Tuesday, July 30, 2002

No Fat Immigrant Chicks

A friend weighs in on immigration:

Regarding immigration--I agree with your comments and my evolution of opinion somewhat mirrors yours. The tempest-tossed, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wreteched refuse from those teeming shores, have always represented potential for me.

Genius and ingenuity are rare and the successful exploitation of these attributes is a factor of, among other things, numbers. You're more likey to find one Thomas Edison or Bill Gates among a population of a million than you are in a population of 10,000. Such is the nature of the distribution of human potential. The beautiful thing is that just one Edison or Gates, operating in an environment where risk taking and entrepenuership is encouraged, can lift the standard of living for the other 999,999 slack-jawed troglydites. So my general stance has been to let them in and then sit back and watch the rising tide life all of our boats (grunt).

However, what mucks up this sunny day real estate disposition is the new context in which we thrust our immigrants. Namely, when they can expect to enter a welfare state that guarantees equality of outcome, no matter what the personal effort, and eliminates any consequences for being a lay about, well, that's trouble sir. Onerous regulation and confiscatory, redistributionist tax policy also conspire to eliminate motivation from just those geniuses we're all counting to haul our arses out of the primordial economic swamp.

Furthermore, this environment will tend to attract a different type of immigrant. Instead of this country sounding the clarion call for those who simply want to breathe free, and to be allowed to realize the benefits of their work, away from the dictators and oppresive systems in the rest of the world (see France), we're sending out the message that anyone who simply wants to live a comfortable life should show up and we'll sign them up for cradle to grave government services immediately.

So what am I saying? Immigration itself isn't bad, rather it's the way our institutions have come to deal with immigrants. They're no longer partners in this enterprise of liberty, adding the strenghts of their backs and their minds to the larger effort--rather, they're just more pets to be kept by the federal government. The government promises to feed them and water them and house them--just as long as their votes continue to go to the government party.

You're also quite right in stating that neither of the major parties is adequately addressing these issues. The Democrats are, well Democrats. And George W. Bush is a disaster on this issue.

The minor parties do provide some additional insight--particularly the Libertarians. I watched a rather wonderful speech by Harry Browne a few weeks ago on C-SPAN and he spoke of this issue. I think the video is still available for download on the C-SPAN Web site--I couldn't find a transcription of his comments. But if your computer is advanced enough to view video (mine isn't) you may want to check it out.

The Harry Browne Web site is full of provocative articles. Some of which I tend to disagree with--particularly tactical recommendations on foreign policy, but it's difficult to argue with his philosophy on anything--because he's right (extremely right). He's recently re-posted a column he wrote in 1992 about the LA riots. It's excellent and it has several parallels to what
is happening today:

The Rodney King Incident

Friday, July 26, 2002

Change of Heart(and of head)

For about as long as I've been old enough to have an opinion on it, I have been in favor of immigration to the US. I never bought the stories about wide spread abuse of governmental services by immigrants or the "they're taking our jobs" scare talk.

I took what I considered to be a pragmatic economic view of the issue. We need people to do jobs that Americans increasingly seemed unwilling to do and the immigrants needed and wanted an opportunity for a brighter economic future. I saw in the success of the Latino and Asian immigrants in opening their own businesses and achieving the "American dream" a refutation of the claims of native minority groups that racism and history had made it impossible for them to get ahead. On the whole I viewed immigration as a positive for our country.

A few years ago chinks (no pun intended) began to appear in the armor of my immigration position. The cons of immigration become increasingly evident while the pros seemed to be harder to spot. The problems of the border towns in California, Arizona, and Texas and the refusal of many new immigrants to assimilate raised concerns about the wisdom of continuing immigration. But, at the time, it was not a subject that I gave a great deal of thought to and my core beliefs on the issue remained unchanged.

