...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

May 01, 2006

The Protests: My Serious Take

I'm having fun with the protests mainly because illegal immigration is not "my issue," like it is for so many people. Living in California, I have known illegal immigrants all my life, and they have all been wonderful people. To a person, the illegals I've known came here to become American, and they love America. They shouldn't be here, but I'm not going to call them bad people. "Some of my best friends are hispanic" (including my boyfriend).

If I have to be pinned down on the issue, you can categorize me on the side of border enforcement. Just driving around today, I could see the impact of illegal immigration on quality of life. Traffic was nonexistent. And in gridlocked Sacramento, that's saying something. But there's also the well documented cost of illegal immigration to our health care and education systems. And also there's the rule of law angle. My mom immigrated legally, why shouldn't everybody else?

One thing I noticed, the hundreds of thousands of people who left work and school and flooded the streets today had about a hundred thousand different ideas about what the hell they were "protesting" about.

Watching the news tonight, it seemed that nobody marching today had a clear idea what their goal was. Some thought they were protesting Bush, unaware that he's on their side. Some wanted amnesty, unaware that Congress is about to give them just that. Most simply wanted to announce their presence to the world -- the latino version of "we're here, we're queer!"

To the organizers, today was a chance to cynically exploit a perfectly laudable sense of ethnic pride. The international communists who were behind today's demonstrations hope to turn these folks into activists. Get them marching for an ill-defined issue, make them feel as though they are victims, and the next step (they hope) will be to turn them into an army of proletarians. Yes, the holy grail of the American Socialist movement! It's not going to happen though. Today's marchers want into the American dream, not to destroy it.

The most annoying thing about the protests is how they illustrate the left's desperate desire to re-live the sixties. Journalists long to force another presidential resignation. College professors long for the days of mass rallies and sit-ins. And jobless neo-hippies just want to fight the power, whatever that might be. And all of them want the chance to re-live the civil rights movement by creating a new bandwagon to jump on: "immigrant" rights. Never mind that it's an oxymoron.

And who's to blame for the massive turnout today across the country? Well it's the Republican strategists who wanted to sneak an amnesty bill through, while still retaining plausible deniability. They inserted a penalty provision, simply to allow themselves the chance to deny that they are really for amnesty. It's a stupid idea, not only because nobody is going to pay the penalty, but also because it motivated a hell of a lot of the people in the streets today. Most illegals realize that they can't afford to pay the fine and they'd rather stay underground than either incur the penalty or be deported. If the Republicans had been more honest and dropped the pretense of an unenforceable penalty, you probably wouldn't have seen half as many people out there today.

But so what? Because the main thing I want to say about all these protests is "thank you." Thank you to the communist organizers who thought this would be a good idea for their cause. You guys just handed Republicans an early October surprise. Yes, Joe and Jane Six Pack will remember today's illustration of the direction our country is heading, and they will try to put the brakes on by voting Republican in November. Sure there's a perception that Republican politicians are part of the problem, but it's still a two party system and swing voters know enough to pick the lesser of two evils.

So when the Democrats fail again to recapture Congress, they can blame the Mexican flag and el "Nuestro Himno."

Posted by annika, May. 1, 2006 | TrackBack (3)
Rubric: annikapunditry



To all of it.

Except the hispanic boyfriend thing, but only 'cause I ain't gay or nuthin'.

[eyes shift back and forth]

You lookin' at me?

Posted by: Cameron Wood on May. 2, 2006

Interesting entry today, though I have reservations that this will influence swing voters very much. I believe it will reinforce those who were already planning to vote Republican, but then again, it's a long time 'til November.

Posted by: will on May. 2, 2006

This Annikan Chick is a wise one. Damn you're talented. A few notes on my day:

I actually saw the old red Soviet hammer & sickle flag being waved in the middle of the burritofest.

There was NO traffic in San Diego. It was fabulous. Get those POS low riders, 1970-something pickup trucks stacked twenty feet high with shit from the landfill, and $500 minivans off the highway, and we're in business. Talk about hidden economic costs.

Finally, the economic cost of absorbing the illiterate masses of the economic wreckage to our South will sink us economically. Illiterate citizens are a huge drain on the economy. Minimum wage workers are net consumers of GDP. It would be cheaper to make Mexico the 51st state. Not dealing with this issue in a law and order fashion only guarantees that it will be with us until we do. Can you say Governor Villarigosa?

