Friend of Enlightenment Values Christopher Hitchens Is Dead at 62

I was sorry to learn of the death of Christopher Hitchens, the brilliant author, enthusiastic drinker and a fierce defender of free speech.

His finest hour, in my opinion, was his response to the Danish cartoon dust-up, in which Muslims insisted that their religious prohibition against images of Mohammed should supercede the West’s principle of free speech. Hitch used his powerful voice in defense of the First Amendment to demolish ridiculous arguments about sensitivity and “Islamophobia”, as in the CNN appearance below.

Not only did Hitchens speak out in the media about the cartoons, he organized support for free speech (Stand up for Denmark!, Slate, Feb 21, 2006) including a pro-freedom rally at the Danish Embassy in Washington DC. (Some friends of the First Amendment in San Francisco were inspired to hold a similar demonstration, on March 10, 2006, which I attended.)

Hitch was a passionate atheist (effectively bashing the unduly sacrosanct Mother Teresa in a book titled The Missionary Position), but that belief did not prevent him from seeing the special extremism ensconced in hostile Islam.

Here’s the AP report on Hitch’s life and death:

Christopher Hitchens, militant pundit, dies at 62, Associated Press, December 16, 2011

Cancer weakened but did not soften Christopher Hitchens. He did not repent or forgive or ask for pity. As if granted diplomatic immunity, his mind’s eye looked plainly upon the attack and counterattack of disease and treatments that robbed him of his hair, his stamina, his speaking voice and eventually his life.

“I love the imagery of struggle,” he wrote about his illness in an August 2010 essay in Vanity Fair. “I sometimes wish I were suffering in a good cause, or risking my life for the good of others, instead of just being a gravely endangered patient.”

Hitchens, a Washington, D.C.-based author, essayist and polemicist who waged verbal and occasional physical battle on behalf of causes left and right, died Thursday night at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston of pneumonia, a complication of his esophageal cancer, according to a statement from Vanity Fair magazine. He was 62.

“There will never be another like Christopher. A man of ferocious intellect, who was as vibrant on the page as he was at the bar,” said Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. “Those who read him felt they knew him, and those who knew him were profoundly fortunate souls.”

He had enjoyed his drink (enough to “to kill or stun the average mule”) and cigarettes, until he announced in June 2010 that he was being treated for cancer of the esophagus.

He was a most engaged, prolific and public intellectual who wrote numerous books, was a frequent television commentator and a contributor to Vanity Fair, Slate and other publications. He became a popular author in 2007 thanks to “God Is Not Great,” a manifesto for atheists.

“Christopher Hitchens was everything a great essayist should be: infuriating, brilliant, highly provocative and yet intensely serious,” said Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. “I worked as an intern for him years ago. My job was to fact check his articles. Since he had a photographic memory and an encyclopedic mind, it was the easiest job I’ve ever done.”

Long after his diagnosis, his columns and essays appeared regularly, savaging the royal family, reveling in the death of Osama bin Laden or pondering the letters of poet Philip Larkin. He was intolerant of nonsense, including about his own health. In a piece that appeared in the January 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, he dismissed the old saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

“So far, I have decided to take whatever my disease can throw at me, and to stay combative even while taking the measure of my inevitable decline. I repeat, this is no more than what a healthy person has to do in slower motion,” he wrote. “It is our common fate. In either case, though, one can dispense with facile maxims that don’t live up to their apparent billing.” Continue reading this article

Senator Schumer Proposes Irish Visas for Thousands

Devotees of excessive immigration are not dissuaded by a mere historic economic breakdown leading to the unemployment of 14 million plus Americans, with the ensuing home foreclosures, divorces, families living in cars and general human suffering. The Census informs us that one in two Americans are now poor or low income.

Today’s example of extreme immigration enthusiasm is Democrat Senator Charles Schumer, along with cronies Leahy and Durbin, who has brewed up a visa program that would admit 10,000 Irish workers annually.

