Click Here

Visit to get all the news, commentary and context you need. Content,video, alerts and podcasts. Online exclusives now available.

Look Who's Linking to PoliBlog:
Absinthe and Cookies
Accidental Verbosity
Admiral Quixote's Roundtable
All Day Permanent Red
All Things Jennifer
Ann Althouse
The American Mind
Arguing with signposts
Arms and influence
The Astute Blogger
Asymmeterical Information
B-Town Blog Boys
Backcountry Conservative
Balloon Juice
Bananas and Such Begging to Differ
The Bemusement Park
Bewtween the Coasts
Betsy's Page
The Big Picture
Blogs for Bush
The Blog of Daniel Sale
Boots and Sabers
The Bully Pulpit
Cadillac Tight
Caffeinated Musing
California Yankee
Captain's Quarters
Chicago Report
Chicagoland of Confusion
Citizen Smash
Collected Thoughts
The Command Post
Common Sense and Wonder
Confessions Of A Political Junkie
The Conservative Philosopher
Conservative Revolution
Conservative and Right
Cranial Cavity
The Daily Lemon
Daly Thoughts
DANEgerus Weblog
Dart Frog on a Cactus
Dean's World Dear Free World
Brad DeLong
Democracy Project
The Disagreeable Conservative Curmudgeon
Down to the Piraeus
Drink this...
Earl's log
Earthly Passions
The Education Wonks
the evangelical outpost
Eye of the Storm
Firepower Forward
The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles
The Friendly Ghost
Fruits and Votes
Functional, if not decorative
The Galvin Opinion
The Glittering Eye
Haight Speech
The Hedgehog Report
Heh. Indeed.
Hennessy's View
High Desert Skeptic
The Hillary Project
History and Perceptions
Robert Holcomb
I love Jet Noise
Idlewild South
Independent Thinker
Insults Unpunished
Internet Ronin
Ipse Dixit
It Can't Rain All The Time...
The Jay Blog
Jen Speaks
Joefish's Freshwater Blog
John Lemon blog
Judicious Asininity
Jump In, The Water's Fine!
Just On The Other Side
A Knight's Blog
The Kudzu Files
Let's Try Freedom
Liberty Father
Life and Law
David Limbaugh
Locke, or Demosthenes?
Mad Minerva
Gary Manca
Mark the Pundit
Mediocre but Unexciting
Mental Hiccups
Miller's Time
Mind of Mog
Minorities For Bush
Mr. Hawaii
The Moderate Voice
The Modulator
Much Ado
Mungowitz End
My opinion counts
my thoughts, without the penny charge
My Word
Neophyte Pundit
Neutiquam erro
New England Republican
NewsHawk Daily
neWs Round-Up
No Pundit Intended
Nobody asked me, but...
Obsidian Wings
Occam's Toothbrush
On the Fritz
On the Third Hand
One Fine Jay
Out of Context
Outside the Beltway
Suman Palit
Passionate America
Brian Patton
Peppermint Patty
John Pierce
The Politicker
The Politburo Diktat
Political Annotation
Political Blog For The Politically Incorrect
Power Politics
Practical Penumbra
Priorities & Frivolities
Prof. Blogger's Pontifications
Pros and Cons
protein wisdom
Pundit Heads
The Queen of All Evil
Quotes, Thoughts, and other Ramblings
Ramblings' Journal
Random Acts of Kindness
Random Nuclear Strikes
Ranting Rationalist
Read My Lips
Reagan Country
Red State Diaries
A Republican's Blog
The Review
Rhett Write
Right Side of the Rainbow
Right Wingin-It
Right Wing News
Right Voices
Rightward Reasonings
riting on the wall
Rooftop Report
The Sake of Argument
Sailor in the Desert
Secular Sermons
Sha Ka Ree
Shaking Spears
She Who Will Be Obeyed!
The Skeptician
The Skewed
Slobokan's Site O' Schtuff
small dead animals
Sneakeasy's Joint
SoCal Law Blog
A Solo Dialogue
Some Great Reward
Southern Musings
Speed of Thought...
Spin Killer
Matthew J. Stinson
A Stitch in Haste
Stop the ACLU
The Strange Political Road Trip of Jane Q. Public
The Strata-Sphere
Stuff about
Suman Palit
Target Centermass
Templar Pundit
The Temporal Globe
Tex the Pontificator
Texas Native
think about it...
Tobacco Road Fogey
Toner Mishap
Tony Talks Tech
The Trimblog
Truth. Quante-fied.
Twenty First Century Republican
Unlocked Wordhoard
Use The Forks!!
Ut Humiliter Opinor
Vista On Current Events
Vox Baby
Jeff Vreeland's Blog
Wall of Sleep
Weapons of Mass Discussion
Who Knew?
The Window Manager
Winning Again!
WizBang Tech
The World Around You
The Yin Blog
You Big Mouth, You!
Zygote-Design - Alabama Weblogs

