Archive for January 16th, 2009

Immigrants Ravage U.S. Infrastructure, Cost at Least $70 Billion Per Year

Friday, January 16th, 2009

The United States will need $1.6 trillion to repair damage to its infrastructure from a massive influx of immigrants, a new report reveals.

In his report titled, “The Twin Crises: Immigration and Infrastructure,” prominent researcher Edwin S. Rubenstein examines 15 categories of infrastructure: airports, border security, bridges, dams and levees, electricity (the power grids), hazardous waste removal, hospitals, mass transit, parks and recreation facilities, ports and navigable waterways, public schools, railroads, roads and highways, solid waste and trash, and water and sewer systems.

Rubenstein, a financial analyst and former contributing editor of Forbes and economics editor of National Review, claims the nation is facing a crisis – with immigration responsible for at least 80 percent of spending needed to expand the U.S. infrastructure before the middle of this century.

“If the infrastructure crisis could be fixed by spending money, there would be no crisis,” Mr. Rubenstein explained in a statement. “Since 1987, capital spending on transportation infrastructure has increased by 2.1 percent per year above the inflation rate. At $233 billion (2004 dollars), infrastructure is already one of the largest categories of government spending. Our infrastructure is ‘crumbling’ because population growth has overwhelmed the ability of even these vast sums to expand capacity.”

While immigration policy has been hotly debated for a number of years, Rubenstein writes that its impact on infrastructure is rarely discussed.

Public schools
Immigrants make up 21 percent of the school-age population in the U.S…
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 18 percent of all schools are considered overcrowded, and 37 percent use trailers and portable structures to accommodate growing student bodies…

…Illegal aliens use emergency rooms more than twice as often as U.S. citizens, and providing their uncompensated care has been the death of many emergency departments.

In 2006, more than 46 percent of illegals did not have medical insurance. Although illegal aliens are not supposed to be eligible for Medicaid, they receive Emergency Medicaid and their children are entitled to all benefits that legal immigrants receive.

Because hospitals are forced to care for Medicaid recipients, the government program never covers full costs of service. It underpaid hospitals by $11.3 billion in 2006…

Water and electricity
“Cities like San Antonio, El Paso, and Phoenix could run out of water in 10 to 20 years,” he writes. San Diego’s water company has resorted to a once-unthinkable option: recycling toilet water for drinking.”

National parks
…[I]llegals leave beer, water and milk bottles, personal hygiene items and medications, clothing and shoes, food and food cans, jewelry, paper trash, sanitary pads, disposable diapers, backpacks, blankets, towels, plastic bags, homemade weapons, disintegrating toilet paper and human feces on U.S. property while they journey into the country.

They damage vegetation, leave abandoned vehicles and bicycles, spray paint trees and boulders and create campfires that turn into wildfires.

Border security costs
Costs for securing the nation’s borders are expected to increase 20.6 percent in fiscal year 2009. These include expenses for border patrol, electronic surveillance, the border fence and other security needs. President Bush allocated $44.3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security – a 4.5 percent increase from last year’s budget of $42.4 billion.

Fiscal burden
“There are currently about 36 million immigrants living in about 9 million households, so the aggregate deficit attributable to immigrants comes to $70.3 billion,” he writes. “… Immigrants could deplete the amount of funds available for infrastructure by as much as $70 billion per year.”

“The brutal reality is that no conceivable infrastructure program can keep pace with that kind of population growth,” he wrote. “The traditional ‘supply-side’ response to America’s infrastructure shortage – build, build, build – is dead, dead, dead. Demand reduction is the only viable way to close the gap between the supply and demand of public infrastructure.”

Original Link.

Plan to Federalize Penalties for ‘Perceptions’ Reappears in Congress

Friday, January 16th, 2009

She’s done it again…Jackson-Lee has introduced her “hate crimes” legislation. She does this every secession.
I have commented about this quite often. So-called “hate crimes” create a two-tiered legal system, with higher penalties for the “hate crime” versus others.
The largest problem with “hate crime” laws is that it is based on what someone was thinking at the time a crime was committed. With all due respect to our overworked and underpaid law enforcement officials, unless they have somehow become clairvoyant and can “read” minds, they have no idea what the person was thinking at the time of the crime.
Although Jackson-Lee is touting this as a bill for blacks (which in itself is discrimination against whites) there is no doubt that this would be used to silence Christian criticism of the homosexual lifestyle.
Let your congressperson know that you are against this legislation.

