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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Hazardous Pastimes of Unsung Heroes

I was recently asked the question, "Why 'hazardous pastimes?'" I don't know if that is a question I've ever properly answered on this blog. It's certainly not an answer I could give in one post, but this'll be a start.

Our culture values heroes. That's easy enough to see. Just look at popular fiction. Whether it's movies, or books, or stories, heroism is a frequent theme. I'd guess (this is not a real, proven statistic) that, between heroism and romance, you could probably account for 90 – 95% of the fiction American's enjoy, and much of it is a mix between the two. I'm not criticizing that, nor am I immune to it, but I do consider it worthy of thought.

What makes a hero?

Most people think of a hero as someone who is strong and athletic. The avenger of wrongs. The justice-seeker. The good man who wreaks violent havoc on the forces of evil. You know the type. We have our Rambos, and our Batmans, our Lone Rangers and our Buffy the Vampire Slayers. And many, many others. We also have every-day heroes: police officers, soldiers, and the private citizens who are willing to stand up in the face of danger, like those who brought down the bad guys on Flight 93.

There's absolutely nothing wrong (imo) with idolizing and rewarding these people with our respect and our gratitude. However, this is not what I talk about when I think of hazardous pastimes and the heroes who brave them. I think about the unsung heroes, those whose quiet and subtle acts of heroism fall below the radar of our glamour-seeking society. These heroes live and work through life every day. They're good, but imperfect people. And they, too, deserve our respect, our admiration, our gratitude and, more importantly, our assistance.

Some hazards are very real, very vivid. Those kinds of hazards are what we tend to think about, as a society. Especially when it comes to politics. How many fellow bloggers have you known who at least joke about "the black helicopters?" How many bloggers keep their identities secret, because they don't want to face retribution for the political opinions they express on their blogs? How many people genuinely fear to stand up against the two-party standard, because the personal risk is simply too great?

Yet, as troubling as these very real hazards are, these are not the dangers I think about when I call politics a hazardous pastime.

At times like these, when I look back on my first foray into the political blogosphere, I feel shame. I was very passionate, but that is not shameful. My passion is a strength that has seen me through some pretty rough times, and some times that didn't feel as rough as I'm told they ought to have felt. That is a strength. However, when I first entered the blogosphere I was uninformed, ignorant. That is a weakness that I'm not comfortable with, and it is a matter of not a small amount of personal shame.

The lives of the unborn. Sanctity of marriage. The freedom to be publicly religious. The freedom to own a gun, and to use it if necessary. These are things I hold dear. These are things I have a passion for. However, this passion was misplaced and misused. In short, I was an ignorant, little twit spouting off Republican talking points as if they were truth. And that, to me, is a very shameful thing indeed. I didn't know better, and I feel I should have.

Luckily for me, my first foray into the political blogosphere was onto Watchblog, a blog frequented by knowledgeable (and some less knowledgeable) people who actually cared about politics, and more importantly people who wanted to share their knowledge...with me. Some exceptional people on that site devoted a significant amount of time and energy in teaching me aspects of history, politics, and even the art of blogging that I had never before considered. I consider these people to be heroes of the quiet, subtle sort...most especially because those who were frequently most helpful were also those with whom I was debating against. To them, it wasn't just about being right, or being convincing, or whatever...it was about sharing knowledge, even sharing the knowledge that would better prepare their opponent to debate with them. And that is something I admire.

Still, that doesn't explain why I see politics as a hazardous pastime. I consider politics a hazardous pastime for two particular reasons:

1) If you debate politics in the right way (at least, right imo), you're taking a very big risk. I'm not talking about the risk of being shot down, or the risk of being ridiculed, though they do exist. I'm talking about taking the risk of being proven wrong. If you are debating politics in a manner that I can respect, then you're open to the exchange of information and ideas that may *gasp* change your mind or, at least, your opinion.

2) If you debate politics, and gain knowledge from that, you run the risk of your informed passion being ignited to the point that you can't not do something about it.

I've experienced both.

Ah, Watchblog , for me it was like wanting to sink my toes in wet sand, and ending up in the middle of the ocean without a life-preserver...let alone a boat. I'd never debated politics before. At least, not with anyone who disagreed with me. And, I'd never experienced blogging before. I didn't even know what it was. I found Watchblog by linking political opinion articles on My Yahoo page. Boy, was I in over my head fast! But, I'm teachable, and there were some excellent teachers there. Not only did they teach me how to blog, but they taught me about the realities of politics. And, it was a rather painful experience. My ideallic, over-simplified notions of right and wrong in the political arena were shattered...completely.

Let me tell you, it's a scary experience, but I learned.

Many people influenced me on Watchblog, many people taught me, and many people still stand out in my memory two years later. However, two people stand out most strongly: David Remer and Daniel Summars*.

You might recognize those names. I have mentioned them before. David Remer is the founder of VOID.


Daniel Summars is also a participant of VOID, as the Treasurer on the Board of Directors. I have had the privilege of working closely with both of them on behalf of VOID, and I assure you that they are definitely heroes each in their own quiet, subtle way.

