Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Middle Class Getting Richer

Read Great American Dream Machine by STEPHEN MOORE and LINCOLN ANDERSON December 21, 2005 Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

  • “examining this data leaves no room for argument: The middle class has not been 'shrinking' or losing ground, it has been getting richer. For example, the Census data indicate that the income cutoff to be considered "middle class" has risen steadily. Back in 1967, the income range for the middle class (i.e., the middle-income quintile) was between $28,000 and $39,500 a year (in today's dollars).
  • Now that income range is between $38,000 and $59,000 a year, which is to say that the middle class is now roughly $11,000 a year richer than 25 to 30 years ago.
  • This helps explain why middle-income families can buy things like cable TV, air conditioning, DVD players, cell phones, second cars and so on, that were considered mostly luxury items for the rich in the 1950s and '60s.”

Sunday, December 25, 2005

On Christmas Day, “Meet the Press” Reports Hurricane Katrina Super Dome Deaths as True

Tim Russert on Meet the Press re-played a small bit of the misinformation the media reported regarding Hurricane Katrina. Unbelievably, he and two other giants of media, Tom Brokaw and Ted Koppel, spoke as if it was true and said nothing about its gross inaccuracies.

See Meet the Press Transcript for December 25, 2005

Russert replayed a video from a photo journalist who was inside the Super Dome:

MR. TONY ZUMBADO: You would never, never imagine what you saw in the Convention Center in New Orleans. … Dead people around the walls of the Convention Center, laying in the middle of the street in their dying chairs where they'd died, right there in their lawn chair--they were just covered up, in their wheelchair, covered up, laying there for-- dead. Babies, two babies, dehydrated and died. I just tell you, I couldn't take it. It was unbelievable.

MR. RUSSERT: Raw emotion, Tom Brokaw.

MR. BROKAW: And Tony has been all over the world for us. You know, he's seen wars and he's been in the Third World for us. And what he was giving a portrait of was America as the Third World in that particular tragedy. I thought it stripped away in this country what we've all known but failed to acknowledge: that--this kind of permanent underclass that we have in this country, with so few resources available to them. To the rest of the world, it was shocking….

MR. RUSSERT: Ted Koppel, many people commented that the press seemed to find its voice in the Hurricane Katrina story.

MR. KOPPEL: …. I think that's what so frightened people in this country, was the sense that, you know, the system broke down. …But the question had to be asked: if that been a section of a city that was populated by middle-class white people, would the response have been the same? … It's not that anybody was sitting there saying, "Oh, we don't have to worry about New Orleans. It's mostly black anyway, 60, 70 percent black."

Meet the Press played the Zumbado comments as if they were fact:
- “Dead people around the walls of the Convention Center”
Was that true? Did any of these media giants correct this? No.
- “laying in the middle of the street in their dying chairs where they'd died”
Was that true? Did any of these media giants correct this? No.
- “Babies, two babies, dehydrated and died.”
Was that true? Did any of these media giants correct this? No.
- “It was unbelievable.”
It was all untrue, but reported as fact then when things were very confusing and again now when the investigations have been completed. Apparently, these media giants believed the misinformation then and still do now.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Democracy Needs Losers to Accept Election Results

Iraq Sunnis and US Democrats Should Be Loyal Opposition

See Los Angeles Times December 24, 2005 editorial Winners and losers in Iraq

“PRESIDENT BUSH IS FOND OF berating opponents of the Iraq war who allegedly
claim that Arab nations such as Iraq aren't ready for democracy. The president
now needs to explain democracy to Iraq's Sunnis and let them know that in
elections like the one held last week, the group with the most votes wins.”

“A joint statement by nearly three dozen political groups that did poorly in the election, and want the results investigated by the United Nations, the European Union or the Arab League, has the stench of sour grapes. The organizations threatened to boycott Iraq's new legislature if their demand is not met. They should get over it, like the losers of elections in all democratic countries.”
“Sour grapes” “They should get over it” Like the Democratic Party in the United States?

The loyal opposition has a duty to scrutinize the winners’ legislation and programs, but should not obstruct the government from functioning. Certainly using filibusters, developed and used primarily to extend slavery and civil rights abuses, to obstruct the winners’ legislation is reprehensible.

