spent precious minutes in front of a Congressional panel scolding our own gas and oil companies for damaging the environment, even as a record 31.8 million Americans sign up for food stamps.


Earth to Tim:  You won’t get the Country out of this mess by slamming the companies that hire us so we won’t need to be on the dole.


Is there a single business enterprise in America that this administration doesn’t hate with a death wish?


Some of those folks now lining up to get food stamps and the like probably worked in the domestic tourist industries that have taken a whack from President Obama.  Every time the President slams a trip by so-and-so from such-and-such company, real people lose the jobs they would have had providing services to these executives. 


Las Vegas isn’t known for anything but catering to out-of-towner, is it?


Evidently, a teleprompter attached to each of one’s hips does not guarantee even a single gaffe-free moment.   For all the rhetorical hit jobs perpetrated against Governor Sarah Palin, this woman got up and delivered one of the best speeches of this entire campaign with teleprompter glitches and a set of notes scribbled on by several others, all without so much as breaking a nail or missing a beat.   President Obama’s motto:  have 2 teleprompters, will travel. 


So much for Mr. Erudite.


When it comes to the very few jobs with which our federal government is actually commissioned by the U.S. Constitution, this Administration is coming up on empty every single day.   While this President calls committee meeting after committee meeting (he calls them summits) for more well-educated nincompoops to sit around and B.S. their way through our domestic problems, our foreign policy is looking like the Keystone Cops high on M&Ms.


Foreign policy is actually in the Constitution; health, education and welfare are not.


President Obama has evidently decided that Israel and Great Britain are quite dispensable allies, but the Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians, the Syrians and Hamas are going to be our new best friends. 


Obama dispatches Madame Secretary Clinton to the Chinese to beg them not to stop supporting our debt, but not to worry about those prickly human rights issues because we’re not going to fret over those millions and millions of human beings kept under the brutal boot of communism any more.  China answers with a wink and a nod and announces they’re upping military spending by 15%.  Several days later the Chinese surrounded one of our unarmed naval vessels as personnel charted the ocean floor and demand we leave international waters.  


On the flip side, President Obama stuns the British and American publics with the most flagrant snubs between our two peoples since the Revolutionary War.  First, foregoing the customary joint press conference with the flags and ceremony.  Then the obvious denial of even a nice lunch for the Brit.  Then the cake-taker of bad manners, a tacky, cheap gift in exchange for the exquisitely tasteful gifts from the British people.  Their press is agog from it and declaring that the U.S. will be sorry for this.  When President Obama sent back the bust of Churchill, given right after the 9/11 attacks, without so much as a note of explanation, perhaps the Brits should have known something sinister was afoot in the Oval Office.


Back to our newfound friends, President Obama moved swiftly after the Israelis’ attempt to destroy rocket-launching sites in Gaza to offer $900 million in assistance to the Palestinians — read Hamas.  And Secretary Clinton made sure to take note of the damage done by those nasty Israelis while she toured the West Bank, taking the opportunity to publicly scold Israel (our heretofore friend), causing Israeli leaders to sneer, “She’s not the Hillary we knew.”   Hillary was barely out of the region before Iran test fired a new long range missile and made certain to notify the Israelis that the new missiles are fully capable of hitting Israel’s nuclear facilities.


Now, when are we going to get to see all that “smart power”?


Not with the Russians, apparently.  When Mrs. Clinton made her “smart power” debut there last week, she carried a gimmicky little gadget, resembling the Staples “Easy Button.”  Only Mrs. Clinton’s perfectly cutesy-pie idea was to inscribe the Russian word for “reset” on the button.  Instead our State Department academic wiz kids put the Russian word for “overcharge” on the little button, making mincemeat of Hillary’s “smart power” before she even got out of the gate.


Meanwhile, the Russians guffawed at President Obama’s offer to trade missile defense systems in Eastern Europe (he had already pre-announced his intention to scrap missile defense systems, remember?) for help with the Iranian nuclear “problem,” saying “haggling” over such things is unproductive.


Shades of JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis are making my skin crawl. 


The North Koreans are acting up a storm too, and blithely threatening South Korean civilian airliners, while they prepare to launch a far-reaching missile that they’re calling a “satellite.”  As if that weren’t enough, the North Koreans are also brazenly uttering war threats – not asking to come to the negotiating table where all the “smart power” folks are in charge now.


Not to worry, though, because as Gallup, Rasmussen and Zogby remind us every day, this President is still one popular, cool dude to the 52% who drank his kool-aid from the campaign trail — plus a few Americans who probably didn’t even vote but love to talk to pollsters on the tele.  And as gloom and doom stalk every hardworking American, the Obamas party hardy, feasting on delicacies, toasting celebrities and stick us with the check.


Anyone in Obamaland ever hear of cognitive dissonance?  Tar and feathers?


So, what will the campaign slogan of the other party be for 2012?


