Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Senate forges ahead

I really thought it was dead a couple of weeks ago. I was wrong.

While all the cameras were on Paris, our Senators voted 64-35 today to move ahead with the amnesty bill. This despite Rasmussen poll numbers from June 13th that say only 23% of Americans like the Senate bill. And despite record input from constituents, overwhelmingly against the bill.

But the Senators know best, I suppose. We just don’t understand things as well as they do.

Now they proceed with a maximum 24 amendments, 30 hours of cloture-regulated debate, and the clay pigeon analysis of the minutia.

It isn’t a done deal but it is quite likely they can push it through if they don’t fight too much over the details.

Then, next up is the House. They’ll have to form a compromise committee and haggle over the details.

Here are a few details of the Rasmussen poll:

President’s job approval rating: 33%
Reid’s job approval rating: 19%
McCain for President (Republicans): 11%

What the public wants (according to Rasmussen):
Sixty-nine percent (69%) of voters would favor an approach that focuses “exclusively on securing the border and reducing illegal immigration.”

Fifty-seven percent (57%) favor a proposal giving “all illegal aliens up to three years to leave the United States. After leaving, the illegal aliens would have to get in line and wait their turn for legal entry into the United States.”

The 25% Solution

In case you missed it, there was an analysis of the impact of the Senate immigration bill done by the Congressional Budget Office. It was a quick and dirty look started on May 24th and published on June 4th. (Just so you know, the law requires a report on all Congressional bills out of committee. It certainly wasn’t published in the interest of transparency.)

“CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that the legislation would exert a relatively small net effect on the federal budget balance over the next two decades, since additional expenditures would be mostly offset by additional revenue.”
(from page 1 of the report)

I love the terms “relatively small” and “mostly offset”.

But the kicker is their assessment of the effectiveness of the enforcement part of the bill. Here’s what they say on page 26:

Effects of Enforcement and Verification on Net Flow of Unauthorized Migrants.
The potential impact of the border security, employment verification, and other enforcement measures on the flow of unauthorized migrants is uncertain but could be large. While efforts to restrain the influx of unauthorized workers and their families have historically been relatively ineffective, this legislation would authorize significant additional resources as well as a comprehensive employment verification system to deter the hiring of unauthorized workers. Moreover, the implementation of the new guest worker program and the provision of visas to the currently unauthorized population could occur only if the Secretary of DHS certifies that the enforcement measures are in place.
CBO estimates that those measures would reduce the net annual flow of unauthorized immigrants by one-quarter. A reduction of that order of magnitude would reduce the unauthorized population in the United States by about 1.3 million in 2017.”

So what does a 25% reduction in flow really mean? Well, those who trust the Pew Report would say the number of illegals entering our country under this plan would be 300,000 each year, instead of 400,000.

If you go with the Bear Sterns analysis, the number drops from 3 million annually to 2,250,000.

Either way, Congress is not proposing to STOP the flow of illegals, only reduce it by 25%. And the report has the nerve to call the impact “large”. One would think we could do better than that. With details like this coming to light, no wonder they want to stop debate and pass the bill quickly! What a sham.

Here’s all 44 pages of the report:
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/81xx/doc8179/SA1150_June4.pdf

Monday, June 25, 2007

Clay pigeons

Cartoon by Lisa Benson


I had no idea what they were talking about, so I did a little reading. A “clay pigeon” is a procedural tactic sometimes used by Congress to circumvent legitimate debate.

By now you know about cloture. In essence, you get 60 Senators to vote for it, which puts a 30 hour deadline on debating the bill. I suppose cloture makes sense if you are talking about limiting debate over a bridge in Montana, but not when you are discussing sweeping immigration reform that was never subject to public hearings or even committee work.

So…this clay pigeon technique involves the absurd extreme of analyzing the minutest detail of every amendment, and voting on each little piece; sort of like turning off the shot clock and watching Senators pass the ball back and forth until the final buzzer.

Like a clay pigeon, you explode the amendment into little bits and examine each piece ad nauseum. An alternative is to give the senators milk and graham crackers and have them all take a little nap.

It’s funny that the line item veto is unconstitutional but this little congressional trick isn’t.

Friday, June 22, 2007

On Iraq

This site isn’t about the war in Iraq, but it is about Bush. And his actions on immigration spill over into other areas. So I asked myself how I feel about Iraq, and I offer these insights.

First, Saddam needed to go. His sins are many and we are all second-guessing the decision now, but five years have dimmed the original problem. He ruled ruthlessly. He had used gas to kill the Kurds. He was thumbing his nose at UN inspectors, despite all warnings. He was a friend to terrorists. He celebrated in the streets on 9/11. And most of all, he stood up to us in 1990 and lived to tell about it, giving him some status as a hero in the middle east.

Second, Saudi Arabia was weakening as an ally. We needed a presence in the middle east, and Iraq is centrally located.

Third, perhaps democracy, coupled with oil revenue, was possible somewhere in the desert. Maybe Iraq was that somewhere.

Let me say that the morning the twin towers collapsed my first thought was that air travel was going to be a disaster in the future. My second thought was that I was glad Gore wasn’t in the White House. I took great comfort in knowing that Bush had Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Ashcroft. It was nice to know that he could call George, Sr. for advice. Bush may have been a “C” student, but he was surrounded by veterans.

Below are some interesting quotes from Schwarzkopf’s biography about the futility the idea of invading Iraq. The context is a discussion about why Stormin’ Norman was ordered to stop at Basra, rather than continue on and destroy Saddam and the Republican Guard:

“He understood the thinking behind the hands-off approach: concern over the United States getting enmeshed in what could only be a highly risky, probably fruitless, attempt to resolve the age-old internal conflicts of Iraq; and skepticism over the possibility of identifying any coherent opposition force to put in Saddam’s place.

“There was also the fear of a “Lebanonization” of Iraq, which might leave a Shiite entity in the south and a Kurdish enclave in the north. It was one thing to have proceeded with the war; it was another to reopen it with murky political objectives, no UN mandate, and a great deal of regional uneasiness.” In the Eye of the Storm, 1991, pg 328

Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense in 1992 and this is what he had to say about Iraq at the time:
"I would guess if we had gone in there, I would still have forces in Baghdad today. We'd be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home..."
"And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam (Hussein) worth? And the answer is not that damned many. So, I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."
We sometimes forget that Iraq is not an ancient geographical creation. It was a rather arbitrary map drawn by the British after WWI. It has no unified culture (Now there’s an immigration point to be made!).

But our point of view from the early 1990’s cannot compare to with the post-9/11 world. Things are different. There was justifiable pressure to make a show of force in the middle east. It would have been nice to surgically attack bin Laden, but that isn’t possible. So we attacked one of his friends; a man that needed to go anyway. The Clinton approach would have been to lodge a protest at the UN and talk of embargo, another impossibility.

My personal criticism about the war has more to do with execution than raison d’ eter. We made some big mistakes:
1) We debated it in Congress for six months before we began.
2) We over-used the shock and awe technique, thus destroying too much infrastructure and angering the citizenry.
3) We have waged a soft war for too long, rather than fighting to win.
4) We failed to decide to be an occupying force.
5) If they can’t handle democracy at this time, what is our plan?
6) We’ve lost the confidence of people like Colin Powell.
7) We have failed to win the battle with the embedded reporters and ex-Generals on CNN.

I think the cause is a worthy one. I think it can be won. I think our troops are doing a great job. I think they need leadership.

Meet Frances Semler

Frances is 73 years old and known about town in Kansas City MO as being involved in the community. Being visible, she was recommended by Mayor Funkhouser to serve on the Park Board. In fact, the mayor reorganized the entire board at the same time, leaving only one member from the previous administration.

One blogger says Frances has “the fashion sense of a librarian”, not what you’d call an intimidating figure. All was well with her appointment; she was even voted in by the city council.

Then it was discovered that Frances is also a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. She was reasonably active in the group, but obviously not a headline grabber since the mayor and city council didn’t connect her to the group until after she was voted in.

Well, it just won’t do to have a Minuteman on the Park Board. That’s just plain wrong.

Beth Gottstein, a member of the city council said: “This is one step from the KKK (Ku Klux Klan). My world is totally rocked by this. We fight this every day. I am grieving for my friends in the Hispanic community.”

Rita Valenciano, the president of the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations in Kansas City said: “It’s like a member of the Ku Klux Klan” …“I definitely think it disqualifies her.” (Her brain waves must have melded with Gottstein’s. Eerie, isn’t it?)
Cris Medina of the Guadalupe Center said “What? Oh, my God. The community will be very upset.”
At first the mayor told her to “hang in there” when Semler offered to resign. But he’s had second thoughts. It’s a good thing because the city council passed this resolution on June 14th. The vote wasn’t even close. Two abstained, two voted no, and NINE voted to remove her:
“WHEREAS, the appointment of Commissioner Frances Semler will likely be a divisive force in our community rendering the work of the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners suspect in many quarters; NOW, THEREFORE,
“BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF KANSAS CITY:
“Section 1. That the Council respectfully requests Parks and Recreation Commissioner Frances Semler recognize the potential for community distrust of the work of the Board with her involvement as a Commissioner, and respectfully requests her resignation from the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners.
“Section 2. That if Parks and Recreation Commissioner Frances Semler does not resign within one week of the passage of this resolution, that the Mayor, in accordance with section 1001(b) of the City Charter is requested to recommend to the Council the removal of Commissioner Semler from the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners.”
I guess I can never serve in an official capacity now. But what about Mayor Alan Mansour in Costa Mesa, California? And he was re-elected last year. Hmmmmm.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Victims

It seems to me that our society is filled with victims. We seem to define ourselves as being wronged by this person or that group. I think part of the problem is our upbringing. We have been raised on praise.

