29 October 2003

Non-Citizens and Representation

What do the states of Michigan, Indiana, Mississippi have in common? According to a report put out by the Center for Immigration Studies, these three states lost seats in the United States House of Representatives because of the huge number of illegal immigrants that have arrived on our shores.

How did this happen? First we need to look at how states get representation in the House of Representatives in the first place. The House of Representatives has a total of 435 seats that are given out to the fifty states. Each state gets at least one seat in the House. After that, it is dependent on the population of each state how many more seats they will receive. If the state’s population has gone up in the last 10 years, they may get another seat. If the state’s population has gone down, the state may lose a seat. (This is unlike the Senate, where it is not dependent on state population. Each state gets two senators, no more, no less).

The next question to tackle is how does the government know how much the population has shifted between states over the past ten years? The answer is the Census form that families fill out across the United States giving the Census Bureau an idea of who lives where and all sorts of other details. So based on this Census taken every ten years, the House seats are redistributed between states, with some gaining and some losing seats. Most of us are under the impression that illegal and legal residents (green card holders) are not counted toward the redistribution of House seats. We would be wrong.

Who cares if the illegal immigrants are counted in the Census and toward redistribution of those House seats? We should care, and especially as Michigan citizens. According to the United States Census Bureau there were near 7 million illegal aliens and 12 million other non-citizens that were counted in the 2000 Census. The Center for Immigration Studies looked at the impact of these non-citizens on state representation in the House of Representatives. They found that it was because of the non-citizen population that 9 seats ended up being redistributed between states. Where were these seats taken from and where were they given? The states that lost a seat were: Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wisconsin. Which states gained seats? California gained six seats while Florida, New York and Texas each gained one apiece.

What this means is that states such as Michigan, which is not known for its immigration, lost a House seat to states such as California, which is known for its huge immigrant population. This would not be such a big deal if the difference in population was because of a population shift of citizens between states. However, what is being shown here is that states like California are getting unequal representation because of their non-citizen populations. This is the main point of the problem. There is supposed to be equal representation in the House of Representatives between states, but it does not work when you throw non-citizens into the mix.

While these non-citizens do not gain anything by being counted in the Census, the citizens living in the same state are. They are gaining an unequal advantage of representation in the House. California residents have more representatives than Michigan in the House of Representatives only because of their non-citizens.

This also makes a difference when it comes time to choose a President. The President is chosen by the electoral college. The number of electors that each state has is the total number of Senators and Representatives they have in Congress. When a state has more representatives, they have more electors, which in turn gives that state a larger voice in who the next President will be.

To sum up, states that are low in non-citizens and general immigration, such as Michigan, are losing representation to those states that have a population of immigrants, like California. Since these non-citizens do not have the same rights as Americans in general it would make sense that they would not be counted in the representation in Congress. But they are, and Michigan is losing out.

To read the Center for Immigration Studies report:


22 October 2003

Celebrate Death!

Imagine I invited you and a bunch of friends to a party where the focus was devil worship and we wore costumes while we burned people and animals alive. You may think that I was crazy to even suggest the idea. (At least I would hope so.) However in reality this is what we are celebrating every October 31st in the guise of the holiday of Halloween.

Where did Halloween originate? Originally it was a pagan Druid holiday called “The Vigil of Saman” or Samhain where they celebrated death. In 800 CE/AD the Roman Catholic Church decided to Christianize the pagan holiday by moving All Saints Day from May to November 1st. All Saints Day was a day where the saints that did not get their own special day on the calendar were honored by the Church and when Christians would pay respects to the dead. The new Christian holiday was supposed to be called “All Hallow’s Day”. The evening before became known as “All Hallow’s Eve” which eventually got shortened to Halloween. A problem occurred when this “Christianization” of the pagan holiday never took hold, and the pagan rituals became incorporated into mainstream society.

You may be asking what the big deal is. Today Halloween is a secular holiday celebrated by people of different faiths across the United States. This is true, but the question to ask yourself is if you want to be celebrating a holiday of death and pain throughout the centuries.

