Earning my presidential vote: immigration

Last week the Center for Immigration Studies came out with a claim that the number of those living in our country who speak a foreign language at home has tripled since 1980, now numbering almost 65 million. We also fret about the terrorism risk from those who would claim to be refugees or simply sneak across our border. In short, immigration is the hot-button issue that propelled Donald Trump to the GOP nomination – unfortunately, he’s since radically backpedaled on the issue to the advocacy of “touchback amnesty” that will likely lose its “touchback” provisions.

So the question is: are we a nation of laws or not? Illegal to me is illegal, not “undocumented.” So here’s my stance in five bullet points or less:

  • We are told that you can’t deport 11 million illegals. But you can create the conditions where they will leave on their own through stricter law enforcement.
  • We need border security. If the “virtual wall” doesn’t work, then we need to build a physical barrier.
  • There also needs to be a reform of the visa system. A large and growing part of the illegal immigration problem is visa overstays, so it’s time to crack down.
  • An end to “birthright citizenship.”
  • While testing for religious beliefs is illegal and quite impractical – since certain religions permit lying to advance them - one has to ask why we accept immigrants and grant visas to those from countries who are our enemies.

As always, if you want to back up and review this series on earning my vote from the start feel free to. But here is where my contenders stand on the immigration issue, for eleven points.

Castle: “I believe that immigration in all its forms should be stopped until we can vet immigrants properly and our borders are under control. We can’t be allowing people with terrorist ties, or who are carrying dangerous communicable diseases, to enter our country unchecked. But once we have regained control of our borders and the flow of immigrants, we can admit as many as we choose, in a controlled and lawful manner.

I do not favor asylum for those here illegally nor do I favor a path to citizenship. Welfare or entitlement programs, if you choose to call them that, should be strictly for American citizens. I have said that I would not deport wholesale but I would not hesitate individually if the need arose.”

Should not take in refugees, “I’m all for secure borders.”

Hedges: “We would deploy sufficient resources to stop all illegal traffic in people and drugs across America’s land and sea borders. We would not provide driver’s licenses, educational subsidies, or welfare benefits to illegal aliens, except that the medical conditions of gravely ill illegals would be stabilized before they are deported. We strongly oppose granting citizenship to ‘anchor babies’ born to illegal alien mothers.” (party platform)

Hoefling: We demand the immediate securing and continuous vigilant maintenance of our sovereign territory and borders. We oppose any private or governmental action that rewards illegal entry into the United States in any way, and demand speedy and full enforcement of our laws concerning all such activities. (party platform)

Johnson: Practical Reform. No Walls. Incentivize Assimilation.

Having served as Governor of a border state, Gary Johnson knows the complex issues associated with immigration reform first hand. Solving immigration problems is not as easy as building a wall or simply offering amnesty.

We should appreciate and respect the diversity of immigrants that come to the United States to be productive members of society. But we also need to recognize that everyone who comes here is not so well-intentioned.

Gary Johnson and Bill Weld don’t want to build an expensive and useless wall. The only thing a big wall will do is increase the size of the ladders, the depth of the tunnels, and the width of the divisions between us.

Candidates who say they want to militarize the border, build fences, and impose punitive measures on good people, ground their position in popular rhetoric, not practical solutions.

Governors Johnson and Weld believe that, instead of appealing to emotions and demonizing immigrants, we should focus on creating a more efficient system of providing work visas, conducting background checks, and incentivizing non-citizens to pay their taxes, obtain proof of employment, and otherwise assimilate with our diverse society.

Making it simpler and more efficient to enter the United States legally will provide greater security than a wall by allowing law enforcement to focus on those who threaten our country, not those who want to be a part of it. (campaign website)

McMullin: The story of America is the story of immigration. Evan McMullin’s family left Ireland in the 1600s to seek a better life in the New World. Part of his mother’s family fled Poland because of the Nazi menace.

The country we love was built by immigrants. Yet while we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. We must preserve our sovereignty, our security, and the rule of law.

We also need a president who will enforce the law instead of forcing through an illegal amnesty by executive order. Nor should “sanctuary cities” be able to refuse cooperation with the federal enforcement efforts.

The path to reform begins with securing our borders. Once they are secured, there should be a process of earned legalization for the illegal immigrants who are already here. There is simply no efficient way to deport 11 million individuals; doing so would break apart families and likely cost $100 billion. Furthermore, legalization is not amnesty.

While addressing illegal immigration, it is vital to remember that legal immigration is one of America’s greatest strengths. Immigrants and their children have a long record of hard work, starting businesses, and creating jobs. Still, we need to reform the legal immigration system so that it prioritizes American interests and security, including the protection of workers from low-wage, low-skill competition.

There should be a robust debate about immigration, but there should be no place for the kind of hateful and divisive rhetoric frequently on display in this campaign.

To secure the border, we need more manpower, better technology, and—in some places—walls. First, the government should hire 20,000 new Border Patrol agents. Second, the government should invest in advanced sensing and surveillance technologies, including cameras. Finally, there are several hundred miles of the southern border where walls are being built and must be completed. However, it is a waste of taxpayer dollars to build a wall from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

The incentive that attracts illegal immigrants to the United States is the opportunity to work. To reduce that incentive, employers should be required to use the eVerify system, which was designed to help them determine if job applicants are in the country legally. “Sanctuary cities” must follow the law as well, or face the cut off of federal funding.

Above all, the president must obey the law. President Obama’s executive amnesties in 2012 and 2014 sought to place more than five million illegal immigrants beyond the reach of law enforcement. This year, however, a federal judge struck down the amnesties and the Supreme Court deadlocked on the issue.

A president who respects the Constitution knows that only Congress can make the law; executive amnesties violate this principle.

Deporting 11 million illegal immigrants is simply not practical. It would likely cost more than $100 billion and force the federal government to act in an intrusive manner that would violate the privacy of both citizens and legal residents. Deportation would also break up families, hurting children who are not responsible for their parents’ actions. Criminals, however, would still be subject to deportation.

The first step toward earning legal status is for all those who are here illegally to come forward and register themselves. Next they would pay an application fee and a fine, undergo a background check, and demonstrate competence in English. If they do those things, they would get a temporary work and residence permit, but would not be eligible for welfare or entitlement programs. If they obey the law and pay their taxes for several years, they could apply for permanent residency.

This is not amnesty; amnesty is when lawbreakers get something for nothing. Evan’s approach requires every illegal immigrant to earn the right to stay here.

Our country’s immigration policy should serve its economic interests. The best and brightest from all over the world want to live and work in America, yet the current immigration system mistakenly prioritizes the reunification of extended families.

Immigrants founded forty percent of the American companies in the Fortune 500. They also founded one half of Silicon Valley’s most successful start-ups. In other words, they help create high-quality jobs for all Americans.

The effect of current policy, which focuses on family reunification, is to encourage the arrival of those with less education, fewer skills, and little savings. This creates competition for American workers who don’t have the advantage of a college education and already face the greatest challenges in today’s high-tech economy.

