Saturday, April 15, 2006

This can't be good

Found this on Yahoo, seems that the Hamas leadership isn't doing so great, once they've got the undivided attention of the world looking at them. Funny thing is, there seems to be a serious slant pushing the reader to make them think it isn't Hamas's fault they're failing, it's the fact that almost everyone has pulled their financial aid to them, and it's those country's fault, like Israel, US, Etc. Yeah, uh huh, and Hamas lost their money by what? Being a terror group that advocates the killing of Innocent civilians and wiping Israel off the face of the earth? At any rate, it seems that the Hamas leadership is about to topple from within, seeing that people aren't getting paid and civilians rather upset. This will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Michael Yon continues his visit in Afghanistan.

Back to Iraq Part IV

Michael Totten continues his road trip to Iraq.

University stifles free speech

Via Instapundit "More crushing of dissent?"

More examples of Universities crushing dissent, free speech, and freedom of expression can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Just a drop in the bucket. I would link to more examples, but that would take all day long.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Immigration: What's wrong? What needs fixing?

Seeing Immigration seems to be a hot topic right now, and rightly so, regardless of what side of the argument you look at, it's a serious issue, we've decided to begin a debate on it, and will be regularly posting arguments regarding various facets of the issue at hand. Each day we will be taking a different part of immigration and looking at it, arguing the points of it, pro and con.

The first side of the argument I'd like to take:

Amnesty for the illegal immigrants already in the country.

Illegal immigration, first off, lets analyze what that really is. To enter the country without receiving prior authorization from the US government, or entering it under false pretenses(i.e. false documentation). Either one is serious, because they can undermine the security of the United States, and also cause other problems, such as crime, poverty, etc.

The problem is, we have en estimated 10,000,000 illegals in the US right now, and the government seems a bit hamstrung as to what they can do. They clearly want the problem to go away, and what to seem effective. That's one thing I have noticed with this government, they want to be seen doing something, anything more than whether that something is right. I'm not saying that everything they do is like this, only when there seems to be no easy or quick solution.

I am actually cautiously pro amnesty, but not what the government is proposing. I agree with Swizstick, pardoning illegal behavior only encourages more, and so doing that would only invite a massive influx of illegal immigrants in, and create further problems. I also disagree that amnesty alone would do any good at all, amnesty alone would be a major blow to the ability of the US to function properly and be taken seriously as a country that wants to continue with the integration of immigrants into society.

I believe that the response with amnesty would be a 2 pronged approach, but one that would require some decent co-ordination with various US government agencies. First one would be to grant a grace period of about 21 days to those illegals that are already in the country. That 21 days would allow them to get an application to apply for legal status, also combining a major reduction in the fees to process an application. After that time, an illegal caught in the country would face deportation, regardless of how long they've been in the country. One of my chief gripes with the government's proposal is that it grants various "rights" to people considering the length of time they've been here. That only works if we can actually prove that. This would eliminate that problem, and give those who have been here a while a chance. Also, once the grace period has begun, any illegal caught trying to cross the border will be deported without delay.

Obviously, this proposal will need to be implemented with a corresponding increase in border patrols, and also must remove the onus on employers to rat out their illegal employees (many of which are very good workers, and who wants to lose a very good worker?), and place that on an immigration officer who we should have had their numbers increased dramatically. Obviously, the borders will be flooded with illegal attempts so the borders will need to be tightened during that grace period, and watched intently from then on.

After the grace period, any illegal caught in the country without proof that they have applied for legal status, which they should be told that they should keep on them at all times, they should be immediately deported. We need to take a more determined approach to those who refuse to enter this country illegally. Also, it needs to be made clear that we welcome legal immigrants, as they truly are what make this country great. With a softening of the legal process, and a hardening of the illegal issues, I believe we can reduce the issues caused by illegal immigrants, and make the US a great place to live. The solution to the problem is not a simple one, and it will require many approaches to make it work, but simply trying to swoop down and deport all the illegals will not work, nor will making them all legal work as well. As Glenn from instapundit said: our immigration system is porous to illegals, and hostile to legals, we need to work to reverse that statement.

No easy answers on immigration problem

Ah, finally my compatriot has recovered from his jet lag and caught up to all his e-mails, welcome back!

First off, I agree with you that the new immigration proposals being discussed in the U.S. are not real solutions. To me they are reactionary measures dependent on who the particular politician is trying to please. None of them really offer far reaching, fair, and comprehensive solutions to the overall immigration picture. So yes, I agree that most of our elected officials in Congress are missing the issue.

