Department of Injustice: diluting a citizen’s vote

November 9, 2011

"...but some animals are more equal than others"

Found this post by Christian Adams over at the Election Law Center: the Department of Justice wants illegal and legal non-citizens counted as part of redistricting:

In the City of Irving case, the Department of Justice has asked for permission to make oral arguments that illegal aliens and noncitizens should be counted for state and local redistricting purposes.  As reported earlier at ELC, this position has the effect of diluting the legislative power of American citizens and shifting power to noncitizens and illegal aliens.  In areas with high citizenship, 100,000 citizens (for example) would have one legislator.  In contrast, areas with high illegal alien populations (say 20,000 illegal aliens, 10,000 green card holders and 70,000 citizens) would also get a single legislator.

ELC’s earlier discussion of vote-dilution is here. In essence, since districts must be of equal size in terms of population, that means a district with 100,000 people who are all citizens will receive less representation than a district of 100,000 people, only 70,000 of whom are legal citizens and 30,000 are illegal aliens or legal (non-citizen) residents. Apparently the courts require counting all people for House races, but haven’t spoken about state and local races.

This is clearly an attempt by DoJ to extend its power over states’ and localities’ ability to draw their own electoral districts. This is already done in some parts of the country under the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, but those laws are meant to protect the rights of citizens to a fair vote. Justice’s argument in Texas is an effort to dilute citizen’s votes.

Like Operation Fast and Furious, it is a perverse inversion of what the Department of Justice is supposed to be doing.

On reflection, DoJ’s push to count non-citizens seems to be an effort to create more “minority-majority” districts, many of which would likely turn into safe seats for the Democratic Party, which is nearly moribund at the state level in Texas.  The DoJ is using a racial spoils system to favor one party by diluting the votes of some citizens.

And that stinks.

RELATED: I recently reviewed Adams’ new book, “Injustice: exposing the racial agenda of the Obama Justice Department”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama cracks jokes about devastating Texas wildfires

September 26, 2011

You know, beneath the cool exterior of the basketball-playing hipster president, behind the facade of the partisan class warrior, there lurks a core truth — Barack Obama is a jackass:

While at a highdollar fundraiser San Jose, California, President Obama ridiculed Rick Perry.

“You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.” Obama said to  laughter and applause, and added, “No, no, it’s true!”

Perry was understandably angered: Obama repeatedly refused to issue a disaster declaration for last spring’s wildfires, in which thousands of homes were destroyed. I bet the families whose houses have been reduced to cinders thought it was really funny. Just as Texan Bryan Preston:

Once again, Barack Obama has shown that he is unworthy of the office he holds. Droughts are just part of nature. They happen, no matter what mankind does. This year Texans have had 1,500 homes burn, thousands of acres torched, livestock and crops and even lives lost, and Obama turns that into a craven partisan hit on the state’s governor. What an idiot. What a partisan jacksnipe.

Leave aside Obama’s scientific ignorance (1) that ascribes all bad weather to the demon “Climate Change,” this need to use the genuine suffering of fellow Americans to mock a political foe is more than just callous or insensitive; it show a basic lack of empathy (2). In fact, referring to a recent foot-in-mouth moment the President had in front of the Congressional Black Caucus, PJM’s Spengler wondered, perhaps only half-satirically, if Barack Obama isn’t a sociopath, one of the marks of which is an inability to empathize with others.

I’ll leave that to people with psychology degrees; for me, this is just further proof that Obama not only is incompetent, he’s not even a likeable person.

Our president is a jerk.

Footnotes:
(1) As Preston says, drought happens. Far from being the fault of “greenhouse gases” and Man’s sins against Gaea, droughts in Texas are a normal part of the La Nina phase of the recurring El Nino/La Nina cycle in the Pacific.
(2) Ironic, for a guy who made a big thing about appointing judges with empathy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Our Labor Secretary doesn’t know her job. Or does she?

September 4, 2011

Here’s another video from Naked Emperor News, this time of Secretary Solis at an event, perhaps a press briefing, at the end of last August. In it, she admits to not knowing that Texas has created the most jobs of any state in the last few years.

But that’s not all she doesn’t know. See if you can spot the real howler:

Solis admits to not having done a lot of research into why Texas has created the most jobs. Hello? She’s the Labor Secretary of a nation with unemployment mired at over 9% (and real unemployment at 16%) and she hasn’t been looking into why one of the 57 50 states is doing much better than the national average at job creation? She doesn’t have her department –the Department of Labor, for Pete’s sake– working night and day to find out why Texas can create lots of jobs, while the most recent report has the nation as a whole last month creating zero?

She can’t get on the phone and call Austin? She’s not the least bit curious?

Secretary Solis has been in her job for over two years, and we’ve had a lousy employment picture for longer than that. Just what has she been doing with her time?

Oh, wait. Instead of working to create jobs for all Americans, she’s fighting to protect the turf of labor cartels, a.k.a unions. So it figures she’d have no curiosity about what works in a right-to-work state, even if right-to-work seems to be a key.

