August 10, 2011

Concern Trolling is good

A few days ago, I pointed out how the feds had delayed raiding the Postville, Iowa slaughterhouse for employing illegal immigrants from 2000 to 2008 because of a worry that the owners might be friends of Sen. Joe Lieberman. But, as I noted, that's hardly unique to Friends of Joe. The 1986 immigration compromise was effectively gutted by employers (typically in the food business, broadly defined) calling their favorite members of Congress about getting the feds to back off enforcing the law.

Now, here's a new Washington Post column making the same claim about some new Republican congressman. Obviously, Dana Milbank is engaged in concern-trolling the Tea Party, but, so what?
How Rep. Austin Scott betrayed his Tea Party roots 
By Dana Milbank, Published: August 10 
Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia, a Tea Party favorite and president of the House Republicans’ freshman class, got off to a slow start as a legislator but finally introduced his first bill last week.
His draftsmanship should please the people who chant “read the bill” at political rallies, because H.R. 2774 is only one sentence long. In its entirety: “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Legal Services Corporation Act is repealed.” 
This one sentence says a great deal about Scott, because it is a transparent attempt by the young lawmaker to defend a company in his district that discriminates against U.S. citizens in favor of Mexican migrant workers. Scott introduced the bill abolishing Legal Services exactly three days after it became public that Legal Services had won a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determination that Georgia’s Hamilton Growers “engages in a pattern or practice of regularly denying work hours and assigning less favorable assignments to U.S. workers, in favor of H2-A guestworkers.” Hamilton also “engages in a pattern or practice of discharging U.S. workers and replacing them with H-2A guestworkers,” the EEOC determined. 
In a broader sense, Scott’s bill gets at what has long troubled me about the Tea Party movement: It is fueled by populist anger, but it has been hijacked by plutocrats. Well-intentioned Tea Party foot soldiers demand that power be returned to the people, but then their clout is used to support tax cuts for millionaires. They rally for tougher immigration laws, but then their guy in Washington helps corporations to fire U.S. workers and hire foreign nationals. 
During his successful campaign to unseat moderate Democrat Jim Marshall, Scott ran a tough-on-immigration message. ... 
Legal Services took their case (one of three active cases it has against big growers in Scott’s district), and on July 29, it put out a news release announcing victory. (Settlement negotiations are underway.) 
On Aug. 1, Scott introduced his bill. 
If Scott were true to his Tea Party roots, he would have told the growers to get lost. He would have trumpeted the case as evidence that Americans are willing to do the dirty jobs that businesses claim only foreigners will do. As one of the American plaintiffs put it: “We worked hard at our jobs and really wanted the work, but Hamilton didn’t want Americans to work in their fields.” 

For some background on the H-2A program, here's Stand with Arizona. Growers in Georgia have been claiming that the state's new anti-illegal immigration law means we're all doomed to starvation.

Milbank's accusation against the Congressman sound perfectly plausible to me in a post hoc ergo propter hoc way, although in a half hour of dredging around the web, I can't find much of anything at all on this case, just an August 5, 2011 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.  

The AJC article says: "An EEOC spokesman in Washington declined to comment on the case, citing federal privacy laws." I can't find anything original on this case posted by the EEOC, Georgia Legal Services, or the Legal Services Corp. In particular, I can't find online the original source for the quotes in the AJC article.

It's almost as if you weren't supposed to know about this unless somebody figured out how to put some appropriate partisan spin on it.


33 comments:

Luke Lea said...

Great journalism!

Hunsdon said...

We have to rely on Democrats to (occasionally, infrequently) tell the truth about Republicans, because the GOP never will.

Thomas said...

I'm so convinced that Dana Milbank, who crowed about the end of the danger to the Republic posed by Glenn Beck as the second coming of Father Charles Coughlin, is "troubled" by populist anger being hijacked by plutocrats. Riiight.

Anonymous said...

Great column. Could someone explain how crops got picked prior to 1980 without cheap illegals? IRC, food was even cheaper in the 70s than now.

And why we need a constant flow of a million illegals a year when the *total* number of farm workers is less than a million?

Wouldn't it make more sense to just hire teenagers, or Americans? Or just have a system whereby Mexicans could come here, pick the crops, get paid, and then go home?

Anonymous said...

I would not have known about this had you not posted Milbank's article. Thanks for drawing it to my attention.

