The new immigration law in Arizona, the Greek bail out plan and the attempt to control the Louisiana oil spill all seem to share at least one thing in common. They are all desperate measures to plug raging gushers – human, financial and environmental – which threaten to swamp the lives and economies of millions of people in the West.
Lets examine each in turn.
In Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070 with the intent of addressing a problem that the Federal government has proved itself singularly incompetent to handle. For 20 years the Arizona border has been a porous sieve, with tens of thousands of Hispanics finding a way to avoid border patrols and surveillance from federal authorities. With the tightening of border controls in California and Texas, the illegal immigration rush has been funneled into the two desert states of Arizona and New Mexico, which have traditionally proven much harder to police. A Department of Homeland Security high tech fence has not worked out and is now in hiatus pending a review. Washington D.C., meanwhile, has engaged in a heated debate over the way of dealing with the status of illegal immigrants already in the United States. But it is doing nothing to address the means of circumventing their entry.
The furor that has greeted Senate Bill 1070 wasn’t hard to predict. Multi-culturalists, amnesty devotees, civil rights advocates and those generally not so hot on the federal government’s exercise of sovereign rights, have described the legislation as akin to a Nuremberg law. That idea, of course , is preposterous. The Nuremberg Laws were Nazi racial edicts passed in 1935 against legitimate German citizens. SB1070 only targets those who have already broken American law and are not citizens. Nor does it target race or ethnic groups.
The one thing that has so many people exercised is this amendment to the wording of Sec. 2. Title 11, chapter 7 is:
” A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITHOUT A WARRANT, MAY ARREST A PERSON IF THE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON HAS COMMITTED ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE THAT MAKES THE PERSON REMOVABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES”
The apparent ability of Arizona’s police force to arrest anyone on a mere suspicion that they are illegal will transform Arizona, into, you guessed it, a police state. But the law does not breach any of the 4th Amendment prohibitions against illegal searches and seizures. Arizona police are prohibited from racially profiling or stopping anybody merely because of appearance or ethnicity. They may only stop someone whom they suspect of either having committed a crime or misdemeanor or of being in the process of doing so. Lest we forget, being in the United States without proper authorization or identification such as a passport and visa or a driver’s license, is such a federal misdemeanor. In reality, SB1070 does nothing to the law but seek to enforce it, a responsibility the federal government has abrogated.
The Greek bail out plan announced this week, in which the International Monetary Fund will join with many of the larger European countries in supporting the collapsing Greek economy, was also an attempt to stave off a disaster. The Greeks have for months teetered on the edge of default on their foreign loans, the prospect of which I explored in the my piece A Greek Tragedy.
The bail out plan rocked markets in Spain and Portugal, threatening to lower their bond ratings. The drop in investor confidence has rightfully been called a contagion which could well spread to many of the smaller and more vulnerable European economies, such as Italy and Ireland (who, together with Spain, Portugal and Greece, make up the colorful European acronym ” PIIGS”). The outcome for the Euro’s stability could be devastating as the larger countries are forced to contribute substantial amounts of their GDP to shore up their less robust fellow EU’ers to the south.
Germany plays a pivotal role in all of this and in my previous article, I identified its growing resistance to be being drawn into the vortex of a general European collapse.
But there is an interesting flip side to these developments. The weakening Euro has made German imports in the United States and Asia cheaper, which is becoming something of a boon to German industry. One other development, not spoken about too openly these days, is the prospect of a renewed German domination of Europe. With all the smaller countries of Europe helplessly dependent on German largess, the economic behemoth to the north will exert, by force if necessity, an increasingly controlling influence on monetary policy and financial regulation in those countries.
Although the Germany of 2010 is not the Germany of 1940 and no one is accusing the Germans of a potential political dictatorship, we cannot evade the truth that financial power is often the lever used to exert political power, and the prospects for one country coming to totally dominate that area of the world, cannot be discounted as a fantasy.
You would think poor old Louisiana had had enough trauma to last at least a century. But then along comes the oil spill of the decade as a burning rig off Venice, LA, leaves 11 men missing, (presumed dead) and threatens an environmental catastrophe not witnessed since the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska in 1989.
The extraordinary irony of this occurrence is that it happened in the wake of the Obama administration’s decision ( see my piece Surprise! Off Shore Drilling May Not Be Just a Conservative Passion) to relax the moratorium on off- shore drilling in Virginia and in other select areas. The decision came as increasing pressure had mounted on the administration to allow the United States to develop its own oil resources instead of being held at the mercy of the oil cartels in the Middle East and Latin America.
All of that will now be put on hold as environmentalists launch a vigorous “you see” campaign to demonstrate how foolish such an idea would be. They will paint a bleak future in which no beach in the world will offer water pure enough to allow children to swim safely and drinking water would affected by oil seepage into water tables.
But lets talk a little common sense, please. The likelihood of a spill of this nature with any regularity, is highly remote. The causes of the freak explosion on the Transocean rig are unknown and it is simply too early to suggest that the rig demonstrates the inherent danger of oil rigs or that all rigs will result in absolute environmental degradation. The noise emerging from the environmentalists reminds me of the Three Mile Island fiasco in 1979, when our entire nuclear industry was stopped in its tracks without any evidence at all that the partial reactor meltdown in Pennsylvania had had any permanent affect on humans in the area.
Such intemperate environmentalist scare tactics neutered the nuclear industry and set us on a course of energy dependence which, as we well know, has had far reaching consequences.
None of these problems are at all simple to resolve. Gushers are never too amenable to easy fixes and plugs. But lets not forget that these are human problems, to which humans will, in their ingenious way, apply human solutions. The jury should therefore not be called and there should be no rush to judgment on SB1070 , the Euro meltdown or the Louisiana oil spill, until all the evidence is actually in and we can subject it all to reasoned, discriminating analysis.