Another problem is the misuse of programs, such as the H-1B visa, that are designed to attract the best and brightest. Instead, companies may use these programs to find cheaper replacements for skilled American workers. We need to make sure that all our immigration programs are being used in good faith.

The way that we deal with immigration will have a profound impact on our identity as Americans. We must be careful to preserve our nation’s unity and commitment to fairness. At the same time, our debates and our policies should reflect the civility and tolerance that helped forge a nation out of immigrants from every nation on earth. By replacing divisive rhetoric with genuine action to secure the border, we can work towards immigration reform that makes America safer, fairer, and more prosperous. (campaign website)

**********

I like the idea Darrell Castle has regarding an immigration pause, but there is a legitimate argument that stopping immigration entirely will just convince people to try other methods. such as overstaying their visas or sneaking across the border until they are secure. One question is whether he would use the military to do so, risking violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Generally his is a solid approach, though. 7 points.

The approach from Jim Hedges (or at least his party) is very good, although as I study the candidate I question if he would follow through. It does provide necessary disincentives, although it doesn’t have an exit strategy. 7.5 points.

Secure the border and enforce the laws. The America’s Party approach from Tom Hoefling is beautiful in its simplicity, although it leaves some gaps as to detail. 7 points.

Gary Johnson criticizes the approach of his opponents as impractical, but what he comes up with is impotent for solving the issue. As I noted above, more Americans than ever speak a foreign language at home so the assimilation approach does not seem to be working. Those who come here legally and wish to assimilate aren’t the problem because they follow the rule of law, and to provide for those who do not follow the rules is a slap to those who do. No points.

Similarly, Evan McMullin argues “legalization is not amnesty” but paying a fine isn’t much of a punishment. He has some good thoughts in a number of areas, but I do not believe in amnesty such as he proposes. I may consider the immigrant who goes back and does things the right way after a significant period of time (measured in multiple years) has elapsed, but what McMullin proposes will simply be a magnet for more illegal immigration. 3 points.

I’m more inclined to hear arguments on both sides of foreign policy, which is my next topic.

Report: immigrant share outstripping population growth

March 7, 2016 · Posted in National politics, Politics · Comments Off 

A fascinating study from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) came across my e-mail the other day.

We all know there has been a massive influx of immigrants (both legal and illegal) in recent decades, but the numbers CIS reports are astounding: approximately 61 million immigrants and their young American-born children now live in the United States. Of that group, 45 million are legal immigrants and their children.

CIS took the data set back to 1970 to find that the share of immigrants and their children in this country has increased from 13 million to 61 million in that timeframe. As a percentage of population, this group has surged from 6.6% to 18.9%, although you may notice CIS concedes there may be an undercount in the number of immigrants.

While CIS has valid reasoning to exclude more recent census counts (because they did not ask about place of birth), 1970 is also a good demarcation line because it came shortly after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 went into effect. Prior to that, immigration had been limited for four decades so the 1970 census was the nadir for immigrants’ share of the population.

A key cultural difference, however, seems to permeate the most recent wave of immigration. My ancestors came over in the late 19th century, along with millions of others, in order to better their lives with the opportunities America provided for them. But they also chose to be part of a “melting pot” where, if the initial immigrants didn’t assimilate, their children were eager to conform with American culture.

Now we have more of what is described as a “salad bowl” mentality where we are supposed to honor whatever culture comes along - good, bad, or indifferent. This more recent wave of immigrants, at least anecdotally, is content to live as they did in the old country and raise their children as foreigners. Granted, American culture still has its pull but as time goes on we seem to be losing that which makes us exceptional.

CIS asks a number of valid questions:

While the national debate has focused on illegal immigration, the enormous impact of immigration is largely the result of those brought in legally. These numbers raise profound questions that are seldom asked: What number of immigrants can be assimilated? What is the absorption capacity of our nation’s schools, health care system, infrastructure, and, perhaps most importantly, its labor market? What is the impact on the environment and quality of life from significantly increasing the nation’s population size and density? With some 45 million legal immigrants and their young children already here, should we continue to admit a million new legal permanent immigrants every year?

It’s a series of questions that can’t just be answered with a wall, whether Mexico pays for it or not. Border security can be part of the solution, but 40% to 50% of the illegal immigrants had permission to be here initially – they chose to overstay their visas. That’s a challenge a wall won’t address.

My cohort Cathy Keim proposed a pause on immigration last year, which would address some of the problem. Although her point was more with bringing a halt to Syrian refugees and accepting student visas from particular nations, hopefully the mess that is the current system will be among the first things addressed by a new administration.

America is, as always, a welcoming nation. But it’s up to those who come here not to wear out their welcome by insisting that things be just like where they came from – otherwise, what was the point in coming here?

What is The Donald’s attraction?

By Cathy Keim

Editor’s note: Since I had my say on Trump yesterday Cathy decided to follow up.

I think that a lot of people are missing a primary reason many voters are flocking to Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign. They’re concerned about immigration, but not just illegal immigration as in Mexicans and Central Americans flooding our southern border. They also seek answers on legal immigration.

Our country has been bringing in immigrants legally in huge numbers from primarily Muslim countries for years. There are 57 Muslim states in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), but every time there is a clash and Muslims “need” to be resettled, they are directed not to another OIC country where they could be expected to fit in more easily, but to the West, and by the largest numbers to America.

I have written on the Refugee Resettlement program and its problems, highlighted most recently by the Syrian refugee issues, but that is only one of the vast array of immigration vehicles that our government has been using to flood our country with Muslim immigrants. There are student visas, work visas, tourist visas and the lottery system.

The USA does not have an exit visa tracking system. Once the immigrants arrive, even if it is supposedly only for a ninety-day tourist visit or as a student, no one ever checks to see if they leave!

According to this Breitbart summary of a report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS):

Overall, the report notes, immigrants made up 13.3 percent of the population in the U.S. in 2014, the highest percentage in more than a century. CIS compared that level to immigrants’ 6.2 percent share of the population in 1980. The Census Bureau projects that the immigrant share of the population will reach its highest level in history in 2023, at 14.8 percent and continue to increase through 2060 if current admissions levels continue.

(snip)

As of 2010, the countries of origin with the highest percentage increase in the number of immigrants in the U.S. were Saudi Arabia, which saw an increase of 93 percent. Bangladeshi immigrants increased 37 percent, Iraqi increased 36 percent, Egypt was up 25 percent and Pakistan, India, and Ethiopia all increased by 24 percent.

The immigrant population is over 42.4 million people out of about 322 million Americans according to best estimates. People are seeing this in their local communities and their schools. Americans are not xenophobic or racists, but they are concerned about the changing landscape around them. The social costs of bringing in so many people so rapidly are staggering.

Many of these immigrants are from Third World countries and are not equipped to function in a modern society. The stress that this causes for the immigrant families and for the community where they live is enormous. Instead of honestly looking at the problems associated with the rapid rate of immigration without time or effort to assimilate them, the elites just label anyone who questions the influx as racist.

