The New York Times reports some Mexicans think a border barrier would force the Mexican government to reform how it governs Mexico.
Outside his government, several immigration experts have even begun floating the idea that real walls, not the porous ones that stand today, could be more an opportunity than an attack.
A wall could dissuade illegal immigrants from their perilous journeys across the Sonora Desert and force societies on both sides to confront their dependence on an industry characterized by exploitation, they say.
The old blame game — in which Mexico attributed illegal migration to the voracious American demand for labor and accused lawmakers of xenophobia — has given way to a far more soul-searching discussion, at least in quarters where policies are made and influenced, about how little Mexico has done to try to keep its people home.
"For too long, Mexico has boasted about immigrants leaving, calling them national heroes, instead of describing them as actors in a national tragedy," said Jorge Santibáñez, president of the College of the Northern Border. "And it has boasted about the growth in remittances" — the money immigrants send home — "as an indicator of success, when it is really an indicator of failure."
The massive outflux of Mexicans reduces the incentive of the Mexican government to educate its youth. It expects many it would educate would leave anyway. Also, all the money that Mexicans send home helps to prop up a corrupt political system.
"It's fantastic," said Primitivo Rodríguez, an immigrant activist in Mexico, when asked about plans to build walls. "It's the best thing that could happen for migrants, and for Mexico."
Mr. Rodríguez, who has served as an adviser to the Mexican government and an organizer in the United States for the American Friends Service Committee, said the porous border had for years been an important safety valve of stability for Mexico's economy, allowing elected officials to avoid creating jobs and even taking legal measures to stop the migration of an estimated 500,000 or more Mexicans a year.
Discontent that might generate demands for change instead gets translated into flight north. The Mexican government collects less than half as much taxes as a percentage of GDP as the United States does. The rich cheat on their taxes. We pay more so that they can pay less. El Presidente Jorge W. Bush likes it this way. Do you?
Why do I want to keep Latin America out of the United States of America? A Der Spiegel article about organized crime in Latin America provides excellent evidence. Organized crime groups of all sizes are taking control increasing of parts of Latin American countries.
Gangs of kidnappers spread fear and terror in Caracas and Mexico City. Cocaine cartels control the area around Mexico's northern border. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are the territory of the "Maras," adolescent street gangs that live mainly off extortion. The paramilitaries and guerrillas of Columbia support themselves by raising money through kidnappings and drug trading.
They relay anecdotes of Brazilian neighborhoods which gangs have physically closed off with gates guarded by automatic rifle toting teens.
I do not want the United States government and US local and state governments to become more like Latin American governments. Do you?
An entire continent is slipping backwards in time. The spread of violence and crime show that large parts of Latin America are far from joining the leading industrial nations of the Western hemisphere. In constantly expanding their power, the gangs demonstrate the weakness of the region's governments; wherever there is a power vacuum, the gangs take over. "Organized crime can only survive as long as it escapes punishment," says Alba Zaluar, a Brazilian researcher who specializes in the study of violence, "so it creates its own territories in order to assure that it won't be punished there."
Latin America's often decrepit democracies are easy prey. The court system barely functions in most countries; the police are often corrupt and cooperate with drug dealers. Many politicians can be easily bribed, and parliamentary positions are perceived as opportunities for self-enrichment.
Last week's events demonstrate just how powerful the gangs of Sao Paulo have become -- gangster squads plunged Latin America's largest city into a state of terror for days. They carried out 293 attacks, murdering 41 policemen and security officers, burning 83 buses and firing gunshots at subway stations and fire departments. The terrified police reacted unusually violently, shooting 107 suspects in seven days. Many of the city's residents no longer dared to leave their homes. Schools and stores closed for fear of violence. The bustling metropolis turned into a ghost town.
You have to read the whole article to appreciate the extent of the decay. The Brazilian government negotiated a peace with the leader of a large Brazilian gang, granting his group all sorts of concessions in order to get a halt to the fighting. The Brazilian government conceded some sovereignty to a drug gang. Think about it. Officially Brazil is a democracy. In reality parts of it are not ruled by the elected government and in other parts the elected government does the bidding of the bribe-payers and extorters against the interests of the electorate.
Meanwhile, back in the United States the Imperial Senate has gone over to the Dark Side of the Force and beat back attempts to totally eliminate criminals from their massive amnesty program for illegals. Why does the Imperial Senate want the US to become like Latin America? I understand that El Presidente Bush is promoting his family dynasty by building up an electorate for George P. Bush. But what turned the Senate to the Dark Side? Our own corporate bribers?
A lot is at stake in the current fight in the US Congress over immigration. Lawrence Auster tells the US House of Representatives say NO to the Senate's monstrous Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611). I agree. Contact your US House Representative and tell your rep you expect his or her strenuous opposition to the Senate CIRA bill. Complained about immigration? Direct your complaints where they will matter. Yell at your elected representatives. Write your newspaper. Send emails to friends telling them how to contact their elected representatives and urge them to do so. A lot is at stake.
Arizona lawmakers have approved legislation that would criminalize the presence of illegal aliens and seeks to cut off job opportunities that attract illegal border crossers.
"The House and Senate may not get anything done. So we have an obligation to respond, since this is not just a national border [that's being compromised], it's the Arizona border," said state Rep. Russell Pearce, lead sponsor of the bill that passed the Legislature Thursday.
The bill, which calls for revoking business licenses for repeatedly hiring known illegal aliens and bars illegals from some state services including child care and adult education, has passed both chambers of the Republican-controlled Legislature, but is expected to be vetoed by Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat,
Mrs. Napolitano earlier vetoed a bill that would have expanded the state's trespassing statutes to allow the arrest of illegal aliens who wind up there. She has vowed to veto any further measures that would have this same effect.
I think Arizonans saw what happened to California due to large scale Hispanic immigration (not a few of them are Cal expats who fled the decay) and do not want to see the process repeat in Arizona.
One key distinction is that the new version could be enforced only when police first approach a person about another offense, such as a traffic violation.
A first offense would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. Subsequent offenses would be a felony carrying a sentence of at least three years in prison.
Political activists in Arizona want to sidestep Governor Napolitano's veto by putting an initiative on the ballot that would accomplish many of the same goals as the legislation that Napolitano will probably veto.
A citizens group is seeking the end of a policy that prevents Phoenix police officers from detaining suspected illegal aliens, questioning a person under arrest about immigration status or notifying federal authorities that an illegal alien is in custody.
Members of Protect Our City have started a petition drive to change the city's charter to require that police officers, along with all other city agencies and employees, assist federal authorities in enforcing U.S. immigration law.
Randy Pullen, a Republican National Committeeman from Arizona and the project's leader, told The Washington Times that he hopes to gather enough signatures to qualify the measure as an initiative on the city's November ballot.
Several Republican consultants say putting an immigration proposal on this year's ballot could pay political dividends as the party looks to unseat the Democratic governor and fend off challenges in U.S. Senate and congressional races.
By moving the immigration issue onto the ballot, Republicans are hoping to drive more voters to the polls. Republicans hold an edge of 6 percentage points over Democrats in voter registration.
"At that point it's just pure mathematics," said Doug Cole, a political consultant who works mostly with Republican candidates.
The national Republican Party, under control of El Presidente Jorge W. Bush, is totally blowing an opportunity to win elections by making immigration restriction a major Republican cause. The House Republicans should reject a compromise with the Imperial Senate on immigration and instead run for reelection as immigration restrictionsts.
Update: Maricopa County Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio has orderd his department to arrest all illegal aliens they encounter.
Since March, Arpaio, a Republican who refers to himself as "America's toughest sheriff," has directed the 3,000 men and women in the nation's third-largest sheriff's department to arrest undocumented workers. As of Thursday, his deputies and a posse of several hundred volunteers had captured 170 -- in a region where an estimated one in 10 workers is illegal. "My message to the illegals is this: Stay out of Maricopa County, because I'm the sheriff here," Arpaio said in an interview in his office on the 19th floor of a building in downtown Phoenix.
Notice the liberal Washington Post's use of the Orwellian "undocumented worker" instead of "illegal alien".
Many state and local governments are starting to enforce immigration laws.
In April, Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) signed a tough immigration bill that made Georgia the first state to require municipalities to require immigration enforcement training for their police. Police must check the immigration status of anyone arrested for a felony or drunken driving. The law also fines employers who hire illegal immigrants. Fourteen other states, including Virginia, are working on laws like Georgia's that would require local police training.
While our leaders are trying to dissolve the Republic and turn it into an Imperial government most people still want to save the old Republic. It is not yet clear to me which side will win.
I've been reading the mostly very empirical posts of The Inductivist blogger Ron Guhname. He mostly digs through the results of General Social Surveys (GSS) and finds facts about groups that go against the conventional wisdom. But he's got one post on illegal immigration where he argues that we should focus far more on the people who enable the illegal aliens by hiring them and making it legally easy for them to work in the United States
So, everyone argues about the whether the immigrants are a good or bad thing, but all this talk is about the little fish. All to often the big fish get off the hook. This is a big mistake since, in this immigration drama, the employer is the drug dealer and the illegal is only a junkie. The drug dealer gets fat while the neighborhood goes to hell. The politicians are the cops who close their eyes to the transaction in exchange for a dirty money payoff. And the ACLU who sues the employer for investigating the legal status of his workers is the fellow gangbanger who threatens you if you are even thinking about leaving the gang and going straight. Now, none of us likes a junkie, but he is just the little guy. American save their rage for the guy peddling the dope. He is the one who needs to serve some serious time.
Some jail terms for executives in businesses hiring illegals would cut back on illegal hiring very rapidly and send millions back across the border. We need internal enforcement of immigration laws.
Read the whole post.
Cutler of Yankee Station points to a story in the Australian press about how the Indonesian government is cutting the jail sentences of Bali bombers.
Indonesia will ignore Australian protests and slash the prison sentences of 27 Bali bombers as well as their alleged spiritual leader, radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
Remissions for thousands of inmates are being handed down to mark the end of Islam's Ramadan fasting month.
Bashir is expected to get one month sliced off his sentence, meaning he could be free by next April.
This guy should be dead already along with his followers.
Bashir got only 30 months in the first place.
Bashir is serving what originally was a 30-month jail term for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, among them 88 Australians.
He also got a four-month cut as part of independence day celebrations in August.
Government officials say the jail terms of 27 of the 2002 Bali bombers will be cut on Thursday by around six weeks each.
You can bet there will be additional jail term cuts in the future too.
But the Aussies are encouraging the attitude that Muslim attacks shouldn't be punished. The Australian police are keen to treat wife beatings more lightly when non-whites are involved. Gotta be multicultural, don't ya know? Not surprisingly, Muslim clerics in Australia are still preaching Jihad.
In open defiance of John Howard's proposed new terror laws and the Prime Minister's demand that Muslim leaders desist from inflammatory rhetoric, Lakemba cleric Sheik Zoud has used his Friday prayer meetings over the past month to praise Muslim fighters. "Allah yinsur el-mujaheddin fe-Iraq (God grant victory to the mujaheddin in Iraq)," he repeatedly screamed during a 35-minute Arabic sermon at Lakemba's Haldon Street prayer hall in Sydney's southwest last week.
In further contempt of Mr Howard, Sheik Zoud's high-profile counterpart in Melbourne, Sheik Omran, also declared last month: "No victory (for Islam's brothers and sisters) can be stopped by George Bush or Tony Blair or John Howard."
I'm preaching deportation and an end to all Muslim immigration into Western countries. I also want to deport all the leftists who favor multiculturalism. Send them to live in a foreign culture and allow them to escape the evil Western white male patriarchal racist colonialist capitalist oppression.
The three famous divisions of American government, Executive, Congressional, and Judicial branches are no longer the three branches of ruling power in America today. Dennis Dale thinks that power is held by political, media, and corporate elites.
I will soon be done with this immigration issue; sometime after our leaders have codified into law the principle that human beings can be viewed as units of labor, subject to strict cost analysis and valued entirely thereby. They bring nothing more with them; except perhaps a deep love of the ideals we are currently rendering hollow at home and abroad.
Culture, intelligence, group thought and resentment, human nature in toto; I'm relieved to learn from my betters that these things have been rendered meaningless by globalization and the conspicuous tolerance of our mandarins. Pay no attention to the angry mobs waving foreign flags; disregard the triumphant language of racial demagogues. Don't inquire what's to become of what's left of our republic. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that you haven't entertained thoughts that the nicely dressed people on television would find gauche. And don't forget: American Idol's finale is tonight!
Our political, media, and corporate classes have become the operative three branches of governance. Like the nominal triumvirate set forth in the constitution, they have their internal rifts, and sometimes struggle for power amongst themselves. But unlike the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, (now comprising one foundation of the new order; the political element of our oligarchy), they can work together with remarkable cohesion and little overt direction. A template has been fashioned over the past generation, the result of years of pandering and demagoguery dressed up in lofty rhetoric (or not-so-lofty rhetoric), and each element knows intuitively how to behave in a remarkable variety of situations.
The liberal media, members of the US Imperial Senate, and corporate interests all are fighting for the abolition of America through a massive increase in the rate of legal immigration combined with continued illegal immigration.
Dennis takes a dim view of Imperial Senate member John McCain and I agree.
One more lesson we'll have to learn painfully: heroism doesn't necessarily make one a good leader. McCain's forced verbal dullness can only mask a man with extremely limited patience. We are not led by the wise; I'm not sure we're even led by the sane. We are led by the ambitious.
When the British Empire was on the rise ambitious Brits could make a name for themselves and also strengthen the Empire by channelling their ambitions into acts that would strengthen the empire and win them knighthoods and other honors that placed them higher in the social pecking order. Something has gone very wrong in the status competition in the United States. Today, unfortunately, the ambitious in the American Republic's political class and not a few of its capitalists find it expedient to promote policies and ideas that weaken America. We'd be a lot better off if these people found more generally beneficial outlets for their ambitions.
For an example of what I'm talking about see this National Council of La Raza ("The Race") list of "Insitutional Corporate Partners":
The Allstate Corporation
Bank of America
The Coca-Cola Company
Ford Motor Company
General Motors Corporation
The PMI Group, Inc.
State Farm Insurance Companies
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Yes, these corporations are funding your enemies.
While Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton think Hispanic immigration is a good thing a lot of blacks think their supposed leaders are betraying them. Blacks are aware they are being displaced by Hispanics.
LOS ANGELES – From where Johnny Blair Vaughn sits outside Lucy Florence Coffee House in the heart of Los Angeles's black community, he can feel the temperature rising over immigration.
The biggest reason, says the father of seven, is jobs.
"If you drive across this city, you will see 99 percent of all construction is being done by Hispanics.... You will see no African-American males on these sites, and that is a big change," says Mr. Vaughn, who has worked in construction for two decades. His two oldest boys, in their early 20s, have been turned down so many times for jobs - as framers, roofers, cement layers - that they no longer apply, he says.
I do not want the ranks of black unemployed to rise even higher. As my grandmother used to say, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop".
I think Vernon Briggs gets it right here:
"In this era of mass immigration, no group has benefited less or been harmed more than the African-American population," says Vernon Briggs, a Cornell University professor who researches immigration policy and the American labor force.
Black leaders from across the country yesterday decried a guest-worker "amnesty" plan that would legalize millions of illegal aliens and threatened to sue the U.S. government if such legislation is passed.
"We're on the cusp of very critical legislation that centers on immigration -- both legal and illegal," Frank Morris Sr., chairman of Choose Black America, a new coalition of black Americans opposed to illegal entry, told reporters at the National Press Club in Northwest. "African Americans are going to be hurt if this legislation moves forward, [and] we are here to sound the alarm."
Blacks notice they are getting pushed out of some cities.
It just infuriates me that our children's education has to be shortchanged for a subculture that in many instances doesn't want to assimilate," said the Northwest resident, who is in her 60s and has watched the D.C. landscape change for more than 30 years.
"We are being pushed out of the way because there is a push to legalize an illegal act," she said. "I personally know fine educators who are losing their jobs because they can't speak Spanish. Well, in that case, pay them pesos."
This is a familiar pattern. When Hispanics come into an area some businesses and governments discriminate against English-only speaking natives because the employers want to have front line people who speak Spanish and English.
Choose Black America folks think the Hispanic deluge is a disaster for blacks.
Mass illegal immigration has been the single greatest impediment to black advancement in this country over the past 25 years. Blacks, in particular, have lost economic opportunities, seen their kids’ schools flooded with non-English speaking students, and felt the socio-economic damage of illegal immigration more acutely than any other group.
Ted Hayes -- Has worked tirelessly to attract national and international attention to the problem of homelessness in America. Ted is the creator of the Dome Village Community, a prototype shelter-housing facility located in down town Los Angeles. Ted Hayes has delivered his proposals on homelessness to the White House for the creation of a national homeless plan to eradicate homelessness in the United States. Ted has worked with national and international leaders in his effort to end the criminalization of Homeless persons in the United States.
Dr. Rosie Milligan -- In 1990, Dr. Milligan founded a publishing company, Milligan Books, where she has published over 100 new African-American authors in the past five years. Her publishing company is the fastest growing publishing company owned by an African-American female in the nation. Dr. Milligan is an entrepreneur and economic empowerment activist and owner of Professional Business Management Consulting Services - which provides consultation for new and small businesses and staff development training for corporations.
Kevin Fobbs -- Kevin Fobbs has more than 25 years of wide- ranging experience as a public relations consultant, business executive, political advisor, writer, and national lecturer. And is the founder of NuPac, the National Urban Policy Action Council, a civic and citizen action organization that focuses on community empowerment and promotes fiscally responsible compassionate conservative public policies. In addition, Fobbs is the Director for Government and Civic Affairs for Soul Source, a monthly full-color Christian news magazine.
Rev. Jesse Peterson -- Rev. Peterson is the Founder and President of the national non-profit organization BOND, the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny. He is the author of many books, and is frequently seen on major TV networks such as Fox, CNN, and MSNBC. Reverend Peterson is an advisory board member of Project 21, a national black conservative public policy organization
There is not enough demand for low skilled labor. International trade and automation are both decreasing the demand for manual labor and low skilled labor. In the face of these two trends it is stupid to import even more lower IQ and low skilled people to compete against the tens of millions already here who the labor market already attaches a low value on. This would be obvious enough for our elites to see and acknowledge in their deliberations. But they are all part of a joint lie where thinking true facts about human nature is a thought crime. Their secular religious madness has blinded them to the glaring truth.
IF YOU are worried about being attacked or killed by a violent criminal, just be glad you are not living in Neolithic Britain. From 4000 to 3200 BC, Britons had a 1 in 14 chance of being bashed on the head, and a 1 in 50 chance of dying from their injuries.
Brain trauma wasn't the only way people were getting killed. Was it the biggest cause? Or were chest injuries bigger killers?
