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Archive for the ‘California’ Category

UPDATED BELOW!!!

Ah, Summer (actually, late Spring) has begun and the hot weather has invaded us this past week here in Southern California, and specifically Los Angeles where I reside, with temperatures peaking upwards of the high 90’s. It’s hot, and while it will cool down again this weekend, I can certainly look forward to even warmer days in the weeks and months ahead. Damn the global warming that has all of the alarmists in a frenzied uproar.

Yet, despite the fact that “renowned” scientists around the nation and the world, including distinguished NASA climatologists, predicted the 2006-2007 winter season to be unseasonably wet and warm, the previous winter period in question proved much colder (records were broken here in L.A. and elsewhere) and drier than anyone anticipated (or hoped for.) Yet, these are the very same people, many of whom are members of the biased U.N. scientific propaganda machine, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who expect us to believe their predictions that the earth is warming due primarily to anthropogenic interference.

These are the same people who concocted the hockey stick graph, deceitfully eradicating the medieval era warming period in order to convince politicians and the public that global warming is human induced (while the IPCC was shamed into discarding that deceptive graph in favor of a diagram that did include the medieval warming period, the Al Goracle is not as progressive as liberals would like to believe–he stands stolid with his sophistry by maintaining a firm grasp on the outdated fallacious hockey stick graph when no one else will, further perpetuating that lie in his Academy Award winning slide-show, An Inconvenient Truth.) These are the same people who decry melting glaciers, while ignoring growing glaciers only miles apart.

But let’s suppose man knows best, and the earth is warming at an exagerated rate (well, except for the southern hemisphere which rather negates the concept of “global warming”), and instituting laws and regulations limiting people’s freedoms is the best for all of humanity (like the Kyoto protocols adopted by Europe which has seen a marked increase in green house gasses, or GHG’s, since ratification, while the U.S. has managed to reduce GHG’s without instituting Kyoto), and producing dubious studies, such as this nonsense, designed to make us believe that paying taxes feels as good mentally as getting laid, preparing the mindless masses for huge tax increases in order to save mankind from our own foolish, global warming ways. Let’s all jump on the global warming bandwagon and step up to the tectonic plate, so to speak, and put our money where our mouth is. Tax it all.

Now, I’m not one for new taxes, but the below piece by Ross McKitrick from the Financial Post posits a tax plan that’s so simple it just might work, pleasing everyone on both sides of the polarized global warming fence. Basically, those who supposedly contribute to warming will be taxed as the global temperature rises based on their carbon dioxide emissions. As the heat increases, so would the cost of the tax, allowing funds gained through said tax contributing towards methods of environmental assistance, humanitarian needs (increased hurricane activity for example), and overall planet-saving, global warming pocket money. How could a green not like this? They would finally be allowed to punish all of us skeptics.

Now here’s the part that should please all of the heretical dissenters, such as myself, wildly producing earth-killing C02 willy-nilly (but I own a Prius), requiring more than anecdotal evidence as to man-made global warming. If all of the predictions by the greens turn out false, if anthropogenic GHG’s are not causing a global climate crisis, “and if the sun actually controls the climate,” that tax would then be converted into a tax credit. This would certainly encourage everyone involved–from large, polluting multi-billion dollar corporations all the way down the chain to the individual–to think progressively and creatively as to how they might avoid such a tax by becoming more environmentally friendly. This would almost entirely result in personal choice, whether business or individually mandated, avoiding the troublesome legislative meddling of socialist green lobbies who desire nothing more than containment through governance of the people, limiting personal freedoms.

If the global warming alarmists truly believe their own hype, how could they not clamber for such a beneficial plan, especially considering they quickly embrace anything involved with raising taxes. The only thing they might lose is a little dignity, while hopefully gaining a significant amount of humility, especially when the next ice age alarmists start coming out of the woodwork in a decade or so (I guess there’s a reason why many now prefer the always relevant “global climate change” to the passe “global warming.”)

The image “https://i1.wp.com/whyfiles.org/218glo_warm/images/hockey_stick.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The original hockey stick graph that Al Gore erroneously uses in his slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth

Call their tax

Why not tie carbon taxes to actual levels of warming? Both skeptics and alarmists should expect their wishes to be answered

 
Ross McKitrick
Financial Post

Global-warming policy is stuck in a permanent stalemate for very basic reasons. Important divisions of opinion still exist on the extent of humanity’s influence on climate, whether or not the situation is a crisis, whether and how much greenhouse-gas emissions should be cut, if so how to do it, and what is the most we should be prepared to pay in the process.

With this stalemate in mind, I would like to propose a thought experiment about a climate policy that could, in principle, get equal support from all sides.

The approach is based on two points of expert consensus. First, most economists who have written on carbon-dioxide emissions have concluded that an emissions tax is preferable to a cap-and-trade system. The reason is that, while emission-abatement costs vary a lot, based on the target, the social damages from a tonne of carbon-dioxide emissions are roughly constant. The first ton of carbon dioxide imposes the same social cost as the last ton.

In this case, it is better for policy-makers to guess the right price for emissions rather than the right cap. Most studies that have looked at that the global cost per tonne of carbon dioxide have found it is likely to be rather low, less than US$10 per tonne. We don’t know what the right emissions cap is, but, if we put a low charge on each unit of emissions, the market will find the (roughly) correct emissions cap.

Second, climate models predict that, if greenhouse gases are driving climate change, there will be a unique fingerprint in the form of a strong warming trend in the tropical troposphere, the region of the atmosphere up to 15 kilometres in altitude, over the tropics, from 20? North to 20? South. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that this will be an early and strong signal of anthropogenic warming. Climate changes due to solar variability or other natural factors will not yield this pattern: only sustained greenhouse warming will do it.

Temperatures in the tropical troposphere are measured every day using weather satellites. The data are analyzed by several teams, including one at the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) and one at Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) in California. According to the UAH team, the mean tropical tropospheric temperature anomaly (its departure from the 1979-98 average) over the past three years is 0.18C. The corresponding ing RSS estimate is 0.29C.

Now put those two ideas together. Suppose each country implements something called the T3 tax, whose U.S. dollar rate is set equal to 20 times the three-year moving average of the RSS and UAH estimates of the mean tropical tropospheric temperature anomaly, assessed per tonne of carbon dioxide, updated annually. Based on current data, the tax would be US$4.70 per ton, which is about the median mainstream carbon-dioxide-damage estimate from a major survey published in 2005 by economist Richard Tol. The tax would be implemented on all domestic carbon-dioxide emissions, all the revenues would be recycled into domestic income tax cuts to maintain fiscal neutrality, and there would be no cap on total emissions.

This tax rate is low, and would yield very little emissions abatement. Global-warming skeptics and opponents of greenhouse-abatement policy will like that. But would global-warming activists? They should — because according to them, the tax will climb rapidly in the years ahead.

The IPCC predicts a warming rate in the tropical troposphere of about double that at the surface, implying about 0.2C to 1.2C per decade in the tropical troposphere under greenhouse-forcing scenarios. That implies the tax will climb by $4 to $24 per tonne per decade, a much more aggressive schedule of emission fee increases than most current proposals. At the upper end of warming forecasts, the tax could reach $200 per tonne of CO2 by 2100, forcing major carbon-emission reductions and a global shift to non-carbon energy sources.

Global-warming activists would like this. But so would skeptics, because they believe the models are exaggerating the warming forecasts. After all, the averaged UAH/ RSS tropical troposphere series went up only about 0.08C over the past decade, and has been going down since 2002. Some solar scientists even expect pronounced cooling to begin in a decade. If they are right, the T3 tax will fall below zero within two decades, turning into a subsidy for carbon emissions.

At this point the global-warming alarmists would leap up to slam the proposal. But not so fast, Mr. Gore: The tax would only become a carbon subsidy if all the climate models are wrong, if greenhouse gases are not warming the atmosphere, and if the sun actually controls the climate. Alarmists sneeringly denounce such claims as “denialism,” so they can hardly reject the policy on the belief that they are true.

Under the T3 tax, the regulator gets to call everyone’s bluff at once, without gambling in advance on who is right. If the tax goes up, it ought to have. If it doesn’t go up, it shouldn’t have. Either way we get a sensible outcome.

But the benefits don’t stop there. The T3 tax will induce forward-looking behaviour. Alarmists worry that conventional policy operates with too long a lag to prevent damaging climate change. Under the T3 tax, investors planning major industrial projects will need to forecast the tax rate many years ahead, thereby taking into account the most likely path of global warming a decade or more in advance.

And best of all, the T3 tax will encourage private-sector climate forecasting. Firms will need good estimates of future tax rates, which will force them to look deeply, and objectively, into the question of whether existing climate forecasts have an alarmist bias. The financial incentives will lead to independent reassessments of global climate modelling, without regard to what politicians, the IPCC or climatology professors want to hear.

Policymaking in the real world is messy, and ideas that sound good in theory can come out hopelessly gummed up with extraneous provisions that dilute or contradict the original purpose. But as a thought experiment, I find the T3 tax clarifies a lot of issues.

In my view, the ideal global-warming policy is a carbon tax, and the optimal rate is zero. I like the T3 tax in part because I think it would result in this outcome over time. Yet those whose fears of rapid warming lead them to demand stronger policy measures, including an emissions cap, should, in principle, be able to support the same mechanism. Especially in light of the long stalemates over carbon-dioxide emissions policy, I doubt any other policy could command equal support from such polarized camps.

— – Ross McKitrick is an economist at University of Guelph.

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The corrected, and accurate, global climate graph.

 

Carbon trade scheme ‘is failing’

 

By Julian O’ Halloran
BBC File On 4


Power station

The government’s own figures show an increase in greenhouse gases

The EU’s carbon trading scheme has increased electricity bills, given a windfall to power companies and failed to cut greenhouse gases, it is claimed. An investigation by BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme has found that after two and half years the scheme has yet to cut in carbon dioxide emissions.

The consumer body Energywatch said customers are getting a raw deal.

But a government minister has promised that the scheme’s next phase will be a big improvement.

The EU’s Emission Trading Scheme – a key part of the UK Government’s drive to combat climate change – began in 2005 and created a trade in carbon allowances.

It is essentially a permit to pollute.

Power generators received their allowances free of charge but were allowed to reflect the value of those in increased prices to customers, as if the companies had actually had to buy the allowances.

Energywatch believes this increased electricity bills by about 7% in 2005.

