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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Poetic Addendum to the Guard the Borders Blogburst


A total disconnect
'Twixt rulers and the ruled.
The country will be wrecked.
Who do they think they've fooled?

Both Parties I accuse,
The Elephant and Mule;
Together in this ruse,
United in misrule.

A flood tide of those who
Assimilate will not!
Both Parties know 'tis true
And still they say: So What!

They think that they can hide
Behind their guards and gates;
Escape the rising tide
And leave us to our fates.

But when our culture falls
And Dear beset by Dire
Is dashed against the walls --
None will escape entire.

All this for labor cheap --
Undone our way of life
By alien hatred deep,
Sundered in alien strife.

What makes them act this way?
Have they not eyes to see?
The People they betray!
Is this Democracy?

~ © Richard Sutta
(used with permission)

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Guard the Borders Blogburst

by Heidi at Euphoric Reality


The new immigration bill (the most "sweeping reform in 50 years") S. 2611 is an amalgam of petty causes, illogical provisions, unstructured "solutions" with zero allowances for implementation, and self-contradictory language. Despite the mess, it was passed by self-righteous politicians who repeated the mantra "it's better than doing nothing." This from the same gaggle of do-nothings who outright rejected the House's law enforcement bill.

The Senate bill has our President's full support - this same bill is a derivative of one structured by Ted Kennedy and John McCain, and supported in full by the majority of Democrats. That alone ought to give one pause - President Bush, a Democrat?

Peggy Noonan says, "The disinterest in the White House and among congressional Republicans in establishing authority on America's borders is so amazing--the people want it, the age of terror demands it--that great histories will be written about it."

She opines that it is possible that..."the administration's slow and ambivalent action is the result of being lost in some geopolitical-globalist abstract-athon that has left them puffed with the rightness of their superior knowledge, sure in their membership in a higher brotherhood, and looking down on the low concerns of normal Americans living in America.

I continue to believe the administration's problem is not that the base lately doesn't like it, but that the White House has decided it actually doesn't like the base."

S. 2611 is less about law, and more about a weird, mutant agenda that melds licentiousness with an utter disregard for the end result. There are quite a few details in S. 2611 that the media has ignored and that the legislators would rather you know nothing about. Some were provisions germane to the original Kennedy-McCain bill or the pseudo revision of Hagel-Martinez, the rest are amendments that required separate votes to accept or reject. Here's what you need to know about the Senate's fiasco.


The Senate failed to pass an amendment that would've made amnesty contingent on effectively securing the border. Their priorities are completely opposite those of the American people, who have repeatedly made it clear that our borders must be secured before anything else. Furthermore, buried in Arlen Specter's manager's package, an amendment proposed by Dodd makes it mandatory for our government to consult with Mexico before taking any security action along the border, to include building any barrier or any enforcement along the border. This includes everything from federal troops, and state-mobilized National Guard, down to local law enforcement. In other words, even if a county sheriff mobilizes a posse to guard the border, he must clear it first through Mexico. This effectively gives the Mexican government veto power over our national security concerns!

We've heard a lot about the 6,000 National Guard troops, assigned to help with back-up duties in order to free up Border Patrol agents. Unfortunately, that will make only 500 additional agents available to apprehend and detain lawbreakers at the border.

The White House adamantly insists that Guard troops take no role in law enforcement, even though, so long as they are under the command of their governors—as they will be under the president’s proposal—they are allowed to do so. Republicans worry that when the Guard shows up for duty, Lou Dobbs’ cameras won’t be far behind, recording their impotence as they merely alert border agents to the whereabouts of entering illegal immigrants whom they must passively watch.

"Merely alert border agents to the whereabouts of entering illegal immigrants?" Sound familiar? The National Guard will, at most, be performing Minutemen duties. But wait! I thought the Minutemen were "vigilantes", Mr. President.

A tiny concession to border security was passed (Sessions, R-AL, amendment #3979) which allows for the increase of fencing and vehicle barriers along 370 miles of the southwest border of the United States. Unfortunately, existing hardware - including rancher's broken cattle fences - would be counted towards this paltry total.

What's most appalling is that a Democrat tried to push through an amendment (Leahy, D-VT, amendment #4117) that would revise the existing ban on granting refugee status to aliens who have provided "material support" to a terrorist organization! Fortunately, the motion was killed, but the fact that it was even considered and proposed is deeply troubling! Who can take these guys seriously?


Ted Kennedy passed an amendment (#4066) that makes it unnecessary for any illegal alien to have an employer attest that they are employed when petitioning for permanent legal residence, and "self-employment" is sufficient. Plenty of room for fraud and corruption there!

Now here's where the whole argument for "cheap labor/doing jobs Americans won't do" flies out the window. Barak Obama (D-IL, amendment no. 3971) passed an amendment that extends the Davis-Bacon Act's "prevailing wage" levels to all temporary guest workers. That puts them ahead of American workers, who have this protection only on federal job sites:

So guest-workers (but not citizen workers) must be paid Davis-Bacon wage rates for jobs in the private sector if their occupation is covered by Davis-Bacon. Presumably because Senate Democrats' union bosses thought this provision too modest, an amendment by Senator Barack Obama, approved by voice vote, extended Davis-Bacon wages rates to all private work performed by guest workers, even if their occupations are not covered by Davis-Bacon.

There goes their precious "cheap labor" - this provision will effectively price many guest workers out of the market. "Guest workers" will have legal status and visas that entitle them to real wages, overtime, deductions like unemployment and social security, and workers’ rights that legal workers now enjoy. Illegals will still be cheaper. Thus, twenty million illegals will be amnestied right out of the job market. Then what do we do with them when millions of new illegals flood into the country to take their place?

Now enter the litigation factor: foreign guest farm workers, admitted under the bill, cannot be "terminated from employment by any employer . . . except for just cause." In contrast, American ag workers can be fired for any reason.


We've been assured time and again that newly amnestied "guest workers" will have to pay back taxes for the years that they lived here illegally - except that they really won't. A loophole in the new bill provides that only two years of back taxes will need to be filed. I don't know any American citizen that can just choose not to pay taxes for years! Additionally, the Senate has now provided for illegal aliens to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Our government will end up paying them!


Senator Ensign (R-NV) tried to remove the provision allowing illegal immigrants who receive legal status under the legislation to receive retro-active credit for Social Security benefits for time that they worked before receiving legal status. Arlen Specter killed it. The bill allows illegal aliens to receive Social Security benefits for the years that they worked illegally, even if they paid into Social Security under a false number or using a stolen identity! As an American citizen, if I were caught stealing someone's identity or forging documentation to avoid paying taxes, I'd go to jail. Not so illegal aliens! There are NO penalties for breaking those laws - only retro-active rewards. The longer they broke the law, the bigger the pay-off.


Senator McConnell (R-KY) sought to add to the bill a requirement that all voters in federal elections be required to present a valid photo identification.

"It is nonsense to suggest that somehow a photo ID for one of our most sacred rights should not be protected by a requirement that is increasingly routine in almost all daily activities in America today," said the Kentucky lawmaker, second-ranking Republican.

But Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., likened the proposal to a poll tax or a requirement for voters to pass a literacy test. "Now is not the time and this is not the place to consider an amendment that may disenfranchise a million or more poor, minority, disabled, and elderly voters -- all of them American citizens," he said.

The proposal barely passed on a vote of 49-48, but unfortunately, it remains in limbo, evidently doomed by arcane rules now that the Senate has voted for cloture.

What the bill DOES provide for is a Bureau of the Census report to Congress on the impact of illegal immigration on the apportionment of Representatives in Congress. Of course, they need to count them - they are, after all, their newly bought electorate!


Here is a perfect of example of self-contradictory language within the bill itself. The bill supposedly protects American workers by ensuring that new immigrants will not take away jobs. However, the bill's own definition of "United States Worker" includes temporary foreign guest workers, so the protection is meaningless.

Senator Kyl (R-AZ, amendment #3969) attempted to ensure that temporary workers stayed temporary by removing the bill's provision allowing guest workers to apply for permanent residency. The Senator from his own state, McCain, killed the amendment.

Also, thanks to Senator Santorum (R-PA) the bill expands the visa waiver program (Immigration and Nationality Act, Sect 217) to numerous additional countries. At this point, why even bother with a visa? Waive it all!!


Senator Allard (R-CO), concerned by the incalculable administrative costs of implementing S. 2611, raised a point of order about the budget. Such a move is allowed under the Budget Act when the projected cost of legislation under consideration exceeds a certain level. If the point of order is upheld, the legislation cannot proceed. The Senate irresponsibly waived the protective rules under the Budget Act, rejecting the point of order 67-31. Apparently, no cost is too great.


Bush's former chief economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey blows the whistle on the "end of the line" fiction being used to sell the Bush/Senate immigration reform:

At present, there are hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are waiting to immigrate legally to America. They have already waited in line to get their first appointment, then to submit the paperwork, then been called back to answer more questions. And still, they wait. In places like Hong Kong, the waiting time may be as long as 15 years. Most of these people have relatives--cousins or grandchildren, for example--who live and work and pay taxes in America and even have become American citizens.

While the process isn't pretty, there is no good alternative. Permission to reside in America is very valuable....

Comprehensive immigration reform promises that people already in the United States illegally can apply for citizenship, but requires them to "go to the back of the line." But a key question is, the back of which line? The reform bill before the Senate doesn't require illegal immigrants to go back home--to, say, Hong Kong, to the end of the 10-to-15-year line there--to get a green card. Instead, it allows the current illegals to receive their green card immediately--having, in effect, jumped the line at the U.S. consulate abroad. Then, like other green card holders, they will be able to work here, collect government benefits like food stamps and Medicaid, and travel as freely as if they had a U.S. passport.

The line the current illegals will go to the back of is the citizenship line. Under the proposed law, current illegals, newly minted green card in hand, will have to wait six years, then get in line to apply for citizenship. But even after six years, they will be years ahead of many people who have gone through the legal process and are waiting overseas for a consular official to let them come here. Once those who have been playing by the rules all along get here, they too have to wait six years before getting in line for citizenship.

If we really mean "the back of the line," that should be behind everyone who is already in the pipeline to come here legally.

Let's be real: this bill allows those who come here illegally to gain a huge advantage over those who follow the rules. This, in effect, creates an irresistible incentive for others to ignore the rules and come here illegally. Fast track it by going illegal - there's no reason not to!


Lindsey has further concerns about the utter non-viability of the Senate's bill:

In 2004, the INS issued 946,000 green cards and naturalized 537,000 people. The proposed immigration reform anticipates giving green cards to up to 11 million people [likely closer to 20 million] in one fell swoop and making them eligible for citizenship six years later. It is inconceivable that the INS could handle an eleven-fold increase in its workload. Do we really intend to pass a bill that purports to document these 11 million people without setting up a system capable of providing them the promised documentation? If we don't, everyone else who is already here legally but needs a visa update, or has adopted a foreign-born child, or wants his aging mother to join him in America, will get swamped by the tsunami of newly legalized people seeking documentation.

VDare concurs and says that the guest worker program is an administrative catastrophe in the making: "Already, there are backlogs of millions of applications with CIS [Citizenship and Immigration Services] for the various immigration benefits. If any guest worker program or amnesty is enacted, the sheer amount of work in processing, receiving and vetting applications and the assorted work that goes with them (interviewing, fraud investigations, verifying documentation) will without a doubt delay any application already pending—even if additional staff are added. This includes, of course, those innocents who bothered to apply to enter the U.S. the right way." No wonder, legal immigrants are so upset with this whole thing!

I do not understand how the Senate has been so willfully blind to the will of the people and so determined to ignore the future costs of their folly:

The approved bill would send the U.S. population skyrocketing towards a billion people by the close of the century -- with no analysis done of the impacts of this mass population explosion on housing, congestion, overcrowding, education, the environment and the overall quality of life. Local communities have not been consulted, and virtually no preparation has been undertaken to provide for the enormous burdens this legislation would entail. It reflects the degree to which the Senate is completely out of touch with the average American.

Nor does the bill take any serious steps that would improve immigration enforcement -- especially in the interior. It merely continues a cycle of rewarding lawbreakers and clothing a loss of border control with the patina of legality. Rather than face the reality of today's immigration crisis, the Senate has enacted a terrible bill that once again puts the interests of the American people last. The bill's cost is staggering, the administrative burdens crushing and the consequences for the cohesion of the future American nation -- no longer bound by a common destiny of the rule of law -- are severe.


This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we’re going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

I would like to take a moment to thank our brave men and women who've given their lives in service of this nation, protecting the land of the free with the blood of the brave. You are in my thoughts and my prayers on this day that is set aside for you.

Like any other holiday in America, Memorial Day is a day whose purpose is often forgotten. We have parades and fireworks. We have picnics and sales. But, do we really remember why this day was set apart?

Some of us do:
The Rock
Family Tribute (make sure your speakers are on)
A Touching Tribe (more music) Here, if you scroll down a ways, on the right side are some ways to help our contemporary troops, who are also making sacrifices for this nation.
Every Day is Memorial Day (more music)
Lest We Forget (poetry)
Taps (with words written)

So, please, do not get so distracted by the hustle and bustle of "a day off" that you forget the meaning of this day. Reflect on the price of our freedom. Honor the glorious dead. Pay tribute to those for whom this day has been set aside.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Critical Thinking, Racism and the Government

I'm going to get all college student-esque on y'all. Recently, in one of my classes we covered the concept of critical thinking. In seven pages, they gave the total scope of critical thinking that some of my fellow students may ever receive. This scares the hell out of me. Worse yet, I'm sure people just like them, those who only know about seven pages worth about critical thinking, have made it into the government. I have no other explanation.

