Thursday, January 31, 2008

“Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction.”

Ronald Reagan warned “Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction.”

Reagan’s warning is especially apt today – enemies of liberty never give up, whether abroad or in the United States. As past generations, pro-freedom Americans still have to battle against liberal control, America-bashers, left-wing defeatists, and their accomplices in the press. We don’t have Reagan to help us now so it’s up to us to stand up for America and freedom. We can begin doing that by our vote in the primaries this spring and in the national election in November; it is imperative to choose a nominee that has not already demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice conservative principles for popular liberal news media acclaim.

Not long ago, I wrote on my blog,, “Some things to consider in making a voting selection”. One important consideration is to see who is in favor or against a candidate or proposition. For example, in these primaries who is supporting the candidates? The New York Times supports McCain, Democrat strategist Susan Estrich supports McCain, Republican’s-in-name-only Schwarzenegger and Giuliani support McCain, and I’m sure you can find others. If you think the ‘grey lady’, the Dukakis campaign manager and social liberals support a conservative, think again. Whatever McCain may be, he’s not a conservative just because he sometimes votes for a few things we favor.

There is some evidence that pro-freedom efforts can succeed if there is sufficient effort and we must build on these achievements. Despite Pelosi and Co. and ‘Dirty’ Harry Reid and his party takeover of the House and Senate a year ago, there have been some successful efforts.

The best example of course is the successful effort to block the McCain and Bush attempts to provide amnesty to illegal aliens in our midst and partial success in authorization for a border wall to assist minimizing the invasion from Mexico. Unsuccessful, however, was providing sufficient funding to actually build the wall and the will to do so. In this success pro-freedom conservatives were aided by helpful conservative radio and a public outcry for border protection and no amnesty.

We must thwart all attempts to stifle conservative radio; the best way is to not elect a Democrat president. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced that McCain would protect this information outlet since he eschews conservatism; McCain is reported to have said of Justice Alito “he is too conservative”.

Although the ‘REAL I.D. Act’ was shamefully passed during a previous sleeping Republican Congress, its implementation has been delayed by failing to issue regulations and to allocate funds for this Soviet-style internal travel passport system based on federally-standardized, high-tech, information-collecting state-issued driver’s licenses, thanks to a few congressional conservatives.

Some exorbitant funding bills have been vetoed. Attempts by Democrats to micromanage the Iraq war failed. Efforts to ‘fix’ the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) by adding a huge tax increase on middle-class families were rebuffed by a relatively few steadfast conservatives in congress (leaving a saving of about $2,000 per family intact). Additionally, Congressional Democrats were foiled in their attempt to enact so-called ‘PAYGO’ that would require additional revenue via taxes to make up for the alleged revenue-shortfall.

For all the Democrats’ (and McCain’s) loud complaints and preaching against interrogation techniques (water boarding comes to mind), CIA documents were released to show Democrats have previously been informed about interrogation techniques used and offered no objection at the time. Clearly Pelosi, Reid and top Democrats switched sides for crass political gain, not out of principle.

Conservative lawmakers also frustrated passage of another hate crimes bill pushed by the Democrat majority and a Senate filibuster thwarted an attempt by unions to replace worker secret organizing ballots with the so-called ‘card check’ when deciding whether to unionize; as one union boss, Bruce Raynor, said about secret union member balloting “There’s no reason to subject workers to an election”.

I hope we all remember these things at voting time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


On May 10, 2005 Congress passed the REAL ID Act. This law imposes a national identification system on the American people for the first time. We are promised increased security in return but I believe this is a dangerous illusion. The larger government becomes the more power it has and the greater the potential for the abuse of that power. This is especially important as we face the possibility of a Hillary Clinton administration.

The REAL ID Act is a bad law passed under false pretenses. It was rejected three separate times by the U.S. Senate and was only passed because it was added to a larger bill containing disaster relief and funding for Iraq. Most in the Senate didn't want it and I believe the American people would not want it either if they understood how it could be used by an administration determined to maintain power; the names Bill and Hillary Clinton come to mind. Incredibly, it was a Republican majority leadership in Congress at the time that imposed it on us; nonetheless, we now we have to do all we can to get it repealed.

The REAL ID Act creates a centralized federal database of personal information about all Americans. Decisions about the exact nature and scope of this program will be made by unelected bureaucrats in the Executive Branch. It seems inevitable that biometric information and electronic tracking tags will be included at some point. No one intends a bad use for this system today, but it is altogether too possible that that it will be used in bad ways in the future.

We are promised increased personal security but we are actually laying a new foundation toward the creation of a future police state. History has shown that those who would trade freedom for unrestricted security deserve neither, and will have neither.

There are many good arguments that can be made against REAL ID, but they all reduce to one overpowering truth. Some people who will succeed to the presidency will be unscrupulous in their exercise of power. Please remember that Bill Clinton had over 600 FBI files to use in attacking, penalizing or intimidating opponents. The more information government has the more damage it can do to us. In all other areas the more power government has the less it seems able to accomplish, but not when it comes to limiting our freedom. Big Government doesn't work but it has the ability to manipulate what we do or are able to freely do. We need a small government that does not have a massive new federal identification system.

Don’t be fooled by cries for more security as a cover for another agenda; we definitely do want and need protection against Islam and its murderous followers but we do not need to risk adding another controlling force to have that; there are many other ways we can add to our protection. We should be focusing our attention on those among us that want to tie the hands of our military and legitimate security agencies by forcing an unrealistic political correctness on them. Acting in our own self interests and ignoring world opinion is the way to go to protect our country.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Terrorists expand their power in the Middle East while Americans focus on the primaries

With attention on selection of candidates for president by the two major parties, there is little notice about what is happening in the Middle East. Although it has been reported that Arabs from the Gaza strip have invaded Egypt by destroying the wall separating them, the significance of this action has not been addressed.

A number of terrorist groups; the Palestinian Hamas, Jihad Islami, Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades, and Popular Resistance Committees - plus al Qaeda - overran northern Sinai in just 24 hours. Leading the advance from Gaza were several hundred thousand Palestinian men, women and children, with the result that the terrorists took control of an enclave 50 km long and 55 km wide in northern Sinai. Without a single casualty and at no cost to them, a terrorist stronghold was established on Egyptian territory in an area adjoining the Gaza Strip; twice the size of Gaza.

Egyptian border police did not stop the Palestinian mob from Gaza from entering Egypt after Hamas blew up the concrete border wall. Remarkably, the American, Egyptian and Israeli governments appear to have been surprised by the takeover, even though they ought not to have been surprised because it is reported they had received a warning from US and Israel intelligence services but did not appreciate what was happening until events had gone out of control.

While this was going on, officials in Washington, Cairo and Jerusalem described the incident as merely “a demonstration by hungry Gazan Palestinians” that would disperse quietly if left alone. Hamas and al Qaeda took good advantage of the non-resistance of Egyptian troops to consolidate their grip on their new stronghold. With minimal effort Hamas opened the way for the ‘poor’ Palestinian population to reach the shops and markets of Egyptian El Arish, which they emptied in a few hours and returned home with bulging bags and full containers. While the world speaks of the “starving Palestinians” of Gaza, and of “a humanitarian crisis”, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians spent the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars in a few hours’ intensive shopping.

By acquiring new territory appropriated across the Egyptian border, Hamas has doubled the size of the area under its control. Since Egypt has decided not to contest the Hamas invasion, there is now no border control between Gaza and Egypt and Hamas and its allies are free to bring goods and arms into Gaza without any oversight or limitations. Hamas and Jihad Islami are supported by Iran, Syria and Hizballah with weapons, training and cash. This means that Iran, Syria and Hamas’ partner, al Qaeda, have established a beachhead at a key Middle East crossroads between Israel, Egypt and Palestinian territory on the Mediterranean coast, within operating distance of the Suez Canal. The Palestinian extremists are now able to engage in hit and run attacks on Israel and escape out of Israel’s reach across the border to their new base in Egypt. This spells disaster for Israel as Hamas is sworn to total destruction of the only democracy in that area of the globe. Unfortunately for Israelis their government once again has failed to take action to protect the country.

Of critical importance to the United States is that Al Qaeda, which in the last two years depended on certain Bedouin nomadic elements for its foothold in Sinai, has acquired a base in Egypt largely immune from U.S. military action because to do so would amount to an attack on Egypt. It is now clear that the Palestinian terrorists and al Qaeda will not be dislodged from northern Sinai within the foreseeable future.

While ‘negotiations’ have been going on between Israel and the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority and his prime minister Salam Fayyad, (actually the leader of only the West bank, not all of Palestine) for a ‘peace’ agreement, Hamas continues to send rockets into Israel without any serious intervention by the Israeli government. The lack of action to halt the rocket attacks is very bewildering. One can imagine the response by the United States to daily rocket attacks from a neighboring country; such action would not be tolerated and would be immediately silenced. However, not only does the Israeli government take no action to halt the attacks, it engages in peace negotiations while it is under bombardment.

The people of Israel are reminded daily of their vulnerability to attack and the absence of bomb shelters by the escalating Palestinian missile blitz against Israeli civilians living in the southwest, within range of the Gaza Strip. If the government does not react to the relatively primitive missiles used by Hamas - how will they manage to defend against Iran’s more sophisticated long-range ballistic missiles?

