"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

We Must Make Them Responsive to Us

Ann Coulter is always fun to read, and it is easy to agree with her most of the time. It is interesting to see how she has given up on Righteous George Bush, and for the correct reasons.

She has just come out with piece about the Senate's "immigration reform" bill, which Bush loves.

Well, let her tell some of it here (follow the link to get the whole article):

Se puede get 2 years tax-free!

By Ann Coulter

If Congress adopts the Bush plan and gives amnesty to illegal aliens, Senate Republicans will be asking President Cheney for a pardon.

Bush wants to grant illegal aliens amnesty while sounding like he's really cracking down on them...

The "path to citizenship" that Bush and the Senate are trying to pawn off on Americans requires that illegals pay huge fines and back taxes...defined as a $2,000 fine and taxes for three of the last five years.

[T]hey also will have a panoply of government benefits available to them if they become citizens – in fact, even if they get green cards...

Inasmuch as most of these low-skilled immigrant workers are in the 0 percent tax bracket, this should be a real boon for the U.S. Treasury...

The Senate bill also forgives illegal aliens who have committed identity theft by stealing American Social Security numbers to get jobs...

[I]n addition to the Two Years Tax-Free plan for illegals, they get one free felony.

Also, illegal immigrants from Mexico qualify for affirmative action, allowing them to get into U.S. colleges with lower grades and scores than Americans.

Given this listing of Senate benefits to ILLEGALS (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), paid for BY YOU, there are benefits for a whole lot of others. Continues Ann:

However hardworking illegal immigrants are when they come here, the moment they become citizens, they will be immediately demagogued by Democrats into viewing welfare as a universal human right, just as they now view living in America...

The list goes on. Benefits to some, but not us citizens--we simply get stuck with the bill.

Her single best comment is this:

Instead of creating a separate class of citizens who are immune from oppressive government rules, how about relieving all of us – even us shiftless Americans – from the cost of government?

(There is much more in the full article. )

We have a president and a senate that have become refractory to us. They have forgotten that they work for us. In their forgetfulness, they are working agendas instead of working to preserve and protect the rights of LEGAL CITIZENS (pardon the redundancy). Bush is carrying the senators' water for them, so they need not rein him in. All of them are giving us the middle finger.

One third of the Senate and all of the House come up for election this November. We all need to be aware of how and why our so-called representatives have been behaving. Most need to be fired from the ballot box in November. To judge this, examine what they do

Note that that will get rid of all but about 4 Democrats and 50% of the Republicans in the Senate--and give us a vast sea of new faces in the House. That will start getting their attention.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ummah News Links

Worth keeping tabs on this one.

Via: The American Thinker

A Novel Approach to the Border Problem: Keeping Mexicans at Home Would Be Good for Mexico.

Is the tide finally turning in Mexico?

Some Mexicans publicly are admitting that emigration, for Mexico, has been a disaster. Mexican elites have not lived up to the responsibilities for their country and countrymen that come with power and position. Rather they have taken the easy way out by sending their problems across the border. A fence would stop all that.

Some interesting facts about Fox and Mexico

1) President Fox makes $236,693 a year, more than the leaders of France, the United Kingdom, and Canada; Mexican congressional deputies, who serve only a few months year, take home at least $148,000 a year, plus $28,000 "leaving office bonus" at the end of term.

2) Taxes collected are equivalent to 9.7% of GDP, a figure on par with Haiti; there is painfully little to spend on education and health care, which means there is no social mobility and little job opportunity.

Mexico is a country rich in resources and hard-working people. Obviously the leadership-class is holdingt hem back:

In short, Mexico is so corrupt, so oligopolistic, so rotting inside with the privilege of the rich that it has to send its poor and its potential political activists to another country. And on top of that, it tries to blame the United States for its own failures...

When I was in Mexico last fall, after dozens of visits over the years, people on every political and social level confirmed these accusations, complaining to me of Fox's failures. Forty families still own 60 percent of Mexico. There are no voluntary organizations, no civic involvement, no family foundations – and thus, no accountability, allowing corruption to flourish. Mexico gains $28 billion from oil revenue and $20 billion from immigrant remittances. There is virtually no industrialization, no small business, no real chance at individual entrepreneurship. Under Fox, it has created only one-tenth of the 1 million jobs needed.

Using Orwellian newspeak, Mexican politicians publicly pronounced the migration to the North a boon for Mexico. The emigrants were "national heroes", the jobs and remittance money, "Mexico's due for territorial loss at the Treaty of Hidalgo," American displays of sovereignty and border control are nothing more than "adding insult to injury, preventing re-unification of families", and so on.

Now, other "prominent Mexicans are quoted as saying that the wall would be the

“best thing that could happen for Mexico”; the “porous border” allowed “elected officials to avoid creating jobs.” And former Foreign Minister Jorge G. Castañeda, who always took a tough line toward the United States, writes in the Mexican newspaper Reforma that Mexico needed “a series of incentives” to keep Mexicans from migrating, including welfare benefits to mothers whose husbands remained in Mexico, scholarships, and the loss of land rights for people who were absent too long from their property.

Finally, a revolution in thinking! Too long has everything been blamed on the gringo, and too long have gringos been expected to pay up for Mexico's failures.

Two important points here. The fact that the free enterprise candidate for July's presidential election, Felipe Calderon of the National Action Party (PAN), is suddenly and unexpectedly surging ahead on his slogan of “My job will be to make sure you have a job” may show that the Mexican people are fed up. In addition, the fact that only 50,000 of the 400,000 Mexicans in the United States who were available to vote in the July Mexican elections have bothered to register can only indicate a generalized disgust with Mexican corruption and hopelessness, and perhaps even a turn toward American ways.

Don't count your chickens just yet: Mexican politics are notoriously deceptive, and elements in the elite will fight to hold on to their advantages and low-rate of taxation.

Mainstream-America has now awakened to the "insult of its 'neighbor' cynically exporting its problems, while doing nada at home." (After all they didn't have to while they could count on the American tax payer and the American government to take care of their problems and do the work for them.)

The immigration debate, the posting of the guard, the raising of standards, threats to seal the border and deportation of the undocumented, and all the rest has jarred Mexicans into the realization of how foolish, corrupt, and incompetent they appear to the rest of the world, as their exports are oil, human beings, crime, and drugs:

"Ironically, the debate and the anger in the U.S. about this mammoth illegal immigration ha already helped Mexico to begin to shed its dependency on America -- and to turn its energies toward its own real predators, all home-grown."

Not so fast. True, Mexico has a mammoth task ahead, for reform, cleaning up and cleaning out the corruption and criminal elements, a daunting task for anyone, but the role of corrupt politicians and employers can't be overlooked. Mexico only took advantage of the United States because they were allowed to do so. The United States must do its own soul search, its own cleaning and cleaning, and a suitable job of immigration reform is in order. The predators and villains are "home-grown" on both sides of the border,

Great News! Get on the list for Ali Sina's new book

From Robert Spencer on Jihad Watch, May 29, 2006

Ali Sina's book, Understanding Islam and the Muslim Mind

The courageous and insightful Ali Sina has written a book, and he needs people to show interest in buying it in order to encourage his publisher. Please take a look here and support Ali by signing up.

And here are some of the endorsements the book has received (there are more here):

The book is prefaced by the celebrated scholar [and Jihad Watch Board member] Ibn Warraq.

1- A blisteringly honest, thoroughly documented, and piercingly insightful investigation of the root causes within Islam of the fanaticism and violence that today threatens the entire world. Should be required reading at the State Department and the White House. -- Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades (Regnery)

2- A powerful, no holds barred look at an ideology of hate and what must be done to eradicate it. This book pulls no punches. A must read for anyone seeking to understand Islamist terrorism" Professor Kim Ezra Shienbaum, Ph.D Dept. of Political Science, Rutgers University Camden, NJ. Chief Editor of Beyond Jihad.

3- With great courage, perspicacity, and trenchant wit, Ali Sina demolishes a host of politically correct myths about Islam, and its founder. One wishes policymaking elites would avail themselves of his insights which shatter the dangerous delusions of their own invented Islam. Andrew G. Bostom, MD, author of The Legacy of Jihad

9- The war against jihad can and must be won, in spite of the Western elite class that is instinctively prone to appeasement and betrayal. The first task is to analyze frankly the identity and character of the enemy and the nature of the threat. It is essential to discard the taboos and to discuss Islam without fear or guilt, or the shackles of mandated thinking. Ali Sina's new book makes an important contribution to that objective.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles,” says Sun Tzu. Thanks to this book we know the jihadist enemy a little better -- his core beliefs, his role models, his track-record, his mindset, his modus operandi, and his intentions. We also know his weaknesses, which are many, above all his inability to develop a prosperous economy or a functional, harmonious and good society.

The main problem remains with ourselves, however, with those among us who have the power to make policy and shape opinions, and who will reject and condemn Ali Sina's diagnosis. Our own elite class treats the jihadist mindset as a pathology that can and should be treated by treating causes external to Islam itself. The result is a plethora of proposed multiculturalist “cures” that are as likely to succeed in making us safe from terrorism as snake oil is likely to cure leukemia. Dr. S. Trifkovic, Foreign Affairs Editor CHRONICLES

He's At It Again, Ma!

