“The Path to 9/11”

On the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, ABC released a controversial movie detailing what I would describe as government failures that led to the worst terrorist strike on American soil. The film began with the first attempt by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993, in the early days of Bill Clinton’s first term. The lengthy film detailed the sheer cowardice and incompetence of the Clinton Administration toward Islamic terrorism. Though it happened on Bush’s watch, as liberals are quick to point out, he hasn’t dithered the way Clinton did. Yet some of what happened in the aftermath can be blamed on Bush.

In the weeks after the tragedy, the federal government went into damage control. Who was really to blame? The intelligence community? Airport security? As you will recall, it was a little of the first and a lot of the second! The government eventually spent billions beefing up security at airports by taking over the job themselves, which has led to a much greater degree of harassment of honest Americans, all because we won’t profile the ones who are trying to blow up planes to begin with!

Blame for the disaster that occurred on September 11, 2001 ultimately rests in two areas. First, as the film accurately portrayed, the Clinton Administration bears most of the responsibility for it. Time after time we had chances to get bin Laden, and for whatever reason, namely cowardice, chose not to do so. Bill Clinton is a prefect example of what happens when you elect an unqualified bungler to be president. We must not have learned our lesson with Jimmy Carter! And, for some strange reason, we elected this guy twice!

Clinton came into office at a time when many liberals, including Bill and Hillary, believed we were moving into a new area. The Cold War was over, we were told. There was no need for maintaining a strong military force, which Carter had torn down and Reagan had re-built, which won the Cold War by the way! We needed to focus on domestic policy, namely the economy, they told us. As we heard over and over again – “It’s the economy, stupid!”

As part of his grand plan, Clinton proceeded to cut the military in half, citing no new threats, despite conservative pleas. But there was an emerging threat; Clinton just did not want to see it. Attacks on the World Trade Center, on our troops in Somalia, the Khobar Towers in Saudia Arabia, two U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and the U.S.S. Cole, which killed 17 sailors, littered Clinton’s presidency. Yet the only one he retaliated for, as Ann Coulter has recently pointed out, was for the embassy bombings, which happened to coincide with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Now that we are in a global war on terror, we’ve heard much talk, amazingly much of it from liberals, that our military is stretched too thin. Now who was it that thought we needed to cut it in half because we wouldn’t need a large force?

Secondly, and this has not been given much press, our worse tragedy was not a security problem but an immigration one. The majority of the 19 hijackers were in this country illegally, as their visas had expired. Our immigration system is so incompetent that we simply have no idea who is in the country at any given time. Yet the tragedy happened, but instead of trying to fix these problems, immediately one would think, we have, five years later, done NOTHING to change our immigration laws, restrict Arab entry, or seal our southern border with Mexico, where Islamic terrorists have been slipping into this nation to conduct operations against us. If that’s not the height of stupidity, I don’t know what is! President Bush has failed us miserably in this crucial area.

Finally, my fellow citizens, we must recognize that we are in a war, not just against terrorism, but we are in a war of civilizations. We better recognize soon that we are in a religious war. These Islamic terrorists, like al-Qaeda, certainly recognize that. We do not but we must. We must end our politically correct policies, stop fighting a “sensitive” war, and do what we must to destroy our enemies and bring this war to a swift conclusion. Just this week our military leaders decided not to strike a target with more than 100 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, possibly including some their leadership, because it was determined that it might be a funeral service they were attending. Outrageous! Our leadership has told us that we must prepare for a war that might last decades. With decisions like this, I can see why!

A Mexican History Lesson

If you have been watching the mass protests by Hispanic groups across the nation on any other network than Fox News, you would probably come to the conclusion that it is simply a demonstration by patriotic citizens and immigrants angry over the possibility of new restrictions imposed by Congress. Though there have been some who have waved American flags, as we see on those other networks, most of the demonstrators have held high the banner of Mexico and signs that I would consider treasonous. With chants of “Mexico!” “Mexico!” the protesters held many anti-American signs, some of which stated that the American Southwest belongs to them and that we stole it from Mexico. These people need a quick lesson in the history of their own country.

In the early 19th century Texas was a Northern province of Mexico, then under the thumb of Spain. Stephen F. Austin began leading settlers into Texas in 1821 with the intent on starting a colony there. Mexico, however, gained its independence from Spain that very year. As thousands of Americans poured into Texas, many seeking a new start for themselves, Mexico began to clamp down on the migration and eventually began to pass measures that many Americans thought to be severe restrictions on their freedoms, one of which was a ban on slavery. Texas was soon in a state of revolt by the mid-1830’s and formally declared its independence from Mexico in 1836.

 Seeking to put down the rebellion, General Santa Anna, also Mexico’s president (actually he was more like a dictator), led his army into Texas, in what historian Richard Bruce Winders has called a “war of extermination.” He crushed the Texans, who had gained the support of many American volunteers, at the Alamo, then won again at Goliad, where he ordered more than 300 prisoners executed. Yet this did little to discourage the Texas army under Sam Houston, who trapped Santa Anna at San Jacinto and nearly destroyed his army.

Santa Anna was captured the next day and given a choice: be executed or give up all claims to Texas. And, being the head of state, he signed a treaty that recognized the independence of Texas. The Treaty of Velasco, signed in the presence of both the president and vice president of the Republic of Texas, stated that the southern boundary of Texas, its border with Mexico, would be the Rio Grande River, and all Mexican forces had to retreat south of that boundary. The Mexican government would later claim that the true boundary was the Nueces River, near Corpus Christi. However, a new government in Mexico City, in effect, removed Santa Anna from office and declared the treaty to be null and void. This is where the arguments center.

The Mexican government did not, and would not, recognize the Republic of Texas, and President Andrew Jackson, because of domestic political considerations, did not do so until his final day in office, March 4, 1837.