Unemployment in Ireland is high — 14.5 percent as of November — so many Irish want to avail themselves of American jobs in what they regard as their spare country.

Americans should well ask why their own elected officials are working to import thousands of foreign excess workers to compete with them in a flooded job market.

The correct number of immigrants during a jobs depression is ZERO.

Senator Charles Schumer unveils new Irish visa bill, Irish Central, December 14, 2011

If passed as is, undocumented Irish already in the U.S. may be eligible to apply for the program

New York Senator Charles Schumer introduced an immigration bill to the Senate on Tuesday which will potentially permit 10,000 Irish citizens, per year, to live and work in the U.S. on a new E-3 non-immigrant visa.

Described by Schumer as a “common sense bill,” if it is passed as it is currently written, undocumented Irish already in the U.S. may be eligible to apply for the program.

Schumer and Democratic Senate colleagues Pat Leahy and Dick Durbin co-sponsored the legislation, which was unveiled to the Senate on Tuesday afternoon.  It was introduced as an amendment to the bill that passed the House last month which would allow for better access to employment and family-based visas for natives of Mexico, the Philippines, China and India.

“We are eager to work in a bi-partisan fashion to pass this bill at the earliest opportunity,” Schumer commented on Tuesday. Continue reading this article

Los Angeles Ends Vehicle Impounds for Illegal Aliens

When it come to priorities in today’s Mexifornia, public safety takes a distant second place (or less) compared with removing discomfort for lawbreaking illegal aliens. The latest example is the end to LA’s policy of impounding cars driven by unlicensed drivers.

Vehicles piloted by the unlicensed are dangerous objects, shown by a 2008 study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that found unlicensed drivers were involved in one in five fatal crashes.

The idea of equal justice for all under the law takes quite a battering also, as shown by the headline of the ultra-liberal Los Angeles Times (below), clearly revealing that a punishment was removed to suit foreign lawbreakers. More Americans will be endangered and possibly killed because of hispandering to illegal aliens.

Unsurprisingly, the city’s Mexican Mayor pushed for the rollback of law: L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa Vows to End 30-Day Impounds For Unlicensed Drivers (a.k.a. Illegal Immigrants) (LA Weekly blog, Nov. 21).

With illegal immigrants in mind, LAPD to change impound rules, Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2011

The change would let unlicensed drivers summon someone with a license, who would then be allowed to drive the car away. Chief Charlie Beck calls it a fairness issue. The police union opposes the plan.

Unlicensed drivers without prior convictions would be given the chance to avoid having their vehicles impounded under new rules outlined Tuesday by the Los Angeles Police Department.

The proposed changes to the impound procedures are a potentially explosive issue because LAPD Chief Charlie Beck designed the reforms to remedy what he believes is the unfair burden that impounds place on illegal immigrants. Since immigrants who are in the country illegally cannot get driver’s licenses in California and most other states, they make up the majority of the drivers who have their cars impounded for the infraction.

Beck contends that the hundreds of dollars in fees and fines that must be paid to retrieve an impounded car and the disruption to illegal immigrants’ often tenuous hold on jobs deal a disproportionate blow to people “who are a valuable asset to our community and who have very limited resources.”

In an interview Tuesday, Beck amplified his position: “It’s a fairness issue. There is a vast difference between someone driving without a license because they cannot legally be issued one and someone driving after having their license revoked.”

The city’s influential police union, which is leading the opposition to the plan, has criticized Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for trying what they see as an effort to score political points through reforms that the union warns could hurt public safety.

Under the current rules, L.A. police are instructed to impound cars driven by people who either do not have a license or who have had their license revoked or suspended, said Assistant Chief Michel Moore.

Under the new rules, police would let an unlicensed driver who has not been convicted previously of driving without a valid license summon someone with a license, who would then be allowed to drive the car away. Continue reading this article

Canada Bilingualism Discriminates against English Speakers

Bilingualism with a legal underpinning as it exists in Canada is a disastrous policy and America should avoid it at all costs. Unfortunately, we seem headed inexorably in that direction due to the Mexican invasion, er immigration. America does not have official bilingualism (where people have to speak both perfectly) although in some regions a de facto Spanish requirement exists. For example: Texas Woman Suffers Job Discrimination for Not Speaking Spanish.

