Friday, June 8, 2007

Where Tom Tancredo Lost Me

I was reviewing the most recent debate last night, and Tom Tancredo made this statement.

"But let's be serious about this, you guys. We can talk about all the immigration reform we want and what it's got to get down to is this: Are we ready for a time-out? Are we actually ready to say, enough is enough, we have to stop all legal immigration except for people coming into this country as family members, immediate family members, and/or refugees."

Excuse me, Tom? I was a big fan of yours when you were talking about providing amnesty and/or pardoning Duane "Dog" Chapman. I applauded your stance on stopping illegal immigration. Now you want to slow the amount of legal immigration to a slight trickle, where those who are simply looking to take the right path for a better life in America are turned away at the door?

Sorry Tom, but I can't back you on that one. If your stance had been enacted into law prior to 1971, my mother and my grandparents would not have been able to come to this country, and I would not be alive today.

Legal immigration is a great thing, and we need to find ways to make it more streamlined and efficient, as well as cost-effective. I would think that updating and re-working the current methods of legal immigration is the goal that our politicians should be trying to obtain...instead of radical ideas from either side, whether it be amnesty or this proposal from Tancredo.

Arin Sime at Republitarian

The Podium-endorsed candidate for the 24th State Senate district, Arin Sime (L-Crozet), was the subject of a Q and A session at Republitarian last night. Sime gave direct, thoughtful, and solid answers.

In fact, if you have any questions for Arin Sime, head over to Republitarian and ask them, as I believe the forum is still open for more questions. I have a couple I would like to ask, but I am saving them for the live blogging session we're doing with Sime over at Daily Whackjob.

Cloture Vote Fails 45-50, 12 Dems Stand Up For What's Right

Well, 11 Dems and Bernie Sanders (who might as well be a Democrat) stood up to Harry Reid and said "we will not support this".

I consider this to be a bipartisan vote, with all things considered. 38 Republicans, 11 Democrats, and 1 Democrat-caucusing Independent all voting against cloture. This wasn't a Republican-only vote, even though Republicans did make up the majority of those against cloture and against the bill in general.

Non-GOPers voting against cloture: Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, Barbara Boxer, Robert C. Byrd, Byron Dorgan, Mary Landrieu, Claire McCaskill, Mark Pryor, Jay Rockefeller, Bernie Sanders, Jon Tester, and Jim Webb.

Republicans voting against cloture: Lamar Alexander, Wayne Allard, Bob Bennett, Kit Bond, Jim Bunning, Richard Burr, Saxby Chambliss, Thad Cochran, Norm Coleman, Susan Collins, Bob Corker, John Cornyn, Larry Craig, Mike Crapo, Jim DeMint, Elizabeth Dole, Pete Domenici, John Ensign, Chuck Grassley, Judd Gregg, Orrin Hatch, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Jim Inhofe, Johnny Iaskson, John Kyl, Trent Lott, Mitch McConnell, Lisa Murkowski, Ted Roberts, Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby, Gordon Smith, Olympia Snowe, Ted Stevens, John Sununu, John Thune, David Vitter, John Warner.

Thank these people for doing the right thing in the end, even though a few of them were pushing this bill (Chambliss, Kyl, Lott), but they did the right thing in the end by voting against cloture and putting this bill on the shelf.

Pro-immigration activists and Harry Reid are continuously blaming the right. Harry Reid, looking humbled and beaten after the cloture vote failed, pulled the bill from the floor and praised the "7 courageous Republicans" who voted with him, and admonished the rest of the Republicans who didn't vote for cloture.

There wasn't any admonishing of the 12 guys on Reid's side of the aisle that voted against cloture, but I'm sure that will take place behind closed doors.

However, for now, America is safe from this amnesty bill. Pour a glass of champagne, pop a cold one, or tip back a shot...and let's take a moment to celebrate.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

If You Ever Doubted Iran's Intentions... should probably silence those doubts now.

Iran was caught shipping arms to the Taliban. Not just guns, either. We're talking heavy arms, more than 1,650 pounds of C4, advanced roadside bombs. Also seized were RPG rockets and mortar rounds. Kudos to NATO for catching this.

What's surprising is that Iran and the Taliban have never gotten along, especially since Iranian muslims are generally Shi'a, while the Taliban are Sunni muslims. However, given that Iran and the Taliban have a much bigger common cause (destroying America and the rest of western civilization)...I guess they've put their differences aside for the time being.

Rudy Guiliani's Health Care Plan

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, the outline and objective of GOP presidential candidate and former NYC mayor Rudy Guiliani's health care plan for America. While Rudy's plan will not be formally introduced in detail until this summer, Rudy has some interesting plans.

- Moving individuals from employer-based coverage to direct-purchase coverage to give Americans more options in choosing their personal health care plans.

