on: April 15, 2014, 03:02:12 AM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
David H 44 minutes ago
A Short History of Democrats, Republicans, and Racism
The following are a few basic historical facts that every American should know.
Fact: The Republican Party was founded primarily to oppose slavery, and Republicans eventually abolished slavery. The Democratic Party fought them and tried to maintain and expand slavery.
Why is this indisputable fact so rarely mentioned? PBS documentaries about slavery and the Civil War barely mention it, for example. One can certainly argue that the parties have changed dramatically in 150 years, but that does not change the historical fact that it was the Democrats who supported slavery and the Republicans who opposed it. And that indisputable fact should not be airbrushed out for fear that it will tarnish the modern Democratic Party.
Had the positions of the parties been the opposite, and the Democrats had fought the Republicans to end slavery, the historical party roles would no doubt be repeated incessantly in these documentaries. Funny how that works.
Fact: During the Civil War era, the "Radical Republicans" were given that name because they wanted to not only end slavery but also to endow the freed slaves with full citizenship, equality, and rights.
Yes, that was indeed a radical idea at the time!
Fact: Lincoln's Vice President, Andrew Johnson, was a strongly pro-Union (but also pro-slavery) Democrat who had been chosen as a compromise running mate to attract Democrats. After Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson thwarted Republican efforts in Congress to recognize the civil rights of the freed slaves, and Southern Democrats continued to thwart any such efforts for nearly a century.
Fact: The Ku Klux Klan was originally and primarily an arm of the Southern Democratic Party, and its mission was to terrorize freed slaves and Republicans who sympathized with them.
Why is this fact conveniently omitted in so many popular histories and depictions of the KKK, including PBS documentaries? Had the KKK been founded by Republicans, that fact would no doubt be repeated constantly on those shows.
Fact: In the 1950s, President Eisenhower, a Republican, integrated the US military and promoted civil rights for minorities. Eisenhower pushed through the Civil Rights Act of 1957. One of Eisenhower's primary political opponents on civil rights prior to 1957 was none other than Lyndon Johnson, then the Democratic Senate Majority Leader. LBJ had voted the straight segregationist line until he changed his position and supported the 1957 Act.
Fact: The historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 was supported by a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in both houses of Congress. In the House, 80 percent of the Republicans and 63 percent of the Democrats voted in favor. In the Senate, 82 percent of the Republicans and 69 percent of the Democrats voted for it.
Fact: Contrary to popular misconception, the parties never "switched" on racism.
Following the epic civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the South began a major demographic shift from Democratic to Republican dominance. Many believe that this shift was motivated mainly by racism. While it is certainly true that many Southern racists abandoned the Democratic Party over its new support for racial equality and integration, the notion that they would flock to the Republican Party -- which was a century ahead of the Democrats on those issues -- makes no sense whatsoever.
Yet virtually every liberal, when pressed on the matter, will inevitably claim that the parties "switched," and most racist Democrats became Republicans! In their minds, this historical ju jitsu maneuver apparently transfers all the past sins of the Democrats (slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow laws, etc.) onto the Republicans and all the past virtues of the Republicans (e.g., ending slavery) onto the Democrats! That's quite a feat!
It is true that Barry Goldwater's opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 probably attracted some racist Democrats to the Republican Party. However, Goldwater was not a racist -- at least not an overt racist like so many Southern Democrats of the time, such as George Wallace and Bull Connor. He publicly professed racial equality, and his opposition to the 1964 Act was based on principled grounds of states rights. In any case, his libertarian views were out of step with the mainstream of the Republican Party, and he lost the 1964 Presidential election to LBJ in a landslide.
But Goldwater's opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act provided liberals an opening to tar the Republican Party as racist, and they have tenaciously repeated that label so often over the years that it is now the conventional wisdom among liberals. But it is really nothing more than an unsubstantiated myth -- a convenient political lie. If the Republican Party was any more racist than the Democratic Party even in 1964, why did a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in both houses of Congress vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Act? The idea that Goldwater's vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act trumps a century of history of the Republican Party is ridiculous, to say the least.
