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Freedom in the 50 States: freedom has a big cost (Koch, Mercatus Center, GMU) - 03/28/13

The Koch family-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University has released their "Freedom in the 50 States" report [1].

According to them, the freest state is North Dakota, followed by South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, the least free state is New York, followed by California, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.

"Turning Your Back on People Who Are Starving and Freezing is not a Republican Value" (Pete King, Sandy aid bill) - 01/02/13

The video below shows Rep. Pete King fuming about the GOP voting down a relief bill for victims of Hurricane Sandy, saying among other things (link):

"Turning your back on people who are starving and freezing is not a Republican value"

Kirsten Gillibrand supports anti-American DREAM Act - 12/27/11

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand offers "If the feds can’t pass the DREAM Act, New York state must do its part" [1], a misleading editorial that promotes that anti-American bill.

You won't know it from reading her editorial, but the DREAM Act would let the illegal aliens covered by it deprive some citizens of college, as well as having other negative impacts. See that link for the details.

Andrew Cuomo suspends Secure Communities in New York state (Serrano, Velazquez, NYIC) - 06/01/11

From an official statement [1]:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State will suspend participation in the federal Secure Communities Program to review the mounting evidence that the program is not meeting its stated goal and has serious consequences for witnesses, victims of crime and law enforcement.

Tea Party loses another race for the GOP (Paul Ryan, upstate New York, Kathy Hochul, Jane Corwin) - 05/24/11

If you're a Republican Party partisan, the tea parties are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, their insane rantings bring a fresh piquancy to the sometimes staid GOP. On the other hand, they're putting pressure on the GOP to be crazy, extremist, and largely unappealing to moderates. And, they're splitting the vote, even when the "Tea Party" candidate appears to be a fake teapartier.

Thus it is in the case of the NY-26 special election from earlier tonight. Democrat Kathy Hochul "defied political experts [who gave] her little chance of success [and] ground out a stunning and surprisingly comfortable victory" (link) against her Republican opponent Jane Corwin. The spoiler in the race was Jack Davis of the "Tea Party"; Davis has previously run as both a Democrat and a Republican.

Davis got 9%, Corwin 42%, and Hochul 48%.

There's backstory on the race here, and from the Buffalo New link note that the teaparty-approved Paul Ryan plan also played a role in turning voters away from the GOP:

The results marked a stunning defeat for the GOP in a contest that garnered significant national attention as the first competitive race following the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives last November.

While the seat has a long GOP pedigree, it became vacant on Feb. 9 when Rep. Chris Lee, R-Amherst, resigned after a gossip website posted shirtless photos of him seeking dates on the Internet.

After Republican proposals to overhaul Medicare made the race a focus of national attention, Hochul began inching past Corwin in the polls and Davis' strong 23 percent showing withered away. By Monday, Corwin seemed to acknowledge what Election Day would bring when she said she should have countered the Democratic assault on her Medicare stand earlier.

UPDATE: Paul Ryan himself admits that his plan played a role in the GOP's loss, then engaged in denial (link):

"There is a Medicare story to be told here ... and it's that the president and his party have decided to shamelessly distort and demagogue Medicare," Ryan said on MSNBC, calling it a "Mediscare" campaign led by President Obama and Democrats in Congress.

David Frum says "Paul Ryan: 2012’s Goldwater?" (link):

The GOP will run on a platform crafted to be maximally obnoxious to downscale voters. Some may hope that Tim Pawlenty’s biography may cushion the pain. Perhaps that’s right, at least as compared to Mitt Romney, who in the 2008 primaries did worst among Republicans earning less than $100,000 a year. And yes, Pawlenty is keeping his distance from the Ryan plan. But biography only takes you so far. The big issues of 2012 will be jobs and incomes in a nation still unrecovered from the catastrophe of 2008-2009. What does the GOP have to say to hard-pressed voters? Thus far the answer is: we offer Medicare cuts, Medicaid cuts, and tighter money aimed at raising the external value of the dollar.

No candidate, not even if he or she is born in a log cabin, would be able to sell that message to America’s working class.

Henry Olsen of the American Enterprise Institute says in part (link):

For whatever reason, the blue-collar independents and Democrats who voted Republican in droves last year did not vote GOP tonight. And many blue-collar Republicans voted for Davis rather than Corwin.