Was the death rate from assaults as high in other parts of the world at that time? When did the murder rate start dropping toward levels seen in more recent times?
Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's insistence that major legislation reach the House floor only if it appears to be backed by a "majority of the majority" could throw a high hurdle in front of efforts to reach a House-Senate compromise on immigration later this year, lawmakers said. Hastert (R-Ill.) has invoked the policy in blocking bills that appeared likely to win approval from more than half of the House's 435 members but less than half of its 231 Republicans.
Some Republicans, rightly disgusted by Bush and also by the Senate Republicans, say it is not worth bothering to vote in the fall 2006 elections. But if Democrats had control of the House right now the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611) would be sailing toward Bush's signature. CIRA would bring somewhere between 66 and 93 million immigrants into the United States in the next 20 years. Republican control of the House may be the only thing that stops that bill. If the Democrats win control of the House in November 2006 then in 2007 CIRA will come up again and pass both houses of Congress.
Contact your US House Representative and tell your rep you expect his or her strenuous opposition to the Senate CIRA bill. Also, contact both your US Senators and voice your strong opposition to CIRA. Also, tell El Presidente Jorge W. Bush that you oppose his planned replacement of the United States of America with the United States of Latin America. Yelling at House reps is the most important out of the 3 main avenues of complaint.
Letters to the editors of newspapers could also help. Also, tell your friends to also send mail or email to their Congresscritters.
Update: The outcome is by no means assured. Bush is heavily lobbying House Republicans to get them to go wobbly and support an amnesty and immigration expansion.
A senior Bush adviser noted that House conservatives are themselves divided, pointing to Thursday's trip to Arizona as an illustration. Aboard Air Force One, conservative Reps. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and John Shadegg (Ariz.) suggested to Bush that they are prepared to back a plan that would offer many illegal immigrants a new route to citizenship, according to the official. But Bush's biggest obstacle is the House GOP leadership team, including Majority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.), who are cool to the Bush plan. "The ice ain't going to break overnight, we know," the Bush adviser said.
Send those snail mails, emails, and faxes. Call up your Congressional representative's offices and make your views known on immigration.
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN – Last summer, Shahida Hussain was pounding the dusty streets of Kandahar campaigning for Parliament in defiance of Taliban threats. Now this outspoken woman rarely leaves her house for fear of getting caught up in the violence engulfing Afghanistan's southern city.
"Six months ago things were better, but security gets worse day after day. Our children cannot go to school and we've stopped going out," says Ms. Hussain, who would only agree to an interview at a hotel for fear of having foreign visitors at her home.
Police corruption and criminal gangs are seen by many as bigger threats than the Taliban.
But the Taliban is making a big come-back as well.
The Taliban have become far more daring, infiltrating areas where they have not been seen for over four years in large numbers. Some of the worst fighting this week was in Panjwayi district, less than 20 miles from the heart of Kandahar, which has left aid agencies able to operate only within the gates of Afghanistan's second largest city.
Monday, Coalition forces reported that an airstrike late Sunday in Panjwayi district killed up to 80 suspected Taliban militants. Kandahar's governor told reporters that 16 civilians also died. As the fighting heated up last week, villagers from the district could be seen carrying all their belongings on donkeys or packing them in cars and fleeing into Kandahar.
"It was an acknowledgment that the government could do nothing for them," says a western security expert in the south.
Read the whole article.
The US overextended by invading Iraq. Afghanistan is a difficult problem. Multiple languages and ethnic groups, consanguineous marriage, Islam, decades of civil war, low average IQs, and extreme poverty. In Afghanistan, like in Iraq, there is no shared sense of common interest in a nation. While the Bush Administration bungles America's Middle Eastern policy it pursues a far more damaging set of policies toward immigration. In America signs that immigration is reducing the shared sense of common national interests aren't hard to find.Mexican immigrants do not want American citizenship. So much for the idea that they are coming here for freedom. If our foolish elites had their way they'd bring about an America as fragmented and divided as Iraq and Afghanistan.I hope America doesn't eventually reach the point of having middle class flight out of the country as Iraq is experiencing. But if our elites get their way that day will come.
File this under the category of "No Surprise Here": The Saudi government claims it has reworked its textbooks so that Saudi kids are no longer taught to hate non-Wahhabis. Nina Shea of the Freedom House Center for Religious Freedom reports that examination of translations of current Saudi textbooks turns up the same old stuff.
A review of a sample of official Saudi textbooks for Islamic studies used during the current academic year reveals that, despite the Saudi government's statements to the contrary, an ideology of hatred toward Christians and Jews and Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine remains in this area of the public school system. The texts teach a dualistic vision, dividing the world into true believers of Islam (the "monotheists") and unbelievers (the "polytheists" and "infidels").
This indoctrination begins in a first-grade text and is reinforced and expanded each year, culminating in a 12th-grade text instructing students that their religious obligation includes waging jihad against the infidel to "spread the faith."
Freedom House knows this because Ali al-Ahmed, a Saudi dissident who runs the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs, gave us a dozen of the current, purportedly cleaned-up Saudi Ministry of Education religion textbooks. The copies he obtained were not provided by the government, but by teachers, administrators and families with children in Saudi schools, who slipped them out one by one.
Shiites provided some of the books since Wahabbis take a dim view of the Shias.
Some of our sources are Shiites and Sunnis from non-Wahhabi traditions -- people condemned as "polytheistic" or "deviant" or "bad" in these texts -- others are simply frustrated that these books do so little to prepare young students for the modern world.
WASHINGTON, DC, January 28, 2005 -- Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom released today a new report exposing the dissemination of hate propaganda in America by the government of Saudi Arabia.
The 89-page report, “Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques,” is based on a year-long study of over two hundred original documents, all disseminated, published or otherwise generated by the government of Saudi Arabia and collected from more than a dozen mosques in the United States.
Western nations ought to develop technologies that obsolesce oil. As things stand now every time we fill up our cars we fund the spread of Wahabbi Islam. We should stop doing that.
We also ought to stop all Muslim immigration to Western nations. Also, offer money to Muslims to leave Western countries. Islam is not compatible with a free society.
The US military feels it should crack down on some slavery-like conditions among its subcontractors in Iraq. If you aren't allowed to leave your job is it slavery or serfdom or what exactly?
BAGHDAD — The U.S. military said Tuesday that it had issued new orders to private contractors in Iraq to crack down on violations of human trafficking laws involving laborers brought from around the world to work at American bases and other sites.
An inspection completed in late March uncovered evidence that it was widespread practice among firms providing services to the military to take away their workers' passports to keep them in place, military spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said.
The US military is bringing a small ray of Enlightenment era thinking to Iraq. As much as I admire and identify with the spirit that motivates their crackdown it seems so much like yesterday's Old Republic spirit for America rather than the proper Roman New Republic spirit sweeping our capitol. I think the US military is behind the curve on where the US Senate and White House are leading our country and the world. Keep reading for the big picture.
"Increasing expenditures in theater ... jeopardize our ability to maintain public support as the costs associated with our operations continue to rise," wrote Gen. George Casey, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, in a memo issued last summer and exclusively reported by UPI.
One of the few areas with flexibility in cost is the labor. Companies competing for KBR subcontracts routinely shop the world for the lowest-paid workers to fill positions at U.S. facilities -- cooking, cleaning and maintaining the physical infrastructure of the bases for 140,000 U.S. service members.
In some cases, workers are paid a pittance by Western standards. UPI reported in December that some food service employees from Sierra Leone were paid less than 50 cents an hour for their year-long contract. The workers were contractually prohibited from discussing the terms of their contract and their pay with outsiders but UPI obtained a copy of the employment contract.
Aren't you thrilled? This creates possiblities. I see a solution to our problems with Iraq. See if you can think of it before I tell you.
Here's a crucial hint: the problem with Iraq is the people.
Who are we fighting in Iraq? Ahmed S. Hashim attempts to answer that question in his excellent Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Iraq (Cornell Univ., $29.95). The result is probably the be st book to appear so far on the U.S. occupation -- a genuine insider's account arguing that the U.S. mission is failing and is likely doomed. In exploring the Iraqi insurgency, Hashim, a professor of strategy at the U.S. Naval War College who has done two tours advising the military in Iraq, goes a long way toward explaining why Iraq is drifting toward civil war.
"U.S. intelligence . . . is remarkable for the consistency with which it has been wrong" about the insurgency, writes Hashim, who speaks Arabic and is steeped in U.S. intelligence reports. Contrary to the official U.S. view that the insurgency is built largely around foreign jihadists and Baathist "dead-enders" keen to restore the old dictatorship, Hashim argues that the rebellion is broadly based in Iraq's Sunni Arab community and draws considerable strength from the tribal structure of Iraqi society.
Hint: Are the people a constant? Or are they a variable?
The US military needs to think more out of the box. The Marines and Army are split over what strategy to follow in Iraq.
HADITHA, Iraq — In the region around Qaim, a northwestern Iraqi town near the Syrian border, Marines are fanning out from their main base and moving into villages as part of a new strategy to root out insurgents who enter the country here.
The troops have set up 19 small base camps throughout the area and begun routinely patrolling insurgent hot spots north of the Euphrates River. The deployment follows a strategy favored by a new generation of counterinsurgency experts: disperse, mingle with the population and stay put.
But the shift comes as the Pentagon appears to be moving the overall U.S. military effort in the opposite direction across much of the country. Army units are being concentrated in "super bases" that line the spine of central Iraq, away from the urban centers where counterinsurgency operations take place.
These are two pretty well known approaches that one would expect to emerge from military minds approaching Iraq as a military problem. But I see a totally different way to approach Iraq. As my inspiration I take my hat off to Senators Martinez and Hagel for their terrible Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611) which could bring in 66 or 73 or more million immigrants to the United States in the next 20 years. The original unamended version of their bill could have brought in 100 to 200 million.
Well, thinking about those big numbers of immigrants points the way toward how for solve the Iraq problem: Use massive immigration of US government contractors to make the Sunnis a very small minority in the Sunni Triangle. Marginalize them. Make them the former dominant population on their own lands. This is an affordable proposition. For 50 cents an hour the cost per worker per year would be only $1000 per imported worker. Here's the beauty of that fact. Iraq is about 20% Sunni Arab (rough number and estimates vary). Well, with 26 million total that is only 5 million Sunnis (and if I'm off my a couple million it does not invalidate my conclusion). At 50 cents an hour and $1000 per worker per year we could bring in an equal number of foreigners for only $5 billion per year! That's less than we spend in a month! This solution ought to appeal to the Open Borders crowd in the US Senate.
For a few months of our operational costs in Iraq we could bring in 15 or 20 million people from really poor countries and pay them to build a replacement society in the Sunni Triangle. We could drive down local salaries so far the Sunnis would flee into Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and other places in the region. This idea ought to appeal to Bush. To keep the momentum building American companies could set up factories there and employ imported labor with no minimum wage laws or need to provide government-subsidized health care. The US military would defend their investment
Some of the foreign workers could get paid to to build barriers around Sunni towns. Seeing the barriers going up lots of Sunnis would flee. The ones who stay behind would be told they could leave only get to leave if they agreed to leave Iraq.
I know what you are saying: I wish I had thought of that.
How can any supporter of the CIRA legislation in the Senate or in the White House object to this plan? We'd only be doing to Iraq what our leaders want to do to America.
Tim Kane, Ph.D., Director of the Center for International Trade and Economics at The Heritage Foundation, says the US Senate immigration bill would create a big labor market regulation bureaucracy.
The klieg lights of the media often turn thoughtful policy discussions into cartoonish debates, and this habit is distorting the Senate’s consideration of immigration reform. Libertarians and pro-business conservatives who favor immigration and open borders are supposedly squaring off against conservatives who favor law, order, and national security. But the strongest libertarian advocates of free markets might want to take a closer look at the details of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S. 2611). The 600-page bill is stuffed with provisions that are difficult to decipher, some good, no doubt, and some that are alarming. Alarms bells should be ringing at the idea of creating a new bureaucracy within the Department of Labor tasked with centrally planning labor markets for untold numbers of guest workers. This would be a mistake.
If the goal of immigration reform is to enhance the liberty and prosperity of the U.S. and its citizens, then a robust flow of immigrants is desirable. But that logic hinges on two assumptions: that immigrants are coming to America for work, not welfare, and that reform will improve, not hinder, the labor market.
Here are the problems Kane sees with the Senate CIRA legislation:
Big businesses will see some of these items as reasons to support this legislation. They can hire sharp labor lawyers and game the system quite successfully. They will pay less for labor, even adjusted for regulatory costs. Granted, the market will be less efficient and newer and smaller firms will face competitive disadvantages. But that's not a problem for big established corporations that higher expensive Washington lobbyists and make big campaign contributions.
America's elite is corrupt and its elected officials are not too bright. As Steve Sailer and Lawrence Auster have noted, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), co-sponsor of CIRA, doesn't look too bright (see picture at either link). These fools are easy marks for sharp big business lobbyists.
Now is the time to act and make your voice heard. Contact your US Senators to express your displeasure at their plan to deluge the United States with tens of millions of immigrants in the next 20 years then you can find the web sites of each US Senator in this list. Similarly, contact your Representative and tell him or her the House should not negotiate with the Senate over their bill. You can find contact information for your US House Representative here. You can also tell El Presidente Jorge W. Bush that you oppose his planned replacement of the United States of America with the United States of Latin America. When you email or fax or snail mail to Jorge Bush be sure to tell him you know how he's lying on immigration.
US Senator Jeff Sessions (R Alabama) has made a very important speech about the nightmare immigration legislation now pending before the US Senate. That legislation, the Hagel-Martinez Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611), would, even in its current amended form, increase the rate of legal immigration by a factor of 4 or 5! Go read the full speech:
Then perhaps the most significant amendment that was adopted was a Bingaman amendment. It would reduce the incredible escalating number under the new H-2C visa foreign worker program. Under the original bill, the numbers were unbelievable. The amendment reduced the total number of immigrants that would have come into the United States if that bill became law from 78 to 217 million to a lower 73 million to 93 million. That was a strong vote for that provision and we make progress in reducing the numbers.
However, this bill, S. 2611, still enacts a four- to fivefold increase over the current levels of legal immigration into America over 20 years. Current law would bring in 18.9 million over 20 years. Did you get that? This bill, if passed today, even after the Bingaman amendment passed by a substantial majority, would still bring into our country three, four, five times–at least four times, I suggest–the number of people who can come into our country legally today.
That is a huge number and will lead us at the end of 20 years to have the highest percentage of foreign-born Americans this Nation has ever had in its history, including the great migration period between 1880 and 1925. It is a colossal bill still in terms of those numbers.
The American middle class is just not good enough for our elites. We do not satisfy them. They prefer a much larger and dumber lower class over which they can rule. More maids. More gardeners. More nannies. More roofers to enhance their mansions. They want servants, not citizens.
Sessions is only sane by US Senate standards. He still likes large scale immigration.
But Sessions reveals the CIRA legislation contains a very automated way for so-called temporary workers to rapidly convert themselves into permanent residents and citizens. The idea that the illegals are getting to sent "to the back of the line" is a huge lie by Jorge W. Bush and company.
The section we were trying to change was the section that is as bogus as any part of the bill. It is the section that is captioned in big print: temporary guest worker. That is what the President has been saying he favors. He told me that personally a couple of days ago. He told me, when he flew to Alabama, that he believed in temporary workers. But it is not so that this bill creates a temporary worker program. I challenge any one last night to tell me that what I am saying is not true.
Under this bill, under that rubric of big print language, “Nonimmigrant Visa Reform, Subsection A, Temporary Guest Workers'’–what it really says is if you come into this country under this work visa you get to convert your status to a green card holder–a legal permanent resident that can then become a citizen. Somebody said last night: Why are people afraid to discuss this issue? I say to the supporters of the bill: Why are you afraid to tell the truth about your bill? Why do you title the section one thing and then write it to actually do another?
Why are you putting in here “temporary guest workers'’ when there is nothing “temporary'’ or “guest'’ about them. Why? Are they afraid the American people will find out what is really in that provision which would have brought in, had it not been amended by Senator Bingaman, perhaps 130 million new people into the country permanently? What kind of temporary program is that?
How does it work? This is the way it works: You come in, get a job; you come in under this guest worker proposal, and within the first day you arrive, your employer can seek a green card for you. If you qualify–and most will–then that green card will be issued, and you are then a legal permanent resident. You are a legal permanent resident within weeks or months of entry into the country, and within 5 years of being a legal permanent resident and having a green card, you can apply for citizenship. If you know a little English and don’t get arrested and convicted of a felony, you will be made a citizen by right under that provision. So it is not a temporary guest worker program. We need one in the bill. It is not there. That is what the President says he supports.
The American people don’t think we ought to huddle up, have some groups come in and meet with a few Senators and have them foist on the American people an immigration bill that ignores their concerns about legality and their legitimate concerns over the depressing of the wages of American citizens. That is not a myth. The law of supply and demand has not been abrogated with regard to wages and labor.
In terms of lawfulness, decency, morality, and the national interest, the American people are head and shoulders above the Members of Congress who are asserting and pushing this flawed legislation. A huge majority of the American people have been right on this issue for decades. It is the executive branch and the Congress that have been derelict in their most solemn duties. If the American people had been listened to and not been stiff-armed by an arrogant elitist bureaucracy and political class, we wouldn’t have 11 million to 20 million people in our country illegally today.
Again, read the whole thing.
Patrick Cleburne asks: Time for President Sessions (R- AL)? I'd almost think so but for one passage in his speech about increasing legal immigration. Vice President Jeff Bingaman (R NM) would probably make a good match to a President Sessions. Though President Tom Tancredo (R CO) would much more closely represent the views of the majority of the American public. We need far less immigration, both legal and illegal.
My guess would be that a small inner circle of lobbyists and staffers constructed this nightmare bill knowing reasonably well what it entailed. Everybody else went along with it without asking what it would do because, as everybody who is anybody knows, only shallow people think deeply about immigration. An insouciant attitude about radical demographic change shows that you are so high up the social ladder that you don't have to worry about how things like lower wages, increased crime, and crummier public schools will affect you and your family.
The big benefit of what the US Senate has done comes from the scale of what they propose. That such a huge rapid demographic transformation of America could be produced by this legislation is shocking a lot of people out of their complacency over immigration. Over on View From the Right One of Larry Auster's readers comments that the American middle class finally is starting to feel its world is threatened by the Open Borders crowd.
Things are changing. I recently have had conversations with two middle-of–the-road white women who would previously never have dared have a non-PC thought enter their heads suddenly discussing this “immense problem of America’s being swamped by S. American immigrants.”
Do you remember that once I told you that the dominant American thought was that “there would always be enough”? I meant that most middle class, muddle-class Americans thought they could always keep giving it away, but that their world would never change. They are in the beginning of the wake up stage.