Posted by: Casca on May. 2, 2006

It got stuck in the fucking Gardeners's Revolt at lunch time yesterday. Fucking pissed me off. Mostly, though, I was pissed because of all the Mexican flags.....that, of course, local and cable news refuse to show. They are happy to show these people if they are bathed in red, white, and blue.

Annie, I'm not certain about your analysis regarding The Six Pack family and the impact on November. (Will, is obviously right about it being too early in the game.) Frankly, I think a lot of paleo-Cons are pissed at the Rep party and this amnesty-thing brewing in Congress, and also they are disgusted with Bush and all his PC rhetoric on the subject. This group is also -at best- agnostic on the Iraq-thing. There is a chance that a lot of them could sit on their hands this November if the choice they have is Amnesty or Amnesty Lite.

On the other hand, I do have a couple of Independent voting friends who are fed up after all the rally crap. To them, this is a simple matter of fairness and fiscal responsibility. You shouldn't be able to cut in line and then expect other people to pay the social costs (via taxes for schools and health care).

Personally, I am sick of seeing immigrants who have more alligiance to their country of origin than to the USA.

Posted by: Blu on May. 2, 2006

p.s. Michelle Malkin has great coverage of the protests - she's especially good at capturing pics of signage that the MSM absolutely refused to put on TV. Of course, they are just being neutral, right?


Posted by: Blu on May. 2, 2006

Do people really have that much animosity toward immigrants? Granted, I live in Los Angeles, but I've also lived in Chicago and Colorado and I've never gotten the sense that people are this staunchly anti-immigrant. At the most I could see people voting against an amnesty bill if it was put to the public, but I don't get the sense that this riles people up as much as, say, abortion or affirmative action.

I could be wrong, of course -- but in my mind I don't see how yesterday's protests help the Republican party. I ended up having to get McDonald's for lunch yesterday because everything else was closed. I have to admit, it kind of made me think: who will pick up all these jobs if the immigrants get the crackdown? Our unemployment rate isn't high enough, and the unemployed folks aren't uniformly ethical enough, that the jobs will simply go to people here legally.

I guess my mindset has always been that I'm extremely extremely EXTREMELY lucky, period. I don't see why my being lucky enough to be born here should give me the right to turn up my nose at people who want to live here, but aren't allowed to do so legally because the hoops are too hard to jump through.

Posted by: The Law Fairy on May. 2, 2006


You are bringing up a totally different subject - although one just as important - process. It kinda gets lost in the emotion of the larger debate surrounding legality, cost, and assimilation.

I spoke recently with a Russian immigrant. It took him more than 8 years to become a citizen. As you might expect, he is pissed about Mexicans strolling across the border and having children that are automatically citizens. But, then again, if you play by the rules, you get to wait 8 fucking years.

No easy answers, I fear.

Posted by: Blu on May. 2, 2006

Christ LF, if that's an example of your reasoning abilities... well I hope your hourly rate is low.

You're too young to remember, but once upon a time we had a culture. Now we have Telemundo, and Flacka & El Gordo. We used to say that everything in the Phillipines was NQR (Not Quite Right), now it's that way here. Accepting mediocrity, offends the Yanqui ethic.

The real story here is how the commie union thugs are hijacking the ignorant illegals to boost their membership, and create their next oppressed minority to keep their masters in power.

Posted by: Casca on May. 2, 2006

You wrote "They inserted a penalty provision, simply to allow themselves the chance to deny that they are really for amnesty." You left out the part the of the penalty about the 1000 dollar fine and that this would be an Felony Crime.

Actually the Demos inserted this and blocked its removal as a sort of "poison pill" to the Bill.

Posted by: arubaisland on May. 2, 2006

I still have a very, very bad feeling about this.

BTW, Moxie posted a lot of pics of the rallies in her area. My two favorites would have to be the one with "loose change"......


.....and the pic with the Napoleon Dynamite reference.....


Posted by: reagan80 on May. 2, 2006

Casca... huh?

So... because I'm young... and I appreciate other cultures and don't think that I'm the only person in the world who could POSSIBLY have a valuable culture... then I'm wrong? About... what, exactly?

If union thugs and leftist powers-that-be are just using the immigrants, then it's not the immigrants who are the problem, it's the leftist powers-that-be, no?

Yeesh. And you're worried about *my* billing rate.

Posted by: The Law Fairy on May. 2, 2006


While we are both about the same age, I'm concerned about the future possibility that millions of unassimilated illegals in the Southwestern states will wage an armed separatist movement when our welfare state finally collapses. Imagine a civil war where the illegals defend the Alamo from the forces of Uncle Sam.