Can Israel survive; only God knows?

Monday, January 28, 2008

You soon may pay a price to choose the car you want to buy in California

If you buy a car that is less environment-friendly than what Big Brother says it should be, should you pay an extra tax for the privilege? If you said “no” don’t live in California. However if the golden state is the leader in wacky legislation in the country then you might not be able to escape this Orwellian restriction on your rights because your state may follow with their own version of ‘we know what’s best for you more than you do’.

Without attracting a lot of attention (the news media, where are you?), a new $2,500 tax is about to be added to many cars. The higher cost of excercizing freedom of choice will allow the government to decide whether you should drive large, safe cars or cars that are smaller and not safe or comfortable. The result is likely to be that the wealthier folks can by cars they want but others can only buy what the state says they should. Once again we see Democrats making life ‘better’ for the the poor and middle class among us; I wonder when the middle class and poor will stop voting for the party that says they are their ‘champions’?

To enshrine the concept into law, the Democrat controlled California Assembly is expected to vote soon on the California Clean Car Discount Act, which, if passed, would be the first law in the country imposing charges and granting rebates based on a vehicle’s emission of carbon dioxide and other gases. There would be a registration fee of up to $2,500 on new larger, more comfortable and safer cars, while less ‘polluting’ cars like the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and other fuel-efficient cars would get rebates - once again the power of the government to dictate what is ‘in your best interest’ through taxation at work.

The law is one of many others proposed to to force the auto industry to assist in the fight against global warming. As Democrat Assemblyman Ira Ruskin of Redwood City, California says:

"We put 1.8 million vehicles a year on the road in California we have to find ways to get more clean cars on the road and more dirty cars off. There’s no time to waste if we’re to avoid the catastrophes ahead from global warming."

The Democrats have a good chance of passing the law because the Bush administration refused to help California enforce a 2002 state law to cut carbon emissions from vehicles by 30% in the next eight years by setting its own CAFÉ standards. Unless the decision to not allow California to set its own rules to combat global warming by increasing the CAFÉ standards for vehicles sold in the state is overruled by the courts or by federal legislation, car emissions must be cut by other means.

Similar laws have been enacted enacted in Canada, Finland and France, and in the European Union (you don’t think the Democrats came came up with this on their own do you?). As you might expect, other Democrat bastions of liberty; New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, are also considering the same approach.

Daniel Sperling, director of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and a member of the Air Resources Board said "Industry argues that market signals don’t exist for consumers to buy low-greenhouse-gas and fuel-efficient vehicles, this bill fixes the market forces."

Even if California enacts limits on vehicle emissions, other restrictions would be needed to meet the state’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels over the next 13 years as required by the climate law Schwarzenegger and the Democrat legislature passed previously; that law requires radical cuts in transportation emissions, which the state says are responsible for about 40% of California’s carbon output.

As with most Democrat proposals, there are unintended consequences in this also. A reduction in sales tax revenue from the law can be expected. A spokesman for the California Motor Car Dealers Assn, Brian Maas, points out "If it (the proposed law) is successful, and more people buy fuel-efficient, smaller, less expensive cars. We’re talking about a hit to local and state government in the millions of dollars."

To implement the law, the state air board would rank passenger vehicles, beginning with 2011 models, according to the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases they emit. Fees and rebates would be applied on a sliding scale with about a quarter of vehicles unaffected and about 35% would be charged a fee collected by auto dealers and sent to the State Board of Equalization that would pay for rebates to about 40% of buyers; namely, those that choose money over safety.

Automakers and the United Auto Workers warn that the fees could have a disproportionate effect on lower-income buyers who may need large family cars and businesses that haul equipment. With their typical illogic, environment activists justify the cost penalty for lower income people by saying that air pollution aggravated by global warming "disproportionately affects poor people" and “cleaner vehicles would reduce the asthma, heart disease and other illnesses that plague poor communities”.

Regardless of whether the bill passes, pressure is increasing to find new ways to deal with transportation emissions. California Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata asked the air board "to act with appropriate speed and creativity" on such measures as "efficient car purchase incentives, smart growth investments, increased transit usage and other means."

If the approach taken by the proposed law isn’t bad enough, environmentalists want the air board to use its "zero-emission vehicle" regulations to require auto companies to move to a 100% hybrid-electric fleet by the end of the next decade. Others want to bring automakers under a statewide cap on emissions so that they would have to seek offsets in order to sell vehicles that emit more than a certain level of greenhouse gases.

State Attorney General Jerry ('moonbeam') Brown is also trying to find ways to encourage cities and counties to control the pesky greenhouse emmissions by reducing driving.

Democrats are optimistic that they will win the court fight against the federal Environmental Protection Agency over emission standards which they say will make a big dent in auto emissions through regulations; sixteen other states are also seeking ways to circumvent federal environmental rule-setting but California is leading the way as they usually do with unwise legislation.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Why are they lying?

When high government officials lie, it is reasonable to believe something wrong is afoot.

Take the case of the ‘alleged’ North American Union and its embodiment the ‘alleged’ North American Superhighway (sometimes called the ‘NAFTA Superhighway’) as an illustration.

Not long ago President Bush avoided answering a direct question about whether he would be willing to categorically deny there is a plan to create a North American Union. Instead of answering the question, Bush ridiculed those who believe that a plan to create a North American Union is underway as "conspiracy theorists".

This occurred at a news conference held by Bush, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, when they met at a resort in Quebec to discuss their work on the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The president was specifically asked (according to a White House transcript): "Are there plans to build some kind of superhighway connecting all three countries? And do you believe all of these theories about a possible erosion of national identity stem from a lack of transparency from this partnership?"

Bush's evasive answer was:

"We represent three great nations. We each respect each other's sovereignty. You know, there are some who would like to frighten our fellow citizens into believing that relations between us are harmful for our respective peoples. I just believe they're wrong. I believe it's in our interest to trade; I believe it's in our interest to dialogue; I believe it's in our interest to work out common problems for the good of our people. And I'm amused by some of the speculation, some of the old – you can call them political scare tactics."

Harper of Canada said "There's not going to be any NAFTA Superhighway connecting the three nations, he said, and it's "not going to go interplanetary either".

Harper’s and Bush's comments were similar to the comments published earlier in the Ottawa Citizen by David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Canada:

"While conspiracy theories abound, you can take it to the bank that no one involved in these discussions is interested in, or has ever proposed, a 'North American Union,' a 'North American super highway,' or a 'North American currency,'" he wrote.

However Jerome Corsi, a Harvard Ph.D. whose newly published book, "The Late Great USA," (a book I highly recommend to any doubters of the North American Union plan) writes that the government's own documentation shows the advance of a North American Union, and adds, "ridicule is the last resort of someone who is losing an argument", and further, "Just to ridicule the idea, when he (Bush) had a chance to categorically deny it, raises doubts in peoples' minds, especially when these meetings aren't transparent."

Deceit is the harbinger of bad intentions and much of what the government does via the Bush administration is just plain deceitful. A document revealed by Corsi shows the North American SuperCorridor Coalition, or NASCO. The document is particularly relevant in the face of government denial that a NAFTA "Superhighway" exists.

Christopher Hayes, the Washington Editor of the Nation, joined a growing list of those who deny a NAFTA Superhighway exists. In a cover story in an issue of the Nation magazine, Hayes wrote "There is no such thing as a proposed NAFTA Superhighway" but then describes a Trans Texas Corridor under construction parallel to Interstate 35 specifically designed to accommodate the growing volume of NAFTA and World Trade Organization traffic coming into Texas from China and the Far East through Mexican ports on the Pacific (such as Manzanillo and Lázaro Cárdenas).

A 1998 executive summary (found by Corsi) noted, "Since January 1, 1994, when NAFTA went into effect, the heartland of America has become an increasingly important thoroughfare for trade among the United States, Mexico and Canada. Interstate 35 is the only interstate highway connecting Mexico, the U.S. and Canada through the heartland, and it carries a greater percentage of U.S.-Mexico trade among the NAFTA partners than any other U.S. interstate highway." This sure sounds like the beginning of a North American Superhighway, or whatever you want to call it, to me.

Furthermore, a map of North America available on the internet describes the route of the Superhighway. The map shows the continental route of the I-35, 29, and 94 passing through the United States and linking Mexico and Canada.

NASCO, the Dallas-based trade group called the ‘North America's SuperCorridor Coalition, Inc. (referred to previously), also adamantly denies there is or will be a superhighway (On its website, NASCO proclaims, "There are no plans to build a new NAFTA Superhighway – it exists today as I-35."). However, Tiffany Melvin, NASCO's executive director, cautions "NASCO friends and members" that "We have to stay away from 'SuperCorridor' because it is a very bad, hot button right now." (Interestingly, the North American SuperCorridor Coalition was originally named the North American Superhighway Coalition.)

Letters (also uncovered by Corsi) include one written to Tiffany Newsom, executive director of NASCO, by Francisco J. Conde, editor and publisher of the Conde Report on U.S.-Mexico Relations; and the second, a June 10, 1998 letter written by Newsom to consultants at David A. Dean & Newsom. The Newsom letter says "This bill (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, or TEA-21, signed into law by President Clinton June 9, 1998) contains for the first time in history a category and funding for trade corridors and border programs" and, "The I-35 corridor is the strongest and most organized of the corridor initiatives so, if we play our cards right, we stand to get a part of the $700 million."