Learning the four steps of critical thinking is fairly easy. Here they are:

  1. Get an understanding of the problem.
  2. Gather information and interpret it.
  3. Develop a solution plan and carry it out.
  4. Evaluate the plan's effectiveness.
Does this remind you of anything? How about this? Here's the "fallacy" catch-phrases:

  • Jumping to conclusions
  • False causes
  • Appeals to authority (using experts in an unrelated field)
  • Circular reasoning
  • ad hominem attacks
  • Straw man arguments
  • Slippery slopes
  • Appeals to pity
  • Questionable statistics

As I'm sure you'll notice, politics is full of this stuff. I'm confident y'all have your own examples, so I'm not going to burden you with too many of my own. However, I'm going to use one personal example I've recently experienced to exemplify critical thinking gone wrong.

Racism: It's a complex problem, which the government fails to address appropriately time and again. This is one of those issues which really fuels my anti-liberal fire. Not because I'm a racist, or because I don't think racism needs to be addressed, but because addressing racism with racism is so illogical, yet is the mainstay of the liberal movement.

Critical thinking step 1: Racism is the prejudice of one human being against another based on the false presumption that race is a significant factor in one's worth as a human being. The government exacerbates this problem by using racial factors to identify, classify and judge the worth of the citizens of the United States.

Critical thinking step 2: The government of the United States of America gathers racially related information all the time. Almost every time when you fill out a government form you are expected to identify your race (if you refuse you are determined to be white). For example, to enroll my children in the public school system, I am asked to identify my children's race. However, my children, like myself, are bi-racial. Yet, I am only allowed to choose a single race to categorize us. The government starts the entire process by showing its prejudice; those of us who choose to identify ourselves by more than one race due to our genetic lineage are irrelevant to their "gathering of information." However, the issue becomes even more complex (and wrong) when you see the "catch."

My family is poor and my children have special needs. Both of these pieces of information are considered to be a matter of concern that the government is legally obligated to turn into a statistic. Neither my children nor myself are "all white," yet we do not fit the obvious definition of Native Americans either (we do, however, fit the legal definition). We're stuck in a limbo where the government intentionally refuses to categorize us appropriately. If I deny my "white" lineage, then I add to the impression that "this" (being poor and having special needs) happens to "white" people less often. If I deny my Native American lineage, then I not only feel as if I'm turning my back on some very impressive ancestors, but I'm also skewing the statistics for those whose Native American heritage is much more apparent and used against them. So, either way, I'm screwed.

Thus, the government of the United States of American intentionally disenfranchises me on the basis of my racial heritage, in order to gather information as to the effects of racism on the quality of life of its citizenry.

Critical thinking step 3: The governments current plan of action, designed by the liberals of this great nation, is called Affirmative Action. Remember my definition of racism?

Racism is the prejudice of one human being against another based on the false presumption that race is a significant factor in one's worth as a human being.

Affirmative Action does exactly that:
Affirmative action began as a corrective measure for governmental and social injustices against demographic groups that have been subjected to prejudice. Such groups are characterized most commonly by race, gender, or ethnicity. Affirmative action seeks to increase the representation of these demographic groups in fields of study and work in which they have traditionally been underrepresented.

This "corrective measure" emphasizes race when evaluating a person. It determines their worth through their racial heritage. Because a racial minority is underrepresented in a particular field, those who are a part of that racial minority who do succeed in that field are more valuable than those who are not. And this is what I find outrageous. Not just because "whites" are then treated as being of less worth based on their race, but because it also presumes those "racial minorities" cannot succeed without special compensation...thus perpetuating the notion that they are somehow inferior. I mean, really! Leave it to the government of the United States of America to find a way to make everybody racially inferior! WTF!

We come to the final step of critical thinking. This is the part where I should be able to describe how the government evaluates the effectiveness of their plan.

*crickets chirping*

Sorry, they must have skipped that part. Perhaps, reading seven pages was too much for them after all. *sigh*

Critical thinking is an important skill. When used appropriately, it can help solve major problems by breaking these problems into manageable steps. People all across the blogosphere use critical thinking everyday as they make posts in an attempt to address the many discrepancies we experience as citizens of this nation. Yet, critical thinking can also be very dangerous when used inappropriately, as described with the governments plan to address racism in this nation. A little "critical thinking" is dangerous, because it is used to justify illogic that would otherwise be inexcusable. It's also used to combat sound ideas, concepts and opinions by attacking them with "fallacy" catch-phrases, as you can see over on Reverse_Vampyr's blog (in the comments).

The government, of course, is not alone in using poor critical thinking skills. Partisan hackery is full of it. However, the government is responsible for its citizenry; and its citizenry (that'd be us) are responsible for our government. So, I'm asking y'all to look beyond the steps and the catch-phrases and look at the arguments themselves.

Is it logical to try to combat racism with racism? Is it logical to stop illegal immigrants by offering them amnesty? Is it logical to offer large tax-breaks to the rich to help the middle-class? Is it logical to fight terrorism abroad while leaving our borders wide-open so that terrorists can cross over into our country? Is it logical to base anyone's worth on the color of their skin or the origin of their ancestors? Can you really say "critical thinking" was involved in any of this stuff?

Believe it or not, I'm not trying to pick on liberals here. I know some up-standing liberals whom I often agree with on many things. However, this is why I cannot identify myself as a liberal despite those agreements. The illogic of those running the liberal movements are far too profound for me to follow their methods, whether or not I agree with some of their causes. However, this is also why I don't quite fit as a conservative either, as the conservative causes are often led by people who have their own illogical premises.

For once, I'd like a contemporary leader to just drop the rhetoric and think out loud. Tell us what they want, and how they reached their decision as to how they were going to try to accomplish that. For once, I'd like to see actual critical thinking in our contemporary leaders, whether they knew that's what they were doing or not. Is that really too much to ask?

Textbook referenced: The Practical Student: Career-oriented Success by Wahlstrom, Williams and Dansby pgs. 210 - 216

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Weird Tests

Now, I'm confused. I took two differents tests from the same source and these are the results that I got.

Now, how does that work?

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Classism, Social Capital and the Family

I'll start with a personal anecdote:

Often when I get presents from other women, they come in cute little baskets and contain strange little items...most of which there is no apparent purpose for. These baskets do not come with a list of their contents. They do not come with directions. Being one who does not re-gift or "take things back" I often keep the baskets and occasionally look through their contents until I figure out a use for all the items there contained. I'm almost certain that the uses I proscribe to these items are not their intended purpose, because that'd be even more bizarre than the items themselves.

See, these items fall under the category: spa. Spa is not something that fits within my personal culture. I've never experienced "spa," though I know it exists. The closest I get to "spa" consists of my husband, myself and a bottle of olive oil, preferably with oil of essence added. Don't get me wrong. That's nice! That is a part of my personal culture which I fully enjoy. However, it doesn't bring me any closer to understanding the contents of those cute little baskets.

Now, the question I pose is this: Does the above anecdote classify me?

Eve over at Feminist Mormon Housewives wrote a post delving into the topic of classism and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Now, since my readers are predominantly non-Mormons, I will adjust the topic slightly, to get your points of view.

