Just as Obama vows to ignore federal law, the California State Bar vows to ignore state law

In ordinary times, criminals disregard the law.  In the PC Obama era, however, elected officials and state government agencies don’t have much use for the law either.  Take Obama, for example.  Contrary to the original headlines regarding Obama’s newly discovered immigration rights, Obama’s recent announcement regarding illegal immigration isn’t an executive order.  Instead, it’s simply an abandonment of his executive responsibilities, insofar as he has now publicly announced that he refuses to enforce the laws that the legislative branch has passed.  He’s still King Obama, taking the law in his own hands but, instead of making the law, he’s breaking the law.

It turns out that, in Obama’s America, the federal executive branch is not the only government agency that has no use for explicit laws.  In California, the State Bar is vigorously arguing that it doesn’t need no stinkin’ laws either.  Let’s begin this discussion with the law itself.

Under California law (Calif. Bus. & Prof. Code sec. 6068), a licensed attorney is obligated to support both federal and state laws:

It is the duty of an attorney do to all of the following:

(a) To support the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this state.

Attorneys cannot plead ignorance of this requirement, as they must expressly state this obligation as part of the oath of office they take as a prerequisite to becoming fully licensed (Calif. Bus. & Prof. Code sec. 6067):

I solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counselor at law to the best of my knowledge and ability.

Put simply, California requires that, to practice as an attorney, the licensee must orally and explicitly promise that he or she will to support, not break, either state or federal law.

With this in mind, how in the world can the State Bar of California argue that an illegal immigrant should become a licensed attorney?  Shouldn’t both the Bar’s and the newly licensed attorney’s first obligation be to turn the attorney in for violating explicit federal immigration laws?

An illegal immigrant who passes the bar exam and demonstrates good moral character should be eligible to practice law, the State Bar has declared in a court filing.

The bar, which oversees California’s 225,000 lawyers, told the state Supreme Court on Monday that federal law leaves regulation of the legal profession largely up to the states and does not appear to prohibit Sergio C. Garcia, 35, of Chico from obtaining an attorney’s license.

[snip]

The court cited two federal laws as potential obstacles. One prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving any “state or local public benefit,” including a professional license provided by a “state agency.” The other prohibits employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

In Monday’s filing, the bar said the first law doesn’t apply because the court is a branch of state government, not a “state agency.” In 1995, the bar noted, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal courts aren’t government agencies.

[snip]

“There is no reason to believe he cannot take the oath and faithfully uphold his duties as an attorney,” the bar said. It said the policy considerations are similar to those the California court addressed in 1972, when it declared unconstitutional a state law requiring attorneys to be U.S. citizens.

It’s pure sophistry to say that the federal laws don’t apply just because the California court system is a self-regulated branch of state government.  This argument ignores entirely the fact that California’s own law, which does indeed govern, imposes upon attorneys the obligation to support the Constitution.  The Constitution, in turn, is the umbrella for federal legislation.  The same sophistry holds true when it comes to comparing legal immigrants, who have not violated any laws on their way into the country, with illegal immigrants, whose very presence is an offense to law.

What’s going on here is open-and-above-board, so it’s we’re not concerned here with ordinary “cash corruption.”  That is, this is not a situation in which a private citizen makes a payment to a government official in return for the latter’s promise to look the other way.

What we have here is worse.  We are witnessing a profound ethical corruption that sees public institutions deliberately flouting their own laws.  This is a dangerous slippery slope.  Once the reliability of law is gone, the only thing left is despotism or anarchy, with the former being the tyranny of an individual or group and the latter being the tyranny of the mob.  When political officials expressly ignore the law, they are no better than ordinary criminals.  What’s being stolen, though, is more valuable than money or jewels.  It’s the essence of our liberty.

 

King Obama’s executive fiat on illegal immigration — Open Thread

I assume that you all know by know that President Obama has issued an executive order granting amnesty to young illegal immigrants.  It’s a clever move.  Marco Rubio had already proposed something similar, so Obama can say that at least some smart Republicans are already on board with the idea.  The move will presumably cement Hispanic voters to his side, which could be a very big deal in Florida, where some Jewish voters are looking askance at Obama.  Any Republican objections will be touted as Republican racism.

