Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/3/17

Baaaaad Morning for me, GOOD MORNING to you, I hope.

1.  The New York Times, I thought, has an unusually fair story on the two phantom Trump phone calls that roiled “the resistance” yesterday. The President had said that he had received “calls” from the President of Mexico and the Boy Scout leadership, the former to salute him for getting tough at the border and the other to praise his controversial remarks at the annual Jamboree. There were no such calls, as the Mexico and the BSA had strongly suggested, and the White House confirmed this yesterday. In its piece this morning, the Times included a germane quote from pre-politics Trump in his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal”:

“People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

Germane, except that we already know that he thinks this way—and I don’t think referring to a conversation (in the case of Mexico) or multiple members of the Boy Scouts leadership”praising his speech in person after he was done (“Nice job!” “Great speech!” “The boys really appreciated it!”) as phone calls qualifies as “hyperbole,” truthful or otherwise.

These are examples of the President’s well-established addiction to speaking in word clouds and approximations. He “saw” (well, maybe not literally) “thousands of Muslims” (Okay, maybe he didn’t see them, but they were there! ) celebrating the doom of the Twin Towers in New Jersey. He never supported the Iraq invasion (saying otherwise to Howard Stern doesn’t count). Now add the hundreds of others we either discussed here or that were flashpoints during the campaign. The President’s attitude toward these little and large imprecisions of language has been, apparently since childhood, “Whatever.” He really doesn’t think they matter, because to him the difference between, for example, “calls” and other communications doesn’t matter.

It’s a terrible habit. It undermines his credibility. It weakens his ability to persuade and lead. It makes him look foolish, careless and stupid, and shows a lack of discipline. It gives his intractable foes easy bullets to shoot at him. It’s also an established trait, at this point. This is, again, the Julie Principle. This is how he is, and both his supporters and detractors know it. What  is accomplished by treating each new example as a major scandal? “Well, you can’t just let him get away with it!” is the reply.

He doesn’t get away with it. It undermines his credibility. It weaken his ability to persuade and lead. It makes him look foolish,  careless and stupid, and shows a lack of discipline.

2. The Times seems to make a mild “everybody does it” excuse for the President, citing the examples of two Presidents the Times also hated, LBJ and Reagan, mostly Reagan. “It is hardly unprecedented for a president to use a story to inspire or motivate, or to embellish a yarn for the sake of punctuating a poignant message,” the Times says. Then it recounts this:

“For his first inaugural address — the first to be delivered from the West side of the Capitol facing Arlington National Cemetery — Mr. Reagan wanted to recount the story of a World War I soldier, buried in Arlington, who had written in his journal about his pledge to give everything for his country and died in battle the next day. The only trouble, his speechwriter told him, was that the fallen soldier was buried in his hometown, not at Arlington, according to H. W. Brands, a historian at the University of Texas and biographer of Mr. Reagan.

But the president, enamored of the story, left it in his speech, and said the soldier was buried “under one such marker,” leaving his actual resting place vague. The White House later conceded that the man in question was not under a marker at Arlington.”

How is this remotely related to President Trump saying he received two phone calls that he didn’t? It’s not. It’s just an excuse for the Times to bash another Republican President.

3. The big ethics story yesterday was the Trump-endorsed bill to overhaul to the immigration system by eliminating green cards granted to siblings and grown children of current immigrants and green-card holders while holding steady the number of green cards based on job skills. Employment-based immigrants would be selected according to a point system that would favor English speakers with higher levels of education and high-paying job offers.

This isn’t morality and it isn’t xenophobia, as the knee-jerk reaction of hysterical progressives would have it. It’s a legitimate policy and priorities choice, with pros and cons like any other. The Washington Post’s headline today calling it “Trump’s war on legal immigrants” is unethical journalism. Many experts and scholars have argued that the U.S. should raise the quality of of its immigrants. Others disagree, but as usual, progressives are casting a policy direction that goes against their cant as evil. You can’t have a coherent debate from that starting point…which, I suppose, is the whole idea.

4. The Post, like CNN’s increasingly unprofessional Jim Acosta at the White House briefing yesterday, actually stooped to citing  The New Colossus,” Emma Lazarus’s poem that was placed on the Statue of Liberty in 1903. This is a poem.  It is not law, it is not policy, it does not relate to the Constitution, or modern immigration issues, or the preset day, being, after all, 114 years old. Its author opposed property and income taxes. She is not an authority, or relevant. Nonetheless, it is the default go-to emotional argument for advocates of open borders and sanctuary cities, the intellectual equivalent of “Think of the children!” and “Give peace a chance!” The Ethics Alarms test of whether someone has a legitimate and respectable argument regarding immigration begins with whether they cite the poem. Last time someone did that to me in person, I began reciting “The Highwayman” ( “The wind was a torrent of darkness, among the gusty trees…“) and wouldn’t stop.  It is just as relevant.

5. Acosta had a complete meltdown at the briefing, taking the role of ideological adversary and abandoning all hint of objectivity and fair reporting. White House spokesman Stephen Miller did an excellent job of making Acosta appear as biased,  emotional and unprofessional as he was. From the transcript (the “Q” s are all Acosta):

Q What you’re proposing, or what the President is proposing here does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration. The Statue of Liberty says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer.

Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them you have to speak English? Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?

MR. MILLER: Well, first of all, right now it’s a requirement that to be naturalized you have to speak English. So the notion that speaking English wouldn’t be a part of our immigration system would be actually very a historical.

Secondly, I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty and lighting the world. It’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to, that was added later, is not actually a part of the original Statue of Liberty.

But more fundamentally, the history —

Q You’re saying that that does not represent what the country —

MR. MILLER: I’m saying that the notion —

Q — has always thought of as immigration coming into this country?

MR. MILLER: I’m saying the notion —

Q Stephen, I’m sorry, but that sounds like some —

MR. MILLER: Jim, let me ask you a question.

Q That sounds like some National Park revisionism. (Laughter.)

MR. MILLER: No. What I’m asking you is —

Q The Statue of Liberty has always been a beacon of hope to the world for people to send their people to this country —

MR. MILLER: Jim — Jim, do you believe —

Q — and they’re not always going to speak English, Stephen. They’re not always going to be highly skilled. They’re not always going to be somebody who can go to work at Silicon Valley right away.

MR. MILLER: Jim, I appreciate your speech. So let’s talk about this.

Q It was a modest and incremental speech.

MR. MILLER: Jim, let’s talk about this. In 1970, when we let in 300,000 people a year, was that violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land? In the 1990s, when it was half-a-million a year, was it violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land?

Q Was it violating the Statue of Liberty and the —

MR. MILLER: No, tell me what years — tell me what years —
Q (Inaudible) call for a deportation force?

MR. MILLER: Tell me what years meet Jim Acosta’s definition of the Statue of Liberty poem law of the land. So you’re saying a million a year is the Statue of Liberty number? 900,000 violates it? 800,000 violates it?

