Liberals loathed him. Conservatives idolized him. The middle overwhelmingly loved him. He charmed America. His knack to connect was unmistakable. And although many have tried to replicate his charisma and appeal, no one has ever come close to being Ronald Reagan.

He made us laugh when we didnt think we could, or should. He always had a way to comfort us in the midst of tragedy. He could disarm the press with a one-liner; and get a chuckle from even his fiercest opponents.

The first time I saw Ronald Reagan was at the 1968 Republican Convention in Miami Beach. Much to the dismay of my dyed-in-the-wool Democrat grandmother, I was there as a proud Texas College Republican delegate.

He lost the nomination to Nixon, but I was sold on Reagan from that moment on.

Of course, I instantly like him for his automobile of choice a jeep. I drove the same kind and still do. He appealed to me and other renegade conservatives my age, particularly those of us in the yellow-dog South, because we were a herd without a shepherd. Back then, it was taboo to be a Republican in Texas. But then, along came Reagan. We were Reagan Republicans.

Reagan cut the class warfare. He transformed the country-club GOP image, and brought conservatism out of the shadows. It was cool to be a conservative. He represented what Americans wanted Democrats and Republicans alike. He wasnt the Grand Old Party leader; he was the peoples president.

Reagans tenure in the White House saw some of the most historic events in our country and the world. His line, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall, will probably resonate for time immemorial.

Although criticized by his foes for being a Hollywood actor, Reagan masterfully engineered a feat that so-called political experts had little confidence could be accomplished the end of the Cold War.

Within minutes of his swearing in, news broke in one of the most widely followed situations of that time. President Reagan announced the Iran hostage crisis was over. The Americans were coming home. Make no mistake the significance of his election was an intimidating and influential factor in their release.

When the entire country was devastated by the Challenger tragedy, Reagan addressed a grieving nation by giving one of his most memorable and touching speeches. His ability to heal the brokenhearted was more than an admired political attribute. He never talked above the people always to the people. It was what made him one of us.

And of course, there is his most beloved legacy. He single handedly made the jelly bean a national treasure.

Reagan never took himself too seriously. Even when his own life was on the line, the leader of the free world was cracking jokes. On his way into emergency surgery after the 1981 assassination attempt, he looked up at the surgeons and said, I hope you are all Republicans.

While he was a one-of-a kind politician the Everyman of our time. He was a pull yourself up by the boot straps kind of guy.

From union halls to country clubs, everyone felt like Reagan was one of them. Being an American meant something to him. He was unabashedly unapologetic for our countrys success.

He was the great defender of capitalism. Reaganomics was hailed ingenious by the supply-side, pro-growth economists and harshly criticized as voodoo by the big government crowd.

Reagan proved that lower taxes and leaner government stimulates growth, spurs private enterprise, inspires harder work and enables more savings and investment.

The American people got it then, and they want it back now.

As we celebrate the 100th birthday of President Reagan this Sunday (or the 61st anniversary of his 39th birthday; he never missed a chance to poke fun at his own age), we should learn from The Great Communicator.

Americans want to be talked to again, not pushed aside by a government that talks above them. In Reagans inaugural address he said, "It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed."

The Gipper was right then, and he is right now. Happy birthday, Mr. President. And thats just the way it is.

Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe proudly serves on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees and established the bipartisan Victims Rights Caucus to advocate on behalf of victims in our nations capital.

Read this article online by clicking here.

Why Repeal Really Matters

January 19, 2011

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" I know this quote is used a lot, but President Reagan hit the nail on the head. The one thing that Washington is never at a loss for is taking a problem and making it worse.

Our healthcare system, albeit the greatest system in the world, needs reform. There is no question that it needs changes, but a sweeping trillion dollar government-run takeover is not the answer. The American people have overwhelmingly rejected this idea. And despite the will of the people and the lack of constitutional authority, out-of touch Washington elites have once again decided what they think is best for the people: more government control.

Today, the House will vote to repeal the government-run healthcare bill passed last spring. It is imperative that we repeal this massive, job-killing bill that puts the government in charge of our personal healthcare decisions. Aside from the obvious assault on our constitutional rights, this bill will devastate the already struggling job market and economy.

Despite claims of lower health insurance premiums, countless studies have now projected that health insurance premiums actually could increase by roughly $2,100 per family if the bill is fully implemented. A study by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the nations largest small business association, found that an employer mandate alone could lead to the elimination of 1.6 million jobs, with 66 percent of those coming from small businesses.
Over the coming years, US taxpayers will face $569 billion in new taxes to foot the bill. To add that kind of a tax burden on an already overtaxed population burdened by the economic downturn and high unemployment is completely irresponsible. Americans want reform we can afford, not more out-of-control spending that adds to our debt and a government that interferes in our lives.

