Saturday, May 29, 2010



[Editor's Note: this review contains plot spoilers that are necessary in order to fully explain the controversy of the film.]

e liberal media’By Govindini Murty.Sex and the City 2 has just opened and is already arousing a great deal of controversy. Directed by Michael Patrick King and starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis, Sex and the City 2 is already being attacked by liberal critics for its supposedly racist, “troubling” and “offensive” depiction of Muslims. Having just seen the film though, I can tell you that Sex and the City 2 is fun, frothy, entertainment that every woman will enjoy (just ignore some of the cruder aspects) – and is also the only big-budget Hollywood film in recent years that dares to critique the repressive treatment of women in the Middle East. That anyone in the media would be offended by this film is completely ridiculous, given that that the film only portrays the truth – and to depict this truth is anything but racist. Given how cowardly Hollywood’s male-oriented films and filmmakers have been in addressing radical Islam though, perhaps it’s appropriate that the brassy, forthright American women of “Sex and the City” should be the first to venture into this territory.

Most of the film is not even about the Middle East or its religious issues, but is rather about the four “Sex and the City” gals and their relationships with their husbands, their children, their jobs, and each other. The film opens with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda attending a gay wedding. The scenes of the wedding have a bit of a TV sitcom quality. There is one standout moment though, and that is when Liza Minelli pops out onto the stage in her trademark tights and short tunic dress and performs a terrific cover of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” It’s great to see Liza back in top form singing and dancing, and let me tell you she has a lot of pizzazz left in her yet.

The movie then lingers for a time in New York exploring the various dramas that the women are going through in their lives. Carrie and her husband Mr. Big are having trouble adjusting to their two-year marriage: he spends all his time on the couch and just wants to watch the TV, while she wants to go out and have fun. Charlotte has a happy marriage and family, but feels herself overwhelmed by the demands of her two small girls – and by worries that her husband is hitting on her buxom blonde nanny. Miranda is also happily married with a son, but is stuck working at a law firm in which a sexist jerk is constantly trying to push her into the background. Samantha is the only one who seems to have no such problems – she’s a proud 52 year old cougar, armed with vitamins and hormone creams and Suzanne Somers books, determined to ward off all signs of aging and still sleeping around with every handsome stud in sight. Some will perhaps find this offputting, but to me Samantha’s outrageous, Dionysian vitality and refusal to cave-in to nature gives her a sort of bizarre heroism.

All of this is pretty standard Sex and the City stuff, so I kept wondering when the controversy that the media is currently in hysterics over would begin. This finally occurs when Samantha gets a call from an old flame of hers, handsome blonde actor Smith Jerrod. Jerrod has made a film called “Heart of the Desert” and he wants Samantha to be his date at the premier.

This is the first intimation of how un-PC Sex and the City 2 is going to be, because the poster of Jerrod’s film “Heart of the Desert” depicts him shirtless, in army fatigue pants, standing against a backdrop of sand-dunes – and holding an Arab child in his arms. Whoops – what was that? A poster depicting a handsome actor as an American soldier protecting Arab children in the Middle East? No wonder the critics are angry! This isn’t supposed to happen in Hollywood films! American soldiers in the Middle East can only be depicted as drooling morons or vicious killers who torture Muslims for pleasure (think In the Valley of Elah, Redacted, etc.). How did this one get by? Anyway, it’s just a quick shot of a poster, but it’s pretty unmistakable what it’s saying. (As a side note, the movie premiere also features Tim Gunn, the style mentor from one of my favorite shows, “Project Runway”).

At the after-party, Samantha meets an Arab sheikh, played by Indian actor Art Malik. (I have fond memories of growing up in the ’80s watching Malik play the tragic Harry Kumar in the excellent TV miniseries “The Jewel in the Crown.”) The sheikh is impressed by Samantha’s publicity work for Smith Jerrod and invites Samantha to come to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and see for herself “the new Middle East.” Samantha excitedly accepts, and soon she and the rest of the “Sex and the City” gals are flying in super-luxury first class to Abu Dhabi.

When the women arrive in Abu Dhabi, they’re amazed by how luxurious and modern everything is. Carrie even exclaims “We’ve arrived in the future.” However, even in the airport we see that this is not going to be the usual PC take on the Middle-East. Samantha gets her luggage scanned by a series of female security guards clad in black burqas. When they detect Samantha’s vitamins and hormone creams, they declare them to be drugs and take them away over her outraged howls of protest. We can already see that Abu Dhabi is not going to be the land of the free. More black-burqa clad women in the background of the airport form an ominous visual counterpoint to the colorfully-garbed “Sex and the City” gals as they leave.

The gals are then whisked away, each in an expensive white town-car, to their lavish, seven star palace-hotel. There, the gals are booked into the “Jewel Suite” of the hotel, a huge two-story mansion with an atrium, crystal chandeliers, multiple sitting and dining rooms, private terrace, you name it. They’re introduced to the four handsome Middle Eastern/Indian men who will be their butlers, and are treated with every courtesy by the staff (which includes a hotel manager played by Omid Djalili, whose film The Infidel we reviewed recently on Libertas). I kept wondering in the midst of all this – how can any of this be considered racist or culturally intolerant?

Other than the fact that Samantha’s pills and hormone creams are confiscated at the airport by women in black burqas, how can any of this portrayal of the Middle East as colorful, modern, luxurious, and hospitable be considered in the slightest degree objectionable? And that’s how it goes for most of the gal’s stay in Abu Dhabi. They get to go wherever they want, wear pretty much whatever they want, go shopping in the local souk (where the local stall-keepers are depicted as friendly and honest), party, sing, and drink up a storm at the local disco, have kind and courteous staff who take care of their every need, and get to ride camels and have a fancy picnic dressed in Dior and Louboutins in the middle of the desert. Where’s the racism here? All the Middle-Eastern and Indian characters in the film are treated with humanity and are not objectified in any way. (Frankly, the only people objectified in the film are the hunks of the visiting Australian rugby team – but I don’t hear any Australians shrieking about that.) The critique of local customs is extremely muted. There’s one scene where Carrie and her friends sit on the hotel terrace eating, and see a nearby table with two Muslim women in burqas having lunch. Carrie expresses some concern over how the woman can eat if she has a veil over her face. When the woman lifts her veil for every bite of a french fry, Carrie says to the others “Wow, a lift for every fry, that’s a serious commitment to fried food.” Then Carrie comments on how pretty the embroidered edge of the other Muslim’s woman’s black robe is, and the woman smiles at Carrie and indicates she likes her necklace. What’s culturally insensitive about that? There’s also a scene at the hotel swimming pool when Samantha points out two Muslim women floating by in “burqinis.” Is this offensive – to point out two women wearing burqinis?

