Monday, March 13

MY BLOG -- "ACSOL" -- HAS A NEW HOME !!!

Dear Readers of ACSOL,

It's moving day ...

My blog -- A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT ("ACSOL") -- has a new home and if you'll kindly click your cursor on the following link, I'll take you there:

A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT

Oh, and now or once there, please take the time to copy and paste this new URL into your bookmarks, blogroll links, and subscriptions (i.e., syndication) for A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT:

http://acertainslantoflight.net/

That's right: no name change for my blog. Just a new home and a new URL and, for me, a new car to drive!

Thanks!

Friday, March 10

HOW TO SOLVE THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION PROBLEM

John Hawkins of Right Wing News gets off on the right foot (to his credit) in responding to this question; but, apart from enhanced border security, which must be the #1 priority, and enforcing federal laws vis-a-vis employers who knowingly employ illegals, which must be the #2 priority, the thorniest issues facing the U.S. Congress are twofold and John did not address either in his post.

Question #1: whether in the context of the ample existing federal immigration laws or those that may be forthcoming from a Congress that is beginning to take American sentiment seriously regarding illegal immigration and its deleterious impact on our country, what are we to do when the President of the United States and his choice of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, spend more time trumpeting tantamount-to-amnesty Guest Worker Programs in lieu of enforcing the law? The ballot box hasn't been able to change the reality of porous borders -- Clinton was as bad as Bush in encouraging a migration of "cheap labor" across our southern border and the Democratic Party opted not to play hardball on this issue in 2000 or 2004.

Question #2: what is to be done with the 12+ million lawbreakers already in this country given the impossibility of a massive federal round-up and mass deportation? Just count the number of major cities that have "Sanctuary City" laws on the books and provide "Day Laborer" centers for illegals and you begin to comprehend the unlikelihood that government will do a 180 degree turn and truly view border-jumpers as lawbreakers.

And, in terms of Question #2, I don't believe for a minute that most of the illegals already here will "self-deport," as John believes will be the case, once the federal government clamps down on employers flouting the law. Even if a large share of illegals were to become unemployed as a result of the federal government doing its job for a change, illegal aliens have proven themselves quite adept at working the system and maximizing the benefits they extract from federal, state, and local governments in terms of the broad, social safety net that has been afforded them. Besides, how do they "self-deport," if a wall goes up, electronic surveillance is heightened, and the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents is doubled or trebled?

I wish I had the answers.

But I know this much. The onus is now on the U.S. Congress because the Chief Executive has been derelect in enforcing the laws and, worse, in holding the government of Mexico accountable. Bush will leave office in January, 2009, and Vicente Fox long before him. And what these two leave behind in their wake is a problem of such massive proportions for the United States of America that it will not be solved anytime soon any more than a cancer that has metastasized throughout the body can be surgically excised.


FOLLOW-UP: Speaking of Mexico's Vicente Fox, do read the Business Week interview of El Presidente that Dan Stein of The Dan Stein Report links to for today's dose of disingenuous, political pabulum (but keep a barf bag nearby). Fact is, Fox does everything but personally escort Mexican nationals to our border and his government lives off of the $17+ million in remittances that the illegals send back to Mexico from the States year after year.

FOLLOW-UP II: You know what's absolutely discouraging about even contemplating the needed prescriptions to remedy the illegal immigration and border security problems in this country? Well, I'll tell you. It's that, much as has been the case with George W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton before him, were a John McCain (RINO-AZ) or a Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) to land in the Oval Office in 2009, no matter the immigration laws then on the books, we in America would still see no enforcement of them by the nation's Chief Executive. Read this and you'll understand exactly what I mean!

AMERICAN IDOL DOWN TO 12 (AND COUNTING)

Paul at Wizbang handicaps the "Final 12" on American Idol and, as always, provides some clever commentary and humor along the way, including links to photos of the wannabes. My wife and I are devotees of the show and on those rare nights when most of the contestants rise to the occassion, Idol can be absolutely infectious provided you can get past the inanity of Paula Ab-dull whose only meaningful contribution to the show is in showcasing what hair extensions can do for a woman's looks.

Among the females, I'm in lockstep with Paul in liking Katharine McPhee's chances. She's gorgeous (reminds me of a young Crystal Gayle of C&W fame with those wide-set eyes and high cheekbones) and has the voice; but, and as Paul points out, she doesn't exude the requisite confidence and showmanship at this stage of the competition. It's all about improving from week to week and peaking toward the end.

Among the men, I part company with Paul, believing that there's not a one of them who comes close to the raw talent seen in Chris Daughtry. He has command of his vocals and plenty of stage presence to win it all in a year in which voters will likely try to find a male winner. He comes across as quite likeable and thoroughly self-confident, but in an understated way. Wish the sideburns weren't such a distraction (lose 'em, Chris).

