"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Part About "Illegal" Do You Not Understand?

Arizona has passed a new illegal immigration law that has the usual suspects apoplectic with righteous indignation. I expect most of my readers know at least something about this law, but for those who don't here is the provision in the law that has provoked all the controversy:

"For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency…where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…."

Now you tell me: what is so extreme about that provision? Does that language even remotely justify the commentary about this law by the left? "Harkens back to apartheid," claims Cynthia Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Shameful," says E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post. "German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques," says Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles. Al Sharpton (surprise!) compared Arizona to the Jim Crow South. Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva has called for a boycott of his own state.

Now, there are probably legitimate concerns that could be raised about this law (more on that later). But the left is not interested in constructive criticism. Their sole objective in this debate (as clearly evidenced by the comments mentioned above and many, many more not mentioned) is to score cheap political points with their black and Latino base by accusing conservatives of being racists and extremists. Remember, people who opposed the health care bill were racist too. Oh yeah, and the Tea Parties calling for limited government are racist. Basically, what passes for political disagreement on the left is accusing Republicans of being racist bigots, no matter what the issue is.

To compare enforcing our country's immigration laws to racial discrimination in the Old South or to the secret police tactics of Nazi Germany is worse than irresponsible. It is a despicable attempt to turn justice on its head by smearing the law-abiding citizens of this country who oppose illegal immigration as hate-filled bigots, racists, and criminals, while illegal immigrants are praised as law-abiding people who automatically deserve the full rights of citizens. For people on the left who engage in this kind of rhetoric, right and wrong are irrelevant. The only "right" these people acknowledge is the ability to manipulate the voting patterns of minority groups in this country using racially-charged rhetoric about their opponents.

Let's be clear. The United States has immigration laws for a reason. Like virtually every other country worth living in, we don't let just anyone enter our borders for whatever reason for however long they choose. People must be properly authorized to enter. And if people choose to ignore those laws and enter this country illegally, they are committing a federal crime. That isn't my opinion. That's a fact. When the left claims illegal immigrants have a "right" to be here, that's a lie. Unless, of course, you think our country's laws don't matter. Contrary to fashionable left-wing opinion, we do not have a moral and ethical obligation to accept anyone and everyone into our country. Nor do we have a moral and ethical obligation to provide full treatment as citizens to people who have entered this country in violation of our laws. (Although it's nice to see that the left has finally come around to believing in moral absolutes!)

Arizona is a good case study for why it is necessary, not only to have, but also to enforce immigration laws. There is a good reason why, of all the 50 states, Arizona specifically passed this law and why a recent poll showed a full 70% of all Arizona voters supported the law, with only 23% opposed. And no, it's not because Arizonans are racists. It's because Arizona is experiencing first-hand the devastation that has resulted from the U.S. government's failure to enforce its own immigration laws. With border security stepped up at San Diego and El Paso, Arizona is now the number 1 entry point for illegal immigrants coming from Mexico. The results are tragic. Illegal drug trafficking is everywhere, with an estimated $2 million in drug money passing from Mexico into Arizona each day. The city of Phoenix, a haven for illegal immigrants, has the nation's highest rate of ransom kidnappings (350 per year reported, with probably another 700 per year going unreported). These kidnappings are primarily committed by illegal aliens living in Arizona and recruited by Mexican drug cartels. Many of those people kidnapped from off the street are abused, tortured, and killed. Phoenix and Tucson have among the highest rates of property crime in the nation. The Arizona Cattle Growers' Association described the situation this way: "The U.S./Mexico border in southern Arizona has become a lawless region. Criminals, bandits and an international organized crime unit are operating with impunity in the region. Their trades are burglary, home invasion, drug smuggling, human smuggling, murder, extortion and kidnapping rackets. These organized crime units have been terrorizing northern Mexico for 20 years and have been terrorizing Southern Arizona for at least 10 years. These entities are extremely violent and dangerous and they have now succeeded in creating terror in Southern Arizona as they have in Northern Mexico.” Is it any surprise that 70% of Arizonans support this law? Political pundits living in their comfortable Upper West Side apartments have no idea what it's like to live at Ground Zero of the immigration war.