That brings us to the crux of the matter government interference in every aspect of our lives. Most of the people in this country still believe in the Constitution and the rights it bestows upon us. But more importantly, our forefathers knew the importance of keeping government in check.

The Constitution purposely sets limits on what dictates of pain the federal government is allowed to inflict on the people. The people decide what is best for themselves and our country, not the government. Americans from all walks of life and all political viewpoints are tired of having their voices ignored and their constitutional rights trampled on and set aside.

James Madison, author of the Constitution said, The powers delegated by theConstitution to the federal government are few and defined. The healthcare bill is a theft of the individual freedom to control ones health and to have it now controlled by omnipotent government. It is a political philosophy that has always been rejected by the people of this country a flawed philosophy that government knows better than We the People.

I will continue to stand up for the Constitution. As a former judge, I have great respect for the laws of our country. As a representative in the Peoples House, I will not sit idly by and watch the assault on our rights continue. Its not too late to right this wrong.

There are 26 states now challenging this bills constitutionality in court. Never before in the history of our nation has a tax been levied on individuals by the government with the purpose of forcing us to buy a particular good or service.

Congress has never tried to pass a tax on individual Americans similar to this, so the Supreme Court has never ruled on such a tax directly. However, many Constitutional analysts, including myself, believe the high court would rule such a tax unconstitutional.

Todays vote will put the wheels of repeal in motion, but there is more to be done. I have filed the Defund the Individual Mandate Act to prohibit any federal funding from being appropriated by Congress to fund the individual mandates that requires Americans to purchase insurance or pay a fine. If we cant immediately repeal the law, we can stop the funding to implement and enforce it.

Congress should not be appropriating money for a government program that very well might be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. So as the repeal effort makes its way to the Senate and through the courts, members of Congress need to roll-up our sleeves and put a stop payment on this out-of-control government without delay.

Its been said, if you think the problems government creates are bad, wait until you see governments solutions. Repealing this healthcare bill is not just about stopping nationalized healthcare, its about repealing government power. Thats why repeal really matters.

And thats just the way it is.

Read this article in Human Events online at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=41268#

The American Spirit

December 26, 2010

"Of the People, by the People." No other words better define who we are as a nation. The shot heard round the world set freedom in motion, but it was the American spirit that lit the fuse.

Our Founders believed that our rights were endowed by our Creator, not by the government. The Declaration of Independence was an indictment of King George III by the people. His punishment: lose the Colonies to democracy; to freedom. From the very beginning, it has been the people of this country who have always come to the rescue when freedom is threatened.

In the fall of 2009, Fort Worth, Texas, native 1st Lt. Derick Carver of the 82nd Airborne arrived in Afghanistan. The 28-year-old rough Army Ranger had one mission in mind -- defend freedom. On his first deployment to Afghanistan, his platoon was to clear a school of bombs or IEDs. U.S. troops learned that the Taliban had blanketed the school with explosives and the children were not able to return to their classrooms.

It was in this school a world away, that Lt. Carver's life changed in a split second. An IED explosion claimed the lives of three of his friends, wounded seven others in his platoon and left Carver gravely injured.

Lt. Carver eventually made his way to Walter Reed Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. His injuries were so severe that he needed 51 units of blood over the course of his treatment. As a result of the explosion, Carver lost his leg and a finger.

His recovery is a miraculous story. His determination to walk again, to put his life back together and keep moving forward is inspirational. But it's the rest of the story that tells the tale of the American spirit.

Lt. Carver has wanted to be a soldier all of his life. He told me he can't remember not wanting to serve his country. Both his grandfathers served:one a Marine; and the other a sailor on the USS Pueblo that was captured by the North Koreans. His dad served in the U.S. Navy. Lt. Carver was bred to do just that. He grew up with a sense of service and personal responsibility. So it comes as no surprise that he declined his medical discharge -- and his benefits. Instead, he re-enlisted.

He wants to serve his country. He said that losing a leg can't compare to losing the lives of three of his friends. In his words, "I owe it to them."

Where does America find such men? For more than 200 years, where do we continue to find those who sacrifice so much for the rest of us? There is no other war in modern times that has been fought this long by an all-volunteer military. Not just on one front, but two simultaneous wars with all volunteers.

Lt. Carver will continue to serve his country honorably. He believes being a soldier is the best job in America.

Regardless of our politics, we can all agree that the United States of America is the greatest example of freedom the world has ever known. Fortunately, we have people like 1st Lt. Carver who continue to answer the call to defend that right all around the world.