I don't buy Simon's theory that the "Granny vote" is keeping the quintessential nerdy teenager, Kevin Kovais, in the hunt. There must be a lot of mean-spirited high school voters reveling in this weekly humiliation of an otherwise likeable young man. Taylor Hicks -- Joe Cocker in a sport coat -- suffices quite adequately as Idol's novelty act contestant, so Kovias makes no sense unless Lawrence Welk is voting multiple times from Heaven.

Kellie Pickler (the name fits), who Simon seems smitten with, is my longshot choice. While the "nice bad girl" moniker Simon applied to her seems so much Hollywood casting-couch perversion, her manifest innocence and naivette make her a heartbreaker and, oh, can this young lady sing. This may sound crazy, but close your eyes when she sings and if you have any affinity whatsoever for Country-Western music, you'll melt.

By the way, is there a "Dump Ab-dull" blog out there? If so, I want to put it in my blogroll.

Thursday, March 9

PORTS WORLD DEAL BUNGLED BY WHITE HOUSE, NOT BY AMERICAN PEOPLE

The ad hominem attacks continue unabated, even as the DPW imbroglio reaches its political denouement -- blistering attacks against those of us who took issue with the UAE-owned Dubia Ports World deal from the onset and held our ground against those determined to back the Bush administration unhesitatingly, no matter how bungled the hush-hush, rubber-stamp deal was and strident the ooops-based, after-thought of a defense became.

American citizens overwhelmingly objected to the deal and they did so from a pragmatic, common sense point of view -- namely, why should we put our country's national security at risk by having companies owned by foreign governments managing key infrastructure here in the United States and particularly during a time of war? In doing so, everyday Americans wrestled a dysfunctional, polarized U.S. Congress to the ground and put a bullheaded president on notice. They're to be applauded, not characterized as blithering fools full of political naivete!

Not only did their thinking make sense, but it became even more compelling with the linkage in their minds of the Ports Deal to the long-standing porousness of America's land borders with Canada and Mexico, the latter being breeched in unprecedented numbers by a human invasion of border-jumping Mexican nationals and Other Than Mexicans (OTMs), many of the latter of whom have come to our country from "countries of interest."

After all, 12+ million illegal aliens afoot in our land is a statement in itself and one not about to be lost on American citizens. Indeed, it's a statement about an unconscionable absence of border security in a post-"9/11" age of international, Islamofascist terrorism; and, to be sure, it's a statement about how the federal government and our president have defiantly abandoned existing immigration laws, genuflecting instead to the "cheap labor" mantra of the Wall Street Journal and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big money interests.

Americans get it and they are getting it more with each passing day.

Brand them zenophobes; brand them nativists; brand them racists; brand them "average Americans"; brand them dull-witted fools incapable of grasping the big picture (or the nuances) of international diplomacy; kick 'em and bash 'em and patronize them all you like, but understand this country is about "We the People" and not always about the legerdemain of Washington D.C.

Fact is, the American people hold veto power that transcends even Washington's machinations.

It's called the ballot box.

No weakness in Americans has been revealed in this exercise in which everyday citizens called Washington on the carpet and said: "Not on our watch!" Quite the contrary -- the pols were forced to do our bidding.


FOLLOW-UP: I heartily recommend this column by Joseph Farah, published in WorldNetDaily, which among other insights offers the following:

On this score, I agree with Robert Pfriender, the president of Alliance Development Corp., the company that offered the U.S. government a real, viable plan for port security – maybe the only real, viable plan for port security.

"Apparently, the collective wisdom of the American public is more accurate in its assessment that the country needs much better port security immediately and that it is absolutely absurd for the White House to provide an opportunity to any foreign-owned entity to participate in any capacity with the operation of a vital national security asset like our seaports," Pfriender observes.

If you believe this is an outrageous requirement, consider this: China doesn't permit any other country to operate its ports. Russia doesn't allow any other country to operate its ports. Saudi Arabia doesn't allow any other country to operate its ports. The United Arab Emirates, the country that owns Dubai Ports World, does not allow any other country to operate its ports. France does not allow any other country to operate its ports. Germany doesn't allow it.

In fact, Pfriender can't find any other significant country in the world that permits this.

Wednesday, March 8

AS WE DIG MORE AND MORE INTO WHAT PASSES FOR HOMELAND SECURITY ...

I'll make this quick. The evidence is as plain as day!

Read here and here about the Dubai Ports World deal.

This is sure to comfort.

Read here about who looks after police, fire, and security services presently at Indianapolis International Airport.

Oh, and do not miss this bit of information.

And, of course, you probably already know how well our southern border is being managed and what the Bush administration plans on doing about the problem (i.e., more of the same).

So just how secure do you feel and how confident are you that our national security interests are being attended to by the Bush administration and its Department of Homeland Security?


