Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An Alternative To Amnesty

An Alternative To Amnesty

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.

And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."
-- Robert FrostMending Walls

Almost four years ago come this June, I proposed an alternative to Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants.  To the best of my knowledge and beliefs, nobody heeded me then.  I doubt if anybody would listen to me now or ever.  Ergo, it behooves revisiting for emphasis and clarity of recollection both the gist and premises of the arguments [proof edited]:
“. . . the influx of illegal aliens in the southern border is undermining the very concept of our national sovereignty. The wall has to be mended before any meaningful talk of any kind of immigration reform, comprehensive or otherwise, makes any sense. In answer to [one of] Robert Frost’s questions {What I was walling in or walling out,} mending the wall would be walling out intruders who do not respect our laws simultaneously as it would be walling in our self-perception as a nation of laws.” [Read more: p.243 op.cit.]

It really matters less that nobody is listening.  The message still has to be trumpeted through the four corners of the earth because it is wrong not to.  When you bother to have laws, you must find a mechanism to enforce them.  When somebody breaks the law, that body has to answer for the crime of law-breaking.  Anything short of this makes a mockery of our self-image as a nation of laws.  When it involves trespassing across our territorial borders, it makes a lie of the notion that we are a sovereign nation.

If there ever were a shovel-ready project chuck-full of economic stimuli, this could have been it, in all its grotesque Obamist splendor of “. . . meaning planning is complete, approvals are secured and people could be put to work right away once funding is in place.”   This could have been worth all the contortionist spin accrued Solyndra and the thirty-two other kindred Green Energy ventures lucky enough to get loan guarantees from the $800-billion stimulus package and promptly folded shortly after the bounty was in.  The political commitment to do it was the main missing ingredient.

The mechanics of implementation could have been as straightforward, prima facie, as arranging for a community picnic on a July 4th weekend.  Or better yet, to leverage the advantage inherent to the February cold climate, we could schedule a round-up for the Presidents’ Day weekend.  There are three essential components to the operation: (1) rounding them up; (2) shipping them off; and (3) keeping them out.

The enumeration does not imply order of importance.  The qualifier “prima facie” is necessary because when an operation involves people and their sensibilities, nothing is ever simple and straightforward.  It behooves to count the ways that complications can arise.

1.   Rounding them up ~~ any dragnet-like operation always runs the risk that some target entities may be filtered through the sieve.  Moreover, people acquire varying degrees of adaptability.  Some people readily grow roots and support network within any community faster than managed by certain others.  The common denominator however is documentation on how and when did you commence being in your present circumstances.

2.   Shipping them off ~~ at first blush this appears to be straightforward.  It seems to only require deploying enough long-distance buses of the Greyhound or Trailways and kindred variety to transport the rounded up people to a designated destination.  The designation of a proper destination can be tricky.  Since the people may not possess any kind of documentation, how does one determine where to ship them to?

This is an aspect of the problem I had recognized and warned of in the earlier publication.  {See, e.g., p. 243 ff op.cit. print or electronic, wherein page numbers don’t apply.}
“Suppose, by a miracle of miracles, the country finally develops the political will to enforce the law and the spine to round up all those undocumented individuals and transport them to the Mexican border. What happens then if the Mexican authorities simply disown them? In the absence of evidence that they belong to any other country, the U.S. would be stuck with the bodies of living human beings.
 “It would be a de facto reverse writ of habeas corpus, i.e., “you have the bodies, they are your problems.” Shall we have the moral courage and justification to just unload the people at the border? I hazard to guess that we do not. We have a long tradition of being a compassionate people. We shall have ended licking at the flat end of the immigration lollipop.”
3.   Keeping them out~~ As I had extensively argued and demonstrated on pp. 237 ff, chapter 16, “Incidental Lessons in Fluid Mechanics,” of the earlier cited book, keeping the border less porous and permeable than exists now is as basic as plugging a leak in the dike.  The logic is so elementary.  The context is so conventional.  It is quite a marvel that the policy-making crowd had not picked up on to make it the operative wisdom for governance.

There are mesanthropes, skeptics and cynics who opine that making the border more impregnable would effectively be tantamount to the East Berlinization of America.  Nothing can be farther from the truth.  East Germany was walled off because had they left everybody free to travel, all those who had the wherewithal would have departed for the western sector.
Of the three components, if priority were to be assigned, mending the wall should be deemed more important.  A mop up operation is an exercise in futility if the supply is not curtailed at the source.

All three should be construed as mutually reinforcing their effectiveness.  Ergo they could conceivably be most beneficial if all three are synchronized when implemented in a virtually concurrent manner.

The point that should not need any emphasis at all is that playing fast and loose with the law requires that you own up the consequences.  Issuing waivers as the wont of the Obama Regime is the hallmark of tyranny.