‘Windfall profits’

And according to one government estimate, that delivered windfall profits of up to £1.3bn to the generators in that year – higher than environmental campaigners had claimed last year.

However, so far the carbon scheme has brought no clear payback in terms of cutting emissions.

Provisional government figures from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) suggest CO2 output in Britain actually went up, by 1.25% last year wiping out a slight drop of 0.01% in 2005.

It is also reckoned that CO2 emissions across the EU also rose by between 1 and 1.5% over the last two years.

Carbon reduction

The chief executive of Energywatch, Allan Asher, said , “Consumers increasingly accept the need for reductions in carbon.

“However they are paying the price and not seeing the benefits. The big generators are banking huge amounts of money and consumers aren’t benefiting.”

But the Minister for Climate Change, Ian Pearson, told File on 4 that the carbon trading scheme has been an administrative success yet concedes there have been problems in the first three year phase to the end of 2007.

“If you are saying to me it hasn’t achieved a massive amount so far when it comes to CO2 reductions, well I agree with you and I think Phase Two will be a big, big improvement…and a key instrument in helping us all to achieve our carbon reduction targets across Europe.”

https://i2.wp.com/www.otoons.com/politics/images/global_warmin1.jpg

 

Freedom, not climate, is at risk

By Vaclav Klaus

Published: June 13 2007 17:44

We are living in strange times. One exceptionally warm winter is enough – irrespective of the fact that in the course of the 20th century the global temperature increased only by 0.6 per cent – for the environmentalists and their followers to suggest radical measures to do something about the weather, and to do it right now.

In the past year, Al Gore’s so-called “documentary” film was shown in cinemas worldwide, Britain’s – more or less Tony Blair’s – Stern report was published, the fourth report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was put together and the Group of Eight summit announced ambitions to do something about the weather. Rational and freedom-loving people have to respond. The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced.

The author Michael Crichton stated it clearly: “the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda”. I feel the same way, because global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. It requires courage to oppose the “established” truth, although a lot of people – including top-class scientists – see the issue of climate change entirely differently. They protest against the arrogance of those who advocate the global warming hypothesis and relate it to human activities.

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence.

Does it make any sense to speak about warming of the Earth when we see it in the context of the evolution of our planet over hundreds of millions of years? Every child is taught at school about temperature variations, about the ice ages, about the much warmer climate in the Middle Ages. All of us have noticed that even during our life-time temperature changes occur (in both directions).

Due to advances in technology, increases in disposable wealth, the rationality of institutions and the ability of countries to organise themselves, the adaptability of human society has been radically increased. It will continue to increase and will solve any potential consequences of mild climate changes.

I agree with Professor Richard Lindzen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who said: “future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age”.

The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.

As a witness to today’s worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:
■Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures
■Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided
■Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants
■Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority
■Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour
■Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction
■Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.

The writer is President of the Czech Republic

UPDATED!!! (6/21/07) – President Vaclav Klaus responds to comments from his above piece in the Financial Times

 

Global warming: truth or propaganda?

Published: June 13 2007 17:09 | Last updated: June 21 2007 13:01

Vaclav Klaus Q&A

Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, argues in the Financial Times that ambitious environmentalism is the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity.

Mr Klaus writes that “global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem” and the issue “is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.”

Do you agree? Or do small climate changes demand far-reaching restrictive measures?

Following an overwhelming response from readers, Mr Klaus has answered a selection of questions from the hundreds that were submitted.

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Does President Klaus really believe that it is a good risk management strategy to ignore the summary report on climate change science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, approved by the Czech Republic and other countries in February, concluding that continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century?
Bob Ward, London, UK

Vaclav Klaus: I think it is a very bad risk management strategy to follow the summary report on climate change of the IPCC. To do it would be a giving up of risk management rules and of standard cost-benefit analysis techniques in favour of environmentalists’ “precautionary principle” which totally discredits risk management and comparison of costs and benefits. I suppose that you don’t insure your house (or car) when the danger is small and the insurance is too expensive. That’s all.

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Mr. Klaus, I believe, has asked the wrong question, and in doing so, is in danger of under-cutting his main point, which is the danger to personal freedom of a top-down, single-government approach to managing the problem of global warming. Instead of trying to ask, is global warming a REAL problem?, Mr Klaus should ask – and then provide his answer – the question: Assuming global warming is a REAL, global issue, how can we manage this problem on a global scale while also expanding personal freedom and economic welfare? I would be very interested in hearing his response to this question.
Robert Bruegel, Denver, Colorado

Vaclav Klaus: I ask myself several questions. Let’s put them in the proper sequence:

• Is global warming a reality?

If it is a reality, is it man-made?

• If it is a reality, is it a problem? Will the people in the world, and now I have to say “globally”, better-off or worse-off due to small increases of global temperature?

• If it is a reality, and if it is a problem, can men prevent it or stop it? Can any reasonable cost-benefit analysis justify anything – within the range of current proposals – to be done just now?

Surprisingly, we can say yes – with some degree of probability – only to the first question. To the remaining three my answer is no. And I am not alone in saying that. We are, however, still more or less the silent or silenced majority.

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Because of the incredible complexity of variables controlling climate, programs based on empirical data cannot predict weather for a fortnight; so how can programs based on far less finite information accurately predict global warming?
William Bluhm, Bella Vista, AR

Vaclav Klaus: This is exactly my argument. It is impossible to seriously predict global weather, not to speak about climate. But my argument is less about eventual variations in global climate. My doubts are mostly about the impact of human activities on global climate. This connection seems to me – after having read hundreds of books, articles and studies – very weak. This weakness is a problem. Because of this weakness, we should not make drastic, far-reaching measures.

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Why do you disbelieve the science when every serious national scientific establishment appears to support it? And why do you suppose it to be a threat to freedom when both EU and UK essentially support market mechanisms as the primary policy instrument to deal with it?
John Rhys, UK

Vaclav Klaus: I do not disbelieve the science, but I see a big difference between science and “national scientific establishments”. To believe in scientific establishment is impossible, this is just another powerful rent-seeking group. Seeking rent for themselves, not for the mankind.

You suggest that both the EU and the UK support market mechanisms as the primary policy instrument to deal with climate change. We probably live on a different planet. I don’t see it happening.

At a somewhat deeper methodological level, I have to say that market mechanism is nobody’s policy instrument. It reminds me of the old communist days again. The issue was: market or central planning. The central planners, however, wanted to have market – in their hands – as a policy instrument. Do we have to live under communism to understand that?

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My assumption would be that the costs to implement the initial phases of the 50 per cent reduction idea would be measured in trillions of dollars to just the US. My question to you is what would it cost a country such as the Czech Republic, and what about opportunity costs associated with such reductions? That never seems to be discussed.
William Danielson, Hayward, Wisconsin US

Vaclav Klaus: As an economist (Professor of Finance at the Prague School of Economics) and as a former Minister of Finance I have to admit that I don’t know the answer to your question. I am not ashamed of this ignorance of mine. On the contrary, I am ashamed of the confidence of those who claim to know the answer.

At least two points should be made:

• the costs will not be only financial ones because the main costs will be the negative impact upon human beings, their lives, their welfare, their freedom, their opportunities, their behaviour;

• to calculate “the costs” for the next fifty years is ridiculous. We do not know the prices in the year 2050 and we do not know how important one million dollars (or euros) will be in the year 2050. Therefore, any “calculation” is meaningless. The more absurd it is, the easier it is to make such an announcement at the G8 summit.

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All that environmentalists demand is responsibility. Responsibility of those who cause damage to others to pay for that damage, and to do their utmost to stop inflicting it. I had the impression that responsibility was supposed to be a conservative virtue, and a necessary complement to the great freedom we have in our open market economies. But more and more I see the supporters of capitalism demand that they be free to dump their waste on their neighbours lawns without consequence. What happened?
Nanne Zwagerman

Vaclav Klaus: Environmentalists do not demand responsibility. Responsibility is not their idea, it is a basic, elementary aspect of human behaviour – on condition government policies do not give wrong incentives. The idea of responsibility for damage done to others is not the environmentalists’ copyright. It is a standard of human behaviour. Environmentalists – especially in the case of global warming – artificially created “a damage” (higher temperature) and made all of us responsible for it. I don’t believe in this “damage” and I am not ready to pay for it. The role of men in slightly higher global temperature (0.6°C in the last century) is only marginal, if any.

To say that “the supporters of capitalism demand that they are free to dump their waste on their neighbours lawns without consequence” has the beauty of communist propaganda I had a chance to “enjoy” during the first 48 years of my life.

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With the Czech Republic being a mid-sized European country, do you see a threat to your people and land from the climate change decisions and limitations being made by larger world powers? If so, what can the majority of the world do to mitigate harmful policies being forced by these powers?
William A. Warner, Tacoma, WA, US

Vaclav Klaus: It is very popular but cheap to blame “large world powers”. I don’t do it. I know many, very small European “powers” which are more environmentalist than most “large world powers”. The problem is that some politicians – of both large and small countries – are victims of environmentalism and use it for their own personal benefits.

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Years ago I heard people talking about how environmentalism would be used as the lever to usher in global (socialistic) government, because the environment affects everyone. Do you think this is what we are now seeing with the climate issue?
Mark, Lake Charles, US

Vaclav Klaus: Environmentalism is indeed a vehicle for bringing us socialist government at the global level. Again, my life in communism makes me oversensitive in this respect. The argumentation of various environmentalists is very similar to what we used to know in the past.

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Do you feel that the global warming is being used as a rallying point for the forces of globalisation? It is much like the Avian flu propaganda don’t you agree? Problem, reaction, solution. The trillionaires, that want to rule the world, are going to save us… that’s what I’m getting. What is your view?
Mark Lemmon

Vaclav Klaus: I don’t think that the environmentalists are “the trillionaires who want to rule the world”. I am afraid the environmentalists want to rule the world without being capable to earn those trillions because it requires to work very hard. The global warming propaganda is, I agree, similar to the Avian flu propaganda, the Y2K propaganda, the end of resources propaganda, the overpopulation propaganda, etc. Their proposals will not increase the globalisation of human activities, they are in favour of global governance only. This is something very different. I am in favour of the first globalisation, not of the second one.