September 11th brought to light just how dangerous the consequences of our lax immigration and border controls could be. An attack on our country was planned and prepared for over many months, even years on our own soil by declared enemies of our country who had little difficulty entering and leaving the US on multiple occasions before the attack.

The reaction of some immigrant groups after the attack also exposed the fact the even after living in our country for years and enjoying the many freedoms we afforded them some immigrants had scant loyalty to the US and were sometimes even openly disdainful of American ideals of liberty and democracy. Radical Islamists called for the overthrow of the government and the establishment of a Muslim state, creating the threat of future attacks from this small but dangerous group from within our own borders. In the months afterward, I have had to seriously question whether open immigration was still a value that our country wanted to embrace.

The final nail in the coffin was hammered home courtesy of an article in the latest edition of the National Review by Steven Camarota. It is not available on line but here is a brief excerpt:

When the history of the 1990s is written, the most important story may not be the GOP takeover of Congress, the boom economy, or the Clinton impeachment. The big story may be the decade's unprecedented level of immigration--a social phenomenon affecting everything from the nation's schools to the political balance between the two parties.

Newly released census figures show that the foreign-born population reached 31.1 million in 2000. This is by far the largest immigrant population in U.S. history, and represents a 57 percent increase from 1990. Even during the great wave of immigration from 1900 to 1910, the foreign-born population grew by only about 31 percent; over the past 30 years, the number of immigrants in the U.S. has tripled. If current trends are allowed to continue, the foreign-born share of the population will in fact pass the all-time high by the end of this decade.

Besides just demonstrating the frightening scope of the current levels of immigration, Camarota also points out that the immigrants of today are for the most part poor and uneducated. Whereas in the late 19th and early 20th century the Irish, German, and Italian immigrants coming to America had roughly the same education level as the average native born American at the time, today very few new immigrants have even attended high school. The costs to educate this new generation of immigrants in enormous and is one of the reasons that our educational system as a whole has performed so poorly of late.

It is also one of the reasons why during the economic expansion of the 90's the poverty rate remained unchanged. While most native born Americans were able to improve their fortunes during the decade this flood of poor immigrants insured that little progress could made overall. And, in purely economic terms, a recent study conservatively estimated that the immigrants of the '90s cost the United States government a net $20 billion dollars after comparing outlays to the immigrants with taxes collected from them. That was more than enough for me. Shields down, argument over. Where do I sign up to oppose immigration?

Camaroate does not propose completely eliminating immigration but rather wants to tighten a few rules which would result in a much lower figure of around 300,000 legal immigrants a year, a number he believes we can deal with. He also favors tightening controls on the borders, which in light on 9/11 seems to be a no brainer.

The problem as I see it is that no politician or party wants to touch this issue. Bush has clearly demonstrated his willingness to pander for the Hispanic vote by proposing legalization of illegal immigrants already here and doing nothing to place further restrictions on them. The culturally aware and diverse Dems also see immigration as a votes issue believing that once the immigrants get here they can be lured to the plantation with promises of government aid and feel good victimization to explain their plight. This could be a very dangerous situation if it continues and we might find ourselves falling into a trap that has already occurred in a few European countries.

For decades most European countries have encouraged immigration to provide labor for their work forces in the face of declining native populations. Now some Europeans are beginning to question the wisdom of further immigration in the light of the rising crime rates, intolerance towards Jews, and abuse of women among certain immigrant communities (can you guess which one I'm talking about?). But because so many immigrants are already there and can vote, no politician is willing to stand on the issue for fear of being punished at the voting booth with their block voting power. Talk about a truly frightening situation.

The issue of immigration is not on anybody's front burner right now. But in the next few years it may turn out to be one of the most critical challenges we face in ensuring the future of a prosperous and free United States. I know where I now stand. How about you?

Je, Je, Je, Jesse and the Stones

To those of you who voted for Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura and are disappointed that he is not running again, I offer this example of what he really thinks of the voters:

Ventura abandons attempt to bring Rolling Stones to Minnesota

D'ahhh, Jesse bring Stones. I vote him.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Can You Handle Some Real Diversity?