Larry responds to his reader and argues that modern liberals have been preaching from a position where they incorrectly believed in the invulnerability of their society and world view.
Yes, they had to feel it before they could see it. (Who would have thought that the single most accurate and concise explanation of American attitudes toward mass non-Western immigration in the 21st century would come from George Washington?)
What you say is true. Modern liberalism is based on the assumption that “we” are invulnerable, that nothing that we do for the Other can ever cause any existential threat to ourselves. Therefore we can just keep giving and accommodating and celebrating and diversifying and nonjudgmentalizing and tolerating and including and surrendering forever.
The liberal (and libertarian) noblesse oblige toward the lower IQ brown people that underlies their Open Borders position is based on a big error. They think they can always maintain power, maintain their neighborhoods, maintain their control over the heights of academia, the media, and government. But a huge Hispanic influx will ultimately lead to the displacement of white liberals from many of their positions of power.
Update: If you want to contact your US Senators to express your displeasure at their plan to deluge the United States with tens of millions of immigrants in the next 20 years then you can find the web sites of each US Senator in this list. Similarly, you can find contact information for your US House Representative here.
Update II: Getting back to the Jeff Sessions speech: most of the huge surge of immigration that this bill creates will be dummies.
At the same time, we have done the research on it, and I will not go into the details, but the programs that allow most of the people to come into our country favor low-skilled workers. We think from 70 to 90, maybe 92 percent of the workers who will come in under the provisions of the bill in the Senate today will come in as low-skilled workers. That is very significant because it is quite clear from every professional, independent, pro-immigration economist who has analyzed it that low-skilled workers do not tend to pay as much in taxes as they take out.
Are the Senators morons? I mean, do they want to bring in large numbers of people who will make little and pay little in taxes while taking lots of taxpayer-funded services? Why are our elites so determined to ruin America?
In fact, if you read the bill, you will discover there has been a studied and carefully carried out plan to conceal how many people will come in under the temporary guest worker programs when, in fact, what they mislabel as a temporary program is in fact a permanent worker program that leads on a direct path to citizenship in fairly short order. I am talking about the future immigration programs in the bill here. I am not talking about the other 11 to 20 million illegal aliens who may claim amnesty under this bill.
Liars and destructive. That's America's elite in the early 21st century.
I want the government both to spend less money and cut taxes. But if in cutting taxes the government is prompted to spend more money, should I still be in favor of tax cuts?
I ask this question in response to recent opinions taken by a few influential writers, including Jonathan Chait, Sebastian Mallaby, and Jonathan Rauch. Each has pointed to research that claims cutting taxes leads to increased spending. One implication of the research, they aver, is that if conservatives and libertarians are truly interested in cutting spending, they should reconsider their support for tax cuts.
Parenthetically, this strikes me as an argument against privatizing trash collection and highways. If we pay for more stuff directly governments will probably just grow in other areas as it becomes possible for it to spend more in other areas without raising taxes.
One of the proponents of the theory that tax cuts increase spending is William Niskanennnn, chairman of the very libertarian limited government Cato Institute. Will Wilkinson, also of the Cato Institute, summarizes Niskanen's argument.
Tax hawks like Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform, maintain that we should "starve the beast": create pressure on Congress to reduce spending by cutting the government's intake of taxes and running up deficits. This is the approach prescribed last year by Milton Friedman and Gary Becker, both Nobel Prize-winning free-market economists, in separate Wall Street Journal op-eds. Friedman predicts that "deficits will be an effective... restraint on the spending propensities of the executive branch and the legislature. The public reaction will make that restraint effective."
However, economist William Niskanen, chairman of the Cato Institute (also my employer), has presented econometric evidence that federal spending tends to increase when tax revenues decline, flatly contradicting the starve-the-beast theory. Furthermore, according to William Gale and Brennan Kelly of the Brookings Institution, members of Congress who signed the President's "No New Taxes" pledge were more, not less, likely to vote for spending increases, which is hard to square with the starve-the-beast theory.
"Starve The Beast" didn't work during the Reagan Administration. I suspect a better approach would be to make all taxes more visible to tax payers. Hidden taxes that only show up in the prices of goods and services without separate line items on the prices of goods (because, say, a tax is levied on businesses and is only seen by business owners) allow governments to collect more revenue without letting most of the public know what is happening.
Why do "Starve The Beast" tax cuts fail to rein in government spending? In a nutshell: When people think future generations will pay for the spending of today they are more eager for spending today.
Niskanen's analysis suggests that when current spending is financed by current taxes, voters see it as their money being spent, and so are more motivated to be frugal. But when current spending is financed by debt, voters see it as future voters' money being spent. If voters prefer to benefit now and have some one else pay later, there is no good reason to think legislators will see deficits as a reason to restrain themselves.
Starve-the-beast advocates might retort that the theory has yet to be tried. Sure, we're running record deficits. Sure, we've had tax cuts. Sure, most Republicans in Congress nevertheless voted for plush increases in education, defense, Medicare and more. And sure, President Bush has never seen a spending bill he wouldn't sign. The reason "starve the beast" has yet to kick in, they say, is that things aren't bad enough yet.
But if the deficit reaches crisis proportions - and it will, quickly, if it continues to grow at the current rate - we should not imagine that the government will rush to contain the crisis by rapidly cutting the fat from government. As George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok recently argued, "The combination of changing demographics and current tax cuts is seeding our economy for a fiscal 'perfect storm.' When the storm hits, there will be a crisis, and... small government rarely does well in a crisis."
Tha "perfect storm" is going to start hitting as the baby boomers start to retire. The 2010s are going to be a battle royale over tax increases and spending cuts as old age entitlements programs create massive US government deficits. A similar clash will play out in other Western nations.
First, this position is not consistent with the evidence, at least beginning in 1981. In a professional paper published in 2002, I presented evidence that the relative level of federal spending over the period 1981 through 2000 was coincident with the relative level of the federal tax burden in the opposite direction; in other words, there was a strong negative relation between the relative level of federal spending and tax revenues. Controlling for the unemployment rate, federal spending increased by about one-half percent of GDP for each one percentage point decline in the relative level of federal tax revenues. Although not included in the sample for this test, the first three years of the current Bush administration were wholly consistent with this relation.
What is going on? The most direct interpretation of this relation is that it represents a demand curve—that the demand for federal spending by current voters declines with the amount of this spending that is financed by current taxes. Future voters will bear the burden of any resulting deficit but are not effectively represented by those making the current fiscal choices. One implication of this relation is that a tax increase may be the most effective policy to reduce the relative level of federal spending. On this issue, I would be pleased to be proven wrong.
Second, acceptance of the “starve the beast” position has led too many conservatives and libertarians to be casual about the sustained political discipline necessary to control federal spending directly and to succumb to the fantasy that tax cuts will solve this problem. President George W. Bush, for example, has proposed and won the approval of most congressional Republicans for large increases in federal spending for agriculture, defense, education, homeland security, and Medicare, and he has yet to veto a single spending bill. As a consequence, real federal spending during the Bush administration is now growing at the fastest rate since the Johnson administration. And Congress has yet to act on the expensive energy and transportation bills or Bush’s proposal for a base on the moon and manned exploration of Mars!
This all is an argument for a balanced budget amendment. If the budget can't get too far out of balance without super majorities in Congress then spending and taxes will be more restrained.
So Bush is losing support among those who have supported him for years. Why?
A look inside the latest numbers suggests several reasons, but it appears the president's stand on immigration is the biggest drag on his support among Republicans—even more damaging than the disapproval caused by rising gas prices.
Of several issues specifically covered by the Gallup poll—the economy, foreign affairs, the situation in Iraq, terrorism, immigration, and energy policy—immigration is the only area in which more Republicans disapprove of the president's policy than approve. And they disapprove by a significant margin: 52 percent of Republicans in the survey disapprove of Bush's immigration policy, versus 40 percent who approve.
Although immigration is the worst, the president's approval rating among Republicans is at best lackluster on a number of other issues. On the economy, 72 percent of Republicans approve of the president's performance, while 26 percent disapprove—a strikingly high disapproval number given recent reports of high growth and low unemployment.
Bush has gone far enough promoting Open Borders to shock a lot of his supporters. Much of the support he has left is no longer firm.
Likewise in Nebraska last week, immigration toppled the favored candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Rep. Tom Osborne, in what was called “one of the most surprising defeats in Nebraska political history.” Osborne, whose success as the University of Nebraska football coach made him an icon in the football-mad state (he was once called “Nebraska’s God” by one of his hapless political rivals), had never received less than 82 percent of the vote in his congressional races, and was expected to win easily over Gov. Dave Heineman. But that was before Heineman vetoed a bill providing in-state tuition for illegal aliens at state universities, while Osborne approved of the bill. Both Osborne and his campaign manager acknowledged that his support for illegal immigrants was a major reason for his defeat.
You might be wondering how the heck could immigration become a political issue in Nebraska. Surely it is a white place full of white farmers. But immigration is changing Nebraska quite rapidly (and Americans who think they can escape the Hispanicization of America by moving within America are dreaming).
Districtwide, Omaha's student mix stands at 44 percent white, 31 percent black and 21 percent Hispanic.
Black Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers recently managed to get legislation passed that authorizes Omaha to allow 3 school districts that are one each predominately black, white, and Hispanic. This has created a firestorm in the liberal media. How dare blacks want to hang out only with blacks, whites only with whites, and Hispanics only with Hispanics. The right of free association is not recognized on the political Left in America because it produces outcomes they find abhorrent.
Can't Get Enough About Third Parties: Mystery Pollster says he's "not convinced that immigration has yet become an issue of as 'paramount political concern'" as the issues that have historically produced third parties. That's almost certainly true. What MP overlooks, I think, is that the barriers to third party formation are dramatically lower than they used to be. It takes less, in the way of issue salience or personal ambition, to overcome them. .. . What, exactly--other than a first-mover advantage and often-negative "branding"--do the two existing parties have that can't be duplicated un a couple of months via the Internet, a few petitions and some lawsuits by a disaffected maverick or one of Lawrence O'Donnell's bored billionaires? If McCain doesn't get the GOP nomination, I wouldn't be surprised if he went the third party route. Heck, if Hillary doesn't get the Democratic nomination, I wouldn't be surprised. ...
The biggest potential source of third party voters are the people who are furious at our elites for betraying us on immigration.
A substantial minority of the Republicans in the US Senate is doing its best to make Republicans angry at their party. At the Heritage Foundation Robert Rector says even the amended version of the Senate immigration bill still greatly increases legal immigration.
Update: On Tuesday, May 16, the Senate passed Sen. Jeff Bingaman's (D-NM) amendment to S. 2611 that significantly reduced the number of legal immigrants who could enter under the bill's "guest worker" program. As a result of this change, our estimate of the number of legal immigrants who would enter the country or would gain legal status under S. 2611 falls from 103 million to around 66 million over the next 20 years.
66 million in 20 years is 3.3 million per year of legal immigrants. But since legal immigrants create the support and the ties to enable illegal immigration the rate of illegal immigration would increase as well. We might be looking at 5 million immigrants per year if the Senate bill made it into law. The Senators are nuts.
Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of a political newsletter, now has 42 Republican districts, including Drake's, on his list of competitive races. Last September, he had 26 competitive GOP districts, and Drake's wasn't on the list. "That's a pretty significant increase," he said. "The national atmospherics are making long shots suddenly less long."
At the Cook Political Report, Amy Walter has revised an analysis of the battle for control of the House, taking into account the sour mood toward Republicans nationally as a potentially significant factor in races that might otherwise turn on local issues, candidate performance or the size of campaign war chests.
"In a nationalized election, the typical laws of gravity get thrown out the window," Walter said. "Under-funded candidates beat better-funded candidates, and entrenched incumbents lose to first-time challengers."
The endangered House Republicans could simultaneously nationalize the election in their favor and distance themselves from Bush. How? By passing more legislation that cuts back on immigration. The House Republicans should not give an inch to the Senate on negotiations over their respective immigration bills (the highly restrictionist Sensenbrenner bill in the House and the massive legal immigration increasing S. 2611 in the Senate). Instead, the House Republicans should pass an even more drastically restrictionist bill as a way to mobilize their base and quite a few independent and liberal restrictionists (and they do exist in substantial numbers - see this discussion thread where liberals demonstrate their skepticism of claims that immigration doesn't harm the natives who are less skilled) to go to the polls and vote for restrictionist Republicans.
A new piece of House restrictionist legislation would give any Republicans who didn't vote for the Sensenbrenner bill a chance to vote for a restrictionist bill they could run on for reelection. Such a bill should have a few main provisions:
The House Republicans should run as populists against the big money interests that dominate the White House and Senate.
Update: If you want to contact your US Senators to express your displeasure at their plan to deluge the United States with tens of millions of immigrants in the next 20 years then you can find the web sites of each US Senator in this list. Similarly, you can find contact information for your US House Representative here.
The measure calling for an additional 370 miles of fencing and 500 miles of vehicle barriers carried by 83 to 16. Since the House of Representatives has already approved some 700 miles of additional fencing, it is likely that whatever immigration legislation emerges from the full Congress will provide for extra barriers. The Senate fence measure was embodied in an amendment offered by Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who borrowed from the poet Robert Frost. "Good fences make good neighbors," he said. "Fences don't make bad neighbors."
The fence would be built in areas "most often used by smugglers and illegal aliens," as determined by federal officials. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., estimated the cost at roughly $3.2 million per mile, more than $900 million for 300 miles.
At that cost we could build a barrier fence along the entire US-Mexico border for about $6.2 billion dollars.
By comparison the private Minuteman border defense group thinks it can build its fence design for below $150 per foot. At 5280 feet per mile that works out to $792,000 per mile, about a quarter of the cost per mile for the federal project.
(PHOENIX, AZ) May 15, 2006 – News reports detailing President Bush’s gesture to “consider” sending the National Guard to the southern frontier reveal the plan to be nothing more than a political ploy. White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on Sunday news shows explained the administration’s plan: "It's about assisting the civilian Border Patrol in doing their job, providing intelligence, providing support, logistics support and training and these sorts of things.”
Chris Simcox, President of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps released the following statement:
“Sending unarmed troops to assist the Border Patrol with logistics consisting of paper-pushing and vehicle maintenance is exactly what Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has done as a vacant political scheme during an election year. President Bush’s political maneuver will do nothing more than place career desk jockeys and support personnel in a very dangerous environment—and will greatly anger the American people. We do not take lightly those who try to take us for fools.
“President Bush must not continue to sacrifice America’s national security and public safety to demands by our ‘good friend and partner’ Vicente Fox, whose corrupt officials are in the pockets of international crime syndicates. We need U.S. troops on the ground now, actually standing guard over our embattled border. We have enough ‘intelligence’ already to know that the Mexican government is facilitating drug and human trafficking into this country and encouraging the hemisphere’s poor, by the millions, to pay not just coyotes, but Mexican police, military and bureaucrats, to sneak into this country illegally and send $50 billion per year back to Mexico.
“The perilous state of our national borders is well documented: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has admitted the federal government does not have operational control of our borders; border sheriffs have testified that international criminal cartels have turned their territory into a virtual war zone; border governors have declared states of emergency and deployed resources to protect their states and Border Patrol agents have said repeatedly they are undermanned, under-equipped and outgunned. To send unarmed troops to the border in a support role is a travesty—a gross dereliction of duty.
“Among various other excuses, the Bush administration will claim that the Posse Comitatus Act does not allow for troops at the border for ‘law enforcement’ purposes’—which might be relevant if the crisis before America were merely one of LAW ENFORCEMENT, rather than NATIONAL SECURITY. America is at war abroad, she is in peril at home with her own frontiers being breached by a flood of unidentified aliens entering illegally and clandestinely, and President Bush need only sign an Executive Order to begin the long overdue federal action to respond competently to the national security threat these incursions present to our nation.
“Instead he proposes to perhaps send some National Guard mechanics, to help patch up the holes shot in our Border Patrol jeeps by the Mexican Army.
“The Minutemen will continue to stand our posts and monitor activities on the ground until the border is truly and actually secured from foreign invasion.”
A formidable barrier would reduce the number of soldiers or Border Patrolmen needed per mile.
Update: If you want to contact your US Senators to express your displeasure at their plan to deluge the United States with tens of millions of immigrants in the next 20 years then you can find the web sites of each US Senator in this list. Similarly, you can find contact information for your US House Representative here.
When El Presidente Jorge W. Bush advocates for the Reconquista consider what sort of society we will become. Proponents of Open Borders with Mexico advance the argument that the huge Hispanic immigrant influx is stabilizing Mexico. That means it needs stabilization. Half the people in Mexico think Mexico is on the brink of chaos with drug lords and revolutionaries threatening government sovereignty.
A poll published Friday in Excelsior newspaper found 50 percent of respondents feared the government was on the brink of losing control. The polling company Parametria conducted face-to-face interviews at 1,000 homes across Mexico. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
The conflicts are "a warning sign," said Yamel Nares, Parametria's research director.
Security is the top concern for Mexicans, and Fox has struggled to reform Mexico's notoriously corrupt police. Meanwhile, drug-related bloodshed has accelerated, with some cities seeing killings almost daily.
In April, suspected drug lords posted the heads of two police officers on a wall outside a government building where four drug traffickers died in a Jan. 27 shootout with officers in the Pacific resort of Acapulco.
A sign nearby read: "So that you learn to respect."
This is nature's way of telling us we need to build a big buffer that will protect ourselves from the political events in Mexico. We've let in tens of millions of Mexicans who send tens of billions of dollars per year south of the border. But this has not bought stability in Mexico. We can not control the events in Mexico. Instead we should protect ourselves from those events.
The argument that we need stability in Mexico seems wrong to me. We can isolate ourselves from the political events if we build a sufficiently formidable border barrier. Our biggest risk would be a potential cut off of oil production if revolution erupted. But in Nigeria the challenge to the central authorities so far has cut production only 20%. The offshore oil fields of Mexico could probably continue to operate even if part of the country erupted in fighting.
SAN SALVADOR ATENCO, Mexico - It started as a dispute between eight flower vendors and local police over where they could sell their goods. By the next day, it had escalated into a massive raid by 3,000 state and federal police officers that left one dead and 200 arrested.
Now, more than a week later, the events of May 4 in the farming town of San Salvador Atenco 15 miles northeast of Mexico City are sending waves across the country's political system, highlighting the tension Mexicans feel just weeks before they select a new president July 2.
Police say the raid was necessary to quell danger when supporters of the flower vendors seized as many as nine local officers and severely beat and slashed two with machetes.
But there's a bigger context for these events. In 2002 in this same town a rebel group ousted the local government and took over.
For many, the town of 10,000 was already a flash point even before this month's police raid. In 2002, a peasant revolt led by a rebel group known as the Community Front in Defense of the Land stopped a plan pushed by Fox to build an international airport on their farmland. The Community Front also organized the defense of the flower vendors.
