Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Hastert and Boehner do Joseph Goebbels proud

In a quest to keep a tenuous grip on their ever decreasing hold on power in Washington, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and his new "enforcer," John Boehner have taken a page from a master of nefarious propaganda in hopes to further obfuscate the already confusing immigration debate.

Hoping to re-frame the debate more to their political liking, they have continued their effort to portray the bipartisan immigration reform bill that came out of the Senate as a Democratic effort despite the fact that the bill was sponsored by six Republicans and only one Democrat . With heads firmly planted in the sand, the House leadership, wishing to underplay the huge rift in their own party, upped the ante once again when announcing further hearings in their summer campaign to make immigration a key issue in the upcoming midterm elections.

The deception started only hours after the Senate passed its comprehensive plan back in May and has been stepped up in recent weeks. With the announcement by House Republicans of another round of hearings scheduled in August in their continuing immigration carnival road-show, they have apparently taken Joseph Goebbels advice that "“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it" to heart.

The bipartisan Senate immigration bill authored by Republican John McCain [R-AZ] has become, according to House leadership, "the Democrat Reid-Kennedy immigration bill" and will be a major target in the next round of hearings

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The bill, which first began it's life as the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act", introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on May 15, 2005, took over a year to pass through the Senate. During that time numerous changes and compromises were made, co-sponsors came and went, and its name was changed. On May 25, 2006 the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006" was passed in a bi-partisan vote of 62-36.

Up until that point the bill was commonly called the "McCain-Kennedy" bill, named after its two key authors.

Within days, House Republicans decided it needed a new name; the "Reid-Kennedy Immigration Bill," to make it sound like an effort of Senate Democrats despite the fact that Reid played no roll in authoring the bill and Kennedy was the only Democrat to co-sponsor its final version.

From House Majority Leader John Boehner comes this:

Unfortunately, the Democrat Reid-Kennedy immigration bill makes the problem even worse. Local law enforcement is currently able to assist the federal government in enforcing both civil and criminal violations of immigration laws. The Reid-Kennedy bill, however, would only allow local law enforcement to assist in enforcing criminal violations of immigration law -- not civil violations.

In other words, rather than empowering them to detain illegal aliens, the Reid-Kennedy bill would further restrict local law enforcement’s ability to act on immigration violations.

The September 11th hijackers had only committed civil immigration violations. Under the Democrat Reid-Kennedy bill, local police would have no power to arrest possible terrorists who commit similar offenses and hand them over to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In contrast, the House-passed bill includes provisions championed by Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA) aimed at empowering state and local law enforcement to investigate and apprehend illegal aliens on a voluntary basis.

Last week, Republicans announced a set of five principles that should be reflected in immigration reform legislation. Among them:

  • Republicans strongly support initiatives to secure our borders and provide additional resources to federal and state authorities to strengthen border patrol efforts.

  • Republicans want to enact a strong bill that secures our borders and puts a premium on strict enforcement of our immigration laws. The Reid-Kennedy immigration bill is the wrong direction for our country, and exemplifies the notorious weakness of Capitol Hill Democrats on defense and border security issues.

    Sponsored by Judiciary Chairmen Arlen Specter[R-PA], and co-sponsored by Sen Brownback, Sam [R-KS] , Sen Graham, Lindsey [R-SC], Sen Hagel, Chuck [R-NE], Sen Kennedy, Edward M. [D-MA], Sen Martinez, Mel [R-FL], and Sen McCain, John [R-AZ], the bill is clearly a Republican affair, but that doesn't make for good political theater.

    The other factor in play is that as the House whips up their base with a mix of xenophobia, fear, and racism, they don't want to turn that rabid base against their own party. This is quite a precarious balancing act since the Senate bill mirrors the wishes President Bush and his allies on this issue. Additionally having the presumptive 2008 Presidential frontrunner John McCain's name attached to his own bill presents the House leaders with a problem.

    Their solution – ignore the facts – create a false reality – and keep repeating the lie until it becomes the truth... or so they hope

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
    Josheph Goebbels

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