Russian police were called to an apartment complex recently after the discovery of a body. The body was that of the apartment tenant who hadn’t been seen since the year 2000.
Vladimir’s body was discovered in a sitting position, his arm, still retaining some flesh, leaning on the kitchen table, his head slumped over. An empty vodka bottle and a glass sat in front of him, according to Pravda’s reports.
Neighbors reported that Ledenev, 68, vanished without a trace six years ago.
“We reckoned that he’d moved somewhere else or checked himself into a hospital; he had TB,” said Irina Borodina, one of his neighbors, according to Pravda.
Apparently, Vladimir didn’t disappear at all. He was in his apartment the whole time, dead and decaying it now appears. Vlad isn’t the one who disappeared. It was the concern of his neighbors that vanished.
The man’s body was discovered by a work crew from the housing management office “as they were made (sic) their rounds in the apartments of those who owed unpaid bills.” Six years and the company finally decides to make the rounds of folks who are late in their rent? Six years? Man, when I was paying rent the office would be all over your behind if you were 6 days late. Where were these people?
Back at the beginning of the month I took note of a very disturbing story out of Arizona where members of the National Guard who were standing a post on the Mexican-American border were approached by an armed force and retreated from their position. Early reports said the post was “overrun” and I definitely wanted more details. Well, those details have finally been provided, or at least most of them have. I’m not feeling any better about the situation.
Armed men who prompted four National Guard members to pull back from an observation post at the Arizona-Mexico border probably weren’t trying to test the reaction of the troops, the head of the Arizona National Guard said Monday.
They likely happened upon the soldiers while walking across rocky terrain from Arizona into Mexico, said Maj. Gen. David Rataczak, speculating that the gunmen were carrying drug money south across the border.
In the face of criticism that the troops set a bad precedent for border security, Rataczak told a homeland security committee at the Arizona Legislature that the troops acted properly in relocating to a nearby site and calling in the Border Patrol to respond.
“They did exactly what they were told to do,” said Rataczak, adding that the actions of the soldiers prevented an international incident from occurring.
Pardon me, but I always thought the primary function of the National Guard was to guard the Nation. The entire reason the organization exists is to provide military-level muscle against enemy actions occurring within the borders of the United States, actions that would overwhelm the capabilities of our law enforcement agencies. In other words, when armed men wearing body armor cross our borders using military small-unit tactics, standard-issue beat cops just aren’t the correct level of response, so we implemented the National Guard.
The entire premise this debate is operating within is seriously flawed and inappropriate. People are applauding the actions of the Guard because they’re not supposed to get involved in law enforcement actions and they’re framing this as just another illegal alien crossing. The subject of whether or not the Guard should be able to actually apprehend illegals as they cross the border is a fine one for debate and we should look into that. However, this situation was not an “apprehend an illegal alien” case. It ceased being that kind of case the second those armed men wearing body armor fanned out and tried to flank the post’s position. From that moment the intent was clearly not “evade law enforcement in order to get into the US illegally”, it was “neutralize enemy threat.” In this case, “enemy threat” was the Guard post and the Guardsmen within.
Are we really at a point where we’re debating whether the military force we’ve created specifically to protect – “Guard” is the correct term – our sovereign territory has the right to forcefully engage a unit of armed, armored men approaching from outside our borders and clearly not friendly? How far back into US territory would the Guard have to retreat (oh, excuse me – “relocate”) before the people excusing this incident would grant them the permission to actually defend our borders? How far onto US soil do we allow armed incursions before we push back? And since when have we viewed agents of the Border Patrol to be more capable in an armed incursion situation than the National Guard.
One of the Tuscon representatives didn’t like how this debate is making the Guard look.
Democratic Rep. Tom
Prezelski of Tucson said he was sure that the soldiers were prepared to
prevail if they had faced a more serious confrontation.
“I am a little uncomfortable with the idea that we are portraying them as helpless and having their hands tied,” Prezelski said.
So am I but that’s precisely the image this incident painted for all those armed men who were there and all those that will come next time.
