“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Blazing car crashes into Glasgow airport
Last Updated: 6:34pm BST 30/06/2007
A four-wheel drive vehicle has crashed into Glasgow Airport's terminal building and burst into flames.
Reports said witnesses saw a car attempting to drive into the airport through the main doors. After it crashed its occupants were seen fighting with police inside the terminal.
TV footage showed flames and huge plumes of black smoke rising from a vehicle in front of the building. Police have arrested and detained two men.
The airport has been evacuated and all flights are suspended. BAA, which manages the airport, was not immediately available to comment.
There is nothing more basic to human life than the family. The family goal is to protect their own and build a life together. The stronger the family, the greater the chance for successful communities and future prospects. Children, protected and nurtured by parents, define a family. Integral to family and life itself is the teaching of the young. The teaching of a child is as natural as mother's milk.
Smart and successful societies have recognized the need and value of good community schools. Repressive regimes have always valued the power of controlling education and the indoctrination of youth. Independence, prosperity and freedom require community responsibility for maintaining safe functioning schools. There is no better example of the capitulation of local responsibility and accountability to schools than in black urban areas.
Black schools are such a disaster because American Blacks do not take the initiative to solve their own community problems. They expect government to do it for them. Forty years of experience should be ample evidence that federal and state governments will never fix Black schools and education until American Blacks say that they have had enough and they decide to solve their own problems. The first step is for Blacks to have an honest dialog about why there are black schools in the first place.
That is simple. Whites do not want their children exposed to the crime, violence, drugs and hyper-black ghetto culture that is the current norm in Black America. Black American urban culture is a study in disfunction. If Black communities succomb to that culture, and most have, the consequences are that Whites vote with their feet and leave. That is not prejudice, it is common sense and reality.
The Supreme Court decision which restricts race based school enrollment is a good first step for personal freedom. American Blacks and their white liberal thought masters should be rejoicing. We shall see.
Friday, June 29, 2007
What we know about the car bomb
By Emma Henry
Last Updated: 1:36pm BST 29/06/2007
# Car bomb would have caused 'carnage'
What do we know about the car bomb discovered in London's West End?
# An ambulance crew on an unrelated emergency call in The Haymarket reports a smoking silver Mercedes car to the police around 2am this morning
# Officers inspecting the car discover large quantities of petrol, a number of gas cylinders and containers holding nails inside
# There were at least 60 litres of petrol on the back seat and in the boot of the car in various sized containers
# Police sources said the car bomb was a "big device"
# They also said it was potentially moments away from killing a "significant number" of people
# One witness said the car was seen being driven "erratically" before it collided with some bins or bin bags on the pavement
# The driver ran off, apparently uninjured by the minor collision, which did not damage the vehicle. The lights of the car were left on
# Police used a remote-controlled vehicle to investigate the car before bomb squad officers made the device safe
# The massive quantity of petrol coupled with several propane gas cylinders could have combined to create a massive explosion
# There was so much petrol in the vehicle that the highly flammable vapour it gave off is believed to have looked like smoke
# A source said it was "impossible" to know whether the perpetrator was acting alone or as part of a large group
# Whitehall sources said that the police and security services were looking at possible international links - including similarities to car bombs used by insurgents in Iraq
# A police cordon was thrown around the Haymarket, causing massive disruption to thousands of rush-hour commuters.
# Forensic officers supervised the removal of the metallic light-green Mercedes saloon in a covered transporter lorry
# Security experts said the bomb could have been timed to coincide with the change at the top of Government.
# Piccadilly Tube station remained closed, while 16 bus routes which normally pass through the area were being diverted, said a spokeswoman for Transport for London.
Turkey is going its own way. Turkey has concluded that Iraq will collapse when the US begins to withdraw. It is on the verge of destabilizing the most stable part of Iraq.
ANKARA, June 29 (Reuters) - Turkey has prepared detailed plans for a cross-border operation into Iraq against Kurdish rebels and will act if U.S. or Iraqi forces fail to tackle them, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was quoted as saying on Friday.
Ankara has on many occasions threatened to send troops into mainly Kurdish northern Iraq to hunt down thousands of militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who use the region as a base from which to attack targets inside Turkey.
"The military plans have been worked out in the finest detail. The government knows these plans and agrees with them," Gul told the Radikal newspaper in an interview.
"If neither the Iraqi government nor the U.S. occupying forces can do this (crush the PKK), we will take our own decision and implement it," Gul said.
Washington has urged Turkey, a NATO ally, not to enter northern Iraq, arguing such a move would destabilise one of the few relatively peaceful regions of the war-shattered country.
The United States, like Turkey, classes the PKK as a terrorist organisation. But it says its forces are too stretched battling insurgents in central Iraq.
Iraq has also warned Turkey against making an incursion.
Gul denied any difference of opinion between Turkey's government and its powerful military on northern Iraq.
"A cross-border operation is a serious issue. State institutions need to act in harmony on such issues," he said.
The head of the Turkish military repeated his call this week for permission to go into northern Iraq, saying it would not end the PKK problem but would strike a big blow against the rebels.
More than 30,000 people have been killed in fighting between Turkish security forces and the PKK since the rebels launched their armed campaign for an independent homeland in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey in 1984.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
House Passes Amendment Disallowing Funding for Fairness Doctrine
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/28/2007 3:25:00 PM
The ayes had it Thursday after the House overwhelmingly passed an amendment 310 to 15 an appropriations bill that prevents the FCC from spending any money in 2008 to reinstate the fairness doctrine.
The amendment had been introduced by former talk radio host and current Republican Legislator from Indiana Mike Pence, who also was preparing a bill that would permanently prevent the FCC from trying to reinstate it, not that Democrats were expecting the Republican-led FCC to do that, several Democrats said Thursday on the House floor.
Numerous Republicans stood up to criticize any attempt to reinstate the fairness doctrine, calling it unfair, a threat to the First Amendment, directed at conservative talk radio, and the "leftist censorship doctrine," among other things.
Democrats, led by David Obey (D-Wis.) suggested the amendment was a red herring, a non-issue and that it was being debated, such as it was--no Democrats stood to oppose it--to provide sound bites for conservative talkers and "yap yap TV," who had ginned up the issue. In a Shakespearian mood, Obey said the amendment was "much ado about nothing" and "sound and fury, signifying nothing."
