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View Full Version : Forget immigration; close borders to BOMBS


Judy G. Russell
March 27th, 2006, 10:24 PM
While the U.S. Congress spends time, energy and its usual hot air on the issue of immigration control... "bigger" and "better" threats are out there and we'd better look at THEM first before we get ourselves crazed about making felons out of undocumented aliens.

A Government Accountability Office report prepared for Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Chairman Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican, released today shows that federal investigators using fraudulent identity and Nuclear Regulatory Commission documents were able to (a) purchase enough radioactive materials outside the US to build dirty bombs and (b) smuggle them into the US through both Canada and Mexico.

Frankly, that scares me a whole heck of a lot more than whether Juan and Juanita are here without proper visas.

Lindsey
March 27th, 2006, 11:16 PM
Frankly, that scares me a whole heck of a lot more than whether Juan and Juanita are here without proper visas.
Agreed, though getting a better handle on immigration is not unimportant. Paul Krugman had an interesting column on that subject in Monday's NY Times. (The NYT web site charges for access to it, unfortunately, but I suspect it will pop up somewhere on the web in the next few days where it can be accessed for free.)

Bottom line for him:

Realistically, we'll need to reduce the inflow of low-skill immigrants. Mainly that means better controls on illegal immigration. But the harsh anti-immigration legislation passed by the House, which has led to huge protests legislation that would, among other things, make it a criminal act to provide an illegal immigrant with medical care is simply immoral.


Also, Kevin Drum makes a good argument (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_03/008498.php) as to why a guest worker program is not in America's best interest in the long run. And Josh Marshall points his blog readers back to an old post of his (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/001289.php) on the subject of why citizenship matters.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 27th, 2006, 11:52 PM
I have no objection to appropriate immigration legislation. But making felons out of everyone who stays without the proper paperwork and all those who might help them (like charitable and religious groups) is insane. "Happy 18th birthday, young immigrant! You are now officially a felon!" Unless of course they plan on prosecuting even younger children as adults...

rlohmann
March 28th, 2006, 05:40 PM
Another accountability problem.

Bureaucratic ineptitude has been with us since time immemorial, but that ineptitude has gotten a major push with the poisonous combination of "special-emphasis programs" (the focus on "diversity" in all its grotesque and irrational forms) and the bureaucratic tendency to careerism.

As the system is now structured, the average middle manager has powerful incentives to hire "minorities, women, and persons of color," regardless of qualifications, promote them without regard to competence, and protect them from the consequences of on-the-job incompetence, malfeasance, and outright misconduct in the workplace. Until this changes--and any such changes will take a disturbingly long time to implement, things will only get worse.

Judy G. Russell
March 28th, 2006, 09:47 PM
It was my understanding that virtually every one of the "you have to hire THIS group" rules was chucked for the new Department of Homeland Security. It's still a nightmare of bureaucratic mismanagement.

And, frankly, I don't see anything worse about hiring minorities and women and promoting and protecting them in spite of incompetence than it is to hire white men and promote and protect THEM in spite of incompetence, and government does THAT too.

Lindsey
March 28th, 2006, 11:54 PM
I have no objection to appropriate immigration legislation. But making felons out of everyone who stays without the proper paperwork and all those who might help them (like charitable and religious groups) is insane.
Agreed. Absolutely. I believe the Senate, at least, has consented to remove penalties for people assisting illegal immigrants, except for smugglers. And to remove restrictions on transfers of money out of the country.

And eventually, however much the Republicans recoil in horror at that A-word (amnesty), it seems to me that it only makes sense to work out some system that would allow the people already here, to legalize their status and put them on the track to citizenship, perhaps with a reasonably stiff fine and some other requirements, but sending them back across the border if they're settled and productive makes little sense, especially if it means splitting up families, or sending children who are US citizens out of the country with their illegal parents.

I keep trying to find the "compassionate" in this "compassionate conservatism" thing, but it's awfully hard to see.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
March 29th, 2006, 12:01 AM
And, frankly, I don't see anything worse about hiring minorities and women and promoting and protecting them in spite of incompetence than it is to hire white men and promote and protect THEM in spite of incompetence, and government does THAT too.
The Bush Administration is chock full of them (admittedly not all of them white men). In fact, cronyism seems quite a bit worse to me that whatever ills affirmative action my bring. Cronyism goes hand in hand with corruption.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 29th, 2006, 09:58 AM
I keep trying to find the "compassionate" in this "compassionate conservatism" thing, but it's awfully hard to see.And, of course, you wonder how many of them come from immigrant stock... and how many would be here now if the controls they are trying to insist on had been applied to their parents, grandparents, etc.

