Posts Tagged ‘Legislation’

The Real Immigration Reform Legislation None Will Offer

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Go8 Bill Won’t Stop It

Throughout this debate on immigration reform, what has become clear is that so very few in Washington DC actually have any intentions of solving the problems.  As the Senate bill evinces, too many view the bill as an opportunity for “pork” while others view it as an opportunity to shift the polity of the country in their favor.  We won’t get real reform that will answer our problems so long as this is the case, because politicians don’t really solve problems so much as they tend to patch them and push them down the road for future legislators to tackle.  On the matter of immigration, there are a number of core problems that must be addressed as fundamental components to any alleged reform package.  It needn’t be complex, and it needn’t be left in the hands of political appointees or politicians.  We simply need a few honest laws that will be enforced uniformly and without exception.  First, let’s inventory the broad problems we face, and let us then discover if they’re so hard to solve as the DC crowd claims.

  • The border is too porous so that no enforcement measure will be effective
  • There are too many powerful magnets attracting immigrants who may not be willing to “stand in line”
  • There exists no serious effort to contend with those who are already in the US illegally
  • There are too many bureaucratic hurdles for people who are following the legal immigration procedures

These are significant problems, and there’s no way they will be addressed by the current Gang-of-Eight bill.  Even with the amendments that promise to improve the bill, it’s a completely disingenuous attempt to put one over on the American people, and it does nothing to address the four general points listed above.  In Washington DC, it seems easy to make anything complex, because everybody sticks their fingers into every pie, trying to get a slice for themselves, while being able to claim to have been instrumental to the process.  You and I don’t care about who gets credit, so long as things are fixed.  Here are some broad notions on how to address the points listed above:

Border security is a joke presently.  One can hardly expect to stem the tide of illegal immigrants if they’re pouring over our borders at an astonishing rate.  The CBO estimated that the current Gang-of-Eight bill will only slow the rate of border-crossings by between 20-25%, and that’s generously assuming all of the promised provisions are enforced.  In various pieces of legislation in the past, that has not been the case.  Invariably, the “new tough measures” are enacted, but they aren’t enforced, and no benefit is derived from all the hoopla.  Let us start from the basic premise that good fences make for great neighbors, and let us build a fence from end-to-end of our border.  To claim that a country capable of putting men in a dune-buggy on the Moon won’t be able to erect a reliable barrier across a border frontier on Earth is frankly preposterous, and any who claim this should be embarrassed.  A physical fence will not solve every problem, but it will serve as a line of demarcation between ours and theirs, and for many people, that is enough.  Enforcing a border is much easier for Border Patrol agents when a physical barrier exists, because just as it makes things clear for outsiders looking in, it makes things fairly black-and-white for our security personnel looking out. Giving our border security personnel the tools to more easily spot penetrations along that border will help to reduce the number of people entering the country illegally in the first instance, making it a good deal easier to contend with the rest of the list.

We have too many things drawing people across our borders.  Among them is our expansive and quite generous welfare state, while the other is employment.  What we must do is to curtail the availability of the first to those illegally in the United States.  While individual states can always do as they please, there is no reason not to attach Federal strings to our welfare-state, essentially telling states that if they wish to subsidize illegal immigrants, that’s a state matter, but that it may not be done with any funds from Federal coffers.   Insofar as job opportunities, we want America to become even more vibrant for businesses and job-seekers, but not to the extent that it endangers our civilization, our standard of living, or our security.  On this basis, we must make it somewhat less difficult to bring in guest workers, but we must raise the level of punishment for employers who hire illegals.  To take away their last excuse, we need to fully field the E-Verify system that was mandated by Federal law over one-and-one-half decades ago.  What we must also do is to ensure that guest workers don’t constitute a cost-savings over resident aliens or US citizens, so that we create a de facto “affirmative action” for guest workers that places our own citizens at a competitive disadvantage.  Once such a system is in place, employers should have no more reason to claim they hadn’t known, and that they too were victims of some sort of identity fraud.