But several Democrats and Republicans suggested the debate over the doctrine was not over, but just beginning. Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said that there may not have been a fairness doctrine item on the House agenda, but he believed that it is "clearly on the agenda of debate in the country."
Media ownership critic Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has backed reimposing the doctrine, said the amendment was a non-issue because the Republican administration would never do it. President Ronald Reagan vetoed a congressional attempt to reinstate the doctrine soon after it was jettisoned by the FCC.
But Kucinich did say that the FCC under a future administration might indeed reimpose the doctrine. The amendment would only bar monies in fiscal year 2008.
"It is exactly that next administration that we are concerned about," said Pence, adding that he did not want to leave the FCC with the resources or authority to rereguate the public airwaves."
Kucinich said the real issue was media concentration, a point echoed by Diane Watson (D-Calif.)
There is currently no legislation to reinstate the doctrine, which the FCC invalidated as unconstitutional in 1987, but several Democratic senators, including Dick Durbin of Illinois, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Diane Feinstein of California had gone on record supporting at least looking into reinstating it.
Those calls appeared to be spurred, in part, by a talk radio campaign against the immigration reform bill that seemed to have been effective--the bill essentially died a second time Thursday and is unlikely to be revived before the 2008 elections.
Rep. John Dingell (D- Mich.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who chair the committee and subcommittee that oversee communications policy issues, have also asked the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to investigate the connection, if any, between broadcast speech and the commission of hate crimes.
Congressman Mike Pence was on Mark Levin's show tonight and observed that the Democrat leadership voted against his amendment. He says that this tells him of their intentions to shut down talk radio if a Democrat is elected President.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
"A permanent constitution must be the work of quiet, leisure, much inquiry, and great deliberation."
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Bowling With Our Own
Robert Putnam’s sobering new diversity research scares its author.
25 June 2007
Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, is very nervous about releasing his new research, and understandably so. His five-year study shows that immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. He fears that his work on the surprisingly negative effects of diversity will become part of the immigration debate, even though he finds that in the long run, people do forge new communities and new ties.
Putnam’s study reveals that immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. Trust, even for members of one’s own race, is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friendships fewer. The problem isn’t ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation. Putnam writes: “In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’—that is, to pull in like a turtle.”
In the 41 sites Putnam studied in the U.S., he found that the more diverse the neighborhood, the less residents trust neighbors. This proved true in communities large and small, from big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Boston to tiny Yakima, Washington, rural South Dakota, and the mountains of West Virginia. In diverse San Francisco and Los Angeles, about 30 percent of people say that they trust neighbors a lot. In ethnically homogeneous communities in the Dakotas, the figure is 70 percent to 80 percent.
Diversity does not produce “bad race relations,” Putnam says. Rather, people in diverse communities tend “to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.” Putnam adds a crushing footnote: his findings “may underestimate the real effect of diversity on social withdrawal.”
Neither age nor disparities of wealth explain this result. “Americans raised in the 1970s,” he writes, “seem fully as unnerved by diversity as those raised in the 1920s.” And the “hunkering down” occurred no matter whether the communities were relatively egalitarian or showed great differences in personal income. Even when communities are equally poor or rich, equally safe or crime-ridden, diversity correlates with less trust of neighbors, lower confidence in local politicians and news media, less charitable giving and volunteering, fewer close friends, and less happiness.
Putnam has long been aware that his findings could have a big effect on the immigration debate. Last October, he told the Financial Times that “he had delayed publishing his research until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity.” He said it “would have been irresponsible to publish without that,” a quote that should raise eyebrows. Academics aren’t supposed to withhold negative data until they can suggest antidotes to their findings.
Nor has Putnam made details of his study available for examination by peers and the public. So far, he has published only an initial summary of his findings, from a speech he gave after winning an award in Sweden, in the June issue of Scandinavian Political Studies. His office said Putnam is in Britain, working on a religion project at the University of Manchester, and is currently too busy to grant an interview.
Putnam’s study does make two positive points: in the long run, increased immigration and diversity are inevitable and desirable, and successful immigrant societies “dampen the negative effects of diversity” by constructing new identities. Social psychologists have long favored the optimistic hypothesis that contact between different ethnic and racial groups increases tolerance and social solidarity. For instance, white soldiers assigned to units with black soldiers after World War II were more relaxed about desegregation of the army than were soldiers in all-white units. But Putnam acknowledges that most empirical studies do not support the “contact hypothesis.” In general, they find that the more people are brought into contact with those of another race or ethnicity, the more they stick to their own, and the less they trust others. Putnam writes: “Across local areas in the United States, Australia, Sweden Canada and Britain, greater ethnic diversity is associated with lower social trust and, at least in some cases, lower investment in public goods.”
Though Putnam is wary of what right-wing politicians might do with his findings, the data might give pause to those on the left, and in the center as well. If he’s right, heavy immigration will inflict social deterioration for decades to come, harming immigrants as well as the native-born. Putnam is hopeful that eventually America will forge a new solidarity based on a “new, broader sense of we.” The problem is how to do that in an era of multiculturalism and disdain for assimilation.
John Leo is the editor of the Manhattan Institute’s mindingthecampus.com.
The George Bush amnesty bill, and that is all it is, is the beginning of a monumental social experiment of unknown consequences. It is the result of corporate greed and a callous disregard for the rights and legacy of ordinary US citizens. It is the result of lawmakers who will not enforce the laws that they are sworn to enforce.
Their solution it to pass new laws that will turn loose tens of millions of mostly poor, mostly uneducated people into the United States. They will sign an incomprehensible bill that most will not have read.
The bill, if passed, will be the mother load of future litigation, that will permit the exonerated illegal immigrants to be joined by families, friends and new waves of illegal entrants in staggering numbers. The Consequences to this folly are unknowable, unpredictable and irreversible.
The procedure that will follow will be guaranteed. New legalized citizens will vote Democratic and for more activist government. New waves of special interest lawyers will paralyze the courts and government agencies with a broadening demand for benefits and entitlements for the uninvited millions, who will be joined by more millions. A bloated social welfare, retirement and medical system will be expanded to exhaustion and collapse. This bill is not the end of a process, it is the beginning of a new internationalist entitlement program over the say and wishes of the legal American citizenry. It is only stoppable here and now. There will be no help from the man most of you and this critic elected, George W. Bush. This astonishing fool believes this bill will be his legacy.
