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April 28, 2016

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Do you all think Kuntsler understands that he is pushing for ethnic cleansing?

I have a colleague, an American citizen, whose spouse was deported and can't return to the US for a decade. If immigration quotas were reduced, there'd be a chance my colleague's spouse could never return--rules about getting in line and all that. In that case, family reunification could only occur then if my colleague leaves the US. And that is how you gently purge ethnic groups from our national community.

These "sob stories" on the left get to the root of some very ancient inequities in citizenship within the US. Black communities have always been vulnerable to state-sanctioned violence. Mexican-American communities have always lived between two states--irrespective of one's citizenship. Indigenous communities never have received the full support of the state. The social movements arising among these communities aren't just going to go away--and considering they are providing the fuel for the energy of the left you can see why presidential front-runners have had to recenter some of their arguments.

Civic citizenship is the basis of center-left politics. What Kuntsler suggests would destroy the civic aspect of citizenship and replace it with a nationality-based citizenship which just so happens to exclude ethnic communities from its protection--unless they join in the ethnic cleansing. Good luck with that proposition.

senior/youth; rural/urban; it all comes down to white/non-white. The "sob stories" to some are existential crises to others. The nativist policies proposed by Kuntsler would ensure a right-wing stranglehold on the electorate--the left must see these crises as such if we are to have a political movement of consequence. Otherwise prepare for Trump and his police state.

I mean, do walls work without armed guards?

Are those non-citizens working on H1B visas working for wages lower than those whom they will replace? I assume so. That's the nub of it : the demand for increasing profits is what's driving it- not "give me your huddled masses yearning to be free." Immigration is a complicated topic, and this is only one aspect of it, but many working class American sense that they are squeezed between NAFTA et al, on one side and H1B-like type of immigration policy on the other. I'm guessing that H1B et al had "broad bipartisan support" in Congress and the White House.

If you listened to his beyond frightening speech in Costa Mesa on Thursday evening, I just don't see how you can ever take this guy seriously as president. Yes, I do take seriously all his followers, but Trump is an empty suit, a megalomaniac and suffers from extreme narcissistic personality disorder. The foreign policy speech the other day? Puh-leeze. He didn't write it, obviously, and he doesn't believe it. That is the problem, he has no core beliefs in my view. Only pandering to whatever crowd he is in front of. I found myself sitting here last night muttering over and over, "He is insane."

I find myself sitting here muttering over and over, "Bill and Hillary must be two of the most corrupt individuals on the face of the earth." Her election as President would mean hundreds of billions in bribes sent to their personal checking account, oops, I meant the CLINTON "FOUNDATION".

I give you the gifts of two dysfunctional, corrupt political parties: Trump and Clinton. You're welcome America.

"Bill and Hillary must be two of the most corrupt individuals on the face of the earth."

Words from someone who has lived a limited and sheltered life?
No, probably just a Republican troll.

Trump's campaign style is to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Some things will, but the rest won't, leaving an awful mess. I don't think Americans will go for that. From my view, given his deplorable numbers with women, Hillary might threaten LBJ's record percentage (although if that were the case, that means Trump still would get in the neighborhood of 40%, a troubling thought). I also look at the trend lines and will repost something I wrote before: If Trump carries every state Romney won, PLUS the next three Obama won by 3 points or less (Florida, Ohio and Colorado), he'll still lose the Electoral College vote. He might do deals, but I don't know how he beats that math.

The headline on this piece, "Stop Making Sense," perfectly encapsulates the nonsense Trump spouts: http://thinkprogress.org/world/2016/04/28/3773692/46-seconds-everyone-should-watch-before-handing-donald-trump-the-nuclear-codes/
I can't imagine this guy running the nation's foreign policy.

I couldn't agree more with Kunstler's sentiments. I have been thinking a lot about immigration for a while now. There are no presidential candidates, Trump included, that have a serious position on this. IMHO, we need to strictly control illegal immigration (at the border and on visas); end birthright citizenship (only those born to green card holders would be citizens.  Others would get citizenship if their parents did); and significantly decrease legal immigration.  Since 1965 we have been bringing in a wave of immigrants that drawfves the previous eras of high immigration.  Unlike the previous eras, this one has been mostly immigrants from Mexico, Central America (obviously a good amount of those undocumented) and non western countries and based on family unification (not the skills or value of the applicant to the U.S. economy). 


