Friday, March 31, 2006
Intimidation is the name of the game, and this week we've seen some world-class players at work. A few disc jockeys and an army of high-school kids out for a day of hooky made quick work of several Republican senators. March madness, indeed.
If the Republican majorities in both the House and Senate buckle and enact still another amnesty for the millions of illegal aliens among us, as anyone consulting history should expect them to do, credit must go where credit belongs.
Here's the Associated Press dissecting the Grand March through California on the morning after, when it turned out that the spontaneous demos were not so spontaneous after all: "The marching orders were clear: Carry American flags and pack the kids, pick up your trash and wear white for peace and for effect. Many of the 500,000 people who crammed downtown Los Angeles to protest legislation ... learned where, when and even how to demonstrate from the Spanish language media ... they were organized, promoted or publicized by Spanish-language radio hosts and TV anchors as a demonstration of Hispanic pride and power. ..."
Well, they're entitled. Taking to the streets long ago replaced baseball as our national pastime, and the right to demonstrate how unhappy and oppressed you are in the land of the big PX is what America is all about. Gay caballeros want wives who look exactly like them, feminists usually don't want men but they do want abortions, and they have marched through the streets to say so. The teenagers in the streets of Los Angeles want most of all to show their contempt for the law of the land of good and plenty. Some of them are so oppressed they hardly know where to park their cars, recharge their IPods, mooch a six-pack or download the clanging noise that surrounds them wherever they go. At one California high school they ran the ubiquitous Mexican flag up the flagpole, displaying it above the American flag, which they flew upside down to signal acute distress.
But you might think that members of Congress, bumpkins though many of them are, could figure out just who it is yanking their chains. Some of the Republicans in Congress, perhaps even the new leadership under John Boehner in the House and the old leadership under Bill Frist in the Senate, watch the crowds of kids and see landslides on a Tuesday in a distant November, forgetting that most of those demonstrators either can't vote (tip to the Amnesty Caucus: 16-year-olds aren't eligible even to register) or won't vote (tip to the Caucus: teenagers are notoriously unable to get themselves out of bed and voting gets a low priority when they do).
Nevertheless, frightened old women in Congress see young bodies in the streets and conclude in their panic that pandering in Spanish is the way to go this November. The likes of Sam Brownback and Lindsey Graham, of Arlen Specter and Mike DeWine and the Amnesty Caucus should have no trouble learning the words to the pledge of allegiance to Mexico, the Salvadoran battle cry, and all six verses of the Guatemalan national anthem. But they're forgetting that unless they mollify the voters who sent them here this will be the November of the Republican burial without honors. The Americans who don't count in the Amnesty Caucus calculation are telling the pollsters by margins bumping 80 percent that they want the government to get tough on illegals jumping the line ahead of immigrants who are naive and foolish enough to play by the rules.
The driving force for illegal immigration is a confluence of interests, some worthy and some not. The illegals are mostly good and decent folk seeking a better life—but illegal nonetheless. The unions see compliant fodder to replenish their depleted ranks. Corporate Republicans see a vast and inexhaustible supply of cheap and easily abused labor. Certain Republican strategists think they see an easily manipulated coalition of illegals, resentful Muslims, evangelical Christians and good ol' boys who are poor, uneducated and easy to command. You can't blame the Democrats, who won't have to do anything but watch, for licking their chops.
Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Immigration, Illegal Aliens, Citizenship, Law and Order, Political Correctness
Thursday, March 30, 2006
The Washington Times
March 30, 2006
In 1907, during one of the great immigration waves, President Teddy Roosevelt said that the immigrant who comes here "in good faith ... shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin." However, he added, "We have room but for one flag, the American flag."
Words well worth recalling as we noticed what student protesters decided to hoist up their high school flagpole while ostensibly demonstrating against immigration reform. In Spanish this is called reconquista, the reconquering of Mexican land lost during the Mexican-American war (1846-48), and its appearance in Los Angeles this week adds a dark dimension to the entire immigration debate.
