Friday, March 31, 2006

Supporter of Bush’s Guest Worker Program

I support President George W. Bush’s immigration program which would provide a guest worker program which would allow workers to move back and forth across the border, and not trapped in the USA even if they preferred to spend most of the year in Mexico.

The US Senate Judiciary Committee reported out a bill that would strengthen border security, require illegal immigrants to identify themselves, pass a background check, pay a fine and any back taxes, required to learn English and, only if their employer cannot fill the job with an American citizen be legally employed.

I think it’s unfair to call this amnesty. After admitting to have committed a crime, the slate may be wiped clean, but not immediately. Their penalty, as in many non-violent crimes, is to pay a fine. Importantly, there is a path to citizenship, but after those already in line for legal naturalization.

I would add two additional provisions to this law:
■ No longer would children born to illegal aliens while in the United States automatically be considered US citizens
■ When naturalized, new US citizens would have to renounce their prior citizenship; no dual citizenship would be allowed

Maybe a third:
■ Require ballots in United States elections to be in English only

Some may think they know that the Constitution mandates that any person born in the United States is a citizen. 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.”

Monday, March 27, 2006

Catholic Church and Slavery

I never heard this. I wonder if true.

In a Wall Street Journal March 27, 2006 letter-to-the-editor (subscription required):

The Church and the Slaves

In his March 17 commentary "Religious Minority" (Houses of Worship, Taste page), David Gibson said that "the Vatican condemned the slave trade only in 1839 . . . and it was not until 1888 that the Vatican officially condemned slavery." The fact of the matter is that in 1537 Pope Paul III issued three decrees against New World slavery. The second of these decrees invoked the penalty of excommunication on anyone who engaged in slavery, regardless of their "dignity, state, condition or grade." Because these decrees were for the most part ignored regarding the African transatlantic slave trade, Pope Urban VIII in 1639 issued another decree reaffirming Paul III excommunication for those engaged in the practice.

Unfortunately, as is the case with contemporary issues like abortion, not all Catholics obeyed even though the church did teach very early and clearly that slavery was inherently evil.

Rev. Michael P. Orsi
Research Fellow in Law and Religion
Ave Maria School of Law
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Lots of Heavy Oil in Canada – Lots of Environmental Problems Too

The higher the price of oil has been thought to improve the environment as alternative fuels become increasingly used. However, see what’s happening in the Canadian province of Alberta. See Wall Street Journal (subscription required) As Prices Surge, Oil Giants Turn Sludge Into Gold March 27, 2006 by Russell Gold.

New Reserves, French firm Total Leads Push in Canada To Process Tar-Like Sand;
Toxic Lakes and More CO2, Digging It Up, Steaming It Out

Article includes:
■ “Without a doubt, we can become the next Saudi Arabia”
■ “In February, engineers from French oil giant Total SA fired up colossal drum boilers to generate steam that will be pumped to a depth of 300 feet under the frozen ground here. If all goes well, by May, the steam will marinate a tar-like mix of oil and sand until the crude begins to flow.”
■ “A Florida-size section of sandy soil beneath the boreal forest in this sparsely populated area of Northern Canada is loaded with bottom-of-the-barrel petroleum.”
■ “thanks to rising global oil prices and improved technology, most oil-industry experts count oil sands as recoverable reserves.”
■ “That recalculation has vaulted Venezuela and Canada to first and third in global reserves rankings”
■ “the world isn't about to run out of oil. Instead, it is running low on readily accessible light, sweet crude -- oil that flows like water”
■ “heavy oil has big economic and environmental drawbacks. It costs more to produce and takes more energy to turn into gasoline than traditional light oil. … releases up to three times as much greenhouse gas as producing conventional crude.”
■ “For years, environmentalists have argued that higher gasoline prices would be good for the Earth because paying more at the pump would promote conservation. Instead, higher energy prices have unleashed a bevy of heavy-oil projects that will increase emissions of carbon dioxide, suspected of causing global warming.”
■ “By 2015, Canada's Fort McMurray region, population 61,000, is expected to emit more greenhouse gases than Denmark, a country of 5.4 million people.”
■ “It costs about $25 a barrel to produce crude from Canada's oil sands, an acceptable cost when oil is trading for $60 a barrel. By comparison, it can cost as little as about $5 a barrel to produce crude in the Middle East and $15 in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.”

