The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the GOP/Tea Party. We support President Obama and the Democratic agenda and seek to preserve the Senate majority while taking back the House. But we're also not afraid to criticize the left when necessary.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Obama Blows Big Opportunity at Dems' Debate


The Democratic candidates for president in the 2008 election gathered in New Hampshire Sunday for another round of posturing and rhetoric. Media darling Sen. Barack Obama (IL), when tossed the mother of all softballs when asked if President Bush was keeping us safe from terrorist attack, failed to hit the home run, choosing instead to play it like a gentleman (message to Obama: gentlemen--especially those of Democratic persuasion--do not get elected president). While saying that we are indeed less safe since 911, not more, he did give Bush credit for "some things." This is not the time for Obama, or any Democrat for that matter, to jab with kid gloves. What the presidential hopeful should have forcefully, and passionately, said is this:

"The September 11th attack came on Bush's watch, despite doing nothing after being warned (August PDB and several Richard Clark missives) that a major attack might be imminent. After a successful invasion of Afghanistan, he took his eye, and our financial and military resources, off bin Laden and al Qaeda, and instead squandered these resources in the colossal, wasteful distraction known as Iraq. Let's remember the first World Trade Center attack occured in 1993, eight years before the 2001 horror...which was only six years ago. Let's not forget how methodically al Qaeda plans its attacks. Let's not be lulled into any false senses of security here. Our ports are still unsecured, as are our Southern and Northern borders. And, unlike Ramsay Yousef and company--perpetrators of the 1993 attack--bin Laden, Ayman Al Zawahiri and other 911 masterminds still roam free while al Qaeda and the Taliban is reconstituting in Afghanistan. And over the weekend we learn of an arrest in a plot to blow up JFK airport in New York. No, sir, we are anything but safe today...and President Bush, and the former Republican-controlled Congress, is directly to blame."

When are we going to have a Democratic candidate who not only has the balls to speak up and speak aggressively on this issue, but is one who is not saddled with the burden of having supported Bush's mess up until campaign time? Well, his name is Al Gore, and I suspect after watching the debate Sunday he'll be even more motivated to enter the race.


On another subject......we could use your help at The Adrienne Shelly Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. As you may know, Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've finalized a scholarship with NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; and grants with Columbia University, American Film Institute, NY Women in Film and Television, the Independent Feature Project, and the Nantucket Film Festival. Other initiatives will follow. Please visit our website to learn more about our mission and to make a donation. Every little contribution helps preserve Adrienne's legacy, and to help create something positive out of this horrible tragedy. Thank you.

Adrienne's film "Waitress" opened in theatres May 2nd to incredible rave reviews from the NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, Ebert & Roeper ("Two Thumbs Up"), Leonard Maltin and more. Since then, it's been playing to packed audiences across America, and is currently #6 in America. It's a truly wonderful film that you're sure to love. A link to the trailer is below. Enjoy.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox_searchlight/waitress/trailer/

10 Comments:

  • At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    !!

    THE DEMOCRAT'S CULTURE OF CORRUPTION IS ALIVE AND KICKING!!
    - Just think, Nancy Pelosi wanted to put William Jefferson in charge of the Intelligence Committee AFTER knowing he accepts bribes. Democrats, who are usually so quick to call for someone's resignation, are mysteriously quiet.

    --

    A federal grand jury on Monday indicted Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson on 16 charges relating to a long-running investigation into bribery, racketeering, obstruction of justice and money laundering.

    Calling it a "broad range of serious crimes," federal prosecutors called the case one about "greed, power and arrogance."

    "The 16-count indictment alleges a pervasive pattern of self dealings, bribery and corruption by Mr. Jefferson, in violation of his oath of office, of his duty to the United States Congress in which he served, and of the duty to the citizens of the United States," said Chuck Rosenberg, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

    The officials said the investigation spanned from the United States to Africa and alleged it involved a number of occasions of criminal conduct by Jefferson, including bribing businessmen in a congressional building and promising a businessman that he would bribe a Nigerian official.

    The chief prosecutor of the Justice Department's criminal division, Alice Fisher, said the case shows that the department is strongly pursuing corruption.

    "Today's charges demonstrate that the Department of Justice will continue to enforce the public corruption laws that are designed to ensure the integrity of our government. The department will continue to hold accountable those public officials who will use their office and commit illegal acts such as the bribery schemes outlined in today's indictment," Fisher said.

