Saturday, June 17, 2006
VDH - The New Immigration Politics. Wherein, for example, the rich and poor join hands.
The New Immigration Politics
Wherein, for example, the rich and poor join hands.
by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Magazine
[A shorter version of this essay appeared in the June 5, 2006 issue of National Review magazine.]
The debate over illegal immigration. . . .
JO - Belafonte wants Ja to develop deeper relationships with China, Latin America
What ever happened to politics stopping at the water's edge?
Belafonte wants Ja to develop deeper relationships with China, Latin America
LUKE DOUGLAS, Observer writer
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte (left) poses with Ambassador Dudley Thompson (second left) Ken Ramsay (right) and Cecile Eistrup at Saturday's gala dinner of the Advocates Association of Jamaica in Kingston. (Photo: Karl McLarty)
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte has urged Jamaica to forge deeper relationships with countries which may not be the island's traditional partners in order to chart its own future.
He suggested that Jamaica's relationships with China and Latin America may be important in the future, as his own country - the United States - had been a huge disappointment in providing leadership across the world.
Belafonte said it was time for Jamaica, with a new leader at the helm, to re-examine its relationships with other nations to determine its future direction.
"I would hope that in its reflections, and its embarking on a new moment in its own government in its relationship with the world, that Jamaica will come to re-examine where it has stood all these years, and try to find new meaningful ways in which to serve a new order," said the renowned entertainer.
Belafonte, delivering the keynote address at the Advocates Association of Jamaica's gala dinner on Saturday evening, was scathing in his view of the United States administration."Perhaps we must find sunshine and hope in places where we have never dared to look before. For those with whom we have had an alliance in the past have betrayed us bitterly, and we must find new ways to do what we must do to make the world a better place," said Belafonte.
Jamaica, he said, should not be deterred in developing relationships with countries such as Venezuela, with which it has signed the PetroCaribe agreement, which provides the all-important petroleum for energy at a reduced cost.
Noting that some were wary of the motives of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, he recalled that Nelson Mandela, now proclaimed a hero all over the world, was imprisoned for life with the approval of the United States, while others such as Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Eleanor Roosevelt were considered "malcontents and flawed people".
In his wide-ranging address, Belafonte held the audience at rapt attention as he recalled his relationships with his mentors King, Roosevelt and WEB Dubois, much to the interest of the audience at the Hilton Kingston Hotel. He scolded the US government for what he said was subverting the US constitution, dividing the American people and launching an unjust war on Iraq.
"Our nation, for the first time in its history, illegally and immorally entered into a conflict with another sovereign state that had never provoked us. "
"So severe was our need for material power that we lied to the nation, we misled the people. We forced ourselves into a war in the Middle East that none deserved," Belafonte said to much applause from the gathering.
He also chided African-Americans who work and support the administration of President George W Bush.
"Many (persons of colour) have not chosen to reach back into the environment from whence they came and have selfishly chosen to turn away from the struggles of those who have been left behind," Belafonte said. Even worse, he said, were blacks who "began to participate in the mechanisms for oppression".
Belafonte, a long-time human rights activist, spent much of his childhood in St Ann, Jamaica, his mother's birthplace.
The event was held in honour of veteran attorney, former government minister and Pan-Africanist Ambassador Dudley Thompson.
The Ian Ramsay Scholarship in honour of the late outstanding legal luminary was also launched at the function.
JG - Indian Minister of Overseas Affairs to make official visit
Indian Minister of Overseas Affairs to make official visit
published: Friday May 19, 2006
NEWLY APPOINTED Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar Ravi, is scheduled to arrive in Jamaica on May 28 for a two day visit to speak with the over 50,000 Indians living in the country. Minister Ravi is also expected to meet with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Senator Delano Franklyn, State Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, in an effort to strengthen the social, cultural and economic relations between the two countries.
The announcement was made by India's High Commissioner, Kailash Agrawal, on Wednesday.
"I am happy to note that persons of Indian origin, after years of integration and assimilation in the Jamaican society and cultural spectrum, are working towards the all round development and prosperity of Jamaica," he said.
During his visit, Mr. Ravi will interact with Indian nationals to observe their way of life in Jamaica, and to ascertain the problems they face and explore solutions in an effort to ensure their welfare.
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, was established just over 12 months ago to address the needs of Indians living abroad. Mr. Ravi will also pay a visit to other Caribbean countries during his visit to the region scheduled for May 27 to June 6.
Friday, June 16, 2006
second unusual hit of the day
Get thee to Leesburg (Va.)!
You should go. Really.
funny hit of the day, June 16, 2006
"help on applying for authorisation to re-enter canada after deportation"
JO - The fate of the Nano States
The fate of the Nano States
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
The countries of the Caribbean are a collection of Nano States that account for a miniscule volume of world trade. The group called Caricom or Cariforum, which is Caricom plus the Dominican Republic, hardly represents a threat to the mega trading blocs of North America, Europe and others globally. Judging from their negotiators, however, they perceive the Caribbean states as a group to be reckoned with!
Since the WTO was founded in 1995, the Caribbean has invested an enormous amount of money it can ill afford, human resources, an overburdened foreign service and political involvement in negotiations around the world, to secure the best possible terms for the region's continued prosperity in an increasingly volatile world, driven by the desire of the industrialised countries to extend their influence globally through trade and diplomacy.
The negotiations, however, are drawing to a prolonged close. The final time horizon should be about 20 years, before all the various terms of trade are finally resolved and applied. The year 2008 is to be a crucial one for Caricom, when the dimension of our current trading patterns will again be significantly altered.
The Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) is likely to end in 2008. This Act is part of the Caribbean Basin Initiative that benefits Caricom through non-reciprocal trade with the US for a wide range of goods and services, but requires a WTO waiver, which will probably not be granted after 2008.
The Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act is to suffer the same fate and is not renewable after 2008. This arrangement is complementary to the CBERA through broadening its scope. Furthermore, September 2007 sees the expiry of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which empowers the US president to negotiate trade agreements in a holistic way. Judging by the present mood of the US Congress, it will be a long, hard struggle to achieve its renewal, owing to the distinctly isolationist posture of the US.
On the other flank, the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union is due to come into effect also in 2008. This treaty while called a "Partnership" is proving difficult to negotiate. A "partner" is defined as "a person who shares or takes part with another or others, in a business firm with shared risks and profits". As experienced with sugar, bananas and non-trade issues under the label of "governance", our negotiators are being pressed to accept less than their share of the rewards that include "development" as a core element of the proposed benefits. 2008 therefore is shaping up to be a climactic year for the Caribbean.
What then lies "over the rainbow" which is also a covenant, for the "islands in the sun"? It is now imperative that they secure their market access by concluding a reciprocal Free Trade Area (FTA) with their principal trading partner, the United States of America, also known as: "El Dorado, the mythical city of gold that glitters with wealth untold". This will be the biggest and most important challenge ever undertaken in trade negotiations because Caricom's continued prosperity hangs in the balance.