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President Klaus, I agree with you but how can we stop the argument being seen as one of the “Right” versus the “Left”? It seems to me that this one issue brings more confusion to the debate.
Anon, London

Vaclav Klaus: I am not afraid of right-left argument, even if I know that some people innocently hope that the right-left dilemma is over. It is not. Without going into nuances, we can say that the “right” people are in favour of individual freedom, whereas the “left” people believe in collectivist wisdom. Environmentalism, not preservation of nature (and of environment), is a leftist ideology. Some people, who pretend to be on the right, bought into it as well – to my great regret.

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What is the financial and/or economic incentive for those governments and organisations who go along with, and even support environmentalism?
Justin Kelly

Vaclav Klaus: There are huge material (very pecuniary) and even bigger psychological incentives for politicians and their bureaucratic fellow-travellers to support environmentalism. It gives them power. This is exactly what they are searching for. It gives them power to organise, regulate, manipulate the rest of us. There is nothing altruistic in their environmentalist stances.

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While I applaud your commitment to freedom, I ask you this: Will we live in freedom if the decisions of a portion of the globe’s population (the government and corporate leaders who refuse to halt the increase of greenhouse gas emissions) condemn the rest of us to face whatever consequences global climate change eventually wreaks?
Respectfully, Arielle K. Botter

Vaclav Klaus: I don’t believe that there is a world-wide conspiracy of government and corporate leaders to halt the increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, I am not convinced about the strong connection between greenhouse gas emissions and the global climate. This connection can’t be taken for granted.

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President Klaus, I agree, so how do rational libertarians prevent the destruction of our culture by environmentalists? What’s the answer?
Nicholas Horvath

Vaclav Klaus: The “rational libertarians” (I don’t mind being called classical liberal) should stop being just a silent majority. They should speak out, as well as speak up. They should reveal the real dangers connected with environmentalism. As the subtitle of my recent book “What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom?” suggests, I believe that it is freedom which is endangered. And freedom is more than eventual, relatively mild climate changes.

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Why are so many people willing to embrace junk science and its dire predictions? What can each of us do to inspire people to think critically, and rationally? Is there a way to assemble multitudes of clear-thinkers, to push back against irrational, over-wrought fear-mongering?
Larry Jordan, US

Vaclav Klaus: Some people believe in irrational things and events – some of them in UFOs, some in witches, some in fairy-tales, some in omnipotent governments, some in global warming.

Some people believe in themselves, not in others. They suppose they know better than the rest of us what is good for us.

Some people are sufficiently motivated to spread the global warming hysteria. It gives them funding (especially for science connected with this issue), it gives them jobs in well-paid government positions, it gives them government subsidies for producing products which are – supposedly – in favour of global cooling, etc.

What to do? I take my positions on global warming as normal. It surprises me how many people tell me how courageous I am for taking them. Let’s all of us speak out.

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Why view conservation of energy as an attack on freedom? Do you believe wasting energy strengthens freedom? The US, with only 6 per cent of world population, produces 25 per cent of world CO2 emissions because of government programs encouraging high energy use. Excessive tax subsidies for road building and oil production push energy waste, not the free market. The US political process is dominated by road building and oil interests. I pray that doesn’t happen to the Czech Republic.
John Norquist, Chicago, US

Vaclav Klaus: Let’s be fair. Attacking environmentalism and its mythology is not attacking nature, the environment we live in, the conservation of energy. It’s a classical spin to do it.

To save energy (as anything else) is the only rational behaviour. The more we save, the better. The economy of energy consumption is a must, not to save energy is irrational. The problem is who should make the decision about energy saving or conservation? Free individuals or omnipotent governments? That is the only problem. Free individuals in a free market climate (and only this “climate” is crucial) behave much more rationally than their governments.

To say that government programs encourage high energy use in the US is ridiculous. To say that “the US political process is dominated by road building and oil interests” is ridiculous as well. High energy use in the US is caused not by the US government but by the enormous wealth of US citizens (together with specific US natural endowments). The other, abundance-approaching countries will do the same. Wealth is – at the beginning – a problem but when it grows, it is a solution. The so-called Environmental Kuznets Curves demonstrate that quite clearly and convincingly.

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The relatively small changes in global temperature in the last forty years have set in motion some deeply worrying trends, such rapid growth in deserts, falls in agricultural productivity in some parts of the world and increased flow rates of Greenland glaciers. Would the president please tell us just how much of a rise in sea level, a fall in agricultural production and a displacement of migrants he thinks we should accept before taking action to reduce GHG emissions? It would be good to see some numbers.
Chris Goodall, Oxford

Vaclav Klaus: I can’t go into details, I suggest that you read the book by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery with the title Unstoppable Global Warming, every 1,500 years and the book by J. P. Michaels called Meltdown: the Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media. Or many others.

To give one example: the very debatable 2007 IPCC report suggests a rise in sea level between 14–43 centimetres for the whole 21st century. Is it a scary size? Not to me.

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It strikes me as puzzling that you place your weight behind the projection of a long-term positive impact of the economy, compared to your rejection of Stern’s projection of long-term negative impact on the economy. Favouring one truth above another is, as you might say, a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. Your bet that positive economic impact will renounce us of any possible climatic change is as singularly unconvincing as the stock-broker who is whistling on his way to Wall Street on the morning of October 29, 1929.
B. Dankert, Johannesburg

Vaclav Klaus: My criticism of Stern Report’s conclusions – and I am not alone in it – is based on serious economic arguments, not on aprioristic statements. I will give just one example. When you mention Wall Street in your question, you probably understand the concept of the discount rate. It is one of the crucial variables of any economy and its importance grows the more we go into inter-temporal analysis. Analysing the whole 21st century, as Mr Stern does, suggests that the significance of the proper level of chosen discount rate is fatal. Many economists strongly oppose the very low level of discount rate Mr Stern uses for his modelling simulations.

The low level of discount rate means that the future is as big as the present or that anything existing now will be as big in the year 2100 as now. This is ridiculous. Will the banknote of 1000 nomination (in your South African rands or in US dollars) be as big, as relevant, as important in the year 2100 as it is now? I am sorry to say that Mr Stern assumes exactly that.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

There is no doubt that modern human society can adversely impact our living environment. This manifests itself from city air quality and industrial spills to deforestation and overfishing. Overwhelming evidence points to that when human beings find the condition too unpleasant to tolerate, the opportunity to stop or reverse the trend requires extreme action. How much evidence for environmental damage do you need to see before you are willing to advocate collective action in order to prevent the need for later extreme action?
Oddi Aasheim, London

Vaclav Klaus: You ask how much environmental damage I need to see before I am willing to do anything? My problem is that I do not “see” sufficient and persuasive evidence for environmental damage you have – probably – in mind, and I wonder whether you see it yourself, or whether you just read about it.

Do you really “see” any damage caused by current warming? I do not. I would prefer more snow for skiing during this winter but we are – in Central Europe – enjoying warm evenings this May and June, which is very pleasant. Do you see meltdown of glaciers and icebergs? You may see some retreating of continental glaciers, but they represent only 0.6 per cent of the planet’s ice. There is no meltdown either in Greenland or the Antarctic just now.

When I study and analyse environmental indicators concerning my own country and when I compare them with the situation in the communist era, there is an incredible improvement. The improvement is not because of “collective action” you advocate (it existed in the communist era), but because of freedom and of free markets. That’s my main message.

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The current immigration legislation debacle has hit a snag. A small victory has been achieved–postponement of a vote–largely due to riled American citizens calling and writing their congressmen and senators with indignant outrage focused on the measure itself and just about every member of the house and the senate whether they approve of the legislation or not. The legal, tax-paying individuals and families of the United States are justifiably vexed to say the least, and we are taking no prisoners with our elected officials–those who work for us–by threatening their future electability should they support such a flamboyant mockery of the legislative process embodied in the current immigration reform bill that would end up costing Americans massive amounts of their own money were it to fast-track its way through the senate as McCain, Kennedy, and Bush had hoped (to avert inevitable debate and eventual failure.)

But just how much would this legislation end up costing taxpayers? Millions? Billions? Try almost two and a half trillion dollars. This is money American citizens pay into the government in order to receive benefits in the form of social security, Medicare, unemployment, public education (the largest expenditure for state and local governments), general welfare, and much, much more. Now the senate wants to pass a law that would forgive and reward 15 to 20 million illegal aliens, allowing them instant access to legally obtaining the above benefits, without having paid into those programs during their years and decades living in the United States criminally. They have paid nothing in, but they will instantly have access to those benefits should the amnesty move forward and become law.

Welfare expert, Robert E. Rector from The Heritage Foundation has written an exhaustively thorough piece concerning this very issue. The recently concluded study, The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer (below in part), provides some startling statistics.

“On average, low-skill immigrant households re­ceived $30,160 per household in immediate govern­ment benefits and services in FY 2004, including direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and popula­tion-based services. By contrast, low-skill immigrant households paid only $10,573 in taxes. Thus, low-skill immigrant households received nearly three dollars in benefits and services for each dollar in taxes paid.” [emphasis added]

Now multiply that by millions upon millions of illegal aliens. While I don’t find this finding surprising, three dollars in benefits for every one dollar paid into the system (assuming illegals are actually paying taxes as most of them are likely not, making this even worse) should be a distressing revelation to those who are detrimentally on the fence with this issue, but it should also exist as a pre-apocalyptic kicker to the open borders lobby. If their desire is to seek the ruin of the United States by importing the world’s poverty, then it seems clear the immigration legislation currently under debate would be the way to do it.

Still, the delay of a vote on the legislation postponed until after Memorial day is a win for America, and can doubtlessly be attributed to all of the legal citizens who called in and voiced their displeasure over this travesty of ‘law.’ This does not mean we can rest. It simply means we have more time to keep calling and more time to keep pestering our elected officials–more time to bully them into killing this immigration reform perversion.

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May 22, 2007

The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer

by Robert E. Rector and Christine Kim

Special Report #14

 

 

Each year, families and individuals pay taxes to the government and receive back a wide variety of services and benefits. A fiscal deficit occurs when the benefits and services received by one group exceed the taxes paid. When such a deficit occurs, other groups must pay for the services and benefits of the group in deficit. Each year, govern­ment is involved in a large-scale transfer of resources between different social groups.

Fiscal distribution analysis measures the distribution of total government benefits and taxes in society. It pro­vides an assessment of the magnitude of government transfers between groups. This paper provides a fiscal distri­bution analysis of households headed by immigrants without a high school diploma. It measures the total benefits and services received by this group and the total taxes paid. The difference between benefits received and taxes paid represents the total resources transferred by government on behalf of this group from the rest of society.