Since Spock (Benjamin, not the Vulcan with deformed ears) our parents and teachers have sheltered our self-esteem at all costs. Earlier generations would have been met with, “Johnny, your problem is that you are lazy. You’d better get busy or you’ll fail this class.”

Now, Johnny gets stickers that read, “Good effort” and everyone worries that he has ADD or is gifted and therefore bored or perhaps is abused at home or needs a school breakfast or…… anything but unmotivated to take responsibility for his work.

And it’s no surprise that Johnny lets us make excuses for him.

The immigration problem is no exception. Since they don’t have the law in their favor, illegals seek sympathy in a number of ways. And it makes good copy, especially for the more liberal media outlets.

Here’s a sample of the victim role, always neglecting the underlying facts in the matter:
Mariana, age 23, is graduating from UCLA. Harvard has accepted her for an MA program in education. But she fears deportation and even getting a job because she is here illegally. But she turns to society for the answers; not her parents that brought her here illegally.

Tony, age 38, is separated from his wife and son. They were deported back to Poland three weeks ago, but Tony, a legal resident, stayed behind. All three are very sad and lonely. Poles are not granted asylum anymore because Poland is not a hostile nation. So, Janina agreed in 1995 to leave voluntarily, but she didn’t leave. Instead she stayed, gave birth to her son, and was later caught. Now, by law, she is barred from returning for at least 10 years. And Uncle Sam is the heavy, she is the victim.

Kunal, age 13, hoped to win the National Spelling Bee so he could draw attention to the deportation of his parents last year. You see, we don’t grant asylum to people from India.

The 2007 Springville Utah Folkfest has been cancelled. It seems that many of the foreign performing groups are unable to get visas because they are expensive and harder to get. Apparently some performers in the past have come here and overstayed their visas. Again, Uncle Sam is the bad guy.

Dreams Across America is a program to gather Catholic victims from around the country, put them on a train, and parade them around Washington, DC. None of these teenagers want to leave America. They like it here. Their parents brought them here for a better life. None of them denies that they are breaking the law. The demonstration was planned by the Catholic Church.

It’s funny they don’t have stories like this about all those people waiting for years on the other side of the border. Are they not victims?

A fish on the line

This has nothing to do with aliens, but it really struck me. There was an article in our local paper on Sunday, reprinted from Newsweek magazine about an alarming discovery that sentinel fish are mutating because of contaminated water. (At least the scientists are saying so.)

They are now able to measure trace amounts of substances due to improved technology. We filter out the contaminants but traces remain and they theorize that the problem is deforming the fish.

The species of fish is, I kid you not, the common white sucker!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Kyoto comes to Elgin

There was an item in the paper the other day that a member of our city council has requested that the staff prepare a proposal for our city to endorse the Kyoto accords on greenhouse gases. And he wants the city to take specific steps to reduce emissions.

As it turns out, this council member’s wife is an organizer of the local chapter of Slow Global Warming. (Pillow talk persuasion perhaps?)

Now this is the same city council that would not lift a finger to work on the illegal immigration problem because it was a “federal matter” and they are diving into this junk science notion that man is responsible for normal cyclical temperature shifts.

Now, I’m not opposed to saving a few bucks here by conserving energy. It is worth a look if we can send fewer city dollars to NiCor, ComEd, and the oil companies. But what I fear is that we will spend EXTRA money chasing this nonsense.

I can picture the city council as a result of this ordinance ignoring the economic impact of a program and spending extra money on a project just so they can say, “We are a green city.” An example might be retiring a fleet of trucks early so we can buy new ones that are more earth-friendly. Thus, we would spend more money than we would save.

But if the same people draft this resolution as the bunch that did the one on illegal immigration, we have nothing to worry about. It isn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

Pillow talk

Well, you Chicago folks may have read my blog about the wife of Dave Kaptain, an Elgin City Council Member. She’s got serious concerns about global warming and, surprise!, it will be an agenda item post haste.

I was looking for information about a demonstration coming up in Carpentersville and I visited the LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens)* website to see if they were announcing it. And guess who their president is? Veronica Noland.

Yes, Veronica is the wife of Democrat State Senator Mike Noland. So far he’s held a public forum to seek input on giving licenses to illegals. There weren’t many citizens at the meeting who thought it was a good idea. He seemed disappointed.

After the meeting he indicated that he was leaning towards passage of the bill, but it never came up for a vote in Springfield.

We’ll just have to watch old Mike and see if the little woman has any impact on his voting record.


*If you want to know the position of LULAC regarding illegal aliens, here’s a press release from LULAC National President Rosa Rosales on June 8, 2007: “We encourage Congress and the White House to renegotiate a workable bill that unites families, protects human rights, creates an avenue for undocumented immigrants to legalize their status and allows future workers to come here legally with a pathway to permanent residency.” (From the LULAC.org website)

This is important because LULAC is sometimes regarded as moderate and supporting legal immigration only. Not so!

Is punitive a bad thing?

In the immigration debate we often hear that strict enforcement is punitive, that some politicians (mostly conservatives) just want to make life difficult for the “undocumented”. The logic goes something like this: Here is an illegal alien working at a Swift meatpacking plant. Sure, he stole the Social Security Number of a six year old, but he only did it so he could work.

He’s got a wife and two anchor babies at home. When the plant is raided, he is hauled off to a detention facility and prepared for deportation. The family now has no father, no provider. They aren’t even sure where he is. This is mean spirited. This is punitive.

I submit that being punitive is exactly the point. We need to enforce the law and send a message to the illegals and others with similar ideas that this is not a picnic; that we have laws and they will be enforced; that there are consequences to their actions. Lacking the political will to be punitive has created the problem in the first place.

This in not an original thought on my part. In fact, it was the recommendation of the 1994 Commission on Immigration Reform. Barbara Jordan, a great civil rights leader from Texas, was the chairman. Here’s a direct quote from the report:
“Serious problems undermine present immigration policies, their implementation, and their credibility: people who should get in find a cumbersome process that often impedes their entry; people who should not get in find it all too easy to enter; and people who are here without permission remain with impunity.”

How’s that for punitive? In 1994 they understood.

I like what ICE spokesman, Gail Montenegro said about this punitive act of separating families. She said, “We hear a lot that ICE is separating families and my response is that we don’t separate families. Families make decisions, including coming here illegally. These are the consequences. The parents have placed their families in this position.”

If we are going to be successful at keeping out future illegal aliens, we need to get over this fear of enforcing the law. Yes, we’re going to need to be punitive. Get over it folks; we’re not condemning them to die; we’re merely sending them back home.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Define amnesty

Bush told the Associated Builders and Contractors on June 14th: “Amnesty is forgiveness with no penalty for people who have broken our laws to get here. In contrast, this bill requires illegal workers to pay a fine, to register with the government, to undergo background checks, to pay their back taxes, to hold down a steady job, and to learn English in a set period of time.”

This was the same Bush who removed the back taxes requirement from the Senate bill before they even got started. The Boston Globe reported the fact on May 19th. It even took McCain, one of the Grand Bargain Twelve, by surprise.

Here’s another gem from the article: “Laura Capps, a spokeswoman for (Sen. Ted) Kennedy,said a provision for requiring back taxes was in Kennedy’s original bill and that (Sec. Michael) Chertoff called for it to be removed. “Chertoff thought it would be too challenging to accurately determine the amount of an applicant’s back taxes,” she said.”

How about that. Bush out-liberaling the patron saint of liberals, Ted Kennedy!

What a sweet deal! I called the IRS to see if I could skip some of my taxes because they were too hard to figure. I was told NO.

Now, I have no idea where the bill stands in the area of back taxes. At one point they were looking for three of the last five years in back taxes. Bushes comments to the contractors is probably the latest pronouncement and it appears the taxes are required.

But watch the ball. Back taxes are a key element of Bushes definition of amnesty. He quietly took it out once and had Chertoff telling reporters, “You’ve got to pay your taxes.” But what he meant by that was future taxes.

Of course, the trick for Washington is to do a deal that is affordable for the illegals. You can easily price yourself out of the market and they will stay in the shadows. Oh, what a tangled web….

Silent amnesty

Sen. John McCain was widely quoted last week for using the term “silent amnesty” to describe our current situation regarding illegal aliens. But the term was used two weeks earlier by Sec. Michael Chertoff, one of the president’s men working the Hill.

On May 23rd, Chertoff was explaining to USA Today that there are 12 million illegals in the country now. He then said, "If they don't leave, then you are going to give them silent amnesty. You're either going to let them stay or you're going to be hypocritical."

My thought was that Chertoff ought to contact the person in charge of finding and deporting those who are here illegally and find out why they haven’t done their job. But wait, that person is Chertoff himself.

