MrSpkr's random thoughts . . .
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
I can't believe the arrogance behind this.
I bet he does. Question is, is he one of the corrupt politicos in the Fox government or is he one of the corrupt politicos in the prior government?
LOS ANGELES — A new man is in charge of border relations for Mexico and he has some radical ideas for change at the border with the United States.
Arturo Gonzalez Cruz, a 52-year-old Tijuana businessman, says many improvements are needed at the border to benefit trade,
Why do I have a feeling he wants to spend my tax dollars for this?
including creating more lanes and adding border crossings.
Oh, that's why. I bet he wants Uncle Sugar to carry the cost for this, too.
Ultimately, Cruz says flat out, he wants to see the border disappear.
Then why in the world do we need to spend taxpayer dollars on creating more lanes and adding border crossings? I mean, we should spend it on more emergency medicine, welfare and education for the illegal Mexicans already IN the United States.
But critics say not so fast.
"It is clear that their objective is to affect the domestic policies of the U.S. ... and in a way that makes it easier for people who come to the U.S. illegally to get away with breaking the law number one, and to get access to all sorts of government benefits," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
No kidding. The real question, though, is how much easier can we make it for them? Maybe we should use the money Mr. Cruz wants to spend on border crossings and use it to charter airplanes so those poor Mexican folks won't have to walk as far.
About 3 million illegal immigrants cross the border from Mexico into the United States each year.
With no signs that the Mexican government has any desire to stop them. Why should they? By letting the poorest segments of Mexican society cross illegally into the United States, the Mexican government has a way to defuse social pressures that might *gasp* otherwise force the Mexican government to break out of it's socialist economic scheme and do something for it's people.
Cruz's office says it doesn't deal with that issue, despite the fact he will be in charge of fostering better channels of communication between people involved in border issues.
Of course. I mean, there are a lot more pressing border issues between the United States and Mexico than the illegal immigration. Like, umm, well . . .
Let me get back to you on that, 'kay?
The last man who had Cruz's job resigned quietly after complaining his colleagues in Mexico City didn't have a good understanding of the border.
And I see that he was replaced by someone who at least is honest about the Mexican government's position on the US-Mexico border -- they want a one-way pressure valve to relieve their own socio-economic problems.
Plus, it's good business for Mexico. Mexico takes in BILLIONS of dollars each year from relatives working illegally in the US and mailing part of their wages back home.
Unfortunately, W seems unlikely to address this issue. Were it not for the War on Terror, I might strongly consider voting for a democrat who promised much tighter border security, strict enforcement of our existing immigration laws, and a tightening of the numbers of immigrants allowed into this country.
Well, except for the fact the Democrats haven't nominated a candidate whose word I thought I could trust since 1980.
I hate being in this position. Immigration must be tightened, and the War on Terror must be fought and won, and yet there is no candidate advocating both.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
A major black church group has taken a decidedly conservative stand on gay marriage -- they oppose it.
We believe that the homosexual practices of same-sex couples are in violation of religious and social norms and are aberrant and deviant behavior. We believe that these unions are sinful and in direct violation of the law of God in that they are a deviation from the natural use and purpose of the body. "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which is due." (Romans 1:26-27 NKJV). We believe that to legalize such unions will signal ecclesiastical and social approval of homosexuality and sexual deviancy as legitimate lifestyles.
Therefore, in spite of the progressive normalization of alternative lifestyles and the growing legal acceptance of same-sex unions; we declare our opposition to any deviation from traditional marriages of male and female. Notwithstanding the rulings of the court systems of the land in support of same-sex unions; we resolve that the Church of God in Christ stand resolutely firm and never allow the sanctioning of same-sex marriages by its clergy nor recognize the legitimacy of such unions.
Wow. This is a major social group to which Republicans out to be reaching out. Sometimes I wonder what exactly it will take for black voters to look past party identification and vote for candidates based on issues such as this.
