Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Alberto Gonzalez-How Will he be Judged?

Now that Alberto Gonzalez has tendered his resignation as Attorney General, it is left to the pundits (in the short term) and history (in the long term) to decide how he performed in that position. At the moment, the pundits rule, especially the pundits on the left. Of course, they have been opposed to Gonzalez from the start- a conservative Hispanic, ally of Bush? No way the left was going to embrace this man. Indeed, Gonzalez has been pummeled by the left ever since he came up from Texas with Bush in 2001. He continued to raise the hackles of the left and the mainstream news media with his legal advice to Bush on the matters of detaining terrorists, permissible interrogation techniques and the monitoring of suspected terrorist communications independent of judicial control. Subsequent Congressional hearings under the Democratic majority increased the voices for his resignation as a result of his unimpressive appearances before investigating committees looking into the above issues as well as his role in the firings of 8 US Attorneys. I would like to offer a couple of opinions on Gonzalez and his performance.

Some of the kinder criticisms of Mr Gonzalez take the line that he was simply out of his element in the rough and tumble world of Washington. He did not have the political savvy to deal within the Beltway. It has also been said that he did not have the requisite managerial skills to effectively run the massive bureaucracy of the Justice Department. That may all be completely true. I have no inside sources of information although I am retired from that department. I would like to offer my thoughts on the main issues that led to his downfall.

First of all, Mr Gonzalez has taken heat for counseling President Bush on the issue of detaining terrorists and enemy combatants without bringing them before the US Courts. On this issue, I am in agreement with the Bush Administration. In the wake of 9-11, we have found ourselves fighting an enemy unique in the history of US warfare. This is an enemy that wears no uniform, represents no nation, has no regard for the Geneva Convention, tortures and beheads its prisoners and targets civilians for mass murder. Are we supposed to give them the protections of the Geneva Convention? I say no. Are we supposed to afford them all the rights of the US legal system-lawyers, Miranda warnings, suppression hearings, rules of evidence and trial by jury? I say no. For me, locking them up at Guantanamo is entirely appropriate. If you know anything about WW2, you may be aware that a group of German sabateurs landed on US soil with the intention of blowing up various defense-related installations. They were captured, tried by military tribunals and most of them were hanged.

The next issue is that of the NSA wiretaps authorized by the president independent of the FISA provisions. With Gonzalez's counsel, Bush authorized the intercepts of phone calls coming from Al-Qaida suspects overseas into the US without court supervision. Great idea in my opinion. Keep in mind, the government is trying to prevent another 9-11 and telephone intercepts in real time can do just that. Do you not think that we were doing the exact same thing during WW2?

Then there is the matter of the firings of 8 US Attorneys. We need to keep in mind that this is a political position, and presidents routinely put their own people into these positions. Rightfully or not, it is a political plum, and the president has every prerogative to appoint new faces into those jobs at his pleasure. When Bill Clinton came into office, he fired 93 US Attorneys and replaced them with his own people. No one said a word, even though one of the prosecutors (in Chicago) was on the verge of indicting Democrat Rep. Dan Rostenkowski of Illinois on corruption charges and another was investigating Whitewater. This was an issue that was totally overblown by the Democrats. It has been said that Gonzalez was less than forthcoming in his answers on this matter during committee hearings. If so, shame on him-but I am not in a position to judge his veracity.

Liberals and the Democrats in Congress would have us believe that the actions of Bush (upon the advice of Gonzalez) in the terrorist detainees and NSA wiretaps were an abuse of power that put us all in danger. Perhaps, but I would say that whatever was done was not to increase the power of Bush (like Nixon did in Watergate), rather it was done to protect innocent American lives from another 9-11.

I hope that Gonzalez testified truthfully before Congress in all these matters. If so, I don't think that history will judge him harshly on the above controversies. Incompetent perhaps-in over his head perhaps, but if he didn't lie about his role in these matters, then I would say he is a decent man who tried to do what he could to defend his country from more attacks.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Senator Larry (I am not a Gay) Craig

Where does one begin in writing about this story? The more I consider it, the more angles I see. No matter how I slice it, however, I don't see a good ending for the Republican senator from Idaho. In fact, his press conference today just made his situation a lot worse.

The background is pretty much known at this point. On June 11, Craig was arrested at Minneapolis Airport, charged with having solicited sex from an undercover cop in an airport bathroom stall. I won't bother with the sordid details as outlined in the police report. They don't represent my main issue. We now know that Craig returned to Minneapolis early this month and quietly pleaded to a misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace. Then, just in the past few days, the story broke. Today, Craig appeared before the media in Boise and insisted he was not gay and had done nothing wrong. He characterized his plea as a mistake because he didn't get legal advice and was now going to hire an attorney to explore his legal options. He also lashed out at the local paper, the Idaho Statesman, for persecuting him.

First point: He has no legal options. The Idaho lawmaker-I repeat, LAWMAKER, has already entered a plea to reduced charges and paid a fine. The legal issue is over.

As to today's statements,........ c,mon. Is he going to tell us that the police report is false? Then why did he plead guilty instead of contesting the charges in the most vigorous manner? That he was a victim of entrapment? How could the cop entrap him when he (the cop) was first seated in the men's room stall when Craig arrived, peered into the cop's stall then entered the next stall where he began the actions that led to his arrest? I guess his position will be that his actions in the bathroom were misinterpreted, thus, leading to his arrest. Hey folks, use your common sense and your own life experiences. We have all been there, right? When we are in a public bathroom stall, how many times have we slid our foot into the next stall and touched the foot of the occupant "next door"? How many times have we slid our hand under the stall divider into the space of another? We all know that some gays, do indeed engage in this behavior in public bathrooms. But who else does it?

Which leads me to my next point: Rumors about Craig's sexual preferences have been floating around for decades, and he has always denied them. It seems that now others are coming forward (anonymously at this point) to describe similar experiences with the senator. But really! Aren't we living in the year 2007? If this man is gay, would it not be better to come out and state it? Would it have killed his political career? I will readily concede that heterosexuals like myself probably can't appreciate what it is like to be gay and to keep it a secret, especially when one is married and has children. I admit that. But it just seems to me that society has come so far in accepting homosexuals for what they are. I personally don't know this man's sexual preference nor do I care. I don't think it should disqualify him from politics. However, soliciting sex acts in a public bathroom is still against the law, and if that is what he did, then he has no excuses.

Now for the political fallout. Of course, the Democrats are estatic. They don't need to say anything, just let the Republicans deal with the mess. Liberal pundits and bloggers are having a field day because so many Republicans have made an issue out of "family values", Craig included. In fact, Craig's voting record in Congress has put him at odds with issues favored by gay activists. For instance, he has opposed gay marriage. Many will say that this makes him Hypocrite Number One. Well, if you think about it, actually not. Why does every homosexual have to be in favor of gay marriage? I know of one conservative radio talk show host, who is openly gay, and who is opposed to gay marriage. Why cannot a gay person feel that marriage is an institution reserved for a man and a woman? I'll bet many do.

However, if Mr Craig has been going around preaching "family values", then he is certainly vulnerable to the hypocrite charge. I don't think I need to elaborate on that point.

Is there a double standard in all this? Of course. Let us not forget that Barney Frank (D-MA) is still in Congress, years after it was revealed that his boyfriend at the time was using Frank's apartment as a gay bordello while Barney was at work on Capital Hill. It never hurt his career much. What about Gerry Studds, another Massachusetts Democrat, who was actually having sex with a 17 year old male page? Did he resign? No. He defiantly told everyone that it was a consensual affair, and if folks didn't like it, they could...., well, you know. His Democratic colleagues loudly supported him, and he went on to be re-elected several times by the good denizons of Massachusetts. (Studds' story was brought back to light during the Mark Foley scandal involving Capital pages.) But let us set sex aside. Why is William ("Cool Cash") Jefferson, (D-LA) still in Congress? He is currently under indictment for accepting a $100,000 bribe from undercover FBI agents-$90,000 of which was later recovered in his home freezer. Name me one Democrat in Congress who has called for him to step down.

So, in light of all that, should Senator Craig resign? In my view, yes. Double standard or not, the facts of this case show that he has no business being in the US Senate-not because he is gay-but because he engaged in behavior that was illegal and completely inappropriate for a member of Congress or any political figure. I say that he did it because he has pleaded guilty. Unfortunately, it appears at this point, that Craig will continue to dig himself further and further, making himself a laughing stock and dragging his party down with him.

As an independent voter, I would say to the Republicans that they should clean their own house and let the public see how the Democrats refuse to clean theirs. The Foleys, the Vitters and the Craigs need to go. As to Senator Craig, I hope that he will just come clean, resign and get on with the business of putting his life and family back together in private.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

MEChA and its Imprint on California Politics

MEChA, which stands for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (Chicano Student Movement of Atzlan), is a student organization that was born in 1969 in California and has spread to college campuses all over the nation. One of their main stated aims is to assist young members of the Hispanic community in entering higher education, a worthy goal. Other aspects of its philosophy are more controversial and strike many as divisive in the extreme.