OBSERVATION: Frosty Wooldridge deserves kudos! As does the Washington Times and all who inform the public about the hoax that is Homeland Security. Just go to this blog's sidebar and use the links under the "Vincent Omnia Veritas" heading. You'll get a real education.

BUSH ADMINISTRATION PREPARED, BUT SO ARE CONSERVATIVES

The Washington Times reports today that Emilio Gonzales, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has done a convenient about face and is claiming now that his agency is fully prepared to implement a Guest Worker Program -- a project so dear to the President of the United States that he appears willing to kiss off a good-size chunk of his base and any vestiges of the Red State, conservative coalition that returned him to office in 2004.

Simply put, if Mr. Gonzales eventually ends up running a GWP, this writer and countless conservative Republicans alike will be seen running from the president.

The first priority must be border security -- plain and simple, and unencumbered by broad-based immigration reform.

Let's first get our house in order and stop the human invasion from the south.


FOLLOW-UP: Here's a related piece by Juann Mann from The Immigration Blog. And I'm not too impressed with Michael Chertoff and the DHS either!

Tuesday, March 7

ILLEGAL ALIEN GOLD CARD -- PRICELESS!

Michelle Malkin here and Dan Stein here give credence to precisely what I wrote about here and here.

Michelle Malkin:

For those deluded enough to think that the Department of Homeland Security would be able to competently conduct the background checks and police abuse of this massive amnesty plan, I point you to yesterday's post.

The cluelessness of Beltway elite Republicans continues to amaze. If you thought the port deal was a P.R disaster, just wait.

Gold card. For crying out loud.

Dan Stein:

Jaws dropped as the administration reps explained the centerpiece of the program, a "Gold Card" that would enable illegal aliens to enter the U.S. at will, and work at any job with no labor market or other tests needed but would deny them citizenship. "Gold Cards" would be valid forever, similar to current "Green Cards" but illegal aliens holding a "Gold Card" would not be able to adjust their status through naturalization.

Yours truly:

Many think Iraq will be his (President Bush's) undoing. I'm far more inclined to think that his open borders and Guest Worker Program bents will break him. Indeed, his well-camouflaged, "Amnesty-Light" GWP proposal, as Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) fittingly characterizes it, may, in the final analysis, prove to be the petard upon which his presidency is hoisted. 12 - 20 million illegal aliens in this country underscore that in an age of global terrorism the president talks national security, but can't see fit to secure our borders. That contradiction in terms has been distilled down to its essence in the UAE-owned Dubai Ports World deal. For this president, the only "national security issues" are overseas, not here at home right under his nose. The bumbling, ineffectual Department of Homeland Security attests to this. It should have another Condi Rice type at its helm. Instead, it has Michael Chertoff.

That must have been some phone call between President Bush and Mexico's Vicente Fox here recently! I suspect Fox will insist that his handsome mug be on the new GOLD CARD. Bush will no doubt oblige him, as he always does. After all, they're Harvard compadres.

Question: where do I secure my GOLD CARD from the Mexican government so I am free to cross the border into Mexico and become gainfully employed in the industry of my choice. I'm thinking I'd like to be a senior executive with Pemex or perhaps Cemex.


POSTSCRIPT: I should add that I do not know Spanish, but I trust Mexico would do for me what we here in America do for at least 12 million illegal aliens -- namely, they're permitted to speak the language of their country of origin and even retain unwavering patriotic allegiance to it. So, I'll pass on assimilation; but, I most assuredly want to send a chunk of my salary and bonus money back to the States in the form of remittances. We'll discuss the other perks I'm expecting as a border-jumper once I arrive in Mexico City.


FOLLOW-UP (03/08/06): More from Michelle Malkin on this subject, including a link to her syndicated column, which is a "Must Read."

THE DEGENERATION OF HOLLYWOOD

Want to see in one stunningly depressing juxtaposition just how far Hollywood has slid down the slippery slope of becoming thoroughly inconsequential?

Here are the lyrics, first, from the Oscar-winning song, "The Way You Look Tonight" (1936), by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, followed by the lyrics (with expletives deleted) for this year's Oscar-winning "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard (of "Three 6 Mafia"):

Someday... when I'm awfully low
when the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
and the way you look tonight!
Oh... but you're lovely
with your smile so warm and your cheeks so soft
there is nothing for me but to love you
just the way you look tonight!

With each word your tenderness grows
tearing my fear apart
and that laugh that wrinkles your nose
touches my foolish heart!

Lovely... never, never change
keep that breathless charm
won't you please arrange it
'cause I love you
just the way you look tonight!

... just the way you look
tonight.


Gird yourselves, Dear Readers ...