U.S. Reps. Virgil Goode, R-Va., Ron Paul, R-Texas, Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., and Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. Introduced legislation calling on the president to discontinue plans toward a North American Union and the Superhighway (having co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle), but it is languishing in congress. The pending resolution expresses "the sense of Congress that the United States should not engage in the construction of a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Superhighway System or enter into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada."

How did Rep. Hayes react when President Bush referred to those who suggest the Security and Prosperity Partnership could turn into the North American Union as "conspiracy theorists"?

"The president is really engaging in a play on words," Goode said. "The secretary of transportation came before our subcommittee and I had the opportunity to ask her some questions about the NAFTA Superhighway. Of course, she answered, 'There's no NAFTA Superhighway.' But then Mary Peters proceeded to discuss the road system that would come up from Mexico and go through the United States up into Canada. So, I think that saying we're 'conspiracy theorists' or something like that is really just a play on words with the intent to demonize the opposition."

Hayes also said "Some really large businesses that get a lot from China would like a NAFTA Superhighway system because it would reduce costs for them to transport containers from China and, as a result, increase their margins".

Congressman Hayes believes the motivation behind the movement toward North American integration is the anticipated profits the large multinational corporations in each of the three countries expect to make from global trade, especially moving production to China. Members of NASCO, a denier of the Superhighway plan, are big businesses that would profit greatly if it is built.

Call me a skeptic (not a 'conspiracy theorist' please) but I believe many of our president’s action, particularly in the second term, have helped really big business. Bush’s position on the borders and illegal immigration, and the secret negotiations toward a North American Union, primarily benefit large multinational corporations, not the rest of us.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Changing terminology does not change reality

Ministers in England have adopted a new lexicon when referring to Muslim activities and to Islam. Will the PC police in America do the same?

For example, in the future, Islamic fanatics in England will be referred to as pursuing "anti-Islamic activity". Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said that extremists were behaving “contrary to their faith, rather than acting in the name of Islam”. Government officials believe that directly linking terrorism to Islam is inflammatory, and risks alienating mainstream Muslim opinion. Her words were chosen to reflect the new government strategy on labeling the terrorists and their recruiting agents.

The change in terminology follows a government decision last year to stop using the phrase "war on terror", such as was used by U.S. President Bush. Officials say they are concerned it could act as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, which is determined to “manufacture” a battle between the values of Islam and the West. The fact they regard al Qaeda as ‘manufacturing’ warfare against western civilization itself is mind boggling since these Muslims are dedicated to the task of destroying Israel, killing as many non Muslims as possible and taking over the world for Islam.

The strategy emerging across the British government is to portray terrorists as nothing more than cold-blooded murderers who are not fighting for any religious cause. Terrorism by Al Qaeda and their allies is instead being described by key British government figures as "more like a death cult" rather than the destructive Islamic force that it is.

Although the government is saying that no phrases have been "banned", senior government officials have made it clear that the terms "war on terror" and "Islamic extremism" will not be used again by people at the top of government or those involved in counterterrorism strategy. The Director of Public Prosecutions has also said phrases which liken London to a “battlefield" will no longer be used.

In her first major speech on radicalization, Smith repeatedly used the phrase "anti-Islamic". In one passage she said: "As so many Muslims in the UK and across the world have pointed out, there is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorize, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief. Indeed, if anything, these actions are anti-Islamic”.

One can only wonder in what world Smith is living if she fails to see that Islam and terror go hand-in-hand according to the Koran and all Muslims following Mohammad’s mystical revelations in the Arabian Desert are duty bound to obey.

All this is not to say British Homeland security is doing ‘nothing’ to deal with terrorism; no, not at all. You see, the government is indeed ’taking action’; unfortunately for the British people this action resembles the approach of Democrats in this country to use persuasion to rid the country of terror rather than more meaningful approaches like expelling or jailing treasonous preachers and terror recruiters.

Here is the plan to eliminate terror in the British homeland:

“Outdoor activity centers and sports facilities will be sent guidance to stop them being used as meeting places by fanatics after the July 7 bombers were photographed attending a white water rafting centre in Wales.

Mosques will be helped to root out extremism, with imams encouraged to learn English. Efforts will be made to improve the access of women to mosques and their management committees.

There will be new advice for universities on how to deal with extremism on campus, and a crackdown on extremist material in libraries and galleries.

A forum of head teachers will be set up to give advice on what more can be done to protect children and build bridges between communities.

Youngsters will be taught about all faiths in schools, and £2million will be spent "twinning" (?) schools of different faiths.

Funding will be boosted to allow more youngsters to carry out volunteer work overseas.”

The government also wants to hold more "road shows" of mainstream Islamic scholarship around the country; I guess to point out some Muslims study subjects other than jihad.

And finally, the Homeland Security chief adds: "Counter-terrorist policing is not just about the sharp end - the disruption of those who seek to attack us - crucial though that is, it must also be about stopping people becoming or supporting terrorists. We can't, after all, simply arrest our way out of this problem."

No Ms. Smith, counter-terrorism is not “just about the sharp end”, whatever that means, but it is not about just talking to Muslims either; it is about rooting out the cancer of terrorism, destroying it and taking all measures to prevent its return.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Title correction: “Muslims have found a new way to stifle criticism of their fanatic ideology”

Muslims have fo a new way to stifle criticism of their fanatic ideology

It seems that not all countries enjoy freedom of speech as prescribed by the United States constitution. In this country there is a well established body of law that gives us the right to say anything within reason without fear of legal challenge or a criminal penalty. Although this right is not absolute (Justice Holmes on the Supreme Court once said there is no right to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre), the right of freedom of expression is quite real and extensive.

With regard to libel laws in this country, it is recognized that truth is a defense to any challenge to someone’s criticism of another and, moreover, public figures do not receive the same right of privacy in this regard that private individuals have. However, in some countries the burden of proof is on the defendant author and publisher to justify what was written and the plaintiff, i.e., the Islamist group, merely has to make the allegation. Even if the author may ultimately win, the deep pocket Muslims, having Saudi backing, will make it very expensive for the author and his publisher to succeed.

Unlike the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom do not provide the same freedom of speech, at least with respect to criticism of Islam and Muslims, and certainly not of Mohammad (remember the aftermath of the publication of the Danish cartoons). This has been made readily apparent in the recent strategy by Muslim groups to sue authors and publishers of their writings they allege either insult or defame Islam or Mohammad in print, particularly in books and articles.

This Muslim strategy clearly portends a chilling effect on authors of any sensible expression of the truth about Islam. Publishers are reluctant to publish writings Muslims may consider offensive for fear of expensive lawsuits, thus depriving authors an opportunity to be heard. For example, even where authors are free to express themselves in books published in the United States, publishers interested in book sales abroad or on the internet with access in foreign countries, risk law suits by Muslims and their organizations, such as CAIR, for damages and to prevent sales in such countries; Canada and the United Kingdom being specific examples.

Take the case of author Mark Steyn as an example.

Under Canadian law, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) investigates purported incidents of ‘hate speech’ and discrimination and refers some to the quasi-judicial Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which can impose fines or issue restraining orders.

Steyn became subject of a CHRC investigation when the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) complained about an excerpt Mr. Steyn wrote in "American Alone: The End of the World as We Know it". This book is a best seller published by the U.S. publisher Regnery Publishing and the excerpt appeared in a Canadian publication.

In his book and the published excerpt, Steyn contrasted Islamic values with Western values and pointed out the growing Muslim population in the West and the declining birthrate in Western countries. Steyn wrote "The West is growing old and enfeebled and lacks the will to rebuff those who would supplant it. It’s the end of the world as we’ve known it."

This rather mild truth expressed by Steyn in an article in a newsweekly caught the attention of Faisal Joseph, legal counsel of the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), who issued a press release that said "This article completely misrepresents Canadian Muslim’s values, their community and their religion". Joseph complained to the Canadian Human Rights Commission saying "We feel it is imperative to challenge (the) biased portrayal of Canadian multiculturalism and tolerance", and the CHRC opened an investigation, with the possibility of referral to the tribunal.

Steyn is not alone as a target of CHRC investigations. The Commission has been accused of selectivity by targeting Christian publications on behalf of homosexual organizations and declining investigations of Christian complaints. Paul Tuns, editor of the Interim, Canada’s largest pro life monthly newspaper said "There seems to be a trend where Christians and conservatives are always on the losing side". Indeed, Steyn also noted, citing previous cases, that no accused has ever won a case once the CHRC referred it to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and that truth is not a defense when dealing with the commission or the tribunal. Whereas facts, quotes and statistics may be accurately cited by the author, what the commissions base their judgments upon is whether a person reading it is offended. "Offense is in the eye of the beholder, Steyn said. "A fact can be accurate, but offensive to some people. The Commissions aren’t weighing facts but hurt feelings."

Canada’s human rights commissions have been used to silence, censor and bankrupt organizations and publishers critical of the Canadian establishment, particularly conservatives and Christian organizations and their publications, and of Islam. Muslims have learned to take advantage of the legal system in Canada and the United Kingdom that favors those offended over their critics, even when the critics are only telling the truth, because they deem it to be ‘offensive’ to tell the truth about them, as Steyn now knows only too well.