Vital time factors exist, as with the expiry of the president's TPA in September 2007 - negotiations have to begin by then to ensure continuity. A fundamental question is, does the United States want a FTA with Caricom? So far, they appear to be lukewarm, but as the Caribbean is the designated "Third Border" of the US, it seems reasonable that they would want to preserve the integrity of their southern flank.
If it comes to pass, such a FTA would have to be operational within 10 years for merchandise and services, and 20 years for agriculture in compliance with WTO regulations, and cover "substantially all trade" that is an indefinable phrase in GATT Article XXIV, estimated to be around 90 per cent. The other most relevant condition, especially for the private sector, is that 70 per cent of trade would be liberalised on entry into force of the agreement! Will the Caricom business community be able to withstand such a level of competition, and to respond to the enlarged opportunity for exports into the US? It should be noted that Caricom only satisfied 30 per cent of its US quota leaving 70 per cent so far unfilled in 2006. The US with the advent of a FTA, would be better equipped and much quicker off the mark to venture into Caribbean states, benefiting from national treatment and a diluted version of Special and Differential Treatment when finally established by the WTO.
The Regional Business Community, especially in Jamaica, had better start taking a more serious interest in the international trade negotiations, proceeding at a very fast pace. The world does not end at Port Royal, and globalisation severely limits our defensive options when, inevitably, border taxes disappear and survival depends on the level of international competitiveness achieved by domestic enterprises. There has to be a "sea change" that is, a notable transformation in the national disposition. The big three obstacles that have to be neutralised are: The "freeness" mentality, the "soon come" attitude and the belief that "the world owes me a living". We can then wake up and smell the coffee - Blue Mountain, of course!
JG - Canada making citizenship easier for children adopted overseas
Canada making citizenship easier for children adopted overseas
published: Thursday May 18, 2006
Neil Armstrong, Toronto Editor
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. - REUTERS
PRIME MINISTER Stephen Harper has announced that the federal government will make it easier for parents to obtain Canadian citizenship for children they adopt overseas.
Speaking in Mississauga at a venue he spoke at during his election campaign in January, he said this week legislation will be introduced in parliament that will make it easier for citizenship to be granted to children adopted by Canadian parents.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg will introduce amendments to the Citizenship Act. This is the fourth immigration promise the government has delivered on since it was elected in January.
"In opposition we said what we would do, in power we are doing," said Prime Minister Harper about his government's priorities to a room stacked with supporters and journalists.
In the budget earlier this month, the Right of Permanent Residence Fee was cut by half from $975 to $490. The reduction applies to immigrants who become permanent residents under all social, humanitarian and economic classes, on or after May 3, 2006.
"This means that immigrants and their families will get to keep more money in their pockets when they're starting a new life in Canada," said Harper.
The budget also provides over $300 million in additional settlement funding over two years as well as funding to address the assessment and recognition of foreign credentials, in consultation with provinces and territories.
The Government says the settlement funding will support services that immigrants require as they settle into their new lives in Canada while the earmarked funding for credentials assessment and recognition will help newcomers achieve their full potential in Canada.
"The goal for all of us will be to get those who are already trained and ready to work in their fields of expertise into the workplace more quickly," said the Prime Minister.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
re: "Hadji Girl"
re: "Ten Years Later - Sept. 11, 2011"
amusing hit of the day, June 15, 2006
re: "Government Has Broad Powers To Detain Non-Citizens Indefinitely: Federal Court"
Getting ready to hit the road
JO - Colombians held with US$829,000
Colombians held with US$829,000
VAUGHN DAVIS, Observer staff reporter
Thursday, May 18, 2006
THREE of four Colombian citizens who the police said tried to leave Jamaica Monday with more than $800,000 in American currency, were yesterday remanded in custody when they appeared in the Half-Way-Tree Criminal Court.
The three - Monica Isabel Topias Peno, 36, a trade advisor of Bronlongvilla; Freddy Lionel Galue Molina, 39, a car dealer, also of Brolongvilla; and Jean Carlon Molina Montalvo, 26, an administrator - were booked to leave the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on a Copa Airlines flight to Panama when their luggage was x-rayed and "irregularities detected" by security officials.
Their luggage was searched in their presence and a quantity of United States currency allegedly found.
Police said the three, along with another Colombian, Gloria Patricia Palacio Obregon, a 19 year-old trader of Chiquinquine, Colombia, were all taken to the Narcotics Headquarters on Spanish Town Road where a detailed search of their luggage was done in their presence and a total of $829,716 in United States currency (approximately J$54.38 million) were allegedly found. All four were subsequently arrested and charged.
However, Obregon, the youngest of the group, who the police said was found with US$132,500, fell ill and has been hospitalised under police guard and was unable to appear in court yesterday.
. Peno had a total of US245,630;. Molina's luggage contained US$228,735; and. Montalvo, US$232,851.
The three, all charged with unlawful possession of United States currency, will return to court on Friday.According to court documents, after being cautioned by the police, Molina is alleged to have remarked "All mine, they (the others) know nothing about".
Just recently a judge ordered the deportation of Colombian footballer Rueben Hernandez, who was arrested by the Montego Bay police and charged with unlawful possession of property after $10.5 million in United States and Jamaican currency was found at his St James home on March 8. According to police, Hernandez was unable to give a reasonable explanation about how he came to be in possession of the money.
The money, the police said, was found in three bags hidden in a closet at the Colombian's Jamaican home.
However, the police have reported success in the crackdown on the lucrative narco trafficking trade between Jamaica and Colombia with a depreciable reduction in the travelling of go-fast boats in and out of Jamaican waters. Most of these boats that take illegal drugs in and out of Jamaica operate out of Colombia, the police said last year.
JG - Asylum seeker lied about sexuality
Asylum seeker lied about sexuality
published: Thursday May 18, 2006
AN ASYLUM seeker, who allegedly lied about being a lesbian, yesterday won a court battle to stay in the United Kingdom.
A judge said that Carol Ajoh, a Jamaican national, had made an 'entirely dishonest' asylum claim.
The 34-year-old said she was a lesbian, then went on to get married and have three children.
The judge suggested she should not be deported because the Home Office was 'inexcusable and appalling' in its 22-month delay in dealing with her later plea to be allowed to remain on the basis of her second marriage.
The judge said Mrs. Ajoh, who brought three children from her first marriage to England, had admitted that her original asylum claim was totally bogus and she had 'told positive lies'.
Ajoh arrived in the U.K. in 1999 on a six-month visitor's visa and began a computer course in Brixton. In 2001, as her student visa ended, she claimed she was 'purely a lesbian' and said she feared persecution over her sexuality if she returned to Jamaica.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
re: "The Morality/Immorality of Communism"
Reservists bring civilian skills to the battlefield
Potomac Celtic Festival
Tickets will remain available online through June 15th.
Only miss it if you're out of the country (like me!).