Or, the Union could end instead with a peaceful Quebec-style whimper someday. In any case, I don't think this is a benign situation for the future of our nation.

BTW, Chris Roach wrote about the lingering negative effects of mass LEGAL immigration last month.....


Posted by: reagan80 on May. 2, 2006

Being in the construction business I have worked with alot of people who really didn't arrive on the north shore of the Rio legally. Like our president I found myself assurring them that they are indispensable and that indigens certainly don't want to do that kinda work anymore. I reconsidered my position after they laid out of work during the first boycott, and I told them they were awakening a formally indifferent majority resulting in less support then ever.

They must have realized there was some truth to this as they did work yesterday. Or perhaps it was my cousin asking one if he had paid the hospital back yet for the appendix removal.

We are a nation of laws and they're critical in this free republic but there aren't many where I live that drive the speed limit either. I think it's important to tighten the border and to make legal immigration a faster process. And, even though these people are very good workers, I resolve to stop dissing the natives!

Posted by: Mike C. on May. 2, 2006


"and I appreciate other cultures and don't think that I'm the only person in the world who could POSSIBLY have a valuable culture... then I'm wrong?"
-If their culture was as "valuable" as that of the U.S., I'd be picking strawberries in Chihuahua and sending 1/2 of my 8 bucks per hour back to Florida. And the U.S. government would be encouraging me to stay in Mexico, illegally, and to keep sending the cash back home to subsidize their corrupt system.
-I can never understand people who simply must equivocate, be it cultural or moral, when the differences could hardly be more pronounced. Just because it's different or seeemingly exotic doesn't mean it has merrit.

Posted by: Jasen on May. 2, 2006

Thank you Jason. I'm well into my cocktail hour, and didn't feel like hurding a cat tonight.

Posted by: Casca on May. 2, 2006

It's spelled "herding," Casca. And cats can't type, in case you had mixed up real life with your cartoons again.

Posted by: The Law Fairy on May. 2, 2006

Reagan, I guess I just don't see the threat that you do. Here's what I think is wrong with the state of immigration in this country: our rich country-clubbing, expensive car-driving, obesity-soaked culture is built on the backs of people who take the lower-paying, undesirable, back-breaking work that many immigrants, illegal and legal, take instead. Those of us who don't "pick strawberries" or clean houses for a living are benefitting from those who do, most of whom lack the very basic benefits like health care that most of us take for granted. I don't think immigrants should "mooch" off the welfare system -- but what this calls for is WELFARE reform, not border patrolling! If our domestic programs have problems, that is a problem with the programs, not with people who simply want to live in our country. I mean, who can blame them? We compose maybe 5% of the world's population but consume about 40% of its resources. Sounds like not such a bad deal.

What I don't understand is why being American gives us the right to horde our good fortune and keep it to ourselves. I understand requiring people to work and earn a living, and I think that's reasonable (hence, the need for WELFARE rather than border reform). But what makes Americans so inherently more deserving of the rights and democratic process we have?

Oh, and I don't visit Roach's site anymore. He's been intolerably rude to me in the comments (even more ironic when you consider that I know him by association in real life, which I don't think he realizes).

Jasen, your points don't make sense. Are you saying that all immigrants are strawberry farmers? Or were you just looking for a soundbite that conveniently flowed from my quote, taken out of context as it was?

I also don't get your point about equivocation. I'm trying to challenge the idea that American culture is The Only Good Culture, as though, it's somehow being "polluted" by allowing in other cultures. Not only is this an arrogant and foolish attitude, it also evidences a profound misunderstanding of history. The culture most native to America sits in stark contrast to our greedy production-obsessed money-driven workaholic culture. *This* culture is the immigrant. So before you go around acting like your rhetorical rebounds are sociocultural silver bullets, let's first define what we're talking about, hm?

Posted by: The Law Fairy on May. 2, 2006

One point to remember is that the low wage immigrants receive helps to keep costs down. If all illegals were to be spirited away overnight, then the cost of the products they toiled for would rise significantly. And yes, there needs to be more in the way of welfare reform and some form of guest worker program, though a minimum wage would need to be re-examined and applied, so as to prevent abuse of legal workers.

Posted by: will on May. 3, 2006

LF, I have no desire to be rude to you, nor to offend you, but you are simply wrong across the board. I don't know where you got your econ undergrad, but unless it was Moscovskaya Gosudarstvenaya Universitet, they stole your money. Your guilt-the-rich leninist babble is the preamble to the from-each-according-to-his-works-to each-according-to-his-needs speech.