In former Governor Richard Lamm’s ironic opinion piece, “I Have a Plan to Destroy America,” his first to-do item is to make the country bi-lingual and bicultural: “History shows, in my opinion, that no nation can survive the tension, conflict and antagonism of two competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; it is a curse for a society to be bilingual,” he observed.

The video below shows Sun TV host Michael Coren interviewing Jurgen Vollrath, an activist for English language rights in Canada, particularly problematic in places where very few Francophones reside. For example, if a French speaker demands service in French in an overwhelmingly English-speaking region, workers get fired if they cannot comply. A few demanding people, backed by government policy, can upset the lives of many, it seems. Language diversity is one of the worst situations ever.

Attorney General Eric Holder Will Oppose Voter Identification at Polls

AG Holder has announced he will take up arms against the dozen states which have instituted reforms tightening identification requirements for voting. (Apparently he has plenty of time NOT investigating the Fast & Furious gunwalking to Mexico scandal.)

The Obama administration shows increasing signs that the re-election playbook includes large doses of illegal alien voting. The DOJ move against safeguards preventing voter fraud is yet another indicator.

Photo identification for voting is now more necessary than ever in America due to increased immigration diversity. Legalized non-citizen voting is one strategy of the left, pushed in places like crazy-liberal San Francisco. One scheme they had in the city was proposing that illegal aliens could vote in school board elections — as if foreigners wouldn’t also vote in American elections once they were in the polling place. Fortunately the initiative failed to pass.

In the Chicago style of Democratic politics which spawned Barack Hussein Obama, deceased and non-existent voters are standard operating procedure. Modern voter fraud now encompasses illegal aliens to cover the popular diversity angle.

As November gets closer, I can imagine lots of hints on Spanish-language radio that Obama has kept his amnesty promise as much as was possible given the pesky Republicans blocking the big enchilada. The message in espanol may well be that Mexicans should therefore show their gratitude at the polls: Vote early, vote often! After all, ballots in many places are printed in Spanish. E-Z!

Perhaps the cartoonist below meant “Near-Future Democrat Voters.”

Incidentally, the Supreme Court decided in 2008 that a photo ID requirement for voters was entirely acceptable: High court upholds Indiana’s voter ID law (CNN).

Eric Holder wades into debate over voting rights as presidential election nears, Washington Post, December 12, 2011

The Obama administration on Tuesday will wade into the increasingly divisive national debate over new voting laws in several states that could depress turnout among minorities and others who helped elect the president in 2008.

A dozen states this year tightened rules requiring voters to present state-issued photo identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Although Democratic governors vetoed four of the measures, liberal and civil rights groups have been raising alarms about the remaining laws, calling them an “assault on democracy” and an attempt to depress minority voter turnout.

Supporters of the tighter laws say they are needed to combat voter fraud.

With the presidential campaign heating up, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will deliver a speech Tuesday expressing concerns about the voter-identification laws, along with a Texas redistricting plan before the Supreme Court that fails to take into account the state’s burgeoning Hispanic population, he said in an interview Monday. Continue reading this article

Immigration Author Brimelow Appears with Michael Coren on Canada’s Sun Network

Here’s Peter Brimelow, the author of Alien Nation, appearing on Canadian television discussing immigration, something you don’t see on American TV, even the so-called conservative one. Let’s hope there is more to come.

The Simpsons Show Imagines a Sharia-Friendly Future in Michigan

On Sunday, the Simpsons show had an episode portraying a wacky future in which Bart is a layabout bum, Lisa is married to Milhouse with a snotty teenaged daughter and Maggie is an international rock star. For a brief moment, there was an offhand reference to Michigan being a sharia state, with Milhouse in a burqa.

