Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Fight On Immigration

The fight on Immigration Reform is about to get very intense in Washington. With the Senate and the President agreeing on a framework for the bill that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, expect the fireworks to erupt. This is about the only issue that the President and the Democratic controlled Senate can agree on. Is it the right framework to start the debate?

Many are opposed to what they see as amnesty for those already here. In some ways I agree that you do not reward unlawful behavior but as a practical issue you simply can not detain and deport 12 million people. Those that are so adamant against amnesty often come off looking like bigots and do not present any reasonable solution to the problem.

One thing is certain, if companies stopped hiring illegal immigrants they would leave. That needs to be a main priority of any pending legislation. How hard could it be to check a social security number against the statistics for that number? What about companies that pay the workers "off the books" and thereby avoid all payroll taxes? This issue is about so much more than just amnesty. It is about illegal workers driving down the wages of all people in similar types of employment, but whose fault is that? Is it really the illegal immigrant or the employer that is looking to increase profit?

Banks are lending to illegal immigrants using tax identification numbers which are easy to procure directly from the IRS. Am I the only one who is shocked when I meet an illegal immigrant driving a new car purchased with a loan that they received from the local bank? I think most Americans would be shocked how easy we have made it for people to live illegally within the United Sates. What we really need to ask is who makes money from these policies. In the end American businesses want cheap labor and until we can lessen the influence of corporate donations on our political system, this will never change. We need to turn our anger against these very companies who are destroying the middle class. They make some believe that the Mexican day laborer we see mowing the neighbors lawn is a greater threat to our standard of living then the company hiring high tech workers from India at 70% of the wage they would need to pay the average American in the same job.

We all need to take a step back and realize the problem is not only illegal immigration but the immigration statutes as a whole. We have so much more to fear from our jobs being outsourced then from the poor illegal immigrant picking up your dinner dishes at the local restaurant.

Comprehensive reform is needed, but we must do it with compassion. We must engage the other countries in the region who need basic economic reform. We must make the companies that hire illegal immigrants subject to criminal prosecution and huge civil penalties. Those that are so against a path to citizenship should not patronize businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

We should all use reason and compassion in this debate and try to remember that the vast majority of those here illegally want the same things out of life that you do. They want to give their children a better life than they had. Who can argue with that?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Giuliani Is Wrong

Rudy Giuliani got into a heated argument with Ron Paul during the Republican debate for President when Mr. Paul suggested that it was United States policies that caused the attack of 911. Giuliani who has made a fortune off of 911 and who offers nothing else as a qualification for his candidacy, struck back with the usual talking points of them hating us for our freedom. This argument is so tired and easily dispelled that its a wonder anyone still invokes it. Why not Canada, Sweden, Italy or any number of other countries that enjoy the same freedoms as we do? This is the simplistic argument for those too dumb to research the real reasons or too ideologically predisposed to explore any other possibilities. I am in no way saying that the attack of 911 was warranted but to believe in such a simplistic view of the reason for the attack makes the likelihood of another even greater. How can we fight what we won't even try to understand. Understanding does not mean condone or accept but until we know the reasons why people are willing to die in order to hurt us, this will never stop. We will live in a perpetual state of war. Rudy Giuliani is worth millions as a result of his image after 911.

Mr. Giuliani should put his money where his mouth is and donate half of his net worth acquired since 911. There are 40,000 sick first responders from 911 who could use just a portion of the millions he has earned as a result of this horrible incident. Many of those sick fault Giuliani for allowing them to work in unsafe conditions. There are others that feel he knew the dangers and did nothing. He is considered a security expert when it was his decision to place the NYC emergency command center in the World Trade Center Complex which was bombed previously in 1993. It is time for the 911 halo to be removed from his head. It has no place there.

In this clip he blames Democrats for 911. He really is disgusting!!! Without 911, he would be just be the former unpopular mayor of NYC.

Gonzales Must Go

After watching this testimony from Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, it is obvious that Alberto Gonzales lied in his Senate testimony. This should be required viewing for all Americans. We all need to wake up and realize that we are living through the most corrupt administration in our nations history.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

High Gas Prices Have Not Curtailed Driving

With gas prices over $3.00 per gallon, most experts expected to see a decline in the amount of driving being done by motorists. That decline has not materialized.
The rising price of gasoline has certainly increased the amount of complaining from drivers paying $3 a gallon or more to fill up their cars, but it so far has done little to curtail how much people are driving.

That's the message from government statistics showing that demand for gasoline is only just starting to level off even as refinery outages and tight supplies have sent pump prices soaring by 43 percent since the end of January.
It is hard to see where motorists can make changes to their habits that would allow them to limit their driving. Driving to work is a necessity for most as the public transportation systems do not have a large enough reach to make them a viable alternative. With more and more people living further away from the employment centers due to the high cost of housing, options become limited. Adjustments to spending are more likely to take place as a result of the high cost of gasoline. I believe we are reaching a perfect storm in our economy. With the housing market crumbling and energy inflation running rampant, the only place to go is down. It is time for a windfall profits tax to be placed on the oil companies who are raping the consumers and laughing all the way to the bank.

