Posts Tagged ‘ACLU’

Bernard Goldberg

Bernard Goldberg

In the preceding post, some of the final comments by Larry Sternberg were about the potential loss of certain civil liberties under the Patriot Act. In that vein, I just had to post this additional bit I also read recently. It’s by another Jew, writer/journalist/commentator Bernard Goldberg, who was remarking on this point in regards to the ACLU in his 2005/6 book, 110 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken Is #37).

He said,

Sure, at some point, the FBI may ask a librarian for information on what some suspected terrorist was reading. Maybe the suspect will be an Arab and maybe some Arab organizations will cry “discrimination.” Sorry. It’s a small price to pay for living in a free country that happens to be at war. And it would also be nice if we got a little less whining from the ACLU about profiling at the airport and a little more visceral outrage at the Islamic fascists who would like nothing better than to kill every last one of us infidels.

I’m not a lawyer, but I get it. We all get it: If the government is allowed to “trample” on the rights of any one of us, then none of us is safe from government tyranny. To which I say, bull$#!t. We live in a different world than we did on September 10, 2001. It would help if everyone, starting with Anthony Romero and the ACLU [of which Romero has been executive director since a week before the 9/11/01 attacks], would be a little more understanding, a little more flexible, a little absolutist. Right now the number one civil right most Americans care about is the one about our ass not getting blown up by some lunatic who thinks he’s doing it for Allah. We’ll worry about who’s looking over our shoulder at the library when things calm down.”

While I don’t take the possibility of the erosion of civil rights lightly, I think Mr. Goldberg makes a great point. Under circumstances such as this, I am all for the relaxing of certain rights, within reason (according to whom?), as long as it is clearly temporary and not easily expanded either in degree or length of time. As with anything, this requires a watchful eye on our representatives both in Washington and closer to home.

What do you all think?

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Have you seen some of the signs held by those protesting the new Arizona immigration law? They say things like “We have rights!” and “We are human!” Well, nothing in the law allows for inhumane treatment of anyone. (Of course, illegal immigrants do have fewer rights precisely because they are NOT LEGAL citizens — or, even residents — in this country.) So, these people are either ignorant of what the law actually says or dishonest about its implications. Honestly, you’d think Arizona was gonna round up all the Hispanics and throw them in an internment camp! But, this kind of “poor us, we are so oppressed” thinking is ridiculous!

Arizona Protesters with "We Are Human" signs

Protesters against Arizona immigration law (Monica Almeida / NY Times)

Arizona’s lawmakers and its governor are just trying to reinforce the law and the idea that illegal entry is indeed a crime and punishable as such by law. What a concept! If people, including LEGAL immigrants, want somebody to yell at, try the federal government, who let the situation get so bad in the first place. (Yes, that includes prior administrations, not just Obama’s.)

I won’t get into it all, but I do have a few thoughts on the immigration mess and, in particular, the new law passed in Arizona.

1) Ninety-five percent of those crossing illegally into Arizona from Mexico are, indeed, Mexican. If those being asked about their citizenship status are Mexican, then that’s certainly not untoward discrimination as far as illegals go. If the problem were hordes of red-headed Irishmen, that’s who would be questioned. That’s called playing the odds, which leads to my next point….

2) Generally speaking, “racial profiling” has become a racially-charged term decried by civil rights protesters. But, is this fair? Law enforcement (and everyone else) knows, for example, that modern terrorists are predominantly (by far) of Middle-Eastern extraction — and, in particular, devout Muslim. So, identifying terrorist suspects will by nature involve “profiling” those that fit the description. (That’s what “profilers” do, for cryin’ out loud, to narrow the list of suspects!) By the same token, if a cop is already confronting someone over illegal activity and they fit the general description of someone guilty of another crime, he/she has every right to demand valid identification. This is not open license to hassle anyone who looks a certain way just because you feel like it, and measures do need to be taken to make sure law enforcement — whether agencies, departments, or individuals — doesn’t become “overzealous”, just because most of the criminals they deal with share a certain appearance. Beyond that, profiling based on whatever characteristics make sense for a particular type of crime is reasonable.

3) According to anthropologists, Hispanics are part of the “Caucasoid” race. They are not their own race any more than Jews are. These are better called “ethnic groups” or “ethnicities”. Many forms (e.g., the Census) consider both groups Caucasian, too. So, how does this law or any immigration crackdown have anything to do with “racism”? And, lest you accuse Arizona (or anyone else) of “ethnic profiling”, please re-read #1 and all but the first two sentences of #2.

4) If you listen to President Obama or the ACLU or even some conservative politicians (e.g., Marco Rubio) and news shows (e.g., Fox News) that should know better, you would think the new Arizona law allows for law enforcement officers to approach and hassle anyone just for speaking Spanish or having brown skin. Wrong! The law actually specifies that a “lawful contact” take place first. This could be anything where an alleged crime (other than illegal entry into the U.S.) has been committed — e.g., domestic violence, drug trafficking, robbery, bar fight, etc. It also applies for certain traffic violations, like speeding — often an indicator of more serious infractions. The cop can demand they produce some form of valid, government-issued ID that indicates the individual is legally in Arizona (and, thus, the U.S.). Failing this, the individual may be subjected to additional questioning. If the officer believes he/she has probable cause, they can make an arrest.

