Thursday, May 24, 2007

Not the Right Reform of Immigration Policy, But What Do I Know?

I haven't read the Senate immigration reform bill yet, and I doubt I ever will. I have heard, and read various accounts about it's content, however, and there is some historical context that should be considered. U.S. immigration policy changed in the 1960's, with the Hart-Celler Act of 1965. It is interesting to note that this "reform" was enacted one year after the Bracero Program ended, in 1964. That program used Mexicans to replace Americans in the agriculture business.

John H. Fund notes that the "Bracero guest-worker program reduced arrests of illegal aliens at the border from over a million in 1954 to only 45,000 by 1959. The number of arrests remained under 100,000 a year until 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson ended the program under pressure from labor unions."

Hart-Celler liberalized "family reunification" visa rules, which allowed what's known as "chain immigration," or newly naturalized citizens using their status to bring as many relatives as possible under the law. Sen. Ted Kennedy was a big backer of this bill, which was purported to have "no impact" on the demographics of the nation by it's proponents. They were wrong.

Twenty years or so later, Pres. Reagan signed the Simpson-Mazzoli immigration act. He called it "amnesty," and I remember accepting it, as I was still somewhat liberal at the time. What was 3 million more people to assimilate into our culture? Unfortunately, the liberal "family reunification" visa rules, among many other loopholes, weren't closed in that legislation, and the enforcement provisions were rarely enforced. The result is our current 12-20 million illegalI immigrants, some 20 years later. It appears that officials and lawmakers in several levels and branches of government, and of both parties, have been complicit in violations of Simpson-Mazzoli, which is the current immigration law.

This all sets the stage for our current immigration debate. It's 20 years since this has been considered worth serious debate by the US Congress. Michael Barone thinks that it is a step in the right direction: "Uncles, aunts, grandmothers and cousins would no longer get as much preference as they've had - people with high skills would get more." He continues: "The Kennedy-Kyl immigration compromise, now under attack from many conservatives and some liberals, attempts to steer the immigration ship in the direction of regularization, enforcement that actually works and toward skill-based rather than family-based immigration. At least if they get the details right." That last qualifier is what I focus on.

This legislation is filled with "gobbledy-gook," which is a nonscientific term for misleading and contradictory language within the bill. I know this without reading the bill, thanks to John Podhoretz, from the NY Post:" Here's a doozy, uncovered by talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt. While the bill starts off with language that suggests no goodies will flow to illegals until the border is strengthened by fencing and more patrol agents, other language - 260 pages later - seems to remove the trigger from the trigger mechanism."

No wonder the Senate sponsors wanted to ram this through outside of the committee process, and without open floor debate. It's a typical "back room" deal; the kind the public wouldn't stand for, if the details were debated in a transparent manner (say, on CSPAN). Perhaps it has become more of a negotiating position than an actual proposal, now that it will be debated on the Senate floor. It also has to be reconciled with whatever Speaker Pelosi cooks up in the House, so I find all of the hype about this to be premature speculation.

Here's an interesting anecdote from Jack Kelly:

Lou Barletta was elected Tuesday to a third term as mayor of Hazleton, a
city of about 31,000 in northeastern Pennsylvania. Such an election normally
would attract little national attention. But members of the U.S. Senate would be
well advised to pay close attention to it.

A Republican, Mr. Barletta won his own primary, 1,343 votes to 80, in what
the local newspaper, the Standard-Speaker, said "appears to be the biggest
landslide in city history."

Mr. Barletta also won the Democratic primary, as a write-in candidate. He
received 1,211 votes to 699 for the Democrat on the ballot, his predecessor as
mayor.

What accounts for Mayor Barletta's amazing popularity in a city where
registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 2-1?

Last August Hazleton passed ordinances which impose a $1,000 a day fine on
any landlord in the city who rents to an illegal immigrant, and revokes for five
years the business license of any employer who hires one. Prospective renters
would be required to appear at city hall with proof of citizenship, or of a
legal right to be in America.

