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October 26, 2005, 11:50 A.M.

President Bush is refusing to release documents concerning advice given to him by Harriet Miers. He is also refusing to withdraw her nomination even though she enjoys little support on Capitol Hill.

The Miers nomination appears to be in trouble, but Republican Senators don’t expect the nomination to be voluntarily withdrawn. It seems as though the refusal to turn over documents is a setup to have Miers fail on confimration without the President having to withdraw the nomination. In other words, the White House is willing to allow its “underwhelming” candidate to fall on her face on her own. Miers has failed to provide complete responses on her questionnaire, and by all accounts, she has not been impressive in her meetings with Senators.

There is nothing about this nomination that looks good. Bush has dug in, however, and it looks like a setup to have Miers fail at confirmation or voluntarily withdraw her name. If she truly had the temperment to be a judge, and the smarts to be a Supreme Court justice, she would see the writing on the wall and withdraw her name, citing the inability to release records and fulfill her obligation to provide documents to the Senate. This presents a clean break and an easy way out short of the humiliation her confirmation hearings are sure to produce.

October 26, 2005, 11:50 A.M.

Back in 2003 we were writing about the Plame/Wilson/Niger story and talking about potential for the leak of Plame’s name. I recall that uncomfortable time when White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan was put in the position of saying that White House officials, particularly Karl Rove, had nothing to do with the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity to the press. Well, it looks like it is very possible that Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Karl “Bush’s Brain” Rove are about to be indicted. I guess McClellan was misled.

According to Steve Clemons, target letters have been issued in the Plame case and the indictments are about to be issued, perhaps as soon as today because the Grand Jury term is about to expire. There is a lot of speculation about who is to be indicted, but most sources believe that Rover and Libby will be on the list. Cheney also appears to be a focus, but it remains to be seen if indictments will go that high. It also remains to be seen what Bush will do. Didn’t he say at one point that he would fire anyone involved in leaking this information.?

Joseph Wilson may get his wish. Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and even Dick Cheney may be “frog-marched out of the White House.” It appears, however, that Prosecutor Fitzgerald is moving slowly on the Cheney end of things (as well he should), but rather than referring only to Libby, press reports and sources seems to be referring to “Cheney’s office,” and I take this as a sign that Libby may only be a part of the focus in the VP’s office.

October 24, 2005, 9:15 P.M.

A Government Favorably Disposed: In a recent speech defending his administration’s immigration policies, President Bush claimed that keeping our borders open is actually good for the economy, and that immigrants fill an essential role in the American job market. Specifically, Bush claims that immigrant labor is necessary to fill jobs that Americans are unwilling to do. These jobs, often held by illegals, are usually low skill, labor intensive, low paying jobs, often in the retail, restaurant, housekeeping, janitorial and hospitality industries, and unfortunately our government makes little distinction between legal and illegal immigrants in its policies or its enforcement of immigration law.

Of course labor leaders respond that Americans would be willing to do these jobs if they paid more and business claims that it can’t afford wage increases and benefits and still stay in business. The term of art used to describe the wages needed to entice Americans into these jobs is a “reasonable wage.” Personally, I think that a “reasonable wage” is any wage that you can earn if you are out of work and need to support yourself, and that businesses have a legitimate point in that certain types of work simply cannot support the higher wages and benefits that are needed by folks trying to support a family. I don’t, however, buy into the idea that our government’s irresponsible immigration policies can somehow be blamed on arrogant Americans who refuse menial jobs because they are not paid a “reasonable wage.”

There are, in addition to millions of people who have entered our country illegally, about 3.6 million immigrants who entered this country legally, but whose visas have expired. These individuals are in this country illegally, and they have gotten jobs based on their visa status and some of those jobs involve highly skilled work. Of the residents recently identified in this category, there have been hazardous material transporters and known terrorists. There are only several thousand immigration officials currently tracking these illegal residents. The process takes about 2 months from location and identification to deportation. Simple math tells us that there is no way that we can identify and remove from our midst those who would do us harm. I saw a truck last week that had a message on the tailgate that said “Bush/Cheney ‘4-for a safer America.” I don’t feel safe at all. Factor in the complete failure of the government to stem the tide of illegal immigration, the complete failure of the Iraq war, the complete failure of our government to adequately respond to recent hurricane disasters, and a few other notable screw-ups and none of us should.

Speaking of the recent hurricane disaster, I wrote recently of my strong disapproval of the suspension of the Davis/Bacon minimum wage requirements for contractors (like Halliburton) working on disaster relief. A story on CNN this evening told of emergency medical technicians getting a pay cut for working in relief areas while the company they worked for garnered huge profits. Another story told of American citizens working in the reconstruction efforts on a military base in Louisiana losing their jobs only to be replaced by, you guessed it, illegal aliens. And these were not low-paying, undesirable jobs. These are high skill, high paying jobs that Americans were laid off from. This is precisely the kind of behavior that is encouraged buy our government. It is irresponsible and it is nothing short of corrupt.

There are many new Americans, immigrants from all over the world, who are filling the need for workers in low paying entry-level jobs. Most of these individuals truly embrace and reflect back to us the American spirit. The most satisfying exchanges, or daily transactions, that I have had in recent memory are with these very new Americans. They are usually inquisitive, interested and pleasant. They make eye contact, they pay attention, and they work hard, regardless of the rate of pay or the nature of their work. By contrast, when confronted with their American counterparts, I am often met with individuals who do not understand the concept of a transaction and its effect on their job performance or reward. I don’t appreciate clerks or counter people who talk to their friends or co-workers, or who talk on the phone when waiting on me. I don’t appreciate it when they can’t or won’t count my change for me, or when they are rude or curt, and I tip accordingly. Perhaps this is one reason why businesses hire so many immigrants.

Another reason is of course the undeniable fact that illegal immigrants work for giant companies for a lot less money than Americans. Those companies are contently feeding like pigs at the government trough with no concern for the taxpayers who are footing the bill. They have finally found what they always wanted: a government favorably disposed to their business practices.


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