Thursday, December 10, 2015
Rand Paul backs Trump on Immigration -- cautiously
Paul is a bit more subtle. Wants "high risk" people barred, not "Muslims"
In the wake of last week’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says the United States should shift its focus away from bulk data collection and simply stop all immigration from "high risk" countries to prevent future attacks.
“I think what we've had in the past is the government has said, ‘Well, we need to collect the whole haystack.’ And the haystack is Americans' privacy,” Paul explained Sunday on Meet the Press.“Every Americans' privacy. We have to give up all of our privacy.
"But what I'd like to do is make the haystack smaller. So I think that we have to be very careful about who comes here from the Middle East. And I've introduced legislation to say, ‘For right now, let's stop it,’ from about 34 countries.”
Paul submitted an amendment last week calling for moratoriums on visas and refugee admissions from many African and Asian “high-risk” countries. These included Iraq, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories.
Paul's comments were in response to a question from Meet the Press host Chuck Todd about what he would say to make Americans feel safer in the context of a discussion on whether the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of phone records was appropriate.
“You were on the forefront of trying to change this law. Any second thoughts?” Todd asked.
Paul replied that NSA's phone data collection was still occurring, but had failed to thwart any terrorist attacks. He also framed the decision to monitor phone records as a trade-off between liberty and a false sense of security.
"It's been ongoing for the last six months. So the Paris tragedy... happened while we were still doing bulk collection, all bulk collection. Also in France, they have a program a thousand-fold more invasive, collecting all of the data of all of the French. And yet, they still weren't able to see this coming," Paul responded.
“So my question is, how much liberty do we want to give up for a false sense of security? The government has investigated our program of collecting, through a generalized fashion, everyone's phone records in the country. And they have found that no terrorist case has been thwarted through this,” Paul stated.
In response to his call to stop immigration from the Middle East, Todd said: “That’s a version of profiling.”
To which Paul responded, “Well, people who want to come to this country don't have constitutional rights. Once they get here, they do. But coming here is not a constitutional right.”
Paul went on to decry the current state of migrant vetting and asserted America’s ability to choose who comes and doesn’t come into the country. “So we do, as a nation, have the ability and should have the ability to decide who comes here and when they come here.
“Right now, we don't know who is here. The woman that was admitted, that ended up being married to this terrorist, I don't think she was properly vetted. I think she came here and I don't think we adequately knew enough about her.
“And I think also there's some indication that the papers she filed to come here were a lie to begin with. So I don't think we're doing an adequate vetting process of those who are coming to our country,” Rand said.
Trump stands firm
Donald Trump on Tuesday stood by his call to block all Muslims from entering the United States, even as the idea was widely condemned by rival Republican presidential candidates, party leaders and others as un-American.
Trump, the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, defended his plan for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” by comparing it with President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to inter Japanese Americans during World War II.
“This is a president who was highly respected by all,” Trump said Tuesday. “If you look at what he was doing, it was far worse.”
Trump’s campaign has been marked by a pattern of inflammatory statements, dating back to his harsh rhetoric about Mexican immigrants. He has taken a particularly hard line against Muslims in the days since the Paris attacks, advocating enhanced surveillance of mosques due to fears over radicalization.
Since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more, a number of Republican presidential contenders have proposed restrictions on Syrian refugees — with several suggesting preference for Christians seeking asylum — and tighter surveillance in the U.S.
But Trump’s proposed ban goes much further, and his Republican rivals were quick to reject the latest provocation from a candidate who has delivered no shortage of them. “Donald Trump is unhinged,” Jeb Bush said via Twitter. “His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious.”
Despite his controversial rhetoric, Trump has maintained his popularity among many Republican voters, with less than two months to go before the first 2016 primary contests. Many Republicans worry that his rise will damage the party’s chances of winning the White House in November, as Hillary Rodham Clinton consolidates her own front-runner status on the Democratic side.
The Muslim ban announced by Trump Monday evening drew swift rebukes from abroad. British Prime Minister David Cameron slammed it as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.” Muslims in the United States and around the world denounced it unconstitutional or offensive.
The front page of the Philadelphia Daily News pictured Trump holding his right hand out as if in a Nazi salute with the headline “The New Furor.” In morning TV interviews Tuesday on ABC and CNN, Trump was asked about being compared to Hitler.
The candidate didn’t back down, saying that banning all Muslims “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on” is warranted after attacks by Muslim extremists in Paris and last week’s shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14.
“We are now at war,” Trump said, adding: “We have a president who doesn’t want to say that.”
Trump’s proposed ban would apply to immigrants and visitors alike, a sweeping prohibition affecting all adherents of a religion practiced by more than a billion people worldwide.
Trump announced his plan to cheers and applause at a Monday evening rally in South Carolina.