Anyway, things start to hop when Samantha meets a handsome Danish architect in the desert. He invites her out for dinner, and she accepts. When she starts flirting with him at an outdoor restaurant and suggestively handling a hookah pipe, a nearby Muslim man becomes outraged and reports her to the authorities. Later that night, Samantha is arrested for kissing the architect on the beach. Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte are horrified to discover this, and Samantha isn’t released until the next morning. Then the women find out that due to Samantha’s arrest, the sheikh has cancelled their free tab at the hotel, and now they’re expected to cough up $22,000 a night to stay there. The women frantically pack and decide to check out asap. Samantha defiantly refuses to cover herself up for the return trip to the airport, and insists on putting on a tank top and short shorts instead. As Samantha exclaims to the other gals as they leave the hotel, she can’t wait to get back to America where her “legs aren’t the devil.”

Unfortunately, the women realize that Carrie has left behind her passport at a stall in the souk, and now the women must return there on their own, without the fancy town-cars or the protection of the sheikh. In the souk the women fall into the hands of some unscrupulous counterfeit watch merchants, and as they leave their shop, the men think Samantha has stolen one of their fake Hermes Birkin bags when really its her own real one. A tug of war between Samantha and the men over her Hermes bag happens in the middle of the souk, the bag bursts out of their hands, the contents fall onto the ground – and are revealed to be … a bunch of condoms. At this point the inappropriately-dressed Samantha has a large group of angry Muslim men surrounding her. She picks up the condoms and defiantly waves them in the faces of the men. The men get angrier and close in around her. Samantha continues shouting and waving the condoms, saying that they’re for sex, and that there’s nothing wrong with that. I suppose that this is the arch scene of cultural offense – but I have to say that there’s something oddly magnificent about watching an angry, defiant American woman stand up to a bunch of intolerant Middle-Eastern men. This is simply the truth: American women stand to lose the most if radical Islamic fundamentalists get their way. Why are we not allowed to depict this in American films? Why are we not allowed to get outraged?

Finally, Carrie and the other gals grab Samantha and look for an escape out of the souk. Several Muslim women in burqas who have been watching indicate to the gals to follow them into a flower shop. They do, and Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda find themselves with a group of friendly Muslim women. The women take off their veils and praise Samantha for standing up to the men. One of the women chuckles “Our men won’t be able to get over it for months – maybe years!” The Muslim women ask the American women where they are from. They answer “New York.” The Muslim women say how much they like New York, but when Carrie asks them if they’ve been there, they regretfully say no, and Carrie realizes that these women don’t have the same freedom to travel that she does. Then the Muslim women and the American women have an important Sex and the City bonding experience: the Muslim women take off their plain, black burqas and reveal underneath … the latest French fashions. ”Louis Vuitton?” Carrie asks one of the women, and she nods with a big smile “Yes.” After the women admire each other’s high fashion outfits, the Muslim women help smuggle Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda out of the souk by dressing them in black burqas.

There is then a final moment in the souk that poignantly reveals the erasure of identity that occurs when women have to put on a burqa. Carrie, Miranda, and Samantha lose sight of Charlotte, who has wandered off to buy some gifts for her kids. The women look for her everywhere, but can’t find her because all the woman in the souk look the same in their muffling black robes. Carrie remembers that Charlotte was wearing purple peep-toe platform pumps, and they run around the souk looking at all the women’s feet. They finally find Charlotte and hurry her out of there. Then when the gals try to get a taxi to leave the souk, they find that no taxis will stop for them because they’re women. Finally Carrie has a moment of inspiration, and recalling an earlier scene when Mr. Big had shown her It Happened One Night on the TV, she pulls up her burqa in an imitation of Claudette Colbert and reveals her leg to the passing taxi drivers. A taxi shrieks to a halt, the women get in – and they’re off to the airport, America, and freedom. The women are reunited with their husbands and families in New York. The film ends with Carrie stating in narration over a shot of Samantha and her architect hunk having sex on the beach, that in America, Samantha and the architect are able to “resume their date in the land of the free.” Thus American freedom is reaffirmed, Sex and the City style.

I guess if you find freedom, democracy, and women’s rights objectionable you will find Sex and the City 2 objectionable too. I suspect that many of the critics who disliked the film disliked it not because it pokes fun at Muslim men, but because it features such a defiant, unapologetic, yet amusing group of American women as the leads. The Hollywood left’s misogyny towards women is a subject for another column. As for the complaint that the film is culturally insensitive, all I can say is that Hollywood produces culturally offensive content all the time – going after everyone from Americans to Christians, Hindus, and Jews. The only group that no-one is ever allowed to have any humor about is Muslims. How refreshing that Sex and the City 2 breaks this ridiculous and un-democratic taboo.

And by the way, the line-up of shoes and fashions in Sex and the City 2 is fabulous as always … That may be another source of th

s ire: that Sex and the City 2, which is already doing huge business, may be the first female-led film to be #1 at the box-office for Memorial Day weekend, beating out Prince of Persia. Imagine that, Jake Gyllenhaal and his video game film beaten out by Carrie Bradshaw and her Manolo Blahniks …

Obama's News Conference: Blah, Blah, Blah

By Alan Caruba

The President, after a lapse of 309 days, held a news conference Thursday. It came shortly after news that earlier in the day the director of the Mineral Management Service, Elizabeth Birnbaum, had either resigned or been fired. Obama professed to not know the circumstances. Yeah. Sure.

What we do know is that Obama’s method of dealing with a news conference is to talk each question to death. In addition, he makes sure that we all know that, no matter what the problem under discussion, it was all George W. Bush’s fault.

Watching Obama’s head swivel back and forth between the TelePromters as he read his opening prepared statement for the first fifteen minutes or so was mildly comical and it occurred to me that he has become a real life parody of a Saturday Night Live parody, the latter of which is at least entertaining.

The press conference was devoted largely to blaming oil company, British Petroleum, for the mess while, at the same time, saying that “BP is acting at our direction.” This is known as having it both ways. Somehow, knowing that the federal government is in charge is not all that reassuring. And, of course, the real problem began “under the previous administration.”

The president then used one of his snore-inducing answers to segue to the usual blather about a “clean energy” economy. This is pure fiction. America and the rest of the advanced nations of the world depend entirely on oil, natural gas, and coal. Long after all of us and our grandchildren are dead these hydrocarbons will still be used.

By then, however, Obama’s nonsense about clean energy jobs will have been long forgotten. They don’t exist now and they will not until the last drop of oil is extracted, the last cubic meter of natural gas, and the last lump of coal is dug from the ground. Wind and solar energy is largely a huge fraud based on the even bigger fraud of “climate change.”

And of course the President took the opportunity to push the legislation before the Senate that would put the federal government in charge of who gets energy, how much they get, and how much they will pay for it. Using the bogus claim that carbon dioxide is a threat to human life the EPA is currently trying to gain control all energy use. Cap-and-Trade, a huge tax, would destroy what little hope is left for the economy to recover.

The highlight of the conference for me was when the insane old crone, Helen Thomas, asked about Afghanistan after Obama had seemingly exhausted the subject (and the audience) on the topic of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster.

Later questions dealt with the Arizona law and the White House criticism of it and border security. Obama used them to push amnesty for illegal aliens without actually saying amnesty. Meanwhile, more and more states are fashioning their own version of the Arizona bill in lieu of the federal government’s failure to stop illegal aliens. Amnesty is a strictly Democrat “answer” to the problem.