[Chorus 2X: Shug - singing] + (Djay)
You know it's hard out here for a pimp (you ain't knowin)
When he tryin to get this money for the rent (you ain't knowin)
For the Cadillacs and gas money spent (you ain't knowin)
[1] Because a whole lot of bitches talkin sh_t (you ain't knowin)
[2] Will have a whole lot of bitches talkin sh_t (you ain't knowin)

[Djay]
In my eyes I done seen some crazy thangs in the streets
Gotta couple hoes workin on the changes for me
But I gotta keep my game tight like Kobe on game night
Like takin from a ho don't know no better, I know that ain't right
Done seen people killed, done seen people deal
Done seen people live in poverty with no meals
It's f-ed up where I live, but that's just how it is
It might be new to you, but it's been like this for years
It's blood sweat and tears when it come down to this sh_t
I'm tryin to get rich 'fore I leave up out this bitch
I'm tryin to have thangs but it's hard fo' a pimp
But I'm prayin and I'm hopin to God I don't slip, yeah

[Chorus]

[Djay]
Man it seems like I'm duckin dodgin bullets everyday
Niggaz hatin on me cause I got, hoes on the tray
But I gotta stay paid, gotta stay above water
Couldn't keep up with my hoes, that's when sh_t got harder
North Memphis where I'm from, I'm 7th Street bound
Where niggaz all the time end up lost and never found
Man these girls think we prove thangs, leave a big head
They come hopin every night, they don't end up bein dead
Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too
You pay the right price and they'll both do you
That's the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin
Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women, yeah


Ah, many thanks to the august Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- composed of such liberal luminaries as Whoopie Goldberg, Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand, Jessica Lang and Jane Fonda -- for this so-called "achievement in music."

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah! Zip-a-dee-ay!
My, oh my, what a wonderful day?




FOLLOW-UP (03/08/06): John H. Perry's OP/ED piece in today's Houston Chronicle makes the case that this "Best Song" category Oscar-win was no win for African-Americans. Mr. Perry seems to be taking a page out of Bill Cosby's admonitions to young black people and I applaud him for taking a stand.

DEMOCRATS' MYOPIA PLAYS INTO BUSH'S LETHARGY

Over this past weekend I advanced the theory that a principal reason President Bush has lost touch with his conservative base is that, having kept Vice President Dick Cheney on the ticket in the 2004 campaign, he has avoided the onus of having to help propel the candidacy of a successor for the 2008 presidential election. Thus his second term is devoid of any real impetus to sustain the major campaign themes for which he was twice elected, other than to preserve his legacy among historians in the future. The "here and now" has been supplanted by the "far and away" and it shows.

But along comes this piece in the Washington Post on the Democratic Party's patent inability to forge a meaningful agenda for the country in response to the Bush years and to do anything other than to harp incessantly about the president's perceived failings, thus forcing me to add an addendum to my theory -- namely, that Bush may also be coasting along in the death throes of second-term-itis because the opposition party, for all of its gadflying and naysaying, hasn't been able to gain much in the way of traction for lack of any viable alternatives and solutions to the Bush presidency that resonate with a majority of Americans.

Indeed, I would suggest to you that were the Democratic Party controlled by a broad-based moderate element, as opposed to a far-left fringe element, the GOP would really have its hands full right now going into the November mid-term elections.

TWO APPROACHES TO SPENDING ISSUE

President Bush, not one to have exercised his veto powers -- not even once -- during his two-term administration, and now feeling the heat from his conservative base for (among other things) failing to control the size of government and contain its free-wheeling spending through fiscal restraint, is asking for a "line item veto." This strikes me as a bit disingenuous. Bush '43, like his father, Bush '41, is a free spender and inveterate believer in all things government. Explain the spending appetite and woeful incompetence of the Department of Homeland Security in any other context. It's become a federal boondoggle of the first rank.

That's why I'm more encouraged to see this developing and I encourage you to read in its entirety the excellent post on the subject by Captain Ed of Captains Quarters.


FOLLOW-UP: More on this subject from John Hawkins of Right Wing News.

Sunday, March 5

CHERTOFF'S A LIABILITY, PRESIDENT BUSH

Former FEMA director Michael Brown has been reinventing himself of late politically (and doing a good job of it, it would appear), making the rounds of the talking heads' shows and positioning himself as more the victim of his former boss', DHS secretary Michael Chertoff, buck-passing, than the Katrina disaster, for which he received the bulk of the blame for the federal government's inept response. Brown's case is gaining traction within the MSM and the unhalting criticism of him appears to be in remission. Indeed, he may bounce back faster than the Tylenol brand name did in 1982.

Now it's Chertoff's well-deserved turn in the barrel.