However, I do invite you to read the post if you'd like. Including all the comments, it's kind of a long read, but there are a lot of interesting ideas in there that can be applied much more generally than a single Church. But, for the sake of the discussion I would like to have here at Haz_Pas (yes, that is my nick name for my blog, whether you like it or not) I would like to lift one particular quote from Eve's discussion.

Rosalynde said:

As you suggest (but has been lost in the comments, I think), "trailer-trashiness" is not so much lack of capital (that is, money) as it is a lack of social capital, a set of relationships, attitudes, and information that, almost imperceptibly, allows people to make social systems and structures work for them--and often gets misidentified, I think, as "drive" or "intelligence". Capital and social capital are often correlated, of course, but not always, and presently it's only the latter that is transmitted generationally in any appreciable way.

I find this concept of "social capital" to be intriguing. It's something I had never really thought of, but it makes sense.

More personal examples:

1) I'm an honest person. Honest to a fault sometimes. I've quit more than one job, because I was just too honest to do what my employers were asking me to do. If I'm understanding it right, integrity would be an aspect of "social capital." Now, I've been told that this is part of the reason I'm poor: I have too much integrity to make money. If that's true, then so be it. This bit of my personal "social capital" is one I'm not willing to give up, and I consider it a personal goal of mine to prove that business ethics doesn't have to be an oxymoron.

2) Cleaniless is next to godliness, but I'm nowhere close to being a god. My house is not the cleanest I've ever seen. Not even close. It's also not the messiest I've ever seen, though it's closer to that than the other. I admit it. Sometimes my carpet crunches. Disposable plastic cups get scattered on the floor, because I have not picked them up, my children do not throw them away, and most of our non-disposable cups are dirty. This isn't a perpetual state of affairs, but it happens frequently. Basically, I like things clean, but if I'm going to clean I really clean and that usually takes more time and more effort than I have to dispose to such a low priority. This is also an aspect of my "social capital," one which is more difficult to justify, but another one I feel no real compunction to change.

3) I am an avid self-learner. Yes, I'm going to college now, which means I'm no longer merely a self-learner, and yes, I kicked butt in high school, taking all college classes because the high school had no curriculum that was challenging enough to keep me from tears of boredom, but... It's more than that. I read a lot. Besides blogs, I read a lot of books, magazines and the like. I'm not a newshound. My reading tends to be broader than mere news. But, the point is, I'm not ignorant and I do not embrace ignorance. I read, I think, and I delve into topics (like "social capital") to try and understand them. That is another aspect of my own "social capital." One which I am not willing to set aside.

For many Americans, the (upper) middle-class lifestyle is what we crave. If we don't have it, we're trying to get it. If we do have it, we're trying to keep it. Some are admittedly above it, and striving up there where they are to either keep what they've got or get more. But, somehow, I doubt those guys are visiting my blog. So, we'll skip them. And, admittedly, there are those who don't have it, but who don't want it either. Some of those may be visiting my blog, and kudos to you! Me, I want it, but with this whole "social capital" thing we're talking about, I'm not sure I want all of it.

In terms of "social capital," what does it mean to be middle-class? Are clothes and style an important aspect of middle-classhood? Is education? What about cleanliness? What do you have to have, in terms of "social capital," to be comfortable being a member of the middle-class in terms of your finances?

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Guard the Borders Blogburst

by Heidi at Euphoric Reality

Our Open Borders Will Be The Death Of Us Yet

I live in Texas, and sometimes I think people don't truly grasp the fact that the chaos on our borders is not a border state issue - it threatens them directly, no matter where they live. The fact is that our border chaos is directly linked to our national security. Terrorists already have and continue to illegally cross our border, blending in with illegals from Mexico and Central America, or brazenly crossing over with an armed escort of gang members or even the Mexican military.

Watch this video of an ongoing investigation done by the news team from KGRV TV serving Harlingen-Weslaco-McAllen -Brownsville, Texas. (Video will open in your media player - it's a news segment.) It is part of an ongoing series highlighting the culmination of months of investigative research into the flow of terrorists over our borders. Fred Burton, a counter-terrorism expert of Stratfor, was interviewed on camera. He stated that now is the perfect time for terrorists to sneak across the border. Escalating violence and an unprecedented flood of illegals is distracting law enforcement and stretching it thin. Zapata County sheriff, Frederigo Gonzales Jr. says that as for WMDs, it is not a matter of "if", but "when".

About one in every 10 caught border jumpers is an Arab. I don't think I need to point out that if they are sneaking into the country illegally, they fit the profile and are probably terrorists. Unfortunately, we only catch about 25-33% of the flood of illegals, and estimates are that we absorb 3 million illegals (Time Magazine, September 2004 and Bear Stearns July 2005) that do make it through each year. That could mean that about 10% of the illegals that DO make it across are possible terrorists. Do the math: that's potentially 300,000 terrorists making it into our country free and clear. Let's get really skeptical and downgrade that so we feel better about it - let's say only 1% of those that make it through are possible terrorists. That is only 30,000 - per YEAR. Is that OK? Considering it took 18 terrorists to wreak the terror of 9/11, is 300,000 or even 30,000 terrorists OK with you?

If that's a reasonable risk for you, then consider the percentage of potential terrorists that have already crossed the border and are living among us - sleeper cells in our own neighborhoods. The low estimate of illegals inside our border is 20 million, the high is 29 million. What's 10% of that figure? Is a few million potential terrorists a reasonable risk?

For some strange reason, the smaller number of 30,000 is almost scarier to me. Maybe it's just easier to grasp a few thousand insane killers bent on our destruction, instead of an army of millions. Maybe it's because we can do still something about thousands - IF we act swiftly and ruthlessly - but a few million is an almost insurmountable...and it's possibly far too late. Fred Burton agrees with that assessment – he said the numbers of terrorists that have been caught is nothing compared to those that have made it through – those numbers are huge.

If you are an open borders type and think it's wrong to build any barrier along the border, or in any way militarize our border; or if you think illegal immigration is just about nice, poor people who want jobs, you need a wake-up call. Let's look at some of the issues raised by the investigation in the video above as well as some others I've written about in the past year.

1. Several months ago, according to KGRV TV, two IEDs and components for 33 more were discovered in Laredo. It won't be long before we face here in America, what our brave soldiers face every day in Iraq. And IEDs may be the least worrisome. If it's a simple matter to smuggle 3,000 pounds of drugs across the border, as the sheriff mentioned, how much easier is it to carry across a suitcase bomb - a dirty nuke?

“Several al-Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons,” Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Admiral James Loy testified on February 16 before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “At home, we must prepare ourselves for any attack, from IEDs (improvised explosive devices) to Weapons of Mass Destruction…from soft targets like malls to national icons.”

2. A terrorist jacket, with patches depicting an Arab military and 9/11, was found in Hebbronville, TX. Finding terrorist garb is nothing new. In 2005:

Ms. Garner, who grew up here in Naco, population 7,000 says..."It is more dangerous and pernicious, with a growing number of people of different nationalities coming across the border, including from the Middle East, India, and Afghanistan."