So I just applied for a position on my local city's Human Rights Commission. The city is encouraging a wide variety of applicants to apply from diverse backgrounds. I figure who could bring more diversity to a Human Rights Commision than a white, hetrosexual, conservative, male like myself? I'll keep you posted on new developments on this story as they are warranted. This could be interesting.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Letting Tiger Be Tiger

All this talk about the need for Tiger Woods to speak out and take a stand on certain controversial issues such as Augusta not admitting women seems a bit ridiculous to me. I actually find the fact that Tiger usually limits his public comments to the world of professional golf, in particular to his play, damn refreshing. Do we really another Meryl Streep or Alec Baldwin testifying on issues of the day before a fawning Congress, being allowed to do so solely based on their celebrity status?

I don't really care what Tiger thinks about racial profiling or vouchers. I do care what he thinks about his chances of winning a Grand Slam or how he feels the links at Muirfield will play. How about a little credit to Mr. Woods for keeping it real (sticking to the subjects he really knows about) instead of criticism for not speaking out?

Friday, July 12, 2002

Why I Hate The Star Tribune

Please help me. Go to the following link and read Syl Jone's piece that appeared in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Syl Jones: Why place our faith -- and funds -- in banks?

After your head stops hurting please explain to me what the point of this column is. Seriously. I cannot fathom what the hell Syl is trying to say in this utterly incoherent and downright baffling piece. I mean it. I don't usually agree with views that Syl chooses to express but at least I can somewhat figure out where he is coming from and why. This is complete gibberish from beginning to end where it gets downright bizarre. Is he against banks? Or does he just wish banks would somehow "dispense love" whatever the hell that means?

This might be the worst piece of writing I have ever come across in the Strib and you all know that's saying a lot. I wonder if Syl is actually such a poor writer that he just can't come up with anything better or if he's cynically knows that any bit he submits no matter how poor will be printed in the Strib op ed pages in their never ending quest to promote their idea of diversity.

Maureen Dowd's Fuzzy Math

If there is a lazier and more ignorant op ed writer in America than Maureen Dowd of the New York Times I would like someone to point that person out to me. No, actually I wouldn't. To have to suffer through a column worse than the dreck that Maureen throws together with what appears to be little research or forethought might just be enough to push me over the edge. A recent piece that appeared on July 10th featured such creative and original thinking as this:

"And they are hounded by the same old question they have designed their lives to avoid: Can a Bush--born on third base but thinking he hit a triple--ever really understand the problems of the guys in the bleachers?"

I think I first heard the "born on third thinking he hit a triple" back in the 2000 primaries and I'm sure it was used against Bush way back in his days as governor of Texas. Is this the best Maureen can give us?

She then proceeds to talk about Bush's Harken stock deal which she compares to Hillary Clinton's dubious commodity investment:

How can Mr. Bush lecture companies on setting a moral tone, getting tough on accounting practices and ending "malfee-ance," as he calls it, when there are pesky questions about his own windfall at Harken Energy? (His $848,560 stock cash-in made Hillary, the Cattle Queen of commodities trading, look like a piker for only taking home $100,000.)

Without even getting in to the facts behind both deals which hardly seem comparable, Maureen's simplistic view that since the gross on Bush's stock sale was higher it is inherently somehow worse than Hillary's is absurd. Bush received approximately $500,000 of Harken stock in 1986 when Harken purchased Spectrum 7 another energy firm which Bush ran. In 1990 he sold his shares of Harken for $848,560 for a gain of $348,560. I'm hardly a financial wizard but that works out to something like a 69% return on the original $500k. Hillary meanwhile invested a paltry $1000 on her commodity deal which she almost immediately turned around and sold for $100,000 a gain of $99,000 or a return of 9900%. Hmmm... Which deal seems more suspicious?