But poor marks for the Department of Homeland Security (of which FEMA is a part) and its chief should not be confined to its lackluster response time and patent inefficiency in coping with a major natural disaster that struck the Gulf Coast and put most of New Orleans under water. There's much, much more to the story of DHS. One can start with its bloated budget, its reckless, unfocused spending, and its overreach beyond its principal mission. Then one can move on to the more substantive failures: our nation's long-standing porous borders and poorly-secured ports, which have not received the kind of focus from the Bush-created boondoggle that they merit. Indeed, citizen outrage vis-a-vis the borders -- best eptomized in the formation of The Minuteman Project -- and citizen outrage over the Dubai Ports World deal -- ineleuctably forged by the basic common sense of everyday Americans -- have politicians scrambling and the Bush administration on the ropes.

This piece, by Veronique de Rugy of the American Enterprise Institute, captures a flavor of what DHS is all about and what it has become:

Since September 11, Congress has appropriated nearly $180 billion to protect Americans from terrorism. Total spending on homeland security in 2006 will be at least $50 billion—roughly $450 per American household. But far from making us more secure, the money is being allocated like so much pork. States and cities are spending federal homeland security grants on pet projects that have nothing to do with homeland security; state and local officials fight over who will get the biggest share of the money, regardless of whether they have a legitimate claim to it. And when Congress isn’t doling out cash indiscriminately, it’s overreacting to yesterday’s attacks instead of concentrating on cost-effective defenses against the most likely current threats. The result is an edifice that, far from preventing terrorist assaults, actually makes us more vulnerable by diverting resources from worthier projects.

The president needs Rudolf Giuliani or someone of his stature, experience, and credibility in DHS, and sooner rather than later. There are other personnel changes he needs to make, including at the cabinet level, but surely this is the most pressing. Michael Chertoff may well be a litmus test of whether or not this president is going to do something about national security here at home, rather than just overseas.

WHY HAS BUSH LOST TOUCH WITH HIS BASE?

President Bush's poll numbers -- the confidence American voters have in him and how they rate his performance in office -- are abysmal. Conservative bloggers can deconstruct the polls all they want, but there's no getting around the fact that the president has stumbled badly in his second term (save for his successful SCOTUS nominees) and, depending upon one's point of view, developed a debilitating tin ear or, worse, slipped into a dysfunctional stubborness that borders on denial. The political capital he gained in the wake of the election returns in November, 2004, has been haphazardly squandered.

Having voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and again in 2004, I am among those in his "base" who have not necessarily defected at this juncture, but who have developed grave doubts as to whether the president will aggressively engage his detractors and, more importantly, listen to his supporters and begin taking the pulse of the American people. Right now, he is doing neither. The Conservative Movement and the George Bush presidency appear a marriage bound for a separation. Many conservatives appear ready to pull their wagons out of Bush's wagon train.

More so than ever before, this is a White House that rather than showcasing an "Open For Business" sign at the front door, opts instead for one that reads "Out To Lunch." The presidency seems, if not altogether adrift, hellbent on going down roads for which the warning signs clearly indicate a wrong direction has been taken down a one-way street, but for which George W. Bush chooses to be oblivious or irrevocably bullheaded. No surprise, Americans are following his paths of choice less and less and he seems not to care. Communication with the American people is happenstance and revolves, at best, around tired bromides. His has become an insular presidency.

Many think Iraq will be his undoing. I'm far more inclined to think that his open borders and Guest Worker Program bents will break him. Indeed, his well-camouflaged, "Amnesty-Light" GWP proposal, as Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) fittingly characterizes it, may, in the final analysis, prove to be the petard upon which his presidency is hoisted. 12 - 20 million illegal aliens in this country underscore that in an age of global terrorism the president talks national security, but can't see fit to secure our borders. That contradiction in terms has been distilled down to its essence in the UAE-owned Dubai Ports World deal. For this president, the only "national security issues" are overseas, not here at home right under his nose. The bumbling, ineffectual Department of Homeland Security attests to this. It should have another Condi Rice type at its helm. Instead, it has Michael Chertoff.

Early in the 2004 campaign, my brother and I had a discussion that I provoked whether it was politic for George Bush to keep Dick Cheney on the ticket. My thought was that Bush needed to set the stage in his second term for a hand-picked Republican successor. Reagan did that with Bush '41. And, after all, Cheney was clear in having no desire to run in 2008. But my brother -- more conservative in his politics than even I -- echoed the prevailing sentiment at the time in the conservative ranks of the GOP. Dick Cheney was the straw that stirred the drink for conservatives and he was integral to retaining "the base" for the president. In other words, Cheney's credentials as a conservative were more compelling for Republicans than the president's.

But the upshot is that we have a second term, lame duck president now who doesn't have the onus of setting the stage for the successful launch of a conservative successor in 2008. And lacking that and to the chagrin of those who thought Cheney was indispensable to the ticket in 2004, George Bush may be, by his acquiescence and uninterest, helping a psuedo-conservative, John McCain (RINO-AZ), take dead aim at the Oval Office. Indeed, Bush isn't creating a slipstream, but rather a vacumn; McCain is busy now siezing the advantage.