There is a great deal of talk about additional Border Patrol agents, and while there’s little doubt that we need to augment current personnel, I think we need to discuss ICE agents if we’re going to contend with the number of illegals, particular criminals, who are already in the United States.  The Border Patrol doesn’t deal with illegal aliens who have penetrated much beyond the zone along the border, so that if you’re going to contend with the rest, you will be required to examine Immigrations and Customs Enforcement as the key area in which personnel must be augmented.  Another significant issue faced by existing ICE agents is that they are frequently hand-cuffed by executive branch policies and executive orders undoubtedly calculated to make their jobs harder.  This is where the real reform needs to come, because unless and until we’re willing to enforce all the laws already on the books, we have the de facto amnesty about which Marco Rubio and John McCain continue to blather incessantly.  This is a highly politicized issue in large measure because we have a President (and many others) who has no interest in enforcing the laws, since it serves his political purposes to bring as many illegal aliens as possible to our shores in the hope of eventually adding some percentage of them to the voter rolls.  There are many complicated subsidiary issues, like what to do about so-called “anchor babies,” and all of these other issues arising out of the fact that immigrants seldom remain here alone over the longer term, instead bringing in family and having children, oftentimes with people who are legally residing in the United States.  These complications make this part of any reform more difficult, but they do not make it impossible and it shouldn’t prevent us from enforcing the laws of the land.

Insofar as legal immigration is concerned, we have a process that is often subverted to the geopolitical purposes of whomever is in power at the time.  What should always be considered is whether issuing a visa to a particular immigrant is in the best interests of the United States and her people, and then establishing a firm set of rules under which this can occur.  Except in the most extreme cases, I do not think political asylum should be used in the way it has been in recent years.  Political asylum is the method by which the Tsarnaev brothers entered the United States, but it is clear that the elder Tamerlan was able to go back and forth to his homeland without much in the way of political impediment, in my view calling into question the legitimacy of the original request for asylum.  If one can largely come and go as one pleases, it seems that perhaps a normal immigration application is more suitable.  Instead, many people are permitted to seek asylum who may not really qualify by a strict understanding of the term.

There is no doubt that there is an extensive bureaucracy that acts as an encouragement to break our immigration laws when paired with other factors considered above.  We should set a quota based on what we believe is a reasonable number of new Americans each year, and in so doing, we should provide a little excess room since some number will somehow invalidate or waive the process, perhaps by criminal entanglements, or other matters.  Whatever that number is, we should permit one-fifty-second of that number to apply per week, with all their paperwork in good order, and fees paid, to begin the process of naturalization.  Our system has become too disorderly, and too chaotic, in large measure because we haven’t secured the border, so that our legal immigration system spends much of its time dealing with issues pertaining to illegals.  Another matter we should insist be addressed is an applicant’s suitability to be naturalized.  Simply put, if a given applicant isn’t adding something to the country, there should be no reason to consider the application.  We need to screen people applying to become legal immigrants with respect to their willingness to assimilate and contribute to our civilization.  If they’re not willing or able, why should we let them come in?

I think immigration is an important driver to the continued improvement of our nation, but I hardly think that quantity should be permitted to overrun quality.  There are too many good potential Americans in the world who wish to come here and who are willing to do so by legal means to let all comers into our country ahead of them.  The world is bursting at the seams with people who would come here in good will, seeking freedom and opportunity who would happily join us in order to become Americans rather than simply arriving to reestablish their own cultures here.  That is the point of assimilation, and it’s the reason we should take care in screening who should be permitted to enter our country.

Accomplishing these in legislation would be a tremendous boon to the people of planet Earth who look to America for its liberty and prosperity, but it would also constitute a great benefit to the American people, because it would ensure that our system works, securing the country against invasion or subversion, while helping to blend into our melting pot a vast number of people who come to these shores with the singular notion of becoming Americans.  This would augment the exceptional character and nature of America, but after all, isn’t that what any serious immigration reform should provide?  It’s time we tell our legislators that America is not up for grabs, but that its doors are still open as the land of the free and the home of the brave.  In America, we’re always looking for a few good men and women, and there’s no reason whatever that we shouldn’t insist that our elected representatives comply fully with that demand, but they must do in a manner that balances the security interests of our nation.  The current Gang-of-Tr8ors immigration bill merely offers to make things worse.

Sadly, there is no chance that we will see an immigration bill of the sort that will actually resolve the problems most Americans recognize in our current system, so that if the House passes a bill, even if it appears tougher than the Senate bill, in conference, where they must rectify the differences between the two versions, the Senate bill will prevail.  For this reason, we simply must stop any immigration bill offered in this Congress.