The town council of Herouxville, Canada has taken an interesting approach in dealing with the potential of having immigrants come to town who aren’t thinking about the kind of culture they’re entering. The town is telling them, explicitly, what kinds of cultural norms they can expect.
According to the Canadian Press, the town’s council recently passed rules targeting immigrants to make sure there are no misunderstandings about the culture they’re joining.
According to reports, the rural town of about 1,300 recently adopted a declaration of “norms” that would-be immigrants need to know if they plan on settling there.
Among the “norms:” kids can’t bring weapons to school — no ceremonial daggers used by Sikhs or others. It’s also all right for boys and girls to swim together in the same pool. Also, female police officers are empowered to arrest people, and are also allowed to drive, dance and make their own decisions.
As you might expect, this kind of action has drawn the outraged fire of the local chapter of the Muslim Council who calls the notices “insulting and full of stereotypes.” That outrage might be understandable were it not for the abundantly clear attitude of a huge segment of the Muslim world that behavior that violates these norms are the actual norms.
I would recommend that the members of the Muslim Council might want to issue statements against the attitudes of their more militant members and tell them to actually stop doing those things. Make those kinds of statements with equal vigor as the condemnations against western communities who simply want there to be no misunderstanding and we can talk about being insulted. Until then…
Item of interest: researchers have discovered a village near Stonehenge in England. Located about 2 miles from the stone circle, the dig has turned up 8 foundations, or floors, and researchers are estimating there may be as many as 25.
The village was carbon dated to about 2600 B.C., about the same time Stonehenge was built. The Great Pyramid in Egypt was built at about the same time, said Parker Pearson of Sheffield University.
The small wooden houses had a central hearth, he said, and are almost identical to stone houses built at about the same time in the Orkney Islands.
One of the arguments of the give-em-amnesty crowd is that we shouldn’t enforce our immigrations laws because to do so would hurt families and separate parents from children, and on and on. The argument is, legally, baseless and relies solely upon an appeal to emotion, one of the prime fallacies of logical argument. While traveling this past week, I happened upon an article published by Linda Chavez titled, “Collateral Damage in the Immigration War.” This article typifies the argument genre and, frankly, begs for rebuttal. I’ve been trying to get to it all week, so here goes.
The article opens up with an “imagine you are there” approach and talks about the absolute worst-case scenario for immigration hawks such as myself. A combat soldier returns from duty in Iraq to find that his pregnant wife (nice touch) and toddler daughter (nicer touch) have been “forced to leave” the US and are now trapped in a foreign land. Days turn to weeks and then months as this veteran tries valiantly to get permission for his wife and, now, 2 daughters to come back to the US as a stone-cold government refuses to budge an inch.
Cackling maniacally, I would imagine.
What’s the rub, here? The rub is that the woman came to America illegally as a child – her parents “forced her to come” is how Chavez words it. She grew up and met this soldier. Then… well, you’ve just got to read this in Chavez’s words:
Aaron Thorsted knew her status when he asked her to marry him. He told KSL that Johana worried that he would reject her when he found out. But love doesn’t require a “green card,” and so Aaron promised her they would fix her problem.
“Love doesn’t require a ‘green card’?” I don’t recall anyone suggesting that it did, but I stifled the gag reflex this line brought up and pressed on. You find out as you continue reading that Aaron and Johana were trying to fix their immigrations status problem and that Johana “returned to Guatemala in what should have been the final step in adjusting her status.” Now, that’s quite a far cry from the picture Chavez painted in the opening paragraphs where Johana was “forced” out of the country. That picture has her being escorted in handcuffs to the border by men in TAC vests and machine guns and kicked unceremoniously across. Once in Guatemala the wheels of the immigrations process slowed to a halt and there she sits.
This diorama was caused by Congress’ “failure to resolve the dilemma” of the 12 million illegals within our borders. Or, so Chavez says.
