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Monday, April 26, 2010

Papers, Please!

Saturday, March 27, 2010, Robert Krentz was out checking fences and water lines on the 35,000-acre ranch his family has worked since 1907.

Somewhere out there in the dusty Arizona desert, he ran into a trespasser.

Who, exactly, he encountered on that morning is still unknown. 

Sometime between 10:00 and 10:30, Krentz radioed his brother and said he had spotted an illegal immigrant and was going to check out the situation.  That was the last anybody heard from Rob Krentz. 

Krentz was a big, florid man, a real western cattle rancher. The kind of character John Wayne would have played in Chisholm or McClintok!  He was widely known as a good Samaritan and a hell of a decent person.  He offered water and help to illegals in need – but he was also known to call the border patrol when necessary too.  Unfortunately for Robert Krentz, that generous nature is probably what got him killed on that fateful Saturday morning. 

Krentz was found slumped over the saddle of his still idling ATV, shot dead with a 9mm handgun.  His dog, also shot with the same weapon, lay dying at his side.  Krentz had been armed with a pistol and a rifle, both were found untouched in their holsters on the ATV. Krentz never had a chance, he was probably shot the minute he put down his phone.

There were tracks made by a single individual in the dust nearby the murder scene, no doubt the killer’s, leading south.  Law enforcement officers followed those tracks for almost twenty miles across the border into Mexico, where the trail went cold.

And so it stands.

Who did Robert Krentz encounter out there in the desert? Was it a “coyote,” one of the ruthless criminals who traffic in the human trade across the Mexican/American border, guiding groups of illegal immigrants and criminals and smugglers across the desert? The murderer appears to be a single individual and travelling alone on foot, perhaps a coyote returning home.  Or was it a drug smuggler?  Or some garden variety criminal?  Homes and ranch buildings in the area are routinely robbed by criminals operating across the border – and in fact a nearby home had been robbed of a 9mm pistol and other weapons the day before Krentz’s murder (although it is currently undermined if that weapon was the one used to kill Krentz). Or was it something more sinister? Terrorists? Spies? Or maybe just something sad and pitiful, some illegal alien alone, lost, and scared who made a terrible mistake out of fear (this is unlikely given the circumstances, Krentz appears to have been deliberately shot with malice aforethought).  Unless Mexican authorities catch the murderer, or he returns to the States and is caught, or somebody turns state’s evidence, it is highly unlikely that the unknown assailant will ever be brought to justice – and the reason for this senseless murder will remain unknown.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened.  Hell, it’s been going on for well over a century and harkens back to the lawless Old West of legend, just like those aforementioned John Wayne movies, when Comancharo raiding parties and criminal gangs and unreconstructed Confederates terrorized the Frontier and then sought refuge beneath the Mexican border hotly pursued by the steely eyed rangers and their posses. 

Now, from a distance, the situation in the Southwestern desert while obviously dangerous can appear, perhaps, romantic and even adventurous.  Conservatives see it as a national security issue, but liberals tend to see it as a human rights issue.  In the United States while there is no doubt a significant degree of hostility towards immigrants, legal or otherwise, there is also a certain degree of sympathy as well, for those coming across the border seeking a better life for themselves and their children – after all many of our own ancestors were immigrants who came seeking a better life in the United States (though it must be said that many of them were legal immigrants, some welcome, some less so – like my own Dutch and Irish ancestors). And it’s not exactly a secret that a rather large number of businesses welcome the pool of cheap and disposable labor that sneaks across the our porous southern border.  To be perfectly honest, if it wasn’t for cheap illegal labor, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas would probably shut down.  I suspect the grass would be ten feet tall, because nobody in any of those states owns a lawn mower or knows how to operate one – and why should they when they can hire a team of ten illegals to landscape their yards for $50 a month?  Who would operate the restaurants? Or wash the clothes? Or pick the fruit and vegetables in the San Joaquin Valley for something far less than the minimum wage, with no representation and no benefits of any kind?  Since a significant fraction of our yearly produce comes from central California, every single American benefits from cheap labor there.  And while the money these folks earn is often less than a living wage in the US, it’s a small fortune in Mexico, and Ecuador, and Columbia and so the illegals come to America risking all and they will continue to do so, no matter what.  And speaking of fortunes, in this case large fortunes, there are the drugs. More than you can ever imagine and fortunes beyond measure. It’s easy to rationalize the drug trade as a victimless crime – or at least a crime where the victims bring their own bloody demise upon themselves.   A rather large number of Americans enthusiastically welcome the smugglers who cross the desert into the US every day – and they couldn’t care less about human toll so long as they’ve got something snort up their noses on Friday night.  And as long as Americans demand illicit drugs, the mules and smugglers and criminals will supply it across the border. Period. It cannot be stopped.

