Monday, March 07, 2005

Waiting for Documentation

This is a story in the Salem (the Oregon state capital) Statesman-Journal, published in the Sunday edition of March 6, 2005.

Nearly 2,000 people converged on McKay High School on Saturday to obtain services from the Mexican government.
Excuse me? Seeking to obtain services in Oregon from the MEXICAN government? They're living and working in Oregon. Why aren't they seeking to obtain services from the AMERICAN government?

They came seeking documents, information and help.

They came seeking assistance in finding a job, a place to live and securing a driver's license.

There were stories of unpaid wages, workplace discrimination and missing family members.

Oh. Okay, I get it now. These folks came to America with no prospects for work, no documentation, no authorization from their host country, and now they are upset because they can't legally drive an automobile in America. They are convinced that if they can acquire a "matricular consular card" from Mexico, they can resolved their problems. They have arrived in Oregon illegally, and now they discover that they don't have access to the same resources as have ... well ... American citizens.

Now, they're not seeking legitimization from America; only from Mexico.

As far as I know, Mexico has no special arrangement with America which established the same citizenship rights for Mexican citizens as do American citizens.

I'm pretty sure that Canada doesn't have this kind of agreement with America, either. On the other hand, most Canadian citizens who wish to move to America seem willing to jump through the bureaucratic hoops which allow them legally to reside and work in America. Likewise, American citizens who wish to move to Canada must apply for permission under a specific non-resident worker status, and must wait until the Canadian government grants them permission before they move there.

Citizens of Mexico, however, seem to assume a special status which is not codified under American law. When this assumption does not automatically result in full American citizen rights, when a job is not immediately forthcoming (when they discover that they cannot legally drive an automobile) they assume the mantle of an "underprivileged American Citizen" and demonstrate no compunction about complaining that they are the new downtrodden.

Coming to America" may have been the best idea they ever had, but they face an arduous journey in their struggle to make an living in a foreign land; a country in which opportunities are many, but they aren't legally allowed to take advantage of these opportunities.

We can sympathize with them, but one wonders what they expected when they illegally entered the country. Did they not know that it is illegal to enter the country without permission? That doesn't sound reasonable.

If I had found myself in the same situation, I would probably feel discriminated against.

Whose fault is that?

Y'ever read about a Canadian immigrant complaining that he/she can't get a driver's license?
Why do you think that is so?
Could it be because the Canadians, when they choose to immigrate, actually ... 'immigrate'?

You don't hear about Canadian Migrant Workers.
American newspapers don't print stories about how "Canadian Migrant Workers" are unable to find jobs, cash checks, or acquire drivers licenses.

Why is this?

Could it be because Canadian immigrants apply for permission before they "migrate" to another country?

Curiously, the cited story never makes it clear that the "... nearly 2,000 people [who] converged on McKay High School on Saturday to obtain services from the Mexican government ..." are people who never bothered to apply for permission from the American government to immigrate.

I wonder. If these people were a valuable asset to America, why didn't they apply for a visa?

Many countries require a visa to live and work there. (Australia is one of them!)

For example, Australia has many categories for a visa:

Does it seem curious to you that Australia lists no "unskilled labor" visa requirements?

However, under "skilled visa", the Australian website mentions:

Skilled Visa Basic Requirements
In order to satisfy labour market shortages, the Department of Immigration & Multicultural & Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) has set specific basic requirements for people who are interested in applying under the Skilled Migration Stream.

To qualify for skilled migration, you (or your partner) must be able to satisfy the basic visa requirements and meet the current pass mark. The basic visa criteria require you to meet specific age requirements, English language ability, minimum qualifications level, selection of a nominated occupation and recent work experience.

In addition to meeting the basic visa requirements, you are also required to satisfy the current points test. Points can be claimed for several items including skill, age, English language ability, specific work experience, spouse skills and other bonus categories.

That seems clear enough. Doesn't American have similar requirements?
Yes. In fact, the requierments are much more lenient than are Australia's.

What about this bizarre requirement of eligibility for Australian "government welfare"?

