Hiding the Cost of Amnesty

Hiding the Cost of Amnesty
By Robert Rector
Heritage Foundation | June 27, 2007

Last week, the White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a report entitled “Immigration’s Economic Impact” which defended the President’s promotion of the Senate’s “comprehensive” immigration legislation (S.1348).[1] On June 25, the White House issued a follow-up editorial elaborating on the points made in the CEA report.[2] These publications criticized Heritage Foundation research on the fiscal costs of low skill immigration and amnesty.


The Heritage research criticized by the White House made the following basic points about immigration and its costs:


  1. Individuals without a high school degree impose significant net costs (the extent to which benefits and services received exceed taxes paid) on taxpayers.
  2. The net fiscal cost of families of immigrants who lack a high school degree is not markedly different from the net fiscal cost of families of non-immigrants who lack a high school degree.
  3. Immigrants are disproportionately low skilled; one-third of all immigrants and 50 to 60 percent of illegal immigrants lack a high school degree.
  4. Unlike low and moderate skill immigrants, immigrants with a college education will pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits; therefore. immigration policy should increase the number of high skill immigrants entering the country and sharply decrease the number of low skill, fiscally dependent immigrants.[3]

Heritage research has shown that low skill immigrants (those without a high school degree) receive, on average, three dollars in government benefits and services for each dollar of taxes they pay. This imbalance imposes a net cost of $89 billion per year on U.S. taxpayers. Over a lifetime, the typical low skill immigrant household will cost taxpayers $1.2 million.[4]


Future taxpayer costs will be increased by policies which increase (1) the number of low skill immigrants entering the U.S., (2) the length of low skill immigrants’ stays in the U.S., or (3) low skill immigrants’ access to government benefits and services. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Senate immigration bill does:


  • The bill would triple the flow of low skill chain immigration into the U.S.
  • By granting amnesty to at least 12 million illegal immigrants, the bill would greatly lengthen their stay in the U.S., particularly during retirement years.
  • The bill would grant illegal immigrants access to Social Security and Medicare benefits and, over time, to more than 60 different federal welfare programs.
  • Although the bill does not currently permit Z visa holders to bring spouses and children in from abroad, this would likely be amended at some future point on humanitarian grounds, resulting in another 5 million predominantly low-skill immigrants entering the country.

Heritage research has concluded that the cost of amnesty alone will be $2.6 trillion once the amnesty recipients reach retirement age.


In an effort to defend the Senate bill, the White has contested these conclusions. As described below, many of the assertions made by the White House are inaccurate or misleading.


The White House claims that, under the Senate immigration bill, amnesty recipients would receive little or no welfare.

CEA Chairman Edward Lazear charged that the Heritage claims concerning the cost of the Senate immigration bill were flawed because, under the bill, amnesty recipients would be barred from receiving “the vast majority of welfare benefits.”[5] Like previous statements by White House spokesmen,[6] this assertion mischaracterizes the Senate bill and also shows a lack of understanding of the Heritage estimates of the bill’s costs.

While provisions of the Senate bill would delay illegal immigrants’ access to welfare for several years, over time, nearly all amnesty recipients would be offered legal permanent residence and access to more than 60 federal means-tested welfare programs. Specifically, Z visa holders would immediately be given Social Security numbers and would begin earning entitlement to Social Security and Medicare (which are not means-tested welfare programs). Some ten to thirteen years after enactment, amnesty recipients would begin to gain access to a wide variety of means-tested welfare programs, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, public housing, and Food Stamps.[7] Children born to illegal and legal immigrants in the U.S. have immediate, lifetime access to all welfare programs.

The initial limitation on the receipt of means-tested welfare will have only a small effect on governmental costs. Adult welfare comprises only a small part of the benefits received by immigrant families. Moreover, the average adult amnesty recipient can be expected to live more than 50 years after receiving his Z visa. While his eligibility for means-tested welfare would be constrained for the first 10 to 15 years, each amnesty recipient would be fully eligible for welfare during the last 30 to 40 years of his life. Use of welfare during these years will be heavy.


The White House claims that, to the extent that amnesty recipients receive welfare benefits, they would receive the same low levels of benefits as other poorly educated immigrants, who (in the White House’s view) receive little welfare.


The White House reassures taxpayers that amnesty recipients and millions of future low skill immigrants will not generate welfare costs because they must “qualify for…government [welfare] transfers only the old fashioned way.”[8] The implication is that those who must struggle to earn access to welfare “the old fashioned way” will, in the end, get very little welfare. Contrary to this claim, the average low skill immigrant family actually receives $10,500 per year in means-tested welfare, or about a half million dollars over the course of a lifetime. Amnesty recipients would indeed gain access to welfare “the old fashioned way,” and the old fashioned way is extraordinarily expensive.


The brief delay in adult access to welfare under S. 1348 and current law would have only a tiny effect on the long-term welfare costs of low skill immigrants. Further, the White House’s touting the delays on immigrants receiving welfare under existing law is hypocritical: The actual policy pursued by the White House up to this time has been to dismantle the barriers in current law and increase immigrant families’ access to welfare.


The White House strongly suggests that, under the Senate immigration bill, amnesty recipients would be net tax contributors.


Some 50 to 60 percent of illegal immigrants who would receive amnesty under S. 1348 lack a high school degree. Another 25 percent have only a high school degree. Based on the example of current immigrants with similar levels of education, these individuals would be a net burden on the taxpayer over the entire course of their lives.


The White House claims that amnesty recipients would increase the net government revenue available to support Americans in retirement.


The White House trumpets that “immigrants improve the solvency of our retirement system.”[9] One must assume that they believe that the same will be true of amnesty recipients, because otherwise the assertion would be irrelevant in the current debate. The White House does correctly point out that amnesty recipients would pay Social Security taxes during their working years. Amnesty recipients’ low skill levels, however, mean that the Social Security tax payments they make would, on average, be quite modest.


