Our "Sanctuary State" policies have let a multi-time convicted drug ring kingpin, Fentanyl dealer to walk out a free man because "we don't want to pay to detain him for the Feds", but we will pay $50+K/yr to jail him in RI… makes sense. https://t.co/sn40syoZzG
— Rep Mike Chippendale (@MikeWChip) November 13, 2017
Luis Vargas argues that free market and traditional principles should give the so-called DREAMers a place in a conservative immigration reform policy.
Serious Q: If a place has a policy of giving "free" benefits to everyone who meets some set of qualifications X.. 1/
— Andrew Morse (@CAndrewMorse) October 24, 2017
..and many people move to that place to be able to collect those benefits.. 2/
— Andrew Morse (@CAndrewMorse) October 24, 2017
..is bigotry the only explanation of why the people who pay for the "free" benefits might think there need to be limits.. 3/
— Andrew Morse (@CAndrewMorse) October 24, 2017
..on the number of people that can move to said place and begin immediately collecting the "free" benefits? 4/x
— Andrew Morse (@CAndrewMorse) October 24, 2017
Governor Raimondo gets to know who helped fund her DACA-fee-payment campaign, but her office says the public cannot.
Accepting luxuries for those who can afford them and freedoms for those who disagree.
Immigration, automation, and outsourcing are hitting the American worker, but Sam Bocetta suggests that some reforms and a sense of patriotism can improve conditions.
For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, last week, the topics were the likelihood of an evergreen veto override, whether the DCYF would haunt Gina, PawSox, DACA, and Rhode Works transparency.
A larger percentage than I’d like of recent posts, in this space, have to do with the actions of Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo, but the hits just keep on coming, as they say.
We can offer wry quips, as John Loughlin deftly did, about Raimondo’s initiative to pay the $495 filing fees of applicants for federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. Loughlin imagines the governor paying off the minimum corporate tax for small businesses in the state as an alternative. Put aside, though, the specific policy (and questions about why the governor wants to create more incentives for illegal immigrants to locate in Rhode Island) and look at the process.
Data point 1: As Kim Kalunian reports on WPRI, the governor announced this program with at least the trappings of her official office, holding a PR event in the State Room of the State House, at a government podium. Additionally, in a fundraising appeal (see below), Raimondo blends this initiative with various official programs of the State of Rhode Island as if they’re of the same nature.
Data point 2: The governor’s statement notes that “the Rhode Island Foundation is coordinating contributions and making grants to community agencies that have stepped up to do this work.”
Data point 3: A fundraising appeal for the initiative that the Providence Journal’s Kathy Gregg tweeted out was sent courtesy of the PAC, Friends of Gina Raimondo.
This blurring of public and private sector is absolutely inappropriate, but it’s a regular practice of Raimondo’s. Recall, for example, the overlapping interests of Wexford Science and Technology (of I-195 Redevelopment fame), Raimondo, the RI Foundation, and the Brookings Institute. Or consider her “hiring” of a chief innovation officer for her cabinet one step removed from government by being housed in the RI College Foundation.
It would be one thing if the governor were merely expressing support for some private-sector initiative, but instead, she’s acting through a shadow government serving unknowable interests and a far too obvious ideology.
All about directionless immigration policy and maybe a little bit about driverless cars.
I neglected to post my August 30th appearance on John DePetro’s WADK 1540 AM show, so this week, you get twice the audio.
On August 30, the topics were Elorza’s Dreamers, Pawsox, and District 13 follow up. On September 6, the topics were official silence on Ken Block’s voter fraud report, the start of the Senate’s PawSox road show, and local response to the DACA.
The mainstream news media isn’t providing Americans with information about DACA; they’re passing along propaganda, raising the question of how much they value journalism and, for that matter, democracy.
Broad and confusing language in Rhode Island’s new automatic voter registration law makes fraud and future corruption more likely.
Providence’s proposed citywide IDs give away the progressive game… to turn reality into a college campus.
A few days ago, I noted that Maine’s waiters and waitresses had actually organized to fight against a minimum wage increase. Now Jazz Shaw has spotted a story out of Maine that messes with another mainstream narrative. Apparently, when the number of available immigrants for low-end work hits a ceiling, employers will find ways to make the positions into jobs that Americans will do:
The article describes some of the “creative ways to attract local labor” and they include things such as offering flexible hours and even… (gasp) higher wages. If your business is booming all summer to the degree that you can’t hire enough workers to meet the demand, then in a normal capitalist system the demand for labor would drive up the cost. Higher wages attract more and better workers… it’s really that simple. And if that enhanced compensation package is attracting more employees locally, why are you relying on the H-2B program to begin with?