Every political party has its racists, but the notion that Republicans are more racist than Democrats or any other party is based on nothing more than a constant drumbeat of unsubstantiated innuendo and assertions by Leftists, constantly echoed by the liberal media. It is a classic example of a Big Lie that becomes "true" simply by virtue of being repeated so many times.
A more likely explanation for the long-term shift from Democratic to Republican dominance in the South was the perception, fair or not, that the Democratic Party had rejected traditional Christian religious values and embraced radical secularism. That includes its hardline support for abortion, its rejection of prayer in public schools, its promotion of the gay agenda, and many other issues.
In the 1960s the Democratic Party essentially changed its strategy for dealing with African Americans. Thanks largely to earlier Republican initiatives on civil rights, blatant racial oppression was no longer a viable political option. Whereas before that time Southern Democrats had overtly and proudly segregated and terrorized blacks, the national Democratic Party decided instead to be more subtle and get them as dependent on government as possible. As LBJ so elegantly put it (in a famous moment of candor that was recorded for posterity), "I'll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years." At the same time, the Democrats started a persistent campaign of lies and innuendo, falsely equating any opposition to their welfare state with racism.
From a purely cynical political perspective, the Democratic strategy of black dependence has been extremely effective. LBJ knew exactly what he was doing. African Americans routinely vote well over 90 percent Democratic for fear that Republicans will cut their government benefits and welfare programs. And what is the result? Before LBJ's Great Society welfare programs, the black illegitimacy rate was as low as 23 percent, but now it has more than tripled to 72 percent.
Most major American city governments have been run by liberal Democrats for decades, and most of those cities have large black sections that are essentially dysfunctional anarchies. Cities like Detroit are overrun by gangs and drug dealers, with burned out homes on every block in some areas. The land values are so low due to crime, blight, and lack of economic opportunity that condemned homes are not even worth rebuilding. Who wants to build a home in an urban war zone? Yet they keep electing liberal Democrats -- and blaming "racist" Republicans for their problems!
Washington DC is another city that has been dominated by liberal Democrats for decades. It spends more per capita on students than almost any other city in the world, yet it has some of the worst academic achievement anywhere and is a drug-infested hellhole. Barack Obama would not dream of sending his own precious daughters to the DC public schools, of course -- but he assures us that those schools are good enough for everyone else. In fact, Obama was instrumental in killing a popular and effective school voucher program in DC, effectively killing hopes for many poor black families trapped in those dysfunctional public schools. His allegiance to the teachers unions apparently trumps his concern for poor black families.
A strong argument could also be made that Democratic support for perpetual affirmative action is racist. It is, after all, the antithesis of Martin Luther King's vision of a color-blind society. Not only is it "reverse racism," but it is based on the premise that African Americans are incapable of competing in the free market on a level playing field. In other words, it is based on the notion of white supremacy, albeit "benevolent" white supremacy rather than the openly hostile white supremacy of the pre-1960s Democratic Party.
The next time someone claims that Republicans are racist and Democrats are not, don't fall for it.
on: April 15, 2014, 02:44:48 AM
Started by buzwardo - Last post by ccp
The Opinion Pages|Op-Ed Contributors
Global Warming Scare Tactics
By TED NORDHAUS and MICHAEL SHELLENBERGERAPRIL 8, 2014
OAKLAND, Calif. — IF you were looking for ways to increase public skepticism about global warming, you could hardly do better than the forthcoming nine-part series on climate change and natural disasters, starting this Sunday on Showtime. A trailer for “Years of Living Dangerously” is terrifying, replete with images of melting glaciers, raging wildfires and rampaging floods. “I don’t think scary is the right word,” intones one voice. “Dangerous, definitely.”
Showtime’s producers undoubtedly have the best of intentions. There are serious long-term risks associated with rising greenhouse gas emissions, ranging from ocean acidification to sea-level rise to decreasing agricultural output.
But there is every reason to believe that efforts to raise public concern about climate change by linking it to natural disasters will backfire. More than a decade’s worth of research suggests that fear-based appeals about climate change inspire denial, fatalism and polarization.