 

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Obama Confesses Momentary Defeat

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Sore winner?

It’s true that President Obama didn’t verbally admit defeat as he announced his new measures and legislative agenda on gun violence(a.k.a. Gun Control,) but that is the meaning of his seemingly tepid measures to combat “gun violence.”  If the grotesque spectacle of the President of the United States reading letters allegedly from children isn’t enough, and delivering this while standing in front of children used entirely as a propaganda tool doesn’t go too far, then the idea that he would exploit the tragedies of Newtown, CT, or Aurora, CO as  impetus for these actions should very nearly push you over the edge.  Sadly, all that will be accomplished even if the entire slate of Obama’s proposals are adopted is to cause the number of children killed by mad-men to increase, ultimately leaving more law-abiding Americans less able to defend themselves and their families.  Despite all of this, there is one hopeful sign in today’s actions, or the lack of more overt ones:  The left knows they could not easily win this battle so they’ve chosen not to engage directly, at least for the moment.  This is more back-door action, aimed at a future situation when they hope to be able to confiscate guns at will. This is the sole reason Obama did not press even more tyrannical measures through the use of executive orders.  Today, Obama soundlessly  admitted defeat, for now, but he’ll be back…with a vengeance.

I must also tell you that there are some very insidious provisions hidden in the plain language of his orders, and it’s time for you veterans to wake up and pay attention.  We have long known that the left would like to go after veterans, because they see us as a potential force of resistance to the tyranny they desire.  One of these executive orders requires information sharing among all departments of government, so I want you to know, those of you who are veterans, that if you permit yourself to be classified as having PTSD(Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,) there is a high probability that they will be coming after your guns, or at least your right to procure one, with this set of  executive orders.  I am not suggesting that those with real cases of PTSD shouldn’t seek help, but I am suggesting that those seeking help should go into it with their eyes open. At first glance, the slate of executive orders this President has issued doesn’t seem to be that obnoxious, but I’d ask you to reconsider.  This president has decided that doctors must violate their confidentiality with patients or face potential sanctions or at the very least, civil liability.  These measures really go too far, but since many Americans seem to be accepting that the President is screwing around with their health-care, they probably won’t mind if he gives orders to their doctors.

Despite all of the ginned-up polls suggesting Americans favor stronger gun control, what you will discover is that this issue doesn’t make the top five in importance. More, there is a great gender gap between men and women.  A majority of men oppose the ban of semi-automatic weapons, while nearly two-thirds of women favor that measure.  More important is the assessment of the root cause of guns violence.  As the pie chart below from CNN demonstrates, the availability of guns is seen as the leading cause of gun violence by less than one-fourth of respondents.  Fully three-fourths of respondents attributed gun violence to the influences of the popular culture or to the way parents raise their children.  This is hardly a glowing endorsement of the proposal that limiting firearms, magazines, or bullets will reduce gun violence.

http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/pollingcenter/polls/3380

The NRA’s ad attacking President Obama’s hypocrisy would seem to ring true to a larger number of Americans than the intelligentsia inside the DC beltway might otherwise imagine.  In the same round of polls, CNN found that a clear majority of Americans (a larger percentage than re-elected this President,) favor armed guards in schools.  Here’s that pie chart:

http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/pollingcenter/polls/3381

In typical Obama fashion, the White House Spokes-Puke Jay Carney responded to the NRA ad, accusing them of attacking the President’s children. Naturally, the Fox News Beltway Boys with Bret Baier but featuring Krauthammer and Williams concluded that the NRA was out of line with the ad, but the NRA didn’t attack the President’s children, nor did they suggest the President’s children should not have protection, but the dunderheads on Fox News seemed oblivious to that fact. Instead, each in turn cravenly conceded to the notion that the NRA’s ad had been ugly.  Apparently, most of the people in the country are inclined to agree with the notion that everybody’s children should have protection at school, as that was the actual point the NRA video was intended to make, along with pointing out the hypocrisy of President Obama. Leave it to Beltway media folk to get this one wrong.

