Sunday, June 27, 2010

Illegal aliens naturally fear police

One of the prime arguments employed to promote amnesty for illegal aliens is the alien’s own fear of police. Amnesty supporters, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), claim that illegal aliens fail to report crimes for fear they will be deported. A case in Charlotte, NC seemingly bolsters that argument.

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer stopped a young woman for an alleged traffic violation. Her boyfriend, Abel Moreno, was a passenger and an illegal alien. During the stop the officer groped the young lady. Moreno intervened, exactly as he or anyone else should’ve done. Now he’s in jail awaiting possible deportation.

Does this prove the pro-amnesty argument, that illegal aliens are expelled for reporting crimes committed against them? Not at all. In fact, that premise is based on a faulty assumption. If Moreno is deported it won’t be for blowing the whistle on the bad cop, who’s in jail with his own legal troubles. Moreno will be deported because he violated US immigration laws. The fact that he reported the officer’s misconduct does not make his own actions legal.

No doubt the SPLC is correct in one aspect, illegal aliens aren’t likely to report all of the crimes committed against them. That is the nature of lawbreakers; they tend to avoid contact with law enforcement with the same urgency that Christians once avoided Nero’s garden parties. And this quality isn’t confined only to people who violate immigration laws; it’s common to perpetrators of all unlawful behavior.

Suppose a drug dealer returned home to find the house burglarized. It might be better to deal with the situation alone than to have investigators nosing around in the closets. The victimized dealer’s stash could be uncovered. If the dealer chooses to call the police and the cache is discovered the ensuing arrest won’t result from having reported the crime; it will arise from the dealer’s own violation of the law.

Prostitutes, likewise, endure crimes rather than invite inquiry. “Working girls” conceal robberies, assaults and even rapes. Suppose a client paid his escort with a punch in the nose rather than cash. If the prostitute reports the crime she knows her own illegal activities will be exposed, if you’ll pardon the pun. Her prostitution, not having reported the assault, has put her at odds with law enforcement.

The same principle applies to immigrants. Illegal aliens aren’t prosecuted or deported for filing crime reports. But the justifiable decision to report crimes committed against them doesn’t validate the alien’s earlier decision to ignore immigration laws. The knowledge of their own illegality motivates aliens to avoid contact that could expose their status. The fault doesn’t lie in an unjust society, cultural or racial bias, nativism, or any other sensationalistic charge routinely trotted out by pro-amnesty advocates. It is simply a characteristic of the outlaw.

Must illegal aliens then suffer silently so to avoid deportation? Not necessarily. Prosecutors routinely cut deals with suspects to provide state’s evidence in more serious cases. Plea bargains are a viable option for aliens like Abel Moreno, if their only crime is illegal immigration and their foremost desire is to become American citizens. For aliens who would game the system and bolster their legal status with false crime reports and perjury, immediate deportation is the perfect remedy.

More than sufficient reason exists to hold illegal aliens accountable for violating our borders. No reason exists to allow organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center to substitute mindless, racial dogma for border enforcement policies.

Aliens aren’t deported because they report crimes committed against them. Aliens are deported because their own immigration choice placed them at odds with the law. Let the responsibility rest where it belongs.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life isn’t fair, not even for the perfect

What a shame for Detroit’s Armando Galarraga. Veteran umpire Jim Joyce missed a call and the 21st perfect game in major league history vanished into the mystical land of what might have been. Even worse, the errant call occurred on the game’s 27th out.

This could’ve been one of the worst moments in baseball’s storied history. Instead, it’s one of the finest. Joyce publicly accepted responsibility for his
error and Galarraga was gracious to a fault. Both men dealt with the situation like, well, men. Joyce and Galarraga treated us to an epiphanous event that transcended sports to reflect positively upon the human soul. Predictably, there are calls to obliterate the moment by “fixing” the injustice.

On the
Oakland Press website a respondent wrote, “I think that MLB should give Galarraga a 28-out perfect game.” That writer’s isn’t alone. However, there’s no such thing as a 28-out perfect game. Therefore, awarding a perfect game where one doesn’t exist is wholly unworkable.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was absolutely correct not to reverse Jim Joyce’s call. What would become of the 28th batter? Would he be what George Orwell referred to as an “unperson?” That batter must go somewhere. And that isn’t the only reason to leave matters alone.