Inside all peoples is the burning spark of freedom. Our troops fight so people can live in liberty Our enemies fight so people can die in tyranny. The American people represent everything that is good about democracy and freedom. Our ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence indicting the most powerful nation the world had known. They were willing to sacrifice their lives and fortunes for that American yearning for individual freedom.

We are still a nation that produces remarkable people like them. One of them is 1st Lt. Derick Carver. To him and his Army buddies, America is still worth sacrificing for. They are a special breed -- the American breed.

A government run amok has many people in this country worried about our future. Let me remind you that it's because "Of the People" that all is never lost in our country. The people, not the government, unite us as one. Even when it seems all is gloom, doom and despair, the people of this country will continue to light the fuse of freedom. The American spirit, like the warrior on the battlefield, will always prevail.

And that's just the way it is.

Clickhere to read this story on Human Events
Congressman Ted Poe represents the 2nd Congressional District of Texas. Rep. Poe recently introduced the National Guard Border Enforcement Act that will authorize the Secretary of Defense to make 10,000 armed National Guard troops available upon request from a U.S. Governor. Rep. Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Border Security; Executive Member of the Immigration Reform Caucus; and recognized nationally as a leading advocate for border security. Prior to serving in Congress, Poe was a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas for 30 years.

It was near midnight as American peace keepers were on patrol in a well-known hot zone in a remote area of the desert valley. The men and women that protect us know the dangers they face in the valley of the gun. Yet, they continue to serve; continue to put their lives on the line for our country. But, I am not talking about the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. I am talking about the war at home the Third Front.

On December 14, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry and members of his team encountered a group of armed gunmen while on patrol in a remote area near the border town of Rio Rico, Arizona. Upon seeing Agent Terry and three other Border Patrol agents, the suspects opened fire with automatic weapons in the darkness of the night. Terry was shot in the back with an AK-47.

Within minutes a helicopter life-flighted him to a nearby hospital. However, Terry died en route. One gunman was wounded in the shootout. Four suspects have been arrested for this deadly crime, but one individual remains on the run.

Justice is needed and well-deserved for these murderers. Agent Brian A. Terry is irreplaceable. Yet another life claimed by the violent border battle on the Third Front. I hope justice is swift, but I also hope that our government takes action and not one more lawman loses his life at the hands of an illegal.

Agent Terrys fatal shooting is not the first murder of a Border Patrol agent. If our government continues to be blissfully ignorant to the reality of the violence and crime spilling over into our country, I am afraid he wont be the last.

Violent attacks on border patrol agents also continue to rise. In 2004, there were about 300 assaults on our border agents. Now, there are over 1000 assaults a year. An overwhelming majority of these assaults are committed by people arrogantly crossing the border into the United States illegally and assaulting our Border Patrol agents with rocks.

American citizens are not exempt from the dangers either. Our border jails are over-run with criminal illegals that have committed violent crimes in our country. Earlier this year, American citizen, David Hartley was murdered on Falcon Lake along the Texas-Mexico border by the Zeta Cartel. His death is not uncommon for those who experience the brutal violence on a daily basis. To the protectors on our borders, this is just another day on the Texas-Mexico border.

For some reason, we don't hear much about border violence in the mainstream media. They seem too concerned about letting those illegally here stay, rather than the crimes they commit against Border Patrol agents and American citizens. However, the media has it backwards.

The border is a bloody battlefield set between the law and the outlaws. As a Texas Ranger once told me, Congressman, after dark, it gets western on the border. Our border protectors are out-manned, out-gunned, and out-financed. Until the issue of border security is seriously addressed this pandemonium on the Third Front will only escalate.

Communities on the border, and those sworn to protect them, are under constant assault. They are the iron gatekeepers to a violent battle that reveals each and every day uncontained authority. Many, just like Agent Terry, have sacrificed their lives by putting themselves between the bad guys and us. We need the moral resolve as a nation to secure the dignity of our borders, to protect the lawmen that are down there doing the job that we ask them to do. We cannot continue to ask them to do a job that our government undercuts every chance it gets.

Plain and simple: we need more boots on the border. All the technology in the world is useless without the manpower to enforce it. I filed the National Guard Border Enforcement Act that will require the deployment of 10,000 National Guard troops to the U.S-Mexico border at the request of a border governor. American lives should no longer be sacrificed due to the lack of reinforcement. The absence of troops on the border is robbing American citizens of their safety and their lives.

It is the first duty of government to protect the country and the people that live in it. We owe the men and women who guard the border more than gratitude for the sacrifices they make. We owe them the proper funding, manpower and support not just to guard our border, but to ensure their safety and protection as well.