Further, most of the immigrants are from countries that have big government and would be heavily inclined to vote for more of the same. This fact makes them an attractive demographic for the Democrats who are building their bloc of “safe” votes while preening publicly as the “nice people” who are concerned for the downtrodden.

The Republicans are no less guilty in keeping the numbers up as they bring in cheap labor, but they are less insightful as they are undermining their own voting base. They are not called the Stupid Party for nothing.

So where does Donald Trump come in?

For all his shrill rhetoric, I have no idea whether Donald Trump will actually do anything about legal or illegal immigration because I have no confidence that anybody can be sure what he will do if elected. He is not running on principles, but on his fame as a celebrity. However, he is the only candidate to bring up the immigration issue initially. If he had not done so, then it would not have been the topic of discussion that it has been.

Trump has addressed directly the problem of Muslim immigration:

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on,” he said, adding the word “hell” for emphasis this time.

I believe that this is the primary reason that many of his supporters are going to stick with him no matter how many reckless or crude statements he makes. If you understand the concept of civilizational jihad by hijra, then you just may decide the Donald is worth taking a risk on since he is the only one that is willing to touch the problem.

Monica Crowley writes:

Hijra is a core part of jihad going back to the Prophet Muhammad that involves Islamic conquest through migration. The objective is to overwhelm non-Muslim territories with Muslim populations until they achieve domination through sheer numbers. No weapons necessary — until they gain enough control.

She continues regarding the flood of people arriving in Europe:

Let’s be clear: Some of them may be fleeing war and persecution, but most are not. In fact, only about 10 percent of the new arrivals are from Syria; the other 90 percent are from elsewhere in the Middle East, North Africa and countries like Pakistan and Indonesia who are using the European Union’s open doors-open borders policy to reach the West for social welfare and the longer-term goal of spreading Islam.

The USA has been bringing in floods of people from Muslim countries with no thought to the practice of hijra. Instead of restricting Muslim immigration after 9/11, we have opened the floodgates.

Many thoughtful people see this as cultural suicide and they are willing to risk the Donald to stop this from happening. I acknowledge that this is not the only reason people are supporting Trump, but it is the reason why some exceedingly thoughtful, intelligent people are choosing him.

Next time you speak to a politician about immigration do not let them get away with the meme: Illegal immigration bad/legal immigration good. This is a cheap and easy way to dodge the difficult issues that face our country. Our leaders need to get serious about the problems that are before us and are growing larger with each new immigrant that arrives, whether Muslim or not. If they are not coming here because they want to share in the ideas that made us Americans, then perhaps they should not come.

If immigrants want to come for civilizational jihad or for our generous welfare benefits, then why should we allow that? America is a great country because of the ideas that it was founded upon: Liberty and freedom as God-given rights. We cannot continue to be America if we do not embrace these principles. A desire for big government benefits or for sharia law are not consistent with our Constitution.

Alas, that is why we are in trouble, not just with a potential Trump presidency, but also because half of our population is considering a full-blown socialist candidate in Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton due to their desire for big government.

But that will have to be dealt with in another post.

Odds and ends number 78

Here I go again, producing those little dribs and drabs of information that I need a sentence to a couple paragraphs to discuss.

For example, I don’t need to give much more than an “attaboy” to Ted Cruz for continuing to stand against ethanol subsidies yet succeed in Iowa, as Leon Wolf pointed out recently at RedState. Such a stance may not make me a lot of friends among the corn farmers locally, but I’ll bet the chicken producers would love to see a decrease in the price for a bushel and I suspect once the Renewable Fuel Standard is pulled it will give them a break. Let’s hope Cruz (or some other GOP candidate) follows through on this common sense. After all, according to my friend Rick Manning at Americans for Limited Government, the deficit last year was $677 billion so putting ethanol subsidies on the chopping block would make fiscal sense as well.

As Richard Falknor at Blue Ridge Forum points out, though, we have a large number of gutless wonders in our House of Representatives who don’t care that the latest omnibus was a budget-buster. Maybe they just need to read some advice from my Patriot Post cohort Mark Alexander, who reminded us of what our Founding Fathers said 240 years ago. We really do need a revival of the Spirit of ’76. (I’m old enough to remember the Bicentennial, by the way.) As Alexander writes about the current GOP crop:

Patriots, in this presidential election year, I invoke this timeless wisdom from George Washington’s farewell address (1796): “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” Indeed, there are among even the ranks of Republican presidential contenders some pretenders. Caveat Emptor! The future of Liberty hinges on the ability and willingness of grassroots Patriots to distinguish between the genuine article and the false prophets.

Yet while Ted Cruz seems to be one of the few who is standing up for conservative principles in Congress, as Erick Erickson adds at his new website, The Resurgent, the Establishment has decided to throw its lot in with Donald Trump to stop Cruz’s polling advances. Yes, politics makes strange bedfellows.

None may be stranger than those in the state of South Dakota where the drive for non-partisan elections I told you about a few weeks ago made the ballot. Local talk radio host Rick Knobe is spearheading the effort:

For too long, both political parties have been shouting over each other at the expense of the voters, and now have an opportunity to do something about it. Just look at the growing number of registered Independents, which now numbers over 100,000 in South Dakota. That number is growing here and across the country. When this measure passes, those 100,000 South Dakotans will have the opportunity to fully participate in the election process.

The state as a whole had 521,017 registered voters as of the 2014 elections so it appears about 20-25% are not affiliated. If it is adopted in this election, the state will move to a non-partisan primary for 2018. I suspect the two major parties will lose a significant amount of their support should this happen, so this is something to watch as it develops.

Immigration is one of the issues that has thoroughly disgusted a number of former Republicans who bolted the party when the elites adopted a pro-amnesty stance. Recently many Republicans (including the aforementioned Ted Cruz and our Congressman Andy Harris) supported a major expansion of H-1B visas despite a claim from the Center for Immigration Studies that found no evidence of a labor shortage in those occupations. One has to question how many semi-skilled workers are idle in this area due to the H-1B visa.

Finally, I’m going to circle back to Erick Erickson. I’ve been impressed with his new website, one which I can read without being overrun by annoying pop-up ads and false story breaks that only serve to increase page view count (in order to extort more money from would-be advertisers.) On Thursday he had a candid assessment of how his website was doing and so far he seems to be successful. Good news for those of us who value content over clickbait.

So ends another (hopefully) clickbait-free edition of odds and ends. Now my mailboxes are empty once again.

Odds and ends number 77

It will be on the light side this time, but this is probably the lightest news week on the calendar as many of the productive people in the country take an extended vacation. Having Christmas and New Year’s Day both fall on a Friday really assists in that effort because the average worker only has to take 3 or 4 vacation days rather than a full week – as an example I had both Thursday and Friday off this past weekend and will be off Friday, too. Long story short, the government and newsmakers are pretty much off for several days with the minimum of paid time off insuring a long 11-day break.