Of course, it shouldn't be Arizona's responsibility to enforce illegal immigration laws. Those are federal laws, and should be enforced by the federal government. That is why it is so galling to hear President Obama calling this law "irresponsible," when it is the irresponsibility of him and his government (and his predecessor government) that have caused this problem in the first place. Obama has done nothing to deal with this problem and even stopped some half-hearted border control measures put in place by Bush. It is disgraceful that Mexican criminals are wreaking havoc on our country's soil with impunity. As Arizona Governor Jan Brewer put it, "It’s a problem that we did not create and Washington refuses to fix." First and foremost, we need to gain control of the border. We need to build a wall to stop the tidal wave of illegal aliens walking into our country, and we need U.S. troops deployed to the border to get the violence under control. Second, we need to come up with some kind of logical method to deal with illegal immigrants already living here. I think this should involve requiring all illegals currently living in the U.S. to register with the government. Illegals who are gainfully employed with clean criminal records should be allowed to stay in this country (after paying a fine and any required back taxes). Illegals who have committed crimes or who refuse to comply with registration requirements should be deported. And individuals and businesses who help illegals avoid compliance should face stiff penalties.

Now, I don't think this Arizona law is a perfect law, and it is certainly not going to perfectly solve the illegal immigration problem. Critics have raised the concern that engaging local police to enforce illegal immigration laws will lead to distrust between Latino communities and law enforcement and will keep immigrants from cooperating with police or reporting crimes. This is a valid concern. It is also possible that this law could lead to unfair targeting or questioning of Latino citizens or legal immigrants. However, it is important to point out that the law specifically prohibits racial profiling and that ethnicity alone cannot constitute "reasonable suspicion" under the law. Also, a person's immigration status can only be questioned by the police if that person has already been stopped for another crime already. So President Obama's claim that some Hispanic person could be walking down the street to "get ice cream" and suddenly get stopped by the police and questioned is ridiculous. They would have to be committing a crime, and they would also have to arouse reasonable suspicion from the police for some reason other than being Hispanic (for example, being unable to produce a driver's license or other identification in a traffic stop, an overloaded vehicle, evasive behavior, being in a known smuggling corridor, etc.)

The bottom line is that the federal government's inaction has forced Arizona to take action to try to protect its citizens. Much has been made of the rights of illegal immigrants, but what about the rights of American citizens to be able to walk the streets of their cities or sleep in their beds at night without fear of kidnapping or other drug-related violence? What about the rights of American citizens to be able to own property without fear of having it stolen or destroyed? What about the rights of law-abiding people around the world who are waiting to come to the U.S. legally, only to see illegal border-crossers from Mexico unfairly steal into this country ahead of them? What message do we send to the immigrants who are going through the long, painstaking process of becoming a U.S. citizen, when they see others living here illegally and using government services with impunity? Our President and our Congress need to realize how messed up our current immigration situation is and take immediate action to fix it. We need to expedite the legal immigration process and the path to citizenship or permanent legal status for legal immigrants to show that we value immigrants and to reward honest hard-working people who follow our laws. It is inexcusable that it can take 10+ years for an immigrant to get permanent legal status. We need to be careful not to restrict too much the number of legal immigrants coming in to this country. And we need to take severe action to stop illegal immigration. Legal immigration should be easy and illegal immigration should be hard, but our ridiculous immigration policy has made it easy to come illegally and hard to come legally. Most of all, we need to stop playing racial politics with this issue and come together to fix this important problem for the wellbeing of our hard-working, law-abiding citizens.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What Decadence Looks Like

Check out this opinion piece appearing in, of all places, The New York Times. Ross Douthat points out that it says something significant about our culture when Comedy Central, in response to Muslim threats, refuses to permit any reference to Muhammad on an episode of the notoriously profane "South Park."

