ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Shining City on a Hill

This Op-Ed in the WSJ puts things in perspective.

Immigration and the GOP
March 31, 2006

As Congress battles over immigration, the consequences are likely to be far greater than the details of border walls or green cards. The most important political outcome may turn out to be the message that Republicans send about the kind of the party they are and hope to be.

To wit, do Republicans want to continue in the Reagan tradition of American optimism and faith in assimilation that sends a message of inclusiveness to all races? Or will they take another one of their historical detours into a cramped, exclusionary policy that tells millions of new immigrants, and especially Hispanics, that they belong somewhere else?

Admittedly that paints with a broad brush, but politics is often about broad symbolism, and this is roughly the Republican choice presented by President Bush's approach on the one hand, and that of Tom Tancredo and his platoon of talk-show hosts and Tory columnists on the other.

Let us quickly say that not every American concerned about immigration is part of the latter group. The breadth of new immigration, legal and illegal, in recent years has literally changed the face of America. Our own view is that this has been mostly for the better -- in revitalized inner cities, a younger workforce to fuel a dynamic economy, and in general helping America avoid the senescent future of other industrial nations.

But there have also been costs, and parts of America have borne more than have others. The border states in particular have experienced more crime and social disruption, as well as the cost to local taxpayers of "free" health care and education for illegal immigrants. To the extent they work and pay rent, illegals do pay for those government services. But we don't dismiss lightly the anxiety that many Americans feel at this rapid pace of demographic change. Well meaning politicians, such as Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, who feel obliged to respond to that anxiety in this election year are not part of the nativist brigades.

The issue is the form and message that response takes. For Republicans in the House especially, the approach has been to send the most punitive message possible to both illegals and anyone who assists or hires them, no matter how innocently. They're backed by a small but vocal band of "conservative" media who denounce any rational idea for legalizing the 11 million illegals already in the U.S. as "amnesty."

Never mind that even under the most liberal proposals now in Congress, current illegals would have to pay a fine, learn English, and wait upward of a decade to qualify for citizenship. And no matter that these pseudo-conservatives have no alternative policy, other than to arrest and deport millions in a way that would cause far more social and economic disruption than we have now.

Such a punitive policy would alienate business owners and religious conservatives among the GOP base. But because the policy is aimed largely at Hispanic immigrants, it will also rightly be seen as a specific ethnic rebuke. Millions of Hispanics -- both illegals and those who have been here for decades -- will get the message that the Republican Party doesn't want them. Those Republicans who shout "no amnesty" and want to make illegally crossing the Rio Grande a felony are well on their way to creating a generation or more of new Democratic voters.

This is a mistake Republicans have made too many times before. In the 1920s, their anti-immigration bills alienated Catholic newcomers from Europe, who weren't open to GOP appeals in any numbers until the Reagan years. In postwar Hawaii, Republicans made the same mistake with Asians and Pacific islanders, turning that state safely Democratic. And most recently, in 1994 in California, they rode Pete Wilson's Proposition 187 to a short-term re-election victory but at the cost of polarizing Hispanic voters and making themselves the minority party in our largest state.

First as Texas Governor and then in the White House, Mr. Bush has wisely tried to change this anti-immigration image of the GOP. Among Hispanics in particular, he has made enormous progress. Bob Dole won 21% of the Hispanic vote in 1996, Mr. Bush improved that to 35% in 2000 and again to 44% in 2004. Given that the Hispanic share of the electorate has climbed to 8% in 2004 from 2% 20 years ago, and is likely to climb to 12% by 2020, Republicans who ignore Hispanic voters are guaranteeing themselves future political defeats.

Yes, some pundits insist, often in their own immigrant accents, that every naturalized Hispanic is a future Democratic voter. But Hispanics have never been the political monolith that African-Americans are. Cubans have voted Republican since they started migrating in the Castro era, and millions of other Hispanics have shown they are as open to GOP appeals as any other ethnic group as they rise in income and homeownership. But conservative ideas on taxes, crime and foreign policy will never get a future hearing if Republicans now send a message that they are only a party of Anglos, or only of those Hispanics who've been here since the days of the Alamo.
* * *

The immediate danger is that Republicans will ignore their longer-term interests by passing a punitive, and poll-driven, anti-immigration bill this election year. Any bill that merely harasses immigrants and employers, and stacks more cops on the border, may win cheers in the right-wing blogosphere. However, it will do nothing to address the economic incentives that will continue to exist for poor migrants to come to America to feed their families. And it will make permanent enemies of millions of Hispanics, without doing anything to draw illegals out of the shadows and help them assimilate into the mainstream of American culture and citizenship.

