Saturday, May 13, 2006

How about Reciprocity?

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ for one believes in reciprocity and experience with Mexico's policy in dealing with immigrants is definitely worthy of consideration.


From the other side of the fence.....This is from Tom O'Malley, who was a Director with SW BELL in Mexico City:

"I spent five years working in Mexico. I worked under a tourist Visa for three months and could legally renew it for three more months. Working after that, would be working illegally. I was technically illegal for three weeks, while waiting on the FM3 approval

During that six months, our Mexican and US attorneys were working to secure a permanent work visa called a FM3. It was in addition to my US passport, and I had to show it each time I entered and left the country. My wife, Barbara's, was the same except hers did not permit her to work.
To apply for the FM3 I needed to submit the following notarized
originals (not copies) of my:
1. Birth certificate for Barbara and me.
2. Marriage certificate.
3. High school transcripts and proof of graduation.
4. College transcripts for every college I attended and proof of graduation.
5. Two letters of recommendation from supervisors I had worked for at least one year.
6. A letter from The St. Louis Chief of Police indicatingthat I had no arrest record in the US and no outstanding warrants and was "a citizen in good standing."
7. Finally, I had to write a letter about myself that clearly stated why there was no Mexican Citizen with my skills and why my skills were important to Mexico. We called it our "I am the greatest person on Earth" letter. It was fun to write.

All of the above were in English that had to be translated into Spanish and be certified as legal translations and our signatures notarized. It produced a folder about 1.5 inches thick with English on the left side and Spanish on the right.

Once they were completed Barbara and I spent about five hours accompanied by a Mexican attorney. Touring Mexican Government office locations and being photographed and fingerprinted at least three times. At each location (we remember at least four locations) we were instructed on Mexican tax, labor, housing, and criminal law and that we were required to obey their laws or face the consequences. We could not protest any of the Government's actions or we would be committing a felony. We paid out $4,000 in fees and bribes to complete the process. When this was done, we could legally bring in our household goods that
were held by US customs in Laredo Texas. This meant that we had to rent furniture in Mexico while awaiting our goods. There were extensive fees involved here, which the company paid.

We could not buy a home; we were required to rent at very high rates and under contract and compliance with Mexican law.

We were required to get a Mexican drivers license. This was an amazing process. The company arranged for the licensing agency to come to our headquarters location with their photography and fingerprint equipment and the
laminating machine. We showed our US license, were photographed and fingerprinted again and issued the license instantly after paying out a $6.00 fee. We did not take a written or driving test and never received instructions on the rules of the road. Our only instruction was never give a policeman your license if stopped and asked. We were instructed to hold it against the inside window away from his grasp. If he got his hands on it you would have to pay ransom to get it back.

We then had to pay and file Mexican income tax annually using the number of our FM3 as our ID number. The company's Mexican accountants did this for us and we just signed what they prepared. It was about twenty legal size pages annually.
The FM 3 was good for three years and renewable for two more after paying more fees.

Leaving the country meant turning in the FM# and certifying that we were leaving no debts behind and no outstanding legal affairs (warrants, tickets or liens) before our household goods were released to customs.

It was a real adventure! If any of the US Senators or Congressman had to go through it once, they would have a different attitude toward Mexico.

The Mexican Government uses its vast military and police forces to keep its citizens intimidated and compliant. They never protest at their White house or government offices but do protest daily in front of the United States Embassy. The US embassy looks like a strongly reinforced fortress and during most protests the Mexican Military surround the block with their men standing shoulder to shoulder in full riot gear to protect the Embassy. These protests are never shown on US or Mexican TV. There is a large public park across the street where they do their protesting. Anything can cause a protest such as proposed law changes in California or Texas."

The last paragraph above is particularly worthy of consideration.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Neighborhood Watch a la Baghdad

Here is food for thought. When the anti Second Amendment crowd led by the Brady Bunch and Senators Feinstein and Schumer comes calling to register/license/seize your firearms you will be SOL. If you think it cannot happen here you haven't visited a typical urban area of Los Angeles or the "green triangle" of Humboldt county, California lately.