Ten reasons not to vote for McCain instead of Romney or Giulani

1. Enthusiastically promoted amnesty for illegal aliens, Social Security credit for illegal aliens, criminal trials for terrorists, stem-cell research on human embryos, crackpot global warming legislation and free speech-crushing campaign-finance laws ("McCain-Feingold" Law).

2. Opposed the Bush tax cuts; McCain said he was voting against Bush's tax cuts based on the idiotic talking point of the Democrats. "I cannot in good conscience," McCain said, "support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief."

3. Called the ads of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "dishonest and dishonorable.”

4. McCain angrily denounced the suggestion that his "comprehensive immigration reform" constituted "amnesty" -- on the ludicrous grounds that it included a small fine.

5. McCain's amnesty bill would have immediately granted millions of newly legalized immigrants Social Security benefits. He even supported allowing work performed as an illegal to count toward Social Security benefits as recently as a vote in 2006 -- now adamantly denied by Mr. Straight Talk.

6. McCain joined with the Democrats in demanding trials for terrorists at Guantanamo, including a demand that the terrorists have full access to the intelligence files being used to prosecute them.

7. McCain opposed a marriage amendment to the Constitution.

8. McCain opposed water boarding terrorists.

9. McCain opposed drilling in Alaska.

10. Though McCain generally votes pro-life -- as his Arizona constituency requires -- he embraces the loony lingo of the pro-abortion set, repeatedly assuring his pals in the media that he opposes the repeal of Roe v. Wade because it would force women to undergo "illegal and dangerous operations." (Failing to mention the issue would then revert to the individual states to decide.)

[With thanks to Ann Coulter]

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Examining Pakistan - a commentary

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has supported the war on terror so far (notwithstanding we would like him to do more); but he rules an impoverished and increasingly radical population. Musharraf also faces a powerful enemy next door; the Taliban in Afghanistan. If the economic crisis in Pakistan continues, the Pakistan government could fall and Islamists would come to power and control nuclear weapons in Pakistan.

The survival of Pakistan in its existing form is a vital U.S. security interest, one that should trump a desire for ‘democracy’. A collapse of Pakistan -- into internal anarchy or an Islamist revolution -- would cripple the global campaign against Islamist terrorism. Therefore, strengthening the Pakistani government led by Musharraf and reinforcing cooperation with the United States and the West have become immensely important to our efforts against the Islamic terrorists.

To avoid Musharraf's loss of power in Pakistan, the United States has provided a significant amount of economic and military aid. However, Washington must continue to provide aid and must do all it can to make sure Islamists do not take over the government. All the sniping and criticism of Musharraf is dangerous and calls for democracy are misguided because a nationwide vote in Pakistan, as in every other Islamic country, is sure to bring enemies of civilization to power. Democracy in an Islamic country only means one free election, one time.

The United States by its action does not seem to fully appreciate the importance of Pakistan at this particular time. Strong popular support for the Taliban is present mainly in Pashtun areas of Pakistan, closely linked to the Pashtuns of Afghanistan. However, Pakistan is dominated by its Punjab province, and it is Punjabis, not Pashtuns, who have always decided the fate of the country's regimes. Punjabis account for over 60 percent of Pakistan's population and an even higher proportion of the army, the officer corps, and the administrative elite; Pashtuns, make up only 10 percent of the population. Therefore it is highly possible for power in the country to be retained by elements not friendly to the Taliban and their al Queada partners IF we do what we can to bolster the Musharraf government and the military supporters. It was incredibly stupid policy to demand Musharraf leave the military to assume the office of the presidency because there is now the possibility that Musharraf will not be able to control the military as when he was in charge.

To preserve cooperation within Pakistan, the United States will have to avoid doing anything that could reduce the western tilt of the military. Within Pakistan, the army will have to be treated as the United States' key working partner. The army is Pakistan's only effective modern institution and the backbone of the Pakistani state. It is largely thanks to the army's discipline and unity that Musharraf has been able to keep protest against the United States’ military efforts under control. Maintaining a military focused on Pakistan's core national interests, therefore, remains the best way to save the country from being caught up in international revolutionary Islamist dream of world supremacy.

The threat that Pakistan might one day succumb to an Islamist revolution or dissolve into chaos is due less from the strength of its Islamists than from the weakness of their opponents. Together, Pakistan's Islamist parties have never garnered a majority in a general election. They are divided by personal allegiances, political opportunism, regional origins, and doctrinal differences. Still, the Islamists manage to exert a political and ideological influence in excess of their numbers, largely because, absent Islam, Pakistan has little else in ideological terms to keep the country together, and by the free use of terror tactics.

To minimize the possibility of Pakistan becoming under Islamic control in the future, it is necessary to disrupt control of the madrassas (Islamic schools) by Islamic fanatics. Pakistan’s current attempts to gain greater control over Pakistan's radical madrassas are now being intensified. These include imposing a broad, modern curriculum on the schools, registering all of their foreign students, and forcing them to cut their ties with militant training camps. The United States should keep the pressure on to ensure that the Pakistan government follows through on these efforts; the madrassas have become training grounds for radical groups all over the Muslim world, and their graduates have caused destruction in Pakistan itself, as well as staffing the Taliban.

If Pakistan falls to radical Islamists, we do not want the blame to fall on us by adopting misguided policies. We must help Pakistan to develop and improve the living conditions of its people so as to make the Islamic radical option less attractive. In the current situation, even Musharraf's authoritarian regime has been a good deal less dictatorial than would an Islamic regime that would replace it.

In the long term, only serious economic growth and the development of accountable political parties will stabilize Pakistan and end this threat. In the short-to-medium term, however, Musharraf and the army remains the best bulwark against chaos and revolution. It is on them, therefore, that the United States must base its immediate efforts. Inevitably, this will require continuing to provide Pakistan with weapons and armaments, but it will also require economic aid, training programs and various forms of contact with Pakistani officers at all levels. If Pakistan's military is going to remain supportive of the United States and take the difficult steps necessary to defend the U.S. war against terrorism, these officers must be convinced that their actions are in Pakistan's national interest; and the United States still has a lot of convincing to do.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

At last, a minor setback for Muslim appeasement

The politically correct catering to Muslims has reached ridiculous proportions so it is good to finally see even a minor road block in the headlong rush to appease Muslims.

The U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday that a Muslim inmate cannot sue the government over the disappearance of the prisoner's copies of the Quran and a prayer rug.

Abdus-Shahid M.S. Ali says the missing books and rug reflect widespread harassment against Muslim inmates in federal, state and local prisons stemming from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (Ali is serving a sentence of 20 years to life in prison for committing first-degree murder in the District of Columbia.)

Besides the two copies of the Quran and the prayer rug, Ali is missing stamps and other personal items worth $177 that he says never showed up after his transfer from a federal penitentiary in Atlanta to Big Sandy penitentiary at Inez, Ky., in 2003. He said the last time he saw the now-missing items was when he turned them over to a prison supervisor in Atlanta.

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act lawsuits against the government over goods detained by customs and excise officers or "any other law enforcement officer” are blocked. The issue in the case was whether federal prison guards are immune from suit under the law. Two lower federal courts said Ali cannot sue because prison officials are law enforcement officers.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Ali had no case and the law suit should be thrown out. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for a majority that cut across ideological grounds, agreed with the lower courts. Thomas said the law "forecloses lawsuits against the United States for the unlawful detention of property by 'any,' not just 'some,' law enforcement officers". Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and, surprisingly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Thomas. The dissenters were Justices Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter and John Paul Stevens.

Justice Kennedy, often the 'swing vote', spoke for the dissenters: "The seizure of property by an officer raises serious concerns for the liberty of our people and the act should not be read to permit appropriation of property without a remedy". Once again, Kennedy showed he cannot be relied upon to make the correct decision in cases before the court; no conservative is he.

In his federal law suit, Ali said "Reports from all over the country have come in" on Muslims' religious property that "has been destroyed, confiscated, looted, lost, stolen or taken without cause". Ali also said in his court papers that Muslim inmates have been subjected to "very hard times and bad treatment" at the hands of federal, state and local prison employees. Ali tried to convince the court that “many prison employees think that they can hurt you best taking your personally owned property”.

Of course the primary issue Ali based his suit on is that because he has "practiced his faith to the fullest" he has been subjected to prison officials repeatedly confiscating and destroying his legal and religious property. Ali said he has been harassed for his religious beliefs "year after year" in both the District of Columbia Department of Corrections and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

The ruling in this case was the first 5-4 split of the current term. During the last term there was a 5-4 division on 24 cases.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Is there no end to government control our lives? Now is the time to worry

Recently the state of California came up with a proposal to mandate use of radio-controlled thermostats as a means of controlling the temperature in homes. As outrageous as this sounds, it had the approval of many in the legislature and in the state administration. Fortunately, a public outcry of disapproval caused the proposal to be dropped. However the shear control-freak lunacy of the proposal brings to mind many, many other government controls of our daily lives that remain in effect with virtually no opposition or thought about how we have allowed government, directly and indirectly through the courts, to dictate "what is best for us". The world described by George Orwell may have taken longer than 1984 but it exists now because we have allowed ‘big brother’, to decide what is ‘best’ for us as we have incrementally given up the freedoms Americans started with when the United States was formed over two hundred years ago.