In contrast to Mexican immigrants, those who emigrated to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries came mostly from countries -- Ireland, Poland, Italy, Bohemia, Germany and Greece -- that had little if any significant historical dealings with the United States. Nearly all had never had colonial possessions in America, nor had lost territory on the continent in war. Their citizens emigrated because they were inspired by hopes for a new and better life, not redress for past indignities. In time they became Americans.
Something entirely different motivates the Hispanic radicals. Their inspiration is anti-Americanism, which they cheerfully articulate in banners proclaiming "This is our continent, not yours!" They claim citizenship, or at least the benefits of citizenship, to be theirs by right, rather than something to be earned. And their ultimate fantasy is no different than the radical Muslim immigrants living in the slums outside Paris: To retake what they think was formerly their ancestors' land, if not in name then in numbers. Tragically, they are able to dupe idealistic students into advancing their cause by masking their true intentions behind the facade of ethnic pride or civil rights. Nothing is more un-American, especially for those requesting American citizenship.
We acknowledge that a majority of protesters gathering in Los Angeles and San Diego this week do not believe in the reconquista agenda. Their disagreement is with Congress, not America. But by accepting radicals into their ranks, by allowing students to desecrate the American flag, they have given tacit approval of the reconquista message. If the leaders of the Latino community wish to bring public opinion to their side, they must condemn these verbal and symbolic calls for reconquest.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Immigration, Illegal Aliens, Citizenship, Law and Order, Political Correctness
Monday, March 27, 2006
What are we to make of the hoopla over illegal aliens? What insanity has overtaken a sizeable portion of the American people that they will ignore the fact that some 11-to-12 million people have entered this country illegally, and instead of demanding that their government take steps to find these people and send them out of the country, they march in protest of a Congressional measure to stiffen the law against people coming to our country illegally?
It is politically incorrect—although technically right on the money—to call those who illegally enter the United States “illegal aliens.” The politically acceptable term, however, is “undocumented immigrants.” The term “undocumented” is purposely deceptive; it is an effort to sway public opinion from regarding these law-breakers as law-breakers. Such Orwellian tactics are demagoguery of the worst sort, and serve only to cloud a serious situation. Calling an illegal alien an “undocumented” immigrant is like calling a burglar an “undocumented” houseguest, or a person driving without a license an “undocumented” driver. All three—the “immigrant,” the burglar and the driver—have broken the law.
Even the term “immigrant” is misused. An immigrant is someone who comes to a country to take up permanent residence. Many/most of those illegal Mexican aliens that we euphemistically call “immigrants” are no more than transient illegal aliens who frequently cross the porous U.S. border.
The U.S. Census Bureau categorizes foreign-born as follows:
- Naturalized U.S. citizens (those who have become citizens through the legal process)
- Lawful permanent residents (immigrants)
- Temporary migrants (such as foreign students)
- Humanitarian migrants (such as refugees)
- Persons illegally present in the United States (illegal aliens)
In every one of those categories above, except that of the illegal alien, some process of law was followed. Either foreign-born persons followed the process to become a citizen, or they followed a process to be designated a member of one of the other categories. The illegal aliens, on the other hand, have thumbed their nose at the process.
The problems illegal aliens cause citizens of our country are serious. According to a new report by the Wall Street investment firm Bear Stearns titled, The Underground Labor Force is Rising to the Surface:
- The illegal alien population of the U.S. is about 20 million – roughly the population of New York State.
- The report asserts that there are between 12 and 15 million jobs in the U.S. currently held by illegal aliens, or about 8 percent of the work force.
- Moreover, between 4 and 6 million jobs have shifted to the underground economy since 1990. These are not "jobs Americans won’t do," but rather "jobs Americans used to do."
- "On the revenue side, the United States may be foregoing $35 billion a year in income tax collections because of the number of jobs that are now off the books."
- "We estimate that approximately 5 million illegal workers are collecting wages on a cash basis and are avoiding income taxes."
- "The United States is simply hooked on cheap, illegal workers and deferring the costs of providing public services to these quasi-Americans."
These problems only scratch the surface. The amount of “damage” from illegal immigration in costs is enormous, and the security risk from porous borders is inestimable.
