Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The SOLUTION to illegal immigration that no one is talking about

When the cops want to put an end to drug use, they know it makes more sense to go after the dealers than the users. One drug dealer services many drug users, so if you arrest and convict 100 drug dealers, it's as good as 1000 users.

The next thing you do is make the sentences for dealing drugs a lot harsher than they are for just using. If you get arrested for possession, it's not as serious as possession with intent to sell. This is common knowledge, and while it doesn't prevent drug dealers, it does limit them. They know if they get caught dealing, they're looking at some serious jail time.

Ask yourself: why are people coming here illegally? Answer: to find work. Sure they work for slave wages (so they qualify for food stamps, which we pay for with our tax dollars), they get no health insurance (so they have to get treated in emergency rooms and not pay), and they do all the dirty jobs other people don't want to do.

But for every 100 illegal immigrants, there's one person doing the hiring. Wal-Mart and other big companies often have warehouses raided where hundreds of illegal immigrants are arrested and eventually deported. But what happens to Wal-Mart? What happens to the CEO's, to the Personnel Directors and Human Resources Directors who either knowingly hired illegals or just failed to properly verify the status of the applicants? Do they go to jail? No, of course they don't. In America, rich people can pay fines; they don't go to jail. But think about it: the money these companies pay in fines is peanuts compared to how much they are saving every day by hiring illegals at slave wages. The same job done by a citizen, paid a competitive wage, and given health insurance, that would be double or triple the cost to the companies.

So, just like the courts throw the book at the drug dealers, so also should they levy much heavier fines at the companies that hire illegal immigrants. It would be easy: stake out any Home Depot, and follow the people who pick up the day laborers. When they arrive at their locations, demand to see the papers allowing the laborers to work. If they can't provide them, arrest the person who hired them. Give him or her 30 days in county jail for every illegal they hired. I guarantee you two things would happen as a result. One, you'd see a lot fewer people willing to take the risk of hiring the Home Depot guys, and two, you'd eventually see these guys not hanging around outside Home Depot. If they're there looking for work, and the work isn't there anymore, they'll leave.

Next, when these big companies like Wal-Mart have their warehouses raided and a bunch of illegals arrested and deported, send the warehouse managers and anyone involved in the hiring process to jail - just like we would to the drug dealers. Second offense, go after the executives, and so on until the chain of accountability has members of Wal-Mart's Board of Directors looking at hard time in federal prisons. Put the hirers out of business, the eventual result is a reduction in people crossing the border illegally looking for work. It wouldn't happen overnight, but it would happen.

I know, it's a fantasy. It'll never happen. The law enforcement agencies will continue to go after the illegal immigrants and ignore the root cause. And on and on it will go, and there will be more and more illegals. Why? Because Big Business is in bed with Big Government. They watch out for each other. And the government, who get big tax dollars (and big campaign contributions) from these big businesses will ultimately fail to address the root cause of illegal immigration. They'll tell us it's the mexicans' fault, and just like a cheap Vegas magician they'll distract us from what's really going on.

And those people who rant and rave about illegal immigrants and all the damage they do were successfuly fooled into thinking that it's the immigrants' fault. It's not - they're looking to make an honest buck from an honest day's work. The businesses that hire them at slave wages just so they can remain competitive in the marketplace, they're the real villains here. But no one will point the finger at them, because they're americans. They speak english. They're white. And they're also the ones responsible for the damage created by illegal immigration.

If people in this country REALLY wanted to send a message, they would watch the news, and every time a company gets raided and a bunch of illegals are found working there, the people would BOYCOTT those businesses until they changed their hiring practices. Votes won't change the problem. Promises won't fix it. Maybe we could vote with our dollars, because ultimately that's the only way we're ever going to get through to those companies. When they lose business, and they're made aware of WHY they lost business, they'll get the message.