Government Welfare

Generally, permanent residents have the same right to claim social security benefits as Australian citizens. However, in most cases, you must meet certain residence and eligibility rules. There is a two-year waiting period for newly arrived residents - this starts from the date of arrival in Australia.

This means that once you arrive in Australia on a permanent visa, you will have to wait two years before you can claim social security payments.


So ... it appears that it's not entirely a new idea for immigrants (NOTE: not "Migrants") to bring something to the table when immigrating to a new country.
Why is America so different? Could it be because the Rio Grande is not so grande as the Pacific Ocean, and it's just physically more difficult to move from Mexico to America than it is to move from Mexico to Australia?


You may say: "Hey, Geek! Where do you get the idea that the people who the Salem Statesman - Journal are talking about are 'undocumented immigrants?"

Granted, it's not intuitively obvious from the original article. However, even a Liberal Rag like the Salem Statesman-Journal can't get away with completely obfuscating the facts. Perhaps that's why, on the same page (c0ntinued on Page 3) it offers this companion article:

This is a story about a Mexican "migrant" who is searching for her sister.

Statesman Journal
March 6, 2005

The plea came from a petite woman, eyes brimming with tears.

"Can you help me?" she asked sheepishly in Spanish. "Please help me."

And then she began.

It has been five months -- five months of sleepless nights and anguish-filled days since Ilse M. Lopez last spoke to her sister.

The siblings were separated five years ago when Lopez, 28, left their home state of Chiapas, Mexico. They were to be reunited last fall in Salem, but 40-year-old Aide M. Lopez never arrived.

Aide had saved her money to hire a smuggler to get her to Oregon. But according to reports from acquaintances on the journey, Aide sprained her ankle somewhere in the Arizona desert. The injury slowed down the group of illegal immigrants she was traveling with, and she was left behind.

... had saved her money to hire a smuggler to get her to Oregon ...

Damn! What an unfeeling, inconsiderate country America must be, to force her to save her money to hire a smuggler. And when the smuggler didn't perform as expected, whose fault is it?

Ilse has lost her sister.It could happen to anyone.
I've lost pens, sun-glasses, money and my virtue. Somehow, I've never quite managed to lose my sister.

Whether Ilse's sister is hospitalized, incarcerated or dead is anyone's guess.

And when Ilse Lopez heard that the Mexican Consulate would be in Salem on Saturday, she showed up to see what options she had.

"I love my sister," Lopez said, tears rolling down her cheeks. "She left three children in Mexico with our parents."

This is like buying a used Chevy Citation, financing it through GMAC, and suing the USA when the the car goes 'missing'.
America holds the warranty.
Lopez wrings her hands, imagining the treacherous journey that her sister embarked upon last fall.

Returning to Chiapas to seek help is not an option financially for Ilse Lopez, so she reached out to the Mexican government here.

"Financially" not an option? What are the priorities here? At least Ilse has the grace to wring her hands. (So did Pontius Pilate.)

" Luis Elias, head of the department of protection for the Mexican Consulate, urged Lopez to provide a photograph of her sister so he could request an official investigation from the consular offices in Arizona."

In the midst of all this negative commentary on Ms. Lopez's attempts to find out what happened to her sister, it appears that something positive may occur after all.

I'm confused by all of this ... comentary ... from the Statesman Journal. Ilse Lopez seems to be a caring, loving person. She is worried about her sister, understandably so.

But what about the conditions which are so hopeless that the mother of three feels the only opportunity she has is to illegally enter a foreign country ... at great risk of her own life? I'm sure that Aide struggled to find an answer which would allow her to stay with her children. It must have been a difficult decision for her to make.

Who's the villain here? It doesn't seem to be either of the two sisters, who are only trying to make a decent living. It can't be America, which only wishes to preserve the integrity of its own borders (an even more vital consideration, in this age of terrorism.)

We're running out of candidates for villainism here. The only one I can see is the Mexican Government.

Sure, they're willing to set up a booth in Oregon where their citizens wait all day for a minimum of help.

Where were they when their citizens found themselves in such mean circumstances that their only hope was to leave their families, their children, and risk their lives in a venture which, under the most benign turn of events, will require years of separation and hard work before they can be reunited?

