The Wild Colonial Boy

Saturday, May 8, AD 2010

Something for the weekend.  A very spirited rendition of The Wild Colonial Boy by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem on the Ed Sullivan Show on March 13, 1965.  to those of you who were not alive then, it is hard to convey the cultural impact of the Ed Sullivan Show in the America of that time.   Suffice it to say that until the late Sixties, Sullivan was the cultural gatekeeper of America.  Until a new entertainer appeared on Sullivan’s show, he or she had not yet achieved mainstream acceptance.  Today a show having that type of influence would be impossible.

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5 Responses to The Wild Colonial Boy

  • Not a lot of Black Bluesmen on that show or Commie folk singers like Woody Guthrie. There weren’t even a lot of Holy Roller gospel singers.

    The Clancy Brothers pretended it was all about carousing and drink and not dead serious revolution. Then they let them on Ed Sullivan. Shame on them.

  • Sullivan rightly despised Communism and the dopes in this country who supported it. He was a pioneer in making his show a nationwide forum for black entertainers to appear before a largely white audience. The Clancy Brothers were appearing on Ed Sullivan as entertainers and not as Irish revolutionaries.

  • I recall this song from my childhood. My Cornish grandfather had a great affinity with the Irish – celtic origins I guess – and would sing it to us, along with other Irish songs.

    In 1961 our Parish Priest (an Irishman) was away on sabatical for 6 months, and another Irish priest, Frank McHale came as relief. He was a republican through and through (but didn’t like the IRA 🙂 ). He and his brother Vince were members of the Irish Club from Auckland, and on many ocassions the Irish would come down from Auckland to Te Puke for a hooley. What great nights they were, and an Irish band would come with them and we would hire out the town hall for an Irish night – 3 or 4 times in the 6 months Fr. McHale was here. Te Puke in those days was a town of about 4,000 people. The whole town really got to know about the Irish and the Catholics in that time. There were quite a number of townsfolk with Irish ancestry in the town anyway, and the memory of Fr. Frank and the Irish form Auckland lingered for many years.
    Point of interest – Te Puke is the Kiwifruit capital of the world – my dad’s close friend Jim McLoughlin started up the industry around that time, and it has
    grown to a world wide industry today.

  • Fascinating Don. My sainted mother was pure Newfoundland Irish, so I grew up hearing all the old Irish songs with a Newfie lilt!

  • The strongest association I have with this song is one of my favorite movies, The Quiet Man … especially the scene almost at the end when John Wayne and Victor McLaglen stumble into the Thorton house, drunkenly bellowing the song all the way.

Anh Joseph Cao and the Vietnamese Government

Friday, May 7, AD 2010

One of my personal heroes is Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (R.LA).  I have no doubt that he is more liberal politically than I am, but he is a man of the highest principles.  Pro-life to his core, he voted for ObamaCare only after the Stupak amendment passed.  He voted for ObamaCare, even though he knew such a vote was anathema to almost all Republicans, including the one writing this post, because he thought it was the right thing to do.  When Stupak caved, Cao refused to vote for ObamaCare because of the abortion issue, even though he knew that the vote against ObamaCare was anathema to most of the voters of his liberal district, because he thought it was the right thing to do.

Recently, the Communist government of Vietnam wrote to the Congressman hoping that as the sole Vietnamese-American Congressman he could help clear up some “misunderstandings” between the Vietnamese government and Vietnamese-Americans.  Congressman Cao’s response is memorable and may be read here.  So his meaning could not be mistaken, Congressman Cao also wrote his response in Vietnamese here.

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10 Responses to Anh Joseph Cao and the Vietnamese Government

  • If I could, I would contribute to his campaign as well.

    What an outstanding human being and American!

    I will certainly be praying for him and his re-election campaign.

  • What a great letter!

  • Don:

    He voted for Obamacare knowing the Stupak amendment was a sham that was going to get scrubbed out in committe, which it eventually was.

  • I am willing to give Cao a pass on the original vote in favor the healthcare bill.

    First, as profoundly disappointed as I am with Congressman Stupak’s cave-in and subsequent votes, I am unsure any of us can say that a vote for the original House version of the healthcare bill was a participation in a knowing sham … even Bart Stupak. I certainly believed Stupak all the way up until the end.

    Next, Cao’s lone ‘aye’ was not dispositive, in that Speaker Pelosi by all accounts had several more Democrats ready to vote yes. Cao is basically holding a “safe” Democratic seat, vacated by Congressman Cold Cash Jefferson. So I am willing to ‘pass’ Cao on that ground as well.

    Finally, I recall that the Roman Catholic Church and other pro-life religious and secular entities, during the amendment phase, expressly took the position to treat the Stupak langugage as legitimate and not to vote against it during the amendment phases (i.e., not to join with pro-abortion reps) in a political ploy to defeat Stupak’s amendment and force Stupak et al to vote against the final version. As we can surmise now, that might have been disastrous.

    If the Church was correct that pro-lifers can not play games like that, then I find it hard to fault Cao on these grounds either.

  • Greg,

    You might as well blame the entire House GOP Caucus, then. Obamacare would never have made it out of the House without the Stupak language, and the only reason the Stupak language was included was because every Republican in the House voted for it. If the Stupak amendment was a sham, then blame John Boehner and every other Republican.

    Blame the Bishops, who pushed for the Stupak language. Hell, blame me, and Don, and several other folks, since we pushed for it, too. If it was such an obvious “sham” that everyone “knew” it was going to get scrubbed out in committee, then all of us who pushed for the Stupak language are guilty.

    It’s a little unfair to single out Cao in that regard.

  • It isn’t, however, unfair to blame Cao for voting for a bill that–even with the Stupak Amendment–provided massive funding for Planned Parenthood and for contraception.

  • If the GOP had a chance to kill Obamacare in the House and didn’t, then shame on them too. As far as the Bishops are concerned, we all know they are a bunch of big government leftists who routinely distort Church teeaching to tickle their iedological fancy. How many bishops even raised the question of whether or not the massive government control of healthcare violates the principle of subsidiarity, which is a bedrock of Catholic social teaching?

  • Ultimately the passage of the Stupak Amendment made no difference to the final passage of ObamaCare as the Democrats were able to arm twist enough votes without the Stupak amendment (with the help of Stupak). Unlike Stupak, however, Cao is a real opponent of abortion, and when ObamaCare finally passed it passed without his vote, in spite of the very high political cost he will probably pay as a result.

    The Republicans were wise in their strategy: by voting for Stupak they indicated that they put the fight against abortion first, even above the fight against ObamaCare, while most “pro-life” Democrats revealed that they really are not foes of abortion in any meaningful sense. The Republican party fortified its pro-life strength, while the Democrats did their best to repel pro-life voters.

  • If the GOP had voted against Stupak en bloc, then Bart would have had a free-pass to (a) demagogue the GOP on a core issue; (b) rely on Democratic Party assurances that the Hyde amendment covered/covers the entire bill anyway; and (c) accept an Executive Order solution back then. He always wanted the healthcare bill. And the pro-life movement would have sustained severe political damage.

    In any event, Cao voted the right way in the end. It was Stupak who caved (or was bought).

  • I really like this guy. He’s focused on the clean up of the oil on the coast while Senator Landrieu is only focused on getting operations going again, not to mention, he’s co-sponsoring legislation to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. This may make him popular to conservatives and may cause them to label him a RINO because of so-called political orthodoxy, but I really like Rep. Joseph Cao.

General Lee and Guerrilla War

Friday, May 7, AD 2010

Hattip to commenter Dennis McCutcheon for giving me the idea for this post.  We Americans today view the Civil War as part of our history.  If different decisions had been made at the end of that conflict, the Civil War could still be part of our current reality.  Just before the surrender at Appomattox, General Porter Alexander, General Robert E. Lee’s chief of artillery, broached to Lee a proposal that the Army of Northern Virginia disband and carry out a guerrilla war against the Union occupiers.  Here history balanced on a knife edge.  If Lee had accepted the proposal, I have little doubt the stage would have been set for an unending war between the North and the South which would still be with us.  Douglas Southall Freeman, in his magisterial R. E. Lee, tells what happened next, based upon Alexander’s memoirs, Fighting for the Confederacy.

“Thereupon Alexander proposed, as an alternative to surrender, that the men take to the woods with their arms, under orders to report to governors of their respective states.

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9 Responses to General Lee and Guerrilla War

  • Probably the greatest general America has ever had.

  • Lee’s quintessential decency saved America from a horrible fate. We owe him more than we will ever be able to describe.

    Not so BTW, Charles Harness’ excellent sci-fi short story, “Quarks at Appomattox,” explores a related proposal from time travellers with an agenda.

  • Charles Harness’ excellent sci-fi short story, “Quarks at Appomattox,”

    Apologies for the off-topic snicker, but was this a sequel to “Bosons at Bull Run?” Personally, “Gluons at Gettysburg” was a pretty good yarn, too. (Sorry! Couldn’t resist.)

  • “Guns of the South” was also a good alternative-history book where South African Apartheiders went into the past to ensure a Confederate victory (by Harry Turtledove).

  • The night before the formal surrender, General Chamberlain had decided to salute the Army of Virginia. The decision “was one for which I sought no authority nor asked forgiveness. Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond; was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?”

    The next morning, on April 12, the salute was rendered.

    “When General Gordon came opposite of me, I had the bugle blown and the entire line came to ‘attention’…The General was riding in advance of his troops, his chin drooped to his breast, downhearted and dejected in appearance almost beyond description. As the sound of that machine like snap of arms, however, General Gordon started, caught in a moment of its significance, and instantly assumed the finest attitude of a soldier. He wheeled his horse facing me, touching him gently with the spur, so that the animal slightly reared, and as he wheeled, horse and rider made one motion, the horse’s head swung down with a graceful bow and General Gordon dropped his swordpoint to his toe in salutation…On our part, not a sound of trumpet more, nor the roll of drum; not a cheer, nor word nor whisper of vain-glorying, nor motion of man standing again at the order, but an awed stillness rather, and breathing-holding, as if it were the passing of the dead.”

    After the war, General Gordon would address Chamberlain as “one of the knightliest soldiers of the Federal Army.”

    As other units passed Chamberlain, one Confederate said as he was delivering his flag, “boys, this is not the first time you have seen this flag. I have borne it in the front of battle on many victorious fields of battle and I had rather die than surrender it to you.” Chamberlain replied, “I admire your noble spirit, and only regret that I have not the authority to bid you keep your flag and carry it home as a precious heirloom.” One officer said to Chamberlain, “General, this is deeply humiliating; but I console myself with the thought that the whole country will rejoice at the day’s business. Another officer said, “You astound us by your honorable and generous conduct. I fear that we should not have done the same to you had the case been reversed.” A third officer went even farther by saying, “I went into that cause I meant it. We had our choice of weapons and of ground, and we have lost. Now [pointing to the Stars and Stripes] that is my flag, and I will prove myself as worthy as any of you.”