We just have to do better. We have to get control of the borders. We have to locate illegal aliens and do something with them that does not reward them for illegally entering the U.S., and we have to restore the legal process for coming to this country.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Immigration, Illegal Aliens, Politics, Law and Order, Political Correctness
Friday, March 24, 2006
Many of us are aware of the degree to which government intrudes upon our lives, and we mostly resist these intrusions. Dr. Williams tells us about a Washington-based organization trying mightily to get government to tell us more things we can't do in the following column (Click on the title to go to the source).
by Walter E. Williams
Mar 22, 2006
Some call the people behind the Washington-D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) busybodies, but I call them wannabe tyrants. Let's look at their agenda, which seeks greater control over our lives.
Last year, CSPI filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce the amount of salt in packaged foods. They also called for the FDA to mandate warning labels on non-diet soft drinks that consumption increases the risk of obesity, tooth decay and osteoporosis. Earlier this year, CSPI announced its intent to sue Viacom Inc. and Kellogg Company for marketing junk food to children.
CSPI has long called for excise taxes on fatty foods, cars and TV sets. Their justification is that obesity adds to Medicare and Medicaid health costs. They want some of the tax revenue used to fund exercise facilities and government fitness campaigns.
There's no end to CSPI's consumer control agenda. They say, "Caffeine is the only drug that is widely added to the food supply." Therefore, they've called for caffeine warning labels. To deal with teenage and adult overconsumption of alcohol, they've called for doubling the tax on beer. According to them, "The last thing the world needs is more drinkers, even moderate ones."
To fight obesity among young people, CSPI calls for a fast-food advertising ban on TV programs seen by children. CSPI's director, Michael Jacobson, said, "We could envision taxes on butter, potato chips, whole milk, cheeses, [and] meat," adding that "CSPI is proud about finding something wrong with practically everything."
I'm guessing that most Americans, except politicians, find this control agenda offensive. Politicians might not find it offensive because controlling lives is their stock in trade, plus there's the promise of the higher revenues from food taxes. Most Americans who might find the CSPI agenda offensive are not motivated by principle. It's a matter of whose ox is being gored.
You say, "What do you mean, Williams?" CSPI tyrants are following almost to the letter the template created by the nation's anti-smoking zealots. Their fellow traveler, New York University professor Marion Nestle, says that the food industry "can't behave like cigarette companies. . . . Yet there's a lot of people who benefit from people being fat and sick, and the whole setup is designed to make people eat more. So the response to the food industry should be very similar to what happened with the tobacco companies."
The anti-smoking zealots started out with "reasonable" demands, such as warning labels on cigarette packs and no smoking sections on airplanes. They made exaggerated claims about the cost that smokers were imposing on the health care system. Then cigarette manufacturers faced multimillion-dollar lawsuits and multibillion-dollar local, state and federal extortion, not to mention confiscatory taxes, all of which are passed on to smokers in the form of higher prices.
Just recently, the City of Calabasas, Calif., adopted an ordinance that bans smoking in virtually all outdoor areas. Partial justification is to protect children from bad influences -- seeing adults smoking. Had the anti-smoking zealots revealed their entire agenda back in the '60s and '70s, they wouldn't have gotten much. By using the piecemeal approach, they've been successful beyond their dreams, and the food zealots are following their example.
I'd be interested to know just how many Americans would like to see done to our food industry what was done to the tobacco industry: massive multibillion-dollar lawsuits against food companies; massive suits against restaurants that serve too large a serving, and confiscatory taxes levied on foods and snacks deemed non-nutritious.
Consumers will pay for all of this in the form of higher food prices and fewer choices. There's also the possibility that food zealots in some cities, emboldened by the success of the anti-smoking zealots in Calabasas, who are concerned about smokers passing on bad habits to our youth, might call for an ordinance banning public appearance of obese people so as not to pass bad eating habits on to our children.
Since 1980, Dr. Williams has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics.
Since 1980, Dr. Williams has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics.
Monday, March 20, 2006
The United States is nuts about tobacco. No, I don’t mean that everyone loves the stuff; I mean that hating it has become politically correct, and the manic anti-tobacco fringe has succeeded in making using tobacco in any of its forms taboo.
