Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.
It was time for a change anyway. I explain this over at our new site, which is officially open for business right now. So please feel free to join us there. This will be our new, and hopefully permanent home, from now on. Nothing has changed but the location. It's still the same three people as before (with the third hopefully returning sometime soon. Sabrina is as excited about this move as we are.)
A fragile bipartisan compromise that would legalize millions of unlawful immigrants suffered a setback Thursday when it failed a test vote in the Senate, leaving its prospects uncertain. Still, the measure — a top priority for President Bush that's under attack from the right and left — got a reprieve when Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would give it more time before yanking the bill and moving on to other matters. "We need to complete this marathon," Reid said. His decision set the stage for yet another procedural vote later Thursday that will measure lawmakers' appetite for a so-called "grand bargain" between liberals and conservatives on immigration. By a vote of 33-63, the Senate fell far short of the 60 votes that would have been needed to limit debate on the immigration measure and put it on a path to passage. Republicans — even those who helped craft the measure and are expected to support it — banded together to oppose that move, while a majority of Democrats backed it. Republicans were seeking assurances they would get chances to add several conservative-backed changes that would toughen the measure. Proponents in both parties were scrambling to find a way of reversing a blow their compromise sustained earlier Thursday, when the Senate voted to phase out the bill's temporary worker program after five years. The 49-48 vote just after midnight on making the temporary worker program itself temporary came two weeks after the Senate, also by a one-vote margin, rejected an amendment by Sen. Byron Dorgan to eliminate it entirely from the bill. The North Dakota Democrat says immigrants take many jobs Americans could fill. Dorgan's success on his second effort dismayed backers of the immigration bill, which is loathed by many conservatives. This is very good news because it seems that many in the Senate that were in favor of this bill are finally hearing their constituents calls for it's demise. It was underhanded for Harry Reid to try the cloture vote, knowing the ire that has been raised amongst the American electorate. We are not stupid. We know how to read and comprehend, and those that have read this bill know that it is a disaster waiting to happen.
We know that the bill proponents want this rammed through as quickly as possible. They tried to pull that when the bill was first introduced to the nation when they wanted only one week for debate. Thomas observed this morning that this bill was conceived in secret, and with an alliance between the executive and legislative branches, and next to no input from the experts regarding the economic or security impact on the nation. These are the two gripes that the nation -- both liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat -- have with the bill. I do believe that the Senate has begun to hear the people grousing about this legislation, and that the days are numbered for this slip-shod, ill-conceived legislation.
A fragile compromise that would legalize millions of unlawful immigrants risks coming unraveled after the Senate voted early Thursday to place a five-year limit on a program meant to provide U.S. employers with 200,000 temporary foreign workers annually. The 49-48 vote came two weeks after the Senate, also by a one-vote margin, rejected the same amendment by Sen. Byron Dorgan. The North Dakota Democrat says immigrants take many jobs Americans could fill.
The reversal dismayed backers of the immigration bill, which is supported by President Bush but loathed by many conservatives. Business interests and their congressional allies were already angry that the temporary worker program had been cut in half from its original 400,000-person-a-year target.
A five-year sunset, they said, could knock the legs from the precarious bipartisan coalition aligned with the White House. The Dorgan amendment "is a tremendous problem, but it's correctable," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. The coalition will try as early as Thursday to persuade at least one senator to help reverse the outcome yet again, he said.
Until the Dorgan vote was tallied, Specter and other leaders of the so-called "grand bargain" on immigration had enjoyed a fairly good day.
They had turned back a bid to reduce the number of illegal immigrants who could gain lawful status. They also defeated an effort to postpone the bill's shift to an emphasis on education and skills among visa applicants as opposed to family connections.
And they fended off an amendment, by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., that would have ended a new point system for those seeking permanent resident "green cards" after five years rather than 14 years.
All three amendments were seen as potentially fatal blows to the bill, which would tighten borders, hike penalties for those who hire illegals and give many of the country's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants a pathway to legal status.
The Senate voted 51-46 to reject a proposal by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to bar criminals - including those ordered by judges to be deported - from gaining legal status. Democrats siphoned support from Cornyn's proposal by winning adoption, 66-32, of a rival version that would bar a more limited set of criminals, including certain gang members and sex offenders, from gaining legalization.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., alone among his party's presidential aspirants in backing the immigration measure, opposed Cornyn's bid and backed the Democratic alternative offered by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
"Crash and burn, huh, Mav?" Yeah, this bill is going down. Too many people have had kittens over this, and will continue to do so until it's either dead, or the politicians pull their heads out of their rectums. Cornyn is among only a couple doing his best to put common sense into this bill. Unfortunately, he keeps getting shot down.
The fact that there are people in the House trying to find a way to kill this, and there are those in the Senate that are a litle more reluctant to move this forward speaks volumes to the ability of the American electorate to convey a simple message to their legislature: This bill stinks and we on't want it. It has come through so loud and clear that President Bush was "shocked" to learn he was losing his base, and quickly tried yesterday to repair that damage.He can be surprised, but that betrays the disconnect between him and America, and that's a rift that's unlikely to heal soon.
This "jam down" wasn't the right way to go. Having clandestine, closed-door meetings without any public scrutiny when the bill was constructed was idiotic. When people started reading it, we knew the lawmakers had lost their marbles. And, of course, we're patted on the head and told that the security provisions will be in place first, they're even more insane to think the country will believe them. We've ben promised these security measures since 1986, and we've yet to see any real progress. Mitt Romney bropught this up in the debate Tuesday night. We wouldn't be in this position if we had just followed the laws to begin with.
Now Congress is trying to overwork the plumbing. The more you do that, the easier it is to stop up the pipes. When a bill as complex as this one is passed, lawyers will be working overtime to locate every little loophole in it. Hell, Marcie and I read over all 380 opages the first weekend it was out, and we located a good five or six loopholes that could seriously undermine our security, but also the effectiveness of the bill itself.
We only need to keep up the pressure on Congress. Keep calling, keep e-mailing. If this were a bill that addressed security first, and Congress was being serious about it, then we'd be a lot happier than lumping security and regularization together, and having the Senate only be willing to deal with the latter side of the bill, rather than the former and more important side.
President Bush did not intend to single out his conservative supporters for criticism in a speech on immigration reform last week and was "surprised" that his remarks angered Republicans, White House spokesman Tony Snow said today.
"He was surprised by the reaction," Mr. Snow said of Mr. Bush's speech in Glynco, Ga., last week. "The speech in Georgia was, 'We've got a serious problem and we need to fix it.' It was not in any way designed to be pointed at Republicans."
But conservative opponents of a Senate immigration bill supported by Mr. Bush reacted furiously to the president's suggestion that they are resorting to scare tactics by using the word "amnesty" in referring to the measure that would allow millions of illegal aliens to remain in the United States.
"Those determined to find fault with this bill will always be able to look at a narrow slice of it and find something they don't like," Mr. Bush said in the May 29 speech about the legislation now being debated in the Senate. "If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people. Or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all."
We can find fault in a bill that promises the nation more security, but leaves out the details of how it will be done. Likewise, after years of being spoon-fed drivel about security, we've seen butkus. We watch as illegal aliens on 11 September hit this nation. We were horrified to learn that other illegal aliens were prepared to engage in a suicide attack on Fort Dix. The borders are open, and people who don't like are coming here to kill us. As security-minded voters, Marcie and I aren't happy with the plan being proposed right now. Nor can we say, with absolutel certainty, that we trust the government to abide by their worthless word.
