Thursday, May 31, 2007

Strama's Alternative Approach to Voter ID

I don't recall how and when, but by some means and at some time during this just completed legislative session I must have ask Representative Mark Strama (Dem HD50) to support the Voter ID bill, which I thought a very reasonable way to reduce voter fraud, including reducing illegal voting by non US citizens.

Mr, Strama sent me a letter on May 9th to explain his position and to say he voted against the bill. Here is the text of his letter:
Thank you for your correspondence concerning providing proof of identification at voting places. I appreciate you taking the time to share your views on this issue with me.

I proposed an alternative approach to preventing voter fraud, which I had hoped Democrats and Republicans could unite behind. My proposal would have created an Election Integrity Task Force in every prosecutors' office in Texas, specifically trained and tasked with investigating and preventing voter fraud. My proposal would have required election administrators in every county in Texas to conduct an Integrity Audit after each election, and refer any evidence of criminal activity to the Election Integrity Task Force in the prosecutor's office.

With my amendment, we could have cracked down on election fraud by punishing the criminals, rather than by erecting new barriers that could inadvertently prevent many law-abiding Texans from voting.
Unfortunately, my amendment was not adopted so I voted against the bill. (emphasis added)

Thank you again for writing to me about this important issue. If my office can be of assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us at .


Mark Strama
I appreciate Representative Strama responding to me by letter.

Mr. Strama's "alternative approach" would have created a layer of bureaucracy in each county prosecutor's office to ensure "Election Integrity". In Travis County the chief prosecutor is District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a man to whom Strama may very well owe his seat because Mr. Earl, a well know partisan Democrat,
relentlessly pursued Tom Delay on campaign ethics charges, the fall-out of which helped unseated Jack Stick (former HD50 Rep), making way for Strama, and through guilt by association likely did some damage to Jeff Fleece's campaign against Strama in 2006.

Related Stories:
Dewhurst reflects on session

2. Dewhurst sees voter ID defeat as missed opportunity

3. An Uprising Squelched and a Budget in Place, Texas Legislators ...

Voter ID Measure Dies In Texas Senate Without Vote

Bob Ward

May 31 - 2007 - The immigration bill, crafted in secret and sprung on the Senate days before a scheduled recess, has been criticized for amounting to amnesty, but, in fact, amnesty is just the beginning of what’s wrong with this bill.

Christine Romans, a CNN correspondent, reports on Section 413 of the bill, a much-neglected provision which involves the U.S. deeply -- and expensively -- in the domestic affairs of the Mexican government. Appearing on the Lou Dobbs show, Romans noted that Section 413 of the bill commits the U.S. to helping to provide “financial services to Mexico's poor and under-served populations.” This includes supporting Mexico’s education and job training programs.

George Grayson of the College of William and Mary, who was also appearing on Dobbs’ show observed that Mexico spends very little on health care, education or job training and suggests this legislation is an attempt to force U.S. taxpayers to pay for welfare programs that should be the responsibility of the Mexican government.

A further involvement by the U.S. in Mexican affairs is called for in the part of Section 413 that creates a “partnership” with Mexico to provide insurance for Mexican temporary workers and to return injured workers to Mexico for long-term treatment. It will also, according to Romans, mount a “coordinated effort to help Mexico improve prenatal, trauma and emergency care in border areas.”

It has been reported that money sent home by Mexicans working illegally in the U.S. is second only to oil as a source of income for Mexico. In Section 413 of the bill, the Congress notes that in 2004 these remittances to Mexico amounted to $17 billion. The bill commits the U.S. to taking steps to reduce the cost of sending this money to Mexico.

Section 413, Romans relates, also calls on the U.S. and Mexico to “accelerate the implementation of the Partnership for Prosperity, a program mounted jointly by the President of the United States and the President of Mexico in 2001. Its purpose is to improve the “social and economic standards” of Mexicans. Specifically, it is intended to increase access for financial services including credit unions for poor Mexicans; help Mexico work out legal problems in issuing land titles so Mexican citizens can use their assets to procure capital; and assist Mexico in establishing an effective rural lending system for small- and medium-sized farmers.

The immigration bill currently under consideration does a lot to encourage Mexicans to come to the United States, legally or otherwise. It does nearly as much to involve the U.S. in the governance of Mexico. The net effect of these two approaches comes close to making Mexico the 51st state – except that Mexicans don’t pay taxes to the U.S. government or any state government. On the contrary, as the Congress noted in its “findings,” Mexico is enriched by close to $17 billion a year from illegals working in the U.S., a figure that will surely increase substantially if the bill passes making emigration to the U.S. easier and less risky.

The financial benefit to Mexico would be further enhanced by U.S. support for the various projects of the Mexican government as detailed in the bill.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tom Tancredo (R-CO) Supports WHO for Taiwan

TAIWAN'S BID TO JOIN THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 15, 2007)


-TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2007

Mr. TANCREDO: Madam Speaker, I spoke recently in support of Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Organization.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that Taiwan has a world-class health care system and is willing and able to make meaningful contributions to the WHO's efforts, Chinese pressure to block Taiwan's efforts once again triumphed over fairness and common sense.

President Chen recently penned an editorial that was printed in the Washington Post that I would like to commend to my colleagues. In the piece, President Chen makes an eloquent and indisputable case for why Taiwan deserves membership in this and other international organizations.

I hope my colleagues will take the time to read the editorial, and to support Taiwan's future endeavors to contribute to international organizations like the WHO. [From the Washington Post, May 11, 2007]

(By Chen Shui-bian)

In recent years the outbreak and spread of avian flu has brought illness, death and economic peril to countries in Asia and elsewhere. Memories of the fear, pain and suffering that accompanied the 2003 SARS outbreak--after failed coverups by the Chinese government--are still vivid in many places. While disease heeds no national borders, Taiwan has had to fight pandemics without help from the World Health Organization--a humanitarian agency that is supposed to serve all humankind.

Taiwan is not a member of the WHO, nor is it an observer at the World Health Assembly (WHA)--unlike the Palestinian Authority or the Malta Order of Chivalry. But under mounting international pressure prompted by fear of an avian flu pandemic, China was persuaded in 2005 to consent, in principle, to Taiwan's meaningful participation in WHO conferences focusing on that threat. China conceded after demanding that the WHO secretariat sign a secret memorandum of understanding. As a result, Taiwan's participation in the WHO is subject to China's approval, even for technical meetings. Such participation is minimal rather than meaningful.

It is improper and unprecedented for an international humanitarian organization to enter into a secret pact with one of its member states, especially an authoritarian one. More important, the memorandum has been used to obstruct Taiwan's participation in WHO activities. Our representatives were unable to attend the majority of conferences they sought admission to last year. The WHO secretariat has effectively jeopardized the health of people in Taiwan and other countries.

For a decade, we have striven relentlessly to participate in the WHO, to no avail. Even our humble pursuit of ``meaningful participation'' has yielded little success. With 95 percent of the Taiwanese people supporting full WHO membership, I must act upon the will of my people as a democratically elected president.

On April 11, I sent a letter to the WHO formally requesting our nation's application for membership under the name ``Taiwan.'' The secretariat responded on April 25, claiming that Taiwan is not a sovereign state and therefore is not eligible for WHO membership. This is legally and morally deplorable.

Article 3 of the Constitution of the World Health Organization stipulates: ``Membership in the Organization shall be open to all States,'' while Article 6 provides that states such as Taiwan that are not members of the United Nations ``may apply to become Members and shall be admitted as Members when their application has been approved by a simple majority vote of the Health Assembly.'' Rule 115 of the WHA Rules of Procedure stipulates that ``Applications made by a State for admission to membership ..... shall ..... be addressed to the Director-General and shall be transmitted immediately'' to WHO members.