There are some downsides, though.  Congress might get testy at having Obama’s challenge to its authority.  The question is whether Democrats in Congress will be sufficiently testy to challenge their President in an election year.  My guess is that they will not, so the only “nay” voices will come from Republicans — who will then be charged with covert racism that they’re hiding behind a thin procedural screen.  Never mind the Constitution, of course.  Only racists care about that document anyway.

There are two demographics, though, as to which Obama might have been too smart by half:  blacks and unions.  As to both, cheap Hispanic labor is a threat.  In a time of seemingly intractable unemployment, for Obama to pour new competition into the market, rather than to create new jobs, might be a mistake.  I’m sure, though, that the Obama-ites have already examined this problem and concluded that any potential black voter or union hemorrhage is more than offset by increases in Hispanic votes.

I said in the post caption that this is an Open Thread and I meant it.  What’s your take?

What does Europe’s coming collapse mean when it comes to the Muslim immigrants?

For years at this blog (and others) when we’ve written about Europe’s problems, we’ve focused primarily, not on the economy, but on those Muslim immigrants.  One of the things that we talked about a lot was the fact that these same Muslim immigrants subsisted largely on public benefits.

This little tidbit emerged with force during the riots in France, when we first learned that the banlieues that housed the rioters were welfare cities.  The European paradigm was for Muslims to show up, from Pakistan, from Turkey, from North Africa, and to be showered with the European’s post-colonial guilt payments.

So I have a question for you:  What’s going to happen with all those Muslim immigrants now that Europe is broke?  Riots?  Civil War?  Quiet retreats back to their home countries?

The news out of England *UPDATED*

A few stories from England’s Daily Mail, all showing that the country is not in the best of health.  Each of these stories highlights, not the horrible things individuals can do, because those crimes transcend national boundaries, but the way in which England has rendered itself unable to react in any way to the insults occurring within its borders.

1.  An Eritrean national who helped plot an attempted jihad-inspired mass murder in England is not only free after serving just half his sentence, but the Brits cannot deport him for fear of violating his human rights.  Interestingly, concern about human rights didn’t seem to impinge on his activities when he helped the would-be bombers.

2.  Somehow England’s best, brightest and Leftest minds were unable to figure out that open immigration would depress wages.  This is what years of Leftist higher education will do to you — make you stupid.

3.  As a child, I remember reading that Soviet hospitals had something in common with medieval hospitals:  if your relatives weren’t there to take care of you, you died.  Turns out that you don’t have to be in a hardcore Communist nation or a medieval time warp for that to open.  Just go to England.  Soft socialism will do exactly the same bad job for you.

4.  Human rights don’t stop with Jihadists.  True blue axe-murdering Brits get their day in the sun too, as was the case with an axe murder with three notches on his blade who was nevertheless allowed out of prison to attend a course in chopping down trees.  Once an axe lover, always an axe lover, I guess.

UPDATE:  Sadie just sent me the worst article of all, one explaining better than anything else could, how Britain has arrived at this state:

From the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz to Meg, the good witch from the Meg and Mog children’s books, witches have always dressed in black.

But their traditional attire has now come in for criticism from equality experts who claim it could send a negative message to toddlers in nursery and lead to racism.

Instead, teachers should censor the toy box and replace the pointy black hat with a pink one, while dressing fairies, generally resplendent in pale pastels, in darker shades.

Another staple of the classroom – white paper – has also been questioned by Anne O’Connor, an early years consultant who advises local authorities on equality and diversity.

Children should be provided with paper other than white to drawn on and paints and crayons should come in “the full range of flesh tones”, reflecting the diversity of the human race, according to the former teacher.

Read the rest here.

And one more from Sadie:  police ban cafe owner from displaying Christian literature (including the Bible) and images, as they are an offense to public order.  The next thing, presumably, will be a raid on Buckingham Palace.  I’ve heard there’s an old woman living there who actually claims to be the head of a Christian church in England.  (I feel a satirical post coming on, if I can just keep my comic mojo going.)

Taxes, government dependency and happiness

Two interesting things rolled across my desk today, interesting because they address the same topic — dependence on Big Government — but reach diametrically opposite conclusions.  The first is a Dennis Prager column that examines why American conservatives are happier than American liberals.  This isn’t just Dennis’ opinion, by the way.  Instead, several recent polls have shown that, on the whole, conservatives are happier people.