More important is the fact that, in future years, Social Security benefits will be funded by both Social Security taxes and general revenue. What matters is not the small amount of Social Security taxes that would be paid by amnesty recipients but their overall fiscal balance—that is, the total federal state and local benefits received, minus all taxes paid. Because the total benefits taken by amnesty recipients and their families would exceed the Social Security and other taxes that they would pay, amnesty recipients would undermine, rather than strengthen, financial support for U.S. retirees, even before the amnesty recipients reach retirement age themselves.


The White House suggests that the retirement costs of amnesty recipients would not impose a significant tax burden on U.S. taxpayers.

The Senate bill would give amnesty recipients access not only to means-tested welfare, but also to government retirement benefits. The Heritage Foundation has estimated that the net fiscal costs of amnesty recipients during retirement would be $2.6 trillion. These particular costs would begin to impact the taxpayer about 30 years after enactment of the Senate legislation. The White House has made no specific refutation of this estimate.

The bulk of the net expenditure would be in the Social Security and Medicare programs; substantial costs would also occur in the means-tested Medicaid program (amnesty recipients would be fully eligible for Medicaid benefits long before they reach retirement). Contrary to any suggestions made by the White House, temporary restrictions on access to means-tested welfare by amnesty recipients is irrelevant to the estimated $2.6 trillion cost of amnesty.


The White House does point out that amnesty recipients will have paid Social Security taxes prior to retirement and thereby might be seen as having “earned” all the government benefits they would receive.[10] But, as noted above, the Social Security taxes paid by amnesty recipients would be modest. Even during working years, most amnesty recipients would be a drain on the taxpayer, and during retirement their fiscal cost would be dramatic.


The White House claims that the Senate immigration bill would benefit U.S. taxpayers by increasing the future flow of high skill immigrants (who would be strong net tax contributors) and decreasing the flow of low skill immigrants who are more likely to be a fiscal burden.


The White House claims that the Senate immigration bill would “sharply improve” the fiscal contributions of immigrants by increasing the share of future immigrants who are high skilled.[11] It asserts, “[T]he bill will end chain migration which allows legal immigrants to bring extended family members to the U.S” and replace it with a “new merit-based system to select future immigrants based on [their]…skills and attributes.”[12]


In reality, the bill would triple the annual rate of family chain migration, raising the annual allotment for these immigrants from the current level of 147,000 to 440,000 and bringing up to 5.9 million such immigrants into the U.S. over the next decade. Family chain immigrants are predominately low skilled: 60 percent have only a high school degree or less and 38 percent lack a high school degree.[13]


What about the new merit-based system, ostensibly intended to bring in highly educated high tech workers? The core of this proposal is a point system to select future green card holders, but this point system is far from merit-based. For example, green card applicants would receive a high number of points if they are currently employed in “high demand” occupations, which include janitor, waitress, sales clerk, fast food worker, freight handler, laborer, grounds keeping worker, food preparation worker, maid, and house cleaner. Under the proposed point system, a high school dropout working in a fast food restaurant who has the recommendation of her employer would outscore an applicant with a Ph.D. trying to enter the country from abroad. The merit system is actually designed to confer citizenship on low skill “temporary guest workers” rather than bring in professionals from abroad.[14]


The bill would eliminate the current green card allocation for workers of “exceptional ability” but allocate 90,000 green cards per year for the next eight years to reduce the existing employment visa backlog of primarily low skill workers. Contrary to White House claims, it seems unlikely that S. 1348 would increase the number of green cards for high-skill workers, at least through the first eight years of operation.


The White House claims high school dropouts are a “very small part” of the immigrant population.


The Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers dismissed Heritage research on the negative fiscal impact of poorly educated immigrants as “relevant only to a very small part of the population” and therefore of little importance in assessing the Senate immigration bill.[15] In reality, a large and disproportionate share of current immigrants in the U.S. is poorly educated. One-third of all current immigrants lack a high school degree, compared to nine percent of native-born Americans. The families of immigrants without a high school degree now comprise 5 percent of the U.S. population. As noted, among the ten million adult illegal immigrants who would receive amnesty and citizenship under the Senate’s immigration bill, some 50 to 60 percent lack a high school degree and many have only a high school degree.


The White House asserts that low skill immigrant families impose a substantially lesser burden on taxpayers than do low skill non-immigrant families.


The White House asserts, “[L]ow-skill immigrants are actually comparatively self-sufficient compared to low skill native households.”[16] This assertion is false. Low skill immigrants and non-immigrants impose similar burdens on the taxpayer. Wages, tax payments, and receipt of welfare are quite similar for the two groups. Low skill non-immigrants differ from immigrants primarily because they are more likely to be elderly and therefore less likely to be employed.


The White House asserts that the children of low skill immigrants quickly become fiscal contributors (taxes paid exceed benefits and services received) and thereby compensate taxpayers for nearly all the fiscal losses generated by their parents.


The White House has suggested that while low skill immigrants may impose some initial taxpayer costs, these costs are “recovered quickly” by the net taxes paid by the immigrants’ children.[17] This is not true. Low skill immigrants impose very heavy costs on U.S. taxpayers. As noted, on average, each low skill immigrant household receives three dollars in benefits for each one dollar of taxes paid; over a lifetime, each household costs the taxpayer more than $1 million.


The children of low skill immigrants do better than their parents. With higher levels of education, they will receive fewer welfare benefits and pay more taxes. Nonetheless, despite this upward progress, the children of immigrant dropouts are likely to remain a net drain on the taxpayers.[18]


The White House asserts that the “children of immigrant parents are 12 percent more likely to obtain a college degree than other natives.”[19] It neglects to note that the relevant group, the children of low skill immigrant parents, have below-average educational attainment. For example, the children of Hispanic dropout parents are three times more likely to drop out of high school and 75 percent less likely to have a college degree than the general population.