I've had my reservations about the Tea Party movement being Republican establishment designed to look like something else. It's interesting to watch the responses of nonconformist Republican politicians. Some will waffle on an issue but still be called out for not truly embracing the underlying agenda. Others like Murkowski will be unabashedly antagonistic. Don't know if I agreed with whatever her compromises would've been on debt negotiations last week but I still respected her for defending her position.

I go through phases of pushing for ideological purity myself but right now I'm in a decidedly pragmatic mode, looking for solutions that will generate decent paying jobs in the US for American citizens no matter who proposes them.

TGGP said...

I recall hearing about the Legal Services Corporation from Bruce Benson's "Enterprise of Law". Government sponsored lawyers suing the government to further the "Great Society". Abolish it.

slumber_j said...

Off-topic: here's Calvin Trillin in the Jul. 25th New Yorker, uncannily channeling Mr. Sailer in describing his (frustrated yet perseverant) attitude when he was reporting on the Civil Rights movement for Time in the early Sixties:

"But I never felt that I'd been wasting my time on reporting that didn't show up in the finished product, because I found myself building knowledge on a single subject: race. Any writing requires a leap of confidence--you have to convince yourself that somebody is going to be interested in what you put down on the page--and believing that you know more about the subject than most of your readers do can work wonders for your confidence."

Really this struck me as eerie.

beowulf said...

Yeah, Austin Scott id one of those lucky souls who have no business in Congress but who happen to run in a wave year. He'll play congressman for a couple years before the tide washes him out.
On the other hand... he probably is more representative of the rubes who live in south Georgia than the Princeton grad, decorated Army Ranger, former law professor (yeah I guess Obama ruined that job title) incumbent he beat last time around, so maybe his future is bright.

Anonymous said...

This one sentence says a great deal about Scott, because it is a transparent attempt by the young lawmaker to defend a company in his district that discriminates against U.S. citizens in favor of Mexican migrant workers.

Really? Transparent? You'd think that a professional writer would have a better grasp of words.

There is nothing "transparent" about it. Getting rid of the Legal Services Corp is a good idea all on its own.

CJ said...

This looks like a very rare case where the Legal Services Corporation actually did something for American workers. Most of what they do is tax-funded leftist judicial activism. I believe Hillary Clinton once worked there.

Anonymous said...

it doesn't really matter much at this point who tells the truth about what or what anyone knows. The fact is that the american federal governmental structure was designed from the start to make it very hard for the majority to control that federal govt via representatives. This was accomplished via several techniques: enlarged political voting districts so that there were inherently many different factions in each voting district that the majority could not unite and discover their common purpose; separation of powers and strong checks and balances; staggered election cycles; long terms; no recall of politicians at the federal level; no federal referendum or voter initiative.

and now on top of that original pseudo-democratic federal structure, we have a nation that have become incredibly factionalized via mass immigration.

The federal govt is completely beyond the control of the majority.

So at this point, it does not really even matter whether the cat is out of the bag.

The only thing that seems to work at all is controlling the state govts at the state level. The medical marijuana thing got the executive branch to back down. that was an amazing and unprecedented victory.

And the arizona immigration--a victory so far!

The thing is that people have got to realize what real democracy is--it arises from the structure of the govt and the size of the nation and the makeup of the peoples of that nation.

Western european states are our empirical data. Study their forms of govt. Compare them to ours.
Read Woody Holton, Jerry Fresia and Terry Bouton.

Anonymous said...

Back before the illegals started to flood into this country, crops never got picked. Consequently the entire population of the United States died in a massive famine.

This is why we must oppose Pat Buchanan and anyone that advocates better border security.

Anonymous said...

Back during the 2006 fight over amnesty, Dana Milbank implied immigration-restrictionist Senator Jeff Sessions was in the KKK.

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2006/05/sen-sessions-commits-unpardonable-hes.html

This guy is hardly our friend, even if he did produce a good piece of journalism.

Anonymous said...

A key detail is left out of Milbank's rant - what was the race of the US workers? If they were black, then Scott probably made the right political decision. Why go to bat for a demographic that will vote against 100 to 0 you while antagonizing a key campaign contributor? Better for them to migrate to another area more in tune with their political views.

Jack Aubrey said...

"In a broader sense, Scott’s bill gets at what has long troubled me about the Tea Party movement: It is fueled by populist anger, but it has been hijacked by plutocrats."

Well, duh.

George W. Bush did not give us school choice, an end to affirmative action or abortion, secure borders, or a smaller government, or any other number of genuinely conservative policies that Republicans supposedly support. The one thing he did do was push through, as one of his first acts, lower taxes on the rich.

Why? Because it was the one "conservative" action the plutocrats could go along with.

Time and again, including during the lameduck session of Congress last year and the debt ceiling debate just last week, the Republican Party prioritizes low taxes on the wealthy over everything else. They would not raise taxes on the wealthy by a dime even if it finally gave them a chance to shrink the government by hundreds of billions a year.

And so I have to tell this to Republicans repeatedly: lower taxes for the rich are a bargaining chip. You should not support lower taxes for them at all unless, at the very least, you get actual conservative policies first. Because once the tax cuts are in place, big businesses support for conservatism all but evaporates until it's time to cut their taxes again.

Anonymous said...

Jim Marshall the Democrat Austin Scott defeated had a career A rating from NumbersUSA. Scott has a C+.

ATBOTL said...

"Wouldn't it make more sense to just hire teenagers, or Americans? Or just have a system whereby Mexicans could come here, pick the crops, get paid, and then go home?"

If it were absolutely necessary to have guest workers, we could have a program modeled after Israel's where guest workers and their children cannot become citizens or permanent residents by any route.

Anonymous said...

Favoring corporations and immigrants over American workers?

It's almost as if the Tea Party movement is just the "Republican party" by another name!

guest007 said...

If you are going to nitpick concern trolling, you should look at the article in this months Atlantic on titled "Can the Middle Class be Saved." http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/can-the-middle-class-be-saved/8600/

Image an article about improving the plight of the middle class that does not mention immigration except to promote more immigration of college-educated people and does not mention demographics.

It proves what Steve says that there are many things that the left are not even allowed to think about.

Big Bill said...

"If it were absolutely necessary to have guest workers, we could have a program modeled after Israel's where guest workers and their children cannot become citizens or permanent residents by any route."

Israel gets to do that because the Jews are God's chosen people. It is a part of God's law that they have to remain race-pure and cannot mongrelize with us gentiles (i.e. God's second, lower caste).

There for using Israel is an example is inapposite. They are different from every other people on the face of the earth by Cosmic Design.

Why else do Jews in America fight to open America and European borders yet maintain strong borders for themselves in their homeland?

Why else do Jews preach that diversity is good for gentiles but bad for Israelis (other than a diversity of Jews?

You need to read God's law and get right with the universe. One you do it all becomes clear.

Kant's Categorical Imperative only applies to those who are equally situated, i.e. one gentile nation with respect to another gentile nation--one member of the lesser caste with respect to another member of the lesser caste.

Anonymous said...

I went to a couple flyover state tea party gatherings, the first two years of the movement, and recognized a few of the people there from the local GOP. But they were there as individuals and the local GOP leaders themselves were leery of the movement, convinced it was a Ron Paul thing or another Perot type insurgency. But I did not see many of Paul people there either.

The crowd seemed more influenced by Fox than anything else, and maybe local talk radio, which is always looking for some local action to hype.

So if Hannity or O'Reilly isn't bringing something to their attention, they will remain blithely unaware. They do not go very deep into the available info, even the ones who use the Internet. When I hung with these groups I was surprised how little they knew or read and soon grew bored with the level of conversation.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 12:42 said:

A key detail is left out of Milbank's rant - what was the race of the US workers? If they were black, then Scott probably made the right political decision. Why go to bat for a demographic that will vote against 100 to 0 you while antagonizing a key campaign contributor? Better for them to migrate to another area more in tune with their political views.

8/11/11 12:42 AM

Hunsdon replies:

Are you familiar with Robert E. Lee's line that "Duty is the most sublime word in any language"?

I have a counternote. "Careerist is the most vile word in any language." Additionally, your words are unpleasantly reminiscent to me of Bertolt Brecht's line about the government dissolving the people and electing another.

ben tillman said...

Yeah, this case is a mystery. I checked PACER and couldn't find it in any of Georgia's U.S. District Courts.

Svigor said...

Jim Marshall the Democrat Austin Scott defeated had a career A rating from NumbersUSA. Scott has a C+.

Facepalm.

Big Bill said...

"It proves what Steve says that there are many things that the left are not even allowed to think about."

Well, not quite. Two of the three authors are Hindu/Muslim. They doubtless think about getting their families, friends, Muslimeems, jats and tribes over to America all the time.

I expect they think the Indian subcontinent colonization of America is the best thing since sliced bread. It certainly raises the dowry that each of their sons will get by some $50,000. What's not to like?

rjp said...

Maybe he honestly believes this is a start in dismantling giant government. Cripes .... the article is from the WaPo. Can we really believe their explanation?

David Davenport said...

Aren't the times right for a latter-day Huey Long to appear -- someone somewhat to the Isolationist Right culturally, somewhat to the nationalistic Left on economics?

The original H.L.: "Just don't call our program Socialism."

Neither Ron nor son Randy Paul are going to go this way -- their economics is Herbert Hooverism^n.

Pat Buchanan is too old and frail for the role. Donald Trump? Probably not.

But I am seriously sure that the time is right for a latter-day Huey Long.

Ron Potato said...

This is one of the major successes of the established government.

They portray an ever-present menace in the form of the Republican Party -- who somehow never manage to succeed, unless the policy is agreed by the Democratic Party.

Marc B said...

Illegal immigration isn't one of the platform issues of the Tea Party anyway, although I suspect most involved would support excluding illegals from welfare all the way to Project Wetback style mass deportations. They have gone out their way not to get involved in too many issues other than taxation/ spending and a return to governance that reflects proper respect for the US Constitution and our nations other founding documents. Milbank is projecting here in a feeble attempt to shit-stir.

airtommy said...

Dana Millbank says "the Tea Party movement is fueled by populist anger, but it has been hijacked by plutocrats."

Plutocrats run the Democratic Party and Republican Party, as well. In fact, our Constitution was written by plutocrats.

Anonymous said...

I want to not be surprised by this, but I have to admit that I am.

"Great column. Could someone explain how crops got picked prior to 1980 without cheap illegals? IRC, food was even cheaper in the 70s than now."

There are many factors. Back in the 70s, after the braceros program ended, our growers were modernizing and investing in new capitol and technology. That sent yields up/ and prices/demand for manual labor down. The population of planet earth has also exploded thanks to the green revolution making its way to the third world, that has had an adverse effect on oil and food pricewise.

"Wouldn't it make more sense to just hire teenagers, or Americans? Or just have a system whereby Mexicans could come here, pick the crops, get paid, and then go home?"

But that doesn't allow businesses to cut money on wages and investment and pay the CEO a bigger bonus. How can they make money angels on the ground without cheap labor? Try to think of others a little more.

David said...

Pols will be pols.

Just like the rest of them, Tea Party traitors will sell out Borders-Language-Culture in a heartbeat. For this: $$$.

As H.L. Mencken pointed out, "The main thing that every political campaign in the United States demonstrates is that the politicians of all parties, despite their superficial enmities, are really members of one great brotherhood. Their principal, and indeed their sole, object is to collar public office, with all the privileges and profits that go therewith. They achieve this collaring by buying votes with other people's money. No professional politician is ever actually in favor of public economy. It is his implacable enemy, and he knows it. All professional politicians are dedicated wholeheartedly to waste and corruption. They are the enemies of every decent man." (from Minority Report)

David said...

"Wouldn't it make more sense to just hire teenagers, or Americans? Or just have a system whereby Mexicans could come here, pick the crops, get paid, and then go home?"

But that doesn't allow businesses to cut money on wages and investment and pay the CEO a bigger bonus.<


If Marx's Labor Theory of Value is wrong, then why do all capitalists always cut wages to near zero when given even the smallest chance to do so? Why do they, when unregulated in this regard, import millions of Mexicans - or else move operations to overseas - if their main economy does not lie in cheaper labor? Hm?

The problem with the American economic system is not overregulation. It's underregulation. What's missing is regulation for the national interest. High tariffs and strong (preferably closed) borders would ensure businesses benefit the nation, not take advantage of the nation to its detriment.

If a capitalist feels he can get along without a nation, then he is free to do without police protection, a court system, public roads, gas, electric, and sewer, an education in any school that receives government money, any scientific knowledge gained by government-funded facilities, etc. If he wishes to "roll his own" regarding any of the above, then he must do so only by leave of (and probably for large fees) the citizens, whose permission he must obtain for the necessary use of their property. In other words, no more free rides for capitalist welfare queens seeking to engorge their own wallets out of the externalities and usufructs of the civil democracy they work so hard to badmouth, exploit and, finally, destroy.

Crappy little international (or would-be international) anarchists ripping off society/ies are the problem. They are the ultimate something-for-nothing crowd ("British" looters couldn't steal in a decade what some of these Ayn Rand heroes steal in a fortnight).