A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

May 23, 2007

Poll: Majority of Muslim Immigrants Assimilating Well

A poll by the Pew Research Foundation has found that

Most Muslim Americans are moderate, mainstream and middle class, the study shows. They are largely assimilated, happy with their lives and have adopted such core American values as a belief that hard work will lead to success. Their income and educational levels also are comparable with those of most Americans, the study found.

However, the same poll found that nearly one in four Muslims under 30 years old,believe that suicide bombing in the defence of Islam are justified in “some” circumstances.

Pew Research President Andrew Kohut claims that his news is rather positive, and that

“This is a group living as most Americans live … a group that is assimilating or aspiring to assimilate.”

Of course he leaves out that rather worrying 25% who have no problem with suicide bombings in “some” circumstances.

While I am happy that 75% to 80% of those Muslims who have emigrated to the US are not in favor of such activity, I wonder what would the reaction be if the same question were given to Jews, and if it were found that 25% of younger Jews support suicide bombings if they felt that Judaism had been besmirched. I’m sure that would go over very well.  If all the African Americans in the US were surveyed, and the same results had been displayed, do you think that would possibly have received a different view other than happiness?  How well would the same information be received if 25% of Evangelicals felt that suicide bombings were appropriate if Christianity had been disrespected, which is an everyday occurence if you watch mainstream television or listen to some politicians speak. Would that be cause for rejoicing or cause for Congress to act in a draconian measure to those people who had been in the US for quite a long while. What if 25% of those who are illegally here felt that suicide bombings were acceptable in some circumstances? Do you think that there would be much of a discussion about the need to reach them, or would the talk be centered on deportation, much as it is today, even though illegals perform statistically lower amount of violent felonies, including homicide than the public at large.

Typical pandering to the Religion of Peace. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that 75% of the people surveyed are happy with America, and want to assimilate. However, 25% endorsing terrorist techniques is a reason for concern, not happiness.  Then again, I’m sane.

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Guest Worker Program Slashed in Half

The number of guest workers allowed entry into the US in the proposed immigration reform bill has been slashed in half from 400,000 to 200,000.  The Senate voted 74-24 to provide such a reduction, and was brought forward mostly by Democratic Senators aligned with unions.  The fear was that the number of immigrants being allowed to enter would cause destabilization among wages earned by “blue collar” labor.

This may have an effect of giving more support to the bill from some Democratic legislators, although there is still opposition to the bill from the left on the formulaic process which gives less weight to family members entering the country than those who have skills which are deemed important to the economy.  The rationale behind the crafters of the bill behind having a large number of invited guest workers would be that the large number of invited workers would limit the pressure of those seeking to work in the US illegally.

Clearly this bill has sparked great controversy with regard to its content – from both the left and the right – and the manner in which it was brought to the Senate.  With the bill going through a typical, and in this case high profile amendment process many are beginning to express doubt that immigration reform will be accomplished in the President’s term.

While the need for immigration form to many seems to be apparent, the large concessions made by both parties to reach this compromise, may not allow for this bill to have a chance to survive, and be signed into law.

May 18, 2007

The Immigration Bill – What Would Reagan Say?

In the hubub for the GOP to take on the mantle of Ronald Reagan, one has to wonder what would The Great Communicator say about the bill being proposed about illegal aliens. I think he would have supported it.

This is from Otis Graham’s Reagan’s Big Mistake.

While I disagree with the title, I do agree with the facts.

Reagan did have a place in his mind and a rhetoric on the matter of immigration. His was the sentimentalist, Statue of Liberty conception so widely shared among assimilated Americans of his day who could not remember when immigration had been a problem. In one of the few references to immigration in his published state papers covering his eight years in the White House, Reagan displayed in 1984 the then-dominant language of diversity celebration when he told an audience of naturalizing immigrants that immigrants “enlivened the national life with new ideas and new blood,” and “enrich us” with “a delightful diversity.”

I guess The Gipper wouldn’t have minded some of the positive aspects of multiculturalism.

