Democrats & Liberals Archives

Time for Compassion

When Condoleezza Rice took over as Secretary of State, after we were buried in the Iraqi quagmire, she famously declared that it was time for diplomacy. Now that the president and the Republican party are buried under a mound of incompetence-lying-greed-corruption trash that is threatening to stifle their ability to smear their way towards winning in the upcoming mid-term elections, George W. Bush, the compassionate conservative, thinks it’s time for compassion. He wants to be nice to immigrants.

Bush made a speech on immigration reform. First, he set the tone of the debate:

"On the streets of major cities, crowds have rallied in support of those in our country illegally. At our southern border, others have organized to stop illegal immigrants from coming in. Across the country, Americans are trying to reconcile these contrasting images."

Then he offered his solution: Improve the guarding of our borders and at the same time offer a guest worker program that would offer immigrants a path toward legality. This he has suggested before. The big new idea is the deployment of National Guard members to the border to assist the Border Patrol. He plans to have 6,000 Guard members serve for 2 weeks - as replacement for the 2 weeks of summer training - and then rotate them back to other duties.

Read the speech itself here.

Contrary to what most people believe the speech was not addressed to the public at large, but to Bush's buddies in the House. Here is my translation:

"To Republican Members of the House:

We Republicans were elected and made such tremendous strides in the executive, the House and the Senate because we called ourselves compassionate conservatives. It was OK to stick to the conservative part and forget about the compassionate part as long as we were doing things like tax-cuts, and giving away goodies to energy, banking and other industries. These moves brought in lots of campaign money and made us strong.

Even going to war with Iraq helped us with Big Business - especially oil.

But times are not so good for us. An election is coming and people are starting to catch on that we have transferred money from the poor and middle class to the rich. We MUST change their perceptions of Republicans. Either we do this or we drown in November.

It makes no sense to talk about a "wall" on the border. Why upset our Hispanic friends and would-be Republicans? Let's use the word "technology." This conjures up all sorts of magic that people love.

Yes, we must protect our borders, but why can't we show some compassion towards these poor people who must risk their lives in order to get jobs in America? We should have a guest worker program. This will do 2 things: it will make our business friends who depend on cheap labor happy and it will show Americans that Republicans are compassionate. So compassionate that we allow immigrants to become citizens one day.

Turn down the rhetoric. Calm down. We need the guest worker program to demonstrate that Republicans are not merely conservative but also compassionate.

The time for compassion is now.

Posted by Paul Siegel at May 16, 2006 4:42 PM
Comments
Comment #148712

Paul a wall won’t work. Sorry, but it won’t. Name a wall that has. The illegals are people and deserved to be treated like human beings, not cattle and herded for our convenience or political whim. Many have been here for years.

Bush offered nothing but rhetoric. This issue has purposely been framed around the fear of a hispanic invansion. We’ve not been invaded. We’ve allowed companies to undermine the US labor market by importing cheap labor and given them tax advantages for outsourcing to slave labor.

This is about destroying unions and collective bargaining. It’s an old issue. Don’t be duped.

Posted by: gergle at May 16, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #148714

Perhaps we need to re-word parts of Bacon’s Declaration of the People…they certainly seem to apply:

1. For having, upon specious pretenses of public works, raised great unjust taxes upon the commonalty for the advancement of private favorites and other sinister ends, but no visible effects in any measure adequate; for not having, during this long time of his government, in any measure advanced this hopeful colonycountry either by fortifications, towns, or trade.

2. For having abused and rendered contemptible the magistrates of justice by advancing to places of judicature scandalous and ignorant favorites.

3. For having wronged his Majesty’sthis country’s prerogative and interest by assuming monopoly of the beaveroil trade and for having in it unjust gain betrayed and sold his Majesty’sthis country and the lives of his loyal subjects to the barbarous heathen.

4. For having protected, favored, and emboldened the Indians against his Majesty’scorporations against this country’s loyal subjects, never contriving, requiring, or appointing any due or proper means of satisfaction for their many invasions, robberies, and murders committed upon us.