Q You’re sort of bringing a “press one for English” philosophy here to immigration, and that’s never been what the United States has been about, Stephen. I mean, that’s just the case —

Mr. MILLER: But your statement is also shockingly ahistorical in another respect, too — which is, if you look at the history of immigration, it’s actually ebbed and flowed. You’ve had periods of very large waves, followed by periods of less immigration and more immigration. And during the —

Q We’re in a low period of immigration right now. The President wants to build a wall and you want to bring about a sweeping change to the immigration system.

MR. MILLER: Surely, Jim, you don’t actually think that a wall affects Green Card policy. You couldn’t possibly believe that, or do you? Actually, the notion that you actually think immigration is at a historic lull — the foreign-born population in the United States today —

Q The President was just with the new Chief of Staff on Monday talking about how border crossings were way down.

MR. MILLER: I want to be serious, Jim. Do you really at CNN not know the difference between Green Card policy and illegal immigration? You really don’t know the —

Q Sir, my father was a Cuban immigrant. He came to this country in 1962 right before the Cuban Missile Crisis and obtained a Green Card.

Yes, people who immigrate to this country can eventually — people who immigrate to this country not through Ellis Island, as your family may have, but in other ways, do obtain a Green Card at some point. They do it through a lot of hard work. And, yes, they may learn English as a second language later on in life. But this whole notion of “well, they have to learn English before they get to the United States,” are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?

MR. MILLER: Jim, it’s actually — I have to honestly say I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It’s actually — it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree that in your mind —

Q Sir, it’s not a cosmopolitan —

MR. MILLER: No, this is an amazing moment. This an amazing moment. That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hardworking immigrants who do speak English from all over the world.

Q My father came to this country not speaking any English.

MR. MILLER: Jim, have you honestly never met an immigrant from another country who speaks English outside of Great Britain and Australia? Is that your personal experience?

Q Of course, there are people who come into this country from other parts of the world.

MR. MILLER: But that’s not what you said, and it shows your cosmopolitan bias. And I just want to say —

Q It just sounds like you’re trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country through this policy.

MR. MILLER: Jim, that is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant, and foolish things you’ve ever said, and for you that’s still a really — the notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting.

Q I didn’t say it was a racist bill.

MR. MILLER: Jim, the reality is, is that the foreign-born population into our country has quadrupled since 1970. That’s a fact. It’s been mostly driven by Green Card policy. Now, this bill allows for immediate nuclear family members to come into the country, much as they would today, and it adds an additional points-based system. The people who have been hurt the most —

Q You’re saying that people have to be English speaking when they’re naturalized. What is this English-speaking component that you’ve inserted into this? I don’t understand.

MR. MILLER: The people who have been hurt the most by the policy you’re advocating are —

Q What policy am I advocating?

MR. MILLER: Apparently, just unfettered, uncontrolled migration. The people who have been hurt the most by the policy —

Q (Inaudible) is for open borders. That’s the same tired thing that —

MR. MILLER: The people who have been hurt the most by the policy you’re advocating are immigrant workers and minority workers and African-American workers and Hispanic workers.

6. Acosta should be banned from the briefings after this. If CNN was concerned with professionalism and ethics, it would either fire him or give him a long vacation. Said former Obama paid liar Tim Carney on “Morning Joe,” “This is why people hate the press.”

120 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Rights, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society, Workplace

120 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/3/17

  1. Wayne

    Yep, immigration law can be changed if the prez thinks it’s in the country’s best interest. Sorry about that progressives, it’s called sovereignty. So go pound sand!

  2. I love Loreena McKennitt’s version of “The Highwayman”. But it does (indirectly) celebrate armed robbery, which goes to show that mere poems shouldn’t be used to dictate legal policy.

    • Though he never actually robs anyone in the poem. And Bess sacrifices herself for true love!

      And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
      When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
      When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
      A highwayman comes riding—
      Riding—riding—
      A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

      Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard.
      He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred.
      He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
      But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
      Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
      Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

      Love it.

      • wyogranny

        Thanks to several teachers in grade school my classmates and I memorized a poem, song, speech, or document from American history almost every week. I learned The Highwayman by heart. It must have been some sort of cultural benchmark in the 50’s. I thought it was the most romantic and tragic thing ever written. I used to read it and cry. We were not allowed to watch TV so I had to get my drama from reading and imagination.

        “Then look for me by moonlight,
        Watch for me by moonlight,
        I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.” Wow!

  3. Mr Miller had far more patience than average, and his self control made the point. Those underbreath things were especially immature. This was not a harangue against Miller, nor was it a debate. Acosta should consult a dictionary and explain publicly what the word ‘briefing’ means. And that one reporter can’t have all the time. CNN probably won’t reign him in, he grabbed the time from all the other networks.

  4. JutGory

    Of course, Obama’s embellishment of his mother’s battle with insurance is unmentioned.

    And, why do liberals seem to think immigration policy must follow the line of thinking laid out in the Statue of Liberty? If only the Constitution was given such strict adherence.

    -Jut

    • ”Obama’s embellishment of his mother’s battle with insurance is unmentioned.”

      C’mon Jut, that was a cheap shot. His…um…remembrance was merely a composite that evolved.

      Just ask the author of “Dreams From My Father,” Bill Ayers.

  5. Chris

    4. The poem is not law, but it is reflective of our national values. I am sorry that you seem to share Miller’s view that the values reflected in that poem do not matter, and do not reflect our country.

    5. Acosta was badgering Miller, but he was also correct: immigration into our country has gone down over the past decade. The current anti-legal-immigration bill is just a sop to those who refuse to accept this fact. It is entirely about unjustified fear. “They take our jobs” has been debunked. “They commit crimes at a higher rate” has been debunked. And now, “we’re only against illegal immigration” has been self-debunked, since the goal–as I have said all along–is to allow fewer legal immigrants into this country, for no factually supportable reason, to appease xenophobes.

    • They are aspirational only, and have no legal or policy authority whatsoever. As I explained. That’s fact. That’s not opinion. The Statue doesn’t “say” anything. Would you be similarly offended if the British noted that the positions of Kipling were not binding? I suspect not.

      • Chris

        I’m not sure what we’re disagreeing over. I already said the poem wasn’t law, and that it simply reflects our national values. Saying it’s aspirational is the same thing; it’s what we should aspire to. Miller made a case that we shouldn’t even do that. No one has argued that they can’t legally tailor immigration policy to reflect their own nationalist values rather than our shared American values. We’re arguing that their values suck and ours are better.

        • “reflect their own nationalist values rather than our shared American values”
          That’s not a fair description. The poem may be a fair approximation of 1903 values, with full employment and with most jobs being low skilled. It does not describe or relate to 2017 realities. A 1852 poem would similarly not reflect American values on race.

          Seeking the best interests of the nation is not “nationalistic.” It is, in fact, the stated duty of the government.