Suppose the bad call were made with one out in the fifth instead of two out in the ninth? Should the league office reverse that call? What if the 28th batter, Trevor Crowe, had homered and the Cleveland Indians had rallied to victory? Should that hypothetical outcome be reversed since the Tigers would’ve won without the blown call? There are many worms here that should be left in the can.

The way Armando Galarraga, Jim Joyce and the Detroit fans dealt with this matter is more historic than even a perfect game. Galarraga’s name is forever etched in baseball lore. Not only will he be remembered for the perfect game that wasn’t, but for the grace and dignity he displayed. Galarraga did everything right and yet something went wrong, leaving him without the due result of his effort. Let the play stand anyway. Players make errors, managers miscalculate and umpires blow calls. That’s baseball. In fact, that’s life and it’s time people faced it. Life is never fair in the Utopian sense of the word.

Yet there’s an insatiable human desire to correct injustice and grant everyone they allegedly deserve. This concept was evident at an NAIA golf
championship. Grant Whybark and Seth Doran were locked in a playoff for their conference’s individual title. Whybark had qualified for the national tournament on the strength of his team’s performance. So, on the first playoff hole he intentionally drove his ball out of bounds. Why? Whybark decided Doran deserved a spot in the national tournament.

However, if Doran deserved the title he would’ve won without Whybark’s charity. Whybark actually demeaned his opponent. He assumed that Doran’s abilities were inadequate to the task. That attitude, even when well-meaning, is indicative of our cultural inclination toward an elusive sense of deservedness.

Society must escape the notion that reward is based on the perception of what’s deserved. Someone can do everything right and still not receive the desired result. Behold exhibit A, Armando Galarraga. Eliminating life’s basic unfairness is impossible, and such social engineering would be inadvisable even if attainable.

Doran’s trip to the NAIA National Golf Championship can’t be fully satisfying due to the circumstances. The same is true for Galarraga. Were he awarded a perfect game after the fact it wouldn’t carry equal significance to baseball’s other perfect games.

Grant Whybark manipulated the concept of due recompense. Achievement and success are cheapened when busybodies try to right all wrongs and cure all injustices. Character is built, refined and revealed in overcoming obstacles and adversity. Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce have personified that character with dignity, class and sportsmanship. Leave it at that, and know that life is seldom, if ever, fair.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bartering for healthcare isn’t as crazy as it sounds

Political opportunism reigns during election years. A candidate need make only one misstep, one errant statement, for an opponent to move in for the kill. Sometimes the blunder is real. Other times it’s a matter of spin and perception. Nevada’s ex-Senate candidate Sue Lowden, a Republican, learned this lesson firsthand.

Lowden became a target when she suggested that patients should
barter for medical treatment. The fur really flew when she spoke of how our grandparents bartered chickens for their doctor’s services. Democrats seized on Lowden’s apparent silliness. They launched a “chickens for checkups” website and attended Lowden’s campaign events dressed in chicken suits.

Lowden’s detractors never considered her accuracy. Bartering was routine in bygone days. People traded their goods and services for needed goods and services, including medical attention. However, at face value it’s hard to imagine a barter system working in the contemporary healthcare market. Today’s physician couldn’t pay for student loans and malpractice insurance with roasting hens and bushels of corn. But what if we look beyond the surface of Lowden’s statement?

Thoroughly examining the situation--a rarity in contemporary political discourse--reveals that Sue Lowden’s bartering proposal wasn’t as foolish as grandstanding Democrat’s claimed. In fact, Lowden has touched upon a workable solution to soaring medical expenses.

Bartering is based on the principles of the free market. It is the voluntary exchange of a good or service that ultimately satisfies all involved parties. This is a common occurrence in all walks of life. For example, suppose a baseball team needs a left-handed pitcher in their bullpen. The team will trade unneeded players to a willing team for the needed pitcher. Both teams have actively participated in the voluntary exchange of held value in one area for needed value in another.

