Articles and Posts by Tom Piatak:
The Senate Turns Its Back on Working America(0)
Today, the Senate passed an immigration bill that promises amnesty to illegal immigrants and a massive increase in legal immigration. If this bill becomes law, one of its predictable effects will be to drive down the wages of Americans, particularly working class Americans. Indeed, many millions of Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. This week, the Cleveland Plain Dealer had a story detailing how Ohio’s unemployment rate jumps from 7.2% to 11.5% if you include all those who dropped out of the labor market from 2007 to 2012. But the most striking thing about the Senate vote is not that 14 Republicans voted for the bill, but that all 52 Democrats voted for it. The party that professes to be for “working people” has as its highest priority the importing of foreigners at a time of mass unemployment for Americans. If FDR had made mass immigration his highest priority during the Great Depression, our history books would record the deeds of President Alf Landon. Now, the House Republicans are all that stand between this disastrous bill and a gala signing ceremony at the White House.
Immigration Bait and Switch(0)
Tonight media reports are hyping a deal to add a border fence to the Amnesty Bill currently being considered in the Senate. Only the gullible will believe that such a fence will ever be built. After all, Congress authorized building a 700 mile border fence in 2006, but only 36 or so miles of the type of fence capable of stopping people from crossing has ever been built, our leaders’ lies to the contrary notwithstanding. If there was a real desire among politicians to stop illegal immigration, a border fence would have been built decades ago.
What there is a real desire for, on the part of both Democratic and Republican elites, is more immigration. Democrats regard immigrants as future Democratic voters and Republicans view them as cheap labor. The longing by Democrats for more Democrats and by Republican donors for cheap labor is insatiable, and such longing will not be thwarted by a promise to build a border fence or even legislation requiring that one be built. Promises can be broken and legislation can be rewritten or thwarted, and that is exactly what will happen if the phony promise to build a border fence helps the disastrous Amnesty Bill to become law.
Electing A New People(0)
A bill that the media is touting as providing “comprehensive immigration reform” is currently making its way through the Senate. In essence, the bill will provide amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and vastly expand legal immigration, while doing nothing to prevent future illegal immigration. In fact, we know from past immigration amnesties that they only encourage more illegal immigration. The bill has bipartisan support, meaning, as Sam Francis liked to say, that it is both Stupid and Evil. It gives the denizens of the Stupid Party plenty of new cheap labor to drive down wages and denizens of the Evil Party lots of new Democratic voters. It promises continued radical demographic change, in line with Bertolt Brecht’s satirical poem advising the East German Communist Party that it should dissolve the people and elect another after the 1953 uprisings against Communist rule. This bill is supported by elite opinion and elite money. All that can stop it is popular outrage. Mickey Kaus has an excellent piece analyzing the politics behind the bill and what can be done to stop it at the Daily Caller. It is well worth reading, despite the unfortunate use of profanity at the end. (Hat tip VDARE.com)
Another White House Globalist(0)
Whenever it is polically expedient, Barack Obama criticizes free trade. He did it in 2008, when he told Ohio primary voters that he would renegotiate NAFTA. He did it in 2012, when his campaign saturated the industrial Midwest with ads criticizing Mitt Romney for outsourcing jobs to China at Bain Capital. But these noises are forgotten as soon as the political danger has passed, and today Barack Obama appointed another globalist, Jason Furman, to be the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. In 2008, Furman sang the praises of free trade in the Harvard Law & Policy Review and warned against a “growing protectionist backlash against global economic integration” that he saw as “a serious threat to our economic well-being.”
Last week, the Atlantic ran a piece on the loss of industrial jobs in Milwaukee that showed why Obama’s ads on outsourcing worked so well. Between 1961 and 2001, Milwaukee lost 69% of its manufacturing jobs. The article notes that this massive job loss was the result of several causes, including increasing automation. But free trade and the commitment to what Furman termed “global economic integration” also played an enormous role in this economic devastation. As Sophie Quinton noted in her Atlantic piece, new plants built by Milwaukee’s Rockwell Automation “could just as easily be in Shanghai or Singapore as in Oconomowoc.” That was not true, of course, when America had the tariff. As Ian Fletcher notes in his magisterial Free Trade Doesn’t Work, “the pain experienced by the Midwestern manufacturing areas of the U. S. . . .since the mid-sixties” is the direct result of America’s abandonment of the tariff as a result of John F. Kennedy’s Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
The commitment to “global economic integration” has led part of America to become what our elites derisively term the “Rust Belt.” And America will continue to shed manufacturing jobs until that disastrous commitment is reversed.
Vive la France(0)
Last weekend, Paris saw the third march of roughly one million people against gay marriage. Those in attendance heard an amazing speech from Ludovine de la Rochere, the president of the organization that has been sponsoring the marches. In it, de la Rochere echoed de Gaulle’s famous words from June 18, 1940: “The law is today in effect: so isn’t the last word already spoken on this? Shouldn’t hope disappear? Isn’t your defeat definitive? No!”
When the French elites told the French people that gay marriage was inevitable, hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen came together to say “No!” When our elites tell us gay marriage is inevitable, all too many of us meekly agree, and some “conservative” publications even join in the chorus. I think American conservatives can learn something from the supposedly defeatist French.