JO - Dominicans charged with human smuggling
Dominicans charged with human smuggling
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Two Dominican men accused of trying to bring eight Cubans into this US Caribbean territory were yesterday charged with human smuggling, authorities said.
Carlos de Jesus Morales, 25, Ivan Madrigal, 26, and the Cuban men were intercepted Friday by the US Coast Guard near Puerto Rico's Mona Island, a mostly uninhabited nature reserve off the west coast, said Ivan Ortiz, a spokesman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Smugglers frequently attempt to bring migrants via the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico across the often-perilous Mona Passage. In late April, at least five migrants died when their boat capsized en route to western Puerto Rico.
The men were being held in a federal jail. The Cubans have been allowed to work and live in the United States. Within a year, they can apply to be permanent residents.
Under the US government's long-standing "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy, Cubans who reach the United States - including the US territory of Puerto Rico - are generally allowed to stay, while those picked up at sea are returned to their country.
JG - Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) head blasts UK Privy Council - Says decision against Jamaica has set back regional court
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) head blasts UK Privy Council - Says decision against Jamaica has set back regional court
published: Thursday May 18, 2006
Michael de la Bastide (left), president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), is greeted by Senator A.J. Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, moments before the CCJ president made a presentation on the CCJ, during the seventh William G. Demas Lecture at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club, in Montego Bay, St. James, on Tuesday night. - CLAUDINE HOUSEN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
MICHAEL DE LA BASTIDE, president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), has made a stinging attack on last year's ruling by the U.K.-based Privy Council that deemed unconstitutional laws by the Jamaican Parliament to allow for the island's participation in a regional appeals court which he heads. He suggested that the ruling defied judicial logic.
de la Bastide, in a lecture Tuesday night in honour of the late West Indian economist, William Demas, also rapped Caribbean people who continue to hold notions of the inviolability of U.K. judges who make up the Privy Council and fail to repatriate the last portion of the region's independent 'judicial autonomy'.
"Frankly, I am puzzled and disappointed by the governments and peoples of the Commonwealth Caribbean to recognise the urgent need to claim from the mother country the missing portion of independence, that is, judicial autonomy," de la Bastide, a former Trinidad and Tobago chief justice, said in his speech in the north-western Jamaican city of Montego Bay. "I have suggested that it can only be explained by a failure to appreciate the importance and extent of the power which, under the existing arrangements, has been left behind in London."
It is not the first time that the decision of the Privy Council on the Caribbean Court of Justice, which was to replace the U.K. court as the court of last resort for Jamaica and several other Caribbean countries, or the attitude of opponents of the CCJ to the advent of the regional court, has been sharply criticised.
"It has reached a point when a case of that type comes to the board, one can almost predict from the composition of the board what the outcome will be," de la Bastide said. "Any notion of the infallibility of the the Judicial Committee (of the Privy Council) would be shattered by reading what some of its members have had to say about the views of others with which they disagree."
In addition to its civil and criminal components, the CCJ has original jurisdiction in interpreting the treaty under which most Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations are moving to a regional single market and economy.
But the former aspects of the court have been highly controversial in some countries and last year, when the Jamaican government passed three pieces of legislation to end appeals to the Privy Council and to establish the CCJ as the island's final court, the laws were challenged by the Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights (IJCHR) and other organisations, including the Opposition.
The Privy Council agreed that Parliament, by simple majority, could abolish appeals to the UK court, which was not entrenched in the constitution. But the law lords also argued that the Privy Council could not be replaced by a court which was not entrenched in the Jamaican constitution and whose judges, like those of the domestic court, did not have constitutional protection.
The UK judges, in their own cases, argued that they were beyond the influence of Jamaican politicians and even as they conceded the efforts of regional governments to insulate the CCJ argued that the agreement establishing the court could be changed.
de la Bastide, in Tuesday night's lecture, harshly attacked the reasoning of the law lords, insisting that it was fundamentally flawed.
"The point on which I respectfully take issue with the judgment is fundamental," he said. "It is that the substitution of a right of appeal to the CCJ for the right of appeal to the Privy Council did not involve the alteration of any entrenched provision of the constitution... Three Acts which were under challenge did not touch the High Court or the Court of Appeal, their jurisdiction or the regime which governs them."
Nonetheless, de la Bastide conceded that the Privy Council's ruling has limited the development of the CCJ, forcing regional countries, with constitutional provisions similar to Jamaica's to be circumspect about how they move forward. Only Guyana, which had abolished appeals to the Privy Council over two decades ago, and Barbados, where there was no political opposition to the new court, are now full members of the CCJ, sending cases there for criminal and civil adjudication.
"There is no question that this decision (by the Privy Council) impacted negatively on the development of the CCJ appellate jurisdiction," de la Bastide said.
He said Jamaica's involvement in the court would have been a "powerful incentive" to smaller eastern Caribbean states to embrace the CCJ.
"Appeals from Jamaica would have provided the court with an opportunity to increase its visibility and dispel the fears of the doubting Thomases in the region," he said.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
re: "Rules of Engagement: armies and war" & "Costs of Empire"
re: "The Applicability of the Geneva Convention"
Y! - Agency paperwork glitch delays weddings
Agency paperwork glitch delays weddings
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
9 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - True love waits for no one — except maybe the
Homeland Security Department. Red tape has put wedding bells on hold for about 10,000 U.S. citizens seeking visas for their foreign brides and grooms as the department works on new paperwork for their applications.
The form change was required as part of a law, enacted in March, to protect foreign mail-order brides from abusive American spouses. But Homeland Security missed its deadline three months ago, putting the visa applications of thousands of law-abiding lovers in limbo.
The department said Tuesday it would send out additional forms to the visa seekers for more information that should satisfy the new law's protections.
But the bureaucratic entanglement has trashed wedding plans for many couples before they could get anywhere near the altar.
"We were ready to get married this year, but I can't really make a date until we get the approval," said Bill Hall, 41, a construction foreman from Burlington, Vt. He applied two months ago for a visa for his fiancee, Debbie, to emigrate from Canada with her two sons. In separate interviews, the couple said they have been dating for six years.
"We're just kind of here, in limbo," Hall said. "And it's kind of aggravating — it's a real simple thing they have to do, and they're making more of it than they need to."
He said his application, sent to Homeland Security in April, "never got approved. It's just sitting there."
The tale of these 10,000 belated nuptials illustrates a bureaucratic response to what all sides agree is a well-intentioned law to protect women.
Advocates estimate that as many as 15,000 foreign women annually meet their American husbands through for-profit marriage brokers. That number, provided by the Virginia-based Tahirih Justice Center, marks a sharp rise from a 1999 estimate by the former Immigration and Naturalization Services of 30,000 women who came to the United States through a marriage broker during the previous five years.