7. For having, with only the privacy of some few favorites without acquainting the people, only by the alteration of a figure, forged a commission, by we know not what hand, not only without but even against the consent of the people, for the raising and effecting civil the Iraq war and destruction, which being happily and without bloodshed prevented; for having the second time attempted the same, thereby calling down our forces from the defense of the frontiers and borders and most weakly exposed places.

8. For the prevention of civil mischief and ruin amongst ourselves while the barbarous enemycorporations in all places did invade, murder, and spoil us, his Majesty’s most faithful subjects.

Of this and the aforesaid articles we accuse Sir William Berkeley George W. Bush as guilty of each and every one of the same, and as one who has traitorously attempted, violated, and injured his Majesty’scountry’s interest here by a loss of a great part of this his colony and many of his faithful loyal subjects by him betrayed and in a barbarous and shameful manner exposed to the incursions and murder of the heathen. And we do further declare these the ensuing persons in this list to have been his wicked and pernicious councilors, confederates, aiders, and assisters against the commonalty in these our civil commotions.

Posted by: Lynne at May 16, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #148732

Why the fuss over immigration at this late date?These 12 million or so illegals are just as much citizens as your or I.Guest worker program?They’re hardly guests anymore.22 years under my belt and some of these folks have been calling America home longer than I.Most likely they have children who are now Americans.This issue is being brought to the forefront because Mr. Bush wants to distract us from all the other dropped balls he was trying to juggle.

Posted by: Theresa at May 16, 2006 6:45 PM
Comment #148748

Paul and Lynne: beautiful, beautiful - you are Americans with intelligence, and an understanding of history and language. May the educated and truly compassionate make this country great once again and may Bush and company go down in history as the most greedy, immoral and moronic administration ever…never to be repeated again.

Posted by: wheredemballs at May 16, 2006 7:49 PM
Comment #148750

Amen Theresa. Let us all remember the other distractors such as the color coded warning system (I guess no longer needed since Bush won 2004), the trip to Mars and of course the “Gay Marriage Amendment”.

Posted by: wheredemballs at May 16, 2006 7:53 PM
Comment #148796

It seems that if you are charitable, the charity is always returned in some way; if you are hardnosed and hateful, that is also returned…it’s that old golden rule…do unto others as you would have them do to you…maybe only we “common folk” understand that???

You’d think that the Christian fundamentalists would get it, too, but….

Posted by: Lynne at May 16, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #148839
Let’s use the word “technology.” This conjures up all sorts of magic that people love.

I know I do. :)

Paul, if that’s the President’s message, then I don’t think it’s going to work. The longer these Republicans dilly-dally on this issue, the more Americans see them as the ineffective wackos they are (except for a few that I like even though I don’t necessarily agree with everything they do: McCain, Lugar, Hagel, Snowe… I guess that’s about it).

Anyhow, Republicans are alienating their base as well as independent voters through their total incompetence on immigration and many other issues.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 17, 2006 2:10 AM
Comment #148853

What the president, AND TED KENNEDY calls the ‘guest worker’ program USED to be called BRACERO. And there are reasons THAT program was abandoned, not the least of which was the dignity of temporary workers and not the most of which was the restraining effect their work had on the wages of American Citizens.

What would Cesar Chavez do?

Posted by: Thom Houts at May 17, 2006 4:31 AM
Comment #148888

What an Excellent Fun Thing, Lynne!

I tried a similar experiment with the divers indictments against King George contained within the Declaration Of Independence, recently, and it is amazing how easily they can be adapted to the present King Georgius Secundus Rex and his Regent, Darth Cheney. (Geordie needs a Steward to protect the throne and guide Policy: he tends to drool and colour on the State Documents if not properly watched and minded.)

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 17, 2006 8:14 AM
Comment #148930

Plus ça change, plus ce même chose….

