Friday, July 14, 2006

Love Thy Neighbor

It has become clear that although this new Israeli offensive was initiated by a humanitarian need to rescue the kidnapped soldiers, it now seems as though the initial mission has warped into a well-timed assault on the Hammas. Let’s face it folks, while the plight of the miilions of Palestinians cannot be overlooked, or overshadowed by the kidnapping of a uniformed Israeli soldier, one cannot help but think of the Israeli mindset - one that consists of contantly being preocupied by attacks and threats of one form or another. Is that any way to live, and if so, is it any wonder they react in such a manner? Wouldn’t we react the same? All we have to do is remind ourselves of those morning hours of September 11 and revist the agony all over again. Le me be clear that Israel lives it every day. If anything, we must take a lesson from the way Israel fights terror so we can adapt and not linger over the political-correctness of our Middle-East policy. I agree with President Bush’s attempt in calling for restraint, from both sides, and also support his decision to stand by Israel, not because of a specific love for that nation, but because I agree with that nation’s right to exist, and see it prosper in peace which for them it is in such short supply. And before I hear some angry remarks from those who will soon rebuf my remarks with the eve so convincing struggle of the powerless Palestinians, let me be clear: the role of a peace-lover is not to secure peace with the threat of violence, nor is it his role to secure peace with hate and the obliteration of a whole peoples. For what benefit would such people offer humanity but a glimpse of the fruits of hate and intolerance for mankind. Love thy neighbor holds true for all in the Middle-East - be they Jews, Christians, or Muslims - but it begins with the oppressed.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Using the National Guard as an auxiliary arm to the Border Patrol

To support Border Patrol operations in the the southern states bordering Mexico, President Bush will call on the National Guard to deploy as many as 10,000 guardsmen. The White House intends to use the National Guard in a support capacity and only as long as it takes for the Border Patrol to boost its ranks.
Even though there is nothing sinister in the use of the National Guard as a police force, one has only to think of any other countries out there which use their military to police their citizens. While those countries may have such use for their military it must be noted that it only takes one act of violence for the military to use its heavy hand. What is disturbing is the fact that the National Guard will be under federal control and not under that of the respective border states.
Consider the use of Federal forces during the Restoration, which used a heavy hand to subdue the then Confederate states. This is definitely something the state of Texas especially has a long memory of. For that reason alone Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, to remove and prohibit federal troops from acting as national police force.
Nevertheless times have changed and the Posse Comitatus Act has been obsolete ever since the war on drugs began when Navy, Air Force, Special Ops, and Coast Guard units were and still are used in the fight against drug traficking.
But the implications are clear. If we begin to use the military to supplement our national and state law enforcment in fighting illegal immigration, which by the way can be dealt with in a more subtle way through legislation, where will militry involvement stop?

How low will we go? Check out Yahoo! Messenger’s low PC-to-Phone call rates.

Illegal Immigration, the National Guard, and Border Security

Illegal immigration puts a lot of stress on the border states' economies and especiallay their respective social services. It is also understandable why so many of the ranchers are crying foul and whose properties are being trespassed on by illegal immigrants crossing the border, so much so that vigilante groups have sprung up. What I find disturbing in many levels is the use of the National Guard in policing the border, a function better left to the Border Patrol, however overburdened they may be. What is needed is the cooperation of the Mexican law enforcement. They are the ones who ought to be held accountable for any lack of security on their side. But I guess they can turn a blind eye to this problem just as they do that of the narcotics trade. How difficult is it to hold Mexico and its government accountable for the misery of its citizens? Hell, do we need an excuse to invade Mexico or what? Albeit the dry humor in my last sentence, one should understand the near impossible job of completely closing the border with Mexico.

For instance, take the Minutemen, these vigilantes who feel they must take matters into their own hands. I just saw a report on CNN in which some of these organized minutemen were erecting barbed wire fences in the border areas lacking any fences at all. Way to go - good job guys - that is such a great idea! By the way, how is that flimsy fence going to keep out illegal immigrants from crossing over? Ever heard of this invention called pliers (sic)? Besides if you build a bigger, better fence, they'll break in over it, through it, or under it. Good luck posting those vigilante guards every mile of the border.