Essentially what he told America is that he was responsible for this silent amnesty! And so are Bush and McCain and anyone who was part of the checks and balances. It’s not like they haven’t been reminded of the problem. The alarm rang loud and clear on 9/11 that our immigration system is broken. Bush and Congress slept through the alarm.

And in November of 2005 the House sent its bill to the Senate (HB4437) and the Senate turned its collective nose up at it. So blame yourselves McCain and Chertoff and Bush. You are the authors of silent amnesty, not the American people!

McCain tried to spin it his way by telling us how courageous he is and that he is DOING something about it. Well, Senator, where were you all those years you occupied a desk on the floor of the Senate? (FYI, McCain has been in Washington since 1983 – 24 years to work on the problem!) Don’t tell other candidates that they lack courage when you had the power to do something and sat on your hands.

Uncle Sam Fights Back!

A great message and a great gift.
You know who you are. THANKS!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Quiz

Just for fathers Day, here’s a little "pop" quiz for you. Who made the following statements?

1) The existence of a fugitive underground class is unhealthy for society as a whole and may contribute to ethnic tensions. In addition, widespread illegality erodes confidence in the law generally, and immigration law specifically, while being unfair to those who seek to immigrate legally.

2) If U. S. immigration policy is to serve this nation’s interests, it must be enforced effectively. This nation has a responsibility to its people—citizens and resident aliens—and failure to enforce immigration law means not living up to that responsibility.

3) We recommend that deportation and removal of undocumented/illegal migrants should be effected to discourage early return. Adequate funds should be available to maintain high levels of alien apprehension, detention, and deportation throughout the year.

4) We believe that unlawful immigration is unacceptable. Enforcement efforts have not been effective in deterring unlawful immigration. This failure to develop effective strategies to control unlawful immigration has blurred the public perception of the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.

5) Serious problems undermine present immigration policies, their implementation, and their credibility: people who should get in find a cumbersome process that often impedes their entry; people who should not get in find it all too easy to enter; and people who are here without permission remain with impunity.

The source? Some right wing group, right? Wrong!

The first three statements are direct quotes from the Select Commission on Immigration in 1981. Sen. Ted Kennedy was on that commission, along with four members of Jimmy Carter’s Cabinet. Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame University, was the chairman.

The last two quotes are from a similar group convened in 1994 called the U. S. Commission on Immigration Reform.

Both of these advisory groups clearly identified the need for strong enforcement. It’s a shame that our Executive Branch lacks the political will to take action. Do you think pushing the reset button one more time with a path to legalization will do any good? I think not. The House of Representatives was right to focus on enforcement and leave amnesty out of the equation.

The Bear went over the border...

…and this is what he saw.
Bear Stearns Asset Management did a study in January 2005 entitled, “The Underground Labor Force is Rising to the Surface.” It was an attempt to analyze the impact of illegal aliens on the economy. This wasn’t a political analysis, like so many others. This one was about investments and business impact.

Here’s what they learned:

1) That the number is more like 20 million illegals, not 12.
2) The number of new illegals entering each year is 3 million.
3) Illegal aliens make up 8% of the workforce.
4) Four to six million jobs have shifted to the underground market.
5) Many employers are paying illegals in cash, using unrecorded revenue.
6) Technology and cheap air fares have made it easier for illegals to come here and find work.

They go on to say, “We believe most investors are underestimating the magnitude and significance of this theme.”

What is the impact? Why does it matter? Here’s where they say the impact is felt:
1) Distorted economic statistics.
2) Distorted government budget projections.
3) Understated job growth.
4) Artificially low inflation.
5) Average annual income reduced by 4 to 6%.
6) Higher real estate prices.
7) Exaggerated productivity numbers.
8) Long-term growth projections are distorted.
9) $30 billion a year in social service expenses.
10) Income tax is not being collected from those who are paid “off the books”, estimated at $35 billion a year.
11) Retail sales are overstated.

As you look at some of those items listed, you can see why politicians are reluctant to enforce the laws and send them home. Some of the economic recovery they’ve been taking credit for ISN’T REAL. And to pull the plug creates embarrassment and new costs.

And now, as the Senate debates legalization, I offer this quote from the report: “If indeed, the number of illegal immigrants is 20 million people, approximately the equivalent of New York State, any amnesty or legalization and assimilation process will require significant public sector resources.”

And that is what the Bear (Stearns) saw when he looked at the immigration problem.

Bush prays

Every year President Bush attends the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast. I think he’s missed only one all the years he has been president.

Last year he told the group that deportation was not a viable option in the enforcement program. It was at last year’s prayer breakfast that he made the famous, “That ain’t gonna work” speech.

This year he began his speech with this comment, “At this breakfast we set aside our politics and come together in prayer” and then proceeded to talk about his immigration bill!

One of his statements was, “We've got to create a lawful way for foreign workers to fill jobs that Americans are not doing.” He’s changed his tune a bit. He used to say…"jobs Americans won’t do”. No more. He’s being soft here, as though that changes his intentions.

Note the sudden urgency as Bush tells them, “Each day our nation fails to act, the problem only grows worse.” I suppose it hasn’t occurred to him that over 3 million of them have crossed into the United States since he became president? Perhaps he should have said, “Each day I have failed to act, I have made the problem worse.” After all, he didn’t need Congress to give him permission to enforce the existing laws. In fact, some years he didn’t even spend all the money allotted.

Bush said something else rather intrigueing. He said, “We must meet our moral obligation to… show compassion to the vulnerable and exploited.” He just described THREE BILLION PEOPLE around the world. Surely the Mexicans are not the most destitute people in the world. Surely those people he is legalizing are not the most needy. If we were to reach out with compassion to the poorest people in the world first, they would not be the self-selected ones he is inviting to stay.

I’m afraid that our president did indeed get a little political at the breakfast this year.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Trent Lott on term limits

Senator Trent Lott (D then R – Mississippi) made comments not intended for public consumption regarding immigration reform. His comments were reported in the New York Times on June 14th.

The first thing Lott did was draw a figurative target on his forehead by saying, “Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem.” Remember the rule Senator: Never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel. And its modern corollary: Never take shots at an industry that collectively has 100 million politically active listeners every day.

But there is another Lott comment from the same article that I think is the strongest argument for term limits. You need to understand that Lott first went to Washington as a member of the House in 1973 – That’s 34 years ago!

Now, here’s what the Times article said: At some point, Mr. Lott said, Senate Republican leaders may try to rein in “younger guys who are huffing and puffing against the bill.”

Now, Lott may have been promised some more Katrina money somewhere along the way, but he obviously thinks old Senators are better than young Senators. Like I say, it’s a strong argument for term limits.

Define Hispanic

I used to think the Nicene Creed was the most convoluted collection of words on the planet. Then I read the definition of Hispanic prepared for a study on racial profiling by police in Illinois. I believe it will give the Creed a run for its money.

Our dear Governor requires that all police traffic stops be cataloged and analyzed to see if the police are discriminating against minorities.

Below is the official definition of Hispanic from the study. Can you imagine a police officer trying to figure out this crud?

From the document: “Northwestern University Center for Public Safety
Illinois Traffic Stop Statistics Act 2004
” pg. 45-54

HISPANICS
One of the major decisions that we had to make was with respect to the
categorization of Hispanics. The problem that we encountered here was that the Illinois law designated a category that was not immediately reconcilable with the Census. The solution to the Pacific Islander quandary was fairly simple: combine two Census categories. With regards to Hispanics, however, the issues were more complex and had the potential for much larger ramifications. Because our decision in this area is undoubtedly one of the most important ones in this analysis, some attention should be devoted to elaboration.

The U.S. Census considers Hispanic origin to be an ethnicity, not a race. There
are, therefore, two separate questions on the Census form. The first asks whether the
respondent is of Hispanic origin and requires specification of how such origin is claimed.
In answering this question, the respondent can check “No, not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino”
or one of four “yes” boxes. Three of the “yes” boxes are associated with a particular
Hispanic or Latino group(s): “Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano,” “Puerto Rican,” and
“Cuban.” The fourth “yes” box is for all “other” Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish affiliations
and requires the respondent to print the name of the ethnic group.
The second question asks the respondent to identify a race. Here the person can claim “White,” “Black, African Am., or Negro,” “American Indian or Alaska Native,” Asian Indian,” “Chinese,” “Filipino,” Japanese,” “Korean,” “Vietnamese,” “Other Asian,” “Native Hawaiian,” “Guamanian or Chamorro,” “Samoan,” “Other Pacific Islander,” and “Some other race.”

Anyone designating himself as “Other Asian,” “Other Pacific Islander” or “Some other
race” must print the name of that other race. Thus a person can claim Hispanic origin
and be of any race. In order to conform to the Illinois law, which separates Hispanic
from the other races, we have to determine a method of extracting the Hispanic
population estimates in the Census from the other races. Not doing so will result in
double counting the Hispanic population (that is, counting them once as their race and
once as Hispanic) and thus erroneously inflating the number of Hispanic drivers “at risk”
of being stopped.