Tyrants are always with us and they take over only with our help…we are the only ones who can unseat them by our insistence on compassion for people…

Posted by: Lynne at May 17, 2006 11:58 AM
Comment #148950

I don’t understand why some people cant get the connection of the word ILLEGAL to the immigrant issue. If we were to extend that theory to other areas of crime, then if you steal a car, and are able to drive off in it, you should be able to keep it…no penalties. If you rob a bank and get away, then have fun spending the money, and let us know the next time you plan a heist so we can come with you and have a share of the spoils.
Our ancestors had to follow a process to gain citizenship and it has been fairly successful.
As far as I know, we haven’t changed the rules or altered that process, so why should we turn our backs on it now????
I’m not saying that we should hunt them down and do unreasonable things to them, or painful or immoral, but why should they be able to gain by breaking the law when others are expected to obey, and made to jump through the hoops and wait in line for years to earn permanent status?

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at May 17, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #148959

Sandra:

I don’t understand why some people cant get the connection of the word ILLEGAL to the immigrant issue. If we were to extend that theory to other areas of crime, then if you steal a car, and are able to drive off in it, you should be able to keep it…no penalties.

We’re talking, perhaps, more about the morality of the situation…just because something is illegal, it isn’t necessarily immoral and vice versa…look at prohibition!

Plus, we’re not talking about cars and “stuff”, we’re talking about people and their ability to feed their families. Part of the problem in Mexico is NAFTA which surpressed the wages and number of jobs in labor-intensive industries…many of the maquiladoras went to China…

Morally, we ARE our brother’s keeper, especially when economic policies our own country supports and enforces bring them to the edge of starvation…

My family has been through the “legal” immigration process three times…it is not easy. You either need to have a highly technical skill (basketball player) that is in great demand or you need the sponsorship of a “direct” relative…aunts and uncles don’t count! You should be able to see that this would keep the majority of the illegals now in the US unable to apply for a resident visa.

The visa process is long…you’re on the list and if you don’t get to the top of the list in a year you go plunging back down the list, your name doesn’t stay on top…it can take years…

The best thing for our economy is NOT to have a guestworker program which would artificially keep wages low not only for the “guest” (slave) workers, but for American citizen workers as well. Mainstreaming these illegals (amnesty, if you will, with provisions to be enforced) would be the best for our economy, for American citizens, and for the illegal workers who came here in order to feed their families.

There’s enough for all of us when we don’t get greedy and hoard…

Posted by: Lynne at May 17, 2006 1:31 PM
Comment #148983

Lynne,,,,I’m sorry if you still can not either comprehend or accept, the meaning of illegal.
And let me get this straight…..you are a proponent of crime?? …because coming here without benefit of due process is against the law. As far as your morality issue, you feel it’s okay for illegal immigrants to come here, take jobs away from U.S. citizens…go to the head of welfare lines, exhaust the healthcare systems so that U.S. citizens keep paying higher and higher insurance rates, and that goes for vehicle insurance as well !! But beyond even that, you’re talking about a one-directional morality ….ours! Why is that, and what is right about that??? Why is it okay for huge amounts of $$ toend up bolstering the economy of Mexico and not stay here supporting ours??
If the distinction is “Mexico”, that’s because it is, what it is. Laws are laws and we can’t just choose those we like and throw out the other ones. We lose our rights by violating laws ….we don’t get rewarded!
Oh, and by the way, I worked for the A.G.’s office in California for 20+ years….and we worked closely with the I.N.S., so there is very little you can tell me about the process.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at May 17, 2006 2:53 PM
Comment #148992

Yes,Sandra,it would be wonderful for everyone if all laws were adhered to(maybe).But wishing isn’t going to make it happen.Nobody has come up with a clear solution thus far.Why is it such a bad thing to grant amnesty?As for illegals stealing our welfare…good!Maybe Americans will turn to other alternatives.Like working if they can.Anyway,many Mexicans come here for work and not a handout.Put yourself in the position of an illegal immigrant.All you want is a shot at providing for your family.You’ve been here years,your kids are American,and going back to your old life is your worst nightmare.Why put them through it after staying complacent for so long?

Posted by: Theresa at May 17, 2006 3:31 PM
Comment #149001

Actually Theresa, that last post of yours doesn’t warrant a response…..