Rather than use my own or others' characterizations of MEChA's philosophy, let me quote from their national webpage (

"MEChA is a student organization that promotes higher education, cultura and historia (culture and history) . MEChA was founded on the principles of self-determination for the liberation of our people. We believe that political involvement and education is the avenue for change in our society.

Each word in MEChA symbolizes a great concept in terms of la causa (the cause). Movimiento (Movement) means that the organization is dedicated to the movement to gain self determination for our people. Estudiantil (Student as adjective) identifies the organization as a student group for we are part of our Raza's (race's) future. At the heart of the name is the use of the identity: Chicano. At first seen as a negative word, now taken for a badge of honor. In adopting their new identity, the students committed themselves to return to the barrios, colonias (neighborhoods/districts), or campos (fields) and together, struggle against the forces that oppress our gente (people). Lastly, the affirmation that we are indigenous people to this land by placing our movement in Aztlan, the homeland of all peoples from Anahuak.

On campuses across Aztlan. MEChA and Mechistas are often the only groups on campus Raza and non-Raza (Race and non-Race) alike that seek to open the doors of higher education para nuestras comunidades (for our communities) and strive for a society free of imperialism, racism, sexism, and homophobia. An inspirational statement in El Plan Santa Barbara that speaks to these notes:

"MEChA must bring to the mind of every young Chicana and Chicano that the liberation of her/his people from prejudice and oppression is in her/his hands and this responsibility is greater than personal achievement and more meaningful than degrees, especially if they are earned at the expense of her/his identity and cultural integrity. MEChA, then, is more than a name; it is a spirit of unity, of sisterhood and brotherhood, and a resolve to undertake a struggle for liberation in a society where justice is but a word. MEChA is a means to an end" (El Plan de Santa Barbara).

* (Translations of Spanish words in parentheses are added by me).

The motto for MEChA is as follows: Por la Raza todo. Fuera de la Raza nada -For the race everything. (For those) outside of the race-nothing-Not exactly a motto designed to inspire confidence in MEChA's desire to promote harmony.

Aztlan is an Amer-Indian term referring to the present-day southwest area of the US. According to MEChA, this area is illegally occupied by the US. El Plan de Santa Barbara refers to the plan of action that was part of the 1969 beginnings of MEChA at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

As you can see, the language is right out of the 1960s, but still appears on MEChA's website today. Divisive? You make the call. Critics of MEChA claim that the organization still believes that the US southwest should revert back to Mexico and that MEChA is in fact, a racist organization that sets back efforts to assimilate recent Latin immigrants and promote harmony between ethnic groups. MEChA, of course denies the racism charges and stresses its present-day efforts to promote higher education among Hispanic youth. Of course, MEChA supports the cause of illegal aliens in the US.

One interesting sidelight is the prominance in California politics of many of MECha's former members. Many of the state's leading Democratic politicians belonged to the organization during their collegiate years. This has caused many critics to question the commitment of these figures to represent all of their constituents.

California's most visible former Mechista is LA Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, who was a MEChA ;eader while attending UCLA. After UCLA, he attended the "People's Law School", which Frontpage Magazine referred to as "a factory for the manufacture of radical leftist lawyers" (See Frontpage 9-10-2003/License to Kill by Lowell Ponte) Prior to becoming mayor, Villaraigosa was speaker of the lower house of the California legislature and later LA city councilman. Until the recent disclosure of the break-up of his marriage and affair with Telemundo reporter, Mirthala Salinas, Villaraigosa had attracted the most attention as mayor by openly supporting the city's massive illegal alien population, appearing at many of their marches and proclaiming on one occasion, "We clean your toilets!". Under Villaraigosa's stewardship, LA is one of several "sanctuary cities" around the US-that is- cities that will not cooperate with immigration authorities and will not allow their police to inquire about immigration status when they come into contact with suspects.

Until the recent love scandal broke, Villaraigosa had been considered a leading candidate to become governor-and then go on to national office.

In statewide politics, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez is probably the most prominent former Mechista. Nunez was previously the political director of the LA County Federation of Labor and later the head of government relations for LA Unified School District. As the Democratic Party's top legislator, Nunez has been a vocal supporter for the measure that would have allowed illegal aliens to obtain California drivers licenses. In the 1990s, he led protests against Proposition 187 passed by California voters that would have denied benefits to illegal aliens. In one protest in October 1994, which was organized by Nunez and his colleague, Juan Jose Gutierrez, protesters waved Mexican flags and displayed an American flag with 13 stars. Governor Wilson was called a "pig", and "Anglos" were called upon to go back to Europe. Nunez's opponents, to this day, consider him a "Reconquista" (one who favors the return of the southwest to Mexico.)

Cruz Bustamante, who served as Lt. Governor under the disasterous administration of Grey Davis, was also a MEChA member in the 1970s at Fresno State. When Davis was recalled by voters due to his gross ineptitude, Bustamante unsuccessfully ran to succeed him, losing to current governor, Arnold Schwartzenegger. A career political technocrat, who bounces from one position to another, Bustamante's campaigns have been controversial for campaign finance irregularities, i.e. diverting campaign funds into other causes, such as defeating Ward Connerly's Racial Privacy Initiative. Bustamante, not surprisingly, is a strong supporter of racial preferences. He did have one slip-up a couple of years back when, speaking before a group of African-Americans, he let slip the N-word, immediately offering profuse apologies. Did that end his political career? Hardly. He is, after all, a liberal Democrat. Those stories don't have legs, as they say in the news media.

State Senator Gil Cedillo, who represents East Los Angeles, was a MECha activist at UCLA in the 1970s. Like Villaraigosa, he followed UCLA by attending the aforementioned "People's Law School". Cedillo is derisively referred to by many as "One Bill Gil", a reference to his continuing promulgation of legislation that would give drivers licenses to illegal aliens.

Another former Mechista is Joe Baca, member of the US House of Representatives from the Inland Empire area around Riverside and San Bernadino (Rialto). Previously, he was a California state senator. Not long ago, he made headlines by referring to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) as a "whore". This all evolved in connection with strife within the Latino Caucus in Congress as well as Sanchez's criticism of Baca's use of campaign funds.

One point I would like to make here is this: MEChA would deny that they are a racist organization. They would state that their main purpose is to facilitate and assist other young Hispanics in obtaining a higher education, as I said, a worthy goal. Yet, they should realize that many are troubled by the fiery rhetoric of their motto and the questionable language on their website. Also troubling is the langauge emenating from their founding in 1969 and the "Santa Barbara Plan". It implies that they are promoting separatism from mainstream American society. Let me quote further from their national website (

"The Mexican-American (Hispanic) is a person who lacks respect for his/her cultural and ethnic heritage. Unsure of her/himself, she/he seeks assimilation as a way out of her/his 'degraded' social status. Consequently, she/he remains politically ineffective. In contrast, Chicanismo reflects self-respect and pride on one's ethnic and cutural background. Thus, the Chicana/o acts with confidence and with a range of alternatives in the political world. She/he is capable of developing an effective ideology through action" (El Plan de Santa Barbara).

Is this what MEChA still thinks today? Or is this just a slogan from the past? I would hope that the latter is the case.

Now for a little personal imput: I am not Mexican-American nor Hispanic. I am a 62 year old, white Anglo who grew up and went to school with Mexican-Americans in West Los Angeles. This term, Chicano, I recall well from my teenage years. It was a street word for Mexican-Americans- a term many Mexican-Americans still reject. Unfortunately, it became trendy in the universities during the 1960s, and today, some universitities still have what they call "Chicano Studies Departments". My wife is a (legal) Mexican immigrant who came to this country with her family about 40 years ago. I myself speak Spanish, and we have done everything we could to raise our children to speak Spanish and, while being Americans, not to ignore their Mexican heritage. But it comes down to this: While the Mexican influence has always been a part of the fabric of southern California and, indeed, the southwest, this is still the United States and the language that everyone needs to know is English. If there are voices in the Mexican-American community that encourage people to reject their American heritage, to not assimilate with other Americans-including other ethnic groups, then they are doing a huge disservice to their community. Whether we are succeeding or not, our goal should be to accept immigrants from wherever and encourage them to assimilate and become Americans. It should not matter whether their skin is white, black, yellow or brown-we are Americans. More than ever, we Americans need to stand together against the forces that wish to destroy all of us. The politics of ethnicity and the so-called community leaders who practice it are wrong. They are only dividing us all.

As to the above-mentioned political leaders, all of whom are Democrats, there is no record of any of them repudiating their past membership in MEChA nor any of the language that MEChA has used or still uses. They insist that in their political lives, they are representing all of their constituents, but none of them (that I am aware of) have publically stated that MEChA's language is intemporate or out of date.

As for MEChA, if your goal is to help other Hispanics obtain higher education, I am with you on that. If, on the other hand, your goal is to drive a wedge between Hispanics and other ethnic groups and further, to achieve some sort of "reconquista" of the southwestern United States back to Mexico, then you are dead wrong. You would not only be hurting our country, but your community even more so because you are creating an impediment to assimilation. Any Mexican-American family that wants to teach their children Spanish and about the Mexican culture is always free to do so, but that is a personal decision. This is the United States, and we are made up of many ethnic groups. Our task is to come together.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

California Justice

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous-Lindsay Lohan

Southern California commuters had more bulletins to catch on their afternoon crawl back home from work this afternoon. One after another, we were treated to breaking news on our local "celebrities" going to jail-and leaving as fast as you can say-Nicole Ritchie.