As for his surprise, what did he expect? You attack the people that have supported you, and Tony Snow can spin his statements as he desires, but we within the base felt offended that the man we supported suddenly turned on us when we raised some questions about this bill. Furthermore, rather than acknowledging that we may have some points, he dresses us down for not knowing what we're talking about.
Marcie and I reside in Mesa, AZ. We are on the front lines of this issue. We DO understand the issue completely. I've often been told this by others that we know. I've been told that I've got no clue about the border situation by border patrol agents. That's the problem. I do get it. I understand it. Fixing this problem isn't going to be easy. We're not advocating deportation of everyone here illegally. That's not a part of security. We're security first. Secure the borders, make the background checks mandatory, and longer than 24-48 hours, and put provisions in place that provide extra scrutiny for people coming from jihadist-friendly nations.
If the president can comprehend those simple things, then he doesn't get the issue at all. And his non-apology to the base isn't accepted. Try again, Mr. President.
I said I'd give these thoughts this monring, and this is going to be short, sweet and to the point. Many bloggers watched this debate with a level of enthusiasm, and the rest of us knew what we'd be getting with CNN. I have to agree with the vast majority that FOX's debate was better handled, better moderated, and didn't have the technical problems that CNN did with an apparent storm tonight. By the way, the laugh of the night is Rudy's answer regarding the Catholic bishop and abortion, when the lightning screwed with the audio. It got a good chuckle out of the crowd when the other candidates backed away from him as he was explaining his fear of God through his parochial education. Very funny, and worth seeing. Allah has it. It's the last in line of video clips, and the last segment of that clip.
Let me start by saying that there are three tiers to our grading scale. Who won, who improved, and who shouldn't even be on stage. Let's start with the latter first.
Ron Paul, Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo, Jim Gilmore, and Thommy Thompson have no business in this debate. I'd really like to like Brownback, but he comes across flat. Tommy-boy never had a chance for the sheer fact that despite being in the administration, no one knows who the Hell he is. Tancredo has two issues now -- immigration, and how Karl Rove snubbed him. Gilmore is another no name with no shot. And Ron Paul is, well, Ron Paul. He was a bit more subdued tonight (some are speculating he might have taken his meds tonight?) but he's still nutty as a fruitcake.
Who showed improvement tonight were Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, and yes, John McCain. Huckabee seemed to get into the game a bit more. Hunter was on top of the issues he was handed. And John McCain sounded far better than he has in the previous two debates. Likewise, I'll give him kudos for going out and trying to make a case for his immigration plan, though it still fell flat. (Um, hint to Senator Queeg, the VAST MAJORITY of Americans are opposed to the bill. Please, let it die in peace and START OVER.) BONUS POINT: If you catch a replay of the debate, Play the John McCain drinking game; drink every time you hear him say "my friends." Trust me, it'll be fun.
The stand outs are still Rudy and Mitt. Rudy has been on fire since the second debate, and he lit up CNN's bell tonight by questioning whether the media will report "good news" from Petreus in September if that's the message from him. The lightning bit was good for some laughs, and will likely reflect well with social conservatives. He also made serious points with the "this war isn't a bumper sticker; it's real" comment at the start of things tonight. Mitt carried himself well. Jim Geraghty says 'unflappable,' and we couldn't agree more. He was professional, and refused to bite Wolf Blitzer's bait over McCain and immigration. (The essence of style in refusing to air the dirty laundry on stage.) He also slammed a home run on Wolf's underhanded Mormon question. I really wish the media would drop this issue. It's not relevant, and we find it repulsive to continue bringing it up.
All in all, the debate wasn't bad, and the questions from the audience were better than the Politico ones from the first debate. A lot more of this debate revolved around policy, and the candidates were able to air (read: filibuster) their way through their positions.
Today the third GOP debate will be held. No, I won't be live-blogging it like I did the previous two. Instead, Marcie and I will be watching it, and one of the two of us will give a post-debate wrap-up. This will be the first time I will have actually watched these guys in action. (The previous two live-blogs I haven't been watching. I've been listening only.) This should be interesting. We'll be taking notes, and give our opinions after the debate. Who wins, who loses, and who is still on the bottom rung looking up. (I'd wager that Ron Paul will likely be the guy on the bottom rung, again.)
But I can't just post this up without adding a few tidbits to look over for the new day. First, two primo posts from Hot Air. Both come from Allahpundit. The first is a USA Today poll on immigration. At the risk of giving the ending away, "it's dead, Jim." Allah writes:
Unfortunately, probably not enough people know it to stop it. But I’ll bet enough do to derail a certain Republican presidential candidacy that shall remain nameless.
The Washington Times adds that as the bill stands right now, it'll only reduce illegal immigration by 25% a year. Stephen Dinan will report on this later today for the Times. Be sure to check that out. I distinctly hear the sounds of coffin nails going into this bill, though I'm not sure who's doing the hammering.
The second story is about Peggy Noonan drilling the president on this bill. It's not pretty. It's not kind. And I'm sure the bill's supporters will accuse Ms. Noonan of being "racist" or "nativist." Don't buy it. She's spot on. again, Allah writes: (emphasis mine; I've listened to it)
More audio from BrianKirsten and the Judge courtesy of Johnny Dollar. Her soft, measured speaking style softens the blows but Noonan’s clearly throwing roundhouses here, particularly when she accuses him of having exploited the goodwill he accrued from 9/11. The amnesty bill and the accusations of bad faith that have come with it are the last, indefensible straw. There’s simply no making excuses for the guy anymore. Like Noonan says, we don’t know who he is. But we do know he’s not one of us. Don’t quit on it before it’s played all the way through. The end is devastating. The Hill reports that Sen. Craig Thomas has lost his battle with leukemia, and that he will be replaced by a Republic. Rest in peace, Senator.
Back to the USA Today and things don't look too good for Senator Clinton as Senator Obama is nearly even with her right now in the straw polls. "Faster please, Mr. Soros," is likely what she's saying right now.
"To want the office so badly that you would intentionally make our country's problems worse might prove you can read a poll or take a cheap shot, but it hardly demonstrates presidential leadership," McCain told members of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
Romney answered back. "The immigration approach proposed by Senators McCain and Kennedy falls short of a workable solution to an important problem," the former Massachusetts governor said in a statement. Romney said he respected McCain, but his opposition was based on a "principled disagreement about policies and priorities related to enforcement of our immigration laws."
Hey Senator, you read the bill yet, or are you still crawling around in the dark on this one? Captain Ed proved that in this post where John McCain didn't even know the back taxes provisions had been removed fromt he bill. Less talk, Senator, and more reading I think is due with this issue.
And last but certainly not least, tune into all three hours of Hugh Hewitt's show today,/li> as he hosts the "Great God Debate" between Mark D. Roberts and Christopher Hitchens. It's sure to be interesting and fun. And if you have anything you'd like to add to the debate, feel free to e-mail Hugh at Hugh@HughHewitt.com. I'm sure he'll be happy to entertain any posited questions.
This was not funny at all and Joe Scarborough should be ashamed of himself. I agree with Michelle that he owes Fred Thompson and his lovely wife, Jeri, an apology for making the comment. The video clip is up at Michelle's site. The comment in question was the one referring to Fred Thompson's wife "working the pole."
