The story is real. We are not all caught up in a fairy tale or one of Aesop’s fables. Last week People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Diego, on behalf of five whales. It claims that the whales are being held at SeaWorld parks in violation of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the U.S. and prohibits involuntary servitude. ((PETA claims that the five big fish are slaves, because they were forcibly taken from their families to be put in captivity)), where they are denied their natural environment.
In 1966 Congress enacted the Animal Welfare Act to improve the treatment of certain animals. In its original form the Act protected "live dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits." Four years later, Congress expanded the reach of the Act, adding dead animals. The law now reads: The term "animal" means any live or dead dog, cat, monkey (nonhuman primate mammal), guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or such other warm-blooded animal, as the Secretary may determine is being used, or is intended for use, for research, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet... Animal rights groups have used the law to attack practices we have long taken for granted.
No industry has escaped the litigation blitz. In 1972 the military was sued when it attempted to eliminate over 10 million black birds that wrecked the neighborhood with tons of droppings, including damage to crops and the outbreak of disease. The activists claimed they had an interest in being able to observe and enjoy the presence of blackbirds. Animal rights activists sued stop issuance of patents for animals created in the lab. These non-human organisms are considered patentable because they do not occur naturally in nature.
PETA is deadly serious. They are not just out to get attention. Along with the ASPCA and other animal rights groups PETA has been waging a guerrilla war to win for animals the same rights as humans. Last week the Federal circuit court in Washington D.C. dismissed a suit against Ringling Brothers that alleged cruelty to an elephant because it was made to perform in the circus. The same court last year allowed a zoo visitor to sue to get companionship for a chimpanzee. In Texas, a few years back, a court outlawed the slaughter and sale of horses for human consumption overseas. And a few years ago, the little town of Hegins, Pennsylvania faced a court challenge over its 65th annual pigeon shoot. The shoot was called off.
There has even been suit against a city pound that removed stray animals from the streets and disposed of them. San Clemente Island, California, is a military enclave under the jurisdiction of the Navy. In 1977, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined, in accordance with the Endangered Species Act, that removal of goats running wild on San Clemente was necessary to protect endangered animals and plants in a critical habitat covering approximately one third of the island. There is no public access to the island; the animal rights activists sued.
Prof. Gary Francione, who along with a colleague started an Animal right s law clinic at Rutgers Law school has become star on the animal rights circuit. He has said that gorillas should be declared “persons” with constitutional rights. He says that not eating, wearing or using animals is non- negotiable. Francione considers the fight to give animals the same rights as humans to be a liberation movement that demands change in our basic principle of equality.
Practices that we previously regarded as natural and inevitable, such as a well-done steak for dinner or a pair of leather shoes have come to be seen as the result of an unjustifiable prejudice. In order to have meat on the table at a price that people can afford, says Francione, we tolerate methods of meat production that confine animals in cramped, unsuitable conditions for their entire lives. PETA thinks rearing and killing other animals in order to eat them is a clear instance of the sacrifice of the most important interests of other beings in order to satisfy trivial interests of our own. Peta intends to put an end to this practice.
The animal right s activists know that they are not likely to win constitutional rights for the five big fish just yet, but that does not deter them. They know it won’t happen overnight, but they believe they can accomplish it in little increments, so insignificant, that they escape notice of the general public. Allowing PETA to represent animals, to most of us, does not seem far-fetched. We are accustomed to having guardians appointed to protect the rights on minors, or conservators to protect the rights of those unable to represent themselves because they are mentally incapable of doing so. So permitting PETA to speak for these dumb animals is not a stretch if they have rights that they are unable to defend.
One of our problems is that the values that put us at the top of the food chain, as master of all animals are not as appreciated as they should be. Rather than donate the money to feed starving children, Leona Helmsley, left $12 million to her dog. But the greatest threat to our standing as the master of all animals comes from a most unlikely source, our courts, which have entertained these species of lawsuit and created rights for animals that nature and common sense dictate they cannot have. PETA did not pluck the idea of suing in the name of five whales out of thin air. Decisions of our own Supreme Court were the seed. Many years ago Justice Douglas wrote:
The critical question of "standing" would be simplified and also put neatly in focus if we fashioned a federal rule that allowed environmental issues to be litigated before federal agencies or federal courts in the name of the inanimate object about to be despoiled, defaced, or invaded by roads and bulldozers….. Contemporary public concern for protecting nature's ecological equilibrium should lead to the conferral of standing upon environmental objects to sue for their own preservation…
While Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano touts the U.S. border as being more secure than ever, the Department is quietly ordering Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to scale back border inspections. In a news report out of Texas last week, current and former CBP agents are saying the standard daily presence and routine checks normally conducted by CBP officers at transportation hubs are a thing of the past. According to the Associated Press, field offices nationwide began receiving secret orders to scale back the inspections soon after Secretary Napolitano announced the administration would begin to grant administrative amnesty to illegal aliens in deportation proceedings.