So I’m going to begin with news that came out recently from the Center for Immigration Studies that confirmed what millions of observers have long suspected: we aren’t ejecting illegal immigrants from the country like we used to. No one is talking about all 11, 13, 20, 30, or whatever million there are, but just over 235,000 - not even half of the number just four years ago. Jessica Vaughan of CIS noted in testimony before the Senate that:

This willful neglect (regarding deportation) has imposed enormous costs on American communities. In addition to the distorted labor markets and higher tax bills for social welfare benefits that result from uncontrolled illegal immigration, the Obama administration’s anti-enforcement policies represent a threat to public safety from criminal aliens that ICE officers are told to release instead of detain and remove. The administration’s mandate that ICE focus only on the ‘worst of the worst’ convicted criminal aliens means that too many of ‘the worst’ deportable criminal aliens are still at large in our communities.

Even if Donald Trump personally supervised a border wall and made Mexico pay for it, deportations continuing at that rate would take decades to clear out those here illegally, giving those at the bottom of the list for removal time to have anchor babies and otherwise game the system to stay put. It’s a waiting game that Americans and those law-abiding immigrants wishing to enter are losing quickly.

Obviously the first steps any new administration would need to take not only involve revoking all the pro-illegal alien policies of the Obama administration but putting an end to birthright citizenship for non-citizens and cracking down on employers who knowingly employ illegals. In one stroke I’m for pissing off both the Democrats and the pro-amnesty Chamber of Commerce types.

Immigration – and its potential for bringing in a new generation of government-dependent first-generation voting residents (I hesitate to call them Americans as they are slow to assimilate) isn’t as much of a cause for concern for Robert Romano of Americans for Limited Government as is the death of the Republican voter.

I’ve brought up this question in a different form before, as I have pointed out the Reagan Democrats of 1980 were comprised of a large number of blue-collar lunchbucket types who were probably approaching middle age at the time. Brought up as Democrats with the idealism of John F. Kennedy and the union worker political pedigree, they nonetheless were believers in American exceptionalism – for them, the American malaise was a result of Jimmy Carter capping off a decade or more of failed liberal policies both here and abroad.

As Romano points out, many in the Silent Generation (which was the base of the Reagan Democrats as they reached middle age in the 1970s) are now gone. At around 29 million, it is well less than half of the Baby Boomers or Millennials. (I notice that Generation X isn’t mentioned, but they are certainly larger than the Silent Generation as well. At 51, I could be considered a tail-end Baby Boomer but I identify more with Generation X.)

Yet the question to me isn’t so much Republican vs. Democrat as it is “regressive” statist vs. conservative/libertarian. I worry more about the number of producers (i.e. those who work in the private sector) vs. the number of takers (public sector workers + benefit beneficiaries). The number of takers is growing by leaps and bounds - chronic underemployment to the point people still qualify for food stamps or housing assistance plays a part, as does people getting older and retiring to get their Medicare and Social Security. I’ll grant it is possible (and very likely) some straddle both categories, particularly older workers who qualify for Medicare, but as a whole we have a bleak future as an entitlement state without some sort of drastic reform. This example probably oversimplifies it, but you get the picture.

At least I’m trying to be honest about it instead of using the faulty reasoning of the Left, as Dan Bongino sees it. Sometimes I wonder if its a game the liberals play in the hopes that we waste and exhaust ourselves trying to refute all the bulls**t they spew rather than come up with new, good ideas.

Perhaps more importantly, though, Bongino in a later article makes the case that government surveillance is not the terrorism panacea people make it out to be.

I’m not willing to sacrifice my liberty, or yours, for a false sense of security, Ironically, those defending this egregious, government-enforced evaporation of the line between the private and public self cannot provide any evidence of this metadata collection process intercepting even one terror plot.

After 9/11, Congress adopted the PATRIOT Act, which was supposed to be temporary. Given that we are in the midst of a Long War against Islamic-based terrorism, there is some need for scrutiny but Bongino has a point – are we trying to get someone inside these terror cells?

Finally, I want to pass along some good news. If your house is like mine and uses heating oil, you can expect to save $459 this winter compared to last. (Having well above-average temperatures in December meant I made up for the “extra” 100 gallons I had to get to make it through a chilly spring.) But as American Petroleum Institute’s Jack Gerard also points out, investing in energy infrastructure is a key to maintaining these savings in the long run – and has the added benefits of an economic boost.

We often talk about infrastructure in terms of transportation, where public money is used on projects generally used by the public for enhanced commerce. As I was told, traffic bottlenecks were common in Vienna before they finished the bridge over the Nanticoke River in 1990 as well as in Salisbury until the completion of the U.S. 50 portion of the bypass a decade or so ago. Now traffic flows more freely, time and fuel are no longer wasted, and people are just that much more likely to visit our beach resorts. (The same process is occurring on Maryland Route 404 and U.S. 113 as widening makes that traffic more bearable.)

But this can also occur in the private sector as a future investment, and this is what Gerard is referring to. Most are familiar with the story regarding the Keystone XL pipeline, but the same sort of opposition rose up to the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway, a transmission line once slated to run through Wicomico and Dorchester counties on its way to the Indian River generating plant in Delaware. Slack demand and other infrastructure improvements were cited as factors in killing MAPP, but the process of dealing with environmental issues likely played a larger role.

Regardless, you can bet your bottom dollar that any sort of fossil-fuel based infrastructure would be opposed tooth and nail by a certain class of people who believe all of our electricity can come from so-called “renewable” sources, and that power will magically run directly from the wind turbine to the outlet in your living room. I see nothing wrong with private investment trying to make lives better, so if another natural gas pipeline is what Delmarva needs to succeed and some private entity is willing to pay for it, well, let’s start building.

Just as I built this post from the debris of my e-mail box, we can make our lives better with our natural resources if we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot.

Immigration: a continuing series

December 7, 2015 · Posted in Cathy Keim, National politics, Politics · Comments Off 

By Cathy Keim

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the need to pause our immigration programs due to the many problems associated with them. It is such a complex issue, with so many areas to address, that I decided to start a continuing series where I can look at some of the more pressing problems in more detail.

We do not have an immigration problem; it could more accurately be called an invasion. Armed with Ted Kennedy’s immigration reform of the 1960s, our elite political class has decided that America needs a remake and one of their methods to achieve this is to bring in immigrants, refugees, illegal aliens, and foreign students by any means available.

For over thirty years we have been experiencing increasing numbers of people flooding into the country, but we have not been making an effort to assimilate them. The government school system does not even try to teach our own children the core beliefs upon which our country was founded or what it even means to be an American, so why would we make an effort to teach these newcomers our unique American heritage?

Immigration without assimilation equals invasion (to quote Bobby Jindal – ed.) and spells the end of America as we know it. There are many agents pushing for this expansion of our population from corporations wanting cheap labor to politicians wanting sure votes to refugee resettlement agencies (VOLAGS) that get paid by the head to bring in refugees. Obviously the motivations and methods vary, so I will address different issues separately instead of trying to cover it all at once.