Saturday, March 4

NATIONAL SECURITY MUST TRUMP CERTAIN BUSINESS DEALS

On February 27th, in the context of the controversial UAE-owned Dubai Ports World deal, I wrote:

Which brings me to the essential question that seems to have been lost in the woof and warp of name-calling (example: the NYT's David Brooks describes negative reactions to the deal as a "xenophobic tsunami -- a nativist, isolationist, mass hysteria") from the president's minions in the government, the press, the GOP, and the center-right blogosphere against those of us having genuine concerns about placing a United Arab Emirates-owned company in charge of managing 22 of America's ports: do multi-national business interests under the aegis of economic globalization trump strategic national security concerns?

I continued:

So what it all boils down to is this: money decisions oftentimes get in the way of national security risks and assessments. Or, as a former president, himself an open borders' apologist and, unlike the current Oval Office occupant, profoundly oblivious to the threat of international terrorism, put it: "It's the economy, Stupid!"

And I then went on to observe editorially:

But what we don't have is a strategic assessment of those industries vital to America's security and the necessary laws governing their ownership to protect us and minimize the risk of terrorist attack. Seems economic globalization trumps strategic security interests. Money talks. Have enough of it and you can do most anything you want to do (or receive most anything you want to receive) in or from the United States of America.

Now Hugh Hewitt writes an impressive exposition of the Ports Deal imbroglio and, I think, delineates the sharp distinction between the opposing camps' points of view as well as anyone has in the blogosphere (albeit I don't care for the "Realist"/"Retreatist" designations he uses).

Writes Mr. Hewitt:

There are two categories of assets/businesses in the United States: those that have no or little bearing on the nation's security, and those that do.

Generally speaking, all nations that are not enemies of the U.S. are welcomed to invest in the former. We encourage our allies to do so, even those allies with whom we have deep foreign policy differences on such matters as the boycott of Israel. The country is committed to free trade and the global economy, and that commitment is not subject to suspension over particular differences in foreign policy, even on such a crucial matter as trade with Israel. The boycott of Israel is not for us a national security issue.

Assets/businesses in the latter category are different. Defense contractors and their wares, strategic resources and the companies that develop them, some supercomputing businesses etc. --these sorts of assets/businesses are not open to market purchases, as the very existence of CFIUS attests.

The first question is: Are port operations in the first or the second category. I, and most of the country, assumes that even though security at the ports is the duty of the Coast Guard, that nevertheless these are operations in the second category because they are border functions. After the attack on the Cole we became aware of the possibilities of port terrorism. After 9/11 we became aware that terrorists are willing to think way outside of the box and competent enough to carry out such schemes. Since 9/11 there have bulletins of alert focused on ports and a variety of stories about slips in port security and warnings that ports are our weakest link.

That's the divide in a nutshell: the business prerogatives of globalization versus national security requirements in an age of terrorism and during a time of war.

To illustrate further Hugh Hewitt's point about "assets/businesses in the latter category," I cite for readers of this blog the fact (likely little known) that the federal government is currently vetting yet another UAE-owned company's interest in purchasing a British company with plants in the United States that manufacture "precision parts used in engines for military aircraft and tanks." Just how far should this sort of thing go -- is anything and everything open to purchase by the highest bidder in the world, regardless of its strategic value to the national security interests of the United States?

Some things in this country must remain beyond the reach and control of foreign governments and the companies they own. As blogger Frank Laughter writes:

It’s easy to see the REAL question: whom do you trust? To me, that’s pretty simple: Nobody. That’s exactly why the operations of ALL American infrastructures should be under the control of companies and agencies here in this country, so that WE THE PEOPLE can keep a close watch on what’s happening. Even that isn’t foolproof but at least we can reduce the risk considerably.

In short, there’s no good reason for China, the UAE, the British, or any other foreign government or company to be involved in U.S. port operations or U.S. port security.

If I had to select the lesser of two evils, I would certainly choose a publicly held corporation from an established democracy over any foreign government.

The most astonishing thing in this whole debate is how readily people lean on verbal assurances of an UK judge; P&O of the UK; the UAE; Bill Clinton; Bush (who never saw a guarded border he liked); CFIUS; admin spokespeople; etc.

NEITHER A BORROWER, NOR A LENDER BE

Here's some financial data on the U.S. debt that's worth chewing on, Folks. Wonder what the grandkids would think about our Guns 'n Butter economy?

Somehow this is not the fiscal restraint and preference for small government that we conservative Republicans champion!