Only when you claim to be above the law would you sanction selective enforcement thereof.  Our forebears invested precious sweat, blood and tears to get the Constitution written and adopted.  The least we can do is to abide by its letter and spirit.  We require the same of anybody who happens into our borders, by any reason or happenstance, whatsoever.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Blizzard Chronicles Redux

The Blizzard Chronicles Redux

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
~~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind

My earlier blog post must have resonated with somebody with a whole lot of leverage over the affairs of men and the natural universe.  They did a Frank Sinatra on it and came up with an average of four more inches of snow on the ground.  Chalk it to the dividends of experience but Long Island did not close shop this time around.  We cannot but be thankful for small favors:
Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare 
Blaspheme the twisted tendril as a Snare? 
A Blessing, we should use it, should we not? 
And if a Curse--why, then, Who set it there?
~~Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat

There definitely were tangible downsides, depending upon which side of the fence you hang out.  For instance, since the usual suspect venues were open for business, rather than wrap herself up on the couch enjoying YouTube, my wife did report for work and got amply rewarded for her due diligence with a 4.5 hour trip back home on what normally was a forty-minute drive.

This was just proof positive that under the proper mix of circumstances, no good deed would be left unpunished.  As the drinking Persian, good old grandpa Omar, had appropriately counseled above, any manna that comes our way can no longer safely be classified whether or not it’s a blessing or a curse.  It all depends on how we dispose of it and handle the consequences, incidental or otherwise premeditated.

It had caused the frustration and exasperation of the powers that be, even (or especially) those charged with disposing of other peoples’ money.
“Speaking at a press conference this morning, the new mayor repeatedly sighed and expressed his exasperation at Mother Nature, . . .”
Liberal Progressives exemplified by New York City’s mayor just seem to have difficulty reconciling with the reality of powers far more overreaching than our preoccupation with mundane concerns.

The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes, 
But Here or There as strikes the Player goes; 
And He that toss'd you down into the Field, 
He knows about it all--He knows--HE knows!
Mother Nature’s second serving left a soggy landscape whose manifestation on our front yard, viewed from the main door is depicted by DSC0478.

The left side of the picture shows my wife’s commute chariot, with a moderate dusting of snow, resting on the driveway.  DSC0480 shows the same front yard viewed from the dining room table.
Fast forward another week, it’s Super Bowl 48 Sunday. The MetLife Stadium, the predetermined venue for the game, in East Rutherford, NJ is about a Hail Mary’s throw away from the western end of the Lincoln Tunnel.  The Lincoln, connecting Manhattan to the mainland of continental North America under the Hudson River, is some sixty-nine or so miles from my front door.

As if to spite the sadistic proclivities of the football-following public, who own the reputation to enjoy watching the contending teams battle it out for the coveted Lombardi Trophy, the prize hardware for every Super Bowl, Mother Nature promptly brought in a simulation of early spring.  Weather prognosticators in the area uniformly tagged ambient ground temperature hovering right around the 50-degree mark.

Even our friendly neighbors, the pair of cardinals who had laid claim on the evergreen holly that canopies our garage to be their very own abode, were deliriously if prematurely celebrating an early spring.  To paraphrase and bastardize Shakespeare, it is “the winter of our discontent made glorious by these cardinals.”

When they first caught my attention frolicking outside the window, I mistook their constant collision with the glass as an attempt to play with their image as reflected by the glass pane of the window.  I later realized that they were actually attempting to fly through the glass window. 
Having no clue on the anatomy of the birds’ eye-view, I don’t presume to know what they see behind the window, i.e., inside the room.  My guess is they don’t see anything at all.  This is based on my observation that if I leaned motionless at the window frame for an extended period, the birds come bumping on the window as if I was not there at all.  My wife, with her charitable wisdom, interprets this as my not getting any respect from the cardinals.  I find it difficult to refute the evidence.
Alas Mother Nature was neither sympathetic to the lamentations of Mayor de Blasio nor to the celebrations of the cardinals.  She promptly deposited yet again another, in this neck of the woods, five inches of the white soggy stuff on the ground.  They predicted four to eight inches.  Five inches should not be construed as a bad bargain.  Compared to last week it seems a token.
This is not to denigrate the travails of those who actually shovel the stuff off the ground.  The temperature having barely gone south of melting point, the carpeting is compact, wet, and heavy.  It is more pleasant to behold than to walk upon.  It certainly makes the oak tree look chillingly pretty, though.

The lady who operated the plow truck clearing the main court of Howe Court was gracious enough to assure my wife not to dump on the entrance to our driveway.  Other operators in the past were too nonchalant to be cognizant of such small amenities.
This being the first week of February, I anticipate a couple more episodes of the looming blizzard. The cluster of cypress growing close to the house walls designed to conceal the laundry room from street view seem too over laden with the soggy precipitate they are bent out of shape.   Whether or not they would regain their dignified accustomed poise come spring would be anybody’s guess.
While we wait and see, we share the optimism of Frank Sinatra and deep in our hearts perhaps partly and silently sing along with him Lara's Theme from Doctor Zhivago thus:

Somewhere, my love, there will be songs to sing
Although the snow covers the hopes of Spring
Somewhere a hill blossoms in green and gold
And there are dreams, all that your heart can hold, etc.