17 December, 2007

Photo 1: American Cemetery in Normandy

Photo 2: Yellowstone National Park

Photo 3: Point Du Hoc in Normandy

Photo 4: Dachau (Nazi Concentration Camp)

Photo 5: Hawaii

20 May, 2007

I would have to say my favorite part of this year was the business project. It was time consuming but I enjoyed working on the project with friends. The project is also very practical.

06 May, 2007

This blog was great, except I would have added that under her the English colonized North America and she was ranked 7th of the hundred best Britons in 2002, the highest of any Monarch.

This Blog was very well done. This individual did not want to make the jump and make a very bold political statement due to endangering the integrity of this very well done piece of work. I will do it for them, in order for any nation or group of followers to be able to weather attacks is to present a united front. If a medieval line of soldiers was not united the enemy could easily penetrate their ranks. This goes in the world of politics as well, the republicans or demarcates need to present a united front, regardless if the politician has a bit of an verging view then the party. The nation will become ripped apart if you have multiple Presidents or people (senators) doing jobs they are not so post to be doing. Any ways this blog is a very good piece of historical research.

I am not sure I agree with him on everything. What caused the growth of the Church did persecution play a role in its growth?
The church grew rapidly between the death of Jesus and the fall of the Roman Empire in 410 A.D. Was this growth due to the persecution of the Church? If so how did it grow when it was not being persecuted. The one rule to ruling well is to have the respect for authority, but respecting this authority was eroding among Roman citizens, including the upper classes and the traders. The cause was related to the inappropriate behavior of roman soldiers, plundering towns, farms and abusing people as a result of the emperors ordering tax collectors into the empire to squeeze more taxes from Rome’s Citizens. The lack of self disciplining soldiers eroded the confidence in the Government ability to rule. During the chaotic times, between 200 to 350 A.D., discipline within the army continued to decline. During this time the church was on a rise. They grew to over half the empires population, in spite of the persecution of Christians by roman authorities. This paper will identify and discuss how other Social, Political/Security and Other Religious conditions were more the reason for the growth of the Christian church rather than the persecution of Christians.

Social Conditions
In the book “The Rise of Christianity”, the Author Rodney Stark, states that in 200 A.D. there were 218,000 Christians in the Roman Empire this equates to 36/100th of 1% of the population. In 350 A.D. there were 33.9 million Christians in the Roman Empire this equates to 56.5% of the 60 million people in the empire. The question is what caused this sudden rise of Christians in the Roman Empire in just 150 years. The one well known fact about the Romans and the Christians is that the Romans persecuted the Christians. There is another person who can shed some light on church population between 200A.D. and 350 A.D. this is Edward Gibbon. In his book he talks about Constantine’s conversion at about a time of 312 A.D. “The most favorable calculation, however, that can be deduced from the examples of Antioch and of Rome, will not permit us to imagine that more than a twentieth part of the subjects of the Empire had enlisted themselves under the banner of the cross before the important conversion of Constantine.”(Gibbon 183) How did the Church grow form 20 % of the empire to 56.5 % of the empire in 38 years? The growth was so explosive in these 38 years, of Constantine’s rule during a time period of no church persecution, that one can say that persecution was not a major cause of growth.

The Romans had a thing for female babies; they did not keep them most of the time at birth. “They would take the newborn children put them down by the seashore or take them into the forest and simply leave them there to die or to be eaten by animals” “They even went out into the forest or down to the seashore and they rescued the babies that had been abandoned and left to die and brought them home and they embraced them and raised them as their own daughters.” (Kurt Thieland) Due to this act of compassion showed by the church, they obtained the majority of the women thought the empire.
One other act of compassion that the church showed was in time of the epidemics. “Epidemics were common. Small pox, measles, the bubonic plague arrived on the scene and the devastating effects came with them.” “When the plagues hit the town you leave the town. Doctors, merchants, farmers... the vast majority of the citizens would simply leave. And when departing would leave behind young children, elderly” “But the Christians took a different approach. When everyone else left, the Christians stayed. Often at the cost of their own lives. They would love, feed, care for the children.” “They would literally save lives. In fact, no one could help but notice that Christians not only found the ability to risk death for others, but they were much less likely to die. The early Christians didn’t know it, but because of their love, over time, a large proportion of believers gained immunity” “Ones they left behind had come to Christ and had been loved into the Christian faith.” (Kurt thieland)

The Romans had a very structured social system containing Imperial Domus, Senators, Equestrains, Commons, Freed People, and Slaves. The Imperial Domus is the Emperors of the Roman Empire. The Senators were the ruling senators before the Emperor took over. The Equestrains are people who can show that they can sustain an income of 400,000 Sentences (91,970 dollars). The dollar figure is obtained by finding out that 4 Sestersis, equal one Denarius. One Denarius equals three and a half grams of silver. 350,000 grams of silver equal 12,345 oz of silver. The exchange rate for silver is one ounce for 7.45 dollars. This totals out to 91,970 dollars that the Equestrains had to have as a sustained income. This is not factoring in inflation rates; there is evidence that they had a falling economy in there last several hundred years.

