Good immigrant, bad immigrant

I’ve been re-reading a wonderful book that I first read when it was published a little more than a decade ago: As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin, by Laurence Bergreen. As anyone who enjoys popular music knows, Irving Berlin was one of the most extraordinary composers on the popular music scene, able to convey through simple melodies and clever, vernacular lyrics, a huge range of emotions. Listen to the song below, sung by Mr. Berlin himself, and enjoy such lyrics as

Some day, I’m going to murder the bugler,
Some day, they’re going to find him dead,
I’ll amputate his reveille,
And step upon it heavily,
And spend the rest of my life in bed.

What most people also know about Irving Berlin is that he was an immigrant. He arrived in the United States in 1893, as part of one of the largest mass immigration movements the US has seen. As Bergreen says, “At the time of the Rhynland’s arrival [Berlin's ship], immigrants were pouring into New York at the rate of thousands a day, and the immigrant authorities were struggling to process them all.” (p. 4.) People came from everywhere: Russia, Italy, Germany, France, Ireland, with the largest group being the Russian (and Polish) Jews escaping the deadly pogroms that presaged the Holocaust. When they arrived, they spread out over the United States. (Golda Meir, for example, started in Milwaukee, Wisconson and ended up in Denver, Colorado, before her historic immigration to Palestine.)

The vast majority of new immigrants, however, ended up in New York’s Lower East Side. Census figures for this time indicate that the Lower East Side had more people per square foot than Calcutta. If you find yourself in New York and want to get a sense of the overwhelmingly claustrophobic, poverty-stricken existence these immigrants experienced, check out the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which ranks as one of the best museums I’ve ever seen. It’s narrow, dark hallways, minuscule apartments (that housed as many as ten people), and almost non-existent sanitary facilities, give you a sense of what immigrants to America experienced — and this was high class living compared to where the Baline family ended up. Their apartment was located in the most squalid part of the Lower East Side, a block from the East River. These are just buildings, though. The day-to-day sufferings these immigrants experienced is best recounted in a contemporary book, Jack Riis’ 1901 classic How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York. Suffice to say, you wouldn’t want to live that way and, in modern America, no one does.

Despite the horrors of the tenements, Bergreen describes Berlin as being peculiarly cheerful about his slum childhood:

“Everyone should have a Lower East Side in their lives,” he was fond of saying in years to come, when success had dulled the sharper edges of his memories of the neighborhood. Still, he was sincere. [snip] “You never miss luxury until you’ve had it,” he said. “I never felt poverty because I’d never known anything else. I was a boy with poor parents, but let’s be realistic about it: I didn’t starve; I wasn’t cold or hungry. There was always bread and butter and hot tea.” (p. 8.)

This sunny outlook persisted despite the fact that, at 13, after his father died, he left home to live on his own so as not to be a financial burden to the family. This was no sunny, Huck Finn, picaresque adventure. As Bergreen writes:

He was now a foot soldier in the city’s ragged army of immigrants. Along the Bowery and nearby side streets an entire subindustry of loding houses had sprung up to shelter the thousands of homeless boys choking the Lower East Side streets. They were not settlement houses or charitable institutions: rather, they were Dickensian in their meanness, filth, and insensitivity to ordinary human needs. They were, in effect, warehouses for unwanted human beings. [snip] Fifteen cents bought Izzy a night’s stay; a set of filthy yellow sheets cost twenty-five cents extra. The bed on which he slept often crawled with lice. (p. 15.)

(You can get a sense of this existence if you read Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick, an absolutely wonderful historic document and quite an uplifting read on its own terms — and that’s despite the wooden, often unintentionally funny prose.)

Bergreen doesn’t limit this almost bizarrely sunny outlook to Berlin alone. Although many immigrants, especially the elderly, were simply swallowed up in the maw of New York’s slum communities, and all immigrants suffered what we would consider unendurable work and living conditions, to most of them it was still a step up from where they’d been before:

Izzy’s [Irving's] acceptance of the harsh living conditions in the New World was echoed by many of his neighbors, for as bad as things were on Cherry Street, the situation had been far more desperate in Russia, especially for Jews. On March 1, 1881, seven years before Izzy was born, revolutionary terrorists assassinated Czar Alexander II. Under his reign Jews had managed to eke out a precarious existence in Russia, but restrictions crippled their lives.

[snip]

After the assassination the new czar, Alexander III, abolished even the limited freedoms granted to Jews. His aggressive brand of anti-Semitism gave rise to a wave of pogroms throughout the Pale. Inflamed by fantastic tales of evil Jewish rites, government agents destroyed and burned Jewish settlements, eventually driving much of their population beyond the borders of Russia. (p. 9.)

In other words, a dirty, crowded, disease-ridden community is pretty darn good when one is safe from the government and the neighbors. Despite the horrific living conditions, the immigrants felt that America was good. This feeling was reflected in the fierce patriotism they felt and in their intense desire to assimilate. They never forgot at home that they were Russian Jews, or Irish and Italian Catholics, or German Lutherans but, first and foremost, they were Americans. Irving Berlin exemplified these strong feelings the immigrants of yore had for their new home. Writing about the (mostly forgettable) patriotic songs Irving Berlin started cranking out as America hovered on the brink of WWI, Bergreen has this to say:

It would seem that Berlin’s patriotism was merely a commercial ploy to sell songs, but, in fact, it was only now that he began to see himself as more of an American than an immigrant. His patriotism was a genuine belief, one of the few he ever held outside the values of Tin Pan Alley. His first marriage had failed him [his wife died five months after their honeymoon], his homeland had destroyed his family, his parents had provided little comfort; in his exceedingly uncertain world, the United States offered a sanctuary and made him rich. In comparison with foreign governments, it was incredibly benign, especially in its attitude toward Jews and other immigrants. These values made a genuine impression on him, and he took them as seriously as he did the copyright laws that permitted him to grow rich. (p. 128.)

This attitude was not limited to Irving Berlin. Indeed, I think it has a lot to do with the hyper-patriotism Hollywood showed during the war. While the writers may have been Communist sympathizers who leapt at the opportunity WWII offered to churn out Communist claptrap, the studio bosses were straightforward in the patriotism. They churned out dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of movies lauding the war effort and encouraging ordinary Americans to get involved, whether in the military or on the home front. And think who these studio bosses were: Louie B. Mayer, of MGM, born in Minsk; the Warner Brothers, born in Belarus; and Adolph Zukor, of Paramount, born in Hungary. All saw America as a golden, promised land, an image they vigorously promoted in their movies.

In other words, it’s not just the misty distance of time that makes these people look like “good immigrants.” That is, their place as part of American history isn’t established simply because they’re dead and can do no harm. Instead, these were people who viewed America with tremendous gratitude, and throughout their careers did everything in their power to assimilate themselves to American values and to advance American goals.

I think these immigrants stand in stark contrast to the immigration ethos that now exists. I’m sure that there are millions among the rank and file immigrants who want to take advantage of America’s myriad benefits, in the process, to become real Americans. However, today’s immigration leadership, whether it comes from liberals at home or the immigrants themselves, sings a different song. As the failed immigration reform last year showed, the loudest immigrant voices today do not speak of a yearning to assimilate and do not hope for America’s well-being. They want America’s benefits to fall into their laps, without their having to make the effort to ally themselves with American values or goals. This picture of a flag that Hispanic students at Southern California high schools hoisted pretty much tells the tail:

These high school students didn’t spring up in a vacuum. They are the product of what they are taught, and they are taught to revile America by their and our community leaders. A hundred years ago, immigrants understood that America was the land of opportunity because, if you worked hard and embraced American values you or, at least, your children, could succeed.  Instead, the shrieking voices of immigration leadership (and I exempt many in the rank and file from this charge) understand America as a land of opportunity because you can arrive, claim benefits, demand that you and your children be taught and treated as if you were still in Mexico, and that’s the end of it.

Sadly, what this new generation of immigrants doesn’t realize is that their leaders’ approach is a zero sum game. While the old attitude allowed people to hang onto their culture at home, but to leap into the mainstream outside of their home and thrive (or, at least, let their children thrive), the new attitude is a recipe for perpetual social isolation, poverty, and racial hatred. As long as they don’t jump into American culture, current Americans will not regard them as nascent Americans, and that holds true even if they are hard workers. Instead, they will be viewed as alien parasites, coming to America to drain its resources, without adding their vigor and identity to the great American tapestry. They also will never be able to tap America’s economic potential, because their insistence on rejecting broader American culture also ensures that they will be barred from greater economic opportunities.

All of this means that, until the new immigrants make “God Bless America” part of their mental furniture, they will never be Americans, nor will their children, and we will be right to regard them with suspicion, as a perpetual Fifth Column on American soil:

Illegal immigrants

No comment (’cause you can guess what I’m thinking):

The Mexican government reported the results of recent studies on Tuesday showing that 68 percent of Mexicans who migrate or try to migrate to the United States do so without documents and 55 percent of them hire immigrant smugglers.

The report, timed to coincide with the U.N. International Migrants Day, also noted that the Mexican-born population living in the United States increased from about 800,000 in 1970 to more than 11 million in 2006.

The majority of Mexicans now living in the United States — 6.2 million — are undocumented, according to the report, which was based on surveys of migrants and information from the government’s National Population Council.

Almost 30 million people in the United are direct descendants of Mexico migrants, the report stated.

In contrast, the report said the immigrant population in Mexico is quite small and has not experienced rapid growth.

The number of foreign residents in Mexico grew from 340,000 people en 1990, or about 0.42 percent of the population at the time, to about 493,000 in 2000, or about 0.5 percent, the last year for which data is available.

More than two-thirds of the foreign residents are from the United States, and many of those are of Mexican extraction.

All I ask is that, having read the above, you now read this.

Stop the presses! Poll points out the obvious.

You and I know that children — thank goodness! — are remarkably adaptable. Indeed, the younger they are, the more adaptable they are. It’s for this reason that pricey private schools and public schools in wealthy communities offer foreign language classes to the kindergarten set, rather than waiting, as they used to do in the old days, until the kids were in high school before exposing them to another language. You and I also know that the best way to learn a language is to be immersed in it. Those old high school classes didn’t work very well because we got grammar drills three times a week, instead of spending hours and hours surrounded by that language. Take the same high school kid and ship him off for a year abroad in Spain or France or Italy, and he’ll be chattering like a native in months.

You and I know all this. Liberals, however, while they grasped it for their own lily-white children, with ever more enrichment programs, stubbornly refuse to believe that the same might hold true for people of browner complexions. Hence, the insanity of bilingual education, which might have started as a humane way to ensure that a child wasn’t totally abandoned in a strange country, but morphed into a vast industry that prevented Hispanic children from ever coming into contact with the English language — all for the children’s own good, of course.

Given this mindset (“my little white children can learn a new language, but I love your poor little brown children so much I’m going to make sure they never get the chance to try”), I wonder how many of these educationally insane liberals are going to read and understand the latest study about immigrant children and English:

Most children of Hispanic immigrants in the United States learn to speak English well by the time they are adults, even though three-quarters of their parents speak mainly Spanish and do not have a command of English, according to a report released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington.

Only 23 percent of first-generation immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries said they spoke English very well, the report found. But 88 percent of the members of the second generation in Latino immigrant families described themselves as strong English speakers, a figure that increased to 94 percent for the grandchildren’s generation.

To which I say, in my best English, “Well, duh!”

Interestingly, the New York Times spins this report, not as a blow to the anti-assimilation bilingual education cadre, but as a blow to those who are opposed to illegal immigration. They don’t seem to get that there is a difference between legal and illegal immigration, with the language debate having nothing to do with the latter issue.

Additionally, the Times-ites don’t understand that, as to legal immigrants, this study supports those who are opposed to government policies that keep all immigrants, legal and illegal, from assimilating into American society through that most basic tool of assimilation: the English language. Indeed, just recently, people who believe in language as an important vehicle for immigrant aid were appalled that Nancy Pelosi allied herself with the Hispanic caucus and the EEOC to force the Salvation Army to stop its quaintly antiquated policy of requiring English language skills for holding a job:

In March the EEOC sued the Salvation Army because its thrift store in Framingham, Mass., required its employees to speak English on the job. The requirement was clearly posted and employees were given a year to learn the language. The EEOC claimed the store had fired two Hispanic employees for continuing to speak Spanish on the job. It said that the firings violated the law because the English-only policy was not “relevant” to job performance or safety.

***

“If it is not relevant, it is discriminatory, it is gratuitous, it is a subterfuge to discriminate against people based on national origin,” says Rep. Charles Gonzalez of Texas, one of several Hispanic Democrats in the House who threatened to block Ms. Pelosi’s attempts to curtail the Alternative Minimum Tax unless she killed the Alexander amendment.

The confrontation on the night of Nov. 8 was ugly. Members of the Hispanic Caucus initially voted against the rule allowing debate on a tax bill that included the AMT “patch,” which for a year would protect some 23 million Americans from being kicked into a higher income tax bracket.

