Politics: April 2007 Archives

Bill Whittle doesn't post often to his blog -- he started long before I did and is only up to entry number 140 -- but when he does he always knocks the ball out of the park. In his latest entry, he delves into the psychology of conspiracy theorists, those who believe we aren't being told the truth about the Kennedy assassination, the moon landing, or 9/11.

Of his encounter years ago with a moon landing conspiracy theorist, he writes:

Now it’s my turn to ask some questions, and here’s where it goes from the ridiculous to the sublime:

I was there at Cape Kennedy for the launch of Apollo 13. Is he saying I am lying about this whole moon mission conspiracy? I and millions of others who stood there and saw those Saturn V’s climb into the sky?

Of course not, says Joe. They actually launched. The astronauts just stayed in earth orbit the whole time.

I see. So we have the technical expertise to build a 40-story rocket that can produce millions of pounds of thrust. We can build capsules and lunar landers that function in zero-G. We have the means and the will to put these massive objects into Earth orbit, keep them up there for two weeks, but the additional 3-4% of the total launch energy needed to send this package to the moon is so obviously beyond our technical skill that the whole thing must be a hoax?

I’m sorry, that’s the thinking of someone who is mentally ill. There is something deeper at work there.

That “something” is different than someone who “believes” in UFO’s or the Loch Ness Monster. Such people may be short on critical reasoning, but the emotional force that drives them is a desire for wonder and the magical. Many have remarked that this is, indeed, almost a religious impulse. I’ve wanted to see a real-live flying saucer my entire life. Likewise, if Nessie really existed, what an incredible sight that would be…to look upon the last surviving dinosaur in the flesh! But a videotape of a standing wave shot from five miles away does not outweigh the whole air-breather / no fish evidence. It does not come close to outweighing it. And so I reluctantly throw Nessie back into the superstition bin from whence she came.

But these denialists – the Moon Hoaxers and the 9/11 “Truthers” – these are a different breed. And they are cut from precisely the same cloth. That is to say, they suffer from the same disease: an unwillingness to face reality and its consequences.

Regarding Rosie O'Donnell and her claim that 9/11 was orchestrated by the Bush administration:

I will make the point yet again because I believe it is the crux of the issue: what kind of moral universe do you have to inhabit to be able to believe that your own people – airline personnel, demolition experts, police and security forces, faked witnesses and all the rest – are capable of such a thing? How much hate for your own society do you have to carry in order to live in such a desolate and ridiculous mental hell? What psychoses must a mind be riddled with in order to negate what was perfectly obvious and instead believe a theory of such monumental fantasy? How much pure constant hatred does that take?

What, in short, is the miserable black hole of self-loathing that drives a person like Rosie O’Donnell and millions like her?

In the course of the essay, he debunks two of the key assertions of 9/11 "truthers" -- that a controlled demolition brought down the World Trade Center, and that there's something fishy about the lack of major aircraft debris. And I learned about a conspiracy theory that was previously unknown to me -- "chemtrails."

The Los Angeles Police Department was one of the first to adopt, in 1979, a "don't ask, don't tell" policy with regard to illegal immigrants. That policy, known as Special Order 40, is being challenged in court as a violation of California state law. A separate lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch is challenging the policy as a violation of Federal law.

Here is a link to the policy, as issued by the LAPD's board of commissioners. The policy forbids arresting anyone under the illegal entry provisions of the U. S. Immigration Code, and it forbids "police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person." It does require reporting to Federal immigration authorities when an undocumented alien is arrested on a felony, a "high grade" misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanors, or a repeat offense. There's nothing in the policy, however, that would allow the police to hold an arrestee on anything more than the non-immigration-related offense.

Federal law passed in 1996 makes LA's policy illegal:

…a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now Immigration and Customs Enforcement) information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.

The LA Times story mentions that many rank and file officers want to see the policy repealed, but they are afraid to speak out. The mayor and police chief both support Special Order 40.

The argument made in support of such a policy -- Tulsa has something very similar in place -- is that police depend on the cooperation of crime victims to do their work of protecting the public. If the police could report immigration status, some crime victims might not come forward for fear of being deported. Michael Williams offers a rebuttal:

[Illegal immigrants are] "living in the shadows" because they chose to break the law and come here illegally. All sorts of criminals "live in the shadows" because of their crimes. Drug dealers and pimps hesitate before calling the cops, too, but should we stop prosecuting them? Criminals shouldn't feel comfortable approaching the police.

When you put yourself beyond the reach of the law, you put yourself beyond the protection of the law.

UPDATE: In the comments, Roy asked for details about Tulsa's policy. MeeCiteeWurkor has a scan of the Tulsa Police Department's "sanctuary city" policy (PDF), which is even more friendly to illegal aliens than LA's Special Order 40. For example, if a citizen reports a likely illegal alien to the Tulsa Police Department, the citizen is simply to be given the number for the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services enforcement office in Oklahoma City. Unlike LA's policy, there is no provision for TPD to report repeat or major offenders to the Feds. It appears that the policy was originally approved under Mayor Susan Savage in 1995, then updated in 2003 to reflect the renaming of the INS.

MeeCiteeWurkor has an extensive archive of items on illegal immigration and enforcement (or lack thereof) in Tulsa and Oklahoma.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from April 2007.

Politics: March 2007 is the previous archive.

Politics: May 2007 is the next archive.

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