Perhaps the most telling portion of the CNN poll is the question of whether stricter gun control would reduce gun violence. Fully three in five Americans believe stricter gun laws will do nothing to reduce violence, while just thirty-nine percent believe the opposite.  Here’s the chart from CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/pollingcenter/polls/3379

Overall, and owing entirely to the gender gap described above, fifty-five percent of Americans currently favor stronger gun laws.  This CNN chart tells the story, although they admit that this has fallen nearly eight percentage points since immediately after the Newtown shooting:

http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/pollingcenter/polls/3377

 

Many will offer that this poll owes to the ignorance of many people who don’t know a semi-automatic from an automatic rifle, and who do not grasp the obvious truth that bad people will do bad things irrespective of the particular weapons they ultimately choose.  If guns aren’t available, they’ll find something else, like fertilizer, and build a bomb, or crash an airplane into a building.  Most Americans remain sensible enough to realize that crazy and/or evil people will always do immense harm when they see an opportunity to do so.

For my part, I take some solace in the fact that Obama didn’t try to impose even more tyrannical things than those already represented by today’s twenty-three executive orders, and you should expect that he will pursue them if he sees a political opening to do so.  Besides, with Boehner running the House, Obama may yet try an end-around and get some of the weak-kneed Republicans in that body to act in conjunction with Democrats, to re-impose a Federal Assault Weapons ban, or impose limits on magazine capacity, but the problem remains that once you get outside the liberal havens represented by the Northeast corridor, the popularity of such proposals drops dramatically, which is why Obama today encouraged people to put pressure on members of Congress outside those safely blue zones.  In truth, the drive for gun control matches in character the national by-county mappings of Obama’s electoral victory, but in fact, it’s not even that strong since some counties that are blue on that map would inevitably express opposition to gun control.

As bad as this has been, and as ridiculous as Obama’s executive orders may be, I want you to understand that if he sees an opening, it will be far, far worse.  It’s also important to remember that he’s going to be applying maximum pressure against even the more conservative members of the House to see what he can get shoved through, since the Senate will undoubtedly do his bidding.  This President hasn’t given up on his desire to disarm Americans, but for the moment, he clearly doesn’t think the political will exists to ram the whole thing through.  If he did, he would have done so, and the battle would look quite different tonight.  What I would urge patriots to do is to avoid complacency, and to keep pressure on their members of the House, and on Republican leadership as well, to oppose more of this gun control agenda that a wide majority of Americans already recognize will have no impact on gun violence.  We need also to get more people who are currently on the fence, or even opposed to consider our arguments.  Maybe you have a few single women in your circle, some of whom buy into this gun-control nonsense.  It’s time to get them to the range, empower them, show them how guns can provide them far more protection than some poor overworked cop who may be dispatched eventually when they call 9-1-1, but who will frequently arrive much too late.

The dirty secret they won’t tell you about is why they go after so-called “assault weapons” when the vast majority of all gun murders are committed with hand-guns is that over the last number of years, women have been arming-up in record numbers.  That’s right, “Julia” is more likely to be packing heat.  Showing more women that they have less to fear from guns than from lacking them in a moment of need should be a priority for all gun-owners.  The more responsible citizens who have guns, train to use them, and are confident and capable in their own defense, the less relevant this nonsensical drive for gun control will become.  There’s simply no better way for a woman to become the physical equal or superior of her attacker than through arms.  There is no means available by which she can more forcefully defend her family than through the disciplined training and use of firearms should the situation call for it.

If you want to know why I believe Obama unintentionally signaled an at least temporary hold on his gun control agenda, it is because he is confronted with these facts.  When CNN’s own polling makes the case so thinly, it’s a good deal worse for their side than their polls are likely to indicate.  A five-point swing nullifies the gun-grabbers edge, and they know it.  As more people lift the veil of ignorance and seek out facts about guns and gun violence, they’re apt to shift more rapidly in many quarters to favor the rational side of this argument.  Part of being a citizen of this great country is making the effort to inform your fellow citizens about pressing facts they may not know. That must be the root of our continuing efforts to stave off future tyrannical actions.  We still don’t know what the moderate Republicans in the House will do if cornered on such legislation, and with Boehner conducting negotiations, we mustn’t let our guard down.  Despotism often takes root when citizens become complacent, and if today’s stage-show with Obama demonstrates anything, it is the fact that we must grow louder, stronger, and more numerous if we are to defend our remaining liberties, never mind take back those already lost.  You can bet that during the immediate future, Obama and his cohorts will be pushing hard to make as much political hay of this latest horrific event as they are able.  If there’s one line we must not let them cross, this is it, and while national sentiments may be their reason for a moment of pause, we must not take that for granted.

