Friday, September 15, 2006

Cracks are appearing all over...

After that emotion-drenched (nay, bilious!) fury over the availability of pedagogically useful programming languages -- Why Johnny Can't Code -- (who’d have thunk that my little poke would provoke such a stunning storm of opinion and ...occasionally... outright rage!) -- I am glad to be switching back to a much calmer and more rational topic -- politics.

1) Cognitive Dissonance on the Border: Political assumptions are terrible things. You simply cannot shake them with facts. This week, the GOP controlled Congress is making great big drumbeats over IMMIGRATION and Border Control. Naturally, the gerrymander-radicalized House is more extreme than the Senate, demanding instant sealing of borders with surpertech walls and rounding up 12 million illegals for deportation. How conservative! How Republican! What outrageous Baloney!

What I find stunning is that nobody seems even interested in hurling the accusation of hypocrisy... even though hypocrisy is known to be one of the most devastatingly effective charges you can fling at a political opponent. To the best of my knowledge, I am the absolute only voice in media who has been relentlessly pointing out that:

(i) Bill Clinton doubled the number of active Border Patrol field agents as almost his first act in office, while

(ii) George W. Bush, upon becoming president, savagely cut the same agency!


Moreover, Bush KEPT on cutting till the border tsunami began bothering even his most loyal redstate supporters.

These facts are clear, stunningly blatant. Obvious. (Remember Operation Gatekeeper?)
Overwhelmingly powerful and potentially effective. So why does absolutely nobody ever mention them? I can only guess that cognitive dissonance prevents people from even allowing these datums into their minds. Even though the economic explanations are obvious. One supposes that liberals fear mentioning it lest they sound racist. Hence they do not use a bullet that would smite the enemy right between the eyes.

I despair.

See my article: Control the Borders.


2) there is much buzz over an article in Washington Monthly called Time For Us To Go: Conservatives on why the GOP should lose in 2006.

”With Republicans controlling Congress and the White House, conservatives these days ought to be happy, but most aren’t. They see expanding government, runaway spending, Middle East entanglements, and government corruption, and they wonder why, exactly, the country should be grateful for Republican dominance. Some accuse Bush and the Republicans today of not being true conservatives. Others see a grab bag of stated policies and wonder how they cohere. Everyone thinks something’s got to change.

“Now seven prominent conservatives dare to speak the unspeakable: They hope the Republicans lose in 2006. Well, let’s be diplomatic and say they’d prefer divided government—soon. (Perhaps that formulation will fool Dennis Hastert.) Of course, all of them wish for the long-term health of conservatism, and most are loyal to the GOP. What they also believe, however, is that even if a Speaker Pelosi looms in the wings, sometimes the best remedy for a party gone astray is to give it a session in the time-out chair.


Spread word. Refer your conservative friends to articles by Christopher Buckley, Bruce Bartlett, Joe Scarborough, William A. Niskanen, Bruce Fein, Jeffrey Hart and Richard A. Viguerie.

These defections do little good, one at a time. It is in groups like these, in shotgun blasts, that they give me hope for the soul and manhood of American Conservatism. Hope that some conservatives may actually have enough character to do what liberals did, during the Miracle of 1947.

To stand up. To put their nation and civilization first. Ahead of reflex dogma, graft and loyalty to monsters.


3) Teacher won't shave until bin Laden caught. EPHRATA, Washington (AP) -- After the September 11 terrorist attacks, Gary Weddle followed the news so closely he forgot to shave. After a week he decided not to shave until Osama bin Laden was caught or killed. Nor has Weddle, 46, who expected the al Qaeda leader to be caught within a month or so, trimmed his facial hair in the succeeding five years as he went from substitute teacher to science instructor at Ephrata Middle School. At the start of each school year he gives students a brief explanation of his beard, which stretches more than a foot and has started turning gray.


4) On Slate see: THERE ARE NO MORE TROOPS TO SEND TO IRAQ. By Daniel Benjamin and Michèle A. Flournoy. Things that I say for two, three years http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html finally make it into public awareness... and am I ever cited? Ever? Ah well, it’s good to see this finally mentioned.

”Earlier this week, in a Washington Post , William Kristol and Rich Lowry called on the Bush administration to send more troops to Iraq...It isn't clear that any conceivable increase in troops could stem the tide of sectarian violence, but it is, at least, a serious argument and a welcome counterpoint to the White House's incessant calls for staying a course that is leading to disaster.
The only problem with Kristol and Lowry's recommendation is that it is premised on an illusion: In fact, there are no more troops to send to Iraq.

“That is the unmistakable message of an Army briefing making the rounds in Washington. According to in-house assessments, fully two-thirds of the Army's operating force, both active and reserve, is now reporting in as "unready"—that is, they lack the equipment, people, or training they need to execute their assigned missions. Not a single one of the Army's Brigade Combat Teams—its core fighting units—currently in the United States is ready to deploy... etc.”


The only thing more mind-boggling than this treason is that the dems are LETTING them get away with saying “we’re safer”, when the GOP has overseen the steepest decline in US readiness in any of our lifetimes.

I am still going to fight like hell for the dems to retake Congress. (For the sake of civilization.) But if they don’t start taking seriously the plight of the US Officer Corps... and the sincere, dedicated women and men who serve under them... then who will?


5) Register voters. Now.


FINALLY.... if any of you did as asked, and subscribed to Baen’s UNIVERSE Magazine, you are no doubt by now thrilled by the prodigious amount of high quality SF you’ve found there! If you liked the hilarious and groaner-filled SF comedy I’ve been serializing there, I am recruiting a small number of horrific punsters to look over Part III. Just a few. If you’ve enjoyed the 1st two parts and have already had a few evil thoughts and awful twists, write to me. It may be your lucky day.

====

87 comments:

Rob Perkins said...

You know... I ran the get out the vote stuff at all my friends in the last major election cycle.

What it got me was the discovery that some of them had committed acts which had removed their right to vote.

That was actually kind of embarrassing for all involved.

So... here I am in a Blue State with a Dem governor, two Dem senators, one of which is a "safe democrat", and a dem Rep who cannot be unseated. Not much for me to do, this cycle, except vote.

And an irony: I told Ms. Cantwell, the junior Senator from Washington, that her opponents would all have to be stark raving insane in order for her to get my vote.

And it turns out, she was the only one in the Primary worth voting FOR. Ah me...

Stefan Jones said...

My favorite "WTF?" story of the week:

Media ownership study ordered destroyed

"FCC draft suggested fewer owners would hurt local TV coverage

WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.

The report, written in 2004, came to light during the Senate confirmation hearing for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin."

...

"Adam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, said senior managers at the agency ordered that "every last piece" of the report be destroyed. "The whole project was just stopped - end of discussion," he said."

* * *

So.

What OTHER research studies are there that have been supressed?

Derek Copold said...

While you are right about Bush's atrocious record on the border, saying Clinton was better is hardly a compliment. Despite high profile programs like "Gatekeeper", many inspired by the palpable rage at around that time (that was when the move for Prop 187 got going), illegal immigration grew under Clinton's presidency until the number stood at about 6-8 million (estimates vary). Worse, the Clinton Adminstration did a lot to corrupt the value of American citizenship, including pumping through citizenship for an abnormal amount of people in 1996, just in time for his re-election, of whom tens of thousands turned out to be felons. In short, the difference between the two is that Clinton put up a pretence of border control, where Bush didn't even bother.

As to the House, they've certainly played the jackass a time or two. The problem, though, is that Democratic alternative (which Bush will certainly sign) is going to be far worse. It will probably include a guest-worker program that will allow companies to continue underbidding American workers, but now they don't even have to bother with Mexican workers, since all the world's a job market to them. It's this reason, and this reason alone that I simply cannot support the idea of Democratic house. The GOP-controlled House, and it alone, is what has and will prevent that monstrosity the Senate passed from becoming law.

David Brin said...

Stefan, I don't know what's more depressing, that BigBrother act, or the fact that it is normal... and hypocrites who accept it would have howled if it happened under Clinton.

Derek, alas, folks, is evidently still writhing to visualize (visualize! visualize!) rationalizations how - despite the horror that the GOP has become, sending Barry Goldwater spinning fast enough in his grave to power Arizona... nevertheless "Pelosi would be worse."

So he carps at Gatekeeper and cites limbaughisms about the transforming of several million illegals into taxpaying, mortgage-holding decent (mostly) citizens... instead of lookin at the FACT.

I repeat. BC DOUBLED THE NUMBER OF AGENTS ACTUALLY AND PHYSICALLY ON PATROL. Throughout his entire presidency.

W CUT THE NUMBER OF PATROLLING AGENTS IN HALF.

You cannot escape. You cannot evade. Writhe & squirm, the facts will find you.

Oh, go to
http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html
and go down the line by line comparison of Iraq to the Balkans... and then tell us "at least the GOP knows how to wage war."

Dwight Williams said...

Amazing, this fear of Canadian border-jumping that seems to have been getting trumped up of late, isn't it?

Derek Copold said...

Mr. Brin,

Your response is not worthy of you.

I do come from a conservative perspective, but from a viewpoint closer to The American Conservative. I voted for Bush in 2000 because he promised a "more humble" foreign policy. Yeah, I was suckered, and I turned on him when it became apparent that he was lying us into war (unlike a lot of Democrats who went along for the ride). In fact, I wrote a piece titled "Bush is Lying us into War" for the The Texas Mercury, which was later spotlighted by Antiwar.com. I don't like what he's done, and I have a better understanding of the damage he's done to American conservatism than perhaps even you do. So, please, do us all a favor and don't make assumptions about my positions based on your preconceived notions.

To the point, the problem for me is that if the Democrats win the House, they will pass something like the McCain-Kennedy bill, which the Senate already did this year, a bill which W heartily endorsed--something I think would give you pause.

If passed, this act will add tens of millions of people to our population. That is a fact. It's a conditional fact, but a fact nonetheless. The final number could possibly be as many as 100 million more according to some counts. The fact is that most of those people--probably more than 80%--will not have high school educations. Not only will this drive down wages for low-skilled jobs, it will mean that they will be eligible for all sorts of social services, and will pay little to no taxes once you factor in deductions and tax credits. If you think our social services are overburdened now, brother, you ain't seen nothing yet.