- Make health insurance more like car and homeowner's insurance. Even though routine check-ups would be paid out-of-pocket by the individual, Guiliani's plan is apparently including tax breaks for anybody who purchases coverage on the open market, since employer-based coverage is already provided tax-free to employees. Also, you have different plans at different costs, and if someone doesn't need certain types of coverage, they don't have to have it and they won't have to pay for it.

- This relieves some of the cost burdens of employers to cover their employees, as Guiliani believes that this plan would encourage, but not force, individuals to switch to direct-purchase plans.

- Guiliani would eliminate a lot of the state and federal mandates for minimum coverage, as some people may not want as much coverage as some states require insurance companies to provide.

I would like to see some of the details of this plan, but on the surface, it is a very interesting and appealing plan.

Immigration Bill is the Topic of the Day (Updates as the day goes on)

Big tip of the hat to Michelle Malkin for following all of this as it happens so I don't have to. However, I'll highlight the important parts and you can go to her site for details if you haven't already. The past 3 days have been an incredible study in how we go about passing laws in our nation.

First of all, Harry "White Flag" Reid INSISTS that there will be a vote on cloture today, and we will get one. Cloture will be filed if there are 60 "yea" votes. However, only one of these amendments so far has received 60 or more votes either I'm going to guess that there will be NO cloture filed today.

Harry Reid is pushing for cloture because the doesn't want to force the Senate to vote on various amendments, thereby showing the Democratic party's stance on the sub-issues surrounding this bill, for fear of backlash. He also doesn't want the GOP amendments to be heard.

Bryan Dorgan is against this bill, and believes that amnesty will hurt American workers. Good for him, I like a Democrat with sense and the ability to move outside of party lockstep. I don't know much else about him (other than the fact that he is from North Dakota), but I may donate to his re-election campaign if he continues to stand firm against this bill. His amendment to sunset the Temporary Worker program after 5 years passes.

Mitch McConnell is showing true leadership against Reid's demands for cloture.

Lindsey Graham, a buddy of John McCain and is also one of the major proponents of this bill, throws an incredibly childish tantrum last night, video courtesy of Hot Air.

President Bush, meanwhile, is rapidly losing conservatives over his insistence on this bill...Democrats may rejoice over this, but they should be warned that it's not a good thing for the liberal cause if conservatives abandon Bush because they're moving further towards the right.

Tom Coburn proposes an amendment, co-sponsored by Jim DeMint, to fully enforce all current immigration laws. Amendment fails 42-52. 7 Democrats vote for this amendment (good for them). However, 12 Republicans vote against it. That list includes Sam Brownback (there goes his already barely-existent chances at being in the White House) and John Warner (Virginia has had poor representation on this bill). I know Warner is fairly moderate, but come on! Get smart, John!

Reid states that if cloture vote fails now, he will push for it again at 5 pm. He has twice now referred to this as "the President's bill", as if that absolves him of any blame should this bill get pushed through. I usually don't curse on this blog, but Harry Reid is an ass...there's no two ways about this.

Motion to file cloture made at 11:41 am...CLOTURE VOTE FAILS 33-63, the game is still on.

1:15 pm UPDATE

Second cloture vote fails 34-61, Reid's attempt to file a "motion to reconsider" and change the vote around smacks him right in the face.

More proposing of amendments, blabbering by the Dems about how we're breaking up families (why not reunite them back in their own country, and they can come over together...legally)...I really think that there will eventually be a filibuster on this...which will hopefully kill this worthless bill.

Allahpundit over at Hot Air suggests that Reid will not put this bill on the shelf now, even though he can't get cloture, because if this bill gets shelved, the fault lies squarely with the Democrats. If the Republicans are forced to filibuster, then it's more of a shared blame.

2:17 pm UPDATE

John Ensign: "The more you talk about this bill, the more you realize that when you fix one problem, there's another one..."

Reid is now pushing for a unanimous consent agreement, 3 GOP amendments and 3 Democratic amendments. More compromise, more shortfalls. While Jeff Sessions is speaking against the bill in general, Arlen "RINO" Specter continuously interrupts Sessions...and Reid is heard whispering in Specter's ear to get Sessions to stop talking and sign a unanimous consent agreement, Sessions refuses.

Jim Webb is now on the floor discussing his amendment to narrow down the number of illegals granted this amnesty based on their "roots in the country".

3:06 pm UPDATE

Reid announces that there won't be any unanimous consent (a big thank you to the senators who wouldn't sign a unanimous consent agreement). Reid blames the Republicans, states that Bush needs to get involved, again states that "this is the president's bill", and then announces "Let the record reflect that this bill isn't going anyplace and it's not our fault." I would also like for the record to reflect that Harry Reid is still a white flag-waving, pompous jerk.

A Washington Times article points out that Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and John Kyl are practically taking orders from Ted "Oops, I Forgot the Girl" Kennedy on some of these votes. Now you know why I'm so against McCain in the GOP primary.