AJC's 2004 Election Politics Sites and Blogs
Campaign Finance
Welcome to World O' Blogs
WRKO-AM's "Political Junkies" list
Yahoo! Directory Political Weblogs
Young Elephant

Who Links Here

Sunday, October 1, 2006
Shh! No One Tell Pat…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:24 pm

Via the AFP: One in three Americans is Hispanic, black or Asian

Minorities account for 33 percent (98 million) of the population, according to US Census Bureau figures from 2005, when the US population stood at 296.4 million people.

Immigrants for their part represent 12.4 percent of the population, or 35.7 million people, compared to 2000 when they made up 11.2 percent of the population.

Minorities are set to increase in number in coming years thanks to immigration but also to the higher birth-rate among these populations who are generally younger than white non-Hispanics.

Rumors of a Pat Buchanan suicide watch have been unconfirmed…

Filed under: US Politics, Immigration | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
English is Safe
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:55 pm

Via Reuters: Immigration no threat to English use in U.S.

A report in the Population and Development Review found that far from threatening the dominance of English, most Latin American immigrants to the United States lose their ability to speak Spanish over the course of a few generations.

The study by sociologists Frank Bean and Ruben Rumbaut of the University of California, Irvine, and Douglas Massey from Princeton, drew on two surveys investigating adaptation by immigrant communities in California and south Florida.

It concluded that by the third generation, most descendants of immigrants are “linguistically dead” in their mother tongue.

Which is what what one would expect, regardless of the hysteria over the reconquista.

Filed under: US Politics, Immigration | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
America is Doomed (So Says Pat)
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:00 pm

Judd at Think Progress notes some remarkable passages from Pat Buchanan’s new book in which he argues that European success was a genetic trait linked to whiteness and that if America loses its European-descended majority, then America is lost:

America faces an existential crisis. If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built. No nation has ever undergone so radical a demographic transformation and survived.


In 1994, Sam Francis, the syndicated columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times…volunteered this thought:

The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people, nor is there any reason to believe that the civilization can be successfully transmitted by a different people.”

Had Francis said this of Chinese civilization and the Chinese people, it would have gone unnoted. But he was suggesting Western civilization was superior and that only Europeans could have created it. If Western peoples perish, as they are doing today, Francis was implying, we must expect our civilization to die with us.

There is a major problem with this thinking: that America’s survival as America is linked directly to a majority of its citizens being of European descent (whatever that means, as even across Europe there are substantial variations. Is Pat talking Norwegian or Italian? Greek or German? British or Ukrainian?)

America is about certain ideas and values, not the color of the skin or the genetic material of its inhabitants. And America will not cease to exists if the European descended types are no longer an absolute majority. Heck, as it is there is a substantial percentage of American that aren’t descended from white Europeans, yet we thrive.

Further, Pat needs to do some homework: given that Latin America is made up of a large number of mestizos-i.e., persons whose ancestors are a mix of indigenous persons and, *gasp* persons of European descent, then I am not sure what the big deal is. If the issue is really making sure we have plenty of genetic material that can be traced back to the Mother Continent, then really, what’s the problem with a little Latin blood?

Also: is Pat saying that Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Alberto Gonzalez, and so forth are all incapable of being truly American because they aren’t descended from white Europeans? And how would he explain the success of democracy in un-European places like Japan?

There is another major problem with the Pat’s reasoning (I use the word advisedly), and that is the linkage to the demographic shift that is predicted by 2050 as being a creature solely of immigration-it is not. Rather, part of that shift is just internal trends. Yes, more Americans of non-European hues having babies. But the important part is the “American” part, not the hue part.