Responding to a question about the oil spill, the President earlier had said, “I intend to use the full force of the government to protect our fellow citizens” on the southern state borders affected by the spill. One could only wish that he had the same resolve regarding the thousands of illegal Mexicans and “others” that continue to pour across.

The issue of a possible White House bribe to a candidate to drop out of the Pennsylvania primary race got danced away with the usual assurances from what we were told was going to be the most transparent White House ever.

I feared for my sanity after an hour and stopped watching and listening.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Don`t Cry For Me, Arizona

Burt Prelutsky—5/28/10

When you're a right-winger living in California, you tend to envy people who live elsewhere. For a long time, I've envied Texans. For one thing, judging by my email, most of my biggest fans seem to live in the Lone Star State. But, also, aside from an occasional cretin like Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Texans seem to elect more than their share of stalwart conservatives.

Another state I came to admire was Oklahoma. That was after discovering that it was the only state in the Union in which Obama failed to carry a single county in 2008.

Now, of course, I've lost my heart to Arizona. At last, a state has sounded the alarm about illegal aliens. Sure it was a long time coming, but at least Gov. Jan Brewer and the Arizona legislature have finally stood up for the law of the land. Even John McCain, who has spent years sounding like an immigration lawyer, jumped aboard the bandwagon.

On the other side, we have virtually every hack politician with a Hispanic last name ready and eager to display his ignorance, bigotry and lack of patriotism. I mean, really, is there an uglier, more disgusting sight than a bunch of dunderheads complaining about racial profiling when their own actions and statements are based solely on race?

Arizona has been over-run by at least half a million illegals who have placed unbearable burdens on its schools, hospitals and emergency rooms. They have made Phoenix the kidnap capital of North America and turned its countryside into an open sewer for drug smugglers. It took the cold-blooded murder of an elderly rancher before the good folks of Arizona said, enough is enough.

We keep hearing the same stale propaganda that these sneaks are the people who'll do the jobs that gringos won't. Well, I have a news flash: With unemployment hovering at 10%, if those jobs ever existed in the past, they don't exist today. Besides, why should they get the jobs that could go to people waiting patiently for their names to be called in Ghana, Poland and Vietnam?

The only people who oppose Arizona's new law-- a law based, by the way, on our own federal law -- are members of the Catholic Church hierarchy who are anxious to fill church pews; drug lords who want to maintain a steady flow of product, users and salesmen; President Calderon, who wants those American dollars to continue flowing south in order to keep the Mexican economy afloat; American politicians with names like Hernandez and Gomez, who want to increase their power base, and punks like Mayor Gavin Newsome who represent places as left and loony as San Francisco. We shouldn't overlook the DNC, an organization so corrupt that Mafia dons attend their seminars in order to pick up tips from the likes of James Carville and Rahm Emanuel.

The fact is, when you see these people all agreeing about public policy, it's safe to assume it's going to take its toll on your heart, your head and your wallet. In much the same way, the savvy among us know it always makes sense to vote against any bond issue supported by unions.

In my opinion, it should be a criminal act for anyone to compare the new law in Arizona in any way, shape or form, to what took place in Nazi Germany. Hitler, in case it slipped your mind, was arresting, torturing and murdering, Germans for no other reason than that they were Jews, Catholics, gypsies, invalids and homosexuals. Members of the Gestapo weren't simply asking to look at green cards and sending non-citizens back to Poland, France and Holland. They were sending them to Auschwitz.

Ironically, Article 67 of Mexico's Immigration Law states: "Authorities, whether federal, state or municipal, are required to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country." In spite of which, President Calderon had the gall to compare our border fence to the Berlin Wall. Nobody bothered pointing out to the jackass that there's a world of difference between building a barrier to keep illegal aliens out and erecting one to prevent one's own citizens from escaping.

Frankly, I'm shocked that the millions of Hispanics who were born here or who came here legally aren't raising a stink about those who are sneaking in. After all, it's also their tax dollars that are being squandered supporting the illegals and their own jobs that are being lost and their own wages that are being under-cut.

And how odd is it that leftists, who seem to prefer everything European to anything American never mention that tourists on the Continent are required to show their passports on a regular basis. So, apparently, it's only the United States that's not supposed to protect its borders from uninvited freeloaders.

Anyone who has the audacity to suggest that Americans are bigots because we tend to be slightly more suspicious of 25-year-old Saudis boarding airplanes and 25-year-old Mexicans loitering around Home Depots is either a hermit who has spent the past few decades living in a cave or a politician pandering for cheap votes.

Believe me, when Swedes start blowing up our buildings and 12 million Aussies try sneaking across our border, we'll be equally suspicious of tall blonds and guys who call us "mates" and keep asking us to toss another shrimp on the "barbie."

Mr. Prelutsky lives and writes in the San Fernando Valley.

He has been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times, a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine and has written for the New York Times, TV Guide, Modern Maturity, Emmy, Holiday, American Film, and Sports Illustrated.

For television, he has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn and Diagnosis Murder.

Burt Prelutsky's new book of political commentary, Liberals: America's Termites, now available. Send check or money order for $20 to cover shipping and handling to Scorched Earth Press, 16604 Dearborn Street, North Hills, CA 91343-3604

You may contact Burt via his home page.

Burt Prelutsky archives.

Enemy of the States

Link To Article

By Cicero

The federal government appears to be becoming more a parasite than a protector to the several states that organized its creation. The state of Louisiana has two enemies at present: One is an immense oil slick, and the other is a federal government doing its utmost to make matters worse. While the oil slick is lifeless (as well as life-choking) and is moved by wind and wave with no course of its own, the federal enemy is willfully obstructionist, uncaringly incompetent, and hopelessly uncoordinated.

The people and government of Louisiana have prepared an emergency plan to protect their marshes and bayous from the floating sludge: a chain of barrier islands made of sand dredged from the shallow bottom of the Gulf. The sand barrier would hold the oil offshore, preventing it from destroying the marshes and wetlands, and allow for a much easier cleanup of the oil by catching it on relatively straight, featureless sandy levies -- as opposed to attempting to clean oil from the labyrinthine bogs, swamps, and marshes of Southern Louisiana's Bayou Parishes.

Alas, bureaucracy and bureaucrats prevent the people from implementing their plan. A permit is required from the Army Corps of Engineers, but the permit must be reviewed and commented on by other government agencies, such as the EPA. Changes to the draft will be required, and approval sought, restarting the process. Meanwhile, after more than eleven days of byzantine bureaucratic fiddling since the plan was submitted by Louisiana, the oil continues to wash ashore, and the State is left to deal with destroyed fisheries, ruined wetlands, and lost jobs. Meanwhile, the bureaucratic square dance continues: Permits and federal training are required to clean up the oil already ashore, and volunteers dare not attempt to clean a bird or amphibian of oil for fear of draconian Federal repercussions. The people of the Sovereign State of Louisiana have a right, and a duty, to protect and defend their homes, their environment, and their livelihoods. Federal incompetence and obstruction are hampering their efforts to do any of those.