This is not Ronald Reagan's view of America as a "shining city on a hill." It is the chauvinist conservatism usually associated with the European right. How Republicans conduct and conclude their immigration debate will show the country which kind of "conservative" party they want to be.

To be sure, Reagan would not be pleased with some of the rhetoric today. We must recognize that the US is the "shining city on a hill" (thanks in large part to the Reagan revolution) and that it continues to draw immigrants in from around the world.

Immigration is a badge of success for your country. Emigration is a sign that your country is failing. Compare the US with Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Mexico.

And it is a positive force for our economy. However, we must make sure that we take steps to insure that the nautre of our American culture is not destroyed and balkanized. This can be done, but only if we know who is here... the illegals in the shadows of the barrios will never assimilate and adopt the culture and perspective of their current home. Embracing them into the American Experience is the first step to transform them into Americans.

Here's how I would handle illegal immigration... Create a guest worker program that gives a worker status for a specific period and expires unless the person applies for citizenship (and perhaps passes an English language test). For those illegals already here, they have 6 months to report themselves in order to get guest worker status. After that period, those who are still illegal (ie never signed up for guest worker status) and are discovered through employers, law enforcement, etc are immediately deported.

Any guest worker or remaining illegal immigrant that commits a felony is immediately deported and not allowed to return.

Focus border patrol on the remaining influx of illegals, which would be significantly reduced since most would be able to satisfy the requirements for the guest worker program.

I realize that I probably don't represent the views of most of us that typically subscribe to the GOP position. Heck, I know that many of my conspirators here probably don't agree with me (HELLO?!?! Comments anyone?!). But, I'm only trying to do what is best for the country, recognizing the reality of our current situation both from an economic and political standpoint.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, March 30, 2006

No Blood For Oil - Literally

This translation of an Iraqi document is interesting... It shows that in 2003:

  1. Schroeder informed the Iraqi government that he didn't support the war, even though the UN Security council promised serious consequences. Gee, I wonder why Saddam continued to buck the UN?
  2. Chinese Intelligence thought that the WMDs had been moved to Syria
  3. The leadership of the French military is just a bunch of cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys

And perhaps most damning, it's clear that the French & Germans were in it for the money. During the run-up to the war, when the world was praying for the UN approach to work, the French & Germans were trying to establish commercial connections with the Iraqis.
C. He [ express the readiness of French and German companies to execute projects in Iraq as long as the necessary moneys are guaranteed to execute these projects because its revenue decreased lately due the decrease of oil exports.
B. The Paris station informed us that they were coming to the country to prepare for a visit by the ex-German economy minister with a delegation of German companies to the country for commercial purposes and their visit to the country was shortened because this is not the first time we have doubts about their real intentions toward the country.

What a bunch of idiots.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

They're Finally Joining the Fight! Hooorah!!!


Democrats Pledge to 'Eliminate' Osama

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press WriterTue Mar 28, 10:56 PM ET

Congressional Democrats promise to "eliminate" Osama bin Laden and ensure a "responsible redeployment of U.S. forces" from Iraq in 2006 in an election-year national security policy statement.

In the position paper to be announced Wednesday, Democrats say they will double the number of special forces and add more spies, which they suggest will increase the chances of finding al-Qaida's elusive leader. They do not set a deadline for when all of the 132,000 American troops now in Iraq should be withdrawn.

"We're uniting behind a national security agenda that is tough and smart and will provide the real security George Bush has promised but failed to deliver," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday.

His counterpart in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., said the Democrats are offering a new direction — "one that is strong and smart, which understands the challenges America faces in a post 9/11 world, and one that demonstrates that Democrats are the party of real national security."

The latest in a series of party policy statements for 2006, the Democrats' national security platform comes seven months before voters decide who will control the House and Senate and as Democrats seek to cut into the public perception that the Republicans are stronger on national security.