    However, most of the Confederates were too humiliated to be reversed so quickly. General Wise told Chamberlain, “You may forgive us but we won’t be forgiven. There is a rancor in hour hearts which you little dream of. We hate you, Sir…you go home, you take these fellows home. That’s what will end this war.”

    Chamberlain replied, “Don’t worry about the end of the war. We are going home pretty soon, but not till we see you home.”

    No matter how ill Chamberlain’s salute to the fallen South may have been received, it still remains one of the greatest acts of honor in the military history of the United States.

    References
    Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence.“Bayonet! Forward” My Civil War Reminiscences.
    Gettysburg: Stan Clark Military books, 1994.

    Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence. The Passing of the Armies: The Last Campaign of the
    Armies. Gettysburg: Stan Clark Military books, 1915.

    Dllard, Wallace M. Soul of the Lion; A Biography on General Joshua L. Chamberlain
    Gettysburg: Stan Clark Military books, 1960.
    __________________

  • When the War ended, Robert E. Lee was a man without a home and without citizenship.

    Before the War, Lee and his family lived at Arlington House, a mansion on top of a hill in Alexandria County, Virginia. The place is across the Potomac River from Washington. Mrs. Lee had inherited the place from her father, who was related to George and Martha Washington. Mrs. Lee’s father had put together the largest private collection of George Washington memorabilia at Arlington House.

    When Robert E. Lee joined the Confederate Army, he had to abandon Arlington House, which the Union Army soon took over. Yankee soldiers looted the house, not sparing some of the Washington memorabilia. The Union Army buried dead Yankee soldiers at the front yard, at the backyard, and all around the house. This was to ensure that Robert E. Lee and his family would never again live at Arlington House. Thus, the place became Arlington National Cemetery.

    After the War, Washington College needed a leader to take it through the rough postwar years. The college, which had received an endowment from George Washington, asked Robert E. Lee to be their next college president. Lee accepted, and served at the college for five years until his decease in 1870. Later, the college would adopt the name Washington and Lee University.

    Interestingly, both Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee were residents of Lexington, Virginia at different times, Jackson as a professor at the Virginia Military Institute before the War, Lee as president of Washington College after the War.

    In the postwar years, Lee’s citizenship was under a cloud. He applied for amnesty, but the federal government sat on it. In 1975, Congress finally restored Lee’s citizenship.

  • To suggest that the nation’s future balanced “on a knife’s edge” during that moment of temptation by Alexander is to besmirch the noble name of Lee. Even the quoted recouting of the story exposes the blatant lie in the suggestion that Lee considered it seriously, even for a moment.

    You might as well sully the reputation of Washington (another famous Virginian) by saying he was giving serious thought to keeping the presidency as long as he could.

    What’s this facsination with dancing on the graves of the South’s warriors? You don’t really want to bring up the issue of relative goodness here. Though slavery was certainly horrible, you have to stretch the meaning of words and tarnish your reputation for truth to suggest that the federal government entered into the war to abolish slavery. So what end must have been declared to justify the means of 75,000 volunteers in the spring of 1861? Was it really emancipation? If that were true, would any have been able to argue that it was the only way?

    Those of you who actually say the word “indivisible” in the Pledge certainly see nothing wrong in completely destroying the consent of the governed that had existed in the repuiblic until that day.

    Now Obama merely takes it all to it’s natural conclusion. If southern consent was not required in 1861 under Lincoln, his 21st century political descendent cannot be blamed for deciding that no consent is required today.

  • Kevin, you took offense where none was intended. The entire post was in praise of Lee. Some Lost Cause enthusiasts are just as quick to take offense against purely imaginary insults as devotees of other forms of identity politics.

  • i have lived in a country with guerrilla war that has lasted a hundred years,it never ends! this kind of fight has no honour,which is a reflection of our times.Lee was a model to all men of how to act-charity, kindness and true courage.Never thinking of himself,always of others and the greater good.His foundation his faith.Godbless Lee Godbless the south!

3 Responses to Do Vaccines Cause Autism?

  • Amen. THE best data out there shows no link whatsoever. I’ve seen a number of children die from diseases that are preventable by vaccines. Never have seen a child who I thought got autism from a vaccine.

  • If you think that vaccines cause autism, it’s not a very good sign that your biggest advocate is someone who made a career out of being a blonde bimbo (Jenny McCarthy). Repeat after me, Jenny: Correlation does not imply causation.

    Let’s put this horrible, unscientific idea out of its misery and move on.

  • I don’t believe in the vaccine/autism link either. My daughter didn’t really show obvious signs of autism until she was past the age of 3 anyway, and she was not diagnosed until age 4. She received all her vaccinations albeit after some careful thought and consideration on our part.

    Unfortunately it isn’t only kooks like Jenny McCarthy who try to promote the vaccine-autism link. Apparently there are now some pro-lifers trying to imply that the use of cell lines in vaccine development that originated with children who were aborted decades ago could be linked to autism:

    http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2010/04/new-stanek-column-vaccines-made-with-fetal-cells-causing-autism.html

    Now, I understand completely the opposition to use of ethically tainted vaccines and I fully support the use of alternatives that have no connection to the destruction of human life.

    However, to state that these vaccines “use aborted fetal tissue” is in my opinion far overstating the case. It implies that a continuous supply of tissue from aborted babies is required to produce such vaccines, that it creates a “demand” for ongoing abortions, that use of such vaccines makes one directly complicit in abortion, and that actual fetal tissue is injected into one’s body with the vaccine — which is NOT the case at all.

    Now, add on top of that the implication that autism is some kind of consequence, or perhaps even a “punishment,” for such complicity in abortion, and I fear the author may have given pro-aborts yet another reason to write off pro-lifers as fear-mongering anti-science kooks.

Comedy Central Cowers Before Jihadists While Mocking Christians

Thursday, May 6, AD 2010

The cowards at Comedy Central who censored South Park after receiving death threats from Jihadists, as I detailed here and here, now show their “courage” by announcing a new show mocking Christ.  My friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia gives us the details:

Fresh off of heavily editing a depiction of Mohammad in “South Park” following threats from practitioners of the “Religion of Peace”, the “edgy” comedy network, Comedy Central, shows its artistic “courage” in announcing a new series blaspheming Jesus Christ:

Comedy Central might censor every image of the Prophet Muhammad on “South Park,” yet the network is developing a whole animated series around Jesus Christ.

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5 Responses to Comedy Central Cowers Before Jihadists While Mocking Christians

  • “Comedy Central is run by a pack of cowardly contemptible bullies, and it is beyond me why any Christian, or any man or woman with a spine, would waste a moment watching anything they broadcast.”

    You’re right. As of today I boycott Comedy Central.

  • Catholic Renaissance

    It is a well based argument that the various miseries that the Jewish people suffered over the centuries made them stronger and I think it is true that the various unfairness that the Catholic Church and its congregation is being subjected to in recent times, is making the Church stronger and creating something of a renaissance of Catholic thinking and action. The Catholic Church has been portrayed as an enemy of secular liberal society and to an extent that in the past has been a charge which has had more than some legitimacy but excepting the very narrow and restricted area of Papal infallibility, my understanding is that the Catholic Church would not accept it is of necessity less fallible than any other other organization in a World of imperfection, and that whilst the message of Christ as the Saviour to the World remains both perfect and complete, the Church will always face real difficult in properly understanding and giving practical effect to that message. With the rise of Islamism at the end of the twentieth century and at the beginning of the twenty-first century, much of the secular establishment and indeed many supposedly Christian Churches have shown respect for neither christian nor secular principles by refusing to stand up for legitimate secular and christian principles when they would come in to conflict with Islamism, except I would say in important exception the Catholic Church, Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

  • I can’t stand those cowards at Comedy Central I don’t find anything they have on funny or entertaining!
    They are truly Cowards, pick on Good Christians but OH don’t bother the poor filthy terrorist and their SO CALLED God! I am offended and I think we should all get together and SUE them for offending us!

  • An open letter to Comedy Central:
    I have decided to start an email letter campaign to Comedy Central on this issue;
    I hope others will find this link helpful in composing your own letter to that company.
    http://dmedm.blogspot.com/2010/05/open-letter-to-comedy-central.html

    Let’s show Comedy Central what peaceful people do, in the love of Christ!

  • You’re welcome Comedy Central

    Clearly, Comedy Central has complimented Christianity as they know that the worse they can expect out of Christians for besmirching Jesus is that we will say, “Well, I just won’t watch it,” or, “I will pray for them.”

    As Richard Dawkins stated it (during a rare moment of clarity):
    “There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse”

    Find details here

Set Me Free (From Ideologies) Part 3

Thursday, May 6, AD 2010

The Catholic Church is the biggest defender and promoter of the large traditional family. This endorsement of large families is something that tests the loyalties of ideologues because the Church doesn’t conform to liberal or conservative political pressures.  The more-or-less typical liberal ideologue seems to take on the ideal of saving the global environment by way of discouraging the Church’s teachings on Life and Family issues.  The more-or-less conservative ideologue often takes on the approach to economic theory that goes something like- “you breed em’ you feed em'”. I don’t find much support for either of these hard positions in the actual teachings and guidance given us via Christ’s Church.

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12 Responses to Set Me Free (From Ideologies) Part 3

  • “The right to property is closely connected with the existence of families, which protect themselves from need thanks to savings and to the building up of property.”

    Perhaps also an argument against the Estate Tax.

  • Phillip- I think the estate tax is an interesting one in that it is – at the fed level- directed only at multimillionaire holdings, with exemptions for operational family farm estates and small businesses- and it is a tax that has strange bedfellows- I read a good book on preserving the estate tax by Bill Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins- Wealth and our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes- there are many who feel that extreme inheritances tend to create an aristocratic presence that undermines the meritocracy element in American society which was in part a reaction against the old Euro-aristocracies.

  • Actually I will defer as you may be correct. But you also may be wrong on how much businesses and small farms are protected. For example:

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/taxes/small-business-owners-face-estate-tax-dilemma/19349404/

    It might not be the Gates’ children only that are affected. But I will let others who have more expertise in this address.

  • Perhaps the ammendments to the law discussed in the bill above were passed.

  • Regarding the estate tax, I like Greg Mankiw’s thought experiment on it:

    Consider the story of twin brothers – Spendthrift Sam and Frugal Frank. Each starts a dot-com after college and sells the business a few years later, accumulating a $10 million nest egg. Sam then lives the high life, enjoying expensive vacations and throwing lavish parties. Frank, meanwhile, lives more modestly. He keeps his fortune invested in the economy, where it finances capital accumulation, new technologies, and economic growth. He wants to leave most of his money to his children, grandchildren, nephews, and nieces.

    Now ask yourself: Which millionaire should pay higher taxes?… What principle of social justice says that Frank should be penalized for his frugality? None that I know of.

  • I don’t want this entry to become all about the estate tax debate- I will just end it here with the recommendation to anyone wanting to go deeper with that one to find the Gate’s book I mentioned above and offer a critique of the many arguments and proofs he lays out there for that particular tax. So, if you want to debate the tax please someone write up their own entry and/or do a short critique of the book’s main points if you have time for the research.