Now I’m not a big fan of tobacco. I love a good cigar and enjoy one as often as it suits. But I don’t like cigarettes or chewing tobacco or snuff, have never used them and probably never will. I really dislike smelling cigarette smoke when eating, and at other times, too. So, no, I’m not complaining about the anti-tobacco crusade because it affects me negatively, unless they try to outlaw cigars. Then I’ll fight.
I’m not going to try to argue against all the “scientific evidence” about tobacco, either first-hand or second-hand, even though I think much of the “evidence” about second-hand smoke is bogus. I think smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, or dipping snuff is pretty much harmful to human beings, with the exception of pipe and cigar smoking. Since you don’t inhale pipe and tobacco smoke, and if you smoke in reasonably well ventilated places, I believe the risk from those activities in virtually non-existent.
No, what I’m exercised about is the headlong rush to stamp out tobacco use across the country, ignoring the fact that tobacco is a legal substance in the United States, and people have the right to buy it and use it if they want to. It’s gotten so bad that some places have passed regulations/laws/ordinances against smoking in open places, citing the inconvenience to those who “might” come in contact with smoke as they stroll through the park, or walk down the street.
This is basic demagoguery. Either tobacco is the worst substance known to man, or it isn’t. If it is, then outlaw it. And if you can’t or won’t outlaw it, leave people alone, at least in open areas, to smoke if they want to.
Just as people have the right not to smoke, they have the right not to go places where smokers congregate. In this country not only non-smokers have rights, and it isn’t the government’s job to protect people from every sort of unpleasant encounter they might have. And certainly not to the extent of trampling on people’s right to choose to indulge in a legal activity or for business owners to decide for themselves whether or not they want people to smoke in their establishments.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Tobacco, Political Correctness, Rights, Legality, Big Brother
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Mar 16, 2006
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia railed against the era of the "judge-moralist," saying judges are no better qualified than "Joe Sixpack" to decide moral questions such as abortion and gay marriage.
"Anyone who thinks the country's most prominent lawyers reflect the views of the people needs a reality check," he said during a speech to New England School of Law students and faculty at a Law Day banquet on Wednesday night.
The 70-year-old justice said the public, through elected legislatures -- not the courts -- should decide watershed questions such as the legality of abortion.
Scalia decried his own court's recent overturning of a state anti-sodomy law, joking that he personally believes "sexual orgies eliminate tension and ought to be encouraged," but said a panel of judges is not inherently qualified to determine the morality of such behavior.
He pointed to the granting of voting rights to women in 1920 through a constitutional amendment as the proper way for a democracy to fundamentally change its laws.
"Judicial hegemony" has replaced the public's right to decide important moral questions, he said. Instead, he said, politics has been injected in large doses to the process of nominating and confirming federal judges.
Scalia has made similar, if less strident, comments during past public appearances.
The jurist, well-known as a strict constructionist in his interpretation of the Constitution, opened his remarks by saying, "I brought three speeches, and I decided to give the most provocative one, because this seems to be too happy a crowd."Technorati Tags: Politics, Antonin Scalia, Liberalism, Supreme Court, Judicial Activism, Culture
What American taxpayor likes the current system? And why would any American like it? It is absurdly complex, running 60,000 pages and nine million words, and it has been amended 14,000 times since the last serious attempt at tax simplification was made in 1986. The U.S. needs a better system.
Here is a passage from the Tax Foundation that explains why we need a change in how we collect taxes: "In 2005 individuals, businesses and non-profits will spend an estimated six billion hours complying with the federal income tax code, with an estimated compliance cost of over $265.1 billion. This effectively imposes a $0.22 tax compliance surcharge on every dollar the income tax system collects. Projections show that by 2015 compliance costs will grow to $482.7 billion." This is non-productive money taken out of the economy just to meet the demands of tax compliance. No one can argue that such a system makes any sense at all. Try to imagine the shot to our economy of pumping more than a quarter of a billion dollars back into it.
The FairTax is a proposed solution to this problem, and legislation is currently before both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to replace the current tax system with the FairTax in January of 2007. This is replacement, not reform. It does away with federal income taxes including, personal, estate, gift, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes. Under the FairTax you keep 100 percent of your income.