          • Chris

            You know that is not why I describe Steve Miller as a “nationalist,” so why would you pretend that is my reasoning? AEI and CATO are “seeking the best interests of the nation,” too. As are you. As am I. As is The New York Times. As is John McCain. Do you think I would describe all of us as “nationalists?”

            • We were talking about an immigration proposal that can be defended on policy grounds without referring to “nationalism.” Thus characterizing it as such is misleading.

              • Chris

                It really can’t be defended on policy grounds. There are no facts to support the idea that our economy will be better off if we cut the amount of immigrants we allow in in half. It’s based purely on nationalist fantasy.

          • Chris

            As for “full employment,” we’re either there or almost there, depending which economists you ask:

            http://thehill.com/policy/finance/333048-us-economy-at-full-employment-economist-says

            How does the poem “not describe or relate to 2017 realities?” If the argument is that we can’t afford to take in the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses, then make that argument, and I’ll gladly refute it.

            • No, of course not. Smaller population; most jobs unskilled, more effective assimilation process, different national priorities, social priorities, cultural priorities. Different nation entirely, of course.

              The full employment artificial is nonsense, and self contradictory. So we need illagal immigrants for crucial low skilled jobs, but are at full employment, meaning that we don’t need anyone to fill any jobs. This is an excuse for unemployment and welfare entitlements without end or qualification.

              The US can afford all sorts of things that make no sense. Immigration isn’t charity, and although that’s what the poem makes it out as. It’s based on US needs and development. The less non-English spoken, for example, the better. The smarter the better. The more ambitious, ethical, and in synch with Western values, the better.

        • wyogranny

          “We’re arguing that their values suck and ours are better.”
          Now were getting somewhere. Self-awareness is a wonderful thing. Now move on to explaining why without inserting a lot of anti-Trump anti-conservative snark.

          • Suppose your young son is playing in the schoolyard with another young boy, and a bigger boy comes up, pushes the other kid away, and tells your son not to play with that kid. I hope you’ll agree that your son should be allowed to play with whoever he wants, and that the bigger boy is in the wrong and a bully too.

            Flash forward 20 years, and your son owns a small store where he has a man working to stock the shelves. Then another man enters the store, handcuffs the employee stocking the shelves and takes him away. He tells your son that he shouldn’t employ that guy.

            That man too is in the wrong. That man too is a bully. As are the people who hired him and told him to do that. What was wrong in the schoolyard is also wrong in the employment market. Or, for that matter, in the friend market: Even if the guy who got hauled away is just a friend, not an employee, his absence is still detrimental your son. Hauling someone away diminishes them, and everyone who benefited from their presence.

            No anti-Trump/anti-conservative snark necessary. (This time.)

            • What? I get the libertarian angle here. But there’s a disconnect in the argument. If the worker is an illegal immigrant, then what’s the issue? If he’s not an illegal immigrant, then what analogy are you trying to make?

              • I believe the comment wyogranny was responding to was about immigration policy, not about specific immigrants. So to answer your questions, my argument is that the government should not be in the business of telling Americans who they can be friends with, who they can hire, who they can sleep with, who they can trade with, etc. It would be different if these people were criminals or terrorists or something like that, but that’s not what these immigration policies are about.

                • These illegals ARE criminals, Windy. Get that through your head.

                  And they DO take jobs from Americans. I live in an area where I can point to illegals in jobs by walking less than 1000 feet from my home. I have seen them being pick up at on the corner, and being paid cash at the end of the day. Those construction jobs could have gone to any number of citizens I know of who have the skills and cannot find work.

                  • … and the employer in your little rosy example is a criminal as well, if the illegal did not provide false identification (a felony) that checked out with the Feds.

                  • So, your fellow Americans want to employ one group of people, and you want to force them to employ other people who you like better. I find this to be an unattractive argument.

                    • Chris

                      Immigration seems to be one area where free market people become central planners and central planners become free market people.

                    • No, actually it doesn’t Chris. And I’ve shown you that already. But you didn’t read it.

                      I am all for wider immigration, certainly in terms of more lax residency.

                      BUT ONLY, if the market itself is actually made MORE free than it currently is.

                      There are too many other protectionist and regulatory crap on the market to pretend like unfettered immigration makes sense.

                      So, this, is another strawman argument on your part. Nice try though.

                    • Chris

                      I am all for wider immigration, certainly in terms of more lax residency.

                      BUT ONLY, if the market itself is actually made MORE free than it currently is.

                      There are too many other protectionist and regulatory crap on the market to pretend like unfettered immigration makes sense.

                      So, this, is another strawman argument on your part. Nice try though.

                      So…under current conditions, assuming the protectionist and regulatory policies you object to are not eliminated (which they are very unlikely to be), do you support a) current immigration levels or b) lower immigration levels?

                      It seems disingenuous to say “I’m totally for wider immigration, provided this other unrealistic policy goal that I don’t even think has much chance of happening happens first, but if it doesn’t happen, than I’m not for wider immigration,” and then when someone understandably interprets that as meaning, in practicality, “I’m not for wider immigration,” you call that a “strawman.”

                    • So, your fellow Americans want to employ one group of people, and you want to force them to employ other people who you like better. I find this to be an unattractive argument.

                      Windy, if that diversion were true, we would not prosecute insider trading, bribing a judge, or any number of ‘minor’ or ‘victim-less’ crimes. So to paraphrase:

                      “So, your fellow Americans want to enrich one group of people through insider trading, and you want to force them to follow the rules like other people who you like better. I find this to be an unattractive argument”

                      Your position is unethical, and will not work in society.

            • I agree with tex, the fact that your analogy is intentionally vague shows its flaw. When a person commits a felony, ANY felony, law enforcement can and should take them into custody, regardless of who it inconveniences. If you don’t like that, then move to place where no laws are enforced (I doubt it will be a paradise).

              This is what aggravates me, Jack Marshall, and everyone else who cares about border enforcement: Crossing the border without checking in, or overstaying past your specified time is…a…crime. And it will STILL be a crime even if we allow more legal immigration, unless you truly want open borders where no one has to check in at all.

              • The analogy is that it’s wrong to forcibly control who people are friends with. Or who they employ, who they trade with, who they rent apartments to, who they sleep with. Passing laws that say it’s okay for government employees to do those things doesn’t make it any less wrong.

                The argument that illegal immigrants are committing a crime is circular: “We made it illegal for those people to come here, therefore we’re not kicking them out for being here, we’re kicking them out for breaking the law by being here.” It’s not the same, but it’s a little like arresting black people in the old South for boarding the whites-only streetcar and then saying “We’re not arresting them for being black, we’re arresting them because they broke the law!”

                • You are forcing this into the mold of a circular argument by ignoring a key definition of why we make something illegal. We don’t arbitrarily make something illegal, as though the only reason murder or theft is illegal is just because we say so. By your logic, arson is only illegal because we’ve decided to make it illegal.