With prevailing trends in upward mobility, the descendents of immigrant dropouts will not become net tax contributors until the third generation. This means that the net fiscal impact of low skill immigrants will remains negative for 50 to 60 years after the immigrants’ arrival in the U.S.


The White House obscures the cost of low skill immigrants.


The White House report asserted that Heritage Foundation research on low skill immigrants is flawed because it lacks a “forward looking projection.”[20] The Council of Economic Advisers stated that, from the ‘long-run point of view,” low skill immigrants are remarkably inexpensive: Each immigrant without a high school degree costs the taxpayer a mere $13,000 overall.[21] The CEA failed to note that its “long-run point of view” includes the estimated taxes paid by the low skill immigrants’ descendents for the next 300 years.[22] In other words, the White House is asserting that taxpayers should not be concerned about the $89 billion annual cost generated by low skill immigrants because that cost would be largely offset by the taxes paid by the immigrants’ descendents in the year 2407. In addition, the 300-year estimate cited by White House assumes very large tax increases and benefits reductions in the near future.




In its defense of the Senate immigration bill, the White House employs statistics about the fiscal contributions of college-educated immigrants, but the taxes paid by college-educated immigrants are almost completely irrelevant to a fiscal analysis of S. 1348. The main fiscal impact of S. 1348 will occur through two mechanisms: (1) the grant of amnesty, with accompanying access to Social Security, Medicare and welfare benefits, to 12 million illegal immigrants who are overwhelmingly low skilled; and (2) a dramatic increase in chain immigration, which will also be predominantly low skilled.


In this context, talking about the taxes paid by college-educated immigrants is a red herring and merely serves to obscure the obvious fiscal consequences of the legislation.


The bottom line is that high school dropouts are extremely expensive to U.S. taxpayers. It does not matter whether the dropout comes from Ohio, Tennessee, or Mexico. It does matter that the Senate immigration bill would increase the future flow of poorly educated immigrants into the U.S. and grant amnesty and access to government benefits to millions of poorly educated illegal aliens already here. Such legislation would inevitably impose huge costs on U.S. taxpayers.



[1] The President’s Council of Economic Advisers, “Immigration’s Economic Impact,” June 20, 2007.


[2] Karl Zinsmeister and Edward Lazear, “Lead Weight or Gold Mine: What are the True Costs of Immigration?” RealClearPolitics, June 25, 2007.


[3] Robert Rector and Christine Kim, “The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer,” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 14, May 21, 2007.


[4] Robert Rector, “Amnesty will Cost the U.S. Taxpayers at least $2.6 Trillion,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 1490, June 6, 2007, at www.heritage.org/Research/Immigration/wm1490.cfm.


[5] Lori Montgomery, “Immigration Lifts Wages, Report Says,” Washington Post, June 21, 2007, p. D3.


[6] “Response to False Claims That Illegal Immigrants Will Not Receive Welfare Under Senate Bill,” Robert E. Rector, Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 1509, June 18, 2007.


[7] Ibid.


[8] Zinsmeister and Lazear.

[9] Ibid.


[10] Ibid.


[11] Ibid.


[12] The White House, “Fact Sheet: Ending Chain Migration,” May 29, 2007, at www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/immigration/.


[13] Robert Rector, “Merit-based Immigration under S. 1348: Bringing in the High Tech Waitresses,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 1492, June 7, 2007.


[14] Tamar Jacoby, “‘Temporary is Temporary’ Won’t Work for All Immigrants,” Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2007, at www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-jacoby10may10,0,923297.story.


[15] Interview with Edward Lazear, “Washington Journal,” C-SPAN, June 21, 2007.


[16] Zinsmeister and Lazear.


[17] Montgomery, “Immigration Lifts Wages, Report Says.”


[18] This conclusion is based on forthcoming research by The Heritage Foundation that employs the fiscal methodology  of Rector and Kim, “The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer.”


[19] Zinsmeister and Lazear.


[20] The President’s Council of Economic Advisers, “Immigration’s Economic Impact,” p. 5


[21] Ibid.


[22] National Research Council, The New Americans: Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1997), pp. 334, 342.


Gasoline Shortages And Rationing Cause Riots In Iran

Gasoline Shortages And Rationing Cause Riots

In Iran

The issue is hugely sensitive in this oil-rich nation, where people are used to having cheap and plentiful gas. Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005 election based largely on his promises to improve the faltering economy. But his failure to do so has sparked widespread criticism.“This man, Ahmadinejad, has damaged all things. The timing of the rationing is just one case,” said Reza Khorrami, a 27-year-old teacher who was among those lining up at one Tehran gas station before midnight on Tuesday.

The problem is that Iran, while oil-rich, has low refining capacity. It relies on other countries for half of it’s gasoline….countries like the United States.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Two gas stations were torched early Wednesday in Tehran as angry Iranians protested fuel rationing measures suddenly enforced by the government, while many other Iranians lined up to fill their tanks.

(Read More)

Posted by Pat Dollard 19 Comments

ALERT!! Center for Vigilant Freedom Protect Liberty, Counter Sharia, Defeat Jihad


Center for Vigilant Freedom 

June 27, 2007

Protect Liberty, Counter Sharia, Defeat Jihad




Two urgent matters need your help. 


1. First, your phone call or fax to the White House first thing in the morning will help limit the damage from President Bush’s new “inclusive” approach to radical Islamists.  Bush is addressing the Washington Islamic Center today (Wednesday, June 27) in Washington DC at 11:30 a.m., and possibly starting a major initiative to INCLUDE Islamist groups like CAIR, the Muslim American Society and Muslim Student Association in an even closer relationship with the White House and executive agencies.  He will be speaking at the most important, Saudi-funded, extremist, Wahhabist mosque in the country.