Dennis opines that the matter essentially boils down to a few key differences in outlook.  One is a sense of victimhood.  In America, those who turn to the government for succor are those who feel betrayed by the American system, whether because they’re blacks invested in the notion of racism, or people of any color feeling that they haven’t succeeded in the American system as they deserved.  Another is the notion of utopianism.  Liberals believe in perfectibility, and are constantly disappointed; conservatives recognize flaws, and are always thrilled to live in the society that best harnesses negative human traits and gives the most rein to positive traits.  Conservatives are also more generous — they give their money away to causes, rather than waiting for the government to take it.  That affects how they feel about their own contributions to societal good.

The other article that came to me, via a very Progressive facebook friend, is one by Thom Hartmann that argues in favor of huge taxes on the rich, with the assurance that, in Denmark, people are happy because they pay such high taxes, with the rich taking the greatest hit, but not feeling it, while everyone else gets cheap, high-quality government services.  It’s a very sophisticated argument, and often a correct one, about the differing effect taxes have on the rich and the poor.

As I understand it, Hartmann argument boils down to this.  The rich earn far more than they can ever spend.  This means that taxes affect only their non-discretionary income, not their discretionary income.  If they’re taxed more, they might save less, but it won’t affect the money they spend annually on both life’s necessities and its reasonable frivolities.  The non-rich, however, spend everything they earn after taxes.  If taxes are raised, they have less after-tax money to spend, which hurts them.  BUT (and this is the kicker), Hartmann contends that, invariably, the market adjusts so that, after a few years, the non-rich end up getting from their employers precisely the same amount in adjusted dollars to bring them to spending parity with their situation before the tax increase.

This means, says Hartmann that, if top marginal tax rates are increased, only the rich will suffer.  Everyone else will remain the same, except that the government will have hugely greater number of dollars at its disposal for free health care and education. Further, the less money the rich people have to throw around, the more stable the economy is, because it prevents bubbles.  This means that there is no great wealth creation, but there are no collapses either.

A large chunk of the article is concerned with trying to figure out why non-rich people are so stupid that they don’t want to tax the rich at a higher rate, considering that, in the long run, higher rates will leave non-rich people with pretty much the same amount of disposable income.  Scaife comes into all of this, of course, as does the Heritage Foundation, William Kristol, and the usual conservative suspects. I found that part of the article uninteresting.  When Hartmann got back to substance, he started making thought-provoking points again.

Thus, Hartmann asserts that, if you increase tax rates, government actually shrinks, which is what sensible conservatives should want.  I can’t summarize the argument adequately, so let me quote it here:

From 1985 until 2008, William A. Niskanen was the chairman of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, and before 1985 he was chairman of Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and a key architect of Reaganomics. He figured out something that would explode Reagan’s head if he were still around. Looking at the 24-year period from 1981 to 2005, when the great experiment of cutting taxes (Reagan) then raising them (Bush Sr. and Clinton) then cutting them again (Bush Jr.) played out, Niskanen saw a clear trend: when taxes go up, government shrinks, and when taxes go down, government gets bigger.

Consider this: You have a clothing store and you offer a “50 percent off” sale on everything in the store. What happens? Sales go up. Do it for a few years and you’ll even need to hire more workers and move into a larger store because sales will continue to rise if you’re selling below cost. “But won’t the store go broke?” you may ask. Not if it’s able to borrow unlimited amounts of money and never—or at least not for 20 years or more—pay it back.

That’s what happens when we have unfunded tax cuts. Taxpayers get government services—from parks and schools to corporate welfare and crop subsidy payments—at a lower cost than they did before the tax cuts. And, like with anything else, lower cost translates into more demand.

This is why when Reagan cut taxes massively in the 1980s, he almost doubled the size of government: there was more demand for that “cheap government” because nobody was paying for it. And, of course, he ran up a massive debt in the process, but that was invisible because the Republican strategy, called “two Santa Clauses,” is to run up government debt when in office and spend the money to make the economy seem good, and then to scream about the debt and the deficit when Democrats come into office. So while Reagan and W were exploding our debt, there wasn’t a peep from the right or in the media; as soon as a Democrat was elected (Clinton and Obama), both the right-wingers and the corporate media became hysterical about the debt.

And when Clinton raised taxes so that people actually started paying the true cost of government (a balanced budget as in the years 1999 and 2000), they concluded that they didn’t need as many services, so government actually shrank—in terms of both cost and the number of federal employees.