    The inch-thick, 94-page indictment was handed up in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. If convicted on all charges, Jefferson could face a maximum prison term of 235 years.

     
  • At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Alan Charles said…

    I agree that Jefferson should have stepped down long ago. All his continued presence has done is give the rightwing bloggers fodder for their attacks on Democrats.

    As to wishing for a Democratic candidate who would speak out against the war, Mr. Gravel and Mr. Kucinich have been doing just that all along ~ and have been ignored all along. Sadly, people don't seem to want a candidate who speaks truth; they want a candidate they think can get elected.

     
  • At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Alan,
    The mission of the Ostroy report is not about putting the best person for America into the White House, it's about winning elections and obtaining power.

    "Our mission is to help Democrats regain the White House and Congress."

    Our mission doesn't include the words "truth" or "justice" by design.

     
  • At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Andy-----you could have titled it "Hillary flat out LIES at Dems debate"----here's the LIE: watch and enjoy her LIES.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_ypfvL5NWE&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eprisonplanet%2Ecom%2Farticles%2Fjune2007%2F050607Clinton%2Ehtm

    Ron Paul for President!!

     
  • At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Los Angeles Democrat said…

    Wow, the screwballs are out in the comments for this one.
    You're right, Andy. Obama blew it. Repeatedly bombing at debates and other such forums goes to show what many of us have said all along: OBAMA IS NOT READY.

    I will add this further prediction, namely, that Obama's premature effort on the national stage will doom any future aspirations to national office. So long loser.

     
  • At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    !
    ! STOP THE ILLEGAL ALIEN AMNESTY BILL

    20 Loopholes in the Senate Immigration Bill



    * Loophole 1 – Legal Status Before Enforcement:


    Amnesty benefits do not wait for the “enforcement trigger.” After filing an application and waiting 24 hours, illegal aliens will receive full “probationary benefits,” complete with the ability to legally live and work in the U.S., travel outside of the U.S. and return, and their own social security card. Astonishingly, if the trigger is never met and amnesty applications are therefore never “approved,” the probationary benefits granted to the illegal alien population never expire, and the new social security cards issued to the illegal alien population are not revoked. [See pp. 1, 290-291, & 315].


    * Loophole 2 – U.S. VISIT Exit Not In Trigger:


    The “enforcement trigger,” required to be met before the new temporary worker program begins, does not require that the exit portion of U.S. VISIT system – the biometric border check-in/check-out system first required by Congress in 1996 that is already well past its already postponed 2005 implementation due date – to be in place before new worker or amnesty programs begin. Without the U.S. VISIT exit portion, the U.S. has no method to ensure that workers (or their visiting families) do not overstay their visas. Our current illegal population contains 4 to 5.5 million visa overstays, therefore, we know that the U.S. VISIT exit component is key to a successful new temporary worker program. [See pp. 1-2].


    * Loophole 3 – Trigger Requires No More Agents, Beds, or Fencing Than Current Law:


    The “enforcement trigger” does not require the Department of Homeland Security to have detention space sufficient to end “catch and release” at the border and in the interior. Even after the adoption of amendment 1172, the trigger merely requires the addition of 4,000 detention beds, bringing DHS to a 31,500 bed capacity. This is far short of the 43,000 beds required under current law to be in place by the end of 2007, or the additional 20,000 beds required later in the bill. Additionally, the bill establishes a “catch, pay, and release” program. This policy will benefit illegal aliens from countries other than Mexico that are caught at the border, then can post a $5,000 bond, be released and never show up for deportation hearings. Annual failure to appear rates for 2005 and 2006, caused in part by lack of detention space, doubled the 2004 rate (106,000 – 110,000 compared with 54,000). Claims that the bill “expands fencing” are inaccurate. The bill only requires 370 miles of fencing to be completed, while current law already mandates that more than 700 miles be constructed [See pp. 1-2, & 10-11, and EOIR’s FY2006 Statistical Yearbook, p. H2, and The Secure Fence Act of 2004].