These senators are on the fence. Here are the names and fax numbers:
Monday, June 25, 2007
BUT UNTIL THE VOTE THIS WILL REMAIN ON TOP.
Chavez Warns of Resistance War With U.S.It will be interesting to see how this Bolivarian revolution plays out. Unfortunately, the damage done to this hemisphere could be extensive. Of course, he will want to share the socialism with everyone. He'll also want to roll America back to within its borders. It's only a matter of time before ied's and suicide bombers come to this side of the world.
By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER, Associated Press Writer
6 hours ago
CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez urged soldiers on Sunday to prepare for a guerrilla-style war against the United States, saying that Washington is using psychological and economic warfare as part of an unconventional campaign aimed at derailing his government.
Dressed in olive green fatigues and a red beret, Chavez spoke inside Tiuna Fort _ Venezuela's military nerve-center _ before hundreds of uniformed soldiers standing alongside armored vehicles and tanks decorated with banners reading: "Fatherland, Socialism, or Death! We will triumph!"
"We must continue developing the resistance war, that's the anti-imperialist weapon. We must think and prepare for the resistance war everyday," said Chavez, who has repeatedly warned that American soldiers could invade Venezuela to seize control of the South American nation's immense oil reserves.
U.S. officials reject claims that Washington is considering a military attack. But the U.S. government has expressed concern over what it perceives as a significant arms build-up here.
Chavez _ a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro _ told soldiers the Washington was trying to weaken and divide Venezuelan society, including the armed forces, without resorting to combat.
"It's not just armed warfare," said Chavez, a former army officer who is leading what he calls the "Bolivarian Revolution," a socialist movement named after 19th-century independence hero Simon Bolivar. "I'm also referring to psychological warfare, media warfare, political warfare, economic warfare."
Under Chavez, Venezuela has recently purchased some $3 billion worth of arms from Russia, including 53 military helicopters, 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 24 SU-30 Sukhoi fighter jets.
Last week, Chavez said he is considering arms purchases, including submarines and a missile-equipped air defense system, as he prepares for a tour of Russia, Belarus and Iran.
"We are strengthening Venezuela's military power precisely to avoid imperial aggressions and assure peace, not to attack anybody," he said Sunday.
Opposition leader Julio Borges condemned the president's interest in acquiring weapons, saying the government should focus on reducing violent crime in Venezuela, which has one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America.
"This isn't resolved with military purchases and foreign tours," Borges said. "This is resolved with the determination of having a country with justice."
Maybe I am stuck in the Viet Nam era, but maybe not. I clearly despise the 60's generation side that beat the draft and got away with it. It is no surprise to me that the draft dodgers and desertion crowd is the same group most willing to give amnesty to the illegal immigrants. I always am suspect of those with no skin in the game.
My position is rather basic. The amount of injuries and deaths from IEDs is unacceptable. The use of IEDs spreads because they are effective, inexpensive, deadly, dramatic and easily copied. Some observations:
1. Increase the size of units whose job it is to clear and secure the roads. If we cannot get enough US troops, then hire the equivalent of the TSA (they are good with blue haired white American grandmothers}. Iraqis could be used to supplement US forces, or mercenaries could be hired.
2. Use and develop 24/7 air and satellite based surveillance of roads cleared of IEDs.
3. Follow the network and source of internet videos of IED explosions. Be inclusive and set off some IEDs in internet cafes and supporting mosques. Flood the Iraqi market with cheap traceable video cameras.
4. I do not care how much it costs. If $10 billion is not enough, spend $20 billion. Have the political courage to raise a tax for the specific purpose. Call it a US IED prevention tax, and tax gasoline or trans-fats for all I care. Get the money for the technology. There has been no political courage in this department by the theorist architects and leadership of this administration, which is largely staffed by people that avoided military service when they had the opportunity and duty to serve.
5. Bob W., keep well.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The single most heartbreaking aspect of the Iraq war is the daily carnage against US troops due to IEDs. Nine U.S. troops were killed in Iraq on Saturday, bringing the U.S. military death toll so far in June to 79, the military reported.
Four of the troops were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near a coalition vehicle northwest of Baghdad on Saturday. An Iraqi interpreter riding with the soldiers was wounded.
The soldiers were with Multi-National Division-Baghdad, which has been conducting raids in the area north of the Iraqi capital to destroy insurgent safe havens, the military added.
Two other U.S. soldiers assigned to Multi-National Division-Baghdad were killed and three others were wounded when their unit was hit by a roadside bomb and small arms fire in eastern Baghdad early Saturday, the military said.
Those that survive are horribly maimed. They will be so from now and until their enthusiastic fresh faces wilt from age and become heavy with flesh and time. They will be forgotten as all disabled vets have been in all previous wars. Their reality will be a life of averted glances, pain and challenge. It need not have happened. How did it and why does it continue?
The US has spent $10 billion in an unsuccessful campaign to defeat these weapons, but IEDs, not gunfire, still account for the large majority of American casualties. It makes no sense to me, a non-soldier, to have US military vehicles rolling along on Iraqi roads where surveillance and clearing methods are inadequate. The Iraqis have all the bomb material necessary because we had too few troops to secure ammo dumps when we attacked Iraq and now the pilfered material kills and maims daily because we have inadequate forces to secure the roads.
I would be willing to bet that if George Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz or Don Rumsfeld had family members riding mean Iraqi roads this would not have been. The Bush Administration has compassion and resources for millions of illegal entrants to the US, but never had the courage to ask for the sacrifice of the US to supply adequate troops and resources to the war of its creation. The architects and chief decider will never pay the price of their ineptitude and stupidity.
When I was in combat in Vietnam, my unit walked into ambushes from time to time…but never on a road. Early in his training, every soldier learns that you never travel a road or a trail until it has been secured in all directions to the maximum effective range of your weapons. Well, if it’s a violation of such a basic principle, why are we still doing it?- Col. Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor Recipient
Recently, I asked this exact question of veteran officers with multiple tours in Iraq, and their replies were identical: not enough troops. Clearing and securing roads are labor-intensive exercises. To be sure, we are using technology to substitute for some of the labor, and we do defeat many IEDs in place before they can do harm, but there is really no operational excuse for driving into an ambush. If a vehicle has become the target of an IED, it means that security has been forsaken for expedience. As long as our troops drive along roads that have not been properly secured, some of them will be killed and maimed by IEDs.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Democrats Propose New Tax Rate on Investment Funds
By David Cho
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 22, 2007; 5:01 p.m. ET
Top House Democrats today introduced wide-ranging legislation that would more than double the tax rate that private equity firms, venture capital funds and many hedge funds pay on their gains.