As a non-economist, I have to admit that what Hartmann says makes a certain amount of superficial sense.  I suspect, though, that there’s more to it.  For example, Laffer’s curve may be involved.  That says that lower tax rates create greater wealth, which actually increases government revenue.  With greater government revenue, profligate politicians and greedy citizens have more to play with. The problem, then, isn’t the tax structure; it’s the boondoggles, and earmarks, and “other people’s money” syndrome that inevitably plagues an organization that lacks fiscal discipline.

My core problem with Hartmann’s whole premise, though, is that it works because his allusion to Denmark shows that what he really wants is a world in which the government is responsible for all income that’s not dedicated to life’s necessities.  Under the current American system, that “excess” money that the “rich” have floating around — the money that Hartmann thinks the government should take and redistribute — is money that goes to banks that lend it to future homeowners and entrepreneurs; it goes into businesses that hire people; and it goes into funding innovation that improves people’s lives.

Having wealth circulate in the marketplace increases the risks of a slap happy economy, but it also vastly increases the possibilities of life improvement.  It increases innovation and, yes, greed, which is a powerful motivator.  In the Scandinavian countries, which until recently had stunningly homogeneous populations, no defense budgets, and no sense of obligation to the rest of the world (which we, in the U.S., heavily fund), it’s easy to have a tight little loop of shiny, clean, teeny houses; lean, mean Danish modern furniture; health care for that homogeneous population; and an almost zero track record on innovations that improve life for most of the world’s population.

Hartmann envisions a world in which everyone is happy with a brightly colored Danish modern version of very little.  Hartmann also fails to take into account dynamic populations.  The Scandinavian countries worked so well for so long because they were populated by people with precisely the same values and precisely the same life habits, habits that happened to be particularly neat and self-disciplined.  The tremors are starting, though, as these same countries struggle to deal with newcomers who have nothing in common with this nice, neat, egalitarian very white world view.  The welfare scams, violence, polygamy, cultural incest, etc., that the Muslim populations are bringing to Denmark and Sweden, and other northern countries, are all going to place a very interesting burden on these happy little taxpayers who could always rely on each other for homogeneity and on Papa America for world stability.

Before being quite so smug, places such as Sweden and Denmark might want to cast a jaundiced eye on Holland and Britain and France, all of which started with less homogeneous populations than the northern countries; all of which have had a head start on the challenging task of incorporating Muslims into their closed world views; and two of which (Britain and France) actually had to set aside defense budgets.  Hartmann, too, might want to consider that America is Holland, Britain, France, etc., on speed when it comes to population diversity; constant immigration; and defense spending upon which the entire Western world has relied since 1942.

At bottom, I’d rather be a happy American iconoclast, living with a fairly low level of risk (heck, we’re not yet Argentina, Greece or Ireland) and wedded to the infinite possibilities of a dynamic economy that trusts the innovation and drive individuals, rather than coping with a government’s overarching static, inefficient bureaucracy.  I’d also rather be in a surging country that, better than any place in the world, incorporates incomers, even illegal ones, as opposed to a country that is, for the first time, has to deal with profound outsider disruptions to its cozy little system.  I’m happy here.  Not droned, not pacified, not opiated, but happy.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

A perfect illustration of how the Left counterattacks

The mosque debate in America has been instructive when it comes to Leftist rhetorical tactics.  Ordinary Americans make an argument — “the mosque is inappropriate on secular sacred ground.”  The Left then responds, not substantively, but with personal attacks — “you’re racist, Islamophobic, xenophobic and stupid.”

If you think this approach to debate is limited to the American Left, think again.  Precisely the same thing is playing out in Germany.  There, Thilo Sarrazin, a German central bank board member and former senior city official in Berlin, has given an interview and published a book, both of which carry the same message:  Germany is being destroyed by its Muslim immigrants, who take a disproportionate amount of welfare relative to their contributions, who do not contribute to the nation’s intellectual life, and who are having children at a much faster rate than the Germans themselves.

The Leftist response has been predictable.  They’ve produced carefully detailed statistics showing the major economic and social contributions that Muslim immigrants are making to Germany society, and proved that the birthrate argument is a fallacy.  In the face of these reasoned arguments, Sarrazin has backed down.  They’ve hurled myriad personal insults at Sarrazin, and threatened his right to free speech:

Sarrazin’s comments have also made waves outside of the SPD. Green Party head Cem Özdemir called Sarrazin a “tribal leader in the mold of bin Laden” in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE and said that he has done a “disservice to efforts aimed at improving the dramatic social inequalities in our country, and not just among immigrants.” He said he was disappointed because “the ongoing debate over mutual expectations of Germans and immigrants is much more rational than Sarrazin makes it seem.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel is likewise unimpressed. Through her spokesman Steffen Seibert, she said on Wednesday that Sarrazin’s offerings were “extremely injurious, defamatory and very polemical.” She also called them “completely unhelpful” and said that “a different tone is necessary.”

