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A Law In Name Only July 7, 2010

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So the U.S. Government has decided to legally challenge Arizona’s SB1070.  I don’t believe the move was unexpected at all.  In fact, I suspect that when the law was written it was done in such a fashion as to anticipate any legal challenge.

In its defense, the U.S. Government has taken the only viable option open to it.  It isn’t challenging the law on its merit or its legal position as such (despite the many cries that the law is subject to profiling that is NOT what the legal challenge is based on).  Our Government, instead, has challenged the law on the basis that there is already an existing Federal law that should legally supersede state laws.  It’s a valid point and one that I suspect will end up in the Supreme court before all is said and done.

Again, I find it interesting that the legal challenge has nothing to do with the objections voiced by so many opposed to the law to this point (including many within the administration itself).  Time after time we have heard how unjust and evil this law is… how it will lead to stereotyping and abuse by law enforcement officials.  And yet none of that is represented by the legal challenge.  The law, as it is written, mirrors the Federal law so closely that those objections would have likely found little traction in court.  Those who have read the law very closely can find nothing substantive wrong with it.

It should be interesting to see how our Government can bring such a suit against the state of Arizona while pointing to its own law as the basis for conflict with SB1070 while it simultaneously supports “illegal” harboring of illegals in cities and counties across the nation.  In other words, the Federal law is indeed in the books and yet has not been enforced…and as I have so often pointed out before, laws are completely and totally useless without effective enforcement.  Now, we have a state that because it was directly affected by growing problems directly attributed to the problem of illegal immigration (mostly through drug/people trafficking) has taken steps to do exactly what the Federal law indicates should be done… and they are being challenged on it. It’s honestly a bit surreal.  It’s certainly very hypocritical.

This administration has paid this issue plenty of lip service and yet has taken virtually no steps to effectively address the issue in a meaningful manner.  Make no mistake, previous administrations have similarly failed to address illegal immigration.  Yet this administration ran on a platform touting “change” and “hope”… for the people of Arizona those words seem particularly hollow today.

Why is the federal government suing Arizona instead of enforcing its own laws against illegal immigration?


A Lesson In Economics June 28, 2010

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How ironic that our own government had to receive a dressing down from the European Union on responsible economic reform.  Historically it has been the U.S. that pressed for lower taxation rates and fiscal responsibility with regard to social programs and bureaucratic bloat.  In an astounding reversal of roles, however, it is the U.S. that has received that same message from it’s European counterparts at the G20 summit in Toronto.

The German economy, for example, has fared far better than most of her European counterparts as well as that of the U.S..  Cuts in corporate tax rates and tightened spending on government programs are largely responsible.  Likewise, the United Kingdom has made a commitment to reign in deficit spending.

Why can’t we (the U.S.) take a lesson from the Europeans?  Germany, the UK and Canada all had very strong messages for President Obama.  Namely, as the largest economy in the world  (for the moment anyway) our actions directly impact the economies of everyone else.  It is, therefore, imperative  that we lower our corporate tax rates and make the tough cuts that the UK and other European nations have been forced to do.  The writing is very clearly on the wall.  Let’s hope that our leaders have read the words and taken them to heart.

With Friends Like These… June 28, 2010

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On the heels of that amazing “reset” of relations between the US and Russia, comes news that 10 people have been arrested on espionage charges.  I just happen to find the timing ironic.  This announcement surely would have taken on much different meaning right before the meeting that took place between President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The Right Move Given the Circumstances June 23, 2010

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I’m usually pretty critical of our President.  I think his policies have taken us down a very dangerous path that will ultimately lead to prolonged financial hardship for this nation.

Today, however, I have to give credit where it is due.  Namely, the President did precisely what he needed to do in an efficient and effective manner.  His decision to accept Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation could not have come easily.  To his credit, President Obama recognized a change was necessary and affected that change with the least amount of disruption to the ongoing effort in Afghanistan.

As a former service member, it disturbs me that General McChrystal broke one of the fundamental laws governing our military.  Civilian control of the military is Constitutionally backed and General McChrystal’s statements conflicted with his obligation to carry out his orders to the best of his ability.

It is unfortunate, as General McChrystal was the best man for the job.  His statements, made in a moment of careless indiscretion are going to carry consequences.   I applaud President Obama for making a tough decision as quickly as he did.

United They Stand… June 22, 2010

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Events are shaping up to provide some rather interesting scenarios in the near future.  Apparently Mexico has filed its own lawsuit against the immigration reform law in AZ. This brings up a rather interesting possibility.  Namely, we could, potentially, see a foreign government and our own government united in opposition to one of our own states laws.   Imagine THAT visual.  Representatives from the U.S. AG and the Mexican equivalent taking the stand and giving testimony against officials from AZ.