Clearly, the authority to determine whether Taiwan is eligible for admission to the WHO belongs to its members, many of which have diplomatic relations with Taiwan and cannot be co-opted by any individual or administrative office.

When East Germany applied for WHO membership in 1968, many questioned its sovereignty and the legitimacy of its government. But East Germany's application was circulated, and although it was voted down that year, it was approved in 1973.

Taiwan, formally known as the Republic of China, is indisputably a sovereign state, satisfying all of the criteria cited in Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on the Duties and Obligations of States: It has a permanent population, a defined territory, a functional government and the capacity to conduct relations with other states. It also has its own internationally traded currency and issues its own passport, honored by virtually all other nations.

Another broadly affirmed criterion for recognizing the legitimacy of a state is the principle, enunciated in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that the sovereignty a state exercises should be based on the will of the people. A truly ``sovereign'' state, in other words, is free and democratic. We find no better words to describe Taiwan.

Ultimately, the question of Taiwan's participation in the WHO is a moral one. The systematic shunning of Taiwan is unconscionable not only because it compromises the health of our 23 million people but also because it denies the world the benefit of our abundant public health and technical resources. Taiwan's public and private sectors have donated more than $450 million in medical and humanitarian aid to more than 90 countries over the past 10 years.

We in Taiwan are grateful that many governments and legislative bodies such as the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament have supported our bid for observer status in the WHA. As humankind seeks to control global pandemics, victory will require collaboration that is not restricted by political obfuscation or subject to discriminatory picking and choosing of participants. We must not allow an all-but-one scenario to undermine our common mission--health for all.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Democrat DOJ Double Standard

Via The American Spectator:

For all of the posturing by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee during the testimony of former Department of Justice political appointee Monica Goodling, they and their Democrat colleagues in the Clinton administration went to far greater lengths to identify and track the political activities of career and politically appointed lawyers in the Department of Justice and elsewhere. "We knew the political affiliation of every lawyer and political appointee we hired at the Department of Justice from January 1993 to the end of the Administration," says a former Clinton Department of Justice political appointee. "We kept charts and used them when it came time for new U.S. Attorney nominations, detailee assignments, and other hiring decisions. If you didn't vote Democrat, you weren't going anywhere with us. It was that simple." In fact, according to this source, at least 25 career DOJ lawyers who were identified as Republicans were shifted away from jobs in offices they held prior to January 1993 and were given new "assignments" which were deemed "noncritical" or "nonpolitically influential."

Rating the Texas Lege

An open blog discussion - How did the Texas legislature do?

Nietzsche's Anti-Christ

As religious strife grows, atheists seize pulpit

CAEN, France (AP) - With 40 minutes to go before show time, the 500-seat Alexis de Tocqueville auditorium was already packed. A fan set up a video camera in the front row. A sound engineer checked the microphones.

The star: Michel Onfray, celebrity philosopher and France’s high priest of militant atheism. Dressed entirely in black, he strode onto the stage and looked out at the reverential audience for his weekly two-hour lecture series, “Hedonist Philosophy,” which is broadcast on a state radio station. “I could found a religion,” he said.

Mr. Onfray, 48 years old and author of 32 books, stands in the vanguard of a curious and increasingly potent phenomenon in Europe: zealous disbelief in God.

The most potent force driving activist atheism is concern that Islam, Europe’s fastest-growing religion, is jeopardizing the principles of the Enlightenment — and emboldening other religions to raise their voices, too, and re-fight old battles.

Ahead of France’s presidential election..., Philosophie Magazine arranged a meeting ...between Mr. Onfray and the [then] front-running candidate [and now President elect], Nicolas Sarkozy, who sometimes attends church. They argued about faith, politics and philosophy. As a gift, Mr. Onfray gave Mr. Sarkozy several books, including one by his favorite philosopher, Nietzsche. Its title: “The Anti-Christ.”

Nothing but Blue Skies

Our air is cleaner than ever, but most Americans don't know that.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Texas GOP leaders - time to save tax relief

What is happening to our property tax cuts promised last year in the wake of a new state tax? In early May, in a 'dark day for taxpayers', the Texas House turned tax cut into spending increase:

The legislation was amended to require that before any new tax relief can go into effect, every public school teacher, counselor, librarian and nurse in the state would have to receive a $6,000 per-year raise. That represents almost $4.4 billion in additional spending every two years that taxpayers would be asked to carry, completely dwarfing the tax cut. ... This was a calculated effort by legislators to increase the size of government and stop property tax relief.

The combination of liberal Democrats and few turncoat Republicans were enough to make this happen. And Tommy Merritt of Longview just happened to be one of them.

Lt Gov Dewhurst tells me via email that they are doing great:

With less than a month to go in the 80th Legislative session, I want to update you on how the Legislature is prioritizing your tax dollars for the next two years and beyond. The Senate recently passed a fiscally responsible budget that cuts local school property taxes by more than $14 billion in 2008-09, sets aside $3 billion and preserves the Rainy Day Fund to continue those tax cuts in 2010-11, and holds all-funds spending to a modest 3.4 percent per year.

Oh really?

Some thoughts from Bill Crocker, Texas' RNC committeeman:

The 2007 session of the Texas legislature is fast drawing to a close, and we are about to see it end without action on two key items that are of tremendous importance to Texans, and especially to Texas Republicans.

The first is a refusal to apply a surplus of tax revenues in such a way that the promised property tax reduction becomes a reality. Representative Ken Paxton has authored a bill, HB 2785, which can accomplish that goal. It got a bad amendment before being passed by the House, and now awaits Senate action. It can be corrected by the Senate and returned to the House for concurrence. If the Senate does not do so, all hope of real property tax reduction in this session appears to be lost.

Meanwhile, there is open revolt in the House. Will Dewhurst save the day? If the Republican lege fails to do the Republican thing and keep its promises on tax relief, 2008 will be a painful year for Republicans.

Life, death and Texas Catholic bishops

SB 439, the bill to ensure that patients cannot be involuntarily denied food and water, was passed unanimously by the Texas Senate earlier in May. A Not-So-Divine Intervention
describes the curious position of the Texas catholic bishops on the matter of "futile-care" bills.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tommy Merritt keeps in-state tuition for illegals

From Texas GOP :

Austin - This week State Representative Tommy Merritt (R-Longview) took a cue from his Democrat friends and used their “point of order” scheme to force Texans to continue subsidizing illegal immigrants’ college tuition. The Democrats have perfected this “point of order” ploy by groping for non-substantive technical errors in bills in attempts to render them ineligible for further consideration.

H.B. 159 by Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) would have revoked the granting of in-state college tuition rates to illegal immigrants. After the Democrats agreed to pull down their “point of order,” Merritt picked it up and ran with it, effectively killing the bill.

This Immigration Bill is Built to Fail

The current immigration bill being considered by the Senate is so large, complex, and full of legalistic 'gotchas', that there is no telling what unintended consequences will flow from its passage. There is however one thing we can count on: It will not in way solve our immigration woes.

To critics of the immigration bill, this bill will irredeemably change America for the worse through the instant create of a new underclass. Whether it is called amnesty or another name, giving blanket legalization and citizenship to the 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants here in this country is the most significant part of this bill. This plus the further migration of these legalized immigrants' families may lead to 100 million more Americans in about a generation. This massive legalization will cost taxpayers $2.5 trillion, according to Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation; it will hasten Social Security and Medicare's demise by creating more future demands than will be commensurately paid in via taxes, and will constitute the largest unfunded mandate ever on state and local Governments. Today's largely impoverished illegal immigrant class will become tomorrow's citizen-clients of our expanded welfare state.