The Republic of Texas maintained its independence for a few years but there was little doubt in anyone’s mind that it would eventually end up in the United States. That was accomplished, despite Mexican threats and a break in diplomatic relations, as a new, young president was taking office. James K. Polk became the 11th president of the United States in 1845 and was full of the spirit of Manifest Destiny that was pervading the nation. President Polk sought to make America a continental power and was eyeing other Mexican territories, namely California.

The Mexican government was crying for war as Texas became the 28th state in the Union. But President Polk did not want war and sought to avoid conflict in his quest for more Mexican land. He offered to buy New Mexico for $5 million, to negotiate a price for California, and for the U.S. to assume all of Mexico’s debt of $4.5 million in exchange for a recognition of the Rio Grande as the southern boundary of the United States. The Mexican government refused. Knowing that there was a dispute over the boundary of Texas, Polk sent an army under General Zachary Taylor to the Rio Grande in the hopes that such an action would provoke the Mexican army to attack. It worked.

The Mexican War lasted from April 1846 until September 1847, when American forces under General Winfield Scott captured Mexico City. Officially concluding the war, the Mexican government agreed to the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which granted the U.S. the rights to California, New Mexico, and all of the present-day U.S. southwest, from Sante Fe to San Francisco. And out of the goodness of our hearts, the United States also paid Mexico $15 million dollars for the land we had just gained with our blood, sweat, tears, and treasure.

Now that all seems fairly simple to me and any other reasonable American – we won and they lost, and to lose is to pay a price, but the Mexicans don’t see it quite that way. They feel that all of the American Southwest still belongs to them, because we “stole” it somehow, so to cross over the border into Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, or California is not really illegal because it’s theirs anyway. A poll recently conducted in Mexico found that an astonishing 60 percent of the population of Mexico agreed with that position. This is both a result of ignorance and Mexican propaganda.

Fanning the flames on this side of the border are several prominent, radical Latino organizations, such as MEChA, that hope to reclaim this area under Mexican sovereignty or a new Mexican nation, a movement known as the Reconquista. Some have already designated Los Angeles as the capital of what is known as Aztlan, the seven states of the American southwest. The idea is to get millions of Mexican immigrants to flood the Southwest, many of which would obviously be illegal, wait for another blanket amnesty, like some in Washington are proposing, and hopefully gain enough voters to break the southwest off via a legal referendum. Don’t think it’s serious? We might just wake up to that reality one day. What would be our response? How could we deny it since we are in the process of spreading democracy around the globe? We would look mighty hypocritical if we moved in to stop it!

In addition to radical organizations, there are several prominent Hispanics in this country, on the taxpayer payroll, who are advocating a splintering of our country. One of which is political science Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez, who teaches as the University of Texas in Austin. He recently made David Horowitz’s list of the 101 most dangerous academics in America. Professor Gutierrez, according to Horowitz, once advocated killing Americans if that is what was necessary to accomplish Aztlan. In 2004 he boasted that Hispanics were “the future of America. Unlike any prior generation, we now have the critical mass. We’re going to Latinize this country.” He is also the author of a lovely book entitled A Chicano Manual on How to Handle Gringos.  Friends, this used to be called treason!

So ask yourself, my fellow citizens, is this acceptable to you? Some might argue that the right of self-determination, or secession, is a natural right. That may be so but for foreigners to come into this country, most being illegal and prodded by their own governments, and try to take part of it away does not fall under any category of rights. We, as a nation, do possess the right of self-determination and self-preservation. We have a right to determine for ourselves who can come here and who can’t. I just hope and pray that we, as Americans, will protect the nation of our fathers, our culture, our heritage, and our history, and pass it on, better than we left it, to our future generations.

Politics vs. Statesmanship in the Immigration Debate

The current national debate over immigration reform has caused me to think deeply about what is actually happening in our country. What we are seeing right before our eyes is a bunch of politicians defying the clear will of the vast majority of the American people. Poll after poll clearly show that upwards of 75 to 80 percent of the people want illegal immigration halted in its tracks and restrictions placed on legal immigration. Yet most of our illustrious leaders in Washington are doing their level best to disobey their masters.

This issue, as much as any other, will demonstrate to you, the American citizen, the true character of your elected representatives. Is he or she a statesman or just another politician? And believe me, there is a vast difference between the two.

Today we like to throw the label “Statesman” around yet not really understand the true definition of it. You probably recall many times seeing one of our older members of Congress on television and hearing the commentator refer to him as an “elder statesman.” That may or may not be true. It all depends on who he is and what he has stood for over his career. So let me bring this to the forefront and clear the air.

The textbook definition of a statesman is partially true, defining it as one who practices the art of government. I hate this definition because under it Adolf Hitler was a statesman and none of us would agree with that. But the second part of the definition is “one who governs wisely.” Now this will tell us much about today’s current debate.

Is it wise to allow millions of illegal aliens to cross our southern border every year with no serious effort to stop it? All we have heard since that fateful morning in September over four years ago is that the world changed, that we must adjust our policies to it. And we have done so, launching unprecedented pre-emptive wars, engaging in massive nation-building efforts, and seeking to spread democracy around the globe, all at a cost of countless billions of taxpayer dollars and thousands of lives. Yet we have left our southern border with Mexico wide-open, and at a time when al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden have threatened new attacks on our homeland, possibly with weapons of mass destruction. This is far from wise.

But the national security reason is not the only one. Economics is also an equally important factor. Just this week we heard President Bush, speaking from Cancun, Mexico, remind us that these immigrants, seeking work in the United States, will do the jobs American won’t do. Now that is an out-and-out, bald-faced lie! And it has been spewed from Washington for years. The truth is that Americans won’t work for four or five dollars an hour, and illegal immigrants (and legal ones for that matter) will. This is the main reason the Republican Party has allowed such as flood of illegals to cross over into our country, in order to pay back massive campaign contributions from corporations and big business. The GOP gets campaign cash, businesses get cheap labor. And what does the American worker get – the shaft! Massive floods of cheap labor will, and is, driving wages in this nation downward. More labor means lower wages. It’s simple economics.