My favorite excerpt from the article:

Our culture has few taboos that can’t be violated, and our establishment has largely given up on setting standards in the first place. Except where Islam is concerned. There, the standards are established under threat of violence, and accepted out of a mix of self-preservation and self-loathing. This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that “bravely” trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.
The only portion of the article I disagree with is Douthat's dismissal of the Islamic threats as a "marginal fringe" that poses little threat to our civilization. A significant and growing portion of Muslims worldwide sympathize with this "marginal fringe," which controls numerous governments around the world including one on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons. The very existence of the West as we know it is at stake, and it is increasingly obvious that neither our leaders nor our culture are up to the task of fighting for it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Finally, a Governor Who Gets It

Governor Chris Christie is shaking up the corrupt political establishment in New Jersey. It's about time, as many years of liberal mismanagement have left the state with a deficit of nearly $11 billion out of a $29 billion budget. Even among Republicans, it is hard to find politicians willing to take on powerful special interests and to make necessary but unpopular spending cuts. But Christie is one of those rare politicians. As Rush Limbaugh put it: "Is it wrong to love another man? Because I love Chris Christie."

Check out the links here and here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I have been outraged in recent weeks about the demonization of the Tea Party movement by the mainstream media, but I have been working 60+ hour weeks and have not had time to post about it until now. For those readers who don't follow politics, the Democrats and their allies in the press have been working overtime ever since the passage of the health care bill to paint the Tea Party movement as a group of angry, violent white people who want to take our country back to the era of slavery and segregation. Two of the most disgraceful examples of this "j0urnalism" were March Washington Post editorials by Colbert King and Eugene Robinson. A co-worker sent me an even more pathetic article by one Robert Paul Reyes which I link to here solely to let our readers know the ridiculous claims being made about the Tea Parties and to provide entertainment value.

Let me start by saying that racism is a deeply ugly thing and shows the sad capacity of the human heart for prejudice, hatred, and evil. The overwhelming majority of Americans find racial prejudice disgusting because they recognize that it breeds a distrust between neighbors and fellow-citizens that damages the very fabric of our society. There are few things that will destroy your reputation or your career more quickly than an accusation of racism. And it is precisely for these reasons -- the ugliness of real racism and the seriousness of accusations of racism -- that all of us should be careful not to throw the word around carelessly. When racial accusations are used to score political points, innocent people's reputations are damaged and real racism is dangerously minimized. If everything is racist, then ultimately nothing is. For example, when Harry Reid compared Republican opposition to the partisan health care bill to the racially-motivated opposition of Southern Democrats to the civil rights legislation of the 1960's, his comparision merely served to cheapen the monumental achievements of the civil rights movement.

Of course, Harry Reid's speech looks like nothing compared to Colbert King's flagrant race-baiting on the pages of the Washington Post (see 1st paragraph for link). King recounts the angry crowds in Alabama and Arkansas protesting racial integration of the schools in the 1950's, and then the vitriol of a David Duke rally in the early 1990's. He then explicitly claims that those demonstrations were the forerunners of the Tea Party movement: "Today's Tea Party adherents are George Wallace legacies." With a few strokes of a pen, King brands the entire Tea Party movement as a racist organization on par with segregationists and Klan members. (Remember, these claims are not from a Louis Farrakhan rally. They're from the Washington Post, supposedly a somewhat mainstream newspaper.)

OK, let's take a step back here. Why were Tea Party activists -- tens of thousands of them -- on Capitol Hill to protest last month? You could be forgiven for assuming from King's article that they were there to protest black voting rights or desegregation of schools, but in fact they were there to protest...a controversial health care bill. A health care bill that would dramatically increase government control over our health care system, that would cost well over a trillion dollars over 10 years, that was too long and complex to have even been read carefully by Congress members, that was being rammed through in an excessively partisan and corrupt manner, that was opposed by a clear majority of voters. The rally was the conclusion of nearly a year of nearly unprecedented political involvement by ordinary citizens across the country who expressed their passionate opposition to the Democrats' health care bill through town hall meetings, large and well-attended rallies, an outpouring of letters and phone calls to Congress, and consistent poll results. Congress had decided to ignore all of these political expressions of the will of the people and move ahead with a strictly party-line vote. Is it any surprise that the demonstrators on Capitol Hill were angry? Their anger was not against African-Americans and had nothing to do with race. It was against a Congress hell-bent on controlling health care at great cost to taxpayers.