Happily, more and more commentary about the president of Iran compares him to Adolf Hitler, and extends that comparison to Iran as a Nazi state reincarnate. Both are completely accurate, usually far more accurate than most people appreciate. Der Spiegel has just released their interview of Adolfinejad, and here are a few tidbits.

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 30, 2006, 12:01 AM
SPIEGEL Interview with Iran's President Ahmadinejad: "We Are Determined"

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discusses the Holocaust, the future of the state of Israel, mistakes made by the United States in Iraq and Tehran's nuclear dispute with the West.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "By siding with Iran, the Europeans would serve their own and our interests."

SPIEGEL: First you make your remarks about the Holocaust. Then comes the news that you may travel to Germany -- this causes an uproar. So you were surprised after all?
Ahmadinejad: No, not at all, because the network of Zionism is very active around the world, in Europe too. So I wasn't surprised. We were addressing the German people. We have nothing to do with Zionists... We are posing two very clear questions. The first is: Did the Holocaust actually take place? You answer this question in the affirmative. So, the second question is: Whose fault was it? The answer to that has to be found in Europe and not in Palestine. It is perfectly clear: If the Holocaust took place in Europe, one also has to find the answer to it in Europe. On the other hand, if the Holocaust didn't take place, why then did this regime of occupation...We don't want to confirm or deny the Holocaust. We oppose every type of crime against any people. But we want to know whether this crime actually took place or not. If it did, then those who bear the responsibility for it have to be punished, and not the Palestinians. Why isn't research into a deed that occurred 60 years ago permitted? After all, other historical occurrences, some of which lie several thousand years in the past, are open to research, and even the governments support this.

SPIEGEL: The key question is: Do you want nuclear weapons for your country?
Ahmadinejad: Allow me to encourage a discussion on the following question: How long do you think the world can be governed by the rhetoric of a handful of Western powers? Whenever they hold something against someone, they start spreading propaganda and lies, defamation and blackmail. How much longer can that go on?

SPIEGEL: We're here to find out the truth. The head of state of a neighboring country, for example, told SPIEGEL: "They are very keen on building the bomb." Is that true?
Ahmadinejad: You see, we conduct our discussions with you and the European governments on an entirely different, higher level...

Interview conducted by Stefan Aust, Gerhard Spörl and Dieter Bednarz in Tehran.

This is a sampling of how this man thinks, and understanding how he thinks is essential to our survival. He carefully clothes emotion in the language of logic, to suck in the unsuspecting. Read the entire interview to get the full impact-- as well as a companion article An Apocalyptic Religious Zealot Takes on the World.

MEMORIAL DAY: What We Owe Our Soldiers

To follow is an op-ed piece by Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Mr. Epstein puts the meaning of our fighting men and women into context and perspective. Anyone understanding this piece will get an eye-opening about the contradictory and lousy ideas that motivate the men and women of government to send our troops to slaughter. George W. Bush is a classic in that regard, and the maiming and killing of our military personnel as well as the treasure being spilled along with their blood reflect the prevalence of this foul thinking.

George W. Bush is hardly alone. Since Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Movement, American leaders have been sending the flower of our youth and our treasure off to be sacrificed, including to police a world that has come to rely on American sacrifices to save their unhygienic behinds. The blame falls equally on the Right, the Left, and those marshmallows who call themselves "moderates."

If these fine young people of our military did not believe they were going in harm's way in service to the home of the rights of man, they would not go. But, they are being sent by their lessers to be sacrificial fodder, even cannon fodder, for what Lyndon Johnson called "championing lost causes." If America is to get well, we must stop the sacrifice and stop championing causes not worth our time and effort.

What We Owe Our Soldiers

By Alex Epstein

Every Memorial Day, we pay tribute to the American men and women who have died in combat. With speeches and solemn ceremonies, we recognize their courage and valor. But one fact goes unacknowledged in our Memorial Day tributes: all too many of our soldiers have died unnecessarily--because they were sent to fight for a purpose other than America's freedom.

The proper purpose of a government is to protect its citizens' lives and freedom against the initiation of force by criminals at home and aggressors abroad. The American government has a sacred responsibility to recognize the individual value of every one of its citizens' lives, and thus to do everything possible to protect the rights of each to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. This absolutely includes our soldiers.

Soldiers are not sacrificial objects; they are full-fledged Americans with the same moral right as the rest of us to the pursuit of their own goals, their own dreams, their own happiness. Rational soldiers enjoy much of the work of military service, take pride in their ability to do it superlatively, and gain profound satisfaction in protecting the freedom of every American, including their own freedom.

Soldiers know that in entering the military, they are risking their lives in the event of war. But this risk is not, as it is often described, a "sacrifice" for a "higher cause." When there is a true threat to America, it is a threat to all of our lives and loved ones, soldiers included. Many become soldiers for precisely this reason; it was, for instance, the realization of the threat of Islamic terrorism after September 11--when 3,000 innocent Americans were slaughtered in cold blood on a random Tuesday morning--that prompted so many to join the military.

For an American soldier, to fight for freedom is not to fight for a "higher cause," separate from or superior to his own life--it is to fight for his own life and happiness. He is willing to risk his life in time of war because he is unwilling to live as anything other than a free man. He does not want or expect to die, but he would rather die than live in slavery or perpetual fear. His attitude is epitomized by the words of John Stark, New Hampshire’s most famous soldier in the Revolutionary War: "Live free or die."

What we owe these men who fight so bravely for their and our freedom is to send them to war only when that freedom is truly threatened, and to make every effort to protect their lives during war--by providing them with the most advantageous weapons, training, strategy, and tactics possible.

Shamefully, America has repeatedly failed to meet this obligation. It has repeatedly placed soldiers in harm's way when no threat to America existed--e.g., to quell tribal conflicts in Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. America entered World War I, in which 115,000 soldiers died, with no clear self-defense purpose but rather on the vague, self-sacrificial grounds that "The world must be made safe for democracy." America's involvement in Vietnam, in which 56,000 Americans died in a fiasco that American officials openly declared a "no-win" war, was justified primarily in the name of service to the South Vietnamese. And the current war in Iraq--which could have had a valid purpose as a first step in ousting the terrorist-sponsoring, anti-American regimes of the Middle East--is responsible for thousands of unnecessary American deaths in pursuit of the sacrificial goal of "civilizing" Iraq by enabling Iraqis to select any government they wish, no matter how anti-American.

In addition to being sent on ill-conceived, "humanitarian" missions, our soldiers have been compromised with crippling rules of engagement that place the lives of civilians in enemy territory above their own. In Afghanistan we refused to bomb many top leaders out of their hideouts for fear of civilian casualties; these men continue to kill American soldiers. In Iraq, our hamstrung soldiers are not allowed to smash a militarily puny insurgency--and instead must suffer an endless series of deaths by an undefeated enemy.

To send soldiers into war without a clear self-defense purpose, and without providing them every possible protection, is a betrayal of their valor and a violation of their rights.

This Memorial Day, we must call for a stop to the sacrifice of our soldiers and condemn all those who demand it. It is only by doing so that we can truly honor not only our dead, but also our living: American soldiers who have the courage to defend their freedom and ours.

Alex Epstein is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, CA. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead."

The Ayn Rand Institute, 2121 Alton Pkwy, Ste 250, Irvine, CA 92606

Monday, May 29, 2006

Flag Etiquette

Today, we display with great pride an American flag we have displayed on every appropriate holiday since 9/11. It is beginning to show its age, but it is in good condition, and we pamper it between holidays.

We have many occasions during the year when it is appropriate to display our flag. Since this, Memorial Day, is one of them, and since others such as the 4th of July are not far off, I thought this might be a good time to refer people to a couple of good sites where they can refresh their knowledge of "flag etiquette."

Quite a few of the points of etiquette are governed by federal law in the "Flag Code."

When I was a kid, every school had a flag-raising ceremony at the beginning of the school day. We all stood at attention while the flag was raised, and then we went inside and recited the Pledge of Allegiance with our right hands over our hearts, while facing a flag displayed on the classroom wall. That was in the pre-Eisenhower days, before the controversial introduction of the phrase "under God," so there was no question whatsoever about whether it was appropriate to recite it on government property, and we were all proud to participate.

We also had lessons in "flag etiquette," both in school and for those of us who were members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, at our weekly meetings with them.

Today, many school children know little about flag etiquette unless someone has taken the time to teach them. Here are a couple of good sites (there are many) about "flag etiquette" that are helpful: USA Flag Site, and Betsy Ross. The "Betsy Ross" site has good illustrations, as well has historic photographs of violations of etiquette. Even President Bush is shown committing a violation!

The Roots of Evil - Book Review

Does evil exist? How is it defined and how can we recognize evil when we see it?

...The word “evil” seems out of fashion these days (except perhaps to describe George W. Bush). Even Islamic terrorists busily blowing up innocent children and mothers tend to get a verbal pass.