Proponents for this bill retort by waxing poetic about immigration and blurring the difference between legal and illegal immigration. It is said that today's immigration is like the waves of immigration from 1880 to 1920, when masses "yearning to breathe free" came to our shores, mostly from Europe. It's no wonder they want to confuse the legal versus illegal distinction. Legal immigration, especially high-skill immigration (e.g. under H1-B), has been a net plus for our economy. Illegal immigration, mostly low-wage and low-education, is decidedly not, when one accounts for the full social costs of supporting low wage families and compares it to their much smaller tax contributions such low-wage workers make. No doubt illlegal immigrants would like to be here, and that cheap-labor employers would like them so as well. However, neither low-wage employers nor low-wage migrant workers pay the full cost of health insurance, education, welfare and income subsidies that will be the entitlement of these future citizens. Even today, illegal immigrants are a fiscal drain; it will only be greater should they be given a legalization path.

The cost of this shift will be borne by taxpayers and by today's low-wage Americans, who will be under further wage pressure by the competition of so many low-skill immigrants. Median incomes have been stagnant for working men in this country, a wake-up call that the clear supply-and-demand consequence of large-scale illegal immigration has been to curb wage scales. Curiously, we harken back to the 'good old days' for 1945 to 1965, when family incomes rose as fast the economy; it was an era of much lower levels of immigration. Which trend should we prefer?

The losers in this bill are also today's legal immigrants, who played by the rules and who have had to jump through many hoops to stay legal, and pay much more in immigration fees than the $1,000 the illegal alien has to pay to get the Z-visa. They will face more delays as our bureaucracy will be swamped with millions of amnesty applications.

Illegal immigration has other social costs, Drug smuggling and human trafficking are rampant on our out-of-control southern border. Illegal immigrants make up more than a quarter of the prison population in California, commit a disproportionate number of crimes. As Heather MacDonald has shown, 'sanctuary cities' have, as a consequence of failing to enforce immigration laws, become incapable of enforcing other laws as well: "Sanctuary mandates create vast law-free zones where illegal immigrants know that they face virtually no risk of apprehension; the zones have notoriously protected criminals as well as itinerant roofers." Time and again, deportable criminal aliens have been let go due to lax immigration law enforcement, only to commit crime again.

What makes this bill truly horrific is that this bill is built to fail; it is deliberately constructed to fail to solve even the basic immigration issue at hand: Can we as Americans determine who comes here and who does not?

We have a border with Mexico where every day Federal law is violated thousands of times; yet despite a Federal budget of $2,800 billion, we cannot find the $1 billion it would take to build a secure barrier. We have tens of thousands of criminal aliens in America, yet we do not actively deport most of them, nor, thanks to our insecure border, can we assure that once deported they won't succeed in returning (many do). We have millions of fraudulent social security IDs in Government databases, many known to the IRS already, and yet nobody is bothering to cross-check and investigate these apparent law violations. Pitifully few employers are checked for immigration law violations.

In the recent Fort Dix terrorism case (the plot to attack an Army base that was foiled), three of the six terrorist plotters were illegal aliens. We've seen that script before: Several of the 9/11 plotters broke immigration law by over-staying visas; even after 9/11, the INS sent Mohammed Atta valid US visa six months to the day after he died. John Lee Malvo, co-conspirator in 2002 DC area sniper killing, was an illegal alien, a Jamaican stowaway, who was caught then released. The holes in our current system continue to be exploited by criminals.

The real crisis in immigration is this: Our country has lost control of immigration, and without control of immigration, we as Americans can't ensure that immigration is in our best interests. We can't be sure the people who are here are the ones we want to be here.

Solving the crisis is stymied by special interests who are more afraid of effective immigration law enforcement than they are afraid of the economic, social and national security costs of out-of-control system. To these special interests, the 'crisis' in effect is the scary possibility that someday we might end up with an immigration system that actually enforces the intent of our law. Then where would the agri-businesses and meatpackers be, without a ready source of illegal and therefore pliant fruit pickers and factory workers?

The proponents are saying there is a crisis, but do not identify the crisis nor the root cause. They believe that no amount of crisis would be sufficient to actually deport any significant number of illegal immigrants.

Can there be a system that is both 'in control' of immigration and at the same meets the needs of would-be immigrants, employers, and the rest of us? If there is a solution, it is probably the following: First, secure our borders. Second, enforce immigration law in the workplace far beyond the current pitiful levels. Third, replace our current immigration system, tilted too far in favor family-based migration (known as "chain migration" to some), with a system that leans more towards employment-based immigration. With 1-2 million jobs created each year, if our current legal level of immigration were mostly employment-based, it would be more than sufficient to meet any supposed labor needs.

The current Senate bill makes a few moves in the above direction, but they are only a garnish around the main entree of amnesty. The author of our current immigration misery is Senator Ted Kennedy, who pushed through the 1965 immigration bill that initiated waves of chain migration and incited illegal immigration. In 1986, Senator Kennedy helped author that year's amnesty program, while knocking the legs from under employer enforcement, actually making it a crime for employer's to question legalization status of employees except under restricted conditions. The one-two combo of amnesty plus a system designed to be unenforceable led to massive fraud in amnesty applications and fraud in employment documentation, and encouraged massive further illegal immigration. We went from two million illegal immigrants then to over twelve million today. The amnesty didn't curb illegal immigration, it multiplied it.

Having Senator Ted Kennedy author this bill is like asking an incompetent doctor who botched an operation to conduct the surgery to fix his own mistakes. In 1986, Senator Kennedy said "We will never again bring forward another Amnesty Bill like this." Today, he brings forward the 1986-redo bill, only bigger. Kennedy has joined with La Raza and cheap labor lobbies to ensure that American immigration stays as out-of-control as possible, and the result is predictably bad.

The bill continues to gut enforcement, not even funding border guards that were authorized years ago; it fails to properly put in play employer sanctions and make sure they are working before the 'amnesty' happens; they play shell games with border security, asking for only a portion of the much-needed fence to keep out human-trafficking and drug smuggling, a fence put into law last year but which has not been fully funded, with only a few miles of 700 miles built so far; it guts "English only" assimilation while claiming to support it; so-called triggers are undermined by language which allows them to be easily waived; a better way to handle legal immigration, a point system, is deferred for 8 years, sure to be abolished and undermined again before it becomes real. Even worse are provisions that allow even criminal aliens who have multiple convictions to become legal citizens. This list of abuses and errors in this bill goes on.

Perhaps this is why the bill was rushed to the Senate floor without getting vetted first by a committee hearing.

Those same forces who are against solving our real immigration problems have written this Senate bill. This bill ensures that more waves of illegal immigrants will continue to arrive, assured that deportation will never happen and another amnesty some day likely will. Cheap labor employers are happy to have cheap non-union labor; the Kennedy Democrats are happy to have new welfare-state clients and potential voters; and the 'immigrant rights' groups are happy to flex political muscle and grow their ranks and power. The rest of us - American-born citizens, legal immigrants, taxpayers - are the suckers who will pick up the tab and shoulder the burden.

But rest assured. This bill is built to fail; it will fail to control the border, it will fail to enforce immigration law, and it will fail to eliminate the massive numbers of illegal immigrants in our midst. More will come to await the next amnesty. The crises this bill creates will be far greater than anything it solves, and the immigration crisis will surely continue to be with us if we make the mistake of making this law.

As such, we can be sure that another grand compromise will be hammered out to 'fix' the problems this bill creates. I just hope Senator Kennedy won't be around to write the next bill when that happens. Three strikes and you're out, Senator.