But it will never happen. Because all those people who go around flying their little american flags and pissing and moaning about the illegals will not be willing to give up Wal-Mart. They'll never make the connection between Wal-Mart's low prices and their policy of hiring illegals to work in their warehouses. Americans may be against illegal immigration, but not if it means they have to pay more for goods and services. And it's because we're bargain hunters that we will continue to tolerate illegals in this country - we know that's why we get such good deals.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gay Marriage

So today in California, they struck down a state ban limiting marriage between a man and a woman. They said it violates the state's constitution. Naturally, there were the photo-op weddings taking places on the steps of the capital, with solemn same-sex couples having their unions presided over by judges as they gazed proudly into each others' eyes. We've seen this before.

Naturally, we can expect howls of riteous indignation from the religious right in this country. To them I say: if you don't want your clergy presiding over a same-sex wedding, make it a rule within your little cult. Jesus loves everyone, as long as they're straight I guess.

I say it's about damn time we start recognizing that gay people have the right to marry. It's hard for me to believe that we're willing to spend trillions of dollars and thousands of Americans' lives to preserve the freedom of people in third world nations, but when it comes to the freedom of gay Americans, we get all twitchy. To paraphrase Shakespeare's Hamlet, something's rotten in America.

I have to confess, the biggest argument against gay marriage strikes me as completely idiotic. "Preserving the sanctity of marriage" is the battle cry. I wonder, did people use this same vague objection when protesting interracial marriage? It surprised me to learn recently that it was only as recently as 1967 that we had to announce that it was okay for blacks and whites to marry. What kills me is that we had to ask the Supreme court to make it official. Maybe it's because interracial marriage has been legal my entire life (I was born in 1968), that I find it so second-nature. Of course blacks and whites should be allowed to intermarry. Why on earth would anyone oppose this? Then it hits me: some people are just ignorant racist assholes. And some of them are in government. All it takes is a few idiots in key decision-making positions to undermine the fabric of what is supposed to be a free and equal society.

Which brings me to gay people. Again, we have ignorant assholes, only this time around they're creeped out by the thought of two men or two women getting married, instead of a man and a woman of different races. Still, they concern themselves with things that don't concern them, and because of this irrational loathing, and because enough people take Leviticus seriously, we stand by and watch as an entire section of American society systematically gets removed from the freedom equation.

What is the "sanctity" of marriage? Is my marriage sacred to anyone but my wife and I? Do I have any right to expect anyone besides my wife to honor our marriage? Sacred is a relative concept. What is sacred to one person, or one group of people, doesn't necessarily have to be sacred to anyone else.

Which makes me wonder - is marriage really so sacred to those right-wing homophobes? Statistically in America, the odds are better than 50-50 that a married couple will eventually divorce. Look further at the statistics that show how many marriages that continue will experience infidelity and domestic violence. And let's not forget those marriages that don't end, but where the people involved stay together in loveless marriages "for the sake of the kids". Divorce, common though it may be, is an expensive proposition in America, with many lawyers making handsome livings by specializing exclusively in divorces. How many marriages have stayed together simply to avoid an ugly and expensive divorce?

My point is that straight couples haven't exactly kept the institution of marriage sacred. It's supposed to be two people who love one another and want to spend the rest of their lives loving each other. Maybe they have kids, maybe they save a few bucks on taxes and insurance, but ultimately, they are willing to stand up before their friends and families and declare an oath of lifelong love, honor and fidelity. In a world chock full of hate, that's a bold thing, and something to be respected.

Perhaps if the religious right in America were serious about preserving the sanctity of this institution, they could focus on their own conduct. Those who could themselves as evangelical Christians (as opposed to Catholic, or some other flavor) are the most likely, statistically, to divorce. If they want to convince the rest of us that marriage is sacred, they could start by whittling their own stats down. If they want the law to show a respect for the sanctity of marriage, I have a few suggestions. First, make divorce a felony. Caught cheating on your spouse? Six months hard labor in a state prison. Domestic violence? One year sentence in prison. There's all sorts of legislation that the could offer up that would demonstrate their commitment to preserving marriage's sanctity. Denying it to people who really want to marry just because they're gay isn't doing anything to preserve it. Hiding behind the Bible as a means to justify a phobia is just plain cowardly.

I say, let the gay people marry. If they can keep their divorce rates under 50%, perhaps they can teach us a little something about the sanctity of marriage