The moral and political philosopher John Kekes rejects this thought-killing nonjudgmentalism. Evil exists, he says, and philosophy has the job of explaining it. And that is what his serious and humane new book, The Roots of Evil, sets out to do.

From the outset, Kekes sets himself against most Enlightenment and religious accounts of evil. Enlightenment thinkers tended to view human nature as intrinsically good, while evil was a product of a flawed social order: Fix society and evil will vanish. Kekes, by contrast, sees evil as ineradicable, though he believes we can ameliorate its worst effects. Similarly, Kekes (a nonbeliever) claims, religious theories that posit the goodness of creation run aground: The “very existence of evil . . . constitutes a reason against believing in a morally good order.”

ACTIONS ARE EVIL, he asserts, if they combine three basic features: the “malevolent motivation” of actors, the “serious excessive harm caused by their actions,” and the lack of a “morally acceptable excuse for their actions.” On these terms, Allen’s actions were unambiguously evil: He self-consciously chose to hurt people for his own enjoyment. One must be realistic about human nature: Human beings are capable of magnanimity and mercy; they can also be stone-cold killers.
In Kekes’ view, Allen’s thuggery exemplifies the evil that can result from “disenchantment with ordinary life.” Boredom is an underappreciated source of wickedness. But there are many others, Kekes says, and he explores five more. A particularly lethal one—on a much larger scale—is utopian politics. Kekes devotes a fascinating chapter, “Perilous Dreams,” to Robespierre and the Jacobins, whose fanaticism anticipated twentieth-century totalitarianism. Kekes unsparingly details the atrocities of Robespierre’s two-year reign—women raped, children killed or mutilated, prisoners disemboweled before howling mobs.

What licensed the brutality was the Jacobins’ ideological approach to politics. Robespierre and his followers, like left-wing revolutionaries since, divided the political world in absolute terms. “All political choices of the time were interpreted as choices between morality and immorality, good and evil, virtue and vice,” writes Kekes.

“The choices Robespierre favored were of course on the side of the angels, so his opponents could be demonized.” Illustrating this chilling logic, Kekes offers the words of St-Just, Robespierre’s close ally: “The republic consists in the extermination of everything that opposes it.”

But is it right to call Robespierre evil, his apologists ask? Wasn’t he seeking a better, fairer society? Kekes will have none of it. “Robespierre had people lynched, buried alive, hacked to pieces, slowly drowned, publicly humiliated, and parts of their still-warm bodies devoured by the mob,” he observes. Whatever justification one might offer “cannot even begin to account for the savage, inhuman cruelty and ferocious malevolence” of his actions. Even if it were necessary to kill his victims—not that it was, of course—the wild excess of the harm he and the Jacobins inflicted reveals the moral truth. The same kind of excesses characterized the actions of Kekes’ other evildoers.

Consider the “dirty warriors” of Argentina’s military junta during the late 1970s. Committed to national and military “honor”—a concept that when perverted becomes a third source of potential evil, Kekes believes—they used kidnapping, gruesome torture, and murder to eradicate subversives (dropping bound victims out of airplanes to drown in the ocean was a preferred method of killing). The junta defined subversion so loosely that anyone who disagreed with the dirty warriors’ vision of politics became a potential victim.

Here, too, politics became a battleground between good and evil, making “toleration, compromise, and moderation impossible.” And religious faith can encourage evil, too, as we are reminded daily in our struggle with Islamist terror. Kekes’ example of religiously inspired atrocities is the thirteenth-century Catholic Church’s crusade against the Cathars, which wiped them out—along with many who had little or nothing to do with them.

Read it all.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Thomas Jefferson On The Problem of Rapid and Excessive Immigration

Thomas Jefferson, a primary author of the Declaration of Independence, a Framer of the Constitution, and our third president, was very generous on the issue of immigration, but he also cautioned us about the problems that resulted from too much, too fast:

"[Is] rapid population [growth] by as great importations of foreigners as possible... founded in good policy?... They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their number, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass... If they come of themselves, they are entitled to all the rights of citizenship: but I doubt the expediency of inviting them by extraordinary encouragements."

Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.VIII, 1782. ME 2:118

"Immigration debate impacts Mexican race"

If you could vote in Mexico, whom you choose? The question is fair as Mexico's dual-citizenship franchise law allows expatriates that have attained citizenship in another country to vote in Mexican elections as well, thus assuring that they will maintain interest and ties to "the mother country".


1) Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, "a fiery lefist, has accused Fox of being weak when dealing with Washington, calling Fox a U.S. 'puppet' and 'lackey' for not vigorously opposing the move of the U.S. National Guard to the border.

"Lopez Obrador is using Fox as a patsy for Calderon. He has found it easier to run against Fox than Calderon because Calderon is slippery and difficult to get to," political analyst Federico Estevez said."

Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor who has headed demonstrations against state and federal governments, would likely work more closely with migrant protesters, [George] Grayson, an expert on Mexico said.

"I could see Lopez Obrador flying into the United States and joining demonstrations to put the pressure on," he said. "He believes in direct action. Look at his past. He has always mobilized people to achieve his political aims."

"Lopez Obrador has been stumping in these [poor] villages and is gaining substantial support there, pollsters say. He kicked off his campaign in the impoverished hamlet of Metlatonoc on the day it held a funeral for a former resident hit by a car in Alabama.

2) Felipe Calderon, a member of the ruling National Action Party.

Harvard educated, "Calderon, a career politician and son of a National Action Party founder, staked out his own nationalist credentials on the immigration issue, attacking the U.S. Senate for approving 370 miles of triple-layer border fencing."

"These measures increase the social and human costs for migrants and only benefit criminal groups," he said.
Calderon "would probably continue Fox's strategy of lobbying U.S. senators and holding get-togethers with the U.S. President, said George Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William and Mary."

3) Roberto Madrazo "of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for 71 years until Fox's historic victory in 2000, is also hitting the immigration issue hard with peasant farmers, a key base for the party.

Madrazo began his campaign with a rally in the central Mexico farming town of Izucar de Matamoros, flanked by a migrant activist from New York and a young Indian woman whose brothers work in the United States.

Madrazo claims migration has increased under Fox because the president has abandoned the countryside."

"Whoever wins, the migration policy of Mexico's next administration will probably vary more in style than substance.
With migrants sending home nearly $20 billion a year and reducing the pressure for job-creation in Mexico, it is likely that any president will go on pushing for Mexicans to work legally in the United States....

But their tactics may differ."

For whom would I vote IF I had the Mexican franchise? It's hard to tell as all three candidates tie everything to migration which was in full swing long before Fox was elected. But rather than expecting to bailed out by the United States or using the United States as a "safety valve," Roberto Madrazo was the only one that offered hope in Mexico:

"The solution to the migration problem is in Mexico, not the United States," he told the Associated Press in a recent interview. "We are the ones who have to create more jobs in the countryside."

Based on this report, I would choose Madrazo. However, his political party, the one that had been in power for 71 years is known to be very corrupt and elitist, and can his party be trusted to uphold that sentiment? The choice would be very difficult, the least of the three evils: a manipulator of U.S. policy, a Marxist, and an elitist . Whom would you choose?

"Memories of 1918 flu pandemic haunt 21st century"

In earlier times, flu and other infectious diseases routinely killed whole families. Toni Reinhold's story of grandmother struck a note as my own grandmother, a product of her widowed mother's second marriage, born at the end of the 19th century, told me of an epidemic of "Scarlet Fever" that eliminated her mother's first family and husband during the last quarter of the 19th century. No one can know for sure what killed my grandmother's family as infections were categorized by symptoms and identification of viruses and most bacteria was still not possible. A personal tragedy that paled when compared to effect of the 1918 'Spanish Flu' pandemic.

(Photo: Antonia Starece, author's grandmother and her children)

Toni tells of her grandmother's tale of fear and pain of loss that was multiplied millions of times over worldwide:

My grandmother lived through the Great War, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War Two, the cultural revolution of the '60s and three decades beyond.

There was little that could threaten her nerve but until the day she died, Marie Starace was afraid of two things. One was lightning. The other was "The Grip" -- the deadly flu that wreaked havoc on the Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood where she was born and raised.

So vivid were her memories of the influenza pandemic of 1918-19 that whenever she saw us with open coats and throats exposed to the cold, she would gravely warn: "Button up or you'll get the grip." When I was a teenager -- about 50 years after the horrible episode -- I had the sense to ask what this dreaded "grip" was.

"It was a terrible thing. So many people died from the grip when I was a little girl that it seemed like every family lost someone," my grandmother told me.

"It was heartbreaking to see mothers crying for their children. Some of them lost two and three children. I'll never forget one woman crying in my mother's arms because she lost her children and her husband."

"People didn't want to say when someone in their house was sick because the place would be quarantined and no one could get out to work," Granna recalled.

"Some people went out in the middle of the night to get the undertaker because they didn't want it to get around that someone in their house had died from the flu. They were afraid of being reported to the Health Department and quarantined."


The flu that killed an estimated 20 million to 100 million people worldwide was known in the United States as the Spanish flu or "La Grippe" because it ravaged Spain early on.

