Thursday, June 27, 2013

What Part of Illegal Don't They Get?

What Part of Illegal Don’t They Get?
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 27, 2013

Here’s an obvious, yet little mentioned irony: we the people elect our fellow citizens to be lawmakers, yet once they reach the vaunted halls of Congress, they become lawbreakers.

This is not hyperbole. With the new illegal immigration amnesty bill passing the Senate, and 14 Republicans complicit in the law-breaking supported by the full force of the Democrats – they will send the bill that will grant a path to citizenship to roughly 20 million illegals who have invaded our borders to the House. Don’t let the government lull you into a false sense of security by thinking the number of illegals is “only” 11 million.

Lest we forget the disaster that was the 1986 amnesty under former President Ronald Reagan, still one of my three political heroes, granting a “mere” three million illegal aliens rights and eventual citizenship. That never did stem the tide of illegals invading the United States, because a sieve-like border will remain as such until it is CLOSED.

Where are the priorities of the elected officials, elected to protect and defend the United States and its borders? The passage of another weak-kneed amnesty bill will further wreck the fabric of this nation, driving it further from the image portrayed and presented by the Founding Fathers.

The answer is that both major political parties are fecklessly in the pockets of either the Hispanics or the business lobby. For the most part, the GOP sees cheap labor while Democrats see upwards of 20 million additional voters joining their ranks, further indebting the United States as more and more indigents suck from the teat that is government. More people on Medicaid, paid for by the taxpayers; more people living in Section 8 housing, paid for by the taxpayers; more students crowding into the already failing public school system, paid for by the taxpayers; more people on welfare and food stamps, paid for by the taxpayers. With a $17 trillion dollar debt, the US citizenry can ill afford to legalize millions of more people to be on the dole and the precipice of poverty.

But who suffers most with the legalization of those who broke the law illegally entering the United States? Those already on the bottom rungs of the socio-economic ladder – historically blacks, American Indians, and Hispanics. Amazingly, these constituencies vote in lock-step for the Democrats without realizing if the Democrats get their way, these low-income workers will have to fight even harder for jobs, thus relegating them to the government plantation for yet another generation.

Instead of rewarding illegals with entitlements, stop cutting veterans’ benefits. Give those men and women their due – they gave their all and then some to defend our rights and freedoms. They deserve more than they already get in terms of respect for their government, their Commander in Chief and less hassle getting the medical aid they need for physical and mental ailments as well as the ability to pay in-state tuition in any state they wish for serving all citizens in all 50 states.

I subscribe to the Tom Tancredo philosophy on illegal immigration – deportation. Simple concept, virtually impossible to enact and enforce, which I recognize. (Tancredo, a Colorado Republican, served honorably in Congress, prior to running for and being defeated for governor of the Centennial State. He entered several primaries for president in 2008.) Barring that, a plan for self-deportation must be put in place. Deny all illegal invaders ANY government entitlement and/or benefit. Just shut them down. Unless they can prove they are here in the United States legally, they get nothing. If they get nothing, they will either leave, or worse yet, turn to crime to survive. Many illegals have already turned to crime – beyond the act of illegally crossing the border – and still have the privilege of remaining in this country.

For those who will label me a racist for wanting to deport or deny, I don’t care. I don’t care because I am not a racist for wanting the rule of law to be followed and enforced. Police and ICE agents around the country are being ordered to look the other way, and that is wrong and criminal. I also don’t care, because I did not ask those here illegally to come here in the first place.

Yes, many people come here because of repressive regimes in their homelands – so did the Pilgrims. But there are laws in this country, and they must be followed. Yes, the children of those illegal aliens did not choose to come here, and we are a nation with a heart; sometimes too big of a heart for our own good, and this is one of those times.

But the time to shut off the spigot is now. The time to enforce the laws is now. The time to seal the borders is now. Build the fence – now, high, and far, and yes, even electric. There are severe penalties for those who are caught sneaking into other countries – even Mexico, which has a southern border sealed like a drum – as it should be – in all countries.

Once the border fences are built, and the borders are genuinely secured, only then should applications for legal immigration be accepted – including from those here illegally. Those here illegally would need to self-deport to their country of origin, apply with the caveat of admitting their illegal status with fines and penalties and under the provision they may never earn citizenship or voting rights, but instead a legal status to permit them to work and pay taxes as new legal residents. They will also be denied entitlements as part of their penalty.

Any illegal alien caught after that time will be automatically photographed, fingerprinted, put in a database, and deported with no future allowance of reentry in the United States.