Is there such a thing as undeserved wealth? Possibly, but who is to decide? Anyone but the marketplace is simply a path to the gulags. Maybe you don't like the distribution, but you don't get to decide, at least not under the constitution that those dead white men gave us. And as to your question, and I'll paraphrase, "Who made us boss?" Why those dead white men who laid the foundation of this country by protecting the right to individual property. It is disconcerting that you as a lawyer don't grasp this.

Every illegal alien is stealing from every taxpayer, and the taxpayer has fuck-all to say about it.

OK, I did put the double negative in the first line to put a bug up your ass. Gotcha didn't I!

Posted by: Casca on May. 3, 2006

arubaisland, if you have a source for that info, I will modify my post. I did kinda assume it was a republican idea.

Posted by: annika on May. 3, 2006

Casca, point out to me where I said immigrants have the right to be rich. I never said that. But as *human beings* they have just as much of a right as anyone to *try* to be rich. Where did you get the idea that I support wealth redistribution? I'm in the highest tax bracket, so trust me, I damn well hate taxes just as much as you do. Stop grouping me together with other people who share *some* of my ideas, and actually read what I say before making assumptions about what I haven't said. I think the system of property rights the founding fathers set up was a good start, even though we didn't get around to recognizing blacks and women as people for a while. The founding fathers had some good ideas, and we improved on them, and we can still improve on them. I'm just saying that I don't see a reason not to give others the chance to work hard in our property rights-based economy. I don't see what makes us so special that we should be the only ones to have that opportunity. If you want to call me a bleeding heart (or an abolitionist or a suffragette, take your pick), fine. But if you're going to go around calling me a leninist, I'd like to see some reasoning.

Posted by: The Law Fairy on May. 3, 2006


You have got to acknowlege - at the very least - that we cannot have people coming across our borders unchecked. Your debate now is with folks - like me - who have a problem with "illegal" immigration. I don't think anybody is arguing that immigration as a concept is bad. (I suspect many of us also have a huge problem with those that claim they are "advocates" of illegal immigrants as these folks generally hate America, capitalism, and reject assimilation.)

It is not enough for you simply to say that we are lucky to be here, that we consume 40% (or whatever) of the world's resources, and, therefore, anybody who wants to stroll across should be allowed cuz they want to work hard. That is a recipe for chaos - both economic and cultural.

Regarding "welfare reform," I think you are just uninformed. The biggest costs from illegal immigration come from education and health care cost. Getting on "aid" or welfare, is a fairly lengthy process, requiring a great deal of documentation and also requiring specific areas of "deprivation." We could also go into the distinction of aid provided by the states and the counties, which generally relate to whether children are involved. In California (and other States), it has time limitations. Schools and hospitals are a different story. Both institutions have refused to deal with illegal immigrants differently than legal ones. Consequently, we pay for their services. Why should they get that free ride?

Posted by: Blu on May. 3, 2006

You fulminate against "the rich", while justifying open borders. Nobody said anything about "the right to be rich". There is no such right. Anyone may try, and if a US citizen, may try here. Yours is the twisted romantic idealism of those who have experienced nothing in life.

"I guess my mindset has always been that I'm extremely extremely EXTREMELY lucky, period. I don't see why my being lucky enough to be born here should give me the right to turn up my nose at people who want to live here, but aren't allowed to do so legally because the hoops are too hard to jump through."

You think you're lucky? You probably are. I, and me, and mine have worked and built what we have, and what we are as a country. Citizenship is not the right of anyone who shows up on our collective doorstep comrade. You have the right to give away what is yours. You do not have the right to give away what is mine, and this is my country.

Posted by: Casca on May. 3, 2006

Oh geez, Casca. Give me a break. YOU built this country? It's YOURS? The whole thing? I didn't say I haven't worked hard, and if I had I would've been lying. But I have this little thing called Christian faith (as someone who claims to be so enamored of The American Way, I'm sure you'll respect how richly infiltrated with Christianity our traditional American culture is). That is to say, even though I work hard, I recognize that, nonetheless, everything I have is a gift from God. EVERYTHING. My parents, who either emigrated here with their parents (on the one hand), or grew up here with ancestors dating back to the Revolution (on the other; my grandmother is in DAR), are a gift from God. My birth is a gift from God. My intellect and work ethic are gifts from God. My country is a gift from God. And you have no more right to say what to do with this country than I; I'm just as much a citizen as you are.