In May 1981, Alan Simpson (R., Wyo.), chairman the Senate subcommittee on immigration, sought to confer with the president prior to Reagan’s scheduled meeting with Mexican President Lopez Portillo in order to urge the administration to keep American options open on immigration. But the meeting lasted only 15 minutes. Reagan listened to Simpson’s views and limited himself to a broad promise of co-operation. Congress therefore assumed the lead in immigration reform, though Simpson, in, the words of a White House staff memo to Reagan, had “indicated his willingness to ‘carry the administration’s water’ on this issue.” They carried different water, as it turned out.

Simpson sensed from his early contacts with White House aides that cooperation with Reagan was shaky. To start with, the president’s newly appointed Immigration Task Force was leaning toward an expansion of legal immigration. One important bias appeared to shape the Task Force’s deliberations from the start. In the words of one White House staffer, “The President is himself a firm believer in a high degree of freedom in immnigration”.

This means that he wanted to “liberalize” immigration policy. If observers had expected a conservative government to shift the policy options toward firmer law enforcement while condemning liberal laxity, they were surprised.

Reagan’s own short message announcing these proposals could have been written by Ted Kennedy. He began with the ritual incantation that “Our nation is a nation of immigrants” which would always welcome more to our shores. But the “Cuban influx to Florida” required more effective policies that will “preserve our tradition of accepting foreigners to our shores, but to accept them in a controlled and orderly fashion … consistent with our values of individual privacy and freedom.”

Hmm… Ted Kennedy and Reagan. Ted Kennedy and Bush. Coincidence, I think not. Reagan and Bush were in many ways true progressives in that they understood that America stands for uplifting the human condition. Despite some of his views, which I disagree with profoundly, I would submit that in many instances, this view is more consistently found in Sen. Kennedy, and his staff, than in many of those current Republicans who think they model Reagan.

Ronald Reagan called himself a conservative, but on immigration, he was not. On this issue, conservative Ronald Reagan, in a moment of critical import, lined up with the liberals, and his historical reputation should reflect this.

As Reagan did, so does President Bush, and for the most part, on this issue, I agree. But maybe that bastion of liberalism the Cato Institute sums it up best.

“Like President George W. Bush today, Reagan had the good sense and compassion to see illegal immigrants not as criminals but as human beings striving to build better lives through honest work. In a radio address in 1977, he noted that apples were rotting on trees in New England because no Americans were willing to pick them. “It makes one wonder about the illegal alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won’t do?” Reagan asked. “One thing is certain in this hungry world; no regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters.”

Compare Reagan’s hopeful, expansive, and inclusive view of America with the dour, crabbed, and exclusive view that characterizes certain conservatives who would claim his mantle. Their view of the world could not be more alien to the spirit of Ronald Reagan.

Amen and Amen.

Quote of the Day

With special deference to today’s headlines:

Latinos are Republicans.  They just don’t know it yet.

Ronald Reagan

The Immigration Bill – The Good the Bad and The Ugly

Well after looking over this bill over I think that my initial reaction is pretty well stated, there is a great amount of moaning, wailing, and gnashing of teeth over this bill and the “amnesty” that it offers.  However, as I first thought when reading about this last night, there is plenty in this bill for both sides of the immigration fence, full pun intended, to be upset about, and in a rather devil’s advocate way, since I am not hard core on either side, I have to confess a bit of concern over the hysteria, on the GOP side, and a good deal of humor about the threats of never voting GOP again.  For those who hold that position, fine, do it, and enjoy an even larger DNC run of the Senate, House, and President.  You can kiss your “strict constructionist” goodbye, because if you think that “President Hillary or Barack or Johnny Boy will have the types of judges you prefer, you know the ones that keep Roe v Wade among other ideas valued by the base, but hey, you’ll have made your point known.