The routine bus, train, and airport checks typically involve agents manning transportation hubs within 100 miles of the border and questioning individuals when warranted. Border agents now report that instead of conducting random checks, or checks based on suspicious behavior, agents have been ordered to only conduct checks based on actual intelligence indicating a threat. One agent told the Associated Press that “instead of checking buses or trains, agents have spent shifts sitting in their vehicles gazing out at Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, where few illegal immigrants cross.”
The elimination of inspections was immediately apparent to individuals at the border. One manager of a Greyhound Bus Station in New York reported that Border Patrol Agents halted inspections on September 12—the day after the 10th anniversary of September 11. Travelers arriving at a McAllen, Texas bus station last week also immediately noticed the absence of CBP officers checking persons and items entering the United States.
Despite reports coming from agents all over the country, Customs and Border Protection officials in Washington, DC, still refuse to acknowledge a shift in policy. “We are refining the way we operate by managing risk,” said CBP Spokesman Bill Brooks. Brooks insisted that local commanders still have the authority to aggressively pursue illegal aliens near the border and at transportation hubs. immigrant rights groups.” Meanwhile, the ACLU hailed Homeland Security’s order to scale back border inspections. ACLU spokesman Doug Honig said, “If the Border Patrol is indeed not boarding buses and trains and engaging in the random questioning of people, that's a step in the right direction.”
Changes in visitor visa program
Earlier this month, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Mike Lee introduced a bill that would make it easier for foreign nationals to enter and stay in the United States. Among other things, the bill proposes several changes to the B-visa (visitor visa) program as well as the visa waiver program. Visitor visas include B-1s (temporary business travelers) and B-2s (tourists). In general, foreign nationals do not need to obtain a B visa if they are from a visa waiver program country.
In addition the bill proposes creating a new non-immigrant visa for foreigners who spend at least $500,000 in cash to purchase one or more residences in the United States. While remaining in the U.S., the visa recipient must maintain ownership of residential property worth at least $500,000 and reside here for more than half the year. The visa grants authorization to visit the U.S. for a three-year period and may be renewed every three years under the same conditions. The ability to buy one’s way into the country provided for in the bill is similar in principle to the employer immigrant visa program, which grants a green card to aliens who invest a minimum of $500,000 in a new commercial enterprise that creates or preserves at least 10 jobs.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but no hearing has been scheduled yet. The Schumer-Lee bill has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Travel Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
California County Now Accepting Mexican ID Cards
Sonoma County, California became the latest county in the nation to extend an invitation to illegal aliens last week by announcing that ID cards issued by the Mexican consulate can be used as valid identification within the county “Today is a great day,” Sonoma County Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Dueñas said. “We're now going to accept the matricular consular ID.”
The proponents of this move argue that it keeps illegal aliens from being deported through Secure Communities and will free up time and resources that local law enforcement has spent on immigration enforcement. These proponents complain that many of the illegal aliens in the county turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through Secure Communities were not actually convicted of the crime for which they were arrested, or that they were convicted of only “minor crimes.” In other words, they were simply illegal aliens. By making the Mexican consular ID card an acceptable form of identification in Sonoma County, immigration advocates hope to help illegal aliens who get pulled over and need ID, but do not have any other criminal history.
Although Mexican nationals will still need to apply to their consulate to obtain this ID, the Mexican government hopes to set up a satellite office in the area to instruct individuals on the application process and issue cards for them.
My Thanks to Federation for American Immigration Reform for the use of its legislative updates
I came across an article in FORBES this week titled; America's Pastime Should Be Baseball, Not Complaints about Immigrants. It seems the author is a baseball fan who, like the rest of us mortals, was impressed with the skills of some of the players. The author was particularly impressed with the exploits of Nelson Cruz of the Rangers who hit 6 homers in 6 games leading up to the World Series. He writes:
“The number of foreign-born players in the major leagues has more than doubled since 1990, Still, it is noteworthy one never hears complaints about ‘immigrants taking away jobs’ from Americans in the major leagues… Baseball players consider the competition for roster spots to be fair, a meritocracy. Increased competition from foreign-born players has not resulted in lower salaries for native ballplayers…. Since 1990 average major league player salaries more than quadrupled (in nominal dollars) from $578,930 to $2.87 million in 2006, while the proportion of foreign-born players in the league increased from 10 percent to 23 percent, according to a 2006 analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy. A sustained or increased quality of play, to which foreign-born players have contributed, may have helped increase revenues, as major league ballpark attendance rose from 55 million to 75 million between 1990 and 2005.The next time someone complains about immigrants taking jobs’ from Americans, tell them to try playing major league baseball, where, unlike the rest of the economy, the number of jobs are fixed and limited, yet no one ever complains about immigrants.”
The author’s point is that we should view foreign born workers the same way major league baseball does. But the trouble with the argument is that major league baseball, with a highly skilled and specialized labor force of only 750 players, who earn millions, is light years removed from 12 million illegal immigrants who, we generally agree, are underpaid. There is no meritocracy among the millions of unemployed, unskilled immigrants competing for low paying jobs to eke out a living. Nelson Cruz has a special skill so much in demand that there are employers salivating at the thought that he may soon be a free agent whom they can offer even more millions just to lure him away from his present employer, the Texas Rangers.