For me to sit here and say that somehow I *deserve* all of this is arrogant and foolhardy. Pride goes before a fall, as they say. The second I doubt that it is ONLY by the grace of God that I am where I am, is the second when I ought to be stripped of my belongings and shown what I actually deserve. This goes for ALL Americans.

I have nothing against rich people, Casca, being one myself. And please stop making snippy inuendos about my personal life. Let's make one thing clear: you don't know shit about me. Attacking my ideas based on your made-up notions of my background is not only ad hominem, it's just plain stupid.

Blu, the term "illegal" isn't particularly helpful in this instance -- it seems to me the immigration debate isn't about whether or not to allow it at all (unless you're dealing with xenophobes like Pat Robertson -- but we'll assume for now that we're all reasonable people), but about what should be considered "legal" or "illegal" immigration. I think that too much of it is considered "illegal." Part of this is because my view is, generally, that if people want to live here, I can't really think of a good reason they shouldn't be allowed to. I "get" that some people, Americans and non-Americans, are counter-productive forces in our society, but that to me is an overal social problem, not a problem with immigration. And even if we're talking about education and health care, rather than welfare, the same argument holds: it's a problem with our mechanisms, rather than a problem with "those people" coming over here from down south, or wherever. And as for the kids in school, a lot of them are natural citizens, even if their parents are illegal immigrants. Should we amend the Constitution so that they aren't, just because their parents came here illegally? What's the justification for that?

If we're worried about not getting immigrants' tax money to pay their fair share, then let's all let them become legal, get social security numbers, and have to pay the ridiculous amount of taxes we all do! We reform all aspects of the system so that people who don't work have stronger incentives to start working. What's the problem with this solution?

Posted by: The Law Fairy on May. 3, 2006

"but about what should be considered "legal" or "illegal" immigration. I think that too much of it is considered "illegal."

There then is the heart of the debate. Thanks for your honesty.

And that ultimately is why we will not likely find common ground. I believe in the rule of law and in immigration that is productive for this country. You think anybody should be able to come. (If you don't believe in full open-borders, what do your prescribe?)

In my opinion, "open borders" is a prescription for disaster - both economic and social. The social disaster is happening right in front of eyes in CA. A whole generation of children who can't speak English and, therefore, cannot function economically. Worse yet, an entire politcial movement dedicated to telling immigrants that they don't need to learn English or give up their "culture." This is destroying the social fabric of our country. Like it or not, the greatness of American is the result of our Western European political, social, and economic institutions. We also have had the benefit of a single, unifying language: English.

"when I ought to be stripped of my belongings and shown what I actually deserve. This goes for ALL Americans."

I don't know what you are saying here. If you are speaking from a biblical perspective, you are just theologically incorrect. That looks like some contorted form a Catholocism. It certainly isn't biblical. We are all sinners who don't deserve God's grace. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether we should ALL be stripped of our belongings.

Oh, one other huge cost of illegal immigration is legal. For some reason, a whole bunch of illegal immigrants come here and commit crime. Incarceration and all that goes along with it is a significant cost. In terms of schools, you are right many of these kids are "citizens." (This is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. It disgusts me that people can benefit from illegal acts. But, no, I don't want to amend the Constitution.)

Posted by: Blu on May. 3, 2006

I don't pretend to have all the answer, Blu, but holding out a ticket to America as some prize to be won isn't the answer either. And, if you'll pardon me for momentarily digressing into the dirty matter of pragmatics, the war on illegal immigration is about as successful as the war on drugs, if that. There's a fair argument, though it's not mine, that holding something desirable just out of people's reach makes them want it that much more -- and makes them more willing to go to unpalatable lengths to get it.

We can't blame immigrants for our crime rates. If we have too much crime, maybe it is a problem with our police force. Or maybe it is a problem with our culture (yes, OUR culture), which relegates people of, ahem, a certain ethnicity to a "suspicious" group. Racism may be subtle, but it's here, and it's strong. If a kid grows up his whole life learning to distrust the police because the police treat him like shit because he speaks Spanish or because his skin is darker than the cop's (or even just darker than white; whites are not the only racists, just like men are not the only sexists), he's going to have a hard time seeing why it's worth it to obey the law; he gets hassled even when he's doing nothing wrong, and his cousin makes two thousand a week selling car parts, or whatever. That is to say, immigrants and nonwhites don't become criminals because they are immigrants and nonwhites; they become criminals because of the social factors contributing to it. **This does not mean they bear no responsibility for their choices** But it does mean that we're collectively responsible for it to some extent as well.