In actuality the “best” chance for this bill to not be passed is by the Pelosi led House, which finds it a step in the right – and I know she didn’t mean ideologically – direction.  That’s codespeak for softening what is actually very good in this bill, increasing what is bad, changing the order of operations in this bill’s equation, and then ramming down immigration reform DNC style after the GOP has lost the 08 elections with the aforementioned unholy trinity of candidates waiting in the wings.  Those on the hard right side of the GOP should take notice of that, because if this bill is allowed to fragment the GOP into three or four camps don’t think that the parts of this bill which are good will be kept, and rest assured that the parts of the bill that are unacceptable are going to be greatly enhanced and there will be lots of pork to go around.

The part of this bill which is good is that it offers decent proposals with regard to border security.  The fence is a nice idea, but unless you have lots of patrols, those fences are pretty easy to go over through or under – I’ve seen it done.  The doubling of the border agents is better, and hopefully the NG will be called in for more of a supprting role as had been proposed earlier.  The best part of the bill is the ID system, and if this is enforced it will greatly help ease concerns about terrorism and about illegals entering amok as they do now.  The most important part is it also allows, if enforced, to make sure those here legally don’t overstay their welcome, which is a huge cause of the current 12 million who call the US their illegal home away from home.

The bad would be the enforcement of this bill, and someone prematurely shooting the trigger.  If that happens, this will be 1986 all over again, and worse.  Enforcement will be the key, but the rub is that the current laws aren’t very well enforced.  Maybe the country has awoken, but I’m not holding my breath.

With regard to the “amnesty”, the plan is not unacceptable.  It does offer a path to citizenship but that is 13 years down the road.  What it does provide is that those here, and unless someone wants to cut out all aid and totally rewrite the laws concerning the way these people get aid, or deport the 12 million, and none of those are going to happen, it is likely the best plan that could be cobbled together and make a compromise.

The problem with the GOP base – or certain elements – since I am a lifelong Republican and am not ready to spit upon this bill, nor tear up my GOP Member card – is that they forgot that governance require compromise.  Perhaps if the last Congress had been a bit better at that uniquely democratic feature of our Republic they would be in the majority in at least the Senate.  However, ideologues are forever tied to the Four legs good, Two legs bad mantra.  So, the threats of leaving the Party en masse, and the way off the farm comments about some states trying to secede, I thought that was settled as treason, some love of America there!

The Good: Provides for some reasonable security measures and border control.  Also, sets out a reasonable path to normalization without being an amnesty, look up the word.  It will take 13 years to become a citizen, and will hopefully encourage many to enter legally where they can be monitored, pay taxes and all that good stuff.  The ID program is a strong part of this plan, and is laudable.

The Bad: The path to citizenship or the Z Visa is in effect a Green Card, this doesn’t bother me so much, but that is a bit of an odd inclusion to make one level of Visa which leads to a Green Card just like the card.  Enforcement of this will be tough, and I am not sold that the fence will work overly efficiently.

The Ugly: If enforcement doesn’t work well, and the performance of the last comprehensive immigration reform makes me leary, the situation will be much worse, and again I have little confidence in the ability or the will of this nation to enforce immigration policy laws.

May 17, 2007

Immigration Compromise Bill to Hit the Floor; S*** to Hit the Fan

From the Washington Post.

Sen. John Kyl (R-Az) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Ma), and I KNOW some just had an involuntary twitch at just viewing the Bay State’s Senior Senator’s name, along with negotiators from the Administration have cobbled a proposal towards illegal immigration reform. This compromise will likley hit the floor next week, and something may hit the fan much sooner. Like most compromises, this one will be guaranteed to upset more than a few people. The fur will fly, and I must confess a bit of unreasonable glee at the process to unfold before our very eyes!

Senate negotiators reached a tentative agreement yesterday on a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws that would offer virtually all of the nation’s 12 million undocumented workers a route to legal status while shifting migration preferences away from the extended families of citizens toward more skilled and educated workers.

Under the tentative deal, undocumented workers who crossed into the country before Jan. 1 would be offered a temporary-residency permit while they await a new “Z Visa” that would allow them to live and work lawfully here. The head of an illegal-immigrant household would have eight years to return to his or her home country to apply for permanent legal residence for members of the household, but each Z Visa itself would be renewable indefinitely, as long as the holder passes a criminal background check, remains fully employed and pays a $5,000 fine, plus a paperwork-processing fee.