The economic questions with immigration are not simplistic. Fluid immigration is arguably a subsidy to employers; rigid immigration is arguably a subsidy to workers. (Although, of course, a sense of fairness does seem to make the former argument more natural than the latter.)
As we work through these policies, though, deceptive rhetoric is kind of like a subsidy to those who dominate the media. Ultimately, there’s no such thing as a “job Americans won’t do.” There are just jobs that Americans won’t do for the compensation that employers want to pay. Immigration policy, in this regard, should balance the needs of employers who can add to the economy if they have lower labor prices with an appropriate aversion to allowing global poverty to drive down salaries in the United States.
Part of the cynical wisdom, up here in the Northeast, is that the Catholic Church has to support pro-immigration policy because it needs immigrants to keep its parishes going. To the extent that this demographic pressure has any effect on what the Church actually does, a Catholic News Agency article about the Church’s growth in the South should suggest other policy positions that the Northern Church could promote:
The growth in part reflects the number of Catholics moving south from northern dioceses. Though this results in the closures of churches and schools in former Catholic strongholds, it is driving new expansion in the U.S. South.
I’ve half-joked that I’ve remained in Rhode Island out of missionary motivation, and only the jest part is political. A region that is driving families apart and separating people from their homes presents real moral challenges. In that regard, the Catholic Church — all churches — should acknowledge what the government plantation policies of Rhode Island are doing and impress upon believers their moral obligation to stay and to change things.
Working against poverty and injustice can’t be limited to standing up for those who are clearly oppressed, or else good works risk falling into vanity. Vanishingly few people in contemporary America question the righteousness of helping those who immediately need help, but if we’re serious about helping those whom we can’t so easily see, whether because their problems are not so obvious or because their problems haven’t yet manifested, we have to take a broader view.
That means a society that draws people toward fulfilling lives of familial stability and self-motivated work. And while the constituencies who see a Democrat vote as part of their cultural inheritance won’t like it, the policies on which we’re currently focused are clearly not serving that end. The moral corruption of the government plantation is that ignoring the structural justice that brings stability and prosperity, but that requires a resilient and sometimes unpopular maturity, produces ample opportunities to display visible righteousness on behalf of those whom our ignorance has harmed.
Will a deceptive budget season put Rhode Island over the edge?
Earlier today, Tara Granahan tweeted criticism of behavior by Democrat Senator Stephen Archambault (Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) during the June 15 hearing of the Senate Committee on Judiciary concerning drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. Here’s the moment in question:
Out-of-state guests with whom the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has interacted when they’ve come to our state to testify on legislation have commented about the terrible behavior of legislators, with very similar circumstances to those to which Gorman objected. The legislators — clearly treating hearings as a way to go through the motions and let people believe we still have a representative democracy — lapse into joking around with each other. Even if they aren’t laughing at the people offering testimony, the signal of disrespect is huge.
The shocking part of this video, though, is Archambault’s chastising Gorman as if the senator is some sort of feudal lord putting a peasant in his place. Archambault insists that “whatever I’m saying back here is my business.” Well, no, Lord Steve. You’re “back there” as a representative of Rhode Islanders in your district. Gorman isn’t coming into your space under your good-hearted sufferance. You’re privileged to be there on behalf of others.
But Senator Archambault pushes folly to offense when he repeatedly insists, “Don’t ever do that again. Ever.” Or what?
If we didn’t live in such a corrupt, one-party state, the committee chairwoman, Democrat Erin Lynch Prata (Warwick, Cranston) would have insisted that Archambault stand down and apologized to Mr. Gorman. But we do live in such a state, which means we must constantly be reminded that they don’t work for us; we work for them. We don’t bestow privileges upon them; they bestow them upon us.
In case readers didn’t have a chance to click through the link in my post, yesterday, related to voter fraud, I’d like to highlight another key point from the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) report that was the foundation for J. Christian Adams’s essay.
It’s important to break the data down so you understand what we’re talking about, here. PILF found that, in Virginia, more than 5,500 people who had been registered to vote were removed for citizenship reasons. Of those 5,500, 1,852 had actually voted, casting an average of four ballots each. Many of them, according to Adams, had been registered to vote even though they checked the box saying they were non-citizens.
