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Border Battles

Re: W. James Antle III’s Comprehensive Confusion:

I haven’t read the Gutierrez-Flake bill, and I should before I pop off, but if I read correctly the following sentence from Mr. Antle’s piece, and the sentence is accurate about the bill, then it is all I need to form an opinion against this piece of legislation. Antle writes: “Gutierrez-Flake would admit another 400,000 new guest workers per year on top of the illegal immigrants seeking to adjust their status.”

If I read correctly, the 400,000 new guest workers per year would be cumulative; i.e., 400,000 one year, an additional 400,000 the following year, and so on. So that in five years there would two million, in ten years four million. That in addition to the estimated twelve million illegals already here, and however many more illegals would slip in even as the “guest workers” were being invited in. So the ranks of no-skill or low-skill, poorly educated, non-assimilating people from Third World countries would continue to grow, with insufficient thought in Washington about the long-term implications, with only short-term fuzziness about current labor needs in a few industries…and with, of course, much machination about partisan political advantage.

Yes, I understand, or at least I think I do, that the term “guest worker” means the worker goes home at the end of a growing season, the end of particular project, or the end of specified time period. Sorry, I don’t believe it. I don’t believe our governmental bureaucracies have the ability or the will to enforce the return home. And why should I believe it? Has this or any other government (The White House and the Congress) going back to the Reagan administration ever done one thing to inspire our confidence that they have the will and the administrative skills to effectively address and handle the immigration problem? Or that they even recognize it?

How do Gutierrez and Flake even know how many “guest workers” may be needed in the years ahead? On what is this projection based? Even if it is a reasonable projection, why the focus on letting in more low-wage workers, thus helping to continue the downward spiral of real wages for most other workers (CEOs and Congressmen exempted, of course)?

Why do so many in Washington persist in trying to make this whole issue more complicated than it need be? Just do what it takes, whatever it takes, to bring illegal immigration as close to zero as possible: figuratively, and if necessary literally, seal the border(s). Then allow in only new immigrants who possess a minimum level of education, who demonstrably possess skills needed for real, full-time jobs which pay a competitive living wage and which demonstrably cannot be filled by native workers; in other words, workers who will be an asset to rather than a net drain on our economy. As for “guest workers,” fine, bring them in, but only as precisely needed to supplement the workforce; and by God have the mechanisms in place to ensure that the guests don’t overstay their welcome.

And what about the illegals already here? I’ve never seen the question polled, but I’d bet that if one were to ask — Would you be willing to accept the illegals already here and allow them citizenship with some relatively minor requirements if you could be assured that the government was going to put a dead-end stop to further illegal immigration and also effectively manage the comings and goings of so-called ‘guest workers? — that a large majority would respond in the affirmative, as if to say: yes, please, that would be a small price to pay to have our government finally get its act together and stop playing footloose and fancy-free with the futures of our children and grandchildren!
C. Vail

Mr. Antle writes, “Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that stepped up enforcement seems to have caused significant disruptions in illegal immigration: ‘Previous crackdowns have served only to shift illegal crossings to new areas, but so far this year there are no signs that the border has sprung another leak. Apprehensions have decreased in every area along the Southwest border, in some places by more than two-thirds.'”

Could someone please tell me how this proves that enforcement in more effective and more vigorous? All this proves to me is that there are fewer illegal aliens being intercepted and arrested. How many Border Patrol agents, with two of their number in jail for attempting to enforce the law, are simply saying that the risk of doing their job is too high, so they look the other way as tens and hundreds of illegals scurry by them.

How many southwestern sheriff’s deputies, with one of their number in jail for attempting to enforce the laws, are saying that the risk of dipping their toe into these federal waters is not worth the risk to their health, their jobs, and their freedom. I would not be surprised to find that they are being much more careful about who they stop for traffic violations in their jurisdictions.

I also wonder, if we can lose 600,000 illegal aliens that have been ordered deported, how in the world am I to assume that we even know whether illegal border crossings are up or down, or how many illegal aliens are in the country in total. It is estimated that something in excess of 10% of the Mexican citizenry are now in America. Really? Couldn’t it be more like 20%? How many are being harbored on the various properties, commercial and private, of the many members of the Bush clan in Texas, or Florida, or wherever?