                  It ignores the underlying ethical arguments behind the laws: we don’t make particular conduct illegal unless we’ve determined, as a society that the conduct is unethical and damaging AND can be pursued and punished without the pursuit and punishment causing a greater ethical harm by ensnaring conduct that isn’t unethical as well.

                  Certain levels of immigration are deemed unhealthy for the receiving culture, and I don’t see an argument against this at all: regardless of what quantity any particular culture deems unhealthy, *every* culture will ultimately have an upper limit on immigration that it believes it can handle without undermining the receiving culture. As long as that upper limit exists, there is an ethical argument for deciding that any attempts in excess of that limit are illegal attempts as immigration.

                  Now, like I said, I see the hyper-libertarian argument against even having an upper limit, but its flat out ignoring the very valid argument that if we believe our culture’s values to be objectively better than other cultural systems, then there is an ethical duty to protect that.

                  • Saved me a post with THAT. Thanks.

                  • “It ignores the underlying ethical arguments behind the laws”

                    You say “We don’t arbitrarily make something illegal,” but your response here is the first reference to such ethical arguments in this thread. As I’ve been trying to point out, immigration restrictions take away people’s freedoms. I think that if you want to take away someone else’s freedom, it is incumbent on you to justify it,

                    You offer an argument, but I don’t think your argument supports anything like the current immigration restrictions. We have a difference of values. Which is where we came in.

                    • “You offer an argument, but I don’t think your argument supports anything like the current immigration restrictions.”

                      But your argument doesn’t even open a discussion from the angle that any level of restrictions is appropriate. That is, the vagueness of the analogy you posit, implies that the problem isn’t that current levels of restriction are too severe, but rather *any* level of restriction is inherently wrong.

                      Hence the introduction of ethics to back the claim that some level of restriction (where ever and however it falls) is appropriate…but you claimed that this hasn’t been introduced into the thread.

                      Did it need to be? How many discussions regarding immigration has Ethics Alarms had that makes it pretty clear that there is an ethical backing for some level of immigration?

                      I mean, I’m fine with abstracting the discussion further, I think expanding discussions to get to first premises is useful.

            • wyogranny

              More infformation please. Playing with a friend is materially different from employing a friend, or not a friend. Did the employee break the law in some way? Did the employer? Who is the man? It might or might not be detrimental I’d need more information. You didn’t provide it, so I assume you won’t allow it. But, if we go with your scenario please explain why the absence of the friend is necessarily detrimental in either case. You may not add conditions that are not in the original example. If I have to ignore possibilities you didn’t mention so do you.

              • “More information please.”

                Since we’re having a bit of a debate, I’ll see what I can do. But in general, I object to the idea that we should have to justify things like friendships and voluntary contracts to strangers, especially strangers who work for the government.

                “Did the employee break the law in some way? Did the employer? Who is the man?”

                I meant the man to represent some sort of immigration cop. I left it vague because I’d argue that his being an immigration cop doesn’t make his behavior any less harmful to the employer.

                As for breaking the law… Unless we’re talking about a freaky scenario where he’s just about to kill his employer, the harm caused to his employer is not affected by the reason he’s being hauled off. That said, it may be that hauling him off accomplishes some other goal that more than offsets the harm to the employer — e.g. takes a gangster or terrorist out of play and discourages other from similar pursuits — but I’ll leave it to the people advocating that he be hauled off to provide the reason for it. I’m not going to be convinced, however, by circular arguments such as “we’re hauling him off because he violated the law that says he can’t be here.” I’d want to hear the justification for why he can’t be here.

                “…please explain why the absence of the friend is necessarily detrimental in either case.”

                I’m assuming people have friends because it pleases them. Taking the friend away takes away the pleasure of that friendship. (And taking away an employee takes away the benefit gained from employing that person.) I meant nothing more complicated than that.

                • wyogranny

                  The argument that an illegal alien is breaking the law is axiomatically true and not circular at all. Under current law illegal aliens are subject to being deported. Fact.

                  • Employers who hire knowingly illegals are criminals as well, and not checking immigration status is also illegal. It is their responsibility to know. If the paperwork passes muster with the Feds, then the illegal is also a felon for identity theft, theft of services, and presenting the false identity for employment.

                  • Chris

                    I think what Windypundit is trying to make us think about with the vagueness of the analogy is why our country makes certain types of immigration illegal in the first place.

                    This is a question that the Ethics Alarms community seems to have very little interest in. Every time I raise the question, the answer seems to stop somewhere around “Because we can.”

                    No one here has made a positive case for RAISE; the only answer to why it should be done is “Because they can.” The objections to it have been met with some variation of “What, you don’t think nations should be able to control their borders?” which is a total strawman.

                    So what is the positive case for further restricting immigration right now? Immigrants do not bring in crime waves. We do not have high unemployment, and when we did, immigration pretty much seemed to regulate itself; surprise, people don’t want to immigrate to countries that are in the midst of economic slumps. So…the reason we seem to be left with for why the government is further restricting immigration is nothing more than “Because they can” and “Because we want to.” And if you ask me, if the government wants to restrict something, they should be able to provide a pretty good reason for it.

                    No one’s considering the obvious consequences of this, either: when you make more immigration illegal, you get more illegal immigration. Just like with guns. Just like with drugs. Just like with abortion. A popular conservative axiom is “When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” Why does this not apply equally to immigration? Why can’t conservatives understand that restrictive immigration policies only create more illegal immigrants? If the goal is to keep track of who’s coming into our country, why craft policies that de-incentivize legal immigration and incentivize illegal immigration?

                    There are so many fascinating ethical issues here. When is it right to restrict freedom of movement? What are the ethics of policies that have the effect of criminalizing the poor? How can we best use immigration policies to promote American values throughout the world? But all these issues just get swept under the rug under the justification, “That’s just the rules.” And the underlying reasons for why people come here illegally are dismissed entirely with the easy answer of “Illegal immigrants are rule-breakers, so there.” This is shallow, useless analysis, and gets us absolutely nowhere. It does nothing but close down thought and inquiry.

                    • When is it right to restrict freedom of movement?

                      When that movement violates a nation’s sovereignty! There is no freedom of movement into property that doesn’t belong to you. Anywhere.

                      What are the ethics of policies that have the effect of criminalizing the poor?

                      What? This is like saying that laws against theft criminalize the poor. What is criminalized isn’t stutus, but conduct: breaking immigration laws.

                      How can we best use immigration policies to promote American values throughout the world?

                      By making those dissatisfied with their own nation’s values stay to change them.

                      But all these issues just get swept under the rug under the justification, “That’s just the rules.”

                      Bull!

                    • “But all these issues just get swept under the rug under the justification, “That’s just the rules.”

                      Bull!”

                      It’s literally as though my response to him the other night didn’t even exist…

                    • I would submit the best solution here is to ignore Chris on this subthread. He’s doubling down on falsely portraying this issue as a circular argument.