Now kidding aside, the joke was not funny. the former congressman does not spell out what is meant by "working the pole," though there are a couple of connotations that can be drawn from the remark. the most common one accepted by those criticizing the remark is performing with a stripper's pole. (Though I have seen some crude comments regarding a different pole, which is simply gross, high school humor; the same sort that I disliked then and still do now.)
If this is the sort of attacks that will be launched at Fred Thompson in his run for the presidential nomination, it is low-brow. This line of attack has no merit with Mr. Thompson because there is nothing wrong with his choice for a wife. He had been divorced and remained single for a few years before remarrying. Mrs. thompson is a lovely woman, and they obviously love one another very much. His divorce was not messy, at all (not like the Giuliani divorce when he was thrown out of the mayor's mansion). The parted amicably.
The Left should be focusing on him and his record, but as they decided to levy the first salvo at his wife it is apparent to me that they cannot find a great deal on Mr. thompson that can stick. That speaks volumes about their confidence in being able to deal with a man who can so eloquently pound on them. Is there a level of controversy surrounding Mr. Thompson? Allegations of "flip-flopping?" Yes there are, but no more than any other politician running for the nomination on either side.
Rudy has faced the criticism over his divorces, his abortion stance, his gun control stance, and his gay rights stance. Mitt Romney is facing criticism (from John McCain, no less) over his immigration stance -- a veiled swipe that raised the ire of conservatives for the underhanded snipe. He has also been assailed over his abortion position, especially with regard to the 1994 YouTube video showing him saying that he would protect a woman's right to choose.
For the record, and so readers understand precisely what we mean on this subject, it is the de facto law of the land. Abortion cannot be changed by the president or by Congress. If it is to be changed, it must be done by the Supreme Court. We would expect nothing less than an admission from any politician running for office to state they would follow the law. As of right now, the law is abortion is legal. Granted, the partial-birth abortion ban was upheld by the USSC, and it marks the beginning of the process that Justice Scalia admitted would have to happen to drop-kick Roe -- kick in the doors one at a time. We would expect an elected official to uphold the law. We do not get to pick and choose the laws we will follow.
These men have enough issues to deal with without going after their spouses. As I said, I am not pleased with this, but when it comes to the Left are we surprised by their outrageous statements? I know I am not. But it does not excuse the matter. He owes them an apology. Will he give one? Probably not.
White House Prepares Short List In Case Of Vacancy
While the White House is not expecting a vacancy to the Supreme Court when they break at the end of June, they are preparing a short list according to ABC News: The White House is developing a short list of possible Supreme Court nominees so President Bush can move swiftly if a justice retires at the end of June, when the Court breaks for its summer recess, according to sources involved in the selection process. Bush met with top advisers last month, and they discussed possible nominees if a Supreme Court vacancy occurs.
He told White House Counsel Fred Fielding and other administration lawyers that he wanted to nominate a woman or a minority to the Court, and his legal team has narrowed its focus to a half-dozen contenders, sources said.
We dislike that last part about nominating a woman or a minority, but it is the president's choice. The reason why we dislike the blatant admission is that he seems to be pandering to a specific demographic, i.e., playing politicis with the choice. However, we cannot discount the fact that both Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts have been solid textualist jurists, and have not engaged in the sort of activism that many feared they might entertain.
Of course the question on everyone's mind at this point is "Who is the president looking at?" We have three sure-fire nominees that have exhibited outstanding work since being elevated to their respective bench assignments. Janice Rogers Brown (DC Circuit court of Appeals), Priscilla Owen (Fifth Circuit Court), and Edith Clement (Fifth Circuit Court). As some will remember all three of these women were, and still are, on our own short list along with a few other possible nominees. (If President Bush is looking for a minority, Emilio Garza from the Fifth Circuit Court.)
And of course the other question is who would be the next person to step down. Obviously Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts are out of the speculation. However, the remaining justices and their ages are listed below:
Antonin Scalia -- 61 Clarence Thomas -- 59 Stephen Breyer -- 69 David Souter -- 68 John Paul Stevens -- 87 Anthony Kennedy -- 61 Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- 74
The obvious choices would either be Justice Stevens or Justice Ginsburg. But the ABC report states that neither of them are even considering retirement. There were some rumblings last year that Justice Souter or Justice Breyer might be mulling over retirement, but they, too, have disavowed any rumors of such a decision.
We should remember that what the White House is doing is normal. With the recess of the high court coming up quickly, there is always the possibility that someone may step down. this is merely the president being pre-emptive and pro-active. He knows it is a possibility, however slim, and he does not wish to make the same mistake his father did with the Souter nomination. (Then, the elder Bush refused to listen to the one person arguing vehemently against sending Souter up. That would be J. Michael Luttig, formerly of the Fourth Circuit Court, who warned the president that Souter was not a constructionist or originalist.)
For thomas and I, this is when the excitement starts to build. The possibility of another nominee coming up warms our hearts. We enjoy the law, especially Con Law, and it is always fun to see the fight that will ensue. If you think there will not be a fight over the next nominee, think again. the Democrats, according to the ABC report, are already warning the president not to send them a conservative, i.e., an originalist.
Both Judge Owen and Judge Clement are more subdued than the mnore vocal Judge Brown. But the fact that all three are originalist jurists could hurt them. We hope that such a fight is not one the president will back down from, and that he will appoint a solid, constitutionally-minded jurist. Though I willa dmit if he does nominate any one of these three women, I do not envy them. They will be facing an openly hostile Judiciary Committee currently chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy. To say the fur will fly is a gross understatement.
This is one of those stories we will be keeping a close eye on.
Representative William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson was indicted today after the FBI finished it's months-long probe into corruption allegations:
Rep. William J. Jefferson was indicted today in a longstanding FBI corruption probe centering on allegations that he took bribes to promote high-tech business ventures in Africa. The Louisiana Democrat faces charges that include racketeering, money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to solicit bribes by a public official. The 16-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in Alexandria. Federal officials have scheduled a 3:30 p.m. news conference to discuss the 94-page indictment, which could land Jefferson in prison for life if he is convicted on all counts. The charges cap a long and tumultuous investigation that was stalled for months because of a legal battle over the constitutionality of an FBI raid on Jefferson's office last May. The raid came after the FBI found $90,000 in the freezer of his Capitol Hill home. A political and legal maelstrom followed the raid, prompting President Bush to intervene and seal the seized documents for 45 days. In July, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, who had signed the search warrant, ruled that the raid was constitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the matter. Jefferson, 60, is a potential political embarrassment for Democrats, just months after they took over control of Congress. Democrats had campaigned last year on the theme that Republicans had created a culture of corruption. In July, the House officially expelled Jefferson from the prestigious Ways and Means Committee. At the time, then House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the allegations against Jefferson were too egregious to wait for a legal resolution.