I mean, looking beyond the absurd notion that another country can sue a particular state in another nation (how is Mexico going to show that this law hurts them?… has anyone been able to answer that?), the fact that Mexico and the U.S. Government would have more in common on this issue than AZ is comical/tragic/horrific all at once.  I sometimes feel like our nation has slipped into another dimension or alternate timeline…  it just feels like something out of the Twilight Zone.  What is happening to us?  Why can’t our government stand up for its own citizens rather than those of other nations?  When did we become secondary citizens in our own country?

“In filing the brief, Mexico said it was upholding its duty to protect its nationals in the United States and ensure that they are not discriminated against based on their ethnicity.”

I had to reread that paragraph several times.  My mind simply could not grasp what it was reading.  Mexico has a duty to protect its own citizens in the United States?… really?!  Never mind the fact that they are here… what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah!…. illegally.

A Sad, Sad Day… June 17, 2010

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I’m at a loss to explain why this gentleman felt the need to apologize to BP CEO Tony Hayward for anything.  I have no rational explanation and am deeply offended.

For the record, today’s hearing was a complete travesty.  Mr. Hayward was poorly prepared and furnished nothing of value.  If his board doesn’t demand his resignation immediately there is no justice in this world.  The display I witnessed was beyond pathetic.  At one point Tony Hayward dared to say that he understood what the people along the coast were feeling and going through.  How DARE he!  Mr. Hayward, I would submit that you have no idea what many of those people are going through.  You don’t have a right to claim that knowledge or empathy… you are simply not in a position to share that kind of empathy.

Mr. Hayward… you and others in the BP hierarchy are completely out of touch with reality.  There comes a time to do the right thing…and that time has long since past…so at least have the decency to do the right thing under the current conditions and acknowledge that you have handled this tragedy about as poorly as possible from day 1 and you are stepping down as CEO of BP effective immediately.

Tragedy In Motion June 15, 2010

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As I watch President Obama address the nation tonight, I can’t help but wonder if he truly just doesn’t “get it” or if he’s simply posturing for the sake of politics.  He’s apparently appointed an oil-cleanup-czar now… because having more bureaucrats standing over the shoulders of scientists and engineers is the best way to solve this crisis.

In the beginning, when he truly could have been effective in accepting help from the Dutch and building berms/artificial reefs to slow or prevent intrusion into marshlands or deploying the miles of booms that might have helped contain the oil early on… he did nothing save stamp his foot and wag his finger at anyone remotely associated with the event.

At just about every turn he’s chosen to make a poor decision with regard to what might have saved ecological subsystems and saved jobs.  He’s appointed the Sec. of the Navy to “develop a long-term Gulf Coast restoration plan as soon as possible.”.  Because that is exactly what the Sec. of the Navy is best at, right?  I sometimes wonder who our President is surrounding himself with.  His cabinet/advisers appear to be incompetent at the very least.

Mr. President… please… feel free to take some much needed advice from someone who truly thinks you can use a helping hand here.  Stop the posturing, the posing, the threats.  This isn’t a war, despite your best attempts at drawing such a parallel. Deploy any/all assets at your disposal to contain/minimize the damage as best that our available resources will allow.  Let BP worry about the efforts to stop the flow of oil… focus on doing everything you can to secure your people and the land.

And Now…the Rest of the Story June 10, 2010

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With apologies to Paul Harvey, my title reflects my exact thoughts when I read about the little details that are now surfacing about the 15 year old shot on the Mexico/US border.

Yesterday we were treated to a sob fest where the boy’s mother decried the “disproportionate” use of force on her sweet innocent baby who was brutally and for no reason at all destroyed by the vicious US Border Patrol.

Now hold on there Momma… let’s back that truck up a bit and review things a bit.  It seems that her sweet innocent baby may not have been so sweet and innocent all along.  Evidently he “had a history of involvement with human smuggling”.  A history… that’s interesting.  You see, if he had been involved that fateful day I might have simply chalked it up to youthful indiscretion or ignorance.  But this “child” was very well aware of his environment.  You don’t grow up in the deadliest city in Mexico without developing some sort of situational awareness.

There’s an expression that comes to mind when I read about the events that transpired before the shooting took place.  That is, “Don’t tug on Superman’s cape”.  These “kids” were hefting rocks at armed officials.  These rocks were not pebbles… they could certainly do harm.  They appeared to be fist sized stones.  I dare say that if a few teenagers from Brooklyn were on the border and decided to practice their aim on local law enforcement or Mexican border officials they’d have met with similar outcomes.

I think the fact that this young man was shot and killed is a tragedy that should never have happened.  That can similarly be said for a large number of unfortunate incidents where teenagers lose their lives because they thumb their noses at authority or conventional wisdom.  It’s that sense of invulnerability at that age.  Unfortunately, the decisions he made as well as those of the officers involved came together in a horrific fashion.

And this incident:

Another Mexican national died May 29, one day after border agents shot him with a stun gun at the San Ysidro border crossing that separates San Diego from Tijuana.

The 42-year-old man was being deported when he resisted, became combative and was stunned with a Taser, authorities said. The San Diego medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide and also found “acute methamphetamine intoxication.” He was buried Wednesday.

