- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Border issues

“The politics of immigration are changing,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“On Friday Bill Richardson, the nation’s only Hispanic governor, declared a ‘state of emergency’ in four New Mexico border counties due to ‘a chaotic situation involving illegal alien smuggling and illegal drug shipments.’ His office has pledged $1.5 million for stepped-up law enforcement and also asked Chris Simcox, the president of the volunteer border patrol group Minutemen, for a meeting.

“Mr. Richardson, a man who wears his ambition for national office on his sleeve, has apparently decided he has to reposition himself on border issues,” Mr. Fund said.

“He’s not the only Democrat to do so. Sen. Hillary Clinton made headlines when she embraced high-tech measures to control the border with Mexico and fines for employers who hire illegal aliens. ‘Democrats clearly sense frustration on immigration among Bush’s base voters and are trying to outflank him rhetorically on the right,’ says Martha Montelongo, a talk-show host in California.”

Watchdog sleeps

The liberal advocacy group Common Cause failed to file its 2004 year-end lobbying-disclosure report with the House until Aug. 1, 2005, nearly six months after the date prescribed by law, Roll Call reports.

Rep. Bob Ney, Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Administration Committee, said yesterday that a recent directive issued by him mandating the electronic filing of such reports by Jan. 1, 2006, should eliminate such serious oversights in the future.

Mr. Ney’s press release noted that Common Cause is a leading member of the self-described “Congressional Ethics Coalition,” a group of liberal outside organizations that many in the national press have pointed to as “government watchdogs.”

“With over 200 members of Congress, Democrat and Republicans, reporting problems with their travel-disclosure reports and now even self-described ‘watchdogs’ like Common Cause failing to file their lobbying-disclosure forms for nearly six months after the deadline, it is clear that our decision to move towards electronic filing was the right one,” Mr. Ney said.

Judging the judge

The Justice Department, citing “legal errors and unconventional case management,” asked yesterday that U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth be removed from continuing to hear a 9-year-old lawsuit by American Indians regarding unpaid oil and gas royalties.

Judge Lamberth has been highly critical of the Interior Department’s handling of accounts that are supposed to identify how much money Indian tribes are owed — a case being defended by the Justice Department. Last year, the judge held Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton in contempt of court.

In a 20-page filing, the department asked a federal appeals court to order a change, saying Judge Lamberth had made a “gratuitous reference” last month to murder, dispossession, forced marches and other incidents of cultural genocide against Indians.

In a ruling, the judge had described the Interior Department as a “dinosaur — the morally and culturally oblivious hand-me-down of a disgracefully racist and imperialist government that should have been buried a century ago, the last pathetic outpost of the indifference and anglocentrism we thought we had left behind.”

The Indians are seeking $27.5 billion in mismanaged oil, gas, grazing, timber and other royalties from their lands dating to 1887.

Post pulls out

The Washington Post is pulling out of a Pentagon-sponsored event to commemorate those killed at the Pentagon during the September 11 attacks, according to officials.

The newspaper claims the event is being politicized by the Bush administration, according to officials close to the issue who spoke to Bill Gertz of The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity.

“It is unfortunate that The Washington Post has made this decision not to support the Freedom Walk, but we welcome their donation to the Pentagon Memorial Fund,” the Pentagon said in a statement last night.

“This is a commemorative event to honor the memory of the victims who died in the attack on the Pentagon and to highlight the yet-to-be constructed Pentagon Memorial.”

The statement said the walk, scheduled for Sept. 11 near the site where a hijacked airliner slammed into the five-sided building, “is an opportunity to remember the victims and their families, to reflect on the sacrifices made by our troops and to recommit to the work still ahead.”

“Regardless of how one chooses to observe this anniversary, we should never forget the sacrifices — both past and present — made by those in defense of our freedom,” the statement said.

The Post had agreed to provide free advertising for the event, but the paper withdrew in the face of criticism from anti-Iraq war groups. A Post spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Farrakhan’s analysis

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said Mexican President Vicente Fox was right to say that Mexican immigrants take jobs “that not even blacks want.”

Although Mr. Fox was sharply criticized for his remarks by some black leaders, Mr. Farrakhan said Sunday that blacks do not want to go to farms and pick fruit because they already “picked enough cotton.”

“Why are you so foolishly sensitive when somebody is telling you the truth?” he asked the crowd at Mercy Memorial Baptist Church in Milwaukee. He said blacks and Hispanics should form an alliance to correct differences and animosity between them, the Associated Press reports.

Black leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton, have called on Mr. Fox to apologize for the remark. Mr. Fox has said he was commenting on the contributions that Mexicans make to the United States, and did not mean any offense.

Proxmire’s illness

Wisconsin’s William Proxmire, who served in the U.S. Senate for more than 30 years, is battling Alzheimer’s disease.

The Democratic former lawmaker, now 89, rarely speaks in his home near Baltimore, his wife, Ellen, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“Very sad,” she said. The former senator goes through newspapers but shows no sign of absorbing anything, she added.

Mr. Proxmire first developed symptoms of Alzheimer’s in the late 1980s. His Senate colleague, Paul S. Sarbanes, Maryland Democrat, wept when he visited Mr. Proxmire, United Press International reports, citing the Milwaukee newspaper.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@Washingtontimes.com.

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