Now, should we be making sure that those who are new Americans are assimilated into America? Absolutely. But as David Weigel (blogging at Sully’s place) notes, the mere presence of Hispanics hasn’t meant the diminution of America:

this idea that Mexican immigration will topple the nationhood and traditions of European-Americans is nine parts alarmism and one part B.S.

Can anyone point me to the border towns where democracy has collapsed, supplanted by Latin American-style caudillos? Have Arizona, California, and the rest of the Southwest become less American or less loyal?

Indeed, not.

(As a side note: there are plenty of places (i.e., most) in Latin America where there aren’t any “Latin American style caudillos” in charge-Weigel falls into a little stereotyping there, but the broader point stands.)

Having lived a substantial part of my life in SoCal and in Texas, I can attest that there are plenty of Americans of hispanic derivation who are exactly that: Americans. (And, btw, some of them are rather light skinned-maybe that will help Pat breathe a tad easier).

Yes, I am getting a bit cranky on this subject, but it is because I am getting tired of these ridiculous arguments (another recent example here). I am not, however, surprised to hear this from Buchanan.

It is grandly ironic, given Pat’s own background, that a century ago it was Irish Catholics who were seen to be a scourge that would wreck the United States (for more see the updated release of Michael Barone’s book The New Americans).

Filed under: US Politics, Immigration | Comments (6) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Globalclashes linked with Immigration Moratorium?
PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » A Disturbing Comparison linked with [...] One of my students chose for their commentator book Pat Buchanan’s State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. The book, about which I have commented before, contains the following passage: America faces an existential crisis. If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built. No nation has ever undergone so radical a demographic transformation and survived. [...]
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Relaxing Immigration Rules with Cuba?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:00 pm

Via the AP: U.S. weighs relaxing Cuba immigration

I have long argued that it is in the best interest of both the United States and the Cuban people for relations between the two to be liberalized. As we approach the end of the Fidel era, such moves are going to become more significant. As such, it will be interesting to see how this evolves.

Of course, the current proposal is such that it wouldn’t mean much if the Cuban government did not liberalize its migration policies. And given the uncertainty in Cuba at the moment, one has to wonder whether that is likely.

Filed under: US Politics, Latin America, Immigration | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Oh Good Grief. You Have to Be Kidding
By The Permanent Guest Blogger: Steven L. @ 4:32 am

Border agents let fake IDs go through

Undercover investigators entered the United States using fake documents repeatedly this year — including some cases in which Homeland Security Department agents didn’t ask for identification.

At nine border crossings on the Mexico and Canadian borders, agents “never questioned the authenticity of the counterfeit documents,” according to
Government Accountability Office testimony to be released Wednesday.

I have no comment. I just cannot bring myself to say anything at the moment.

“This vulnerability potentially allows terrorists or others involved in criminal activity to pass freely into the United States from Canada or Mexico with little or no chance of being detected,” concluded the GAO.

Gee. Ya THINK?!

From Yahoo News.

Filed under: General, Immigration, Border Security | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Diggers Realm linked with Surprise Finding: Government Undercover Investigators Had No Problems Entering US With False Documents
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Nativist-Racist Tripe
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 12:52 pm

I received an e-mail this morning that was rather odd, and I did something that I normally don’t do: I responded and then had a mostly unfruitful interchange with the author of the piece. I cannot find a web-based source for the following, but I thought I would address the issues.

First, the e-mail breathlessly notes that something called “The British Conservative” asserted:

Not many people realize it, but the U.S. may cease being a Western Nation.

The evidence for this? Well it starts with this:

According to the CIA World Factbook, most Mexicans are of Amerindian blood. It is estimated that over 90% of Mexicans are of pure or mostly (90%+) Amerindian blood.

Although you have a very small population (3% or less) of the upper upper class in Mexico (and other Central America countries) of European blood, the are wealthy, could come to the U.S. legally and are not illegal immigrants.

and then adds this:

Those immigrating to the U.S., however, are either pure or mostly of Amerindian blood.

What is Amerindian blood? Although research varies, most DNA experts and historians believe that they descend from population groups either in India, Mongolia, or S.E. Asia.

