First - see me blather in the next “Life After People” - Tuesday on the History Channel. I offer some way-out speculations!
And now the political lamp is lit: This item wasn’t at the top of the news, but it did make page one of the Times: “Obama budget puts security first at the border - He'll ask Congress to help curb the flow of arms to Mexico before seeking any immigration reform.”
This is a complex topic, with some strange twists. But first, let me quote a forecast that I made, way back in December 08, in my “100 Suggestions for the Obama Administration.” This one really deserves a spot in any Predictions Registry.
“If I seemed to lean a little "left" in some of my earlier missives criticizing a worldwide drift toward crony-aristocratism, and then to the right in supporting a repair of the U.S. military, and then left again by pushing the vital importance of citizen-level resilience... then prepare for another of my patented sudden veers! Because I believe the Obama Administration can, should... and will... act swiftly to regain control over the borders of the United States. In fact, I will lay heavy odds that he does it very soon.”
Although many sneered with doubt, alas, nobody had the guts to meet my bet (and offer of odds!) with real cash. Too bad, because President Obama has given high priority -- and budgetary support -- to regaining control over the borders of the United States, exactly when and as I expected. Let’s go back to my prediction:
”This may sound surprising, but it shouldn't, if you had been paying attention to one of the great ironies of the last 16 years -- one that lay in plain sight, largely unnoticed. As one of his first acts upon entering office, Bill Clinton doubled the number of field agents in the Border Patrol. And one of George W. Bush’s first endeavors was to savagely undercut that service.
“It sounds counter-intuitive, of course, and neither political party ever spoke up about it much. But the reasons are simple. Democrats like legal immigration, which results in lots of new voters and new union workers, while illegals drain resources, get embroiled (against their will) into crime, and prevent domestic programs from achieving full effectiveness. On the other hand, Republicans -- well, not your neighbors, but some influential people near the top of the party -- like access to pools of cheap, undocumented labor that won’t talk back. Only when border state citizens began getting riled did the GOP start talking tough about immigration. And talk, for the most part, is all they ever did.”
The correlation is now perfect. Democrats boost border patrol and enforcement, but hate talking about it, because much of their base is made up of people for whom generosity is a zealous canon. Hence, Obama needed an excuse, something to distract from his real reasons for regaining control at the border (reversing emphasis from illegal to legal immigration.) He found his excuse with the ongoing drug gang violence in Mexico. Blaming much of that chaos on U.S.-originating weaponry, he can claim that the new agents will be there foremost to stanch the southward flow of guns.
Now, the right wing punditocracy and blogosphere has been derisive -- and this time with some cause! The purported “statistics,” proving that most Mexican gang-guns came from the U.S. , are very weak and show signs of being cludged. Anyway, if the cash-rich mobs want guns, there are countless places to get them. So it’s a rationalization, all right.
But while Dobbs and Limbaugh & co. eagerly pounced on this discrepancy with ridicule, they have to be very careful about is not letting their audiences dwell too long or think too deeply about any one matter. They must keep up the rapid armwaving, pointing rapidly thither and yon, in order to distract Red America from connecting the dots. For if rural or conservative whites ever realize which party is always pragmatically better at defending our borders... or maintaining military readiness, or strengthening alliances, or creating a good climate for small businesses, or nurturing a strong economy... then it will be all over for the neoconservative-GOP shell game.
Limbaugh et. al. have to keep it all about simplistic strawmen and ideological stereotypes (e.g. after the most corrupt and wastrel administration of all time pummeled US capitalism nearly flat, scream that the new one is “socialist!”) Because, if the natural anti-authoritarianism of the people living in heartland “red” counties can ever turn away from reflex hatred of bureaucrats, long enough to rediscover Americans’ traditional distrust of fatcat aristocratic thieves, then... well... Rush Limbaugh will have to get a real job.
Even more important, genuine classic conservatives and libertarians will have a chance - at long last - to rescue their movement from the freakshow denizens who have hijacked it.
Also see my posting: Rejigger the Immigration Debate
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On April 28 the Senate passed financial fraud legislation that would allow for the creation of an investigative panel modeled after the Depression-era Pecora Commission, which unearthed the crimes that led to the 1929 economic collapse. Some are calling on the House of Representatives to act on creating an independent, muscular probe into the roots of today's financial crisis.
Comics writer Mark Sable was detained by TSA security guards at Los Angeles International Airport this past weekend because he was carrying a script for a new issue of his comic miniseries Unthinkable. Sable was detained while traveling to New York for a debut party at Jim Hanley's Universe today. The comic series follows members of a government think tank that was tasked with coming up with 9/11-type "unthinkable" terrorist scenarios that now are coming true.
NOTE, I will add a lagniappe below, under comments -- an older item, pointing out that Adam Smith is not the only icon of freedom and liberal markets who has been abandoned by the far right. Now they have latched onto Thomas Paine. But they will soon drop him like a live grenade... and I’ll tell you why.