In considering this issue, we looked at other studies for guidance. There are, in
essence, three ways to approach the problem. First, anyone of Hispanic origin can be
considered “Hispanic,” meaning that a “Hispanic” individual may be of any race. This
was the approach taken by the team working on the Missouri study. Second, any
person claiming “Hispanic” origin can be classified according to the race that he
indicated on the Census questionnaire. This means that an “African American Hispanic”
person would be, for the purposes of the study, considered “African American” and not
Hispanic. This method, however, will only work where the Legislature has tailored the
law such that Hispanic is not an option for the officer making the stop. If the officer is
not able to designate the driver’s race as Hispanic, then he will necessarily have to
categorize that driver as one of the other racial groups represented in the Census. Put
differently, if the officer has the ability to select “Hispanic” as the driver’s race, then the
benchmark must have a “Hispanic” category against which to compare that stop. The
third possible solution is a “split the difference” or “hybrid” approach used by the
Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota in the Saint Paul data
collection study. There, any Hispanic person claiming Black, Asian, or Native American
identification was counted according to that racial designation (that is, as Black, Asian or
Native American). Any white or “other” Hispanic, however, was counted as “Hispanic.”
In other words, the only “Hispanics” in the Saint Paul study were “white” or “other.”

As noted in earlier sections, the Illinois Legislature included “Hispanic” as an
option for the officer designating race. Therefore, approach two above will not work in
Illinois. As between the first and third approaches, we chose the former for a number of
reasons. Initially, it seems to be the one favored by most researchers, including Lorie
Fridell. Moreover, however, counting as “Hispanic” all who claimed such ethnicity has
an additional benefit of including many individuals in the benchmark who would be
otherwise lost. Consider, for example, that approximately 5.2% of all driving age
respondents in Illinois (or 503,021 people) described themselves as “some other race.”
However, 98.4% of those individuals also identified themselves as “Hispanic.” The
Illinois law does not allow an officer to select “some other race.” Therefore, by using
the first approach, we managed to capture 98.4% of Illinois residents (age fifteen and up)
of “some other race” that would have been lost had we classified Hispanics by their
race.

There is, however, another, more fundamental reason for using the first approach
and designating all Hispanics, no matter their race, as “Hispanic.” The goal in data
collection studies is to determine whether an officer’s decision to stop a motorist is
influenced by the physical appearance of the driver. In addressing this issue, we (both as
a society and as researchers) classify “Hispanics” as a minority group. But 46.1% (or
487,779) of all driving age Hispanics in Illinois (1,058,323) designated themselves as
“white.” If we were to divide Hispanics by their race, rather than designate them all as
“Hispanic,” 46.1% of all Hispanics would be subsumed within the “white” category,
erroneously minimizing the number of minorities of Hispanic descent at risk of being
stopped by the police.

Finally, there is the issue of individuals claiming to be of two or more races. The
Census Bureau allows a respondent to choose any combination of races (up to six, the
total number of races on the Census). As part of our study, we chose to focus on those
individuals claiming only one race. As previously noted, 1.52% of all Illinois residents
age 15 and up (or 148,034 people) claimed to be of two or more races. However, 33.9%
of these individuals (or 50,179 people) also claimed to be Hispanic. Therefore, by
choosing to designate every person claiming Hispanic origin as Hispanic, we were able to
capture an additional 50,179 Illinois drivers by including multi-racial Hispanics in the
“Hispanic” category.

For all of these reasons, we concurred with the Missouri approach and counted as
“Hispanic” any person who had identified himself as “Hispanic.” Consequently, in our
analysis, “Hispanic” can be an individual of any race.

- - - - - - - - - -

See, I told you it would give you a headache! There was more but I spared you the charts and graphs!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Death in Delavan

Last Saturday night there was a horrific crime in Delavan Wisconsin, a small town 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. Six people are dead and a seventh was shot in the chest. Police say that Amborosio Analco was jealous because his former girlfriend was dating other people so he killed her.

But they also had three children together, so he killed his six month old twin boys. He also shot his two year old daughter but she survived.

For good measure he killed his ex-girlfriend’s sister and a young woman who just happened to be visiting at the time.

Here’s what the Milwaukee paper reported about Amborosio’s criminal background: “Analco had only minor brushes with law enforcement, including tickets for speeding in 2002, driving with a suspended license in 2005 and driving without a valid license in 2006. In 2005 he was the subject of a child support action McAffee initiated in Walworth County.
“In that case, a judge ordered but stayed a six-month jail sentence for Analco on March 16 for failing to pay child support. He was ordered to pay $442 per month for all three children but owed about $4,100 in birth expenses for Jasmine, according to court records.
“Analco's first name is spelled three ways in court records: Ambrosio, Argenis and Aguenis. Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss said Analco, who was born in Mexico, had a Social Security card, but Koss did not know if he was a U.S. citizen.”

Now, the feds have the Law Enforcement Support Center with eight databases to assist the police in identifying illegals. Maybe the cops in Delavan don’t know about it. Or maybe they are all just being PC.

I’m going to make some assumptions here, because they don’t report these things in the news. I’m going to assume that Analco is illegal. I’m guessing that tougher drivers license identification standards made it impossible for him to get a license in 2006. In Illinois they run your Social Security Number through a database to see if the info matches. If not, no license. So that’s why he went from “suspended” license in 2005 to “without a valid license” in 2006.

I’m also going to assume that the ex-girlfriend and her sister are white girls. The last name is McAffee. By the way, the sister was married to a Hispanic fellow by the name of Huerta. From the 911 tapes his English was OK but he was going back and forth between English and Spanish. I wonder if these women realized that they were three times as likely as women whose partners are white to be victims of spouse abuse? It’s a macho thing.

The other dead person is girl by the name of Iverson who is white. She went to high school with the McAffee girls and just happened to be there for a visit.

Here in Chicago last night there was a news item about a 60 year old Hispanic man who is preying on little girls on the southwest side. One TV station reported him as Hispanic but the other three do not use ethnic adjectives. It’s sort of hard to be on the lookout for someone when they don’t use words like “Asian”, “African-American”, or “Hispanic” but I guess PC is more important than safety in our society.

Maybe if the Wisconsin story read “Three white women and three babies were gunned down by an illegal Mexican in Delavan Saturday” we’d have a clearer understanding of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”.

Sheriff power

I was made aware last year of the important role of the county sheriff. The point was made by Sheriff Dan Beck of Allen County Ohio. Like many law enforcement personnel, Beck was unaware that he had a problem with illegal aliens in his community until two years ago.

The point was made by two watershed events that took place in Allen County in 2005. The first was a search for an illegal alien who had fled into the county to hide from prosecution for the rape of an eight year old girl. Deputies were frustrated by the lack of cooperation from the perpetrator’s neighbors who also happened to be illegal aliens. They realized that the Sheriff's Office needed language skills and fraudulent document training in order to conduct such investigations.

The second event was a multiple fatality accident in Allen County. Four illegal aliens were killed in the accident. One victim was never identified. The county was left to pay over $100,000 in medical costs to treat one of the victims. The ACSO realized that they needed stronger enforcement of operator license, insurance, and auto registration laws. And they knew they had to do their part in educating local employers as well.

Beck went to work on the problem and has developed a successful enforcement program.

But the important point for the rest of us is that the county sheriff is an ELECTED official, the only ELECTED law enforcement agent in the nation.

Your local police chief is appointed by the mayor and city council. In some cases, they serve until the mayor fires them. In other cases, they serve until they resign or are convicted of a serious crime.

The chief officer of the state police/highway patrol is a political appointment by the governor.

But the county sheriff is elected by the people. He generally stands for election every four years. It means that he is not beholden to any other political leader. It also means he will be responsive to the citizens, especially if there is the possibility of a scandal. You ought to find out how your sheriff handles the problem of crime at the hands of illegal aliens.

What are you supposed to call them?

What’s the correct term?

I always call them illegal aliens, which is the name found in most of the statutes.

Harry Reid came up with a new one this week: “Undocumented Americans”. I suppose that was wishful thinking on his part. Sort of like Bush telling reporters, “See you at the signing.”

Ted Kennedy was calling them “stakeholders” back in April.

I suppose the PC term, and the one used by most media outlets is “undocumented worker”.

You could call most of them “EWIs” for Entered Without Inspection, Immigration’s term for those who don’t stop at a border station.

We once called them “WOPs”, meaning Without Papers. It’s from the days when they called refugees “DPs”, for Displaced Persons.

Then there is the term “wetback”, meaning they swam the Rio Grande to get here.

I’ve generally found that the sensitive types call them Undocumented something-or-others. Me, I’ll stick with illegal aliens whether I offend them or not.

For the style conscious writer, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists has written their take on the proper term. It’s worth a look:

http://www.nahj.org/nahjnews/articles/2006/March/immigrationcoverage.shtml

Who says I don’t write balanced stuff?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mean people suck

You’ve seen the bumper sticker. These folks are all about peace, love, and tolerance. They were raised on the notion that there is no absolute truth; that we ought not impose our own set of values on someone else. In our under 30 culture, the worst sin you can commit is to judge the actions of another.

I think we’ve gone way overboard with that idea. It expresses itself in lifestyle tolerance. Those of us who feel we are being taken advantage of by illegals are among the mean people. After all, these are people who just want to work here. Our country is a better place to live. Heck, why do we have a border at all? If someone wants to come here they should be welcomed with open arms.

