Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Acceptance of Central American  (Guatemala, Honduras, and E. Salvador) child immigrants for processing owes to:
U.S. law allows Mexican minors to be sent back promptly, although there are some steps those children can take to try to remain in the United States. A 2008 victims trafficking law [William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 that passed both houses unanimously.] requires that children from countries not bordering the United States, including those in Central America, be given added legal protections before they are deported. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/10/us-usa-immigration-idUSKBN0FF27Y20140710)

Many now are eager to ditch the 2008 law, and make it more like how we treat Mexican children.  Interestingly, conservative columnist George Will thinks we should keep them:
"My view is that we have to say to these children, 'Welcome to America. You're going to go to school and get a job and become Americans,'" Will said. “The idea that we can't assimilate these 8-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous." (https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/1477de74f088e21e)

Cuban immigrants (estimated to be around 825,000 over the years), for example, have a special status as since 1995 there is no such thing as an illegal Cuban immigrant:
Cuban immigrants history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_American

Unlike most Hispanics, Cuban immigrants tend to be Republican since the failed Bay Of Pigs invasion when many Cuban immigrants blamed a lack of air cover for failure of the invasion on John Kennedy. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_American)

When was the largest wave of immigrants from Cuba to the United States?
1959 – 1960 – 250,000 Cuban immigrants arrived
1965-1973 – 300,000 Cuban immigrants arrived
1980 – 125,000 Cuban immigrants arrived
Present Immigration continues at a high rate
(http://www.energyofanation.org/Waves_of_Cuban_Immigrants_6_29_06_3_51_PM.html; http://www.pewhispanic.org/2013/06/19/hispanics-of-cuban-origin-in-the-united-states-2011/ )

Since a 1995 amendment to the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, there has been a "wet foot, dry foot" policy on Cuban immigration.  If caught at sea they are returned to Cuba, if they can step on U.S. soil they are legal immigrants.  It seems, however, if an immigrant is caught at sea can convince the agents they are refugees, they may be allowed in.

Although it is a rather old account, a very interesting documented study is: http://latinamericanstudies.org/exile/cubans.pdf

Monday, July 28, 2014


One hears of dreams that if only we had supported the mob in Syria in the beginning, Assad (a bad dictator to be sure) would have been overthrown and all would be beautiful.

Well, we did provide air cover to the mob in Libya that overthrew Gaddafi and look how things are today - a real mess.  In this case we had most everyone in our favor, the Brits, the Arab league, etc.  Now it looks like rival groups are at war with each other, and we have abandoned our embassy there.  Not quite what we hoped for although Libyans seem to have a high regard for the U.S. (54% in a 2012 Gallop poll).*

We did give at least moral support to the mob that overthrew Mubarak (a U.S. supporter by the way).  Is Egypt now much better off than with Mubarak?  You be the judge.  It may be that Egypt will eventually move toward a real democracy, but there sure are "slips twixt cup and lip."

I'm reminded that, in the Desert Storm war against Saddam Hussein to push him out of Kuwait at the request of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, President G.H.W. Bush did not press the battle to overthrow Saddam because you don't know who will take over.  It could be someone even worse.  True we did sort of think that the generals would push him out.  But the religious and ethnic complexity of Iraq may defy solution without a ruthless dictator.  I guess I belong to a growing number of people who feel we should let Iraq split into their more natural constituencies.  But if we should allow this, I suspect that the Sunni's and Kurds would push ISIL out of their areas.  Whether the Shia could do the same for their area would remains to be seen.

And is Mali much better which has been hit by the rebound of the Arab Spring?**  Only Tunisia where the Arab Spring started seems to have some sort of order.***

* I find it a bit disturbing that Gaddafi promised to give up weapons of mass destruction if we stopped working to overthrow him.  He gave up weapons of mass destruction, but we helped overthrow him anyway: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring
** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring
*** http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arezo-yazd/turning-the-tide-three-ye_b_4610148.html

Friday, July 25, 2014


The resumes of the two candidates for President of Afghanistan are certainly impressive: Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah.  Now I have heard both candidates speak on the Charlie Rose Show.  I still remain impressive.  Both say they will sign the agreement on troops with the U.S.  both say they believe corruption in Afghanistan is a key issue.  Both say they will abide by the audit of the vote no matter who wins.  The "loser" will be the Prime Minister for two years, an advisory position but both say they abide by their agreement.  In the meantime they will make the system work.  They both will try to make some sort of accomodation with the "Religious right" (The Taliban) in their country.  Elsewhere I have read the religious right consititutes no more than 10 percent of the country.

So far so good, but breaking a system of corruption will not be easy and somehow absorbing the religious right will also be vary difficult.  But it looks like Afghanistan has two George Washingtons to run the country.  Unasked are questions about the "poppy trade," the main business of Afghanistan.  Ashraf Ghani does talk about the necessity of American aid in setting up business in the country.  This would seem to be an imperative.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


CNBC recently published a list of jobs compiled by CareerCast.Com that are disappearing and gave their median incomes.  It is the incomes I am interested in.*  Please note that while 50
% of those in these jobs earn something more than the stated amount, the other 50% earn something less.