One of the extremely frustrating aspects of this invasion is that ordinary Americans can see very clearly the negative effects of the masses of mostly poorly educated immigrants flooding our communities, but our elites, buffered by their upscale communities and private schools, refuse to heed the calls for halting immigration.

The Syrian refugee issue has been dominating the immigration discussion recently. It is troubling because these refugees cannot be vetted to insure that there are not jihadists hiding amongst the thousands of people fleeing the fighting. I have already touched upon some of the relevant issues, so today I will concentrate on the question of why are so many people are fleeing the Muslim crescent from Libya to Afghanistan?

The United States government has to accept responsibility for their part in the crisis through their destabilizing various governments in the area during the Arab Spring. Once the dictators were toppled, the vacuum led to an increase in fighting and chaos causing people to flee to safer areas. Some of the people came from areas that are not more chaotic than usual, but are joining the masses as economic immigrants hoping for a better life elsewhere.

When hundreds of thousands of people are on the move fleeing from war, terror, and economic chaos, it is impossible to check their credentials or vet them for security risks, disease, or criminal behavior. While our government helped create the mess, we do not have to bring them into our own country to pay penance. As pointed out before, it is much more cost effective to help them in safe places nearer their homelands so that they can return when the situation permits.

But what if there is a bigger plan behind the forced immigration? The Koran calls for hijrah, or the emigration of Muslims to other lands based on the original hijrah when Mohammad fled Mecca for Medina in 622 AD. This is the date which is used as the beginning of Mohammad’s revelations and when he became a military and political leader, not just a religious leader. Islam is a total package of political thought with military force and a religious component. It is not a just a religion. It was in Medina that Mohammad became a warlord who wreaked havoc on all those around him who didn’t conform to his ideas. Writer and expert on Islam Robert Spencer pointed this out recently:

“And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance,” says the Qur’an. “And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him, his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah. And Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.” (4:100)

ISIS published an article calling for Muslims to flood into Libya where arms are plentiful and then make the voyage to Europe. The USA made sure that Libya collapsed and this is the result.

While we are certain that a percentage of the emigrants coming from the Middle East and North Africa are jihadists, what of the others that are simply fleeing the violence? ISIS has a plan for that too. The ISIS view of the world is a dark one, for they are sure that they are ushering in the end times and the return of the Mahdi.

Unlike Christian sects that have fled to the hills to await the return of Christ, ISIS takes a more forceful view. They intend to usher in the end times with murder and mayhem. They take a dim view of wishy-washy Muslims or Muslims that live in the gray zone. This would be people that just live their lives, work hard, pay their bills, and don’t give much attention to religion or don’t practice Islam according to ISIS standards. I would guess that the vast majority of mankind falls into this gray zone. While they may be called Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or some other sect, they probably don’t really pay much attention to their religious condition. In the West, this would include the secular people that do not give any credence to any deity.

ISIS has a strategy to push the West through terrorist attacks into retaliating against their Muslim populations, thus causing the non-engaged Muslims to feel a grievance against their government and move from the gray zone into active ISIS activity.

This cycle of terrorism by an ISIS-inspired Muslim living in the West, the government’s crackdown on Muslims as we are seeing in France, the resulting reaction against being treated as guilty by association, and the resulting increase in violence is exactly what ISIS desires. They want all of us to move from a gray zone, which allows for people of different faiths or no faith to live together, to a black zone where you are either for us or against us.

I will take up this development in the next installment of the series.

No matter what ISIS is doing, the first step we need to do is secure our borders and stop the influx of immigrants until things can be sorted out.

There is an opportunity to use the power of the purse to halt the Refugee Resettlement program by refusing to fund it in the omnibus spending bill that must be passed by December 11. Please call your Senators and Representative in Congress at 202-224-3121 to encourage them to not fund this program.

Wage deflators?

January 22, 2015 · Posted in Business and industry, Delmarva items, National politics, Politics · Comments Off 

The Center for Immigration Studies put out an unusual list yesterday, one which details the worst offenders for abusing H-1B visas. As CIS explains it:

The H-1B program is one that allows, in general terms, U.S. employers to hire nonimmigrant foreign workers, usually (but not always) into high-tech positions, at wages lower than those that would be paid otherwise. Thus all users of the program are at least nibbling away at labor standards, and are involved with denying jobs to available professionals who are citizens or green card holders.

Naturally I looked on the list for any local companies, but did not find any in the immediate area. Four different companies, two of which I suspect are the same entity, are listed from Newark, Delaware. There is also the Prince George’s County school district as well, for which CIS notes:

Prince George’s County, MD public school system qualified for the list by their extensive and controversial use of the H-1B program to hire foreign schoolteachers.

That should help the learning process out.

It should be noted this program is a little bit different than the J-1 student visas often used by foreign students, mainly from Eastern Europe, who annually descend on Ocean City and the other beach resorts each summer to work. The H-1B program operates under the notion that there aren’t enough qualified Americans to do these jobs, when opponents argue that there’s simply not enough Americans who want to work under the pitiful wage scale allowed.

Yet the process for an employer to secure H-1B visas is mind-boggling, so it’s hard to believe anyone is abusing the system unless there is a huge difference in wages that makes the various application fees all worth it. Perhaps that’s why there are comparatively few scofflaws.

But I suppose the real enforcement needs to come on the end of verifying these H-1B workers are making an appropriate wage. If a company would have to pay an entry-level engineer $60,000 a year but gets away with paying a foreigner $20,000 because they’re here under an H-1B visa, that is an issue and should be prosecuted under law. It’s the problem with the lack of scruples in our society that some employers look to take advantage of the system like this.

The local effects of amnesty

In 2012, Maryland voters foolishly rejected a bid to overturn in-state tuition for illegal aliens despite the fact thousands of voters signed a petition to bring it to referendum. Its passage further cemented Maryland’s reputation as a “sanctuary state,” where illegal aliens already had an easy time getting drivers’ licenses and (allegedly) illegally voting in elections.

So it’s not too comforting reading a report from the Center for Immigration Studies detailing a few abuses of birthright citizenship or finding from the same source that immigrant families account for 42% of Medicaid growth since 2011. Naturally, the CIS is biased against unfettered immigration, so one would expect these types of reports from them.

Yet if you look and listen around this area and see all the Spanish-language entities – whether storefronts, media, or just conversations on the street – there’s no question any change is simply locking the barn door after the horse got out. This was something of a culture shock to me moving down here, knowing I was a thousand miles from the southern border. But the local labor market, with its heavy emphasis on agriculture and poultry processing, provides the low-wage jobs immigrants flocked here to take. And as they came, their influence expanded outward into the construction industry and other areas where day labor is valued.

And while this area of Maryland and Delaware is actually below-average insofar as Hispanic population goes on a national scale, there are some enclaves like Georgetown where a high number of Hispanics have settled. Moreover, Census data is a little bit of a trailing indicator as local school districts have somewhat higher Hispanic kindergarten enrollment than the census population may indicate.