Of course, VOID didn't exist then. It wasn't until after they had both gotten through to me, and to each other, their shared bleak vision of America's future (if we stay on our current path) that VOID was formed. It happened rather quickly, fueled by both knowledge and passion.

But, it is those experiences (1) being proven so totally wrong, and 2) learning how to do something about it) that I learned that politics is a truly hazardous pastime, but one that is most certainly worth our efforts. Politics isn't some game that's entertaining to play. It's not a blind passion that gives one the opportunity to assert one's views on someone else. Politics is the means to achieve America's future. Either a future that is bleak and dismal for the every day citizen, yet prosperous for those imbedded politicians we continue to re-elect despite their corruption and greed. Or, a future that is free, secure and prosperous for all.

That is the choice that Americans face. Do we stick with the same-old, same-old, that has not been working? Or, do we take the risk, learn something new, and act on it? It doesn't seem like that difficult a choice to me. And, yet it is for many people.

So, I ask those of who you are reading this to take a chance. Please look at what VOID is trying to accomplish. Either join with us, or tell me why you don’t find our message compelling. If you won’t tell me why within the comments section, please e-mail me. I promise, whatever it is you say, I won’t hold it against you. This is a big nation, a free nation, and I’m well-versed in the disagreeing agreeably department. But, I would really, truly like feedback on the endeavors of VOID. Give us a shot, and please tell us what you think.

*Many others have worked hard to make VOID what it is and I by no means wish to belittle or denigrate your enormous contributions. You know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Void Sticker

Monday, August 28, 2006

Guard the Borders Blogburst

By Heidi at Euphoric Reality

Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.
-Arnold Toynbee

Wide open and unguarded stand our gates, and through them passes a wild motley throng.
-Thomas Bailey Aldrich, “Unguarded Gates,” 1895

You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. America does not consist of groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American.
-Woodrow Wilson, Address to New Citizens, 1915

Those who favor unrestricted immigration care nothing for the people.
-Sam Gompers, founding president, AFL, 1921

Why was the border guard so thin? Did the Romans not notice…that their way of life was changing forever?
-Thomas Cahill, 1995

No society has a boundless capacity to accept newcomers, especially when many are poor and unskilled.
-Robert Samuelson, economist and Newsweek columnist, 2005

We can’t protect our own borders.
-Donald Rumsfeld, November 29, 2005


The following excerpts are all from a new book, State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. Many people may not read it because of the political baggage of the author, but I’ve read the book, despite my disagreement with the author on other issues, and it is entirely right on the money when it comes to the invasion of our country by foreigners. It occurred to me that many people may miss out on the common sense found within its pages so I’m excerpting a little bit of it here for those who may never read the words otherwise.

On November 28, 2005, President Bush, speaking in Tucson, conceded that in five years 4.5 million aliens had been caught attempting to break into the United States. Among that 4.5 million, Bush admitted, were "more than 350,000 with criminal records." One in every twelve illegal aliens the U.S. Border Patrol had apprehended was a criminal.

That is 70,000 felons apprehended each year, 200 felons every single day for five years, trying to break into our country to rob, rape, and murder Americans. Of the millions who succeeded on Bush’s watch, how many came for just such purposes? How many Americans have been robbed, assaulted, or murdered because the President failed in his duty to defend the borders of the United States?

Nearly 8 million foreigners did enter during those five years, 3.7 million of them illegally. If one in twelve was a criminal, 300,000 felons slipped in during Bush’s tenure. This is an historic dereliction of presidential duty.

There are today 36 million foreign-born in the United States, almost three times as many people as the 13.5 million hear at the peak of the Great Wave in 1910. And it is among these tens of millions of foreign-born that illegal aliens find sanctuary. As James Edwards of the Hudson Institute writes, legal and illegal immigration are two sides of the same coin. If we fail to control the one, we cannot control the other. As a rule, he notes, when legal immigration rises, illegal immigration soars.
Our foreign-born population today is almost equal to the 42 million who came over three and a half centuries from 1607 to 1965. The Border Patrol catches as many illegal immigrants every month as all the legal immigrants who came to America in the 1820s. Today’s numbers are of a different order of magnitude.

No nation has ever attempted to assimilate 36 million foreigners in a generation. Yet, each year, 1.5 million more are added to the number, half of the illegals, 90 percent of them from Third World countries whose people have never before been assimilated into our population.
“The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities,” said Theodore Roosevelt. We are becoming was [sic] T.R. warned against: a multi-lingual, multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural Tower of Babel. To the delight of anti-Americans everywhere and the indifference of our elites, we are risking the Balkanization and breakup of the nation.
How many spies and saboteurs have been sent into our country as sleeper agents? How many Al Qaeda are here awaiting orders to bomb subways and malls or assassinate our leaders? We have no idea. Neither does the Department of Homeland Security. Border security is homeland security. But America has lost control of her borders and, as Ronald Reagan said, a country that can’t control its borders isn’t really a country anymore.