During a time of war, the loyal opposition has the duty to cooperate fully in the war effort. The Democrats have encouraged the enemy and disparaged the efforts of the allies of the United States. This is also reprehensible.

Upton Sinclair Knew Sacco and Vanzetti Were Guilty

Wrote Book Claiming Their Innocence

See Los Angeles Times December 24, 2005 article Sinclair Letter Turns Out to Be Another Exposé by Jean O. Pasco:

“a confession from one of America's great authors. Inside the box, an envelope
postmarked Sept. 12, 1929, caught his eye. It was addressed to John Beardsley,
Esq., of Los Angeles. The return address read, ‘Upton Sinclair, Long

"Stick it away in your safe, and some time in the far distant future
the world may know the real truth about the matter."

" ‘Boston’, Sinclair's 1920s novelized condemnation of the trial and execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian immigrants accused of killing two men in the robbery of a Massachusetts shoe factory.”

" ‘Alone in a hotel room with [Sacco and Vanzetti attorney] Fred [Moore], I begged him to tell me the full
truth,’ Sinclair wrote. ‘ … He then told me that the men were guilty, and he
told me in every detail how he had framed a set of alibis for them’."

“Upton Beall Sinclair was a giant of the nation's Progressive Era, a crusading writer
and socialist who championed the downtrodden and persecuted.”

“On Aug. 23, 1927, the day they were executed, 25,000 protested in Boston.”

“The men have been viewed as martyrs by the American left ever since.”

“On the 50th anniversary of their execution, Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis all but
pardoned the pair, urging that ‘any disgrace should be forever removed from
their names’.”

" ‘I faced the most difficult ethical problem of my life at that point,’ he wrote to his attorney. ‘I had come to Boston with the
announcement that I was going to write the truth about the case’."

" ‘My wife is absolutely certain that if I tell what I believe, I will be called a traitor
to the movement and may not live to finish the book,’ Sinclair wrote Robert
Minor, a confidant at the Socialist Daily Worker in New York, in 1927.”

“He also worried that revealing what he had been told would cost him readers. ‘It is
much better copy as a naïve defense of Sacco and Vanzetti because this is what
all my foreign readers expect, and they are 90% of my public,’ he wrote to

Liberals have used the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti as a cause célèbre using it as an argument against the death penalty claiming that innocent people have been executed.

Liberals honored icons such as Upton Sinclair feeling moral superiority. History has repeatedly proven them wrong [think Alger Hiss who was proven to be a communist spy after the declassification of the VENONA project.]

Upton Sinclair was dedicated to tell the truth, but for the socialist cause, he lies. His justifications cover quite a range:
- True believers might kill him
- His foreign book sales would suffer

It doesn’t sound like anything close to honorable.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on Democracy

How was your year 2005? I hope better than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi of al Qaeda in Iraq. He threaten democracy and voters in Iraq with violence and death, and Iraqis voted three times in elections in 2005. Most recently 11,000,000 Iraqis [about a 70% turnout] voted to elect their legislature.

In January 2005 a video of Zarqawi was shown [see “Democracy a lie”] where he said:

· "We have declared a bitter war against democracy and all those who seek to enact it"
· "Democracy is also based on the right to choose your religion … against the rule of God."
· "For all these issues, we declared war against, and whoever helps promote this and all those candidates, as well as the voters, are also part of this, and are considered enemies of God,"

I vote in every election and am proud to go to the polling station, but I have no confidence that I would have the courage to vote if threatened with violence. Particularly, if after voting my finger was marked with indelible purple ink. What has happened in Iraq is profound.

Consistent with his comments made early in 2004, Zarqawi must be feeling low. [See CNN Transcript] In an intercepted letter Zarqawi wrote:

· "How can we fight their cousins and their sons, under what pretext, after the Americans pull back?"
· "Democracy is coming, and there will be no excuse thereafter for the attacks."