[snip]

Following Sarrazin’s comments last autumn, the SPD began proceedings to kick him out of the party, but the attempt failed in March. He was, however, disciplined by the German Central Bank, which stripped him of his previous responsibility for cash management as a result of the Lettre International interview. It is unclear whether the SPD will make another effort to strike him from the rolls.

No matter in which country you drop a Leftist, he’s still a Leftist, committed to doctrinal purity regardless of objective reality.

The problem is Washington, D.C. — by guestblogger Sally Zelikovsky

[Note from Bookworm:  As of now, the video embed of Pete Stark you'll see in the post below has only 97 hits.  It should have a million hits.  Pete Stark is, and always has been, an exceptionally nasty piece of work.  However, Democratic acts in Washington make it clear that what he says is what they think.  Also, please note his disdain and dislike for the people he represents and for Americans in general.  And now, back to Sally....]

Do you doubt whether or not your representatives are listening to you?

Do you question their sincerity in doing their job?

Do you wonder if they truly understand what their responsibilities are in representing their districts in Washington DC?

Do you suspect that your representative has nothing but disdain for the average American citizen?

Do you hear rumors about representatives maligning and mocking their constituents, not taking them seriously and being woefully misinformed on the issues important to every day Americans, the guys and gals on Main Street?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then watch this representative in action and see for yourself, firsthand, what Washington DC thinks of you.

The problem is not Main Street or Wall Street.  It’s Pennsylvania Avenue and Capitol Hill!

[Bookworm here again:  For those of you who don't know who Sally Zelikovsky is, especially those of you who are Bay Area conservatives, please check out the Bay Area Patriots website, which is her baby -- and a lovely baby it is.]

Sitting on my spindle *UPDATED*

For the past two days, I’ve been gathering links that I’ve meant to use in stand-alone posts.  That’s clearly not going to happen, though, so let me pass the links onto you, in the hope that you find them as interesting as I did.

Here’s something of a public service announcement:  if you post your phone number in Facebook, your phone number has suddenly become public property.  Please be careful.

Has Sarah Palin acquired a stalker or a legitimate journalist?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Elvis Costello joins the ranks of useful idiots to boycott Israel.  One Israeli politely takes him to task for his ignorance and inhumanity.

Much as the press loves Obama, Obama does not love the press.  They’ll never abandon his ship, though.  Even if they have unexpectedly found themselves traveling in steerage, when they thought they’d booked first class accommodations, he’s still taking them to their socialist port of choice.

Have other presidents blown off Memorial Day?  Even if they have, it still isn’t as tacky as Obama’s having done so, because no other president has ever shown such manifest disdain and disrespect for the American military.  This isn’t a one-off.  It’s a package deal of giving the middle finger to the troops he commands.  [UPDATE:  At American Thinker, they get it.]

Heather MacDonald points to the Emperor’s Nakedness:  all the huffing and puffing about the Arizona law hides the fact that Democrats desperately don’t want to enforce border security.  They will willingly watch terrorists sneak into the country, they will watch drug dealers destroy our cities, they will see masses of immigrants ruin our economy — all before they will give up the possibility of millions of new Democratic party-line voters.

If you live in North Carolina’s Second District, you should find interesting this interview with Republican candidate Renee Ellmers, another woman who found politics through the Tea Parties.

Nihilism and, inevitably, anarchy.  Is that the world’s future?  In a post-Judeo-Christian world, Dennis Prager thinks it may well be.  America used to be the single brake against this trend, but Obama’s America has jumped upon the bandwagon.

I have no idea why it’s a surprise to learn that, the more government spends, the more businesses retrench rather than joining the spending party.  Business people understand what liberal policy wonks don’t:  all that spending has to be paid for by taxes; all those taxes suck money out of the economy; and an economy with no money is a perilous business environment.  The fact that it took a scholarly study to figure this one out tells us just how removed from reality the Ivory Tower crowd is.  [UPDATE:  Just wanted to add one more thing.  I'm reading Jaques Barzun's The Culture We Deserve for my (conservative) reading group.  I'm only two essays in, but he's already explained perfectly why I loathed the liberal arts program at UC Berkeley when I was a student there in the very early 1980s.  I've always been a member of the true reality-based community.  I therefore never had the stomach for the artificiality of academia.  People don't live in petri dishes.  They live in the real world, with real problems and, most importantly, real cause and effect.]