After the farmers' 2002 victory, Community Front leader Ignacio del Valle took over the town and ousted the municipal government, much in the manner of the 1994 Zapatista uprising Subcomandante Marcos led in Chiapas.
Imagine rebel groups overthrowing governments in towns in the United States.
A barrier on the US border with Mexico might increase the power of the Mexican central government by cutting back on the power of the drug smugglers. The money the drug lords make from smuggling finances their private armies and bribery of local and national police and politicians. Take away a big chunk of that revenue and they'd become weaker vis a vis the Mexican government.
Yankee dollars corrupt Mexico because the amounts of money Mexicans can make in illegal activities across the border are so much larger than what they can make legally within their country. They basically do not have the culture, political system, and character to handle the side effects of living next to such a wealthier society.
The National Review Online (NRO) has a collection of reactions to El Presidente Jorge W. Bush's speech on immigration which tried to sell relabelled and repackaged amnesty. If you think I'm going over the top rhetorically by referring to Bush as El Presidente Jorge consider that the NRO entitled their collection "Meet El Presidente". The truth is becoming clear even to the neocon Bush apologists at NRO. First off, NRO presents Harvard labor economist George Borjas says Bush has no credibility on immigration enforcement.
President Bush has a huge disadvantage when talking about immigration reform: He is not credible. He spent more than half his time discussing border enforcement, a subject that has not interested him before. Perhaps at the next press conference someone will ask why he did not take the meager steps outlined last night soon after 9/11.
He added a new rationale for a guest-worker program. Not only does Bush buy into the idea that guest-workers do jobs that “Americans are not doing,” he also believes that guest-workers are needed because the increased border enforcement and the new-and-improved employer sanctions cannot stem the tide of illegal immigration. How’s that for declaring defeat before the battle begins? Notably, President Bush skipped the part about how “temporary” guest-workers typically become permanent immigrants.
Borjas has repeatedly shown in his labor market research that the claim that immigrants do "jobs Americans won't do" is false. Immigrants just provide employers with cheaper sources of labor to do the same work. One problem this poses for the rest of us is that we still end up paying to support the displaced American workers plus we pay the health care, education, prison space, and other costs of the low skilled immigrants. But happy talking Jorge doesn't want us to notice this.
James R. Edwards of the Hudson Institute correctly states that comprehensive immigration reform is code for amnesty and open borders.
The president confirmed why his job-approval rating on immigration, 29 percent, is lower than his overall approval rating, 31 percent.
Mr. Bush’s primetime televised speech Monday night amounted to more empty words. The speech betrayed that comprehensive immigration reform is really code for amnesty and virtually open borders. Like the Senate, he’s learned nothing from our amnesty experience.
Bush and the US Senate want to pass a bill that will double the rate of immigration. Yet Bush has the audacity to pretend he wants to control the southern border. He really wants to erase that border.
Republican Congessman from Arizona J.D. Hayworth sees through Bush's rhetoric.
The president last night was unconvincing. The enforcement proposals sounded good, but I don’t think his heart was in it.
The president said the U.S. wouldn’t militarize the border when it’s already been militarized—by the drug smugglers, coyotes, and Mexican troops. He said temporary workers must return to their home country when their work visas expire, but doesn’t tell us what will happen when they don’t.
Manhattan Institute sharpie Heather Mac Donald says the White House has contempt for the American people.
Dangling strings of shiny trinkets, President Bush tried last night to make contact with the restive natives. Six thousand National Guard troops on the border! Infrared cameras! Biometric work cards! Those baubles will dazzle ‘em, the Bush speechwriters must have concluded, and they’ll never notice that we’ve changed nothing in the border-breaking status quo.
Creating a biometric card is meaningless if you don’t penalize employers who ignore it. No fortifications at the border can withstand the avalanche of people seeking to violate our laws so long as they know that once they get across the border, they’re home free in a 3,000-square-mile sanctuary zone. But Bush said nothing about worksite enforcement. If this administration wanted to end illegal immigration, it would exchange those 6,000 National Guard troops for 6000 immigration agents with the mandate to enforce the laws that Congress passed 20 years ago.
Nowhere was the White House’s contempt for the American people more manifest than in Bush’s double-talk on amnesty, however.
My contempt for Bush flows from his contempt for me.
John O'Sullivan sees Bush's speech as aimed at those who are too ignorant about the immigration debate to see through his lies and deceptions. But some conservatives want to be deceived.
To judge from reactions to the speech, however, there are some conservatives willing to be fooled fifteen thousand times. Still, there is an interesting division within the reactions. Those who follow the immigration debate closely were almost uniformly derisive about the speech. They know the details behind the rhetoric: for instance, that the president’s assurance that illegals will have to go to the back of the line behind legal immigrants actually means that they will be given the right of U.S. residency right away. Those who tuned in to the debate only recently, presumably most Americans, take the misleading rhetoric seriously. That is why the initial reception to the speech is likely to be more approving than the final verdict of most Americans when they learn that it promises the arrival of at least 103 million more people in the next 20 years and additional costs to the U.S. taxpayer of $30 billion annually. At least—in both cases.
Steve Sailer and Mickey Kaus have great collections of reactions from bloggers and other commentators. I highly recommend clicking through on both of them.
My reaction after a day to think about it: I hope enough people are not fooled by Bush's Panglossian happy talk. He wants to turn the United States of America into the United States of Latin America.
If the purpose of the speech was to shore up the president’s standing with conservatives, it failed. This administration’s lack of credibility on immigration enforcement can’t be reversed by adding a few National Guard references to its tired rhetoric of unmanned aerial vehicles and more detention beds.
Likewise, the arrests several weeks ago of nearly 1,200 illegal aliens working for IFCO Systems were widely touted as heralding a new wave of legal action against crooked employers—but then most of the illegals were released within hours of the raids.
Finally, President Bush reassured an anxious Mexican president Vicente Fox over the weekend that any deployment would be only temporary, and that the regular Army would not be involved—in other words, “Don’t worry, Señor Presidente, it’s just symbolism.”
As for the Senate’s compromise bill, the Heritage Foundation has released research that should torpedo it. Robert Rector, one of the nation’s leading authorities on poverty and welfare, has estimated that the bill would admit a staggering 103 million people over the next two decades and represent “the largest expansion of the welfare state in 35 years.” Supporters of the bill call their approach “comprehensive,” and they’re right: They aren’t content merely to deal with the current illegal population or to address a supposed shortage of unskilled labor, but want to effect a massive demographic reshuffling of America while they’re at it.
In his Oval Office address, the president squandered what was probably his last chance to reconnect with conservatives on immigration. They will undoubtedly note that the president has waited six years to start talking about enforcement, and will accordingly ask why he can’t postpone his amnesty long enough to give enforcement at try? A speech that had reiterated his support for amnesty in theory, but conceded that enforcement had to come first, would likely have won significant public approval and helped shape events in Congress. The speech he actually gave, on the other hand, is likely further to demoralize conservatives and harden opposition among House Republicans to the Senate amnesty proposal. President Bush’s speech, contrary to its goal, probably ensures that no immigration bill will reach his desk this year. Given the options, that’s probably a good thing.
I think Bush and the Senators have overreached. They have demonstrated that they have incredibly bad judgement and the enormous scale of the damage they'll inflict if they can get away with it. These are not prudent people. They are reckless and dangerous and have no place running the United States of America.
National Review editor Rich Lowry heaps even more right wing abuse on Bush comparing him to Clinton.
President Bush has a bold new approach to immigration enforcement: He wants to police the Mexican border with symbolism.
That's the point of his proposal to send the National Guard to our border with Mexico. This represents Bush's final, desperate descent into Clintonian sleight of hand. He wants to distract enough of his supporters with the razzle-dazzle of "National Guard to the Border!" headlines that they won't notice he is pushing through Congress a proposal that essentially legalizes all the population influx from Latin America that has occurred in the past 10 years and any that might occur in the future.
It is with this position that Bush has wrecked his political standing, kicking out from under himself the support of his conservative base. Bush's National Guard feint is a sign that the White House thinks conservatives are not just disaffected, but credulous.
Bush is playing you for a sucker. Are you going to fall for it?
If you haven't already read it read my post Thinking About Bush's Less Than Half-Baked Worker Permit Proposal.
El Presidente Jorge W. Bush thinks he can fool people who want an end to illegal immigration and a cut in overall in immigration. See Jorge's immigration speech text for for big whopper lies and deception. (same speech here)
By the end of 2008, we will increase the number of Border Patrol officers by an additional 6,000.
One way to help during this transition is to use the National Guard. So in coordination with governors, up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to our southern border. The Border Patrol will remain in the lead. The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, … analyzing intelligence, … installing fences and vehicle barriers, … building patrol roads … and providing training. Guard units will not be involved in direct law enforcement activities.
Congressman Charlie Norwood (D GA) says we'd need 8 times the number of soldiers to get control of the US border with Mexico. If we built a formidable border wall with barbed wire and sensors we could eventually reduce the number of people needed on the border. But Bush is (of course) opposed to a full border length barrier with fencing and a wall.
Bush thinks we should thrill at the prospect of more foreign workers to drive down wages of Americans while they use taxpayer-funded social services, health care, and education for their kids.
Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program. The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life. They walk across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of 18-wheelers to reach our country. This creates enormous pressure on our border that walls and patrols alone will not stop. To secure the border effectively, we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across.
Therefore, I support a temporary worker program that would create a legal path for foreign workers to enter our country in an orderly way, for a limited period of time. This program would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers for jobs Americans are not doing.
Jobs that Americans are not doing? Sure. Because employers can hire foreigners more cheaply.
He pretends we can't enforce immigration law against employers who hire foreigners. What nonsense. Employers get given Social Security numbers that are obviously wrong and the government has the capacity to identify large numbers of fraudulent uses of legitimate numbers. But the US Congress and Bush block more widespread checking of Social Security number validity during hiring.
Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees, because of the widespread problem of document fraud. Therefore, comprehensive immigration reform must include a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility. A key part of that system should be a new identification card for every legal foreign worker. This card should use biometric technology, such as digital fingerprints, to make it tamper-proof.
Bush also has greatly reduced raids and enforcment activities against employers of illegals. Lots of illegals are easy to identify. But Bush does not want them identified.
The goal of Bush's speech is to fool his base into supporting pending Congressional legislation that would increase immigration. Bush supports a US Senate bill that would double legal immigration to over 2 million per year and they'd get dumber too.
The immigration reform bill that the Senate takes up today would more than double the flow of legal immigration into the United States each year and dramatically lower the skill level of those immigrants.
The number of extended family members that U.S. citizens or legal residents can bring into this country would double. More dramatically, the number of workers and their immediate families could increase sevenfold if there are enough U.S. employers looking for cheap foreign labor. Another provision would grant humanitarian visas to any woman or orphaned child anywhere in the world "at risk of harm" because of age or sex.
The little-noticed provisions are part of legislation co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Mel Martinez of Florida, which overcame some early stumbles and now has bipartisan support in the Senate. The bill also has been praised by President Bush, and he is expected to endorse it as a starting point for negotiations in his prime-time address to the nation tonight.
All told, the Hagel-Martinez bill would increase the annual flow of legal immigrants into the U.S. to more than 2 million from roughly 1 million today, scholars and analysts say.
These calculations do not include the people who'd come in on work permits. Bush is willing to put a few thousand National Guard on the border if it will fool the rubes in the Republican base. He is trying to deceive you. He's dishonest. He wants to implement policies that are even more harmful than current immigration polices.
Bush does not want to enforce immigration law. He has demonstrated that. Ed Rubinstein has the facts on worksite arrests of illegal alien workers under the Clinton and Bush Administrations.
1997: 17,554 1999: 2,849 2000: 953 2001: 735 2003: 445 2004: 159
A similar pattern holds for fines of employers with over a 2 order of magnitude decline in fines against employers who hire illegals (click through to see that table in the article). Bush is telling bald faces lies about what he intends to do to enforce immigration laws. He wants an amnesty and a massive increase in immigration. Enough! It it time to stop immigration entirely.
US House Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA) says if Bush follows through on rumours and announces deployment of National Guard along the US border with Mexico then unless the number of soldiers deployed are adequate to do the job (at least 36,000 needed) the policy will just be spin.
But will the proposal be real, or just spin?
The truth will lie in the proposed numbers, and whether the plan is for a short-term demonstration project or a long-term strategy for truly securing our southern border.
A real plan has already been proposed, with full details and research data included in last year's Immigration Reform Caucus special report, "Results and Implications of the Minutemen Project."
Under that plan, the southern border can be virtually closed except at legal points of entry within a one-month period -- at the longest. The flood of illegal immigration that has plagued America since the last amnesty plan in 1986 will be over.
It will initially take 36,000 troops. At the start, they should be National Guard personnel drawn nationally. There isn't enough National Guard in the border states alone to do the job without hindering combat readiness, so the forces will need to be pulled from other states as well under current National Guard Bureau assistance regulations.
The 36,000 troops will provide an average of three two-man teams per border mile for the entire 1,951-mile border with Mexico, working eight-hour shifts. Once in place on the ground, the deployment will need to be increased to 48,000 troops, to provide necessary manpower for time-off, sick leave, and long-term support services.
Most likely Bush might try to placate his (former) conservative base with a token deployment of troops. I do not expect him to sign up for a deployment of 48,00 troops to stop the illegal influx while a wall gets built. I also do not expect him to commence serious interior enforcement of immigration laws.
Troops could be used to secure the border while a border barrier gets built. Then the barrier fence or wall could make crossing harder and slower. Attempts to cross would trigger electronic alarms and get caught on video cameras and infrared cameras. Then the Border Patrol could dispatch personnel to catch crossers while they are still in the barrier zone.
Based on the evidence gathered from the Minuteman Project; U.S. Border Patrol; Cochise County Sheriff’s Department; Bisbee, Arizona Police Department; National Park Service; U.S. Army; multiple media sources; and individual testimonies, the Caucus Team reports the following findings on the Results and Implications of the Minuteman Project.
- Reasonable Manpower Increases Will Immediately Curtail Rampant Illegal Immigration. An average six additional personnel on station per border mile proved effective in dramatically reducing illegal crossings.
- Reinforcements Can Be Oriented and Deployed in Days. In contrast to the Border Patrol position of two-year training time for new officers, the Minutemen demonstrated that auxiliary personnel can be trained and deployed in three days. The lesser duties of supporting higher-trained Border Patrol and other state and federal law enforcement agencies does not require the full legal skills of Border Patrol agents.
- 36,000 Reinforcements Would Likely Seal Our Southern Border. However, unlike the Minutemen’s 12-hour shifts, to maintain six personnel on station 24/7 on a permanent basis would require adequate personnel for at least three shifts, or 18 auxiliaries per mile. The 2000-mile southern border would therefore require a minimum 36,000 total additional personnel, with 48,000 likely for a long-term deployment requiring substantial support personnel.
- Reinforcements Are Available From Existing Reserves. Troops should be drawn from all 50 states, or the border states and their neighbors at minimum. Mobilizing troops from just the border states would exhaust their manpower reserves, eliminate the warfighting capability of Guard members in those states, and would be unsustainable. Drawing 36,000 National Guard and State Defense Force personnel from the border states and their immediate neighbors would require 41% of available forces in the respective states. If drawn from National Guard forces nationwide, the border reinforcements would total 11% of available forces. As a long-term solution, one-half of the 70,000 federal troops returning from overseas could be permanently assigned the mission as part of the BRAC process currently underway.
- The Defense Authorization Act of 2005 provides specific legal authority for the Governors and the Secretary of Defense to immediately implement this plan with full federal funding. Section 512 of HR 4200, the Defense Authorization Act of 2005, passed by the 108th Congress, amends Title 32 Section 9 of U.S. Code to allow Governors to call forth their National Guard for homeland security duties within their state in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, and receive full federal funding for the mission, with no action required by Congress or the President.
- Long-Term Solutions: Border Security should remain a federal responsibility. The U.S. Border Patrol must be increased to somewhere between 25-50,000 officers to adequately guard our southern border, with the final size determination dependent on proven field effectiveness of new technology and infrastructure such as fencing, lighting, UAVs, sensors, etc. Until the Border Patrol is fully staffed and equipped, military support will remain a necessity. One-half or more of the 70,000 federal troops returning from overseas should be assigned the mission as part of the BRAC process currently underway, to relieve our National Guard and State forces as soon as practicable. Federal troops should in turn be relieved by a strengthened Border Patrol, but only when such reinforcements are fully in place.
I do not expect honest proposals from Jorge W. Bush. It isn't in his character to mean what he says. He wants to pursue policies that will turn the United States of America into Latin America. His goal at this point is to pursue his policies in a way that allows him to placate Americans across the political spectrum who want immigration reduction. I hope the American people are not gullible enough to be fooled by his next attempt at deception. They do not agree with him: Majority Of American Public Are Immigration Restrictionists.
The White House formally insisted that no decision has been made and that Bush was still considering options yesterday. But aides left little doubt that the president intends to call for an expanded Guard deployment at the border involving several thousand troops, a significant increase from the 200 or so now there.
Tonight's speech is aimed at assuaging House Republicans who have insisted on tougher enforcement measures against workers illegally in the country. If the House contingent feels action is being taken, White House officials hope they may yet sign off on some version of Bush's guest-worker proposal, which would provide a way for undocumented immigrants to stay here legally if they pay back taxes and penalties.
If you want to understand why Jorge Bush's proposal will make the problem with the Hispanic influx even worse see my post Thinking About Bush's Less Than Half-Baked Worker Permit Proposal. I explain the stupidity of this plan in consideable detail.
I have a simple question for Bush and his fellow traitors in the US Senate: When Mexicans here under their worker permit plan show up with their family members at a US hospital's emergency ward who is going to pay for their medical care? If they break the law who will pay for their public defender, their trial costs, and their prison costs? Who will pay for the schooling of their kids?
Oh the nail-biting suspense! What will the president say in his illegal-immigration speech Monday night? Will he huff and puff and deliver his tried and tested, transparently insincere, self-evidently unbelievable, pro-forma statement that he intends to enforce the law ... or will he recognize the trouble he is in, reach deep within himself, and come up with ... a slightly less transparently insincere statement that he intends to enforce the law?
In other words, Hewitt is upset at the thought that the president is going to make a border-security proposal that is transparently insincere. For Hewitt, everything depends on the president’s making a border-security proposal that is only translucently insincere.
As Larry has pointed out, some Bush apologists are at least partial immigration restrictionists who support an end to illegal immigration while avoiding taking a position about legal immigration and while avoiding addressing Bush's role in keeping the Hispanic influx at a high rate.