A separate, temporary-worker program would be established for 400,000 migrants a year. Each temporary work visa would be good for two years and could be renewed up to three times, as long as the worker leaves the country for a year between renewals.

I guess this is the amnesty part.

To satisfy Republicans, those provisions would come in force only after the federal government implements tough new border controls and a crackdown on employers that hire illegal immigrants. Republicans are demanding 18,000 new Border Patrol agents, 370 miles of additional border fencing and an effective, electronic employee-verification system for the workplace.

Oh, I have a feeling that most Republicans will be “quite satisfied” with this bill! I can see the cringing already, and I must admit that I am cracking my knuckles with glee over the political free for all this will create in the primary process! But guess what, many Democrats are also less than happy.

The agreement would effectively bring an immigration overhaul to the Senate floor next week, but its passage is far from assured. The framework has the support of the White House and the chief negotiators, Kennedy and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). But immigration rights groups and some key Senate Democrats remain leery, especially of changing a preference system that has favored family members for more than 40 years.

“When they say, ‘We’re all in agreement, we have a deal,’ certainly I don’t feel that way,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

The new proposal would augment that system with a merit-based program that would award points based on education levels, work experience and English proficiency, as well as family ties. Automatic family unifications would remain but would be limited to spouses and children under 21. The adult children and siblings of U.S. residents would probably need other credentials, such as skills and education, to qualify for an immigrant visa.

To Republicans, the new system would make the nation more economically competitive while opening access to a wider array of migrants. “I think you’ll find the point system to be pretty well balanced,” said Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.).

But to immigration groups, the proposal is a radical break from existing U.S. law, and without changes, they could withhold their support from the final bill.

“We want to see an immigration reform debate on the Senate floor. We want to see this move forward. But we are wildly uncomfortable with a lot of what we’re hearing,” said Cecilia Muñoz, chief lobbyist for the National Council of La Raza.

I confess, that my post is a bit glib on a very serious subject.  I personally believe there is too much amnesty in this bill and not enough protection, but, whose fault is that?  It is the fault of the Congress which was under the control of the GOP with a GOP President to get meaningful legislation accomplished when they held the majorities.  Last year’s bill is looking pretty good right now to many, and I think that the GOP forgot that in a Federal Republic “compromise is needed for effective governance”.  The GOP “could” have compromised from a position of strength, but now they get the icky end of the lollypop.  It’s their own fault if they don’t like this bill.

May 15, 2007

Round Two of the GOP Debate Tonight!

Tonight will be the second round of the GOP debate.  This one will be hosted by FOX, with Brit Hume serving as moderator.  I would expect to see a bit more organized debate than Chris Matthews’ efforts two weeks ago.  I am also looking forward to not being treated to the insipid “online” questions from Politico.com.

With a field of ten there are still too many, but hopefully tonight the herd will be thinned out.  There are simply some candidates who may have a right to run, but are merely diversions.

Notably, the two who aren’t there may draw more attention than the ten who are there.  Fred Thompson and Newt Gringrich will not be in the fray as they have not yet announced.   We’ll be following the debate with interest and hope to find some snap polls – scientific ones – about who did the best.  Heck, that post I had from Survey USA was GOOD for traffic!

May 7, 2007

Why Fred Thompson is Just NOT What the GOP Needs

This was an article that I found on American Thinker, but it is something that had been brewing in my own mind for more than a little while.

Prior to last Thursday’s debate, and in some areas even more afterwards, Republicans are looking towards Fred Thompson as if he is the savior of the GOP, sans white horse, but with a very good voice. Fred Thompson is in many ways a solid candidate, and this may be the best chance for him to run, if he ever will run as Father Time is creeping up on him as he does on us all.