Of course, Tea Party rallies have been occurring regularly all across the country for a year now, and are about much more than just health care. Talk to any Tea Party organizer, or ask any elected official sympathetic to the Tea Party movement, or listen to a sampling of the speeches given at Tea Party rallies, and you will find that this movement has nothing to do with race or racial prejudice. This movement is a grassroots response to a government that is becoming increasing unresponsive to the concerns of ordinary citizens. The Tea Parties are concerned about government spending that is out-of-control and filled with wasteful earmarks. They are concerned about a deficit that has tripled in President Obama's first year alone and that is increasing our debt to unsustainable levels that threaten the well-being of our children & grandchildren. They are concerned about recent government takeovers of the auto industry, the banking industry, the private mortgage industry, the health care industry, and the student loan industry, as well as future proposals that threaten the independence of energy companies, financial services companies, and radio stations. They are concerned about the increasing burdens of regulation and taxation being placed on businesses which are slowing our economic growth and keeping unemployment high. They are concerned about high taxes -- and proposals under consideration to raise taxes even further -- which are putting the squeeze on the middle and upper middle classes. They constantly talk about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, who established a strictly limited federal government in order to maximize freedom for the states and the individual citizens, and they feel that our current government is running roughshod over the Constitution in order to maximize their own power and in so doing is threatening our individual freedoms. You tell me: are those racist concerns?

So, if King, Robinson, and others are going to brand a movement as "racist" when its stated goal is explicitly non-racial and non-racist -- then they had better have solid evidence to make this claim. They had better provide proof. So let's examine their "proof":

1. The protestors are predominantly white. This does not prove anything about the racial motivations of the protestors. White voters tend to be more conservative politically than other voters, so it's not a surprise that a conservative-leaning movement would be largely white. But the fact is, there are black and Hispanic people that identify with the Tea Party movement as well. A Gallup Poll found that 79% of Tea Party members are white, 6% are black, and 15% are part of other racial categories. If the Tea Party were about white supremacy, would thousands of its members be black? Prominent black conservatives like Ward Connerly, Thomas Sowell, and Michael Steele have defended the Tea Party movement. I also saw an interview with an African-American Tea Party activist named Kevin Jackson who has attended over 80 Tea Party events, and he insists that the movement is definitely not racist, that he has never seen violence at any Tea Party event, and that he and other black conservatives have always been warmly welcomed.

2. The protestors are angry. In King's words, "They, like [George] Wallace's followers, smolder with anger. They fear they are being driven from their rightful place in America." Well, yes, the protestors are angry. Generally, if you're not upset about something, you're not going to go to the trouble to attend a rally. The anti-war protestors so ubiquitous during the Bush Administration were also angry. Were they racist too? King assumes the reasons for this anger are racially motivated, but provides no evidence for this other than mentioning a few angry signs.

3. The protestors carry angry signs. After dramatically comparing Tea Partiers to segregationists, King cites one sign as evidence: "If Brown [Scott Brown (R-Mass.)] can't stop it, a Browning [high power weapon] can." One would think at such a well-attended white supremacist rally, King could find something a little more explicitly racial than that. Another article by someone named Robert Paul Reyes (link to article in 1st paragraph) also insists that the Tea Partiers are racists and provides the following two sign messages as evidence: "Send wetbacks back to Mexico!" and "Fight Crime, Deport Illegals." The second sign is certainly not racist, unless you happen to believe that people who think U.S. immigration laws should be enforced are racist. The first sign possibly displays some prejudice against Mexicans, but the primary anger seems to be over illegal immigration coming over the border from Mexico. The article cited in the 1st paragraph by Eugene Robinson mentions the phrases "socialism," "new revolution," and "take America back" as other inflammatory and hateful rhetoric used by Tea Partiers. Again, is this the best Robinson can do? The Democrats' attempts to give the government control over entire private industries (as mentioned above) certainly at the very least takes us in the direction of socialism, not to mention the self-described socalists in high-level positions in the Obama Administration. "New revolution" and "take America back" are normal terms used by protestors and were commonly used by the Democrats against Bush in 2004 and 2006. In fact, "take America back" was a slogan of Howard Dean's. Not one of these terms are in any way racial or violent. Other opponents of the Tea Parties have pointed out signs that portray Obama as the Joker or as Hitler. This rhetoric is not racial, as these very same claims were made about President Bush repeatedly. I can't even count the number of times I have heard Bush and other conservatives compared to Hitler, the Nazis, and the Gestapo, and a cartoon of Bush as the Joker actually appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine during his presidency. With all those supposedly racist people waving signs, nobody has seemed to find a single sign that is explicitly racist.