Thursday, July 11, 2002

The Art of Conversation as War

I have encountered the feeling among many on the Left that they don't have to justify their arguments or back them with fact or logic. And it is quite frustrating. When we attempt to draw on the deep well of our knowledge on a particular subject such as the superiority of Western civilization we are usually ignored, labeled "extremist", or forced into a defensive posture by their refusal to just hear our points and be willing to debate them.

My bro and I have noticed this on numerous occasions. It has become socially unacceptable to hold and voice strong opinions that run counter to the "prevailing wisdom" of society(particularly the post-modern cynical segment) in general. Obviously I'm not talking about our particular circle of friends who share most of our views on many matters the differences usually arising in the degree of extremes one might favor. And I'm not trying to say that society is somehow stifling or censoring us or that "the man" is keeping us down.

I'm talking about situations that arise at work or at a larger social setting such as a party. If you happen to overhear a lefty popping off some childish remark about John Ashcroft tearing up the Constitution or saying that Arab culture is equal to or superior to Western Civ and you deign to jump in and challenge the remark you become, as a friend astutely pointed pointed out, the arsehole. What ever happened to the tradition of open, civilized debate that used to be held up as respectful display of our freedom and liberty?

In a way our method of intellectual warfare mirrors the Western style that Victor Davis Hanson so effectively lays out. We relish the opportunity to draw our enemies out into a decisive battle where we can have the chance to destroy them and so claim victory. If on rare occasion we suffer a defeat in one of these encounters through inadequate preparation or poor strategic decisions we lick our wounds, rebuild our defenses, and restock our stockpile of arguments. When possible we draw on existing rhetoric developed by others which we refine and add our own twists to increase its effectiveness and lethality. Then we return to the field of battle again and again until we have vanquished our foe completely.

The problem is we're now running around with an immense arsenal of firepower and advanced training(reading & research) that we're looking to deploy. When an unfortunate lefty spouts off with the equivalent of a few arrows in our direction we're ready to unleash a rain of precision guided daisy cutters upon him. But we're surrounded by post modern societal groupthink that seeks to tie our hands and limit the use of our power much in the way the UN and EU hamper the US and Israel through international law and pious resolutions calling for peace and justice.

Part of the problem is that many of these intellectually malnourished punks of the Left have been able to say anything and everything they wish without ever having to pay a price or defend their views because they have been able to hide behind the skirt of the nonjudgmental "all is equally good" mindset not unlike radical Islamists calling for the destruction of the West while at the same time seeking shelter behind the liberal freedoms that it provides. When do we take the gloves off?

Why I Love The National Review Part II

Surprisingly enough the facts behind the much talked about Bush stock deal don't seem to bear out the magnitude of attention that many in the media egged on by Daischle seem to think the story warrants. This fact filled piece by Byron York at NRO has all the not so juicy details.

Why I Love The National Review Part I

Outstanding work by Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online on the tired cliches which have been spouted for years but rarely critically examined. My personal choice for most hated is "don't judge me until you walk a mile in my shoes"

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

And you thought you liked the Simpson's

From today's Minneapolis Star Tribune a tragic story about a family battle over a remote control gone way wrong. Recalling some of the knock-down drag-out brawls my brother and I had as kids for control of the same prize, I'm actually surprised this kind of thing doesn't happen more often:

A West St. Paul teenager who pleaded guilty Monday to killing his younger sister said he unintentionally strangled her as they fought over the TV remote control.

Scott Tomlinson wiped away tears as he testified about how he and his sister, Megan, had argued after getting home from school Jan. 28. He said that he wanted to watch "The Simpsons" and that she didn't.

They wrestled over the remote, and the 16-year-old said he put his arm around his 13-year-old sister's throat and held it until she went limp.

Dakota County District Judge Edward Lynch sentenced Tomlinson to 12
years in prison for unintentional second-degree murder while committing assault.