Housing: Still searching for a bottom

Applications for new building permits plummeted to the lowest level since 1996.
Housing starts rose to an annual rate of 1.53 million in April, according to the Census Bureau report, from the revised 1.49 million pace in March. Economists surveyed by had forecast a slip to a 1.48 million pace in April.

But building permits, which are often seen as a measure of builder's confidence in the market, sank to an annual rate of 1.43 million in April from a revised 1.57 million in March. It was the lowest reading since June 1997. Economists had forecast a dip to 1.52 million.
As housing goes, so goes the economy. There is a real danger that the housing slump will cause people to pull back on spending and lead the economy into recession. Much of the continued economic expansion was the result of higher home prices and the feeling of wealth that accompanied those high prices. With two thirds of the economy being consumer spending, if that spending slows considerably so will the economy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Comments From Gay Rights Groups on The Death of Reverend Falwell

Statement by Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign:

“Reverend Falwell’s death today causes my thoughts to turn toward the members of our community who have at great personal sacrifice contended with the Reverend’s work and teachings. As I remember Reverend Falwell’s life, I also remember all of the families of people who have died of AIDS,” said Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign. “Reverend Falwell’s legacy is not about the tenets of Jesus’ ministry such as healing the sick and standing with the disenfranchised but about shunning and ridiculing those who have suffered and died of AIDS and their families. Many faith leaders today are moving away from his divisive approach and toward the compassion and inclusiveness that Jesus modeled every day of his ministry.”

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

“The death of a family member or friend is always a sad occasion and we express our condolences to all those who were close to the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America’s anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation’s appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation.”

From Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out:

"It is with great regret that Rev. Jerry Falwell never moderated his position on homosexuality." said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "While our hearts go out to his family. we can't help but to reflect on his life and think about all of the families he's torn apart and teenagers that committed suicide because he made them feel inferior. He never missed an opportunity to kick our better angels to the curb and capitalize on our lesser demons to advance his career."

Falwell began as a segregationist preacher that opposed interracial marriage. As with his opposition to homosexuality. he used the Bible to justify his prejudice and discrimination. In 1958. Falwell gave a sermon on segregation. stating that. "The true Negro does not want integration...He realizes his potential is far better among his own race... It will destroy our race eventually... In one northern city. a pastor friend of mine tells me that a couple of opposite race live next door to his church as man and wife...It boils down to whether we are going to take God's Word as final."

In the late 1970's. Falwell founded the Moral Majority. an organization that laid the groundwork for the modern Religious Right. When AIDS hit the gay community. Falwell remarked. "AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals."

In 1998. Falwell embraced the ex-gay ministries and touted a cure for homosexuals. He teamed up with Michael Johnston. an HIV+ ex-gay leader. In 2003. Johnston was treated in a sex addiction facility in Kentucky after he allegedly had unprotected sex with men he met online.

After the September 11. 2001 attacks. Falwell said on the 700 Club. "I really believe that the pagans. and the abortionists. and the feminists. and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle. the ACLU. People For the American Way. all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen."

"Unfortunately. the anti-gay infrastructure built by Falwell survives him." stated Besen. "With the founding of Liberty University and his legal arm. the Liberty Counsel. his legacy of intolerance will continue for quite some time."

Jerry Falwell Dead

Televangelist Jerry Falwell has been pronounced dead after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University.
Ron Godwin, the executive vice president of Falwell's Liberty University, said Falwell was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but "he has a history of heart challenges."

"I had breakfast with him, and he was fine at breakfast," Godwin said. "He went to his office, I went to mine and they found him unresponsive."
To get a good feeling for who this man was I would recommend you read this from AMERICAblog.

Home Prices Still Dropping

The housing market continued its slump in all areas of the country.

Many economists feel the housing market has not seen the bottom. Will the problems in the housing sector push the economy into recession?

Youth Crime Rising

Violent crime has risen for a second consecutive year due in large part to increased violence amongst teenagers.
FBI data from last fall show violent crimes, including murders and robberies, rose by 3.7 percent nationwide during the first six months of 2006. Those findings came on top of a 2.2 percent crime hike in 2005 — the first increase since 2001.
I know in my own city that gang violence is exploding and the police seem unsure of exactly how to combat it.
That a growing number of offenders appear to be younger, and their crimes more violent, and that laws in some states provide few, if any, tough penalties on juvenile offenders.

Many youths have little parental oversight and are too easily influenced by gang membership and glamorized violence in popular culture.

