Monday, October 22, 2018

Open Door Policy at Retail Stores Means Mobs, not Jobs, Time to Close the Free Movement Loophole in U.S. Commerce

"Black Friday" Shopping Mob

For years I've been biting my tongue, aware that my views on this subject would be unpopular among my friends in the 21st century, especially anyone in the land of the fee and the home of the sale, a country whose iconic Apple is a beacon calling forth the wired, the bored, the befuddled bad-asses yearning to be Jay-Z.  But commentary over the last few days on the folks in the caravan has finally liberated me to speak my truth and support Laura Ingraham in her campaign to end the ridiculous open door policies of our country's retail outlets.

Today anyone can enter a shopping store.  ANY ONE!  I don't think people understand just how easy it is, and how many people are entering these stores.  The media elite don't want you to know the exact numbers but it's in the billions.  In fact, each year hundreds of millions, okay, gazillions, go in and out of stores.  They buy things, they sell things, often if they do not really need them.  (Sometimes they lie and will say that they need something but they don't; they call it "retail therapy," but obviously they're coached to say this.  The truth is they really just want to earn money and then spend it.)

Look at how unattractive they are.  And how unruly.  All that pushing, overpowering even security guards.  And there, a child!  What kind of parents would bring their children on such an excursion?  (Also, we've heard rumors that the goblins are among them.  Just bring your cameras to the center and look around.)

Clearly we need to do something about this and stop people from entering stores without inspection.  That doesn't mean everyone entering a store is a criminal, but come on! 

Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham totally gets it.  "Not everybody is going to come into the United States and commit a crime.  I'm well aware of that, as are most Americans."  Right, we are well aware that most people who enter a store aren't going to shoplift.  But if we don't regulate their entrance then we're doomed.   Like Ingraham says, "if you lose control of who comes into your country, for whatever reason, then we [sic] lose it all.   Why is that the case?  Because without order, there is no security.  Without security, our freedoms begin to erode."

You listening Trader Joe's?  You better, because if you don't start checking people's identity cards at the entrance, you're going to need guard towers and machine guns once they're in.

"How many of these Hollywood do-gooders or high-tech billionaires or liberal politicians....would respond to, let's say it's a hundred people surrounding your gates, climbing onto your gates, dropping onto your property, how many of them would open their doors and say, wanna use the bathroom?"
  
"Jobs or mobs?"

Doh, jobs! And Ingraham's right, come to think of it.  That do-gooder liberal Howard Schulz has never once let me use his bathroom, and I'm a U.S. citizen.  (Though to be fair, the Starbucks outlets he owns let me use them all the time without being invited, or even buying coffee.)   

I'm still silently cheering Ingraham on as I listen to the podcast while waiting in line to pay for my Campari from Milan, Spanish olive oil, and San Francisco sourdough, grateful to her for raising my awareness of the danger of my present situation.  I am in an unpoliced open space.  There are dozens of other shoppers with their carts.   At any second they could cut in front of me.  In fact, they could all crowd together and block my access to the clerk. 

I've shopped there countless times and this revelation of human darkness has never come to pass.  But Ingraham's a smart lady and now that I've encountered her analysis, I think she makes a point. I look around, aware for the first time of the precarity of my situation, and the ignorant complacency of the other shoppers.  Does the woman in the blue parka live nearby?  Or is she day labor at Crate and Barrel, picking up some food to prepare for her family in the suburbs?

Also, what the hell are all these people doing, taking advantage of the open shopping policy?  Don't they know that they should be at their jobs?   (I know, some pointy-head academician will whine about how open labor markets are good for the economy and mobs of shoppers or potential employees are good for jobs, that the clerks at Trader Joe's need customers so they can go form a mob during the holiday sales, say at Crate and Barrel.  "There shall be open borders."  That's what the Wall Street Journal editorial board proposed in 1984 as the next amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The folks who came up with that probably also thought industry contributed to global warming and preferred peace to war.)

"They broke into Mexico.  That's breaking and entering!" Ingraham shouts, self-energized by her own legal acumen. Anyone listening to her genius analysis knows she could go so much further.

Someone needs to flag the folks who run Trader Joe's and break it down.  Sure, the United States citizens made gobs of money by encouraging guest workers and allowing people to come in and use the bathroom, but there's more to economic viability than private property laws conducive to a functioning labor market and a secure business environment making possible surplus to reinvest.  Don't the owners of Trader Joe's realize that all their customers (except for me) have been breaking and entering?  Are they too busy making money to get this?

No, capitalism is not a panacea, but it does provide obvious examples for pragmatic responses to the horrifying nonsense mobilizing our country's worst nativist reflexes.  

Monday, October 1, 2018

Supreme Court Conference Announcement: Cert Denied for Menocal et al. v. GEO Group, Inc.

From October 1, 2018 Supreme Court Docket for The GEO Group, Inc., Petitioner
v. 
Alejandro Menocal, et al.
In its petition last June, GEO reiterated arguments that lost in the Colorado federal district court, and lost in the Tenth Circuit appellate court.  In urging the Supreme Court to review GEO's defense of legalizing slavery before the case has gone to trial, GEO wrote:
[T]he court held that a longstanding government program aimed at reducing detainees’ idle time may now be categorically unjust under some standard that no one has quite pinned down....GEO is being sued for carrying out lawful and longstanding federal policies under an existing federal contract....If interlocutory appeals are still denied, contractors will face a tidal wave of class actions by hundreds of thousands of detainees before a single federal appellate court has reviewed de novo the merits of these TVPA and unjust enrichment claims... 
GEO seems to be under the impression that if it calls "forced labor" "reducing ... idle time" and breaks the law for a long time, its wrongdoing is grandfathered in just because it has a federal contract.   ("I've been driving 90 miles per hour on this freeway for decades. Here's my contract with the U.S. Postal Service. How else am I going to be able to deliver the mail?!") GEO's rationale is evidence that power and money, and the obscurity and secrecy of detention conditions, have been cushioning them for years from the firm's obligations to the rule of law.  (For the origins of this litigation, please see this Washington Post article and details on this and related cases here.)

GEO also argues that their important mission of locking people up urges the Supreme Court to review their case right now:
The combined force of these suits—and more that are sure to follow on the tailwinds of the panel’s decision—are burdensome to GEO and threaten to pass on greater costs to American taxpayers, as the costs of private detention services must rise in response to the litigation. Indeed, that is plainly the goal: to reduce the availability of one of the federal government’s chosen means of carrying out its Constitutional mandate to control the nation’s borders. That alone warrants this Court’s intervention.  
The Supreme Court one day may review this case and others.  In the meantime, we'll have to see how GEO's warnings play out.   The options are: settle and negotiate back pay to the classes certified in Colorado and other states or continue to litigate, lose in a jury trial in Colorado -- that GEO forces crews of six people daily to perform janitorial work is not in dispute -- and then renew their appeals.  Meanwhile, the parties should be on track to resume discovery.   (Oh, and this reminds me: what about their reassurances to their shareholders, that this litigation was baseless and no big deal?) 

Motions and orders on this and six other cases are here, though need some updating.  For an overview of the impact of this litigation, including successful claims that GEO has violated minimum wage laws in the states of Washington and California, see "When Migrants are Treated Like Slaves," New York Times, April 4, 2018. 


 
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