True, baseball salaries have increased at the same time the number of foreign players has more than doubled. But one does not need a degree in economics to figure out that were we to double the number of foreign workers now competing for jobs in the marketplace, the result would be disastrous. There is no oversupply of super-skilled foreign ball players. The reason no one complains is because the number of jobs is “fixed and limited” as the writer says. He misperceives the fact that 750 total workers in an economy as large as ours is truly a drop in the ocean. It cannot be compared to the millions of unskilled laborers competing for scarce jobs where there exists oversupply of labor. Unemployment stands today at over 9%. There is zero unemployment among American baseball players with comparable skills
Labor issues breed feelings of resentment because American citizens feel that jobs are being taken away from fellow Americans by immigrants who are willing to work for a lot less. It is not hard to figure out that all of the laws that have been enacted are of no serious concern to the highly paid athlete. Does anyone think that Nelson Cruz, Albert Pujols and Raphael Furcal are worried about minimum wage, the number of hours in a work week, and overtime pay?
The law makes special provision for the category of “workers with extraordinary abilities” These athletes must conform to an additional set of requirements in order to be eligible for these category designations. “Aside from the extraordinary abilities, the athlete must be a temporary worker only visiting for the sole purposes of performing. In addition, he must be uniquely qualified for the position, and he must have a foreign home that he does not intend on abandoning".
Basically, what the government wants to know is that he will return to his country once he has finished playing ball. Athletes are uniquely qualified workers in the sense that they possess a talent that is better than any American competing for ths same job. This is proven by the foreign player’s ability to make the team over all other players trying out for a position. Sports are now part of big business, but to argue that it can provide a model to solve the political and social ills of our brokrn immigration system is absurd. The question we must ask is whether there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job in which area of intended employment. No American player has outhit Nelson Cruz in the playoffs. There is your answer. Mr. Anderson. The next time you argue that foreign workers do not take jobs from American, please leave foreign baseball players out of it.
While unemployment and the economy have dominated the front pages of the elite media, the fact is that immigration is simmering on the back burner. It is still of concern to voters who remain polarized over the issue, with 4 to 1 in favor of enforcement over Amnesty. The ongoing republican primary campaign has pushed the issue to the foreground once again. Governor Perry of Texas has been under attack because he supported the Texas DREAM which allows undocumented youth tuition breaks to attend state colleges. He is opposed to the building of a fence on the Texas-Mexico border, and has taken withering fire from immigration hawks who favor the fence and stricter enforcement.
Winning the battle but losing the war
Meanwhile battles against legislation in states like Arizona and Alabama, Georgia and now North Carolina rage on. The federal government, taking cover from election year fallout has launched a legal counter punch against every piece of hash anti-immigrant state legislation to come down the pike. It succeeded in getting parts of the Arizona law enjoined last year and has won partial victories against the Georgia and Alabama laws. The perplexing question is why an administration so much on the offense against onerous state immigration laws, is so indifferent to its own failure on the federal level, over which it has complete sway. After all, most of the defeated parts of state laws were set aside on the basis that they encroached upon areas which only the federal government can legislatively control.
The floundering US economy and the President’s preoccupation with two wars, is one reason. His polling numbers held steady until the news broke that his administration was creating Amnesty for illegal aliens by executive fiat. After word spread of this move by Obama and DHS, his approval numbers declined steadily and finally dropped below 40! While this does not mean that selective deportation of hard core criminals and administrative deferral of deportation of non- criminal immigrants is the reason for the president’s unpopularity, immigration hawks would have us believe that it is in fact, the only reason.
The truth is, that the administration by coming to the defense of immigrants at the state level is playing to its Latino base. Rep. Gutierrez, the foremost congressional defender of immigrants has already said that he would have difficulty supporting the president for reelection. A few months back, he was arrested at the White house protesting the administration’s inertia on immigration reform. The fact is, that Latinos may have no other place to turn and may opt to sit out the 2012 election. For democrats, this is a doomsday scenario. But, at the same time, amnesty now would lose them a good chunk of the independent vote.
The so- called "Amnesty by Memo" scandal and the Fast and Furious Gun walker scandal combined with federal lawsuits to try and stop states like Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama from enforcing existing immigration laws are finally getting through, even to those sympathetic to immigrants plight. As more Americans learn about the plight of the 12 million illegals now in the country, support for amnesty falters, and President Obama loses support. Americans have grave concerns about the present state of our economy, and many view immigrants as unwanted competition for scarce jobs. Why, they wonder, does the President attack every state that seeks to stem the flow of immigrants into its borders when he has the power to resolve the issue for the entire nation without the patchwork of laws state by state? A federal problem ought to have a federal solution, and it does. But the administration lacks the political will to make it happen.
Facing the facts
The polling data continues to indicate that 80% or more of Americans want existing laws enforced. But that does not mean that there is no support for a comprehensive immigration reform plan. Americans want a solution to the immigration crisis and they realize that removal of 12 million immigrants is not only impracticable, but costly, counter- productive and unfair to those who have worked hard and lived by the law and have raised their children as Americans.