But the problem isn’t necessarily one of those who are here, but those who are promised to come if amnesty becomes the law (or lack thereof) for the land. There are only so many low-skill, low-wage jobs available in the region, jobs which can’t support a reasonable lifestyle. If the families of those who are already here get extended by the addition of other relatives, though, the support will have to come from somewhere. Someone has to pay for the additional schools, services, and assistance these newcomers will require. Unfortunately, most local and state budgets are already strained.

If the idea is to create a perpetual underclass that’s dependent on government, full amnesty is the way to go. But I’d rather reward those who do things the right way than the ones who game the system and catch a lucky break when we turn a blind eye. If we are to be a nation of laws, we need to do immigration reform in such a way that those who came illegally don’t use it to their advantage. Crime is not supposed to pay.

The influx

In this time of crisis on the southern border, it’s worth having an idea of what the long-term effects can be. While the source of the information is the immigration hardliners at the Center for Immigration Studies, the figures don’t lie. This is particularly noteworthy as Maryland is one of the top destination states for immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

So the trends are disturbing, as most of the statistics cited by CIS would suggest the influx of illegal aliens would be a drain on the system – among current immigrants from those nations, they are more likely to be lacking a high school diploma and either live in poverty and/or be enrolled in some sort of welfare program despite holding a job at about the same proportion as native-born Americans.

Granted, the CIS figures are released by an entity that bills itself as “low-immigration, pro-immigrant.” But imagine that 20,000 of these new immigrants find their way to Maryland – what does that mean for the state’s financial situation? This is particularly troubling long-term as the Anthony Brown platform includes at least $9.15 million in state money to give student loans to children of illegal aliens. Obviously more such children will mean more of a strain on that program as well as other supplemental income programs Maryland taxpayers already provide.

For too long business has looked the other way as illegal aliens came in, willing to take jobs for lower wages than the native-born. But now the conditions are a little different because the use of child labor is frowned upon and a larger proportion of those crossing the border are minors, many of whom are unaccompanied.

Having an immigrant underclass is nothing new in American history. Leading into the Great Depression, the immigrant population hovered around 13 to 15 percent before declining under 10 percent for most of the remainder of the 20th century. In fact, we are only now beginning to reach the point where we were a century ago insofar as percentage is concerned.

But the question going forward is whether they will assimilate as well as their European forefathers did, and based on how we’ve done over the last 30 years since the Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty, I can’t see the new wave of immigrants doing much to become Americans. Yet they don’t mind accepting our dollars.

Report: amnesty could create up to 17 million new voters

October 13, 2013 · Posted in Business and industry, Inside the Beltway, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off 

Considering the source, one may think the Center for Immigration Studies is worried about the electoral impact the Gang of Eight amnesty bill could provide, and you would be right. In their report author Steven A. Camarota writes:

There is no question that the effect of future immigration on the number of potential citizens will be very large if current policies remain unchanged. We cannot say what share of future arrivals will become citizens and vote. Even if only half do so, the impact could be significant and not just at the national level.

Obviously the thought process is that most of these immigrants will vote in such a manner to both loosen the restrictions on further immigration and open the spigots of the welfare state for new, poor immigrants. (In other words, for Democrats.) Moreover, since the bulk of recent population growth in the country comes from immigration this will also contribute to the traditional Caucasian majority becoming the minority as it has become in California.

Of course, there’s no guarantee any of these people will even become registered or bother to show up to vote, but this report points out the possibility is there. Yet there will still be a great deal of impact on our elections even if the immigration bill doesn’t pass based on the number of green cards we already give out.

Naturally this brings out the whole topic of immigration and border security, and right now we don’t have enough of either, at least in the legal sense. Obviously something needs to be done about the 11 to 12 million who are here sans documentation, but in fact the federal government has allocated and then pulled the money for building a secure fence on the Mexican border. It’s the least we could do, along with better tracking of those who overstay visas – another chief culprit of the illegal alien problem. This contributes in no small part to our crime problem as well.

Rumor has it that Barack Obama will pivot back to immigration once his government shutdown and debt ceiling imbroglios are resolved one way or the other, so the CIS report (one of a series put out this month) comes out at an opportune time.

Odds and ends number 73

As I often do, here’s a collection of little items which grow to become one BIG item. And I have a LOT of them – so read fast.

For example, I learned the other day that Richard Rothschild, who spoke so passionately about private property rights (and the Constitution in general) will be back in our area Saturday, March 2nd as the speaker for Dorchester County’s Lincoln Day Dinner. That’s being held at the Elks Lodge outside Cambridge beginning at 3 p.m. Tickets, which are just $30, are available through the county party.

While Rothschild is the featured speaker, you shouldn’t miss some of the others scheduled to grace the podium, particularly gubernatorial candidates Charles Lollar and Blaine Young as well as Congressman Andy Harris. For a small county like Dorchester, that’s quite a lineup!

The controversy over the Septic Bill is far from the only item liberty-minded Marylanders have to worry about. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been bombarded with notices over a number of issues.

For example, after what State Senator E.J. Pipkin termed as a “structural failure” regarding hearing testimony on Senate Bill 281 (the gun-grabber bill) he offered an amendment to the Senate rules to handle these cases. However, I could not find a follow-up to that bill.

What I could find, though, was Pipkin’s statement that the state was making citizens into criminals, stating “The penalties embedded within the Governor’s Gun Control bill are extreme; they would criminalize paperwork errors in ways that destroy careers, lives, and families.” And he’s absolutely correct.

“This bill does not address the issue of gun violence in Maryland. The real issue is illegal firearms in Maryland, something the Governor’s bill does not target,” Pipkin concluded.

But guns aren’t the only problem. Unfortunately, we are one step closer to an offshore wind boondoggle in Maryland despite the best efforts of those who deal in the realm of reality to stop it. One bastion of sanity in Maryland is Change Maryland, whose Chair Larry Hogan expressed the following regarding offshore wind:

It seems Martin O’Malley’s priority is to make electricity and gas more expensive. He is pushing an increase in the gas tax and pushing a wind energy policy that is not cost effective and guarantees that electricity will be more expensive for rate payers.

At the close of the last session, the governor ignored the budgeting process which resulted in a train wreck.  Instead he was out on the steps of the capital, leading wind energy activists in chant that said ‘all we re saying is give wind a chance.’

There are no assurances that this offshore wind proposal will not devolve into crony-capitalism that reward friends of the governor and political donors.

Actually, Hogan slightly misses the point because true capitalism would occur when the market continues to shun the expense and non-reliability of offshore wind. I guarantee that if this project goes through it will cost those of us who use electricity in Maryland a LOT more than $1.50 a month – subsidies can always change, just like tax rates on casinos.

The aforementioned Pipkin also weighed in on offshore wind:

This legislation may represent a shift in how private business is done in and regulated by the state.

