Monday, November 29, 2004

November 28

Chasing Los Voto -- Politics Trumps Protection
Have you been trying to sort out just what the hell happened to the intelligence reform legislation? It looked like a slam-dunk until Saturday when it suddenly went down in flames. The reason the legislation stalled, we were told, is because of two specific issues in the bill – one real, one phony.

The 9/11 families have skillfully made the intelligence reform bill a hot potato and no one wanted to be seen as playing politics with the issue. But the Pentagon, which currently controls over 80% of the annual $40 billion intel budget, wanted the measure watered down. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld is a wizard at palace politics. (Those who work with him call him “the quiet little man with very sharp elbows.) Rumsfeld’s forces cooked up the phony issue: who was going to control intelligence gathering satellites, the newly created National Intelligence Director (NID,) or the Pentagon. Rummy knows he can’t stop the switch of much of the DODs intel budget to the new NID, but by throwing in this last minute monkey wrench he will exact some concessions. Rep. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Arms Services Committee, carried the ball for Rumsfeld on this issue.

The real issue was the one raised by House Judiciary Chairman, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, (R.Wis) and it deserves more respect than it has been getting. Sensenbrenner put a rule into the House version of the bill that would have standardized state drivers license rules across the nation and prohibited the issuance of drivers licenses to illegal aliens. Sensenbrenner's amendments were quietly removed from the Senate's version of the bill -- and Sensenbrenner threw a fit about it.

So what’s the deal? Who’s doing whom here and why?

By Jerry Kammer

November 22, 2004 WASHINGTON – Republican strategist Grover Norquist thinks acceptance of illegal immigration would boost his party and the U.S. economy. (Full Story)

Yes amigos, it's all about the growing power of the Hispanic vote. Both Dems and Repubs see Hispanics as THE key voting block in future elections. And, they appear willing to do whatever it takes to court their favor -- even risk our lives.

Here in California where I live the issue of who should be allowed to get a drivers license cost our last governor his job. Democrat Gray Davis first opposed giving illegals driver’s licenses on the grounds that doing so would create a security threat. He correctly noted then that a drivers license often serves as the cornerstone document needed to cre
ate a complete false identity.

Later, when faced with a voter recall, Davis did a shameless 180 on the issue, backing the issuance of drivers licenses to illegals, in the hope he get enough Hispanic votes to save his wishy washy butt. It didn’t work.

This time it took a politician from a state that’s still so white it glows in the dark to confront the drivers license issue for what it really is – a national security issue. Wisconsin’s Sensenbrenner believes, as does anyone who considers the matter honestly, that its nuts to issue an official state document, one so central to the way we conduct our lives in this country, to someone who’s snuck into the country illegally. Duh.

We show our drivers license to cash checks, and as photo ID to board airplanes. Why? -- Because the info on the license is supposed to be certified as reliable by state authorities.. It’s supposed to prove we are who we say we are and live where we say we live. Meanwhile, nothing an illegal alien tells the DMV can be assumed to be true. After all, why would an illegal alien provide a real address? So the INS could more easily track them down and deport them? Double duh!

The intel reform bill stalled because neither Republicans nor Democrats in the Senate had the balls to back Sensenbrenner’s driver’s licenses restriction. It’s pure, shameless, unadulterated politics -- pandering for Hispanic votes. We can only hope that Hispanic-American voters are smart enough to see that their security is at stake here too. Maybe they do have a relative who is here illegally and can sympathize with the difficulties illegals face. Compelling –tear-jerkingly compelling – tales can be told of countless illegals struggling to make it in El Norte. But, none of those stories has anything to do with divers licenses, but rather their illegal status.

When a politician uses the term “illegal alien,” in the context of this discussion, what they mean is Mexican aliens. But some of the 9/11 hijackers were illegal aliens too. Illegal aliens come in all flavors, not just one. Any bending of the rules for one flavor of illegal alien benefits them all. Is that really what we want right now? Why on earth would anyone want to provide an illegal alien any piece of government-sanctified paperwork that could be used to facilitate their movement around the country?

So, both parties need to get real about reforming our immigration laws and enforcement otherwise any changes they make in our national intelligence infrastructure will have been a waste of time.