Larry Auster also passes along a very interesting analysis of Bush by Howard Sutherland (which you ought to click through to and read in full):
Bush is also a born-and-bred establishment liberal. For all the Texas accent, he belongs (patrician Greenwich family; Andover; Yale; Harvard) to a bipartisan Northeastern liberal elite. That set may have been wrong about most things in the end, but during his schooldays they were quite sure they were right. With the possible exception of abortion, he does not question fundamental liberal assumptions. His foreign policy is nothing but armed liberalism, and his domestic policies are those of Lyndon Johnson, only worse. Bush used that Texas accent and phrases like “compassionate conservatism” to fool the Republican rubes. Other people may see him as dumb; I think Bush sees himself as smart, successful and in charge. I don’t put much stock in his being in some sort of psychological contest with his father. Any feelings of inferiority he might have had on that score would have vanished when he beat the old man’s record by winning re-election.
But why Mexico? Throughout his life, Bush has been exposed to nice Mexicans. At the lower end, there were probably nice maids and ranch hands who helped out around the place and, in their way, helped raise him. For all I know, the Mexican maids were nicer to him than his mother, who is a formidable woman. At the upper end, there were the elegant, erudite, fun and mind-bogglingly rich Mexican oligarchs with whom his father did business and politics, and whose playboy children would have been some of Bush’s playmates in his partying days. He just likes Mexicans. I think he likes them better than Americans. The Mexican functionaries he meets are a lot more like the people he goes hunting with in Texas (some are the same people) than any of his geek Washington advisers. Like many people I know in Texas, he is very comfortable with Mexican culture seen through a tex-mex lens. I like it myself, and I am a sworn enemy of the Mexican government. Bush probably has better memories overall of relations with Mexicans throughout his life than he does with Americans. I would bet that while his personal experiences of his fellow Americans have been good and bad, his experiences of Mexicans have been almost all good from his point of view. He won’t see the bad in Mexico; he hasn’t experienced it and, anyway, to criticize Mexico on social or cultural grounds would be racist. Not gonna happen…
Maybe Bush hates Americans because they aren't as subservient toward him as Mexicans are.
The Center for American Progress, a "Progressive" think tank, has released a new report arguing that the middle class is going into debt due to rapidly rising costs of education, health care, and housing. Something has to give eventually.
America’s middle class is drowning in debt. A typical middle income family earning around $45,000 a year saw its debt burden grow by 33.1% between 2001 and 2004, even after adjusting for inflation. Debt relative to income rose even more, to 33.9%, during this period for middle income families. Personal bankruptcies among these households are rising steeply.
The reasons for greater economic distress among middle class households are not hard to pinpoint. Slow income growth between 2001 and 2004, the last year for which complete data is available, has not kept pace with the rising cost of big ticket items such as housing and education loans, medical expenses and transportation. Family budgets have been squeezed.
A common but misplaced assumption is that the growth in debt among middle-income families — those with incomes roughly between $25,000 to $70,000 a year — is the result of over-consumption through increased credit card debt. Rather, growth in debt is primarily due to heavier borrowing for investments in homes or education, both of which saw dramatic price increases in recent years. The cost of a college education, for example, grew by 26.3% between 2001 and 2004, after adjusting for inflation.
Specifically, this report finds:
- Debt has expanded by 30.3 percentage points to 108.4% of income — the first time since the Federal Reserve started conducting this survey that debt exceeded income (See Figure A).
- Despite low interest rates, debt payments surged to new highs. In 2004, the typical family spent more than 18% of its income on debt payments — the largest share since the Federal Reserve started collecting these data.
- The share of heavily indebted households continues to rise. The share of households with debt payments greater than 40% of income rose from 12.8% in 2001 to 13.7% in 2004.
The data illustrate a more pronounced story about the economic situation of America’s middle class. In 2004, for example, the typical middle-income family dedicated the second largest share of income for debt payments (20%) relative to other income groups. And among middle income families, the share of families with debt payments greater than 40% of income rose the fastest among all income groups (3.2 percentage points from 2001 to 2004).
This growth in debt has been fuelled largely by loans for housing and education at a time of weak income growth. Households were caught in a bind that could lead them to take on more debt than in the past.
On education: Automate it. Governments that operate their own colleges and universities (e.g. American states) should film all college lectures and make them available at very low cost to their citizens. Tests for many topics could be automated with software. People could watch high resolution lectures and then take tests online to earn college credit. Bright and motivated teenagers could earn a couple of years of college credit before they graduate from high school. That'll save them, Mom, and Dad a lot of money for college. See my post Accelerate Education To Increase Tax Revenue, Reduce Costs.
Also, an end to lower IQ immigration would reduce the need of the middle and upper classes to pay for private education of their kids. Middle class parents pay to keep their kids away from dumber kids. Our current mix of immigrants increases the need for parents to spend more on private education. It would also reduce the number of people who do not pay enough taxes to pay for the education of their children.
A repeal of the US Supreme Court decision in Griggs v. Duke Power would also lower the cost of education. How? Currently employers (with rare exceptions) can not do IQ tests or other tests that will score some racial and ethnic groups higher than other groups on average. Therefore people have to spend big money and 4 years to go to a college or university that has tough acceptance requirements (essentially an IQ test) to prove they are smart. Most of what they learn in college does not increase their value to employers. The schools with the toughest admissions requirements can charge through the nose to grant the "high IQ" college degree. Repeal the Supreme Court's stupid decision and people wouldn't need to spend $100,000+ on an expensive proxy for an IQ test.
On health care: Stop letting in legal and illegal immigrants who can not earn upper middle class salaries. Deport all the illegals. Even legal immigrants who do not have citizenship should be deported if they do not have demonstrated ability to earn high salaries. People who make less get subsidized medical care. Some of that subsidy takes the form of cost shifting onto the medically insured with higher premium prices.
On housing costs: Stop immigration. That will lower the demand for land, for housing, and for the materials such as wood that go into making houses. That will bring about lower prices.
Mind you, the progressives have boxed in their thinking so far with taboos on the truth about IQ and human differences that they'd never consider most of the solutions I propose here. Also, all the academics and education labor unions would consider the idea of automating education as a threat to their gravy train. The Left is pretty useless when it comes to solving our biggest problems in ways that are reality-based. They are about as worthless and destructive as Bush and his gang.
You can read the full report (PDF format).
Two surgeons at the same hospital perform the same operations on patients with similar medical histories. Their costs to the hospital are similar, right? Not necessarily. The difference in cost could be as much as 45 percent. New research from Washington University in St. Louis finds that even when controlling for complexity of the operation and patient risk, surgeons incurred a wide range of hospital costs.
The findings come out of the first study to analyze individual surgeon's costs within the same hospital. According to the authors, the results have broad implications for rising health care costs.
"If it's truly the case that one doctor generates lower costs for the same outcomes as another doctor, then it's fair to say there is room for cost reductions," says Bart Hamilton, professor of management, economy and entrepreneurship in the Olin School of Business. "The big problem we all face now is high rates of medical cost inflation. So this research could at least flag areas for potential improvement."
If I understand this correctly, they aren't just saying that some surgeons charge higher fees. Some use more resources of other people to accomplish similar outcomes. This isn't surprising. Medical care isn't a highly standardized single large transparent market.
Some people might be choosing more expensive surgeons on the theory that more expensive is better. Or maybe some surgeons manage their cases more cost effectively.
The researchers say they hope hospitals can use their findings to improve quality and reduce costs. Some places, however, may have a tougher time leveling costs than others. In one case, a surgeon generated costs that were 45 percent lower than the standard, or "reference," surgeon. Other surgeons' costs were 39 percent lower.
"People may feel that a higher cost surgeon gets better results," says Hall. "This study is standardized by surgical procedure and patient. So the question is not, does a more expensive surgeon have better results? We're asking whether surgeons differ in their costs even when they are performing the same kinds of procedure on the same kinds of patients."
If we had a lot more publically available summary information about costs and outcomes comparing hospitals and surgeons people could make better decisions. If I ever have to go into a hospital I'd much rather go to one that has lower rates of nosocomial infections (basically, infections you got while in the hospital) for example. But where you can get that sort of information?
Electronic medical records will help create the potential to extract more information about comparative outcomes. But one thing that holds back quality improvements is the fear of lawsuits. Doctors do not want to be rigorously compared to each other with detailed recording and analysis of every step they make because that invites lawsuits. The sorts of process analyses that can get done in, say, a semiconductor or car manufacturing plant face much bigger legal disincentives in hospitals and doctors' offices.
Former Australian intelligence analyst and weapons inspector Rod Barton says even once the lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were proven false on the ground the US and allied governments in Britain and Australia kept up the drumbeat of lies.
A year after Bush administration claims about Iraqi "bioweapons trailers" were discredited by American experts, U.S. officials were still suppressing the findings, says a senior member of the CIA-led Iraq inspection team.
At one point, former U.N. arms inspector Rod Barton says, a CIA officer told him it was "politically not possible" to report that the White House claims were untrue. In the end, Barton says, he felt "complicit in deceit."
Last month Joby Warrick of the Washington Post revealed that for almost a year after the famous trailers were found not to be bioweapons labs the Bush Administration continued to lie about them. (and would you expect anything better from the Bushies?)
On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.
The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.
KERRY O'BRIEN: You say of John Howard's role - quote - this is from the book -, "I was reliably told that when Howard saw the intelligence assessment in late 2002 he exclaimed along the lines of 'Is that all there is.' Subsequently he applied almost as much spin," you say, "to the intelligence given him as Shane Warne to a wrong'un." Is that really an objective assessment from you of what John Howard did and said?
ROD BARTON: I saw one of the assessments that was produced by the Australian intelligence community shortly before the war. I looked through that and I agreed with the assessment. More or less I quibbled about some of the language, but I agreed more or less with that assessment which again had all the caveats in. It said there were possibilities of these things but there was no firm evidence, for example. So, what John Howard had actually seen from the Australian intelligence community was a very fair and reasonable assessment. You couldn't say that there were no weapons of mass destruction or that there were, but there was a possibility. Iraq certainly had the capability but there was no firm evidence that they'd restarted their programs. That's what was said by the intelligence community, but that's not what John Howard told Parliament. John Howard told Parliament in certain terms that Iraq - he said, "The Government knows that Iraq has chemical and biological weapons." The intelligence community never said that to him.
I hear Peggy Lee singing:
Is that all there is?
Is that all there is?
If that's all there is, my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is
Based on really shoddy thinking our leaders inflict all sorts of damage on the nation.
America has reached a point where the lies are causing too much damage. Liberal lies about race and human nature. Neoconseratives lies about Iraq, WMD, and democracy. The costs of these lies are getting bigger and bigger and are going to cause the decline of the United States as a world power. Worse, we'll have to live with lots of domestic deterioriation with greater corruption in politics, a dumber citizenry, massive debts, and other afflictions.
In February last year, Barton went public on ABC television. Now he has written a devastating book about it, The Weapons Detective (Black Inc. Agenda, $29.95). His security clearances withdrawn, Barton knows he will not be getting any more contracts from his old employer, the Defence Intelligence Organisation, which he had joined as a young microbiologist in 1972.
Old colleagues at the intelligence organisation have been warned not to have contact with him, not even social meetings. In one act of spectacular pettiness, at the insistence of the Prime Minister's staff, Barton and Gee were dropped from the guest list for last year's 20th anniversary meeting in Sydney of the Australia Group, a forum of intelligence specialists from 38 countries on chemical and biological weapons, which the two had helped set up in 1985.
The liars and spin doctors have prospered, the whistleblowers have been shafted. Barton's former UN colleague and friend, the British defence scientist David Kelly, killed himself in July 2003 after being outed for telling a BBC journalist how Scarlett had "sexed up" the Iraq intelligence. Scarlett was still "sexing up" the post-invasion intelligence, Barton shows, but has been made chief of Britain's famous spy service, MI6. Barton shakes his head: "John Scarlett should not head any intelligence organisation." In the CIA, the medals, cash bonuses and promotions go to agents who tell their chiefs about new weapons threats, not the ones who caution the evidence is weak.
In Australia, Barton sees a general culture of compliance in the public service spreading to the intelligence agencies. "You know you're not going to get promoted if you tell the Government something that's unpopular," he says.
Thanks to Greg Cochran for the tip.
Even before I left graduate school I had come to the conclusion that virtually all people live by what I think of as a "fiction-absolute." Each individual adopts a set of values which, if truly absolute in the world--so ordained by some almighty force--would make not that individual but his group . . . the best of all possible groups, the best of all inner circles. Politicians, the rich, the celebrated, become mere types. Does this apply to "the intellectuals" also? Oh, yes. . . perfectly, all too perfectly.
The fictions our elites live by have become too damaging to America and other Western nations.
Some left-liberal environmentalists strike the pose of moral superior protectors of the environment while they support massive immigration that cuts into wildlife habitats and worsens the condition of air and water. By contrast, a smaller faction of environmentalists still accepts that population growth cuts into habitats and therefore fights against immigration.
"We've got to talk about these issues - population, birth rates, immigration," says Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which confronts whalers, seal hunters, and those who poach wildlife in the Galapagos Islands. "Immigration is one of the leading contributors to population growth. All we're saying is, those numbers should be reduced to achieve population stabilization."
Mr. Watson also was a Sierra Club board member.Last month, he resigned in protest just before his three-year term ended because he thinks the organization ignores immigration as a major factor in population growth.
The Sierra Club is useless. Upper middle class environmentalism amounts to "just don't build in my neighborhood but make an exception when I want to add another floor to my McMansion".
If immigration keeps up at current rates then the US will gain the equivalent of California's population every decade.
Over the past 60 to 70 years, US population doubled to nearly 300 million. If current birth and immigration rates were to remain unchanged for another 60 to 70 years, US population again would double to some 600 million people - the equivalent of adding another state the size of California every decade.
California has about 37 million people. See below. Also, note that of course immigration drives population growth regardless of whether the immigrants are illegals or legals. The United States should let in only a small number of highly talented people. The rest should be kept out.
BY PURE happenstance, on the day that hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets of California to demand rights for immigrants — however those rights may be defined — the state issued a new report on population growth that demonstrated anew that immigration accounts for virtually all of the state's human expansion.
The Department of Finance's demographers calculated that as of Jan. 1, the state's population had reached 37.2 million, up 444,000 over the previous year and continuing California on a track to approach 40 million by 2010 — and 50 million by the late 2020s.
That growth, a more than 50 percent expansion since 1980, lies at the root of virtually all of California's pressing public policy issues, including traffic congestion, land use and water conflicts, air pollution, public school performance, health care access, college crowding, and the state's chronic budget deficits. And the state's politicians have been extraordinarily lax in both acknowledging that fact and confronting the issues that it generates — in fact most of the time acting as if the demographic facts didn't exist.
All California population growth is driven by immigration.
When Department of Finance numbers are merged with Census Bureau numbers and birth and death data collected by the state Department of Health Services are added to the mix, showing that half of all births are to immigrant mothers, the inescapable conclusion is that foreign immigration and births to immigrant mothers together comprise all of the state's net population growth. Or, to put it another way, without foreign immigration California would have virtually zero population growth.
Our population has doubled in the past 50 years from roughly 145 million to 290 million. We'll reach 400 million by the middle of the 21st century. Our national fertility rate is very close to zero population growth. Most of our population growth comes from record-high levels of immigration that we have allowed and encouraged in the past 20 years.
Any serious environmentalist believes that population growth is as destructive as anything else we're doing to the environment such as driving cars an hour to get to work. A real environmental movement would work to keep highways from getting wider and work to reduce sprawl by trying to stabilize our population growth. It might make an environmentalist feel good to campaign for better auto mileage, but population growth puts more cars on the road and more emissions into the atmosphere.
Environmentalists are hypocritical when they preach less dependence on foreign oil while supporting population growth through immigration. One sure way to make us more dependent on foreign oil is to increase our population. I'd like to hear some creative suggestions for population control from our environmental leaders such as trading welfare benefits for sterilization, or using immigration only to keep our population from declining.
The modern environmental movement ignores population growth, and concentrates on politically correct forms of environmentalism such as auto emissions and suburban planning. Suburban planning in the face of population growth is futile. The paving over of America has been relentless, and housing density won't stop it in the short run or the long run.
When people come from less developed nations to America they use more fossil fuels energy and generate more pollution. Plus, they have more babies. Immigration amnesty causes a rise in fertlity and therefore more population growth, both in the United States and in the world as a whole.
Scientists and engineers can develop technologies that reduce some of the impacts of population growth. But that is at best an argument for allowing in the smartest scientists and engineers. Even if all industries and vehicles could operate with technologies which are totally non-polluting (and such technologies still lie somewhere in the future) population growth still causes the areas of human habitation to grow at the expense of wildlife habitats and at the expense of those who enjoy wide open spaces.
The Open Borders crowd likes to argue that immigration has been beneficial to the United States. But benefits do not accrue to all. In California immigration has benefitted welfare bureaucracies, prison guard unions, cheap labor using businesses, and a few other special interests while inflicting costs on net taxpayers (people who pay more than they get back in benefits), smarter children who have worse schools to attend, parents who have to pay for private schooling to get their kids away from the dummies and thugs, victims of crime, people stuck in traffic jams, people who can't afford decent housing, and those who get paid less because they face more competition in the labor market.
If there was a net benefit from immigration 100 years ago clearly the trade-off in costs and benefits has shifted for a myriad of reasons. The country is far more crowded than it was 100 years ago. There aren't as many natural resources such as timber and oil to tap. The average intelligence level of immigrants has dropped markedly. The loyalties of immigrants have become less toward the United States and much more back toward Mexico. The mix of immigrants, by being so heavily weighted toward Mexico, reduces the effect of cancelling conflicting loyalties that characterised earlier immigration waves.
The Open Borders traitors in the White House and Congress and the business and ideological factions that support them are doing serious deep long term harm to the commonwealth.
Under Yeh Ling-Ling's proposal for immigration reform, even she wouldn't be allowed into the country.
In 1980, Yeh arrived on U.S. shores on a visa sponsored by her sister. She went to work as a paralegal for an immigration law firm, helping file petitions for fellow foreigners to enter the United States. But then she started to notice the effects of immigration and population growth on the San Francisco Bay area.
"When I found out the cost of infrastructure, the cost of educating kids in America, I was shocked," said Yeh, executive director of the Oakland-based Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America, a nonprofit organization that wants to reduce immigration. "There would be a tremendous drain on America. . . . Isn't it clear that immigration is not needed to boost the U.S. economy?"
Hispanics perform poorly in American schools. Some claim more money for schools would solve the problem. But see this table "Total and current expenditure per pupil in public elementary and secondary schools: Selected years, 1919-20 to 2001-02". From 1971 to 2001 the total expenditures per student in inflation adjusted dollars doubled from $4884 to $9614. Going back even further the expenditures tripled from 1963's $3228. Money is not the problem.