In regards to the Fox News article that you linked to, I must say I am in total disagreement. France’s immigration problems stem from a lack of integration in French society. There is little to no upward mobility and France’s immigrants are marginalized and not readily accepted into French society. It is because of this reason that second and even third generation French immigrants more readily identify with their home country and culture than with France. The new proposal by Sarkozy to make it more difficult for poor immigrants to enter the country will only widen the gap between rich and poor. Rather than allowing entry only to the rich, while ignoring the poor, perhaps France should look at its own economic policies that make it difficult for companies to hire and retain immigrants, not to mention French citizens. But then again, France is not really interested in progressive economic policies that would actually encourage hiring and economic growth, thereby reducing unemployment. So I do not think that France gets it. Their immigration problems are not the same as ours and their proposed solution completely ignores the real issue while fixing little.

While finding solutions to the immigration problem is difficult, I believe it needs to be looked at from 2 sides, both legal and illegal, as our legal immigration policies are as much of a mess as our illegal problems. Our current immigration policies and procedures are ridiculously onerous and difficult to comply with. Dealing with immigration is a nightmare of endless paperwork, insolent clerks, expensive fees, and lots of waiting. You have to be a very patient and understanding person to be able to deal with immigration on your own. There is a whole industry of immigration consultants and lawyers who make a living assisting people with the legal immigration process. As with the IRS and our tax laws, our immigration laws and procedures are so complex and confusing that many people would rather pay a consultant or lawyer to deal with the process than do it themselves. I know I did.

My conservative friends in the world who rail against immigration and continually call for a tightening of our immigration policies obviously don’t know anyone who has been through the legal immigration process. My wife is not from this country. When we decided to get married, I had no idea what I was in for. It took almost 7 months just to get a visa for my wife to enter the country so we could get married. Keep in mind this was just a visa to ENTER the country, not STAY in the country. Once in the country, we had 90 days to get married and apply for a change of status to permanent residency. After nearly 1 year, my wife was finally granted legal residency on conditional status for 2 years. The 2 years already went by and we already sent in yet another application for release of conditional status and a permanent green card. After paying $200 for the application fee and sending in all the paperwork, our check was cashed immediately. However, all we received in the mail was a notice from Immigration stating that they were processing our application and that it would take up to 11 MONTHS TO PROCESS!! So they have no problem taking our money up front, but we have to wait 11 months for them to process the paperwork. Long story short, we have been married about 3 years now and still do not have a green card. When I inquired as to what do we do if my wife needs to leave the country and come back, I was simply told to show Immigration a copy of the letter I had received upon arrival back into the U.S. Keep in mind that each step of the way requires mountains of paperwork and numerous fees.

Illegal immigration is a slap in the face to those legal immigrants such as my wife who are STILL going through the very long and difficult process to obtain a green card legally. I know of very few legal immigrants who support any of the arguments in favor of illegal immigration. Granting amnesty to those who broke the law and entered the country illegally renders the effort and money spent by those who immigrated legally meaningless. Rewarding lawless behavior only encourages more lawless behavior. By granting amnesty to the illegal immigrants already here it will only encourage others to attempt to enter the country illegally in hopes that they too will be granted amnesty in the future. Let’s be clear on this: these people are breaking the law. Some of us may not like the law. But regardless, it is the law, and those that break the law should be punished, not rewarded.

I believe the U.S. benefits from a strong legal immigration policy. There is a reason the U.S. is the number 1 destination of immigrants around the world. They know that our open society and free market economy provide opportunities for integration and mobility within American society. We need to make immigration easier for those who want to contribute positively to our country while punishing and deterring those who seek to circumvent our laws. The difficulty lies in how to accomplish both. While there are no easy answers, many of the solutions being proposed are inadequate. The questions are difficult ones to answer, and while I don’t believe the solutions being proposed adequately address the issues, I don’t pretend to have the answers myself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Immigration laws still not right

With the latest immigration laws being discussed, it still seems they are missing the issue. With the latest string suggesting amnesty for 10 million illegals, and then tightening the borders down, what in the world are they thinking? Nothing will change, and our borders will still be as porous as ever. I see these things going on as my worries about getting my wife's visa increase, not decrease, with the possibility of new laws on the books. It seems that France is realizing the situation they're in. We still aren't. The demonstrations across the states showing such great "sympathy" for the illegal immigrants that exist there, really miss the point at any rate. We've got a serious problem, and it needs to be addressed. Seems the easiest solution would be to ignore it, or the 2nd easiest, grant everyone legal status and start over. What a joke. We should allow everyone illegal to apply for legal status, and the ones who don't, should be deported. Then, we should start cracking down on border crossings. No walls, but patrols and real plans to make the rules stick. These things need to stop, and stop now.