  • Fair enough, but the estate tax is an instructive example of why it’s difficult to make blanket policy prescriptions based on CST. Clearly, the argument against plutocracy works in favor of the tax, but Mankiw’s horizontal equity illustration goes against it. CST does not cut neatly across party/ideological lines as some would have you believe.

  • Without getting into exactly what form(s) of taxation are best- what about the proposals from the Church on having subsidies for families to reach a true family wage, and having remuneration for domestic work- I’m thinking mostly of stay at home moms working hard taking proper care of the kids and abode- what about these specific ideas?

  • About the only safe thing that one can say about tax policy derived from CST is that taxes should not unnecessarily burden the poor. After that it is pretty much all prudential.

    The example of family farms regarding the EGT is a good one. Such farms are subject to the same exemption as any other estate assets. Until this year 3.5MM and back down to 1MM I think next year. Is that exemption too low? Why? Are farms different from other businesses, aside from all too common romantic attractions? Wouldn’t most Americans love to own a $1MM farm?

    The risk of plutocratic cross-generational wealth accumulation is belied by the real facts, which are that family wealth becomes less concentrated and generally diminishes over generations. Ask the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Kennedys, Dukes, etc.

    This is not to say that the EGT cannot be justified, but the arguments are less stark. It is true that there is something a bit unappealing about children and grandchildren living off the hard work of their ancestors, but those ancestors may well have under taken the initiatives they did precisely because of a desire to take care of their progeny. After all they choose their heirs.

    Similar problems abound with income taxes. While ability to pay is certainly a valid factor in the calculus of tax fairness, one cannot dismiss that disparities in that factor have a substantial choice component. While most everyone wants to be rich, few people are willing to undertake the combination of risk, hard work, and discipline required. It is easier to let the other guy do it and just slice off a piece.

  • I for one, as a hardworking mother at home, would most definitely like to see some sort of recognition that what we do is real work.

    Socializing and nurturing children; providing their earliest (and some would say most crucial) formation as human beings and citizens; guiding and directing their habits, hygiene, and studies; teaching them the fundamental skills to cope with danger, challenge, and the unexpected; watching over their nutrition, environment, and exercise … The list of what I do goes on and on. A day-care worker doesn’t do everything I do, and what she/he does isn’t done as efficiently because the time to do it comes only in pieces.

    These are important tasks. Stay-at-home parents should be able to do them without having to pay for the privilege.

    Finally, families create stability in a culture, and tax laws, just like all other laws, ought to recognize that fact and adjust accordingly.

  • Sibyl,

    I agree completely. In the abstract, the state should promote the traditional family structure. The larger the family, the greater should be the benefits. Special loans or grants should be given by banks for family businesses or any sort of family financial endeavor.

    Ultimately, though, Christian families must come to rely on each other. So the state should not enshrine the nuclear family, which in my view can become a restrictive fifedom for domineering parents.

    I hate to use that stupid line, but it is true that “it takes a village” – its just that it takes a Christian village, a Catholic village, a community and a parish rooted in traditional Christianity. It doesn’t take the socialist welfare state that Hillary Clinton was talking about.

    I’m not an old man but I’ve seen enough to know that many couples struggle financially in vain. If they would loosen their grip on “their property”, their territory, “their” children (which even good people in today’s society treat more and more like possessions or pets), then many of their problems could be resolved.

    This is how the Mexican community often operates; many families sharing resources. Of course the families are usually related. Its why they can be relatively poor and still out-breed blacks and Caucasians in the United States. They don’t have “more kids than they can afford” – they share burdens among themselves.

    We don’t need to rely on blood relations the way a lot of ethnic communities do. We have a spiritual community; the Body of Christ. But we don’t use it. We are all afraid of one another, afraid to “impose”, afraid to “overstep”, afraid to “offend”, afraid to offer ourselves. If you aren’t completely self-sufficient, you’re a “loser.” You can turn to the anonymous state for help without being judged.

    This is a problem in attitude we need to address. One day, if I have the resources, I will start my own Christian community. Nothing fancy – just encourage Christian families with the same values to live on the same street, send their kids to the same school (or possibly establish a private homeschool), maybe even jointly own a local business together, and see where it goes. It will have to be a community where people trust one another, where parents trust other parents to watch and teach their children for a day (and how much better would that be than some atheist from the teacher’s union pushing homosexual propaganda?).

    Sorry to ramble on. I just believe Christians should voluntarily renounce individualism and materialism.

  • Joe- I’m pretty much with you- I have been dreaming of starting or joining some kind of family monastic movement such as you described- I also wrote up a Catholic Education vision document which hasn’t made it very high in the food chain as of yet- where part of it is to create businesses in Catholic schools along the lines of lasermonks.com, I envision different types of consumer products being made and sold in Catholic communities and schools- bringing much needed monetary resources into Catholic schools which are reeling from steep tuition charges and an over-reliance on a few wealthy benefactors.

    As for the whole State welfare dilemma- I think it is made more complex by our embrace of the global economy whereupon the corporate culture has moved into highly mobile mode, picking up and moving around the country and world- the worker bees must keep up- and so we move about the country, pulling up stakes and putting more and more distance between immediate and extended family members- and one result has been that families and even neighbors are less likely to have formed the deeper bonds of friendship, trust and so forth, so we don’t feel comfortable asking for help from even our parish families because of that body-soul thing- grace builds upon nature- and though we share a spiritual communion we are simultaneously caught up in our cultural milieu that has us moving around, and busily attending to all the other time-takers in life- commuting time, kids activities, face time with our own spouses and children, and down time after stressful work days- what is lacking is the time to spend just hanging out in community at our parishes developing the purely human relationships where we actually know each other;s life circumstances and then feel the call to help or seek help in immediate things like financial crisis and so forth- as it is, if I get laid off chances are the house is put up for sale and the job search becomes a national one because you have to move with the tide of job opps- for good or ill this puts more of us into situations where government funded safety nets are very important- when you have more kids, you need more assurances- not everyone is going to have the call/vocation to start a business from scratch or have some unique talent that translates readily into a fabulous market position in the economy of the moment.

Political Miscellania

Thursday, May 6, AD 2010

A round up of various political items of interest:

1. We lead off with the above video.  Contessa Brewer, MSNBC’s representative journalist for the empty-headed bimbo demographic, is just so darned ticked off that the Time’s Square Would Be Bomber turned out to be a jihadist and not, presumably, some more politically correct villain.  This perhaps is of limited political significance, other than to demonstrate yet again that MSNBC should only be viewed for purposes of unintentional humor.

2. David Obey (D. WI.) announced his surprise retirement.  When Obey was first elected to Congress in 1968 I was 11 years old.  Needless to say, it is long past time for him to be moving on to other things after 42 years, but his retirement this late in the campaign season indicates to me that this was not planned far in advance, and probably was due to the fact that he was facing a tough race and the prospect of the House flipping to the Republicans. This is bad news for the Democrats as it puts one more Democrat seat in play and is yet another sign of the political disaster awaiting the Democrats in November.

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19 Responses to Political Miscellania

  • I do not rejoice over Obey’s retirement because I have not yet seen who the most likely replacement is. LifeNews.com rates Obey as “pro-abortion” (http://www.lifenews.com/state5071.html), which may be accurate, but not terribly precise.

    An issue-by-issue analysis (http://www.ontheissues.org/House/David_Obey.htm) showed he had a mixed voting record on the issues of abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Far from perfect, but for me, it’s important that his replacement be better on the issue of abortion and a large number of pro-life issue. The pro-life voters in that district need to step up early and make sure that at least one candidate on the ballot in the general election will be a pro-life voice in the House.

  • Go Colonel West!

    Does this mean I can be a patriot without being a racist now, if I like this guy? Is that acceptable? Or is he a self-hating black, so if I like him, that means I hate blacks?

    I need a thought cop to tell me what to think! Preferably someone who does the freshman initiation at the dorms of the state universities.

  • The likely Republican candidate for Obey’s seat is Sean Duffy, a pro-life Catholic.

  • The seat is likely safe for the dems. I’m not sure how much Duffy’s MTV celebrity will help him, because the district trends older. The bigger disadvantage is that he is an unknown in Wausau, Stevens Point, and Wisconsin Rapids, cities in counties that make up 170,000 of the district’s 650,000 people. Douglas County (Superior) is the other big county with 43,000, and I don’t think a Republican has every carried the county. Obama carried it 63/32.

  • “The likely Republican candidate for Obey’s seat is Sean Duffy, a pro-life Catholic.”

    A pro-life Catholic with a fine-looking pro-life Catholic wife.

    http://www.rachelcamposduffy.com/

    😉

  • She, I mean he has my vote.

  • I like Duffy. Since I’m a Chicago native I don’t see why the fact that I don’t live in Obey’s district should impair my abilty to vote for him. He has my votes.

  • Colonel West, has admitted to torture and says he’d do it again.

  • Colonel West, has admitted to torture and says he’d do it again.

    That strikes me as an example of how “torture” has come to be treated as a generic political bogeyman rather than a serious moral or humanitarian issue. There’s a wide gulf between West’s actions and the sort of things rightly condemned in regards to Guantanamo, etc. The NY Times piece of West actually gives a very balanced view of the incident:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/27/politics/27WEST.html?ex=1400990400&en=71d7b26fe2922d57&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND&pagewanted=all

    I don’t know enough about West and his positions (much less his opponents in the primary) to know if I’d vote for him if I were in his district, but the increasing mis-use of torture as a political football only serves to cheapen a real humanitarian issue, probably making real torture more rather than less likely.

  • From the NY Times article:

    “one soldier punched him several times”
    “the translator kicked him in the shin and told him he needed to confess before Colonel West showed up to kill him”
    “Colonel West cocked his gun”
    “Soon, the soldiers began striking and shoving Mr. Hamoodi”
    “They were not instructed to do so by Colonel West but they were not stopped, either”
    “Eventually, the colonel and his soldiers moved Mr. Hamoodi outside, and threatened him with death. Colonel West said he fired a warning shot in the air and began counting down from five. He asked his soldiers to put Mr. Hamoodi’s head in a sand-filled barrel usually used for clearing weapons. At the end of his count, Colonel West fired a shot into the barrel, angling his gun away from the Iraqi’s head, he testified.”

    Oh, yes. Critics of Col. West deserve all the scorn we can heap on them.

  • The parts of the article that struck me were:

    In August, Colonel West learned from an intelligence specialist of a supposed plot to assassinate him, which would endanger the soldiers who traveled with him, too. The plot reportedly involved Mr. Hamoodi, a police officer who occasionally worked for the Americans. Although Mr. Hamoodi is a Shiite Muslim, and most attacks against Americans were carried out by Sunnis loyal to Saddam Hussein, some police officers do cooperate with the insurgents and several have been accused of attacking foreigners.

    Colonel West said he initially thought “the information was a joke.” But a week later several of his officers were ambushed when he was supposed to be traveling with them. A roadside bomb sheared off the back panel of a Humvee, and a firefight ensued. None of his men were seriously hurt, but Colonel West began taking the risk of an assassination seriously.