Hilda Solis, United States Secretary of Labor Unions.

RELATED: Hilda Solis had problems with unions and conflicts of interest when she was a member of Congress.

PS: By the way, note how quickly she shifts the focus from the question asked to Administration talking points aimed to discredit Texas and, by association, its governor, who is running for her boss’s job. Coincidence, I’m sure.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Mexico: their pain is our gain?

August 13, 2011

Well, it apparently is at least in Deep South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, whereto many Mexican businesses are relocating to escape the violence just south of the border:

“If you think about South Texas, we’re like a big thumb sticking into Mexico. We have access to the port, through rail; it’s an ideal place to be,” says state Rep. Aaron Pena.

Our thumb has a giant shield.

“It’s about security, and it’s about proximity to markets,” says Pena.

Pena says he has seen a change in the Rio Grande Valley. Manufacturing workers don’t want to go south of the Rio Grande.

“What’s great here is that we provide the security of our state, our military, our institutions. They’re all here. It makes it a better place,” says Pena.

“It is disturbing to go through this on a daily basis; it’s almost like working for a funeral home,” says Miguel, who worked at a maquiladora.

The cost of business is more than what is in the bottom line. Cartels cut off supply routes and hijack drivers. Companies have to pay different organizations to move their goods. It’s no longer worth the risk.

“They think that maybe the things will get better over in Mexico, but in the meantime, they’re put their roots here,” says state Rep. Veronica Gonzales.

Even the lower cost of labor in Mexico is less and less able to make up for the lack of security. And while it’s to the benefit of McAllen and other parts, it also points to a spiraling problem in Mexico: as the jobs leave, those left without work will either have to go to other parts of the country to find a job, come north (probably illegally), or make what money they can in their own region, perhaps by working for the cartels.

I honestly don’t think this is to the long-term benefit of the American side of the Valley, either. If you think of the border region as a neighborhood with the actual boundary being the street running down the middle, then “broken windows” on one side are eventually going to degrade the other. And we’re already seeing plenty of incidents of cartel crime and violence on “our side of the street.”

The failure of the Mexican state to provide security along their northern border leaves the gunmen as the only real winners.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


One reason why visiting Mexico may be a not-good idea

August 12, 2011

That little problem of being caught in the middle:

A Valley mother says night terrors and fear are all she has left after armed men stole her sense of security. The woman says she’s trying to stay strong for her seven children.

She ran the gates, breaking them, at the Donna International Bridge to get away. The hardest part for the mother is that her 8-year-old daughter watched as a man pointed a rifle at her. She promised the girl they weren’t going to die.

“My life changed and I want to be the same person that I was, you know?” the woman says.

Apparently Mom and daughter had stumbled across a gang robbing the bridge crew. Wisely, the mother decided not to wait around to see if there was a “no witnesses” policy in force; she jumped the median and crashed her van through the gates on the US side of the bridge. My assumption is that surprising the Mexican gunmen like this probably is what saved her and her child’s life.

Though I have to ask: For what reason, barring an emergency, would anyone cross the border into Mexico these days, when violence is rampant and government authority barely exists in the border region? And why on Earth take your child?

(Guessing: She has relatives on the other side and thought it would be safe.)

Take a look at this map: the bridge is just east of McAllen, site of the Border Patrol station that was the subject of an excellent book, Patrolling Chaos. On the other side is the, to put it nicely, “troubled” city of Reynosa, a primary battleground between the Zeta and Gulf cartels, and occasionally the Mexican military. There have been grenade attacks; a nearby town was abandoned because of cartel violence.

Pardon me, ma’am, but while I admire your bravery and while I sympathize with your fear, your common sense leaves a little to be desired.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dear United Nations: shove it where the sun of your sanctimony doesn’t shine

July 8, 2011

You have absolutely no moral authority to lecture us about breaking international law.


God bless Texas

June 21, 2011

…for telling the federal government to take their incandescent light-bulb ban and shove it:

Texas could soon be in a position to turn the lights off on a federal plan to phase out certain light bulbs.

State lawmakers have passed a bill that allows Texans to skirt federal efforts to promote more efficient light bulbs, which ultimately pushes the swirled, compact fluorescent bulbs over the 100-watt incandescent bulbs many grew up with.

The measure, sent to Gov. Rick Perry for consideration, lets any incandescent light bulb manufactured in Texas – and sold in that state – avoid the authority of the federal government or the repeal of the 2007 energy independence act that starts phasing out some incandescent light bulbs next year.

“Let there be light,” state Rep. George Lavender, R-Texarkana, wrote on Facebook after the bill passed. “It will allow the continued manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs in Texas, even after the federal ban goes into effect. … It’s a good day for Texas.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based environmental group, is calling on Perry to veto the bill.

I suspect Perry will sign the bill, since it would be popular given the increasingly “small l” libertarian mood of the country these days, and those folks would be Perry’s core audience in a presidential run. The article goes on to quote an NRDC spokesman arguing that the bill cannot be implemented in a practical manner (What? They can’t build a light bulb plant in Texas?) and that it wouldn’t be in the “best interests” of Texans.