First item, Nicole Ritchie, that legendary, uh....uh...., well, celebrity sidekick of Paris Hilton, who is a ....., well, never mind! Anyway, Nicole Ritchie surrendered herself to the long arm of the law in LA today to begin serving a 96 hour jail term for drunk driving. (Drunk driving in LA is our 2nd leading sport, after high-speed car chases. Who needs the NFL?). So while Ms Ritchie was serving her 96 hour sentence, guess what happened? She was released after 82 minutes! All according to the Federal guidelines, due to "overcrowding" according to jail spokeshole, Deputy Maribel Rizo, who added that Ms Ritchie was treated just like every other inmate. When asked if Ms Ritchie spent the 82 minutes in a jail cell, Ms Rizo replied, "I have no further comment."

Makes one wonder if Ms Ritchie spent her 82 minutes of "hell" having cocktails with LA's "Sheriff to the Stars", Lee Baca.

Then there is Lindsey Lohan, star of the latest smash movie, "I married a Pedophile Elephant", or something like that. Remember a few weeks back, driving 100 mph on Pacific Coast Highway, chasing another car, running over someone's foot, drunk, cocaine in her pants pocket? Well that's all been settled now. Ms Lohan has now been ordered to spend one day in Lee Baca's "jail" after pleading no contest to cocaine possession and drunk driving. Using the sliding scale used for Ritchie, that should figure to about 20 minutes, hardly enough time to clink glasses with "The Sheriff to the Stars". Well, looking at it objectively, I guess the prosecutor was unable to prove that the "black guy" wasn't really driving and that those really were Lohan's pants where the cocaine was found-even though she was wearing them! You know, reasonable doubt and such.

But the really big crime-buster story in LA this week was the capture of notorious illegal alien, Elvira Arellano, who left her fortress sanctuary at the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago to go on the road crusading for "immigration reform"-translated: abolishing all immigration requirements. Showing up at the Church of Our Lady of Angels in LA, which is under the rule of Cardinal Don Corleone Mahony, she was quickly snapped up by ICE, and faster than you can say Tony Villar, was shoved across the border at Tijuana. There she sits at this writing, being treated as the new patron saint of Mexico, the new Mother Teresa, the new Rosa Parks, serenaded and courted by the leaders of that plundered nation, who don't have the time nor inclination to better the lives of their citizens so that they might stay there. Now the Mexican Senate in Mexico City is passing a resolution to ask President Felipe Calderon to pass a diplomatic note to the US complaining about the fact that one of their citizens was deported for being in the country illegally. Of course, LA's rolling stone mayor, Tony Villar, could do little more than "express his concern", before getting back to the business of the people- filling potholes and other orifices. (Remember, LA is a sanctuary city.)

Not to be outdone, our activists in LA are planning another big demonstration this coming Saturday to protest the deportation and the failure of the US Government to pass "Comprehensive Immigration Reform". (Apparently, there will be no concurrent protest to demand reform in Mexico of all the corruption that causes Mexico's poor to leave in the first place.)

But if those of you in other parts of the country think that we have no control over crime in the Golden State-think again! You may not know it, but we have Jerry Brown as our Attorney General. Remember our former Governor Moonbeam? He is now the state's top crime-buster bringing terror into the hearts of all the corporate environmental polluters, who he is threatening with lawsuits up the yazoo. What about the killers, rapists, robbers et al? Small fish.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hillary Clinton and the "Invisible Soldiers"

"Kneel in my presence, Fousesquawk"

Have you seen Hillary Clinton’s new campaign commercial? It is (apparently) a clip from one her outdoor speeches in front of an adoring audience somewhere “in the Heartland of America”. Her theme is that, to President Bush, America’s “victims” are invisible, you know, single mothers and such. Then she gets to her main line, which is the thing that especially pains her is that, to the president, America’s soldiers are also invisible. To that, I say that a little reminiscing is in order.

Let us go back to the days when the Clinton Administration came into office in January 1993. Of course, we knew during that first campaign in 1992 that Bill Clinton had been a certified draft dodger, who, in one letter that survived, expressed his “loathing” for the military-this during the Viet Nam era.

Gradually, we learned some other tidbits from the Clinton years in the White House. For one thing, military officers assigned to the White House were ordered not to wear their uniforms since “it made White House staff feel uneasy”. On at least one occasion, military officers were reportedly detailed to serve hors d’oeuvres and drinks at a White House social function. Then there was the incident when a general was passing a female White House staffer and greeted her with a simple “Good morning”, only to be told by the woman that she did not speak to military people. The president tried to deny that the incident ever took place. But it did take place. In fact, it was determined that the officer in question was none other than former drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey.

This was the mood in the Clinton White House, a workplace where, according to various stories, some confirmed, others not, interns had sex with the president, non-political workers were told not to even make eye contact with the First Lady, and the First Lady herself reportedly threw a book at a Secret Service agent who refused to carry her suitcase upstairs. (For those of you younger voters who are too young to remember the Clinton presidency, the First Lady was Senator and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.)

These are, to be accurate, reported incidents. Some have been denied by Clinton et al. (Of course, they all denied Monica Lewinski until the cows came home wearing soiled blue dresses. ) If Hillary Clinton wishes to deny any of these events ever happened, she may do so. In fact, I would invite the representatives of the mainstream news media, who are covering her campaign and moderating the Democratic debates to ask her about these charges in light of her comments about the military being “invisible” to President Bush. Of course, she will respond with one of her patented 2-minute tap dances, but at least someone could put her on record. Sure they will. Wonder why the Dems won’t do a debate by Fox News?

Elvira Arellano-The "Mexican Rosa Parks?-Not Hardly

On August 19, ICE agents arrested Mexican national, Elvira Arellano, 32, in Los Angeles. Ms Arellano was taken into custody as an illegal alien, processed and deported to her native Mexico within 24 hours. Her eight year old son, who was born in the US and thus holds US citizenship, was left behind in the care of supporters when Ms Arellano chose not to take him with her to Mexico. This arrest and deportation was the culmination of a year-long saga that began when Ms Arellano, who was under a deportation order, took refuge in the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago. The case has aroused national attention, and immigration activists have rallied to her cause. Some have even taken the liberty of referring to Ms Arellano as the “Mexican Rosa Parks” because of her act of defying immigration authorities.

Ms Arellano originally entered the US illegally in 1997. Subsequent to her arrival, her son was born on US soil. Ms Arellano was later deported, only to return to the US again (illegally). In 2002, she was arrested in Chicago, where she was working at O’Hare Airport cleaning planes. In addition to immigration charges, she was also charged with using a false social security number and ordered deported. Instead of leaving, she defied the authorities, and in 2006, took refuge in the United Methodist Church in Chicago under the protection of Pastor Walter Coleman. Pastor Coleman in the past year, has given several interviews in which he has defiantly justified the action, claiming that the government’s immigration policy was broken. In order to rub salt in the wound, Ms Arellano has also often spoken publicly to reporters criticizing the US policies and NAFTA, which “have done much damage to her country, forcing her to come to the US”.

Things came to a head this past week when Ms Arellano announced that she was planning to leave her sanctuary in order to travel to Washington and participate in demonstrations for immigration reform. Attention then focused on ICE and what action they would take. Then, yesterday, Arellano turned up in Los Angeles, at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Angels in the downtown area. (This church is the domain of controversial Cardinal, Roger Mahony, who has drawn criticism for his handling of the pedophile priest scandal as well as his support for illegal alien amnesty.) As mentioned above, Arellano was arrested outside the church, processed and quickly deported. Given the option of taking her son with her, she declined, leaving him in the care of her supporters. As of this writing, Arellano is in the border town of Tijuana, while her son is reportedly en route back to Chicago.

I applaud the action of ICE for their (long overdue) enforcement of the law. For obvious reasons, they chose not to invade the Chicago church to take her into custody. I realize that many, even among the secure borders crowd, feel badly that Ms Arellano and her son have been separated. (The father, whoever he is, is not in the picture.) But the choice was Ms Arellano’s not to take him with her to Mexico, which she was free to do. Why is she leaving him behind? Probably to prolong the issue and bring criticism to the US Government.

A couple of other aspects of this case must be remembered: First, Ms Arellano had already been deported, returned, was ordered deported again and refused, fleeing to the church instead. Then she made a public spectacle of the whole story, in effect telling the government that our immigration laws be damned. She and her supporters, including the aforementioned Pastor Walter Coleman, have literally rubbed our noses in it.

It should also be stressed that this woman stole someone else’s identity- a criminal offense- by working with a false social security number. How can ICE, in a post-911 world, not take action against any illegal alien working at a major airport under a false identity?

Elvira Arellano, in my view, should give up her crusade to live in this country and send for her son to join her in Mexico. When he comes of age, he can decide whether he wants to assert his US citizenship and return here.