                      We’ve already demonstrated there are underlying ethics behind the laws that show it isn’t a circular argument of “It’s illegal because it’s illegal”.

                      Based on past performance, I would venture that’s all this subthread is going to devolve to.

                      I think we have better use for our time than entertaining or feeding this nonsense.

                    • wyogranny

                      Illegal immigration is not going to be a discussion reasonable people can have. It’s been made to be a toxic subject. I no longer participate in discussions about abortion for the same reason. I should have held myself back from commenting this time.
                      I will assert here that illegal immigration has created huge problems for the United States and that it needs to be stopped, assessed, and workable compassionate solutions found, but first of all stopped.
                      I assert the same for abortion and I have endlessly cited my reasons for my opinion on both subjects on multiple occasions and no minds are changed. That is why there is very little interest in the argument.

                    • Chris

                      When is it right to restrict freedom of movement?

                      When that movement violates a nation’s sovereignty! There is no freedom of movement into property that doesn’t belong to you. Anywhere.

                      Wait, how do you not see that you’re doing exactly what I said you do? You just answered “When is it right to restrict freedom of movement” with “When freedom of movement is restricted.”

                      What are the ethics of policies that have the effect of criminalizing the poor?

                      What? This is like saying that laws against theft criminalize the poor. What is criminalized isn’t stutus, but conduct: breaking immigration laws.

                      “Breaking laws is illegal.” OK. You’re proving my point all over the place.

                      How can we best use immigration policies to promote American values throughout the world?

                      By making those dissatisfied with their own nation’s values stay to change them.

                      I have a really hard time taking this idea seriously. So the best way to help refugees would be to make them stay where they are and fight? How’d that work out in 1939?

                      But all these issues just get swept under the rug under the justification, “That’s just the rules.”

                      Bull!

                      Except both of your replies to my first two questions relied exactly on that premise.

                    • “This is a question that the Ethics Alarms community seems to have very little interest in. Every time I raise the question, the answer seems to stop somewhere around “Because we can.”

                      Patently disingenuous accusation. The real answer is you don’t like the responses of others.

                      I gave you a lengthy essay in the other thread on just this topic.

                      The answer isn’t “Because we can”…it’s “Because we ought to”

                      And the specific discussion over RAISE isn’t useful for the greater topic of immigration, except as an attempt to latch an easy cudgel onto anyone who disagrees with unfettered immigration.

                    • Chris

                      You’re right, tex; you did put a lot of effort into making a positive case for tighter immigration controls then we have now. It was heavy on assertions about cultural differences and light on actual facts, but you did make the case and I should have acknowledged that. Generally speaking, however, I stand by my statement about the blog as a whole when it comes to this topic.

                      And the specific discussion over RAISE isn’t useful for the greater topic of immigration, except as an attempt to latch an easy cudgel onto anyone who disagrees with unfettered immigration.

                      Yes, obviously critiquing the immigration proposals of actual conservatives in power is a total strawman. The immigration proposals of conservatives have nothing to do with what conservatives believe about immigration and should not be used as evidence when arguing against conservatives on immigration. (This reminds me of when you said it was unfair to accuse Republicans of trying to get rid of Obamacare last week.)

                    • “You’re right, tex; you did put a lot of effort into making a positive case for tighter immigration controls then we have now.

                      Strawman. And with your opening line, I can see you have no intention of a good faith discussion. You apparently didn’t read the essay either.

                      “And the specific discussion over RAISE isn’t useful for the greater topic of immigration, except as an attempt to latch an easy cudgel onto anyone who disagrees with unfettered immigration.

                      Yes, obviously critiquing the immigration proposals of actual conservatives in power is a total strawman. The immigration proposals of conservatives have nothing to do with what conservatives believe about immigration and should not be used as evidence when arguing against conservatives on immigration. (This reminds me of when you said it was unfair to accuse Republicans of trying to get rid of Obamacare last week.)”

                      This is an ethics blog chris, if the topic is immigration, the topic is immigration, a specific proposal can certainly be discussed, but make no mistake, you haven’t hidden well your ultimate goal to use RAISE, a probably flawed piece of legislation, as a cudgel against anyone who doesn’t agree with your massively expanded immigration route.

                      Do better than this chris, or you immediately lose your hearing with the rational, objective members of this discussion group.

                    • “(This reminds me of when you said it was unfair to accuse Republicans of trying to get rid of Obamacare last week.)”

                      Actual Quote, in context, that lines up with your spin or didn’t happen.

                      Pronto.

                    • “What is criminalized isn’t stutus, but conduct: breaking immigration laws.”

                      God, it’s like you’ve been saying this so long that you don’t even think about it any more. You are justifying these laws by literally saying that we’ve criminalized breaking the law,. And you don’t see why that’s a circular argument?

                    • Chris

                      I read your multi-comment “essay,” tex, then went back and read it again just now after you called my interpretation of it a “strawman.”

                      If you weren’t arguing for tighter restrictions on immigration than we have now, then I honestly have no idea what you were arguing for. Were I to receive this essay from a student, I’d say it lacks a clear main idea. It seems like you were saying we need to be more selective about whom we let in, and to take culture and skills into account moreso than we do now.

                      If I have this wrong, please understand that it’s not because I don’t want to engage honestly; it’s because I genuinely don’t understand what you were trying to argue. Could you sum up your main idea for me in a few sentences, to make it more clear what you’re proposing? I’ll go back and read the essay a third time with your answer in context, and I hope it will help me understand your point better.

                    • Chris

                      Bingo, Windypundit.

                    • Bingo?

                      Well, if you grade papers the way you graded that comment, I’ll safely be content that you aren’t grading my response to you the other night.

                      Windypundit, merely repeating his original assertion, ad nauseum, doesn’t make it true.

                    • Chris

                      Me:

                      “(This reminds me of when you said it was unfair to accuse Republicans of trying to get rid of Obamacare last week.)”

                      Tex:

                      Actual Quote, in context, that lines up with your spin or didn’t happen.

                      Pronto.

                      Tex, 7/24/2017:

                      3) The entire goal is to eliminate Obamacare. Sorry Jack, in this case a LOL is warranted. That’s what they were elected for yes, but since it isn’t getting repealed and it isn’t going to be repealed, then NO, the republicans are not working on eliminating Obamacare, so you can dispense with that tired and worn out talking point.

                      I mean really…how do you even think that flies?

                      https://ethicsalarms.com/2017/07/23/morning-ethics-warm-up-72317/

                      You actually said it was a “talking point” that Republicans were working on eliminating Obamacare. Amazing.

                      I would have pretended I didn’t say this too, if I were you.

                    • So what then Chris, is YOUR ideal immigration policy? Do you think we should have completely open borders, no immigration requirements whatsoever, anyone who crosses over can be counted as a citizen? Or, if you still think there should be rules regarding who gets in and how, and what a person must to do to be counted as a full US citizen, what do you think we should do with those who skirt those rules?