Border sheriffs and the people of this country have been calling the federal authorities for help for years, but help has not arrived. We protect the borders of other countries every day, theres no excuse why we cant protect our own. It is a terrible irony that Agent Terry served in Iraq as a Marine to protect the border of another nation, yet because our government refuses to recognize that we have a war at home, he died protecting our own border the Third Front.

And, thats just the way it is.

Republican Rep. Ted Poe represents the 2nd Congressional District of Texas. Rep. Poe recently introduced the National Guard Border Enforcement Act that will authorize the Secretary of Defense to make 10,000 armed National Guard troops available upon request from a U.S. Governor. Rep. Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Border Security; Executive Member of the Immigration Reform Caucus; and recognized nationally as a leading advocate for border security. Prior to serving in Congress, Poe was a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas for 30 years.

Clickhere to read this story on FoxNews.com

'Over There': The Final Legacy

December 16, 2010

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Over there, over there, send the word, send the word, over there. That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming, and we wont be back, till its over over there. These were the words proudly sung by the American Doughboys as they headed over there to fight for freedom in the Great World War. Nearly a century later, the final legacy of the American Doughboy is in our hands. How will we write the next pages of the final chapter?

At 109 years old, it is reasonable to assume there isnt much left in life to accomplish. For most people thats probably true. But for Frank Buckles, in his last chapter of life, his story is not quite done.

Frank Woodruff Buckles, is the last American Doughboy. He is a national treasure. I had the honor of meeting Frank as he joined me in Washington, D.C., to announce the Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act. The bill would refurbish and expand the local World War I Memorial on the National Mall for the soldiers of the District of Columbia. It has been Franks driving passion to see that all the nearly 5 million Americans who fought in the War to End All Wars have a place among the memorials that honor our nation's heroes.

Frank has become my driving force to see to it that this simple request is rightfully honored, and we, as a nation, recognize our last remaining Doughboy when that time comes.

It recently came to my attention that the family and friends of Mr. Buckles have asked that when he dies, we pay tribute to the end of a generation by allowing him the honor of a full military burial at Arlington Cemetery and that his body lie in honor in our nations Capitol. I was shocked to learn it will take an Act of Congress to accomplish this.

This isnt just about Frank Buckles. This is about our history, our patriotism, our gratitude and respect for an entire generation for the last American Doughboy. This is about honoring all 4,734,991 of them, all of whom have died except for this one remarkable man. Mr. Buckles still fights for the silent dead so they will be honored by America.

The First World War was dubbed the Great War, the War to End all Wars, the War of Wars. It was the second-deadliest conflict in history. The outcome changed the face of Europe. The Doughboy changed America.

When the war started, Frank was just 16. He tried to join the United States Marine Corps, but he was too young and too small. He finally convinced a recruiter to take him. He was a volunteer soldier. He went to Europe as a 16-year-old and fought. Learning that the fastest way to get over there was to drive an ambulance, Frank gladly enlisted. He drove an ambulance and rescued other Doughboys wounded in battle, before guarding German soldiers held at a prisoner-of-war camp.

After the war was over, Frank worked for a steamship company, which sent him to the Philippines. Early in World War II, he was captured by the Japanese and put in a brutal POW camp. He was a prisoner of war for more than three-and-a-half years until he was liberated by Americans on the very day he was to be executed. He weighed less than 100 pounds when he was released. His daughter said that when the prisoners dropped to 100 pounds they stopped weighing themselves.

Frank finally returned home to the United States, got married, raised a family and worked the American land as a farmer driving his tractor until he was 102.

When you talk to our veterans about what it means to wear the uniform of the United States military, good ol American pride seems to burst at the seams. As we walk down the path of honor on the National Mall, we rightfully pay tribute to all those that sacrificed for our freedom. But as I walked that path on the Mall with Frank a few years back, I was embarrassed
that there wasnt a place of honor for all the nation's Doughboys, sailors, aviators and Marines of World War I.

We have memorials on the National Mall for three of the four great wars of the last century with tributes to Vietnam, Korea and World War II. But, there is a compelling silence and absence of a national World War I memorial for our last Doughboy to salute.

As we come to the end of this chapter in history, I hope we do the honorable thing. I hope that the final legacy of these American heroes is not forgotten and that we do not fail to honor those that have made it possible for us to live in freedom.

We have World War I memorials in other parts of the nation, but not a national memorial in Washington, D.C. We need a memorial in our nations capital to honor the mothers and the fathers of the greatest generation -- a memorial for all who served in the Great World War.