Immigration is an underrated issue, because it effects so many areas that aren't always thought of. It has economic, political, criminal justice and national security ramifications, among others. It does effect the culture and the character of the country, but the people never get a direct say on the subject. Sure, we elect politicians, but the subject is usually under the radar and when it is addressed, it is generally only the topic of border security.  Politicians like to talk tough on that, but when they get elected not much changes. Political inertia is huge because  Republicans are beholden to business interests that like the cheap labor of illegal and/or poor immigrants  (also the indentured labor from H1B visas), while Democrats love the addition of more citizens who tend largely to vote Democratic.  Were it possible, the citizens are never asked to vote on a referendum asking them if they approve of importing millions upon millions of poor people from third world countries, many of whom will be dependent on government support to varying degrees; allowing any child born to an illegal immigrant or a legal "tourist" who decides she needs to see the U.S.A. in her 8th or 9th month of pregnancy to automatically become a citizen (and thus becoming a means for the rest of his extended family to eventually immigrate under family unification); and to allow our existing immigration laws to be frequently and routinely uninforced.  I would bet such a referendum would be voted down spectacularly, across party lines.


After previous eras of heavy immigration, we have had purposeful periods of light immigration to give the immigrant population and their offspring time to assimilate and thus maintain the essential character of the country. I fear such a pause is impossible today, not only due to the entrenched political interests mentioned above, but also because so much of the western world has become beholden to multiculturalism.  In today's climate, the mere assertion that we have a national character that is unique, special and worth being cautious about doing anything that could irreversibly change it would be assailed as nativist, xenophobic, or if those don't work, racist.  I would say that our history of strong assimilation of our immigrants, while being free to maintain a heritage to the culture of one's family, is a part of our national character. The large, ever increasing numbers of immigrants and pressure against assimilation by multiculturalism threatens that tradition. 


I don't think that the average voter is that aware of all the facets of the immigration issue, but to whatever extent they are, they know that politicians of all types, based on their actions, just don't really care unless it is to increase it.  The American people are generous and most are only a few generations removed from immigrants, but they can recognize public policy that is not in the interests of the country in general.  Trump was very smart to tap into some of that discontent. As RC said, it would not be smart for Democrats to underestimate that.

Thank you, Jon, for proving my point about ethnic cleansing. Immigration restriction is more odious than being merely "racist" it's the cries of a white minority unable to maintain white supremacy after being sold out to free-trade capitalists by ur national leadership. Without multiculturalism, the United States would lose out of Trillions in foreign investment. Do you think we'd have so many rich foreigners investing capital in our national infrastructure (especially education) without it?

Without multiculturalism, is there a plan to ensure peaceful racial integration?

If we end birthright citizenship, then who is an American?

PS-Did you know that there were no immigration quotas between the US and most other states in the Western Hemisphere prior to 1965? Would you support a return to that sort of system? How would we maintain the labor flexibility necessary to meet the demand for low-wage labor which underpins our economy?

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/08/mexican_illegals_how_the_hart_celler_act_and_its_conservative_supporters.html

PPS-I think you're right, that immigration restriction could pass a popular mandate, but I think a properly framed immigration expansion bill also could. It's all about framing. We'll see who comes out to vote.

I like this post, because it is looking unflinchingly at the facts on the ground.

Trump is an idiot, but there is a reason why the idiot is making hay.

First of all, it is possible to be an idiot and still be right twice a day, to butcher a metaphor. His talk about foreign policy is just as sophomoric as might be found in a junior-high class president or a Miss America contestant, but he’s dreaming in the right direction, by my lefty lights. Of course his domestic policy pronouncements are a horror (as indicated by the thread above, with posts adamant about reminding we all of that. It’s OK - we know.)

I don’t think that he can beat the better half of one of the “two most corrupt individuals on the face of the earth [sic].” (I hate to say it, but a case could be made. “Triangulation” was a transformative power move. And it changed the face and platform of the Democratic Party such that it looks like it has no clear or muddled path to return to its watery left again. People must be blamed.)