For Democrats the issue is a little different, although they are aiding businesses as well. Don’t ever think they are not. But mainly they want to expand a voting block in which they will always get the vast majority of the votes. Republicans were overjoyed when Bush gained 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004. Well yahoo! That will not cut it, not ever. Don’t these fools realize that if Mexicans continue to pour into this nation at that rate, gain amnesty and citizenship (or just vote as illegals the way many Democrats want it) that the days of a Republican majority are over forever? Our nation, the nation of our fathers, will be lost. Our culture will be changed and it can never be regained. This is my biggest fear. I’m beginning to think the late Sam Francis was right. Maybe they are the Stupid Party!

Now back to our definitions. Those who support and promote this crazy immigration policy are not statesmen but politicians. They are worried only with now, today, the present, and have no thought for tomorrow. Oh we hear every campaign season how they are “fighting for the children” but we should look at their actions, not their words. As our Lord told us in Matthew 7:15, “By their fruit you will know them.” Don’t believe what comes out of a politician’s mouth, but look at what they actually do to judge their character. Most of our representatives in Congress only care about staying in office and their power. They are not concerned with what happens to this nation in the future. A statesman, on the other hand is wise and takes a long range view of situations, all the while standing on principle. A politician thinks about today but a statesman thinks about tomorrow, or more accurately, the next generation. Think about it my fellow citizens – what will our great nation be like in 20 or 25 years of unrestricted immigration? I can tell you – you won’t recognize it! A politician will do anything, and say anything, to get elected. We hear it all the time, yet a statesman will stand on his principles and if he is defeated he will retire to his home happily. The trappings of power do not affect him. We need men of this caliber in Washington today.

One of America’s greatest statesmen and political thinkers, John C. Calhoun, wrote and spoke often about the differences between a politician and a statesman. To Alexander Hamilton, Jr., he wrote in 1830: “The distinction between the statesman and the politician is broad and well defined. The former is an ornament and blessing to his country, but the latter a pest. No one is worthy of the public confidence, who does not place himself on principle and services as the means of advancement. Intrigue and cunning will, I trust, prove as feeble as they are detestable.” So where does your elected representative stand?

The Coming Supreme Court Fight

Many conservatives were understandably outraged at President Bush’s recent choice of White House counsel Harriet Miers as his nominee to the United States Supreme Court. Bush promised a reshaping of the Court with justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas but what we have been given are two stealth nominees, one with a very thin paper trail and one with no evidence at all of where she stands on the issues except the words of her mouth, which is generally suspect in Washington. With many outstanding, well-qualified judges with long track records of strict constuctionism at the appellate level to choose from, the conservative movement has been basely betrayed with this latest pick, to say the least.

The upcoming battle will be a difficult one for sure but conservatives in Congress should make a valiant effort and stand on principle here, even if it is a futile cause. Defeating a Miers nomination would send a strong message to President Bush from congressional conservatives. However, should she be confirmed and turn the way of David Souter, all is not lost here. Conservatives have plenty of firepower in Congress and in the states that should be used to put the Court back in its proper constitutional role.

For starters, my fellow conservatives should stop paying lip service to liberal notions of an all-powerful court system. Conservatives boast about the power of the legislative branch and the sway that it has over the federal judiciary but yet work themselves into a panicked frenzy when considering nominees, careful to make sure strict constructionist conservatives are chosen so the decisions will come out like we want them to. This is important and must be done but, irregardless of who is picked, Congress can steer the courts any way it chooses on most issues.

Our brilliant Founders did not intend for the Supreme Court to be nearly as powerful as it has become and made sure that the representatives of the people and the states had power over the unelected judiciary and the sole power to make laws. Alexander Hamilton admitted this, for the most part, in Federalist #78: “The judiciary…has no influence over the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society, and can take no active resolution whatever.”

Courts function merely to administer the law, not to make it. The job of creating law was given to the legislature, in Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.” It does not mention the Supreme Court.

In fact, if you were to examine an original map of Washington, D.C., as the planners laid out the proposed capital city, you will quickly discover that there was never even a plan for a building to house the Court. This was no accident. The Supreme Court met in the basement of the Capitol building for decades. In fact, the current building in which our infamous Court holds session was constructed during the 1930’s as part of the New Deal. It doesn’t sound like a co-equal branch of government to be shoved in the basement.

Congress has enormous power over the federal courts though they do lack the will to use it. For one, Congress sets the number of justices on the Supreme Court, not the Constitution. The original Court, in 1789, contained only six justices. Eventually that number was raised to seven, then later to its current limit of nine. If you recall, FDR sought to raise the number of seats to fifteen but was rebuffed. Yet Congress is under no constitutional obligation to fill the seat of any retiring or deceased justice. It could simply leave it empty if it so chooses and abolish it. Congress also created ALL appellate and district courts. These courts could be abolished just as easily. And though a judge’s salary can not be touched, there is nothing that protects his office and funds needed to operate it.

In addition, Congress can impeach and remove judges and justices that it views are not acting in “good behavior.” The Founders, in using that phrase, did not mean that a judge in “good behavior” was not a criminal but one who was not fulfilling his oath of office. Using foreign law to make decisions and legislating from the bench are as impeachable as corruption and bribery. However, in today’s current political makeup, gaining a two-thirds majority in the Senate would be next to impossible.

If these powers are not practical today, Congress does possess the power to curb the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary and limit what cases may be decided by it with a simple majority vote. The Supreme Court is given original jurisdiction by the Constitution but in all other cases it has appellate jurisdiction, “with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations, as Congress shall make.” Congress can pass legislation and then simply attach an amendment that states that the federal courts have no appellate jurisdiction in this matter. Case closed.