The only thing stopping this from happening is a GOP House. That's a fact, Mr. Brin. Pointing to Clinton, or W, or the boogeyman doesn't change that fact, a fact upon which the future of the nation hinges.

Now I know you think this is some Rovian master plan. I doubt it. Rove loathes immigration reformers like Tom Tancredo (whom he warned to never darken the doors of the White House). This is the one big legacy George W. Bush wants more than anything. Hell, he's been pushing for amnesty ever since he took the oath of office. He'd probably pimp out Jenna and Barbara to get it. Giving him a Democratic House will do just as well. In fact, he can probably trade it, along with billions of your tax dollars and mine, for a suspension of impeachment hearings.

You can accuse me of being a "ditto-head" and a "Bushbot" and yak about Iraq, but that's really not answering the argument.

Nor are your comparisons with Clinton very effective either. Everyone knows Bush is unreliable on illegal immigration, even NASCAR fans. So telling me Clinton is better, even "palpably" better, is not really convincing. First, it's not relevant. Clinton is not up for a vote, nor is Bush, really. Second, when you consider the absolute number of Border Patrolmen, Clinton's doubling is not impressive at all, and he was not adored by Border Patrolmen. I've talked to them. I know. Doris Meissner, his head of INS, was loathed, as was he. These, too, are facts. Talk to the National Border Patrol Council, the BP union.

(Also, you might be more convincing if you focused on internal immigration enforcement, which dropped to nearly zero under Bush.)

Derek Copold said...

Related comment here from Mickey Kaus:http://www.slate.com/id/2149332/&#ponnuruntz

"I admit I'm not-so-secretly not-so-upset, at least emotionally, by signs the Democrats might not win back the House after all--a pathology explored with searing, reality-show candor here. It's not that I want Republicans to win because Republicans like Ramesh Ponnuru want Republicans to lose. It's more that there is a large fatal hole in Ponnuru's argument...

...ne conspicuous policy initiative that has already passed the Senate, been embraced by the President, and awaits only approval from a Democrat-led House to be signed into law. It wouldn't matter so much if this law, by establishing the principle of a "path to citizenship" for anyone who sneaks into the country to work, wouldn't run the risk of irrevocably changing the nature of the Republic, including the composition of future electorates that would decide whether to repeal it. But it would. ..."

Erik Wennstrom said...

David, I agree with pretty much every single political statement you've made, or at least virtually every one about which I know enough to form an educated opinion. But in the last month or two, I've noticed a somewhat annoying trend in your responses to comments on your blog. You seem to have gotten so upset at the people arguing against you (usually with very good reason, in my opinion) that the flavor of your responses has grown more than a little bit vitriolic.

Now you're not _literally_ attacking them personally, but most of your negative responses begin with words to the effect of "X, you just don't get it!", "X seems to be responding exactly as a romantic would", or some other opinion as to the psychology behind the argument being presented against you. You may even be correct about those reasons, but in your passion, I think your manner is doing more harm than good. You know how strong the contrarian urge is, and when there's no good reason to feed it, maybe you should step back and be a little more tactful.

I'm not asking you to stop talking about why you think the public still keeps voting for people who are obviously doing great damage, but when it comes to debating specific points with specific people, you should stick to debating the matter at hand, and keeping the psychoanalysis to a minimum. It sounds too much like insult to hear somebody tell you why you've said something.

Now I'm not claiming that you can't pick apart someone's line of reasoning, their source of information, or even their method of argumentation, but I think it would serve your message better to do so only with great specificity. Too many of your recent comments were broad indictments of the words of certain posters. Without reference to specific comments, they keep sounding like insults, rather than debate.

In order to keep from sounding hypocritical, here are some specific moments that rubbed me the wrong way.

"Naum, please consider this obscure and uncomfortable possibility. The corelation (on this topic) between intelligence and ABILITY TO GET THE POINT) appears to be an almost perfect inverse.

A VERY puzzling phenomenon. But the crux is you really don't get it. Not at all."

Now you follow this up with some good specific arguments, but to begin your address of someone with this is quite off-putting.

"Yup, notice folks how the romantic personality must apply its own values to opposition. Whereas I have addressed many of his issues, and he has addressed absolutely none of mine, he take my criticism of that fact as repression...

...then commences yet again to rant incantatory catechisms of the left, like a frantic priest throwing holy water at some creature he does not understand."

Again, you come back to some specific points at the end of the comment, but you open with a five-paragraph tirade about the moralism behind the target's arguments.

Again, this is not a rant about the truth of your claims, but a criticism about the utility of spending more words in a comment picking apart where the opposing opinion comes from than are spent picking apart the oposing opinion itself. Even if you've made the argument before, sometimes you just have to grimace and do it again.

Take those insights into the opposition's mindset, and when you've got a lot of them, you can put them into a general article about the trends you've noticed. Just please keep them out of your direct replies, and maybe, just maybe, it'll be easier to come to a consensus.

W.B. Reeves said...

Dr. Brin,

I wouldn't count too much on the facts catching up to Derek or his confreres. What you are witnessing is an example of how supposedly rational intellectual constructs, in this case political ideology, function as a mask for the same old pre-enlightenment irrationality that has bedeviled civilization since its infancy.

I find it ironic that Derek castigates you for raising up boogey men since his entire rationale for retaining the Republican majority is nothing more than raising up his own boogeyman of choice. His relatively calm tone can't obscure the reality that his is an argument based entirely on fear. Evidently, he finds the emotion so profound that it leads him, unconsciously I'm sure, to highlight selected facts while ignoring those which do not gratify his angst.

Take his assertion that a Democratic house would bring us an increase of "tens of millions in population." Considering that the millions in question already reside within our borders and are an integral part of the national economy, I'd suggest that the population increase is an established fact. The issue before us is what policy we will adopt toward this reality.

Since it is clear that Derek is utterly opposed to legalizing this population, one would think he would have a alternate policy in mind. However, all he advocates here is a non-policy. The mere obstruction of an initiative that he fears. In effect, an argument for status quo ante in which a huge proportion of the national workforce remains disenfranchised and without any rights of representation or legal redress. A highly expoitable commodity.

All of which makes his expressed concern for the driving down of wages for low skill workers less than convincing. This too is an established fact of the status quo, rather than something to be fended off by a Republican House. He, like so many others who have taken up illegal immigrants as their boogey man in this political season, is either oblivious to or chooses to ignore the central fact that fuels this downward pressure on wages. That fact being the illegal status of such workers.

Those who employ these immigrants prefer them over the native born precisely because they are illegal. This status enables employers to pay such immigrants sub-standard wages and subject them to sub-standard working conditions, secure in the knowlege that these people have no recourse in the matter other than accepting such conditions or moving. on.

It is impossible to reconcile a desire for maintaining these laborers in their current subservient status with any practical desire for relieving the downward pressure on wages. One can either grant them a status which would allow them to bargain on an equal footing with the native labor force, or one can stand pat with the current downward spiral. The latter being the practical consequence of Derek's position.

In sumation, Derek's position is that it necessary to retain the one party monopoly of government, regardless of havoc this has produced, in order to maintain the current gridlock on immigration reform. This despite the fact that such obstructionism will likely aggravate and intensify the very problems that he cites as looming threats but which are, in actuality, fundamental realities of the present day.

I rather doubt that this type of argument, or the mindset that advances it, are particularly susceptable to reason.

It isn't so much the monsters of the "left" or "right" we need to fear as it is the monsters of the Id.

David Brin said...

WOw!

Whatever my rhetorical excesses, I do seem to be inspiring some intense and very articulate scribbling.

Did it ever occur to you that this is a guru-like sifting process? Snipping at you, like Yoda, to bring out your best?

Well... there's always another way to look at stuff...

(Hey. Aphorism that!)

monkyboy said...

I don't see why Bush breaking the army is such a big deal.

Who, exactly, would they have to fight in a rational world?

I think they'd rather be broken than disbanded...

Frank said...

monkyboy said:

Who, exactly, would they have to fight in a rational world?

I think they'd rather be broken than disbanded


Who says fighting is their only option? Their only reason for being? Armies do more then wage wars, don't they?

Adaptability is the virtue that makes an army an effective army. I'm sure that even in a rational world that virtue will retain it's value.

monkyboy said...

Hehe, frank.

If we're gonna blow $500 billion a year maintaining an obsolete institution, why not spend it on something that provides America with some actual value...like maybe the U.S. auto industry?

Don Quijote said...

Whiskey Bar -Be all that you can be

TomDispatch - Dirty Dozen The Pentagon's 12-Step Program to Create a Military of Misfits

With a growing majority of Americans opposed to the war in Iraq, even ardent hawks refusing to enlist in droves, and the Pentagon pulling out ever more stops and sinking to new lows in recruitment and retention, a new all-volunteer generation of UUUU's may emerge -- the underachieving, unable, unexceptional, unintelligent, unsound, unhinged, unacceptable, unhealthy, undesirable, unloved, uncivil, and even un-American, all led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful. Current practices suggest this may well be the force of the future. It certainly isn't the new military Donald Rumsfeld's been promising all these years, but there's no denying the depth of the transformation.


SFGate.com|ALAMEDA
Car bomb kills 52-year-old reservist in Afghanistan Merideth Howard is oldest female casualty in both wars


”Earlier this week, in a Washington Post , William Kristol and Rich Lowry called on the Bush administration to send more troops to Iraq

Time to reinstate the draft and give the chickenhawks an opportunity to enjoy what they have put the poor people of Iraq thru.

The Nation - Generation Chickenhawk

I chatted for a while with Collin Kelley, a senior at Washington State with a vague resemblance to the studly actor Orlando Bloom. Kelley told me he's "sick and tired of people saying our troops are dying in vain" and added, "This isn't an invasion of Iraq, it's a liberation--as David Horowitz said." When I asked him why he was staying on campus rather than fighting the good fight, he rubbed his shoulder and described a nagging football injury from high school. Plus, his parents didn't want him to go. "They're old hippies," Kelley said.

