Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hazleton, PA and ACLU and Immigration

In the ongoing long term battle over illegal immigration, many states have taken things into their own hands but more interestingly, counties, cities and towns are taking the law or making laws to handle the situation.

In the case of Hazleton, PA, the city had an influx of immigrants (many of whom were illegal) from the New Jersey/New York area after 9/11. These immigrants sought a better quality of life than what was available in the NJ/NY areas so they moved into parts of PA.

The town claims that at the same time there was a statistical correlation of higher crime rates and that investigating crimes performed by illegal immigrants costs more and is more difficult.

Note: there is little to no controversy about legal immigration when compared to immigration of the illegal type.

It is doubtless that whatever the crime rate or cause, this town is out to get rid of illegal immigrants. The laws they passed were directed to landlords and businesses applying for business licenses. In terms of effectiveness, the policy seems to actually work pretty well because the numbers that have left is considerable. As to how many were legal versus illegal, we'll never know either way unless we check all their papers and it is not as if people won't find THAT idea offensive. The reason that the policy works is very simple. Without jobs and employers willing to risk hiring illegals, illegal immigrants have no reason to be there. If someone had the ability to extend that to a larger area (say the whole country), then illegals would have little reason to cross the border illegally.

Oh, side note - the President went to Mexico and we had to listen to a Mexican official why there should be laws etc to stop Mexicans. The reason that drives me nuts is because they treat their neighbors to the south in a far worse manner.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Illegal Immigrant Gets All The Perks After Trying to Put Border Patrol Agent In Jail

Not that I believe that David Sipes is totally clean and did not do something wrong but the incentives that the government is giving an illegal immigrant goes beyond reason.

Of course, now that Sipes has won his second case, he is legally not guilty. Note legally.

If they wanted to compensate the illegal immigrant for what was allegedly done to him, just give him some money and send him back. Now, he struts on the streets of America with a "Can't Touch This" attitude.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Amnesty International Finally Consistent For Once?

It seems that Amnesty International has surprised me for the first time. It actually released an opinion that Hezbollah is guilty of war crimes. It certainly took guts and honesty and I applaud it. I still have my doubts about Amnesty International but I can no longer claim that they are totally biased.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Abu Gharib Torture Resumes

Gee, when the Americans torture or mistreat prisoners, it makes all the headlines and tv airwaves nonstop for days or weeks and Rumsfeld and Rice and the President all get no breaks. Sure, rules were broken and torture probably happened and inmates did die - and those responsible must answer for it.

My issue here is not the torturers, it is the mass media that seem to be out on a hunting expedition.

Why? That's because most of the mass media has ignored this article.

An independent witness who went into Abu Ghraib this week told The Sunday Telegraph that screams were coming from the cell blocks housing the terrorist suspects. Prisoners released from the jail this week spoke of routine torture of terrorism suspects and on Wednesday, 27 prisoners were hanged in the first mass execution since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Conditions in the rest of the jail were grim, with an overwhelming stench of excrement, prisoners crammed into cells for all but 20 minutes a day, food rations cut to just rice and water and no air conditioning.

So when are they going to go after those responsible for the above?

I guess the media doesn't have to be objective does it? It just have to have an agenda.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

George Bush vs Al Gore Presidential Election Lawsuit

Remember when the Supreme Court had to decide effectively who was the President of the United States back in 2000? It was said that the United States was the laughingstock of the world by not being able to decide who was President of the most powerful nation in the world. Well...

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Ruling party conservative Felipe Calderon was finally declared Mexico's president-elect on Tuesday, ending a two-month legal battle over election fraud claims that has plunged the nation into crisis.

Seven judges at Mexico's top electoral court unanimously ruled that the July 2 vote was not rigged and that pro-business candidate Calderon won by a razor-thin margin of about 234,000 votes out of some 41 million cast.

But left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vows not to recognize Calderon, 44, as president and protests by leftists are expected to continue, putting Mexico's stability at risk for months to come

I wonder how many of those lauging at the United States back in 2000 were from Mexico. Gee, why is the rest of the world so silent in this case? Shrugging their shoulders and moving on? No big deal? Perhaps some of them might be saying something else about Mexico? Maybe they aren't even surprised. What does that tell you about what the other countries really think about Mexico - even if we already know what they think of the United States.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How To Know You Aren't Hiring an Illegal

Well, I must be blind but now here is how the average company can
find out whether someone can legally work in the United States. It has been around for a while but it sure hasn't been making the front page news.

It is the BASIC PILOT program from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Here is another story from National Public Radio on the government program. Now if only everyone would be responsible enough to use it when hiring, there would be fewer jobs for the illegals. Of course, there are those that purposely hire illegals because they cost less.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

International Law - Does It Really Work?