Ever since the upsurge of sectarian tit-for-tat killings began in February, with the destruction of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, many districts in Baghdad have turned to their "local guards," as they call them, for protection.
One can tell where the most frightened live, by the zigzag of obstacles -- palm trunks, old air conditioner units and unused cars -- placed at night to slow approaching vehicles.
Local gunmen take position on the streets and sometimes on the roofs of surrounding buildings.
In an attempt to differentiate the defenders from the aggressors, the U.S. Army in the most troubled spots has started to issue weapons licenses to people guarding their homes.
Few question the need for defensive measures. In a single day this week, at least 34 bodies have turned up across the city; in the previous three days, another 62.
Yet the confusion about who is behind the attacks means that everyone, even the police, is viewed with suspicion after dark.
Last month, a gunbattle raged for two days in the Adhamiya district, a Sunni area. Its neighborhood watch fought a pitched battle when police units entered after an insurgent attack was launched on a nearby Iraqi army checkpoint.
Word spread that they were members of the Badr Brigade, a Shi'ite militia that Sunnis blame for hundreds of kidnappings and killings.
Omar bin Abdulaziz Street, the thoroughfare that passes through the center of Adhamiya, was racked by gunfire from assault rifles, machine guns and the occasional rocket-propelled grenade as the police were caught in crossfire from surrounding buildings.
Loudspeakers in mosques blared slogans praising the "heroes of Adhamiya" and called on them to "defeat these aggressors."
Fighting stopped only when the U.S. Army moved in. For an area long considered a hotbed of rebellion, it is ironic that the presence of the Americans is now seen as a sign of protection from the terrors of sectarianism.
So widespread is the distrust of Iraq's security forces that the Defense Ministry has issued a statement telling people not to allow army or police to enter their homes at night unless they "are accompanied by coalition forces."


Monday, May 08, 2006

Define Demagogue

Pains at the Pump

In fact, the pump pain is so intense that Mr. Schumer held a press conference at a gas station recently. Talk about irony.
Don't collectivists like sky-high fuel prices?

"If $75 a barrel oil and a $3 average for a gallon of gasoline isn't a wake-up call, then what is?"--Senator Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), April 23, 2006

Yes, that's a fine question Senator Schumer asks. But a wake-up call for what, exactly? A wake-up call to produce more domestic oil? Allah forfend!

In fact, Mr. Schumer and most of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate--the very crowd shouting the loudest about "obscene" gas prices--have voted uniformly for nearly 20 years against allowing most domestic oil production. They have vetoed opening even a tiny portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas production. If there is as much oil as the U.S. Geological Survey estimates, this would increase America's proven domestic oil reserves by about 50%.

They have also voted against producing oil from the Outer Continental Shelf, where there are more supplies by some estimates than in Saudi Arabia. Environmental objections seem baseless given that even the high winds and waves of Hurricane Katrina didn't cause oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. In the 1970s the environmentalists and their followers in Congress even protested building the Alaska pipeline, which today supplies nearly one million barrels of oil a day. If they've discovered some new law of economics in which a fall in output with rising demand can cause a reduction in price, we'd love to hear it.

The dirty little secret about oil politics is that today's high gas price is precisely the policy result that Mr. Schumer and other collectivists have long desired. High prices have been the prod that the left has favored to persuade Americans to abandon their SUVs and minivans, use mass transit, turn the thermostat down, produce less consumer goods and services, and stop emitting those satanic greenhouse gases. "Why isn't the left dancing in the streets over $3 a gallon gas?" asks Sam Kazman, an analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who's followed the gasoline wars for years.

Scan the Web sites of the major environmental groups and you will find long tracts on the evils of fossil fuels and how wonderful it would be if only selfish Americans were more like the enlightened and eco-friendly Europeans. You will find plenty of articles with titles such as: "More Taxes Please: Why the Price of Gas Is too Low." Just last weekend Tia Nelson, the daughter of the founder of Earth Day, declared that even at $3 a gallon she wants gas prices to go higher i.e. (a tax on Mobility).

At least Ms. Nelson is honest about wanting European-level gas taxes. We doubt that many American voters would be as enthusiastic. If you think $3 a gallon is pinching your pocketbook, fill up in Paris or Amsterdam, where motorists have the high privilege of paying nearly $6 a gallon thanks to these nations' "progressive" energy policies.

However, you can be sure you won't hear that from Democrats or Northeastern Republicans on Capitol Hill--at least not in public. Far from it. They're suddenly all for cutting gasoline prices, just as long as that doesn't require producing a single additional barrel of oil. We haven't seen this much insincerity since the last Major League Baseball meeting on steroid abuse.