So, if the U.S. Senate bill allows for another 100 million or more people, it is very plausible that the U.S. could stop being a “Western Nation” and start being an “Asian Nation.”

First off, this distorts the Factbook figures, which are actually:

mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%

Those numbers do not show 90%+ of Mexicans being “pure or mostly” Amerindian. Of course, if one is caught up in what DNA one has, then I suppose one might think that any mix is “mostly.” The figure above also mis-reports the white percentages (although the e-mailer told me that that number included Central America).

Second, I have debunked that 100 million number before. (Short version: such estimates assume that practically every Mexican is going to migrate to the US. The current population of Mexico is just over 107 million).

Third, that thousands of years ago some ancestor of a Mexican immigrant may have come from Asia thousands of years ago makes that person “Asian” in any sense that matters is utter nonsense.

Fourth, this line of thinking seem to assume that the current occupants of the US will leave (or perhaps they will interbreed with the Mexicoasians and produce more Asians, or something that isn’t “Western”).

Fifth, one gets the distinct feeling that if the wealthy white Latins wanted to migrate, that would be just fine.

Of course, by the logic above, any Latin American country with a substantial presence of “Amerindian blood” is really an “Asian nation”—which is news to me after studying the region for roughly two decades.

When I tried to engage the guy who sent the e-mail about the problems with his position, he kept pointing to the idea that “blood and soil” has always trumped culture as defining identity in what he referred to as “Western conservatism.” He rejected the culture idea as being part of the “liberal enlightenment.” I think I was supposed to recoil at the notion that I would be associated with a “liberal” idea. Of course, I noted that much of what is considered “conservative” thought in American political thought also derives from the Enlightenment, but no go.

I also pointed out that Alberto Gonzalez has “Amerindian blood” and wondered if that made him “Asian.” I also pondered how he would classify Condaleeza Rice and Clarence Thomas. Oddly, no answer.

Indeed, when I see “Western Nation” I see a set of ideas and ideals. It would seem that the author of this e-mail, with his “blood and soil theory” sees white people. I can’t find another interpretation and my inter-change with him simply reinforced that notion.

Amazing and sad.

Filed under: Immigration | Comments (4) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » America is Doomed (So Says Pat) linked with [...] but it is because I am getting tired of these ridiculous arguments (another recent example here). I am not, however, surprised to hear this from Buchanan. It is grandly ironic, given Pat’s own [...]
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Immigration Bill Dead
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:33 am

Via the AP: GOP leaders: No immigration bill this year

In a defeat for President Bush, Republican congressional leaders said Tuesday that broad immigration legislation is all but doomed for the year, a victim of election-year concerns in the House and conservatives’ implacable opposition to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.

As as I speculated in the past would be the case, it is all but certain that there will be no immigration bill coming out of the Congress this session. Despite the fact that various factions within this debate think that the public is overwhelmingly on their side, I remain of the opinion that there is no deep public sentiment on this issue once one gets beyond the in platitudes that have been the hallmark of the “debate” on this topic.

Yes, practically everyone is for “securing the borders” but then again practically everyone is for education, but both cases the devil is in the details and if one unemotionally examines the numerous public opinion polls on this topic one will find a genuine lack of consensus on those details.

As such, as I stated in a column a few weeks back, the most democratic outcome here is likely what will get: no bill whatsoever.

And while I think this will be an issue in the November elections, I have to wonder as to the degree it will be the issue.

Some other reactions:

  • McQ at QandO thinks the lack of a bill will harm GOP chances of retaining seats.
  • John at Powerline think that the situation is the result of courage from House Leadership in the face of what he sees as bad policy in the Senate version.
  • Captain Ed rightly notes “One fact is certain: this issue isn’t dead, even if immigration reform is on life support.”

On balance I would expect that there will be much crowing about how the House Leadership helped increase border security by defeating the dastardly Senate “amnesty” program, however since the lack of legislation simply means maintenance of the status quo, I am not sure what the “border security” faction has won.

