Cindy Sheehan Resigns

As many of you probably already know, Cindy Sheehan has “resigned” from the protest over the Iraq war. The event as described in a MSNBC article has several snippets that I would like to comment on.

In what she described as a “resignation letter,” Sheehan wrote in her online diary on the “Daily Kos” blog: “Good-bye America … you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

I’m sorry that America is not the country you want it to be. I’m not exactly happy about all of the things that happen here, but I am not naïve enough to believe that if I parade around the world protesting that everyone is going to follow my lead and do the same.

“I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called “Face” of the American anti-war movement.”

And that’s exactly what will happen if you go out and protest. There will be repercussions of some nature from the opposition, especially from parents in a similar situation. Whether you will be strong enough to weather the criticism is something that is not for the faint-hearted.

When she had first taken on Bush, Sheehan was a darling of the liberal left. “However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the ‘left’ started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used.”

“…would rather live under Hugo Chavez than George W. Bush.” (Hardball, July 5, 2006, with guest host Norah O’Donnell)

Sheehan said she had sacrificed a 29-year marriage and endured threats to put all her energy into stopping the war. What she found, she wrote, was a movement “that often puts personal egos above peace and human life.”

Congratulations, Cindy, you just found out you was used by the liberals to further their agenda. Once you outlived your usefulness, you were discarded like yesterday’s garbage. Making statements of wanting to live in a Socialist country with an anti-America dictator running it did nothing but make you appear like a wacko and make you a liability. Politics (and politicians) do not respect personal sacrifice, nor do they care about anything but the advancement of their personal agendas.

“Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives.”

I can do nothing but agree with her statement (surprise!!). We are a fickle nation with misplaced priorities and limited attention spans.

Kristinn Taylor, spokesman for FreeRepublic.com, which has held pro-troop rallies and counter-protests of anti-war demonstrations, said dwindling crowds at Sheehan’s Crawford protests since her initial vigil may have led to her decision. But he also said he hopes she will now be able to heal.

“Her politics have hurt a lot of people, including the troops and their families, but most of us who support the war on terror understand she is hurt very deeply,” Taylor said Tuesday. “Those she got involved with in the anti-war movement realize it was to their benefit to keep her in that stage of anger.”

I agree with Miss Taylor. Cindy Sheehan has always struck me as a person with a deep amount of pain over her son’s loss. I think she started asking why her son died, and couldn’t come to terms with it. I do hope that she finds peace, and hopefully, heal the wounds that the loss of her son created.

In Flanders Fields

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

Freedom Isn’t Free…

…it must constantly be paid for in pain, blood, and lives.

This Memorial Day weekend, let us not only celebrate and remember the sacrifices of those soldiers, sailors, and airmen that have given their lives for this country and all it stands for, but the people behind them.  The wives, families, and friends that they left behind with the memories of their passing and lives should also be remembered.  Often, it is the ones left behind that carry the most pain.

My father is a Korean War Veteran.  He doesn’t speak of what went on over there – he prefers to remain silent on the horrors that he witnessed.  He gave my mother a picture, which I now have, of him in Korea.

I had two cousins that were in Vietnam.  One didn’t come back, and the other one probably shouldn’t have.  Their respective mothers keep pictures on the mantle.

One of my friends spent two tours in Iraq.  He made it back without a problem, but I know the unit he was with.  He saw some action, but I’m too polite to ask him what happened over there.

Everyone reading this post knows someone within their family or circle of friends that has been in the military.  Those families that have their sons & daughters in the military dread that knock on the door or the ring of the phone telling them that someone they love is gone.  Even though this may not come to pass, this is their sacrifice – the waiting for that notice that they pray will never come.

These people all deserve our thanks – living and the dead – for their respective sacrifices for the freedom we all enjoy.

Just An Old-Fashioned Rant…

Sometimes all you really want to do is just vent about what honks you off at the moment.  So this is mine for the day.

The Senate will vote on the Immigration Bill to see if they will bring it to the Senate floor for debate.  I’ve heard that this Bill is 1000 pages long, so our esteemed Senators will be voting on this document without having even read it.  So a couple of questions beg to be asked:

How in the world can a document be 1000 pages long?  It boggles the mind, but that is what happens when a bunch of beaurocrats with law degrees get together.  How could anyone read it much less understand it is beyond my meager comprehension.

I’ve also heard, that despite the rhetoric, this bill adds nothing to the current laws regarding illegal immigration.  The only thing that it adds is an out for the current illegals to get a card to make them “legal” workers, pay a fine, avoid prosecution, and get fast-tracked on the path to citizenship.  As I’ve stated in a previous post, this is still a recipe for disaster.  The 1986 Amnesty debacle is about to be repeated.  Why do our Senators not see the problem with this “solution?”

I understand that the majority of illegal aliens residing and working in this country are only trying to make things better for themselves and their families.  They have also broken the laws of this country be crossing the border illegally.  What gets me going is that the media trys to portray them as victims instead of lawbreakers.  Why do our elected officials not understand this?

An example of the above are various mayors in cities who have declared “safe zones” within their cities that are designated safe havens for the illegals.  They defend their decisions by stating that they are under no compulsion to enforce Federal immigration laws.  What???  Excuse me, but isn’t one of the duties of an elected official to uphold the laws of this country, whether they are Local, State, or Federal?  Where did I miss that in Civics Class?

Our elected officials should be ashamed of themselves.  There are existing laws on the books that deal with the issue of illegal immigration.  But all they have done is handicapped our Border Patrol and INS agencies with increased regulations and decreased funding.  Border Patrol agents have been prosecuted for doing their jobs, and INS is swamped.  The border is wide open for almost anyone to cross at will, and that includes terrorists mixed in with the illegals.