The evidence of that comes in Islamic prayer rugs found in the desert dust, Arabic literature left by still-warm campfires, and Afghani head garb caught on cactus quills. The FBI also recently found a drug tunnel beneath the bedroom of a schoolmate of one of the Garner girls, with $250,000 cash hidden inside.

3. In November 2005, a confirmed al Qaeda operative was arrested near the Mexican border and turned over to the FBI. He had been living in Mexico for six months and making notes of the movement of people and police officers.

4. Also in November of last year, A congresswoman from NC went on the record as noting that three al Qaeda operatives were being held in a jail in Texas, after being apprehended on the U.S.-Mexican border.

5. In 2005, in southern Texas alone, 51 suspected terrorists were captured while crossing the border [from the KGRV news report]. They came from countries such as Iran, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan, and were arrested on various charges of gun smuggling and illegally wiring large sums of money. We do not know where they are today. That's a problem.

6. In 2005, 10 Egyptians were arrested in Douglas, Arizona.

7. In 2004, a high-level al Qaeda operative (comparable to Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11) was arrested in McAllen, Texas attempting to make her way to New York after illegally crossing the border by swimming the Rio Grande. Though she was on a terrorist watch list, she had illegally entered into America at least 250 times before being caught!!!

8. In September of 2004, Action 4 News in Harlingen, Texas, learned that Al Qaeda cells - each group having from seven to fifteen suspected terrorist members were found just across the Rio Grande Valley in Mexico.

"We know from intelligence reports that there are middle easterners that are making their way in our direction," said U.S. Congressman Jim Turner during a news conference at the Veterans Memorial International Bridge in Brownsville.

"We don't know their purpose, but we do know that they are there and those reports are coming in increasing numbers. So it should be a wake-up call."

9. In July of 2004, Adnan El-Shukrijumah, a high-ranking Al-Qaeda leader and one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, was spotted in Honduras meeting with members of the MS-13 gang. By August, he had may his way north and was spotted in north Mexico.

By the way, if you need proof that al Qaeda is working hand-in-glove with Latino gangs, go here - there's plenty of reading.

10. In October of 2004, an intelligence report supplied to the Department of Homeland Security by Russian security services said that a group of 25 backpack-carrying Chechen terrorists - all white - illegally entered Arizona by way of Mexico last summer.

11. In September 2001, 10 Yemenis were arrested by Mexican police before trying to cross from Agua Prieta into Douglas, Arizona. They were released and they returned to Agua Prieta to try again, where they were joined by several other unidentified Arabs.

12. In November 1998, over 100 Iranians were apprehended in Arizona because of a tip called in by a border rancher.

Those are just a few examples. Our border security is non-existent, and our enemies are well aware of that fact.

While entry into the U.S. is their primary goal in establishing a base in Latin America, Islamist terrorists -- well-aware of the allure Marxism once held for many south of the border -- also see the region as a potential breeding ground for Islamic converts due to its poor economic and social conditions and corrupt governments.

For instance, the Shia terrorist group Hezbollah wields a strong presence in the tri-border region, a lawless, crime-ridden area where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay intersect. Both Osama bin Laden and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are also said to have spent time there, during the 1990's.

It was Mohammed who in 2002 encouraged alleged dirty bomber Jose Padilla to 'enter the United States by way of Mexico' in order to carry out attacks on U.S. targets, according to Deputy Attorney General James Comey.

Ironically, before converting to Islam and volunteering his services to Al-Qaeda, Padilla belonged to the Chicago chapter of the Latin Kings -- like MS-13, a violent Hispanic criminal gang.

Although U.S. agents were able to collar Padilla before he could carry out a terrorist attack, the U.S. border strategy, as presently construed, may one day soon yield a much less savory result.

Hm, do you think so???

Nevertheless, as stated in the KGRV news report, our government does not want us to know of the terror threat flowing over our border. Homeland Security refused to respond to KGRV's requests for an interview on the subject. And the government is doing everything they can to shut down the citizens who were once the greatest intelligence asset to to the Border Patrol in stopping terrorists crossing the border: American ranchers living along the border.

Perhaps the most valuable asset that the Border Patrol has is the aid of rural Cochise County (AZ) citizens. Many have attempted to help, in accordance with Arizona law. Through that legal process, landowners may execute a citizen’s arrest for individuals or groups trespassing on their property. However, even that has been nullified.


Rural citizens here have met with savage recriminations for exerting their legal rights. Immigration advocacy groups howl in protest, as does the Mexican government. Their lawyers have demanded that the ranchers be prosecuted for false arrest, kidnapping, intimidation, criminal assault and violation of civil rights...Illegal immigrants have now sued some Cochise County citizens in American courts.


Ben Anderson, a retired U.S. Army colonel who lives in Sierra Vista, Ariz., has made a detailed study of the border danger since the flood of illegals began through Cochise County in 1997.

“There is only one way to handle this,” the colonel says firmly. “In a world now filled with biowarfare agents, backpack nuclear devices and chemical weapons like Sarin gas, we must militarize the border. There is no other way to stop the flow.”

Congressman John Culberson (R-TX) concurs:

FBI Director Robert Mueller had previously "confirmed" in testimony before [a Congressional] committee "that there are individuals from countries with known al-Qaeda connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish and pretending to be Hispanic immigrants."

"And these are clearly Arab terrorists," Rep. Culberson added, "from countries like Yemen, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. They're crossing the border, pretending to be Hispanic immigrants, and then disappearing."

Rep. Culberson said news of al-Qaeda’s penetration of the U.S.'s southern border has him worried that the next terrorist plot could involve setting off simultaneous truck bombs in major urban centers.

"The day they blow us up," he predicted, "the border will be sealed tighter than the Berlin Wall and you'll have armed United States military forces" enforcing immigration laws.

That will be too late.


This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we’re going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.

Void Sticker

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Purpose of Our Government

The Constitution of the United States of America has this to say:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now, irregardless of your political affiliations, I want you to take a moment to think about the state of our nation and ask yourself a question:

Does our current government fulfill its purpose as described in the preamble of our Constitution?

Can you honestly answer that question with a "yes?" Because, I cannot.

Okay, so perhaps the Constitution itself isn't enough to make my point (the shame of that...but that's not the point). If that's the case, here's someone else:

"...that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Can you guess who said that? Here's a hint:

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

If you don't know who this is and where he said it yet, then again with the shame thing.

It's Abraham Lincoln speaking at Gettysburg. If that doesn't ring a bell click the link and read, because I give up.

Now, believe it or not, this isn't a history lesson. This is a lesson about citizenship, stewardship and responsibility. If we do not have the government that our Founding Fathers had envisioned for us, then we have only ourselves to blame. This is a government of the people, not a government of the States or of the legislature or whatever else you might think. In this once-great nation, we actually get to decide who is going to run our government. Historically speaking, that is a powerful truth that we, the American people, have abused horrendously.

