Friday, March 31, 2006

Latest Republican Wedgie

Millions of Latinos and their supporters flooded the streets recently showing opposition to republican legislation making illegal immigrants felons. Sporadic protests continue, coupled with the heated camel creation (a horse built in committee) debate in congress, treating Americans to another brilliant civics lesson. The issue has driven a wedge between the law and order branch and the cheap and abundant labor business interests of the republican party. The law and order branch wants them deported because illegal means illegal. The cheap and abundant labor business interests wants the illegal immigrants to stay because they are narcotically hooked to high profits. The wedge on the democratic side is between, primarily, unions and civil rights activists. Unions fear the decline of wages in the workforce and civil rights activists protest against the exploitation and creation of a permanent underclass.

The focus has been on a guest worker program and whether undocumented immigrants should be able to earn citizenship. And border security. The "earn citizenship" hampers the argument that undocumented workers only do jobs Americans won't do. Once they earn citizenship they become the Americans that won't do that kind of work anymore. Hence the need for more undocumented workers. If the guest worker program does not include a path toward citizenship it stretches the imagination to see people lining up to participate in it. Border security is mandatory and has no opposition. But it will be ineffective.

The Civics Lesson

American history is marked by dramatic events that forced changes. Many events created causes and these causes had leaders. Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel leading the suffragette movement. Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor, Dr. Martin Luther King, etc. But today we are saddled with an illegal war, a President who violates the law by spying on Americans without a warrant, has expanded the federal government by thirty percent and cut taxes delivering a crushing deficit to our children. But the huge protests are from people wanting to become Americans. Are Americans truly what other nations accuse Bush of being? Are we a bunch of arrogant bullies happy to live off of the heroic press clippings of our forebearers? Must we import our public dismay for our elected officials?

Where do we go from here?

Yeah, protect the borders. But those who exploit undocumented workers must be punished.

A report by the Government Accountability Office last year found the number of penalties issued to companies suspected of hiring illegal immigrants across the nation plummeted from 417 in 1999 to only three in 2004.

Wow. 12 million undocumented workers and three fines. It doesn't seem like this Administration is interested in enforcement. The only solution to stemming the tide of illegal immigrants is to eliminate the jobs. Fines must be so devastating that the risk would be akin to hiring a serial sexual abuser/crack headed workers comp pro. Employers who whine about not running a police station or extra paper work should not ask for a urine sample or authorization for a credit check. So what would a good enforcement program look like? It's a cinch it wouldn't resemble anything we have now. The laws should be absolutely clear, with no wiggle room. Open a brand new government agency, completely independent of congress by being self financed by the fines they levee and staffed entirely by displaced union workers. Start this out very small in one metro area with an undocumented labor problem. The pressures would be immense to bribe or coerce the agency to turn a blind eye to certain exploiters. The system would have to be tweaked and watched but we really need to try something different. I mean, c'mon, three fines?

Just as consumers demand competition between merchants to foster low prices, it is only fair employers have the same opportunity. We should have a healthy flow of LEGAL immigration to America to aide in this. No business should be forced to overpay some lazy bastard due to no other options. If we can't get off our asses enmasse to protest the abuses foisted on the world by Dubya, then maybe we need some new pioneers with the grit to cross deserts, rivers, fight banditos on both sides of the river just to make a life. They have a hell of a path to citizenship and they're showing us the way. Feel free to take notes.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Illegal Immigration

Illegal means illegal. Both Mexico an America's leaders have utterly failed to address this problem. Mexico is not as most people believe, a poor, third world county, completely dependent on its big brother to the north. They are actually a very wealthy country, the richest country in Latin America by a long ways. Unfettered capitalism has consolidated wealth and power into the hands of the ruling elite, leaving a very small middle class and about half the country living in poverty. Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics said:

"Basically, it's up to Mexico to solve its problem, and basically the wealthy classes do not want to tax themselves, period. It's basically an attitude of look out for yourself."

He points to the fact of taxes in Mexico being only 14% of GDP as opposed to Americans at 25 to 28%. Seems like the wealthy want to live off the fat of the land without having to pay rent. Bush is not likely to tell President Vicente Fox to raise taxes on the rich. Hufbauer continues:

"Basic social services and infrastructure are awfully lean for a country that wants to move ahead. While I'm not usually an advocate for larger government, Mexico is a country where public investment, done wisely, could pay huge dividends."

Both Presidents, however, are on the same leash to wealthy and powerful interests. American companies want cheap and abundant labor, not to do the jobs Americans won't do, but to do the jobs they can't export. Like construction of our homes and buildings, roads and bridges, and the jobs available in natural resources like oil and gas.