Great.  The EPA is planning on managing plants in Texas.  This should go well (see my previous paragraph).

Berkeley students begin hunger strike to protest Arizona law

I’ve never understood hunger strikes.  That is, I’ve never found them a compelling means of moral persuasion.  To me, they’re a form of emotional blackmail in lieu of reasoned argument.  Still, that doesn’t stop their popularity, and some Berkeley students are now abstaining from food to protest an Arizona law that gives Arizona law enforcement the right to enforce federal law.

Given that a strong majority of Americans support Arizona’s law (perhaps because they have a better understanding of the law and the chaos in Arizona border communities than do Berkeley’s perpetually agitated and undereducated students), I foresee the students either eating or dying without having any effect whatsoever on public policy.

The passive aggressive selfishness and racism of the open borders crowd *UPDATED*

The next big thing on the political agenda is, again, immigration “reform.”  As someone said, it’s 2006 all over again, right down to the conveniently available, often Communist-provided signs.

The matter might have sat around for a little longer, but Arizona pulled the trigger on debate by looking at its impressive levels of border crime and welfare, and then enacting a law that authorizes it to act within the parameters of existing federal law regarding illegal immigration.  The Progressives (and by now that means most of the loud mouths in the Democratic party) are incensed.  They’re likening Arizona to Nazi Germany for having the temerity to ask people to show their citizenship papers.  Given the point of origin for most illegal immigrants (hint:  it’s not Denmark), those most likely to be asked are Hispanics.  Quell coincidence!

Rush, of course, instantly pointed out the most obvious hypocrisy behind the Progressive hue-and-cry:  Progressives have enacted and strenuously support a law requiring every American citizen to show papers to the IRS or risk a fine; but they are shocked beyond measure that a state rife with crime may want to enforce pre-existing law that allows them to ask people to prove that they even belong in the country in the first place.

“Belonging in the country” is where things really get interesting.  As best as I can tell, the Open Borders crowd is convinced that the illegals here do really belong in the country.  Whether they’re making hopey-changey arguments; or “we Hispanics were here first” arguments (a line of argument that actually applies only to Native Americans, with everyone else being an invader); or “we’ve imposed so much misery on oppressed people of the world we deserve to suffer” arguments, the gist of the Progressive world view is that it’s simply unfair that people south of the Border live in poverty.

For purposes of this post, I’m going to accept the Progressive argument at face value:  it’s horribly unfair that people south of the Border live in countries rife with crime, sexual violence, drugs and poverty, when we have this perfectly nice, clean, relatively safe country just hovering north of them as a perpetual enticement.  And if you buy that it’s all our fault that they suffer so terribly down there, it’s even more unfair.

The easy answer, the answer the Progressive’s espouse, is simply to open the borders and let some of the tired, poor, huddled masses from down south pour in.  Not only will they get to live in a nicer place (if you think urban slums and crime ridden border towns are nicer), but we Americans will be forced to pay a perpetual penance in the form of fewer jobs for legal citizens, higher taxes to cover welfare for illegals, and increased crime rates everywhere illegals are.  We deserve to be punished, right?

What the Progressive’s refuse to recognize is that their cute little game of allow a continuous trickle of illegal aliens over the border is a cop-out.  No matter how many come in here, there are still a much larger number abandoned way back there.  And what’s even worse is that, by allowing utterly corrupt governments (Mexico comes to mind) to have this safety valve, we are giving those governments carte blanche to continue in their reckless, corrupt, abusive ways.  As long as we siphon off the poorest and, sometimes, the most criminal citizens, the same governments that are grossly abusing their citizens continue to get a free pass.

If Progressives actually wanted to make a change South of the Border, they’d close our border and start putting really serious pressure on Latin American countries to start engaging in true reform.  The Mexican government, denied a safety valve (plus the billions of dollars the illegals send home to float the Mexican economy), would have to reform or, probably, collapse.  Clearing out that rot, allow room for true reform and real Democratic impulses, would be the true gift we, as Americans, could give people South of the Border.