For a rather large number of reasons, mostly having to do with money in one form or another, many Americans prefer to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in the Southwest.  A hell of a lot of Americans talk about the stopping the flow of illegals into and out of the United States, but the truth of the matter is that stopping the flow is the last thing they want.  When we talk about immigration reform, what we really want is to find a way to keep the cheap labor and the flow of drugs, without having large populations of illegals living in our cities and sucking up our resources.  A hell of a lot of Americans seem to think that the ideal immigration reform policy would be something where illegals quietly show up (say by teleportation so we don’t have to see them arriving), pick the lettuce and mow the grass and paint the house and make the Chinese food and give the special massages, get a couple bucks in cash, and then vamanos their little brown asses back across the border until we need them again. Out of sight and out of mind and not in our schools or hospitals or our neighborhoods  or our prisons and sure as hell not killing our ranchers.

It should be obvious that this is an impossible goal – and yet that is exactly the situation we’ve tried to live with since WWII and the Bracero program – which persisted into the 1960’s and consisted of little more than “legalized slavery” according to the Labor Department.

The cost of this contradictory policy is out there in the desert right now.  It’s everywhere in Southern California, in Arizona, in New Mexico, and Texas.  And it’s damned easy for a lot of Americans to forget that the folks who live in those places, people like Rob Krentz and his family, have to live and die with the consequences. The cost is in lives, ours and theirs – remind me to tell you about the time I saw an illegal get hit by a truck while trying to slip across US5 in the dark, in south San Diego, and then get hit by a least two dozen more vehicles after his body was flung into the middle of the highway - until there was nothing but bloody chunks and small gobs of red meat and nothing recognizably human spread for over a hundred yards down four lanes of highway like a drum of tomato sauce had exploded.   Remind me to tell you about the boatloads of Ecuadorians I encountered on the seas off Baja and Central America, hundreds of people crammed onto small fishing boats designed to hold no more than ten crew, no food, no water, no sanitation, covered in flies and filth and desperation.

The cost of this situation is murder, and death, and vigilantism. It’s crime and theft and terror.

Americans who live in the border states are sick and tired of it. They’ve lived with the situation for decades, and it’s growing worse every day.  Sure they benefit from cheap illegal labor along with the rest of the country – but they bear the full burden of the consequences, and some like Rob Krentz pay the ultimate price.

The situation is unsustainable – and murder of a prominent rancher on his own land in southern Arizona was a flashpoint.

The recent immigration law passed in Arizona was inevitable.

Opponents of the new law are calling it racist, they say it will lead to rampant racial profiling and turn Arizona into a police state.  I think there’s equal measure truth and hysteria to that idea. 