Spurred by stories of foreign women — largely from Eastern Europe and Asia — being abused or even murdered by their U.S. husbands, Congress in December approved new protections for mail-order brides. They included amending the application form for so-called fiancee visas with two new questions: Whether the romance was arranged by an international marriage broker, and had the U.S. citizen ever been accused of a violent crime or convicted of three or more alcohol- or drug-related crimes.
President Bush signed the law on January 5, putting Homeland Security under order to draw up the new paperwork. But the forms weren't finished by March 6, when the law took effect — resulting in the department shelving all fiancee visa applications written on the old forms that were received after that date.
Chris Bentley, a Homeland Security spokesman, said about 10,000 applications are currently being held because they did not address the criminal or marriage broker issues.
"They did not have all of the information needed to determine whether someone qualified or not," said Bentley, who works for the department's Citizenship and Immigration Services.
He added: "It's certainly an inconvenience brought about by the new requirements of the law."
Homeland Security said Tuesday it would send additional forms to the estimated 10,000 couples in wedding purgatory to get answers to the questions about criminal pasts and marriage brokers. But it said it was still waiting for the White House Office of Management and Budget for approval of those forms and the new application.
OMB spokeswoman Andrea Wuebker did not have details immediately on the additional forms, but said the new applications were approved Monday in an emergency clearance process. It was not clear when the new applications would be distributed to the public.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (news, bio, voting record), D-Wash., rapped Homeland Security for getting cold feet about quickly processing the new regulations that she helped write.
"Security and safety should be their top consideration but their long visa process delays are putting a lot of people's lives on hold," Cantwell said in a statement.
Hall, the lovelorn Vermonter, said he's frustrated with the visa delays for people trying to follow the law at a time the Bush administration is grappling with giving other benefits to immigrants who have slipped into the U.S. illegally.
"I thought it was ironic," Hall said. "And I find it unfair."
Homeland Security Department/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/index.htm
re: ""RULES? IN A KNIFE FIGHT?": Redrafting the Rules of Engagement in the First Terrorist War"
NYT - A Federal Office Where Heraldry of Yore Is Only Yesterday
A Federal Office Where Heraldry of Yore Is Only Yesterday
David Scull for The New York Times
A painter at the Institute of Heraldry, Michael Craghead, at work near seals designed by the institute, which is an office within the Army.
By ERIK ECKHOLM
Published: June 13, 2006
FORT BELVOIR, Va. — "A wives' tale," scoffed one official. "An urban myth," said another.
Skip to next paragraph
David Scull for The New York Times
Nearing completion on a presidential seal.
They would know. The officials were from the Institute of Heraldry, the government's chief guardian of insignia and heraldic tradition, and they were dismissing an oft-repeated canard about the presidential seal.
According to legend, the eagle in the seal faced the arrow-holding talon in times of war and switched its stern gaze toward the olive branch in times of peace.
The eagle's glare did indeed get reversed — just once, by President Harry S. Truman in 1945. But only, it turns out, to correct the grievous heraldic error that President Rutherford B. Hayes had made 65 years before, when he designed the first seal to adorn White House invitations.
"In point of fact, the viewer's left is the dexter side, the honorable side on any shield," said Joe Spollen, head sculptor at the heraldry institute, which among its other duties nurtures rules and terminology from the Middle Ages. "The sinister side, on the viewer's right, is the less honorable."
And so Truman, after learning the truth from the director of the heraldry office at the time, switched the gaze from sinister to dexter, where it remains today.
The Institute of Heraldry, located for historical reasons within the Army, has a budget of $2.3 million and 24 employees, including four well-schooled "heraldic designers." But the handiwork of this little office has had an outsize influence on the public face of the military and the government.
All plaques bearing presidential or vice-presidential seals, as seen on news conference lecterns and the bulkhead of Air Force One, are hand-sculpted and painted here.
The institute, conjoining modern images with ancient traditions, designs the shoulder insignia unique to every military unit and supervises their production. It designs military medals, with the Iraq Campaign Medal being one of the latest. It also, together with the captains, designs a custom coat of arms for every new ship in the Navy.
Though civilian agencies are not required to hire the institute's services, many consult it when they need a new seal for their doors and stationery.
"People rally around these symbols," said Charles V. Mugno, a retired Marine officer who heads the institute. "Each seal carries the strengths and identity of an institution."
Every new sub-office of the bureaucracy, it seems, needs its own emblem. So when the Pentagon recently created an obscure civilian agency called the Test Resource Management Center, which evaluates range and test facilities for the military, the heraldry institute was ready and able.
As the institute describes the final design, three crossed arrows signify the new center's three areas of responsibility: oversight of facilities, strategic planning and reviewing of budgets. A chevron of white and green is crisscrossed with grid lines, to evoke "a graph and the measurement of resources."
"America has a funny relationship with heraldry," said Francois Velde, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago who is an amateur expert and maintains the heraldica.org Web site.
The Constitution expressly forbids the government to grant titles of nobility, but nearly half the signers of the Declaration of Independence had family coats of arms, Mr. Velde noted.
"The association of heraldry with aristocracy is really inaccurate," he said. "It's a system of identification for people and institutions, not just nobles and knights."
The intricate rules governing symbols and colors emerged rather suddenly in 12th-century Europe, Mr. Velde said, and spread quickly.
In the United States, European-style coats of arms, with lions and Latin, have been especially popular with universities, but several presidents were also "armigerous," as the American Heraldry Society describes them, including Washington and both Roosevelts.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower called on the heraldry office to invent his — featuring an anvil, a crest of five stars and the motto "Peace Through Understanding" — because he needed family arms in order to receive the Order of the Elephant from the Kingdom of Denmark.
The founding fathers wasted no time in devising a distinctly American seal. In 1782, years before the Constitution, Congress adopted the same two-sided Great Seal visible on every dollar bill today, describing it in full-fledged heraldic argot. On the front side is the familiar eagle, "holding in its dexter talon an olive branch, and in his sinister a bundle of 13 arrows," and in his beak a scroll inscribed "E pluribus unum." On the reverse side, "a pyramid unfinished" and "in the zenith an eye in a triangle, surrounded by a glory, proper."
From the beginning, the Great Seal's eagle faced the dexter talon; why President Hayes switched directions for his similar-looking presidential emblem is lost to the ages.
Mr. Mugno, the institute director, had been a student of military heraldry and said he got a thrill at the outset of the Iraq war, while he was still in the Marines and working in the Pentagon, when his proposal for the campaign medal was used on the reverse side.
The front of the medal, given to all who serve in Iraq, is a map of the country surrounded by palm wreaths. The back, drawing on Mr. Mugno's idea, features the Statue of Freedom from atop the Capitol and two scimitars with their blades arcing downward — a deliberate inversion, Mr. Mugno said, of a giant arch of crossed swords that Saddam Hussein had built in honor of himself in Baghdad.
When he heard that the institute directorship was coming open, Mr. Mugno said, he could not resist applying, even though it meant he had to retire from his beloved Marines. He has a dream for this office, he said, which could play a far more systematic role in overseeing the nation's insignia.