***

After testy negotiations, the Hispanic Caucus finally agreed to let the tax bill proceed after extracting a promise from Ms. Pelosi that the House will not vote on the bill funding the Justice and Commerce Departments unless the English-only protection language is dropped. “There ain’t going to be a bill” with the Alexander language, Mr. Baca has told reporters.

Incidentally, if you want to see what happens when a government engages in policies that prevent its immigrants from assimilating, just check out what’s going on outside of Paris (riots, incidentally, that Sarkozy seems to have quelled thanks to an aggressive response). All of the MSM outlets are waffling on about how not enough government money is flowing into the banlieus, but you and I know that not enough French/Western culture and too few Judeo-Christian host county values (assuming Europe has any left) are flowing in — and one of the ways in which they flow is on language’s back.

Incidentally, regarding values and language, I will remind you that ivory tower types love to point out that the Inuit language has practically a gazillion different words for snow. Language very much reflects value and culture — something George Orwell pointed out with startling clarity in 1984.

Racist or taking matters into their own hands?

I’ve got a few news stories to throw out at you, all of which, in my mind, are related. At the end, I’ve got a couple of questions for you. First, the news stories, many of which are just from the last couple of days:

Under the Labour Government, England has had an overwhelming influx of immigrants, which is balanced out by the almost equally high number of native Britons leaving the country. In a few decades, immigrants will be in the majority. The country’s social services are crumbling under the strain.

Although the media is playing coy, reading between the lines we understand that Arab and African immigrants are running riot in France, again.

Half of the 3.5 million immigrants living in Texas are illegals. Nationwide, one third of immigrants are here illegally.

Illegal aliens are behind drunk driving deaths and murders.

In North Carolina, state funded colleges and universities are being forced to admit illegal immigrants.

San Francisco is handing out official IDs to illegal immigrants.

And now two more news stories:

In Australia, which has had a huge influx of Muslim immigration, pigs’ heads were placed on the site of a controversial proposed Islamic school. (Hat tip: RD) This rendered the land unclean by Muslim standards.

In Padua, Italy, native Italians arranged to have a pig run over land that was being slated for a controversial mosque. Again, the land was made unclean.

These last two headlines can easily be classified as racist or, at least, religion-ist. Nimby-ism in its nastiest sense. But I think that’s a bit too simplistic.

What people are seeing, both here and abroad, is that their governments have failed to control immigration, whether by having open border policies or by allowing unchecked illegal immigration. They’re also seeing that their governments, having failed to stop immigrants at the borders, are either encouraging further illegal immigrants or destroying their economies handing out benefits to immigrants, both legal and illegal.

These government policies would be fine if the people actually agreed with them — but they don’t. Americans, for example, are overwhelmingly opposed to illegal immigrants and to extending benefits to illegal immigrants. (See here and here for examples of poll results.) Native Europeans are also disturbed by the enormous influx of immigrants. None of the polls, incidentally, indicates overwhelming xenophobia, with immigrants being castigated as evil. Instead, people are mad at their respective governments for losing control over a situation that is desirable under limited circumstances. After all, immigration, especially in America, is a very healthy antidote to societal stagnation. In other words, immigration, like medicine, can be wonderful in small doses and toxic in large doses.

So what I think those last two stories show isn’t racism or religion-ism. I think they show an exasperated population trying, without violence or overt face-offs, to step in and act in the vacuum their governments have created. Heck, it’s not even a vacuum. All of these governments, whether deliberately or through inaction, are flouting the will of the people. If governments would control their borders and stop handing out benefits like candy, local populations wouldn’t feel obligated to exert some minimal control over their own environments.

Do you agree or disagree? Alternatively, do you have a whole different theory I didn’t even think of?

UPDATE: As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve got a real bee in my bonnet about dishonestly presenting actual facts. The sin of omission especially gets me, because the author of a particular report self-righteously points to the accuracy of what he did say, without having acknowledging the inaccuracy created by what he didn’t say. Into that category falls a new study out of UCLA that announces that illegal immigrants are underutilizing the free services offered to them at American emergency rooms. Below, you can read the headline and the first few paragraphs in the LA Times version of the story:

Study finds immigrants’ use of healthcare system lower than expected

UCLA researchers find that Latinos in the U.S. illegally are 50% less likely to visit emergency rooms.

By Mary Engel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 27, 2007

Illegal immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries are 50% less likely than U.S.-born Latinos to use hospital emergency rooms in California, according to a study published Monday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

The cost of providing healthcare and other government services to illegal immigrants looms large in the national debate over immigration.

In Los Angeles County, much of the focus of that debate has been on hospital emergency rooms. Ten have closed in the last five years, citing losses from treating the uninsured, and those that remain open are notorious for backlogs.

By federal law, hospitals must treat every emergency, regardless of a person’s insurance — or immigration — status. Illegal immigrants, who often work at jobs that don’t offer health insurance, are commonly seen as driving both the closures and the crowding.

But the study found that while illegal immigrants are indeed less likely to be insured, they are also less likely to visit a doctor, clinic or emergency room.

“The current policy discourse that undocumented immigrants are a burden on the public because they overuse public resources is not borne out with data, for either primary care or emergency department care,” said Alexander N. Ortega, an associate professor at UCLA’s School of Public Health and the study’s lead author. “In fact, they seem to be underutilizing the system, given their health needs.”

Reading that headline, sub-headline, and packet of six paragraphs, you are of course meant to understand that the illegal immigrants are not, in fact, a burden on health care, and that it is racist, classist, imperialist, capitalist, and any other -ist you can think of for the anti-illegal immigration crowd to base its arguments on our overburdened health care system.

But did you figure out what’s missing from the story? The question isn’t whether the illegals are under-using the system relative to their own health care needs. From the point of view of the American tax payer, the only question is whether they are over-using the health care system compared to their contribution to the system. And only in paragraph seven of the story does Mary Engel touch upon that pivotal point:

Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that lobbies for tougher immigration controls, said that usage rates are just one measure of illegal immigrants’ effect on healthcare. The other factor, he said, is the cost to taxpayers, which Ortega’s study did not examine.

Cost estimates vary widely. A Rand Corp. study published last year in the journal Health Affairs put the cost of healthcare for illegal immigrants nationwide at $1.1 billion a year, excluding care for those younger than 18 and older than 64.

FAIR called the Rand number a “low-ball” estimate. Its own study of healthcare costs of illegal immigrants and their dependents, including U.S.-born children, estimated California’s portion alone to be about $1.5 billion a year.

Mehlman said $1.5 billion “is still a significant amount of money, unless you’re Bill Gates.”

Having made an intellectually honest women of herself, Engel goes right back to her dominant point, which is that the immigrants are sacrificing their health so that we don’t have to bear their burden. Really, it brings tears to my eyes — NOT.

By the way, if you’re wondering why I included this story in this post, it’s because it’s kind of part of the package of stories I included at the top of this post, regarding the enormous stresses illegal immigration places on American society, and it can be analogized to the enormous stresses legal immigration places on the social welfare societies of Europe.

“Youths” honor decedents of “ethnic descent” by continuing to attack French police

I kid you not — the language I put in quotations in this post caption is the precise language the BBC uses to describe those who are engaged in a little bit of urban unrest In France. You know, the kind of innocuous urban rioting that results in more than 80 policeman being injured from beatings and bullets. Here, let me show you:

At least 10 cars have been burned and a fire broke out at a library in Toulouse, southern France, following consecutive nights of rioting in Paris.

There was also more violence in the capital as youths set cars on fire in the suburb of Villiers-le-Bel, the Associated Press news agency reports.

***

Relatives of the two dead teenagers, who were both from ethnic minorities, have insisted that police rammed their motorcycle before leaving them to die. (Emphasis mine.)

And that’s it. That’s all the information the BBC is going to give you about those rioters. But in this internet day and age, “ve haf vays” of finding out more information, even though it’s tough, very tough to do so. The Bloomberg report, for example, coyly hints at the ethnic nature of the “unrest” (Bloomberg’s word, not mine), by stating that “In France, poor neighborhoods and housing projects where many immigrants live tend to be far from city centers.” Hmm. Immigrants from where, I wonder? But we’re putting the pieces together. We’ve now got immigrant communities with people of ethnic descent.

AP, surprisingly is fairly forthright about the nature of the suburbs in which this year’s batch of riots is taking place, although it can’t resist implying that the poor innocents doing the attacking are doing so righteously because of their alienation: “The unrest showed that anger still smolders in France’s poor neighborhoods, where many Arabs, blacks and other minorities live largely isolated from the rest of society.” And again, “Youths, many of them Arab and black children of immigrants, again appeared to be lashing out at police and other targets seen to represent a French establishment they feel has left them behind.”

I’m sorry to say that the British paper The Independent is no help at all. While it boldly calls the youthful attacks on police something akin to “guerrilla warfare,” it places the blame firmly where it belongs: on the police. You see, last year, long after the riots ended, it turned out that the two youths who were electrocuted had been acting innocently when the police chased them into the power substation, knowing it was dangerous. (It does not appear that this was known when the actual riots happened, of course.) In other words, The Independent agrees with AP that the current crop of youths is righteously upset about the two kids killed while on the motor scooters, clearly justifying anarchy.

So, both at home and abroad, the MSM narrative is as follows: Young people are rioting in Paris and, in true “if it bleeds it leads” tradition, the news reports will happily tell you that they’re organized, they’re armed, and they’re incredibly aggressive, so much so that scores of police have been injured, and we’re not even talking property damage. If you insist on knowing more about who these people are, we’ll hint that they’re friends of youths of ethnic descent, and that they live in neighborhoods that have primarily Arab and African immigrants and their children.

If you suspect that part of the problem might be that these Arab and African immigrants are Muslim, please be assured that you are wrong. In the ponderous language of social scientists, the reporters will assure you that the riots/unrest/guerrilla warfare problem is entirely due to (1) the government’s treating these youths badly and (2) the fact that it emerged after last year’s riots that the police might have lied about their run-in with two of these same types of youths.

By the way, I don’t have any doubt but that part of the reason — even a large part of the reason — that these riots happen is because French society, indeed most European society, is set up so that there is no path to integration and assimilation for immigrants. That societal failure to absorb immigrants means that they’re going to be sitting in slums that become powder kegs of anger, unrest and, eventually, violence. Believing that, though, doesn’t mean that I don’t also believe that another, possibly significant, part of the problem is that there is a connection in this day and age between Muslims and violence. And when news reports play so coy, rather than my ending up believing that Islam has nothing to do with the violence, I tend to believe that Islam does have something to do with the violence and that the press is simply avoiding an issue it does not want to address.

And by the way, this kind of media avoidance syndrome — where you have to read through scads of articles to gather the puzzle pieces that shape the whole picture — is not limited to youth violence. Over at Big Lizards, Dafydd has taken the time to investigate the hidden, and very sordid, connection between the Clintons and InfoUSA, with the latter being a database marketer that knowingly sells information about vulnerable populations (the old and the sick) to organizations that run scams on these same people. He’s also taken the time to smell a rat in the article that purports to show a racist/religious-ist Romney refusing to contemplate the possibility of a Muslim holding a high government position in his administration. (Note to MSM types: it’s the carefully placed ellipses that always end up giving you away.)

My bottom line to the media: either report the news or stop pretending that you do.

UPDATE: It’s currently hidden behind the WSJ’s subscription wall, but John Fund has written a great article about Nancy Pelosi’s current effort to make America more like France by working to ensure that the current generation of immigrants remains stuck forever in non-English speaking poverty. Consistent with fair use, I’ll give you just a taste of what Fund has to say, and we’ll hope that the WSJ soon releases the article for general consumption:

Should the Salvation Army be able to require its employees to speak English? You wouldn’t think that’s controversial. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding up a $53 billion appropriations bill funding the FBI, NASA and Justice Department solely to block an attached amendment, passed by both the Senate and House, that protects the charity and other employers from federal lawsuits over their English-only policies.

The U.S. used to welcome immigrants while at the same time encouraging assimilation. Since 1906, for example, new citizens have had to show “the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English.” A century later, this preference for assimilation is still overwhelmingly popular. A new Rasmussen poll finds that 87% of voters think it “very important” that people speak English in the U.S., with four out of five Hispanics agreeing. And 77% support the right of employers to have English-only policies, while only 14% are opposed.

But hardball politics practiced by ethnic grievance lobbies is driving assimilation into the dustbin of history. The House Hispanic Caucus withheld its votes from a key bill granting relief on the Alternative Minimum Tax until Ms. Pelosi promised to kill the Salvation Army relief amendment.

UPDATE II: More on liberal efforts to keep minorities ghettoized.