It has been erroneously suggested recently by many conservatives that Congress should pass a constitutional amendment whereby a Supreme Court decision could be overturned by a two-thirds vote of each house. This is ignorance and stupidity! Congress already possesses amble powers to overturn any and all Supreme Court decisions. There just seems to be a lack of political will to challenge the courts.

But what of the Supreme Court’s authority to interpret the Constitution and strike down laws that conflict with it? Alexander Hamilton, author of Federalist # 78 – 83, which discusses the federal judiciary, felt that the courts had the power to strike down congressional legislation that it decided was unconstitutional. This is not really in dispute today. Yet, as we have seen, Congress can take appropriate action on those matters, should it decide to do so. And Congress, throughout our history, has used legislation to overturn rulings of the Supreme Court.

Those advocating strong judicial powers, however, point to a phrase in the Constitution, in Article III, Section 2, which states that the judicial power shall extend to all cases “arising under this Constitution” as proof that the Supreme Court may take and rule on any case which it pleases, for almost anything can be construed to be a constitutional issue. Yet this is not so. The Constitution does not mention abortion, education, the environment, public assistance, or any of a number of issues taken up by the federal courts.

Along with Congress, the president has his obligation to the Constitution as well. President Thomas Jefferson, who fought John Marshall during the Court’s initial grab for power, did not believe that the judiciary was the all-powerful deciding factor in matters of legislation and constitutional interpretation. “The question whether the judges are invested with exclusive authority to decide on the constitutionality of a law has been heretofore a subject of consideration with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly there is not a word in the Constitution which has given that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches.” Here Jefferson admits a key factor in deciding just what the Constitution means. Why does the president and Congress not have as much right as the judiciary to decide whether a federal law stands up to constitutional scrutiny? The answer is obvious – they do!

The Executive Branch, it is often said, must enforce all Supreme Court decisions, yet no word in the Constitution gives the president that power. The chief executive must “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” But as we have seen, a Court decision is NOT a law! Only Congress can pass laws. In fact, past presidents have simply ignored many Court orders. President Jefferson ignored a Supreme Court order to deliver a commission to William Marbury and President Andrew Jackson actually defied John Marshall’s decision in the Cherokee cases and forcefully removed Indian tribes that the Court had declared were a “domestic, dependent nation.” Lincoln ignored Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney who ruled that the president had exceeded his power. He even went so far as to write out an arrest warrant for Taney’s confinement! We might not want to go quite as far as Mr. Lincoln but it does demonstrate the early attitudes toward the Supreme Court.

The federal courts have also been in the business of striking down legislation passed in the individual states, a power assumed since the end of the Civil War, when states’ rights and the concept of state sovereignty were destroyed. However, there is nothing in the Constitution that even suggests the federal judiciary can reach down and overturn a law passed in Mississippi, Texas, New York, or any other state. Hamilton outlined federal judicial power in Federalist # 80 and an internal matter within a single state jurisdiction is not included. The federal courts have jurisdiction over cases involving two states in dispute or any other cross-state controversy, such as a citizen of one state suing someone in another, but individual state matters are off limits.

Our state governments, which Jefferson referred to as “the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies” is a key battleground for confronting and regaining control of the federal judiciary. Simply put, we need defiance at the state level. It is high time some courageous governors stood up and declared that no longer will we abide by the rulings of federal courts that interfere in the internal matters of the state. Supreme Court decisions in the past have gone so far as to order states to raise taxes to implement federal desegregation plans and turn loose violent criminals from state penitentiaries to ease overcrowding. State officials that comply with such rulings are cowards and do not deserve to represent the people! I want to see a governor somewhere point his finger at the Court and declare, just as Andrew Jackson did to John Marshall: You have made your ruling, now YOU enforce it!

Conservatives had high hopes to build a strong, strict constructionist Supreme Court with Bush’s two terms but that dream has seemingly slipped from our grasp, probably never to return. But don’t panic my friends! Even if we can’t stop the Miers nomination, we can continue to build and maintain strong, determined conservative leaders in Congress and on the state level.  Then the Supreme Court can have no power over us and will never again decide the issues rightfully belonging to the people!

Bush and the Presidential Veto

To ensure proper checks and balances for the executive branch of government, our Founding Fathers wisely gave the president the power to veto legislation passed by Congress. This gave the chief executive enormous power over the legislative branch, though a veto could be overridden with a vote of two-thirds of the members of both houses of Congress, but a lot easier said than done. However, President Bush has yet to take advantage of this and has not vetoed one single piece of legislation in more than five years of his presidency, even though he has had many opportunities to do so.

Now I’m sure our president, with two degrees from Ivy League schools, knows that he possesses such authority under the Constitution. But why he hasn’t utilized it is anybody’s guess. My own thought is that he is still trying to live up to a campaign pledge he made in 2000, which is to bring a new tone to Washington and stop the gridlock and nasty political fighting. Vetoes would only complicate matters. This is in addition to the fact that his party controls Congress and to veto a bill could be viewed as a split in the ranks. But this is not the action of a man of principle, only one of politics. And what have we reaped from his policy? The Patriot Act, McCain-Feingold, a prescription drug benefit for Medicare, and numerous, massive spending bills full of pork, like the recent highway bill, that have given us the largest deficits in our history!

But contrary to popular belief, Bush is not alone in his veto-free presidency. In fact it has happened numerous times in our past, with seven presidents never wielding it. President Thomas Jefferson did not veto a single bill in eight full years as president, and this followed a four year term by John Adams, who also did not veto a single bill. And for the record, President Washington only vetoed two bills in his eight years at the helm. This was a different era, however. Then, presidents believed that only those laws thought to be unconstitutional should be rejected, which made the president, in the eyes of our Founders, the watchman over the Constitution rather than the Supreme Court.