The empire used as much labor as they could and did not take advantage of the new technology. The steam engine had been invented by a Greek named of Alexandria during the rule of Augustus, the empire still relayed on human and animal labor. Producers had no use of technological progress because they had plenty of slaves to run anything they needed. They had been increasing output by utilizing more labor by utilizing their army’s reward of captured slaves.
The problem, was little was understood by government under the emperors, because they knew only of the military. Due to this, the policies incorporated continued this imbalance in trade and the flight of the empires gold and silver eastward. To pay soldiers, emperors lowered the quality of money, and the government began paying its debts in money that it would not accept from citizens as payment of taxes. As a result, the middle class went bankrupt due to skyrocketing prices. Due to this, in the cities the population did not make a revolt, but in the countryside there were many revolts. These revolts were not united and were not large enough on an individual scale that the empire’s legions would be challenged. Due to these revolts some trade routes were cut off, which forced helped Rome’s trade with China and India to come to an end.

Since the Roman economy was in a state of decline people were forced to move. This shift was from the populated cities to the, rural cities and towns. This shift was caused by the need for food, due to this the cities shrunk drastically. This happened because, the agricultural areas, fell victim to barbicans or Roman Soldiers.

Political Conditions / Empire Security Conditions

Despite the Edict of Toleration, God remained unkind to Gallienus. A general in Syria, Macrianus, revolted against Gallienus, proclaiming his area independent of Rome. In Gaul a general named Postumus rebelled and proclaimed himself emperor, and from Gaul he took control of Britannia and Spain. Then in 267, Goths in large numbers again crossed the Danube and attacked Greece by sea and by land. By the year 268 Athens was overrun. As the Goths were moving to anther target of opportunity, Gallienus and his legions attacked and defeated them. But while Gallienus was in Greece, another general revolted against him, in northern Italy. Gallienus rushed back to Italy, and, while besieging the rebel general at the city of Milan, he was murdered by a group of generals who believed that they could rule better than he. The leader of these generals, Marcus Claudius, became emperor and took the name Claudius II.
Claudius rallied what forces he could against the Goths. With skill he managed to defeat them and to pacify areas within the empire south of the Danube, a pacification that included allowing Goths to settle permanently on available land in Thrace and Macedonia. The upstart emperor who ruled over Britannia, Spain and Gaul, Postumus, had been cut down by his own soldiers, and contenders fought for control of what had been his realm. Claudius continued to reign only in the central part of the empire, including Moesia, where he defeated another invasion of Goths. Then in 270, while preparing to move against an invasion by a Germanic people called Vandals, bad luck caught up with him: he died of the plague.

Claudius' chosen successor was a tough-minded soldier, Aurelianus – one of those who had conspired with Claudius against Gallienus. Aurelianus became the emperor known as Aurelian. He ruled energetically and enforced army discipline. An outstanding general, he re-established Roman rule in the east, and, with the eastern front secured, he was able to regain the provinces of Britannia, Spain and Gaul, the upstart who had ruled these areas submitting peacefully to Aurelian's authority.
Aurelian earned the title “Restorer of the World.” He increased the amount of food distributed to the people of Rome. He tried to reform Rome's coins, and he tried to subordinate the worship of Rome's gods to the worship of the sun god Sol Invictus. Then in 275, while on his way to another war against Persia, Aurelian was murdered by a group of officers whom his secretary had misled into believing he had marked for death.
During the next nine years Rome had six more emperors. Alamanni again pushed into Gaul. More Franks came in boats along the channel coast and penetrated the heart of Gaul by way of its rivers. The Franks sacked northern Spain, and they sailed into the Mediterranean and to North Africa, where they established a pirate base.

Other Religious Conditions

The big religious movement of the late Roman era was neo-platonism. Plotinus had studied philosophy at Alexandria. During a time in the military in 243 and 244, he failed to meet eastern thinkers and to learn Persian and Indian philosophy, as he had hoped, and he returned from military service to Rome, where he spent much of the rest of his life teaching philosophy. He saw himself as a reformer of Plato's philosophy. It was the last big development in philosophy before the triumph of Christianity, his views gaining a wide following among Romans. These Romans were looking for something to subside the disorder of the Roman Empire.