What do you suppose our country’s founders would think about the government telling us whether or not, and where, people could use tobacco (many were tobacco farmers)? What about some of these other dictates of our conduct: wearing seat belts in cars, helmets for motorcycle drivers, what kind of light bulbs, toilets and washing machines we can use in our homes, whether or not we should have auto and health insurance; and you can add many more.

Our government continues to find new ways to control our lives regarding energy use. The government is in the toilet bowl control business. Now toilets must meet strict Federal regulations, but these expensive toilets must be flushed more than once to be effective. The government now polices our washing machines. But new regulations that limit water usage are so ineffective with these new machines that Consumer Reports states the government mandated machines don't always get dirty clothes clean unless they're washed multiple times.

The path to energy independence prescribed by the government is anything but that; there is no effort to increase supplies, just to change the way we live. And now the government is in the light bulb police business by mandating replacement of the old fashioned 100 W incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), requiring these expensive new bulbs to be used that are only made, ironically, in China. Instead of finding new ways to punish and police Americans for using energy, we should find new efficient sources of more energy. I doubt if our forefathers fought for independence at Valley Forge just to give us an all-controlling government that demands how citizens use washing machines, light bulbs and toilet bowls.

The Second Amendment is under constant attack and even the Bush administration has jumped on board the ‘ban guns’ train by asking the U.S. Supreme Court to sanction restrictions on gun ownership; what a betrayal of conservative who voted for George Bush.

It seems the government, and primarily Democrats and other liberals, fear an armed citizenry that may one day decide to oppose usurpation of our God-given, and Constitution-given rights, so the answer for them is to abolish gun ownership or limit it so severely as to accomplish the same objective. The people that wrote the Constitution worried about this eventuality and prescribed these rights in the Second amendment that liberals in both parties seek to overturn by fiat and judicial action. Here is what our founders thought about that:

"[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation… (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." --James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive."
--Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:373, Papers 12:356

“... to disarm the people - that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them."-- George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380

And if you think this is nothing to worry about, remember what the icon of enslavement said:

"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing."--

Adolph Hitler, Hitler's Secret Conversations 403 (Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens trans., 1961)

Yes indeed, now is the time to worry; and to do everything possible to prevent the government from continuing to pursue the current path of usurpation of power over our lives. We can start by voting for people who want to preserve our rights, not destroy them.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Does the SAVE act 'save' us - or is it a Trojan horse?

Everyone says the right thing about immigration reform and some in congress propose a law that they say is for this purpose but it is really a Trojan horse.

The "Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act of 2007," otherwise known as the SAVE Act (H.R. 4088), is NOT serious immigration reform; and it's dangerous to our liberty. Most of the immigration "solutions" in H.R. 4088 are meaningless window dressing that will not help to stop the invasion of illegal aliens but the SAVE act creates new federal data banks that will infringe on our right to privacy and will usher in a ‘big brother’ system under the guise of a means of tracking illegal aliens in our country.

Section 201 of the bill will require employers to use the E-Verify system "for every person or other entity that hires one or more individuals for employment in the United States", not just illegal aliens, everybody. That means every time one of us applies for a job our background will be checked through a national data bank. Every single American citizen will have to have their personal information placed in that data bank for this purpose. The personal data of each of us will be registered in a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) worker registry; and this must be accomplished within four years. Just because illegal immigrants break the law - all Americans must become part of ‘Big Brother’s surveillance system.

One section of the SAVE Act will establish a standardized, national databank that tracks "vital events" in our lives, including our birth and death. Here is what it says:

"Section 203. Establishment of Electronic Birth and Death Registration Systems

(a) In consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Commissioner of Social Security, the Secretary shall take the following actions:

(1) Work with the States to establish a common data set and common data exchange protocol for electronic birth registration systems and death registration systems.

(2) Coordinate requirements for such systems to align with a national model.

(3) Ensure that fraud prevention is built into the design of electronic vital registration systems in the collection of vital event data, the issuance of birth certificates, and the exchange of data among government agencies.

(4) Ensure that electronic systems for issuing birth certificates, in the form of printed abstracts of birth records or digitized images, employ a common format of the certified copy, so that those requiring such documents can quickly confirm their validity.

(5) Establish uniform field requirements for State birth registries.

(6) Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, establish a process with the Department of Defense that will result in the sharing of data, with the States and the Social Security Administration, regarding deaths of United States military personnel and the birth and death of their dependents.

(7) Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, establish a process with the Department of State to improve registration, notification, and the sharing of data with the States and the Social Security Administration, regarding births and deaths of United States citizens abroad.

(8) Not later than 3 years after the date of establishment of databases provided for under this section, require States to record and retain electronic records of pertinent identification information collected from requestors who are not the registrants.

(9) Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, submit to Congress a report on whether there is a need for Federal laws to address penalties for fraud and misuse of vital records and whether violations are sufficiently enforced."

Can there be any doubt that this section of the SAVE Act is designed to establish that birth certificate databank and a national ID system?

Consider the following before accepting the SAVE act as a mechanism to deal with our illegal immigration problem:

• The SAVE Act is a tool to ultimately set up a National ID system. The SAVE Act will not stop the invasion of illegal aliens but will enable their conversion to "authorized aliens".
• The SAVE Act creates a data base that advances a cradle-to-grave government tracking system with all of our biographical information (is this not ‘big brother’; what’s next embedded devices to track our movements?).
• The SAVE Act helps advance implementation of a National ID Card because is helps establish a birth certificate databank with personal biographical data (Section 203).
• The SAVE Act will not secure our nation's borders, will not safeguard citizens, will not preserve what's left of our Rule of Law, and will further infringe on our liberty.

It is important to safeguard our country but it is possible to do that without taking away our freedom and letting the government get closer and closer to controlling our lives. This bill should not be passed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Electoral College versus the popular vote

Since the 2000 presidential election, there have been calls for changing the way the president is elected because though George Bush received the majority of Electoral College votes, Al Gore received a larger number of votes nationwide. Democrats in particular have been very vocal about this and many on the left still harbor feelings that the George Bush ‘stole’ the election despite the fact his win was entirely in accordance with the Constitution.

The Electoral College is a device that founders of our country settled upon to create our republican form of government. Strictly speaking, we do not have a ‘democracy’ where matters are decided by the collective individual votes of those authorized to vote, we have a representative democracy where the people’s voice is theoretically expressed through elected representatives. However, the country’s founders recognized a problem would occur unless states with large populations were somehow balanced with respect to smaller states; otherwise, larger states would dominate national elections. It was therefore necessary to include provisions in the Constitution to give a reasonable voice to those living in less populated states.

Attaining more balanced representation in government was achieved by establishing one branch of the legislature representing population on an equal basis (the House of Representatives) and another branch giving equal representation to all states by having the same number of elected representatives regardless of state size (the Senate).

To achieve a more balanced ability to affect the outcome of national elections for president and vice president by lessening, somewhat, the dominance of states with large population, the concept of an 'Electoral College' was chosen. The Electoral College actually elects the chief executive but the composition of the Electoral College reflects the vote of the citizens in each state in a reasonable manner. Under the Electoral College system ‘Electors’ are selected in accordance with the outcome of the public vote for president in each state. The number of Electors provided to each state corresponds to the number of congressional representatives and senators each state is allotted in the House of Representatives by the population of the state, and the two senators each state has. In this way, each state influences the outcome of the presidential election by the size of their population, but not overwhelmingly so. The allocation of congressional representatives is readjusted every ten years following a national census.

Article II of the constitution directs that the number of electors correspond exactly with the numbers in the Congress (100 electors representing the Senate and 435 additional electors representing the House). Following enactment of the 23rd Amendment, the District of Columbia receives the same number of electors as the least populous State (3 electors). Therefore, currently there are a total of 538 presidential electors distributed among the States according to the total number of U. S. Senators and U. S. Representatives in each state (e.g., California has 54 electors, Texas 32, Iowa 7, Wisconsin 11, etc.). A candidate for president must obtain an absolute majority of the electoral votes — 270 — in order to attain the presidency.

Under the Electoral College system, the smaller states receive a slightly greater voice, proportionally speaking. For example, California is the largest state and its 33 million inhabitants have 54 electors, each of whom represents 614,000 inhabitants. However, Wyoming is the smallest State and its less than one-half million inhabitants are represented by 3 electors — one for every 160,000 inhabitants. This therefore gives Wyoming slightly more proportional strength.

Although on the one hand the Electoral College tends somewhat to over-represent voters in smaller States; because no matter how small a state is, it is guaranteed at least 3 electors, larger states still have the power to affect the outcome more than small states do. The combined number of electors in the eight smallest states (Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, Montana, and Rhode Island) produces the same number of electors as the single state of Florida even though Florida has a population more than three times greater than those eight smaller States combined.

Yet, on the other hand, if a candidate wins California and its 54 electoral votes, that candidate is one-fifth of the way to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Therefore, while California accounts for only 11% of the nation’s population it can provide 20% of the electoral votes needed to obtain the presidency. The Electoral College system therefore preserves a balance between population centers and between diverse state and regional interests, incorporating elements both of popular and of state representation in its operation.