But pandering is a hard habit to break. In California those yearning for Hispanic votes revived the drivers licenses for illegals issue after Arnold took over hoping he would feel the pressure and join their pander-party. And, here is where the hypocrisy of glowed through all the rhetoric. Gov. Arnold said he was willing to sign the bill, but only if the licenses issued bore a mark indicating that the bearer was an undocumented alien, not a citizen. The idea was that police might want to know that if the subject were stopped and airlines would like to know when the license was presented for a ticket. And, that it would be a check on fraud if the bearer tried to use the license to get false documentation of citizenship. But the bill’s backers refused and the measure died.. again. Now ask yourself; why would they object to such a reasonable restriction?

Hispanics are indeed becoming a voting powerhouse. But, politicians chasing those votes by whoring for this drivers license issue need to ask themselves just how much they are willing to risk for a handful of votes. Issuing drivers licenses to illegals would only make an already out of control immigration situation worse.

The absurdity of it really comes home whenever I, a genuine, stamped and USDA certified US citizen find myself being subjected to a near strip search whenever I fly someplace. Meanwhile a few hundred miles south of where my shoes are being X-rayed illegals just stroll right into the country, carrying who knows what, with who knows what intentions. Sure, the vast majority are simply seeking a better life. But it only took a couple of dozen illegals to kill a several of thousand of us three years ago.

So, I am forced to tip my hat to a Republican – (Ouch! That hurt!). But Sensenbrenner happens to be right. Even those of you prefer to believe he’s just a Wisconsin-honky-cheesehead who hates Mexicans, have to admit he’s right on the issue. We should not provide documents to undocumented (illegal) aliens – of any flavor.

And, helllooo Democrats.. wonder why you are hemorrhaging support in America and the south? This is one of the reasons. You guys have to stop pandering to illegal Mexicans with promises of amnesty and free and easy access to social services.

Republicans.. you guys need to agree to laws that really do crack down on employers who hire illegal aliens since it's the jobs that attract them in the first place. Employers who hire illegals are adding and abetting in a crime. Got it? You Republicans are, after all, the party of values... right? Is obeying the law one of them?

So, okay, both parties… stop selling our security for votes -- anyone’s votes. Ask Gray Davis what happens when you do. He now has nothing but time on his hands to explain.

A Cry For a Free Press
Yesterday's column struck a nerve. (Click here to read it) I got so many good letters about the pathetic White House press corps that I want to share some of the comments:

Henry wrote:
You know as well as I do that the White House reporters will never, never challenge Bush. He set those rules at his first press conference. He scared the crap out of them and the ground rules were established. Only Helen Thomas challenged him and she was relegated to the back of the hall near the door Reporters are given the questions to ask, and to step out of line meets with punishment. Now what reporter is going to stand up to that. He or she would be drummed out of the room. So much for democracy. Cry for us Argentina. We are lower than third world now. Sad, Sad, Sad. I have told my Republicans friends, "Hang on to your wallets and your Bibles, you're going to need them both!"
Kurt wrote:
How we all yearn for the exchange you have imagined. But, really, don't all those stenographers in the WH Press Corps work for giant corporations whose primary businesses are not journalism? I would not expect any TV news personalities to ask real questions. It will be left to the print media if they can find their gonads, and then it'll be left up to the TV nitwits to broadcast the exchange because who the hell reads news papers nowadays? TV is the choke point for honest reporting and it is unlikely that they will allow us to witness anything like you described.

Erik wrote:
You are professional journalists. If you can't ask these questions - OUT LOUD - who can? Where is this blackout coming from? I will never have the opportunity to have my questions about my government answered in front of the entire world. Journalists are supposed to do it for me. If we are talking about money, profit, "selling sexy news", then fine...who do I make the check out to? Point me and others like me in the direction of the nearest pen jockey with a White House press pass and I'll PAY them to ask the hard questions. Does that solve the problem? No? If it's not money (capitalism...right?) then what?

Be the hero If someone is telling you to report this and not that - report it - that's news too! Loose your job? Sell your story to your former competitors! I can't believe I as an American have to go to other countries news organizations to find out what is happening in the world. It is wrong to tell a lie. I don't want to be the only voice in my child’s life telling him so. Fix it.
John wrote:
This WW2 Navy Combat Vet, who lost a brother in action 1944 Europe is so disgusted with this demoralized administration and the news media that looks the other way. Your right about the press conference, the only person who got it right was Helen Thomas, and Smirky can’t stand to have her near. I wish you could get to question the so called Commander in Chief, and when he says no follow-up, have a sign ready to hold up for him to look at, suggest that to your friends in the press corps.
Be readin ya , Ole Vet

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