Another ordinance declares English to be Hazleton's official language. City
employees are forbidden to translate documents into other languages without
official authorization.

Mayor Barletta says the ordinances are necessary because illegal immigrants
have been driving up the crime rate and swamping the schools and the local
hospital. I think they are too severe. But the people of Hazleton evidently
disagree.


So do alot of others, around the country. They won't stand for the Senate's feeble attempt at so-called "comprehensive" immigration reform. Passions run high on this issue, and frankly, I'm surprised that some Senators thought they could pull this old trick. The bill seems to have some good parts, but who can be sure? Looking at the history of unintended results from the last few "immigration reform" acts, the American people deserve a clear explanation, and open legislative debate of the proposal. While I'm still hopeful that we will get that, this disgraceful politcal display by both parties makes me think about how to "throw the bums out!" -For the hundredth time.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

SARKOZY'S VICTORY: A LESSON FOR REPUBLICANS?

Sometimes I wonder about the French. Are they as "anti-US" as they are portrayed in the western (especially French and US) media? Apparently not. The people of France have elected Nicolas Sarkozy, a child of a Hungarian immigrant. He has been labeled "l'Americain" and "le copain de George W. Bush" by his Socialist opponents. His message was embraced by the French voters, though it was pro-US, overall. Even his disagreements with US policy are of a constructive nature.



There is a French legislative election coming up, which will determine how much in accord they will be with his policies. His election is being well-received in the US, and the UK. Surprisingly, this gives him political capital at home in France. The French may think they gave the Socialists enough of a "slap" by electing Sarkozy to elect a leftist legislature. As I said, I wonder about the French.



There are many aspects of Sarkozy's victory that resonate to US conservatives. He is at least as revolutionary in France as Reagan was in the US in 1980. The change from a half-century of leftist influence, even over his own party, is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich taking back the US House in '95. He is also friends with Rudy Giuliani, which brings up his impact on current US politics.



Salon. com has an interesting piece comparing Sarkozy to Rudy, titled IT'S SARKOZY TIME! It was written between the primary and runoff elections. For those who don't know, "It's Giuliani time" was supposedly yelled by NYPD officers in the assault on Abner Louima. Title notwithstanding, there is some good information there.




The tough-guy stance, the insensitive and outrageous pronouncements, the antagonizing of the underclass and the self-cast "man of action" persona -- how not to think of Rudy? Many of the problems faced by France today -- persistent unemployment, rising crime, a slowed economy -- reared their heads in New York before Giuliani was voted in.

...The Sarkozy/Giuliani parallel is one I am sure Sarkozy would relish, since Giuliani is as much known in France for his "travail admirable" in ridding New York of crime as for his handling of Sept. 11.

...An avowed Americanophile, Sarkozy paid Giuliani an informal yet well-publicized visit in the summer of 2002, right at the beginning of his first tenure as minister of the interior. Although no one knows what they talked about... many of his techniques as interior minister bear an uncanny similarity to those used by Giuliani as mayor.


I'm tempted to see this as a preview of a Rudy-Hillary race in the US, but that is only a dimly possible scenario at this point. The NY POST weighed in with WEASELS NO MORE?



... guess who won?


Civilization.



Nicolas Sarkozy's 53 percent to 47 percent victory over Socialist Ségolène Royal marked a sharp departure from France's Gaullist past. The shift could put that nation back in the international game - this time, on the right side.



Sunday's big losers?



Islamists, freeloaders, troublemakers and those whose "vision" doesn't go beyond blaming President Bush for all the world's woes. (The Post forgot the Socialists - Leav)


Sarko's plan to deal with these problems embraces distinctively conservative American themes: He wants to create jobs for immigrants - by trimming government, lowering taxes, cutting regulation and making markets freer.

