Saturday, May 26, 2007

Liberals, Muslims, and Reform (by Gary)

The Liberal Inquisition
There is tension in the air in Washington these days. Sure, there are major policy disputes between the executive and legislative branches of government and contentious issues like the war and immigration reform. But there is a siege mentality developing too – a sense of “gotcha” politics and intimidation. Liberals in Congress have launched at least 36 investigations against the administration. But this week, there was a chilling exchange in the House Judiciary Committee that went totally unnoticed.

During her testimony, Monica Goodling, the former Justice Department White House liaison, was grilled by a member of the majority party about the fact that she earned her law degree from – gasp! -- Regent University, a Christian university founded by Pat Robertson. Goodling was grilled about why she chose to attend Regent Law School; did she ever discuss religion with others at the Justice Department; did she use religion as a criteria in hiring decisions; and “Are there an inordinate number of people from Regent University Law School that were hired by the Department of Justice while you were there?” Evidently, being Christian makes one suspect in the fevered brows of the liberal inquisitors of the House Judiciary Committee. While the media ignored this example of religious bigotry, I can guarantee you it would have been front page news if a conservative member of Congress had initiated a similar line of questions against a witness who had attended Yeshiva or Howard University.

I’m happy to report that some members spoke up against this “inquisition.” We thank fighters like Reps. Mike Pence, Randy Forbes, Steve King, and Louie Gohmert for speaking out during the hearing against this incredible attack on Christians in government. It’s a brave new world here in Washington, my friends, where the criminalization of politics, thought and faith appears to be underway. Just consider that the first bill brought up for a vote in the new Senate was an attempt to gag grassroots organizations. The House has already passed a so-called “hate crimes” bill – a blatant assault on religious freedom – and there’s talk about reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine to gag conservative media.

The “Reform” People Don’t Want
Reform is a great buzz word in Washington. After all, who can be opposed to reform? There’s education reform, tax reform, health care reform, campaign finance reform, lobbying reform and ethics reform. In fact, reform is so popular it even sparked its own political movement. Remember the Reform Party? But, it seems there is one kind of reform that the American people are not too keen about -- comprehensive immigration reform.

A new poll of likely voters conducted by Rasmussen Reports found that only 26% supported the Senate’s immigration reform bill, while 48% opposed it, and 26% had no opinion. And while polling data on immigration reform can be contradictory, one thing is clear: Americans want the border secured, and they are tired of politicians telling them that they must fix a broken system with another massive reform plan. Of course, that begs two questions: Who broke the system? And why is it broken? This is the third time in 40 years that we are overhauling our immigration system. Is there a common thread to the failures of the previous “reforms”? Yes! In each of the previous attempts, the liberal Congresses failed to include serious enforcement provisions. It was Ted Kennedy who spearheaded the 1986 amnesty, and it’s Ted Kennedy who is championing this “reform” deal today. Do you see a pattern here? To put it bluntly, the American people have zero confidence in Congress’ ability to fix the problem with yet another “reform” plan. What they want done is border security and workplace enforcement first and immigration “reform” later. But this plan doesn’t do that.

The Heritage Foundation has produced a four-page memo outlining the 10 worst provisions of the bill, which amounts to a massive and immediate amnesty with false security triggers. The Z visas, which legalize illegal aliens, are to be issued immediately after enactment of the legislation – not after more border patrol agents are hired or hundreds of miles of new fencing has been built. Background checks have to be completed in 24 hours – a good idea IF our broken immigration system can do it. Fugitive aliens currently facing deportation orders would be allowed to apply for a Z visa and not have to leave the country. Aliens who follow our laws and leave as ordered cannot apply for the new visa. In other words, those who follow the law are punished, and those who ignore it are rewarded. And get this – members of the vicious South American MS-13 gang can stay too, so long as they sign a statement renouncing their gang membership. These are violent thugs, not Boy Scouts! Illegal aliens with Z visas would be eligible for in-state college tuition rates, while legal aliens with student visas would not. And illegal aliens would also get access to taxpayer-funded legal services, a provision that could potentially cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Amazingly, nothing in the bill actually requires illegal aliens to become citizens. The Z visas can be renewed for the life of the holder. As the Heritage Foundation noted, “This would be the country’s first permanent temporary visa.” But it is a gross failure on the part of our government not to insist on assimilation.

It’s hard to imagine why any conservative would support this bill. The Republican House leader evidently doesn’t like it, and today the Washington Times reported that the Senate’s second ranking Republican, Minority Whip Trent Lott, warned President Bush that he may have to veto it because the liberals control Congress and they are likely to make this bad bill worse. Unfortunately, there are plenty of ways Ted Kennedy could make it even worse!

Poll Raises Questions
A new poll of the attitudes and beliefs of American Muslims is disturbing – even to members of the American Muslim community – and should be raising serious questions among U.S. policymakers. The poll was conducted by the well respected Pew Research Center, and surveyed over 1,000 U.S. Muslims on a variety of topics. Here are some key findings: Only 26% of U.S. Muslims believe the war on terror is a sincere effort to reduce terrorism. Just 12% support the decision to invade Iraq, and only 35% believe we made the right decision in using military force in Afghanistan. I realize the American public is generally divided on Iraq, but a majority of American Muslims are conflicted about going after our attackers in Afghanistan. That disconnect is troubling, but there is a reason: Only 40% of U.S. Muslims believe that Arab men carried out the September 11th attacks! That figure led Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, to remark, “They’re in denial, refusing to take moral responsibility, and the radicals will feed on this.”

And speaking of radical, while 58% of American Muslims said they had a “very unfavorable” opinion of Al Qaeda, 27% said they did not know, and five percent actually expressed a favorable opinion of Al Qaeda! Even more disturbing is the evidence that Muslim youth are becoming radicalized. Muslims under 30 overwhelmingly identify as Muslims first and Americans second, and are twice as likely than their elders to believe that homicide bombings can be justified, with 26% of Muslim youth in America believing such acts are justifiable. Now, if anything, these polls generally understate the problem. How many people will actually admit to a total stranger that they support what is essentially a war crime?

As you know, Congress is in the middle of a major debate on the overhauling of our immigration laws for the third time in 40 years. Perhaps these shocking poll numbers will shock some sense into the debate. Now would be an ideal time to consider what can be done to prevent the immigration of radical Islamists into America. How can we keep Saudi money from financing Islamic fanaticism here in America? Unfortunately, in all the talk about guest workers and Z visas, I have yet to hear any serious discussion of how our immigration laws can be effectively utilized to protect our homeland in the war against Islamofascism.

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