Do We Really Need Tax Deductions For…

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Complicated Enough?

Mustaches?  Like many distinguished Americans, I have one.  John Stossel wears a mustache.  Of course, then again, there’s that Gerald Riviera fellow, also on Fox, who wears one too, and he’s not so distinguished.  When this former baby-face arrived at basic training, just having turned eighteen, I’m not sure I could grow a mustache yet.   I soon outgrew that, and in fact, since maturing into a razor-blade-wrecker, I’ve worn a mustache almost continuously for more than 20 years, except for that one trimming incident that caused me to start over.  Mustaches are fine if you like them, but if not, well, then they’re not, but why is somebody pushing to create a tax deduction of up to $250 annually for mustache grooming expenses?

You might think this is a joke, but it turns out that that there’s not only a legislative proposal but also a lobbying group ostensibly pushing this for legislation. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to deduct another $250 from my taxable income, but I must wonder about the nonsense that get through in Washington DC.  Is this what makes up these multi-thousand page bills that nobody reads before voting to enact them?  If you’re like me, then you probably suspect that this is so, and this incident serves as another reminder of how thoroughly out-of-touch Washington DC is with the average citizen.  I did the math, and I figured out that between haircuts($8) and razor blades, even if I replace my mustache trimmer annually, I can’t reach $250 in expenses on hair of any sort, never mind my mustache alone.  If you wear a mustache and spend $250 annually grooming it, please contact me to explain.  I’m truly interested, and I promise not to mock you or call you a metro-sexual. Much.

In fact, I cannot fathom how anybody would expend the resources to pursue such a thing, and yet there actually exists a group, the American Mustache Institute, devoted to fighting discrimination against mustaches and those who wear them.  It’s real.  They’re actually organizing an event they’re calling the “Million Mustache March,” all in support of their favorite facial hair.  Not surprisingly, they even have a Facebook page for that event.  The Stache Act is actually even an acronym: “Stimulus to Allow for Critical Hair Expense.”  I don’t know if this is somebody trying to make some other point, an idea I first thought when I read the article, or whether this is 100% serious, but it seems like the latter.

As it turns out, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett allegedly referred the legislation, but according to his press secretary, there’s no actual legislation yet at this point, throwing the whole thing into question. An update to the Weekly Standard article reveals:

Lisa Wright called Wednesday morning to clarify that she only referred the mustache proposal to the Ways and Means Committee, and did not actually send a bill to the committee. In a follow-up message left on my voicemail, Wright says, “Please check Thomas to look for the Stache Act. You will not find it. It does not exist. There is no bill. There is no legislation. And an advocacy group that characterizes it as legislation—and you used that term with me—does not make it legislation.”

So it’s a legislative proposal, but not an actual bill.  The fact that something like this could go this far, whether legitimate legislation, or just a proposal, really doesn’t speak well of Congress generally.  Is this really the pressing issue some are making it out to be?  Is somebody trying to play “gotcha” with Roscoe Bartlett(R-MD,) or is this a real effort?  The fact that the Facebook page claims to be sponsored by H&R block seems almost too cliched to be true, implying that company’s vested interest in tax loopholes of every sort.  Unfortunately, it seems that clicking the Facebook link on their main site indeed refers you to the aforementioned page.

I suspect a marketing scheme, but who really knows?  It’s impossible to sort out the real from the hoax in Washington DC these days, and perhaps that’s the real point, whether serious proposal or parody at some unsuspecting Congressman’s expense: It’s not really beyond the boundaries of credulity.  It’s not beyond the pale.  In Washington DC, nothing is too much to believe these days, and it’s a common problem throughout the Federal government.  The beast is out of control, but I can promise you this:  In the coming campaign season, I am going to have my own Hall of Shame for politicians, and any who push an actual bill on this to the floor for a vote are going to catch all the hell I can heap on them, in part for the wastefulness of it, but more importantly, because anybody taken in by this doesn’t deserve to be in Congress.  They had all better begin reading those legislative proposals more carefully.