We hereby challenge the Journal's editors to debate the immigration bill in a neutral venue with a moderator of their choosing — two or three of us versus any two or three of them. We propose to do it in Washington next week so it will have the maximum impact on the Senate's consideration of the most sweeping immigration reform in decades (time and place to be worked out in a mutually satisfactory fashion).
It shouldn't be a problem for the Journal's editors to take up this challenge, since opponents of the bill aren't "rational" on the question, have no arguments, and are "foaming at the mouth," as they explained in a videotaped session of one of their editorial meetings last week. Click here to watch — you have to see it to believe it.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Politician-turned-actor Fred Thompson plans an unconventional campaign for president using blogs, video posts and other Internet innovations to reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties, he told USA Today.
Thompson, a former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, has been coy about his intentions with audiences, but made clear in an interview that he plans to run.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
A provision requiring payment of back taxes had been in the initial version of a bill proposed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat. But the administration called for the provision to be removed due to concern that it would be too difficult to figure out which illegal immigrants owed back taxes.
The dropping of the back-tax provision was not made clear in the announcement of the immigration reform proposal on Thursday. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, speaking in reference to illegal immigrants seeking legal status, said, "You've got to pay your taxes." He did not state whether he was referring to back taxes, future taxes, or both.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel, asked in a telephone interview yesterday to clarify Chertoff's remark, said it referred only to future taxes.
"It is important that the reformed immigration system is workable and cost efficient," Stanzel said. "Determining the past tax liability would have been very difficult and costly and extremely time consuming."
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The most controversial component of the Senate's Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 is Title VI, euphemistically ntitled "Nonimmigrants in the United States Previously in Unlawful Status." It would create a new "Z" visa exclusively for illegal aliens. This title would change the status of those who are here illegally to legal, essentially granting amnesty to those "previously in unlawful status." This seriously flawed proposal would undermine the rule of law by granting massive benefits to those who have willfully violated U.S. laws, while denying those benefits to those who have played by the rules and sometimes even to U.S. citizens.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
But what do low-skilled immigrants cost America? Everything has its costs, of course. According to a new analysis by Robert Rector of the conservative Heritage Foundation, the average low-skilled immigrant household received $30,160 in direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and other services from all levels of government in 2004.
By contrast, low-skill immigrant households paid only $10,573 in taxes that year, meaning the average low-skill household had a fiscal deficit of $19,588. And what about retirement costs? Rector estimates that if all the current adult illegal immigrants in the United States were granted amnesty, the net retirement costs to government (benefits minus taxes) could be over $2.5 trillion.
People who say that "Mexicans do the jobs that Americans won't" never seem to understand that wages matter. The fact that Mexicans will do certain jobs at low wages (and often without paying taxes) does not imply that those jobs would not be done otherwise. Do you think big farmers would let crops rot in the fields rather than pay a bit more to poor American workers? Sure, prices might go up, but the jobs will get done (unless the labor is economically not worth paying for -- at which point, you can expect automation to take over). The point is, we don't "need" illegal immigrants. Some businesses want them here to keep wages low. The costs are borne by the rest of society. That's why most citizens, including legal immigrants, are against amnesty for illegals.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, was booed at his state's Republican convention this weekend for his support for the bill, while presidential hopeful former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was cheered for saying he opposed it -- even though Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the top Democratic negotiator, says Mr. Romney used to back it.
Across the state line in Georgia, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, one of the secret negotiators, was also booed at that state's Republican convention, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I always thought the requirement in last year's bill was pretty sweet: You had to pay two out of three years' back taxes. Most legal Americans would love that deal: Pay any two years of tax and we'll give you the third for free!
But the President obviously concluded that even this was insufficiently appealing. Which gets to the heart of the problem. Whenever folks use this "living in the shadows" line, they assume that these 12-20-30 million people all have a burning desire to move out of the shadows and live under the klieg lights of officialdom. But, in fact, if you wanted to construct the perfect arrangement for modern life, it would be to acquire:
a) just enough of an official identity to be able to function - open bank accounts, etc - and to access free education and health care; but
b) not enough of an official identity to attract the attentions of the IRS and the other less bountiful agencies of the state.
The present "undocumented" network structures provide this. For these Z visas to "work" (in Washington terms), they have to be attractive enough to draw sufficient numbers out of "the shadows". Right now, "living in the shadows" is a pretty good deal. Somerset Maugham famously called Monte Carlo a sunny place full of shady people. Undocumented America is a shady place full of sunny people.