H/T: Free Republic

"FEARFUL FRINGE NATIVISM" CANARD JUST A SNOW-JOB

Fox News' Tony Snow must have had people like me in mind -- we "fearful fringe nativists" -- when he wrote this sophomoric hit piece in support of the UAE-owned Dubai Ports World deal that President Bush insists not be rescinded for fear of alienating a good ally in the Middle East and the Muslim world at large. Mr. Snow has opted to resort to the "Fear Factor" canard in attempting to slay the judgement of an overwhelming majority of Americans concerned about a government-owned company in the Middle East managing vital infrastructure here in the United States -- infrastructure that anyone with an ounce of common sense would recognize as strategic to America's national security interests.

A fair number of analysts have linked the Dubai Ports World controversy with President Bush's approach to border security. The president, they say, can't keep our borders safe, so why should we trust his word when it comes to securing our ports?

The question unmasks the questioners. While our borders have become porous, they haven't become highways for terror, at least by the slender evidence available to laymen. Instead, they have become the focal point for fearful imaginings -- of Islamofascists secreted in otherwise empty trucks or train cars; underground railroads for bin Laden-trained thugs who have slithered around the world and up through South and Central America.


I have written here:

The UAE-owned Dubai Ports World imbroglio is but an ancillary element of the primary catalyst accelerating President George W. Bush's steep slide in popularity and his loss of credibility -- namely, his stubborn refusal to secure our nation's borders in a post-"9/11" age of Islamofascist terrorism. That congenital stubborn streak has become his political undoing in his second term and its enervating effects are seen in the schism fast developing in GOP ranks.

And I have written here:

Which brings me to the essential question that seems to have been lost in the woof and warp of name-calling (example: the NYT's David Brooks describes negative reactions to the deal as a "xenophobic tsunami -- a nativist, isolationist, mass hysteria") from the president's minions in the government, the press, the GOP, and the center-right blogosphere against those of us having genuine concerns about placing a United Arab Emirates-owned company in charge of managing 22 of America's ports: do multi-national business interests under the aegis of economic globalization trump strategic national security concerns?

After all, doesn't it follow that if, in the aftermath of 9/11, the nation's borders (north and south) continue to be porous and unsecured and Arab-owned companies run many of our ports, including two in Texas that supply 40% of the U.S. Army's cargo deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom , that this nation's government has yet to do a full-fledged risk assessment in the context of America's national security interests? Goodness, at present we still only inspect 3% - 5% of the millions of domestic and foreign containers that arrive at our ports! That's the so-called security provided by DHS and the U.S. Coast Guard that the president reassures us will not be compromised by the DPW deal. Security? What security?

But what we don't have is a strategic assessment of those industries vital to America's security and the necessary laws governing their ownership to protect us and minimize the risk of terrorist attack. Seems economic globalization trumps strategic security interests. Money talks. Have enough of it and you can do most anything you want to do (or receive most anything you want to receive) in or from the United States of America.

President Bush has long schooled Americans on why this country gorges on cheap labor: it's because illegal aliens ("immigrants," he calls them) are willing to do the jobs that Americans are unwilling to do. To that canard, he must now add another to his repertoire to explain why the business of America is being recast: it's because Arab-owned and Communist China-owned companies are willing to do the work that American-owned businesses are unwilling to do.

Sorry, Tony, but your Townhall.com column unmasks the columnist, not the questioners -- i.e., those, like me, dubious that the federal government and its Department of Homeland Security know what they're doing in protecting us from another "9/11." Fact is, the DPW deal is all about second fiddles orchestrating Treasury Department deals under the auspices of the CFIUS and with nary a concern about protecting the country's national security.

Again, as I have previously written:

Stunningly, in this age of much ballyhooed economic globalization, assistant secretaries, sitting on obscure, secretive committees, are quietly making decisions involving America's post-"9/11" strategic security interests.

Do recall, Tony, that the World Trade Center had been hit prior to September 11, 2001. And to your notion that the Dubai Ports World imbroglio is all about paranoia and anti-immigrant animus, rather than legitimate national security concerns, kindly ask property owners along the contiguous U.S.-Mexico border if they're not being genuinely terrorized by the drug traffickers, human smugglers, MS-13 gang members, waves of Other Than Mexicans (OTMs) from "countries of interest" that harbor and support terrorists, and even elements of the Mexican army.

Just as President Bush has put insufficient troops on the ground in Iraq to secure that nation's borders and stop the steady infiltration of terrorists, thus protracting the war there, he has failed to put sufficient numbers of U.S. Border Patrol agents on the ground along America's borders to stop the human invasion and its concomitant violence from Mexico. The president just doesn't get it when it comes to border security and that monumental fact set against the backdrop of the GWOT and America's homeland security is the glaring contradiction in terms that is unraveling George W. Bush's credibility with his Republican base and with Americans at large.