Trading a chicken for a dose of penicillin may not lower healthcare costs per se. But the free market principles that bartering represents will reduce healthcare costs significantly. Sadly, these standards have disappeared from the medical profession.

Few people know the cost of the medical treatment they consume; it has become an afterthought. We are conditioned to surrender our co-pay or file our claim and go about our business. With the consumer removed from the equation, there is no downward pressure on price.

What would happen if patients considered themselves as healthcare customers and doctors as distributors? Such a customer/provider relationship works to control prices in a host of other industries where transactions are subject to comparison shopping. Consumers naturally seek the greatest value, defined as the most return obtainable at the lowest practical cost. This process will establish median prices for various medical procedures, too.

Currently, there is no direct consumer pressure on healthcare prices. To assume a government run system will improve that situation is to believe in the tooth fairy. In fact, ample evidence has long existed to think that government involvement will only worsen the condition.

Medicare, Medicaid, the Veteran’s Administration and SCHIP are expansive, expensive, and unresponsive bureaucracies, rife with fraud and inefficiency. Another bureaucracy that further removes the patient from the direct cost of basic medical care won’t control costs. It will only mean less return for each expended healthcare dollar.

The quaint notion of swapping chickens for medical attention rings of nostalgia if not reality. But the basics behind old-fashioned bartering are real. Bartering represents direct involvement between market participants, in this case patients and healthcare providers. The subsequent competition between medical professionals for the patient’s business will reduce healthcare costs while ensuring that treatment remains readily available.

On our present course we can expect an exponential escalation in healthcare costs, and we’ll get less bang for each buck.

This column originally posted at
American Thinker.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

“Choose Life” license plates create a stir

Twenty-one states have issued “Choose Life” license plates. Four states have approved the plates and legislation is pending in sixteen others. Where does North Carolina fit in, and why do the plates draw opposition in some circles?

Legislation to issue a pro-life license plate was introduced in both the North Carolina Senate (S210) and House (H168) in February, 2009. The bills are identical. Profits from the “Choose Life” plate go to non-governmental agencies that provide counseling and assistance to pregnant women. Most important, Section 4 of both bills stipulates that funds generated by the sale of the plates cannot be given to any entity that “provides, promotes, counsels, or refers for abortion.”

The House version has gathered dust in the Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House Committee since the day after its filing. Rep. Bill Owens (D), the committee chair, has refused to move the bill. S210 has fared no better in the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Dan Clodfelter (D) from Mecklenburg County. While Owens’ opinion on abortion is obscure, Clodfelter’s is crystal clear. He received NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina’s endorsement during the 2008 election cycle.

Owens and Clodfelter may have unprejudiced reasons for their inaction on “Choose Life” plates. The same can’t be said for Planned Parenthood (PPFA), a vehement opponent of pro-life tags. Their disapproval is spelled out in dollars and cents. Planned Parenthood loathes the idea of proceeds from a government issued license plate supporting organizations that oppose indiscriminate abortion.

What gall! When we follow the money trail we find that Planned Parenthood has no standing to criticize “Choose Life” license plates or the money they supply to pro-life organizations.

Florida began offering the pro-life tags in August of 2000, with each tag delivering $20 to qualified recipients. By April 2010 the Sunshine State had issued or renewed nearly 360,000 “Choose Life” plates, generating over $7 million for Florida’s pro-life community. That’s why Planned Parenthood opposes these tags. Ironically, it’s also why their protests ring hollow.

According to Planned Parenthood’s 2008 Annual Report (p.9), its offices performed 305,310 abortions in 2007. At the median price of $625 per procedure, PPFA grossed more than $190 million from abortion alone. Add to that the $350 million in government grants and funding that PPFA draws annually and the monies generated by the “Choose Life” tags are but a pittance.

Each of the 50 states would have to yield annually what Florida’s “Choose Life” tag produced over a 10-year period just to match PPFA’s yearly government receipts. In fact, Planned Parenthood receives half of its annual revenue from the combination of abortion and government ($540 million). PPFA’s opposition to “Choose Life” tags based on public funding of the pro-life message is therefore dismissible.