No, I think The Donald comes with a built-in protest vote. Many Republicans, along with other Hillary haters, will vote the Democratic ticket just out of sheer terror. ;)

What happens down-ticket, that’s the thing. The GOP has done a lot of damage to itself not only during the primaries, but with its intransigence in the congresses, as well. So, I think the Democratic Party really burnishes itself vs. the GOP this year.

Against the GOP. There will be serious talk after this election season about whither goest either party, and there will a lot of young ears attentive to this question.

You are welcome for proving your point. Thank you for proving my point that discussions about major change in our approach to immigration can't happen without status quo boosters throwing out derogatory terms like ethnic cleansing, conjuring up images of Bosnia or Rwanda bloodsheds. How about giving credit that those with a different viewpoint could be well meaning, albeit misguided, patriots rather than white supremacists. Again implying scary images. Assassin indeed!

When I refer to the negatives of multiculturalism, I am thinking of the idea that differences of language, religion, custom and attachment don't matter.  That immigrants need to be treated with kid gloves and not be expected to assimilate, even though they have chosen to leave their native land and make a new life in America, presumably because they think it is a good place.  If we don't believe that our country is special and indeed better than others, why would we expect others to think that and want to come here? Immigrants need to be encouraged to be part of American life, not just isolated pockets of hyphenated Americans. That's treating them with respect. 

Europe lacks the strong tradition we have of immigrant assimilation.  Their approach has encorporated some of the worst of multiculturalism and we are starting to see the price they are paying. Their results have been more racial segregation than integration. Admittedly, they are dealing with some of the most difficult to integrate people groups in the world.

I am not too worried about foreign investors. They do business here because it benefits them. If they are so offended that we would assert our national sovereignty within the borders of our country that they no longer can bring themselves to make money here, then they are more than welcome to take their money home and leave the opportunities to less scupulous investors. 

The simplest approach to birth citizenship is that the status of the child matches that of the parents. When one or both parents become citizens, the children would as well. Personally I would be alright with a child born to any permanent resident being a citizen, and I think it would be in keeping with the 14th amendment. Our current birth law is accidental and just nuts.

I would be in favor of a rational, intentional immigration policy that serves the needs of American citizens and the economy.  I would be fine with a guest worker program, whether that looked like a pre Hart - Cellar model or whatever, as long as it is what's truly needed.  My impression, as a non-expert, is that between our native born poor and existing immigrants legal and otherwise, we have enough cheap labor to last quite a while. I'm not scared of "amnesty", I just want an immigration model that is made to benefit the citizens and the long term health of the country.  The current model serves everything but those, I think.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPMXLl-s1Z0

This video is from five years ago. The deportations have continued. Those children will no longer attend school in Arizona. The local labor forced will be cleansed of people who are attached to undocumented immigrants. This is ethnic cleansing.

The argument that ethnic cleansing always looks like Bosnia or Rwanda is a fallacy. There are less overtly violent ways to conduct a campaign to rid a community of ethnic undesireables. Many American patriots are white supremacists. It just is what it is.

But I understand your point about these patriots potentially well-meaning but misguided. Many Americans aren't afforded the privilege of being "misguided."

Also, your point on multiculturalism--it's as if you're arguing there is ONE American culture. Haven't there always been differences in language, religion, culture, and attachment? Or are we identifying particular things which are too far out of bounds even for the heterogeneous society we've inherited? Are Mormons and Presbyterians part of the same religious culture? Do residents of Portland and Mobile share customs? What culture would an immigrant be expected to assimilate to? I don't have an answer to that because I don't know what is hegemonic about American culture--outside of what corporations sell.

This is why multiculturalism won't go anywhere--its good business. It keeps people invested in the market--at least those interested in participating. But don't transgender people want to use public facilities too? Or other minority groups? It is malproductive to create space which subaltern groups can't use. It reduces the talent in the labor pool by driving skilled, culturally atypical people away.

These policies are forms of social cleaning. There will always be people willing to come here and invest; but it's in our national interest to have a broad array of potential investors so we're not stuck in exploitative relationships with our narrow band of suitors. Is that not a side effect of "less scrupulous investors?"