I emphasize this point because the House chamber of the Rhode Island General Assembly has approved legislation that would greatly expand automatic registration of people to vote:
Legislation to automatically put anyone who applies for a Rhode Island driver’s license on the state’s voter rolls, unless they opt out, cleared the state House of Representatives on Wednesday, despite GOP efforts to block the same practice at other state agencies with troubled computer histories. …
But along the way, House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, R-West Warwick, sought to strip the bill of language allowing any state agencies — other than the Division of Motor Vehicles — to automatically place applicants for unemployment, public assistance and other state benefits on the voter rolls. Her move failed on a 62-to-10 party-line vote.
Welcome to the world of “one-stop shopping.” When the Rhode Island insiders are done, anybody who checks in with the state government for any reason will be automatically signed up for any welfare benefits for which they might be eligible and registered to vote. “Here’s your free stuff and a voter registration card so you can be sure to keep electing the people giving it to you.”
And in all this, we’re supposed to believe that a state government that can’t launch a computer system or accurately determine who should get Medicaid or SNAP benefits, while resisting efforts to use basic means of control, like eVerify for immigration, will keep the voter rolls clean?
Election lawyer and former Voting Rights lawyer for the U.S. Dept. of Justice J. Christian Adams spotlights some actual evidence of non-citizens voting. Included in the spotlight is an election official who thinks records should be modified to hide… let’s say… complicating data and an entire administration simply wishing the cases away:
Voter fraud deniers use this absence of prosecutions to argue that voter fraud doesn’t exist. The referrals by Fairfax election officials provide an excellent example of how the lack of prosecution is meaningless data for determining the extent of voter fraud.
The PILF report documents over 7,000 ballots were cast by those cancelled for citizenship defects.
In the age of Obama, politics prevented voter fraud prosecutions. Obama’s Justice Department didn’t prosecute alien registration and voting because their governing philosophy opposed it. The Justice Department ignored the information gift-wrapped by local election officials.
We’re exiting a lawless age, and it’s not likely to sit well with a lot of folks if there isn’t a review of and, if merited, accountability for the abuses. Indeed, some of us are wondering just how much of the present sturm und drang can be accounted for as a distraction intended to disable the system’s ability to review what’s been done and thwart Americans’ right to insist on it.
In late March, I highlighted a post on RI Future celebrating a march on the Pawtucket home of Democrat state representative David Coughlin, who sponsored legislation to require more cooperation between Rhode Island law enforcement and federal immigration officials. At the time, I made a note to look into the group behind the march, and it proved to be just another one of the many, many groups that pop up in Rhode Island, funded largely through the same stream.
According to Steve Ahlquist’s report, the key organizer appears to have been Fuerza Laboral, whose executive director, Heiny Maldonado is, I believe, the one pictured holding the sign reading, “Your constituents put you there. Your constituents can take you ‘OUT’,” as well as a sign reading, ironically, “Stop fascism now.”
As one typically finds, the group’s list of “institutional partners and funders” leans heavily toward organized labor union groups. Also on the list are a variety of foundations, from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation (Vermont) to the more-overt Left Tilt Fund (California), which gave the group $10,000 per year for a few years. In 2015, the Fuerza Laboral collected just under $210,000 and spent about 54% on employees.
Investigating the Left’s activities, one discovers a lot of these groups, even in a small state like Rhode Island, covering just about every political issue out there, all of them well funded and with staffs of paid activists. Measure them against the handful of conservative groups that progressives love to present as some sort of hidden force affecting the state for the benefit of outside donors, and it isn’t even close.
This is the context in which Rhode Islanders should consider supposed “good government” reforms that seek to trip up grassroots candidates and small groups with campaign finance regulations that expose their donors. The progressives’ funders have a well-established channel (much of it going right from taxpayers, through labor unions as dues, and back into politics and activism).
Exposing every small local donor of non-Leftist groups and politicians just gives the progressive network more homes on which to march and properties to photograph for intimidation purposes.
Westerners are figuring out that their compassion is being abused and that the abusers’ preferred policies bring about outcomes that are an affront to the compassionate.
Ted Nesi highlights something in the recent Hassenfeld Institute poll that may be worth a deeper investigation:
The poll also showed that for the first time in years, more Rhode Islanders think the state is moving in the right direction than in the wrong direction, with 42% of voters saying it’s headed in the right direction, 36% saying it’s headed in the wrong direction, and 16% unsure.