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at May 17, 2006 4:04 PM
Comment #149023

Actually,Sandra,you responded.

Posted by: Theresa at May 17, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #149066

>>I’m not saying that we should hunt them down and do unreasonable things to them, or painful or immoral, but why should they be able to gain by breaking the law when others are expected to obey, and made to jump through the hoops and wait in line for years to earn permanent status?

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at May 17, 2006 12:59 PM

I hate to interupt this ‘discussion’, but we all carry blinders. The illegals are here because we, meaning cheap, good-for-nothing employers, give out jobs at a lower wage than citizens can accept. I don’t know how Sandra can hold it against poor people for hunting jobs they can’t get at home, and I don’t know how Theresa won’t acknowledge that it is against the law for them to do so.

That being said, the answer appears simple to me…arrest the employers; fine them; jail them. Without jobs, the illegals will go home, because if you are going to starve anyway, wouldn’t it be saner to starve at home?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 17, 2006 8:01 PM
Comment #149069

Ok,it is illegal,but when the situation is so far gone that you have 12 million people and their children immersed so completely into our society,what can you do?Find each and every one and demand they leave?And perhaps I’m just being young minded and idealistic,but I don’t want them to starve.Here OR at home.We can keep illegals out(hopefully)but as long as they’re here,why not help them out as long as they are working and being productive?Whatever happened to the”melting pot”?

Posted by: Theresa at May 17, 2006 8:23 PM
Comment #149113

Mom always said it was impolite to interrupt, but I just had a couple of thoughts.

I have no problem with people wanting to make a better life for themselves and their families. But there are two ways to do this: Legally and illegally.

I can get a job or I can rob a bank. That’s the problem I have with ILLEGAL immigration. These folks are robbing the bank and that’s against the law.

If we don’t want to enforce the law, let’s get rid of it. If we don’t want to control our borders, let’s do away with the border patrol and use the money saved to build water stations and shelters in the desert to facilitate the entry of new residents into the U.S.

We could use Imminent Domain to confiscate private property along the border to create a 50 or 100 mile safe zone. We could place the water stations and shelter in this zone. We could use the National Guard or active-duty military to protect the new residents within the zone from harassment by American citizens.

We can shut down the immigration department and use the money to help our new residents find jobs, pay for their health care, educate their children and provide welfare or unemployment benefits to those in need.

We can do this. We just need the will to make it happen.


Posted by: ulysses at May 17, 2006 11:22 PM
Comment #149193

Isn’t it just as much against the law to HIRE an illegal as it is to BE an illegal? But the justifications are different. One is illegal because he is poor and needy, the other because he is degenerate and greedy. Which should suffer the greater punishment?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 18, 2006 10:28 AM
Comment #149249

Interesting that no matter how our reps in the District of Corruption try to make this a partisan issue, it just ain’t so. The “guest worker” proponents point at the “whatever word you use, it’s still amnesty” opponents, and call them all Republican conservatives. That just can’t be so and the posts here confirm it. if 75-80% of Americans believe illegal is illegal and should be dealt with as illegal, then, obviously, we are crossing party lines big time.

This is a 100% American issue without party lines. If our reps were forced to spend time in the emergency rooms, free clinics, social services offices, food banks, they would quickly see that illegals are an immense drain on the public resources. If they were all truly in need, I’d be the first in the compassionate line. Particularly irritating is seeing a young illegal Mexican girl with three babies, all American born, applying for public assistance. At home you will see her also-illegal boyfriend, the father of 1 or 2 or perhaps all 3 of her children. He has just arrived home from working his construction job, pops a beer retrieved by one of the kids, flips through several of the stations on his 60”, cable-connected TV, and finding nothing to his liking, heads out the door and gets into his new Ford F250 pickup. His girlfriend gathers up the kids, puts them in her new SUV, and heads to the grocery. Her food stamps are in and the AFDC check arrived as well. Her girlfriend will be giving her $200 for $400 worth of her food stamps. That’ll still leave her $200 and she’ll supplement this with the three or four organizations in the community that give free food to the poor. Don’t need any evidence; your need and poverty status is taken on faith alone.