This bill requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to weigh new criteria in approving private development contracts to build off-shore wind turbines.  The Commission will now consider prevailing wage and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) participation as criteria in its contract award.

This could set new precedent. In the future, we could see every business now regulated by a state agency subject to prevailing wage and MBE requirements.

You think? Our Big Labor-friendly governor stops at nothing – nothing – to grease the skids for his union cronies. And surely this will extend to whatever road work is performed once the gas tax is increased by O’Malley and General Assembly Democrats. Wait, did I say road work? Hogan and Change Maryland question that assumption, too:

Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan backed transportation reform which has emerged as a key issue this legislative session after several years of being relegated to the back burner.  Specifically, key members of the Maryland House of Delegates are advocating guiding principles to ensure much-needed investments are made in infrastructure and fundamental reforms made to transportation policy.

“Previous attempts to improve our transportation network in Maryland have been an abject failure. Our top elected officials are saying roads and bridges are crumbling, but what they won’t tell you is they are the ones who caused the problem in the first place,” said Hogan.  ”Another myth that is being foisted upon us is that there is an urgent need to raise the gasoline tax, and that is simply not true.”

Hogan joins Del. Susan Krebs and other House members in instilling common-sense policy solutions to making transportation policy.  These include protecting the transportation trust fund with a constitutional amendment, realigning infrastructure investments to reflect how Marylanders actually travel and restoring funds for transportation. (Emphasis mine.)

I highlighted the above phrase as a way to say, “bingo!” That, folks, is the problem in a nutshell.

This is a state which jacked up the tolls on the Bay Bridge to create a cash cow for other projects which don’t pay their own way, like the Inter-County Connector outside Washington. O’Malley’s gas tax is really intended to build rail lines most of us will never ride rather than build projects we could use, like perhaps a limited-access Easton bypass for U.S. 50, widening Maryland Route 90 into Ocean City, or building an interchange at the dangerous U.S. 113 – Maryland Route 12 intersection in Worcester County.

The gas tax proposal has led to acrimony in Annapolis, as Delegate Kathy Szeliga points out:

(Senate President Mike) Miller called House Republicans who oppose his gas tax proposal, “Neanderthals,” and “obstructionists.” In response to his comments, Delegate Szeliga tweeted, “Yabba-dabba-do, Mr. Miller,” further commenting that she hopes to obstruct and stop this massive 70% increase in the gas tax and government expansion. In response to Senator Miller’s jabs at Republicans, Delegate Herb McMillan added, “Even a caveman can see that it’s stupid to raise gas taxes when there’s no guarantee they’ll be used for roads.”

Kidding aside, you can call me a “total obstructionist” as well, Senator Miller. On the road to serfdom someone has to stand in the way, and I’m one of those someones.

Notice that I haven’t even talked about the federal government yet. One sure sign of a new year, though, is the ubiquitous Congressional scorecard. Two organizations which have released theirs recently are Americans for Prosperity and Heritage Action for America.

Not surprisingly, Harris scored a 95% grade from AFP, leading the Maryland delegation – former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett had the second highest grade at 91%. As for the rest, well, their COMBINED score was 50 percent. Heritage Action, however, graded Andy more harshly with an 81% grade (Bartlett scored 67%.) Once again, the remainder of Maryland’s delegation scored anywhere from a lackluster 17% to a pathetic 4 percent.

We’re also talking about immigration reform more these days. I happen to lean somewhat on the hawkish side, so I believe these reports from the Center for Immigration Studies are worth discussing. In one, former Congressman Virgil Goode of Virginia looks at what happened the last time we went down this road insofar as collecting back taxes from illegal aliens – a key part of the compromise provision – was handled after the 1986 reform.

The second CIS report looks at recommendations the bipartisan Jordan Commission made in 1997, after the 1986 immigration amnesty program failed. This middle ground made five recommendations:

  • Integrate the immigrants now in the United States more thoroughly;
  • Reduce the total number of legal immigrants to about 550,000 a year;
  • Rationalize the nonimmigrant visa programs and regulate them;
  • Enforce the immigration law vigorously with no further amnesties; and
  • Re-organize the management of the immigration processes within the government.

That seems like a pretty good starting point to work from, particularly the first recommendation.

Another study worth reading is this one from Competitive Enterprise Institute called “The Wages of Sin Taxes.” In it, author Chris Snowden takes an unflinching look at who really pays for these tolls. As CEI states in their summary:

Most remarkably, Snowdon, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, demonstrates that financial burden supposedly placed on society through the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, high-calorie foods, has little basis in reality. The myth that these “sinners” cost the rest of us money is perpetuated in large part because “government has no incentive to tell the public that these groups are being exploited, and the affected industries dare not advertise the savings that come from lives being cut short by excessive use of their products.”  This type of tax is actually a regressive “stealth tax” that allows lawmakers to take money from their constituents with the lowest incomes without the pushback an upfront tax would provoke.

I would put that in the category of “duh.”  Ask yourself: how much state-sanctioned money and effort do you see given by government to prevent drinking, smoking, and gambling? Yet they rake their cut off the top in each of these three vices, which are only legal because government and society have compromised on these issues.

On the other hand, those who grow or smoke marijuana or do other illegal drugs are considered criminals and tossed in jail or fined. The same is true with prostitutes in most locales. If there were tax money to be made, though, and societal mores shifted ever-so-slightly toward a more libertarian viewpoint with regards to these self-inflicted actions, they would be legal – but you’d certainly still see the public service announcements about “just say no” or the dangers of selling one’s body. (Oddly enough, I doubt we buy time around the world to warn about the dangers of illegally immigrating to the United States. Why do you think that is?)

And I don’t think items like this upcoming movie will help the libertarian cause – not because of the message per se, but the poor quality of the animation. It reminds me of those cheesy Xtranormal movies people make, sorry to say.

I also have a couple items – as I get closer to wrapping this up – that I think are worth reading. Paul Jacobs is on Townhall giving our state a little tough love regarding the drive to tighten petition rules (in a state where it’s already very difficult to succeed) while Mike Shedlock is there making a point I’ve made for several years – my daughter’s generation is being hosed.

While he’s a little bit older than the Millennial Generation, I think Dan Bongino can relate. This video is now going viral on Youtube, in part thanks to the Blaze.

Finally, I think it’s worth alerting my readers that this may be the last edition of odds and ends for awhile. No, I’m not going anywhere but in the interest of bringing more readership I’m in the process of exploring the concept of a quicker posting tempo which may or may not feature shorter posts.

I’ve always felt the ideal post was somewhere between 500 and 1,000 words, but these odds and ends posts can run 2,000 words or more. Maybe it’s better for both readers and this writer to space things out and perhaps devote 200-300 words to an item rather than wait and collect a bunch of items which could get stale after a week or two. I can’t always control the length of my Ten Question Tuesday posts or ones where I report on an event, but I can work with items like these and see what’s truly worth writing about.