How… patronizing and condescending. We can’t let people decide for themselves what kind of lighting is best, after all. That’s better left to bureaucrats and panels of experts. That’s the “progressive way.”

To which I reply,  “go Texas!” 

Anyway, this law poses interesting constitutional issues, and I fully expect it to wind up in the courts. There’s the much-abused Commerce Clause, which has been stretched into near-meaninglessness to allow Washington to do whatever it wants. If the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 rests even in part on regulating interstate commerce (i.e., because the bulbs are manufactured in one state and shipped to another), then strict constructionists could argue that, since the economic activity (manufacturing and sale) takes place within one state, Congress has no power to regulate it. Under the 10th amendment, therefore, the power to do so is reserved to the states, and Washington can take a hike.

Given the legal history of Commerce Clause interpretation, and especially with horrible precedents such as Wickard v Filburn, I doubt this argument would win, but it sure would be interesting to watch. I will note, however, that a refining of the Commerce Clause to clearly prohibit Congress from regulating intra-state activity is one of the amendments in Professor Randy Barnett’s proposed Bill of Federalism.

Meanwhile, I may be looking at a quick trip to Texas to pick up a case of 100-watts.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


When Texas burns, the Fed rushes into action… in Mexico??

May 11, 2011

In case you missed it, much of Texas is burned up, literally; according to Kevin Williamson at NRO, about 3400 square miles have gone up in flames, an area the size of Puerto Rico. Williamson uses this fact to excoriate President Obama for coming to Texas to raise money and sell his non-starter of an immigration plan while refusing to even tour devastated areas, let alone declaring a federal disaster area.

But he saves the cherry on the sundae for last:

To its credit, the Obama administration has dispatched aircraft to help with the firefighting . . . in Mexico.

MEXICO??

Following Williamson’s link, we find that he really did:

Two specially equipped U.S. Air Force cargo planes left Colorado on Saturday to help battle wildfires in northern Mexico.

The C-130s were requested by the Mexican government and the U.S. State Department, a U.S. Northern Command spokesman said.

The planes can spray about 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in a matter of seconds from a system of pressurized tanks called Modular Aerial Fire Fighting System or MAFFS.

The fires have burned 386 square miles in Mexico — one-ninth of what’s been destroyed in Texas — and yet the Obama administration won’t send help to Texas but will to Mexico? Mr. President… Barry… WTF??

Oh, and you want to know the best part? The planes will be flying from a base… in Texas.

That sound you heard was the sound of the back of Obama’s hand meeting Governor Perry’s face.

Look, I have no problem helping Mexico, per se; we have plenty of resources in the Western states. But it seems to me that you take care of your own people, first, and then lend what you can spare to help the neighbors. This looks like nothing more than the administration taking out its petty anger at Texas and its governor for not voting for Obama and for not supporting his policies. President Peevish apparently only helps those who help him, regardless of the duties of his job.

So, let’s consider. On the one hand:

  • He seemed indifferent to the  flooding that devastated Nashville in 2010.
  • He is ignoring fires that are ravaging Texas in 2011.
  • He is wrecking the Gulf Coast economy with his permitorium, in defiance of a federal court order.

On the other:

Three-to-one. I’d say it’s pretty clear his natural instincts are to go with the “gangster government” approach to governance: “If you play nice, you get help. But if you cross me, you can burn for all I care.”

Literally.

via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt

CLARIFICATION: The linked article discussing planes sent to help Mexico is from April 16th, nearly a month ago. I should have noted that and apologize for any confusion. However, as an article from the Christian Science Monitor, dated just two days later, shows, Governor Perry was asking for help way back then. So, why the hold up?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Falcon Lake murder: witnesses come forth

April 14, 2011

Six months ago, David and Tiffany Hartley thought they were going to spend a pleasant day exploring the ruins of an abandoned Mexican town, now mostly submerged under Falcon Lake, in Texas.

Instead, they were attacked by Mexican drug runners: Tiffany barely escaped with her life, while David was gunned down. His body was never found, and the lead Mexican investigator on the case was beheaded by the cartels as a warning to authorities to back off.

Since then, Tiffany has returned to live with her parents, trying to put her life back together. As the weeks and months went by, it looked less and less like she would ever receive justice, or even the body of her husband to bury. In addition, she has had to endure suspicions on the part of some that she was not telling the truth and maybe even involved in David’s death.

Just recently, though, two witnesses have been found that who corroborate her story:

Gonzalez told South Texas television station KRGV an elderly couple with a home near Falcon Lake heard the gunshots that killed David Hartley.

“We’ve had calls from people that were in the area, U.S. fishermen fishing on the Mexican side of the lake. They heard what the witness calls a war zone, three different episodes of gunfire, a barrage of bullets,” Gonzalez said.

The sheriff says the new witness accounts validate Tiffany Hartley’s version of the events that led to her husband’s death.

“I’ve had to come up against a lot of criticism, a lot of judgment, kind of fighting through all this with what happened to David,” Tiffany Hartley said. “It’s hard being judged and it’s hard having your character judged.”