But what if you are impacted by illegals? It happens every day, you know. What if an illegal hits your car and just drives away? What if you are left to clean up the mess when someone uses your social security number? Does it matter if someone close to you is one of the 25 people killed each day by illegal aliens?

What if you spend three hours in the emergency room waiting your turn because illegals have turned it into a clinic? Do you mind paying more on your bill because their treatment is free? And how do you like it when your hospital closes altogether because there aren’t enough paying customers?

Is it a problem when your taxes go up to build another school or hire more teachers? Do you mind the extra expense?

We’ve been left holding the bag over and over again, and yet we seem to think it is OK. After all, to complain is what mean people do.

We are a nation of immigrants

I love that line. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard.

I’ve heard those words from…
President Bush
Mayor Daley
Cardinal George

Well, here are some fine essays on the subject for those who care to explore the fallacy of the statement:

http://www.michnews.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/145/8007

http://www.projectusa.org/arguments/nation_of_immigrants.php

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/005334.html

When you hear those words, watch for the spin.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wait 'til I get home

You are in BIG TROUBLE, Mister. I leave the country for a few days and you Republican Senators start asking questions about MY comprehensive immigration reform package.

Yes, I took out the part about back taxes. Yes, some felons can stay. Yes, I get to decide when we’ve built enough of the fence.

How dare you look out for the interests of the citizens?

George

Aversion Therapy

Thirty years ago I was finishing up my BA and the professor asked us to visit an institution. After the visit we were to write a report.

I chose an addiction treatment center called Raleigh Hills. (Looking back, it was the only one on the list that wasn’t a government agency.)

I called the number the professor gave me and scheduled a tour/interview. It turned out to be an alcohol treatment center. They explained that a patient was checked into the facility, given a complete physical and psychological exam, then “dried out” prior to the therapy.

The patient was brought into a room with a mirrored wall lined with all sorts of booze. They would crank up the lounge music and sit him down in a comfortable chair. They would also give him some medicine that would make him puke if it mixed with alcohol.

Then the patient would be asked, “What’ll you have?” and they would proceed to mix his order. Whatever he wanted.

Of course, he would take a drink and watch in the mirror as he Ralphed all over the place! And they would do this over and over again until the patient would barf even if he didn’t have the medicine.

Now, we can all relate to that to some extent. We’ve all had a favorite food at one time that we no longer like because we OD’d on it. Maybe you used to like Barbeque flavor potato chips…then you ate an entire bag in one sitting. Now you can’t stand the thought of them.

Or maybe you went to shrimp fest at Red Lobster and now you don’t like shrimp.

I think there are a growing number of citizens who have had enough of the Hispanic invasion. We never really thought much about it before. We have friends who are first generation immigrants from Mexico. They are fine people. Great cooks. Colorful dance costumes. Hard workers.

Maybe we’ve even got them in the family as a relative married a recent immigrant. No problem with that.

But that doesn’t mean we want America to be a Spanish-speaking country! And we don’t like it when they take to the streets by the hundreds of thousands to make demands, especially when they are here illegally.

This mindset was predicted by the U. S. Commission on Immigration Reform in 1994. Here’s what the report said: "We believe that unlawful immigration is unacceptable. Enforcement efforts have not been effective in deterring unlawful immigration. This failure to develop effective strategies to control unlawful immigration has blurred the public perception of the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants." (pg.ii)

Instead, it is easier to label people as racists, xenophobes, and bigots when all we are really saying is, “We’re getting overwhelmed here. Do something.” Do they understand, “Too much of a good thing”? Is there a problem with us preserving our language and culture?

I think we’ve been patient; maybe too patient. Some are calling for a moratorium on all immigration. I disagree.

But make no mistake, it is the right of our citizens to decide who comes here and how many. My biggest fear is that our leaders have become pure politicians and are acting in their self-interest, ignoring our desire to preserve the culture. So when we look at comprehensive reform and see that they have thoughtfully considered the desires of the illegals and ignored the wishes of the electorate, we become alarmed.

Can you understand my concern?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Foreign Exchange Program

Warning: Sarcasm level of this post is HIGH

Since the Albanians love Boosh-y, I suggest that we exchange presidents for a year, just like high school students do.

I’ve thought about the objections to the plan and I think it is workable.
#1- He won’t understand us. (It’s not like Bush does.)
#2- We won’t understand him. (It can’t be any worse than now.)
#3- He’s not a Republican. (Neither is 43, from what I can tell.)
#4- What if his approval rating is higher than George’s? (That’s possible.)
#5- What if he can’t get along with Congress? (…)
#6- He might forget to fund some social programs in the budget. (The downside?)
#7- What if he can’t control the borders? (No change there.)
#8- What if he has problems executing the war plan? (It might be an improvement.)
#9- What if we don’t want to trade back at the end of the year? (Now, that’s a possibility!)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It's not all serious

Here are a few news items from the immigration debate that are humorous.

For years the Minutemen have patrolled the highways of Chicago, helping stranded motorists. They are employees of the highway department and they cruise around changing tires, pouring a gallon of gas here and there, or jumping a dead battery.

Latino activists contacted them last year and demanded that they change their name and their uniforms, and repaint their trucks. It seems that when they would pull over to help an illegal alien, the driver would jump out of the truck in his uniform bearing an American flag and the word “Minuteman”. The illegal would look back at the truck with lights flashing and “Minutemen” on the door and run away! He thought those “vigilantes” were chasing him.

The response from the DOT was to get over it; they were not changing their name. (Good for them.)
- - - - -
The second tale is from Toys’R’Us. They had a contest for the first baby born in 2007. Expectant mothers filled out a card to enter the contest. The rules are familiar ones: Must be 18 or older and a legal resident.

It turns out that the first baby born was the child of an illegal alien from China. Toys’R’Us denied her the prize ($25,000) and awarded it to someone else. But there were protests and official complaints lodged so the store relented and gave the illegal alien her prize money. (Sell out.)
- - - - -
The third story is from a Spanish language radio station here in Chicago. A woman entered a 4th of July contest to win a Corvette. She won. The radio station then contacted her to get her Social Security Number, a requirement for all prizes over $500. You guessed it; she didn’t have one.

The radio station offered to give her a different car but she refused. She went into hiding for fear of deportation and filed suit against the radio station for breach of contract and emotional distress. (How do you go into hiding and file a lawsuit?)

The story is rich because this radio station is known for supporting illegal immigrants’ rights. One of their DJs is very vocal and is credited with helping assemble 400,000 marchers on May 1, 2006.
- - - - -
From the weird rights of illegals category, did you know that the ACLU is fighting the cataloging of DNA evidence taken from immigration violators, terrorist detainees, and other federal prisoners?
- - - - -
Or, how do you like this web seminar for university officials around the country: “Helping Undocumented Students Navigate the College Pipeline.” It includes fundraising programs, financial aid, and how to adjust your visa status.
- - - - -
Ken Burns, the documentary maker, is releasing “The War”, about WWII. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has formed a committee to demand that Burns remake the documentary because it does not portray any Hispanic soldiers. He doesn’t say anything bad about Hispanics; he just chose four other settings that lacked Hispanics. I believe Burns and PBS are going to ignore the request. Stay tuned.
- - - - -
Did you know that Santo Toribio is the patron saint of illegal aliens? True story.
- - - - -
I have a doctored Miller Beer advertisement that pictures a group of Banditos and says, “Visas? We don’t need no stinking visas!" It seems that Miller Brewing paid $30,000 to support a protest march by illegal aliens. Oops!
- - - - -
Did you know that Illinois has an I-Loan program that helps illegal aliens buy homes by loaning them money so they don’t get fleeced by predatory lenders? No Social Security Number required.
- - - - -
How about the National Employment Law Project and the ACLU who petitioned the federal government on behalf of illegal aliens because they are not adequately protected in the workplace? Their rights are being violated!
- - - - -
A friend gave me this one:

A Somali arrives in Minneapolis as a new immigrant to the United States. He stops the first person he sees walking down the street and says, “Thank you Mr. American for letting me in this country, giving me housing, food stamps, free medical care, and free education.”

The passerby says, “You are mistaken. I am Mexican.”

The man goes on and encounters another passerby. “Thank you for having such a beautiful country here in America!”

The person says, “I not American. I Vietnamese.”

The new arrival walks further, and the next person he sees he stops, shakes his hand, and says, “Thank you for the wonderful America!”

That person puts up his hand and says, “I am from the Middle East. I am not American!”

He finally sees a nice lady and asks, “Are you an American?”

She says, “No, I am from Africa.”

Puzzled, he asks her, “Where are all the Americans?”

The African lady checks her watch and says… “Probably at work.”

- - - - - -

The Death of Truth

I read a book a few years ago called The Death of Truth by David McCallum. It is an analysis of postmodern thought and the impact it has on our society.

He explains the impact of multiculturalism as well as the abandonment of absolute truth. There’s a pretty good sample of his argument in an essay entitled, “The Postmodern Puzzle”. The link is: http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9802/mccallum.html

Here’s a scenario from the article:
You visit an African tribe during their female circumcision ritual and behold a teenage girl receiving a clitorectomy.