Pundits and journalists reporting for the major newspapers explain the "Perry Plunge" by asserting that Perry simply offended the "conservative base." This is clearly not the case. A recent Rasmussen poll demonstrates that 81% of Americans oppose in-state tuition for illegal aliens. 81% of Americans cannot be written off as a conservative base. A solution to the immigration problem is not helped by labeling every enforcement proposal racist or anti immigrant. And it does not help immigrants when each and every attempt by states struggling with the issue, is met with heavy incoming fire from the ALCU and a federal government that can, but does nothing about the problem. It breeds resentment.
There is still time to resolve the immigration issue, but it requires political courage that the president has not demonstrated. It requires a truce on the legal battlefront so that the resources now squandered on blocking laws state by state could be amassed and focused where it really matters, on comprehensive immigration on the federal level. No amount of legal bush fires on the state level will solve the problem. .
Muammar Gadaffi was killed last week. Indications are that his end came by a bullet to the head after he had been captured. News of the end of this dictator’s reign sparked celebrations in Libya by those whom he had kept under the heel of his boots for more than four decades. Thus far I have seen no protestations in the media about the apparent execution after he had been captured and disarmed. Contrast this silence with the outcry from the ACLU, the Center for constitutional Rights and other self-appointed defenders of liberty after Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a predator drone last month.
The New York Times said that as an American citizen, Al Awlaki was entitled to due process. Michael Ratner, of the Guardian put it this way, “Is this the world we want, where an American citizen living outside a war zone can be placed on a target list and then murdered by a drone?” Al Awlaki was an American citizen who had morphed into a fervid Al Qaeda operative waging war on western nations. Over the last few years, Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the London Subway bombing, the bombing of a train station in Madrid, and the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The bombing of the USS Cole was a direct attack on a US naval vessel. But 9/11 was Al Qaeda’s most spectacular attack. It was a direct attack on the US. Thousands of lives have been lost and countless billions in property destroyed as a result of these attacks. We are at war with Al Qaeda,
Our law provides that we can infer that one has renounced American citizenship by “serving in the armed forces of a foreign state if such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States”. The fact that Al Qaeda is an organization and not a country waging war on us is irrelevant. Lives are lost and property destroyed by these armed attacks. In war time enemy combatants are killed not because they are guilty but because they are potentially lethal agents of an enemy out to kill and destroy us. Al Awlaki may not have worn uniform of an enemy country but by his commitment and allegiance to Al Qaeda, he became an enemy of the US and thus a legitimate military target. No advance warning is necessary, no attempt to arrest or capture and no due process in required before he was targeted.
The choice of means by the President, our commander-in- chief in order to prevent murderous, terrorist attacks before they happen, is not among the subjects in which a court should intervene. We are engaged in a war and the court should not put itself into the heart of the combat zone. In light of the armed conflict, the laws applicable to these acts are the laws of war, or the laws of armed conflict, which are part of international law. And unless those calling for due process for Awlaki are willing to say that we are not at war with terrorists, that 9/11 and the bombing of the US embassies were not acts of war, then there is no basis for calling due process.
One of the preambles of the constitution is that “Congress shall provide for the common defense…” This must mean that in any war, the US may take measures to repel and defeat the enemy. The US is permitted to defend itself against terrorism not only via means of law enforcement but by whatever military means it finds necessary. Terrorists actively participating in armed conflict are not civilians. They are party to the armed conflict, and thus they can be attacked. Our constitution is not a suicide pact, and commonsense dictates that it cannot apply when the president takes action to inflict punishment on those planning our destruction. We are fighting a war on terror; the only uncertainty is the time place and manner of the next attack.
The price we all pay for enhanced security is the loss of some of our freedoms_--- at airports train stations or other places where the danger of attack is greater. The price the terrorist pays is the forfeiture of his right to due process which is meant to secure the rights of persons charged with crimes.
The Providence Journal reported last week, that the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education unanimously voted to make illegal aliens eligible for in-state tuition at the State’s public colleges and universities. According to a Rhode Island higher-education spokesman, the laws authorizing the Board of Governors to run the public-college system gives the panel the authority to determine the criteria for in-state tuition eligibility. Under Rhode Island’s new policy, illegal aliens will qualify for the tuition break at state colleges and universities if they: (1) attended high school in Rhode Island for at least three years; (2) received a high school diploma or GED in Rhode Island; and (3) signed an affidavit stating an intent to seek legal status once eligible to do so.