    Intent on foiling a reported plot to ambush him and his men, Colonel West, a battalion commander, made a calculated decision to intimidate the Iraqi officer with a show of force. An interrogation under way was going nowhere, Colonel West said in an interview, and he chose to take the matter into his own hands.

    “This could get ugly,” he told his soldiers. But, he said, he imposed limits: “This man will not be injured and he will not have to be repaired. There will be no blood and no breakage of bones.”

    Still, Colonel West wanted the Iraqi policeman, Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi, to think “this was going to be the end” if he did not divulge what he knew. So Colonel West presided over what he considered a time-sensitive interrogation that grew steadily more abusive until he himself fired a pistol beside Mr. Hamoodi’s head.

    “There are rules and regulations, and there’s protecting your soldiers,” Colonel West said, sitting by a man-made waterway behind his family’s new home in a Florida subdivision. “I just felt I’d never have to write a letter of condolence home to a `rule and regulation.’ ”

    “The fact is, I made a choice, the choice had consequences and I accept that,” he continued.

    But, he added, the events of that hot, dusty night still disturb him: “I’m not some bully who goes around threatening men’s lives. Certain things we have to do in war are outside our character.”

    Mr. Hamoodi said he did not really blame the Americans for “arresting and torturing me.” Obviously, someone had informed on him, he said, and they had to act on the information they obtained. Still, he trembles now when he sees a Humvee and he no longer trusts or works with the Americans.

    Soldiers testified that they felt safer when Colonel West was in charge. The interpreter, who works for a private contractor, said that “the American soldiers were protected by the tribes” in the area because of Colonel West’s good relationship with the community, and that the situation became more dangerous and chaotic after he left.

    The military decided against court-martialing Colonel West. He was fined $5,000, and he submitted his resignation, which becomes effective this summer, when he will retire with full benefits.

    Colonel West said he had spent many months grappling with disorientation, wondering, “What is my purpose now, my reason for being?” Shortly after he arrived back in the United States, he got a lucrative job offer from a private contractor to return to Iraq, he said, but he was not interested. Instead, he decided to start again in the world of education.

    He is awaiting placement in a high school in Broward County and, he said, he prays that God will see to it that he gets a spot in one of the low-performing, predominantly black schools, where he can try to make a difference. Ever the striver, he plans to begin studying for a master’s in education so he can advance into administration “within five years.” he said. [the article is from 2004]

    I’m not prepared to say whether West was right in his actions, but if someone reads the whole article and simply comes out with a 2D portrait of “that guy is a torturer”, it strikes me that person is reading more through an ideological lens than a human one.

  • Contessa Brewer,

    Another self-loathing American.

    Thank goodness for the Internet because stuff like this would have never been shown for what it is, garbage.

  • It’s not political. I watched the video Don posted and I was honestly impressed so I googled him and found out he’s an unrepentant torturer. I too don’t know if he’s any better or worse than his opponent but that kind of killed the enthusiasm.

  • Colonel West first came to my notice when he sacrificed his career to save his men. I completely support what he did, and I admire his willingness to take his punishment without whining about it. Of course, a man can be a hero and lack any political skills. However, West has since demonstrated that he possesses such skills in spades. Oh and to short circuit the parade of horribles: no I would not have supported West shooting the suspected terrorist. However, frightening him, in order to foil a possible ambush, although against regulations, strikes me as a moral act.

  • Thanks for watching MSNBC (as penance, I presume), Don, so I don’t have to. I’ve never watched it, nor had I ever heard of Contessa Brewer before your post. Things are worse than I thought.

    Donald R. McClarey for SCOTUS.

  • “Donald R. McClarey for SCOTUS.”

    Thank you Cathleen, although I have as much chance of being nominated for SCOTUS as I do of being elected Miss America. Besides, I’ve thus far successfully resisted all efforts to get me into a black robe at the trial court level, since I enjoy simply being an attorney. (Also, as I remarked on one occasion, me being on the bench might be one of the seven signs of the Apocalypse!)

  • Maybe not a sign of the Apocalypse, but it sure would be fun to read your opinion of something like the “sweet mystery of life” passage.

  • Yeah j. christian, Kennedy has a bad case of Black Robitis. Too many people after they put on a black robe forget that, at best, they are smart attorneys and begin to consider themselves Platonic Guardians called upon to make decisions for everyone else.

    Of course the best comment in regard to this type of judicial buffoonery was made by Scalia in his magnificent dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the decision which reaffirmed Roe:

    “What makes all this relevant to the bothersome application of “political pressure” against the Court are the twin facts that the American people love democracy and the American people are not fools. As long as this Court thought (and the people thought) that we Justices were doing essentially lawyers’ work up here–reading text and discerning our society’s traditional understanding of that text–the public pretty much left us alone. Texts and traditions are facts to study, not convictions to demonstrate about. But if in reality our process of constitutional adjudication consists primarily of making value judgments; if we can ignore a long and clear tradition clarifying an ambiguous text, as we did, for example, five days ago in declaring unconstitutional invocations and benedictions at public high school graduation ceremonies, Lee v. Weisman, 505 U. S. ___ (1992); if, as I say, our pronouncement of constitutional law rests primarily on value judgments, then a free and intelligent people’s attitude towards us can be expected to be (ought to be) quite different. The people know that their value judgments are quite as good as those taught in any law school–maybe better. If, indeed, the “liberties” protected by the Constitution are, as the Court says, undefined and unbounded, then the people should demonstrate, to protest that we do not implement their values instead of ours. Not only that, but confirmation hearings for new Justices should deteriorate into question and answer sessions in which Senators go through a list of their constituents’ most favored and most disfavored alleged constitutional rights, and seek the nominee’s commitment to support or oppose them. Value judgments, after all, should be voted on, not dictated; and if our Constitution has somehow accidently committed them to the Supreme Court, at least we can have a sort of plebiscite each time a new nominee to that body is put forward. Justice Blackmun

    not only regards this prospect with equanimity, he solicits it, ante, at 22-23.

    * * *

    There is a poignant aspect to today’s opinion. Its length, and what might be called its epic tone, suggest that its authors believe they are bringing to an end a troublesome era in the history of our Nation and of our Court. “It is the dimension” of authority, they say, to “cal[l] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.” Ante, at 24.

    There comes vividly to mind a portrait by Emanuel Leutze that hangs in the Harvard Law School: Roger Brooke Taney, painted in 1859, the 82d year of his life, the 24th of his Chief Justiceship, the second after his opinion in Dred Scott. He is all in black, sitting in a shadowed red armchair, left hand resting upon a pad of paper in his lap, right hand hanging limply, almost lifelessly, beside the inner arm of the chair. He sits facing the viewer, and staring straight out. There seems to be on his face, and in his deep set eyes, an expression of profound sadness and disillusionment. Perhaps he always looked that way, even when dwelling upon the happiest of thoughts. But those of us who know how the lustre of his great Chief Justiceship came to be eclipsed by Dred Scott cannot help believing that he had that case–its already apparent consequences for the Court, and its soon to be played out consequences for the Nation–burning on his mind. I expect that two years earlier he, too, had thought himself “call[ing] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.”

    It is no more realistic for us in this case, than it was for him in that, to think that an issue of the sort they both involved–an issue involving life and death, freedom and subjugation–can be “speedily and finally settled” by the Supreme Court, as President James Buchanan in hisinaugural address said the issue of slavery in the territories would be. See Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States, S. Doc. No. 101-10, p. 126 (1989). Quite to the contrary, by foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish.

    We should get out of this area, where we have no right to be, and where we do neither ourselves nor the country any good by remaining.”

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-744.ZX4.html

  • I should have said thanks earlier to Blackadder for the information he provided.

Terror Suspects and Citizenship

Wednesday, May 5, AD 2010

Senator Lieberman says he plans to introduce a bill which would expand the provisions which already exist in law for removing U.S. Citizenship from those who serve in the military of another country, in order to also strip citizenship from anyone who acts in cooperation with a designated terrorist organization. I could, perhaps, see certain situations where this might be appropriate. If a US citizen was captured in a combat zone, fighting for some non-state-entity which had been designated a terrorist organization, I could see designating that person an enemy combatant — for the same reason that it makes sense to do so with non-citizens who are fighting U.S. forces in combat zones without belonging to the military of a specific country. Our rules for dealing with P.O.W.s don’t really work when applied to people fighting for non-state entities, since there’s no organization to eventually accept peace and end the way with terms and exchange of prisoners.

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3 Responses to Terror Suspects and Citizenship

  • Better still, just charge them with treason with its attendant punishments.

  • Why should every attack have to be on a massive scale for you to consider it an act of war? I can see why you might require one to establish the fact of war, e.g. Pearl Harbor, but if that’s what you need, just look at 9/11. By now, it should be abundantly clear to even the most obtuse, that war on us has been declared by a segment of the world’s Mohammedans, typified by Al Qaida and the Taliban. This Times Square clown was clearly acting either on behalf of or in sympathy with the latter. Had he succeeded, he could have done at least as much harm as your average foot soldier captured on the battlefield does. The motivation, tactics and potential impact of such jihadists make them quite different from “ordinary criminals”. They should be dealt with accordingly.

A Chaplain of the Great War

Wednesday, May 5, AD 2010

A truly remarkable interview conducted in 1982 of the experiences as a Catholic Chaplain of Father William Bonniwell, O.P.  during World War I.   At the time of the interview Father Bonniwell was 96 and I think his vigor and clarity of recollection and speech are astounding.    I have done my best on this blog to tell the stories of some of the Catholic Chaplains who served in the military in our nation’s history, and it is heartwarming to be able to present a video of one of these brave men telling his story.

After the War he had an illustrious career.  He was a professor of homiletics at the Dominican House of Studies in River Forest, Illinois.   He was head of the Preacher’s Institute in Washington DC.   For  many years  he was on the staff of St. Vincent Ferrer in New York City.  He was the author of  ”Margaret of Castello,” , a biography of the 14th-century Italian Dominican nun, who is a true patron of unwanted children, as she was born a dwarf, hunchbacked, blind and lame and was ultimately rejected by her parents, and throughout her travails radiated the love of God.   He translated from Latin ”The Martyrology of the Sacred Order of Preachers”, and produced the groundbreaking History of the Dominican Liturgy 1215-1945.

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5 Responses to A Chaplain of the Great War

NY Mayor Bloomberg Thinks Times Square Bomber is a Tea Party Terrorist

Tuesday, May 4, AD 2010

The cognitive dissonance on the Left is amazing.

Last night on the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric interviewed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a non-affiliated party member, and asked him his thoughts on who it was that planted the bomb in New York’s Times Square and what were the motives behind it.

Mayor Bloomberg’s comments are incredulous to say the least (emphasis mine):

Home-grown, maybe a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill…”

…the health care bill Mr. Bloomberg?

As in the Tea Party Movement participants?

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33 Responses to NY Mayor Bloomberg Thinks Times Square Bomber is a Tea Party Terrorist

  • Tito, please, he says maybe which is quite different from your title’s assertion. This isn’t a gotcha quote.

  • Doofus.