Friday, May 25, 2007


By Bob Ward

The body of Rev. Jerry Falwell had barely begun to cool off when the media and other liberals began to insult him.

Among other things, he was ridiculed all over again for his remarks about Tinky Winky, the Teletubby cartoon character. Falwell, according to the media, made himself and all Christians look foolish by suggesting that Tinky Winky was gay.

We are indebted to columnist Ann Coulter for reminding us about some others -- including prominent liberal publications -- who made similar observations before Falwell ever mentioned Teletubbies in February, 1999.

Coulter, in her current column, tells us that People magazine reported that Teletubbies was "aimed at Telebabies as young as one year. But teenage club kids love the products' kitsch value, and gay men have made the purse-toting Tinky Winky a camp icon."

In 1998 alone, she writes, there were numerous mentions of Tinky Winky being gay in ““Newsweek, The Toronto Star, The Washington Post (twice!), The New York Times and Time magazine (also twice).”

In its Jan. 8, 1999, issue, she notes, USA Today accused The Washington Post of "outing" Tinky Winky by putting him on a list with Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche who famously came out about that time.

Coulter recalls that Michael Musto of The Village Voice boasted that Tinky Winky was "out and proud," calling it "a great message to kids ———— not only that it's OK to be gay, but the importance of being well accessorized."

She has supplemented her column with a list of instances when the major media have characterized Tinky Winky as gay – before Falwell mentioned Teletubbies in February of 1999:

Gays have championed Tinky Winky and his beloved red purse, and night-clubbers have adopted the show as a sort of druggy daydream.” -- Newsweek, April 6, 1998

“Tinky actually became a gay icon in Britain because, for no apparent reason, his voice is male but he sometimes carries a flashy red purse.” -- The Toronto Star, April 6, 1998

“Tinky Winky, the heaviest, looks a little like an eggplant with cellulite. He also sometimes carries a red purse, which has won him popularity among gay viewers.” –-The Washington Post, April 6, 1998.

“Tinky became quite the celebrity, especially after gay-rights groups fought for his reinstatement, partly because Tinky Winky has a male voice but skips about Teletubbyland carrying a red purse.” -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 6, 1998.

“And what's with Tinky Winky, whose voice sounds strangely mature and who sometimes carries a red handbag?” -- The New York Times, April 6, 1998 “But today many forms of gender nonconformity have actually become mainstream. . . . Even Teletubbies, a show for toddlers, features Tinky Winky, a boy who carries a red patent-leather purse.” -- Time Magazine, July 20, 1998

“The way the original Tinky Winky carried his tote-bag-size red purse reportedly made him a gay icon in Britain.” -- Time Magazine, July 20, 1998

The treatment that Falwell has received since his death is additional evidence that liberals are willing to distort the record in order to malign a Christian conservative.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Protect the innocent. Punish the guilty.

Protect the innocent. Punish the guilty. That is justice.

Sometimes some thing like that needs to be said when face with the 'moral confusion' of a liberal. This came up on a Redstate posting when a 'gotcha' Liberal decided to wheel out the ol' crusty argument that pro-life Christians couldn't be pro-death penalty. Not so. While compassion for all is a Christian virtue, The Bible is decidely okay with the death penalty:

"St. Thomas Aquinas finds all biblical interpretations against executions "frivolous", citing Exodus 22:18, "wrongdoers thou shalt not suffer to live". Unequivocally, he states," The civil rulers execute, justly and sinlessly, pestiferous men in order to protect the peace of the state."(St. Thomas Aquinas, 'Summa Contra Gentiles', Book III, 146.)
In truth, the mindset that ties the killing of innocent preborn life with the state-ordered execution of a hardened criminal is not a Christian mind, but a morally relativistic one, that has decided that judgements are, well, too 'judgemental'. I added: "If one can't detect the difference between how police and society should treat hardened criminals and how a mother should treat her own child, one really needs to buy a clue."

I added the following aside:

God forbid the pro-choicers who come up with this pseudo-theological sophistry actually consider the possibility that killing a pre-born human being is wrong IN ANY DECENT ETHICAL SYSTEM - Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, whatever. And that equally so, as a Jewish philosopher once put it: "To be merciful to the cruel is to be cruel to the innocent."
Those who fail to protect the innocent or fail to punish the guilty are failing to advance justice. We need to both to have justice. The liberal mindset often falls into the trap of moral confusion (and relativism) and consequently fails to acknowledge appropriate punishment as a prerequisite for justice.

Protect the innocent. Punish the guilty. That is justice.

Immigration Sellout, part III - amnesty for criminals?!?

Senator Grassley on immigration deform:

Terrorists and criminals can apply for amnesty – The Secretary of Homeland Security is allowed to waive the grounds of ineligibility for those who have an outstanding administrative final order of removal, deportation or exclusion. Currently there are more than 637,000 alien absconders in the United States that have defied orders to leave.

Every time you think the bill couldn't get any worse, you find a provision where, sure enough, it really is worse than you thought possible.

Update: Senator Cornyn submitted an amendment to address this loophole. If the Senate cannot bring itself to vote for this, they are truly off the deep end.

Update 2: Another disgrace - they are limiting debate of a complex bill to only a few days, no committee hearings, only limited amendments. This is not democracy, this is a farce.

Remembering Rev Jerry Falwell

Thousands of faithful attend the Reverend Jerry Falwell's funeral at the Thomas Road Baptist Church that he established over 50 years ago:

"He said, 'I believe God has called me to confront the culture,' and did he ever confront it," said the Rev. Jerry Vines, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention who gave a sermon that ranged from personal stories about Falwell to Biblical references.

The media Liberals have been going out of their way to 'eulogize' Jerry Falwell in terms of their disagreements with him. Or maybe 'spit on his fresh grave' is a better term, given the "Ding-dong, the witch is dead" sendoff from a Sun-Times columnist and similar 'good riddance' comments from the left ("bigot" "Osama" etc.). Even the more graceful can't recount his influence without sneering at his disagreeable views. Clarence Page gets in: "Speak not ill of the dead. That's easy advice to follow until you are remembering those who spoke a lot of ill while they were alive. ... Reports that his heart had failed were greeted with grim irony by those who thought it had failed years earlier."

To understand Why the Left hated Falwell you need to understand What Falwell wrought: Falwell wrought the kind of political re-alignment that awakened in many Christian believers an understanding of who and what was attacking their world-view and their values. As a result, Falwell's Moral Majority helped awaken a conservative Christian movement that became a linchpin for Reagan's victory over Carter in 1980 and Mondale in 1984, built on an opposition to abortion and other countercultural (soon to be 'dominant liberal cultural') views of the liberal elites. Falwell stopped the cultural steamroller, or at least slowed it down, and helped in the process to reshape how millions voted.

As J.R. Dunn puts it:
Falwell was despised and loathed for a very simple reason: he defied the leftist consensus, and he won. He made them back down. He frightened them terribly, by confronting them with clear evidence that the country was not what they insisted it was, and that their utopian dreams would never come to pass. That was his crime, one for which he could never be forgiven.

Star Parker notes that Rev Falwell is gone, but his influence isn't. The evangelical Christian vote, 22% of the total electorate, remains a key constituency within the Republican party and one of its most reliable voting blocks.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Immigration Sellout, part II

The Senate immigration bill, this 'Grand Compromise' between Kennedy, McCain, Bush and a few others is Amnesty fraud according to Sowell and Worse than Amnesty according to David Limbaugh. I don't know of a single conservative who likes this deal - Mark Levin,
Hugh Hewitt (reviewing the fine print), and many (but not enough) Republican Senators, including Hutchison and Cornyn, are coming out against this bill, as did Mitt Romney and Duncan Hunter.