The current model does not do a good job of serving American citizens, but neither do restrictionist arguments. It's similar to the way that Trump "makes sense," unless you're a woman/person of color/undocumented immigrant. Yeah, woo-hoo, let's put American First, but his entire logic is underpinned by reasserting the dominance of our white patriarchy. It may not be pleasurable to be reminded that for many Americans, racial patriarchy does NOT make sense, but we must be clear on what type of America Trump is referring to before we can conclude if his policies benefit "American citizens." Same thing with immigration.

Assassin, you can define ethnic cleansing any way you want, but I still say using it is inflammatory. It seems your issue should be with the law, rather than with the actions of the government. You can hardly blame the government for occasionally enforcing its laws. The 1965 Hart-Cellar law (and 1990 amendments) that has hugely increased the number of legal immigrants and percentage and variety of ethnic minorities is the same one that criminalized Mexicans and others entering the country unofficially. I don’t think you can plausibly say that law is trying to rid the country of ethnic minorities, nor can you plausibly say that the government deporting a tiny percentage of those here illegally is a plot to drain the country of minorities. If so, it would be a very ineffective plot akin to planning to drain Lake Michigan with a thimble. Anecdotes of families affected by deportation are sad. It is common knowledge that entering or staying in the U.S. without government approval is illegal. Anyone doing that or tying their life to someone who does knows there is always a risk. The fact that the risk is small is testified to by the huge number of people doing it. If people want to prevent the hardship of deportation, they should work to change the law rather than complain about the enforcement of it.

I was being sarcastic when I said that about foreigner investors leaving the U.S for less scrupulous investors. I think anyone objecting to our laws would probably be hypocritical since most foreign investors are from countries with much more strict and less generous immigration policy than ours.

You are right that it is possible for patriots to be white supremacists. I guess it depends on how you define those terms. I don't think that being concerned about immigration policy and the long term effects of that policy on the country necessarily makes one a white supremacist. It would surprising to African-americans and Hispanics who have concerns about unlimited immigration to learn that they are white supremacists.

I am impressed that you can't think of anything that makes American culture unique. I can think of lots. My problem is picking only a few to use as an example. Start with politics. We have never had royalty or a ruling class that politicians must come from. Americans cherish the idea that anybody could become president. We've had many presidents from humble roots, including the current one. I think Obama's inspirational story is partly what got him elected. Americans love a humble origin story. Perhaps the most beloved historical president is Lincoln: grew up in a log cabin, studied late at night by candlelight, defied the odds to get elected president then saved the country. Do many other countries have an historical leader like that? Unique history like that is deep in the American character and those who grew up learning about our history in school (or for a citizenship exam) know that it is unique and sets our country apart. Being one of the few countries that was founded as a republican democracy, voting runs deep in the American culture. We vote in our families, our workplaces, our schools, our churches, our TV shows, our jury based justice system and, of course, for every level of our government. What other country would have a really big controversy over whether people should be required to show photo ID to vote? It's because voting is considered such an essential right that it is disturbing to many that we would do anything that could impede someone from exercising it

Americans are really idealistic about our politics and cherish the fact that our system is RELATIVELY honest and above board. I stress relatively because I know there is, and always has been, plenty of corruption in politics, but compared to the second and third world countries that most immigrants come from, there is just no comparison. We can do business with various agencies and levels of our government without planning to pay a bribe or having to know someone to get anything done. When politicians or public servants are caught with their hand in the till or gaming the system for personal enrichment, it is a big deal and considered a scandalous departure from the norm and standards of our culture. Americans value the rule of law and even though we know there will be failings, we still expect our leaders to be subject to it.

You mentioned religion, which is another area of unique American culture. Americans have always been a strongly religious people and ours is still probably the most religious country in the western world. Because of this (rather than despite it), an important value of our country is religious tolerance. The country was founded with no official state church, which was very unique at the time. Also unique was religious freedom being enshrined in the constitution, in the very first amendment. That amendment codified a value that was already present in the nation, that people should be free to practice their religion as they saw fit, not as the federal government saw fit. The culture of the country developed that individuals were generally comfortable letting their fellow citizens practice their own religion, whatever that may be, or to change their religion if they want to. In the 18th and 19th centuries, that was usually other Christian denominations and Judaism, but in more modern times, that value has extended to other faiths and non-religion (occasional unfortunate exceptions are there, of course). Again, this is not a value found in much of the world. Even in the west, nowhere is the tradition older or deeper than here. In fact the value is being put to the test here today in the opposite way: will non religious people be tolerant of religious people practicing their faith? Many immigrants are religious themselves, so they are a natural fit for our religiously observant country. Religious tolerance is an essential part of American culture and is a value I would hope all new immigrants adopt. This is especially important for immigrants that come from countries that persecute religious minorities.