Full Story Here

Saturday, July 06, 2002

Depends on What You mean By Law-abiding?

A story in last Friday's Minneapolis Star Tribune on an illegal immigrant activist who stands to be deported featured this gem:

"For many illegal immigrants and their advocates, Jimenez has become a living emblem of the need to relax tough immigration laws that they say make it virtually impossible for law-abiding, hard-working people like her to obtain legal status."

Doesn't the fact the she is living here illegally make it impossible for her to be "law-abiding"?

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Too Quiet on the Home Front?

As we get ready for what is hoped to be a glorious and incident free Fourth of July weekend, I can't help but wonder if most of our country is aware of or concerned with the war that continues around us. I traveled out to Boston last weekend and found disturbing examples of this failure to recognize the dangerous circumstances we are facing.

Airport security continues to be a joke. On my flight out a sixty year old couple was randomly picked for the thorough search at the gate. On the way back it was a sixteen year old girl. In our desire to avoid profiling and not offend we are wasting our resources and adding inconvenience to ordinary travelers the airlines desperately need to be flying right now. Even if security won't do it you damn well better believe that I profiled every passenger I could on my flights. Along those lines I also did not detect the same spirit of "we're all in this together" among the passengers that I have experienced on other flights post 9/11. People seemed more involved in their own petty concerns then thinking about what would happen if the worst came to pass. Call me paranoid if you will but I'm looking around the plane on the flight figuring out who will be with me if we have to take action. Unfortunately I did not get the sense that there would be a lot of takers.

Some jackass running for governor in Mass has ads where he says that his number one priority is prescription drug coverage for seniors. Your number one priority? How about trying to protect the citizens of your state from being attacked? How about working to make sure that the airport that the 9/11 terrorists used is safe and secure? How about looking into the large number of illegal immigrants in your state from Muslim countries? Here in Minnesota the Public Safety Commissioner is trying to make it so that all non US citizens in the state who are here on visas have the expiration date on their drivers license or state ID. Sounds reasonable right? Not to the immigration activist groups who are screaming bloody murder and comparing the action to Nazi Germany or the USSR.

For a while after 9/11 it appeared as if there was some hope that we could get past the ridiculous political correctness and delusional fear of government and be able to clear the way for real progress against those who threaten our freedom. Outside the US we have done a decent job in Afghanistan and elsewhere of disrupting Al Qaeda and limiting their effectiveness. But there are literally thousands of Muslims in the US (often illegally) from other countries with connections to radical Islam whose whereabouts and activities we know little or nothing about. We won't ever be safe until these individuals and groups are accounted for and if necessary acted upon. If you're here illegally why are questions even raised? Next flight out, you're on it with a one way ticket.

But as I mentioned earlier it seems that for the most part Americans are going about their lives as if 9/11 never happened and so aren't demanding the changes that would be necessary to secure our country. There is no doubt to me that we are at war and still in a very perilous state of danger. I just wonder what has to happen before the majority of our citizens recognize this as well.

Have a great Fourth of July.

Happy Birthday to Me

When we were kids there was that commercial where a guy's boss comes in, hands him a ticket and says something like, "Johnson, we need you in Omaha by tomorrow." He lamely replies, "But it's my birthsday." We used that line a lot cause the guy had a slight lisp and it just sounded so damn wussy.

Today, I'm getting ready for work. First I discover that our cat (aka the Wood) has puked on our living room rug. After a few GDs I clean it up and continue getting ready. Since I'm the only one in the office this week I've been wearing shorts the last few days. As I go to put my shorts on today I catch the unmistakable odor of kitty urine. On my shorts. Which were laying on the bed. Soaked through to the comforter, sheets, and mattress pad. F'in cat! I now have to soak my short and the comforter and put the other Shiite stuff in the warsh lest the smell set in.

All I could think of as I was forced to repair the damages that Woody's bodily fluids have inflicted was:

"But it's my birthsday."