Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So long, Fitzgerald

US Attorney for Illinois, Patrick Fitzgerald, is calling it quits after a decade on the job.
He’s stood up to two governors (one democrat and one republican – both in jail at this moment) and all sorts of elected officials and their cronies.

I personally would like to see the indictments go on, especially in the senate seat sale.  In my opinion, there are all sorts of convictions to be had for people who played the bidding game with Blagojevich and didn’t report it.

But at some point the US Attorney must move on to other things.

Godspeed, Mr. Fitzgerald.  You will be missed.

Telling it like it ISN'T

I see that a Latino PAC has launched a guilt-by-association campaign against Romney.  The gist of it is that Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Governor Jan Brewer and Candidate Romney are all picking on those poor illegal aliens.

They aren’t really clear about the PAC’s position.
Is it open borders?
How about, “No human being is illegal”?
Are they suggesting amnesty for all?
One of my favorites is the extension of anchor baby citizenship to their older siblings who are here illegally.  It goes like this.
Step 1: Allow our school system to teach you English and provide you with three to 13 years of free public education.
Step 2: Allow us to give you in-state tuition at our colleges and universities.
Step 3: At the end we will give you citizenship
Wow!  What a dream plan that is.  What’s in it for me?  I guess I get to subsidize the tuition with my tax money.

I’m not hearing any gratitude for what we have already given to Latinos.  For example, do they ever acknowledge the favoritism shown to Mexico?
That one little country of 107 million gets more green cards than any other.
Approximately 15% of Mexican nationals live HERE, not THERE.
We have unified more of their family members based solely on blood line than any other.
We allow about $2 billion a month to flow out of our country tax-free in remittances.
We buy over 12% of our oil from Mexico.
We educate their children in English for free.
We allow them access to food stamps, subsidized housing and health care as though they were native-born.
We provide law enforcement support in the form of cash, training and equipment.
Our politicians cover for Mexicans who are here illegally, choosing to look the other way and grant them individual amnesty rather than send them home.

Do we ever hear any of them say , “Thank you”?

All I’m hearing is demands for more.

Brewer and Arpaio are simply saying “No” and demanding the enforcement of existing immigration laws.  Yet they are being painted as the evil ones for taking a stand.  Russell Pierce was thrown under the bus by his church and the PR machine.  Too bad. 

If Arizona falls, it’ll be another California.

I’ve said it before.  Mitt Romney needs to say, “I refuse to divide America in terms of color.  Immigration laws exist for a reason.  Obey the law or change it.  As President I am bound to uphold it.”

Boats, government spending and the unseen

The boats have to do with Reagan’s notion that lowering taxes increases income that then blesses the economy through spending and investment.  (Paradoxically, JFK first used the term, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” to justify a dam project in 1963.)

Government spending is not investment; it is merely spending.

The “unseen” part comes from the essay by French statesman Frederic Bastiat titled “That Which is Seen.”

The overarching principle here is that money in the hands of government is not the same as money in the hands of the public.  The “redistribution of wealth” is a false notion.  “Destruction of wealth,” is more like it.

Let’s take retirement savings for example.  When you put money in the bank for your retirement, that money is put to work by being loaned to someone else.  People buy cars, go to school, take vacations, remodel the bathroom, start a business, build a new home…with your retirement money.

When government takes your FICA deduction, it goes directly into the hands of a retiree or maybe someone the government has declared “disabled.”  Now, the feds could have acted like a bank and made investments, but instead they used that pot of money to fund day-to-day government costs.  Instead of continuing the creation of wealth, they killed it.  No rising boats.

So when Washington taxes the rich it isn’t much help.  The money takes a detour from the economy and subsidizes dependency and inefficiency. 

The message of those who want to increase taxes is that government can do better with your money than you can.

Frederic Bastiat was a French politician who was an advocate of small government and low taxes.  I suppose we would call him a Libertarian today.  His essay, “That Which is Seen,” invites us to look at the flow of money in various scenarios.  (This encourages us to look beyond the political hype that taxation helps the poor and government workers are nice people.)