The FairTax is a single-rate, federal sales tax collected only once, at the final point of purchase of new goods and services for personal consumption. Used items are not taxed. Business-to-business purchases for the production of goods and services are not taxed.
A tax rate of 23 percent raises the same amount of federal funds as are raised by the current system, paying the universal rebate, and paying the collection fees to retailers and state governments. Unlike some other proposals, this rate has been independently confirmed by several different, non-partisan institutions across the country. Detailed calculations are available from FairTax.org. You can find answers to frequently asked questions here.
The FairTax provides every family with a rebate of the sales tax on spending up to the federal poverty level (plus an extra amount to prevent any marriage penalty). The rebate is paid monthly in advance. It allows a family of four to spend $25,660 tax free each year. The rebate for a married couple with two children is $492 per month ($5,902 annually). Therefore, no family pays federal sales tax on essential goods and services and middle-class families are effectively exempted on a big part of their annual spending.
Retail businesses collect the tax from the consumer, just as state sales tax systems already do in 45 states; the FairTax will simply be an additional line on the current sales tax reporting form. Retailers simply collect the tax and send it to the state taxing authority. All businesses serving as collection agents will receive a fee for collection, and the states will also receive a collection fee. The tax revenues from the states will then be sent to the U.S. Treasury.
I'm not taking any bets that the Congress will pass these bills, but wouldn't it be a pleasant change if they did?
Technorati Tags: Politics, Taxation, Congress, Income Tax, Tax Reform, U.S. Economy
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
This text is ostensibly from a county emergency manager out in the western part of North Dakota after the recent snowstorm. Regardless of its author, it makes a strong point.
Up here in the Northern Plains we just recovered from a Historic event --- may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" with a historic blizzard of up to 44" inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores cut power to 10's of thousands.
- George Bush did not come...
- FEMA did nothing...
- No one howled for the government...
- No one blamed the government...
- No one even uttered an expletive on TV...
- Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit...
- Our Mayors did not blame Bush or anyone else...
- Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else either...
- CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC did not visit or report on this category 5 snow storm...
- Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards...
- No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House...
- No one looted...
- Nobody, I mean Nobody demanded the government do something...
- Nobody expected the government to do anything either...
- No Larry King, No Oprah, No Chris Mathews and No Geraldo Rivera...
- No Shaun Penn, No Barbara Striesand, No Hollywood types to be found....
We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for 'sittin-at-home' checks. Even though a blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
He will be remembered as having cultivated such value lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that life isn't always fair. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not kids, are in charge).
His health began to rapidly deteriorate when well-intended but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Mr. Sense declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student; but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Finally, Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, she spilled a bit in her lap, and was awarded a huge settlement.
Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by two stepbrothers, My Rights and Ima Whiner. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.
Monday, March 13, 2006
A news report tells us that Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who is widely thought to be pursuing the Democratic presidential nomination for 2008, will introduce a Senate resolution today to censure President Bush for authorizing the wiretapping of telephone conversations of suspected terrorists.
I agree: President Bush should not have invaded the privacy of terrorists planning to attack the United States.
Accusations that Sen. Feingold is grandstanding, or printing political capital are unwarranted, and beneath contempt.
Tapes Reveal WMD Plans by Saddam
Another news report informs us that audiotapes of Saddam Hussein and his aides support the Bush administration's contention that the Iraqi dictator was determined to rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction once the international community had tired of inspections and left him alone.
These tapes have obviously been doctored, and/or those releasing this information are liars. Everyone knows that Saddam Hussein went straight after the United Nations passed numerous resolutions and foreswore WMD, terrorism and the ruthless murder of his innocent subjects.
Why won’t President Bush just come clean and admit that he attacked Iraq for the oil, and to take everyone’s attention off the 9-11 attacks that he and Vice President Cheney engineered?
Sen. Clinton’s Love-Hate Relationship with Wal-Mart
Still another report says that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) served on Wal-Mart's board of directors for six years when her husband was governor of Arkansas, and the law firm of which she was a partner, The Rose Law Firm, handled many of the Arkansas-based company's legal affairs.
