Second day of convention: report

I’m off-topic again, and late to boot. This is about yesterday, but I didn’t get a chance to post it before this.

RNC report from Minneapolis-St. Paul

September 2, 2008



Yesterday we had nothing to do after the breakfast because everything was canceled. It turned out that Laura Bush and Cindy McCain spoke in the evening, but it was just about the hurricane relief efforts and we didn’t go. In the evening we met a woman from Alaska who was there with her 20-year-old homeschooled daughter, a page at the convention. She said everyone was amazed when Palin was picked. Nobody has said anything negative yet about Bristol’s pregnancy, but people have said a lot about the media.


This morning we went to the breakfast for the Texas delegation, which was a lot bigger than the Arkansas one. Governor Rick Perry had stayed in Texas, so he spoke over the phone. John McCain’s mother then said a few words. She is 96 and just remarkable. She seems to have all her marbles, stands up straight and doesn’t wear glasses. She doesn’t look a day older than 80.


Mike Huckabee was the next speaker. When the group of us had entered the room the delegation had given him a standing ovation, and they reacted like that to almost everything he uttered. He’s a good speaker, no question about it, with ready jokes. The biggest ovations came when he said anything about Sarah Palin. People are really excited about her. He pointed out (or claimed) that Palin got more votes for mayor of Wasilla than Joe Biden got in two quests for the presidency.


Gary Bauer gave a stemwinder. His best line, commenting on the tallness of the Texans in the room (He’s about 5 foot five at most): “When I first went to Washington I was six foot three. And this is all that’s left of me.” He said the Republicans have put together a really good platform. You know it’s good because the media aren’t talking about it.


Congressman Henry Bonilla spoke; nothing remarkable, but he is a nice guy. He was in the car with us going and coming. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, a Texan, was next. She said she was the first mother with a child to have her job, so she identifies with Gov. Palin.


Jim was up next and gave pretty much the same speech as yesterday. He added a part at the beginning about Obama being embarrassed because Americans don’t speak foreign languages. He then greeted the crowed in German, Spanish, French and Hebrew.  Again there was a strong reaction to his speech and lots of people had their picture taken with him.


Our driver took us back along the scenic route along the Mississippi river. I’m at the Hilton now, in the Friends and Family room. There are a lot of campaign people here – young folks, doing things on their phones and their laptops. Some of them take care of us – Regan Wilson, who is in charge of vets, Scott Gunn, his deputy, who arranges things for us, and Nick Garcia, who is our minder when we go to the breakfasts.


The evening session had a few exciting moments surrounded by hours of tedium. The theme is Country Above Self, or Above All, or above something. (Actually, Country First.) This was in lights around the stadium. There were cards on the delegates’ chairs saying Service in colors and typeface that reminded me of a Hershey bar.


We had reserved seats in the level above the ring of media. We were in the first row. But Jim was supposed at 6:30 to go to a room somewhere with the POWs who were there so they could go somewhere in the place to be recognized at 8:00. And there was hardly a soul in our section so the air conditioning blew through like a winter gale with no body heat to mitigate it. So another wife and I went up to the top of our section where there were stools and a kind of bar at the back row. It was marginally warmer.


I’ve never watched a convention evening all the way through, so I had no idea how silly it could be. Unknown person after unknown person took the stage, one to tell us about a foundation she had started to renovate houses for poor people, another to tell us about his foundation to help do the work for farmers who had personal crises, yet another to tell us about her rare blood disease and how it made her a better person – and yet more whom I can’t remember. An unknown singer-songwriter belted out a couple of songs whose words were incomprehensible, so I have no idea if they had anything to do with the convention or John McCain.


A couple of preachers said words about God and character and other things. One of them ended with a prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, which was more than the Episcopalian priest who gave the invocation managed to do.


There were videos about past Republican presidents – Teddy Roosevelt, who approved of service and putting one’s country ahead of oneself, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and especially Ronald Reagan, whose segment elicited great applause and cheers. I wondered what Bush the elder thought about that; he and Barbara were sitting near Cindy McCain. I don’t think that Bush ever thought much of Ronald Reagan. At any rate he fired all of Reagan’s employees on the day before his inauguration, and never hired any that I know of.  No, he hired Peggy Noonan.