A federal “hate crimes” bill that officially is to enhance punishments for “violence motivated by bias that is a relic of slavery” but is feared by Christians as a potential bludgeon against basic biblical teachings has been returned to the congressional agenda by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas.

The proposal had been stymied during the Bush administration by the president’s threat of a veto but President-elect Barack Obama’s own website has promised an expansion of federal “hate crimes” laws.

The bill, the “David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009,” has been pending in Congress in one form or another since at least 2007 but never was advanced into law because of stated opposition from President Bush, who found it unneeded and probably unconstitutional.

However, the plan by Jackson-Lee, who has advocated for the special protections for those with issues involving “gender identity,” already has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary for the 2009 Congress.

On her website, Jackson-Lee states “hate crimes” are so much worse than ordinary crimes because of their impact.

“A random act of violence resulting in injury or even death is a tragic event that devastates the lives of the victim and their family, but the intentional selection and beating or murder of an individual because of who they are terrorizes an entire community and sometimes the nation,” she warns.

Many states already have “hate crimes” legislation. A couple running a photography studio in New Mexico has faced thousands of dollars in fines for their decision not to provide photography services to a pair of lesbians because of the Christian beliefs of the studio owners. In Pennsylvania, a 75-year-old grandmother was threatened with prison for advocating a biblical perspective of homosexuality.

When the measure was approved earlier by the U.S. House, the Bush White House issued a statement saying the proposal is “unnecessary and constitutionally questionable.”

“The administration favors strong criminal penalties for violent crime, including crimes based on personal characteristics, such as race, color, religion, or national origin. However … if [then plan at that time] were presented to the president, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill,” the White House said.

Former White House insider Chuck Colson, in his Breakpoint commentary, has called such proposals “Thought Crimes” plans.

“This bill is not about hate. It’s not even about crime. It’s about outlawing peaceful speech – speech that asserts that homosexual behavior is morally wrong,” he said.

A new twist for 2009, however, is the introduction of a companion piece of legislation by Jackson-Lee that would “provide support services for victims of hate crimes.”

It’s been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary as well as the Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, Oversight and others.

It allows victims of “hate crimes” to take federally authorized family and medical leave and collect unemployment insurance, creates grants for housing for such victims and provides counseling and “related assistance.”

Well down in the long list of provisions in the second plan is an attempt to “establish and operate a national clearinghouse and resource center for information and statistics relating to … hate crimes.”

The “clearinghouse” would be run by “a private nonprofit organization,” according to the legislation.

In the United Kingdom, the Christian Institute today issued an updated report on some of the cases that have developed there under similar legislation. For example, a pastor was detained for “homophobia” for reading from the biblical book of Romans, a Christian campaigner was arrested for handing out tracts and a Roman Catholic archbishop was investigated for criticizing homosexual partnerships.

“Lynette Burrows, an author and family-values campaigner, took part in a radio talk show about civil partnerships for homosexuals. Mrs. Burrows said she did not believe that adoption by two gay men would be best for a child. Subsequently, a policewoman telephoned Mrs. Burrows to speak to her about her comments,” the report said. “The police officer said a ‘homophobic incident’ had been reported against her and that record of it would be kept by police.”

The UK law has a provision recognizing that “the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.”

But government officials have announced plans to try to remove that section, leaving even the “criticism” of homosexuality a criminal offense. In actuality, a Christian charity that serves the needs of older Christians already has been penalized by the loss of thousands in grant money because it declined to interrogate its elderly nursing home residents, many retired Christian missionaries and pastors, about their sexual orientation and promote homosexual couples within the home.

Christian organizations such as Concerned Women for America, the largest women’s public policy organization in the U.S., long have battled special privileges for those who engage in a specific sexual lifestyle.

In a commentary, the organization has said, “Americans have always had the right to hold any opinion and to speak freely. The First Amendment protects that right whether the idea or thought is good or bad. But it does not recognize a right to act on those evil thoughts or ideas. The courts must step in when a criminal act is committed, no matter what thought or motive was behind the behavior.”

The group cited an admission from Kelly Anders, a policy associate for the National Conference of State Legislatures, whose members already have acted on the issue.

“You have to make sure when you’re drafting legislation that you’re not punishing people for their thoughts. And that’s a very difficult thing, because that’s what it is,” she told the CWA.

