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Move over Jeremiah!
By Alan Caruba
When I started writing these commentaries five years ago, I called them "Warning Signs" because I wanted them to reflect the many problems either being experienced or which needed to be anticipated before they grew worse.
At the risk of sounding like some old Biblical prophet full of lamentations and foreboding, it needs be said that, in 2004, there are plenty of problems to address, not the least will be the long-term effort to suppress and end the terrorism gripping the world, thanks to the Islamic Jihad that began in the late 1970s. We can anticipate more "high alerts" in the year ahead.
One problem growing larger by the day is that of illegal immigration into the United States and, for incomprehensible reasons, the Bush administration seems determined to make it worse. On December 9, the head of our Department of Homeland Security proposed an amnesty for the eight to twelve million illegal aliens already here and, this month, abandoned the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, NSEERS, that required non-immigrant males from 25 terrorist-sponsoring nations to register with the INS. Since its inception following September 11, it detained 14,000 lawbreakers while registering 83,000 foreign nationals.
Illegal immigrants are draining taxpayers just to pay for the costs of their hospitalization. The new Medicare prescription drug plan includes a billion dollars to cover those costs. We should not be underwriting these costs that are estimated to be a minimum of five billion annually and, probably, a lot more. When illegals show up at a US hospital, they should be reported to the INS and deported. The drug plan, while popular among America's seniors, will bankrupt the Medicare system that is already tottering on bankruptcy.
On the energy front, the cost of natural gas has experienced an 83 per cent increase over the last 41 months. It has cost residential and industrial consumers $111 billion dollars more during that period and it will get worse. The US is blessed with enormous natural gas reserves, but thanks to the environmental opposition, moratoriums on drilling remain in place. The same holds true for untapped oil and coal reserves, both of which remain blocked. Meanwhile, our electricity distribution grid was built largely in the 1950s and is in desperate need of upgrading and expansion. If not, look for more big blackouts.
The obscenity that is our nation's educational system will continue to produce children whose test scores in virtually every subject, will remain well below those in other nations. Controlled from Washington, DC in league with the National Education Association, the teacher's union, parents are at a loss to protect their children from the ignorance imposed on them. The grip of the NEA must be broken. State and community control must be returned. Nothing in the Constitution authorizes the present system. The coercive drugging of thousands of school children deemed to have "attention deficits" or of being "over-active" is criminal.
Property rights continue to be under assault by federal and state funded programs that put more and more of the nation's landmass under the control of the government or private environmental organizations. Homes and properties of private citizens are being seized or controlled using such devices as the designation of wetlands, the Endangered Species Act, and "conservation easements", among others.
The Patriot Act, passed by a Congress that didn't even read its provisions, poses a direct threat to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution freedoms Americans take for granted. It must be either significantly amended or abandoned in favor of a less threatening administrative coordination of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. That's not likely to happen.
These are just a few of the problems that lay ahead
Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted
on www.anxietycenter.com, the
Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan
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