Studies show that it was caused by an avian flu virus -- the H1N1 strain -- that could be passed from human to human. The fear today is that the current H5N1 strain of bird flu could mutate and do the same.

In 1918, word of the illness in Europe was carried to Brooklyn's shores by troops returning from the battlefields of World War One and seamen who helped breathe life into New York City's ports. It was suspected that some of them carried the flu as well.

Read the rest.

The author's grandmother advised her to "Button up or you'll get The Grip". My grandmother's homespun wisdom was: "Eat or you'll get sick". They did the best they could, treating the symptoms with potions, plasters, quarantine, and chicken soup. They didn't understand why sickness came, but they did what the had to do, and it's amazing that any survived.

Although modern medicine can never totally eliminate the flu, we are fortunate to live in era where containment is possible with measures of prevention and a lot of luck.

Get ready, the flu is coming. Apparently it has mutated to a more efficient strain

Bird Flu News Coverage

"In Reality, It Will Give the Illegals More Rights Than the Average American Citizens."

The "problem with immigration" has little to do with foreign trade or even the line drawn in the sand called the border. The problem has to do imposition, the foisting on Americans of laws and regulations...and people. Laws and regulations that we have not approved and too many people, people that apparently are to be given more rights and benefits than are we.

How Much Would You Pay?

If this doesn't make you blood boil, nothing will.

"Nurses Under Attack"

"Rising Wages for Nurses? Nanny State to the Rescue.

The article reports on a provision in the Senate immigration bill that removes the cap on the number of nurses who can enter the country each year. The problem, as described in the article, is that the country faces a large and growing shortage of nurses. In a market economy, a shortage means that wages should rise. This will cause more students to enter nursing schools (presumably creating more incentive to establish nursing schools), and will induce many part-time or retired nurses to work more hours as nurses. It may also curtail the demand somewhat, as some tasks that are performed by nurses can presumably be performed by less-skilled workers.

But, that is not the way things work in the world of the conservative nanny state. The people who set economic policy in this country don’t want to pay nurses higher wages. They have a different solution - bring more nurses from developing countries into the United States. These nurses will be very happy to work for the current wages received by nurses in the United States, which are far higher than what nurses in places like the Philippines or India earn. (Never mind the impact that this drain of nurses has on developing countries.)

Before anyone claims that free immigration is part of a free market, it is important to remember that the United States does not have free immigration in general, it only allows free immigration in occupations where it is trying to depress wages.

"Here's a Job Americans Would Do

Outsourcing is killing plenty of American jobs. But nursing is a good job that can’t be outsourced, because the patients are here. Hey, no problem. We’ll just in-source foreign workers.
Kuttner ideas on how to increase wages and improve distribution of wealth via taxation are a bit dated in my opinion-but at least he’s trying.

The US of Guest Worker Visas to attack Software Engineers went smoothly for the plutocrats because software engineers were not an organized profession-and had nothing in the way of things like licensing boards as a tool to use in their defense. Nurses are largely unionized. Many nurses have seen first hand what Guest Worker Visas have done to family members in the software profession. If the union leadership of Nurses can’t stand up to this kind of assault, I suspect we’ll see a rapid reaction in this area.

Why is this happening?

The key to the story is that our political leaders think that free trade and competition are good only for manufacturing workers, nurses, and other workers lower down the social ladder. They want the nanny state to protect the highest-paid workers from international competition. The huge gap in wages between those at the top and those at the bottom is not because of the market, it ís because those at the top got Congress to rig the game.

Disillusionment has set in: I'm getting this feeling more and more often.

"Imposition of Shariah on non-Muslims Proposed in Aceh"

The Indonesian province that took the brunt of the Indian Ocean Tsunami is about to suffer cultural devastation as Muslims are riding roughshod over non-Muslims:

A bill proposed by lawmakers in the Indonesian province of Aceh would impose Shariah law on all non-Muslims, the armed forces and law enforcement officers, a local police official has announced.

The news comes two months after the Deutsche Presse-Agentur warned of “Taliban-style Islamic police terrorizing Indonesia's Aceh”.

Shariah took effect in 2005 in Aceh, a predominantly Muslim region on the northernmost tip of Sumatra. But it only applied to Muslims.

In the months following the tsunami in December 2004, the Aceh government had begun vigorously enforcing a three-year-old provincial statute on Shariah. Human rights groups have expressed concern.

Alyasa Abubakar, head of the relevant local government office, declared recently: "Based on equality in law, Acehnese people have formally proposed ... to apply the Islamic Shariah Law to all those residing in Aceh, including military, police and non-Muslims."

The provincial Islamic law department has called a further crackdown on 'immorality' - alcohol, gambling, women appearing in public without headscarves or venturing out at night without a male escort.

Recently a young Acehnese woman was allegedly publicly flogged for kissing her boyfriend in public, while another 23-year-old has been locked up in Acehnese jail for more than two weeks without access to an attorney after being caught drinking beer.

Shariah police are said to have barged into the lobby of a leading Banda Aceh hotel to arrest three women attending an international conference because they were not wearing headscarves.

The terrifying nightmare of Shariah, the Muslim system of law based on Koranic principles is not confined to questions of morality, but includes every aspect of life, from conception to grave. Intolerant and repressive, Shariah is responsible for the inequalities that are prevalent in the Muslim world. For non-Muslims, the condition of inequality is yet more terrible, with restrictions and humiliations that are incompatible with our notion of freedom in the West.

Naturally with the spread of Islam, Shariah is on the rise around the world, baggage that observant Muslims carry with them. (To be observant means to follow the law.) However, imposition of Shariah on non-Muslims is unacceptable, but inexplicably non-Muslims allow themselves to be harassed and exploited under this odious system.

Unfortunately the lesson of history is that Shariah eventually becomes the norm wherever Muslims settle. Thus, allowing Muslims among non-Muslims is cultural suicide and.... is INSANE!!!

Farmers' Markets - "The Idea that shook the world"

Today, farmers markets seem to be everywhere — there were almost 500 in the state last year, more than 80 of them in Los Angeles County. And although the farmers market movement is closely identified with California, it has exploded into a national phenomenon. There were more than 3,700 farmers markets in the United States in 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than double only a decade before.

Who would have dreamed such a thing could come from what started out as four farmers in a church parking lot?

"This whole thing started with a small idea, but it put into motion something that turned out to be much bigger when others heard about it," says Ida Edwards. She and her husband, Leroy, were customers that first weekend; now they manage this market and another one at Adams Boulevard and Vermont Avenue — and they even do some farming themselves, raising aloe vera that they turn into soaps and lotions to sell at the markets.

To appreciate what the movement has accomplished, you have to look below the surface of what's going on at the Gardena market now. That stand with the bags of cute little citrus? That's Friend's Ranches from Ojai, and those Pixie tangerines are similar to the ones served at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. That stand over there with the great-looking strawberries and mixed vegetables? That's Tamai Farms from Oxnard and right across is Ha's Apple Farm from Tehachapi — their produce is served in some of California's finest restaurants.

Even more to the point: that funny-looking money that so many customers are using to pay? That's scrip for federal and state anti-hunger programs and accounts for as much as half of the market's sales.

From at one time not having access to fresh produce, low-income customers at the Gardena market — and many other small markets — now can get the same ingredients as are used by some of the best chefs in the country.

That is surely well beyond the dreams of even the most optimistic of the markets' founders. The first five farmers markets in Southern California were sponsored by the Interfaith Hunger Coalition, a project of the Southern California Ecumenical Council, with the simple idea of bringing fresh food to the poor.

"We were really addressing questions of food access, because at that time some of the supermarkets had fled the inner city," says Vance Corum, who organized the first half a dozen successful markets in Southern California. "At the same time, we were also very aware of the plight of farmers. That was the start of the tough times in the farm economy around the country. Things were tight."

Read it all.

This article features a market located in Southern California, but there are thousands all over the United States:

More resources and an interactive map.

"The Celluloid Time Capsule"

The hippie-burnout drama "Cisco Pike" is a movie in which the optimism of the 1960s slips into the disappointing loneliness that Los Angeles can cultivate like no other city.

It is a cruel irony, then, that the 1972 film sank without a trace upon its release, so concerned is its hero's need for recognition and reward. Although both a Marvel Comics character and a Chicago indie-rock band have taken the name Cisco Pike, the film— despite unforgettable performances by Kris Kristofferson in the title role, Gene Hackman, Karen Black and Harry Dean Stanton—has never had enough exposure to become known even as a cult classic.

It struggled for its audience from the beginning: Bill L. Norton, a 27-year-old filmmaker, first pitched the story (original title: "Dealer") in 1969 to Columbia exec Gerald Ayres, who then left the studio to produce it. After countless rewrites and last-minute cast changes, the film was shot on location (for less than $800,000, with the smallest Hollywood crew Columbia had ever used) in late 1970 and early 1971. And then . . . nothing.