"Should there be a National Institute of Heraldry?" he asked. "One office overseeing the symbolism of the country and setting the standards?"
hit of the day, Tuesday, June 13, 2006
"success after receiving 221 g in visa interview"
JO - PM on official business in Washington DC
PM on official business in Washington DC
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller left the island Saturday for Washington DC where she will be a featured speaker at a conference to launch the Building Opportunity for the Majority initiative organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and hold talks with World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, as well as meet with members of the Jamaican Diaspora.
Former United States President Bill Clinton, development economist Hernando de Soto and technology innovator Nicholas Negroponte are among the keynote speakers scheduled to address the Washington conference, which opened yesterday.
The new initiative by the IDB seeks to promote economic opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Under the programme, the IDB will partner with the private sector and civil society to bring the benefits of economic progress to persons living below or just above the poverty line.
The Inter-American Development Bank is a key development partner with Jamaica and has provided funding for a number of economic, infrastructure development and educational projects.
Prime Minister Simpson Miller returns to the island on Wednesday. During her absence Robert Pickersgill, the minister of housing, water, transport and Works, will be in charge of the government.
re: "Zirzamin 27 and the fog of non-war"
"The question, in any case, is not whether the translation is unambiguous, but whether Israel can afford to ignore the possibility that the plain meaning of the words supplied by the government of Iran are a warning of war. Surely it cannot, however much Juan Cole might wish to argue away any casus belli. What if, Allah forfend, Juan Cole is wrong? He has been before. In fact, he is in the same article!
Since Iran has not "attacked another country aggressively for over a century," Professor Cole said in an e-mail exchange, "I smell the whiff of war propaganda."
Oh? In 1979 and 1980, the Iranian government sanctioned the storming of the American embassy and then directly held American diplomats hostage for 444 days. Under any conception of international law, that was an aggressive attack on another country. On October 23, 1983, Iran arranged for its proxy, Hezbollah, to murder 241 American servicemen in their barracks. The same day, Hezbollah attacked the French, killing 58 paratroopers. All the dead were in Lebanon on a peacekeeping mission. If you don't believe United States Federal District Court Judge Royce Lamberth, read Robert Baer's excellent book See No Evil. Baer spent thousands of hours investigating the embassy bombing in Lebanon, and provides enough evidence to persuade all but the most persistent ostrich. Finally, in 1996, Iranian agents blew up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American airmen. All of these are acts of war by any measure of the term, and they represent only the most high profile attacks. Iranian proxies continue to this day to attack American and British troops in Iraq and Israelis in their own country and the Palestinian Authority. By any historical measure, at least the countries of Iraq, Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom have just cause to go to war against Iran right now. That does not mean it would be wise to do so, but that is a practical argument, not a moral one."
JG - Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) warns Government about Chavez
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) warns Government about Chavez
published: Monday June 12, 2006
Ross Sheil, Staff Reporter
Left: CHAVEZ. Right: FRANKLYN.
WITH VENEZUELA bidding for a seat on the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council, Opposition Leader, Bruce Golding, is warning the Government of consequences for Jamaica in its relationship with the United States.
In a situation that is bound to rekindle memories of Jamaica being embroiled in tensions between the United States and Cuba during the Cold War, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has become more confrontational with the U.S. as he seeks to cement his influence in the region. Mr. Chavez has begun building up arms and training civilian reserves against what he believes could be a possible invasion by the U.S.
Venezuela is the third largest supplier of oil to the U.S. and is now providing oil on preferential terms through the PetroCaribe agreement to Jamaica and other Caribbean countries. Mr. Chavez is expected to visit the island soon to further advance PetroCaribe.
During his weekly television broadcast of 'Alo, Presidente' last week, Mr. Chavez likened Venezuela to David against the Goliath U.S., which is lobbying South American and Caribbean countries to support Guatemala for the seat which is reserved for the region. The non-permanent seat is rotated on a two year basis and will be vacated by Argentina in October.
Travelling in his car from the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Area Council One meeting at the Scouts' headquarters on Camp Road, St. Andrew, where he had first raised the issue, Mr. Golding declined to say whether Jamaica should support Guatemala. But he gave a unequivocal "no" to supporting Venezuela.
"I think it will affect our relationship with America, how I can't tell, but it won't be good. There are some critical issues coming up before the Security Council and I think that the Government has to think about the long-term interests of Jamaica," he said.
Mr. Golding said he wants to meet with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on the Security Council matter, but added, "I worry that that our vote has been forced through PetroCaribe."
MATTER UNDER DISCUSSION
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Delano Franklyn told The Gleaner that the matter was still under discussion and as with other similar foreign policy matters, CARICOM countries would vote en bloc. CARICOM last year defied the will of the United States when it backed the election of former Chilean Foreign Minister Jose Miguel Insulza as secretary general of the Organisation of the American States (OAS).
"It will be a consensus, taking everything into consideration. We hope that it (the decision) will be respected," said Mr. Franklyn.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who visited Jamaica on Friday and met with the Prime Minister, has so far refused to discuss her position with the U.S. on the forthcoming vote. Mr. Franklyn said he was unaware whether Dr. Bachelet had discussed the issue with Mrs. Simpson Miller.
Dr. Bachelet had met with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington on Thursday as the U.S. seeks to rebuild support in the region which has become vocal in its opposition to his administration's foreign policy.
According to a report carried in Chilean newspaper La Tercera yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley during a meeting in Washington in April that should her country support Venezuela's campaign, "Chile could fall into a group of losers against US interests."
Coalition partner SUV (II)
JG - Migrant labour
published: Monday May 15, 2006
THE EDITOR, Sir:
IMMIGRATION TO the U.S., legal or otherwise, is a problem that directly affects tens of thousands of Jamaicans and will continue to do so until it is dealt with and solved in a manner that is fair to all involved, not just one that is most advantageous to the upper class.
Recent news media attention to the problem by Lou Dobbs on CNN, for example, has not, despite all appearances, addressed the issue in an honest, professional manner.
The truth is that legal immigration into the United States for decades now has meant either having enough money or, as in the majority of cases, a skill that an employer could use to keep his or her labour costs down at the expense of existing workers.
Are there really more jobs in the U.S. than people to fill them? Nonsense. Are there really jobs that even blacks won't do? That's simply a lot of élitist, racist garbage. Lou Dobbs will not even show his viewers how much money American workers make, as found in the actual distribution of income reported and easily found on the U.S. Census website.
And just why not? You try explaining to the American people that the top fifth of income earners makes 15 TIMES what the bottom fifth makes. Fifteen times, in this case, is the difference between US$10K and US$150K, It is literally the 'difference between wealth and poverty.'
Try using that fact to justify more tax breaks, like the ones that the Congress recently passed and the President will soon sign into law. With that money, employers will be able to hire more and more immigrants, legal and otherwise, giving them less and less in salary and benefits.