POLL: Trump Strongest Candidate on Fighting Terrorism
A new survey of more than 1000 adults from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute puts terrorism as the second-leading issue America faces. Americans are also personally concerned about attending large public events and about the adequacy of security measures generally.
When respondents were asked to indicate whether they strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree, or were unsure about policies and opinions in the news, these findings emerged:
More than three-quarters, at 78.2 percent, strongly or somewhat agree that “It is likely ISIS terrorists are hiding among Syrian and other refugees in order to enter Europe and the United States.”
Two-thirds, at 66.9, percent agree strongly or somewhat with “a pause in accepting Syrian refugees into the United States until additional FBI background checks and approvals are added to the current screening process.”
When respondents were asked which current presidential candidate—despite personal preference—”would likely mount the strongest and most effective effort against terrorists worldwide while protecting Americans at home” they said, in descending order:
Donald Trump, 24.1 percent
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 20.7 percent
U.S. Senator (VT) Bernie Sanders, 7.7 percent
U.S. Senator (TX) Ted Cruz, 5.5 percent
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, 4.7 percent
Dr. Ben Carson, 4.4 percent
Rupert Murdoch Defends Trump: ‘Complete Refugee Pause’ Makes Sense
On Tuesday, none other than Rupert Murdoch defended Donald Trump, tweeting that a “complete refugee pause” in order to fix the vetting problem “makes sense.”
Murdoch sent his Tweet a day after GOP frontrunner Donald Trump called for a moratorium on Muslims entering the United States.
“Has Trump gone too far?” Murdoch Tweeted. “Regardless, public is obsessed on radical Muslim dangers, Complete refugee pause to fix vetting makes sense.”
Murdoch has been one of the most prominent supporters of comprehensive amnesty legislation, writing in 2014 after a meeting with President Barack Obama’s confidante and top adviser Valerie Jarrett that amnesty for illegal immigrants and an unlimited number of high-tech visas for corporations to displace U.S. workers “can’t wait.”
U.S. Borders Present 'Significant' Terrorist Pipelines
The Obama administration’s lax border security and unquestioning acceptance of everyone who wishes to enter the U.S. is no longer just a question of immigration policy. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) told an audience at the National Defense University Monday that the Islamic State has tried to use the refugee program to enter America. “I can reveal today that the United States government has information to indicate that individuals tied to terrorist groups in Syria have already attempted to gain access to our country through the U.S. refugee program,” McCaul said.
Last week, a report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee found that violent jihadists could easily cross the borders with Canada and Mexico. There are reports of an Islamic State training camp in Mexico, and the Canadian government’s policies toward Syrian immigrants could provide a pathway for Islamic State militants to simply travel south and hop across the U.S.-Canadian border. “Security observers have argued that Canada represents a substantial vulnerability, because it provides immigrant visas to individuals who pose a significant threat.” the Senate’s report read. “Witnesses testified before the committee that if someone gets into Canada, they will most likely be able to enter the U.S.”
This is not an unfounded fear. Judicial Watch reported a group of five men were arrested along the U.S.-Mexico border at the beginning of December. They were of Middle Eastern decent, and Border Patrol agents discovered “stainless steel cylinders in backpacks,” Judicial Watch said. McCaul suggested refugees — by definition people who want to return to their homes — should shelter under a no-fly zone in Syria enforced by the countries battling the Islamic State. But that would require a strategy from the Obama administration. But instead, the director of the Department of Homeland Security held a press conference Monday with the ADAMS Center, an Islamic group that has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Obama keeps sending all the wrong messages.
Defeating Terrorists with Privateers
Privateers -- private individuals or groups authorized by the government to fight on its behalf for a portion of the spoils -- helped America win its independence from Britain. The U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to utilize privateers (see the provision on "Letters of Marque and Reprisal" in Article I, Section 8), but not since the War of 1812 have lawmakers authorized any. Independent Institute Research Fellow William J. Watkins, Jr., calls for the reinstatement of privateering to take on terrorist groups like ISIS.
"Terrorists employ creative methods to inflict brutality and death, but the civilized world has not responded with an innovative response," Watkins writes. "Allowing privateers would encourage such a response. Congress or private charities could reward entrepreneurs who hack terrorist communication networks, locate stashes of assets, or uncover terrorist cells hiding in our cities."
Watkins notes that the private sector has long been used for investigations and security-sometimes even in a military context. But the use of letters of marque and reprisal-more broadly, the use of economic incentives-could provide decisive help in combatting terrorism, as long as privateers and other counter-terrorism agents are held liable for any misconduct. "Allowing more private security firms to deploy their equipment and know-how would go a long way toward putting terrorist groups on the dustbin of history," Watkins writes. "It's time that we let them."
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Posted by JR at 1:33 AM