The proposed legislation would cause the most comprehensive change to the capital gains tax law in decades. It was authored by Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) and introduced by Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the Financial Services Committee.
The bill was introduced on the first day of trading of private equity giant Blackstone. Its IPO was one of the reasons Congress became interested in examining how such firms are taxed.
The IPO became one of the richest in Wall Street history this morning when it began trading about 18 percent above its offering price of $31 per share. Late in the afternoon, the stock was holding onto those gains and was trading just shy of $36 per share.
In a statement, Levin said the proposed legislation "would ensure that investment fund managers who take a share of the funds' profits as compensation for investment management services, known as 'carried interest,' would be taxed at an appropriate ordinary income tax rate."
It said that because of their funds' partnership structure, the managers of private investment partnerships currently are able to receive compensation for these services at the 15 percent capital gains tax rate rather than the ordinary income tax rate of 35 percent.
"Congress must ensure that our tax code is fair," Levin said. "We have to be sure that the lower capital gains tax rate is not being inappropriately substituted for the tax rate on wages and earnings."
He added, "Investment fund employees should not pay a lower rate of tax on their compensation for services than other Americans. These investment managers are being paid to provide a service to their limited partners, and fairness requires they be taxed at the rates applicable to service income just as any other American worker."
The bill would not affect members of partnerships who invest their own money, and fund managers who did so would continue to pay the 15 percent capital gains tax rate on their own profits, Levin said.
"The capital gains rate will continue to apply to the extent that the managers' income represents a reasonable return on capital they have actually invested in the partnership," said the statement issued by Levin's office.
The proposed legislation represents the first comprehensive measure to raise rates on the tax treatment for all hedge funds and buyout firms, which have drawn congressional attention because of billion-dollar paydays for fund managers, Bloomberg news service reported.
Lawmakers are targeting carried interest as part of a broader examination of how hedge funds and buyout firms are taxed. Informal estimates show that taxing carried interest at the same rate as salaries may generate at least $4 billion a year in additional taxes, Bloomberg said.
Unions have increasingly criticized the tax treatment of carried interest as buyout firms acquire more companies, putting jobs at risk, the news service said.
"What we're talking about is making the tax system more fair and equitable and transparent to Americans," said Dan Pedrotty, director of the office of investment at the ALF-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation.
However, the bill has come under sharp criticism from fund managers and trade groups, Bloomberg reported.
"Congress is just looking for an easy target to shake down and raise some more taxes," said Bill Burnham, managing general partner of Inductive Capital LP, a Menlo Park, Calif., hedge fund.
A separate, narrower bill in the Senate that would force hedge funds and buyout firms that go public, such as Blackstone, to pay taxes at corporate rates as high as 35 percent instead of their current rates as partnerships. Individual partners now pay taxes as low as 15 percent on their share of income.
Staff writer William Branigin contributed to this report.
The Center for American Progress is headed up by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff, John Podesta. (Bill Clinton may come across as moderate and reasoned but I am continually amazed by the political positions of his former White House associates.)
Two common myths are frequently offered to explain the imbalance of talk radio: 1) the 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine (which required broadcasters to devote airtime to contrasting views), and 2) simple consumer demand. Each of these fails to adequately explain the root cause of the problem. The report explains:
Our conclusion is that the gap between conservative and progressive talk radio is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system, particularly the complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast, the elimination of clear public interest requirements for broadcasting, and the relaxation of ownership rules including the requirement of local participation in management. […]
Ultimately, these results suggest that increasing ownership diversity, both in terms of the race/ethnicity and gender of owners, as well as the number of independent local owners, will lead to more diverse programming, more choices for listeners, and more owners who are responsive to their local communities and serve the public interest.
Along with other ideas, the report recommends that national radio ownership not be allowed to exceed 5 percent of the total number of AM and FM broadcast stations, and local ownership should not exceed more than 10 percent of the total commercial radio stations in a given market.
They simply do not believe that the market decides what is aired and what isn't. They think there is a significant market for liberal talk radio but a cabal of rich conservative owners are blocking it. So their solution is more Federal intervention. Now, it seems more people are joining Dennis Kucinich in his campaign to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. This Center For American Progress, (doesn't that name sound socialist?) report will serve as a fatwa, a call to arms for Democrat politicians. In other words, it's now "open season." I think we will begin to see an escalation as the insurgent left surges. Watch for more stories in the MSM. In fact, on Friday, DrudgeReport broke the news that Senator James Inhofe heard Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer clucking about talk radio and agreeing that "we need to do something about it." Clinton and Boxer both denied it and Inhofe will be discounted as a kook. I wouldn't be surprised if we begin to see news stories which tie talk radio and the blogosphere to issues such as the threat posed by right wing militia's. Remember the Michigan militia during the Clinton years when the gun control advocates were trying to make the possession of "assault rifles" illegal? They, along with the White House and the MSM did their best to make Second Amendment supporters appear as Public Enemy Number One.
These people are clever with tactics such as smear, distortion, and misdirection and have a willing media to disseminate their propaganda. The left has once again become a dangerous movement. Moderates within the Democrat party, if there are any left, are like moderate Muslims, afraid to speak out. Talk radio and the blogosphere represent a threat to the far left's pro-socialist/anti-capitalist agenda.
Listening to many leftwingers indicates that they are incapable of or simply refuse to see a left leaning bias in news organizations such as NPR or the press. I don't doubt that many are too naive and ignorant but lately, there also seems to be an active and growing undercurrent of malevolence by the far left. It is a mistake to think that the left is comprised of only "flower children". No, these people are more like Trotskyites and if they ever consolidate political power, things could get very ugly.
Vigilance is the order of the day.
Woman marries death row prisoner
23 June 2007, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK BBC
The couple met through a pen pal programme - photo courtesy of WRAL TV
A former Nottinghamshire woman has married a death row prisoner at a ceremony in a US jail.