Bastiat takes as his first example a broken window in the cobbler’s shop.  The shoemaker pays the glazier to replace it.  And that’s good for the glazier.  He’s got work. 

But that doesn’t mean the broken window is a good thing.  The shoemaker could have used that money for other things.  One must look at tax money the same way.  Is the government better at circulating that money than you?  I don’t think so.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Drum Circle Democrats

Chicago was host to the NATO Summit this week-end.  It was preceded by a week of protests from various groups.  Each day had a theme.  Strangely, the themes had precious little to do with NATO itself.

But beating the drums means you don’t have to provide substance.  Noise trumps logic.  There is no need for an agenda, solutions or proposals.  Just keep the rhythm going.

Here is the daily menu of protest choices:
  • Monday – Obama’s Re-election HQ
  • Tuesday – Immigration Reform
  • Wednesday – Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions
  • Thursday – Obama’s Re-election HQ (again)
  • Friday – Nurses

Now, there are side trips to BP, the stock exchange, Mayor Emanuel’s home, city hall…

The nurses were burdened with a chip on their shoulder from last October.  They claimed to be on-call at the Occupy protest (in case some poor dear got a splinter from their protest poster), but the Chicago Police weren’t buying it after the nurses refused to pack up at the end of the day.  They were warned but they thought they were somehow exempt from the rules.  A few of them spent the night in jail.  They’ve been rather upset ever since.
So the nurses got a day unto themselves for the NATO protest.  They had red t-shirts and green caps.  It was the Robin Hood theme.  Tax the stock market and give the proceeds to government programs for social justice. 

Of course, every liberal cause known to man wanted a chance to be in front of the cameras.  They had guaranteed face time in Chicago all week long.  Who could resist the drum circles?

Much like the Occupy movement, the message is obscure and their solutions even more so.

Here is a partial list of all the “causes” represented during NATO week:
  • End Drone Attacks *
  • Women’s Rights (except SAHMs and female fetuses)
  • Chicago Teachers Union
  • Unions in general
  • ACLU (Where were they when the Tea Party was protesting?)
  • Mental Health Clinics
  • Illegal Alien Rights (Do they ever stop to think about the lifestyle the third world escapees already enjoys in NATO countries like France, Great Britain and the United States?)
  • Occupy (fill in the blank)
  • Vegans
  • Ron Paul
  • Code Pink
  • Global Warming
  • National Nurses United
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • Veterans (throwing their medals away in protest)*
  • Obama’s Re-election Campaign HQ
  • Canadian Consulate*
  • British Consulate*
  • German Consulate*
  • Afghans for Peace*
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Social Justice
  • Oil Exploration
  • Tar Sands Extraction
  • Economic Justice
  • Chicago’s Homicide Rate
  • Tax Wall Street
  • Foreclosures
*indicates those causes marginally associated with NATO

Even some of the protesters got turned off by all the mixed messages.

This sort of reminds me of the Hail Mary effort to get May Day protesters riled up in 2008.  They invited everyone but Sara Palin and had 2,000 participants.  (See previous blog here: http://alienrants.blogspot.com/2008/05/whats-your-point.html )

Those wacky progressives love to gather around a tom-tom and protest something…anything.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Never Could Say No

Government simply cannot say no.  Politicians can’t do it.  They avoid the negatives.  They don’t want to go on record with a “No can do,” attitude.

Now, mix in a bureaucrat who makes decisions at a government operation…say a school or a welfare office or a Section 8 agency.  That bureaucrat knows liberals in office means more money for their budget.  Conservatives are likely to be more stingy.  (Think Wisconsin or New Jersey.)

The bureaucrat is going to work hard to create grateful customers.  She’s grooming liberal voters who are likely to vote for candidates who will give her a raise and keep the program going.