Gonzalez also released a photograph taken by a Customs and Border Protection helicopter, showing six men in a boat just after the attack. Two of the men match Tiffany Hartley’s description of the killers.

Follow the link for photos.

Hopefully this will lay those monstrous rumors to rest and provide a clue to the identity of the killers, and eventually to giving Tiffany some peace.

LINK: Earlier posts on the Falcon Lake murder.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Falcon Lake killings: suspects identified

February 28, 2011

Five months ago, David and Tiffany Hartley set out to have a fun day of jet-skiing and sightseeing on Falcon Lake, in Texas on the border with Mexico. Their holiday turned into a nightmare, however, when they were attacked by members of Los Zetas, one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels; David was shot dead and Tiffany barely escaped back to the American side after trying to rescue her husband. His body has never been found, and the investigation has largely come to a standstill; Mexican authorities have largely backed off since the lead investigator was beheaded, and US agencies are limited because of a lack of jurisdiction in Mexico. It looked as if the case would sit unsolved in a cold-case file.

But, maybe not. The one police agency still actively investigating David’s murder is the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office, and they claim to have identified four suspects:

[Sheriff Sigi] Gonzalez said the four men identified are Zetas members, but he refused to release any more details at this time.

The four of them, he added, were part of a larger group of seven men that attacked David and Tiffany Hartley as they approached the abandoned town of Guerrero Viejo, in the Mexican side of the bank.

“They were watching her with a rifle to her body and they lowered it and pick it up and lowered,” he said. “They were waiting for word whether to shoot her or not shoot her. “

Tiffany was able to get away and make it to safety, but David Hartley’s body has never been found.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez said the suspects are known to be living in Mexico, but since the attack, they have crossed into the U.S. several times.

He said his office will continue gathering enough information to arrest those responsible.

(There’s a video report at the link, too.)

Sheriff Zapata said any information gathered would be passed to the FBI and, from them, to the State Department, presumably to take up with Mexican authorities. Call me cynical, but, while I’m sure the FBI would like to nail these guys, I have my doubts about how willing State is to rock the boat with Mexico over this. And I’m even more doubtful of serious help from Mexican law enforcement; they’ve already shown themselves to be subject to intimidation, and the Zetas themselves show no restraint. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong, however. But, even if they are arrested in Mexico, Texas will have to forgo applying the death penalty, since Mexican law prohibits extradition in cases where execution is an option.

However, the fact that these killers cross regularly into the United States gives hope that Zapata County sheriff’s deputies or other law enforcement will be able to capture on our side of the border. Eventually, they’re bound to make a mistake.

I have another suggestion, however, one that crosses borders and is, one might say, traditional in the American West: name the men, put bounties on their heads, and make sure the posters are stamped “dead or alive.”

We’re dealing with outlaws, so let’s treat them as outlaws.

RELATED: An update on Tiffany Hartley. The beheading of Police Commander Rolando Armando Flores Villegas. A possible threat by Los Zetas to destroy Falcon Dam.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Would-be jihadi arrested in Texas, Bush a target?

February 24, 2011

A Muslim from Saudi Arabia was arrested for planning to use homemade improvised explosive devices (IED) to launch terror attacks in Texas. Why is it important to mention he is a Muslim? Because he, himself, makes clear that religion was a motive:

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 20, a citizen of Saudi Arabia and resident of Lubbock, Texas, was arrested late yesterday by FBI agents in Texas on a federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with his alleged purchase of chemicals and equipment necessary to make an improvised explosive device (IED) and his research of potential U.S. targets.

(…)

FBI agents also found a notebook at Aldawsari’s residence that appeared to be a diary or journal.  According to the affidavit, excerpts from the journal indicate that Aldawsari had been planning to commit a terrorist attack in the United States for years.  One entry describes how Aldawsari sought and obtained a particular scholarship because it allowed him to come directly to the United State and helped him financially, which he said “will help tremendously in providing me with the support I need for Jihad.”  The entry continues: “And now, after mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for Jihad.”

Emphasis added.

Among his potential targets was, apparently, former President George W. Bush:

Aldawsari conducted research on various targets and e-mailed himself information on these locations and people, the Justice Department said.

On February 6, the affidavit alleges, Aldawsari sent himself an email titled “Tyrant’s House,” in which he listed the Dallas address for former President George W. Bush, investigators said.

Aldawsari claimed he had been inspired by the speeches of Osama bin Laden. Nice mentor. Of course, it can be argued that this young man and bin Laden (and millions of others) misunderstand Islam’s peaceful message. You know, as in verse 5, chapter 9 of the Qur’an:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

While Christians and Jews are technically “People of the Book” and not pagans, it’s really a distinction without a difference in practice. And many, many other verses in the Qur’an and the hadiths (sayings of Muhammad and his companions), as well in commentary by highly regarded Islamic scholars down through the centuries all carry the same message:

“It is time for jihad.”

via Jihad Watch


Why are Mexican troops conducting searches on our side of the border?