Munching on a chicken quesadilla at a table nearby was Edward Hauser, a senior at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas--a liberal school in a liberal town in the ultimate red state of Texas. "Austin is ninety square miles insulated from reality," Hauser said. When I broached the issue of Iraq, he replied, "I support our country. I support our troops." So why isn't he there?

"I know that I'm going to be better staying here and working to convince people why we're there [in Iraq]," Hauser explained, pausing in thought. "I'm a fighter, but with words."

By the time I encountered Cory Bray, a towering senior from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the beer was flowing freely. "The people opposed to the war aren't putting their asses on the line," Bray boomed from beside the bar. Then why isn't he putting his ass on the line? "I'm not putting my ass on the line because I had the opportunity to go to the number-one business school in the country," he declared, his voice rising in defensive anger, "and I wasn't going to pass that up."


If you ever want to see conservatives lose it, just go on one of their forums and imply that they are chickenhawks as was done there. It can be pretty hillarious watching them slice and dice language.

Derek Copold said...

Let me respond to Mr. Reeves, since he has the most substantive response to me. I'll highlight the main points. If I miss anything let me know, I'll try to get back to them in a day or so.

Mr. Reeves writes:

"I find it ironic that Derek castigates you for raising up boogey men since his entire rationale for retaining the Republican majority is nothing more than raising up his own boogeyman of choice."

I didn't choose to pass a bill that would significantly increase the growth of this country's population. I live in an area deeply impacted by this problem (this is not some "seasonal concern"), and I am very angry that I don't really have an alternative to the GOP. But that's the way it is. I'm not going to wish it or my concerns away because I want to stick it W (who, in fairness, does deserve a good sticking).

And if having doubts about adding 100 million more people to our already breathtaking rate of growth isn't something to be concerned about, I don't know what is.

The problem with the Senate bill is that the growth you're talking about will be increased well above and beyond the growth we already have. Further, we have an empirical example of what happens when you legalize a mass group of illegal aliens: the 1986 Amnesty, which was supposed to fix the problem by "normalizing" the status of illegals here, while tightening down on enforcement.

I see no reason that the problem will be fixed with this round of amnesty. In fact, it will only worsen things because it says, "Get in anyway you can, hang on long enough, and you, too, can be awarded an amnesty."

I agree with your points about employers, and we should implement the employee verification system contained within HR4437. But we also need to do this in conjunction with stepped up border enforcement. We need to do it for a number of reasons, not just illegal immigration. These areas have become lawless due to smuggling of all sorts.

Given a combination of internal and border enforcement, the population of illegals can be whittled down through attrition. If they can't get work here, there's no reason for them to stay. Most will leave. Once it can be verified that we have a sure means of securing our border, then, and then only, should we talk about offering conditional amnesties to the hard cases that remain.

This is a tough thing to do, and I'm not kidding myself about that, but it's essential to our national survival. This isn't just because of demographics (though that plays a part), but because doing otherwise only fosters a contempt for the law. If a group can create a de facto system of mass disrespect for one set of laws, like immigration, and get amnesty, what will it mean for other laws, like housing, wages, environment and safety.

Now I realize that a lot of these provisions will not be passed in the near future, if at all, but will make them downright impossible is if that monstrosity created by Senators McCain and Kennedy passes. It will burden myself and my children with even more crushing burdens than we already suffer from, both socially, legally and economically.

Socially, due to the factors we've gone over: crowding, quality of life and cultural clash (nB: these newcomers will not be Enlightenment fans, Dr. Brin). Economically, we're going to be saddled with a minimally educated, non-English speaking superminority, who will pay little to no taxes and use billions of social services. Legally, an issue many have not thought of, a lot of native Americans will be shoved into second-class status. Notice that almost all these immigrants will be eligible for Affirmative Action programs, and they won't go away when we bring in more beneficiaries as citizens. That means those who broke the law to get in here will get preference over my children and yours for admissions, scholarships and hiring because they aren't the right color of the moment. I can't think of a more efficient way of driving this nation into tribalism than the McCain-Kennedy bill.

As far as improving the bargaining position of illegals, it will do so only for the illegals who get amnesty. They'll soon be replaced by another wave waiting for the amnesty, and they'll need to compete with all the "temporary" workers the Senate Bill would create. The only way to improve the bargaining position of low-skilled and unskilled labor is restrict the supply; i.e., physically limit the amount of competition coming in, both legally and illegally. Any other legal stopgap will be circumvented almost as quickly as it's erected.

"In sumation, Derek's position is that it necessary to retain the one party monopoly of government, regardless of havoc this has produced, in order to maintain the current gridlock on immigration reform."

This is a case where the cure will be worse than the disease.

At any rate, as Kaus points out in the link I gave, it's not the Democrats would be able to pass much else in the next two years, so I'm just not convinced.

"It isn't so much the monsters of the "left" or "right" we need to fear as it is the monsters of the Id."

I'm not sitting here saying that either Bush or the House are the best things going since sliced bread. I haven't accused you or Dr. Brin of being malefactors or idiots or anything else of the sort. I'm responding to your points with the best argumentation and facts I have at hand. I'm assuming that you're a man of good will. I'd appreciate it if you would return the courtesy and refrain from psychoanalyzing me via Blog comments.

Derek Copold said...

"Did it ever occur to you that this is a guru-like sifting process? Snipping at you, like Yoda, to bring out your best?"

On that note, I must compliment your criticism pieces. They're what drew me to your site, and I found them quite compelling. You managed to do what Michael Moorcock attempted to do in "Starship Stormtroopers" and "Epic Pooh" in a far more sane and persuasive way.

Derek Copold said...

"Who says fighting is their only option? Their only reason for being? Armies do more then wage wars, don't they?"

They can, but often not very well. The Army is a sword. To make it into a plowshare you have to bend it.

There are limited exceptions, such as large engineering projects. The Romans kept their armies busy in peacetime building roads and bridges. In the U.S., the Army Corp of Engineers does a lot of good work. But even here you have to be careful. You let them do a little civilian government work, and they might wind up doing more, even all of it, as happened with Rome.

Jonathan said...

I'm not too sure that the people of Stillmore, GA, would agree that immigrant workers are all that bad...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003261371_immigaftermath16.html

(Sorry about that, but I don't know the HTML code to insert a link...)

Derek Copold said...

The end of the article still makes my point:

"The poultry plant has limped along with half its normal work force. Crider increased its starting wages by $1 an hour to help recruit workers.

Stacie Bell, 23, started work canning chicken at Crider a week ago. She said the pay, $7.75 an hour, led her to leave her $5.60-an-hour job as a Wal-Mart cashier in nearby Statesboro. Still, Bell said she felt bad about the raids.

'If they knew eventually that they were going to have to do that, they should have never let them come over here,' she said."

As a result of the raids, low-skilled natives are paid more rational wages, and those who are suffering are the people who tried to make a quick buck off of illegals, either by employing them or catering to them.

Crider and the others can adapt by either paying more to their workers, or they can make more capital investment in labor-saving devices.

What the article doesn't mention, like so many of this genre, are the reasons Georgia is cracking down on the problem: the increased social and economic costs. Companies like Crider enjoy the private benefit of low wages, but they socialize the costs of health and education by having the taxpayers subsidize it.

Frank said...

Derek Copold: "the increased social and economic costs"

Immigrants (legal or illigal) have always been a part of U.S. history, economy and even culture. There have always been social and economic costs. Yet somehow the U.S. has always thrived. What makes you think these costs are significantly different in our time?

I can't understand why in a country like the U.S. which compared to many other countries has a so much lower population density, that people worry about "crowding".

I think that the problem with illegal immigrants is not their number but how they are "managed", socially, legally and economically. This is not something one can leave to chance. Yes, it's a good idea to minimize their number entering the country but that's not sufficient. It takes some real interaction which is best done under the protection of the law. Citizens have rights AND duties.

monkyboy said...

That's true, Frank.

China has 800 million peasants...and their economy is growing 11% a year.

The U.S. has a few million peasants...and our economy is growing about 3.5% a year.

We can't even grow our economy at the global average of 4.5% any more.

The illegal Mexican workers are a symptom of, not the cause of, America's fading glory.

The are a nice excuse to avoid talking about what's really wrong with America, though...

Derek Copold said...

Frank,

"What makes you think these costs are significantly different in our time?"

For one thing, the massive gap in education levels. During the previous times, on average, immigrants were either about as educated or more educated than average Americans. That is not the case now.

You also have a different world due to technology. Immigrants are now only a several hours from their homelands instead of several weeks. They are also further attached by modern media. In relation to Mexico specifically, we have a large population that will have dual citizenship affecting our politics with Mexico, who is vigourously campaigning to maintain their loyalty.

Finally, the cultures that these immigrants are coming from range from indifferent to downright hostile to the Enlightenment values the country was founded on. In small amounts they may be assimilable, but the problem is far more difficult with the numbers were dealing with now.

Also, if you're looking at history, you have to take into account the immigration timeouts that have occured. There was almost no immigration after the Seven Years' War. It picked up again in the 1840s and 50s, but dropped after the Civil War. The previous Ellis Island wave was cut off by the 1924 Immigration act. These pauses helped us assimilate the immigrants who were here, and allowed us to assimilate to them.

"I can't understand why in a country like the U.S. which compared to many other countries has a so much lower population density, that people worry about "crowding"."

Have you seen the LA area recently?

Even so, WHY would we want to get to the point where we HAVE to worry about it. Good policy prevents problems like this from happening.

"Citizens have rights AND duties."

If you hand citizenship willy-nilly, as the McCain-Kennedy Act will, you devalue both the rights and the duties.

monkeyboy,

"China has 800 million peasants...and their economy is growing 11% a year....The U.S. has a few million peasants...and our economy is growing about 3.5% a year."

This is a deceptive statistic. If you have a dollar, and make another, your wealth has grown by 100%. If you have ten dollars and make a dollar, your wealth has grown by only 10%. That's what your stat is saying.

China's growth is impressive, but it's due to 50-some-odd years of Maoism being relaxed along with fantastically low cheap labor. It's doubtful that China will be able to maintain this rate indefinitely, though she will continue to grow and will challenge us.