Look at the folks coming to the aid of the Chicago Teachers Union.  They are liberal parents and pastors.  Look at the people sending out mailers about home health care.  It’s the union (SEIU). 

And the mantra of the Occupy crowd is, Tax the rich and give it to the government for social programs.  In fact, there is a rally in Chicago today by the Nurses’ Union.  They are advocating a tax on the stock market with the money going to social programs.  It’s all part of the NATO Summit protest by the unions.

They are all trying to make more money flow toward government.

They are not particularly interested in efficiency.  More customers means more government employees.  (I might add that there is a tendency to hire government workers who are also liberal.  It makes job-protection easier.)

Essentially you have a sealed system.  Add the public sector unions and it is almost foolproof.  Such a program will never police itself. 

But even liberal politicians like Rahm Emanuel and Pat Quinn realize that the program is not sustainable.  When Illinois Democrats start asking questions you know we are in serious trouble.

But Washington still didn’t get the message.  We heard Harry Reid recently tell us that sending tax refunds to children in Mexico was the right thing to do, even in the face of $5 BILLION in fraud.  We regularly hear politicians defend the DREAM Act (in-state tuition for illegal alien children, followed by amnesty.)  Our own president refuses to prosecute people here unlawfully unless they are violent felons.

They just can’t say no, even in the face of the law itself.

And if you’re an illegal alien you are watching all this and sensing weakness…or maybe insanity.  But it doesn’t exactly command respect.


I suppose the process of defunding has been around Washington for a long time.  The public is just now learning about it and how it works.  It has many uses.

First of all, the House handles appropriations based on the president’s budget proposal each year.  And what is in it after they edit it reflects the wishes of the House.  As the largest governing body the intent was to fund those things that are most important for the majority of Americans.

Checks and balances are such that the Senate can either approve the budget or send it back to the House, thus making the necessary adjustments before passage.  And the last step is when the President signs it.

Defunding that occurs early in the process is typically the House taking a stand on an issue.  As they are preparing their version of the budget they debate and decide, for example, that NPR should be defunded because of its left-leaning programming and mismanaged fundraising.  Or, an organization like Planned Parenthood or ACORN is defunded for political reasons.

The idea is that significant numbers of Americans find the functions of certain institutions repulsive and their congressmen react by withholding grant money from said institutions.

Another defunding strategy is an effort by the House to reign in power grabbed by the White House.  For example, Obamacare.  It was rammed through a democrat congress and when the power shifted the House moved to cut off funds for implementation.

In a similar move, the House is defunding efforts by Attorney General Holder to sue the states for their immigration statutes.  The amendment simply states that he is not allowed to spend money on these lawsuits.

And the simple Washington solution is for the Senate to stall any budget at all…for three years!  It’s like you and your spouse disagreeing on how much your entertainment budget should be, so you don’t talk about household spending at all.  That makes sense.  NOT!

But there is another defunding trick to watch for.  This one is calculated to deceive the voters.  A prime example is the border fence.  Back in 2006 Bush was unable to get enough votes for his legalization/amnesty program.  People were asking the obvious question: Why do we want to do another amnesty program like 1986 when you haven’t done your job?  It is the lack of enforcement over the years that has created this problem in the first place.

And everyone seemed to agree that the first step was to stop the flow of illegal aliens.  Then they would later talk about what to do with the ones already here.  (It was, of course, delaying the hard questions.)  It’s shameful what passes for “consensus” these days.  No one even thinks about how this common ground will help solve the real problem.

So, Bush and the democrat congress got together and signed a bill to build 700 miles of fence.  And from the headlines the voters believed they were actually going to do it.

But the strategy didn’t really help.  They still couldn’t get an amnesty bill pushed through.  Some astute congressmen were smart enough to say, “Show me first.”  And they weren’t willing to allow Bush to decide by himself when enough fence had been built to satisfy the law.