See prior posts:
Nuclear Power Resurgence
U.S. Hurricanes Getting Worse Due to Global Warming? No
Get Involved - Become a Friend of the Orange County Great Park
U.S. Hurricane Strikes by Decade
Global Warming “systematically exaggerated”?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Concerned About the Deaths of Civilians?

According to the International Rescue Committee March 14, 2006
“Violence in the Darfur region of Sudan is raging. Militia groups have killed, raped, and committed other atrocities toward civilians. As many as 300,000 people in Darfur have been killed - 500 deaths occur each day. More than two million people have been forced from their homes and remain displaced and live under terrible and dangerous conditions.”

How’s the United Nations doing elsewhere? See Guardian December 10, 2004 Congo death toll up to 3.8m
“Six years of conflict in Congo have claimed 3.8 million lives - half of them children - with most victims killed by disease and famine in the still largely cut-off east, the International Rescue Committee said yesterday.”

Russians Gave Saddam US Military Information

See Washington Post Saturday, March 25, 2006 article by Ann Scott Tyson and Josh White, Russians Helped Iraq, Study Says, Papers Show Hussein Was Tipped Off About U.S. Strategy During Invasion

It should be read by those who feel that the US should exclusively work through the United Nations, and that any military action not authorized by the UN is illegal. The article includes:
■ “Russian officials collected intelligence on U.S. troop movements and attack plans from inside the American military command leading the 2003 invasion of Iraq and passed that information to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.”
■ “…warned accurately that American formations intended to bypass Iraqi cities on their thrust toward Baghdad.”
■ “…provided some specific numbers on U.S. troops, units and locations, according to Iraqi documents dated March and April 2003 and later captured by the United States.”
■ “Another captured Iraqi document, dated April 2, 2003, said Russian intelligence had reported to Hussein more detailed and potentially damaging information: The Americans had their heaviest concentration of forces, 12,000 troops and 1,000 vehicles, near the Iraqi city of Karbala and were moving to cut off Baghdad.”

See prior posts:
United Nations Can’t Manage Food Aid
Welfare State Failed New Orleans's Poor

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What if We Lose in Iraq?

See Wall Street Journal March 22, 2006 Editorial available on their Opinion Journal web site.
What If We Lose? Includes:

■ “The U.S. would lose all credibility on weapons proliferation.”
■ “Broader Mideast instability. No one should underestimate America's deterrent effect in that unstable region, a benefit that would vanish if we left Iraq precipitously.”
■ “We would lose all credibility with Muslim reformers.”
■ “We would invite more terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Osama bin Laden said many times that he saw the weak U.S. response to Somalia and the Khobar Towers and USS Cole bombings as evidence that we lacked the will for a long fight…”
■ “We still believe victory in Iraq is possible, indeed likely, notwithstanding its costs and difficulties. But the desire among so many of our political elites to repudiate Mr. Bush and his foreign policy is creating a dangerous public pessimism that could yet lead to defeat -- a defeat whose price would be paid by all Americans, and for years to come.”

Give every American $10,000 a year -- and nothing else

See Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal March 22, 2006 article A Plan to Replace the Welfare State by Charles Murray