What should be done is close the border first – manpower and budgets need to have priority.  Second is to find and prosecute all employers of illegal immigrants.  Last would be to find and humanly deport those who do not leave voluntarily – let those people who want to leave first leave without any trouble.

Sure, this is a simplified plan.  But simple works much better than a 1000-page doorstop…

Senate Immigration Bill

Listening to the radio last week about the Senate’s “agreement” just riled me to no end.  The fact that a committee made this agreement in secret harks back to the age of backroom deals that smacks of illicit activities.  Some of the details that have come out about the compromised (!) bill are somewhat expected.  From msnb.com:

The key breakthrough came when negotiators struck a bargain on a so-called “point system” that prioritizes immigrants’ education and skill level over family connections in deciding how to award green cards.

The immigration issue also divides both parties in the House, which isn’t expected to act unless the Senate passes a bill first.

The proposed agreement would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a “Z visa” and — after paying fees and a $5,000 fine — ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of household would have to return to their home countries first.

They could come forward right away to claim a probationary card that would let them live and work legally in the U.S., but could not begin the path to permanent residency or citizenship until border security improvements and the high-tech worker identification program were completed.

A new temporary guest worker program would also have to wait until those so-called “triggers” had been activated.

Those workers would have to return home after work stints of two years, with little opportunity to gain permanent legal status or ever become U.S. citizens. They could renew their guest worker visas twice, but would be required to leave for a year in between each time.

Democrats had pressed instead for guest workers to be permitted to stay and work indefinitely in the U.S.

In perhaps the most hotly debated change, the proposed plan would shift from an immigration system primarily weighted toward family ties toward one with preferences for people with advanced degrees and sophisticated skills. Republicans have long sought such revisions, which they say are needed to end “chain migration” that harms the economy, while some Democrats and liberal groups say it’s an unfair system that rips families apart.

Family connections alone would no longer be enough to qualify for a green card — except for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens.

New limits would apply to U.S. citizens seeking to bring foreign-born parents into the country.

But what is really interesting are the comments that various politicians have made.  Let’s view & comment on a few:

“It is not amnesty. This will restore the rule of law.” – Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

Excuse me, Senator Specter, but we are a nation of laws the last time I checked.  What needs restoring is the enforcement of the current laws, not a compromise that circumvents those same laws.

“I have serious concerns about some aspects of this proposal, including the structure of the temporary worker program and undue limitations on family immigration.” – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

I too have serious concerns about this proposal, Senator Reid, but not the ones that you have.  I do not like giving felony-level offenders (of which I understand illegal immigration is) a pass with a slap on the wrist, a fine, and permission to do it again. To whit –

“What part of illegal does the Senate not understand? Any plan that rewards illegal behavior is amnesty,” said Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus.

Representative Bilbray hit the nail on the head.  Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough common sense or thought given to the long-term actions that this Bill would inflict upon the country.

Proponents of the Bill point to Ronald Reagan’s amnesty program from 1986 as precedent for this updated and improved Bill.  This is one of the few times that I would say that Reagan was wrong.  In excerpts from a New York Times Op-Ed piece published on May 24, 2006, Ed Meese had this to say:

In the mid-80’s, many members of Congress — pushed by the Democratic majority in the House and the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy — advocated amnesty for long-settled illegal immigrants. President Reagan considered it reasonable to adjust the status of what was then a relatively small population, and I supported his decision.

In exchange for allowing aliens to stay, he decided, border security and enforcement of immigration laws would be greatly strengthened — in particular, through sanctions against employers who hired illegal immigrants. If jobs were the attraction for illegal immigrants, then cutting off that option was crucial.

The difference is that President Reagan called this what it was: amnesty. Indeed, look up the term “amnesty” in Black’s Law Dictionary, and you’ll find it says, “the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provided amnesty for undocumented aliens already in the country.”

There is a practical problem as well: the 1986 act did not solve our illegal immigration problem. From the start, there was widespread document fraud by applicants. Unsurprisingly, the number of people applying for amnesty far exceeded projections. And there proved to be a failure of political will in enforcing new laws against employers.

After a six-month slowdown that followed passage of the legislation, illegal immigration returned to normal levels and continued unabated. Ultimately, some 2.7 million people were granted amnesty, and many who were not stayed anyway, forming the nucleus of today’s unauthorized population.

America welcomes more immigrants than any other country. But in keeping open that door of opportunity, we also must uphold the rule of law and enhance a fair immigration process, as Ronald Reagan said, to “humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people: American citizenship.”

And here is the crux of the matter!!  Unless the border is secured and the employers hiring illegal immigrants are prosecuted, we will find ourselves in the same mess in another 20 years. 

We have already seen the political will-power of our Congressional Representatives and Senators on the issue of Terrorism.  What sane person thinks that they will have the will-power to follow through on all of the funding and enforcement that comes along with with passing this Bill?  No more than the 1986 law, I guarantee you that.

President Bush said:

“I appreciate the effort of senators who came together to craft this important legislation.  This bill brings us closer to an immigration system that enforces our laws and upholds the great American tradition of welcoming those who share our values and our love of freedom.”

President Bush, I respectfully disagree with you.  If these people respect our country and “share our values,” they would not have crossed the border illegally.

The Bill that I would like drafted, passed, and signed is funding to enforce the immigration laws already on the books.  After all, if those cannot be enforced, then how in the world is new legislation going to work any better?