The California economy is still in the crapper, thanks partly to the ongoing world crisis in capitalism and thanks partly to thirty years of Republican insistence that taxpayers not be forced to pay for the items they wanted. As a result, California put a lot of needed growth items on credit in the form of state bonds, and because a lot of them were via the state initiative process – best described as brain surgery with a sledge hammer – it took an already bad economic situation and made it far worse.
Why Jerry Brown would even want to be governor again at a time like this is something of a mystery. As his predecessors discovered, governors don't have much power to fix things, but they will get blamed for them in any event. Arnie could have been working on “Terminator 10” right now and getting compared to William Shatner. But no, he had to be a governor, and his reputation suffered as a result.
Brown is just as captured in that as Arnie was, but Brown at least brings a measure of idealism and humanity to the job that Arnie could do only sporadically. It was largely due to his pressure that he was able to shepherd California's version of the “Dream Act” through the State Lege, and sign it today.
As the name suggests, it's similar to the Dream Act George W. Bush proposed that would allow undocumented aliens residing in the region to be eligible for funding for college. One of the few good things Bush ever proposed, it tacitly recognized that America owed something to the people who come here and do the jobs most Americans won't do, and that it was flat-out wrong to punish the children of these people by refusing them educational aid.
California benefits from this. The kids who graduate either stay, and add to the intellectual wealth of the nation, or they return to their native lands and take with them the message that America is a friend that is willing to help. That's a message that doesn't breed many terrorist attacks.
Compare this to the microcephalics of Alabama, who have passed a law that, among other things, demands that renters show proof of right to residency – green card or drivers' license – or have their water turned off. As the Reuters story reporting this abomination relates, “The warning, posted in the offices of a public water company in the small town of Allgood in Alabama, is the most graphic illustration yet of the draconian new immigration law coming into effect in the state. Under section 30 of the new law, HB56, anyone who lacks proper immigration papers is deemed to be committing a crime if they try to enter into a 'business transaction' with the 'state or a political subdivision of the state.'"
OK, even the Nazis didn't deny their prisoners water. And like Alabama, you don't have to be a criminal to be considered one under these laws. The vast majority of people in German work camps weren't criminals; they were just people the State and its resident bigots didn't like. Criminalizing someone for being undocumented is exactly the same as criminalizing them for being Jewish.
And, given the ignorance and hatred that informs such actions, the end results between Alabama's little experiment in social purity is likely to follow the route the Nazis took.
Aside from the matter of the people behind this law being utter moral and ethical bankrupts, there's the slight problem of criminalization of “illegal aliens.”
Most people are astonished to learn that being an 'illegal alien' in fact is not a crime in and of itself. It can be regarded as an aggravating factor if someone is charged with an actual crime, but only if it can be shown that it contributed to the seriousness of the crime.
It isn't illegal to be an illegal alien. There's a good reason for this.
The United States, like all sovereign nations, has the right to expel aliens within her borders who have not been given permission to be there. This is embodied in the Constitution, and further is a part of international law and treaty that the United States has signed. The Constitution demands that the Federal government, and the Federal government only, be the overseer of alien deportation. States are banned from conducting foreign policy, and this includes going their own way on the matter of the treatment of foreign nationals within their borders.
This is a good and just arrangement. All nations have the right to secure their borders, and treaty agreements forbid cruel or draconian treatment of undocumented aliens.
But in order for this to work, there is a catch.
The Constitution asserts that anyone accused by any United States government of having committed a crime is entitled to reasonable bail, legal representation, and a trial before a full jury of their peers. Under the United States Code, expulsion from the country is not one of the permitted punishments for a criminal conviction.
The rights of the accused apply to everyone within the jurisdiction of the Constitution, regardless of where they were born or the state of their paperwork. “All persons.” Not “Citizens only,” or “Native born.” “ALL PERSONS”
So the minute you charge anyone with a crime, the rights and obligations of the law kick into effect. Not only do you have to charge the accused with a crime within 72 hours, but you have to get him a lawyer, and help him prepare for trial.
Under existing law, the boys from ICE can raid a local farm or restaurant, round up the undocumented workers, and take them in a timely manner to be deported by any reasonable means to the country of their origin, and under international law, those countries have to permit America to return them. So every day they load up the buses with workers who got caught and haul them down to the border and turn them loose.
You have to admit it's a whole lot easier and cheaper than booking them, building a case, trying them, and then imprisoning them. That can run into millions of dollars per alien. But it is what is required by the Constitution of any state that arrests someone for committing a crime.
And that's why being an illegal alien isn't a crime, and why it's incredibly stupid to try and criminalize them.
Let's take another look at that idiotic law they passed in Alabama: “Under section 30 of the new law, HB56, anyone who lacks proper immigration papers is deemed to be committing a crime if they try to enter into a 'business transaction' with the 'state or a political subdivision of the state.”
Oh, snap! They are deemed to be committing a crime if they try to get water turned on at their rental!
Even in a third-world shithole like Alabama, they have enough vestiges of a legal system that they are going to have to go through the whole rigamarole of booking, charging, trying and imprisoning someone for the crime to trying to get their water turned on without fraudulent intent.
Oh, that's going to be expensive. But no problem. I'm sure Alabama can afford a few thousand more trials and prisoners. After all, getting the water turned on is a grave social problem. It could lead to such things as hydration, or sanitation, which may well be illegal in rural parts of the state.
Oh, and if they do charge an undocumented alien with such a crime, they're pretty much stuck with him. Most countries have the right to forbid other countries from dumping their criminals—even when those criminals who are natives of the nation of return—upon them. Mexico can tell the US: they're your criminals, you deal with them. Until they have completed their punishment, we won't take them.
Things are pretty tough in Mexico these days with the drug-based civil war and all. Mexico won't mind saving some money. And they can tell their own people they are keeping undesirables from America out. A bit ironic, that.
In the meantime, how is the war on aliens going here? Well, a lot of farmers and ranchers are unhappy because the draconian new laws chased off most undocumented workers, along with the economy. I read of one farmer in Colorado who was offering $10.25 an hour to pick his beans, and could only attract a work force that was 40% the normal size, and that most of those people—native born, for the most part—quit after the first day. It seems that even when reasonable pay is offered, the jobs are just too shitty for people who aren't living under legal coercion to take. From all areas where there is an “illegal alien problem” we're hearing the same thing: farmers and ranchers can't get workers, and the crops are rotting in the field.
But by gawd, the people who aren't picking those crops can at least speak goddam ENGLISH, right?
It's estimated that over three million Mexicans have left America since the economy bombed in 2007, and yet the unemployment rate is at 9.1%. Obviously the impact they had on the ability of Americans to get jobs has been dramatically overstated. Given how utterly horrible things are in Mexico right now, that says something about how pleasant America has been for those people.
And fascist assholes in places like Arizona and Alabama just want to make it worse, right down to denying things even the Nazis would give their prisoners.
Incidentally, in one of its sleaziest and most dishonest moves to date, the Obama administration has moved to shut down legal marijuana dispensaries in the next 45 days. They are invoking a federal law that forbids organizations trafficking in illegal drugs from claiming any tax deductions. Just like in the days of Prohibition, only even stupider. Obama supported medical marijuana laws during the campaign, and now he's just another brainless drug warrior.
Sure, Big Pharma doubtlessly pressured him into selling out. But you can bet, in these days of SuperPACs, that he's getting a lot of money from the drug cartels in Mexico who WANT marijuana illegal because it's so much more profitable that way.
These are the same people who are, on a daily basis, leaving 30 to 40 corpses littering the Mexican streets and who defy the government and the law with impunity.
And by shutting down the legal marijuana industry, Obama has taken a big step toward importing the savage civil wars that afflict Mexico.
But have no fear. The minute they try to turn their water on, Alabama's gonna arrest them!
Posted: October 14, 2011