I have a great deal of respect for Mexican 'migrants'. Those whom I've met are hard workers; honest, decent people who only want to make a decent living for their families.

But there are 'the other kind' as well. Predators, who find the pickings much richer in a richer land. How is America to sort them out?

It's not Mexico's problem. The Mexican government is perfectly willing to export both their indigent and their predators, and then to criticize the U.S. government for the way we deal with their emmigrants.

There are no good solutions here. But if there were, the best would be for Mexico to take care of its citizens ; to provide jobs, a decent standard of living, and the kind of social welfare for which it seems to prefer that America accepts the responsibility.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Even More Blogmeat!

Y'know how, every now and then when you're surfing the web, you come upon articles that you find interesting and you want to save for later reference? Sometimes, you actually go back and read them again. Usually, though, they end up being ignored for no better reason than that there's always something new to be read.

One advantage of a personal web log ("blog") is that you can preserve them for quasi-posterity, and even share them with others. These oh-so-interesting websites thus graduate from the status of "interesting things I have read" to "BLOGMEAT!"

I keep the URL's for these websites in my 'favorites' folder (which, by the way, is HUGE!) and from time to time I share a random selection here. Some folks do this all the time, and it constitutes the bulk of their blog. But I keep them just so I can parcel them out pusilanimously, reviewing them fondly in a manner reminiscent of orgasmic dribbles, so I can share the best of the best. That is to say, even if YOU don't appreciate them, I find them fascinating.

Well, it's my blog and I can do anything I want.

It may not be The Best Of The Web, but I like it!

Top of the list today, The Geek is mentioned by Resistance is Futile! (a Eugene, Oregon RKBA Blogger) in his Carnival of Cordite #3. (Note the link to this website on this sidebar.)

The Los Angeles Times sucks up to the Dear Leader (or whatever he demands to be called) in a recently blogged-to-death article titled North Korea, Without Rancor. Didn't we forgive CNN for proselytizing Sodom Hussein for the sake of "access" in such a manner last year?

From New Scientist:
The US military is funding development of a weapon that delivers a bout of excruciating pain from up to 2 kilometres away. Intended for use against rioters, it is meant to leave victims unharmed. But pain researchers are furious that work aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon. And they fear that the technology will be used for torture.

Malaysia News Online introduces a five-year-old boy who walks, runs and plays with other children his age even though he is no bigger than the stuffed toys I give to my grandchildren.

Arizona Central, one of my favorite news sites, quotes USA Today in describing the latest ID Theft problems of ChoicePoint. This kind of data-abuse affects even such blogosphere luminaries as Andrew Sullivan. We're all vulnerable to this abuse of confidence, and it doesn't matter who you are when the ID coyotes raid the chicken coop.

"Working For A Change" offers sage advice on how to "Argue Like A Conservative".
(NOTE there is no link in the sidebar for this website. We'll show you how to argue like a Liberal!)

The San Diego Union Tribune , offers a poll which opines that:

A majority of Mexican migrants living and working in the United States would be willing to participate in a temporary-worker program, according to a recent nationwide survey, even many of those who say they would prefer to stay in the country indefinitely.
Uh, well ... yes. Considering that this includes a large number of 'migrants' who are in the U.S. illegally, it stands to reason that they would be in favor of a 'temporary-worker program", since this might legitimize their illegal residence in the United States.

More on this later, in a subsequent essay on migrant workers in Oregon.

"Bootfinder" is a new system being used in Conneticut to randomly search automible license plates and match them with 'tax delinquets'. When a car is found to belong to an owner who has not payed all current taxes due to The State, then The State knows where to find ... and confiscate! ... the car.
Big Brother is not just an Orwellian fantasy. He's alive, and well, in Connecticut

Oh. You're already familiar with Orwellian fantasies? Well, it is about to come to the Web.
FEC to extend campaign-finance to Web
Commissioner warns of threat to blogs, online punditry
Be afraid.
Be very afraid.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Annual Credit Report

Here's something really scary:

If you haven't checked your credit rating lately, it might be a good idea to do it now.