Harry Reid makes one of his most outrageous statements yet: "This is the president's bill...I want to help the president. I think I've done everything I can. Asking for consent to vote on some amendments and call on some amendments to be set aside."

Yeah, Harry...sure, you really want to help the president, don't you? Can we impeach a Senate majority leader for being a spineless, sniveling, conniving little P.O.S.?

Now Reid is stating that debate will only continue until 4:15 pm, and is pretty much cherry-picking which amendments will be brought up before then.

4:04 pm UPDATE

Nothing much going on at the moment except more banter and debate. However, it should be pointed out that the GOP base is mad as hell at some of it's leaders, and for good reason. Trent Lott supports this piece of junk legislation and has been telling anti-legislation Republicans that he won't tolerate a filibuster, and apparently has castigated GOP senators who've switched votes.

In response to all of this, Lott said: "We're going to do this damned thing, and if we don't, I think we should dissolve the Congress and just go home..."

See a few responses to Lott's comments from some Republican/conservative voters here.

6:26 pm UPDATE

Well, apparently, not much has happened in the past few hours. The floor has been fairly quiet, with the exception of Ted Kennedy letting loose more lies from the corpulent hollows of his never-shut mouth. Kennedy states that "America wants this" bill to be passed. Right, that's why only 26% of Americans support it...sure, Ted, whatever you say.

Reid is going to send some more amendments to the desk. He states "no tricks," I say "at least, not this time."

Unless something major happens...I'll refer you to my source on today's action, Michelle Malkin.

More to come...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What if D-Day had Occurred Today?

Very poignant and true of how our media reacts to these types of incidents.

Remember those who fought and died to keep the world safe from tyranny on June 6, 1944

Harry Reid = Moron Squared, and Immigration Bill Update

Yesterday, Sen. Harry "White Flag" Reid referred to illegal immigrants as "12 million undocumented Americans."

WHAT??? Come again? These people, who have no legal status in this country and shouldn't even be here, are to be considered Americans??? You've GOT to be kidding me.

As for yesterday's and today's floor debates and votes on the Immigration Bill...(both courtesy of Michelle Malkin)

Important Notes From Yesterday...
- Wayne Allard's amendment to ensure illegals don't get green-card preference over those who have been patiently waiting without illegally entering the country was voted down.
- "Dirty" Dick Durbin's amendment to eliminate Dept. of Labor provisions to waive requirements that employers in "labor shortage areas" offer jobs to U.S. workers before foreign workers passes.
- Harry "White Flag" Reid keeps pushing for cloture...Mitch McConnell and the GOP is NOT having this. McConnell states that Reid is avoiding having Dems vote on germane amendments, Reid insists "we're going to file cloture on this bill today." Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn both call out the Dems for stalling and attempting to squeeze out their proposed amendments via cloture.
- Ted Kennedy proclaims he is "ready to go." John Thune wants his amendment scheduled as "pending", Kennedy objects. As Malkin puts it..."So much for being ready to go."

Important Notes from Today...
- Kennedy and Cornyn both have proposed amendments about banning criminals from obtaining Z visas. Cornyn states that if we don't adopt his amendment, which bans all felons from obtaining Z visas, we should entitle this bill "No Felon Left Behind" (right on!).
- Kennedy states that "1986 was amnesty, this is not amnesty" (yet, he wrote both bills), and blames Reagan and Bush 41 for not enforcing the 1986 amnesty bill's provisions on enforcing border security...however, he completely ignores the fact that from 1993 to 2001, a certain Democrat with the last name of "Clinton" was the president, and he never enforced thsoe provisions, either. Kennedy's speech includes a lot of strange pauses and sentence fragments as it seems like he was about to have a heart attack from the text I read.
- Sheldon Whitehouse compares Cornyn's amendment to torture (umm, okay Sheldon). He goes on about the due process of illegal aliens, blubberblubberblubber. Then, Jeff Sessions steps up with this gem in defense of Cornyn's amendment...
"No one has a right to come to America. We get to decide...we allow on our terms and conditions... our immigration system is set up to serve the national interest...No one has a constitutional legal right to demand entry into America. It amazes me the lack of comprehension shown...We set the standards. Se have the most generous set of laws in the world. Se're not going to end immigration or act irrationally. To set reasonable standards, as Cornyn is attempting to do, only makes common sense."
- John Cornyn's amendment that bans felons and others convicted serious, but non-felonious, crimes from obtaining Z visas is knocked down.
- Ted Kennedy's amendment that bans a very narrow field of criminals (due to all of the exceptions he's listed) from obtaining Z visas passes.
- After expressing support for Kennedy's amendment, RINO Arlen Specter states that he will yank this bill if Harry Reid continues to push for cloture.

Both days, John Kyl (the lead Republican on this bill) has threatened to pull support on this bill if certain amendments are passed (such as the Bob Menendez and Hillary Clinton amendments). Also, Harry Reid is SCARED of exposed Democratic senators to voting against germane amendments proposed by the Republicans, for fear of backlash from the public for not supporting smart amendments.