This new religion looks very much like a New Age thought. It is designed to expand on his eastern influence. It contains several things, these would be terms like “The One”. “The One” is the source of all, it is the absolute. It contains a step between the eastern thought and the other Roman religions. This was “The Divine Mind”, this mind is eternal and transcendent. The last is the soul, it is said to be both cosmic and individual. (Plotinus)


Do to many reasons, the Roman empire fell. Was its persecution of the church a good thing a for the church. The Church exploded, at a time that there was persecution. This explosion was about 25.7 people per day for 150 years. During this 150 years, the empire was falling apart. The empire had ten to eleven emperors, about three outside forces that had attacked and taken a portion of the empire. Most people were shifting from cities to the countryside. Seeing how the empire was being divided, the citizens needed something to hold on to, “a religion”. There were many religions, the two big religions were Christianity and neo-platonism.

The most important piece of information is the Edward Gibbon quote that talks about how the church was only at twenty percent of the population until Emperor Constantine’s conversion. If there was only twenty percent how did the persecution effect the growth and did it effect this explosion. The growth before Constantine was from the compassion that the church showed to the female babies that were left to die. This compassion is also affected when the church stayed during the epidemics. “When you have all the girls, you get all the boys.” (Kurt Thieland) This quote talks about what would have happened as a result of the compassion of the church, they would have expanded in size due to marriage. During this time the church is doing all these selfless acts, the Roman Empire is setting up the right social conditions, for people to seek out the church and not have to worry about being persecuted.
The Romans were allowed by God to set up this explosion of the church. The church had one unexplained thing on their side and that is miracles, it is extremely hard to way their effect not knowing how many times they occurred. “It is not reasonable for pagans to reject the testimony of authentic miracles.” (Augustine 195) The growth of the church was prohibited by the persecution, because the roman citizens were afraid to seek out the church to find a religion that worked for them.

Works Cited Page
Gibbon, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, Penguin Books. London, England, 2000.

Augistine, Saint. City of God, Image Books Doubleday. New York, New York, 1958.

Extraordinarily Lives, Thieland, Kurt, High Desert Church April 8, 2004

Plotinus, http://www.kheper.net/topics/Neoplatonism/Plotinus.htm

The problem is more then just cultures and being condemned by their own people. If they are willing to kill themselves do you really think they care about what intellectuals say. Many of these suicide bombers are being compensated for their life by their families being taken care of. We need to fix that but I doubt they will ever cherish a human life like we will, at least not for a generation or two.

This blog was very well done, one saying that has never changed and never will is "Whoever wins the war writes the history books." There are pages on the Axis powers' war crimes but there are paragraphs on what the U.S. did to citizens of Japanese decent. I am in no way sticking up for the Axis powers because what they did was and is extremely moral repugnant. But if you are trying to write a history book don't leave out parts just because our government wants to forget what they have done. When I visited Dachau there was a group of what looked to be cadets from the German Air Force or Navy there and they said that they were touring every single death camp that was setup in WWII. They are making sure that they don't forget just make sure we do the same.

22 April, 2007

In response to Still Thinking3's question I don't have the perfect answer but I do have several ideas of what not to do. One of the solutions people offer up is to allow the United Nations to deal with all with the problems in the world. These people think that the solution to the world's problems is U.N. Peacekeepers; the only problem with this solution is that it isn’t a solution. U.N. Peacekeepers are hardly ever deployed and when they are it is always way to late to be effective. Most of the time when Peacekeepers are brought into the equation it means we need containment and the U.N. is tired of people fighting with no change. Many of the civil wars in Africa are seen by the U.N. as an emergency. Whenever the U.N. backed groups need peacekeepers their cause just lost respect from many of their enemies. Brian Bresnahan gave a very strong argument on his blog for not using the U.N. for defeating radical Islam.
I think back to when Greece invaded Egypt, the two countries have different cultures and religions, but the Greeks did not impose their worldview on the Egyptians they embraced the Egyptians' worldview. If I were in charge in Iraq I would be meeting with the religious leaders and then work with them to allocate your construction jobs. In the Middle East the real leaders of the country are not the political leaders as in the west they are the religious leaders.
I have read The Pentagon's New Map and would agree we need to attempt to bring third world countries into the new globalized world described in Thomas L. Friedman's book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree. We need to bring these countries into the new world while still maintaining their origins. To many of these people they would rather die then give up their origins. This may be impossible to do when you look at the United States and where it has been we have definitely sacrificed our Biblical Christian worldview for a post-modern worldview. There is not one set response that will work for each and every country because each country is very different. It varies differently within Iraq, between the different people groups. We need to satisfy the needs of all the different people groups, this means we need to check that the religious leaders are happy; they are the ones to proclaim the jihads.
We need to bring globalization to a country without eliminating the origins of the country. We need to make sure the globalization plan is ok by the religious leaders and tailored to the specific people group in the area.