Honoring Frank Buckles is our chance to say "thank you" to the last of a generation. It is the final legacy of those who fought over there. America did not treat those who served in World War I well upon their return. There were no benefits, no Veterans Affairs Administration, no GI bill. As
the last lines are written, lets get it right over here.

The Doughboys should not be forgotten the time is long past to build a memorial on the National Mall. And when the time comes and the bugles sound Taps for the lone survivor, Cpl. Frank Buckles of the United States Army should lie in honor in the United States Capitol. We must not let politics come before honor.

And thats just the way it is.


Clickhere to read this article in Human Events

Congressman Ted Poe represents the 2nd Congressional District of Texas. Rep. Poe recently introduced the National Guard Border Enforcement Act that will authorize the Secretary of Defense to make 10,000 armed National Guard troops available upon request from a U.S. Governor. Rep. Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Border Security; Executive Member of the Immigration Reform Caucus; and recognized nationally as a leading advocate for border security. Prior to serving in Congress, Poe was a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas for 30 years.

Unemployment lines continue to grow as does the American peoples frustration over a government that continues to spend more money than they have. The current administrations solution is to raise taxes, not cut spending. Times are tight for American families, and as they are looking at ways to make their dollars go further, the federal government should look at ways of keeping American dollars a little closer to home.

While the United States continues to drown in debt, there was some good news south of the border. According to reports, money sent back to Mexico is on the rise. Recently, the Bank of Mexico reported remittances totaling $1.95 billion in August, up 9.32 percent from the same month last year. Apparently, the U.S. job market isnt tough for everyone.

A Mexican-based financial company is forecasting $22 billion in remittances for 2010 making it Mexicos second highest revenue maker behind crude oil. Not all of this comes from the 20 million undocumented workers. There are people that have come to our country legally to work, but they also send much of their income south of the border. These remittances are an economic drain on America, but Mexico would collapse without them.

Not only are we not recirculating billions of U.S. dollars earned in our country back into our own economy, we are also dolling out taxpayer-funded social services to millions who dont contribute to the system.

The open-borders crowd continues to insist that those working here illegally contribute more to our economy than the benefits they illegally receive, but $22 billion dollars taken out of our economy says otherwise.

Its not just the money being sent home, its also the costs incurred here. The Federation for American Immigration Reform has estimated that the total cost of education for illegals is $52 billion a year. The report says Texas is saddled with $16.4 billion of that amount.

However, it is important to point out that this cost includes American-born children of people living here illegally. It is argued that we cant count these children because under current policy, they are considered U.S. citizens, even though their parents are not and even though many of their mothers illegally came to the U.S. for the sole purpose of having a child. While I am not so sure the correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment makes these children automatic citizens, the Supreme Court has not issued a ruling on the issue of birthright citizenship.

The Harris County Hospital District, the public hospital system in Houston, Texas, found that 60 percent of births over the last four years were by women living here illegally. Its estimated, in Texas alone, there are 1.5 million undocumented immigrants, to which 60,000 babies are born to their households annually. In fact, a Pew Hispanic Center study revealed that 8 percent of U.S. babies a year are born to mothers here illegally.

At a hearing before the Texas House State Affairs Committee, the director of research for the Health and Human Services Commission, told the committee that healthcare to undocumented immigrants last year cost the state of Texas nearly $100 million, with the bulk being emergency room care.

According to the budget director for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 7.5 percent of the total prison population claimed foreign residency costing the state $171 million a year. However, the real costs are unknown as these figures are based only on the identified illegals in the prison system. This doesnt even account for the costs incurred by the victims of these crimes either.

As we begin to hear talk about the DREAM Act that will subsidize education costs and grant amnesty to people 35 years old or younger who illegally entered the United States before they were 16 years of age, the costs of this not so dreamy plan are conveniently brushed under the rug.

Illegals get to go to any school without having to pay out-of-state tuition. This only applies to law breakers.

Why would Congress pass a law that discriminates against Americans and lawful immigrants to the benefit of those who break our laws?

There is more. Say you cant afford the tuition. Under this amnesty plan, people living here illegally are eligible for federal student loans at the expense of American citizens. Why should people living here illegally be given an advantage to obtain loans that should go to citizens and possibly legal immigrants? This policy will deplete the already strained resources for college expense by adding millions of people to the system.

After you complete two years of post high school education or two years of military service you are eligible for citizenship. Once a citizen, this paves the way to bring the rest of their extended family to the United States.

I agree that something must be done, but the American people have rejected amnesty in every form that it has been presented. The costs of this bill will be footed by the American taxpayer for years to come.

I understand that everyone wants to come to our country; I dont blame them. But, we cannot afford to continue to turn a blind eye to the economic drain illegal entry places on every aspect of our society. We cannot treat undocumented immigrants better than we treat our own citizens and legal residents.