Believe it or not, this isn't even a plug for VOID, though it could be. This is about something greater and more important than any one movement. This is about us, the "We the People" the Constitution of the United States of America gave so much power to. This is about us taking a moment to ask ourselves what we expect of our government, what do we want, what do we envision for ourselves and our posterity? Once you have that vision in your mind, ask yourselves this question:

Are you doing what it takes to make it a reality?
Yes, I know. I'm asking y'all to be dreadfully introspective, but humor me, please. It matters. Some of you might not know it yet, but it matters.

Void Sticker

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Adjustment, Classwork, and Managing My Time

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
--Thomas Edison

For me, the problem with opportunity has never been work. I work hard all the time. For me, the problem with opportunity is sacrifice.

How much am I willing to sacrifice to improve my life?

For me, that is the real question! I want to get a "higher" education...I want a business degree that will make me a more marketable employee and prepare me for starting my own home-based business. I want this because I am tired of living day to day, pay check to pay check, credit card bill to credit card bill. I want this because I want my family to have financial security. I want this because I want a financial future that includes some sort of savings plan to provide for my children when and if they need it, whether my husband and/or I am around to dole it out or not. I want this because I hate having to look in the cupboard and decide whether or not I can afford to buy the kind of food my children eat--which tends to be a bit more expensive than macaroni and cheese due to their special dietary situations.

I want opportunity. I'm willing to work for the opportunity I know this degree will provide my family and myself with more opportunities than we have now. However, the question still remains...

How much am I willing to sacrifice to get it?

See, that's the part that gets me. I never intended to give up blogging. I never intended to give up my role in VOID. I never intended to give up my leisure reading, or watching movies, or going on dates with my husband. I never intended to give up my time with my family, or my time with my friends. I never intended to give up my fiction writing, or my non-fiction writing, or spiritual exploration. I knew I would have to reduce these activities. That I was prepared for... But now... I'm hoping this is just an adjustment period. I hoping I will get the hang of this soon...and then I'll be able to make time for all I want to do.

Because, when it comes right down to it:

How much am I willing to sacrifice to get it?

The answer is this: I'm willing to give up as much as I need to in order to give my family the future I want for them...except for my family themselves.

Void Sticker

Monday, May 15, 2006

Blogburst--A Debate

Reformation or Revolution?

by Heidi and Kit at Euphoric Reality

Tonight, the President will address the nation on his plans for illegal immigration. Unfortunately, he's already given his word to Vicente Fox on Sunday that his plan to put a few National Guard troops on the border is just a temporary formality, of sorts, and not meant to intimidate anyone. Right. Heaven forbid we intimidate anyone to deter them from breaking our laws!

The question then arises, who does Bush feel more compelled to explain himself to - us Americans or the Mexicans? He owes the American people everything , and the Mexican government nothing! So why is he assuring Fox of anything concerning our internal national policies?!

I have no illusions about what we'll hear from President Bush tonight. But before he tries to lull anyone into complacency tonight, let's look at the reality of the Goode Amendment, which Bush will no doubt reference in his speech tonight. Troops on the border to bolster security? It's not what it sounds like:

OK, here are the dirty little secrets.

“(d) Conditions of Use- (1) Whenever a member who is assigned under subsection (a) to assist the Bureau of Border Security or the United States Customs Service is performing duties at a border location pursuant to the assignment, a civilian law enforcement officer from the agency concerned shall accompany the member.”

So, each military member will simply now be a buddy for a Border Patrol guy.

Now look at this;

“(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to–

(A) authorize a member assigned under subsection (a) to conduct a search, seizure, or other similar law enforcement activity or to make an arrest;”

So, the military has nada authority.

BUT it gets better;

“(h) Termination of Authority- No assignment may be made or continued under subsection (a) after September 30, 2007.’”

This is a ONE YEAR DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bush's speech tonight seems to be a weak bid to stem the hemorrhage of voters from the Republican Party. As the party's leader, Bush has a responsibility to lead and direct his party, and he may just be leading it to a crushing defeat in the upcoming elections. People who voted for Bush not once, but twice, are abandoning the Republican Party in droves. On a recent news radio poll, 80% of the callers who had voted for Bush twice, now heartily disapprove of him. Of that 80%, 90% of them said it was due to his mishandling of our border security. But Democrats shouldn’t celebrate any victories yet, because it’s not just Republicans - what it's doing to the two-party system is even worse.

This issue is splitting the American people into a majority who demand border security and immigration enforcement and a small, but vocal minority who demand amnesty. There are now two schools of thought coalescing around the faltering Republican Party and its bumbling missteps. The debate is happening now and we need to be a part of it. So let’s debate!

Kit and I dove into this a little deeper and have each represented a school of thought concerning the future of the Party, and by extension, our two party-system. In the interest of full disclosure, Kit is an increasingly-reluctant Republican and I am a furious Independent (formerly Republican who split from the party over a year ago).

The Reformer
by Kit Jarrell

Immigration is about as hot an issue as this country has seen in a while. Die-hard conservatives who once proudly pasted Bush/Cheney stickers on the backs of their cars are suddenly screaming for the President's head on a platter in the wake of his seemingly deliberate ignorance of the will of the American people, who in a new poll overwhelmingly call for border security and lower immigration numbers. A low rumbling has been heard in the blogosphere as some call for a conservative boycott of the 2006 elections in an effort to "show those GOP folks who's boss."

In the last few days, several conservative bloggers have stepped back a bit, asking if perhaps we're not being too hasty. Captain Ed says we're shooting ourselves in the foot if we simply sit home on Election Day.

...we still have to vote in November. If our preferred candidate does not win in the primaries, we still have to act responsibly and choose between the two major party candidates in the general election. Not only will abdication result in a loss of control over our own representation, the failure of GOP candidates has national implications that will wind up hamstringing the politicians that really have worked on our behalf -- the Tom Coburns, the John Boehners, the Jon Cornyns. And by sitting on our hands, we will have proven too inflexible to be dependable -- which will only encourage Republican candidates to reach out to the center-left more than ever before.

He's right. Here's how I see it:

The time for us to be acting is now, before the elections. We need to be seeking out and supporting candidates that we know will act with integrity and fortitude, who will understand and respect the rule of law, and who will do the job they were elected to do: represent the will of those who voted them in.

However, if Election Day rolls around and our candidate didn't make it, that is no excuse for us to sit home and do nothing. What happens if we throw a temper tantrum and refuse to vote? Democrats win. And let's face it: As much disillusion as we may feel right now, it's nothing compared to what this country will sink to if a liberal is elected back into the White House.

Stop the ACLU agrees, and quotes the Anchoress:

I just have to ask all of you people - on every side - who have decided that immigration is one man’s burden, and that every good thing President Bush has done is to be negated because he hasn’t snapped his fingers and done what YOU think is the solution to the immigration problem…what did Clinton do about immigration, what did Bush 41 do? What did St. Reagan do? What did Carter do? What has any president, congressperson or senator done about immigration for the last 30 years, except kick the issue down the road for someone else to deal with?

As hard as it may be to hear, she's got a point. The responsibility for the scope and breadth of the current immigration problem lies on all of our shoulders. Illegals didn't suddenly start showing up in the last year. Politicians have been ignoring the problem for decades...and so have we.