"The illegal Mexican workers are a symptom of, not the cause of, America's fading glory."

They're not the sole cause of our problems, but they (or better the laxness that allowed them in) are part of the problem. Just because curing this problem won't cure everything, that's no excuse to do nothing, or, worse, make the problem even bigger, as a Democratic House most likely will.

jeb said...

Dr. Brin,

Oddly enough, I find myself in agreement with both sides of the primary argument taking place in these comments. As Mr. Copold suggests, a Democratic take-over of the House would likely result in the passage of a questionable (at best) immigration bill, which would likely result in a significant increase in illegal immigration. I even agree with him that the rate of increase might be too high for the US economy and society to absorb.

But I also agree--very strongly--with those who find this a very questionable argument for avoiding a Democratic takeover of at least one house of congress. Why? Because we live in a democratic republic, which has at least the potential to correct itself. In other words, if the next congress (2007-2008) passes and Bush signs immigration legislation that turns out in actual practice--not theory--to be really bad then the following congress (2009-2010) and the next president can change the law again. Maybe they'll come up with a better solution. If not, well there's always the congress after that....

No policy lasts forever. And some policy's effects are worse and longer-lasting than others. If risking a short-term (5 to 10-year) economic negative is the price for avoiding setting 'legal' and constitutional precedents that could haunt us for decades, then it's a risk I for one am willing to take.

A bad mistake within our system can be corrected--as long as we still have our system.

monkyboy said...

Derek,

I saying if America had a functional economy, we would welcome all the immigrants that came.

Instead, our poor are fighting immigrants for low-paying jobs like dogs fighting over table scraps.

China's economy is booming because they have an actual economic policy, not because they've adopted Capitalism...

Saying China's economic boom is happening because their economy is becoming more like America's is nice spin...for the American neofeudalists who don't want anyone to disturb their pork trough, though.

Naum said...

On immigration... ...some points...

* It does drive down wages paid to Americans. It's a wedge issue that can be used w/effectiveness by Republicans especially w/ a soon-to-be unpopular lame duck president who throws his lot in with the globalists and corporatist barons.

* Some of the Buchanan style anti-immigration banter that bemoans the culture assimilation is way off the mark (i.e,, not learning the language, etc...) IMV, but consider this: that in those historic times, families immigrated here. Now, in current times, the trend is to single men/women coming here to take jobs to send back home to families. A transient work force enabled by the technological advance of transportation efficiency, this is a phenomenon unique to modern times. Even the temporary workers of past times endured a much longer ordeal in getting here and stayed for a lot longer...

* While I've written extensively myself on the ills of immigration (both illegal and non-illegal variety - NIV importations that have wrecked & demotivated American to choosing careers in programming/engineering, a rising hateful trend in the anti-immigration crowd alarms me. We're seeing eliminationist rhetoric ("invasion" metaphor, likening illegal immigrants to vermin or rats, posters on rightie forums urging "shoot to kill" and other such punitive measures for folks, that a majority just are coming here for the sake of economic livliehood.

* But, that may play to the crowds - consider the success of Proposition 200 in Arizona in 2004 (denies non-citizens to vote, and I had to show THREE forms of ID at the voting booth for the September 12 primary -I had to show voting ID card, drivers license, and then even luckily had to show paycheck stub as my address on my license still shows a previous address...). There are 4 or 5 ballot propositions this time, from preventing illegal aliens ability to sue, denying bail for illegal aliens, an English language only amendment, etc... I intend on voting on NO on all of them, but we shall see as I think polls show they may well pass...

* Democrats could score big by championing workers and embarking upon legislation to punish employers. Which if that was done (as was done in WWII times), problem would nearly cease to exist. But that doesn't address the millions already here and the extremists that want the deputies to round 'em all up and jail 'em and/or send 'em home just isn't pragmatic and would lead to a host of other evils.

Naum said...

Eeghh, should look at my posts more carefully -- I meant to say Prop 200 denies benefits to illegal aliens as well as require picture ID + collaborative docs when voting (oddly, mailin balloting is exempt from such stipulation... ...OTOH, it was reported that after 2004 elections, mail-in ballots weren't even tallied, if the # was less than the margin of victory. The closest house race in Arizona was a margin of ~20% in 2004... ...and in 2008, only CD8 looks like it will be closer (Kolbe's seat being vacated, Southern Arizona, where a radical anti-immigration Republican is running, despite the RNCC involvement and support of his lackluster and socially challenged primary opponet.

Stefan Jones said...

I've heard RUMORS of this before. Now it's a top story on MSNBC.

Crack appearing indeed . . .

* * *

Ties to GOP trumped skill on Iraq team
In rebuilding effort, loyalty to Bush administration was paramount

'After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

...

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade.

Many of those chosen by O'Beirne's office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.'

* * *

Someone needs to be held accountable for this waste and betrayal.

Derek Copold said...

Jeb,

"No policy lasts forever. And some policy's effects are worse and longer-lasting than others."

The catch here is that this policy's negative effects won't be seen for at least a decade or two, and by then it will have created its own constituency, both in businesses more dependent on cheap labor and the ethnic lobbies that will want to further enhance their power. Like it or not, people tend to vote for concentrated benefits over diffuse ones. If you pass this bill, it's extremely unlikely that it will be overturned.

Naum,

I don't care for the radical language being used by some, mainly talk radio, but this IS an alarming situation for a lot of people who are being made to feel like foreigners in their own country. Worse still, despite opinion polls showing opposition to both increased legal immigration and illegal immigration amnesties, both parties have until now ignored them. Are some Republicans being opportunists by picking up on this issue. Sure, but that's politics, and the Democrats can only blame themselves for not making this their issue, which it very well could have been.

Monkeyboy,

We had a functional economy in the 1950s, a colossus of an economy, but we had almost no immigration.

The Chinese economic policy is not as impressive as you make it out to be. It depends on their keeping their currency artificially low. It's a paper game that's going to catch up to them as it did the other Asian economies in the 90s. Remember the Japanese at the end of the 80s? The Chinese are in a similar position. They'll still be a growing power, but they're not ten feet tall.

Sidereus said...

Speaking of Barry Goldwater, an article from his granddaughter:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14863898/site/newsweek/

“Trust and fear cannot coexist at the same time,” Barry said. Anyone who motivates our decisions by fear cannot restore the principles of a country founded in freedom. “I will support whoever is running our country as long as they abide by those principles and will run our country and not our lives.”

monkyboy said...

derek,

Some good data on U.S.immigration here:

http://tinyurl.com/btlyx

In 1950, about 7% of the U.S. population were immigrants.

Today, about 10% of the U.S. population are immigrants.

I don't think an extra 3% makes that much difference to the economy.

Even if you think these "extra" immigrants are a big problem, I don't think there's a good solution to it.

Like with Iraq, our choices on immigration seem to be do nothing, or an expensive plan that has little chance of achieving its objectives.

Can we pick the cheaper "do nothing" plan this time...please?

Don Quijote said...

Can we pick the cheaper "do nothing" plan this time...please?

If you want to solve the immigration problem, all you have to do is solve this problem.

Following a 6% decline in 1995, the data show annual growth of only 2.1% from 1996-2003, driven primarily by a 9.5% jump in 2001. Since NAFTA went into effect in 1994, Mexico has averaged 1.8% real per-capita GDP growth. By contrast, through much of the sixties and seventies Mexico had per capita GDP growth that often exceeded 4 percent, and in some years exceeded 7 percent.

Rob Perkins said...

The simpler explanation for Mexico's lackluster growth post-NAFTA has much more to do with China than it does with NAFTA.

Take a look through Friedman's _The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century_ (ISBN 0-374-29279-5) for a really nice examination of the economic realities behind the changes around the world.

Don Quijote said...

The simpler explanation for Mexico's lackluster growth post-NAFTA has much more to do with China than it does with NAFTA.

Partly but not entirely, in that growth between 1980 and 1994(Pre-NAFTA) was also horrible, I would be tempted to put a good chunk of Mexico's lackluster growth on the economic liberalization programs put in effect in lhe late seventies, early eighties that replaced the import substitution policies pursued by the previous goverment.

Take a look through Friedman's _The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century_ (ISBN 0-374-29279-5) for a really nice examination of the economic realities behind the changes around the world.

A) What arrogant title, consdering that there are only 90 odd years left to the twenty-First Century.

It's like writing a history of warfare in the Twentieh century in 1906.

B) I don't expect globalization as it exists today to last thru the twenties, there are too many losers and not enough winners.

Rob Perkins said...

That's why it's a _brief_ history, Don.

monkyboy said...

I think a lot of the "problem" of illegal workers coming to America can be traced to rural to urban migration.

Over half of China's population still sustains itself through rural farming.

At best, China's "modern" economy can add jobs at a rate of around a million a month....it will take at least half a century to bring all of China's population into the "modern" economy.

Fortunately, a few modest farm subsidies allows China to make rural farming a viable lifestyle for hundreds of millions of people.

Contrast that with America, where less than one percent of the population make a living through agriculture.

In America, either you have a job in the "modern" economy, or you are a ward of the state.

Mexico's economy is somewhere in between China's and America's. Almost 20% of its population works in rural agriculture, but due to bad luck and bad government policies...than number is shrinking rapidly.

When a Mexican worker leaves the farm...where are they going to seek work...in Mexico City, or America?

So a few points:

1. If someone has a house, clean drinking water and they grow their own food...it doesn't take much money for the government to "support" them.

2. Any money we spend "fixing" the Mexican immigrant "problem" would probably be better spent on subisdies that improves Mexico's rural agricultural industry.

3. Allowing American workers some way to "go back to the land" might be an excellent way to reduce welfare costs.

I think a lot of people would prefer a rural industrious life (with internet and cable TV access) to living in some urban government project...

Rob Perkins said...

M, you're describing the "gentleman farmer" lifestyle. Enough land to run a (very) small business, and grow a very big garden, with perhaps other concerns on the side which can support for luxury goods.