The State of Louisiana needs to disregard any and all federal interference at this point. The men and equipment are in place, and Governor Jindal needs to take control of the situation, begin dredging his barrier islands, and begin vacuuming the sludge already ashore. The federal government has no apparent interest in acting with speed to resolve this issue. At the end of the day, the bureaucrats will still have cushy government pensions and pleasant offices in suburban Maryland; they won't have to live with the consequences of their dallying and empire-building like the watermen of Louisiana will. The political opportunists will use a worsening disaster as capital to impede oil exploration efforts, when their very interference forced exploration so far offshore and so deep as to make drilling so difficult and risky. The governor has said he will start the dredging, even if it means going to jail himself. If he really offers leadership like that, there are probably a hundred thousand watermen, shrimpers, fishermen, and assorted bayou boys in Louisiana who would gladly take his place at the Bastille.

The State of Arizona also faces two enemies: The army intruders crossing an unsecured border is one, and the federal government that refuses to secure it is the other. One enemy has many faces, drug running, human trafficking, ruined desert habitats, crime, kidnapping, and national security concerns among them. When the crime and cost resulting from that unsecured border became too grave and the federal government steadfastly refused to do its duty to secure the border and protect the citizens of Arizona, the state rightfully took matters into its own hands. It is now beginning to feel the wrath of the second enemy.

The courts will play out decisions of constitutionality and supremacy of federal law, but the reality on the ground is that a dangerous situation existed, one that threatened the life, liberty, and property of Americans, and something had to be done. Again, the federal government is willfully obstructionist and incompetent when it comes to securing the border. Border patrol agents need to wait for the Parks Service before they can enter the parkland and preserve what makes up the vast majority of the Arizona border area, leaving huge gaps where drugs and people swarm north. Most recently, John Morton, the assistant secretary of homeland security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has stated that his agency may not even
process illegal immigrants referred by the state of Arizona due to the controversial law, a position backed by Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security.

Few of the political elite have any interest in securing the border; many of them are pandering for votes and voters, and their campaign donors want an inexhaustible supply of cheap labor. Just as in Louisiana, the people on the ground -- the ranchers, business owners, and citizens of Arizona -- will reap the consequences of Federal indifference and irresponsibility.

Louisiana and Arizona are suffering abuses and usurpations at the hand of a distant central government that cares not for the safety and happiness of their people, nor does it care to execute the few inconvenient responsibilities assigned to it in an inconvenient and forgotten Constitution. This is a distant central government indifferent to all matters beyond its own expansion and continued election, a government so engorged that it cannot move with alacrity or decisiveness.

Arizona and Louisiana may find themselves at the spearhead of movements by many states -- states fighting the health care mandate, states fighting federal confiscation and retention of land, states fighting EPA carbon regulation, states grappling with their own immigration problems, states starting to realize that "help" from Washington is anything but helpful, states that may start to realize that taking matters into their own hands may be the only means left for securing the Republic and preserving liberty.

Cicero is the pen name of a military officer


Stone: Film an intro to Chavez and his movement

CARACAS, Venezuela — American filmmaker Oliver Stone said Friday he deeply admires Hugo Chavez but suggested the Venezuelan president might consider talking a bit less on television.

Promoting his new documentary "South of the Border" in Caracas, Stone heaped praise on Chavez, saying he is leading a movement for "social transformation" in Latin American. The film features informal interviews by Stone with Chavez and six allied leftist presidents, from Bolivia's Evo Morales to Cuba's Raul Castro.

"I admire Hugo. I like him very much as a person. I can say one thing. ... He shouldn't be on television all the time," Stone said at a news conference. "As a director I say you don't want to be overpowering. And I think he is sometimes that way."

Chavez makes near-daily speeches that run for hours, often reminiscing, lecturing about history, announcing news and breaking into song. His Sunday program can last six hours or more.

"He's a soldier and he speaks from his heart," Stone said. "His vision is huge. ... And he will go down in history."

The Oscar-winning director hopes his documentary will help people better understand a leader who Stone said is wrongly ridiculed "as a strongman, as a buffoon, as a clown."

"This is a positive portrayal of a man who Americans do not have access to," Stone said. "He is demonized in the American and European press as a monster."

Chavez, who joined Stone for the premiere of the film at last year's Venice Film Festival, hosted a screening Friday night at a Caracas theater and called the director a good friend.

"They demonize us is North America, in Europe, in a good part of the world. And Oliver dove is, so to speak, seeking the truth," Chavez said. He called the movie "a splinter in the eagle's talon" — a reference to the United States.

Stone said President Barack Obama's administration, in spite of initially inspiring hope, hasn't done anything to improve U.S. relations with Chavez or his Latin American allies.

The director defended his decision not to interview Chavez's opponents, saying that people already hear those complaints and that the movie is not intended as a detailed examination of Chavez's record.

"It's an introduction to an entire movement in South America that the Americans do not know anything about," he said.

Stone is starting a Latin American tour to promote the film, with screenings planned in Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina. The documentary is being released in some cities in the United States and Europe this summer.

Israeli Heckler Calls Rahm Emanuel "Anti-Semite"

JERUSALEM -- White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel got a hot welcome to Jerusalem's Old City Thursday.

Arriving to celebrate his son's Bar Mitzvah, President Obama's right-hand-man was heckled by Israeli patriot Itamar Ben-Gvir.

"You are an anti-Semite, a hypocrite who hates Israel!" Ben-Gvir shouted. "You want Israel to return to the 1967 borders. Shame on you!"

Many Israelis feel betrayed by Emanuel, whose father is Israeli. They blame him for what they see as President Obama's anti-Israel policy.

Ties between Israel and the U.S. have plummeted since Mr. Obama took office last year. The President demanded a freeze on Jewish construction in the West Bank and disputed East Jerusalem, charging that the settlements were an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians.

Israel initially refused, but under pressure from Washington it has since imposed a partial freeze on construction.

Two months ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was snubbed during a visit to the White House. The meeting was tense and there was no customary photo-op with the U.S. leader. This has created the popular perception here that Mr. Obama, and Emanuel, are selling Israel out to appease the Arab world.

Even though Emanuel is on a private visit, he took some time for official business. He met with Netanyahu (seen above) and issued a surprise invitation for a meeting at the White House next Tuesday.

Now that peace talks have resumed after a 17-month deadlock, Israeli officials say the Obama administration is apparently interested in mending fences.

Netanyahu to Meet with Obama at White House Next Week
Activists Vow to Protest Rahm Emanuel's Son's Bar Mitzvah in Israel

Robert Berger is a CBS Radio News correspondent in Jerusalem.


The report this morning that former President Bill Clinton was tasked by White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to make such an approach to Rep. Joe Sestak -- allegedly offering him an unpaid advisory role on an intelligence board in exchange for getting him to drop his primary bid against Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) -- would not normally raise much of a stir in official Washington.

That the story has become a major controversy, a regular fixture on cable news chat shows and a momentum-killer for Sestak following his come-from behind victory against Specter in last week's Pennsylvania primary is evidence of how the White House mishandled the controversy, according to conversations with several high-level Democratic strategists.