Naturally, the fifth columnists at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) jumped on the mention, trying to frame it to their advantage. A Twitter burp from CAIR proclaimed, ‪Video: Simpsons Episode Mocks Anti-Sharia Hysteria‬. That was hardly my impression, but check it out.

California Legislator Threatens Business for Free Speech

The Learning Channel (TLC) has been broadcasting a reality show called All-American Muslim that presents the Allah people as just like any other immigrants, with no reference to annoying terrorism, the 9/11 attacks or the Fort Hood massacre, to name a few Islamic behaviors.

Of course, not all Muslims are active blasters, but we don’t know how many would prefer a sharia America either. No pollster wants to ask, apparently. Forty percent of Muslims residing in Britain say they want sharia law in the UK, so it’s not unreasonable to assume a similar portion in this country.

Objections from traditional Americans about the show’s Islo-propaganda has caused a number of sponsors to pull their advertising.

But a California Democrat, Senator Ted Lieu, has threatened to pursue unspecified “legislative action” if one advertiser who pulled advertising — Lowe’s home improvement stores — doesn’t apologize to the sensitive Muslims and reinstate its ads.

As an immigrant, perhaps Sen. Lieu hasn’t yet heard of the First Amendment which protects free expression by both individuals and businesses. Whatever the reason, his authoritarian meddling is unwelcome and completely improper. Contact info for Lieu is here.

Below, the characters in TLC’s “All-American Muslim” are presented as bomb-free, diverse and wholesome.

Calif. senator threatens boycott over Lowe’s ads, Associated Press, December 11, 2011

A state senator from Southern California was considering calling for a boycott of Lowe’s stores after the home improvement chain pulled its advertising from a reality show about Muslim-Americans.

Calling the retail giant’s decision “un-American” and “naked religious bigotry,” Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, told The Associated Press on Sunday that he would also consider legislative action if Lowe’s doesn’t apologize to Muslims and reinstate its ads. The senator sent a letter outlining his complaints to Lowe’s Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Niblock.

The retail giant stopped advertising on TLC’s “All-American Muslim” after a group called the Florida Family Association complained the show was “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”

The program premiered last month and chronicles the lives of five families from Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim and Arab-American population.

“The show is about what it’s like to be a Muslim in America, and it touches on the discrimination they sometimes face. And that kind of discrimination is exactly what’s happening here with Lowe’s,” Lieu said. Continue reading this article

Seattle Terror Plotter Pleads Guilty

I have my Google News page set up with several topics of interest, mostly having to do with immigration, diversity and crime. One of the most revealing topics has been Muslim Terror Trial, which has a constant level of activity revealing how jihadists are busy bees trying to turn America to totalitarian sharia.

Like other immigrant crimes, most of the Islamic terror cases are reported locally only and don’t get national attention which would show the pattern of increasing incidence. As analyst Walid Phares noted last year, “According to open-source reports, between 2001 and 2008, U.S. agencies stopped one or two terror attempts a year. However, from 2009 until today, the government has been uncovering one or two cases a month, a troubling growth in jihadi activities.”

Interestingly this uptick corresponds with the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. Do our jihadist enemies believe Americans are weaklings ready to surrender to Islam, shown by their election of a man who is at the least a grandson of Muslims? (His grandmother went on the hajj a couple years ago and has wished her grandson would become a Muslim.)

The opinion of Muslims about Americans is far more important than whether Obama is a secret Muslim. (He’s not, in my opinion, although Obama has shown a undue friendliness toward Islam in comparison to his regard for western and Christian values.)

Anyway, here’s a terror trial update, this one from Seattle where some Muslim guys were inspired by Col. Hasan’s massacre at Fort Hood and thought they would blow up a recruiting station.

Seattle Terror Suspect Pleads Guilty, Fox Phoenix, December 8, 2011

One of the two men accused of attempting to blow up a military recruiting station in Seattle pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday.

Walli Mujahidh, 32, of Los Angeles, was indicted last July on charges that he planned to use assault rifles and grenades to attack the Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle.