When 12 - 20 million people who have entered this country illegally without proper documentation and oftentimes resorting to forged documentation are not seen as a risk to homeland security, then you have to wonder who's being dellusional and "uninterested in facts."

I would suggest to you it is Tony Snow and others of his ilk. It's not fear, Mr. Snow, that motivates Americans to question the federal government's indifference to
porous borders and millions of undocumented lawbreakers afoot in our land; rather, it's just good ol' American common sense in an age of international Islamofascist terrorism. Fact is, we get it and it is you who have some catching up to do.


FOLLOW-UP: To those who use the race card in debating with those of us who oppose the "ports deal" with DPW, calling us paranoids, Islamophobes, and nativists, among other ad hominem-style terms of endearment (just count the number Tony Snow utilized in his column), I encourage you to read the thoughtful posts by John Hawkins and The Anchoress on the subject. While both are not against "the deal," as I am, they bring a sober, objective perspective to the issues being sighted by many proponents. Do take the time to read them.

Friday, March 3

CONGRATULATIONS, HOUSTON CHRONICLE !!!

Forgive my delay in publishing well-deserved kudos to the Houston Chronicle -- the newspaper of America's 4th largest city -- for being recognized as the nation's top blogging newspaper ("by a mile") by New York University, which just completed a study of major U.S. newspapers.

As the Chronicle's Dwight Silverman explains:

Both our staff and reader bloggers understand that this is more than just about getting information and passing it on -- it's about engaging with readers on the things they care most about, in a way that's useful, human and even entertaining.

The readers who have embraced and participated in our blogs are also key. Each blog is its own community -- those who post comments do so because they care about what's being said. You folks deserve the biggest kudos, because without your participation, it wouldn't be the conversation that it is.

My own blog has been linked in the Houston Chronicle's online edition's Opinion section and despite the fact that I have taken issue with the Chronicle's editorial board from time to time. That shows me something. In addition, I have had the courtesy several times now of an e-mail exchange with Dwight Silverman.

Kevin Whited and Anne Linehan of blogHouston.net provide their customary insights -- a mix of accolades and suggestions for the Houston Chronicle's team -- on this award.

Kevin, as an example, writes:

The sheer number of Chron blogs, their consistent look and feel (including comments, a feature bloggers take for granted), the ease with which they can be found, and the fact that non-Chron folks have been asked to start blogs seem to be the drivers responsible for Chron.com blowing away their MSM competition.

I'm not sold on the extent to which the non-Chron bloggers add value to the Chron.com news enterprise. That's not to say they aren't potentially interesting, or that the Chron.com label/vetting process isn't useful in providing local blog readers some assurance of quality. But it remains to be seen whether those blogs will actually enhance the core news mission of the Houston Chronicle in some fashion that isn't clear to me now.

Speaking of the "core news mission," while my blog was volunteered, but disappointingly not selected, Dwight Silverman arranged for Houston-area bloggers who chose to stay put during Hurricane Rita to have their hurricane-related posts published by the Chronicle's online edition, as a way to give "citizen journalists" an opportunity to report on the hurricane's impact in their immediate geographic area. I thought that a terrific experiment and a nice nod to local bloggers. My own disappointment, I should add, was short-lived, as Michelle Malkin gave me my first link ever to her widely-read site for a post I wrote on Rita! (Take that, Dwight!).

Anyway, it's a credit to a major mainstream media publication to do something so out of the mainstream with the blogger community!

TIME FOR THE RIGHT TO GET OUT OF DENIAL

Frank Laughter of Common Sense Junction hits the nail on the head in this well-thought post: to wit, it's high time the Right gets out of denial.

Writes Frank:

Nearly every day, when the Left gets on the wrong side of an issue, the Right jumps with joy. But on those rare occasions when the Right gets it wrong, it’s always somebody else’s fault. They like to blame it on pollsters, the MSM, or the people themselves for not paying attention.

I’d like the Right to get out of denial.


The Bush administration is in trouble. George W. Bush's base is splintering. And that splintering did not just begin over the Dubai Ports World deal or no earlier than the Harriet Miers' brouhaha. But now the disenchantment in GOP ranks is at a boil and dangerously so because the root cause -- the contradiction in terms between the Bush-led GWOT versus his patent, long-term indifference to this nation's porous borders and unsecured ports -- has come front burner to burn him and undermine his second term.

The staples of the Bush presidency -- national security and the global war on terror -- are now seen through new optics given the immigration/border security fight in the U.S. Senate and the president's knee-jerk threat of a first ever veto were the Congress to try to thwart giving the keys to our ports to a UAE-owned ports' management company.

So I agree with Mr. Laughter's observation.

And, I am pleased to see that some conservative bloggers are publishing substantive, objective remedies to get the president out of the fix he's put himself in, rather than playing the "round up the usual suspects" game.

Kudos to Frank Laughter and to John Hawkins.