Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Staying in the game ...

I'd like to move on to other subjects, but "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" seems to be the priority of our government. What an amazing display of focused energy upon a bill that three-fourths of the public does not want. It does make you scratch your head.

When we see wildly unpopular leglislation -- a bill opposed not just by the Republican base but by three-fourths of the country -- we have a problem. And not just in Houston.

Plus, the opposition is intense. Yet, those with superior knowledge than I press onward.

I read somewhere that if Pres. Bush had put this much effort into other stated priorities that we would have, oh, a democratic Iraq and a solvent social security system by now.

Apparently, yesterday's cloture vote was to allow the process to "move forward", while Harry Reid and his inner circle figured out what amendments they would allow to be discussed and how. Meanwhile, they keep the country in the dark and play "kingmakers" (or is it "citizen-voter-better-profit-margin-makers") for the rest of the nation. The whole process is a sham.

Now, I hear they are having another vote tomorrow on whether to clamp down on amendments to Bush-McCain-Kennedy. A few senators who allowed the process to venture into a preliminary discussion of amendments are now wobbling and wanting to defect from the dark side.

Go to Laura Ingraham's website to get contact links for the wobbling 8. Since they had 64 in favor of limiting debate yesterday, my understanding is that we need five of the wobblers to switch to the right side to put this senatorial fiasco out of its misery. Full disclosure: I sent an email to all of them, except Sen. Bond of Missouri. I understand he has already said he will vote against cloture tomorrow.

And keep in mind: The House is saying "no way" over here. Remember: All of them are up for election next year. Funny how the two bodies function in relation to the public, huh?

Redstate has been doing tremendous work on this issue. Check out this post, featuring Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, one of the real heroes of this debate.

Keep the faith.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tuesday is Immigration D-Day ...

In the meantime, a good senator to contact would be Sen. John Ensign of Nevada. He is said to be on the fence (No pun intended. Of course, no one in Congress is actually "on" the fence. The fence is not being built.)

Sen. Ensign is head of the Republican National Senatorial Committee, that is, he is coordinating the efforts to get Republicans recruited for and elected to the Senate in '08. In other words, he has a tough job that guys like McCain, Lott, Specter, Kyl, and Graham are making much tougher.

You can call Sen. Ensign at 202-224-6244. You also can email him.

He is in a tough spot, to say the least. So, I say we politely remind him of this.

Really, wayward Republicans are undermining the ability of the party to raise money nationally, and in a big way. Oh, well ... gotta break some eggs, I guess.

By the way, I see that Sen. Lott-of-Hairspray is waffling (I know, this is a shocker to you) on the bill now. The same guy who said last week that "talk radio is running the country" said on Fox News Sunday that he is "not committed to supporting the final product." He just wants to let the process move forward.

What a hoot! And what a politician. You have to love it. But remember, they do answer to a massive public outcry. In the end, they want to keep their jobs.

If you vote against three-fourths of the nation on an issue where people feel passionately, where the nation's security and identity are at stake, well, consider yourself looking for a new job.

The House is already digging in for a battle royal if this thing makes it over there. All of them are up next year, and they know it will get ugly if they pass this. Maybe we will see congressional approval ratings in the single-digits before this thing is over?

How much you want to bet that one of the Senate "supporters" of the bill who is going wobbly snuggles up to Harry Reid and encourages him to let the thing get KO'ed in the cloture vote? That would be great. Let's hope.

And ... another reason to be hopeful: Any movement that relies upon moderates to provide "backbone" is in serious trouble.

Should be a fun week.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Both Texas Senators on the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" Bill: No.

Both Texas Sens. Cornyn and Hutchison are on board in opposing the Senate's Immigration Bill that is lumbering into an ambush, maybe as early as next week. I hate to brag, you know, being a Texan and all, but ... okay, how many states can boast that both of their senators got it right on this bill?

But what do we know, just being the nation's second most populous state, and a border state to boot?