When it comes to race, well obviously, the law will lead to racial profiling. Duh. It will, most certainly, it’s impossible that it won’t.  This law isn’t aimed at illegal Asian immigrants, or illegal Eastern European immigrants, or Canadian actors, or Saudis whose work Visa’s have expired – though technically it could be used in all of those cases – it’s aimed squarely at Hispanics. You know it, I know it, and so does everybody else.  It is race (or nationality) specific to a great extent and it’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise.  You get pulled over and you’ve got brown skin and a Spanish accent it’s a pretty damned good bet that you’re going to have to provide proof of residency.  It’s also a pretty damned good bet that some law enforcement agents are going to abuse this power, sooner, later, but certainly.  Anybody who doesn’t think so hasn’t been paying attention.  This is especially true since law enforcement can be held accountable under penalty of law for not checking. When in doubt, check.

As to a police state, well, yes there are certainly overtones of “papers, please” (said in an ominously bone chilling Nazi accent) to this law – there is no way that there could not be. Potentially, any citizen who cannot produce proof of residency could be jailed or even deported.  If the law and regulation doesn’t clearly spell out what proof law enforcement is required to accept (and I don’t know that it doesn’t, but I couldn’t find such criteria specifically called out anywhere in the law) – then acceptance of proof of citizenship becomes arbitrary and subject to abuse. And it will be abused, it’s inevitable. Remind me to tell you about the time a Navy shipmate of mind was arrested in Texas for being of Puerto Rican extraction.  It was a comedy of errors, except nobody was laughing.  No lawman in Texas seemed to know or believe that Puerto Rico is part of the US,  nor would anybody believe that my friend could possibly be not Mexican, he was jailed, turned over to INS, and threatened with deportation to Mexico – despite the fact that he had US Military ID, a New York driver’s license, a valid SSN, and could provide military contact numbers for verification.  A number of folks rightly fear that they will end up in similar circumstance because of their accent or skin color or last name. I think they are absolutely right to fear such things, I think they would be foolish not to.  I think white people who somehow think they will never be subject to the burden of proof themselves are even more foolish.

What hits me though is this: in a deeply conservative state like Arizona, this law seems contrary to the patriotic ideals of the Right and more like something you’d find in the Soviet Union of days gone by – and yet I understand and sympathize with the frustration that drove this law into being in the first place. Something has to be done, and frankly this law has got to be better than having a bunch of drunken rednecks with rifles shooting at people attempting to cross the border or ranchers murdered on their own property.

The President called the law misguided.

I think he’s wrong – or at least not entirely right.

Honestly, I’m more than a bit conflicted on this subject.  While I think the potential for abuse and human rights violations is enormous, I also think that something must be done to stem the tide of illegals flowing across our borders. I understand the impetus behind this law, even if I don’t entirely agree with its implementation.

The backlash, of course, is widespread.  Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) requested that the federal government not cooperate with local law enforcement by having INS refuse to accept illegal immigrants identified under the new law. This is idiotic. Until, and if, the new law is struck down by the courts it is the law in Arizona.  Illegal aliens, who by definition are breaking the law, are subject to that law – including federal law.  If they are identified and detained under the Arizona law, then they should be turned over to INS for processing. Period.

However it shakes out, I doubt the new law will do much to stop illegal immigration. 

If my experience in counter narcotics is any example, as long as there is a demand north of the border, the supply from south of the border will remain undiminished.  

But I’ll tell you this, ultimately the responsibility for Robert Krentz’s death lies at the feet of every single American who hires illegal labor – be they large corporate farms, or seedy manufacturers, or those folks looking for a gardener. Responsibility also belongs to those who benefit from illegal labor – including those low prices you pay for goods manufactured by undocumented labor here in the good old US, to those authentic tacos you get from the drive up window, or those who make money off housing and supply to illegal immigrants. And so too are all those Americans responsible who buy a little nose candy to help themselves get through the week and see no harm in it.

I detest the law that Arizona just passed, but I understand why it exits.

And if it finally forces the nation to confront the issue head-on instead of keeping it out of sight and out of mind, well then it will be a good thing.