There is currently a very unique viewpoint in diplomatic circles being circulated of what international law means and how effective it is. It seems that this opinion is somewhat controversial in some circles simply because if you accept the basis of what it claims then a great deal of political investment goes out through the window.

Let's take a look about what this stand proposes without oversimplifying.

When laws are passed in a nation by the ruling or presiding authority of that country, then the parties affected by that law have to comply or obey that law. Often, that law is national in scope. Sometimes, it is not national in scope and may be local as is the case when you have some model of decentralized governments. In those cases, the local governments have some power over some laws in their part of the country as defined by geographical boundaries. The local governments may prescribe new laws in addition to the national ones just for the parties within their jurisdiction. In some cases, the local laws may even override the national ones.

In the case of the United States, you have state, county and city governments below the national (or federal) government. I will not go into the exact specifics of the American system of government regarding precedence, jurisdiction or power because that is not our purpose here. Suffice it to say that the Constitution is the final law of the land.

There is one thing in common between laws in different countries regardless of whether they are democratic,dictatorships or whatever. That is based on the assumption and truth that breaking the law will generally result in some sort of disincentive to the lawbreaker whether the lawbreaker is an individual, multiple individuals or even a corporation. That disincentive may be jail time, fines, physical or capital punishment or some sort of community work. In other words, laws and regulations are automatically presumed to have teeth so that the affected parties will not ignore them. At a minimum, those punishments will have to be imposed on the lawbreakers so as to retain credibility or to reinforce in the minds of the potential lawbreakers that there may be a good reason not to break that law.

That brings us to the next question. What happens when the law is not enforced? What if no one is brought to justice (whatever form of justice applies in that particular nation or locality) for breaking a law? At first, there may be disbelief from observers but at some point, someone else will also break the law. These incidences may increase to the point that the law is then ignored as long as enforcement is missing. It is as if the law never existed at all. For all intents and purposes, that is the result. This happens at all levels from town ordnances (e.g. jaywalking) to federal laws (e.g. Clean Water Act).

What would happen if we were to extend this model to the international level? What if some country or entity within some country were to break an international law and nothing were to happen to that law breaker? Generally, there might be protests or warnings initially from other countries and in the worst case scenario, sanctions of some kind or another or a trade war would result. In the very rare case, threat of a real shooting war might also be the result but let's put that one aside since it is so rare.

The key here is enforcement on the lawbreaker. Most international laws do not prescribe what the punishment will be and in many cases, due to the way countries value their soverignity, international laws are not officially signed by countries or their representatives or populace, they are just agreements or implied agreements through actions or verbal statements. In other words, there is no real higher authority that exists that has de facto power to create new laws that all countries and their citizens must obey. International law is closer to a gentlemans agreement and a handshake than it is to a court with the power to put you in jail.

Too often treaties, agreements and international body resolutions are interpreted as enforceable law with teeth as disincentives. The truth is that countries sign treaties and make agreements or vote on resolutions when it is convenient and beneficial for them to do so. The other side of that coin is that they withdraw from the treaties or nullify the agreement or ignore the resolution when they want to. Note the fact that India signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and totally broke it. Note that Iraq did not follow the Geneva convention several times when they were battling the Coalition forces. Note that the United States withdrew from the SALT II treaty when it wanted to build a more substantial ABM system. We can go on and on but you get the point.

So, as long as India and Iraq and the United States does not suffer real consequences for these actions, what does that teach us about international law? It tells us that we cannot interpret much of it as law as we know and experience it in our everyday lives. After all, many regimes violate this so called international law when they torture, kill and abuse their own citizens on a non-trivial scale. Some of them are even guilty of crimes against humanity. However, the fact that it goes on shows how toothless or how uncommitted the rest of the world is in enforcing that international law.

So call me a cynic, a law - international or otherwise - doesn't amount to a hill of beans unless someone puts their foot down and enforces it. Otherwise, it is nothing more than something countries use to pretend that they can trust each other with. At the risk of bad grammar, international law ain't.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

An Example of Power Corrupting?

It appears that sometimes those in authority and have direct power over the general citizenry may be tempted to use the law against the citizenry just because they feel like it. Call it selective enforcement as you can see with this case.

In this case the law enforcement authorities were investigating a seperate case. They question the father of the suspect and he basically tells them to get lost - he doesn't want to talk to them as is his civil right. They don't arrest him or anything at that time because he has not broken any laws - just refusing to talk with them. He has a sticker on the side of the house that informs everyone that the location is recorded with video and audio.