15 April, 2007

Here it comes again, April 15th, tax day. The history of the U.S. tax code is just as confusing as the code its self. It was first allowed for in the U.S. construction, in Article I Section 8 Clause 1 when congress is given the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises." (Source) Over the years our tax code has changed to adapt to different situations and different debts as well as a lack there of.

One of these times was during The War of 1812 the United Sates needed a tad bit more revenue to pay for the war. Taxes were in existence form 1791 to 1802 on spirits, carriages, sugar, tobacco, and slaves. In 1802 taxes were added on gold, silverware, jewelry, and watches. This also included tariffs which were relied on to run the nation after 1817 when all internal sales taxes were abolished. (Source)

Another was during The Civil War when on August 5, 1861 the United States Congress established the very first income based tax in the nations history. This was attached to the Revenue Act of 1861 this act established a 3% tax on all income above $800 on individuals inside the U.S. This was raised to 5% on individuals outside the U.S. These Taxes were rescinded in 1872, due to the lack of need for them.

The last major jump was when the 16th Amendment was ratified. It was ratified on February 3, 1913, and was not ratified by Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Utah. Just a few years after the amendment was in place the top rate rose to 77% during World War I and then returned to 25% after the war was over. (Source)

Over the many years this great nation has been established an income tax has been a relatively new idea, especially if we aren't paying for a war. The rates have been extremely high compared to where they are now (10%-35% for 2006)(Source). It is very unlikely we will ever see the Federal Income Tax eliminated due to great cost of being a world super-power. There is a direct connection in this country to the amount of taxes and the amount of power we can display. Yes we all hate this day but it is a very necessary check to write if you enjoy your freedom and protection.

14 April, 2007

"Here Rests in Honored Glory A Comrade in Arms Known but to God"

01 April, 2007

I have recently returned form, a twelve day trip to, Europe. This trip kept me and my classmates very busy; in these twelve days we went through seven countries (England, France, Beligum, Lexumburg, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria). My favorite part of the entire trip, is something I can not decide, I have two very amazing experiances. The first was my day in Normandy, France; the second is Bastone, Belgium. In Normandy we went to Point du Hoc, and the American Cementary. This was truealy amazing because it has been kept untuched, while there we had the opertunity to walk and climb throught the intacted and destroyed gun implacements/bunkers.

Bastone was amazining this was due to the weather, and the oppertunity of having Henri Mignon give us a five hour tour of Bastone. We went out to the foxholes of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment-Easy Company.

04 February, 2007

Tomorrow (Feb. 4, 2007) there is expected debate within the Senate, concerning President Bush's 21,500 troop surge in Iraq. The Democrat majority is planning on debating a resolution that would denounce this troop surge, and give alternatives. These alternatives are not what our commanders in the field would endorse. Surprisingly Republican Senator John McCain has publicly denounced this resolution and sponsored a countering resolution. This countering resolution is also sponsored by Independent Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman. This resolution calls on Congress to give the troops are commanders request; this would endorse The Presidents troop surge plan. Whatever the outcome; the Senate floor will be closely watched over the next week.

30 January, 2007

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. And tonight, I have a high privilege and distinct honor of my own -- as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these words: Madam Speaker. (Applause.)

In his day, the late Congressman Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr. from Baltimore, Maryland, saw Presidents Roosevelt and Truman at this rostrum. But nothing could compare with the sight of his only daughter, Nancy, presiding tonight as Speaker of the House of Representatives. (Applause.) Congratulations, Madam Speaker. (Applause.)

Two members of the House and Senate are not with us tonight, and we pray for the recovery and speedy return of Senator Tim Johnson and Congressman Charlie Norwood. (Applause.)

Madam Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

The rite of custom brings us together at a defining hour -- when decisions are hard and courage is needed. We enter the year 2007 with large endeavors underway, and others that are ours to begin. In all of this, much is asked of us. We must have the will to face difficult challenges and determined enemies -- and the wisdom to face them together.

Some in this chamber are new to the House and the Senate -- and I congratulate the Democrat majority. (Applause.) Congress has changed, but not our responsibilities. Each of us is guided by our own convictions -- and to these we must stay faithful. Yet we're all held to the same standards, and called to serve the same good purposes: To extend this nation's prosperity; to spend the people's money wisely; to solve problems, not leave them to future generations; to guard America against all evil; and to keep faith with those we have sent forth to defend us. (Applause.)