The first step in an analysis of the distribution of benefits and taxes is to count accurately the cost of all benefits and services provided by the government. The size and cost of government is far larger than many people imagine. In fiscal year (FY) 2004, the expenditures of the federal government were $2.3 trillion. In the same year, expendi­tures of state and local governments were $1.45 trillion. The combined value of federal, state, and local expenditures in FY 2004 was $3.75 trillion.[1]

The sum of $3.75 trillion is so large that it is difficult to comprehend. One way to grasp the size of government more readily is to calculate average expenditures per household. In 2004, there were some 115 million households in the U.S.[2] (This figure includes multi-person families and single persons living alone.) The average cost of govern­ment spending thus amounted to $32,707 per household across the U.S. population.[3]

The $3.75 trillion in government expenditure is not free, but must be paid for by taxing or borrowing economic resources from Americans or by borrowing from abroad. In general, government expenditures are funded by taxes and fees. In FY 2004, federal taxes amounted to $1.82 trillion. State and local taxes and related revenues amounted to $1.6 trillion.[4] Together, federal, state, and local taxes amounted to $3.43 trillion. At $3.43 trillion, taxes and related revenues came to 91 percent of the $3.75 trillion in expenditures. The gap between taxes and spending was financed by government borrowing.

Types of Government Expenditure

After the full cost of government benefits and services has been determined, the next step in the analysis of the distribution of benefits and taxes is to determine the beneficiaries of specific government programs. Some programs, such as Social Security, neatly parcel out benefits to specific individuals. With programs such as these, it is relatively easy to determine the identity of the beneficiary and the cost of the benefit provided. At the opposite extreme, other government programs (for example, medical research at the National Institutes of Health) do not neatly parcel out benefits to individuals. Determining the proper allocation of the benefits of that type of program is more difficult.

To ascertain most accurately the distribution of government benefits and services, this study begins by divid­ing government expenditures into six categories: direct benefits, means-tested benefits, educational services, pop­ulation-based services, interest and other financial obligations resulting from prior government activity, and pure public goods.

Direct Benefits

Direct benefit programs involve either cash transfers or the purchase of specific services for an individual. Unlike means-tested programs (described below), direct benefit programs are not limited to low-income persons. By far the largest direct benefit programs are Social Security and Medicare. Other substantial direct benefit programs are Unemployment Insurance and Workmen’s Compensation.

Direct benefit programs involve a fairly transparent transfer of economic resources. The benefits are parceled out discretely to individuals in the population; both the recipient and the cost of the benefit are relatively easy to deter­mine. In the case of Social Security, the cost of the benefit would equal the value of the Social Security check plus the administrative costs involved in delivering the benefit.

Calculating the cost of Medicare services is more complex. Ordinarily, government does not seek to compute the particular medical services received by an individual. Instead, government counts the cost of Medicare for an individual as equal to the average per capita cost of Medicare services. (This number equals the total cost of Medicare services divided by the total number of recipients.)[5] Overall, government spent $840 billion on direct benefits in FY 2004.

Means-Tested Benefits

Means-tested programs are typically termed welfare programs. Unlike direct benefits, means-tested programs are available only to households below specific income thresholds. Means-tested welfare programs provide cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income persons.

The federal government operates over 60 means-tested aid programs.[6] The largest of these are Medicaid; the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); food stamps; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Section 8 housing; public housing; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); the school lunch and breakfast programs; the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) nutrition program; and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). Many means-tested programs, such as SSI and the EITC, provide cash to recipients. Others, such as public housing or SSBG, pay for ser­vices that are provided to recipients.

The value of Medicaid benefits is usually counted in a manner similar to Medicare benefits. Government does not attempt to itemize the specific medical services given to an individual; instead, it computes an average per capita cost of services to individuals in different beneficiary categories such as children, elderly persons, and disabled adults. (The average per capita cost for a particular group is determined by dividing the total expenditures on the group by the total number of beneficiaries in the group.) Overall, the U.S. spent $564 billion on means-tested aid in FY 2004.[7]

Public Education

Government provides primary, secondary, post-secondary, and vocational education to individuals. In most cases, the government pays directly for the cost of educational services provided. In other cases, such as the Pell Grant program, the government in effect provides money to an eligible individual who then spends it on educational services.

Education is the single largest component of state and local government spending, absorbing roughly a third of all state and local expenditures. The average per pupil cost of public primary and secondary education is now around $9,600 per year. Overall, federal, state, and local governments spent $590 billion on education in FY 2004.

Population-Based Services

Whereas direct benefits, means-tested benefits, and education services provide discrete benefits and services to particular individuals, population-based programs generally provide services to a whole group or community. Pop­ulation-based expenditures include police and fire protection, courts, parks, sanitation, and food safety and health inspections. Another important population-based expenditure is transportation, especially roads and highways.

A key feature of population-based expenditures is that such programs generally need to expand as the popula­tion of a community expands. (This quality separates them from pure public goods, described below.) For example, as the population of a community increases, the number of police and firemen will generally need to expand in pro­portion.

In its study of the fiscal costs of immigration, The New Americans, the National Academy of Sciences argued that if service remains fixed while the population increases, a program will become “congested,” and the quality of service for users will deteriorate. Thus, the NAS uses the term “congestible goods” to describe population-based services.[8] High­ways are an obvious example of this point. In general, the cost of population-based services can be allocated according to an individual’s estimated utilization of the service or at a flat per capita cost across the relevant population.

A sub-category of population-based services is government administrative support functions such as tax collec­tions and legislative activities. Few taxpayers view tax collection as a government benefit; therefore, assigning the cost of this “benefit” appears problematic.

The solution to this dilemma is to conceptualize government activities into two categories: primary functions and secondary functions. Primary functions provide benefits directly to the public; they include direct and means-tested benefits, education, ordinary population-based services such as police and parks and public goods. By con­trast, secondary or support functions do not provide direct benefits to the public but do provide necessary support services that enable the government to perform primary functions. For example, no one can receive food stamp ben­efits unless the government first collects taxes to fund the program. Secondary functions can thus be considered an inherent part of the “cost of production” of primary functions, and the benefits of secondary support functions can be allocated among the population in proportion to the allocation of benefits from government primary functions.

Government spent $662 billion on population-based services in FY 2004. Of this amount, some $546 billion went for ordinary services such as police and parks, and $116 billion went for administrative support functions.

MORE…

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 Senate Puts Off Action on Immigration

May 22, 4:27 AM (ET)
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate leaders agreed Monday that they would wait until June to take final action on a bipartisan plan to give millions of unlawful immigrants legal status.

The measure, which also tightens border security and workplace enforcement measures, unites a group of influential liberals, centrists and conservatives and has White House backing, but it has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum. In a nod to that opposition, Senate leaders won’t seek to complete it before a hoped-for Memorial Day deadline.

“It would be to the best interests of the Senate … that we not try to finish this bill this week,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., as the chamber began debate on the volatile issue. “I think we could, but I’m afraid the conclusion wouldn’t be anything that anyone wanted.”

The bipartisan compromise cleared its first hurdle Monday with a bipartisan Senate vote to begin debate on a separate immigration measure. Still, it faces significant obstacles as lawmakers seek dozens of modifications to its key elements.

(AP) Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., center, accompanied by Sen. Jeff Session, R-Ala., left, and Rep. Brian…
Full Image

Republicans want to make the bill tougher on the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. Democrats want to change a new temporary worker program and reorder priorities in a merit-based system for future immigration that weights employability over family ties.

The unlikely coalition that brokered the deal, led by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., is plotting to protect the agreement from “deal-breaker” changes that would sap its support. The group will hold daily meetings starting Tuesday to determine whether proposed revisions would sink what they are calling their “grand bargain.”

“We have to try our very best to work together to get something that will actually pass,” Kyl said.

Among the first changes to be debated will be a proposal by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., to shrink the temporary worker program created by the compromise plan. Some lawmakers in both parties consider the initiative, which would provide at least 400,000 guest worker visas annually, too large.

Others charge it’s impractical and unfair to immigrants, because it would allow them to stay only temporarily in the U.S. without guaranteeing them a chance to gain legal status.

“We must not create a law that guarantees a permanent underclass, people who are here to work in low-wage, low-skilled jobs but do not have the chance to put down roots or benefit from the opportunities of American citizenship,” Reid said.

Reid called the measure a “starting point,” but said he had reservations about it.

Conservative critics denounced the proposal’s quick granting of legal status to millions of unlawful immigrants.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said the measure’s so-called “point system” doesn’t do enough to guarantee that future immigration will serve the country’s economic needs.

“I’m nervous about this thing,” said Sessions, who voted not to go forward with the debate. He called the point scheme “bait” to get conservatives to embrace the measure, and accused Republicans of compromising too much on an outline drafted by the White House in late March to attract GOP support.

“I’m disappointed – almost heartbroken – because we made some progress toward getting to this new framework, but the political wheeling and dealing and compromising and splitting the baby has resulted in a circumstance that, you know, we just didn’t get far enough,” Sessions said.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who also opposed opening debate, announced she would seek to alter the bill to mandate that illegal immigrants go back to their home countries before gaining legal status.

Under the proposal, that requirement only applies to heads of households seeking green cards and a path to citizenship. Others here unlawfully could obtain visas to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely without returning home.

Kennedy, called the plan “strong, realistic and fair.”

“For each of us who crafted it, there are elements that we strongly support and elements we believe could be improved. No one believes this is a perfect bill,” Kennedy said.

The White House has begun an active lobbying effort to drum up support for the measure, especially among Republicans who voted against an immigration overhaul last year.

President Bush is still hoping to sign the bill by summer’s end, said Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman.

“This is a very high priority for the president,” Fratto told reporters in Crawford, Texas. “We know that this is an emotional issue for members on both sides of political parties and both sides of the ideological spectrum, but we hope that we can find common ground.”

Conservatives in the House, whose opposition helped kill an immigration overhaul last year, began laying down markers in anticipation of their own debate, expected only if the Senate completes its measure.

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., unveiled legislation he said was “an alternative to several of the large holes in the so-called Senate compromise.”

It would send home illegal immigrants who had been in the U.S. for fewer than five years and bar them from gaining lawful status.

Those in the country five years or more would be able to get a “blue card” to live and work legally in the U.S. after paying a $1,000 fine and learning English and American civics, but they could not bring their families. Blue card holders would have to leave the country to apply for legal residency.