Respect for women is an important part of American culture. We have come a long way from our patriarchal past. Many immigrants come from countries that are still very patriarchal, so adopting American values in that area would be very desirable. Another factor is that some countries that immigrants come from have a rape culture embedded in them at varying levels. Obviously that is something we don't want brought into our culture.

I could go on, but this is getting way too long already. I believe there is a distinct American culture and it is something to cherish and protect. Of course, within it, there have always been variations in language, religion, culture, etc. There is nothing wrong with that. Being simultaneously proud to be an American and proud of one's heritage is also an American tradition. The danger of multiculturalism is that it can say those differences don't matter and that adopting the language and values of American culture is not important, the result being that we say it's ok if we are just a collection of isolated ethnic communities with no connection to shared American values. We want our immigrants to become American Exceptionalists! America is an exceptional country. Belief in that is a part of American culture and we give that up at our peril.

Finally, a voice of reason. Thank you, Jon, for your commentary.

Our exceptional country was built in large part on stolen land with slave labor.

Yay US!

If only the Boers had had our exceptional drive, they would have taken over all of Africa...lazy punks.

Whether it comes via slavery, sneaking across the border, or H1B visa, exceptional American businessmen will always try to find the cheapest possible labor.

Always.

The distinct American culture is that it is not easiky defined. What distinguishes Americans from others is that we are not all the same and regionalism is much more prevalent than an actual national identity. I can easily tell the difference between an actual Californian/Arizonan and a transplant from the Midwest or Northeast: old, white Midwesterners wearing socks with flipflops and hiking Camelback without water in mid-July are just a couple.

Everything that Jon listed regarding American exceptionalism can be used to describe many great nations. That doesn't make us unique or exceptional. However, we should use those underpinnings of natural human rights to get our nation closer to the top again. Let's start by choosing some official U.S. languages: Native American tongues, Spanish, French, English, and a plethora of Asian and Pacific Islander languages can be a start.

I have hesitated to post on this item as I found about 50 percent beyond my comprehension. The other 50 percent came somewhat into focus after I looked up a number of words. Maybe or maybe not unique is the continuing assault on people of the planet. For the last 700 years or so, North and South America have been subjected to murderous assaults by the greedy and the religious. Since 1950 the US has been on a murderous mission to bring the “right” kind of government to the planet. So we have a white guy that wants to make America great again (build that dang wall and has the vote of white cults) and a white woman that wants to move America a little more to the left but keep America great with help from the neo-cons and the bankers of the world.

And may his god forbid him from being president, that crazy evangelistic theocratic, Ted Cruz.

Yep, America sure is exceptional

Unusual but I sorta agree with Dudas Terry about Jon 7190. The fire fighter wrote a good post.

Jon, U sell the Caprice?

Thanks Cal. I did sell my Caprice. Are you on another forum I'm on?

Nope I just Googled U since U R the fire fighter. As a kid I knew a lot of guys that went on the Phoenix Fire department. In 54 I was Alan Brunicini's (Famous Fire Chief) parents paperboy. As a cop and president of the police Union I had a lot of interaction with fire union folks. They usually ended up with better deals.
Looks like you got a lot going based on what I saw on google. Keep Scribbling as U do it well. Maybe the Joe Wambaugh of fire fighters?

That would be great! Wambaugh did write one book on firefighting, from a crime slant of course: the nonfiction one about an arson inspector who turned out to be the most prolific serial arsonist in SoCal history.

Good to see a retired cop on here!

We have to be intellectually rigorous if we are to stay competitive. So here are a couple of additional points to encourage additional rigor:

Some of the original American colonies had state religions up until the 1830s--separation of Church and State is explicit at the Federal level:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_religion#Former_state_churches_in_British_North_America

As important as voting is, our participation rates fall below most advanced countries; and unlike places like Brazil, there is no compulsory voting (if that's your style)

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/06/u-s-voter-turnout-trails-most-developed-countries/

We all have a right to believe what we want. But this is the problem when we talk about "American" culture or "American" exceptionalism. These are personal beliefs. Perhaps they were taught in school decades ago, but the best research you can find out there either disproves exceptionalism or advances it with a HUUUUUGE grain of salt.