So at the end of that year they defunded the fence-building before approving the budget.  But we didn’t really get any press coverage about the defunding.  The voters were still thinking we were getting 700 miles of fence, but Bush and the Senate had taken away the money.

House members were silent because they wanted to continue to tell their constituents that they voted for the fence.

In the end, the voters lost.  The 700 miles of fence took four years to build and every Homeland Security Secretary wrote annual reports telling us what great progress they were making on this urgent program.

Every one of the reports claimed that we are better protected than ever.  What none of them tells us is that by stalling the funding and playing political games that level of protection was delayed by three years.

Hence, the worst kind of defunding happens behind closed doors.  There is no debate, just a few people deciding to quietly draw a line through a project.  It’s the ones we never hear about that bother me the most.

And with all the red ink in Washington it is easy to simply say, “We don’t have the money for it.”  Finally, a little truth oozes out of the Beltway.  But it begs the question, Why do they keep talking about plans and programs when we don’t have any money in the first place?  You would think that after a few years they’d get the idea.

Harry, Harry, Harry

Once again Harry Reid, the Democrat Senator from Nevada, proves that he just doesn’t get it.

I could list some of Harry’s blunders, but I won’t.

I’d rather talk about his latest nonsense.  As I recently wrote, there is a problem with the tax code.  (Well, several really.  But let’s focus on this one for now.)  It has to do with the ITIN holders and their fraudulent use of the Additional Child Tax Credit.

Senator Reid says this about the problem: “I just think the child tax credit is working just fine and there’s no need to punish children.”

“…working just fine..” he says.  He was just given a report from the Inspector General that people were putting down the names of nieces and nephews living in Mexico, children who never have lived in the United States, and the IRS was sending the filer $1,000 per child in addition to their regular tax refund.  Some of these filers were putting down the names of ten relatives and getting more money back than they ever paid in.

He calls that fine???  Here we have a fraud problem to the tune of $5 BILLION a year and growing and Reid says it’s “…working just fine..”?

“…no need to punish children…” he says. 

First off, the point is that these aren’t our children.  They don’t even live here.  Reid can’t even invoke the Anchor Baby logic on this one.  They are children living in Mexico who have never lived here.  If Reid wants to help them it would be in the form of foreign aid, not the tax code.

Secondly, what makes him think that the money is actually getting to those children.  The filer committed fraud to claim the money.  Do you think he’s got the integrity to send his refund to those children? 

Third, the children themselves might be fictitious.  After all, the return is.

I’m beginning to think Harry Reid is a simpleton.  He really doesn’t get it.  He’s just a Washington useful idiot.  Put a quarter in him and he spouts off the party line. 

How does someone like that get to be Senate Majority Leader?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Paying for Global Children

I shake my head over the largesse of the American politician.

For example, it has been determined by the US Supreme Court (Plyler v Doe, 1982) that American schools MUST provide a free public education to any child from anywhere who shows up at the school.  No Social Security card required (unless you happen to be an American).  No papers.  Your parents do not need to be here legally.   And every social benefit must also be provided, such as fee waivers, free lunch and language training.  No charge.

Then there is the concept of anchor baby citizenship, also determined by the Supreme Court.  As the present interpretation goes, anyone born here is automatically a citizen, regardless of the allegiance or even the immigration status of the parents.

And we allow the foreign-born to send money back home while we are providing the safety net for them at taxpayer expense.   Mexicans alone send back around $2 billion a month out of our economy.  The money doesn’t circulate here.  The only people to benefit are the banks, Western Union and Walmart who charge a fee for the transfer.

But wait, there’s more.  What if you lived here illegally but had an ITIN so you could file a tax return?  And what if you had nieces and nephews back in your home country?  And what if you sent money back to them to help out?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could claim a Child Tax Credit on your return for those nieces and nephews?

Well, you can.  Our IRS will hang widows out to dry but they are throwing cash out the window when it comes to the Child Tax Credit.  And the Inspector General has been sounding the alarm about it for years.  Despite our red ink budget, no one is taking care of this loophole.