February 17, 2011

Via KRGV TV, Texas:

What you see is the international boundary that separates the United States from Mexico and what authorities on this side of the border seem to think is a truck packed with armed men crossing into the United States. The video clearly shows a large military-transport vehicle drive north on the Anzalduas bridge over the international boundary.

We counted at least a dozen armed men in the back of the truck. The vehicle travels down the bridge toward the U.S. Customs checkpoint. Its driver makes a U-turn just before reaching the lines of cars there. It then starts back south toward Mexico. The men pull over and search a vehicle for a few minutes then resume their trek south. The presumed soldiers then cross back over the boundary toward Mexico.

The video is very interesting.

If they had come near the checkpoint and turned around to head straight back home, I’d have said this was an honest mistake — no harm, no foul. But they stopped a vehicle and searched it on our side of the border, when they had to have known they were on the wrong side. That tells me they knew exactly what they were doing.

This isn’t the first time Mexican troops have crossed the border, of course. It’s happened in Arizona, California, and New Mexico. In the last case, they appeared to be trying to collect on a bounty offered by a cartel boss for the capture of a Border Patrol  agent.

The question is whether this incident on the Anzalduas bridge was an authorized crossing or not — or even, as the New Mexico case suggests, a rogue operation not ordered by Mexican authorities.  There’s no way of knowing from the video, and the Mexican denial that anything occurred could mean either that they were covering their own actions, or were caught by surprise, too. That much, at least, is a Rumsfeldian “known unknown.”

What we do know, however, is that armed forces of another nation cross into our territory with some regularity. The American public has a right to know whether this is with US permission and why such permission has been granted. Is it some sort of a cooperation agreement?

This would controversial enough, even if there is  some sort of joint program. But, if there is none, if foreign troops are crossing onto our soil without our permission, well, that is an act of war, regardless of how many are involved. And who were those people in the vehicle stopped by Mexican forces? Were they Mexican citizens? Were they Americans? Are Americans being stopped and questioned by a foreign military in our territory? The problems apparently dates back before the Obama administration (Who knows how far?), but they’re the ones responsible now.  The Texas congressional delegation, especially in the House, might want to start asking some very pointed questions about why these incursions are happening and why the Mexican government hasn’t been told “ya basta!”

hat tip: The Tatler

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Mexico border violence watch: Brownsville, Texas

February 8, 2011

Battles between Los Zetas and their former bosses in the Gulf Cartel in Matamoros prompt increased patrols on the Brownsville side of the border:

Brownsville Police and Border Patrol Units are on increased patrols near the (Brownsville & Matamoros) Bridge after reports of violence inside Mexico.

Mexican soldiers have been called in to restore the peace.

It all started around 5:00pm. Mexican officials say the Gulf Cartel set some Zeta money houses on fire near the B&M Bridge.

Two hours later, sources inside Mexico tell CHANNEL 5 NEWS two grenades were thrown at a hotel near the bridge.

A little later, the Mexican Army showed up to “restore order.”

When you have to send in the soldiers, that’s more than a police problem.

 


Voting with our feet

November 17, 2010

One of the functions of the decennial census is to determine how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives.  While this doesn’t enable us to determine  in detail who is moving where and why, one can make a few broad generalizations with some confidence based on the likely apportionment.

And one of the chief among them is that people are fleeing high-tax, heavy government states like the plague:

Migration from high-tax states to states with lower taxes and less government spending will dramatically alter the composition of future Congresses, according to a study by Americans for Tax Reform

Eight states are projected to gain at least one congressional seat under reapportionment following the 2010 Census: Texas (four seats), Florida (two seats), Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington (one seat each). Their average top state personal income tax rate: 2.8 percent.

By contrast, New York and Ohio are likely to lose two seats each, while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will be down one apiece. The average top state personal income tax rate in these loser states: 6.05 percent.

The state and local tax burden is nearly a third lower in states with growing populations, ATR found. As a result, per capita government spending is also lower: $4,008 for states gaining congressional seats, $5,117 for states losing them.

The article also draws a correlation between states that require the payment of union dues (losing seats) and right to work states (gaining seats).

There are some obvious lessons to be drawn here about tax competition and free labor: first, businesses and wage-earners will be attracted to states that let them keep more of their own money and not burden them with excessive regulation.  The second and related point is that granting unions a monopoly over labor (or access to taxes disguised as “representation fees” for those who don’t join the union) drives up the cost of labor to such a point that businesses will look to relocate elsewhere. It’s no coincidence that businesses (and their jobs) are fleeing high-tax, big government California, while low-tax, light-regulation Texas accounts for half of all the jobs created in the nation over the last year.

Will job-killing states learn this lesson? But maybe, like so many addicts, not until they hit rock bottom.

UPDATE: A timely example, via Heliogenic Climate Change.

-ANAHEIM, R. Frautschy: (…)

A recent discussion with my accountant determined that in order to comply with AB32 it will cost me almost the same amount as my yearly payroll. Now add in all the new or raised business taxes, and I must more than double the company income to make ends meet.