To recap, Sen. Hutchison was trying to patch the thing up with an ill-advised amendment. But to her credit, she has righted her course. Something tells me she has heard from a few Texans. Oh, well. She's heard from at least one. I also contacted Sen. Cornyn -- who has been great in this debate -- and I got the following email in return:

Thank you for contacting me about immigration reform. The need to fix our broken system is clear, and I appreciate having the benefit of your insight on one of the most important issues of our day.

Immigration reform ultimately must be about improving our system for legal immigration, not about creating new benefits for illegal aliens. Although we are a proud nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. If policymakers will agree that all immigrants must abide by the rule of law, then we can reach a consensus on ways to improve the legal process so that it meets the needs of our society, our economy and our national security.

Recently, the Senate debated S. 1348, a comprehensive immigration reform bill. However, I had serious concerns that the legislation, as drafted, would have repeated the well documented mistakes of the 1986 amnesty bill. If we fail to address the rampant fraud and fail to close all loopholes in our current broken system, then we will fail to truly reform our system.

I have been working throughout my time in the Senate to develop a solution to this problem that I believe will work. I would invite you to visit my website at http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/immigration to acquaint yourself with the immigration reforms I support. As we consider this bill in the Senate and beyond, I will continue to promote these policies, but I will oppose any bill that rewards illegal conduct and encourages further disrespect for our laws.

I appreciate the opportunity to represent the interests of Texans in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
Way to go, Sen. Cornyn. Now, I plan to be firmly behind Sen. Cornyn's reelection efforts in '08. I've got his request for a campaign donation sitting on my desk at home.

On the other hand ... barring a dramatic turnaround of party behavior, this may be the first year in a very long time that I am not an RNC member. Showing a impeccable since of timing, I got my third, fourth, whatever, desperate reminder in the mail just this past week, imploring me to please, please, PLEASE ... get that donation in the mail ASAP.

So, I am returning my response slip (and I'll even pay the postage, as always) this weekend, with the note: "Enforce the border like you said you would (just last year), and then we can talk."

Finally, if your senators aren't yet on board with 72% of the American people who want enforcement of the border before any further changes in immigration law are made, then call them. Be polite, and remind them that it always pays to do the right thing, especially when the voters, the base, and the people who donate to and work for their campaigns are watching.

Be of good cheer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Be Ye Encouraged

I've said for some time that the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" package in the Senate ain't gonna make it.

Our side has the better arguments. Check this out from Charles Krauthammer (who apparently didn't get the Fox News memo to pledge fealty to Kennedy-Bush-McCain):

Why am I so suspicious about the fealty of the reformers to real border control? In part because of the ridiculous debate over the building of a fence. Despite the success of the border barrier in the San Diego area, it appears to be very important that this success not be repeated. The current Senate bill provides for the fencing of no more than one-fifth of the border and the placing of vehicle barriers in no more than one-ninth.

Instead, we are promised all kinds of fancy, high-tech substitutes -- sensors, cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles -- and lots more armed chaps on the ground to go chasing those who get through.

Why? A barrier is a very simple thing to do. The technology is well tested. The Chinese had success with it, as did Hadrian. In our time, the barrier Israel has built has been so effective in keeping out intruders that suicide attacks are down more than 90 percent.

Fences work. That's why people have them around their houses -- not because homeowners are unwelcoming but because they insist that those who wish to come into their domain knock at the front door.

The whole column is here.

If you want to know where a debate is and is going, look at both the arguments being made and the people making them.

In the current, raging immigration debate, the forces opposing "Comprehensive Reform" have the facts and the goods. And the people bringing it are, in large part, conservatives who are active in deed and donations.

Yes, the supporters of Kennedy-Bush-McCain are persistent and well-funded. And they could pull it off.

But they won't.

Be ye encouraged.

Friday, June 15, 2007

We haven't discussed it here, but the Hamas takeover in Gaza was an eye opener for some, perhaps. Maybe for those who were watching, but then again, who is watching?

But the conduct of the Palestinian Islamists should come as no surprise.

Islamist is as Islamist does.

Speaking of which, via our old friend Dan Riehl, I came across this informative, comparative post.