Take a look at the Inspector General audit report:

…and this TV report:

I spoke to an accountant about it and he says the loophole exists.  And it is happening with citizens, too.  There is no back up required to claim the Child Tax Credit.

What about an audit?  Well, do you think someone living here illegally cares about auditors?  Do you think he’s going to show up?  He has no respect for our laws because even the IRS is making exceptions for known illegal aliens.  That’s what the ITIN is.  People buy houses and cars using the ITIN.

In their eyes the federal government is about as stern as Jello.  Skipping out on an audit is no big deal if you are living a lie to begin with.

So...all that money they are sending back to Mexico…could be tax refunds.  Imagine that.

On May 14th the House passed a bill ending the loophole for ITIN-holders, but the Democrats in the Senate seem to be unwilling to make the change.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had something to say about closing this loophole: “I just think the child tax credit is working just fine and there’s no need to punish children,” Reid said.

Source link:

It all makes a fellow wonder what’s going on in Washington.  But we need not wonder where the record low approval ratings for Congress come from.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Conventional" Wisdom

Here we go with another GOP Convention (August 27th in Tampa).  Romney has some challengers who are getting weaker by the minute.  That means that the party stand on immigration will be whatever Mitt wants it to be.  (That’s no big deal because Romney has had the firmest position since Herman Cain.)

Like McCain in 2008, he will control the public display.  How he portrays it will be telling.

What he cannot control is the party platform.  Look for it to continue to suggest stronger enforcement.  It hopefully will speak out against amnesty as rewarding bad behavior.

“Build the fence,” is safe territory but not very effective by itself.  More effective at the border are things like flexible patrol units with portable eyes in the sky.  Not very glamorous, but effective.  Couple that with good intelligence on movements and you’ve got something.

Add a Port Court system to end catch-and-release for real, and you’ve got a plan.  That assumes you have funding to actually do the job and the political will to prosecute those who try to re-enter the United States. 

None of this is new, but we’ve never been consistent with enforcement.

Interior enforcement is another issue that needs addressing.  Mandatory E-Verify?  That’s not new either, but it’s never happened.  Worksite raids?  Prosecution of BOTH the worker and the employer send the right message.

The local-federal co-op programs are a shambles.  Be it Secure Communities or 287(g), they have been largely dismantled as a result of activists crying, “Racial Profiling.”

Detention beds are always in short supply.  That ought to be covered.

One would expect a party platform that addresses all these issues.

Watch the cast of characters.  George W Bush, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio…even Newt Gingrich are capable of leading a pep rally on amnesty.  If given the stage for that purpose it will signal that the old GOP is still running things.

Palin is an unknown quantity on immigration.  She was coached by McCain’s people to remain silent and she still does.

Michelle Bachman seems set against amnesty but prefers to talk about sponsorship reform.

Santorum and Cain are solid.

My point on speakers is this:  If the old guard wants to send a message to Latinos about immigration reform they have the players to do it.  Look to see who they put up there and what they say.

Now, to watch for the red herrings.

Any guest worker programs would be nothing more than a sham.  We HAVE guest worker visas already.  They are temporary and do not lead to green cards.  Employers have to bring workers in and pay for them.  There’s the rub.  All these complaints from resorts and packing plants are really about getting workers on the cheap, not getting workers.

I might add that the real approach would be a plan to get our citizens back to work.  If those jobs are really that valuable, where’s the salary and benefits to entice our own people to do those jobs?

Vagueness is something else to watch for.  A lack of candor really means a lack of position.

Whatever is said by the candidate will be doctrine that must be defended in the campaign.  Watch for Romney’s boldness, or lack of it.  Immigration issues are a great way to flesh out integrity, or lack thereof.  McCain tried acquiescence, just a bit softer than GWB’s message.  The Left owns the amnesty message (which Obama has failed to deliver on) and any efforts by the GOP to use it for additional votes will be very costly.