One more point. Ms Arellano is no Rosa Parks, and the comparison is an insult to the latter. Rosa Parks was being denied her fundamental rights as a US citizen (and human being) in another era and under an unjust local law. She was arrested for refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white man! Our immigration laws are not unjust. They are the same as any other country in one basic respect: We maintain the sovereign right to allow or refuse entry to anyone we please. No non-citizen has the right to enter America (or any other nation) without proper documentation and passing through the appropriate checkpoint. Elvira Arellano and her open-border supporters were basically telling us that we could take our laws and ……., well, you know. At least on this occasion, justice was, albeit belatedly, served.

Hugo Chavez and his Crimes Against his Neighbors in Colombia

Danny Glover and Hugo Chavez

The current president of Venezuela has been in the news a lot in the last couple of years. Most notably for the people of his country, Chavez has been steadily steering Venezuela toward a dictatorship. Recently, he shut down the main opposition news network for the crime of criticizing him. Of course, he has been a thorn in the side of the US and President Bush, openly taunting our president and attempting to forge anti-American alliances in Latin America, most notably with Fidel Castro. At the same time, Chavez has established an alliance with the odious regime in Iran. Chavez has also been successful in establishing individual alliances in North America, specifically folks like Robert F Kennedy Jr., Cindy Sheehan and Hollywood figures like Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover. Many of these folks have traveled to Venezuela to be photographed with the dictator since they love his antics in goading Bush and opposing US policies. However, another one of Chavez’s policies has garnered less attention in the US. In addition to everything else, Chavez has assisted the Colombian rebel group, FARC in its efforts to fight the government of Colombia, Venezuela’s neighbor.

As virtually everyone in the US knows, Colombia has for decades been a focal point in the international drug trafficking picture. Colombian drug lords have not only sent tons of cocaine, marijuana and heroin to the US and Europe, but have engaged in bloody turf wars in the process. Tragically, the nation has seen incredible violence carried out by its drug traffickers, namely the so-called Medellin and Cali Cartels. In the process, many courageous Colombian police, prosecutors, politicians and journalists who have confronted the cartels have paid with their lives, and in many cases, the lives of their family members as well. Over the years, the cartels largely succeeded in either intimidating or corrupting various parts of the government, most notably the judiciary. Yet, many public figures in Colombia have shown extraordinary courage in standing up to the cartels. Many have paid with their lives.

I have some personal knowledge of what I am writing about. Having been a DEA agent, I occasionally had the chance to work with Colombian police on individual cases, not extensively, but I was able to form friendships among some of them. In addition, I participated in a DEA training seminar for Colombian law enforcement in 1995 in Bogota. I am a strong supporter of US assistance to that country in fighting the drug traffic. I feel that they deserve our support. Moreover, now the country has a president (President Alvaro Uribe) who has been most courageous in fighting the traffickers. Recently, President Uribe visited the US, where he was snubbed by Democratic lawmakers due to his alleged past associations with right-wing death squads, a charge he has denied.

As law enforcement agencies, both in Colombia and the US, gradually achieved successes against the cartels, much of the lucrative drug trade has fallen to the nation’s main insurgency group, the FARC (Armed Revolutionary Force of Colombia), a Marxist rebel group that has, for decades, fought a war against the Colombian government. Aside from drug trafficking, the group engages in kidnappings and assassinations in furtherance of its goals.

Which leads me to my point. As Colombia, which is a democratic nation, fights valiantly to overcome the terror and violence plaguing its people, what does its neighbor in Venezuela, under Chavez, do? Mr Chavez is allowing FARC to set up sanctuaries on the Venezuelan side of the border with Colombia. In other words, Chavez has established an alliance with an organization that not only traffics in drugs, kidnaps and murders innocents, but also is attempting to overthrow the Colombian government and establish a Marxist government in that country.

None of this, of course, bothers the likes of Sheehan, Kennedy, Belafonte, Glover and Penn, all of whom adore Chavez. Anybody who is an enemy of George Bush is their friend, even if he is an enemy of the United States, even if he supports a murderous group like FARC.

The next time you see photos of these characters cavorting with Chavez, even if you don’t like Bush or US policies, think about the damage Chavez is doing to his neighbor, Colombia. Sheehan is going to run for public office in 2008. Kennedy promotes Venezuela’s oil company, Citgo. People like Penn and Glover would like you to buy tickets to see their movies. Maybe Belafonte would like you to dust off and play one of his old "Banana Boat" songs. I don’t know about you, but I will remember.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Who Does the Democratic Party Represent?

Democrat Candidates at the Daily Kos Convention (Sen. Clinton with Fan)

If you listen to Democratic politicians talk, you would think that they are concerned for the great middle class-working people, if you will, who are being screwed by the rich upper class, those that are represented by the evil Republicans. Yet, if you look at the recent audiences that the Democratic candidates for president have graced their presence with, it gives you pause.

For example, let us look at the most recent venues that the presidential candidates of the Democratic party have visited. First, they refused to take part in a debate that would have been conducted by Fox News. Why? Were they afraid of receiving hardball questions by this "far-right" network? On the other hand, they have no problem being questioned by the likes of CNN or MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, folks who are, let us say, sympathetic to the liberal, Democratic cause. These folks represent the preferred venue for the Democrats. Did you see the last debate held in Chicago's Soldier Field under the auspices of the AFL-CIO? There was Keith Olbermann throwing up softballs like "How will it feel in your first week as president, when everyone else is vying to replace you?" If you watched it on TV, you probably noticed Sluggo, the union guy, responding to each answer by standing up (behind the candidates) and raising both arms in triumphant applause. I think he liked all of them, even Dennis Kucinich in his ill-fitting suit and probably wearing (union-made) Buster Brown shoes as well.

Then there was the recent appearance by all of the candidates (except "Humble" Joe Biden) before the mad hatters of the left-wing blog, Daily Kos, at their annual convention. It was instructive that the candidates passed on attending the meeting of the (moderate) Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), in order to pander to the far-left wing of their party. Most memorable here was the fact that the candidates competed against each other in demonstrating to the Daily Kos mob who was the most courageous in standing up to Kos critic, Bill O'Reilly. Personally, I would be more interested in knowing who would be more courageous in standing up to Islamic terrorists. But I guess I'm just a narrow-minded bigot. (By the way, Mrs Clinton; when did you ever "stand up" to Bill O'Reilly? When were you ever interviewed by O'Reilly-or even speak to him?)

Finally, there was the "Great Gay Debate" hosted by Melissa Etheridge, who cornered virtually all of the candidates into responding, "Some of my best friends are gay"- or something like that. Another exercise in pandering.

Putting philosophical differences between liberals and conservatives aside, can we agree on one thing? The last thing America needs in this age of international Islamic terror is a president who would pander to anyone. Doesn't all this confirm the image of the Democrats as the party of weakness?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chris Matthews and America's Inability to Connect with the Muslim World

Chris Matthews

As a political talk-show junkie, I have to admit that, even though I am a conservative, I used to like Chris Matthews, the host of Hardball on MSNBC. I knew he was a Massachusetts Democrat who had gotten his start in politics working for "Tipp" O"Neill. Yet, on the (relatively few) occasions I watched him on TV, he seemed unafraid to criticize the Democrats when criticism was due. He also seemed to be able to ask hard questions to Democrats as well as Republicans. That earned him my grudging respect.

Recently, however, on the (few) occasions I have observed him, Matthews seems to take a more partison line. Maybe it was the moment in the 2006 mid-term election night coverage, when he was caught on mike openly cheering the announcement of yet another Democratic candidate unseating a Republican incumbant. Maybe it was his comment this week reporting the resignation of Karl Rove by referring to him as "this bum". Then, this morning, while I was driving to work and listening to my usual "hate radio" shows (as liberals call them), I caught Dennis Prager's anaysis of Matthews' interview with a biographer of Barack Obama. During this interview, Matthews (in a segment played by Prager) rhetorically asked the writer if Obama's experience of having lived in a Muslim country (Indonesia) between the ages of 6-10 might have provided him with an insight into the Muslim world that other presidential candidates might lack. (In his question, Matthews explicitly stated that this was his own viewpoint.) Matthews went on to refer to the inability of the US, in his mind, to connect to the Islamic World (I am paraphrasing.)

Aside from the fact that Matthews has allowed his personal opinions to get in the way of his reporting, Prager raised a poignant point. Prager's question was why the US was perceived, in Matthews' mind, to be unable to connect to the Islamic World. Prager first raised the question of what had the US done to Muslims to bring about 9-11 (nothing). Next, and more importantly, Prager reminded his audience of all the conflicts around the world between Muslims and other groups and religions. In the Middle East for example, Muslims are in conflict against Jews. In the West, they are in conflict against Christianity. In Asia, in southern Thailand, for example, they are in conflict against Buddists, or in the Philippines against Catholics. In India, Muslims are in conflict against Hindus. It seems that everywhere one finds large Muslim populations, there is conflict against non-Muslims. This begs the question: Who are the troublemakers here?

Of course, there are many in the West who would argue that it is we who have done something wrong to anger the Muslim world. However, when one looks at the track record all over the world, how do you make the case that the whole world is picking on Islam? Are Filopino Catholics conducting an insurgency in that nation? Are Thai Buddists conducting an insurgency there? No.