I received an offer from the state of Nevada. If I move my company to Nevada, my taxes will be 83 percent lower, no AB32 complications. Lower health care costs and more. It’s a no-brainer. I am laying off my entire staff and moving to Nevada. So, as of Dec. 31, 2010, the state of California will have 32 highly skilled workers on their unemployment hands. The unemployment rate is high in Nevada, so I can hire all new employees for much less.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rick Perry for President?

October 18, 2010

Hey, why not? Over a 12-month span ending last August, roughly 214,000 new jobs were created in the US. Half of those were created in Texas, alone.

It seems to me that Austin is doing a better job at creating jobs than Washington.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Falcon Lake killing: Ooops! Our bad!

October 14, 2010

David Hartley and his wife Tiffany were sightseeing on Falcon Lake on the Mexican Border near McAllen, Texas, taking photos of the abandoned, flooded town of Old Guerrero. The young couple was enjoying a happy day on the lake, as allowed under Article 18 of the Water Treaty of 1944.

Then the happy day turned into a nightmare.

David and Tiffany were ambushed at Old Guerrero by members of the Zeta cartel. They fled on their jet skis, pursued by “pirates” firing automatic weapons at them. David was hit in the head and killed. Tiffany tried to recover his body, but the Zetas kept shooting and she had to leave him to save her own life. To this day, David’s body has not been recovered, the killers have not been arrested, and the lead Mexican investigator into the case was beheaded.

But, let’s not get too upset. You see, the head of the Zetas, Miguel Treviño, feels really bad about what happened, because it was all a case of mistaken identity:

A global intelligence company Wednesday said the death of U.S. citizen David Michael Hartley on Falcon Lake was a case of mistaken identity in a turf war between rival drug cartels.

Hartley, who was shot during a Sept. 30 sightseeing trip to the Mexican side of the binational reservoir, was shot by Zeta cartel enforcers because he was mistaken for a spy of the rival Gulf Cartel, according to the report by STRATFOR, and Austin-based think tank specializing in intelligence and international issues.

The report goes on to say Hartley’s body likely was destroyed as Los Zetas went into “damage control” mode and that the lower-level operatives responsible for the unauthorized strike against him now are on the Zetas’ hit list.

“The cartel boss — Miguel Treviño — is highly upset over the fact that these individuals shot and killed Mr. Hartley and it’s our understanding that the cartel boss is hunting for the killers of Mr. Hartley so he can take care of them himself,” said Fred Burton, STRATFOR’s vice president of intelligence.

Oh, well, that makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it? It was just a couple of mooks who screwed up the Zeta’s criminal and terrorist business; the Hartley’s were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Miguel himself will put things right. Don’t worry, he’ll handle it.

Except David Hartley is still dead and his wife has no body to bury.

Screw you, Treviño. Screw you and all the Zetas. If it weren’t for you and your evil, this would never have happened; you are just as responsible as the idiots you hired. You are ruining lives on both sides of the border and you are no better than the barbarians we’re fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And just like them, you deserve to die.

Addendum: An Open Letter To President Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President,

Under Article 18 of the Water Treaty of 1944 between Mexico and the United States, American citizens have the right to use both shores of the lake freely:

Public use of the water surface of lakes formed by international dams shall, when not harmful to the services rendered by such dams, be free and common to both countries, subject to the police regulations of each country in its territory, to such general regulations as may appropriately be prescribed and enforced by the Commission with the approval of the two Governments for the purpose of the application of the provisions of this Treaty, and to such regulations as may appropriately be prescribed and enforced for the same purpose by each Section of the Commission with respect to the areas and borders of such parts of those lakes as lie within its territory.  Neither Government shall use for military purposes such water surface situated within the territory of the other country except by express agreement between the two Governments.

I submit to you, sir, that, either through complicity or impotence, the Mexican government is unable or unwilling guarantee “free and common” use of its side of Falcon Lake, as it is obliged to do under the cited article. It is therefore your obligation as President of the United States to guarantee the safety of American citizens enjoying lawful use of the lake. This is not Texas’ responsibility; this is an international treaty entered into by the United States as a whole, and it your responsibility to see that its terms are met.

With respect, I request that you take steps to establish a Coast Guard station on Falcon Lake with sufficient personnel and arms to patrol the American side of the lake and come to the aid of anyone in distress who is enjoying its lawful use.

Thank you.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Laredo Invasion: final nail in a myth’s coffin?

August 12, 2010

Bob Price of Texas GOP Vote has done the legwork that “journalist” Kimberly Dvorak and various credulous bloggers have refused to do regarding the “news” that Los Zetas, a vicious Mexican drug cartel, had taken over some US ranches near the border city of Laredo, Texas. He went and talked to the people supposedly involved, both from law enforcement and the ranchers. It’s a long entry, well-worth your time to read, but here’s an excerpt in reference to the police blotter Dvorak produced in her “scoop:”

The author of that story would have you believe this is proof that a ranch was taken over by the Zetas. This prompted further investigation. I was able to verify the authenticity of this message from my sources within the Laredo Police Department. It verifies there was actually a call for service to a ranch outside Laredo.

