Hurting people to help people?

In a Washington that banks on the short attention span of voters, it’s important to take a moment to flesh out the things that illustrate the capital “T” truth of who is doing what to whom.

To that end, let us answer this question for future reference: Is President Obama trying to make sequestration cuts hurt Americans as fast and as hard as he can, or is he trying to lessen the impact?

To clearly answer that, let’s dig into the very first cut his administration made.

On Tuesday, Feb. 26 (more than three days before the sequestration cuts needed to take effect), the Department of Homeland Security unilaterally released from jail what they said were “hundreds” of illegal immigrants. America could no longer afford to house the criminals, they said.

It came out of the blue. No warning. People in the communities around the detention facilities were shocked to watch prisoners walk free among them. The Obama Administration said the detainees would continue to face charges and would continue to be monitored.

And while Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE — an arm of DSS — assured the national press corps that no violent offenders would be released, Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech that day on the range of sequestration cuts and said: “The American people are going to be less safe.”

At first, DSS dodged questions on the total number of prisoners set free. Then as reporters started doing their jobs, it was confirmed that the numbers of former prisoners walking the streets as a result of the sequestration cuts were actually in the “thousands”.

And many of the prisoners had criminal histories, such as DUI convictions and drug convictions.

Even the White House started to feel the heat from the decision and, astonishingly, tried to distance itself from, well, itself by saying it didn’t know in advance anything about the cuts.

Then came this startling little piece of news. The press crunched the numbers and discovered that if ICE hits its stated goals in the number of illegal immigrants released, then it will result in far more savings than required by the sequestration cuts.

So, is President Obama trying to make sequestration cuts hurt Americans as hard as he can?

Uh, I’d say that’s a big, fat “yes”.

There go Hugo

We shouldn’t celebrate the death last week of Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez. I should, however, pray the people of that beautiful country may now find a way to achieve the freedom they deserve.

I spent a little time as a visitor in Caracas last year. The rich are very rich. The poor are very poor. With the country’s tremendous natural resources, the standard of living should be far higher. But under the socialist rule of Chavez, the people suffered unnecessarily.

While talking a good game about redistributing the wealth, giving hope to the poor and changing the world, he royally screwed his citizens by gutting the country’s free trade opportunities.

At the relatively young age of 58, Hugo Chavez left this world with $2 billion in his bank account. It is estimated that the hypocritical little commie made in excess of $34 million a year.

You can smell the sulfur from here.

Sherman Frederick, former publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame, writes a column for Stephens Media. Read his blog at