Instead of attempting to draw the undocumented out of the shadows, it might be fairer to allow the rest of us to "live in the shadows", too. My suggestion is that, on the day this bill comes into effect, all300 million US citizens and legal residents should apply for a Z visa.
At a more serious level, however, this captures the disconnect between Washington officialdom's view of citizenship, and the view held by actual citizens, something that I think is at the core of the immigration debate. More than hostility to illegal immigrants, I think a lot of the backlash is driven by the sense that Washington insiders don't really value what ordinary law-abiding people do by way of living their lives and, you know, abiding by the law. A voter scorned, and all that . . .
In order to generate interest from a studio, the film's producers have been trying to stir up excitement at the grassroots level. "At our website, indoctrinateu.com, people can punch in their zip codes and when they do that, it puts a pin on a Google map. We've got thousands and thousands of pins on there now, and over 10,000 localities around the country where people have expressed interest in the film. That's a bankable asset," Maloney says. "We can go to distributors and say 'Look, we haven't spent a dime on promoting this film yet, and we've already had tens of thousands of people sign up saying they'd see this near them if it was shown there." Browning adds, "The idea is to show the demand for a film like this and show there's a ready made audience. That's the hope."
Friday, May 18, 2007
In the case of keeping Cornet Wales from deploying with his unit, it did not take any IEDs. He was kept home via the use of threats by a terrorist whose claims were repeated by the media. Eventually, senior British Army officers flinched. This is a major victory for the terrorists in Iraq – one that did not require a single IED or even a shot.
But there are already concerns that the "enforcement triggers" may prove more fungible than advertised. If the Democrats win in 2008, do conservatives trust Hillary's Department of Homeland Security to certify that the borders are secure? Worse, the bill creates probationary "Z visas" for illegal immigrants present and working in the United States since the beginning of this year as well as their parents, spouses, and children.
The probationary period begins before any of the enforcement triggers are pulled. The visa-holders are eligible to stay in the country indefinitely, possibly undermining the appeal of the path to citizenship. And all this assumes that the country's existing immigration bureaucracy, with a backlog of 4 million unresolved cases, can properly determine the status of at least 12 million people in a timely manner.
It may be 1986 all over again. After that year's Immigration Reform and Control Act became law, nearly twice as many people applied as officials expected and over 90 percent were accepted. Today the numbers are even greater. So is the potential for amnesty to occur without the promised enforcement ever materializing.
Actually, Pelosi's constituents are being gouged by people like Pelosi -- by government. While oil companies make about 13 cents on a gallon of gasoline, the federal government makes 18.4 cents (the federal tax) and California's various governments make 40.2 cents (the nation's third-highest gasoline tax). Pelosi's San Francisco collects a local sales tax of 8.5 percent -- higher than the state's average for local sales taxes.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
EPW list of skeptics
The New York Times -- nearly a year late -- is finally recognizing the scientific reality regarding fears of a man-made climate catastrophe. On March 13, a landmark article stated "scientists argue that some of (former Vice President Al) Gore's central points are exaggerated and erroneous."
It appears we are all skeptics now.
It's about time the Times joined the growing chorus of scientists criticizing the alarmism. Even the United Nations, despite all the media hoopla, halved its estimates for sea level rise since 2001 and reduced man's impact on the climate by 25 percent in a recent report. A separate U.N. report last year found that emissions from cows do more to drive global warming than C02 from cars.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I don't know what's the best part of this video response to Michael Moore's publicity stunt: the cigar, the appropriate disdain, the lecture, the humor, or the quickness of the response, but what I do know is that if Fred Thompson is the first politician anywhere to understand how the speed of the internet can change politics.
Monday, May 14, 2007
On one hand, America creates a vast federal security bureaucracy to prevent another 9/11. On the other hand, American politicians and bureaucrats create a parallel system of education and welfare and health care entitlements, maintaining and expanding a vast network of fraudulent identity that corrupts the integrity of almost all state databases. And though it played a part in the killing of 3,000 Americans, leaders of both parties insist nothing can be done to stop it. All we can do is give the Duka brothers "a fast track to citizenship."
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Scheffler had a different opinion of how the university should react. Using the email handle "Tough Guy Scheffler," Troy fired off his response: Counseling wouldn't make students feel safer, he argued. They needed protection. And the best way to provide it would be for the university to lift its recently implemented prohibition against concealed weapons.
After clicking send, Scheffler didn't think much more about his emails. He'd never felt his conservative views were welcome on campus. In classes, he was often shouted down by students—sometimes even by professors.
