Archive for October, 2003

One reason sometimes advanced to me by liberals in defense of their policies is a desire to ensure that everyone in society has a “chance” at success however defined. This is a seductive idea. Who, after all, would be so hard-hearted as to wish that someone not have a chance at a happy, successful life?

The main problem I have with this is that “giving people a chance” is often a cover for “protecting people from the consequences of failure.” I have yet to meet someone advancing the “give people a chance” argument who was willing to clearly define the conditions under which the chances should stop being extended. A chance, after all, is not a guarantee of success. There will be people who have every opportunity to succeed in life but blow it anyhow through making bad choices. At some point, the honest chance advocate faces the question of when to say “Sorry, but you had your chance. Now you have to live with the consequences.” If the chance advocate isn’t willing to draw that line, then they aren’t really talking about giving people a chance. They’re talking about subsidizing failure.

There’s something ironic about people who insist on viewing every war through the prism of Vietnam telling other people that they need to “get over” 9/11.

It’s a few days late, but I am a California resident and thus feel I have some obligation to comment on the recall election.

The fundamental problem in California is much, much larger than Grey Davis. The entire political culture in the state is deeply sick. Huge swathes of the political class seem to have lost all sense of responsibility and accountability. Davis himself is a life-long member of the political class, but he didn’t cause the problem. On the other hand, he wasn’t going to do anything to fix it either. Some people have asked me why I wanted to recall Davis when the problems weren’t his fault. I would recall the entire government of California if that were possible — but that wasn’t the question on the ballot. I voted to recall Davis not because he personally ruined the state’s fiscal stability (he didn’t), but because he was the only member of the political class that caused the problem that I could recall. My (admittedly slim) hope is that watching one of their leading members get smacked down will cause others to rethink their behavior.

So that’s why I wound up voting to recall Davis. Why’d I vote for Arnold to replace him?

  • My goal for the recall was to shock the political class into changing its behavior. A vote for Bustamente would have been a vote for the status quo ante — appropriate if Davis personally was the problem, but not something that would create the broader shockwaves necessary to drive real change.
  • McClintock seemed to have the best credentials and plan for restoring California’s financial stability. If the election had been for economic dictator I might have voted for him. But no matter how good McClintock’s policies would have been, he would never have been able to get them enacted by a hostile legislature controlled by the Democrats. McClintock would not have had the base of popular support or the personal charisma to get the public to pressure the legislature into making the necessary reforms.
  • This leaves us with Arnold. Although I’m less confident about his policies, they’re at least a move in the right direction. More importantly, he’s a charismatic and popular outsider. Being an outsider means he might be able to shake the political class back into some semblance of actually governing. And being charismatic and popular means he can go directly to the people to get support for his inevitable clashes with the opposition in the legislature and elsewhere.

Summing up, I voted for Arnold because unlike the other candidates he offers hope. I can see a chance for him to fix some of the serious problems bedeviling the state. Neither of the other major candidates offered that. I guess you could call it Hobson’s Choice.

Today’s post is based upon a comment I received, which I reproduce here and remark upon. Hopefully this will become an ongoing discussion on this issue, which deserves reasoned attention.

I’d be happy to debate with you. Just email me.

Better yet, how about a public debate? I have no problem with it, and I think debates such as this do more to educate the lurking readers than the participants.

Anne Haight, you have no clue of what “illegal immigrants” mean to this state of California and in the bigger picture, the United States of America. We are the ones picking the food you eat, we build the cars you drive, and to top it all off we clean your houses.

So? I hear people make this point all the time and yet I don’t understand what meaning it is supposed to convey, or what significance it has to the issue under discussion.

And it’s a strange way of phrasing the matter, isn’t it? “The food YOU eat”, “the cars YOU drive”. As if there’s a literal underclass of slaves providing these things and they don’t get to partake of their own labors. Last time I checked, the tomato pickers and the factory workers bought tomatoes at the grocery store and bought cars like other people.

These “illegal immigrants” are not free loading, they are not a burden to your tax dollars.

Obviously you didn’t read my post citing statistics that suggest that more than 1/3 are, in fact, freeloaders.

You cannot hold us down.

Am I trying to do that? Why would I want to? What do I have to gain by preventing people from working who want to work? Stop being so melodramatic.

But what I will not do is condone or tolerate criminal behavior (or suckling at the welfare teat), and that is what we’re talking about here.

You’ve tried it before with proposition 187, which didn’t pass because this state needs us.

Um, hello? Prop 187 passed 58.8% to 41.2%.

Furthermore, this issue was not a cut-and-dried “Us vs. Them” situation. I personally met a number of Latinos who were running a “Yes on 187” table at the student union of San Jose State University. I talked to them at some length and their reasons for supporting 187 were interesting. They were angry that illegals were coming into the US and getting benefits they didn’t work for, without being citizens or assimilating into the culture, and generally giving a bad name to all immigrants by this behavior. Sounds familiar.

And then, and then…the courts ruled it unconstitutional and overturned it. Specifically, there was a provision in 187 that would have required teachers, nurses, and social workers to act as narcs and report illegals to the government. I agree that this is wrong, and exceeds the authority that a ballot measure can grant. So the whole of 187 was overturned on this basis.

But I submit that the remainder of the initiative text was perfectly valid.

You tried it during the 60’s and many organizations were founded to rise above this hatred.

I did no such thing. I wasn’t even born until 1971.

MEChA was formed in order to get our children into college.