To be fair, Matthews and his Democrat allies are not the only offenders. One of the Republican candidates for president, Ron Paul, blames our own nation for making Muslims hate us. There seems to be a large contingent of Westerners who are ready to prostrate themselves and grant any and all concessions to radical Muslims, if only they will stop trying to kill us.

In my view, Americans and the West need to stop being apologetic about who we are and the kind of civilization we have created. The same goes for the Far East. We owe nothing to our minority Muslim populations other than the opportunity to live among us free of discrimination and free to practice their own religion. That we have done a pretty good job of doing. We do not owe them any form of surrender.

As for Matthews, I think he needs to do a little self-examination as to his objective reporting (or lack thereof). If he wants to advance his personal agenda, he should declare himself the liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh and join Air America (if they are still around.) Then again, he could just stay at MSNBC. It's the same thing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Religious accommodation- or surrender?

"Death to Fousesquawk!"

In a free and civilized society, should every person be free to practice his or her own religion? In my view, absolutely. On the other hand, should a society accommodate itself to a minority religion to the point that it subjugates its majority religion and its culture in the process? In my view, absolutely not. This is the question that Western Civilization is confronted with in its relationship with Muslim immigrants. It is troublesome to me that several factions of our society wish to virtually surrender to our Islamic minorities in order to buy peace. In other words, freedom from terroristic attacks.

Let me give you one example. In the Netherlands, a nation that has a growing Muslim minority, that liberal nation has seen a rise in violence perpetrated by Muslims. Dutch film producer, Theo Van Gogh, who had the effrontery to produce a film critical of Islam, was murdered, literally butchered on the streets of a Dutch city in 2004 by a Muslim immigrant in retaliation. Indignation? Only in some quarters. Just this past week, a Dutch Catholic priest, Tiny Muskens, has issued a call for Dutch churches to now refer to God as Allah, solely to appease Muslims in that country.

In another country, Scotland, in the wake of the Muslim terrorist attacks at Glascow Airport, has now passed a regulation that bans workers eating at their desks during the upcoming Ramadan holidays when Muslims are refrained from eating from sunup to sundown. In addition, offices are now expected to remove their food vending machines during Ramadan as well.

Well, you say, that would never happen in the US. Think again. Kansas City Airport has now decided to install foot baths for Muslim cab drivers. Ditto for the University of Michigan at Dearborn in consideration for their Muslim students. Does this fly in the face of the principle of separation of Church and State? Well, yes, but never mind. As you know, universities in the US are all about "Inclusion" and so forth. Of course, if Christians were to ask for a similar concession, they would be promptly refused.

Of course, you and I know that in Europe and the US, there is truly rising anger and indignation among the common folk, not only at Islamic acts of terror world-wide, but also at the arrogance and effrontery of some Muslim immigrants who have resettled in the West and expect us to adjust to their customs and religious practices. Yet, who speaks for us in our governments and universities? At least in Australia, Prime Minister, John Howard, has had the courage to publically tell Australia's Muslim immigrants that they should accept the culture and traditions of the country they have chosen to immigrate to -or return to their countries of origin.

Here in the US, in the wake of 9-11, Muslim groups, such as CAIR are now resorting to legal action against any perceived acts of discrimination against Muslims. The classic example is the lawsuit being filed by the Flying Imams, not only against US Air, but also against any passengers who had the gall to alert officials of suspicious activity by Muslim passengers. If the Muslim minorities in the West want to distance themselves from the majority populations in which they live, they are doing a pretty good job of it.

In my opinion, it comes down to this. Western societies are correct to allow immigrants to maintain and practice their religions. However, there is no obligation to allow these immigrants to subvert our own religions and traditions. We expect immigrants to respect our traditions and not demand concessions from us. Muslims who immigrate to the West are free to build their mosques and practice Islam. They should not be able to demand that we change our customs. So-called "honor killings" cannot ever be allowed in our societies. Anti-Semitism is likewise unacceptable. If we choose to drink alcohol, we will do so. Same with eating pork. They must also understand that freedom of religion also means the freedom to criticize a religion, including Islam. Christianity gets criticized every day in the US. (In Europe, it is all but forgotten.) Why should Islam be immune?

Muslim immigrants need to understand that, while their freedom to practice their religion is protected, they have no right to impose their values on their adopted countries. Those that have visions of converting the West to an Islamic society under Sharia law, should understand that they will only place themselves on the margins of our society. While we should welcome Muslims who wish to assimilate while maintaining their religion, those who do not wish to do so would be better advised to return home.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Excuse Me, Professor, Aren't You....Where Are They Now?

Having come of age in the 1960s when I attended college and served three years in the US Army, I vividly recall that turbulent decade in US history. Campuses were consumed by anti-government, anti-establishment demonstrations, often erupting in violence. Racial unrest erupted even as the Civil Rights Movement was in progress. Of course, the Viet Nam War was in full swing and opposition to that war was largely based on university campuses. The most notable incident was the shooting at Kent State, where National Guardsmen opened fire on rock-throwing students, killing four of them in the process. In addition, revolutionary organizations, like the Black Panthers, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Weather Underground, were born, adding more fuel to the fire and keeping the police and FBI busy.

To a younger generation, the 1960s are ancient history, but to our generation, that decade represents a formative period in our lives. We won't easily forget what was going on in our nation in those days, nor we will forget many of the figures who played a role. Many have since passed on, some in a violent manner. Others are still around, in some cases, having spent some time in prison, in other cases, simply surviving and moving on with their lives. In this essay, I would like to focus on a few who are not only still alive, but very active in the field of education.

1 Bernadine Dohrn

Ms Dohrn is currently a law professor at the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago and director and founder of the Children and Family Justice Center. Much of her work has centered around juvenile law. If you look at her faculty profile, you see a neatly-groomed lady with an impressive resume which describes her degrees, publications and teaching activities. Nothing on the school's website describes the part of her life that made her famous decades ago.

Dohrn graduated from the University of Chicago in 1963 and followed that up with her law degree in 1967 from the University of Chicago School of Law. It was at the end of the 1960s, when Dohrn became active in revoltionary movements, first as a leader of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM), a radical faction of the SDS. This group evolved into the Weather Underground, which issued a "Declaration of War" against the US Government. The organization became involved in a series of violent incidents including bombings and armed robberies, all in the name of the Revolution. Dohrn herself, lived as a fugitive until 1980 when she and her husband, Bill Ayers, surrendered to police. Some of the charges against her were dropped, but she pleaded guilty to aggrevated battery and bail jumping and was given probation. After subsequently refusing to testify against another Weatherman member in an armed robbery case, she was jailed for less than a year. (Wikipedia)

After her release, Dohrn entered the field of law, later joining the Northwestern University Law School. In addition to Northwestern University she has also worked as a visiting professor at Leiden University and the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (Netherlands).

2 Ron Karenga

Karenga was born in Maryland in 1941 but moved to California in the 1950s. At Los Angeles City College, he became student body president. He later studied at UCLA and eventually got a PHD from US International University (now Alliant International University). He obtained another PHD from USC in 1994. Today he is a professor in the Black Studies Department at California State University at Long Beach. Karenga is also known as the founder of Kwanzaa (1967).

During the 1960s, Karenga became involved in black nationalist movements in the US including the Black Panthers. In 1969, a factional dispute between the Panthers and Karenga's group (US Organization) led to a shooting at UCLA, whereby two Panthers were shot to death.

In 1971, Karenga and two others were charged and convicted for felony assault and false imprisonment, which involved the assault and torture of two female followers. According to his bio in Wikipedia, during his trial, a psychiatrist reported that Karenga's sanity was in question due to his bizaare behavior, which he characterized as paranoid and schizophrenic.

In 1975, Karenga was released from prison and resumed his African-centered activity, which included organizing and writing, as well as furthering his academic career. As mentioned above, he is currently teaching black studies at CSU-Long Beach. From 1989 to 2002, Karenga was the chairman of the department.

3 Kathleen Cleaver

Kathleen Cleaver (nee Neal) was born in Dallas in 1945. Her father was a university teacher and later foreign service officer. Thus, Cleaver grew up being posted with her family to various countries in Africa and Asia. In the 1960s, she returned to the US to study in college and began her involvement in civil rights issues. In 1967, she left school to work for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Soon after she met Eldridge Cleaver, whom she married and with whom she re-located to San Francisco where they joined the Black Panther Party. With the Panthers, Kathleen served as National Communications Secretary.

In 1968, Eldridge Cleaver was wounded in a shootout with the Oakland Police. Charged with attempted murder, he was given bail. In November 1968, both Cleavers left the US, first to Mexico, then to Cuba and Algeria. Eldridge returned to the US in 1975 to face charges. He was sentenced to probation.

Back in the US, Kathleen resumed her studies at Yale in 1981, where she eventually received her bachelors and law degrees. In 1985, she divorced Eldridge Cleaver, who has since died. She currently teaches Law at Emory University in Atlanta.

4 Angela Davis

Angela Davis was born in 1944 in Birmingham. During the 1960s in California, she was a political activist, associated with the Black Panther Party, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Communist Party.