In his address in Tucson, President Bush made a startling admission. For decades, he said, the United States has had a separate policy in dealing with non-Mexicans breaking in through the 2,000-mile border with Mexico, a policy of “catch-and-release”: “about four of every five non-Mexican illegal immigrants we catch are released in society and asked to return for a court date. When the date arrives, about 75% of those released don’t show up at court.* As a result, last year [2004], only 30,000 of the 160,000 non-Mexicans caught coming across our southwest border were sent home.”

“This practice of catch and release has been the government’s policy for decades,” said Bush. “It is an unwise policy and we’re going to end it.”

Is this not an astonishing admission? …How can the president say our homeland is secure?

Further on in his Tucson speech, Bush conceded that our government and laws have been frozen in a pre-9/11 world:

Under current law, the federal government is required to release people caught crossing our border illegally if their home countries do not take them back in a set period of times…Those we were forced to release have included murderess, rapists, child molesters, and other violent criminals.

“This undermines our border security” and the work “these good folks” of the Borders are doing, added the president.

Again, is this not astounding? President Bush was talking about releasing “murders, rapists, child molesters, and other violent criminals” into our society, because “current law” commands it and the nations whence the criminals come refuse to take them back.

The question begs itself: With Bush and his party in power, why had they not changed “current law”? Why had President Bush not picked up a phone and told the leaders of these “home countries” that there will not be another visa issued to their country until they take back every one of their criminal felons who has broken into ours?

What is the matter with President Bush? What is the matter with us?

What explains the paralysis of the present White House?

George Bush has taken an oath to see to it that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed. The immigration laws are clear. Businesses that hire illegal aliens break U.S. law and are subject to sanctions. Yet, as the columnist John O’Sullivan writes, “in the Clinton years 1995, 1996, and 1997 there were between 10,000 and 18,000 work-site arrests of illegals annually. In the same years about 1,000 employers were served notices of fines for employing them. Under the Bush administration, work-site arrests fell to 159 in 2004 where there was also the princely total of three notices of intent to fine served on employers.”

“In this dramatic relaxation of internal enforcement” under George W. Bush, O’Sullivan concludes, “is the explanation of the rapidly rising estimate of immigrants living and working illegally in this country.”

Can anyone say that, with this record, President Bush has faithfully executed the immigration laws of the United States?

Twice, President Bush took an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Article IV, Section 4, reads: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union, a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion.”

Yet, with perhaps 4 million illegal aliens having broken in during Bush’s five and a half years in office, and our border states daily breached by thousands more, can anyone say President Bush has protected the states of this Union against that invasion? In an earlier America, this dereliction of constitutional duty would have called forth articles of impeachment.
America’s leaders claim she is the most powerful country on earth. But American has a government too morally flabby to act as decisively as Ike did** to remove from our national home those who have broken in and had no right to be here. How many America women must be assaulted, how many children molested, how many citizens must die at the hands of criminal aliens and foreign terrorists before our government does its duty?
If present projections of the U.S. Census Bureau prove accurate, the American our grandchildren will live in will be another country, a nation unrecognizable to our parents.

By 2050, it is now estimated that there will be almost 2.5 times as many people here as in 1960: 420 million. The share of the population of European descent will be a minority, as it is today in California, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. And that minority will be aging, shrinking, and dying. There will be as many Hispanics here – 102 million – as [sic] there are Mexicans today in Mexico. …By 2050, they will be 24 percent of a nation of 420 million. By nation of origin of our people, America will be a Third World Country.

Our great cities will all look like Los Angeles today. Los Angeles and the cities of the Southwest will look like Juarez and Tijuana. Though we were never consulted about this transformation, never voted for it, and have protested against it in every poll and referendum, this is the future the elites have prepared for our children.

I'll close the excerpt with this warning:

This is not immigration as America knew it, when men and women made a conscious choice to turn their backs on their native lands and cross the ocean to become Americans. This is an invasion, the greatest invasion in history. Nothing of this magnitude has ever happened in so short a time.

Against the will of a vast majority of Americans, America is becoming transformed. As our elites nervously avert their gaze or welcome the invasion, we are witness to one of the great tragedies in human history. From Gibbon to Spengler to Toynbee and the Durants, the symptoms of a dying civilization are well known: the death of faith, the degeneration of morals, contempt for the old values, collapse of the culture, paralysis of the will. But the two certain signs that a civilization has begun to die are a declining population and foreign invasions no longer resisted.

Here in America, the self-delusion about what is happening and the paralysis in the face of the crises have no precedent. What can be said for a man who would allow his home to be invaded by strangers who demanded they be fed, clothed, housed, and granted the rights of the firstborn? What can be said for a ruling elite that permits this to be done to the nation, and that celebrates it as a milestone of moral progress?

We are witnessing how nations perish. We are entered upon the final act of our civilization. The last scene is the destruction of the nations. The penultimate scene, now well underway, is the invasion unresisted.


*According to Congressional testimony on August 16th, the Border Patrol reported that actually only 90% of released illegals report back for their court date.

**In 1954, when Eisenhower discovered a million Mexicans here who did not belong, without apology he ordered them sent home in "Operation Wetback." They went.