For instance, Al Gore’s 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” popularized the idea that today’s natural disasters are increasing in severity and frequency because of human-caused global warming. It also contributed to public backlash and division. Since 2006, the number of Americans telling Gallup that the media was exaggerating global warming grew to 42 percent today from about 34 percent. Meanwhile, the gap between Democrats and Republicans on whether global warming is caused by humans rose to 42 percent last year from 26 percent in 2006, according to the Pew Research Center.
Other factors contributed. Some conservatives and fossil-fuel interests questioned the link between carbon emissions and global warming. And beginning in 2007, as the country was falling into recession, public support for environmental protection declined.
Still, environmental groups have known since 2000 that efforts to link climate change to natural disasters could backfire, after researchers at the Frameworks Institute studied public attitudes for its report “How to Talk About Global Warming.” Messages focused on extreme weather events, they found, made many Americans more likely to view climate change as an act of God — something to be weathered, not prevented.
Some people, the report noted, “are likely to buy an SUV to help them through the erratic weather to come” for example, rather than support fuel-efficiency standards.
Since then, evidence that a fear-based approach backfires has grown stronger. A frequently cited 2009 study in the journal Science Communication summed up the scholarly consensus. “Although shocking, catastrophic, and large-scale representations of the impacts of climate change may well act as an initial hook for people’s attention and concern,” the researchers wrote, “they clearly do not motivate a sense of personal engagement with the issue and indeed may act to trigger barriers to engagement such as denial.” In a controlled laboratory experiment published in Psychological Science in 2010, researchers were able to use “dire messages” about global warming to increase skepticism about the problem.
Many climate advocates ignore these findings, arguing that they have an obligation to convey the alarming facts.
But claims linking the latest blizzard, drought or hurricane to global warming simply can’t be supported by the science. Our warming world is, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, increasing heat waves and intense precipitation in some places, and is likely to bring more extreme weather in the future. But the panel also said there is little evidence that this warming is increasing the loss of life or the economic costs of natural disasters. “Economic growth, including greater concentrations of people and wealth in periled areas and rising insurance penetration,” the climate panel noted, “is the most important driver of increasing losses.”
2013 has shown the true colors of the left’s false narrative on global warming. Both poles have expanding ice, with the Antarctic breaking...
Claims that current disasters are connected to climate change do seem to motivate many liberals to support action. But they alienate conservatives in roughly equal measure.
What works, say environmental pollsters and researchers, is focusing on popular solutions. Climate advocates often do this, arguing that solar and wind can reduce emissions while strengthening the economy. But when renewable energy technologies are offered as solutions to the exclusion of other low-carbon alternatives, they polarize rather than unite.
One recent study, published by Yale Law School’s Cultural Cognition Project, found that conservatives become less skeptical about global warming if they first read articles suggesting nuclear energy or geoengineering as solutions. Another study, in the journal Nature Climate Change in 2012, concluded that “communication should focus on how mitigation efforts can promote a better society” rather than “on the reality of climate change and averting its risks.”
Nonetheless, virtually every major national environmental organization continues to reject nuclear energy, even after four leading climate scientists wrote them an open letter last fall, imploring them to embrace the technology as a key climate solution. Together with catastrophic rhetoric, the rejection of technologies like nuclear and natural gas by environmental groups is most likely feeding the perception among many that climate change is being exaggerated. After all, if climate change is a planetary emergency, why take nuclear and natural gas off the table?
While the urgency that motivates exaggerated claims is understandable, turning down the rhetoric and embracing solutions like nuclear energy will better serve efforts to slow global warming.
Ted Nordhaus is the chairman and Michael Shellenberger is the president of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental research organization.
on: April 15, 2014, 02:42:42 AM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Spartan Dog
First of all, thanks for the news. It is always a pleasure to read about new groups who are working hard.
Several questions come to mind..you used the term "DBMA Instructor"
I am very pleased to announce that Daniel V. and Daniel C. are now DBMA Group Leaders for Rio.
I would also like to announce Diego's promotion to DBMA Instructor.
...is this "Guro" or something different ?