"This isn't about proof in the court or law; this is about an ethical standard," she said. News of the FBI probe hurt Jefferson in his reelection bid last fall, but he managed to win in a runoff, garnering 30 percent of the vote in a crowded primary field of 12 candidates. His campaign ads emphasized that he had not been charged with any crime. The investigation began in March 2005 when Virginia investor Lori Mody, went to the FBI to complain that Jefferson and her business associate were trying to scam her in a high-tech business venture in Africa in which a copper wire technology would be used to deliver the Internet and cable television. Mody agreed to wear a listening device for federal authorities, previously issued court documents said. During an undercover sting, on July 21, 2005, Jefferson told Mody that he needed to give Nigerian Vice President Atikua Abubakar $500,000 "as a motivating factor" to make sure they obtained contracts. Mody eventually agreed to give Jefferson $100,000 -- in marked bills from the FBI, court records have indicated. A few days later, $90,000 was found in Jefferson's freezer. Eventually, Mody's business associate Brett Pfeffer and Vernon L. Jackson, the president of iGate, a Louisville based high tech firm, pleaded guilty to bribing Jefferson to use his political influence to push through a lucrative contract in Africa to sell technology for the Internet and cable television. Both are serving time in prison.
We are happy to see this come to fruitition. This indictment has been a long time in coming, and we may finally see Rep. Jefferson where he belongs -- in jail. The fact he is a Democrat does give us a giddyfeeling, but more importantly this should get rid of another crooked politician in Washington, DC. We were not pleased to see Duke Cunningham indicted on similar charges in 2005, which prompted him to plead guilty in federal court. His sentence was eight years for breaking the laws, and a standing order to pay $1.8 million in restitution is still in effect.
Rep. Jefferson did far worse, and faces more charges. While we may appreciate Nancy Pelosi talking about cracking down on corruption in the House, but she has not been doing a great job about it. Yes. Rep. Jefferson was tossed from the House Ways and Means committee, but she should have been expelled from the House. Furthermore, the DNC had no problem giving him campaign funds for his reelection. That is not exactly the sort of message to be sending when the man is facing an indictment. And if Ms. Pelosi did not think there was going to be an indictment when the man was in possession of $90,000 in marked bills from the FBI, then she is far more obtuse than we gave her credit for. There was no excuse for that discovery.
As for the Court of Appeals weighing in on the search of his office, it will likely not come. They should let Judge Hogan's decision stand. Rep. Jefferson was not on his way to the floor for a vote, and his office does not possess the immunity enumerated in Article I, Section 6. An argument can be made that the FBI should have notified House leadership about the pending search, but authorities have contended that such a move could have prompted Rep. Jefferson to hide or move evidence they were seeking.
This is how the government deals with corruption of public officials. Now, if they could just crackdown on Congress and end the pork spending, earmarks, and lobbyists that continue to perpetuate this sort of behavior.
The New York Post,/li> has a story today about a little commune up in the Catskill Mountains that authorities believe is the United States base for al-Fuqra, a radical organization that has been linked to acts of violence in the United States and around the world:
A remote Muslim commune nestled in the Catskill Mountains has come under the scrutiny of state and federal authorities for possible ties to terrorism, according to law-enforcement sources. Officials say Islamberg - a wooded, 70-acre encampment in upstate Tompkins, about three hours north of the city - acts as the headquarters for an outfit called Muslims of the Americas, widely believed to be a front for Jamaat al-Fuqra, founded by radical Pakistani cleric Mubarak Ali Gilani.
Reports of gunfire and military-style physical training at the camp have led some investigators to believe that the group's members are preparing for homegrown jihad.
According to one account, a neighbor said he has seen commune members dressed in Port Authority uniforms.
Al-Fuqra members have been suspects in assassinations and firebombings in the United States, authorities said, and an associate of the group, Rodney Hampton-el, was jailed in 1996 for plotting to bomb New York bridges and tunnels.
Those spoken with by the reporters claim there is nothing illegal going on in Islamberg, and while they do have firearms there, they are American citizens with a legal right to own them. I am sure they do though I wonder whether or not the have the proper licenses for them. Regardless, this is not the first time that al-Fuqra has come under scrutiny. In 1983 an al-Fuqra member, Stephen Paul Paster, was involved in the Hotel Rajneesh bombing in Oregon.
I am wondering why the feds are suddenly interested in al-Fuqra. I am actually wondering if the feds believe that there may be a link to the JFK plot and al-Fuqra. There is certainly some questions about whether or not they are fostering homegrown jihadists. The piece does state that the feds have connected a few members of the group to the terrorist training camps created by al-Fuqra leader, Sheikh Gitani. The people at the compound deny that, as well.
An interesting story, to be sure, and one that should catch people's scrutiny.
The wisdom of Fred! A "disconnect" between America and the politicos
You know, if I were the also rans in the GOP right now, I'd be scared sh*tless about Fred's entry into the race. See, he gets it. Earlier this week, Hugh Hewitt gave some thoughts about Fred's possible run. Of course, his concern is the same of anybody else who's been watching Fred slowly move towards his decision. For Hugh, and even for us, it's the question of his lymphoma, and until a doctor comes out and says otherwise, that concern will remain. But today the Washington Times picked up on some comments from the former senator:
Former Sen. Fred Thompson yesterday said there is a giant disconnect between voters and politicians in Washington and that the immigration bill is the chief reason. Speaking to Virginia Republicans, Mr. Thompson, who is considering a run for president, drew a standing ovation when he said voters don't believe Washington politicians when they claim they are trying to secure the border as part of the bill. "You've got to secure the border first, before you do anything," he said. "The members say it's right here in this bill: the border. The response is, 'We don't care what's on a piece of paper -- secure the border.' This piece of paper doesn't secure the border." Mr. Thompson said the new bill is "the same deal" offered in the 1986 amnesty -- legalization of illegal aliens in exchange for border security -- but said Americans won't be fooled again. He also said the program is unworkable because it relies on an already overworked immigration service to process millions of new applications. Immigration is a sharp dividing line among Republicans and their presidential candidates. Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, is a key backer of the immigration bill and is highlighting it as part of his campaign, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is opposing the bill and running ads arguing for border security.
"This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it."
Yes, it will get out of control before too long. With the GOP sniping at each other over this, and the Democrats sitting back to watch the fun, no one's minding the store. No one's paying attention to the serious security risks we have to endure right now from some twenty-plus years of not enforcing our borders, and learning who it is that decides to come here. Need I remind readers that the 11 September hijackers were here illegally? Living here, deep with the shadows, and still communicating with their jihadist commanders abroad in preparation for the worst terrorist attack on US soil EVER? I'd hope we don't have to remind people, but it seems that we do. But that's not stopping poor, lost souls like John McCain, who believes we'll have riots here if we don't move forward on Amnesty. No, I'm not kidding:
Sen. John McCain, in a Saturday campaign stop in Le Mars, said he wasn't surprised that immigration policy, rather than the war in Iraq, dominated the morning's questions.
Meeting with about 125 people at the Le Mars Golf Clubhouse, McCain spoke about Iraq, government spending and health care, among other topics, but immigration dominated the discussion.
At one point McCain went back and forth with one audience member, who said he was upset that the immigration proposal before Congress is not tough enough.
The man asked McCain why the United States couldn't execute large-scale deportations, as he had heard they did in France and other countries.
"In case you hadn't noticed, the thousands of people who have been relegated to ghettos have risen up and burned cars in France," McCain replied. "They've got huge problems in France. They have tremendous problems. The police can't even go into certain areas in the suburbs of Paris. I don't want that in the suburbs of America."