UPDATE III: For a literary touch, I’ll just throw in one more thing. Because I’m feeling lazy, I’ve been re-reading Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night, one of my favorite novels from England in the mid-1930s. (Even though it’s a mystery, I view it as a novel because, after many readings, there are no mysteries left in that book for me.) The book takes place at Oxford, and has a healthy respect for the old-fashioned idea of academic objectivity. Sayers therefore has one of her characters, during a discussion with someone about a history book, say the following:

“I entirely agree that a historian ought to be precise in detail; but unless you take all the characters and circumstances concerned into account, you are reckoning without the facts. The proportions and relations of things are just as much facts as the things themselves, and if you get those wrong, you falsify the picture really seriously.”

The whole book, incidentally, is a testament to examining facts without allowing private belief systems or loyalties to interfere with ones understanding of those facts.

Do the Republicans have an immigration problem?

Although the base loathes illegal immigration, Republican politicians have been trying to make nice with the vocal illegal immigrant community, and therefore helped scupper any hopes this past political season that Congress would pass a reform bill tightening our borders and removing the amnesty reward for existing illegal immigrants (as well as the amnesty incentive for future illegal immigrants).  In reaching this decision re immigration, the Republicans seemed to be operating on the assumption that anyone Hispanic is going to vote by race, regardless of social and economic interest.  This is, of course, a narrow and, if you’ll pardon me for speaking so bluntly, a racist point of view.

Given the political calculations in Washington, it was fascinating to read an article in a British paper stating that a lot of newly minted citizens are in fact hewing to the Republican side of the political divide. They seem to be motivated both by the same dislike of cheaters I have (“we did it the honest way, so they should too”), and by a sense that they don’t want to replicate here the social and economic anarchy they escaped there (wherever “there” was):

Minutes after taking the Pledge of Allegiance, new American citizens are urged to register as voters by Democratic activists who see them as natural party supporters who could hold the key to the 2008 election.

But with increasing illegal immigration threatening the economy and security of the United States, many legal immigrants anxious to uphold the laws of their adopted country are moving towards the more hard-line immigration stance of Republicans.

Even in California’s Democratic-controlled San Diego, sizeable numbers of America’s newly-minted potential voters said that illegal immigrants should be penalised rather than given an easy route to citizenship as most Democrats advocate.

“For a long time, immigration was OK,” said Sarah Wright, 49, a seamstress from Mexico who arrived in the US legally in 1986.

“But now, no more. A lot of really bad people come from Mexico and commit crimes.

“People are coming in and having two, three, four babies and going on welfare. Some are making money here and spending it back in Mexico.

“That’s not right. They should go back to Mexico and get a permit.”

***

Previously, new citizens could be relied upon to vote Democratic by a ratio of up to 10 to one. But in San Diego this week there were indications that this could be changing.

“I’ve had several people here, Hispanic people, say ‘No, I’m a Republican’,” said Bill De Risa, a Democratic worker eagerly registering voters outside Golden Hall.

His colleague Mary Kennedy said that one woman had told her she wanted to be a Republican because of immigration policy.

“She felt the Democrats were too soft. She wanted higher fences. It’s a very polarising issue.”

Sarah Thomas, 42, a restaurateur originally from Salway Ash, Dorset and one of about two dozen Britons who took US citizenship, said illegal immigrants should be sent home.

“They need to leave and come back legally.

“Just because somebody has been here for 10 years illegally, not paying taxes, does that give them equal rights? No.”

John Pauls, 46, a Canadian-born doctor, said that illegal immigrants were a major burden on the taxpayers who had to foot their health bills and that insecure borders could allow terrorists to come into the US.

“Those that do come into this country illegally are telling us that they are morally and ethically not trustworthy. They should not be here. It’s insulting to those of us who are here legally.”

Welcome to America, oh wise ones!  You are, of course, absolutely right.

(And does anyone know if Republicans are setting up registration booths outside these ceremonies, too?  If not, they should.)

Biggest invasion since 1066?

There are only two dates in British history that one needs to remember according to the authors of the wonderful 1066 & All That: A Memorable History Of England, Comprising All The Parts You Can Remember, Including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings And 2 Genuine Dates . The title actually gives one away: 1066, the year of the Norman Conquest, which was the genesis of England’s political and class system. The other was 55 B.C., when Caesar first landed in Britain, although the Roman conquest didn’t get into full gear for some time after that.

England has had other conquests, of course. The whole Anglo-Saxon and Danelaw era during the Dark Ages reflected the fact that England was alternately overrun by Angles, Saxons and Vikings. However, it was with 1066 and the Norman conquest that all that immigration stopped. People have, of course, immigrated to England in the thousand or so years since 1066, but not in any waves worth noting. Instead, England sent people the other way, seeding America, most of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, England achieved dominance over, and sent many people to, parts of East Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Now, for the first time since 1066, the wheel has come full circle, and England is taking in more foreign nationals than she is sending out English people:

Britain is experiencing unprecedented levels of immigration with more than half a million foreigners arriving to live here in a single year, new figures show.

Last year, 510,000 foreign migrants came to the UK to stay for at least 12 months, according to the Office for National Statistics. At the same time 400,000 people, more than half of whom were British, emigrated.
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An exodus on this scale – amounting to one British citizen leaving the country every three minutes – has not been seen in the UK for almost 50 years.

Overall in 2006, there were a record 591,000 new arrivals. Only 14 per cent of these were Britons coming home.

It is the first time the number of foreign migrants has topped half a million and the statistics do not include hundreds of thousands of east Europeans who have arrived to work in Britain in the past two years. This is because most say they are coming for less than 12 months and do not show up as long-term immigrants.

The figures suggest that only one sixth of the immigrants were from the states which joined the EU in 2004.

The biggest influx was from the New Commonwealth – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – with more than 200,000 migrants.

Since Labour came to power in 1997, nearly four million foreign nationals have come to Britain and 1.6 million have left. Over the same period, 1.8 million Britons have left, but only 979,000 have returned.

More than 50 per cent of the British emigrants moved to just four countries in 2006 – Australia, New Zealand, France and Spain.

An organization called “Migration Watch UK” has more data about the huge influx of non-Brits into Britain over the past many decades. As the government records for the last year hint, the numbers are not trifling. Instead, assuming the organization’s numbers to be accurate (which I do, since they dovetail with the government’s own report), England has been taking in people wholesale, without any regard for whether the infrastructure can support this influx:

Immigration is now on an unprecedented scale. The Asians from East Africa who arrived in the mid 1970s amounted to 27,000. We are now taking more than 10 times that number every year. Indeed, net foreign immigration reached 292,000 in 2005 (of which just 11,000 was accounted for by the net rise in asylum claimants).

Much of the recent debate has concerned immigration from Eastern Europe. From 1st May 2004 when eight East European countries joined the EU 510,000 applicants have registered under the Workers Registration Scheme, 63% from Poland. (Workers from Eastern Europe can only claim full welfare benefits after they have worked here for 12 months.) However, the self employed are not required to register. A Home Office Minister (Mr Mc Nulty) has estimated the total over two years at 600,000. It is not known how many have since returned home. About half of those registered say that their employment is temporary. If they have all returned, net immigration from Eastern Europe would be about 150,000 a year (compared to the government’s prediction of a maximum of 13,000). The ONS estimate that net migration from the new EU members in 2005 was 65,000. This was based on the data collected from the International Passenger Survey. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that this estimate is too low. Migration from the new EU countries is, of course, in addition to immigration from the rest of the world .

According to Government projections, immigration will result in an increase in the population of the UK of 6 million in the 27 years from 2004 that is 6 times the population of Birmingham. Immigration (immigrants and their descendants) will now account for 83% of future population growth in the UK. The population projections took account of increased migration resulting from the expansion of the EU but they assumed that total migration flows would rapidly decrease from 255,000 in 2004-5 to just 145,000 in 2007-8. So far there has been no sign of a decrease in immigration from the new EU countries and the accession of Bulgaria and Romania (and possibly other East and Southern European countries) will add to immigration pressures.

Even this number does not include illegal immigrants. About 50,000 illegal entrants are detected every year but nobody knows how many succeed in entering undetected.

Legal immigration at the present projected rate will lead to a requirement of about 1.5 million houses in the period 2003 – 2026. England is now nearly twice as crowded as Germany, four times France and twelve times the US.

Meanwhile, asylum has been allowed to become a back door to Britain. In recent years over 60% have been refused permission to stay here but only 1 in 4 of those who fail are ever removed.

At present there is no reason why immigration should come to an end.

The pressure on our borders continues. Demand for visas has risen by 33% in 5 years and is now 2.5 million per year. In 2003 one in five visa issuing posts was consistently unable to cope with the daily demand for visas, despite the time allocated to each case being reduced to only eleven minutes. No one is recorded as they enter or leave the country.

Keeping those numbers in mind, you should also keep in mind the fact that Britain, despite Thatcher, still has economic elements of a socialist state, with huge automatic welfare benefits. The current infrastructure is expected, not just to provide economic opportunities for these immigrants, but to provide them with the full panoply of benefits, including medical care. This is proving to be a problem:

Yet despite high levels of emigration and a low birth rate, the population is still growing rapidly because of immigration by the equivalent to a city the size of Bristol every year.

This is placing huge pressures on public services, with councils claiming they are not getting enough financial help from the Government.

Sir Simon Milton, the chairman of the Local Government Association, said the Government – which earlier this month had to apologise for publishing incorrect figures on foreign migrants working in Britain – had no clear idea of where all the immigrants were going and their impact on services.

“No one has a real grasp of where or for how long migrants are settling so much-needed funding for local services isn’t getting to the right places,” he said. “The speed and scale of migration combined with the shortcomings of official population figures is placing pressure on funding for services like children’s services and housing.

”This can even lead to unnecessary tension and conflict.”

Reading about Britain’s travails trying to sustain an unprecedented number of people should have you thinking about current Democratic policies, which urge upon Americans something akin to an open border policy, along with ever expanding government benefits, including a national health care plan. Even if you have a pie in the sky belief that these are good ideas, common sense should prove instantly that they’re not sustainable.

UPDATEItaly is also having a huge invasion, probably the biggest since the Goths and the Vandals and, as is true in Britain, it is having troubles coping with the numbers of people it willingly allows in.  Incidentally, when I was in Italy last year, a young woman on the train, although clinging precariously to PC language, nevertheless spilled a boatload of complaints on me about the burden ordinary Italians were feeling from the overwhelming flow of immigrants, in terms of economic effects and criminal ones.  I heard the same on another train ride, this time in Switzerland, from a woman who told me that Switzerland was falling apart as a result of the demands on its economy from the immigrants, as well as from the crime they bring with them.

San Francisco trying to legalize illegals

Well, the Board of Stupes, er, Supes, did it.  They will now issue identification cards to all residents, legal or not, and require employers to accept them:

The Board of Supervisors voted today to make San Francisco the largest U.S. city to issue municipal identification cards to its residents, regardless of whether or not they are in the country legally.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano, the legislation’s author, said the availability of identification cards is a smart public safety measure because it would make residents living on the social margins of San Francisco more likely to seek the help of police and could give them more access to banking services.

“People are afraid to report crimes,” Ammiano said, referring to illegal immigrants who avoid local law enforcement authorities over fear of being arrested or deported by federal immigration officials.

The legislation would require companies doing business with San Francisco to accept the municipal card as a legitimate form of identification – except in cases where other state and federal laws require other forms of proof of age, name and residence.

Under San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinance, it already is city policy that no municipal government personnel or resources may be used to assist federal immigration officials in the arrest and deportation of illegal immigrants.

Ammiano phrases the social benefits in terms of giving illegals access to bank accounts so that they don’t carry money around and get robbed.  Banks, apparently, are on board, although I don’t know how they can square this City issued card with the Patriot Act.  In any event, it seems to me that it provides a perfect way for terrorists, not just Mom and Pop border jumpers, to access our banking systems too.

Mourning the death of a DREAM

I got a sort of perverse pleasure out of reading the intro to SF Chron’s coverage of the most recent death of the DREAM Act, right down to the fact that the young people at issue are respectfully referred to as “undocumented,” rather than “illegal aliens”:

The Senate killed help Wednesday for the single most sympathetic group of illegal immigrants – those who were brought to the country as children and now wish to go to college or join the military – and seemed to dash the hopes of Silicon Valley technology companies and California farmers for more immigrant workers they say they desperately need.

You really don’t need to read the rest of the article to know what the writer’s biases are, do you?  Interestingly, the one thing the article doesn’t mention is that, when it comes to college education, the bill offers greater rights to illegal aliens than it does to Americans.  If I were to set off for Michigan now, I’d have to pay full, out-of-state tuition.  However, a kid who slipped across the border would get in-state tuition.  I hardly think the taxpayers should be responsible for that, do you?

As an aside, I do believe that youngsters who volunteer to serve in our military should get a pathway to citizenship, because I see that as giving to, not taking from, our country.  For a long historical perspective, Rome gave its soldiers, often from conquered territories, citizenship.  It worked well for a long time, and helped integrate outlying areas into the Roman empire.