But each state is permitted to determine the manner the state’s electors who will actually vote for the election of the president and vice president are chosen. It is because of this state right, some people are able to advocate changes in the manner of selecting the country’s highest officers. Rather than have electors of a state reflecting the outcome of the vote for president and vice president in that state by a general state election on a ‘winner take all’ basis, a state may choose some other manner of allocating the Electors from that state who will meet together in the ‘Electoral College’ to actually elect the president and vice president.

Currently, the popular vote in each state directs the electors of that state how to cast their vote for president. In most states, whichever candidate wins the popular vote in that state wins all of that state’s electors; but since the manner of choosing a state’s electors is left by the Constitution to each state, different states have different rules. For example, in Maine and Nebraska, the winner does not take all; rather, the candidate who wins the popular vote in each congressional district wins the electoral vote from that congressional district, and the candidate who wins the entire state receives the state’s two remaining electoral votes.

Various groups, (mainly liberals) claim that the Electoral College system is unfair to voters and want the Electoral College replaced a popular vote system. They basically argue that under the current ‘winner take all’ practices of most states, individual votes become meaningless because each state gets a certain number of electoral votes and the popular vote is not taken into account.

But proponents of the electoral college system say without the Electoral College candidates would spend less time trying to win the votes of many individuals in smaller states. As Curtis Gans, from the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, points out:

"The idea of getting rid of the Electoral College . . . would be profoundly dangerous, particularly in the present way that we conduct our campaigns. Essentially what this would mean is that the totality of our campaigns would be a television advertising, tarmac kind of campaign. You would be handing the American presidential campaign to whatever media adviser could out slick the other. Different States in different regions have important interests to which the candidate should be subjected and to which the candidates should be required to speak. . . . [D]irect elections would insure that all monetary resources would be poured into [televised political] advertising. There would be virtually no incentive to try to mobilize constituencies, organize specific interests, or devote any resources to such things as voter registration and education. . . . What we would have is a political system that combines the worst of network television with the worst of the modern campaign".

I believe without the Electoral College system candidates would logically spend their campaign courting voters in the most populous urban areas such as Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Washington, D. C., Miami, Seattle, etc., rather than visiting cities in more rural areas. Furthermore, since larger urban areas tend to be more liberal than the rest of the nation, the result would be presidential campaigns would cater predominately to liberal interests and liberals would have more power to select the winners of presidential elections.

Under the electoral college system, it is possible that a candidate can win the presidency by carrying a majority of only the 11 most densely populated states (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina and either Georgia or Virginia). However, under a system of direct elections, this number could be reduced to even fewer states, particularly if they happened to be the largest states and could deliver overwhelming margins of victory, (such as Washington, D. C., did for Gore by the lopsided 86 to 9 percent margin). In fact, the margin of victory in a state would become more important than simply winning the state and thus could easily cause a candidate not to visit a close state but rather to spend time in a state in which he or she is already popular, merely to drive up the margin of the vote and add more to the candidates national total.

Therefore, contrary to what others may believe, the Electoral College system ensures a fairer outcome and, rather than minimizing the importance of each individual’s vote, it actually enhances the opportunity for the votes of many more individuals to be sought without unfairly benefiting liberals who count on large margins of victory in large urban areas.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Propositions, initiatives and referenda - how to decide?

The initiative process, employed in many states, is the power of the people to place measures on the ballot. These measures can create or change statutes (including general obligation bonds) and amend the state constitution. All states have requirements regarding how many signatures of registered voters must be obtained to place an initiative on the ballot.

A referendum is the power of the people to approve or reject statutes adopted by a state legislature. In each state voters wishing to block implementation of an adopted statute are also required to produce a number of signatures by registered voters in support of placing the matter on the ballot; the number of required signatures varies by states. If voters cast more ‘no’ votes than ‘yes’ votes, the law is defeated.

In some states initiatives are called ‘propositions’.

Sometimes there are numerous initiatives on the ballot; usually there are fewer referenda. Very often, whether an initiative or referendum, the wording is difficult to parse and as a result, advertising by proponents or opponents generally affects the outcome. In these cases deciding whether to vote for or against an initiative, or proposition, is difficult to determine.

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for state officials to use wording to describe initiatives and referenda according to their voting preferences. For example, the wording may give the impression that a vote for or against does not clearly reflect the decision by the voter, either pro or con regarding the initiative or referendum, the opposite being true. Many court cases have been filed in attempts to have the wording to be placed on a ballot clarified.

So the question becomes how to decide? How can someone decide to vote for or against an initiative (proposition) or referendum?

A useful guide to use when the matter to be voted upon is not clear to the voter is who is for or against the initiative or referendum. Usually voter guides distributed by the state in advance of an election contain information or comments by proponents and opponents.

If you are a conservative red flags are raised when some organizations recommend a position concerning an item on the ballot. Here are my suggestions in evaluating an initiative of referendum:
  • In my opinion most things the NEA (National Education Association) or the state’s federation of teachers is for, I am generally against.
  • When a state officer, such as the governor, is someone with whom I disagree a lot, that officer’s recommendation is not acceptable and I would vote against the matter.
  • Sometimes an organization or person personally benefits from a no or yes vote, that’s a good reason to vote the opposite.
  • Positions of unions and similar organizations often have reasons to favor or oppose a matter; very often such positions are to the singular benefit of members (or the union leaders) and against the interests of conservatives and the public and should cause a vote opposite to the position recommended by them.
  • If you are in favor of private property rights, it is prudent to be skeptical of recommendations by environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, PETA, and even the EPA.
  • I vote against anything favored by the ACLU, and vive versa.
  • Recommendations by organizations of police, law enforcement and firefighters are more difficult to assess. On economic matters these organizations favor matters that benefit members personally and not necessarily the public. Also, positions by police and law enforcement organizations are usually unfavorable to gun ownership rights and must be scrutinized carefully.
  • Positions of tax payer organizations may be also difficult to assess unless there is a history of any of these groups having views on initiatives and referenda with which you generally agree.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Taking a look at the Republican candidates

It’s time to take a look at the candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president. For many conservatives, a candidate’s position on such issues as immigration, border control, taxes and economic policies and foreign policies (not necessarily in that order) are very important in deciding which candidate to support in the primaries.

Huckabee won the Iowa caucus and the news media has tried to propel the Arkansas governor into a front runner position. The results of the New Hampshire primary did not indicate support among Republicans for Huckabee but the liberal press tried to portray the vote in New Hampshire as somehow a good result for him; obviously trying to divide Republicans to the advantage of whomever becomes the Democrat nominee. However, as Senator Fred Thompson pointed out recently, Huckabee’s positions on important issues more resemble the Democrat policies than conservative views.

Huckabee is in favor of closing the Guantanamo Bay facility for enemy combatants and supports taxpayer-funded programs for illegal immigrants. The governor’s record in Arkansas shows him to favor tax increases and his support of the federal government over state’s rights is exemplified by his support of a national law to restrict smoking. Huckabee has no foreign policy and has even refused to support the war against Islamic terrorists. Also, Huckabee is portrayed as a “populist” but that is not a good thing for conservatives. As I explained in a previous article on this blog, a populist is one who “offers unorthodox solutions or policies” that are not in accordance “with traditional” ideologies of the party whose nomination the candidate seeks". Clearly, as a ‘populist’, Huckabee is not someone who supports the views held by most Republicans.

Two years ago Huckabee appeared before an open-borders Hispanic group preaching an ‘open-door policy' and also criticized state legislation requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote as “un-American", “race-baiting” and “demagoguery” (according to the Arkansas News Bureau). He also said of opponents of amnesty for illegal immigrants; they are “driven by racism and nativism”.

If anyone needs more evidence that Huckabee may be a better candidate for the Democrats than for Republicans, here is what the 'populist' said recently:

“We need to make sure that we communicate that our party is just as interested in helping the people who are single moms, who are working two jobs and still barely paying the rent as we are the people at the top of the economy”.

John McCain won the New Hampshire primary but it is debatable whether it was because Republicans voted for him. In the open New Hampshire primary, McCain received votes of so-called ‘independents’ and very likely some Democrats who crossed over because they did not want to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Hussein Obama. Actually, Mitt Romney appears to have received more Republican votes than McCain.

In any case, the outcome of the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire is determinative of absolutely nothing insofar as indicating the preference of Republicans in general, and conservatives in particular.

McCain may be more ‘Republican’ than Huckabee but he has been on the wrong side of very important issues. For one, McCain has been an avid supporter of illegal immigrants and is in favor of ‘amnesty’ while doing nothing to close our borders. [McCain once called Rush Limbaugh a ‘nativist” for opposing amnesty.] What conservative can forget the disastrous McCain-Feingold attack on the 1st Amendment? As a result of this law incumbents have an enormous advantage and issue advocacy proponents also took a body blow. If these aren’t bad enough, McCain led the ‘group of 14’ Republican and Democrat senators who thwarted appointments of conservative appellate judges.

As for the former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giulani once said “I supported sanctuary policies before I was against them, but my sanctuary policy wasn’t really a sanctuary policy anyway”. Giulani also brought a suit against the government to block them from enforcing immigration laws. He also invited illegal aliens into open-borders safe harbors.