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.


I'm not a big fan of Pat Buchanan [vast understatement], but even broken clocks are right twice a day.

Void Sticker

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Growth and Progress

Somewhere in the daily humdrum of life, I loose perspective, that sense of why I'm doing what I'm doing. This is a regular tendency for me, though it is one I try to resist.

The what and the why gets lost in the everyday doing. So, since I've been so out of touch with my blog and the on-line community, and I'd lost touch so much with what I had intended to write about even when I was writing regularly, I think it's time to get back to that.

For starters, I'll quote myself:

"Politics: a hazardous pastime for the mind. Parenting: a hazardous pastime for the heart. Other: a mix of hazardous pastimes for the body and soul. A life that isn't multi-faceted, like a fine jewel, isn't complete. A life that isn't complete won't be joyful and fulfilling. Complete your life and find the joy and fulfillment in the precious jewel that is yourself."

That is the purpose of my blog. To explore the complexity that is myself, and to hope that others might share some facet of themselves here on this blog. I readily admit it has happened. But, it is not as pervasive as I had originally intended. I had, myself, gotten so wrapped up in the "output" of my daily life, that I had forgotten the why behind the what.

I'm going to try to get back to that. And, I hope that I haven't been so negligent that my readership is gone beyond the horizon...out of reach. Perhaps this will interest them enough to bring about a word from them. Perhaps not. We shall see.

Void Sticker

Monday, August 21, 2006

Guard the Borders Blogburst

***A podcast of this week's Blogburst is now available.***

By Heidi at Euphoric Reality

There are only a few hours left to have some impact on the case of two Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, who are being sentenced tomorrow for attempting to apprehend a drug smuggler who was fleeing across the border illegally. The charges against the Border Patrol agents were serious bodily injury; assault with a deadly weapon; discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence; and a civil rights violation. Compean and Ramos also were convicted of four counts and two counts, respectively, of obstruction of justice for not reporting that their weapons had been fired. The Texas jury acquitted both men of assault with intent to commit murder, but found them guilty on all other charges. The recommended sentencing is 20 years in prison.

You can read the entire account of the case in this Daily Bulletin article written by Sara Carter, but there are a few things you need to know up front:

  • Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof, who prosecuted this travesty of justice against the two BP agents, has successfully contended that BP agents are NOT SUPPOSED to apprehend or pursue illegals.

  • "It is a violation of Border Patrol regulations to go after someone who is fleeing," she said. "The Border Patrol pursuit policy prohibits the pursuit of someone."

  • Two weeks after the incident, a Homeland Security agent tracked down the drug smuggler in Mexico and offered him immunity to testify against the two Texas Border Patrol agents. They found the drug smuggler based upon a tip from another BP agent in Arizona! The connection between the Arizona BP agent and the drug smuggler is murky, though the prosecutor gets upset at any one who dares to question the unsavory connection.

  • The drug smuggler was treated to free tax-payer funded medical care in El Paso in addition to his full immunity to testify against the BP agents.

  • The drug smuggler changed his story, but the fact that he lied was never disclosed to the jury.

  • According to the memo, Aldrete-Davila told investigators the agents shot him in the buttocks when he was trying to enter the country illegally from Mexico. But according to Aldrete-Davila's later testimony and that of the agents, he was shot after trying to evade the agents upon his re-entry into Mexico.

    The memo never was disclosed to the jury.

  • The drug smuggler is now suing the Border Patrol for $5 million for violating his civil rights.

  • Also, Ramos' extensive training and accomplishments in drug interdiction, which would be directly relevant to the actions he took during the incident with the drug smuggler, was deemed not admissible during his trial.

  • As a Border Patrol agent, Ramos has been involved in the capture of nearly 100 drug smugglers and the seizure of untold thousands of pounds of narcotics. He also was nominated for Border Patrol Agent of the Year in March 2005, though the nomination was withdrawn after details of the Aldrete-Davila incident came out.

    Ramos also had drug interdiction training from the Drug Enforcement Agency and qualified as a Task Force Officer with the Border Patrol. But Ramos' training in narcotics -- as well as the numerous credentials he had received for taking Border Patrol field training classes -- was not admissible during the trial, he said.

    TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, just addressed the Congressional hearings here in Houston on August 16th, where this case was of great concern among all the law enforcement officials.

    He said the Border Patrol's official pursuit policy handcuffs agents in the field. He also sees the prosecution of Ramos and Compean as part of a larger effort by the federal government.

    "The pursuit policy has negatively affected the Border Patrol's mission as well as public safety. Part of that mission is to stop terrorists and drug smugglers," Bonner said. "They could be smuggling Osama bin Laden, drugs, illegal aliens, or it could have been just some drunk teenager out on a joyride. You don't know until you stop them."

    "The administration is trying to intimidate front-line agents from doing their job," he added. "If they can't do it administratively, they'll do it with trumped-up criminal charges.

    "Moreover, the specter of improprieties in the prosecution of this case raises serious concerns that demand an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation."