You can get a FREE credit rating from three different companies, right now in real- time online, for the low-low price of (have I mentioned this already?) FREE!

A recent federal law requires credit-reporting services to make this available to you, once a year, for free.

This is especially important if you are thinking of making a MAJOR CREDIT PURCHASE!

you can get this report from a number of websites, by the way.

What do you need to accomplish this?
If you want to receive the TransUnion report at least (the most extensive of the reports I reviewed, and regularly priced at $29.95) you need at least four identifying pieces of information. They can be anything among the following:

  • A revolving charge-card (Macy's)
  • A credit card (visa)
  • A previous residence address, which may go back as much as 10 years

Yup. That's right ... four items of personal identification in three categories.
If you're like me, you will have to scramble for some of this stuff. For example, I had to dig out documentation which listed my address in 1992, and my car-payment which I had paid off last year.

You'll have to decide whether it's worth the effort, and if you want to know your "Credit Score" it will cost you another six bucks, too. (I didn't pay it ... I don't anticipate a major purchase, such as a new house, in the immediate future.)

The good news is (a) you can get the results immediately, on-line; and (b) the price is free Free FREE!

Also, the credit companies do have a plan to get money from you, but it's always an opt-in process. That means that if you choose not to receive their mailers, it's usually a painless process.

Did I mention that it's Free?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Get The Lead Out

My friend, Randy S. (who provided the incentive for my last post) included another RKBA related "heads up" which deserves some mention. Thanks to our mutual friend Bobby W. who informs us:

Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-32) finally filed her lead shot tax bill. The bill imposes a $0.24 PER OUNCE excise tax on lead shot, either loaded in shotshells or bagged for reloading. That's a $6 INCREASE in the price of a box of 25 shotshells at one ounce per shell, or $7.50 a box for 1 1/4 ounce loads. A 25 pound bag of lead shot will carry an additional $96 charge. Oh, don't forget the sales tax increase because of the increased price at retail. That $0.50 tax on a box of reloads at the trap range just went up to over a dollar.

The excise tax collected will be deposited into a new "wild swan recovery account." Sounds like it's going to be party time for swans!

And, the bill contains an "emergency clause." That means the tax takes effect the minute the governor signs the bill. No time to stock up on shot or shotshells.

The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.
Oregon (where I live) is one of the very FEW states in the Union which doesn't have a Sales Tax. Kagi is a state senator in Washington State.

A reading of recent bills introduced in Washington shows that this bill (HB2211) was introduced Feb. 23, 2005.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2 (1) A tax is imposed on the privilege of handling toxic shot for sale in this state. The rate of the tax shall be equal to twenty-four cents per ounce of toxic shot. Fractional amounts shall be taxed proportionately

This followed another bill introduced by Kagi and refering to the subject of "Toxic Shot" :

HB1822 - Read first time 02/07/2005. Referred to Committee on Natural Resources, Ecology & Parks.
The bill includes the following verbiage:

NEW SECTION. Sec. 3 A new section is added to chapter 77.15 RCW to read as follows:
(1) Beginning January 1, 2006, it is unlawful to possess or use toxic shot on any land owned by the state that is located in department game management units four, five, or six.
(2) Beginning January 1, 2007, it is unlawful to possess or use toxic shot on any land owned by the state that is located in department game management units one, two, or three.
(3) Beginning January 1, 2008, it is unlawful to use toxic shot when hunting with a license issued by the department under chapter 77.32 RCW.
(4) A violation of this section is a natural resources infraction under chapter 7.84 RCW.

Brief Summary of Bill
  • Phases out over the next three years the use of most shot ammunition that contains lead.

Essentially, Kagi intends to make lead-based shot illegal in the state of Washington.
"Toxic shot" means shot ammunition, either packaged in shells or loose, that contains more than one percent lead, by weight.
In the meantime, she's going to tax the britches off anyone who uses lead shot. Consider this in incentive provided courtesy of your friendly neighborhood politico.