McCain and Giulani are now attempting to jump the open-border sinking ship but how can the be trusted to adopt different policies after the election than the immigration policies they expressed before running for the Republican nomination this time around?
Senator Fred Thompson is likely the most conservative of the four remaining main candidates for the Republican nomination. He has been criticized as a candidate for not appearing to have "fire in the belly", i.e. not working hard enough to seek the nomination. However, more recently he seems to have awakened to the task. If he continues along that path, he may turn out to be the more consistent conservative candidate Reagan Republicans can support.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why U.S. Supreme Court appointments are crucial to a free society

‘Strict constructionists” on the U.S. Supreme Court are concerned with what the Constitution actually says when interpreting constitutionality of laws, state laws in particular. Liberal judges on the U.S. Supreme Court (and liberal judges on other federal courts) are only concerned about protecting the Democrat Party and pushing their personal liberal agenda on the country.

The U. S. Supreme Court heard arguments this week on an Indiana law requiring photo identification in order to vote. This should be a ‘no-brainer’, and it was for the Justices but for different reasons.

Reports of the hearing say there was a ‘lively discussion’. The liberal Justices, who care not a whit about the Constitution, predictably expressed ‘concern’ for those likely expected to vote for Democrats; namely, (in their view) “the poor, elderly and minority voters”.

Who are the liberal Justices – one is Clinton appointee, and former General Counsel for the ACLU, Ruth Bader Ginsberg; another is the worst appointment by a Republican president, David Souter; a third is another Democrat Clinton appointee Stephen Breyer (famous for advocating the court consider as legal precedents court decisions in other countries like Zimbabwe); and finally John Paul Stevens, a liberal judicial icon who is the oldest Justice on the court and true to the government expansionist policies of Franklin Roosevelt.

Against this formidable and consistent array of judicial activists are Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito. Standing as the ‘swing vote’ on the court is Justice Kennedy. As incredible as it may seem, many decisions important to our freedom are in the hands of one man, Justice Kennedy, who has become more liberal with age, defying the premise that one gets more conservative with age. Very likely, how this case is decided, and with it the ability to suppress voter fraud, will be up to the vagary of Justice Kennedy.

Questions and comments at the hearing of the case are very insightful, and sometimes comic in their illogic. Paul Smith, a lawyer for the Democrat Party, told the court “the law is unconstitutional because it imposes an unfair burden, especially on the poor”. Why is this so, well, Smith says because a voter lacking an ID must go to a state office to get their free ID card. No mention was made that it doesn't seem burdensome for the poor to go to their mail boxes to get their welfare check or food stamps or, is some cases, go to a state office to get their unemployment checks.

Antonin Scalia wondered how come the Democrat Party was represented in this case since they were not an “aggrieved party” under the law and he repeatedly challenged the state Democrat Party’s standing to contest the law. Alito asked the Democrat Party lawyer if the Democrat position “was that the state can’t require any form of identification in order to vote"? Roberts pointed out that 99% of eligible voters have photo IDs.

News articles about the court hearing say that Ginsberg, Breyer, Souter and Stevens were more “sympathetic” to the legal challenge. Does this surprise anyone?

One interesting exchange was when Stevens asked U. S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, who was defending the Indiana law, that since the Indiana legislature passed the law on a party line vote, “Don’t you think that this law has an adverse impact on the Democrats”? Clement replied: ”If that was the intent, it backfired in 2006 when Republicans fared poorly in the statewide election”.

Democrats and ‘civil rights’ groups say that if the law is upheld, Republican legislatures in other states would adopt similar laws “that would make it harder for those people to vote in the name of addressing a nonexistent problem of voter impersonation”. Who are they kidding, Democrats everywhere have a proven record of fraudulent efforts to have people ineligible to vote hauled into voting precincts.

We can only hope that Justice Kennedy has the country in mind and not the Democrat Party when he casts his vote.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

“Populist” – the political label du jour

We are being told that John Edwards and Governor Huckabee are ‘populists’ and their campaigns for the presidential nomination of their parties are based on ‘populism’.

But I have some questions about that. What is a ‘populist’ and what does ‘populism’ mean? Does a ‘populist’ remain a populist forever; in other words, ‘once a populist, always a populist’? Is a populist who gets elected still a populist?

According to the recognized definition: "Populism is the political philosophy of the ‘Peoples Party’; that is, various anti-establishment or anti-intellectual political movements or philosophies that offer unorthodox solutions or policies and appeal to the ‘common person’ rather than according with traditional party or parties ideologies".

The definition raises still other questions: how can a candidate for the nomination of a political party be "anti-establishment or anti-intellectual" and offer "unorthodox solutions or policies" that are not in accordance with the "traditional" ideologies of the party whose nomination the candidate seeks, and why would party members choose a ‘populist’ who does not conform to the philosophy and policies of their party?

Once a ‘populist’ is elected, then he or she becomes part of "the establishment". Therefore, a successful ‘populist’ candidate can no longer be a populist because the person leaves the ranks of the "anti-establishment". The elected populist can continue to be "anti-intellectual" but only if the person is not an intellectual or he or she would have to be against themselves.

So the final question is why in the world are candidates identified as populists? Perhaps the news media uses that description because they want to enhance the prestige of the candidate labeled a populist and thus make that person special and different, and somehow better, than opponents they would rather not win the election.

One thing the media has right though, Huckabee is sure offering "unorthodox solutions and policies that are not in accordance with the traditional ideology" of the Republican Party. Of course, the same cannot be said of Edwards, 'tax and spend' is the traditional policy of the Democrat Party.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Some things I think I think

There are many things I don't understand, here are a few"

  • In some states killing a pregnant woman results in a charge of ‘two’ murders; in other words two people were killed. Yet in the case of abortion, the pregnant woman isn’t carrying a ‘person’; it’s called a ‘fetus’ and destroying it is not murder, hmm.
  • In some states, e.g. California, an 18 year old can’t use a cell phone in a car, can’t buy cigarettes, can’t buy liquor; but he can vote and go to war and risk being killed, hmm.
  • Some people and their friendly judges have no problem protecting whales, insects, rodents and birds, but care not a whit about protecting our country and the people in it, hmm.

There is something inherently wrong with a news channel deciding for the rest of us who is, and who is not, a presidential candidate; especially this early in the primary season. This could be expected of CNN and MSNBC, but Fox?

I think it is ‘funny’ that any sort of weather from unusual cold to droughts to hot spells to hurricanes (either more or fewer), can be all attributed to ‘global warming’ and by using ethanol in cars and compact fluorescent lamps in place of incandescent bulbs we can reverse ‘global warming’.

Statistics show that for 1980, during the term of President Jimmy Carter, there were 2,392 US military fatalities. In 2006 there were 920 military deaths in Iraq. Yet, the Democrat mantra is to vote for them and take the troops out of Iraq and out of harms way. How come nobody complained during Jimmy’s term of office about military deaths under this “amazing” president who gave away Iran to Islamic radicals and the Panama Canal to the Chinese?

Steve Frank wrote “To radical anti-religious bigots even silence is considered a religious experience--no wonder they never shut up”. Our Declaration of Independence says that “man is endowed by his creator… ”; our nation was founded on prayer and belief in a Supreme Being. To deny this is untruthful and puts such people in the same category as those that deny the holocaust. If teachers tell students that even thinking about the Lord is against public policy, it makes them believe that belief in the Lord is wrong, since their teachers told them so - shame on them.

We learned a lot from the ‘Iowa Caucus’; among which is that we seem to let a few over 200,000 Iowans tell the rest of the country who is going to win the presidential nomination of each party; that is until we let the people in New Hampshire tell us otherwise. We also learned that even some liberals really can’t stand Hillary Clinton and Oprah is more important than Bill Clinton when it comes to endorsing a candidate. We also learned, unfortunately, that far too many Evangelical Christians are irrational in their voting preferences.

Speaking of Hillary, and who cannot, it is really incredible that all Americans can’t seem to accept what a lying and dishonest person Hillary Clinton - or whatever she calls herself these days - is. Even though the liberal news media tries to cover up for her and spin the news in her favor, enough truth gets out to convince even the most die-hard of socialists they are better off supporting Putin or Soros than this witch.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto shows Islamic "democracy" includes assassinations of opponents. This is another example of how duality works in Islam. Islam does not copy anything from the westerner without aiding Islam. Muslims use the same words such as democracy and peace, but under Islam these words have opposite meanings; to Muslims ‘democracy’ means winning for Allah at any price. Islamic women's rights include beatings; Islamic peace includes killing women and anyone that stands between you and Islamic theocracy. We are self destructive fools if we don’t recognize Islam for what it is; “a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing” (with apologies to Shakespeare).

Saturday, January 5, 2008

News and Views

Mexican trucks role again

The Bush administration is going ahead with the program to give trucks from Mexico access throughout the United States. Congress didn’t like the idea and included a provision in the omnibus funding bill they thought took care of the problem but Bush found a ‘loophole’. It seems that Congress specifically denied funding for “establishing” the Mexican access program but Bush says this doesn’t apply to this program because it was started in September. Isn’t it amazing what Bush can do to muck up things once he sets his mind to it? Too bad Bush doesn’t display this same ingenuity to protect our borders; but then again, he doesn’t want to do that, hence we will have Mexican trucks traveling throughout the country carrying who knows what.