Harry Reid is doing some game playing to force the DREAM Act through Congress

I’ve got to run to a couple of meetings this morning, but wanted to alert you to the fact that Harry Reid is trying to get a cloture vote (that is, he’s trying to shut down debate) on the DREAM Act tomorrow.  The DREAM Act is the one that mandate in-state tuition at State Colleges and University for illegal aliens, something denied to the legal kids from the state next door.  (A cost I’ve experienced personally, since I payed full out of state tuition for the very great privilege of attending a superb public law school.)  In addition, once a state’s tax payers have funded the illegal alien’s dream to get the type of college education denied to legal residents and citizens, they get a green card.  Whoopee!

If you think this is a bad idea, contact your senator.  Michelle Malkin has all the details and information I left out.  You can use the service at Numbers USA to make your protests known and easy.

Switzerland in decline

As you may recall, about 10 months ago, when I returned from a European vacation, one of the things I blogged about was Switzerland as part of a larger post I did about Europe’s changing face:

A train conversation with an unusually sweet lady in Switzerland resulted in my learning (correctly or not) that Switzerland, the country that was once the most rigorous in the world about protecting its national identity, is now made up of 25% immigrants, which a huge block having arrived illegally from Africa and Turkey. She says that these latter, illegal immigrants, are responsible for a dramatic increase in drugs and crime. Her report gained credibility in my mind when, the moment I got off the train and onto the street, I saw African immigrants selling drugs and counterfeit goods around the train station. (You’ll see precisely the same in Rome and Paris.)

Then, yesterday, RD kindly directed my attention to a post in the Brussels Journal that adds hard facts to the impression I gained and to the (accurate) information that nice lady gave me. In it, Takuan Seiyo bemoans the vanishing Switzerland he knew as a young man, a Switzerland famous to all of us through the Heidi books.  Here’s the “before” he describes:

Switzerland used to have some of the toughest high school graduation requirements in the world. Just a generation ago it was unthinkable that the fabled educational system produce a specimen so dense, or that such a person find employment at the front desk of a major hotel. But then, since the blatant negligence in Zurich’s flight control system caused the July 1, 2002 mid-air collision of two aircraft, killing all 71 aboard, Switzerland, and the world at large, have known that something has gone wrong with the storied mainspring of this country.

***

Switzerland has been a haven for foreigners at least since the Roman emperor Vespasian’s father lived and worked there as a banker. With each wave of religious repressions in Europe, Christian reformers from Jean Calvin to John Knox found refuge there, and their followers — particularly the Huguenots who settled around Lake Geneva — greatly enriched Switzerland with their talents and industry.

The annals of Switzerland’s industrial might are full of foreign names that built fabled Swiss industries. The Nestle of Nestle came here from Germany, and the Patek of Patek Philippe came from Poland. Davidoff’s eponymous founder was a Ukrainian, and Switzerland’s most dynamic business tycoon, the founder of Swatch, Nicolas Hayek, was born in Lebanon.

Similarly, the world’s record of cultural achievement could not have been the same but for Swiss hospitality to deserving foreigners. Voltaire and Rousseau were Swiss residents, as were Hegel and Nietzsche. So were Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner, Edward Gibbon and Thomas Mann, James Joyce and Jorge Louis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov and Charles Chaplin, Rudolf Diesel and Albert Einstein.

Seiyo also makes mention of the hardworking conservatism that used to characterize the Swiss Cantons.

Then, something happened:

A spirit of judicious national hospitality has degenerated here into a naïve openness to nondiscriminating diversity. And numbers are of the essence.

As Swiss post-war prosperity grew, so has it demand for working hands, and its disincentives to native labor due to ever-growing entitlements. The great influx of foreign labor started in the 60s, and it worked spectacularly well. Italian waiters, and  Spanish or Portuguese seasonal workers, and Serb engineers and secretaries did their jobs well, paid their taxes, respected law and order, meshed reasonably well in the culture, and either sprouted roots and were allowed to naturalize, or returned to their home countries, there to enjoy their pot of Swiss earnings.

But the West’s toxins were seeping in. Since the 1970s, feminism, leftism, neurotic self-loathing, boredom with the staid Swiss lifestyle, material plenty with a deep safety net, have undermined traditional Swiss virtues such as prudence, circumspection, respect for tradition, patriotism, self-reliance, devolution of power, and a fanatical devotion to quality work.

Switzerland succumbed to statism, with the liberal-left activities of the federal government undermining the proud conservatism of many of the cantons that make up the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss public sector has grown proportionately larger than in any other developed country, and the country of erstwhile hard work and thrift is now classified as an “extreme welfare state” (Fn. omitted).

Where welfare is lavish, the young lose their motivation to study and work. Swiss cities are now home to needle parks and throngs of body-pierced native imbeciles aping the worst of America’s pop excretions. And where left-liberalism is the guiding beam, Western culture ails, discrimination between values and qualities ends, and grinding chaos starts. And so began Switzerland’s devaluation of its unique cultural identity, and its undoing of the population demographics to which this identity has been bound for 800 years.

What the above means is that, in lieu of Heidi’s pristine little country, you have what can generously be characterized as a disastrous mess.  Here are only some of the statistics that now define modern Switzerland:

Last year, there were 639 rapes in Switzerland. 309 of the 489 identified perpetrators, i.e. over 63%, were foreigners.

198 homicides were committed in Switzerland in 2006 (fn. omitted). Of the 226 identified perpetrators, 51% were foreigners. There were 9272 assaults with bodily damage and 8568 identified assailants. Almost 50% of the assailants were Swiss residents of foreign extraction. (fn. omitted)

All these and statistics on kidnappings, theft, burglary etc —- all the specialty of foreigners– may be gleaned in the 2006 Statistical Report on Crime, issued by the Swiss Federal Police.

The term “Foreigners” includes the foreign-born as well as the Swiss-born children of such foreigners. Switzerland does not grant birthright citizenship. In this, and in its tough naturalization requirements, Switzerland remains, in some ways, the last remaining outpost of sanity in the Western world.

As there seem to be no accessible statistics as to who the criminal “foreigners” are, one has to build a mosaic picture out of the little bits and pieces that are available.

It is common knowledge here that Albanians and other European Muslims commit crimes far out of proportion to their numbers; indeed, I have been told of muggings and rapes of hikers on pristine mountain trails, committed by gangs of Albanians, Kosovars or Macedonians. The names one reads in drug and smuggling arrest reports are usually Balkan-Muslim or Turkish.

But the Swiss government, let alone the PC-bound press, is not forthcoming with clear detail. Indeed, it muddles national origin distinctions, lest “uncomfortable” facts transpire. Thus the Federal Department of Justice and Police ordered a study of delinquency and nationality that found in 2001 a criminal conviction rate about 12 times higher among asylum seekers (4%), and twice as high (0.6%) among other resident foreigners, compared to Swiss citizens (0.3%).

Given the enormous share of crime by Third World asylum seekers, one would think that a wide consensus existed to shut down this and other immigration-related gates to dystopia. But Switzerland is as PC-bound and multiculti handicapped, as confused about its identity, as the rest of the West is. It shares with the West also a tacit sense of guilt about the fate of Europe’s Jews in World War 2, to whom Switzerland refused to provide a refuge from Hitler. It has not been explained how admitting to Switzerland over 300 thousands mostly primitive and Jew-hating Muslims can expiate for indifference to the Nazi slaughter of the Jewish kin of Einstein, Freud, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Wittgenstein, von Neumann, von Mises, and von Stroheim.

Seiyo places the blame for this chaos on the elites, who cheerfully hew to their PC, multi-cultural pieties, despite the degradation of their nation and the groaning of their people.  Unsurprisingly, as you’ve probably read, there is beginning to be a backlash, with a strongly nationalist party on the uprise.  And, since anything other than hardcore Leftism has always been stomped on in Europe, the backlash has an extreme quality to it.  After all, the ruling class never allowed more moderate movements to grow.

The whole article (and there’s much more than I quoted above) is fascinating and depressing, and it gives a solid factual core to my own depressing observations of last year:  namely, that the doomsaying pundits who keep talking about about a vanishing Europe — by which they mean a Europe that is no longer European — are right.  If you don’t like a European Europe, it’s a good thing; if you think that Europe, even though it brought some of the worst to the world (think Nazis), also brought some of the highest and best to the world, it’s a very saddening thing to have to watch.

Yeah, but what about us taxpayers?

Here’s how a local San Francisco online paper reported Arnold’s (correct) decision to veto the California DREAM act:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed bill SB 1, the California Dream Act, which would have enabled qualifying undocumented students to apply for two types of non competitive state financial aid.

Schwarzenegger said he vetoed the bill because he thought extending aid to those students would put a strain on the General Fund. In a veto message on the governor’s Web site, Schwarzenegger said that at a time when students with legal status are already paying increased tuition fees, a bill like this would not be a prudent expenditure.

SB 1 would enable students to apply for the Cal Grant Entitlement and have community college fees waived. According to the office of Sen. Gilbert Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, costs of the bill averaged out to an additional .018 percent of General Fund money.

The bill won support across California, from both the state and university systems as well as the Community College League. Other supporters included the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

A variety of newspapers lauded the bill as being a balanced and pragmatic solution to expanding the state’s college graduates without taking money away from students with legal status.  (Emphasis mine.)

Did you notice the language I highlighted?  While the DREAM Act may not take money away from students with legal status, it seems to me it’s still taking money away from taxpayers.  I pay massive amounts in taxes.  That money is taken away from me and I can no longer spend it on me and mine.  As just one example, the money I pour into taxes is money I can’t spend it my kids’ college education.  Why in the world would I want to see the government spend it on illegal aliens?  And the mere fact that it’s “spent” by waiving community college fees or giving access to grants doesn’t mean that it’s not tax payer money at stake.

You can only poke the pig so often before it starts to squeal, and squeal loudly.  I’m entering squealing mode, and I’d certainly like to see more Americans squeal with me, so that politicians of all ideological stripes would stop seeing as as an endless flow of cash for whatever constituency they’re trying to buy at any given moment.

Oh, those wacky Clinton-appointed judges

This is the third time in a month that a judge has struck down a hot topic policy that the Bush administration supports (this time it’s an immigration policy that got the ax) and it’s the third time that the judge was a Clinton appointee. This time the judge was Charles R. Breyer, who sits in San Francisco, and about whom I can’t say much that is good — although, to be fair, I’d have to say the same about most Bay Area judges who have decided matters on which I’ve worked. It’s not that my work is so stellar that the judges should bow down before it and rule in my favor. Nope. I has more to do with the fact that so many Bay Area judges manifestly rely on gut feelings and prejudices, without making even the semblance of a bow to the controlling law. But back to topic:

Without know the legal issues, I’m not going to stick my neck out here to challenge Justice Breyer’s opinion. For all I know, he’s absolutely right. I’m just noting a trend in federal court rulings lately. I’ll also note that, for litigation attacking federal policies, forum shopping is easy.

For other examples of this trend, see this and this.

As a complete aside, Justice Breyer is the younger brother of Justice Stephen Breyer, one of Clinton’s Supreme Court appointees.

UPDATE:  The Captain, who has actually taken the time to examine the issue and the ruling, is dismayed.  His post on the subject begins as follows:  “It’s hard to imagine what Judge Charles R. Breyer had in mind when he issued a ruling that prevents the government from detecting identity fraud, but clearly it wasn’t the law or the interests of the American community.” You’ll want to read the rest.

Is there such a thing as auto-genocide?

If there is such a thing a auto-genocide — that is, a culture’s or race’s decision to wipe itself out — than Fjordman, writing at Gates of Vienna, thinks that we’re witnessing it now.  In paragraph after paragraph, he strongly and credibly argues that the white race is under attack, not from the immigrants streaming into the country, but from intellectual and political leadership that not only allows mass immigration of a type unprecedented in human history, but that makes it impossible for a country’s native citizens to complain.  It’s an interesting post made especially interesting by the fact that it is not a racist rant.  Fjordman is simply looking at a giant social experiment, commenting on how the experiment came into being, and predicting results.  In many ways, the core of his argument, and the reason why he finds this “little” social experiment disturbing, lies right here:

In May 2007, Osama bin Laden’s deputy terrorist leader Ayman al-Zawahri stated that “Al-Qaida is not merely for the benefit of Muslims. That’s why I want blacks in America, people of color, American Indians, Hispanics, and all the weak and oppressed in North and South America, in Africa and Asia, and all over the world.”

Read that statement closely. This Jihadist organization is calling for a global war against whites. Not Christians or Jews. Whites. I have been told all of my life that skin color is irrelevant, but this balancing act gets a lot more difficult when somebody declares war against you because of your race.

Hat tip:  RD

Some citizen ID cards are more equal than others

The Democrats and their fellow travelers have been terribly upset since its inception by the Patriot Act, which they see as an infringement of their civil liberties. In that context, one of their chief fears is that the federal government will impose a national ID requirement, which they believe will be used to target illegal immigrants. (This is a good example of that type of thinking.) The Left is also hostile to the idea of a requirement that voters present photo ID in the form of a driver’s license or State ID card, since they believe that poor people lack the mental equipment and minimal life skills to get those types of cards. (And with regard to Democrats’ deep belief that the disadvantaged, especially African Americans, are helpless dodos, did I mention that John Edwards believes that, without his Presidential intervention, all black men will end up dead or in jail?)