We're not the first to come here with a government divided and uncertainty in the air. Like many before us, we can work through our differences, and achieve big things for the American people. Our citizens don't much care which side of the aisle we sit on -- as long as we're willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done. (Applause.) Our job is to make life better for our fellow Americans, and to help them to build a future of hope and opportunity -- and this is the business before us tonight.

A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy -- and that is what we have. We're now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth, in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs -- so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. This economy is on the move, and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government, but with more enterprise. (Applause.)

The most resent rise in federal minimum wage will not help the economy to continue to rise. Due to the rise of minimum wage, prices will rise and the businesses will cut back on hours or employees hired.

Next week, I'll deliver a full report on the state of our economy. Tonight, I want to discuss three economic reforms that deserve to be priorities for this Congress.

First, we must balance the federal budget. (Applause.) We can do so without raising taxes. (Applause.) What we need to do is impose spending discipline in Washington, D.C. We set a goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2009, and met that goal three years ahead of schedule. (Applause.) Now let us take the next step. In the coming weeks, I will submit a budget that eliminates the federal deficit within the next five years. (Applause.) I ask you to make the same commitment. Together, we can restrain the spending appetite of the federal government, and we can balance the federal budget. (Applause.)

Next, there is the matter of earmarks. These special interest items are often slipped into bills at the last hour -- when not even C-SPAN is watching. (Laughter.) In 2005 alone, the number of earmarks grew to over 13,000 and totaled nearly $18 billion. Even worse, over 90 percent of earmarks never make it to the floor of the House and Senate -- they are dropped into committee reports that are not even part of the bill that arrives on my desk. You didn't vote them into law. I didn't sign them into law. Yet, they're treated as if they have the force of law. The time has come to end this practice. So let us work together to reform the budget process, expose every earmark to the light of day and to a vote in Congress, and cut the number and cost of earmarks at least in half by the end of this session. (Applause.)

And, finally, to keep this economy strong we must take on the challenge of entitlements. Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are commitments of conscience, and so it is our duty to keep them permanently sound. Yet, we're failing in that duty. And this failure will one day leave our children with three bad options: huge tax increases, huge deficits, or huge and immediate cuts in benefits. Everyone in this chamber knows this to be true -- yet somehow we have not found it in ourselves to act. So let us work together and do it now. With enough good sense and goodwill, you and I can fix Medicare and Medicaid -- and save Social Security. (Applause.)

As a young citizen I would like to see Social Security reformed so it still exists when I turn 65.

Spreading opportunity and hope in America also requires public schools that give children the knowledge and character they need in life. Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, preserving local control, raising standards, and holding those schools accountable for results. And because we acted, students are performing better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap.

Now the task is to build on the success, without watering down standards, without taking control from local communities, and without backsliding and calling it reform. We can lift student achievement even higher by giving local leaders flexibility to turn around failing schools, and by giving families with children stuck in failing schools the right to choose someplace better. (Applause.) We must increase funds for students who struggle -- and make sure these children get the special help they need. (Applause.) And we can make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future and our country is more competitive by strengthening math and science skills. The No Child Left Behind Act has worked for America's children -- and I ask Congress to reauthorize this good law. (Applause.)

Raising the minimum wage will have an effect on the High School drop out numbers, resulting in a higher unemployment percentage.

A future of hope and opportunity requires that all our citizens have affordable and available health care. (Applause.) When it comes to health care, government has an obligation to care for the elderly, the disabled, and poor children. And we will meet those responsibilities. For all other Americans, private health insurance is the best way to meet their needs. (Applause.) But many Americans cannot afford a health insurance policy.

And so tonight, I propose two new initiatives to help more Americans afford their own insurance. First, I propose a standard tax deduction for health insurance that will be like the standard tax deduction for dependents. Families with health insurance will pay no income on payroll tax -- or payroll taxes on $15,000 of their income. Single Americans with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes on $7,500 of their income. With this reform, more than 100 million men, women, and children who are now covered by employer-provided insurance will benefit from lower tax bills. At the same time, this reform will level the playing field for those who do not get health insurance through their job. For Americans who now purchase health insurance on their own, this proposal would mean a substantial tax savings -- $4,500 for a family of four making $60,000 a year. And for the millions of other Americans who have no health insurance at all, this deduction would help put a basic private health insurance plan within their reach. Changing the tax code is a vital and necessary step to making health care affordable for more Americans. (Applause.)

My second proposal is to help the states that are coming up with innovative ways to cover the uninsured. States that make basic private health insurance available to all their citizens should receive federal funds to help them provide this coverage to the poor and the sick. I have asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work with Congress to take existing federal funds and use them to create "Affordable Choices" grants. These grants would give our nation's governors more money and more flexibility to get private health insurance to those most in need.