The French called them Les cités. The ‘ghettos’ are specially built for excluded and disfranchised migrants from France’s former North African colonies - mostly Arabs and Muslims - and other parts of the world. Clustered on the peripheries of France’s big cities, Les cités proved to be laboratories for dissent and resistance against oppression. The children of the immigrants who built France after World War II are being pushed further outside the French society. It is important to emphasise that the French youth who are protesting against police violence and the policy of the French political establishment, are French citizens. They were born into first and second generation immigrants communities from France’s former colonies. They are not motivated by religion, and the protest has nothing to do with Islam and Western cliché of “Islamic fundamentalism”. It is a protest against oppression and racism. This is the only way the youth can express their anger and frustration at French political establishment which deny immigrants to be integrated in their diversity. Successive French governments failed to come up with a faire and successful integration policy.
And no, we're not calling for the mass deportation of illegal aliens here. We know they're going to stay for sheer economic reasons. Besides, locating 12 to 20 million illegals here, who have been living in the shadows for so long already, is an insurmountable task. Fred knows it, and that's why he's hyping security first. We need to secure the borders, and stem the tide of illegals flowing into the nation before we can address those here now. Besides, if it does devolve to "riots" as McCain has said, I'm sure the people can handle themselves quite well, in addition to law enforcement, and the possibility of National Guard troops deployed should the riots truly get as nasty as those in France. When that happens, folks, all bets are off.
Fred has the right idea, and he's got the nation's pulse on this issue. Security comes first. It should always be that way, but the government has dropped the ball too many times, and usually because it's simply not feasible for them. Now, however, this nation is at war, and it's borders are wide open. Rather than being a deterrent to the dregs that want to kill us, it's an open invitation, and that is the point that Fred is making.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to target Europe with missiles, including potentially nuclear weapons, in a dramatic escalation of his Cold War-style showdown with the United States. Mr. Putin, in an interview at his country residence outside Moscow, said he considers U.S. plans to build an eastern European anti-missile site to shoot down Iranian missiles a provocation aimed at Russia.
Asked what he might do to retaliate, he said he would return Russia to the Cold War status where missiles were aimed at European targets.
"It is obvious that if part of the strategic nuclear potential of the United States is located in Europe, and according to our military experts will be threatening us, we will have to respond," he said.
"What kind of steps are we going to take in response? Of course, we are going to get new targets in Europe." He suggested that this could include powerful nuclear-capable weapons.
"What kind of means will be used to hit the targets that our military believe are potential threats to the Russian federation? This is a purely technical issue, be it ballistic missiles or cruise missiles, or some kinds of novel weapons systems - this is a purely technical issue."
why would a missile defense system designed to take out possible Iranian missiles aimed at Europe be a provocation to Russia. Are we not "peaceful" with them?
In the 21st Century we have learned that our enemies will go to great lengths to hurt us. They do not like us, they do not respect us. So, in an effort to protect ourselves better, and the existence of our allies, we have worked to create a way to stop missile attacks aimed at the aforementioned. Putin, evidently, does not like this. As Thomas would say "Tough. Deal. Cry me a river, build me a bridge, and get over it already."
We have seen what Putin has been doing lately in Russia, and it is anything but the changes urged by Gorbachev in the latter days of his reign. Yeltsin tried to continue those goals, and fell prey to those around him cutting deals with the Russian mafia, and ex-KGB strongmen; strongmen such as Putin who did not simply throw out the old ways. He embraced them, and made them even nastier when he was the FSB director.
With this announcement, if I were the president, I would seriously reconsider the relationship I have with "Mad Vlad."
Sundays are one of the days we spend a great deal of time with one another. And while we usually just spend that time reading, talking, or playing the odd game of cribbage or chess, work still beckons us. Wouldn't you know it? The nutter from Iran is barking up a tree again:
The countdown to Israel's destruction has begun, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech commemorating the death of Iranian revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on Sunday.
"The arrogant superpowers and the Zionist regime invested all their efforts during the 33-day war, but after 60 years, their pride has been trampled and the countdown to the destruction of this regime has been started by Hizbullah fighters," the president was quoted as saying by Iranian news agency Mehr.
Ahmadinejad added that "with the help of all the Lebanese and Palestinian fighters, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future… Anyone who works for God and believes in the power of the people will prevail."
Israel is not the only nation about to collapse, according to the Iranian president. The other "corrupt" nations will also give in to the Islamic republic's strength and suffer the same fate.
"We are already witnessing the repercussions of the surrender. The people of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan and all over the world are joining this river that will soon be linked to the ocean of truth and justice," he said.
Discussing the resistance of suppressed nations, Ahmadinejad said that according to Khomeini's teachings, "no power can stand in the way of a people's will for independence."
He pointed out the Palestinians as an example of a people who draw encouragement from the ways of the Iranian people. "The Palestinian people have begun their movement out of oppression and the world's nations and the Zionist regime will be forced to bow down to the Palestinians and officially acknowledge this people."
With that in mind, would anyone disagree with him? We won't because that seems to be the modus operandi right now of the Bush administration. Don't get us wrong. We still believe in the mission at hand, but we just don't see where the logic is in discussing anything with regard to Iraq with a nation that has been openly hostile to us for almost thirty years now. Andy also makes the following point in his assessment:
As we saw last week, the Iranians were so impressed by whatever the U.S. contingent told them in the much anticipated direct negotiations that, the very next day, they announced the indictments of three detained Iranian Americans on spying charges for which they could receive the death penalty. Now, Ynet elaborates, Secretary Rice's counterpart, Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, has "urged Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to carry on with their armed struggle against Israel during meetings with leaders of the Palestinian groups in Damascus Saturday." Mottaki explained: "The Palestinian people are a mighty people and there is a need to continue with the resistance[.]"
We're supposed to be on offense here. Granted the three Americans detained by Iran aren't exactly like the British sailors and Marines that Iran kidnapped a couple months back, btu the fact remains that they have American citizens in custody, and they're moving forward with possibly putting them on trial.
They're doing this, they're still moving towards nuclear weapons, they're still backing Hezbollah in Lebanon (and they may even have a hand in the sudden AQ presence there), and they continue to interfere in Iraq's sovereign matters. So we have to ask this simple question:
When the frell are we going to start being serious with Iran, and go back to be on the offense in this war?
Federal authorities announced Saturday they had broken up a suspected Muslim terrorist cell planning a "chilling" attack to destroy John F. Kennedy International Airport, kill thousands of people and trigger an economic catastrophe by blowing up a jet fuel artery that runs through populous residential neighborhoods. Three men, one of them a former member of Guyana's parliament, were arrested and one was being sought in Trinidad as part of a plot that authorities said they had been tracked for more than a year and was foiled in the planning stages. "The devastation that would be caused had this plot succeeded is just unthinkable," U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf said at a news conference, calling it "one of the most chilling plots imaginable." In an indictment charging the four men, one of them is quoted as saying the foiled plot would "cause greater destruction than in the Sept. 11 attacks," destroying the airport, killing several thousand people and destroying parts of New York's borough of Queens, where the line runs underground. One of the suspects, Russell Defreitas, a U.S. citizen native to Guyana and former JFK air cargo employee, said the airport named for the slain president was targeted because it is a symbol that would put "the whole country in mourning." "It's like you can kill the man twice," said Defreitas, 63, who first hatched his plan more than a decade ago when he worked as a cargo handler for a service company, according to the indictment. Authorities said the men were motivated by hatred toward the U.S., Israel and the West. Defreitas was recorded saying he "wanted to do something to get those bastards." Despite their efforts, the men never obtained any explosives, authorities said. "Pulling off any bombing of this magnitude would not be easy in today's environment," former U.S. State Department counterterrorism expert Fred Burton said, but added it was difficult to determine without knowing all the facts of the case. Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline expert and president of Accufacts Inc., an energy consulting firm that focuses on pipelines and tank farms, said the force of explosion would depend on the amount of fuel under pressure, but it would not travel up and down the line. "That doesn't mean wackos out there can't do damage and cause a fire, but those explosions and fires are going to be fairly restricted," he said.