“Civil rights laws are normally based on immutable characteristics – which cannot be changed – such as skin color, sex or disability. Adding sexual orientation to hate crimes laws wrongly legitimizes the claim that sexual orientation is immutable rather than chosen behavior. Therefore, those who hold religious or moral objections to homosexuality could be prosecuted for ‘hate,'” CWA said.

Matt Barber, chief of cultural affairs at Liberty Counsel, has spoken out repeatedly in opposition to the idea.

“The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law,” he has said. “Hate crimes legislation is … [a] violation of the Fourteenth Amendment in that it elevates one class of citizen based upon their chosen sexual behaviors above other people.”

Coral Ridge Ministries, launched by the late D. James Kennedy, has published a book on the issue by John Aman, which says such laws put into doubt “the future of religious liberty and freedom of speech for Christians.”

Jackson-Lee’s bill says Congress “finds that” crimes motivated by “the actual or perceived … sexual orientation, gender, or disability of the victim poses a serious national problem.”

It also alleges the “violence” related to such crimes impedes interstate commerce because members of “targeted groups” cannot purchase goods and services.

Jackson-Lee also claims that the “violence” is “motivated by bias that is a relic of slavery.”

Is she for real about the “goods and services” and “relic of slavery” comments? Give me a break already!!

Original Link.

“Would Advocates For Gay Marriage Really Accept Religious Dissent?” by Michael Medved

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Advocates for same sex marriage regularly insist that they would never interfere with free exercise of religion and will do nothing to force unwilling churches to perform gay weddings. This position counts as hypocritical and misleading, and the current controversy over Pastor Rick Warren’s role in the Obama inauguration reveals the underlying intolerance in the gay agenda. Leading activists and politically correct commentators want Warren disqualified from giving the invocation because he opposes gay marriage, subjecting him to the sort of angry attack that will ultimately greet any clergyman who declines to sanction same-sex unions. Conservatives have never attempted to marginalize or humiliate pastors who support gay marriage, but the editorial and media attacks on Rick Warren give the lie to leftist claims that they’re ready to respect differences of opinion on this issue.

Original Link.

Dems Condemn America to Long and Painful Economic Recovery

Friday, January 16th, 2009

I’ve said for some time now that the government just needs to keep their hands off the economy. It will recover much faster if they will just leave it alone!!

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled her plans for an $825 billion “stimulus” package and, before the ink had dried on reporters’ notepads, Wisconsin Democrat and House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey said that it might not be enough.

Remember, back in the day, when $750 billion was an eye-poppingly large number, when we were assured that we’d know where it was going, and when we were told it was all we’d ever need? How soon the Democrats have forgotten — now that the economy has continued to slide and that we see the first $350 billion lacked adequate oversight, they’re prepared to do it all over again.

Enough is enough.

We cannot recklessly spend our way out of this downturn; if we refuse to rip this band-aid away and accept the short-term sting, we’ll be forced to agonizingly pull our hairs out one by one. When we talk about similar periods of economic decline in the 20th century, we always hear about the Great Depression and the stock market crash of 1929 yet rarely hear discussion of the recession of 1920. Why? Because the recession of 1920 didn’t last. Because, that time, we allowed for the natural economic cycle to take its course. With regard to the Great Depression, however, the federal government did intervene, did interrupt the natural economic cycles, and it was the ensuing spending policies associated with FDR’s New Deal which delayed economic recovery for at least a half-dozen years, if not longer.

According to Lee Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics, in an August 2004 article in the Journal of Political Economy, Roosevelt championed anti-competition and pro-labor policies out of fear that the free market and capitalism had driven down prices and wages, and in June 1933 signed into law measures which would artificially inflate both and thus “short-circuited the market’s self-correcting forces.”

“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian at the time, commenting on the article. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

Ill-conceived stimulus policies? By all means, professor, please go on.

Ohanian and partner Harold Cole, another UCLA economist, calculated that the so-called National Industrial Recovery Act and its economic consequences accounted for 60 percent of the weak recovery, and argued that without such policies from Roosevelt’s White House, the Great Depression would have come to fruition in 1936 instead of 1943. Seven years. Once again, however, revisionist history–aided by the progressive leanings of academia–has since significantly clouded what truly happened.