Also, are any of these gentlemen showing any interest in fighting at a Gathering ?
on: April 14, 2014, 06:50:23 PM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
By Daniela Drake 16 hours ago The Daily Beast
Why Your Doctor Hates His Job
By the end of this year, it’s estimated that 300 physicians will commit suicide. While depression amongst physicians is not new—a few years back, it was named the second most suicidal occupation—the level of sheer unhappiness amongst physicians is on the rise.
Simply put, being a doctor has become a miserable and humiliating undertaking. Indeed, many doctors feel that America has declared war on physicians—and both physicians and patients are the losers.
Not surprisingly, many doctors want out. Medical students opt for high-paying specialties so they can retire as quickly as possible. Physician MBA programs—that promise doctors a way into management—are flourishing. The website known as the Drop-Out-Club—which hooks doctors up with jobs at hedge funds and venture capital firms—has a solid following. In fact, physicians are so bummed out that 9 out of 10 doctors would discourage anyone from entering the profession.
It’s hard for anyone outside the profession to understand just how rotten the job has become—and what bad news that is for America’s healthcare system. Perhaps that’s why author Malcolm Gladwell recently implied that to fix the healthcare crisis, the public needs to understand what it’s like to be a physician. Imagine, for things to get better for patients, they need to empathize with physicians—that’s a tall order in our noxious and decidedly un-empathetic times.
After all, the public sees ophthalmologists and radiologists making out like bandits and wonder why they should feel anything but scorn for such doctors—especially when Americans haven’t gotten a raise in decades. But being a primary care physician is not like being, say, a plastic surgeon—a profession that garners both respect and retirement savings. Given that primary care doctors do the work that no one else is willing to do, being a primary care physician is more like being a janitor—but without the social status or union protections.
Unfortunately, things are only getting worse for most doctors, especially those who still accept health insurance. Just processing the insurance forms costs $58 dollars for every patient encounter, according to Dr. Stephen Schimpff, an internist and former CEO of University of Maryland Medical Center who is writing a book about the crisis in primary care. To make ends meet, physicians have had to increase the number of patients they see. The end result is that the average face-to-face clinic visit lasts about 12 minutes.
Neither patients nor doctors are happy about that. What worries many doctors, however, is that the Affordable Care Act has codified this broken system into law. While forcing everyone to buy health insurance, ACA might have mandated a uniform or streamlined claims procedure that would have gone a long way to improving access to care. As Malcolm Gladwell noted, “You don’t train someone for all of those years in [medicine]… and then have them run a claims processing operation for insurance companies.”
In fact, difficulty dealing with insurers has caused many physicians to close their practices and become employees. But for patients, seeing an employed doctor doesn’t give them more time with the doctor—since employed physicians also have high patient loads. “A panel size of 2,000 to 2,500 patients is too many,” says Dr. Schimpff. That’s the number of patients primary care doctors typically are forced to carry—and that means seeing 24 or more patients a day, and often these patients have 10 or more medical problems. As any seasoned physician knows, this is do-able, but it’s certainly not optimal.
Most patients have experienced the rushed clinic visit—and that’s where the breakdown in good medical care starts. “Doctors who are in a rush, don’t have the time to listen,” says Dr. Schimpff. “Often, patients get referred to specialists when the problem can be solved in the office visit.” It’s true that specialist referrals are on the rise, but the time crunch also causes doctors to rely on guidelines instead of personally tailoring medical care. Unfortunately, mindlessly following guidelines can result in bad outcomes.
Yet physicians have to go along, constantly trying to improve their “productivity” and patient satisfaction scores—or risk losing their jobs. Industry leaders are fixated on patient satisfaction, despite the fact that high scores are correlated with worse outcomes and higher costs. Indeed, trying to please whatever patient comes along destroys the integrity of our work. It’s a fact that doctors acquiesce to patient demands—for narcotics, x-rays, doctor’s notes—despite what survey advocates claim. And now that Medicare payments will be tied to patient satisfaction—this problem will get worse. Doctors need to have the ability to say no. If not, when patients go to see the doctor, they won’t actually have a physician—they’ll have a hostage.