Back to Iraq Part III

While Michael Yon is in Afghanistan, Michael Totten continues the chronicles of his epic road trip from Turkey to Iraq.

Curious Circumstance

Michael Yon’s latest dispatch is up:

Before coming to Afghanistan, I emailed to Nick Meo, a British journalist whom I
had come to know in Asia a couple of years before. Nick is now in Iraq, but he
had spent much recent time in Afghanistan. I asked Nick for suggestions about
traveling in Kandahar, Helmand, and Urozgan provinces.
He answered
Yes. My suggestion is don’t go. They are too dangerous to travel in
by yourself if you don’t know your way around. If you’re going with Steve then
you should be okay, but they are all very dangerous places now and security has
deteriorated massively in the last year. You might just about get away with
driving or flying to Kandahar, and making some trips outside the city—maybe to
Lashkargar. But you will not make it back alive from north Helmand or
I did not take his advice, but as of this writing I am still alive.
The journey has begun.
Read the whole thing.

Is the Iraqi’s lack of progress in forming a government actually a silent war against Sadr?

Austin Bay suspects this may be the case in his latest Strategy Page column:

I left Iraq with the impression that Sistani's plan for handling Sadr would be a
python-like squeeze only an Iraqi insider would fully understand.
the January 2005 election, Sadr joined Iraq's political process (though I
noticed his militia kept its weapons). After parliamentary elections, Sadr
gained control of nearly three-dozen seats and positioned himself as a
But that status appears to be short-lived. One indicator is the
March 26 attack by Iraqi commandos on a Mahdi militia facility in Baghdad. The
predictable media outrage lasted less than a week -- and Iraq's Interior
Ministry pointed out it had acted to stop sectarian vigilantes. Sadr lost
"street face" to the Interior Ministry -- and it appears Sadr's political
position has subsequently deteriorated.
Outsiders -- including U.S.
government officials -- can bewail the Iraqi parliament's lack of progress in
forming a government, but since the middle of March I strongly suspect the
hidden story has been the Interior Ministry and the Iraqi nationalists' war on
Sadr. It's a quiet police and political war waged with the blessing of Ayatollah
Sistani. Creating a strong and stable Iraqi government (the so-called "national
rescue front") is the goal. Sistani has advised Shia leaders to make concessions
to Sunnis in order to establish a "unity government." That's an action anathema
to Sadr.
Has Sistani's python begun its final squeeze?

Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Reply to Borders lame form letter from Samizdata

Yes, I've seen this form reply posted on other well read blogs.

There are young americans dying overseas to fight these scumbags. You do not even have the guts to stand up against them on your own turf. By folding you endanger others. You prove that threats work.

You are, to use old fashioned terminology, lily livered cowards with yellow stripes down your back a mile wide and you are being called out on it.

Get some backbone. There is more to life than avoiding risk. Your life has to stand for something.

Borders does not stand for anything except cowering in a hole praying it will be left alone... for a little while longer.

Yes, it is indeed their right to be cowards. It is likewise my right to call them on it.

For further background, check here and here.

Cartoon is courtesy of Cox and Forkum.

Port Security and the DP World non-issue

Over at I comment on the recent overblown DP World "ports" controversy. A non-issue, politicians and the media alike blew it out of proportion, clearly displaying zero understanding of how ports and terminals work, not to mention insulting and alienating one of our few staunch allies in the Middle East. Read the whole thing here. Excerpt:

Terminals are not ports. Terminal operators are not responsible for
cargo/container security - the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Bureau of Customs and
Border Protection are. Although it is wise to be wary, and certainly they are
not perfect, the UAE is not our enemy.