4. The protestors shout racist epithets. At the big Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill the day of the health care vote, numerous racist claims were made about the behavior of the crowd. During the rally, Nancy Pelosi and a number of other House Democrats, including several black Democrats, deliberately chose to walk right through the middle of the crowd, even though there was no need for them to do so. It appears obvious that they were trying to stir up the crowd to say or do something inappropriate so they could use it for political purposes. As they did so, one black congressman claimed he was spit on, another black congressman claimed he was called the "n" word, and another black congressman claimed he heard the crowd repeatedly chanting the "n" word. Even though many, many people were videotaping the rally and the congressmen as they walked through, including Jesse Jackson, Jr., the videotapes revealed not a single racist word or action throughout the entire rally. The videotapes clearly showed that the black congressman was not deliberately spit on as he claimed. He walked up to a protestor and the protestor was screaming at him and accidentally sprayed saliva in his direction as she was screaming. The videotapes also failed to capture even a single incident of the "n" word or of any other racial threats. If the crowd was really chanting the "n" word repeatedly as the Democrats claimed, wouldn't somebody's videotape have picked it up? Andrew Breitbart of biggovernment.com has offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who could provide video evidence of racism at the rally, but no one has been able to provide that evidence. The bottom line is that there is no evidence that anything racially inappropriate was said or done at any point in the rally, despite the best attempts of the Democrats to provoke the crowd.

5. The protestors promote and even engage in violence. Robinson makes a big deal of this in his editorial. He points to a comment by Sarah Palin on Twitter: "Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: Don’t Retreat, Instead—RELOAD!" The idea that Sarah Palin was encouraging physical violence against anyone with this comment is laughable. She was merely encouraging conservatives to continue to fight Obama's liberal agenda. Robinson cites a story about someone leaving a coffin in the yard of a member of Congress, which later was proved to be false. And yes, there were a few random threats against members of Congress and a few random acts of violence against political offices -- which is not all that uncommon. But there is no proof that any of these acts were connected to the Tea Party movement. And there were also threats against Republican congressmen -- in fact a Philadelphia man was actually arrested for threatening to kill Republican Minority Whip Eric Cantor. There were some more orchestrated acts of violence that occurred at the Republican Convention in 2008 which actually sent Republican convention delegates to the hospital, but the press barely covered that. Worst of all, Robinson blames Republican and Tea Party leaders for not trying to stop the violence, even though the Republican leadership and the Tea Party leadership both spoke out strongly against it. Robinson cites some unknown blogger in Alabama who has been advocating violence against the Democrats, despite the fact that this nut has virtually no following and has no connection to the Republican Party or the Tea Party movement. The fact is that the Tea Party rallies have been remarkably civil and peaceful. Unlike liberal protests such as the one at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh last year or the one against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999, there have been no documented acts of violence committed by people attending the Tea Party rallies. Democrats talk about "attitudes and speech that may encourage violence" because they can't point to any actual violence that has been committed.