So how do the sages on Capitol Hill propose to reduce gas prices? They want to slap a profits tax on Big Oil™ because of alleged price gouging. Here we have another head-scratcher that seems to defy even junior-high-school economics. Usually when you tax something, like tobacco, you get less of it. But somehow a tax on oil will magically lead to more oil.

As a Harvard study has shown, when the U.S. imposed a windfall profits tax in 1980, prices rose to an inflation-adjusted range even higher than today, and domestic production fell. As for claims of "gouging," the price of gasoline at the pump in the U.S. has risen 25% less than the rise in the global price of crude oil since 2003, according to Wall Street economist Michael Darda.

We've also heard proposals to force the oil companies to cut the pay of their CEOs to $500,000. That's about what Kobe Bryant makes for a handful of basketball games, but even if the salaries were chopped to this level--and all of the savings passed on to consumers--the gas price would fall by at most one-tenth of a penny. In any case, CEO pay is an issue to be resolved by shareholders, not Congress.

Which brings us to the Bush Administration, which is bludgeoned daily by the likes of Mr. Schumer, whose real concern is exploiting an issue that might elect a Democratic Senate in November. Meanwhile, the White House refuses to attack the left's anti-consumer energy policies and has even capitulated on requiring a rise in auto fuel-efficiency standards. Mr. Bush could instead be talking about the national and economic security need for a pro-domestic-production energy policy--starting with drilling in Alaska. It's worth reminding the American public that in 1995 the Republican Congress passed an ANWR production bill, which Bill Clinton vetoed because he said it could be five to 10 years before the oil would be produced. We would have that oil today if Mr. Clinton had signed that bill.

Instead we have rising gas prices and record dependence on foreign oil. Is that enough to spur Congress to act on ANWR and deep-sea production? If not at $75 a barrel and $3 a gallon, Mr. Schumer, then when?

Copyright © 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

What Lies Ahead?

As a student of history and politics Leonidas has always asserted that WWII was fought by the U.S. for the wrong reasons. It took a surprise attack by a member of the Anticomintern pact for the necessary will to emerge to oppose the National Socialist hegemony in Europe that would have eventually threatened the very survival of our North American republic. With the failure of the European powers to nip German expansion in the bud upon the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936 encouraging the subsequent invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland the handwriting was on the wall. It would have been easy to deal with the threat in 1936 or 1937, but the will was lacking and the National Socialists were allowed to strengthen.
The lack of will in facing the threat of militant Islam in the late 20th and early 21st century is an eery parallel. The only western power showing a hint of understanding the seriousness of the peril posed by fundamentalist Islam is the U.S. and even it is rent by partisan politics and an incipient fifth column of neo Marxists whose major agenda item is sapping the capability to even recognize the existence of a threat other than the Capitalist system. Couple this with the obsession of the major minority party with the regaining of power at any cost including the erosion of patriotism and the future is looking increasingly bleak.

CIA agent Mary McCarthy betrays her country and what does the media do? It accuses President Bush of being a hypocrite. The reporting of the particularly slimy Geoff Elliot of The Australian neatly encapsulated the leftist media’s hypocrisy and contempt for national security (CIA fires analyst for leaks on jails, 24 April 2006). Their justification for this barefaced lying is the phoney Plame affair. What Elliot omitted — and the left will omit anything that contradicts its ideological template — is that we now know that Plame was not a covert agent. Moreover, Novak has publicly announced that Fitzgerald has known for years who revealed Plame’s identity. And that, Mr Elliot, is why this Democrat is trying to nail Libby on a perjury charge concerning a crime that was never committed.

So why hasn’t the oily Mr Elliott reported any of this? Is it because the leaker is a Democrat? While he is cooking up his alibi Elliott might also try to explain why Libby, who leaked nothing, should be mercilessly hounded by thuggish Dems and their media goon squads while the vile Mary McCarthy who did considerable damage to US intelligence is treated as a hero?

With the transmogrification of the traditional "conservative" political party into "Neo Marxism Lite", Leonidas is beginning to understand the quote that mortal men are allowed "threescore and 10 years in this world". Leonidas has recently arrived at that mile stone and will continue to keep his powder dry.