There can be no doubt that the wages would be substantially higher and unemployment would be substantially lower if 12 million (est) illegal immigrants were deported. Nearly half of the illegal immigrants wire money to Latin America regularly, which amounted to $32 Billion in 2002. That's nearly a 40% increase since 2000 and doesn't sound like lettuce pickin' money either.

Bear in mind that money cycles in a community, unless of course it's wired out of the country. The feeble minded legislation meant to put a surcharge on these wire transfers is simply electioneering. If someone is resourceful enough to break into a country, swim rivers, cross deserts, get a job and a check, I imagine they can find a legal buddy to wire the money home, for a smaller fee than the govt. wants.

Bush is simply out Foxed at his own game of delivering the goods to the arrogant and rich. By refusing to raise taxes and invest in infrastructure and utilizing his country's abundant resources that would create jobs, his desperate citizens flee to America and wire dollars back. No need for expensive social programs for him since America already has all that.

Unfortunately our leaders have ignored this problem for entirely too long. To export 12 million illegals would be difficult on a biblical scale. I truly empathize with their plight, but we have problems too and we were here first. All these protest marches they are conducting throughout America are taking place in the wrong country. They need to tell it to Fox, and I don't mean the news (?) program.

The first thing that needs to be done is to close our borders. Bush scolds Iran and Syria and Pakistan for not sealing their borders. That's like being called ugly by a frog. Seal the damn borders, then we'll talk about step two.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oilfields, by Oilfieldguy

Probably the dumbest thing I've ever done is run out of gas with money in my pocket. I mean it's so much easier to carry fuel in the tank than it is to carry it in a can. I've made most of my living working in the 'Oil and Gas Binness', only in the mud end of it. Sorry, that's sort of an inside joke. The point being, my Masters Degree was earned at the University of OJT. And I'm here to tell you that oil fields play out. It takes a while, and usually the 'suits that run the store' use heroic efforts, akin to doctors trying to squeeze every precious additional heartbeat into a dying patient, to extract oil from the field.

So they go and drill somewhere else. But I think most of the lowlying fruit is pretty well picked. Sure, new fields will be discovered, maybe even a few bonanza finds, but c'mon, face it, we're headed for a real disaster.

"Peak oil" theorists posit that global production is at or near its historic ceiling and will begin a long, inexorable decline. They worry that America is not ready for the downturn, for skyrocketing prices and even shortages.

That quote comes from a story about a bonafide Billionaire oil tycoon. He's worried because he's been paying attention by reading everything he can get his hands on. We know that fossil fuels are a finite resource but the need for energy is not. More people are becoming dependent on oil, like China, and our oilfields are playing out. We need to begin a national strategy now or face catastrophic economic chaos in the very near future. T. Boone Pickens, legendary oilman recently claimed he felt we are at Peak oil now. Some say by 2010 and others say Peak oil will occur about 2035. The sooner we act, say experts, and non-experts like me, the better the transition will be and less disruptive. We will have to change. Look at the fuel gauge on the dash. We don't want to run out of gas with no money in our pockets.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Bush V. Feingold

So Russ proposes a censure for Bush's admitted and repeated violations of the constitution and his fellow Democrats run from him like he smells like a skunk getting a perm in a slaughterhouse septic tank. Pundits shriek that Russ has wobbled the Democrats off message and handed the midterm victories to the Republicans. It is apparently unusual for an elected official to do their job. It raises quite a fuss when one is caught doing so.

It seems quite a fuss was made when Clinton apparently violated FISA by conducting a physical search of some rat bastard selling Government secrets. Come to find out, FISA did not cover "physical searches" and the Clinton white house worked with congress to amend FISA to cover physical searches as well. The reason I think this is important is that this administration has admitted to violating FISA, and for some reason everyone just assumes it is the wireless surveillance portion of it. Can they just kick down your door in the name of national security? Maybe they thought they heard someone tell someone once that they heard you were involved with someone who knew someone who was involved with a commie sympathizer. All of this is naturally sorted by some NSA algorithm.

I am amazed the press continues to give this President the benefit of the doubt when he has earned no such benefit. His spectacular failure in all phases of Iraq (pre-conduct-post), devastating economic policy, cake eating during Katrina, 9/11 (as you can tell, these are not in order, just as they occur to me.) Dubai, this mans leadership is fluently stupid. Our congress has become an outlaw regime enabler and our MSM continues to fail miserably in their duty to inform accurately facts and truths, preferring to lazily rely on inside the beltway analists (sic?)

Senator Feingold should be surrounded by Democrats with no daylight separating them from their outrage at this administrations illegal activity. Certainly we were attacked by terrorists and we should be ever vigilant. Someone should inform the President with a Presidential Daily Briefing that says at the top in bold type Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside The United States or something like that so we could get ready. But this administration is attacking our very way of life by a creeping soft dictator system. He doesn't need to be investigated; he needs to be stopped.