CIS: Immigrants use welfare at higher rate than natives - 04/06/11

Some of the findings of a new study from the Center for Immigration Studies ("Welfare Use by Immigrant Households with Children: A Look at Cash, Medicaid, Housing, and Food Programs", link) include:

# In 2009 (based on data collected in 2010), 57 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal and illegal) with children (under 18) used at least one welfare program, compared to 39 percent for native households with children.

# Immigrant households’ use of welfare tends to be much higher than natives for food assistance programs and Medicaid. Their use of cash and housing programs tends to be similar to native households.

# A large share of the welfare used by immigrant households with children is received on behalf of their U.S.-born children, who are American citizens. But even households with children comprised entirely of immigrants (no U.S.-born children) still had a welfare use rate of 56 percent in 2009.

# Immigrant households with children used welfare programs at consistently higher rates than natives, even before the current recession. In 2001, 50 percent of all immigrant households with children used at least one welfare program, compared to 32 percent for natives.

# Households with children with the highest welfare use rates are those headed by immigrants from the Dominican Republic (82 percent), Mexico and Guatemala (75 percent), and Ecuador (70 percent). Those with the lowest use rates are from the United Kingdom (7 percent), India (19 percent), Canada (23 percent), and Korea (25 percent).

# The states where immigrant households with children have the highest welfare use rates are Arizona (62 percent); Texas, California, and New York (61 percent); Pennsylvania (59 percent); Minnesota and Oregon (56 percent); and Colorado (55 percent).

Per this:

Some immigrant-advocacy groups criticized the report, saying it was engineered to inflame anti-immigrant sentiment by making an unequal comparison between immigrant households, which tend to be low-income, and all native households, including low-income and high-income households.

Immigrant households use welfare programs at about the same rate when compared with the low-income native households, said Jonathan Blazer, an attorney at the National Immigration Law Center an immigrant-advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

Since that appears to be the best argument that opponents can offer, CIS's report must be solid. Why are we allowing millions of poor people to immigrate here when we already have more poor Americans than our social welfare programs can apparently handle? Especially since the future for those poor immigrants and their children doesn't look very promising, as even Obama admits? What's going to happen to our social welfare programs as the children of those poor immigrants and their children retire?

TSA gave "trusted agent" security badges to illegal aliens - 12/20/09

From this [1]:

In the latest of many shameful lapses, the federal agency in charge of securing the nation’s transportation system approved background checks for a dozen illegal immigrants working in sensitive areas of a busy U.S. airport.

The illegal aliens, from Central America and Mexico, worked in operational areas of Stewart International Airport, a 2,400-acre facility located about 60 miles north of New York City. Stewart is a major passenger airport for the state’s mid-Hudson region that also handles large quantities of cargo and serves as a military field... ...[the TSA gave] the undocumented aliens "trusted agent" security badges. This allowed them to work at an airport warehouse business and access key operational areas. An alert airport employee noticed the suspicious documents and reported the illegal aliens.

[1] I noticed a "problem" at Judicial Watch's site several months ago and they corrected it after I notified them. However, a bit of caution is suggested.

Ohio, Illinois, NY, NJ, Penn to lose political power due to massive immigration (House seats; also: IA, LA, MA, MI, MN, MO) - 11/19/09

According to a new study (americasvoiceonline.org/pages/the_new_constituents), due to massive immigration particularly by Latinos, the results of the 2010 Census - used to apportion congressional districts - will result in the following changes (chart from the HuffPost article discussed here):

States gaining House seats: Texas (+4), Arizona (+2), Florida (+1), Georgia (+1), Nevada (+1), Oregon (+1), South Carolina (+1), and Utah (+1).

States losing House seats: Ohio (-2), Illinois (-1), Iowa (-1), Louisiana (-1), Massachusetts (-1), Michigan (-1), Minnesota (-1), Missouri (-1), New Jersey (-1), New York (-1), and Pennsylvania (-1).

If you're located in one of the states in the latter group, that means you're going to lose power. In that case, organize a local effort to take smart action to reduce immigration.

Doug Hoffman might be weak on immigration; do his supporters know he might cost them money? - 10/28/09

[UPDATE BELOW, here are some questions for Hoffman, and here's an update based on his comments about this issue]

I'm not going to get into all of the issues surrounding the current race in upstate New York where conservative Doug Hoffman is battling against the establishment Republican candidate (Dede Scozzafava) and the Democrat (Bill Owens). However, Hoffman doesn't exactly appear to be Tom Tancredo when it comes to immigration issues, and this might be yet another example of the tea parties being useful idiots for someone whose actions will end up raising their taxes.