Think I’m wrong? WalMart opponents argue that low wages and benefits of WalMart workers burdens the community with having to pick up the gap between wages and living expenses. What does Bush and his fellow compassionate bleeding hearts (a front totally) think will happen with their illegally imported poor folks? No problem. Let the states worry about that when it happens. Unfortunately, it already has happened and increases daily.

Posted by: Kathy at May 18, 2006 2:38 PM
Comment #149290

Sandra, nowhere did I condone crime…but we have 11-12 or even more million illegal workers here in the US…we need to deal with this issue…I put forth why we need to deal with it and how to deal with it…

Let’s face it, prohibition made alcohol illegal, too…that didn’t work too well…millions disobeyed “the law”…law, like theological pronouncement, need to be “received” by the people…the majority of people choose to deal compassionately with the illegal workers.

Posted by: Lynne at May 18, 2006 6:32 PM
Comment #149353
Paul a wall won’t work. Sorry, but it won’t. Name a wall that has. The illegals are people and deserved to be treated like human beings, not cattle and herded for our convenience or political whim. Many have been here for years.

Gergle:

Yes, the illegals are human beings, but they’re also criminals, no matter how Ted Kennedy and John McCain sugar coat it.

They have no right to be here and as much as I would love to throw every illegal on a bus and ship them back to where they came, I understand that is not a plausible solution. However, I do not support these “earned citizenship” programs in the House and Senate. In my mind, both are amnesty.

So what does someone in my position do? Here’s my plan for dealing with the illegals here now: abolish minimum wage and labor laws regarding all undocumented/illegal aliens.

This would work three-fold: first, it would be a disincentive, discouraging (some) future illegal immigrants from hopping the border. Second, my plan, for the same reason, would encourage at least some of the illegals here now to leave because of harsher working conditions, longer hours and lower wages. Lastly, and less importantly, my plan would bolster the bottom line of the small business industry who managed to retain their illegals who decided to stick it out, including the floundering farming industry (where a substantial amount of illegals are hired) simply because the employers would get cheap labor.

Now, because of the midterm elections, you’d never hear a senator, republican or democrat, call for this type of legislation, although some might, in their hearts, actually support a plan like this.


Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at May 18, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #149389

Great Alex, make illegal labor legal. That’s quite a solution you have there. Let’s throw in child labor while your at it. Why don’t you understand the meaning of illegal when it come’s to fictious human beings called corporations?

Sir, you are a big part of the problem. You entice the immigrants and then persecute them. If that isn’t bigoted then I don’t know what is.

I guess selective use of the word illegal is a right wing thing. Let’s just reenact legal slavery, it’d be great for the economy and the blacks and hispanics would all run for the border.

Posted by: gergle at May 19, 2006 5:32 AM
Comment #149514

Sir, you are a big part of the problem. You entice the immigrants and then persecute them. If that isn’t bigoted then I don’t know what is.

Gergle,

How am I enticing the immigrants? By dropping their wages, by dropping all protections from the government, by allowing employers to work them to death? Yeah, that sounds awfully enticing.

And, sir, I would never suggest abolishing minimum wage or labor laws for legal workers. They are not criminals, these illegals are, and if we can’t deport all 12 million of them, then we need to make their US visit a living hell, becasue people who have no respect for our laws deserve nothing less.

And, yes the illegal labor would become legal, but I believe there is a much larger issue that needs to be dealt with, such as getting these resource-depleating criminals out and protecting the small business industry.

Also, these bills proposed in Congress are simply not practical. Most illegals are slipping by undetected, so what incentive do they have, since they obviously dont care about becoming a citizen or they wouldve done it legally, to turn themselves in, and pay the fine and backed taxes? There is none, and to think that illegals will come out of the woodwork and turn themselves, especially when some might have to leave and come back, is simply illogical.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at May 19, 2006 3:50 PM
Comment #149666

Alex Fitzsimmons,

Are you saying the illegals are earning minimum wage? Get real…they would not be being hired at minimum wage, citizens would be hired. The only reason illegals are hired over citizens is because they will work for less than minimum.