While Columbia sat on the picture, Gene Hackman's star-making turn in "The French Connection" was filmed and released to theaters, and magazines such as Seventeen went ahead and published what were supposed to be tie-in profiles of Kristofferson. It was released to one theater in Los Angeles, where it played for several weeks before closing. Norton couldn't get work as a director until "More American Graffiti" in 1979. In the '80s, the late Z Channel head Jerry Harvey, who had resuscitated interest in other mishandled releases such as "Heaven's Gate" and "Once Upon a Time in America," was unable to persuade Columbia to license the rights for broadcast. Never officially available on VHS, "Cisco Pike" has nonetheless circulated on bootleg videotapes, and has occasionally surfaced in various "great lost films" series at revival theaters.

It was finally released on DVD this year to little fanfare—so little that Norton didn't know of the release until I contacted him. In a final indignity, the packaging was adorned with this supremely backhanded compliment from critic Leonard Maltin: "Surprisingly Good."

But "Cisco Pike" is much more than that: It belongs in a pantheon of films—along with "Sunset Boulevard," "Mi Vida Loca" and "Valley Girl"—that have managed to capture in-the-moment pieces of the L.A. landscape that are no more.

Read the rest.

Food for Thought - "Borders Aren't About Maps"

by Moisés Naîm

A country's borders should not be confused with those familiar dotted lines drawn on some musty old map of nation-states. In an era of mass migration, globalization and instant communication, a map reflecting the world's true boundaries would be a crosscutting, high-tech and multidimensional affair.

Where is the real U.S. border, for example, when U.S. customs agents check containers in the port of Amsterdam? Where should national borders be marked when drug traffickers launder money through illegal financial transactions that crisscross the globe electronically, violating multiple jurisdictions? How would border checkpoints help record companies that discover pirated copies of their latest offering for sale in cyberspace -- long before the legitimate product even reaches stores? And when U.S. health officials fan out across Asia seeking to contain a disease outbreak, where do national lines truly lie?

Governments and citizens are used to thinking of a border as a real, physical place: a fence, a shoreline, a desert or a mountain pass. But while geography still matters, today's borders are being redefined and redrawn in unexpected ways. They are fluid, constantly remade by technology, new laws and institutions, and the realities of international commerce -- illicit as well as legitimate. They are also increasingly intangible, living in a virtual and electronic space.

In this world, the United States is adjacent not just to Mexico and Canada but also to China and Bolivia. Italy now borders on Nigeria, and France on Mali.

These borders cannot be protected with motion sensors or National Guard troops.

Political unions, economic reforms and breakthroughs in technology and business came together to revolutionize the world's borders during the 1990s.

It was a decade during which a global passion for free markets erupted. From Latin America to Eastern Europe, politicians and their electorates felt that prosperity was possible by enticing foreigners to invest, tourists to visit, traders to import and export, banks to move funds freely in and out of countries, and businesses to operate free of heavy regulations.

It was also a decade when nations with long histories of conflict or animosity surprised the world by dismantling or rearranging their borders through political unions and trade agreements. The European Union kicked into high gear; Argentina, Brazil and rival South American nations formed a regional customs union; and Mexico joined Canada and the United States in their own trade agreement. These efforts sought to maximize economic growth and political harmony (or so the leaders hoped).

Meanwhile, new technologies were vastly reducing the economic and business importance of distance and geography. The only prices that dropped faster than shipping a cargo container from Shanghai to Los Angeles were those for sending e-mail, making phone calls, or rapid-firing text and images across borders.

With borders much more fluid, opportunities for profit multiplied and cross-border activity boomed. Suddenly it seemed normal to invest in Thailand, visit China, trade in exotic currencies, take seasonal jobs in different countries or download stolen software from Bulgarian Web sites.

Even something as simple as buying a counterfeit Prada handbag on the streets of Manhattan or Washington represented the final step in a long journey of border crossings. The bag's original design -- probably acquired or stolen in Europe -- was transported electronically or physically to China. There, the leather, zippers, belts and buckles were procured and assembled into tens of thousands of counterfeit handbags. The finished products were then smuggled onto containers officially carrying, say, industrial valves, to ports such as Naples or New York.

Once the handbags reached these final markets, street merchants took over -- often African immigrants who themselves were smuggled across borders by human-trafficking networks. Yes, the poorly paid street vendors are usually as illegal as the goods they're peddling. Meanwhile, the overall counterfeit enterprise reaped enormous cash profits that were converted into bank deposits and laundered across the globe electronically, again trespassing across multiple borders.

These changes reflected a severe and acute new asymmetry: Borders became harder for governments to control, and easier and more lucrative for violators to bypass. Anyone seeking to cross them found it easier to do so, while government agencies floundered in their efforts to regulate the new world they had helped create.

Today's borders are violated, enforced and remade not only on the ground but also in cyberspace, multilateral agencies and the virtual world of international finance.

Consider the most mundane of examples: the ATM machine. When an immigrant living in the United States sends her ATM card to her children in the Philippines and they draw money from her U.S. checking account, where has the transaction taken place? Did the kids cross a border to tap the funds from an American bank? In a sense, they did -- the ubiquitous ATM has become a powerful, easy-to-use, border-crossing tool. Often, such crossings are perfectly legal. But not always.

National boundaries are also being transformed by new -- or newly empowered -- international institutions. For example, when the World Trade Organization's 149 member states agree on the reduction of tariff rates around the globe, our time-honored beliefs about controlling sovereign borders are upended. On trade, the borders that matter may be drawn at the WTO headquarters in Geneva as much as anywhere else.

The fluid, unpredictable nature of modern borders is evident even among the most geographically isolated and remote nations on earth. Try landlocked Bolivia and Afghanistan. Their rugged geography and poor roads make internal travel exceedingly difficult and time-consuming. Yet narco-traffickers regularly and swiftly connect Bolivia's remote Chapare region, where coca is cultivated, with Miami or New York, where cocaine is consumed (with a processing stopover in the jungles of Colombia and a transshipment detour to a deserted beach in Haiti). And in Afghanistan, opium traffickers seamlessly link the Deshu district in the lawless Helmand province with elegant consumers in London or Milan.

Even for experienced travelers, reaching Chapare or Deshu is a tough proposition. But location and geography now matter less and less for traffickers or for anyone seeking to violate national borders. In major cities across the globe, the availability of banned merchandise stands as a monument of sorts to nations' eroding sovereignty -- no matter the billions of dollars that governments spend seeking to keep such goods from reaching their shores and penetrating their borders.

In 2004, the Guardian published a dispatch from the banks of the Yalu River, on the border between China and North Korea. "Here and there shadowy figures can be seen on both sides of the misty river quietly carrying out an illegal -- but thriving -- trade in women, endangered species, food and consumer appliances," wrote Jonathan Watts.

If a paranoid police state such as North Korea is incapable of controlling its borders and deterring illicit trade, there seems to be little hope for open, democratic and technologically advanced nations seeking to uphold their sovereign borders. This issue gained urgency in the United States in particular after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when security concerns became paramount.

Yet the paradox of policing borders in a high-tech, globally integrated era is that today, less sovereignty may equal more protection. In order to reinforce national boundaries and combat terrorism, one of the most effective tools a government can deploy is collaboration with other nations -- in effect, ceding or "pooling" certain aspects of their sovereignty.

That is no easy task. It requires partnering with less efficient, less democratic and less trustworthy nations and sharing information, technology, intelligence and decision-making power. In many quarters -- Washington and beyond -- the notion of diluting national sovereignty verges on treason.

But if sovereignty is indeed a hallowed concept, it has become a somewhat hollow one, too. Traditional borders are violated daily by countless means, and virtual borders seem even more permeable and misunderstood. "Closing the border" may appeal to nationalist sentiments and to the human instinct of building moats and walls for protection. But when threats travel via fiber optics or inside migrating birds, and when finding ways to move illegal goods across borders promises unimaginable wealth or the only chance of a decent life, unilateral security measures have the unfortunate whiff of a Maginot line.

The immigration "problem" in the United States isn't about borders or free trade or sending cash to love ones around the world. The problem concerns sovereignty, mass migration, cultural imperatives, and too rapid changes without consultation: People want to make their own choices without having governments foisting progams, regulations...and people upon them.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Look at the Fence!

Thanks to the Minuteman Project, we see here the first pictures of the fence being built by the private sector, on private land, with the cooperation of private landowners, with privately donated funds, on the US-Mexican border in Palominas, Arizona.

The little dog you see at the lower right may be the last living entity to cross without first asking permission of the rightful property owner.

One caller to the Rollye James show stated that his attempt to put up a fence failed, as it was torn down by the government. The property owner erected a fence on his own property, at his own expense, and government workers came and tore it down, stating that they did so because it interfered with migratory pathways.

Fortunately, the matter was taken to court, and the government's action was overruled.

The first version of the fence will stretch for 10 miles. The landowner has made some modifications to the original design, as he has cattle and can not deal with trenches, etc. So we (the Minuteman Project) will be building 10 miles of fortified fencing with rails, barbed wire, concertina wire and railroad ties for vehicle barriers. We do not have a graphic of this design requested by the landowner, but we will soon have pictures!

The first full security fencing of the original design ( see: Fence) will be up on a nearby landowner's property as soon as we can get the steel order placed and shipped.