Nesi combines the Hassenfeld results from the last couple of years with prior polls asking the same question on WPRI’s behalf to show that Rhode Islanders’ outlook has improved since 2010, when it was about 70% wrong track, 12% right track, to statistically even, now, at around 40%.
I wonder what effect population change has had on these numbers. Every year for the past 12, something like 20,000 to 30,000 Rhode Islanders have left for other states. Smaller numbers of people have moved here from other states. Over a decade, though, that’s an exchange or loss of about one-quarter of the whole population. If we assume people coming will have a more positive view than those leaving, that could have a big effect on a question like right-track/wrong-track.
It’d be interesting if pollsters would start asking how long survey respondents have lived in Rhode Island. The cross-tabs might be telling. New arrivals might skew the results positive, or those who’ve been here a while might be comparing our current stagnation with the huge deterioration of the last decade.
You’ll find out what I’m talking about as I do, because I’m just making it up. Probably something about immigration, some drug dealing going on, attacks on Christians, and letters to the editor.
Rhode Island Catholic recently ran an essay by syndicated columnist Tony Magliano in which he describes a recent trip he made for a “migrant immersion experience,” by which he means a planned excursion that covers some of the same ground as those who enter the United States illegally from the south. From the first paragraph, though, nagging unasked questions dog his heels:
Recently I was given a unique opportunity to taste some of the bitter hardships endured by fellow human beings fleeing drug gang violence, oppressive poverty and economic injustice south of the U.S. border.
Let’s state with moral certitude that we have a responsibility to help people who are suffering in the world as much as we’re able. What always bothers me about arguments like that which Magliano implicitly makes is that the recipients of our sympathy turn into objects for the exercise of our charitable feelings.
If their motivation for flight is violence, poverty, and economic injustice, don’t these migrants have a moral obligation to remain and save those who can’t or won’t leave? Yes, I realize that’s a very easy question for me to ask, standing at my computer in Rhode Island, but I’m not even saying it ought to be the full focus of advocates like Magliano. One never even sees it mentioned.
Moreover, why does it seem our focus is never on attacking those factors that create the environment that the migrants are seeking to escape? One can only do so much to alleviate the tragedy of children crossing the desert by focusing on their destination (and even then, to the extent we make it possible and attractive, we encourage the dangerous adventure). The real solution would be to end that which sets them in motion in the first place.
And again, isn’t it the moral obligation of their parents and other local adults to work toward that end?
A little bit of economic reasoning should lead columnists like Mark Patinkin to consider whether the “lazy gringo” thesis accurately describes America’s problem.
Obviously, they’ve still got a long way to go, but a mob of protesters’ showing up at a state representative’s home with a police escort and leaving a mess of signs is a step on the path to fascism:
Pawtucket City Councillors Sandra Cano and Meghan Kallman helped to lead the march, along with Fuerza Laboral’s executive director Heiny Maldonado and organizer Raul Figueroa. The group, escorted by the Pawtucket Police Department for the safety of the marchers, arrived at [Pawtucket Democrat David] Coughlin’s residence shortly before 9am and tried to get him to come out and address the crowd. Coughlin did not come to the door or answer his phone. A car with Coughlin’s House license plate 60, wrapped in a “Choose Life” frame, was parked in the driveway.
The crowd stood outside Coughlin’s residence for about ten minutes. Heiny Maldonado rang his doorbell and knocked, but did not get an answer. As the crowd departed, they left a small pile of messages, in the form of protest signs, on the front steps of Coughlin’s house. This is believed to be the first protest of a state legislator’s home in at least three years, and the success of the action points the way towards more such protests in the future.
Call it a trial balloon for fascism: target homes, intimidate, show up with a mob and the police, leave messages for the target to clean up (quotes: “Your Constituents Put You There. Your Constituents Can Take You ‘Out’,” “Resist,” “You do not represent our district,” and “Dream killer”), and publish photographs of his home from multiple angles having nothing to do with the “protest.”
Apart from the danger of fire, depositing these signs is not far off from a flaming cross, and the published photographs send the message “we know where you live” as clearly as a brick through the window.
Not only will the Coughlins of the state get the message, but anybody who might consider running for office while disagreeing with the brownshirts will have another reason to think twice. That’s what they want, and that is fascism.
Missing the kiss (and the point), teacher union fantasy, charity for them, and stuff for you
Open post for podcast.