John McCain’s great friend and advisor, Orson Swindle, spoke about vets and service. He recognized the several Medal of Honor recipients in the audience, and then the big moment for which Jim had been absent for a couple of hours – recognizing that there were some number of John McCain’s fellow POWs there. A shot of the couple of rows of men appeared on the screen for a few seconds – I couldn’t make out Jim – and that was that. Jim and his friend came back upstairs.


And there were the speakers we wanted to hear – Laura Bush, and President Bush on video, way larger than life on the big screen; Fred Thompson, who gave the crowd what we were looking for,  some trenchant words of criticism of Barack Obama. President Bush had said John McCain would not be intimidated by the angry left. Later I saw some Democrats on CNN comment with horror on his use of the words “angry left” and express doubt that anybody would know what he meant. The crowd at the convention knew what he meant.


We left after Fred Thompson, before Joe Lieberman. A guy who came back on the shuttle bus with us said he talked about independents and Democrats voting for McCain. He said that when Lieberman talked about unity you could have heard a cricket chirp. That’s good, since I hate unity. That’s just another way to describe the strong overpowering the weak.


I’m sure I am forgetting someone important. The TV will remind me.


I was overstuffed with the great good of serving others, above all other goods. I longed for an entrepreneur to be honored, or for the president of Shell Oil to be introduced to tell the audience how his company has discovered how to get the oil out of the shale cheaply. I felt my long-lost interest in Ayn Rand surfacing and had a strange urge to re-read The Fountainhead. Or, alternatively, to sit down and finish reading my book on Hildegarde Von Bingen.


The guy on the shuttle bus is running for auditor of Rockford, Illinois. We had a beer with him. It is one of the benefits of being married to Jim that he attracts fans who buy him beers and are thrilled to be sitting talking to someone who not only was in prison with John McCain but worked for Ronald Reagan. We tell our war stories. I guess it’s like tribal elders passing on the lore.


Rohingya in China: seeds of a durable solution?

Buried in this article * about human rights in China is a one line mention that things are going swimmingly with the Rohingya in China.  Do I see the telltale signs of a solution?

On a provincial level, there are some positive signs. Yunan province has accepted 20,000 Rohingya Muslims refugees, fleeing the persecution of the Burmese junta. The group has been well-treated and has become one of the most prosperous minority groups within China.

The Rohingya Muslims now spreading out throughout Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh are agitating to be resettled in the US.   They are already in Europe and Canada and some may already be here in the midst of the Burmese Karen Christians coming to the US by the thousands.   Note we have a whole category about their campaign to find a durable solution in third country resettlement here.

Since things are going so well in China’s Yunan province, then maybe that is the answer!  The UN can resettle them to China!

* What’s up with this?  The article was there but it has completely disappeared!

Book is a window into asylum law, but is it a lopsided look?

A recently published book written by David Ngaruri Kenney and Philip Schrag  entitled, “Asylum Denied: A Refugee’s Struggle for Safety in America”  is discussed here by co-author Schrag.

The article provides a look into the growing field of immigration law (we mentioned that previously here).  Certainly Kenney’s story is a compelling one, but I will bet there is zero mention in the book of any refugees or asylees who have committed serious crimes or found to be connected to terrorism and deported.   It is likely all about how difficult it is for good people to stay in the US.

Here is what Schrag of Georgetown’s Center for Applied Legal Studies says is the definition of an asylee:

A person can apply for asylum if he has come to the United States either legally or without permission[ed: illegally], and says that he is afraid to go back to his home country because of a fear of persecution on account of his race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

But, after leading us to believe we are a mean country that turns away asylum seekers, like Kenney, he says this:

We’ve come a very long way since then [Democratic President Roosevelt turned back Jews escaping Hitler]. In 1980, we passed a Refugee Act, and now we’re one of the most welcoming countries in the world at a time when other countries are again turning away refugees. We resettle a lot of people who are in need. Refugees are about 10 percent, maybe 15 percent if you include asylum winners, of all U.S. immigration. In 2006, we resettled about 40,000 refugees from United Nations camps around the world, and granted asylum to another 30,000 or so additional refugees. So that’s a pretty large number.