Well, it's great that the Democrats have finally gotten on-board with the War on Terror. It's a shame that it's taken them 4 1/2 years. I wonder if they'll also be as "tough and smart" when dealing with Al Qaeda sleepers in the US - you know, the ones that Bush so cavalierly eavesdropped on.

It's a shame that it took 2 election cycles for the Dems to realize that it was important for them to join our War On Terror. Will the voting public see this for the election year B.S. that it is?

Oliver Willis isn't as enthusiastic as I would've expected him to be

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sometimes pirates are more than just nusiances

Instapundit links to an article from Jesse Walker from the Competitive Enterprise Institute where he lambasts state legislatures for making the operation of a unlicensed radio station a felony:

In the state of Florida, operating an unlicensed radio station—already a federal misdemeanor—is now a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, under a law in effect since July 2004.
Now normally I'm not one for loose legal language as specified in the article, and he certainly makes the point that at first glance it may appear that the state is overstepping its bounds.

This statement, however:
Disproportionate Penalties. For the most part, unlicensed broadcasting is a victimless crime. When there is a victim—when a pirate signal interferes with somebody else's transmission—it's the rough equivalent of the neighbor whose trash spills out of his garbage can and attracts some pests to your yard. It's a nuisance, but it doesn't merit five years in jail.

brought into mind another article that highlights a very specific victim.

Pirate Stations Invade Crowded Aviation Airwaves

By Mary Grady
Newswriter, Editor

As if the radio frequencies weren't already busy enough, now pirate radio stations in Florida are interfering with aviation communications. "It's a nightmare," Jim Marinitti, president of the Miami Tower branch of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Monday. For the last month, pilots have been hearing hip-hop tunes and Haitian music instead of clearances and callbacks. Police traced the signal of a radio station that calls itself Da Streetz to a warehouse with an antenna, but nobody was there. Audio broadcasting equipment was confiscated, but the music has kept on playing. "It's sporadic, but it always seems to happen at the most inopportune time, as soon as traffic starts to pick up," Marinitti said.

The solution is to reduce the licensing complexity of radio, especially for low power radio, not to excuse pirate operations.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

David Duke & Harvard - A Match Made in Heaven Hell

Well, it seems that David Duke is all atwitter about his new found allies at Harvard. I won't put an actual URL link to his site, but here it is in text:

New Harvard Kennedy School of Government paper says what has said since even before the Iraq War

A Real Breakthrough in the Battle for the Truth!

by David Duke

The New York Sun has recently attacked me as well as the authors of a new report, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” by Stephen Walt, dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago.

The Harvard report contains little new information. I and a few other American commentators have for years been making the same assertions as this new paper. The great thing is that now the most prestigious school of government in the United States has adopted the same position that I took even before the start of the Iraq War, that Jewish extremists have taken over America’s foreign policy, harm America’s interests on behalf of Israel, and are the driving force behind the Iraq War and America’s disastrous Mideast policy.

Although the Sun and many other mainstream publications have attacked this new report, in actual fact the report does not go nearly far enough in exposing the perfidy of Israel and its fifth columnists in America.

The authors do show how Jewish extremists manipulated America in launching the disastrous Iraq War, and point out that the Israeli Lobby (whose agents are now being prosecuted for espionage) controls Congress and has dramatic influence in the executive branch.
Although the report discusses the destructive espionage of Jonathan Pollard for Israel, it doesn’t even mention the well-documented record of Israeli terrorism against the United States in actions such as the Lavon Affair and the attack on the USS Liberty. It makes no mention of the fact that the Israeli Government and President recently honored and called “heroes” the Israeli terrorists who years ago firebombed American installations in Egypt in the Lavon Affair in s treacherous attempt to manipulate America into an unjustified war against Egypt.

If Jewish extremists don’t exercise power over American policy then how can one explain the fact that America continues to send billions of dollars to a nation that has ceremonies honoring admitted terrorists who attacked America? How can the highest leaders of the American government including President Bush and Vice-President Cheney support and speak at the meetings of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, even while its officials are on trial for espionage. (more...)