Davis was educated at Brandeis University, where she began her interest in the Communist Party. During her student years, she made connections with various socialist figures, including Professor Herbert Marcuse. Davis eventually studied overseas in Paris and Frankfurt. After getting her masters degree at UC San Diego, she returned to Germany for a PHD in philosophy from Humboldt University in East Berlin.

Back in the US, Davis found employment at UCLA as an assistant acting professor in philosophy, beginning in 1969. She became controversial in California because of her association with the Communist Party and the Black Panthers.

One of her activities in connection with the Black Panthers was her effort to gain the release of George Jackson and two other Panthers, known as the "Soledad Brothers". (They were incarcerated at Soledad Prison in California.) On August 7, 1970, Jackson's brother, Jonathon, and two others broke into the trial of an associate, James McClain, and took hostages, including the presiding judge, Harold Haley, demanding the release of the "Soledad Brothers". During the ensuing shootout, Judge Haley was killed by a shotgun blast that had been taped to his throat. Jackson and one accomplice were killed. A prosecutor was paralyzed in the shootout. (George Jackson was later killed during an attempted prison escape.)

One of the weapons used in the incident was connected to Davis, and a warrant was issued for her arrest as an accomplice. Davis fled the state and was a fugitive for over a year until her arrest in New York. Brought back to California, she was put on trial and found not guilty in 1972.

Following her release, Davis moved for a while to Cuba, where she was received enthusiastically. Later, in the US, she ran for the office of vice-president on the Communist Party ticket in 1980 and 1984. Though no longer a member of the Communist Party, she is still an activist lobbying for such issues as the abolition of prisons. She is currently the chair and professor of History of Consciousness Department and Director of the Feminist Studies Department at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

These are four figures from a somewhat bygone era. I say bygone because the 1960s have left a mark on the US that perseveres to this day. In my view, with the notable exception of the Civil Rights Movement, most of the carry-over effects have been negative.

I have tried to be fair to the above people in this posting. What I have written above comes from public sources. I have never attended one of their classes, never interviewed them, never met them. I have no information to indicate that they have been anything other than law-abiding citizens during the decades since they were gaining headlines and notoriety. To my knowledge, Cleaver was never charged with a crime, nor has Davis ever been convicted of a crime. I can't even say what their current feelings are about their past-whether they have changed or not. I will leave that for those who have done more research. I can only hope that with time, they have modified their attitudes somewhat. Why do I hope so? Because, in answer to the question,
"Where are they now?", they are in our universities, and they are teaching our sons and daughters.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Lions and the Water Buffalo-An Analogy

There is a video on Youtube going across the Internet currently. Shot in Africa, it shows a pride of lions attacking a herd of water buffalo that have come to drink at a body of water. As the buffalo flee (as they generally do), a calf is caught by the lions at the edge of the water. As the lions work on killing the calf, a crocodile tries to get in on the action, grabbing the calf from the rear and engaging the lions in a tug of war, eventually won by the lions. Then, as the lions try to finish off the calf, something unusual happens. The herd of buffalo suddenly decide they have had enough and return to the scene to save their calf. For the next several minutes, the buffalo herd does battle with the outnumbered lions and actually prevail in driving off the predators after flipping a few of them into the air with their horns. The calf is saved and the lions retreat to lick their wounds and ponder their defeat.

This reminds me of an incident I observed in Berlin many years ago (1970). I was walking down one of the city's main streets when I observed an altercation at a stop light. Two big biker-type dirtbags were in a car waiting for the light to turn green. Yet, when the light changed, they were not paying attention causing the driver behind them to toot his horn. Taking offense, the two thugs got out of their car and confronted the other driver, a small wimpy looking guy in glasses and a suit. After a few threats, one of the hoodlums began chasing the poor guy across the street into a park. Finally cornered, the little guy cowered in fear awaiting the knockout blow. At this point, the bad guy wound up and threw a roundhouse right that not only missed its target, but caused him to fall to the ground in a scene reminiscient of Laurel and Hardy. Suddenly, the little guy realized he could stand up for himself. Now, I watched the lion being chased back across the street by the water buffalo. Back to the original scene, the bad guy was cowering against the wall while Mr Peepers was threatening to thrash him. The other bad guy stood by sheepishly, afraid to help out his buddy. Final result? The good guy won, and I had a good laugh. True story-I am not making this up, but then again, Germany is not the US.

Why do I relate these two stories? Because they carry a message. First of all, bullies are cowards. More importantly, there is an analogy to the current problems we face in the world today, first in regards to the criminal predators in our society, and secondly to international terrorism. In both instances, we have the numbers and the ability to stand up to these two menaces. The question is-do we have the will? Do we feel the anger that would enable us to rise up and defeat these foes? Sometimes I wonder. When I see the outrageous actions of British Muslims and the seeming desire of British politicians to appease them, a la Neville Chamberlain, I wonder. When I see a similar attitude by other European countries who are faced with a genuinely hostile Muslim minority, I wonder. When I see hateful demonstrations by Muslim activists on US campuses, directed not only at Israel, but also against America and Jews in general, demonstrations that are "tolerated" by university leaders, such as the school where I teach (UC Irvine), I wonder. When I see the silence of peaceful Muslims and the reluctance of most to confront and defeat the Jihadists in their midst, I wonder. When I see a group of Imams, clearly orchestrating an incident designed to get them thrown off a plane and sue the airline and the passengers who reported them, I wonder. When I see our own national leaders unwilling to control our borders and maintain our sovreignty, I wonder. When I see our local leaders, like Mayor Villaraigosa in LA and other cities like Newark, declare themselves sanctuary cities, even at the cost of having their own people murdered by an illegal alien, as in the case of the latter, I wonder. When I see a town like Hazelton, Pa, try to pass regulations designed at driving out illegal aliens, only to be told by the federal courts that they have no right to do so, I wonder. When I see liberal judges putting us at risk by not putting violent predators, especially those who prey against our children, in jail, I wonder.

Is it not time for the water buffalo of the world to realize that we can and must stand up to the lions? This is not a call for vigilanteism. We have the laws and the structure necessary to deal with these problems. All we need is the will.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Execution Murder of Three-Illegal Alien Charged-When Will it End?

Dear Senators Lautenberg and Menendez,

Congratulations. Thanks to your open borders policies, three of your citizens in Newark are now dead. As of this posting, a 28 year old illegal alien from Peru, Jose Carranza, is charged with the execution-style slaying of three American teenagers on a playground in Newark, NJ. According to accounts, the victims were forced to kneel and were shot in the back of the head. Worse yet, this suspect was already out on bail on sexual assault charges involving a minor. Question: Why was this bum in the US to begin with? Answer: Because our elected officials refuse to control who enters this country, refuse to control our borders, and refuse to scoop up the criminal element among our illegal aliens for deportation. So, as a result, we now witness another outrage that our leaders could have prevented.

How interesting it is to watch the TV news conferences coming out of Newark and to listen to the words of the DA and the Mayor. Is this the same District Attorney's Office that failed to keep this person off the streets in the first place? Did they fight hard enough to keep him behind bars as a danger to society, given the nature of the initial crime-or his potential as a flight risk given that he was an illegal alien? What about the Mayor, who runs a "santuary city"? Do these people bear some responsibility for what happened? I hope the families of the victims and the residents of Newark are asking some hard questions today.

This is not the first time. It seems every week, Fox's Bill O'Reilly reports on another story involving crimes being committed by illegal aliens, who, in many cases, had already previously come into contact with the criminal justice system. Yet, these known criminals are not being turned over to immigration offcials by local authorities. In addition, many US cities, like Newark, have proclaimed themselves "sanctuary cities", which will not turn over illegal aliens to ICE. As a result, as these criminal aliens walk through the revolving door of our justice system, just like their American counterparts, they are walking the streets among us and committing more crimes. So now, we have three dead youngsters in Newark, a dead girl in Washington state, where a Thai national, Terapon Adhahn, 42, with previous sex convictions, is charged. Then there is the Liberian national, Mahamu Kanneh, 23, of Gaithersburg, Md, whose charges of sexual abuse and rape against a 7-year-old minor were dropped because the court could not find an interpreter for him (even though he was educated in American schools, speaks English, and comes from a country where English is the official language). All this in the past month. To be accurate, the latter two cases involve foreigners apparently in the US legally, but why was the Thai allowed to remain after his first conviction? Legal or illegal, once an alien commits a crime and is convicted, then, when the sentence is finished, there is no justification for allowing that person to remain in the US. Or am I just crazy?

Another question: Why do we have to turn on O'Reilly at Fox News to hear about these outrages? Answer: Because the liberal, mainstream news media tries to bury them, that's why. Stories like this don't fit into their open borders agenda. It is amazing how many people I talk to-people who are educated and consider themselves well-informed- who never have heard these stories until they get them from me. These are the same people who read their newspapers or watch "Perky" Katie Couric and the CBS Evening Blues. They would rather get their daily dose of Bush-bashing than be informed about the chaos that is our city streets, already polluted by our own home-grown predators and now supplemented by the World's criminal element.

The other issue that rankles me is the constant series of cases involving sexual predators (American or otherwise) where some lenient judge lets off a child rapist with probation or a few months in jail-only to see the same offender get out and commit similar crimes. Again, one has to turn on O'Reilly to even learn about these outrages. It seems that in Vermont, sex crimes against children aren't even on the books. What kind of country refuses to protect its children against these monsters?