I am, etc.,
Monday, June 12, 2006
JG - Ken Bilby and the 'True-Born Maroons' (Part II)
Ken Bilby and the 'True-Born Maroons' (Part II)
published: Monday May 15, 2006
DO YOU know of the blood oath, African and English cutting their skins, their blood mixing with rum, to be sucked to seal the blood covenant at the signing of the Maroon Treaty of 1739?
In a book that requires two bookmarks, one for the text and another for the fascinating footnotes, Kenneth Bilby underscores the authenticity of Jamaican Maroon oral tradition with the footnote: "Both the French and Dutch colonial documents corroborate the Guianese Maroon versions, clearly describing the blood oaths the European negotiators were required to take in order to conclude peace with the ancestors of the Aluku, Ndyuka, and Saramaka Maroons. [p. 460]. Did you know that in 1841, over 40 years after the Trelawny Town Maroons were tricked and shipped off, to Canada and then to Africa, that some returned to Trelawny? What stories they must have told!
Anyone who truly cares about Jamaican culture and history must read True-Born Maroons. Ken Bilby takes us into the Katawud Nation, admitting that "listening to their stories was a life-changing experience." Three decades of personal interaction with Maroons, wise in the ways of their world, Maroons who decided to share their knowledge with him, allows Bilby to sensitively, and selectively, open to us knowledge enshrouded in secrecy. Apprenticed to fete-men, slowly allowed into the ways of Kromanti play, Bilby underwent numerous rites of swearing, to various spirits, so that as a non-Maroon or obroni he could learn from their ancestral wisdom, to study the cultural memory of what it is to be a true-born Maroon.
Kenneth Bilby poses with Colonel C.L.G. Harris, leader of the Moore Town Maroons, in Portland (1978). - CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
After years of unease as to how to deal with the question of secrecy, Bilby feels comfortable with the final result in terms of the trust bestowed upon him. "For one thing," he notes, "not everything made it into the book - there's a great deal that I chose not to reveal - and there's a huge amount that I was never taught by those I worked with. I see the book as being in the Maroon tradition of revealing enough to achieve certain goals, but never revealing too much (though it goes farther than previously published works in this regard.)"
Sydney McDonald of Moore Town, after telling a narrative about a Maroon and a powerful obeah man of 'other side people', those Africans not Maroons, said in 1978: "This is knowledge just like a book, knowledge you getting from de older head, to show de light inna de world, that who to come, you can tell dem what pass." [p. 304]
The book's power lies in Bilby's style of briefly, articulately analysing Maroon narrative subjects of mythic and historic dimension, then incorporating or cross-referencing that with past and contemporary written scholarship [fully crediting all others], plus archival sources, to give us a breadth of knowledge that is viscerally satisfying. Using field notes and recordings decades earlier, by Helen Roberts, Frederic Cassidy, David DeCamp, Barbara Kopytoff as well as his own, Bilby and Maroon tellers take us into the world of 'Two Sister Pickni' representing the complex history of how the Maroons parted ways with other Africans, unwilling or unable to endure the terrible fight for survival in the mountain forests.
Bilby takes us into 'The Abandoned Child' narratives, sacrificing one's own babies for the group's survival, narratives on medicinal herbs, plants [heart of palm-food without telltale smoke], settlements by rivers, to avoid death at the hands of the most powerful military might in the world, what Bilby refers to as "an enemy that wanted nothing more than their total annihilation".
Neither Bilby nor the Maroon tellers romanticise the grit and exhaustion of guerrilla warfare, living on the run, in the words of Johnny Minott
"Dem kill Englishman too, but, you know, de Englishman is down on dem - clothes tearing off, food going out. And dem decide now to return back" [to slavery] [p. 248].
This accumulated delineation of hardships graphically, powerfully brings out Maroon history with the four "generals", born in Africa, who fought with Nanny until starvation made even Nanny consider giving up. Then the sense of being 'chosen people' after the miracle of the one pumpkin seed which feeds the multitude. Carefully, Bilby ensures that respect for Yangipong and the Bigi Pripri, the Supreme Being and the spirits of the Maroon ancestors, lies at the heart of this book.
One of the most readable chapters deals with Three-Finger Jack's capture by a Maroon, and the fascinating description of Jack's obi [p. 311]. Certainly this book contains the most reasoned and comprehensive presentation of history surrounding the Maroon's blood covenant to maintain the freedom for which they fought the British, at their extreme peril, and their reasons for not siding with Bogle during the tragic Morant Bay Rebellion. Even the two most contentious subjects between Maroons and the Jamaican Government, i.e., taxation and land rights are examined.
A CLOSED SOCIETY
'The Treacherous Feast' narra-tives, about British behaviour under Governor Balcarres, when all 600 Trelawny Town Maroons were lured to a feast in 1796 and shipped to Nova Scotia, then to Sierra Leone, truly gives one insight into why Maroons are what Bilby characterises as "a closed society, an ethnic community of both shared 'blood' and shared secrets and among the most important members of this closed society are the spirits of the ancestors" [p. 369].
Again, Bilby's footnote [p. 427] on the talking anvil in Oshogbo, Nigeria, buttresses the veracity of the 'Windward Maroons' oral history explaining how they barely survived the same fate as those in Trelawny.
True-Born Maroons is a must-have for every library and a must-read so that Jamaicans can learn the contradictions of their complex, multifaceted heritage from the lips of their fellow Jamaicans, with resonance from scholars of many nations who hold their culture in high esteem.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
re: "Where has the Anti War Movement Gone"
"Where has the Anti War Movement Gone
This is asked both at Andi's world and Dadmanly. I respond:
The reason there is no protest is because the Country is not at war, the Army is. For 99.9% of Americans absolutely nothing has changed since the fiasco started. In fact, life has become pretty good if you are in investor, business owner or general worker. The only war being fought is by the Army. As long as this does not effect most, they could care less.
In Vietnam, the big protests started when the college deferment was going to come to an end.
This is something I've said myself, or something very similar, at least about the country not being at war. The military services are at war (and not all components of them, witness recent announcements by the U.S. Air Force regarding discharging of excess junior officers, at a time when the Army is going the extra mile to ensure its supply of them).
Obviously, the "99.9% of Americans" figure is hyperbole, but it's probably well within experimental error.
So most of the military is engaged in the GWOT, as well as much of the federal government (but not to the degree that the uniformed services are). But the country at large?
This is a good thing and one reason why I support a full blown draft. As long as war is easy, it is far away and effects so few people, our propensity to declare them will increase. I know you (Right wing) disagree, but the only thing you have to look forward to is a lot more deployments to a lot more places as long as we have the mercenary force we have today.
Kevin and I part company here. A conscription is not the solution, unless you see the problem as your inability to foment popular opposition to fighting the war. The all-volunteer military isn't broken, but it could certainly use some help. And I take considerable umbrage to the depiction of the U.S. military as a "mercenary force."
Tom The Redhunter confirms my thoughts."
second citing at RealClearPolitics
S&S - Army combines whites, greens, ends up with blues. Revisions leave soldiers with single dress uniform.
Stars and Stripes
Army combines whites, greens, ends up with blues
Revisions leave soldiers with single dress uniform
By Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Courtesy of U.S. Army
The new “Army Service Uniform” is virtually identical to the current “dress blue” uniform, but will be the sole uniform for dress wear.
ARLINGTON, Va. — Army leaders have decided to consolidate the service’s Blue and White Dress uniform and Green Class A uniform into a single, all-purpose “Army Service Uniform.”
The new uniform, mandatory by the end of 2011, will do double duty, according to Lt. Col. Carl Ey, an Army spokesman.
First, the uniform, which is virtually identical to the current “dress blue” uniform, will be the Army’s sole standard for dress wear, replacing the dress whites that soldiers are authorized to wear in tropical climates.
In over two decades of military service, both active and reserve component, I must confess that the only time I've ever seen the Army White uniform worn was during the televising of graduation at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. I've seen just about all the other dress and service uniforms, including White Mess.
It will also replace the Army “greens” or “Class ‘A’s,” which soldiers wear in situations where civilians would wear a business suit.
“We’re not getting a new dress uniform; we’re getting a new uniform for daily activity, too,” Ey said Tuesday. “After 2011, you’ll never see the greens again.”
Last year, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker tasked Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston and other leaders to look into the possibility of eliminating one or more of the uniforms soldiers wear when they are not dressed for the field.
This won't effect the (optional) mess dress uniforms worn for that truly dressy effect, and will at least, finally, allow Army soldiers to get out of the ghetto (have you ever seen the Army Green Dress uniform?) and be on an equal footing, insofar as having an issue dress uniform, with our sister services.
One major concern was reducing cost to soldiers — “the tremendous amount of money it takes for a soldier to sew things on uniforms, launder uniforms, press them and all this stuff.”
Schoomaker’s resulting decision was to cut two uniforms completely, while making minimal changes to the uniform he decided to keep.
The jacket and pants are the same: a very dark, almost black-blue top over a lighter blue bottom (the women’s skirt matches the jacket in both the current and the new uniform).
U.S. Army soldiers first began to wear blue in their dress uniforms in the Continental Army of 1779.
The U.S. Army tradition of wearing two different shades of blue in the jacket and pants, meanwhile, comes from the days of the Army cavalry, Ey said.
“When soldiers would break to make camp, they would take off their jackets so they wouldn’t get them dirty” as the troops went about the work of setting up their canvas tents, building fires, and taking care of their mounts, he said. “Because the pants got worn more than the tops, the pants would fade in the sunlight.”
But there are some differences between the old dress blue uniform and the new service uniform:
o The service blue uniform has two shirts: a white shirt for formal occasions, and a grey herringbone shirt for day-to-day work. Both come in versions tailored for women.
Not sure exactly what the "herringbone" shirt is going to look like, but I'm encouraged by the choice of grey for the "day-to-day work" (i.e., Service) uniform.
o All soldiers in the rank of corporal and above will have a vertical gold braid sewn on the outside seam of each trouser leg. Currently, only officers wear the braid.
This last seems like a very good decision on somebody's part. They've dodge the bullet, suggested in an earlier article, about making a separate "senior enlisted version." The article isn't quite correct, however, about the "only officers wear the braid" part.
To explain, in the current Army Green Service and Army Green Dress uniforms (i.e., "Class A's" and "Class B's"), only the commissioned and warrant officers wear a braid on the outer seam of each trouser leg. And that braid is black. A black braid is also worn on the officer's Army Green jacket sleeve. On the Army Blue uniform, soldiers of all ranks wear a gold braid on the uniform trousers, although there's some technicalities about what material the gold braid can be made of, depending on whether one is enlisted or an officer.
o Patches of any kind, such as unit patches, will no longer be worn on the jacket.
This was probably a good call, although a case can be made either way. Color patches would just add a little too much to this uniform, which has plenty of flair as it is. Patches representing qualifications such as Ranger, Special Forces or Sapper taps are worn as a metal/enamel pin on this uniform already.
Correct me if I'm wrong, however, but unless I'm mistaken, this means that there will no longer be any Army uniforms on which a full-color unit patch will be worn.
o Women will be issued optional slacks, as well as a skirt. Currently, women can wear optional slacks with the Class A greens but not with the dress blues.
I've seen women wear the Army Blue trousers before, but they've always been members of ceremonial units such as color or honor guards. There was one at my wedding, for instance, in the detail which provide the Arch of Swords.
The changes are designed so soldiers who already own the dress blue uniform can modify it and purchase the additional accessories, Ey said.
It would seem this means that if you already own the Army Blue uniform, if you're a man you'll just have to buy some grey herringbone shirts and if you're a women you'll have to buy some grey herringbone blouses and a pair of trousers.
The new service blue uniform is scheduled to be in Clothing Sales stores by the end of 2007, Ey said.
Prices have not yet been determined, in part because the Army hasn’t hired a contractor to begin making the uniforms, he said.
Enlisted soldiers will get an initial issue of the service uniform instead of the Class A greens beginning in the first quarter of 2009, Ey said.
Just a couple of questions still hanging-fire to my mind.
First, will the Army Blue service cap remain the headgear for the Army Blue, er, Army Service Uniform? May we hope for a diminishment of the wear of the current black beret as part of the service uniform? And in a related area, may female soldiers hope that the truly abominable version of the Army Blue service cap could be replaced by one similar to that worn by male soldiers?
Just an aside, the uniform worn by female member so of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets used to include a uniform cap based upon, and just as ugly as, that now part of the female soldier's Army Blue uniform. Sometime in the early 1980's, this was replaced and cadets of both genders now wear a service cap much like the male Army Blue service cap. So it can be done, without bringing on the Apocalypse.
Second, will commissioned and warrant officers continue to wear the "shoulder-strap" rank insignia currently part of the Army Blue uniform?
There are some quibbles I'd make about some other types of insignia. Currently, only in special instances, such as how worn by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard"), does one wear the DUI (Distinctive Unit Insignia, commonly referred to as "unit crests") on the enlisted uniform epaulettes of the Army Blue uniform. This could be possibly be changed, disallowing wear of the unit crests only when worn in the full-dress (formal or Black Tie equivalent) version.
TCH - CLIFFORD D. MAY: What did Canadians do to deserve this?
CLIFFORD D. MAY: What did Canadians do to deserve this?
Published Wednesday, June 7th, 2006
Scripps Howard News Service
(SH) - Are you surprised that terrorists appear to have set their sights on such unlikely targets as the Parliament building in Ottawa and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in Toronto?
Astonished that anyone would even consider sawing off the head of a Canadian prime minister? Are you thinking: What could anyone have against free, democratic, liberal, multicultural, diverse and tolerant Canada?