Given the Left’s incredible hostility to ID cards, it was with some amazement that I read this impassioned plea for ID cards from Tom Ammiano, one of San Francisco’s most extreme liberals (which sounds redundant, but even by SF standards he’s to the liberal side of liberal):

As a sanctuary city, San Francisco has a responsibility to address the issues facing our community when federal legislators fail to do so. While grandstanding and speeches filled with fear and hate dominate congressional debate, here on the local level we have to address the fallout from continued inaction.

I introduced legislation Sept. 18 to create a municipal identification card for San Francisco residents. . . . This has created a local buzz and national controversy. The ID card is useful for many San Franciscans. . . .

There are two reasons that it is important to all San Franciscans that we issue a municipal ID card. . . : safety in our community and strengthening our community.

When residents don’t have government-issued IDs, it is a serious public safety issue because it reduces crime reporting and increases the number of vulnerable individuals. Without ID, people are afraid to report crimes, meaning that perpetrators are free to strike again. ….

In San Francisco, we do not live in the bubble that many like to say we do; rather, we are an international city with residents from every corner of this Earth. ….

And that is why San Francisco needs to issue a municipal ID card. ….

Our city cannot just stand by while our federal government takes no action to address the safety needs of our community here at home. ….

Clearly, Ammiano thinks a government can best protect its people by issuing them identification cards. He’s also absolutely certain that every citizen is fully capable of applying for and receiving one of those cards. Apparently in San Francisco there are no citizens so poor, felonious or handicapped by blackness (did you hear that, Silky Pony) that they’re unable to head over to City Hall or some equally convenient address to get cards that will help them step towards basic human rights. In other words, Ammiano’s believe in the ability of the poor to get cards, and his faith that the government will handle those cards appropriately, runs entirely counter to the Democratic/Left belief that the opposite is true.

Okay, I’m lying. You’ll notice that the above quotation is filled, just filled with ellipses. Everything that’s in there is exactly what Ammiano wrote. I just left out the real point of his argument, which is that he wants to issue identification cards to illegal aliens because, for reasons unclear to me (and these are reasons Ammiano never explains in his impassioned but entirely incoherent opinion piece), having those cards will protect these immigrants from crime. Let me flesh out a couple of those paragraphs as Ammiano actually wrote them:

I introduced legislation Sept. 18 to create a municipal identification card for San Francisco residents, regardless of immigration status. This has created a local buzz and national controversy. The ID card is useful for many San Franciscans such as the homeless, the elderly, youths, transgender people and others who encounter barriers to accessing government-issued IDs. (But wait, I thought homeless, the elderly, youths and others intimidated by barriers couldn’t possibly be expected to get identification cards, and therefore such cards should never be required as a means to prevent voter fraud.) However, detractors have focused solely on immigrants as the recipients. (I haven’t objected to that fact. In an earlier post I did about Ammiano’s lame-brained proposal, I said I thought it was a wonderful thing for illegal aliens to storm government halls to identify themselves for the benefit of law enforcement agencies. I simply bemoaned the fact that it was entirely unlikely that immigration would take advantage of the fact that illegals were going to start going around carrying badges announcing “I’m illegal.”)

There are two reasons that it is important to all San Franciscans that we issue a municipal ID card, regardless of immigration status: safety in our community and strengthening our community.

When residents don’t have government-issued IDs, it is a serious public safety issue because it reduces crime reporting and increases the number of vulnerable individuals. Without ID, people are afraid to report crimes, meaning that perpetrators are free to strike again. (Nothing Ammiano has said here, and nothing he says later, explains to me why it’s easier to report a crime to the cops when you have an ID card than when you don’t.) This is compounded when these same community members lack the ID needed to access bank accounts. By keeping cash on their person and in their homes, they are further targets of crime. I am working with the treasurer’s office and look forward to collaborating with banks so that this card will be accepted to open bank accounts.

And so on and so forth. You can read the whole thing here, but I guarantee you won’t have any clearer understanding of this proposed law after you’ve read it than you do right now.

While Ammiano’s writing may be muddled, there an entirely deceptive line of thinking underlying all this that is clear as a bell: The Democrats/Left have about ID cards being unfair to immigrants and the poor, whether such cards are used for national security or to protect against voter fraud, are completely bogus. Democrats are happy to issue such cards if they believe it will be for their political advantage and they are confident that the intended recipients of these Democratic issued cards — immigrants, the poor, and the disadvantaged — will be able to obtain them with ease, unhindered by their “downtrodden” status.

UPDATE:  As I was writing this, I knew I’d seen, just a day or two ago, a wonderful post exposing all the fallacies in the Democratic argument opposing picture ID as a prerequisite for voting in order to prevent fraud.  I had an “aha” moment when I finally found it at Big Lizards.  Read BL’s post, and then, just for fun, read once again Ammiano’s incoherent explanation about why it’s great for all the dispossessed to get the San Francisco issued ID card.  When your brain stops spinning, go out and register Republican.  No matter how faulty Republicans can be, they’re still better than the alternative.

Fences to keep the unwanted out work

Apparently the feds, after going through all the bureaucratic steps, are fence building like crazy along our Southern border. An even better thing is the fact that, where the fences have already gone up, the number of illegal immigrants has gone down:

New barriers have had an effect in San Luis, once one of the busiest crossing points in the nation. Immigrants by the hundreds would jump over the steel-mat fencing and disappear into nearby neighborhoods.

That route is now blocked by two new layers of fencing: a 15-foot-high steel-mesh secondary barrier and a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire.

The number of illegal immigrants apprehended daily in the area has dropped from 800 to as low as 15, according to Border Patrol officials.

If you read further, you’ll see that a number of those immigrants simply shifted their efforts elsewhere, which is why a longer fence is better than a shorter fence. I’m just pointing out that, where fences lie, they work, something the Israelis have discovered as well.

One disgruntled Obama supporter

Obama is and, to date, always has been a small timer.  Although he’s aiming for the highest office in the land, which is pretty much the highest office in the world, his practical experience is minimal, and it keeps on showing.  His latest move, to support the DREAM act which will encourage in-state tuition fees for illegal immigrants is getting shrieks of outrage — from his own base.  Thus, Jill Chapin, a self-described Obama supporter, has this to say:

This bill resonates with your base in a way that will ensure your losing the nomination. It smacks of unfairness, of people at the end of the line getting to move up to the front. It appeases the non-citizens while enraging registered voters. It makes us question your priorities. In a perfect world, all children would have access to a first-class education. But the United States simply cannot educate the world.

So your first allegiance should be to poor, disadvantaged American citizens who would salivate at the chance of attending an out of state school at in-state tuition rates. If there are resources left over to then help legal immigrants, then it is reasonable and right to help as many of them as we can.

Life is not fair, Senator Obama. Our schools are failing our own kids; until their needs are addressed, you are not in a position to use your influence to fund the world’s education. And you should not be rearranging truths to suit your agenda. Changing the language of our immigration laws simply to allow those of illegal status to be reclassified as legal, with all the benefits that change implies, is an insult not only to Americans but to legal immigrants. They have all played by the rules and are now shoved aside as others move in front of them. Your message seems to be that our laws are pliable, subject to what is politically expedient at the time.

Your biggest supporters such as I fear that we were so desperate to find a new kind of candidate that our gullibility in believing in you has been exposed.

***

If you hope to win the nomination for President of the United States, then you shouldn’t be campaigning for President of North America.

Ms. Chapin’s analyses, both of the DREAM Act and of Obama, are completely correct.

Very un-PC classic rock

I liked Genesis music a lot back in the 1980s, but had entirely forgotten about the song “Illegal Alien” which debuted on their 1983 eponymous album.  The song, which purports to be sung by an illegal alien hoping to head north to the US, is startlingly dated because, while ostensibly sympathetic, some of it is so very un-PC.  I mean, how do you explain these lyrics, which imply that the man is heading north for handouts and that he’s willing to sell his sister to get them?

Consideration for your fellow man
Would not hurt anybody, it sure fits in with my plan
Over the border, there lies the promised land
Where everything comes easy, you just hold out your hand

Keep your suspicions, I’ve seen that look before
But I ain’t done nothing wrong now, is that such a surprise
But I’ve got a sister who’d be willing to oblige
She will do anything now to help me get to the outside

So don’t tell anybody what I wanna do
If they find out you know that they’ll never let me through….

Any mainstream band that tried those lyrics now would get lynched!

Los tresciento

Courtesy of the Latino Comedy Project, we get this:

Hat tip:  Cheat-Seeking Missiles

Community building, Leftist style

San Francisco’s Mission District is, demographically, a primarily Hispanic district (about 50%), with the remainder of the population being White and Asian. Traditionally, it’s been a mixture of immigrants (legal and illegal), poor, working-class, and artsy-funky. It’s in the news today because the District used a $34,000 City-funded grant to paint a mural that shows joyful Palestinians overtaking Israel:

An emotional battle over a new mural in San Francisco’s Mission district that depicts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been squelched after the supporting organization had its funding stalled and agreed to alter the controversial image.

At issue is a large mural in a parking lot on the corner of 24th and Capp streets, designed by local artist Eric Norberg and painted during the summer by more than 200 Mission district community members with an overall theme of breaking down physical and social walls.

One panel of the 117-foot wide and 10-foot tall mural, depicting Palestinians breaking through a crack in the Israeli security barrier, angered members of San Francisco’s Jewish community who said the image only portrays one side of the centuries-old conflict. The crack in the barrier is also shaped like Israel, and one Palestinian busting through wears a headscarf covering her face.

“The imagery took a radical position on a complex geopolitical issue that was out of touch with the international community, San Francisco and the overwhelming majority of Jews,” said Abby Michelson Porth, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, which raised the issue.

Frankly, this is the standard stuff one expects to come out of San Francisco and, while I’m disgusted, I’m too worn about this chronic bias to be incensed.

Something about this story, though, did pique my interest, because it’s a new twist on the whole pro-Palestinian view of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Apparently creating a pro-Palestinian mural is a “community building” activity in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood:

HOMEY, the organization that received a city grant to create two murals, said the mural was meant to unite the Mission district.

On its face, that it is an appalling statement — you unite a Hispanic neighborhood by showing approvingly a group of people bent on genocide (that would be the Palestinians, who are never coy about their ultimate goal) overrunning the nation that they intend to exterminate (Israel, of course).

But just so you’re really clear about HOMEY’s goal — and just so you understand that it is a Leftist group aimed at dethroning the two countries that are the most frequent targets of Leftist animus — the HOMEY representative keeps on talking:

“Our intention was to draw parallels between the issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Israeli-Palestinian security barrier,” said Nancy Hernandez, youth program coordinator at HOMEY. “We consider this section … to be a statement of solidarity between the residents of the San Francisco Mission district and global movements for oppressed peoples to gain self-determination.”

And that’s why the Left supports the Palestinians. It has nothing to do with history, morality, international law, decency, saving lives, preventing genocide, etc. Instead, just part of the ever-popular Leftist scenario in which anyone who feels, however justifiably or not, “oppressed” Israel or America, is your brother in arms. It’s the old class war, updated, and it goes a long way to explain the chronic immorality of these fellow travelers, who will support any regime or political group, no matter how grotesque, if that regime or group announces that it is the enemy of the United States and Israel.

And I just have to ask again, as I’ve asked for many years now, how can American Jews justify their apparently mindless decision to cling to the Lefter side of the political spectrum?

Immigration and other European ideas for America

As I noted in my post title, this is interesting, if true:  it is a post that claims that a European policy institute, working closely with the UN, is determining large facets of American immigration policy, with special emphasis on settling Muslims in the Midwest.

If this is indeed true, it it reminds me of the International Baccalaureate Program that is being touted at more and more American schools that emphasizes academics.  I freely admit to knowing little about the program, but I have heard that it teaches Euro-centric values that may please some parents, but may be distasteful to many others, who believe that it has strong Marxist leanings and that it preaches a UN centric internationalism that is inherently anti-American.

As it is, I suspect that only on the upper liberal echelons do American values march in complete harmony with European values. As David Gerlernter wrote after witnessing the Democratic attack on General Petraeus, one facet of the by-now-commonplace desire to see America lose is motivated by Europe-envy (emphasis mine):

Americans are so accustomed (or inured) to this attitude that they rarely step back and ask, What the hell is going on here?

The issue isn’t tactics–doesn’t concern the draw-down that the administration has forecast and General Petraeus has now discussed, or how this draw-down should work, or how specific such talk ought to be. The issue is deeper. It’s time for Americans to ask some big questions. Do leading Democrats want America to win this war? Have they ever?

Of course not–and not because they are traitors. To leading Democrats such as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Al Gore and John Edwards, America would be better off if she lost. And this has been true from the start.