At Last! A Break in the Clouds!

There is hope on one front, folks, and if we can do this, it might give courage to enough people to protect our nation's security and sovereignty. If we can do that, maybe we can begin to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Please email or call your Representatives - it's so important!

"Path to citizenship" Faces House Foes
By Charles Hurt

Liberal House Republicans are taking an increasingly tough stance on immigration reform and are more determined than ever to delete the portions of the Senate bill that grant citizenship rights to more than 10 million illegal aliens."I don't want to see a bill come to the floor of the House that gives them a path to citizenship," said Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress.

This is a change from three weeks ago, before Mr. Shays attended 18 community meetings in his district, where the questions invariably turned to immigration. At the first meeting, he told a group of constituents that he supported providing a path to citizenship to illegals. Not anymore."There were real questions about that," Mr. Shays said yesterday. "There is not much tolerance for allowing people to become citizens who came here illegally."

It's the same reaction many House Republicans in moderate and liberal districts have had after hearing from angry constituents in recent weeks, said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, the former chairman of the House Republican Campaign Committee who can cite encyclopedic knowledge of congressional districts off the top of his head."It is the hottest issue out there," he said, referring to public reaction nationwide, including his own moderate district in Northern Virginia. "Everywhere I go, even the ethnic groups, everybody is talking about this."

It was with much uneasiness, Mr. Davis said, that he voted for the House's tough border-security bill last year. But since then, he said, he has been stunned by the overwhelming public support for the House approach to immigration reform. "Voters have no faith that the federal government will secure the borders and begin enforcing immigration laws," Mr. Davis said, "and they are outraged over the Senate's citizenship proposal. I have seen it out in my own district, which is a very wealthy, educated, thoughtful district," Mr. Davis said. His constituents "are not knee-jerk people," he said, but "have taken a look at this thing and are very, very tough on immigration right now. They want a tough bill."

U.N. Making Homeschooling Illegal?

Homeschoolers listen up: "Threat seen from U.S. judges who bow to child-rights treaty.

A U.N. treaty conferring rights to children could make homeschooling illegal in the U.S. even though the Senate has not ratified it, a homeschooling association warns.

Michael Farris, chairman and general counsel of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, or HSLDA, believes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child could be binding on U.S. citizens because of activist judges, reports LifeSite News.

Farris said that according to a new interpretation of "customary international law," some U.S. judges have ruled the convention applies to American parents.

"In the 2002 case of Beharry v. Reno, one federal court said that even though the convention was never ratified, it still has an impact on American law," Farris explained, according to LifeSiteNews. "The fact that virtually every other nation in the world has adopted it has made it part of customary international law, and it means that it should be considered part of American jurisprudence."

The convention places severe limitations on a parent's right to direct and train their children, Farris contends.
The HSLDA produced a report in 1993 showing that under Article 13, parents could be subject to prosecution for any attempt to prevent their children from interacting with material they deem unacceptable.

Under Article 14, children are guaranteed "freedom of thought, conscience and religion," which suggests they have a legal right to object to all religious training. Further, under Article 15, the child has a right to "freedom of association."
"If this measure were to be taken seriously, parents could be prevented from forbidding their child to associate with people deemed to be objectionable companions," the HSLDA report explained.

Farris pointed out that in 1995 the United Kingdom was deemed out of compliance with the convention "because it allowed parents to remove their children from public school sex-education classes without consulting the child."

Farris argues, according to LifeSiteNews, that "by the same reasoning, parents would be denied the ability to homeschool their children unless the government first talked with their children and the government decided what was best. This committee would even have the right to determine what religious teaching, if any, served the child's best interest."
Offering solutions, Farris suggests Congress use its power to define customary law and modify the jurisdiction of federal courts.

"Congress needs to address this issue of judicial tyranny by enacting legislation that limits the definition of customary international law to include only provisions of treaties that Congress has ratified," he said.

Farris also suggested Congress could pass a constitutional amendment stating explicitly that no provision of any international agreement can supersede the constitutional rights of an American citizen.

He pointed out two such amendments have been proposed in Congress.

Finally, he says specific threats to parental rights can be solved by "putting a clear parents' rights amendment into the black and white text of the United States Constitution."

Remember that a goal of contemporary education is to create "world citizens" in the image mandated by social engineering. The education of children outside their influence and mandates is anathema.

Could Semantics Help Us Win the "War Against Terror"? 8 Achievable Goals

"Ignorance always accompanies tragedy. "

Muslims, after decades-long studying on the principles of Western Democracy, are using these against us. Baffled Westerners are at a loss as to how to effectively counter this trend. If we are smart, we can use the same strategies to the turn the tables on them: use islamic history and semantics to own ends.

Things have not been going well in our "War on Terror" which then became known in some circles as the War Against Islamic Jihad. According to J.R. Dunn at The American Thinker, a more precise denomination, referring to what could be common ground in Muslim history, could rally the Umma, the universal brotherhood of Muslims, to our cause. The West has made progress because, out of our ignorance of Islam and Islamic history, the Ummah can't understand us as our cause has no context nor common vocabulary to which they can relate. They need our help, but first we must educate ourselves. Beyond that, how can we help them, and in turn, allow them to help us?

The Umma Needs Our Help in Modernizing

The first is that they simply don’t have the resources. The Muslim intelligentsia, which is the sole reservoir of opinion leadership that can be placed in opposition to dictatorial governments and throwback preachers, is extremely small – too small even to refer to as a class. Many Muslim intellectuals are living in authoritarian states or worse, subject to harassment, arrest, and assassination by their governments or by terror groups themselves. (As nearly occurred to Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt’s master novelist and Nobel laureate, whose acceptance of the prize so infuriated a local neanderthal that Mahfouz – nearing eighty at the time – was stabbed in the back while walking the streets of his own neighborhood.) Many of these intellectuals are sympathetic to the West (they after all share many of our ideals), but we can’t expect a few thousand out of a  polity of one billion to take up that kind of a burden.

A second reason is that the Islamic media is, in almost all cases, controlled by government and acting as mouthpieces for the established order. (Al-Jazeera is only a partial exception.) No open debate is possible under these circumstances; no information contrary to the status quo will make it past the censors. Alternatives are in the process of creation, as we have seen with the establishment of blogging in liberated Iraq. But the infowave has only recently struck the Islamic world, and the establishment of an alternative Net culture will require time.

And third: to be frank, many of the Islamic umma remain in a medieval or even tribal mindset. Except for political and business elites, a majority are separated from the soil by one generation at best. They are still living with ancient concepts, attitudes, and beliefs. They are uncertain about modernity, and to some extent fearful of it. They are bewildered by things that we take as a matter of course. Often enough, that bewilderment is expressed as hostility.

None of this means that they are inferior or incapable. It means they are inexperienced, and require guidance from those who have gone before them. That guidance must come from us. By “us”, I mean, of course, the United States and other members of the Anglosphere; nobody else cares, and in point of fact, it’s unlikely that the Muslim people would pay much attention to them if they did.

A final complication is mutual incomprehension. It would be surprising if this weren’t the case. Islam and the West are, after all, different civilizations, with differing histories, worldviews, and values. Separate paths result in separate products.

"What is required of us is an effort to pinpoint ideas and concepts within Muslim culture and history that can act as points of commonality between the West and Islam, anchor points for bridges between the two civilizations..."

Dunn suggests that we focus on the kharijites who were the first sect to bring schism into the new Islamic community.
They began as followers of Ali ibn Abi Talib, grandson of the Prophet, who became the fourth caliph in 657 after the assassination of Caliph Uthman.

Ali was immediately challenged by the governor of Syria, who refused to pledge his fealty. (Early Islamic history is a parade of one succession crisis after another.) By all accounts one of the most reasonable men of his time, Ali agreed to subject the matter to arbitration.

This set the Kharijites, who consisted of members of three tribes, ablaze. Ali, in their opinion, had been selected by no less than Allah, and in putting the divine choice up to human arbitration was committing a gross and unforgivable sin. Pulling up stakes, the tribes headed toward Kufa, south of Baghdad, in the process earning themselves their name.

Ali pursued them, first to remonstrate, and then, when that failed, to bring them to battle. The Kharijites were defeated, with many killed. Some of the remnant returned to Ali, but the hard core retreated across the Tigris. Ali let them go, assuming that they’d been taught their lesson and would be no further problem.

He was mistaken. In 661 he was assassinated, by a Kharijite. The Kharijites possessed a straightforward and easily-grasped theology: Anyone who wasnot a Kharijite was an unbeliever, and all unbelievers should be killed.

The Kharijites introduced a number of concepts and practices into Islam: the politicization of religion, the conviction that the earliest days of the caliphate marked a state of perfection against which all human society must be judged, the practice – called takfir—of anathemizing individuals and groups as heretics, the use of extreme methods, including the slaughter of entire families, against opponents – methods that we today would describe as “terrorism.”

