Monday, June 24, 2013

Copper: General Brendan Donovan’s Rallying Speech to the Irish of the Sixth Ward.

Brendan Donovan (Donal Logue). Copper. BBC America.

Donal Logue as General Donovan: Copper. Video. BBCAmericaTV, June 3, 2013. YouTube.

Copper: Inside General Donovan’s Big Rallying Speech. Video. BBCAmericaTV, June 23, 2013. YouTube.

Illegal Immigration: Elite Illiberality. By Victor Davis Hanson.

Illegal Immigration: Elite Illiberality. By Victor Davis Hanson. National Review Online, June 17, 2013. Also at Real Clear Politics.

Immigration: If the Bill Passes. By Victor Davis Hanson. National Review Online, June 23, 2013.

Hanson (Elite Illiberality):

The divide over immigration reform is not primarily a Left/Right or Democratic/Republican divide; instead, it cuts, and sharply so, across class lines. Elites blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration to ensure that the opponents of the latter appear to be against the former. They talk grandly of making legal immigration meritocratic, but fall silent when asked to what degree. They talk darkly of racist subtexts in the arguments of their opponents, but skip over the overt ethnic chauvinism of proponents of amnesty; they decry conservative paranoia over a new demography, but never liberal euphoria over just such a planned reset. They talk deprecatingly of rubes who do not understand the new global realties, but never of their own parochialism ensconced in New York or Washington or San Francisco. They talk of reactionaries who do not fathom the ins and outs of the debate; never of their own willful ignorance of the realities on the ground in East L.A. or southwest Fresno.

The elites favor de facto amnesty for a variety of self-interested reasons. For the corporate echelon, creating a guest-worker program and granting amnesty — without worrying about securing the border first — ensures continued access to millions of cheap laborers from Latin America. The United States may be suffering the most persistent unemployment since the Great Depression. There may be an unemployment rate of over 15 percent in many small towns in the American Southwest. American businesses may be flush with record amounts of cash, and farm prices may be at record levels. But we are still lectured that without cheap labor from south of the border, businesses simply cannot profit.

Unmentioned is the exploitation of illegal labor. Hard-working young Latin Americans, most of them from the interior of Mexico, cross the border illegally, usually to find jobs that pay over five times more per hour than anything they could find in Mexico, yet still less than the employer would have to pay an American. Between the ages of 18 and 40, illegal immigrants are among the hardest-working laborers in the world. However, the traditional entry-level jobs — picking peaches, nailing shingles, mowing lawns, changing diapers, cooking, making beds — for those without legality, education, or English often become a permanent dead end.

Many employers appreciate the myriad advantages of hiring illegal immigrants. Although supporters of amnesty are bold in leveling charges of illiberality against their critics, the unspoken truth is that insistence on access to cheap labor is about as reactionary and unethical as one can imagine. Off the record, employers will admit they are reluctant to hire jobless African-American youths, although the black community is suffering historic levels of unemployment. They are not even eager to hire second-generation Hispanics, who, according to the employers’ creed, have lost the firsthand memory of crushing Mexican poverty and thus their parents’ desperate work ethic.

Instead, employers want a continuing influx of young workers who will undercut the wages of American citizens. That the bargaining power of other minorities, Latino- and African-American citizens especially, is undercut by illegal labor matters little. How odd that elite Republicans pander to Latino grandees to win perhaps 35 percent of the Latino vote; that the party garners no more than 5 percent of the much larger African-American vote is never discussed. In the bizarre logic of the Republican elite, you must cater to the Hispanic elite in order to siphon votes from the liberal Latino bloc, while the much more important black demographic is simply written off. Is there one Republican politician who is more worried about the plight of unemployed African-American citizens than he is about granting amnesty to foreign nationals who broke U.S. laws to come here?

Employers do not care that the presence of 11 million illegal aliens has driven down entry-level wages. They are not concerned about the depressing cycle of illegal-immigrant labor: The young male from Latin America works extraordinarily hard for 20 years. But by the time he’s 40, he is married with children, and discovering that without education, English, or skill sets, he has no way forward.

Arms and backs that were near superhuman at 25 are often shot at 50. When the 45-year-old illegal alien can no longer pick, or cook, or rake as he once did, the employer loses interest, and the state steps in to provide him with rough parity through subsidies for housing, health care, food, and legal assistance, and meanwhile it has been educating his children. Because second-generation immigrants are deemed less industrious than their worn-out fathers and mothers — and Hispanic males in California graduate from high school at little more than a 60 percent rate — the need arises for another round of young hardy workers from Latin America.