The question answers itself. Freedom, democracy, liberalism, multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance - these are precisely the attributes that militant Islamists find most offensive.
This reality is difficult for some people to fathom. It shouldn't be. Nazis disdained liberal societies as decadent. Communists rejected democratic values as bourgeois. Now militant Islamists regard Western nations as blasphemous. This is old totalitarian wine in new bottles.
Sayed Qutb, the Marx of Islamism, stated unequivocally: "Truth and falsehood cannot coexist on earth ... the liberating struggle of jihad does not cease until all religion belongs to God." Looking at the world through such eyes, freedom, tolerance and democratic values are not virtues - they are symptoms of weakness and moral decline.
In the Islamist perception, Canadians have failed to distinguish between right and wrong, have refused to discriminate between monotheists on the one hand, and infidels, idolaters and polytheists on the other. And Canada awards its citizens rights and powers that belong exclusively to God.
Those who know God's will have an obligation to spread his message to the benighted masses. That can be accomplished with sermons or with bombs. History suggests the latter can vastly increase the persuasiveness of the former.
No doubt, Canada's Islamists have other grievances as well. It has been reported that those arrested last week planned to take hostages and demand the withdrawal of Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
Islamists do not subscribe to the fashionable view that the smashing of the Taliban was justifiable in a way that toppling Saddam Hussein was not. On the contrary, they believe the Taliban provided just the sort of leadership nations such as Canada ought to be enjoying.
Those arrested last week were acting locally but linking globally. According to Canada's National Post, "before police tactical teams began their sweeps around Toronto on Friday, at least 18 related arrests had already taken place in Canada, the United States, Britain, Bosnia, Denmark, Sweden, and Bangladesh." That doesn't mean those arrested are part of a global organization. It does suggest they are part of a global movement. You don't defeat such movements by forfeiting battlefields or attempting appeasement.
How you do defeat such movements we are only beginning to figure out - one must hope.
The suspects arrested in Canada are all Canadian citizens or legal residents. Early reports insisted they "represent the broad strata of our society" but that description did not withstand scrutiny.
It should be obvious that most Canadian Muslims are not terrorists. It should be equally obvious that Canada's Muslim community has a serious problem to address. What were these young men taught by the religious leaders in their mosques? Did their neighbors not see where they were heading? Was it sympathy or fear that prevented them from speaking up? If it was fear - fear of whom?
Americans generally expect immigrants to adopt not just American citizenship but also American nationality: to embrace American values, to revere the Constitution and to learn to speak English. Our more multicultural neighbors to the north have demanded less of those who apply for their passports. Canadians have asked immigrants few questions about their religious and political convictions. Recently, the Canadian government has even been considering allowing Muslims to substitute Islamic Sharia law for civil law. It will be instructive to see if this episode prompts any changes in Canadian thinking.
That is not to suggest that every immigrant to Canada must attempt to become a Molson-drinking, hockey-playing Dudley Do-Right, proudly pronouncing "z" as "zed." But would it be too demanding for Canadians to insist that those who want to make their homes in the Great White North not aspire to be suicide bombers and decapitators of infidels?
Free peoples, if they are to stay free, need to exercise control over their borders. They also need to exercise discretion about whom they welcome as neighbors and compatriots.
Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.
KCS - Immigration brouhaha could collapse into zilch
Immigration brouhaha could collapse into zilch
By E. Thomas McClanahan
The Kansas City Star
On immigration, the House and Senate have passed two very different bills. In fact, they’re so different the situation evokes one of those science-fiction movies, in which scientists combine matter from one dimension with matter from another.
Usually, the result on film is a big explosion. But in this case, the bills are more likely to simply go … poof! They’re so different that a compromise acceptable to both chambers is probably impossible.
For that, much of the blame goes to the failure of the last attempt to regularize immigration, the Simpson-Mazzoli act of 1986. That law granted amnesty to illegals already in the United States, increased the number of legal immigrants allowed in and authorized tougher enforcement, with penalties for employers who hired illegal immigrants.
But enforcement was lax, and the flow of illegals increased. Today, the number of illegal immigrants has grown to about 12 million, and the memory of Simpson-Mazzoli has thoroughly poisoned the current debate.
As Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa put it in a statement: “I was burned once in 1986. … I’m not getting burned again.”
That attitude is a shame, because a reasonable solution to the immigration problem requires a similar three-faceted policy — effective enforcement, a path to citizenship (some form of amnesty) for illegal immigrants already here, and increased legal immigration. All three, to varying degrees, are interdependent.
Yes, this is the “comprehensive” approach much reviled by immigration hardliners, who say it’s naive. We’ve tried amnesty, they say. Didn’t work.
But the hardliners are equally naive in thinking enforcement alone can be effective.
Enforcement is key, but it can’t work in isolation. Yes, we are a nation of laws. But laws have limits. Prohibition couldn’t stop the sale of liquor, and laws couldn’t make people drive 55 mph on freeways.
When you have two countries sharing a border, one with employers needing workers and another full of people who are desperately poor, labor will flow to jobs. Fences and tougher enforcement can reduce the inflow but not stop it.
If immigration quotas were more in line with employers’ demand for labor, fewer people would feel compelled to enter illegally. Currently, about 1.5 million foreigners a year arrive in this country. Legal quotas cover only about two-thirds that number.
The remainder — about 500,000 — enters illegally. If the annual quota was placed at a more realistic level, that change would reduce pressure on enforcement, while ensuring that most new arrivals remained “on the books” rather than hidden in the underground economy.
As for the path-to-citizenship issue — or amnesty, as some are pleased to call it — it isn’t realistic to talk about deporting 12 million people. What of their children, many of whom were born here and are American citizens?
As James Q. Wilson and Peter Skerry wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal, it isn’t only illegal immigrants who need amnesty. It’s American employers who didn’t verify residency, American police who didn’t question people they arrested about their residency, the U.S. Border Patrol that failed to reduce the inflow (in part because of lack of staff), and the many officials and ordinary Americans who felt sympathy for people who were only trying to better their lives.
The Senate bill comes closest to a reasonable approach, but when you wade into the details even here you find major problems. The guest-worker quota of 200,000 is too low, and in practice, most of these people won’t be “temporary.” Why make the distinction?
Extending Davis-Bacon “prevailing wage” requirements to guest workers is absurd. For American workers, such provisions apply only on federally contracted jobs.
And the bill’s three-tiered path to citizenship is overly complicated and unenforceable.
Under the measure:
■ Those here less than two years must pack up and go home, with no guarantee of return.
■ Those here two to five years must leave and reapply for entry and possible citizenship.
■ Those here more than five years could stay, continue working and could attain citizenship after paying fines and back taxes.
Sorting people into those groups would be a bureaucratic nightmare.
Both bills do have one thing in common: They reflect a high degree of political panic. Better this year that both go … poof!
To reach E. Thomas McClanahan, call (816) 234-4480 or send e-mail to email@example.com.