The story goes on to say that she told an audience at the convention of the National Retail Federation in 2004 that her time on the board "was a great experience in every respect." More recently, however, the company has become a target for Democratic activists, and she has largely steered clear of any mention of Wal-Mart. Late last year, Mrs. Clinton's re-election campaign returned a $5,000 contribution from Wal-Mart, citing "serious differences with current company practices."
“As Mrs. Clinton sheds her Arkansas past and considers a 2008 presidential run,” the story continues, “the Wal-Mart issue presents a dilemma: how to reconcile the political demands she faces today with her history at a company on which many American consumers depend but many Democratic activists revile.”
This is the media at its worst. Why can’t they leave this poor woman alone? We all know that the kind of mind-changing and backing-and-filling and hypocrisy that Mrs. Clinton is being accused of is only practiced by Republicans. This type of public torture of someone who only wants to help us is a new low for the news media.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I was reading through the Observations archives today, and found this comment to a post about rights you don't have titled, Grow Up and Get Over It. Posted by a lady identified only as "Nikki," it reflects an attitude that is in too short supply these days.
Thanks to Nikki for her thoughts.
Sadly, it is too often in society that we want to blame someone else for our problems.Technorati Tags: Health, Obesity, Personal Responsibility, Law Suits
I'm fat. It's because I have had a crappy childhood and cramming food into my mouth is how I handle it. (Maybe I should sue my parents)
I'm too busy to exercise because I have to work. (Maybe I should sue my employer)
Fast food is just too easy and convenient, and I even think I might be addicted to it. (Maybe I should make an all-encompassing lawsuit to include every fast food place I've ever eaten)
I'm so sick of people who refuse to step up and take responsibility for their actions. There comes a time (can we say “18th birthday,” anyone?) where we have to stop looking at others to fix what is wrong with us and start answering for our own decisions.
We want to be considered adults. We want to make our own choices and live our own lives and be free, but yet, no we don't; we want someone else to take responsibility for us so that we don't have to do that for ourselves.
Granted, I want to say that I am aware that some obesity is caused by medical conditions that can not be controlled; I do not aim this at you in anyway.
For the rest of you "obese" people, get off the couch and take a freaking walk, pass the McDonald's or Burger King by your house and when you don't feel like you can go any farther, walk another ten minutes before turning around and heading home.
Snack on celery or other fresh fruits and vegetables rather than that huge bag of potato chips.
Who am I to judge you say? I am one of you. I'm a fat person sick of living in this skin and making an effort to change my life.
You don't want to change, you say? Fine, but shut up about other people calling you out on it.
(Thanks for letting me rant)
Friday, March 10, 2006
One of the blogs I regularly read is Michael the Archangel’s. Today I found a piece where Michael refers to a third blog written by a guy in Michael’s town who is currently in Iraq, and writing his blog from there.
I strongly recommend that everyone first read Michael’s piece “Why Liberals Are Wrong,” and then read the piece that Michael links to.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Liberals, Iraq War, Iraq
Sen. Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that some Republicans are trying to create a "police state" to round up illegal immigrants. She said this at a rally of Irish immigrants, where she criticized a bill the House passed in December that would impose harsher penalties for undocumented workers.
"Don't turn your backs on what made this country great," she said, calling the bill "a rebuke to what America stands for."
Senator Clinton is confused. Badly confused. She does not understand what a police state is, and stoops to the depths of demagoguery to equate the U.S. with a police state, and she also has no idea what made America great. It was not illegal immigrants that gave our country the diverse, hard working and independent population that contributed so much to our nation’s success. It was legal immigrants, people who followed the rules to come here to find a better life, who came here with little or nothing and through great effort turned nothing into something.
Her charge that an effort to catch people who broke laws to enter the country and who continue breaking laws to stay here represents police state tactics is absurd.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Illegal Immigration, Immigrants
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Until recently, most Americans would have agreed that the cardinal virtues are obviously good things to apply in our lives. There is nothing Machiavellian about them. They do not ask for money or demand that we do without; they are nonjudgmental; and if applied en masse, they would, without much personal sacrifice, actually solve most of the world’s problems. You don’t have to be a Christian, as I am not, to see how this is really about common sense and concern for the future.