He says, rightly, that France's 35-hour work week has devastated the economy - producing a nation of slouchers.

France won't instantly become America's best ami. Upcoming parliamentary elections will shape much of its short-term agenda. And Sarko himself may be at odds with America in several areas, such as his tendency toward protectionism and his views on global warming.

But France has made a turn; it's a start


This is another reason that I wonder about the French. When polls show the US, under George W. Bush is at our lowest point of popularity worldwide, How could France, of all nations, elect a professed fan of America, Rudy, and GWB. Maybe they're sending a message that they will do the opposite of whatever we do, in the French tradition. Amir Taheri has an interesting piece about Sarkozy, which the NY POST titled IN FRANCE, DUBYA WON AGAIN:



Sarkozy collected more votes than any other politician elected president of the French republic and captured a number of cities and regions that had voted on the left for the past 60 years.

Efforts by the left to portray Sarkozy as a "Bushiste" started last September when the candidate visited Washington for a 40-minute tete-à-tete with President Bush. Pictures of their handshake were distributed throughout France by a group calling itself Tout Sauf Sarkozy ("Anyone But Sarkozy").


Sarkozy gave his foes more ammunition when, after meeting Bush, he spoke of France's "arrogance" during the 2002 debate on the liberation of Iraq.



At times, the left gave the impression that the election was more of a referendum on relations with America than on France's future. Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal attracted a string of anti-American figures from across Europe, starting with Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, who spoke of his dream of a Socialist axis between Paris and Madrid.



By January, Sarkozy was coming under strong pressure from his friends and advisers to distance himself from America and Bush. He refused. Instead, in his only major speech on foreign policy, he insisted that repairing relations with Washington, wrecked by outgoing President Jacque Chirac and Premier Dominique de Villepin, would be a priority of a Sarkozy administration.



This resonates with me as a lesson for the Republican party, here in the US, especially the "anyone but Sarkozy (Bush) " part. Democrats push the idea that we are more unpopular in "the world" than ever, with France as the leading example. As Ralph Peters opines in A VOTE FOR CHANGE:


...[I]t's vital to note that French Socialists vilified Sarkozy for his hard line on satellite-slum lawlessness, but he was the only candidate who offered serious proposals to educate and employ brown- and black-skinned residents of France.



Sarkozy believes in affirmative action - but without the baggage of political correctness. Little Nic has a genuine social conscience. He just doesn't believe that empty words and narcotic welfare programs are more humane than opportunity and a paycheck.



On foreign policy, Sarkozy will be a friend of Israel, rejecting the anti-Semitism and pro-Arab idiocy of recent French administrations. (I wouldn't want to be that French diplomat who dismissed Israel as a "sh---y little country.")



The president-elect's even willing to take a fresh approach to Africa, where French economic and military imperialism never ceased after colonies gained a phony independence (Paris no longer paid the bills, but still collected the profits).



According to Sarko, the French military's "job is not to stabilize regimes [or] back leaders solely because they might be pro-French." To the foreign-policy Ancien Regime, this is Jacobinism - they can hear the carts rumbling toward the Place de la Concorde.




Monsieur le president-to-be is even honest about the destructive effect French monkey business has had on Ivory Coast, once the jewel of West Africa and now the country where "we run the risk of having bad relations with everyone" with nothing achieved.




He's also willing to confront Russia's Putin regime with its misdeeds.



Sarkozy could turn out to be the most revolutionary leader on the other side of the Atlantic since Margaret Thatcher. Time will tell. But at least we'll have a French leader whose first instinct isn't to lecture us about how stupid we are.



If France and America can work together constructively on foreign policy and security matters, it will be a great thing for Western civilization.



And I'm personally grateful to Nicolas Sarkozy and the voters who elected him: I can finally go back to Paris - without feeling that I'm subsidizing an enemy every time I pay a restaurant bill.



Ralph Peters' wife insists, against all contrary evidence, that he's a secret Francophile.