No student visas will be granted to anyone from a country voting against the United States more than 50 percent of the time in the United Nations. Any student granted the privilege of a student visa will be photographed (already required) and fingerprinted so they can be tracked as they are guests in this country. Overstay your guest privileges and deportation with no change of return will be imposed. Any questions? See September 11, 2001.

Students already here illegally, whether by their own volition or their parents’ illegal actions, should never be allowed to pay in-state tuition, nor qualify for scholarship funds. The DREAM Act is a nightmare that will cost the taxpaying citizens more money they should not have to pay.

No application for immigration will be granted to anyone from a country voting against the United States more than 50 percent of the time in the United Nations. Clearly these are countries not supportive of the United States and their citizens should be denied privileges in this country. No law says the US must grant entrance to anyone, let alone someone from an unfriendly country. Any questions? See September 11, 2001.

Any immigration application accepted will be done so on a probationary basis of three to five years. Commit a crime, go to jail, and then go back to your country of origin with no chance of return. Immigration to the United States is a privilege, not a right.

During the height of the eastern and southern European immigration to the United States from the 1880s to 1920, immigrants were expected to have sponsors, promise of employment, and be cleared upon entry with a clean bill of health. There is no reason why those rules can’t once again be imposed.

In those days, new immigrants worked because there was no promise of welfare, food stamps or government assistance. If they needed help, they procured it from family, friends, or faith-based organizations such as a church or synagogue. New immigrants took pride in learning English and turning the United States into a melting pot.

Today it is just the opposite. There is no melting pot, not demands to have jobs, learn English, or not turn to government assistance. Today, the United States is becoming more and more balkanized with ethnic groups clinging to their home countries and attempting to turn their neighborhoods into modern day shtetls.

That is simply unacceptable. Come to the United States legally and with the promise of making this country a better place. If not, do not come to the United States to turn this country into the cesspools you abandoned without attempting to make them better places. If you come to the United States and burn our flag and salute that of another nation, you are in the wrong country.

Not only is this bill irresponsible, but to suggest that a 1,190-page behemoth, laden with more lard than a pig farm, be read in 72 hours by the members, is also irresponsible.

As for those members of Congress – both houses – heed these messages or you will find yourselves out of jobs – Democrat and Republican alike.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Snowden: Hero or Villain?

Snowden: Hero or Villain?
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 24, 2013

I’ve been wrestling with the issue of whether Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) information leaker, is a hero or a zero; a patriot or a traitor.

As more and more information comes to the forefront the challenge to define becomes no less murky. But, as we are judged by the company we keep, Snowden’s behavior itself has tipped the scales for me.

I am Constitutional Conservative (using capital “Cs” as it may one day become a political party replacing the floundering GOP). As such, I am critical of government, all three branches and both major parties, for its constant violation of the document that is the glue holding together the republic.

Thus the challenge in assessing the actions of Snowden, 29, charged with violation of the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking material pertaining to NSA surveillance activities, a charge which carries a maximum of a 10-year prison term. Additionally, Snowden, who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, a Virginia-based government contractor, has been charged with the theft and conversion of government property.

Upon leaking the classified information, including how the US government conducts surveillance of potential terrorists, which also includes monitoring of American citizens’ phone conversations and e-mail correspondence, a firestorm of debate ensued.

Is Snowden a hero for unearthing material illustrating Americans are the victims of government surveillance? Or is Snowden a traitor for providing the enemies of the United States knowledge that they are under government surveillance and giving them the opportunity to change their communication methods?

Clearly there is a Fourth Amendment issue at work here.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” (US Constitution, Amendment IV)

“Houses, papers, and effects…” could include telephones, which are presumably inside one’s home, could include e-mail, which without the advanced technology of computers would probably be written correspondence, thus making phone and e-mail protected from a warrantless search as the Founding Fathers could in no way predicted such technological advancements.

On the other hand, a strict Constitutionalist might suggest, since phone and e-mail are not included in the “houses, papers, and effects…” portion of the Fourth Amendment, they are not protected from a warrantless search, thus giving government free reign to listen to phone conversations and read e-mails.

However, the caveat of “probable cause,” gives government a grand amount of leeway to conduct such searches of phone records, e-mails, as well as the ability to listen to conversations of people deemed a national security risk, also a term that can be loosely defined to fit virtually any instance.

For years, thousands upon thousands, if not millions upon millions of people have had phone conversations monitored, and more recently e-mails, under the scope of national security much to our own ignorance.

I must add that as a journalist, not just an opinion writer, I am always an American first and a journalist second when it comes to the dissemination of secure data. We the people really don’t need to know everything coming out of Washington or our various state capitals. Let the behind the scenes work of how we the people are protected remain there for our perpetual safety.