  • Ramos and Compean and their young families have been living under threats of retaliation from criminals in the drug underworld.

  • The El Paso Sheriff's Department has met with the Ramos family to discuss continued threats against them from people they believe to be associated with Aldrete-Davila. The sheriff's department also has increased patrols around the family's home.

    The only other organization that has responded to the Ramoses thus far, Monica Ramos said, is the Chino-based nonprofit group Friends of the Border Patrol, chaired by Andy Ramirez.

    "This is the greatest miscarriage of justice I have ever seen," Ramirez said. "This drug smuggler has fully contributed to the destruction of two brave agents and their families and has sent a very loud message to the other Border Patrol agents: If you confront a smuggler, this is what will happen to you."

    This case has been virtually ignored by the press, which is why the American public only found out about it after the conviction of the two BP agents. But now that we know, we must take action. If, as TJ Bonner has said, this case is a dirty attempt by our government to intimidate law enforcement officers into leaving the borders wide open and unguarded, then the American people must speak out immediately.

    You can do so by signing a petition that will be delivered to the President - but you must do so TODAY, it's the last day. The men will be sentenced tomorrow.

    The goal is to collect 100,000 signatures asking President Bush to pardon these two men. So far, 97,589 people have signed the petition and there is no doubt in my mind that Guard the Borders readers can fill in the remaining numbers needed. The petition, to which you may add your own comment reads as follows:

    To: President George W. Bush,

    As a citizen of the United States I am outraged to learn that two U.S. Border Agents are facing twenty-year prison terms for doing their jobs-- pursuing illegal aliens who cross our border, and I’m calling on you to officially pardon them for their actions.

    I am even more outraged to learn that this illegal alien (who was attempting to smuggle about 800 pounds of marijuana into our country), was tracked down by a Department of Homeland Security Investigator and granted immunity for his testimony against these two agents!

    This is a terrible injustice, and I urge you to use your considerable authority and power to pardon these two agents and right this obvious wrong!

    In addition to rallying your friends and family to take action with you, I would also ask that you call the White House Comments line, and leave a message on behalf of these agents. White House Comments line: 202-456-6213

    Please do not hesitate to take this small action on behalf of men whose lives have been destroyed by a drug smuggler and corrupt government agents and prosecutors. It's the very least we can do for them - I wish there was more.

    What if this was you? What will happen to these two men? What will be the fallout from such a miscarriage of justice?

    "My husband is a good man, a loving father, and his devotion to his country and his job is undeniable," Monica Ramos said. "Prosecutors treated the drug smuggler like an innocent victim, refusing to allow testimony that would have helped my husband. The smuggler was given immunity. My husband is facing a life in prison.

    "It's so frightening, it doesn't seem real."


    About a week ago, feeling little hope, Joe Loya, Monica Ramos' father, took the family on what will be Ignacio Ramos' last fishing trip with his sons before he is sentenced.

    "What kind of justice is this?" Loya asked. "What kind of nation do we live in when the word of a smuggler means more than the word of a just man?"

    Monica Ramos says her hardest day is yet to come -- the day the authorities take her husband away.

    "We just guard (our children's) hearts right now," Monica Ramos said. "I think about the last time he'll hug them as children, and maybe not get the chance to hug them again until they are grown men."

    The sons are between 6 and 13 years old.

    Ignacio Ramos was, if anything, even more emotional.

    "Less than a month left with my family," he said, his voice choking, as though the air had been pulled from his lungs. "My sons," he whispered. Then silence.

    It took several minutes for Ramos to summon more words. "All I think about at night is the day I have to leave my family. I can't sleep. I've always been with them."

    Then he talked about the memories he would never have, "their first dates, high school graduation, sports," and the tears falling from his eyes were mirrored only by those of his wife, who took his hand into hers.

    Families destroyed. A drug smuggler on the loose to threaten the lives of others and on the scam for $5 million dollars. And a government who won't do anything about either – unless we force it to.

    The only ones left who can help are the American people themselves. That means you.


    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

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Guard the Border Blogburst

    By Heidi at Euphoric Reality
    (See my (Stephanie's) personal commentary below.)

    For a long time here at GTB, we have focused on the tsunami of humanity that flows over our southern border from Mexico. Mexicans, by far, are the largest group of illegals inside our borders, and their open agenda of Reconquista has place tax-funded groups like La Raza, MEChA, and LULAC under the microscope. We've also covered the alarming news of the number of Middle Easterners who take full advantage of our unguarded borders to infiltrate our country, paying coyotes tens of thousands of dollars to allow them to blend in with herds of illegals crossing the border. Once inside the country, they disperse and fade away into our society.

    Lately, focus has shifted from clandestine border crossings to blatant visa violations as the FBI hunted and captured 11 Egyptian men who entered the country under false pretenses. Such visa violations (including overstaying visa expirations) are not unusual for Middle Easterners, particularly from Pakistan, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, etc., but we Americans are rarely aware of them. Chechens are also making concerted efforts to get into the country illegally, despite the generous visa allowances for their country.