It’s bad enough that he is helping celebrate the entry of Wahhabi extremism into the USA.  But if he must commemorate this mosque, let’s tell him what we think needs to be said – today and every day in the future… 


Please contact the White House – here are some talking points to put in your own words (posted also at Gates of Vienna blog):http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2007/06/sir-have-you-no-shame.html

We have also included a personal letter from Gates of Vienna to President Bush that speaks to the great dilemma we face with the White House outreach to Islamist groups who are not friends of America, appended to the end of this email and linked here:

An Open Letter to President George Bush: http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2007/06/open-letter-to-president-george-w-bush.html




From the Baron at Gates of Vienna:


“Bloggers: we need to blog on this, and have our readers light up the phones at the White House tonight and tomorrow.

Readers: see the contact info at the bottom of this post. The important phone numbers are 202-456-1414 (voice) and 202-456-2461

The Administration claims to want to shut down terrorist groups. The groups represented at the President’s speech include CAIR, MPAC, ISNA, etc., which are known cover groups and fronts for the architects and funding sources of the Muslim Brotherhood and related Islamic terror groups. The President must state his firm commitment to shutting down these terror groups.

The President must make the point that Islam as it is practiced by many of these groups is not a religion, but a political ideology which seeks to dominate the rest of us by force.

The groups invited to and/or sponsoring this event must disavow Hamas, Hizbullah, etc. specifically and by name and not just utter generalized mealy-mouthed condemnations of “all kinds of terrorism”. Those who will not join in such a denunciation are de facto apologists and supporters of the jihad groups.

The leaders of these groups have not addressed the criminal and immoral attacks on civilians by Islamic suicide bombers and terrorists. This must change. They must publicly and clearly denounce these attacks as unacceptable and un-Islamic.

Any effort to implement the above changes is routinely denounced as “racism” and “Islamophobia”. The President must make clear that opposing political Islam is not any of these things; it is an honorable, patriotic, and morally justified enterprise in defense of human liberty.
– – – – – – – – – –
These groups must be compelled to acknowledge that extremist and violent Islam is a real, widespread, and serious problem, and not just a figment of the “infidel” imagination. They must be seen publicly to join in the movement to denounce and resist it.

The Islamic groups which encourage their followers not to cooperate with the police, the FBI, and other law-enforcement agencies are not just being unhelpful, they are breaking the law.

The groups involved in this event have routinely denounced the “Zionist lobby”. It should be stated explicitly that this is an unacceptable attack on the pluralism of American society.

The focus on Israel as the putative cause of all Islamic violence must stop.

We call on President Bush to state publicly and forcefully that the Muslim Brotherhood, which is behind many of these “charities” and lobbying groups, is a dangerous, violent, and subversive entity which threatens the security of the United States and the entire Western world. It must be delegitimized and put beyond the pale of acceptable social action.

Contact info:

George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C. 20500

voice: 202-456-1414
fax: 202-456-2461
e-mail: president@whitehouse.gov



 2. Also tomorrow,Wedneday June 27, also at 11:30 a.m.,  the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs is holding the following hearing:

Title: Violent Islamist Extremism: The European Experience
Date: 6/27/07
Time (EST): 11:30 AM
Place: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Rm. 342
Panel 1

  Judge Jean-Louis Brugui&egravere , First Vice President , Investigating Magistrate, France
  Lidewijde Ongering , Deputy National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ministry of Justice , Netherlands
  Marc Sageman , M.D., Ph.D , Principal , Sageman Consulting, LLC
  The Honorable Lynn M. Martin, Farooq M. Kathwari , Co-Chairs , Task Force for Muslim American Civic and Political Engagement, Chicago Council on Global Affairs


The last 2 witnesses, Lynn Martin and Farooq Kathwari of the so-called Task Force for Muslim American Civic and Political Engagement, just presented a set of recommendations in a conference yesterday, June 26, recommending the inclusion in government of undicted conspirators to acts of terrorism such as CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America.


See the report created by an aggressive team of Islamist organizations, recommending bringing extremist Muslim groups into all sectors of government and national security to take over: http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/UserFiles/File/Task%20Force%20Reports/Strengthening%20America%20Report.pdf


The website summarizing yesterday’s conference is here: 



If your senator is  a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs (see member list below the questions), please direct him or her to ask the following questions of witnesses Martin and Kathwari…..and of course, please add your own!


1.  Most of the groups who  helped author the report, which recommended huge increases in grants and support for all Muslim organizations, are likely to also receive those future grants.  Why would the witnesses lend their reputations to such an obvious conflict of interest and violation of common sense ethics?  How much were the witnesses paid to produce the report, conduct the task force project or otherwise involve themselves in this project over 18 months?  Who paid them?  What were the sources of the money?


2.   Congressional investigations, executive agency reports and investigative journalists have repeatedly exposed the tens of millions of dollars going to Muslim American associations from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Islamic states to expand their lobbying and PR machines .  Can these witnesses cite instances where Christian, Jewish, Bahai or Hindu groups in these Islamic states have been permitted equal rights to lobby those governments, practice their religions, or in fact gathered in any religious expression without being jailed?  Have they personally ever asked for equal treatment of other religions in the countries which are sending tens of millions of dollars to American Muslim groups to ask for special accomodations in the US, superior to the rights of other religions?  

3. Have they now or in the past received any payments as agents of a foreign power to represent any of the Islamic countries sending tens of millions of dollars to the Islamist lobby ?  Have they or any group with which they are affiliated received any grants or contracts from a foreign power?  Are they registered as an agent of a foreign power?  If not, why not, if they are representing the interests of foreign powers such as Saudi clerics and the Muslim Brotherhood? 


4.   Their report includes task force members whose organizations, such as CAIR, are associated with terrorist groups such as Hamas .  Do the witnesses themselves specifically support Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Muslim Brotherhood?  Have they had any communications, or received any payments from Hamas, Hezbollah, or any groups in the US or elsewhere associated with the Muslim Brotherhood?   Do they anticipate, after publishing their report and testifying before this committee, to receive future payments from such organizations?  