6. The protestors are racist because some liberal black authors have a sixth sense that they are. I'm not even kidding. That's what Reyes said in the article linked to above. He admits they claim to merely be conservative but insists he can "sniff out" their latent racism. He assumes with no evidence that the Tea Partiers don't like health care reform because a disproportionate number of minorities lack health insurance and Tea Partiers want to keep "minorities in their place." He goes on to say that the blacks who have joined the Tea Party movement "are traitors to their race and the two ideals of democracy and liberty, and they deserve to be called 'Uncle Toms'." Apparently Mr. Reyes has appointed himself the arbiter of who is "really" black and who isn't. If you don't share his liberal political views, then you have betrayed your skin color and don't deserve to be called black. I can't believe that African-Americans don't find this kind of language deeply insulting.

The bottom line is that any kind of political speech can be painted as inflammatory. Protests, by their very nature, attract people with strongly held, passionate views. Yet, the heart of our Constitution is our 1st Amendment right to free speech. It is not wrong or dangerous for ordinary citizens to protest, wave signs, or attend town hall meetings in order to express their opinion. It is not wrong for citizens to criticize their government. In fact, it is a healthy part of our democracy. For years, liberals told us that "dissent is the highest form of patriotism." For years, we saw protestors waving anti-war signs and screaming about Bush being a threat to democracy. And we accepted that as part of what makes this country great.

But now, it seems, liberals can no longer tolerate dissent because it is against them and their agenda. With help from their friends in the media, they are doing everything they can to discredit the Tea Party movement because they know it poses a threat to their political future. And sadly, they are willing to even stoop to playing the race card in order to achieve that goal. It is sad because false racial accusations are harmful to our country. They exacerbate racial tensions and increase distrust between whites and blacks. Tea Partiers are angry because they are being falsely accused, and African-Americans are angry because they are being told that a large portion of this country is motivated by racism. These race-baiters on the editorial page of the Washington Post, as well as other newspapers around the country, are committing lies and slander that could poison race relations in this country for years to come.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reasonable men

If you watch the news, then you are no doubt familiar with the loony, hateful, radical new ideas coming out of the Tea Party movement -- strong rhetoric about the proper role of government and what the people should do when the government oversteps that role. Bill Whittle points out that these ideas are not at all new, and that they are the same ideas (with amazingly similar rhetoric) expressed by some wise and visionary men that I hold in the highest regard. They got pretty fired up over the Stamp Act, so I can only imagine what they would think if they were around today... Article

Friday, April 9, 2010

Twenty-five year olds "allowed" to stay on parent's health insurance plans

By now, this is old news. One consequence of the recently-passed health care "reform" bill is that the compassionate and benevolent people in the federal government are going to "allow" "children" to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until the age of 26. Think about this for just a minute.

It is not necessary to have a law to allow you to do something! To the best of my knowledge, there is no reason why insurance companies could not have sold policies which would cover the little basement-dwellers. (I suppose there could be some government regulation to prohibit this. The insurance industry is highly regulated, and I am no expert.) What doubletalkers like Obama really mean when they say that 25-year-olds are "allowed" to remain on their parents' insurance plans is that insurance companies are forced to sell insurance plans which cover "adult children" up to the age of 26. Once again, our politicians have inserted themselves into our private matters in the name of "compassion". (And no doubt, they will take credit for it, even though they have done nothing other than tell somebody else what to do.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What part of "private property" don't you understand?

This is from my home state of Michigan. Some nitwit with too much time on his hands has proposed a bill which would require all gas stations in Michigan to provide full service for the elderly and disabled at no additional cost. (It might be Bert Johnson, although the article only mentions him as a supporter of the bill.)

This reminds me of the recently-passed anti-smoking law, which bans smoking in all Michigan workplaces, with a few types of businesses exempted. Both of these bills are "good ideas" for which "there ought to be a law". Also, both of these bills impose rules on the owners of private businesses. (I would bet that most gas station owners would be willing to pump gas for elderly or disabled drivers, even without a law mandating that they do so. What this bill amounts to, then, is an excuse for a politician to grandstand and appear "compassionate" without actually having to do anything compassionate himself.) If Bert Johnson cares so much about the elderly or disabled, then let him pump their gas.