Through further reflection, the use of soldiers, Guard or Active, to patrol our borders can be counterproductive. Border Patrol officers lack the heavy firepower which the Army/Guard has. So since they have it they are more liable to use it. See where I'm going with this? So if they use it, and it turns out bad, how can we hold them acocuntable for something we allowed them to do? But even so, active military numbers available for border patrol deployment are low - they are serving in Iraq or Afganistan, or wherever this nation needs them, except for being deployed in US soil (posse comitatus prevents that very same thing). But the Guard is not prohibited in operating on US soil by the Posse Comitatus act of 1878 as long they are under no direct control of the Federal Government. Yet even that presents a challenge because the funding for this deployment would fall on the border states, further complicating the matter.

The best thing to do -and this may sound a little unfair- is to remove any and all incentives for all immigrants. By that I mean denying work to any illegal immigrants, nationality notwithstanding, scaling down any social services except medical care where appropriate, increasing the fines on employers who hire illegals, etc., etc. Unless we as a nation are of the same mind, a solution to illegal immigration can be found. But I still believe that immigration is a good thing, and we should not penalize legal immigrants to benefit illegal ones. Even by considering the notion of amnesty for illegal immigrants we are doing a disservice to ourselves and to those who abided by the laws and policies of this country. Besides even if amnesty would ever be entertained how will we discern who is eligible for amnesty of not. Out of roughly 11 million illegals in this country all would claim they have the moral fortitude and lenght of stay here to desereve amnesty.

In closing, if you can vote, this is your chance to make your opinion heard. If you can't vote, influence someone who can...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Have I Found Jesus Yet?

More and more I become annoyed by people who keep asking me if I have found Jesus yet, as if he has been lost. Are their lives so boring and base that the only way they can spice things up is by advertising that boredom to people who might actually answer that stupid question in the and show any interest? I want to know who told them that they have to go out and annoy the hell out of people? Oh, excuse me, lest I forget, I must mention the righteous intent of those who attempt to save me by asking that idiotic question. Righteous intent, or is it idiotic fear of damnation resulting from brainwashing due to an empty life and a low IQ? Who the hell would stop living life to its full potential by accepting the faith of evangelists? The problem is they are not the only one who resort to shameful - and yes, sinful - tactics. Let me tell you my story:

On a hot Texas day in Fort Worth I was approached by a man who asked me if I had found Jesus? I told him no. He said that I was going to hell since I did not know Jesus. "Prey thee, my good man," replied I, "how is it that I would be going to Hell when I seek forgiveness for my wrongs, value decency, and generally try to be good? Does that not count for something?" To which he replied that even so I would still be going to Hell. So I told him that I would meet him in Hell just as well for threatening me and striking "fear" in my heart, and that the lost Lord he was evangelising for was a false Lord. With that I bid him adieu and walked away, as he stood dumbfounded for he saw the error of his ways. Therefore I say Live and Let Live.

But another story begs a mention. On another hot Texas day a representative of the First Baptist church approached me. He looked at me with some deep eyes, mouth ear to ear, and said "Can I offer you some FREE water, sir?" Since he emphasized the word FREE, I said "There is no such thing as Free any more, but since you are offering, I'll take that cup. Thank you." So I took the cup, and no sooner did I attempt to raise it to my lips when he asked me "Do you have Jesus in your heart brother?" The jig was up. I returned the cup to him untouched, told him he had committed a sin by using false pretenses to lure me to listen to his message, and therefore his church would be unsuitable to me.