Well, a lot of states are working toward this end, and it's not an entirely 'bad thing' except for the innefficiency of steel shot in making a humane kill of game birds.

Bismuth doesn't seem to be any more dangerous to use than lead.
And apparently it's widely available.

Of course, copper-plated lead shot costs $25.99 for an 11-pound bag, and bismuth shot from the same supplier costs $104.99 for a 7-pound bag. Let me see: $15/lb for Bismuth, $2.27 for copper-plated lead. That only costs you $12.73/lb more to shoot bismuth. Figuring a 1-1/2 oz. charge per shot it's a mere fourteen cents per shot difference in price.

Don't miss.

Are we seeing a trend here? Perhaps. Read on.

This Kagli-sponsored bill was preceded by another RKBA bill sponsored by Kagi:

HB1627 - introduced January 31, 2005

Declares that no person in this state shall manufacture, possess, purchase, sell, or otherwise transfer any assault weapon, or any assault weapon conversion kit, except as authorized by this act. Any assault weapon or assault weapon conversion kit the manufacture, possession, purchase, sale, or other transfer of which is prohibited under this act is a public nuisance.

Provides that no person in this state shall possess or have under his or her control at one time both of the following: (1) A semiautomatic or pump-action rifle, semiautomatic pistol, or shotgun capable of accepting a detachable magazine; and

(2) Any magazine capable of use with that firearm that contains more than ten rounds of ammunition.

This is a LOT simpler than the complicated Oregon Senate bill introduce by Ginny Burdick.

It doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to the firearm; it simply states that if it is capable of accepting a magazine of more than ten rounds capacity, and it is accompanied by such a magazine .. it's an"Assault Weapon".

I have to admit, it's elegant in its simplicity.

No less egregious, of course, but at least it's easy to understand.

I haven't figured out yet what enforcement is likely to ensue. Burdick's Law stipulated that possession of an "Assault Weapon" was a Class-B Felony. I presume that Kagi's Law relies on a body of law which is conveniently applicable at will, which means that nobody really KNOWS what kind of trouble you could get into, in Washingon State, if you owned a S&W Model 59 and a 12-round magazine.

Oh, okay, I'm being facetious. If you read the text of HB1627 (link above) you will see that Kagi's Law is essentially the same as Burdick's Law. The difference is that instead of requiring a "Permit", including the serial number of the "Assault Weapon" as Burdick stipulates, Kagi specifically requires "registration".

At least she's more honest about it

As if that helps.

Relating to firearms; and declaring an emergency.


A member of the Oregon State Senate has authored a bill which would define and outlaw "Assault Weapons" in Oregon. The link to the bill synopsis, including details, is included in the title.
This bill is from State Senator Ginny Burdick. It is a massive list of banned guns. It also outlaws magazines larger than ten rounds and requires a police issued "permit" to continue to possess the semi-auto rifles and shot guns you already own and bans "transfer" of the listed firearms even to your children.

I've been told that Senate President Peter Courtney will control whether or not this and other anti-gun bills move forward. He can be reached at:

(Hat Tip to, and quote from, Randy S.)

There are a couple of ramifications to this bill which Randy didn't mention in his email to me and to a number of Oregon people who are interested in Practical Rifle.

First, the permit which he mentions is structured similarly to the Oregon Carry Concealed Handgun (CCH) license, except that it refers to the simple possession of an "Assault Weapon" , not to carry or usage.

Second, the Assault Weapon permit includes the description and serial number of the firearm. This is de facto registration. Why is this worthy of mention? Well, the New York State Assembly recently introduced A03371, a bill which rescinds permission to own even 'grandfathered' registered Assault Weapons, as I noted a few days ago.


To repeal the grandfather clause in the definition of assault weapon
which currently allows the possession of an assault weapon if the weapon
was lawfully possessed prior to September fourteenth, nineteen hundred
ninety-four or if the weapon was manufactured on of before October
first, nineteen hundred ninety-three; to provide for the surrender and
destruction of such weapons.
(All italicized quoted text in this letter is 'emphasis added')
The "permit" is only the first step to confiscation, which New York is now attempting in bill A03371:

Section 2 Paragraph one of subdivision a of section 265.20 of the penal
law is amended to provide that all assault weapons must be surrendered
to the superintendent of the division of state police within 15 days of
the repeal of the grandfather clause.