The War on Christmas Comes to Spain(0)
Every Christmas, we are instructed that there is no War on Christmas. But the hostility to Christianity and Western culture that motivates the War on Christmas is in fact widespread. The latest reminder came in an online piece this week in La Stampa, describing how the education minister in the Spanish province of Asturias had ordered schools there to replace references to Christmas and Holy Week with references to “winter holidays” and “end of second term holidays.” The rationale given for this nonsense was the need to “not to hurt peoples’ sensitivities,” driving home the point that those of us who enjoy the public celebration of Christian holidays simply don’t have “sensitivities” worth considering. The article also noted similar efforts in Belgium, where All Saints Day has become “autumn leave” and the Carnival preceding Lent is now “relaxation leave.” According to the article, the Belgian bureaucrats justified this attempt to sever Belgian culture from its roots by citing the need not to offend non-Christian immigrants. The offense given to Christians or those who simply like tradition is, once again, simply not worth considering. Indeed, anyone who objects to the concerted effort to remove all references to Christianity from the cultures of countries that were formed by Christianity now risks being labeled a “racist” or a “xenophobe” or the like.
Google Gets One Right(0)
Google often gets grief over the events and people it chooses to honor. Much of this criticism is justified. But sometimes Google gets one right, as it did today, when it honored Ella Fitzgerald. Here is Ella Fitzgerald’s version of Cole Porter’s Begin the Beguine, recorded in 1956. Popular music does not get any better than this–the finest vocal rendition of one of the finest songs written by an American. (Of course, Artie Shaw’s instrumental version is terrific, too, in addition to having the distinction of being one of Taki’s favorite songs).
Butchery in Philadelphia(0)
Several commenters have decried the lack of media coverage of the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia. Gosnell is charged with the deaths of one pregnant woman and seven children who were born after botched abortions; those children were killed by having their spinal cords severed. Witnesses have testified that many more babies were also killed that way.
The reason for the media silence is obvious. Shining a spotlight on Gosnell’s butcheries might cause people to raise questions about abortion, something the media has long treated as a sacred right. As pro-lifers have argued, there is no logical dfference between killing a child late in pregnancy and killing a child shortly after it emerges from the womb. Gosnell’s grisly deeds drive that point home. Indeed, infanticide enjoys considerable support in the same elite circles that cherish abortion. When the Reagan Administration sought to protect handicapped infants from being left to die in hospitals, the New York Times was outraged. Barack Obama, back when he was an Illinois state senator, opposed legislation to give legal protection to children born following a failed abortion. Princeton philosophy professor Peter Singer has argued that parents should be able to kill children up to the age of two. And just recently a Planned Parenthood representative, asked in the Florida legislature what should happen to a baby born after a failed abortion, replied that the doctor and the mother should be the ones who decide what happens to the baby they had tried to kill.
The blunt truth is that what went on in Gosnell’s abortion mill differs only in degree, not in kind, from what goes on in all the “clinics” operated by people who enjoy the unqualified support of all the purveyors of respectable opinion in this country. After all, one of Barack Obama’s signature issues in the last election was his support for Planned Parenthood, an entity that kills hundreds of thousands of unborn children in America year after year. What happened in Philadelphia is the inevitable result of viewing abortion as an inalienable right. But what the Gosnell case shows is that you won’t encounter facts supporting that viewpoint on NPR or the network news, or in the New York Times or Washington Post.
A Misnamed Magazine(0)
The American Conservative has had dozens of articles and posts on gay marriage. The general tenor has ranged from arguing that gay marriage is inevitable to criticizing opponents of gay marriage to arguing that support for gay marriage is the conservative position. What has largely been absent is any opposition to gay marriage.
There is, of course, nothing conservative about support for gay marriage. Gay marriage is an utter novelty, with no historical precedent. Gay marriage seeks to enshrine homosexual acts, but those acts have always been condemned as immoral by Christianity, a condemnation echoed by most other religions and reflected in American law until only recently. Gay marriage also completely severs marriage from procreation, even though marriage and the families it naturally creates have been the means by which human culture is formed and transmitted.
Gay marriage is not only antithetical to Christianity. It is antithetical to the natural law, to tradition, even to Darwin. Those arguing for it should at least have the decency to drop the pretense that they are conservatives.
The Quiet of Easter(0)
In recent decades, the public profile of Easter in the United States has diminished. Americans now spend more on Halloween than on Easter, and the public attention Easter receives is largely negative. Google observed Easter Sunday by celebrating Cesar Chavez’s birthday, and public references to Easter are often excised, just as “Christmas” is often replaced by “holiday.” My subdivision had an “egg hunt” for children on Saturday, and none of the materials advertising this “egg hunt” even mentioned Easter. Network television, which used to observe Holy Week and Easter by airing such programs as Franco Zefferilli’s “Jesus of Nazareth,” was largely devoid of religious programming this year. Easter has become rather quiet in America.
But this quiet holiday still offers many simple pleasures. The beauty of Easter shone forth in the church my wife and I attend, with the sanctuary filled with candles and awash with flowers. The contrast with Good Friday, when the sanctuaty was bare, the statues were veiled, and the tabernacle was empty, could not have been more stark. I enjoyed seeing our church filled to overflowing, even though I know I won’t see some of the congregants next Sunday. Many people were dressed up, another welcome contrast with an ordinary Sunday. And then there was the welcome quiet coming from all the closed stores and restaurants. Even though most of the chain stores and restaurants were open, the family-owned businesses were not. Easter, then, is a reminder of what Sunday used to be in America, when most people made an effort to go to church and to dress up and commercial activity largely ceased. It is not what Easter used to be in America, but it is still a pleasant contrast with what American life has become.
May all the readers of Chronicles continue to have a Blessed and Happy Easter.