Furthermore, “Choose Life” plates force no one to promote a pro-life message. People who don’t want to fund pro-life causes can choose another plate design. Taxpayer’s don’t foot the bill for the “Choose Life” tag, either. Only the profit goes to pro-life causes, meaning the issue price covers the cost of producing the special plate.

Planned Parenthood can’t make that claim. Since PPFA receives funding directly from government, pro-life taxpayers are forced to finance a cause they consider utterly reprehensible.

“Choose Life” license plates are a legitimate outlet for a worthy, peaceful position. S210 and H168 shouldn’t stagnate in committee. They shouldn’t wither due to the inaction of biased or disinterested committee chairs. And the “Choose Life” tag surely shouldn’t succumb to pressure from the duplicitous Planned Parenthood.

Truth and reality must prevail in immigration debate

With respect to the wisdom of old adages, repeating a lie doesn’t make it the truth. A lie is a lie. The uninformed may accept the lie as truth, but it’s still a lie. And the lie is the preferred tactic for opponents of Arizona’s immigration law.

Arizona’s law neither encourages nor condones racial profiling. Claims to that affect are fabrications. Section 2(B) of
SB 1070 states that police must make “lawful contact” with an alien before “reasonable suspicion” of legal status can be established. According to Section 2(E) officers can arrest suspects only when there’s probable cause to believe that a deportable offense has been committed. Police are granted no authority to demand “papers” from Hispanics simply because of their race.

Verifying identity is standard procedure when police interact officially with civilians. Anyone who has been stopped for a simple traffic violation has provided “papers” (identification) to an officer. This is where probable cause and reasonable suspicion come into play; it’s nothing more than common sense. Under Arizona’s law, if a detainee behaves in a manner common to an illegal alien their immigration status is investigated. That’s not racial profiling. That’s behavioral profiling.

Facts and reason are inconsequential to opponents of Arizona’s law, who dutifully repeat the talking points until the lie is considered truth. Even Mexico’s President Felipe
Calderon joined the chorus, echoing the sanctimonious twaddle that passes for a defense of illegal aliens.

Calderon stood in our nation’s capital, before our congressional representatives, and belittled any attempt to control the US-Mexico border. Basically, he said that anyone opposed to an open southern border is a knuckle-dragging bigot. Worst of all, our Congress gave him a thunderous ovation for his criticism of Arizona and border control, especially when he addressed them in Spanish.

President Obama also embraced Calderon. Obama will shun the
Dali Lama, ditch the Israeli Prime Minister and offend the British without a second thought. But when a foreign dignitary criticizes our country Obama welcomes him like a long-lost brother.

Yet for all this distortion, the lie still hasn’t become truth. What it has become is an effective tool for constructing a political coalition of the ignorant. Democrats are betting that supporting amnesty, open borders and Felipe Calderon while denouncing immigration enforcement measures will enhance the party’s standing with Hispanics.

So, can immigration law please everyone? Only if it doesn’t promote America first, promote cultural superiority, or offend aliens. Reform must also be acceptable to Mexico and Calderon. That’s a tall order, but not impossible. We simply treat aliens and immigrants with the same warmth and courtesy found in Mexico.

Mexico’s immigration law is a
constitutional matter. Chapter 1, Article 11 recognizes a right to enter, leave and travel freely inside Mexico. However, that right doesn’t apply to immigrants and “undesirable aliens.” Chapter 2, Article 32 reserves preferred occupations for natural born Mexicans. Chapter 3, Article 33 authorizes the Mexican President to deport foreigners without regard to due process or legal status. That same article bars foreigners from participating in Mexico’s political affairs.

Suppose America amended its immigration laws to mirror those in Mexico’s Constitution? Would Calderon then declare his reverence for our laws? Would Congress reward his support with fervent applause? Don’t hold your breath on either count. Hypocrisy would swell and America would be reviled as even more racist, xenophobic and intolerant than now.

Neither our Constitution nor our Congress exists to alter society for the benefit of illegal invaders, or to cater to smug windbags like Felipe Calderon. Arizona’s immigration law is just what the doctor ordered. It should become the model for every state in the union, opponent’s lies and prevarications notwithstanding.