Friday, April 27, 2007

Thank Heavens for Sen. Leiberman

Senator Joe Lieberman respectfully, politely, and powerfully grinds the arguments advanced on behalf of the Iraq war funding resolution by Harry Reid and the Democrats into fine powder. In the process he respectfully and politely exposes Senator Reid as an utter buffoon.

Here's an excerpt of Leiberman's speech yesterday on the floor of the senate, but one should read it in its entirety. It's a marvelous example of well-reasoned argumentation.

In his speech Monday, the Majority Leader described the several steps that this new strategy for Iraq would entail. Its first step, he said, is to "transition the U.S. mission away from policing a civil war-to training and equipping Iraqi security forces, protecting U.S. forces, and conducting targeted counter-terror operations."

I ask my colleagues to take a step back for a moment and consider this plan.

When we say that U.S. troops shouldn't be "policing a civil war," that their operations should be restricted to this narrow list of missions, what does this actually mean?

To begin with, it means that our troops will not be allowed to protect the Iraqi people from the insurgents and militias who are trying to terrorize and kill them. Instead of restoring basic security, which General Petraeus has argued should be the central focus of any counterinsurgency campaign, it means our soldiers would instead be ordered, by force of this proposed law, not to stop the sectarian violence happening all around them-no matter how vicious or horrific it becomes.

In short, it means telling our troops to deliberately and consciously turn their backs on ethnic cleansing, to turn their backs on the slaughter of innocent civilians-men, women, and children singled out and killed on the basis of their religion alone. It means turning our backs on the policies that led us to intervene in the civil war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the principles that today lead many of us to call for intervention in Darfur.

This makes no moral sense at all.

It also makes no strategic or military sense either.

He's just getting started.


Dobbs on Illegals

CNN's Lou Dobbs wonders why we're not being told the truth about illegal immigration:

The mainstream media report as if America would no longer be a welcoming nation if we stopped illegal immigration. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why do the national media conveniently and routinely neglect to report that the United States brings in more lawful immigrants than the countries of the rest of the world combined? Each year, we accept 2 million immigrants legally. We give a million legal immigrants permanent residency every year. We bestow citizenship on 700,000 people a year and provide almost half a million work-related visas a year.

Illegal immigration, in fact, has the potential to change the course of American history: Demographers at the Brookings Institution and the Population Reference Bureau paint a troubling picture of the future of our democracy. As more illegal aliens cross our borders and settle in large states like California, Texas and Florida, congressional seats will be redistributed to these bigger states following each decennial Census. States with low levels of immigration will ultimately lose seats as a result. Unfortunately for American citizens, this seismic shift in political representation will be decided by noncitizens that cannot vote.

Congress will soon take up so-called comprehensive immigration reform, and a bipartisan House bill would probably admit 400,000 guest workers a year. And since any plan calling for eventual legalization would include family members who live outside the United States, the legislation would open our borders to tens of millions of people. The Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector estimated that the 2006 version of the McCain-Kennedy bill would have added an additional 66 million immigrants over the next 20 years. The bill may change, but that estimate has yet to be refuted.

There's no question this type of mass immigration would have a calamitous effect on working citizens and their families. Professor Carol Swain, professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt University and author of "Debating Immigration," would like to see more people speak up for the sectors of society most affected by illegal immigration.

"How many African-American leaders have you seen come out and address the impact that high levels of illegal immigration [are] having in the communities when it comes to jobs, when it comes to education, when it comes to health care?" she asked. "And often, these low-skilled, low-wage workers compete in the same sectors for jobs."

Let's have a vigorous open debate on illegal immigration in this country, and let's begin with the facts. Estimates of illegal aliens in this country range from 12 million to 20 million people. Why doesn't our government know how many there are?

Shouldn't this Congress and this president at least recognize that the industries in which illegal aliens are employed in the greatest percentages also are suffering the largest wage declines? And shouldn't there be an economic impact statement researched and delivered to this Congress, this president and the rest of us before any legislation granting amnesty is even considered?

Shouldn't we first bring the facts of illegal immigration out of the shadows?

Well, yes. I'll start. I heard an interesting claim the other day to the effect that ten years ago the average hourly wage in the meat-packing industry was about $19 an hour. Today it's closer to $10 an hour because the industry is able to find so many illegals who will work so much cheaper. The availability of cheaper labor is driving down wages for everyone in the industry.

Why are not the advocates of the poor raising Cain about the effect that illegals are having on wages and jobs in this country?


For Bibliophiles

If you are a bibliophile (a lover of books) then you'll very much enjoy this essay in Comment by Mark Bertrand who sounds like a biblioaddict. Bertrand begins his tale this way:

Before the package from Amazon UK reached my doorstep, someone had given it a good kicking. The corners dimpled inward and a jagged gash ran like a scar down one side of the box, giving the cardboard a battered, sinister air.

I probably yelped at the sight. I don't remember. It all happened so quickly. I hoisted the package and moved it inside to the dining room table, then rummaged around for a knife to undo its taped edges. I peeled back the damaged layers, afraid of what I might find, only to breathe a sigh of relief upon discovering the contents safely wrapped in a protective sheen of plastic.

About this time, my wife came in, arms crossed, shaking her head at my anxiety.

"We have thousands of books already," she said. "The walls are lined with them. But you still had to order more."

When I lifted my new treasure out of the box, she rolled her eyes. But I paid no attention.

Instead, I was mesmerized by the orange slipcase, about a foot and a half long, and the row of tiny paperbacks contained within it, their spines arranged by color in a spectrum that ran from blue to orange. Seventy slender volumes, printed in honor of Penguin's seventy years in publishing, but to me they represented more than a milestone. This set was the answer to a baffling conundrum, a problem that had kept me up at night. This was my solution. This was my Godsend.

This was my summer reading.

If you love books you'll want to read the entire piece, nodding the while and thinking "That's me he's talking about."