Judy G. Russell
March 29th, 2006, 10:00 AM
cronyism seems quite a bit worse to me that whatever ills affirmative action my bring. Cronyism goes hand in hand with corruption.It's certainly no worse than a dead heat for contributing to government incompetence, and it's a far worse condition for corruption.

Lindsey
March 29th, 2006, 10:14 PM
And, of course, you wonder how many of them come from immigrant stock... and how many would be here now if the controls they are trying to insist on had been applied to their parents, grandparents, etc.
We've gone completely off the deep end in many ways in the last 4-1/2 years, sometimes deporting people who have done nothing wrong, but whose paperwork has simply gotten clogged up in the horrendously inefficient bureaucracy at INS and whatever its successor office within the DHS is. Or for minor offenses committed decades ago.

I agree that we need to get a better handle on control of immigration, but it doesn't mean we have to engage in a mindless pursuit of zero tolerance.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 29th, 2006, 11:15 PM
My fear is that the worst of the right wing will latch onto immigration and make it the "Defense of Marriage" issue of the 2006 elections...

Dan in Saint Louis
March 30th, 2006, 08:56 AM
paperwork has simply gotten clogged up in the horrendously inefficient bureaucracy at INS
Compassion is nice, but we have sometimes let it get in the way of fairness. It took me nine months to secure a visa for my legally wedded wife; including signed and sealed affidavits from the St. Louis Recorder of Deeds, the Missouri Public Health Department, and Secretary of State James A. Baker III.

Meanwhile, the illegally-immigrated familes of existing illegal immigrants were awarded amnesty and visa at the snap of a bureaucrat's fingers.

Judy G. Russell
March 30th, 2006, 01:22 PM
I don't like the idea of a blanket easy-to-get amnesty. It seems to me that making illegals jump through some fairly serious hoops to even get started on the path to citizenship is the way to go, and the only way that even begins to be fair to those who have done things legally. But rounding 'em all up and throwing 'em out without regard to what that does to families (and to our workforce) ain't a good idea either.

rlohmann
March 30th, 2006, 06:20 PM
It was my understanding that virtually every one of the "you have to hire THIS group" rules was chucked for the new Department of Homeland Security. It's still a nightmare of bureaucratic mismanagement.You can change the rules, but the culture won't change overnight simply because you've done that. The dogs bring their mangers with them.

And, frankly, I don't see anything worse about hiring minorities and women and promoting and protecting them in spite of incompetence than it is to hire white men and promote and protect THEM in spite of incompetence, and government does THAT too.I see. Since there have been (and still are) a lot of incompetent white men in government, it's time to give incompetent minorities and women an opportunity to wallow at the public trough.

What an original idea! Why don't you run for office on the equal-opportunity-incompetence ticket?

Or, in the alternative, you might want to push government to get rid of its incompetents regardless of ethnicity or "gender." Wouldn't that be a better deal for the Republic?

Lindsey
March 30th, 2006, 09:07 PM
My fear is that the worst of the right wing will latch onto immigration and make it the "Defense of Marriage" issue of the 2006 elections...
That's a risky strategy for the Republicans, though. They have been making great efforts to court the Hispanic vote in the last few years, and this is a huge issue with that bloc of voters.

--Lindsey

Lindsey
March 30th, 2006, 09:10 PM
Compassion is nice, but we have sometimes let it get in the way of fairness.
As Judy indicated, nobody is advocating blanket, no-strings-attached amnesty. But there needs to be some path to normalizing the status of the 12 million illegals who are estimated to be here short of mass deportations.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 30th, 2006, 09:49 PM
It is risky, but the Republicans who want to make it an issue wouldn't care much about the Hispanic voters they'd alienate.