So there is always a catch. Religion is just like any business out there. That one time that you show interest because you may find comfort, it sucks you right in. So good luck to all you fools out there, but you are looking for eternity in the wrong place. If the eternity they advertise to me is a reflection of their action, then I don't want it. I'll go to Hell; at the very least I know what to expect from those folks.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Federal judge orders cross to be removed from city property

A federal judge has ordered the city of San Diego, CA, to remove a cross on top of Mount Soledad which has been standing since 1954. While this case dates back to 1991, it should be noted that although the separation of church and state is indeed a federal issue, one must also consider the historical value this cross carries as the supporters of the cross say that it was built as a historic war memorial. If that is indeed the case then how is it that this judge ordered it removed in 1991 (after a suit brought by Philip Paulson to remove the cross)?

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the removal of the Mount Soledad cross from property owned by the city of San Diego within 90 days - threatening to fine the city $5,000 a day if it fails to comply.
"It is now time, and perhaps long overdue, for this court to enforce its initial permanent injunction forbidding the presence of the Mount Soledad cross on city property," said U.S. District Judge Gordon Thompson.
Thompson first found the presence of the cross on city property unconstitutional in 1991 because it violated the separation of church and state.

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Monday, May 01, 2006

Immigration Boycott

In light of today's events, I just can't help but think how was it that the American public did not foresee such a boucott, albeit its mostly absent economic impact to the US markets? Suddenly mainstream America is in a panic over who is going to cut their lawns tomorrow, or who is going to fill those construction jobs, and who is going to farm the fields. Is it possible for these 12 million illegals to lose their jobs and sustain the same level of income they previously enjoyed? The answer is no. This country needs the labor these immigrants provide because it keeps a lot of prices down (i.e. construction, farming, contractors), but all the same, these jobs can be filled by others. For instance, we can create a deficit of illegal aliens from Latin American countries (e.g Mexico) by creating a surplus of Asian Pacific and African aliens. Or, if that sugestion sounds unattainable, let the market work out itself, whereby as labor costs go up, so do prices (thus low demand), but at the very least the costs of maintaining these illegal aliens subsides. I know this may be an oversimplistic viewpoint, but it is an idea - expensive, but workable. There are plenty of other solutions out there, but the fact is that American employers are partly to blame because they have used these illegal aliens as sources of cheap labor therefore they have created a subculture of neo-slavery absent of corporal or mortal threats but substituted with more modern means of persuasion and fear-induction to maintain control.

In the same token one should also consider that these illegal aliens are breaking the law, misdemeanor or not, and they are not justified by mocking American institutions such as the First Amendment (by way of waving the Mexican, and other countries' flags) and changing the lyrics to the national anthem. This is an English speaking country, and they must learn to communicate. No authority in the US will ever forbid them from speaking their own language, but when English is a necessary mode of communication in a public setting, so as not to complicate matters, any other language will not do.

Another drawback to this boycott is the fact that these illegal immigrants are seeking preferential treatment over others who are here or who came before them. Essentially, they are trying to bully a nation into giving them what they want: a legal status. Have they earned it? No, they have not. So what that they have worked the jobs "Americans don't want," as if they have not exacerbated the labor issue themselves by the sheer volume of laborers. Becaus there are so many of them out there, employers do not feel the need to increase wages, de facto creating a higher demand for work for fewer positions. So please, take it easy with this boycott, because you are not special. If you stubbornly insist, why don't you ask the Chinese, the Irish, the Italians, the Poles, the Russians, the Africans, the Koreans, the myriad of Eastern Europeans, the Philippinos, and the many others who came before you and asked nothing special in return. They are the ones that build the railroads, the farms, the tunnels, the damms, the roads, the skyscrapers, the airports, our infrastructure, our factories and our industries. What then, makes you so special? There are millions of others in the world who happen to be farther from the US and who want to come here, if only they had the means to! So again, what makes you so special? They embraced America, with all its splendor and faults, while you mock it!. They spoke the language of the land, while you try to make yours a second one. They assimilated, but you want to change it to suit you. What are you entitled to?

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Oh, this is good: Enron blames the Media

As Kenneth Lay, former executive of Enron, gives his testimony, he shifted the blame to the media for destroying investor confidence, particularly the Wall Street Journal.