Loosely organized gangs present the biggest concern for law enforcement officials because they are hard to investigate and their members often commit random acts of crime out of self-protection.

Offenses committed by people using firearms pose a major threat not only to communities, but also to police. So-called “straw purchases,” where gun owners buy their firearms through a go-between is an area of concern.
With nearly half of inner city students not graduating and high rates of inner city unemployment, this is not unexpected. We must do everything necessary to reverse this dangerous trend.

Gingrich May Enter Presidential Race

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may enter the Presidential race.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday there is a very good chance he'll get into the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, but he won't decide until after September.

"I think right now that it is a great possibility," Gingrich said. "I don't want to get into all this stuff. I want to focus on what we have to do to make America successful."
Gingrich is widely credited with engineering a Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 with his Contract For America. He is beloved by Conservatives even though his personal life has been anything but conservative. He recently admitted to an extra-marital affair during the time he was pushing for impeachment of President Clinton, for lying about an extra-marital affair.

He made this confession during an interview with Dr. James Dobson of the Christian Conservative Group, Focus On the Family. Mr. Gingrich has been married three times. His first marriage ended with him serving divorce papers on his wife while she was hospitalized with cancer. He now believes that his personal life should not play a part in any run for President. If Christian Conservatives flock to this man then nothing that they stand for is real. Newt Gingrich is everything that is wrong with politics today.

Monday, May 14, 2007

General Eaton: If Pres. Bush Won't Listen, Congress Must

Retired Major General Paul Eaton takes to the airwaves to say that the President doesn’t listen to his commanders on the ground. General Eaton should know whether the President really listens to his commanders on the ground, or not. General Eaton recently retired from the US Army after more than 33 years service. This is the second ad by a retired General against the Iraq War. Watch the first advertisement here.

Bill Talking About Hillary

I decided to post this because I want this site to be a clearing house for all the candidates and their campaigns. This is not an endorsement of Hillary Clinton. I will remain neutral through the primaries and will post as much information on each candidate as possible. I will also try to come up with a list of questions that I would like each candidate to answer so that we can come to a knowledgeable decision as to which one would be best to lead our country and restore the middle class.

Senator McConnell: If Iraqi Government Asks Up to Leave We will Leave

Senator McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, said during a CNN interview that if the Iraqi Government asked the U.S. to leave that we would leave.
BLITZER: And if they're not going to do what they need to do, what happens then?

MCCONNELL: Well, the Iraqi government is a huge disappointment. Republicans overwhelmingly feel disappointed about the Iraqi government. I read just this week that a significant number of the Iraqi parliament want to vote to ask us to leave.

I want to assure you, Wolf, if they vote to ask us to leave, we'll be glad to comply with their request.
I hate to be the first to tell Senator McConnell but a majority of the Iraqi Parliament did vote for us to leave. The vote may have been non-binding but it did show that the Iraqi Government now believes that the U.S. presence in their country is helping to fuel the violence. If Mr. McConnell is being truthful then he needs to immediately call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. It is time to get regional cooperation to end the violence which means negotiating with Syria and Iran who have a vested interest in seeing that the war does not become a regional conflict. There are no good options left in Iraq and its time to come home.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

George W. Bush's "Monica Problem"

Monica Goodling, a former Justice Department Official, could become the Bush Administrations biggest nightmare as her role in the United States Attorney firings is probed. She has been given limited immunity to testify which means she will not be prosecuted as long as she is truthful.

Once you read this story it becomes very obvious that the two things missing from the Justice Department were justice and impartiality. The department became a place where loyalty to President Bush took precedent over experience.
Two years ago, Robin C. Ashton, a seasoned criminal prosecutor at the Department of Justice, learned from her boss that a promised promotion was no longer hers.

“You have a Monica problem,” Ms. Ashton was told, according to several Justice Department officials. Referring to Monica M. Goodling, a 31-year-old, relatively inexperienced lawyer who had only recently arrived in the office, the boss added, “She believes you’re a Democrat and doesn’t feel you can be trusted.”
Exactly what does being a Democrat have to do with your ability to administer justice? How can anyone respect or trust this Justice Department when it is obvious that guilt or innocence meant less than political affiliation, competence worth less than loyalty to President Bush. How unqualified people became so important in this administration is as much the story as the firings of the prosecutors. The attorneys that were not fired could become as large a part of the investigation as those that were. What exactly did they need to do to keep their jobs? A complete investigation needs to be done and those responsible, such as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, need to be removed from office. His lack of memory should be reason enough to be removed. In the weeks ahead the "Monica Problem" will grow. Will those that called for President Clinton to be impeached for his "Monica Problem" be as steadfast with the current administration? The corruption in this administration stinks worse than the NJ Turnpike at rush hour. Its time to end the stink and restore truth and justice to the Justice Department.