3rd Time a Charm for some GOP Candidates

Well, I missed the last 20 minutes of the first half of the Republican debate on CNN last night, but I caught some of that missed time this morning. This debate was marred by technical problems and Wolf Blitzer's incredibly annoying presence (once again, Anderson Cooper would've been a better moderator). However, the GOP candidates did a very good job of separating themselves from Bush...but at the same time maintaining their credentials as Republicans.

Anyway, here's a rundown on the candidates.

- Tommy Thompson attempted to make a joke about his shared last name with "the actor". I think my joke about calling him "Tommy Veto" was much funnier, and he should have run with it. Thompson sold himself, again, as a solid conservative. His statements about how Washington changed the GOP, and that the Democrats were "professional spenders" compared to Republicans hit very true. However, Tommy Veto lacks charisma, communication skills, inspiration, and is uglier than James Carville. Tommy's still out.

- Jim Gilmore did not harp on-and-on about being the "only true conservative" and refer back to his tenure as Governor of Virginia as much as he has previously. However, at the same time, Gilmore didn't really say much to make himself stand out. Even though he was on the lower end of the "time clock" in terms of speaking time, he got a substantial amount of speaking time during the first 40 minutes of the debate considering he's an outsider...and he could have really driven some points home, but he didn't. Gilmore is still out.

- Ron Paul appeared less "inspired" (read: angry) as before, and came across a bit like the "angry parent of America", scolding people for not reading the constitution. Ron has provided a spotlight for the more libertarian wing of the Republican party, but may have alienated a few people from embracing that wing in the process. Paul has been out.

- Sam Brownback is articulate, conservative, and is fiscally responsible...and should remain in the United States senate. Brownback should continue to make himself a powerful senator for the GOP, leading the conservative cause there. Where he lost me is when seemed to defend the immigration bill. Brownback is out.

- Tom Tancredo upped the ante last night. He was more forceful in his assertations. He really went after McCain and the immigration bill. He also established a firmer stance on Iraq, wasteful spending, and other issues. However, he still has a problem with articulating his points. I still find Tancredo to be a fine candidate, policy-wise, and I would put him in as a possible VP.

- Mike Huckabee had one great moment when deflecting the creationism/evolution question. Other than that, he really didn't distinguish himself that much. He came out a bit flatter and seemed a bit uninspired in his statements than he had been in previous debates, where he had shown some fire. However, Huckabee is still solid on many issues and I see him as another possible VP.

- Why is it that the more I see of Duncan Hunter, the more I like him? His Iraq strategy is sound, I love his immigration stance (the description of "his fence" was great), he stands conservative on other issues like taxes and government spending. Hunter's got some credentials, and he is a bit more distinguished from the rest of the pack due to his ability to communicate his message better than some of the others above. Hunter may not have enough "star power" to win the nomination due to the crowded field at the top, but he is a very strong VP candidate.

- John McCain didn't mince words when it came to the immigration issue. He stated that he was doing what the people elected him to do, which is go to Washington and work out solutions to problems. However, what he fails to realize is that sometimes compromise isn't the best way to go. McCain has dropped as low as 4th, most believe his time as a possible presidential candidate has passed, and I'm inclined to agree. McCain is on his way out, and he can thank this immigration bill for it.

- Mitt Romney bounced back from a fairly flat performance in the 2nd debate to really establish himself as a credible contender for the GOP nomination. His answers were clear, crisp, and direct. Romney is another excellent communicator and was impressive in how he handled the questions without hesitation or word-fumbling. I'm seeing that his conversion to more conservative viewpoints has become less of an issue, and I think his religion will become less of an issue as time goes on. Romney is definitely in.

- Rudy Guiliani did well enough, but not outstandingly so. He was also direct, and was very good at directing his criticism at where the GOP (namely the Bush administration) has gone wrong and what needs to be fixed in Washington. He was strong on national security and on immigration, which are huge conservative points right now. Rudy is also definitely in.

The top three in the race (Rudy, Mitt, and Fred Thompson) all seem to draw appeal for several main factors. One, they're not part of the current "Capitol Hill gang", Thompson left the Senate while GOP was still popular, Rudy was mayor of NYC, and Mitt was Governor of Massachusetts. I think that, as a whole, the GOP voters would prefer an "outsider" of sorts to represent them in the 2008 race.

Immigration Bill Slowly Derailing

Washington Times - "Illegals bill hits Senate roadblock"

A sign of good things to come? Well, if you're against this immigration bill, it is. The Democrats and the Republicans are both bickering over this piece of virtual amnesty. Democrats are accusing Republicans of obstructing the process in order to kill the bill (hey, not a bad idea, says I), and Republicans are accusing Democrats of attempting to "stuff" them and force a vote before substantial debate and discussion has taken place. Apparently, today and tomorrow will be key days in whether or not this gets pushed through.