Islamist is as Islamist does.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Left Gets Behind Move for War with Iran

Why? Check it out.

The vote in Iran's Parliament was 148-5 in favor of the measure, showing the "broad, popular support" for it.

Note that the death penalty is authorized for so-called "corrupters of the world". Wow, how could you corrupt this world any more than it already is? But that's a Christian concept (that "the world" is corrupt), and in Iran, Christian concepts are treated somewhat like porn.

Oh, wait. The Left is getting confused again.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lots of angst to go around re: the immigration bill ...

and I certainly understand. I share it.

Maybe this will give you a lift, though. I must confess, the phrase "poison pill", referencing amendments put in the immigration legislation to kill it (i.e., the Dorgan Amendment to sunset the sacred "guest worker" provision after 5 years) makes me chuckle. I just can't get images of panicked senators walking very fast with their tassled loafer heels clicking as the scurry back to their offices to regroup.

I put the following in the same category: Apparently, Harry Reid is getting the lion's share of the blame for the immigration debacle unfolding in Washington. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of blame to go around, and for Republicans like Bush, McCain, Specter, Kyl, etc.

But it is a hoot to see Capt. Greanjeans going down with the ship.

In life, it's all about perspective. If you think things can't be worse, well ...

From Rassmussen Reports, we learn the following:

38% of Americans -- Have a favorable view of VP Dick Cheney;

35% of Americans -- Have a favorable view of Pres. Bush;

27% of Americans -- Think the President doing a good or excellent job with respect to Iraq; and

23% of Americans -- Support the failed "comprehensive immigration reform" bill.

And there are these nuggets:

19% of Americans -- Have a favorable view of Scooter Libby; and

19% of Americans -- Have a favorable view of Harry Reid.

So ... Dick Cheney is twice as popular as Harry Reid, who is just a popular as Scooter Libby.

Also, the President's Iraq policy is more popular than "comprehensive immigration reform". More of the public thinks the President is doing a good or excellent job handling Iraq than supports the immigration bill. Plus, the president has almost 50% more support for his handling of Iraq than Harry Reid has support. Incredible.

What are the odds Pres. Bush could get the go-ahead from Congress today to invade Iraq? But, regarding the immigration bill ... he says he'll "see us at the signing ceremony." We'll see.

But wait ... Pres. Bush goes to Capitol Hill to expend some "political capital" tomorrow. He's got a lot of it you know, depending on your perspective.

Friday, June 08, 2007

That Iceberg the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" Bill Just Hit ...

... may have done the trick. I think I was one of the first to say ... it ain't happenin'. It might happen at some point in the future, but this bill looks to be officially dead.

All you naysayers, I know, are ready to be mad about the bill that Hillary is going to sign, with a Democrat Congress in '09. Sure, it may happen. But it might not. Point is, it looks like the disaster that is the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill" du jour has been averted.

As people who know America and her borders are worth protecting, we ought to believe enough in our people to rise up when it matters. Keep the faith.

With this bill and the audacious way that the Senate attempted to foist it on us, without their gigantic monstrosity even being read ("Trust us, we're from the government, we're here to help you, and we really mean it this time when we say that this is the last amnesty, and we'll get right on that fence."), now the tenor of the debate has changed.

For they were caught in the night, trying to steal across what remains of an America that cares about its border.

The message from the majority of Americans, not simply troglodytes like me, is: Enforce the current laws and add true enforcement measures to keep out illegals while punishing businesses who violate the law. Then, we can talk re: what to do next. If the Congress would simply take this approach, many people would be open to a discussion as to what we do with those illegals who are already here. However, the continuing unwillingness to discuss meaningful border enforcement means that people don't believe what their government tells them on this subject, and the mistrust is as deep as ever.

Start with enforcing the border meaningfully, with a fence, a means to track every one in the U.S., and with punitive measures for those businesses who hire illegals. Then we can actually know how many illegals we really have to deal with. Failure to enforce the border first is a ruse to create a bigger problem, because it's not much of a "problem" any way in the eyes of the proponents of McCain-Kennedy-Bush. But if we enforce the border and punish those who treat the U.S. like a supermarket, then a lot of the illegals won't come and won't need the perks they are currently being offered via "comprehensive immigration reform". That's the dirty little secret that a lot of McCain-Bush-Kennedy proponents don't want people to know.