(Of course, the "gentleman farmers" I know of are also former military men, drawing the full benefits of having served in the U.S. Army or Marines or whatnot. )

Even so, the lifestyle is tremendously satisfying. If you're into that sort of thing. I guess. I prefer a more urban setting, or, if I'm going to steward land, I'd rather do ecopoetry. And a largish garden. Nothing tastes quite as good as really fresh produce.

learner said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
learner said...

On the immigration issue: The population of the United States is shrinking. Here is a presentation on the depopulation issue.
http://media.longnow.org/seminars/salt-0200408-longman/salt-0200408-longman.pdf

NAFTA allows businesses to move their products and production back and forth between countries with little tariff. I suggest a NAFTA for the all the citizens of these countries. Here is how it would work. Any national with a valid passport(valid is critical) from any of the participating country(Mexico, Canada and the US at the moment) could move and work in any country that they choose. If they require social services that they can not pay for they present their valid passport. The service provider then bills the appropriate nation for the services provided thru an IRS NAFTA division. As for salaries and pay that would be reported as normal to the IRS or appropriate taxing authority. IRS would forward those payments to the national authority of the individual minus any arrears that that nation owes for the above mentioned service fees. This way all of our citizens are treated as well as our corporations and the true free market capitalist driven market would work out the value of work/skills.

Simple isn't it. Are we afraid of the competition? I don't think so. Americans, Canadians and Mexicans all like competition, just look at baseball hockey and soccer. But then who would we blame all of our problems on? Perhaps politicians?

Of course the home countries might not like the bills they would be getting, especially from the US medical establishment. This might give them some incentive to stop their citizens from crossing into a more expensive country and of course we might want to send all of our indigent and senior folks to Canada for medical care and pay Canada for their efforts on Medicaid's behalf.

Stefan Jones said...

There are rumors that the administration is going to announce a plan to reduce CO2 emissions to fight global warming.

On one level, this is astonishing:

It is an article of faith on the right that global warming isn't happening, or isn't our fault, or is a good thing; thus the legion of party hacks editing press releases and muzzling NASA climatologists.

For Bush to actually commit to restrictions could be seen as a refreshing return to reality.

But I suspect that his actual committment to the issue will be as hollow as his plans to fight AIDS, deploy hydrogen powered cars, or colonize Mars. An empty promise that can be waved around at election time.

learner said...

I am impressed with the discussion here, too bad we do not see it in our local press.

As a West Point grad, a Vietnam vet and a former Goldwater Republican now looking for a party, I am appalled at the lack of citizens calling for accountability of the present Administration. I called for Clinton's resignation over skirt-chasing in the Oval Office. I am not particularly proud of that today but I told myself then that I held my President to a high standard of moral conduct. (In truth it was probably just partisan politics).

However this President deserves to be called on the carpet for so much more. Here are the questions he needs to answer:
Why not affirm global warming?
Why not affirm the looming oil shortage if not peak?
Why not address the loss of skilled jobs overseas(during both Dem and Rep Admins by the way)(Great hospitals in India and Thailand, your insurance company might even pay you to go there for elective surgery)
Why is capital, both money and skilled people, flowing out of this country and to where?(My guess-Saudi gets oil money, China get consumer goods money, India gets outsourced jobs money)

I would also like to ask him:

Why make life difficult for our own troops by removing Geneva Convention protections?( they protect our troops in two ways, by providing guidelines for our troops behavior toward our captives which should stand up in any court in the world as well as providing our own captured troops with some expectation of fair treatment and if not at least letting the US have the moral highground).

Why continue to expand missions for our armed forces overseas without providing the increased budgets and manpower through taxes and draft that are required to be successful? (Is success not a requirement?)

David, you have said that all this is greed. That would be bad enough but I find it difficult to believe that that is the only motivation. Perhaps the old scifi movie had some truth to it. Someone wants us off the planet and taking out the good ol' US with a 5th column is a good start!

Yes I know I can't believe that either so why is this administration doing these things? I do not have an answer but I am beginning to be afraid that the damage done is not going to be reversible without trauma to all.

Tony Fisk said...

Mid-september. Six weeks to go.

Has anyone else noticed how oil prices are coming down?

David has previously expressed concern that, should the dems win, they should not embark on a reactionary witch hunt.

At least the level of debate hasn't descended to the point where the opposition, faced with a monumentally dysfunctional government, refuses to state their policies for fear it might confuse the voters.

(My belated contribution to 'Johnny' here)

monkyboy said...

Learner,

I think the primary reason for many of Bush's poistions on issues is money.

Oil and coal companies certainly don't want alternative energy seriously debated until their resources are running low. So Peak Oil and Global Warming are not issues that the politicians they fund are going to bring up.

But there is another reason these issues aren't debated rationally...polarization works in American politics.

The Republicans have staked out rather primitive and superstitious positions on issues like global warming, peak oil, Iraq, Afghanistan, torture, etc.

Any attempt discuss these topics rationally would just cost them the support of their "base" now....

Don Quijote said...

Has anyone else noticed how oil prices are coming down?

It should go back up in mid-november, Cold winter coming, heating oil demand going thru the roof.

David has previously expressed concern that, should the dems win, they should not embark on a reactionary witch hunt.

No need for a witch hunt, there are plenty of investgations that need to be started and completed with an impeachment.

At least the level of debate hasn't descended to the point where the opposition, faced with a monumentally dysfunctional government, refuses to state their policies for fear it might confuse the voters.

The Bush Tax cuts are going to be repealed, if global warming is to be addressed, Carbon bases taxes are going to have to be imposed, if Iraq is truly necessary for our National Security, the Draft will have to be reinstated, if Iraq & Afghanistan are not necessary for our National Security, we will have to depart(said departure will be taken as an American Loss by the rest of the Planet). There is no upside in advertising how screwed the country is nor will the mass media help the Political Candidate who has just stated the facts as clearly as I have.

So run the election as an up and down vote on the Bush Administration.

learner said...

Don Quijote,
Well said and sad. Have you given up chasing wind mills?

I agree on every point except one. I think the American voter is tired of negative campaigning and it hasn't worked. The Dems tried the up and down vote last time. Did not work against the soft on security rebuttal.

Let's stopping being against something and start being for something.
For energy independence
For sacrifice to make the world safe for not only our children and grandchildren but for the species
For open and transparent government and communications at all levels
For open borders for citizens as well as corporations
For government service for all be it military, peace corp or vista corp(earn your vote?-Heinlein)

Maybe not all but at least some of these "For"s should be in the platform of the next President and he/she should make them the focus. Even the Republicans know this administration has screwed up. Do not waste cycles pointing it out.

Lenny Zimmermann said...

All of these immigration "issues" sound like nothing more then a red herring to me. Fear of change. Fear of yet another, different, culture integrating into the American melting pot yet, somehow, we'll lose our "values" this time? Is that the real argument here?

I mean adding people will certainly affect economies, but it always has. It's just a change in labor force and part and parcel of the American system of (relatively) free market forces. The overriding American ideal here (even, or perhaps especially for convervatives!) is supposed to be "adapt or die" when it comes to the marketplace, no? So it all sounds like little more then fear of brown people, to me. You can make all the excuses you like about economic impact, but that has little relavence to the fact that we are supposed to be living in a free market economy that has provided us, as a culture, with the adaptability to have become the world power that we are. Maybe I'm just nuts, but that is sure how it all seems to boil down to me.

I love the stuff coming out of reason.com on the issue. Statments like The first thing is to challenge the notion that immigration—legal or illegal—in any way represents a “crisis.” And to at least suggest that the North American Free Trade Agreement should apply equally to people as to widgets. As Fox News stalwart Tony Snow wrote just a couple of months before becoming Bush’s press secretary, “Immigration is not the pox neo-Know Nothings make it out to be” (see “Where’s the Mayhem?”). Far from it. Unemployment is low and crime is down everywhere, but especially in areas teeming with immigrants. Those who worry for whatever reason about languages other than English being spoken in America can rest easy knowing that some 80 percent of Latino households are Spanish-free by the third generation." really sum it all up for me. (http://www.reason.com/0608/fe.ng.immigration.shtml)

Or on Immigration and Terrorism : http://www.reason.com/9-11atfiveyears/khowley.shtml

Really I think it's just such an overblown, non-issue. More people willing to work for less... ok, the problem is what again? Oh, that some American whose great-grandparents came to this country who worked for less then what the average American of that time would work for should be given the God-given right to make more money then what someone else is willing to work for? Are we saying we should be priviledged by virtue of birth, a priviledge our great-grandparents didn't have to worry about?

Don't get me wrong, here, I think it's certainly important that we control our borders, I just think that the best way to do so is by making it easier to immigrate here. By that I mean if we remove all the quotas for how many people can get visas and such, then we make the path of least resistance for getting into the country the actual border checkpoints. The increased usage of the checkpoints then gives us better control of who we do and do not allow across that border (don't issues visas to felons, for example.) Other then that, what is everyone really so afraid of? If it's just being afraid of brown people then quit beating around the bush and just say so.

Rob Perkins said...

The prices for crude oil today are futures prices, for production later on in the year. You need to look today for what the cost of oil will be come wintertime. $65-ish is it for this one.

Naturally, it's more complex than that, what with oil companies totally willing to raise prices on people based on a futures price, but I think most of the heating oil utility companies have seasonal contracts for their refined product. At least, I hope so.

In short, I think today's price is it for the winter season.

Tom Grey said...

I'm for Bush, still.
I think his Iraq war was a "B" success, more than 2500 US deaths, less than 5000.
Anybody who thinks it's terrible should have a definition of what success looks like, and a metric for measuring it.

On the Iraqis murdering other Iraqis, that is primarily an Iraqi problem, to be solved by this or a future Iraqi government.
Including the possible split into 3 countries, as many seem to want -- although many Iraqis also seem to want to "save the Union", er, Federal Iraq.

With the troops we now have, we can ensure that Iraqis don't murder themselves at a Lincolnesque rate; so whether they decide to stay together in a US imposed democracy, or split, it will be decided by them without a huge war.

The alternative models that come to mind: Darfur, where the UN allows genocide (but not calling it that). I don't hear Bush-haters suggesting how much better Darfur is than Iraq.