But, my prior investigation had already revealed a call for service occurred. So, what is a “call for service”. Well, it is exactly what it sounds like. In law enforcement terms it means a law enforcement agency received a phone call requesting assistance from the police (or sheriff’s department in this case). Nothing more. It does not mean that anything really happened. Only that someone called.

In this case, the call itself appears to be a hoax. I have spoken with the rancher who allegedly made the call and he denies it ever happened. For several reasons detailed below, I believe him. It appears, the call actually came from a café/store located in the vicinity of the ranch. The Sheriff’s department reacted to the call and found nothing happening out of normal daily life. Perhaps the call was a hoax? Perhaps it was a diversion to draw law enforcement resources to one area while drugs or human cargo were smuggled across in another area.

So, why was this story so believable by readers across the nation? What I found was perhaps more interesting than the alleged story itself.

First, I found nothing but cooperation from all law enforcement agencies working that region. I spoke with the “originating source” of the story, the Laredo Police Department. They talked openly and honestly with me for quite some time. They even said if we want to visit they will “roll out the red carpet.” I talked with the rancher who allegedly was forced off his land. He told me the first he heard of this was Monday morning when the FBI called him to ask what was going on at his ranch. He told them, and me, everything was normal. I have also learned his ranch is really of no strategic value to a drug cartel. The ranch is situated above a high cliff facing the river which would make a border crossing extremely difficult, at best. Nothing had happened. We talked for over 30 minutes about several issues regarding this and life around Laredo.

Emphases added.

In other words, and once again, there is no evidence whatsoever that anything at all occurred outside of Laredo. Dvorak and the others’ “evidence” amounts to a case of “I can’t reveal my sources, so trust me.” They rely on an implied conspiracy (“Why is the media not covering this? They must be part of the government cover up!”) worthy of the tinfoil hat crowd, something Bob Owens rightfully calls “Laredo Trutherism.”

Price then reports on the real violence, across the border in Nuevo Laredo, something that was mentioned in a slightly misleading FOX video (see update at the end of the post) that I’ve suspected as a possible seed for this modern myth. It’s the cartel war in Mexico that is the real news and a potentially real threat to our own security, not some fantasy about US territory being invaded.

Meanwhile, as far as I’m concerned, any credibility Ms. Dvorak or her allied bloggers may have had is gone. Until they can provide credible, independent sources willing to go on the record with some sort of physical evidence -video, police radio recordings, whatever- I can only regard them as nothing more than people in desperate need of attention.

RELATED: Two earlier posts about the Laredo invasion fantasy.


Laredo “invasion” nonsense rides again

August 11, 2010

Oh, for Pete’s sake. Pseudo-journalist Kimberly Dvorak, one of the parties pushing the original Laredo invasion fairytale as real news, is at it again, claiming she has evidence that:

“proves the alleged incident did in fact happen and that multiple agencies responded to the scene of a seized U.S. ranch.”

Her “evidence” is supposedly a screen capture of a Laredo PD police blotter that reads as follows:

“On Friday 7-23-10 Laredo Webb informed that their county SWAT Team is conducting an operation in the Mines Rd. area. According to LT. Garcia with LSO (Laredo Sheriff Office) received a call from a ranch owner stating that the Zetas had taken over his ranch. As per the 17 (reporting person) he informed them that they stated La Compania (area name for Zetas) was taking the ranch and no one was permitted on the ranch without permission. SO (Sheriff Office) will have an unmarked green Ford Taurus with two officers stationed at Los Compadres and a white Chevy Tahoe with two officers stationed at Mineral Rd. The LSO (Laredo Sheriff Office) will maintain surveillance in the area and advise if action is taken. Susp (suspect) Veh (vehicle) are described as a gray or silver Audi, a BLK (black) Escalade or Navigator and a van truck with a logo of a car wash spot free on the side. Border Patrol also has their response team on scene. Also known info of BMW’s and Corvettes entering and leaving the area. Auth LT Lichtenberger if assistance is requested LPD (Laredo Police Department) will secure the outer perimeter. (07/24/10 07:42:10 NR1873)”

Bob  Owens of Confederate Yankee has been all over this garbage from the start, and he returns to poke large holes in this new “evidence:”

Digger’s Realm is now trumpeting this as absolution, as is Mondo Frazier from Death by an Thousand Papercuts and Big Journalism.

They choose to believe that a generic computer screen, obtained by unrevealed sources, that cites neither the name or address of the ranch or the person making the call to law enforcement, proves their case.

The want us to believe that the police officers and sheriffs units that weren’t ID’d were deployed, and that the lack of any report of contact or observation by these unknown LEOs is justification for the claims that the various law enforcement agencies and named officials cited in the story who said it didn’t happen, are lying.

We still don’t have an address. We still don’t have a victim. We still don’t have anyone with any eyewitness accounts, or physical evidence that such an event took place.