Hopefully, Senate Republicans (and sensible Democrats, if there are any) simply turn around and say "you know what, this bill is not right for America and we're not supporting it."

By the way, Virginia's senators have both been quiet on this...neither one has really stepped up and gotten vocal on this issue.

Donate to FDT via The Podium!!!

Scroll down a little bit on the left-hand side and you will see a link to donate to Fred Thompson's campaign. If you support the man, and ensure a Red State November in 2008, show your support with a donation to Fred's campaign.

Or, you can click here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Stop the Presses, Fred Thompson in 2nd Place!

The Hunt for Red State November just got more interesting.

Just days after he filed papers to form an exploratory committee, Fred Thompson has already moved to 2nd in the latest Rasmussen Reports poll of GOP candidates, polling at 17%. Rudy Guiliani remains ahead of the pack at 23%, but those are his lowest numbers yet since polling began. Thompson is closer to catching Rudy than any contender has been in 20 consecutive weeks on the Rasmussen polls.

Mitt Romney jumped up to 3rd as John McCain slipped from 2nd to 4th in 2 weeks. Romney is polling 16%, McCain just 14%.

The man isn't even formally running yet, and he's already nipping at Rudy's heels.


Fred Thompson has an official website now, where you can contribute to his campaign.

The Podium In Your Living Room!

Well, if you're in the Shenandoah Valley area, at least.

I will be a guest on "Virginia Viewpoints", hosted by Chris Graham of The New Dominion, to bring my perspective to this month's topic. What that topic is...I'll keep that a secret, but it shouldn't be too hard for you guys to figure out. Tune in the find out!

Virginia Viewpoints will air June 12th at 7:30 and 10:30 pm, on WVPT. Click here to find WVPT in your area. After the show, check for further reaction and discussion at the Virginia Viewpoints blog.

How Far-Left Conspiracy Theorists are Harming National Security

After the thwarting of the JFK Airport bombing, there began a slow rise in the return of the "Bush is making fake busts to rally support" mantras from far-left conspiracy theorists.

Whether they're given national exposure at Daily Kos or AntiWar Blog, or some local yokel on WSVA's "Candid Comment", these people come up with reasons to believe this busted plot (and many others) were not "real" or "threatening", so we shouldn't really pay attention.

Mind you, most of these people are the same ones who bash Bush for "not stopping 9/11", then bash him when they do stop a terrorist plot, because they say "it wasn't a real threat", or that "it wouldn't have ever happened".

What happens then is the public's sense of reality that we could be hit by a major terrorist attack becomes dulled. People then begin to doubt that terrorist threats are a real danger to our nation, because of all of these supposed "false" threats. If people let these false and potentially dangerous opinions to seep into the conciousness of mainstream America, we allow ourselves to be open for a "real" attack, which means that "real" lives are going to be lost.

Even then...don't expect these far-left conspiracy theorists to take any responsibility for spreading the misinformation.

Another Podium Endorsement

In the 24th State Senate District, there has been a lot of heat and controversy between the Republican nominees, incumbent Emmett Hanger and challenger Scott Sayre. The race is even more crowded with Democrat David Cox and Libertarian Arin Sime also running in the November election.

I disagree with Hanger on several issues. Most notably would be his vote on the Warner tax increase, his initiative to provide in-state tuition to illegal aliens, and the "castration legislation" he introduced.

I think Scott Sayre is a fine candidate, but a few of his supporters have pushed me away, rather than give me more of a reason to support and endorse the man.

I don't particularly care for David Cox, the Democratic challenger in this race, as he would help tip the scales to the Democrats in the Senate, and he hasn't said much else that appeals to me, and this dates back to his failed bid for the 24th House of Delegates seat against Del. Ben Cline.

Arin Sime, the Libertarian candidate, stands for lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, smaller government, improved transportation, pro-2nd Amendment rights, and protection of farmland...all key issues within the 24th district, as well as the Shenandoah Valley. He's been clear on his stances from the start, and has resigned from simply slinging mud. While he is a registered Libertarian, he has a lot of the same political stances that conservatives can embrace, as well.

This is why the Podium endorses Libertarian Arin Sime for the 24th State Senate. Sime has also earned a "majority-vote" endorsement from The Daily Whackjob, as well.

Catch an interview with Arin Sime, as well as David Cox, at The New Dominion.

Good News for Shenandoah County Residents

According to Jim Patrick, county attorney Don Litten has collected on over $1 million in back taxes. Apparently, one man accounted for over $700,000 himself.

Kudos to Don Litten for doing a good job helping to keep our taxes lower.

A Conservative Ecoblog?

Yes, there is such a thing. A place where conservatives discuss the environment. The blog is called Terra Rossa, and I encourage you guys to at least check it out. Even if you don't agree, it can be an interesting read. Hopefully, it will shed some light on the fact that conservatives do care about the environment.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Wow, I Agree With Mickey Kaus?