Some of the clunkers in it:

  • The cost is huge - "This direct cost of giving 20-30 million mostly unskilled people full rights is estimated at $2.5 trillion."
  • taxpayers pay legal bills for illegal aliens:
    Boehm said, "If passed, this bill will make taxpayers pay the legal bills for illegal aliens seeking amnesty. Tucked away on page 317 is a provision that would allow lawyers in the federally-funded legal services program to represent illegal aliens, which they are presently barred from doing."
  • The illegal aliens who get legalized dont even pay back taxes that they didn't pay when underground.
  • David Limbaugh notes: The bill's so-called "triggers" -- the events that must occur as a sop to enforcement types before the wrist-brushings and windfalls kick in -- are virtually defined out of existence in many cases by exceptions that swallow the rule.

It is a travesty to ram this through the Senate without full committee hearings and much more study. The Tsunami of social change wrecked by the most massive amnesty in world history and the 20-30 million in new immigrants with rights to social security, welfare, medicaid etc. is reason enough to take time to review it. But the 'fast track' is the only way to keep this bloated monstrosity alive; like a vampire, it wouldn't survive long in the light of day.

What is further maddening is the utter political blindness of the Bush White House and others, who foolishly think the following: "If they vote Democrat, it will be because they perceive the Republican Party as anti-immigrant." Thus, in one fell swoop, they buy into the lie that 'illegal immigrant' and 'immigrant' are the same thing (my legal immigrant wife gets incensed at the comparison, as do many other legal immigrants); they further buy the lie that only immigration policy is why Hispanics vote. How patronizing and clueless. The lower-class illegal immigrants that we are importing with this massive amnesty how low education levels and will have low income levels; they will be the clients for the liberal welfare state and will vote accordingly. These lower income voters will vote for the party that they think is looking out for them, and a social system based on more handouts is what they will vote for. The amount of money transferred to this group over time will amount to $2.5 trillion, and they will vote for the party of higher taxes and more spending to ensure they get it.

The only hope for the GOP is to fight for policies that defend the middle class and keep it as whole as possible. We WILL pay higher taxes if this passes, and the Republican party cannot compete with the Democrats on pandering to welfare state clients; when they do, our budgets get seriously busted; consequently, this is a sure prescription for a Democrat-majority country with a bigger welfare state We saw this happen in California, which went from a mostly-Republican state to a 'blue state' in 15 short years, due to the 1986 amnesty, which is a baby compared to this giant. Expect to see Arizona, Florida, Texas, and a few other states (Georgia?) to follow the trend. As a consequence, the political realignment that saw California become a blue state can and will be visited upon Texas within 20 years, should this pass.

Americans prefer 'enforcement first' by a 2-to-1 margin over the 'comprehensive amnesty' idea. Mark Krikorian explains why amnesty is a non-starter and what immigration hawks actually want: steady, predictable, unapologetic enforcement of the laws, with an eye toward downsizing the illegal population through attrition, as more and more illegals give up and deport themselves. This would, of course, cause hardship for illegals and their employers, but it would be hardship with a purpose — to reassert control over the immigration system and establish legal status as a labor standard.

Duncan Hunter's statement states most of what needs to be said, so I am showing it in its entirety - HUNTER EXPRESSES “FIERCE DISAPPOINTMENT” OVER SENATE AMNESTY PROPOSAL:

I vow to oppose this legislation supported by Senators Edward Kennedy and John McCain. It provides a vast new immigration benefit to millions of illegal aliens who have broken our laws to live in the United States.I opposed the 1986 amnesty act because of this same reason. It proved to be the draw that we predicted it would be. I am deeply disappointed to see history repeating itself.

This package will confirm to the world that the U.S. does not really mean what it says when it comes to immigration enforcement. As a result of the citizenship benefit included in this legislation, despite the fine print, we will see a stampede across our borders.

This vast new amnesty and expansive guest worker program will surely be ridden with fraud and abuse, and ultimately lead to millions of public-assistance-dependent immigrants.

The Senate’s decision to blatantly ignore the Secure Fence Act signed into law last year and only require construction of 370 miles of fence, as opposed to the 854 miles mandated by the law, is a dramatic failure of this legislation.The San Diego border fence has proven that fencing works. The time has come to quickly implement the Secure Fence Act, not retreat from its mandates.

I believe that this package will result in lower wages for America’s already-struggling families by encouraging the importation of cheap foreign labor rather than investing, developing and growing a domestic workforce that will sustain our economy far into the future.

Amnesty is not the answer. Border enforcement must be first and it must be comprehensive. To do otherwise is to repeat the mistakes of the past. This Senate bill is bad for Americans, bad for our workers, bad for law enforcement and, most importantly, bad for national security. I will fight it. Please join with me.

Immigration Sellout

About the Senate's new Immigration Bill. I have agree with this comment on FR: "This has got to be one of the biggest political sellouts in the history of this country..." We saw the preview in May of 2006 with the Worst Immigration Bill Ever, aka CIRA. Why are people surprised?

Rotten deal says Rich Lowry. Apparently, the Senators took the worst parts of the worst bill ever, and figured out how to make it even worse. Of 22 problems with the bill, one just happens to be - it will be impossible to enforce any immigration law - period:

"What about illegal alien protection? The alien and their families who file applications for amnesty "shall not be detained, determined inadmissible, deported, or removed until their applications are finally adjudicated, unless they commit a future act that renders them ineligible with amnesty." With tens of millions of applications, this amnesty, this provision essentially guarantees an illegal alien years of protection in the United States, even if they do not qualify for the amnesty." -- Jeff Sessions

A provision says the following:
...90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act... [they will fund this study:]...The projected impact of legal and illegal immigration on the size of the population of the United States over the next 50 years, which regions of the country are likely to experience the largest increases, which small towns and rural counties are likely to lose their character as a result of such growth, and how the proposed regulations would affect these projections.
This begs the obivous question: Why rush into this bill and then make such a study? Why not take a deep breath, study the question for 90 days, figure out what 12-20 million amnestied illegal immigrants and a possible doubling of legal immigration for the next 2 decades might do. Why not study it before we set the wheels in motion that may make 450 million people in America an unstoppable train.

They don't build the fence, they study it:

an assessment of the necessity of constructing such a system after the implementation of provisions of this Act relating to guest workers, visa reform, and interior and worksite enforcement, and the LIKELY EFFECT of such provisions on undocumented immigration and the flow of illegal immigrants across the international border of the United States;

On the other hand, billions in unfunded mandates, huge new costs and regulations on Americans will be foisted in this bill with not even a congressional hearing to study it:
It provides more employment protections for non immigrants than American workers who live in “at-will” employment states. Z holders can only be fired for cause, get free arbitration services, allowed to have Legal Aid provide services. on and on and on.
If Republicans are SMART, they wouldn't fall for another Kennedy-written bill, they could instead use this issue to re-unite around basic common-sense principles of real border security and real enforcement of laws, turn back the Democrat tide and foil the leftist takeover. It's not too hard, actually, since the Democrats are way out on a pander-to-the-extreme-pro-illegals-limb, with LaRaza and the rest: The GOP needs to demand enough border security, enforcement, allow for reasonable level's of employment-based immigration, and say no to amnesty, and hold the line.

The Democrats would be left with writing the most obnoxious LaRaza-wish-list bill they can find, jamming it through by forcing their own blue dogs to swallow it, or doing nothing. (And "do-nothing" Congress makes a nice line in 08.) The American people are *not* with giving every single illegal alien who happened to make it here prior to January a free ride here permanently.