There are many other ways that Congress can help. We need to expand Health Savings Accounts. (Applause.) We need to help small businesses through Association Health Plans. (Applause.) We need to reduce costs and medical errors with better information technology. (Applause.) We will encourage price transparency. And to protect good doctors from junk lawsuits, we passing medical liability reform. (Applause.) In all we do, we must remember that the best health care decisions are made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their doctors. (Applause.)

Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America -- with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely violated, this harms the interests of our country. To secure our border, we're doubling the size of the Border Patrol, and funding new infrastructure and technology.

Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border -- and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won't have to try to sneak in, and that will leave Border Agents free to chase down drug smugglers and criminals and terrorists. (Applause.) We'll enforce our immigration laws at the work site and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers, so there's no excuse left for violating the law. (Applause.)

We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals. (Applause.) We need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country without animosity and without amnesty. (Applause.) Convictions run deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate, so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law. (Applause.)

As long as the immigrants are required to pay taxes, this is a great idea.

Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America's economy running and America's environment clean. For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists -- who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, and raise the price of oil, and do great harm to our economy.

The congress needs to require all new vehicles sold in the U.S. to meet a MPG standard.

It's in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply -- the way forward is through technology. We must continue changing the way America generates electric power, by even greater use of clean coal technology, solar and wind energy, and clean, safe nuclear power. (Applause.) We need to press on with battery research for plug-in and hybrid vehicles, and expand the use of clean diesel vehicles and biodiesel fuel. (Applause.) We must continue investing in new methods of producing ethanol -- (applause) -- using everything from wood chips to grasses, to agricultural wastes.

Solar Energy is very expensive due to the amount of land it consumes; safe nuclear power is a very good cost effective alternative.

We made a lot of progress, thanks to good policies here in Washington and the strong response of the market. And now even more dramatic advances are within reach. Tonight, I ask Congress to join me in pursuing a great goal. Let us build on the work we've done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next 10 years. (Applause.) When we do that we will have cut our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.

To reach this goal, we must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 -- and that is nearly five times the current target. (Applause.) At the same time, we need to reform and modernize fuel economy standards for cars the way we did for light trucks -- and conserve up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017.

We should also start drilling in Alaska, to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. How many of people go to the A.N.W.A.R. region for a family vacation, seriously what is the problem.

Achieving these ambitious goals will dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but it's not going to eliminate it. And so as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways. (Applause.) And to further protect America against severe disruptions to our oil supply, I ask Congress to double the current capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. (Applause.)

America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change. (Applause.)

A future of hope and opportunity requires a fair, impartial system of justice. The lives of our citizens across our nation are affected by the outcome of cases pending in our federal courts. We have a shared obligation to ensure that the federal courts have enough judges to hear those cases and deliver timely rulings. As President, I have a duty to nominate qualified men and women to vacancies on the federal bench. And the United States Senate has a duty, as well, to give those nominees a fair hearing, and a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. (Applause.)

For all of us in this room, there is no higher responsibility than to protect the people of this country from danger. Five years have come and gone since we saw the scenes and felt the sorrow that the terrorists can cause. We've had time to take stock of our situation. We've added many critical protections to guard the homeland. We know with certainty that the horrors of that September morning were just a glimpse of what the terrorists intend for us -- unless we stop them.

With the distance of time, we find ourselves debating the causes of conflict and the course we have followed. Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions. Yet one question has surely been settled: that to win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy. (Applause.)

From the start, America and our allies have protected our people by staying on the offense. The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary, easy movement, steady financing, and free flowing communications are long over. For the terrorists, life since 9/11 has never been the same.

Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen. We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented, but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America. And just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean. For each life saved, we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave public servants who devote their lives to finding the terrorists and stopping them. (Applause.)

Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this enemy. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And so long as that's the case, America is still a nation at war.

In the mind of the terrorist, this war began well before September the 11th, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled. And these past five years have given us a much clearer view of the nature of this enemy. Al Qaeda and its followers are Sunni extremists, possessed by hatred and commanded by a harsh and narrow ideology. Take almost any principle of civilization, and their goal is the opposite. They preach with threats, instruct with bullets and bombs, and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent.

Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions. They want to overthrow moderate governments, and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country. By killing and terrorizing Americans, they want to force our country to retreat from the world and abandon the cause of liberty. They would then be free to impose their will and spread their totalitarian ideology. Listen to this warning from the late terrorist Zarqawi: "We will sacrifice our blood and bodies to put an end to your dreams, and what is coming is even worse." Osama bin Laden declared: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us."