Since Defreitas retired from his job at the airport, security has significantly tightened and his knowledge of the operation was severely outdated. He was arraigned Saturday afternoon in federal court, but did not enter a plea.
He was to be held pending a bail hearing scheduled for Wednesday, prosecutors said. A phone number for his lawyer could not be located. Two other men, Abdul Kadir of Guyana and Kareem Ibrahim of Trinidad, were in custody in Trinidad. A fourth man, Abdel Nur of Guyana, was still being sought in Trinidad. Authorities said Kadir and Nur were longtime associates of a Trinidadian radical Muslim group, Jamaat al Muslimeen, which launched an unsuccessful rebellion in 1990 that left 24 dead. Kadir, a former member of Parliament in Guyana, was arrested in Trinidad for attempting to secure money for "terrorist operations," according to a Guyanese police commander who spoke on condition of anonymity. Kadir left his position in Parliament last year. Muslims make up about 9 percent of the former Dutch and British colony's 770,000 population, mostly from the Sunni sect. Isha Kadir, the Guyanese suspect's wife, said her husband flew from Guyana to Trinidad on Thursday. She said he was arrested Friday as he was boarding a flight from Trinidad to Venezuela, where he planned to pick up a travel visa to attend an Islamic religious conference in Iran. "We have no interest in blowing up anything in the U.S.," she said Saturday from the couple's home in Guyana. "We have relatives in the U.S." The pipeline, owned by Buckeye Pipeline Co., takes fuel from a facility in Linden, N.J., to the airport. Other lines service LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. Buckeye spokesman Roy Haase said the company, which moves petroleum through pipelines in a number of states, had been informed of the threat from the beginning but he declined to detail the company's security measures. "Given the nature of Buckeye business and the importance of this transportation network, we have an intense and ongoing communications relationship with the Port Authority, the New York City fire and police departments, the federal Department of Homeland Security and the FBI," he said. Buckeye is a subsidiary of Buckeye Partners, L.P. based in Macungie, Pa. JFK and the area's other airports remained at a heightened state of alert Saturday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said. Jeanie Mamo, a spokeswoman for the White House, said President Bush had been briefed and updated regularly as the investigation into the plot progressed. "This case is a good example of international counterterrorism cooperation," Mamo said. The arrests mark the latest in a series of alleged homegrown terrorism plots targeting high-profile American landmarks.
So we have all but one in custody, and this plot was real. While it was not nearly close to being pulled off like the Fort Dix case was, it was still one that was being pursued. People will disavow that this was a serious threat, but we contend that any sort of plot could have disastrous effects on whatever city happens to be the target, and the nation as a whole.
We cannot forget that the overall goal of terrorists is to create an atmosphere of fear and anxiety in addition to a body count. Had they pulled this attack off, the results could indeed have been very devastating and dibilitating.
As always, keep an eye on Allah for further developments. As yet we have not found any sort of information regarding whether the other two men in question had entered or lived in the United States illegally. However, if it is discovered that they were, this should be the jumping-off point for a solid, concerted effort for the electorate to levy pressure on Congress to reform the immigration bill to deal with "persons of interest" from "countries of interest," and ensure those people do not become legal here in any possible way.
If the nation's economy is so deficient of human capital as to require augmentation from abroad, wouldn't it be better to take in well-educated people who are likely to become taxpayers, rather than poorly educated people who are likely to become clients of the welfare state?
Common-sense questions like that ought not be answered with accusations of harboring "anti-immigrant sentiments," a charge recently leveled by former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson. The category "immigrant" encompasses too great a diversity for the term "anti-immigrant" to have any useful meaning in the present debate.
Surely Mr. Rector has no "sentiments" against the cheerful student/waitress, who didn't break the law to come here, and one suspects Mr. Rector would welcome many more such bright, ambitious young immigrants.Nor is there any need to insult the citizenry, as President Bush has repeatedly done, by telling us that illegal aliens are "doing jobs Americans won't do."
My own daughter waits tables at Pizza Hut to earn her college tuition, my wife works part-time as a provider of janitorial services, and both of my brothers are truck drivers. Are my kindred not American, Mr. President?
Read the whole thing because he's making poits that no one int he administration, noe of their defenders, and certainly not the poor fools on the Wall Street Journal's editorial board refuse to hear. We need common sense reform. First we secure the nation and her borders, then we move onto what needs to be dowe with those here. Deportation is idiotic and nearly impossible. Besides, such mass deportations could very well harm this nation's economy right now. Regularization is the answer, but not int he way Congress is proposing. Common sense, folks, is what we need in this debate, and it's apparent that those in favor of this bill -- offering up excuses like "A Democrat in the White House with a Democrat controlled Congress will present one even worse" is a nice excuse, but it doesn't address the overall point that this bill, as things stand right now, isn't exactly one to crow about.
Guest Articles include views from Mr. Lindaman giving a book review of AJ Kaufman's "Reclamation;" a book on the scary, seedy underbelly of public education.
Sharon Hughes takes the Democrats to task over their pork-bribery war funding bill.
Jack Ward is also talking about the Senate boondoggle also known as "Comprehensive Immigration Reform."
John Lillpop discusses a new Presidential directive that President Bush signed into law. While we're not too afraid of the president executing this directive, it bodes ill for successors, especially if one like Senator Clinton ever was elected to the presidency.
The immigration draft int he Senate seems to be a running theme this issue as Bob Parks piles on the ridiucule to those that deserve it most.
And Chris Adamo the relevant Achilles heel of a Rudy Giuliani nomination.
Again, Common Conservative defines this month with solid conservative analysis from some of the best, yet lesser known, pundits. Enjoy reading them all.
In A Candid Moment, the WSJ Editors Go On the Attack
Hat-Tip to Bryan @ Hot Air for posting this candid video. I recommend that all of our readers go there, and endure the seven-and-a-half minutes of the editors coming out against National Review and "the Right" for the stance taken against this immigration bill. If I may offer this statement from Paul Gigot as evidence of their inherent inability to understand the reasoning behind our raucous disagreement:
"The Right isn't even rational about this anymore. It doesn't really make arguments about this or that part of the bill. Now it's just that we don't want any kind of immigration reform ..."
That is bunk. It is a misnomer to state, and thereby assume, that we are not arguing against aspects of this bill. the vast majority of conservative pundits and bloggers have brought up a sngular concern that people, like the editors at the Journal, have pooh-poohed. Enforcement and security. As we have asked repeatedly, why are we now to believe the government when they say there will be a strict stance of enforcement and security where none has existed int he past?
John Fund brings up the point, and Mr. Gigot runs with it, that our side is demanding enforcement against employers for employing illegal aliens. He brings up how OSHA ran rampant until Ronald Reagan curtailed their efforts, and that we could expect a similar effort from those that would crack-down on businesses. Basically, we are being labled as very "Business unfriendly" in this regard. Why is it that employers should not bear their responsibility if they hire illegal aliens?