Right now, all that the shrill, abusive Progressive rhetoric is doing is propping up tyrants, demagogues, criminals and incompetents.  That the Progressives’ goal is to punish Americans, not to aid Latin American, is made manifest by the fact that they aggressively refuse to help the greater number of Hispanics repair the situation at home, choosing instead to abuse their own country by putting small percentages of Hispanics in ghettos in America, all the while implicitly and explicitly supporting the same horrible regimes that sent these people fleeing in the first place.

UPDATE:  Speaking of Mexico, Michelle Malkin explains how Mexico treats its illegal immigrants.  Unconstrained by PC guilt, it’s not pretty.  Also, it was the Anchoress who said it’s 2006 all over again, and now I’ve got a good link to that effect.

Help wanted regarding immigration statistics

I had a most fascinating (and surprisingly polite) discussion with a liberal the other day regarding illegal immigrants. My friend kept arguing that we owe the illegal immigrants in our country citizenship, welfare, health care, education, etc., because they’re here and we can’t humanely deny them access to those benefits. I argued that, if we denied illegal aliens protected workplaces, citizenship, welfare, health care, education, etc., they wouldn’t keep coming illegally to America. The same services his emotions tell him to provide for them are the incentives that bring them here in the first place.

My friend absolutely rejected my cause/effect argument. He said a minute number might be rational actors seeking all the benefits America provides, but the others come for “hope.” I responded that this “hope” is all tied up in the services we offer. And so this endless loop of a conversation kept rolling along, with him saying they’re coming anyway, so we should just ignore our sovereignty and owe them services, and I saying that they’re coming only because we give them services, and we have the right to control immigration.

I finally brought the conversation to an end when I said that history will reveal which came first in this chicken and egg argument: Did illegal immigration escalate when the courts ruled that America, instead of deporting immigrants, had to prevent employers from checking their immigration status, educate their children, give them full (as opposed to emergency) health care, and provide them with all welfare services? My bottom line was that, if those rulings sparked a huge uptick in illegal immigration, I am right, and the illegal immigrants are rational actors responding to American incentives. If one takes away those incentives one would dramatically decrease illegal immigration. Of course, if the statistic show the opposite — that the the ever increasing flow of benefits does not correlate to increased illegal immigration — my friend has a point, and I’ll have to revisit my theories.

The only problem is that I don’t quite know how to go about finding data matching welfare benefit outlays to the rate of illegal immigration. Google or Bing searches leave me inundated with information and I simply can’t process it all. Do any of you know of a single study or a single website that focuses on the long-term relationship between the freebies we offer and the flow across the border?

By the way, we did argue about myriad other immigration issues (mostly pure emotion versus rational sovereignty and economics), but he was really stuck on the fact that he believes they’ll come regardless of whether we make it easy or hard for them to be here, so that seemed like the best angle of education and attack.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Creating sympathy for illegal immigrants amongst middle schoolers

My daughter’s Spanish class has spent the last couple of days watching a movie.  I know many people who learned English by watching American television, so I don’t have a problem with using movies as a teaching device.  I do, however, have a big problem with the movie chosen — La Misma la Luna — which is a movie that uses the travails of a charming and pathetic little boy to make the case that our laws against illegal immigrants are cruel:

The film tells the story of Rosario (del Castillo), a mother who emigrated illegally to the United States, and her nine-year-old son, Carlitos (Alonso). Rosario and Carlitos have not seen each other in four years, when Carlitos was only five. Rosario, now living in Los Angeles, California, calls her son, still in Mexico, every Sunday. Carlitos lives in a small Mexican village with his sick grandmother. Carlitos encounters two immigrant transporters, Marta (Ferrera) and David (Garcia). When his grandmother passes away, he crosses the border with them. After getting separated, Carlitos continues the journey, pairing up with another illegal immigrant named Enrique. Although Enrique (Eugenio Derbez) initially refuses to help Carlitos, he soon grows a bond with him. One day, Carlitos is sleeping on a park bench and almost gets caught by the police but Enrique throws food at the police, getting caught instead. Carlitos flees and arrives at the bus stop from which his mother called him. He sees her across the street at the payphone, and they are reunited at last.