"How do you make something out of nothing?," asked one such operative who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about the matter. "By acting guilty when you're innocent."

Another senior party official said that the White House "has a lot of egg on their face" and described the events as a "PR nightmare".

The unfolding of events since Sestak told a local television host -- albeit obliquely -- in February that he had received a job offer from the White House speaks to one of the oldest political adages about the presidency: stonewalling almost never works. (The full White House report on the matter is here.)

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was repeatedly asked in the intervening months about Sestak's allegation but deflected comment. As the story became a bigger deal in the wake of Sestak's primary victory, the statements out of the White House grew more and more opaque -- as Gibbs insisted over the weekend that "nothing inappropriate happened" but refusing to engage in the more basic "what happened question."

The matter reached a head during President Obama's press conference yesterday when, asked by Fox News Channel's Major Garrett about the details of the Sestak job offer, the President said only: "I can assure the public that nothing improper took place. But as I said, there will be a response shortly on that issue."

Republicans gleefully highlighted every incident of the White House's practiced silence on the matter, using the Sestak allegation to undermine one of the pillars of the Obama brand: transparency and accountability.

"This issue goes to the heart of Obama's claims to have a different kind of White House and that he would usher in a new era of transparency and accountability," Republican National Committee communications director Doug Heye told the Fix earlier this week.

Allies of the White House argue that the Sestak situation was less PR blunder than conscious choice to accept some short term pain for long term gain (or at least less long term pain).

Their argument is that the White House could have pushed out an answer to the Sestak job controversy quickly but, in so doing, would have run the risk of not having all the facts of a relatively complex situation straight -- making it a real possibility that they would be bludgeoned by the press if there was a mistake or inconsistency in the original statement.

Instead, they chose to conduct an exhaustive review, which led to what we expect to be a detailed document from the White House counsel's office later today, in order to take the public relations hit and quickly move on.

Regardless of the reasoning (or lack therefor, according to their critics) behind the White House's approach to the issue, their extended silence on the matter has created -- at least in the near term -- a major PR problem.

It's -- yet more -- evidence that small things can quickly grow into big things in the hothouse atmosphere of official Washington. While Obama and his senior aides decry that fishbowl effect, it has come back to bite them this time around.

The Sestak story continued ....

How Bill Clinton has become the roving fixer for the Obama administration.

The cover up is worse than the non-crime.

Joe Sestak released a statement on the conversation.

Republicans had a quick response.

The White House released a memo on the matter.

Sestak's brother has talked with the White House.

Obama himself said that "nothing improper" took place.


The Atlas Shrugged Congressional Caucus

That some people do not recognize the literary genius of Ayn Rand still amazes me. That some even denigrate her as a bad writer boggles the mind—but I learned to live with it when I realized that these people are mostly punishing themselves. If they want to sit around reading James Joyce instead, well, it's their funeral.

One of the examples of Ayn Rand's creativity is the fact that she wrote a magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, in which the hero doesn't make an appearance until we are about 700 pages into the novel—two thirds of the way through. And yet he is there, in a dozen different ways, from the very first sentence: "Who is John Galt?" That's one of the ways she gave him a constant presence. She turned him into a commonplace slang catchphrase. In the novel, "Who is John Galt?" is popular as an expression of resignation, usually explained as: "Don't ask questions nobody can answer." But of course, John Galt can answer them, and he appears with a message that is the opposite of hopelessness and resignation.

In a tribute to the genius of that literary device, in the past year and a half John Galt has once again become a popular catchphrase—but this time, in real life. It's not in the form of "Who is John Galt?" but in the form of "going Galt." That phrase was originally summoned to refer to the idea—a direct reference to the plot and theme of Atlas Shrugged—that productive people will withdraw their full effort in protest against the onslaught of taxes and regulations launched by the Obama administration. But it has come to be a catchphrase for the overall influence of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged as an inspiration for the political rebellion against President Obama's push for unlimited government power.

I have already mentioned the radicalization I've observed among the current crop of Republican candidates, and the influence of Ayn Rand on a significant number of them. So I was delighted to see another example in George Will's latest column for the Washington Post. It is a profile of Ron Johnson, the presumptive Republican nominee who will challenge Wisconsin's vulnerable incumbent Senator Russ Feingold this November.

Will notes that Johnson "calls Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged his 'foundational book.'" And like many of Ayn Rand's heroes, he is an industrialist—a manufacturer of plastic products. Here is what Johnson is running on:

The theme of his campaign, the genesis of which was an invitation to address a tea party rally, is: "First of all, freedom."… "The most basic right," Johnson says, "is the right to keep your property." Remembering the golden age when, thanks to Ronald Reagan, the top income tax rate was 28 percent, Johnson says: "For a brief moment we were 72 percent free."

Will notes that, despite the influence of the atheistic Ayn Rand, Johnson is "a pro-life Lutheran." "But this year the 'social issues,' as normally understood, are less important than the social issue as Johnson understands it—the transformation of American society in a way foreshadowed in [Ayn Rand's] fiction."

Will concludes: "The novel's famous opening words—'Who is John Galt?'—refer to a creative capitalist, Rand's symbol of society's self-sufficient people who, weary of carrying on their shoulders the burden of dependent people, shrug. Ron Johnson would rather run."

I've predicted that the next Congress will have a Tea Party Caucus of radical pro-liberty members. But I'm also beginning to wonder whether it will have an Atlas Shrugged Caucus. It won't be an Objectivist Caucus, mind you, because many of them are like Johnson and don't accept the whole of Ayn Rand's philosophy. But there could be a dozen or so congressmen who share and acknowledge Ayn Rand's influence on their views of the nature and role of government, and the morality of capitalism, individual liberty, and property rights.

Like I've been saying, this is an interesting and unprecedented year. Let's make the most of it.—RWT

Robert Tracinski writes daily commentary at He is the editor of "The Intellectual Activist (TIA)" and contributor to "The Freedom Fighter's Journal"

Friday, May 28, 2010

Our Gay Army

By Alan Caruba

I suspect there were always gay soldiers in any army throughout history. I also suspect most of them kept their “sexual orientation” to themselves. Armies are composed primarily of men and they still do the real fighting.

One can reach back to World War Two to recall women’s units that served our nation well. In Israel, women are an integral part of its defense forces because it has always been a tiny nation under siege and must perforce include them.

On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-12 to approve an amendment to the Defense authorization bill that would repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”, a policy initiated by the Clinton administration as a sop to its liberal base. It was not the most auspicious start to his two terms. An amendment by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) passed the House on a 234-194 vote. It would repeal the policy that prohibits homosexuals from serving in the military.

Rep. Murphy is an Iraq war veteran and former West Point professor. At least he served. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee who has no military experience released a statement saying, “By sending home more than 13,500 qualified patriotic service members willing and fit to serve this country since 1994, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ has not helped keep us or our families safe.” Rep. Rothman deemed the policy “unjust.”

More damage has been done to America in the name of “social justice” than can be enumerated here.