31 comments:

  1. Perhaps related, MIA's new video for "Born Free" (nsfw, nudity and violence):

    http://vimeo.com/11219730

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  2. Jim, SB 1070 mandates racial profiling and manages to be overbroad and vague--and probably isn't going to survive Constitutional challenge (see this analysis at Salon here.

    Several other problems:

    Illegal aliens, who by definition are breaking the law, are subject to that law – including federal law. If they are identified and detained under the Arizona law, then they should be turned over to INS for processing.

    That already happens without a "papers please" statute. Regularly. Routinely. Local sheriff's departments get Federal funds to hold illegals for Homeland Security and they get deported. What the Arizona law does is attempt to require police officers to hassle individuals who they have a "reasonable suspicion" of being illegals even if they aren't otherwise suspicious--which means the officers either have to confirm the status of every single person they encounter or they have to discriminate against Hispanics despite the obvious Amendment XIV violation.

    But I’ll tell you this, ultimately the responsibility for Robert Krentz’s death lies at the feet of every single American who hires illegal labor – be they large corporate farms, or seedy manufacturers, or those folks looking for a gardener.

    And yet, earlier in your own piece, you acknowledge that we don't know how Krentz died--whether he was shot by a robber, drug addict, drug dealer, frightened illegal. He may have been shot by an American. For all we know at the present time, he may have shot by somebody he knew. Some scenarios are obviously more probable than others, but until an arrest is made we don't know and broad statements like yours are premature.

    A rather large number of Americans enthusiastically welcome the smugglers who cross the desert into the US every day – and they couldn’t care less about human toll so long as they’ve got something snort up their noses on Friday night.

    I'm sorry--this is a facile take on the drug problem. I agree with much of your analysis otherwise, but the people who are bringing in large quantities of drugs aren't necessarily using, though most low-level street sellers probably are (but they're also not the ones importing). Further, the drugs obviously aren't only coming in from the Southern border. And finally, while addicts aren't thinking of the human toll of immigration issues, they're also not thinking of themselves, their families, their neighbors--what I'm trying to say is I'm not sure there's any point in saddling them with something else when they're not thinking at all because their biochemistry has been shorted and re-wired.

    Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) requested that the federal government not cooperate with local law enforcement by having INS refuse to accept illegal immigrants identified under the new law. This is idiotic.

    Maybe not. The Executive can prioritize law enforcement and make their own Administrative determinations of what the Constitution requires (this is tricky--it's only a controversial proposition when the Executive abuses that power); an argument can be made that the Executive can determine, pending a ruling from the Courts, that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments require them not to use Constitutionally tainted evidence--an Executive application of the fruit of the poison tree doctrine.

    I detest the law that Arizona just passed, but I understand why it exits.

    I detest it because I understand why it exists. It exists because America is rife with bigotry and anti-immigrant sentiment.

    I feel where you're coming from, Jim, and I understand you're conflicted--but I don't see why you should be; I respectfully think you're making some bad calls on this one.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Something's got to give - that much is certainly true. I don't think any reasonable person can posit that immigration reform isn't long overdue in this country.

    But this law - this isn't it. Just thinking about it creeps me out, and I find it contrary to every American value. The sooner it's challenged and struck off the books, the better.

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  5. The new Arizona law will do nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigration or the very real dangers posed by illegal drug traffickers.

    Want to cut illegal immigration (notice I said cut, not eliminated)? Start by enforcing the damn rules that already exist against companies that hire illegal immigrants. A little research will show 1) that very few raids, much less prosecutions, have occurred in the last eight years, and 2) the outrage that occurs on those rare instances when it does happen, outrage that includes how the gummint is picking on poor, abused business.

    Yes, there is a need for immigration reform. But as long as businesses can make use of illegal immigrants free of consequences, then illegal immigration will remain a serious problem for both the US and the immigrants themselves.

    What to reduce the problems with illegal drug trafficking and the associated violence? Legalize marijuana. Can't those who oppose this understand history? The Volstead Act created conditions where obscene profits were made because people wanted alcohol and weren't going to let it being illegal get in their way.