Notwithstanding a federal law that generally bars the granting of tuition breaks to illegal aliens, Rhode Island now joins Texas, California, New York, Utah, Washington, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Maryland, and Connecticut in making higher education more affordable and accessible to illegal alien students. Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee praised the move, claiming that providing in-state tuition to illegal aliens would “improve the intellectual and cultural life of [Rhode Island] while strengthening our work force and helping our economy.” One of Gov. Chafee’s first acts upon taking office was to rescind his predecessor’s executive order requiring all public employers to verify the employment eligibility of new hires. (NBC recently reported that the governor is considering offering driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
Obama Addresses Hispanic Roundtable; Calls Deportation Stats “Deceptive”
President Obama entertained questions from what was called a “U.S. Hispanic audience” Wednesday during an online roundtable moderated by Jose Siade of Yahoo Espanol, Karine Medina of MSN Latino, Gabriel Lerner of AOL Latino and Huff-Post Latino Voices. The questions covered a broad spectrum of issues from the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, to whether Obama felt it is time for a Hispanic to lead the executive branch. The questions appeared to reflect a sense of disillusionment among U.S. Hispanics over the President’s immigration policies. One of the first questions asked of Obama was why has his Administration deported more illegal aliens than those before him. In an attempt to deflect this criticism, he argued the deportation statistics are misleading, he said, “[T]he statistics are actually a little deceptive because what we’ve been doing is…apprehending folks at the borders and sending them back. That is counted as a deportation, even though they may have only been held for a day or 48 hours.”
President Obama blamed Congress for the failure enact comprehensive immigration reform, stating there is not enough support for an amnesty bill among lawmakers. “The most important thing for your viewers and listeners and readers to understand,” he said “is that in order to change our laws, we’ve got to get it through the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans, and we’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate. And right now we have not gotten that kind of support….” He did not mention the fact that that for two years he had exactly that kind of support while his party controlled both the House and the Senate.
I got into big trouble for writing “Dear Sir” without the “Madam”. The salutation as I have been accustomed to doing it was, for decades, the manner of addressing judges when their gender was unknown. This was the norm and no one batted an eye. It just happened that the judge who was assigned this matter was female, and wasn’t about to let me off the hook for what she regarded as a sexist. True, I still sometimes find myself using words like mankind in the biblical sense when I mean both sexes. I thought everyone understood that. Apparently, I am bit behind the times. I must have missed the revolution in the way we speak. But To tell the truth, I think the English language is in a bad way. We now use words to hide rather than express what we truly mean.
It occurred to me as I read a summary put out by Planned Parenthood of last term’s session of the Texas legislature which banned funding for abortion, that we use words to conceal and obfuscate meaning, rather like lawyers, to keep people from forming a true picture of what it is we are getting at.
“Unfortunately,” reports Planned Parenthood “ this session will be remembered as the "War on Women" -- when Texas legislators chose to relentlessly attack reproductive rights and access to cost saving family planning services, when Texas women lost access to birth control and breast cancer screenings, ……” Not a single mention of the word abortion which is at the heart of the matter.
In 1946, George Orwell published an essay in the British literary magazine Horizon, arguing against poor usage of English by modern writers. Orwell felt that the decline of their language had political and economic causes. Boy was he right. Language, Orwell said, becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish. English is full of bad habits and, I might add, full of spin. As soon as certain topics are raised, we consciously begin to parse our words as not to give offense to anyone. We are like politicians trying to appeal to the broadest constituency, using buzz words that obscure our meaning and dodge the truth. Just last week I ran across a litany of perversions and linguistic swindles perpetuated in the name of what we now refer to as political correctness. The whole tendency is away from clarity and concreteness, making it difficult to get a mental picture of what is truly at stake. Consider this passage from Orwell, for example:
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so’. Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
‘While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.’
Today PC is turning our language on its head. The use of euphemisms has been elevated to an art through the development of political correctness. Euphemisms have always been a part of language; people have used substitute words or phrases to lessen the impact of something they want to say. Instead of calling a person a liar, one might say, "I think you may have your facts wrong." Or, instead of describing a person as being fat, you might say the person is "plump" or "heavy set." or perhaps “full-figured”. Or “she is slender” instead of “she is skinny”. These are acceptable because their use is designed to convey the meaning while sparing the feelings of those to whom our remarks are addressed.
But there is another side to this coin. When we call drug addicts victims instead of criminals even though they break the law by possessing and using illegal drugs, we are hiding behind words; when we cannot refer to God as “Him” because women might be offended, we have fallen into the abyss of political correctness; when we call “blackboards”” chalkboards” because we fear offending blacks we are beyond help. And when we can change the name of a “Manhole cover” to “Personnel access unit” then we are really sunk.
We have become too hung up on too many sensibilities. Jokes that once elicited uproarious laughter on Archie Bunker cannot even be uttered in public today. Imagine replacing the word “Nigger” in Mark Twain’s classic Huckleberry Finn (everyone says the N- word) with the word slave because of fear of offending blacks! No one is to blame for anything anymore. Everyone is a victim. So a instead of saying “blind” which makes clear that the person cannot see, we say “vision impaired “What does that mean? The blind can see but out of only one eye, or is near sighted? A bum is not a bum but a “person experiencing homelessness” and a “disabled person” is now “a person with a disability.” Are my children Native Americans because they were born here or does that just refer to American Indians?
