INFRASTRUCTURE

Here’s the two-minute version.

Here: the full “60 Minutes” segment.

Some will die from the occasional bridge collapse — not a small thing — but what most people will notice are the crippling disruptions in their lives and the economy.

All it takes to fix it is . . . to fix it.

Yet every year the Republican Congress blocks the American Jobs Act . . . or any other measure that would put un- and under-employed Americans to work on this.

It’s entirely un-American in the simple sense that it needlessly hurts America.

Where would we get the money to revitalize our infrastructure?  One good answer: from the increased tax revenue an economy ramped up by the full employment that this undertaking  would produce would throw off.

And speaking of employment:

KEYSTONE WOULD CREATE 35 PERMANENT JOBS!

Seriously!  You could have them all over for dinner.  Newsweek:

“Once the proposed Project enters service, operations would require an estimated 50 total employees: 35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors,” the State Department wrote.

So there may be reasons to help our Canadian friends exploit their tar sands (there are also reasons not to).  But goosing American employment is not one of them.

Yes, Keystone would take 40,000 or so folks a year or two to build — those are not permanent jobs — but it would be a lot less controversial to put those same people (and far more!) to work revitalizing our roads, bridges, and ports (and please don’t forget our water and sewage systems and electric grid).  No one seems to think that should not be done.

IMMIGRATION

Ron Sheldon: “In yesterday’s post [noting that Obama has been issuing executive orders at a slower pace than Reagan, Bush or Bush], you seem to be equating the quantity of executive orders to their Constitutionality without regard for their substance and legality. Isn’t it the relationship of the substance and legality of an executive order to the Constitution that matters, not the quantity of executive orders issued by a president? I’m certain you know the difference.  Are you intentionally confusing or purposefully trying to misdirect?  I don’t oppose President Obama. I do oppose the intentional or unintentional type of confusion and misdirection that prevents us from discussing topics rationally. You are capable of better.”

☞ Of course we agree it’s the content of executive orders, not their number, that matters.  But have you seen any good arguments explaining why any of the President’s executive orders are unConstitutional?  I haven’t. So it seems the anger on the right stems largely from his having issued so MANY.  Hence the relevance of the fact that he’s issued so few.  Or so it seems to me.  Thanks for the feedback.

The President’s immigration initiative seems to be going well.  Our border with Mexico will be more secure; American businesses will have an easier time retaining the talent and energy of foreign students and others who would like to work here; millions already working here will be able to go to work without fear of deportation; and if Congress doesn’t like the executive orders, it is invited — beseeched, really — to pass a bill of its own . . . for example, the same bi-partisan bill the Senate passed 68-32 more than a year ago.

Bruce Schwartz likes the speech the President gave explaining all this, but he imagines some further language the President might have added:

The persons to whom I am extending this new deferred action status – and it is not an amnesty, it grants no permanent rights, it only means the people affected won’t be deported for now – are people who entered this country before I became President in 2009.  They didn’t come here on my watch.  Our borders were porous, and our immigration enforcement system was broken, long before I got here.

There’s plenty of blame to go around for that: Congress, my predecessors in this office, the business community – in a sense, almost all of us.  Because there’s an important truth here.  Whatever you may think about illegal immigrants, these folks didn’t come here uninvited.  They came because people here were willing to hire them, because there were hard and dirty jobs – in picking vegetables, in construction, in meat packing, many other things – that native born Americans weren’t taking.  The businesses that hired them were complicit.  The white-collar professionals who hired undocumented nannies or eldercare workers – they were complicit.  The homeowners who looked the other way while undocumented workers cut their lawns – they were complicit.

As a consequence of what I inherited, I have had to preside over more deportations than any President before me, and I am sick of it.  I did not hire on to be the Deporter-in-Chief.

Now, if Congress really wants me to tear apart more families, to deport the parents of American citizens born in this country, to expel high school students to foreign countries they’ve never known – well, Congress can pass new legislation and order me to do that.  That would be a bitter pill, and I don’t believe that’s what the American people want.  The right thing would be for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, building on what the Senate, with bipartisan support, has already passed.  But in the meantime, I will exercise the discretion I have under the existing law, to keep things pretty much as they are until Congress acts.

BENGHAZI

WASHINGTON (AP) — A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

. . .The report did not conclude that [then UN Ambassador Susan] Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people.

The House Intelligence Committee report was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Many of its findings echo those of six previous investigations by various congressional committees and a State Department panel. The eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed in May. . . .

EBOLA

The death toll among American citizens seems now to have peaked, at least temporarily, at . . . still zero.

 

 

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