That’s pure bull.

The Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (loosely translates to the Chicanos of Aztlan Student Movement) is an organization of thugs and moral beggars that promotes racism, violence, and open rebellion against the government. Aztlan is not even a real place. There has never been a country or a land called Aztlan.

It is a separatist movement to the core, advocating not harmony and integration and tolerance, but forceful isolation from everything non-Hispanic and discrimination against same. This is racism at its finest.

The principles of MEChA are based upon El Plan Espiritual. Its motto is “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada” (For the race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing.”) It explicitly politicizes this movement, and states, among other things (emphasis in bold is mine):

“. . .a people whose time has come and who struggles against the foreigner “gabacho” who exploits our riches and destroys our culture. With our heart in our hands and our hands in the soil, we declare the independence of our mestizo nation.”

SELF-DEFENSE of the community must rely on the combined strength of the people. The front line defense will come from the barrios, the campos, the pueblos, and the ranchitos. Their involvement as protectors of their people will be given respect and dignity. They in turn offer their responsibility and their lives for their people. Those who place themselves in the front ranks for their people do so out of love and carnalismo. Those institutions which are fattened by our brothers to provide employment and political pork barrels for the gringo will do so only as acts of liberation and for La Causa. For the very young there will no longer be acts of juvenile delinquency, but revolutionary acts.”

A nation autonomous and free – culturally, socially, economically, and politically- will make its own decisions on the usage of our lands, the taxation of our goods, the utilization of our bodies for war, the determination of justice (reward and punishment), and the profit of our sweat.”

“El Plan de Aztlán is the plan of liberation! “

This is nothing more or less than a call to open, armed rebellion against everyone non-Aztlan who “occupies” “their land”. This is a declaration of revolution and treason, calling for the establishment of a sovereign nation.

Somewhat more than a simple effort to get Hispanic kids into college, particularly since MEChA itself is a college-based movement.

The Brown Berets emerged as a powerful militant force, which the media nor anyone talks about anymore for “security” purposes.

Might as well call them brown shirts and be done with it.

I didn’t have any trouble finding information about them in the “media”. They compare themselves favorably the Black Panthers, and like the Black Panthers, they are violent, criminal animals looking for a socially chic way to destroy property and attack people. Even MEChA has had second thoughts about their affiliation with the Brown Berets.

United Farm Workers was a powerful union that emerged as one of the greatest if not the greatest union this country has ever had.

That’s debatable, but so what?

Why do you think these organizations were so important and why they were so successful? I don’t think they were successful because we are a burden on your tax dollars, I think they were successful because the people realized that they needed “illegal immigrants” for this country to survive. The people that realized this took a big step out of igorance and maybe you and your supporters will too.

Actually I think their success has a lot to do with megalomania and avarice. Unions theoretically serve their members, but really serve to line the pockets of the people who run the unions. Political organizations like MEChA and the Brown Berets exist in order to give people an excuse to be destructive, violent, condescending, and exercise their own petty power lust.

Kyle and I moved into our new house this week, and have been dealing with various companies getting services activated. Ironically, PG&E (gas and electricity) was the easiest to deal with. SBC (the phone company), would have been except for the incompetence of Comcast (our cable TV and internet service provider).

Cable TV is already wired into our townhouse, as part of the Homeowner’s Association fees, so it was working when we moved in. It’s part of a package contract the HOA has with Comcast.

Comcast came to our house yesterday to install our cable modem internet service, and were not only unsuccessful, but caused more damage. They were not able to activate the internet service, as the upstairs cable connections are not live.

In the process of troubleshooting this, they managed to pull the main phone line for the entire house up into the walls. The SBC technician could not find it or pull it out, and was not able to install our telephone service.

Also, after they left, we discovered that the Comcast techs had managed to somehow break the cable TV service that was working when they arrived. The solution to this problem will probably involve either 1) running cable and phone lines up the outside of the building, which requires HOA permission, or 2) ripping a hole in the internal walls to re-wire both lines.

Theoretically Kyle is going down to the Comcast office today to yell at someone. I have to post this from work since we don’t have working internet access at home, much less a phone line.

Is it really too much to ask for telecom technicians to be at least marginally competent? I mean seriously. Kyle is mad enough to chew nails. I would be too except that he’s angry enough for both of us, so I’m trying to take the more laid back approach.

[Kyle adds]: It now seems Comcast may not be the tool of Satan after all. I went down to the local service office on Friday and told my tale of woe, and they were very apologetic and sent a team of techs over that afternoon. After doing some more poking around in the attic, it now appears that the phone wiring may have been missing all along — it isn’t that it got pulled up into the attic; it just isn’t there. So blaming Comcast, although reasonable given the information I had, seems to have been incorrect. So my apologies to them for that. (This, incidentally, is why it’s almost always a good idea to get a night’s sleep before flying off the handle at someone.)

While they were over, the Comcast techs also figured out a way to get the cable modem installed without having to run external wiring (which would have required HOA approval), so the internet connection is now up and running. (It probably says something sad about me that the first thing I did was fire up the VPN and go through the ~1000 emails that had accumulated for me at work over the past week. I admit it — I love my job.) They also fixed the cable TV.

The phone is still in limbo while we try to figure out what to do about the missing wiring, though, and the garage door opener is refusing to close the garage door, and there’s about a bazillion boxes of stuff waiting to be unpacked, and I have to go back to work on Monday… so naturally I’m posting an update on the blog instead.