    Today, I'd like to examine our broken immigration process in the light of the current war in the Middle East. To that end, I'd like you to reference this column by Investor's Business Daily.

    Why Borders Matter

    Aug 09 06

    The war in Lebanon is an object lesson in border protection. Hezbollah secretly beefed up its forces there as Israel lowered its northern guard. Then Hezbollah attacked. We should take note.

    Lest Americans think this is "Israel's war," it's worth repeating that it was Hezbollah that bombed the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing some 250 Americans. Hezbollah also kidnapped Americans Terry Anderson and Beirut CIA Station Chief William Buckley. Buckley died in captivity with nine others. Some of the masterminds are still at large.

    Hezbollah (Party of Allah) is not just a faraway threat. Its leaders have infiltrated the U.S. by breaching our own porous borders.

    No matter where you stand on the war in the Middle East, it is not safe or prudent for Americans to be vulnerable - on their own soil - to the volatile agenda of sworn enemies of the United States. Our lax immigration system lets potential enemies slip through all the time, and the recent nationwide scramble to find 11 supposedly harmless Egyptians proves that.

    With Hezbollah trying to infiltrate America, and teams of suspicious young men entering the U.S. under false pretenses, it's time to put more teeth in the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System that requires young men from the Middle East who arrived after 9-11 to check in with immigration officials during their stays — not kill the program, as some in Washington have proposed.

    The IBD article ends with a clear call to action. There is no reason why our national security ought to be compromised on the altar of political correctness. With enemies at our gates, we shouldn’t be forced to swing them wide to prove how kind and inclusive we are. There are already more than enough "tourists", "students", and "temporary residents" from the Middle East inside our borders with nefarious purposes; it's time we clamped down on their access to our people. While the demand for more teeth in the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System is appropriate, perhaps we also need to consider reviewing and revoking the visas of others who we know support Hezbollah, Hamas, or al Qaeda. Those people shouldn't be too hard to find, even for an inept ICE and INS - they are marching in the streets proclaiming their loyalty to our enemies on a daily basis!


    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.

    * * *

    I have to disagree with certain aspects of this article. First, I do not believe singling out any particular race, ethnicity or country of origin is appropriate. Investigating people from Middle Eastern countries alone is inappropriate, because they are not the only ones who could intend harm to our country, nor are they, historically speaking, the only ones who do. I doubt that has changed just because the Middle East is where the media focuses its attention. Are all other terrorists obsolete and disbanded? Really?

    That isn't to say that I do not believe that more measures should be taken to track and verify the legal visitors amongst us, because "over staying your welcome" is one of the easiest ways to stay in this country illegally. We need a better system, not a system bent on racism. The Red Scares were NOT a high-light of American values being played out in American actions. We should not repeat those mistakes.

    And, as far as Israel, Lebanon, and the United States of America...I find our part in that whole mess to be deeply troubling. While I will not excuse Hezbollah's actions in any way, shape or form, I will say that our government made our military a target when they expedited arms to Israel, while hypocritically participating in the cease-fire farce. And farce it is, when the first news of the day concerning the matter yesterday was that Israel already broke the cease-fire and I suspect describing the cease-fire as "fragile" is an understatement, at best. Furthermore, when they discover -- again -- that Hezbollah will not be so easily disarmed, I do believe that Israel will -- again -- try her hand at occupation, with tragic results.

    Any attempts to disarm or mitigate Hezbollah has to be done in a manner that truly "restores Lebanon's sovereignty," not in a manner that puts that "sovereignty" in the hands of foreigners...such as Israel herself. The Lebanese do not trust Israel. They have no reason to trust the country that just destroyed their homes, their infrastructure, and their lives. Hezbollah gained even more ligitimacy by Israel's invasion in the hearts of the Lebanese people, and that should be a concern for all of us who want a truly victorious end to this War on Terror.

    Void Sticker

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Job Protection

    Good jobs are scarce in Wisconsin, especially in my part of Wisconsin. The article I linked doesn't wholly capture the truth of that; none I've seen does. The situation is precarious, and the government tends to fill the void with the same-old, same-old. This is something that my husband and I have felt dearly over the last few years, and the government's method of dealing with the problem has been sporadic and not nearly as successful as it could be.

    The government puts a lot of efforts into recruiting new businesses to replace the old businesses, often offering delicious tax-breaks and a lot of media attention. This is all well and good, but it's still not nearly effective enough. Not only do the new businesses not always stay after they use up their tax-breaks, but they do not offer the variety of jobs that Wisconsin needs to revitalize our economy.

    Finally, somebody is starting to take a closer look at this complicated problem. While, I would love to say that there is a new, vital set of businesses opening up in the area that provide good-paying, non-factory jobs...that's only a dream for the time being. That's not why I'm feeling just a little bit giddy.

    Nope, it's something else entirely; but it's still something good!

    Instead of protecting, accomodating and coddling illegal immigranst, somebody finally took some appropriate action!

    Courtesy of the Janesville Gazette:

    A Whitewater business owner and 25 workers who investigators say are illegal immigrants were arrested Tuesday by local and federal authorities.
    * * *
    Petrie, 47, is accused of employing people without proper documentation, including Social Security numbers, that would allow them to live and work in the United States, Otterbacher said.