But the primary care doctor doesn’t have the political power to say no to anything—so the “to-do” list continues to lengthen. A stunning and unmanageable number of forms—often illegible—show up daily on a physician’s desk needing to be signed. Reams of lab results, refill requests, emails, and callbacks pop up continually on the computer screen. Calls to plead with insurance companies are peppered throughout the day. Every decision carries with it an implied threat of malpractice litigation. Failing to attend to these things brings prompt disciplining or patient complaint. And mercilessly, all of these tasks have to be done on the exhausted doctor’s personal time.
Almost comically, the response of medical leadership—their solution— is to call for more physician testing. In fact, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)—in its own act of hostage-taking—has just decided that doctors should be tested not every ten years, but every two years. If a physician doesn’t comply by the end of this month, the ABIM will strip away the doctor’s board certification status.
In an era when nurse practitioners and physician assistants have shown that they can provide excellent primary care, it’s nonsensical to raise the barriers for physicians to participate. In an era when you can call up guidelines on your smartphone, demanding more physician testing is a ludicrous and self-serving response.
It is tone deaf. It is punitive. It is wrong. And practicing doctors can’t do a damn thing about it. No wonder doctors are suicidal. No wonder young doctors want nothing to do with primary care.
But what is a bit of a wonder is how things got this bad.
Certainly, the relentlessly negative press coverage of physicians sets the tone. “There’s a media narrative that blames physicians for things the doctor has no control over,” says Kevin Pho, MD, an internist with a popular blog where physicians often vent their frustrations. Indeed, in the popular press recently doctors have been held responsible for everything from the wheelchair-unfriendly furniture to lab fees for pap smears.
The meme is that doctors are getting away with something and need constant training, watching and regulating. With this in mind, it’s almost a reflex for policy makers to pile on the regulations. Regulating the physician is an easy sell because it is a fantasy—a Freudian fever dream—the wish to diminish, punish and control a disappointing parent, give him a report card, and tell him to wash his hands.
To be sure many people with good intentions are working toward solving the healthcare crisis. But the answers they’ve come up with are driving up costs and driving out doctors. Maybe it’s too much to ask for empathy, and maybe physician lives don’t matter to most people.
But for America’s health to be safeguarded, the wellbeing of America’s caretakers is going to have to start mattering to someone.
on: April 14, 2014, 05:44:39 PM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M
Desert Tortoises Threatened With Euthanasia Plan
August 30, 1991|PAUL FELDMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER
The desert tortoise, a federally protected species since 1989, faces a new threat in the quickly developing Las Vegas Valley--euthanasia.
Under a plan approved by county and federal officials that is due to take effect in early September, tortoises living on Las Vegas-area properties slated for construction will be removed to a Clark County animal care center. Those that are not adopted or relocated within five days will be killed by lethal injection.
Authorities, who say that adequate funding is unavailable to hold the tortoises longer, say that the odds are in favor of most of the reptiles being saved by concerned Clark County residents.
"It sounds worse than it actually is," said federal Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist Michael McGill on Thursday. "There's a pretty good chance they'll get adopted. Most of them will find a home."
The euthanasia plan is part of a larger compromise reached by county and federal officials that will help provide funds and land to preserve a natural habitat for more than 60,000 desert tortoises in more pristine areas of Nevada, authorities said.
For its part, Clark County has agreed to purchase the rights to use more than 400,000 acres of BLM land as a desert tortoise preserve. For the next three years, the land, much of it near Searchlight, would be off limits to off-road vehicles. Authorities would also ward off birds that eat thin-shelled baby tortoises.
More than $6 million would be provided to purchase the land rights and establish a trust fund from fees assessed to Las Vegas developers, who will also be charged $40 per tortoise for the housing at the animal care center.
In exchange, developers will be allowed to remove the tortoises from their own land.
Since 1989, it has been illegal to take, harm or kill a desert tortoise without a federal permit. In the Las Vegas valley, construction was forced to a standstill on properties where the tortoises resided.
Officials said the Las Vegas tortoises--as many as 3,000 are expected to be uncovered by developers in the next three years--will not be relocated in the Searchlight habitat. Doing so could result in overpopulation. Also, they said, many of the Vegas tortoises suffer from a respiratory disease that might be passed on to their rural cousins.