If the Repubs were smart ... Big if. I heard that John McCain said "F--- You" to Senator John Cornyn, apparently because Cornyn is not fully on this train that is about to head off a cliff.
The Base is in revolt, the Republicans in the Senate are caving, and President Bush is right there on the bus with Kennedy and Reid driving, ready to sign whatever bad bill the Democrats in Congress send his way. The Comprehensive Destroy the Republican Party Act of 2007 - as Rush calls it - is about to be passed with the help of lemmings and RINOs in the Senate and President Bush, cheerleader-in-chief for this travesty. What am I thinking. The Republicans are toast.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

China: A cheap imitation

Published on Taipei Times

Letter: China: A cheap imitation

Tuesday, May 15, 2007, Page 8

If it weren't so tragic, it might even be funny. Not truly understanding or appreciating the subtleties of such concepts as fairness, law, justice, freedom or human rights, copyright or patent, religion or dissent, the Chinese government has designed a system bereft of independent control, and a society which lacks all self-discipline and, most importantly, any moral compass.

One result is rampant illegal copying of everything -- copying as in "imitating," and copying as in "stealing" -- and in many instances, even official government piracy.

All that widespread theft wouldn't be so alarming if there was some notion of redress in China, but there is virtually no justice that can be relied on anyway. Without an independent judiciary, the Chinese court system is merely an extension of the government, which is completely corrupt and focuses solely on perpetuating its iron grip on power. As a result, doing business in China involves as much dumb luck as anything and the ability to write off almost any amount as a loss.

At some point, a company will likely be expected (under duress, which in any other situation would constitute blackmail) to make a deal (which under any other circumstances would be unacceptable) just to be allowed to continue to have access to the capitalist's dream many believe China to be.

Just ask the Yahoos, Microsofts, Googles of this world ... and most recently, Disney.

In Beijing, the Shijingshan Amusement Park, owned by the government of Beijing's district of Shijingshan, is nothing more than a cheap and virtually complete copy of Disney, right down to the castle and characters, including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Cinderella.

What is truly jaw-dropping is that the park is government run -- an overt instance of official Chinese piracy. Even more alarming is that it is done with a straight-faced denial that the park is a copy. Watching a park official try to explain why the Cinderella look-alike is different would be funny if it weren't an official government lie. The normally stridently protective Disney has kept a low profile, aside from its usual statement of its commitment to protecting its valuable intellectual property. Perhaps courting the next Chinese Disneyland requires looking the other way when Cinderella Hu skips by with Mickey Lao Shu.

But so it goes in China, where lies about freedom of the press and human rights are given almost daily with a straight face, and where the government actually insists, with conviction, that the Internet is free, that human rights and press freedoms are universal, that there is a won ton in every pot.

China also insists that its emergence constitutes a "peaceful rise." Except for Taiwan. And Tibet. And Xinjiang. And possibly Japan. And South Korea. And any country that indicates the slightest support for any of the aforementioned. Or anyone else who "interferes with China's internal affairs."

China is the paradigmatic example of "you get what you pay for," whether it is tainted salt, tainted gluten, tainted pork, tainted Disney, or tainted human rights. China is the great supplier of mediocrity, not just because it has not learned how to achieve high quality yet, but because it does not even recognize quality -- or, apparently, the truth.

But Disney, Yahoo, Google, the UN, the EU, Australia, Canada and the US, the business organizations and sweaty-palmed businesspeople, and a host of other sycophantic lapdogs awaiting the next market opportunity, will all yield to Beijing's never-ending blackmail for another shot at the pot of gold at the end of the Beijing rainbow.

They will all smile at President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and the Dalai Lama, but these purported "champions of freedom" will all look the other way when they and their people are all stabbed through the heart.

Whether it's a patent right, copyright, human right, or the right thing, it's all lost in translation for the People's Republic of China -- in other words, picture without sound, photograph without color, heart without soul.

And unless we are very careful, we will wake up one day to find out that this was what Beijing had been peddling all this time -- a world of mediocrity, a cheap knockoff -- life with communist "Chinese characteristics."

No thanks. I'll just have the real thing, Taiwanese style, with extra freedom. And hold the totalitarianism.

Lee Longhwa

United States

See also this related commentary: China: Culture of Corruption a Problem

Monday, May 14, 2007

Great Tribute

My friend and WW-II Navy Veteran, Bernard Williams sent the following to me by email. He always seems to find the neatest stuff to share.

Comments from the person who forwarded to me:

To many of my e-mail friends, particularly those that have high speed Internet connection and can appreciate this, every caring person in the U.S. needs to watch this video!!

Subject: Great Tribute

Absolutely fabulous! Everybody in the U.S. should see this. Please watch.

The following is the hottest thing on the Internet and on Fox News today [May 10, 2007].

Lizzie Palmer who put this YouTube program together is 15 years old.

There have been over 3,000,000 hits as of this morning.

In case you missed it, here it is.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Taiwan, China, and the Olympics Part II: More Half-baked Journalism

Part II of the Keating article posted April 29, 2007. This one contains a concise history of Taiwan for everyone's information:

Taiwan, China, and the Olympics Part II: More Half-baked Journalism

Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

As China seeks to use the Olympic torch route to bolster its claim to possess and rule Taiwan, another typical one-sided, hackneyed phrase used by journalists appears. It joins the list of stock phrases that journalists are either ordered to use by their syndicates or are too lazy to seek the full detailed explanations behind them. Some past phrases are "Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province." (Journalists never print what Taiwan considers China.) Or there is the old chestnut, "Taiwan, which has always been a part of China." (Hello, do you ever read history?). The current phrase (while not entirely new) states that "Taiwan and China have been ruled by separate governments since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949." This implies that Taiwan was always ruled by one and only one form of government before. It is time to clarify this half truth and set the record straight.

Taiwan has always been ruled by numerous separate governments throughout its history. From Taiwan's side of the Strait, here is a brief history of who has ruled Taiwan.

Before 1624, Taiwan was ruled by a variety of aboriginal tribes, each guarding their own territory and fighting with those on their borders. Other countries may have tried to claim Taiwan but having the island on one's maps, does not mean they ruled here.

From , small parts of Taiwan were ruled by the Dutch and the Spanish; the majority of Taiwan was still ruled by aboriginal tribes.

From , parts of Taiwan were controlled by the Ming loyalist Koxinga, Zheng Cheng-gong and his followers; the majority of Taiwan still was under control by the aborigines.

From 1681 to 1895, half of Taiwan was loosely controlled by the Manchu Qing government; the remaining half of Taiwan was still ruled by the aborigines. The French briefly controlled a small portion in 1885, but quickly left.

From 1895 to 1945, Taiwan was ruled by Japan following the Treaty of Shimonoseki. This was the first time all of Taiwan was controlled and ruled by any nation. The aborigines no longer controlled any part of the island.

In 1945, at the end of World War II Taiwan was turned over in trusteeship to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of the Republic of China by the United States. Taiwan's status was not spelled out. The KMT under Chiang Kai-shek would control Taiwan by martial law and a police state until 1988.

In 1949, the Republic of China (ROC) under Chiang Kai-shek lost the civil war in China and his forces retreated to Taiwan taking advantage of the police state they held there. The People's Republic of China (PRC) was born and ruled China but not Taiwan; it has never ruled any part of Taiwan.

In 1952, the Treaty of San Francisco did not clarify matters. It stated that Japan must give up Taiwan but it did not say to whom. By the United Nations Charter, the people of Taiwan should have been given the choice of self-determination; they were not. The KMT's Republic of China, now on Taiwan, continued its martial law and police state.

