CNN LOU DOBBS: Border BetrayalWed Jan 17, 2007 20:45
Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, Brian Bilbray and Ted Poe are outraged over the President's failure to grant a pardon to the two border patrol agents headed to prison today for protecting America's broken borders. They join us.
Then, a new poll gives a boost to likely presidential candidate Rep. Duncan Hunter. He joins us to discuss what he thinks is most important for America.
Then, former White House political director Ed Rollins, Democratic National Committee member Robert Zimmerman and New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis give us a progress report on the Democratic Congress' first 100 hours.
AUDIO: (APROX 40 MINUTES)
To support border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, contact the White House at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-456-1111. You can also send an e-mail to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:email@example.com or call 202-514-2001.
"So Long, Texas -- Hello, Mexico!"
I think this is a very humorous and certainly revealing look at the illegal immigration and border security crisis in this country through the music of Johnny Tex and the Texicans.
• Listen: "So Long, Texas -- Hello, Mexico!"
Dobbs: Federal wrongs and states' rights
POSTED: 8:23 a.m. EST, January 17, 2007
By Lou Dobbs
Editor's note: Lou Dobbs' commentary appears every Wednesday on CNN.com.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The new Democratic Congress is making progress in its beat-the-clock-style "first 100 legislative hours" agenda.
The House of Representatives has passed bills raising the minimum wage to a livable level, enacting recommendations from the 9/11 commission and allowing the government to negotiate with manufacturers for lower prescription drug prices.
This Congress has made a laudatory beginning, but it is only a beginning. It is far too early to suggest, let alone conclude, that this House and Senate will be any more representative of the will of the people than the previous. I remain hopeful, but skeptical.
I'm skeptical, in part, because of experience and in part because members of the House, so far, are simply catching up with their fellow citizens.
In raising the minimum wage, the House passed legislation over the objection of two mighty bastions of corporatism: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. But while overcoming the conservatism of those two social and intellectual drag anchors, the House merely followed the lead of 28 states and the District of Columbia, which have already raised their minimum wage levels.
James Madison and our Founding Fathers would be proud that our republic remains, at least in part, functional and still capable of being public-spirited. Whereas states' rights have at times in our history been the refuge of those committed to the status quo, and at times used to retrograde impulses, the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which insures states' rights, now appears to be our brightest hope for an enduring republic.
While the U.S. Congress raised its pay eight times over the past decade, it refused to raise the minimum wage above the current $5.15-an-hour level since 1997. During that time nearly three-fifths of our states acted on behalf of working men and women at the lowest wage scales. Ten of those states even tied future increases in the minimum wage to inflation, exhibiting both foresight and a commitment to working Americans that I hope will be emulated by this Congress and this president.
As more companies drop their employee health-care coverage, the number of Americans without health insurance rises each year. Now nearly 47 million Americans -- including 8 million children -- have no health insurance, and the only action to deal with this crisis has originated with state governments.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney last summer advanced the healthcare debate when he rolled out a proposal to bring mandatory coverage to everyone in his state. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last week announced a universal health-care plan for his state, which would join Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont in passing such universal coverage laws. Fifteen other states and the District of Columbia are all considering similar proposals, despite the costs associated with the plans.
It's not enough that the United States possesses the best medical care in the world if all our citizens cannot have access to that care.
Even the House passage last week of a plan for lower prescription drug prices does not overcome the overwhelming influence of lobbyists and the political power of the health-care industry. Drug companies, in fact, spent more on lobbying than any other industry between 1998 and 2005: about $900 million, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. In this particular case, the pharmaceutical industry threatened to stall any larger change to the prescription drug plan. House Democrats produced a more modest reform because the drug lobby wields tremendous power over both political parties, and both this Congress and this president.
The post-100 hours legislative priority will be an issue that the Democratic leadership and President Bush agree on: amnesty for illegal aliens and their illegal employers. While the executive branch continues to refuse to enforce U.S. immigration laws and to secure our borders and our ports, and the legislative branch resists the will of the people and defers to the corporate interests that all but own both political parties, our local and state governments have taken action.
Both New Mexico and Arizona have declared states of emergency because their borders with Mexico are being overrun by illegal immigration, and voters of Arizona have passed five state initiatives to curtail illegal immigration. Five states -- Florida, Alabama, California, North Carolina and Arizona -- have entered into agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to train and deputize local authorities to arrest illegal aliens. In Colorado a new law requires contractors to certify they do not employ illegal aliens or face stiff fines. In Georgia businesses can no longer claim wages of illegal aliens as a business expense. These represent just an incredibly small sliver of laws and measures passed in response to the federal government's inaction to a crisis.
Even some local governments finally have decided that enough is enough. Citizens in places like Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Avon Park, Florida, Escondido, California, and Farmers Branch, Texas, have all passed local ordinances that would punish landlords and businesses that rent to or employ illegal immigrants.
We can only hope the federal government follows the lead of our state and city governments and finally takes action to secure our borders and ports and enforce our immigration laws.
The genius of our founding fathers is always clearest when this nation faces a crisis. It appears that the often unappreciated 10th Amendment in our Bill of Rights will play a considerable role in our nation's salvation.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.
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John Stewart & Stephen Colbert "The Surge" 10:17
John Stewart & Stephen Colbert explains "The Surge"
They provide some of the most sobering and accurate analysis of the insanity that is Washington politics. For instance, no other news programs points out how, despite the Bush administrat
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