To rephrase the question: Why did Harry Reid announce months ago that the war was lost when it wasn’t, and everyone knew it wasn’t? The wish is father to the deed. He was envisioning the world of his dreams.

The Democrats’ embrace of defeat is inspired by no base desire to see Americans killed or American resources wasted. But let’s be honest about it, and invite the Democrats to be honest too.

Appeasement, pacifism, globalism: Those are the Big Three principles of the Democratic left. Each one has been defended by serious people; all are philosophically plausible, or at least arguable. But they are unpopular (especially the first two) with the U.S. public, and so the Democrats rarely make their views plain. We must infer their ideas from their (usually) guarded public statements.

Globalism and Euro-envy are explicit, sometimes, in Democratic pronouncements–about the sanctity of the United Nations, the importance of global conferences and “multilateralism” (except in cases like North Korea, where the president already is moving multilaterally), the superiority of the Canadian or German health care system, and so forth. The Democrats are not unpatriotic, but their patriotism is directed at a large abstract entity called The International Community or even (aping Bronze Age paganism) the Earth, not at America. Benjamin Disraeli anticipated this worldview long ago when he called Liberals the “Philosophical” and Conservatives the “National” party. Liberals are loyal to philosophical abstractions–and seek harmony with the French and Germans. Conservatives are loyal to their own nation, and seek harmony with its Founders and heroes and guiding principles.

I have to admit to being a former Euro-centric thinker.  I grew up in a very European household, and the forces to which I was exposed both within and outside of my home all had me thinking modern Europeans were smarter, more sophisticated and quite simply better in every way than the primitive, simplistic yokels in America.  I therefore believed that we should emulate them whenever possible.

Funnily enough, though, after each of my many trips to Europe, although I was always staggered by the beauty surrounding me, naturally, architecturally and artistically, I was so grateful to be back in America, and became ever more appreciative of American values and American people.  Now, I look at Europe and, while I can still appreciate its good sides, I am increasingly appalled by its knee jerk anti-Americanism, its rising anti-Semitism, its stagnant economic policies, its rising dhimmitude.  I therefore hate the idea of seeing my kids raised as I was to think blindly that Europe is better than America.

The feeding fenzy that won’t happen **BUMPED**

Is it me, or is the political scene in our country getting stupider? In the last few days, I’ve read story after story where politics seems to be happening in an alternate reality where common sense and logic are entirely absent.

The most recent example is the plan in San Francisco to issue identity cards to illegal aliens, a plan apparently being contemplated in other major urban areas as well (such as New York). Of course, I find it disturbing that modern American civic “leaders” are cheerfully and publicly figuring out ways to aid and abet the violation of federal laws. However, I realized some time ago that, in our modern era, civil disobedience got turned upside down, with the martyrdom factor Thoreau envisioned entirely absent, and social lionization the norm instead.

What really bothers me with this most recent and blatant attack on federal law is the knowledge that the INS, which is about to receive as a huge gift a City’s work identifying all illegal aliens living within its borders, is not going to take advantage of that fact. I mean, logic would dictate that, if criminals line up to get a card saying “I am a criminal,” the policing agency tasked with apprehending those criminals would pick them off like sharks in a feeding frenzy. In our topsy turvy world, though, all that will happen is that San Francisco’s illegals will get themselves cards formally identifying them as federal law breakers, cards they’ll use to facilitate their ability to pick up taxpayer-funded welfare benefits, while our federal agents sit on the sidelines and watch.

UPDATE: Who knew? Giuliani says that getting illegals out of the country implicates civil, not criminal, federal jurisdiction. Because he’s a very experienced federal prosecutor, I’m going to assume he’s correct. That leads me to a couple of points. First, it doesn’t change the core issue in my post, which is that the City of San Francisco is still proposing to offer the Feds a gift of people lining up to identify themselves as criminals who can be subject to the civil process of deportation — and the Feds will still refuse that gift.

Second, I’m sure Giuliani’s going to be castigated as “soft on immigration” for stating this fact. If that’s the case, it’s just plain wrong. To recite legal consequences with accuracy is not to be “soft” on anything. It’s just being, well, accurate.

The other thing Giuliani is going to get heat for is for saying that he doesn’t believe the feds should be criminalizing illegal immigration, a position he makes on practical grounds:

Illegal immigration shouldn’t be a crime, either, Giuliani said: “No, it shouldn’t be because the government wouldn’t be able to prosecute it. We couldn’t prosecute 12 million people. We have only 2 million people in jail right now for all the crimes that are committed in the country, 2.5 million.”

As a practical matter, he’s correct, but it does sound as if he’s saying that, because deportation is hard to enforce, we shouldn’t bother. And simply to state, as he does, that “My solution is close the border to illegal immigration,” is only part of the answer. Of course we should close the border — but there is still the little matter of the millions of people here illegally. I don’t like the idea of saying that deportation is too much work, so we just shouldn’t bother. That smells of amnesty, and all amnesty does is remind everyone South of the Border that it’s always worth making the effort to come here because you might just be able to stick around for good.

Giuliani should also stop trying to justify and support New York’s amnesty policy which bars City employees from turning illegal immigrants over to the INS — making them complicit in their illegality:

The former New York mayor has been defending his city’s so-called sanctuary policy, which stopped city workers from reporting suspected illegal immigrants. The policy is intended to make illegal immigrants feel that they can report crimes, send their children to school or seek medical treatment without fear of being reported. It did require police to turn in illegal immigrants suspected of committing crimes.

If illegal immigrants are troubled by crimes, having problems getting their kids to school, and worried about getting medical treatment, perhaps those problems will make them reconsider their decision to be here illegally in the first place. And maybe, lacking incentives to stay, they’ll go home — a self-policing decision that will relieve the Feds of trying to engage in the civil tactic of deporting millions of immigrants in the first place.

I like Rudy, and he’s right to define properly the nature of the deportation process, but there is no defense for each City to create itself as a little amnesty haven, making a mockery of federal laws and turning the US into a honey pot for illegal conduct.

UPDATE II: And because I’m so not an immigration or crim law attorney, I’m grateful to Hot Air for more nuanced information about the civil vs. criminal jurisdiction issues associated with illegal immigrants. Again, it still doesn’t change my bottom line that, whether criminal or civil jurisdiction is involved, the Feds won’t even take self-identified illegal immigrants as a gift.

Weird times

I enjoyed this observation from Jay Nordlinger, so pass it on to you:

You know that Elvira Arellano, the famous deported Mexican lady, has become a hero in her home country. I have to ask: What kind of country makes a hero out of a person whose highest ambition is to live in another country?

These are weird times, y’all.

Exactly how big was the increase amongst the uninsured?

The San Francisco Chronicle has a front page story today about the record number of uninsured people in California:

A record 6.8 million Californians, nearly 1 in 5 of the state’s residents, went without health insurance at some time during 2006, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Nationally, a record 47 million Americans, including 8.7 million children, lacked health coverage, the report said.

The survey comes as elected officials in cities, at the state Capitol and in Washington grapple with the growing problems of uninsured residents and the rising cost of care.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders held a closed-door meeting Tuesday to talk about their differences over health care legislation. Meanwhile, San Francisco officials are rolling out a program designed to provide care to 82,000 uninsured residents of the city.

In Washington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said the new estimates illustrate the need for Congress to approve new funding for children’s health care. And presidential candidates have been quick to offer their own reform proposals as voters identify health care as a top issue.

There’s more to the article, but I deliberately stopped quoting at the last paragraph because of Pelosi’s instant demand that, using children as the lever, taxpayers begin health care funding above and beyond what we’re already funding. The article uses the word “children” seven times, hammering away with ever increasing ferocity on that point:

The majority of uninsured children in the state also were found to be living with family incomes of less than $41,300 per year, according to the census report.

Although the report did not break down where uninsured residents live by city, a report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released in March showed that the Bay Area did a better job than the rest of the state in providing health coverage.

The UCLA report found that in the Bay Area in 2005, there were about 900,000 people without health care, 99,000 of whom were children.

Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, an advocacy group based in Oakland, said that the lack of insurance for children and adults means that their care is generally provided at hospital emergency rooms where the most expensive care in the system is dispensed.

The frequent mention of the word children got my antenna up, because I’d already noted that, in the illegal immigrant debate, children were used as the rhetorical thin edge of the wedge by those (usually in the media), who think open borders and tax payer funding for illegals are fine things. For that reason, I began to view this as less of a news item, and more of an advocacy piece. With that little red light blinking, I asked myself a couple of questions: The first was whether the increase in the number of uninsured is related to illegal immigrants (who are has nowhere mentioned in the article), and the second was whether the uninsured are actually poor or are voluntarily uninsured. Matt Lewis answers both those questions with respect to an LA Times story that has the same spin as the Chron report:

The LA Times has once again proven the old adage about lies, damn lies, and statistics. In a story today, they open with this:

The number of Americans without health insurance rose last year from 44.8 million, or 15.3% of the population, to 47 million, or 15.8%, the Census Bureau reported today.

… But there’s only one problem. Upon closer inspecting the Census report, what the LA Times call “Americans” the U.S. Census (page 29) refers to (more accurately) as “People.”You see, when you subtract the 10 million, or so, folks referred to in the U.S. Census as, “Not a Citizen,” you are left with just 37 million – not 47 million as The Times suggests.)

What is more, of the 37 million actual U.S. citizens without healthcare, 17.7 million earn more than $50,000 a year — and could certainly afford insurance if they wanted it.

But the LA Times story was really about how the number of Americans without health insurance has increased this year. Looking again at the U.S. Census (again, page 29), you it is clear that almost 40 percent of the increase is due to non-citizens.

In other words, illegal immigrants making demands on the system account for the greatest part of the increase that serves as the basis for a story about pathetically uninsured children, which, in turn, is part of a continuing MSM meme that conflates child welfare with increased rights for illegal, as opposed to legal, immigrants. And so on and so on.

I feel at this point I should state a few things regular readers know. I’m the child of legal immigrants and believe that legal immigration is a huge part of what makes America a strong and vital country. I am utterly opposed to illegal immigration, because it is cheating, because it weakens our borders, and because it makes it impossible for our government to do what governments ought to be able to do: keep economic and social stability by preventing the uncontrolled influx of unskilled and, in many cases, criminal people. If we need more workers, Congress should pass a law allowing more unskilled labor in. It’s Congress’ and the American people’s choice — it’s not the choice of whatever person wants to cross the border to earn money to send back to Mexico. I also believe that illegal immigration will keep Mexico poor and corrupt forever, as both its citizens and its government rely on American jobs and wealth to prop up their own sagging economy and corrupt institutions.

I also believe that health insurance is a very useful thing. Rather than having the government manage health care, though, which they do exceptionally badly, I would prefer to open the market to more and more self-insurance options, options attractive to those 17.7 million people earning more than $50,000/year who have opted to do without insurance. But that’s not where either the article nor the politicians quoted in the article were heading, is it?

UPDATE:  Looks as if the Tories are trying to woo voters by promising to cut back on legal immigrants to Britain who are burdening the endless welfare benefits.

Looking at things like a good lawyer

Sean Hannity isn’t one of my favorite conservative talking heads. He has some good points, but he functions off of an anger and emotionalism that stops just short of (or maybe drifts over into) demagoguery. I thought this was very clearly displayed in his attack last night on Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney out of Houston who obtained the conviction of two federal border guards who illegally shot a drug smuggler and then tried to cover up what they did:

As it is, I think Johnny handled himself very well in response to the attacks. He kept to a few important points, although I think he could have touched more upon a larger issue. His factual points were that Congress (not the federal prosecutors) makes the laws. The evidence showed that the border guards violated these laws. The evidence also showed that these same guards, knowing that they violated the laws, made every effort to cover up their wrongdoing.

The evidence also showed that these were not picayune little procedural laws, where either their violation or a subsequent cover-up might have been sloughed off with a hand-slap. Instead, these border guys went into Wild West vigilante mode and attempted to kill someone. I can certainly understand the guards’ frustration with the limitations Congress has placed upon them, but if they’re going to commit what they’re now trying to style as an act of civil disobedience, the principles of civil disobedience demand that they take the consequences and become martyrs to a larger cause. Johnny’s role is unchanged — assemble the evidence, see if it stands up to legal scrutiny and, if it doesn’t, prosecute. Those were all points Johnny made, and made well.

The larger issue is the fact that we, as a civilized society, need to ensure that, just as we give our police forces great power (and anyone who has been stopped for a traffic violation understands just how great that power is), we also need to ensure that our police forces never overstep that power. If they do so, we veer from a Constitutional democracy into a very scary police state. We also impair the integrity of all of our police forces if the public perceives a large segment of those forces as running amok with corrupt, vigilante justice. (Think of the L.A. Police Department, and how the public perception about its corruption helped shape the OJ trial.)