To judge the tribal ritual is: Okay? or Bad?

This scenario raises some complicated contradictions for the postmodern thinker. Female circumcision is a manifestation of misogyny and control of women. The procedure guarantees women will never experience orgasm, and therefore will take no pleasure from sex. In the words of one African apologist, the practice “frees women from their bondage to lust, to find their true identity as mothers.” The girls have little or no say in whether they receive the procedure. Viewed objectively, this practice is a savage and brutal violation of women, as feminists have rightly pointed out.

But there’s a problem. Female circumcision is also a time-honored religious rite of passage in another culture—in an oppressed, non-Western, nonwhite culture at that. It is, therefore, off-limits to postmodern judgment of any kind.

I think McCallum takes great pleasure in watching them squirm!

The problem in our society is that we go merrily along assuming that we must accept and embrace all cultures and customs. We have become embarrassed about the white, European, Christian point-of-view and are all too willing to jettison Western Civilization if it gets in anyone’s way.

And the Latino activists and Muslims see this opening and take advantage of it. You can’t blame them for grabbing the reins, especially if it means coming to the United States and getting a piece of the American Dream.

But their lack of sincerity shines through when you see that they carry their own flags, celebrate their own holidays, and fail to respect our laws.

Yet our schools, most of our politicians, and the media continue to portray patriotism as mere jingoism. They go out of their way to protect the rights of intruders. Hooray for the foreign cultures and down with Western thought.

I was at the cemetery on Memorial Day for a ceremony. As they read the names of veterans who had died in the past year I thought, “There goes another member of The Greatest Generation; a man who couldn’t be fooled by political correctness. We’ll miss him, especially on election day.”

Saturday, June 9, 2007

OGOP

The elephant is out. The new symbol of the Once Grand Old Party is:

aka RINO = Republicans In Name Only.

And they are all over the place.

Anybody wanna plan a party?

Chertoff speaks

I was listening to NPR last night (June 8th) and Robert Siegel interviewed Michael Chertoff. Chertoff has been up on Capitol Hill representing Bush in talks with the Senate on the immigration reform bill.

Now, George’s first choice was Alberto “I don’t recall” Gonzalez, our embattled Attorney General. It seems Al’s relationship with Congress is a little strained these days, primarily because of his amnesia. So Mike Chertoff drew the short straw.

His day job is Secretary of Homeland Security. He is the cabinet member who oversees the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FEMA, The Coast Guard, The Secret Service, Customs, Sky Marshals (TSA), and Citizenship and Immigration Services. In other words, anyone coming into this country has to stop for a Chertoff employee.

Mike was appointed in February of 2005. He was an appellate court judge and (surprise) was once a DOJ lawyer.

So, here’s what he said in the interview regarding the guest worker program: “Well, I do think that the five year sunset is kind of a self-defeating notion because it creates a temporary worker provision which is critical to meet our economic needs and it is also one of the principle ways in which we reduce illegal immigration. But then it sets a five year termination date which, of course is a little bit inconsistent.”

Here is the one man in charge of guarding our borders against intruders and he says that the guest worker program is a principle way to reduce illegal immigration. Does anyone else see a white flag waving? He wants to allow 400,000 people to come here each year legally because it is too hard to keep them out. If the law is so hard to enforce, let’s just change the law.

Here are a couple more gems from Mr. Chertoff:
“I’ll give you a very vivid picture of what will happen if we don’t have a bill. We will stay in the current situation. Obviously we will continue to enforce the law as vigorously as we have been doing. That leads to some unhappy situations when people who have been in this country who have children who are American citizens, get arrested and deported. But that’s what the law requires and we’re going to enforce it. You’re also going to see an increasing number of localities passing their own individual immigration bills. They’re going to be everywhere from ordinances that create sanctuary cities to ordinances in cities that say it’s illegal to rent to undocumented workers. And that means that businesses are going to be faced with hundreds of inconsistent requirements. There’s going to be a lot of confusion. There’s going to be a lot of difficulty as we continue to work without a legitimate temporary worker program. Crops will rot in the field. Fruit will not be picked. Some of those farmers will finally decide they want to move their farms South of the border or North of the border into Canada so they can get the workers. I don’t see any outcome in the status quo that is a good outcome.”

Does that kind of talk make you nervous? It does me. How do you move a farm, Mike?

Is it slavery?

Thomas Jefferson gave a rather detailed account of the negotiations surrounding the articles of confederation in his autobiography. At one point the founding fathers were wrestling with the problem of apportionment/representation; apportionment being the portion of the federal invoice to be billed to each state.

They debated over whether or not to count all inhabitants (except Indians) or just the white inhabitants. Some wanted to exclude slaves as “property”; others thought that they ought to be included in the headcount since they contributed to the economy.

It is interesting to read the account in light of the illegal alien debate. It is also interesting to note the similar thoughts of our leaders. For example, read the quote from Jefferson below and see if it sounds familiar:

“It has sometimes been said that slavery is necessary because the commodities they raise would be too dear for market if cultivated by freemen.”

They were justifying slavery because they were afraid of $8 per head lettuce! Some things never change.

Several months ago I wrote a letter to Washington reminding them that this economic model only works if we pay the immigrants less than market wages and continue withholding the benefits of Social Security and Medicare. Once you pay them the same amount you would pay a citizen, and provide them benefits like a citizen, they no longer provide an advantage to our economy.

So, are they then suggesting that we officially oppress the alien? Or are they hoping to get a foot in the door and then make them beneficiaries later? Either way, it sounds like a dirty trick to me.

Friday, June 8, 2007

CSI Senate Chambers

Autopsy on Reform

I suppose the Senate is too busy licking its wounds to analyze what went wrong with immigration reform. Reid is blaming Bush for leaving the country just when he was needed most.

Harry can say that but I think his 12 member Senate think tank fell apart. Several of the 12 voted against Reid’s call for cloture. I’d say he had some work of his own to do.

Cloture itself was a problem. To the public it looks like the Senate itself doesn’t want to talk about the details of the bill. Reid wanted to cut off debate before the ink had dried on the first draft.

The Republicans still wanted to talk about it because they hoped to appease the voters with at least the semblance of enforcement. But the more they talked, the uglier things got. Senators were arguing with each other. Problems with the details came to light under full public view. The flaws were being exposed left and right. (I like that “left and right” part!)

So, take note Senators. Here are some things to consider the next time around.
1) Family unification and ending chain migration are mutually exclusive. Obama and Graham fought over that one a couple of days ago. You can’t do both, guys.
2) Local impact was ignored. That’s where the problems are felt the most. Schools, hospitals, police departments, social services. You really ought to walk in the shoes of local mayors.
3) There needs to be a successful pattern of effective enforcement, not just self-defined triggers. We’ve got a fence bill but no money for it. Bush, the chief “executive” (as in execute=carry out the enforcement of our laws) has an approval rating of 32%. Nearly six years after 9/11, a flagged TB carrier drives across the Canadian border while you are debating the bill. Now that’s a problem!
4) Bush may call us bigots but America doesn’t want to go Hispanic. We are tired of “Press one for English”. We are tired of dual language packaging and signage wherever you go. We are tired of funding bilingual education. We are tired of society being degraded by an ethnic group that refuses to assimilate. We need a new formula because we are overwhelmed by Hispanics. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with Hispanics, but I do have a problem when they are coming here in sufficient numbers with sufficient birth rates to overwhelm us. And I have a serious problem with the demands made by hordes of protesters. I accept Laotians, Ukrainians, Somalis, Pakistanis, Koreans, even a few Frenchmen; but don’t flood the country with so many of one group that they become 25% of the population. OK, I guess I’m a nativist. I would like our immigration policy to serve the best interest of our citizens. When Congress understands it is not about race per se, but huge numbers of one race (any race) invading our country, you will begin to see the will of the people.
5) See my comments about attractive nuisances. We need to remove those. And it will be ugly indeed. Graham told Obama that Senators were showing great courage and sticking their necks out to get something done here. Perhaps that courage would be better expressed in saying “no” to some of the political correctness that has led us to give away citizenship, health care, and education.
6) By protecting convicted felons, you tipped your hand. That was a no-brainer and you blew it. The current laws need to be upheld. Period. You may have been thinking of Elvira Arellano when you voted on that amendment, but what you told future illegals was that they should head north because it is business as usual in the US of A.

Well, there are all sorts of other flaws in the bill. This is by no means a complete list. Maybe some of you have some comments for the good Senators.

Attractive nuisances

An attractive nuisance is a legal term that says you are liable if you create a dangerous situation that might attract attention. For example, it would be unwise to park a motorcycle on your front sidewalk with the keys in it. If a teenager walks by and notices the situation, he would be tempted to hop on the bike and take it for a ride. You would be liable for injuries and damage caused by said teenager.

It’s the reason people with swimming pools are required to have a fence and a latched gate.

I submit that our nation has created attractive nuisances that tempt illegal aliens to enter the United States. Here are three such temptations:
1) Free emergency care/labor and delivery. The EMTALA act was passed by Congress in 1986 with the best of intentions. If someone shows up at the emergency room but does not have insurance, you can’t just let him bleed to death on the sidewalk outside the hospital. You take care of the immediate emergency. But a few court cases have created a situation where non-emergencies are now covered and you’d better not release the patient until they are fully recovered.