At times abandoning his legendary folksy manner for a sharper tone, Lay told jurors there had been "a real conspiracy" against Enron. He asserted that one newspaper in particular, The Wall Street Journal, "was on a witch hunt" aimed at the company and its onetime chief financial officer, Andrew S. Fastow. While also blaming Fastow, who has pled guilty to fraud and testified for the government, Lay zeroed in on articles the newspaper published in the fall of 2001 that he said "kicked off a run on the bank" that doomed the company.

Oh, nevermind you that he and Mr. Skilling, are on trial for allegedly lying to investor's about the financial health of Enron. As the justice system is concerned this may very well be a valid defense strategy, but one cannot excuse the fact that being in charge of a company in financial trouble, these two characters had a responsability to their shareholders, their employees, and society at large to disclose any financial troubles. Go figure! I wonder if this tactic will work. They are being tried in Texas after all.

Love cheap thrills? Enjoy PC-to-Phone calls to 30+ countries for just 2¢/min with Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.

Bulgarians Protest Base Deal

Secreatary of State, Condolezza Rice is in Sofia, Bulgaria, attending a meeting of NATO countries. She will meet with the Bulgarian PM to discuss and finalize a planned US military base opening in the Balkan country. Naturally, there are those who disagree and they have taken to the streets in protest claiming that the US is seeking a jumping point in what they think is a US strategy to attack Iran. While their claims may be exagerated (or not, depending whom you talk to) they should also see the benefits and the inevitability of the planned opening. When the Bulgarian nation decided to join NATO and the EU they had to come to a compromise, where while they benefit from such memberships, they must also open their airspace, ports, and land assets to other member countries, and whatever else. One has also to think of this base opening as an influx of US dollars into the Bulgarian economy, though the base, which is presumed to be small in comparison to those in Germany and France, may seem insignificant in such light. Nevertheless, future expansion of American presence in Bulgaria is not a bad thing. Those who would protest do so under the influence of outside interests (can you say Russia!).

SOFIA, Bulgaria - Thousands of Bulgarians demonstrated Thursday against a deal to allow U.S. troops to use military facilities in the country.

Under the deal, seen as part of a broader U.S. military strategy of shifting troops based in Europe farther east, up to 2,500 U.S. troops would be deployed in the Balkan country on a rotational basis.

The rally against the plan was organized by an ultranationalist party called Attack and drew several thousand people to a park a few hundred meters (yards) from the venue for the NATO meeting.

The protesters shouted, "Yankees Go Home," and waved banners that read, "Condi, ask the Bulgarian people" and "U.S. bases War."

In a declaration, protesters called on the government to put the issue of to a referendum.

According to the Attack party, 200,000 Bulgarians have signed a petition against the deployment of foreign troops to Bulgarian military bases.

Officials expect the first U.S. troops to arrive at the end of the year or early in 2007.

The agreement would give U.S. troops access to three bases in southern Bulgaria for training and logistical operations. The locations are the Bezmer and the Graf Ignatievo air bases and the Novo Selo training area.

Attack party leader Volen Siderov told the rally that "from Bulgarian airports, U.S. military jets will take off to attack other countries."

"Bulgaria is preparing to enter a new dirty war, this time against

Iran," Siderov said.

Protester Lyuben Bozhilov said opening Bulgaria's territory to U.S. troops could make the country a target for terrorists.

Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin recently tried to downplay such fears, saying that weapons of mass destruction would not be deployed to the facilities used by U.S. troops.

"The agreements between the United States and Russia on non-deployment of nuclear weapons in the new NATO member states guarantees that there will be no nuclear weapons in Bulgaria," Kalfin said.