Where were you on Iraqi Election Day December 16, 2005? A momentous occasion that will be honored as a most important historic event.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Public Health and Junk Science

See December 13, 2005 Letter-to-the-Editor in Wall Street Journal (subscription required) from Elizabeth M. Whelan, M.D., President, American Council on Science and Health

“The decision of the APHA to give its oldest and most prestigious award to
Dr. Levy, a physician at the center of the growing scandal over silicosis and
asbestos diagnoses, is further proof that the profession of public health, once
based on science, has degenerated into an ideological, litigious

“Dr. Levy's main "achievement" has been his help in suing corporations and extracting fines or settlements.”

“the APHA award will go to a man … participating in substantiation of dubious health claims related to silicosis and asbestosis."

“Harvard School of Public Health, in October bestowed its highest award for public health achievement -- the Julius Richmond Award -- on environmental activist Erin Brockovich, widely viewed as the poster child for junk science. Ms. Brockovich worked with plaintiffs' lawyers to sue Pacific Gas & Electric -- claiming that trace
emissions of chromium-6 from company plants caused a spectrum of diseases among residents of Hinkley, Calif. Although there was never any scientific evidence of a causal link between the chemical and ill health in the community, Ms.
Brockovich and her colleagues were successful in negotiating a $330 million

“Apparently, Harvard felt this "achievement" -- which did
not prevent even one premature disease or death -- was so stellar that it
merited the Richmond Award, which is given to individuals "who have promoted and achieved high standards for public health."

Waterboarding Interrogation Method Works

See December 13, 2005 Wall Street Journal Editorial Tortuous Progress
(subscription required)

“So congratulations of a sort to the Washington Post, perhaps the most
vociferous promoter of the ‘torture narrative,’ for finally admitting in a
Sunday editorial what so offends its editors. It turns out to be
‘waterboarding,’ a rare interrogation technique reportedly used against the
hardest al Qaeda detainees. The method involves immobilizing a detainee and
inducing a feeling of suffocation. The Post says it should be banned both as
torture and contrary to the U.S. Constitution. That's certainly worth debating,
though the Post may get an argument from U.S. servicemen who've endured the
waterboard as part of training to resist interrogation -- proof that, if
practiced properly, it does no lasting physical harm.”

“Last week's
ABC News report[ed] that 11 of 12 captured al Qaeda kingpins who have talked
only did so after being waterboarded. This would appear to contradict so many
glib suggestions, such as those in an open letter yesterday from Congressmen
calling themselves the New Democrat Coalition, that such techniques ‘just plain
don't work’."

Senator Eugene McCarthy Opposed Campaign Finance Reform

See Wall Street Journal Editorial Tuesday, December 13, 2005 (subscription required) Clean Gene's Other Legacy

“Gene McCarthy's achievement in driving his own party's sitting President out
the primary campaign is unlikely to be repeated any time soon. And the reason is
campaign-finance reform.”

“McCarthy took pleasure in being a
maverick politician; he endorsed Ronald Reagan in 1980 because, he said, "anyone
would be better" than Jimmy Carter. And party mavericks are just the sort of
people that party machines love to keep down, or out. McCarthy himself could
never have mounted his last-ditch campaign against Johnson without the backing
of industrialist Stewart Mott and banker Jack Dreyfus”.

List of Terrorist Attacks Show that War on Terror Been Since 1979

War on Terror Since 1979

• 1979 - The US Embassy in Iran was overrun by Islamic extremists who captured 66 Americans and held 53 of them for 444 days.

• 1983 - The US Embassy in Beirut was targeted by a truck bomb that killed 63.

• 1983 - The US Marine barracks in Beirut was destroyed by a truck bomb that killed 242 Americans.

• 1988 - US Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins, on a UN mission in Lebanon, was abducted, tortured, and hanged.

• 1988 - A bomb on Pan Am Flight 103 went off over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 on board and 11 people on the ground.

• 1993 - Terrorists drove an explosives-laden truck into the basement of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing six.

• 1993 - Followers of Osama bin Laden killed 18 American soldiers in an ambush on the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia.

• 1996 - The Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia was destroyed by a tanker-truck bomb killing 19 Americans.