The now iconic Dr King referred in his speeches to “negroes’ He would be taken to task today by the NAACP which now prefers the term “blacks”. “Colored” and “African-American” appear to be out of vogue. A few years ago the term “people of color” made a cameo but it too has now fallen victim to political correctness.
In a nod to the women’s movement, the “Mailman” is now a ‘Mail Carrier” and the “Fireman” a “Fire Fighter”; the old cop on the beat is no longer a policeman but rather a public safety officer... The Chairman is now the Chairperson, and the spokesman the spokesperson. And when was the last time you heard a Hollywood starlet. (I mean star) refer to herself as an actress? But most amazingly, recall when an aide to DC mayor Marion Barry got canned for referring the inadequate sum of money in his budget as a “niggardly” sum (the word means not generous, stingy, inadequate).
If this keeps up mankind will become an undefined mass of persons turned into robots of political correctness , manhandling words like mannequins, spewing verbiage like manure, but signifying nothing. Sensible persons must resist the urge to abandon their linguistic craftspersonship, honed over decades, to keep from maneuvering us into language court on a charge of linguistic homicide.
Earlier this year congress voted to defund Planned Parenthood. The effort failed in the senate, but by just nine votes. Planned Parenthood Federation of America is best known as the largest provider of abortions in the country. They have been involved in lawsuits challenging restrictions on abortions many of which have reached the US Supreme Court. They have won more than they have lost. But Planned Parenthood has fared less well on the state level. The states have now joined the defunding effort, with Texas, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina and New Hampshire passing or proposing laws to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. The organization is not taking this lying down. It has fired off legal briefs challenging the defunding and last month won an injunction against the Indiana law. After Roe v Wade made abortions legal in 1973, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment which bars the use of Federal money to pay for abortions. Planned Parenthood launched a legal attack on the amendment but it was upheld by the Court. But not content to let its faith rest with the new wave of conservative legislators, the organization is waging war on a different front. This battle is more stealth than the raging battle over the morality of the services it provides or the legal arguments made in its briefs.
Fighting with words
The new weapon of choice is just words. Here is what Planned Parenthood said about the just concluded Texas legislative session: “Unfortunately, this session will be remembered as the "War on Women" -- when Texas legislators chose to relentlessly attack reproductive rights and access to cost saving family planning services, when Texas women lost access to birth control and breast cancer screenings, ……” Not a solitary mention of the word that is at the heart of the matter, abortion. The aim of the legislature is to cut off funding for abortions, and only abortions. The bill does not attack reproductive rights and does not limit access to family planning services. What it does is limit access to abortion by denying funding for the procedure. Those who oppose the defunding of Planned Parenthood scrupulously avoid any mention of the real issue driving the debate, the use of public funds to pay for abortions and nothing else. Planned Parenthood, which provides numerous other services such as cancer screenings and family planning, can receive Medicaid money for non-abortion-related services. The terms ‘reproductive choice”, “access to health care” and “cancer screenings” are used to frame the debate and scrub any negative connotations of the issue from the minds of the public. It obfuscates the issue and poisons the debate.
Must taxpayers pay the bill?
Reasonable people would not want to deprive women of access to health care or cancer screenings. The underlying issue is medical coverage for abortion for which taxpayers must foot the bill. On this question, the answer must rest with taxpayers who speak through their elected representatives. The question must be answered by each individual with resort to conscience and personal judgment. It means that each citizen has to become his own philosopher. This puts a heavy responsibility on each of us, but for our system to work, freedom to make the decision is essential, freedom to speak out without being tagged with vile monikers, and freedom to keep silent if we so choose. And this freedom must be respected. Planned Parenthood makes no pretense of fairness or objectivity. The rest of us have a greater responsibility.
If the constitution requires the government to guarantee the indigent access to abortion as a protected right, then it must take similar action to secure other liberties that are not fully exercised because of economic circumstances. Freedom of religion is a fundamental liberty, yet no one will suggest that government pay the cost of transportation to Sunday worship so that the poor may enjoy the freedom of religion to the fullest. And during elections people exercise their right to free speech by supporting some candidates and opposing others. But individuals with greater wealth may contribute more. These people are clearly more able to exercise their free speech right than persons of lesser means. Yet no one suggests that the government provide public funds so the less well off can participate in the electoral process at the same level as the wealthy. To argue that the government must provide poor women with equal access to abortion services is ludicrous. The government must tolerate the exercise of the right to choose abortion but it is free to try to persuade women to its position on the issue as long as it does not coerce their choice.
Money and morals local politics
Scores of states and localities refused to do business with corporations which did business with South Africa to express their opposition to Apartheid. Indiana is spending its own money when it enters into contracts. And just like each of us, it can govern its economic activity and determine with whom it will and will not deal, and how public funds should be used. There is nothing new about this. Cutting off funds to Planned Parenthood does not affect its rights or the right of a women to exercise her constitutional right to an abortion. What the people of the state desire must be considered. Even when it is perfectly legitimate to engage in an activity that is legal, states and localities decide whether it will be permitted. More than thirty states specifically allows cities and counties to elect to go dry by public referendum, despite the fact that the sale of liquor is not unlawful, while seventeen states preclude any ban on the sale of alcohol by localities. True, the ability to buy booze does not rise to the level of a constitutional right. My point is that the locality decides.