I applaud Mr. Antle for trying to write an article regarding this problem, but with all due respect, any claims to factual certitude on virtually any aspect of the problem are a very bad joke.
Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

W. James Antle has it exactly right. This comprehensive nonsense is exactly that.

If strong border enforcement works, keep it up. Impose significant fines on employers who hire anyone without a green card. Oh, and by the way, whatever happened to denying all local, state, and federal services to illegals and their children? That would seem to me to be the best way to lighten the load and lessen the number of illegals who want to stay.

Note to Mexican Immigrants: Come in legally, and we welcome you. Add speaking English to that and you are the perfect immigrant. Otherwise expect nothing—and that includes a job.

It seems to me if we enforce the laws we already have, we will be fine. I will vote for any candidate who has it right on immigration and the war.
Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

I am not for any bill that even smells like AMNESTY. The first thing these people did coming into America was break the law and now government wants to reward them. Seems to me ILLEGALS are more important than citizens. The Democrats and RINO’s are bending over backwards for letting them stay and trying mightily to find a word that does not sound like amnesty.

If you want to send FREE faxes to the people you have sent to Washington, join They are fighting hard to stop this hoax called “temporary worker card”.
Elaine Kyle

I think it’s Mr. Antle III who’s confused! Gutierrez-Flake allows far more than 400,000 new guest workers per year. The 400,000 is just one aspect of the bill and even it has an automatic escalator to 600,000. Besides that, they double the H1B visas, give amnesty to farm workers through AGJOBS and amnesty to students through the Dream Act. Not to mention that there are probably 20 to 25,000,000 current illegal aliens, not 12,000,000 as stated. Oh, don’t forget that every one of them can import their spouses, children, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and in-laws as soon as they get legal status.
Gary Whitney

W. James Antle III replies:
At 697 pages, I’m sure there are other items in the bill that are bound to come out.

It’s true that the 400,000 is a ceiling, not a floor, and there are other immigration increases in the bill. I’ve never heard the 25 million figure for illegals; 20 million by Bear Stearns is the highest credible estimate I’m aware of, though the numbers could have risen some since that study was done.

As for the illegal border crossings, it is indeed difficult to know anything with certainty about something that is by definition undocumented as well as early to make any ironclad determination about the efficacy of recent enforcement efforts. But apprehensions can be a rough proxy for crossings, combined with the other reporting on the subject.

Re: Michael Fumento’s It’s the Calories, Fatso:

It’s all about money these days, nothing else. The diet gurus mentioned in your article want to sell billions of their food products. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, et al. are just mass food sellers owned by large corporate conglomerates, who hide behind the facade of promoting health. I doubt their food is any healthier that other processed foods available in American’s supermarkets, but they are more expensive.

I’m convinced that every study needs to be looked at carefully to see who paid for it and who will profit from its use. The ban on trans fats we have now in New York was probably due to studies paid for by the companies who make the non-trans fat oil so they can sell their products. Who knows how much they contributed to the mayor’s favorite charity and the city council to get their ban. We know that it won’t do anything to promote health and weight loss, but the city might make a lot of money when they can levy fines against the restaurants who fail to follow along.

Lawsuits have come against fat food restaurants because people got obese there. Well, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure that if you consume 5 Big Macs or 5 Whoppers along with French fries and soda and hot apple pies every day, you are going to get fat. But there are too many lawyers out there who have to make a buck. And since the McDonalds and Burger Kings of the world have deep pockets, it’s a good place to start.
New York

Thank the Lord of Glory that we live in a land of plenty, where overeating is the problem rather than its antithesis, which is much more common worldwide. Your photo of a jumbo burger deluxe, mega fries, and a large coke for this article made me very hungry. I love this country!
David Shoup
Grovetown, Georgia

Re: Eric Peters’s Safety at All Costs:

Love the site. Love the article! This point can’t be stressed enough, along with the burden mandatory insurance places on the poor outside of convenient transit areas. More articles on the harm the insurance lobby does to the middle class and poor “for their own good” would be a blessing.
Robert Link