Do the math: illegal immigration is breaking the bank the American bank that is.

Congressman Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Border Security; Executive Member of the Immigration Reform Caucus; and recognized nationally as a leading advocate for border security. Prior to serving in Congress, Poe was a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas for 30 years.

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It was just another day in south Texas as gunfire erupted in the border town of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and warnings went out to people on both sides of the border. I had just landed in Laredo and was briefed by local law enforcement of a shootout between the drug cartels and the Mexican military that had taken place right across the border from the local grocery store in the United States. Things like this are so commonplace that they rarely even make the local news anymore. It was just another day on the Texas border.

Mexicos northeastern border with Texas has taken center stage in the deadly turf wars between the narco-terrorists vying for control and an out-gunned and out-manned Mexican military trying to salvage what is left of law and order. Unfortunately, good folks on both side of the border are caught in the deadly crossfire.

The recent murder of David Hartley on Falcon Lake prompted the national news to shed some light on the war along our southern border, albeit minimally. Mr. Hartleys body remains missing, and those responsible for his murder remain at large. As the news moves on to the next story, the violence on our border rages on, and our country is no safer now than it was before.

I arrived at Falcon Lake three weeks to the day of the Hartley murder. As state and local law enforcement, wearing bulletproof vests, retraced the route along the lake that Tiffany Hartley took as she frantically raced back to the shore for help, there wasnt another person on the entire lake. No fishermen, no boaters, and certainly no other law enforcement operatives. As I surveyed the massive lake by air, it was eerily quiet. The 87,000-acre lake, with 432 total miles of shoreline, was wide open for businessillegal business.

The local sheriffs do the best they can, given the scant resources they have. But they simply cannot do their job of protecting their counties while doing the federal governments job of protecting the border. Like our sheriffs, our game wardens have added responsibilities and risks as well. The days of friendly fishing license checks on the lake have been replaced with bulletproof vests and M-16 semiautomatic rifles.

I have been from one end of the Texas border to the other, and every time I go down there I shake my head in disbelief of what has become of our border. As we drove through these little border towns, signs for Friday nights football game lined the fences, and I would almost forget that more than 28,000 people had been brutally murdered in Mexicos drug war just yards away.

Our countries are not divided by miles, fences, or even posted welcome signs. In some places, the Rio Grande River can be accurately measured in yards. Unlike those in other states, Texas landowners can own property right up to the rivers banks. Mexico is literally a stones throw away from residential and business communities, and stray bullets and crime, like the drug cartels, dont recognize international borders.

Border towns are unique, and Texas border towns have their own personalities like no others. For some people they are lyrics in country songs, backdrops for movies and stories of college days that are forever gone. But for the folks who live there, its their home: Its all they have ever known. Like almost every local Texas sheriff along the border, they all grew up there. As a matter of fact, they grew up together in the same neighborhoods, and so did their parents and their grandparents. But now their way of life, their pursuit of happiness, is being threatened by uncontrolled violence on both sides of the border.

As we passed the Wal-Mart in Rio Grande City, the deputy with us told me that his cousin had been targeted for her car last year at Christmas time. You see, the drug cartels have wish lists too. But instead of doing their shopping inside the store, they take to carjacking in parking lots on our side of the border. His cousin was kidnapped at gunpoint and driven across the border. Fortunately, authorities on both sides of the border responded quickly, and she was rescued, but not before she was taken across the border. Others have not been so lucky.

He told of another similar instance in which a local judge and her daughter were kidnapped and taken to Mexico. They were rescued after a chase, but not before she was thrown from her car. She later died from complications from her injuries. These things are happening here in our country, on our side of the border. The violence is not on the brink of spilling over: Its been flooding in for years, and now we are on the brink of disaster.

The United States government has to do more. I have filed legislation requiring 10,000 National Guard troops to be deployed to the border at the request of a state governor. The current deployment of 250 troops is woefully inadequate. The Texas-Mexico border is 1,256 miles long. Thats farther than the distance between New York and New Orleans.

The lack of urgency in responding to the Hartley murder is just one more example of our governments being on the wrong side of the border war. The State Departments stance on the issue is that it will help in the investigation if asked to do sothat is just the politically expedient way of saying that they are not planning to do anything.

As the headlines of David Hartleys murder are replaced with the latest antics of celebrity nobodies and professional reality-show idiots, the federal government will continue to be a day late and dollar short when it comes to border security. The rest of the country will move on, and until another innocent American is gunned down on a slow national news day, nothing more will be said or done. Like most everything with the federal government, at the end of the day there is usually more said than done. To them, its just another day on the Texas border.