I served in the U.S. Army in the early 1960s, most of the time at Fort Benning, Georgia. There were one or two gays in my unit. I assume some of the men with whom I served knew it and none to my knowledge expressed any concern because it did not personally affect them. One would think, based on this, I would favor gays in the military. I don’t.

I have never met an officer who thought it was a good idea. A lot of them think mixing young men and women with raging hormones is a bad idea. I do not have the statistics on how many of the women get pregnant on duty, but I suspect it may well equal the number of gays sent home.

What we are witnessing is one more example of how the mentality spawned in the 1960s regarding social and sexual issues has reached its culmination. Those were the years when women’s rights and gay rights began in earnest and, of course, when the civil rights movement gripped the nation.

These movements transformed the nation is much the same way President Obama entered office promising “transformation.” Change is not always a good thing, but no one would argue that, a century after the end of the Civil War, the nation had to finally grant full equality to Afro-Americans. The other two movements, however, have proven problematic.

To begin with, women are different from men. And gays and lesbians are different from heterosexual men and women. Women entered the work force in great numbers, often putting off marriage and babies. The divorce rated doubled. When they had babies, they often turned them over to nannies or daycare services.

A lot of children have grown up without fulltime nurturing, taking their cues about life from television, movies, teachers, and their clueless contemporaries. That half constitutes the nation’s liberals. The other half grew up in traditional families with traditional values. They are politically conservative and many have joined the Tea Party movement.

Gays (I will use the term to include lesbians) grow up with a whole set of problems heterosexuals rarely glimpse. They are, by definition, different from the majority of the population and this is cause for a great deal of emotional anguish. The gay movement has primarily been on a quest for self-esteem and, secondarily, an end to the legal hurdles they encounter.

The push for gay marriage is wrong on many levels for a society, but there is little harm in removing some of the legal obstacles they face when they choose a life partner. Even gays mimic heterosexuals when they divorce.

Letting gays serve in the military, however, is an extraordinarily bad idea.

There are distinctly male values that have real value for society. Those values are integral to military service where large groups of men serve in close quarters. Add gays and women into the mix and it creates problems for everyone. Women are still prohibited from serving in combat.

You have to be there to understand this. The fact that we have a volunteer military has deprived a large segment of our population, a younger generation, from the experience, the duty, and the honor of serving their nation under arms. Most professional military, however, believe we have a superior military because of it. We have a very "politically correct" military with all the problems attendant to that.

Those who volunteer to serve in our military are owed a debt of gratitude. However, expecting men and women to serve with gays undermines a core element of a successful military, the morale and esprit de corps vital to a fighting unit.

Removing “don’t ask, don’t tell” is just one more way to reduce the effectiveness of our serving military. It is a distinctly liberal idea, a notion of “equality” that does not reflect reality.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

Will the Democrats Nationalize the US Oil Industry?

J. D. Longstreet—5/28/10

Even a casual observer of the Obama Administration would answer the question asked in the title of this piece with a resounding "YES!" I mean, you can FEEL the electricity in the air when you mention the possibility of Obama nationalizing the US oil industry in the presence of democrats/ socialists. I suspect, when out of public view, they are rubbing their hands together and doing a little jig of happiness at the very thought!

But, hold the phone! According to a recent poll, by Rasmussen, 65% of Americans say "HANDS OFF the US Oil Industry!" That same poll reveals that only 16% think it would be a good idea for the government to nationalize all the oil companies and run them on a non-profit basis. Twenty percent (20%) are undecided. (I am ALWAYS AMAZED AT THE PERCENTAGE OF "UNDECIDEDS" IN ANY POLL!)

One of the things we find amazing about this poll -- there has been a two percent drop in those favoring nationalization of the oil industry in just two years. In June of 2008, 29% favored nationalization of the oil industry and only 47% were opposed.

Some democrats/socialists are openly calling for the Obama Regime to take over the oil industry. In keeping with their "never allow a crisis to be wasted," I should think the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would fall within that category.

Socialism in the United States has gone from "creeping" to a full "gallop!" Even some democrat commentators are asking publicly why the President doesn't simply nationalize the oil industry and get the clean up of the oil spill done -- for the people, of course.

Frankly, I don't think the government has a clue how to clean up that spill -- and they know it! Plus, the government does not currently have the equipment or the expertise required to plug a gushing oil pipe located a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

As far back as June of 2008 Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., joined the ranks of those threatening to nationalize the oil companies. He is reported to have said: "We (the government) should own the refineries. Then we can control how much gets out into the market." (SOURCE).

Oh, I don't think there is room for any doubt the democrats/socialists would nationalize the US Oil companies, and the American divisions of foreign oil companies, in a heartbeat if this were not an election year and they were not already in deep doo-doo.

It is time for America to understand that America now has a socialist government running things in Washington, DC. All one has to do is look around and consider the debris of what used to be a constitutional, representative, republic... in other words... a free country! That ended January 20th, 2009.

If the American electorate is unsuccessful in rescuing America from the clutches of the Marxists in charge of our government, in the Mid-Term Election this coming November, we will have far more to worry about than whether or not Obama nationalizes the oil companies.

From now until election day in November expect to be bombarded by propaganda in the press, by direct mail, by phone, by e-mail, even door to door propagandists working out of local democrat/socialist precinct offices spreading the gospel, the "Good News of Socialism," Obama style!

Eventually the Gulf Oil Spill will be but an unpleasant memory. When memory does dredge it up, remember who stopped the oil from gushing from that broken pipe one mile deep in the ocean. It wasn't Obama's socialist government. No. Remember, they stood by, looking on and making comments, holding press conferences, and photo ops, much as the so-called "sidewalk supervisors" of by-gone days. What America saw was: socialist mediocrity, not American Exceptionalism, from the Obama Regime.And - it will only get worse until America is rescued from the democrat/socialist strangle hold.

We can do that -- NO - we MUST do that in November!

J. D. Longstreet is a conservative Southern American (A native sandlapper and an adopted Tar Heel) with a deep passion for the history, heritage, and culture of the southern states of America. At the same time he is a deeply loyal American believing strongly in "America First".

He is a thirty-year veteran of the broadcasting business, as an "in the field" and "on-air" news reporter (contributing to radio, TV, and newspapers) and a conservative broadcast commentator.

Longstreet is a veteran of the US Army and US Army Reserve. He is a member of the American Legion and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. A lifelong Christian, Longstreet subscribes to "old Lutheranism" to express and exercise his faith.

Articles by J.D. Longstreet are posted at: "INSIGHT on Freedom" at: and at: "Hurricane Alley... by Longstreet" at: also at "The Carolina Post" at and at numerous other conservative websites around the web.

J. D. Longstreet archives.

Big Brother To Censor Bloggers

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)

Just when you thought it was safe to start expressing your right to free speech, Democrats in Congress are gearing up for a vote on a new piece of legislation to blatantly undermine the First Amendment. Known as the DISCLOSE Act (HR 5175), this bill – written by the head of the Democrats’ congressional campaign committee – is their response to the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In short, the Supreme Court found that the government could not restrict the free speech rights of individuals or other entities wishing to participate in the political dialogue.