    Prohibition fueled violence, corruption, and the growth of gangs and organized crime. Sound familiar?

    As John D. Rockefeller, Jr. wrote in 1932: When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.

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  6. Without going into your entire post, I do agree wholeheartedly that much of the fault lies at the feet of those who hire illegals. Having lived in the CA Central Valley and seeing how farmers use and abuse illegals (many of them corporate - not just smaller family organizations). If we hired legal citizens the wages will have to go up drastically because who is going to go work in a field in Salinas all day long, picking lettuce, strawberries, artichokes for the pittance they get now. Not to mention the fact that they are routinely gassed by pesticides dropped by errant crop dusters (a horrific case happened in the mid 90s - several women had miscarriages). And who is going to pay what it would cost for a head of lettuce - probably $7 would not be out of the question.

    I worked for one small ranch/farm where I was one of four legal employees, three citizens, one resident alien and about 15 illegals. The owner treated *everyone* like shit. I quit because I had the option and the job was not my - let alone my entire family's - lifeline. Her maid died in a horrific car accident - an illegal who applied for amnesty and it was in the works. She had gone to visit family further down the Central Valley and was driving home on New Year's Day because she had to be at work at 6 a.m. to clean up after the boss' party. A drunk driver killed her and her sister-in-law. The boss had no sympathy and whined about how it was basically her own fault for not coming back to work the party on NYE.

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  7. Well, at least the next time somebody calls you all sycophantic minions I can point to this post as evidence of your rebellion. ;)

    Couple things: I don't agree with this law at all. As I said, it bothers me - but I think it's important to acknowledge that folks in the border states have some legitimate concerns when it comes to illegal immigrants. Some of their concerns are based on a real threat and not just kneejerk racism or nationalism.

    Eric, I don't necessarily disagree with what you said about holding illegals - except that it's not working. same same what Vince said about enforcing the existing law.

    I also acknowledge that you're probably right in your second paragraph, but the tracks led directly to Mexico. I'm making an assumption on scanty data, but it's the way to bet.

    I disagree with yours and Vince's opinion on the drug trade. I've been there guys. I categorically disagree with legalization - I agree with Vince's observation that ending prohibition ended much of the crime associated with illicit booze, but it didn't end alcoholism or drunk driving or alcohol related domestic violence and so on. Legalization of marijuana wouldn't do much, Vince. Weed is a tiny part of the illicit drug trade - it's just not all that profitable. The stuff coming across the southern border is cocaine, heroin, and meth. Legalize that and the cure will be worse than the disease. Facile or not, Eric, illegals come here to for a variety of reasons, but ultimately because they've got something we want and are willing to pay for - we just don't like the side effects.

    Again folks, I don't agree with this law - I think it's fundamentally against the spirit of America. But having lived in this area and dealt with some of this issues, including the drug trade, I understand where it came from and I think it is in response to very real concerns and not just the usual bigotry.

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  8. "Illegal aliens, who by definition are breaking the law," -- not technically true. The crime of entering the U.S. without authority to do so is actually a misdemeanor. And it's complete as soon as the person committing it has a reached a place of temporary safety (i.e., has stopped running). In other words, illegal aliens are NOT breaking the law by just being here. They've broken the law by coming here, but that's in the past. (Now, there may be other violations going on -- faked documents, working when they shouldn't be, etc.) My point, though, is that the crime that illegal aliens have committed is in the same category as shoplifting. And it's over and done.

    Now, contrast the Arizona law with the LAPD policy. The LAPD's policy toward illegal immigrants can best be described as "Don't ask, don't tell." And the reason for this is a practical one. They want illegals to not be afraid to report crimes or to testify when they've witnessed a crime or been victimized. Because the LAPD believes -- quite rationally, I think -- that it makes a hell of a lot more sense to go after the actual violent felons out there than to catch someone who committed a misdemeanor years ago and is now just trying to eke out a living.