Judy G. Russell
March 30th, 2006, 09:52 PM
Let's see here. Since I say it isn't any worse to promote/protect incompetent white men than incompetent minorities or women, you assume that I want to promote/protect all incompetents. That's just a bit of a stretch, don't you think? You, on the other hand, appeared to blame everything on minorities and women, and never even suggested that (gasp) there could be incompetent white men involved as well. So does that make you a racist? Why shouldn't I assume that? And if I shouldn't make silly assumptions about your arguments, why are you making silly assumptions about mine?

Lindsey
March 30th, 2006, 10:36 PM
It is risky, but the Republicans who want to make it an issue wouldn't care much about the Hispanic voters they'd alienate.
The extreme fringe probably wouldn't, but there would be enough Republicans, even quite conservative ones, who would care to keep it from snowballing to quite that extent, I think.

--Lindsey

Dan in Saint Louis
March 31st, 2006, 08:57 AM
there needs to be some path to normalizing the status of the 12 million illegals who are estimated to be here

No problem with that. My problem is that the "path" was, at that time, "Abracadbra! You are legal!", while I had to struggle for nine months and go all the way to James A. Baker III and get a a certificate that said I was indeed married, as the Unitarian minister in Saint Louis pronounced in 1989.

Judy G. Russell
March 31st, 2006, 10:04 AM
I dunno... did you read about the House debates? Let prisoners pick the fruits and vegetables? Make all the demonstrators with Mexican flags leave the country?

Jeff
March 31st, 2006, 12:50 PM
I dunno... did you read about the House debates? Let prisoners pick the fruits and vegetables? Make all the demonstrators with Mexican flags leave the country?

Nope I didn't, but you should be here where help wanted ads must specify that English is required. And the border is a 1,000 miles away. Something is very very wrong.

- Jeff

Judy G. Russell
March 31st, 2006, 01:52 PM
you should be here where help wanted ads must specify that English is required. And the border is a 1,000 miles away. Something is very very wrong.Well, I'm one who doesn't mind the idea of English being required. That's the language people speak, and it's the language employers expect to use when they speak to their employees and when employees speak to customers (or co-workers).

rlohmann
March 31st, 2006, 07:01 PM
If I "appeared" to blame everything on minorities and women, you may want to go back and read what I wrote.

After doing so, please quote the language that led you to that conclusion so that I and everyone else may be enlightened.

Lindsey
March 31st, 2006, 09:34 PM
My problem is that the "path" was, at that time, "Abracadbra! You are legal!", while I had to struggle for nine months
Agreed; there is definitely a balancing of interests that needs to be carried out, and it's not just the illegals who are here versus those waiting to enter legally, either. There are a number of competing interests at stake here.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
March 31st, 2006, 09:47 PM
Your precise words:

the average middle manager has powerful incentives to hire "minorities, women, and persons of color," regardless of qualifications, promote them without regard to competence, and protect them from the consequences of on-the-job incompetence, malfeasance, and outright misconduct in the workplace

Lindsey
March 31st, 2006, 09:54 PM
I dunno... did you read about the House debates? Let prisoners pick the fruits and vegetables? Make all the demonstrators with Mexican flags leave the country?
Yeah, there was a thread on TPM Cafe talking about that proposal to have prisoners doing slave labor in the fields. The commenters picked up that ball and ran with it to show it up for the outrageous absurdity it was. Lemme see if I can find a URL... Yeah: http://www.tpmcafe.com/node/28434

The Mexican flags comment I heard came from Lou Dobbs, who said at the same time that he didn't think St. Patrick's Day celebrations were approprate, either. Lou Dobbs is a turkey.

--Lindsey

Judy G. Russell
April 1st, 2006, 11:38 AM
Lou Dobbs is a turkey.That, as my sister-in-law would say, is a True Fact.

Jeff
April 1st, 2006, 01:08 PM
Yeah, there was a thread on TPM Cafe talking about that proposal to have prisoners doing slave labor in the fields. The commenters picked up that ball and ran with it to show it up for the outrageous absurdity it was.

--Lindsey

I'm told that chain gangs, complete with traditional stripes, are being reinstituted in the South. If they can whack weeds they can pick fruit. And as far as cruel and unusual goes, short handled hoes are history.

- Jeff

Lindsey
April 1st, 2006, 11:11 PM
Not the entire South, and not exclusively the South; Alabama, Florida, and Arizona that I know of. Hmmm, which makes me think: someone should ask John McCain what he thinks of chain gangs.