Facing down Iran

Absolute must read from Mark Steyn. Key excerpts:
That moment of ascendancy is now upon us. Or as the Daily Telegraph in London
reported: “Iran’s hardline spiritual leaders have issued an unprecedented new
fatwa, or holy order, sanctioning the use of atomic weapons against its
enemies.” Hmm. I’m not a professional mullah, so I can’t speak to the
theological soundness of the argument, but it seems a religious school in the
Holy City of Qom has ruled that “the use of nuclear weapons may not constitute a
problem, according to sharia.” Well, there’s a surprise. How do you solve a
problem? Like, sharia! It’s the one-stop shop for justifying all your
geopolitical objectives.
The bad cop/worse cop routine the mullahs and their
hothead President Ahmadinejad are playing in this period of alleged negotiation
over Iran’s nuclear program is the best indication of how all negotiations with
Iran will go once they’re ready to fly. This is the nuclear version of the NRA
bumper sticker: “Guns Don’t Kill People. People Kill People.” Nukes don’t nuke
nations. Nations nuke
fact, if one were a Machiavellian mullah, the first thing one would do after
acquiring nukes would be to hire some obvious loon like President Ahmaddamatree
to front the program. He’s the equivalent of the yobbo in the English pub who
says, “Oy, mate, you lookin’ at my bird?” You haven’t given her a glance, or
him; you’re at the other end of the bar head down in the Daily Mirror, trying
not to catch his eye. You don’t know whether he’s longing to nut you in the face
or whether he just gets a kick out of terrifying you into thinking he wants to.
But, either way, you just want to get out of the room in one piece. Kooks with
nukes is one-way deterrence
that was always Iran’s plan. In 1989, with the Warsaw Pact disintegrating before
his eyes, poor beleaguered Mikhail Gorbachev received a helpful bit of advice
from the cocky young upstart on the block: “I strongly urge that in breaking
down the walls of Marxist fantasies you do not fall into the prison of the West
and the Great Satan,” Ayatollah Khomeini wrote to Moscow. “I openly announce
that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the greatest and most powerful base of the
Islamic world, can easily help fill up the ideological vacuum of your
Today many people in the West don’t take that any more seriously
than Gorbachev did. But it’s pretty much come to pass. As Communism retreated,
radical Islam seeped into Africa and south Asia and the Balkans. Crazy guys
holed up in Philippine jungles and the tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil,
and Paraguay who’d have been “Marxist fantasists” a generation or two back are
now Islamists: it’s the ideology du jour. At the point of expiry of the Soviet
Union in 1991, the peoples of the central Asian republics were for the most part
unaware that Iran had even had an “Islamic revolution”; 15 years on, following
the proselytizing of thousands of mullahs dispatched to the region by a
specially created Iranian government agency, the Stans’ traditionally moderate
and in many cases alcoholically lubricated form of Islam is yielding in all but
the most remote areas to a fiercer form imported from the south. As the Pentagon
has begun to notice, in Iraq Tehran has been quietly duplicating the strategy
that delivered southern Lebanon into its control 20 years ago. The degeneration
of Baby Assad’s supposedly “secular” Baathist tyranny into full-blown client
status and the replacement of Arafat’s depraved “secular” kleptocrat terrorists
by Hamas’s even more depraved Islamist terrorists can also be seen as symptoms
of Iranification.
Read the whole thing. It’s long, but well worth it. Hat tip to Winds of Change.

Michael Totten's road trip to Iraq - Part II

Read it here. Great stuff.

If you missed part I, you can find it here.

New Orleans legislature votes 39-0 in right to keep arms in times of emergency

via Instapundit.

Monday, April 10, 2006


I don't always agree with her, but Michelle Malkin has been all over the NBC Dateline vs. NASCAR story.

For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, you can find out more about this story here, here, and here. You can read a copy of a letter sent to NBC by the chairman of the Henry County Board of Supervisors (where Martinsville Speedway is located) here.

Cartoon courtesy of Cox and Forkum.

Michael Totten heading back to Iraq

One of my favorite blogs is I have been reading Totten's work for over a year now and his coverage of the Middle East is fascinating. If you haven't checked out his work before, do so now.

Michael is headed back to Iraq - I can't wait for more.


Hi there. I have been invited by Jarhed to contribute to his quasi-political, UK/U.S. commentary, diesel engine/car freak blog. Apparently he is oblivious to my lack of writing skills, he is far more eloquent than me. I tend to be really good at posting links of articles I find interesting with mono-syllabic commentary such as "read here" or "cool article" or "check this out" - I like to find interesting stuff to read by people whose commentary is more interesting than my own.

With that in mind, hope you like what I have to contribute. Jarhed tends to be far more conservative in the red blooded American, grease monkey, big block engine lovin' kind of way, and yes he lives in Scotland. I am a registered independent living in the Bay Area with a strong Libertarian streak who runs right down the middle of the political spectrum, or at least I think I do. Depending on who you speak to I am either a hardcore conservative who should pack up and move to Crawford, TX or I am a whining liberal who should just stop kidding himself and grow long hair and bang a drum on the UC Berkeley campus. So we hope our differing viewpoints make for some interesting commentary and spice things up a bit, although we strongly agree on many important points.

Well, enjoy this post, because it is probably the longest thing you will ever see me write. Although I could prove myself wrong in the future.......enjoy!