Tracy Cope, 44, married James Lewis Morgan, 52, at Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina, last week.
Their four-and-a-half-year relationship began when Ms Cope sent the inmate a love poem through a pen pal programme. She has since moved to North Carolina.
Morgan was killed 34-year-old Patrina Lynette King in November 1997 and was sentenced to death.
Prison officials allowed the couple to hold hands, hug and kiss during the wedding ceremony, but visits will now be through a glass partition and will be limited to one-and-a-half hours per week.
Tracy told WRAL TV in North Carolina Morgan's crime was no longer a concern to her once she found out all the details.
She added that she was optimistic they would both be together outside prison walls one day.
"We never give up hope. We say that with God, all things are possible."
The North Carolina Department of Correction said Morgan is one of only two prisoners to get married at Central Prison in the past five years.
FILED: 3 DECEMBER 2004
On 5 January 1998, defendant James Lewis Morgan was indicted for the murder of Patrina Lynette King (King). He was convicted of first-degree murder on the basis of premeditation and deliberation. Following a capital sentencing proceeding, the jury recommended a sentence of death, and the trial court entered judgment accordingly.
The State's evidence at trial showed that defendant and his nephew, Kenneth Cato (Cato), were living at 13 Ridge Street in Asheville. On the evening of 25 November 1997, Cato arrived home around midnight to find defendant and King sitting in the living room. They appeared to him to have been smoking crack cocaine, and Cato heard defendant tell King that he wanted a“head job.” When King refused and tried to depart, defendant started shouting and smacked her. Defendant also grabbed a beer bottle by the neck, threatened Cato with it, and ordered him to leave. Although Cato stepped out of the room, defendant continued hitting King. Cato told defendant to stop, then reentered the room and began to wrestle with defendant. During their struggle, defendant hit Cato on the head with the beer bottle, then chased Cato outside and around a vehicle parked on Ridge Street. According to Cato, defendant was holding a knife during the chase. Meanwhile, King emerged from the house and started down the street. When defendant began to follow her, Cato ran for help to the home of defendant's brother, Richard Morgan (Rick), about a half mile away.
The two drove back to Ridge Street, where Cato saw a broken bottle in the street and King lying between two cars. Rick knocked on the door of Stacey Miller's home at 12 Ridge Street and asked him to call 911. Unable to comply because he did not have a telephone, Miller stepped outside to see what was happening. Defendant returned to the scene, carrying a knife. Miller saw defendant, Rick, and Cato standing together, engaged in conversation. Defendant said, “You-all are the reason why this happened to me,” and chased Cato around the car shouting either “I'll kill you, too” or “I should have killed you.” Someone called 911, and defendant walked away when police arrived at the scene.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Iran moves closer to making a nuclear bomb
By David Blair, Diplomatic Correspondent Telegraph
Last Updated: 11:58am BST 22/06/2007
Iran has moved significantly closer towards acquiring the ability to make a bomb as the regime claims to have stockpiled 100kg of enriched uranium.
So far, this uranium has only been enriched to the level needed for generating electricity in civilian nuclear power stations.
But if Iran chooses to enrich it to 84 per cent purity, it would reach weapons-grade level and become the essential material for building a bomb.
Iran would need 50kg of weapons-grade uranium in order to make one nuclear weapon of the kind that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.
By storing twice this quantity of low-enriched uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime is widening its options.
It could choose to enrich the stockpiled uranium to weapons-grade level in a matter of months – perhaps after formally withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and breaking out of all international safeguards.
Uranium is enriched using machines called centrifuges. These have now been installed in Iran's nuclear plant at Natanz. A snap inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency last month found that 1,312 centrifuges were operating.
Iran's official target is to bring 3,000 into action – enough to produce sufficient weapons-grade uranium for one bomb in about a year.
Mustapha Pourmohammedi, Iran's interior minister, told the official news agency that the moment of maximum international pressure on his country had passed and that Teheran would press ahead with the nuclear programme.
"When the world saw that the nation is pursuing this goal with unity, the world has surrendered. We have passed the dangerous moment," he said.
Iran claims that its nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful and designed to do nothing more than generate electricity for its growing population of 70 million. But western governments disbelieve this assertion.
Icebergs are 'ecological hotspot'
Melting icebergs release minerals into the surrounding water
Drifting icebergs are "ecological hotspots" that enable the surrounding waters to absorb an increased volume of carbon dioxide, a study suggests.
US scientists found that minerals released from the melting ice triggered blooms of CO2-absorbing phytoplankton.
These microscopic plants were then eaten by krill (shrimp-like organisms), whose waste material containing the carbon sank to the ocean floor.
The findings are published in the online journal Science Express.
The study, carried out in the Southern Ocean's Weddell Sea in December 2005, has helped researchers understand the impact of free-floating icebergs on the marine environment.
Floating feeding stations
The number of icebergs found in waters around Antarctica has increased in recent decades as a result of global warming, the researchers wrote in the paper.
"We got a satellite image that covered roughly 11,000 sq km (4,200 sq miles), and counted the number of icebergs within that area," explained Ken Smith, an oceanographer from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, California.
"We had almost 1,000 icebergs."
The team focused its attention on two icebergs, one measuring 2km by 0.5km (1.2 miles by 0.3 miles) and another 21km in length and 5km wide (13 miles by 3 miles).
Using instruments that included a trawl net and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with a video camera, the researchers sampled waters from the ice blocks to 9km away (5.5 miles).
They found a "substantial enrichment" of minerals, phytoplankton, krill and seabirds in the surrounding water up to 3.7km away (2.3 miles) compared with areas with no icebergs.
"These results suggest that free-drifting icebergs can substantially impact the (open sea) ecosystem of the Southern Ocean and can serve as areas of enhanced production and sequestration of organic carbon to the deep sea," the scientists wrote.
Dr Smith said these findings would be followed up next year by a much more intensive examination.
"Ninety percent [of the icebergs in the area] were smaller than the ones we studied," he told BBC News.
"We are going to go back and look at smaller icebergs to see how important they are, and to see if they also have an associated enrichment of the surrounding water."
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Sean Hannity was far too easy on good ol boy, Trotter. It seems the good senator from Mississippi was on a tractor and did not hear the phone ring the first time Hannity tried to get him on the phone. This is true, really.