It is hard to see how establishing a level playing field for free speech – as our Founding Fathers did by making it a right under the Constitution and which the Supreme Court upheld – is a threat to our democracy. Nevertheless, the White House and their allies on Capitol Hill see honest criticism as a threat to forcing their big government, liberal agenda through Congress. So, there is no time like the present – namely five months before an election – to start putting the muzzle on those individuals and organizations not sticking to the Democrats’ talking points.

Under the DISCLOSE Act, certain incorporated entities would be restricted in how they can exercise their free speech rights. There is an exemption for some in the media sphere like newspapers, TV news, and the like. However, there is one driving force in today’s public debate that is NOT exempt. Bloggers will not have the same exemption provided to other media sources. Never mind that the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Citizens United case stated, “Differential treatment of media corporations and other corporations cannot be squared with the First Amendment.”

For many bloggers to exercise their free speech rights, they would have to jump through the same onerous new hoops as many businesses, nonprofit groups, and even such threats to democracy as your local chamber of commerce. If this sounds like an absurd overreach by one party in power, I invite you to take a look at their government takeover of health care, taxpayer-funded bailouts, and general hostility to private sector economic growth.

The Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats have not racked up a stellar record of transparency and openness. For a White House that touted its willingness to engage critics openly in hopes of staving off greater partisan rancor, Obama’s team has endorsed backroom deal-making, special giveaways to garner support for their agenda, and a closed-door decision-making process that has the American people more fed up with Washington. Now, under their brand of leadership, they stand ready to stifle free speech via legislative fiat.

Democrats should not be allowed to give themselves carte blanche to shut down the ability of those in the blogosphere or elsewhere to participate in our nation’s collective dialogue. That flies in the face of our most sacred rights as American citizens.

No Surprise here: Illegal Immigrants Favor Democommie Party

36 Points

That's the advantage Democrats now have over Republicans with the Latino vote. It was just 22 points six years ago. More:

68% of Latinos approve of Obama’s job (compared with 48% of overall respondents and 38% of whites), and they view the Democratic Party favorably by a 54%-21% score (versus 41%-40% among all adults and 34%-48% among whites). And their views of the Republican Party? In the poll, the GOP fav/unfav among Latinos is 22%-44%. What’s more, Latinos think Democrats would do a better job than Republicans in protecting the interests of minorities (by 58%-11%), in representing the opportunity to move up the economic ladder (46%-20%), in dealing with immigration (37%-12%), and in promoting strong moral values (33%-23%). The only advantage they gave Republicans was in enforcing security along the border (31%-20%). And Latinos remain a sleeping -- yet growing -- political giant: 23% of them aren’t registered voters (compared with 12% of whites and 16% of blacks).

Americans Fleeing Border Invasion

Link To Article

By Leo W. Banks

They spent ten winters hunting quail in the sun. But those halcyon days ended last week for Terrie and Glen Stoller. Smugglers -- armed, numerous, and brazen -- have frightened them off their southeast Arizona property.

The couple is selling their home, 45 miles north of the Mexican border in the notorious Chiricahua Corridor.

"Last winter," says Terrie, "as we walked the hills looking for quail with our dogs, I kept thinking, ‘What if we come upon a drug encampment? What's going to happen to us?' I carry a camera, my husband carries a 12-gauge for quail, and we have four hunting dogs. It'd be the end of us. It'd be no contest against drug runners carrying rifles and big weapons."

Glen likens the family to frontier homesteaders loading a wagon and returning home. "Cochise has won," he says, referring to the Apache chief who made the Chiricahua Mountains his homeland. "The Indians are running us off."

I drove out to the Stoller place for moving day. Their winter retreat is a modest, Santa Fe-style manufactured home west of Highway 80, at the mouth of Horseshoe Canyon.

The couple, both 71, made a party of their last hours in Arizona. Terrie had lunch ready for dear friends who came to help pack. Others drove to the barbed wire fence around the property, threw their arms wide and said, "Let's have a goodbye hug."

It was a sad day, made more so by events in Washington.

At the precise moment Americans citizens were saying a wrenching farewell to their friends and property, President Obama stood on the White House lawn and listened as Mexican President Felipe Calderón criticized SB 1070, Arizona's own effort to deal with a state under siege.

Obama offered no correction or objection, and what a shock to see an American president acquiesce to a foreign leader's interference in the affairs of sovereign Arizona.

But Obama and his cabinet have had plenty to say about SB1070 on other occasions, and most of it has been nakedly political, uninformed, and demagogic.

The day after the Stollers' move, we were treated to a second spectacle -- Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, most of them, standing to cheer as Calderón repeated his slanders against Arizona.

Do we even need to mention the shameful treatment by the government of Mexico of migrants passing through that country -- the rapes, beatings, and robberies to which they're routinely subjected?

Do we need to mention Mexico practically shoving its people out of the country to take advantage of their hard labors here, and the billions they send back to shore up the economic and human rights basket case Calderón oversees?

The hypocrisy bends the mind.

Finally, this week, two months after Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Republican Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl asked for help to defend the state's border, the president agreed to send "up to 1,200" National Guard troops and request $500 million in supplemental spending for added security measures.

More money is always welcome, but everything hinges on how it is spent. The troop commitment is more symbolic than real, and the details here are critical, too. How many of the "up to 1,200" will be sent to Arizona? Our border with Mexico is 380 miles long. Our representatives asked for 3,000 soldiers in Arizona alone.

Will the National Guard be stationed right on the line, with bullets in their guns and the authority to defend themselves? Almost certainly not. The border is a "combat zone," says T.J. Bonner, head of the Border patrol agents' union, too dangerous even for Border Patrol.

You read that correctly. Without armored vehicles to protect them, Bonner opposes putting Border Patrol agents on the border itself.

But the Stollers and friends kept Washington's alternate reality far away this day. They worked, chatted, and reminisced as the moving trucks filled up. It was a blue-sky morning in this rural valley on the Arizona-New Mexico line.

The landscape here is among the Southwest's most beautiful, big beyond imagining, with waving grasses, dirt roads that never end, and hidden canyons that twist through the Chiricahuas and their sister mountains, the Peloncillos, on the New Mexico side.

But smugglers of both people and drugs now control those ranges, and these dangerous men have transformed life here. Some residents carry weapons inside their houses. Others grab a firearm to step out to the garage or the storage shed, or to go to the market.

The Stollers own a nursery in California and grow grapevines for farmers and wineries. When they began wintering in Arizona, they never locked their doors, even though they encountered illegals who'd ask for water or food, sending Glen to the fridge for leftovers.

"We didn't feel it was our job to turn them in. We felt sorry for them," says Terrie. "Work is hard to find in Mexico, and they're just trying to feed their families."

But that began to change several years ago as break-ins mounted, with reports of guns stolen. The Stollers themselves were broken into in May last year and again in June, and in January, a retired couple living a mile north suffered a home invasion by two illegals, one carrying a machete.

"It all built up," says Terrie. "The Apache School was being totally ruined and trashed and everything taken out of it. Then Rob Krentz was killed March 27, and he was just down the road."