Without our national security, without the ability to conduct surveillance of our enemies in an unfettered manner, we have no hope of freedom. My ability to be free does not hinge upon whether the government listens to my conversation with a friend about the latest Mets game or about for whom I will vote in the next election. In fact, the First Amendment gives us the right to say what is on our minds, save for the incitement of violence, which, one may assume includes the overthrow of the country and government.

If Edward Snowden believed what he did was right, moral, and righteous, he would not have fled to Hong Kong, a territory of China – not exactly a friend of the United States. He knew he was revealing more than just information about government surveillance of citizens’ phone conversations and e-mails. Snowden leaked vital information pertaining to the thwarting of up to 50 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Snowden, who said he would not voluntarily return to the United States, clearly fears what he did was inconsistent, if not treasonous, within the framework of giving aid and comfort to the enemy  by revealing government tactics in the surveillance of enemies foreign and domestic. Instead, he tucked his tail between his legs and slithered away like the coward he is. His flight is tantamount to an admission of guilt.

As for asylum being sought elsewhere, be it Russia, Cuba, Ecuador, or anywhere else, the government of the United States had better make it clear, that to not extradite Snowden, is akin to harboring a fugitive from American justice and action must be taken. If financial aid is provided to the country granting Snowden safe harbor, it should be denied.

And as mentioned above, Snowden can be judged by the company he keeps – the Chinese, the Russians, possibly the Cubans, possibly the Ecuadorians – all nations at odds with the United States. Additionally, Snowden has received a pledge of assistance from Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group also charged with acting contrary to the best interest of the United States.

Even Snowden’s father, Lonnie Snowden, who served his country for 30 years in the US Coast Guard, wants his son to return home and not reveal any more damaging information. “I hope, I pray, and I ask that you will not release any secrets that could constitute treason,” said Lonnie Snowden in an interview airing on Fox News, June 18.

Additionally, Assange’s attorney admitted Snowden’s options were limited. “You have to have a country that’s going to stand up to the United States. You’re not talking about a huge range of countries here,” said Michael Ratner. (Philip Elliott, Associated Press)

Snowden himself is merely a symptom to a greater concern – how many people should have security clearances in the first place? How many people should have access to the top echelon data? Snowden already admitted releasing information to people not qualified to have it in the first place – seems an act going against the better interest of the United States.

Were Snowden genuinely concerned about American citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights, he could have spoken privately to the appropriate government agencies to demonstrate how easy it was for him to access the material he came to possess without leaking secrets damaging the manner in which the NSA conducts its covert affairs.

Snowden “attempted to make a political point by leaking several documents that have seriously harmed America’s ability to identify and respond to terrorist threats,” wrote US Senator Dan Coats (R-IN), in The Indianapolis Star (June 19, 2013).

Coats asked NSA Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander what the consequences of Snowden’s leak are during a Senate hearing. “If we tell terrorists every way we track them, they will get through, and people will die,” said Alexander. (Indy Star)

Coats further defended the NSA by reminding the people how after September 11, 2001 there were demands to “connect the dots” in an effort to thwart terrorist plots. And while the government does not have the unilateral authority to eavesdrop on citizens’ phone calls or read their e-mails, foreigners have no expectation of such protection.

Coats correctly called Snowden a “grandstander” who clearly does not have the best interest of the United States at heart. Like the notion of not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, the US needs to tighten the reins on who has clearance while strengthening the ability to prevent future terrorist acts.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sentencing Laws Still Lacking

Sentencing Laws Still Lacking
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 23, 2013

For Shamus Patton freedom after three years of an eight year sentence is as criminal as he is. To serve less than 40 percent of a prison term is more than “disturbing” as indicated by the June 21, page one headline, “Felon’s Case ‘Disturbing’” (The Indianapolis Star).

The new law passed during the past legislative session is marginally better, but still miles from where it ought to be. The General Assembly enacted a law requiring convicts to serve a minimum of 75 percent of their sentence, even with good behavior and completion of certain programs.

Patton was sentenced to eight years for shooting nine people at the Indiana Black Expo in 2010. Fast forward three years, and Patton is on the streets having a reduced sentence for good behavior and competing an educational program. Apparently Patton learned nothing, arrested for resisting police, while in the company of three other convicts and firearms.

So many aspects of the Patton case and new law are pathetically wrong, endangering the community at-large, from a lack of communication between prison and local authorities, to the dumb luck that Patton should return to his miscreant cohorts for additional illicit activity – evidencing his need to remain behind bars.