Lest you think I’m just talking technical lawyer talk here, I’m not. Over at Hot Air, you can also read a pretty good review of Johnny’s reasoning:

Whether you like it or not, Sutton is right that Agents Ramos and Compean were tried and convicted on the issues. The verdict shows that the jury did not believe the drug smuggler had a gun, or did anything threatening enough to justify the shooting.

Contrary to the belief of some, Johnny Sutton is not just out to nail any Border Patrol Agent who fires a gun. Border Patrol Agents in his district frequently engage in shootings, yet prosecutions like this are very rare. Ramos and Compean were prosecuted because their subsequent behavior showed that they didn’t think their shooting was justified.

If Ramos and Compean were the model Border Patrol agents their supporters make them out to be, there is no reason for them to have covered up this shooting. They picked up their casings and didn’t tell supervisors about the shooting. They had a chance to provide an innocent explanation for this damning behavior at trial — and they failed. A jury of twelve people concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that they were guilty.

Some say that any drug smuggler must be armed. But Sutton noted in his testimony yesterday:

From January 2004 through March 2005, there were 155 drug seizures at the Fabens Border Patrol Station, totaling over 43,000 pounds of marijuana. In none of those seizures was a gun found. Over the longer period between October 1, 2001, and February 15, 2006, the Fabens Border Patrol Station reported the seizure of only one firearm from a total of 496 drug seizures, totaling more than 131,000 pounds of marijuana. . . . The fact is that drug mules in El Paso almost never carry guns.

I’ll twist the knife further. You’re upset that the drug smuggler wasn’t prosecuted? Blame Ramos and Compean. As Sutton makes clear, if they’d done their jobs properly, perhaps the smuggler could have been prosecuted after all.

Hot Air has some bones to pick with Johnny, and ends up rhetorically throwing him to the wolves anyway, but I continue to believe that Johnny is right: the rule of law, which is the unpinning of our society, is nothing if we let our police be at the forefront of abandoning that rule.

The one other thing I can throw in is that Johnny is an all around good guy, completely decent, and conservative to the bone. Based on his personality and values alone, if he thought this was a case worthy of prosecution, I’m going to trust his instincts.

How green was my valley, Part II

Yesterday, I blogged in glowing terms about agriculture in the California valley. Today, I learned that the southernmost reaches of that valley were even greener than I realized, courtesy of three illegal aliens (two of whom had already been deported once) who had grown almost $200 million worth of marijuana:

A massive marijuana garden – 61,000 plants worth nearly $200 million – was discovered in a remote area along the border of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

Three Mexicans were arrested and plants up to 8-feet-tall were uprooted after discovery of the pot garden east of Twitchell Reservoir near Highway 166, Sgt. Erik Raney said.

Santa Barbara County deputies flying a routine patrol by helicopter discovered the marijuana farm on July 6 and deputies, along with San Luis Obispo County authorities, moved in for the bust, the sergeant said.

On July 8, three illegal immigrants were arrested, including two who had previously been deported and may face additional felony charges for illegal re-entry into the U.S.

“The plants were located in nine separate grows within a short distance of the riverbed,” Raney said. “Water from the river was used in an elaborate system of gravity-fed irrigation.”

UPDATEAt Reconquista, we learn that Britain is having her own problems with feloniously inclined immigrants.

How green was my valley

I’m back and have thrown myself with gusto into finding out what I missed during the last three days of travel. I can take a minute, though, to comment on something that the trip reminded me about, which is how incredibly fertile California is. A large part of our drive took us through the areas north and south of Salinas — and Salinas, for those of you not familiar with California, is a major agricultural area. Here’s how Wikipedia sums up its agricultural jewels:

Salinas’ economy is largely based upon agriculture. Located in one of California’s richest farming regions, the area produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, including lettuce, strawberries, watermelons, broccoli, carrots, cabbages, and spinach.Therefore many major vegetable producers are headquartered in Salinas.

***

Salinas is known as the Salad Bowl of America or Salad Bowl of the World. Over 80% of the lettuce grown in the United States is grown in the Salinas Valley.

At the southern and northern most tips of the long ribbon that is the Salinas growing area, there are also properties growing grapes for wineries.

In other words, for hundreds of miles, everything was verdant, and all of this abundance was intended to end up on America’s plates and in its wine glasses. It’s an extraordinary testament to modern man’s ability to produce food in a way never before contemplated in human history. Factory farming may be nibbling away at the old family farms; it may waste water; it may be a source of pollutants, including pesticides, over-fertilization and animal by-products, but it is truly one of the wonders of the world.

Oh, and one other thing that characterizes factory farming: labor. It’s actually less labor intensive than pre-modern farming, because so much of it is mechanized, but its sheer scale means that there is still an enormous amount of human labor involved. Every field we passed had 10 – 20 farm workers painfully bent over, working their way up and down the the rows.

Big agriculture needs labor and, to keep the food at prices Americans are willing and able to afford, it needs cheap labor. That cheap labor comes from a mix of legal and illegal migrant workers. The important issues then, sitting on every American’s table, are how to ensure a flow of steady, affordable labor to agribusiness, while at the same time ensuring (a) that this work force is not in this country illegally and (b) that the same workforce isn’t abused by agribusiness.

As to that last, I don’t consider that low wages, with nothing more, constitute abuse, since those low wages, sadly have always gone with the territory of field labor. What is abusive is impossible quotas, the absence of reasonable rest breaks, the absence of proper sanitary facilities (a problem for us too, because their absence means that our dinner might have been someone’s bathroom), etc. Put another way, low wages aren’t nice, but they’re an inevitable reality for every generation of new immigrants who don’t come in at the professional level. The important thing is that the working conditions aren’t a permanent ghetto, where it is impossible to make a living (no matter how small), but instead are a stepping stone, albeit an unpleasant one, that paves the way to an ever-increasing integration into American live, both economically and culturally.

The low cal illegal immigration protest

The Suffragettes refused food, and made the British government look bad when it decided to force-feed them.  IRA members refused food and made the British government look bad when some of them starved to death.  My strong suspicion about hunger strikes is that they make look bad whichever side the media has anointed as the bad guy:  and that’s usually the government.

I’m thinking about hunger strikes because illegal immigrants who have been educated in California on the public dollar are whining because their options are limited compared to their classmates.  (One wonders how limited are the options are of legal residents who didn’t get the chance to go to some of America’s premier colleges because illegal immigrants took their places.)  To protest, they’re going to fast (a fast I suspect will be in the Cindy Sheehan fasting mold):

Miriam, a UC Davis junior, intended to major in international relations, but when she learned that foreign travel was required for the degree, she abandoned her plans because she won’t risk leaving the country. Miriam, who is 20 and has lived in California since she was 7, withheld her last name because she’s an illegal immigrant and fears deportation.

She watched her prospects for becoming a legal resident crumble last week with the collapse of the Senate’s contentious comprehensive immigration reform bill. But she and other undocumented California students are hoping to persuade policymakers to pull one piece of legislation out of the rubble and dust it off: the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act.

The bill, first introduced in 2001, would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who entered the country before they turned 16, have lived here at least five years, have no criminal record and have graduated from high school or been admitted to college. The students would be granted a six-year provisional legal status during which they must attend college or serve in the military for at least two years before they could receive a green card.

An estimated 65,000 illegal immigrant students graduate from high school every year and would benefit from such a bill. At present, they are unable to work legally and, in many states, can’t enroll in college.

“The DREAM Act would give me a sense that I was valued as a person,” said Miriam, who is one of seven students holding a weeklong fast in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza in a push for passage of the bill. In San Jose, students are fasting outside the district office of Rep. Zoe Lofgren. “I was raised here; I went to school here; I see my future here. … Let us be part of this society, let us do it the right way.”

The college students will be joined today by two dozen other fasting students who have come by caravan from Southern California, stopping along the way to lobby members of Congress in Santa Ana, Pasadena, Bakersfield and San Jose. They plan a rally outside Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office and a march to the Civic Center.

I hope you appreciated the pathetic, very California plea little Miriam made:  “The DREAM Act would give me a sense that I was valued as a person.”  As you know, if the choice was completely binary, I would prefer that my illegal immigrants get educated and go to the good side, rather than become gang members on the dark side.  What I would infinitely prefer, though, is if we stopped creating these huge incentives.  I really can’t fault parents living in Mexico for deciding to journey to America illegally if they know that their little darlings will be educated on the public dime — make that my dime.  If we stopped providing these perks, within a few years perhaps there would be fewer parents making the journey to America and more parents working to improve the situation South of the Border.  

Not anti-immigrant or anti-Hispanic. Just anti-cheat

I have a friend who is not a political animal.  She keeps up, vaguely, with what’s going on, but long ago made the decision that caring about politics was too painful and, when the politics got serious, too frightening.  Still if something is important enough to be “in the air,” she picks up on it and forms opinions.

I therefore asked her what she thought about the fact that the Immigration Reform Bill went down in flames today.  “It’s terrible,” she replied.  This actually surprised me, because I didn’t know that she was so strongly committed to immigration reform.  So I asked, “Why is it terrible?”  The answer:  “Because something needs to be done about it.  We can’t have all these immigrants sneaking in.”

In other words, her understanding was that the Immigration Reform Bill’s primary purpose was to stop illegal immigrants at the border.  She was surprised to learn that Immigration Reform, as envisioned by Congress, extended beyond border policing and into policies aimed at putting illegal immigrants on a fast track to citizenship, one that could take years, but would still place them in line ahead of other people who have gone the legal route.  She and I talked it through, and were able to agree on a few overarching principles:

1.  We have no problem with legal immigrants, regardless of their country of origin.  The only caveat to that is that we feel that legal immigrants from terrorist rich environments (e.g., Iran or Iraq or Egypt), even if they’ve spent a few refining years in Germany or England first, should be closely scrutinized before they can come into this country.

2.  We accept that the 12 million immigrants that are here cannot be shipped back to their countries of origin, simply because it’s not feasible to move so many people simultaneously — and an attenuated deportation is meaningless.  In any event, with the border currently so porous, it’s a pointless exercise.  In that regard, it put me in mind of the Rev. Sydney Smith’s comment to the effect that “Dame Partington . . . was seen . . . with mop and pattens . . . vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean.  The Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington.”  Until we build a viable wall, shoving the illegals south for a few minutes, days or weeks, is about as fruitful an activity as Mrs. Partington’s efforts against the Atlantic.

3.  In light of the above consideration, we believe that meaningful immigration reform can only begin with meaningful borders.  There has to be a wall, not to keep Americans in, of course, but to keep illegal immigrants out.

4.  As for the 12 million here, they have effected a fait accompli, and we may as well recognize that by giving them workers’ visas, so that they become visible and don’t skulk in the shadows where they can get into trouble.  However, to the extent that they wish to obtain citizenship, they need to go to the end of the line, after all of the legal immigrants seeking citizenship have had first crack at it.   In any event, I think they need to sit up and really beg for citizenship.  My friend and I take serious issue with the concept that citizenship should be an automatic outcome of their being here.  Citizenship should be earned, not just by making money, but by buying into being an American citizen and accepting the full American culture, including speaking English.

It’s not a very romantic disease, after all

The 19th Century was rife with tuberculosis, and a lot of famous people died from it. Indeed, a whole lot of people who were not famous died from it too, with the tuberculosis death rate in Europe hovering around 30% during the 19th century. With that high level of infection, it’s not surprising that it affected many artists. The most obvious to my mind were the Bronte siblings: Emily, Anne and Branwell. (Poor Charlotte died from hyperemesis during pregnancy.) Other famous victims of tuberculosis (although sometimes ex post facto diagnosis is sketchy) were Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lord Byron, Robert Burns, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Washington Irving, Paul Gauguin, Frédéric Chopin, and on and on. (Here’s a pretty complete list.) It got to the point where these writers and artists, by being visible symbols of the disease, helped tuberculosis take on a romantic cast, with the image of the frail, flame cheeked, coughing genius dying gracefully on the chaise longue. The reality, of course, is much uglier.

TB is back in the news now with the wandering lawyer, traveling far and wide and coughing on people as he goes. Much as he’s become a cause celebre, Michelle Malkin gets to the larger, uglier truth, which is the TB is on the rise in America because of the influx of illegal aliens. Ellis Island on the East Coast, and Angel Island on the West Coast may have provided pretty unfriendly welcomes for legal immigrants at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries, but they had one singular virtue: they screened for disease. No one is screening the fence climbers, river swimmers and desert crawlers who are making their way into America right now. This means that a whole lot of TB is crossing into our borders. A dear friend of mine, who works in a public school district that is almost majority illegal immigrant, now tests positive for TB although, thankfully, she has not taken on an active infection. The same risk of TB exposure affects other Americans in regular contact with high numbers of illegal aliens, such as meat packing workers.

TB is not romantic, it’s not a disease that lives only in history, and it’s a really, really bad thing if it takes hold here. Aside from the fact that there are rising strains of virtually untreatable TB, even the treatable versions are a problem. The medicines are expensive; they have miserable, often permanent side effects; and they have to be taken with complete regularity, or they backfire and create drug resistant TB. It kind of makes you wonder whether the 400 lb, pork-filled, complicated, unworkable immigration bill includes provisions to deal with this border problem?