A great example occurred on March 3, 1817, when President James Madison vetoed the Bonus Bill, stating in his veto message to Congress that the “legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers, or that it falls by any just interpretation within the power to make laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution those or other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States.” There are numerous examples of this throughout our early history, as presidents regarded it as their duty to guard the Constitution.

Congress also did not spend nearly the same amount of time in session during the early years of the republic as it does now, so fewer laws were passed, not to mention the fact that the federal government stayed within strict constitutional boundaries and did not venture off into areas reserved to the individual states. So presidents did not have nearly as many opportunities to veto legislation.

Beginning with Andrew Jackson, however, the era of limited presidential vetoes came to a screeching halt. President Jackson believed he should veto bills that he simply did not like, whether they were constitutional or not. He issued 12 such rejections in two terms as chief executive, compared to only 10 in the previous 40 years! Thus a new era began to take shape, giving the president much more power and authority.

Democratic heroes Grover Cleveland and Franklin D. Roosevelt hold the record for most vetoes, with 584 and 635 respectively. Amazingly, FDR, working with a Democratic Congress, had only 9 overridden in more than 12 years as president. And Cleveland issued 414 of his in his first term alone! In our modern era, usage of the veto pen has slowed a bit but has been used with great effectiveness. Nixon issued 43 vetoes, Ford had 66, Carter 31, Reagan 78, Bush, Sr. 44, and Clinton issued 37.

President Bush needs to join the crowd and begin to use his presidential power more decisively. He claims to want to slow down spending in his second term and use of the presidential veto is the surest and most effective way to do it, as it seems Congress will not. With our budget deficit soaring to new heights, something has got to give.

Embattled former House Majority Leader Tom Delay recently concluded, to the amazement of many true conservatives, that all the fat had been trimmed from the federal budget and to cut further would slice muscle and bone. Whose budget did he examine? Certainly not Washington’s! And with the prospect of spending hundreds of billions of additional dollars to clean up after Hurricane Katrina, our economic future looks bleak. President Bush should finally wield the veto pen and begin to make serious cuts in the federal budget or risk a serious split in GOP ranks, a prospect that could have disastrous consequences in 2006 and 2008.

Gas Prices and the Energy Bill That Wasn’t

Even though I am not a huge fan of George W. Bush, I always took great offense at those who attacked him and Dick Cheney for crafting policy that would enrich their oil buddies at the expense of the American taxpayer, charges often without a shred of proof. But as the price of crude and gasoline soar to new heights, I’m beginning to think those folks were on to something, even though they couldn’t prove a thing. For the Bush administration has done next to nothing to alleviate the growing problem of rising fuel costs, a threat that could swallow up the middle class and destroy any economic growth we might now be experiencing. The Bush silence on this issue is deafening.

Yet just recently the president signed a massive, do-nothing “energy” bill, running over 1,700 pages and providing some $14.5 billion in tax breaks and other incentives, an act Michael Economides, writing in the Houston Business Journal, labeled “worse than no legislation at all.” This bill, which our good friends at Citizens Against Government Waste say adds another $66 billion in federal spending, does absolutely nothing to lower the price of gasoline, a serious energy problem plaguing everyone. Which forces us to ask the question: Does Bush actually want to lower the price? It doesn’t seem like it to me. The president even stated while signing it that it is “not going to solve our energy challenges overnight.” So Mr. Bush, what are you going to do about our current problems?

The Energy Policy Act might provide some long term solutions, but we need relief now! For starters, the president should do everything within his power to lower the ever-increasing price for a gallon of fuel. This should include pumping out the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to add supply to the market, which Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has recently advocated. Critics of this idea within the administration argue that the reserve should be saved for emergencies, like disruptions in overseas imports. Yet oil is continually being added to the reserve as we speak, rather than being pumped out of it, and prices continue to rise.  A repeal of the gas tax would also greatly aid consumers.

Bush should also work to break up the OPEC cartel rather than fully supporting it. We’ve done quite a lot for our friends in the Middle East (as well as Mexico) and it’s high time they paid up! Yet instead of confronting Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, our president is seen walking hand-in-hand with the now deceased Saudi King Faud, a sickening sight! This was one argument for leaving Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq. While there, he posed a significant threat to the Saudis, as well as to the entire region. But he did not dare move on anyone with the U.S. defense umbrella in place and most of his offensive capabilities smashed during Desert Storm and the continuing Allied air patrols over the no-fly zones. We could always use that as leverage when we needed it, but no more.

And while on the subject of Iraq, why should we have liberated them free of charge? We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars and have lost over 1800 of our brave soldiers with another 13,000 wounded to secure for the Iraqi people at least the possibility of living in a free and democratic society. There is nothing wrong or immoral about being repaid with oil. America is always generally concerned with human rights abuses around the world and we usually end up paying in either blood or treasure (or both) to help fix it, but have you ever noticed that no one is ever concerned with our problems? The Iraqis, along with the people of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, ought to be down on their hands and knees thanking us profusely for liberating their region of a dangerous tyrant and should gratefully offer to repay us in kind!

As far as long term solutions go, opening up ANWR was a good start, but a beginning only. We should stop listening to environmental extremists who know nothing about the environment or oil production and open up other closed areas for drilling as well, like the oil rich Gulf of Mexico. Though it takes years to accomplish, we have the technology and the resources to end our dependence on foreign oil altogether. Remember, before the age of environmentalism, the United States was an oil exporting nation!

But instead of using some of these solutions, the president signs a bill that does not address any of our current woes. Maybe he doesn’t think they are problems at all. But plenty of middle and lower income working families certainly think so. Fuel inflation will devastate economic growth and progress, something that Bush obviously does not want to see happen. So let me give you some friendly advice, Mr. President. If you want to see the American economy boom, then work to lower the cost of fuel and the results will amaze you!