Eric Peters is right on the money. His analysis of diminishing returns for auto safety devices reflects the entire socialist ethic: To incrementally gut the finances and freedoms of every citizen through invasive, busybody lawmaking. Like the environmentalists who move their goalposts every time you turn around, we end up spending as much to remove the last 1% of pollution as we spent to clean up the first 99%. And then we’re all dead, unless we act now to curb the hand-wringers and harassers of the left.
Steve Nikitas
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Eric, great article. What are the laws pertaining to air bag replacement after a very low impact accident? My son’s Honda Civic had airbag deployment with very little body damage, and most people that have been there before said they cut the old one out and kept on driving it that way. Is that illegal? Thanks,
Randy Kittilson

Re: Mark E. Hyman’s From Ehrlich to Gore:

Al Gore has a long history of reinventing himself, so we can hope this is simply another awkward “phase” he’ll eventually outgrow (no pun intended). He has at various times discarded the old Al and morphed into new and improved versions. Just in recent years we have seen the dynamic Alpha Male Al, the laid back Earth Tones Al, the fiery evangelist Preacher Al, and the current Al — Savior of Planet Earth.

In fact, I’ve wondered if Al’s weight gain may reflect his subconscious desire to become the planet he hopes to save. Just a theory at this point — but if he starts calling his head the “north pole” and the belt around his girth the “equator”…
Doug Roll
Jacksonville, Texas

The most effective way to stop Al Gore’s “faith-based environmental evangelism” is to defeat the Democrats in elections. Global warming is just another front in the bloodless civil war we call politics.
Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

15,000 years ago two cavemen were having this conversation:

“I don’t understand it. We drink pure water, the air is clean and we eat organic food. How come we only live to be 35?”

Re: Ralph R. Reiland’s Radical Disillusionment:

The article on Emma Goldman was enlightening. She was a character in Reds, Warren Beatty’s 1981 epic that, intentionally or not on the part of its maker, serves as a stinging rebuke of the Soviet Union. The best history lesson in regards to communism is to simply present it without embellishment, and let the facts speak for themselves. Warren Beatty is one of the most liberal people in Hollywood (it goes without saying), and he managed to make a 3 1/2 hour, $40 million epic that inadvertently underscored both Ronald Reagan’s characterization of the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” and Solidarity’s brave defiance of that same evil empire in the early ’80s. John Reed, the journalist played by Beatty, is an American communist who goes to Russia, and learns a harsh lesson about who the real oppressors are. Same lesson that Ms. Goldman learned.
Robert Ellis

Re: Mari Yoshihari’s letter (“Toward Racial Harmony”) in Reader Mail’s Classical Class:

Mari Yoshihari makes several questionable statements in her rebuttal.

First, she writes that “most people agree that the fact that there are few women in the sciences and engineering is less due to their ‘innate’ abilities than to the years of gendered socialization and the absence of female role models in the field.” While most people may agree about this, whether the conclusion can be considered a fact is another question. Whatever the case, biological differences that may be responsible for various achievements is something that cannot be discussed very openly within the academic community, today. And that is a fact.

Secondly, the professor writes, “if the U.S. Marines indeed runs so brilliantly as Mr. Orlet suggests, it sure owes its success to those youths who dedicate themselves to serving the nation which has long failed to deliver the dreams promised to them, one that does not even give them access to fine music.”

I don’t know what she means by this since she does not explain, but offers it simply as an open statement. Perhaps this is only a function of the limitations of a letters section. Speaking generally, it is probably true that the “nation” has long failed certain youth. But perhaps not in the way I suspect she would argue. On the other hand, maybe she means to highlight the fact that schools have abandoned the quest for excellence, and that a classical education is no longer seen as something worthwhile. In any case, her statement that the “nation” (whatever that means) denies anyone access to “fine music” is absurd, and her idea that “diversity” in classical music can only be achieved through “greater socioeconomic equality” is just as questionable. It is as if she is implying that talent and interests can be evenly distributed if only incomes were equivalent.

Let me offer a somewhat relevant anecdote. Sometime ago I attended a jazz concert performed by the Wynton Marsalis quartet. Few want to argue against the proposition that jazz is, or at least should be, a premier black art form. Yet, looking around in the audience I saw only a handful of blacks; it was mostly NPR-type white guys with their dates. Maybe Thursday night was just not good for them. Maybe they had concluded that Marsalis was simply an uninspired Miles Davis clone and were, therefore, not particularly interested. It was a mystery to me, and I was a bit saddened that what we regard as our uniquely American art form, and an art form derived from the black experience, was mostly ignored by them. So, if racial diversity is a problem, it seems that it is just not a problem for “classical” music — at least as far as paying listeners are concerned.
Michael Presley
Orlando, Florida

The good professor makes some interesting points. In the world of jazz, however, where very serious musicianship is also called for, you’ll find a very pronounced (and unfortunate) absence of blacks. There are, I think, two primary reasons, partially explained by music directors and musicians of varying hues.