The rapidly increasing sums of money spent on Hispanic education in America do not purchase a highly educated ethnic group. About half of Hispanics drop out of high school and on average those Hispanics still in school in 12th grade know about as much as white kids know in 8th grade. So the demographic trend in America is making the nation dumb and dumber. As the white baby boomers retire expect American living standards to stagnate due to a less skilled workforce. We are going to move down the curve of IQ and the wealth of nations.
A Christian Science Monitor article about environmentalists who oppose population growth but do not oppose immigration (because it feels so good to pose as morally superior to other white people about other races) points out that Hispanics are causing half of US population growth and immigration to the US increases their fertility and hence world population growth.
The US Census Bureau this week reported that Hispanics - the largest minority at 42.7 million - are the nation's fastest-growing group. They are 14.3 percent of the overall population, but between July 2004 and July 2005, they accounted for 49 percent of US population growth. Of the increase of 1.3 million Hispanics, the Census Bureau reported, 800,000 was because of natural increase (births minus deaths), and 500,000 was due to immigration.
Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, finds that once women emigrate to the US, most tend to have more children than they would have in their home countries. "Among Mexican immigrants in the United States fertility averages 3.5 children per woman compared to 2.4 children per woman in Mexico," he wrote in a study last October. And the same is true among Chinese immigrants. Fertility is 2.3 in the US compared with 1.7 in China. However, typically these high fertility rates decline in the successive generations as immigrants assimilate into America.
The environmentalists for Open Borders are fools. Their position not only increases the population of the United States. It even increases the population of the world. But they do not want to agree with Right Wingers. Got to maintain their pretense of moral superiority. So they'd rather be wrong and morally superior in their own imaginations.
BAGHDAD, May 11 -- Negotiations are under way to bring a major Iraqi government paramilitary unit under clear control of the Interior Ministry, in line with an earlier announced reorganization aimed at putting all national police forces under a single commander, a top Interior Ministry official said Thursday.
The change is one of a series of steps started in March to rein in the disparate units -- commandos, public-order brigades and others -- in Iraq's Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry forces. Sunni Arab community leaders have charged that ministry forces were abducting, torturing and killing Sunni men.
Interior Minister Bayan Jabr acknowledged last month that death squads were operating within the ministry. Jabr has maintained that a comparative few ministry renegades or impostors in police uniforms were carrying out many of the crimes.
I bet the death squads killing rate will not fall due to the reorganization. Toss in another mosque bombing and the death rate will hit new highs.
According to many sources, at least 1500 Iraqis are killed monthly in the last 4 months. Many of the kidnapped or the arrested never return or found. A shop keeper in Baghdad asked to be executed in his shop when some masked (police) men wanted to arrest him. He refused to go with them, to be exposed to the brutal torture and insisted on being killed on the spot. The policemen did not say no. They shot him dead and left calmly. Thousands of Iraqis (One hundred thousands, according to a most recent report) are now displaced, fleeing neighborhoods where they are a minority, a very dangerous step towards dividing Iraq into different sectarian and ethnic regions.
The Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliky, admitted in a press conference May 9, 2006, that the death squads are part of the Iraqi police forces, but he said that they were working on their own, and that they used the police uniform, cars, and weapons in committing their crimes. He promised to "clean" the interior ministry of them!! But in his first day in office, Maliky invited the sectarian parties' militias to join the security forces!!
These militias aren't going to get reined in by a reorganization of the government.
Figures from the Ministries of Health and Interior showed that during April, 686 civilians were killed in politically motivated violence, along with 190 insurgents, 54 police officers and 22 Iraqi soldiers.
Eighty-two coalition troops-- including 76 Americans, three Italians, one Romanian, one Briton and one Australian--died in Iraq during the same period.
In theory the Iraqis in the government security forces have taken over much more of the fighting. Then why so few Iraqi soldier deaths? Also, the Iraqi soldiers are supposedly less well protected. Certainly their police are easier targets. Are the insurgents mostly trying to kill US soldiers? Or do Iraqi soldiers just avoid doing risky things like chasing after the insurgency? What gives?
Talabani acknowledged that the morgue statistics only accounted for bodies discovered in and around Baghdad and that the total number of civilian deaths was probably far higher.
During the first three months of the year, at least 3,800 civilians were killed in Baghdad, according to statistics compiled by the Los Angeles Times based on information from the morgue and police and hospital officials. That is the highest level of slain civilians since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein more than three years ago.
The majority of the victims in recent months appear to have been Sunni Arabs.
The Shias are striking back. Will this accomplish anything constructive? Can the Shias manage to kill so many Sunnis that the Sunnis will agree to accept rule by Shias? Or will the killing continue to escalate? The Shias have far greater numbers and money from their own government and US aid. So they ought to be able to drag away more people in the night than the Sunnis can manage to drag away.
Anyone want to hazard a guess on how events are going to play out in Iraq in the next 12 months?
WASHINGTON -- After months of partisan maneuvering, Senate passage of sweeping immigration legislation is virtually assured by Memorial Day. But that scarcely ends the struggle in Congress, given the vast differences between President Bush and House Republicans over the fate of millions of illegal immigrants.
The substance of the Senate bill is unlikely to change significantly from the measure that was stuck in gridlock more than a month ago. It includes additional border security, a new guest worker program and provisions opening the way to eventual citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.
I feel contempt for the US Senate.
The agreement brokered by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., breaks a political stalemate that has lingered for weeks while immigrants and their supporters held rallies, boycotts and protests to push for action.
Mr. Frist said 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats will negotiate with House members once the Senate passes an immigration bill. Seven of the Republicans and five of the Democrats will come from the Judiciary Committee, with the remaining negotiators to be picked by Mr. Frist and Mr. Reid.
President Bush has said he favors legislation that would enable immigrants to become citizens, but only after they meet strict standards. He has said repeatedly that he does not favor "amnesty," a word that is anathema to many conservatives. "We congratulate the Senate on reaching agreement, and we look forward to passage of a bill prior to Memorial Day," Dana Perino, deputy White House press secretary, told The Associated Press.
"Today's agreement is a major step forward in our fight for tough but fair immigration reform," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).
"Business and labor, Democrats and Republicans, religious leaders and the American people strongly support our plan to strengthen borders, provide a path to earned citizenship for those undocumented workers who are here and put in place a realistic guest worker program for the future."
Will the House leadership cave in and agree in conference committee to a bill more like the Senate's bill? You could send a brick to your Congressional representative for $11.95. This has become a symbolic way to demand a wall on the US-Mexico border. Elected representatives are trying to avoid accepting shipment of the bricks.
A Lawrenceville man shipping bricks to Congress as a demand for a secure border instead has collided with a wall of bureaucracy.
Jim McAuliffe, co-owner of a new Gwinnett-based mailing company, fears the Senate and House post offices are using a technicality to refuse to deliver nearly 1,200 bricks that arrived Tuesday and an additional 2,300 scheduled to arrive by today as a protest against illegal immigration.
A Senate postmaster claimed the bricks — which arrived by a UPS freight service — each require $3.90 in postage to be brought to members of Congress, McAuliffe said.
He's switched to sending the bricks via parcel post to get around the rule the postmasters in Congress were using to reject the bricks.
So far, McAuliffe's shipping records show the biggest targets of bricks are senators from Texas, Florida and California along with the leadership. Georgians — so far — aren't mailing in numbers; Tuesday's shipment included only 28 bricks for Sen. Johnny Isakson and 37 for Sen. Saxby Chambliss, both Republicans. A few were addressed to House members from Georgia; U.S. Reps. Tom Price and John Linder, also Republicans, led with eight each.
The US Senate seems deaf to the rising popular anger on immigration. So much for the idea that the United States has a goverment of, by, and for the people.
El Presidente Jorge W. Bush has become something of an enigma in American politics. However did he manage to become such an unrelentingly bad President of the United States? What motivates him to pursue so many policies harmful to the United States of America? I've made comments here asking why our elites hate us and want to replace us. Noted evolutionary theorist Greg Cochran, responding specifically about Bush, advances some hypotheses to explain the destruction derby that is the Bush Presidency. First he points to one of Bush's quotes for a clue:
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." - George W. Bush
Then Greg lists various possible explanations for Bush's otherwise seemingly inexplicable behavior as President:
Maybe Bush is a time traveller who has seen a future where robots created by American industry took over the world and killed off most of humanity. Maybe he's trying to bring US industry down to Latin American levels of creativity and innovation in order to save the human race from extinction.
Maybe Bush wants a dumber society where he can feel superior to a larger fraction of the population.
Maybe Bush thinks he has to ruin US relations with the oil producing countries in order to force us off our dependence on oil for energy. Or maybe he secretly hates Israel and is trying to increase animosity toward the Israelis in the Middle East.
Bush's determination to drive up the national debt, let in massive numbers of low-performing ethnic groups, pursuit of a foreign policy in the Middle East that decreases US national security, and still other obviously bad policies all call out for an explanation. I gotta say on the effort to discredit representative government that he's having considerable success with me. Bush has played a big role in creating a legacy with the pre-schoolers that promises to make the electorate much more stupid in future decades. You might think the people who elected Bush are dumb. Well, future electorates are going to make our current voters look like geniuses in comparison..
Do you have any novel explanations for the Bush Presidency? Is he a poster boy for the brain damage caused by alcohol abuse? Did the devil send him among us to discredit Christians as a bunch of con artists and fools? Or is he just lazy?
Ever since the Feb. 22 bombing of a major Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra touched off dozens of reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques, Iraqis have reported a sharp rise in attacks at the hands of both Shiite and Sunni Arab death squads.
A Baghdad health official says there have been at least 2,500 murders in the capital since the Samarra shrine attack, adding that those numbers don't include the victims of mass-casualty attacks like those Sunday.
Today, Baghdad appears to be more divided and war-torn than at any point since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Most basic services are at an all-time low (Baghdad is averaging about three hours of power a day) and traditionally mixed Shiite and Sunni Arab neighborhoods continue to feel the impact of the slow seeping away of their diversity as families flee across the city's confessional front lines.
Imagine that: 3 hours of power each day. Forget about refrigeration. Employers can't get much done either. Electric manufacturing machines and office equipment aren't going to work.
You might think the killings by Shia groups are aimed at killing people they know are insurgents. I suspected that even if that was their aim they are probably too ignorant and trigger-happy to have a high accuracy rate on who they kill. Well, after the Mahdi Army tried to kill his son one Sunni man found out that the Mahdis are choosing Sunnis to kill based on their first names.
Abu Omar says the men told them they were killing all young men named Omar and Bakar - popular Sunni names borrowed from early Islamic caliphs hated by Shiites. They said they would be back for his son. After his release he called the police for protection. "They told me that close to Sadr City there's nothing they could do for a Sunni."
The next day, like hundreds of Iraqi families, both Shiite and Sunni Arab, he fled his old neighborhood. In his case, he sought safety in a Sunni area to the west of the Tigris
The Sunni-Shia split feeds on itself. The more innocents killed on each side the greater the willingness of members of each side to kill members of the other side in revenge. The population migrations as people flee in fear reduce the violence because those who flee are not around to get killed by the side they flee from. Fewer die and therefore fewer become survivors who want revenge for lost loved ones.
Modern Tribalist blogger Adam Lawson points to reports that most Israeli Jews want the Arabs in Israel to leave.
More than 60 percent of Israeli Jews believe the government should encourage Arabs to leave the country, according to a survey published by the Israel Democracy Institute on Tuesday. The findings have led MK Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) to ask for a special parliamentary session to address racism.
The Jews among a representative sample of 1,200 Israelis were asked to agree or disagree with the statement, "The government should encourage Arabs to emigrate." Sixty-two percent said they agreed.
Prof. Asher Arian, scientific director of the Guttman Center at the IDI and director of the 2006 Israel Democracy Index, said that the statistic indicated a "general lack of tolerance of Israeli Jews toward Israeli Arabs."
Only 14 percent of respondents said ties between Arabs and Jews are good, while 29 percent said a Jewish majority is required for decisions of crucial national significance. Meanwhile, 26 percent said religious Jews and secular Jews enjoy a good relationship.
According to the annual survey, Israelis trust the IDF more than any other institution (79 percent,) followed by the High Court of Justice, the media, and the Knesset.
I bet if the Arabs were bribed enough to leave then after the Arabs were gone the relationship between the secular and religious Jews would deteriorate as they no longer felt the need to hold back their grievances toward each other in front of the enemy.
82 percent of respondents believe that democracy is the ideal form of government for Israel, a 5 percent increase from the previous poll. 77 percent believe that democracy is the ideal form of government for any country.
Groups do not trust other groups for good reason: Other groups are more likely to violate their rights and less likely to do charitable acts toward them. Democracy works better in a society with greater trust. The levels of trust between the Jews and Arabs in Israel are very low. It makes sense that they should separate. They do not have enough trust to belong together in the same society.
I'm reminded of Steve Sailer's proposal for the Europeans to pay the Muslims to leave Europe. Seems a very sensible proposal to me. Also, Steve's comments about the Danish cartoon crisis are pertinent as well:
Guess what? Danes and Muslims don't agree on the basics of social organization and don't want to live under the same rules. That shouldn't be a severe problem. It's what separate countries are for. But due to mass immigration, it is in fact becoming a huge stumbling block.
The Arab Muslims and Jews in Israel similarly do not want to live under the same rules.The difference between them in regards to what constitutes fair rules is far too large for them to live equally. If the Arabs become a larger fraction of the population of Israel at some point the Israelis may abandon democracy rather than give the Arabs power over Jews. Better to pay the Muslims to leave and thereby preserve the democracy. Of course there are lessons here for America. But our traitorous elite would rather shaft us than to learn these lessons.
Theodore Dalrymple, in real life Anthony Daniels - a psychiatrist who works in the British prison system, has an article in the City Journal about an 18 year old girl who had beat her elderly relative.
Her biography was sordid, but no more so than many others I had heard. Not only had she never met her father, but she had no idea who he might be. She and her half-sister—an alcoholic and a drug taker, conceived during a one-night stand—had been sexually abused by one of their passing stepfathers-cum-baby-sitters. Her mother was a drug addict who had once got into trouble after being caught working while claiming social security benefits.
“What happened?” I asked.
“She had to stop working.”
Her mother had been violent toward her two daughters, throwing them down the stairs and beating them with a baseball bat. (The ratio of bats to balls in Britain must be the highest in the world.) Her violence ceased when the daughters were old and strong enough to blacken her eyes and break her nose.
Read the whole article. Why should people such as these have a right to reproduce? I don't see it.
Some liberal blogs are arguing that conservatives are trying to disassociate themselves from Bush due to the mess in Iraq and other areas (and these liberal bloggers are even quoting a commenter from one of my posts) and that the conservatives doing this are somehow unprincipled. I'd say that the opposite is true. Conservatives are becoming so shocked by Bush's moves that they are overcoming their loyalties to a Republican leader and returning to principles. This is seen most clearly on immigration where the Right is increasingly angry with Bush's disloyalty to them. They aren't turning against Bush on immigration to score points against liberals or to shift blame to liberals. They are angry with Bush and the Open Borders crowd while the liberals want what Bush wants. John Zogby says no US President has reached as low a level of disapproval on a single issue as Bush has on immigration and border security.
Thirteen percent of respondents in a new Zogby Interactive poll approved of Mr. Bush's handling of immigration, and 9 percent approved of his handling of border security. Among conservative and very conservative people, he was below 25 percent.
Meanwhile, a separate Associated Press-Ipsos Public Affairs poll released yesterday found 45 percent of self-identified conservatives disapprove of Mr. Bush's job as president, and 65 percent disapprove of the Republican-led Congress.
"One of the things clearly that's happening is a breakdown of the coalition that elected and re-elected the president," said John Zogby, who said his surveys show Mr. Bush getting less than 45 percent support among groups such as investors, NASCAR fans, gun owners and Catholics, and just over 50 percent among born-again Christians.
He also said he had never seen any presidential ratings as low as Mr. Bush scored on immigration and border security.
A majority of born-again Christians continue to be Bush's suckers. No, his being a fundamentalist isn't making him a better leader. Wake up. Stop putting your faith in a human. It is contrary to your religion.
81% of Bush's base (or former base) wants the House Sensenbrenner bill to crack down on illegals while, by contrast, Bush wants amnesty, Open Borders, and a massive worker permit program. Is there a depth he can reach in the decline in his popularity on the Right where he'll listen to what people on the Right actually want? If a Republican President wants one thing (which most liberals want too btw) and the vast bulk of the Republicans want another thing then for Republicans to decide he's doing a bad job and that he's a liberal doesn't seem unprincipled to me. It sounds pretty reasonable. His spending, support for racial preferences, immigration policies, and other policies are plenty reason to think the guy is not a conservative.
Bush's argument for continued US involvement in Iraq is a liberal argument. Paleoconservatives argue that the Iraqis are not liberals, not democrats, too dumb to run a democracy, too entwined in consanguineous marriages to have loyalties to the state. Bush's response? We are racists and liberalism has universal appeal. He's making a liberal argument on Iraq. That's why liberals can't manage to organize serious opposition to him on Iraq (you don't hear Hillary Clinton calling for withdrawal). They can't challenge Bush on the empirical evidence without abandoning the assumptions at the base of modern liberalism that hold it has universal appeal the world over. Instead they fantasize about a big right wing capitalistic oil plot (while ignoring the rather organised and intense Jewish neocon desire to help Israel). Only conservatives who have a more pessimistic view of human nature and human biodiversity realists can say why he's wrong for the real reasons he's wrong.
Similarly, he's wrong on immigration for liberal reasons. No, we do not each individually have the ability to graduate from high school or college. No, not all races have intellectual abilities in equal proportion. No, the various races and ethnic groups do not have equal average propensities to commit crimes or fight for individual rights or engage in other behaviors and they differ in these matters for genetic reasons. Liberals are caught up in their taboos and deny the empirical evidence while calling realists all sorts of nasty names. Liberals marginalize the more empirical minded by use of gatekeepers in major media organs and universities who keep out those who commit liberal thought crimes. Bush is one of them.
Why does the medical marketplace work so poorly? Many patients have no idea how good or bad the quality of care is that they are receiving.
Patients' ratings of their medical care do not substitute for evaluations of the technical quality of that care, according to a study issued today by researchers from the RAND Corporation, UCLA and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.
The study is the first to compare patients' own reports about the quality of their medical care with a comprehensive evaluation of their medical records.
Researchers studying vulnerable older patients found that while patients on average rated the quality of their medical care a 9 on a 10-point scale, comprehensive reviews of their medical records found they received recommended care just 55 percent of the time.
“Patients' ratings of health care are easy to obtain and report, but our findings suggest they do not accurately measure the technical quality of medical care,” said Dr. John T. Chang, a UCLA physician and lead author of the study. “If we want to understand the technical quality of health care, then we need to look at medical records.”
The findings provide additional insights into developing measurements of quality care at the health plan level. The study found that patients' views about the quality of their medical care was closely related to the quality of communications provided by their health providers, which is one dimension of the quality medical care.