There are accounts in border towns in Texas and California where women in labor are rushed across the border into the US and dumped on the doorsteps of our hospitals because the care is better and it is free.
2) A free public education. Way back in 1981 the U S Supreme Court ruled on Plyler v. Doe. This forever established the requirement that public schools educate the children of illegal immigrants. And it is a good education, much better than nearly any Mexican school. As an added bonus, the children will learn English (eventually) and thus have a leg-up over the kids back home.
3) Citizenship for children born here. The 14th amendment was never intended to be abused the way it is now. It was part of the post-Civil War package declaring that slave children are citizens. Yet courts have given interpretations that changed the amendment. U S Citizenship is a valued prize, not only for its symbolic value but also as a gateway to social benefits and a modicum of protection against deportation for the parents.

In addition to a border fence and strong enforcement of the law, these attractive nuisances need to be removed. They are a strong temptation for those who wish to come here illegally. Yet “reform” bills never try to correct them and never fully reimburse us for the local costs of these unfunded mandates.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Reform retreat

It appears that the immigration reform in the Senate has self-destructed. There are too many voices clamoring for a piece of the action.

Alan Simpson, former Senator from Wyoming has some choice quotes on the subject.

He said that passing immigration reform is like "giving dry birth to a porcupine." And, "There can be no perfect immigration bill." He also pointed out that strange alliances form around the immigration debate. He called them "the goofiest ideological bedfellow activity I've ever seen."

So, unless a miracle happens in the next day or two, they'll move on to something else and the subject will be off limits until after November of 2008.

The only thing that has passed in the last two years has been House Bill 4437 which was strong on enforcement. I hope our leaders can see the importance of that. Whenever you try to justify breaking the law, you will run into trouble.

Here's a nice quote from Samuel Adams-
"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds"

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

La Raza Makeover

There has been much criticism of La Raza of late. They are a well-established Latino activist group. But lately some right wing folks have pointed out that their name means “the race”, or more precisely “THE race”, the only one that matters.

And they have been connected with Mexican extremists who want to take back the land lost in the Mexican war of 1846-48. (You know, the Mormon Battalion war.)

Charles Norwood, a Republican Congressman from Georgia (now deceased), made several allegations about the group in recent years, including the notion that they were exclusionary, even racist.

Here’s La Raza’s own explanation (no charge for the free spin):
http://www.nclr.org/content/viewpoints/detail/42500/

Now, in the above explanation they explain that La Raza means “the people” or “community”. I checked six on line Spanish-to-English sources and three dictionaries at home. They all said the same thing. La Raza means race or breed, which agrees with my 25 credit hours of college Spanish and my 3.5 rating in the foreign service language exam.

I love it when organizations try to appear mainstream, even if it means jettisoning some core beliefs.

Now, La Raza is supported by foundations and grants and tax money. They are a legitimate organization. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez is a member. Three weeks after his confirmation he went to a La Raza event and declared, “I have this organization to thank for support of my nomination for attorney general.”

And Karl Rove was wetting himself over all those Hispanic voters who would become loyal Republicans. (Now there’s another institution that sold out its core beliefs on its way to the middle.)

When they start digging wells in Africa, building hospitals, and giving scholarships to white kids, then I’ll consider their claim that they are mainstream. As long as they rent busses to haul protesters to pro-illegal alien rallies, pay them stipends to protest, and mingle among the crowd registering voters, I’m thinking The Race is a pretty good name for them.

What's a felony among friends?

I’ve concluded that there must be some “stupid powder” floating on the air with the pollen in DC. Something has gotten into our Senators. Today 51 United States Senators voted against an amendment to the immigration reform bill prohibiting the legalization of convicted felons!

It makes sense. If you are here illegally and are a felon, we don’t want you. Go home. We’ve got enough crime at the hands of our citizens. But 51 Senators disagreed with that idea.

Instead, they are OK with a much shorter list of felons that should be excluded from the amnesty (or whatever we’re supposed to call it these days) program.

Have they all gone mad? Here people are writing, calling, e-mailing, and faxing them expressing their opposition to this bill and they are making it even more lenient. How can that be? It must be something in the air or some sort of mind control thing by Osama Bin Laden.

Rational human beings who were elected to represent the interests of the people of the United States couldn’t possibly make choices like that without some sort of external coercion.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

NAFTA/SPP

By most accounts, NAFTA has been a bust. Mexico has not benefited as much as had been hoped and we would be hard pressed to find much good news from Canada (except perhaps that it is easier to move back and forth across the border).

Specifically, the manufacturing peaked in 2000 and has declined sharply since. There are complaints that factories hire large numbers of women, disrupting the culture by taking them from the home and motherhood. Additionally, America is charged with exporting our pollution.

We also hear complaints from Mexico that NAFTA has caused prices to INCREASE for the locals. If Safeway is willing to buy avocados from Pedro at ten cents apiece, the locals will no longer be able to buy them for five.

Pedro might at least try to raise his prices to 15, but there is pressure from the California growers to keep it at ten. And how do California farmers do it? By hiring illegals to pick the crops. So Mexico is in the unenviable position of competing with itself!

Speaking of competition, Mexico has real trouble competing with Asia in the area of manufacturing. They lack the engineering skills and the precision needed to build a world-class product. Asia has overcome the language barrier, political mistrust (remember Communist China?), and high sea cargo costs to become our main source for clothes and toys and electronics…

Now Washington is considering the Security and Prosperity Partnership; sort of a NAFTA on steroids. “Official” Washington info is at: www.spp.gov

Why is it that those guys want to take a failed idea and build on it? It’s like the farmer who was selling hay. He was LOSING two bucks a bale with each sale. His solution? Get a bigger truck!

This SPP is way too liberal for me. It includes open borders, super highways, Mexican semi drivers, and shared social security plans (see this link: http://www.ssa.gov/international/agreements_overview.html). Some see it like a European Union for the West. Personally, I don’t like it. I don’t see the benefits for the United States. And I don’t see our government being able to administer it.

Monday, June 4, 2007

American Manufacturing...

…down and out and over there.

I’ve worked for two American companies that you would recognize as household names. Everyone has heard of them. Both of them are shadows of their former selves. Both of them have followed the same pattern.

They started in Chicago back when it was the toolbox of America. I was in China a year ago and I imagined that Chicago was like that less than a hundred years ago. I spent a week at a factory that supplies my current company with product. (Believe me, it is NOT a household name.)

This factory is a sprawling campus with dozens of buildings. One building is devoted to making hardware. They can make bolts and nuts and metal shafts out of raw material. The entrance to that building is a reddish-brown color from the small amounts of molten slag tossed out the door day-after-day for years. Surely that can-do capability and attitude was the soul of Chicago when these two famous companies were born.

Over the years these American companies built additional plants and office buildings that housed engineers, sales executives, and researchers. At some point in the 1960s there was a crossroads of sorts. The cost of union labor met competition, not from other brands but from buyers at major catalog houses and discount stores. By the early 1970s 80% of the business hinged on four or five major accounts; and those accounts dictated the pricing.

The buyer would meet with us and say, “We need a $14.95 widget. If you can build one, we’ll sign. If not, we have other suppliers.”

So we went down, first down to Southern Illinois and Missouri. Then to Tennessee and Mississippi. And that wasn’t enough to make a competitive product because the buyer now wanted a $12.95 widget.

So we went out, out of the country to the maquiladoras of Northern Mexico. I had the privilege of managing a department in Reynosa, a town across the border from McAllen, Texas. I spent a few days there every month for six months. The company picked up the workers in a bus every morning, fed them breakfast and lunch, and took them home at night. They took day trips to Monterrey every three months as a reward. And they paid the empoyees $50 to $150 a month.

Then along came Asia. Things were different. These companies would design and build the product and put our name on it. Name your features. Name your price. The widgets were well-made. And they came at throw-away prices.

They eliminated the need for R & D, engineering, replacement parts, service technicians…As the CEO told us, “We have become a sales and marketing company.”

Mexico could not compete. They lacked the skills in English, engineering, and management. And frankly, they lacked the eye for detail required to build a reliable product. They were congenial and they worked hard, but they were unable to compete with Asia.

We still buy the products with those familiar names. Many still think they are buying American. But they are made over there at far lower prices than Chicago’s union labor would have allowed. Indeed, our core manufacturing business has gone down and out, and over there. It is a blessing and a curse and it has left us without lucrative job opportunities.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Ethnicity matters

I know we don't like to say it but the data exists to show that it is more than an anecdotal racist remark.

Ethnicity matters in the area of domestic abuse:
Dr. Craig Field and The University of Texas Houston School of Public Health did a study of couples in 1995 and again in 2000. His results indicate that eight percent of white couples experience some type of male-on-female partner violence. Hispanic couples show a 21% rate of male-on-female violence.

The study statistically controlled socio-demographic and psychosocial variables.

To read more, here's a link:

http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/abuse/a/blacer030917.htm

I lay this problem at the feet of Salad Bowl Assimilation. We have told everyone to come here just as they are and don't change a thing. We even go to great lengths to preserve their culture through bilingual education and the sharing of national anthems. (Now that was a hit.)