• 1998 - US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were simultaneously attacked by truck bombs killing 301.

• 2000 - The USS Cole was attacked in the port city of Yemen; 17 died.
Christian Science Monitor December 30, 2003 edition

• 2001 – September 11th World Trade Center & Pentagon almost 3,000 dead

From A Democrat breaks with tradition by P. Amy MacKinnon who wrote on December 30, 2003 in The Christian Science Monitor “For nearly 25 years, America has been under attack by Muslim fundamentalists - attacks virtually unanswered by all presidents as far back as Jimmy Carter.

We've somehow confused the systematic massacre of Americans for random acts of violence, though the collective onslaught - catalogued even incompletely - seems in retrospect to be a clear declaration of war:

“Halfhearted rescue attempts, trade embargoes, and a smattering of cruise missiles thrown at the problem by former leaders had no follow-through, no long-term commitment necessary to stave off the continued systematic attacks. Not until George Bush vowed to protect the US from those who sought to destroy it - even if he had to stand without the support of UN allies.

“Bush isn't timid about disappointing a nation used to instant gratification. He has reminded us repeatedly that the war on terror will be long, and people will die in the process.”

Perhaps the War started August 1996. See Osama bin Laden fatwa "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places."
See Prior Post:
Jihadists Duty to Kill the Infidels

Monday, December 12, 2005

Canada Greenhouse Emissions Up 24% vs. US Up 14% Since 1990

Polls show one of the very big political differences is that conservatives believe that the world would be a better place if other countries were more like the United States while liberals believe that the world would be a better place if the United States was more like other countries.

I have hear innumerable times from liberal friends how they are embarrassed that the United States did not ratify the global warming Kyoto Treaty and that the signatories to Kyoto were much more responsible, even morally superior.

Is this true? See November 27, 2005 New York Times article “No-Confidence Vote in Canada Threatens U.N. Climate Change Meeting” The article was about another anti-Bush government being voted out of power, and the Kyoto Treaty.

I was very surprised to read:
“Ms. May, of the Sierra Club, said: ‘Using 1990 as the base year, Canada's emissions are now 24 percent higher, while the United States is up by 14 percent. The United States' performance is superior to Canada's, even though it is outside Kyoto’."

When I brought this to a liberal’s attention, I received the following response. “Yea, you are right! Canada has an abominable track record on de-forestation and mining pollution too.”

I guess that’s as close as it gets to saying a good word for the USA.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

John F. Kennedy and Vietnam and John Murtha

See letter-to-the-editor to the New York Times from Dial Parrott of Glastonbury, Conn. Published December 11, 2005:

In "What Would J.F.K. Have Done?" (Op-Ed, Dec. 4), Theodore C. Sorensen and
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. make the claim that before his assassination in November
1963, President John F. Kennedy had decided on a phased withdrawal of American
troops from Vietnam.

The facts do not bear them out. In 1960, the last year of the Eisenhower presidency, there were 875 American soldiers in Vietnam. That number grew to 3,164 in 1961, 11,326 in 1962 and 16,263 in 1963. These were the largest percentage increases in the entire conflict. The increase in 1964, the first full year of Johnson's presidency, was to 23,310, very much in line with the three-year Kennedy buildup. This is not surprising since Johnson was advised by men Kennedy had appointed.

Whatever President Kennedy might have hoped he could do, after weighing all the risks, this is what he actually did.

What would a JFK vs John Murtha debate be like?

Kennedy: "We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Murtha: "My plan calls to immediately redeploy U.S. troops” “I say that the fight against Americans began with Abu Ghraib. It began with the invasion of Iraq. That's when terrorism started.”

Do We Understand the Muslim World - Pakistan Extends Ban on Kites

How about this story from Pakistan? Banning kite flying?

See Associated Press December 11, 2005 article Pakistan Extends Ban on Kites

Pakistan's Supreme Court has extended a ban on making, selling and flying kites
that it imposed two months ago after ruling the sport had become increasingly
deadly, an official said Saturday.

While the court was hearing the
case Friday, police swung batons and lobbed tear gas shells outside the building
to disperse about 500 kite enthusiasts who tried to attend the proceedings.