In contrast, the bipartisan Senate compromise would allow illegal immigrants in the country by the beginning of this year to adjust their status.

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If you do not at least call ten of the names listed below in order to protest the brutally unfair amnesty legislation being proposed, please do not come back to this site. You are not welcome here.

To get an idea of what this country will be like in the future if this amnesty passes (and this is only one amnesty–more will come if this one passes) then please listen to my Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa at yesterday’s anti-LAPD/pro-illegal alien rally held in downtown LA. Villaraigosa is a man with great ambition. He wants to be governor. He wants to be president. You’d better start learning to speak Spanish now, because if this amnesty passes, this is what you will get.

This is the sound of your (future?) leader.
(Right click, Save as…to save the speech to your computer.)

Courtesy of the John and Ken show page…

CALL BOXER, FEINSTEIN, MCCAIN, OR ANY OTHER FOOL IN THE SENATE AND TELL THEM YOU REJECT AMNESTY FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS!

And give special attention to these politicians:

Senator Boxer:
202-224-3553 (D.C)
213-894-5000 (L.A)
909-888-8525 (Inland Empire)
E-mail

Senator Feinstein:
202-224-3841 (D.C)
310-914-7300 (L.A)
E-mail
Senator McCain:
(202) 224-2235 (D.C)
(602) 952-2410 (Phoenix)
(480) 897-6289 (Tempe)
(520) 670-6334 (Tucson)
E-mail
johnmccain.com

John Peschong – Senior Advisor to the California McCain for President Campaign:
916-648-1222, ext. 13 (Sacramento)

Senator Jon Kyl (author of this amnesty plan):
(202) 224-4521 (DC)
(602) 840-1891 (Phoenix)
(520) 575-8633 (Tucson)
E-mail
Kyl’s website says, “Securing the borders of the United States to protect against the entry of terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal aliens – while keeping them open for legitimate visitors and commerce – is one of my highest priorities.”
Oh really?

Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Leader:
Washington, DC Office
Phone: (202) 224-2541
Fax: (202) 224-2499

US SENATORS – use toll free number 866.340.9281

Akaka, Daniel K.- (D – HI) (202) 224-6361
Alexander, Lamar- (R – TN) (202) 224-4944
Allard, Wayne- (R – CO) (202) 224-5941
Baucus, Max- (D – MT) (202) 224-2651
Bayh, Evan- (D – IN) (202) 224-5623
Bennett, Robert F.- (R – UT) (202) 224-5444
Biden, Joseph R., Jr.- (D – DE) (202) 224-5042
Bingaman, Jeff- (D – NM) (202) 224-5521
Bond, Christopher S.- (R – MO) (202) 224-5721
Boxer, Barbara- (D – CA) (202) 224-3553
Brown, Sherrod- (D – OH) (202) 224-2315
Brownback, Sam- (R – KS) (202) 224-6521
Bunning, Jim- (R – KY) (202) 224-4343
Burr, Richard- (R – NC) (202) 224-3154
Byrd, Robert C.- (D – WV) (202) 224-3954
Cantwell, Maria- (D – WA) (202) 224-3441
Cardin, Benjamin L.- (D – MD) (202) 224-4524
Carper, Thomas R.- (D – DE) (202) 224-2441
Casey, Robert P., Jr.- (D – PA) (202) 224-6324
Chambliss, Saxby- (R – GA) (202) 224-3521
Clinton, Hillary Rodham- (D – NY) (202) 224-4451
Coburn, Tom- (R – OK) (202) 224-5754
Cochran, Thad- (R – MS) (202) 224-5054
Coleman, Norm- (R – MN) (202) 224-5641
Collins, Susan M.- (R – ME) (202) 224-2523
Conrad, Kent- (D – ND) (202) 224-2043
Corker, Bob- (R – TN) (202) 224-3344
Cornyn, John- (R – TX) (202) 224-2934
Craig, Larry E.- (R – ID) (202) 224-2752
Crapo, Mike- (R – ID) (202) 224-6142
DeMint, Jim- (R – SC) (202) 224-6121
Dodd, Christopher J.- (D – CT) (202) 224-2823
Dole, Elizabeth- (R – NC) (202) 224-6342
Domenici, Pete V.- (R – NM) (202) 224-6621
Dorgan, Byron L.- (D – ND) (202) 224-2551
Durbin, Richard – (D – IL (202) 224-2152
Ensign, John- (R – NV) (202) 224-6244
Enzi, Michael B.- (R – WY) (202) 224-3424
Feingold, Russell D.- (D – WI) (202) 224-5323
Feinstein, Dianne- (D – CA) (202) 224-3841
Graham, Lindsey- (R – SC) (202) 224-5972
Grassley, Chuck- (R – IA) (202) 224-3744
Gregg, Judd- (R – NH) (202) 224-3324
Hagel, Chuck- (R – NE) (202) 224-4224
Harkin, Tom- (D – IA) (202) 224-3254
Hatch, Orrin G.- (R – UT) (202) 224-5251
Hutchison, Kay Bailey- (R – TX) (202) 224-5922
Inhofe, James M.- (R – OK) (202) 224-4721
Inouye, Daniel K.- (D – HI) (202) 224-3934
Isakson, Johnny- (R – GA) (202) 224-3643
Johnson, Tim- (D – SD) (202) 224-5842
Kennedy, Edward M.- (D – MA) (202) 224-4543
Kerry, John F.- (D – MA) (202) 224-2742
Klobuchar, Amy- (D – MN) (202) 224-3244
Kohl, Herb- (D – WI) (202) 224-5653
Kyl, Jon- (R – AZ) (202) 224-4521
Landrieu, Mary L.- (D – LA) (202) 224-5824
Lautenberg, Frank R.- (D – NJ) (202) 224-3224
Leahy, Patrick J.- (D – VT) (202) 224-4242
Levin, Carl- (D – MI) (202) 224-6221
Lieberman, Joseph I.- (ID – CT) (202) 224-4041
Lincoln, Blanche L.- (D – AR) (202) 224-4843
Lott, Trent- (R – MS) (202) 224-6253
Lugar, Richard G.- (R – IN) (202) 224-4814
Martinez, Mel- (R – FL) (202) 224-3041
McCain, John- (R – AZ) (202) 224-2235
McCaskill, Claire- (D – MO) (202) 224-6154
McConnell, Mitch- (R – KY) (202) 224-2541
Menendez, Robert- (D – NJ) (202) 224-4744
Mikulski, Barbara A.- (D – MD) (202) 224-4654
Murkowski, Lisa- (R – AK) (202) 224-6665
Murray, Patty- (D – WA) (202) 224-2621
Nelson, Bill- (D – FL) (202) 224-5274
Nelson, E. Benjamin- (D – NE) (202) 224-6551
Obama, Barack- (D – IL) (202) 224-2854
Pryor, Mark L.- (D – AR) (202) 224-2353
Reed, Jack- (D – RI) (202) 224-4642
Reid, Harry- (D – NV) (202) 224-3542
Roberts, Pat- (R – KS) (202) 224-4774
Rockefeller, John D., IV- (D – WV) (202) 224-6472
Salazar, Ken- (D – CO) (202) 224-5852
Sanders, Bernard- (I – VT) (202) 224-5141
Schumer, Charles E.- (D – NY) (202) 224-6542
Sessions, Jeff- (R – AL) (202) 224-4124
Shelby, Richard C.- (R – AL) (202) 224-5744
Smith, Gordon H.- (R – OR) (202) 224-3753
Snowe, Olympia J.- (R – ME) (202) 224-5344
Specter, Arlen- (R – PA) (202) 224-4254
Stabenow, Debbie- (D – MI) (202) 224-4822
Stevens, Ted- (R – AK) (202) 224-3004
Sununu, John E.- (R – NH) (202) 224-2841
Tester, Jon- (D – MT) (202) 224-2644
Thomas, Craig- (R – WY) (202) 224-6441
Thune, John- (R – SD) (202) 224-2321
Vitter, David- (R – LA) (202) 224-4623
Voinovich, George V.- (R – OH) (202) 224-3353
Warner, John- (R – VA) (202) 224-2023
Webb, Jim- (D – VA) (202) 224-4024
Whitehouse, Sheldon- (D – RI) (202) 224-2921
Wyden, Ron- (D – OR) (202) 224-5244

Toll Free Congressional switchboard: 1-800-862-5530 or 202-224-3121

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The image “https://i2.wp.com/nontroppo.org/blog/images/larally.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
This was last year (May 1, 2006) in downtown Los Angeles

 

 

Demonstrators
This year: May 1, 2007

Today here in Los Angeles traffic was unfortunately as snails paced as usual. Irritating drivers continued their ridiculously futile lane to lane dance, jostling for position in the hopes they might make it to their destination ten seconds earlier than the person they just passed, despite the fact that person will likely pass the moron who lapped them moments earlier. Semi’s blared their horns at idiots who hazardously dash in front of them. Little gardening trucks packed with Latino’s crowded their way up the carpool lane. All seemed as it should have been. There were no hints to indicate that anything out of the ordinary was happening today on this May 1, 2007.

This was a far cry from last year on this date. During the national “a day without an immigrant” (originally dubbed “a day without a Mexican” but other Latino groups balked at the self-centered label) the freeways were clear, moving at a brisk and extremely rare 70 mph and up. During the work week, speeds like this are unprecedented. May 1, 2006 even bettered most U.S. holidays for lack of traffic congestion. It was a welcome perk in the daily commute for most Los Angeles residents. Personally, I was looking forward to more boycotts and protests, if not for the better than average traffic, then at least as an alarm to the millions of American citizens around the country who were and still are sleeping through this invasion. Last year on their televisions they saw hundreds of thousands and millions of illegal’s all over the nation boldly demanding a right to be here and a right to blanket amnesty.

Since that day membership in the Minuteman Project has risen and the organizational support base of Americans for Legal Immigration has swelled considerably. U.S taxpayers interest and support for anti-illegal immigration has grown exponentially since the brouhaha of last year. The resulting increase in awareness of what is arguably the most detrimental issue facing California specifically and the nation generally, was a welcome development stemming from the legions of Mexican-flag-waving, anti-American illegal-aliens who have overrun the border.