And thats just the way it is.

To read this on Human Events clickhere


Congressman Ted Poe represents the 2nd Congressional District of Texas. Rep. Poe recently introduced the National Guard Border Enforcement Act that will authorize the Secretary of Defense to make 10,000 armed National Guard troops available upon request from a U.S. Governor. Rep. Poe serves on the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Border Security; Executive Member of the Immigration Reform Caucus; and recognized nationally as a leading advocate for border security. Prior to serving in Congress, Poe was a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas for 30 years.

Today, and every day, young men and women wearing the United States military uniform are putting their lives on the line for the safety and security of people all around the world. Freedom is a God-given right that burns deep within every person. Its a right that American warriors fight and die for. Every day as we go about our lives freely in this country, the worlds finest military protects the borders of foreign nations so that all people have the chance to be free from violence and terror. We are willing to enforce the laws in countries all around the world, yet when it comes to our own we are missing in action.

There is a war raging on our southern border. Reports of violence, heinous crimes and murder rarely make the evening news. Four days after an American citizen was reportedly murdered, while jet skiing on Falcon Lake along the Texas-Mexico border, it makes national news. Local authorities report that David Hartley was shot and killed when he and his wife, Tiffany, crossed over into Mexican waters to get a look at a sunken mission below the surface. Tiffany reports the couple was ambushed by gunmen from the Mexican side of the lake. While she managed to escape, Davids body remains missing.

This is not the first report of armed attacks on Falcon Lake. Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzales has been calling for help from federal authorities for months. In May, I spoke of this very threat on the House floor, yet despite years of calls to secure the border and protect the people of this country, our federal government continues to do nothing.

The number one issue at hand is that an American citizen has been reportedly murdered, his body is missing in Mexican waters and our government is not taking charge of the situation. My office has been informed that the Mexican government initially gave us permission to assist in the search, but then was revoked by higher-ups in the chain-of-command. It has now been nearly a week and the State Department is still waiting for permission from the Mexican government to locate the body of an American citizen. This is unacceptable.

The federal government continues to be on the wrong side of the border war. The violence is not contained to Mexico and the open border continues to be a gateway for cross-border crime and violence that is robbing American citizens of their safety and their lives. Enough talk and rhetoric from Washington. As a nation, we have the obligation to secure the dignity of our borders and protect the people of this country.

It seems to me that our own government spends more time worrying about the rights of those illegally in our country than they do of our own citizens. The federal government had no problem sending border patrol agents to prison for enforcing the laws of this country, yet sits on their hands waiting for the permission of a corrupt Mexican government to investigate the reported murder of an American citizen by foreign nationals.

Its time we stop kowtowing to foreign countries that blatantly disregard our laws, openly criticize us for everything we do and threaten the security and well being of the American people. By not vigorously responding to this situation, we are sending the wrong message to the drug cartels that control the Mexican side of the border and terrorists around the world. The United States is the leader of the free world, its time we start acting like it. We protect the borders of other countries every day, theres no excuse why we cant protect our own.

And thats just the way it is.

Click here to read the article on Human Events

History is the great predictor. To understand today, all you have to do is look at yesterday.

Do you remember where you were when the planes hit the World Trade Center? Can you still see the billowing clouds of smoke blacking out the New York skyline? Those towers, once pillars of strength and freedom, became mass graves in the space of a few minutes. Firefighters, police officers and innocent men, women and children died in a firestorm of hate. Our countrymen and women were killed at the hands of radical Muslim extremists.

Now, nine years later, its clear that some in America have forgotten the horror caused by these extremists. Those who have forgotten expect the rest of us to forget, as well. We dont show the pictures anymore; we dont talk about those responsible for plotting and carrying out the deadly terrorist attacks; we are told we cant be angry, rather now we are expected to blindly accept hatred for America in the name of tolerance.

Under the guise of religious tolerance we are now told we must allow a mosque to be built next to Ground Zero. The media scolds those of us that disagree and tells us to be tolerant, be respectful and accepting of other religions. Why is the same not being asked of them? Is this really about tolerance?

The 9/11 attacks focused on American landmarks. The day the two planes hit the World Trade Center, that piece of land in New York City took on new meaning. It was no longer just a location in New York, but a symbol of America as powerful as the stars and stripes.

The murderous radical terrorists who took the lives of thousands of innocent Americans did so in the name of religion. So to build a mosque celebrating that religion on the very ground they attacked understandably has many people in this country a little hot under the collar.

If Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the cleric behind the Cordoba Initiative, wanted to act out of compassion and sensitivity, it would seem more appropriate, more tolerant, to build a memorial as a tribute to the victims of radical Muslim extremists.