Reason number one was basic “disinterest”; the rappers/hip-hop bunch have received so much attention, despite the blacks’ history in jazz, the young are looking elsewhere. A damned shame. Of the major, award winning high school bands in recent years, several schools from the Seattle area have been consistently in the top-five, and, in those bands (although the music directors may be black and there’s a sizable black population) there were only a handful of young African-American musicians. They’re doing “other things” and don’t appear interested in their heritage. The annual September Kemah Jazz Festival (south of Houston) is another illustration — the vast majority in the younger bands are white, the leaders/directors often African-American.

The second reason was primarily parents and school board priorities. The arts, including jazz, are a major part of the Texas Gulf Coast/Brazoria County area — there’s more per-capita interest than I’ve observed anywhere, and I’ve been fortunate to travel a great deal — the people, simply, give-a-damn, and you start to see/hear it in middle schools. The parents often provide for private lessons, but they insist that the music programs (of all types, not just jazz), art and drama departments are funded and staffed with top-notch people, far superior to what one might expect in a relatively small population area. The dedication of the (very underpaid, in my estimation) music instructors is extraordinary!

For example, I’d place Brazoswood High School’s TWO jazz bands with any in the country! They’re the “farm system” for Brazosport College’s exceptional music programs, and the teachers (Koch, Casey, Birk and Mason) are not only highly professional, but they obviously LOVE what they do, and the halls are packed with appreciative audiences. One kid graduated last year, has played with the likes of Benny Golson and the late Maynard Ferguson, and was last seen blowing lead trumpet with the Glenn Miller touring band. Other students have been acknowledged in a number of awards and competitions, far beyond what you’d expect for a relatively small population base (and we have terrific choral programs and a symphony as well).

Mostly, I’d guess, it’s a question of priorities. Most black kids simply don’t appear to be aware of this magical heritage, and have chosen “rap.” It’s popular with that age and, sadly, they’re not looking elsewhere, like jazz and/or classical music. Too bad.

Latinos, on the other hand, are in all the programs, pretty much proportionate with the population, and that’s good.
Geoff Brandt

As someone who grew up in a poor family, my appreciation for classical music comes from the simple fact that my mother exposed me to the music in the first place. Mom knew how to play the piano, and there were many a night that I fell to sleep listening to her play Moonlight Sonata and many others great compositions. She also had a collection of “music box” wall hangings that “played” snippets from the composer whose relief was on the box. The only surprise I had later in life was hearing all these songs played on a tuned piano. I finally realized Mom’s occasional wincing during playing wasn’t required or due to any pain except in her ears.

The point is we weren’t middle class though we certainly had aspirations to be such. It wasn’t the money, it was the exposure. Heck, I didn’t even KNOW about Rock & Roll until well after I knew Beethoven, Mozart, and others.

Finally, I have a major beef with this line: “If the U.S. Marines indeed runs so brilliantly as … it sure owes its success to those youths who dedicate themselves to serving the nation which has long failed to deliver the dreams promised to them, one that does not even give them access to fine music.” I wasn’t aware that there was any promise made by “the nation” to any dream. One can look all over the Constitution and find no mention of promises or dreams other than an implication (pursuit of happiness) that we, as individuals, can pursue our own dreams.

I wouldn’t want a dream promised to me by a nation or government since it would be someone else’s dream, not mine. Besides, I believe we have enough examples in the world, present and past, of what happens when dreams are promised by governments: Soviet Union, China, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and a host of others.

The government was never supposed to give me “access to fine music.” Mom was, and did.