I'd argue that, in practice, the US is "a collection of isolated ethnic communities." We just happen to share public resources. This gets back to my question about citizenship. The heightened use of state violence against vulnerable citizens (primarily of color) demonstrates the political supremacy of some groups over others. Laws have never had equitable enforcement--look at stop n frisk. Look at SB 1070. I bet Jan Brewer still can't answer what an illegal alien looks like. But we all know they don't look Canadian. Our policies intentionally target communities of color.

http://www.independent.com/news/2015/jan/24/mass-deportation-targets-black-and-latino-men/

http://www.theusimmigrationlawyer.com/2015/10/21/racial-disparities-at-dui-checkpoints-suggests-collusion-between-chicago-police-and-ice/

So, I stand by what I said about white supremacy and ethnic cleansing. Does anyone really think that racial minorities would petition the government to provide this level of service? The only reason it can continue is because of the political marginalization of non-white communities. Rubio is no saint, but there is a reason he lost SC despite an endorsement from a sitting governor and senator.

The most exceptional thing about Americans is that we refuse to acknowledge our shared reality because it would upset the dominant ethnic group. So, if rigor is inflammatory, may it clearly illuminate our discussion.

Economic, Social or Ethnic Cleansing in the AMERICAS started a long time ago and continues today but in mostly very subtle ways and from behind the scenes pushed along by the wealthy "ruling class." (MY OPINION)
This cleansing is not just against people of color but also against people with little financial support. Even today in little Arizona the effort is to take what belongs to others for mining exploitation and some day you will pay a private property owner of the Grand Canyon to go look in the hole.

http://www.nativeweb.org/pages/legal/hall_essay.html

The "...nostalgia for the Ellis Island romance..." that Kunstler references overlooks the fact that, in those days, a "melting pot" tradition existed--at least in theory--that, regardless of background, we would all assimilate into "Americans"--presumably bringing the highlights of each of our cultures to the national "table."

To be sure, this romantic concept was often observed in the breach; each new wave of immigrants was greeted with hostility, suspicion, and racism, and segregated neighborhoods--by choice, imposition, or both--developed.

To the degree, however, that the Left has encouraged the "hyphenated-American" concept, insisted on celebrating our differences rather than those things we have in common, and conflated those with the time-honored tradition of taking every dispute to the streets and/or the courtroom, it has no one but itself to blame for the current xenophobia.

Mind you, building "the wall" and banning all Muslims are ideas that are as unworkable as they are repugnant. Also repugnant, however, is the shameless pandering to each and every minority cohort or concept--including those groups who have made it clear they would sooner see us dead--or at least our Western culture destroyed--than consider any degree of assimilation.

Economic cleansing, try this:
Age of Betrayal: The The Triumph of Money in America:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/18/arts/18iht-bookven.1.5334856.html?_r=0

Three days after my comment, above, I am less sanguine about Democratic victory. A lot of the "Berners" seem to be digging in their heels, and this is not helpful.

I hope Sanders comes around to redirecting his ragtag (but very large) army to encouraging progressive local candidates along with getting the Dem in in the presidential general, or this could get ugly real fast.

If this goes bad, I will express my optimism in that tired old way, that I guess things have to get worse before they get better.

I hate that.

Intellectual Assassin, I have enjoyed our exchange. It has been rigorous! I don’t plan to make any more posts on this thread, but please feel free to rebut any of my comments.

Thanks for the articles linked. I was aware of some states having an official religion, that’s why I specified the federal government in my comments. That is a strange quirk of state law, but it died off fairly quickly as state politics caught up with the general values of the community.

Two of the articles left me scratching my head. They seem to be written from deep inside what RC eloquently calls the Echo Chamber, specifically the Racial Conspiracy Theory Echo Chamber. Deportations target Latinos! Shocking! I have never heard black men are being heavily deported. Is that a real thing? The article didn’t explain anything about who these men are and why they are being deported. As far as men being deported more than women, I would want to know what percentage of undocumented immigrants are male. How many of those deportations are through arrests for other crimes? Surely men would be more likely to be involved in criminal activity.

