Wednesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Holy man, scare quotes?
  2. Power point and the military.
  3. A use for those floppy drives.
  4. What? Democrats overreacted?
  5. Venn and the internets.
  6. On the G&S circus.
  7. No death panels? Or is it a syntactic distinction that makes no semantic difference?
  8. On the deficit commission.
  9. Mr Paulson.
  10. Arizona.
  11. The left and liberalism.
  12. Three months ago, I noted that Greece’s finances were more of a problem than its economic heft indicated because of connectedness. Alas, I was perhaps correct.

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  1. Arizona.

    I’m embarrassed for my country by that law. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I were a citizen of Arizona.

    (Some? Most?) Republicans see poor, desperate people flocking to this country, willing to work their asses of for less than minimum wage, and what’s their response? Compassion? Welcoming? No, they want those people hassled and arrested and deported for the crime of being born on the wrong side of some imaginary line and having the audacity to do what people have been doing since the dawn of this country to try to make a better life for themselves and their children.

    “I got mine, fuck you” should be the official motto of the Republican Party. It explains their stance on health care, too. If they were honest, they’d try to put in on the Statue of Liberty instead of the lines about “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

  2. Mark says:

    So, you’re a fan of open borders?

    As for your quote from the WSJ … exactly what is that supposed to prove?

  3. So, you’re a fan of open borders?

    I’m a fan of a much easier legal immigration process. Pretty much anyone who wants to immigrate here should be allowed to.

    There are only two major alternatives I can see:

    1) The status quo, in which pretty much anyone who wants to immigrate here can do so illegally, which causes all sorts of problems for them and for everybody else.

    2) Spending a gazillion dollars building and policing a giant wall on both borders (I’ll pretend Republicans care as much about white people coming in illegally from the north as they do about brown people coming from the south) and either deporting or granting amnesty to everybody already here.

    It’s obvious to me that my solution is superior to 1. Perhaps we will get more immigrants that way, but I don’t see that as a negative.

    I have no idea what other than racism/xenophobia would make someone think that 2 is superior, although that appears to be pretty much what the Republican base wants. To me, it seems like a really, really, really expensive way to demonstrate exactly how selfish and mean-spirited we are while at the same time drastically curtailing population growth within the U.S. and costing us billions in lost revenue and productivity.

  4. Mark says:

    Well, you just solved the West Bank problem in the Middle East, easier immigration means they can all just move here. I suggest we move the real wackos to your back yard. 😉

    Which poses difficulties for your contention that the “Clearly #1 is a superior solution.” Gotcha. Nothing but racism/xenophobia over here … or not. I might be selfish and mean-spirited but at least I’m not having to choose between dumb as a post or just plain un-serious like y’all on the left.

  5. Mark,

    Huh? I can’t pull anything useful out of your comment. What poses difficulties for my solution over #1? Or over #2?

    What does “unserious” mean?

  6. Mark says:

    OK. I’m operating under the assumption that “open borders” don’t make sense. No need for armed forces, just let the enemy walk in in any number. It doesn’t make sense. Yet you offer, “Pretty much anyone who wants to immigrate here should be allowed to.” Uhm, that is open borders. The entire Third (and most of the second) Worlds want to immigrate here. Your frothing-at-the-mouth Jihadist who screams hatred at the US, would and does jump at the chance when offered to actually live here.

    Open borders don’t make a bit of sense. Your need to differentiate for me how you distinguish between “anyone who wants to … ” and open borders.

  7. Mark,

    We need to separate your concerns. It seems there are at least two — the sheer number of people who want to come in and “enemies” who want to come in.

    I don’t see “enemies” as a big issue, at least compared to the status quo, because they can easily come in under the status quo. All the 9/11 hijackers, for example, entered the country legally. It’s also possible that if we didn’t have millions of people entering the country illegally because they had the possibility of entering legally, it would be easier to keep tabs on who came in, and so that would make it easier to keep out enemies.

    I do concede that the giant, expensive walls and intense scrutiny of any visitors would make it more difficult to come in, but we’d have to basically turn the country into a prison to genuinely make it safe from enemies’ entry and the costs both financial and economic would be extraordinary. And there would be plenty of people inside the walls already who could turn into our enemies anyway.

    As for the numbers issue, I honestly don’t know how big a concern it is. Are there enormous numbers of people who would actually come but don’t because it’s difficult to do it legally? How many people is really too many? If it really is too many people, we could still vastly increase legal immigration while throttling it to not get overwhelmed. E.g. all people here could be granted amnesty and it could be made easy for new immigrants to come legally, but as the numbers grow, we could slow down how many we are taking in. At that point illegal immigrants would be almost non-existent, so it would be a much smaller problem to deal with new illegal immigrants early before there were millions of them like there are now.