Yes it is!  Holy cow, I had no idea that almost as many people were granted asylum as were brought as refugees.  All those 30,000 came here somehow and then said, now can I stay, and we said yes!  Asylees receive all the benefits that refugees receive (except airfare since they got here on their own).

30,000!   Maybe this book could be more accurately titled:  “Asylum granted: Refugees successful in getting into the US.”    Oh, but of course they wouldn’t title it that way, who would buy the book if America was described as decent and “welcoming.”

Environmentalists freak about global warming but ignore immigration—opportunity for McCain

Yesterday, Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies was featured in the Washington Post opinion pages with a piece entitled “How Many Americans?”   His article is a reminder that from the environmental point of view immigration presents a more clear and present danger then does so-called global warming.

I’ve said it before!  In 1974 I was at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and everyone was freaked about global COOLING—a new ice age was coming and its arrival was featured on the front cover of Time magazine.   Notice the crazy lefties (the Al Gore gang) aren’t even saying ‘global warming’ anymore, it’s ‘climate change’ because they know that actually the planet has started to cool in the last few years.

We should be getting freaked over the numbers that Camarota is telling us about.  Think about where you live now and the impact 135 million more people will make in this country.  Are you having political battles over growth?  Too many houses?  Too much pollution?  Losing farmland?  Traffic?   If you live in the west, how is your water supply?  Is your local park overrun by unemployed immigrants?  And, what about the demand for energy?

And what these numbers also tell us is that this is coming really fast!   Here is what Camarota had to say:

When the Census Bureau released its new population projections last month, most of the media focused on the country’s changing racial composition. But this was almost certainly not the most important finding. The projections show that the U.S. population will grow by 135 million in just 42 years — a 44 percent increase. Such growth would have profound implications for our environment and quality of life. Most of the increase would be a direct result of one federal policy — immigration. If we reduced the level of immigration, the projections would be much lower. The question we have to ask ourselves is: Do we want to be a much more densely settled country?

Native-born Americans have only about two children on average, which makes for a roughly stable population over time. But with an estimated 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants settling in the country each year, and about 900,000 births to these immigrants each year, immigration directly and indirectly accounts for at least three-fourths of U.S. population growth.

We, Americans without immigrants in the equation, are just replacing ourselves.    Many many immigrants, especially those from Muslim countries, are having large families with 4, 5, 6 kids and on up.   Islam dictates they have large families so that they might spread out across the world.  No where have I ever read that proponents of Shariah law are concerned for protecting the environment, or for science at all, for that matter.

If I were Presidential candidate McCain, and knowing the major environmental groups do nothing on immigration, I would make immigration my number one environmental priority for the Republican party.   Conservatives especially are loathe to get on any alarmist bandwagon, but I am a conservative ready to climb on this wagon.   Imagine even the loss of liberty that is inevitable with a growing population. 

If I were McCain I would begin admitting I was wrong on the issue of amnesty,  not just the closing the borders part.  I would make reforming immigration (LEGAL and illegal) my number one environmental priority, forget the global warming bandwagon.  If you can’t let go of the premise of global warming notice it too (if it were true) is directly related to too many people in America.    It is so clear it is maddening.   And, to make the point again here is another paragraph from Camarota:

An increase of 135 million people by 2050 is equivalent to the entire populations of Mexico and Canada moving here. Assuming the same ratio of population to infrastructure that exists today, the United States would need to build and pay for 36,000 schools. We would need to develop enough land to accommodate 52 million new housing units, along with places for the people who lived in them to shop and work. We would also have to construct enough roads to handle 106 million more vehicles.

By continuing our present rate of immigration, in America and other western countries, there is no incentive for countries, say in Africa, or Mexico for that matter, to begin to get themselves under control.  We are their safety valve—the overflow is coming here, or Canada or to Europe or New Zealand or Australia.

Read the rest of Camarota’s piece where he addresses the aging population issue and the poverty issue.

And now is probably a good time to re-visit the Numbers USA link at the top of our blog and WATCH the video.