In 1972 the United States muddied the waters and added to the ambiguity by introducing the innocuous phrase "one China" in the Shanghai Communiqué. By this it admitted that the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China each had their own interpretation of what was "one China." But it did not state what the USA's interpretation was, nor did it endorse either the PRC or the ROC position. The people of Taiwan were not consulted. (Those that want a more detailed explanation of this can consult my posting of August 10, 2006, "Taiwan, Lazy Journalists, and Unfinished Phrases").

At the end of 1991, all of the surviving members of the Republic of China's Legislative Yuan who had been elected in China in 1947 and had never had to face election again were forced to retire. The people of Taiwan now for the first time had the right to elect all members of the Legislative Yuan.

In 1996 the first ever election of the President of Taiwan by popular vote was held. Taiwan was no longer under the one party KMT state. It was completely ruled by the vote of the people. For the first time, the new separate government was that of the people of Taiwan. On the other side of the Strait in China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) still ruled.

This brings us to the present and the half truth of journalists. Have China and Taiwan been ruled by separate governments since the end of the civil war? Taiwan has always been ruled by many separate governments from 1624 on. After 1949, Taiwan was first controlled by the KMT's one-party state; now it is ruled by its people in a democracy. China has been ruled by the same CCP since 1949.

The ambiguous status of democratic Taiwan from the Treaty of San Francisco remains ambiguous.

Other writings can be found at

Saturday, May 12, 2007

John Tkacik on China--Taiwan--US; "China Alarms Ringing"

Like I did regarding Dr. Jerome Keating two weeks ago I wish to now introduce Travis Monitor Blog visitors to John J. Tkacik.

John J. Tkacik is senior fellow in Asian studies at the Heritage Foundation and was chief of China analysis in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research from.

John Tkacik is a great American and good friend to Taiwan. More often than not I find that I agree 110% with his assessment of the tender box that defines the triangular relationship China--Taiwan--US. He is a conservative voice who has the interest of freedom loving people in mind every time he communicates on the subject.

I commend you to his recently published book, which I purchased from and gifted to Congressman Michael McCaul and Senator John Cornyn:

Reshaping the Taiwan Strait

John J. Tkacik, Jr.
Sold by:
Paperback; $9.50

Here is Mr. Tracik's recently published Washington Times article on China:

China Alarms Ringing
By John J. Tkacik

Published May 10, 2007
Washington Times

Fifteen years ago, the U.S. intelligence community judged that the People's Liberation Army of China was more than 20 years behind the West. In January, the PLA brought down a satellite with an ultra-sophisticated "kinetic kill vehicle" weapon. Today, no one views China's nuclear or missile capabilities as anything other than cutting-edge.

In the last five years, China has brought 20 state-of-the-art, super-quiet, diesel-electric submarines on line, increasing its fleet of modern subs to 55. Now there is speculation the Chinese are developing Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel cells that allow their subs to stay submerged far longer and eliminate any detectable mechanical noise. This would explain how a Chinese submarine was able to surprise the USS Kitty Hawk battle group last October by popping up in its midst and immediately disappearing without a trace. Apparently, the U.S. Navy can't track China's newest submarines.

U.S. intelligence predicted none of this. Last year, Assistant Defense Secretary Peter Rodman admitted, "We are caught by surprise by the appearance of new systems that suddenly appear fully developed." Former Clinton administration defense expert Kurt Campbell has noted, "You look back on those studies, and it's only been a decade, China has exceeded in every area military modernization that even the far-off estimates of the mid-1990s predicted."

With the Soviet Union's collapse in 1992, America cut its defense budget by more than 10 percent during the Clinton years while China boosted arms spending by 10 percent to 20 percent every year since 1992.

The Central Intelligence Agency calculates Beijing now spends 4.3 percent of its gross domestic product on the military. China's military sectors will get about $430 billion -- in purchasing power parity terms -- this year.

Even observers who remain generally complacent about China's military build-up admit "alarm" at China's recent anti-satellite test and its mischief in Darfur. But China's behavior toward Taiwan should sound the alarm bells just as loudly.

Yet, when the debate turns to Taiwan, some urge the U.S. to "chill." We must not be too eager to defend Taiwan, they argue, because the "legitimacy" of the mainland Communist Party would be "severely undermined" if the international community questioned its claim to the island.

But is supporting the Chinese "Communist Party's legitimacy" in America's interests? Must we stand by while the world's largest dictatorship bullies Asia's most vibrant democracy into a relationship Taiwan's people have consistently rejected? Must Taiwan's democracy be stifled in the interests of "peace" in the Asia Pacific region?

Henry Kissinger once noted an international system for which peace is the highest priority is "at the mercy of the most ruthless, since there [is] a maximum incentive to mollify the most aggressive state and to accept its demands, even when they [are] unreasonable." The inevitable result: "massive instability and insecurity." Western democracies learned this lesson the hard way in 1938 Munich and in 1990 Baghdad.

Humoring threats from dictatorships invariably results in catastrophic miscalculations. And Taiwan is not Beijing's only illicit territorial claim.

Last November, the Chinese ambassador in New Delhi informed a surprised Indian television audience that "the whole of what you call the state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory." This February, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said "China will not accept any representations by Japan on the premise of territorial claim" over the Senkaku Islands. No Chinese live in Arunachal Pradesh, and Japan has administered the Senkakus for 112 years.

All Asia is watching to see if the U.S. is committed to President Bush's vision of "the global expansion of democracy." If Washington won't stand up for democracy in Taiwan, where would it? And how would Beijing know Washington was serious?

No responsible person wants war in the Taiwan Strait. But the best way to avoid war, to keep our legal commitment to defend Taiwan's democracy and to maintain Asia's stability is to demonstrate steadfast resolve against Beijing's territorial demands.

The United States may no longer be strong enough to defend freedom beyond our shores. The "global expansion of democracy" may not be feasible as we face a Chinese Superpower intent on legitimizing illiberal forces lurking in the shadows of Asia's fragile new democracies. If so, Washington should admit it, so our allies and friends can start making other plans for their security.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Democrats Attack Our Free Speech Rights

Congressman Marty Meehan (D-Massachusetts) has introduced H.R. 2093 that will harm the rights of citizens to receive information about and criticize Washington.
Please call your United States Representative today and tell him or her to oppose H.R 2093, the Meehan grassroots bill. Go here to find contact information for your U.S. Rep:
And please forward this email to as many people you can today, and ask them to act quickly.
The House Democratic leadership is keeping their timing under close wraps, but congressional staffers have said this unconstitutional bill may be considered by the Judiciary Committee as part of lobbying reform as early this Friday, but more likely next week. If it gets voted out of committee, then it goes to the floor of the House.
Whatever day HR 2093 is considered, it’s important to start calling Congress now, and forwarding this email alert now to help get more callers to oppose this bill.
The Meehan bill will regulate citizen-supported grassroots causes. What would trigger this new law? Citizens engaging in their First Amendment rights to (1) speak, (2) publish, (3) associate and (4) petition the government. It even will regulate some religious activity.
But get this. It will help big special interests, billionaire George Soros, and even big-time lobbyists themselves. The bill was written by lobbyists, so it will, of course, protect them and their clients.
My letter this week to Congressman Meehan shows how our First Amendment rights are being done in by secret dealings with insider lobbyists and Mr. Meehan’s own lawyers.
Dozens of grassroots organizations joined by the ACLU have signed a letter opposing the Meehan bill, H.R. 2093.
Grassroots causes would be required to tell Congress what they’re talking about in private communications to you and other citizens – often before they even say it.
This is very bad legislation. It is actually dangerous to our democracy because it attacks our basic freedoms to speak and criticize government.
The grassroots bill was defeated in Senate earlier this year, 55 – 43.
Now citizens must tell the House of Representatives that the First Amendment means what it says, “Congress shall make no law . . .”
So please, call your U.S. Rep today.
Tell him or her to vote against H.R. 2093, the Meehan grassroots bill.
And please forward this email to as many people as you can today, if you can.
Thank you.
Mark Fitzgibbons

Socialism Doesn't Work

A liberal mis-reading of history courtesy of Minnesota Monitor prompts a response from me. They said:

"A highly socialized system kills initiative, which was proved by the collapse of the Soviet Union. A highly capitalist system doesn't work either, as that can lead to economic stratification, a breakdown of democracy, and ultimately dictatorship, as we saw in fascist Germany and Italy, as well as in numerous Latin American countries in the past."