5. The Task force members include members of two assocations – CAIR and ISNA – who are named as unindicted co-conspirators by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land investigation starting in Dallas Texas on July 16 (http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56009 ).  CAIR is a spinoff of the defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, launched by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and former university professor Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to provide services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Several CAIR staffers have been convicted on terrorism-related charges, and CAIR founder Omar Ahmad allegedly told a group of Muslims they are in America not to assimilate but to help assert Islam’s rule over the country.  Yet your report, in the section on national security, states “Public statements by senior officials acknowledging the significance of Muslim American contributions to national security and emphasizing the importance of not holding any group accountable for the actions of a few would help build public acceptance and understanding of the community.”  Is it your position that groups such as CAIR and ISNA should not be held accountable for their affiliation with terrorist groups such as Hamas and their refusal to disavow Hamas by name?



Democrat Republican
Joseph I. Lieberman Chairman (ID) (CT) Susan M. Collins Ranking Member (ME)
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Carl Levin (MI) Ted Stevens (AK)
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Daniel K. Akaka (HI) George V. Voinovich (OH)
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Thomas R. Carper (DE) Norm Coleman (MN)
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Mark L. Pryor (AR) Tom Coburn (OK)
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Mary L. Landrieu (LA) Pete V. Domenici (NM)
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Barack Obama (IL) John Warner (VA)
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Claire McCaskill (MO) John E. Sununu (NH)
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Jon Tester (MT)  



 For contact information for your senators, please go to http://www.congress.org, select Congress in the left column, and enter your zip code for complete telephone and fax information.



An Open Letter to President George W. Bush

by Dymphna

Gates of Vienna
Foothills of the Blue Ridge, VA

June 26, 2007

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

[Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461]

Dear Mr. President:

I write to you with great sadness, the kind of despair that descends on one after hopes have been dashed many times, after repeated betrayals by a leader who said what I wanted to hear, but whose actions have not lived up to his words.

You have a chance to redeem yourself with the many millions who voted for you. At 11:30 a.m., when you speak tomorrow at the Washington Islamic Center, you could put all of our hearts at ease if you change the direction and tenor of your communications to Muslims in this country.

Sir, you must stand up for our pluralist values. You must ask the Muslims you address tomorrow to disavow the Islamists who were responsible for September 11th. You must forcefully tell them to rein in their children in this country, twenty-five per cent of whom think suicide bombing attacks are a justifiable and honorable way to deal with the enemy.

You must name the enemy out loud to the Muslims you will be addressing. You must specifically condemn Hamas and Hezbollah by name. It is not sufficient or honorable for you, as the sitting President, to vaguely refer to “terrorists.” It is imperative that you say it: Islam as it is practiced by many of these groups is not a religion, but a political ideology which seeks to dominate the rest of us by force.

You must tell these Muslims – at least the ones who are American citizens – that it is wrong to refer to Israel or to American Jews as the “Zionist lobby.” You know very well there is a vocal Muslim lobby in this country. You must address them directly: if they do not refrain from anti-Semitic remarks, then you, as a Texan, will speak forthrightly about the powerful, well-funded Islamist lobby, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and its followers and fellow-travelers.

You must tell those in the audience at the Islamic Center – funded by the Wahhabist Saudis – that they are obliged to begin demonstrating American-style moderation, that they must cease their demands for special privilege and their claims that jihadism does not exist. You know their claims are lies, Mr. President, and you must tell them you know it. Otherwise you are merely another politician whose soul has a price – and you will be thusly judged by your fellow Americans and by history.

It is your job to give direction and leadership to all of us, including the Muslims who live here. Tomorrow you have a shining opportunity; I beg you not to tarnish it with weasel words and untruths. Your people have had all they can take, sir, and they need you.

You have sent men into battle to fight the enemies of America. Do not betray your soldiers by refusing to speak up in their behalf in front of this group. Their lives are in your hands; if you let them slip through your fingers for God-knows-what political reasons, then their blood is on you. After tomorrow, if you do not speak up, fewer parents will want to meet with you. What comfort could you offer them? Your tears are not enough.

Please prayerfully consider what you will say tomorrow at the Islamic Center. We will all be listening. We will all be waiting to hear you uphold the oath of office you took – twice – to protect us.

May God have mercy on all of us, but particularly on you. You asked for this job, you fought hard for it. Now go out tomorrow and perform it.

This is your last chance to regain my loyalty, and I am sure that is true for many others who voted for you. If you do not stand up for the liberty you were so willing to name, then we are lost to you and can only wait in silence for you to leave.

I await your speech.

Sincerely, your fellow citizen,




Contact Us:

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An honor worth defending

An honor worth defending

By Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Monday, June 25, 2007

Imagine if a crowd of Englishmen marched in London carrying effigies
of Muhammad, peace be upon him, stacks of the Koran, miniatures of
the Kaaba in Mecca and Saudi flags. Imagine if they then built a
bonfire and hurled the items one at a time into that fire screaming
“Long Live the Queen!” each time the flames shot up.

This would be the equivalent of what hardline Muslim students did in
the eastern Pakistani city of Multan, to take just one example, when
they burned effigies this week of Queen Elizabeth II and Salman
Rushdie, chanting “Kill him! Kill him!” in response to his recently
bestowed knighthood.

Such raging crowds, of course, rarely appear in the modern West
(unless as soccer hooligans). But they have become a common sight
across the Muslim world every time a pope, some cartoonist or, now,
the British queen, step over some line in the sand drawn by the
forces of intolerance.

An ever growing number of Muslims worldwide feel that they are
engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the West for power, for
territory, for limited resources and ideas.

As with all wars, symbols are important. But this is especially true
in the Muslim mind which is governed by a rigid code of honor and
shame. In this context symbols are not just images, but a matter of
life and death. He who stands by and watches as his symbols are
trashed has lost his honor.

The honor-and-shame code affects all Muslim societies from top to
bottom – family, tribe and the Umma, or the Muslim nation.
An insider
who breaches this code, which is Salman Rushdie’s great “crime,” must
be put to death. He shamed Muslims in two very serious ways: He left
Islam, and he insulted Islam’s infallible founder.

