Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gutknecht Points Finger at Republican Failures

My Mother, rest her soul, taught me many lessons including NEVER Point your Finger at anyone. And the explanation of that admonishment was “remember, you’ve got three fingers pointed back at you.”

Congressman Gutknecht is running an attack ad pointing a finger Tim Walz over border security, yet it seems to me that he is also pointing three fingers at the Republican Party.

The ad starts off with a quote allegedly from President Ronald Reagan “A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” [NOTE : I say allegedly because I cannot find a source for these exact words … it may be a reincarnation of another Reagan quote "A nation without borders is not a nation."] The ad goes on to cite impacts to Social Security benefits and all sorts of other horrors that could happen.

First comment, I would suggest rather than allowing Gutknecht to interpret Walz position, why not read Walz’s position paper available on his website. http://www.timwalz.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7BF4087AC5-328C-4413-893C-AA89215E9960%7D&DE=%7B2143EBF3-E3D1-4181-950C-A903804D7F94%7D

Now, to those three fingers.

FINGER # 1. Although Reagan is an icon to many Republicans and converted many Democrats into Republicans, it was President Reagan who signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) which legalized 3 million aliens. The theory of IRCA was that by legalizing the country’s undocumented population and then creating a stronger enforcement system, we would end illegal immigration. IRCA created the I-9 forms that every employer must check to ensure that an employee is authorized to work in the US. Included in that legislation, the federal government mandated that all amnesty applicants spend 40 hours in English language, history and civics instruction.

Based on the on-going debate and the estimated over 11 million illegal immigrations currently in the country, it is fair to say that IRCA did not work.

FINGER # 2. The illegal aliens issue has been known for years and President Bush offered his own support for guest workers and a route to citizenship for existing residents. Bush's plan includes support for the State Department package called "totalization." That is a bureaucratic code word for a plan to make illegal aliens eligible to receive Social Security benefits even though they committed fraud by using a false Social Security number. In one version of "totalization," the foreign workers would be given credit toward U.S. Social Security benefits for years they worked in a foreign country when they did not pay into our system.

The Bush idea, the McCain idea, the Tancredo idea and many more ideas have created legislative gridlock. The House passed a version. The Senate passed a different version. Instead of resolving the issue in conference committee, the House (yes, that’s Gutknecht’s group) decided to stall by holding “listening sessions” around the country … or to make sure that there was a campaign issue for November’s elections.

As a point of clarification, Bush, McCain and Tancredo are all Republicans. The Senate and the House are both controlled by Republicans. Further, illegal immigrates generally use false social security numbers, which means that those dollars fund the social security reserve but the worker never gets to claim the benefits … and the social security reserve fund has been used to help offset the current budget deficit.

Based on the fact that the issue has been known for years and the Republicans have been in control of the government for the past six years, it is fair to say that the Republicans are not resolving the issue. If Gutknecht has a complaint, his complaint is more so with the Republicans in the Senate and President Bush.

FINGER #3. Control of the borders is not only an entrance for illegal immigrants but also a concern for terrorist activity.

The 9/11 Commission reported that all 19 hijackers successfully entered the country through regulated entries. False passports and overstayed visas are problems that do not appear to be a concern for Congressman Gutknecht.

Since 9/11/01, ABC News packed 15 pounds of depleted uranium in a steel pipe with a lead lining in a suitcase that sailed through customs undetected … not once, but twice.

For three straight years after 9/11, Bush did not include any monies in his budget for port security.

During the Cheney-Edwards Vice-Presidential debate, Cheney said “the biggest threat we face today is the possibility of terrorist smuggling a nuclear weapon or biological agent into one of our own cities and threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

Al Queda has demonstrated the capacity to use watercraft as weapons (remember the USS Cole was attacked when a small boat was used as a weapon).

So, we see the problems and it should not take much imagination to see what a terrorist could do. Imagine smuggling a bio or chemical or nuclear device in a ship container. Just by exploding that container on ship … for example in a tanker at anchor … might wreak havoc on petroleum ports. Or if a large vessel was commandeer, it could be used as a bludgeon knocking out bridge abutments and blocking shipping channels.

The 9/11 Commission has made recommendations and issued follow-up grades in December 2005.
Grade of C- for a National Strategy for Transportation Security
Grade of F for Airline passenger pre-screening
Grade of D for Airline screening at commercial airports
Grade of D for Airline cargo screening.

This is a legitimate campaign issue … but not one the Republicans which to recognize as their own shortcomings are evident. Maria Cantwell is using port security as her main issue for reelection as Senator representing the port state of Washington … polling indicates that she is winning because she is exposing the Republicans failings.

Based on the above, it is clear that Congress is not securing the borders.

My advice for Congressman Gutknecht, don’t point any fingers.


Anonymous said...

Is there any mystery why Gutknecht is all talk and no action on immigration reform? In 2006, Hormel money is his third largest total for ind. contributions(Am. Crystal Sugar, 2nd, a telecom, 1st)Doing a quick check, it looks like Hormel employees have the largest number of FEC tracked contributions of any company for the 2003-04 cycle. They may also have the largest dollarwise. Though less in the 99/00 cycle, Hormel still looks like it's in the running for both # and total amount from a companies' employees. I believe Gutknecht himself talks about the change in the workforce at Hormel over the years. Maybe Hormel likes things the way they are and are pleased about the stand still in congress over the immigration issue.

Anonymous said...

It's really interesting to see how Hormel has moved up the list of Gutnecht's contributors over the years. In 95-96 Hormel was 14th, in 97-98 it was 13th, and in 2000, 2002, and in 2004, they were Gutknecht's #1 donor(from opensecrets.org) I think this says something.