The focus must be on sentencing laws. Patton is merely a symptom of the need to tighten them. An eight year sentence should be just that – eight years behind bars. With good behavior and completion of certain programs, a prisoner could be released in eight years. With bad behavior and non-compliance, the sentence should be increased.

“I think serving 75 percent of a sentence, rather than just 50 percent should still be enough of an incentive for prisoners to follow the rules,” said Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington).

Pierce and others supporting this bill, now law, don’t understand – this is not about the incentives for convicts to behave behind bars, but the enforcement of a sentence handed down by a judge and jury. It should start with 100 percent and the incentive for prisoners to follow the rules is that every act of bad behavior or defiance is tacked on to the sentence on a 2:1 ratio – two additional days per incident.

Criminals should not be rewarded with early release. While they are entitled to justice under the law, it should not be by heaping insult to injury upon the victims.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Recalling D-Day Heroes and Reagan

Recalling D-Day Heroes and Reagan
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 6, 2013

Convergent forces saw the passing of former President Ronald Reagan, nine years ago yesterday (06/05/04), with the annual observance of D-Day, today 69 years removed from its June 6, 1944 landing on the shores of Normandy, France.

In his D-Day message, General Dwight Eisenhower said “We will accept nothing less than full victory.” Words of this strength have hardly been uttered during any war or conflict since, in which the United States has participated.

The landing at Omaha Beach and four other locales over a 50 mile span was the beginning of the end of the European segment of World War II. On this date 156,000-plus American, British, and Canadian troops hit hard the shores of those five beaches – initially suffering unprecedented casualties prior to wresting control from Nazi Germany.

Over 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft participated in the invasion where more than 4,000 Allied soldiers were killed and another 5,000 were wounded within the immediacy of the landings. This was a heavy price to pay, but was the turning point in defeating Hitler, Nazism, and Fascism.

“The free men of the world are marching together to victory,” Eisenhower continued in his D-Day message.

From the time of the D-Day landing through late August 1944, the Allied troops liberated northern France, including Paris. By May 1945, the Allies defeated Nazi Germany and the Axis powers of Europe.

Drafted into the Army shortly after the United States entered the war in December 1941, Reagan was not permitted to the front lines due to his near-sightedness. Instead, Reagan worked for the Motion Picture Army Unit producing training and propaganda films. For my impressions of Ronald Reagan:

“…let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty G-d upon this great and noble undertaking,” concluded General Eisenhower’s D-Day message.

Eisenhower understood then, what many have since forgotten: that short of a belief in G-d and striving for total victory, military conflicts are merely an exercise in futility costing the United States an unnecessary loss of blood, treasure, and human capital.

May we and future generations never forget the sacrifices made by the brave soldiers on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and may the losses of those who made the ultimate sacrifice not have been in vain.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nidal Hasan is a Terrorist

Nidal Hasan is a Terrorist
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 5, 2013

On May 22, British soldier Lee Rigby, 25, was beheaded in broad daylight in London by two radicalized British Muslims, one of whom shouted Allah akbar (G-d is great). Both murderers were shot by a British policewoman as their act was immediately called terrorism. Rigby is survived by his two-year-old son.

Three days later, French soldier Private Cedric Cordiez, also 25, was stabbed in the neck by a convert to Islam. The attacker was arrested, while Cordiez survived the assault – an act called terrorism, was treated and released.

Flashback to November 5, 2009 where at Fort Hood, TX, Army Major Nidal Hasan, while shouting “Allah akbar,” opened fire slaughtering 13 innocent people – colleagues – and wounding another 32 innocents. This unquestionable act of premeditated terror was labeled “workplace violence” by the Pentagon on the directive of a feckless Obama administration.

This is not new news that Hasan has been charged with workplace violence instead of the obvious charge of terrorism, which is exactly what Hasan committed. But on the eve of the advent of jury selection in Hasan’s trial, it bears noting that this case should be tried in a military tribunal as opposed to the civilian court where it will be heard.

This entire case stinks from the top down. During the three and a half years of incarceration, Hasan has been paid his salary in full – to the tune of $278,000, vastly unknown to the taxpaying public who has foot this unconscionable bill. But, as Hasan has yet to be tried or found guilty, he apparently is entitled to his compensation, although he did absolutely nothing to earn it.

An additional obscenity in the Hasan case is that he has been granted permission to defend himself, with the presence of backup attorneys should the need arise. The only plus here is that Hasan has been declared sane in order to defend himself, and guilty by reason of insanity is out as a defense. Clearly the old adage of “he who defends himself has a fool for a client,” applies here.