Larry Summers is smiling somewhere.... Harvard has gone from an institution of higher learning to an institution of higher anti-Semitism. As Christopher Hitchens has pointed out, the BDS that so infects the Left has blinded them from who their bedfellows are, from David Duke to George Galloway to the radical Islamists.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

An email from my on-going debate with Mark Krikorian

Mark Krikorian (of the Center for Immigration Studies and an NRO Corner contributor) and I have been discussing immigration for some time. I thought the readers might find this interesting (although I probably hold a position to which 95% of my readers don't subscribe):

Mark Krikorian wrote:
It's not immigrants that are the bogeymen, it's policymakers that set up the cockamamie immigration policy.

You ask: "the difference between unskilled and uneducated labor from Mexico and unskilled / uneducated labor in the US is what? Their passport? Their language?" The short answer: Yes. Their passport and their language, i.e., the nationality -- as Americans we have a responsibility to our fellow countrymen that is greater than our responsibility to foreigners. Part of that responsibility is not loosening the labor market so as not to devalue the only thing that our countrymen with less education have to sell -- their labor.


In any case, thanks for your note. -- MK
At 05:20 PM 3/23/2006 -0800, you wrote:

Mark - Yes, the uneducated are the hardest hit, primarily because they are the ones competing for the jobs. One could also make the statement that college graduates with ComSci degrees were the hardest hit when the IT sector found out about the possibility of outsourcing to Indian helpdesks, but what's the point. [Students with ComSci degrees today aren't wasting years helping grandma with her DVD-drive. Instead, they're consulting and performing higher-value tasks.]

Labor mobility is a good thing. Free trade in inputs and outputs of free markets are beneficial... the difference between unskilled and uneducated labor from Mexico and unskilled / uneducated labor in the US is what? Their passport? Their language?

And I'm not condoning illegal immigration, because there is a clear difference between the illegal immigrant and those working here legally. However, I subscribe to the president's guest worker program for a variety of reasons...
1 - it makes sense from an economic standpoint;
2 - It forces employers to pay the minimum wage to guest workers, thus removing the current downward pressure on pay rates for unskilled labor;
3 - it forces guest workers to pay taxes into the system;
4 - it makes sense from a security standpoint to channel legal guest workers through a process which is easy, but documented, allowing for the border patrol to focus on those that still try to enter illegally (ie drug-runners & terrorists - no more touchy, feely border patrol); and
5 - I'm part of Another Rovian Conspiracy and Rove would be very displeased if I bucked him.

But, seriously I don't see immigrants (skilled or unskilled; brown, black, yellow, or white) as the boogiemen that you do... [In fact,] I'm writing this as I sit in a hotel bar in Montreal, doing a little "guest worker" thing of my own. While I think your position might be good politics for '06, I think it's bad policy.

St Wendeler
Another Rovian Conspiracy

Now, I'm sorry, but I wonder what Mark's response would be if the immigrants coming in were unskilled Canadians instead of unskilled Mexicans. For some reason, I think this has less to do with the skills that the workers brings and more to do with other factors.

Now, with regard to my "duty" to my fellow Americans in finding a job. I'm sorry, but almost any American has the opportunity to succeed in our capitalist system. And the current system of illegal immigration is what is causing the problem regarding the downward pressure on wages, since illegals often are paid below minimum wage simply because their employers know that they can't go to the authorities and file a complaint. Allowing them to work legally would remove that downward pressure. And, since I also have a "duty" (and some would say a moral obligation) to provide public education, allowing people to obtain the skills required to become successful in the US. Now, readers of this blog know that I have serious issues with our current education system - not because of its existence, but because of its ineffectiveness.

I'm not pro- illegal immigration. However, the current system (even if enforced properly) would result in continued illegal immigration. The best way to solve the problem is to allow for a guest worker program which has the goal of moving them to citizenship within a certain timeframe. Heck, I'm all for a policy that would make English the official language of the US (and am against Spanish-only classes), ensuring that fellow citizens are able to truly understand one another and eliminate the possibility of the balkanization of America. This is probably to the "right" of many of those arguing for fortress America.

As I wrote in my response to Mark, his position on immigration makes for some terrible policy, but nice politics for 2006. Unfortunately for many of those in the GOP, Bush is unlikely to back down from this issue as it is one of the issues which most animates him. Ultimately, we need to face the economic reality that as long as our economy is as good as it is, we will attract immigrants from all over the world. Those that are our neighbors who could earn will understandably seek jobs in our country. The question is how best do we deal with them? I submit that a wall with 50-caliber machine guns mounted every 100 yards is not the solution. And that is what it might take.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler