2004 December 30 Thursday
Milestone: More Than Half The Human Race Has Piped Water

Half the human race has piped water for the first time in history.

Across the developing world, some 700 million people have gained a household connection to drinking water since 1990 - and helped the world reach a crucial tipping point. Now for the first time, more than half the globe's people have drinking water piped into their homes, according to an August report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.

While a lot has been written about a supposed coming global water shortage here is this very positive trend that has gotten far less press. My guess is that as the industrialization of China and South Asia continues the resulting rising affluence will create the demand from hundreds of millions of people for much more indoor plumbing and better sanitation. That will reduce the incidence of diseases, save huge amounts of time, and make much more time available for education and for the creation of wealth.

Of course the increase in indoor plumbing and of water piped through neighborhoods is reducing the risk of water-borne disease. But it is having a number of other consequences that are perhaps less immediately obvious to most of us First Worlders. Women who no longer have to spend a large part of their day going to get water now have a lot of time to engage in wealth generating and educational activities.

For instance, Tanzanians are building new schools in just five months in watered districts, where women have time to swing hammers. Equivalent projects drag on for eight months or more in areas where women spend their days fetching water, according to the Tanzanian Embassy in the United States. What's more, children who don't need to haul water are more apt to go to school and break a cycle of poverty, says Ms. Smith-Nilson.

Will this virtuous cycle continue? My guess is that progress will continue in most of South Asia and in China. But will higher population growth rates in the most backward countries of Africa overwhelm any advances there?

By Randall Parker 2004 December 30 01:31 AM  Economics Development
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2004 December 29 Wednesday
Solid Majority Of Americans See Iraq War As Mistake

Most Americans think the invasion of Iraq was not worthwhile.

President Bush heads into his second term amid deep and growing public skepticism about the Iraq war, with a solid majority saying for the first time that the war was a mistake and most people believing that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld should lose his job, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

While a slight majority believe the Iraq war contributed to the long-term security of the United States, 70 percent of Americans think these gains have come at an "unacceptable" cost in military casualties. This led 56 percent to conclude that, given the cost, the conflict there was "not worth fighting" -- an eight-point increase from when the same question was asked this summer, and the first time a decisive majority of people have reached this conclusion.

George W. Bush's approval rating is sinking.

As for Bush, 49 percent of respondents said they approved of the job the president is doing. That number is down from his November approval rating of 55 percent. Bush is the first incumbent president to have an approval rating below 50 percent one month after winning re-election. The question had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Hey, Bush is quite the precedent setter, isn't he? Boldly going places no other President has been foolish enough to go.

Americans think conditions in Iraq have been getting worse and they do not see substantial benefits from a democratic government in Iraq.

Forty-one percent polled said the elections would not lead to a stable government, and 40 percent said even if a stable government were voted in, U.S. troops would have to stay. Only 15 percent believed U.S. troops could be withdrawn within a year of the election. This question had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

When asked how the United States has handled Iraq during the past year, 47 percent said things have gotten worse. Twenty percent said the situation has improved and 32 percent said it is about the same. The differences fell outside the question's margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

My guess is that the war in Iraq and George W. Bush will continue to become more unpopular. There aren't enough troops to kill insurgents faster than Iraqis join the insurgency. The Powell Doctrine of using overwhelming force was not followed for the occupation in part because the neocons didn't take the occupation seriously. What, the whole world isn't a bunch of liberal democrats eager to vote? Some people are motivated by tribalism and religious beliefs? Can't be. That would get in the way of promoting internationalism.

Few Iraqis are motivated to fight for the government we put in power there. The neocons need to find a way tell those Iraqis that deep down they really do want a secular liberal democracy. I have an idea: Let us send all the neocons to Iraq to go door to door explaining the benefits of their ideology to the Iraqi people. Any neocons who survive the experience might become more reality oriented. The rest of you can spare yourselves the suicide mission and just read my list of some of the reasons why democracy isn't going to work well in Iraq.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 29 02:58 AM  Mideast Iraq
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2004 December 28 Tuesday
Will China Develop Rule Of Law And Press Freedoms?

Philip P. Pan of the Washington Post has written a very interesting article on a court case over a lawsuit brought by Fuyang China party secretary against two authors of a book that makes corruption and abuse of power charges against the party secretary and other party officials.

More than a quarter-century after launching economic reforms while continuing to restrict political freedom, the Chinese Communist Party remains in firm control of the courts. Most judges are party members, appointed by party leaders and required to carry out party orders. But the government's claims of support for legal reform and human rights, and an influx of information about Western legal concepts, have fueled public demands for a more independent judiciary.

China's citizens are asserting their rights and going to court in record numbers. About 4.4 million civil cases were filed in the last year, more than double the total a decade ago. Behind this surge in legal activity is a belief that everyone, even party officials, can be held accountable under the law, a belief promoted by a new generation of lawyers, judges and legal scholars trained after the death of Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong.

The party appears torn by this rising legal consciousness. It recognizes the value of an impartial judicial system to resolve disputes in a country with growing social tensions and an emerging capitalist economy, and it sees the potential of citizen lawsuits to curb corruption and improve governance. But it is also afraid that rule of law and independent courts might threaten its monopoly on power.

This report addresses what is perhaps the most important issue for determining how far China's industrialization can go: will China have independent courts that protect the rights of individual Chinese citizens from the tyranny of all levels of officialdom? Will China get rule of law or will it continue to have rule of bureaucrats? It is an enormously important question for China and for the world as a whole.

This article provides an account of a court case brought by a local party secretary Zhang Xide against the authors of a book which documented the corruption of Chinese officials. A sharp attorney defending the writers used the need to prove the accuracy of the book to turn the court case effectively into a trial of Zhang Xide. The judges that presided over this case refuse to announce a decision because they do not want to anger their superiors by ruling against the party secretary and yet they also do not want to anger the peasants.

Pu ended with a subtle plea to the judges to defy their party superiors.

"Obviously, there is room for you to be creative," he said. "If you are appropriately creative, your efforts and morals will lead society toward the further development of civilization and democracy. Your names will go down in history. . . . Your judgment will show whether the judiciary in China can shoulder its responsibility to promote the development of society."

But the lawyers said the judges have told them they cannot decide the case, which suggests that higher-level party officials are involved. The party's deliberations have been complicated because accounts of the trial have been published on the Internet and in Hong Kong. In a sign of the party's indecision, several officials have contacted the authors and their attorneys and urged them to settle the case.

So far, the authors have refused. "Settling isn't an option," Chen said recently. "We've come this far. We want a verdict."

One question is what will happen about issues relating to freedom of the press. My guess is that the Chinese government is not going to allow total unrestricted criticism of the government. However it is conceivable that the higher levels of the Chinese government might decide to instruct judges to allow local officials to be criticised while still telling them to protect higher level officials against writings by reporters and book authors.

Another question is about rule of law for doing business. Will the Chinese government instruct the courts to protect businesses against the predations of government officials? Will contract enforcement be fairly uniform regardless of whether some business has sons of important officials in management? Just how far China can develop economically depends in large part on whether contracts are enforceable and whether businesses can operate free of extortion by corrupt officials.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 28 02:59 AM  China
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2004 December 25 Saturday
Fallujah Population To Be Under Tight American Rule

Fallujah is effectively becoming a small police state under US rule. My guess is that a lot of Fallujans will opt to stay outside of Fallujah and some of the Fallujan refugees will join the insurgency.

  • Entry to and exit from the city will be restricted. According to Sattler, only five roads into the city will remain open. The rest will be blocked by "sand berms" - read mountains of earth that will make them impassible. Checkpoints will be established at each of the five entry points, manned by US troops, and everyone entering will be "photographed, fingerprinted and have iris scans taken before being issued ID cards". Though Sattler reassured American reporters that the process would only take 10 minutes, the implication is that entry to and exit from the city will depend solely on valid identification cards properly proffered, a system akin to the pass-card system used during the apartheid era in South Africa.
  • Fallujans are to wear their universal identity cards in plain sight at all times. The ID cards will, according to Dahr Jamail's information, be made into badges that contain the individual's home address. This sort of system has no purpose except to allow for the monitoring of everyone in the city, so that ongoing US patrols can quickly determine whether someone is not a registered citizen or is suspiciously far from their home neighborhood.
  • No private automobiles will be allowed inside the city....

No private cars. Imagine. Radical mass transit planners may see this as an opportunity. Though I doubt many will rush to volunteer to supervise the construction of a mass transit system for Fallujah. Perhaps bicycles will become popular.

Rebuilding of the city will be done by vetted constructions workers working in military-supervised construction brigades.

If the invasion of Fallujah had really broken the back of the insurgency then all these measures would not be necessary. The attack may very well have made the insurgency bigger. Suppose you are one of about 200,000 Fallujans now living in refugee camps or with relatives outside of Fallujah. Are you more or less well disposed toward the US occupation of your town and country now that the place has been heavily damaged, some civilians you know are probably dead and/or maimed, and you have perhaps lost your home to the bombing?

Given that the Bush Administration and Congress are not going to fund a huge expansion in the size of the US Army the only way the US can prevail against the Iraqi Sunnis is to find a way to get the Shias to be motivated to suppress the Sunni insurgency. So far the Shias have taken the attitude that they do not want to be ruled by the Sunnis or the US and expect the US to deal with the Sunnis.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 25 01:23 AM  Mideast Iraq
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Most Prisoners In France Are Muslim

Most prison inmates in France are Muslims. (same article here and here and here)

In less than a decade, there has been a radical shift in France's prison population, a shift that officials and experts say poses a monumental challenge.

Despite making up only 10 percent of the population, Muslims account for most of the country's inmates and a growing percentage of the prison populations in many other European countries, an indication of their place at the bottom of the Continent's hierarchy.

...

France's prison population has risen by 20 percent in the past three years, largely because of aggressive pursuit of lower-level crimes. The proportion of Muslims in prison has been growing even faster, reflecting the relative youth of Europe's largely Muslim immigrants. While there are no official data on issues of race and ethnicity in much of Europe - it is in fact illegal to keep such data in many places - experts on prison populations agree on the new disproportion of Muslims here and elsewhere.

Note how exact data is not available. The anti-empiricism of the politically correct is therefore a problem that extends throughout the West and is even more extensive in Europe than it is in America. In America a lot of the data comparing groups is collected but then either ignored or explained away. But you can come to understand a great many unpleasant facts if you want to put your mind to it. However, in America social science work that is likely to uncover unpleasant truths (e.g. psychometrics research) receives little funding in order that the unpleasant truths remain semi-plausibly deniable.

In Europe the data is not collected at all or kept secret by governments. Some government reports from Europe fabricate false facts to hide the truth about problems with Muslims. I have seen claims translated from the German press that in Germany the Turkish immigrants supposedly lag the native Germans in educational attainment, income, employment rates, and a whole host of other indicators while the Turks have higher crime rates and assorted other social pathologies. But the government is keen not to let all that get spelled out with detailed quantitative comparative studies of various subpopulations in Germany. But the facts do not go away just because they are denied and hidden.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 25 12:01 AM  Immigration Societal Decay
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2004 December 24 Friday
Would Bin Laden Have Been Better Off Waiting To Attack America?

Vikram Sood, recently retired head of India's foreign intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has written an interesting piece on ways that both Osama Bin Laden and the United States have damaged their positions each after first making substantial gains.

Masoud was the last obstacle to establishing Taliban rule in Afghanistan and making that country truly Islamic. He had to go. Months of planning and two assassins eventually succeeded in murdering Ahmed Shah Masoud on September 9, 2001 (see Masoud: From warrior to statesman, September 12, 2001). The country was up for grabs now, with the Taliban as the only real viable force in Afghanistan. They had the backing of Pakistan and the support of al-Qaeda. Strategic depth was a reality for the Pakistanis for a short period on September 9.

From Afghanistan, the Islamists could fan out into the resource rich Central Asian republics from Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan. Why stop there? There was Chechnya beckoning, and the green flag of Islam would fly from Morocco to Pakistan and throughout parts of Europe.

Sood is arguing that absent the 9/11 attack the United States and the rest of the Western nations would have awakened too late to stop a spread of Islamist rule throughout Central Asia. This sounds at least partially plausible. I say "partially" because my guess is that some of the governments of the "stans" in Central Asia likely would have succeeded in holding off an Islamic insurgency even without US help. He also says (and I agree) that the US role in Iraq has cost the US a lot of the gains in terms of goodwill that came from 9/11. The US invasion has been a great propaganda coup for Bin Laden and the Jihadists. Worse still, that miscalculation continues to cost the US and looks to do so for years to come.

The answer to the question of whether Bin Laden made a mistake with the 9/11 attack depends on Bin Laden's primary goal. To Bin Laden the "stans" of Central Asia are a side show. His primary interest is Arab countries (since they speak a version of the language of the prophet) and Saudi Arabia in particular. However, radical Islamist regimes in Central Asia would have been assets to his primary cause. Also, the power of the Islamists in the Pakistani government could have been strengthened if the US didn't decide to focus attention and pressure on Pakistan. Also, time spent waiting to make a really big attack on the US would have been time to train terrorists and build up bigger networks of sleeper agents. So I'm inclined to agree with Sood that the 9/11 attack was a mistake.

On the other hand, the 9/11 attack created the conditions that made the US invasion of Iraq possible. That invasion has hurt the US strategically in a number of ways. I therefore find it difficult to conclude at this point that Bin Laden's attack was a strategy miscalculation.

Each faction in a struggle makes miscalculations. The Islamists in Europe are also notable for their miscalculations. Rather than avoiding political assassinations and attacks until their fraction of the populations of various countries gets much bigger they just couldn't help themselves a small group of them responded to the message coming from the radical Islamic community in Holland and had to go assassinating Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh while threatening to kill many others. This is the problem with a militant religious movement that has no central authority and no disciplined chains of command. Freelancers will eventually heed the call of the propagandists and go hunting. More such attacks by Islamists acting independently of Al Qaeda in France, Germany, and other European likely will shift public opinion against Muslims and lead to changes in immigration policy that will reduce future Muslim immigration to Europe.

Al Qaeda and other Islamists may manage kill a lot more Europeans. Attacks with lethality similar to the Madrid train bombings may be repeated. Such attacks are going to shift public opinion in non-Muslim countries but likely will do nothing to recover US losses in public opinion in such important Muslim countries as Indonesia. Still, gains for the US are possible as a result of Jihadist attacks in other countries.

According to some reports Al Qaeda even seems inclined to pursue operations in Europe in order to attack countries (notably Italy and Britain) that have troops on the ground in Iraq fighting alongside American troops. What I find difficult to guess is whether success in carrying out such attacks will do more to build resentment in Europe toward Al Qaeda or toward the US for invading Iraq. But successful Jihadists attacks in Europe will drive European public opinion in an increasinly anti-Muslim direction regardless of what the attacks do to European opinion of America.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 24 11:21 PM  Politics Grand Strategy
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Colin Powell Recently Argued For More Troops In Iraq

In a videoconference on November 12, 2004 between George W. Bush and Tony Blair and their top advisors Colin Powell belatedly argued for at least a weak version of the Powell Doctrine.

Accounts differ about the details of Powell's remarks. One U.S. official said that Powell flatly stated: "We don't have enough troops. We don't control the terrain."

Some State Department official in the article tries to argue that Powell wasn't that blunt. But it sounds highly plausible Powell said this privately. After all, it is true and Powell knows enough about military matters to know it is true. Oh, and he turned in his resignation right after saying it. So he was certainly in a position where he could afford to be honest to his boss.

But problem with Powell's advice is that the US does not have enough troops to fight the insurgency properly. The result is that lots of American boys are dying in a futile effort.

Former civilian top administrator of Iraq Paul Bremer also says there are not enough troops in Iraq and there never have been enough.

"The single most important change -- the one thing that would have improved the situation -- would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout" the occupation, Bremer said in September, according to the Banner-Graphic in Greencastle, Ind.

Bush's strategy in Iraq is flawed in its assumptions. He does not have the guts to either withdraw or ask Congress for hundreds of billions more to scale up size of the US Army to do a proper occupation. How long will this state of affairs continue?.

Perhaps it is best we continue along without enough soldiers. We may withdraw from Iraq quicker this way. The learning curve for the American public may progress more rapidly if Bush continues along his current course.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 24 04:49 PM  MidEast Iraq Military Needs
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Insider Attack In Mosul And A Long Term Insurgency

Iraqi loyalties are at the root of the problem.

The deadly suicide attack on a US military base in Mosul this week was an "inside job" carried out by insurgents who are part of the Iraqi armed forces, Asia Times Online has been told.

Sources said a strong nexus between Iraqi forces and the resistance is what allowed them to carry out the most devastating attack on US troops since the beginning of the invasion. US forces have imposed a curfew in Mosul and have launched a military operation in the city, but, the sources say, this will have little effect on the problem, for the simple reason that the US-trained Iraqi military is heavily infected with people loyal to the resistance groups.

Does it even need to be stated that there is no obvious way to shift their loyalties away from the insurgency and toward the Iraqi government that US forces keep in power? Anyone want to bet there will be a huge decrease in insurgent attacks once the Iraqi government is democratically elected? My expectation is for a strong insurgency in 2005 as the insurgents continue to learn how to better fight US forces.

Brigadier General Carter Ham confirms that the US military thinks the attack was carried out by a sucidie bomber.

What we think is likely but certainly not certain is that an individual in an Iraqi military uniform, possibly with a vest-worn explosive device, was inside the facility and detonated the facility, causing this tragedy. That's preliminary. We'll find out what the truth is and then take necessary actions as we gain more information.

Just how heavily infiltrated are the Iraqi security forces? Did this bomber get into this base with the help of confederates who passed him through security checkpoints?

National Defense University professor and former Marine Colonel Hammes says that insurgencies of the sort found in Iraq typically last for decades.

But Hammes says the most important change to be made now is in the way that American leaders talk to the people about what's going on in Iraq. He says history shows that most insurgencies, whether the Vietnamese against the French and later the US, or the Afghans against the Soviets, last from 10 to 30 years.

He says he sees no reason why Iraq is any different, but worries the American public was ill-prepared for this by the rosy Administration pronouncements for most of the war.

But does the American public want to fight a decades-long insurgency? That seems very unlikely. So how long will this war continue to play out before more open political opposition develops? The US either has to up the ante by building up a much larger military (perhaps another million in uniform) to mount a bigger counter-insurgency effort or it needs to start looking for a way to withdraw. The biggest obstacle to withdrawal is that as the continuing increase in the counts of Americans killed and maimed fighting in Iraq may cause at least some Americans to want to see some tangible benefit from having invading Iraq in the first place. That will make withdrawal difficult unless the government(s) left behind will look like they have the strength to stay in power after US forces leave.

Before the election in October 2004 Brent Scowcroft gave his rather dim assessment of Bush policy toward Iraq, Israel, and the rest of Bush foreign policy.

Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush, was highly critical of the current president's handling of foreign policy in an interview published this week, saying that the current President Bush is "mesmerized" by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, that Iraq is a "failing venture" and that the administration's unilateralist approach has harmed relations between Europe and the United States.

My thoroughly cynical thought for the day: One way the Iraqi government could be sure to stay in power after US forces leave would be to let the insurgency to penetrate so much of the government that they effectively control it. Then the insurgents would feel no need to overthrow it.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 24 04:24 PM  Mideast Iraq
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2004 December 22 Wednesday
Steve Sailer Finds Another Strong Correlation With Republican Voting

Small increases in housing prices joins years married and total fertility as major predictors of votes for the GOP.

Note that, tellingly, in second place as an indicator of GOP predilection, in between Years Married and Total Fertility, is

  • the growth in housing prices between 1980 and 2004. The coefficient is -0.82.

The negative sign means that the more housing prices have risen, the more Democratic the state was.

Steve says immigration works against family formation of natives and thereby drives natives toward the Democrats.

Expensive housing retards family formation, which helps the Democrats. Rising housing prices transfer wealth from young people to old people.

Importing more foreigners, as the Bush Administration suicidally wants to do, drives up the price of homes by increasing demand.

That makes it harder for young voters to start down the road to homeownership, marriage, babies—and committed Republicanism.

See this link for a larger list of factors correlated with voting.

Also see my previous posts Steve Sailer: Time Married Best Predictor Of Pro-Bush Voting and Steve Sailer: Immigration Restriction Will Move Hispanics Toward GOP.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 22 01:17 AM  Politics American Domestic
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22 Killed In Attack On US Base Near Mosul

A rocket and/or mortar attack hit a mess hall when it was full of soldiers and contract workers.

The dead included 20 Americans - 15 of them servicemembers and five civilian contractors. Two Iraqi soldiers also were killed. Sixty-six people were wounded, including 42 U.S. troops, Capt. Brian Lucas, a military spokesman in Baghdad, said early Wednesday.

Writing for the Washington Post Thomas E. Ricks reports on fears of soldiers who think the insurgency is becoming more sophisticated.

The adequacy of current troop numbers is one of the questions provoked by yesterday's action, said Charles McComas, a veteran Special Forces soldier who served in Afghanistan before retiring. "Do we have the right forces and enough of them to do the offensive patrolling to reduce the chances of this happening again?" he asked.

We all know the answer to that question: No! What is to be done about it? We could withdraw. Or we could build up and use overwhelming force. But use of overwhelming force (a.k.a. the Powell Doctrine - not that Colin Powell has been following it in his support of Bush's Iraq and Afghanistan policy) is inconvenient because following it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars more money than we are currently on a path to spend. Of course if someone proposed spending hundreds of billions more money Bush couldn't agree to it without admitting to a monumental miscalculation.

But a proposal for a massive military spending increase to build a larger Army for occupation is even more problematic because an obvious question would immediately arise: What amount of national security benefit (if any) would we get for, say, an extra half trillion in spending for a massive Iraq occupation force? Given that amount of money (or even a small fraction of that amount) wouldn't we gain more national security benefit by spending that money on, for example, a larger CIA, a border barrier to prevent illegals from the Middle East from crossing over from Mexico (cost of US-Mexico border barrier would be well less than $10 billion), and energy research to obsolesce the oil in the Middle East? Why spend the current $5.8 billion per month in Iraq let alone triple that amount (which is a lower bounds on what a sufficient occupation force would cost) when so many other enhancements to national security could be purchased by spending much smaller amounts of that money in other ways?

The insurgency around Mosul grew in size after US forces in the area were reduced in order to move soldiers elsewhere to plug other holes in the dike.

A private-sector security expert who recently left Baghdad after more than a year there agreed, noting that the United States originally put an entire division in the Mosul area, the 101st Airborne, but replaced it earlier this year with a force about half that size, only to see insurgent attacks increase. "We have replaced a division with a brigade and think we can offer the same amount of security," he said, insisting on anonymity because his opinions are so at odds with the official U.S. government view.

Note when you read an article like the Washington Post article I'm excerpting the military people who are saying there aren't enough troops in Iraq are almost invariably retired. Free from the need to follow the official Bush Administration line they will speak their minds and tell the truth. But even some of them hesitate to hurt their prospects for consulting contracts and so remain anonymous.

Update: A single suicide bomber carried out the attack.

Investigators believe a suicide bomber penetrated security at a U.S. military base in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and detonated an explosive Tuesday that killed 22 people, including 14 U.S. service members, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday.

Curious fact: the Ansar Al-Sunna group that carried out this attack is primarily made up of Kurds.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 22 01:05 AM  Mideast Iraq
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2004 December 21 Tuesday
Wages For Top Two Fifths Rising Twice As Fast As The Rest

The trend toward higher inequality continues unabated.

Pay is rising more than twice as fast for the top fifth of wage earners as it is for all others, and the pace of gains at the high end is quickening, according to economists' analyses of government income data through September.

Meanwhile, the top 20 percent of households, ranked by income from all sources and earning $127,000 or more as of 2003, accounts for more than 40 percent of all consumer spending, according to Labor Department figures.

While the size of wage increases is accelerating at the top end it is slowing for workers earning smaller incomes.

The rate of wage increases for the higher-paid group had risen for four consecutive quarters through early this year, Stone found. Meanwhile, the pace of wage increases for the lower-paid workers slowed over the same period.

While technological trends that place a higher value on brains and international trade are both contributing to the trend of greater inequality these are not the only causes. The United States has an immigration policy that is letting in millions of people who are going to be found disproportionately in the lower income groups not just in the first generation but among their descendants as well.

Immigration is putting pressure on wages at the bottom end as immigrant total employment increases at the bottom while native born employment decreases as natives get out-competed by people willing to work for even lower salaries and under the table in low-paying and lower skilled jobs.

As intuition would suggest and as Steve Sailer has shown widening inequality is bullish for the Democratic Party. Some (though not all) business interests may benefit in the short term from cheap labor. But in the longer run the businesses will be under the whip of Robin Hood tax-and-spend Democrats elected by swelling ranks of lower class immigrants and their descendants. The American middle class will be big losers as they are forced to pay more taxes to support people who are not capable of earning higher salaries.

Open Borders libertarians and free market conservatives need to think about the long term consequences of the immigration policies that they support. The nation is going to be become less libertarian and less free market as a result of policies that they defend and promote.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 21 10:55 PM  Economics Demographic
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Economic Study Finds Immigrants In Holland Net Burden

Many immigrants are a net economic burden in the Netherlands.

Immigration and the Dutch economy
Introduction

  1. The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs[1], has produced a wide-ranging study of the impact of immigration on the economy of the Netherlands. The web site is www.cpb.nl
  2. The main results confirm findings in the US, Canada, and the UK that the benefit of large scale immigration to the resident population is very small and can sometimes be negative.
  3. Main results

    The study, published in June 2003, concluded that immigration of labour has the following effects:

    1. the gross domestic product will increase, but this increase will accrue largely to the immigrants in the form of wages;
    2. the overall net gain in income of residents is likely to be small and maybe even negative;
    3. the amount of redistribution between residents is substantial;
    4. the more the skill distribution of immigrants differs from that of residents, the larger the amount of redistribution will be;
    5. residents will skills comparable to those of immigrants will lose;
    6. residents will skills complementary to those of immigrants will win in the long run;
    7. capital owners will win in the short run, but in the long run their gains will disappear;
    8. due to labour market imperfections, part of the income effect for resident workers will be replaced by employment effects (unemployment instead of a wage decrease).

Note the language here. The writer says that immigrants who are like the average Dutch immigrants are a burden. This is a rather indirect way of stating that the average Dutch immigrant is an economic burden.

For all entry ages, however, immigrants turn out to be a burden to the public budget if their social and economic characteristics correspond to those of the present average non-Western resident. Accordingly, budget balances are affected negatively.

So net economic effect of immigrants on the native Dutch in Holland is negative. So immigration's net effect in Holland is similar to its net effect in the United States.

The report concludes that the current mix of immigrants to the Netherlands is not a solution to the financial problems caused by their aging population:

The results indicate that immigration cannot offer a major contribution to alleviate public finances and thus become a compensating factor for the rising costs for government due to the ageing of the population.

The report also acknowledges environmental costs.

The further population density increases, the more economies of scale are likely to be outweighed by negative external effects related to such phenomena as traffic congestion, pollution, and loss of open space, landscape and nature.

One aspect of environmental costs that is not widely appreciated is that the cost of pollution reduction per person goes up as population increases. Why? Because in a less dense population less emissions reduction is needed per person. Imagine that there were only 300 million people in the world. They could all be living at US standards of living but would not require as much spent per person on air or water pollution reduction because their pollution would be spread out so widely and also just not add up to all that much.

Imagine you live in a city with 2 million people and in order to make the air healthy enough to breathe 95% of the emissions from cars and factories has to be caught and broken down or converted to safe form. Then imagine 2 million more people move to that city and engage in just as much economic activity as the original 2 million. Well, in order to keep total pollution at the same acceptable level 97.5% of all pollution must by captured and converted to safe substances. The cost of each additional 1% reduction in pollution is not linear. Each additional percentage is much more expensive to stop. At the extreme the cost of stopping 100% of all pollution would be prohibitive and would require a huge reduction in living standards. So population increases impose not just crowding and higher prices per unit of housing but also much higher pollution control costs.

The original Dutch report is available here (in PDF format).

By Randall Parker 2004 December 21 02:24 PM  Immigration Economics
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Found Any Really Thoughtful Christmas Gift Ideas?

Has anyone thought of or found something for a Christmas gift that you think is particularly helpful or novel or thoughtful? It can be for a mother or husband or wife or brother. I'm looking for particularly thoughtful gift ideas. Yet another coffee maker or pair of slippers or other standard stuff just gets old and tired.

So what have you thought of or stumbled across that makes something you are giving this year stand out as special? Anything that will be surprising to the recipient?

By Randall Parker 2004 December 21 01:31 PM  Life Regular
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2004 December 20 Monday
Department Of Homeland Security Fails To Protect Borders

Heather Mac Donald says that homeland security needs to be taken more seriously.

Nothing compromises our domestic defense against Islamic terrorism more than our failure to control who enters the country. The alien-smuggling trade is the "sea in which terrorists swim," explains David Cohen, the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and an ex-CIA expert on al Qaeda.

...

Shouldn't guarding public safety be the Department of Homeland Security's sole "priority mission" ?

A glance at a tiny section of the northern border, separating Vermont and a small part of New York from Canada, makes clear how lackluster the government's response to illegal entry remains.

Every week, agents in the border patrol's Swanton sector catch Middle Easterners and North Africans sneaking into Vermont. And every week, they immediately release those trespassers with a polite request to return for a deportation hearing. Why? The Department of Homeland Security failed to budget enough funding for sufficient detention space for lawbreakers.

In May alone, Swanton agents released illegal aliens from Malaysia, Pakistan, Morocco, Uganda and India without bond. Since all these aliens chose to evade the visa process, none has had a background check by a consular official that might have uncovered terrorist connections. All are now at large in the country.

Since the government is so pathetic that it can't even hold Middle Eastern illegal aliens who are caught crossing the border then any terrorists with the financial resources to make it to a US border is almost certain to be able to make it into the United States and start living here.

Better border walls and fences would reduce the number of people that would need to be held for deportation since fewer would manage to make it across the border in the first place. But combine a larger capacity for holding illegals with more border patrol agents to capture ilegals and then terrorists and other illegal entrants would be far less likely to make it into the interior of the United States. Also, if there was more enforcement of immigration law in the interior then more illegals who are already living here would be caught.

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a hiring freeze and is considered to have serious management problems.

The inspector general's letter confirms worries about the impact of ICE's budget shortfalls on agency morale first reported last month by The Washington Times. The results of the audit were first reported by Congressional Quarterly's Homeland Security newsletter.

ICE officials are continuing a hiring freeze and a ban on all "non-mission-critical" travel or other expenditures, instituted earlier this year. Some training has been suspended, agency spokesman Dean Boyd said, but the measures did not affect ongoing investigations.

There is bad morale in ICE, especially among former INS agents who feel they are second class citizens next to the former Customs agents.

They said ICE's investigative efforts have undergone a "functional paralysis," noting that while the fiscal 2005 budget called for a $300 million increase, ICE canceled all training, let go personnel at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, implemented a hard hiring freeze, ordered its cars parked, ended Spanish-language training for investigators, and limited spending and investigative activities.

Nearly two years after ICE's creation, there has been little reconciliation between former Customs and former INS agents now assigned to the agency — most of whom still refer to themselves as either "legacy Customs" and "legacy INS," but not ICE.

Immigration agents in ICE are now pulled away from immigration investigations to do customs investigations of illegal smuggling of CDs and DVDs.

James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. of The Heritage Foundation and David Heyman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies have co-authored a report on homeland security reform entitled DHS 2.0: Rethinking the Department of Homeland Security (pdf format) which argues for a major reorganization of the Department of Homeland Security to reduce management layers and bureaucratic infighting.

Putting it bluntly, the current organization of DHS must be reformed because it hampers the Secretary of Homeland Security’s ability to lead our nation’s homeland security efforts. The organization is weighed down with bureaucratic layers, is rife with turf warfare, and lacks a structure for strategic thinking and policymaking. Additionally, since its creation, whether one looks at the department’s capacity to organize and mobilize a response to a catastrophic terrorist attack or at the international dimension of DHS programs, the department has been slow to overcome the obstacles to becoming an effective 21st century national security instrument.

...

Prior to the creation of DHS, seven agencies (among others) were involved in securing U.S. borders, enforcing immigration laws, and securing the transportation system: the U.S. Customs Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Executive Office of Immigration Review, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Coast Guard, TSA, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Agency missions overlapped to greater or lesser extents, and because the agencies resided in different Cabinet departments, it was difficult to resolve operational and policy conflicts without open turf warfare or resorting to the cumbersome interagency process.

The creation of DHS was supposed to consolidate agencies with overlapping missions and to better integrate our efforts in this area. It has succeeded to some degree. INS has been abolished, and its border inspectors and Border Patrol Agents have been merged with most of U.S. Customs and the border inspectors of APHIS to create U.S. Customs and Border Protection—a single uniformed face at our borders.

However, in “consolidating” responsibility for border, immigration, and transportation security, DHS actually increased the number of involved agencies to eight and created additional problems that now need solving. In addition, it has failed to clearly delineate the missions of DHS agencies that also have border, immigration, or transportation security responsibilities.

Additionally, the split of responsibilities between the CBP and ICE was done without a compelling reason—other than the vague (and ultimately incorrect) descriptive notion that the Customs and Border Protection would handle “border enforcement” and ICE would handle “interior enforcement.” Indeed, in various interviews, not one person has been able to coherently argue why the CBP and ICE were created as separate operational agencies. Indeed, some have compared it to deciding to break up the New York Police Department into two separate agencies —one housing the uniformed “beat cops” (analogous to the CBP’s uniformed officers) and the other housing the detectives (analogous to ICE’s plain-clothes investigators).

Complicating the border security picture is the unclear mission of the TSA. While most Americans associate TSA with baggage screeners at airports, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that created TSA also makes it responsible “for security in all modes of transportation,” including ensuring the “adequacy of security measures for the transportation of cargo.” This has injected TSA into the realm of border security and created friction with other DHS agencies historically in charge of securing the movement of cargo into the United States—the Coast Guard and CBP. The BTS has not been particularly effective in clearly delineating the relative responsibilities of the CBP and TSA (and it has no authority over the Coast Guard), resulting in policy impasses such as the fights about who is responsible for moving forward on “smart” containers and who is in charge of such programs as Operation Safe Commerce.

Carafano and Heyman want CBP and ICE to be merged into a single agency. This would tend to reduce the distinction now drawn between catching illegal aliens at the border versus in the interior. So I expect the "Open Borders" crowd to oppose such a rational move.

Merger of CBP and ICE would probably help. But it would help even more if the combined CBP and ICE was given authority from their political masters to round up as many illegal aliens as they can manage to capture. When 12 men from the Temecula Border Patrol station rounded up 450 illegal aliens in 3 days (amazing!) higher-ups responded to Hispanic interest group complaints and stopped the sweeps. So the illegals could be rounded up and deported if only the government allowed CBP and ICE agents to go after the illegals with enthusiasm.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 20 03:55 PM  Immigration Terrorism
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Germany Angers Israel By Being Too Hospitable To Jews

Germany has bowed to the demands of Israel to become less hospitable to Jews.

Jewish Agency officials hailed as a positive first step media reports Saturday that Germany will stop offering unlimited immigration and generous social benefits to Jews from the former Soviet Union. According to the German media, starting in January 2006 only FSU Jews who are under the age of 45 and familiar with the German language will be eligible to immigrate.

Oh the irony.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 20 11:13 AM  Immigration Politics
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2004 December 17 Friday
William Kristol Calls For Donald Rumsfeld Replacement

William Kristol, editor for neoconservative mouthpiece The Weekly Standard, has come out for the ousting of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.

In any case, decisions on troop levels in the American system of government are not made by any general or set of generals but by the civilian leadership of the war effort. Rumsfeld acknowledged this last week, after a fashion: "I mean, everyone likes to assign responsibility to the top person and I guess that's fine." Except he fails to take responsibility.

All defense secretaries in wartime have, needless to say, made misjudgments. Some have stubbornly persisted in their misjudgments. But have any so breezily dodged responsibility and so glibly passed the buck?

Leave aside the fact that many of the neocons do not want to be called neocons now that their biggest foreign policy initiative has turned into a debacle. They are still a distinct faction and The Weekly Standard is still a major publication for their faction. Kristol's opposition to Rumsfeld represents not just a shift in their position toward Rumsfeld but also a shift in their position toward the war.

What I find especially interesting is what Kristol says about troop levels, essentially taking Eric Shinseki's pre-war position about needed size of an occupation force.

But then, what about his statement earlier last week, when asked about troop levels? "The big debate about the number of troops is one of those things that's really out of my control." Really? Well, "the number of troops we had for the invasion was the number of troops that General Franks and General Abizaid wanted."

Leave aside the fact that the issue is not "the number of troops we had for the invasion" but rather the number of troops we have had for postwar stabilization. Leave aside the fact that Gen. Tommy Franks had projected that he would need a quarter-million troops on the ground for that task -- and that his civilian superiors had mistakenly promised him that tens of thousands of international troops would be available.

Before the war Rumsfeld's neoconservative deputy Paul Wolfowitz was projecting an extremely easy occupation and was arguing that the occupation force could be much smaller than the invasion force. So what is Kristol's position on Wolfowitz or on the other major neocon in DOD, the debacle promoter Douglas Feith? Does Kristol think Wolfowitz should be fired as well because Wolfowitz so drastically underestimated the size of occupation force needed for Iraq?

Also, where was Kristol before the war when General Shinseki and Rand Corporation researchers James Quinliven and James Dobbins were claiming that a much larger occupation force was needed for Iraq? I missed hearing the detailed arguments of these Rand Corporation guys until after the Iraq invasion (and am critical of myself for not looking harder for such arguments) and I am unclear why the major media people in Washington DC didn't write more on the size requirements for an effective occupation force. The Rand guys were briefing Washington DC think tanks before the war according to Laura Rozen. So why weren't their arguments given more prominent display in the media? Were there Weekly Standard articles before the war about the need for hundreds of thousands of more troops for occupation? I am guessing the answer to that question is a big fat "NO".

Kristol wants a bigger military and is trying to claim it is Rumsfeld's fault rather than Congress's or the President's fault that America does not have one.

“For me, it's the combination of the arrogance and the buck-passing manifested in that statement, with the fundamental error he's made for a year and a half now,” Kristol said. “That error, from my point of view, is that his theory about the military is at odds with the president's geopolitical strategy. He wants this light, transformed military, but we've got to win a real war, which involves using a lot of troops and building a nation, and that's at the core of the president's strategy for rebuilding the Middle East.

“At some point, his stubborn attachment to his particular military theory had really hurt the nation's ability to carry out its foreign policy.”

Does Kristol really believe what he is saying? Or is he telling a knowing lie to try to give Bush a way to embrace the neocon program for the creation of a much larger army for occupation and additional invasions? Also, is Kristol leading a neocon attempt to do buck-passing by blaming Rumsfeld for a project which was so obviously a product of neocon promotion?

As for the prospects for a military big enough to occupy Iraq: We'd probably need nearly a million more men in uniform to accomplish that goal. We'd need about 300,000 additional troops in Iraq. But they would need to be backed up by 2 times that number in training, logistics, and back home resting between deployments. Plus, we'd need to equip all those soldiers. It would take a time measured in years to build up such a force and a draft would probably need to be instituted to recruit enough people. The cost could easily run upwards of half a trillion dollars or more to do this. So Kristol is deluded if he thinks Rumsfeld is the main obstacle in the way of his foreign policy dreams.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 17 07:44 PM  Mideast Iraq
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Dutch Emigrate In White Flight Across Borders

More Dutch are leaving than there are Muslims arriving.

The first picked up on figures showing that an exodus of native-born Dutch in search of a new life abroad has reversed immigration flows for the first time since the Second World War.

Last year, more people left the Netherlands than arrived, despite low unemployment and the highest per-capita income of any major country in Europe.

The flight is not of frustrated young people in search of better prospects, but of lawyers, accountants, computer specialists, nurses and business people. They have been applying for visas to the English-speaking world: Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

This new wave of "middle-class flight" has quickened this year following rising ethnic violence, and suggests that the Dutch, held up as a model of tolerance, liberalism and inclusiveness, are growing so disenchanted with multi-culturalism as to vote with their feet.

Of course the Muslims are having more babies than the Dutch are.

The Dutch have high living standards and yet are leaving for Canada and New Zealand.

Last year more people left the Netherlands than arrived as migrants or asylum seekers, even though unemployment remains low at 4.7 percent and per capita income is higher than any major country in Europe.

Fortunately America is still big enough for "white flight" to occur into rural areas and into the so-called "Red States". However, the areas to flee from are growing in number and size while the areas to flee to correspondingly shrink. Also, the destination areas are not as desirable in many ways (e.g. high plains weather is less desirable than SoCal weather in the view of the vast bulk of the population).

Philosophy student David van Ofwegen of Leiden Netherlands thinks the Muslims will eventually take over Holland.

If supporting freedom of speech is the common opinion in Holland now, it won't be in 40 years time. What's happening in Holland, and in the rest of Europe (think of France and its 300 lawless ghettos) is a fundamental invasion of one of the most free and social societies in the world, by those making use of those very same liberties and privillages to cause a demographic, and eventually a theocratical revolution. You're being attacked by Islam; we are becoming Islam. Numbers of victims or of the population involved may sound interesting and lead to judgements about our intolerance (intolerant Dutch, talk about stereotypes!), fact remains that the current situation is not a simple equation of people against burning mosques.

I've been meaning to post about Dutch politicians who have been found on Jihadist lists targetted for death and who have received death threats in other ways. The politicians who are being targetted for death are rather like the canaries in the coal mine. But perhaps more importantly, the targetting of the politicians has the beneficial effect of causing them such fear that they have to face the problem that Muslims pose for freedom in the Netherlands. Even the politicians who are not known to be targetted and who have not spoken critically of Muslims or Islam must be feeling more nervous any time they step out in public and when they fall asleep each night.

Some politicians threatened with death by the Jihadists have gone into hiding in safe houses with police protection.

Among those threatened are Somali-born MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who has already been in hiding for two years, the parliamentary leader of her VVD Party, Jozias van Aartsen, and Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen.

According to the mass circulation daily De Telegraaf, the fundamental suicide commando death list also includes the names of independent parliamentarian Geert Wilders and Deputy Amsterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. De Telegraaf writes that both Hirsi Ali and Wilders had been taken to heavily guarded safe houses.

The list of threatened people is at least a half dozen long at this point.

Wilders, who had been planning to form a party to tackle “the Islamic problem” now also has 24-hour police protection. There is apparently one more Dutch politician, besides Hirsi Ali and Wilders, who has now been accorded 24 hour police protection. Outside parliament, a Dutch TV chat show host has also been given protection. And the mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen has also now been put on the hit list, as has the deputy mayor, fellow Muslim Ahmed Aboutaleb.

I haven't been able to find a link that provides a name for the talk show host. Also, from the description of these articles I suspect there is at least one more Dutch Parliamentarian who has been threatened with death whose name has not been mentioned in any of these linked articles.

Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has also been threatened.

The Mayor of Amsterdam has also been threatened with action from the beheading community, as has his Muslim deputy, and they, too, are under 24-hour protection, as are two other members of Parliament, including Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk.

Ms. Verdonk's thinking has obviously been changed by being targetted for death.

Ms Verdonk recently announced that the Government would introduce a law to strip Islamic radicals with dual nationality of their Dutch passports.

Geert Wilders wants to deport the radical Muslims and ParaPundit agrees.

“My life has changed completely. I am sleeping very badly. To think that someone plans to kill me is something that no person would have a good night's rest about,” he said. “Even though I have this protection, I am afraid. Even when I am on the floor of the parliament, I don't feel comfortable.”

...

With radicalism spreading among the country's one million Muslims — 5.5 per cent of the population — Mr Wilders wants the top 150 known terrorist sympathisers, monitored by the security services, to be jailed or deported without trial, and the 20 most radical mosques closed down. He also wants a ban on all non- Western immigration for five years while better employment and education opportunities are put in place to integrate ethnic minorities into mainstream society.

“I believe people who work against our democracy, and who favour this fascistic Islamic radicalism, don't deserve the rights of our democracy. They don't deserve the rights of the rule of law. Without going to a judge, they should be arrested and expelled,” he said.

Wilders wants to fight to keep Holland Dutch.

``We have our own norms and values. If you chose for radical Islam you can leave, and if you don't leave voluntarily then we will send you away. This is the only message possible.''

"If we don't do anything ... We will lose the country that we have known for centuries. People don't want the Netherlands to be lost and this is something that I get angry about and I am going to fight for, to keep the country Dutch.''

Geert Wilders opposes Turkish membership in the European Union.

Wilders split with the free-market coalition partner Liberal Party two months ago because it backed the candidacy of predominantly Muslim Turkey for the European Union.

He formed his own conservative party, the Wilders Group, which has one seat in the 150-member parliament. But a recent poll suggested his anti-immigrant message was reverberating through the electorate, and he would win 24 seats if elections were held today -- up from 19 seats before Van Gogh's murder.

The Dutch need to shut down immigration for a lot longer than just 5 years. They also need to deport all their illegal aliens and also revoke residency or citizenship from all the radical Muslims and deport them too. Any Muslim legal resident who makes any kinds of threats or breaks any laws should also be deported.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 17 03:38 PM  Immigration Societal Decay
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Australia Deports One Woman "Human Crime Wave" To New Zealand

A New Zealand citizen who has spent the vast bulk of her life in Australia is being deported to New Zealand as a way for the Australians to stop being victimized by her criminal activities.

A New Zealand-born woman described by her own lawyer as a "human crime wave" – with criminal convictions stretching to 30 pages – is to be deported to this country despite having lived in Australia since she was one.

She is only 26 years old but has a 30 page long rap sheet.

Patricia Carol Toia, 26, is being held at Sydney's Villawood detention centre for deportation after an immigration tribunal opted to send her back New Zealand, which she last saw as a baby in 1979, the Post reported.

Toia has been sentenced to more than 30 jail terms in Australia for such crimes as robbery, assault and trafficking drugs. She has committed a further 42 offences while in jail.

How can a woman who is only 26 year old manage to be sentenced to 30 jail terms in Australia? You have to be out of jail to commit crimes that are committed on the outside. Also, if this woman was still serving time for crimes committed in Australia would the Australians deport her before her jail term was up?

Also, if an inmate is committing many crimes in prison shouldn't she be placed in solitary confinement?

The Kiwis are angry at Australia for sending them this threat to public safety.

GILLIAN BRADFORD: It was a perfect summer headline for a New Zealand newspaper: "Aussies send us human crime wave".

Carol Toia is for all intents and purposes an Australian. She has no close relatives or friends across in New Zealand and her whole life of crime has been spent in Australia. But the one thing she never did was take out Australian citizenship, so that's given an immigration tribunal power to order her out of the country.

A decision that's angered New Zealand's Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

PHIL GOFF: She is being deported back by the Tribunal on the basis that legally she is a New Zealander, but actually back to a country that she has no knowledge of, no recollection of and no network of friends.

I don't blame the Kiwis. Now they are going to have to wait for this woman to commit some crimes and then proven she did them so that she can be removed from New Zealand's streets.

There is something seriously wrong with an Australian legal system that it wasn't able to find a reason to lock up this woman for a longer period of time years ago.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 17 03:35 AM  Immigration Societal Decay
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ACLU Wants To Delegitimize Immigration Law Enforcement

The American Civil Liberties Union wants to find something illegal about a brief spurt of immigration law enforcement in California that netted 400 illegals.

In June, a small group of Temecula-based Border Patrol agents set off a panic among immigrants by beginning to patrol and arrest people in cities far north of the border, including Corona and Ontario.

The next month, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information about whether the Border Patrol was acting lawfully.

Imagine, if you will, a country that has decayed so far into barbarism that bank robberies are no longer investigated and prosecuted. Then imagine some lower level federal bureaucrats taking it upon themselves to round up some bank robbers and try to stop the robberies. Then imagine some supposed civil rights organization moving to oppose real law enforcement. Absurd, right?

The ACLU has ceased to be an organization that works to protect constitutional rights and became just another left-liberal political activist organization. By this action the ACLU shows that it simply is opposed to immmigration law enforcement. This form of opposition to immigration law enforcement is, in essence, a claim that the government does not have the moral legitimacy to enforce immigration law. I want the government to protect me from illegal immigration and I want the ACLU to stop acting to deny me that protection.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 17 03:34 AM  Immigration Politics
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2004 December 16 Thursday
War Funding Cost May Hit $100 Billion In 2005

The burn rate in Iraq looks set to rise substantially.

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration plans to ask for between $80 billion and $100 billion to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan next year, rather than the $70 billion to $75 billion the White House privately told members of Congress before the election, according to Pentagon and White House officials.

...

In total, $152.6 billion in military funding for Iraq has been provided through the end of this year.

Those statistics do not include emergency money to support the 20,000 US troops in Afghanistan, which brings the total bill to $162.3 billion.

Note that the total to date for Afghanistan is about $10 billion or less than 10%. Given that Afghanistan is a small sideshow the cost for Iraq may be close to $100 billion. In fact, the article quotes John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org saying that the burn rate in Iraq may soon rise to $2 billion a week. At the end of 2005 with $100 billion spent, more lives lost, and more injured and will the insurgency be bigger or smaller than it is now? Can $100 billion kill insurgents faster than new insurgents can join up? We are going to find out.

The article also comments on the Bush Administration's practice of keeping the Iraq war costs out of the regular budget in order to try to reduce the visibility of the war costs. Plus, the article mentions additional costs that will come in order to retool the US military for other duties when the US withdraws from Iraq. There is also the additional cost of medical care for the many injured soldiers who will have lifetime higher costs of medical care and, in some cases, nursing care as a result of injuries suffered in Iraq. I have yet to come across a good estimate of what that cost will total to but I'm guessing it might be in the tens of billions of dollars.

One of the many places the money is going is toward airlift in order to avoid dangerous roads.

Responding to the threat of roadside bombings and ambushes of American ground convoys in Iraq, the Air Force is sharply expanding its airlift of equipment and supplies to bases inside the country to reduce the amount of military cargo hauled over land routes, Air Force officials said on Tuesday.

Dozens of Air Force C-130 and C-17 transports, as well as contracted commercial aircraft, are now ferrying about 450 tons of cargo a day, including spare parts, food, water, medical supplies and other materiel that normally moves by truck or trailers, a 30 percent increase in the past month.

Humvees are being carried from Kuwait to Baghdad in C-130 transports, two to a transport. Think about that. The US military can't even maintain a secure ground supply line up from Kuwait to Baghdad.

Another place the money is going is $4 billion to be spent on better vehicle armor.

Defense officials declined to say how much has already been spent. But they said that in the next six to eight months, they will have spent $4.1 billion to try to make sure that vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan are those already manufactured with full armor or have had armor added to them. The vast majority are in Iraq.

Update: The National Guard says it needs $20 billion dollars.

Worn down by the war in Iraq and security demands in the United States, the National Guard announced yesterday that it needs $20 billion in new weapons and equipment over the next three years to continue to meet all its overseas and homeland commitments.

Without the money to "reset" itself, Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, the head of the Guard, warned that the reserve force "will be broken and not ready the next time it's needed, either at home or for war."

Guard units are leaving Iraq without their gear so that incoming Guard units have enough to use. Also, the Guard is now understaffed by 10,000 soldiers as active duty soldiers no longer want to join upon leaving active duty. After all, at this point joining the Guard is so likely to cause one to be called it that it like going on active duty but with worse equipment.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 16 01:29 AM  Mideast Iraq Costs
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2004 December 15 Wednesday
Better Cellphone Reception Threat To North Korean Regime

People deep inside North Korea can walk up mountains and tall hills and talk on cell phones using transmitter/receiver cellphone towers set up in China near the North Korean border.

"If possible, Kim wants mobile phones to disappear in North Korea," says Nishioka Tsutomu, a professor of modern Korean studies at Tokyo Christian University. "But North Korean people do not have enough food. To trade on the black market in China, it is essential to have a mobile phone."

Despite the ban, North Koreans have been using cellphones more than ever, according to visitors to the region. Whether crossing the border legally on official business or illegally to procure food and other vital supplies, they routinely rent or purchase phones on the Chinese side, then turn them off and hide them from border guards as they return.

Cellphones by now are in common use in Sinuiju, the North Korean city across the Yalu River from Dandong, the major Chinese center through which China does much of its trade with the North. They're also widely used along the Tumen River border in the east, and advances in technology now mean callers can occasionally reach contacts as far south as the capital, Pyongyang.

After initially creating an internal cellular network and allowing the more affluent North Koreans to pay for cellphones the regime has shifted toward a far more restrictive set of rules for use of cellphones and all those cellphones being brought in from China are clearly banned.

Chinese people-smuggling entrepreneurs are promoting the use of cellphones in North Korea.

Chinese brokers who arrange for people to leave North Korea for the Yanbian region are responsible for the North-South communication. The brokers give prepaid cellphones to collaborators in North Korea. When someone needs to make a call to a family member, the collaborators go to their home and escort the caller to a border town within reach of cellphone frequencies.

Fees for covert calls are much higher than the standard amount. The 30-year-old woman mentioned who spoke to her sister paid brokers 1 million won, or about 100,000 yen.

Chinese entrepreneurs, just in pursuit of a profit, are more effectively undermining the North Korean regime than anything the United States government is doing. The US could weaken the regime by paying for prepaid cell phones to be shipped into North Korea. Also, the construction of more cellphone towards along the DMZ in South Korea would help. Though the South Korean government may oppose this move due to their own foolish calculations.

The money involved in the latest US effort to undermine the North Korean regime amounts to chump change. The Bush Administration talks a big game but it is very ineffectual.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 15 04:35 PM  Korea
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US Army Sends 70 Year Old Doctor To Afghanistan

Think maybe the US Army is having a hard time finding enough people?

Dr. John Caulfield thought it had to be a mistake when the Army asked him to return to active duty. After all, he's 70 years old and had already retired - twice. He left the Army in 1980 and private practice two years ago.

"My first reaction was disbelief," Caulfield said. "It never occurred to me that they would call a 70-year-old."

In fact, he was so sure it was an error that he ignored the postcards and telephone messages asking if he would be willing to volunteer for active duty to "backfill" somewhere on the East Coast, Europe or Hawaii. That would be OK, he thought. It would release active duty oral surgeons from those areas to go to combat zones in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But then the orders came for him to go to Afghanistan.

I admire and respect Dr. Caulfield for his willingness to serve again at his age. At the same time, what is striking about this story is that someone in the US Army actually thought to approach a 70 year old doctor who left the Army in 1980. Doesn't the Army sound a bit desperate for people? They just sent a 70 year old doctor to Bagram Afghanistan!

Thanks to TangoMan for the tip.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 15 02:48 AM  Military Capabilities
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2004 December 14 Tuesday
Officer Denied British Citizenship Because Army Service Took Him Abroad

Patriotism counts for so little these days.

Captain Warwick Strong, 29, whose father and grandfather were both colonels in the Army and held British citizenship, served with the Royal Artillery for four years. He was born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, where his parents were living at the time, and came to Britain on an ancestral visa, which has been renewed until October 2006.

But despite being praised for his military record, he has been told by the Home Office that he does not qualify for citizenship partly because of his absence from the country as a result of being posted abroad.

Qualification for a passport demands that the applicant must not be out of the country for more than 90 days the year before applying.

Am I wrong to think that the British government of, say, 50 years ago never would have made such a pathetic decision? That the willingness to dedicate oneself to military service in the British Army was held in such high esteem that a 3rd (or greater?) generation British officer would never be treated in such a fashion?

Strong's grandfather was in the British Army for 32 years. His father and mother are British citizens. This guy obviously can't go back to his birthplace Zimbabwe now since whites are basically not welcome there as citizens any longer. He was in Germany, Kosovo, and Iraq in the British Army and hence failed the residency requirement. So if he had just stayed in Britain and not served in the British Army he'd probably qualify for citizenship. That's messed up. That is seriously messed up. The British government ought to be ashamed of itself.

Welfare state governments effectively want to own their citizens. But the incentives and disincentives they place before their citizens and prospective citizens make it clear that those governments do not want national loyalty from their citizens. They want their charges to be dependent and feel dependent and not to feel and act responsibly (else, why systematically reward irresponsibility?). How else to explain something like the story above and the behavior of welfare states in general?

By Randall Parker 2004 December 14 02:49 AM  Immigration Policy
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2004 December 13 Monday
Steve Sailer: Time Married Best Predictor Of Pro-Bush Voting

Steve Sailer has discovered that the number of years married for white women aged 18 through 44 is an even stronger prediction of voting for Bush than fertility for white women.

Overall, Bush carried the top 25 states ranked on years married for white women. The correlation coefficient with Bush's share of the vote is 0.91, or 83 percent of the variation "explained." That's extremely high. Years married also correlates with the 2000 election results at the 0.89 level (80 percent). So it's no fluke.

The r-squared when years married and fertility are combined in a multiple regression model is improves to 88 percent. (Small-sounding change, perhaps, but actually an important (30%) reduction in the unaccounted variation - from 17 percent to 12 percent.)

Steve says low housing costs and generally low living costs are key to higher early marriage and white fertility rates. Immigration raises housing and living costs and so shifts people into patterns of living that make them more likely to vote for the Democratic Party.

What is the simplest way to keep population density under control and public school quality up—thus allowing more young people to afford the Republicanizing blessings of marriage and children?

Cut back on immigration.

One of the ways that immigration lowers white fertility is by creating more populations that whites want to flee from to escape crime and social pathologies. Whites end up needing to spend more money to get into more exclusive neighborhoods to escape what becomes of white working class neighborhoods when lower skilled and more crime-prone Hispanics move in. The competition becomes more intense to get into neighborhoods whose kids are less likely to be disruptive in school classrooms or to require lots of special education tutoring. Also, whites end up commuting much longer distances and this both adds another cost to households and also makes it extremely difficult for the two parents to share child-raising chores like, say, taking Johnnie to the doctor or picking up Jill after music lessons. If the husband is driving an hour or two into the big city to go to work every day then the wife is going to be less keen on procreating.

I do not think we have the slightest moral obligation to import the rest of the world's problems. It is time to shut down immigration entirely.

Update: Steve answers some of his critics. Note that the critics are just character assassins. Someone asked in a comment to this post for substantive critiques of Steve's analyses. But knee-jerk politically correct left-liberals can't be bothered to engage in rational analysis.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 13 03:01 AM  Politics American Domestic
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2004 December 12 Sunday
Why Not Drape Road Accident Scenes?

Car accidents on highways cause huge traffic snarls even if the wrecked vehicles are not blocking traffic. Why? because people slow down to look at the cars and people and mess on the road hoping they will see something gory and interesting. They want to know what happened. Well how about a simple solution: The highway patrol cars ought to have extendable metal poles and big thin sheets of fabric that allow them to very rapidly put draping around the accident area so that passing vehicles will not see anything to slow down to look at. Take away the ability to look and people will not slow down as much. Traffic flows will be less disrupted by accidents.

Anyone ever seen this done? It seems like an obvious enough idea that I figure I can't be the first person to think of it.

It might take a special vehicle to bring the draping materials to set up the covering. But ambulances are dispatched and additional patrol cars are dispatched to major road accidents on busy freeways and highways. So a pick-up truck could be dispatched to any accident scene that is going to take some time to clean up.

This seems like a pretty cheap idea to try. Poles designed for camping or even for roadside construction could be used. The draping should be high enough to obscure the view even if there is a hill and cars are coming down the hill. So it might need to be 10 or 15 or 20 feet tall. Obviously the needs would differ depending on the terrain. But at least in some terrain the needed height would be manageable.

One problem would be wind. In areas where there is a lot of wind there would be a need for heavier poles and wider and heavier ground footprints on the poles.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 12 11:25 PM  Solutions Practical
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2004 December 10 Friday
Steve Sailer: Immigration Restriction Will Move Hispanics Toward GOP

Steve says if the flow of illegal immigrants who drive down wages at the bottom is cut off then the resulting rise in wages at the bottom will cause more Hispanics to decide they can afford to not vote for the Democrats.

The simplest model of white, Hispanic, and black voting behavior is that voters (at least those who are less than well-to-do and are family-oriented) are on average torn between the Democrats' tax-and-spend policies and the Republicans' family values stances. The poorest ethnic group of voters, blacks, feels they can't afford to waste their vote on semi-symbolic family values issues when they need direct help on bread-and-butter issues. In contrast, the wealthiest ethnic group of voters, whites, can afford to vote for Republicans—both because some are so wealthy that GOP policies like eliminating the inheritance tax are in their self-interest; and because, for the majority, they can afford to vote for family values.

Hispanic voters fall in the middle. Hispanics, overall, are quite poor. But those who are citizens and regular voters tend to be a little better off than blacks, and somewhat more upwardly mobile. They are tempted by the GOP's family values rhetoric. But a large majority feel their pocketbooks demand they vote Democratic.

This suggests that Hispanics are most likely to become Republican voters when, on average, they aren't so poor. The most straightforward way to raise Hispanic average incomes is to stop taking in so many extremely poor Hispanics from south of the border.

Rather than try to cater to Hispanics already in the US by letting in more of the same instead stop the flow in order to stop the growth of the lower class.

This argument really builds on Steve's previous argument that higher levels of inequality are found in the states that the Democratic Party dominates.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 10 03:27 AM  Immigration Politics
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2004 December 08 Wednesday
Need A CT Scan In Canada? For Your Sake I Hope You Are A Dog

A Canadian friend just called to say his dog was going in for a computerized tomography (CT) scan. From the day that the specialist decided the dog should get a CT scan to the day he takes the dog in for the scan is only 6 days. Also, the time from visiting a regular vet to seeing a veterinary specialist who ordered the CT scan was a week and a half. This is in Ontario province. The dog will be scanned after hours on a machine that during the day scans humans. My friend knows I follow stories about waiting times in socialized medicine and suggested the obvious comparison. Well, some quick Google digging turned up a Fraser Institute report from 2003 which shows that Canadian dogs have it better than Canadian humans when a specialist visit and a CT scan are needed.

The total waiting time for patients between referral from a general practitioner and treatment, averaged across all 12 specialties and 10 provinces surveyed, increased this year; rising to 17.7 weeks in 2003 (from 16.5 weeks in 2001-02).

“Canadians are waiting almost 18 weeks for essential medical care. And these lineups have almost doubled over the past ten years. The standard solution -- throwing more money at the problem -- is just not working. The federal and provincial governments are still failing to act in the face of international evidence that increasing patient options for private care reduces waiting times,” said John R. Graham, the Institute’s director of health and pharmaceutical policy research.

...

The waiting time between referral by a GP and consultation with a specialist rose to 8.3 weeks, an increase of 14 percent over last year (7.3 weeks).

The shortest waits for specialist consultations were found in British Columbia (6.7 weeks), Manitoba (6.9 weeks), and Saskatchewan (7 weeks). The longest waits for specialist consultations occurred in Newfoundland (12.6 weeks), New Brunswick (11.8 weeks), and Alberta (10 weeks).

...

The growing waits to see a specialist and to receive treatment were not the only delays facing patients in 2003. Patients also experienced significant waiting times for computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound scans.

The median wait across Canada for a CT scan was 5.5 weeks. The shortest wait for computed tomography was in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland (4 weeks), while the longest wait occurred in Prince Edward Island (8 weeks).

So if my friend had needed a referral for himself to a specialist and for a CT scan he'd probably have to wait at least 3 months. As it stands now his dog is getting through the same process in less than 3 weeks.

If my friend got desperate he could always leave Canada. A drive south to New York would take Canadians to a real medical market that allows competition and customer payment for services rendered. This ability to pay for services makes provision of such services much faster, just like what a dog in Canada can get. Unfortunately, it is hard for Canadians to buy medical insurance to use in the event of a major illness. Therefore the trip south is more often an option for illnesses which are less expensive to treat and for wealthy people.

On the bright side, it is good to know that Canadians place a such high priority on quick medical treatment for their dogs.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 08 03:21 PM  Socialism, Capitalism
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2004 December 07 Tuesday
US To Spend Couple Million To Smuggle Radios Into North Korea

Barry Briggs of North Korea zone has a reference to a new US government effort to smuggle radios into North Korea.

For the next four years, Washington will spend up to $2 million annually to boost radio broadcasts toward North Korea and send mini-radios across its borders. How to smuggle the radios in remains to be worked out.

The North Korean government is upset by this meager attempt to reach the North Korean people and let them know how pathetic their lives are as compared to other nations in the region.

Also Saturday, North Korea's state-run daily Minju Joson accused Washington of trying to topple the North Korean regime by smuggling tiny radios into the isolated country, where all state-issued radios are preset to receive only government signals.

...

The American plan to smuggle small radios into North Korea is outlined in the North Korean Human Rights Act, which President Bush signed into law Oct. 18. The sweeping act provides money to private humanitarian groups to assist defectors, extends refugee status to fleeing North Koreans and sets in motion a plan to boost broadcasts to North Korea and get receivers into the country.

That two million dollars per year is a meager effort. The US burn rate in Iraq is $5.8 bil per month. So 12*5.8/52 is the amount per week and divided by 168 is the amount per hour which is 8 million per hour. So this plan to smuggle radios into North Korea has a yearly cost of 15 minutes worth of the Iraq burn rate.

The United States has greatly reduced food aid to North Korea in recent years but the United States still gave North Korea over $35 million in food aid in 2003 or about 17 times the amount that the US wil spend on radios to undermine the North Korean regime.

If one listens to the rhetoric coming out of Washington then nuclear proliferation is an important priority for the Bush Administration. But a count of the Benjamins is hard to reconcile with the official rhetoric. I do not think that Bush Administration policy toward North Korea and Iran will prevent either country from building up nuclear arsenals. The United States and its allies lost an excellent opportunity in the late 1990s to push the regime into collapse by cutting off aid to North Korea when its economic crisis was most severe. At this point the regime's survival seems more assured than it did in the 1990s. I find it increasingly difficult to take the Bushies seriously on foreign policy.

Thanks to Vinod for the heads-up on this.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 07 02:51 PM  Korea
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CIA Station Chief: Iraq Deteriorating

A CIA agent ending a 12 month tour as Station Chief in Baghdad says Iraq is getting worse.

But over all, the officials described the station chief's cable in particular as an unvarnished assessment of the difficulties ahead in Iraq. They said it warned that the security situation was likely to get worse, including more violence and sectarian clashes, unless there were marked improvements soon on the part of the Iraqi government, in terms of its ability to assert authority and to build the economy.

Of course the government is not going to markedly improve. Also, would economic improvement really help? Some of the insurgents hold day jobs in addition to their bomb making and planting work. So while I do not expect a large improvement in the Iraq economy it is not clear that an improving economy would really help anyway.

Oh, and yet another parallel with Vietnam:

The station chief oversees an intelligence operation that includes about 300 people, making Baghdad the largest C.I.A. station since Saigon during the Vietnam War era.

That is actually a pretty small intelligence operation if we measure it against the job of finding all the insurgents. Obviously that intelligence operation is not sufficient to identify the insurgents or, hey, all the insurgents would be identified already and the US military would be out rounding them up.

Bush doesn't want to admit to the size of the problem because that would require an admission that he made an absolutely gigantic miscalcuation. Well, a willingness to admit to mistakes is not exactly one of Bush's strong points.

Unless a huge set of technological advances are in the pipeline for fighting urban warfare the current troop level in Iraq is at best the equivalent of paddling to stay in place against rushing waters. So lots of Americans are dying and lots of money is being spent (at least $5.8 billion per month plus equipment wearing out and lifetime medical bills for the injured) to no productive end. Given a choice between upping the ante, withdrawing, or a strategy doomed to failure the United States government has opted for the strategy doomed to failure while pretending this is not the case. Lyndon Baines Bush is writing quite a bad chapter for himself in the history books.

Update: The best US hope for Iraqi help against the Sunni insurgency is from the Shias. The Shias are the majority. Will they start to feel any fire in the belly to fight against Sunni insurgents? After all, the Shias are going to be on top in the coming elected government. So why aren't Shias fighting in greater numbers and with more enthusiasm against the Sunni insurgents? Just what the heck are the Iraqi Shias thinking? That government is something Sunnis do and not something that Shias do? Or that they don't want to kill their fellow Muslims? Or that the government is a tool of America? If anyone has some insight into the Shia mindset in Iraq I'd like to hear about it.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 07 12:39 PM  Mideast Iraq
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Computers Reduce Childhood Learning

At least so far computers are not a panacea that automatically accelerate learning.For too many kids computers are a distraction that lower the rate of learning.

From a sample of 175,000 15-year-old students in 31 countries, researchers at the University of Munich announced in November that performance in math and reading had suffered significantly among students who have more than one computer at home. And while students seemed to benefit from limited use of computers at school, those who used them several times per week at school saw their academic performance decline significantly as well.

...

Mindful that computers are more common among affluent families, whose children often outperform more disadvantaged ones, the University of Munich researchers controlled for such variables as parents' education and working status.

When those were removed from the equation, having more than one computer at home was no longer associated with top academic performance. In fact, the study says, "The mere availability of computers at home seems to distract students from learning." Computers seem to serve mainly as devices for playing games.

But if games were kept off the computers would this pattern still hold?

Also, I'd love to see a study done like this but with IQ testing of the students. Are the kids with computers in upper class homes just as smart on average as those without computers?

By Randall Parker 2004 December 07 01:49 AM  Education
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2004 December 05 Sunday
Joe Guzzardi Sees Three Choices On Iraq

Joe Guzzardi sees three choices on Iraq that are identical to the choices the US faced in Vietnam.

The Bush administration is at a crucial juncture. Bush faces the same choices as Johnson did nearly four decades ago:

  1. Escalate the war to salvage his mission
  2. Wind it down, declaring victory and going home
  3. Maintain the status quo

To escalate presents serious problems.

Bush would have to realistically assess the troop needs in Iraq, something he seems unable to do. The consensus is that to stabilize Iraq about 400,000 additional troops are required.

Where will they come from? The Bush administration insists there will be no draft. But the Reserve and National Guard are close to fully mobilized. About 40% of the soldiers in Iraq are made up of Reservists or the National Guard.

Escalation would cost a huge amount of money, take years to implement, and would require Bush to admit to mistakes that would be totally out of character for him to admit to. So I do not see escalation as in the cards. Still, only escalation would give the US the chance of killing and capturing insurgents faster than new people enter the ranks of insurgents. Imagine 1 million US soldiers in Iraq operating at 7 or 8 times the rate of killing insurgents than is currently the case. The insurgency couldn't keep up. But that isn't going to happen. The Bushies are never going to admit that the problem is that big.

How long will events in Iraq play out until the optimists admit that things are not going to improve by much? Killing or capturing Hussein, his sons, and his top lieutenants was supposedly going to end the insurgency. Well, it didn't and the insurgency has since greatly escalated. The turn-over of semi-sovereignty was supposed to help and it didn't. The staffing up of Iraqi National Guard and police was supposed to be the key. Not so far. Iraqis continue to be more enthused about fighting against Americans than fighting alongside them. Then the elections are coming up in January. This is the next supposed solution. The elections won't induce the Sunni insurgents to hang up their guns and give up planting bombs.

As I see it events in Iraq have to run their course perhaps for another year until yet more supposed solutions fail to make things better. The pessimists have to wait for the events to sink through to more of the optimists. Eventually support for the war will decline because George W. Bush will continue down the same path as Lyndon Baines Johnson travelled in the 1960s. The difference between Iraq and Vietnam is that the size of the US effort in Vietnam came closer to what was necessary to succeed than is the case with the US effort in Iraq. We had a draft then and better national finances. We could afford to send a half million soldiers when perhaps a million were what were required (as predicted by Bernard Fall if memory serves). Whereas in Iraq we are understaffed at about a quarter of what is required to put down the insurgency. Even with sufficient staffing we'd only be able to put down the insurgency until we leave.

Lots of Americans are dying pointlessly. Though if the US military was large enough to put down the Sunni rebellion I'm still not clear how we'd benefit from the result. My guess is that the main benefit would be that we'd convince the Arabs of our will and our prowess. Making the Jihadists and would-be Jihadists think they can defeat us is a bad idea and putting ourselves in a situation where we will eventually leave them with that impression may be the biggest harm (though not the only one) that will result from Bush sending US forces into Iraq in the first place. Or perhaps the bigger harm was handing the Jihadists a US intervention that they can point to as evidence that the US is engaged in a war to destroy Islam.

One final note: We might have a fourth choice as a way out: partition Iraq. One argument for that way out is that in Iraq there are multiple insurgencies fighting for conflicting goals. Divide Iraq up and let one of the insurgencies have the Sunni triangle. Then let the Shias have the south and the Kurds their zone. Then the US can leave claiming some form of victory. It might work.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 05 05:53 PM  Mideast Iraq
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Japan And China In Economically Dysfunctional Relationship With United States

James Brooke and Keith Bradsher of the New York Times have written a good article on the enormous US bond holdings of China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea and on whether the East Asian nations will continue to prop up the US dollar.

As in Japan and China, small groups of civil servants in Taiwan and South Korea are struggling to invest sizable foreign currency reserves of $235 billion and $193 billion, respectively. For years, all four countries have held the bulk of their reserves in the Treasury bills, notes, and bonds that finance the federal budget deficit, leaving American consumers and companies free to spend more on other things and invest their spare cash in more promising ventures. Together, these Asian institutions are responsible for holding roughly 40 percent of the American government's public debt. In contrast to Japan, China's money managers, while selling little of their existing Treasury holding, have not been buying much more. China's foreign currency reserves rose by $111.3 billion in the first three quarters of the year, according to official Chinese data. But its Treasury holdings, American filings show, climbed by only $16.4 billion.

Japan holds $720 billion in US Treasuries.

The Japanese are in an especially difficult place. They have to keep buying to protect the value of the dollar in order to protect their dollar holdings. But that costs large amounts of money every year with no way to stop it short of letting the dollar decline against the Yen.

The Chinese and Japanese governments are whispering loudly that the US government should act more fiscally responsible. But that is like a drug dealer telling a junkie that the junkie ought to quit so that the dealer can stop feeding his habit. Except this relationship is more like addicts on both sides feeding each others' addictions. The Japanese and Chinese have addicted themselves to the strong dollar while the US government has addicted itself to deficit spending. The Chinese and Japanese fed the US addiction by allowing the US addict to behave in a fiscally wreckless manner without paying the price of higher interest rates.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 05 05:21 PM  Economics Political
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2004 December 04 Saturday
Heather Mac Donald On Terrorism, Racism, Immigration Law Violators

Heather Mac Donald has written a review of the leftist documentary Brothers and Others about alleged racism toward Muslims post-9/11. Of course discriminating against someone on the basis of their religion is not racist. But "racist" has become the ultimate insult that the Left can hurl and so of course the term is frequently misused. Anyway, Heather sees an underlying theme in the complaints about the arrests of Muslim illegal aliens post-9/11: the critics of the arrests of illegals are opposed to all immigration law enforcement.

The Iranian Ali and the Pakistani store owner can qualify as targets of racist government power only if one posits that immigration enforcement is per se racist. And that is exactly what the film posits. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, an advocacy group, tells the camera: “It is wrong to arrest people for visa violations; it violates the Constitution.”

The only thing remarkable about this statement is its clarity; the sentiment, however, animates most attacks on the government’s post-9/11 terrorism investigations. Behind much criticism of the domestic war on terror lies the unstated premise that the government has no right to enforce immigration laws, and that any effort to do so is discriminatory.

The discussion following the recent New York screening of Brothers and Others reiterated the notion that the Bush administration conducted a massive dragnet of Muslims after 9/11, based on racial animus. The dragnet idea is a cherished belief on the left that has nothing to do with the facts.

The facts are these: After 9/11, the Justice Department ordered that 762 illegal aliens, nearly all Muslim, be detained, while FBI agents ran down leads about their possible terror involvement. Those detentions amount to .01 percent of the Muslim population, taking the Council on American-Islamic Relations at its word that there are seven million Muslims in America. A hundredth of a percentage point of a population is hardly an indiscriminate sweep. What’s more, those 762 incarcerations were only a small fraction of the thousands of tips that poured into the FBI after 9/11.

Of course the Muslims who become terrorists do so far more as a result of their identification of themselves as Muslims and their interpretation of Islam than because of what racial or ethnic group they belong to. US government law enforcement efforts would not be aimed at them if they were all, say, Hindus or Buddhists.

Of course Muslims are overwhelmingly not white Europeans. So Leftists end up seeing them primarily as non-whites rather than primarily as Muslims. The irony of this situation is that while Leftists like to portray Rightists as implacable racists the Leftist reaction to Muslims is driven more by the racial and ethnic identities of the Muslims than by their religious beliefs. This brings to mind Steve Sailer's explanation for why Leftists are so quick to label people as racists:

And this is typical, in my experience: whites who proclaim their anti-white feelings don't really care much about blacks or other minorities, pro or con. What they care about is achieving social superiority over other whites by demonstrating their exquisite racial sensitivity and their aristocratic insouciance about any competitive threats posed by racial preferences.

So then Leftist opposition to immigration law enforcement becomes a way to pose as morally superior to whites who favor immigration law enforcement. Never mind the danger that such opposition poses for public safety, whether the danger comes in the form of terrorism or more pedestrian types of crime like rape, murder, or robbery. Clamoring to assume a higher position in a societal pecking order is a strong instinctive urge in most humans and Leftists are no exception.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 04 04:38 PM  Immigration Terrorism
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French Prime Minister Moves To Ban Hezbollah TV Channel

In France the government has more power to regulate speech and the press and the French are moving against a radical Islamic satellite TV channel.

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Thursday called for a television channel run by the Lebanese Shi'ite terrorist group Hizbullah to be taken off the air after it accused Israel of exporting AIDS to the Middle East.

Raffarin told the upper French Assembly, the Senat, that he intends to revoke the license of the Al-Manar satellite station that had been granted by the CSA, the French Broadcasting Authority.

Al-Manar could no more keep itself from spewing blatantly false propaganda about Israel than a retriever dog can hold back from running into a creek or a pond.

The CSA cited as evidence an al-Manar broadcast last week that spoke of "Zionist attempts to transmit dangerous diseases like Aids through exports to Arab countries". The broadcast said Israel had "no scruples" about infecting Arabs and Muslims.

What was that French regulatory agency thinking by granting Al-Manar approval in the first place? Here's another way to appease the Arabs? That must have been it. Expecting the serializers of a series on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" to behave according to Western norms was really unrealistic.

The 29-part series, "Al-Shatat," was produced in Syria and broadcast throughout the Middle East by Hezbollah. Based on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," it depicts among other scenes the killing of a Christian child on the orders of a rabbi so the blood can be baked into matzos for Passover.

CSA director Dominique Baudis, in a letter that accompanied the license, warned that some of the programs aired by the network in the past would violate the license's terms.

Some programming by the channel "depicts violence toward civilian populations in a favorable light," could incite hatred among religious or national groups and "bring trouble to the public order," he said.

My guess is that some of Al-Manar's staff doesn't even know when the station is being absurd. What, you mean "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" isn't the gospel truth? Everyone in the Casbah knows it is.

Al-Manar's Head Of News Hassan Fadlallah defends the Arab and Muslim values portrayed on Al-Manar.

"Our programs are based on cultural, Islamic and Arab values that a billion people believe in, and it fits with some French values like freedom, justice and human rights.

Should Arabs be free to tell other Arabs that Jews are plotting to take over the world, that Jews are spreading AIDS, and that Jews should be hated? There are American and French Jewish groups who think the answer to that question is "No".

Freedom? To do what? Plant car bombs?

The American Jewish Committee wants al-Manar and similar Arab channels out of Europe.

"By acting promptly to remove this promoter of hatred and violence from the airwaves, Prime Minister Raffarin has acted in the best interest and traditions of France and of all Europe," said David A. Harris, AJC's executive director. "Al-Manar, and other channels carrying similar anti-Semitic, anti- American and anti-Western messages, can have no place in a Europe that values tolerance, pluralism and peace."

In acting today to request the Conseil d'Etat, the supreme French judicial-executive body, to ban Al-Manar from the French communications satellite Eutelsat, the prime minister responded to evidence that the station violated terms of its conditional license by airing outrageous accounts of "Zionist" plots to spread AIDS in Africa. In authorizing Al-Manar to broadcast on Eutelsat, the French broadcasting authority, CSA, had imposed a code of conduct consistent with French anti-discrimination laws.

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League wants al-Manar off the French satellite.

The decision by the French Broadcasting Authority to allow Al-Manar, the satellite network of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, to continue to broadcast in France, "undermines the significant progress that the Government of France has made in the last year to combat the anti-Jewish and incendiary anti-Israel environment that exists in some sectors of French society," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in a letter to French President Jacques Chirac. "Indeed, your Government had come to understand that attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions do not occur in a vacuum, that hateful propaganda coming from the Middle East is a major catalyst.

Noting that "anti-Semitism continues to be a serious problem in France," and that the "government has taken a number of steps to quell these anti-Jewish acts," Mr. Foxman said that by "allowing Al-Manar to preach its message of hate through television sets across France sends a very contrary message." He urged President Chirac to have "your government to reconsider this decision."

There are a few things that are interesting about this story. First off, France does not have as much free speech protection as the United States. My guess is that satellite and cable services in the US aren't going to carry Hezbollah TV because there aren't enough Arabs in the US to generate sufficient demand. But my guess (and someone correct me if I'm wrong) is that the US government wouldn't block a satellite TV service from carrying a paranoid, delusional, and extremely anti-Jewish satellite TV channel.

Of course the French need to be able to stomp down on their Muslims or else a lot more bombs would be going off in France.

Another interesting aspect of this story is the activity of American Jewish organizations which are basically advocating for censorship in France. Are all cultures and religions so compatible that free speech can always be allowed under all circumstances? These Jewish groups apparently think not. How does this translate into the American context? Will the ADL and AJC start advocating censorship of radical Imams in American? Or will they start advocating against immigration of Muslims into the United States? After all, if large scale immigration of some group is going to make censorship necessary then isn't that an argument against allowing that group to emigrate to some country? My guess is that the big Jewish groups in America are still unwilling to accept that they support immigration policies harmful to both American interests and Jewish interests.