Generalize, much? This article’s opening shots are a not-so-subtle attempt to paint all illegals with the same sympathetic brush and I already know that’s a brush that doesn’t come close to covering them all. Let’s get to the meat of this heart-tugger right now. I think it’s a travesty that members of our armed forces have this kind of thing happen to them while deployed into a combat zone. I think it should be a no-brainer that any such actions dealing with the immigration status of immediate family members should be put on hold until their deployment is over. Period. But I can make exceptions for extremely special cases like this without just handing over amnesty to every illegal in the country. Chavez is playing this like you can’t and she’s not done, yet.
Next up in the article is the story of that Georgia chicken plant that got busted last year.
In a front-page article, The Wall Street Journal reported this week on what happened after immigration officials raided a Georgia chicken processing plant last fall, hauling off 120 workers, with hundreds of other illegal aliens voluntarily leaving the area. The plant did what many anti-immigration groups say is the solution to becoming dependent on immigrant and illegal alien labor: It raised wages by more than a dollar an hour.
But the company still couldn’t attract enough employees, so it also sent buses to pick up American workers from nearby towns and set up dormitories for those who wanted to stay on site. The company nonetheless could only hire a fraction of the workers it needed, and new workers were far from ideal.
The company says that the workforce has turned over three times since the raid. Worse, production has plummeted. The immigrant workers produced an average of 80 pallets of poultry a day per six-person assembly line; the new workers produced only 45 pallets with 15 persons on the line.
The company is still short-handed by 300 people, so it is recruiting Laotian Hmong immigrants from Minnesota and Wisconsin and busing in felons on parole. In any case, with more expensive, less productive workers, the company will have to pass on its costs to consumers — or go out of business.
Magnify this problem by the thousands and you can see the impact on the U.S. economy.
Question: did the company make any effort at all to assist its illegal workforce in gaining legal residence? Say, by sponsoring them with CIS? Or did it simply enjoy the benefits and advantages of paying sub-standard wages to employees it knew couldn’t report them for any workplace problems? That’s to say nothing about the company’s practices making damn sure that no one else could afford to start up a competing company in the sector.
Chavez puts up a false dilemma as her final fallacy: that to do anything other that hand over amnesty will collapse the American economy and cause jobs to simply disappear. Garbage. No one has any issue with those immigrants who come here legally. I’d even be willing to get behind the President’s pet “temporary worker” program if Congress would be willing to get behind securing the border, for real this time.
And doing that would also keep any “collateral damage” to a bare minimum. That’s a bargain this American can live with just fine.
A few days ago I linked to a Hugh Hewitt post about a “pledge” and said I’d write more on this later. Well, it’s later and it’s time to write.
For those of you who aren’t already aware, I’m referring to The NRSC Pledge. With the Senate Democrats clamoring to take another swipe at the Bush administration, lay the foundation to cut the funding for military action in Iraq, and to cover their own posteriors with the moonbat left of their party the word has come that a non-binding resolution will be offered opposing the administration’s plans to move ahead in Iraq. This was, however, expected. What Republicans such as myself do not expect is for GOP Senators to stand with those Democrats. The Pledge is all about advising those GOP Senators who are thinking of doing so that there is a significant constituency that would disapprove of such action.
The Pledge reads:
If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.
One of the reasons the NRSC had the issues it did in the 2006 election cycle with fundraising was their support of the campaign of Lincoln Chaffee, a Republican who voted non-Republican stances nearly every chance he got. I don’t begrudge Chaffee his right to vote his conscience. But when you claim membership in a political party, there has to be some common ground between you and the party. With Chaffee, there was none. Conservatives upset with his votes on a variety of issues did not want their donated dollars going to help him get re-elected. Since the NRSC made those decisions, not the donors, some donors refused to give any funds. This time, there’s more than just a few donors with that feeling and more than 1 Senator giving the feeling to them. As of this morning – as I’m writing this – 27,331 people have signed the pledge.