At least one of the detectives at his front porch gets rude with him and it all gets caught on tape. The man later files a complaint about that detective and brings the video tape as evidence. They react by filing charges against him for recording a conversation with a law enforcement official.

You tell me if how the law was applied in this case was right or wrong. I wish the ACLU would step in but I don't think they will.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Shanghai Kills 50,000 dogs

Not sure if this is rational politics or not and not really much can be done about it but if you haven't read it, it appears that a local government in China has decided to kill all the dogs in an area to control rabies. Read any of these stories to get a feel of it. Here's another story.

I am not sure that we can convince that government otherwise but it does seem quite inhuman to do this to all those pets. All it takes for the situation to get worse is for rabies to occur in other major Chinese cities and perhaps we will see the same policy being implemented there. I wonder if this would ever be tolerated in a true democracy.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Energy Archive

This is just a list of my Energy related postings:

Nuclear Energy Article

Wave Power

Energy Policy or Rather - a Lack of One

Battery Technology - Why It Is More of A Problem Than A Solution

Alternative Energy Local Politics

Nuclear Power Hypocrisy

West Africa Black Rhino Lost

More than a week ago, I was saddened a bit when I heard of the probability that the West African Black Rhino was extinct. It appears that that has been confirmed.

I don't consider myself an environmentalist and definitely calling me a tree hugger would make me laugh. However, when a larger mammal that most of us have seen in pictures or Discovery Channel or any other wildlife program becomes extinct, it means that all of us has lost something we could easily have related to in some way. We may not all realize it but once it is gone, it is gone.

As for reintroduction of species back into the wild, that is easier said than done and will just as likely meet with failure as success. Sometimes, such reintroduction programs also have unintended consequences as with the
North American Condor.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Miller, Webb and George Allen

One of the more interesting race is going on will be done in Virginia. The incumbent senator George Allen will be running against democrat James Webb. Perhaps one of the more curious aspects of James weapon being the democratic candidate is the fact that he beat Miller. Miller was the one and the head of the ITAA and organizations are represented high technology companies and lobbied for in one way or another the increase in the number of H1B visas so that companies can bring in more high tech workers and also lower the wages they had to pay all American born talent in software development and other high technology fields. Unfortunately for Miller, some of those votes that ensured that he did not get the nomination came no doubt from high tech workers that did not want to see him as a senator for the United States.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Nuclear Energy Article

I can't believe that I am reading this:
Look at it this way: More than 600 coal-fired electric plants in the United States produce 36 percent of U.S. emissions -- or nearly 10 percent of global emissions -- of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days it can do so safely.

The shocking thing is who said it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

USDA Mad Cow Explanation

I occasionally listened to National Public Radio and as you know there are interviews and debates and question and answer sessions on it on occasion.
About two weeks ago there was a program that had the USDA representative and Creekstone Farms on the program but they were not in a debate but we're in a pleasant Q and A session with the host of the program.
It was interesting what the position of the USDA was. They contend that due to the incubation period of mad cow disease that any cow less than 30 months whole cannot ever have a positive test result for mad cow disease. The fact that Japan and some other countries may be testing, and cow disease in old cattle including those less than 30 months old in the USDA's opinion really gives false assurance since the tested animal made later developed the disease if it was allowed to mature to 30 months of age. They also dismiss the two possible cases in Japan that claim to have a positive results in the house more than twenty months old.
If the USDA is correct, then they have a point. Then the question becomes is there any risk of eating a cow that made later developed mad cow disease but currently is below 30 months of age and has a negative test result. I guess we may find out in fifteen years or so which is how long it takes for CJD to appear in humans from consuming such beef. Or does a negative test result from a cow processed now while it is below 30 months of age be safe enough to even if it was going to develop the disease later?
Of course there will always be the skeptics they claim that the USDA is out to protect the beef industry. I personally don't know if that is true but time will tell.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Christian Peacemaker Teams Blind from Ingratitude

You would think that if someone or some group that is the target of your criticism steps up and risks their lives to rescue you after you've been taken as a hostage by murderous terrorists that you would at least thank them but we get:
Christian Peacemaker Teams has spoken out often against the U.S. and British military presence here. Even after those forces rescued its activists, the organization, in a statement, reiterated its belief that "the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq."

I wonder ... who is showing dedication to duty and love of other human beings and who is showing hate in this case?

Mad Cow Lawsuit

Creekstone Farms, that is known for producing Black Angus beef that exported to Japan in the past, is now suing the USDA to allow it to test beef.

Yes, you read that correctly - a producer wants to sue a government agency to be allowed to test for a deadly disease in meat. This is an example of why the Democrats are able to point to a Republican administration and say that they are beholden to corporate interests.

Here's a google search (good for a few days) that will bring you the story.