Another difficulty is the basic pro-American, anti-everything else settlement that a lot of people run into. It's one thing to have schoolkids learn English, as I think they should. It's another to marginalize and devalue someone else's culture just because it isn't yours. No wonder some immigrants don't want to learn English -- their choices are: learn English and become an indistinct American devoid of your own culture, or be "different." If we weren't so black and white about everything, and if we embraced bi- and multi-lingual education (meaning, English plus one or multiple others, as I also think we should; American kids are POORLY equipped to function in the international marketplace), then maybe we might be able to carve out some ground where we could all live together.

Of course, this is not easy to do. Not by a long shot. So you can take the easy route, and say, just keep them out. I don't want to deal with it. "Lost" is on. Or you can take the harder, and, I think, ultimately more productive route. Xenophobia can't lead anywhere good -- so why dance along its border?

As for theology, my theology is just fine. Jesus eschewed riches, as evidenced by numerous stories and parables. He told the rich man to sell all his belongings and give his money to the poor and then noted to his disciples that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (my understanding is this isn't a literal needle, it's some sort of skinny doorway in ancient Jerusalem) than for a rich man to enter into heaven. Jesus overturned the moneymakers' tables at the temple, just about the only time he's recorded as getting (or seeming) angry. Jesus told the parable of the rich man and Lazarus; the rich man, of course, went to hell, and Lazarus went to heaven. The note about getting rid of my belongings was not worldly-good-specific EXCLUSIVELY. The idea was that we are all destitute and poor and miserable without God's grace, both literally and spiritually. This is wholly consistent with both Catholic and protestant scripture. In case you are interested, I straddle that fun line between the two that is Anglicanism, or Episcopalianism, depending on your country and/or political views.

Posted by: The Law Fairy on May. 3, 2006

I'm not going to debate theology with you. My father is a theologian well-versed in both Greek and Hebrew. I grew up learning to debate this stuff - inside and out. But, I don't want to use Annika's website for it. I don't mind taking a swat at somebody's politics; I usually won't take a punches at somebody's religious beliefs. So, I apologize. My bad. I'm glad you have a relationship with God and that you are comfortable with it.

Anyway, we are just not going to see eye to eye on this and will have to agree to disagree. You always defend your beliefs very well. I just don't happen to agree with you on this one.

Posted by: Blu on May. 3, 2006

Yes, my country. Mine own native land. That which I've given monstrous chunks of my life for. Few Americans, and no illegal aliens share a bond with this country that I do.

I didn't make any comments about your personal life. But you did remind me of something. There's a scene in The Aviator where HH is having dinner at Katherine Hepburn's family's home, and they are rude, and stupid. Finally he calls them on it. You've been called.

Posted by: Casca on May. 3, 2006

In this debate, I'm reminded of the Sean Connery movie "Zardoz", quite dated but touches on a fictional situation not dissimilar from the illegal alien debate.

Blu and LF: You both are defending your points admirably, especially in the last two posts. I look forward to future such discussions.

"(my understanding is this isn't a literal needle, it's some sort of skinny doorway in ancient Jerusalem)"

There has never been any substantive evidence for such a gate. Note the Aramaic word for camel and rope are the same, and the Greek word differs only by one letter. However, Jewish Talmudic literature uses a similar aphorism;
"They do not show a man a palm tree of gold, nor an elephant going through the eye of a needle."

A Jewish midrash records:

"The Holy One said, open for me a door as big as a needle's eye and I will open for you a door through which may enter tents and [camels?]"

So while there was no evidence for a gate, it may have been perfectly acceptable hyperbole.


Posted by: will on May. 3, 2006

"There's a scene in The Aviator where HH is having dinner at Katherine Hepburn's family's home, and they are rude, and stupid. Finally he calls them on it. You've been called."

Really, Casca: now what's that growing out of your eye, hmmmmm?

Posted by: will on May. 3, 2006

Go away strawfuck. I'm surprised that even Annie tolerates a sock.

Posted by: Casca on May. 3, 2006

"Those of us who don't "pick strawberries" or clean houses for a living are benefitting from those who do, most of whom lack the very basic benefits like health care that most of us take for granted."

You've said it yourself. These people are here working for sweatshop wages. They know they are being taken advantage of by the natives. Why would they be grateful? Why would they love this country if they knew that they are being treating like second-class citizens? I think that we're just fomenting the conditions for a "hispanic Spartacus" to wage the next "servile war". Most of them want to live the American Dream minus the American part.

"I don't think immigrants should "mooch" off the welfare system -- but what this calls for is WELFARE reform, not border patrolling!"