It includes:
■ “The welfare state as we know it cannot survive. No serious student of entitlements thinks that we can let federal spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid rise from its current 9% of GDP to the 28% of GDP that it will consume in 2050…”
■ “America is so wealthy that enabling everyone to have a decent standard of living is easy. We cannot do it by fiddling with the entitlement and welfare systems -- they constitute a Gordian Knot that cannot be untied. But we can cut the knot. We can scrap the structure of the welfare state.”
■ “just collect the taxes, divide them up, and send the money back in cash grants to all American adults. Make the grant large enough so that the poor won't be poor, everyone will have enough for a comfortable retirement, and everyone will be able to afford health care.”
■ “Giving everyone access to a comfortable retirement income is easy for a country as rich as the U.S. -- if we don't insist on doing it through the structure of the welfare state.”
■ “Health care is more complicated in its details, but not in its logic. We do not wait until our 21-year-old is 65 and then start paying for his health care. Instead, we go to a health insurance company and tell it that we're prepared to start paying a constant premium now for the rest of the 21-year-old's life.”
■ “Providing access to basic medical care for everyone is easy for a country as rich as the U.S. -- if we don't insist on doing it through the structure of the welfare state.”
■ “The more profound problem facing the world's most advanced societies is how their peoples are to live meaningful lives in an age of plenty and security.”
■ “Throughout history until a few decades ago, the meaning of life for almost everyone was linked to the challenge of simple survival. Staying alive required being a contributing part of a community. Staying alive required forming a family and having children to care for you in your old age.”
■ “If you believe that's all there is -- that the purpose of life is to while away the time as pleasantly as possible -- then it is reasonable to think that the purpose of government should be to enable people to do so with as little effort as possible. But if you agree with me that to live a human life can have transcendental meaning, then we need to think about how human existence acquires weight and consequence.”
■ “The chief defect of the welfare state from this perspective is not that it is ineffectual in making good on its promises (though it is), nor even that it often exacerbates the very problems it is supposed to solve (though it does). The welfare state is pernicious ultimately because it drains too much of the life from life.”

Hobbes in Sudan - UN Fails in Darfur

See Wall Street Journal international March 22, 2006 editorial Hobbes in Sudan which can be seen at their Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal web site.

It includes:
■ “if you want to know what the world looks like without U.S. leadership, Exhibit A is Darfur in Sudan.”
■ “At least 200,000 civilians have been killed in the last three years and two million more have become refugees.”
■ “The source of the problem are the Arab rulers in Khartoum, who have pursued an ethnic cleansing campaign against black Muslims in western Sudan. They've equipped the Janjaweed Arab tribesmen to do the dirty work..”
■ “The Chinese (who have close commercial ties to Khartoum) and Russians have blocked any serious intervention. Arab members of the Security Council have also opposed any attempt to single out Khartoum.”
■ “The Arab League -- so quick to denounce Danish cartoons -- has also stymied any global intervention to stop the murder of their fellow Muslims.”
■ “The rule seems to be never to say a discouraging word about other African leaders, no matter how murderous.”
■ “Despite U.S. obligations in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other places, Mr. Bush responded by proposing an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force under ‘NATO stewardship’."
■ “But Sudan President Omar al-Beshir quickly played to type and withdrew support for a U.N. force. … All of this is a repeat of the same feckless U.N. pattern we've seen in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.”
■ “One lesson of Darfur is that there really are limits on American power, and in its absence the world's savages have freer reign.”

Stone Face of Zarqawi by Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens exposes leftist views, but knows that Iraq was far worse under Saddam Hussein, and as Saddam was pursuing mujahideen thugs to maintain control, things today would have been far worse in Iraq if Saddam was left in power. See Christopher Hitchens’ Wall Street Journal op/ed Tuesday, March 21, 2006 piece The Stone Face of Zarqawi which is posted at their Opinion Journal web site.

Christopher Hitchens’ points include:
■ “Iraq is no ‘distraction’ from al Qaeda”
■ “Zarqawi wrote ‘If we succeed in dragging them into the arena of sectarian war, it will become possible to awaken the inattentive Sunnis as they feel imminent danger’."
■ "al Qaeda in Mesopotamia understood that their main chance was the deliberate stoking of a civil war. And, now that this threat has become more imminent and menacing, it is somehow blamed on the Bush administration. Civil war has replaced "the insurgency" as the proof that the war is "unwinnable." But in plain truth, the ‘civil war’ is and always was the chief tactic of the "insurgency."
■ “Since February 2004, there have been numberless attacks on Shiite religious processions and precincts. Somewhat more insulting to Islam (one might think) than a caricature in Copenhagen, these desecrations did not immediately produce the desired effect.”
■ “There could be an even worse war, of the sort that Thomas Hobbes pictured: a ‘war of all against all’ in which localized gangs and mafias would become rulers of their own stretch of turf. This is what happened in Lebanon after the American withdrawal:”
■ “There are signs that many Iraqi factions do appreciate the danger of this, even if some of them have come to the realization somewhat late. The willingness of the Kurdish leadership in particular, to sacrifice for a country that was gassing its people until quite recently, is beyond praise.”
■ “the underestimated reserve strength of the Fedayeen Saddam, give us an excellent picture of what the successor regime to the Baath Party was shaping up to be: an Islamized para-state militia ruling by means of vicious divide-and-rule as between the country's peoples.”
■ “How can anyone, looking down the gun-barrel into the stone face of Zarqawi, say that fighting him is a ‘distraction’ from fighting al Qaeda?”