The problem is further complicated by ethnic enclaves (we live in one) where a predominant minority group can do everything in Spanish; radio, TV, newspapers, church, school, shopping. They even celebrate the holidays and festivals from the old country.

But sociologist George Borjas explains that such ethnic enclaves delay true assimilation by three generations or more.

Under that colorful surface of our Salad Bowl of peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers is a putrid mess of rotting culture.

Ethnicity matters in the area of drunk driving:
MADD did a study about self-perception of drunkenness. Whites feel that they are too impaired to drive after two to four drinks. Hispanics, when asked the same questions will say six to eight drinks. And the fatalities by nationality prove the point.

Ethnicity matters in the number of high school drop-outs:
In 1960 53% of adult men born in the US were high school dropouts. By 1998, that number was down to 9%. For immigrant men today, that number is 33.6%. One only needs to look at virtually any school district in America to see that Hispanic males have the highest dropout rate of any students. And it hasn't been any different for 35 years.

We can look at other topics as well, like date rape, littering, and driving without insurance. My point is that ethnicity matters. Our society has worked hard to get the message out that it is unacceptable to beat your spouse. And we have been largely successful at being less violent than the previous generation. Additionally, reporting and counseling have become acceptable in our society.

But when we overlay another culture and fail to insist on true assimilation, our culture is cheapened. And the immigration rate and high birth rate among Hispanics means a constant flow of newcomers and less urgency to adopt the ways of their new land. Why change your ways when you can remain the same?

True assimilation begins when our society, including our media, is honest with itself. Only then can we begin to teach and lift our visitors and newcomers. Instead, those who cry out for the preservation of our culture are labeled as racists. I think they are buying in to the wrongheaded idea that American culture is not worth preserving. By the time enough of us figure out that we should protect it, I fear it will be too late.

Data, data, everywhere...

...and not a thought to think!

I got a PM from one of our readers concerning the contributions of illegal aliens to tax revenue. Some folks say they pay billions in taxes without collecting benefits, leaving a net gain to the IRS. Others say they are a net drain on social services because they receive more than they pay in.

I’ve got some thoughts on the matter:
1) Good numbers are hard to come by
2) It helps to consider the source

Number one: By its very nature, the illegal alien problem is difficult to measure. They don’t exactly register at the border, you know. As a result you get various estimates as to how many are here. The feds say 11 million, Pew Hispanic Center says 12, Bear Stearns Asset Management says 20. I’ve heard other groups say the number is as high as 100 million. Census data is unreliable because they have multiple families in one house, have a language barrier, and fear being discovered by authorities.

So any estimates about taxes and benefits are also going to be distorted as well. Which leads me to item number two: There are all sorts of groups out there with official sounding names that give out data. You have to figure out where they are coming from as a group, then see what they did to the numbers. For example, Numbers USA and the Center for Immigration Studies are both anti-illegal immigration groups. They will always report from a point-of-view that will make illegals look bad.

Other groups like La Raza and MALDEF will present data to defend the cause of the illegal aliens. You can come up with different numbers by using different source data or interpreting it in a different way.

Actually, Snopes has a pretty good examination of one set of data compared to another view of the same question.
http://www.snopes.com/politics/immigration/taxes.asp

George Borjas, a Cuban refugee, wrote a book called Heaven’s Door back in 1999 I think. It was a demographic study of immigration in general. He believes that illegal immigrants benefit the federal coffers and are a drain on state and local budgets. It makes sense. The IRS almost always gets their money but it is the school system, the police department, and the local hospital that provide most of the services. Municipalities base their services on the size of the family in each home. Obviously, overcrowding distorts the equation and puts a greater strain on services. No wonder Washington is happy to have them while cities get all the burden!

Also for your consideration is the large population of illegals who are paid under the table. I’ve seen estimates that 40% are paid that way, but how can anyone really know that Napoleon? Suffice it to say that it is a significant amount. And you double the loss there because the employer is skipping out on his matching payments, too.

A police chief in New Hampshire by the name of Garrett Chamberlain reminds us that when a roofer hires illegals, he isn’t passing the savings on to the homeowner. He’ll bid the job a couple hundred bucks lower than the competition and pocket the rest of the savings as profit. Their presence isn’t benefiting the economy; it’s making sleazy businessmen rich.

And I read an essay from a conservative citizens group in St. Louis where he made the point that no matter what the illegals contribute to the tax revenue, it would be more if the person were legal.
The short answer is that people can find data to support their beliefs; it is always wise to think it out for yourself.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Who is Selwyn Duke?

I don’t know who Selwyn Duke is, but he’s a fine essayist.

Google him and look for these two articles:

Why they won’t assimilate

The real immigration threat

I hope you enjoy them. I did.

How reform helps communities

A year ago President Bush appeared on prime time television (May 15, 2006) and addressed the immigration reform issue. At that time he said: “Illegal immigration puts pressure on public schools and hospitals, strains state and local budgets, and brings crime to our communities.” See, he knows the impact of illegal immigration on local government.

So how will this immigration reform package CHANGE the local situation? Public schools: No change. Hospitals: They will still be eligible for free emergency and labor/delivery care. Local budgets: I can find nothing in the legislation that will prohibit them from putting four families in a single family home. Crime: Same old, same old…

They will still be here, living in poverty, with a birth rate twice that of citizens, taking entry level jobs away from youth and the unemployed, and receiving social services. What will change is that de facto authorization to live here will become official authorization.

Big business will still have a source of cheap labor, with the taxpayers providing the benefits package. And all of Washington will be able to stand up and say, “I helped bring about reform. Vote for me, por favor!”

The whole deal stinks for local government, schools, and taxpayers.

Thoughts from the Ivory Tower

I’ve been reading two very different views about immigration from the university crowd.

The first is from a Harvard Professor named Samuel P. Huntington. The article is from Foreign Policy, March/April 2004 issue entitled The Hispanic Challenge. Here’s the link:

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/blogs/gems/culturalagency1/SamuelHuntingtonTheHispanicC.pdf

Huntington presents data and argues that continued Mexican immigration will negatively impact our language and culture. He pulls no punches. My guess is that he seldom gets invited to dinner by his colleagues on the faculty.

The second is an overview of the immigration problem done as a project by the University of Utah Honors Think Tank on Immigration. The link is:

http://continue.utah.edu/outreach/immigration_resource_guide.pdf

I warn you that it contains some na├»ve concepts typical of university undergraduates. But they present a sincere view that we ought to share America with the needy from the third world, particularly Mexico. And they publish 11 pages of community resources to aid these “victims” of the immigration problem, namely the illegals themselves.

I like to read it all. It helps me explore my own feelings. It also helps me spot the fallacies.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The world was different in 1986

I submit to you that if Washington moves ahead with this amnesty program, it will be very different that it was in 1986. And I don’t mean the structure of the program. Rather, I mean that world situation surrounding the “reform”.

First, a primer on 1986. In recognition of the fact that we had lost control of our borders and had several million illegal aliens, it was determined that something needed to be done. The government debated for five years and finally agreed to legalize (grant amnesty) to illegal aliens who had been here for four years or more.

Social agencies and churches worked hard to document how long people had been here and at the end of the day 2.7 million people were granted some type of legal residency status. The plan was to also shore up the enforcement programs to deter future would-be illegal aliens. (We saw how well that worked. We’re good at giving things away; not so good at getting tough with people.)

Now, how is the world different today than it was in 1986? Here are some thoughts:

1) Technology. With cell phones, DVDs, satellite TV, the Internet, and e-mail it is easy for people in the third world to see just how wonderful life is here in the USA. Behavioral scientists will tell you that people can live in poverty. The problem comes when they see what others have and want it. When that happens, they will do desperate things in order to obtain that standard of living. People all over the world can see what they are missing, in real time, in color, with stereo sound.

We all know that Hollywood is not real, but they don’t. Their distorted image of what life is like here is what they yearn for. Although they are disappointed when they arrive, it is still a better life than they left behind.
2) Travel. Air travel has become more affordable than ever. A plane ticket from the Philippines or Africa is within reach for an ever-growing percentage of the local population.
3) Political oppression. Our free society has even greater appeal to more people now than it did in 1986 because there are so many unstable countries around the globe.
4) Poverty. The gap between rich and poor widens around the world, except in socialist Europe where they are trying to squeeze everyone to the middle. Corrupt leaders seem to stand out but the rest are either given subsidies or paying for them. (By the way, the rich-poor gap is growing in the USA, too. See the Wall Street Journal article 24 May 2007, page 1)
5) Opportunism. Due to our own deteriorating society and global terror, many will feel that it is now or never to get a piece of the American Dream.

I could go on, but my point is that we must have very strong enforcement if we are going to counter the intense attraction our nation generates in the hearts of billions of people around the world.

It will take more than a border fence, more than employer sanctions, more than biometric ID cards, more than deportation programs. It will take all of these together, well executed, to keep out future illegal aliens. A poor immigration reform policy will yield an even bigger mess than we have now, in a much shorter time span. We need to get this one right, folks!

Personally, I am not amused with the enforcement plan before the Senate now.