"This was the compromise we felt we had to come up with when there was a limited amount of money to be spent," said Betty Burge, chairwoman of the Tort Group, a Las Vegas-based tortoise conservation organization.
However, the agreement has stirred questions among other tortoise preservationists.
"That's saying that development will take place no matter what and development should be slowed down until you can figure out that 'what,' " said Elden Hughes, chairman of the Sierra Club's California Desert Committee. "You should find a place where you can put the tortoises. . . . I'm sure they have enough money to put researchers on it."
Palm Springs attorney Paul Selzer, who represented Clark County in the negotiations for the federal permit, said the rules occasionally led to bizarre situations.
"You ended up with this weird deal where two pieces of property were next to each other and one had a tortoise and one didn't. So one guy developed and what do you think happened to the desert tortoise next door? The neighborhood kids picked it up, or a dog got it, or it went in the street and got run over."
Selzer said that long-range efforts will be made to relocate Vegas-vicinity tortoises in the wild, but that it is not clear whether the tortoises can be moved successfully in the wild. "You can't just pick these dudes up and corral them and put them back in the desert," he said.
on: April 14, 2014, 05:30:57 PM
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M
Signs in Arizona warn of smuggler dangers
Drivers advised to travel north
By Jerry Seper and Matthew Cella
The Washington Times
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The federal government has posted signs along a major interstate highway in Arizona, more than 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, warning travelers the area is unsafe because of drug and alien smugglers, and a local sheriff says Mexican drug cartels now control some parts of the state.
The signs were posted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
along a 60-mile stretch of Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend, a major east-west corridor linking Tucson and Phoenix with San Diego.
They warn travelers that they are entering an “active drug and human smuggling area” and they may encounter “armed criminals and smuggling vehicles traveling at high rates of speed.” Beginning less than 50 miles south of Phoenix, the signs encourage travelers to “use public lands north of Interstate 8” and to call 911 if they “see suspicious activity.”
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, whose county lies at the center of major drug and alien smuggling routes to Phoenix and cities east and west, attests to the violence. He said his deputies are outmanned and outgunned by drug traffickers in the rough-hewn desert stretches of his own county.
“Mexican drug cartels literally do control parts of Arizona,” he said. “They literally have scouts on the high points in the mountains and in the hills and they literally control movement. They have radios, they have optics, they have night-vision goggles as good as anything law enforcement has.
“This is going on here in Arizona,” he said. “This is 70 to 80 miles from the border - 30 miles from the fifth-largest city in the United States.”
He said he asked the Obama administration for 3,000 National Guard soldiers to patrol the border, but what he got were 15 signs.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer condemned what she called the federal government’s “continued failure to secure our international border,” saying the lack of security has resulted in important natural recreational areas in her state being declared too dangerous to visit.
In a recent campaign video posted to YouTube, Mrs. Brewer - standing in front of one of the BLM signs - attacked the administration over the signs, calling them “an outrage” and telling President Obama to “Do your job. Secure our borders.”
BLM spokesman Dennis Godfrey in Arizona said agency officials were surprised by the reaction the signs generated when they were put up this summer.
“We were perhaps naive in setting the signs up,” he said. “The intention of the signs was to make the public aware that there is potential illegal activity here. But it was interpreted in a different light, and that was not the intent at all.”
He said there should be “no sense that we have ceded the land,” adding that no BLM lands in Arizona are closed to the public.
“I kind of liken it to if I were visiting a city I were not familiar with and asked a policeman if it were safe to go in a particular area,” Mr. Godfrey said.
Rising violence along the border has coincided with a crackdown in Mexico on warring drug gangs, who are seeking control of smuggling routes into the United States.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon has waged a bloody campaign against powerful cartels, yesterday announcing the arrest of Texas-born Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez - a powerful cartel leader captured outside of Mexico City on Monday evening.
More than 28,000 people have died since Mr. Calderon launched his crackdown in late 2006, and the bloodshed shows no sign of ending. Law enforcement authorities have been warning for more than two years that the dramatic rise in border violence eventually would spread into the U.S.
T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents all 17,500 of the Border Patrol’s front-line agents, said areas well north of the border are so overrun by armed criminals that U.S. citizens are being warned to keep out of those locations.