Anchoress goes on:

[On] immigration…one man is to blame, one man is at fault, one man must find the Solomonic solution. And if he doesn’t, he’s a bum no matter what else he’s done. Meanwhile, the press can’t get over the president who smiled and cried his way through two terms, and they still work on his legacy. Can you ever recall a time in history where 6 years after an administration ends, the ex-president is still breathlessly being polled-on, still being given (on most days) as much press as the current president? I can’t.

Is Bush wrong on this issue? Absolutely. Am I angry about it? You're damn right I am. But he's what we've got for another two years. I'm not asking everyone to go to Bush rallies and cheer. I am, however, telling you that being a conservative isn't like being a liberal. We don't get to take our toys and go home simply because someone's not playing fair. We don't get to scream for the nanny because we're not getting what we want. We're not part of that tribe. We don't get the luxury of tantrums and whining and petulance. Let's leave that for the cowards who'd rather hold up a sign than pay their dues as freemen.

As conservatives, we are the ones who see the big picture. We have to. Yes, immigration is one of the biggest issues facing this country. Yes, we need to act now. Yes, we need to hold our politicians accountable for their actions (or lack thereof). But sitting at home or boycotting the elections will only show everyone that we're just as spineless as the liberals we deride.

Liberals run when things don't work out. We don't. We stay until they're finished, until they're done, until the problem is taken care of. Don't throw up your hands yet. There's still work to be done.

The Revolutionary
By Heidi

I see the point made above. There is no doubt that we cannot sit back and do nothing. If we do - we deserve worse than we get. But can the Republican Party be reformed by simply finding new candidates? I know Democrats that are vastly disappointed with the direction of their party, too. Personally, I figure the system is broken. I think our Founding Fathers would be heartsick to see the extent of corruption within our two party system - it's like a grandiose house that has rotted from the foundation up. It would be best to tear it down and build something new and rock-solid on the foundation our forefathers built.

I am not prepared to give Bush a free pass by comparing him to our previous do-nothing Presidents. Never has there been a time in history when we have faced the sheer glut of problems rooted in the invasion of illegals - we're at 20 million or more - twice what the government will admit to. Never have we faced the crises of a foreign government managing our internal domestic policies, or our own government actively undermining our own laws, hamstringing our law enforcement, and refusing to listen to the majority of the American people. The American people have spoken - but nobody is listening!

Bush is the leader of the Republican Party. If he did the right thing, our majority-Republican Congress would follow. End of story - mission accomplished. Since he WON'T do the right thing, he puts those elected officials in the vulnerable and dangerous place of having to go against the entire executive branch in order to do what their people demand. As we've already seen, there's few of them that are man enough to do that. And that's what Bush is banking on! He's the one risking his own party, not those who abandon the Republican Party because it no longer speaks for them!

I think the Anchoress' defensive position is much more dangerous to the Republican Party than anything else: "How is one man supposed to do what countless others haven't?" That alone is a losing proposition! She asks what all the other presidents did about illegal immigration. Well, here are several extenuating points to ponder about that:

1) we've never had 20-28 MILLION illegals before
2) we never had a 9/11 before
3) we were not at war
4) those Presidents didn't promise the entire country that nothing mattered to them as much as our national security. Bush did.

The Republicans know that conservatives can't go anywhere else without risking the liberals taking control. I think Republicans count on the fact that conservatives are trapped, and they abuse it. Republicans caution rebellious conservatives by reminding them of how fourteen years ago, disaffected voters split the vote between Bush 41 and Perot. "Look what happened," they mourn, "we got eight years of Clinton." Republicans paint those independents as having sabotaged the election. Yet, what was the best candidate they could field against an incumbent Clinton in 1996? Bob Dole? C'mon - that's the best they could do? Losing two elections to the likes of Bubba Clinton is not the fault of the Independent voter - it's the result of a weak-willed Republican Party. They handed those elections to Clinton with a big red bow on top! That alone tells me they don't have what it takes to survive a reformation - they play it way too safe.

Today, we can't elect third-rate leaders just because we're voting against a floridly silly Al Gore or a treasonous John Kerry - who feels good about that?! Voting for the lesser of two evils, to vote against the worse candidate, is not the way any Republican or Democrat can hope to win an election. Neither party is any longer representing the American people, but rather big money interests and powerful small interest lobbies. Elections are a big money game. Though an Independent Perot couldn't win with his millions 14 years ago, he may have just been well ahead of his time. Here we are a decade and a half later, and millions of us are actively looking for a candidate with a spine of steel and an unswerving loyalty to the American people and the sovereignty of our homeland! I don't know about you, but I'm ready! There needs to be a radical overthrow of the rotten parties currently in control.

There's a confluence of circumstances that may make possible today what was impossible 14 years ago - field a powerful Independent that truly represents the American people. I've heard people caution that we can't afford to be single-issue voters. I beg to differ - when it comes to our national sovereignty, nothing is more important. Illegal immigration and Mexico's meddling in our domestic affairs are the greatest threat to our national sovereignty that our generation has ever seen. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats can handle the gravity of the problem - they've already proven that to their everlasting shame.

It's time to throw them all out - the spirit of the American Revolution burns deeps inside many of us. It's time to ignite that fire and accomplish what lesser men and women have deemed impossible.


This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It is syndicated by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration in our country, join the Blogburst! Send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.

Void Sticker

Friday, May 12, 2006

What I Learned at the Hospital...

Perhaps, my "I'm back" messages were premature. Because, well... I'm not quite as back as I'd like to be. But, better late than never...

5) Sprecher's Rootbeer probably has sasparilla in it, either that or I really wanted it to and my body is that susceptible to psychological pressure.

Explanation: Since shortly before my third son was born I've had gall stones. Long story short, I opted out of surgery and use sasparilla to treat the condition, an Indian (from India) folk-medicine. I had an attack while at the hospital, and of course I'd left my sasparilla at home. Knowing that sasparilla is in rootbeer, I searched for the least highly processed rootbeer they had and Sprecher's was it. It worked, thus... Sprecher's has sasparilla even if it's not on the ingredients list.

4) The Movie "Ever After" is still cool, even on a tiny screen that's way too high up in the air.

Explanation: It's a movie that presents itself as the real Cinderella story. It's a good movie, that gets far enough away from the fairy tale version to be neither particular gross (in the original version there's quite a bit of blood) nor does it include magic mice. It was a pleasant distraction from the discomfort my surroundings while my son slept off his own discomfort.

3) Freedom of movement is relative.

Explanation: My few non-married, non-parent friends tend to not get how I could get around and do things with kids. Children just cramp their style too much. Yet, after being in the hospital... where I have to wear an identification badge just to leave the immediate area, where I have to call a security guard to let me in from having a cigarette, where I am absolutely surrounded by strangers who either ignore me completely or pay way too much attention to me... parenting is definitely not restricting in comparison.

2) Chairs that turn into beds are NOT comfortable, but if you're tired enough (and I was) they'll do.