Filed under: US Politics, 2006 Elections, Immigration | Comments (5) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Politics In Alabama » Blog Archive » Alabama Bloggers Roundup linked with [...] ost with your highlighted post. The Honest Propagandist has some random thoughts for you. Steven Taylor is reporting that the Immigration Bill is Dead. SJ has a display of Wicked Awsome Album Covers. [...]
The Real Ugly » Blog Archive » GOP Idiots linked with [...] ues of interest to the public at large? I disagree with much of PoliBlogs take on this but he nails it here: On balance I would expect that there will be much crowing about House Leade [...]
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Delays on the Immigration Bill?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:33 am

Via the AP: Hastert Deals Blow to Immigration Bill

Hopes for a quick compromise on immigration were dealt a blow Tuesday after House Speaker Dennis Hastert said he wanted to take a “long look” at a Senate bill offering possible citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants.

Odd, I was unaware anyone who wasn’t under the influence had any “[h]opes of a quick compromise” on this issue. As such, this isn’t all that noteworthy. Indeed, I remain quite skeptical that there is going to be a compromise bill.

It is somewhat sad that “taking a long look” at a complex bill from the Senate in advance of a conference is seen not as standard operating procedure, but rather as a stalling tactic.

It would appear that the House Judiciary Committee may hold hearing on the bill, which I would argue is actually a good idea, although in this case one guesses that the goal is not to learn more about the bill, but instead to engage in political grandstanding on it.

It really does sounds as if the chances of actual legislation emerging on this issue this year are quite small. And if legislation does emerge, I predict that it will be a mess and probably makes things worse, rather than better.

Filed under: War on Terror, Immigration | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Border Smuggling-o-nomics
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:33 pm

Via the AP: Mexico’s migrant-smugglers hike rates

None of the Mexicans hoping to reach the United States could pay the $3,000 the smugglers demanded to hide them in a car and drive them across the border, a trip that just weeks ago cost $2,000.

The sharp increase in smugglers’ fees is due to the arrival of National Guard troops at the border and plans by Washington for even greater border security, all of which will make the sometimes deadly trip into the United States even more difficult and dangerous. The higher fees have convinced some to cancel plans to sneak into the United States, while others have decided to go it alone.

Mexican and U.S. authorities are already seeing a drop in illegal migration, although it isn’t clear if that will last.

Border experts argue the downturn may be temporary while smugglers search for new routes through deadlier terrain and migrants come up with the money to pay the higher fees.

This will almost certainly be the case-as it has been the previous pattern. As I noted before, the sad irony of increased security is that the Coyotes tend to be the ones who profit from it:

Smugglers’ fees jumped in 1994 after the U.S. sent more agents to what were then the busiest illegal crossing points along the Texas and California borders. The measures funneled migrants into the hostile Arizona desert, making smugglers even more valuable and transforming them from an underground network to a booming illegal industry.

In the past 12 years, the average price for helping migrants move north through the Arizona desert increased sixfold, from $300 in 1994 to $1,800.

Suddenly, smugglers are charging as much as $4,000, migrant rights activists say.

And, one suspects that the migrants will find a way to find the cash.

Filed under: Immigration, Border Security | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Saturday, June 10, 2006
No Whiz for You!
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:55 am

Via the AP: Councilman asks Geno’s to lose ‘Speak English’ sign

Vento, whose grandparents struggled to learn English after immigrating from Sicily in the 1920s, said he posted the sign about six months ago amid concerns over immigration reform and the increasing number of customers who could not order in English.

Several things occur to me:

1) It’s his restaurant-if he wants to put the sign up, it’s his business.

2) However, since the goal of a business is to make money, it would seems that being divisive wouldn’t be good for business.

3) Of course, if a person tried to order in a a foreign language, they aren’t likely to get what they want, now are they? As such, what’s the point?

4) And I know that this will hack off folks in Philly: but a bunch cheese whiz blasted onto a sandwich jut sounds gross.

Filed under: Immigration | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, June 9, 2006
Graft on the Border
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:56 am

Via the AP: San Diego border agent arrested in raid

A border inspector accused of accepting cash and a luxury vehicle from smugglers driving carloads of illegal immigrants through border crossings was arrested Thursday.


Elizalda, a 10-year veteran, was arrested in an early morning raid on his home in Chula Vista. Agents seized cash and two luxury cars.

Elizalda’s arrest came a day after another border officer was arraigned on similar charges of accepting more than $500,000 in bribes from smugglers driving illegal immigrants through the border crossing at Otay Mesa, several miles east of San Ysidro. Investigators said they believe the two cases are unrelated.