The queen, in this view, added insult to injury by honoring him – a
slap in the face of 1.5 billion Muslims. In the tribal mindset – and
Islam is a tribal religion and political movement combined – if one’s
icons are destroyed without consequence then one has essentially

Westerners have too often shrugged their shoulders at the trashing of
their icons – such as when the queen is burned in effigy – by the
foot soldiers of tribal barbarism. This perceived weakness makes the
foes of the West more ferocious and helps recruit more jihadists.
Instead the West should join together to vigoroulsy defend its
symbols and civilization that, with all its flaws, still offers the
best life to the most people.

Strident demands for apologies from power holders should be met with
stoicism. Not one inch should be given.

Governments like that of Pakistan, which encourage and even stoke the
flames, ought to be brought to account instead of coddled. The United
States and Britain ought to demand that Pakistan’s religious affairs
minister, Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, resign for saying, in the Pakistani
Parliament: “The West is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism.
If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so

unless the British government apologizes and withdraws the ‘sir’ title.”
With this episode involving Sir Salman, the Nigerian playwright Wole
Soyinka is absolutely right: It is a fatal mistake for the West to
let the forces of intolerance “define the territory of insult
.” The
West must stand its ground.

By knighting Salman Rushdie, the queen has honored the freedom of
conscience and creativity cherished in the West, making her a symbol
of the essence of our way of life.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali emigrant and former member of the Dutch
parliament, is an outspoken defender of women’s rights in Islamic
societies. Distributed by Tribune Media Services.

Where in the world is President Bush? Read this

Shamnesty on the Senate Floor Redux: Hutchison, Webb, Bond, Dodd amendments killed…Revealed: Enforcement funds could be used for shamnesty…DeMint, Sessions, Vitter, Cornyn shine light on Reid railroad attempts Update: John Ensign needs to hear from you

Bush condemns radical Muslims in visit to mosque — Like they listened!!!!!!

Bush condemns radical Muslims in visit to mosque

“It is these radicals who are Islam’s true enemy.” Fair enough. Certainly the jihadists have never hesitated to target Muslims whom they didn’t deem sufficiently Islamic. Just think for a moment, however, about what we do not see: we don’t see comprehensive programs in American mosques to teach against the jihad ideology and political Islam, and the virtues of the U.S. Constitution and the non-establishment clause. We don’t see any Islamic authority that has rejected not just the vague “terrorism,” but the specific supremacist agenda that has always been part of the jihad imperative. These things make it unlikely that the President will succeed in convincing large numbers of Muslims to turn against their “true enemy” with more than mere words, and vague, half-hearted words at that.

By James Gerstenzang for the Los Angeles Times (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):

WASHINGTON — Visiting an Islamic mosque on Washington’s Embassy Row, President Bush delivered a strongly worded denunciation today of Muslim radicals and said he would appoint for the first time a U.S. representative to a major international Islamic organization.Drawing a distinction between moderation in the practice of Islam and those seeking to use the faith for what he described as radical political ends, the president said “it is these radicals who are Islam’s true enemy.”


He cited U.S. support for Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina after the disintegration of Yugoslavia — a reference applauded by his audience — and said Americans offered such support out of “compassion, conviction and conscience.” It reflected the proper course of supporting moderation against extremism, he said.

In the Middle East, he said, “we have seen the rise of groups of extremists who seek to use religion as a path to power.”

It is the radicals, Bush said, who stage “spectacular attacks” against Muslim holy sites to divide Muslims and push them into fighting each other, conducting “acts of butchery … in the name of Allah.”

It is such extremism, the president said, that needs to be turned back “before it finds its path to power.”

Barack Denouces America for Jesus

Barack Denouces America for Jesus
By Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | June 27, 2007

Two hundred fifty years ago, Congregationalist pastor Jonathan Edwards, America’s premier theological mind of the 18th century, helped ignite the Great Awakening. That revival, winning thousands of converts, profoundly transformed America in the wake of the American Revolution.Rev. Edwards’ spiritual descendants founded the 1 million member United Church of Christ (UCC), though few share his faith. Today, UCC leftists are trying to kick off a new American revival, with help from Senator Barak Obama, PBS commentator Bill Moyers, Congressman Barney Frank, the Children’s Defense Fund’s Marian Wright Edelman, and recovering former Republican analyst Kevin Phillips.

“They say your church is dying, and lame, and limp,” Moyers told the UCC’s General Synod over the weekend. “But it is a small, committed community of people of conscience who can turn this country around.”

Forty years ago, the UCC was nearly twice its current size. But its preference for left-wing political action over spiritual renewal has helped make it one of America’s fastest imploding denominations.  Despite the bad news, the UCC threw a big birthday bash for itself in Hartford, Connecticut, to coincide with its usual governing convention.

What the UCC lacks in spiritual energy it hopes to compensate for in leftist political zest.

“There’s always been a strong public face to the United Church of Christ, and we’re reclaiming that,” UCC President John Thomas told Religion News Service.

Obama, who belongs to a UCC congregation in Chicago, commended his denomination for its long history of political “troublemaking” across two centuries, from the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights Movement.

