Thursday, April 06, 2006

McKinney Statement Laudable

Most human beings experience anger. Sometimes this anger elicits an emotional response, which we often later regret. Last week, Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney allegedly had an altercation with a Capitol Security officer while attempting to enter a Congressional office building. She initially claimed that racial profiling sparked the incident, and the altercation was subsequently transformed into a political statement.
This morning, McKinney apologized on the House floor for her behavior and reaction to the incident, adding her support to a House proposal, recognizing and honoring the Capitol Police Force.
Saying, "There never should have been any physical contact," referring to allegations that she had struck the officer, her brief statement included an apology for making the incident bigger than it should have been.
Hopefully, the initial claims of racism will be put behind us. It is rare these days to see any member of Congress exhibit honesty, and Representative McKinney should be applauded for her most recent statement, which was concise and devoid of extraneous explanations.
At this time, I have not been able to find any further report on her statement, other than what was reported on Fox News.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

On Immigration Laws

The presence of an estimated eleven or twelve million undocumented foreigners in the United States is seen as a problem by many. Under the present governmental practices of stealing money from companies via the payroll tax, and from individuals via the fraudulent Social Security, Income, and Medicare taxes, it does present several problems. It is unfair to those who are employed legally, who have gone through the proper bureaucracy. For others to just sneak in without paying taxes, and without assimilating into American Society. It is criminal for some employers to get away with not paying minimum laws or taxes, while others dutifully comply with these laws, as unfair as they may be. It causes problems in that those who pay taxes and support educational, medical, and social programs have to foot the bill for those who don’t.

There have been several proposed remedies to these problems. The most popular, and, under the circumstances, the most practical, is the proposed legislation from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would allow guest workers who meet several criteria: that the person has committed no crimes, that the person pays back taxes on wages earned (how can that be done, if wages earned are undocumented?), that the person hold a job for six years, that the person pays a fine for illegally entering the country in the first place (this eliminates claims of “amnesty”), and that the person learn English.

The funniest, and also practical, solution comes from comedian Carlos Mencia, who said, “If you deport the (illegals) first, who is going to build the wall (along the border)? What you should do is build the wall, first. ‘It looks good from this side, why don’t you guys go and see what the other side looks like?’ Then lock the gate.”

Actually, Mencia does have a valid point; that it wouldn’t do any good to deal with the illegals within our borders if we don’t do anything to rectify the problems at the borders.

Philosophically, I am personally against the idea of closed borders. Practically, however, there are many reasons to want a less porous border. First of all, there is the concern about security. There are people belonging to organizations that want to destroy us, who have entered our country, not only across the southern border, but across the northern border, as well. To defend against another attack on our soil, we are allowed by the Constitution to protect our territory by strengthening the borders. We are at war against an army of human weapons, and we should have the ability to defend ourselves in this war.

We should also consider the economy. On one hand, those who employ the undocumented don’t have to worry about paying any payroll taxes or other benefit taxes on these employees, nor do they have to pay minimum wage. This is unskilled labor we are talking about--the undocumented are largely employed in hospitality, service, agricultural, and construction industries. The benefits garnered by these industries, in being able to avoid government mandated overhead, benefit the general public by keeping the cost of products, services, and home and office facilities down.

I will sidetrack briefly here. As a youngster, I could find work doing yard work for neighbors, earning about $10 or $15 for two or three hours of work. I am sure that there are still young adults doing such work today. That is just as illegal as hiring an undocumented immigrant to do the same job. My question is, how far would enforcement of tax and minimum wage laws go?

The other side of the economic effect of undocumented workers also carries credence. If some employers can avoid the financial penalties required by law, those which abide by the laws are put at a serious competitive disadvantage. All businesses in the U.S. are required to keep on record, for each of their employees, a document called INS Form 9. This is a record that documents the existence and witness of proof that an employee is legally eligible to work in the United States either by citizenship, natural or naturalized, or by registration. Presently, the INS does not inspect and verify these records.