Explanation: They had this over-sized plastic chair--that, btw, wasn't a comfortable chair either--in my son's room that folded out to be a very un-level bed. I took a nap on it while my son slept immediately after the surgery (I'd been up for sixteen hours already, because sleep and I are still not on good terms) and then slept again for the night. It hurt, but it was sleep, precious sleep.

1) I am NOT looking forward to returning for two weeks this fall.

Explanation: We are tentatively planning to admit my son (the same one) into the hospital for two weeks this fall to re-train his eating habits, so that he'll eat a normal variety of nutritious foods (Pop-Tarts and Goldfish crackers, while delicious, do not make for a balanced diet). I had been thinking that it might be a nice, mini-vacation for me. Laugh. Go ahead. I deserve it. But, really, two weeks just me and Alex, with no cooking....are NOT worth it.

All in all, though, Alex is doing well. He was off pain medication as of Monday. Despite being listless and uncooperative in the hospital--barely drinking anything and not eating at all--he was almost back to his normal self the same day we came home. The first thing he did when he got into the house was go get a stick of mozzarella cheese and gobble it down, followed by three more and several cups of milk. Yes, he is a Wisconsinite, isn't he? Now, he's doing fantastically. No bleeding. No discomfort. No vomiting. A win-win for all of us.

Void Sticker

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

China vs. America: Not so different after all

In a previous post of mine Lisa Renee left a link for my perusal. It was interesting reading to say the least.

The big question of my former post: Should we boycott Google by not clicking on any of their ads? Probably not. The best way to hurt Google would be for those within China to participate in the boycott. That's not going to happen. Why not? The Chinese government does want any of that sort of activity going on in their neck of the woods.

In February, I met with Zhao Jing again, two months after his pro-democracy blog was erased by Microsoft. We ordered drinks at a faux-Irish pub in downtown Beijing. Zhao was still as energetic as ever, though he also seemed a bit rueful over his exuberant comments in our last conversation. "I'm more cynical now," he said. His blog had been killed because of a single post. In December, a Chinese newspaper editor was fired, and Zhao called for a boycott of the paper. That apparently crossed the line. It was more than just talk; Zhao had now called for a political action. The government contacted Microsoft to demand the blog be shuttered, and the company complied — earning it a chorus of outrage from free-speech advocates in the United States, who accused Microsoft of having acted without even receiving a formal legal request from the Chinese government.
--emphasis added

The Chinese people cannot boycott Google, because their government will not let them communicate the idea to boycott Google...so that avenue is closed to them, and thus our efforts would be fairly unproductive.

However, as telling as that is, that's not the main thing I got out of this lengthy article. No, the main thing I got out of this article was more disturbing still.

The most disturbing thing for me is the apathy with which the Chinese populace not only accepts, but actually embraces their government's censorship.

When I visited a dingy Internet cafe one November evening in Beijing, its 120 or so cubicles were crammed with teenagers. (Because computers and home Internet connections are so expensive, many of China's mostly young Internet users go online in these cafes, which charge mere pennies per hour and provide fast broadband — and cold soft drinks.) Everyone in the cafe looked to be settled in for a long evening of lightweight entertainment: young girls in pink and yellow Hello Kitty sweaters juggled multiple chat sessions, while upstairs a gang of young Chinese soldiers in olive-drab coats laughed as they crossed swords in the medieval fantasy game World of Warcraft. On one wall, next to a faded kung-fu movie poster, was a yellow sign that said, in Chinese characters, "Do not go to pornographic or illegal Web sites." The warning seemed almost beside the point; nobody here looked even remotely likely to be hunting for banned Tiananmen Square retrospectives. I asked the cafe manager, a man with huge aviator glasses and graying hair, how often his clients try to view illegal content. Not often, he said with a chuckle, and when they do, it's usually pornography. He said he figured it was the government's job to keep banned materials inaccessible. "If it's not supposed to be seen," he said, "it's not supposed to be seen."
--emphasis added

Not only that, it's rewarded!

One mistake Westerners frequently make about China is to assume that the government is furtive about its censorship. On the contrary, the party is quite matter of fact about it — proud, even. One American businessman who would speak only anonymously told me the story of attending an award ceremony last year held by the Internet Society of China for Internet firms, including the major Internet service providers. "I'm sitting there in the audience for this thing," he recounted, "and they say, 'And now it's time to award our annual Self-Discipline Awards!' And they gave 10 companies an award. They gave them a plaque. They shook hands. The minister was there; he took his picture with each guy. It was basically like Excellence in Self-Censorship — and everybody in the audience is, like, clapping." Internet censorship in China, this businessman explained, is presented as a benevolent police function. In January, the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau created two cuddly little anime-style cartoon "Internet Police" mascots named "Jingjing" and "Chacha"; each cybercop has a blog and a chat window where Chinese citizens can talk to them. As a Shenzhen official candidly told The Beijing Youth Daily, "The main function of Jingjing and Chacha is to intimidate." The article went on to explain that the characters are there "to publicly remind all Netizens to be conscious of safe and healthy use of the Internet, self-regulate their online behavior and maintain harmonious Internet order together."
--emphasis added

Now, my initial response to all of this was, "How can they just take that?!?"

Then, I began to think about it. Are we really that different?

How long has our government been corrupted by financial contributions? How long has the two-party system had a strangle-hold on American politics? How long has America been in debt, despite are supposed place as the wealthiest nation in the world? How long have Americans been apathetic to the corruption within their own government?

If your answer is, like mine, "Too long!!!" then I suggest you check out Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy. It's a difficult battle to rise above the apathy within our own nation. It's difficult to get people to care about our corrupted government. But, like the battle for freedom of speech in China, it's worth it no matter how difficult the government makes it.

Void Sticker

Friday, May 05, 2006


My son is going in for surgery at 9:30 am CST. I will not have computer access again until I come home (probably Saturday afternoon or evening). So, if you're absolutely starving for a post of mine...
...I highly recommend you check out this post I have up at the VOID site!!!

Oh, and if there's anything in particular you would like me to write about in the near future, please leave recommendations below. Not that I'm out of ideas or anything (far from it, actually...time is another matter), but I'd be very interested in knowing what catches your fancy!

Thank you, and wish me luck (or Higher intervention), because this recovery isn't going to be fun...my son not eating cold things and all.

Void Sticker

Monday, May 01, 2006


I actually slept last night! And for me, that's a big deal. Apparently, my son appreciated it too, because when he woke up just now and saw that I was up, he said, "Mamamamamamamamama!" over and over again just like, several times. Considering that he rarely verbalizes anything in actual words, and even more rarely refers to his father or I by our "names" .... It was really great to hear. One of the best greetings I've ever gotten!

However, this will be a busy week. This same son has one doctor's appointment, plus he's scheduled to go into surgery at the end of the week, both an hour and a half away. Add that to the "before school rush" of preparations I need to finish up before I start classes next Monday, and it'll be Blogger lite for me.

All for a good cause, though.

So, in the meantime, I highly suggest you check out what's happening at Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy or cruise around my various blogrolls and just relax. I'll be as opinionated as ever just as soon as I can make the time!