While it is true that the machinery and power of Indiana is used selectively, in this instance to the detriment of Planned Parenthood, this is nothing new. States have always had the power to help or hurt, by means of taxation and regulation; they can compel or prohibit, take or give. A subsidy of abortion is the most direct benefit. But the government is under no obligation to act on behalf of women and it in no way violates their liberty by refusing to fund services that increase access to abortion. Instead the decision not to fund reflects the government’s chosen position and its attempt at swaying others to its position. This was the case with divestment as it related to Apartheid. There is no government imposed inequality here, because the government is not discriminating among anyone. “If you want to do business with us don’t do business in South Africa.” To be sure has a political component. But there is a political foundation to all that the government does.
The government does not become involved in an activity unless there is some demand through the political process, be it an interest group or a group of like-minded voters banding together. Using public money to pay for abortions is tantamount to endorsing them. The moral objections of those footing the bill must be respected. Most of us if asked for a loan would ask, “What do you need the money for?”And if the answer is to buy drugs or something to which we have a moral objection, we will decline to give or make the loan. Indiana is no different. It has an objection to the use to which its money is being put and it therefore has the right to say no. This is not denying access to health care. A woman is entitled to have an abortion is she chooses but nothing obligates taxpayers to pay for it. The inequality if it exists is not imposed by the government. States that do decide to provide women with some degree of health care must do so in a way that those eligible to receive the services receive it in an impartial manner.The inequality is a fact of life. But the decision not to pay for the procedure applies equally to everyone.
Aug.19, 2011 Under fire from Hispanic groups for record-high deportations, the Obama administration said Thursday it will undertake a case-by-case review of illegal immigrants who are facing ouster from the country and will allow many who don’t have criminal records the chance to stay. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that there will be an indefinite delay in many deportations and individual case reviews of the approximately 300,000 illegal immigrants who are currently facing possible expulsion, the AP reported.
Last year, the Obama administration deported nearly 400,000 people — a record number. Of the 393,000 deported, fewer than half of those were convicted criminals.The rising number of deportations has angered the Hispanic community, a key voting bloc for President Barack Obama, and there were protests organized by Latinos around the country about it earlier this week.
The administration said Thursday its top priority will be targeting illegal immigrants with criminal convictions for deportation. Those who are low priorities for deporting — such as young people who were brought to the U.S. as children, military veterans and spouses of military personnel — will no longer be a focus. The case-by-case review will allow the Dept. of Homeland Security and Dept. of Justice to clear out the low-priority cases and ensure that illegal immigrants with criminal convictions or who pose a security risk are at the forefront of the deportation pipeline.
“They will be applying common sense guidelines to make these decisions, like a person’s ties and contributions to the community, their family relationships and military service record,” White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Muñoz wrote on the White House blog. “In the end, this means more immigration enforcement pressure where it counts the most, and less where it doesn’t – that’s the smartest way to follow the law while we stay focused on working with the Congress to fix it.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) — a major advocate for the DREAM Act, which would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — said the new process will stop almost all deportations of people that his legislation is designed to protect.“We need to be doing all we can to keep these talented, dedicated, American students here, not wasting increasingly precious resources sending them away to countries they barely remember,” Durbin said in a statement. “The Administration’s new process is a fair and just way to deal with an important group of immigrant students and I will closely monitor DHS to ensure it is fully implemented.”
And Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) released a statement praising the move, saying it is “a step in the right direction.” He also called for Congress to work together toward “enacting tough, smart, and fair comprehensive immigration reform.”
On Tuesday, demonstrators protested in a half dozen cities around the country, including at Obama’s 2012 campaign headquarters in Chicago, saying the administration has not fulfilled his promise to target only the “worst of the worst.”
By Reynold N. Mason JD
Atlanta, Aug.18, 2011 President Obama is once again in full election mode. And once again immigration is a hot topic over which the country remains divided. On the right, Republicans are calling for tougher enforcement measures, including more deportations and stronger border security. On the left, Democrats want comprehensive immigration reform to provide a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country
No hope and little change
In 2008, Barak Obama was the candidate of “hope and change”. But as far as Hispanics are concerned, hopes have been dashed on the shores of hard political reality and the change that the President has wrought is not what they thought it would be. There has been no significant movement toward federal immigration reform since a bipartisan effort died in 2007, blocked by conservative opposition joined by a few democrats. But it has been the subject of a rash of legislation at the state level, and President Obama suggested in May 2011 that he was prepared to make it an issue in the coming presidential campaign. Tennessee, Arizona, Indiana, Utah Georgia, Alabama and several other states have enacted tough anti-immigration laws, since Mr. Obama was elected. But on the federal level there has been nothing but inertia bothering on indifference.