I’ll add that, if any of the calls regarding this ranch takeover went over a radio, then some police-radio enthusiast in the area must’ve heard it. Why hasn’t that person come forward? And do Dvorak and the other people pushing this “news” really expect us to believe that national news services and all the regional news agencies, such as the Laredo Sun-Times, would ignore or suppress the biggest story of the year, one that’s happening on their doorsteps? Really? They’re all in on it?

If I want conspiracy theories, I’ll watch Three Days of the Condor, thanks.

What I wrote before still applies:

“…spreading unchecked rumors and relying on anonymous sources with no independent confirmation will only give the pro-illegal immigration crowd a large stick with which to beat border-security advocates and conservatives, in general. The situation there is bad enough without propagating falsehoods. If you are helping to spread this fairy tale, knock it off. Don’t just read and link or tweet about it: think about sources, follow the links back.

Read critically.”

Dvorak and anyone else peddling this rumor have absolutely no credibility and should either produce hard, verifiable proof or admit they’ve got nothing except a need to feed their own egos.

In other words, Ms. Dvorak, put up or shut up.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


More about the Laredo “invasion” rumor

July 25, 2010

Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee is doing great work debunking this nonsense. Here’s an excerpt from today’s entry:

Tell Chuck Norris to stand down. Invasion USA never happened.

I contacted both the Laredo Police Department and the Webb County Sheriff yesterday and debunked claims that Los Zetas gunmen from the Gulf Cartel has crossed the border from Mexico and took over two ranches in Texas. The Laredo Morning News also refuted the claim. Pro 8 News, the NBC affiliate, didn’t think enough of the absurdity to even comment on it… they found the installation of a new traffic light more newsworthy.

Absurdly, the same trio of sites that cried wolf are still sticking by their story, utter lack of credible evidence aside.

Cypress News publisher John G. Winder is sticking with the story, not because any additional evidence has been produced, but because the two sources for his version of the story, blog Digger’s Realm and Examiner.com’s San Diego (CA) County Political Buzz Examiner blogger Kimberly Dvorak are standing by their militiamen and anonymous police sources.

The original Cypress Times story? A re-publication of the original Digger’s Realm story.

The Digger’s Realm story? Two anonymous Laredo police sources and a San Diego California Minuteman named Jeff Schwilk who claims he got his information from… an anonymous Laredo PD officer.

San Diego County Poltical Buzz Examiner Kimberly Dvorak? She claims her information also comes from two anonymous Laredo PD sources.

Are we noticing a pattern here? Every bit of of this claim, which has now scattered far and wide across the Internet, can be traced back to two anonymous police department sources of a police department that does not even have jurisdiction where the alleged invasion is taking place.

Be sure to read the rest, as well as Bob’s follow up. And if you want some thoughts on what’s behind this latest example of Internet hysteria, check out Conservative Daily News:

That lead me to ask the age old question, what’s in it for the parties involved.  For Los Zetas, not much.  They get their drugs into the U.S. just fine.  Taking over a few ranches in the U.S. brings the full brunt of the United States of America on them and will almost certainly (I say almost because of present leadership) lead to the absolute shut-down of the border.  The Zetas don’t want that because it would kill-off a huge distribution channel.  Keeping U.S. officials off of their back means they can concentrate on killing members of rival cartels.

What’s in it for Jeff [Schwilk, the Minuteman cited as the original source at Digger’s Realm -Phineas]?  Well, sudden recognition, media attention, perhaps interviews or a book deal.. maybe just some ego petting – unfortunately at the expense of America-loving Conservatives that might rush off to help defend our borders.

There is another portion of the population that would love to see this circus get out-of-hand – progressives.  They would love nothing more than to use someone like Schwilk as a broad brush with which to paint all pro-immigration enforcement Conservatives.  We should and will defend America if she truly comes under threat, but we can’t get taken down on a sham.

As I wrote yesterday, spreading unchecked rumors and relying on anonymous sources with no independent confirmation will only give the pro-illegal immigration crowd a large stick with which to beat border-security advocates and conservatives, in general. The situation there is bad enough without propagating falsehoods. If you are helping to spread this fairy tale, knock it off. Don’t just read and link or tweet about it: think about sources, follow the links back.

Read critically.

And, for Heaven’s sake, stop acting as if the sky is falling.

RELATED: A Fox video has been a source of confusion, as some people think it means Laredo, Texas, is under a lockdown. But watch the video: the city where Americans have been warned to stay indoors is Nuevo Laredo, across the border in Mexico.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oligarchs: they’re not just in California

July 12, 2010

Texas has a few of them, too, as “Representative” Ciro Rodriguez (D) takes umbrage when an uppity peon a concerned voter calls him on his lies about ObamaCare:

Ciro’s anger and bluster, folks, hides a more basic emotion: fear, bordering on panic. He knows the rubes have stopped buying what he and his buddies in the oligarchy are shoveling; you can see it in his frustration when faced with facts. And he knows November is going to be bad for the party that shoved this nonsense down our throats.

Very bad, indeed.

(via Moe Lane)

LINKS: More at Hot Air, Big Government, and Sister Toldjah.

RELATED: California’s oligarchs.