The study was led by researchers from RAND Health, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Healthcare System and is published in the May 2 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
We need to find ways to achieve a few things to imrpove the quality of medical care using market forces:
Anyone have any ideas on the problem of patients who can't measure quality of care?
Britain is less happy than in the 1950s - despite the fact that we are three times richer.
The proportion of people saying they are "very happy" has fallen from 52% in 1957 to just 36% today.
The opinion poll by GfK NOP for The Happiness Formula series on BBC Two provides the first evidence that Britain's happiness levels are declining - a trend already well documented in the United States.
Polling data from Gallup throughout the 1950s shows happiness levels above what they are today, suggesting that our extra wealth has not brought extra well-being.
It could even be making matters worse.
Americans have become less happy as well. The article also claims this pattern has been observed in other Western countries.
The British experience mirrors data from America, where social scientists have seen levels of life satisfaction gradually decline over the last quarter of a century.
In the early 1970s, 34% of those interviewed in the General Social Survey described themselves as "very happy".
By the late 1990s, the figure was 30% - a small but statistically significant drop.
These people are not behaving like homo economicus. Someone tell them to stop doing that. They are disappointing economists.
People think their neighborhoods are becoming less friendly. I suspect people are becoming more mobile and therefore know their neighbors less well.
Our poll asked whether people felt their neighbourhood was more or less friendly now than it was 10 years ago.
43% said less friendly, compared to 22% of people who said it was friendlier.
I wonder if people feel less secure than they used to and hence less happy. Also, marrieds are more happy. Has the decline in marriage boosted the number who are unhappy? See page 17 of the report below and you'll see that relationships and family are the most important factor in happiness followed by health. Parenthetically, advances in medical science therefore promise to improve happiness by contributing to the second most important factor for health. The gap between relationships and health as determinants of happiness gets progressively smaller with age. Again see page 17.
On page 22 of the report linked to below they ask what the second most important thing is in determining happiness. Two mostly financial factors "A Nice Place To Live" and "Money And Financial Situation" come close to relationships in importance. This is an argument against immigrant-driven population growth that drives up the cost of housing and raises crime rates.
You can download the full report as a 1 meg PDF file. Some interesting facts emerge: "Very Happy" has an age peak between 25-34 of 38% and then a decline to 30% at 45-54 and then a rise to 41% at 55-64. They have happiness by social classes AB, C1, C2, and DE. Anyone know what those mean? C1 has the highest happiness rating.
On page 72 if we are to believe the results men have more close friends they speak to regularly than do women. I wouldn't have expected that.
On page 77 people report their neighborhoods as becoming less friendly. Does this attitude measure a real change in crime rates or in influxes of immigrants? Or higher mobility and therefore less longer term friendships in neighborhoods? Or do people have distorted views of a rosier past that never existed?
In recent years, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile have all elected left-leaning governments, determined to reverse "globalization" and thwart American influence. And similar governments are likely to win soon in Peru and Mexico.
In particular, the oil-empowered Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, an avowed fan of Cuba's Fidel Castro, is emerging as a genuine U.S. enemy.
I can just picture some US Air Force generals in front of a Congressional Committee argung for more F-35 jets to meet the Venezuelan challenge. Well, okay, only in a comedy skit.
Americans, of course, have been mostly preoccupied with the Middle East, but the problems to our south - trade, energy, immigration, narcotics trafficking - are likely to worsen as North-South cooperation worsens.
Trade problems with Latin America? About what exactly? Immigration? That's a reason to build a wall (which Pinkerton favors btw) and do real interior enforcement of immigration laws. We could get rid of all the illegal aliens in 5 years tops - and it would be easy to do if only our traitorous elites stopped sabotaging immigration law enforcement. Drugs: Okay, that's a problem. The Incan candidate for Peru's presidency wants to help undermine the European conquest of the territories now ruled by the United States by legalizing coca.
Pinkerton thinks a Latin American country will emerge as a military power. Wrong.
And one of these days a Latin country will emerge as a serious military power, thus ending America's fortuitous two-century-long monopoly of force in this hemisphere.
Yet, Uncle Sam's dominion over the Americas was not entirely an accident of geography.
Yes Jim, US power is not simply an accident of geography. You got that right. But why not explain where US power really comes from? The United States as most powerful national is chiefly an accident of genetics. The IQ differences between nations change very slowly. While we are suffering some cognitive decay our biggest cognitive competitors in the short to medium term do not lie south of the border. Our cognitive competition problem with them is that America is becoming more like them, not vice versa. Some day when offspring genetic engineering becomes possible some other Western Hemisphere country could become a world power. But that day's a rather distant prospect at this point.
Hugo Chavez does not pose a threat to US security. Neither does Evo Morales. These guys run Venezuela and Bolivia. Who cares?
Now, I hear some people saying "Oh, but Venezeula may have more oil in oil tar than Saudi Arabia has in regular oil". Okay. How does this cause a problem for the United States? The oil market is global. Oil from one place can substitute for oil from another place. Suppose Venezuela won't sell the oil to the US. Instead they'll sell it to other countries and those countries will buy less oil from other sources and then those other sources will sell to us.
Our bigger problem with Hugo Chavez is that Venezuela might become too messed up economically to extract and sell their oil. Venezuela's nationalizations of oil fields might reduce the amount of capital and expertise available for building facilities to extract their heavy oil. But I figure the cost of oil is so high that they'll be able to finance their own expansion plans without the help of global capitalists.
Even if we figure Venezuela will bungle their oil industry and stop increasing oil production what, if anything, should we do about it? Surely if ensuring energy supplies is crucial to US national security then the United States government could launch a massive research and development program aimed at achieving energy indepdendence. Such a program would be funded very well per year for less than 2 months of the cost of the Iraq Debacle. We can afford to develop the ability to free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil. That seems a more constructive way to respond to our energy needs than worrying about Hugo Chavez.
El Presidente Jorge W. Bush has a different interpretation of events in Latin America which causes him to get pretty upset whenever white Spaniards lose power to populist leftist Amerind ethnics. I do not begin to understand what theory of racial relations or personal interests cause Jorge to identify so closely with the interests of the descendants of the conquistadores. But he's really consistent about it. He wants to take all the Mayans out of Mexico into the US so that the Spanish ruling class has an easier time running Mexico. He consistently opposes the popular democratic election of Amerinds as Presidents of Latin American governments. He claims to believe in democracy as a cure for what ails the world. But he appears to believe (as do his neocon supporters) that the masses should only elect those who his circle find suitable. Their purposes for democracy do not include the empowerment of leftist ethnic nationalists who oppose capitalistic globalization. The Bushies have a very flawed model of human nature and the world.
IN 2005, the least-affordable place in the country to live, measured by the percentage of income devoted to mortgage payments, was Salinas, Calif.
The second was the Santa Cruz-Watsonville area of California.
The third? Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Calif.
In fact, California has the distinction of having the 11 least-affordable metropolitan areas in the country.
California is also in the forefront of population growth, but it is not driven, as might be expected, by envious Easterners and Midwesterners escaping snowbound winters. Nor is it driven by long-term Californians. In fact, census figures show that over the past decade, more people have left California — emigrating to neighboring states like Nevada and Arizona and farther away, to Texas and Florida — than have moved in from other parts of the country.
The population increase is driven primarily by births and foreign immigration. According to census statistics, from April 2000 to July 2005, California experienced a net natural increase — taking into account births and deaths — of 1.5 million people.
And an additional 1.4 million moved in from other countries.
Blacks and whites are being driven out of California. A large fraction of the births are births to Mexicans and their descendants.
As the population growth from immigration starts to produce crowding in more areas outside of California the California real estate price phenomenon will repeat in many other locales. Why do this to ourselves? Why not have a US immigration policy set for the benefit of American citizens?
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A British military helicopter crashed in Basra on Saturday, and Iraqis hurled stones at British troops and set fire to three armored vehicles that rushed to the scene. Clashes broke out between British troops and Shiite militias, police and witnesses said.
Police Capt. Mushtaq Khazim said the helicopter was apparently shot down in a residential district. He said the four-member crew was killed, but British officials would say only that there were "casualties."
The crowd chanted "we are all soldiers of al-Sayed," a reference to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, an ardent foe of the presence of foreign troops in Iraq.
I interpret this as a sign of growing power for Sadr and decreasing power for older and more restrained Shia cleric Sistani. That does not bode well for the continued presence of US and British troops in Iraq.
BASRA, Iraq -- A fiery melee erupted after a British helicopter apparently was shot down over a wealthy residential neighborhood of this southern city Saturday, in the latest sign of souring relations between Iraq's majority Shiites and the U.S.-led multinational forces in the country's south.
By the time the smoke cleared and an all-night curfew was imposed in parts of the city, at least four Iraqis lay dead and 20 others had been injured either in the crash or the ensuing skirmishes between Molotov-cocktail-wielding youth and British soldiers.
The chopper crash and riot marked a nadir in relations between Britain's 8,500 soldiers in Iraq's south and Basra's Shiite population, which was oppressed under Saddam Hussein's regime and initially welcomed the U.S.-led invasion.
We rely very heavily on helicopters in the south of Iraq to minimise travel by road and successful militant missile strike would be a very serious problem for us,' said one recently retired British senior army officer. 'It could push up casualties significantly.'
Okay, Basra is very far from the Sunni Triangle and Fallujah. It is deep in the Shia heartand. Yet the Brits avoid travelling on the ground, a British helicopter was probably shot down by a rocket, and when the Brits showed up at the crash a hostile crowd quickly grew and turned violent. Will the Shias rise up against the coalition forces? The US military is not big enough to handle such a turn of events.
The revolt of the Amerinds/indigenous people/non-Spanish/non-white people of Latin (or soon to be ex-Latin?) America continues. The leading candidate to win Peru's Presidency is an Incan ethnic nationalist.
The revolt of Latin American voters against the political class began in Peru in 1990, with the election of an obscure agronomy professor named Alberto Fujimori. The anti-establishment mood has spread, leading to populist soldiers and a coca grower taking the presidencies of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. Now Peru may elect the most dangerous leader yet. Last month Ollanta Humala, a military man whose family advocates the shooting of gays, Jews and Chilean investors, came in first in presidential elections. Since Mr. Humala did not get 50 percent, there will be a runoff on May 28.
More bad news: the other candidate will be Alan García, a spectacularly irresponsible and corrupt president in the late 1980's who wrecked Peru's economy and presided over the commission of widespread war crimes.
Note to America's Jews: There's nothing like being a market dominant minority to make people want to kill you. You are better off in countries where the distance between your ability and the ability of the larger population is not so large as is the case in Peru. Open Borders is a bad immigration policy.
Alan Garcia ran Peru's inflation rate up to 7000% and crashed Peru's economy. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is an Alan Garcia wannabe. But Garcia claims he's learned lessons, mellowed with age, and wouldn't act like a mad socialist dictator if elected President of Peru again. He's trying to appeal to younger Peruvians who do not remember what he did the last time.
Note to people who think democracy is a cure for the world's ills: Hello? Anybody home? Open your eyes. Resist the urge to embrace pretty and pleasant ideas. The fact that you find some vision of the world appealing does not make it possible or the pursuit of it a good idea. Strive to accept empirical reality, no matter how unpleasant. Stop supporting the pursuit of utopia. Utopians create disasters. Stop dreaming. You have a moral responbility to stop making the world even worse.
The Humala family are Incan ethnic nationalists. If whites were doing this sort of thing they'd be condemned as Nazis.
Isaac Humala Núñez, self-described descendent of Inca royalty and father of Ollanta Humala Tasso, is a well-known philosopher and teacher in Peru. He is the founder and long-time proponent of etnocacerismo, a political philosophy that inspired in Peru a political movement of extreme ethnic nationalists. The term etnocacerismo embodies two concepts. The first part, etno, evokes Peru's ethnic identity, specifically its Inca origins. The second part, cacerismo, venerates the 19th-century president, Andrés Avelino Cáceres, a war hero who led a guerrilla campaign of peasant militias against occupying Chilean troops during the War of the Pacific (1879-83).
The aims of the Movimiento Etnocacerista (Ethnocacerist Movement) center on the restoration of the Inca heritage of Peru, reasserting the role of marginalized indigenous masses in contemporary Peruvian society. It is opposed to what it perceives to be foreign control of the economy, most especially from traditional rival Chile, and supports a return to state control of key economic sectors. The movement also supports the legalization of coca cultivation and a return to the death penalty.
Active support for the Ethnocacerist Movement has been strongest among reservist military officers, including veterans of the struggles against domestic terrorism in the form of the Sendero Luminoso and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, as well as the 1995 war with Ecuador. While on active duty in the Peruvian army, Ollanta Humala, and his brother, Antauro, were the leaders of the Ethnocacerist Movement. Six years ago, the brothers Humala led a failed military uprising against the regime of then President Alberto Fujimori. Imprisoned for a short time, Humala Tasso eventually returned to active duty after being pardoned by President Valentín Paniagua. After being passed over for promotion, the Toledo administration forced him into retirement at the end of 2004.
These guys aren't exactly poster boys for liberal democracy.
Humala, a political novice unknown to most Peruvians as recently as seven months ago, is campaigning on promises to stamp out crime, corruption and cronyism, oppose a free-trade agreement with Washington, nationalize the petroleum industry and protect some national industries.
Humala has attacked the wealthy, promised to raise taxes on foreign companies and has praised Juan Velasco Alvarado, a general who overthrew Peru's democratically elected president in 1968 and expropriated private businesses and land holdings.
Humala's message has resonated in a country where half the people feel disenfranchised under democracy, still living on $2 a day, even though the economy has grown by 5 percent a year during the five-year term of outgoing President Alejandro Toledo.
The Incans, Mayans, and other descendants of migrants over the Aleutian path into the Americas want power and are taking it from the descendants of the conquistadors.
The Amerinds are on the march. Now that Hugo Chavez runs Venezuela, Evo Morales runs Bolivia, and Incan Ollanta Humala Tasso might come to power in Peru which country is next? How about a country which has a national average IQ of 80? how about Ecuador?
In unstable Ecuador, indigenous peasants have blocked roads in recent months to protest negotiations on a U.S. free trade pact.
Indigenous groups have also called for nationalization of the energy sector and particularly the expulsion of U.S. companies from South America's No. 5 oil producer.
My advice to "Latin" America's white Spanish: Get yourselves to countries where the whites form solid majorities. The Amerinds are taking over part of South America and your lives are going to become much less pleasant under their rule.
Up here in the land of Yankees and Rebels we ought to learn an obvious lesson from the inter-racial confict in Central and South America: Whites will be far worse off if they become a minority in the United States. The economy will do worse. Crime will go up. Racial preferences against whites will become much worse. Parties will organize even more along raical lines and the government will become more corrupt as non-whites vote to retain non-whites in power no matter how corrupt. The division along racial and ethnic lines will remove other factors for consideration of candidates for election and quality of government will decay a great deal.
The country is experiencing its longest economic expansion in modern history — 57 months — and inflation is near 1%, while exports have tripled to $18 billion in five years. Yet a majority of Peruvians are demanding radical change because the boom has not trickled down from the 5% of population that controls most of its wealth.
Continued economic growth would eventually trickle down. But my guess is that the next government of Peru is going to take steps that'll slow economic growth as it seeks to redistribute the wealth.
In a report released today, The Fund for Peace (FfP) urges the international community to begin exploring a new negotiated settlement in Iraq based on greater autonomy for the country’s regions or peaceful partition of the country. The current trend toward full scale civil war is documented in the three year summary report, “From Failed State to Civil War: The Lebanization of Iraq, 2003-2006.” The study concludes that there was a window of opportunity for progress in Iraq for approximately four months after the invasion. After that, worsening levels of tension were evident in all twelve indicators measured by the research project. The pattern is described as the Lebanization of Iraq, or an escalating sectarian war.
All the things that were supposed to help made things worse because the Sunnis feared rule by Shias. Also, the capture of Saddam allowed the insurgency to distance themselves from the old regime and therefore boosted their legitimacy.
The report is the fifth in a series in which a dozen social, economic and political/military indicators are measured month-by- month, along with assessments of the strength of Iraqi state institutions. Paradoxically, the report shows that benchmarks proclaimed by the U.S. government as key measures of progress toward stabilization and democratization -- such as the capture of Saddam Hussein, the transfer of sovereignty to an interim government, and the 2005 elections -- were followed by periods of deterioration, due in large part to Sunni fears of domination by Shiites and Kurds, who were reaping the benefits of the transition. This sustained the Sunni insurgency that evolved into wider sectarian warfare within the Arab community, a much larger threat to the integrity of the nation.
They argue for decentralization. That might work. But I suspect decentralization is another word for partition. What could hold the country together in a decentralized model? Only the ability of one faction to conquer the other factions.
The report argues that decentralization may avert full scale internal war if it is negotiated internationally, including participation by regional actors, and provides for a pre-agreed formula for the sharing of oil revenues, international guarantees to protect disputed territories, such as Kirkuk, and minority safeguards throughout the regions.
Dr. Pauline H. Baker, author of the report, says: “The center is not holding in Iraq. We can no longer pretend that a weak central government can reverse these worsening trends. The deterioration has gone too far. The nature and scope of violence, factionalization within and between the major groups, the proliferation of militias, and intensifying group vengeance and fear of retribution are driving Iraq into de facto partition. We must face these facts.”
The report also contends that: “The main questions are no longer whether the U.S. or the insurgents are ’winning’ or ‘losing’ …but whether national disintegration can be reversed, how fast the disintegration will occur if it is not, and whether a soft landing with minimal bloodshed can be managed.” The report shows that Iraq has steadily descended into entrenched sectarian conflict, which is probably irreversible.
The Fund calls for an international conference convened by the UN and Iraq to consider a wider regional settlement involving Iraq’s neighbors and other Arab states, all of whom have a vital stake in not allowing the country to descend into chaos. It may be a long shot, the report concludes, but fresh options need to be put on the table to avoid the violent splintering of Iraq, an outcome that would trigger wider regional conflict.
My guess is that all the UN's horses and all the UN's men can't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. A mere run-of-the-mill king couldn't do the job. A ruthless dictator might be able to pull it off. But neither the Bush Administration or the liberals would find such a choice morally acceptable.
You can find their full report here.
Decentralization has become the new great hope for Iraq in American foreign policy debates. Writing in the New York Times Democratic Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware and Leslie Gelb also argue for decentralization of power in Iraq as part of an exit strategy for the United States.
The idea, as in Bosnia, is to maintain a united Iraq by decentralizing it, giving each ethno-religious group — Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab — room to run its own affairs, while leaving the central government in charge of common interests. We could drive this in place with irresistible sweeteners for the Sunnis to join in, a plan designed by the military for withdrawing and redeploying American forces, and a regional nonaggression pact.