“The federal government’s lack of will to secure our borders is painfully evident when signs are posted well north of the border warning citizens that armed and dangerous criminals are roaming through those areas with impunity,” he said. “Instead of taking the steps necessary to secure our borders, politicians are attempting to convince the public that our borders are more secure now than ever before.
“Fortunately, some responsible civil servants are candidly warning the public about the dangers that exist not just along the border but, in some cases, well beyond,” he said. “This situation should alarm all sensible people, and should spur endless demands that our legislators take whatever actions are necessary to restore law and order to these areas.”
Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican and a member of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, said the federal government’s new border security plan apparently is to “erect some signs telling you it’s not safe to travel in our own country.”
“If you are planning on loading up the station wagon and taking the kids to Disneyland, the federal government doesn’t advise going through Arizona - it’s too dangerous and they can’t protect you,” said Mr. Poe. “These signs say to American citizens, the federal government has ceded this area to the drug cartels. Don’t come here; we can’t protect you.”
Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, called the signs “an insult to the citizens of border states.”
“American citizens should not have to be fearful for their lives on U.S. soil,” he said. “If the federal government would do its job of enforcing immigration laws, we could better secure the border and better protect the citizens of border states.”
Michael W. Cutler, a retired 31-year U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) senior criminal investigator and intelligence specialist, said the BLM warning signs suggest the U.S. government is “ceding American territory to armed criminals and smugglers.”
Meanwhile, he said, politicians in Washington, D.C., including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, continue to claim the border is now more secure than ever and, as a result, it is time for comprehensive immigration reform.
“How much more land will our nation cede to drug dealers and terrorists? At what point will the administration understand its obligations to really secure our nation’s borders and create an immigration system that has real integrity?” Mr. Cutler said.
“At the rate we are going, the ‘Red, White and Blue’ of the American flag will be replaced with a flag that is simply white - the flag of surrender.”
Ms. Napolitano said this week that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would begin flying a Predator B drone out of Corpus Christi, Texas, on Wednesday, extending the reach of the agency’s unmanned surveillance aircraft across the length of the 1,956-mile border with Mexico.
Last month, Mr. Obama signed a $600 million bill to beef up security along the southwestern border. The bill funds 1,000 more Border Patrol agents, as well as 250 CBP officers and two more unmanned aerial vehicles.
Two years ago, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the investigative arm of Homeland Security, said in a report that border gangs were becoming increasingly ruthless and had begun targeting not only rivals, but federal, state and local police. ICE said the violence had risen dramatically as part of “an unprecedented surge.”
The Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, in its 2010 drug threat assessment report, called the cartels “the single greatest drug trafficking threat to the United States.” It said Mexican gangs had established operations in every area of the United States and were expanding into rural and suburban areas. It said assaults against U.S. law enforcement officers along the southwestern border were on the increase - up 46 percent against Border Patrol agents alone.
At the same time, the Justice Department brought a lawsuit to stop a new immigration enforcement law in Arizona, saying it violated the Constitution by trying to supersede federal law and by impairing illegal immigrants’ right to travel and conduct interstate commerce. Mr. Cutler said it was “outrageous” for the BLM to direct travelers to dial 911 to report suspicious activities since the calls do not go to the federal government but to state and local police. He said the signs are telling Americans to call state and local law enforcement authorities to deal with border lawlessness while at the same time telling Arizona that only the federal government can write and enforce immigration laws.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” he said.
Mr. Godfrey said that just because the signs direct travelers who witness illegal activity to call 911, “that does not mean that only a local agency will respond.”
“The idea is that people will get help as quickly as they can,” he said.
Sheriff Babeu has dealt firsthand with the rising violence in his county since his 2008 election. One of his deputies, Louie Puroll, was shot and critically wounded in April after he spotted five men he suspected of transporting drugs along a remote span of desert near Interstate 8 and Arizona 84.
He said his experience makes him see the issue differently from the administration in Washington.
“The president is only looking at this from a political perspective,” he said. “Everything is not fine. Everything is not OK.”
Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/31/signs-in-arizona-warn-of-smuggler-dangers/