Romney would do well to speak to Latinos at another level.  Talk about jobs and families and crime and ethics.  Talk to them as Americans and coax them out of their hyphenated world.  Tell them that illegals take jobs from them and cheapen wages.  Tell them that illegals are keeping their family members waiting for a legitimate visa.

I would love to see a conservative candidate have that conversation.  Flat out tell them that amnesty is not a bargaining chip.  Move on to other topics all Americans, including Latinos, should care about.

Vitriol vs. Vertigo

There is a common complaint these days about nastiness in the political debate.  Calls abound for civility in the public arena.  Politicians, clergy, newspapers…they’re all calling for people to settle down and make nice.

But when you stop and think about these so-called peacemakers they have a common denominator.  They are all elites and they are all losing influence.  They have recognized that other groups threaten their power and hinder their effort to “reframe the debate” to their liking.  New media and Internet communities have weakened their hold on the narrative.

What may appear to be the moral high ground is nothing more than an effort to grab back the power they once held.  They have no control over the message any longer and that’s bad for them.

The truth is, shrill works.  People who make noise and call out liars get attention.  It is seldom pleasant, but sometimes necessary.  It really isn’t right when a candidate sugar-coats an issue and goes all vague on us with their answers.  They are so good at it, and someone needs to push for a straight answer.

For the first time in history we have the background on issues and statements.  The web allows us to call up what Obama said and did 10 years ago.  Ditto for Romney.  And we have a right to a straight answer.  If the elites among us don’t want to push, we’ll do it ourselves. 

In fact, it’s the lack of candor by those in power that has created the need for New Media.  If NBC hadn’t climbed into bed with the Democratic Party, we’d still trust them.  If Dan Rather hadn’t foisted a fake GWB military document on us, we’d still listen to him.  If the churches hadn’t gone about protecting their own interests in the name of social justice, we would continue to follow them.

Remember the merry-go-round at the park?  We’d climb on and someone would get it moving fast.  Blood would rush to our feet and we’d lose our sense of direction.  Our brain would become disoriented.  We wouldn’t know which way was up.  We’d lose our balance.

And in such a condition someone could take advantage of us.

And so it is with politicians, lobbyists, activists, social justice advocates (churches mostly), media, college professors...  They want to make the world appear a certain way.  And so they twist the issues.  Gay marriage, crime, immigration, unemployment, the welfare state, taxation, global warming, banks, corporations…all spun to meet their purposes.

In the end we have a government that is too expensive and too ineffective.  But that big government has a big payroll and big power.  It will circle the wagons and fight exposure.  It will find ways to protect itself and form allies to help them.

One way they fight us is to call out their critics as mean-spirited and uncivil.  Stick a label on us rather than address the question.

My point is that what they are calling vitriol in most cases is just people pushing back against the hype.  We’re tired of the narrative packaged to fit the elite agenda.

To be sure, there are errors and agendas at work in New Media as well.  People must think for themselves and check out the stories.  But they are far better than those in power who would spin us around for their benefit.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Like Walmart, except with people

You don't have to look far to find someone who is critical of Walmart.  People will complain that they import Chinese merchandise which puts Americans out of work.  They point to appliances, electronics, textiles, shoes, toys...all made in Asia.

And it isn't just the redneck "Amuricuns" who complain.  Very liberal-minded folks easily come up with disdain for Walmart and their foreign goods.

In places like Chicago the Democrat-dominated city council fights Walmart because of the lower wages they pay their workers.  Typically the council will negotiate by establishing a minimum wage ordinance and/or a benefits package.

The other issue some people have is the way small businesses are driven out by the competition.

But those same people fail to make any comparison to the illegal alien problem.  May I suggest that the illegal alien labor force is quite similar to importing large amounts of cheap, foreign goods.  It has the same effect.