Where do the costumes fit into this picture? On the evening of October 31st, the Druids built a huge bonfire of sacred oak trees where they burned animals, crops and PEOPLE as sacrifices to their gods. During this ritual, they wore costumes of animal heads and skins. The Druids also looked for omens in the struggle of the victims being burned to death. They even sang and danced as part of the ritual. This was all in order to scare away the evil spirits. They also dressed up as evil spirits themselves to confuse the evil spirits that were supposed to be coming to attack them.

What I find most interesting is where the word “bonfire” comes from. You would never guess. It is a contraction of the words bone-fire, where bones were burned. There were two main festivals where the Druids burned humans and animals as sacrifices to their gods. One was the evening of April 30th, the other Halloween. The next day the Druids would examine the bones and try to prophesize the future.

In case you were not able to dress up and confuse the evil spirits, you could bribe them. If you treated them with food and made them happy, the spirit would not trick you - or cast an evil spell on you. Another example of the house to house blackmail would be when the Druids would ask for an offering to Saman and if the household was not forthcoming with the treat, the Druid would attack the homeowner with a sharp stick and castrate them. How’s that for fun? Trick or Treat!

There are a couple explanations dealing with the pumpkin. People used to hollow out pumpkins as well as turnips putting a candle inside to scare away the evil spirits. The pumpkin was also used as a symbol that the family inside was sympathetic to the Saman rituals and should not be attacked on the evening of Halloween.

It is no surprise to every cat owner that they should keep their pets indoors on Halloween night. Black cats especially were seen by the Druids as witches in disguise and burned. Black cats are still seen as evil and horrible things have been done in the past and even today black cats have been tortured in Satanic rituals. The Humane Society in many cities will not adopt out black cats around Halloween time with the fear that the cats may be hurt, tortured or killed. How disgusting.

Halloween is approaching next week and everybody is getting excited about getting dressed up, going to parties and having a good time. But while it may be a secular holiday, Halloween has a terrible, murderous history that we need to take into account before celebrating. Ask yourself - do you want to be celebrating the Holiday of Death and Murder?

15 October 2003

Need a Translator?

After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were both interested in hiring more Arabic speaking translators to help find any clues that may hint toward another attack. This is a great idea, the only problem is that these agencies may be hiring the wrong people.

We have been watching the debacle unfolding in Guantanamo Bay where the United States is holding Afghani prisoners, and using Arab translators to gain information about al-Qaeda. Up until now we have seen three different arrests of Arab translators working for the United States in Guantanamo.

Army Captain James Yee, an Islamic chaplain based in Guantanamo, is charged with disobeying a direct order for improperly handling classified information, but not espionage. Air Force Senior Airman Ahmad al-Halabi, a translator in Guantanamo, has been charged with collecting more than 180 messages from prisoners with plans of delivering them to an enemy in Syria. Ahmed Mehalba, an Egyptian born US citizen, another translator, had improperly in his possession a list of suspected terrorists mentioned during interrogation sessions.

How is this happening? Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, made a good point when asked about these cases. “The presumption is that everyone at Guantanamo...went through some sort of background check. But it is baffling that a chaplain [Army Capt. Yee] who spent time in Syria, a country on the terrorist watch-list, and was trained by a group with ties to terrorism, would be allowed to serve as a cleric to a bunch of Taliban and al-Qaeda.” The question remains, does the United States military do a proper job when looking into the backgrounds of these translators? The answer is obviously no. [The Washington Times 10/13/03]

Another question that can and must be asked is: is the United States government looking into other avenues of recruiting Arabic translators? The answer to this question as well is no. The FBI’s New York office in October 2001 asked a Jewish social services organization to send them applications of Jews who were fluent in Arabic. Approximately 95 applications were sent. Some were asked back for a second and third interview, but none were hired. Many of these Jews who applied for the translating jobs had immigrated from Middle East countries, such as Israel, Syria, Egypt, and Sudan, and had background in translation, working for the Israeli media as well as the Israeli military.