The Libertarians agree, but they want the welfare state abolished in order to weed out the "moochers". I wouldn't mind. It would be some much needed "tough love" for "our guests" just like the way our ancestors endured when they first arrived on our shores.

In fact, I wouldn't mind using Mark Steyn's idea to give our nanny state some tough love: classify ALL American citizens as undocumented workers. That would finally keep the IRS out of our checkbooks and would hopefully destroy the unconstitutional monster that our gov't has become.

Posted by: reagan80 on May. 3, 2006

Well, now that Casca has dragged me into this thread even though I have not said a word I figure it is time to say a few things. Not to Casca, of course, because once he slams his “Contribution to America” down on the bar like a giant domino its all over. The spittle starts running down his chin as he rages about what a great fucking American he is; the man won’t be happy until he is on the back of a quarter.

There are no “true” Americans, Cas baby, only a continuing stream of people from disparate cultures and countries that have landed here at different times in our history; English, Irish, Poles, Italians, Jews, Germans, Swedes, etc. Most legally, some who sneak in, some dragged in chains from Africa or China, some swim the Rio Grande at night. They come to bus our dishes, pick our crops, dig our foundations, carry our bricks, care for our kids and our elderly parents. Some have stayed and raised families, some took some money and went home; some have died on the job with no notice. But most try to better their lot in life and many have made America a better place by enriching our culture with their heritage and their hard work. As long as our society is not willing to pay a living wage to perform the menial jobs they are willing to do, millions more will come because any wage is better than no wage and Americans cannot afford to take the jobs.

I am not sure how to solve the illegal immigrant situation but if I were asked, I would guess that the only thing that can be done is to grant amnesty, process them, and reap the tax benefit. Limit the amnesty to one year and then deport the rest as they are caught. Do a better job at the borders to stop the influx but the pressure of those insisting on coming will only drop when the market for their employment dries up. And that will only occur when Americans are busing your dishes, leaf blowing your lawns, raising your children and doing all the tasks that conventional wisdom says they won’t do.

Posted by: Strawman on May. 3, 2006

Since I am Casca fan, -(he's by far the funniest person that posts here)- I can't say I agreed with all of your post; however, the last paragraphs were, as expected, well written and also pretty darn reasonable - especially for a commie. (Come on, I can't be too nice.)

Posted by: Blu on May. 3, 2006


I can't say I share your view of Casca's humor.

You had better be careful being nice to me; Guilt by association is a favorite stratagy of R.

Immigration is fundamental to the character of this Republic and not for nothing, my mothers' name is in that big book on Ellis Island.

The current wave of immigration from Central America is just another chapter in the story. BTW, there has never been a time in our history when there wasn't a segment of the population saying the same things people are saying today. Free ride, burdening schools, commiting crime, diluting our culture, taking jobs. Very old news.

Posted by: Strawman on May. 3, 2006

You're mistaken Casca; Strawman and I are two separate people. And no, I won't go away, at least no because of your pleading.

Posted by: will on May. 3, 2006

-The problem with your statement is that I never see polish, italian, yiddish, german, or russian (execpt in: Helene, Georgia; a few spots in rural Pennsylvania; or in Queens) spoken or posted on placards in the local hardware store. All the other groups assymilated and generally broke their ties with the motherland; they bought into the whole of american culture and added their own twist. The cuban immigrants, who demostrated some skill in navigating 90 miles of open water or dodging Migs, were often reluctant students of english, but they did, at least renounce their former country and often worked to destroy the communist hole they crawled out of. The plurality of mexicans, it seems, have no vested interest in the U.S., outside of the current fiduciary benifit it affords them. Furthermore, they seem to have no organized effort to undermine the sociallist hole they crawled out of, and are only interested in propping it up until the inevitable, in their minds, anschluss with Mexico occurs.
-Forgive me if I took your attempt at establishing rhetorical defilade, "So... because I'm young... and I appreciate other cultures and don't think that I'm the only person in the world who could POSSIBLY have a valuable culture... then I'm wrong? About... what, exactly?", out of context. If I assumed the implication that you were worldly and erudite, while anyone who disagreed was a jingo, uneducated or worse, I'm sorry . I was simply giving you a chance to name a few of the valuable cultural traits that we, as americans, might glean from Mexico. I assume your reference to "valuable culture" meant valuable mexican culture, since we're not really debating illegal thai imigration.

Posted by: Jasen on May. 3, 2006

Jasen, my point was that you were making value assessment on, frankly, racist and stereotyped assumptions. You've made it clear that *you* were talking about Mexican immigration, but these are not the only immigrants I'm talking about. I'm an equal opportunity immigrant-sympathizer.