  • I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt – he was sort of pushed on it by Couric – but he would have been better off just saying “I don’t know.” For better or worse Bloomberg is not the kind of politician to shy away from controversy. This would be a “for worse” occasion.

  • The profiling of the Left.

  • I’m not sure Bloomberg is really a leftist. If I’m not mistaken, he was recruited by the GOP to run for NY Mayor. He’s even praised the Tea Party movement: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/mike_hails_activists_Ppj6WY4VgIWDF00PPQAzXM .

  • Politicians say dumb things. He should have declined to speculate without knowing any of the facts. I suppose his guess is somewhat revealing about how wealthy independent New Yorkers view the rest of the country, but he wasn’t going out of his way to claim Tea Partiers were responsible, just making an ill-advised guess.

  • Bloomberg opposed ObamaCare. But blaming liberals is just so much fun!

  • Actually a joke. But if you want to read what some Leftists thought, go here:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×8255994

  • Bloomberg endorsed ObamaCare back in October restrainedradical.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/george/2009/10/bloomberg-backs-obamacare.html

    Throughout his political career Bloomberg has normally attempted to be on all sides of most political issues at one time or another.

  • Just one more bit of leftist wackiness on this matter. Here a poll on a leftist site that had 63% of respondents claim it was a right-wing militia, tea partiers or the religious right making anti-abortion statement that was to blame:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/3/863170/-A-poll:-The-identity-of-the-Times-Square-bomberUPDATE

  • Bloomberg is not a leftist, but he behaves like a doofus when he reveals his moronic “cultural elite” bias about the relative risks from Islamic extremists versus Americans who oppose ObamaCare. Stupid. Just stupid.

    John Henry is correct that speculation sans facts is always dangerous, but the irrationality of his speculation is nonetheless revealing.

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  • “The cognitive dissonance on the Left is amazing …”

    Indeed. Mayor Bloomberg is so cognitively dissonant that he’s been a registered Republican for the past decade or so.

    I’m pleased that the NYPD slam-dunked Dick Cheney on this one. Good work, guys. Didn’t need waterboarding to catch this criminal, eh?

  • Bloomberg is extremely popular among conservatives in NY. Not so popular among liberals.

    http://thepage.time.com/transcript-gingrich-gov-patrick-mayor-bloomberg-on-meet-the-press/

    “I’ve given the president a lot of credit for taking on the issue; but it’s Congress that’s writing this legislation, and they are not willing to go near the things that will contain costs, which is immigration reform, tort reform, asking the question of whether or not we can afford certain tests and whether they really are cost beneficial.”

    “You know, if you really want to object to something in this bill, number one, I have asked congressperson after congressperson, not one can explain to me what’s in the bill, even in the House version. Certainly not in the other version. And so for them to vote on a bill that they don’t understand whatsoever, really, you got to question how–what kind of government we have. Number two, when they talk about bending the curve, as, as the governor said, bending the curve is a flimflam euphemism for increasing costs, but we’re going to say we’ll do it at slightly lower rate than we would have otherwise.”

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/bloomy_blasts_NnKbVENqYhDiXJNmaVFXEM

    “It’s a system we can’t afford in total in this country, and a system that’s not delivering the kind of health care that we want.”

  • “Mayor Bloomberg is so cognitively dissonant that he’s been a registered Republican for the past decade or so.”

    Before he ran for mayor Todd he was a down the line Democrat. In 2007 he changed his partisan affiliation to independent.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/19/mayor-bloomberg-quits-the-gop/

    As for his stances on the social issues Todd, they certainly seem to be taken out of your party’s playbook:

    “Bloomberg supports abortion rights, stating: “Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right and we can never take it for granted. On this issue, you’re either with us or against us.” He has criticized pro-choice politicians who support pro-life candidates. His comments may have been directed at New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a supporter of abortion rights who supported Bob Casey, who is pro-life, in the 2006 Senate election.

    Bloomberg tends to be liberal about his policies towards many social issues. He supports governmental funding for embryonic stem cell research, calling the Republican position on the issue “insanity.” He also supports same-sex marriage with the rationale that “I think anybody should be allowed to marry anybody”.”

  • Bloomberg is pretty much a clone of Rudy Giuliani who was similarly a big government, republican-in-name-only.

    Yeah: Giuliani NY GOP’er – pro abortion, big government, gun control (when a jihadi shot up the Empire State Building, Rudy screamed for more gun control!) and every other cultural/socially liberal, immoral crap sandwich.

    Both are hated because of their (weak) fiscal conservatism and community policing to protect citizens from liberal constituencies.

    And, like their liberal cousins they only have to employ against their imagined enemies (e.g., tea party small government propoents) ad hominems, insults and lies.

    My advice to five-foot-nothing mike: spend your $12 billion NOW! You can’t take it with you. It will burn.

  • There are two things that Tea Party people have in common with Muslim terrorists. One is that neither group is shy about announcing what they are all about, and secondly, liberals in government and in the media don’t believe them. Tea Partiers say they want less government spending, lower taxes and more freedom. Islamists say “death to Israel, death to America, Allahu Akbar, we will establish sharia law in your country”.

    I believe the Tea Partiers when they say “this is what we are about.” I believe the Islamists when they say “This is what we are about.”

    But the liberals in government and the media say that what the Tea Partiers are about is racism, violence and intimidation. Likewise they totally ignore the Islamists call for killing of infidels and make up something like “these really nice family guys who just want a better way of life, economic and social justice,” which also ignores the fact that most of these guys are rich, well-educated and like to treat women like used condoms.

    Incidents like this latest one are stark examples which illustrate the use of the official narrative in place of factual elements.

  • Bloomberg is a richer, wiser, nicer (at least outside of politics), and more independent version of Giuliani. I wouldn’t want to put him in a position where he can appoint Supreme Court justices or direct foreign policy (he’s a solid Republican there whereas I am not) but as mayor I’d proudly vote for him every time as would probably most of the commenters here if they lived in NYC.

  • “but as mayor I’d proudly vote for him every time as would probably most of the commenters here if they lived in NYC.”

    I would sooner vote for the scum that I scraped off my shoe today than Bloomberg.

  • I would sooner vote for the scum that I scraped off my shoe today than Bloomberg.

    Ah, but would you sooner vote for a Democrat?

  • I’d write in “Scum” BA, and pray it wasn’t taken as a vote for Bloomberg.

  • Ok, so, from this combox, it’s safe to assume that neither liberals nor conservatives wish to claim Bloomberg as one of their own, while they both wish to pawn him off as a member of the other side. Gotcha.

  • The ‘POINT’ is Mini-mike’s knee-jerk, calumnious accusation that people who disagree with the big brother agenda/narrative are (worse than) terrorists. That’s right out of the Obama/Alinsky war plan against America.

    I’m convinced you aren’t getting into Heaven if you vote Democrat or RINO.

    I can walk from my house into NYC (Queens). I couldn’t have voted for anyone except the RtoL candidate.

    Donald (sic, I know) Dinkins pretty much paved the street for RINO’s (Giuliani/Bloomberg) as mayors of NYC, “Moscow on the Hudson.”

    Wonder if Patterson will do it for gov and Obama will do the same for POTUS.

  • Actually, Gov. Patterson is the adult in the room in the State Capitol.

  • Paterson is a child. A not-too-bright child. I don’t know a single New Yorker who likes the guy.

    http://gothamist.com/2010/02/19/paterson_bombshell_story_reveals_go.php

  • either liberals nor conservatives wish to claim Bloomberg as one of their own, while they both wish to pawn him off as a member of the other side.

    That’s not uncommon for politicians representing the opposition party in a predominantly liberal or conservative state. No one claims Ben Nelson is a liberal hero; Romney, you’ll recall, had a hard time pivoting from Gov. of Massachusetts to national GOP figure. There is a blurring of the dark blue state GOP and the red state Dems; as a result, partisans of both sides don’t recognize them as one of their own.

  • Paterson is a child. A not-too-bright child. I don’t know a single New Yorker who likes the guy.

    That is becuase you’ve never met

    1. Megan McArdle; or

    2. Yours truly.

  • What an incredibly stupid and incendiary thing to say!

    About like calling pro-life people (the ones who do not support the killing of the unborn which takes 3500 American lives daily) terrorists.

    Learn who the real enemy is.

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  • Henry,

    He does say “maybe”.

    It’s in my posting.

  • Katie Couric and Mayor B;oomberg just proved that this was going to be a more sinister cover up. Faisal Shahzad was going to get away with his terrorist attempt. The media (in a joint effort with the liberal left and elected democrats) was going to blame the Tea Party for terrorist attempt on NYC because of Health Care Bill. It just goes to show to what extent Mayor Bloomberg, Katie Couric, and others will go to discredit the Tea Party movement. Many Dmocrats are trying to discredit the Tea Party movement in order to protect their seats in congress and the White House.

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Pope Speaks About Economics Again, "It's the Natural Law, Stupid"

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

After calling for Catholics to be liberated from their pet ideologies, Pope Benedict is helping flesh out a moral economic vision that puts the standard Left- socialism/Right- Free Markets debate into the dust bin for faithful Catholics.  The bottom-line seems obvious to me- you can’t demonize government and you can’t demonize business- both bring difficulties into play- over-regulation can harm economic development, but lack of regulation can lead to corporate dominance which is a problem when one considers that corporations typically are upfront about being in existence to pad their investor’s bank accounts, not being much concerned with the universal common good. Our Pope clarifies the inherent morality(read Natural Law) in the economy in this article from one of my favorite web sites Zenit.org:

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8 Responses to Pope Speaks About Economics Again, "It's the Natural Law, Stupid"

  • I love the Holy Father.

  • The Austrian and Chicago school economists heads will explode.

  • I’m glad you posted this, Eric! Er… Tim. 🙂

    Sorry, this morning I saw Eric’s comment, and mistakenly typed his name, Tim. 🙂

  • I don’t think so, Jim. Both Austrian and Chicago school economists understand the limits of markets self-regulating. In particular they admit that the capacity for perfect self-regulation is inevitably inhibited by (i) imperfect information and (ii) imperfect rational behavior. As such the risk of errors and even so-called “bubbles” caused by deceit and simple mistakes is very real and in requires some government regulation. How much is a prudential question given that government regulation is also inherently very imperfect and one must recognize the reality that such regulation often makes things worse either by exacerbating a problem or creating new ones.
    The heads that would explode would be the Ayn Randians who view market theory as a dogma for how to live one’s life rather than simply a useful explanation of how resources are efficiently allocated. To be sure Randians are often greatly influenced by classical economic theories, but overall they represent a small subset of economists and thinkers who generally regard themselves as so-called Chicagoans or Austrians.

  • Here is Shaw’s ‘theology’ of the money: “You can’t take it with you. It will burn.”

    As St. Augistine wrote in The City of God: ” . . . the possession of those temporal goods which virtuous and blameless men may lawfully enjoy; still, there is more self-seeking here than becomes men who are mere sojourners in this world and who profess hope of a home in heaven.”

  • Tim posted this Chris. I’d be wrong to take credit.

