Putz of the Day
Today marks the debut of a brand new segment of my journal section: Putz of the Day!
Every now and again, I will diligently and gladly shine a revealing light on someone who, through word or deed, has earned the distinguished title of Putz.
Our very first Putz is Republican Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. of Wisconsin!
(Wait for the applause to die down.)
What did Jimmy do to earn the coveted Putz?
Was it his involvement in the Schiavo mess, his pushing for draconian mandatory minimum penalties for non-violent drug offenses, his advocating criminal prosecution for indecent material aired by broadcasters, or his campaign to make your library records available to intelligence agencies through the Patriot Act?
But Jimbo is also the author and high-pressure promoter of the notorious Real ID Act. This controversial bill is designed to "save America" from undocumented immigrants by barring them from obtaining driver's licenses. It would also would require individuals seeking refuge in the U.S. from repressive or abusive regimes to provide documented proof of their persecution as well as the abusing government’s motivation. And if that weren't enough, it also provides money to complete a three-mile stretch of fencing at the Mexican Border.
Immigrant advocates said the measure would encourage a black market in identity documents, make roads less secure, drive up insurance costs, and punish economic immigrants for terrorists' actions.
And critics on both the left and the right argue that the bill, if it becomes law, would create what would amount to a national identification card, long feared as an invasion of privacy.
As Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, warns, "Historically, governments use national ID systems to control populations rather than protect them.... The phrase ‘Your papers, please’ is antithetical to traditional American values of privacy and freedom to travel."
Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of Manhattan, adds: "The asylum provisions in this bill are so stringent that we would end up turning away most refugees, even if they are legitimate victims. We can never forget that this nation is a beacon of hope to the persecuted across the globe. It is inhumane and un-American to deport the innocent back to countries that will torture them."
Or, as a Boston Globe editorial states: Sensenbrenner calls for more barriers and surveillance technology along the southern US border. But this bill ignores the real need for laws that let immigrant workers travel safely and legally between the United States and Mexico.
Realizing that this bill is flawed, controversial, and perhaps even unconstitutional, Jimmy Sensenbrenner and his Republican cronies have attached the provisions to a "must-pass" emergency spending bill that would provide $81 billion for military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. They know that it would be political suicide for congress members to vote against a bill that sends money to American soldiers.
Oh, and one more thing...
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner racked up $168,000 in travel expenses covered by private groups since 2000, more than any other member of Congress, according by the nonpartisan organization Political Money Line. Sensenbrenner, also allowed private groups to also pay the expenses of his wife, Cheryl, on eight of the trips and his son, F. James Sensenbrenner, on a trip to Guatemala.
So to sum up: Jimmy Boy doesn't want wetbacks in the US of A. It doesn't matter if they're fleeing oppression or simply looking for a better life for their families. He'll even build bigger walls to keep 'em out. And to make sure he has his way, he'll bury his racist laws in a bill to provide support for our troops overseas.
But he'll gladly let influence-buyers pay the way for him and his family to travel around the world.
I guess he doesn't mind seeing Guatemalans as long as they're serving him drinks by the pool at the Hotel Antigua.
What a putz.
Posted by elcanche at April 28, 2005 10:53 PM