Conversely, the unity of immigrant (presumptively the majority of which were illegal) pride in the one-day boycott made little overall impact in support of the illegal’s cause. Despite what activists would wish you believe, the economic repercussions were negligible. In fact, by shutting down for the day, by staying home from work or joining in on the festivities exactly one year ago, illegal-aliens and Latinos collectively boycotted their own neighborhoods and their own businesses, deleteriously affecting their own economy. They only hurt themselves.

But alas, it was not to be this year. In downtown Los Angeles as of this morning, no more than a couple of dozen protesters had arrived for the morning rally, and even the event organizers who were expected to attend had yet to appear (granted there might be a few thousand eventually, but it will still pale to last years turnout.) Whether illegal’s were too frightened to venture out as a result of the rising raids and deportations in 2006 (over 200,000–still a fraction of the over 12 million still here) or they simply felt the previous years demonstrations were counter-productive, hurting only themselves and their cause, one thing is clear: traffic sucked as usual today.

The image “https://i1.wp.com/liberallyspeaking.blogs.com/photos/uncategorized/illegal_immigration_1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

From ImmigrationCounters.com

Number of Illegals in this Country – 20, 869, 818

Money Wired to Mexico Since January 2006 – $29, 249, 000, 000

Money Wired to Latin American Since 2001 – $259, 790, 000, 000

Cost of Social Services for Illegal Immigrants Since 1996 – $397, 455, 310, 700

Children of Illegals in Public Schools – 3, 992, 995

Cost of Illegals in K-12 Since 1996 – $14, 095, 672,000

Illegal Immigrants Incarcerated – 335, 392

Cost of Incarcerations Since 2001 – $1, 410, 101,000

Illegal Immigrant Fugitives – 645, 908

Anchor Babies Since 2002 – 1, 973, 786

Skilled Jobs Taken By Illegal Immigrants – 9, 927, 261

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Protesters demanding ‘rights’ for illegal aliens
‘We are indigenous! The ONLY owners of this continent’

Posted: May 1, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Lining up behind slogans such as “IM A Imigrant” and the diatribe of a convicted murderer, demonstrators at hundreds of sites across the U.S. are using May Day to demand a long list of special accommodations for illegal aliens, and one group advocating for stricter immigration control actually is pleased.

William Gheen, the chief of Americans for Legal Immigration told WND that when such demonstrations happen, his list of supporters grows.

“We’re happy they’re going to march again, because our supporter base almost doubled last May [during the last May Day protests],” he told WND.

Demonstrations have been planned in Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Dallas, as well as other locales, with a slogan of: “We are indigenous! The ONLY owners of this continent!” signed by a group called stolencontinent.

“No human is illegal!” said another, and still another “Stand for immigrant rights.” There was a picture of a young girl with the words “IM A Imigrant” on her cheek.

The list of demands being distributed by the National Immigration Solidarity Network said all “anti-immigrant legislation” and “the criminalization of the immigrant communities” must go.

The list of demands also included a “no” to “militarization of the border” “immigrant detention and deportation.” Also “no” to guest worker programs and employer sanctions.

What this group, and others carrying the same message, are demanding is a “path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” speedy family reunification, access to all “civil rights” and “labor rights” as well as education and privileges for the “LGBT immigrant.”

“We are calling a national day of multi-ethnic unity with youth, labor, peace and justice communities in solidarity with immigrant workers and building new immigrant rights & civil rights movement! Wear White T-Shirt, organize actions to support immigrant rights! WE ARE ALL HUMANS! NO ONE IS ILLEGAL!” said the website, which offers translations into Arabic and several other languages.

But Gheen said such activities actually reveal to the population in general just what is going on, and the support builds for legal immigration then. He said for example, in just one area of southern California a year ago, those demanding all of the U.S. Constitution’s protections for citizens be granted to illegal aliens clashed three times with police.

WND also has reported that a coalition that put 100,000 marchers onto Phoenix streets for last year’s march demanding legalization for undocumented aliens is expecting to turn out only 5,000 to 10,000 participants this year.

The dozens of labor unions, church and religious groups and Hispanic groups that marched under the banner of the We Are America/Somos America coalition have fragmented this year because of differences over tactics, leadership and fundraising methods.

A bill, introduced in the House in March, would provide legalization, but only after illegals returned to their home country first. This “touch back” provision is opposed by the We Are America coalition, while others see it as a pragmatic compromise to get a bill passed in Congress.

Gheen also said the conflicts and confrontations reveal that “these illegal aliens are not our friends, and many of them resent and hate use for perceived historical transgressions.”

One of the rallying points being circulated this year is a special message from former radio journalist and Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of drawing his .38-caliber revolver and shooting Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulker in the face.

It happened on the night of Dec. 9, 1981, when Faulker, then 12 days short of his 26th birthday and still a newlywed, spotted William Cook, Abu-Jamal’s brother, driving the wrong way down a one-way street. After Faulkner pulled Cook over, a scuffle followed and Abu-Jamal, who was sitting in the taxicab he drove at the time, ran across the street to the scene. According to prosecutors, Abu-Jamal, who was armed with a revolver, fired at Faulkner, hitting him in the back. The wounded officer turned and returned fire, hitting Abu-Jamal in the chest. Abu-Jamal then shot Faulkner in the face.

Abu-Jamal maintained his innocence and claimed he was shot by police as he ran toward the scuffle. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982, but he’s become a celebrity and a federal judge overturned his death sentence in 2001.

In a statement publicized by several pro-illegal alien organizations, he called for support for the immigrants.

“There are only two peoples living on the land we call America who weren’t immigrants – the Indigenous – so-called Indians – and African Americans who were dragged here in chains and terror,” the convict wrote. “Every other person immigrated here or his ancestors did from Europe, from China, from India, from Ireland and yes, from Mexico. Truth be told, America was a land of Spanish settlement long before it because English and there’s the rub.”

He said the “brouhaha over immigration” now is “mostly a fear of the browning of America.”

“Celebrate May Day by building workers’ movements. On the move! Viva May Day!” he said.

Gheen was upset over his comparison. “It is ridiculous to compare Africans sold into slavery, put into chains, murdered on ships on their way here with people who intentionally and knowingly violate our borders and break into the country every night,” he said.

A report in the Suburban Chicago News noted that the two sides cannot even agree on what to call the people involved in the dispute: immigrants or illegal aliens.

The protests and demonstrations aren’t for everyone, however. “We work. We have to continue to pay taxes so the illegals can continue to get their free benefits,” Rosanna Pulido, director of Illinois Minuteman, told the newspaper in Chicago.

Gheen also said the arguments over “civil rights” aren’t valid.

“No offense to the fine and law-abiding people of Mexico, but no Mexican should ever lecture an American about civil rights. We invented it and we are the home of civil rights. There have been no successful civil rights movements in Guatamala, Brazil, Mexico or El Salvador,” he said.

A website called Mayday Movement has compiled information about the various demonstrations and protests, and one e-mailer noted that he does look at the “human side” of immigration.

“They’ve stolen my neighborhood where I had a lovely home for 19 years, and planned to live there through retirement. … Gangs, illegitimate births, filth became the norm … Property values went to hell, crime rate went up … yep, I definitely look at the human side of it … they all cost me my life,” he wrote.

He cited a small protest in Houston that happened in the days leading up to May Day.

“About 300 to 400 participants beat drums, blew whistles and carried signs and banners along with U.S. and Mexican flags. One sign read ‘Today we march, tomorrow we vote,'” according to a report.

President Bush has lobbied for revisions to U.S. immigration policies and procedures, saying it is a “critical challenge” to respond to the needs of an estimated 12 million illegal aliens.

The demonstrations and protests are scheduled on May Day because May first is International Workers’ Day, which actually began in the United States in the 1880s with the fight for the eight-hour work day.

 

Local marchers join tens of thousands nationwide

By Times Staff Writers
2:08 PM PDT, May 1, 2007

 

Tens of thousands of advocates for immigrant rights took to the streets in Los Angeles and the rest of the nation today, hoping that passion would offset the smaller turnout from last year’s demonstrations.

As they did last year, demonstrators waved U.S. flags and declared their desire to flex economic muscles despite the sharply lower numbers at a time when immigration issues continue on the Washington agenda.

Along with marches in California, demonstrations were reported in New York, Chicago, Detroit and Phoenix as protesters demanded a path for citizenship for an estimated 12 million to 13 million undocumented workers as well as other changes being negotiated within a Democrat-controlled Congress.

In Los Angeles, a morning demonstration started on Olympic Boulevard at Broadway with a handful of protesters, but by midday at City Hall the crowd had grown to more than 10,000 people shouting “Si, Se Puede,” or “Yes, It Can Be Done,” the Latino rallying cry for political power.

“We have to show Congress that we’re good people,” said Blanca Duenas, who joined the crowd with her husband Jose. “We’re here and we’re not leaving.”

Los Angeles construction worker Andreas Meza, 41, was on his back waving an American flag earlier. A sign saying “Legalize Now,” was pasted on the banner.

“Government likes to have me like this. I don’t want to be like this,” said the illegal immigrant, who came from Mexico nearly 20 years ago. “I have necessities.”

The first of today’s two demonstrations gathered steam through the morning as it moved along Broadway, yet even at more than 10,000 strong it remained far smaller that last year’s demonstration, when about 650,000 poured through the streets of Los Angeles in the largest demonstration in the nation.

“It’s smaller than we anticipated,” Los Angeles Police Cmdr. Louis H. Gray Jr. said about 11 a.m. “Last year at this time, I’d say there were at least 300,000 to 400,000 people.”

Officials last year were caught off-guard by the size of the demonstration and were determined not to surprised again. Plans were made to close roads, the police presence was beefed up and some owners closed their stores along the march route.

The economic impact of the boycott was limited, though some stores in the area did less business than usual.

Los Angeles is crucial to any national turnout because Southern California is home to more than 1 million illegal immigrants.

Manuel Nunez, 40, a member of the Associacion Fraternidades Guatemaltecas, a network of hometown clubs that raises money for public works projects in Guatemala, said that last year all immigrants were encouraged to participate in the May 1 march.

But this year, Nunez, an illegal immigrant who works in the construction business, said people were told to participate if they could “but not to risk losing their jobs.”

Last year’s protests were emotionally fueled by Los Angeles students – united in an electronic web of cellphone text messages and e-mails. They fled their classes to march and clog roads.

This year, city, school district and church leaders urged students to stay in school, and the pleas seemed to have been heeded.

About 600 students had walked out from less than a dozen Los Angeles Unified School District campuses — far fewer than had been anticipated, the district reported.