So Hamline officials took swift action. On April 23, Scheffler received a letter informing him he'd been placed on interim suspension. To be considered for readmittance, he'd have to pay for a psychological evaluation and undergo any treatment deemed necessary, then meet with the dean of students, who would ultimately decide whether Scheffler was fit to return to the university.
Martyn Burke's documentary "Islam vs. Islamism" (produced with Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev) was commissioned by PBS for its "American Crossroads" series, but never shown by the network. Quality control or censorship? Pajamas Media CEO and Motion Picture Academy member Roger L. Simon has seen the film and has an answer.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Twenty years ago political analysts grasped the implications of the vast movement from Rust Belt to Sun Belt, a tilting of the table on balance toward Republicans; but with California leaning heavily to Democrats, that paradigm seems obsolete. What's now in store is a shifting of political weight from a small Rust Belt which leans Democratic and from the much larger Coastal Megalopolises, where both secular top earners and immigrant low earners vote heavily Democratic, toward the Interior Megalopolises, where most voters are private-sector religious Republicans but where significant immigrant populations lean to the Democrats. House seats and electoral votes will shift from New York, New Jersey and Illinois to Texas, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada; within California, House seats will shift from the Democratic coast to the Republican Inland Empire and Central Valley.
The measure, adopted on a May 2 voice vote minutes before the House of Representatives adjourned at 11:59 p.m., was labeled as an effort to "clarify certain matters relating to official conduct" of the House of Representatives.
The change stipulated that members of Congress can fly their own airplanes on official business as well as accept "personal use of an aircraft ... that is supplied by an individual on the basis of personal friendship."
I think it's pretty safe to say that Congressmen are good at making friends among lobbyists and fat cats who might need their favors. When an ethical congressman is doing the people's business, it's practically his responsibility to save the taxpayers money by flying free in a luxury private jet rather than waiting in line at the airport for a lousy "first-class" seat. I know I would be much better at writing new ethical laws if I were comfortable and refreshed after traveling privately with friends as opposed to joining the odd assortment of common folks you typically find on commercial flights these days.
Monday, May 07, 2007
The media considers it crazy to believe that Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, had something to do with 9/11, and fights this insanity with every tool at its disposal, including outright deception.
On the other hand, the media does not apparently consider it particularly hard to believe that George Bush, President of the United States, had something to do with 9/11. If they did consider such a notion beyond the pale, one would imagine they'd publicize (and implicity mock) those crazed liberals believing that our own President aided and abetted Osama bin Ladin.
But of course they don't. Because it's simply not possible for a reasonble person to believe a sworn enemy of the US, known to have at least some ties with Al Qaeda, could have had a hand in the attacks, but a reasonable person could, according to the MSM, believe that a US President with no ties to Al Qaeda helped facillitate and perhaps even carry out the attacks.
The time has come to support the Fair Tax and I would encourage you to attend a Fair Tax rally to be held in Columbia on May 15. The rally will be held at the Carolina Coliseum beginning at 5 p.m. The Carolina Coliseum is right across the street from the first nationally televised Republican Presidential debate being held at the Koger Center that evening. For more information about the Fair Tax and the rally, visit them online at www.FairTax.org
Friday, May 04, 2007
The network is expected to rely on a clause in the radio talk show host's contract that says he can be terminated for 'just cause' if CBS determines that he used "distasteful or offensive words or phrases, the broadcast of which [CBS] believes would not be in the public interest or may jeopardize [the networks's] Federal license to operate..."
But Garbus, who has successfully defended hundreds of high profile First Amendment cases, said CBS still breached Imus' contract when the company fired him.
He cited a section of his client's employment contract today that says Imus' "services to be rendered … are of a unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial and personal character … and … these components are desired by Company and are consistent with Company rules and policies."
High-priced lawyers on both sides must be licking their chops at the prospect of delving into the actual contract language because if it's at all as Fortune represents, there could be a million loopholes on either side of the fence. If anyone thought Imus' firing meant his name would stay out of the news for a time, stay tuned. It looks like things are just heating up.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
In other words, it appears Sen. Feinstein was up to her ears in the same sort of shenanigans that landed California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R) in the slammer. Indeed, it may be that the primary difference between the two is basically that Cunningham was a minor leaguer and a lot dumber than his state's senior senator.Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington, or CREW, usually focuses on the ethical lapses of Republicans and conservatives, but even she is appalled at the way Sen. Feinstein has abused her position. Sloan told a California reporter earlier this month that while"there are a number of members of Congress with conflicts of interest … because of the amount of money involved, Feinstein's conflict of interest is an order of magnitude greater than those conflicts."