If that day comes, the Democrats are in real trouble.
Monday, June 28, 2004
Apparently, several intelligence officials from around Europe, that's who.
Intelligence Backs Claim Iraq Tried to Buy Uranium
By Mark Huband in Rome
Published: June 27 2004 21:56 | Last Updated: June 27 2004 21:56
Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq at least three years before the US-led invasion, senior European intelligence officials have told the Financial Times.
Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that uranium smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined Nigerien uranium ore, or refined ore called yellow cake, to Iran, Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq.
These claims support the assertion made in the British government dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme in September 2002 that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from an African country, confirmed later as Niger. George W. Bush, US president, referred to the issue in his State of the Union address in January 2003.
The claim that the illicit export of uranium was under discussion was widely dismissed when letters referring to the sales - apparently sent by a Nigerien official to a senior official in Saddam Hussein's regime - were proved by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be forgeries. This embarrassed the US and led the administration to reverse its earlier claim.
But European intelligence officials have for the first time confirmed that information provided by human intelligence sources during an operation mounted in Europe and Africa produced sufficient evidence for them to believe that Niger was the centre of a clandestine international trade in uranium.
Officials said the fake documents, which emerged in October 2002 and have been traced to an Italian with a record for extortion and deception, added little to the picture gathered from human intelligence and were only given weight by the Bush administration.
According to a senior counter-proliferation official, meetings between Niger officials and would-be buyers from the five countries were held in several European countries, including Italy. Intelligence officers were convinced that the uranium would be smuggled from abandoned mines in Niger, thereby circumventing official export controls. "The sources were trustworthy. There were several sources, and they were reliable sources," an official involved in the European intelligence gathering operation said.
The UK government used the details in its Iraq weapons dossier, which it used to justify war with Iraq after concluding that it corresponded with other information it possessed, including evidence gathered by GCHQ, the UK eavesdropping centre, of a visit to Niger by an Iraqi official.
However, the European investigation suggested that it was the smugglers who were actively looking for markets, though it was unclear how far the deals had progressed and whether deliveries of uranium were made.
Of course, those who fall asleep at night to the cries of "Bush Lied; People Died" will either ignore this development, or they will decry the source as "a conservative rag", or they will decry the informants, or find some other reason to avoid admitting that there was reliable intelligence out there that Saddam had tried to purchase yellowcake.
Just thought I would point it out; that's all.
Monday, June 21, 2004
Okay, I think I have finally figured all of this out. The Europeans don't hate us -- they're just jealous.
Why, you ask, are the Enlightened Elitists jealous of us? Lots of reasons.
First, our economy. The United States leads the world in per capita GDP. In other words, our citizens have more disposable income with which to enjoy their lives than 99% of the rest of the planet. According to a recent report commissioned by the EU, their economic outlook is, to put it lightly, grim.
If the European Union were a state in the USA it would belong to the poorest group of states. France, Italy, Great Britain and Germany have lower GDP per capita than all but four of the states in the United States. In fact, GDP per capita is lower in the vast majority of the EU-countries (EU 15) than in most of the individual American states. This puts Europeans at a level of prosperity on par with states such as Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia. Only the miniscule country of Luxembourg has higher per capita GDP than the average state in the USA. The results of the new study represent a grave critique of European economic policy.
So, for the average American, unless you live in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas or Montana, your standard of living is higher than your average European. Your home is larger too -- the average European home has about 976.5 square feet while the average American home has 1875 square feet.
We also have the lowest tax burden -- but that, of course, is probably just a coincidence, right?
Second, our power. The United States of America is not obligated to kowtow to half-a-dozen other countries in setting it's foreign policy. While French ministers scream of American 'hyperpuissance' and various European leftists decry the United States as the most dangerous threat to world peace (click the button to see results), we get on with doing the things we need to do to maintain peace in the Balkans. While Bulgarian communists rail against a Vast Anglo-American Domination Conspiracy and Kim Jong Il announces that America is not qualified to address human rights issues, the United States is free to do what it thinks NEEDS to be done to ensure it's security and to stabilize turbulent areas of the world.