Right now, Thompson is netting between 10% and 17% of the polls, and his support for now seems to be draining off the front runner, Rudy Giuliani. One would think that it would come off of Romney’s share, since he is probably the most Conservative of the three front runners, but two recent polls show that Thompson is taking between 4% and 6% from Rudy Giuliani, and McCain and Romney’s losses are only marginal. Whether or not this trend continues is hard to say, but the possibility is that if Thompson does enter the race he could seriously challenge Giuliani or end up splitting the Conservative elements of the Party’s vote, and propel Giuliani to an easy win.

The only problem is that this may not be the year for a Southern Conservative to be running. I’m not the only one. Richard Baeher writes,

I think Thompson is by far the least likely of the 4 major GOP candidates to be elected if nominated, assuming he decides to run. This is due to one principal factor; his Southern roots. This may not be fair, but it is the reality of the 2008 race.

The GOP has done very well with the South, and cobbled narrow electoral victories in ’00 and ’04 by a “Solid South”, Western, Mountain and some Plains’ States. However, in 2006 the Democrats made large inroads into all of these areas, and even some Southern seats. This trend bodes badly for the GOP.

By the end of this year, I think either McCain or Giuliani will emerge as the centrist alternative to Thompson or Romney, and Giuliani is the more likely of the two. In a head to head race, a conservative, such as Thompson, or Romney, for that matter, could beat Giuliani for the nomination. But Rudy is a far better candidate than Thompson for the general election.

And there is a reason why.

The GOP needs to move beyond the South to win in 2008. A candidate who can run well in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, and suburban America, is better than one who will pad the victory margin by 5% in Texas..It is how many states you win, not how much you win them by that counts

At the current time, Rudy is doing rather well in the following states, which means he is either ahead or only slightly behind, the Democratic frontrunners (Clinton and Obama) NY, NJ, PA, OH, CA, OH, MI and MD. There are a good number of electoral votes in these states, and despite protests of “liberalism” due to being where the bulk of the country is on abortion, the GOP can’t afford to put up a no contest sign over both coasts and the rust belt. The country is ready for a Centrist position, and not another Southern Conservative. No matter how good his voice sounds, or how orthodox his positioning is to the base of the GOP.

May 4, 2007

GOP Debate: Internals of Survey USA Poll Strengthen Giuliani’s Hand

I had posted about this poll last night, now with the internals the decision is clear, the first “scientific” poll has Thursday night as a big win for Rudy Giuliani. Here are how the internals bolster this support.

I have highlighted the demographics considered signficant in GOP elections.

Who won the debate:

All Giuliani 30% Next was Romney at 16%

18-34 Giuliani 21% (1) McCain 15%

35-54 Giuliani 34% Hunter 12%

55 + Giuliani 31% Romney 19%

White Giuliani 31% McCain 15%

Black Giuliani 32% Hunter 15%

Hispanic Giuliani 39% Romney 13%

Asian Gilmore 16% Hunter 11%

Conservative Giuliani 32% Romney 16%

Moderate Giuliani 32% Romney 13%

Liberals 24% Gilmore 11%

Republican 33% McCain 17%

Democrat 34% Romney 12%

Independent Giuliani 19% Romney 13%

Pro Life Giuliani 26% Romney 16%

Pro Choice Giuliani 33% Romney 11%

Vote GOP in Primary Giuliani 30% McCain 17%

Vote DEM in Primary Giuliani 33% Romney 10%

May Vote in Primary Giuliani 25% Romney 15%

By any stretch last night was a knockout win for Rudy, at least with the voters.

Survey USA Poll: Giuliani Beats Opponents in Debate

A poll of 317 viewers watching the debate were asked to rate the performance of the candidates:

Rudy Giuliani 30%
Mitt Romney 12%
John McCain 11%
Jim Gilmore 8%
Duncan Hunter 7%
Sam Brownback 4%
Mike Huckabee 4%
Tom Tancredo 4%
Ron Paul 2%
Tommy Thompson 2%

UPDATE: Drudge report is having an interactive poll, but it does allow for multiple voting, so pretty worthless.

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