    The problem now is that we have a system in law which is different from our system in practice and millions of people are stuck in the middle. We need to sync them up before we can start taking meaningful action on any of this stuff.

  8. Boonton says:

    I think ‘open borders’ is a red herring. The problem is that we have borders that are too closed. Many ‘illegals’ for example, used to come here only for seasonal work returning every year to Mexico. By clamping down on the borders, it is not longer easier for them to cross so they stay, finding alternative work in the off seasons and establishing lives for themselves here.

    What we should have is:

    1. Another amnesty for those who have started a life here, are well assimiliated and have not caused any trouble from breaking the law aside from their immigration status.

    2. An ‘on-off’ temporary work program. Anyone’s whose not a known criminal can come here for a year or two on a work visa but return home and reapply after a ‘break period’ with the expectation of renewal unless they have done something bad. All payroll taxes and other laws would apply to them. I would make them part of the social security and unemployment systems but at reduced benefit rates until they became full citizens.

    2.1 Those getting amnesty from #1 can be divered into the #2 program. There are some, however, who are way too assimilated to be expected to ‘go back’. For example, a while ago I remember hearing about a teen whose parents were illegal when she was only a few years old. She has grown up in America and doesn’t even speak Spanish. For these I would consider a direct to citizenship program with a monetary penalty.

    3. An expanded citizenship program. People who do well on #2 can apply for fast tracked citizenship status or longer term green card status (say in increments of 3, 5, 10 years in addition to the lifetime status).

    4. With something reasonable in place, serious law enforcement efforts can be directed towards those who remain illegal since they will be fewer in number and more likely to have nefarious reasons for remaining illegal. We could have fewer stories like the one of the mother torn from her baby as she was nursing by immigration agents raiding her apartment. We would also have fewer incentives for numerous people to drag their feet on enforcing the law out of humanitarian concerns for immigrants. Also we would be much more likely to capture those who are here in various databases, which if your primary concern is about enemies is what you would want.

    4.1 I would follow up with some development aid to Mexico and countries to the south.

  9. Mark says:

    Boonton & JA,
    “Open borders” may be a red-herring … but it is exactly what seemed to be intended in JA’s remark.

    Splitting the “problem” into two parts … I’ll go along with that. One the first part, “opening borders” in my view the numbers of people who would be willing and able to immigrate here if immigration restrictions were entirely removed is greater than the current population of this country. And in the case of uncontrolled legal immigration the enemies points becomes salient … an enemy doesn’t have to come here and blow things up. All they have to do is just come here in their hundreds of millions and register to vote. The Chinese army would make a very solid voting bloc for example.

    To JA’s question:

    As for the numbers issue, I honestly don’t know how big a concern it is. Are there enormous numbers of people who would actually come but don’t because it’s difficult to do it legally? How many people is really too many?

    Yes there are. How about 20 million? 40? 100? 500?

    Right now immigration restrictions as Boonton notes, are likely too high. This discussion is irrelevant regarding AZ. For the AZ laws itself merely has the intent of enforcing the current laws on the books. Furthermore AZ as a State I’m pretty sure doesn’t have Constitutional authority to set immigration guidelines.

    Look. Lots of plans are possible. Lots of ideas are good. One of the problems with bad laws is that it encourages a lack of respect for all law. The notions that the AZ program is bad and should be removed which is just enforcing the laws on the book is the wrong tack to take … you’re encouraging disrespect for the law. Fix the law. Enforce the law. Its that Simple.

  10. Boonton says:

    Actually we did have relatively unrestricted immigration at the turn of the 19th century and I’m aware of no organized effort to take over the gov’t. What gov’t has ever given up its entire army by sending it to live in a country it considers an enemy had having them vote in its elections? You are also confusing immigration with citizenship, the two are not the same.

    How many would come with totally open borders? I suspect fewer than you think. We have, for example, open borders with Puerto Rico and despite the Island being relatively poor the majority of the population does prefer to remain. For many leaving the situation they know and are established in is very costly, even if the opportunities abroad are technically greater.

    As for AZ’s law, its intent isn’t problematic but rather what it does is. It basically says police are ordered to investigate and prosecute immigration status whenever they come to suspect it may be an issue. This doesn’t just mean the person arrested for a crime. It means the person reporting a crime, a victim, a witness and so on. It’s practically a mandate to supplement the underground economy with underground gov’t and law enforcement.

  11. The notions that the AZ program is bad and should be removed which is just enforcing the laws on the book is the wrong tack to take … you’re encouraging disrespect for the law. Fix the law.

    Enforcing this law is a worse evil than encouraging disrespect for it. I’m all in favor of fixing the law, though.

    Your idea about the Chinese army becoming U.S. citizens just so they can vote against our interests is ridiculous, of course.