5) The law makes it a crime for an illegal immigrant to be in the U.S. That is, it is illegal to be illegal. Someone who has committed this crime shall now be treated as a criminal. How about that! If the federal government had been doing its job, the leaders in Arizona wouldn’t have felt it necessary to enact such an “obvious” law. But, it wasn’t, so they did. Good for them.

6) My advice to the legal immigrants (who shouldn’t have an issue with this) is to stay calm, stay friendly, speak English, and cooperate. That’s it. If you panic or do something stupid or suspicious, you’ll just cause yourself more problems. (Same goes for anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, of course.) And don’t listen to the Leftie activist groups and individuals. They either haven’t got a clue, or they’re purposely trying to rile you up and cause racial & ethnic tensions, which keeps them in business. (Yes, Al Sharpton, I’m talking about you. And the ACLU. And many in the mainstream media. And….)

End.

UPDATE 5/2/2010:  As LD said in a comment below, a new bill (or amendment?) was passed on Friday, April 30, that already changes this new law. See my new “Update on Arizona Immigration Law” post for more.

Here’s a piece forwarded to my email today. I’m assuming his numbers & facts are accurate, and he makes some interesting observations. Thought y’all would appreciate it.

The Lawyers’ Party
— by Bruce Walker

The Democratic Party has become the Lawyers’ Party.
Barack Obama is a lawyer.
Michelle Obama is a lawyer.
Hillary Clinton is a lawyer.
Bill Clinton is a lawyer.
John Edwards is a lawyer.
Elizabeth Edwards is a lawyer.
Every Democrat nominee since 1984 went to law school (although Gore did not graduate).
Every Democrat vice presidential nominee since 1976, except for Lloyd Bentsen, went to law school.
Look at leaders of the Democrat Party in Congress:
Harry Reid is a lawyer.
Nancy Pelosi is a lawyer.

The Republican Party is different.
President Bush is a businessman.
Vice President Cheney is a businessman.
The leaders of the Republican Revolution:
Newt Gingrich was a history professor.
Tom Delay was an exterminator.
Dick Armey was an economist.
House Minority Leader Boehner was a plastic manufacturer.
The former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is a heart surgeon.
Who was the last Republican president who was a lawyer? Gerald Ford, who left office 31 years ago and who barely won the Republican nomination as a sitting president, running against Ronald Reagan in 1976.

The Republican Party is made up of real people doing real work, who are often the targets of lawyers. The Democrat Party is made up of lawyers. Democrats mock and scorn men who create wealth, like Bush and Cheney, or who heal the sick, like Frist, or who immerse themselves in history, like Gingrich.

The Lawyers’ Party sees these sorts of people, who provide goods and services that people want, as the enemies of America . And, so we have seen the procession of official enemies, in the eyes of the Lawyers’ Party, grow.

Against whom do Hillary and Obama rail? Pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, hospitals, manufacturers, fast food restaurant chains, large retail businesses, bankers, and anyone producing anything of value in our nation.

This is the natural consequence of viewing everything through the eyes of lawyers. Lawyers solve problems by successfully representing their clients, in this case the American people. Lawyers seek to have new laws passed, they seek to win lawsuits, they press appellate courts to overturn precedent, and lawyers always parse language to favor their side.

Confined to the narrow practice of law, that is fine. But it is an awful way to govern a great nation. When politicians as lawyers begin to view some Americans as clients and other Americans as opposing parties, then the role of the legal system in our life becomes all-consuming. Some Americans become “adverse parties” of our very government. We are not all litigants in some vast social class-action suit. We are citizens of a republic that promises us a great deal of freedom from laws, from courts, and from lawyers.

Today, we are drowning in laws; we are contorted by judicial decisions; we are driven to distraction by omnipresent lawyers in all parts of our once private lives. America has a place for laws and lawyers, but that place is modest and reasonable, not vast and unchecked. When the most important decision for our next president is whom he will appoint to the Supreme Court, the role of lawyers and the law in America is too big. When lawyers use criminal prosecution as a continuation of politics by other means, as happened in the lynching of Scooter Libby and Tom Delay, then the power of lawyers in America is too great. When House Democrats sue America in order to hamstring our efforts to learn what our enemies are planning to do to us, then the role of litigation in America has become crushing.

We cannot expect the Lawyers’ Party to provide real change, real reform or real hope in America Most Americans know that a republic in which every major government action must be blessed by nine unelected judges is not what Washington intended in 1789. Most Americans grasp that we cannot fight a war when ACLU lawsuits snap at the heels of our defenders. Most Americans intuit that more lawyers and judges will not restore declining moral values or spark the spirit of enterprise in our economy.

Perhaps Americans will understand that change cannot be brought to our nation by those lawyers who already largely dictate American society and business. Perhaps Americans will see that hope does not come from the mouths of lawyers but from personal dreams nourished by hard work. Perhaps Americans will embrace the truth that more lawyers with more power will only make our problems worse.

The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 66% of the world’s lawyers! Tort (Legal) reform legislation has been introduced in congress several times in the last several years to limit punitive damages in ridiculous lawsuits such as “spilling hot coffee on yourself and suing the establishment that sold it to you” and also to limit punitive damages in huge medical malpractice lawsuits. This legislation has continually been blocked from even being voted on by the Democrat Party. When you see that 97% of the political contributions from the American Trial Lawyers Association goes to the Democrat Party, then you realize who is responsible for our medical and product costs being so high!