It’s Immigration Stupid!

With the recent terrorist attacks in London and the latest threats from Al Qaeda, Americans should finally learn a vital lesson that has been lost on our illustrious leaders in Washington since September 11, 2001. The problem with Islamic terrorism is not security but immigration. Liberal immigration policies for decades by the West have placed our enemies among us and left us open and vulnerable for another deadly attack, one that many predict could be very soon. We are even told, from time to time, that it is not a question of if but when. Yet instead of doing what is right, such as profiling Arabs in our midst, and busting up terror cells and kicking preachers of hate and violence out of the country, we are more concerned with not offending certain groups than we are with actually protecting our people. This is a recipe for disaster.

Restricting immigration is nothing new for the United States. At the turn of the 20th century, America was faced with internal threats from terrorists, namely anarchists from Eastern Europe. On September 6, 1901, nearly 100 years before 9/11, President William McKinley was shot and killed by an immigrant terrorist, Leon Czolgosz. McKinley’s successor, Theodore Roosevelt, never hesitated in demanding that Congress restrict immigration and rigorously punish those who preach hate and violence toward the United States.

In his First Annual Message to Congress three months after McKinley’s death, TR urged the House and Senate to “take into consideration the coming to this country of anarchists or persons professing principles hostile to all government and justifying the murder of those placed in authority. They and those like them should be kept out of this country; and if found here they should be promptly deported to the country whence they came; and far-reaching provisions should be made for the punishment of those who stay. No matter calls more urgently for the wisest thought of the Congress.” And no matter is more urgent for our country today but we need the political will to do it.

Roosevelt and those of his day had the will to do what was both right and necessary. They did not concern themselves with hurting anyone’s feelings and only concerned themselves with what was right for the United States of America . Later in his administration a bill called the Immigration Act was passed that curbed immigration from “problem” nations.

Later, during Woodrow Wilson’s administration, Communists began using bombings and other acts of terrorism to target political leaders and other influential Americans. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, along with Deputy J. Edgar Hoover, launched the “Palmer Raids,” which netted thousands of Reds, who were then either incarcerated or deported. All those found to be foreigners were taken to the docks and put on the first boat home! Though many, then and now, criticize the raids as too harsh on civil liberties, Palmer and Hoover acted in defense of our nation and its government against foreign influences that were a serious threat and because of their work the violence stopped.

But today in our era of political correctness, we would never consider doing anything of this sort because we might offend someone! How foolish is this! If this is going to be our attitude, we should change the name of our country to the United States of the Offended. It seems as if most everyone has their feelings on their shoulders, which are very easily knocked off. We should put our feelings aside and act to protect our nation.

Liberals also tell us that we cannot act out against such persons because they have rights in this country too. But they have no right to threaten our very existence as a nation and advocate violence against our people. Those that do have no right to be here. There are such things as treason and sedition!

Our current policy, however, is to infringe on the civil liberties of our citizens, in clear violation of the Bill of Rights, while seemingly protecting the foreigner. Talk about having things upside down and backwards! We are spending billions of dollars on the federal, state, and local level for heightened security and, at the same time, stripping away the freedom and liberty of American citizens. The Patriot Act passed to the delight of many so-called conservatives but is an abomination to Constitution. We get harassed in airports, have our bags searched while getting on the subway, and can even have our library records examined – all in the name of protection and security.

But, ask yourself this question, who is the real threat to America at the present time? Native citizens or immigrant Arabs? The choice is obvious. So why do we have to get harassed and treated like criminals? It’s time we put a stop to the erosion of our rights, freedoms that have been paid for by American blood, and focus on the real problem – immigration. This is not to say all Arabs in this nation are bad but we need to place them under a much stronger microscope because we simply cannot take any more chances. And if our politicians are too afraid to act out against the enemies within because of someone’s feelings, then maybe its time to change leaders and begin to elect those who possess the intestinal fortitude to do what is right.

Let us stop and remember the words of one of our great Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, who warned us that those “ who would give up essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security.”

CAFTA: Another Free Trade Disaster

Last week the House of Representatives, following the action of the Senate, and using a variety of arm-twisting and brow-beating tactics, passed yet another free trade package that promises to be a boom to the U.S. economy. CAFTA, or Central American Free Trade Agreement, would open the American market to six Latin American nations – Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. In essence this is an extension of NAFTA, which has been far more damaging to our economy than advertised and this new deal will be no different.

President Bush has been behind this effort for years. At first he wanted a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a NAFTA-style pact that would stretch from the Arctic to Argentina, but that did not have much of a chance of passage so he convinced enough numbskulls in Congress to go along with this scaled-down version. It seems as if the free trade fools are going to attempt to put it in piecemeal. And now they have another piece of their destructive puzzle in place. With three million manufacturing jobs lost under the Bush administration, you would think they might have learned something by now.

But like his father, Bush is convinced that free trade is the path to American prosperity. He has not learned, or has not wanted to learn, that NAFTA, which his father pushed but Clinton enacted, did not achieve it and will never achieve it. Regardless of what one thinks about Ross Perot, and his giant sucking sound analogy, he was exactly right about free trade with Mexico, where we saw a trade surplus disappear almost overnight and millions of jobs shipped south of the border. This trend has continued under GATT and will only get worse under CAFTA. Free trade might look wonderful on paper but can never work in the real world and the realities of political economics, where the nation, and not just the consumer, is taken into consideration.