  • I’m not sure why someone edited the title from It’s the Natural Law, – Stupid- to -Gomer- I was playing off the famous expression It’s the Economy, Stupid- I wasn’t calling folks out as being stupid if they didn’t agree with the Pope’s commentary- anyone know about this editing?

  • Should there be negative consequences for stupid decisions? Or should the market be regulated to make sure no one can make a stupid decision?

    I can’t tell from this teaching. What is the governments legitimate power, specifically? Isn’t that detail kind of important?

Mickey Kaus: Democrat With a Difference

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

Mickey Kaus, blogger and writer, is running against Barbara Boxer in the Senate primary in California.  I have read with enjoyment his KausFiles for years.  Alas, Mr. Kaus is not pro-life.  If he were, I could imagine myself possibly voting for him.  He is taking on some of the major shibboleths of his party.  Here are a few examples:

Unions:

“Yet the answer of most union leaders to the failure of 1950s unionism has been more 1950s unionism. This isn’t how we’re going to get prosperity back. But it’s the official Democratic Party dogma. No dissent allowed.

Government unions are even more problematic (and as private sector unions have failed in the marketplace, government unions are increasingly dominant). If there are limits on what private unions can demand — when they win too much, as we’ve seen, their employers tend to disappear — there is no such limit on what government unions can demand. They just have to get the politicians to raise your taxes to pay for it, and by funding the Democratic machine they acquire just the politicians they need.

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One Response to Mickey Kaus: Democrat With a Difference

What If A Law Can't Be Enforced?

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

The discussions here about Arizona’s new attempt at enforcing immigration law have set me thinking about a more general question: What should we do as a body politic in a situation in which a law we have passed seems impossible to enforce?

In a sense, no law is enforced perfectly. Cannibalism is against the law, yet it does still, on rare occasions, happen that someone kills and eats someone else. We don’t generally describe this as the laws against cannibalism “not being enforced”. Rather we describe it as someone breaking the law.

When we talk about a law not being enforced, we generally mean that a lot of people are breaking it, and yet few of them seem to be suffering the consequences. Thus, although murders take place on a daily basis in our country, we generally do not hear complaints that no one is enforcing the laws against murder, since we at least see the police and prosecutors going through the process of trying to arrest and prosecute people for those crimes.

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44 Responses to What If A Law Can't Be Enforced?

  • While staggering amounts of resources are devoted to enforcing both of these

    For the record, the sum of appropriations for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement is under $20 bn, or 0.12% of domestic product. I read an interview with a lapsed INS agent some years ago wherein he stated that (ca. 1990), that agency had all of seven (7) agents in the five boroughs of New York tracking down those who had overstayed their visas. Can we please build that cement wall on the southern border?

  • Thank you DC. It’s frightening that we agree lately. It must be the issues…

  • To answer the primary question, whether the enactment of a law is prudent turns on a number of factors, but one important one is enforceablilty. If a law is generally ignored because it is impractical to punish violators, then it is probably an imprudent law.

    As a related matter, however, it is important to have a proper understanding of enforcement. In general, enforcement efforts are focused on apprehending violators, not preventing crime. In this sense I think it is very mistaken to suggest that our narcotics laws are not enforced. We may have widespread violations, but we have widespread enforcement as well — just look at our justice and prison systems. If we chose not to enforce these laws, the use of narcotics would be far more widespread — see Holland.

    This is equally true of cannibalism. I’m unaware of any widespread problem, but if instances surface so will criminal prosecutions.

    Illegal immigration is a bit different. Most people agree that it is not impractical to police our borders. Most other first world nations do it without much difficulty. The fact that our government chooses not to is scandalous. Apprehending illegals who are already here is far tougher, however, and general success would require prodigious resources and aggressive tactics that many Americans would find discomforting. Plainly, other options must be explored. But simply accepting widespread flouting of the law with no meaningful enforcement is unhealthy for a society. It breeds disrespect for the rule of law, and the respect for the rule of law is a cornerstone of a prosperous and free society.

  • Most people agree that it is not impractical to police our borders. Most other first world nations do it without much difficulty. The fact that our government chooses not to is scandalous.

    Well, we do have 20,000 border patrol agents — that’s not so much choosing not to as trying and failing. I’m sure that we could put more resources into border enforcement, and I’m sure we could use the ones we have more efficiently, but at the same time, it strikes me as unlikely that we can have such an incredibly large border with Mexico, with so much legal travel and trade going on, and not have a fair amount of illegal immigration if we insist on having a fairly low immigration quota.

    I may be missing something, but I can’t think of any other first world nations which share such a long border with a country so much relatively poorer than they are. So it doesn’t seem surprising to me that we’d have a lot more trouble enforcing immigration laws than other countries.

  • Drug laws can be enforced very efficiently and many countries do. Just execute all offenders. We can do the same for illegal immigrants. But most of us don’t care to deport our pool cleaners.

    Recreation drug use, underage drinking, speeding, and overstaying your visa are all, more or less, victimless crimes. The vast majority of offenders don’t cause any trouble. Libertarians wouldn’t punish any of them. At the very least the punishment should be minimal. Besides, illegal immigration is a result of restrictive legal immigration policy. It’s akin to Prohibition.

  • I do see some distinction between enforcement of immigration laws and drinking and speeding laws. The latter is a transient condition and the former is not. (I believe it was Churchill who told a woman “You’re ugly.” She replied, with disgust, “You’re drunk.” To which Churchill replied, “You are correct, madam, but in the morning I’ll be sober and you’ll still be ugly.” But I digress.)

    The focus of virtually all commentary on this subject is on people crossing the southern border of the United States. Some attribute this to racism. There may be some people so motivated, but I don’t think that playing the race card really adds anything to the discussion, one way or the other.

    Clearly, to better enforce the law in this geographic area, would require a lot more personnel, many more patrols, etc., probably barbed wire, mines and machine gun towers. Neither party has been willing to establish that budgetary priority. That leads me to suggest that, in the real world of politics, it isn’t going to happen.

    Further, it is my understanding that an estimated 40% of the people here illegally came here legally, perhaps to visit relatives, attend school or just came as “tourists.” They just never left when their visa expired. Not surprisingly, we don’t attach tracking collars to people who come to visit. So how do we “secure our borders” against that?

    The experience with the southern border and the over staying their welcome people suggests to me that “securing our borders” is an illusion, along the lines of “energy independence,” sloganeering about something that can not happen, as an alternative to a serious policy discussion. I don’t think that most Americans are really prepared to do the things that would be necessary to actually do in order to prevent further illegal immigration. We’re talking large numbers of armed enforcement officers, road blocks, “Are you papers in order?” etc.

    Further, even if we could identify, with zero errors, who is here illegally and who is not, and I don’t think that is really feasible, what could we do with them? I have heard estimates ranging from 8 million to 16 million who are here illegally. Are we prepared to forcibly deport 8 million people, breaking up families in some cases? Never mind the economic effect on the communities who employ many of these people. Never mind the mind boggling logistics of moving that many people to “some other” country. I don’t think this is a morally or even politically realistic alternative.

    So where does that leave us?

  • I think, actually, that it’s far easier to make a case for the decriminalization of drugs than it is to make a case for the decriminalization of illegal immigration. If the empirical results of Portugal’s experiment in this arena are any sign, the social ills related to decriminalization are far less than those tied to the status quo: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=portugal-drug-decriminalization

    Also, I think that the decriminalization of drugs would actually *help* the country do something meaningful about immigration, as it would do a lot to lessen the stranglehold over northern Mexico currently enjoyed by the cartels and would subsequently lessen the crime in Arizona, California, and Texas associate with those cartels.

  • Darwin quit talking commomn sense/ I can make the same point on DWI laws. We know they are being enforced. BUT OH GOODENSS THERE ARE DRUNK Drivers on the road!! So they must not be being enforced

    I really encourage people who say the Federal Govt is trying to do nothing to get on twitter. A few weeks ago everyone was aghast on the left that Obama was deporting people left and right.

    Again this is a lot more complicated than people on either side will realize

  • Patrick

    As too Machine gun towers does that mean you think its proper to machine gun these people down?

  • This is not that difficult.

    The border with Mexico is a shade under 2,000 miles long. Build a cement wall, decorate it with razor wire, add observation towers, and hire ~15,000 guards working in shifts and equipped with firearms and optical equipment to police it. That will force turnstile jumpers to make use of one of the several score lawful crossing points, where the 20,000 agents made reference to above can apprehend them (and small roving ambulence squads can pick up and minister to any who get shot from the observation towers).

    Once you have apprehended them, take them in front of a justice of the peace and thence off to a forty day stint in solitary confinement in a federal jail dedicated to these purposes. During that stay, you can collect identifying information from your subject and put it in a databank. At the end of his forty days in the cooler, deport him. If he returns, its sixty days in jail.

    You hire 15,000 border guards, a few thousand court functionaries, and some thousands more prison staff and make the associated capital investments and you have resolved that component of the problem of illegal immigration. If it be worth it to you.

  • “and small roving ambulence squads can pick up and minister to any who get shot from the observation towers). ”

    I know you are being sarcastic but sdaly too many would be fine with this

  • You hire 15,000 border guards, a few thousand court functionaries, and some thousands more prison staff and make the associated capital investments and you have resolved that component of the problem of illegal immigration. If it be worth it to you.

    An even simpler approach would have no additional costs at all: We could declare the entire country to be a prison and announce that we have now imprisoned all illegal immigrants.

  • Making it a felony for a person to knowingly hire an illegal alien would go a long way to deterring illegal immigration. An illegal who is deported will often try again to come across the border. He or she has nothing to lose. Drying up the sources of work however would make the US a much less tempting place to live. A few high level prosections of a few corporate CEOs and some Hollywood stars would go a long way to getting the message across that the US, this time, is serious about stopping illegal immigration. Just the threat of such prosecution would eliminate most of the jobs that illegal aliens are currently hired to do. No jobs, no illegal aliens.

  • “Making it a felony for a person to knowingly hire an illegal alien would go a long way to deterring illegal immigration. An illegal who is deported will often try again to come across the border. He or she has nothing to lose. Drying up the sources of work however would make the US a much less tempting place to live. A few high level prosections of a few corporate CEOs and some Hollywood stars would go a long way to getting the message across that the US, this time, is serious about stopping illegal immigration. Just the threat of such prosecution would eliminate most of the jobs that illegal aliens are currently hired to do. No jobs, no illegal aliens.”

    Why does everyome think this is all HIGH priced CEOS and big companies. After Katrina there were a lot of ordianry people that got their home repairs and in fact Parishes Levees reparied because of illegals. They were the only work force

    In case people have not noticed we have a huge Crisis on the Coast and from whqat I hearing we having problems filling jobs that are paying around 15 dollars a hour. Guess what illegals will fill it and no one complain since out lievehood is at stake. Should people with oyster leases get felonies because they got to get people to stop the oil from coming in

  • As Milton Friedman once noted, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Every dollar spent on immigration enforcement is one dollar less to be spent on ordinary law enforcement, healthcare, education, etc. The question ought to be not whether the law should be enforced or not (since as Darwin notes enforcement is not a binary question) but at what point spending more on border security costs more than it is worth. Given that even conservative estimates are that immigration is a net benefit to the U.S. economy (of approx. $20 billion a year), I would suggest that we are already spending too much.