As best as I can understand the interview, the reason that we need a new immigration amnesty is because "the government" did not enforce the laws that Congress already passed. Hannity did not pursue a logical follow-up as to who is responsible to enforce US law. Who is "the government" sworn to defend and enforce the laws of the US? That is George W. Bush.
If the President will not enforce the law, who has responsibility to bring him to task for dereliction of duty? That is Congress. They do not need new laws. They need to lawfully prosecute the president that does not do his duty, or is emotionally unprepared to do it. Congress should send a message to the president directing him to enforce the laws of the United States or step down. Short of that, Congress needs to do its duty and remove him from office.
More Middle East Madness
By Victor Davis Hanson
"The Palestinian people will never forgive the Hamas gangs for looting the home of the Palestinian people's great leader, Yasser Arafat." So Palestinian Authority spokesman Abdel Rahman recently exclaimed. "This crime will remain a stain of disgrace on the forehead of Hamas and its despicable gangs."
Looting? Crime? Despicable gangs?
Excuse me. For years, Palestinian Authority-sanctioned gangs shot and tortured dissidents, glorified suicide bombing against Israel and in general thwarted any hopes of various "peace processes."
Of course, this kind of behavior isn't limited to the Palestinian territories but is spread across the Middle East. The soon-to-be-nuclear theocracy in Iran is grotesque. Iraqis continue to discover innovative ways to extinguish each other. Syria assassinates democratic reformers in Lebanon. ABC News now reports that new teams of al-Qaida and Taliban suicide bombers have been ordered to the United States and Europe from Afghanistan.
Here's why much of the region is so unhinged - and it's not because of our policy in Palestine or our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
First, thanks to Western inventions and Chinese manufactured goods, Middle Easterners can now access the non-Muslim world cheaply and vicariously. To millions of Muslims, the planet appears - on the Internet, DVDs and satellite television - to be growing rich as most of their world stays poor.
Second, the Middle East either will not or cannot make the changes necessary to catch up with what they see in the rest of the world. Tribalism - loyalty only to kin rather than to society at large - impedes merit and thus progress. So does gender apartheid. Who knows how many would-be Margaret Thatchers or Sandra Day O'Connors remain veiled in the kitchen?
Religious fundamentalism translates into rote prayers in madrassas while those outside the Middle East master science and engineering. Without a transparent capitalist system - antithetical to both sharia (Muslim law) and state-run economies - initiative is never rewarded. Corruption is.
Meanwhile, mere discussion in much of the region of what is wrong can mean execution by a militia, government thug or religious vigilante.
So, Middle Easterners are left with the old frustration of wanting the good life of Western society but lacking either the ability or willingness to change the status quo to get it.
Instead, we get monotonous scapegoating. Blaming America or Israel - "Those sneaky Jews did it!" - has become a regional pastime.
And after the multifarious failures of Yasser Arafat, the Assads in Syria, Muammar Gaddafi, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Saddam Hussein and other corrupt autocrats, many have, predictably, retreated to fundamentalist extremism. Almost daily, some fundamentalist claims that the killing of Westerners is justified - because of a cartoon, a Papal paragraph or, most recently, British knighthood awarded to novelist Salman Rushdie. The terrorism of Osama bin Laden, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban is as much about nihilist rage as it is about blackmailing Western governments to grant concessions.
Meanwhile, millions of others simply flee the mess, immigrating to either Europe or the United States.
These reactions to failure often lead to circumstances that can defy logic.
The poor terrorists of Arafat's old party, Fatah, seem to shriek that they have been out-terrorized by Hamas, and desperately con more Western aid to make up for what has been squandered or stolen.
Muslims flock to Europe to enjoy a level of freedom and opportunity long denied at home. But no sooner have many arrived than they castigate their adopted continent as decadent. The ungracious prefer intolerant sharia - denying to their own the very freedom of choice that was given to them by others.
Our response in America to this perennial Middle East temper tantrum?
In the last 20 years, we've sent billions in aid to the Arab world. We've saved Muslims from Bosnia to Kuwait. We've removed dangerous thugs in Afghanistan and Iraq, fostering democracies in their place. We've opened our borders to immigrants from the Middle East. We've paid billions of dollars in inflated oil prices. All the while, many in the West have wrongly blamed themselves for the conditions in the Middle East.
It's past time for Middle Easterners to fix their own self-inflicted mess. In the meantime, the U.S. and its allies should help as we can - but first protect ourselves from them as we must.
Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author, most recently, of "A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War." You can reach him by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
“"The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men." -Samuel Adams”
Is this Congress or Parliament?
By Paul Greenberg, Washington Times
June 18, 2007
Where do these people think they are, the House of Commons? The other day the U.S. Senate, sometimes laughingly referred to as the World's Greatest Deliberative Body, considered a motion of no confidence in the country's attorney general.
To what end? There is no constitutional provision for a vote of no confidence. It's a parliamentary, not congressional, maneuver. And should remain so. Let's leave it to the Brits -- like cricket, haggis and toad-in-a-hole.
In a parliamentary system, a government that loses a vote of no confidence is toppled and may even have to face new elections. Here our chief executive serves for a fixed term -- four years, for all you civics students out there -- and the members of his Cabinet, including the attorney general, and, yes, all those federal prosecutors who just got fired, serve at his pleasure. Not at the pleasure of the U.S. Senate. So what was the point of this motion of no confidence? The short answer: none at all.
The news stories kept referring to the vote as "symbolic." It would have been a way to signal the Senate's displeasure with the current attorney general. A particularly pretentious way. Like putting on an English accent. Like the ones you hear these days on tonier office receptionists and National Public Radio. Trendy bunch, these senators.
Why not just pass a good ol', all-American resolution of censure? That's what the Whigs did to Andrew Jackson -- before the Jacksonians came back in the next election and expunged the resolution from the Senate journal in a boisterous ceremony. Resolutions of censure can backfire.
Even if this vote of no confidence had passed -- instead, it failed to garner the 60 votes required to proceed -- the effect would have been the same: nothing at all. Symbolic votes are just that, only symbolic.