Posted by: Marysdude at May 20, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #149667

Arrest the employers who are willing to hire illegals at less than minimum… that will take care of everything. Americans will get jobs at minimum, the illegals will go home to starve, and the bad guys will be in jail. How can you beat that?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 20, 2006 12:40 AM
Comment #149685

Alex, they are not protected by wage law now. They cannot file complaints due to their illegal status. The enticement exists now. That is the problem. That is why they would come wall or no wall. As they report to me they are lucky to work at all in Mexico unless they are “connected” and $2.00 a day is not unusual for labor. You are out of touch with the problem, it seems to me.

Many illegals do make above minimum wage, but they are also often not paid at all. I worked for an employer a few years ago that hired legal immigrants and paid them overtime for more than 80 hours in two weeks. I refused to stop signing payroll after calling the wage board. I could not make the complaint. The employee must make the complaint. These guys had to pay enormous fees to lawyers and depended on the employer to sponser their grenn card status. He knew they would not file on him. He paid other workers less than minimum by saying they were contractors and provided them with equipment which he billed them for. Some days they made nothing. He had the ability to dispute anyone complaining with well paid lawyers. He profited heavily as did several of his competitors. The truth is poor people generally do not want to bother with, have the resources, or have the spare time to go after these kind of employers.

There is poor enforcement of our current wage laws and you expect Illegals to pursue thier rights or even worse you wish to truly make them a slave class.

The issue is if we maintain the status quo, we continue to subsidise these sleazy employers who deal in this subversive profiteering. That’s the Republican and Democrat bases yelling about building a wall and send em home, because they KNOW it won’t happen or work. Neither party will address the root of the problem.

Posted by: gergle at May 20, 2006 1:53 AM
Comment #149781
Arrest the employers who are willing to hire illegals at less than minimum… that will take care of everything

Marysdude,

And how do you propose we do that? Illegally search every business owner’s records to find out if theyre hiring illegals? Not only is that illegal but we lack the manpower to make that idea effective and it would cost too much. My idea, however, is extremely cost effective.

You are out of touch with the problem, it seems to me.

Gergle,

Yes, many illegals are getting paid less than minimum wage, but many, and Ive been in enough restaurants to know, are making over minimum wage. However, far less employers, from what ive seen, abuse labor laws, which is the second prong of my idea.

A lot of these illegals are working to provide for their families, and sending a lot of their earnings back to their family. How is a man supposed to survive earning .75 cents an hour working 16 hour days without breaks, without overtime, in harsh, grueling conditions, while paying rent for a deadbeat apartment having to buy food, clothes, all while sending half of that money back to Mexico to provide for his starving family.

Try it, see how it goes.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at May 20, 2006 8:12 PM
Comment #149812

>>while paying rent for a deadbeat apartment having to buy food, clothes, all while sending half of that money back to Mexico to provide for his starving family.

Try it, see how it goes.


Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at May 20, 2006 08:12 PM

How about if one rents the apartment and sub-lets to several others? That way the rent is divided between many, and all there is to worry about is the spread of diseases and/or fire. There are just as many ‘slum-lords’ willing to rent in this manner as there are employers willing to hire at less than minimum wage.

Someone posted that most illegals were working for minimum or better…huh? Why in the world would an employer hire an illegal for the same wage he could pay a legal resident? Why would he take that chance? What would be the reward if he was successful, or the punishment if he failed?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 20, 2006 11:56 PM
Comment #149819
Someone posted that most illegals were working for minimum or better…huh? Why in the world would an employer hire an illegal for the same wage he could pay a legal resident? Why would he take that chance? What would be the reward if he was successful, or the punishment if he failed?

Marysdude:

Why? Because some people respect the law, but for the ones who dont: its widely recognized that illegals work harder than the average American. So, employers hire the illegals, pay them slightly less than the American, and get double the production.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at May 21, 2006 12:52 AM
Post a comment