Well, to a certain extent...yes. He does make some excellent points in an L.A. Times op-ed, and pretty much states that both the Iraq War and Immigration Bill were "home run" initiatives that haven't panned out the way he planned (which is pretty obvious), but could've very well succeeded if a less-risky approach had been taken to both of these plans.

In some ways, I'm inclined to agree...not necessarily with Kaus' suggestion of how things should have been handled...but I do agree that they should've been handled differently.

(h/t Dogwood Pundit)

Brazil: Hugo Chavez is a "Cheap Hitler"

(h/t The News Buckit and Gateway Pundit)

Leaders from both major political parties in Brazil, as well as President Lula de Silva, lashed out at Venezuelan president/dictator Hugo Chavez. Among other things, they called Chavez "a cheap Hitler or Mussolini", a "dictator in disguise", a threat to peace on the continent.

Brazilian Senate president Renan Calheiros stated that if "a head of state can’t tolerate or live with democratic protests, probably he’s against democracy." Many in the Brazilian Senate are now calling for President Lula to end the diplomacy of "excessive tolerance" towards Venezuela.

Chavez called the Brazilian Congress "a parrot that repeats whatever Washington says."

I think Chavez is starting to feel the heat. He's completely alienating himself from the rest of the well as his own people.

The protests in Venezuela remind me about another civil uprising against socialist/communist regimes that climaxed 18 years ago, today...Tienanmen Square.

2nd Time Around for the Dems...

Watched the Donkey debate on CNN last night, here's what I got from it.

Right off the bat, Wolf Blitzer took a shot at Fox News by saying "there will be no bells, no flashing lights" to signal the end of the candidate's time to speak. In fact, Wolf did a horrible job keeping the candidates all in line, and you ended up with some periods of visual and audio chaos, with cameras attempting to keep up with who was saying what. Anderson Cooper could've done a better job, and CNN did need a bell/buzzer/light of some kind.

Immigration was the shortest-debated issue. I really feel that the Democrats are attempting to let the Republicans tear each other apart on this issue. Politically-speaking, this is a smart move on their part. None of the candidates seemed enthusiastic about the issue, not like they were about Iraq and health care reform.

On to the candidates, and where they stand in the race...

- Mike Gravel is the Democrat version of Ron Paul. He represents a small minority of his party, and is very passionate about what he says and believes. For the first half of the debate, Gravel was pretty subdued and calm, except for a few bursts of "Gravel-mania". The second half of the debate, he let loose the "angry old man" persona. Gravel has been out, but he's at least good for pointing out the problems with all of the other Democratic candidates. Especially when they bring up all of these wonderful new programs, like paying for college educations, and have no plan to pay for it.

- Dennis Kucinich (or as I call him, "The Mistake from the Lake"), is the Democratic Party's version of a really radical Tom Tancredo, a two-issue candidate who needs to speak up to be heard on other issues, because he otherwise gets drowned out. Kucinich looks like a spineless puppet, and I don't think that's what the Democratic voters want. He's fine where he is, one man amongst hundreds in the House of Representatives. Kucinich might find himself as a cabinet member to a Dem president, but that's it. Kucinich is out.

- Christopher Dodd seemed to be debating for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Nothing that stood out to me. He seemed to have the same points of view as your average Democrat, with nothing to distinguish him from the pack. He's a possible VP pick if the Dems can't get two "stars" to work together on a ticket. Dodd has a "talk clock" that shows who got the most speaking time. Dodd, unsurprisingly, is near the bottom...but look at the difference between Gravel and the rest of the candidates. It's good for a laugh.

- Joe Biden was maaaad as hell, and he wasn't about to take it. However, it doesn't seem like the voters are going to take it from him, either. Biden showed fire and intensity, which was lacking in the last debate, which was more of a virtual lovefest between the candidates. However, I don't think Democrats WANT a leader that is this angry. Then again, Biden did draw a lot of attention to himself, and if he can tone back the anger in the upcoming debates, he may draw more support. Many people know that the "D" in Democrat stands for Dark Horse, and I think Biden is emerging into that role.

- Bill Richardson pulled a Tommy Thompson/Jim Gilmore and repeatedly referred to his tenure as Governor of New Mexico. While it's good to lay out your credentials, most voters want to also hear what you plan on doing, not just what you have done. Richardson, who has had some momentum because of his notable campaign ads and his credentials as a politician, did not impress last night. Richardson right now is barely in there, but is most likely vying for VP or a high-ranking cabinet post.

- John Edwards, despite all the praise from the Democratic bloggers, really didn't say much that would appeal to swing voters. He noticeably left his "war on poverty" platform at the door, as many people believe that he doesn't know anything about poverty beyond the trailer park across the street from his sprawling estate. He tried too hard to endear himself to the Clinton and Obama supporters by repeating his apparent praise and admiration for various proposals by the two frontrunners, without pointing out why his proposals are better. Edwards is still in, but from listening to Democratic voters on C-SPAN, they didn't seem impressed. To me, Edwards looked like a boy amongst men.