The remark was out of context because, as you note, I was attempting to demonstrate the progression of Casca's logic, or rather, lack thereof.

But I will make it easy for you. I do think that cultures other than ours have value. Other cultures produce good, ethical, hard-working people. They produce people who love their families. They produce people who are patriotic, and people who recognize when their government is beyond repair. They produce people who give when they have nothing left to give. They produce people who love the unlovable. These things are valuable. You're free to disagree, of course. I guess money might be more valuable to some, in which case, yeah, I can't really say much against the US.

But in my mind, that kind of value really doesn't say much for us.

Reagan, to the extent people who emigrate here and plan to overthrow or fight against the government ("fight against" outside of legitimate means, that is), I'm opposed to that. I'm not so foolish that I think people should be allowed in just so they can destroy the country. And as I've said before, I'm in favor of mandatory English education. I think if you're going to work and live here, it's fair to require that you have a reasonably good grasp of our language. I think that they should *respect* American culture and not in some manner undermine it, just as we ought to respect diverse cultures within our own borders (anyone who disagrees with that statement is a hypocrite if he or she visits an Irish pub on St. Paddy's).

I like the way you think; I'm ready to start my life as an undocumented worker today! :)

Posted by: The Law Fairy on May. 3, 2006

Despite our disagreements on this issue, we still love you, LF.

I would say the same for Will, but I won't since I don't want anyone to think I'm a Log Cabin Republican or something.

Posted by: reagan80 on May. 4, 2006

Two hundred channels of cable TV, and NOTHING in Japanese for my wife, who is a LEGAL immigrant. Meanwhile, we have three cable channels in Spanish. In Syracuse, NY.

FWIW my wife is an even more vocal proponent of following the law than I am.

Build the fence - because you can't trust the government. This virtual fence stuff is BS. It's like Simpson - Mazolli. No, I will not "trust you."

Then we can decide what to do with the problem in our midst.

Because what we are doing, shorn of all the BS, is importing poor people. Yes, we can exploit them for cheap labor. Is that such a good deal? Are they net contributors or a drain on the resources of society?

I do know this. The present situation breeds disrespect for the rule of law. I loathe the hyporcrites of both parties who allow this continue.

Posted by: MarkD on May. 4, 2006

The hot political topic is illegal immigration, primarily coming from or through Mexico. And I think the "equal opportunity immigrant-sympathizer" crap is a ploy to obscure you untenable position.
I'll grant you the "stereotyped assumptions", but "racist", you're either obtuse or a feckless shrew. I made no reference to race. Unless you think mexican is a race? But it's a useful card to play when your estimation of cultural value is based on loving the unlovable and giving whence there is nothing left to give. That's touching and also so vacuous it's useless. Perhaps a quote from Conrad could encapsulate your world view, " It is queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live in a world all their own, and there's never been anything like it, and never can be. It's too beautiful altogether. Were they to set it up it would fall before sunset, knocked down by some confounded fact men have been living with since the dawn of creation." That confounded fact is currently eroding French and British society, and they are legal immigrants who were not interested in assymilating into their host societies.

Posted by: Jasen on May. 4, 2006

"Feckless Shrew", LMAO, could it be that we're twins seperated at birth? In any case, I welcome your company. I was going to tell LF that if she holds to her present position, she's going to find it hard to get a stinky hairy guy to crawl on top of her and grunt and sweat at night on a repeat basis.

Posted by: Casca on May. 4, 2006

Where's the Conrad from?

Posted by: Casca on May. 4, 2006

It is interesting when some extremists here find it difficult to debate a matter, their first and last resort is to demean and debase their debating opponents. Occassionally they will harken back to something one of our nation's Founders had said, though if any of the Founders followed the debate, they would be mortified not only with the reliance on ad hominem, but with the disgusting tone and tenor used in a vain attempt to poison the well and make such an opponent leave.

On the other hand, there are those who have strong opinions but approach the exchange with thoughtful candor, and are at least somewhat open to considering another's perspective without reflexive prejudice. America has become bitterly divided over the last 10 years or so, and we either can begin a process of reconciliation with our countrymen and countrywomen, or we can sink lower into endless altercation, reaping naught but a bitter fruit.

Posted by: will on May. 5, 2006


Asking Casca to enter genuinely into a debate is like asking him why he can't touch his finger tips to his thumb.

Posted by: Strawman on May. 7, 2006