                    • Chris

                      So what then Chris, is YOUR ideal immigration policy?

                      Not sure, though I believe the illegal immigration problem proves that it should be less restrictive than it is now. It’s an incredibly complicated topic, though. I’m interested in learning more about what the qualifications are, how long the process takes…but no one wants to have that conversation. I do know that the drive to make our immigration policies *more* restrictive, and allow in *fewer* legal immigrants, is entirely the wrong direction, and will only worsen the illegal immigration problem.

                      Do you think we should have completely open borders, no immigration requirements whatsoever, anyone who crosses over can be counted as a citizen?

                      Asked and answered more times than I can count. No.

                      Or, if you still think there should be rules regarding who gets in and how, and what a person must to do to be counted as a full US citizen, what do you think we should do with those who skirt those rules?

                      I think we should still punish those caught violating immigration law, but we should prioritize those who are a danger to society. If an illegal immigrant gets a DUI, sorry, but I don’t have any problem with that person being deported. Putting resources into illegal immigration “sweeps” and raids is a waste of resources, as is deporting non-dangerous offenders. But as I keep saying, focusing on what to do with illegal immigrants once they’re here focuses on the wrong end of the problem. The most efficient way to stop people from crossing illegally is to make it easier to cross legally.

                    • Thanks for clarifying your overall position. I honestly agree with most of it, though I’m inclined to think that the more streamlined and “fair” our immigration is, the less excuse future illegals will have, so we should always have some kind of penalty in place. By all means, deport the dangerous ones, and maybe put some kind of probation in place for the non-dangerous ones.

                      Also, to further clarify my own position, while I support the DREAM Act, I believe it should be of limited duration, and that the “anchor baby” loophole should be eliminated.

      • Best snarky comment on twitter of the day:

        @MarkSkrikorian

        “Strange women standing in harbors distributing poetry is no basis for a system of immigration”

        (this in no way actively agrees with nor disagrees with any other tweet by this account)

      • A more realistic poem would be:

        “Roses are red, violets are blue, welcome to America:

        adopt our values and work hard or starve, just like the ancestors of any comfortably educated poet, like me, whose forebears on one side came here, worked hard, and provided me with the opportunity to study other things besides labor…and on another side came here and intelligently married into an established community”

        “…oh by the way, I support a flat, single sourced, tax. (but this is probably texagg04’s irrelevant commentary)”

        “wait…that didn’t rhyme? meh, maybe some guy who doesn’t capitalize his initials can corrupt poetry forever and adopt this scheme.”

        “Did I mention, welcome to America…


        are you still reading this and not making a life for yourself?…

        hm. I don’t know what to say…”

        -Emily Lazarus

        • I wish these comments had a “like” feature, because those were hilarious!

        • Coda:

          “I know, immigrant, you aren’t reading this, because you are frantically out there mixing with the crowd and making your way, possibly wathicng your daughter marry a man, who in the old world would have been predicting her, and watching your son carve out a beginning so far from you that in the old world you would have had to cross 3 whole counties to visit him,, but hopefully my peers read this and think better of my virtuous proclamation”

          “By the way, I support a single tax on the people, not a multiplicity of confusing and Byzantine loopholes (but that may just be texagg04’s commentary)”

    • “The poem is not law, but it is reflective of our national values.”

      Is it really though? I mean, there was a point in American history where immigration was basically unfettered… but that was also a time where the social safety net didn’t exist: Immigrants were expected to pull their weight, and if they didn’t they’d probably die. And everyone knew that going into it. The poem wasn’t supposed to convey “Give us your most needy so we can take care of them.”, it was supposed to convey: “This is America, where anyone can work hard and succeed.” America wasn’t founded on the idea that it was some kind of humanitarian rescue shelter… And I think the treatment that poem as to mean as such is highly revisionist.

      America doesn’t owe itself to the world. It is the product of generations of hard work, by hard working individuals, and if newcomers want to come to America, to reap the benefit of the infrastructures and systems that hard work generated, it makes sense that they be able to contribute to it, and to contribute to it immediately… By that measure, a skills based test makes orders of magnitude more sense than some kind of lottery.

      And that’s not to say we don’t take in refugees, or family members of productive refugees, there are ways to do that that makes sense. But the recent call to open borders, unfettered immigration is insane, and needs to be treated as such.

      • Chris

        America doesn’t owe itself to the world. It is the product of generations of hard work, by hard working individuals, and if newcomers want to come to America, to reap the benefit of the infrastructures and systems that hard work generated, it makes sense that they be able to contribute to it, and to contribute to it immediately… By that measure, a skills based test makes orders of magnitude more sense than some kind of lottery.

        But…they already are contributing. There is no immediate reason to make this change. It is based on stereotypical notions of lazy immigrants draining the welfare system…this is not reflective of reality.

        And that’s not to say we don’t take in refugees, or family members of productive refugees, there are ways to do that that makes sense. But the recent call to open borders, unfettered immigration is insane, and needs to be treated as such.

        Please point me toward the prominent politicians and organizations calling for open borders and unfettered immigration.

        • I think that it’s helpful to address these in reverse….

          “Please point me toward the prominent politicians and organizations calling for open borders and unfettered immigration.”

          I think this fails a basic political literacy test. Democrats, especially in states with larger Hispanic populations, have started to float ideas that at least nudge in the direction of open borders. They obviously don’t say the words, because the words trigger negative backlashes from the public still, but they push towards the agenda. And there are organizations who’s entire mission statement is open borders. I mean… George Soros makes no bones about it, and there is a lot of public support for it.

          I’d argue that you even fall into that category, if perhaps unknowingly…. Look at this next bit:

          “But…they already are contributing. There is no immediate reason to make this change. It is based on stereotypical notions of lazy immigrants draining the welfare system…this is not reflective of reality.”

          I don’t think that anyone argues that all immigrants are lazy… But immigration has a limit, right? We don’t have open borders, right? The reason I think that you hold an open borders position is that you treat immigration as if it has no limit, and you seem to think that any decrease to immigration is inherently negative, and that any increase to immigration is inherently good, regardless to what that is. Or maybe I’m wrong, what do you feel the annual limit on immigration should be?

          Because once you start treating immigration as if it actually has a limit, it starts to make sense that as opposed to raffling off spots on the boat randomly, you take the best and brightest… I mean, why wouldn’t you?

      • JutGory

        Humble Talent,
        This is where it comes down for me. The last 100 years have shown an enormous growth in the bureaucracy. Just take the New Deal, the Great Society, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, and Obamacare. Add in every piece of civil rights legislation. The federal government has grown in size and scope, all funded by the Income tax code.

        Yet, immigration policy should remain stuck in the 1850’s.

        I will take that, if we roll back the regulatory state back there as well.

        Any takers?

        -Jut

  6. I had to watch that Accosta Miller clip just because I thought that context was missing… But no, that’s basically how it happened. It was insane. Who the hell does Accosta think he is?