  • “After Katrina there were a lot of ordianry people that got their home repairs and in fact Parishes Levees reparied because of illegals. They were the only work force”

    I rather doubt that jh. I suspect they were the cheapest work force. Gaining control of our borders I put at a far higher priority than people having access to a relatively cheap source of labor.

  • An even simpler approach would have no additional costs at all: We could declare the entire country to be a prison and announce that we have now imprisoned all illegal immigrants.

    I do not understand this response. I believe their are 3.3 million persons on the federal payroll. A 1% increase in that number might just secure the southern border. If it is not worth it to you, it is not worth it to you. It is, however, feasible.

    I know you are being sarcastic

    I was not. Cops are armed. Firearms are not ornaments.

  • Given that even conservative estimates are that immigration is a net benefit to the U.S. economy

    Largely reaped by immigrant populations themselves and sensitive to public benefit regimes.

    Pareto optimality is not the only issue here.

  • “I rather doubt that jh. I suspect they were the cheapest work force. Gaining control of our borders I put at a far higher priority than people having access to a relatively cheap source of labor.”

    You may doubt it all you want but I know from everyone talking about it it was the only workable compentence work force people could find. Unless you wanted to wait for year with a hole in your roof.

    Just saying the soultion is comprehensive. No doubt now with out crisis on the gulf wioth the oil spill illegals will be play a crucial part in saving our coast because well too many peopl find working for 15 buckes a hour too low!! The roundups will not hasppen and we shall all tuen a blind eye. Untill they are no longer needed and become “criminals” again/ That is the reality

  • Art,

    You think we should shoot illegal immigrants?

  • If I were to charge a state police roadblock, I think I would do so expecting that by luck or finesse, said trooper would miss when he shot at me or my vehicle. Someone making use of whatever technology is available to scale a cement wall being monitored by armed guards should do so understanding that he is risking a dose of lead, most particularly if he is told to halt. It is police work and deadly force is part of their tool kit.

  • “because well too many peopl find working for 15 buckes a hour too low!!”

    Once again jh it sounds to me as if you are talking about a cheap labor force rather than the only labor force available. I might add that here in Central Illinois plenty of people are working for far less than $15.00 per hour.

  • Art,

    I’m not clear what point you’re trying to make here. Yes, clearly if we wanted to implement full Berlin Wall type measures across a two thousand mile border (I assume we would also have “kill foreigners before they clear the surf” rules along the coastline like Shogunate Japan?) we could, as some financially achievable cost “secure our border”. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s “possible” to enforce the law, though.

    After all, it would be feasible in a financial and practical sense to mandate the installation of a “black box” in every car which would read a regional transponder that broadcast the local speed limit and if you exceeded the limit by so much as one 1mph, cut the engine and radio for the highway patrol to come and cuff you. It would be feasible to install microchips in the neck of every child which would detect any trace of blood alcohol injected before 21 and immediately radio for police to come pick the under age drinker up. Both would be almost as feasible as building a 2000 mile long wall with machine gun nests every couple hundred yards, but that doesn’t mean that they’re “possible” means of achieving full enforcement of the relevant laws.

    Which was my point.

    I mean seriously, you’d not actually advocating that we shoot people trying to sneak across the border, are you? We don’t allow cops to shoot someone who isn’t obviously an immediate physical threat to someone. Cops aren’t allowed to just gun down people who don’t listen to their verbal command to halt.

  • Making it a felony for a person to knowingly hire an illegal alien would go a long way to deterring illegal immigration. An illegal who is deported will often try again to come across the border. He or she has nothing to lose. Drying up the sources of work however would make the US a much less tempting place to live. A few high level prosections of a few corporate CEOs and some Hollywood stars would go a long way to getting the message across that the US, this time, is serious about stopping illegal immigration.

    Overall, I would definitely approve more of penalizing employers. However, I would imagine that if you weren’t prosecuting someone unsympathetic and famous, it would be moderately hard to make it stick. Picture:

    “Did you know this guy was an illegal immigrant?”
    “Absolutely not. I asked him for documentation when I hired him and he showed me papers that looked genuine.”

    Given the prevalence of face documentation, if you nail people regardless of whether they “knew” their employee was illegal, then a lot of employers will decide not to hire anyone who speaks Spanish just to be on the safe side. If you only prosecute people who “knew”, then somehow no one will have known.

    Personally, I would have no problem with a secure national ID card to deal with that problem, and I think it would probably help a lot, but somehow most conservatives happen to also hate the idea of a national ID card.

  • “Personally, I would have no problem with a secure national ID card to deal with that problem, and I think it would probably help a lot, but somehow most conservatives happen to also hate the idea of a national ID card.”

    I would have no problem with a National ID Card, especially since our social security numbers have been de facto serving that purpose since the New Deal.

    “Absolutely not. I asked him for documentation when I hired him and he showed me papers that looked genuine.”

    That is when you play the video of him boasting to friends or stock holders that he has lowered the costs of the business\corporation by hiring illegals. Disgruntled employees, vengeful ex-spouses, etc all make excellent witnesses in this type of prosecution. Tax fraud prosecutions would be an excellent model for how these type of cases could be won. Oh, and then there are the illegal aliens themselves who might be willing to aid in the prosecution if given the proper incentives, including a monetary reward for informing on their boss which should be a part of any legislation. If government wants to crack down on the employers it wouldn’t be that difficult or that expensive.

  • I would have no problem with a National ID Card, especially since our social security numbers have been de facto serving that purpose since the New Deal.

    Yeah, I’ve never understood the hysteria about the idea. Especially given how pathetically easy it is to counterfeit social security cards.

    Oh, and then there are the illegal aliens themselves who might be willing to aid in the prosecution if given the proper incentives, including a monetary reward for informing on their boss which should be a part of any legislation. If government wants to crack down on the employers it wouldn’t be that difficult or that expensive.

    How about the ultimate Machiavellian twist: Green cards for illegals who successfully inform on their bosses who hired them illegally!

  • There are foreign policy implications in militarizing a border. While there are plenty of illegal immigrants created by illegally crossing the border, more typical is the illegal immigrant that crossed the border legally. As for making the hiring of an illegal immigrant a felony, good luck with that. The federal prison population is 211,455 this week. The number of illegal immigrants is estimated at over 10,000,000. Needless to say, a doubling of the prison population would easily be possible, if not an increase of an order of magnitude were serious enforcement were attempted.

  • I’d have no objection to such a reward Darwin!

    MZ, you don’t need to prosecute them all. A few high profile ones and people will decide it isn’t worth the risk to save a few bucks on having the lawn mowed, on the live-in Nanny, or mega-Corp hiring illegal aliens to gain a few points on the bottom line. Additionally to the felony hit, a fine of $50,000 per illegal alien hired could be tacked on. Otherwise solid citizens who are hiring illegals purely because they work cheap would quickly realize it wouldn’t be worth the substantial headache if they were caught.

  • I guess I am uncertain as to why you would regard a fortification which demarcates a national boundary frequently violated as something analogous to to putting a person’s motor vehicle engine or liquor cabinet under state control. People tend to resist encroachments on their domestic sphere. The Mexican border is not running through your pantry. (And I would not concede that the microchip idea is technically feasible).

    My example of hypothetical dealings with New York State troopers holds here. It is not difficult to avoid being shot by cops. Do not hire heavy equipment to charge border fortifications and stop your vehicle when they tell you.

    I assume coppers in Corpus Christi will take people who wash ashore into custody and kill them only in self-defense.

    Some people refuse to submit to the authority of the police and some portion of these put life an property in danger in the process. I think the municipal police in New York City shoot about two dozen people a year, on average. Would you prefer they were unarmed?

    Conceivably you could have cost estimates of such a construction project which might cause me to reconsider. There’s an awful lot of concrete in the Interstate Highways, though. The one nearest me runs from Boston to Seattle, I think.

  • There are foreign policy implications in militarizing a border.

    Blah blah. Implicate away.

  • MZ, you don’t need to prosecute them all. A few high profile ones and people will decide it isn’t worth the risk

    This has been the path to some of the more egregious abuses of discretion in prosecuting our drug laws. I’m wary of creating a penalty for deterrence effects. 1) Our best evidence suggests severity isn’t a deterrence. 2) I think gross penalties tend to encourage corruption, the current state of plea bargaining being a prime example.

  • Most laws work purely on deterrence. Traffic laws and tax laws are prime examples. As to plea baragaining, whenever you have criminal statutes you are going to have plea bargaining. Without it, the legal system would come grinding to a halt within a month.

  • 1. Make employers of illegals likely to be caught;
    2. Make the fines and prison time for employers of illegals significant;
    3. Make the fines and prison time for financial services organizations doing business with illegals significant;
    4. Enlist all public services delivery organs (excluding emergency medical) in detecting those here illegally, and make them ineligible for those services (again, excluding emergency medical);
    5. Make it easy for employers, financial services firms, and public service delivery organs to determine who is here illegally and who isn’t;
    6. Ensure that those detected, are repatriated, or at least terrifically inconvenienced.
    7. Double or treble the legal immigration opportunities, with anyone apprehended here illegally made ineligible even to visit as a tourist for ten years after their conviction, and put them at the “end of the line” thereafter. (I.e., reward those who go the legal route.)
    8. End birthright citizenship for children whose parents are not both citizens.

    This is the kind of thing a civilized society is morally obligated to do, and it is tender-hearted without failing to be tough-minded. The tough-minded part is the most important, of course, because it makes the tender-hearted part possible. But those who pursue only tender-hearted policies, without the prerequisite tough-mindedness, get neither.

    Anyhow, do all that, and you needn’t militarize the border, except as sufficient to capture, and when needed, destroy, drug runners. (I hear that Predators with Hellfire missiles do an admirable job at the latter, when there aren’t crowds of migrant laborers obfuscating the target.)

  • I guess I am uncertain as to why you would regard a fortification which demarcates a national boundary frequently violated as something analogous to to putting a person’s motor vehicle engine or liquor cabinet under state control. People tend to resist encroachments on their domestic sphere. The Mexican border is not running through your pantry.

    My point was more that having our southern border marked by a large cement wall topped with razor wire with machine gun emplacements every few hundred yard where border guards are under orders to shoot anyone who approaches the wall is something most people would consider to be authoritarian and un-American. I mean, we’re not talking about a country we’re at war with, we’re talking about peaceful trading partner that we have 250 million legal border crossings a year with. Seriously? You think the American people want people getting machine-gunned on a daily basis for approaching a wall? I keep hoping I’m playing the stupid straight man to a brilliant flight of sarcasm here.

    And even imagining this wall. (A little rough math suggests you’d need 8,800 machine gun emplacements if you put them every 400 yards, which with three shifts and two men per emplacement means you’d need about 53,000 guards.) What are you going to do about the thousands of people who could simply approach a legal border crossing point during daylight and respond to, “What is your business in the US,” with, “Para visitar a mi hermano.”