One suspects that as security tightens, and Coyotes can make more money from the people that they smuggle across the border, the more of this sort of thing we are likely to see.

Like with the drug industry, the more money that there is to be made here, the higher the probability of corruption.

The one thing that is missed in this debate is that more security does not equate to less demand by Mexicans to cross, nor does it diminish the demand for cheap labor on the US side. Rather, more security increases the cost of getting the labor to the marketplace.

The people who will predominantly profit from increased security will be the smugglers.

This isn’t an argument for any particular approach, but a reality that has to be confronted yet is normally ignored.

Filed under: Immigration | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Pros and Cons » Another good reason to support the wall, but not other enforcement measures linked with [...] What do I mean, you may ask? Well, our own SLT has some good ruminations on that over at Poliblogger. Insightful stuff, that. A similar dynamic goes on with all sorts of public policy decisions, li [...]
Sunday, June 4, 2006
PoliColumn II (Conference Committee Politics)
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:37 am

From today’s Birmingham News:

Senate, House immigration bills on collision course
Sunday, June 04, 2006

The U.S. Senate has passed an immigration bill that will be set on a collision course with a radically different bill passed by the House. The result will be that the enforcement-focused House bill will have to be reconciled to the more immigrant-friendly Senate version in a conference committee. The job of the committee will be to reconcile the two bills for an up-or-down vote in the House and Senate.

It is a process we all should have learned in high school and probably think of as a perfectly natural, acceptable part of how a bill becomes a law.

However, this topic, with its radically different House and Senate versions, is something of a poster child for the question of whether this whole conference committee idea is an especially good one.

`Not fixable’:

As Alabama U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions said, “It will have to be rewritten. The bill is not fixable.”

If that is the case, then really the conference won’t be simply hammering out some language differences that inevitably emerge in legislation passed by two different bodies. Rather, for all practical purposes, the conference will act as third chamber of the legislature and, essentially, craft a whole new piece of legislation that will be immune to change by the full Congress.

This begs the question: What was the point of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth we’ve gone through of late? Why go through all the drama in the House and the Senate on such a controversial (and important) topic? The conference committee has, at the end of the day, an inordinate amount of power - especially when the House and Senate bills are so different.

Some reflection on this fact ought to cause some discomfort among us about this process, as we consider the diminution of the influence of the voter in this system. In a conference committee, the relative political power of the citizen is diminished, as each state (let alone district) is not represented. Indeed, the conferees are hand-picked by congressional leadership in the hopes of steering the final legislative product in a particular direction.

Further, the conference debate is far less transparent than that which takes place in the House or Senate, to put it mildly. Really, we don’t know what goes on in the conference until it has produced its report. The entire process substantially reduces accountability.

It also dilutes the power of the full chambers - for while the conference is a creature of the overall Congress, it is also very much a creature of the leadership, and therefore weakens the influence of the two bodies as a whole.

Yes, ultimately that power is partially restored with the two chambers having an up-or-down vote on the conference report. However, at that time there is no room for amendment nor, therefore, any serious debate. It is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Given that the normal legislative process is one of significant give and take and debate, this is a fairly substantial change in process (and therefore potentially in outcome).

Given that all of the previous work in both chambers can be jettisoned, that the conferees are selected in a way which mightily dilutes the influence of voters and that the conference report itself may bear little resemblance to the work which came before, one has to wonder whether we should be using the process at all.

So, what’s the alternative? It is actually pretty simple, and is a process Congress does use for less controversial matters: The bill should go back and forth between the two chambers until both can agree on identical content. There should be the possibility for full debate, amendment and true legislative give-and-take (and compromise) between the two chambers.

Would it take longer? Yes, it would - and, quite frankly, that shouldn’t be an issue. For one thing, it is the job of the legislature to legislate, and it should take as long as necessary to get it right. And, in a democracy, the debate should be as out in the open as possible and the peoples’ elected representative should have their full influence. Further, it might mean fewer laws are passed in a given session of Congress - and given all the laws we currently have, a few less can’t possibly be a bad thing.

If in the back-and-forth process we find no reconciliation can be reached, so be it: That means we don’t have sufficient consensus to pass that law anyway.