1. Tax Examiner and Collector: $50,444
2. Printing Worker:                   $34,100
3.Drill-Press Operator:             $32,950
4. Flight Attendant:                   $37,240
5. Lumberjack:                         $24,340
6. Travel agent:                         $34,600
7. Newspaper Reporter:           $37,090
8. Meter Reader:                      $36,410
9. Farmer:                                $69,300
10 Mail Carrier:                        $53,100

Median Household Income:      $51,371**
(includes all in the household age 15 and above for 2012 whether they are related or not.)

Median Household Income:       $55,030**
(figures for households in 2000)

Here is a sampling of other low paid professions: ***
11. Drafters and Drafting:            $43.100
12. Surveyor:                              $48,300
13. Chef and Head Cook:            $34,400
14. Dish Washers:                       $15,800
15. Waiters and Waitresses:         $14,800
16. EMT and Paramedics:           $27,100
17. Cashiers:                               $16,800
18: Insurances sales:                    $43,900
19. Retail Sales managers:           $34,000
20: Excavating  and Loading:       $32,900

And I could list so many more.

Median household income has dropped by $ 3,729 since the year 2000.

Please note that of the 10 jobs listed only two (Farmer and Mail Carrier) have median income earn above the 2012 household income.  In all others more than 50% earn less than the median household income.  Yes Tax Examiner and Collector comes close, but still something more than 50% earn less than the median household income.

What is the importance of this?  In many jobs it will take at least two people in a household with earnings to get into the top 50% of household incomes.  You could put two people in a household who are lumberjack and still, 50% would earn less than the median household income!  Lumberjack is by far the most physical job in the list, probably followed by Farmer.


Of course, there are professions where the median salary is above the median household income, such as

1. Aerospace Engineers:           $87,600
2. Landscape Architects:          $64,100
3. Mechanical Engineer:            $69,800
4. Petroleum Engineers:            $98,400
5. Registered Nurses:               $60,400
6. Surgeons:                            $145,600
7. Managers (non-retail):          $65,500
8. Locomotive Engineers:         $58,000
9. Air Traffic controller:           $117,200
10.Chemists:                            $59,900

I suspect you may have overestimated what the "high paying professions" pay.

*   http://www.cnbc.com/id/101840906
** http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acsbr12-02.pdf
*** https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=112427639902898514#editor/target=post;postID=8876003753717930333;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=1;src=link

Sunday, July 20, 2014



Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Obama, the Deportation King and Deportation Commander and Chief, is accused of doing nothing about the children coming across the Mexican border into America.  Yet, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill that included 19,000 new border patrol officers and finishing the fence which the House never acted upon.  Now the administration has asked for $3.7 billion to address the problem.  It looks like he may get a third of that.  I heard this morning that a plane of mothers and children has been sent to Honduras.

Even the anti-Obama web site (http://lexingtonlibertarian.wordpress.com/tag/illegal-immigration/) says the following:
"It is true that a Bush-era law requires the border patrol to hand over child migrants from countries other than Mexico to the Department of Health and Human Services to be placed with a suitable relative. The administration is rightly calling for that law to be changed."
But congress has refused to act so far.

Perhaps Maria Cardona has said it best as quoted in CNN:( http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/09/politics/immigration-obama-distrust/)
"The issue of immigration is ripe with politics, especially in an election year. It motivates the Republican base, which is skeptical of reform and despises Obama.

But Democratic strategist Maria Cardona said Republicans are trying to have it both ways -- ask for a solution and criticize the President.

"They can't scream about the house being on fire and then cut off the water supply to put out that fire," she said.
" (bolding added)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Taxes are unpopular so governments tend to do things to increase revenues (actually for things people want but won't pay for), they have to appeal to shenanigans.  A popular one is to increase appraisal of property, sometimes far beyond the sale value of the property.  But some time ago, some governments started to approve of the sin of gambling (slot machines, low stakes poker, black jack, etc.) and boast how money they take in to help supposedly gambling free schools.  And there are, of course, contractors will to set up and operate this for you for a nice fee.

More recently, states have  been legalizing marijuana to be sold for a fee and the states doing this excitedly talk about how much money they are taking in from this sin.  At first it was for" medicinal" purposes.  Well, OK, I guess.  But inevitably it is now spreading to state approval, much to their glee.  My understanding is that the whole thing is illegal under Federal law, but no matter.

As a social libertarian, I am conflicted about these matters.  Gambling can certainly be addictive and people lose what money they have and become a problem to their families and even the state.  I doubt that putting smoke of any sort into your lungs is good for you.  I suppose a habit of a joint, maybe two, per day is probably not damaging much just like a shot of booze, or perhaps a second, a day isn't, but there will be many the don't stop there and will go for oblivion.  We know that many car accidents are caused by alcohol, and soon I expect we will see the same result for abuse of marijuana.  For some reason, we human beings seem to need to escape the reality of daily living.  But problems related to addictions are not just restricted to those addicted but automobile accidents, fights, medical expenses, emergency rooms, etc. are involved.  In some additions like smoking tobacco, the person at least remains functional though the exhaled smoke can be injurious to others, but addictions like alcohol and marijuana can incapacitate a person.

An excellent article by Michael Gerson on the pitfalls of the legalization of gambling and marijuana is at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-gerson-corrupting-citizens-for-fun-and-profit/2014/07/14/da321826-0b87-11e4-b8e5-d0de80767fc2_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions.  It is not often I agree with Michael Gerson, but this is one place I do.  The question is, how do you stop it?