Or Vietnam. After the anti-war policy was followed, the result was the murder of 600 000 S. Viet US allies, AFTER they surrendered. (In violation of their Geneva Convention rights, but the anti-war folk never really cared. They were all just gooks, right?) I think Bush and the Reps might start reminding folks what the anti-war Dems offer: another bloodbath after we leave.

How bad is it now?
Bad. For Iraqis.
But not bad enough for the Iraqis to turn in the killers, in enough numbers to end the murders.


On immigration, the USA should offer legal immigration for $20 000 (in installments) to all outside the country, and $40 000 to all inside the country. A $20 000 fine for successful illegal immigration seems reasonable -- if they see that everybody else is getting in legally for only $20 000, most illegals will leave voluntarily.

Oh yes, also require all immigrants to pay for English courses. Attendance optional, but payment required -- with courses then freely available to the pre-paid folk. Until they can demonstrate competence. (no spellcheck to catch typos!)

I also like Bush tax cuts. And his pro-life anti-abortion position. And his civil union yes, gay marriage no.

Maybe he's surrounded and supported by corrupt folk, but so are most (all?) of the Dems -- and the Dems don't even have the right policies.

The right strategy, even if done at a B level, seems far superior to the wrong strategy. Or the juvenile whining about the bad parts of any real strategy.
(First time visit, after the Sex Study on Male Females, very interesting.)

David Brin said...

Stefan, the announcement that the Bush Admin plans to address Climate Change does not surprise me.

COnsider; not ever Bush supporter is a screeching loon or a rapaciously self interested kleptocrat or the servant of a hostile foreign power. Indeed, a clear majority are honest and sincere American conservatives who accept a fatuously stupid left-right way of viewing the world, but are otherwise fairly decent people. People who want the best for their country and their world.

Yes, they supported and voted for the worst administration in our nation’s history, which could not have harmed us more had that been the intention all along. The deteriorating state of our military readiness, budget, inefficiency, corruption and levels of government intrusion -- all supposedly “conservative” issues -- should have turned such people against Bush long ago. Clever tactics... and the human tendency to bend over rationalizing for your “side” ... prevented this from happening till now. But as I say above “cracks are opening, all over.”

Bush must mollify these people just enough to allow them to continue their self-hypnosis of rationalization that “Pelosi would be worse.” (Um,.... how?) These occasional sops are only to be expected. Like voicing support for NASA. Or “supporting out troops” (while betraying them). Or guarding borders that he left open deliberately for 6 years.
They mean very little.

Learner, you sound like a very different conservative, capable of looking around, seeing what’s happening, and adjusting to circumstances. Like you, Barry Goldwater would have been up in arms. “My side CAN go mad,” is something that you are capable of saying, like the liberal heroes of 1947. (OTOH, some of the lefties on this very blog community are NOT able to say those words.)

Glad to see someone else capable of old fashioned rational paranoia! Ah, but all the aliens had to do - to keep us out of space - was take over the Marshal Space Flight Center. They did that ages ago. Reverse every decision made there and we’d be on Mars by now.

Tom Grey , go look at the line by line comparison of the Balkans & Iraq interventions at:
http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html
Sorry, but my metrics of “success” would be the Balkans at one end and Vietnam at the other.
Your pal is replicating Vietnam as if from a laundry list.

I do know one thing; you cannot have any contacts in the US military if you hold the views that you express. I have spoken with scores of officers and enlisted men - including generals and admirals - in the last six months. Almost all say there were republicans, but aren’t anymore. That is the GENTLEST remark that I hear. Far more range toward horror and despair.

I can only assume you must be a hired poster. (If you are not, apologies, but it really is hard to imagine your views being offered here sincerely... but having said that, if you ARE real, you are welcome here. We are modernists. We thrive on argument. While your heroes repress it. The skyrocketing of secrecy should be enough reason to disown them.)

Oh, corruption? CORRUPTION? Will somebody please cite to Tom my challenge about indictments? I just don’t have the time.

Stefan Jones said...

Remember, remember, the 7th of November.

learner said...

A change is a cummin a change is a cummin
Great movie isn't it!

Derek Copold said...

"In 1950, about 7% of the U.S. population were immigrants.

Today, about 10% of the U.S. population are immigrants.

I don't think an extra 3% makes that much difference to the economy."

It makes a difference if it's growing, which it is, and which it will do, even if we do nothing. The 1950 number includes a number of older folks from before 1924 and a large bulge that was allowed in under special provisions after WWII.

That is not the case today, and it makes a huge difference when you factor in the disparity in education, as well as a growing language barrier.

Also, the foreign-born share of the population is closer to 12.4% according to the Census Bureau's 2005 ACS survey.

Now you might say, okay, 5.4% isn't all that much, but you're talking about 5.4% of 288 million people (closer to 300 million now given trends). That's 15.55 million people in that seemingly little number. That's the population of more than half our states.

And, unlike 1950, most of whose foreign-born population was middle-aged to elderly, this cohort tends to be more fertile than the natives, demanding more social services for education and law enforcement.

Now the popular answer to this is that these immigrants will help fund our retirement programs, but there are two problems. The average age of immigrants is 39, older than natives, meaning that, in addition to having more kids, immigrants also use family reunification provisions to bring their aged moms and dads, who use government health services.
Two, as economists like Paul Krugman and Robert Samuelson pointed out, this low-skill labor cannot be counted on to fund the retirement of the higher-skilled native-born population.

Derek Copold said...

"Following a 6% decline in 1995, the data show annual growth of only 2.1% from 1996-2003, driven primarily by a 9.5% jump in 2001. Since NAFTA went into effect in 1994, Mexico has averaged 1.8% real per-capita GDP growth. By contrast, through much of the sixties and seventies Mexico had per capita GDP growth that often exceeded 4 percent, and in some years exceeded 7 percent."

The GDP growth Mexico enjoyed from the 40s to 70s was funded by tremendous U.S. growth, and by a lot bad debt and government spending by the PRI. It led to the collapse of the Mexican economy in the 1980s. Excluding that period from your numbers leaves a big hole in your analysis. Also, the growth since 1995 has been solid growth. There's been no post-election devaluation since 1994, a tendency that wiped out Mexican savings and discouraged capital formation.

In fairness, it should be noted that Mexico has done a tremendous amount of reform, and they should be lauded for it (I recommend the NYT's Sam Dillon and Julia Preston's Opening Mexico for those interested).

And there is a huge problem with NAFTA. It does nothing about ag subsidies here in the U.S., which drive Mexican farmers out business. The insanity of this situation became crystal clear when I saw a farmer complaining that without illegal aliens he couldn't grow iceberg lettuce in Yuma, Arizona. Unfortunately, the reporter didn't have the presence of mind to ask, "What the f*** are you doing growing lettuce in Arizona?"

Derek Copold said...

Lenny,

"Fear of change. Fear of yet another, different, culture integrating into the American melting pot yet, somehow, we'll lose our "values" this time? Is that the real argument here?"

Not all change is good, and, yes, we should be worried. Whatever one thinks of previous waves of immigration, the fact is it did change the country, and those living here should have a right and say in that change. That is not happening here. We have a large population that came here in defiance of the law, and due to a combination of business and ethnic lobbies, the law may be circumvented, waived aside.

Also, if you're going to cite previous waves and pound on about assimilation, you have to take into account the pauses in immigration which have made that possible.

As to the three-generation canard, the problem with that is almost all these "three-generation" households were here before the large wave hit. They really don't tell us anything about the current situation, where you have Spanish-language radio stations taking the largest share of the market.

"As Fox News stalwart Tony Snow wrote just a couple of months before becoming Bush’s press secretary, “Immigration is not the pox neo-Know Nothings make it out to be” (see “Where’s the Mayhem?”)."

The fact that a Bush Admin mouthpiece is calling my side of the argument names should tell you something.

"By that I mean if we remove all the quotas for how many people can get visas and such, then we make the path of least resistance for getting into the country the actual border checkpoints."

There are five billion (with a "b") people living in countries poorer than Mexico. Think about that. How many people do you want in this country? Because, if you get your way, lenny, a good part of that five billion will be headed our way.

Derek Copold said...

Lenny,

Also, if we're removing quotas, how well do you think we'll do check these people's backgrounds, screening out terrorists. We didn't do so well with Mohammed Atta, and he and his pals showed up here on Bill Clinton's watch.

This isn't a swipe at Clinton, as it would have surely happened under W or even the previous few presidents, but it shows how vulnerable we are with current "restricted" immigration levels. Imagine that situation w/o caps.

Don Quijote said...

Anybody who thinks it's terrible should have a definition of what success looks like, and a metric for measuring it.

Success: American Civilans walking down the street of any Iraqi city wearing Jeans, T-shirt and a backpack with an American Flag on it.

Failure: 60 to 90 dead Americans evry month, hundreds of wounded, tens of millions of dollars spent every month and body count that does not seem to end.

On the Iraqis murdering other Iraqis, that is primarily an Iraqi problem, to be solved by this or a future Iraqi government.

It's the result of American stupidity & idiocy And every American is responsible for those death, those tha voted for Shrub even more than the others.

PS. It's people like you (arogant, cold blodded, self-centered, self-satisfied bastards) who make me ashamed of being an American.

Don Quijote said...

Even the Republicans know this administration has screwed up. Do not waste cycles pointing it out.

See Tom Grey's post. How many others like him are their out there? I expect that it's a larger number than you imagine. I would say ~30% of the electorate, and nothing short of another great depression will change their minds.

Robert said...

On a lighter note...

> 3) Teacher won't shave until bin Laden caught. EPHRATA, Washington (AP) -- After the September 11 terrorist attacks, Gary Weddle followed the news so closely he forgot to shave. After a week he decided not to shave until Osama bin Laden was caught or killed. Nor has Weddle, 46, who expected the al Qaeda leader to be caught within a month or so, trimmed his facial hair in the succeeding five years as he went from substitute teacher to science instructor at Ephrata Middle School. At the start of each school year he gives students a brief explanation of his beard, which stretches more than a foot and has started turning gray.

Isn't it more likely the Bin Laden is already dead.

It is in Al Queda's interest to keep this hidden, and without 100% proof the US would be taking a big risk by prematurely announcing it.