The largest group, according to district officials, came from Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, where about 150 students left. Students from all schools were being escorted by either school district police or school administrators and there were no reports of any altercations or accidents involving students.

If needed, school buses will be sent downtown later in the afternoon to provide students rides back to their campuses, said district spokeswoman Monica Carazo.

March organizers said part of the reason for the low turnout was confusion over the starting time. Originally, the march was called for 10 a.m., with a rally two hours later at City Hall. Some people thought the march wouldn’t begin until noon.

A second march is scheduled for 2 p.m. beginning at Vermont Avenue and 3rd Street and proceeding to MacArthur Park.

In recent days, national organizers have been lowering expectations of this year’s protests, saying that nothing could match last year’s 1 million to 1.5 million demonstrators across the country.

Last year, Congress was considering a draconian law that would have punished undocumented workers and those who help them. While there is no agreement on immigration reform this year, none of the proposals are as harsh as last year’s.

Organizers also say there was a growing fear among illegal immigrants to express themselves, caused by federal raids across the country.

Immigration has divided the government and the nation for years.

At the center of the issue is an estimated 12 million undocumented workers; some sources place the number at as high as 20 million. Many U.S. conservatives oppose what they call plans for amnesty that would involve those workers getting a path to citizenship. A coalition including some unions and businesses favor some form of legalization.

Immigration reform failed last year in the Republican-controlled Congress, and the outlook is uncertain this year even with the Democrats in charge. President Bush has strongly backed immigration reform, often putting him at odds with lawmakers in his own party.

The Senate is expected to debate immigration at the end of the month with the House debate coming later. There has been no agreement on the contents of a bill, but there is agreement that immigration should be decided this year before it gets stuck in the presidential election.

The impact of today’s demonstration was unclear because the numbers were lower than last year.

In Chicago, tens of thousands of demonstrators were reported. As many as 10,000 to 15,000 turned out in Phoenix, while in southwest Detroit, which has a large Latino population, hundreds wore red and white and carried American flags to a rally.

In New York, groups planned an “American Family Tree” rally, where immigrants would pin paper leaves on a large painting of a tree to symbolize the separation of families because of strict immigration laws.

Two hours before the march in Los Angeles, one of the busiest places in Little Tokyo was the Starbucks at the corner of 2nd Street and Central Avenue. The large number of parking enforcement officers and LAPD bike patrol officers boosted the crowd, but a sizable number of downtown residents were also waiting in line for their morning caffeine fix.

David Morin, who moved to L.A. two days ago from Quebec City, Canada, was reading about the demonstration plans in the morning paper. Morin was among the lucky ones – his new job is at a downtown ad agency only a few blocks away. To beat the crowds, he said, his boss told him to come in early – before 8 a.m.

The crowd kept Gabriela Grajeda, a 25-year-old Starbucks barista, from getting an early departure to her classes at Cal State Los Angeles, where she is majoring in child development. She usually travels by bus to school but today she arranged to ride with a friend in case the demonstration disrupted mass transit.

Grajeda marched last year, but this year “I have classes and I don’t want to miss them,” she said.

Read Full Post »

Please read PART 1 first.

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As stated in part 1 of this report, after the panelists (Dr. Brook, Dr. Sultan, and Dr. Pipes) took the stage and began their opening dialogs, and as Dr. Daniel Pipes began discussing the jihadi threat around the world including the UCLA campus, the protests and disruptions began.

(Again, as stated in part 1, the pictures in the auditorium and outside after dark aren’t of high quality. I apologize.)

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Dr. Pipes continued to speak, despite the fact that was apparently distracted by something that was transpiring in the audience. I looked behind me and noticed that several audience members began rising from their seats, notably a few young women of Middle-Eastern descent wearing hijab (and it looks like that gentleman in the glasses is flipping me the bird. POWER TO THE PEOPLE, DUDE! Ahem.) No one shouted and no one created much of a ruckus initially. They simply made their way to the aisles and the exits.

Thus the protesting of Dr. Pipes and the panelists began–with a bit of a whimper.

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Dr. Pipes continued to speak, but he was slightly preoccupied with this initial tide of the protest. Still, he and the panelists conducted themselves professionally. They didn’t acknowledge the activists with anger or disdain, choosing rather to ignore them for as long as possible.

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More protestors rise and head for the exits. As you can see, it continued quietly and with a considerable amount of reserve from those in revolt, so much so that many in the audience barely took notice, as you can see in the above picture.

Unfortunately, this relative decorum would not last.

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Welcome to the Age of Aquarius. The above three women must be having one hell of a flashback because they can’t seem to remember that this is 2007 and not 1969. As they passed me up the aisle, making their way toward the exit, it became apparent to me that more had likely been planned by the protestors, and specifically these three elderly ladies, in order to create chaos and disorder within the nights proceedings. As one can see from this photograph, the three women all had black shirts with large white letters plastered on the front. It was obviously meant to spell out “LIAR” but the opportunity to stand united and actually spell the word for the panelists and/or the audience never came to pass. Alas, the will to fight seems to have been drained from these particular women. They didn’t even try, opting instead to simply walk out of the auditorium without executing their carefully laid plan–without even trying.

At least, the “R” and the “A” lady gave up. The “LI” lady wasn’t as easily deterred.

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This particular protestor, pictured above, was evidently the better third of the “LIAR” lady trilogy. While she didn’t have anything intelligent to say, she said it loudly and repeatedly.

“LIARS! LIARS! LIARS! LIARS! LIARS!” All the while she too made for the exits.

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Wagging her finger at the panelists, the “LI” lady resumed her retreating diatribe, “LIARS! LIARS! LIARS!”

By the time she started shouting, so too did the audience, admonishing her and the other protestors disruptive behavior. Many in auditorium at this point were adding their voices to the din, urging the “LI” lady to beat a hasty retreat so the panelists could forge ahead.

The protests from these three women didn’t quite make sense to me. If they were protesting Dr. Pipes and the other panelists, claiming they were liars, then it was apparent to me they (the three ladies in particular) had never even attempted a read of the Qur’an. Many of the statements by the panelists, even this early in the discussion, could be referenced directly from the words and actions of Muhammad within the pages of the Qur’an, or even better, the Hadith. So dubbing the panelists liars was inaccurate. They weren’t there to lie. They were there to provide truths and opinions on what actions might or must be taken to protect the west from radical Islam.

As Dr. Sultan stated during the event, no one has ever murdered someone because they were emulating Jesus. If one wishes to emulate the prophet Muhammad however (as every good Muslim is taught and required to do as Muhammad is the embodiment of the perfect man and all men and women should be like him), killing and murdering by his example is sanctioned within the pages of the Qur’an and the Hadith.

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Finally, one last protestor unfurls a large sign (too big for his wingspan to handle appropriately as you can tell from the above picture–it seems to read “s DON’T SUPPORT TE SPEECH.”) Needless to say, the sign was difficult to read.

Dr. Pipes in the upper left calmly waits until the protests subside.

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I think it said, “DON’T SUPPORT HATE SPEECH.” I heard quite a bit of hate speech from the “LI” lady. She spewed “LIARS!” forth with quite a bit of acerbically drenched venom, but I didn’t notice hate speech coming from any of the panelists. Some in the auditorium may have been slightly surprised by some of the verbiage coming from Dr. Brook for example, but hate speech appeared relegated to the protesters alone.

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As the disruptions subsided, Dr. Pipes resumed his initial comments. You can see he had to remove the lav mic attached to his lapel and bring it closer to his mouth because some in the back of the venue had difficulties hearing him speak.

After a couple of minutes, I became audibly aware that a commotion was taking place outside of the building. Predicting more protests, I quickly shot from my seat (no offense to panelists hopefully) and made my way outside to see what might be taking place.

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Yup. More protests. The individual on the far right of the above picture even sported a fashionable kaffiyeh and military fatigues while banging peacefully on his tabla.

I couldn’t quite make out what the sign read though.

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Ahh! Of course. The protesters had taken the opportunity to transform the panelist’s discussion, Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West, into a peace protest against the war in Iraq. That makes perfect sense, especially since the discussion rarely focused on Iraq or the American military adventure within. In fact, the only time the war in Iraq every really surfaced in the dialog was during the question and answer period at the end. This event was not about the Iraq war, but the protesters felt (in a somewhat bigoted manner) that speaking about radical Islam must logically relate directly to that conflict, despite the fact that the majority of the worlds Muslims do not live in the Middle East.

Within this group marched Muslims, hippies, students, young children and even babies (who obviously had no idea why everyone was shouting so angrily.) It was ragtag, and barely organized. The march itself was pathetically short, mostly regionalized to the west face of the building wherein the panelists were speaking, and the south side of the building.

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I honestly can’t remember what everyone was shouting. All I can say is how disappointed I was to see what appears a fellow metal-head, framed in the center of this photograph, participating in the peace march. Dude, metal is not peaceful.

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I was sad to see I had just missed Muslims participating in salah–their prayers, but at least I managed to snap a picture of their rolled up musallah.

There were some young Muslims minutes later praying, but my camera did not take any adequate photographs of their activities unfortunately.

Finally, I re-entered the auditorium and took my seat, taking in the rest of the discussion. Oddly, I had been wondering earlier in the day as to why this issue of radical Islam is such a polarizing one. In general, why does it divide so evenly down political lines? Why is it so partisan? If the left is the champion of women’s rights, equal rights, no war, etc. why would they so recklessly wish to support a religion as oppressive to its followers, particularly its women, as Islam? I mean, the left generally would rather abolish all religion anyway. Why fight for a religious faith that sanctions plural marriage, marriage to children and the subsequent pedophilia (as Muhammad did with Aisha when she was six), beating of women, killing of dissidents, etc.? These are some of the major tenets that the left purports they desire so strongly to prevent, yet they stand in solidarity with Islam. So why the blatant hypocrisy?

Dr. Pipes and Dr. Brook actually satisfactorily answered my question thanks to a question from the audience. The reason why leftists support Islam is because they all share a common enemy–George W. Bush specifically and western culture and society generally. Who cares if Muslims, under the auspices of Islam and Muhammad, commit abhorrent acts of terror, killing scores of innocent people throughout the world? They hate George Bush. They hate the West and the decent individualistic values we stand for.

It was an interesting and enlightening evening and I hope Dr. Pipes will make his way back soon, for myself and those who wanted to hear what he and the other panelists had to say, and for the panelists right to say it.