Section 3 Section 400.05 of the penal law is amended to provide that
assault weapons surrendered after the repeal of the grandfather clause
will be declared a nuisance and be destroyed.

Randy's reference to "guns you already own" is a 'grandfather clause', in the sense that the current owner of a firearm on the extensive list is not considered a Felon for simple posession IF he/she has applied for, and been awarded a permit in the "shall issue" process.

We see, from the New York example, how politicians respect the efforts of honest citizens to comply with this kind of legislation.

You may note that the context of the NY bill doesn't describe a 'buy-back'. It is simple confiscation, without compensation of any kind.

The proposed Oregon bill gratuitously includes an exception to the "possession" charge if the firearm is "lent" ...

(b) At an exhibition, display, or educational project that is
about firearms and that is sponsored by, conducted under the
auspices of or approved by a law enforcement agency or a
nationally or state recognized entity that fosters proficiency in
or promotes education about firearms;
The supposition is that you can handle an 'assault weapon' at a gun show, as long as that show has been authorized by some official agency; however, since you would not be allowed to BUY it the weapon could not be offered for sale without turning both the seller and the would-be purchaser into a Class-B Felon. Make no mistake, this is not a "gun show loophole".

I can hear you saying:, "Hey, Geek! This has nothing to do me, I don't own an 'assault weapon' and I probably never will. I don't care, one way or another."

If you own ANY semi-automatic pistol which is fed by an external magazine ... you may be a Felon.
Here's one definition of an "Assault Weapon" in the Oregon bill:
(D) A pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable
magazine and any of the following:
(i) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor,
forward handgrip or silencer;
(ii) A second handgrip; or
(iii) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely
encircles, the barrel that allows a person to fire the weapon
without burning the person's hand, except a slide that encloses
the barrel.
If you own an IPSC Open-division pistol with a compensator, and the compensator is not an integral part of the barrel (as is the case in a large number of 'older' Race Guns), the compensator is probably screwed on. Which means that you are screwed. Even if your Race Gun is an STI, they only began making the compensators as an integral part of the barrel a couple of years ago.

Do you feel REALLY paranoid? Then you'll like this clause defining other sorts of Felons:

SECTION 3. { + Any person who manufactures or causes to be
manufactured within this state, who imports into this state or
who offers, exposes for sale, sells or transfers an assault
weapon in this state is guilty of a Class B felony. + }
The questions here are, first, does "exposes for sale" include someone in another state who offers for sale an "Assault Weapon" on an internet website? Can this law make Bushmaster a potential Felon for displaying their product on their website even if they have no intention of selling it to anyone in a state where it is specifically forbidden? I don't know. Do you? Stranger things have happened.

The other question is, suppose you own a firearm on the banned list, and you have applied for and received a permit. What happens when you die? Your wife, your children, arguably can't even TOUCH the firearm without becoming, by the act of touching it, "in posession of it". Does this sound far-fetched? Remember the clause cited above, which carefully makes an exception of touching an "Assault Weapon" at an "exhibition" which has been held "under the auspices of" an outside authority before you call me paranoid. Under the strictest interpretation of the law, your widow would have to call the polilce and have them come to your house to take the firearm out of the gun safe. If she takes it out of the safe, and she doesn't have a permit, she's breaking the law if she just carries it to the police station to turn it in after your death.

I don't believe that most people would consciously understand all of the implications of this law, and how it could make criminals out of honest people.

I DO believe that some politicians in my Blue State understand them, and would feel no remorse if an Oregon citizen accidently fell afoul of this most foul law.

I've already written to my state senator.

(Find out who represents you here.)

If you're an Oregon resident, you should take Randy's advice and contact your state representative (senator) to tell them that this is a BAD law which has no redeeming features. It addresses an issue which has nothing to do with reducing "gun crime" ... it only expands the definition of crime and will only affect honest citizens.

And there is no "emergency".