I said:

Wow. Just wow. This is a mind-blowingly ignorant view of the economic program of Fascist Germany and Italy, and latin America. IN ALL CASES, THEY WERE/ARE NOT CAPITALIST AT ALL.

First, the Nazis were the National SOCIALIST Workers Party. Their economic program was Socialist. government controlled the economy through regulation and bureaucratic controls, while letting industrialist remain as putative owners in a controlled socialist economy. Italy was similar. Mussolini was a socialist (former communist) who evolved fascism as a nationalistic form of socialism. He "made the trains run on time" by controlling both the economy and politics. Alas, Italy's and even Germany's economy really did not fare particularly well, if you look at economic well-being of the people (as opposed to their military output). (source: Shirer's Rise and Fall fo 3rd Reich). Same for USSR. Nazism, fascism and communism were in fact quite similar economic-political systems, with similarly dismal results for economic prosperity.

As for Latin America, these corrupt economies are victims of lack of property rights and mercantilistic controls on the economy that prevent real economic dynamism. They lurched from bad populist socialism (the kind Hugo Chavez is implementing now to the detriment of his country), to corrupt-style authoritarian Governments, who generally do not liberate the economy, but loot it (consider the phillipines version of this style, Marcos).
The exception to this unfortunate trend would be Chile's economic experiment under Pinochet, where significant economic liberalization occured, and as a result significant economic growth occured. Chile succeeded in moving to the top of the heap among latin american countries. (source: "The Other Path" by de Soto)

True property-rights-adhering small-Govt capitalist economies have in the past included Switzerland, Hong Kong, and to lesser extent Japan in the 1960s-1980s and the US for parts of our history (especially 1865-1913). All have had economic growth far above what socialism achieves. From 1865 to 1913 US economic growth averaged 7% per year, fastest in the world at the time, no income tax, strong property rights, and the Federal Govt spent around 2% of our GDP. We became the world's largest economy through that.

Statistics are quite clear. Socialism doesn't work. National socialism doesn't work; Communist Socialist totalitarianism doesn't work; welfare state liberal socialism doesn't work- OECD economies that have higher taxes and more socialism have lower growth rates and lower employment gains.

Half-way between socialism and capitalism is watered-down socialism that deals the economy-deadening impact in smaller doses. But half a dose of poison does not make for a good medicine.

Monitor in Minnesota

A great minds think alike alert: The Minnesota Monitor tracks politics and media way up north. I got to it via Jonah Goldberg, linking to an article where he is being described as a 'codpiece'. It's not what you think - it means "Conservative of the day" aka, a column that throws a bone to conservative readers sick of liberal bias on the OpEd page. Now, every time I see Jonah's column in the Austin-American Statesman, I'm going to chuckle.

This site does come from a liberal POV, apparently they are funded by the ever-present Soros (okay, so where's our shadowy billionaire funding, huh?), but we still might keep tabs on it for how to improve our own "Monitor". We've been wanting to track visitor stats, and their use of StatCounter prompted me to add our own.

New Jersey Terror Plotters were Illegal Immigrants

From FRC Tony Perkins:

After arresting six radical Muslims with plans to massacre soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey, FBI special agent J.P Weiss said it best when he told reporters, "We dodged a bullet. In fact... we may have dodged several bullets." Unfortunately, what few seem to realize is that without serious immigration reform, Americans may not be quite so blessed next time. Of those accused in the Fort Dix terror plot, three are in the United States illegally.

As the House and Senate prioritize their issues for the coming month, this near-tragedy should put illegal immigration on the forefront of everyone's minds. We must confront radical Islam head-on, rather than pretending that it doesn't have an agenda. All too often Americans seem more fearful of offending people than they are of a devastating terrorist attack. Join us in urging Congress to promote true immigration reform that puts national security--not political correctness--first.

Good point. It's time we got back to basics. Border security is tied to our national security. Good immigration law starts with border and immigration security. We need to secure the borders FIRST before we try to great another huge incentive for illegal immigration via amnesty.

Lest we forget:

Dangers of Home-Schooling

One of them is: Your kid may become an over-achiever. Wow, a 20 year old professor?

Soros after the World Bank

Axis of Soros -The men and motives behind the World Bank coup attempt. The rest of the story behind a 'coup attempt' against Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank. Why is Soros after the World Bank?

Democrat Gov slammed for phony posturing

The Democrat Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, misused the recent tornado disaster to complain that National Guard units were diverted to Iraq. This transparent political posturing backfired, as
Greensburg Victims Rip Kansas Gov. For Comments:

"The poor response thing is just political BS," Greensburg resident Mike Swigart, 47, who lost his house and four vehicles from the storm, told in an exclusive interview. "I saw her on television and I'm disappointed in that because she doesn't know what she's talking about."

Swigart said there was an almost immediate response from other towns, people who had lined up to try and provide rescue efforts. He said Sebelius' comment about the lack of Humvees was unfounded.

"You may have seen her on television when she said that, and she talked about Hummers, that we needed Hummers. There were Hummers sitting in front of my house every day. The National Guard was there," he said. "I saw people from all over who came right away to help and nobody sent them, they just came because they knew it was going to be big. The response was excellent, the rescue efforts were all night long, and I even made a comment to my wife later that night when we came back into our basement that I can't imagine anyone saying we had a poor response to this tragedy, that it was so quick and it was amazing."

Swigart says the general feeling around the town is that residents were overwhelmed by the immediate response, and that the governor's fuss was for her own good. White House press secretary Tony Snow responded to Sebelius by saying that there was no request by Kansas officials for extra equipment, and that if there is anyone to blame, it's her.

It won't be Guliani

Why Rudy Guliani will not be the Republican Presidential nominee:

In an April 4 interview, a reporter for CNN, Dana Bash, played for Giuliani a statement he made in 1989. “There must be public funding for abortions for poor women.,” Giuliani said back then. “We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decision about abortion because she lacks resources.” Bash asked if that would be Giuliani’s position were he to be elected president.

“Probably,” Giuliani replied. “I mean, I have to reexamine all of those issues…but ultimately it is a constitutional right, and therefore if it is a constitutional right ultimately, even if you do it on a state-by-state basis, you have to make sure that people are protected.”

“So you support taxpayer money or public funding for abortions in some cases?” Bash asked.

“If it would deprive someone of a constitutional right, yes,” Giuliani said.

This is a flat-out big-spending liberal pro-abortion position. Guliani was incoherent on abortion in the first debate, trying to sound not too pro-abortion while maintaining the above positions. He had a laissez faire view of Roe v Wade, he said it was okay if it was overturned and it was okay if it wasn't. It's not working. Rudy's formerly commanding lead has shrunk in the past few months, and in New Hampshire, Romney now bests Guliani in polls. Guliani's failure to finesse this issue is fatal. For that reason, I say that for the GOP nomination - "It won't be Guliani".