Note: we have not seen a video since 2002 (?) and the few voice interviews are very poor quality audio tapes. Possibly recorded by one of his sons.

Stefan Jones said...

I think his Iraq war was a "B" success

Grade inflation. Just say "no!"

nothing short of another great depression . . .

How about a draft?

I relish the thought of tens of thousands of Young Republicans wondering whether to shoot themselves in the foot, flee to Canada, or start cross dressing.

Don Quijote said...

How about a draft?

I relish the thought of tens of thousands of Young Republicans wondering whether to shoot themselves in the foot, flee to Canada, or start cross dressing.


You are assuming that any draft written by these people would be fair and even-handed. Don't!

Any draft bill written by this goverment would be written in such a fashion that only poor people would be drafted.

David Brin said...

Dang Derek, try that stuff somewhere else. Many people here have read HOW TO LIE WITH STATISTICS.

WE KNOW THAT YOU KNOW THAT THE FRACTION OF AMERICA THAT WERE IMMIGRANTS WAS AT ITS ABOLUTE LOWEST IN 1950.

Oops sorry about the caps.

As for a draft, I am all for universal service.
Also for an aristocracy that helps pay for wars fought by other peoples' sons.

I think the most immoral and wretched thing about the neocons is this. "go and die while I get all the money!"

Other generations of aristocrats at least had the patriotism to pony up during a time of crisis...

... the surest sign that this is NOT a crisis. They -- those in the know -- are completely sure that they are safe. They are unafraid of terrorism, or else they'd be chipping in.

(Oh, the move of the wealthy/famous away from 1st class to special "charters" is a great un-mentioned scandal in america. First class has almost no rich or famous people anymore. Just businessmen and frequent flyer upgrades. No service at all. Because the rich/famous have avoided all the security problems by flying out of the charter terminal on regularly scheduled "charter" runs. Actually secret airlines.)

Oh, but we aren't moving toward a feudal caste system! No way! To say so is waging "class warfare."

monkyboy said...

I think you guys are being too hard on Tom.

He explained his reasoning. You may not agree with it, but it was logical.

It seems to me that not all humans are wired for logic.

Many blog posters I've run across, mainly on right-wing blogs, when confronted with an argument they don't agree with, write that they become angry and are even moved to commit violence.

Bush's policies are tailor-made for these people:

Do what we say or we'll kill you.

I imagine political debates must have been rather exciting back when dueling was used to settle disagreements...and when dueling was outlawed, many people lost their best means of persuasion...

Rob Perkins said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rob Perkins said...

David....

Oh man. You're calling Part 135 General Aviation "a secret airline?"

That's 'way over the top, in my opinion. Part 135 has been around for yeeeeeeeeeears.

*Of course* "First Class" means nothing anymore. As the badly managed big carriers managed things badly, the perks had to go. The hub-and-spoke legal-trusts set up by those airlines have more to do with the super-rich fraction-sharing it with Cessna than *anything* else, in my opinion.

Never ascribe to malice...

Lenny Zimmermann said...

Derek posted: "There are five billion (with a "b") people living in countries poorer than Mexico. Think about that. How many people do you want in this country? Because, if you get your way, lenny, a good part of that five billion will be headed our way."

Bring 'em on!

Immigration has always proven to be an economic boon to this country. Feel free not to bother following the links all you like, but I'm just not buying the myopic viewpoint that somehow suggests that this time around immigration is somehow "bad" for us.

Tully said...

To the best of my knowledge, I am the absolute only voice in media who has been relentlessly pointing out that:

(i) Bill Clinton doubled the number of active Border Patrol field agents as almost his first act in office, while
(ii) George W. Bush, upon becoming president, savagely cut the same agency!


Sorry, Dr. Brin. I saw you palm that card. Selective citation isn't pretty, and you're citing very selectively indeed.

Maybe the media noticed the details you left out. Such as the transfer of interior enforcement duties away from BP to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement along with the associated funding after 9/11, which actually increased the net applied on-the-border resources by freeing up Border Patrol to stick to the actual border, instead of chasing Costa Ricans in Cleveland.

Or that during the '90s Congress consistently funded many more BP agents than the Clinton budgets ever requested, leading to an increase in BP field agents that was NOT due to Clinton, but despite him (a total of over 3000 MORE agents authorized by Congress than requested by Clinton). In fact, Clinton's first budget called for CUTTING the BP by almost 100 agents. THAT was "almost his first act in office." He recovered nicely and began requesting increases, but Congress kept doubling up those requests and then some, leading to the massive increase of border agents you attribute solely to the Clinton admin. Had the number of BP agents in 2000 been determined by the Clinton admin budget requests, it would've been around 7000 total in 2000. Instead it was well over 10,000--because of Congress, not Clinton.

Oh, he signed the bills and he can take a share of the credit, but he was a reluctant player at first and a hesitant one throughout. But he didn't get active about assigning more border resources until the Cali and Arizona delegations leaned on him hard indeed in the '94 and '96 runups for more border fencing and better enforcement strategies. (Kudos to him for responding and not vetoing the higher requests submitted by Congress.)

Why, reading your little offering one would think that the number of BP agents actually FELL when Bush came into office, rather than RISING by 3000 over the last four years, and being requested in admin budgets to rise by another 6,000 in the next two years. One might also get the mistaken idea that Congress itself has nothing at all to do with authorizing and funding actual government spending!

Heh.

praxcelis said...

Off topic reply, but I cited your article "Listen to Nature and Accept Her Adamant Plan" in a digg thread today:

Time To Move The Mississippi, Experts Say

So you beat the "experts" by about a year on this one... I thought you should be mentioned in this discussion.

David Brin said...

Contorting in pretzels, using statistics, does not work when the whole thing is bloody obvious. Clinton's constituency -- organized labor -- has always hated illegal immigration while supporting lots of LEGAL immigration.

Um, duh? You can organized legal immigrant workers, you cannot organize and unionize illegals, who simply undermine hard-won things like minimum wage laws and create lots of non-union shops.

It takes very few neurons to see why George Bush's constituency pushes for the opposite priority, floods of illegals who can create a new serf class and help undermine the unions.

What is appalling is that blatant and obvious facts like Gatekeeper, and Clinton's VIGOROUS increase in the Border Patrol, can be downplayed by writhing and twisting like a corkscrew, belittling it as re-directing forces (untrue) or crediting the GOP led Congress (a laugher).

Likewise, almost W's very first act, upon entering office, was to cripple the BP, yet the rationalizers are hard at work, supporting a common mythology that is diametrically opposite to truth.

----

Praxelcis, thanks for pointing to the news that officials in Louisiana are seriously pondering allowing the Mississippi river to change course in a more natural fashion to rebuild the delta.

Alas, reading the article more carefully, you see why I was not cited for my earlier articles on the subject.
(e.g.: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CDNL3S)

The reason is that both in that Amazon/shorts article and in my novel EARTH, I am talking about the change that the Mississippi ITSELF wants to make, a much greater shift, a hundred miles UPSTREAM of New Orleans, at the Old River Control Dam, which today strenuously resists the river's drive and shove to follow a new course down the Achafalaya valley.

The article you cite shows one more tepid and expensive effort to put off that major shift, by relieving some of the burden DOWNSTREAM of New Orleans. Certainly a welcome shift in perspective from the pre-Katrina ostritch stance. But still a case of utter denial and failure of long range perspective.

Derek Copold said...

Dr. Brin,

"Dang Derek, try that stuff somewhere else. Many people here have read HOW TO LIE WITH STATISTICS.

WE KNOW THAT YOU KNOW THAT THE FRACTION OF AMERICA THAT WERE IMMIGRANTS WAS AT ITS ABOLUTE LOWEST IN 1950."

If you look at the link monkeyboy provided, you'll see that fraction and the absolute number of foreign-born Americans was LESS in both 1960 and 1970. So, while the number of immigrants was declining in relative and absolute terms, we had a very successful economy, which is contrary to the specific point monkeyboy was making about healthy economies always welcoming immigrants.

Here's the link:
http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0029/tab01.html

Again, you might find it more helpful to avoid unnecessarily inflammatory accusations when making an argument.

monkyboy said...

Derek,

You had written:

We had a functional economy in the 1950s, a colossus of an economy, but we had almost no immigration.

The link I provided showed that your statement wasn't true...

David Brin said...

Oh right. 1960 is HUGELY different than 1950 . Big deal.

And Derek, have a thinck skin! It's required here.

You are welcome... and welcome to argue away!. That should suffice.

Derek Copold said...

monkeyboy,

"We had a functional economy in the 1950s, a colossus of an economy, but we had almost no immigration.

The link I provided showed that your statement wasn't true..."

Well, not really, mb. The link showed that we had immigrants,, not immigration, and the following two decades' numbers prove that. The number of foreign born in both absolute numbers and percentages drops over the next 20 years.

Derek Copold said...

"Oh right. 1960 is HUGELY different than 1950 . Big deal."

And 1970?

Even if it was the lowest percentage, that doesn't matter because my point was precisely how low immigration was at that point and that the economy was still quite robust.

"And Derek, have a thinck skin! It's required here."

Sorry, but being called a liar rubs me the wrong way. If you think I'm wrong, fine. If you think my argument is idiotic, ignorant or laughable, say so. I will admit to having made some pretty big boners in my lifetime. But if you're going to impugn my integrity, you should be able to back it up.

David Brin said...

Oh, chill. You know damn well I was refering to a book title.

Don't stretch patience, Derek. Your views are tinged with a redolence of xenophobia that most of us don't care for, and yet we've been pretty darn welcoming, I figger.

In fact, most anti-immigrant rhetoric and "statistics" turn out to be utter tripe. One nation absorbed more immigrants than any other and one nation utterly dominated world culture for 150 years. Uh, they were the same.

I am no tolerance fetishist. I want the borders manned and guarded, because I prefer legal immigration over illegal... (the democrat agenda). Indeed, I am less tolerant of "family reunion" based immigration and want more emphasis put back on skills and gumption.

Still, this is outright silly bugaboo. THE reason why we won't be a nation of old farts, in 20 years -- like Japan and Europe, is because we absorb the brightest from a world that sends its sassy ambitious ones here.