It should also be mentioned that, in 2005, according to Fox News Channel, undocumented workers who sent money to family members in Mexico drained nineteen billion dollars, untaxed, from the United States’ economy. I would suggest that this has a negative effect on our economy, but, to be fair, get us closer to a balanced world economy and quality of life.

Now I will present my solution to the problem: First of all, enforce the borders, both northern and southern, at least until there is no longer a security threat. Secondly, enforce the existing laws. I understand that this is against the Libertarian “Ivory Tower” ideology, but, at least, it will prevent the enactment of additional laws. Thirdly, and, I hope, most effectively, repeal the payroll tax, and exempt industries that utilize the low end of the unskilled labor pool from minimum wage laws, or require a lower minimum wage for those jobs. This is actually simple and obvious. It would lessen or eliminate the need to hire undocumented workers. As the jobs for immigrants dry up, so should the presence of illegal immigrants be reduced? Part time and casual employment opportunities for impovershed Americans would increase, and demand for undocumented workers would decrease, perhaps even be nullified. It would even out the competition, without adding burden to the employers. It would also prevent the drastic increases in the cost of living that would result from enforcement of current employment laws.

Of course, there would be many who would shout “you can’t do this,” but I believe it should, at least, be given some thought.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Correction and Apology

In my post about Cynthia McKinney, I inadvertantly committed the error of mistaken identity of one of the wayward Comgresswoman’s allies in her sham. It was not Denzel Washington who spoke at McKinney’s press conference last Friday. Washington is by no means friendly with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez--he has been supportive of the US and it’s foreign policy, so this is a very embarrassing error. With sincere apologies, I have corrected my post.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Jill Carroll Is Not A Sympathizer!

When Jill Carroll was released by her kidnappers, she made statements which practically praised her captors and criticized the U.S. presence in Iraq for being a catalyst for violence. I was ready, at the time, to post a conjecture that she had been brainwashed or threatened by her captors to cooperate with their cause. Unfortunately, I got too involved with another project, which can be time consuming when one is using a public computer and is limited to an hour a day of on-line access. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
I was elated that the freelance journalist for the Christian Science Monitor was released unharmed, but I knew there had to be a catch. Her captors may have given in to pressure by the Iraqi community, but I was pretty sure that there was something more to it. Was she somehow booby-trapped? Was she turned into a propaganda weapon? Or did the Iraqi government grant certain demands or ransom to the insurgents? There were some television news analysts who had commented that Carroll’s statements and appearance--in the Islamicly correct traditional clothing--were not inconsistent with her behavior and attitude prior to her kidnapping. Others speculated that Carroll was a victim of something called the “Stockholm Syndrome,” which means that the captive grows to identify with the captors. The prolific Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey even predicted that the young woman would make a statement sympathetic to the insurgents.
However, Sunday, with Jill Carroll safely on her way home, and out of Iraq, the Christian Science Monitor reported that Carroll had indeed been threatened by her captors to cooperate, and that she did fear retribution. It was gratifying to me to learn this. I did not want to see a victim labled as a traitor, and I did not want to see the American Opposition have the ability to use her words for their own propaganda. Unfortunately, the words were already spoken, and had already been printed and televised by the Arabic media. This has been an area in which the Americans have not been entirely successful--countering the misinformation published by the terrorists and insurgents. Such information prevents many of the citizens of Iraq from realizing that we are there to help them stay free and safe. Hopefully, at least some of the media sources may have published the information released by the Christian Science Monitor, but will those whose opinions are against the American presence understand that it is not just American propaganda? This is why it is necessary that there be a credible source of news information in Iraq which presents both sides of the story.

Important Information on my Forum

I have some good news for those who wish to use my forum. You do not have to register to post or reply to a post on that site. I have more control over permissions than I thought, so I have it configured of a public forum. If you go to that site and select a forum, in the bottom right hand corner of the page, there is a list of what you can and cannot do, as far as permissions go. I am trying to see if I can set it up so that voting in the polls will also be public, but I still suggest registration for enhanced use of the forum. If you encounter any problems, please email me, and I’ll try to correct them, or, if it can’t be corrected, at least find a remedy.