    Hell, I worked on a case once where a rapist preyed on women who were here illegally -- he pretty much grabbed them off the street when they were waiting at the bus stop (generally on the way to clean somebody's house). And he was able to keep this up for some time, because he'd threaten his victims with "Tell anyone, and you'll get deported." Until finally one of his victims stepped forward and got this asshole off the streets.

    But the LAPD is constantly doing community outreach to the let the illegal immigrants KNOW that the LAPD doesn't give a damn about how they got here, and that if they come in to report a crime or testify about one, their immigration status won't be questioned. It's a choice that the LAPD made, and I think it's the right one.

    And that's the first thing I thought of when I heard about the Arizona law. That it's pretty much telling violent criminals that they can freely prey on the illegal community -- because illegal immigrants will be that much more terrified of walking into a police station and reporting a crime.

    And that kinda makes me sick.

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  9. The current system is untenable, for all the reasons already outlined. But I'm agreeing with Eric on this one - the AZ law is not the way to go.

    Enforce the laws we already have. They're not being enforced? The solution to that isn't making more laws.

    I lived in Las Cruces NM for four years. It's a poor city 40 miles from the El- Paso-Juarez border crossing, and on a major drug corridor. I can picture one major effect if such a law were enacted in New Mexico: the population is majority Hispanic. The police would have to stop everyone all the time. When are they going to fight crime? There are already roadblocks and checkpoints; this would add more, and more intrusive ones.

    Worse, I see it scaring the legal residents, some of whose families have lived in New Mexico for 500 years, terrifying the innocent ones who are here to work shit jobs for shit wages, and not bothering the drug runners and serious criminals much at all.

    I don't think I've ever been called a sycophantic minion before. That's kind of funny. Opinionated bitch seems so much more likely.

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  10. I disagree with yours and Vince's opinion on the drug trade. I've been there guys. I categorically disagree with legalization - I agree with Vince's observation that ending prohibition ended much of the crime associated with illicit booze, but it didn't end alcoholism or drunk driving or alcohol related domestic violence and so on. Legalization of marijuana wouldn't do much, Vince. Weed is a tiny part of the illicit drug trade - it's just not all that profitable. The stuff coming across the southern border is cocaine, heroin, and meth. Legalize that and the cure will be worse than the disease. Facile or not, Eric, illegals come here to for a variety of reasons, but ultimately because they've got something we want and are willing to pay for - we just don't like the side effects.

    Jim, I realize you've been there on the interdiction end of it, and almost mentioned it in my comment. But don't forget that I've been on there too on the other end of it--representing users and dealers who are being prosecuted in state court. And I can say firsthand that criminalization isn't working, either. We're sending a lot of people with what is essentially a psychological disorder with a biological dimension through a revolving door by dealing with them in a system that's designed to punish/neutralize/rehabilitate bad people who do bad things, not to treat drug addicts. While there are substance abuse programs available through probation and the prison system, funding is erratic and the best data seems to suggest that there's no single solution--that a treatment regimen that works for one individual has no guarantee of being effective for anybody else; that even regimens with distressingly high failure rates (including that classic, "going cold turkey") can be extremely, surprisingly effective for some individuals.

    Furthermore, while there may be dire consequences for legalization (or that grey area limbo: decriminalization), the social consequences of criminalization have gone far beyond the abusers, dealers, and people victimized by abusers and dealers. The fact is that the current drug enforcement environment is one that fosters degradation of Constitutional liberties and actively encourages seedy or outrightly corrupt behaviors by those in law enforcement, with a ripple effect beyond that (the most notorious examples would include drug seizure statutes and in rem proceedings, which give governmental agencies a profit stake in legal proceedings--e.g. does local government want to take down the alleged drug dealer or do they simply like his boat?).