Blab-away for as little as 1¢/min. Make PC-to-Phone Calls using Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

French Misguidance

t is understandable if one has noted that the Europeans, especially the French, suffer from an inferiority complex, especially when they try to match themselves to the US. Excluding the nationalistic fervor that most European countries display, their inferiority complex seems all the more clear seeing how their economies fare poorly against the US. That is not to say that they are unable to become a real competitor to the US, but considering their political and industrial capacities - and wanton, for that matter - they cannot hope to ever match the economic might of the US. Case in point: France. In an effort to shore up French pride against US dominance, and attempting to leave a legacy to his nation, President Chirac unveiled a government-backed plan to create a rival search engine to Google and Yahoo! which would be native to Europe. This again is an example of the hawkish stance most Europeans maintain in attempting to preserve their nationalistic tendencies against any anglo-american influence. For example, the French dislike (to nice a term for what they really feel) the use of English terms which are the norm in the business and IT world.

So, in order to raise the global focus of France and its industries, Mr. Chirac's attempt at trying to create a rival to US search engines seems paultry at the very least. Here's to another governmental body entering the market. If Mr. Chirac wants to throw money away, that's his business, but if the French governmental spending has shown anything it shows its inability to promote free markets and does not support European private companies in the long term.

The French president, Jacques Chirac, yesterday unveiled what he hopes will be his great legacy to France's struggle against the global dominance of the US: a series of technological projects including a European search engine to rival Google.

Mr Chirac, who walked out of an EU summit last month when a fellow Frenchman committed the grave offence of speaking English, styles himself as the defender of France in the globalised world.

After the biggest street protests in decades forced him to stage a U-turn on employment reform last month, Mr Chirac is keener than ever to be remembered for doing something positive for French pride. Yesterday, he announced that he would provide 2bn EUR (1.4bn GBP) in funding for a series of innovative grands projets, including a Franco-German search engine to compete with Google and Yahoo!.

Named Quaero - Latin for "I search" - the search engine aims to be the first to efficiently sort through audio, images and video. It would search the growing array of podcasts and videoclips on the web and deliver the information to computers and mobile phones. Quaero has been a pet project of Mr Chirac's for some time. In his new year speech at the Elysee Palace, he spoke of the need to "take up the global challenge posed by Google and Yahoo!".


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Curtailing Freedom of Speech

A judge in California has banned the wearing of shirts bearing anti-gay
messages. His decision was based on the question of whether the First
Amendment's freedom of speech protected anti-gay messages and whether sexual
orientation provides the same basis for protection as does race or religion.
California is known for its progressive policies when it comes to public matters
but this decision only stifles freedom of speech, and does not promote the
protection of any rights. The question remains however, that if one individual's
anti-gay message is to be considered hateful and inciting/inflammatory,
therefore not protected by the First Amendment, by what right does another
individual's anti-republican, anti-religious, etc., can be considered protected?
I believe that there is a double standard in place, and it only helps in
diminishing individual rights under the guise of First Amendment protectionist.
Here's a brief excerpt:

The shirt, which said "Be ashamed, our school has
embraced what God has condemned," on the front, and "Homosexuality is shameful"

on the back, was substantially disruptive, and an "impermissible intrusion on
the rights of gay and lesbian students," Reinhardt wrote.
Kozinski and
Reinhardt both have longstanding records as First Amendment advocates, but their
discourses here showed little agreement, even on minor points. In fact, they
spent several pages attacking one another's reasoning, and using footnotes to
encourage one another to watch movies supporting their points. Reinhardt even
brought up a dissent Kozinski wrote as recently as the week before to point out
what he saw as inconsistencies in reasoning.
In brief -- and very little
about the opinion was brief -- Reinhardt said that in a school environment,
speech attacking homosexuality can disrupt education, and may thus be silenced
by administrators. But such power has limits, he said.
"T-shirts proclaiming
'Young Republicans Suck,' or 'Young Democrats Suck,' for example, may not be
very civil, but they would certainly not be sufficiently damaging to the
individual or the educational process to warrant a limitation on the wearer's
First Amendment rights," Reinhardt wrote.
That's the kind of reasoning that
these days will elicit cries of "activist judge."
"This is a classic example
of social engineering and manipulating the law," said Kevin Therion, a lawyer
with the Alliance Defense Fund who argued the case for Harper. He also questions
Reinhardt's presumption that gay students deserve the protections of an ethnic
or religious group.