Technorati Tags: Values, Society, Liberalism, Religion
Monday, March 06, 2006
Last Friday a 22-year-old Iranian, Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, plowed an SUV into a group of students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, injuring nine people, six of whom were taken to a hospital for treatment, but were not seriously hurt. Taheri-Azar, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill told police he did it to protest Muslim deaths around the world.
This nut is now charged with nine counts of attempted murder and nine counts of assault. Too bad the bystanders didn’t do what they ought to have done after this mindless act, which would have been to drag that jackass from his SUV and beat him senseless. That type of immediate and commensurate justice makes an impression on the rest of us that no jury trial can match.
Yes, I know: We don’t believe in vigilante justice in America. We are a nation of laws, and that certainly is of great value. But you know what? Maybe if ol’ Mohammed had known that if he tried to run down a bunch of students that the rest of them would beat his brains out, he might not have done it. It’s called deterrence, and there’s not nearly enough of that these days.
As it is, ol’ Mo was shown on TV being escorted while in custody with a smirk on his face. I’m betting that if a couple of irate students had dealt with him first, he wouldn’t have been smiling.
If things go as they should, Mo will be able to reflect on his stupidity for several years in jail, although that’s not quite as good as if he had gotten his butt stomped first.
Meanwhile, here’s yet another piece of evidence in support of the idea that Islam is full of people who are either willing to inflict violence on us non-believers, or just stand by watch others do it without saying a word of protest.
Technorati Tags: Muslim Violence, Terrorism, Crime and Punishment, Muslims
Friday, March 03, 2006
Let’s clarify some of those details out the outset. The two terms have to do with water and levees that are supposed to keep water out of places like New Orleans. When levees are “topped,” that means that the water level on the outside of the levee rises high enough to wash over the top of the levee. When “topping” occurs, only a relative little water gets past the levee. Contrast that with “breaching,” where part of the levee collapses and much more water gets in. As we all know, what damaged New Orleans so dramatically was the result not of water washing over the top of the levees, but of water rushing through gaping holes in the levees.
Four days after Katrina struck, Bush said: "I don't think anybody anticipated a breach of the levees." News sources and other of Mr. Bush’s critics have accused the President of lying when he said he wasn't warned that New Orleans’ levees could be breached during the storm. And just this Wednesday the Associated Press claimed, "federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees."
However, a video tape of a conference shows that what National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield actually told Mr. Bush was: "I don't think any model can tell you with any confidence right now whether the levees will be topped or not, but that's obviously a very, very grave concern," supporting the president's contention that the breaching of the levees was unanticipated.
On Thursday Mr. Mayfield told NBC News that he warned the President only that the levees might be topped, not breached, and that "nobody talked about the possibility of a levee breach or failure until after it happened" in the many conference calls he monitored. Mr. Mayfield further told Mr. Bush: "The forecast now suggests that there will be minimal flooding in the City of New Orleans itself."
What is it that motivates people like the President’s enemies to say things that aren’t true? Is it maliciousness? Are they just nasty, vile people who will use any issue, true or not, to score political points?
Are they just sloppy, failing to find out, or not worrying about, the truth before they shoot off their mouths?
Or are they just plain dumb, and don’t realize that someday the truth will come out, and they will look … dumb?
Technorati Tags: Politics, Democrats, Congress, Hurricane Katrina, George Bush, FEMA
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Societies have the obligation to establish rules governing conduct. The conduct that a given society determines is unacceptable reflects that society’s standards, its morals, and its humanity. Without rules and penalties for breaking them, you cannot have a civil society. In order to make it clear to its members that certain behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, a society determines punishment for those behaviors to discipline those who ignore the rules and to deter its members from indulging in them. The punishment must fit the crime; it must be strong enough and unpleasant enough that members of the society will refrain from those offensive acts, and the process that determines guilt must be fair and swift, or else the concept of crime and punishment—of justice—becomes a mere pretense.