The court ruled to extend the ban until it meets next on Jan. 26,
said Aftab Iqbal, advocate general for eastern Punjab province.

Lahore, the provincial capital, is the site of an annual festival
in which tens of thousands of people fly kites from rooftops and sports fields.
Hard-line Muslims oppose the festival, called Basant, as a waste of money and
consider it a Hindu festival. It is also celebrated with loud music and yellow

The sport sometimes turns deadly when people fall from
roofs or are injured by metal-lined strings. The strings are used for kite
battles in which people try to cut one another's lines.

people died and more than 200 were injured in February during Basant.

Nobel Peace Prize Should Go to Leaders Who Get Results – Like George W. Bush

Wouldn’t you expect that the Head of the United Nations organization responsible for enforcing the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty to be focused on stopping rogue regimes who have secret programs? No, Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency received the Nobel Peace Prize and he says he interested in elevating world poverty and getting the nuclear powers who can keep nuclear weapons consistent with the treaty to disarm.

See Reuters December 11, 2005 article No Need for Nuclear Arms, Laureate Says

“The world should work to make nuclear weapons as universally condemned as slavery or genocide, U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Saturday after receiving the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

“ElBaradei said in his acceptance speech that the world had 27,000 nuclear warheads and ‘to me, that is 27,000 warheads too many’. “

“Announced as laureates in October, ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency shared the prize for their work to prevent the spread of nuclear arms.”

How is the IAEA doing in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? Lousy.

How is the IAEA doing in stopping North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons? Even Worse.

Libya renounced its large ongoing nuclear weapon program. How did the IAEA do? Nothing. Libya’s nuclear components are now in Kentucky. No thanks to the IAEA, but very big thanks to President George W. Bush and his wiliness to use military force in Iraq.

Should Laguna Beach Raise Property Taxes a Half Percent?

See my comments in the article written by Sara Lin in the Los Angeles Times Sunday, December 11, 2005 Laguna to Vote on Tax to Fix Slide Damage

“City officials say sales tax boost is needed to shore up Bluebird Canyon. They're optimistic, but some residents say the election will be close. If the special election measure passes, the half-cent-on-the-dollar increase will raise $10.2 million over six years and be used, in part, to repair the slope that gave way June 1, destroying or damaging 20 homes.”

“Even with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's announcement last month that it would chip in about $5 million to help replace roads, storm drains, sewers and water lines, city officials say the tax is needed.”

If opposition to the measure seems muted, it's because of how the tax debate has been framed, said Gene Felder.

" ‘Instead of being an open political debate, the people that are for it have claimed they're the compassionate good people, and if you're going to verbalize that you're against it, you have to take the risk of being seen as cheap and uncompassionate,’ said Felder, 59.”

“Felder said locals might be wary of giving more money to a city that has a record of mismanaging capital improvement projects, citing as one example cost overruns at a public park that was part of the Montage resort.”

“Felder said he would likely vote against the sale tax hike because he thinks the city can find the money by consolidating City Hall staff and outsourcing some work.”

Laguna Should Do What New San Diego Mayor is Doing – Cut Payroll Expenses

See Sacramento Bee column by Daniel Weintraub: San Diego beginning to dig out
“Jerry Sanders, sworn in last week as this troubled city's new mayor, …He has ordered a salary freeze, promised to lay off 100 middle managers and perhaps up to 10 percent of the entire work force and is considering a one-week work furlough.”
"We're at a point where we can't provide everything we've been providing with the money we have," he said. "So you either raise taxes or you get skinny. ... I'm confident we can slim down in order to make the structural cuts that we really need."
“While San Diego's fiscal ordeal may be the worst of any city in California, the city is far from alone in dealing with rising pension obligations.”
“Sanders has also proposed adopting a new retirement program for future employees, even though the savings from such a change wouldn't materialize for many years. He says he favors a smaller guaranteed benefit with an individual retirement plan for each employee similar to the 401(k) plans now common in the private sector. He also wants to raise the retirement age from 55 to 60 for general employees and from 50 to 55 for public safety workers.”
"We're putting a pretty good chunk of the city's revenues into benefits for employees," he said. "It's not the employees' fault. It's the city's fault for the way it handled it in the past. But I think we need to get away from that and start realizing that our reason for existing is to provide services."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Democrats 1864 Peace Now Platform in Middle of Civil War

During the Civil War, the Democratic Party adopted its “Peace Platform” at the 1864 Democratic Presidential Convention.