For the next two centuries the Kharijites attempted to ensure the spread of this simple, invigorating faith by killing everyone who disagreed with them. They set up a series of independent theocratic states throughout the region, using them as operating bases to target the Ommayad holdings. They encouraged revolt, took over entire provinces and massacred those who refused conversion. They practiced a form of guerilla warfare, retreating onto the Iranian plateau  when things went poorly only to burst out once again when opportunity beckoned. Their activities weakened the Ommayad caliphate so grievously as to guarantee the success of the Abbassid revolt. The Abbassids themselves required maximum effort to finally wipe out the Kharijites in the 9th century.

Although the Kharijites were destroyed, their influence lived on...

I would say that it lives on in fundamentalist movements and notions of superiority and intolerance against apostates and non-Muslims. It became the dark side of Islam.

There are some existing groups that are directly influenced by Kharijite beliefs: Takfir wa-l Hijra in Egypt, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in Algeria, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as several North African Bedouin tribes.

Some contend that Kharijism is a component of all Islamic terrorism, "pointing out that Said Qutb, the inspiration of Osama bin-Laden and others, was well-read in Kharijite doctrine, [and that] The Wahhabis, with their fundamentalism, their eagarness to anathemize opponents, and their proselyte activities, [demonstrate] Kharijite tendencies."

What does this mean and how can we use it?

Muslims possess their own understanding of terrorism, derived from their own history and experience and based on their own principles. The Muslim view of terror, unsurprisingly, concentrates on the effect that it has on Islam and the Muslim community. The impact on the world beyond in strictly secondary.

But the crucial point is that the Muslim’s Kharijite is the same as the Jihadi, the Jihadi the same as a Kharijite. For all practical purposes, they are identical. There is not an iota of difference between the two.

Here is our bridge.

By adapting and by calling our fight the "War on Kharijism" , we will achieve several things:

1) The West can undermine Jihadi attempts to portray the War on Terror as a clash of civilizations or a campaign against Islam, definite turn off for the billion-member Ummah.

2) It would define clearly and unambigously what were are fighting against and why.

3) It would increase chances of gaining understanding and support form the Muslim Ummah.

4) It will put in historical context the large mass of proganda by the the behavior not of heroic rebels or defenders of Islam, but of deadly misfits well-known to Muslim history.

5) Adapting the concept would assure Muslims that we're talking about the same thing and fighting the same battle, giving the Muslim masses an enemy they can understand.

6) It would go a long way toward explaining our own actions as simply a response against Kharijism, which has spilled over into our territory.

7) It would enable Middle Eastern governments, often pilloried for allying themselves with the U.S., to lay claim to the high ground of defending accepted Islamic practice.

8) The West would be able to develop means of prophylaxis to combat and prevent the development of these movements.

How can we achieve our goal without further alienating a fifth of the world's population?

1) We must educate ourselves by learning how such movements grow and develop; their methods and tactics, their effect on the Muslim Umma as a whole, and their weakness and how they are destroyed.

2) Use the concepts and rituals of Islam about Kharjite as a gate into Muslim thought and behavior. In other words, talk to them using language and concepts they can understand, a common-sense approach.

3) Reminding some Muslim regimes that they owe more than one honor debt - Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and now Iraq, under Islamic principles should be beholden in a debt that is "sacred even when involving a Nezerin, (that is, a Christian).

4) The People of the Book - The Koran is clear that Jews and Christians, as People of the Book, are believers and must be respected as such, a reminder than many continue to ignore, or of which need to be reminded that feelings of "hostility and superiority" must be put aside as a religious obligation.

5) A revival of the Mutazilite School of Islam.

The Mutazilites were a rationalist movement that appeared in Islam in the wake of the Kharijites. Based on Greek philosophical sources (with much reference to Aristotle), they believed in a reasoned analysis of all aspects of religion and society. They died out early, overwhelmed by the traditionalist Ashariteschool. But the movement has experienced a revival in the past century, in response to Islam’s confrontation with modernity.

Since much of the difficulties afflicting Islam today arise from that very conflict, it would appear that a school of thought like Mutazila would be a high-value proposition. Like everyone else, Muslims will not adapt to modernity except on their own terms. Some idea of what those terms comprise could very well be found in Mutazila.

6) Americans must overcome their traditional ignorance of other cultures which, to our detriment, has "been the hallmark of American engagements". An example is seen in the closing events of WWII in the Pacific.

Failing to grasp what "unconditional surrender" meant to the Japanese, the phrase was uttered offhand by FDR, much in the same way that President Bush used the term "crusaders" in his speech. These loaded terms have caused resentment and heightened hostility. "To Japanese thinkng, [unconditional surrender] meant subjecting the Emperor, the divine presence on this earth, to criminal prosecution and the possibility of death. They could not allow this, as they proved with their blood at places like Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Ignorance can be no excuse as our very existence depends on smart thinking as well as on a show of force.

Read it all.

Another Senate Sellout of Sovereignty

Yup - it's true, all true; our country is being sold off at a bargain basement price to our Neighbors south of the border! It's the kind of thing that gives the name "New Mexico" a whole new meaning!

Here it is, folks, a last minute addition to the Senate Amnesty Bill, thanks to Senator Dodd:

S.Amdt.4089 contains the following language:


"Consultations between United States and Mexican authorities at the federal, state, and local levels concerning the construction of additional fencing and related border security structures along the United States-Mexico border shall be undertaken prior to commencing any new construction, in order to solicit the views of affected communities, lessen tensions and foster greater understanding and stronger cooperation on this and other important issues of mutual concern."

Ok, people, the House is our last chance. Don't give up, keep on nagging. Go let your Representatives know what you think.

Some Mexican migrants turning to bicycles

Many migrants are skipping the use of unreliable and perfidious "coyotes", smugglers and are hiking through the desert. And new trend is the use of old bicycles that will soon be abandoned. The trip is not for the faint of heart, and most don't fall in the faint-of-heart category.

The 110-degree heat and rough terrain of the Arizona desert would exhaust the fittest of cyclists, but these migrants are often middle-aged housewives or farmers, riding battered second-hand bikes for 30 or 40 miles.
The bikes also carry their supplies and belongings, so if rocks or cactus spines shred the tires, they get off and push.
The prize? A chance at a low-wage job.

"We've seen them going by on bicycles right by our offices ... in whole groups," said Mario Lopez, an agent for Mexico's Grupo Beta migrant aid agency, whose offices sit just a few hundred yards from the border. "They're usually old bikes because they're going to abandon them anyway."

Most start their trip in Sonoyta, a Mexican border town where the bikes are sold for $30 in a dusty, vacant lot a few blocks from the chest-high, three-rail fence that marks the U.S. border. The fence has prevented vehicles from driving across into the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, but migrants can easily toss a bike over and slip through the rails.
From there, it's a brutal ride over Organ Pipe's hard-packed terrain. Though the park prohibits off-road biking, sets of fresh mountain-bike tracks can be seen running down its foot trails, and the National Park Service often finds abandoned bikes with crumpled wheels and water bottles hanging off the handlebars.

Fred Patton, the park's chief ranger, says "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds" of migrants bike through the park. No count is kept and he can't be precise, but he provides pictures of abandoned bikes. "It's a relatively common means of transport," he said.

Read the rest.

They sound like tough, enterprising risk takers, just the kind of people America needs. The problem is that we can't absorb ten to twenty million at one time or over one or two decades.

It's seems really sad that the Mexico under-utilitizes in Mexico their most valuable asset in: people. My guess is that sending them over in a demographic hoard is exactly the business plan conceived by the smart, tough, and ruthless Mexicans that have never forgotten the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe and the lessons learned by allowing Yankee entrepreneurs to settle Americans in their northern territory, resulting in the Texas Rebellion and the subsequent Mexican American War.

One large difference between then and now is that American settlement was legal. Mexico granted large tracts of land to men like Steven Austin with the proviso that settlers would become good Mexicans by obeying all laws, becoming Catholics, and learning to Speak Spanish. Just like today's migrants, the 19th century variety that moved into what is known as the American Southwest took exception and did not comply. They preferred their native English language, their Protestant religion, and the "peculiar institution of slavery" that was illegal in Mexico. Enforcement of these and other infractions of Mexican law compelled the dictator, Santa Ana, to march against them, with a humiliating defeat, and a transfer of territory after payment. And the rest is history.

A new history is being written and there are new questions to be asked and answered in a relatively short period. Soon enough we will find out of which country or union we are citizens, and which language will be lingua franca of North America.

Will our capital remain in Washington D.C. or moved to a more "convenient" location? Will we continue to have an elected legislature or will we be ruled by an oligarchy? (Are we being ruled by an oligarchy now? Sometimes its hard to tell.) Will a minority of the equivalent of 3 or 4% of our present population be tough enough to take us over? Old-line Europeans are having a similar and growing problem with their migrant populations. It appears that America's migrant minorities are taking their cues from the rapidly-expanding and vocal Muslim minority population that varies from about .5% to 8% .

It's hard to believe what problems a tiny, unassimable minority can cause.

"The United Nations in Your Wallet"

The United Nations is salivating at the prospect of tapping the wallets of developed nations through taxes or surcharges on anything that "globalized": commerce, use of the internet, and now airline tickets.