From his site (link):

Where do you stand on illegal immigration?
There is no question that our immigration policies are flawed. The answer, though, is not to put up a wall and stop all immigration. The answer is to create an easier path for immigrants to enter the United States - and to work here - while at the same time getting tough on illegal immigrants who commit crimes.

The first sentence of his answer is the standard (and false) system is broken line used by hacks from San Diego to Lake Champlain; see the link for more. The second sentence is a false choice: few people are calling to "stop all immigration", and even those who are only want a moratorium and not a permanent cessation. The final sentence is almost assuredly code for some sort of guest workers program and probably is code for something akin to "deport the criminals first (and then amnesty)". The supposed conservative insurgent sounds more than a bit like George W Bush and others who supported some form of amnesty and guest worker programs. Now, maybe he just got tired and used boilerplate instead of actually coming up with a non-establishment GOP position, and if so he should specify exactly what he supports. Or, those in the area should go to his public appearances and ask him to specify what he supports.

Also: Scozzafava doesn't appear to have her position on this issue on her site; the only thing I could find is [2].

UPDATE: Apparently some people don't understand this post, so let me try and reinforce the fact that Hoffman is sounding like all the others who support amnesty and the like.

For instance, when Hoffman says: "our immigration policies are flawed", that's similar to what Obama has said: "We have a broken immigration system. Nobody denies it." Many, many other people have used variants of those lines. In fact, the problem isn't so much with our laws, it's with the enforcement of those laws. The current laws might need a few tweaks here and there, but Hoffman would change our policy to suit certain interests (such as upstate New York farmers). As a side effect he apparently doesn't care about, he'd also help certain other interests (the National Council of La Raza, the League of United Latin American Citizens, MALDEF, and so on; the reader is urged to read those links). In order to placate corrupt business interests, he'd give even more power to groups that question whether our border with Mexico is valid or that have given an award to someone who proposed genocide against "gringos".

When Hoffman pretends that the debate is about stopping all immigration ("stop all immigration" in the quote above), he joins a nearly endless line of those who've attempted to mislead people by conflating the various types of immigration. There are literally too many examples to list; here's just one.

The last sentence of his quote might be tricky for those who don't follow this issue very closely. However, when he talks about "an easier path for immigrants to enter the United States - and to work here", he's talking about some form of guest workers program. Compare his statement to a Mexican consul proposing a "legal, orderly and humane flow of people". They aren't talking about temporary visitors and the like, since that system is to one degree or other working smoothly. What they're talking about is a guest worker program. Compare Hoffman's quote to this Bush quote:

I will work to ensure a system of safe and orderly migration. Earlier this year, I proposed a temporary worker program, not an amnesty program, that will offer legal status as temporary workers to undocumented men and women who were employed in the United States when I announced this proposal.

As for the final part of Hoffman's quote ("at the same time getting tough on illegal immigrants who commit crimes"), we're already to a fair extent doing that. When an illegal alien commits a crime (at least a violent crime), we don't release them to the care of the ACLU or something. They get put into the legal system just as a citizen would. Certainly, the ICE resources dedicated to apprehending fugitives could be greatly increased in order to get rid of the very large backlog, and the 287g program could be rescued from Janet Napolitano's attempts to weaken it, and we could go after illegal aliens and other non-citizens who commit non-violent crimes more than we do. However, that quote is mostly just filler and "boob bait for Bubba". You're getting a vague promise from Hoffman to do mostly what we're already doing in exchange for him getting the "path" he (and those upstate farmers) want.

Now that I look at this a second time, Hoffman is even more of a fake than I thought before.

Also, be sure and see the some questions for him here.

Glenn Reynolds, RedState promote anti-intellectualism and intimidation (completely ineffective protest against Tim Bishop, tea parties) - 06/24/09

The attached video shows a group from the "Conservative Society for Action" protesting at a town hall meeting held by Long Island Rep. Tim Bishop. It's difficult to describe just how idiotic it is. Rather than going inside and trying to engage him in debate about his policies, they stand outside waving loopy signs, conducting a sing-a-long, and chanting various slogans. Not only that, but they cluster around the windows of the meeting location, no doubt intimidating those inside. In other words, they're engaging in anti-intellectual actions more often associated with ACORN, CodePink, and other far-left groups.

And, all of that is being promoted by Glenn Reynolds [1] and by Brian Faughnan of RedState [2].