Water Returns to Iraqi Marshlands

Environmentalists should hate Saddam Hussein, and appreciate President George W. Bush putting an end to Saddam damaging the environment. A caller to the show says Saddam will be tried for crimes against humanity including his attacks on the Iraqi marshlands. Hugh provided this link BBC August 2005 Water returns to Iraqi marshlands story on progress restoring the Iraqi marshlands.

■ “Water returns to Iraqi marshlands”
■ “The marshlands of Iraq, which were drained during the early 1990s, are returning to their original state.”
■ “Under Saddam Hussein, the area of marsh was reduced to a tenth of its former size, as the government punished people living there for acts of rebellion.”
■ “The latest United Nations data shows that nearly 40% of the area has been restored to its original condition.”
■ " ‘The near-total destruction of the Iraqi marshlands under the regime of Saddam Hussein was a major ecological and human disaster, robbing the Marsh Arabs of a centuries-old culture and way of life as well as food in the form of fish and that most crucial of natural resources - drinking water,’ United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) executive director Klaus Toepfer said in a statement.”

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upton Sinclair's Fabrications about Chicago Meatpacking

See letters-to-the-editor in the March 8, 2006 Wall Street Journal (subscription required). 4th letter.

Meatpacking Was Raw, But Not Really a 'Jungle'

John J. Miller's essay on Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" (Leisure & Arts, Feb. 23) reminds us that Sinclair's novel on Chicago meatpacking plants was motivated by the author's ill-informed passion for socialism, but there's more to the story. The dreadful conditions Sinclair depicted in his novel were largely hogwash.

Government oversight did not begin with the passage of the law inspired by Sinclair, the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. Hundreds of inspectors had been employed by federal, state and local governments for more than a decade. Congressman E.D. Crumpacker of Indiana noted in testimony before the House Agriculture Committee in June 1906 that not even one of those officials "ever registered any complaint or [gave] any public information with respect to the manner of the slaughtering or preparation of meat or food products."

To Crumpacker and other contemporary skeptics, "Either the Government officials in Chicago [were] woefully derelict in their duty, or the situation over there [had been] outrageously over-stated to the country." If the packing plants were as nasty as alleged in "The Jungle," surely the government inspectors who never said so must be judged as guilty of neglect as the packers were of abuse. A 1906 report from the Department of Agriculture provided a point-by-point refutation of the worst of Sinclair's charges, labeling them "willful and deliberate misrepresentations of fact," "atrocious exaggeration" and "not at all characteristic."

President Theodore Roosevelt was well aware of Sinclair's fabrications. In a July 1906 letter to editor William Allen White, TR wrote, "I have an utter contempt for him. He is hysterical, unbalanced, and untruthful. Three-fourths of the things he said were absolute falsehoods. For some of the remainder there was only a basis of truth."

As it turns out, the big meatpackers themselves pushed for the 1906 act because it put the federal government's stamp of approval on their products, foisted the annual $3 million price tag onto taxpayers, and imposed costly new regulations on their smaller competitors. Far from a crusading truth-seeker, the socialist Sinclair was a sucker who ended up being used by the very industry on which he heaped so much unjustified scorn.

Lawrence W. Reed
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Midland, Mich

See Prior Post Upton Sinclair Knew Sacco and Vanzetti Were Guilty

Iraq the Untold Truths by Ralph Peters

Ralph Peters has recently been in Iraq. See his IRAQ: THE UNTOLD TRUTHS in the New York Post March 7, 2006


■ “In the wake of the terrorist bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, it was the Iraqi army that kept the peace in the streets.”