The flip side of this travesty is that the surviving wounded victims can be called to the stand to be questioned by Hasan and forced to relieve that horrific day one more time, as if they already don’t relive it every day.

Furthermore, while Hasan is collecting his full salary, the wounded have not had the same access to medical care or benefits had this rampage been declared terrorism, as it should have been declared. And because of the workplace violence label, the living wounded victims and the 13 who were murdered will be unable to receive the Purple Heart, either live or posthumously.

Shockingly, the Defense Department said there is not enough evidence to call Hasan's heinous actions terrorism, yet it was Hasan himself who said the shootings were to protect the Taliban. Apparently the DOD can't see the forest for the trees.

In being tried in a civilian court, Hasan will be granted a forum to pontificate in ways that are linked to his defense, which due to all the witnesses, should not amount to much, but the show must go on, as they say on Broadway.

Bright lights and big city or not, Hasan, 42, an Army psychiatrist, made his objections to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan well-known as well as his animus toward his comrades. For this, the trial should be an open and shut case with the penalty being either life in prison or the death penalty.

But the trial is merely a symptom of a bigger problem, that being the mollifying of radical Muslims who seem to get a pass at every turn and rights not afford other groups or protections not afforded other groups.

A couple examples of this include workers making demands of employers to not fulfill certain aspects of the job for which they were hired because they might violate their religious beliefs, and punishing people for potentially offending Muslims, when the same offenses of other religious groups are allowed to occur unpunished.

There is a double standard growing in the United States simply because there is an administration sympathetic to the cause of radical Islam. This administration turns a blind eye and a deaf ear in an effort to placate the Muslim community to which this administration seem beholden.

Well, blind eyes and deaf ears will not be found here and we will be paying attention to the Hasan trial with the hopes that 12 men and women will do their jobs, find this terrorist guilty of workplace violence and sentence him to death.

The Obama administration can call this workplace violence all day long, but at the end of that long day, we the people know the truth – Nidal Hasan is a terrorist.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Democrats Blame Victims of IRS

“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

Democrats Blame Victims of IRS
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 4, 2013

US Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) is shameless and feckless for the manner in which he denigrated witnesses who testified before the House Ways and Means Committee about the treatment they endured by a biased IRS.

Adding insult to injury, McDermott told those patriots brave enough to come forward that “each of your groups are highly political,” and that they basically deserved the treatment dealt them by the IRS in their quest to achieve 501(c)(4) status. Would McDermott and the other Democrats be that insensitive to blame rape victims for their horrifying ordeals?

McDermott went on to chastise those testifying on Monday, June 4, that they represent the “most controversial views,” including “opposing the president’s health care plan.” The cherry-picked organizations are conservative, anti-gay marriage, pro-life, pro-Israel, have TEA Party, patriot, or liberty in their names and have been targets of the IRS throughout the Obama administration.

McDermott dug himself in deeper when suggesting the conservative groups have nothing about which to complain as the head of the IRS was a George W. Bush appointee. “If you didn’t apply for this status, you wouldn’t have to answer questions,” chided McDermott, clearly never having read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People.

US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) took McDermott to task when he sarcastically said to the witnesses, “So you’re to blame…,” adding, “I guess that’s the message.”

One such witness to testify was Wetumpka, AL TEA Party president Becky Gerritson who fought tears in describing the harassing experience hers and other organizations faced in attempts to achieve tax exempt status. Targeted groups, if granted a tax-exempt status at all, waited an average of 635 days, while groups not discriminated against, such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, achieved their tax-exempt status in roughly 90 days.

“You have forgotten your place,” said Gerritson of the IRS and government in general. She continued to explain how they were singled out because they have TEA Party in their name. “This was not an accident, but an attempt to intimidate us,” said Gerritson, who told of how the IRS demanded names of donors, how much the donors contributed, names of volunteers, names of potential candidates, positions advocated by the group, copies of speeches, and biographical data on speakers.

None of those investigations are kosher. Those lines of questioning are “outside legitimate inquiry,” said American Center for Law and Justice attorney Jay Sekulow, defending 25 such victims of IRS bias, harassment, and intimidation.

Gerritson concluded her testimony telling the committee she is “terrified” the America she grew up in “is slipping away.”

The inquisition offered up by the IRS is designed to squelch dissent. The Constitution both encourages and protects dissent. When there is no dissent, government is unchecked and when government is unchecked, there is potential for tyranny.

We the people fund the government – it works for us, not the other way around. The government owes the people explanations for its unscrupulous actions, then punishments for its illegal acts.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.