Authorities allege that Mujahidh conspired with Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, 33, of Seattle, to kill US military recruits in a surprise attack aimed at inspiring other radical Muslims to carry out terror operations in the US.

Under a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to sentencing guidelines of 27 to 32 years in prison for Mujahidh. He is scheduled to be sentenced by US District Court Judge James L. Robart on April 16.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mujahidh admitted in court Thursday that he intended to carry out the plot and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder officers and agents of the United States, conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and unlawful possession of a firearm. Continue reading this article

North Carolina Considers Increased Immigration Enforcement

It’s reassuring that the heavy hand of the federal government against state immigration enforcement has not scared off everyone. North Carolina is moving in that direction, while being aware of the inevitable punishment down the road, as long as Obama is in charge with Eric Holder as his muscle.

Some NC counties were early adopters of the effective 287(g) program, one form of state-federal partnership, which is how the system should work.  The program has racked up impressive numbers, as noted by the Alamance County Sheriff in a recent committee meeting examining legislative proposals (Lawmakers weigh immigration changes, WRAL):

Alamance Sheriff Terry Johnson says his county’s participation in the federal 287(g) program has helped his deputies arrest and arrange for the deportation of nearly 1,800 illegal immigrants over the past five years. All had been charged with a criminal offense, brought to the detention center, and put into a federal fingerprint database to verify their actual identities.

That works out to 360 illegals annually, around one daily in one county alone. It sounds like a lot of crime prevention, from drunk-driving deaths to drug dealing and thefts. Plus it’s likely that word of the county’s tough enforcement got around, making it a less popular landing spot than sanctuary cities which have put out the welcome mat for illegal aliens.

Here’s more:

GOP aims to flex muscle over N.C. immigration law, News & Observer, December 8, 2011

Republicans now in charge of the state legislature are using their clout to push for new laws identifying illegal immigrants and limiting their use of public services.

That effort got its start Wednesday in the House Committee on the State’s Role in Immigration Policy, which drew a crowd representing both sides of the controversial issue. The committee can recommend legislation to be considered next year.

For years, a legislative contingent has focused on more laws limiting illegal immigrants’ access to public services – seeking to bar their admission to community colleges, for example – but they have had limited success.

Republicans won control of the legislature last year, giving their efforts new life. The wave of tough laws in other states such as Arizona and Alabama has given them another reason to act.

With other states tightening their laws, North Carolina could become a magnet for illegal immigrants, said Rep. Bert Jones, a Rockingham County Republican.

Arizona passed a law last year that made being an illegal immigrant and failure to carry immigration documents state crimes.

Alabama this year approved a sweeping law banning illegal immigrants from attending public colleges, prohibiting employers from hiring illegal immigrants, and voiding all contracts with illegal immigrants, among other provisions. Parts of the law are under court review.

No specific laws were mentioned at the committee meeting Wednesday, but the legislature has bills pending that would prohibit use of consular or other embassy documents as official identification, specify documents that must be shown to receive public benefits, and a put an identifying mark on the driver’s licenses of people living in the country temporarily.

A comprehensive Arizona-style immigration bill has been filed, but has not been considered by the House or Senate. Continue reading this article

House Payroll-tax Proposal Cuts Illegal Alien Windfall

Recent deal-making in DC includes an item that is long overdue — removing the tax credit that allows illegal aliens to claim cash benefits from their children.

The title of last July’s Treasury Department report tells all you need to know: “Individuals Who Are Not Authorized to Work in the United States Were Paid $4.2 Billion in Refundable Credits”.

Below, diverse moms celebrate their meal-ticket babies in a May Day parade.

Boehner Says He’s ‘Confident’ Payroll Tax Cut Can Pass House, Business Week, December 8, 2011

[. . .] Representative Elton Gallegly, a California Republican, said the package could win his support because of additional savings that would be found by cutting tax benefits, such as the child tax credit, for illegal immigrants who don’t pay taxes. That would provide about $10 billion in savings, Gallegly said.