“My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I go out and do the Lord’s work,” Obama told the enthusiastic crowd of up to 10,000 at the Hartford Civic Center. The “Lord’s work,” of course, is the agenda of the secular, political Left.  “We should close Guantanamo Bay and stop tolerating the torture of our enemies. Because it’s not who we are. It’s not consistent with our traditions of justice and fairness. And it offends our conscience,” Obama told applauding UCC’ers. He denounced the Iraq War as “not just a security problem [but] a moral problem.” He called for an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, an increased minimum wage, and for a universal health care bill.Obama implored: “God’s work must truly be our own.” He lamented that faith had been “hijacked” by religious conservatives who had “determined that [their] number one priority was tax cuts for the rich.” He could not imagine what Bible they were reading, but he was insistent: “Our problems are moral problems…there’s a spiritual dimension to everything we do. Our conscience cannot rest.” At least Obama was politically upbeat, at least compared to the doomsday prophet Bill Moyers, who left his native Southern Baptist church for the more politically conducive UCC. According to the UCC news service, Moyers’ speech was “inflamed with passion [and] anger,” with at least 36 interruptions of applause, followed by a two-minute standing ovation.  “I have come to say that America’s revolutionary heritage – and America’s revolutionary spirit – ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of justice, through government of, by, and for the people’ – is under siege,” he warned. “And if churches of conscience don’t take the lead in their rescue and revival, we can lose our democracy!”Moyers regretted that the original author of “life, liberty and the pursuit of justice” was a hypocrite who had had also “stroked the breasts and caressed the thighs of a slave woman named Sally Hennings. It is no secret.” Forget that Thomas Jefferson wrote of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness“; Moyers believes that where Jefferson failed in moral leadership, the UCC succeeded. “You have raised a prophetic voice against the militarism, materialism, and racism that chokes America’s arteries,” Moyers enthused. “It’s a mystery to me. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me’…You have to wonder how this so-called Christian nation leaves so many children to suffer.”“For 30 years,” Moyers fumed, “We have witnessed a class war fought from the top down against the idea and ideal of equality. It has been a drive by a radical elite to gain ascendancy over politics and to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that checked the excesses of private power.”For the political and economic nightmare that is America, Moyers faulted “corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a political religion of fundamentalism deeply opposed to any civil and human right that threatens its paternalism, and a series of political decisions favoring the interests of wealthy elites who bought the political system right out from under us.”

Barney Frank was almost tame compared to Moyers’ searing critique of America’s moral squalor. He admitted that the U.S. economy is growing. “But the average individual has gotten no benefit from it,” he insisted. As usual, he pointed to a larger welfare state as the solution. “When we step in together, that’s what we call government,” he told the UCC’ers.

Former Republican analyst Kevin Phillips, now one of the GOP’s “harshest critics,” gladdened many UCC hearts with his dark theories from American Theocracy, his 2006 expose of an imaginary, sinister alliance among conservative Christians, oil interests, and neoconservative imperialists. The American empire’s overreaching in the Middle East will likely doom the United States as a great power, Phillips reassured his pleased audience.

No less pleasing to the UCC’ers, Children’s Defense Fund chief Marian Wright Edelman warbled mournfully about “the children,” who she insisted must not become “partisan political fodder.” Interrupted by applause 24 times, according to the UCC news service, she then made her usual political demands for a larger welfare state, always to benefit “the children.” Edelman inveighed against America’s “rampant individual greed,” even as she insisted on new multibillion dollar programs.  Trying to sound prophetic, but lacking Edelman’s pulpit cadence, UCC president John Thomas spoke of the “disgrace of a broken social contract,” of global warming, of “foolish greed,” and of the war, with “its deceit, its torture, its demoralizing death and dismemberment, its relentless march toward chaos.”

In contrast to the political tirades from Thomas and others, actress Lynn Redgrave, instead of speaking about environmentalism as scheduled, told of seeking out a local UCC congregation near her Connecticut home when recovering from cancer surgery in 2003. The worship service made her “peaceful and optimistic,” she recalled. Redgrave concluded her testimony with a reading from the 23rd Psalm.Perhaps the UCC might reverse its 40-year decline by giving more of such hope and appealing to the Scriptures. Redgrave’s message was received with applause and even tears. But for the UCC leadership, more focused on power than on the Spirit, the sparks and political fulminations against American greed and militarism are far more exciting than quiet appeals to a forgotten Savior who believed in rendering unto Caesar.

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The Energy Challenge

The Energy Challenge
By Alan W. Dowd
FrontPageMagazine.com | June 27, 2007

Late last week (to be precise, late Thursday night), the Senate passed what the Washington Post hailed as “a sweeping energy legislation package.” (In truth, with its commitment to bio-fuels and higher fuel-economy standards, the bill is heavily focused on the demand side of America’s energy challenges.) Earlier that same day, President George W. Bush devoted some time to speaking about energy issues. The venue for Bush’s speech—a nuclear power plant in Alabama, where the TVA is revving up the first new reactor to come online in more than a decade—was a not-so-subtle reminder that if Americans want to make real strides toward energy independence, it’s time to exploit the nation’s vast energy assets. And nuclear energy is just one of many such assets.

As the Senate quibbled over new MPG standards for SUVs, Bush laid out the good news and bad news about America’s nuclear energy industry: It already provides 20 percent of the nation’s electrical power; it’s clean, preventing the release of 700 million additional tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year; and it can help break America’s unnecessary addiction to foreign oil.

“In 1985, about 27 percent of our oil came from other countries,” Bush observed. “Today, about 60 percent does.” This forces the American people not just to countenance thuggish regimes from afar, but to go to war for them (as in the Gulf War) or against them (as in the Iraq War), or at least to protect them and prop them up (as in the interregnum between those two wars).

One contributing factor in America’s apparent foreign-oil dependence (we will discuss the oil realities below) is the diminutive size of the US nuclear power industry, which remains too small for a country with the energy needs and appetite of the United States. Bush says that energy experts believe the US needs to build three new nuclear plants per year starting in 2015, just to keep pace with the country’s nuclear energy needs.

Yet the US has not ordered a new nuclear power plant since the 1970s. In fact, there were 112 reactors operating in the US in 1990; today, there are just 104. Bush wants to change that, forecasting construction of dozens of new nuclear plants by the end of this decade. In fact, as Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) observed during the Senate floor debate, thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2004, “over 30 nuclear power plants are in the works…We went more than two decades without a single one applying, and we have now over 30.” Hailing America’s “nuclear renaissance,” he notes that once operational, “these plants will provide enough electricity for nearly 30 million American homes.”

In March, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a site in Illinois for the first of these plants. As USAToday has reported, if built, it will be the first new nuclear plant to be constructed since 1979.