Now that I've presented the problem, let me offer some solutions. First, every state that has not yet done so, needs to pass a version of Jessica's Law. If you don't know what Jessica's Law is, you need to look it up. To date, 42 states have such legislation. In short, this law would keep child predators locked up.

Second, the Federal Government needs to advise these sanctuary cities, that unless they cooperate with the Feds when it comes to criminal illegal aliens, they will lose federal funding-for everything.

Third-and this is for the voters. You need to know who your judges are and what they are doing on the bench. In this, O'Reilly is performing a public service. (Of course, the liberals hate him for it.) In the case of appointed judges, you need to know that elections have serious consequences when it comes to who gets appointed on the bench. The Supreme Court, the Appellate courts and Federal Courts are prime examples. Liberal politicians put liberal judges on the bench. Liberal judges put criminals back on the streets.

Finally, let your elected representatives know in writing how you feel about their dereliction of duty. The above address to Senators Lautenberg and Menendez is not just some rhetorical gimmick on my part. It is what I said to them in an email today.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Global Warming- Chicken Little or Real Crisis?

"Global Warming, My Ass"

I begin this essay by confessing outright that I don't know the answer to the title. In other words, is this Global Warning crisis real? I have no idea. If it is real, is it caused by humans? I have no idea. Why do I have no idea? Simple. I am not a scientist, meteorologist or whatever you have to be to claim expertise on this topic. I listen to the debates, but when they get too technical, I get lost. I just don't know what the truth is. So, why am I writing on a topic that I know nothing about? Because I have a feeling no one else knows either, and that is precisely my point.

Now, you say, people like Al Gore know the answer. Have you not watched his movie-"An Inconvenient Truth"? No, I have not. The name Al Gore brings a smirk to my face. After listening to this buffoon for years opining on things political, I just can't bring myself to turn to him for guidance on what is good or bad for the planet. I often derisively dismiss him as "Chicken Little". But more specifically to the point: Last year, I watched Al Gore on the Jay Leno show (only because I like Leno). Gore started off his discussion on global warming by declaring that the scientific debate was over and settled. That was a flat out misstatement. The fact is that numerous scientists disagree with Gore's thesis that Global Warming is real and that it is man-made. Of course, numerous others agree with Gore. So where does that leave us? Right back to my introduction-I don't know.

I freely concede that Mr Gore and his supporters may be right. However, I (like many scientists) am not prepared to concede that he is right. There is a difference. It seems that we have dueling scientists, just as we have dueling lawyers who argue on points of law.

But that all leads to the obvious question? What are we supposed to do here and now when we don't really know? The environmental crowd would have us sign the Kyoto Treaty and abide by its provisions no matter what the economic costs to our country. Never mind the fact that the treaty excludes India and China, two of the World's fastest growing polluters. Environmentalists also don't want us to drill for oil in Alaska or off our coastlines, in the case of the former because it would disturb the mating habits of the caribou!! So I guess we just have to continue to be dependent on foreign oil-dependent on countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Venezuela, Indonesia and Mexico. Wonderful.

Gore and his worshippers also want us to get rid of our SUVs and use more fuel-efficient cars. Yet, Mr Gore, like his pals in Hollywood, fly around the World in private jets. Another classic example of this hypocrisy is Robert F Kennedy Jr., environmental guru, who is forever lecturing us on the way we live, yet drives a Caravan and also moves from one place to another in a private jet. Kennedy also teams up with the rest of the Kennedy clan to oppose wind power in the bay off the Hyannisport mansion since it mars the view!! Yes, there is one set of rules for the Gores and the Kennedys of the World and a separate set of rules for the rest of us. About a year ago, Sean Hannity pointed out these inconsistencies to Kennedy, to which he replied, "Sean, that's a cheap shot!" (The last time I attacked RFK, Jr. I got a couple of emails linking me to his "Draft RFK" for President Committee. It least it reassured me that somebody was reading my posts. )

The most important point to me is that these environmentalists want the US to pretty much dismantle our commercial, industrial, and yes, capitalistic sytem in the name of saving the planet. Before we do that, we need to be absolutely positive that this is the only solution. That leads me to another point. Does anyone see a possible connection here between the Environmentalist Movement and bringing down the US economically? Who were the last people who had that agenda? The communists, that's who. Now, I am not saying that all or even most environmentalists are communists. Remember, Communism collapsed almost 20 years ago, right? But where did all those folks in the US go who were communists? Obviously, very few of them still call themselves communists because they would be laughed out of town by the rest of us who would refer them to Eastern Europeans and former Soviet citizens who know first-hand what a disasterous sytem that was, both economically and politically. No, these folks just spread out into other causes. Many now call themselves "progressives", which actually was a code word for communists even during the Cold War. Could one of those "other causes" be Environmentalism"? Yeah, could be. (Ironically, the communists states in Eastern Euope and the USSR were the absolute worst polluters, creating an environmental disaster that they are still recovering from.)

Look, I also believe in conservation and protecting our environment. I love forests, rivers, lakes and clean air. However, the bottom line is that there has to be a compromise between environmental concerns and those in business and corporate life. The two sides have to come together reasonably and do what is best for all of us. As for whether this is a real crisis or one manufactured by the Chicken Littles of the World- or people with a hidden agenda in mind, I just don't know. So let's proceed with caution before making drastic changes that will weaken us economically.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

John Murtha-The Prince of Pork?

Pennsylvania Congressman, John Murtha has spent over 20 years in Congress, following a military career in which he was a combat veteran. Unlike his military record, Murtha's congressional record is steeped in controversy. In the past year or so, he has incurred the wrath of the Bush Administration and its supporters with his strident opposition to the Iraq War, even making comments that seemed to condemn the conduct of the troops fighting in that country. Of course, Murtha's military record gives him some creds when it comes to speaking out against any war, and his military experience must be respected.

Aside from his war opposition, however, Murtha's political record over time has left him wide open to criticism. Specifically, there are two areas in which the Congressman from Johnstown, Pa. is most vulnerable-his role in the Abscam bribery scandal in the early 1980s and his record of bringing in the pork for his home district of Johnstown. Were it not for Senator Robert Byrd of WVa, for whom half of all concrete structures in that state are seemingly named after, Murtha would probably be known as the "King of Pork". With proper deference to Senator Byrd, however, Murtha must be content to be "Prince of Pork".

During the early 1980s, the FBI launched "Operation Abscam", in which an undercover agent, posing as an Arab sheikh, met with several members of Congress and paid them bribes , obstensibly to affect public policy. Several Washington politicians were subsequently prosecuted and sent to prison for accepting such bribes. In this scandal, Murtha was an unindicted co-conspirator. The facts are that Murtha also met with the undercover agent and was offered a $50,000 bribe. The meeting was videotaped. What saved Murtha from prosecution is the fact that he refused the bribe. What remains troubling, however, is the fact that Murtha-again on tape-was recorded stating that he "was not interested-at this time" The congressman went on to tell the undercover agent that perhaps he would be interested later on, after they had had more dealings together. (I am paraphrasing).

To anyone who has ever engaged in these kinds of negotiations (as I have as an undercover DEA agent in my first career) that kind of language is typical among 2 crooks who are dealing with each other for the first time. For example, in a large drug deal, the buyer would usually be reluctant to "front" the money (pay in advance) for drugs for fear of being cheated-meaning the drugs would never be delivered. A buyer would often decline this demand with the proviso that fronting the money might be a future possibility once a couple of deals were completed and mutual trust was established. Is this what Murtha meant? Was he merely being cautious, fearing he might be talking with an undercover agent? I don't know, but I can make my own inferences, especially after having seen the videotape, which I have.

Murtha's involvement in pork barrel politics is also something that I observed during my DEA career, at least from a distance. In 1990, the Congressman was responsible for the establishment of the National Drug Intelligence Center in---Johnstown, Pa. The purpose of this center was to have a centralized center staffed by various Federal Law Enforcement agencies involved in narcotics suppression-a place where intelligence could be received, coordinated and disseminated. Good idea, right? The only problem was that such a center already existed in El Paso, Tx-The El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC). It would seem that this was a clear duplication of effort. Yet, since the White House went along with the idea, it became a reality. Agencies like the DEA, who already had people at EPIC, now had to assign agents to Johnstown as well. To this day, both entities remain. In fact, the Johnstown facility has just recently been involved in an earmark controversy in Congress, with Murtha right in the middle of the infighting. Other examples of pork which Murtha has brought home to Johnstown abound. Not surprisingly, he has been rewarded with one reelection after another by his grateful constituents.

Many feel that this ancient history ought not to be forgotten since there are many-especially young people- who look to Murtha as a hero for his opposition to the war and may have no idea of the congressman's past history. As principled as his opposition to the war may well indeed be, there is another side to this man that is open to question.