These men are not given to idle words, and they are just one camp in the Islamist radical movement. In recent times, it has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah -- a group second only to al Qaeda in the American lives it has taken.

The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat. Whatever slogans they chant, when they slaughter the innocent they have the same wicked purposes. They want to kill Americans, kill democracy in the Middle East, and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale.

In the sixth year since our nation was attacked, I wish I could report to you that the dangers had ended. They have not. And so it remains the policy of this government to use every lawful and proper tool of intelligence, diplomacy, law enforcement, and military action to do our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people. (Applause.)

This war is more than a clash of arms -- it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and to come and kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom

-- societies where men and women make their own choices, answer to their own conscience, and live by their hopes instead of their resentments. Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies -- and most will choose a better way when they're given a chance. So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates and reformers and brave voices for democracy. The great question of our day is whether America will help men and women in the Middle East to build free societies and share in the rights of all humanity. And I say, for the sake of our own security, we must. (Applause.)

In the last two years, we've seen the desire for liberty in the broader Middle East -- and we have been sobered by the enemy's fierce reaction. In 2005, the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution, they drove out the Syrian occupiers and chose new leaders in free elections. In 2005, the people of Afghanistan defied the terrorists and elected a democratic legislature. And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national elections, choosing a transitional government, adopting the most progressive, democratic constitution in the Arab world, and then electing a government under that constitution. Despite endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity that we should never forget. (Applause.)

A thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics, and in 2006 they struck back. In Lebanon, assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel, a prominent participant in the Cedar Revolution. Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon's legitimately elected government. In Afghanistan, Taliban and al Qaeda fighters tried to regain power by regrouping and engaging Afghan and NATO forces. In Iraq, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of the most sacred places in Shia Islam -- the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia -- and it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day.

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we're in. Every one of us wishes this war were over and won. Yet it would not be like us to leave our promises unkept, our friends abandoned, and our own security at risk. (Applause.) Ladies and gentlemen: On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. Let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory. (Applause.)

We're carrying out a new strategy in Iraq -- a plan that demands more from Iraq's elected government, and gives our forces in Iraq the reinforcements they need to complete their mission. Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides them security, and is an ally in the war on terror.

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we're deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents, and the roaming death squads. And in Anbar Province, where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them, we're sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out. (Applause.) We didn't drive al Qaeda out of their safe haven in Afghanistan only to let them set up a new safe haven in a free Iraq.

The people of Iraq want to live in peace, and now it's time for their government to act. Iraq's leaders know that our commitment is not open-ended. They have promised to deploy more of their own troops to secure Baghdad -- and they must do so. They pledged that they will confront violent radicals of any faction or political party -- and they need to follow through, and lift needless restrictions on Iraqi and coalition forces, so these troops can achieve their mission of bringing security to all of the people of Baghdad. Iraq's leaders have committed themselves to a series of benchmarks -- to achieve reconciliation, to share oil revenues among all of Iraq's citizens, to put the wealth of Iraq into the rebuilding of Iraq, to allow more Iraqis to re-enter their nation's civic life, to hold local elections, and to take responsibility for security in every Iraqi province. But for all of this to happen, Baghdad must be secure. And our plan will help the Iraqi government take back its capital and make good on its commitments.

My fellow citizens, our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options. We discussed every possible approach. In the end, I chose this course of action because it provides the best chance for success. Many in this chamber understand that America must not fail in Iraq, because you understand that the consequences of failure would be grievous and far-reaching.

If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country -- and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict.

For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is the greatest ally -- their greatest ally in this struggle. And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America. To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th and invite tragedy. Ladies and gentlemen, nothing is more important at this moment in our history than for America to succeed in the Middle East, to succeed in Iraq and to spare the American people from this danger. (Applause.)

This is where matters stand tonight, in the here and now. I have spoken with many of you in person. I respect you and the arguments you've made. We went into this largely united, in our assumptions and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field, and those on their way. (Applause.)

The war on terror we fight today is a generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. And that's why it's important to work together so our nation can see this great effort through. Both parties and both branches should work in close consultation. It's why I propose to establish a special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties. We will share ideas for how to position America to meet every challenge that confronts us. We'll show our enemies abroad that we are united in the goal of victory.

And one of the first steps we can take together is to add to the ranks of our military so that the American Armed Forces are ready for all the challenges ahead. (Applause.) Tonight I ask the Congress to authorize an increase in the size of our active Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 in the next five years. (Applause.) A second task we can take on together is to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. It would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining struggle of our time.