    * Loophole 4 -- Three Additional Years Worth of Illegal Aliens Granted Status, Treated Preferentially To Legal Filers:


    Aliens who broke into the country illegally a mere 5 months ago, are treated better than foreign nationals who legally applied to come to the U.S. more than two years ago. Aliens who can prove they were illegally in the U.S. on January 1, 2007, are immediately eligible to apply from inside the U.S. for amnesty benefits, while foreign nationals that filed applications to come to the U.S. after May 1, 2005 must start the application process over again from their home countries. Last year’s bill required illegal aliens to have been here before January 7, 2004 to qualify for permanent legal status. [See pp. 263, 282, & 306].


    * Loophole 5 – Completion of Background Checks Not Required For Probationary Legal Status:


    Legal status must be granted to illegal aliens 24 hours after they file an application, even if the aliens have not yet “passed all appropriate background checks.” (Last year’s bill gave DHS 90 days to check an alien’s background before any status was granted). No legal status should be given to any illegal alien until all appropriate background checks are complete. [See pp. 290].


    * Loophole 6 – Some Child Molesters Are Still Eligible:


    Some aggravated felons – those who have sexually abused a minor – are eligible for amnesty. A child molester who committed the crime before the bill is enacted is not barred from getting amnesty if their conviction document omitted the age of the victim. The bill corrects this loophole for future child molesters, but does not close the loophole for current or past convictions. [See p. 47: 30-33, & p. 48: 1-2]


    * Loophole 7 – Terrorism Connections Allowed, Good Moral Character Not Required:


    Illegal aliens with terrorism connections are not barred from getting amnesty. An illegal alien seeking most immigration benefits must show “good moral character.” Last year’s bill specifically barred aliens with terrorism connections from having “good moral character” and being eligible for amnesty. This year’s bill does neither. Additionally, bill drafters ignored the Administration’s request that changes be made to the asylum, cancellation of removal, and withholding of removal statutes in order to prevent aliens with terrorist connections from receiving relief. [Compare §204 in S. 2611 from the 109th Congress with missing §204 on p. 48 of S.A. 1150, & see missing subsection (5) on p. 287 of S.A. 1150].


    * Loophole 8 – Gang Members Are Eligible:


    Instead of ensuring that members of violent gangs such as MS 13 are deported after coming out of the shadows to apply for amnesty, the bill will allow violent gang members to get amnesty as long as they “renounce” their gang membership on their application. [See p. 289: 34-36].


    * Loophole 9 – Absconders Are Eligible:


    Aliens who have already had their day in court – those subject to final orders of removal, voluntary departure orders, or reinstatement of their final orders of removal – are eligible for amnesty under the bill. The same is true for aliens who have made a false claim to citizenship or engaged in document fraud. More than 636,000 alien fugitives could be covered by this loophole. [See p. 285:19-22 which waives the following inadmissibility grounds: failure to attend a removal proceeding; final orders of removal for alien smuggling; aliens unlawfully present after previous immigration violations or deportation orders; and aliens previously removed. This appears to conflict with language on p. 283:40-41. When a direct conflict appears in a statute, the statue is interpreted by the courts to the benefit of the alien.].


    * Loophole 10 – Learning English Not Required For A Decade:


    Illegal aliens are not required to demonstrate any proficiency in English for more than a decade after they are granted amnesty. Learning English is not required for an illegal alien to receive probationary benefits, the first 4-year Z visa, or the second 4-year Z visa. The first Z visa renewal (the second 4-year Z visa) requires only that the alien demonstrate an “attempt” to learn English by being “on a waiting list for English classes.” Passing a basic English test is required only for a second Z visa renewal (the third 4-year Z visa), and even then the alien only has to pass the test “prior to the expiration of the second extension of Z status” (12 years down the road). [See pp. 295-296].


    * Loophole 11 – Earned Income Tax Credit Will Cost Taxpayers Billions In Just 10 Years:


    Current illegal aliens and new guest workers will be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit designed to encourage American citizens and legal permanent residents to work. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this loophole will cost the U.S. taxpayer up to $20 billion dollars in just the first 10 years after the bill’s enactment. To be consistent with the intent of the 1996 welfare reforms – which limited new immigrants from receiving public benefits until they had been legal permanent residents for five years – the bill should withhold EITC eligibility from amnestied aliens until they become legal permanent residents. Closing this loophole will save the taxpayers billions of dollars. [See p. 293 after S.A. 1190 was adopted, p. 307, p. 315, §606. All that is required for EITC eligibility is a social security number and resident alien status. Nothing in the bill’s tax provisions limit EITC eligibility. The issuance of social security numbers to aliens as soon as they apply for amnesty will ensure they are able to qualify for the EITC.]