Thanks, Mom, for everything.
Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah

Re: Unsigned’s letter (under “Alan Reynolds’ Income and Wealth“) in Reader Mail’s Classical Class and James Srodes’s Terms of Enrichment:

I must disagree with “unsigned’s” supposition that “These statistical games are amusing diversions, but prove nothing.” There is an unwritten theorem used extensively by statisticians, politicians, advertising people, Algore, and others which states: “figures don’t lie, but liars figure”. Other than that…
C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

Re: Greg F.’s letter (under “Easy Bigotry”) in Reader Mail’s Classical Class:

If evangelicals won’t vote for Mormons, why should Mormons vote for evangelicals? If bigots like Greg F. want to make sure that the GOP never nominates another religious candidate again, so be it.
Adam G.

You seem to title opposition to Romney on the basis of his membership in a cult as bigotry in your letters. Would your editors consider a scientologist for President? A moonie? A yellow dog if it were Republican? Where would you draw the line and be willing to admit that it is legitimate to look at a candidate’s religion? Mormons believe that they can become Gods. They believe that God and Satan are brothers, that God physically slept with Mary, that the American Indians are actually lost tribes of Israel. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was a bigamist who lied to his wife about his bigamy. Mormons believe in multiple gods. They are polytheists that claim to be Christian. Etc., etc. The stuff about American Indians actually being Jewish is the one that really gets me since it so obviously false. Christians have proof that the Jewish tribes lived in Israel, they have engravings about Pontius Pilate, historical documents that mention Christ and the Christians, etc….none of that for this bizarre Mormon idea of Israeli Indians. Where Christianity should be supported by evidence, it is, where Mormonism should be supported by evidence it is not. Mormonism is a pretty wacky cult when you look at its beliefs, and it is an aggressive and wealthy one. Do we want to build it up? Do you really want to give Christians the choice of hurting their church by helping Mormon evangelism or voting Democrat? Do we really trust an adult that believes this stuff or is so dead to the truth that he pretends to falsely?

And does every letter that points out that many Christian believers won’t vote for Romney for President have to go into theology (or the absurd theology of the Mormon cult) to show that the choice not to support Romney is a good one and not mere bigotry? I despise having to directly attack the Mormons, a group of people that are basically decent, for their theology; it divides rather than privately shows error and gives hope, understanding, and the truth. But that is the choice we are given by Romney. He knows he has an electoral problem with believing Christians. He’s known it for years. He may just value his religion more than his political party. So do I. Or worse, he may just be going through the motions and feel like he loses more than he gains if he steps away from his church. Either way, he doesn’t get my vote and I take my time to write letters like this.

It is one thing to vote for a Mormon for Governor or Congress — another for President. Sort of the difference between a bicycle and a truck. One is a small matter that can’t do much harm even if it crashes, one is a much bigger matter. The example set will be very damaging and one that should be avoided. I’ve always been a sort of “yellow dog” Republican myself. But in a Mormon for President I think they’ve found someone that will keep me home on election day. What I am saying openly will be said quietly by Christians to other Christians in Bible studies, weekday evening classes, Sunday morning studies, sermons, private conversations, e-mails, ministries, radio shows, and the like for as long as Romney is in the race, not just by evangelicals but also by Catholics who deal on an ongoing basis with missionary activity by Mormons. It’s the quiet 1% or 5%, who would be active and happily vote, or whatever number it ends up being, that will kill the Republicans in the general election rather than the open discussion like this.
Greg F.
Delray Beach, Florida

I don’t know where this fits into anything among today’s discussions but it is something that troubles hugely. We all have been subjected to a continuous diatribe against the VA health system. As we are aware, the clarion cry is against aged facilities; long waits; poor care and the other failures typical of the federal government.

In North Carolina the Charlotte Observer has run several articles excoriating the VA hospital in Salisbury for its many failures. They allegedly include falsifying records. inadequate treatment, long waits, basically the same as in every other article I’ve read.

Astoundingly, many liberals use this sad state of affairs plaguing America’s best young people — those who serve her in time of need — to postulate the need for a federal takeover of the health care system of the country. My sweet little country mice, the VA is the federal government takeover of the veteran’s portion of the health care system!

I will now make a prediction that is not pie in the sky, but absolute certainty. If the socialists take over our health care system, the present state of the VA hospitals will be something to aspire to in 8 to 10 years. The federal health system will be as ruinous to lives as is public housing! It will not impact politicians because like Social Security, they will stay out of it! Mark my words, we will be done at 65. And think how much that will save the federal government as they raise the age of Social Security to 67.
Jay W. Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina

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