    Otterbacher said Petrie's arrest came after "a number of meetings between the company owner and the investigators."

    She said Petrie was told many times that he couldn't employ illegal
    immigrants, but he didn't change his way of operating.
    * * *
    The workers were taken to the Dodge County Jail, where they were kept overnight before deportation proceedings today, said Gail Montenegro, an ICE spokeswoman.

    Well, here's to hoping they kick them out and keep them out. Yet...

    Otterbacher said the police department tries to work with businesses and companies to foster good relationships, but she said law enforcement must step in when illegal behavior doesn't stop. Her concern is that other Hispanics may see the arrests as a threat to their community in Whitewater.
    * * *
    During the meeting, ICE officers told the group that the Star Packaging arrests were "just the tip of the iceberg," Otterbacher said.

    It's too soon to be certain whether ICE officers will be allowed to do their job. I will clarify that I have absolutely NO problem with Hispanics; I do, however, have a very BIG problem with illegal immigrants. Not because they're immigrants, but because they're here illegally and their illegal status (and, thus, the cheapness of their labor) depresses the wages other members of the labor force can demand for their exertions and that is unacceptable.

    Sad as it is, a job at such a packaging plant is usually "good money" for workers in Wisconsin. This type of grunt labor is our staple. Our economy is fed by such jobs being paid honest wages to taxpayers; hiring illegal immigrants is NOT helpful, by doing so companies are not only stiffing the government, they are cheating Wisconsin taxpayers out of much needed jobs.

    I'm happy to say that the efforts of ICE made for a nice victory. I hope it continues. Wisconsin needs these jobs!

    Void Sticker

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Guard the Borders Blogburst

    Illegal Alien Stole 10 yr old girl’s identity
    By Toni at Bear Creek Ledger

    How would you like to find out your child's identity had been stolen? You of course probably wouldn't know until the child reached adulthood.

    Kern found out quite by accident when Hayley's application for the North Carolina Children's Health Insurance Program was initially rejected because her earned income was too high. Hayley is 10 years old. She doesn't have any earned income. Guess the Social Security Administration doesn't look at earned income for 10 year olds or 5 year olds for that matter. What she learned was that a man, an illegal immigrant in his 20s, had been working under Hayley's Social Security number for the past six years.
    Rosario does not speak English. Through an interpreter, Knight learned that when Rosario came to the U.S. from Mexico at age 22, he was told he needed "work papers" to get a job. The working papers acquaintances provided was a Social Security card with Rosario's name and a fraudulent number. He believed the number was the "work papers" that allowed him to work in the U.S. Knight said Rosario was at a loss to understand what he had done wrong.

    As much as I'd like to empathize with this Mexican man, I can't. I find it difficult to believe this man has been in the US working for 6 years and is unaware of the political fight going on with illegal aliens in this country. The one consistency with this man though; he has been in this country for 6 years, he can't speak any English and yet has a drivers license and vehicle. I'm surprised he hasn't purchased a home yet!

    The mother, Shelly Kern now has the terrible task of trying to clear her childs identity. Clearing your child's name can be just as frustrating and infuriating as clearing an adult's name. Kern said maybe more so. First, she was referred to the regional Social Security Administration office where she was told there was nothing they could do. They sent her to the Employment Security Commission. Neither agency nor the DSS has enforcement powers, so Kern went to the Star Police Department.
    When Kern tried to order a credit report on her daughter, she hit obstacle after obstacle online, the credit reporting agencies want credit information that her daughter, at age 10, does not have and she cannot get a credit report for Rosario, no matter that the Social Security number is fraudulent. She has appealed to the N.C. Attorney General's Office for assistance.

    Apparently this has been happening for years:

    The practice of stealing, selling and using Social Security numbers from juveniles began over 20 years ago in southern California and has spread throughout the country. Apparently, the SSNs are obtained through brokers, who are primarily Permanent Legal Residents. The "brokers" physically monitor court house records of newborns, and obtain their birth registry issued SSNs from open public records, or from other Permanent Legal Residents/Naturalized Citizens who are employees of city and county government that have access to tax records.

    The reason this illegal practice has been relatively successful is that the IRS/SSA doesn't note that one to five year old children shouldn't be working, despite the SSA records that show the age of number holders. Also, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is not known for pursuing this line of investigation.

    If you have children you should really read the rest of this story since there's more information covered that you should know.

    The Courier-Tribune :: News Page

    H/T: ALIPAC Forum

    And of course, I want to give a bit of promo to Dan Demay's song - Illegal.

    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

    Saturday, August 05, 2006

    Saturday Morning

    My son gets to watch television once a week on Saturday Mornings. These shows have been pre-screened by my husband and I to be suffeciently and consistently safe. During this one three-hour stretch, we extend our bunny ears, pull in a station -- I don't know from where -- and Willy watches a series of shows that have little lessons embedded in exciting little tales. He loves it.