“There are certain benefits that are going to people who have no legal right to be in the United States,” he said. “If we can’t cut giving benefits, I mean dollar benefits, actual dollar checks, to people who have no legal right to be in the United States, where in the hell can we cut?” [. . .]

Homeland Security Hearing Focuses on Military Infiltration by Hostile Islam

On December 7, New York Congressman Peter King held a fourth hearing investigating jihadist Islam, this one in partnership with the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Senator Joe Lieberman. The subject was the Islamo-infiltration of the US military.

Interestingly, the Senate committee has presented excellent hearings demonstrating the jihadist threat, including publishing a useful report A Ticking Time Bomb: Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government’s Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack. The Senate Homeland Security Committee has been at least as hard-hitting as its House counterpart, yet Republican Congressman King has received a barrage of criticism from the dinosaur media and jihadist apologists, but Senator Lieberman (a former Democrat, now an Independent), not so much.

See the opening statements from Rep. King and Senator Lieberman. The Senator made the point that “The only Americans who have lost their lives in terrorist attacks in our homeland since 9/11 have been killed at U.S. military facilities.”

The Obama administration continues to cower in political correctness by refusing to name the Islamic motivation. The President must still believe that his oratory can charm the Muslims out of 1400 years of using the sword to spread their violent religion.

It doesn’t help that Washington allows diverse Islamic immigration to continue in America, even though the European disaster should be a wake-up call.

Here’s Rep. King reflecting about the hearing’s subject in a Fox News interview:

The hearing can be watched on C-SPAN. Part 1:

Part 2 is here.

The administration characterizes the Fort Hood mass murders as “workplace violence” even though several witnesses report Col. Hasan screaming “Allahu ackbar” as he shot down soldiers. The excuse shows Obama’s disrespect for the military and his undue solicitude for Islam generally.

Below, the victims murdered by Col. Hasan in the 2009 Fort Hood mass murders.

Lawmakers Blast Administration For Calling Fort Hood Massacre ‘Workplace Violence’, Fox News, December 07, 2011

Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday blasted the Defense Department for classifying the Fort Hood massacre as workplace violence and suggested political correctness is being placed above the security of the nation’s Armed Forces at home.

During a joint session of the Senate and House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the Maine Republican referenced a letter from the Defense Department depicting the Fort Hood shootings as workplace violence. She criticized the Obama administration for failing to identify the threat as radical Islam.

“The documents attached illustrate how the Department is dealing with the threat of violent Islamist extremism in the context of a broader threat of workplace violence,” read the letter, which was obtained by Fox News.

Thirteen people were killed and dozens more wounded at Fort Hood in 2009, and the number of alleged plots targeting the military has grown significantly since then. Lawmakers said there have been 33 plots against the U.S. military since Sept. 11, 2001, and 70 percent of those threats have been since mid-2009. Major Nidal Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist, who is being held for the attacks, allegedly was inspired by radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in late September. The two men exchanged as many as 20 emails, according to U.S. officials, and Awlaki declared Hasan a hero.

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, said the military has become a “direct target of violent Islamist extremism” within the United States.

“The stark reality is that the American service member is increasingly in the terrorists’ scope and not just overseas in a traditional war setting,” Lieberman told Fox News before the start of Wednesday’s hearing.

In June, two men allegedly plotted to attack a Seattle, Wash., military installation using guns and grenades. In July, Army Pvt. Naser Abdo was accused of planning a second attack on Fort Hood. And in November, New York police arrested Jose Pimentel, who alleged sought to kill service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Both Pimentel and Abdo also allegedly drew inspiration from al-Awlaki and the online jihadist magazine Inspire, which includes a spread on how to “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”

Rep. Peter King of New York, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said military service members are “symbols of America’s power, symbols of America’s might.”

“And if they (military personnel) can be killed, then that is a great propaganda victory for al Qaeda,” King told Fox News.

King said there is also evidence that extremists have joined the services. Continue reading this article