On the flip side, with the slipshod manner with which background checks would be carried out, I cannot fault an employer if his check comes back clean, only to learn later through the enforcement arm of DHS, or whatever agency would handle such things, that his employee(s) may not be legal. It is not the employer's fault if the check comes back clean when he tries it, but later is told that things have arisen, and he is to be fined. This si another aspect of the bill that is inherently faulty. On the flip side, he sounds like the most rational member of the editorial board in this short video clip. At least he can see this from both perspectives whereas the others who spoke up are coming fromt he talking points avenue that the WSJ has provided since the beginning of the debate. (Consequently, this video was made on May 22, 2007; approximately two weeks ago as debate was beginning.)
I would like to correct Mr. Gigot on his assertions. We are offering arguments. They focus on security. that is knowing who is coming in, making sure they do so legally, and preventing any criminals/terrorists from entering this country. The immigration bill proposed has "triggers" in it dealing with security, but with the loopholes that are within it, there are bound to be ways around those triggers. Indeed, the Z Visa alone is a way around it as it can be obtained immediately, with a minimal waiting period for a background check (we have heard 24 to 48 hours for such a check; the bill states 48, but again loopholes can make the wait shorter). If the triggers were true, no Z Visa would be issued until the provisions for the fence were met, the border guards were hired, and the necessary computer databases were established. But that will all go out the window.
The other aspect of security which concerns a great deal of us on the right -- what many have called "security voters" -- is a reminder we live in a post 9/11 world. In this world, nineteen hijackers -- the majority of which were here illegally -- attacked this nation. Four of the six homegrown jihadists in the Fort Dix plot were here illegally. This is a real aspect that is not addressed in the bill, and it is a faulty oversight. It should not be so that we neglect the extra notice that should be given to those fromt he regions of the world where Islamicists live and thrive. They do wish to harm us again, and the threat they pose is real. The "solution" offered int his bill regarding security, however, is not.
The Journal would do itself a great favor if, instead of reading the somewhat unhinged side of our aisle, to read the more down-to-earth opponents. We count ourselves amongst those that believe security and enforcement comes first before we dive into the debate as to what we do with these people. It is impractical and virtually impossible task to "deport them all." Twelve to twenty million have been living in the shadows for years. Those that are discovered face deportation, but most are not. This is a fact backed up by a recent Department of Justice report that examined over 55,000 illegals incarcerated in prison now. In that study, it was found that over sixty percent of them were repeat offenders of six or more times going through the criminal justice system. So I fail to see hwere advocates of this plan can say we have been solid and steady on enforcement.
The Journal editors have a right to their opinion. But to impugn the opponents of this measure as biased, or worse that we are racist, is simply uncalled for. We take pride in our stance, and find it under neither description. No one here, or among those we read, are advocating for things like this. We desire only a sensible and sound solution to a problem that has gone on unchecked for far too long. We are among the "security voters" that understand that this nation is at war with an enemy that knows how to hide in the shadows, and they can perform devastating attacks from those shadows if given the means to execute their operations. This bill would grant them such leeway. That is where our gripe rests.
ADDENDUM: Over at JunkYard Blog See-Dubya has more insight. (Be sure to scroll down past the video that he linked on his site instead of stopping at the top of the page with the prelude to the piece.)
Pardon me, but I'd like to get a little serious here ...
Ah, lunchtime. That perrenial hour of each day where we're supposed to go find something to eat, or face the vending machine the rest of the day in a vain search for something that isn't expired, or doesn't taste like cardboard. Me? I prefer to work through lunch. As I don't eat much to begin with, eating at lunch will keep me full through dinner. (No, I'm not kidding.) And besides, Marcie's making our favorite meatloaf tonight. The five pound monstrosity we first witnessed on I believe the Food Network with the Brooklyn guy. Looked good with the carmellized molasses on top and the mustard seeds. Granted, we had to pare downt hat recipe. Five pounds is a lot. Anyways, it's meatloaf tonight, and me -- right here -- for lunch.
Yes, I would like to get a little serious this afternoon. See, I was cruising through the 'Sphere last night looking for litte nuggets of news and interest. What I discovered is what I had discovered earlier last night, which was most of the news was already talked about, dealt with, and shelved for the day already. Once I put the obligatory notice up about the new issue of Common Conservative being up(yes, our new column is up there), I was about to retire to one of our favorite chatrooms for some typical fun of befuddling simple-minded moonbats that dare to invade our room. It's a conservative room, but around six o'clock our time every night, the trolls begin to meander in. So, last night was target rich, and I'm sure more than one when crying to their mommies that we were, once again, unfairly using facts and logic to ruin their view of reality. Cest la vie.
But before I did that, I spotted a post by Hugh Hewitt regarding the immigration bill. He writes, in part, the following:
At this point I take out my Harriet Miers Fan Club charter membership card and put it on the table: This push for this bill is a disaster, Mr. President. Much much worse than the Miers nomination on which you had many good arguments, or the ports deal, on which you had fewer. On this issue there is no place to stand, and you are asking your friends in the Senate to go down fighting for a bad bill. It is a bad bill because no one believes the government can conduct millions of background checks (many spokesmen for the bill don't even pretend to know where the paperwork will go!). No one believes the bill will halt the next 12 million. No one believes you are going to assure the fence gets built. No one believes that the employer verification system will get done or work when some half-assed version of it does get done. No one believes that the probationary visas don't automatically convert illegal aliens with few if any rights into Due Process Clause covered legal migrants, with a Ninth Circuit ready and waiting to keep them here for decades. No one believes passing the bill will help catch the jihadist sleepers already in the country. The constituency that has always been with you except on the ports deal --the security voter-- has left the room. If you want them back, act quickly. This isn't a talk radio fueled shout from the far right. It isn't the Minutemen or the Tancredo people. It is the GOP faithful who don't want it, nor anything like it.
Huddle up, D.C. GOPers, and unveil a new and very different, very improved version. Couple it with the argument that Hillary is coming and this is the best we will get if we lose the White House. But the deal has to be one worth taking, not the same deal we'd get under a second President Clinton. That's why the political rebelion is here: This looks like a bill that Hillary would have sold as tough on enforcement. We can wait two years for that.
First off, don't hold it against him that he was in favor of Harriet Miers. He had his reasons, and articulated them well. But in bringing that up, he reminded me of something important, and I think the leaders in DC have overlooked this, and much to their own foolishness. The immmigration bill marks the fourth serious, knock-down, drag-out fight that our party has gone through. Now I'm an old hat at this. Being thirty-five, I've watched politics for a good deal of time, and I've spent a great deal of my formative years learning about politics, and the ideology I most closely identify with. It's not the first time that the party has been split on an issue, and it won't be the last. But the blunders that have been made over the last six years with regard to the party, and it's de facto leader -- President George W. Bush -- does not make these catfights any prettier.