Today one would think that the moral imperative would be to fight for a free and stable Iraq. One would have thought that in 1864, the moral imperative would be ending slavery. The Democratic Party has a long history of not being resolute during a war seeking the easy way out.

In 1864, the Democratic Party adopted their ‘war is a failure’ platform calling for an immediate cession of fighting and a negotiated settlement, and nominated General George McClellan as the Democratic candidate for President. Although McClellan rejected the party's peace platform, he opposed the Emancipation Proclamation and assured the base of the Democratic Party that he would support states' rights and the continuance of slavery in the South after the end of the Civil War.

See Democratic Party Platform, 1864
“that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war … demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities”

See Prior Posts:
Dean and Zawahri Agree That US Will Lose in Iraq
Proud of US Withdrawal from Vietnam?

Law of Supply and Demand – Gas Prices Fall 88 Cents

Do you believe in the economic law of supply and demand? The price of gasoline in the United States rose to over $3.00 a gallon due to Gulf of Mexico hurricanes lowering supply. Certainly, the oil company executives would like prices to stay at that level, but as supply has come back on line, gasoline prices have fallen, and fallen remarkably fast.

See USA Today December 5, 2005 article Gas prices continue to drop
- “The weighted average price for all three grades dropped to $2.16 a gallon on Dec. 2, Lundberg said.”
- “Prices have fallen about 88 cents a gallon since September, Lundberg said.”
- “Gasoline hit its all time high of $3.01 per gallon on Sept. 9, after Hurricane Katrina sharply cut refining capacity.”

A key aspect of the law of supply and demand is price changes communicate to providers and consumers important information that should alter their behavior. With the price going up, the message to the provider is to provide more while the message to the consumer is to use less.

It is quite a selfish statement to know that there’s less of an item available, and still wanting the consume the same quantity as before and at the same low price. Selphish and showing economic ignorance.

The worst response is for the government to increase its involvement as there are no shortages at the market clearing price.

Dr. Richard A. Palfin of Sunnyvale, Calif. Wrote a letter-to-the-editor Wall Street Journal August 4, 2005 addressing housing, but very much this issue. His letter included:
- “The "shortage" hypothesis is often used in several contexts by the press. National media have reported shortages of engineers, business faculty, teachers, nurses and a host of other professionals. Proponents of these shortages, however, overlook fundamental economic principles. They speak of shortages as though shortages represent some absolute, readily identifiable lack of desirable goods and services. Price is seldom accorded its proper role.”

- “There is never enough of any good or service to satisfy all wants or desires. The consumer must give up something to get something. The buyer must pay the market price and forego whatever else he could have for the same price. The forces of supply and demand determine these prices”

- “All goods and services are scarce, but scarcity and shortages are by no means synonymous. Scarcity is a regrettable and unavoidable fact. Shortages are purely a function of price. The only way in which a shortage has existed, or ever will exist, is in cases where the "going price" has been held below the market-clearing price.”

Dean and Zawahri Agree That US Will Lose in Iraq

See Guardian article Tuesday December 6, 2005 Dean Questions Commitment to Iraq Strategy
“Democratic Chairman Howard Dean [in an interview with WOAI-AM in San Antonio] on Monday … said, `’The idea that the United States is going to win the war in Iraq is just plain wrong’,''

Howard Dean agrees with Al Qaeda’s 2nd in Command Ayman al-Zawahri.