The first is to establish three largely autonomous regions with a viable central government in Baghdad. The Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions would each be responsible for their own domestic laws, administration and internal security. The central government would control border defense, foreign affairs and oil revenues. Baghdad would become a federal zone, while densely populated areas of mixed populations would receive both multisectarian and international police protection.
I do not think this will work. But I'm for it since we could pretend it will work while we pull out the troops. Peace With Honor! Long Live Richard Nixon! Pretending that beats the heck out of pretending that our current course of action is somehow beneficial to the United States.
Biden sounds like he thinks autonomous regions would give the 3 main ethnic groups time to cool their anger toward each other. (But ParaPundit thinks they won't stop blowing up bombs and dragging each other away in cars to be shot)
"The only way to have a united Iraq five years from now (is) to give each of the major constituencies some breathing room at the front end," says Biden. Noting that the constitution recognizes an already autonomous Kurdish north and provides for other autonomous regions to be formed, the Delaware senator adds, "This [plan] is completely consistent with the elements of the existing constitution."
More years of autonomy for the Kurds will just move them further down the road toward statehood (and good for them I say). But the Sunnis and Shias are fighting over who gets to control the country as a whole. Unless the borders between these autonomous regions become huge mine fields with US troops keeping the separated groups apart I do not see how autonomous regions will stop the on-going civil war.
There are a number of "sacrosanct" concepts of US democracy that, in the view of American politicians, should be equally sacred to the rest of the world. Foremost is the desirability of a federal (or federally based) democracy.
However, they tend to forget that, when first established, the United States was not a federal democracy as we know it today. The great Civil War of 1861-65 was one of the chief reasons for its emergence as a federal democracy.
Yet a federal government with limited power is a recipe for disaster in Iraq. In the first place, "autonomy" is a code word that the Kurds hope to use to break away eventually and establish an independent Kurdistan. Emulating the Kurdish practice, a number of Shi'ite groups envisage the creation of an autonomous region in the south.
Writing from where he's lived for years in Beirut Lebanon Michael Young points out the same problem where a weak central government wouldn't have the strength to stop the sectarian fighting.
The scheme to divide Iraq, like Lewis' earlier willingness to place his vast expertise at the service of the Bush administration so it could implement deep transformation in the Middle East, has revived accusations that the U.S. is redeploying hubris in its dealings with the Arabs.
This was well expressed by Gary Sick, a former National Security Council staffer during the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations, on the private Gulf 2000 mailing list which Sick hosts. In a powerful critique of the Biden-Gelb plan, Sick wondered how the weak Iraqi central government outlined by Biden and Gelb could prevent sectarian fighting, defend women and minorities, ensure an even distribution of oil resources, terminate the pernicious role of militias, and avoid regional interference in Iraq's affairs. He concluded that it simply could not, while the autonomous regional governments would likely make matters worse in pursuing their parochial interests. It would be up to the U.S. to resolve and regulate sensitive issues, undermining a principal Biden and Gelb goal, namely offering the U.S. an effective means of exiting Iraq.
Right now security agencies and the military of the central government of Iraq are being used by the Shias against the Sunnis. How can a somewhat neutral central government be created? I do not see how it could be staffed. Where to get people who are willing to be even handed to all factions?
Also see my previous posts "Iraq: Loose Federation Or Partition?", "Ethnic Cleansing To Produce 3 States In Iraq?", and "Unilaterally Withdraw From Iraq Or First Partition?".
The New York Times paints a bleak picture. The rate of currency inflation has reached 914% and is still rising. (same article here)
Zimbabwe's inflation is hardly history's worst — in Weimar Germany in 1923, prices quadrupled each month, compared with doubling about once every three or four months in Zimbabwe. That said, experts agree that Zimbabwe's inflation is currently the world's highest, and has been for some time.
Public-school fees and other ever-rising government surcharges have begun to exceed the monthly incomes of many urban families lucky enough to find work. The jobless — officially 70 percent of Zimbabwe's 4.2 million workers, but widely placed at 80 percent when idle farmers are included — furtively hawk tomatoes and baggies of ground corn from roadside tables, an occupation banned by the police since last May.
By March, inflation had touched 914 percent a year, at which rate prices would rise more than tenfold in 12 months. Experts agree that quadruple-digit inflation is now a certainty.
Zimbabwe's decline has now taken it down to situation normal for Africa. Effectively all the positive influence of white colonial rule has been wiped out.
As a whole, the nation has only now sunk to standards common elsewhere in Africa.
Zimbabwe increasingly resembles scenes from Atlas Shrugged. No radiation therapy machines for cancer are left working in Zimbabwe.
The head of radiotherapy at Parirenyatwa Hospital, Dr Ntokozo Ndlovu, has confirmed reports that all three of the country’s radiotherapy machines are not working.
A report released May 2 compiled by the U.S. Foreign Policy magazine and The Fund For Peace has indicted many African states for not being viable. Of the 146 states examined, three African countries -- Sudan, Congo DR and Ivory Coast -- top the list of failed states, in that order. Zimbabwe (5th), Chad and Somalia (6th) closely follow Iraq in the 4th position.
A failing state is described as one in which the government is not effectively controlling its territory, is not perceived to be legitimate by a significant portion of its population, does not provide internal security or basic services to its citizens and lacks the ability to control armed groups or individuals within its territory.
Living standards are higher in Iraq due to the rising price of oil and US aid. So the extent of the deterioration of social structures is partially masked.
The picture is radically altered if the more-than 300 percent recent increase in the civil service wage bill is factored in. This is a straight increase in government recurrent expenditure totalling $60 trillion in the next eight months which can only stoke demand-pull inflation, coming as it does at a time when the economy has hit historic contraction. Thus the domestic tax revenue base is ever dwindling resulting in meagre tax receipts. To make matters worse, the local tax rates have for a long time been in that territory where the law of diminishing returns has taken over, which means there is very little room to manoeuvre.
Zimbabwe's government has begun rolling the printing presses to produce about 60 trillion Zimbabwean dollars. The additional currency is required to finance the recent increase in salaries for soldiers and policemen. The money was not budgeted for the current fiscal year, and the government did not say where it would come from.
The only way inflation could stop would be for the printing presses to either break down or get blown up. Imagine that. Bombs could bring sound money to a country.
"Look behind nearly every economic dysfunction and shortage in this country -- unavailability of fertilizer and fuel, underutilization of land, burgeoning corruption -- and you will likely find some impediment to a free flow of information or the freedom to act on that information," Dell said.
He added: "Such statist systems -- with their obsession to control political and economic information -- didn't work in 1930s Soviet Union or 1950s China, and it seems doubtful that they'll ever work elsewhere."
True enough. But Africa also needs some neo-colonialism where willing Western countries would take over control of some functions of government. Mind you, I'm not volunteering the United States for that job. We are quite over-extended with the Iraq debacle and if we intervened we'd get labelled as authors of all that is wrong with Africa. But Africa would benefit from some outside supervision. The Africans can not rule themselves well.
I do not see a return to colonialism as in the cards. However, an even more effective and cheaper way to help Africa is available and more within the realm of the possible. As Steve Sailer has argued, alleviation of micronutrient deficiencies would boost African IQs and eventually improve economic performance of Africa. Development of better vaccines would also help.
Think this blog represents a fringe strain of American political thought? I'm only fringe by the standards of inside the Beltway, in executive suites which want cheap labor, in academia, and in the liberal media. When compared to the vast majority of the American public I'm pretty mainstream. The Center for Immigration Studies reports on a new poll of American public attitudes toward immigration.
WASHINGTON (May 3, 2006) – A new Zogby poll of likely voters, using neutral language (see wording on following pages), finds that Americans prefer the House of Representatives’ enforcement-only bill by 2-1 over Senate proposals to legalize illegal immigrants and greatly increase legal immigration. The poll was conducted for the Center for Immigration Studies.
Check out some highlights from this poll.
Click through and check out the results by racial groups, religious groups (the Jews are of course the biggest Open Borders supporters), political affiliation, and income. The higher income people are more in favor of Open Borders. Part of that is a result of higher IQ Jews being higher income than the average. But there's also the economic interest of other upper class people in cheap gardeners, cheap maids, and the like. Lower class people can't afford to hire manual laborers and correctly see immigrant laborers as competition that drives down wages.
More than any other issue immigration shows the gap between the elites and the government on one side and the populace on the other side. The extent to which the government resists following the majority of the American people on immigration is a measure of just how powerful business and intellectual elites are in American politics.
Another point: on immigration el Presidente Jorge W. Bush is quite willing to defy the wishes of 81% of what conventional wisdom holds is his base. But clearly, in Jorge's mind Latin America is his base. Total nutcases can get elected President of the United States.
This report reminds me of another recent poll, this one in the UK, which found that the majority of the British people hold the same views on immigration as held by the supposedly extremist British National Party. The emergence of so-called extremists parties is a sign that the public is being ignored by the existing political parties. Will an anti-immigration nationalist party become a significant force in American politics in 2008?
I hope the Hispanics hold more marches of illegal aliens and do more boycotts. The marches are obviously having beneficial effects. Three articles in the Washington Post have a common theme: Americans are mad about the immigration onslaught and at their elites for refusing to do anything about it. Voters are rebelling in local elections.
Herndon voters yesterday unseated the mayor and Town Council members who supported a bitterly debated day-labor center for immigrant workers in a contest that emerged as a mini-referendum on the turbulent national issue of illegal immigration.
Residents replaced the incumbents with a group of challengers who immediately called for significant changes at the center. Some want to bar public funds from being spent on the facility or restrict it to workers residing in the country legally. Others want it moved to an industrial site away from the residential neighborhood where it is located.
I have a better idea: Use the site as a place where the police can go and arrest and hold illegals for deportation.
While a series of marches focused much of the nation's attention on the plight of illegal immigrants, scores of other Americans quietly seethed. Now, with the same full-throated cry expressed by those in the country illegally, they are shouting back.
Congressional leaders in Washington have gotten bricks in the mail from a group that advocates building a border fence, states in the West and South have drawn up tough anti-immigrant laws, and ordinary citizens, such as Janis McDonald of Pennsylvania, who considers herself a liberal, are not mincing words in expressing their displeasure.
"Send them back," McDonald said. "Build a damn wall and be done with it."
If the federal government would receive into custody all illegals caught by local police we could round up the illegals pretty quickly.
PHOENIX -- State legislatures around the nation are considering hundreds of proposals dealing with illegal immigration, reflecting the exasperation of many local officials with Congress's failure to contend with the millions of undocumented workers who have entered the nation in recent years.
Here in Arizona, the House has passed a proposal to set fines and other penalties for companies that hire undocumented workers. The bill, which had regularly failed in previous years, is expected to win Senate approval within days and is only one of many plans under consideration. Others include bills to erect an 80-mile fence and a multimillion-dollar radar system along the Mexican border, designed to slow the nightly flow of migrants across the desert. Another bill would require police to check the citizenship of anyone stopped for a traffic offense. The state House, by a vote of 43 to 12, has passed a resolution calling on Washington to dispatch the U.S. Coast Guard to this landlocked, coast-free state to assist in patrolling the border.
The backlash is going to build until Congress and the President stop the deluge. It is in their power. They could reverse the deluge in 30 days and we could get most of the illegals out in a few years. Plus, we could stop the immigration lottery, chain migration, anchor babies, and immigration of groups that do worse on average than American whites.
On the Right Reason blog Steve Burton argues that a lack of honesty about racial inequality lies at the heart of American and Latin American debates about immigration.
Illegal immigration is a hard issue to tackle because it is, in the end, a matter of racial inequality. And Americans - including Latin Americans - are very bad at confronting issues of racial inequality honestly and coldly.
O.K., So here's the marrow that you gotta get at:
(1) Latin America in general, and Mexico in particular, is at least as deeply riven by racial inequality as the United States.
(2) Because they cannot solve their problem of racial inequality, Latin America's ruling Creole oligarchies (as Hugo Chavez would say) prefer to deny it, to deflect attention from it, and to export it to the United States.
(3) But the United States can no more solve its own problems of racial inequality than the Latin Americans can solve theirs.
(4) So unless and until we come up with solutions to these problems that work better than anything we have tried lately, our acceptance of essentially unlimited numbers of illegal Latin American immigrants is leading, not to their successful assimilation to our culture (what's left of it), but, rather, to the assimilation of the United States to the socio-political pathologies of Latin America.
Evo Morales in Bolivia and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela know that in Latin America the biggest conflict is between the lighter colored mostly European elite and the darker colored Amerind lower classes. Though I doubt either of them would admit that IQ differences play a big role in creating this division. The United States now runs the risk that this battle will come to dominate American society as well. Why subject ourselves to this? It is a stupid thing to do to ourselves.
Mexico's elite argue that Americans who want to keep out the Mexican Amerinds are racists, oppressiors, and other labels popular with the Left. Yet that elite is primarily white and its complaints are motivated by two selfish motives: A) to get rid of an Amerind lower class that it does not much want and B) to extend the power of Mexico's elite into a country that is much wealthier than Mexico. These desires are obviously contradictory since successful execution of their desire to do Reconquista would necessarily lead to Mexico's elite once again getting all those lower IQ Amerinds back under upper class Mexican Spanish rule.
But enough of their desires. Americans need to stand up for our own best interests and stop sacrificing our interests to corrupt Latin American elites, short-sighted American corporate interests, and America's own idiotic Leftists who place their frantic efforts to feel morally superior to non-Leftist whites above the best long term interests of the commonwealth. Afraid of getting called "nativist" or "racist" or the like by their ilk? Get over it. The stakes are too high and the damage being done to America is too great. It is time to assert your own selfish interest for immigration restriction against America's opponents who are busy pursuing thier own self interests under the cloak of dubious claims to the high moral ground.
The financial troubles daunting the Medicare system have deepened during the past year, according to a government forecast that says the federal fund that pays for hospital care for older Americans will become unable to cover all its bills a dozen years from now.
The annual report, issued yesterday by the trustees who monitor the fiscal health of the Medicare and Social Security programs, said the trust fund for the health insurance system for the elderly will run out of money in 2018 -- two years sooner than predicted a year ago and 12 years sooner than had been anticipated when President Bush first took office.
That is one very fast deterioration. Bush and Congress helped that deterioration along a great deal by passing the Medicare drug benefit.
The article cites rapid increases in hospitalization costs as the major reason for the most recent two year shift toward an even earlier bankruptcy.
Medicare and Social Security will require growing amounts of federal income tax revenue. Today, 6.9 percent of federal income taxes go towards the two programs. Dr. Thomas Saving of Texas A & M University, a public trustee of the Medicare and Social Security trust funds, estimates that, in 2020, 26.6 percent of all federal income taxes will go to paying for Medicare and Social Security. By 2030, that number will increase to 49.7 percent.
The United States will not be able to afford much of a military, let alone foreign adventures.
The drug benefit added $8.7 trillion to the unfunded Medicare liability. So why do the Democrats think that Bush is a conservative?
Medicare’s Financial Crisis
Of the two programs, Medicare presents the greatest challenge to Congress and taxpayers. The Hospital Insurance Trust fund is projected to be exhausted by 2018, a change from the previous date of 2020, and the cost of the Supplemental Medical Insurance program (SMI) is increasing faster than Medicare trustees had projected. According to the trustees, Medicare’s long-term debt, based on a 75-year actuarial projection, is now estimated to be $32.4 trillion. Of that amount $8 trillion is directly attributable to the Medicare prescription drug entitlement. The trustees did revise the size of the Medicare portion of the debt, which was estimated at $8.7 trillion in 2005, because the drug costs have risen more slowly than projected, as have the rates of enrollment. What is unknown is the extent to which employers, who now get federal subsidies for maintaining approved drug coverage for retirees, will continue to maintain that coverage or drop it with the passage of time. Accordingly, the cost of Medicare’s drug entitlement remains a huge uncertainty.
We need to raise the retirement age and make more old age benefits need-based.
Medicare accounts for about three quarters of the federal taxes that will go to the combination of Medicare and Social Security
Current and future taxpayers will be faced with enormous burdens in trying to sustain the Medicare program as it is today. According to Dr. Saving, without any change in the program, Medicare will consume a larger share of federal income taxes, rising to 23.1 percent of all federal income taxes by 2020 and 37.5 percent of all federal income taxes by 2030.
We will feel a big financial pinch long before Social Security or Medicare run out of money because the Social Security surpluses used to fund deficits in the regular budget won't be there anymore.
What most reports will miss is that Congress will have to start to deal with reduced surplus Social Security tax collections much faster than it or the public expect. Starting in 2009, the roughly $100 billion annual Social Security surpluses that Congress has been borrowing and spending on other programs will begin to shrink. From that point on, Congress will have to find other sources to replace the money that it annually borrows from Social Security or reduce spending. The surpluses will end completely in 2017, the year when Social Security begins to spend more than it takes.
In a little more than 15 years, today’s $100 billion annual Social Security surplus will turn into a $100 billion annual deficit—a $200 billion change. From 2017 on, Social Security will require large and growing amounts of general revenue money in order to pay all of its promised benefits. Even though this money will technically come from cashing in the special issue bonds in the trust fund, the money to repay them will come from other tax collections or borrowing. Moreover, the billions that go to Social Security each year will make it harder to find money for other government programs such as Medicare.
The pressure to cut spending in other areas will become intense. Want a manned space program to Mars? Fuggedaboutit.
The worsening finances of the US federal government is going to become the biggest cause of political battles in the United States in the next decade. The conflict will sharpen conflicts along racial, class, and generational lines. The younger generation of Hispanics won't rise to white levels of income. So they won't be providing the tax revenue needed. At the same time, they will be making bigger demands on entitlements programs due to their lower levels of income, higher rates of illegitimate births, lower rates of medical insurance coverage, and other problems. As the older whites retire the average level of productive capability of American workers will decline and the retirees will go from net taxpayers to net benefits receivers.
Forget about our elected "leaders" trying to get ahead of this problem. They'll continue in their reactive mode and respond only when they can't avoid responding any longer.
We need to deport all the illegal aliens and adopt a restrictive immigration policy that allows in only highly productive people who will earn high incomes and pay far more in taxes than they receive in benefits. We also need to accelerate the development of rejuvenating medical treatments that will slow and reverse aging so that people can work many more years. Treatments to enhance cognitive function would also help boost economic growth and make the unfunded old age entitlements liabilities more affordable.
Taxes will not go up enough to pay for all the promised benefits. The existing entitlements programs will see benefits reductions. The working age taxpayers will oppose tax rises large enough to pay for the promised benefits. But taxes will go up some. It is not clear to me how high taxes will go. Expect to see a big push for value added taxes as a way to fund the old age entitlements. My advice is to vigorously oppose the VAT since it will not replace income taxes but rather will function to increase the total percentage of output diverted into government treasuries.