This is not just me being a conservative contrarian, with a knee-jerk reaction to anything that depicts illegal immigrants  positively or American immigration policies negatively.  Even the New York Times figured out that this movie is pro-immigration propaganda (although, typically, the Times writer seems most upset about the fact that the propaganda is too obvious to be effective):

“Under the Same Moon,” an “Incredible Journey” for the socially conscience-stricken, arrives in theaters trailing a standing ovation from last year’s Sundance Film Festival and more than a whiff of sanctimony. And even allowing that Sundance audiences are notoriously unreliable arbiters of quality — for every “Spanking the Monkey,” there’s a “Spitfire Grill” and a “Quinceañera” — their wholehearted embrace of this manipulative, saccharin product is dispiriting.

[snip]

This is screenwriting by numbers. Unlike, say, Ken Loach’s marvelous “Bread and Roses,” “Under the Same Moon” is too busy sanctifying its protagonists and prodding our tear ducts to say anything remotely novel about immigration policies or their helpless victims. The filmmakers know that middlebrow movie audiences prefer their thorny social issues served lite and with a side order of ham, an opportunity to shed happy tears and enjoy a guilt-free drive home to the (let us hope, legal) baby sitter.

“Under the Same Moon” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has bad white people, hard-working brown people and morally ambivalent people of mixed race.  (Emphasis mine.)

So here we have a movie that is such obvious propaganda that even people who agree with the message are offended by it, and this is the movie our local middle school chooses to show the 11, 12 and 13 year olds who are taking Spanish.

The fact that it’s being taught in a Spanish class is important.  Theoretically, if it was being taught in a Social Studies class, it would be part of a discussion about illegal immigration, national sovereignty, secure borders, social policy, etc.  (I say “theoretically” because, in American schools today, it’s just as likely to be used as a stirring battle cry to man the barricades against the INS agents).  In Spanish class, however, the kids just take it as it comes, all the while identifying with the plucky little boy separated from his mother only by America’s cruel laws.  The only bow to addressing the issue was a question, “What do you think of illegal immigration?” which the kids had to answer in their beginner Spanish.  My daughter, bless her heart, replied, “I think it’s a bad idea.”

The fact is that, whether the issue is illegal immigration, gay rights, or national security, there are always going to be people in a minority situation who do not benefit from the legal status quo and who are, in fact, hurt by it.  I’d be willing to bet that most (although certainly not all) illegal immigrants who come here are decent, hard-working people, who truly want to make a better life for themselves and their families.  Their sad stories, though, don’t change the fact that, collectively, their presence here is damaging to America’s well-being, nor do they change the fact that there is nothing morally wrong or unjust about a country protecting its borders, preserving its national sovereignty, and enforcing its laws.

The Left’s appeal to emotions — especially with kids as the symbol and the target — is what happens when you have a perpetually moving moral touchstone.  I’m reading Paul Johnson’s masterful A History of the Jews right now, and found interesting his discussion about the Jewish belief in a single all-powerful God who articulates huge moral precepts (and a bunch of very specific contractual rules), as opposed to the Pagan gods, who were completely random.  They were not fixed in name, location, principles, or anything.  Morality, such as it was, was always decided by the whim of the moment of the God of the moment.  There were rules, but there was no justice, at least as we understand it.

The same holds true with Leftist political positions, which emanate from feelings, not from fixed principles.  Whoever feels most strongly wins.  Sometimes those strong feelings march with morality, justice, common sense, and societal needs; and sometimes they don’t.  But they’re so seldom grounded in anything more than “I feel your pain.”  (Incidentally, I’m not arguing that beliefs grounded in traditional Judeo-Christian principles can’t and shouldn’t change.  The Jews themselves are a perfect example of moral and doctrinal development over the centuries.  I’m just arguing for fixed points other than “I feel your pain,” at least when we’re contemplating remaking society.)

Emotional angst is an especially good propaganda tool for young people.  Pre-teens and early teens live in a flurry of emotions anyway.  They are reasonable creatures, but that’s not their first response to any situation.  It takes work, patience, information and intelligence to create a fact-based, reasoned argument that will be comprehensible to a very young adult.  On the other hand, pathetic pictures of puppies, big-eyed kids and bad guys are instant winners for the younger set.  I hope that Scott Brown’s victory, which resulted from independent Americans really seeing the Left for the first time, marks a culture shift that has Americans more vigilant about the creeping Leftism, not in D.C., but in every school in America.

(I should add here that I acquit my children’s school of intentionally using this film as propaganda qua propaganda.  For these people, imbued in a Leftist world view, this movie is as American as Superman insofar as it has clearly delineated and, to them, entirely appropriately drawn good guys and bad guys.)