Sally McNamara, Director of International Relations at the American Legislative Council, reports at Townhall:

In spite of some pretty torrid scandals in recent years, the United Nations (U.N.) is far from finished. In fact, Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the U.N., is leading the gambit for perhaps its biggest power-grab yet – independent tax-raising powers or globo-taxation.

In fact, the U.N. is deeply committed to establishing this ‘sovereign’ power for itself – independent of the scrutiny and direction of its large aid donors (namely the United States). It wraps this concept up in the intentionally boring globo-speak of ‘enhanced dialogues on tax co-operation’ and ‘new innovative funding mechanisms,’ but that is just intended to put a pretty bow on top of a very ugly concept – the removal of the exclusive sovereign power of nation states to levy taxes on its citizenry.

Cliff Kincaid, President of America’s Survival, Inc., has just published a devastating chronology of the U.N.’s sustained campaign for global taxes, noting the 2001 High Level Panel on Financing for Development as a turning-point in the debate. Not only did that meeting call for the establishment of an International Tax Organization, it blatantly outlined two major areas where globotaxation might easily be levied – a currency transactions tax and a carbon tax – both of which would disproportionately hit the U.S.

Since then, a succession of high-level meetings, summits and conferences have been busy gathering steam for this concept: the Millennium Development Goals, the 2005 World Economic and Social Survey, the World Summit on Sustainable Development,  the World Commission Report on the Social Dimension of Globalization and so on and so on; they all share this notion that globotaxation is the most ‘innovative’ solution to long-term funding for the U.N. They propose globotaxes on everything from air transportation to aviation fuel, from airline tickets to carbon emissions, from currency transactions to arms. The list is as ambitious as it is scary. The long arm of the U.N.’s IRS could be in your pocket soon. 
One of the U.N.’s more fruitful attempts at global taxation is the formal plan to levy a tax on airline tickets. In November 2005, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, and Spain issued a joint statement calling for a ‘nationally applied, internationally coordinated’ tax to be levied on air transport travels. The French government has been the first one to bite the bullet, and from July onward, passengers will pay between one and 40 euros on all flights taking off in France. With enthusiastic U.N. support and much back-slapping for President Chirac, Chile has undertaken plans to do the same, with Belgium and Germany currently hovering in the wings to do so. Luckily, both Great Britain and the U.S. have resisted Mr. Annan’s calls for others to follow suit. But make no mistake: the rot has started. Britain’s Liberal Democrats are openly advocating for taxation on aviation fuel as a way of reducing climate change, and with the current spin-over-substance streak running through the Conservative Party, anything is possible from our normally reliable British partners.

Of course, France’s projected annual revenue of $248 million is not nearly enough for the U.N.’s aspirations and the finger-pointing – largely toward to U.S. – is really gathering steam now. Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, special adviser to Secretary General Annan on the Millennium Development Goals, has gone as far as to say that the U.S. is coming up short in its global aid commitments to the tune of $65 billion a year. Of course, Dr. Sachs is a vocal proponent of globo-taxation to make up the difference. At the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development, Dr. Sachs helpfully points out that: “A global tax on carbon-emitting fossil fuels might be the way to begin”.  

The undercurrent of this debate should not be ignored – any global tax will not be a tax on income, at least not at first; there wouldf be riots in the streets if that happened. Any global tax will stealthy enacted and will have to be far-removed from the scrutiny of ordinary taxpayers. So, what better way to circumvent the problem than to tax corporate America, especially the energy companies who both the U.N. and the European Union have been collectively obsessed with since President Bush refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Feeding on media hysteria about imminent global disaster and excessive corporate profits, the proposition seems easier and easier to sell from a public relations perspective.

There is maybe a glimmer of hope though. John Bolton, the ever-sensible U.S. ambassador to the U.N., has flat-out said that the United States accepts neither global aid targets nor global taxes, and President Bush has backed him. But it cannot always be assumed that the White House will be this sensible. Indeed, Bill Clinton told the Millennium Summit in 2000 that national sovereignty needed to be put aside for the sake of a more active U.N.. And for activism you can read – more of the same, with a tax raising platform to boot.

I would never vote for this, and it seems that cavalier politicians play over the heads of the American people.

"Fox Thanks Bush for Surrender"

"Surrender", doublespeak for a done deal, a step on the way to the North American Union that the elites of Canada, Mexico, and the United States want.

Be sure to access the internal links in this blog report.

Why We Still Need Our Military

Recently commissioners of San Francisco declared San Francisco a "military free zone." Anti-war protests again are happening on America's campuses, and calls to impeach Bush are on the rise because of our involvement in Iraq. Don't these people understand that the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union don't mean that America is in any less danger? Perhaps they need to reminded of the rise of other world threats:

China has been increasing spending on military equipment,expanding the size of their military force to include an enormous army and a deep-water navy that could challenge the United States in waters all over the world.

The concern is that U.S. interests in East Asia, the Straights of Malacca, and even in the Western Hemisphere, could be thwarted by Chinese businessmen backed up by their navy and expanding army.

Japan can't help but notice the rising threat by its neighbor, China, and is revising its constitution to allow them "broaden the government's ability to send forces overseas... [and] The revision also opens the door to a broader interpretation of the constitution, permitting what some call "collective self-defense" -- or coming to the military aid of other countries."

Russia, flush with oil wealth, again is making a resurgence, but not without international tension.

Relations between Washington and Moscow are at their lowest ebb in 10 years, and in his recent Address to the Federal Assembly -- equivalent to the State of the Union address -- Putin remarked that "far from everyone in the world has abandoned the old bloc mentality and the prejudices inherited from the era of global confrontation."

The speech as a whole was an intricate balance between the need to arrest Russia's internal societal decline -- one-third of the population, which is shrinking rapidly, lives in poverty -- and a desire to play an ever-greater role in world affairs. Moscow's involvement in the Iranian nuclear affair is a case in point. Its refusal to sanction serious Security Council measures against Tehran is a growing source of concern to the United States and Britain.

This newfound confidence has its basis in Russia's economic resurgence since the collapse of the rouble in 1998, the single largest cause of which is the high (and rising) price of oil...

Continued tensions betweenThe Koreas and between North Korea and the United States are matters of concern. Disturbances from Iran and its surrogates, such as Hamas and other Palestinian groups threaten and annoy Israel and the United States.

The is no let up "The War on Terror", the "War" in Iraq, and tensions and hostility in the Middle East. The rise in the price of oil and oil products cause by increased competition among nations for access in a crucial reason for keeping our military as our economy and lifestyle are based on oil.

South America is not tension free:

Populists movements in Venzuela, Bolivia, and Peru are worrisome, joining the ranks of Cuba and Brazil in a growing dissatisfaction with the U.S. As an example, Venezuela is actually teaming with Iran and has decided to buy war planes from Russia.

Mexico's upcoming elections could put a populist president in power. Nevertheless, relations with Mexico have been tense because of the strain over immigration, the border, and the legalization of many millions of Mexican migrants that are present in the United States, inducing the United States to post armed National Guardsmen close to the border.

The head of the U.S. National Guard surprised Border Patrol officials, declaring some of the troops he will send to assist them will work in close proximity to the border, be armed and allowed to fire their weapons if necessary.
"Any soldier assigned to a mission where he would be placed in harm or danger, where his life would be threatened potentially, will in fact be armed and will have the inherent right of self-protection," Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum told the San Antonio Express-News Thursday.

Federal troops are scheduled to begin deployment to the four states on the Mexican border next week once the Guard and the Defense Department approve the memorandum of understanding that will define the mission's parameters. The document will also require signatures from the border governors.

Representatives from the National Guard and the offices of the governors of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California have been meeting in Phoenix this week to craft an agreement on the use of force. The talks have focused on "harmonization" of the different states' laws on self-defense and the use of deadly force, said Texas National Guard commander Army Maj. Gen. Charles G. Rodriguez.

The rules of engagement "will be the same in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas," said Blum.

According to the current plan, the National Guard will conduct border securty operations for two years while the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs increase their numbers. The number of troops deployed at any given time would represent less than 2 percent of available Guard forces, none of which will be assigned from states likely to experience hurricanes this year.
While the Guard will assist with many support functions – conducting aerial surveillance and reconnaissance, building new roads and fences, providing intelligence and analysis to help track illegal crossings, transporting Border Patrol officers and detainees, and assisting with a number of logistics functions – some of their duties will put them in close proximity to the border and illegal crossers.

Troops stationed at vehicle inspection stations and engineers working along the border could be armed, said Blum, with M-16s, 9-mm handguns and shotguns.

"But we're not going to be carrying machine guns. We're not going to be carrying heavy weapons. We're not at war here," Blum said, adding he wants his troops "to be in a position to protect themselves."

Some folks seem to think that withdrawal into the territory of the United States would solve all America's problems. However, U.S. interests could not be protected without the use of the military and access oil and other necessary commodities would surely be denied, or be used as a weapon against us by hostile countries or groups such as al Qaeda.

The catalog listed above is only a small sampling of current and possible conflicts for which we a strong military.