Derek Copold said...

"Oh, chill. You know damn well I was refering to a book title."

Yes, and you did so to imply I was being dishonest. You claimed I said something with dishonest intent. Now you seem to be backing off that, which is about as close to a retraction as I suppose I'll get.

"Your views are tinged with a redolence of xenophobia that most of us don't care for, and yet we've been pretty darn welcoming, I figger."

Most posters have been very polite, and I appreciate it.

As for the xenophobia suggestion, I grew up in a border town, and my wife is an Arabic immigrant. I see a side of this issue that many people don't see, and I see it up front and personal. There are good things, but there are also bad aspects of immigration, and labeling them "xenophobic" won't make them go away.

"One nation absorbed more immigrants than any other and one nation utterly dominated world culture for 150 years. Uh, they were the same."

First, I'm not sure "dominating" world culture is a good in itself that the government should pursue, certainly not a good that should take priority over the good of its own citizens. Second, even if it is, we did this amidst a significant pause in immigration. Again, the rise of American power came amidst a very long time out. Third, each wave did create significant problems, like crime, corruption and ethnic conflict. In the long, long term these things were worked out (due to the pauses I mentioned), but in the short term there was a lot suffering, and that's not something we should just blow past.

Immigration is a policy. Treated rightly, it can be a boon. Treatly wrongly it can be curse. You can have too much of a good thing.

"I want the borders manned and guarded, because I prefer legal immigration over illegal... (the democrat agenda). Indeed, I am less tolerant of "family reunion" based immigration and want more emphasis put back on skills and gumption."

Well, I can tell you right now that the Democrat agenda is not your agenda, or at least the agenda you're describing here. The Democratic Party favors the McCain-Kennedy bill, alon with Bush. It will do the very opposite of what you describe. It will allow companies to canvas the whole globe to bid down labor costs. It keeps chain migration, and it validates (for the second time in a quarter century) the invalidation of our laws. The GOP fatcats like that, and the ethnic lobbies in the Democratic Party are willing to go along because they want the electoral power this change in demographics will bring. Nor will it solve illegal immigration. Quite the opposite: it will inflate illegal immigration because it will send out the unhealthy message that all one need do is get in, hang on and wait for the next round of amnesty. We saw this with the 1986 bill.

"THE reason why we won't be a nation of old farts, in 20 years -- like Japan and Europe, is because we absorb the brightest from a world that sends its sassy ambitious ones here."

Do you really think the Mexican government is fighting so hard to force its best and its brightest on us? If you do, I have a ski lodge in Quintana Roo to sell you.

monkyboy said...

Derek,

If most of the problems from illegal immigration are limited to border towns, are you really surprised the national effort to combat it is so...hollow?

Derek Copold said...

"...we absorb the brightest from a world that sends its sassy ambitious ones here."

Quizas, y afortunadamente, puedo hablar con ellos, o, por lo menos, la gran parte de ellos. Pero no podemos decir lo mismo de la mayoria de norteamericanos. Desgraciadamente, el cuidadano ordinario no tiene ni la faciliad ni el tiempo para aprender un idioma extrano con dominio. Este fenomeno creara dos clases monolingues y bajas a lo lado de un minoria selecta que sera bilingue. La inegualidad mas grande que se ve actualmente sera el futuro del nuesto pais.

Ya basta. Estas seran mis ultimas palabras aqui sobre este tema. Dudo que sean las ultimas de esta conversacion, pero, si no puedas leerlas, estaras chingado de todos modos, y tendre la ultima risa.

David Brin said...

Derek, I am not going to get embroiled. I do not have the time. You are obviously intelligent and both wordy and combative... it takes one to know one.

Although it will strike you as unfair, let me say this. You strike me as very smug, superior, and sure of yourself... NONE of which are crimes here!

But you also hold fast to views that border on repulsive to many of us. Again, no crime. Feel free to provide us with well-parsed expressions of how you see the world, replete with what you call evidence... which I am sure appears overwhelming to you...

...and most definitley does NOT seem so to most of us.

By all means get into exchanges with Monkyboy and Don! Should be enjoyable. I already plan to cite you as an "example". That bugs M & D and I am sure it will bug you. Live with it. CHuckle. Take it well.

Only get this. Because you are very clearly mincing along the borders of outright revulsion, I ask that you NOT ALSO GET ALL INDIGNANT WHEN SOME OF US SAY SO!

That is too much. You are a guest here. And you have been prickly, offended, hurt, self-righteous and outraged from the very start.

Monkyboy and DonQ, our resident commies, do NOT do that! They give and take without wallowing in self-pity. We have several liberatarians and a number of Goldwater republicans and THEY DO NOT DO THAT EITHER.

I DO IT now and then, I admit, but this is MY playground and so you are all certain to get me in my dour, sour moods, now and then. Tough. When a guy shuffles into his living room in fuzzy slippers and finds messy house guests, it is his privilege to snarl NOT THEIRS. Again, you don't have that privilege. Spare us the moral dudgeon.

Either come here with a thick skin and STOP THE WHINING, or else just go away. Knowing that you were NOT rejected because of your (borderline repulsive) opinions.

If you are rejected, it will be because of the whining. period.

Consider carefully what you say next.

(Guys, care to lay down bets?)

Derek Copold said...

Dr. Brin,

Seeing how you treat your guests, I wear your contempt with honor.

Do what you will.

To the other posters, thank you for the conversation and responses.

Best.

David Brin said...

Aha. Boy would I have cleaned up...

...thoguh I doubt any of you would have taken the bet.

The sad thing is how easily a smart guy could have adapted and been welcome, and even made a useful contribution.

Humanity is SO close to modernist-enlightenment solutions that could bring a Golden Age. If we fail, I am certain that the phenomenon described at:
http://www.davidbrin.com/addiction.html
will be the ultimate culprit.

Mea culpa... I am at times as bad as anyone, at wallowing in these poisons. But with one key difference. I re-evaluate later. Always.

Maybe thie fellah will, too. Wish him well.

Rob Perkins said...

coulda woulda shoulda...

And, I had DQ pegged as more of an anarchist than a communist. Ah me...

David Brin said...

Yup. He'd be among the 1st against the wall, afterthe revolution came. And I mean that as a compliment.

Don Quijote said...

Communist, now I am really insulted.:)
Anarchist, probably closer..

I think of myself as a Libertarian- Socialist, Libertarian on Social Issues (couldn't care less as to whether or not you go to church, or how you get your jollies) and an economic socialist(What's the point of being the wealthiest country in the world if 20% of the population lives in poverty).

He'd be among the 1st against the wall, after the revolution came.
Considering how long it's going to take, I am not to worried. I'll either be pushing daisies or I'll be so old that the wall will look good.

Jonathan said...

"He'd be among the 1st against the wall, afterthe revolution came."

Would that be before or after the Public Relations Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation?

W.B. Reeves said...

Alas, I returned to the table too late for a second course. I will drop one last observation. Derek appears to enjoy the role of persecuted "truth" teller. So much so that he dresses up for the role. The garment of contempt that he promises to wear so proudly is a costume of his own design and making.

Straight forward disagreement, even the bluntest criticism, are not indicative of contempt. They are, in fact, signs that one is being taken seriously and worthy of serious treatment.

OTOH, an assumed pose of moral and intellectual superiority, both unearned and undemonstrated, culminating in the falsification of the criticisms raised is both contemptious as well contemptable.

learner said...

The discussion that immigration issues are different in border states does raise a few questions.

The great characteristic of true immigrants, defined as those who relocate for a new career and life style, is that they are risk takers. Not afraid of change or less afraid of change than of the consequences of staying where they are coming from. Neurolinguistic has always claimed that 95% of populations do not like change. So true immigrants make up that 5%. North America was populated (some would say invaded) and settled by that 5%. But we continually need and have received, through flows of immigrants, more of the 5%ers. This is especially true as we have prospered and some of us become 95%ers. The good news that the 5% mind set(risk taker/change maker) is embedded for the most part in the culture and we reward it with our economic system.

My point is that those who just step across the border and go no further are hedging their bets, keeping one foot in each culture. These people may not be true 5%ers. I will also have to say that with today's transportation and communications systems one really does not ever have to feel far from our home/home country. So the old test of relocation may no longer be the sign of risk taking that it once symbolized. Today this is particularly true of the more educated immigrants because they already know and have experienced the Internet and its great ability to keep in touch with home before embarking for our shores. It is also being reflected in how many of them are returning to their native countries after having lived and been educated here.

An interesting historical paper could be written about the low immigrations rates mentioned earlier. Could it be that two world wars had relieved population pressures on much of the world and that there was so much change that the 5%ers did not need to move? or that the fact that so many of our young men who had gone overseas in those wars and faced death and destruction, found risk taking easier on return and so we did not need the 5%er influx. We have always claimed that the American citizen soldier in those wars was an asset because they were more likely than others to take initiative and innovate at lower levels than our competitors.
That's another subject I know but it is why I am for universal service.

David thanks for providing the sand box.

Vernon said...

David,

I decided to try out the discussion of the billions spent on investigating the Clinton admin with no convictions. Unfortunately, the results were not what I expected. The quick reply was that Clinton didn't have to pardon people because he simply eliminated them. I was treated to vague stories of all the people in his administration who died of mysterious causes (they seemed big on suicides where people had been shot in the back of the head) before they could provide evidence. I pointed out that the only case of this that I'd heard of (Vincent Foster) had been discredited as a vile smear job (not those words, I was trying to get through). But they'd heard that there were hundreds of similar cases from Rush and considered him a more credible source than me.

While I continue to believe that the true facts must be pushed, it's worth accepting that its power over raw propaganda is limited.

learner said...

Well rather than rattling on about possible history papers I decided to do an internet search. duh?

Haven't found the US numbers and causes yet but I did discover the reason why the Palestinians have not been assimulated by the Arab nations, cheap migrant labor.

IAW Wikkipedia....
The highest percentages of migrants in the labour force are found in the Gulf States, 90% in the United Arab Emirates, 86% in Qatar, 82% in Kuwait, 64% in Oman.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration#Global_Migration_Statistics

Guess who most of those migrants are?