    • Chris

      A reporter asking hard-hitting follow-up questions? But I agree he went over the line into badgering.

      • No badgering, Chris. ADVOCACY. His dad was a Cuban immigrant—he’s emotional and conflicted, and not competent, apparently, to do his job professionally when this issue arises.

        • Other Bill

          What an annoying jerk Acosta is. He’s the direct beneficiary of a very, very unusual immigration/refugee policy resulting from Castro taking over Cuba. Perhaps only analogous to the Vietnamese refugees being admitted, but I doubt the Vietnamese had a carte blanche like the Cubans. For him to slime ANY U.S. immigration or refugee policy is outrageous.

      • wyogranny

        Chris, you sometimes ask hard-hitting and follow-up questions, so you must know what they sound like. Acosta’s questions didn’t sound like that.

        • Chris

          You’re right (and thank you). Note I was responding to the question, “Who the hell does Acosta think he is?” I’ve little doubt he saw himself as a crusading reporter seeking only the truth in that moment. But I agree with Jack; he crossed the line into advocacy, and was not acting as an unbiased journalist should.

      • Chris… Most of Acosta’s sentences didn’t end in question marks. That’s because they weren’t questions. He’s a journalist acting like it was his job to go up there and debate policy with a White House official. Even if you think he was right… And we can have that discussion, it’s separate. It’s a complete abdication of his role as a journalist to do what he did.

  7. Mrs. Q

    3. Doesn’t Canada, France, and many other countries have immigration policies for who can come in & who can’t? I remember years ago looking at Canada’s immigration policy which required a potential citizen had to have an applicable college education or work history. Then you have places like Amsterdam, Sweden, and Norway where 3rd & 4th generations of immigrants are still called immigrants by law.

    • wyogranny

      Well, the inconvenience in those examples is that progressives in America can’t make political hay with them in America.

    • All countries have policies… There isn’t a country on Earth that you can just show up in and say “I’m a citizen here now” and have that be true legally… Although there are some countries where the records keeping is so shitty you’d probably get away with it.

      Hell there are countries where you can literally buy citizenship. Take Cyprus, for example, in 2012 the EU portion of the island nation was on the brink of bankruptcy, so it offered a “fast-track” citizenship program. All it would cost was €10 million in direct investment. Then in 2013, Cyprus again became desperate when more of it’s economy was tanking, and they lowered that “investment requirement to a paltry €3 million.

      • Mrs. Q

        So I guess the reason America is supposed to have an anything goes policy on immigration is because we’re imperialist pigs who need to pay – by having serial convicted rapists terrorize women in cities…and not be deported back, like here in Portland.
        That makes sense!

      • Mrs. Q

        http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/07/man_tied_up_woman_threatened_t.html

        Our latest gem, a guy back & fourth 20 times who just raped a 65 year old woman.

        • …but illegals don’t break the laws! They are the same as citizens!

          Except they never should have been breaking the law in OUR country, and we can thank a progressive for this particular crime. Allowing a 20 times deported felon to come back…

          • Mrs. Q

            Yep. Portland is a sanctuary city & the stats show crime had risen here dramatically since.

            • Chris

              Which stats?

              • Mrs. Q

                https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/71978

                Crimes 2017

                Jan 4549
                Feb 4727
                Mar – the month PDX was declared a sanctuary city – 5345
                Apr 5057
                May 5536
                Jun 5163

                • Chris

                  That seems…a pretty limited data set to based any ideas of causation off of, and even if you think it’s enough information, it doesn’t support your claim. It looks like crime went up the month before the announcement that Portland was a sanctuary city. It went up further the month it was announced, then went down the month after, then went up and down again the next two months. You really think it’s a valid conclusion from that data that crime went up in Portland as a result of the sanctuary city announcement? There is literally no discernible trend here.

                  • Mrs. Q

                    Good night brother do you ever relax, have fun, make love, eat fast food or just act like a person?

                    I never said one begat the other. I said crime went up since we became a sanctuary city, not because of it. That is a fact since Jan ’17. Whatever conclusions are for you to draw.

                    • Chris

                      I had fast food earlier today. Girlfriend’s been a bit busy this week, but we’ll find time this weekend. How is taking your statement for its most obvious meaning not acting like a person?

                      Because usually when people say “Crime has gone up since [insert policy change they don’t like], they’re implying that [insert policy change they don’t like] is a cause, or at least a contributor. If that’s not what you meant to imply, why even connect those two ideas? If you have an answer for that that makes sense, I’ll take your word for it that that’s not what you meant to imply.

                    • Chris

                      And uh…no, that’s not a fact. Crime has gone up AND down since Portland became a sanctuary city. To say it’s “gone up,” when it was actually lower in June than it was in March, and went down in April, is just misleading at best.

  8. Does anyone else get the gut notion that keeping an argument consistently within the realm of “its good for the economy to bring in immigrants” (especially if it’s the go to argument to the near exclusion of other arguments) boils down to a “use people as a means to an end” argument?

    I’m still working through this, so I’m not sure.

    • Chris

      “It’s good for the economy to bring in our current levels of immigrants” is a direct response to “It’s bad for the economy to bring in our current levels of immigrants,” which is the entire stated basis for the proposal in question.

      • wyogranny

        So the idea is to hear the other guy’s argument and directly contradict it? Then later find and fill in whatever comments, notions, fake news, or creative reworking you can find or manufacture. Well, it does follow the Alynski formula.

  9. Wayne

    Politicians will be politicians:

  10. “It seems disingenuous to say “I’m totally for wider immigration, provided this other unrealistic policy goal that I don’t even think has much chance of happening happens first, but if it doesn’t happen, than I’m not for wider immigration,”

    No, it isn’t disingenuous. Disingenuous would be to shut down a whole valid aspect of discussion, since we’re on the topic of ethics, by saying “Never gonna happen” so don’t even consider it. When the *whole* problem has to be see from many angles. This is related to the same nonsense that says “don’t even bother considering a 3rd party, they’ll never be elected”. It’s the very myth that nothing can be done that keeps the myth alive by avoiding discussing deeper problems in our societal structure.

    Because, whether or not a particular policy under current consideration is constrained to the realities of contemporary politics, you do a disservice to the ability to reach long term *ethical* solutions by not even hashing out or touching on the wide number of factors that go into the problem the policy claims to address. My essay before, touches on the fact that there is more at play than just “these people will make our economy better, let them in” and because there is more at play than just dollars, those factors must be considered, whether or not a current policy has considered them.

    • Chris

      This still does not answer the question, tex. Under current circumstances, meaning without the necessary changes to the regulatory state that would lead you to support higher levels of immigration, do you support a) current levels of immigration or b) lower levels of immigration?

      • What does answering your question help with, exactly, Chris? Giving a very flawed answer in hopes of elucidating an ethics question *greater* in scope than an ethics question limited to RAISE?