There are huge numbers of people who buy simply on price and they will choose a cheap worker for the job, even if that worker is probably illegal.

Doing so tilts the scales against our own citizen workforce. 

I'm not saying Walmart hires illegal aliens.  What I'm saying is we can compare the concept of cheap, imported merchandise with cheap, imported labor.  The results are very similar and have a negative impact on our own jobs and workers.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Obama’s “E” for Effort

It’s report card time for the Commander-in-Chief.  Election day is coming right up.  It appears that no democrat will challenge him at the convention, but he cannot escape November 6th.

The conscientious voter will look at all aspects of his performance, including defense, the economy, crime, education, health care, the price of gas…and…wait for it…immigration.

I was reviewing some old files the other day.  One file contained information on the Bush White House from 2006 and 2007.  In it were news clippings, statements from politicians and official White House documents such as the Bush agenda on immigration reform, press conference transcripts and speeches Bush had given at varied events like the National Restaurant Association, Associated Builders and Contractors and the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast.

In context, here was a lame-duck president pushing hard for the legalization of illegal aliens.  And he knew his position was unpopular with conservatives.

Bush realized that his lack of enforcement of the existing laws was part of the problem.  After his failure during the summer of 2006 he got busy with worksite raids, new cooperation programs with local law enforcement, more detention beds and some serious (at least on paper) fence-building.

But aside from what he thought were good-faith efforts at enforcement, he was all along pushing for guest worker legislation.  As foolhardy as it seems to me, he even had Michael Chertoff, his Secretary of Homeland Security, up on The Hill lobbying Congress in behalf of amnesty. 

(I say foolhardy because it seems ironic to send the one cabinet member charged with keeping illegals OUT to lobby for forgiveness of those he let slip by.)

Chertoff was accompanied by another Bush cabinet member, Carlos Gutierrez of Commerce.  At least that one made some sense.  After all, he is Hispanic and an ally of the Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber always did favor cheap labor.  The hidden message of seeing Gutierrez up there was that it meant cheap roofing jobs and reasonably priced tomatoes.

And those two cabinet members spent months twisting arms in Congress.  They lobbied everyone.

Bush recruited his RINOs to work side-by-side with Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid.  Bush gave speeches and press conferences advocating for passage of his legalization plan.  It was Bush who pulled out the back taxes clause, not Kennedy.  Remember his “Gang of 12”?

I disagree with the whole plan, but must admit that Bush was diligent in trying to get his plan passed.  He didn’t shy away from it in the least.

Then there’s Obama.  How much effort has he put into passage of immigration reform?

The short answer:  Not much.

And this from a man who promised action in his first year in office.

His chief of staff at the time, Rahm Emanuel, had a history of avoiding the amnesty question.  He knew it was polarizing and had no elegant solution.  If only Rahm had been able to keep Obama from making those wild promises on the campaign trail.

That’s not to say that Obama hasn’t been working behind the scenes to keep the pressure off illegal aliens.  (He obviously didn’t see the connection between demonstrating good faith enforcement and passage of an amnesty plan.)

Here are a few of Obama’s Executive Branch selective enforcement efforts:
¦    The gutting of 287(g).  This was a successful program between ICE and local police departments whereby cops and the feds worked together to enforce immigration laws.  It was all on the up-and-up, authorized by Congress in 1996.  And 287(g) had a waiting list of county sheriffs and police departments.  Obama changed the contract (MOU) making it impossible to be effective.
¦    In similar fashion to 287(g), the Secure Communities program  was destroyed.  This one was a little more technical.  Basically ICE spliced into the fingerprint scanners at the county jails and reacted to hits that matched the illegal alien files.  It was killed by just one word – “conviction” – making  Secure Communities a mere shell of a program.
¦    One of the bottlenecks to deportation is the lack of detention beds.  Mostly, they are rented beds in county jails with a few private prison corporations thrown in.  Obama insisted that jail cells were cruel to illegal aliens.  They deserved detention facilities that were more like dorm rooms.  As a result of his new standard the growth in detention beds stopped.  In fact, the numbers slid backwards.
¦    Obama ended worksite raids.  His hidden message there was that the worker is innocent and the employer is the only one who should be punished.  The famous example of the Obama plan is the Bellingham Washington engine plant raid in February 2009.  Boy was he upset when he found out that ICE was actually doing its job.
¦    Perhaps the most egregious example of Obama’s rule by fiat is his instruction to review 300,000 deportation letters.  It’s as though all these people with run letters are given a new, more generous offer, similar to the one Obama’s Aunt Zeituni got.  It can be a sweet deal.  She was ordered to leave in 2004 but instead was living on a disability check in subsidized housing.  What was her punishment?  A green card and a shot at citizenship.