In past times, this depressing cycle of exploitation was justified by low unemployment or ongoing wars that siphoned off American manpower. But why the need for imported labor in times of near-record joblessness, relative peace, and often-record profits? The elites simply turn a blind eye to out-of-work Americans, the low wages of illegal laborers, and the cynicism of using up human capital and letting the state pick up the subsequent social costs. How odd that profit-making from cheap labor is considered liberal, while concern for low-paid American workers is written off as xenophobia.

Most elites talk of nativism and racism as being what fuels opposition to their brand of comprehensive immigration reform. Yet I doubt that the wealthy Silicon Valley residents who clamor for “reform” send their children to public schools. Indeed, in the fashion of the Southern academies that popped up in the 1960s during court-ordered busing, Silicon Valley is currently experiencing an explosion in private schools.

Apple, Google, and Facebook 1-percenters are much too sophisticated to call these booming apartheid prep schools “academies,” but they are burgeoning in reaction to worries that the flood of illegal service workers from Latin America has finally lapped up to the outskirts of Palo Alto and Menlo Park. Once-topnotch public schools like Menlo-Atherton are now whispered about as “problematic,” given the growing enrollment of the children of illegal aliens.

In truth, do not expect Washington politicians, La Raza leaders, or agribusiness owners to send their children to the Sanger school system in the outskirts of Fresno, or to enroll them in Cal State Bakersfield. Their elite status mostly exempts them from the ramifications of their own ideology in a myriad of ways. If taxes must rise in California to pay for one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients, or to prop up public schools that have descended to 48th in the nation in math and English test scores, or to bring some parity to the nation’s highest percentage of people below the poverty line, most of the elite can afford the increases. For some, the higher taxes even become a sort of penance — a kind of abstract generosity necessary to expiate their unwillingness to assimilate, integrate, and intermarry in the concrete.

Meanwhile, forget the tire-store owner and the electrical contractor who have no such margin of error, and are written off as mean-spirited for resenting rising taxes to pay for soaring subsidies to the growing immigrant underclass. That the caricatured Neanderthal followers of Sarah Palin resent the social costs of illegal immigration and the fact that their children’s education is directly affected by the entry of millions of new non-English-speakers is, well, their own fault.

Almost every aspect of illegal immigration is illiberal to the core. Respect for the law? The elite decides that for a particular political constituency, the law is now fluid. If you are a Bulgarian M.D. and overstay your visa, beware. A Korean engineer wouldn’t dare to fly to Mexico City and cross illegally into Arizona. Without ethnic bosses and millions of compatriots within our borders, all others are lawbreakers subject to deportation.

That well over $30 billion in remittances leaves the U.S. economy each year to prop up the Mexican and other Latin American economies is an afterthought. Indeed, Mexico is romanticized as an aggrieved partner, not excoriated as cynically opportunist for printing comic books to instruct its own citizens how to break U.S. law. How liberal is it to assist citizens to leave their own homeland, while assuming that they are almost certainly illiterate and thus need pictorial instruction?

To suggest that Mexico exports human capital in lieu of engaging in social reform, to suggest that indigenous peoples are the most likely to want to leave Mexico’s often racist social stratification, to suggest that Mexico does not care that its own expatriates suffer and scrimp to send back billions of dollars in cash to those ignored by the Mexican government, to suggest that Mexico appreciates that its citizens are more likely to cheer their homeland the longer they are away from it — all of this is considered reactionary and perhaps racist or at least culturally biased. But it is also absolutely true: Mexico, not the U.S., is the illiberal player in this entire sordid trafficking in human capital.

Mexico and American employers are not the only cynics in this drama. The La Raza elite understands well that only yearly massive infusions of the impoverished across the perpetually open border ensure a changed demography, anchored by a permanent Spanish-speaking underclass and periodically recharged by new illegal immigrants. Without massive immigration, the Latino population goes the way of the Italian or Greek community. Intermarriage, assimilation, and integration would gradually make the Chicano Studies department about as relevant as the Italian Studies department, La Raza about as catchy as La Razza, and the third-generation Hispanic with the accented last name about as much a minority in need of diversity favoritism as Rudy Giuliani’s son. How odd that illegal immigration is fueled by ethnic chauvinism, while those who criticize it are called ethnically biased. How could a Chicano Studies professor cite endemic poverty as a reason for federal attention if Mexican-Americans followed the Armenian- or Polish-American paradigm — and, of course, they soon would without the regular infusions of additional illegal immigrants.

Somehow, we have created an absurd situation in which a resident of Oaxaca, often fleeing racial and class oppression in Mexico, becomes defined as a victim of American pathologies the nanosecond he crosses the border. In turn, America, the generous host, is reinvented as a culpable oppressor that has treated the illegal alien so badly that his children deserve job and college-admission preference. Mexico likewise must be reinvented, from the exporter of superfluous human beings to the liberal champion of its stolen human assets.