Peters has some stinging insights about Sarkozy, and French society.


Pres. Sarkozy triumphed over an official Socialist candidate, instead of the "stealth" Socialists that we face here in the US. Republicans should take a page from Sarkozy's playbook. We cannot be ruled by threats of "protests" from vocal "minorities," especially when they advocate more of the same policies that put them in the situation that they are "protesting."



PS: Ya gotta love that France catches on to this idea at this point in time. Is it the "Reagan revolution" in a time warp, or does it really portend a profound change in the world's moral compass? Has GW Bush's "folly" paid off, in the long run? What else could a French Socialist think? Does this benefit Rudy, or Republicans in general? Time will tell.


Friday, May 04, 2007

NYCLU, GOV. SPITZER "STEAMROLLED" ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

NY Gov. Spitzer "Becomes First Governor in Nation to Introduce Same-Sex Marriage Bill," according to this latest email I got from the NYCLU:


With the support of the Civil Liberties Union and an array of other progressive organizations, Gov. Spitzer introduced a bill to allow same-sex couples equal access to marriage. In response to the governor's April 27 announcement, Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle said: "Governor Spitzer stands with scores of state senators and assembly members who support marriage equality. He also stands with hundreds of leaders of faith from across the state and hundreds of thousands of union members from some of the state’s largest labor federations on this issue of fairness and equality. The state legislature now needs to get behind the majority of New Yorkers who believe it’s time to act to end discrimination against loving same-sex couples and our families."




Unfortunately for the NYCLU, the numbers just aren't there to pass this bill, in either house of the legislature. If the Governor cared about equal rights, he would have proposed "civil union" legislation, instead. That wouldn't have been the "non-starter" that his "marriage" bill is. Why did he come out with this divisive bill, at this time? Here's why:



Gov. Spitzer procaimed himself a "steamroller" before the election. He was, at that time. Since his election, he has been "steamrolled" by both the Rep. Senate, and the Dem. Assembly. He hasn't handled this well, and has turned to the left, trying to make his next defeat a cause celebre, on the national stage. I don't see it helping him much, with allies like the NYCLU.



The simplest take on this is that, much faster than the previous occupant of the office, Gov. Spitzer seems to be "owned" by the liberal interests. Any "reform" of the corruption in Albany is a far-away dream. I think that his "everything changes" theme has been replaced by "kiss the boot of the most left-wing cause you can find." The worst part is that true progress could have been made, with a more moderate bill. New Jersey has civil unions, already.



The "same-sex marriage" bill looks like another diversionary political tactic. Has anyone else noticed that NYS Att'y. Gen. Cuomo's first "big" investigation is of colleges across the nation, who get "student loan assistance" from banks with branches in NY? How is it that the NY AG has the resources to subpoena college officials from around the country, but not look into political influence peddling in Albany? Wasn't this both his and Gov. Spitzer's mandate? Not anymore.



Neither of these guys have any more concern for changing the corrupt system in Albany than they have for the rights of same-sex couples. They have one mandate: staying in power.



Politicians like Gov. Spitzer are getting support from "non-political" groups like the NYCLU on an unprecedented scale, in the internet age. The email excerpted above is an example. I write posts like this to expose the incestuous relationship between the NY/ACLU, and liberal politicians like Gov. Spitzer. Politicians are slaves to the corrupt special interests, which in NY are of a severely liberal bent.



As for the Albany corruption, it won't change. That was among the foregone conclusions of the last election, and one which I predicted, along with Spitzer's "coronation." I secretly held out some hope that he could get some bipartisan support for real change. My bad. Instead, I get NYCLU promotions of my Governor dodging the real problems in NYS with an ill-advised political grasp to the left.



The NYCLU, their associated liberal groups, have their new pawn: Gov. Spitzer. I can only hope that the voters of NYS will see this as the naked political ploy that it is, and condemn him for it.


...among other things...