I favor the death penalty for some crimes that are so horrendous, so contrary to our moral sensibilities, so offensive to our sense of decency and so anti-social that the most appropriate punishment is death. Those crimes are cold-blooded murder of innocent victims, clear cases of rape, the sexual assault of a child and treason. Any person whose absolute guilt in any of those crimes has been determined through a fair and thorough process has earned the death penalty, and ought to die as soon after committing the crime as possible.
I further believe the method of ending such a miscreant’s life should not be subject to approval using our ever-broadening, soft-hearted concept of “cruel and unusual punishment,” a concept that is today so unfair to victims, so heavily weighted to the benefit of the killer/rapist/child abuser/traitor, and so contrary to common sense that it would be laughable if it were not such a travesty. What fallacy of reasoning can produce in otherwise sensible people the idea that someone who has committed a brutal, horrible act should be granted exemption from experiencing the horror and pain that he or she has caused to an innocent victim? Why should the society—whose rules against anti-social behavior a killer/rapist/child abuser/traitor so blatantly ignored when he or she imposed cruel and unusual punishment upon the victim—protect that degenerate from experiencing equal misery and pain? That defies reason. It is softheaded. It is anathema to justice.
I believe the perpetrator ought to suffer a horrible, painful death, and I believe that society ought to know just how horrible and painful execution for one of those crimes is. I believe that the fair trial and swift execution of these dregs of humanity would deter a good many potential perpetrators, but even if it did not deter similar crimes it would send a strong signal that such behavior will be met with swift, certain justice resulting in an unpleasant end.
I also believe that however brutal and painful the miscreant’s death may be, it is the easy way out. It may take a couple of years to complete the process of determining and assuring absolute guilt, the last days might be terrifying, and the final minutes should be pure hell, but that does not balance the harm the crime has caused to the victim and to society.
So, to mollify those who oppose the death penalty, I would be willing to substitute for this well-deserved end a long, horrible life in confinement at hard labor, under austere conditions where every day the murderer/rapist/child abuser/traitor would be so uncomfortable and miserable that they would beg to die, and truly rue what they had done.
That’s a fair trade: You get to live, but you’re not going to like it.
Crime and Punishment
I wonder how many so-called Americans will protest this poem and its sentiments, as they have foolishly and mindlessly protested the war at the funerals of military personnel whose lives were lost in serving their country, protecting the rights of those ingrates to indulge in that inappropriate and unpatriotic behavior?
Do me a favor and label this "The Marine" and send it to everybody on your email list. Even leave this letter in it. I want this rolling all over the US; I want every home reading it. Every eye seeing it. And every heart to feel it. So can you please send this for me? I would but my email time isn't that long and I don't have much time anyway. You know what Dad? I wondered what it would be like to truly understand what JFK said in his inaugural speech.
"When the time comes to lay down my life for my country, I do not cower from this responsibility. I welcome it."
Well, now I know. And I do. Dad, I welcome the opportunity to do what I do. Even though I have left behind a beautiful wife, and I will miss the birth of our first-born child, I would do it 70 times over to fight for the place that God has made for my home. I love you all and I miss you very much. I wish I could be there when Sandi has our baby, but tell her that I love her, and Lord willing, I will be coming home soon. Give Mom a great big hug from me and give one to yourself too.
We all came together,
Both young and old
To fight for our freedom,
To stand and be bold.
In the midst of all evil,
We stand our ground,
And we protect our country
From all terror around.
Peace and not war,
Is what some people say.
But I'll give my life,
So you can live the American way.
I give you the right
To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups,
and protest in our streets.
But still I fight on,
I don't bitch, I don't whine.
I'm just one of the people
Who is doing your time.
I'm harder than nails,
Stronger than any machine.
I'm the immortal soldier,
I'm a U.S. MARINE!
So stand in my shoes,
And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you,
With the protests they've shown.
Fight for the stranger,
Fight for the young.
So they all may have,
The greatest freedom you've won.
Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor
Fight for the cripple,
Who lives next door.
But when your time comes,
Do what I've done.
For if you stand up for freedom,
You'll stand when the fight's done.
By: Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert, US Marine Corps
USS SAIPAN, PERSIAN GULF
Technorati Tags: Politics, Military, Iraq War, Patriotism, George Bush, Marines