I’ll have a whack at it.


Obama lied; hope died.


The Iranians got the A-bomb, the Russians got their jive back and the Chinese own everything.


Vote for the un-cool, work-experienced, good-without-a-teleprompter guy or gal who knows a friend from a foe and can add 2 + 2 and get 4 every single time.


Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/03/voters_obama_folly_coming_home.html at March 11, 2009 – 10:07:56 AM EDT

The baloney has a first name

The baloney has a first name

The baloney has a first name
It’s B-A-R-A-C-K
The baloney has a second name
It’s O-B-A-M-A
We have to hear it every day
And if you ask me why I’ll say
Barack Obama has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A

 — by Right Truth reader David, with many thanks!

The Problem With The Republican Party Isn’t Rush Limbaugh

The Problem With The Republican Party Isn’t Rush Limbaugh

Between Obama’s “enemies list” and the David Frum’s of the world, who are trying to fill the “I’m a Republican who hates Republicans, please promote me, liberal media” niche, Rush Limbaugh has been under regular attack for the last few weeks.

But, let me be clear: the problem with the Republican Party is most certainly not Rush Limbaugh or, for that matter, the other conservative talk show hosts out there.

To the contrary, they are the one group of people over the last few years who were able to successfully get a message out to a large number of conservatives and effectively push an agenda.

Put another way, imagine the Republican Party as a football team.

* The defensive line gets pushed all over the field.
* The linebackers can’t tackle.
* The cornerback keeps getting burned for big gains.
* The quarterback has a bad shoulder and can barely throw the ball.
* The running backs are constantly getting hurt.
* The wide receivers are slow and have bad hands.
* But, the offensive line — it’s opening huge holes and giving the QB great pass protection.

Yet, we have people looking at this whole sorry mess and going: you know what the problem is here? It’s that darn offensive line — especially that all-pro left tackle, Rush Limbaugh!

The problems that the Republican Party has had over the last few years have not been caused by talk radio. In fact, many of the party’s worst screw-ups have come because the geniuses in Washington DIDN’T LISTEN to what conservative talk radio was telling them. Look to Harriet Miers, the Dubai Port deal, deficit spending, TARP, John McCain, illegal immigration, etc., etc., etc. for examples of that.

Now, is Rush the “leader” of the Republican Party? No, he’s not and almost everybody knows that, including most of the people who are screaming “Rush is the Republican Party’s leader” the loudest. Is Rush Limbaugh as popular with the general public as he is with conservatives? Of course not. Most of them have never heard his show and so their opinion is heavily influenced by the Left’s demonization of him.

That being said, Rush is incredibly influential. He has proven himself over the long haul, he has the largest audience in the business, and other than Reagan, he has done more to move the ball forward for conservatives than anybody else in America over the last three decades. Countless conservatives, myself included, are conservatives because of Rush. Moreover, Rush Limbaugh’s overwhelming success paved the way not only for other conservative talk show hosts, but I believe, for many of the conservative bloggers out there. Again, that was certainly the case with me. When I started blogging, my thought was, “If Rush made a career out of talk radio, why can’t I make a career out of blogging?”

All that being said, had Rush Limbaugh’s advice over the last few years actually been followed by the GOP, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Party would have considerably more seats in Congress than we do today and we just might have the White House as well.

But, getting back to the complaints about Rush. The left hates him because he’s effective. That’s understandable. But, what about the people on the right who don’t like him? Well, they tend to be moderates who want to see conservatives marginalized in the GOP so that we can become a “Democrat-light” party.

The problem with this is that the majority of the GOP’s supporters are conservative, not moderate. Moreover, if you’re talking about the campaign volunteers, the big name bloggers, the big name talk radio hosts, the powerhouse organizations, the huge donors, etc., etc., — they’re almost all conservative. Conservatives, whose views Rush represents very well, are the engine of the Republican Party and the anti-Rush crowd is the equivalent of the hubcaps. I know that’s very harsh, but it’s also true.

If you don’t buy that, go pick the 5 biggest Rush haters who are still calling themselves Republicans, until they can’t milk any more liberal media attention out of it, and ask yourself: how many conservatives do you know that genuinely respect these people? What great arguments have they advanced? What have they achieved for the Republican Party and conservatism? If they were giving a speech, how many people would show up to hear what they have to say? Now, compare all of them combined to Rush Limbaugh. Could they draw 1/100 of the crowd he could? Have they ever humiliated Harry Reid or run something like Operation Chaos? Do they have millions of conservatives behind them or a few hundred conservatives and hordes of liberal cheerleaders who will keep saying nice things about them as long as they attack Rush? The answers are obvious.

There are a lot of areas where the GOP needs to make a lot of improvements to get competitive again, but talk radio isn’t one of them — nor is Rush Limbaugh. Rush is part of the solution for what ails the GOP, not part of the problem.