Yet we get the same drivel from the administration every single time a deal like this is put forward. As Bush declared in a statement on CAFTA’s passage, “CAFTA helps ensure that free trade is fair trade.” How can it Mr. President, when our workers here in this country are put in direct competition with workers making a fraction of American wages; where there are no environmental and safety standards and regulations; and where American production can so easily be undercut. The agreement, continued Bush, “will level the playing field and help American workers, farmers and small businesses.” Yeah, just like NAFTA! The only help this agreement will give is to the many large corporations, a major portion of GOP campaign cash I might add, who are standing by ready to uproot more factories and move them to Latin America. This, coupled with millions of immigrants, both legal and illegal, pouring into the country to take more American jobs, its no wonder our wages are stagnant and have seen no real rise in decades. American workers lose again!

But the administration assures us that the markets of these six nations will be wide open for consumption of American goods duty free, products such as agriculture crops and even manufactures like tractors from Illinois, we are told. Yet the standard of living in these nations is very low. How many tractors, or Dell computers, or Ford automobiles, for that matter, can the folks in the Dominican Republic really buy? Not many! Most of them don’t have two dollars to rub together at any one time. Pitiful situations to be sure, but not our mission to resolve, as some have argued.

But to make matters worse, as well as more irritating to a nationalist, many so-called conservatives, in and out of Congress and the White House, have been pushing for this agreement for months and using arguments that border on economic treason. Take for example Charles Krauthammer. His column on June 24 of this year argued that the United States needed to enter into a free trade pact with Latin America, not to help us but because of the low living standards and the “widespread poverty” in the Central American region! “If we have learned anything from the last 25 years,” he writes, “it is that open markets and free trade are the keys to pulling millions, indeed hundreds of millions of people, out of poverty. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is a chance to do the same for desperately poor near-neighbors.” Mr. Krauthammer, what about our people? It is not the responsibility of the United States of America to pull the world out of poverty. Many nations around the world are in that situation because of their own stupidity and we should not throw open our markets to cheap imports that will cost us important jobs!

So you see the hypocrisy of free traders: on the one hand they argue that these foreign markets will be open to American goods but then on the other hand try to argue that free trade deals will help these impoverished regions. How can they buy our goods if they are so poor?

 But Mr. Krauthammer is not done. No, he continues his argument, not by citing great American leaders of years past, but a foreign one! Krauthammer cites British economist David Ricardo in attempting to prove that trade between two nations “based on relative efficiency of production is always beneficial to both countries.” But Mr. Krauthammer does not bother to tell us how it will benefit the U.S. economy, just like no one could tell us how NAFTA would be a benefit, except by useless generalizations.
Our Founding Fathers well understood the importance of economic nationalism and self-sufficiency. Beginning with Washington and our great economic architect Hamilton, and later with Jefferson, Clay, Lincoln, and TR, our nation placed its own economic interests first and would have never signed onto an agreement like CAFTA that would hurt the American economy and its workers to the benefit of the Third World. America maintained a policy of economic nationalism for well over 150 years and built the greatest economic machine the world has ever known; a financial and industrial giant that single-handedly fought a two-front war in the 1940’s to bring down Fascism and later Communism. It was not free trade that paid for these victories but that now-dirty word – protectionism. Mr. Krauthammer stands with the British and David Ricardo. I’ll stand with America and Alexander Hamilton.

The Real Lessons of Vietnam

Since 1975, in any engagement involving the U.S. military, particularly major wars such as Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, liberals have warned of the possibility of getting into “another Vietnam.” We hear it all day, every day. Yet the real lessons of the Vietnam War have yet to be learned. And as we speak, our nation is committing the same blunders in the Middle East that we did in Southeast Asia 40 years ago. For the record, I am not arguing that Iraq was a mistake or that we should pull out now, but three major lessons of Vietnam are of particular interest in our present situation.

Lesson # 1 – Know Your Enemy. Sun Tzu taught this valuable lesson more than 2,000 years ago. “If you know yourself and not the enemy,” he wrote, “for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.” We made countless blunders in Vietnam because we did not know our enemy and we did not understand Vietnamese culture.

For starters there were very few Asian experts in the State Department, so very little guidance could be provided to U.S. policy makers. By contrast, experts on Japan provided much needed information during the Second World War. Had a few of these analysts been around in the 1960’s, crucial mistakes might have been averted. One example occurred early in the American phase of the war. In order to attempt to separate rural Vietnamese peasants from Viet Cong insurgents, the Strategic Hamlet Program was initiated. Villagers would be relocated from their homes to fortified settlements. The problem was that these villages, most of them ancient, are a major part of Vietnamese culture. Ancestors dating back generations are buried there, a belief that they will bless and watch over the land, making it fruitful. Having been to Vietnam on three separate occasions, I have seen this culture first hand.  Forced relocations from ancestral lands caused massive resistance among the Vietnamese people and pushed many villagers to join the Viet Cong.

In addition, the Vietnamese are a very martial people, a fact that most at the time did not know or understand. They fought a war for independence against the Chinese for 1,000 years! These people do not give up nearly as easily as the Johnson Administration believed they would after a few days of Rolling Thunder. These are just a few of many examples that could be cited.

Today in the Middle East, we seem unwilling to admit who we are fighting and why they make war on us. The standard line we’ve been getting since September 11, 2001 is that Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network are fighting the United States because of our way of life, a culture Muslims despise. But this is far from accurate. Bin Laden and his ilk could care less what we do over here. It’s what we do over there that has them upset. Bin Laden issued a declaration of war against the United States in 1996. There is not one word in it that even remotely suggests he is upset with our lifestyle here at home. But he did state unequivocally that he is angry with the presence of American troops on the sacred soil of the Arabian Peninsula and continued U.S. support for Israel against the Palestinians. Muslim extremists like Bin Laden also fear that the United States is exporting American culture to the Islamic world, thereby poisoning the Muslim way of life.

Al Qaeda is fighting a religious war against us and we refuse to recognize it. Though I am not suggesting this course of action, in theory, should the U.S. pull out of the Middle East totally, our terrorist problems would disappear. But as long as “American infidels” are engaged in the Middle East, I’m sad to report, Islamic extremists will never stop fighting us.