It's the president of the United States, one George W. Bush, who gets to pick the members of his Cabinet, including the attorney general. Here's what he had to say about the Senate's action, or lack of same, last week: "They can have their votes of no confidence, but it isn't going to make the determination about who serves in my government."
Linguistic note: In his typical (awful) way with words, the president tends to use the terms administration and government interchangeably, but that's a whole other problem. The problem with the Senate is that it seems to have confused itself with a European parliament.
There is no shortage of paeans to the Constitution of the United States in senatorial speeches, but any senators who think it contains a provision for a vote of no confidence might need to study it some more. Some senators seem to think it's their confidence in a Cabinet officer -- or lack of it -- that should determine whether he continues to serve. They are, to put it mildly, dead wrong.
No doubt about it, Alberto Gonzales wouldn't win any popularity contests in the U.S. Senate -- or in the country. For that matter, neither would Mr. Bush. But maybe that's one reason the Founders settled on a fixed term for the president, so that the executive branch wouldn't come to resemble a revolving door, with its chief officials leaving office whenever their popularity waned. The Founders took pains to separate the executive and legislative branches of government, rather than allow one to dismantle the other.
Here is what Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, told his colleagues as they solemnly debated a parliamentary vote of no confidence: "This is a nonbinding, irrelevant resolution proving what? Nothing." And then he added: "Maybe we should be considering a vote of no confidence on the Senate or in the Congress for malfunction and an inability to produce anything." A decent immigration bill, for example.
Expressions of no confidence, like resolutions of censure, can backfire. And at last report, Congress was doing even more poorly than the president in the polls. The Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll just found Congress' approval rating had fallen "to its lowest level in more than a decade" -- 27 percent, down from 36 percent in January. Compare that showing with the president's 34 percent approval rating, which is no great shakes, either, but it's better than Congress'.
Yet the Senate is inviting a constitutional confrontation with the executive branch by issuing subpoenas for former White House officials like presidential counsel Harriet Miers and political director Sara Taylor -- the kind of subpoenas a long list of presidents from Thomas Jefferson to Harry Truman have stoutly resisted. And for good reason. For the power to subpoena is the power to destroy, and once the executive branch submits to such inquisitions, its independence is compromised. It becomes answerable to the legislative branch, which is not how America's system is supposed to work -- as opposed to a parliamentary system.
No wonder the American people are losing confidence in this Congress.
Paul Greenberg is a nationally syndicated columnist.
Oh, they are not Amish, not Lutherans or Swedes, not Republicans or Minutemen, possibly right-wing bloggers, no? Hardly worth mentioning. Just yutes having some fun.
Innocent Motorists Attacked After Juneteenth
MILWAUKEE - A handful of violent incidents tarnished Milwaukee's Juneteenth celebration for the second year in a row. The festival itself was peaceful, but police in riot gear had to deal with several incidents after the event.
A large group of teens walked east on W. Burleigh St., jumping on unsuspecting drivers' cars and kicking in windows on at least two vehicles.
In one incident, a crowd surrounded a black car stuck in traffic at 2nd and Burleigh. A couple of teens jumped on top of the car. One smashed out the rear windshield. The driver stayed in the vehicle and escaped unharmed. He smashed into the car ahead of him trying to speed away from the attackers.
Further down the street, a woman in a gold car stopped after a teen jumped onto the back of her car. She got out and yelled at the teen, then she got back in a tried to speed away, also hitting the car ahead of her.
A short time later, at 1st and Burleigh, the crowd surrounded a red car, pounding on the hood and trunk and breaking out the windows. /after a woman reached into his open window, the driver got out, was kicked in the head by a man and fell to the ground. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
In another incident, police said a young woman hit an officer in the face as the officer was trying to break up a large fight near 1st and Auer. The blow shattered the officer's face shield. The officer was cut by the shattered face shield and needed stitches at the hospital.
The suspect was taken down by officers using night sticks and was arrested.
Watch exclusive ground footage of police fighting with and arresting the suspect
Many people are angry that the celebration, marking the end of slavery in America, was once again marred by violence.
"Just one person can stop a whole thing," said Earnestine Rogers, a woman attending the celebration.
Now there is still concern that the violence could lead to a cancellation of the ceremony next year.
"It shouldn't be stopped because of some youngsters," said Rogers.
Thousands of people attended the Juneteenth celebration itself without incident.
The depressing part about the road building efforts is that the roads all travel through "hostile Indian" and poppy country. We believe that by building roads, we can promote prosperity and some sort of national pride and identity for Afghanistan. The bad guys simply have to foil our efforts until we tire of the enterprise. Anyone care to bet on the outcome?
It appears that we are nation building in an area that aspires to be another Columbia and yet is light years away from such sophistication. We can nation build for a lifetime and still not acheive what Columbia used to be. There are two major problems to overcome. Radical Islam and opium.
No good will come from the poppy production, only addiction, misery, and death. When the roads to market are built, how will we be able to compete with the high profit poppies? These are intractable, long term problems which this world is ill-prepared and unwilling to address. Afterall, how does a secular world combat such evil? By raising a white, libertarian flag and declaring victory? I don't think so. And why is this evil resurgent even as the west is increasingly post-modern and secular? Maybe it's because the evil practitioners are driven and comforted by a faith and religious fervor lacking in the west. They're on jihad and we've lost our moral compass. They have one simple aim which is to see Islam reign supreme. They have no moral compunction about how they achieve their goal. We, on the other hand are so encumbered by moral equivalence that our society can no longer distinguish between good and evil as we navigate the backroads of humanity.
So, yes, let's get those roads built so that those poppies can get to market more efficiently. Let's stay with the Middle eastern roadmap as we throw more money down the Palestinian rat hole in the hope that our money will overcome their hate. Let us stop at the borders to safe-haven Waziristan. Let's continue down the asphalt highways with our good friends, the Saudis. Ignore the IED's placed by the internationalist hyenas who sabotage us at every turn. Let's build that superhighway from Mexico.
We've lost our moral compass but if we stay with our current map eventually we'll get to Rome.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Illegals light border fires to sidetrack U.S. agents
By Jerry Seper
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
June 19, 2007
U.S. Border Patrol agents seeking to secure the nation's border in some of the country's most pristine national forests are being targeted by illegal aliens, who are using intentionally set fires to burn agents out of observation posts and patrol routes.