Read Full Post »

UPDATE: PART 2 is now up. 

Last night I attended the panel discussion, Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West, that took place on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. The panel consisted of notable Middle Eastern and Islamic experts, Dr. Yaron Brook, executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute (the organization that hosted the event actually, L.O.G.I.C. hosted the event), Dr. Wafa Sultan, and Dr. Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum and current instructor at Pepperdine University. They were quite a distinguished trio, encompassing vast expertise on the discussed subject from knowledge and experience–sometimes very direct personal experience as seen from their biographies in this post yesterday.

I thought it would be beneficial to post pictures I took at the event so that those who are interested might garner a decent understanding of what one might expect if one were to attend such a gathering in support of individuals, like the panelists, who not only wish to express their viewpoint, but who also wish to practice their freedom to express that view, no matter how controversial it may be.

So, without any further introductory and unnecessary exposition, enjoy the pictures (with some added annoying exposition.)

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A few UCLA police officers enjoy some dinner before the event. The police presence was unsurprisingly fairly large. It appeared there were probably around 20 to 30 officers covering all entrances and exits at the building where the panel discussion was to take place.

Standing in Line

The line to get into the auditorium was long, and it extended quite a ways down the street behind me….

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…as you can see.

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As the line started moving to allow entry, some young Muslims began handing out literature.

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The literature consisted of pamphlets entitled “Exposing Daniel Pipes.” But it did not consist of naked photos. Instead the pamphlet included information about the evil of Dr. Pipes, denouncing his expertise, deeming him a bigot and anti-Muslim propagandist. It goes on to read how his website, Campus Watch was created to restrict free speech by “stifling any criticism of Israel or its policies and by blacklisting any professors who dare not comply. Pipes labeled these academics as ‘advocates of suicide attacks and militant Islam,’ ‘self-hating,’ or ‘anti-American.'”

Of course, anyone who has actually visited Campus Watch knows that claim is absolutely preposterous. From the website…

CAMPUS WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds.”

Campus Watch is designed to ensure what the Muslim pamphlet is accusing Dr. Pipes of doing, doesn’t happen–namely biased academia favoring the Arab or Palestinian position over the Israeli one. Having an opinion is fine. Forcing that opinion on impressionable college students without at least offering an opposing rebuttal is disingenuous and unethical. In all actuality, Campus Watch and the Muslim students pushing the “Exposing Daniel Pipes” disinformation leaflet are in general agreement–desiring a need to reduce bias.

Of course, when you have quotes denouncing Pipes from people such as Hamid Dabashi, Josehp Massad, and Rashid Khalidi, it’s apparent how biased those who were handing out the pamphlets really were.

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Before we entered, everyone was subjected to the metal detectors. Security was understandably tight for this event. Such procedures only seemed to increase the tension that was floating through the air.

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More metal detecting.

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Inside the building, but just outside the auditorium, more propaganda, but this time it’s from the event organizers–Ayn Rand literature including free copies of her seminal work, Atlas Shrugged. Personally, I can’t stand Ayn Rand, and I think Objectivism is contradictory and essentially ridiculous.

Anyway, from this point, I found my way to a seat where I settled in until the panelists arrived on stage.

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And here they are! From the left, introducing Dr. Yaron Brook, Dr. Wafa Sultan, Dr. Daniel Pipes, and on the far right, the mediator for the panel.

(From this point forward, the quality of the pictures degrades considerably. The lighting in the auditorium was poor, and when I end up heading back outside, it’s after sundown which makes taking decent images even more difficult. I apologize for the quality or lack-there-of.)

At the beginning of the discussion, each panelist, beginning with Dr. Brook, offered a four minute opening declaration concerning the danger of radical Islam and the threat it presents against the west. For those who have little knowledge of militant Islam, the majority of the nights discussion would likely have been eye opening to say the least.

Those in the audience who were there in dissent were probably steaming after Dr. Brooks comments, and again I could sense the tension, rising even further. It was obvious to me some members of the audience were there merely to disrupt the proceedings, and while I didn’t wish to profile too much (that annoying politically correct side that’s been indoctrinated into my very soul for over three decades), I found myself picking out several individuals who I suspected might be party to a protest were one to ignite–notably several early 20’s hijab-wearing women a few rows behind me who appeared to be of Middle-Eastern descent.

Finally, Dr. Pipes began to speak, touching upon the concept of capitulation through political correctness to Islam (militant or otherwise), particularly on the American university campus and specifically UCLA. It was a powerful beginning, but short-lived. At that point, the protestors began running interference.

UPDATE: PART 2 is now up.

Read Full Post »

 

I will be attending a panel discussion tonight, at UCLA here in Los Angeles, headed by such notable luminaries as Dr. Yaron Brook, Dr. Wafa Sultan, and of most interest to me, Dr. Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum.  I’ve read a bit from Dr. Pipes here and there, and his views on militant Islam and multiculturalism are unequivocal and, in this time in which we now exist, gravely important in order to better understand the threat Islamic radicalism plays throughout the world, far and near.  It’s an issue that has, for me at least, quickly turned from the it’s-about-them mindset to the it’s-about-me-too reality, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to hear Dr. Pipes speak.

Of course, as Daniel Pipes is a fairly controversial individual who will be discussing a fairly controversial subject matter, some accompanying protestors are likely attending as well (organized by the UCLA Civil Dissent Network *snicker* tolstoy.la@gmail.com.)  I have no idea how many to expect; it could be five or 500 for all I know.  Yet I will wager the majority of those anticipated to manifest some sort of scripted brouhaha have  doubtless never cracked open a Qur’an or initiated any self-motivated investigation into militant Islam or radicalized Muslims beyond what they glean secondhand via left-leaning news outlets based on talking points from the previous nights’ Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck shows.  Why think for yourself when you can simply get the biased bullet points from someone else?

Instead of mindlessly picketing a panel of experts who harbor no devious agenda–who only wish to open intelligent and consequence free discussion on this contentious issue–protestors and activists who do manage to show, might want to consider simply attending the panel and civilly participating in the discussion.

But of course, I would never presume to tell them that they should do such a thing, and they would likely scoff at my presumption in the matter if they were by chance to read this.  Thankfully this is a country that allows reasonable public protests and demonstrations–a freedom we all appreciate.  Unfortunately, if CAIR and other radical Islamic organizations have their way, those freedoms will be lost under the oppressive umbrella of sharia law.  That is why I am attending the panel tonight to hear Daniel Pipes and others speak–to counter open dissent with open support.

Here is more information on the discussion this evening (further below is information on the probable protest–I’ll be bringing my camera.)

Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West

Who:      Dr. Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum
             Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute         
             Dr. Wafa Sultan, outspoken critic of Islam and author of the forthcoming
                                    book “The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster”What:     A panel discussion on the threat of Islamic totalitarianism and how to deal with it

Where:    UCLA Campus: Moore 100, Los Angeles, CA

When:     Thursday, April 12, 2007, at 7:00 PM

Admission is FREE.

Description: From the Iranian hostage crisis to September 11 to the London subway attacks to the Iraqi insurgency–it is clear the West faces a grave threat from a committed enemy. Conventional wisdom holds that the enemy is a rogue group of fanatics, who have hijacked a great religion in order to justify their crimes. It tells us there is no way to permanently eliminate these violent groups, that we have entered an “age of terror” and that we must give up the desire for a decisive victory.

But is the conventional wisdom right?
 
A distinguished panel of Middle East experts will provide new and illuminating answers to the most important questions of our time: Is the West ready to concede victory so easily? Are the terrorists a fringe group of fanatics, or are they part of a much wider ideological movement? What threat do they pose to the West? What can the West do to ensure victory? Is peace possible?

While the experts will answer these complex questions from diverse points of view, they all agree on one thing: Islamic totalitarianism is a real threat, and the right response necessitates engaging in a principled, ideological battle to defend the West from the jihad declared against it.
 
Speakers’ Biographies: 

Dr. Yaron Brook is executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute and a recognized Middle-East expert who has written and lectured on a variety of Middle-East issues. Dr. Brook has served in the Israeli Army and has discussed the Israeli-Arab conflict and the war on Islamic totalitarianism on hundreds of radio and TV programs, including FOX News (The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, At Large with Geraldo Rivera), CNN’s Talkback Live, CNBC’s Closing Bell and On the Money, and a C-SPAN panel of experts on terrorism.

Dr. Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum. He taught history at the University of Chicago and at Harvard University, and lectured on policy and strategy at the Naval War College. He currently teaches at Pepperdine University. Dr. Pipes is the author of twelve books and numerous articles. He is a columnist for the New York Sun and he appears weekly in Israel’s Jerusalem Post, Italy’s L’Opinione, Spain’s La Razón, and monthly in the Australian and Canada’s Globe and Mail. His Web site, DanielPipes.org, is among the most accessed Internet sources of specialized information on the Middle East and Islam. Mr. Pipes has appeared on ABC World News, CBS Reports, Crossfire, Good Morning America, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Nightline, O’Reilly Factor, The Today Show, the BBC and Al Jazeera.
 
Dr. Wafa Sultan is a secular Syrian-American writer and thinker, Dr. Sultan is known for her participation in Middle East political debates, widely circulated Arabic essays and television appearances on Al Jazeera, CNN and Fox News. Dr. Sultan was shocked into secularism by the atrocities committed against innocent Syrian people by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1979, including the machine-gun assassination of her professor in front of her eyes at the University of Aleppo, where she was a medical student. On February 21, 2006, she appeared on Al Jazeera, where she scolded Muslims for treating non-Muslims differently and for not acknowledging the accomplishments of non-Muslim societies, including their greater freedom and capacity for producing wealth and technology. She named the Islamic threat to the West as “a battle between modernity and barbarism which Islam will lose.” A video of her appearance, widely circulated on Web logs and through e-mail, has been viewed an estimated 12 million times. Her outspokenness has brought her both threats and praise. Dr. Sultan is currently working on a book to be called “The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster.”

On the portest…

Leftists/Islamists Preparing to Disrupt Daniel Pipes at UCLA

As we noted yesterday, there’s a panel discussion at UCLA tomorrow night featuring Daniel Pipes, Wafa Sultan, and Yaron Brook, on the subject: “Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West.”

Today the moonbats and Islamic student groups are mobilizing, with a special hatred for Daniel Pipes. Here’s the flyer being circulated via Los Angeles Nazimedia:

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