        Not falling into that trap.

    • This is related to the same nonsense that says “don’t even bother considering a 3rd party, they’ll never be elected”.

      Side note: America did just that, and the establishment on both sides of the aisle are still having conniptions over it 9 months later.

  11. “I would have pretended I didn’t say this too, if I were you.”

    Why on earth would I deny my own words, Chris? That may be your modus operandi, not mine.

    But really, let’s review the contexts here, as I asked you to do, in my challenge to you.

    “(This reminds me of when you said it was unfair to accuse Republicans of trying to get rid of Obamacare last week.)”

    This = your characterization of my argument that the debating the particular topic of RAISE is not useful to the general topic of a nation’s overall attitude towards Immigration.

    So, in the context of whatever point you were grasping for here:

    Somehow it seems you think my correcting your error in characterizing the Republican efforts to tweak Obamacare in the other discussion, is equivalent to my comment that it is somewhat useless bringing up RAISE in a larger discussion on *all the factors* of Immigration in this discussion.

    In the context of discussion, in which any useful ethics debate over Immigration is a debate that covers a wide range of nuanced topics, not limited to the economic considerations of RAISE, I was immediately geared by your quip to assume I’d made some sort of comment that some sort of assertion had been made, by me, that your mischaracterization of the Republican efforts regarding Obamacare automatically invalidated any discussion on the Republican efforts to modify Obamacare. Which I most certainly did not do, as the context of the entire quote you pulled would demonstrate.

    I’ll cop to possible misunderstanding what you meant by “this reminds me of”, and if I’ve misunderstood you’re point there, then sure, I’ll back down. But, I’ll definitely say the way your worded whatever point you are trying to make by pulling a quote out of context and applying in a non-analogous way, is incredibly odd. Ordinarily, I expect to see whatever is the “reminder” to be remotely analogous to whatever is “being reminded of”.

    But, yeah, given the vagueness of whatever your “reminder” is supposed to convey, I’m not going to back down when I think you’re abusing something I said for use in a scenario for which it isn’t applicable.

    • Chris

      Somehow it seems you think my correcting your error in characterizing the Republican efforts to tweak Obamacare in the other discussion, is equivalent to my comment that it is somewhat useless bringing up RAISE in a larger discussion on *all the factors* of Immigration in this discussion.

      In the context of discussion, in which any useful ethics debate over Immigration is a debate that covers a wide range of nuanced topics, not limited to the economic considerations of RAISE, I was immediately geared by your quip to assume I’d made some sort of comment that some sort of assertion had been made, by me, that your mischaracterization of the Republican efforts regarding Obamacare automatically invalidated any discussion on the Republican efforts to modify Obamacare. Which I most certainly did not do, as the context of the entire quote you pulled would demonstrate.

      This is, quite frankly, stunningly dishonest.

      Republicans are not trying to “tweak” or “modify” Obamacare. They are trying to eliminate Obamacare. This is a fact. I did not “mischaracterize” Republican efforts when I noted this fact. You micharacterized them when you denied it, and you continue to do so now. This is plain nuts. What do you think “repeal and replace” means? It does not mean “tweak” or “modify.”

      I have no idea why you would mount such a denial, then deny your denial, then double down on it. It defies belief.

      But, yeah, given the vagueness of whatever your “reminder” is supposed to convey, I’m not going to back down when I think you’re abusing something I said for use in a scenario for which it isn’t applicable.

      Your dismissal of RAISE reminded me of your absurd Obamacare denial because in both instances, you are arguing that actual Republican policy proposals don’t matter when assessing what Republicans actually want.

      • I already explained to you how the promises made by Republicans, to repeal, were indeed lies. If no repeal is even being serious discussed *this late into the game*, then no repeal is actually on the table.

        I already explained to you how, the modification Republicans are offering, is tantamount to a mere tweak to Obamacare. This is literally undeniable. In no universe does leaving something essentially unchanged except in a few regards equate to replacement.

        If that is the nature of your reminder, then fine, but insomuch as you have to assume your assessments of my comments are accurate. Your assessments are NOT, however, accurate.

        But, don’t stop spinnin’!

        • Chris

          This is just wild. According to you, it is “mischaracterizing” Republicans to describe what they themselves have been saying was their number one policy goal for the past seven years. Phenomenal. The reason repeal is not on the table as of now is because Republicans failed, not because they were not working to repeal it. They held dozens of votes on repealing Obamacare; that’s not working on repealing Obamacare?

          As for a “mere tweak,” which version of the Republican repeal bill contained the individual mandate? If the answer is “none of them,” as I am fairly certain it is, calling their replacement plan a “mere tweak” is absurd; the individual mandate was the crux of the entire law.

          But even if you were right, a repeal is a repeal. They could have repealed the thing and then replaced it with a nearly identical law, and the statement “The entire goal is to eliminate Obamacare” would have still been factually true, not “spin” or a “mischaracterization.” Hell, if you go back to the original conversation, my entire point was that they want it gone out of spite for Obama, not because of any larger policy goals. How does your belief that what they want is remarkably similar to the ACA prove me wrong on that point? It doesn’t; you just wanted to argue over nothing, which is what you staked your claim on a statement as uncontroversial as “The entire goal is to eliminate Obamacare.”

          I’d say that if you looked up the word “pedantic asshole” in the dictionary you’d see a picture of yourself, but then you’d just point out that “pedantic asshole” is two words.

          • Nerp….

            If someone tells me, “we’re gonna repeal X and replace with not-X or with Y, but when given the power to do so, they come at me and say, hey, we’re proposing X1 so it’s like a repeal”

            I’m gonna call Bull.

            That’s not repeal. That’s not replace.

            It’s modify.

          • “I’d say that if you looked up the word “pedantic asshole” in the dictionary you’d see a picture of yourself, but then you’d just point out that “pedantic asshole” is two words.”

            No.

            Good dictionaries include ‘terms’, the best would include idioms, for example “a bird in the hand”. Not just individual ‘words’.

          • “But even if you were right, a repeal is a repeal. They could have repealed the thing and then replaced it with a nearly identical law, and the statement “The entire goal is to eliminate Obamacare” would have still been factually true, not “spin” or a “mischaracterization.” “

            Now that’s actual pedantry.

            “I’m repealing X and replacing with X1” is absolutely bull when the promise was “I’m repealing X and leaving you with not-X” or “I’m repealing X and leaving you with X1”.

            Distinction without a difference, with the benefit of providing pablum for the base.

            My argument isn’t pedantry. Yours is.

      • Chris,

        If ever you get so angry because your opponent comes across to you as arrogant, intransigent and an “asshole”, just use your imagination:

        Remember, whoever you are talking to, at some point in their life, they were urinating in their pants way later than their parents hoped they would.

        On the flip side. Always recall, you too were defecating yourself at some point in your existence beyond a point your parents considered socially acceptable.

        However, vigorous debate on key issues is important.

        -texagg04

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