We went after each other over McCain/Feingold; due in no small part to the restrictions placed on our political speech, but also how the legislation tended to protect incumbants more than ridding the cycle of "soft money." Harriet Miers was the next big tipping point for the GOP as, in our humble opinion, the president nominated someone that wasn't qualified to be a jurist ont he high court; a fear confirmed when it was revealed she was taking a "two week crash course" on the Constitution. (For the record, though I've never spent one day in law school, I have devoted the last twenty years of my life in the study of the founding document. I think I understand it a bit better than Harriet Miers did.) Regardless, the ire raised int he base reached a crescendo that drove her form the nomination, and we instead ended up with Sam Alito -- a far more qualified jurist. Then there was the Dubai Ports deal. This deal would have allowed a company from a Middle Eastern nation to oversee security at our ports during a time of war; a war that is within that region. Too risky, some of us said, and again we watched the base split on this. (Again, on the record here folks, it's telling when Jimmy Carter and George Bush are ont he same page. To be brutally honest, that's when you know something's a bad deal.) And now we have the immigration debate.
This marks the fourth schism in the last six years this nation, and the party, has had to endure. Each time we've taken deeper swipes at one another. Each time the rhetoric has gotten meaner and nastier. Hey, I'm accustomed to it. Remember the caht room I was referring to earlier? I've had my fair share of dust-ups with moonbats AND conservatives there. But I guess what irritates me most about these little arguments is this:
WE ARE SUPPOSED to be the party of ideas and sensible debate. They're supposed to be the party with dead ideas, and vitriol for debate. So what gives, all of a sudden, when our own side starts sounding like their side? What do I mean?
Demogoguery. The president says that our reservations to this bill amount to fear-mongering; "not wanting what is best for the country." Linda Chavez decided to resort to a similar sort of rhetoric that Democrats have used for years against Republicans; she played the racial victim card. (While Ms. Chavez does claim Hispanic ancestory, that side of her family has been here since before the nation was founded, so drop the "Go back to Mexico" rhetoric. It makes you no better than they are.) Those that are looked at and respected as leaders of the Republican/conservative movement sound a lot like the people who have been calling us racist xenophobes for the last forty years.
I bring this up not because of the more seasoned and savvy members of the movement, such as Hugh, or Captain Ed, or even myself. I bring it up for Marcie. Marcie is only 20, and participated in the adult right to cast her vote for the first time in 2004. While she hasn't been in the process long, she's just as astute as I am when it comes to politics. Anyone who's read her posts here knows this. But the youth question comes into play when she sees this sort of division going on in the party she chose because, like me, it identified closer to her beliefs than any other party out there. (I disregard third parties because there's no cohesion to their platform, and no real leadership in their ranks. Though I'll admit I did toy with the idea of the Constitution party for the briefest of nanoseconds.)
What she, and a number of your people see, is a party that's tearing itself apart over this one issue. And believe me, it's by no means a small one. Anyone with two brain cells available to them that can rub together fr the friction to create a thought knew deep down inside thsat this issue was going to be, shal we say, "heated." When members of our own party are sniping at the base over our decision that this bill stinks, it sends the wrong message to the base, and especially it's younger members. Let's face facts here: People my age, Hugh's age, etc., aren't going to be around to carry the torch forever. At some point, those youthful, energetic masses will take up the mantle. But, if this sort of scurrilous swiping continues, there may not be too many of them left to assume the much needed roles of standard bearers. They'll be turned off; driven from the party because the party is acting like the Democrats usually do -- spoiled, rotten do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do petulant brats. C'mon, that's the turn-off that kept us away fromt he Democrats. We're the party of adults. They're the party of emotional children.
I'm not saying that people like Marcie, or any of her friends, will go Democrat. (First, I say "her friends" meaning those she goes to school with. I myself have only ever met a couple, and they're fairly sharp when it comes to politics. Not fully polished yet, but that comes with time. Second, I know Marcie won't switch parties, though I can't say the same for those friends of hers I o know. I don't know them well enough, and they're not GOP. They're Independents right now.) What I am saying is that when you turn people off, especially the younger ones, you risk cutting off your nose to spite your face. Case in point, this observation from Bryan at Hot Air. Going into an election cycle, and RNC donations are down 40%, and due in no small part to the fracas splitting the party right now.
That's the legacy that awaits the next generation of voters. That's the legacy that will be left behind by President Bush, and his immediate push for amnesty. Ah, ah, ah, I don't want to hear the pro-immigration crowd going ape over this. It is amnesty. In a nutshell it is, and they know it. ANYONE who has read the fdraft, and have been keeping up with the amendments being tacked on in the Senate knows damn good and well that this is a form of amnesty. But our side is being painted in a light that's not true, is far from accurate, and the broad briush is in the hands of the president and his water bearers.
Believe it or not, Marcie and I fancy ourselves as Reagan conservatives. And in the end, Reagan granted 2.7 million illegal aliens amnesty in 1986. I disagreed with it then. Marcie didn't have much to say about it as she was about two months old at the time. (The IRCA was signed on 6 November 1986.) But she's read the history of it, and she disagreed it was wrong to do it just ont he sheer fact that it bumped everyone else trying to come here for citizenship to the back of the bus in favor of those who broke the laws to get here in the first place. Likewise, she has noted that because it was granted in 1986, it only encourgaed more illegal immigration. Now, she sees it happening again. So do I.
Only this time our concerns go to a simple, undeniable fact. In 1986, the nation was promised an increase in border enforcement and control, and comprehensive security measures to deal with the flow; eventually hoping to stem the tide. Of course, it's hardly possible to stop every single one of them that try to cross our borders. But the sheer fact remains that the goverment didn't follow through then, and they're now asking everyone in America to trust them this time. "This time we'll make it work." Marcie noted to me when this debate started that if they broke their word before, why should we trust them now, especially given the vehement opposition to certain security measures. We called for and fought for the border fence last year. Should this bill be passed, less than half of that fence will be built before "regularization" begins. A farce in it's own right because as soon as it's passed, people will be lining up for their Z Visas; a form of regularization.
So our concerns go to the security first stage before we deal with those here. Build the fence, hire the 25,000 border patrol agents needed, provide -- to the public -- who will be conducting these background checks -- and be serious about it -- rather than the three-ring circus proposed in the draft, and put a provision in that calls for extra scrutiny on "people of interest" from "countries of interest." (That means Asia, Africa, and the Middle East -- all the places where jihadis happen to be, for the most part.)
And that is where her greatest frustration lies. She simply can't believe or comprehend why we're getting this jam-down. That's exactly what this is because, as she has observed to me countless times since this debate began, Congress and the president aren't listening to the concerns of the nation. Forget the base, they're not listening to the nation, as a whole. Their oaths are to the nation, and they're breaking those oaths by forcing this upon the nation. They're blowing off the security concerns. They're thumbing their noses at experts like robert Rector, who is warning of a massive economic fallout should this go through. Worst of all, they're attacking detractors rather than debating it civilly ans sensibly.
I see how much this frustrates her, and at times it even sickens her when she sees this sort of back-biting and character assassination going on. These people are acting as though they're up on high, and none of what we say matters in their world. They know best. The all important federal government knows what's best for us. Ronald Reagan once stated in his Fisrt Inaugural address that "Government is not the solution to our problems; governemtn IS the problem." He was right then, and he's right now. The government's comprehensive reform is no reform. It's a punchline to a very bad joke.
In the end, this bill could cripple this nation in ways that have yet to be determined. But for the party, they're alienating people like Marcie, and the other younger members of the party. this isn't how we act, and I condemn those that have acted this way. Instead of taking what level-headed, sensible criutics are saying, and examining those concerns, they've opted to ignore them and go on the attack. What they're sacrificing in the end may be what condemns them to the darkest regions of politics for years to come.