Amnesty International believes that the practice of using chain gangs constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, prohibited under Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (ICCPR) ratified by the US Government on 8 June 1992.

Article 10 of the ICCPR says: All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

Article 33 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR) states: instruments of restraint, such as handcuffs, chains, irons and strait jackets, shall never be applied as a punishment. Furthermore, chains or irons shall not be used as restraints.

Article 45 (1) of the SMR states: When prisoners are being removed to or from an institution, they shall be exposed to public view as little as possible, and proper safeguards shall be adopted to protect them from insult, curiosity and publicity in any form.
Not that this administration lets itself be deterred by international (or even domestic) law.

--Lindsey

rlohmann
April 3rd, 2006, 06:05 PM
And that is exactly what I meant. I didn't mention the need to fire incompetent white men because the evil I was attacking was the protection now being afforded incompetents in addition to incompetent white men.

The essential evil in Big Government is its very catholicity. There are so many political pressures running in so many directions--affirmative action is by no means the only one; just the newest and noisiest--that the safest course in any given situation is to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, and do nothing that anyone could perceive as evil.

Bigness ultimately breeds failure. The only difference between the government and General Motors is that the federal government can't file for bankruptcy.

Judy G. Russell
April 3rd, 2006, 06:44 PM
I agree that bigness ultimately breeds failure, and that bureaucrats are raised to think that the safest course is always to do nothing. But I repeat my earlier point: having incompetent women and minorities is no worse than having incompetent white men.

earler
April 4th, 2006, 07:11 AM
To be fair, gm also suffers from the efficiencies perfected in assembling automobiles, as well as the fact that people live so much longer than in the past. I well remember an interview with a gm retiree a couple of years ago. He had retired in 1956! Gm has been honest enough to continue to pay all those pensions to several times the number of people now working in assembly plants. As you can see, the largest cost by far for gm is paying those pensions.

Now they have sold 51% of the crown jewels, gmac, the financing operation, in order to raise money. Perhaps they should have sold the automobile business and stuck with financing......

-er

rlohmann
April 4th, 2006, 05:50 PM
If I understand correctly, you really are saying that incompetent minorities and women should have a fair chance to wallow at the public trough because incompetent men have had their shot.

If that is an accurate paraphrase, please admit it. If it is not, please clarify your comment.

Judy G. Russell
April 4th, 2006, 05:56 PM
Nope. I'm saying that the policies that have protected incompetent white men need to be addressed at the same time as policies that have protected incompetent women and minorities. To address the problems involved in affirmative action without simultaneously dealing with the problems of stupid white men doesn't begin to provide a solution to the problem of governmental incompetence. In short, the problem is incompetence. Not the incompetence of women or minorities. Incompetence, period.

rlohmann
April 4th, 2006, 06:55 PM
Perhaps if you'd reread my notes in this thread, this time without what appears to be a fairly strong ideological bias, you'll see that you have, not without a certain amount of irrelevant ranting, agreed with my original thesis.

Thank you.

Judy G. Russell
April 4th, 2006, 09:20 PM
If there is a bias, it's in your refusal to agree that incompetence -- not female incompetence, not minority incompetence -- is the problem. By focusing on affirmative action as The Problem, you forego any possibility of achieving a solution to the REAL problem.

rlohmann
April 5th, 2006, 03:42 PM
Oh, Jeez...

What I said was ...that ineptitude has gotten a major push with the poisonous combination of "special-emphasis programs" (the focus on "diversity" in all its grotesque and irrational forms) and the bureaucratic tendency to careerism. In other words, ineptitude was already bad, but affirmative action, on top of the preexisting careerist blight, has become a significant factor in making it worse.

While anecdotal evidence is not usually particularly helpful, you might want to consider the incident I mentioned about two years ago in which a senior (female) attorney shut down the criminal investigation of a female employee who had managed to violate both German and American law at the same time by surreptitiously tape recording a meeting with her supervisor and another employee.

The evidence of the act was overwhelming. The employee has since been promoted twice. Both promotions were to jobs involving no substantive accountability or responsibility.

I never singled out affirmative action as single, isolated cause of government incompetence, but I suggest that you are in deep denial if you do not accept the reality of its having provided a significant boost.

Peter Creasey
April 14th, 2006, 02:05 PM
I never singled out affirmative action as single, isolated cause of government incompetence

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