Chad’s Morning Brief for 02.18.13
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of February 18, 2013. Give Chad your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am.
1. Immigration Battle (link)
Over the weekend the USA Today printed what amounts to President Obama's immigration reform plan. The plan would allow illegal immigrants to become legal citizens within 8 years. On Saturday night and Sunday morning, Republicans fired back.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday the plan is untenable and so outside of what the country wants that it suggests President Obama is not sincere about passing immigration reform.
“The president is torpedoing his own plan,” Paul told “Fox News Sunday.” “It shows me he is really not serious. … The bill won’t pass.”
The draft immigration bill being circulated by the White House also includes plans for a new visa for illegal immigrants living in the United States, as first reported by USA Today.
Obama's bill would create a "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country. The bill includes more security funding and requires business owners to adopt a system for verifying the immigration status of new hires within four years, the newspaper said.
On Saturday, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio called the White House proposal "half-baked and seriously flawed."
Rubio -- part of an eight-member, bipartisan Senate panel working on an immigration reform bill -- also said the purported proposal was disappointing to those “working on serious solutions” and repeats failures of past legislation.
He said the White House also erred in not seeking input from Republican lawmakers.
"If actually proposed, the president's bill would be dead on arrival in Congress, leaving us with unsecured borders and a broken legal immigration system for years to come," Rubio said in a statement.
Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday the White House hasn't proposed "anything to Capitol Hill yet" on immigration.
He told ABC's "This Week" that the White House is indeed working with the Senate panel.
"Let's make sure that it doesn't have to be proposed" because the White House and Congress are able to work out a deal, McDonough also said
USA Today also reported that the bill would require that immigrants pass a criminal background check, submit biometric information and pay fees to qualify for the new visa.
Immigrants who served more than a year in prison for a criminal conviction or were convicted of three or more crimes and were sentenced to a total of 90 days in jail would not be eligible. Crimes committed in other countries that would bar immigrants from legally entering the country would also be ineligible.
Those immigrants facing deportation would be eligible to apply for the visa, the newspaper reported. Immigrants would be eligible to apply for a green card within eight years, if they learn English and U.S. history and government, and they would later be eligible to become U.S. citizens.
Last month, the group of senators announced they had agreed on the general outline of an immigration plan.
Obama has said he would not submit his own legislation to Congress so long as law makers acted "in a timely manner." If they failed, he said, "I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away."
The administration doesn't want a deal on immigration in my opinion. They want a fight and they want Republicans to do something stupid so Democrats can label the GOP as racists. Why else would the administration be leaking their own plans?
2. Publications Go After Cruz (link)
Well Senator Ted Cruz isn't making a lot of people happy. Mainly Democrats and Republicans that want him to know his place. According to Breitbart, the NY Times and others are going after Cruz.
This week, they put their crosshairs on freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a Tea Party conservative of Hispanic descent who undermines the mainstream media's ability to advance their false notion that being a minority and Tea Partier are mutually exclusive. He is a conservative who showed no desire to defer to the Senate's "courtly" ways, the preferences of the institution's old bulls.
The sinking ship that is the New York Times, the so-called paper of record, provided evidence of what it fears most in its Saturday edition: strong, distinct full-throated conservative voices from folks who ain't "country club," geriatric, and white.
The Washington Post and Politico joined the times in assailing Cruz this week for similar reasons.
The Times did a thorough review of the freshman senator's stunning seven-week run:
- leading the charge on the destruction of Chuck Hagel's bona fides as Secretary of Defense;
- one of only three Republicans to vote against John Kerry because of his longstanding less-than-vigorous defense of U.S. national security issues;
- one of only 34 that voted against raising the debt ceiling;
- one of only 22 who voted against the Violence Against Women Act;
- one of only 36 who voted against the pork-ladened Hurricane Sandy financial aid package;
- one of only 19 who voted against arming the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Cairo;
- called out Rahm Emanuel;
- confronted Chuck Schumer on national TV;
- enraged Senators Boxer and McCaskill enough for them to label him as a "McCarthyite"
That, ladies and gentleman, is how you fight.