The only appearance on the video by Bishop is as he enters; someone yells at him, asking whether he has something to say to his constituents. The same person then says, "stop spending our money". That's it; they didn't even have a good question that could be shouted at him. Once again: I can't adequately describe just how idiotic this is.

For the intelligent, effective alternative, see the question authority page.

UPDATE: Someone from the tea party side weigh in in comments, indicating that there are videos from inside the meeting hall on Youtube, but without providing a link. They're here and here. One video was uploaded on the day of this post, the other the next day; whether the first was even up there when I posted this isn't known, but neither of those two videos were in the Instapundit and RedState posts discussed in this post. The two videos were added in a comment on the RedState post at 4:21pm EDT today (6/25). And, the user who uploaded the attached video only appears to have one video in his account; the new ones are from someone else. Next time I'll remember to reload RedState every five minutes so I don't miss anything.

And, both RedState and another commenter are crowing about Bishop cancelling a planned meeting. That's a very mild version of this. Bishop should be encouraged to have as many meetings as possible, where those with valid arguments can make them. Crowing about shutting down debate is the way campus far-lefties operate.

More on the videos after I watch them; I'm going to guess that there's little more than ranting but we'll see.

UPDATE 2: I only made it through the first six minutes of the first video; I think I've seen enough. What's there is little more than angry ranting and attempts to shout him down; despite what they say on their post [3], I didn't see any valid questions being asked. That page has a list of the thing he supposedly supports, and the list is obviously false. Does anyone outside of their group think he really supports "the destruction of our private healthcare industry" or wants to "[destroy] the United States economy"? And, at that page, they even admit being an angry mob:

After the meeting was over, Congressman Bishop once again had to run the gauntlet of Tea Party Patriots back to his car. This time he was escorted by Suffolk County police, but he was dogged by a crowd of about two hundred brandishing signs and singing chants of Pelosi, Bishop, No Difference! One wag remarked that the only thing missing from that scene was torches being carried by the crowd!

[1] pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/80760 says: TEA PARTIERS ELSEWHERE TAKE NOTE OF THIS APPROACH: Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) Runs from Constituents. As Jim Geraghty noted, you can make a big impression by showing up in person at things like congressional district meetings.

[2] redstate.com/brianfaughnan/2009/06/24/rep-tim-bishop-d-ny-runs-from-constituents

[3] nygoe.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/
taking-the-tea-party-to-town-halls-bishop-gets-the-t-e-a-message

Number of immigrants in New York state: less than 4 million. Number of illegal aliens: more than 500,000 - 03/11/09

In November 2007, the Fiscal Policy Institute offered the report "Working for a Better Life/A Profile of Immigrants in the New York State Economy" (fiscalpolicy.org/immigration.html) which was co-produced with the New York Immigration Coalition.

Nina Bernstein/NYT: Immigration enforcement equals fear - 12/24/06

Our old favorite Nina Bernstein of the New York Times offers "Immigrants Go From Farms to Jails, and a Climate of Fear Settles In". She spends two screens painting a picture of upstate New York dairy farmers and their illegal alien employees living in a state of fear. The poor dear farmers are afraid one of their enemies is going to drop a dime on them to ICE. The poor oppressed illegal aliens are afraid of being taken away in shackles (if the report had audio, it would be of the sound of cattlecars). She even uses the phrase "harvest of fear" and makes a reference to "The Twilight Zone".

She also mentions - but doesn't explore - the role that political corruption plays in lack of immigration enforcement. Instead, she concentrates on the emotional aspects with the clear intent of promoting immigration "reform".

Here's the first paragraph:

As record-setting enforcement of immigration laws upends old, unspoken arrangements, a new climate of fear is sweeping through the rural communities of western and central New York.

It will take a real reporter - and not just a pro-illegal immigration hack - to explore those "unspoken arrangements" and to follow the money. As for Bernstein, this is all we get:

Now, more aggressive enforcement has disrupted a system of official winks, nods and paperwork that for years protected farmers from "knowingly" hiring the illegal immigrants who make up most of their work force.

If the NYT wants to be a real news sources, they'll dispatch someone else to look into those "winks [and] nods", and not someone who's part of the problem.

And, apparently someone's reading the papers:

Others, including the [New York Farm Bureau], pointed to the unusual intensification of the dairy investigation after [Rodney Brown who together with his wife Debbie are dairy farmers in Clifton Springs] was quoted in a Sept. 11 Associated Press account [presumably "Farmers: Harvest raids are badly timed" by Cara Anna which appears to have been rewritten here].

