– give themselves a 7 day extension.
from boarding planes at airports throughout the U.S. because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government’s “no-fly list.”
It should come as no surprise, especially after reading yesterday’s fawning LA Times profile, that New Mexico governor Bill Richardson is going to great lengths to gear up for a 2008 presidential bid. But it’s a bit surprising when the governor starts talking about one of his signature issues — immigration — in terms that contrast starkly with his record. On Friday, citing smuggling and crime, Richardson declared a “state of emergency” in four of New Mexico’s border counties and lambasted the federal government for failing to crack down on illegal immigrants. And, most disappointingly, Richardson asked to meet with Chris Simcox, the president of the volunteer vigilante group the Minutemen.
While crime and drug smuggling are no doubt serious concerns that need serious consideration, illegal immigration itself is a complex issue, as Richardson should know. Meeting with Simcox, and thus implicitly legitimating a radical fringe group like the Minutemen, fails to appreciate the nuances. After all, these are the same Minutemen that the border patrol has said “could cause more trouble than they prevent“; the same Minutemen that the Aryan Nation homepage linked to (and called for “ALL ARYAN SOLDIERS” to join); the same Minutemen that, bizarrely, derided Condoleeza Rice as a “communist”; and the same Minutemen that spawned a host of imitators who carry firearms on patrol. This just isn’t a tough call: Richardson should not be meeting with them.
In 2003–when his presidential ambitions were considerably less public — Richardson told a rally of the “Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride” that “New Mexico is your home.” “Thank you for coming to Sante Fe,” Richardson swooned. “We will protect you. You have rights here.”
That certainly isn’t what the Minutemen are saying, and Governor Richardson shouldn’t be encouraging them.
UPDATE: Media Matters reports that the WSJ has issued a retraction on the original claim that Bill Richardson had asked to meet with Minutemen President Chris Simcox. We regret having used the erroneous report, and apologize to Governor Richardson for the error.
Wary that John Roberts might not be sufficiently fanatical, religious far right leaders have been backing away from President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee. In an e-mail message to supporters, event organizer Tony Perkins wrote “Trust but verify.” Perkins also made it clear that Justice Sunday Part Deux “will be no pep rally for [Roberts'] confirmation.” Instead, Perkins stated the goal of the event was “to educate evangelical Christians about the U.S. Supreme Court and get them talking to friends and elected officials about what they want from their justices.” But rather than educating, the overheated rhetoric embarrassed anyone who respects the independent judiciary and the system of checks and balances. Here are some highlights:
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League: Donohue “suggested a constitutional amendment to say that ‘unless a judicial vote is unanimous, you cannot overturn a law created by Congress.’ The court is trying to ‘take the hearts and souls of our culture.’” He also laid out his plans for domination: “Catholics and other Christians together, we are going to move to the front of the bus and take command of the wheel.”
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay: After denouncing America’s judicial system as “judicial supremacy, judicial autocracy,” DeLay blasted recent Supreme Court rulings: “Rights are invented out of whole cloth. Longstanding traditions are found to be unconstitutional. Moral values that have defined the progress of human civilization for millennia are cast aside in favor of those espoused by a handful of unelected, lifetime-appointed judges.” He continued on to state that “All wisdom does not reside in nine persons in black robes. The Constitution is clear on the point that the power to make laws is vested on Congress.” He continued, “This fact, understood by every high school civics student, has been forgotten in recent decades by too many members of the American judiciary, including, most notably, the United States Supreme Court itself,’ he said.” Read more
This weekend, the New York Times carried two weirdly different front page pieces on the lives and living conditions of American soldiers in Iraq. First, there was Saturday’s report on all the wonderful amenities and cool gadgets that soldiers can find at Camp Liberty. With a carefree nod to “the occasional random mortar attack,” Kirk Semple chirpily describes life at a military base that “has the vague feel of a college campus“:
The soldiers live in trailers on a grid of neat gravel pathways, and the chow hall offers a vast selection of food and beverages, ethnic cuisine nights, an ice cream parlor and, occasionally, a live jazz combo. Camp Liberty, like many other bases, also has Internet cafes, an impressively stocked store, gymnasiums with modern equipment, air-conditioning everywhere and extracurricular activities like language and martial arts lessons.
Wow! Reading this article, you just might end up thinking that life in Iraq is pretty good-comfortable, even. But don’t pack your bags for Baghdad yet, because Sunday’s New York Times had another–and much less sanguine–front page story on Iraq. In harrowing detail, Michael Moss describes the recurring failure to provide amble body armor for thousands of American soldiers:
For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents.
The effort to replace the armor began in May 2004, just months after the Pentagon finished supplying troops with the original plates – a process also plagued by delays. The officials disclosed the new armor effort Wednesday after questioning by The New York Times, and acknowledged that it would take several more months or longer to complete.
If you take the stories together, then it looks like American soldiers have no problem obtaining karate lessons, digital cameras, DVD and MP3 players, televisions, video games, laptops and live music, but still can’t get ahold of reinforced armor that might actually stop bullets.
Which do you think is more important?
According to right-wing columnist Kathleen Parker, Bush really wants to meet with Cindy Sheehan but he has resisted in order to defeat the terrorists:
Bush, regardless of what he personally might wish to do, has responsibilities that far exceed the crowd gathering beyond his Prairie Chapel Ranch.
Once he allows himself to be captured in a video clip or a photograph, recoiling from the agony of a bereaved mother, the world is in greater danger. Democrats might be delighted to freeze that image in political time, but so would insurgents planning their next Baghdad ambush.
So remember, when Bush went on a bike ride yesterday instead of meeting with Cindy Sheehan, it wasn’t because he wanted to. It was a selfless act to protect America.
On March 13, 2002, President Bush warned Iraq the U.S. was prepared to go to war:
President Bush declared yesterday that “all options are on the table” — including nuclear weapons — to confront states that threaten to use weapons of mass destruction, as he issued his strongest warning to date that his administration plans to take on Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.
Friday, he dusted off the same warning, this time for Iran:
In a stern warning to Iran, President Bush said “all options are on the table” if the Iranians refuse to comply with international demands to halt their nuclear program, pointedly noting that he has already used force to protect U.S. security.
As they say, it’s deja vu, all over again.