The question remains. Why were none of these applicants hired for the job? One FBI source stated that the FBI was worried that the applicants were “too close to Israel” and may not be objective when translating the Arabic recordings and writings of terrorists. A question can be asked, is this a real reason for not hiring a Jew who could properly do the job. Perhaps an Army Chaplain who was trained by a terrorist group in Syria could do a better job.

Another angle to this Guantanamo case is the issue of possibly offending the Arab community in the U.S. The head of the FBI New York office invited a Muslim cleric to speak to agents about the peaceful side of Islam. FBI director Robert Mueller has done the same since after the attacks of 9/11. Are Jews not being hired in order not to offend Arab citizens? It would seem that the best translators should be hired regardless of their backgrounds as long as they were not a security risk.

The United States must not relax its standards when looking for translators. By just trying to fill the ranks without regard to serious background checks, we are only setting ourselves up for disaster. [World Net Daily 10/9/03]

01 October 2003

Resettlement Works

Why are the Palestinian refugees so special? What makes them any different than any other refugee? Why do they have their own United Nations organization dedicated to their well being when no other refugee group does?

This past Tuesday, Wayne State University had Peter Hansen, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) as a guest speaker. Hansen spoke about what his agency does and does not do as well as fielded questions from those who came to hear him. One of the problems that I had with his presentation was his idea that resettlement of the Palestinians into the surrounding countries was not a “natural solution”. Mr. Hansen went on to say that the Lebanese did not want the Palestinians, and the Jordanians did not want these refugees either. Hansen did not go further into the subject of Arab countries refusing to help. Yet, this is the crux of the problem.

Past UNRWA directors have made clear what the problems are with resettling the Palestinian refugees, some of whom are refugees by their own accord. In August 1958, Ralph Garroway said, “The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.” Dr. Elfan Rees who worked with refugee resettlement, assumed in 1959 that the Arab refugee problem should have been easy to solve considering the economic development of several Arab countries of the Middle East at the time. But he found that “the organized intransigence of the refugees and the calculated indifference of the Arab states concerned have brought all its [UNRWA’s] plans to nought.” We can see the truth of these statements since we still see no action on the part of the wealthy kings of the Middle East to resettle their brothers in their own countries.

When Mr. Hansen said that it was not a “natural solution” for people to be resettled in another country to continue their lives, has he taken into account the 900,000 Jews that were thrown out of their homes after living 2000 years in Arab countries? Between 1946-1962 these Jews had billions of dollars in property confiscated and were then made refugees. Israel took them in no questions asked.

The world has forgotten that most refugees are resettled outside of their original homes and do not return to the homes which they left. No one remembers the 3 million North Koreans who ran to South Korea. No one remembers the 1.6 million Vietnamese who have been integrated into the different countries that let them establish new lives. No one remembers the 12 million Germans that were expelled after World War II from the different European countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia, who saw them as a threat to the country’s security. No one remembers that even today, 12,000 African refugees are being integrated into American society each year, possibly never returning to Africa.

No one remembers the population exchanges between countries that ended up promoting peace. Under the Turko-Bulgarian Convention of 1913, two and a half million people were forced to change countries. Muslim Bulgarians were resettled in Turkey and Christian Turks were transferred to Christian Bulgaria. In 1923, Christian Greece and Muslim Turkey signed the Treaty of Lausanne agreeing to exchange the 150,000 Christian Greeks living in Turkey, and the 388,000 Muslim Turks living in Greece. They did this in order not to go to war again and there has been no bloodshed since. In the 1940s, there was an enormous population exchange with the creation of Pakistan. 8,500,000 Hindus left Pakistan for India, while 6,500,000 Muslims left India for Pakistan. While there is still conflict in that region, imagine the amount of violence that would be occurring today if the population exchange had not been carried through.

While resettlement is not a “natural solution” for Mr. Hansen, it may be one to be considered to end this conflict. Israel has accepted the 900,000 Jews thrown out of the Arab countries. It is time for the Arab countries to accept their brothers as well.