The history books show, victory mosques have been consecrated or constructed by the Muslim community on or near locations of conquest. In 1453, Mehmed II, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, conquered Constantinople. One of his first acts was to convert the Hagia Sophia, a Christian Church for more than nine-hundred years, into the Ayasofya Mosque.

Additionally, the Cordoba Houses namesake is taken from the Great Mosque of Cordoba, which was built when Medieval Islamic invaders constructed a mosque on the site of a ransacked Roman Catholic Cathedral in Spain. This initiative, to build a mosque near Ground Zero, seems to many in this country to reflect historys past.

In America, one of our greatest freedoms is our right to worship as we please. Our nation is known for promoting liberty and freedom for everyone. Muslims, like every other religious group, should and do have the right to build places of worship. But like other religions and cultures, they too are expected to show the same tolerance and respect being asked of those of us who feel Ground Zero is off limits.

Thousands of our sons, daughters, fathers and mothers at this very moment are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting in the deserts and rough mountain terrain the very forces that shattered our nation nine years ago. Thirty-five American warriors from my Congressional District area have given their lives protecting us from these same radical extremists that murder in the name of religion. It seems to me that the tolerance lesson is being preached in the wrong part of the world.

If the true purpose of building this mosque on the site of the worst terrorist attack in our countrys history is to promote education and understanding of the Muslim religion, then I suggest the supporters take a look at history and rather than repeat it, remember it.

And thats just the way it is.

Click here to read the article in Human Events

Craigslist should shun sex ads

September 2, 2010

In recent ads in the San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post, female victims of sex trafficking highlighted the role they said the website Craigslist played in their exploitation.

The women pleaded with founder Craig Newmark to eliminate the adult services section of the site, where sex ads are frequently placed, until adequate safeguards are put in place to prevent women and children from being bought and sold for sex on his site.

Unfortunately, Craigslist is not taking its role in the sex trafficking crisis seriously enough. In his response to the ad campaign, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster claimed that sex trafficking rarely occurs on the website. This is simply untrue.

In the 14 months since Craigslist first implemented manual screening, it has made only 109 reports to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This means less than 1 percent of the 700,000 ads removed for inappropriate content were actually reported to the proper authorities. With roughly 300,000 children in the U.S. at risk of sexual exploitation each year, these numbers simply do not add up to a successful screening policy.

In the latest communication to Buckmaster and Newmark, 16 state attorneys general asserted the companys much touted manual review of adult services ads has failed to yield any discernable reduction in obvious solicitations.

Current measures by Craigslist to prevent sex trafficking are inadequate. In July, the Victims Rights Caucus and the Human Trafficking Caucus held a briefing on domestic sex trafficking of minors, where National Center for Missing and Exploited Children President and CEO Ernie Allen addressed the shift of sexual exploitation from the streets to Craigslist and other online venues, where children are marketed for sex.

Craigslist has taken steps, including requiring credit card validation, screening ads, reporting suspicious ads to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and cooperating with law enforcement investigations, Allen said. Yet, American kids continue to be marketed and sold online for sex. The problem is not declining, it is growing. The goal is to end this insidious industry. Craigslist needs to do more, and every other online classifieds company needs to join them.

While Craigslist should be commended for engaging in some manual screening of ads on its website, the measures are still inadequate. As the largest and most frequented adult services website, Craigslist must take leadership in solving this problem.

Recently, Craigslist executives asked its users to start policing the website for illicit content. While we all hope that good Samaritans will report suspicious posts, Craigslist is ultimately responsible for the content on its site. And with expected earnings of $36 million dollars this year from its adult services section alone, Craigslist has the resources to prevent and respond to sex trafficking on its site.

Surely, a company as tech-savvy and innovative as Craigslist can prioritize this issue and come up with more effective screening methods. The reality is that there are thousands of Internet sites besides Craigslist that facilitate the trafficking of innocent women. However, as an industry leader, Craigslist bears the burden of setting and upholding a standard of behavior for others to follow.

One sex trafficking victim is one too many. Buckmaster and Newmark need to change their tone and join, rather than debate, those who are trying to fight this problem. Although this country is often polarized on many issues, we can all agree that Craigslist needs to take action to protect women and children from sex traffickers.

We echo the request made by the 16 state attorneys general for Craigslist to shut down its adult services section. Craigslist must take appropriate steps to screen the site for illicit content. Trying to fix this problem is just not good enough when children are the victims.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) is the founder and co-chairman of the Victims Rights Caucus, and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) is a member of the Human Trafficking Caucus.