Finally, there is the elite of the American Southwest, who believe that they are new 17th-century French aristocracy, entitled to $8-to-$10-an-hour nannies, gardeners, housekeepers, maids, and occasional day laborers. There are millions of white, Asian, Latino-American, and African-American youths out of work. We are simply told publicly that most of them would not do such work, and apparently if they did, they would not be trustworthy.

Indeed, the tragedy of illegal immigration is that it becomes the cornerstone for hundreds of agendas: those of the self-interested Mexican government, exploitative American employers, the new ethnic chauvinists, the upper middle classes who deem themselves lords of the manor, and, yes, the elite whose professions are as noble as their deeds are not.

Most Americans do not object to providing a green card to those who came to work, stayed off public assistance, did not commit crimes, and did not recently arrive in search of amnesty. They do not even object to offering a pathway to eventual citizenship to immigrants who pay a fine for their illegal entry, learned English, and go to the back of the legal-immigration line. But all this is a hypothetical if the border is not first secured — if we cannot guarantee that 2013 does not become another 1986, meaning that some future date will be a replay of 2013.

If we are to offer a second chance to the majority of illegal immigrants who, apart from their illegal entry, otherwise played by the rules, there must not be a second chance for the minority who broke all of them.

In the meantime, for those who profit both materially and psychologically from something that largely benefits the elite and hurts the mass, at least spare us the hypocritical aspersions and bottled pieties.

Hanson (If the Bill Passes):

Illegal and illiberal immigration exists and will continue to expand because too many special interests are invested in it. It is one of those rare anomalies — the farm bill is another — that crosses political party lines and instead unites disparate elites through their diverse but shared self-interests: live-and-let-live profits for some and raw political power for others. For corporate employers, millions of poor foreign nationals ensure cheap labor, with the state picking up the eventual social costs. For Democratic politicos, illegal immigration translates into continued expansion of favorable political demography in the American Southwest. For ethnic activists, huge annual influxes of unassimilated minorities subvert the odious melting pot and mean continuance of their own self-appointed guardianship of salad-bowl multiculturalism. Meanwhile, the upper middle classes in coastal cocoons enjoy the aristocratic privileges of having plenty of cheap household help, while having enough wealth not to worry about the social costs of illegal immigration in terms of higher taxes or the problems in public education, law enforcement, and entitlements.

No wonder our elites wink and nod at the supposed realities in the current immigration bill, while selling fantasies to the majority of skeptical Americans.

Gaza Illustrates Palestinian Statehood. By Jonathan S. Tobin.

Gaza Illustrates Palestinian Statehood. By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, June 24, 2013.


Secretary of State John Kerry is about to head to the Middle East again to restart the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. His goal remains a deal to create an independent Palestinian state and thereby end the conflict for all time. But as much as Israelis crave peace, along with the rest of the world they are getting another good look today at what happens in an independent Palestinian state and the result is far from pretty. That’s the only rational way to process what happened earlier today as the Islamic Jihad group fired half a dozen rockets at southern Israel from Gaza. Israel responded with air strikes on the terrorists and the upshot was that for the first time in six months the fragile cease-fire between the Hamas rulers of the strip and Israel seemed in danger. But as the Times of Israel pointed out, the rockets were not so much aimed at Israelis (though if some Jews had been killed that would have been considered a welcome bonus by the shooters) as they were at Hamas.

That sounds confusing, but it actually makes perfect sense. Hamas and Islamic Jihad share a commitment to violence against Israel and imposing Islamist law on Palestinians. But the two have different patrons. Islamic Jihad is now backed by Iran, which used to supply Hamas with weapons, while Hamas now is tight with Turkey, which is opposing the Iranians in Syria. But with Hamas worried about starting another round of fighting with Israel just at the time when it wants to keep pressure up on its real rival—Fatah and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank—support for Islamic Jihad is apparently starting to grow. That has led to a crackdown of sorts by Hamas on Islamic Jihad. Hence, the rockets fly as the Palestinians maneuver against each other by shooting at Jews.

While the fight between two factions of extremist terrorists may not seem particularly relevant to Americans, Washington should be paying close attention to this battle since it is a preview of what may happen in the even more strategic West Bank in the unlikely event that Kerry gets his way and Israel is forced to abandon not just settlements but the military presence that keeps a lid on terrorism. With all the talk about the need to create a Palestinian state for the sake of justice or even to assure that Israel remains a Jewish state, Gaza provides a daily clinic on the consequences of more Israeli territorial withdrawals.

Hard as it is for some people to remember, when Israel withdrew every last soldier or settler from Gaza in 2005, it was not assumed that the strip would become a terrorist base. Rather, there was hope that it would provide a chance for the Palestinians to show that they truly could govern themselves. But from the first day after the withdrawal—when mobs burned abandoned synagogues and tore down the greenhouses that had been purchased from their owners to give to the Palestinians to use—what has happened in Gaza is a walking, talking illustration of what the world could expect if the independent Palestinian state that we are endlessly told is the only solution to the conflict ever actually comes to pass.