We must have 'humane' executions; even though victims weren't treated humanely

For years and years murders were brought to justice swiftly and without anyone concerned about how they were executed. We have had hangings, firing squads and electric chairs administering punishment; all without any thought these violated the Constitution. Now in our politically correct world of the ACLU and others who worry more about murderers than about victims, virtually any form of execution is questioned. First out was the electric chair as a result of some faulty use on occasion, then lethal injection was determined to be “inhumane” (I don’t know when hangings and firing squads were ruled out but both seem to me to be fairly ‘humane’, at least firing squads should result in quick, painless execution.)

Two men convicted of killing two cops in cold blood were sentenced to death but now the U.S. Supreme Court has to decide whether Kentucky executes them in a constitutionally ‘humane way’. There are 3,340 murderers on death row nationwide who face death by lethal injection. If the court says this is a no, no; then over three thousand murderers will escape a punishment that their victims were unable to avoid. Is this a great country or what?

Not trying to be macabre here but another U.S. Supreme Court case will decide whether a state can execute someone who rapes a child under that state’s law which provides the death penalty for such a heinous crime. In this case a man raped his 8-year old stepdaughter in Louisiana and the state Supreme Court upheld the penalty. Whatever happened to the constitutional right of the states to handle their own affairs? Is it “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eight Amendment to execute someone who does this to a child? I don’t think so.

Lawyers have to eat too; but why out of our hide?

Lawyers are really responsible for a lot of ridiculous cases which, if they had any sense of decency they would not accept. Take the case of convicted terrorist conspirator Jose Padilla; he found a lawyer that would help him sue a government official for violating his constitutional rights. It seems that the official wrote several memos that led Bush to designate Padilla an ‘enemy combatant’ after he was arrested. Padilla is ‘only’ suing for $1 million in damages, mainly on the basis the government official denied Padilla his constitutional rights because Bush’s decision based on advice given to him by the official violated the constitution. Since the suit was filed in San Francisco, who can say Padilla won’t win.

In New York a businessman accused of trying to give money to a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan is trying to defend himself by telling a judge that he did this to “enrich himself”, not to aid the enemy. He said he was more interested in the “profit potential” than in the terrorists’ “cause”. Shortly after making this defensive claim, he tried to sell the judge the Brooklyn Bridge.

"Believe it or not", Olmert wants to destroy Israel

Under the heading “believe it or not”, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is accusing his own country of not living up to a deal he made with the Palestinians. Olmert says that Israel is not living up to its commitment to remove settlements in the West Bank. In this self effacing Olmert has a supportive ally in George Bush who also accuses Israel of “not doing what we expect them to do”. With a leader like Olmert, and support from their mentor and ally, the United States, it should not be long before Israel gives itself away and Jews will have to ask God for another ‘homeland’. Who could criticize God for not acceding to this request; after all the Jews are not doing such a good job of keeping the land He gave them in the first place?

Awkward legal defenses and other strange cases

An elected official in Los Angeles, Xavier Alvarez, was charged with falsely claiming he received a Congressional Medal of Honor under the ‘Stolen Valor Act of 2005’. Alvarez says the law is unconstitutional because it restricts his “free speech” by criminalizing false claims of military honors. Once again, we see a lawyer proceeding with a law suit without merit just to earn some money.

The sheriff of Orange County, California, Mike Corona was indicted along with his mistress and his wife in a federal corruption case which claims Corona took $700,000 in bribes and kickbacks. The sheriff received a 60-day paid leave of absence to work on his defense but is now back at work. I guess Corona needs a chance to get more bribes and kickbacks to help pay for his legal defense and it would not be fair to deprive him of his livelihood at a critical time like this.

A U.S. District Court in Los Angeles ordered the Navy to stop bothering the whales. The judge, ordered the Navy to lessen the impact of the Navy’s sonar activity, which is intended to protect the country from enemy attack, on whales and other marine life of the Southern California coast.

The Navy must:

  • "Create a 12-nautical mile no-sonar zone along the coast.
  • Have trained lookouts watch for marine life starting 60 minutes before and then during exercises.
  • Shut down sonar when marine life is spotted within 2,200 yards.
  • Not use sonar at all in the Catalina Basin, an area the judge, Florence Marie Cooper, says 'is an area that is home to a high density of marine mammals'”.
Now here is a Clinton-appointed District Court Judge that has her priorities right.

Well that’s all for now; I have to go pay my California State Bar dues so I can cash in on all this insanity too.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Change just for the sake of change - or something more?

Pundits, and the winners, say the outcome of the Iowa primaries show that people want ‘change’. Is that true? Do people want change? I wonder what changes people might want.

Is it the ‘poor’ that want change?

Well, according to surveys reported by The Heritage Foundation, 43% of all ‘poor’ actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio. Only 6% of poor households are overcrowded. Two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

The typical poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
  • 80% have air conditioning; compared to 36% of the entire population in 1970.
  • 97% have color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
  • 78% have a VCR or DVD player; 62% have cable or satellite TV reception.
  • 89% own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.
  • Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31% own two or more cars.
  • 92.5% of the poor report their families have “enough food to eat,” while less than 2% say they “often” do not have enough to eat.

Could it be that the ‘non poor’ want change? I don’t see how since they must be living better than the ‘poor’.

Then who is it that wants change?

It’s the Democrats and liberals that want change. They have been out of power too long to suit them; after all, until the Gingrich political revolution they were in power for forty years and most assume power is their birthright.

Finally Republicans came to control the legislature and the presidency. In exercising their right to govern according to conservative principles they were thwarted by many in the majority overcome by the desire to be liked by liberals. The Republican leadership fell into cowardice after Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay were removed by a relentless liberal press. In this they were also aided by a president who wanted to ‘get along’ with an intractable Democrat foe; an enemy of good sense and of the Constitution - an enemy who resides in Congress and the judiciary.

A weak senate leadership refused to fight against the Democrat filibuster tool which too often led to ‘compromise’; meaning, acceptance of the Democrat version of legislation. How could conservatives have predicted a Republican president would accept the McCain-Feingold bill and a Republican president and Republican Senate leaders would seek open borders and amnesty for illegal immigrants?

Yes it’s time for a change; not the kind that talking heads on television say; it’s time to elect real Republicans that stand for conservative principles, not so-called Republicans just a bit to the right of the extreme liberals seeking the presidency.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

You think your electric bill is high now; soon it will be even higher

California residents are already paying for electricity at rates among the highest in the country; now Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislature have sacrificed your utility budget on the alter of global warming. Perhaps your 100 watt bulb is being replaced with a CFL so you won’t be able to read your electric bill as clearly in the future.

Much of electric power in the country is produced from coal-fired power plants. Our global warming-disciple governor has decided, with other global warming fanatics, that coal is a big no-no so California utilities will not be able to buy electricity from sources that use coal to produce electric power, or invest in such ‘polluters’. The restriction applies not only to coal-fired power plants, it also applies to the purchase of electricity from power plants that use oil produced from coal, such as coal-to-oil conversion processes used to produce oil from the Canadian tar sands. Oil from Canadian tar sands amounts to about two million barrels of oil per day sent to the United States, most of which is used by power plants.

Many have said that the law would prevent California from meeting its global warming emissions reduction targets under another law, the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), for which enforcement begins in 2012. Since California’s utilities are now making long-term plans to purchase new energy that involve billions of dollars in investments over the next decade, it is clear that increased rates for consumers will also be part of the long-range plans.

"In many respects the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Performance Standard Act will have a more immediate effect than California’s other global warming pollution reduction legislation," the Director of NRDC (Chang) said. "That’s because it’s affecting decisions being made right now and preventing utilities from locking in long-term contracts for ‘dirty’ power".

The law’s requirements are applicable to any power plants whether those plants are inside California’s borders or not. It prohibits additional long-term investment (of five years or longer) on behalf of California consumers in these facilities unless their emissions of global warming pollution are as low, or lower, than emissions from a clean and efficient natural gas power plant, which therefore excludes coal-fired power plants. The maximum emissions of a power plant allowed under the CEC and CPUC regulations are 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity.

According to the CEC, about 21 percent of electricity consumed in California comes from coal; a conventional coal-fired power plant emits about twice the so-called global warming pollution of a typical natural gas plant. California has only two very small coal plants within its borders and imports a lot of its power from coal plants in other western states. Clearly, the standard is aimed at coal-fired power stations operating outside California and exporting electricity to the state since California has no large-scale coal-fired plants.

The new regulations cover Pacific Gas & Electric Co., a unit of PG&E Corp., Edison International's Southern California Edison subsidiary, and the San Diego Gas & Electric unit of Sempra Energy.

Pedro Pizzarro, a senior vice president at Southern California Edison said "It's going to be hard for our customers and us to find incremental reductions just inside the electricity sector, or if we find them it will be expensive".

Manufacturers that use electric power have warned the law could put factories out of business because of the higher cost of electricity anticipated. It’s no surprise that the global warming law will add to the price of doing business in a state already known for its strict regulatory environment and business-unfriendly reputation.

State officials say the law was written to provide a broad framework, leaving the California Air Resources Board to sort out the critical details about how to achieve cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Mary Nichols, State Air Resources Board chairwoman said the state will be working through the challenges for years to come.

"It's more complicated than anything we've had to do before," she said.

I’m sure you’ll work through the ‘complications’ Mary, but we are the ones that are asked to pay for ‘saving the planet’.