Other than suing Arizona to block its immigration law, and Georgia and Alabama to seek injunctions against those states’ tough immigration laws, the President cannot point to anything positive or affirmative on the federal level that his administration has done to the benefit of immigrants whose cause he promised to give his attention. It has been a strategy of all parry and no thrust. The promissory utterance made in 2008, “When I'm president, I will put comprehensive immigration reform back on the nation's agenda. And I will not rest until it is passed once and for all." now rings hollow. Not only is comprehensive immigration not back on the agenda, the truth is it never was. That is because Mr. Obama felt that democrats “did not have the stomach for it” after he had expended all of his political capital pushing health care whch most immigrants are not able to access..
A wink and a nod
In the beginning the president appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and Hilda Solis to his cabinet as Labor Secretary. But beyond those appointments it is difficult to separate any- thing the president has done on immigration, from what any staunch conservative might have. In his less than two years in office, the president has deported three times as many immigrants as president Bush did in his entire term. He has ramped up his Secure Communities Program, in which States share fingerprints of all arrestees with the FBI. The FBI then uses the information and cross checks it against its list of persons who have violated the law. Mr. Obama claims that his administration’s focus is on criminal immigrants. But the President has deported more than one million immigrants, including DREAM Act eligible students, since he took office. One group referred to the president as “Deporter-in-Chief.” Hispanic voters, including many newly naturalized immigrants, helped win several swing states for Barack Obama in 2008. These groups have pressed the President Obama to halt workplace raids and to move forward with legislation opening legal pathways for illegal immigrants. But despite early pledges that it would moderate the Bush administration's tough policies, the Obama administration is pursuing an aggressive strategy for an illegal-immigration crackdown that relies significantly on programs started by his predecessor.
The blame game
At a speech before La Raza last month Mr. Obama placed the blame for his inaction on immigration on Republicans and congress saying, “So, yes, feel free to keep the heat on me and keep the heat on Democrats. But here’s the only thing you should know. The Democrats and your President are with you. Don’t get confused about that.” The finger pointing is not likely to win kudos from immigration advocates who are disappointed in the president’s apparent fear to tread on conservative toes, and his unexplained failure to champion immigration reform as promised, even when he had the entire government at his beck and call during his first two years in office. Now that Mr. Obama needs the Latino vote, he’s attempting to close the window and pull the drapes shut to keep his dismal record and his broken promises from seeing the light of day. But many prominent Hispanic leaders aren’t falling for it. Representative Gutierrez, who has authored a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, and is a leader on the issue in congress, was arrested in front the white house last month protesting Mr. Obama’s lack of imitative on immigration. He has said that he doubts he will support the president in his reelection bid.
To his credit the president has followed a policy of benign neglect. While he deports criminal immigrants in record numbers, Department of Homeland Security has a policy of releasing non- criminal aliens, sometimes with work authorization. And in a recent memo Mr. John Morton, director of ICE directed his staff to use discretion when dealing with young people who meet Dream criteria. But the employer audits continue full throttle. Instead of raiding factories, the new technique is to audit the books of employers and force them to fire employees for whom they cannot provide proof of legal status. The headlines speak volumes about the misery and hardship this policy has visited on people who placed their hope in this president.
The information below is taken from news sources. Each party in the report either confessed or was convicted of hiring illegal immigrants. These cases are listed to illustrate the widespread abuse and recently increasing prosecution of companies employing illegal aliens.
Legal and illegal immigrants alike in Colorado's cow country are too scared to return to work after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 11 workers at the Wildcat Dairy in Morgan County for using forged green cards. Of 60 workers, 20 were indicted by a Colorado grand jury as "egregious violators" for using forged documents to get work. While ICE still has warrants out for nine workers, 50 of Wildcat's 60 employees were so scared of being deported that they didn't return to the dairy after the raid.
• August 2011 — George Valvanis, the manager of several Dunkin’ Donuts stores in Maine, pled guilty to employing illegal aliens. As a result of his plea, he was sentenced to 6 months of home confinement, a fine of $64,000 and 5 years of probation with 20 hours of community service per month. (AP August 2, 2011)
• July 2011 — Simon Banda-Mireles, a Mexican who illegally reentered the U.S. after deportation as Jorge DeLarco, pled guilty to harboring 25 to 100 illegal aliens whom he employed in his restaurants in New York and elsewhere. He also admitted to paying those workers less than the minimum wage. He and ten of his restaurant managers were arrested in 2008. To date 6 of the managers have been convicted, and trials are pending for the other 4. Banda-Mireles was sentenced to 46 months in prison, and must pay restitution in the amount of $239,089 to 15 illegal aliens who worked for him. He also agreed to forfeit $70,009 to the government. (Observer, March 30, 2011, USCIS Press Release, July 14, 2011)
• June 2011 — Federal prosecutors have asked for a fine of $475,000 be levied against the owner of a construction contractor who was convicted of knowingly employing illegal alien workers in Louisiana. Randy Weitzel pled guilty on June 3, 2011. Two others convicted at the same time were Woody Brodtmann Jr. and Agustin Arcadia. Proof submitted in the trial included the fact that in 2003 Weitzel allegedly stopped paying a worker under one name and began paying him under another name. (AP June 29, 2011)