- Barack Obama did very well in this debate. He was a bit more articulate and detailed than I had previously seen, and seemed poised, confident, and at ease both standing up and sitting down. Obama focused on his credentials, but did not dwell upon them too much (which is smart, given his relatively limited amount of political experience). By formulating his health care reform plan, Obama shows that he can get down to creating actual plans of action, instead of simply speaking in broad tones of "hope and prosperity". I also like that Obama emphasized that by letting the Bush tax cuts expire, he's only letting them rise to Bill Clinton-era levels, and has no immediate plan to increase taxes beyond that (we'll see, Barack, we will see). Obama is definitely in.

- Hillary Clinton actually did pretty well, in my opinion. She moved herself closer to center than the rest of the Democratic candidates (which isn't saying much, really), and stated that although she plans to increase taxes, she too doesn't plan to go beyond the levels of her husband's administration at this time (as I said with Obama, we'll see if that continues to remain true). However, she has enough appeal to pull moderate voters in the primaries...but she may very well lose those voters in an election if the Republicans put up a good candidate against her. Nonetheless, Hillary is definitely in.

I got what I expected from this debate. A lot of near-unanimous finger-pointing at Bush, tons of gaggle over attempts to create universal (read: Government-run) health care, and promises that taxes will go up.

What did you think?

Weekly Podium: "The Immigration Bill Controversy"

(cross-posted at The New Dominion)

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few weeks, you know that there is a very controversial immigration bill that is being formulated and finished in the U.S. Senate right now. The general feeling among many, including myself, is that this bill creates a program that, for all intents and purposes, grants amnesty to the 12-20 million illegal immigrants in our nation. This bill concerns me as both a conservative and the son of an immigrant.

I am concerned as the son of an immigrant, because the legal path to come to America, as well as my mother’s legal path to citizenship, will be tossed aside for these immigrants who chose to come into our country by violating American law. I do not find it right to diminish the legacies of the families whose ancestors came through Ellis Island or other venues of documented, legal immigration.

We need stronger border security, and have the flow of illegal immigrants from our nation’s southern border reduced as much as possible. Also, we need illegal immigrants that are arrested for other crimes committed to be handed over to I.C.E. and deported, as well as any other illegals caught in our country.

What message does it send when we say “ok, you broke the law…now, here’s your path to citizenship.”?

To me, and my mother, and many other immigrants and their descendents, the message they receive is, “Well, thank you for obeying the law, following the legal process to come to America, and thank you for your hard work. However, that was then, and this is now, and it’s too bad you couldn’t have waited a few decades to take advantage of this.”

Those who support this bill, or support providing the reward of legal status in our nation to illegal aliens, will tell you stories of families that are scared to be deported. They’ll report about how they do the jobs that no American will do. However, they’ll totally ignore the fact that these people blatantly ignored American law in the first place.

I know why most people come to America. They come here for a better life, to prosper and to enjoy the fruits of capitalism and American democracy. Legal immigration is great and needs to be encouraged and made more efficient.

However, to reward someone who did not come here legally completely circumvents the purpose of having these laws.

I am concerned about all of this as a conservative, because this bill is being backed by some members of the Republican Party, including George W. Bush himself. Many key Bush appointees and supporters are verbally attacking other conservatives who are concerned and/or completely outraged at this bill. Among those attacking conservatives against this bill are Linda Chavez (former nominee for Secretary of Labor), Michael Chertoff (Secretary of Homeland Security), and George W. Bush himself.

Peggy Noonan asked an excellent question in a recent op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal.

Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens? And often, though not exclusively, concerned conservatives?”

That is an excellent question. This is a question I do not know the answer to. However, this may actually signal the most significant shift in the Republican base in quite some time. Conservatives, who once rallied behind Bush, now feel that he has directly alienated the wishes of his core base of supporters.

This is causing a severe fracture amongst conservatives, Republican and Independents alike. Some, who have staunchly supported President Bush, are not quite ready to give up on him. Then, there are those who believe that Bush is not listening or even caring about what those who have supported him to this point, despite all of the problems with the Iraq War that have alienated some moderate and anti-war conservatives.

Up until this point, I’ve supported the majority of President Bush‘s policy initiatives. I have believed for a long time that many in his cabinet and in the intelligence departments (people he trusted to give him good advice and the right information) provided bad or misguided advice to him, and this is part of the reason why the Iraq War has had it‘s problems. Facts have proven those thoughts to be, to varying degrees, correct. I believe that President Bush has done some good things to keep the economy strong during a wartime period, and that his tax cuts have helped more Americans than the media would like you to believe.

However, I also believe that on this immigration issue, President Bush pretty much stands alone.