Others mentioned include Marshall Farms, Cliff DeMay, "a large private labor contractor", and:

Maureen Torrey, an 11th-generation grower and a director of the Federal Reserve Bank's Buffalo branch

Looking into the political corruption side of this issue is left as an exercise for a real news source.

Please write public *at* nytimes.com with your thoughts.

ACLU claims U.S. violating human rights obligations (OAS) - 11/02/06

The American Civil Liberties Association - which has at least one indirect link to the Mexican government - together with the National Employment Law Project and the Transnational Legal Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law [1] (run by Sarah Paoletti [2]) have filed [3] a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (part of the Organization of American States):
...to find the United States in violation of its universal human rights obligations by failing to protect millions of undocumented workers from exploitation and discrimination in the workplace.

The petition [4] was submitted to the commission on behalf of the United Mine Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Interfaith Justice Network and six immigrant workers who are representative of the six million undocumented workers in the United States labor force...

...The petitioners are requesting that the Inter-American Commission find the United States government in violation of its obligations under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man [5], which was adopted by the United States in 1948, as well as universal human rights principles...
They're complaining about not just the U.S. itself, but these individual states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kansas, New York, and New Jersey.

Some of the legal background is described here:
The petition, filed by the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the other groups, is an unusual appeal to an international body to push American courts and lawmakers away from a 2002 Supreme Court ruling known as Hoffman v. National Labor Relations Board. The petitioners say the ruling has had a snowball effect, limiting or denying the basic protection of labor laws to millions of illegal immigrant workers in violation of principles like equal protection before the law and freedom of association under the nation's international treaty obligations.
Now, let's take a look at some of the other Articles of the "American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man":
Article XXXIII. It is the duty of every person to obey the law and other legitimate commands of the authorities of his country and those of the country in which he may be.
Obviously, all of the illegal aliens named in the complaint did not abide by that Article. And, this one:
Article XXXVIII. It is the duty of every person to refrain from taking part in political activities that, according to law, are reserved exclusively to the citizens of the state in which he is an alien.
Obviously, all those Mexican consuls that consistently try to meddle in our internal politics have repeatedly broken that Article, and that might also apply to those illegal aliens who marched through our streets demanding rights to which they aren't entitled. It might also apply to unions that accept dues from illegal aliens and then lobby on their behalf.

UPDATE: There's more on the ACLU's efforts here.



-------------------
[1] law.upenn.edu/clinic/transnational.html Run by Sarah Paoletti, whose name is on the complaint.

[2] From December 20, 2004 (link): The American Friends Service Committee, an internationally recognized social justice organization [which also has indirect links to the Mexican government --LW], joined more than 20 labor, civil rights and immigrants’ rights organizations in filing a formal request for a hearing before the Organization of American State’s (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The request, co-signed by students in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University Washington College of Law (WCL), highlights the United States’ discriminatory treatment of millions of undocumented workers within its borders... "Undocumented workers are the hidden and highly exploitable staple of the American economy who provide us with food, clothing, manicured golf courses and lawns while at the same time contributing billions of dollars to the U.S. economy through the payment of Social Security, taxes and other expenditures," said Sarah Paoletti, an immigrants rights expert and a practitioner in residence in the International Human Rights Clinic at WCL. "Without these workers, many areas of our economy would be in trouble."

And, from March 1, 2005 (link): Students in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University Washington College of Law and workers will testify before the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Rights about U.S. human rights abuses against undocumented workers. The hearing will be held on Thursday, March 3... "Undocumented immigrant workers not only provide the backbone of our service industry, they have helped build the Nation’s Capital," said Sarah Paoletti, an immigrant rights expert and practitioner-in-residence in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at WCL. "The Inter-American Commission plays a vital role in educating Congress and the American public, employers and employees alike, about human rights law and its role in protecting vulnerable immigrant workers. We are asking that the Commission exercise its oversight and educational role to help extend fundamental human rights protections to all those who work in the United States, regardless of when or how they came to this country."

[3] aclu.org/immigrants/discrim/27235prs20061101.html Others mentioned in the press release are Claudia Flores (ACLU Women's Rights Project) and Chandra Bhatnagar, (ACLU Human Rights Program), both attorneys.

[4] aclu.org/images/asset_upload_file946_27232.pdf

[5] cidh.org/Basicos/basic2.htm

"[NY Employment] Agencies Sued Over Low-Paying Jobs" - 06/16/04

From the NYT (nytimes . com/2004/06/16/nyregion/16labor.html):