There are some calling this Pledge the wrong move. To those folks, for whatever their reasons, I would counter by asking is there no principle they have that would warrant their drawing a line in the sand, as it were? Is there no action that an elected representative can take that would put that politician squarely in the wrong and irrevocably so? For the 27 thousand or so people who have signed that pledge, the answer is clearly a ‘yes.’ Most especially when viewed through the prism of the Senate’s vote in confirmation of the man – General Petraeus – who is being sent to carry out the plan, a vote now condemning the plan as a whole is just duplicitous. It absolutely sends the wrong message to both the enemy and our troops and signing your name to it by casting a vote for its passage is an offense that we, the signers of the Pledge, consider unforgivable.
Now, you can choose to make that offense if you like. You just can’t now demand that no one be offended by it. In this case, I and several thousand others are going to make our feelings known in a more concrete fashion by simply not giving funds to the NRSC unless the NRSC guarantees that those funds won’t go to help people who vote for the resolution. I believe strongly that donating funds to political candidates is an exercise of First Amendment Freedom of Speech. Not donating is an equal exercise. I’m prepared to do either.
John Kerry has managed to give us all yet another reason to consider him a waste of time/space/air in playing to the anti-American crowd that gathers annually at Davos, Switzerland. This time, he’s blaming the Bush administration for causing the US to become a “sort of international pariah.” Most telling about the Senator’s inability to grasp reality was this comment:
“When we walk away from global warming, Kyoto, when we are irresponsibly slow in moving toward AIDS in Africa, when we don’t advance and live up to our own rhetoric and standards, we set a terrible message of duplicity and hypocrisy,” Kerry said.
Hey, you want to talk about duplicity and hypocrisy, how’s this? Name the administration that was in office when the Kyoto Treaty was proposed? (Take your time…) That’d be the Clinton administration, not the Bush administration.
How about the body of politicians who voted to never, never, never ratify said treaty if it was ever submitted to them? Why, that would be the United States Senate, the body of politicians in which John Kerry currently holds membership. Did he have such membership when Kyoto was being bandied around? Yes, he did. Was he a member when the aforementioned vote took place in the Senate? Yes, he was. And how did he vote? He voted in the affirmative – he put his legislative weight behind the decision to deny Kyoto.
In short, he was one of the voices directing that the US “walk away from global warming, Kyoto”.
I’d like someone in the media to explain to me why any of us should care what this liar and all-around loser thinks or says in any venue and on any topic. Spare me. Save the news cycles for someone who matters.
Update: Power Line has a post on this very topic, with data points. Enjoy.
I noticed this little tidbit over at Bacon’s Rebellion this morning regarding the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority’s stance on disclosure: they say they don’t need to. Gov. Kaine wants to hand over the Dulles rail project to the MWAA in its entirety – including the part about raising tolls on the Dulles Toll Road. The MWAA, in turn, is saying that it would not need to respond to requests for disclosure on how it selects the winners of the various contracts because it’s exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
Go have a read over at Bacon’s and follow the link to the original Examiner story. When an organization being considered to carry the responsibility for such a huge public-impacting project comes right out and says they don’t have to be accountable, that’s usually a good time to find someone else who can do the job right.
Ed Morrissey over at Captain’s Quarters has this item this morning dealing with an amendment to the minimum-wage hike being debated. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) proposed an amendment to increase fines on employers found to be (knowingly, I assume) hiring illegal aliens. The Dems killed the amendment. Ed had this to say:
Apparently the Democrats have an aversion to actually trying the options they offered when they were in the minority.
Unfortunately, the Democrats have apparently changed their minds since the election. They would prefer to impose a top-down government edict on wages rather than enforce existing law and disincentivize lawbreakers to allow the market for labor to naturally swing in favor of the workers. That approach would do what a minimum-wage hike does not: provide an increase in real buying power, rather than triggering an inflationary cycle that will once again make the increase in the floor wage irrelevant within five or six years.
I think he’s correct. He also points out that this was a perfect opportunity for them to demonstrate their vaunted bi-partisan stance and they simply couldn’t muster it. Once again they show they have no intention of following through with the promises they made to get into office now that they’re here.