He has shown a lot of initiative in getting this exact immigration bill formulated and passed. He has denounced the criticism of those who oppose this bill. Donations to the Republican National Committee are off 40% from where they should be, this is mainly due to dissatisfaction with this proposed legislation and Bush’s criticism of those who oppose it.

In a recent Rasmussen Reports poll, only 16% of Americans believe this bill will reduce illegal immigration, which is supposed to be the point of this whole piece of legislation. Only 26% of those polled actually support the poll. 74% believed that this bill would do nothing to help eliminate illegal immigration, and 41% believed that illegal immigration would increase under this bill.

The Iraq War has more support and more optimism amongst Americans than this proposed piece of legislation.

The Democrats have been noticeably quiet during the heated debate about this bill. Even in the June 3rd Democratic Party debate on CNN, there was a question posed to the candidates about the immigration bill, and while the candidates gave their thoughts on the bill (most agreed with it to some extent), it was not dwelled upon too heavily.

This is a smart move by the Democrats. They’re letting the GOP tear itself apart over this issue, which helps to ensure victories in the 2007 and 2008 elections for the Democrats. To some writers, pundits, and analysts, this is the culmination of 4 years of self-destruction by the Republican Party, and this will lead to a 20 year dominance by the Democrats in our government.

However, I see it differently. I see this as the majority of Republicans are regrouping and reforming the party’s stances. They’re not going to stand for compromises that compromise national security and reward breaking the law. I wrote a few weeks ago that the GOP was in the process of refocusing itself as a party, and that refocusing is taking place amongst politicians and voters alike.

Maybe that’s why we’re seeing conservatives floating towards candidates like Fred Thompson, who are seen as conservatives without leaning too far right or too close to the center to represent the majority of the GOP base, as well as be attractive to independents and swing voters.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that most Americans don’t have confidence in this immigration bill. Sometimes, both Congress and the White House have to do things that are unpopular with the general population, because it’s what is good for our nation. However, in this case, I cannot see where this bill will do much good for the illegal immigration problem. In fact, you can read the bill yourself here.

I’ll let you make your own conclusions on this piece of legislation. Hopefully, you’ll see the reasons why the American public, Democrats and Republicans alike, are largely against this bill.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Fred Thompson Speech on C-SPAN

(h/t SWAC Girl)

Fred Thompson's speech at the RPV Gala last night in Richmond will be televised on C-SPAN's "Road to the White House" at 9:30 and 12:30 tonight. Apparently, Thompson's speech was a very positive one for him, and was extremely well-received. I know I'll have my DVR set to record this speech, and you should do the same :)


I just watched the speech...this man simply makes a lot of sense. He speaks to the average American like nobody else in this presidential race, and he has all the right ideas for America.

When the time comes, America...please, VOTE FRED THOMPSON.

Couric's Ratings Speak Volumes About Image

The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric has suffered tremendous ratings downfalls since Couric took over for Bob Schieffer on September 5, 2006. Her first broadcast drew in 13.6 million viewers. During the week of May 20-26, the news program averaged 5.96 million viewers (credit for the statistics).

Many believe that this is a case of "older white male domination" of the media, and so forth. However, I'm not sure how a few older while men in suits control the remote controls of millions of Americans, who switched over to other news programs on other channels.

In fact, what I think this proves is that America has no problem with middle-aged to older white males broadcasting, or in any position of power, as long as they have substance.

Not to say that Katie Couric is a bad anchorwoman, but she simply isn't seen by many Americans as a journalist with high credentials and least, not enough to be anchoring the evening news on one of the big 3 networks.

This tells me that those decrying the idea of "jowly, older white men" shouldn't be running for political office, because they don't have the right "look" is somewhat bogus. When you boil things down to the bare-bones basics, substance is what eventually motivates Americans in one direction or another. Whether it be moral substance, ethical substance, or political substance...there has to be something beyond the image and the flair.

JFK Terror Plot - Blind Eye Turned by the Left?

Well, the "cool kids" over at Daily Kos believe that the U.S. Government is lying and making up the bust of the terrorist plot to blow up JFK Airport (caution, tons of foul language in the Daily Kos post...which is not surprising, though).

Really, this post is more of a blast at the conservative blog Little Green Footballs for noticing that many popular leftist blogs had remained completely silent after this news broke, including Daily Kos..who only responded after the post at LGF brought this point to light.

The News Buckit echoes LGF's sentiments, and is one of the first blogs to bring up the reports of active Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in the Caribbean.

Why is it hard to believe that we're breaking up terrorist plots all the time? Especially considering how much attention our Intel organizations are focusing on terrorism. I love the fact that the Daily Kos post also states that the recent Fort Dix plot is another "made up" terror plot by the U.S. Government.

There is a growing sense of delusion amongst some blogs, that's why many feel that Daily Kos has "jumped the shark", and is simply heading nowhere by down from here.