    To be honest, Jim, I think the drug trade issues are largely being used as a screen by folks in the border states. Recognizing that drug dealers south of the border are using the flow of immigrant workers northward as a cover for mules, and that drug violence is seeping northward, I'm not sure the Arizona law has any component that would actually target drug mules or stem border violence. Immigrants who are roped into doubling as mules or who professionally serve that purpose will almost always have dropped their payloads off or returned south before anyone asks them for their papers while they're just walking or driving down the street. However, I imagine it's nicer if you're an Arizona resident to say to others--and perhaps even tell yourself--that you support the hassling of brown people because they're bringing drugs and murder to America, and not because they're stealing jobs you didn't want or "using up" services like schools and healthcare. I hope it's obvious I'm not accusing you of that, Jim, but I would accuse you of giving the supporters of the law too much credit.

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  11. Nick from the O.C.April 27, 2010 at 8:02 AM

    I tried to post last night but was having computer problems.

    Anyway, Jim, I deeply, strongly -- even vehemently -- disagree with your post. For the first time I think you are simply wrong.

    First, I disclaim any and all responsibility for the death of the Arizona rancher. Period. And not because of Eric's points (which he's right about, by the way)--but because my actions played no role in his death. And saying that I'm responsible because I purchased a product made by illegal aliens is about as logical as saying I'm responsible because I walked on a lawn that was cut by illegal aliens. Forget it.

    Secondly, I welcome immigrants and our country is founded on immigation--both legal and illegal. We are still learning about how immigrants scammed the system 100 years ago--but we know they did. From workforce demographics to fertility rates, we need immigrants to secure our future. And the ability of these immigrants to move up in our society is key to our predominance as a moral force in the world (such as it is these days).

    Finally, let me quote my wife, who's smart of things like this. (Bachelors in International Relations, Minor in Developing Economies, FYI.)

    "We don't need fences to keep immigrants out. We need welcome centers. We need welcome centers to educate them and to integrate them into our society as quickly as humanly possible."

    So I find myself on Eric's side on this one. And that frightens me.

    chenche = to clench one's heinie

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  12. On a lighter note, here's the Canadian view of the flood of illegal aliens coming to Canada after Bush IIs reelection:

    The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The re-election of President Bush is prompting the exodus among left leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray and agree with Bill O'Reilly....

    Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night. "I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. "He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left. Didn't even get a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"

    In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers that blare Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn't give milk."


    That's proably all I can post and keep within fair use guidelines the rest is at Illegal Aliens in Canada

    liturbot: A robot for people who are too lazy to litter themselves.

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  13. Nick.... your a damn moron

    Even with all that high-priced education, your wife ain't smarter that a 5th grader

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  14. Nick from the O.C.April 27, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    AlaskanDave,

    I'm sure you're right. Sorry about my moronic opinions, and I'm also sorry that my wife wasted all that time and money on some stupid education.

    As you gloat on my abject apology, consider:

    "The Land of the Rising Sun is in trouble because it suffers from an insular society that discourages immigration and implicitly encourages low birth rates. For the last 50 Japan has been slowly committing demographic seppuku and now the inevitable is taking place, i.e., Japan’s population is crossed the tipping point so that its work force is both relatively old and shrinking and as a nation Japan can’t sustain its standard of living."

    Rest of moronic blog post found here

    nutfi = some nut with a finance degree, more wasted education

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  15. Nick, why are you even bothering to respond to accusations of idiocity from someone who doesn't know the difference between "your" and "you're"?

    Hardly seems worthwhile. Or challenging enough to be entertaining. But if you're having fun, we're here to cheer you on.

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  16. The problem I see with the new law is the "discretion" part of it. Instead of having local law enforcement checking everybody's immigrant status, they only have to do it if they have "reasonable suspicion." That right there leads to profiling problems. But of course the lawmakers didn't want all the "good legal Amuricans" to be bothered by it. Understand, most laws that require "enforcement" by the local constabulary are all enforced on "reasonable suspicion." What has changed with this law is that now citizens can sue departments whom they think aren't doing enough.