“The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole said at the time. “Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

Fast-forward to 2009, and America is oozing with government intervention. Enduring economic decline, Americans have no choice but to watch as the president-elect positions himself to greatly increase the size and scope of government and perpetuate the federal government’s spendthrift tendencies. Pelosi’s stimulus plan and Obey’s response were enough to elicit from Senate Minority Leader John Boehner, though arguably not the most conservative of Republican senators, a very simple response:

“Oh, my God.”

From there, Boehner went on to say that Democrats were operating with “the flawed notion that we can borrow and spend our way to recovery,” and remarked that House Democrats entertained no Republican input when they outlined the $825 billion plan.

Of course the Republicans have had their own set of misconstrued ideas of how to “fix” the economy, but these ideas pale compared to what the Dems are proposing.

Original Link.

Illinois Muslims Plead Guilty in Plot to Kill U.S. Soldiers

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Islamic terror continues to increase here in the United States.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Two cousins from the Chicago area accused of training to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq pleaded guilty to terrorism charges Thursday, federal prosecutors said.

The two were part of a plot organized by three men living in Toledo who were convicted last year of recruiting terrorists and raising money to fund their plans to wage a holy war against U.S. troops, prosecutors said.

The two cousins received training in firearms and counter-surveillance so they could join the insurgency, prosecutors said.

Khaleel Ahmed, 28, of Chicago and Zubair Ahmed, 28, of suburban North Chicago both pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

Each faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. Messages seeking comment were left with attorneys for both men.

The two men were arrested in February, months after the three men in Ohio were accused of plotting attacks.

Prosecutors said Marwan El-Hindi of Toledo recruited the cousins in 2004 to join his cell in Toledo. They all met at a Muslim convention in Cleveland with a former U.S. military man who worked undercover and helped foil the plot, prosecutors said.

Over the next year, the men talked more about training in explosives, guns and sniper tactics, U.S. Justice Department attorneys said.

During the trial of the three Ohio men, the military veteran who secretly taped conversations with the men testified that they talked several times about the two from Chicago.

According to recordings heard in court, El-Hindi said the two cousins were eager to receive “jihad training.”

But he also said the two were naive and shouldn’t go anywhere because they thought shooting guns was like playing a video game. “They are like kids,” El-Hindi said. “They’re like a piece of clay.”

At one point during a conversation, the informant asked El-Hindi if he was recruiting for jihad.

“Oh no, I just want to take these two,” El-Hindi answered, adding that he wanted to take care of them for their families.

El-Hindi, Mohammad Amawi, and Wassim Mazloum were convicted of conspiring to kill or maim people outside the United States and now face maximum sentences of life in prison.

Prosecutors also said that the cousins had traveled to Egypt in 2004 with plans to kill U.S. troops, but they were stopped and returned to the U.S.

Khaleel Ahmed was born in India and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2004. Zubair Ahmed was born in Chicago and is a U.S. citizen.

Original Link.

“New Congress Will Be Anything But Open and Transparent” by Michele Bachmann

Friday, January 16th, 2009

In about an hour, the 111th Congress will be sworn into office and the first matter we will take up is consideration of the new House Rules Package. Not only does the new package miss the opportunity to make important improvements to the earmarking and budgeting processes, such as increased transparency, it also essentially shuts off debate and prevents Republicans from proposing policy alternatives to the Democrat majority’s agenda.

No ifs, and, or buts about it – the Democrats are denying debate through gimmicks and legislative maneuvering, suppressing alternative ideas and dissenting views.

The Democrat-controlled Congress is coming off two years of abysmal leadership that denied the opportunity for debate more than any other Congress in our nation’s history. Speaker Pelosi promised Americans transparency and open government in the political process, but sadly, we’ve received just the opposite. And, somehow, they’ve managed to make it even worse.

But, the restrictions on debate and the roadblock to alternative ideas are just where the bad news begins.

The Democrats are actually rewriting the rules to make it easier to spend your money and harder to cut your taxes.

Their rewrite of the “pay-as-you-go” rule includes a provision to tax and entitlement bills to be “packaged” together for purposes of calculating PAYGO compliance. This insulates their proposals from having to stand against Republican alternatives and makes it easier to circumvent rules that are supposed to keep Congress from running the federal balance sheets into the red.

Furthermore, the rewrite of the PAYGO rule allows for “emergency” designation of spending. It allows anyone to designate spending as “emergency,” exempting it entirely from PAYGO enforcement. The emergency designation isn’t even debatable.

This Rules Package is anything but open and transparent and creates an express lane for Democrats to tax and spend your money with nothing and no one to stop them.

Original Link.