Americans can have confidence in the outcome of this struggle because we're not in this struggle alone. We have a diplomatic strategy that is rallying the world to join in the fight against extremism. In Iraq, multinational forces are operating under a mandate from the United Nations. We're working with Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Egypt and the Gulf States to increase support for Iraq's government.

The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran, and made it clear that the world will not allow the regime in Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. (Applause.) With the other members of the Quartet -- the U.N., the European Union, and Russia -- we're pursuing diplomacy to help bring peace to the Holy Land, and pursuing the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security. (Applause.) In Afghanistan, NATO has taken the lead in turning back the Taliban and al Qaeda offensive -- the first time the Alliance has deployed forces outside the North Atlantic area. Together with our partners in China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, we're pursuing intensive diplomacy to achieve a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons. (Applause.)

The United Nations is an organization that has said many things, but has done little in backing up their words. If we are going to confront Iran we will have to work with Israel and other allies, because the U.N. has been a useless organization, recently.

We will continue to speak out for the cause of freedom in places like Cuba, Belarus, and Burma -- and continue to awaken the conscience of the world to save the people of Darfur. (Applause.)

The problem extends outside of Darfur, to places like Uganda. Darfur has been getting all the press concerning the multiple civil war and humanitarian problems in Africa.

American foreign policy is more than a matter of war and diplomacy. Our work in the world is also based on a timeless truth: To whom much is given, much is required. We hear the call to take on the challenges of hunger and poverty and disease -- and that is precisely what America is doing. We must continue to fight HIV/AIDS, especially on the continent of Africa. (Applause.) Because you funded our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the number of people receiving life-saving drugs has grown from 50,000 to more than 800,000 in three short years. I ask you to continue funding our efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. I ask you to provide $1.2 billion over five years so we can combat malaria in 15 African countries. (Applause.)

I ask that you fund the Millennium Challenge Account, so that American aid reaches the people who need it, in nations where democracy is on the rise and corruption is in retreat. And let us continue to support the expanded trade and debt relief that are the best hope for lifting lives and eliminating poverty. (Applause.)

When America serves others in this way, we show the strength and generosity of our country. These deeds reflect the character of our people. The greatest strength we have is the heroic kindness, courage, and self-sacrifice of the American people. You see this spirit often if you know where to look -- and tonight we need only look above to the gallery.

Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine -- but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. (Laughter.) Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth, or the duty to share his blessings with others. He built a brand new hospital in his old hometown. A friend has said of this good-hearted man: "Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things." And we are proud to call this son of the Congo a citizen of the United States of America. (Applause.)

After her daughter was born, Julie Aigner-Clark searched for ways to share her love of music and art with her child. So she borrowed some equipment, and began filming children's videos in her basement. The Baby Einstein Company was born, and in just five years her business grew to more than $20 million in sales. In November 2001, Julie sold Baby Einstein to the Walt Disney Company, and with her help Baby Einstein has grown into a $200 million business. Julie represents the great enterprising spirit of America. And she is using her success to help others -- producing child safety videos with John Walsh of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Julie says of her new project: "I believe it's the most important thing that I have ever done. I believe that children have the right to live in a world that is safe." And so tonight, we are pleased to welcome this talented business entrepreneur and generous social entrepreneur -- Julie Aigner-Clark. (Applause.)

Three weeks ago, Wesley Autrey was waiting at a Harlem subway station with his two little girls, when he saw a man fall into the path of a train. With seconds to act, Wesley jumped onto the tracks, pulled the man into the space between the rails, and held him as the train passed right above their heads. He insists he's not a hero. He says: "We got guys and girls overseas dying for us to have our freedoms. We have got to show each other some love." There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey. (Applause.)

Tommy Rieman was a teenager pumping gas in Independence, Kentucky, when he enlisted in the United States Army. In December 2003, he was on a reconnaissance mission in Iraq when his team came under heavy enemy fire. From his Humvee, Sergeant Rieman returned fire; he used his body as a shield to protect his gunner. He was shot in the chest and arm, and received shrapnel wounds to his legs -- yet he refused medical attention, and stayed in the fight. He helped to repel a second attack, firing grenades at the enemy's position. For his exceptional courage, Sergeant Rieman was awarded the Silver Star. And like so many other Americans who have volunteered to defend us, he has earned the respect and the gratitude of our entire country. (Applause.)

In such courage and compassion, ladies and gentlemen, we see the spirit and character of America -- and these qualities are not in short supply. This is a decent and honorable country -- and resilient, too. We've been through a lot together. We've met challenges and faced dangers, and we know that more lie ahead. Yet we can go forward with confidence -- because the State of our Union is strong, our cause in the world is right, and tonight that cause goes on. God bless. (Applause.)

See you next year. Thank you for your prayers.

Source of The State of The Union Address