One of Terrie's pressing fears was for her beloved Llewellin setter hunting dogs.

At night, the animals would often respond to a coyote and charge out the doggie door to investigate. Terrie says she'd lie awake listening for their return, hoping she wouldn't have to "go out and find them with a bullet in them next morning."

"It didn't happen, thank goodness," she says. "But we didn't want it to happen, and we became fearful enough we finally said, 'That's it. We can't stay.'"

The Stollers could be forgiven for harboring bitterness. But it's not in their nature. Terrie acknowledges feeling some anger, although her primary emotion is sadness.

"We don't know who to blame," she says. "Is it the government's fault? Is it people taking drugs in America? Is it Mexico for allowing it to happen? There's no use blaming anyone. It's just a sad state of affairs. We've met so many wonderful people in Arizona, and we're just keeping our fingers crossed nothing happens to them."

In one respect, the Stollers are fortunate. They've found a likely buyer, a fellow who grew up here and wants to return to the valley in retirement. Selling the place through a real estate agent to someone just coming in, without local ties, would've been impossible.

"Nobody in their right mind would even look at it, knowing what's going on here," says Terrie.

Property values are plunging across the borderlands. I got an e-mail last week from retired Cochise County judge Rich Winkler, 71, who always dreamed of owning a cattle ranch. He lives outside Rodeo, six miles from the Stollers and fifty miles north of the Mexican line.

His ranch is in the Peloncillos. Here is what he wrote:

Mary and I have worked all our life to pay for this place, and now they tell me it is worth nothing because no one will buy it. I don't blame them. Helen Snyder sells real estate in the area and she said that since Rob's death, the market is dead it the water. I can't believe my country would leave me high and dry like this.

If the heartbreak Winkler feels doesn't leap from those words, read them again. Heartbreak is everywhere here, every day.

Wendy Glenn, with husband Warner, lives on a ranch right on the border east of Douglas, and she's a throwback, as tough as they make them. But she choked up likening the Stollers' moving day to a funeral.

As she carried boxes out to the truck, Glenn said, "This is God's country, and it's being taken away from us."

Leo W. Banks covers the border for the Tucson Weekly.

Glenn Beck To Be Fired At Fox News?

Glenn Beck's departure from Fox News, Part 2

Posted: May 28, 2010
1:00 am Eastern

© 2010

In Part 1 of this article, I expressed my concern that Glenn Beck might not be around for the long term at Fox News. As I watch him strip BHO and other members of Crime Inc. down to their dirty underwear every day at 5 p.m., I ponder what the Obamaviks will do to try to stop him from destroying their efforts to transform the U.S. into a collectivist paradise.

In that regard, I can envision four possibilities for Beck's exit:

Assassination. On more than one occasion, Beck has alluded to cement boots and his ending up at the bottom of the East River. He has also assured his audience that he has no inclination to jump off a tall building, and if something like that would ever happen to him, it would not be accidental.

Even more ominous is that Beck continually tells his audience that this isn't about him, that each and every one of them must stand up and carry on the fight. When he says this, it sparks memories of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous words at a Memphis rally the night before he was murdered: "I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land."

Anyone reasonably knowledgeable about political history knows that those on the far left unabashedly believe that their morally superior objectives justify the use of violence. The problem they have with Beck is that using violence to eliminate him is problematic, given that he has already warned the public to be on the lookout for his untimely demise.

So, let's assume – and hope – that no harm befalls Glenn Beck. What else, then, might cause him to leave Fox?

What will it take to restore common sense and rein in out-of-control government? Get Glenn Beck's book inspired by Founding Father Thomas Paine

Roger Ailes retires or passes on. Roger Ailes has almost single-handedly propped up the free press in this country, being so good at his job that Fox News has been able to render its left-wing media competition almost irrelevant. When Ailes, who recently turned 70, leaves Fox, there is no assurance that Rupert Murdoch will pick a replacement with equally strong conservative beliefs.

If Roger Ailes is replaced by a "moderate," the new president of Fox would undoubtedly either terminate Beck or place restrictions on what he could and could not say. And if the latter occurred, you can be sure Beck would depart Fox – with his honor intact, as promised.

Rupert Murdoch passes on. Rupert Murdoch is still going strong, but the reality is that he's 79 years old. And Murdoch's children are liberals who have long complained thatFox News is too conservative. With Murdoch gone, there would surely be a major shakeup, and both Roger Ailes and Glenn Beck would quickly be out the door.

The Godfather option. Barack Obama knows that time is against him. With liberal Democrats dropping like flies in primaries and special elections, he can't afford to wait too long for Roger Ailes to retire or Rupert Murdoch to die.

Solution? Just send "the boys" over to have a little chat with Murdoch and make him "an offer he can't refuse." In keeping with diversity czar Mark Lloyd's stated objective to force "some people to step down to make room for others," the offer might be as straightforward as: If you get rid of Glenn Beck,Fox News can stay on the air. Otherwise …

Kind of the Obamafia's version of putting a bloody horse's head in someone's bed to improve his perception of reality.

So where does Beck go if he departs Fox News? On at last one occasion, he said that even if the bad guys succeed in forcing him off radio and television, he will come back with a louder voice and larger platform than ever. I found that to be a tantalizing statement, one that caused me to speculate on what such a platform might be.

Of course, the biggest platform of all would be president of the United States. Beck says he would never run for president, because he wouldn't want to risk losing his soul, the implication being that a person can't run for president and keep his honor intact.

I thought about this recently when Beck did an in-depth show on George Washington. He emphasized that what made Washington unique was that he did not want to be president. He accepted the office only out of a sense of duty, and refused to stay in office longer than two terms.

I believe Beck sees himself in much the same way. I think he feels a sense of duty to do whatever he can to save America. He knows George Washington did not want to be president, and says that "Americans are looking for someone like George Washington."

Clearly, he has a vivid sense that he has been put in his current high-profile station in life for a purpose – which means he may not have a choice but to throw his hat into the political ring, either in 2012 or 2016.

Much like the Founding Fathers, I believe Beck has committed himself to using his fame, his fortune and his enormous talents to help defeat the poisonous progressive movement that is fundamentally transforming the United States into a destitute socialist nation.

So, the $64 question is: Will Glenn Beck ultimately conclude that he has no choice but to run for president?

And the $128 question is: Would enough Americans be willing to open their minds to the truths he would expose to elect him president?

If Beck did become president, I believe he would go down as one of the greatest – and most unpopular – patriots in American history. Unpopular because, like George Washington, he would not be willing to trade his honor for popularity.

In any event, if the presidency is not in Beck's future, it will be interesting to see what his platform will be three to five years down the road. Right now, atFox News, he's a ticking time bomb for the progressive movement in this country.

Robert Ringer is the author of three No. 1 best-sellers, including two books listed by the New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time. He also hosts the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, where he interviews today's top economic and political leaders on the most vital and controversial issues of our time. To tap into his profound wisdom and life-changing insights on a regular basis, sign up for a FREE subscription to his one-of-a-kind e-letter, "A Voice of Sanity in an Insane World," by visiting