Of course, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, Gaza is for all intents and purposes already an independent Palestinian state in all but name. Though some claim that the fact that it doesn’t have complete control over its borders means it is still “occupied,” that is nonsense. It is true that both Israel and Egypt have sought to isolate the Hamas regime, but the Islamist group exercises effective sovereignty over the area. Moreover, if that is the measure of independence, do advocates of complete Palestinian independence over the West Bank expect Israel to accept a militarized West Bank or one that is free to allow the entry of foreign weapon supplies or even armed forces? If so, then the danger that such a state would pose to Israel is even greater than some have thought.

The point here is not so much to dismiss all the arguments that have been assembled on behalf of the creation of a Palestinian state by both Americans and Israelis out of hand. Most Israelis would like to be separated from the Palestinians of the West Bank. Indeed, after the terrorism of the second intifada, most want nothing to do with them and reject the idea that there can be any ultimate solution to the conflict that does not involve two states that would allow the two peoples to exercise their right of self-determination alongside each other. So long as violent groups dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state dominate the political culture of the Palestinians, the prospect of the West Bank becoming another Gaza makes the high-flown rhetoric about the two-state solution look naive at best.

The main obstacle to peace remains the inability of Fatah to do what Hamas and Islamic Jihad will not consider: recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn and to renounce the so-called right of return that would swamp Israel with the descendants of the 1948 Arab refugees. If they were ever able to do that and to convincingly promise that this ended the conflict rather than just pausing it, they’d find Israel ready to deal. After all, Israel has already offered the Palestinians a state three times only to find each one rejected. But so long as Palestinian independence is synonymous with terror groups and their infighting, Kerry will find few serious observers heeding his calls. Anyone who wants to know why Israelis are skeptical about a Palestinian state in the West Bank need only look at Gaza.

The Tyranny of the Majority. By James Traub.

The Tyranny of the Majority. By James Traub. Foreign Policy, June 21, 2013.

How John Quincy Adams explains the protests in Turkey and Brazil.

Ralph Peters and John Bolton on the Snowden Affair.

US vs. China, Russia over Snowden extradition. Video with Ralph Peters and John Bolton. America Live with Megyn Kelly. Fox News, June 24, 2013.

True Blue. By Eileen Drenick.

True Blue. By Eileen Drenick. New York Times Magazine, October 7, 1990.

Egypt Tightens Gaza Blockade, World Yawns. By Walter Russell Mead.

Egypt Tightens Gaza Blockade, World Yawns. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, June 24, 2013.

Egypt steps up Gaza tunnel crackdown, dismaying Palestinians. By Nidal al-Mughrabi. Reuters, June 24, 2013.


In a move that would have the world awash in rage and grief had Israel done it, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has tightened the screws on his country’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Predictably, since it’s the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt and not Israel treating the Palestinians so pitilessly, nobody seems to care. Reuters reports:
Egypt has intensified a crackdown on smuggling tunnels between its volatile Sinai desert and the Gaza Strip, causing a steep hike in petrol and cement prices in the Palestinian territory. […]
The moves against the tunnels have dashed the hopes of many Palestinians that Mursi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood from which Hamas was born, would significantly ease Egyptian border restrictions on Gaza, which is also subjected to blockade by Israel.
“Business is clinically dead,” said Abu Bassam, who employs 40 workers in a Palestinian tunnel network in Rafah, a town on the border. “Tunnels are almost shut down completely.”
This isn’t insignificant. Gaza’s problems stem much more from harsh treatment of Palestinians by Egyptians than by anything Israel does or does not do. Without an Egyptian blockade of Gaza, the Israeli blockade would be derisory. This has been true for many years, though one could scan the world’s press in vain for any recognition of this elementary geographical fact.

A suspicious person might be led to believe that this is yet another sign that Jew-hatred, rather than compassion for Palestinian suffering, motivates a lot of the Israel Outrage Industry.

Thankfully, not that many people are suspicious. We live in a thoughtful, beautiful world, where the motives of those who hate Israel are always clean and pure.


Capitalism, Democracy, and Elections. By Richard D. Wolff.

Capitalism, Democracy, and Elections. By Richard D. Wolff. MR Zine, June 21, 2013.

Another Marxist diatribe against capitalism and calling for its replacement . . . with what?

Syria Scorecard. By Thomas L. Friedman.

Syria Scorecard. By Thomas L. Friedman. New York Times, June 22, 2013.

The Disestablishment of Marriage. By Stephanie Coontz.

The Disestablishment of Marriage. By Stephanie Coontz. New York Times, June 22, 2013.