Some will look at the charts and say, “Obama has deported more people than Bush,” but that’s really just the old Bill Clinton trick of Port Court.  Roll in the numbers of people run through deportation court at the border without even having lived in the United States and you get some really big numbers.  But those big numbers are an aberration since Bush was turning people back south (TBS) all along and not counting them as deportations.

So…Obama will be hard-pressed to prove to the world that he’s made much of an effort at immigration reform.  No matter.  All he has to do is tell people what a great job he’s done, and promise once again that he’ll pass comprehensive reform in his first year of his second term…and people will believe him.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pleading the 14th

Something on the order of six out of ten voters believe that the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment is wrong.  That is to say, they do not believe someone born in the United States to illegal aliens should be given automatic citizenship.

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And there is good reason for their opposition; they realize that the current interpretation strays far from the original intent.  The 14th Amendment was created after the Civil War to establish the rights of the children of slaves.  It was a bold declaration that negro babies born from that day forward would not be the chattel of the slave owners.  They were no longer to be considered as just another lamb or foal or piglet added to the livestock count. 

You see, a landowner’s possessions can be bought and sold.  Property can be parceled off.  A bull can be castrated, dehorned and yoked to carry a heavy load.  Cows are milked and slaughtered.  And children born to slaves were considered nothing more than animals to be exploited for the good of the enterprise.

The import of that burden is horrifically illustrated in the novel Beloved, by Toni Morrison.  The character Sethe chooses death for her child rather than submission to ownership by another.

The 14th Amendment boldly declared that these children were citizens of the United States.  With rights and privileges.

And the Amendment was sufficiently clear to exclude visitors and diplomats.  And it spoke to the notion of allegiance with the phrase, “…and subject to the jurisdiction thereof..”

Not insignificantly, American Indians were specifically excluded from the citizenship clause.  It is not simply a matter of geography.

Subsequent interpretations of the Wong Kim Ark case turned the original intent on its head.  Interestingly, it was about a Chinese man born in the United States who left the country for a time and was barred from returning.  His parents were here legally and conducting business in the United States, and those facts were part of the case as ruled upon by the Court.  But somehow a precedent was set for babies of illegal aliens as others misapplied the message of the 14th and Wong Kim Ark.

One would think that Blacks in America would be incensed about this hijacking of the Amendment that freed their ancestors from ownership.  Were illegal aliens brought here involuntarily?  No.  Did they establish themselves as legitimate visa-holders?  No.  Do they consider themselves Americans?  No.  (In fact, they overwhelmingly consider themselves Mexican citizens working in the United States.)

So, what of their babies?  Do they have a loyalty to the United States?  Not really.  By nature of their family situation they aren’t learning English at home.  The bill for their bilingual schooling falls to the rest of us.  Often they are from poor families, so “We the People” paid for the delivery as well as health care, food and housing.

These babies are pawns for bringing  the benefits of the welfare state into the home, and later on they become sponsors for their parents to get legal.  Meanwhile, their very existence staves off deportation of mom, dad and siblings.

It is a powerful magnet to be sure.  But it is a far cry from the original intent of making sure slave babies were Americans, not cattle.