Some French Jews think Arabs in France are making France into an inhospitable place for Jews. There are 600,000 Jews and 6 million Arabs in France. One third of one percent of the French Jews leave for Israel each year.

Since 2001, more than 2,000 French Jews have arrived each year, double the rate of the 1990s and more than from any other single country, says the Jewish Agency, the quasi-governmental agency that oversees immigration and absorption.

...

"France is an Arab country. That's enough for us to leave," says Moshe Bendrihem, 50, a Morrocan-born Jew who moved from a Paris suburb four years ago to Eli, a West Bank settlement. Bendrihem wears a skullcap, or kippah. He didn't always. "It is impossible to wear a kippah in France," he said, for fear of being singled out for attack.

...

Interest in the Jewish state can be gauged by the number of visitors. Nearly 200,000 French tourists came to Israel in the first nine months of 2004, a 74% jump over the same period last year.

Six million Arabs didn't show up in France overnight. Why weren't the French Jews arguing against so much Arab immigration decades ago?

85 year old former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt says that multiculturalism can only work in a totalitarian society and the Turks should not have been brought into Germany as guest workers.

"The concept of multiculturalism is difficult to make fit with a democratic society," he told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper.

He added that it had been a mistake that during "the early 1960s we brought guest workers from foreign cultures into the country".

Well, a bit late for the admission. When will the Europeans start deporting all the illegal immigrants and revoking residency of anyone with the slightest bit of radical Muslim leanings? It is time to at least slow the growth rate of the problem. Oh, and change your tax laws to encourage more natives to have kids.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 04 12:03 AM  Immigration Culture Clash
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2004 December 03 Friday
Immigrant Population Growth Disconnected From American Economic Cycle

Advocates of high levels of immigration who favor toleration of illegal immigrants often claim that immigrants do jobs that no one else wants to do. But of course in a labor market, like any other market, there is always a price at which demand and supply equal. Absent the influx of low ability immigrants many of the jobs they do would still get done, albeit at a higher price. In many cases work would be restructured, innovative ways to get tasks done with less labor would be found, and more capital equipment and automation would be utilized.

A recent report from the Center for Immigration Studies

Among the findings:/p>

  • The 34.24 million immigrants (legal and illegal) now living in the country is the highest number ever recorded in American history and a 4.3-million increase since 2000.
  • Of the 4.3 million growth, almost half, or 2 million, is estimated to be from illegal immigration.
  • In the data collected by the Census Bureau, there were roughly 9 million illegal aliens. Prior research indicates that 10 percent of illegal aliens are missed by the survey, suggesting a total illegal population of about 10 million in March of this year.
  • The same data also show that in the years between 2000 and 2004, nearly 6.1 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) arrived from abroad. Arrivals are offset by deaths and return migration among immigrants already here, so the total increased by 4.3 million.
  • The 6.1 million new immigrants who arrived in the four years since 2000 compares to 5.5 million new arrivals in the four years prior to 2000, during the economic expansion.
  • The pace of immigration is so surprising because unemployment among immigrants increased from 4.4 to 6.1 percent, and the number of unemployed immigrants grew by 43 percent.
  • States with the largest increase in their immigrant population were Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.
"The idea that immigration is a self regulating process that rises and falls in close step with the economy is simply wrong,” said Steven Camarota, the report’s author and the Center’s Director of Research. “Today, the primary sending countries are so much poorer than the United States, even being unemployed in America is still sometimes better than staying in one’s home country.”

Note that in the 2000-2003 period total native employment was falling by a couple of million people while immigrant employment increased by about the same number. However, since total number of immigrants in the country was rising the immigrant unemployment rate was rising. So illegals came in larger numbers into a worsening job market to become unemployed here.

The areas with high concentrations of brains have low unemployment rates while high immigrant areas have high unemployment rates.

The lowest unemployment rate was in Bryan-College Station, Texas, at 1.7 percent. Of the 25 metro areas with unemployment rates below 3 percent in October, about half were homes to large state universities, the statistics bureau noted.

The nation's highest unemployment rate was in Yuma, Ariz. — 23.6 percent. All of the next-highest jobless rates were in six metro areas in the agricultural central valley of California.

Brains, not brawn, create the highest value jobs. Our immigration policy should reflect this fundamental fact.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 03 04:07 PM  Immigration Economics
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2004 December 02 Thursday
Iraq Monthly War Cost Rises To $5.8 Billion, Set To Go Higher

As recently as June 2004 it was under $5 billion. Now costs, not including US Navy costs, are running at a rate over $70 billion per year.

As casualties mount in Iraq, so has the monetary cost of the war. The military is now spending more than $5.8 billion each month, top officials told Congress this week.

..

The Army, with about 110,000 soldiers on the ground in Iraq, has a monthly "burn rate" of $4.7 billion.

The Air Force is spending about $800 million monthly.

The Marines, which are spearheading the fighting in Fallujah, had an average monthly war cost of $300 million.

These costs understate the total real financial costs of the war. For example, the Veterans Administration is already spending

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi said Tuesday that the violent guerrilla tactics used by insurgents in Iraq will take a considerable toll on the mental health of troops, resulting in a lifetime of disability payments for many of those who return from war.

So far 20 percent of returning Iraq veterans who've sought VA care have done so for mental health issues. While the exact cost of compensating those injured in the Iraq war is uncertain, the VA already expects to pay $600 billion over the next three decades in disability payments to veterans of earlier wars.

So what will be the long term costs for maimed and psychologically damaged US soldiers who served in Iraq? Anyone know how to make a rough calculation in that direction? Keep in mind that the portion of maimed US soldiers is much higher relative to deaths as compared to previous wars. For more on that point see my previous post Death Rates Of US Soldiers Understate Intensity Of Iraq Fighting. In a nutshell the ratio of wounded to killed as tripled in Iraq as compared to Vietnam. So fighting in Iraq that produces a death toll of 100 soldiers produces a number of injured that equals about the number of injured that 300 soldier deaths in Vietnam produced.

Back in spring and summer of 2004 the official Bush Administration answer to the obviously inadequate number of US soldiers in Iraq was that native Iraqi forces were staffing up rapidly and would soon take over much more of the fighting. But the tempo of combat has intensified in Iraq and the US casualty rate has risen with little in the way of Iraqi contributions on the US and Iraqi government side. The Iraqis have been making much bigger contributions fighting for the insurgency though.

Well, the fantasy about help from the Iraqis is getting too hard to maintain. The Bush Administration has just decided to increase the number of soldiers in Iraq.

The Pentagon said yesterday that it will boost the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to about 150,000, the highest level since the U.S. occupation began 19 months ago.

Most of the increase in the troop count -- which now stands at about 138,000 -- will come from the extended deployment of units already there as others arrive.

That increase in the number of soldiers in Iraq will of course increase the monthly burn rate.

The military says this boost is in order to support holding of the elections.

"It's mainly to provide security for the elections, but it's also to keep up pressure on the insurgency after the Fallujah operation," Army Brig. Gen. David Rodriguez, deputy director of regional operations, said Wednesday.

Of course the elections are supposed to be over in January. But the additional troops will be there till March. The surge probably really is temporary for the simple reason that the US military is not big enough to sustain a larger force in Iraq.

The Bush Administration predictions have been wrong so many times that their predictions aren't worth taking seriously. Before the war Paul Wolfowitz claimed the Iraqis would treat the American soldiers as liberators and in late May 2003 Donald Rumsfeld claimed there'd be only 30,000 US soldiers left in Iraq by the end of 2003.

For obvious domestic political reasons, the Bush Administration going into the war had downplayed the scale and duration of a post-war occupation mission. When then-Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki told legislators that such a mission would require several hundred thousand U.S. troops, his assessment had been immediately dismissed by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz as "wildly off the mark." Wolfowitz explained that "I am reasonably certain that (the Iraqi people) will greet us as liberators, and that will help us to keep requirements down." Six weeks ago, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was still suggesting the U.S. force in Iraq could be reduced to 30,000 by the end of the year. But the prevailing assessment in Washington appears to be shifting to the idea of a figure closer to Shinseki's.

Of course, the US military does not have enough troops to occupy Iraq with a larger force. At the same time, I do not see Bush pushing to build up a larger military. The budget deficit is too big already. The US military in Iraq needs technologies that would achieve a much greater level of automation in urban fighting. But after a year and a half of urban fighting necessity still hasn't been the mother of enough invention to make urban fighting less dangerous to US soldiers.

So how long will the fighting in Iraq continue? 5 years? 10 years? I can't see it going for 10 years because in 2014 the United States is going to be deep enough into the baby boomer retirement financial crisis that the idea of spending $70-100 billion per year in Iraq is going to be seen as unaffordable and unjustifiable.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 02 01:49 AM  Mideast Iraq Costs
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2004 December 01 Wednesday
Hillary Clinton To Right Of National Republican Leadership On Immigration

Little noticed at the time (certainly I had no idea!) back in February 2003 Hillary Clinton came out firmly against illegal immigration.

Saying that she is strongly opposed to "illegal immigrants," New York Sen. Hillary Clinton announced Tuesday that she would support a national identification card for U.S. citizens if other measures to keep illegals out of the country failed.

"I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants," Clinton told WABC Radio's John Gambling. Then, a few moments later, the Democratic Party presidential frontrunner added, "We might have to move towards an ID system even for citizens."

Clinton said she would support a national ID card as part of an overall effort to improve the U.S.'s national security.

"Clearly we have to make some tough decisions as a country," the top Democrat warned. "And one of them ought to be coming up with a much better entry and exit system so that if we're going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let's have a system that keeps track of them."

...

"People have to stop employing illegal immigrants," she told WABC. "I mean, come up to Westchester, go to Suffolk and Nassau Counties, stand in the street corners in Brooklyn or the Bronx (and) you're going to see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work and construction work and domestic work. You know, this is not a problem that the people coming into the country are solely responsible for. They wouldn't be coming if we didn't put them to work."

On Wednesday November 17, 2004 Hillary repeated her argument that we should be using more technology to protect our borders.

"I don't think that we have protected our borders or our ports or provided our first responders with the resources they need, so we can do more and we can do better," Clinton told Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren.

To enhance border security, Clinton explained, "there's technology now available. There are some advanced radar systems. There are biometric and other kinds of identification systems that we've been very slow to deploy and unwilling to spend money on."

...

In December 2001, for instance, Clinton urged Canadian offiicals to "crack down on some of these false documents and illegals getting in."

Think about the electoral calculus for her position. She'd gain people on the Right and in the middle who are frustrated about illegal aliens. She might lose some Hispanic votes but she'd gain other Hispanics who do not want illegals coming in competing with them for jobs. So her Hispanic losses may be pretty small and her gains among white males (who are far more numerous) and even white females unhappy about the current immigrant influx could potentially be very large. If our choice in 2008 is pro-illegals Jeb Bush versus anti-illegals Hillary Clinton then I predict Hillary will win.

Mickey Kaus sees this as an attempt by Hillary to crack her stereotypical liberal image since that image is a liability for her.

P.S.: If Hillary's attacked by Hispanic groups for these sentiments so much the better for her! Her husband had an unformed, fuzzy image when he ran--he could show his heartening anti-liberal streak by dissing an out-of-line rap singer. Hillary, in contrast, has a hard, fixed liberal image--and probably needs to crack it with a high profile, revelatory fight against someone or something on the left more powerful than Sister Souljah. How about LULAC?

Hillary, as presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party's Presidential candidate in 2008, has put Republican Presidential aspirants in 2008 in a difficult position. The Republicans have gotten away with defying their base on immigration because their base had nowhere else to go. Well, Hillary just said "come on over". A lot of elections are won by very small margins. Hillary's position has made the standard national Republican waffle on immigration harder to sustain. In the run-up to the 2008 election national Republicans are going to be under greater pressure to take harder line positions against illegal immigration.

By Randall Parker 2004 December 01 12:39 PM  Immigration Politics
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