The three-decade delay was caused by three little letters: TMI. The failure of the feed-water pumps and consequent partial-core meltdown at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island in March 1979 virtually nuked the US nuclear industry. After the near-disaster, which caused precisely zero deaths and zero injuries, orders for new reactors fell from a high of 41 in 1973 to zero. The fact that the two million residents of the area were exposed to one-sixth the amount of radiation absorbed in a typical chest x-ray was irrelevant. The damage had been done, and more was yet to come.[1]

Seven years after TMI, a fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union released huge amounts of radiation. More than two dozen workers died within months of the disaster, and thyroid cancer spiked among children.

To be sure, the deaths and lingering effects at Chernobyl are tragic. But the disaster should have forced Americans to redouble their efforts to build the safest nuclear plants on the planet. Instead, we did something uncharacteristic of Americans: We stopped building, stopped inventing, stopped pushing the frontiers of technology.

What if we had reacted in the same manner in April 1947, when a port explosion in Texas City, Texas, triggered a massive fire at an oil refinery and killed 500 people? Should we have stopped drilling, pumping, exploring and transporting oil; should we have reverted to windmills; should we have turned back to firewood?

Together, TMI and Chernobyl staggered and ultimately stunted the nuclear power industry in America. Thus, nuclear power accounts for just 20 percent of America’s electrical energy, while it supplies almost 80 percent of France’s electricity needs; 79.9 percent of Lithuania’s; 55 percent of Belgium’s; and 50 percent of Sweden’s. Energy-hungry China has built nine new reactors since 1991, with plans to accelerate its nuclear power program. And fully half of Ukraine’s energy comes from the atom. That’s right: even the place that bears the scars of Chernobyl recognizes the benefits of nuclear power.[2] (The ironies don’t end there: Recall how an energy-independent Iran—with enough oil and natural gas to meet its current energy demands for 256 years—is going nuclear, albeit for different reasons.)

But going nuclear isn’t the only answer for America. There are multiple paths to energy independence, and as the chaos and wars of the oil-rich Middle East continually remind us it is in the national interest to pursue all of them. That includes nuclear energy, bio-fuels like ethanol, hybrid technologies, conservation strategies like those in the Senate bill—and fossil fuels from right here in America.

If you think the United States has exhausted its own reserves of fossil fuels, think again. The Energy Information Administration, a sub-agency of the Department of Energy, reports that, at this moment, the US has 29.9 billion barrels of oil. In other words, the US actually possesses more oil than oil-exporting countries such as Mexico, Norway and the UK.[3]

Plus, there are vast, untapped oil fields and other energy sources inside the US:

Just off the coast of Louisiana, Chevron has found an oil field—the “Jack 2” well—with 15 billion barrels of oil.
The nonpartisan research firm RAND estimates that Colorado, Utah and Wyoming sit on a goldmine of oil-shale deposits, once thought to be too expensive to convert into petroleum. These states hold between 500 billion and 1.1 trillion recoverable barrels. As RAND’s James Bartis explained in 2005, “We’ve got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East.”[4]
As The Economist has reported, drillers have discovered a billion barrels of oil in Sevier County, Utah, alone.
Plus, the so-called Greater Rocky Mountain Region holds between 165 trillion and 260 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which explains why geologists are calling this swath of the US, “the Persian Gulf of natural gas.” (Iran, by way of comparison, sits atop 26.7 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.)

In fact, when we add America’s existing proven reserves to the new finds along the Gulf and in the Big Sky states, the US possesses more oil than all the smug, petroleum-producing headaches of the world—combined. More than Saudi Arabia, more than Iran, more than the UAE, more than Venezuela, more than Russia.

In short, contrary to the mantras of forlorn politicians and newsmen, the “energy crisis” is more a crisis of will than of availability/quantity: The future-fuel alternatives are there—in nuclear power and hybrids and, further down the road, hydrogen. Do we have the will to exploit them? And the fossil fuels are there today—in the Big Sky states and the Gulf and Alaska. Do we have the will to extract them?

The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) has found that “There is no evidence that the world, in general, or the United States, in particular, is running out of fossil fuels.” The very opposite may be more accurate:

In 1874, geologists in Pennsylvania (then the major oil-producing state) predicted there was only four year’s worth of oil remaining in the US. Yet by 1945, proven reserves of oil in the US amounted to 20 billion barrels.
Between 1945 and 1994, the US produced 135 billion barrels of oil domestically—“more than six times the entire amount known to exist in 1945.” Today, US reserves alone could sustain domestic oil needs for 38 to 75 years.
In 1920, the US Geological Survey estimated total world oil supplies at 60 billion barrels. In 1950, the experts pushed that number to 600 billion. By 1990, world oil supplies were estimated at 2 trillion barrels. By the mid-1990s, the estimate was higher yet—2.4 trillion. And by 2000, it was even higher—3 trillion barrels of oil supply.

The reason for this constant upward readjustment is technology. NCPA notes that before the first US well was drilled in 1859, “petroleum supplies were limited to crude oil that oozed to the surface.” But thanks to technological advances, oil is being discovered in new places; and trapped oil is being extracted from old places, as with the oil-shale deposits in the western US.

At a consumption rate of 20.6 million barrels a day, America’s substantial oil reserves are not an endless supply. But they are enough to carry us, comfortably, to what might be called “the post-petro economy.”


[1] US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “Three Mile Island Accident,” http://www.nrc.gov.

[2] See Energy Information Administration, “Nuclear Power,” http://www.eie.doe.gov; Foreign Policy, “The List: Sapping Europe’s Energy,” http://www.foreignpolicy.com.

[3] See Energy Information Administration, “World Proved Reserves of Oil and Natural Gas, Most Recent Estimates,” http://www.eie.doe.gov.

[4] Jennifer Talhelm, “Study Reveals Huge US Oil-Shale Field,” The Seattle Times, September 1, 2005.

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