Toss the conference:

So, let’s chuck the conference process and go to a system of going back and forth from chamber to chamber. Of course, since such a process would dilute the power of the leadership, this is an unlikely scenario - not to mention we are pretty conservative about our procedures. (If we’ve always done it that way, it must be good, right?)

In regards to the current immigration debate, the only way this process may actually result in an adequately democratic (note the small “d”) outcome is if the conference is unable to reach an adequate compromise, thus killing the bill for this session.

Filed under: US Politics, My Columns, Immigration | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

blogs for industry linked with Conference calls
PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Immigration Bill Dead linked with [...] polls on this topic one will find a genuine lack of consensus on those details. As such, as I stated in a column a few weeks back, the most democratic outcome here is likely what will get: no bill [...]
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Immigration Compromise Dead?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:29 am

Via WaPo:Immigration Deal at Risk as House GOP Looks to Voters

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) will not allow a vote on a House-Senate compromise that does not have the support of most GOP lawmakers or one that would undermine the reelection chances of his at-risk members, aides said. According to GOP lawmakers and strategists, about 75 percent of the 231 House Republicans are steadfastly opposed to the Senate bill or even a watered-down version of it.

A month or so ago I noted that it seemed unlikely that legislation would emerge from the Congress this session, and this story adds weight to that position.

Given the divisiveness of this debate, it is somewhat odd that the Congress has invested as much energy in it as they have. While 9/11 raised awareness of issues of border security and President Bush has been talking about a guest worker program since he ran for office the first time, I never have fully understood why this has become such a hot topic right now. It isn’t as if we just discovered that we have a illegal immigrant problem.

While it is also true that the Bill O’Reilly has been agitating on this topic for some time, and the Minutemen similarly have brought the topic to public attention, none of this seems sufficient to have forced Congress’ hand-especially since all they have managed to do is paint themselves into a corner.

Filed under: US Politics, Immigration | Comments (4) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Monday, May 22, 2006
Revisionism at Human Events
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:42 am

Yesterday morning I noted that Jerome Corsi had written a ridiculous piece in which he claimed the Bush administration was secretly seeking to dissolve the borders with the Canada and Mexico to create a North American Union.

In the piece he made the egregious error of stating that Canada wasn’t in NAFTA. Here’s the original paragraph:

Secretly, the Bush administration is pursuing a policy to expand NAFTA to include Canada, setting the stage for North American Union designed to encompass the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. What the Bush administration truly wants is the free, unimpeded movement of people across open borders with Mexico and Canada. [emphasis mine]

However, a commenter at Arms and Influence noted that there was a redaction.

And so, here’s the new paragraph:

Secretly, the Bush administration is pursuing a policy to expand NAFTA politically, setting the stage for a North American Union designed to encompass the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. What the Bush administration truly wants is the free, unimpeded movement of people across open borders with Mexico and Canada.

Like the World Net Daily revisionism from last week, there is no note on the Corsi piece indicating that an error had been corrected.

Given that many blogs will post updates when they fix typos or make other minor corrections, is it too much to ask any online publication to do the same?

Of course, given the magnitude of Corsi’s original error, the editors should have pulled the whole piece.

The whole thing is ridiculous.

Filed under: US Politics, Immigration, Border Security | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Sunday, May 21, 2006
On Training the Border Patrol
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:27 pm

From the New Mexican comes a le ngthy piece on training the border patrol: Call to the border: Artesia’s Border Patrol Academy gears up to double security. It includes the following tidbit:

Congress has called for a near doubling of the Border Patrol, from its current force of 11,500 to 21,000 within five years. That would make it the largest federal law-enforcement agency in the country, outstripping the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency, according to Infotrac, a nonpartisan research center at Syracuse University.

The majority of agents, about 9,000, are stationed along the southern border of the U.S..

Update: I just realized that I had posted far more than I intended. The post has been edited as I intended.

Filed under: US Politics, Immigration, Border Security | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Next Page »

Take a Look At This!

Visitors Since 2/15/03

PoliBlog is the Host site for:

A TTLB Community


Marketing cars
Office Linebacker
Baseball Shopping
Business Phones
Online Banking

Powered by WordPress