They do the blogging, so I don’t have to

The great thing about a quality blogroll is that, even when my well is dry, those whom I consider my blog friends are turning out lots of interesting stuff. I recommend to you all the people on my blog roll, but I thought I’d highlight a few posts that I find of special interest today.

A lot of my friends are blogging about immigration. Thomas has a lengthy, but very accessible post, about the obvious dangers of a bill that is so long, along with asides about the advance of globalization over a sense of Americanism, and President Bush’s good will, which is severely compromised by ignorance. The Futurist, in a very un-PC way, suggests that immigration is a good thing, if we’d start doing immigration that benefits America, rather than benefiting everywhere else. Incidentally, a very different take on the benefits we receive from Mexican labor, as well as the reason for that labor forces’ presence here, can be found in this Si Frumkin newsletter. It doesn’t justify either the current situation, which is an anarchic border, nor does it promote the immigration bill, which is a tainted document, but it throws some useful facts in the mix. (The same newsletter is noteworthy for a long article about Africa’s uniqueness — something that makes it resistant to Western aid and that may, indeed, make Western aid either pointless or counter-productive.)

Global warming is another hot topic. We all laughed (sort of), when it was pointed out that Gore and Edwards and the Hollywood types who preach environmentalism are energy hogs who try to buy their way out of their excessive consumption. Stop the ACLU makes explicit the flip side to this nasty little joke, which is the fact that a lot of “green” polices hurt the poor, quite badly.

The situation in Gaza is also taking up some blogging energy. Indeed, Soccer Dad has so many good posts on the subject, I’m not even going to try to link to each one. I just suggest, very strongly, that you toddle over there and read the last few days worth of posts he’s done. The same holds true for Gail’s roster of Gaza posts at her site, Crossing the Rubicon. Too many good posts to link to. Just read them all. Robert Avrech, at Seraphic Secret, has his own acidic comments about the goings-on in Gaza, as well as about the media’s very morally relaxed attitude towards the slaughter.

I’ve also already written about the media blaming everything in Gaza on Israel. Mere Rhetoric highlights how evil Israel really is: apparently the Supreme Court is insisting that the Israelis, who already fund Arab schools, fund them even more.

By the way, is it me, or is there something almost comedically staged, and frighteningly media complicit, about the photographs coming out of Gaza? If you haven’t thought about it, check out this picture, and this, and this. Indeed, the only real looking picture I’ve seen is this one. If there is something comedic in Gaza coverage, it starts at the top, with a newspaper that believes itself to be the premier news source in the world: The New York Times. Neo-Neocon takes on the rather bizarre reporting the Times has given to Hamas’ bloody civil war in Gaza.

You can’t talk about Gaza without talking about Iran, whose fine Italian hand (or should we nowadays call it a fine Iranian hand) is behind Gaza, behind Lebanon, behind Syria, behind Iraq, indeed behind just about all major Islamic initiatives against the United States and its proxy, Israel. Ocean Guy has a truly excellent post about the unilateral Cold War Iran has been waging against us since 1979, a war mirrored by America’s continued ostrich-like avoidance of an obvious situation. Fortunately for us, rising high on a type of hubris unpinned with fear, the Iranian government may be busy shooting itself in the foot with ever more severe crackdowns on its already beleaguered citizens. Laer hopes that we’re there to take advantage of the fallout.

From Iran, it’s only a hop, skip and a jump to Jimmy Carter, whose woefully ineffective response to the Iran crisis in 1979 set up the Cold War currently playing out to America’s great detriment. At News Snipet ‘Blog, Jack reminds us just how horrible his presidency really was.

Taxes anyone? If we don’t watch out, acting under the radar, the Dems are planning on giving us Oh, so many of them. Rhymes with Right explains.

I haven’t forgotten the war, of course. Nor has One Marine, who republishes a military press release (somehow the major papers forgot to cover this one) reminding us that victory is not instantaneous, and that we need to give the war a chance. And if you’re taking about the war, you’re also talking about the anti-War. In that regard, Greyhawk exposes one of those peace activists who joins the military specifically to garner the headline that “soldiers are opposed to the war.” The Confederate Yankee also explains why there may be some problems getting weapons to our troops, and it’s not money, it’s ignorance and fear.

I didn’t blog a lot about Mike Nifong, neither when he was persecuting the Duke defendants nor when he was trying to defend his own heinous conduct. However, at Old War Dogs, I do believe that Russ Vaughn has the fitting epitaph to this disgraceful chapter in American political history.

Religion remains a hot topic. Today, I liked Neptunus Lex’s challenge to lecturer Jessica Stern’s attempt to paint as equivalent modern Islam, Christianity and Judaism when it comes to religious violence. I’ll be the first to agree that Judaism and Christianity historically have blood on their hands, but I don’t live in the past, whether it’s Joshua taking down Jericho, the Spanish Inquisition, or witch burning. I’m in the here and now, and the bloody religion around me isn’t either Judaism or Christianity. At least one British man is absolutely fed up with the “Islam is a religion of peace” or, as I like to call it, a Religion of Pieces because of its bomb-throwing predeliction, and he’s come out with a video that is savage in describing what modern Islam is like in the West, and how it works to shut down Western opposition to its worst excesses. This is one very righteously angry man — and I say righteously because Britain right now is on the losing side of a propaganda war, headed by the BBC, with British culture losing big-time to Islamic demands.

And of course, there’s Hollywood. With his usual thoroughness, Curt, at Flopping Aces, lets us know just where Hollywood is going with its war movies, and it’s no World War II story. While WWII Hollywood was instrumental in keeping up American moral, modern Hollywood remains focused on proving that America is evil. It’s not just the new Angelina Jolie movie about Daniel Pearl, which is being promoted through CAIR (agendas anyone?), it’s a whole series of movies that take aim at America, showing its wars as bad, its soldiers as evil, and its intelligence as suspect.

On the lighter, even more uplifting side, I never would have heard of Hayley Westenra’s Amazing Grace, if Ymarsakar hadn’t heard of her first. The music is lovely, lovely, lovely. Hayley has a really old fashioned voice: pure, clear, no whining. As for the less uplifting side of lighter stuff, you can’t miss with Steve’s straightforward identification of his “Bad Jokes.” I’m still giggling. I bet my kids would giggle too if I followed Mrs. Happy Housewife’s prescription for a surprise bedtime.

By the way, I missed honoring Flag Day at my blog (sorry), but Mike’s America did such a lovely tribute that, even a couple of days after the fact, it’s still worth checking out.

Mark Steyn on immigration “reform”

The whole article is great (of course), but I think this part gets to the nub of the issue:

I don’t know whether this sham of a bill is dead or just resting ”in the shadows” like a fine upstanding member of the Vampiric-American community. But, if it rises on the third night to stalk the land once more, I would advise its supporters to go about their work more honestly. First of all, the only guys ”living in the shadows” are the aides of American senators beavering away out of the public eye to cook up this legislation and then present it as a fait accomplis to the citizenry (if you’ll forgive the expression). That is an affront to small-r republican government, and, if intemperate hectoring mediocrities like Trent Lott and Lindsay Graham don’t understand that, then their electors should give them a well-deserved lesson.

Second, the bill’s supporters should stop assuming the bad faith of their opponents. On Fox News the other night, I was told by NPR’s Juan Williams, ”You’re anti-immigrant!” Er, actually, I am an immigrant — one of the members of the very very teensy-weensy barely statistically detectable category of ”legal immigrant.” But perhaps that doesn’t count anymore. Perhaps, like Colin Powell’s blackness, it’s insufficiently ”authentic.” By filing the relevant paperwork with the United States government, I’m not ”keepin’ it real.”

I wouldn’t presume to speak for the millions of Americans who oppose this bill, but it’s because I’m an immigrant myself that I object to the most patent absurdity peddled by the pro-amnesty crowd. The bill is fundamentally a fraud. Its ”comprehensive solution” to illegal immigration is simply to flip all the illegals overnight into the legal category. Voila! Problem solved! There can be no more illegal immigrants because the Senate has simply abolished the category. Ingenious! For their next bipartisan trick, Congress will reduce the murder rate by recategorizing murderers as jaywalkers.

Back in the real world far from those senators living in the non-shadows of their boundless self-admiration, the truth is that America’s immigration bureaucracy cannot cope with its existing caseload, and thus will certainly be unable to cope with millions of additional teeming hordes tossed into its waiting room. Currently, the time in which an immigration adjudicator is expected to approve or reject an application is six minutes. That’s not enough time to read the basic form, never mind any supporting documentation. It’s certainly not enough time for any meaningful background check. Under political pressure to ”bring the 12 million undocumented Americans out of the shadows,” the immigration bureaucracy will rubberstamp gazillions of applications for open-ended probationary legal status within 24 hours and with no more supporting documentation than a utility bill or an affidavit from a friend. There’s never been a better time for Mullah Omar to apply for U.S. residency.

America has an illegal immigration problem in part because it has a legal immigration problem. Anyone who enters the system exposes himself to an arbitrary, capricious, whimsical bureaucracy: For example, one of the little-known features of this bill is that in order to ”bring the 12 million undocumented Americans out of the shadows,” millions of legal applicants are being hurled back into outer darkness. Law-abiding foreign nationals who filed their paperwork in the last two years would be required to go back to their home countries and start all over again. Not only does this bill reward law-breaking, it punishes law-abiding.

The people who are truly ”anti-immigrant” are the folks who want to send that immigrant from Slovenia or Fiji who applied in May 2005 back to the end of the line. But then ”comprehensive immigration reform” is about everything but immigration, including subverting sovereignty and national security. Remember the 1986 amnesty? Mahmoud abu Halima applied for it and went on to bomb the World Trade Center seven years later. His colleague, the aforementioned Mohammad Salameh, was rejected but carried on living here anyway. John Lee Malvo was detained and released by U.S. immigration in breach of its own procedures and re-emerged as the Washington sniper. The young Muslim men who availed themselves of the U.S. government’s ”visa express” system for Saudi Arabia filled in joke applications — ”Address in the United States: HOTEL, AMERICA” — that octogenarian snowbirds from Toronto who’ve been wintering at their Florida condos since 1953 wouldn’t try to get away with. The late Mohammed Atta received his flight-school student visa on March 11, 2002, six months to the day after famously flying his first and last commercial airliner.

Stuff to read

It’s Saturday — family day — and significant amounts of blogging will be unlikely. I’ve tagged three five interesting articles, though, that you might want to read.

The first is Michael Barone’s Open Field Politics, which looks at the changing political landscape. He notes that, in past years, American elections have been akin to trench warfare, with the parties in fixed positions that allowed little room for movement. Such is not the case in the upcoming elections. The article has some really interesting analyses of past elections and predictions about some possible outcomes in the upcoming presidential election.

The second is Eleanor Clift’s Newsweek article “Will 2008 Be the Liberals’ Year?” I include it because Time and Newsweek are constantly running articles predicting that now, at long last, for real, the liberals will truly take over American politics forever, at every level, Presidential, Congressional, Gubernatorial, Mayoral, Town Council, and Dog Catcher. I give no credence whatsoever to these articles, because they represent wishful thinking, not political analysis. Sometimes they’re right, but a stopped watch is also right twice a day. Clift’s article is offered here merely because it’s a useful contrast to Barone’s detailed exegesis of electoral politics.

Third is Cullen Murphy’s article urging America to follow ancient Roman immigration policies. Murphy argues that Rome had fluid borders and that it assimilated people like crazy. Both true, but it’s a very facile analysis that misses a few things. Rome’s borders were fluid because Rome was perpetually conquering more and more territory. And it assimilated people, not by bringing them into Rome, but by bringing Rome to them. One of the way it paid its soldiers was to grant them land in conquered territories with the expectation that they would marry local woman, have children and propagate Roman culture. It was, in fact, the exact opposite of what the open borders people are trying to impose on America — which actually sees Mexico in Rome’s role of pushing into new territory and creating families to propagate the Mexican (as opposed to the Roman) culture.

I like American culture. Despite it’s faults, and it has many, I still think it’s one of the best games in town. I therefore want any immigration policy to make our culture the gold standard for immigrants, and in that way I do agree with the Roman theory. It’s just that, while Rome pushed its culture beyond its own borders, we’re initiating policies that invite our culture to die within our own borders.

At WuzzaDem, we get a healthy dose of reality about where the fault truly lies in the immigration debate.  The always thought Zabrina, at Thought You’d Never Ask, also brings a sound dose of common sense to the immigration blah blah coming out of D.C.  (As an aside, I’ve liked from the beginning President Bush’s steadfastness when he believes in something.  It becomes a problem, though, when he believes in something stupid.  And yes, I know that that’s the same problem the anti-War activists, who believe the War against Jihadism is stupid, have been complaining about vis a vis Bush.)

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