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Senator Collins will vote Yes, all but securing Kavanaugh’s confirmation



Senator Collins will vote Yes all but securing Kavanaughs confirmation

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) spoke on the Senate floor and declared that she will be voting to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh tomorrow to be the next Associate Supreme Court Justice. She joins Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) as the other previously undecided Senator to declare in the affirmative.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) declared she will be voting against Kavanaugh earlier.

The other Senator on the fence, Joe Manchin (D-WV), has not made an announcement but was the only Democrat to vote for cloture this morning. If Collins, Flake, and all the Republicans other than Murkowski vote for confirmation, Manchin’s vote will only determine whether the confirmation is complete Saturday or if it must wait until Sunday when Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) returns to Washington DC from his daughter’s wedding. In the unlikely scenario of Manchin voting against his constituents’ wishes, Vice President Mike Pence will have to break the tie.

Update: Manchin is a Yes as well:

Collins spent around an hour talking about Kavanaugh’s qualifications and the process she followed in deciding to vote for him. She also took the opportunity to speak out mildly against President Trump who some fear nominated Kavanaugh because of his position that sitting Presidents should be protected from criminal and civil investigations until after their term.

A pro-choice moderate Republican, Collins detailed her questioning of Kavanaugh over Roe v. Wade and other decisions regarding abortion. It was a necessary statement to justify her decision to confirm a pro-life Supreme Court Justice. She then diffused the President’s promise to nominate judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade by noting that every Republican presidential platform included such promises, yet Roe v. Wade still stands.

The last portion of her speech was an explanation of her perspectives on Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh. It was an often-awkward and meandering diatribe against how the Democrats handled the process while maintaining that she believes Ford was sexually assaulted. She railed against whoever leaked Ford’s letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein about the assault, causing Ford to come forward publicly despite her wishes to remain anonymous. The insinuation was that someone in Feinstein’s office or Feinstein herself was the leaker.

Here is how she concluded her remarks:

My Take

Collins is still a Democrat in Republican clothing, but her words will do more to put moderate pro-choice voters at ease than anything that’s been said to date. She also gave an eloquent explanation of how due process applies in confirmation hearings, something that’s been debated heavily since the allegations of sexual abuse were made public.

For once, Senator Collins is doing the right thing. She’ll betray conservatives again and again in the future, but for today she’s earned a degree of gratitude. Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation will go a long way towards saving our republic.



Culture and Religion

Two weeks after Benghazi attack, Ilhan Omar Tweeted ‘Allahu Akbar’



Two weeks after Benghazi attack Ilhan Omar Tweeted Allahu Akbar

This is old news, of course, but bears repeating at this time. Representative Ilhan Omar has been doing everything she can over the last couple of weeks to paint herself as the victim of bigotry and someone who loves our country. And while there’s definitely some substance to the notion that crowds of Republicans shouldn’t be chanting “send her back,” it’s also understandable why so many Americans are opposed to her presence on Capitol Hill.

Even if we dismiss reports that she married her brother, called for CBP to be eliminated, said this is “not going to be the country of white people,” referred to 9/11 as “some people did something,” and is regularly praised by former KKK leader David Duke, it’s difficult to dismiss her reaction to the Benghazi attacks that took the lives of four American heroes in 2012.

I’m not going to dignify her Tweet with an opinion. She’s the one who needs to explain it. But despite her celebration, life isn’t good for the four men who lost there’s in Benghazi. Remember this, folks, as Democrats embrace her wholeheartedly.

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Kyrsten Sinema’s ‘Operation Safe Return’ is a good effort but won’t work to slow migrants



Kyrsten Sinemas Operation Safe Return is a good effort but wont work to slow migrants

Any time a Democrat makes an effort to do something tangible to stop illegal immigration, it’s praiseworthy. Today’s Democratic Party is not only devoid of a plan to slow the migrant surge or end the border crisis. Many are doing what they can to make the problem bigger by pretending it isn’t a problem at all. This is why it’s refreshing to see Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema psuh for “Operation Safe Return.”

The proposal would set rules that would expedite the removal of migrant family units who do not demonstrate a “credible fear” of persecution. It’s a complex, multi-stage plan that sets time limits on how soon migrant families are interviewed and tightens the criteria for them to be released to the interior.

What it does not do is make changes to the Flores Agreement, which enables family units to be released quickly from detention once they file for asylum. This rule is dangerous to the children involved because it makes them a hot commodity for those wanting to move quickly into the interior of the country. Children are being used as “tickets” and are being sold to or rented by illegal immigrants.

Sinema’s plan doesn’t address this, but does go after “economic migrants” which likely accounts for the vast majority of those crossing the border illegally. Our asylum rules do not allow for those seeking better opportunities in America to claim asylum simply because they cannot get a good job in their home country.

According to The Arizona Republic:

The program would allow the Department of Homeland Security to deport certain migrants within 15 days, according to the letter, and would help alleviate overcrowding at border facilities, Sinema said.

“This pilot program would apply to families who aren’t claiming ‘credible fear,’ which of course is the first threshold in seeking asylum,” Sinema told The Arizona Republic. “If someone says ‘I left my country because I can’t make a living,’ (or) ‘it’s hard to take care of my family’ — that’s what we call an economic migrant.”

Sinema is one of the main architects behind the proposed program, along with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Sinema said she came up with the idea for the pilot program in response to a meeting with White House and Trump administration officials who she said were focused on changing asylum laws and challenging court rulings like the Flores Settlement Agreement, dictating how the government treats certain migrants.

“I just felt those weren’t the right answers,” Sinema added. “We wanted to solve the problem. We wanted to protect the asylum process for valid applicants … and we want to respect the Flores decision.”

This is a nice attempt, but here’s the problem. Word will continue to spread that migrants should not claim economic hardship as their reason for filing for asylum. They are being given talking points about their status that include saying they’re being persecuted because of their beliefs. This is easy to say and difficult to prove, making it the easy path through which migrant families can come to America and be released to the interior three weeks later.

The proposal has been delivered to acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan for review. It was signed by Sinema and Johnson as well as five Republican and two Democratic Senators.

This is a stopgap plan that may slow the migrant surge and expedite deportations on a small scale, but eventually it will become worthless. Sinema deserves credit for trying, but we need bolder measures if we’re going to make a dent in the border crisis.

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Foreign Affairs

Iran has seized a British tanker



Evidence points to Iran seizing British tanker

Update 2: They may have captured a second British tanker.

Update 1: Iran has confirmed it seized the tanker.

Original Story:

A British oil tanker traveling through the Strait of Hormuz to Saudi Arabia has made some strange maneuvers, causing speculation that it has been seized by Iran.

The tanker, Stena Impero, veered off course according to positioning trackers and is now heading towards the Iranian island of Qeshm which has a substantial Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base. British authorities are seeking answers.

The Islamic republic has threatened retaliation for the British seizure of an Iranian tanker heading towards Syria, which would break an EU sanction. Five Iranian attack vessels confronted a British tanker last week but quickly retreated when the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose closed in.

Iran has long claimed sovereignty over the international waters of the Strait of Hormuz. They attempted to stage bombings of two oil tankers last month and four in May in hopes of being able to act as defenders of the Strait, but U.S. video of the second round of bombings caught an Iranian ship removing an unexploded mine from the haul. With that potential bargaining chip off the table, it appears they’re trying to work their way to the negotiating table by force.

A collapsing economy is forcing Iran to make aggressive moves. This is standard operating procedure for the desperate. An international military response may be in order to abate further acts of terrorism by Iran.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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