The wildfires have destroyed valuable natural and cultural resources in the National Forest System and pose an ongoing threat to visitors, residents and responding firefighters, according to federal law-enforcement authorities and others.
In the Coronado National Forest in Arizona, with 60 miles of land along the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. Forest Service firefighters sent in to battle fires or clear wild-land fire areas are required to be escorted by armed law-enforcement officers.
Armed smugglers of aliens and drugs have walked through the middle of active firefighting operations, the authorities said.
Organize, train, equip, and mentor Iraqi Security Forces, in order to support Iraq's ultimate goal of a unified, stable and democratic Iraq, which provides a representative government for the Iraqi people; is underpinned by new and protected freedoms for all Iraqis and a growing market economy; and is able to defend itself and not pose a threat to the region.
Washington is seductive. It tempts, it spoils, and it corrupts. Too many mediocre politicians step into their senatorial or congressional roles, look into the mirror and see themselves through a magnifying glass. Mark Twain got it right when he quipped, “The offspring of riches: Pride, vanity, ostentation, arrogance, tyranny.” Washington tempts with a spoil of riches. Men of modest accomplishments and abilities forget how they got to Washington and who sent them there. None is more deserving of a reminder than Lindsey Graham.
At a time when The Bush Administration and the Republicans in congress need Republican support for Iraq and US policy in the Middle East, they choose to dissipate that support by pursuing this foolish amnesty bill. Let's not forget them later.
South Carolina senator feels backlash of immigration debate
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has taken his lumps back home in South Carolina over immigration.
BY JAMES ROSEN Miami Herald
Thanks to Sen. Lindsay Graham's high-profile help in crafting an immigration reform bill that has stalled in the Senate, constituents call and leave screaming messages on his office voice mail.
Lee Rogers, chairman of the Republican Party in Anderson County, S.C., was at the beach last week when his cellphone rang.
It was an urgent call from one of Rogers' GOP activists.
''He asked me what I was going to do to find somebody to run against Lindsey Graham [next year],'' Rogers said. ``I explained to the gentleman that's not something I can put together as a single county chairman. That's got to happen with the people.''
It could be happening.
Graham, nearing the end of his first Senate term, has taken plenty of heat before, but perhaps never like this.
Thanks to his high-profile help in crafting an immigration reform bill that has stalled in the Senate, constituents call and leave screaming messages on his office voice mail.
''No amnesty! No amnesty!'' one repeat caller yells for a minute or more in angry overnight messages that greet his aides in the morning.
Graham's staff estimates that his Senate offices have received about 3,000 letters, phone calls, e-mails and faxes about immigration in the last month, most of them critical of him.
Talk-radio hosts within and beyond South Carolina deride Graham as a Ted Kennedy toady.
Rush Limbaugh has taken to calling him ``Lindsey Grah-amnesty.''
Bloggers challenge his manhood, assault his patriotism, mock his intelligence.
Still worse, for where he comes from, they belittle his Southern heritage.
Furious Republican loyalists lobby online for someone -- anyone -- to step forward and challenge Graham in the 2008 primary when he seeks reelection.
www.dumplindsey.org, gets dozens of comments a day, few of them friendly.
With Graham's high national as well as statewide name recognition and his campaign war chest approaching $4 million, GOP political operatives say, any window for mounting a viable campaign against him is closing fast.
''There could be some potential political damage, but whether or not his nomination is in jeopardy, I don't know,'' said Rogers. ``If somebody's going to do it, they need to do it now, and they need to get at it.''
Graham said he's ready for any opponent, Republican or Democrat.
''Anyone who runs against me better get up early and stay late because I think I've been one heck of a good senator for my state and my party,'' Graham said Thursday in an interview. ``I intend to seek office on the basis that I am not afraid to do what needs to be done.''
Graham says all the political fire and brimstone comes with his job. ''You can call me by any name you want to call me,'' Graham said. ``I'm 51 years old, and I'm not going to be deterred by ugly things being said about me. If I am no bigger than that, I'm in the wrong job.''
While Graham is confident he will be reelected next year, he said he is willing to risk losing his Senate seat if that's the price for taking on tough problems.
''I had rather lose my job as a senator than to pass the buck and not deal with the hard problems,'' Graham said. ``I have never been afraid of talking about difficult, emotional issues because I believe that's what most people want me to do. People are really upset that our borders are broken, and I am too.''
Monday, June 18, 2007
Illegal Immigration And The Fall Of Rome
By: Patrick Burke, For The Bulletin
For centuries historians have debated the reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire. The ancient authors pointed to invasions by barbarian armies. But why did the Romans succumb to the invaders when they had been able previously to resist them? Gibbon attributed it to internal weakness: the conversion to Christianity deprived the Romans of their fighting spirit. For many years now scholars have favored an economic explanation: high taxes and heavy economic regulation impoverished the empire. But a recent book by English historian Peter Heather argues that Rome was overcome by illegal immigration.
The Germanic tribes did not want to destroy the empire but only to participate in its wealth and the protection it offered its citizens. Though living outside the empire's borders (the Rhine and the Danube) for several hundred years, from roughly the first to the fifth century, they had been able to trade with Rome and had grown much wealthier in the process. But wealthier meant more powerful. When the Huns appeared behind them out of the Asian steppes, the Germans became determined to get into the safety of the empire by any means. The Romans, for their part, were not opposed to their desire. On the contrary, Rome from its beginnings was an inclusive society and had always welcomed immigrants. It routinely gave them employment in the Roman army. But immigrants were welcome only under certain conditions: They had to assimilate. They had to disperse throughout the empire's territory and not insist on remaining in their own groups or maintaining their own culture but adopt Roman ways of living. Above all, the Romans admitted immigrants only when they could control the process militarily. Any time a tribe of immigrants was permitted to enter, Rome made sure that the empire's armies outnumbered them by a wide margin so that there could be no question as to who was in charge. If the visitors got obstreperous, they would quickly find themselves quelled.
But in the fifth century the Romans lost control of the immigration process. Armies were sent to the Middle East to counter a hostile, newly invigorated Persia, leaving the West open. The Germanic tribes were allowed in, but once inside the empire they were not assimilated but retained their cultural and political identities, eventually combining to form armies within its borders that the Romans could no longer overcome.
Patrick Burke is director of the Wynnewood Institute.
©The Evening Bulletin 2007