Here was a gentleman being deported (after entering illegally) and he…RESISTED…and…(wait for it)… BECAME COMBATIVE!  These are the little details that fail to materialize in the nightly news.  He wasn’t tazed out of cruelty or mistake… he was tazed because events lead to that action.  Namely, he entered this country illegally, was high on meth and upon apprehension decided at some point that he’d like to square off against the authorities.  That decision cost the man his life.  Can we please stop making excuses?  Framing these unfortunate incidents in the context of a Border Patrol run amok.

These people learned a very tragic lesson.  That actions sometimes bear consequences beyond our control and may be entirely unintended based on escalating events.

Best of Intentions or Public Relations Coup? Maybe a little of both… June 2, 2010

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Some thoughts regarding the recent Israeli/Turkish/Palestinian dust-up:

1. The boats were clearly doing this as some great PR stunt and not just to deliver humanitarian aid. The presence of major activist celebrities and Al Jazeera on board should be a clear sign that this was something a little more than advertised.

2. Israel invited all the boats to deliver their humanitarian aid to another port for inspection and delivery of goods.

3. It seems rather silly to attempt to violate a blockade without realizing it’s a risky and potentially explosive endeavor. I recognize that the legitimacy of the blockade is questionable. The blockade is certainly a debatable point. But announcing your plan on running the blockade and refusing alternative solutions… it begs the question, “why?”.
4. The other 5 ships obeyed. There was no confrontation and they delivered their aid.  Not that Hamas has felt the need to allow it to be delivered.

5. The activists claim that as soon as they Israelis boarded the 6th boat they started shooting. So far, the footage I have seen contradicts those claims. The footage clearly shows the troops fast roping down into a hostile crowd armed with pipes and throwing one of the commandos overboard. If you are going to attack armed soldiers (from any army) with knives and iron bars, then you are going to get shot at.

The blockade on Gaza is at the center of this latest controversy. Air strikes, the incursions and ultimately the invasion of Gaza by Israel are all a direct response to the indiscriminate rocketing by Hamas.

If someone in Germany, for example, was firing rockets indiscriminately at Britain because they considered themselves to be at war (as Hamas consideres itself at war with Israel); we would expect Britain to go in and stop them.  That seems fairly logical.  Hamas has made a habit of launching these rocket attacks into Israel and then hiding among the residents of Gaza.  They do not wear uniforms, so weeding them out is virtually impossible.

Yet the reality of those attacks remains.  What would any nation do if  it were subject to routine strikes in a similar manner?  What if Mexico routinely launched rocket attacks into the city of El Paso or San Diego?  Would we expect to react any differently than Israel has?

How utterly hypocritical.

This was a very carefully orchestrated propaganda event by select groups with a specific agenda. A superb coup for Hamas. Israel fell for it hook, line and sinker. The international community is up in arms.

I will agree that poverty and lack of basic rights to education, employment, and self-government of the Palestinians is an atrocity that must be addressed immediately. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that those basic rights were lost the moment they embraced Hamas as a governing body and allowed their homes to be used as launch platforms for war materiel.  Again… Hamas is refusing the delivery of the very aid they claim Gaza so desperately needs.

At Least He’s Consistant June 1, 2010

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So Jesse Jackson has finally come out with his opinion regarding AZ SB1070.  I can’t say that I’m surprised but this is getting really old.  Will someone against this law please actually READ it before forming an opinion?

It is a punitive, negative, unconstitutional law, which presumes guilt and selectively punishes Latinos,” Jackson commented.

How, exactly, does this law “presume guilt”  Mr. Jackson?  The law very clearly states that subjects may only be questioned or detained after being apprehended carrying out a crime.  And as far as “selectively punishes Latinos”… I got news for you Jesse, if a crime is being committed I don’t believe law enforcement is asking themselves if the perpetrator is black, white, grey, green or plaid.  They are going to apprehend him or her and THEN begin the process of identifying them.

If that person happens to be of Latino descent but has a valid U.S. drivers license then, for immigration purposes, the process stops (the criminal charges are another matter entirely, of course).  Let me re-emphasize that point, because it is an important one… if a person of Latino descent gets pulled over (for a traffic stop, as an example) and can produce a valid drivers license/registration, then that person will be issued a citation for the traffic violation and that is all.  Just like anyone else in this nation.  Conversely if the apprehended individual were white with blond hair and blue eyes and yet could produce no valid forms of identification, then he/she would be subject to further review and potential deportation (again, criminal charges are a separate issue entirely)… JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE UNDER THE LAW.

So yes, it is possible to read into the law that profiling will take place and Latinos will be unfairly scrutinized.  Doing so, however, completely ignores the law as written and assumes that our law enforcement officers have nothing better to do than cruise around looking to round-up any/all wayward illegals.

Here is a link to the law… I’d welcome anyone who can point out where in the law it says that consideration of race, color or any other physical criteria  can be used to detain or prosecute someone.