According to Reuters December 8, 2005 article “Bin Laden still leading war on West: Zawahri video”, al-Zawahri said:
"Iraq is a catastrophe for America and Americans will leave, it will only be a matter of time.
"I say to Bush: You entered Iraq with lies, you will lose Iraq and lie about it and you will leave with the pretext that you have completed your mission. . . . America only has to decide on the number of (troops) it wishes to lose before withdrawing."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Al Qaeda Views Iraq as Central Front of War on Terror

Former Congressman Lee Hamilton of the 9/11 Commission recently said that we are engaged in three wars, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the War on Terror. President George W. Bush maintains that Iraq is part of the War on Terror. What’s Al Qieda think?
See Al-Qaida No. 2 Urges Attacks on Oil Plants by Maggie Michael in the Los Angeles Times today December 7, 2005 which includes comments made in a recently released video from Al Qaeda 2nd in command Ayman al-Zawahri.

al-Zawahri agrees with Bush:
- “urged insurgent groups in Iraq to unite to drive out American forces”
- “Iraqi Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen, ‘whose hands were not tainted by Americans,’ should come together to fill ‘the gap that will be left by the Americans departure’ from Iraq”

See President Bush’s National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, Nov. 2005
Victory in Iraq is a Vital U.S. Interest
• Iraq is the central front in the global war on terror. Failure in Iraq will embolden terrorists and
expand their reach; success in Iraq will deal them a decisive and crippling blow.
• The fate of the greater Middle East – which will have a profound and lasting impact on American
security – hangs in the balance.
• The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. And we must
recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror.
- Osama Bin Laden has declared that the “third world war…is raging” in Iraq, and it will
end there, in “either victory and glory, or misery and humiliation.”
- Bin Laden’s deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri has declared Iraq to be “the place for the greatest
battle,” where he hopes to “expel the Americans” and then spread “the jihad wave to the
secular countries neighboring Iraq.”
- Al Qaida in Iraq, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has openly declared that “we fight
today in Iraq, and tomorrow in the Land of the Two Holy Places, and after there the

Children Born to Illegal Aliens Have No Constitutional Right to US Citizenship

See Letter-to-the-Editor to the Wall Street Journal December 7, 2005 from Dr. John C. Eastman Chapman University School of Law. He’s one of the “Smart-Guys” frequently interviewed on the Hugh Hewitt Radio Show

Subscription is required but Dr. Eastman’s letter Constitution's Citizenship Clause Misread includes:

- The 14th Amendment provides that "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens . . . ."
- “The clause must therefore mean something much more -- an allegiance-owing jurisdiction.”
- “The author of the provision, Sen. Jacob Howard, announced that the clause ‘will not, of course, include foreigners’."
- “The Supreme Court first considered the clause in the Slaughter-House Cases of 1872, unanimously recognizing that the phrase ‘was intended to exclude from its operation children of . . . citizens or subjects of foreign States born within the United States’."
- “Congress retains the power to offer citizenship more broadly than the Constitution requires, of course, pursuant to its plenary authority over naturalization.”
- “..determining that the Constitution also mandates automatic citizenship to children of temporary, illegal immigrants not only presses the Constitution's text beyond the breaking point, but significantly intrudes on Congress's plenary power over naturalization.”

There are many incentives for people from other countries to enter the United States. Having children born here to instantly be United States citizens certainly is a powerful incentive, and one that is not serving our country. We should all encourage the Congress to pass legislation and require the children of illegal aliens to go through the naturalization process as legal immigrants have to do.

While the Congress is at it, they should forbid dual citizenship, and require (as I was taught in civics class in 1960) that to become a naturalized US citizen, one had to renounce citizenship in other countries.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Laguna Beach City Should Outsource

The City budget should be addressed seriously, and we should learn what other cities are doing to improve productivity which likely will include that low priority functions be outsourced to the private sector.

For years former Laguna Beach Taxpayers President Gary Alstot has been calling on the City to outsource functions. In 2004, Gary wrote “Salaries and Wages are estimated to be $27,838,400. We are also told the City has an estimated 250.475 Authorized Positions. ..based on these numbers the average annual wage and salary per person must exceed $100,000.“ [$111,142.42 average per each City employee to be precise]

The City’s employee costs are rising out of control particularly aggravated by rising health care, workman’s comp, and pension costs. Although City revenues are rising nicely, there is little left after increases in employee costs. I am not aware of any City function being outsourced in the last year.