    To describe how much of a ritual this is, and how important it is to my son, I'll tell you this. Willy learned the days of the week in order to determine what Saturday meant. It was that mysterious day when the cartoons would be on and he'd get to see something we just didn't have in our video collection. He'll tell you all about it, starting about ten minutes after cartoons are over.

    Today is Saturday. Tomorrow is Sunday. Then, today is Sunday, and tomorrow is Monday. Then, today is Monday, and tomorrow is Tuesday. Then, today is Tuesday, and tomorrow is Wednesday. Then, today is Wednesday, and tomorrow is Thursday. Then, today is Thursday, and tomorrow is Friday. Then, today is Friday, and tomorrow is Saturday. Then, today is Saturday, and I get to watch cartoons!

    We go through this a lot. At least once a day, everyday, starting at whatever the day happens to be. First, Willy confirms the day, then goes through the littany. Now, we didn't expect this. Willy started watching cartoons on Saturdays a while ago. Yet, the pattern of it became predictable. As his awareness grew, he started to be able to understand the time concept. Granted, it was later than his "typically" developing peers, but he's finally got it down. He understands days.

    Now, hopefully, once school starts and we tell him that tomorrow is Monday, and he has to go to school on Mondays, he won't say, "No, I don't. Tomorrow isn't school."

    We'll see.

    For now, I'm just tired. Because my school is on-going, and somehow my days and nights got reversed. I usually like being a night-owl, but this is rather ridiculous, because I didn't try to be a night-owl this time. It just happened. However, if we're to go to church on Sunday, I have to get my days and nights switched back, at least for a little while. How? By staying up for most of Saturday, including last night.

    Usually I would have gone to bed before now. It's been a while since I've listened to Willy's joyful exclamations at whatever surprises his cartoons hold. But now I can hear them loud and clear. It's a wonderful ritual that has taught our son time-concepts that were otherwise a struggle...yet it doesn't help my head not to ache.

    Void Sticker

    Radical Middle

    I just found this site. It's bizarre and the spin is laid rather thickly there. Either that, or they're nuts or I'm just too tired or bored to care. Either way...

    Anybody familiar with the Radical Middle?

    Void Sticker


    I've been trying to write a post for a few hours now. And, I guess, this is the best I'm going to be able to manage. It's not so much writer's block, as writer's blase. I mean, really, what's the point?

    Anyway, the 2006 elections are coming up and I wanted to find out who's running against Kohl. I'll be blunt: I don't like Kohl; I think he's a putz. Now, just to clarify, this is different than a schmuck. He's not bad, in the sense that he hasn't done anything terrible, but he doesn't do much good either (thus, his winning isn't as horrid an idea as if Doyle were to win, Doyle being a schmuck). So, Kohl is a putz. He's a rich putz at that, which is why keeps winning elections -- he can fund his campaign himself.

    This should explain why I found this article so distasteful:

    Yes, there will be a Republican candidate on the November ballot. There also will be a Green Party candidate and an independent. And there's even a Democratic primary, with Ben Masel, a well-known Madison marijuana activist, challenging Kohl in September.

    But, for all practical purposes, Kohl won re-election when the mainstream Republican Party failed to come up with a strong candidate to run against him.

    Now, I realize that "media bias" is a controversial issue. And, usually it is a debate as to whether or not there is an equal balance between liberal and conservative bias. I'm going to by-pass that debate. My concern is with the way the major newspapers in Wisconsin prop up candidates.

    I've witnessed this through out my eight-year stay in this state. I haven't always paid much attention. I haven't always cared. Sometimes they prop up Republicans; sometimes they prop up Democrats. But, they always seem to be propping up somebody. And frankly, I'm getting a little tired of having to glean information from Minnesota and Illinois newspapers to get some honest to goodness reporting!

    I mean, c'mon, how hard is it to just tell it like it is. When you can only find bad news about a certain local candidate in out-of-state papers, then there's a problem. I've encountered this too many times to count now, and I'm sick of it. Again, it's not a Republican vs. Democrat thing. They play both sides of it. However, the minor parties are always side-lined, which is getting rather despicable.

    One of the important things that must be revealed in this mess is that the two largest papers, Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times, are both run pretty much identically, because they're both owned by the same people. Now, the only newspaper who stands a chance of competing with them is
    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which plays the same damn game. For all I know they may be owned by the same people even though they're not run off the same internet site. Even my home-town paper, The Janesville Gazette, gets into the fray, which seems a mite-bit ridiculous in comparison. But hell, why not?

    Anyway, back to Kohl. Here's a bit of why I don't like him:

    He's pro-illegal immigration. This site, which is currently targeting Kohl, can be used to easily see the immigration votes of other candidates as well. Check it out.

    He wouldn't even tell Project Vote Smart what his views are. That kind of pisses me off. But, as you can see here, people concerned about the budget don't like him, businesses don't like him, gun owners don't like him, and he sucks at national security and trade.

    And, there's other stuff, too. But I'm not inclined to hunt for it, which is what it takes to find the dirt on this man. It's there, it's just tedious and I'm grumpy.