Saturday, June 9, 2007

Updates and Democrats Voting Against Cloture

First, an elaboration on my post about reverse data-mining. Correspondence about this leads me to believe I assumed more knowledge about personal website data than many people have and that more information about the source of the image to the right would be helpful.

This graphic is from a screenshot of the web traffic data for this site (http://stateswithoutnations.blogspot.com) that I looked at on Thursday, June 7, 2007 through a service called Google Analytics. This free web traffic site tells me the networks people are using each day to visit this blog. It also tells me how each visitor came to the site. This piece of information is called the "source" or "referral." If the visitor types in the url http://stateswithoutnations.blogspot.com, then the source is "direct." If the visitor clicks on a link to my blog from another site, then the source is that other site. On June 7, 2007 I was looking at the data from June 6, 2007. As the screenshot from my traffic report makes clear, on June 6, 2007, a computer from the network of the Department of Homeland Security visited my site through a link from the site opencongress.org. What raised my suspicions about this visit through this source even higher was that I also saw that the network Arab Computer Systems (with the city Riyadh) had come to my site through this same source (for more on Arab Computer Systems see the Thursday post). Both of these intelligence networks crawling through OpenCongress.org is not a complete shock in itself. The surprise is that OpenCongress.org was started by a guy who is on the board of directors of the firm that does all the information technology for the Department of Homeland Security and who has a dense web of intelligence contacts, giving the appearance that the government is using a private front for a secret and illegal government purpose. These details are explained in the Thursday post.

Now, back to immigration. Thankfully, 11 Democrats joined with 39 loons from the right to block Sen. Kennedy's misguided coalition to pass S. 1348, a bill that would bring the Nuremberg Laws to the USA. The vote was not on the bill itself, but on whether to vote on the bill, a vote that would require enough to end a filibuster, meaning 60 votes and not a regular majority of 51. Those voting to vote supported the bill and those voting not to vote opposed the bill.

Here's a list of the 11 Democrats who opposed the motion to stop debate (and who inferentially can be assumed to oppose S. 1348): Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, Barbara Boxer, Robert Byrd, Byron Dorgan, Mary Landrieu, Claire McCaskill, Mark Pryor, Jay Rockefeller, Jon Tester, Jim Webb.

As a measure of right-thinking and cosmopolitanism, even though the result is a good one--the USA is not implementing draconian measures to punish its residents, establish a national language, and forcibly remove people from its borders who have businesses and families here--the index is embarrassing. In the topsy-turvy world of politics and especially immigration politics, the ideological meaning of the votes to end cloture meant radically different things for the different parties in general, and even within the Democratic party. The seven Republicans voting for cloture (Lindsey Graham, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Mel Martinez, John McCain, Arlen Specter, George Voinovich) are the Left of the Republican party, while almost all of the Democrats voting to vote on the bill are the party's Right, including those who have credentials suggesting otherwise based on their previous votes. Anyone--including Senators Kennedy, Russell Feingold, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, among the 50 Democrats who voted for cloture--who supports criminalizing living in this country without a license, wants English only, wants to establish a national security registration system for immigrants where all applications for citizenship are in a database for local police and any other law enforcement agencies, and calls for at best a temporary deportation of de facto permanent residents (applicants must leave the country)--cannot claim to believe in civil rights or even basic norms of human decency.

Of the 11 Democrats opposing cloture, none did so on the record because of concerns about undocumented residents. Here's how their votes break down:

Max Baucus (D-MO) is making a bunch of pro-US worker rights speeches and opposing measures that would help current undocumented residents, reversing his commitments from last years, according to human rights activists in Montana.

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). Bingaman's record is the most complicated. He voted (in the minority) to oppose the English only amendment and is an outspoken advocate for some undocumented workers. According to a June 7, 2007 AP article on Lexis-Nexis by Julie Davis, "The temporary worker program faced yet another challenge from Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, who was seeking to allow laborers to come for six consecutive years. The bill requires them to go home for a year between each of three two-year stints." This proposal was of course defeated and in the tabled bill guest workers would have to return to their home countries after two years (and not the original three) before being able to resume work in the USA. But even when he tries to do good, he panders to a nativist majority. For instance, he proposed a measure to increase the number of people coming here through family ties but did so in a way that appeared to favor limiting immigration.

Barbara Boxer, from the OC Register:
"This bill needs to be simplified, it needs to be clarified, it needs to be rectified before I can support it," said Boxer, D-Calif. "I don't think the bill is workable. I think it hurts American workers. The amendment process didn't make it any stronger for me.''

Boxer supports the legalization plan, particularly the agricultural worker piece and the section that allows illegal immigrant students to get legal status. But she strongly opposes the temporary worker program, which she called "a slap at American workers.''

While Bingaman is worried about immigrants, Boxer's more parochial concerns and her repeated support for higher fences and more armaments at the border belie the consequence of her vote.
The rest tomorrow!

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