The Europeans had their chance to take the helm of Western Civilization. For over a thousand years, they had the military and economic power to expand enlightenment. They had the philosophical basis for bringing light to dark areas of the world. They chose to destroy themselves in internecine struggles instead. Is anyone really surprised that they have fallen into the realm of second-tier countries?
Third, they hate our freedom. In the United States, freedom of political speech is all but absolute. Neo-Nazis, Communists, Democrats, Socialists, Islamo-fascists, Klansmen, Black Panthers, the NAACP, the Republicans, and all other groups are free to express their political opinion in the marketplace of ideas. America is the great young adult, willing to explore new ideas and concepts, to debate and decide issues of the day according to various philosophies. Europe, on the other hand, seems to be in rehab, fighting a millenia of addiction to absolutism and hatred. Why else would so many European countries bar "hate speech" (as defined by the government) or certain political parties?
Fourth, they have contempt for Americans as a religious peoples. Despite the negative image religion gets in the popular media culture, Americans have a strong tradition of religious faith. Witness recent polls showing over 85% of Americans favored leaving the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance (undoubtedly a factor in the Supreme Court's decision to punt the Newdow case). A majority of Americans attend church at least once per month. The strongest (largest) church association in the United States is the conservative Southern Baptist Convention.
Europe, on the other hand, is dying insofar as Christianity is concerned. Church attendance is down; a majority of residents claim to be agnostic or atheist; and those churches that remain have vastly different theologies than their American cousins. They tend to be very liberal on social issues even where there is no biblical support for the position (such as female priests, gays in the pulpit, etc.). Lacking strong ties to their foundation and traditions, membership is declining dramatically.
So what does this mean -- the Death of the West (in Europe, at least)?
I must confess I am not sure. I would hope that Europe would awaken from it's lethargic slumber and retake it's position as a cultural and civic leader in world affairs. My fear is that the awakening will only come at a terrible cost in lives and human misery.
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Reuters News Article
"There were some concern and reflections, that was my case, and I was not alone ... on the eventual consequences of the strong U.S. budget and trade deficits on the future, and notably on currency and interest rates," Chirac told reporters after talks on the economy at the G8 summit in Sea Island, Georgia.
"President Bush was perfectly conscious of this situation."
So I guess this means France is about to open up it's markets to American goods -- or more specifically, American agricultural products?
I didn't think so.
Monday, June 07, 2004
This past weekend, I was in New Orleans visiting the D=Day Museum for the 60th anniversary celebrations. After the museum closed on Saturday afternoon, I walked through the French Quarter with a friend. As I passed by a bar, I saw vintage footage of Reagan (from his Presidency), and that is how I learned of his death.
Ronald Reagan was the single most influential political figure in my life. I grew up in the 1970s, amongst a popular media culture that could find little right in America, and a pair of presidents, Carter and Ford, that were ineffectual at best. I wondered, idly, whether the past was going to be better than my future.
Then this actor from California came on the scene. He told my generation that it was okay to love America; that America was worthy of love, respect, hard work, and all that a citizen could give her. He restored our national sense of pride and optimism.
Frankly, my one great political regret was that I was not able to vote for him (I turned 18 three months after the 1984 election).
He continued to be a tremendous influence on my life and my development as a conservative. Reagan and his philosophy became the benchmark against which I measured other politicians, and their policies. His influence was such that my eldest son bears his name – Philip Reagan Hines.
My prayers are now with Nancy and his family; but I cannot help but wonder whether I should extend them to the conservative movement as a whole. I wonder, at times, whether conservatives will continue to embrace Reagan’s policies, or whether we are doomed to repeating the mistakes of the past.
In any event, it is a sad day not only for America, but for the world. God bless and keep Ronald Wilson Reagan.