But hey ... we've got them outnumbered, as recent events have demonstrated. Don't kid yourself: As I said here a while ago, politicians can be influenced if they think they will lose their jobs. They really can. That's the way the system works here ... still.

Finally, another benefit of this bill is that it effectively ended any hopes McCain had to become president. That's not a bad side benefit, I would argue. All of the Republican presidential hopefuls are getting great traction hammering the bill ... the McCain-Bush-Kennedy bill.

Right now those three names are not real popular in Republican circles.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

6 Jun 07

D-Day. We pause to recall this day. Many of us recall it, strangely enough, as a day of triumph. But in reality, it was not. Sixty-three years ago, this was a day of great loss and difficulty. Fortunately, our troops did not yet have to contend with the 24-hour news cycle.

Indeed, D-Day was only the beginning of triumph. Such is the way it has always been. Likewise, when Joe Rosenthal's famous photograph captured five Marines and a Navy Corpsman raising our flag on Iwo's Mount Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945, the nation rejoiced. But four more weeks of the bloodiest fighting in Marine Corps' history was still ahead.

It's always been this way. We commemorate dates when we planted the flag, declared independence, as we should.

But when you raise the flag of freedom, the conflict is often only just beginning.

The men who hit the beaches of Normandy 63 years ago were ready for the long fight ahead. We should always be, too.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Continuing Threat and Disgrace of Political Prosecutions

Had enough yet? It's Scooter Libby, a rich, political elite and not you, you say? Not yet. Just wait.

This is how freedoms disappear. We've talked about this here before. When the prosecutor abandons his oath to seek justice but instead becomes an arm of a political party or institution ... no matter the persuasion ... liberty and justice for all is in jeopardy.

Tom Delay ... Martha Stewart ... the Duke Lacrosse team ... on and on ...

And don't forget Sandy Burglar. Oh, wait.

Via Dan Riehl, we have this comparison.

The Libby verdict is a disgrace. Americans remember that a that a badge doesn't always mean a good guy is wearing it. Or they better.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Back to Quantico

Last week I made the trek back to Quantico for the first time since I got out of The Basic School (a six-month harassment package with the purported purpose of teaching new Marine lieutenants the basics of leading an infantry platoon) and high-tailed out of Dodge back in 1990. Most Marine lieutenants get the hyakah from Q-town, and are not anxious to come back any time soon.

I was no different. So, it took me 17 years to get back.

But it was pretty special being back. I drove to Officer Candidates School, and I was shocked ... yes, shocked to find that it looked essentially identical to how I remembered it ... the obstacle courses, Brown Field (where we allegedly learned Close Order Drill), Bobo Hall (where I ate the only two helpings of liver that I have eaten in my life, and during the same meal), the squadbays, the places where we hit the trails and the hills, etc. There were a few new buildings, but it was basically the same. Incredibly so.

I even recognized the trees ... the cedar trees that border Brown Field. Once, I tried to jam a shirt in one of them on the way out to the trails to run, only to get caught by the sergeant-instructor.

On the day of my return, new officer candidates were starting the whole process over. A new class was underway. I could tell by the hair (the presence thereof). Also, they were in formation outside the barber shop, which was, of course, where it has been since the dawn of time. Or so it seems. I could have walked right to it, and gone straight to the chair. The barbers were always somewhat pleasant (relatively so).

It was a great day to be there, in this place of great challenges, laughs, anguish, and triumph.

Every Marine lieutenant who has been killed in Iraq earned his bars at this place.

Every Marine lieutenant who served in the first Gulf War became an officer here.

Every junior Marine officer since WWII was trained at Quantico.

Every commissioned Marine officer who served in Viet Nam got their start here ... like my uncle did.

Standing there on Brown Field, I sensed the presence of all of them. And it was humbling all over again to have the same title as they did and do -- "Marine".