Lesson # 2 – If You Must Use Military Power, Then Use It Decisively. During the Vietnam War the politicians did not want to use the full weight of the U.S. military against our Vietnamese enemies. We did not use strategic bombing like we did in the Second World War. We never launched an invasion of North Vietnam. We did not seriously attempt to stop the use of Cambodia and Laos as Viet Cong and NVA bases. We were much more concerned with not losing the war than we were on actually winning it. No plan for victory existed anywhere. Now let me be very clear about one thing: American military forces performed superbly in Vietnam, winning every battle. And U.S. forces have been spectacular in the fields of the Middle East. However they are being limited by politicians just as they were 40 years ago.

First, we did not use nearly enough force in Iraq. Turkey should have been punished severely for not allowing us to use their territory to invade with the 4th Infantry Division from the north. More troops on the battlefield would have allowed us to seal the country and keep foreign fighters from pouring into Iraq from Iran and Syria. This was a huge blunder and everyone knows it.

Secondly, we don’t seem to want to get aggressive enough with the insurgency. The job of a military force is to kill the enemy. Period. But what are we currently arguing about? Giving our enemies, those who want to see us dead, the right to use American courtrooms! And worrying that some terrorist thug was humiliated by having to wear underwear on his head! What insanity! The insurgency seems now to be getting stronger not weaker. But yet some of our leaders have stated recently that it is nearly at an end. Funny, didn’t the Johnson Administration say the same thing in late 1967, just before the Tet Offensive?

Lesson # 3 – A Divided Homefront Gives Aid And Comfort To The Enemy. If we should have learned anything from the Vietnam experience it should be this. There is ample evidence that the North Vietnamese did not believe they could continue fighting the United States while suffering the massive casualties inflicted upon them. They are a martial people, to be sure, but they had never taken the kind of beating dished out by the U.S. military machine. But what kept them going was watching American society tear itself apart over the war. Seeing massive protests, dissident congressional leaders, and even violence gave hope to Hanoi that if they just held out longer, the United States would be forced to quit. It was protracted war at its finest. But had we maintained a united front at home, things might have turned out differently.

The American public has been divided over the war in Iraq since it began. And it seems as if every week we get more dangerously subversive rhetoric from congressional Democrats. Fanatical liberals, like Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi, constantly call the commander-in-chief a liar, compare our troops to Nazis, scream for Rumsfeld to resign, say the war in Iraq is lost, and the list goes on. This kind of behavior is damaging to troop morale and gives aid and comfort to our enemies. Excuse me for asking, but is this not treason in a time of war? Can you imagine if we had had this kind of dissent during World War II? This kind of behavior is irresponsible, inexcusable, and borderline treason. You may hate the war, but once troops are in the field they should be given our full support.

These are just a few of the many lessons drawn from the Vietnam War, but probably the most relevant to our current situation today. But until these lessons are finally learned and never again repeated, the long shadow of Vietnam will continue to hang over our nation.

Are You Star Trek or Star Wars?

With the release of Episode III, the final installment of George Lucas’s classic saga, we can now ask ourselves what is the true legacy of Star Wars. But better yet, while doing this, let us also consider that other famous space flick Star Trek. For both series’ have far different outlooks on the future.

Simply put, Star Trek is based on the premise that man is perfectible and the institution in which he achieved that state of perfection is government. Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek’s creator, was a believer in a one-world government system, also known as the New World Order, and was a big proponent of the United Nations. His story centers not on a world government system, but a universal government agency – the United Federation of Planets (UFP). During the first series, with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, all galactic beings got along great, with the exception of the Klingons. But by the Next Generation, even the evil Klingons had been brought into the fold and “perfected.” Even evil can be eradicated in Mr. Roddenberry’s world. The UFP controlled everything and one is quickly led to believe that everything will work out great if we just had one international institution to watch over us.

This notion comes directly from socialism and Marxist/communist theory. Karl Marx and other proponents of these ideas believed in a utopia, a perfect society that could be achieved by government, in one form or another, but all totalitarian systems. Marx also believed that even government would not be necessary once the final stages of his utopia, his worker’s paradise as he termed it, was achieved. However, these utopian ideas are there to fill a void, a void without God. We as Christians understand that man is perfectible only by God and only when we arrive in His perfect place – Heaven. No superior being exists in Roddenberry’s saga. So Star Trek would equal communism and socialism. Government can be used for good, to perfect man and to perfect society. But because there is no God (to a communist/socialist), we have to have a strong, centralized government structure to perfect man and to perfect society. Isn’t this what Hitler had in mind for his Reich? A perfect society full of perfect people. So doesn’t Star Trek sound a lot like our liberal, and even neo-conservative friends in Washington? A world-wide (or universe-wide) crusade for utopia.

Star Wars, on the other hand, is a great story about good vs. evil, a version of God and Satan, and about human nature itself. There is good in this world, but as we have seen throughout our history on this planet with the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, we also have much evil. But liberals refuse to believe evil exists. Unfortunately it does and because of this we as humans have to have government. As James Madison said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” But we are not angels, a little lower I’m afraid. Star Wars portrays this perfectly. We need a government but the best system we can have, which our Founders left us, is a constitutional republic. Episode III demonstrates that a republic is much preferred to a dictatorship. Rather than try to co-exist with evil (or even to convert it), Star Wars seeks to destroy it. The Jedi do not co-exist with the Sith, but wage war against it at every turn, seeking to end its influence in the republic. In fact the Jedi exist solely to protect the republic against enemies that might try to destroy it. This is true conservatism. We should be concerned with enemies, both foreign and domestic, that threaten our freedom and our republican institutions. However, foreign crusades for utopian ideals can be destructive and should be resisted. As John Quincy Adams once said, “Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will [ America ’s] heart, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”