■ “It's routinely declared a failure by those who yearn for the new Iraq to fail. But an increasingly capable Iraqi military has been developing while reporters (who never really investigated the issue) wrote it off as hopeless.”

■ “What actually happened last week, as the prophets of doom in the media prematurely declared civil war?

* The Iraqi army deployed over 100,000 soldiers to maintain public order. U.S. Forces remained available as a backup, but Iraqi soldiers controlled the streets.

* Iraqi forces behaved with discipline and restraint - as the local sectarian outbreaks fizzled, not one civilian had been killed by an Iraqi soldier.

* Time and again, Iraqi military officers were able to defuse potential confrontations and frustrate terrorist hopes of igniting a religious war.

* The effort worked - from the luxury districts to the slums, the Iraqis were proud of their army.”

■ “standing up a responsible military subordinate to an elected civilian government is the essential development that will allow us to reduce our troop presence in the next few years. Much remains to do - and much could still go wrong - but I, for one, am more optimistic after this visit to Baghdad.”

■ “the coverage of the past few weeks - and of the Iraqi army overall - had been just plain inaccurate. …In the recent flare-up, sectarian issues had not been a problem in a single Iraqi unit.”

■ “if we have a reasonable amount of patience, the new Iraqi military will emerge as the best in the Arab world - and a firm ally in the region.”

■ “I found Baghdad a city of hope, its citizens determined not to be ruled by terrorists, fanatics, militias or thieves. We are doing the right thing.”

Monday, March 06, 2006

Danish Cartoons , Also Censoring Voltaire “Spirit of the Enlightenment”

Blame It on Voltaire: Muslims Ask French To Cancel 1741 Play
Alpine Village Riles Activists By Letting Show Go On; Calling on the Riot Police by Andrew Higgins front page Wall Street Journal article March 6, 2006 (subscription required)

- “Late last year, … Muslims raised a furor in this little alpine town over a much older provocateur: Voltaire, the French champion of the 18th-century Enlightenment.”
- “The play, Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet, uses the founder of Islam to lampoon all forms of religious frenzy and intolerance.”
- “a small riot broke out involving several dozen people and youths who set fire to a car and garbage cans.”
- “Editors in France, Germany and elsewhere have explained their decision to reprint the [Danish cartoons] by pointing to principles enshrined in a statement often attributed to Voltaire: ‘I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it’."

Note the contrast:
- "Jerry Springer: The Opera, which portrays Jesus as a homosexual who dances around in diapers, drew protests from Christian groups. Still, it ran for months in London and was broadcast by British state television.”
- “In January, the Belgian town of Middelkerke cancelled a planned art display that featured a fiberglass model of Saddam Hussein submerged in a fish tank in his underwear. The Czech artist, David Cerny, describes his work Shark as "a reflection on dictatorship." Officials say they worried it might upset local Muslims.”

Global Warming “systematically exaggerated”?

In letters-to-the-editor in March 6, 2006 Wall Street Journal (subscription required) comments on economist Thomas Schelling's acceptance of the case for global warming ("It's Getting Warmer," editorial page, Feb. 23, 2005).

John Pugmire of New York writes:
- “He reaches his position by the selective exclusion of inconvenient facts.”
- “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Dr. Pachauri has similarly besmirched the reputations of David Henderson and Ian Castles for suggesting that the IPCC's 100-year gas emission forecasts were unreasonably high.”
- “Despite widespread support from the economic community, IPCC claims it doesn't have time to change its computer climate models to reflect less inflated assumptions.”
- “Major scientific journal …. Nature …. went so far as to editorialize in January that the IPCC's macroeconomic assumptions ‘ought really to be discarded as wishful thinking’."
- “James Hansen, whose original congressional testimony sparked the global warming furor, admitted in Scientific American two years ago that he had deliberately exaggerated the dangers of global warming (but was now arguing for more realism): ‘Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue . . ‘."
- “I'd say the doubts are being systematically suppressed while the claims are being systematically exaggerated.”

Neil Houston of St. Augustine, Fla. writes:
- “Thomas Schelling … states that ‘greenhouse warming is not clearly established by the temperature record’."
- “Later he says, ‘I find the case for prospective greenhouse warming to be almost beyond doubt’."