    Some people refuse to submit to the authority of the police and some portion of these put life an property in danger in the process. I think the municipal police in New York City shoot about two dozen people a year, on average. Would you prefer they were unarmed?

    No, I don’t think police should be unarmed, but surely you realize that police have very specific rules of engagement concerning when they can use their guns? They’re allowed to shoot when they think that someone is an immediate physical threat to the officer or to a bystander, not just because someone isn’t listening to order to stop. This is why there’s such a big stink and an officer accidentally shoots an unarmed minority guy.

    Shooting someone simply for putting a ladder against a wall and trying to climb over would be a massive departure from the way the US behaves anywhere other than a war zone.

    Seriously, you know this, don’t you? You’re normally one of the most widely informed commenters we have around here.

  • It did occur to me that police have specific rules of engagement, but thanks for the lesson.

    I am not responsible, Darwin, for where your imagination leads you. I did say that sentinels at the border should be armed and that encounters between law enforcement and its objects lead to lethal violence on occasion. It should not surprise you if this occurs at the Mexican border. The initial subject of these discussions concerned the activities of organized crime, whose members are not adverse to the use of lethal force and do attempt to cross the border on occasion. The business about machine guns and quotidienne killings is in your head. Nothing to do with anything I ever alluded to.

    The purpose of fortifying the border is to channel the traffic to the legally-designated crossings where persons, vehicles, and merchandise can be subject to proper inspection. Your reference to the number of legal crossings is puzzling; fortifying the border does not in and of itself limit the number of legal-crossings, though it may exacerbate queuing problems. I am sorry the aesthetics of a concrete wall offends you. I do not care for the look of strip malls. I suppose the ugliness of them is not so ‘un-American’, however.

    Look, we are either serious about this or we are not. If immigration law is to serve public policy, immigration law has to be enforced. If it is not, circumstance, or someone other than you and your legislators, are establishing the pathways and destination meant to be set by immigration law. Enforcement means capital investment and manpower to see to it that people crossing the border have their paperwork in order. Enforcement means uniformed armed men telling you to do what you might prefer not to. There are occasions in this world when that turns ugly. And there is nothing terribly shocking about that.

    We are not at war with Mexico. That does not mean Mexican citizens should be permitted to settle in this country without a proper visa. If you are not willing to fortify and defend the border, that is your preferred policy by default. If the Mexican government fancies it is a casus belli that their citizens are compelled to follow the regulations which apply to everyone else, tough.

  • What are you going to do about the thousands of people who could simply approach a legal border crossing point during daylight and respond to, “What is your business in the US,” with, “Para visitar a mi hermano.”

    If their paperwork is in order, wave them through. If it is not, hand them the proper forms and tell them to return with their paperwork in order.

  • The business about machine guns and quotidienne killings is in your head. Nothing to do with anything I ever alluded to.

    You’re right, it was another commenter who specifically mentioned “machine guns”, though that doesn’t strike me as a reach from what you said here:

    The border with Mexico is a shade under 2,000 miles long. Build a cement wall, decorate it with razor wire, add observation towers, and hire ~15,000 guards working in shifts and equipped with firearms and optical equipment to police it. … (and small roving ambulence squads can pick up and minister to any who get shot from the observation towers).

    The purpose of fortifying the border is to channel the traffic to the legally-designated crossings where persons, vehicles, and merchandise can be subject to proper inspection. Your reference to the number of legal crossings is puzzling; fortifying the border does not in and of itself limit the number of legal-crossings, though it may exacerbate queuing problems. I am sorry the aesthetics of a concrete wall offends you.

    Perhaps you know of something of which I’m unaware, but the only countries I know of which have fortified borders are those which are officially at war (ex: North and South Korea) and borders between authoritarian regimes and free countries (built by the rulers of the former to keep their citizens in.) Somehow all other civilized nations do have immigrations laws yet don’t have fortifications.

    Though to be fair — the US/Mexico border is the economically starkest in the world that I’m aware of, so I suppose one could argue this is from lack of need.

    If their paperwork is in order, wave them through. If it is not, hand them the proper forms and tell them to return with their paperwork in order.

    There is not a visa required to make a day trip to the US from Mexico. You just show ID and walk right through.

  • I just don’t get it. I have lived in Texas since 1974 and illegal immigration has been around the entire time, if not from time immemorial. Why is it suddenly now such a huge deal? What has so significantly changed? Is it 9/11? If that’s the excuse, then the Canadian border (which is much larger) is an even bigger threat b/c of their much larger Muslim population and more hospitable crossing opportunities (ie, no desert). But no one seems to worry about that for some reason.

  • There are other political frontiers which are also stark economic frontiers (Israel v. any of its neighbors, Saudi Arabia v. Yemen, Albania v. Greece). What is more atypical is the presence of extant social networks in which Mexican migrants can insert themselves and that the United States has a loose associative understanding of nationhood that is more friendly to migrants. Immigration is more a sociological phenomenon than an economic one.

    As for your last point – inneresting. Makes one wonder what is the value-added of surreptitious border crossings and coyotes.

  • The day thing, if I understand correctly, applies to border towns. At least that is how it is for Texas points I have encountered. So, for example, you can just waltz across back and forth in Brownsville, but when you try to get further in (closer to Corpus Christi) there are check points that require additional documentation. Thus, the coyotes are for getting you further in, I imagine.

  • then the Canadian border (which is much larger) is an even bigger threat b/c of their much larger Muslim population and more hospitable crossing opportunities (ie, no desert). But no one seems to worry about that for some reason.

    I am not sure I would characterize the crossing opportunities presented by the Rocky Mountains and the St. Lawrence Seaway as all that hospitable.

    That aside, if the population of Mexico and Central America were about a quarter what it is today, were the per capita income therein about 3x what it is today, were three quarters of the population therein conversant in English, and were the homicide rate a third what it is in the U.S., people might be less anxious about cross border traffic.

  • This discussion has gotten silly. I did laugh about declaring the whole country a prison, so we can say that we’ve apprehended all the illegals. What’s next? Pouring boiling oil on those who try to use a ladder to cross the fortified border?

    “A secure national ID card.” Ain’t no such thing. If you can make an ID card, so can I. All it takes is money to buy or make the equipment. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal last week about counterfeiting. It seems that the North Koreans make $100 bills that look as good as what we can print.

    None of the discussion about a fortified southern or northern border addresses the question of how to deal with people who are here illegally who came here legally in the first place, with a visa and a “welcome to the United States” from immigration.

  • National ID card? What happened to subsidiarity? States are clearly able to and currently do have ID cards.

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Where's Stupak?

Monday, May 3, AD 2010

Hattiip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Representative Joe Pitts (R. Pa) has introduced a new bill that bans abortion funding from ObamaCare.  It largely replicates the language of the old Stupak Amendment.  The bill has 57 co-sponsors and growing.  Thus far these real pro-life Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors:  Reps. Travis Childers of Mississippi, Lincoln Davis of Tennessee, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Jim Marshall of Georgia, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Gene Taylor of Mississippi.  I salute each of them.  Each of them voted against the final pro-abort version of ObamaCare.  Bart Stupak and his “pro-life” Democrats who hid behind the fig leaf of the meaningless executive order in order to vote for ObamaCare, are of course not supporting this legislation.  I think this is significant.  ObamaCare passed.  From the perspective of a truly pro-life Democrat who supported ObamaCare, why not amend the law now to ban abortion funding?  Failure to support this legislation should finish the idea that such a Democrat  in Congress is in any sense pro-life.  This legislation should of course be a major voting issue for all pro-lifers in November

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6 Responses to Where's Stupak?

  • Don’t hold your breath on this one, Don.

  • Agreed Jay! 🙂

  • What concerns me is the total lack of concern by the USCCB bishops regarding all the other anti-Catholic (subsidiarity etc.)trash wrapped up in Obamacare.

    If I didn’t know better…

    And why was it that one of the three official bishops who finally (only after their joining Stupak allowed it to leave committee with an apparent imprimature) ended up opposing the bill was titled the “migrant” bishop? I thought it was about abortion not border issues? But then the Catechchism tells us that the laity is to decide upon immigration questions. And then there’s the silence about the death panels – the theft of (1/2 trillion) money for the health and care of the medicare class. I’ll never understand why the state (Caesar) is the first choice of these religion trained people. I also failed to hear a large USCCB protest when Obama suggested taking the tax benifit away from private charity economically forcing charity to become controlled by (Caesar)government’s business. Didn’t they ever hear John Paul’s admonition to be wary of the welfare state?

    There are far too many unanswered questions about the construct and motives of this group. Millions of dollars in street money collected for the poor given by them to ACORN to help elect the most aggressively pro-abortion/infanticide president in history needs a serious investigation -not just an “oopps -sorry.” That didn’t work with the priest coverup and wont with the politics. And then there’s Notre Dame -the moral/political scandal of the decade?

  • Not that I have time, during lunch, to decrypt that mess…
    I’ll presume that someone who reads for a living has read it and thinks it would at least limit federal funding on abortions and provide abortion-free options for Catholics.
    That said, let’s return to the “myth” of the pro-life Democrat.

    If you have a couple of million in your bank account and heart, swelled with civic duty, perhpas you might think Congress or the Senate, or your state versions are the place yu can “do the most good.” So far, so-so.
    If you have swallowed whole the notion that Jesus will be mollified, during the promised Matthew 25 test at the conclusion of this life, by your demonstrated williingness to reach into the pockets of others to fund the many do-gooder programs that come up for a vote during your tenure; thereby sacrificing subsidiarity and free will on the altar of ever-dubious government largesse. If this is you, you obviously opt to run as a Democrat, albeit a conscientious “pro-life Democrat, and caucus with your party of choice- in order to do the most good with OPM.
    So, by the very fact that you win, go to DC, caucus with your fellow travelers, you help insure that it will be they who control the committees, they who elect the speaker of the house, they who set the table for the legislative agenda that will cause acts to land on the desk of the POTUS- and they who orchestrate any attempts to override irresponsible vetos by the Abortionist-in-Chief.
    So how was it you were going to do good without materially contributing to the expansion or continuance of the evil of taxpayer funded abortion (not just here- remember Mexico City)?

  • Call me crazy, but I would rather Rep. Joe Pitts walk up to these men and women and seriously engage them and try to win their votes.

    What’s more important? Verbal condemnation or their votes and not funding abortions? I’m not suggesting writing things off as if there is not an issue at all. But I think the order of business puts stopping abortion funding first and I happen to think some of the Democrats who voted for the bill would vote for this legislation if it hit the floor. Granted that they voted for the health care bill, I don’t think they are now pro-choice extremists no different than Pelosi.

    But in another sense — this legislation is dead until at least next January. I could see it (by a stretch of the imagination) passing in the House if it made it out of committee somehow and failing in the Senate.

  • Eric, I would love it if Stupak and some of the other Democrats who voted for ObamaCare would sign on to the bill. As Jay indicated above however, I am definitely not holding my breath.