    * Loophole 12 – Affidavits From Friends Accepted As Evidence:


    Records from day-labor centers, labor unions, and “sworn declarations” from any non-relative (acquaintances, friends, coworkers, etc) are to be accepted as evidence that the illegal alien has satisfied the bill’s amnesty requirements. This low burden of proof will invite fraud and more illegal immigration – even aliens who are not yet in the U.S. will likely meet this burden of proof. DHS will not have the resources to examine whether the claims contained in the “sworn declarations” of the alien’s friends (that the alien was here prior to January 1, 2007 and is currently employed) are actually valid. [See p. 293: 13-16].


    * Loophole 13 – Taxpayer Funded Legal Counsel and Arbitration:


    Free legal counsel and the fees and expenses of arbitrators will be provided to aliens that have been working illegally in agriculture. The U.S. taxpayer will fund the attorneys that help these individuals fill out their amnesty applications. Additionally, if these individuals have a dispute with their employer over whether they were fired for “just cause,” DHS will “pay the fee and expenses of the arbitrator.” [See p. 339:37-41, & p. 332: 37-38.]


    * Loophole 14 – In-State Tuition and Student Loans:


    In-state tuition and other higher education benefits, such as Stafford Loans, will be made available to current illegal aliens that are granted initial “probationary” status, even if the same in-state tuition rates are not offered to all U.S. citizens. This would normally violate current law (8 U.S.C. §1623) which mandates that educational institutions give citizens the same postsecondary education benefits they offer to illegal aliens. [See p. 321: 8-31].


    * Loophole 15 – Inadequacy of the Merit System:


    The “merit system,” designed to shift the U.S. green card distribution system to attract higher skilled workers that benefit the national interest, is only a shell of what it should have been. Though the merit system begins immediately, it will not increase the percentage of high skilled immigrants coming to the United States until 2016, 8 years after enactment. Of the 247,000 green cards dedicated to the merit based system each year for the first 5 years, 100,000 green cards will be reserved for low-skilled guest workers (10,000) and for clearing the current employment based green card backlog (90,000). From 2013 to 2015, the number of merit based green cards drops to 140,000, and of that number, 100,000 green cards are still reserved each year for low-skilled guest workers (10,000) and for clearing the current employment based green card backlog (90,000). Even after 2015, when the merit system really begins (in 2016) by having 380,000 green cards annually, 10,00 green cards will be reserved specifically for low skilled workers, and points will be given for many characteristics that are not considered “high-skilled.” For example, 16 points will be given for aliens in “high demand occupations” which includes janitors, maids, food preparation workers, and groundskeepers. [See p.260: 25 – p. 261: 20, p. 262, & The Department of Labor’s list of “occupations with the largest job growth” available at www.bls.gov/emp/emptab3.htm].



    * Loophole 16 – Visas For Individuals That Plan To Overstay:


    The new “parent” visa contained in the bill which allows parents of citizens, and the spouses and children of new temporary workers, to visit a worker in the United States is not only a misnomer, but also an invitation for high rates of visa overstays. This new visa specifically allows the spouse and children of new temporary workers who intend to abandon their residence in a foreign country, to qualify to come to the U.S. to “visit.” The visa requires only a $1,000 bond, which will be forfeited when, not if, family members of new temporary workers decide to overstay their 30 day visit. Workers should travel to their home countries to visit their families, not the other way around. [See p. 277:1 – 33, and p. 276: 38-43].


    * Loophole 17 – Chain Migration Tippled Before Being Eliminated:


    Though the bill will eventually eliminate chain migration (relatives other than spouses and children of citizens and legal permanent residents), it will not have full effect until 2016. Until then, chain migration into the U.S. will actually triple, from approximately 138,000 chain migrants a year (equal to 14% of the 1 million green cards the U.S. currently distributes on an annual basis) to approximately 440,000 chain migrants a year (equal to 45% of the 1 million green cards the U.S. currently distributes on an annual basis). [See pp. 260:13, p. 270: 29 – pp. 271: 17]


    * Loophole 18 – Back Taxes Not Required:


    Last year’s bill required illegal aliens to prove they had paid three of their last five years of taxes to get amnesty. This year, payment of back taxes is not required for amnesty. The bill requires taxes to be paid at the time of application for a green card, but at that time, only proof of payment of Federal taxes (not state and local) is required for the years the alien worked on a Z visa, not the years the alien has already worked illegally in the United States. Though Senator McCain’s S.A. 1190, adopted by voice vote, claimed to “require undocumented immigrants receiving legal status to pay owed back taxes,” the amendment actually only required proof of payment of taxes for “any year during the period of employment required by subparagraph (D)(i).” Since the bill does not contain a subparagraph (D)(i), nor require any past years of employment as a prerequisite for amnesty, the amendment essentially only requires proof of payment of taxes for future work in the U.S., not payment of “back taxes.” [See p. 307, and p. 293 as altered by S.A. 1190, amendment p. 2: 19-20.]


    * Loophole 19 – Social Security Credits Allowed For Some Illegal Work Histories:


    Aliens who came to the U.S. on legal visas, but overstayed their visas and have been working in the U.S. for years, as well as illegal aliens who apply for Z visa status but do not qualify, will be able to collect social security credits for the years they worked illegally. Under the bill, if an alien was ever issued a social security account number – all work-authorized aliens who originally came on legal visas receive these – the alien will receive Social Security credits for any “quarters of coverage” the alien worked after receiving their social security account number. Because the bill requires social security account numbers to be issued “promptly” to illegal aliens as soon as they are granted “any probationary benefits based upon application [for Z status]” (these benefits are granted 24 hours after the application is filed), an illegal alien who is denied Z visa status but continues to work illegally in the U.S. will accumulate Social Security credits. [See pp. 316:8 – 16, and pp. 315: 32-39]


    * Loophole 20 – Criminal Fines Not Proportional To Conduct:


    The criminal fines an illegal alien is required to pay to receive amnesty are less than the bill’s criminal fines for paperwork violations committed by U.S. citizens, and can be paid by installment. Under the bill, an illegal alien must pay a $1,000 criminal fine to apply for a Z visa, and a $4,000 fine to apply for a green card. Eighty percent of those fines can be paid on an installment plan. Under the bill’s confidentiality provisions, someone who improperly handles or uses information on an alien’s amnesty application can be fined $10,000. Administration officials suggest that the bill’s “criminal fines are proportionate to the criminal conduct.” Why, then, is the fine for illegally entering, using false documents to work, and live one-tenth the fine for a paperwork violation committed by a government official? [See p. 287: 34, p. 317: 9, p. 315:6-8, & remarks made by Secretary Gutierrez on Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4:00 May 31, 2007]

     
  • At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can't anyone who responds to this blog respond to the topic written by Ostroy??? If not, get your own blog and call attention to what you want to be the subject of a discussion.

    Obama did blow it and the other Dems were not very impressive either. Edwards is my chocie so far but he seems scattered or even troubled. Hillary was "sound and fury signifying nothing." What did she really tell us?

    Whereas I thought the Republicans presented themselves as more forceful, passionate and better versed in their campaign points.

    I am a Democrat and I am worried about the choices we have at this time. I truly hope Gore runs.

     
  • At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hillary LIED and said ALL the Republicans support Bush, support the surge and are for the war-----LIE!!!! Ron Paul is against the war (always has been), does not support Bush and does not support the surge. If Hillary is a liar, then so is Bill. They are bought and paid for establishment distractors from truth. Gore will continue the war too. This is why the Democrats demonize Ron paul too, because they are secretly FOR the war, even though they SAY they arent. They are liars and Joe Biden is a traitor for voting to fund it. Bill Clinton is a liar just like his successor Bush----all Bohemian Grove members who discuss world policy while worshipping Molech. Andy, I thought you were smarter than this.

     
  • At 8:11 AM, Anonymous chuck stout said…

    Andy, your insightful analysis of Sen. Obama's performance, especially what he should have said, is absolutely correct! He should have been much more forceful and much more direct in his answer, laying all the blame on the current administration, who so richly deserve it.

     
  • At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Obama has strong support across the country. Why are some of the above eating their own, so to speak? Obama would make a great VP candidate!

    Concentrate on the Repubs, not the Dems. Let's play their game for a change: Win at all costs!

     

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