If you are here illegally and get arrested for DUI, how in the world is that not a good thing? You are already disrespecting our immigration laws, but I can live it since you are using the situation as it is for the betterment of yourself and your family. But then you put other people in danger with reckless and thoughtless behavior? You should be first in line to be deported (Well, maybe third, behind drug cartel members and sex traffickers). Not only did you break our laws and endanger our citizens, but you let your own people down by being a living, breathing stereotype! You deserve all the disproportionate penalties you get.

The Pew voter turnout article was very interesting and informative. Two points there relate to distinct American qualities, one good, the other not so good. The first is that unlike most OECD countries, we require people to actively register to vote. The value that reflects is that traditionally we place a high priority on personal responsibility. I agree with it, if you want to take the serious step of shaping your country and community through voting, you should be willing put the effort into registering. What we can’t legislate is that people should also put the effort into being informed and educated about the issues (certainly not a problem for anybody who reads websites like this!). The second point is that we have a large portion of the populace that is apathetic about politics and uninvolved in civic life. I think a lot of Americans take the greatness of our country for granted and think it will just continue as it always has, automatically, with no danger of their lives or their children’s future being effected by bad public policy. Undoubtedly many people also avoid the voting booth because politics has gotten so dysfunctional in the last couple of decades.

People tend to focus on our county’s flaws and lose sight of the big picture. All individuals in the world are equal in the eyes of God (the idea this nation was founded on, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence). All countries, people groups and cultures have worth and many fine qualities. All that being said, it is undeniable that the United States is objectively superior to any country that is less free and prosperous. That would be all second and third world counties. Things are more subjective when talking about first world, developed nations, but it would be hard to argue that any country existing today has had more accomplishments or influence than we have. We are a beacon of personal and political freedom, economic stability and material success, the first choice among people the world over who want to leave their countries and start a new life. That is exceptional and it did not happen by accident. We are fortunate to have a large amount of land, rich in natural resources, but our success wouldn’t have happened without the qualities of our national character.

How many immigrants can a country take in in a given amount of time before it begins to change the content of that country’s national character and quality of life? Do what countries they come from and the skills they bring effect whether those changes will be positive or negative? These are the questions we are not allowed to ask. No national politician will ask them, but there are many, many citizens asking them. Trump has sort of alluded to them, in his awkward and inarticulate way. For that, among other reasons, he has won enough votes to probably get the nomination and angered enough people to probably lose the general election.

DUI laws should be abolished. They are driving a prison-industrial complex which is destroying the future of many Americans. They are not a good indicator of whom is a virtuous citizen and whom is not--they're merely prohibitionist:

http://reason.com/archives/2010/10/11/abolish-drunk-driving-laws

But moreover, if American Exceptionalism is a thing, the argument that it will be "civic apathy" which undermines it is also unsettling. In Maricopa County, we JUST underwent a bout of voter suppression-is apathy really the root issue? Why would the state make it more difficult for people to vote? Why would we expect working people to be engaged as the state makes it more difficult to participate in electoral politics? Why would we blame individuals for the perverse incentives of a collective system? How is that rigorous?

And this is the problem with the exceptionalism argument--is the conclusion that "the American people" are no longer exceptional? What about the social changes which have limited our ability to be "exceptional" as we were in the past? If we ever were as exceptional as we imagine?

This argument encourages us to find external (or internal) enemies who have undermined our national exceptionalism, and lets off bankers, politicians, business entities, and other stakeholders whom have actively undermined the democratic process of governance in America.

Which is the greater fantasy? Removing people who have "broken laws" from our midst or an inclusive democratic process? Better question: which one is more exceptional?

The USA is exceptional in its consumerism and greed and the desire to conquer the planet. Why wouldn't someone riding a old dilapidated bicycle not want to move to the US and own a 600 horse power car.
Voter ID is not inherently bad, particularly for people born after 1980 but the obvious manner in which it has been abused by the GOP. I was born on a farm, no doctor, no birth certificate.

Clear as a bell or making sense?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-north-patterson/closing-polls-and-slammin_b_9273844.html

Stop making sense.

Governor Jan Brewer considers herself a viable candidate for Vice President of the United States.

There. I stopped making sense.

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