Antonio Villaraigosa- Moving On

"I said no questions, lady"

Yesterday, LA Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa appeared at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro as part of his great pothole tour, this time to announce that the Target chain was implementing the use of 100 new cargo trucks using cleaner burning natural gas. (Really! I'm not making this up, folks.) Unfortunately, as usual, the assembled reporters had no interest in this topic and again peppered His Honor with questions about his paramour, Telemundo reporter, Mirthala Salinas. The timing was exquisite since Telemundo had just announced a 2-month suspension of Salinas, coupled with the transfers and suspensions of three of Salinas' supervisors (who had known about the affair).

As is his wont, Villaraigosa evaded any questions about Salinas, trying to bring the subject back to the clean air trucks that interested nobody. During his tap dance, Villraigosa repeatedly reminded the press that "it was time to move on", a favorite line of the Democrats during the Clinton-Lewinsky affair.

Finally, as Villaraigosa retreated to his car, covered by a phalanx of Port Authority Police, reporters tried to follow the mayor to continue their questions. As police blocked their route, one reporter, Alicia Unger of Azteca America, tried to slip between a couple of cargo containers to avoid the security and get closer to the mayor. At this point, she was slammed into a cargo container by a burly plain-clothes Port Authority sergeant in sun glasses named Kevin
Mc Closkey. (Talk about a name right out of central casting. Say, wasn't he the same New York PD cop who roughed up Al Pacino in Godfather I?) Anyway, as they say in Spinland, Villaraigosa succeeded in "moving on" right back to the temporary safety of City Hall.

Meanwhile, what will eventually happen to Salinas' career is anyone's guess now that Telemundo has concluded that serious professional guidelines were violated by her and her bosses. Much like Clinton, however, Villaraigosa skates merrily along, from pothole to clean-air trucks, while those he comes in contact with go down life's toilet.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Black Reparations-Why I Am Against

As part of America's on-going racial controversies, there is one issue that continues to rear its head on a regular basis-black reparations. In other words, should present-day African-Americans be granted some sort of monetary compensation for the institution of slavery that ended in 1865 upon the conclusion of the Civil War? Within Congress, black Democratic Congressman, John Conyers of Michigan, has been the leading proponent of this idea. While I would concede that we are still plagued with the legacy of slavery even today, I still feel that reparations is a bad idea.

Many African-American supporters of reparations use the Japanese-American experience during World War II as an example. Several years ago, Congress granted a payment of $20,000 to each surviving Japanese-American who had been interned during the war. In my mind, this amount was insufficient for the deprivation of their liberty based solely on their Japanese heritage. History has shown that the internment was a great mistake since not one case of disloyalty was ever shown against those who were interned-and lost their homes and businesses as a result. However, here is the great difference: In the case of the Japanese-Americans, reparations were paid to the actual persons who were victims. In the case of slaves, it is sadly way too late. They are long dead. Were they still alive, I would argue that this country owes them a life of luxury for the remaining years they would have. Unfortunately, that is not possible. I cannot make that argument for those black people living 150 years later.

But let us say that we decide to grant reparations to today's generation of African-Americans. Would we do it on a one-time basis? That would be difficult. If we can justify giving reparations to American blacks 150+ years after the end of slavery, how can we refuse the next generation of blacks, not yet born? Or the next? When would it end? Lawyers in the next generation and the next would win every case they brought to court based on a grant of reparations today.

Then, if we did decide in favor of reparations, which individuals would be affected? For example, what about mixed-race persons? Do we investigate their family trees to determine just how black they are? Do we give a 50% grant to those who are of black/white parentage? How about black/Asian parentage, such as Tiger Woods? Obviously, this would create a nightmare that only a new bureaucracy could deal with. Do we really want to investigate peoples' family trees like the Nazis did trying to root out Jewish heritage?

Then, what about blacks whose heritage includes immigrants from the Caribbean or Africa, post-slavery? What do we do with them? From whom are Jamaican immigrants due reparations- Britain?

Let us also not forget that many non-black Americans are not descended from the days of slavery. For example, what about the children of immigrants who came here after slavery ended? What about Asian Americans, Arab Americans or Latin Americans? What is their debt to African-Americans? I would argue none.

That leads to the final argument. Reparations could only lead to further divisiveness among Americans of all races. That is the last thing this country needs. Furthermore, the last thing black America needs is the continuation of the negative stereotype about blacks as a people who need a handout. In the end, reparations would prove to be a disservice to blacks.

True reparations should simply be a reaffirmation of the principle that all Americans are equal and should be afforded equal opportunity (small case e and o) to succeed- or fail on their own merits. If we can do that much, then that would be the greatest tribute to those slaves whose lives were taken away from them in a different era.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

"All the News That's Fit Not to Print"

On March 3, 2006, Mohammed Reza Taheriaz, an Iranian immigrant and recent graduate of the University of North Carolina, drove an suv across the lawn of the Chapel Hill campus, striking down several students in the process. (No one was killed.) Upon arrest, he stated that he was attempting to gain revenge for the traetment of Muslims world wide.

On July 28, 2006, Noveed Haq, a Pakistani Muslim, walked into the Jewish Federation Center in Seattle and opened fire, leaving one person dead and 5 wounded. Haq proclaimed after the deed that he was a Muslim who was angry at Jews.

On August 29, 2006, Ohmeed Aziz Popal went on a driving rampage through the streets of San Francisco, intentionally running down pedestrians. By the time he was captured, one person was dead. One of the sites where Popal struck his victims was the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

On February 12, 2007, a Bosnian Muslim immigrant, Sulejman Talovic, went on a shooting rampage in a Salt Lake City mall. By the time police killed the suspect, 5 people were dead and 4 others wounded.

Unavoidably, all of these events gained widespread news coverage on the day they happened. Yet, all of them pretty much disappeared from the news media within 24 hours, except for the local communities involved. The question is- why did national news coverage end the day after they happened?

If you assume the best of motives for the news media, you might say that they want to avoid a national backlash against America's Muslim community. That would be understandable since I would not want to tar all Muslims in America with the acts of these individuals. However, on the other hand, doesn't the public have the right to know if there is a gathering threat of random violence being committed by disaffected Muslims in our country, such as the situation in the UK? Should not the public know when there is a rising threat? Moveover, in the San Francisco and Seattle incidents, there are strong indications of terroristic acts being directed toward Jews-hate crimes, if you will-always a favorite story-line of the media (depending on who are the victims and who are the perpetrators).

So why have these stories been buried by the media, apparently hoping they will progress toward judicial disposition under the cover of darkness? It seems to me that our mainstream media, which has no taste for our War on Islamic Terror, has no desire to publicize news events that would tend to justify our efforts to combat this scourge. In other words, these stories just don't fit into their agenda.

This points out a fundamental problem with our mainstream media. They tend to pick and choose which stories have legs and which don't based on their liberal philosophy. For example, how do you think they would publicize a story in which a white, Christian American went on a rampage and attacked a mosque, killing several people in the process, all in the name of Jesus? Answer-we would be reading about it every day.

At least our government tries to alert us to when the threat of terror has risen, a la color codes yellow, orange, red. Not so our news media. Isn't it strange that a media that traditionally has given superhuman effort to ferret out news scoops, now seeks to suppress news that doesn't fit into their agenda?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Democrats and Daily Kos

This coming weekend, the left-wing blog site, Daily Kos, will be holding its annual convention. More significantly, all of the Democratic candidates for president are planning to attend with the exception of Joe Biden. Bill O'Reilly, who has taken on Daily Kos, accusing it of being a radical left hate site, has made a big issue of the fact that the Democratic candidates are gracing Daily Kos with their presence at the convention. O'Reilly maintains that the candidates are making a huge mistake by aligning themselves with the blog.

I am trying to take a more balanced approach to this question, though I am obviously biased as a conservative who has no plans to vote for any of the candidates in question. As a conservative blogger myself, I have sent my imput to several conservative websites. While I don't consider any of them to be hateful, I must admit that some of the co-respondents who post their comments often use intemporate language. I guess some observers would consider some of my own comments to be intemporate at times. Everyone has their own perception.

I am no long time observer of Daily Kos. From my limited looks at their website, it is obviously to the left. I can't say, however, that everything that appears on Daily Kos is over the edge. As far as what others post on their site, a good blog that has the resources should monitor what is posted and quickly delete truly offensive material that would bring discredit to the site.

There are two items, however, that should really give the Democrat candidates pause. First, a few years back, when four American contractors were brutally murdered, burned and mutilated in Iraq, the creator of Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, proclaimed that he didn't care about the fate of the victims. "Screw 'em", were his words. Secondly, there has recently appeared on Daily Kos, a doctored photo that portrays Senator Joseph Lieberman on his knees unzipping the fly of President Bush, obviously preparing to perform oral sex on the president. This is truly over the edge.

The implication of the above two examples of what has appeared on Daily Kos is that the Democratic candidates are about to give the Republicans a huge campaign issue that they will surely put to use. So the question is-why would the candidates, knowing the above, still attend the convention? It seems that the answer lies in the fact that the party is beholden to the far left blogosphere, which is already on record as having stated in effect that they have paid for the party and they own the party. The attendance of Hillary Clinton (who has already been attacked on the blog) and her competitors can only confirm the accusations that they fear the left-wing blogs and dare not offend them. This raises the question- if these candidates for Commander-in-Chief cannot stand up to Daily Kos- how can they stand up to Al Quaida?