    What will be interesting is how those cases will go. Or if the police departments generate more comprehensive procedure beyond the "arrested for being Brown in a public place" concepts. Maybe once some people who don't think they'll be affected by this law are caught in it's grip because they have "accented English", Canadian plates, driving a BMW, you know, weird stuff, we'll se this law go where it should, the dust bin of history.

    But I have to agree with Jim's premise of "privilege", that we all live in a society and economy based on cheap labor (illegal and not). Restructuring that economy will be a greater upheaval that what we're experiencing now. And for not biting the bullet, we all share culpability.

    this law isn't the answer, realistic immigration reform (one that allows "seasonals"), a realistic approach to the "drug war" (one based on ending the problem instead of just criminalizing it), and the ending of the hyperbolic rhetoric will lead us to the answer.

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  17. Urf. I've been offline most of the day. Meetings, followed by meetings followed by phone calls and more meetings. So, I'm just now getting a chance to sit down and look at the day's comment.

    ____________________________

    Dave. WTF? I'm really, really hoping you were holding tongue firmly in cheek there and it just didn't come across well. Please tell me that was the case. I didn't find Nick's comment to be in any way moronic and taking a shot at somebody's spouse is out of bounds (unless you were joking).

    _____________________________

    After having a day to think about this post I see that I need to do a follow up that clarifies my position. I'm not changing my position, and in reality my outlook on this isn't all that far from the general gist of the comments here, but I have done a reevaluation.

    I thought certain things were obvious in this post, but I see that they weren't. Poor writing on my part. Apologies if I've given you all the wrong impression, or that I'd pulled a Lieberman and switched sides without warning.

    I will try to have some clarification up later this evening.

    On the other hand, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy a real conversation where we actually disagree on something for a change. There are days where I'm afraid this blog is me talking to myself, or worse. ;)

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  18. I'm getting the urge to be that clown at the end of the KGB commercial (irony, oh that spiky spike of gleeful smackings as I picture TPers dialing KGB for the meaning "communism"), the one that upsets the drink tray.

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  19. Apparently I don't get that channel up here, Steve, for I have no idea to what you're referring.

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  20. What, Jim? You don't want an echo chamber? Whyevernot?

    You could always invite Eric's BFF to come on over and act as your foil...

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  21. To you or to him? I'm quite sure Eric wouldn't mind...

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  22. Eric's a lawyer, they eat their young. Mean just rolls right off him.

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  23. Jim, Janiece: I'LL GIVE HIM AWAY BUT I AM NOT TRADING.

    With that in mind, seems like Janiece is the one who actually has an opening right now, hrm?

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  24. (After that last comment, I suddenly feel like Rusty Venture talking about The Monarch and The League Of Calamitous Intent. Jim, we really should see about finding someone to arch the Hot Chick, no?)

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  25. You guys suck.

    Quit harshing my empty next mallow with your talk of arches, and foils, and trolls.

    LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

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  26. Say, Janiece, I would really love to see what you might have to say about:

    Homeopathy
    Anti-Vaccinationists
    Anthropogenic Global Warming
    9/11 Truthers
    Birthers
    Holocaust denialism

    (Hehhehhehheh--trollbait, Jim, every single one of those. She'll get a nemesis if she touches any of those for sure....)

    (Wait, did I type that last part out loud?)

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  27. Jim, I can't look at videos too well over my 56k connection, but I think this is the youTube version of it.

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  28. "KGB - give us money and we'll free you from the burden of having to think about things"

    Gee, what a deal.

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  29. Eric, I've done at least TWO of those (homeopathy and the anti-vaxers), and I STILL don't have a "regular" troll the way you and Jim seem to.

    I get topic-specific drive-by trolls, instead.

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