Jonathan Weisman, the author of the piece, brings out all the old adages about "taking confrontational Tea Party sensibilities to new heights--or lows" before rolling out Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the obligatory beat-down of conservatives. The Times also quotes McCain's sidekick, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has to watch his right flank because he faces a potential primary in 2014, who tells the publication some of Cruz's comments regarding Hagel were "out of bounds."
In what is known as a "tell" in the media parlor game, Weissman and the Times commit an unforgivable error by referring to Cruz as "Canadian-born" without mentioning he was born to a mother who was a U.S. citizen, which most likely makes Cruz "natural born" and eligible to run for the nation's highest office. Yes, just when the Texan shows some "muzzle velocity" toward 2016, the Times goes birther.
Good for Senator Cruz. I am glad the Senator isn't just sitting back and acting how some would like him to act. He is showing that he is a fighter and that's what the people of Texas elected him to do.
3. Debate Over Domestic Drones (link)
The debate over drones isn't just about the Obama administration's policy on lethal drone strikes overseas. Texas along with other states are debating the use of drones vs. privacy.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it had issued 1,428 permits to domestic drone operators since 2007, far more than were previously known. Some 327 permits are still listed as active.
Operators include police, universities, state transportation departments and at least seven federal agencies. The remotely controlled aircraft vary widely, from devices as small as model airplanes to large unarmed Predators.
The FAA, which has a September 2015 deadline fromCongress to open the nation's airspace to drone traffic, has estimated 10,000 drones could be aloft five years later. The FAA this week solicited proposals to create six sites across the country to test drones, a crucial step before widespread government and commercial use is approved.
Local and state law enforcement agencies are expected to be among the largest customers.
Earlier this month, TV footage showed a midsized drone circling over the bunker in southeast Alabama where a 65-year-old gunman held a 5-year-old boy hostage. After a tense standoff, an FBI team stormed the bunker, rescued the boy and shot his captor. Authorities refused to say who was operating the AeroVironment drone, which has a 9-foot wingspan.
In Colorado, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office has used a fixed-wing drone to search for lost hikers in the mountains, and a helicopter drone to help crews battling fires. Flying manned planes or helicopters would cost at least $600 an hour, explained Ben Miller, who heads the program.
"We fly [drones] for less than $25 an hour," Miller said. "It's just a new way to put a camera up that's affordable."
Big-city police departments, including Los Angeles, have tested drones but are holding back on buying them until the FAA issues clear guidelines about operating in congested airspace, among other issues.
"You've got to take baby steps with this," said Michael Downing, the LAPD deputy chief for counter-terrorism and special operations.
Los Angeles Police Department officials went to Simi Valley in December, he said, to watch a demonstration of a helicopter-like device that measured about 18 inches on each side and was powered by four propellers. It could fly about 90 minutes on its battery.
Downing said the LAPD was "pursuing the idea of purchasing" drones, but wouldn't do so unless the FAA granted permission to fly them, and until the department could draw up policies on how to keep within privacy laws.
If the LAPD bought drones, Downing said, it initially would use them at major public events such as the Oscars or large protests. In time, drones could be flown to track fleeing suspects and assist in investigations. Tiny drones could even be used to fly inside buildings to shoot video if a suspect has barricaded himself within.
In theory, drones can offer unblinking eye-in-the-sky coverage. They can carry high-resolution video cameras, infrared sensors, license plate readers, listening devices and other high-tech gear. Companies have marketed drones disguised as sea gulls and other birds to mask their use.
That's the problem, according to civil liberties groups. The technology is evolving faster than the law. Congress and courts haven't determined whether drone surveillance would violate privacy laws more than manned planes or helicopters, or whether drone operators may be held liable for criminal trespassing, stalking or harassment.
"Americans have the right to know if and how the government is using drones to spy on them," said Catherine Crump, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has called for updating laws to protect privacy.
A backlash has already started.
In Congress, Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) introduced privacy legislation Thursday that would require police to get a warrant or a court order before operating a drone to collect information on individuals.
"We need to protect against obtrusive search and surveillance by government and civilian use," Poe said in a telephone interview. A similar bill failed last year.
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