As the political world and internet evolve, I think the time is right to change up the mix and tempo here just a little bit. Certainly I won’t get to a point where I’m simply rehashing press releases but I think it’s a better use of my time to shorten the average post I write.

So there you have it: another post which weighs in at 2,000 words, exactly.

Odds and ends number 67

It’s very funny that I had a slowdown in newsworthy items around the holidays, so much so that I didn’t figure on doing an O&E post until perhaps mid-month. But over the last two days – bang! And here you are: bloggy snippets of goodness I felt were worth covering but not to the extent of a full post, just for a paragraph to three.

I’m going to start by promoting an event I plan on attending. Here’s what the Wicomico Society of Patriots has to say about their upcoming meeting January 15. The speaker will be Carroll County Commissioner and leading liberty advocate Richard Rothschild:

Who should attend?  Anyone who intends to continue to live and work on the Eastern Shore.  Elected officials will be in attendance.  This legislation impacts all of us, regardless of political orientation or affiliation, and all are invited to attend, listen, and question.  Two short videos will precede Commissioner Rothschild’s presentation to be followed by a question and answer session.  Mark your calendars now; you do not want to miss this meeting.  Alert your family, friends and neighbors. (Emphasis in original.)

Well, I’m alerting my neighbors and anyone else who stops by here. This will be a joint meeting of both the Worcester and Wicomico Society of Patriots, and will be held Tuesday, January 15 at 6 p.m. at Mister Paul’s Legacy Restaurant (1801 N. Salisbury Boulevard in Salisbury), a very nice facility familiar to those who follow liberty locally.

The SB236 law is perhaps the most heinous assault on property rights the state has ever produced in the name of Chesapeake Bay. In return for addressing a tiny percentage of the nitrogen problem in the Chesapeake, thousands of rural landowners could have their properties rendered worthless. So far Wicomico County has not submitted a map to the state, which in theory prevents certain subdivisions from being built at the present time.

A more damning check on progress is the national economy, but that’s a different subject. One potentially negative effect was discussed by Herman Cain in a recent commentary and it bears repeating, See if we haven’t heard this refrain in Maryland a time or two:

Democrats do not understand business very well. They don’t understand that when you pass a law that imposes new costs on businesses, those businesses will do what they can to mitigate the effects of those costs. When you make it more costly to hire people, there will not be as many people hired.

The fact that these real-world impacts are now being announced, as if no one anticipated them, is both entertaining and highly disturbing. We are being governed by people who don’t understand the impacts of their policies, people who think they can simply mandate anything and it will happen with no unintended consequences. I hope their ignorance doesn’t cost you your job.

You can say what you will about his support for the FairTax and the (unsubstantiated) allegations which derailed his run for President, but Herman Cain has common sense a-plenty about the effects of government regulation on the economy. The language of “mitigating costs” has real-world effects: cuts in hours and smaller paychecks for many millions of families whose breadwinners labor in a number of service industries, particularly food service. They may need to take a second (or third) job to make ends meet, and who knows how many out there are hiring?

And don’t dare rush from second job to third job either, at least in Maryland. A recent appeal from the Maryland Liberty PAC has these memorable lines:

Every speed camera in Maryland is an ATM machine for Martin O’Malley and his cronies in Annapolis.

Instead of cutting out wasteful spending to make ends meet like our families do, O’Malley invents new schemes to rob us of every penny we earn.

If you don’t think that’s true, consider that I personally witnessed the mobile speed cameras in operation during schools’ winter break on at least two occasions. I thought the idea was to make schools safer during the school year. (Yet they balk at allowing teachers to have guns.)

Of course, a couple years ago I told you how one local municipality was bending the rules, so those of you who read here know that speed cameras are truly a scam to fatten both county coffers and those of the operators who expect this to be a big business going forward. Rather than “reform and revisiting the speed camera law,” the Maryland Liberty PAC has the grand idea of having the speed camera law repealed. I fully support that effort.

I’m not as passionate, though, about one blogger’s call on Delegate Don Dwyer to resign now after being charged in the wake of a boating accident last summer. Certainly Dwyer has serious charges against him, but I would rather wait until his day in court has come and his fate is determined. Perhaps this was a “‘one-time occurrence’ which will not affect his performance in Annapolis.” (Oh wait, that was when Delegate Kumar Barve was arrested for DWI in 2007.)

The hypocrisy angle has been played up gleefully on the left, and if Dwyer is convicted I may change my mind. But the facts in the case seem to suggest the other boater was perhaps more at fault for the accident which left five children and Dwyer injured, so I think caution is in order.

Less cautious is the group Accuracy in Media, which released a statement that sees the acquisition of Al Gore’s little-watched Current TV by Al Jazeera as “an unacceptable danger to American citizens by further adding to the potential for home-grown Jihadists inspired by Al Jazeera’s inflammatory programming.” They also note that Time Warner Cable is dropping the channel.

While the punch line has generally involved Al Gore, the fact that he’s walking away with $100 million in what can be termed oil money has no lack of irony. And to think, he could have taken Glenn Beck’s money instead.

Yet there’s another side of the Al Jazeera issue not being mentioned:

The hearings, (Accuracy in Media head Cliff) Kincaid said, should also examine the fact that 30 public television stations around the U.S. are already airing Al Jazeera in violation of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules.

Florida broadcaster Jerry Kenney uncovered this aspect of the scandal and filed an FCC complaint over it. He discovered that Al Jazeera and other foreign propaganda channels are being provided to public television stations through the MHz Networks division of the Virginia-based Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation.

This is a list of stations affiliated with the MHz Networks – notice many of them are in large cities with a significant Islamic population.

But the government’s lack of oversight doesn’t stop there. In a new study, the Center for Immigration Studies criticized the federal government for not enforcing visa laws:

Report author David North, a CIS fellow and respected immigration policy researcher, comments, “It is incredible that after the would-be Wall Street bomber, the Times Square bomber, and the two 9/11 pilots were all found to have student visas, the Department of Homeland Security makes so little effort to pursue corrupt visa mills, flight schools not authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration, and needless language schools. National security requires the enforcement of our immigration laws.”

Interesting tidbit: very little taxpayer money goes to this agency, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP.) They make most of their money on a $200 fee would-be students pay. But the SEVP apparently doesn’t care whether the student is going to an elite university or diploma mill set up to give foreign students a reason to come to the country – as long as they collect the fees it seems like they’re happy campers. Sounds like a typical governmental agency.

Another typical government move was pointed out by a group you’re going to be hearing more about in a couple weeks. The Coalition to Reduce Spending called the recent fiscal cliff agreement the product of a “can-kicking Congress.” CRS head Jonathan Bydlak also noted:

The longer Congress continues to act fiscally irresponsible, the longer the American people will have to wait for the return of a healthy and prosperous economy.

He’s precisely right on that assertion. And the reason you’ll hear more from the group: Bydlak is also the January 15 “Ten Question Tuesday” guest, and that plug is a good point to bring this post to a close.

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